Monday, December 29, 2008

Reflecting on Milkiness

Not a milk lover.
Never have been.
But I have become a cereal junkie.
And because of it, now consume at least 3 times the milk I used to.
I drink a lot of milk, I make a lot of milk...

And then there is the b00bs. After having been through miscarriage, the removal of my septum and a very difficult pregnancy, I feel as though I have earned the right to brag about the fact that my b00bs work. They make milk. And baby D. is generally a good nurser. He has his moments, where he gets pissed off and slams his baby fists on my chest. He also has moments where hunger becomes secondary to play - and in his antics, chokes on a gulpful of the milky stuff - sending me into panic mode.

And although breastfeeding is going well, it is far from perfect. Together we have our moments of frustration. I am too engorged and he can't latch. Or he is to wound up, or playful to stay latched properly - dripping liquid gold slowly down his cheek and onto his shoulder. I also feel like sometimes I just can not get us in the right position. It is kind of like stepping on your partners toes whilst dancing:)

Like for instance... I just returned to this here post after attempting to nurse a fussy Mr. D. I have been trying to nurse him more, for longer periods, since he is a nurse-napper. Today has been great. He ate well and slept well till this evening. He started doing this thing where no matter what position I put him in he can not latch properly or constantly breaks the latch. That is when he inhales milk and gages and coughs wildly. So I took him upstairs to bed so I could nurse him laying down. Oddly, this position is the one in which he is least likely to choke. He latched on good, started eating, then 2 minutes later went back to his "crazy" routine: loosing the latch, choking, swinging his head back and forth, acting as if the nipple is not right in front of him. I don't understand this behavior. So I decided he was not looking to nurse out of hunger, swaddled that bugger up and called DH. DH came up and rocked him till he dosed. Now he is laying in the sidecar, half-asleep, with a pacifier in his mouth. I am guessing he is just fighting sleep, but who knows??

So do these occassional feeding fits require the use of a professional (lactation consultant?) Is this just normal behavior? Most days he is such a champ with the nursing, that when he has a rough go at it, I am just baffled at what to do?

Anyhow... Here is a pic of us multi-tasking.
I nurse D.
DH gives D. a manicure:)

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Goodbye Christmas...

It's over. We made it. I wish it was a great christmas, a christmas that you come home exhausted but overjoyed. I will always remember it as D.'s first, but that is about it. Instead, I was just glad we were all in one piece and there was no major confrontations with family. You see, despite adoring my family, I come from one of "those" families where the holidays brings out the very best. And by best I mean worst. My one sister, who only comes around once a year at best, loves to stir the familial pot. She skips from room to room all day long gossiping to anyone she can about the last sibling and or family member she was just talking to last. My other sister (miserably divorced, three kids she hates, and a boyfriend who has made it clear he wants only her, not her family) is a trainwreck - for the obvious aforementioned reasons. My brother and his family are great, but they keep their distance because it is sad to have to watch my sister with her frightening parenting skills.

All hell broke loose the weekend prior to christmas, precipitating in a particularly awkward xmas day. I love my sisters kids, but they have a lot of behavioral issues. Both of their parents have problems. Their father wants little to do with them. My sister, the same. My parents, their grandparents, do the majority of the parenting. My sister is an angry, angry person. She is hot tempered and her erratic behavior is difficult for her children to gage. Add all this up, with the shuffling of the kids from parent to parent, and you get some pretty mixed up children. Children who are impulsive. Children who do not have a lot of self control or understand the consequences of their actions.

Actions like this for instance... my 3 year old nephew climbs up on the couch next to me and D. and jumps, literally jumps, on my newborn baby as I nurse him. This actually happened. I have never, ever been so frightened in my entire life. I flung my nephew off of us, jumped up, D. whaled and I turned as white as a freshly washed sheet. My nephew was equally alarmed. But nothing compared to the tantrum my sister followed with. A slew of profanities came flying out of her mouth, directed at my nephew - but also self-depricating - about how she "can never to anything right." I know she was upset and embarrassed at her son's behavior. But he is three. He doesn't understand that D. can't wrestle with him, ride on the tractor or just play. Part of the problem is that no one has ever sat my nephew down and told him these things - told him that D. is just a tiny baby, that he is delicate, that you must be calm around him. My sister prefers screaming to discussion - so that is what you get when she is around.

My beautiful baby boy came out unscathed - despite the terrible sound of flesh hitting flesh and bones knocking together. D. stopped crying shortly after and continued to nurse happily. DH and I were another story - totally traumatzed. We called the pediatrician just to be safe, wondering if we ought to go to the emergency room. Our doc said not to worry. To instead just watch for any number of symptoms. In the end, he was fine. He is fine. He is great. And we learned a valuable lesson. Little kids keep a safe distance.

Christmas was a few days later. My sister never called to check on D. She never apologized to me. On Christmas day, she did not speak to me once. She did not look me in the eye once. She avoided me completely. Our relationship was already strained, but it has been destroyed. Not by just this one incident, but by a slow erosion of trust. It made for a very sad Christmas, but also a stressful day where DH and I felt like we had to be particularly vigilant - knowing just where D. was at all times, who was holding him and did they know not to let the kids near him? It just sucked really.

We are glad to be home.
Glad to have a day to hang with D. and do nothing.
Hoping that perhaps next year will be different. Better. Calmer. A holiday where we establish our own traditions, our own holiday.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

The Beauty of Instinct

Biology has been on my mind. I would like to think that what happened to me yesterday happens to any new mom, no matter how she became a mom, so I am not sure the biological end is important as I first thought. I had the most intense, physical reaction in response to fear for my child's safety. I have since been both frightened and amazed by my mind and my body's ability to do/feel/sense this. It was all just so bizarre and beautiful and lovely.

