Thursday, February 27, 2014

The Babymooners

It is the best of times . . .

It is the worst of times . . .

It is the Baby-moon period.

Even though my entire house was turned inside out and reeked of smoke, in spite of over-night guests, a kid who came home 5 days early with a stomach bug and a baby that only slept 5 minutes at a stretch, this has been one of my dreamiest baby-moon seasons.

The biggest reason for that is because my mom was able to be with me for an entire week.  There is nothing like the comfort of Mommy!

Another reason is that I am finally learning my limits, not to push myself like it's BUD/S (SEAL training) and to accept help.  Waaaay hard lessons for a stubborn individualist, like me.  In postpartum era's past I have:

Moved
Sent my husband off to full time school
Drove myself to the baby's first checkup at 4 days old.
Repeatedly
Hauled everyone to the library's pre-school storytime
and
Bounced off the walls, unable to come down off the adrenaline to sleep, nap or sit still.
That's just the first week . . . 

This past week I was able to take glorious naps while my lovely and gracious sister and girlfriends held the baby for me.
I have showered.
Twice!
I DID NOT go to church on Sunday!!  So proud of that accomplishment.  My mommy is too!
I DID NOT drag everyone off for two hours of karate on Monday.
I have not cleaned the kitchen and have only cleaned the bathroom once.
I did slip up and changed several pairs of sheets.  BUT, I got Robert to help with our bed.  That makes up for it, right?
I have accepted offers from good friends to run to the store for me, and fold laundry and do dishes for me.

All this pampering has freed me to sit for hours on end, breathing in the addictive aroma of newborn baby.  Basking in an oxytocin washed coma.  Inhaling fluffy brown hair.  And reliving my childhood through the Anne of Green Gables series on my Kindle.

Of course, we did have our share of improbable adventure.  But it was awesome and way worth it!

Robert's good friend and groomsman, John, was traveling through Tulsa on his way back home to Michigan.  Rob asked me if I was okay with his family dropping in on their way back.  That sounded great to me.  It's an opportunity that wouldn't come our way again for some time.  The big question was, should we fix dinner or take them out for dinner?  The thought of trying to nurse a newborn at a crowded restaurant table was not appealing.  I have done it before, the day we brought Dee home. (did I leave that off my list up there? I spent most of the meal with my head under a blanket.)  So it was determined that we would thaw a rack of ribs and host everyone at home.  My mom bravely set her game face and we headed out for the pediatrician and a quick grocery run.

The great thing about this plan was it lit a fire under our collective rear to get the house pulled back together.  Rob worked tirelessly to unpack and put away every single box and pile in the living room.  Which included cleaning out all our file folders!  I've been asking him to do that for a year!!

Dinner itself was fairly simple.  We thawed the ribs in the sink under warm water.  4 hours before dinner I brushed both sides with liquid smoke and applied my homemade rub (brown sugar, garlic salt, onion powder, ginger, cayenne and/or chipotle powder) to both sides.  I put it in a 250 degree oven, uncovered for 2 hours, brushed with BBQ sauce and returned to oven, covered with foil for 2 more hours.  Very easy!  We also had buttered Italian bread (purchased off the discount rack at Walmart and frozen), sauteed green beans (pour the liquid off the canned beans, fry in butter at a high heat until slightly browned) and mushroom salad (sliced mushrooms, swiss cheese and green onions tossed with 1/2 cup oil, 1/4 cup red wine vinegar and 1 Tbs Greek seasoning) and gluten free brownies with vanilla ice cream.  I just happened to have a gluten free brownie mix in the pantry.  It's like God knew a year ago that I was going to need it to host a dinner party right after my fifth baby was born and so He had it on sale at Aldi's and I snagged it, thinking I was going to fix it for someone else entirely but never did.

Yes, God is amazing like that.

We had a lovely time visiting and reconnecting with our old friends.  I only wish all of my children could have been there.  The Juarez's have two children, exactly Cy and Dee's ages.  They would have had a blast together.  But, if all my kids had been here, it would have made finding beds for everyone a little more difficult.  After all, it made sense for them to stay.  It was late.  And they were at least 20 minutes from a hotel.  And they already had their tooth brushes with them.  And I 'm really glad they did.

