Jan 31, 2011

Senior Insurance

A friend asked me the other day about Financial Peace University, the class Bobby and I took designed by Dave Ramsey. We learned a lot information, made a lot of changes, upped his live insurance, and got term life (not whole life, NEVER whole life) on me. It was pretty easy, but we are both young, and don't smoke. What about those who are older though and looking for a senior life insurance policy?

But what about the senior who just doesn't want to leave their family with burial costs? There is always the option of pricing final expense insurance rates, which would cover the cost of burial expenses alone. I imagine a policy like this would be good for the person who doesn't want to pay for a full policy, has no joint debt, or is lacking assets and does not want their family to have to pay for their final expenses.

With so many great life insurance options, it does not make sense why so many families are left with a massive debt to cover the cost of burying their parent, or grandparent. Losing a loved one is difficult enough without having to leave your loved ones in debt.


(This post brought to you by your friends at http://www.burialinsurance.org)

"A"

Hand me my scarlet letter now, I am cheating on my beloved. I would like to be polyamorous, I love them both, but since my first love found about my new love, she's been pushing me away. I think we have changed, and grown apart a bit.... but what I hate to admit, is that my first love actually pushed me into the arms of my new love. I don't think I could give either up, but I would gladly cut back on my new love if my first love would take me back.

Oh sleep, why do you reject me so? I miss you. I want to fly back into your arms and feel your warm embrace. Coffee is just a fling, a mistress, she doesn't make me feel as good as you do. She's only meeting a need you have been denying me lately. Please take me back. I will try to be faithful. You are my one true love.

Jan 24, 2011

Four weeks ago

Where does the time go?? It was four weeks ago today that I was in labor with my sweet baby baby boy thinking he was going to be born on his due date. Ha! He fooled me! :)

Even though he won't be four weeks old until tomorrow, I wanted to go ahead and update while I had a moment... easier said than done when you have five kids (only the little three are home right now, and the littlest one is napping).

He's a pretty mellow little guy, but he is also pretty needy, especially at night. He will sleep a couple hours at a time as long as he is in my arms. I am getting more accustom to sleeping with him in my arms, which is something I just do not enjoy.

[Interruption #1, Sophia climbed up on her dresser and dumped all the water from her wipe warmer all over her dresser and floor trying to plug it in. It was unplugged because it is broken.]

His brothers and sister adore him, but his sister is not too sure she likes sharing her spotlight. I know she loves him, but I also think she's a little resentful that he's always in arms. I am trying my hardest to make sure she gets extra attention and I am including her in his care by asking her to be my helper.

[Interruption #2, 3 & 4. Sophie is trying to dress herself and is bringing me clothes, shoes, and a diaper. Then she broke the latch off her dress-up chest and wanted me to come fix it.]

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Matthew is constantly asking to hold Liam, and usually his timing is bad. I will have just latched him onto the breast and Matt appears out of nowhere and says "Can I hold Liam?"

[Interruption #5, 6, 7, Sophia found a shirt she liked and asked me to button it up, asked me to put a diaper on her that was wet from the wipe warmer water, and when I sent her away for a dry one she brought a pocket that didn't have an insert]

Christopher really does not ask or attempt to hold him anymore.

[Interruption #8, had to empty the potty chair]

Austin loves holding him though and is always asking to hold him, or stealing him out of his swing. I am so impressed with him, he is going to make such a good husband and daddy someday. He does his own laundry, loves to cook, adores babies and is very thoughtful. I figure when he's 30 I am going to auction him off to the highest bidder.

[Interruption #9, 10 & 11, emptied the potty seat again, broke up a fight between Sophie & Matt over a balloon, and got a hug from Matthew for finding a lost villain for his superhero toys.]

Sophie has to be reminded not to put her feet on Liam's head, I am not sure WHY she insists on doing this, but it is annoying.

[Interruption #12, drama over panties. Sophie claims she has some, Matthew tells her she doesn't, shouting match ensues.]

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[Interruption #13-16, Liam wakes up, on the way to get him I have to rescue Sophie from herself, she has somehow climbed in the back of her diaper storage tower and is stuck. Get the baby up, change his diaper and his clothes. Sophie throws a fit because she insists she needs a wipe. Then throws another fit because I closed my door, not her.]

Liam is a pretty content little guy, he loves to cuddle and watch your face. He's starting to smile a bit and engage a bit more.

[Interruption #17, baby needs to nurse.]

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[Interruption #18 through ??.... had to make lunch one handed for Sophie & Matt, pick up my kitchen, all while holding a fussy boy who wants to nurse again.]

#!&% it, I give up. Yup, I see exactly why the last 4 weeks have flown by.

