Sunday, August 30, 2009

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Monkey Toes and Daddy Hands

All our girls have monkey toes. And long fingers. For years I heard comments about my "long fingers." I always thought that was silly. Mine were perfectly average; there were just a lot of 'short-fingered ' people out there.

Hubby's hands are clean. You should see them when they're not...

MRSA It Ain't!

Thursday afternoon I came to a realization, more or less. I was losing some ground in my efforts to 'get back on my feet.' Whether it was the real, physical efforts both in the household and with Gi-gi, or the emotional stress of those (probably a combination), I decided to speak further with a friend who had suggested we work towards getting Gi-gi home. I was a little worried; I didn't want Gi-gi to feel like we were throwing her out, or anything like that. I had already offered a time or two to take her home if she would be more comfortable there, and to arrange people to help take her for her last IV treatments at her local hospital. She'd always refused, probably more concerned about the hassle to us.

When I told her that some friends of hers were working out the details of coming to get her, she was really grateful. And I was so glad she wasn't offended. Not that much offended her on hydrocodone; even the homeschooling comments and talk-radio bashing ceased completely!

Friday afternoon was the planned pickup, so we still had a morning appointment to keep at the hospital. The friends had been in touch with the doctor, and we were trying to get her care transferred. The doctor had already gotten back the test results, and MRSA it wasn't! It tested positive as "Group A Strep." Most of us baby-bearers are familiar with the late-term testing for "Group B Strep" before we deliver our babies, and I'm not sure if they're related, but for the record I tested negative for Group B Strep.

I helped Gi-gi get dressed and got everyone loaded up. In the dim light of her room it didn't look like the infection had gotten any further up her arm. In the bright light of the Outpatient IV room, it proved to have spread some, but not nearly-double as in previous nights. Because of the proof of diagnosis, the doctor changed the antibiotic order to something different, and told her she needed to be hospitalized, because the treatment necessary was IV penicillin (or similar) several times per day. She still didn't like that idea.

While she had her treatment, I hurried to the midwife to pick up more of my pregnancy tea. And the IV Lady told her she needed hospitalization. Probably at the doctor's behest. She warned that this infection could easily result in the loss of a limb, or if it got into her blood, could do serious damage to her heart. She told me of this over the phone as I was driving back to get Gi-gi, and said she thought she'd convinced her.

Between the friends, my uncle, and others, they arranged to take Gi-gi straight to the hospital in her city. It wasn't as smooth as I would have liked it to be, and in fact it has bothered me very much, but they had to admit through the ER, waiting several hours to see the doctor there. Gi-gi's ob/gyn who is her friend's daughter had "gotten the ball rolling" for her admission, or so I had thought, but perhaps I misunderstood. I sure wish I'd had her admitted at our local hospital, then transferred, or seen if the local doctor could've sent the orders to Gi-gi's hospital. *sigh* Apparently, though, it wasn't near as hard on the old lady on vicodin as it was on the dear friends who sat and waited with her.

I have't heard today how things are going. The ER doctor apparently suggested that she'd be "home by tomorrow" (which would be today), and while that seems a little scary to me, I do hope they're watching carefully and taking good care of her. I'm sure far better care than we managed here. :[

I was so surprised at how I felt after they had picked her up and everyone had gone. I suddenly was just so exhausted. I guess I'd been in "survival mode," just getting through each hour, each day up to that point. I washed dishes and started laundry and tried to get to know my house again. :)

Today I'm still tired - Organique kept climbing out of her crib until about 11 pm (she'd had a late nap), and disciplining her so much and so late was a challenge! I'd had to do the same with naptime, and eventually gave up and nursed Baby in the room with her, warning her to stay in, and laying Baby down and dealing with her each time she climbed out anyway. I figure we must win these small (big?) battles now, or else...! Baby let me sleep 1 1/2 hours at a time again, and Big Sister got sick in the night and threw up - OVER the rail of her bunk and right onto the carpet! That chore still awaits my attention. Hubby was going to bring up the shop vac, but got called out to a couple service calls. I'm washing everything Gi-gi used or slept on in hot water today, and will have ot use the hot dryer as well. At least today isn't into the 90's.

Thank you for your prayers for Gi-gi. I hope to hear and report good news and recovery soon!

Thursday, August 27, 2009


Well, the doc said to call and come in again today if Gi-gi wasn't "significantly improved." In fact, this morning she was "significantly worse." She's swollen from her knuckles to her bicep now, and based on the lack of response from the injected and oral antibiotics, I'm guessing MRSA is a reasonable diagnosis.

