Monday, July 18, 2011

FREE Happy Baby Product coupon!

This is awesome and there is actually time for me to sit down and share this with you!  If you are a mom to a baby or toddler, you will want in on this deal!!!  Yes, I will get credit if you sign up for RECYCLEBANK, but I assure you that I would not refer my own family and friends to do something like this to just get credit if it were junk.  Its NOT!  This is a chance for me to share the opportunity for you to get a free Happy Baby Coupon!  It took me about 10 minutes to sign up and earn enough points for the coupon last night. 

Sign up for RecycleBank HERE

I noticed today that the FREE Happy Family Product Coupon on RECYCLEBANK that has been sitting at 200 points forever has changed to only 150 points.

This coupon is a mailed offer, not a printable, so it will be accepted at Target, and it is valid for ANY Happy Baby/Happy Family product up to $6! If you are new to RECYCLEBANK earning the points for this coupon is super easy with all the ways to earn right now in the Green Your Vacation Challenge too.

To get this coupon, you will first need to sign up for a NEW RECYCLEBANK accountIt’s completely FREE to join and if you are completely new to  RECYCLEBANK then you can quickly & easily follow these instructions to earn enough points for this coupon: 
1) You will first need to Sign up or log in to your RECYCLEBANK account (completely FREE to join).
2) Come back to this post and click on this link:  RECYCLEBANK'S GREEN YOUR VACATION
3) Once there, click on the word “travel” above the closed suitcase, to get it to open like in the photo.
4) Once the suitcase is open, click on  any of the animated items (train, ship, plane, both cars, raining clouds, red suitcase on the train, and flying bag) to quickly and easily earn points in your account! Once you are done with the Travel area, click on the “Beach” and “Camping” areas to collect even more points!

If you already have a RECYCLEBANK ACCOUNT just click on the “get rewards” tab once you are signed in to access this coupon under grocery & beverage on the left.U sually Recyclebank is pretty fast at mailing out coupons too.

If you haven’t done so yet be sure to check out all the ways to earn under the Earn Points tab, including the RECYCLEBANKGreen Your Vacation Contest under the “Earn Points” tab. The “travel”, “beach” and “camping” areas are now open on the Green Your Vacation Home page, and you can easily earn points in each of these areas! You will also earn points when you refer your friends and they complete activities in the “Green Your Vacation” contest too. The other category, staycation will open up randomly sometime the latter part of July offering more opportunities to earn points. Top point earners will win various prizes including a vacation to Costa Rica or the Galapagos Islands!

Not Familiar with Recyclebank? Recyclebank is a great program that rewards you for recycling by working with a variety of partners. You can add points in many different easy ways, answering quick questions, purchasing specially marked products and trading in your old electronics. Just go here and sign up for RECYCLEBANK to find out all the ways to earn and save!

Scout Gracyn Fletcher

On May 17th, at 38.5 weeks pregnant, I went to the hospital to deliver my daughter.  It was a scheduled c-section.  My birth plan was simple because I had learned from my son's birth---don't plan too much because it will NOT go as you plan.  My birth plan for Scout was for my husband and I to go back to recovery and then my room together and spend time alone with her before allowing her big brother into the room to meet her and spend some solo time with her.  Then, only after her brother had loved on her a bit, would everyone else meet her.  Pretty simple.  Scout had a different birth plan.  Apparently there is a sign in my uterus that says "be dramatic with your birth and show mommy who is boss!"

By the time I checked in for delivery, most of the nurses already knew me from my three previous "observation" visits over the past couple of weeks.  My nurse knew I was specifically scheduled that day and asked to be my nurse.  Hey, I am just thankful that not all the nurses were running the other direction from me at that point!

I was scheduled to deliver at 11:30am.  I was prepped.  My anxiety over the epidural (it took five tries with my son) placement was all for nothing, as the epidural was easily placed on the first try.  I definitely had the jitters.  I was chewing ice like crazy because it was the only thing I was allowed to have.  During all this, my husband read the paper and investigated financing for a possible vehicle purchase.  Don't get me wrong, he was supportive of me and knew his role...but he also knew that all the prepping was up to the nurses.  I was all ready to go when the nurse came in to let us know that an emergency c-section had just bumped me back an hour, which translated to an hour and a half.  When it was finally my turn, all my jitters had gone away and I was remarkably calm given that a doctor was about to cut a six inch line into my belly. 

