Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Elise's Birth Story Part 1

First comes love.

Then comes marriage.

Then comes .... BABY, in a baby carriage!

Yep, it's been awhile, blog. However, the people reading this blog pretty much know me IRL now and those that do not "know" me "IRL" probably sort of feel like they do because of Facebook and Instagram. Social media is so fun, no!?

"Blogging Elise's birth story" has been on my "Maternity To-Do List" since we got home and since today is her one month birthday (omg. How?) I thought it was a perfect day to sit down and pound it out. Speaking of which, I really miss blogging. Or, more specifically, I miss writing in the form of a pseudo journal that documents my life. Now that I am in charge of another life I feel an even stronger pull towards this space. I do not want to forget anything, so maybe you will be seeing more of me us here.

Ok. Birth story time. Settle in. Because, I did. At the hospital. For 6 days.

It was week 36 of my pregnancy and I was officially visiting the doctor's office once a week. Usually my appointments were at 4:15pm but this week I couldn't get an afternoon appointment so I was in there at 7:30am on Tuesday morning. I was stressing because I had an 8:15am meeting at work and I was refusing to miss it (ugh, perspective. Now I see it). 

At this appointment my ankles were HUGE and UNRECOGNIZABLE and it was the first time the nurse/doctor stressed over a high blood pressure reading. The doctor said the past few weeks it had been creeping up. I figured I would be told to drink more water, sit down more to rest (haha, I'm a teacher) and watch my BP.

I was wrong.

The doctor came back in and said she wanted to see me again on Thursday and if my BP was still high we would be delivering this week. I'm pretty sure I just stared at her in complete shock. I was convinced that I would go way past 40 weeks. It was January 5th and I did not think Baby would make her debut until February. So, I made my appointment for later that week (which I was stressing about because ... work! How? My schedule was impossible) and I texted my husband. His response was unlike his usually cool, calm, Mr.-I-Never-Freak-Out demeanor. He texted back "for real??" and that's when I began to cry. He calmed me down though and I quickly switched gears into work mode.

I made it into work and through that meeting without tearing up, until our instructional coach (who is close to my age and has two children) noticed something was up with me because I was on the verge of tears. Which did come. Two minutes before kids started walking into my room. Fun times!

Moving on.

The next day (Wednesday, for those of you keeping up) I made it through the day, but the swelling was out of control. The school nurse (who is a former NICU nurse and is ahhhhmazing) checked my blood pressure and promptly sent me to the hospital because it was high. I want to say it was 170 something over 100 something. High. Not good. We went into the hospital and sat in triage for awhile with me on my left side. My BP went down to normal levels, baby was doing fine, and we were sent home.

I went to work the next day (Thursday) a little unsure if I should be there and with a feeling of doom. The best possible doom though? It was a feeling that I might not be back the next day and I need to get everything finalized for my sub(s). Turns out, I was right. I wasn't coming back for awhile!

We ended up checking into the hospital that evening. We were having a baby! I had had since Tuesday to mentally prepare for delivering early and I felt ready! Sort of. Thursday the doctor checked my BP and basically said to go home, pack your bags and head into the hospital.

Ok, then! We went home, I showered, double checked my bags, ate some lunch and we went into the hospital a family of two.

I was honestly so prepared to go over 40 weeks, I did not considering being induced at all. Therefore I did not do much research on it and now that it's all said and done, I wish I had. More on that later. Probably for another post.

Thursday evening when I finally got into a room (the maternity floor was paaaaacked and we were in triage for almost 6 hours) they decided to give me Cervadil to get things going. The Cervadil did its job overnight, but I did not start dilating or having strong enough contractions for me to feel them. I will not go into detail about the Cervadil, but I hated it.

Now it is Friday and I am supposedly in labor. Sort of. I wasn't feeling a darn thing! The contractions were too small and I was not dilated at all. Late Friday evening they decided to give me something else that would basically do the same thing as Cervadil. I can't remember what it was called, Cytotec maybe? Well, it worked. At 5:15am on Saturday, my water broke. I had called the nurse begging to get out of bed to go to the bathroom because the urge to pee hurt so bad. When I stood up I "peed my pants" and when I called the nurse back to tell her I "peed my pants" she laughed and said no, that my water probably broke. She was right. Weirdest feeling ever!