It was not a monumental event. My MIL & FIL asked to come for a visit. This weekend was already jammed with visitors so the only day available was friday evening. I agreed reluctantly because I knew FIL had been pretty sick with a cold early in the week. But I assumed D.'s grandparents would remember that a 2 and a half week old baby can not be exposed to sick folks. So when they asked to come, I just assumed everyone was well and over their colds.

So last night DH had just swaddled D. and placed his sleeping cuteness on the couch. I sat beside him, needle felting, attempting to start making christmas gifts. MIL & FIL knock on the door and came in. FIL makes a bee-line for D. and immediately picked up my slumbering bundle. There was no hand washing involved. I am not a super stickler about the hand washing, but they had been to dinner (hand to mouth) and post-sick folks often blow their noses, no? So freaking wash your god damn hands!!! Nope. He just picked him right up.

DH sat between FIL and me on the couch. I busily felted, trying to ignore FIL's hoarseness and how he just generally sounded sick to me - whilst holing my child. I began to just boil. I was nearly twitching. I could not look at him. I was scared. I felted faster. I finally burst by abruptly blurting out, "Are you sure you are ok, because you don't really sound ok.... D. is only two weeks old and I just don't know how to care for a sick baby!" The room seemed to stop for a sec. FIL suggested he could put on a mask he had brought with him. Um, no.


MIL seemed to get it, because not long after she took D. from him and did not let him near him the rest of the evening. I was much calmer.

Call it the "new mom crazies."
Call it overly cautious.
Call it totally rational and just acting on behalf of a child you worked your ass off to birth and love more than life itself.
But who comes to visit a 2 week old baby when they are still clearly not over a cold? Who puts their own want for a visit above the health of a very, very new baby?
I am irrationally upset about it.
I am shocked by my own reaction, which was swift, visceral and intense.
I am shocked to know that I am capable of such instinctual and fierce behavior. I am shocked that I am an animal - I think we all forget this.
No matter how one gets to be a mom, I have no doubt that this mechanism is in full force for most moms. It is a scary and gorgeous thing. And I am glad it is there.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Starting to write again....

Not sure where to start... I have never not posted for so long. Little Baby D. has been eating up my life and my time. We are doing great, well, he is doing great. Physically, I am a bit of a trainwreck. After finally healing from being cracked in two during childbirth, I pulled out my back. Then, on Sunday, I had to go into the emergency room after spiking a fever of 102.5. Tests revealed a kindey infection. So that explained the crippling back pain. Couple a muscle spasm with some kidney pain and you may find yourself yelping out in pain at the very attempt to stand up. But the antibiotics seem to be doing the trick and my back seems to be finally healing. My lady-parts are also shaping up. I can still feel the stitches, but the pain is much less than it was. My poor vag. It will never be the same! (I said that exact thing to my OB while he was stitching my crotch back together... He assured me one day it would be just like its former self:)

As for my new pal, D., he is super cool. His head smells like pure love. I sniff it and rub my cheeks on it any chance I can get. It is sick. He does something new everyday. More recently he likes to "play" with my boobs when he finishes nursing. Or pound on them with his fists if my milk does not come in fast enough. It is pretty funny. My right boob is what we call the "trick boob." It holds out on him for about 15 seconds, then lets down really fast. He inevitably chokes and I have to toss him upright and frantically pound on his back. This does not faze him. He just gets a little mad and wants back on the boob. We have quiet a routine. I like nursing more than I thought I would. I am already starting to feel sad about the thought of going back to work in a month and having to pump. But it will be nice bonding time for DH. And I think I'll survive.

He is also growing like a weed. At his one week check up he was 7.7. At his two week check up he was 8.6??? Huh? I didn't even know they could grow that much in a single week. But I wondered why some of his outfits suddenly looked "floody" on him. I just thought I shrank them:) Nope. Bugger. Something works! My boobs saved the day! Speaking of the boobs. Pre-pregnancy = 34C. Nursing = 38E. Wholly crap. I am just so grateful for this. Yes, toting these mellons around is not ideal. And I look like the star of " Doe.s" but who gives a damn! For once, a single part of my body has done something the way it is supposed to. Rock on with your bad selves!

I have been trying to read my blogs and keep track of all of you. Sorry for the neglect. It seems everyone is holding strong though. Awesome. Seems you can live without me. I got to send a shout out to my best girls:
G - the long lost love of my life... Thanks for being a perpetual distraction. Between you and D. I will never get a thing done again:) And gladly.
Sara - Hang in there girl. You and Brynn are troopers. You're doing great!
Heather - Thinking about you tomorrow and sending you lots of good vibes. A+L are lucky to have such an awesome Mommy!

I guess at some Point I should write something about the experience of birth. Or perhaps I should allow it to gently fade into my memory, as I will the 14 weeks of bedrest. With the fading of those memories, I may actually consider doing this again one day. But for now, D is my world. I am so freaking lucky. I know how huge this is. This little creature that I wanted so badly. I don't even know how who to thank, or how I could ever even be as thankful as this miracle deserves. I'll just pray, and I don't pray, that all the people I love in the world who want this experience, may some day have it.

D woke up
Must cut short

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Pics o D.

We are home. Everyone is content. D. is taking a nap on DH. We decided, selfishly, that we are going to spoil him with love. I'd love to get him to sleep for extended periods in the crib, but for now, naps on the belly are making the whole family happy...

Monday, December 1, 2008

he is here

dashiell peter was born today at 5:01 pm weighing 7lb 11 ounces.
He is healthy and happy!
Will try to post some pics tomorrow. Thanks to all of you for being such great support!

