Google+ The Duda Homestead: September 2013

Monday, September 30, 2013

Saving, Earning, Re-using, & Giving With

When my husband and I were in graduate school getting our teaching certificates, we were on a budget and searched for the most cost effective way to get the textbooks that were required for our classes. We researched and compared every book we needed across a handful of websites. Then, we came across and compared their rental prices with other popular textbook retailers & renters. The vast majority of the time, it was much cheaper to rent through than it was to purchase the book compared to what it may be sold for later (those darn revisions...grr).

Image created by April Duda w/permission
  I was in a cohort taking 8-16 week classes and was able to adjust how long I needed the book, which made it even cheaper since I didn't need it an entire semester. While they offer paid shipping options, say if you need your book tomorrow, they offer FREE standard shipping, both ways. They send you a postage-paid and addressed envelope so you can conveniently return your book at no extra cost to you. Since we have used them, they have made some fantastic developments!

For one, they make a donation to Operation Smile for every book rented. So not only are you saving money and helping out the planet by reusing books, you are helping out children in need of life-saving surgery. Operation Smile is "a mobilized force of medical professionals and caring hearts who provide safe, effective reconstructive surgery and related medical care for children born with facial deformities such as cleft lip and cleft palate." To find out more about this amazing organization, please click the links above, or go to

Another development has made is a program called RentBack. Rather than selling your books back at the end of your class, and getting depressed when you take that big hit, you can use to rent your books out to other students. You stand a chance to make 2-4 times more dough than you would by selling it! You can check out their site and see if your book is a hot renter or not to help you decide if you'd be better off renting or selling...or propping up that crooked table. Unfortunately, my Art History books from 2006 are not considered hot renters. Shucks. To find out what is all about, check out their video here, or take a gander at the infographic below (Click to enlarge):

You may be asking why I'd choose to blog about a textbook rental service. There are a few reasons actually. One, I've used their service and had a great experience with it. When I began this blog, my goal was to help make my readers' lives more simple by sharing what has helped me, and helped my family save money when we were living in a 220sq ft apartment and racking up student loan debt. Another goal of mine, is to share tips for green living and its importance with my readers, and I feel that this service promotes that lifestyle by reusing textbooks. I also believe in being kind to one another and supporting organizations and initiatives that make a positive impact on the world, like Operation Smile. I would have rented my books from them anyway based on cost alone, but to know that they turn around and make a donation for every rental is the icing on the cake. 

To sum up all of the awesome things has to offer:
  • Save 40-90% off of bookstore prices
  • Free shipping both ways
  • Can highlight in the textbooks
  • Flexible renting periods
  • Donation to Operation Smile with each textbook rented
  • If you change your mind and/or drop your class, you have 21 days to return your rental for a full refund
  • If you decide to keep your book, you just pay them the difference and it's yours
  • Fantastic customer service (in my experience!)
  • 15 Day grace period for returns
  • Their envelops are bright colored, so they're not as easy to lose!
  • Sale! Use code FallSale70 for $8 off any order over $70 (limited time)
  • Went and bought that expensive Art History text? Check out

I was compensated by for this post. Please view my disclaimer for more information on how this does not effect my personal opinion.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Heather's Story - Mesothelioma Awareness Day

Today, September 26th, is Mesothelioma Awareness Day. We all see the commercials from law firms telling us, "If you developed Mesothelioma after exposure to asbestos, you may be entitled to a settlement." But do we really think about it beyond that? Does a commercial like that ever make you stop and think about those victims? Does it make you think about your own home and work environment? I kind of doubt it...we see commercials like that for just about everything these days. But when I was contacted by Heather Von St. James asking me to help her promote her story for Mesothelioma Awareness Day, it was something I couldn't get out of my mind.

 We have an older home, and we know the walls don't contain asbestos, nor does the insulation. The floors that had asbestos tile have since been covered, either by ceramic tile or a barrier and hardwood floors. (See? This stuff is everywhere!) But, there is one small attic space we don't access that is questionable. And especially with our new little E in the house, Heather and her story reminded me to have that checked out, and hopefully this will remind you, too! Unforunately, it isn't only found in old homes...Asbestos is still not banned in the US. Roughly 30 million pounds are still used each year! Uhg.

