Cora’s Birth Story

Warning: this post has the potential to freak out those who have issues with medical squeamishness.  You have been warned.

Okay, so before I give you Cora’s actual birth day story, I would like to provide a little back story.  You see, my OB had been monitoring my platelets this pregnancy.  For the majority of my pregnancy, they weren’t alarmingly low by any means, but low enough to keep an eye on.  Your platelets help clot your blood, so you can probably understand why they are important during childbirth.  The last two months, mine had been holding steady at 107 (150 is normal), but last week they dipped to 86.  Not great news, especially considering that many anesthesiologists won’t give you an epidural when they are below 100.  On Friday, October 4th, in the late afternoon, we saw the perinatologist, who gave me steroids to boost my platelets… solely because I wanted an epidural.  She wasn’t concerned about them otherwise, because they weren’t scary low.  It was to take about 48 hours for the steroids to take full effect.  Baby girl was due October 6th, and I was induced a week late with Bug, so I wasn’t super worried about going into labor within those 48 hours.


Onto her birth story:

Around 7:30 on Saturday morning (October 5th), I woke up to a mild crampy contraction, not unlike those that I’d been having for a few nights.  Right after that contraction, I felt a gush.  Not a large gush, mind you, but a gush nonetheless.  Since I had never actually gone into labor with Bug, I thought that my water had broken.  So, we packed up, woke up Eli, took him to Nana & Pops’ house and went on our way to the hospital.  I was having really mild contractions every 8 minutes or so.  The doc on call (Dr. Stephens) checked me, I was only 3-4 cm dilated, but 80% effaced, and it turned out that my bag of waters hadn’t actually broken.  Just a bunch of other lovely pregnancy related stuff had dislodged.  The doc sent me home, saying he’d probably see us again within 72 hours.

I spent most of Saturday in early labor… very manageable contractions, roughly 6-10 minutes apart.  Nothing that I couldn’t talk or walk or make brownies with my little man through.  Hubby and I spent the day at his parents house with Bug, who sadly is sick this weekend.  We watched college football, Hubby & Pops played 18 holes of golf, we napped, we ate brownies.  It was actually a really nice day.  I started to have more severe contractions around probably 6:00 that evening.  Still about 6-8 minutes apart, but didn’t really care to talk or walk through them.  We put Bug to bed and ate dinner and I went to lay down and try to relax.  Contractions continued to get stronger and closer together. At this point, we were really just waiting for the 5-1-1 sign.  Contractions 5 minutes apart, 1 minute long for at least an hour.

At 10:15, I had a really strong contraction and immediately after my water broke.  Like, for reals this time.  No mistaking it.  Hubby said he heard it pop.  So, again, we packed up and headed for the hospital.  On the 30 or so minute drive to the hospital, contractions were impossible to talk through and about 3 minutes apart.  Thank God it was late enough at night (in our retiree city) that there wasn’t much traffic.  Also, thank God we had a towel in the car.  We checked into Labor & Delivery just after 11:00.  Yeah second time going to the hospital in one day.


When you check into L&D at our hospital, they take you into triage to make sure that a) your water really did break and b) you are really in labor.  The charge nurse walked me into triage, saw a gush of fluid go down my leg and walked me right back out.  I was hooked up to fetal monitors and had IV fluids by 11:15 or so, at which point the nurse checked me and I was only 4-5 cm dilated and still about 80% effaced.  Read: not a lot of progress from the morning.

They took my blood to check my platelets to see if by chance they had gone up enough to get an epidural.  Contractions were becoming pretty unbearable at this point.  I could still breathe through them, but only with much needed coaching from Hubby.  So the nurse checked me again.  At 11:40, I was 5-6 cm dilated.  The nurse said she could pretty much feel my cervix melt away, so she decided to call the on-call doctor (Dr. Stephens) just in case.  The next 15 minutes were agony.  There was a lot of screaming on my part, and I’m pretty sure I asked (or yelled, whatever) for help more than once.  You know how labor looks in the movies?  That was me.  My amazing, incredible nurses and my calm, incredibly supportive husband were life savers in trying to keep me focused.  It was somewhere in there that I realized there would be no epidural.  I asked and my nurse was like, “No, the baby is coming.”  At about 11:55, I told them I needed to push.  They called the hospitalist (the OB employed by the hospital to be there 24/7 just in case your doctor doesn’t get there in time).  He got there just in time to catch baby girl.  I think I pushed 4 times.  It took like 8 minutes.  She was born at 12:04 am on her due date.  Punctual little thing.  Dr. Stephens missed it by like 2 minutes.  He did get there in time to do my stitches, though!

