Thursday, February 21, 2013

Before I Know It...

I know Corianne is going to grow up.  I'm torn about it, because I know I'm going to miss her chubby baby cheeks, her sweet snuggles when she's swaddled up, and how she giggles at silly little things her mommy does.  Each new milestone makes me a little sad that my baby is becoming a big girl.

But I can't wait for her to grow up either.  I so look forward to tea parties, dress up, and baking treats together.  And even for her learning to drive, going to college, getting married, and the late night/early morning phone calls regarding what to do with this new little baby of hers -- the transitional phase from mommy to oldest friend.

In the meantime, I'm going to mourn the loss of 3 month clothes, the appearance of teeth, and the weening of nursing.  But I'm going to hold out a hope that what is to come is going to be far better than anything that's been!

As I try to live in this expectancy, I like to daydream about Corrie's "big girl" room.  Here's some inspiration for myself to look forward to:

All photos found and linked via Pinterest

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Creamy Clam and Smoky Sausage Dip

Even though I had no real loyalties to either the Ravens or the 49ers, I looked forward to the Super Bowl.  Not because I'm a diehard football fan.  Not because I enjoy watching bikini-clad women eat cheeseburgers topless (aka, the ridiculous commercials, granted I loved the heartfelt ones!).  But because I love good food, and Super Bowl Sunday means Super Bowl parties, means lots of yummy appetizers and snacks!

Our host friends asked guests to come with appetizers, so we were able to munch on southwestern eggrolls, chicken wings, brownies, veggie platters, pulled pork sliders, buffalo chicken, and chips.  When I was deciding what to bring, I found an untested dip recipe in my recipe box: Chef Guy Fieri's Creamy Clam and Smoky Sausage Dip.  Shaun and I decided that sounded plenty delicious enough to us, so it was one of the appetizers we brought!  (The focaccia was kind of a flop... and that's all I will say about that!  :)   We ended up loving the dip, and ate all the leftovers that didn't fit in the dish before we even left the house!


Creamy Clam and Smoky Sausage Dip 
Makes 16-18 servings
(adapted from Guy Fieri's recipe for Wheat Thins)

  • 3 strips of bacon
  • 6-8 oz. of andouille sausage links, casings removed, and chopped into small bites
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 12 Wheat Thins Big Snacks, finely crushed (about 1/4 cup)
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh chives
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese, divided
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 3/4 cup whole milk
  • 1 cup small diced potatoes, cooked
  • 2  6.5 oz. cans of minced clams, drained
  • 2-3 tbsp lemon juice

  1. Brown the bacon strips in a large skillet for 5 minutes, until crispy.  Once cooked, remove strips and set aside to cool on a plate lined with paper towels.  Using the same skillet with drippings, brown the sausage pieces and minced garlic for about 5 minutes.  Remove and set aside the sausage.
  2. Crumble the cooled bacon slices into a small bowl.  Add crushed crackers, chives, and 2 tbsp of parmesan cheese to bacon, and set aside.  This is going to be the crispy topper at the end.
  3. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan, adding flour to make a paste (roux), whisking constantly.  Add the cream and milk one at a time, whisking between additions to keep lumps from forming.  Continue whisking until the mixture thickens, add a little salt and pepper, and let simmer on low for another 5 minutes.  (But make sure to stir often!  You don't want it to burn!)
  4. Mix in the sausage, potatoes, clams, lemon juice, and the rest of the parmesan to the cream sauce.  Continue to stir over low heat for another 5 minutes to let the ingredients warm up and the flavors meld.  If desired, add a little more salt and pepper.
  5. Transfer dip to a serving dish and crumble the bacon mixture over the dip.  Serve with Wheat Thins (since you have half a box left over!) or any desired crackers you have on hand.  Enjoy, and cheer on, football fans!

Monday, February 4, 2013

Love At First Sight

WARNING:  The following post is my journalization of Corianne's birth story.  There might be more information in here than you want to know about how Corrie made her grand entry into the world, but I wanted to write it all out for my nostalgia.  If you feel that you might be one who would like blissful ignorance on the topic, then consider yourself caught up and move on to the next post.  :)    You've been given fair warning.

               _   _   _               _   _   _               _   _   _             _   _   _      

Corianne's due date was July 7, 2012, but someone forgot to let her know that.  Despite uphill treks, spicy jalapeno tamales, and practically standing on my head, she knew she was not yet ready to meet the world on the 7th, so instead of going to the hospital that night, Shaun and I sat on the sofa in our living room and prayed Scripture over our little baby girl.  One of the prayers that we prayed the most during pregnancy was just that labor and delivery (as well as the rest of Corrie's life) would be in God's control and would go according to His perfect plan, even if that plan didn't match ours.  Little did we know, God's plan meant waiting a good deal longer.

My dad bought tickets to come out for Corrie's birth way in advance.  His work graciously allowed him to be here long enough to see her before leaving for a business trip to Japan for 2 full months.  However, the last possible day he could stay was the 20th, and we had figured that for sure Corianne would be here by the 13th - I mean, that's a whole week after her due date, right?!  Besides, I had an induction scheduled for the 20th, just in case it went that far, but I was put on a waitlist to hopefully get an appointment a little sooner.  So my parents came out on the 13th, and I met them at the airport with a fully rotund belly.  We proceeded to spend the next several days just showing them around our new little corner of the world, prepping nursery touches, and just... plain... waiting.