From that point is when I felt officially "in labor" and my contractions began to get stronger and much more painful. I had sent Bill home to get some sleep at home so he wasn't there when things started to get worse, but I felt like I could handle it. I was sure that I was dilated pretty high and I was dying to know, but I hated it when they checked. When they did finally check I was in shock when she said I was dilated to 2cm.

TWO? What? No. Check again. Wait, don't check. It's super uncomfortable.

When I was dilated to a little over 3cm I asked for the epidural, I think this was about 10am. I'm not completely sure though. I wanted to wait it out a little longer, but I just couldn't. My contractions were about every 5 minutes and were 30 seconds long. My coping mechanism was to count, which is interesting because I do the same thing when running and I always compared pregnancy and labor to long-distance running. Makes sense that I would cope the same way! I would tell myself during contractions (and running) that anyone can do anything for 30 seconds (when running it's one minute, 30 seconds, whatever I'm doing whether it be sprints, pacing, etc.).

The anesthesiologist got there a lot faster than I expected (that or I have lost track of time, which is very likely!) and this is the first moment I felt really, really scared. I was so worried I would accidentally see the needle so I basically did not take my eyes off of Bill. Him and the nurses were so wonderful. I feel so lucky to have had such a wonderful support team! They ended up having to administer the epidural twice because the first time I didn't feel any different. It wasn't in right. Luckily, the pain of the contractions was so much worse than administering the epidural, I didn't care. I just wanted it in right. The hardest part about the epidural was staying still. Once it was in and in the right way, I felt amazing. I couldn't feel a thing. Being checked for how far along I was and anything else they had to do was a breeze from this point on.

Around this time the contractions got stronger and I could feel them still, but they weren't near as painful. This was great, but what wasn't so great was Baby's heart rate. Every time I contracted her heart rate would go really low and stay low for awhile. A few times her heart rate would go down into the 50s and everyone worried. Several times our room would fill with nurses and at one time they put me on my stomach (rear in the air, now thaaat was uncomfortable) and hooked up to oxygen. Nothing really helped. Her heart rate would still drop when I contracted. They took me off the Pitocin to give baby a break and my labor stalled. Her heart rate got better, but I wasn't contracting or progressing in labor now.

This point was a roller coaster. They had mentioned the possibility of a c-section, but we hadn't discussed it since Friday, which felt like ages ago even though it was only the day before. My head was mentally prepared for pushing, I was not mentally prepared for surgery.

They decided to put me back on the Pitocin and I went right back into contractions. Baby went right back to struggling through the contractions. We talked to her, read to her, rubbed my belly where I knew she was and all of these things seemed to help, but she was still struggling.

At 3pm, the doctor finally said she didn't like the dips in her heart rate and how the rate would stay low. They were worried she couldn't handle my pushing. This scared me. If she couldn't handle contractions how was she going to handle the trauma of being pushed out of the birth canal?! At this point, I would do whatever was best for her.

The doctor said a c-section was probably the best option. Bill and I just looked at each other and immediately agreed. Fine. A c-section it is. I remember looking at the clock at this time and thinking, "I'm going to have a baby by 4pm."

A baby by 4pm, we did! Elise Frances Kuehler was born at 3:31 via a c-section. The surgery went well and by 4pm we were actually back in our room ... with a baby. How crazy is that?!


In part 2 I will recap my thoughts on the c-section and let you know how we have been doing the first 4 weeks at home! 

Saturday, March 28, 2015

The New Side Gig

I couldn't stay away from business long.

Almost exactly four years ago is how long it has been since I quit my job as the head of one of the most successful retail locations (with my old company) in the Midwest. It's been almost exactly SIX years since my job before that was dissolved due to a liquidation I am STILL in mourning over that one).