So, you see, when we say, "Y'all come stay with us sometime!" we really mean it.

I first started writing this a day or two ago . . .  I have lost my train of thought a few times.  Changed about 50 diapers and pulled off almost as many feedings.  In this short time my 5 minute napper has morphed into a regular sleep and and feed baby.  She's already growing up.  And that is why the baby moon is so precious.  A blink and it's over.  As you were, soldier.  Life returns to it's normal demands.  It was a shock to the system to fix my husband's breakfast this morning.  But, it felt kinda good, too.  My hormonal, hyper-active mind is making all sorts of plans for me to carry out, now that I can roll over without falling asleep in the middle of the maneuver.  It's hard for me to rein myself in.  That's why I'm still sitting here, typing, even though it probably doesn't make any sense, instead of betaking myself to bed while I have the chance.  I guess I'm trying to hold on to every moment of this precious time.  And that is why I call it

My Baby-Moon       

   

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Delivered -Part Two

I began yesterday's post with a deep, philosophical reflection on the futility of neatly ordering ones worldly possessions in alphabetical order.

You know, the nesting thing.

I was becoming quite frustrated by the time spent cleaning to the time in which the kids had everything trashed ratio.  Come Saturday afternoon, I had completely surrendered.  The house had beaten me.  It would be enough if I could just get everyone packed.  Never mind that the floors were already nasty, food under the table, bathrooms sticky and several loads of laundry on the couch.  I knew in my heart I had done my best.  No one was going to be rummaging through my Final Frontier (the closets) anyways.

Let us return to the tender scene in LDR #2, St. Francis South...

Mother and Father spend a few moments alone with baby Ana.  We kiss and cuddle.  We pray and praise God for His amazing grace and goodness.  We wonder at this fresh work of creation staring back at us.

The door opened.  The nurse had come in to bathe Little One.  Then there was a knock, I pulled the sheet up to my chin and cheerily called for whoever it was to come in.  It was time for baby to meet the world!

Let me just say a word about my visitors.  I was so blessed to have so many people who love me all congregate in the waiting room to support us and greet Ana.  All my family that could had traveled to be with us and had been there for hours.  They had been busy praying and distracting each other during the tense hours of waiting.  My Mom, Anita, Grandparents, Bill and Joan, Aunt Brenda and Uncle Steve, siblings with spouses, Joanna & Clint, Daniel & Samantha, Paul with girlfriend Jeana, James with girlfriend Kelsey, my kids, Elle, Alvin, Dee and Cy, and my husband's parents, Ron and Joyce.  I think that was everyone...

Then there are my friends from church who filtered in after the morning service: The Cato family, who kept Alvin for me, Pastor J C and his family, who kept Cy and Dee the night before, The Hunt's, along with Natalie and Billy, The Fulton's (my sister's in-laws) and The Villandry's and Brown's who came that evening.

Let me tell ya, it was a party!  I have no idea how many people squeezed into the room at once.  There were at least 30 people in the waiting room!  It reminded me of a scene in the Marx Bro. movie, "A Night At The Opera".   I loved every minute of it!

It was about 4:30, we were chilling with a roomful of close friends and family.  I was snuggling Baby.  Life was perfect.  Rob took a call, stood up quickly and said "The house is on fire, I'm going home."

I laughed.  He is such a joker!  

"No, really.  There is a grassfire in the field behind the house.  I have to go and see what can be done."

And with that, he was gone.

And so was everyone else.

It was just me and mom and Ana in what suddenly became a vast and cavernous stillness.

I later heard it was a stampede to the elevators.   Mass chaos and all that.  I wish I could have seen it firsthand! 

Everyone jumped in their various automobiles and headed to the house.  Thick black smoke could be seen from the hospital, 10 miles away.  Robert passed a group of firetrucks headed to the scene, going 90 MPH on the turnpike.

When he arrived he could see the cowpasture behind our house was ablaze.  There was about 100 yards between the conflagration and our house.  The wind was from exactly the wrong direction (don't ask me what direction that would be).  Loss of house and home seemed imminent, so they started grabbing whatever they could of value in the house and throwing it into the vehicles.  Papers, clothes, pictures.  Joanna and Samantha found my box of mementos for my angel babies and rescued my wedding ring.  The Cato kids did their part, running out diapers and wipes.  Daniel and James helped with heavier stuff, like all our over-stuffed file folder drawers and hunting equipment and "irreplaceable" books.