Each day that passed we tried to think of why that day would be a wonderful birthday:  the 14th was Bastille Day in France (and I love France!), the 15th was National Ice Cream Day (and I love ice cream!), the 16th is my brother Ryan's birthday (and I love my brother!).  Unfortunately we saw all those days come and go.  The morning of the 16th, I got a phone call from my obstetrician's office; there was an available induction for tomorrow at 7am.  I called Shaun and we talked it over, about how perfect it would be -- my dad would meet Corrie and see us come home, Shaun's leave off of work would work perfectly, and I just plain wanted to meet Corrie! -- but then we talked about how often we've prayed for God's will to be done in this birth.  It didn't seem right to take it into our own hands so soon.  It's only Monday; maybe there would be an opening later in the week?  I called the office back and regrettably declined the offer, but asked them to please keep me on the waitlist.

The night of the 16th, we had burgers and went to bed, though I hadn't mentioned to anyone that I had been feeling slight contractions since about 3pm.  I woke up at 4am, and the contractions were so strong that I didn't think I would be able to sleep between them, so I went to get into our bathtub and soaked in warm water for the next 2 hours.  At that point, my contractions were about 5 minutes apart and much stronger, so I moved to the shower, where within 45 minutes, they quickened to 2-3 minutes apart!  In that moment, Shaun and I decided it was time to leave!  With a quick hug and goodbye to my parents, we grabbed our packed bags and drove off to the hospital at 8am.

The whole drive I didn't have a single contraction, and I really worried that I would be sent back home.  But upon examination in triage, I was already 3 centimeters dilated and would be admitted to a room.  Phew!!  Our OB came by before going into her office across the street and wished us luck.  We were led to our room so I could get hooked up to the monitors and get a Hep-lock in the back of my hand.  After a little bit, the nurse told me that I was free to go get in the labor tub if I wanted, since my water hadn't broken yet.  So we made the trek down the hall, and I got in.  It wasn't long before my contractions started to get really strong and were coming practically one right after the other.  Shaun had brought his Bible into the room with us and starting reading verses to me like Isaiah 40:28-31:
"Do you not know?  Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom.
He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.
Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall;
but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint."

Then he spent time just praying for me and for Corrie, asking God to be my strength and to keep us both safe.  After an hour and a half, we had to head back to the room to get set up on the monitor again, but this time the walk back seemed to take forever, pausing every two steps to hunch over because I couldn't walk through the contractions.  Once I got back and hooked up, the nurse told me I was at 7 cm, which was quicker than the typical progression -- hooray!  Our OB came by to check in on us again during her lunch time, which was so great of her.  She was encouraged by my progress and said she was sure she'd be back to see us again very soon.

The next couple of hours went by in a blur, contraction after contraction, spiking into steep, intimidating peaks on the monitor.  By the time I got to 9 cm, I was so thrilled: my time was almost over!  Little did we know, my labor decided to stall out at 9 cm, so from once I was checked, I maintained the same level of contractions for the next 2 hours.  My body, after 7 hours in the hospital, was so exhausted that I was literally falling asleep in the slim 90-second reprieves between contractions.  Upon another examination, the nurse told me I was still at 9cm, and I thought labor would never end.  She suggested starting to push to see if I could force my body to a 10, so I did my best and got to completion!  

Our doctor was called in, and she decided that since my water hadn't broken, it might be easiest to just birth her inside the water sack.  So I pushed and I pushed and after an hour, the head was still not emerging.  Our OB suggested she break my water to see if it would cause things to speed up, so I agreed.  Once she broke my water, we saw what the problem had been: Corrie was OP, occiput posterior, otherwise lovingly referred to as sunny-side up.  We were in for a ride now!  Thankfully I hadn't known much about OP births beforehand, because if I had, I would have known the following from

"Mothers whose babies are face-up at birth tend to push longer, more commonly need Pitocin to stimulate contractions, and have a significantly higher risk of having an assisted vaginal delivery or a c-section. They also have a greater risk of a postpartum hemorrhage.  Those who do give birth vaginally to a baby who is posterior are more likely to have an episiotomy and severe perineal tears than moms whose babies are in the more favorable face-down position, even after taking into account the higher rate of forceps and vacuum-assisted delivery.  The posterior position at birth also is associated with a higher risk of short-term complications for the baby, such as lower five-minute Apgar scores, an greater likelihood of needing to be admitted to the neonatal intensive care unit, and a longer hospital stay."

AKA: I would have been terrified.  Praise God that after two and a half hours of pushing (including the hour with my water sack), Corianne was born perfectly healthy with a great Apgar score, I needed only one internal stitch, and all of it was done without use of pain medication or assisted delivery.  The scariest part was as Corrie's head was out, she was leaving her shoulders broad, and one of them was stuck.  Our doctor quickly reached in to twist her out, which was smart thinking for keeping us both safe, but caused A LOT of reaction from me at the moment!

Shaun was a fantastic support during the whole labor and delivery process.  He never left my side during the whole 12 hours at the hospital, instead praying over me and encouraging me to breathe and relax into the contractions.  I don't know how I would have gotten through it without him by my side, holding my hand or rubbing my back.

We were both just amazed at how God worked in the process -- providing me with just enough strength to get through each contraction and the entire duration of pushing.  He also knew which nurse we needed at the time.  Our first nurse was very sweet and gently encouraging, and she was with us for the first 11 hours, but her shift ended at 7pm.  The nurse who followed after her was more coach-like and demanding, exactly what I needed during the pushing process.

But mostly we were just amazed at how God spoke to us about His timing.  We had wanted to get an induction Tuesday morning because it would have worked so perfectly, in our minds at least, for my dad to see Corrie and for Shaun to not lose too many vacation days from work.  But we felt sure that we needed to be obedient to what God was wanting to do through this pregnancy, so instead we surrendered our wishes and placed Corrie's birth firmly in His hands.  And what do you know, God granted us the timing we had hoped for!  It was almost as if He just wanted to test us to see if we would go our way, or choose His way.  And dear friends, let me tell you from experience -- His way is always best!

Darn that red eye!