Leo’s VBAC birth – part 2

This next bit is quite jumbled by my thoughts and what people told me later.  I’m still going to order my medical records to see what those say as well.

From what I’ve been told, when the nurses moved me back to the transfer bed to take me back to the labor room, my heart stopped beating.  They immediately transferred me back to the OR bed and intubated me and started chest compressions.  They told Jesse later I had been without oxygen for maybe two minutes.  They continued chest compressions for 10 minutes and in the meantime Life Flight came and picked me up to take me to the Shock/Trauma center at a nearby hospital.

I dimly recall being in the helicopter because of the rumbling noise and choppiness of movement, but I don’t remember anything about them working on me.  I do recall it was raining and I remember the feel of rain on my face as I was wheeled into the building, but my eyes were closed and I was very out of it.

Time lost a lot meaning for me at that juncture.  I know they had given me ketamine as a sedative and I could hear people talking and I kept trying to make sense of everything that was around me but my brain could not make it mesh.

I was able to open my eyes but I couldn’t focus on anything.  The doctors kept yelling, “ASHLIN!  CAN YOU OPEN YOUR EYES?  CAN YOU SQUEEZE MY FINGERS?”  I couldn’t squeeze anything and it really freaked me out, as much as I had the capacity to feel fear.

I could see the U-shaped curtain molding on the ceiling and I tried to concentrate on making it stay still in my vision but it kept moving around.  Then Jesse was there and telling me I was ok and that the baby was ok, and asking if I could squeeze his fingers.  I’m not sure if I wasn’t coming out of the sedative fast enough or if it was normal procedure for them to repeatedly ask me to squeeze fingers, but I do remember getting irritated that they literally kept yelling at me, “ASHLIN!  CAN YOU HEAR ME?  CAN YOU SQUEEZE MY FINGERS?”  I remember thinking, bitch, I’m not deaf, quit yelling at me!  I was able to blink at them to let them know I could hear them, and pretty soon I was able to weakly squeeze fingers to their satisfaction.

In my head, I had the trippiest visions.  It was like sound waves turned into images and they kept meshing and blending and turning into other things.  I had to try and remind myself as much as I was able that most likely I wasn’t brain damaged and it was just the drugs but it was still extremely frightening.  I couldn’t make sense out of anything.  I could hear people around me and on one level I was able to understand what they were saying but on the other hand had no idea what they were saying.

I tried to ride it out as best I could and had major sensory motion pictures going on.  I cannot figure out why people would voluntarily take drugs to have that kind of experience.  When I had a little more sense I remember thinking that when Jesse told me he was there and that Leo was ok that 25 years had passed.  I thought I had missed the boys growing up and that Jesse had moved on with another woman.  I thought I had been in a coma for years and I couldn’t figure out why he would be there.

Then I tried to tell myself that I was being silly and that it had only been 9 months in a coma and I was trying to figure out which relative would have taken on the boys (because Jesse would have had to get a job and for some reason wouldn’t have been able to look after the boys by himself).  That’s when I remembered that I had always told Jesse that if I was a vegetable to just pull the plug because I didn’t want to live like that.  I started really internally panicking because like most people I wanted to live and I was starkly afraid he would sign a DNR because I wasn’t coming out of it fast enough.  In reality it had been *maybe* a couple hours, I’d have to check with Jesse.

Leo had been left in the Riverton hospital in the care of the nursery, and over the next couple days we were very lucky to have friends and family go over there to hold him and love on him while we were apart.

In the meantime the sedative was wearing off and I really hated being intubated.  It went through my vocal cords so I couldn’t make any noise.  Whenever I coughed or gagged or vomited, the tube would shut of air and then somehow the stuff got suctioned out by another device?  But it still felt like the solids were there in my lungs.  I was convinced the doctors were using alien technology to test out on me and that they were trying to slowly cause me to aspirate.  I thought they were trying to give me brain damage by denying me oxygen.  I’m sure I was getting adequate oxygen, but it felt like I wasn’t getting enough.  I wanted to take a deep breath but all I was getting were these shallow puffs.  That is a super panicky feeling, thinking you’re not getting enough air.