I called the doctor at 8:30, tied Gi-gi's shoes, buttoned her shirt (I didn't let her even change from her pajama pants - the doc said "come now!"), got the remaining children out of bed (didn't brush their hair), fed them a piece of cheese each, and got everyone in the van. So glad I have a van. *sigh*

The doctor was delayed, after some guy had a seizure in the waiting area (take note: if you ever want immediate attention at the doctor's office, try that), but he wasn't happy with what he saw, so told her to go stay at the hospital for a few days. She wouldn't, so they compromised with outpatient therapy. IV antibiotics once a day for 5 days. We went straight there, and I decided that carrying a newborn, pushing a stroller with a 2-year-old, and keeping the others out of traffic is a big job. Pushing a wheelchair in addition is TOO much. I'm thankful for the "transport" guys at the hospital.

Once we got Gi-gi settled, we slowly made our way back to the van and found them some breakfast (lunch). We went to my mother-in-law's house to eat and use the bathroom. The outpatient services called 20 minutes earlier than they had expected to, and we rushed out to get Gram. We stopped at the Kawasaki dealership to pick up an oil filter (priorities, right?) on the way home for Hubby.

Since Baby slept in 2-hour stints last night, I'm about as sensible as Gi-gi doped up on Vicodin, though my speech is a little clearer. Gi-gi is resting, and I might do the same if I can get Organique to settle down. What a week for her to learn how to escape her crib...

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Nerves Times Two

Gi-gi was awake all night, dealing with increasing pain in her arm. She was still sure that the best thing for her would be to return home, but she finally came to realize that it was unlikely she could drive in her condition. After the girls helped her pack and load her stuff in her car. The swelling was farther up her arm, almost to her elbow. I called a local doc at 9, and they said to bring her in at ten. We did so, me doing her paperwork for treatment, then sitting in the van with the kids and nursing the baby, back and forth.

Two buttock injections of antibiotics, and prescriptions for another antibiotic and some hydrocodone later, they suspect MRSA. They're culturing for it, but it will take 48 hours, or maybe until Saturday to find out for sure.

She took one painkiller an hour ago, but it hasn't cut the pain very well yet.


The pain has subsided, and she's able to sleep. Her hand and arm are quite swollen, but not hurting so badly.

When she was up before dinner, her speech was slower and somewhat slurred, like my mom's used to be (my mother had MS). That sound always scares me a bit. I don't know if it was from her tiredness, the painkiller, or what. She's sleeping again now, after finally eating a little.

I'm struggling with all this. I'm anxious for her, for my kids (and their quieting enough to let her recover)... And I feel like I'm losing ground in my whole "childbirth recovery" efforts. At least Gi-gi's forgotten how terrible it is that the kids aren't fenced in the backyard, and 'what a mess' everything is.

Well, I must gather the 'unfenced' children in. It's evening, and local mosquitoes have tested positive for West Nile, of course...

Tuesday, August 25, 2009


It's continued to be interesting around here. Gi-gi remains, and so far I've done very well not to turn off the mellow university DJ playing classical music all day, OR (and I should get even more credit for this) her "they always give both sides" NPR. Not only do I not usually turn it off, I don't turn on Rush Limbaugh extra loudly like other members of this family. And it is not my fault if Gi-gi hollers to said member that she'd "rather eat dirt!" than listen to him. But at least Hubby was inspired to OFFER to take our eldest for a trip to the store after hearing her ask Gi-gi why she doesn't like the man on the radio. Well, his offer was after Gi-gi replied, "Because he's a liar and a bigot!" I think that's the "both sides" available on NPR...

I don't know if the Radio Station Battle has anything to do with it, but Gi-gi is actually not doing so well. She nicked her forearm the other day - her top layer of skin tears easily and this happens frequently - she washed it with soap and water and put a band-aid on it, but it didn't get better. It got infected, and there is a patch at least 4 inches in length of red, swollen skin around the area. We've treated it with antibiotic ointment, and at the recommendation of my midwife, a poultice of plantain, but she's still not doing well. She's felt crummy, run-down, and has even had diarrhea, all since yesterday afternoon when it really came upon her. This is VERY unusual for Gi-gi. She had the Korean flu in 1950-something, and another bout of sickness in 2004ish, but she just doesn't do this. She's opposed to taking antibiotics or seeing doctors unless absolutely necessary, but in my mind we're pushing that line here. Lord knows if she falls unconscious, and I call an ambulance and she's hospitalized, that she'll never forgive me. She'll haunt me all my days, she's promised. :)

