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Friday, September 7, 2012

Zakiyah's birth story

Sitting here, two weeks into being a mama of two beautiful, healthy girls I am overwhelmed with many emotions of God's grace and wonder of how he can give me such a life overflowing with blessing and perfection.
I have been wanting to write out our birth story since Zakiyah was born. It is such a overwhelming experience to even process and write down. But it is so nice to have for our memory:)
My due date was August 13th...a Monday. However, Andy and I were determined to have this baby on my birthday, August 5th. Andy and Zion share a birthday of February 19th. She was born on his 31st birthday. So, me being Christy was set and determined to make this baby come out on my 31st birthday. Perfect, right? So I did everything you are told to do.....I walked a lot. I drank the raspberry leaf tea, made the labor cookies, got massages, pedicures, rubbed my pressure points, got out my breast pump. You name it, I did it. So August 5th came........and went. No baby. So in my mind, I was already overdue since mentally I had that day in mind. I, then began to come up with other fun dates for a birthday but those too did not happen.
At my 40 week 3 day overdue check up with my mid wife, we discussed being induced. I was all for it.  My check up was on Thursday, 8/16. I was still only dilated to a 2 maybe 3 and did not have a soft cervix. I had a lot of anxiety because my Mid Wife, Sharon was going to be out of town on saturday and sunday for 24 hours and I did not want to go into labor with her out of town. So we set up arrangements for me to arrive at the hospital in Wabasha on Friday morning at 7:30 to be induced. So my parents came and got Zion from us and we were ready to have the baby. As we drove to Wabasha that morning, Andy said he didn't feel comfortable with me being induced. He thought we should just hang on and wait for baby girl to come when she was ready. I, on the other hand was not having it. I was so done with my pregnancy and was ready! So ultimately, I won that one.
We chose to do a more mild form of getting the ball rolling. Sharon gave me a half of a pill of cytotec in my cervix for contractions to start. Typically they start coming within 2 hours. So Andy and I hit up my fav lil restaurant, Stacy's Kitchen for a cinnamon roll. We then went for a walk around the downtown and water front.

Basically, going back every 45 minutes to see if anything was brewing. But, Nothing. At 12:30, 5 hours in, I still had no progress. I was pretty feisty at this point and frustrated. It is such a weird feeling to leave your home, packing to have a baby. Locking your house up for the anticipation of bringing home baby and just dreaming of holding them. kissing them. and not being pregnant anymore! So at this point, Andy and I had some decisions to make regarding what to do next. He did not feel comfortable with me having another pill or doing anything more intense. I got the Cass pep-talk on patience, God's timing, and she will come when she wants to come. All of which were right. Thanks Hus.
So Andy and I opted to leave and go about our weekend and pray she didn't come until our mid wife was back in town sunday. We went and grabbed lunch at a local dive for a burger and took a scenic drive back to Rochester to hit up a local flea market, Gold Rush Days in Oronoco. (pix of Reads Landing Restaurant)