Because I couldn’t speak, I reverted to clicking my tongue to try and get someone’s attention, anyone’s attention, but I guess people thought I was just making random noise because even though I know they heard me they ignored me for the longest time.  It’s horrifying to be trapped in your brain with no method of communication.  Eventually a nurse figured out I was trying to communicate and I asked to have the tube removed but she wasn’t having it.  She explained that it needed to be in there for safety so I could breath, and that was that.  My wrist were strapped down to make sure I wouldn’t remove the tube on my own, and I felt ignored after that.

I tried the tongue clicking over and over but no one responded after that.  I tried it at Jesse when I could see him but he didn’t know I was trying to communicate.  Eventually it hurt to keep my eyes open.  My eyes had been streaming constantly and were so salty they burned and stung whenever I tried to open them again.  My face was sweaty and salty and scummy but no one would wipe off my face and I couldn’t tell them what I needed.

I would gag and then not be able to breath because the breathing part would shut off while the suction part did it’s job.  It was a hellish limbo just feeling like they were trying to slowly kill me.

Jesse’s mom came to visit while Jesse was away and during that time a doctor came in to try and put something in my wrist.  I think it was a monitor of some sort but I kept thinking they were trying to implant me with more alien tech so they could track me.  At this point my hands and wrists were swollen like a blown-up plastic glove and he was not able to implant whatever it was he was trying to do.  Mary said she had to look away because it made her sick to try and watch him work.

I had IVs all over me, tubes down my nose to my stomach, a line in my neck that ran down to my heart.  Mom wanted Jesse to send her a picture but he told her she didn’t need to see me like that.  I’m glad because I know it would have frightened her more than she already was.

I think it was early the next day (Sunday 17th) and I was able to get the attention of a nurse and pantomime asking how long I’d been there.  It was reassuring when she told me I’d been there for a few hours.  Jesse said that’s when he began feeling better, when it was apparent I was cognizant and thinking.

Later on Sunday one of my wrists was unlatched from the wrist restraints and I was able to indicate I wanted to write something down.  I was feeling fairly decent, all things considered, and I wanted that breathing tube out!  A nurse brought over a pen and paper and I wrote, “Nose tube, out!” and “AMA” and she was like, “AMA?  What does that mean?” and I was thinking, how does a nurse not know what AMA means?  (It stands for Against Medical Advice.)  And she says she’ll have to talk with the doctor about the tube so I shook my head and wrote, “Tube out now!  AMA.  Will sign papers.”  And she says, “Oh!  AMA!  Are you in the medical field?”  I didn’t have it in me to explain that I had been watching a ton of Nurse Jackie episodes in the prior days.

She wanted to restrain my hands again until I mimed that I wouldn’t take out the tube on my own.  She went to talk to a doctor and when they came back he was like, why isn’t her hand restrained?  And the nurse explained that I said I wouldn’t take out the tube myself.  He didn’t seem impressed but shortly after that they decided I was well enough to get the tube out.  They also took out the nose feeding tube.  I wanted them to take out the neck IV as well but they didn’t want to take it out yet.  It was such a relief to get out that breathing tube and take deep breaths!

At some point I was given a sponge bath and they washed my hair for me, but I cannot recall when that was.  They also rolled deodorant on my armpits.  It was an interesting experience.

after

I stayed in the ICU for another night and on Monday they decided I was well enough to get moved to the regular maternity units.

In the meantime, Leo had been discharged from the Riverton hospital so Jesse had been caring for the baby all by himself.  Ezra had moved on from Velvet’s house to my mother-in-law Mary’s house.

The stay in the maternity unit wasn’t all that “exciting”.  It was mainly nurses coming in every few hours to check vitals.  I got meals on a regular schedule.  They took out the catheter so I was able to walk to the bathroom by myself but I sometimes needed assistance which was somewhat embarrassing but at the same time I figured they dealt with that kind of thing all day so I didn’t let it bother me too much.

I had doctors come around fairly frequently to let me know what they thought about my prognosis and progress I was making.  I had some weird blurry/double vision when I looked farther away than about a foot or so.  This worried me a bit but I was hoping it was just a side effect of how much water I was retaining.

Jesse brought Leo to see me a couple times and Ezra was at the hospital too for a hand-off so that’s where Ezra met Leo for the first time.  Ezra seemed to approve and kept saying what a cute baby Leo was.

