Sunday, January 27, 2013

34 weeks, trial and error

34 weeks and feeling HUGE
We made it to 34 weeks plus some, and still going. With my new-found freedom, I've spent a lot of this week trial and error to see what I can do, what I should do, and what I really should not (or cannot) do.

I can walk around the house. I can't bend over to pick stuff up. That triggers some nasty contractions every time. Thankfully, Jay and Maggie bought me a cheap grab-stick-thing that actually works.

I can sit through meals and can help make supper. I can't load or unload the dishwasher. That bending over is just not a good move for us.

I can go to the grocery store. I can't push the cart or carry the groceries.

I can fold clothes and can change batches. I can't carry the baskets to put the clothes away.

I can do some cat stretches and can sit criss-cross applesauce. I can't walk after I sit criss-cross applesauce, but it's still nice to be able to stretch out those muscles and joints.

I can't sleep for more than an hour or two uninterrupted. I can fall back asleep if I have enough pillows around me.

I can go to church. (That might just be my favorite!) I can go to 4-H activities, but I can also contract all night after being upright for three hours.

I can make decorations for the baby and make sure all the stuff is ready for another little one in the house. I can re-read my labor and delivery books and get everything ready to go the hospital. 

I can enjoy these next few days and weeks with our girls, reading, watching movies, watching them play school (the game of choice right now), and doing as much as I can. I can tuck the girls in for bed. I can help lay out clothes for the week. I can monitor homework. I can snuggle with my girls.

Let's hit 37 weeks; then I'll really feel free to do what I can and what (for now) I can't.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Partial freedom

We had a good appointment today and got permission to get up more but not to overdo it. I celebrated with a small trip into Hobby Lobby and a full trip (with a little helper to push the cart) into the grocery store. I also warmed up supper and put kids to bed.

On the bright side, contractions aren't terrible after all that. But on th other bright side, they are definitely worse than they've been in a week or so. I think that is still a positive because it means all this couch time wasn't for naught. Gravity is not my friend this pregnancy.

My advice for other moms:  have your kids in your twenties. Physically, I was in the best shape I've been in since high school when this pregnancy started, but it has been the toughest on me, physically and mentally. I would do it all again to get this baby here safe and sound, but I don't want to do it again. Maybe that is just third trimester talking, and I am grateful to have made it so far, but ...ouch.

Setting my sights on seven more weeks.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Short nights

Friday night, I was desperate for a break from this house. Right or wrong, we went OUT to eat. As in, drove to a restaurant. And, it hurt a bit, but nothing worse than usual. And, oh how I needed it. Chips, guacamole, taco salad, yum.

Friday morning I was awake from 2:30 til 5:30, not with contractions, but just from third trimester pains. Bad. Awful. Exhausting. I ended up sleeping from 8-10 or so Friday morning, which helped.

And now I am here, at 1 a.m., unable to fall asleep, thanks to those same pains with the added bonus of acid reflux from above mentioned meal. I suppose the 4-an-hour contractions and baby jalapeño rolling motions aren't helping any. And so, I am in the recliner, hoping to find a comfortable position.

Thank goodness tomorrow is Saturday. No one needs to be up for work or school. I foresee a sleepy Saturday ahead.

Quotes from today

Maggie, on being told to change into loose pants for dance:  "But I can shake my booty just fine in jeans!"

Natalie is listening to Katie practice her trumpet. Nat asked Katie what song she was playing, and Katie answered, "I'm just warming up." Nat answered, "I just loooovvvve 'I'm just warming up!'"

Also, after listening to me complain about my aches and pains, no matter wish side I lay on, Jay is threatening to hang a hammock in the basement.

Natalie is practicing her speech homework, which means we have heard, "sssssssssssss-puh-iiii" over and over again. Aka spy.

Lainie skipped around the room and I said, "you must be feeling all better, shiny girl!" She answered, "I'm NOT shiny! I'm sparkly!"

No argument there, missy.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Worst is past?

Lainie and Natalie played all day, with not a cough, sneeze, or fever all day. And although Jay feels like a truck ran over him, he has gotten better as the day goes on. And, we were able to get preventative meds for the rest of the household. Contractions are intensified tonight but still under control. Optimism returns.

And so, onto happier things.

Natalie gives me so many quotable quotes and today was no exception. My favorite was when she asked why I was in the bath. I told her it was to make my tummy stop hurting. She asked, does the water make Baby Jalapeño happy? I said, yes, that's probably it. She answered, "He must be thirsty. He is getting water to drink from your belly button."