Heather is a Mesothelioma SURVIVOR who is working to spread awareness, as well as share her hope and optimism to inspire those who have been diagnosed. She is a mother who fought hard to make sure her daughter, Lily, didn't have to grow up without her. She was diagnosed just 3 months after her little girl was born and given 15 months to live. That's 7,200 hours. Now, Heather has set a goal for her story to get 7,200 social shares. Please take a moment to donate your status for Heather and Mesothelioma Awareness Day!

For more information and to read Heather's story, please visit and don't forget to share!

You can view and share her video:

Send a Tweet by clicking HERE -and/or- Share in your Facebook status HERE

You can also follow Heather on:
Facebook - Twitter - Google+ 

Thank you, Heather, for sharing your inspiring story with all of us <3 

Are you blogging about Mesothelioma Awareness Day? Please add your link below so we can all share & spread awareness!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Sweet & Spicy Bacon-Wrapped Jalepenos

My husband teaches at a school that actually has quite a few male teachers. Every now and then, they have a "guy fire" in our back yard to relax at the end of the week, and I take it as a time to use them as my taste testers. Typically, the munchies I make include jalapeños because the hubz loves anything spicy (and rarely does he actually think things are hot...he's a little crazy in the taste buds). I'd seen pictures of bacon wrapped jalapeños floating around Pinterest and decided to throw my own version together. I'm a fan of contrast. In art, fashion, and food. I like hot food with a cold sauce, sweet with savoury, and while I'm a wuss with heat, LOVE sweet & spicy. It's a party in your mouth. And what meat-eater doesn't love bacon?

I always suggest using homegrown or as natural/organic as possible ingredients. So if you can, start with organic jalapeños. Cut in half lengthwise and gut the suckers. I highly recommend wearing gloves, especially if you have a baby that may need you at any given moment. Or if you have a hang nail. Ouch.

Mix 1/4C of cheddar cheese with 8oz of cream cheese (softened). I threw in some celery seed here, but if you don't have onion/garlic issues like we do, feel free to add some garlic powder here.

Then, using a spoon, stuff the jalapeño slices. You don't want it spilling over, but feel free to stuff them to the top!

Then, wrap with nitrate/nitrite free bacon. You may cut the bacon in half, or use whole pieces. Half a slice of bacon fits nicely around one average sized jalapeño, but more bacon never hurt.

Here comes the sweet! Top with your BBQ sauce of choice (I prefer honey) and sprinkle with brown sugar.

 I cooked them in our toaster oven (we don't have A/C and I like to avoid unnecessarily heating up the kitchen). Next time, I will use a broiler pan so the bacon grease drains and the bacon gets all around crispy! In the toaster oven, at 350, these took about 20 minutes to cook. In a regular oven I'm sure it will take more like 30 minutes. Just keep an eye on it and cook until the bacon is to your liking.

One fire attendee said, "Duda if you weren't already married, I'd say these are marriage material." I'll take it!


  • 10 Organic jalapeños (makes 20)
  • 1 package Nitrite/Nitrate free bacon (10-20 in a package, make sure to get enough or you can cut some in half)
  • 8oz Cream cheese
  • 1/4C Cheddar cheese (shredded)
  • 1T Celery seed OR garlic powder
  • Honey BBQ Sauce
  • Brown Sugar
  1. Cut jalapeños in half, lengthwise and remove pith and seeds (or keep some seeds if you like it hot)
  2. Mix softened cream cheese with cheddar and celery seed/garlic powder
  3. Stuff peppers
  4. Wrap with bacon (cut in half or full length, up to you!)
  5. Top with BBQ sauce & baste
  6. Sprinkle with brown sugar (don't be shy!)
  7. Bake for 15-25 minutes, depending your oven and bacon crispiness preference.    

Monday, September 16, 2013

My Birth Story: Part 2 - The Birth!

In case you missed it, check back to Part 1 to read about how we assembled our birth team. I can't stress how important it is to be surrounded by people you trust when natural birth is your goal. Our doula wrote us a wonderful birth story detailing times and events, but that is going to stay in our private album. This is my story as I recall it:

Our Doula brought me a rose at the beginning of labor, which was in full bloom by the birth!
 When I was past 41 weeks, I looked back at the calendar and my trusty iPeriod app and thought that maybe my due date was actually a week off. I planned to bring this up with my midwives at the next appointment when I knew they may begin talking induction. They "let" you go to 42 weeks as long as everything looks good and baby is healthy, but I was getting close to that cut off date. And as long as baby was doing well, I wanted to let things begin on their own if I could help it. At our next appointment, the midwife I was seeing that day actually brought up the possibility of my due date being off before I mentioned anything. This was a big relief! Because I have a 35 day cycle instead of the usual 28, she said it could throw off the due date by standard calculations. My babies will probably just need to hang out a little longer :)

