Sunday, July 31, 2011

This is hard for you too!?

I'm fairly focused on myself right now.  And by that I mean that it's all about me, me, me these days, how I'm feeling, how I'm coping, what I need/want.  As far as I'm concerned the rest of the world can zero in on me for the next few weeks and once I make it to the end of this journey I'll once again remember to ask after others and be aware that the world doesn't revolve around me and this pregnancy.

Well, that's how I was functioning up until a few days ago when I realized J may be feeling a little nervous and asked where he was at.  He said he thinks he will be fine while I am in labor, but the moment of birth as well as the few minutes after will probably be difficult as we wait to make sure all is well with this boy. With Charlotte it happened so fast: birth, tiny noise - not even a cry, really - and then disaster that all we'll need to feel reassured is a strong, healthy cry and a baby who doesn't go limp.  I wanted to talk to J about it more, but he shut down soon after that and I eventually got that his silence meant I'm done talking about this.

Talking to J about how he thinks he'll feel about Bennett's birth (which is actually admirable as J doesn't like talking about his feelings in general and doesn't feel the need to obsess and stress about events that are not happening/won't happen for a while like I do) I began to think about how others may be feeling. How are my parents feeling?  J's?  My midwife?  Our sisters and brothers? Friends?

I think that quick conversation with J was a good (and necessary) reminder that I'm not the only one crossing my fingers, sending prayers to the heavens and hoping all is well.  I was so caught up in the idea of birthing another baby I forgot to consider the thoughts and emotions of those who will be waiting in the wings.

I wouldn't have made it through the last thirty-three weeks without your support.  Thanks for listening and supporting me through this pregnancy and brace yourselves for the next few weeks as they will be tough ones.  I'm already feeling the need to grab hold of strangers and inform them that I'm five-seven weeks away from having a baby. (It's like in the beginning when only a handful of people knew I was pregnant and I found myself telling strangers because I so desperately wanted to share the news, only now it's obvious I'm pregnant, but I want the world to know I will birth a baby soon which is scary, but exciting too, and how do they feel about it, hmm?)  

Friday, July 29, 2011

33 week appointment & a picnic

My good friend and I share a midwife.  She is 19 weeks pregnant with her third and happened to have an appointment at the birth center at 10 this morning. Mine was scheduled for 11 so she played with her little ones in the living room/waiting area while I had my appointment and then we headed outside for a picnic (the birth center sits on 4 or so acres).  We settled ourselves under a tree and watched the resident rooster and one of the chickens wander around the garden while we ate.  It was a pleasant way to pass an hour.  I wouldn't mind if all appointments ended with a picnic in the shade with a bit of a breeze blowing.

Whew, look at all those freckles.  J actually pointed out my freckles a couple weeks ago, said he didn't think he had ever seen them so dark.

I just have to take a moment before updating on Bennett to say this: I have been so blessed by the friends I have made here.  When we first moved to Salem I was so lonely and thought I might never have close friends who lived in the same town, and now I have THREE friends who are like family to me.  All three of these friendships really grew and developed after Charlotte died (actually, I didn't even meet one of these girls until after Charlotte's death) and I love them for being there, for showing up, for sticking with me even when they didn't know what to say.  

I'm sorry, I'm gushing.  I'm blaming the hormones. 

And now for the Bennett update.  The little babe is doing fabulously, growing and being active and doing all he is supposed to.  It was good to see my midwife as she had two weeks off so I couldn't (okay, wouldn't) call her last week after my appointment with the MFM.  I had a lot to talk to her about and as usual she infused me with calm and I left feeling better about things in general (although there is a part of my brain that is constantly panicking about birth and how much time we have left that even she can't shut off).

I've gained 23 or 24 pounds so I think a 30 pound overall gain is still likely.  I'm measuring at 33 weeks, Bennett is definitely engaged - oh my is that boy low - and my midwife said he has long legs.  His daddy and I are shorties, but there are some tall folks in both our families so maybe he'll be taller than us someday. 

It's been two hours since lunch and I am starving, which means it's second lunch time.  I cannot believe how much I eat, and yet I'm only 1.8lbs heavier right now than I was when I delivered Charlotte.  OH - speaking of that, look at this picture I came across on my camera today: 

It's a little blurry because I'm in labor and moving around, but look at that tiny belly!  I am much bigger this time around and I hope that means I am growing a big healthy baby.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Well, would you look at that:

Mothers are marvelous motivators.  So are friends.  I had a much needed dinner out with friends last night.  Even though we talked about sad things, we laughed a lot too and shared how we met our husbands, our first dates and proposals.  At five years I've been married the shortest amount of time in this particular group.  It's odd how five or more years can go by and this HUGE event slowly recedes in importance and becomes instead a jumping off point for one crazy life.  It was good to go back and remember those early days, the dreams and hopes we carried then, the life we thought we might have. 

My mama came over today and helped me wash Bennett's newborn and 0-3 month clothes as well as blankets, sheets, burp cloths.  Oh my goodness, we don't need any more blankets or burp cloths, we are wading in them.

Blankets galore (so thankful for under the crib storage drawer).

Need a receiving/swaddling blanket or ten?

We have stacks of diapers,

clothes washed and folded, 

a lovely start to what will be a giant collection,

and the first few items for the hospital.

While we're on the topic of the hospital bag tell me something, please: what did you take, what do you wish you had left at home/brought?  Will we be stared at if we walk in with five bags, or is asking for the placenta strange enough that all other oddities will be ignored?  I managed to write a list, but when looking at the extreme length of the list I am wondering if I should pare things down a bit.  But it all seems so necessary, I just don't know what I would cut. 