FYI: this took me 90 minutes to write.

Handy little product

When I was a kid, my dad used to frequently take me cross-country skiing, and then when I was older on cross-country motorcycle trips. We also did a lot of canoeing, camping, and other outdoor activities. I often remember having cold hands and feet, especially in the early morning hours until it got warmer outside, or through activity. I would have loved to have hot hands Hand Warmers to slip into my gloves, or toe warmers to slip into my socks. Pair those with some funky synthetic socks (not cotton!) from Old Navy, put some quality wool socks over those, and in no time, I could have been comfortable and warm and ready to go, instead of sitting around the fire waiting to thaw out. Now that I a older, I don't camp much, just because I don't tolerate the cold anymore. My fingers easily turn sheet white, or sometimes blue, because of something called Raynaud's phenomenon, which is just a fancy term for restricted blood flow to the finger tips. I would love some hand warmers to toss in my car until it is heated up and my fingers are awake again.

Jan 9, 2011

Liam's Birth Story

I think I have chewed this over enough in my head that I can finally write Liam's birth story. The only thing I cannot remember, are times near the end, but if I ever get my records, I will come back and update.

I was due with baby #5 on 12/27/10, but given my history of 40+5 - 41 week births, I truly expected to meet my son or daughter in January. Around 33 weeks I was risked out of home birth for blood pressure readings over the 140/90 mark and encouraged to see my homebirth midwife's favorite OB. At first, I was so angry and hurt I was feeling like I was not important in this busy practice. I would drive 45 minutes, wait 45 minutes, see the nurse for 5 minutes and the OB or CNM for 5 minutes then drive 45 minutes back. My kids were frustrated, I was frustrated and I was just so sad every time my blood pressure was taken and they would tell me how good it was. However I kept reminding myself "it is what it is" and each visit got better and I slowly changed my outlook and my attitude. I told myself that everything has its purpose, and there had to be purpose for this. Maybe this would be my healing hospital birth after my first and second left me feeling like a spectator at a sport where I had lost control and dignity? Maybe I could prove to myself I could have a natural hospital birth?

I diligently wrote up my birth plan. I stated I wanted my baby's cord to be cut only after it stopped pulsating. I wanted to labor and deliver in the water, after all, this hospital *IS* the only one in my state that allows planned waterbirths. I did not want medication offered to me. I wanted to push in any position I wanted to be in and I didn't want someone telling me when to push. And most of all I didn't want pitocin or anything else to augment my labor.

So Christmas came and went without even a braxton hick. I just had to make it through my husband's birthday the next day so I didn't "ruin Christmas or my Birthday" as he kept teasing me. My little boy had plans of his own. Around 3pm on December 26th my contractions started coming 5 minutes apart, lasting a little over a minute. They were still pretty mild, so I just went about my routine. After dinner, I needed Bobby to blow up my birth ball so I could rock through them. By the time my kids went to bed, they started picking up and I would have to pause and breathe through them. By 1am on my due date, I decided I needed my doula here to help me through them. They started getting closer together and lasting longer, so around 3am we decided to head up to the hospital since it was an hour away.

I arrived at the hospital and they hooked me up to the monitors. My contractions had slowed down a bit so we decided to walk the halls until they picked up a little more. Around 6am they checked me, and I was only 2cm dilated with a baby who was not engaged. We decided I would go home, take a bath and a nap, and come back when labor picked back up. They did think it would be today though. A due Date baby! I was excited because only about 5% of all babies are born on their due dates, and it was my earliest baby yet!

Instead of driving all the way home, we decided to stay in a hotel down the street where I would take my bath, crawl into bed, and sleep. While in the bath I noticed I was losing fluid of some sort, but it appeared to have color in it, so I assumed it was my mucous plug. When I felt more fluid coming out I stood up and called my husband and noticed green water running down my legs in large gushes. Not only had my water broken, but the baby had passed meconium, which could suggest the baby was in distress. 45 minutes after we arrived at our hotel, we were leaving. Talk about a very expensive hour! Bobby and I joked that it looked like I was just a booty call, and he had some sicko pregnancy fetish.