So we had to drive out to the midwife office (about an hour away) for NST's a few times. At 41 weeks and 5 days, I had a scheduled appointment for an NST that evening. That morning, I was chatting with our doula, Donna, and letting her know I felt something now and then, but nothing strong or regular. I told her I was going to go to some grocery shopping to stock up before baby arrived. When I was getting back in my car after shopping, I thought I felt something and then a little "trickle"...omg! Did my water just break?! So I called Donna back and told her. She said I should call the midwives and let them know and that they could check to see if it was amniotic fluid when I went in for my appointment.

Now, water breaking may be an exciting sign, but I was also a bit nervous. Unlike Hollywood would like us to believe, your water isn't meant to break until the baby is on its way out or even after. Water breaking before real contractions begin is called PROM, or premature rupture of the membranes. Most OB/GYN's will want you to come in right away for monitoring and probably induce you because baby has to be delivered now! Unless you have signs of infection...not true. My midwife told me she would check when I came in later that day, no rush. Just in case, we took our bags with us. When I went in, she checked my fluid and while there was something "leaking," it wasn't amniotic fluid. So onto the NST I went. It picked up some regular contractions (about 5min apart) but they were fairly weak. I would describe them as a light menstrual cramp, sometimes I hardly felt anything at all.

This is where things blend together...these may have been separate NST's but to shorten a long story a bit, this is how I'll tell it. The midwife wasn't loving the lack of variations in the last NST I took, so she wanted me to stay on it a bit longer and we had to go to the hospital because the midwife office was closing. So over to the hospital we went and I was hooked up to the monitor there (when the baby moves and it doesn't pick up the heart beat anymore is SCARY when they don't tell you that could happen, btw!). Our midwife came in later because I was having more regular and somewhat more painful contractions, so this seemed like the real deal. She checked me and I was only about 50% effaced but at 4cm and she said she would consider me to be in early labor! She wanted us to stay in the area for the night, so we went to Nick's cousin's house nearby and stayed in their guest room (while I was sleeping on a waterproof sheet from the hospital so I didn't ruin their mattress if my water really broke - You're welcome :-P).

I felt contractions through the night, but again nothing strong and I was able to get lots of sleep. The next day, we took a LONG walk around their town to see if it would keep things going since the contractions seemed to have stopped. I went in for another NST that afternoon and everything looked fine, but no news as far as contractions went. So we went home later that day (41 weeks, 6 days). I felt contractions again that evening, but far apart and not very strong. So we watched a movie and then went to bed. I woke up a few times throughout the night from contractions but got a good amount of rest.

At 5am, I decided I was awake and needed to get up. I got myself some breakfast, I believe yogurt and cereal, and sat on my exercise ball watching TV. Contractions were much stronger but still no big deal pain-wise. There would be a giant full moon that night, and I'd joked for weeks that that's what my body was waiting for. Then, the next contraction started and I felt a pop and the beginning of a gush. I waddled quickly to the bathroom (walking by the bedroom door and telling Nick my water broke). Luckily I was wearing a pad and made it to the clean up all over the house! I did notice though, that the fluid was quite brown and knew that meant meconium was in it. For some reason this was one thing I had not read up on so I was worried. I called our doula and told her and she did her best to reassure me that it may not be meconium (I even texted her a picture...hopefully she deleted that by now). She didn't want me to panic so she sweetly stayed optimistic and said it didn't look dark enough, but to call the midwife and let them know.

Nick called the midwife office for me and because they knew I was already at 4cm (you have to be 4cm to be admitted), it was my choice if I wanted to labor more at home or come in right away. Because of the chance of meconium and being an hour away, I decided I wanted to get in now. Nick was getting our bags in the car (again) and I had the first doozy since my water broke. The amniotic sac cushions the baby's head a bit as it is pushing on your cervix, causing dilation. Without that cushion, it can get more painful (and also cause uneven effacement...yay! Although I also hear your water breaking later in labor is a huge relief of pressure). And the water kept on coming. It felt like I was constantly peeing my pants. Not fun. During that first contraction, I was kneeling on the bench at our dining room table and Nick came back in and I scared the $%#@ out of him, saying, "I don't know if I can do this." He squeezed my hips to help with the pain (hip squeezes are the BEST!) and reassured me that I could do this.