So, let’s recap here:  We went from my water breaking to having a baby in less than 2 hours.  I went from 5-6cm dilated to having a baby in less than 30 minutes.  With no drugs.  Crazy.  Town.

There never was time to send my blood off before delivery.  They sent it off afterwards and my platelets were 137k.  Soooo, the steroids worked, but the irony is it didn’t matter even a little bit.

In the end, I am really proud of myself for giving birth without an epidural.  Hubby was sure I could do it the whole time, especially when I wasn’t so sure of myself.  Our bodies amaze me.  I felt so out on control during that final transitional phase of labor… but when I felt her crowning, I began to calm down a little bit.  I felt like I could breathe again.  I mean, there was still some intense screaming as I physically pushed, but at that point it was mostly a release.  I’d also like to note that I feel much better after this birth than I did after Eli.  I am less sore, less swollen.  I don’t know how much of that is second baby and how much is super-fast birth.  I could walk to the bathroom right after giving birth, with very little pain, which I am pretty sure is all no epidural.

Cora is perfect.  She’s tiny and petite and beautiful.  Because her trip down the birth canal was so quick, her little head is perfectly round and her little face isn’t swollen at all.

With so much love and blessings, we welcome Cora Hale to the world… Born 10/6/13 at 12:04 am.  Weighing in at 6lbs, 7oz and 20.5 inches long.



Instawhat: Photo Dump


Hi there.  We’ve been busy living summer.  This here’s a photo dump of what I posted on Instagram for the end of June and most of July.  These pictures pretty much sum up our summer thus far.  See that freckle faced boy?  Poor Casper has skin just like his mommy & daddy… fair & freckled.  No amount of sun leaves a tan on him.  Not that the constant application of 55 spf helps that situation.  It does, however, help that whole skin cancer issue.  You’re welcome, Bug.


I never thought about this when we were naming him, but I am thankful that we chose a short, easy to spell, easy to write name for our son.  He’s been able to spell Eli for months, and now he’s figuring out how to write it.  This was the first time I had him try it (though they may have practiced at school).  With the exception of the letters themselves being backwards, I was was really impressed.


I manage a full service restaurant.  We all know that.  We also cater.  Catering is kind of my baby at work, and we went from rarely catering (like, maybe once a year) to catering events 6-8 times a year.  I love being able to cook something fresh for someone’s wedding or birthday.  I also love the challenge of making a beautiful, delicious meal in an unconventional setting… makeshift kitchen, cooking out of coolers, etc.  We have yet to cater an event where people weren’t really happy, and that makes all of the stress of the organization and timing totally worth it.  This particular wedding was at the same estate where Hubby and I got married, which made it extra special for me.  This couple’s first dance was to Jack Johnson’s “Better Together,” which happens to be the same song that Hubby & I shared our first dance to almost 7 years ago.  I was very excited about that.  Also, the couple had their first date at our restaurant, which I thought was pretty awesome.  It sideways torrential downpoured about thirty minutes before that photo was taken.  Yay for improvising & for portable sunshades!


Hubby and I got to go golfing.  By ourselves.  We laughed a lot.  Love that man.


Fourth of July to me is celebrating with friends and family on the beach and watching the fireworks go off over the water.  This year we were able to share the evening with our new friends from church, some of whom had never experienced the 4th the way we do it in a coastal town.  Our little boy got to play with all of his buddies… I was in heaven watching him be so excited and happy.


After breakfast one morning, Bug said, “Mommy, let’s snuggle.”  Couldn’t say no to that.  Plus, we were both wearing our tie-dyed shirts that we made together.


Random boat trip on the Myakka River.  We packed a lunch, cruised for a bit and just spent time together.  It was a beautiful day with my boys.


A long time ago, when I first started blogging, I had a Pineapple Project.  A pineapple grew from a pineapple grew from a pineapple plant I had planted and I documented the process.  That first pineapple was 4 years ago.  That same plant grew another fruit the following year.  The original plant died off, leaving a pup plant, which is what pineapple plants do.  That pup finally bore fruit this year.  Usually, pineapples start growing in the summer and are ready to eat by December or so… or, at least, my last two pineapples followed that timeline.  This guy started growing in the winter (which was very warm) and was ripe by summer.  The cold snap we had in the middle of that is probably what made him a munchkin pineapple.  He was seriously tiny, but oh-so-sweet and tasty.


