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My Birth Story

Well, it’s been over a year since my last post and a lot has happened! Not only did I give birth to my first baby, she just turned 1 years old! This little lady has changed our lives so much, and we are the happiest little family you will ever see. We found out that we are expecting baby #2 in January, and I wanted to take the time to remember and document my experience with Piper before I do it all again! I started this post when she was only 3 months old, when the experience was still fresh in my mind.

The rest of my pregnancy went incredibly well. I ended up gaining 25 lbs total and was relatively comfortable until the last couple of weeks. I thought I would share my birth story since there are a few things I had no clue about going into this thing. Hopefully this can shed some light on possible labor day scenarios and give some moms-to-be more info.

My due date was July 10th. During the last month of my pregnancy, my biggest fear was that I wouldn’t know I was having contractions. Silly, right? All you veteran moms know that this was stupid because when you have a contraction, oh boy you can tell. They’re painful. Well, the morning of July 5th I felt a tiny cramp in my stomach and was totally convinced I was in labor. I had my scheduled OBGYN appointment that morning, so we grabbed our stuff just in case and headed to the appointment. The nurse checked me and said I was 2 cm dilated and that it sounded like I was in early labor! They sent us home and told me to keep track of my contractions, and head to the hospital when they were about a minute long, 5 minutes apart for an hour. Or something like that. So we headed home to wait it out.

First lesson: Unlike what they show in movies, you don’t rush off to the hospital the minute you feel a contraction. They want you to spend the early parts of labor at home, where you are most comfortable and you aren’t taking up space in one of the delivery rooms. The first stage of labor can last for DAYS, so you are supposed to wait until it is very intense before you jet off to the hospital.

We went home and…nothing happened. For a week. I must have psyched myself up and imagined it, or maybe the baby pinched me but all was calm and cozy in that womb for another week. This was the loooongest week of my life. After sending up the alarm that I was in early labor, every day was filled with “Are we having a baby today? Did you feel anything? Any contractions? Do we need to go to the hospital?”. This just made me more impatient and I felt like I was letting everyone down the longer I stayed pregnant. Looking back, it was silly to stress out so much, and it wasn’t even my due date yet! The 10th came and went and I did my best to relax and wait.

My next appointment was the following Friday, July 12th. I woke up at 6:45am and headed to take my hourly pee. I waddled to the toilet and felt a trickle. I sat there a second thinking maybe I just peed myself, but realized this was it! My water broke!! Second lesson: only about 14%  of women actually start labor with their water breaking. For everyone else, it either happens after you’ve been having contractions or the doctor may have to rupture it for you. Crazy, right? Again, the movies really make it seem like it happens to everyone!

Well, I called the doctor to share my news and they told me since it was time for my appointment that morning anyways, to come in and get checked out there. I finished getting ready and discovered lesson 3: if and when your water does break, it’s not one gush and you’re done. Oh, no. It keeps leaking out of you. For hours. I think I read that your body keeps replenishing the fluid, so it keeps refilling like a balloon with a hole and you have an endless supply to leak out. So I got dressed and headed to the OBGYN, all the while leaking fluid like I was peeing my pants. Real classy, I know. I seriously had never heard about this, even in my childbirth class, so thought I would give you all a heads up.