Miss Nat has been practicing her letters. Maggie will write out a word or name and Natalie will try to copy it. Then, it's our job to figure out what she wrote. Apple, Natalie are pretty easy; x-ray gets a little tougher to read. But I am proud of her practicing and Maggie for helping her.

And the there is Katie, who has fixed supper, made sure laundry and our dog are taken care of, and even put her little sisters to bed when Jay and I just couldn't physically do it. She amazes me. Maggie has worked hard herself, especially doing dishes and helping her sisters get dressed or cleaned up. She still complains, verbally with gusto, but she does the work eventually. Thanks to our bigs, friends, and my brother, we made it through Flu 2013.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Much better

Lainie had a restless but fever free sleep last night. She just came downstairs, hair all crazy with bedhead, box of kleenex in one hand, water bottle in the other, still fever free. And, we exhale...sort of.

Our household isn't done with the flu completely, but I think Lainie might just be, and she's the one that scares me the most. Today's plan is more napping, fruit, juice, yogurt, hand washing, and disinfecting. LOTS of disinfecting.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Short night

Thirty-six hours after the first sign of a headache, the flu hit Lainie hard. It was one of those nights where I tried ignore the mommy part and think like a nurse. Some people claim to hate the hospital; I think of it as a place for reinforcements, where I'm not the one making the decisions, where I have a group of people helping me keep my daughter safe. Last night, we didn't have to go there, but I was close.

Lainie slept on the floor of my room, so I could hear her if she started to seize. She coughed a lot, moaned a lot, grinded her teeth. At 1 a.m., she woke up and told me she was having trouble breathing. I listened to her lungs and they were clear with good air movement. I listened to the rate, nice and even. She was just having trouble because her nose was full of schtuff. And so we stayed and she was able to get back to sleep.

At 4 a.m., she woke me up and said, I don't feel right, Mommy. One look and I knew her fever was bad. 102.8, to be exact, and for a girl who can febrile seize at 99.8, that's not good. That's the part where you ignore the mommy role and think clinically. Tepid bath, not too cool, don't drop the temp too fast. Motrin, max dose for weight, even though it was only 4 hours since the last dose. (It's the best fever reducer I had.) Cool drink, not popsicle, so to drop the fever slowly. Check for symptoms of pending seizure; she said everything looked funny, her head hurt, shaking hard. Tylenol, the other helper we had available. Wake Jay, because if she seizes in the bathtub, I'm not sure I can get her out. (He was sleeping downstairs because he doesn't feel good.) Do I know where her diastat is, just in case? Yes, in her bookbag. What's left? Pray.

Oh, wait, I'm supposed to be on bedrest. Well, call it a bedrest time out.

By 5:30, her fever was down to 101, the shaking was gone, and only a headache, cough, and runny nose continued. All that freak out and worry and prayers, and today she woke up skipping. Thank God. Another bad night behind us.

I know a lot of people cuss pharmaceutical customers, call them greedy. Last night and today, I am so grateful for the makers of Trileptal and Ibuprofen, Tylenol and Tamiflu, thankful for another seizure-free day and for a little girl who is skipping around the house.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Still here

32 weeks. Measuring ahead.
Still at home
Still contracting
Lying still

32 weeks 2 days
About 4 pound baby
Baby belly getting really big

Sick kiddos
Katie stomach flu
Lainie influenza
No snuggling allowed
Lots of disinfecting and fruit

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Baby kicks

When we say the baby is "active", we mean really, really active. All the movement of the remote is from baby; I even held my breath so we could see exactly how strong those tiny legs are already.
I think I might miss these, some day.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Appointment update

We had a sonogram today, and I'm ecstatic to report everything looked perfect. Baby not only has perfect little organs, but also has a head full of hair waving in the amniotic fluid.

After the sono, we had our 32 week appointment with doc. The contractions, while painful and consistent, are not causing dilation. We are continuing with the current plan of strict bedrest and procardia three times a day, a fourth time if I can't get the contractions down to every 10 minutes. Doc did say I should get up every hour for 2-3 minutes during the day, just to prevent a blood clot. And, while I haven't gained any weight in three weeks, baby is growing right on schedule, estimated at 4 pounds.