They rolled me to the OR and Ep had to wait outside as they prepped everything and finished prepping me in the sterile room.  The doctor appeared and then my husband appeared.  Everyone was chatting.  All was well and the procedure began.  Ep was sitting near my head.  I had already cleared it with the anesthesiologist for Ep to be able to stand up and watch them pull Scout from my belly.  I wanted him to see his daughter being born, just like he watched his son be born.  So, the doc let him know to stand up and he watched as they literally pulled Scout from my belly.  And he took pictures.  Now I know what it looks like.  Yes, really.  Its amazing.  No, I will not post the pictures here.  I will tell you its incredible to look at a picture of your own child being pulled from your belly. 

Scout was born at 1:23pm weighing 8lbs and 5oz.  She was 20 inches long and had fat rolls, including a double chin.  She hollered at us.  I was laying there when suddenly I see the doctors hands holding a baby over the drape.  There was my daughter's beautiful scrunched up face looking down at me.  She looked like this:

Scout was then taken over to the baby warmer, where the nurses poked and prodded her.  Her daddy watched from afar until the nurses summoned him over to take more pictures and also to start filling him in on a concern. 

Scout had some concerns of her own and let us know by hollering at us.  She was not happy to have left my warm belly and arrived in such a cold room!
They prepped her for transfer to the NICU because she was raspy with her breathing and seemed to have fluid somehow in or around her lungs.  As the nurses explained this to me (the drape had been lowered and I could somewhat see them and Scout), I am pretty sure that my brain just kind of left the room and took my emotions with it.  I didn't say a word to anyone, but I nearly passed out.  I felt myself start to fade, but rolled my head the other direction and snapped myself out of it.  I am not even sure if the anesthesiologist realized that happened.  All I know is that then I had a massive headache. 

By the time I went through recovery (they said it would be a couple of hours, but my husband and I both agree that we think it was less than an hour!), Scout had settled in up at the NICU.  They wheeled my entire hospital bed into the NICU for me to see her again before going to my room.  I will be eternally grateful for that.  This is Scout all snuggled in her NICU bed and wearing a diaper backwards.
And this is Scout at one day old, still wearing her diapers backwards.
Although it broke my heart that our birth plan did not work out, we were thankful for things to go as well as they did despite the circumstances.  Kale got to see his little sister through a glass window instead of getting to hold her.  We did not allow anyone else in to see her because she needed to rest and a quiet and calm NICU room was what we needed her to have for a quick recovery.  My parents met Scout the next day, but they were not yet allowed to hold her.  I got to hold Scout when she was right at one full day old.  My husband held her when she was two days old. 

We stayed in the hospital for 3 nights and were both discharged together on Friday when Scout was 3 days old.  She was in the NICU until about 10 minutes before we were discharged.  They gave me the option to stay and room in with her one night, but all I could think about was all of us getting home and her big brother finally getting to touch her and not have a wall of glass between him and his sister. 

Scout decided that we needed just a tad more drama and didn't want to be any less dramatic than her brother.  We requested an EKG to rule out the heart defect that her older brother has.  The EKG ruled that out.  The the doctor said in but we found something else that concerns us.  There was concern over a part of her heartbeat called the QT wave.  Thanks to Kale, we are familiar with what the QT wave of a heartbeat is.  Scout had a long QT wave in her EKG.  They told us that most times when this is found at birth, an EKG a week later will show that it has resolved itself.  Apparently Scout just wanted to make sure that her parents were on their toes...because a week later, she had a clean EKG. 

That is Scout's birth story.  Her first two weeks of life were another fun adventure and definitely not your average newborn's first two weeks.  More on that later...

Sunday, July 17, 2011


There is so much on my mind tonight.  This is just a ramble.  Sorry about that. 

My poor brain won't slow down.  Job hunt, frustration with someone who won't take time to listen, hurt because I am tired of going in this circle, fear that this will keep happening, sick of trying to explain something that I am starting to believe can only be understood by experiencing it, considering turning tables, knowing that a reduction in pay is worth it but that it will be an adjustment, trusting God to do what He does best--lead me and provide me the right opportunity in His perfect timing and trying to be patient with that process.  Simply overcome with love for my kids, even when one of them makes me wonder if I will survive raising him.  Maybe I just need a good cry.

I really want to write tonight about Scout's birth, but its nearly midnight and I need to go to bed instead.  I need to write about it soon, before I start "losing" the details. 

Friday, July 15, 2011

Scout's Name

Many people have asked where we came up with Scout's name.  Some simply assume its from the book, "To Kill a Mockingbird".  Although my husband and I both like that book and I thoroughly relate to the characteristics (intelligent, thoughtful, confident, fights with boys, and is essentially a tomboy) of the Scout character in that book, that is not where her name originated. 