 I anticipate this event every year so I was pretty excited to go and browse the booths. We met up with some friends of ours and were having a great time. I got myself some fresh lemonade and a homemade ice cream sandwich and was a happy camper. About 1/2 hour into us being there, I started having contractions. Go figure. THis was probably around 2:30 or so in the afternoon. I kept them to myself at first. I was in denial. Of course, they started now. After 15 minutes or so, I told Andy that I had them. He instantly got our the phone to log them. Sure enough, they were lasting 30-45 seconds and coming on every minute and a half to two minutes. They were very manageable pain wise. At this point, they just felt like cramps.  There was a lot of excitement and craziness from our friends and us. I am sure the vendors and bystanders in the booths thought we were comical, with our timing of contractions and such. After 30 minutes of so, we called our mid wife and we were on our way to Wabasha again for the day.
As we drove to back to Wabasha, I had the normal feelings. What if its fake? What if its too early? Andy put his hand on my belly, and said, "Christy, she is coming out today!" I was so excited.
We arrived at the hospital, greeted my the birthing center staff, "your room is still set up:)". This is why we love it there! They hooked me up to monitors to track my contractions. It was just a waiting game at this point. We were prepared for them to pick up eventually. I was still dilated to a 3 and nothing really new down under. So every 30 minutes they hooked me up and checked my contractions and baby girl's heart rate etc. Everything was normal. But, No progress. At supper time, Andy for the 3rd time that day, hit up a local restaurant for our dinner date to be in our room :) Pizza and root beer. We played some cards, a game called 9 cube and just chilled. At about 9pm, we got ready for bed and they told me to page them every time I got up to check my contractions. I was discouraged at this point, for the fact that I could sleep through my contractions. They went from being very frequent to being random. THey were more like every 4 minutes and lasting just as long. Basically, the cytotec took its turtle time to kick in and then started to wear off. So my night was uneventful. No baby. Crazy hormones. tired. discouraged. frustrated. At 5 am, I asked to see Sharon, my midwife and she checked me again to see if there was any progress. Nada. I told her to go home. I felt the guilt for wasting her time. Andy and I went back to sleep til around 8 am and I got the approval to leave and go about my weekend round 2. I was a wreck. tears. emotions. sad. We went and grabbed a coffee from a wanna-be coffee joint. You know its bad, when you order a "half caff. drip with room for cream" and they start pulling shots of espresso. just sayin. Andy comforted me and spoke encouragement to me on our drive.
I was totally ok with waiting for her to come. It was just the disappointment of going to the hospital 2 times in 12 hours to have a baby and leaving without. Not to mention, I am the MOST impatient person ever. Andy and I headed from Wabasha to Red Wing to get Zi pie at G&G home front. Highway 61 is the most beautiful drive. While driving, I responded to lovely text messages from my friends and family encouraging me and waiting to hear the news. I called my girlfriend, Katherine, who was having a bridal shower at my best friend, Jody's house that morning to tell her I couldn't emotionally go. She comforted me and understood.
We got our dose of happiness from our awesome 2 year old. big hugs and kisses. As we headed back to Roch, I decided I wanted to go to the shower to support Kath and have some amazing brunch! Hey, I planned the menu...why not:) We stopped at my sis, Cara's new house to see it quick. It was move in day and then I got dropped off at the shower. Let me tell you, good food. good iced coffee (thanks Pioneer woman) and amazing friends does the trick. I felt loved. My other sis, Chels was there to be awesome as always. The rest of my Saturday was full of rest and hanging with Z and Andy.
Sunday morning, We went to church and went about our normal day. fellowship. Roscoes-Holler. the best bbq! and some more Gold Rush action. I bought a shelf for the nursery and was having a great time. We went over to our friends, Eric and Danielle for supper, park and outdoor fire. I went for a walk and called my midwife to set up a ultra sound and check up the following day. The plan was to go there around lunch time. As of monday, I would officially be in my 41st week of my pregnancy. One week over due-NBD. I had my friend Katherine rub my feet and ankles to get those pressure points working. I was over this pregnancy!
We got home around 10pm and put Zion to bed right away. Andy conked out soon after. I sat in bed, praying for this baby. Within 15 minutes of laying there, I had full blown, painful, hug the pillow, contractions that were lasting over a minute. I timed them for 45 minutes, no sleep for me, and woke up the hus at 11:15pm to say its GO TIME! for REAL! We called our next door neighbor and friend Sarah  to come sleep on the couch til my mom got to our house. Andy jumped in the shower and made a coffee while I got situated. I was so calm surprisingly.  As we drove the 50 miles to Wabasha, I complained that Andy was driving too slow and too crazy around corners. Nothing made me happy :) We got to the hospital for 3rd time at 12:45 am Monday to be greeted my our peeps. "Andy and Christy your room is ready". Gotta love! I got hooked up to the monitor and machine right off the back. I was dilated to a 4 and things were moving along. At about 2-2:30am, I requested to get in the tub because my back pain was on fire. I had the nurses rub my back every contraction to help with the pain. I just have to say the tub is the best. I can't express enough how much it helps with pain. My contractions and everything moved along like normal. At about 4:30am or so, I was at 8cm and I asked Sharon to break my waters. I was over the waiting for it to happen. As soon as she broke my waters, things progressed. I started pushing around 5:15am or so. Did it hurt? Um, Yeah. Like a mother. The corny way of explaining it, "I am woman-hear me roar!" It is the most empowering, crazy experience ever. Pushing out a baby. Allowing your body to rock it out. It is still mind blowing to me that I have the physical strength to go through labor. What a gift. What a miracle. I cried. I grunted. I said I was done. I asked How much longer. I complained. But, I was determined to have this baby girl. At about 5:55am, her head crowned and quickly grabbed the camera just in time. I put my hands down by her head and their she came. It was amazing. She barely cried. She had tons of hair, big feet, big gorgeous eyes. 10 fingers , 10 toes. She was perfect. Zakiyah Nova Cass- born at 5:59am August 20th. 8#4oz  21"long.  Zakiyah is hebrew and means PURE. and Nova means BRIGHT and NEW. I have always called Andy, my hubby nova, stemming from Cass-anova. nova scotia. So we thought it would be fun to use. We liked how strong the name was.

this is Kiyah, right after she was born. looking at me. how precious.


my gift.

still looking at her mama while Sharon was cutting the umbilical cord and cleaning up....

getting weighed and checked!


the famous feet that kicked me the whole pregnancy and labor.