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I was still so swollen with fluids that I really had no dexterity at all.  I could hold Leopold but I couldn’t manipulate him at all, it was really frustrating.

At first they thought they’d discharge me on Tuesday, but then they decided to keep me another night and maybe discharge me on Wednesday.  What I really wanted was to go home and recover there.  I had a couple therapists come in and see how I was doing.  I was ambulatory enough for the one, I could walk and sit and stand on my own.  Another therapist came to see me, one who specialized in lymph edema (because of my swelling) and she gave me some compression tubes for my arms and hands.  She didn’t think the swelling would last long and that it was most likely caused by the bunch of fluid they had pushed through my system.

The doctors decided they wanted to do an angiogram, so on Tuesday night they gave me some pill that was supposed to slow my heart rate, then Wednesday morning they were going to give me valium and then do the angiogram.  The trouble was, the pill they gave me boosted my blood pressure, so they were thinking about giving me something for that as well.  They kept me on the monitors the whole night to keep an eye on it.

Also, earlier in my transfer to the maternity unit, they had had to remove the IV that was in my neck, and the one that was in my hand was excrutiating to use so they removed that one and placed one in the crook of my left arm (after multiple jabs/tries because my arms were so swollen.)  They had to have a Life Flight crew member come do the IV because no one else could place it.  This was on Monday night.  Well, an IV in the crook of an arm is very uncomfortable.  And it was leaking fluid.  They decided that they couldn’t use that IV for the angiogram because they had to push a dye through the IV and needed to make sure the dye wasn’t just going to leak out.

So sometime Tuesday they had Life Flight crew come back in and this time they tried to place an IV in the right arm, unsuccessfully.  They determined I was too swollen for them to do it, and they had to have a different Life Flight crew member come in who used ultrasound tech to find a vein.  Many hours later the crew member came in and determined that the crook of my left arm was the only option so she removed the current IV and then placed another in the SAME PLACE.  It was horrible.

All Tuesday night I researched angiograms and if it was really necessary for me to get one.  I didn’t feel like I had blocked arteries or that me crashing on the table was a result of an ongoing heart issue, so when the nurse came in in the wee hours of the morning, I told her I didn’t want to get the angio. She was a little surprised and talked with me about it for awhile and then said she’d let the resident know.  The resident came in and spoke with me for awhile about why she felt it was important I get it done, and how much work had gone in to making me ready for the scan, but that she would let the doctor know and he would come in to speak with me.

A couple hours later a doctor came in, not the cardiologist, and *he* told me all about it, but I remained pretty firm on why I didn’t want it, so he said he would speak to the cardiologist.  The angio was supposed to be done at 9:30am, and just barely before that the cardiologist came in and said he agreed with me, that looking over my charts there really was no reason to think that I had existing heart issues and really there wasn’t a pressing need for me to get the angiogram.  He ordered another echo and ultrasound but everything checked out so they decided to discharge me on Wednesday.

I called Jesse to give him the good news.  A few hours later we were on our way home.

Part three coming soon.

Leo’s VBAC birth – part 1

Hi friends!  I have a bit of time now to write about Leopold’s birth!

On Friday, May 15th, 2015 I had a prenatal appointment with my doctor.  I was due on the 10th but Leo didn’t show many signs of being willing to get with the program, so she wanted to discuss other options for his birth.  I had been pretty irritated with her the last couple appointments I’d had because she was making comments like, “Well, what are you going to do if this baby is as big as your last?  The risk of shoulder dystocia increases with larger babies.  Are you really willing to risk having a child who has cerebral palsy when you could have prevented it?”  Shit like that, it felt like fear mongering and bullying.  She really wanted to nail down when I would “allow” another C-section pretty much, or at least that’s what it felt like to me.

I kept telling her, there was no reason to think my body couldn’t do this.  I had been having chiropractor appointments and I’d been pretty good about watching my blood glucose after being diagnosed with gestational diabetes, so I was fairy sure this baby was going to be smaller than Ezra (who was 11 lbs 3 oz for those who forgot).  I told her my plan was to labor at home for as long as I could and then I’d head in.  I didn’t want to be put on anyone’s timetable and have them tell me, “You haven’t progressed quickly enough, we need to get him out.”  She told me that she was a patient provider and as long as everything looked good I could labor as long as I wanted at the hospital, but also to warn me that if I went into labor on the weekend that she wouldn’t be the one to deliver and not all doctors would allow a VBAC.  There was that word again, “allow”.  I hate that word.  I told her I’d think it over.