A little after 6, the fire was knocked down.  Everyone then jumped in their cars, hightailed it to church and made it just in time for my brother, Paul's baptism.  After the baptism, the whole entourage returned again to our house to unload the cars and put everything away.  They tried so hard, knowing how obsessive I'd been about nesting, to return every item to it's proper place.  I have no idea how late they stayed up.  I was very grateful to hear the house was still standing and how we were so blessed by family and friends literally moving much of our possessions to safety.

The next morning was your typical, hospital sort of morning.  The nurse woke me up to draw my blood at 5 am.  I was worn out.  Not wanting to wake Rob, I had stayed up with Ana the whole night.  Now he needed to prepare for an important business call.  I set my phone on silence so he could concentrate.  After awhile I looked at my phone and realized I had missed a few calls.  And numerous texts.  And mom was calling me for the fifth time that very moment.  I took the call in the bathroom (Rob was in the middle of his Do-Not-Disturb call)

She sounded scared.  "Honey, the fire is back.  I can see the flames out the window.  What is important to you that I save?"  Uh, really, what is important at a time like that?  All I could think to say was, "You, mom!  Don't worry about anything, just walk out the door and leave.  Well, you could grab the black box with the gray handle.  That has our insurance papers.  But that's it.  I mean it."

Robert finished with his call about the same time that my brother, Paul showed up.  Paul drove him back home and all the people from our church that could turned out again to rescue our belongings.  They knew exactly where everything was and what was important to Rob.  Once again they ran  back and forth carrying out all they could hold.  Then they turned their attention to the fire line, which was the barbed wire fence at the back of our yard.  The neighbor's house was surrounded by flames.  The fire department did not think it could be saved, but Robert did his best to keep the flames out of their trees.  Clint and Paul and Billy were making fire breaks and wetting as much grass as they could.  Amy raked dead leaves away from the house.  And still the flames loomed closer.

I really wish I could have been there and seen it all.  I have tried to absorb the stories that were told as best I could.  I wish I had a picture of every person and every job they did so that I knew better who to thank for what.

I praise God for turning the wind so that the flames never even crossed the fence.  I thank Him for sparing both neighbor's house's.  That was a real miracle.  I'm thankful to all the firemen that fought all day, all week to beat the flames back.  That's right, there were flare ups all week.  I'm glad that Robert had a chance to praise God during an interview with a local news channel.  And for Faye, who sent Little Caeser's pizza over.  And my mom who bought even more pizza, candy bars and trail mix, water, gatorade and soda for all the laborers.  And most of all for my family.  Family by birth or by Spirit.  I love every single one of you.

When I came home, the living room was piled high with all that was rescued.  Just in case of another flare up, it seemed most prudent to wait to put it all away.  My mom and Rob worked tirelessly to tidy and straighten as much as possible so that I wouldn't freak out when I saw it.  I laughed.  I sighed a few times.  But I knew, none of it really matters.  It's just stuff.  My loved ones are safe.  That's what's important.  And beyond that, billions of people all over the world are practically homeless.  I just had a pampered birth experience with pain control and hot meals and a hot shower. (okay, it was only a lukewarm trickle, but still!)  If I had birthed in Haiti, I would have had to bring my own bucket for a toilet and my own sheets and sanitary cloths.  I would have eaten only if my family brought me food and if I died, I would be moved to one side of the room and left until someone got around to burying me.  Here is one story you could read   

Bottom line, it is vain to like awake at nights, worrying about all that could happen.  It is vain to try to keep a spotless home at any point, but especially just before or after giving birth.  God takes care of everything.  And, if you get overwhelmed and don't want to get it all put away, just invite house guests.  That motivated us!

Friday, February 21, 2014

Delivered

Before I get into The Big Story, there is something I must say.

Vanity of vanities, surely nesting is vanity...

There, I'm glad to get that off my chest.