After my perfect delivery, we ran into complications. My placenta would not come out. Usually it takes about 7-10 minutes for a placenta to come out. A woman will feel the need to push and it comes out. Me, not the case......After about 10 minutes, Sharon and the staff moved me to a bed so it would be easier. They had me stand up on the bed, which was very painful, considering I had just pushed out a 8 pounder. Just a touch sore and weak down there.....I ended up having pushing half of the placenta out and the rest was stuck inside. So Sharon sat there holding my placenta in her hands trying to get the rest out. gross I know. I will spare you the details but say it ended up taking 2 hours for it to come out. It was two awful hours of pain. tears. ultrasounds. talk of emergency DNC in the OR. doctor and Sharon trying to get it out. I had Kiyah nursing, trying to contract my uterus to help it along. How did it come out? prayer! Andy literally said, " in the name of Jesus, come out." and it did. Thank you Lord.
A little background on my body. I had to have a DNC 4 weeks after delivery with Zion because I still had about 5 cm of placenta left. Which meant I had a lot of clots. Then in May 2011, I experienced a miscarriage, which lead to another DNC 4 weeks after no heart beat because my body would not pass the baby naturally. Then with this pregnancy, we discovered I had scar tissue from the the surgeries and had to be extra cautious with my ultra sounds to make sure the scarring would not get tangled on baby. So basically, I obviously have feisty placentas that doesn't like to cooperate.
It is a minor problem for many people. But it has been a little traumatic to Andy and I. We feel very blessed to have our two beautiful healthy girls.
Post delivery, we took naps and rested up before our family arrived to celebrate with us. I cuddled with Kiyah and took her in. Her smell. her details. her precious little hands. her peach fuzz all over. PERFECTION.

Here she is holding daddy's hand.

soaking up Z

first nap:)

cuddling her daddy

a fun pix.

Mommy and Kiyah

Zion came to hospital at lunch time with my mom. We kept it a surprise of where she was going. Andy met my mom and Z in the parking lot to tell Zion what was going on. She was wearing her Big Sister shirt from our friend Heather. Zion was shy at first but so excited.

 She wanted to sit with me and Zakiyah right away. She gave her kisses and held her hand. She asked me if I had a baby in my tummy still. So cute.

 It is the most surreal moment when you are holding your first born, your baby, the daughter that taught you how to be a mom, and for the first time realize how BIG they are. Wow. It is like she grew up overnight. I will never forget those minutes of our family growing....Zion is the proudest big sis ever!  I still can't believe I have two girls! What a crazy thing. Such a gift.

soaking up some Z time. getting to know her sis.

Kiyah totally responds to Zion. She definitely knows her voice and is calmed by it. It is amazing. Here we are....the fam! Cass Fam 2012.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

FarmHouse table

My friend Brie and I hit up NYC city this past holiday weekend, and let me tell you we had a blast! More on that trip later.....
While we were gone, Andy had a big surprise for me! He stayed back with Zion to enjoy the weekend and hit up grad parties. But, He did more than that! I have been begging for a table for our dining room. We were using the outdoor glass top patio table from Menards. Since last fall, we have been planning on building a table. When I say "we" I mean the hus:) We have talked about using our remainder of barn wood we used in the studio. Or building a concrete top table, using pieces from a organ that is broken from church. All which we still want to implement  with other pieces.
Andy decided to use the barn wood.  The table is 80x42 for the size. It is gorgeous!
This picture is the beginning stages of the build. He spent all weekend on it. Thanks to our amazing neighbors and friends that helped with building it or playing with Zion.
Here is the top of the table during the process. Isn't the wood awesome! The wood is from an old shed that Andy's parents got us;) I m in LOVE.
This is a picture of it in the dining room before I got home. We will easily be able to seat 10 people and probable jam more in when hosting holidays. We still have to get more reclaimed wood to wrap the legs with. Andy treated the wood with an outdoor stain to protect the wood and a clear coat of varnish to shine it up a bit. I love the simplicity of the design and the character it has! It's awesome!!!!!!
If only all wood had this much charm.
When I got home from my trip at midnight on Memorial Day I knew something was up when I smelt the lovely aroma of stain in the garage. I went straight to the dining room to see the lovely present! Andy even picked a rose from our yard and put in a vase:) So sweet. I love what this table represents.....LOVE. work. It will host many gatherings and conversations. It will bless many! The Cass Fam will cherish it forever!
We used existing chairs that we already had. They are all Target, but we purchased them at Goodwill for super cheap. I really want a bench on one side and eventually we will have a banquet at the front window with a cushion. Oh the dreams.....
more later...just wanted to get this up and share the love. call my hus for a consult on table today at 507.319...jk. loves. 