On the way to the office I had 2 contractions! Hooray! They just felt like period cramps, and weren’t very strong, but it was finally obvious to me what a contraction felt like. I got to the office and they confirmed my water had indeed broken (duh) and sent me off to St Joseph’s Child Birth Center. Since I hadn’t had any more contractions and was feeling pretty good, we stopped and grabbed a bagel on the way. We got admitted to our room at about 9:30a. and then it was time to get my contractions started again. They encouraged us to walk around the halls to get things going. Well, we walked and waited and sat and waited for 5 HOURS. Not a cramp or anything (besides the flow of amniotic fluid still leaking out…). The doctor came in and said we could keep waiting, but we might as well get labor started and have this baby today. Once your water breaks, they want the baby out in 24 hours, so we decided to go ahead and get the drugs to start labor. This was the part that really scared me. The Pitocin they give you to start contractions can make them alot more intense and I had read it could cause other issues, so I was nervous, but we decided we should go ahead and start the process. Boy, that stuff works. They gave me an iv and the contractions went from 0 to about a 2 pretty quick. Then it wasn’t progressing enough, so they gave me more and it went from that 2 to a level 10 on the pain scale reallllly quickly. I have heard that the contractions from natural labor might not be as bad, and that since they gradually increase in intensity you can ease yourself into dealing with the excruciating pain. I can’t speak from experience but going from 0-10 so quickly was something I was totally unprepared for. I threw up the lunch I had enjoyed during my wait,( Lesson 4– don’t eat! Listen to the nurses, they know what they’re talking about!) and was getting miserable pretty quickly. My husband and I decided to start trying some of the comfort techniques we learned in our childbirth class. I rolled onto my hands and knees and hoped it would help. Nope. My favorite technique from class was when he would grab my hips and squeeze them together, giving me support and great counter pressure. One touch and I had to tell him to stop touching me immediately. It felt horrible and kind of made me want to punch him. All our plans and preparation went out the window, so I rolled back onto my back, held his hand and toughed it out for as long as I could. Lesson 5– have a birth plan, prepare as much as possible, but also stay open-minded and be ready to roll with the punches. Anything can happen, and as stressful as it can be, everyone wants what’s best for you and the baby so just try to hold it together and think of that adorable baby you will have in your arms!

Finally, a few hours later, I decided to shyly ask if someone could check to see how far along I was and if maybe possibly it would be ok to start thinking about getting that little ol’ epidural.My plan was to hold out as long as I could so that getting the meds wouldn’t slow down labor or cause any other issues. I was kind of nervous and a little ashamed to ask for it, but was proud of myself for toughing it out so long and was ready for some relief.The nurse checked me, and I was about 6 cm at that point, and next in line for the epidural! Hallelujah! Once the epidural was in, I was a new woman! I have heard that it can completely numb you from the waist down which is frightening, and makes it so you can’t move. My experience was much more comfortable I could feel every contraction, it was just dulled to a level 4 or so to make it manageable. I could move my legs and just felt more relaxed, but not trapped or paralyzed. All was well for a couple more hours until I started to feel the pain creeping back up. Apparently, the medicine from the epidural “pooled” on one side of my body and stopped working on the other. I had to move to my side and let it make its way over to take effect again. Tip: Don’t eat when you’re in labor. They tell you that, but I was so relaxed and didn’t think their could be anything wrong with snacking on some gummy worms! As soon as the pain came back, I was puking again and let me tell you, the gummy worms were one of the grossest things to puke up ever. Even worse than the hospital clam chowder I had for lunch. You’re welcome for that.

Once the epidural started working again, I started to feel a lot of pressure in my lower stomach. “I feel like I have to poop, I think I’m ready to push.” The nurse doubted it, but checked and sure enough I was about 10cm and ready to go! They assured me that it would still be some time, to save my energy since I would likely be pushing for hours. With my family gathered around, I braced myself and started to push. This is where it got really fun. I swear to God after a few tries I turned to everyone and said “You guys, I am having so much fun right now! This is awesome! We could have 10 kids, this is great!” I could feel my progress and the contractions, but no pain, so it really was kinda fun. We would all count together when a contraction would build, they would hold my legs and I would push until the nurse told me to stop. After about 30 minutes I could really feel how far down the baby was and told the nurse “If I keep pushing, the baby is going to come out.” Of course she didn’t believe me, but she looked and sure enough (duh) I was right! I actually had to stop pushing and wait for the Doctor. Even when he got in there, I had to really try to slow down and hold her in to prevent tearing myself to bits. I remember everyone telling me they could see her head, and she had a curl of thick hair right on top. It sounded so sweet at the time. When the time came to give it my all and push her out (only 45 minutes of pushing, booyah), my husband got to be the one to reach down and pull her out.

It was the most amazing experience of my life. I have heard so many stories and everyone has a different experience, some good and some not so good. I was lucky to have an easy pregnancy and the best birth experience I could imagine. If I could have the same experience every time, 10 kids wouldn’t be so bad!

 

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Why Rent When You Can Buy?