3:50 am - on way to hospital

Contractions every 3-5 mins.
Wish us luck.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Show and Tell - Nov. 30, 2008

For Mel's Show and Tell I am sharing the recipe for my most favorite food in the whole world. Although my family just calls it "the Log," I am going to call it the "Labor Log" for today's purposes - hoping that by consuming it, I will go into labor:) We only make it at Thanksgiving and Xmas. It is a cheese log coated in pecans. It showcases the trashiest of trashy foods - including a canned meat. Yummy! Don't try to dress it up with fancier ingredients. It is awesome the way it is.

Holiday Labor Log (makes 2 logs)

1 package of Philly cream cheese
1 cup of shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 cup of chopped black olives
1 4.25 ounce of canned Deviled Ham
Chopped pecans enough to coat (probably about 2 cups)

Let the cream cheese come to room temperature. Toss it in the mixer with all the other ingredients except the pecans. Mix it up till all ingredients are blended well. Cut the mixture in half and use your hands to roll into a log shape. Lay it down in the chopped pecans and roll. Roll it up in plastic rap and toss it in the fridge to chill for a few hours. Serve with crackers.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Turkey and Trainwrecks

Thanksgiving, whilst thankful, was dull. The sweet potatoes, despite being made by my angry sister, were the highlight.

Conversation with same angry sister:
I ask: "I read today that my uterus is now taking up my entire abdominal cavity and pelvis. What I would like to know is, where have all my organs gone?"
Her response: "It's like a trainwreck in there."


Come out, come out where ever you are Baby D (name hint). Yer mama's insides are all nasty-like and would like to have their old room back.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

I went into the woods

And nothing happened even after I climbed this rock! Oh well.

Take a sec and go give Sara some support. Brynn has lost some weight and has jaundice.

Still nothing

The glee of potentially going into labor is wearing thin. I had no action last night at all. The dood is pretty cramped in there, so movement is minimal. Which, of course, I freak out about. Poking and proding the poor kid till I get some kickback. He always complies.

Need to find some active ways to entertain myself... Xmas shopping perhaps? I do have to make the stuffing for tomorrow. And I am fixing to get out and take a few walks. But maybe I should hop on the train and go downtown a while? Dunno. Really, I have graphics work and prep for the spring semester to do - but I just can't seem to get motivated. I also have an afghan to finish knitting. I could clean the house... some more.

DH is going to see a rock band play tonight. I could go to that? But the chance of scoring a chair to sit in are slim... Perhaps that is a good thing....

Oh, I know!! Have DH take me for a walk in the woods later today!!! Perfect.

These woods:

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The night I almost went into labor

Unbelievable. Really.

Yesterday's appointment went well. My cervix has made some progress. I am a solid 3 cm, 90% effaced and the baby is at -1 station. OB joked that maybe he would see me on Thanksgiving:)

Then last night the contractions started. Stronger than usual, although not coming at any regular intervals. I sacked out on the couch watching the Anti.ques Sh.ow. I was occasionally woken by one. I got off the couch and went to bed.

Then, about 1 am it started. Strong ass contractions with a monster backache. I tracked them while DH slept for about an hour. 8 minutes apart.... then 6 minutes... finally 5 minutes... My back was killing me so I stretched out using the birthing ball.

Then the buggers stopped. Completely. No more contractions for me. And I fell back to sleep.

2 hours of hard work and it was all stopped by what I now call the "anti-birthing ball." Dumbass thing. Should have just laid in bed and took the backache:(

We really thought this was the start...

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Show and Tell - Nov. 23, 2008

For Show and Tell this week, more before and after home renovations.

I have become a "plaster master" after having patched and skim coated every room in our old row house. It is actually work that I love. Well, not the sanding. I like the skimming. Here is our living room, which recently became the office. It looks a mess as the office. But as the living room the couch is right by the front door and we do not have a vestibule - so every time you open the door the poor fool napping on the couch gets a blast of cold air. Why I am writing this mundane crap? Who knows.... Here is the "in progress" and after pics of the mantle...

I have not given birth... obviously. Having lots of contractions at night, enough to wake me up. Hoping they are productive. I have a 3pm appointment on Monday. Keep your fingers crossed for a very ripe cervix... Perhaps ripe enough to get me admitted. Yeah right.

4x4x4 tag

My girl Susanna tagged me...

1) Choose the 4th picture folder on my computer
2) Choose the 4th picture
3) Explain the picture
4) Tag 4 other people

Here is the 4th pic in the 4th folder:
This is a relic from grad school. I was working on a project where I would collect lost knitted items, unravel them and knit them to the place where I found them. This is one I never re-knitted.

This image below gives you a better idea of how the project worked. Basically, the mitten / hat was embedded in the site, only to be removed with a scissor.
Now I have to tag 4 of you:)
G tagged me a few weeks ago and I never followed through... So I probably should not tag her. But I will anyhow...
And the rest of you....
Sacred and Scarred
and Heather M

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Center of gravity

I have been warned. I didn't believe it. Until it happened to me. Yesterday.

I was walking down the sidewalk in a very hipster neighborhood having just bought a birthday present for DH. My stupid Da.nsko clog, which I have no business even wearing whilst pregnant, caught a little piece of uneven sidewalk.... And down I went.

I fell over. Just like that. On the sidewalk. Mostly on my knee and hand. Some dude from about 20 feet away yells, "you ok?" I nod. My instinct was to get up as fast as I could and run away - not even looking around to see who witnessed the incident. Then I realized I couldn't do anything very fast - let alone get up. So I hiked up my pant leg and inspected my bloody knee. I felt a little shook. I got over my embarrassment and just hung out sitting on the sidewalk in a daze.