What I loved about both jobs was the sales plans and the challenge of working towards a goal. I loved motivating a team, making sales plans, earning trips, recognition and other incentives. It was fun! I very rarely did not make my monthly sales plans and was well known to hit my sales regularly. I had a plan, I worked the plan and somehow always made it happen.

Probably because I was having fun.

I love teaching now. I know without a doubt that I made the right decision in my career. Despite my post last week about not wanting to go back to work after spring break, I do love going in to school everyday. I love seeing my "kids". I love building relationships with parents. I love teaching and learning - because I learn so much everyday.  In fact, I don't even call it work - I call it "school"! Haha!

However, something has been missing. I did not realize it was missing until recently when I signed up to be a Stylist with Stella & Dot.
Top necklace: the Sanibel. Bottom necklace: Devon layering necklace
During the month of January there was a fantastic deal. A deal where you could earn back the investment you made if you sold so much in the first 30 days. I thought about it literally all of January.

Talked it over with Bill a lot.

With every conversation, he encouraged me to do it. I still hemmed and hawed over it though. How can I possibly squeeze one more thing on my plate? I have summers off, so I can do this in the summer, but what if I don't do well? What if nobody comes to my trunk shows? What if people start avoiding me because, "here comes Amber and all she's gonna do is talk about jewelry?!"
Pave arrow cuff and Interlock Cross bracelet
I bit the bullet though and did it.

I hit my initial goal within a couple weeks and I was having fun. Lots of fun!
From left: Renegade bracelet, Enlighten bracelet and the Inspiration bangle
My friends were coming over and we were having "trunk shows", drinking wine and trying on jewelry. I have made friends and added two people to my "team". Yep, I have a "team" again! The best part is ... I do not have a district manager breathing down my neck. I am not required to work Friday nights, Saturdays or Sundays (if I don't want to) and when I do work those days, I can easily make over $250 in a couple hours. Yep, that's not a typo. Plus, it is enjoyable. So enjoyable! See more information below)

Besides something "missing" from my career right now that was sales driven, my why for signing up was also driven by some hefty long-term goals that Bill and I want to achieve in the next 5-10 years. Goals like pay off our home and build a "dream" home in the country right outside of Des Moines. We've always known that to do something like that, we would need to supplement our income somehow.

I truly believe that Stella & Dot is the answer to those tough questions we have been praying about.

So, that's my new side gig! I am loving it and cannot believe I've only been doing it a couple months. In a very good way, it feels like I have been doing it much longer!

If you could do any side gig, what would it be?

Top: Somervell in white and gold. Bottom: Engraveable charm with  my wedding date engraved on it and Elephant charm. 

If you are interested in learning more about Stella & Dot, I would love to touch base with you. Email me at amberkuehler@gmail.com with stylist questions, questions about how to hold a live or online trunk show, or about updating your jewelry collection. I would love to help!!

Monday, March 23, 2015

What NOT to tell 9-10 year olds...

Well, you all were right. Getting back into the swing of things was nice and I always realize how much I missed my kids once we are all back!

However I learned the hard way that you do not EVER tell fourth graders that you can't hear.

Explanation ...

My kids asked if I was feeling better because I was really sick the week before Spring Break. I told them about my two trips to the doctor's office and how it turned into a double ear infection by the second trip to the doctor and that it felt like I was under water. It is really hard to hear sometimes!! They definitely took it upon themselves to talk a tad more ... oops!

During math they were playing math games and I was walking around making sure everyone was playing correctly and I was about 10 feet away from a group of three playing and one of the kids goes, "Here comes Mrs. Kuehler!" in slightly above a whisper. I giggled a little to myself and when I got to them, said, "Ya know ... my hearing is not THAT bad, now why weren't you three playing the game?!"

Oh, kids. Gotta love 'em!

Have you ever told kids something and then thought to yourself, "well, that was dumb!"

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Sunday, bloody, Sunday.

It's the Sunday before going back to work after a week long vacation. You feel depressed. You try to pump yourself up for structure again. Then you tell yourself not to think about it. Just enjoy the rest of the time off you have. Enjoy the evening with your husband/family.