My mom even helped me clean the laundry room.  I was so embarrassed when Charlotte died because everyone was in and out of the laundry area and it was hideously messy.  It's still in the scary, unfinished basement, but it looks much better.  You know you're jealous of my homemade laundry chute to the right there.

On Saturday we're having a work party which will help us make grand progress on the summer project and I think maybe, just maybe, we're going to make it through this summer without completely losing our minds.  One more picture and then I'll stop.  Here I am in the nursery this afternoon.  33 weeks friends, can you believe it? 

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Third Trimester Blues

Feeling rather blah today.  A combination of things, little events, is making me feel out of sorts, grumpy.  My good friend had her anatomy scan yesterday, it's a girl, which she thought it may be, so in some ways I was prepared for it, but in other ways, ouch.  It stings a bit, I imagine it always will.  And of course I am happy for them, glad all is well, but it's still a reminder of the little one I'm missing. Remember what it was like to go in for a scan with no worry or fear?  Yeah, I can't really recall it either.

THIS WEATHER.  I know, I know, how lame is it to talk about the weather, but waking up to overcast skies in July is a bit too much.  I need to get motivated, accomplish a few things in the weeks I have left before Bennett arrives, but my brain thinks it's late May and refuses to cooperate.

I bought a few trashy lit (that's what I call easy reads with happy endings and easy to follow plots) novels the other day and I am blazing through one a day right now.  The things I should be doing instead of reading or watching "American Pickers" on Netflix?  Well that list is long: housework, freezer meals, (I committed to making one last week, haven't managed it), writing thank you notes for baby gifts, buying the last few baby items, deciding if I really need those last few baby items, organizing the nursery as opposed to talking about organizing the nursery (thankfully my mama is coming over to help with that tomorrow) ... etc. etc. etc.

We're just so busy right now with the summer project, J running to and fro at work trying to accomplish things before Bennett comes (he's in the middle of the accreditation process for his company) doctor appointments, midwife appointments, time with friends and family, J's work picnic, the usual summer commitments   

I'll be 33 weeks tomorrow.  In my mind I am running around like a crazy person cleaning baseboards, making lists, and folding baby clothes, but in reality I'm relaxing on the couch with a book.  And this is the second or third time I've written about this, which is really pathetic.  The other day I said something about organizing the nursery and J said, "Yep, you keep saying that, but doing nothing."  So, so true.

Even though I feel like nesting I know that no amount of fluffing, folding or cleaning will matter in the end.  Either he'll come home with us, or he won't and whether or not the baseboards are dust free won't matter one whit.  We'll be overjoyed or devastated and if I continue avoiding all of these little projects maybe I won't have to birth another baby in a few short weeks or admit that this pregnancy is coming to an end.  Because when it ends, no matter which way it ends, I have no idea how to handle what comes after and if there's anything in life that makes me uncomfortable it's not having a plan.      

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Lost for Words Card Line & A Chance to Support Faces of Loss, Faces of Hope

Carly Marie from Project Heal and Franchesca from Small Bird Studios recently started a wonderful card line, Lost for Words, which focuses on baby loss, infertility, babies in the NICU, holidays, anniversaries, etc. The website has a long list of card categories, it's really impressive how many special moments the designers recognize, and it's a wonderful resource to have.  The cards are beautiful with well thought out wording and I'm glad these two very busy people took the time to create it.


Faces of Loss, Faces of Hope is trying to win a $25,000.00 grant from the Pepsi Refresh Project to support its cause and needs your help.  You do have to register, but voting only takes a second.  Faces of Loss, Faces of Hope has been an incredible resource and place of refuge for me and many others who have lost babies.  I know a lot of you who read here are already voting, but if you haven't please head over and do so today (and tomorrow and the following day ...).

Monday, July 25, 2011

Final Trip to Borders

I nearly perished at the liquidation sale at Borders yesterday.  Okay, that's an overstatement, but it was way more strenuous than I thought it would be.  It was 89 degrees outside and the air conditioning was off inside the store, presumably because Borders doesn't want to pay the money.  It was crowded, hot, and my quick look around turned into a two hour wander through nearly every section. (Have to say though, I wore my TOMS and my feet didn't bother me at all.  Water would've been an excellent idea, as two hours in a hot building without hydrating is not smart, but I had no idea I would be there that long.)

With the closing of Borders we are down to one bookstore in this fair capital city. I've been in the Borders, as well as the independent bookstore downtown that carries primarily used books (although they do have an option to buy new books through them online) once.  Thanks to my three years with an independent bookstore forty-five minutes from here I tend to do my book shopping there. And not only because if I work a few hours I receive a bit of store credit (which will soon come to an end with the birth of this babe) but because it's a friendly place with good staff and I think it's important to contribute to the small stores.

I bought a few books yesterday, although the deals weren't fabulous, and flexed my bookseller muscles.  I miss selling books, a lot.  I was in the children's section, hunting for books for Bennett, when the woman next to me sighed.  "I can't find what I'm looking for."

"What are you looking for?" I asked.  It was an automatic response, couldn't have stopped it had I tried.

"The 'S' authors, the lady up front told me to look in the authors that start with 'S.'

"That's over there," I pointed behind me.

"Thanks," she shifted over a few shelves and continued looking.

After a few minutes I looked up and asked, "Any luck?"

She sighed, "No."

"What are you looking for?"

"This book about a naughty boy.  My grandson just loves it."

"Oh! No David by David Shannon.  That's an excellent one."

"Thank you!  Like I said my grandson just loves it.  I can't find it here, but I am going to write that down so I can get it somewhere else."

It was a You've Got Mail moment, minus the tears.

Sigh.  I have this great (seemingly useless) ability to remember a slew of book titles and authors.  I fear I will someday be an old lady who stands in libraries and bookstores directing people to books even if they don't want help.