I'm SO glad we decided to get to the hospital earlier because the contractions in the car weren't bad at all...this was the one thing I was worried about being so far away. (Normally, if you want a natural birth at a hospital, it is suggested that you labor as long as possible at home. This helps prevent doctors from getting impatient. "Oh it's too late to give me an epidural? oopsy!"). When we got to the hospital, we went and checked in and got put into a triage room. Since I wasn't in "active labor" yet and contractions weren't horribly painful, the triage room was fine with me. If I had been further along, it would have sucked because they are tiny and there isn't much room for movement. Contractions were getting more painful, and our doula walked in the room, bringing with her a huge wave of relief. My husband is awesome, but we both loved having someone so experienced with a familiar face there.

I can't recall exactly what happened between the triage and labor & delivery rooms. It was in my "plan" to go to the ABC (Alternative Birthing Center) but I believe because I wasn't in active labor yet, we went to a regular L&D room. Shorty after, my mom arrived and it was a comfort just to have her in the room. I didn't feel a lot of pressure from our midwife, but did know that she wanted me to deliver within the 18 hour window before we risked the baby aspirating meconium. Our midwife exhausted natural options to move labor along. She had me on a breast pump. After that didn't seem to be working, she had my doula run to Whole Foods to pick up black & blue cohosh (and lunch for my hubby). While she was gone, I got in the shower and the heat was wonderful relief. I was doing squats in the shower to try to help move baby down. When our doula got back, I took cohosh every 15 minutes or so, and I do think contractions started picking up but they still weren't very close together. So here is where my totally "unmedicated" birth ended. I was put on an IV with a drip of Pitocin. It was something I agreed to with some resistance because I was worried about the baby (for good reason).

It can't be proven, because every birth experience is so different, but supposedly Pitocin makes contractions much more painful, and many times lead to an epidural and further intervention. I'm very happy and proud to say this was not the case with me. I can't cite it, but I have read that only 2% of women who are put on Pitocin end up delivering without an epidural. It makes me feel like a rock star, so let's go with it.

My husband and doula were wonderful in helping me work through the contractions which were growing stronger and closer together. Hip squeezes were my favorite and I stayed wrapped in a blanket because I was so cold, and I think it helped make me feel safe. It was my cocoon. Time blended together and I ignored the clock most of the time (which is a very good idea ladies!). I spent a lot of time on an egg shaped birth ball. At one point, which I remember clearly, I was on a birthing stool (like a toilet seat) rocking through each contraction, putting pressure on my tail bone. (That pressure was awesome during contractions but my tail bone was SORE for a few days after the birth). I was falling asleep in between the peaks of what was apparently 30 minutes of back-to-back contractions while my Pitocin was adjusted. I can't really tell you what I thought about or did, but I just rocked and that rhythm and pressure helped me relax.

At some point while I was on the birth ball, eyes closed working through contractions, my husband quietly told me that our midwife was knitting behind me. This scene still brings a tear to my eye. Lights dim, faux candle flickering. I open my eyes and see my husband in front of me and our doula next to me. I turn my head to look at our midwife and see her knitting while my mom is behind her crocheting an afghan for my closest cousin's wedding gift. This is one of my clearest memories and an image I will never forget. I remember thinking, "This is how it should be."

I believe it was after this that we found the coping mechanism I'd use the rest of the labor. Low "ooo"s through contractions. Not yelling or screaming, but low controlled moans. I am a rather reserved person and this was the last thing I thought I'd do. My husband and doula both helped me find the right "voice" some time after I got out of that 30 minute trance. My midwife suggested changing positions so I got up and moved around. At some point I ended up on the bed. She checked my progress and said I was 10cm, but that there was a cervical lip, and she wanted to see if she could get baby's head past the lip. So she asked me to push while she did this. WORST. PAIN. EVER. It was definitely the most uncomfortable part of the entire thing. But like everything else, this too shall pass, and I literally pushed through it.