In the meantime if I didn’t go into labor over the weekend, she wanted me to come in the following Monday and we’d induce by breaking my water.  I told her I could probably be ok with that, and I had her strip my membranes before I left in the hopes it would stimulate labor.

I cried a little after she left the room because I felt like a failure.  I didn’t want to induce labor artificially and I didn’t feel like she had my back and I felt like I was losing control.  I came home and had a little cry again before I told Jesse what the options were.  I had heard that after stripping membranes that labor could start within a couple hours, but that didn’t happen.

The next morning around 6:30am I woke up to pee again and was kind of crampy but didn’t think much of it.  After a little while, though, it became clear that these were contractions!  I got up Jesse to get him moving and it quickly came to the point where I was having to really breath through the contractions.  Jesse moved at a snail’s pace getting himself ready and also Ezra, it was really irritating.  Especially when he said, “I thought you wanted to labor at home for a long time.”  You just don’t say that to a painfully contracting pregnant woman, you know?

Eventually we were all ready and dropped off Ezra at Velvet’s house.  We got to the Riverton hospital and got checked into triage where they found I was at 5cm.  Triage was painful in that I had to lay down to get checked and laying down was awful.  Probably in fairly short order I was moved to a labor room, but it felt like forever.

This whole time I had planned on not getting an epidural again because I thought that maybe that’s why I couldn’t push out Ezra before, but when the nurse came in and asked if I wanted the epi, I very quickly told her I wanted it.  The anesthesiologist worked fast and I liked that the dose she gave me still allowed me to move my legs around quite a bit.  The epi took the edge off, but I was still in control.  They told me I could dose myself again later if the original dose started wearing off and I did end up pushing it again around the time they broke my water because I knew that the pain would be worse at that point.

I met the on-call OB when he came in to break my water.  He seemed pretty chill and I liked his bedside manner, cracking vagina jokes.  He was pretty funny and when I told him I was going for a VBAC he seemed very supportive of that.  I really liked that he didn’t try to pressure me into a C-section and appeared confident that I could birth this baby on my own.

Velvet wanted to come see the birth and I was supposed to call her when I got to 8cm.  She had taken all the kids to see a movie but said she’d leave early if needed.  After I got to the labor room I was checked again and had progressed to 6cm, and about an hour after the epidural I was checked and was at 9cm!  I texted Velvet to let her know (the movie had been on for less than 15 minutes at that point) and she was able to get a friend to come to the movie to stay with the kids.

After Velvet got there the nurses said it was time to start trying to push to see if we could get Leo to come down the canal.  I had been wanting to push on all fours because I’d read that was the best position for birth, especially to try and avoid shoulder dystocia because it allowed the pelvis to open up the widest, but at this time I was fine with pushing on my back, and the epi made it kind of necessary to push in that position anyway.

For the longest time it didn’t seem like anything was happening, but the nurse assured me I was doing everything correctly and that the baby was moving down like he was supposed to.  I didn’t keep track of the time, but I’d say it was probably about 30 minutes of pushing and they told me to stop because his head was crowning and now we had to wait for the doctor!

I waited a good 15-30 minutes for the doctor to show up and once he did he had me push a few times and then the head was out!  He told me to keep pushing and in the next push the body was out, too!  The birth itself was awesomely easy.

Leopold William Whitaker was born a little after 2pm on May 16th, 2015.  He was 11 lbs 14 oz, 23 inches long!  All that work to have a smaller baby, and he was 11 oz larger than Ezra.  From beginning labor to birth it was about seven or eight hours.

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They put the baby on my chest and I told them I wanted to wait to delay cord clamping until the cord stopped pulsing (there are a lot of articles out there now showing why it’s a good idea to delay cord clamping).  While we were waiting on the cord, the nurses were working to dry off the baby and get him crying.  His little cry was so pitiful and adorable!  I just couldn’t believe when it came down to it how effortless it was!  Thank heavens for the epidural!

