Monday, January 24, 2011

Meal Plan Monday

Hey guys,
I hope all is going well with you. I am still working to get my groove back lol. But it is going well so far. Last week was my first week alone with baby Luca and I did not break him so we are off to a good start :)

My menus are actually gonna be a bit different for a bit, different as in a focus on vegetarian, beef, and fish, why you ask would I not use pork in the land of the schnitzel, well long story short we have a major food crises going on at the moment and as a result our poultry, eggs, and pork are tainted. Now I normally try not to go off on hysteria about food contaminants I am not a bio addict by any means, but as a nursing mom I think it is best to play it safe for a while. I am not avoiding all products with egg and those meats, I do not have the time and energy to go die hard vegan and make everything myself, but we will be avoiding the fresh products. It has been said the organic versions of these items are safe, but if the pocket book hit is not enough to deter you the fact they are sold out in most stores will. 

So here is a look at our week:
Monday- Thursday:
Breakfast: Oatmeal, yogurt, or cold cereal with fruit (DH takes rolls to work)
Lunch: Odds and ends (DH takes sandwiches and veggies to work)
Dinners: Abend brot

Dinner: Potatoes, spinach and wursts

Breakfast: Pancakes and bacon
Lunch: Soup with rolls
Dinner: Lentil Tacos with rice

Breakfast: Rolls
Lunch: Sandwiches
Dinner: Mini Meat loaf, potatoes, and a veggie
Tea time: Apple struedel

So that is fresh meat once in the week. Hey maybe it will make a nice dent in the food budget lol. We will still eat cold cuts on our abend brot nights. I actually want to start making my own breads and salads for those nights too. :)

So what are you eating this week?

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Quick and Easy Broccoli and Rice Casserole

Hello folks,

I wanted to share a recipe with you today. Must apologize for the lack of pics, but I assure you its quick, easy, and tasty :)

Note, this recipe uses a German seasoning packet, I would replace that stateside with a cream soup (mushroom, chicken ect).

2 Knorr Broccoli Graten Packets (Or cream soup)
2 cup rice
100 grams cheese of your choice
400 grams or 1 head broccoli

Start by blanching your broccoli, cooking your rice, and mixing the seasoning packet according to the label. I did it all at the same time on the stove top, but you could easily do the rice and broccoli in advance. At the same time pre heat your oven to 230c. 

Grease a baking dish and mix the cooked ingredients together.

Add half of the cheese and stir into the mix. Spread the second half along the top.

Baked for 20-25 minutes.  


Serves 2-3

You can also make tons of variations by adding in other ingredients, next time I plan to add bacon cubes. 


Monday, January 17, 2011

Luca's birth story

This post is a birth story it will not be appealing to all people and it will contain things that may be considered graphic or TMI. My intent is not to be graphic or vulgar and I wish that I could tell this story and replace it with words like gum drops and popsicles but then it would not be much of a birth story now would it. Please feel free to skip over this post there will be lots more homemaking, expat and frugal living posts as well. 

Thanks for you understanding - Rena


It has taken me nearly 3 weeks to come to terms to get to the point to write this out and even now I am to the point where I am telling myself to do it. I am doing it in part to share with family and friends (and yes I consider my readers friends) who have expressed interest, but I am doing this mianly for myself.

Having said that a lot of the memory has faided and while I am a bit saddened that I cannot recall every detail I realize that was crucial in my acceptance of what happened. You know I used to be the kind of person that laughed when people moaned and groaned about how traumatized they were in thier birthing experiences or how they felt violated, and I am appaulled that I was ever so insensitive because it is something you just cannot fully understand until you have lived through it. 

This is a love story but also a tragedy. It has a beautiful ending but is also full of lost hope and shattered dreams, but this is our story and I hope that it reaches out to someone and maybe they can relate or better prepare themselves if they ever find themselves in a similar experience. 


I had a pretty uneventful pregnancy, well let me clarify uneventful by German stadards which still meant having the crap scared out of me multiple times by worse case scenarios, but in the end all was well. In the weeks leading up to delivery baby Luca was doing well he sank on his own, the placenta was in place and the doctor and midwife even mentioned that they thought he may come early. We eargerly awaited his arrival attending geburstvorbereitungkurs and partnerabend in preperation. We had so much fun preparing the home for baby and took some beautiful maternity photos.