Thursday, May 10, 2012

the things that get me excited!

oh man. the things that get me pumped up in my 30's....this week it it a popsicle maker that is A-Mazing! I got it on amazon for $50. We love it.
You can get one that makes 2 or 3 molds at a time. We went with the one above that makes 3 at a time. It is the easiest thing to use. You store the unit in the freezer always. You allow it to freeze for 24 hours and take it out and pour your popsicle creation in. We used juice and fresh fruit. It takes 7 minutes to make. that is it.

You can do 2 to 3 batches at a time. So Andy and I made 9 and put them in the freezer. It is so great knowing you are having a healthy alternative for a snack. Especially considering it costs $5 a pop to buy a box of popsicles at the grocery store.

Here are two of ours that we made. I used organic natural apple juice, bananas and kiwi. They were delis!

Lil Miss Zion was a huge fan as well! So this will be a Cass staple this summer for cooling off Prego mama and keeping the 2 year old refreshed!

Monday, May 7, 2012

Process of building my Studio 1.

I thought it would be fun to go back and share the process of building the hair studio with you. It is so crazy to imagine it not being here now :) It was always a BIG dream for me to have my own studio. Especially when I became a mom, I wanted to make it happen fast. The typical Christy gets pretty impatient and wants things to happen asap.
So Andy and I started looking for a house we could construct a studio. We looked for about 4 months when we found our house! I knew the minute I stepped foot into our living room that this house was ours. I fell in love with everything. Originally, we were going to build an addition/four season porch concept for the studio. But after evaluating the situation, we decided to finish off the basement and build a studio where the "guest bedroom" would be. We started with putting in the concrete outside. Our awesome neighbor/friend Mike and his team put in the steps and patio area.

Here are some shots of the process of the concrete. The photo above shows where the patio outside the salon is. The window right there is where the studio is, and to the left of that is now the the door for the salon. After the concrete was framed in, Andy and I decided to add a curvy sidewalk and another patio off our sliding door in the family room. Below is a shot of before....

Doesn't it look awesome!? I love how it is unexpected! So next up was the framing of the basement. Nothing was done when we moved into our house for the basement. So it was really fun to be able to do the project start to finish....well we are working on that:)

Here is a shot of wall where the transom window is now. In this corner is where the fireplace is now. And the right wall is the where the processing area is with art on the walls.

This is our friend, Ernie working away on the framing. This is a shot from the "family room" looking into the salon. Pre/ walls and doors and windows that we added. So the left wall with the window on the left is the bathroom. and the window on the right is in the studio.

Here is a shot of the framing being put in where my "station" is. On the other side of the wall is the bathroom.

This picture is another shot of the wall for my station. You can see the bathroom being framed up too. The hallway leads to the family room as well.

You can see the framing for the transom window here. After standing in the room and envisioning everything I knew that I needed more light. So I begged Andy to add the transom and he was game. :) Also, to the right of the window is where the door is now.
Thats is for now...more tomorrow...

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Summer 2012 Hair I m Lovin'

Had my eye on some looks right now that I m a fan of...thought I would share.

obsessed with the bun! high bun to be exact, if only my hair was long. if you don't have much hair, try the  sock bun as shown below:

I m also loving short hair styles for women still. I think if the cut is done right, Short hair can look incredibly feminine and effortless! nothing better than dangly earrings and some fun short hair.

Aren't these fun?
And then there is always red hair that draws me in like no other. It is so distinct and more uncommon which I enjoy.

This is so 1960's classic. the long bob. the natural red tones.  I really LOVE the whole look. speaking of 60's, I really love using silk scarfs for something different when styling hair.

and you don't have to have long hair to pull this off. I do it all the time. It is a great alternative for bad hair days or days you don't wash etc.

not the best picture of my head wrap, but you get the concept. All you do is take a square scarf and fold it in half so its a triangle. Then fold it up, and tie the knot on top. I tuck the ends under the scarf. Its so fun and a great way to add color!

Isn't this updo Gorgeous? I love the simplicity of it. I have played around on some updos with this concept. It is just twisting or braiding it back and doing a messy bun. Easy, right? :) It can be hard if you haven't done many updos..but it is fun to try!

On to men, I love variations on this cut. I have done many different tweaks to this. It is the best of both worlds: having groomed sides and some length for the top. Yet, it is still biz profess! 

Oh Mad Men, how you have turned us on to a new era! Retro. Classic. Sophiscated. I love the 1960's look for men too. :) It is definitely a look that never leaves. Many men can pull this off. Whether it is for a one night out or daily wear.

I really like this look too. It is fun to have non clipper cuts done as well. Experimenting with some texture with the razor and being creative. This is a great look for a guy with a lot of hair that needs to typically be thinned out or texturized. 

A great cut for someone that wants some youthful edge!
What do you guys think? What looks are you liking? It is endless with ideas!