Finally a bearded hipster (as so many of them are these days in philly) passed right by me and offered help. I let him use all his scrawny hipster strength to hoist my 155 pound body off the gravel.

Here is evidence of my clumsiness. And, yes. Those are ducky pajama bottoms that I still have on at 11 am. I am in the midst of a batch of lemon tea cookies. Showering will have to wait.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Advise on late OB care - borderline pre-e?

So what to do? Here is what is up. OB has recommended a watch and wait game plan.
  • Slightly elevated BP (though not in the danger zone). This morning 124/87. It has been getting better over the last 3 days.
  • Trace of protein found in urine on Monday.
  • Rapid weight gain (9lbs in 2 weeks) - remember I had a lot of trouble gaining weight through bedrest, so this could be me just "catching up" now that I am up and about in the world?
  • No visible signs of swelling in face, feet or hands.
  • Sensation of swelling in the hands. Pain in hands through the night.
  • Passed a 24 hour urine collection and BW for preeclampia last week with no troubles.
Should I be concerned about the trace protein? Should I request to come in tomorrow to just check urine and BP again? Can it wait till scheduled Monday appointment?

I was really hoping for some serious calm and non-worry time here at the end... But I guess that would be too much to ask. I am not super concerned, since I seem to be hanging out just inside the safe zone. What do you think?

The size of this also may explain some of the weight gain...

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Bulge bag, bulge!

Saw my OB yesterday. My stats (2.5-3cm, 80% eff.) remain unchanged with the exception that my bag of waters is bulging. I had a 2 hour run of contractions last night. They were irregular, coming about 5-10 minutes apart. DH and I went out for a walk hoping that might help things along. Instead, they stopped. Ugh.

My blood pressure seems to have dropped a bit, down to "normal" again, which is great (about 130/85). But I did have a trace of protein in my urine yesterday - which, of course, gives my something to worry about. I am also having a lot of pain while I sleep due to carpal tunnel. My hands are just asleep and aching like crazy. Last, I gained another 5 lbs!!! That is 9 lbs in 2 weeks. And although I am glad to be finally "catching up" I am concerned about this rapid weight gain. I know it can be an indication of water weight, related to preeclampsia. I don't appear swelled - not in my hands, feet or face. I feel swollen in my hands, but they look fine.

Anyhow, I never know when to get really upset. I think I will request to come in again this week for a second urine check...

So there it is. A boring update post.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Sir... Your room is ready. You may arrive now.

Next up... Birth.
OB appointment this afternoon. Please god, let me have made some serious changes to my cervix. I am looking forward to non-pregnant thanksgiving meal.

My mom surprised me with this little blanket that she made. I love it. She also made the sweater.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Freedom has thrown me off the map.

In the last few days I have slowly gotten to re-enter the world. I have had numerous walks around my neighborhood to enjoy the crisp air and the smell of fallen leaves (and car exhaust.) I've been to the grocery, cooked meals and cleaned a bit. I've also been forced to nap - something I managed to avoid throughout my tenure on bedrest. Anyhow, with all of these distraction, I have been unable to focus much on writing, despite having a lot on my mind.

Last week we had some friends over who have a 5 month old. The baby was conceived two weeks after our last lost pregnancy. It is still hard to see them. But even worse is that because they have given birth they seem to think they wrote the book on it. I have had some great conversations with women about their birth experiences. And generally, hearing these stories are helpful to me - preparing me for what can happen and how I may respond in certain circumstances. But there is always that couple, those people, who underlying their story, are clearly advising - or even promoting an agenda. It feels like less of a conversation, more like instruction. And frankly, it really pissed me off.

What people like this can not possibly understand is that when you have been through losses, surgeries, hospitalization, bedrest, and being heavily medicated in an attempt to stay pregnant, that you can only realistically have limited expectations about what birth may look like for you. I don't have the luxury to dream about a fancy, unmedicated, birthing center delivery with only a midwife and a hot tub. My body is a wreck at this and since I am not a total idiot, I realize that there is some likelyhood that I will need the support of a more sophisticated environment - namely, one with ability to cut me open and steal my baby from my belly it things get dicey. I can not trust my body to do what I have been told over and over and over is its "natural" inclination. Because it has failed to follow that path at every turn. I need to know that our baby will be safe. I don't care if in the process I become a statistic on unnecessary c-sections. I am far from being resigned to having a section - but I won't deny it either. For us, birth is basic: baby is here, baby is healthy. End of story.

With that said, the same friends were kind enough to hand us the number of an organization of doulas who provides free services to folks like us: kinda poor. Although we often fall into that grey economic area, not poor enough to qualify for assistance but make too little to afford such services, this organization doesn't do formal economic checks. Anyhow, we have yet to find out if there is a doula who would kindly give her time to us. Having a doula for me does not mean I will push too hard for an unmedicated birth, but rather that there will be another set of eyes and ears in the room to help us through the process, helping to make informed decisions about our care and giving recommendations. I hope it works out.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


I screamed it in the car as we pulled out of the doctor's office, "I'm free." Free from the side effects of tocolytic drugs. Free from the confines of my bed, my room, my second floor, my house. At 36 weeks and 3 days I have been released to be a "normal" pregnant lady for the few weeks that may remain before I give birth.

Unfortunately, nearly 16 weeks of inactivity have left my body in a state that resembles jello. My muscled are weak. My back aches if I even sit up for too long. I am trying to take it slow. Stretching. Alternating time on my feet with time resting. I even have to lay down every now and then.

But last night, I prepared dinner for the first time in months. It was so lovely to feel like I contributed to the family cause in some way other than being an incubator. Today I am preparing curried acorn squash soup. In the fall months, I am a soup making junkie... And this is my first go for this season. Cooking is so glorious. I forgot how much I love it.