Also, my midwife recommended a hearing screening test for Baby. This is usually done at the hospital, but... So I called the little state hotline, who gave me a number for another outfit, who put me in touch with the speech/hearing pathologist. I couldn't remember whether I was dealing with the Health Department or the Department of Health and Welfare. As a backwoodsy, red-state, homeschooling-freak-of-nature that I am, you can be sure the latter would make me a bit nervous. I decided that it must've been the health department, because this wasn't about food stamps or medicaid or anything like that. In any case, the lady called me back yesterday and made an appointment for the test here at my home today at 2. My breath caught a little in my throat when I saw her nametag sporting the "State Department of Health and Welfare." I decided to be charming and engaging, and to say as little as possible about anything at all.

Which is when Gi-gi walked through and made reference to the sleeping toddler upstairs. Then, blind to both her nametag and my angst at having one of Them within My Home, went on to comment about how busy that 2-year-old is, and how she (Gi-gi) recommends we put her in a playpen with a net over it. Yes, she said this to that lady! And that I refused her recommendation because someone would 'turn me in and I'd be arrested' if I did that. And, it would be wrong! And hurtful! And wrong! I wanted to point out. *sigh* I'm sure the lady was red-flagging our file.

She did the screening test on Baby, who passed. Big Sister was close by, and wanted to hear the "echo" she had described when explaining how the test worked. The lady obliged, and did the test for Big Sister... Who, were she newborn or 2 years old, as most of their 'clients' are, would be referred to an audiologist. *sigh* She tells me (this is only a screening, by the way, not an official test) Big Sister isn't hearing all the tones in her left ear. I was hoping to visit a chiropractor soon, to straighten me out after having this baby, but after the doctor visit, the lab test, and the newborn doc visit, I was going to have to put that off. Now an Ear, Nose, Throat doc? We won't discuss how long it's been since the dentist referred us to an orthodontist...

She asked if we had insurance, and I said no. She said she didn't know what the pricetag was for such a visit, as most of their referrals are on Medicaid anyway. Of course; if someone else is paying, why care what it costs??? Argh.

THEN she asked Big Sister's age, and if she'd had this screening yet in school.


"I'm homeschooled," she declared. "All my schoolbooks are in there," she gestured toward the dining room.

I think she upgraded our file from red-flag to... I'm not sure what. A flashing beacon?

And why hasn't HSLDA sent me my new membership cards??

"Oh..." the lady said. "Yeah, they usually test for that much earlier..."

Little Artist made an appearance shortly thereafter and the lady asked her age as well. I was not liking this, though not because of anything suspicious on the lady's part. It's all me and my "don't tread on me" paradigm. I liked being under the radar, darnit! And here, in the space of a few minutes, The State now knows a). who we are, b). where we are c). that we homeschool (without benefit of hearing screenings!) and d). that we don't have babies where they do hearing screenings (i.e. the hospital) e). that we have four daughters, and their ages, and f). that my grandma advocates unapproved (disapproved!) "child restraint systems!" Ack!

Am I not supposed to still "be resting?" I don't rest well when there is an under-the-weather liberal hanging around who may or may not be up to leaving at the appointed time, and I CERTAINLY don't rest well when an Agent of The State is under my roof finding out my business.

We're off to find Gi-gi some Immodium and Colloidal Silver.

And the next newborn hearing screening is taking place on the porch.

Monday, August 24, 2009


I can't believe it's been 9 days already!

Nine interesting days, for sure.

Her first night, Baby slept for 5 hours straight! I was very grateful, and not under the impression that it was something I should get used to.

The next night, she did 30-45 minute increments. I think we did sleep from 4-6 though. Ugh. My midwife came later that morning to check on us, and everything seemed great. My tear was healing better than she expected, Baby was doing well, and while my temperature was a bit high (100 degrees) she figured that was from milk production.