I guess we should "...begin at the beginning, the very best place to start..." (from the Sound of Music, in case you're a guy)

Sunday morning finally arrived after a sleepless Saturday night.  I tossed and turned all night, alternating between fear I would oversleep the alarm and panic that the night would never actually end.  A Johnny Horton song was stuck in my head, "You Fought All The Way, Johnny Reb"  That actually seemed very appropriate.  It's been a battle.  A ten year fight to grow my family, and here I was, quite possibly my very last night to be pregnant.  I could only think "Blessed be the Lord my strength, which teacheth my hands to war, and my fingers to fight" Psalm 144:1  He brought me through everything up to this very point, and I knew He would get me through everything else. 

At 4:15 the radio kicked on, I knew I had to up by 4:30 so we could leave by 5 to get to the hospital at 5:30.  I promptly fell asleep in relief that the night was over and awoke at 4:56.  Yikes!!!  We managed to scramble and arrived at our destination only 6 minutes late.  Yep, that's pretty much how it is, wherever I go...

When the nurses hooked up the contraction monitor belt thingy, it showed I was having 2 minute long contractions already.  This has been going on for a number of weeks, if not months, so I wasn't too excited.  But, it was nice to see confirmation on paper of what I had been feeling all along.  The pitocin drip was started and my contractions seemed to stop.  Hey, isn't that opposite of how it's supposed to work?!  The nurses gradually increased the pitocin, but I still wasn't
"feeling it" at all.  The monitor wouldn't stay put on my pointy belly, either so when I did have a contraction it didn't even show up.  When the good Dr Silver arrived at 11, I had hardly dilated at all.  I was still pretty much 3 cm and holding.  At my last prenatal visit, on Friday, he had started to say he was going to eat a good breakfast on D-Day so that he would be ready for whatever this delivery was going to require.  Like, the worst case scenario, I suppose.  But he caught himself and said "No, I'm not going to say that.  This is going to be easy for you and I won't even need to think, one push and you'll be done."  I informed him I would be much obliged if he ate breakfast and was ready to think, come the day.  So, as soon as he entered the room, I was inquiring after his breakfast.  He only had two cups of coffee.  Great, a jittery surgeon...  He predicted I would be ready to deliver at 2:12.  The nurses had a good laugh.

With the membranes ruptured, I expected things to start moving quickly.  But, they really didn't.  I kept puttering along.  Nowhere near ready for the epidural yet, I chatted with Mom and Rob, Grandma and Grandpa, Uncle Steve and Aunt Brenda.  All at once.  Uncle Steve told a good joke about camping.  Grandpa sang a few bars of The Battle of New Orleans.  It was pretty fun.  Eventually, the contractions did start to build in intensity.  They ought to, after the pitocin was bumped up to a 20! (The maximum is 40)  Finally, I was ready for the epidural.  Receiving the epidural was fairly easy.  By this time I was having pretty severe pain in my back and hips.  But still only about 3 or 4 cm dilated.  I was ready to get a little numb.  They laid me back so that the magic potions could spread around evenly.  They did, all right.  Right up to my diaphragm.  By this time my brothers, James and Daniel with lovely ladies Kelsey and Samantha had arrived and were visiting with us.  I interrupted the lively conversation, "Uh, Rob, can you tell the nurse I'm having trouble breathing?"  He ran out of the room.  It was really fairly simple to correct, just sit up a bit and all the medicine drains back down towards the nether regions, where it belongs.  It is just such an odd feeling to not be able to feel your own breaths.  The anesthesiologist explained that my diaphragm was never in danger of being paralyzed, it just felt that way.  That was comforting.

What was not comfortable was my left hip and back region.  Just like in Dee's birth, that side never got numb.  And the pain was a really intense, burning sort of grinding sensation.  Not something I could relax or breathe through.  Since one side was completely immobile, that left me awkwardly sprawled, gritting my teeth and saying "Ow! Ouch! Doggone!" in a most un-Bradley-esque manner.

I distinctly remember glancing at the clock around 1:30 and thinking the doctor was wrong, no way she would be born by 2:12.  My contractions were regular by now, but not very long.  Instead of a nice, 2 minute plateau, the monitor showed short, spiky bumps, which I figured were not doing very much.

The nurse came in to check my progress.  Surprise!  I was a 10, all set and ready to go!  The clock read 2:10.  Dr Silver whisked in at 2:18.  I told him he was 6 minutes late.  2:21, BABY!  She is my second 1-push baby.  And, she made it through with collar bone intact.  Yay!!!  She was so warm and gorgeous and goopy.  And thick, brown, furry hair!  I love it.  But with all my love at first sight, I still kept one eye on Dr Silver.  The placenta was delivered and....