My brother and mom are coming for the day. My mom will be helping with the usual: laundry, housework and the like. My brother will be finishing the semigloss in the baby's room - which will finish the interior. By tonight, the dresser should be in and that will allow me to fill it full of baby clothes. It is a first step towards really being ready for the boy to come. I'll post more pics as I can. I hope the remainder of the furniture may arrive this weekend.

My OB jokes that he thinks I will go past term. I am hoping that I go into labor before thanksgiving. I am 2.5-3 cm dilated and 80% effaced. So I have a head start. We'll see. A little less that 24 hours off of the meds and I can not say I feel any different. I am not having a lot of contractions. Some cramps through the night. But that is it. I am scheduled to go back to work in mid-January, so going past due started to present a very real problem. Oh, the irony!!!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Michelle O.

Can I just say that the dress that Michelle O.bama wore to the white house today was beautiful. She makes Mrs. Bush look like a sack of potatoes. I don't intend to demean Mrs. O in any way. I know she is a woman of great accomplishments in her own right. But... I wish I had that dress. And looked like that in it! The red, the draping at the neck, the curves!

This is kind of lame to post about. But I was struck.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Paint and Pee

Busy weekend here.
  1. PAINT... FINALLY! The colored paint goes up in the baby's new room. A room who's walls, a few short weeks ago, did not even exist. DH has worked his butt off, but it has been slow going. So the paint is a big deal.
  2. PEE..... I am doing a 24 hour urine collection since my blood pressure has been elevated. OB is looking of protein in the pee, a sign of Preeclampsia. I have no other symptoms. I am feeling confident that the tests will come back clear.
Made it to 36 weeks. Last weeks appointment stats: 2-2.5 dilated, 80% effaced and -2 station. I will ask to be released from my meds at Monday's OB appointment, even though I will be 4 days shy of 37. While my cervix was once an open door for a tiny babe, I fear now it is becoming an iron gate for a full term infant with a colossal mellon-head. I am ready to be done with this chapter and move on to the next.

My dear Sara gave birth to her daughter Brynn in the wee hours of this morning. I am so happy for her. Not only did she get to meet her daughter today, but she gets to begin her recovery from what I believe may have been one of the craziest pregnancies on record. Eat girl, eat!!!

Here is the room...

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Missing post on election day.

It was election day. I didn't post.
I just waited around all day for the polls to start to close.
And checked my blood pressure over and over. I am on the edge of hypertension and getting nervous.

As for the election.
I am pleased. No, I am elated.
Pleased that I live in a country now capable of electing an African American to the highest office.
Pleased that his opponents concession speech was so thoughtful, honest and hopeful.
I don't know what the next 4 years will bring, but we took a chance.
And I for that I am so thrilled.

Hey little boy.
You are arriving into a world different than the one your papa and I have known. Enjoy it while it lasts.

Monday, November 3, 2008

I am a space man, fer real + NaBloPoMo

As a set up for complete failure, I have decided to join NaBloPoMo (National Blog Posting Month.) This could get really dull, except for the part where I give birth... hopefully.
Commence blogging:
Now that my bedrest is winding down, I am starting to get very preoccupied with what life after bedrest will be. My impulse is that I will jump up, get dressed, have a beautiful brunch at my favorite restaurant and then walk clear across the city, reminding myself of everything that I have been missing for the last 13 weeks. But then I go downstairs to make a cup of tea and get winded on the steps. I have forgotten about the very real fact that I will have to recover from this extended period of rest. My body has been deteriorating day by day and recovery will be compounded the physical strain of birth - vaginal or section.

So how do you start slow when all you want to do is get up and run like hell? I think yesterday was a good start. I startred coming to the realization that just because I have been battling preterm labor for months now, I might not necessarily deliver early. So I have begun to make small steps to get up. I have been sitting up more, taking a little more time to tidy my room and am going downstairs more often to eat or make tea.

Last evening, I went downstairs to troll for a snack and became so saddened by the state of my house. Seems it is not just my body and mental state that have been deteriorating around me, but my actual, physical home. Although my mom's have been doing a great job to care for me and my kitchen in my absence, there is a kind of "lived in" quality and smell missing from the entire downstairs. The furniture is in its place, a blanket tossed casually over the back of the couch, but it just feels so cold and empty. There are no residual scents lingering from last nights culinary experiments, there are no socks tossed sloppily on the floor and there are cobbwebs (gasp) clinging to the leg of the couch. Everything feels so still, so dormant.

As I walked into the kitchen I started noticing little things. First off, while tidy, it is dirty. I love a monthly deep cleaning - scrub the stove top, wipe all the counters, clean around the faucet and backsplash. Well, that just isn't getting done. The saddest part was my dirty spice wrack. Upon closer inspection, my spices had accumulated a thick coating of sticky dirt and grime. I thought I was going to cry. It just spoke to the sheer inactivity of the kitchen, the center of the house, the warmth, the nourishment... Ugh. What kind of a mom doesn't have a warm and inviting kitchen (um, is that a terrible thing to say for the less culinary inclined)? I realize that not every home revolves around the kitchen. But in my world, a busy kitchen makes for a home that feels alive. And right now, my house feels dead.

So I cleaned the spice rack, wiped the counters and scrubbed the sink a bit - although the proper supplies were under the bathroom sink. So this morning I woke up, grabbed the ajax from under the sink and scrub like hell while my morning tea water comes to a boil. I am ready to start the process of standing, or walking, of being in my whole home again. I see the doctor this afternoon and plan to tell him that I am beginning to get up - not asking, telling. But I feel the time is right, and if I don't start now my recovery will be so cumbersome, I am not sure how I will get through it.