On the Friday night before my due date I noticed some mousture in my underwear, we monitered the situation but ended up going to the hospital Saturday morning to get it checked. They did a CTG and tested for amniotic fluid but all was well. The did say they thought the baby may be over 4 kilos and that c section may need to be held in the back of our minds. That was good because it encouraged me to open up to that idea and I did a little reading on c sections. I had an appointment for Sunday origionally, my due date for a check up in the hospital but since we were already there they said just to come back Tuesday. The baby was still a bit higher then he should be and I was only dialted to less then 1 cm and partly effaced. Did I mention the doctor here was amazing oh I adore her, her husband is also from east Germany and she talked to us and answered all our questions, oh and she will come back into the story later.

So my 40 weeks came and went, I spent the days with hubby and my mom who were both here and on Tuesday we headed back to the clinic. I had awful pelvic pressure and had the typical end of pregnancy oh goodness get it overwith feeling, but I was in good spirits, tired and uncomfortable but in a good frame of mind.And on Tuesday we headed back to the hospital for a check up. Same as usual CTG and ultrasound. This time they measured the baby smaller but also noticed that the amniotic fluid was lower. She asked if I had noticed any leaking but I had not any more so then when I came 2 days earlier to get checked, but it was not dangeriously low. I was sent home and told to come back Thursday and that they would likely induce then so be prepared. Which I already was I had started bringing my hospital bag to visits just in case. 

So we headed off to do some shopping. There was a camera on sale at Saturn for a great price so we went and bought it and then headed over to Kaufland around 1pm, my mom and I checked out c and a and Toni ran into Rossmann. I made my all to common bathroom run at which point I noticed quiet a but more mouisture then usual, not a movie style gush, but wet through to the pants, enough to cause discomfort. So I headed back and told my mom who was at a bench waiting for me and then told Toni who was on the phone at the time with a co worker. We prepared to head back to the hospital to get it checked and see if it was actually my water breaking. On the way out we grabbed food- currywursts with fries for my mom and me and a bockwurst for Toni.

When we got back to the hospital we headed to labor and delivery. Immediatly we were stopped by a midwife who enforced the one person rule and sent my mom back into the waiting area, which was nothing more then a few chairs in a hallway. Toni and I headed in. Again they did a ctg, but the midwife was able to feel the contractions even without the machine, though I had no pain yet. I was beyond excited but a but suprised that they did not test the fluid as they usually did. They said that I would have to be admitted at this point so Toni headed down stairs to check me in and at that point my mom came back in. Toni later came back and both were allowed to remain a while.

I was then moved into an actuial kreißaal delivery room because all of the labor rooms were full. I was uber excited. The contractions were visible on the CTG but I did not have any pain. A bit later at shift change when the new midwife came on duty once again we were told only 1 person. I said in the infoabend I had been informed that I could have 2 people in the labor room just not in delivery and she said no under no circumstances so mom went back out into the hall. At that point they said I could take a break from the ctg and was free to walk around for an hour. During this time one of my neighbors was in labor and screaming through the kreißaal. I remember laughing with Toni and telling him how freaked out I was and that I was happy to get away. Toni wanted to shower so he ran home and I went up to have a coffee with my mom in the cafe (or rather absurdly overpriced snack stand of a joke). So we hung out for an hour and then headed back down. I am not sure if I had light contractions at this time yet but I was not in pain, perhaps more discomfort. We headed back to the room and hung out for a while till Toni came back and then once again switched out. 

A bit later a labor room opened (I assume the moaning lady who was now screaming bloody murder poor thing note after 4 hours she delivered via c section) and we moved there. The contractions started to build more and more and the discomfort as well. They checked me and no progression was made in dialation so they said at 1 am they would induce if there was no progress. We decided to send my mom home due to the lack of a proper waiting area and the fact they refused to let her in. Toni ran her home and during that time I ate dinner and played on the computer chatting on facebook and on a forum. Toni later came back to join me.  At one point Toni ran into a girl from my birthing class coming in with contractions, but I did not get a chance to see her before she was sent home and told to come back later.  