Salem has lost a few good bookstores over the years.  This city seems to have a hard time supporting them even though it is a college town, has a population of over 154,000 and, as mentioned above, is Oregon's capital.  I always hate to see a bookstore fail, even a non-independent one like Borders because it means less access to books. How people, and especially children, encounter books doesn't matter as long as it happens and with the closing of Borders one more opportunity has been lost.  Thankfully we have a wonderful library here with strong programs, but I wish there was a good bookstore too.  And the loss of jobs here, as well as the overall loss of jobs for Borders employees, is devastating too.

Borders closing doesn't mean all access to books has been lost.  There's always Amazon, of course, and Costco too, but what a bricks and mortar bookstore provides is so far beyond that: community, a place to browse, learn, discover, and an opportunity to introduce kids to books and the magic they provide.  We moved here three years ago and while I've come to love this city I initially disliked I wish it hosted a strong, healthy bookstore.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Are these Braxton Hicks or is Bennett doing push-ups?

Friday night I woke up at 3:30 am.  I rolled out of bed, went to the bathroom, laid back down, settled in, and then BAM - my belly tightened in a very uncomfortable way.  I didn't have Braxton Hicks with Charlotte, or at least not that I remember.  I always wondered what it would feel like and while it's not painful, I wouldn't call it pleasant.

Bennett complicated matters by pushing UP every time my stomach tightened. My stomach would tighten, UP would come his little bottom, which I would push DOWN on because my skin felt so stretched and tight I was afraid he might bust on out.  This happened three or four times until I wised up and rolled to my left side. My confused and sleepy state adds another layer of hazy weird to an already strange event, but I think it was either Braxton Hicks or Bennett decided to do push-ups (with poor form, bum in the air like his mama does) at 3 am.

What do you think?  Am I having Braxton Hicks?  Should Braxton Hicks feel like the baby is trying to exit through my belly button?  Perhaps it was just extreme stretching from Bennett?  I made it all of yesterday without any more and slept quite well last night, only waking up twice to go to the bathroom!

This pregnancy is so different - of course, they all are - but it shocks me how much.  My stomach is sore from this little man moving around so much and he's starting to push and stretch more although there are still plenty of hard thumps as well.

I worry constantly about if he's moving enough, but then I feel something truly odd and wonder if that's normal.  And I'm so paranoid that I won't know when labor has started since it was such slow going initially with Charlotte's labor (praying for ruptured membranes like I had with Charlotte) that I over analyze every thump and bump.

And of course this morning Bennett is super quiet and calm.  In fact, I think he's still sleeping.  He likes to make me worry.  Maybe I can convince J to run out and buy me a doughnut, that should wake the little guy up.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Placenta Encapsulation: A Conversation

Wednesday evening I finalized The Birth Plan (it's so important to me I think it deserves a little boldness) and then asked J to read it over.  He was all, "What, why?  I read it before, how much has changed?"  He flopped next to me on the couch, skimmed it over and declared it good.

I hauled the laptop upstairs, hooked it up to the printer and printed out three copies.  J followed and flopped on the couch upstairs.  I was reading over it one last time to make sure it was all coherent and there weren't any spelling mistakes while J messed around on his X-Box.

"We may want to save the placenta for encapsulation purposes," I read out.  "Hmm, that's not too weird, right?  I mean, we are birthing in Eugene."*

J dropped his controller, as well as his jaw.  "You want to what?"

"Save the placenta, then have my midwife encapsulate it so I can take it in pill form."

"What??  Ewww!"

"J!  You just read over this, how did you miss that bit?"

"I think I blocked it out or something.  Are you sure you want to do that?"

"It's supposed to help with postpartum depression and recovery.  With what happened with Charlotte and my family history of depression I think it's a good idea.  My midwife mentioned it a while ago and I am seriously considering it. Plus, you can freeze it and take it when you have menopause, so if I don't use it all it will be useful years from now."

He stared at me.  "You can freeze it for that long?  This is gross."

"Really, I think it may be a good thing.  I'm not asking you to take the pills."

He shuddered.  "I'm just glad I don't have to eat my prostate."**

He can still make me laugh so hard I nearly wet my pants (being 32 weeks pregnant doesn't help either) and I can still surprise him.

* Eugene is the town roughly an hour South of here where we will be delivering.  In a state which is considered fairly laid back and liberal, especially on the West side, Eugene is known as being really free and easy and hippie-esque.  Thus my complete lack of surprise a couple appointments ago when Dr. K told me the midwife wasn't around the clinic because she was at the sweat lodge. Completely normal behavior around those parts.

** Conversation not 100% accurate, but pretty darn close.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

32 week appointment

This was the week of the birth plan, of me asking the doctor question after question, of me hoping Bennett would be at 4 lbs, (3 lbs, 15 oz, so close!) and it all went rather well.  My sister went with me this time as my mother is out cruising the waters between here and Alaska.  Bennett decided to show his face to his aunt today, which made me very happy.  It was a little difficult to see him since he had one hand and his cord near his face, but my sister and I agree that he looks an awful lot like his sister:

Hand over his face

Mouth hanging open, caught him unawares 

I'm still not thrilled about delivering at a hospital BUT I think I will have a good experience at this hospital with this particular doctor.  He recommended beginning cervical checks at 37 weeks since I went into labor with Charlotte at 38.  When I said I would rather not do that he gave a very good reason as to why he recommended it, the main issue being that we live an hour from the hospital and it would be smart to know if I am dilating/effacing so we may have a better idea of when to head in.  He said it's important for me to be monitored throughout the labor and not leave the hour drive too late.  