So how am I a Space Man?
Well, I found this article that compares the effects of bedrest to the effects of weightlessness. Astronauts suffer similar kinds of muscle atrophy, but also suffer from similar mental issues - namely isolation. If only my adventures in bed were nearly as interesting as viewing the earth from outerspace.

Here is me, at 35 weeks and 3 days as an Astronaut.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Show and Tell - Nov. 2, 2008 + the story

When it rains it pours.
I have disclosed this before, but here are a few glimpses (look to the right back.)
I have a tattoo of the M.orton's S.alt G.irl on my back.
Yes, because I am kinda salty.
(two of the pics are from my wedding)

UPDATED with non-story story:
Two commenters have asked for the "story" behind the tattoo. I didn't write one because there really isn't one. I am an artist. I love old commercial graphics. This image in particular always resonated with me. And I am really kind of a salty lady. I wanted something that would represent well as a line drawing, without any color. Thought about the coppertone girl too. But Susy Morton is so sweet. How could I resist?

DH ws supposed to go with me and get his own at the same time. Didn't happen. Now he wants to get one after the boy arrives to mark the event. I may get another too?? Who knows.

Join in the fun at Mel's Show and Tell....

Friday, October 31, 2008

I went into the world!

To celebrate my 35 week milestone I got dressed and went with DH to our local coffee shop to have tea and a bagel. It felt really nice. The photo below is funny. I can still zip up my rattiest, most favorite sweatshirt... And I don't even look pregnant. I give up. People will think I stole this baby once he gets here!

While enjoying my tea, out in the world, I was reading the local weekly paper in which there was an article featuring my neighborhood. Articles about my hood are never glowing. There are some scary people who live here. And some great people too. Anyhow, basically it is about folks in my hood, who despite their faulty thinking, are still voting Paradoxical really. Read here..

Thursday, October 30, 2008

What you are to me.

Feeling sappy, and thankful, and grateful for everything I have on this day. Despite having a hard week on the relationship-front, I have a rockin' husband who I love like crazy. I also have a Mom and MIL, each of whom would do anything for me to help me through this. I have a handful of fervent supports who I have never met, but who are my welcomed and daily distraction as I chit chat with them online and read their blogs. I also have a one really awesome real world friend who I can still relate to. Our situations with pregnancy have been very different, but difficult and stressful in their own ways. She is the one real world friend, through all of this, that I could talk to honestly, who I could tell anything, and I knew she would understand. This same friend, Susanna, has finally dove into the world of blogging. Her blog is about her experience with an emergency, life-threatening birth, a preemie in the NICU and her experience as a lesbian mom. Go check it out cuz she rocks my world: I find myself a mother

What I am most thankful for is that I appear to be 35 weeks pregnant with a baby boy. One that I suspect I will soon hold in my arms. I can't believe I have made it this far. The house is a flurry with scurrying mothers and husbands desperate to finish the baby's room. Its current state: sanded plaster, craft paper on the floor and no trim. But DH got an unexpected day off tomorrow with the world series parade going right past the entrance to his building. I knew I liked baseball for something. So I am hoping this weekend is productive, perhaps even enough to get colored paint on the walls. After that, the dresser can go in and we can weed through the piles and piles of beautiful hand-me-downs we have received. I will post pics as soon as there is something worth posting.

In the meantime a few things for the boy...

Some winter hats I knitted...

What he'll wear home from the hospital...

Diaper covers my mother is making...

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The most excitement I have had in weeks

At my mom's for a few days.
Who knew I would get treated to this?
I love the cold.
I love the snow.
I am in heaven.
(Sorry World Series fans... Will they try to play in this tonight? Doubtful.)

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Show and Tell - Oct. 26, 2008

On this same day last year, in the early morning, I was sharing a cup of coffee with a dear friend. It was a really windy morning, with the sun just coming up. We were in Montreal.

It was right after my second loss and right before my surgery to remove my septum. It was the last weekend I had where my mind was clear. I was beautifully distracted by the weekends activities, the company of friends and family, and the lure of a gorgeous city.

I hope I can get back there some day. To a place where I feel like myself again.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

On the verge - physically and emotionally

I hope I am wrong. I hope I am such an amateur, that I am wrong. But every day, since Monday, I have a 2 hour run of contractions, usually in the early evening. Each day the run gets worse, stronger, and a new symptoms pile on. Backache, cramping, pressure. I can clock as many as 6 contractions an hour, but have learned that it tends to subside, so I have been riding it out. But I suspect that each of these 2 hours runs are productive for my cervix. Perhaps bringing me closer to labor.

Today I am contracting all day, with not a lot of breaks. Still not enough to call the doctor, with no Major pain, no leaking of fluid, no bleeding. But it has been all... freaking.... day...... I stopped writing them down an hour ago. Because I just need a break.

Minding contractions all day, coming nearly every 15 minutes, is draining. There is no space in your head for anything else. Today marks 10 official weeks on bedrest. 13 weeks if you include the three weeks I took myself down on couch arrest prior to finding good care. I am whooped. Over it. I spend half the day googling things like "34 week birth story" and "NICU 34 weeks" in some attempt to find clues as to what may be in store for us and the roomie if he comes early. I am scared of birth. I am scared of the NICU. I am a big freaking wuss.

I was making some gains last week: cutting back on my meds and spending more time sitting up. But now I have lost all of that. My dose is back up and my OB wants me back on my side as much as I can. He (OB) is on vacation next week. And if his life is anything like most people, a lot of his patients will deliver. I could be one.

I am fortunate for where I am.
I am at home.
I am still pregnant.
I can eat, shower, boss DH around and fuss online.
I can hang with my kitties, instead of an army of well meaning nurses.
I have it good, as far as bedrest hell goes.
But I am still pooped. So bored I could chew off my own arm. So scared I am like a deer in headlights.