We closed for three days at work to do some remodeling and maintenance work.  In three days we managed to empty the kitchen of nearly all of the equipment, re-tile the kitchen, office & dry storage areas, re-pave the parking lot, sand down and re-epoxy the bar top, paint several inside doors, paint some furniture, paint the outdoor patio floor, paint the walls in dry storage and deep clean all of the equipment and pretty much the entire inside of the restaurant.  And, proudly, the only thing that we didn’t do ourselves was the kitchen floor & the parking lot.  I wore a face mask for three days, but it was totally worth it to see the outcome.  Also, it was amazing how many customers walked across the blocked off and freshly tarred parking lot to see if we were closed.


We went on a mini-vacation with my parents to Steinhatchee.  Steinhatchee is a really small town on a rive that leads out to the Gulf in the armpit of Florida.  I don’t mean it’s smelly… it’s just in the curve of Florida before the panhandle.  The scalloping there in the summer is awesome… you snorkel on the grass flats and pick up the most delicious little bay scallops.  We had a great long weekend, but it rained a lot so there wasn’t actually a lot of scalloping to be done.


There is definitely a Hungry Howie’s on the river.  You can call in your order when you are done fishing or scalloping or whatever and then go pick it up by boat.  This made a pregnant lady very happy.


This is how Bug spends his time in the boat.  Catching, naming, playing with and then releasing bait fish and shrimp.  It is amazing how quickly those little hands can grab a pin fish.


While swimming at the beach house, Bug turned Aunt Millie in to an elephant.  He’s quite the magician.


After swimming at the beach house, Bug & I went for $0.99 ice cream at our favorite farm market, Detwiler’s.  Kid takes his ice cream seriously.

What have you been up to this summer?

Running While Pregnant

Before I start this post for real, I’d like to put out there that I am not an expert on exercising while pregnant.  I am not an expert on exercising at all.  These are merely my feelings & opinions.  Please consult your OBGYN before starting any kind of workout program while pregnant.

Okay.  That’s done.  To start this post for real, I’d like to say that I did not run during my first pregnancy, which is something that I wish I had done.  It was really difficult to get back into running after not having done so for close to a year.  My doctor, whom I really like, said he didn’t think all of that bouncing was good for the baby.  Being my first pregnancy and being uber-careful and worried about every little thing, I followed his advice without much further thought and without a second opinion.  (I did, however, do a lot of prenatal yoga.)  Now, let me tell you about my OB.  I’m not sure exactly how old he is, but he’s got to be past retirement age.  The man has recently started wearing hearing aids and looks kind of like Mr. Burns from The Simpsons.  He is very laid back, very old school and an excellent doctor.  He delivered Bug and I am so glad that he did.

My OB office has four doctors and three midwives.  I see my doctor when it is recommended, but for my usual monthly visits I actually prefer to see the midwives.  This pregnancy, I have asked two of the three midwives about exercise and both told me the same thing: if you did it before you were pregnant, you can do it during pregnancy… as long as we’re not talking something crazy dangerous, obviously.  They said that if I ran before, I can run now, and I can do it until I am no longer comfortable doing so.  Sweet.  I’ll take it.

To me, the most important thing about running pregnant… or any prenatal exercise for that matter… is to LISTEN TO YOUR BODY.  If you begin to feel faint & overheated: stop.  If your belly starts to hurt: stop.  If you feel like you are going to throw up: stop.  Pretty simple.  My first pregnancy, I was so much more worried about reading the right thing to do that I didn’t feel the right thing to do.  This pregnancy, I am relying so much more on instinct, and though I’ve had some emotional/crankiness issues this time around, physically I have felt much better.

To get to the bones of prenatal, I’m going to lay out how it’s similar to running sans growing baby and how it’s different, as well as some tips that I have found to be very helpful.


