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....