She left, and I lied down to rest. Shortly I decided I didn't feel all that well, and checked my temp at 101.7. I called her, and she instructed me to sleep, if possible, and to check my temp again in an hour (or when I awoke) and report back. In an hour it was 102.4. She had walked me through some checks: pain in the abdomen? No. Signs of mastitis? Nope. No signs of infection anywhere that we could pinpoint. She said she would call someone and would call me back. She did so, saying she'd made an appointment for me with a doctor some 40 minutes away that she knew. And to hurry, because the appointment was in 40 minutes. My temp was 103.4 at this point, I had to find something to wear, and where in the world was the infant carseat??? We got there, late, and my midwife met us there. The doctor saw us quickly, and I was so grateful to have my midwife there to answer questions.

"Are you on any medications?" Well, no, not exactly medications. Herbs, yes. As tea, as tincture, in capsule, in a bath, yes. Vitamins, yes. I don't like pharmaceuticals.

"Have you had any tylenol, or anything?" No. I don't like pharmaceuticals.

"You should just take some tylenol..." We'll see.

My temp had dropped a bit after drinking cool water much of the way there, but it was rising again, so after confirming that I had no signs of infection, they did a pee-test (no infection) and ordered a blood test to check for elevated white cells or viral things and whatnot. The lab called the doctor who called me - before we were even halfway home! Everything was clear. Which was great, but didn't tell us what was going on. Oh, and he recommended I take tylenol. My midwife recommended I do nothing but rest and nurse Baby - even have Hubby or someone care for her otherwise.

My temperature stayed in the neighborhood of 103/103.5 all night (it seems so silly to pop tylenol for a fever just after having a baby at home without painkiller, doesn't it?), and finally started to go down early morning. 101.5 is so much nicer than 103.5. It continued to drop that day (Tuesday) and I was very grateful for that!

My mom and her kids left Wednesday morning, and Gi-gi arrived shortly thereafter for "second shift." She is still here, and will leave this Wednesday morning. My in-laws came on Saturday and took Big Sister and Little Artist for most of the day. They loved it! Of course, what's not to love about eating out, seeing a movie in a theater, and playing at Grandma's? They haven't gotten to do that before. My mother-in-law enjoyed herself too, from all reports, and wishes she didn't work full time so she could do that more. I hope I get to be a "stay at home grandma" when the time comes.

Organique has been a handful. Especially with Gi-gi's involvement. Hubby is back to work today, but he took all last week off (he's been saving vacation for a year!), and while I was reluctant at first (I figured with my mom here, then Gi-gi, he could better use it later, when everyone had gone!), I am SO grateful he did that. He really took a more active role with Organique than usual; keeping her with him as he worked in the garage or fixed the porch or whatever he was doing. He put her for naps, readied her for bed, and even *gasp!* hosed her off in the tub when she had an "accident." (He does NOT generally do such a job.) In addition, he would refill my water, make my tea, bring me food, and kept his phone on himself at all times for when he might be needed. I'm a little scared about how we'll manage now!

I'm hoping to *really* be back on my feet soon. I feel like I've been turned inside-out and could really use a chiropractor! My midwife comes again tomorrow to see how we are, and then we're on our own after Gi-gi leaves! God is good, though, and He's enabled other mothers to manage thier homes and families, so I'm trusting in Him. I think...

Friday, August 21, 2009

So THAT'S Why...

I haven't gone the "low-fat dairy" path for some time now. It doesn't taste as good, isn't as "real," and I'm of the opinion it's not as good for me. Of course, I have to shake the jar to get more than just cream on my oatmeal because non-homogenized is also better. As is raw, from a healthy and organic source.

But I digress.

Apparently eating low-fat dairy products can increase the chances of infertility in women.

I love this "conventional" gem:

"Once they have become pregnant, then they should probably switch back to low fat dairy foods..."

Yeah, because something that screws your body up is a good idea because....?

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Men, Don't Read This

First off, it's LONG. Secondly, it's full of details you don't care about and would probably rather not know.


I had a prenatal appointment Friday and everything looked good. Including my pee test. :) That always makes me happy. I did a few errands, all on my own, as my mom had arrived the night before and the girls were playing with their cousins. My dad arrived that evening, with my cousin, and it was a fairly busy evening, I think.

Dinner was late that night, like 8 or 9 pm, and I was having contractions occasionally like I tend to have when busy in the evening, but they were a little more serious, and they were causing some downward-feeling pressure.

I went to bed and they continued (usually my evening contractions would stop when I rested), so I called my midwife at about 11:30. She told me to time them; 'real' ones would last a minute or so, and be in the neighborhood of 5 minutes apart or so in active labor. I started timing them just before midnight. They stayed about 10 minutes apart, ranging from 8-15 minutes. Most were a minute or more, and they were not the kind you could sleep through, but required focused relaxation and breathing.