Nothing!  Nothing happened at all!  There was no bleeding, no drama.  Just one or two stitches and Dr Silver was on his way home.  When the nurses sat me up to remove the epidural, I surveyed the instrument table.  There were a few needles and a bowl.  A couple of cloths.  But no blood.  Nothing to spark flashbacks.

 No reason to panic. 

Just cause for praise.

And I'm still praising Him.

Anastasia Ruth is a 7lb 15 oz gift wrapped present from God.  Her name means Resurrection.  She is my resurrection lily.



Don't change that channel, the story of our second deliverance will be forthcoming...    


Sunday, February 9, 2014

To Finish It All Out -Nesting, Days 4,5 and 6

There is something almost lyrical about eating a steaming hot bowl of oatmeal, topped with the last of the frozen strawberries from gardens past while watching the snow sifting down through the bare trees.

 Something that makes you pause and consider life, the energy that created the vibrant berries.  The same energy that is out there now, dormant in the earth, awaiting that spark that will send the sap rising and the buds bursting with new life.

Kinda like a mother-in-waiting,  waiting for whatever it is that sparks the birthing process past the point of no return.

I seem to have turned inward, waxing more philosophical by the day.  Most of my outward nesting complete, I am now preparing my heart and mind.  And my nails.  Let's not forget about the nails...

First order of business on Thursday was indeed to clip my toenails.  Hallelujah!!!  I'm glad I got that done before the stronger contractions moved in.  This morning I attempted to put on hose during a contraction.  That'll learn me...

Also on Thursday I had the privilege of getting my hair cut by a good friend, sister in the Lord and my little sister's mother-in-law, Lisa.  That really felt good!  I hadn't had my hair trimmed in probably 6 months.

Then came Friday.  I've been waiting for Friday for several weeks.  Because this Friday I left my lovely and brilliant children with Miss Velma for the day.  Bless you, Miss Velma!  I had a luxurious day, all to myself.  First I went to chat with Dr Silver.  He said I'm dilated to 2 cm now.  Not bad.  Ana has definitely dropped and he didn't think I would make it to my due date.  I've heard that before...  We also discussed induction dates.  I think we have about settled on Sunday, a week from now!!!! the 16th.  I hate to do it on a weekend, but the good Dr didn't mind at all.  I think he might prefer it, even.  It will be handy for my husband's work schedule.  I just hate planning it in general.  I would love it if God picks out her birthday.  Oh well.

After my appointment, I went to IHOP, birthday coupon in hand.  Instead of the Rooty Fruity Pancake Platter, I substituted Chicken and Spinach Crepes with a glass of orange juice.  Oh!  The luxury of it all.  I got out my Kindle, loaded with all the Anne of Green Gables books and noshed and read and noshed some more and read.  Then, here comes all the staff, bearing an ice cream sundae and singing the Happy Birthday song.  "No, really guys, that's not necessary.  It's not even my birthday yet.  Oh, a sundae?  Maybe just a bite.  But you don't need to sing."  They sang.  And loudly declared that I was celebrating my 21st birthday all over again.  I guess I'm old enough for that joke to be funny now?  A few minutes later a waiter came by and handed my a fairly large print of an eagle and American flag.  "It's a gift from the gentleman at the other table."  Really?  Yeah, strange men give me gifts every couple of weeks, no big deal...  After I finished the glorious sundae, I waddled over to the table where 2 older couples were visiting.  I thank Mr Cornett. (his business card was stapled to the back of the print)  He said it was his original work and now he gives the prints away to anyone that will take them.  "Did I have any family in the Service?  Well, here take 2, no here's 6, just hand them out to whoever might enjoy them, dear."  If anyone wants a print of an eagle with the flag, just message me in the comments below...

Next was Target, time to shop for some nursing bras.  A task most definitely better performed alone.  I have drug 3 boys and a screaming infant through the bra aisle before.  Multiple times, actually.  Murder, absolute murder.  And child abuse.  And everyone-else-in-the-store abuse.  I've said it once and I'll say it again, thank the Lord for Miss Velma!