After Jesse cut the cord, the nurse took Leo over to the baby table to weigh and measure him and the doctor took stock of me.  I had a second-degree tear which I thought was not too bad all things considered.  I had heard that when delivering the placenta it should not be tugged on because it could cause pieces to break off in the uterus and that causes hemmoraging, but the doc was tugging on it and I figured he knew what he was doing, but the placenta did in fact tear.  Apparently he was able to get it all out, though.  The doctor stitched me up and then left me in the hands of the nurses to massage the belly to make sure I stopped bleeding and stopped passing clots.

Unfortunately, I kept passing clots, and large ones at that.  Eventually a really large piece came out and the nurse thought it looked like a piece of placenta so she called in another nurse to check it out.  I was getting a little tired at this point and had lost a good amount of blood, maybe two liters by then.  The doctor was called back in and it was decided they would do a D&C and scrape out the uterus to make sure no lingering parts of placenta were still in there.

The anesthesiologist was called back in to re-dose the epidural line and she gave me two doses.  I was worried because the last time I had a baby I ended up in surgery as well and I didn’t want all my hard work to be for nothing.  Getting wheeled into an OR is very scary.  Having to move from one table to another without being able to feel your lower body is scary.  Having your arms strapped down is frightening.

At that point it was supposed to be about a 20-minute procedure.  My body felt completely dead from the chest down.  That freaked me out as well, how far up the epi affected my body.  They strapped my legs to these harnesses and it was like I was literally in an L shape with my legs dangling dead weight in the air.  It was so weird to see my legs up there but not be able to feel them.  They put a drape up so I couldn’t see anything and I just kind of drifted in and out.  I’m not sure how much blood I’d lost that point, but I do know they were worried they weren’t able to find the source of bleeding and they kept pushing saline fluid bags on me.

They finally found there was a cut deep in my vagina and worked to close it up.  The doctor said it might have been from a toenail or fingernail cut while I pushing out Leo.  I found out later that it was such a cut in such a place that when the doctor tried stitching it up it kept coming undone.  After I was all stitched up, they moved me back over to my original table/bed, and I guess that’s when my heart stopped beating.

Part two coming at some point…

37 weeks and counting

I am now officially 37 weeks, 1 day pregnant.  I’m so close to the end goal and while I’m really hoping I hold out until my official due date (May 10th), this baby is feeling quite cramped and I’m a bit worried he’s going to be huge.  At this stage I am less worried about a uterine rupture and dying (which is what I worried about earlier in pregnancy) than I am about being able to labor unmedicated.

I used to think people who birthed with no meds were crazy.  Why not take advantage of science when it allows you to birth virtually pain free?  *Those* people were crazy hippies who just wanted to flout their ability to withstand pain and rub it into the rest of our faces.  But now after having read up about how one intervention leads to another and it can snowball until you end up with a c-section (witness Ezra’s birth), and the fact that doctors try to use as little interventions as possible in a VBAC candidate, I’m left looking at an all-natural birth.

I don’t typically handle pain well.  Being uncomfortable, sure, I can deal with that, but flat-out pain, not so much.  I’m trying to tell myself that because I won’t have pitocin this time (which severely increases contraction length and strength) and no manual breaking of water, it should be a more mellow labor process than last time.  Even just typing this is making my heart beat a little faster.  It’s freaking me out!  So maybe I just won’t think about it now.  Maybe I’ll put off thinking about it until I’m actually in labor?  Yeah, that sounds like a solid plan.

I do need to get my hospital bag put together.  Some stuff for me, some stuff for Leo.  Even Jesse has asked me when I plan on getting that together.  Maybe I’ll get to it this weekend.

We had the dog behaviorist trainer come over and she liked the stuff we’ve been working on so far and had some other ideas for training on resource guarding.  We also worked a bit on the issue of the dogs chasing the cats.  Her steps made sense, but we not going to be able to implement them at all because it all revolves around the dogs basically never having access to chase the cats, and short of keeping the dogs crated at all times there is no way to prevent that.  We’re not going to close the dog door, and we’re not going to keep the cats inside with a litter pan.  She did acknowledge that we have to pick our battles, and that’s just one I’m not going to choose to do.  She also recommended getting a flirt pole to exercise the dogs.  I thought walking/running was the best way to exercise, but apparently something in which they are physically *and* mentally stimulated is the best.  I don’t know if I’ll have Jesse make one or if I’ll just buy one.

