A Look Back on 2012

This year didn't turn out how I had planned but yet it ended with the unexpected joy of a new baby!  All of my plans and resolutions for 2012 were pushed aside as I learned I was pregnant in March.  The pregnancy took most of the year until the week of Thanksgiving when Zach made his appearance earlier than expected.  It was a difficult pregnancy, a trying time, but one that yielded many fruits in my spiritual life.  It ended with a wonderful delivery via c-section that was one of the best experiences I've had of feeling that God was right there holding me through it all.  Then, Zach had some issues, which we hopefully have resolved most of after learning he has a milk allergy.  All in all, 2012 was a trying year but a year that brought one of the greatest blessings of all - another child!

Here are some posts from 2012:
What About Socialization?....And Other Mythical Questions
A Day in the Life....
Stop Trying to Do It Without God
When Birth Control is Needed
Keeping Up With the 'Christian' Joneses
Called to Be a Mother
Finding a Mentor
Living Debt Free - Our Continuing Story
What's a Stay-at-Home-Wife To Do All Day?
The Greater Benefit of No Rescue
What This Pregnancy Did For Me
My Awesome Birth Story

What Cheap Meals are Made Up Of

One thing I've noticed over the years of living frugally and even super frugal, is that the cheap meals are usually based on the following foods:


Planning meals around these ingredients will ensure to keep costs down. Sure, you could live off of ramen, boxed mac/cheese and other processed 'cheap' foods but I don't think they fill you up as well as the above foods and they sure aren't as nutritionally sound. I've gone through a lot of recipes the past few days and it seems that a lot of cheap meals I'm finding include processed foods, canned creams of this and that and ready-made mixes. My goal has always been to use pure foods and make them as cheap as possible. I prefer making homemade cream of chicken/mushroom, etc. for meals than using those nasty cans that are full of who knows what lol. I also want to know what is in my food and those ready-made mixes have things that sure don't sound like food to me.

With the above cheap foods in my arsenal, I'm searching for meals that utilize these to get the ultimate cost-saving meals. I've already gathered a few up and also want to thank those that have submitted your favorite frugal recipes already! My brain is hurting from all the storming going on up there lol......this will probably be the hardest I've tried and thought through a meal plan and I'm not even close to being done yet. There isn't anything new under the sun, but it sure is hard to find that old stuff that has been buried by convenience meals, but I endeavor to uncover it and share it with you all!

My Awesome Birth Story

I was full of fear at the beginning of my pregnancy thinking about the end, mainly the c-section.  With my first c-section they were unable to numb my back and it turned into a nightmare as the anesthesiologist wouldn't stop trying even though the nurses were fighting with him to.  He poked me 7 times with various sized needles, with the last one hitting a nerve that shot down my left leg and left me with neuralgic pain in that spot for about 5 years!  After that, my daughter's heart rate drastically fell and it turned into an emergency situation and I remember being thrown down on the table and a catheter shoved in me and I almost came off that table from the pain from that and then I was knocked out.  Then, during the surgery I woke up and they had to put me back to sleep.  Also, they had sewn me up and I started hemorrhaging and they had to re-open me and stop the bleeding.  They still had problems upon the 2nd closing but finally got it to stop before I needed a blood transfusion.  I woke up feeling like I had to cough really bad and did and WHOA.......talk about pain!  They had maxed me out on morphine but I remember that pain being like no other at first waking.

So......you can see how I was apprehensive about this c-section!  I've had bowel issues for years and even after a colonoscopy there was no diagnosis but irritable bowel syndrome.  My surgeon suspected that I had massive scar tissue from my first c-section and she believed it was what was causing my bowel issues and said she would check things out when she had me open.  She was right, but more on that later.

I went into labor a week before my scheduled c-section and didn't know I was in labor.  I had contracted for 3 months constantly during pregnancy, so I didn't realize I was in real labor.  However, after 10 hours of regular contractions and them growing closer together and stronger, I thought maybe something was wrong.  We went to the ER and I expected to be sent home like always when they couldn't explain my contractions - but this time, they didn't.  I was dilating and effacing within an hour of them checking and then I started bleeding as well....this was real!  They told me it was amazing that my planned surgical team was actually there that day and they would be doing my c-section.  Everyone, even the scheduled anesthesiologist was there!  I knew this was God and felt peace about how it was all working out.  It was Zach's time to come out.