The real estate market is getting crazy right now, especially for buyers. Prices are still low, interest rates are still great, and it feels like everyone is scrambling to take advantage of the market and buy! I have been working with numerous buyers that have found homes they love, only to get sucked into a bidding war due to multiple offers! Some homes are on the market for only a day or so before they receive multiple offers. Many times homes are selling for higher than the listing price, just due to the high demand. It’s a competitive time for buyers out there, but that’s because it is still a great time to buy. If you are willing to be aggressive and a little bit patient with the offer process, now can be a great time to get out there and find yourself a new home. Here are some reasons why now is a great time to take the plunge and purchase your own home.

Rents Increase Over Time Over  the past ten years, the cost of rental housing in the U.S. has increased an average of 3% per year. If that trend continues, that means that an apartment or home renting for $1,000 per month will cost more than $1,300 a month in ten years. If you rent the same home for ten years, the total amount you would pay for rent will equal $137,567!

Interest rates are at historic lows! Today’s low interest rates can get you more home for your money, while enjoying lower monthly payments.

 Homes are affordable Housing prices are the lowest they have been in years. These great prices won’t last forever!

 Large Home Inventory There is a large selection of homes available to buyers, giving you the opportunity to pick that perfect home that fits your needs.

An Example of Ownership
You purchase a home that costs $250,000. Your down payment is $7,500 (plus closing costs – expenses incurred to actually process the transaction). You finance the balance with a 30-year fixed rate mortgage at 3.75 percent interest. Your monthly payments (not including utilities, maintenance, insurance, etc.) are:

 Breakdown on $250,000 purchase

3% down payment $7500

$242,500 loan amount

With a 700 credit score and good income

3.75 interest rate = $1123.06 principal and interest

$200.00 property taxes

$55.00 hazard ins

$260.00 estimated MI

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Estimated payment $1638.00!!!!

If you are thinking about purchasing your first home, contact me today. I will put you in touch with numerous lenders to help you find the loan program that works best for your situation. Then, you will be ready to get out there and find that perfect home!

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Doctors and Doulas and Drugs, Oh My!

This pregnancy stuff is overwhelming!!! I have been amazing blessed with the easiest pregnancy on the planet. I had very little morning sickness, I’ve only gained about 8 lbs and they’re all in my belly, and I have been surprisingly even-tempered and good-natured. It’s a good thing too, because my husband has been working his butt off 6 days a week, 12 hr shifts for the past month or so. He works at the Tesoro refinery, and they are in the middle of a maintenance “turn around” so he is putting in a ton of overtime. The money is great, but being pregnant and home alone almost every day kinda sucks. Thankfully, I’ve just been able to kick up my feet and pass the time bingeing on new tv shows and baby books.

I’m 23 weeks now, and in my sixth month of pregnancy! I can’t believe how quickly time has gone by. Now that the weather is warmer and the sun is out, July seems to be right around the corner! And now I’m starting to panic. I am a huge wuss when it comes to pain,so I always imagined getting an epidural the second I feel a contraction and pushing my happy baby out in the hospital with a big, pain-free smile. Then the other night, as I was browsing the depths of Netflix looking for something to entertain me, I found a documentary called “the Business of Being Born”. I hit play cautiously, keeping in mind I already knew how I wanted to give birth and was focused on not getting brainwashed by yet another documentary. I have a history of getting sucked in to films and trying to make drastic life changes. I was vegetarian for a month after watching “Food, Inc” which is huge because I hate vegetables. The hubbs and I went 5 days on a juice only diet after watching “Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead”. So I started this cinematic journey with a cautious mind.

I was pleasantly surprised. The film wasn’t nearly as biased and anti-doctor as I expected. They show the pros and cons of home birth with a midwife as opposed to an intervention at the hospital with a OBGYN. But they also show the importance of having a doctor when emergencies arise, which happens to the producer of the film. I found myself bawling each time a lady popped out a child in the kiddie pool in her living room. They certainly were in pain, but nothing like you see in the movies and on tv. And I always tell myself, if birth so so horrible, no one would choose to have more than one baby. Right? So now here I am, wondering what I should do. I like the idea of having a dr near by in case anything goes wrong, and I’m not ready to let go of the idea of an epidural, but hanging out in a jacuzzi tub and giving birth like a beluga whale doesn’t sound too bad either. Looks like I have lots of research to do this summer. I start childbirth classes in May, so I’m hoping that will help ease my fears and give me some ideas.