While my husband was attending training for 16 weeks, I needed a weekly gut check.  It would have been easy to feel sorry for myself...pregnant, juggling a 3 year old, trying to sell a house, and only seeing my husband 48 hours each week.  I kept reminding myself that military spouses have it soooo much worse.  Then God supported my gut check by sending a tv show my way.  Its called "Coming Home" on Lifetime.  Its about the homecoming and reunification, often a surprise, of military families.  There wasn't one week that I watched it with a dry eyes.  The week two episode rang true even more for me.  Sure, my husband was absent 5 days a week and missing the last half of my pregnancy.  However, he was around some and would be there for his daughter's birth.  The week two episode featured a father who would be returning from a year long deployment and meeting his 2.5 month old daughter for the first time.  He had essentially missed all of his wife's pregnancy and even his daughter's birth.  I bawled.  The baby, a little girl with fair skin and dark hair, was named Scout.  The name rang out to me.  I knew my husband would either love it or hate it.  He loved it.  He loved it so much that week after week, he let me know it was still his favorite until he finally told me that I would have a hard time getting him to agree to naming her anything other than Scout.  I realized then how much he truly did love that name.  I also realized how much I loved the idea him being so steadfast about her name.  I wasn't going to mess with that.  So, we named her Scout Gracyn Fletcher. 

The middle was one that was on the list of first names at some point.  After we settled on Scout, we threw around a few middle names.  I wanted her to have something different, yet feminine.  We also toyed with a middle name that has a little bit of meaning to us.  It all boiled down to the morning she was born.  On the way to the hospital, we were dropping her brother off at school so he could have his normal routine until it was time for him to meet his sister.  As we drove, I asked him which name he liked: Gracyn or the other name.  He very boldly and frankly said "Gracyn! I like that name!" and there you have it, that is how she got her middle name. 

The defined meaning of the name Scout depends on which source you prefer.  Some will tell you it means "listener" while others will tell you it means "observer". 

Want to see the little one that our Scout is named after?  You can see her in two places...
Here:  The blog of Scout's mom
and Here: Pic of Scout

It was only after I had Scout did I realize all their physical similarities...I went to the web searching for photos of her and found those listed above...and was simply brought to tears. 

Sunday, July 3, 2011

What I don't recommend...

Wow, this blog has been quiet huh?  I wonder why?  Oh, I know why.  For the past 6 months or so, my life felt like its more of a secret than open like usual.  I don't normally keep too many secrets about myself.  So, when I go quiet, its a signal that something is up.  And oh, things have been up alright!  The following is what has been going on and what I really don't recommend doing...

I will do individual "posts" on some of these events, but I am just going to lay it out here in bullets:

  • In January, my husband started a law enforcement academy.  This entailed 16 weeks of him leaving the house on Sunday evening and not returning until Friday afternoon.  Thankfully, he was able to call most nights to talk to Kale and check on me.  I was 20 weeks pregnant when he started the academy.  
  • We put our house up for sale.  We knew there was a small chance we would be "placed" in Pulaski county, but we also knew there was a greater chance we would be moved to an adjacent county or even further away.  Ever tried to be 20+ weeks pregnant, chase a 3 year old, work full time, and keep a house "show worthy" on a daily basis?  I do NOT recommend it.  Thankfully, my mom came running anytime I needed her help.  Between the help of my mom and watching a show on Lifetime called "Coming Home", I kept my sanity (mom) and perspective (show).  
  • Somewhere in here, we started packing.  Part of our stuff went to storage.  Our house was 2000+ sq ft and we were pretty certain that our next place might not be that big.  Ever tried to pack a house and still live in it for an undetermined amount of time?  I don't recommend that either!
  • The first week of April, my blood pressure started climbing.  Given my experience in my last pregnancy, my doctor sent me home on bed rest.  He thankfully allowed me to work 4 hours each day from home and my employer agreed.  However, that four hours was either from the bed, couch, or chair with my feet propped up.  I started going to the doctor weekly, getting to pee in a jug for 24 hours each week, and visited the hospital for a short (4 hours or 12 hours) stay three different times over the next 7 weeks.  Doc let me know that one little hint that I wasn't following my strict orders and my tail would be confined to the hospital.  I played by the rules.  This is pretty much where I took my mom hostage Sunday night through Friday afternoon.
  • My husband got his first assignment (location) and his graduation was nearing.  He was headed to Sebastian county.  Our house still had not sold.  I had a baby to birth in Little Rock (not changing docs or hospitals).  His graduation was April 28th.  He reported for duty in Sebastian county on May 1.  The rest of us were still in Little Rock.  I fully took my mom hostage. 
  • We got a date.  After almost 38 weeks of carefully growing our little girl, it was decided that she would arrive via c-section on May 17th and be full term.  Yay!  
  • Scout Gracyn Fletcher was born at 1:23pm on May 17th at 8lbs and 5oz.  She was 20 inches long.  Her daddy watched as they pulled her out of me, just like he did with her big brother.  The next thing I know, my little girl is looking over the top of the drape at me (thank you Dr Breniman for doing that!) before she was whisked away to get cleaned up.  After several minutes went by without them bringing her to me, I knew something was wrong.  Scout had managed to get some fluid in/around her lungs and the nurses weren't happy with how her breathing sounded.  So, to ensure her entry into the world was dramatic like her big brother's, off to the NICU she went.  We kept her NICU room quiet and visitor free to let her rest and heal.  The only person in our family who saw her on her day of birth was her big brother.  Everyone else had to wait.  Its not easy explaining to your family that they have to wait yet another day to meet a new baby, but my husband did a marvelous job of managing that task.  An EKG was done on Scout to eliminate her having the same heart condition as her brother.  She does NOT have WPW.  However, she showed the doc that she had a long QT wave at the time, so that resulted in a follow up EKG and cardiologist visit. Scout recovered quickly from her lung situation and was released to my hospital room about 10 minutes before we all left the hospital.  We had spent 30-60 minute blocks of time with her in the NICU.  This straight from NICU to home thing came back to haunt me.  
  • Scout came home, her brother finally got to touch her instead of just look at her, and all was well for a few hours.  Then mommy promptly started falling apart.  Call it what you will, but I believe it was a small case of post traumatic stress combined with postpartum emotions and hormones.  I was completely bombarded by anxiety, fear, and emotions.  I stopped being able to keep food in my body.  It was a very rough few days. 
  • We took Scout to the pediatrician on Monday and got a clean bill of health.  We took her to get her follow up EKG on Tuesday and waited to hear back on that.  
  • On Wednesday, I managed to get an appt with my doc to get control over whatever was going on in my body.  On our way there, with Kale and Scout in the truck with us, we got rear ended in my mom's Yukon.  Traffic was stopped.  We stopped.  The car behind us did not and was pretty much totaled.  The Yukon stood up like a concrete wall and that amazed me.  I still look at the back of my mom's truck in amazement.  We eventually made it to the doctor.  I told the nurse that maybe the accident would snap me out of whatever was going on within my body.  Apparently, I was right.  That evening, I was starting to feel better and it was all uphill from there.
  • Somewhere along the way, we came to the decision that we were not going to continue living in two separate places after Scout was born.  So, pretty much for the week following me/Scout coming home from the hospital, our house was being packed.  We had some generous help from family and a few close friends.  By the Friday that Scout was 10 days old, our house was empty and the keys were handed over to our renters.  I don't recommend having a baby and moving all in 10 days either. 
  • We arrived at our rental house in Greenwood and it took us all of a week to decide that a 1400 sq ft house is not big enough for these four Fletchers!  Yet, here we are.  The unpacking commenced and is still ongoing.  
  • Somewhere in the moving madness, one of us got strep.  Scout is the only one who escaped it.  I don't ever recommend getting strep, but I REALLY don't recommend getting it on the backside of having a baby and moving.  
  • It didn't take long for Kale to be sick of his mommy 24/7.  Each day he would ask me "mommy, what are we going to do here today"?  He didn't quite understand or like the reply of "Kale, its hotter than hades outside and you have a newborn sister...we aren't doing much besides taking care of your sister, playing with toys, and watching tv."  He kept begging to go outside.  That is when I started looking at summer daycare options.  He has been enrolled now for 2 weeks and it is working out well so far.  He gets to play with kids his age and not hear me telling him no constantly.  I get to keep what little sanity I have left.  
  • I have quietly started looking for work here.  As of Friday, my employer now knows I have moved and will not be returning from maternity leave (unless they let me work remotely, which I doubt).  I actually had a job interview last week.  Notifying my current employer was what required all of the chaos above to be kept quiet as it was ongoing.  I didn't feel comfortable with the stability of my job situation and wanted to be sure that I would have my maternity leave.  
All that said, I don't recommend doing all that the way we did it.  But we did.  And we survived.  And it didn't kill us.