The contractions picked up throughout the night and it was starting to look good as though everything was progressing well on its own. The contractions were about 3 minutes apart. At that point I first asked for pain meds and was given something not sure what it was but by no means a narcotic. I was given the choice of pill or suppository, an told the latter worked fasted, needless to say I took that option. I started to feel better and spent some time hanging out with Toni and playing on the computer. We had another shift change and this time a nice young midwife came on duty. I told her I was starting to get uncomfortable and asked for actual pain meds and she suggested I take a bath in the relaxtion bath which I did. Man was that bathroom lovely let me tell you and tha bathtub was huge. It felt great. The contractions did not go away, but it allowed me to relax to the point in which I could use relaxation techniques. Daddy also enjoyed it because there was a bench and he was able to lay down and take a shirt nap, the rooms only had a single chair for him to sit in. Nothing like the lush US delivery rooms with furniture.  The bath really helped but the contractions kept getting stronger and stronger, so I got out and headed back to the labor room. I think at this point I changed into the delivery clothing I brought just because it was easier at this point. 

The contractions kept building, at this point I started turning into the scary women I mentioned earlier, although I was not screaming but loudly humming through the contractions. My contractions were steady and increasing and the midwife checked me and said I had progressed and therefore would not need the induction she then came back with a pain med. I think first they tried something homeopathic, uck, but later she came back with some type of medication for cramping and something for pain. I am not to sure of how they work but it was supposed to relieve pain in conjunction with one another and that they did. She administered them slowly and sat and talked with me and breathed through the contractions. That friend I mentioned that was there earlier and sent home actually came back and this time was admitted, so we were in rooms across from one another lol. 

The midwife disappeared for a bit and I was feeling much better. I was cheerful and excited. Even posting on facebook and a forum I frequent. A few minutes later the doctor came in to check me. She told me that I had not progressed, apparently they had a disagreement about finger size and measurements. And she said that the medication had worked too well that the contractions had actually lessoned, which she said meant they were not real labor contractions. Now I still to this day do not understand how one can have contractions that are not real, perhaps that was the language barrier and she meant they were not progressing I really do not know. But she said that in light of such we would need to induce. This was around 1 am. So I was given information to read and a waiver to sign. I was told they had a gel and a pill form and I took the pill I believe. Again we went back to waiting.

Within the hour the contractions greatly intensified. I reiterated that I wanted an epidural, but was told I could not get one until I progressed passed a certain point. It was either 2 or 4 cm. I think 4. So we waited and waited. I become more like the scary lady moaning with each contraction. Eventually they checked me again and said I had progressed enough for the epidural. So they called the anesthesiologist and said he would be there shortly. 

When he arrived we were moved back into a Kreßaal room. I was changed into a gown. They did the normal prep work and the doctor sat with me and held me as they did the epidural. And at first everything was great. It worked well. But I noticed that I still felt pain on one side. The anesthesiologist hung around and adjusted the epidural. It seemed to be working well enough for a while.

Then things got messy and my memory is a bit blurred so bear with me. I did not know until later that I was given an additional induction medication called wahen tropfen, or contraction drops, shortly after they did this things went south. The contractions increased in frequency and pain level. I expressed concern that something was wrong and was told to breathe through it. This went on for about an hour. 

I became increasingly upset and frightened as the contractions became closer and closer and stronger. I had an incredible pressure and felt the need to push. I was checked and they said I must be wrong, perhaps I needed to go to the bathroom. I asked if i could go and they said no. I had thought I was given a walking epidural, but they said I could not get up and sat me up on a bed pan an left. At this point hubby had stepped out, he was rather upset and became physically ill as the labor progressed and I became more distressed. He had thought the midwife was staying with me but she left. I then got stuck half propped up on this metal bed pan, unable to lay down with horrible contractions and out of the reach of the call button. That is when I flipped and got hysterical. At this point the contractions had become all but constant. I expressed something was wrong multiple times, and each time I was told oh this is normal you are just afraid. I was treated as a first time mom alarmed by labor. I was also never given a cathedral with the epidural, which meant I was left to wet myself and left laying in it for hours. 

My hysteria increased. My husband actually had made a video which is only audio that I had the chance to listen to. I was screaming help me and that I was so afraid, it just broke my heart to hear such a precious moment forever shattered because my voice as left unheard. They eventually called the anesthesiologist back and he gave me an additional shot it still did not work. At this point the contraction pain was constant there was no breaks anymore. There was still contractions that came and went much stronger, but also a constant tremendous pain. I told them over and over something was wrong. 