This was new for me, believe it or not. Usually if I have "serious" contractions they're not spaced that far apart. And it's hard to get good sleep in 10 minute intervals.

I called my midwife again at about 1:00, to give her my strange results. We agreed I must be in early labor, "serious" feeling or not, and I'd call her when they picked up.

I continued timing them until about 3:45 when I took an hour break (that is, I stopped checking my phone clock and writing the time. I still contracted. :)). I timed them again before 5 a.m. and they were a bit closer (some of them), but still not what would be "expected." I called her again, and she told me to use some of the ginger (one of those birth supplies that they don't use at the hospital?) and take a bath with 2 tablespoons added. This would increase circulation or something, and either they'd stop, or speed up.

It took me a while to accomplish this. Waking my husband can be a long process (it had been in the wee hours when I'd had him set up the birth pool), and I hadn't planned on needing the bathtub, but with the grubby kids that had been bathing in it, I wasn't going to use it as-was. And I wasn't going to be able to scrub it out in my condition.

About daybreak (6:30 or so) I finally had him roused a bit (I hadn't really tried terribly hard), and told him what I needed to do, and therefore what I needed him to do: scrub the tub out. Of course, he said, "how do I do that?" :) I instructed him where to find the necessary supplies and he set right on it. I think I got in there about 7:00 and spent about a half hour or so.

I can't say the ginger increased anything very dramatically, and I still had no hint of "bloody show" but they definitely weren't subsiding at all, so about 8:15 or so I told her she should probably head this direction, but there wasn't any terrible hurry. I think after this I saw and spoke to the kids and my mom, and did my best to get my mom to take the kids swimming, as she'd promised, or Anywhere Else Would Be Fine, Too. There was a glitch, as she'd planned to leave Organique home with Daddy for the swimming, but he was going to be busy. I offered other suggestions and ideas, and kept hearing that she was loading the kids up as soon as [fill in the blank]. My dad had left early to go look at an airport or an airplane or something, but I was growing bewildered with the delays that kept my house full of everyone else.

Shortly before 9:30 I called Gi-gi to let her know we were probably going to have a baby that day, as well as my in-laws and another friend. I would have liked to post here to ask for prayers, but I was a bit busy, I suppose. Plus, my cousin was sleeping in this room, and slept late, as the obnoxious air pump to fill that pool was enough to wake the dead the night before.

I decided it might be a good time to see if a warm pool of water is really all that helpful, so had Hubby begin filling it. I finally had a tinge of pink on the toilet paper when I used the bathroom, and figured it was about time.

The pool wasn't to the minimum line yet, but I wanted to get in anyways. I found myself shaking quite a bit, as I think is common during transition. Hubby helped me into the pool and let me grip his hand during contractions. I was having a harder time really relaxing through them at this point, partly because the midwife hadn't arrived and there were still people here. I suppose it would be like trying to pee in a crowded room. You just can't relax. :) I stayed on my knees in the pool, and realized the water coming from the hose was cold. Hubby jumped to adjust it, but it was still cold, so we figured that was it for the hot water. The pool wasn't chilly, though not as warm as I would've liked it.

At this point I felt something... something. I gestured and said one or two words to indicate I might be quite near to having this baby, and then just requested my phone. I called my midwife to say, "how near are you?!?" and pointed Hubby to the yellow "emergency childbirth" information sheet. She was within a mile or two (I think I'd called her before this, to say the same thing, with considerably less urgency) at this point, and 'talked me down' and encouraged me in what to do if I needed to. I really didn't want to push, at all. Not then, not later, not ever. She arrived with her assistant/apprentice (her other assistant, who she once apprenticed under, was en route from a farther distance, and they eventually told her to turn around and go home. :)) and began to ready their stuff. She'd been down the lane on Thursday night for a garden club meeting, and had dropped off all her supplies and equipment then. I'm quite glad she did. I continued to have contractions, grip Hubby's hands tightly, pray hard, and *not* push for a long time. I did get out of the pool and move to the bed. I went ahead and had the first internal exam of this pregnancy. I was dilated to 10. :)

My water had not broken yet (I had wondered if that's what I'd felt in the pool), and my midwife was content to let me push or not, as I preferred. I was pretty tired, so mostly preferred not. I had Hubby stationed behind me to give me something to lean against, and would prop myself up with my arms with each contraction. It seemed like things were taking some long time, so I supposed I should start pushing and get on with it. "No way out but through" I always figure. So far I'm always right, too. :) Once I started pushing in earnest, it was only moments before my water broke, and a minute or less before baby started making an appearance. Oh, ow, I hate that part! The more I do it, the more I remember...