I told him part of me just wants to get up and do stuff, just to see if it's not that bad. He, and Jay, were very emphatically against that. In doc's words, "Give us two more weeks first." He was also great at cheering me on, saying more than once, good job and you are doing great. I'm not sure how to articulate this, but it's nice to know that doing nothing is so appreciated. I know how important it is to do everything we can to keep this baby in, for as long as we can, but I'm also appreciative to hear someone understand that bedrest -- especially 8+ weeks of it -- is more of a jail sentence and less of a chance to relax and take it easy. It brings new meaning to the term "confinement".

And so, we continue. And in the meantime, check out the hair on this baby!
Baby's profile, with a little hand under his/her chin

That fuzzy stuff on the right is hair. You can see baby's chubby cheek and, on the top left, a little fist.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Bright sides

Ten positive points:
  1. I get lots of practice breathing through contractions
  2. Contractions are ten minutes apart, not closer together
  3. I get to walk upstairs and eat meals I didn't prepare
  4. I'm not in a hospital
  5. I have health insurance
  6. Baby is active as all get-out
  7. I have lots of reading and praying time
  8. The girls have learned how to do dishes and clothes by themselves
  9. Our friends continue to show us how lucky we are to know them, and
  10. Best of all, we made it to 31 weeks 4 days

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Making it purdy

One benefit of a house full of girls:  they like to make things pretty.

Katie was excited to paint my toes, although I had to stammer around to avoid explaining why I wanted my toes so pretty. She kept asking, "But WHY is anyone going to see your toes!"  She painted them blue, then put "silver French tips" on, as she explained.

Then, I was kind of tired of looking at the same wall. After 35 days, I needed some new wall art. The girls were more than happy to comply. You see, if mama is housebound, the girls are more housebound than usual. Yes, they go to school and religion and all that. But, come weekends, they are either here or where ever Daddy Jay needs to be. So, making art for my wall is a win-win: it gave them something to do, and it is already cheering me up.
Lainie's pictures are on the right. One is about Rapunzel, a princess locked in a tower. Natalie's pictures are in the middle, a more abstract rainbow motif.

Katie added a quote from one of our favorite books, Mama Moon
Maggie said her picture is of a cheerleader and a mama's arms growing bigger, like in the book.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

A long couple days

I hurt. I don't want to eat. I'm more irritated than usual; think how a mama cat acts when she is weaning her kittens. Contractions are lower and strong at times. I refuse to time them all - I'd go insane - so when I have an exceptionally strong one, I watch the clock, relieved when four minutes have passed.. I am sticking to the couch, thanks to the big ouch I get when I stand.

It's been a rough two days. But Jay made baby jalapeño and I promise no labor until after today's farmers market. I'm glad babe is already listening to his/her father.

I missed Katie's performance at the basketball game but, thanks to our friends, she had quite the cheering section and I got a great recording of it. That girl gets so nervous about screwing up but loves to dance. And I love to watch her, to see her hard work pay off, to see her genuine smile when it is done.

Today, with me giving directions from a bed, Magsy (as she is requesting I call her) and Lainie-bug(also her requested nickname for the day) got out the newborn carseat and wiped it down with a Clorox wipe, got out the crib set, sorted out all our 0-3 month clothes, and found my vacuum-sealed bag of baby blankets and quilts. One step closer to being ready for another little one. Lainie did point out to me numerous times that "it's still one- two- three months 'til March, when the baby will come." We can hope!

Friday, January 4, 2013

Winter break

Just a few photos from our winter break

Jay's birthday present: a beardo

Concentrating on her drawing

Happily drawing in front of the fire

Celebrating Christmas with G'ma Teresa

L's hair, after big sis attacked it with a crimper

M, waiting for Christmas

Thursday, January 3, 2013

31 weeks

We made it to 31 weeks today. Less than a week 'til we get to take another sneak peek at the baby. I am assuming at 37 weeks, at the latest, I'll be off bedrest. That means just 6 more weeks. That sure sounds a lot more attainable than 11 weeks sounded when this all started. And in 3 more weeks, we'd be able to deliver closer, hopefully, and avoid the NICU all together.

This baby is a strong one. His/her kicks are so forceful, it literally makes me jump involuntarily. The girls are all excited to feel the movements, giggling when they get kicked themselves. If nothing else, I'd say this little one had Jay's strength.

 I trust God will carry us through tough times, but sometimes when things get overwhelming, I forget to ask for help. It always amazes me how, when I actually pray for help, when I let go and let God, the worries peel away like the skin of an onion. Like an onion, the core of this problem still stinks a bit, but at least the problem isn't as big as it was before.

So, I'll do my best to continue to pray, to put it in God's loving hands, and keep my tail on the couch as much as I can tolerate.