Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Wordless Wednesday--Gluten Free Thanksgiving Prep

Having three small children and being gluten-free makes putting on a Thanksgiving meal quite the project.  Therefore, my mom and I started today.  Pecan pie, pumpkin pie with a streusel topping, and the french fried onions and cream of mushroom soup for the green bean casserole are now done.  If you want to make the green bean casserole you can find the recipe here.  It's well worth the effort!

Frying up the onions.

 The only thing that kept me from eating lots of these was the fact that Abel wouldn't like it.

My pretty Thanksgiving pie plate.  My sister gave this to me for my birthday a few years ago.

Ginger streusel pumpkin pie!

Mushrooms for cream of mushroom soup.

Finished cream of mushroom soup.  I could sit down with a big bowl of this...

Monday, November 21, 2011

Undercover Mama Winner!

I'm sorry it's taken me so long to announce a winner for the Undercover Mama giveaway.  In addition to the business that goes with having three children three and under, we had the stomach bug go through this week, which definitely slowed me down.  But, I'm finally posting that winner.  And the winner is...

Entry number 113, Brittany C.!  Congratulations!  I'm sure you'll love your new Undercover Mama camisole.  Please e-mail within 48 hours with your contact information and choice of color and size.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Abel and the NICU Part 4--"Healthy."

Later that day Abel was moved from a warming bed to a normal bassinet.  We later learned that, by NICU standards, this made him "healthy"--a term we soon learned was very relative in the NICU.  And healthy means mobile.  He was moved out of the pod that many of the cardiac babies were in (a good thing) and into another pod.  It was only Saturday afternoon--a mere 72 hours since Abel's delivery, but it seemed we'd been caught in the middle of some crazy reality TV show forever at this point.

Now we settled into a pattern for the remainder of our time in NICU.  The next morning mom brought Mercy and Gilead in for a visit, and we determined that it would be best for everyone if they stayed at our friend's home with us.  For next six days we would wake in the morning, eat breakfast with Mercy, Gilead, and our friends, pack a lunch, and head out for a day at the hospital.  We weren't able to see Abel between 6:30pm and 7:30pm, when the nurses changed shifts and updated one another on the babies in their care.  Therefore, we would always return to see Mercy and Gilead and eat dinner with them.  Then we'd tell them goodnight and head back to the hospital until sometime after 10pm.  We typically arrived back at the house after 11pm, updated our hosts, fell into bed utterly exhausted, and then repeated the routine.

What matters in life comes sharply into focus at times like these.  Though we were excited about Ryan's new job, employment suddenly wasn't the end-all it had been for months.  In the NICU we weren't the typical group of post-partum mothers, either.  We were hospital gown, sweatpant, and maternity clad mothers who didn't care about our waistlines or looking like we had it together.  It was our babies that mattered.  I didn't get to meet many of the other parents, but our faith and church family are what carried us through that time.

Our days in the NICU consisted of holding Abel and feeding him--or trying to.  We did a lot of praying that he would actually eat.  Most feedings I would be allowed to try to breastfeed him.  When he seemed to tire we would then try to bottle feed him.  He typically only took 5 to 15mL, and we were told he needed to be taking 45-50mL orally before he could be discharged.  Once he would give up on the bottle, the rest of his milk would be syringed through a feeding tube.

The doctors made their rounds late morning.  We looked forward to these updates and actually learning if Abel was making any progress.  And he was.  At least in the breathing department.  By day 4 his respirations were down to about 80 per minute, and he was still oxygenating.  However, four days is much longer than an infant should be having breathing and eating trouble with TTN, and by this point the physicians felt an echocardiogram was in order.  I remember thinking "oh, good.  Maybe we'll finally know what's going on."  Then instantly realizing that I didn't want it to be anything that would show up on an echocardiogram.  I'd rather just never know.

On the evening of Abel's seventh day he actually nursed decently.  He took 35mL from me. We began to feel some real hope.  That was the morning that the effects of this time was really showing on our children as well.  When we had left that morning Gilead turned and ran from us, sobbing.  I began to cry, too.

The next day, Abel did even better--taking 45 to 55mL at the breast each feeding.  We knew then that we would be going home very soon.

On Abel's ninth day we arrived at the hospital to find patient education handouts awaiting us and Abel minus his feeding tube.  I'll never forget rounds that morning.  "This is Abel M., and he's ready to go home."

Our time at Doernbecher is slowly becoming a blur.  During that time we were blessed by wonderful physicians and caring nurses, many of whom were Christian.  Life is just beginning to feel normal again.  We arrived home from the hospital only to begin packing to move.  A week and a half later we loaded a truck to move across state for that job Ryan had been offered.

God is indeed good--but sometimes that doesn't look at all the way we imagine it will.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Undercover Mama Review and Giveaway

Undercover Mama

I have always wanted a nursing camisole, but the price has been more than prohibitive.  Nursing during the cooler months always leaves me feeling chilly, and a camisole seemed to be the perfect solution.  However, I had resigned myself to a nursing experience that leaves me less than warm during the winter.

Then I heard about the Undercover Mama, and it seemed to be the perfect solution.  They are half the cost of many other higher quality nursing camisoles (without sacrificing quality!) but offer the same benefits with the added freedom to wear your favorite nursing bra.

I was sent an Undercover Mama in nude for review before Abel's birth and eagerly awaited the opportunity to put it to use.  It was still too warm for two layers when he was born, but it was September, and I knew my opportunity would come soon.  Then we moved to a climate in which we can expect snow anytime starting in October.  It didn't take me long to put my Undercover Mama to use!

It took me about 30 seconds to fall in love with the Undercover Mama.  And the more I use it, the more I like it.  The added coverage is wonderful not only when I'm nursing, but also during those times when one of my other children gets a hold of my shirt in such a way as to expose my post-baby belly.  It's really not something I'm inclined to show off.

The Undercover Mama is also easy to use.  It attaches quickly and easily to all of my nursing bras.  I've discovered that with some bras I prefer the hook attachment, and with others the loop is more effective.  I love that there are two options, which makes the Undercover Mama even more practical (as if it wasn't already!).

The versatility and ease of use of the Undercover Mama makes it indespensible as part of my winter nursing wardrobe.  I definitely plan on investing in one or two more before the weather gets even colder--I think it's even going to appear on my Christmas wish list!

I'm very excited about the Undercover Mama, and even more so since Undercover Mama has graciously offered to send one Undercover Mama nursing shirt to a reader of Gluten Free Motherhood.

Rules:  Please enter the giveaway using Rafflecopter.  Comments do not count as entries--though you are welcome to comment just because you want or to remind yourself that you've entered!  Giveaway ends November 16 at 12:01am pacific time.