I was asked to begin pushing before I really had the urge, but again we were starting to get on a bit of a time constraint (that darn meconium!). So I pushed. I couldn't tell if I was accomplishing anything, but my midwife at least made me think that I was. Time went by and baby moved down. My midwife tactfully threatened needing to call the OB for a vacuum extraction just as I was losing steam. I got a second wind and pushed, which by now I definitely had the natural urge to do and it was SUCH a relief to be able to be doing something through each contraction. I got in 3 good pushes through most of them.

Now baby was close, but I needed to get his head past my pelvic bone. I keep pushing and again there was a point where things were a bit stuck and my midwife said if the baby weren't born soon, that she may just have to cut an episiotomy and "get this baby out." The midwife practice only had a 2% episiotomy rate and other than a C-section, this was something I was pretty afraid of. It was the one thing about birth that would get me light headed during my pregnancy. So I pushed and our wonderful doula basically taught me how to push baby out. Our midwife was great about applying oil and pressure to help me not tear (as much). She, my husband, doula, and nurse were all great cheerleaders as baby crowned.

At some point near delivery, baby's heart rate dipped and I was put on Oxygen. I was kind of in my own little world then and I knew I was on it but no one let me know why. Which was a good thing, and baby's heart rate went right back up, but my poor hubby was terrified all on his own in that moment. Then, with my husband holding one leg, and our doula holding the other (both taking turns with the nurse I believe) and after about 2.5 hours of pushing, I pushed and out came baby's head! One more push and out came baby's body! I didn't feel the anticipated "ring of fire." I felt some pain but it wasn't bad at all compared to the contractions I'd been enduring. In fact, the first thing I said after the birth was, "That wasn't as bad as I thought it'd be."

Now this is something that still bothers me, but it is in the past and we have a beautiful healthy baby: Because of the meconium, 18 hours is said to be the amount of time that baby should be delivered in. From what I'm told, I was in the hospital for about 17 hours until delivery and my water had broken almost 2 hours before that. So we cut it close. Instead of letting the cord stop pulsing, it had to be cut right away and baby was taken to the warmer (next to me) to be suctioned. That hospital apparently didn't have the portable warmers that could have allowed the cord to stay in tact. I am happy with the birth and truly believe that I would have ended up fighting a C-section anywhere else, but I feel a bit robbed that I didn't get that moment of baby on my chest right after birth. I am extremely grateful, however, that I did get that moment shortly afterwards, and baby never needed to go to the NICU (which is common with babies born with meconium in the water).

While baby was being suctioned and checked (we declined the eye drops but did get the vitamin K shot because I pushed for so long), our doula leaned over and asked us, "What were you expecting again?" And I said,"A girl..." and the room filled with laughs as we were told "It's a boy!" Yup, the ultrasound tech was wrong! But I honestly was not that surprised. I had a feeling. With all of the girly newborn hats we had, something made me bring a plain green one, too. And up until that ultrasound, I could have sworn we were having a boy. Luckily, we had decided on a boy's name. I just felt it. But that's for another post...

My mom came by the bed and everyone praised how amazing I was. (Soak it in ladies, you are amazing!) Our little man scored an APGAR of 6 and then 9 while I delivered the placenta, and I was finally able to hold my little 7lb 6oz son. I say finally, but it was probably 5 minutes. It felt like forever! He seemed so small and so fragile. The L&D room was quite large, but in that moment my entire world was in that bed, alternating stares at my baby and husband. I just stared at my baby while I ignored being stitched up (2nd degree tearing) and my husband and I welcomed our little E into the world. So much love in that room. 

*Photos by Donna Rigert*

Posts to come in Pregnancy & Birth: The Best & Worst of Labor & Delivery, Post-partum & recovery tips, Fourth Trimester Reflection, It's A...BOY!?

Monday, September 9, 2013

My Birth Story: Part 1 - Assembling the Team

Our little man is just over 3 months old now and I finally feel ready to sit down and write our birth story. My birth plan kind of went out the window and I needed time to reflect and take it all in. There were a couple of things I needed to accept in the midst of all of the joy, pride, and love. Part 1 of my story goes over how we came to assemble our "team," which is very important if you want a natural birth. If you or someone you know is getting ready to give birth, particularly if they are on a journey towards a natural, unmedicated birth, I hope you will read and share my story. As much as I read and researched, I think reading others' stories helped and empowered me the most. 