I’ve just been reading up on articles that say you should never get littermates because it can lead to something called littermate syndrome in which the dogs bond to each other instead of humans.  It makes a lot of sense, but then I also see articles that are refuting this theory.  I still go around in circles on keeping Luca but I think we’ll keep him.  He does exhibit some of the symptoms to a certain extent, like how he always needed to be near Benny and would freak out when separated, but lately he’s been calming down on those traits.  Who knows.

We were going to have a lady come out to clean our house once a month, but when I called to actually set up a time and set a schedule, she let me know that she had to take over her niece’s clients and was no longer accepting new houses.  I asked Velvet if she wanted the job and she said yes:)  It might be weird that my sister is cleaning my kitchen and bathrooms, but seriously I don’t care.  If she’s willing to do a good job for the money I’m willing to pay, I will pay that money.  I HATE cleaning bathrooms.  And now we can have clean bathrooms again, woohoo!

Shit just got real, yo

The Ezra train of destruction rolls on.  On the plus side, I was finally able to locate Ezra’s baby clothes (they WERE in that tub in Ezra’s closet).  Ezra was helping me sort through them but after awhile got bored.  He likes to close the door to his room when I’m in there so I can’t see what he’s about to get into.  I kept sorting through clothes until I got worried enough to go see what he was doing.  I should have checked sooner.

We keep our eggs in the cartons on the kitchen island so they are easy to access.  Ezra thought so, too, because he had thrown all the eggs on the floor for the dogs to eat.  I would hazard that there were 14 or more broken eggs on the floor.  Can’t be sure because I don’t know how many the dogs ended up eating.  Mommy was MAD!  Ezra had an extra-long time out that day.

The next morning, Jess and I were in bed and Ezra went upstairs for about 5-10 minutes but he was laughing way too hard for someone who didn’t have access to a computer or tablet (they were in time out from the prior day’s egg throwing). I got up and the dogs came downstairs with what looked like vomit on them, but also kind of smelled like vanilla. Ezra had squirted grainy mustard on them and then rubbed them down with a sample size of the vanilla lotion. I think I traumatized Luca with the bath as he’d never had one before.  (Note to self, work on bath manners with the dogs.)

Then I was getting out of the shower to hear Jesse yelling at Ezra. Ez had grabbed a full treat bag off the counter and flung it all over the kitchen floor. The dogs were ecstatic. I think we had more than four time outs that day.

The next day Ezra went out to get eggs from the coop and didn’t come back inside with them.  I went to check on him and he had smashed them into his sandbox (which was also filled with water) and the dogs were snapping the remains out of the water.  Another time out.

The day after that I went outside because I had spotted Ezra with an egg in his hand coming back from the coop area.  He looked very guilty and when I asked if there had been any other eggs he copped to smashing them in his sandbox again.  I gave him another stern talking to and he said, “I won’t ever do that again,” and I said, “I find that hard to believe because that’s what you told me after you smashed eggs yesterday!”  Then later on that day he brought in two more eggs, though he had rinsed them in his sandbox water first.  So either we need to be super diligent about what he does when he’s outside, or we need to put a lock on the coop door so he cannot get into it.

Some people are saying that Ezra is acting out because there is a new baby on the way, but really I don’t think he registers much along those lines.  I think, and Velvet agrees, that it’s just because he’s three.  I don’t know why they call it the Terrible Twos.  He is much more inclined to mischief and pushing boundaries now than when he was two.  I don’t think he’ll get too jealous of the baby until it’s here and taking up our time.

Along the baby front news, my stomach was moving around the other day and I asked Ezra if he wanted to feel the baby move and he agreed.  He put his hand on my belly and quickly took it off again.  I said, “You have to leave it there for a minute,” and put his hand back on my belly.  Pretty soon Leo was rolling around and Ezra exclaims, “That’s magical!”  It was way cute.

I had an ultrasound a couple days ago and Leo is measuring over 7lbs.  His femur is measuring at 40 weeks, and head and belly at 38 and 37 weeks I think it was.  So far, so good.  He’s just going to be another big kid.  I’m not focusing too much on his purported weight right now as I know that late-term ultrasounds are something like 60% accurate.