After a brief foray into Dollar Tree I met up with my true love, the library.  We spent a lovely half hour together, browsing books and videos.  I am now stocked up for whatever may happen this week.  Little House On The Prairie (the book) for when I feel ambitious enough to facilitate a cozy read-aloud time.  Frontier House (PBS reality show) for when I don't.  Hank the Cowdog audio book to motivate chore time.  And classical music to charm nap time.

I returned home to a blissfully quiet house, threw a ham and potato casserole in the oven and vegged to the Olympic Opening Ceremony for the rest of the night.  A perfect end to a perfect day.

Saturday found me making pancakes, cleaning out a few more drawers, shopping with my little sis for a car seat.  Thank you, Mom and Joanna!  Getting my nails done by sweet Miss Sherry.  Thank you, Sweet Miss Sherry!  Fixing mashed potatoes, gravy, green bean casserole and pumpkin pie.  Turkey was prepared by awesome husband, Rob.  Thank you, Awesome Husband Rob!  We have enough food for several meals, plus frozen meat for soups and casseroles.  I think my hubby might have thrown out the bones, though.  A tragedy, I use those bones to make incredible soup.  Oh well.  I also bathed Elle, folded two loads of laundry and ironed about 8 shirts while watching The Importance of Being Earnest.  Oh, and I showered as well.  The Importance of Being Clean, you might say.

Today was church.  A wonderful message on marriage.  One of the best I have ever heard!  Marriage is Honorable   Please listen, if you have time.  And grab your spouse!  He speaks to everyone in this.  And in the most loving of ways.  No screaming for women to submit and men to rule with an iron fist.  This is so different.  And so real.  And so glorifying to God.  Even if you are single, there is something for you as he reveals God's love towards us, personified in the marriage relationship.

It's been an amazing week.  I accomplished much more than I could have dreamed possible.  It's not all done yet.  Rob asked me yesterday what would happen if I didn't get everything checked off my list.  I told him I didn't know.  The world might just end, I don't want to risk it.  Much safer for him to just help with the list I wrote out and left on the computer...

This week I hope to conquer Thank You notes and packing.  And take the time to enjoy my family, just the way we are.

I will ask for prayer though.  Most of you have already read what Rob posted on Facebook last night.  Basically, while doing my nails, my cuticle got nicked and bled for about thirty minutes.  I kept dabbing at it, thinking any moment the bleeding would stop.  But it didn't.  So I wrapped a bandaid around it real tight.  When my finger started to turn black, I removed the bandaid.  Surely that would have stopped the bleeding.  But it didn't.  Eventually I stopped leaking.  But by now Sherry was a little alarmed, and so was I.  When I told Rob, he was mega alarmed and started a prayer campaign.  I feel sure that the baby aspirin regimen I've been on is the culprit.  I've been off the aspirin for a week now.  Surely in a few more days my platelets will get back to normal and my bleeding because of failure to clot will not be an issue during delivery.

Love all of you guys!  Thanks for all the prayer and support.  I may or may not blog in the upcoming week, but I look forward to giving a full account of the labor and delivery in all it's gory details in a week or so!

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Of Epidurals and Hospitality - Nesting:Day 3-

After a Manic Monday and Truculent Tuesday, we invariably stumble into a Moderate Wednesday.   (I couldn't find a suitable W word, it happens sometimes.)  I think being out late after a day of frenzied activity lends itself to the lethargy and grumpiness of Tuesday.  Since we do stay home and have a normal evening most Tuesdays, it helps start Wednesday on a more realistic footing.  Of course, being out late on Wednesdays usually makes Thursdays rough.  That's life, I suppose.  It helps to remember each day what is normal for Tuesday is vastly different than what I can expect out of Fridays.