I know my pal Sara is in a similar mental state and I feel for her. She is just tired. Frankly, she has it a lot worse. She has been down longer, with more intervention and has sacrificed so much more to grow her little "Spot." She is my hero because every time I get an email from her, or a text - she is shockingly upbeat. I didn't get the optimism gene - but she did.

Bedrest is exhausting. In fact, I am not sure about that name at all. Because, restful, it is not. And not one women, not me or Sara or anyone, should feel bad for having a day like today. A day when you just want to throw in the towel. Fortunately, my cervix knows nothing of the towel. I am just a slave to whatever it decided to do and when.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

an ounce shy of 5, 7.5 cm shy of 10

First, one of my bestest virtual friends is being drug through the wringer. Let G at "Makes you stronger" know your thinking about her. And my "gestational twin," Sara is one the cusp of delivery. Wish her her luck!!

Had a scan yesterday. The roomie is 4 lbs 15 ounces- and ounce shy of 5 pounds. Cool. Except... The tech told us he has a big head. Who tells you that? Maybe he doesn't have a big head, but rather a small butt?

After a busy day, I got home and started contracting a lot. Off to triage we went. By the time we got there my contractions had slowed. I cried wolf. Digital exam showed I am now 2.5 cm dilated. Nurses seem to think I'll be back in 2 weeks to deliver. My OB does not recommend any interventions at this point. No Terb, No Mag. If I go into labor, I have the boy. I am scared shitless. I have no clue what I am doing, no clue how to recognize labor. Ummm, pain with my contractions, I suppose?? Or more than 6 an hour. Backache. Mucus plug. Water breaks?

And then, with all the excitement of yesterday I seemed to have brewed myself a good old fashion headache, that I can only hope does not decide to become a migraine. I have avoided them the whole pregnancy. Why start now?

Compounding the situation is that DH has a lot of extra meetings and appointments this week and I have less visitors than usual. My mom is usually here today, but needed to keep a dentist appointment that she has already waited over 6 months for - can't blame her. But I am, as a result, alone on a day that I am both a little freaked out and not feeling so tip-top.

Weekend work on the house was great, but not as much as we hoped for. Two new windows so our offspring does not get cold whilst he slumbers. Plastering is done, but not sanded. So my brother comes back next week to sand and hopefully paint.

Two weeks? Really? we are so not ready. Room not done, no furniture, no diapers, no boob pump.. Lots of clothes but nowhere to put them? Drat!

Well, on a bright note, my "condition" has had one very positive effect: It got me out of jury duty. Bedrest has to good for something other than cooking babies, no?

Thursday, October 16, 2008

When oh so boring is oh so good

Just got home from the OB. Belly measuring a tad small, which comes as no big shock, but I did gain 5 pounds since my last visit! YEAH!!! I am scheduled for a growth scan on Monday just to make sure the roomie is keeping up with the pack.

Tomorrow marks the 33rd week mark. There is something about 33. In between 32 and 34, which somehow seems kind of dull. I am just so excited to get to 34.... I'd rather skip 33 completely.

My OB has asked me to just use my best judgment with by my dosage of Pro.card.ia and with my own movement about the house. I have been experiencing stronger side effects lately, so I am going to drop back to every 6 hours. But he told me to go ahead and bump it up if I feel the need. He also encouraged me to use my own judgment with things like sitting up in bed, moving about the house, etc. I have been a really hard*ss about bedrest - staying down on my side as much as possible. But I am starting to sit up more. We also got a little mini fridge for upstairs, so now I can get my own snacks and stuff. Those little bits of independence are doing my mental state well.

That is really all from my end. Wanted to give a little shout out to my "gestational twin" Sara. She hit another rough patch this week with an uptick in contractions and landed he butt in L&D. Things continue to be stable on the mag - but I am really hoping she catches a break from it soon. Go say hello and wish her well.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Show and Tell - Oct 12, 2008

It has been an especially trying few days. I am very short on patience, and have not been very kind to my care takers. DH is suffering from my bad attitude and I have been failing to show my mom the kind of gratitude she deserves for, well.... treating me like a princess. I know I am lucky, I am lucky for every day longer that I stay pregnant and for all of the support I have gotten from friends and family. But some days, the walls of my house just feel like they are closing in around me.

So this weeks show and tell is for something that arrived to me from far away from some dear friends: A care package full of yummy snacks, but even better, a handmade bib for the roomie that I LOVE! Thanks S + A! Love you!!!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

The things you forget...

I'm having a rough week. Exhausted with bedrest and frustrated with having to rely on DH for everything. Surely he is also sick of having to attend to my every need. Under normal circumstances, the division of labor in our home is quite equal - so this is all new.

He reminded me how good I have it today by bringing part of our past back to life. It is a song we wrote and recorded to distribute at our wedding. It is the story of how we met. Two summers after we wrote the song,we dreamed about reviving our "band" while we were living in Berlin for 4 months. We named the band after our favorite German beer: Bergadler. It means mountain eagle.

Anyhow, you can listen to our one hit her on the page he made:

I am off to my folks for a few days in an attempt to calm my nerves. The blue walls of my room are closing in around me. I am bored, and a little angry. It'll be nice to be at the farm, see my nieces and nephews and have my own person chef (mom.) She spoils me something terrible.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

"You don't look that pregnant" Ummmmm, F off.

I swear, if one more person tells me how small I am, how petite I am, that they can't believe I am that far along, or that I don't look that pregnant, I am going to scream!