When you take a break from running, say a couple of months, it can be hard to get your groove back.  I find that the first run back is always awesome.  You get all pumped up because you’re thinking, “That wasn’t nearly as hard as I thought it would be!  I felt great!”  And then, your next run, your legs feel like lead and your lungs are on fire and you think, “This sucks.  I’m never going to make it.”  After that, each run gets progressively more comfortable and eventually the groove returns.  I took a several month break from running when I got pregnant, mostly because I was so exhausted that all I could think about doing in my spare time was sleeping.  I took a very necessary nap almost every day for 3 1/2 months.  Once I finally started to get some energy back, I started running again about once a week.  Just like a non-pregnant return, the first run was fantastic.  I was amazed at how “easy” it was.  Joke’s on me, because the next run was rough.  But, just like a regular comeback, it has slowly gotten more comfortable and my groove has returned, although said groove is a different groove, for obvious expanded belly reasons.

The other major similarity to running pregnant versus non-pregnant that I’ve found is the boost of energy and positive mind set.  I feel great, energetic and super happy for a couple of days after I run… both now and before baby-on-board.  I’m a pretty happy & positive person to begin with, so an extra dose an happy isn’t usually too noticeable.  However, I’ve been dealing with some crankiness issues this pregnancy, and that dose of happy right now is amazing.  Hubby can probably attest to that.  The energy boost is a pretty nice added bonus, as well.


The groove.  Here’s where I’m going to talk about taking it easy.  See, I’m the kind of person that is very competitive with myself.  When I go for a run, I get a tad bit disappointed if it wasn’t faster or farther than the last time.  That’s actually part of the draw of running for me.  I can set constant goals and the only person to hold accountable for the success of reaching those goals is me.  I have to continually push myself harder for that desired result.  Prenatal running doesn’t exactly allow for that.  For the first time, I’m taking it easy while I run.  No long term goals in mind except to stay healthy.  No short term goals of “today I’m going to run this far” or “today I’m going to hit this pace.”  I have no qualms stopping if my body tells me to stop, when usually I would just push through.  I run slowly and take walking breaks every few minutes.  It’s kind of refreshing, but difficult to change mind sets at the same time.

Kind of going along with the groove being different and the need to take it easy is that usually, when you run regularly, you are doing so with the intention of either losing or maintaining weight.  While pregnant, it’s hard to lose sight of that and to remember that you are supposed to be gaining weight!  This makes your pace slow down as time goes on rather than speed up.  I keep reminding myself that the goal isn’t speed, it’s health!


Water.  It is important to stay hydrated.  We all know this.  It is even more important to stay hydrated when you’re pregnant.  My midwife suggests that I drink something crazy like 96 ounces of water a day.  Normally, I only carry water on a run if it’s going to be more than 6 miles.  Anything less, I just drink water before I go and then drink lots when I’m done.  Mostly because I don’t like carrying things while I run.  When I trained for my half-marathon, I used a Camelbak Mini-M.U.L.E., which was great because it had a pocket for snacks/gel/fuel/whatever.  That was also during the fall and winter, though, and it wasn’t so darn hot outside.  Now, it’s too hot to wear it.  I’m pregnant, dude, I’m already hot enough.  So, I’ve been running with a water bottle.  My favorite is my Camelbak Eddy Bottle.  I hate carrying it, but I love that I don’t have to tilt it to get water.  Pregnant, clumsy me would have issues with not watching the road.

Take it easy.  I know I already talked about this, but it’s important.  Don’t go faster than you need to.  Don’t let yourself overheat.  Walk if you need to.  Listen to your body.

Stretching.  I usually stretch after I run, but non-pregnant me didn’t see a huge difference if I skipped the stretching every once in a while.  I didn’t feel unusually stiff or sore or anything.  Pregnant me is different.  The thing is, though, it’s not my legs that get sore if I don’t stretch.  It’s my back.  If I run and then sit down for a half an hour before stretching, my lower back will be pinched the rest of the day.  If I stretch first and then sit down, I have no issues.  Today, I ran and then sat in the car for 20 minutes and then went to the grocery store before I finally made it home to stretch.  My back is angry, folks.


As of right now, I’m doing a 5 minute warmup, just like always.  Then, I’m following this 10 minute increment pattern:

  • Run 7:00
  • Walk 3:00
  • Run 6:00
  • Walk 4:00
  • Run 4:00 or 5:00
  • Walk 5:00
  • Run 2:00 or 3:00 & walk the remainder of the 10 minute increment as a cooldown.