I did end Tuesday on a good note.  While listening to the spirited debate between Ken Ham and Bill Nye the Science Guy, I also completed my online epidural registration.  This is something I have really been putting off.  Maybe it's because I hate having to shell out a $200 down payment.  It's just a cold reminder that the rest of the bill will be exorbitant too.  Maybe because this is the first time I have EVER gone into the birthing process with a scheduled, medicated birth pre-determined.  This just does not seem very romantic to my spontaneous, hippie self.  I much prefer to have a "labor of opportunity" experience.  Which basically means anything could happen.  I might be induced, but it better be a last minute, unscheduled induction.  I might use my epidural, or I might not.  Who knows?  The lack of official planning spells c-o-n-t-r-o-l for me.  Whereas agreeing beforehand to a "cookie cutter" process means that I will have no control whatsoever.  As soon as they get the IV in and the membranes ruptured, I'm on the clock.  And with the epidural in place, not only will I get blessed numbness, but I will lose all autonomy.  I will be literally stuck in bed, unable to move my legs or change position on my own.  No control over my bladder, no pushups to help the baby move into a more favorable position.  If labor stalls or the babe shows signs of decels, it's off to the operating room for me.  Now, I have had two epidurals before, and the worst that happened is that one was not totally effective.  But those were opportunistic epidurals, in the heat of labor I knew that was what I wanted.  This is a calculated decision, made at least a year ago, before I ever even became pregnant.  And, for some reason, it makes me really uncomfortable.  Of course it's the right decision.  I don't want to relive all that happened after Elle's birth.  Just writing this is causing me to shake.  I am hoping this will be (as cliched as it sounds) a "healing birth".  The epidural makes sense.  It's being prepared for the worst and hoping for the best.  It's being comfortable, mostly pain free and able watch TV (oh, no I won't!  I am still determined to make this a sacred experience) .  And... it's done.

I also cleaned out my purse, not quite as gut wrenching as registering for the epidural.  But almost.

Today I mustered the minions and we blitzed through my bedroom.  *Note to self* If you ever need to get small boys excited about cleaning, ask them to move the furniture.  We/they moved every piece of furniture weighing less than 80lbs, picked up all the used tissues and legos left behind, discovered a few lost treasures, vaccumed, dusted, changed light bulbs, put away and threw away ruthlessly, moved the furniture back in, set up the bassinet next to my side of the bed, lovingly placed a blanket and stuffed animal in it and lit a candle.

Aaaahhh.  It feels good in here now.

I was ruminating the why's and wherefore's of nesting this morning.  Is it an evolved instinct for providing and protecting our young?  Or is the ultimate in hospitality?  See, it's kind of like when I have guests in my home.  If I know in advance they are coming, I feel it essential to make preparations of  some sort.  The longer advance notice I have, the greater the preparation.  At the very least, I want my guests to have a clean bathroom, and glass of tea.  If you are very lucky, you might get dinner and -just maybe- dessert!  It's the least I can to do to show you how happy I am you are in my home.  On the other hand, I just adore last minute visitors!  If you can come as you are and accept me and my messy home as we are, we'll have a grand time.  Not my fault if everything isn't spotless.  Or if we're out of everything and I have to pull out leftovers.  I'm just glad you're here.

So, I've had 9 months notice of the arrival of a Very Important Person.  A little person who will join our home permanently.  I want to make her welcome.  I want to include all the siblings (and dad!) in making preparation for this gift from God.  It's the least we can do to show our joy and gratitude for the small individual who is, Ana.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Nesting - Day 2

True to form, after a Manic Monday we always have a Truculent Tuesday. 

I can't believe the whining and complaining.  The tears and the meltdowns.  Not to mention all the kid's bad attitudes...

Just before I woke this morning, I dreamed that I gave birth, unexpectedly, in a Walmart bathroom.  A bathroom that had a full length mirror.  And I carried the baby around, lotus style.  Huh.  Maybe my subconscious mind is communicating that I am at last ready for the new addition.  Maybe the lack of pain and the relative serenity of the experience show that I have overcome my fears.  Perhaps, since it was an unassisted birth, and very "realistic" it reveals my true feelings about how birth has been over-managed and over-medicalized.  Or maybe it's just saying, "You watch too many YouTube birth videos, dummy!" 

It was supposed to be a beautiful snowy day.  The snow never materialized, but we ate pancakes anyway.

While I and the kids elbowed, clawed and bit for the prime real estate around the skillet, (everyone wants to "help" so as to sneak bites of batter) I also started cleaning the refrigerator in earnest.  This task consumed the next 3 hours or so, stretching until well past lunch.  I spent an hour alone wrestling with the Deli Drawer of Doom.  How can something so simple to remove be so difficult to put back together?  The only thing worse is trying to set up the bassinet.  I actually had to take a break with some grapefruit juice and Facebook to keep from crying.  It worked!  Within 5 minutes of resuming the struggle I emerged the victor.