Then I asked about going to 42 weeks, which he said he would not recommend as the chances of stillbirth increase.  "So I have to be induced at 40 weeks?" I asked.  And then he said the most wonderful thing: "No, this is your pregnancy, your body, and your baby, you don't have to do anything, but I would not recommend going past 40 weeks."  I am hoping and praying this boy comes before or at 40 weeks so we don't have to make a difficult decision about whether or not to induce.

He read over the birth plan, said it all sounded good and in line with how they like to operate things.  I will be monitored the entire labor, but the monitor allows movement and is fine in the water, I don't have to be hooked to an IV, but they will probably put a line in with a cap so they can access me quickly if they need to, and my midwife as well as J can be with me if I need to have a c-section.  It is understood that I don't want to be medicated at all and I won't be checked during labor for dilation/told when to push - when I say it's time, it's time.

Bennett is head down, very low, even lower than last time, which means I was hanging out in the reclining position for part of the ultrasound once more.  I am to continue with kick counts, non-stress tests will not be needed unless a growth issue is detected or we go over 40 weeks, and I am to continue seeing my midwife every two weeks.  My next appointment with the clinic is August 15th, which puts me at 36 weeks and change!!

This is all feeling very real.  I need to go wash some baby clothes, or organize the nursery, or something.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Hello, gorgeous

I saw this beauty while at the park this morning.  My Aquafit friends and I do our best to walk every Wednesday morning since we are no longer swimming and I always arrive thirty minutes early to run the dog before leashing her.  This morning I was tired, my hip was bothering me, the sun was out, which I haven't seen for quite some time, I was feeling grumpy about the closing of Borders (we're down to one used bookstore in this town now) and then I looked up and there was this butterfly, hovering right in front of me.  I stared it at for quite a while, snapped a couple pictures with my phone, stared it at for a while longer while Isabel yipped and threw her ball at my feet.

It was a beautiful reminder of my sweet girl, a little wave from heaven before I set off for the hour long walk which nearly did me in (will I eventually have to admit that I can't do everything I wish because I am (almost) 32 (gasp!) weeks pregnant?).

I hope this brings a little bit of sunshine and love into your life.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The End of an Era

I, like so many others, find myself a little verklempt with the close of the Harry Potter movies.  The end of the movies didn't make me cry nearly as hard as the ending of the books, but sitting in that quiet theater yesterday I certainly wiped away a few tears.

The first book was published in 1998 when I was all of fourteen.  I'll be twenty-eight in a couple weeks, which means I've lived half my life with Harry Potter.  I remember not wanting to read the series at first, because everyone was SO into them and I was at an age when I didn't want to do what everyone else was doing (I fancied myself a rebel then - eye roll to that silly teenage girl).

Then a good friend, as well as a librarian who provided a safe sanctuary for me in my teen years, forced me to begin the series. And I fell in love with the story, the concept, the characters, the idea of a school for wizards.  Much has been said about the darkness of the books, but to me they are about so much more: loss, love, friendship, family - the motivations that keep us moving though we would really like to give up.  I cannot wait to read this series to my children so that through the magic of words they can learn that love has the ability to bring you through even the darkest of times.

The final book was published my first year at the bookstore.  The store hosted a midnight party which was crazy, but so much fun too.  I remember the boxes of books piled in the back waiting to be opened, the sheer mind numbing insanity of standing at a register ringing up the same book over and over for those who hadn't pre-paid.  I read it quickly, so quickly I couldn't recall much when I went back to read it for a second time.  And on that second read I found chocolate smeared across some of the pages, which made the book seem more mine somehow.

I went to Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 and 2 by myself.  Part 1 came at a rough time in my life: I was sad, we were trying to conceive again, it was winter.  Part 2 finds me in a completely different place.  I had Bennett with me this time, so even though I was alone I was not entirely so.  He kicked and rolled and made it difficult for me to make it all the way through without having to leave for a bathroom break.

Near the end of the novel (and this is in the movie too) just before Dumbledore leaves Harry he says, "Do not pity the dead, Harry.  Pity the living, and above all, those who live without love."  That is the ultimate line for me in this series because I have lived and experienced it.

It was months before I could move beyond worrying about and missing my daughter to focusing on me and my needs.  She is fine, she is not here in any tangible sense and therefore does not need me or my worry.  I, on the other hand, as well as my husband, my family and friends need me, even this changed me, the after May 14th, 2010 me.  I must be present and live even though I would like to stop time on the day Charlotte died and be with her forever.  I am sad because Charlotte will never grow up, but while she was here with us she knew only love and knowing that provides peace and comfort.

I want to tell the me who went to the first part of the final movie back in December that the pain will ease, that soon there will be someone to look forward to, that there is much love in our lives which is quietly and slowly healing the broken mess Charlotte left behind.

And if I could go back to my fourteen year old self I would tell her that life will be much harder in the future, (so, really, enough with the angsty library loitering) that though it is painful high school truly is a mere moment in time, that before she knows it fourteen years will have passed and she'll be reflecting on a series of books which she picked up with great reluctance and came to love.  And in fourteen short years, I would tell her, you will look back and see that - so far - you have lived a life most unexpected, tinged with sorrow, but overall blessed and beautiful.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Summer Project Part 1

This project is taking over our lives, but when all is finished we will (hopefully) have a walkway, a patio, and a basement free of water.

Step One: Reroute our gutters, and two of the neighbors', which will prevent water from seeping into basement. IF we can accomplish this we can start finishing out the basement. J spent hours digging a trench from our backyard to the street:

Step Two: Receive paving stones, lose driveway

Step Three: Remove paving stones from pallets as pallets are worth $150.00 to the company even though that seems like an inordinate amount of money to charge.  J moved most of these, but I did my fair share of the work.  Once paving stones are nicely stacked realize that saving so much money on mixed pallets means this will be the biggest puzzle we have ever put together.  And it is going to take us forever to figure out how to set them in the ground.  Regain ability to park car in the driveway.