This time when I arrived at the hospital, it was for keeps; they put me into the water birthing suite and hooked me up to monitors for intermittent monitoring. I called my doula back, and when she arrived we started walking the halls. Around noon, they checked me again and I was still unchanged, so I ask her to stretch me if at all possible.
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She was able to stretch me to a 4-5cm, but my baby was still really high and not moving down. My contractions were mostly in my back, so my doulas did hip squeezes and we do squats with each contraction to move my baby down. While we were walking the halls, I saw my old midwife, who is there with other clients who had to transfer during labor, and she gave me a big hug and words of encouragement from her mentor; "remember, each centimeter is not created equally". Around 6pm my contractions were starting to space out, and my baby was still not dropping, so it was suggested that while our doulas were taking a break for dinner, maybe Bobby and I should try nipple stimulation to pick up labor, because the OB wanted to start pitocin. When the doulas returned a half hour later, we asked for a little more time and tried lunges and rebozo.
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[My doulas, Diksha & Sarah, using the Rebozo on me to get baby to move into a more favorable position]

We decided the baby was in a funky position and that is why s/he was not moving down and engaging, and without strong contractions to push the baby onto my cervix, l just would not dilate. At 7pm I was checked again and I still had not changed at all since noon, when I was stretched from a 2 to a 4-5.
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[Me with my nurse, also named Heather]

My nurse gently suggested that I change rooms, since I could no longer labor or deliver in the birthing tub, because I was getting pitocin, and they were expecting a couple who desired a water birth. I was not about to let someone else lose their chance at a water birth, so we moved. But it was sad to cross another thing off my birth plan. The pitocin drip was placed, and it was a gentle slow process that was monitored closely.

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The pit was only turned up every 45-60 minutes by 1ml (out of 30) and only if my contractions were not picking up. I tried to rest between contractions and I was able to nap through some of the early ones, but by the time I reached 6ml, I was done. I was physically, emotionally, and mentally exhausted. I don't remember what time it was, but I think by that time I had been in labor 36+/- hours, and I was beat. I asked for an epidural and anesthesia was called while they pushed IV fluids. The contractions were in my hips, chest, back, and lower abdomen, and just felt unnatural. My doulas made sure I really wanted this, and let me know it was possible I was closer than I thought, but respected my wishes when I said I was done. They told me how proud they were of me for sticking it out so long. I had some "rock your world" contractions while waiting for my IV bag to empty, they called them double peak I think? I would have one long strong contraction, with a second, shorter one right immediately afterward. My nurse said it suggested a posterior baby, so while waiting on the anesthesiologist we did some exercises to try to rotate the baby. We had to pause the epidural process three times for contractions, but finally it went in and halfway into my 4th contraction, my feet went dead.

The pitocin was turned up while I rested, but the monitor kept losing the baby's heart beat, and my contractions were not being picked up at all. When we got to 8ml, the OB and nurse noticed the baby's heart was decelerating with each contraction. They placed an internal contraction monitor in to see if they were happening at the beginning or end of each contraction because I guess one was better than the other. The OB mentioned that I may need a cesarean because my placenta may be showing signs of stress at this point, but they were willing to watch and wait. The pitocin was turned off and my contractions stopped and so did the decels. They turned it back on to about 6ml and watched to see what part of my contractions caused the decels. About 3 contractions later it was determined that they were caused by cord compression and that I could continue to labor. Some of the decels scared Bobby though as they dropped down to about 45bpm for a few seconds. I was put on oxygen and they moved me from one side to another. From time to time my legs were moved to open up my hips to encourage baby to drop. Around 7am I was checked and only at about 7cm and a -2 station, but with each contraction I would open to about 9.5 with a thick lip, so she let me try some test pushes to see if I could move through the lip, but baby just would not move down enough and when I stopped pushing, baby would pop right back up. My OB then went off duty and her midwife took over. Finally, shortly before 9am on December 28th, 43 hours into labor and 26 hours after my water broke, the midwife decided we could try pushing again. By this time I could feel my legs and my contractions and I was ready to get my baby out.

NICU was on hand because of the meconium, and my doula and Bobby held my legs since I still didn't have complete strength back. It took 1 or 2 contractions, with about 4-6 good pushes to get baby's head out, it was cocked to one side, asynclitic they call it, and baby had a hand up next to its face. With the second contraction I got out baby's shoulders and then I was told not to push while she cut the cord (it was wrapped around the neck and the abdomen) and she suctioned baby's mouth and nose. Finally with one last push my baby was born at 9:07am. Before passing baby off to the respiratory therapist, she asked my husband "tell them what you see daddy" and Bobby announced we had a baby boy! This was part of my birth plan. Oh, and I was told when I could push, but no one counted or instructed me how to push, so my birth plan was somewhat followed in that aspect too.

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Baby was suctioned and given to Daddy to hold and then handed to me.

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I held him and said his name over and over again, "Jackson", and I nursed him, but then I started shaking so bad that I handed him back to daddy and they did the newborn exam. He was 7lbs 3oz, the same that I was at birth, and 19" long.

