Nov 22, 2016

Pumpkin Snickerdoodles

Let the holiday baking begin!! Ya'll we are big time snickerdoodle fans in this house. They have always been my favorite holiday cookie and Clayton loves them so much he requests that I make them in July. I have always loved when he says that "Snickerdoodles are bigger than Christmas!". LOL.

I baked some up for London's teacher's at school and I wanted to share this fantastic Pumpkin Snickerdoodle recipe with you all. It brings some of the Thanksgiving flavors into what is classified as a Christmas cookie. Of course pumpkin is all the craze right now too, so here ya' go!

Pumpkin Snickerdoodles
Makes approx. 36 cookies

What you need:

2 3/4 Cup all purpose flour
2 Teaspoons cream of tartar
1 Teaspoon baking soda
1/2 Teaspoon salt
1/2 Teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1 1/2 Cup sugar
2 Sticks of butter, softened
1 Egg
3/4 Cup pumpkin puree (Not pumpkin pie mix)
2 Tablespoons of cinnamon

*Extra cinnamon and sugar to roll the cookies in before baking

What you do:

*In a bowl, add the softened butter and 1 1/2 cup of sugar and blend for about 2 minutes or until light and fluffy.

*Add the egg and beat until well combined.

*Add pumpkin puree and beat for 30 seconds.

*Add dry ingredients and beat on low until well combined.

*In a small bowl, add cinnamon and sugar.

*Scoop batter into balls and roll in cinnamon/sugar mixture.

*Place on lined baking sheet and bake at 350 for about 12-14 minutes depending on your oven. You want them to be light, fluffy, and golden brown.

*Hope you and your family enjoy these as much as we do.


Oct 25, 2016

Our Birth Story. How Berkeley Marie Wentworth entered the world

Every since being pregnant with London I have been fascinated with birth stories. No matter how we become mamas, whether it is through a natural med free birth, at home in a tub, a c- section, or with an epidural, I find each one of them amazing, miraculous, and as a mama who has done it twice, so empowering.

Going into my first birth, I was somewhat prepared, but also very ignorant at the same time. I did a lot of reading, read birth stories, and prepared as much as a first time mom could. I went in a loose plan. I wanted a vaginal birth and was open to having an epidural, after all I had no idea what the pains of birth was going to be like.

To make a long story short, London's labor was pretty terrifying and traumatic if I may say. I had prodomal labor, which means for 4 straight days I was contracting every 3-5 minutes with no change or dilation. I was dilated to a measly one for days, even after being sent home from the hospital twice for lack of progress. I was incredibly frustrated, tired,  and I already felt like my body was "broken". Once we were finally admitted (basically because I cried my way into staying ;)) It was another LONG 28 hours of labor on pitocin, an epidural that I hated, and then a very stressful and scary delivery.

Needless to say, I wanted our second go around to be different.

When we found out about our little "surprise" I knew that I wanted to have a doula help guide us through this process. I have had friends who have used doula's and have had the most amazing, healthy, and beautiful births. I longed for that after what happened giving birth to sweet London.

What exactly is a doula?  A doula is an assistant to the mother during child birth. Basically, a support system that both encourages you and helps you stay on track with your birth plan. Thankfully, I found the most amazing doula, Joise who has assisted over 400 births and has had 7 children and 6 natural births herself. She owns SA Birth Blessings and for my local friends, I cannot recommend her enough. She was the perfect cheerleader, coach, listener, and encourager that I could have ever asked for. She helped me have the birth that I had always dreamed about.

So how did this all go down?!  Ok bear with me, here we go...

At 36 weeks we found out that Berkeley was frank breech. I had suspected it throughout the majority of the third trimester, but she was also always flipping back and forth. I was devastated when we found out for sure, as I knew this meant a scheduled c-section, and while I think nothing less of a c-section versus a vaginal birth, I was terrified, and more so for the fear, and unknown of the surgery. I felt that the redeeming, natural birth that I had been hoping for was slipping out of my fingers.