Step Four: Measure out patio and walkway.  Break up sod.  I'm leaving this one up to J.  It's strenuous work.

J is standing in the patio area.  We are going to plant bamboo along the back fence there if we can find a spare moment to drive out to the bamboo nursery an hour from here.

Step Five: Get distracted by the belly - 31 weeks 2 days

Step Six: Move sod to the side, wonder what we'll do with it.  I stacked most of this, there's lots more to do once the ground dries up a bit.  Rain soaked sod is too heavy for me to lift right now.

Once the sod is moved the ground must be leveled.  Then we're ready for gravel, I think.  This is taking up every moment on our weekends, and a lot of time in the evening as well, but the end result will be worth it ... or so I keep telling myself.  Hopefully the weather improves soon so we can finish moving the sod.  Rain showers are predicted through Thursday, but if the ground dries up some we can continue working.  We want to have this done before Bennett is born, but that may not be possible. 

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Birth Plan: A Rough Outline

I worked through the dreaded birth plan worksheet.  It seems silly to plan a birth when it is so uncontrollable, but I do have a way I would like things to work if all is well so fill out the sheet I must.  Now I'm asking for help and feedback before I modify and present it to my doctor who will glance over it, stick it in my file, and fail to understand how difficult it was for me to fill out.

Important needs and concerns I have for my birth experience: I am really struggling with this one. I have a line and a bit more to explain that my first baby died and I need consideration and understanding this go round.  J's suggestion is to write 'see attachment' and then write a short paragraph on a separate piece of paper.  

During labor I would like: Quiet, dim lighting, to wear my own clothes, to be encouraged to move, try different positions, use the water (must remember to ask if I can be in the water if my membranes have ruptured).

For pain management I prefer: Please don't ask if I would like an epidural or other pain management. 

During pushing and the birth I would like: To follow my body's urge to push.  My husband would like to catch the baby.

If medical procedures (such as inducing labor, IV's) are suggested, it would be helpful if: Please fully explain procedure and why it is necessary. 

In the event a cesarean birth is recommended, it would be helpful if: My husband and midwife can attend although only one support person is typically allowed. 

We would like to welcome our baby by: Immediate skin to skin contact.  Would like to delay cutting of the cord and begin breast feeding as soon as possible. 

After the birth I would like: Quiet, no visitors, may want to use own swaddling blankets, husband may want to give first bath. We decline the erythromycin eye ointment - undecided on Vitamin K. 

Three very good things about this hospital (according to their website):

Food is allowed and provided during labor 
Pushing while lying on one's back is not recommended or encouraged 
IV's are not routinely used

I am probably over thinking this.  I'm inclined to do so when worried.  Before too long the frantic what should I pack?! posts will begin.

Rain on a July morning

Oregon is having a hard time finding summer this year.  Woke up at 5 am to the sound of rain outside the open window and a very active baby.  I miss her kicks and rolls, knowing her, waiting for her.  I found the heart shaped rock which sits next to her memorial stone at the river a few months ago.  I brought it home, placed it in the ground next to hers, introduced her to her brother, all the while believing she already knows him.  Two babies, one mama, a heart divided. 

Friday, July 15, 2011

Birth plans and delivery gowns

Yesterday was a hard day and it was late afternoon before I figured out why.  31 weeks with Bennett, 14 months without her.  Even if I don't mark those days consciously the impact of them is still felt.

This is what's staring me down today:

Blah.  My next appointment is on the 21st and I need to have the plan done by then, (or at least I think I do because Dr. K said we would discuss labor) but every time I see it on the coffee table I find something else to do.  Simply put I want it quiet and dark and I want to be left alone with my support team, but there are more details needed so I have to sit down and write them out.

Birth plans are hard.  I found a few I like online, but they are so detailed.  There is no way I'm walking onto a busy labor/delivery ward with a forty page outline of what I would like to happen.  I ended up printing the one off the hospital website as it's only one page and that seems more manageable and respectful of a busy hospital staff.

There are some issues J and I can't decide on.  Hopefully Dr. K will have some insight at my next appointment.  Our biggest struggle is the Vitamin K shot.  We will not be having the eye ointment that is routinely administered, but we are having a hard time making sense of the Vitamin K research.  Some studies claim that Vitamin K can make leukemia in young ones more likely, but other studies dispute that claim.  Well, with a nephew and cousin who have battled leukemia at a very, very young age I am hesitant to agree to it, but I don't want to put Bennett in danger by refusing it.

In my mind I'm running around like a crazy person organizing things, sorting, cleaning, freezing meals, but in reality I am doing a whole lot of nothing.  This morning I realized that if we stick with the every four week schedule at the specialist I may only have two more appointments at 32 and 36 weeks.  I see my midwife every two weeks, but the specialists try to make it so we don't have to travel down to the hospital very often.

That's the other thing I have to figure out at my next appointment - what's the plan?  Will non-stress tests be necessary or are we all comfortable with how this pregnancy is progressing?  How do we feel about letting this pregnancy go until 42 weeks if all looks good?  I don't want to be induced, but I'm not sure the doctors will be okay with that.  I've been avoiding all of these thoughts and questions, believing September may never come, but as the weeks between now and September 15th melt away I am aware that I need to figure some of this out although I would really rather spend the next seven (!!) - nine weeks with my head between my knees deep breathing.  Only problem with that: I can no longer put my head between my knees.

