Monday, October 24, 2011

A photoshop/illustrator how-to

One of the things I love to do is design things, which sometimes means experimenting on my photoshop and illustrator programs. I enjoy taking a photo, playing around with it and seeing what I can come up with. That's how I got this before and after:

Truthfully I like them both, but the second one gives it a little edge. So, how did I do it?

I took my beginning photo:

Opened it in Illustrator, then clicked "Live Trace":

Live trace doesn't work well with all photos, I just happened to have fun playing around and got lucky that it looked nice after it was done!

Then I copied the live trace photo into the same file with my original photo, clicked the layer property to "multiply".

And that's how I got the end result:

I decided to add the finished product to a poster on Zazzle:

Friday, October 21, 2011

About Me

Just for those who would like to get to know me better :) Feel free to send more questions if you have any I haven't answered about myself. I do have a warning, I *love* being behind the camera because I'm not too fond of being in front of it! Perhaps it's because I know how to get a good shot of someone else, but never can get a good one taken of me. Although I do think this one is one of the cuter shots of me. ETA: I'm updating this a little, so I'm going to make it newer.

Are you in a serious relationship?
I'd hope after almost 10 years of being married I can say I am in a serious relationship! Like many relationships we have had our ups and downs, but we're still holding on and fighting to keep it together.

Do you have any children?
I have two children and I feel really blessed to have them. My first son was born 2-14-2006 after trying to conceive for 2 1/2 years and suffering one miscarriage at 6 weeks. My second son was born 7-31-2011 after trying to conceive for 3 1/2 years and suffering 2 miscarriages at 6w2d and 8w3d.

What did you want to be when you grew up?
Exactly what I am today... a mother and a budding "photographer". Although I may not ever be professional, I love the photos I have (and promise to show some off soon).

What talent do you wish you had?
I'd say like most people I'd love to be able to sing. Although truthfully I think learning guitar would be a neat talent to know. For now I'm happy with photography as my one and only real talent!

Any tattoos/piercings?
I used to have a piercing on my eyebrow. You can see the scar from it, but that's all it will be. It was too much hassle keeping it clean and not having my skin irritated. I also have three holes in each ear as well, but hardly ever use earrings (especially in the cartridge because I have sensitive skin and it irritates it the most in that part).

Do you have any pets?
Two cats, Luna and Jasmine. Unfortunately we lost our third unexpectedly in March of this year. I miss our dear Boots deeply. I'll probably mention them a few times, since they have their own quirky personalities.

What are your hobbies?
Photography is the hobby I love the most. I also love to do crafts - quilting, cross stitching, crocheting, and making jewelry although I never get the time to do that it seems. I still have a project from 5 1/2 years ago I'm needing to work on. It's a Tiger quilt for my husband.. it's huge and I haven't finished cross stitching "Return to Pooh Corner" on it. I should finish that for Christmas or is birthday this year!! I'll show it soon, I promise!

Do you work?
Although I'm not employed outside the home I try to make some cash through working on Zazzle. I design items, post them on different products and hope people buy them! I don't make a lot, but it's helpful for Christmas money. Here's my stores:

Alittlebitoffun - A lot of random items - mostly humor.
Tshirtsforacause - A site that mostly has breast cancer awareness items (working on getting more up. I donate to different charities on what this one makes).
InvitesnMore - Currently working on some wedding invitations, but mostly baby announcements and baby shower invitations.

Feel free to ask me some questions as well.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Our second son, Daniel's birth story

On July 27th I had my ob/gyn appointment, I was 3 cm dilated, 50% effaced and still -2 station. She said my cervix was soft and felt it would be a very opportune time to strip my membranes early because Daniel was measuring big the whole pregnancy and she guessed he'd be at least 9 pounds full term. While most measurements are off 1-2 pounds, I felt there was no harm in stripping my membranes. If it started labor then so be it! For the next three days I had a continuous bloody show and lost globs of mucus plug. Sorry for too much information there! I also experienced off and on contractions, but nothing active. I'd say most days I had around 5-10 contractions.

On July 30th my mother came to visit, so she could be there taking care of my oldest son while I was in labor. She arrived around 4 pm that after noon. 5:30 pm I noticed active contractions, happening every 5-10 minutes and a couple hours later they were roughly every 2-6 minutes. Depending on if I was sitting or walking they were not always very consistent. The contractions were not that bad, so I did not mind them but near the end they increased in intensity. Still I was able to laugh through them. My mother joked with me if I thought I was in labor and I responded I probably was, but refused to go to the hospital until I needed to push or my water bag popped.