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I called my mom to announce his birth and tell her we named him "Jackson Liam", but got off the phone when my shaking got to be too much. It was around this time I noticed Bobby looking at the baby funny. I thought maybe he was disappointed we had a 4th boy, instead of a 2nd girl, but finally he said "he just does not look like a Jackson to me, he looks like a Liam", and I had to agree, he DID look like a Liam.

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[Liam with my amazing doula Sarah]

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[Liam with my incredible doula Diksha]

Liam and I both had fevers, so it was decided that they would take blood samples and allow them to grow for 48 hours to make sure he didn't have an infection. My water was broken for 26 hours and I declined antibiotics, so I decided not to fight the doctor's orders. I got my first shower and Bobby brushed my hair for me and we discussed middle names while we were waiting on the Dr. to get back from lunch. We decided on Liam Michael, we liked how it sounded and I have an uncle and cousin and we have a good friend named Michael, and it just fit. After the blood draws, Bobby headed back home to relieve the babysitter and get some rest. Our fevers went down, and Liam got his first bath.

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The next afternoon, Bobby brought the kids up to meet their brother, and it was love at first sight. Sophie was a bit standoffish with me, like she had been when dad first came home, but warmed up quick when she saw the baby. They each got to hold him, and then it was time for us to rest. I was released on the 30th, once his 48 hour culture came back negative.

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Liam is 12 days old now. He's doing well. He sleeps great during the day in his swing, our arms, or on our bed. Night is a different story, seems he only wants to sleep in my arms, while nursing, which is counterproductive to me sleeping. I love the age old question "Is he a good baby??" Sometimes I can resist the urge to say "well, he's not paying for hookers or betting on the ponies, so he can't be that bad", usually though something smart slips out. We do seem to have some gas issues, which may be related to tongue-tie that I intend to talk to his pediatrician about this week when I see her. Other than that, he is gorgeous, and we adore him.

Sometimes birth is about letting go, and making compromises. As much as I didn't want pitocin, or an epidural, even more so I didn't want a cesarean. I wanted another home water birth, but I can only speculate that I would have been too tired and ended up transferring to the hospital and getting an OB I never met, who didn't know my history and possibly was not as open minded about about my choices, or desires for a vaginal birth. As difficult as his birth was, it was also a healing birth. I learned that not all OBs are surgery happy, and some are very trusting of the birth process. I learned that having a good nurse and being in a good hospital can make all the difference in the world on what kind of outcome you can expect. And of course, your baby's birth plan ALWAYS trumps your own birth plan, so expect the unexpected, and learn to roll with the punches and let go of expectations.

I want to mention how much I appreciated the support I received from my amazing husband, my wonderful doulas, my incredible RNs, my awesome OB & midwives, and everyone else who offered support, advice and encouragement. I love you all so much.

Jan 1, 2011

Mistakes in Labor: Part 3 - Letting Go

I needed time to process my thoughts on various subjects. On Tuesday December 28 2010, at 9:07am my fourth son, Liam Michael was born weighing 7lbs, 3.4oz and was 19 inches long. A big part of accepting his labor and delivery is to let it go.

Liam's birth was supposed to be my second (and final) homebirth. At 33 weeks, my blood pressure was slightly elevated for a second time in my pregnancy and I was risked out of homebirth for PIH (pregnancy induced hypertension). My midwife ran labs to make sure I wasn't developing pre-eclampsia, and then consulted with an OB, and together they agreed that for our safety, it would be best if I could deliver at the hospital. My best chance of having a natural birth was at the hospital 26 miles away in a bigger city. I was crushed. I was angry, heartbroken, disappointed, scared, and then I let it go. "It is what it is" I told myself over and over, until eventually I believed it. I accepted this new challenge as a way to heal from my last two hospital births in which I succumbed to a domino effect of interventions that led to me being on my back, numb from an epidural pushing my baby out on command. I told myself my new goal was to have a different experience and I diligently wrote up a birth plan that included no pitocin, no epidural, no back pushing, laboring and delivering in the water and I was determined I would have my homebirth in a hospital.

The rest of my pregnancy had its ups and downs. The OB's office had me waiting over an hour to be seen my first two appointments, and I was getting frustrated by how little time I spent with a provider, vs. my homebirth midwife where I was greeted at the door, never had to wait beyond a couple minutes *maybe* twice, and each of my visits was an hour long. Accepting that I was still important even though I no longer felt like a priority was difficult, but I had to remind myself my homebirth midwife has a lighter patient load because she chooses to. My blood pressure was never elevated again which was bittersweet. My birth plan was accepted and it was decided I could have a planned hospital waterbirth. Now I just had to wait to have my baby. It seemed everything was lining up perfect and this birth would be my "healing" birth.

Stay tuned for my update of Liam's birth story.