I begged for help. I begged for a c section. I even asked my husband to call the emergency services to have me taken to another hospital. I remember the doctors all standing around and talking about their options, at this point it was such a blur. At some point during this I was given a homeopathic medication against anxiety and after that did not work I was given a shot of valium to calm down. The finally said they would consider doing a voluntary c section at my request. The doctor again came to check me and she said that at this point I had not progressed past 4 cm and that my cervix was swollen so a c section would be medically necessary. At this point they said it was still not an emergency so I would have to wait a few hours while they assembled a team. They had to give me medication to suppress the contractions. 

A team was arranged and I was prepped for surgery. I was shaved and put into a cap  and finally given a catheter, then taken into the OR. Hubby was given scrubs to change into. I remember the anesthesiologist testing to see if the spinal was working spraying cold on my shoulder then my hip. I was shaking like mad and they gave me a muscle relaxer. I remember looking around the room and how many people were there, I remember the blue cloth lifted up over my chest so I could not see down. I even remember them prepping my stomach with disinfectant. The anesthesiologist continued the tests for a few minutes, and at that point I recall him saying full narcosa and he shoved a mask in my face and that was that. 

At the same time hubby was in the hall. No one ever notified him that they were deciding to use a fell anesthetic. No one told him he could not go in. They just left him in the hall and kept telling him in a minute he could go in. He did not know what was going on until he heard cries. After that a midwife brought the baby out and he could see inside the door and saw me intubated. 

Hubby was able to go with the midwife to check the baby. She was really nice. She joked with him, he asked if it was his baby and she replied, I don't know, he said well did it come from my wife, she smiled and said yes. He got to watch her do all the normal tests and then they dressed Luca and gave him to Toni.

I was taken back into a kreißaal room, actually the first one we were in, and I was knocked out about 20 minutes according to hubby. I remember opening my eyes and apparently asking for my glasses according to Toni lol. Then I saw him holding a towel and I asked if that was him and he gave me the baby. I started chanting he is so beautiful over and over and Toni said I was just as loud as when I was screaming for help lol. I remember he called my mom to tell her he had been born and he put the phone up to me and I said the only words that came to mind, 'he is so beautiful'.

Baby Luca was born at 7:31 am on Tuesday December 22nd. He was born after 16 hours labor, 2 failed induction attempts, a failed epidural and a failed spinal. He was born via c section under full narcotic.

It took me a long time to get to the point where I had come to terms with the birth and what had happened. My intent with this post is not to be vulgar but to share my story in a way that you understand why I felt my concerns were left unheard and why I felt the way I did.

I feel like so much was lost. I never got to hear his first cry, I was afraid at a time that I should have been overjoyed. My husband was so upset he vomitted and no one felt the need to inform him of the decisions made, ones with very serious risks. He never got to kiss me before I was knocked out or tell me everything will be ok. But the fact he was just left in the hall terrified with no idea of what was going on breaks my heart. 

But the journey is not what matters here, the outcome is. My mom told me something that has affected me more then anything. She told me that photo above showing me meeting Luca, that that was my moment of birth and that nothing and no one could take that away. 

Check back for a second post about my experiences post op. :D

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Sundays in my city- the pacifier

Welcome to another Sundays in my City. 

Unknown Mami

Today has been a quiet day at home, my mom few out Friday and we are becoming used to life as a trio. So far so good. Tomorrow will be my first day alone with Luca and I am nervous to say the least.

But the highlight of the day was when our 3 1/2 week old son pulled his pacifier out and held it. We got him holding it on video and photos of the progression. I wish we could have caught it all on video, we had thought he was just holding it so we were just taking photos. Oh well, I am sure there will be many moments we are not fast enough to capture, but what we did record was great.

Check it out!

Make sure you stop by to check out everyone else. 