We were offered an ECV, where they manually try to turn the baby, but opted out due to our fears of the risks. Instead we pressed forward and scheduled the c-section for October 5th.  It took me about a week, but I had finally come to peace with it all. I know that everything happens for a reason and was trusting that God was going to direct this path and that His hands were on this birth.

Fast forward to 37 weeks, when I went in for my weekly check up and to my surprise, she had flipped to head down!  I was SO SHOCKED, excited, nervous, and now confused. I had pretty much wrapped my head around having a c-section, even repacked my hospital back accordingly. Now it was back to our original game plan, a vaginal natural birth with our doula.

Then little Berkeley continued to keep us on our toes, she continued to flip back and forth two more times and I joked that she was training for the Olympics; I even nicknamed her "Flipper."  I needed some sort of plan and I wanted to ensure that I had my doctor available to oversee my birth or c section so I went forward with our plan of October 5th being Berkeley's birthday. If she was head down that day we would proceed with an induction, if she was breech my doctor would be there to do the c-section. I had peace about that decision, at this point I really just wanted to have a healthy baby girl, no matter how she entered the world.

October 5th came and we arrived at the hospital, greeted by my OB who is amazingly fantastic, and confirmed that baby girl was indeed head down. Game on!

We started the morning off with pitocin and walking the hallways. I was dilated to a 2 when we first started so we decided to walk to help encourage things to progress. My doula pushed my IV stand, I walked, and we talked. Contractions were present but nothing intense, just strong period like cramps. We did this from 9:30am-1:30am. During that time the nurse kept during up the pitocin and was at a level 8.

My OB came by at 1:30 checked me and I was a 3. Ugh. I kinda expected it as Berkeley had yet to drop due to the high fluid levels I had. We knew that once she broke my water I would progress faster and the intensity would pick up, so we broke the water and boom, baby girl's head finally came down.

After she broke my water they upped the Pitocin yet again and got to walking. Almost immediately I could feel a shift, the pressure and pain was more intense and I was starting to have to breathe through them and not talk. I was still calm and confident at this point. No worries, I had my doula, my husband, and my mom right there with me.

It was during this time that I also had a snack. Let me tell you, that was a HUGE reason my labor was so awful with London. I hadn't eaten or drank anything in almost 36 hours and was miserably exhausted and depleted. One of the reasons I changed hospitals for this delivery was due to the fact that I could eat and drink in small quantities. My doula encouraged me to drink sips of water and coconut water often, I snacked on a protein bar before they broke my water, and had a couple bites of banana before I began pushing. All necessary fuel to help me through the hardest workout I have ever done.

Now that I was in active labor it was game on. I found the most comfortable position was on all fours on the bed. When a contraction would come I would reach up and brace the back of the bed while my doula and husband would rub my back and remind me to sway my hips to get baby girl to move down. In between contractions I would rest back in child's pose, sink into the bed, try to let go and relax as much as possible.  I did this for what seemed like forever, when in reality it was probably only 45 minutes or so. The pain was getting pretty unbearable, the tears were streaming down my face, and I found myself doubting my ability to keep going. My doula sensed my defeat and encouraged me to repeat "I can, I can, I can" out loud during each contraction. Although I did, my mind was still feeling doubtful and my body felt like it was at it's limit.

It was during this time that I began to shake uncontrollably and get nauseous. Both good signs that transition was near, so I was somewhat hopeful that I was getting closer to the end. However, when my doctor came to check me and I was a 5 and 100% effaced, I about lost it. I still had a stinkin 5 cm to go and I just knew that I couldn't do it anymore, I begged for the epidural. In fact pretty sure I yelled for it. My doula kept me distracted and encouraged me to just make it through one more contraction and then decide. The shaking was intense, the nausea was coming in waves, and I felt like everything was out of my control. My team reassured me that I was going to progress quickly as I was already 100% effaced and that the dilation would come. I some how got the courage to believe them and found a renewed sense of trust and peace.