You've had this before, am I right?

I have it bad. The Sunday Night Blues. Except it's The-Sunday-Night-After-Vacation-Blues, which is worse.

I so enjoy my free time. Especially lately now that I have another business venture to focus some time on.

Then again, I love what I do. I love teaching. I love my kids. So, why do I dread going back to work so much? I know once I get there I will feel happy to be back. Happy to see my kids.

Ugh. Oh, Sundays. You're not my favorite day of the week.

Do you get the Sunday Night Blues?

Friday, March 20, 2015

Looking Forward

Happy Friday!

Well, it's not so happy for me. I'm being a baby, but it's the last day of spring break. Yes, of course I have the weekend, but still ... this week went by SO FAST! Time off always does, right?

It's been awhile since I've been in this space updating you all (I'm pretty sure all my readers are IRL friends now... if not, come out of the woodwork!). Since it has been awhile, I figured I would do a looking forward post as a way of updating you on the goings on in my life!

This weekend ... tonight we are celebrating a dear friends birthday with a girls night out! We are getting mani/pedis together and then heading out for dinner. I am excited to see all the girls! As we get older, it gets harder and harder ... Also this weekend, I have TWO trunk shows scheduled for Sunday! What's a trunk show, you ask? Well, in January I signed up to be a Stella & Dot Stylist due to this amazing promotion and I am so shocked by how much fun I am having with it! It is completely my own business and I can do as little or as much with it as I want, which is PERFECT for me. Anyway, this is all for another post! I will explain everything! :)

This week ...  I am taking a class for work (where we get graduate credit for FREE. Love my district!) that I am really excited for. That's about it ... pretty slow week ahead!

This month ... This month is about over! I enjoyed March though. We got a taste of some spring weather and I am very excited for more in April!

Next month ... April is going to be busy! We've got quite a bit going on ... We are going to a Murder Mystery Dinner in a small town about two hours away with a couple friend of ours that I am really excited about! We are heading to Minneapolis for a weekend to visit friends. Also that weekend Jodi Picoult is doing a lecture about the research that goes into her books, I am really looking forward to that, however I am worried that since I have seen her so many times she will be repeating everything I have already heard. Since the ticket cost $40 I am really hoping that is not the case ... Also that weekend I am attending a furniture refinishing party called Women, Wine and Wood Workshop. I need to find a piece of furniture to refinish, but I am really looking forward to learning this new skill!

This summer .... There is already a lot going on this summer! July is packed with Ragbrai, a trip to Vegas for Stella & Dot, and some curriculum training in Ames. I am so excited for this summer because I'm not planning a wedding and I will have a true summer off and to myself. Possibly my last summer "alone"?? Who knows...

What are you looking forward to these days??

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2015 and some landmark to-dos

I have really gone back and forth about making resolutions for myself in 2015, but after some thought, I realized that I really like setting goals for myself. It is cliche to set these big goals for New Year's, but it just makes sense! I wouldn't be me without having a few things in mind that I would like to accomplish in the next year.

Below you will find my goals, concisely bolded for those that may not enjoy my rambling prose (is rambling prose an oxymoron? Ha.) Rambling is therapeutic for me. Don't judge.

Exercise consistently throughout the year. Consistently being the key word. For the past two years, I worked out very consistently 3-4 times per week from January to approximately October, then, after October, it all fell apart. In 2013, I was in my first year of teaching and from August to October, I was always training for something (Capital Pursuit 10 miler and then a half marathon in October). After the training was over, I let the stress of teaching take over. November is a stressful month in my building and then December brings about its own unique challenges personally and professionally.  I think everyone is just trying to get to winter break in one piece. I found that 2014 was no different. I worked out consistently until October and then, I just stopped. Last year I had a wedding dress to fit into and I knew I would be looked at by 200+ people, so that really motivated me to get in shape. In 2015, we hope to get pregnant, and honestly, for me personally, that might be more of a reason to drop some extra pounds and get into shape. I am terrified of putting on weight from being pregnant, and I know that if I am not in shape when I get pregnant, not only will it be hard to exercise throughout pregnancy, but it will be hard to lose the extra weight.