After the major refrigerator offensive, I needed something short and simple to conquer.  The hall closet is now subdued.

After a crash-and-burn nap I'm ready to get back on the war path.  Three loads of laundry must be decimated before they organize and wage guerrilla warfare from beneath the furniture and behind the doors.

It's not been pretty, but progress has been made.  And I'm thankful.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Nesting 2014

Today is the official start of Nesting Season.

I've been hoping against hope that my nesting instinct would kick in soon.  I usually clean the entire last trimester.  But this time, it's been hard to keep up with basic kitchen cleaning.  It's been months since I last dusted...

I'm up against the calendar now.  We hope to deliver 2 weeks from today (Monday, the 17th)  and it is finally getting real.  So, what all can I get done in a snowbound week while my husband is away on business and I can't reach the floor?  Let's find out:


1.  I made my bed.  Well, we have to start somewhere, don't we.  I always make my bed, but Monday is Sheet Changing Day.  Woohoo!

2.  Power Breakfast (also known as "cleaning out the fridge") We had Greek scrambled eggs (sauteed onions, tomato, fresh spinach, eggs and feta cheese, all of them being over the hill) leftover toast with leftover apple cider syrup, orange slices with Greek yogurt and a cup of grapefruit juice.  I feel fortified now...

3.  Cleaned the kitchen whilst training Cy to load and unload dishwasher.

4.  Cleaned out the kitchen junk drawer in under 14 minutes.  This includes taking time to answer the phone, change the batteries in my digital thermometer, remove drawer, scrub drawer, replace drawer and neatly arrange the deserving contents.  Undeserving contents were trashed.  I don't run a charity here.

5.  Played the piano while waiting for the kids to locate the missing Windex bottle.

6.  Whipped up some fresh cleaning solution for the bathrooms etc... Recipe: 1 part rubbing alcohol, 2 parts water and a goodly splash of vinegar.

7.  Cleaned the bathroom, emptied and organized the drawers and cabinets.  Threw away a ton of band-aid wrappers.  Used gallon and quart sized bags to organize all the toiletries, hotel samples, loose razors and hair accessories.

8.  At some point we had family worship.  A much needed break!  I also read The Legend of Mike Fink by Steven Kellogg.  So, you could say we studied American Folklore for school, hehehe.  After lunch, I read a book about the weather on all the planets.  Can anyone say "Science"!

9.  3 o'clock, naptime!  I am reading Choosing Gratitude (again) by Nancy Leigh DeMoss.  Having down time with an uplifting book is essential.  Cy is being forced , strongly encouraged to read an adaptation of Oliver Twist during naptime.  Literature!

10.  While I overslept my naptime the kids watched Creepy Animals and Fighter Pilot.  Zoology and Physics!

11.  4:15 I ambitiously begin the Eggplant Parmesan process, clean the silverware drawer, the potato and onion drawer and the freezer.  The freezer was shocking!  I had no idea it was that bad.  And really, I only cleaned out the bottom half of it.  Frozen fruit is now in a Walmart bag on one side with frozen veggies in a bag on the other.  I hope I never have to clean out inches of sticky goo out of the bottom of the shelves again.  Dee was quite helpful at scrubbing everything I had soaking in the tub.  I was panicking.  We were supposed to leave for karate in an hour, I was fixing dinner and the freezer was dismantled all over the floor.  AAAACCCKKKK!  But, we made it, only 30 minutes late which was really on time because I was trying to get there 30 minutes early...

12.  Oh, while I cleaned the kids listened to The Adventures of Hank the Cowdog on CD.  Agriculture!

13.  Karate.  Physical Education!  2 hours of it!!

14.  We got home around 10, straightened the living room, girls room and boys room and put away laundry.  Our reward?  One episode of Classic Peanuts.  Uh, I don't know what educational value I can hijack for this one.  Perseverance In The Face Of All Obstacles, perhaps?  Who cares.  Let's hear it for the 60's!!!

Day 1 of Official Nesting Week is in the bag.  Time to hit the showers.  Maybe I'll clean the shower while I'm in there...