By this time I was back on the bed laying on my side and would sit up into a semi squat position during the contraction and then lay back and rest in between. At this point they were about 1 minute and a half a part and the most intense of them all. I found that I need a focal point and my doula was just that. She would look me in the eye during each contraction and repeat over and over to me that I could do it. It was like we were having an intense staring contest, while at the same time I started to become very primal. That is the best way I can describe this innate need to grunt, moan, and be as vocal as possible. Somehow it distracted me from the unreal pain and although my doula kept telling me to take deep breaths, I just couldn't. Being vocal made much more sense to me. It was both surreal and surprising. I had no idea I would be so loud, lol.

Then came the pressure. Oh man, the pressure. Once again I panicked at the change in sensation. It felt like my hips and pubic bone were going to get split in two and I started yelling for my doctor. She came to check me and I was an 8, almost there. At that point, I had this weird out of body experience where all I was do was think, "oh my goodness, it is too late now, I have to get this baby out on my own." It was terrifying.

I continued to work through the contractions with my doula as my focus, Clayton on my left side holding my hand and giving me a reassuring "you can do this" in between each surge. This is when I got really vocal and really agitated. The nurses were coming in to set up the room for the birth, they were trying to adjust my monitors, and I was over ALL. OF. IT. By this time they checked me and I was a 10 but baby girl was still high. I was encouraged to push when I felt the urge in order to get her to labor down.

I found the most comfortable way to push was in a semi squatting position. By this time the bed was broken down so the lower half was down and I was siting on the edge holding onto the handles. I would do the most intense death grip bicep curl on those handles as I beared down. I did this for about 20 minutes before I began to feel this most intense pressure, pain, and sensation that I had ever experienced.

I felt Berkeley begin to crown and that ring of fire, is no joke. Oh my goodness I thought I was going to be split in two. I remember screaming on the top of my lungs "get her out" and as I looked down I saw her head emerge and she looked up and me and Clayton, opened her eyes and just stared at us. It was a sight I will never forget. With one more push, the remainder of her little body came out and her 6 lbs 13 oz little body was placed right on my chest. 6:08 pm, just 9 hours after we started the induction.

She didn't cry, she just looked at us with her sweetest deep blue eyes. It was the most calm, surreal experience of my life. I couldn't have been more relieved that it was over and that in more disbelief that I had done it. I was stunned, relieved, grateful, and in shock. I had successfully had the natural, redeeming birth that I had hoped for. Probably the biggest high of my life.

We basically had all our wishes come true, we got to do delayed cord clamping, lots of skin to skin, and thankfully I had no tears or stitches needed. The thing I did not like was all the after birth stuff. I hemmoraged a bit so there was lots of intense pressing on my uterus to get it to contract and I was was very sore. I kept yelling at the nurse trying to clean me up, just to leave me alone, lol. I was over people touching me, poking me, and just wanted to be left in peace for a bit. Thankfully she respected my wishes and allowed me to catch my composure a bit. ;)

We spent the next couple of hours together and we got up to our room later that night. By that time I was so surprised how well I was feeling and was able to get up, shower, and move around well. I didn't feel like I had a baby at all. Compared to my after experience with London, it was night and day.

My recovery has been an absolute breeze, which I am so incredibly grateful for. The next day I was up and moving around no problem and same for at home too. I didn't experience any of the swelling that I did with London, which was horrible, and so uncomfortable. And since I didn't have an episiotomy this time, getting around, sitting, etc has all be pleasant and normal.

I am in constant awe of how the body can recovery so quickly. I attribute half of it to having a very active and healthy pregnancy and the other half to having a natural delivery. While the process is far from easy, the ease of the recovery has been the biggest blessing and surprise. I feel like it has really helped me adjust to being a mom of two littles and still be able to keep life going and flowing while we welcome Berkeley into your family.

So, would I have a natural delivery again?  Possibly. But preferably without an induction or pitocin involved.  ;) If there is a "next time" for us in the future (which is highly unlikely;)) it would be my hope to go into labor naturally and have our awesome doula, Josie, along side us again.

It truly was an amazing experience and one that I will forever be grateful for. Sweet Berkeley was absolutely, 100 % worth it. Pain an all.