I did manage to find a comfortable gown for delivery.  When my midwife mentioned finding something so I wouldn't have to worry about wearing two gowns or being exposed while moving around in labor I began looking right away.  Did you know there are designer delivery gowns??  I don't know why I am surprised by this, but there is no way I was paying $40.00 or more (I saw one for $80.00) for a gown that is unlikely to come out the other side of labor unscathed.

I am quite pleased to report that I found cotton gowns on sale at Target for $12.00.  I bought two, one for labor, one for after, which was still cheaper than the cheapest "delivery gown" I found online.  I can wear them now and during labor and if they are ruined after that I won't feel like I wasted money.  And they're kind-of cute too:

Having that one detail sorted makes me feel a little calmer.  My goal is to have bags packed, clothes washed, and Hypnobabies classes done by 38 weeks just in case this little guy arrives early like his sister did.  Somewhere in there I might attempt to deep clean a few areas in the house and freeze a few meals.

These next few weeks will be ... difficult for those close to me.  I apologize for any crankiness/craziness/irrationality/overabundance of frantic blog posts.  My stomach aches constantly from nerves and worry, but overall I feel okay - even hopeful - about things.  It's very confusing.  If you pray, please keep praying for our little family as we anxiously count down the days.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

A little miracle

Back in March I posted briefly about Emily who lost her sweet Aidan at 23 weeks gestation last year.  In March, when she was 17 weeks pregnant with her rainbow, her water broke.  After 15 weeks of bed rest at home and in the hospital, and a whole lot of fear I can't even imagine, her baby girl Kaia was born healthy last Saturday.  She is small and currently in the NICU, but doing really well.  I think most who read here read there as well, but if not I wanted to post a quick update.  Kaia's birth gives me hope; what a sweet, strong fighter!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Nearly Fourteen Months

It's cool and rainy, which always makes me think of her, of how the weather changed from warming up, preparing for spring, to wet and grey when she died. There should be a fourteen month old napping in a nursery that no longer exists, but instead it's just me here staring at the candles I lit for the first time in two months this morning.  Those candles next to her urn used to burn all the time, morning to night, but now I light them only when I want her to know I am thinking of her, missing her more than usual, feeling her absence acutely.  Two days until another 14th and though I no longer mark each month with a letter to her I am reminded each time those numbers appear on the calendar of my little girl who existed so briefly she didn't have a chance to grow or change or be. There are still moments, and I think there will always be moments, when the realization that I lost a child hits me anew and I understand the absolute enormity of what I am missing; those years stacked on years which seem meaningless until your opportunity to watch them rise is snatched from your hands. 

Monday, July 11, 2011


Okay, I'm not positive this post applies to the word I used as my title, but I love that word and it fits-ish so I am going for it.

I finally bought a pair of Toms.  I've wanted a pair for quite some time, a year at least if not longer, but then they became so popular I decided not to.  But then it began to warm up and I realized sandals are not my friend this year.  I see pregnant women walking around in flip-flops and wonder how in the world they manage.  It looks so easy and comfortable, you can slide them on and off without bending over the belly, but two minutes with flip-flops on my feet and I'm limping like I've walked twelve miles.

Enter the Toms.  I've had the shoes since Friday and I love them.  A lot.  I even wear them around the house as my feet ache if I stand longer than a few minutes without shoes. And the canvas is breathable which is nice in the warmer weather.  I understand why so many people own them now.  Plus, the company has that whole one for one campaign where they provide a pair of shoes to a needy child for every pair bought.  (Although I can't help but wonder if needy children would be better off with mosquito nets, hens, or sheep as opposed to shoes.)

Here's a shot of my new Toms which I am wearing with yoga pants.  It doesn't get more comfortable than that.

They're not the most attractive shoe, but J promised he wouldn't make fun of me for wearing them.  I didn't make fun of him for trying them on.  He does this with all of my athletic shoes, and now flats too apparently.  He was fascinated by them when they arrived.  I was in the other room doing something and he was asking how they fit, were they comfortable.  I said, "Try them on if you're so curious."  He said, "I already did, they're not wide enough for my feet."  Five years into this marriage I should know that if shoes come through the door that interest him he will try them on, even if they are mine.

* I've been going random with this here blog lately, just posting whatever comes to my mind.  I've been hesitant to move away from Charlotte, to post about other things, but I've really been enjoying writing about the random things as well as the grief as well as the rainbow babe.  I hope you are enjoying it too.  Feedback welcome even if it is negative (i.e: stop writing about your shoes and dog, it's so inane and boring!) *

Saturday, July 9, 2011

7.9.11 pt 2

I apologize for two posts in one day, but there is a great picture of Isabel at the bottom if you make it through this one.  I thought I would toss this out tonight as Rhiannon's comment from earlier got me to thinking (good grammar, yes?).  I am SO tired.  I do believe I am reaching the point in this pregnancy where I may have to admit there are some things I can't do.

Isabel, my dear Pookerton, Porker, Isa-Pook partially ripped the pad off her front left paw when we went to the river this afternoon.  We have preformed first aid on this dog multiple times, but never while I am pregnant.  We had a sad afternoon and she is now curled up on the floor with a bandaged foot, an old sock of J's over the top of the bandage to prevent her from licking it and a sad demeanor that we have been trying to assuage with food (hey, it works for us).