I am a person of average build. As for the women in my family, I am by far the biggest, so perceiving myself as small is impossible. I have had all kinds of trouble with this pregnancy. Bleeding, barfing to the point of dehydration, food aversions, shortened cervix, preterm labor since 20 weeks and YES!!!! trouble gaining wait. Fact is, bedrest is hard. And the last thing I want to do is lay in bed stuffing my pie-hole with high calorie junk food. I already feel like crap. All I really want to eat is things that are fresh and good for me - because I feel shitty enough. That is me, that is my body's reaction to this situation. I have tried every supplement offered. They all give me the runs - which I assure you will do nothing to help me gain more weight.

So there is is. Failure after failure, I finally get pregnant and get far enough along to have a live baby. And all people seem to want to do is remind me of my physical inadequacies by blathering on about how NOT pregnant I look. Well you know what you a-holes.... Freaking keep it to yourself. Fact is, people carry differently. The baby is right on target despite my shrinking bootie. And I don't have the benefit of gravity. I spend my whole day laying down, not walking, sitting at a desk or registering for a baby shower. There is little chance for the effects of gravity to help me along with the stretching. It just is what it is, and my body behaves as it pleases. Do you think I want to be this "tiny?"

Dang... Where did that come from?

All is well otherwise. I made it to my friends wedding on Saturday for a little over an hour and a half before the procardia dose started to make me jittery and short of breath - at which point we took off. It was such a joy to be able to go. I would have been so disappointed to have missed it all together. My girlfriend looked so freaking awesome.

The roomies room was built a few weeks ago, I have just been a slacker about taking pics. But I finally posted a bunch to my flickr, so I'll link em here. It still needs more spackle, trim, windows and paint - but it is there. So that is good.

End update. End rage. I am pregnant. Despite how I look to any number of dillholes. Not only that I am pushing 32 weeks. Whoot, whoot!!

Me at the wedding looking not THAT pregnant.

The roomie's room from the outside.

A video of the roomie freaking out. His new thing.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Show and Tell - Oct 5, 2008

I grew up in a house where using your hands was always very important. My father was an artist and my brother and I followed that path. My mother is an artist is her own right, as a seamstress and lover of all things fiber. She sews, knits, spins and raises sheep for her wool. So I thought I would share some of my handcrafts. I used to try to sell stuff, but I lack business skills. Plus, this work is very labor intensive and you can rarely make a good wage making it. I do it because I enjoy it.

Wool felted brooches, hand dyed with cool-aid. And a purse - I think I have a ton of these left in a shop somewhere, but I can't remember:)

Friday, October 3, 2008

Turning a corner, spinning the wheel.

Today, we made it to 31 weeks. It is that liminal space between milestone weeks of 30 and 32. As per the usual, I have my good days and bad - both emotionally and physically. Some days my contractions will seem relentless, not frequent enough to go to the doctor, but frequent enough that I can concentrate on nothing else. Other days they are light, perhaps only 2 an hour. On those days, I can relax, perhaps even get something done.

I saw my OB yesterday. We hardly know each other. He was the only doctor willing to pick me up mid pregnancy and high risk after I had to leave the incompetent practice I was seeing prior to hospitalization. For that act alone, he is kinda my hero. But he is casual and lax compared to my style. But he is also encouraging and really hopeful. He was so excited to see me come in this week unchanged from two weeks ago - and so please that I have made it this far. And although sometimes I wish he would recommend closer monitoring, I know we are doing everything we should right now. I also know that I will very much appreciate his style in the delivery room. He is the kind of person who can put you at ease with his very presence.

Two nights ago my little friend seems to have finally got his little butt in gear and turned. Kicks that normally irritate my cervix now bop me near the ribs. The doctor confirmed that he though he had turned head down, although he still seems flexible to move around - so I am yet to be convinced he will stay put.

I have a huge stack of handspun wool from my mother. Not only is it handspun, but it is from the sheep she and my dad keep on their little wacky farm. I have been starring at it for three days trying to find the motivation to start making an afghan for my very, very, very dear friends wedding present. She is getting married on Saturday and my doctor strongly encouraged me to attend - and to have a sip of wine! We are going to make an appearance at the reception - and I will stay as long as I feel safe. The real issue is figuring out what to wear, and possibly, how to shave my legs...

Monday, September 29, 2008

Outcomes for preemies

I am always scanning for stats on outcomes for preemies. They are actually hard to find in a digestible form - not a wordy medical study. I think this chart is pretty helpful for those of you who may be facing premature birth. Or perhaps I just like it because it concludes that the roomie would have a solid shot at his current gestation...

Outcomes for Premature Infants by Gestation (click here)

I know. I am a little post-happy lately.
What can I do.

Roomie is still head up and beating the hell out of my cervix. I swear sometimes it feels like he is punching his way out. Is there a danger in this when you have virtually no cervical length and are 1 cm dilated? I tried this morning a few suggested methods to flip the bugger. Lay on an incline, have dh talk to him down low, flashlight. It was pretty silly. And of course, did not work... I know he has time to flip, but I really want him away from my cervix. I have enough trouble down there without his help...

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Show and Tell - Sept. 28, 2008

This is an image of DH and I right after we closed on our house. The place was a wreck, slathered from top to bottom with any combination of wood paneling, wallpaper, mint green paint and fake stone finishes. Underneath all of that we have uncovered plaster walls and beautiful inlaid hardwood floors.

Buying our house was step one in building a family. On the day we signed those papers, we knew finishing the house meant we could start trying for a family. We were so clueless. We had no idea how hard the renovations would be - both to the house and my faulty parts. That was almost three years ago.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Weekend update

Pattern for diaper covers

Cream Chipped Beef (my mom is the master of meals that fit into the "white trash" variety. Yummmm.

Chocolate cake.Life is dull. But i suppose dull is good:)