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Menu Plan Mon(Tues)day

Sorry folks I am still adjusting to baby time, so I thank you for bearing with me. I must say even having been a college girl a few years back who could master the all night cramming and 4 am papers, that is nothing to prepare you for parenthood lol. I guess it is just one of those things you really have no clue about till it up and smacks you in the face. hehe

So sadly this is the last week with my mom. You will notice that my plan is different then usual. Normally we eat abend brot or cold meals Mon-Thur and warm meals Fri-Sun and that will return next week. But I have enjoyed cooking for my mom and exposing her to (or coercing her to) try new foods. 

So here is our plan for this week, just dinners (My days are not set in stone, so I am just gonna do list format)

1. Bratwurst with green salad, brat sauce, and potato salad
2. Rinderfleish with spatzle and brat sauce
3. Bratklössen with knodel and butter veggie mix
4. Leberkase, rotkohl, and boiled potatoes
(Those were moms choices and you may note that many are dups, she wanted to have her favorites again before she left)
Now end of the week will be simple since we had hot meals all week. I do not want to do cold, because I want to cycle back into my routine next week and a week of cold meals sound icky lol.
5. Soup with rolls
6. Fishsticks, boiled potatoes, and a frozen veggie
7. Steakpfanne with rice and rolls

Now for breakfast my mom and I have been having oatmeal. Toni takes 2 brotchens with him to work with coild cuts, cheese and veggies.

Lunches mom and I have been eating left overs, odds and end and small things I pick up. T has 2 american style sandwiches with cold cuts, cheese, and veggies.

Now do not forget to stop over at for over 300 menus weekly.

Oh and an update T started his new position this week so wish him lots of luck, he is excited but hates change, can't say I blame him :P 

Now I have a lap top with a dying battery and a sleeping baby on  my legs, and we all know to never wake a sleeping baby so I must run.

I go the births tory two thirds done so do check back. 

Hugs- Rena

Sorry for the lack of the normal graphics my mac died so I am on a different computer booooo.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Sundays in my city- Baby recap

Hey guys,

As promised I am back with Sundays in my city. I am gonna start with a recap of life with baby Luca thus far and end it off with a recap of our day and some photos.

I will be posting weekly updates about the baby on Wednesdays, this week I will also recap his birth story and the first 2 weeks in upcoming posts. I will continue with Sundays in my city and meal plan monday as well as my normal frugal living, expat, and homemaking posts. So while there will be baby posts of course, no need to worry the conent I wrote before will also remain :D

So just to recap baby Luca was born on December 22nd at 7:31 am. He was 53cm long and 3640g. He was born via c section under full anesthesia after 16 hours labor, 2 failed inductions and a failed epidural. It was a very traumatic experience to be honest not due to having a c section but the care I recieved was subpar and I will go into details later, but I have come to terms and I think I needed to take the time to do so before sharing my story. I am now at peace with what has happened and can only refocus my energies on the outcome a beautiful little boy, the way he arrived is trivial. 

After 6 days in the hospital including Christmas we headed home. Over New years my inlaws came down to meet him. And my mom has been an amazing support and help during this time. 

We have had some struggles with breastfeeding which I will likely talk about in another post, don't worry I will have big warnings before any topics that I feel people may want to skip over. But he is doing well. He just crossed the 4 kilo mark this week and is growing like a weed. He is so strong. He kicks and has just started discovering his arms and hands. He can even lift his head, don't believe me?? Well check out the evidence below.

All in all we are doing well. Daddy went back to work last week and my mom flies out this Friday. Next week will be my first week alone and I am scared to death to say the least, but I am sure we will do fine. 

So now lets talk about my Sunday. 
Unknown Mami

Today was a pretty quiet day at home. I worked on catching up on housework and hanging out with baby Luca. We had a pretty uneventful day until baby Luca lifted and held his head. Before he was bobbing a bit but now he holds his head up. I know you think I am mad but I assure you it happened. We had taco ring for dinner and are getting ready to do babies hand and foot prints. 

Here are some photos from our day:

Make sure you stop by to check out everyone elses day.

Alive and well

Hey guys I wanted to apologize for the lack of posts. Baby and I are doing well after 6 days in the hospital we came home and have been settling into our new roles withen each others lives. My mom is here through this Friday and I want to take as much time I can with her, the visit has been wonderful but far too short. She has been such a resource and great help.

Check back later today for my sundays in my city post which will include photos and an update on baby Luca. I will also post my menu plan tommorow. Then I will return to regular posting next week.

Thanks for your understanding.



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