BUT, what I really sat down to write about is freezer meals.  On my last post Rhiannon asked what meals I would freeze if J wasn't on a gluten free diet. Here's a quick run down:

Chili: I don't like it, but J does and I often make a big batch and freeze portions for him.  Sometimes I make so much he gets tired of it.  When we put the new fridge in a couple weeks ago I discovered two portions of chili from before Charlotte was born shoved at the back of the old freezer.
Lasagna: I make big pans, bake them and then divide into portions since the two of us don't need a whole lasagna.
Chicken pot pie: I make the filling, freeze it, and make sure to stock up on pre-baked pie crusts because there's no way I'm making pie crust - I just don't have the skills.
Chicken Noodle Soup: I'll be honest, I have a love/hate, hit/miss relationship with soup.  It's supposed to be easy, right?
Spaghetti Meat Sauce: I made a HUGE batch of this a few weeks before Charlotte's birth and then divided it into meal sized portions, which lasted us a good long while.
Chicken Tetrazzini: We tire of this easily so when I make it I often serve half, freeze half.
Homemade Macaroni and Cheese: Easy to make, one of my favorites to mix up and freeze.  I often add spinach and broccoli.
Teriyaki Marinade: Mix it up, toss in some chicken, freeze enough for two.  Add veggies and brown rice for a quick stir fry meal.  

Yes, I made all of this before Charlotte was born.  Yes, I think I may have been insane.  It was so nice to have though, especially when J would come home from work exhausted to a wife who couldn't fathom cooking or eating.  It was easy to open the freezer and pull out two portions of something for dinner.  Even though I didn't eat most evenings at least J had something for dinner and lunch the following day.

Now most of these I could make gluten free, it would just take some effort and a whole lot of gluten free pasta, which has been hit and miss around here.  Also, it's expensive.  I may end up making a few things I can eat and a few he can eat. I am loving lasagna this pregnancy so we've already had a few lasagna/chili nights around here.

Anyone have good recipe suggestions/freezer meal ideas?  I don't know if I will get around to making anything, but a little inspiration might get me started.

It's just after 6:00.  I can't believe I've posted two blogs, read 250 pages, taken Isabel for a swim, which involved a mile walk in the heat of the day, assisted with puppy first aid, and helped J move paving stones.  I think I need less free time on my hands.  I definitely need to start sleeping past 5:30 or 6:00 am.

I'll leave you with a picture of my poor puppy.  Notice the paw over the stick, the ball by her back leg.  She really wants to play, but she can't even walk.  We need to buy a pack of cheap kids' socks, they fit her foot better and make it a little easier for her to walk.  We know this because this is round three (or four?) of absolutely unqualified at home vet care.


Another dream about Bennett, born healthy, only I wasn't supposed to see him until two weeks after his birth ... but my good friend Jessi brought him to me anyway.  He was wearing a onesie with "little brother" written across the front, blue pants, tiny socks.  I can't remember what he looked like, but I do remember his hands, they looked like his sister's.

I want to buy all things baby related, but we don't need much.  Around 32 weeks with Charlotte I lost my mind and bought a co-sleeper, baby swing, and rocking chair online even though I had said I didn't want a rocking chair or swing.  J was confused, but decided not to argue.  Yesterday I bought a Pack n Play even though I'm not sure we need one.  I must stop buying clothes, really I have to. This is all part of nesting, right?

Here is what I should be doing: planning, cooking, and freezing meals.  It was so helpful after Charlotte died to have a freezer full of meals, but with J on the gluten free diet for at least two more months (blah) my go to list of foods to freeze for after baby has to be completely revised.  The idea that someone will take care of us, we won't starve, we had so many meals brought in after Charlotte died, is making me feel even less motivated to cook and freeze meals.

I am so lazy and spaced out.  I don't remember feeling this way with Charlotte, but maybe I did ... ?  If we had a butler, maid and chef I would sit on this here couch for the next ten weeks, put my feet up and do nothing but eat and read. Since that will never, ever happen (trust me, I've asked) I am off to work on the patio with J.  This summer project, like all our projects which we are certain we can do ourselves because it will save so much money, is one nasty monster, but next summer I will have a patio ... and there just might be a baby sleeping in the shade - beneath the bamboo we have yet to find and plant - next to that patio ...

Hope, friends, I think I've found some.

Thursday, July 7, 2011


I had two questions from this post.  Thanks for asking, here's my answers:

First up, from fireworksandrainbows:

How often do you think yourself into a tizzy?

When I think about my Xavier, and TTC again, sometimes I get panicky about delivery, blood pressure, more death etc. etc.

Does it happen to you? at 29 weeks you are close and I assume you would think back to your one and only birth experience, what do you do to help yourself get into a better headspace?

I think and worry far too often, usually about things I don't need to think or worry about.  I'm a nervous worrier, always have been, but that particular personality quirk has really been highlighted with Charlotte's death and the current pregnancy. 

I've been working through the Hypnobabies CD's to help me keep calm about my upcoming labor and delivery.  The 'Joyful Pregnancy Affirmations' CD helps a lot. I make sure to listen to it everyday.

Prayer helps.  I pray for peace, calm, low stress, the ability to turn off my thoughts so I can sleep.  Every night at supper J prays for Bennett and "all the babies in our lives."  We are surrounded by loved ones who pray for us and this baby and we can feel that lifting us up. 

Talking to friends helps, and if I feel really panicky my midwife can always talk me down, get me back to center.

It's one day, one fear at a time right now.  Labor is CLOSE, closer than I like to think about (8 weeks from today if he is born at 38 weeks like his sister) but I am doing my best to stay busy.  

Second question, from Jessica:

Hmm question... Well I know that you love to read and last I remember you work part time.

So what do you do with your free time and what is (or a few) of your favorite books?

I'm actually a non-working lazy bum right now.  A few months after Charlotte died I began working one day a week in the bookstore where I worked throughout my pregnancy (and a couple years before that) but it wasn't consistent work and I was paid in store credit so I'm not sure if that counts. Around the holidays there wasn't much for me to do so I stopped going in, but this Tuesday I wandered in for a few hours so perhaps I'll put in a few more hours before Bennett's born. 