Long before I was pregnant, I knew I wanted to give birth without an epidural or any other "drugs". The reasons for this evolved throughout my pregnancy. Originally, it was because the idea of a giant needle in my spine frightened me more than the idea of pain during labor. I think that was because, deep down, I was never afraid of giving birth. After the initial "holy crap, we're pregnant?!" shock, I looked forward to giving birth. One night, we were browsing Netflix and came across The Business of Being Born. My husband and I both soaked it all in. I couldn't believe what the medical world had done to this natural and amazing act that women have been performing since the beginning of time. But I have to say, I was almost guilty of falling into the medical trap that is today's idea of birth in the US.

A couple of weeks after the positive pregnancy test, I called up my OB/GYN thinking that's what you were supposed to do. The receptionist informed me that I would have to see all 6 doctors in the practice and any one of them could deliver my baby. This made me very uncomfortable so I called another practice. This practice was smaller, with only 2 doctors, both whom were women (I was not ok with the idea of a man delivering our baby. I felt I should be surrounded by women, and my husband, during labor and birth. It's what felt natural to me). I was very comfortable with the one doctor, but not the other. So I decided to just bank on the large chance that my OB would be the one at the birth. Then, we set out to tour the hospital. Once the tour was over and we walked through those exit doors, the tears started falling. I did not feel comfortable there, for a reason I couldn't pin down, but it was a gut feeling. Then, after finding out that hospital has an almost 40% C-section rate, we knew we had to figure something out.

Shortly before that tour, I met with a doula (whom we ended up hiring and LOVE). I told her where we were delivering and she didn't say much about the hospital, but said I was a great candidate for a natural birth and that we'd work out a plan. A couple of months go by, and my OB is out on maternity leave. I met with the nurse practitioner a couple of times, still feeling uneasy. That horrible feeling that you get when you are surrounded by people who think they know better than you do. Of course I didn't go to med school, but when it comes to normal, low-risk pregnancy, I'm telling you I think med school hurts some people more than it helps. Ugh. The day comes where the NP brings up her little check list of things to ask me at the appointment that week. She skims over "birthing classes" saying that with an epidural no one really needs those anymore. I stopped her there and said, "Actually we are planning a natural birth." Her response? And the red flag that caused us to switch practices? "Well, you can always change your mind." And I should add that this woman told me that she didn't have an epidural with her tell me lady, why the &%#$ can you do it, but I can't? Hm? I called my doula, who reminded me it wasn't too late to switch (nearing 31 weeks) so I set out to do my research.

It was then that I discovered the wonderful world of midwifery. Why in the world I hadn't read about midwives attending hospital births is beyond me. I thought they were only for home births, and while it crossed our minds, I just didn't feel that it was for us (and our home was half-way through construction). So now I'm excited and I get a recommendation for a couple of different midwives at nearby hospitals. (BTW, the hospital I would have originally delivered at does not have any attending midwives). Apparently folks were randy in August, because neither hospital could take any new patients due in May. So a little bit of panic sets in as I am getting closer to that 40 week mark. Everyone online, including our doula, recommended a midwife group that's about an hour away (up to 2 in our lovely Chicago traffic). My husband fully supported us checking them out because he is awesome and wanted what would be best for me and our baby. So I emailed the group, and the response from the head midwife was the first sign that I thought I'd like it there. She responded like a human being, not a sheep just worried about covering her own wooly arse. Yay!

So, we go to a consult with her and we both left feeling a huge sense of relief and set up our first appointment with West Suburban Midwives in Oak Park. This is also a "rotating practice" with 4 midwives, but knowing they all shared in our beliefs and only have a 10% c-section rate, made me totally comfortable. We'd be driving a few hours to get there and back every week up until the birth, but it felt worth it and we didn't hesitate to switch at 31 weeks. (I will still say that it was definitely worth it). That night, or maybe the next day, I emailed our doula to let her know we made the switch and she emailed me back telling me she was doing a happy dance and was so excited and relieved that they were able to take me. It was a wonderful feeling to have so much support and like I finally had a "birthing team" like I'd read about. Before switching, I felt like it was Team Duda vs Team Intervention.

We had to drive to an appointment with a CNM (certified nurse midwife) each week because I switched so late and they wanted to get to know me before the birth (and I them). Every appointment felt like chatting with a supportive friend and I never once felt that they were in a rush to move on to the next patient. Sometimes, the wait time could be long (and I only bring this up because I have read it about them in a few reviews), but I am assuming it is because of the wonderful conversation they have with their patients that I would happily trade for that extra wait time now and then. 