So, um, that naturally leads to another goal of 2015. Get pregnant. I am hesitant to talk too much about this goal of ours because my heart aches for those that struggle with infertility. I am not assuming this will be easy for us, and I realize that this goal is not controllable. Obviously, we do what we can to control it, but at the end of the day, there is a plan that I am not privy to knowing. I trust that plan. What I will do, all I can do, is take care of my body and be kind to myself.

My next goal is a financial goal. I have really, very willingly, given the financial reins to Bill in the terms of managing our finances, but we both agree that we need to be a team. We need to hold each other accountable to our spending and we need to continue building up our savings. Money stress is the worst kind of stress for me. It takes over my thoughts and turns me into a different person. I can feel my chest tightening up just writing about the stress over money. I hate it. When we have money saved for emergencies, I feel much better. I would love to take Bill Ramsey's course Financial Peace University this year so we can work on becoming better at taking care of our marriage and avoiding fights over money.

In the second year of teaching we are required to complete a portfolio. It is due before spring break and is a list of 10 standards, with several sub-standards underneath that. Each standard requires an artifact that demonstrates how you have met that standard. Overall it is about 43 artifacts, with captions. My goal was to finish my portfolio by the new year, but that is clearly not happening. My new goal is to complete my professional portfolio by the end of January. I. Can. Do. This.

In 2014 I read a measly 35 books. Much different from the 57 books in 2011 and 71 books in 2012, however, 2014 was BUSY. We planned a wedding where we did everything ourselves (except the cake. I thought about making a cake, but then realized, I don't bake well). We bought a house and combined two lives (and stuff. Lost of stuff). We were busy. I was busy. Reading for pleasure was a luxury that my scattered brain had a hard time focusing on. In 2015, I want to protect my reading time and will aim to read an average of one book week and read 52 books for the year. 

That's it.

What is one big thing you would like to cross off your to-do list in 2015?

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Miles, Looks, Music, Movies & Books - November

I have not done a MLMMB post (inspired by Lisa) since September. Not because I did not want to, but rather because I forgot. The past few months whizzed by and I cannot believe I have one trimester of my second year of teaching done. I have learned so much and made so many changes to the way I go about my job, but that is a post for another day!

Also, did you notice? I added a new category. Movies!

Zero miles. Yep. Zilch. However, if I had kept track of the number of miles I have done of Zumba, I am positive it would be high! During the month of November I took at least 3-4 classes each week, and with Zumba burning 500-700 calories per class, it is just as good of a workout as running is. I do miss running though and plan to begin again soon.

For the month of November I had a goal for myself to repurpose some of my summer clothes and turn them into winter looks. I only made two outfits, but I got so many compliments on both of them! For some reason, I can only find one photo... I must have accidentally deleted the other!

Also this month I won a free pair of Zumba compression capris and I have been wearing the heck out of them!

I will definitely continue this challenge of Summer-to-Winter outfits into December.

Nothing really new here ... I'm still loving Taylor Swift's Shake It Off (I admit it) and really wish that her new album was on Spotify. I just can't see myself buying an actual cd... Other than that, I'm gravitating towards more upbeat tunes that I can dance to.

We did not see any movies in the theater, but we did watch The Giver at home and we both enjoyed it! There were many differences from the book version, but I think they did a decent job. However, I still strongly encourage everyone to read the FIRST.

November was a little crazy between state testing, report cards and parent/teacher conferences so my reading was a little on the slow side. I finished four books, which honestly, is very good.

Leaving Time by Jodi Picoult (it was okay, but was easy to put down)
The Storied Life of AJ Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin (awesome! Hard to put down)
Rain Reign by Ann M. Martin (just okay. Easy to put down)
Shopaholic to the Stars by Sophie Kinsella (ehhhh. Very easy to put down)

How was your November? Stay tuned for a recap on my November goals!