Any of you moms out there have advice? I know everyone’s birth experience will be different, but I’d love to hear any stories you can share!

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What is a “buyer’s agent” exactly?

Many people don’t realize that there are two types of real estate agents involved in the sale of a home. The listing agent is the one who works with the sellers to market and sell the home. Their first priority is to represent the seller’s best interests and to get them top dollar for the speedy sale of their home. When looking to purchase a home, you can certainly contact the listing agent and have them work as a dual agent for you and the sellers, but keep in mind that they have a duty to put the seller’s needs first. This is where I come in!

I work as an exclusive buyer’s agent. I am here to represent my buyers in finding and purchasing a home. My job is to find you the home you desire at a price you can afford. I have no relationship with sellers, and you are my top and only priority. This way, you can be assured that you are being represented fairly and have someone looking out for your best interests. I will help you every step of the way to buying your home.

The first step when looking to purchase a home is to get your finances in order. You will want to meet with a mortgage lender to determine how much you can afford, what programs and loans will work best for you, and what your monthly mortgage payments will be. Your Realtor® can refer you to an experienced, reputable lender to get you pre-approved for your new home.

Then, it’s time to search for the perfect property. Realtors® have access to thousands of properties through the Multiple Listing Service, and can set you up with a customized search. You can spend hours browsing homes online and the results can be overwhelming. We are here to narrow those results down to fit your needs and wants. We will set up appointments to get you inside those homes to see them in person.

Once you find the perfect property, we are here to guide you through the packets of paperwork, negotiate to get you the best price, and to answer your questions. We work hard to make the buying process as smooth and painless as possible, and we won’t stop until we hand you they keys to your new home.  The best part is this comes at no cost to you. Our commission is paid by the selling agent, so you get the benefits of working with a specialized buyer’s agent for free!

Let me show you how working with a buyer’s agent can benefit you!

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How to Be a Winning Buyer

With interest rates at record lows, and home prices staying incredibly low, the market for buyers has gotten competitive. There are homes that pop up on the market and sell in a matter of days. Our team had a listing that CLOSED in 10 days! With the market moving so quickly, it is easy to lose out on some great deals. Here are some tips on how to be a winning buyer and how to snatch up that dream home before anyone else.

  1. Get Pre-Approved- Meet with a mortgage lender and get pre-approved to purchase a home. This will give you an idea of how much home you can afford, what your payments will be, and what type of loan you qualify for. Having a pre-approval letter to submit with your offer shows that you are a serious, qualified buyer and makes you stand out against the “looky-loos”. If you are putting an offer on a short sale, you are required to submit this letter with your offer. By taking this step first and getting it out of the way, you will save yourself lots of time and make your offer stronger.
  2. Work with a good, aggressive agent– There is a lot of information you can gather about a home before you make an offer. Working with an agent that will take the extra step to call about the home you are interested in can save you time and get you inside, up to date info on the home. Many times the listing agent can tell them if there are any other offers on it, any previous issues with the property that affected other offers, or how motivated the sellers are. This can help your agent suggest a good amount to offer, will let the listing agent know to expect your offer and hold on to any others they get, and can save you time if the seller has recently accepted an offer.
  3. Write clean, clear contracts– When writing an offer, keep it crisp and to the point. Too many additions make it look sloppy, complicated and can turn the seller off to your offer. Include all necessary items in the areas provided and keep it simple.

Let me help you find that perfect home and make you a winning buyer!

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Hello Blogging World!!!!

Well, here we go, my first blog. I have blogged before, but it was all real estate related, and I feel like that counts more as work. This site is just for fun! To keep my friends and family updated on the Flaherty household, to share with you my adventures in being a new, clueless mom, and to share some helpful real estate info at the same time. I’m sure as time goes on I will narrow my focus a bit, but for now expect random posts about my everyday life. Thanks for stopping by, and if you don’t get any useful info from me, I at least hope to get some laughs since I’m sure the next year will be full of hilarious experiences.