The midwives deliver at a hospital with regular labor/delivery rooms as well as what they call the ABC, or Alternative Birthing Center. This tour made us feel even better (and while I do not want to pass judgment, we found it interesting that everyone on this tour was a very healthy weight and highly energetic, while at our original hospital tour, everyone except me and one other woman was dangerously overweight and a few needed wheelchairs at 20 weeks). The ABC rooms are for women who do not want an epidural and are set up more like a hotel room with a large tub for laboring and birthing. (I LOVED the idea of laboring in the water but wasn't set on a water birth, though I wanted to keep my options open and just let things unfold...which unlike some hospitals, was allowed!).

In order to use these rooms, they require that first time moms take a birthing class, like Informed Beginnings or the Bradley Method. We chose an Informed Beginnings class nearby with Natural Birth Geneva. Because we were pretty far along and had done TONS of research up to this point, there were many things that were review, which never hurts. But, it was great to be surrounded by people who shared your beliefs and to have someone to talk with face to face and later classes taught us a LOT, so I do definitely recommend it. This was one of the ways my reasons for wanting natural birth evolved. Learning more and more about what exactly they want to give you and why got our natural birth hopes set in stone. The "cascade of interventions," was scary and I refused to fall into it. And although I did end up needing a little bit of intervention, I stayed strong and with the help of my birth team, did not need or accept more. The more information and affirmation, the better!

I began my maternity leave (and stopped teaching since my leave took me into the summer and I'm now a work-at-home mom) at 37 weeks and our class ended only a few days before my EDD (estimated due date) because our instructor was awesome enough to combine a couple of classes to fit us in. So we had our midwives, doula, hospital, and education. We finally just had Team Let's Do This! At 40 weeks and a few days, we waited patiently while folks around us got antsy. At 41 weeks we had an ultrasound to check my fluid levels and everything looked great. At 41 weeks and 5 days, contractions began...

***Check back or, better yet, subscribe to read Part 2: The Birth! including photos and to find out why it didn't exactly go according to plan.***

This is a subject I am very passionate about and always open to discussing! If you have comments or questions, please feel free to leave them below. Or if you feel more comfortable, you can message me through my facebook page.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

$75 Gift Certificate Giveaway - Baby's Own Room

Welcome to the $75 Gift Card Giveaway from Baby's Own Room!!! Hosted by: Everything Mommyhood Sponsored by: Baby's Own Room
"Thanks to my wonderful co-hosts My Four Littles and Fun With Four as well as the wonderful group of bloggers that are sharing this giveaway with their readers as well!" - Everything Mommyhood

I'm super excited to be sharing this giveaway will all of my readers! I'm very grateful for the following I have gained over the past month and hope I can bring you more posts and giveaways that will be helpful to you & your family :)

Baby's Own Room is an online retailer that sells super cute, stylish, modern, and classic bedding and room decor. They sell many different brand bedding sets such as Sweet Jojo Designs, Cotton Tale Designs, and Whistle and Wink. Their customer service is exceptional with no hassle returns.
Check out Everything Mommyhood's Sweet Jojo Designs Happy Pink Owl Bedding Set Review for a toddler bed as well as a twin bed!

Baby's Own Room has a variety of Kids and Teen Bedding for boys and girls.

They also have Baby Bedding for boys, girls, and gender neutral sets, as well as Toddler Bedding.  
They even sell Room Accessories, Crib Conversion Kits, and Cribs! Baby's Own Room is your one stop shop for everything kids. The best part is, all of their prices are affordable and they offer FREE SHIPPING on ALL orders, NO MINIMUMS!!!

Now for the giveaway!!! One lucky reader will win a $75 Gift Card to Baby's Own Room! US Residents, 18 and up only! All winning entries will be verified. Winner will be picked randomly via the Giveaway Tools entry form, and will be emailed. They will have 48 hours to claim their prize before a new winner is chosen. Giveaway begins 9/1/2013 at 12am EST and ends 9/21/2013 at 11:59pm EST. GOOD LUCK!!!

Disclosure: This blog and Everything Mommyhood are not responsible for prize shipment, as this is a sponsored prize. We were not compensated in any way for promotion of this giveaway. Everything Mommyhood received the above mentioned review item, in exchange for an honest review. Our opinions are not influenced in any way. Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and any other social media are not affiliated with this giveaway. If you have any questions please contact the host of this giveaway, Everything Mommyhood.
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