I kept telling my husband that night he should head to bed because it probably was going to be a long night. At 10:40 pm he decided he would get ready for bed and start brushing his teeth. Around 10:45 I told my mother she needed to get his attention and get him out because my water bag had broke. So it was off to the hospital for us. Every one assumed labor would be so quick so I shouldn't labor at home at that point, since the only thing that seemed to hold me back with my first delivery was that my water bag didn't pop.

The nurses didn't want to check me often because of possible risk of infection, just wanted to play it by ear. Unfortunately the contractions were every 2-3 minutes and very intense. They hurt so badly and I decided around 1 am to go for the epidural. I had always planned to go natural, but I was experiencing so much pain no matter what I did it wouldn't make it better. They decided since I was getting an epidural to check how dilated I was... -2 station and 4cm. I was disappointed to find out I hadn't dilated much. Only 4cm after all I had been through. I cannot remember the exact time I was given the epidural, I think it may have been 1:30 am by that point. They had to do the epidural twice and warned me due to the situation I'd possibly be one of the 1 out of 100 people to get an epidural headache.

Soon after the epidural I noticed I was completely numbed up to my chest, which caused me to feel like I could not breathe. It definitely wasn't a fun situation. They wound up waiting on giving me continuous medicine and told me in 1 1/2 hours that I would start feeling contractions again and then they would see about giving me more. So 1 1/2 hours later (roughly 3 am) I noticed the contractions were in full swing again, quite painful. I had spot numbness, parts of me including my chest were very numb still. So they slowly and cautiously gave me more medicine until I couldn't feel pain again. They also checked me and I was only 5-6 cm by that point and still -2 station. Between this ordeal my blood pressure plummeted to roughly 85/55 so I wound up getting an Epinephrine shot. They took out my catheter because I was feeling so much pressure in my bladder it felt like I needed to pee.

Shortly after there had been some issues with Daniel going into fetal distress so they wound up putting the heart rate monitor internally and when he still showed signs of distress they put the contraction monitor internally as well. Around 5 am I was 6-7 cm and unfortunately he was still showing some signs of distress so I wound up with oxygen and they actually pumped fluids up there to substitute amniotic fluid. After they did that things were much smoother with him and there was no other worries with him.

At 6:30 am I was feeling a ton of pressure both in my bladder and my bowels. They wound up giving me another catheter at this point to hopefully relieve some pressure I was feeling. I was 8 cm by this point and he was roughly 0 station.

Pressure was getting worse by 8 am, to the point my body was actually pushing on it's own and I could not stop it! It was getting very intense so they checked me again. I was still 8 cm dilated, no progress! I felt really defeated by this point. I was trying hard to rest and hope it would be over soon since my body refused to lighten up. After a long 1 1/2 hours, I was checked at 9:30 am. Was finally 10 cm and ready to push! Thank heavens too because by that point I was feeling even more pressure and was having a hard time not pushing on my own.

It didn't take long for my ob/gyn to arrive in my room and quickly I was pushing. It was rough and they had me push really hard back to back. 15 minutes or so of pushing Daniel made his entrance into the world!! July 31st (39w3d) at 9:54 am. He was 9 pounds even, 22 inches long. Average sized heads of newborns are 35cm and his was 37cm! His apgar score was 8,9.

Truthfully my recovery has been a long one. Since I want to keep this as his birth story, I will post it later!

Now he's 2 1/2 months old, and every day he shows us how bright he is! But more on that later.

Our first son, Andrew's birth story

February 6th, 2006 was my 40 week appointment. I was still 2 CM dilated, 50% effaced and the baby was around -3 station. She mentioned that she'd want to have me induced sometime around Valentine's Day and to make another appointment for my 41st week. She scheduled me for a NST also. Unfortunately I couldn't get an appointment that would satisfy my schedule for my routine, but I did get my NST scheduled.

February 10th I had gained 3 pounds in a single day and I didn't feel like the kiddo was moving much so they had me come in. They monitored me for 20 minutes. I was still only 2 CM dilated and probably 60% effaced by then. Andrew was doing fine and was moving a ton there so they had me leave.

February 13th was my NST appointment. Andrew's heart rate was doing great, and having peaks, which they like to see. The amniotic fluid was also doing very well. The lady there was very considerate and was able to schedule my check-up for that day. After the NST appointment we had time to go downstairs and get some Subway's. Afterward we went back up for my appointment.