That gives me a total of about 20 minutes running and 20 minutes walking.  Again, if I feel like I need to stop and walk, I do.  This has been my pattern for a few weeks now, after trying a couple of different things.  First I tried running a mile and then walking a quarter mile, repeat.  My GPS was wonky so it ended up not being reliable.  Then I tried running for 10, walking for 5, repeat.  I didn’t make it.  This pattern will likely be changing as my belly gets bigger and my joints start to stretch.  I’ll keep you posted 🙂

Did you run while pregnant?  Tell me about it!

Instawhat: Week of 6/16


For the first four months of this pregnancy I was so tired that I spent every free moment napping.  Finally, about a month ago, I started exercising again.  I’ve been running once or twice a week and, man, does it feel good.  Don’t worry, I’ve been taking it super easy… alternating jogging for 5 minutes or so and then walking for a few minutes.  There is a great, wide bike trail that runs throughout our county that I take advantage of as often as I can… mostly because it is full of views just like this.


We spent the weekend with Uncle Chris & Aunt Millie (Bug’s Godparents) and Chris’ wonderful kids Karley & Timothy.  Chris’ grandmother has a home right on the beach here in Venice, so we took advantage of the fact that she is up north for the summer.  That’s Hubby and the kids heading from the pool to the beach.  Rough life, huh?


Buggers and Karley enjoying an awesome surf & turf dinner on the grill.


When Hubby told the kids that he brought fireworks, they were excited.  When he told Uncle Chris, he might have jumped up and down a little bit.  Proof that boys never really grow up.  They just get big enough to use lighters all by themselves.


Yeah fireworks on old crab traps!


Sunday morning swim session/water gun fight.  What else would you do after breakfast?

What did you do this weekend?

You Probably Thought I Died

Well, unless you follow me on Instagram or Facebook.  Then you probably know that I am actually still alive.  There’s been a lot going on around here the last several months.  Blogging added unneeded stress to my plate, so instead of letting it stress me out, I chose to take a break.  And, I’m glad that I did.  But now, I think (key word here: think) I’m ready to jump back on that horse again.  Also, I keep writing posts in my head and I really need to get them down onto paper (theoretically, obvi) before I forget!

So, what’s been going on?

1.  January through Mother’s Day is high season here in Southwest Florida.  I run a restaurant.  Add those two together and you get a lot of hours worked by me and my fellow coworkers in a four month time span.  There were a lot of eleven and twelve hour days, with most of those hours spent running around like a crazy woman.  It was stressful and tiring, but I couldn’t be more thankful for one of the most successful seasons that we’ve had in years.

2.  We found out in early February that I’m pregnant!  YAY!  And, we found out last week that we’re having a girl!  Double YAY!  Especially since Bug has been convinced he’s getting a baby sister from day one.  I’m not sure how he would have taken it if his little sibling was to be a brother.  This is actually the main reason for my not blogging.  Baby girl has worn. me. out.  I pretty much spent every possible “waking” moment from February until April napping.  I had days where I almost didn’t make it through an 8-hour day shift at work because 2:00 = involuntary naptime.  Most days, I’d even fall asleep on the couch after eating breakfast while waiting for Bug to finish his breakfast.  I was pathetic.  On top of being just plain exhausted, I had a nasty sinus infection that lasted for close to a month.  I was miserable, cranky and pretty much at my wit’s end.  Thank God for patient husbands and antibiotics.

3.  If you pay attention, you might know that I play guitar.  Well, in December, my good friend Emily talked me into trying out for the worship band at a church that hadn’t actually started yet because they, at that point, had zero musicians.  I reluctantly agreed.  Considering that I had never played (or sang) in front of anyone other than family, it was a big deal.  Once I met the group and we started practicing and then playing at services (our church launched in late January), I can’t imagine NOT being a part of the worship team.  Hubby, Eli and I have become part of a very special family, and we are so thankful for that.  Our worship team practices every Wednesday night and plays at services on Sunday mornings.  We’re a mobile church, which means that we don’t have a building of our own.  We set up at 8:15 in the auditorium of a local elementary school for 10:30 service, and then we have to have everything broken down and out of the building by 12:30.  It’s a lot of work and time, but it’s more than worth it!

I have lots of things to share with you all: Bug is in his big boy room, all done up superhero style; Bug is almost three and is certainly acting the part; new recipes; pregnant musings; preparing for a little girl to join our family.

It feels good to be back!