I have been reading up more on shoulder dystocia and talked to my OB about it and she sounds super confident about handling SD so if it comes to it she has steps in place on how to manage it.  Apparently at her other practice they had 1-2 SDs a week so she’s had her fair share of working with it.  Not sure why she didn’t mention this a couple weeks ago when she was freaking me out with worse-case scenarios.

I worked a little on training the dogs with regard to Sit, but am not counting it toward the 1,000 Treat Challenge since it wasn’t the skill I’m wanting to work on.  However, I did find they both need major work on Sit.  Both of them will Sit and then almost immediately go into a Down position instead of staying in Sit.  I have some good ideas from my training forum on how to combat that.

I also spent time sewing the freaking dog bed again.  They love that bed so I don’t know why they insist on chewing holes into it and pulling out stuffing!  This time around I actually took out the pillow and sewed that first, then sewed up the cover.  It pretty much took the entire length of the Labyrinth movie to do.  There was a small hole on the fabric side of the bed but decided to let it go because I was too tired to mess with it any longer.  Yeah.  Hindsight is a bitch.  This morning I came upstairs and there was a small amount of fluff on the floor.  Looks like they chewed through the pillow in that area!  Jesse says to just let it go and if they don’t have any stuffing then we’ll throw out their bed and that will be their punishment, but I don’t think dogs think in consequences like that.  So now I have to do more sewing.  I hate to sew.

We represent the lollipop kids...  Ezra, after dunking his head in his sandbox.

We represent the lollipop kids… Ezra, after dunking his head in his sandbox.

Treats in the hizzy

Hizzy is outdated slang for “house”, Dad.

With trying to keep my blood sugars low, I’ve been looking for treats to satisfy my sweet tooth that won’t send my sugars skyrocketing upward.  The first thing I tried were these toasted coconut butter treats.  They sounded like they would hit the spot so I attempted to make them.  I didn’t have stevia, so I used a little blob of honey in the mix.  I should definitely have used more.  And I think maybe I toasted the coconut a wee bit too much.  Sad to say, I found these very gross, but Ezra seems to like them.  They turned out kind of grainy and no hint of sweetness.

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I remembered there were these coconut oil treats that I’d always wanted to try, but I couldn’t find the blogs for the recipes when I was at home, so I found a different recipe: 1C. coconut oil, 1 C. cocoa powder, and 1/2 C. raw (unprocessed) honey.  You melt the oil and cocoa powder slowly in a double boiler and then add the raw honey.  You want to make sure the oil/cocoa mix is under 180 when you put in the honey because you don’t want to kill the beneficial properties of the honey.  Honey and oil typically don’t mix, so you’ll want to use an immersion stick blender to mix it all together.  I ended up adding a little vanilla as well, and then poured into the molds.

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These things are awesome!  Super rich, melt in your mouth (and Ezra’s hands and face), and satisfy that sweet craving.  I think it ended up making about 45 treats, so I’m not too worried about the amount of honey used.  I used silicon ice cube trays from Ikea, they worked really well.  I’m still going to try and find the recipes for those other coconut oil treats, but these are very tasty.

Speaking of very tasty, Jesse has gotten really good at smoking cornish game hens in our smoker, and yesterday he did a regular chicken; it was awesome!  I wish I had gotten a photo of the whole bird after it came out, but this will have to suffice:

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The skin was crisp, the flesh was super juicy and tender, and I made stellar asparagus to go with it.  Per pound, chicken is cheaper than cornish game hens, so we’ll probably go this direction again in the future.

Sunday was also my first night of taking Glyburide, a diabetes medication.  My OB thought my fasting numbers and dinner numbers were too high, so she wants me to take this pill before dinner.  It’s supposed to help the body absorb the insulin available (which will lower blood sugar) as well as lessen the ability of the liver to release glucose.  I will say it gave me great numbers for after dinner, but I felt like crap.  I don’t know if it was a one-off thing or if there were other issues at play, but I did NOT feel well.  I’ll see how it goes tonight.  My morning fasting numbers were better as well, though still not where they should be.  Apparently fasting numbers have to do with hormones, and the placenta is making my hormones all crazy, so I cannot really control that aspect with diet for now.

I’ve gotten in touch with a dog behaviorist; we’re just waiting to set up a time for her to come over.  Fingers crossed she gives us solid information that we will actually be able to implement.