In my free time: I read a lot, spend time with friends, spend time with J and other family members ... lately all of the free time has been spent working on our big summer project - building a patio.  Life is really low key right now.  I spend most of my days cleaning the house, reading, walking the dog, going to various appointments, seeing the few friends who live in town.

Books.  It's so hard for me to pick favorite books.  I like the classics, Dickens, Austen, the Bronte sisters, but there are so many others I love.  Gone With the Wind will always be at the top of my list.  I read it in 4th grade, picked it out of the library because it was the biggest book I could find and I had read through everything in the kids' section.  I loved the story, the weight and smell of the book.  Every time I reread it I am reminded of picking that old, falling apart, hard cover copy off the shelf in the small library in my home town and lugging it to the front desk to check out.  I selected it out of boredom and a hope of occupation, but found myself enamored with the story, Scarlett, Rhett, the South.  I even wrote an alternate ending and shared it with my fourth grade class, because I didn't like the one in the book (how obnoxious of me).

This was fun, thanks for participating! 

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

30 week (almost) appointment

30 weeks tomorrow!!  It's so exciting to reach another milestone, to cross over into the 30s, what could be called the final stretch of this pregnancy.

I have two questions to respond to from my last post.  I'll get to those in the next day or so.  I really enjoyed writing that post.

Bennett is doing well, all is copacetic in our world.  I am measuring at 32 weeks, I've gained 21 pounds, Bennett is active and I am only a tiny bit dehydrated despite this warm weather we are (finally!) having.  I drink 80-100 oz of water a day and I am glad to see it's paying off with no swelling and almost no dehydration.

I went to the birth center for this appointment instead of having it at the house. It's much easier for my midwife scheduling wise if we do it that way so I'll have the remainder of my appointments at the birth center. It's no longer difficult for me to go there.  It's where Charlotte was born, it's where some of her ashes are buried, there will always be a bit of my heart there and it is such a beautiful, peaceful place.

J has just started interacting with Bennett.  He didn't talk to Charlotte very much, but it was enough that she knew his voice when she was born.  It's so incredible how babies know who mama and daddy are, how they recognize the two voices they've heard the most in utero.  With Bennett being so active (more so than Charlotte, this boy can actually hurt me when he kicks) J has become more interested in tapping his feet and talking to him.  He calls it his 'minute with Bennett' and I am glad he is taking the time just in case we have less time with him than we would like.

I've said it before, but I am going to say it again anyway: it is so strange to have a normal, low-risk pregnancy EXCEPT for the fact that my last one ended in a full-term neonatal death.  Just a minor fact, a little quirk, that makes this all so much more difficult.

Next appointment with the MFM is on the 21st and I see my midwife again on the 29th.  We are ticking along here and a small part of me is beginning to believe we will have a baby in this here house come September.  

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Dear Readers,

Thank you for reading, commenting, hand holding, answering questions.  It's amazing that I can type out a quick blog post about baby clothes and you all inform me that there are chemicals on them (ewww) so it's probably best to wash at least a few, but really it's not necessary to wash them all before he comes home (hopefully).  And of course there are all of the times I've come here to write about my sweet girl.  You all have been so kind in helping me remember her short life.

I'm just over 400 posts now (!) and while I did blog before she died I had few readers and posted rarely.  Most of those 400 ramblings have come since she died and I appreciate everyone who reads here - whether you comment or not.

In the past I've read blogs where the writer solicits questions from readers and then answers them in a subsequent post.  I've always enjoyed reading those posts, but have hesitated to write one because I don't know if there's anything about me I haven't shared here.

But now that I've hit this random milestone of 400 posts I thought I would ask if there is anything you all want to know about me that I haven't shared ... ?

I've also begun the process of trying to decide where I want this blog to go next.  It will change some, (but not until after Bennett is born) but I'm still working out how much.  I am trying to decide if I can blog about life in general here and her - always her - without disrupting her sacred, set apart space in my heart and life.

I've been sleeping little, thinking a lot and I wanted to take a moment to thank those of you reading here.

Comment with questions if you've got them.  And if I don't receive any perhaps I should stop over sharing ...

Saturday, July 2, 2011

** This post is about preparing for Bennett.  If you would rather not read, I understand. **

Answer some questions for me - please?

This whole wash the clothes before the baby arrives thing - is it necessary?  I did it before Charlotte was born, but then she never wore them so I ended up with tons of clothes, no tags and no receipts.  Plus, so much of what I had was past the acceptable return window I couldn't return them anyway.

Not like I've kept a record of receipts this time around, but I do know they are all floating around in the nursery somewhere ... although for quite a few things I'm already past the return window.  Every time I think about washing the clothes and putting them away I hit that huge "what if" wall.  How awful will it be to have bins of boy and girl baby clothes shoved away in the attic?

The nesting mama in me, who has really asserted herself of late, wants to cut tags, wash clothes, fold and put away clothes and blankets, have everything organized and ready, but the practical side of me isn't so sure now is the right time.  Which leads me to another question: If I washed them now would it be too soon?

One more question: I washed the crib sheets, receiving blankets etc. before Charlotte was born.  Do I need to wash them all again?  They've been sitting in drawers in the nursery for over a year, surely they don't need another wash ... ?

Reading over this I realize how absolutely inane and inconsequential of a post it is, but my brain is in overactive prepare for baby mode and I can't turn it off. Part of me wants to only wash the clothes for the hospital, but the controlling side of me who is slightly obsessive about things being in their proper place wants everything prepared for Bennett now.  And for some reason delivering in a hospital in another city is making me feel more anxious about having everything washed, put away, organized, and ready for a newborn.


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