I saw a man named Dr. Q, for short. I was still the same CMs and effacement. He did a quick GBS test, since they needed to update it after 4 weeks. During the appointment he said that I'd hate him very much. I paused a moment then asked him, "Wait... you're going to strip my membranes, aren't you?" He smiled and said, "Someone has been doing their homework, haven't they?" I can tell you, I was in a ton of pain while the never-ending minute of having my membranes stripped was going on.

After the appointment, around 3:45 PM, we had to go down to the laboratory to give them my GBS test. I started going into contraction heaven. At first they were going on every five minutes, but two hours later I was having them every 2-4 minutes. At 7 PM we decided to go to Labor & Delivery since I was having them constantly and they were getting intense. Unfortunately I was only 3 CM dilated and they said they couldn't keep me unless I was in active labor which is at 4 CM. They told me to walk the hospital for two hours and they'd see if I was further then.

Walking around was *horrible*. I was in so much pain that every two minutes I'd have to stop and hang onto Aldon. I took breaks and every time Aldon or my mother told me to start walking again I would protest before giving in. Two hours went by and they checked me again. Still was 3 Cm so I was sent home with some tylenol and ambien, to help me sleep.

That night was horrible. I took the ambien and tylenol but since my stomach was uneasy I quickly lost it. Even though I lost the ambien I think it quickly went into my system because a few times Aldon had to catch me because I was falling asleep standing up. I spent the night walking between rooms, trying to find a place that I could sleep comfortably. My mother says I walked more between the night then I did when we were at the hospital. I was feeling bad, and the contractions weren't lightening up. Around 4:30 AM, after having the contractions every two minutes, I was able to sleep between contractions. I found relief in sleeping on a stability ball. Yes, I slept on a stability ball. I sat down on it and put a pillow on the couch nearby and laid my head down on it. I really didn't sleep, to say the least, since every two minutes I'd wake up in pain.

Around 10 AM I kept having the feeling like I was needing to use the restroom. I was quickly becoming frustrated because despite my effort, I couldn't. I decided to take a bath to see if that'd comfort me. I know this will sound gross, and you could skip this little italicized part, but for some reason I decided to "feel" down there and noticed I felt something inside me that was very soft and shouldn't have been there. I mentioned this to my mother and we decided it was time to call the hospital. Since they couldn't tell if what I was describing that I felt was either the umbilical cord or not they told me to get in as soon as possible.

We arrived there at 10:45 AM. For what reasons I'll never know, but we parked far away from the entrance. I darted from the car and ran to the elevator, which I think surprised my mom since she's never seen me go that fast. We got to the Labor & Delivery room and they sent me to a room to be checked. I kept telling Beverley, the sweetest nurse I've ever known, that I had to use the restroom. Every time I attempted I failed. She started asking me questions about that and had the doctor in very soon. The doctor told me I was 10 CM dilated and had a little lip left. What I was feeling was my water bag! I was quickly rushed into a delivery room. Dr Q. was so proud to see me in there. He checked me out and said I was 10 CM with no lip.

Since I was positive for GBS they hooked me up to some antibiotics. Not once did any of the doctors or nurse leave the room and if they did, there was someone there to replace them. Around 11:30 they told me to start pushing. They weren't going to pop my water bag so they put on safety goggles in case I gushed. I was trying to push as hard as I could but wasn't doing that well. 30 minutes later they decided it was time to pop my bag. I was told that there was a thick amount of meconium, which meant the baby had his first bowel in utero. As I was pushing everyone kept encouraging me. Dr Q. suggested a vacuum pump if I needed it, since he knew I was tired and lacked energy. I didn't accept it and continued to push. Andrew Blake Wallace was born at 12:57 PM. He was 7 Ibs 10 Oz and 21" inches long. Unfortunately he had breathing problems so they had to take him and started giving him some oxygen.

After they were finished I got to see him a few moments before they took him away. I hadn't had an episitiomy and only had two small tears. One required a single stitch, and the other one didn't. Within less then an hour I was walking around and visiting Andrew.

They had to keep Andrew in a little oxygen hood since he was having problems breathing. They were going to keep him on 12 hours and then ween him slowly off. I visited him often that day. The morning of the 15th at 7:30 I went in there. He was still on the hood. One of the nurses told me that he was being weened off earlier, and at 3 AM he started wheezing so they were giving him a little longer. The took him off the hood around the same time and he did wonderful. He was able to room-in around noon. He was also receiving antibiotics because I wasn't able to receive 4 hours of it before delivery.

On the 16th, around 5 PM, we were all able to leave the hospital. Thus starting a hectic, but wonderful relationship with the newest addition to our family.

5 1/2 years later, my "little" boy is now in Kindergarten!


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