I met the anesthesiologist and let him know about my previous c-section and that anesthesiologist.  He had no doubts at all and was so confident that he said I will be numb after one try.  He told me he had been doing this for 20 years and everything was going to be ok.  He was right.....it happened so fast, I didn't even know it was over and was amazed I was really numb with just one poke!  I would have kissed the man if it would have been alright lol!  =0  He forever changed my opinion of anesthesiologists!

The rest of the surgery went amazingly well and the team was talking about various topics, which let me know that everything must be going good.  The only problem I had was the nausea but that was bearable.  I got to see them hold Zach up and he was so beautiful!  Then, I watched him across the room on the table as they checked him out, he was so calm and looking around and I was crying "my baby!"  At the end of the surgery, they asked how I was doing and I said "For some reason I'm really craving a cheeseburger."  They all laughed and the anesthesiologist said she's ok lol.

I got to hold him right away when I was taken to the recovery room and it was so special because I didn't feel pain for a long time afterwards and got to enjoy more of being with my baby!

Now, the surgeon was right, my scar tissue was bad and it had attached my uterus to my bladder and turned my uterus completely around - it was flipped.  All of this explains the severe pain I had from the beginning of the pregnancy till the end and it also explains my bowel issues over the past few years.  The scar tissue attached to the bladder, caused it to spasm, which in turn caused my bowel to spasm over the years.  Then in pregnancy, it caused my uterus to spasm (contract) and that is the pain I was feeling.  She completely removed my old scar and the tissue and took her time to stitch me up with minimal scar tissue.  She did such a good job, that it is almost completely invisible now at just 16 days postpartum!  My stomach is actually smaller now than before I got pregnant in my lower abdominal area, so all that pudge must have been the scar tissue.  Oh and I've lost 29 pounds in just 16 days folks!!! Here to think I was so concerned my weight gain all pregnancy and it literally fell off so quick lol.  I only have 6 pounds left to lose and I joke with hubby that it is in my ring finger since my wedding ring still doesn't fit haha.

All in all............the pregnancy was hard but the delivery was a miraculous victory!

Kind of Hard to Type.....

When I'm recovering like this.......

I haven't sat down to type up my birth story yet but intend to eventually.  Trying to enjoy these first few weeks that pass so quickly.

What This Pregnancy Did For Me

Throughout this pregnancy, there were so many times we didn't know if Zach was still alive or not, but each time God showed His mighty hand and Zach was there and well.  I feel like the past 9 months were some of the most difficult I've had in recent years and I'm glad they are over but there was so much God did for me through the struggle that I wanted to share.

It was the hardest pregnancy I've ever had and we found out why at the birth, which I will explain later.  I suffered with a contracting uterus from September all through till the end, I'm talking labor contractions - that they couldn't explain but showed up at the hospital as regular and strong so many times.  It was misery and I didn't understand why I had to suffer so but I made it through!  I also had either 5 or 6 infections, even I lost count lol - and the antibiotics were not fun to be on so many times.  Because of my struggle, some people made hurtful comments to me about how bad I wanted this and I got it.  May God forgive them and grant them compassion was all I could seem to pray - though I wanted to pray other things lol, I just couldn't understand their motive behind their words.  So dealing with the pain and stupid people was difficult, but God helped me through it all!

I was able to work out a lot of fear in myself through this pregnancy and collapse into the hands of God in faith and trust.  Each trial, each pain, each complication......only made me stronger in God in trusting Him and only squashed fear over and over again.  I would say that fear was my biggest vice - I can only imagine it is from a past of abuse and questions as to "why" God allowed what He did and/or does.  It isn't that I didn't have the faith that God could heal - I do - it is that I knew that sometimes God allows things to happen and I was afraid of what He might allow.  I would claim this pregnancy as a victory in my personal growth, though I still have work to do in that department, I've definitely conquered a lot with God's help.

This conquering of fear took me all the way to the surgery room - where I felt as though I was totally surrendered into the hands of God and whatever happened, whatever He allowed, I was ready to accept.  I felt calm and peaceful and even looked for the fear within myself and couldn't find it.  God truly blessed and I will share my birth story in the next post.