"Time to catch your baby!" the midwife said, as she placed it upon my belly. I breathlessly noted the head of dark hair (reminiscent more of our firstborn) and checked for gender. "Oh my gosh Daddy, I think we have another girl!" Another girl! My head spun, as I drank in the beautiful little creature who hadn't opened her eyes but was hollering plenty to help clear her lungs.

I felt the placenta begin to move outwards, despite admonitions that I'd probably need to push for that (I didn't!), and it was delivered with quite a gush of fluid. My first inclination was that it must be "more water," though right about the time I decided that was unlikely, the midwife said, "Ok, we need you to stop bleeding now.."

See, this is where more savvy bloggers would stop, having written far too much already, and desiring you to return tomorrow. I, however, am not so savvy (or cruel), and will continue on, figuring if you've read this far I owe it to you to finish the story. :)

Since my midwife had left her IV and Pitocin with the Epidural Equipment, I knew Other Things would have to be done. Being well-read in Things of A Freakish Nature, medically speaking, I knew that breastfeeding or any other nipple stimulation would help contract the uterus. I had been trying to latch baby on, and began doing so with a little more urgency, though she was not really taking to it very well. I haven't asked Hubby if he was freaked out more by the bleeding issue or the term "nipple stimulation" that was thrown out there, but I'll try to remember to do so... The midwife directed her assistant to put some droppersful of Angelica (?) under my tongue, then later had me swallow it, followed by St. John's Wort. And let me tell you, when they don't have time to dilute 50% alcohol extracts and you sit with them under your tongue for a minute each, you can kiss one layer of under-tongue tissue goodbye. First it just feels burned, like your tongue might if you sip hot tea, and in a couple days it will peel off. In any case, the bleeding halted, I never felt light-headed or anything, and it was determined that I did not lose much more than would be apropriate anyhow.

I held that darling baby for some time, as after the bleeding issue my midwife got to deal with a case of "trailing membranes." Doesn't that sound nice? Apparently my placenta (is it "my" placenta, "the baby's" placenta, or just "the" placenta? I really don't know whose it is.) came out with an unusual presentation. That is, instead of the shiny, baby-and-sac side outwards, the other scrambled-looking, uterus-side showed itself. And some of the water membranes stayed stuck inside, so she had to remove those. THEN she had to carefully inspect my (the) naughty placenta and work to train her assistant in that art, and there was some concern about a tiny edge piece where the sac had torn loose, and was there any placental tissue missing or does the little finger of tissue right beside it fit down just right?

So. Me. Baby. Daddy. Time. :) Perhaps if the other midwife had made it things would have moved faster, but it was nice. Baby was in no distress, and there was no reason to haul her away for a sterile, bright-lights inspection (not that that was on the agenda here anyway, just another reason I love homebirth). Eventually we thought to find the camera and make some phone calls, and let the kids and everyone (who never managed to leave) come upstairs while the midwife did her 'baby inspection.'

I thought the baby seemed relatively small, for me, and was surprised at that. When she weighed in at exactly 8 pounds, I was quite astonished. A WEEK overdue, and only 8 pounds! A veritable miracle in this family (for reference, Baby #1: 5 days over, 9 lb 5 oz. #2: induced 5 days early, 7 lb 13 oz. #3: 4 days over, 9 lb 6 oz), and I was (am) grateful to God. Of course, while pushing I was sure s/he was 10 lbs or more. :) I hate that part. I did tear (again), both towards the back and upwards (inwards?), and my midwife said I could choose whether to have stitches or not; it was right on the fence. I chose not, and when she came 2 days later, was pleased to find it healing well already. She'd given me some papery seaweed stuff (maybe like you use for sushi?), which I would tear a piece from and dampen it before applying it to the appropriate area. Seaweed is nicer than stitches!

And now, the long-awaited (though not as long as we waited for her, right?) photos. Hopefully better ones will follow. :)


Snoozin'. And please quit with that flash.

Organique is pretty interested.
But not dressed. Or combed. Where is her mother, anyway?

I have no idea what a big sister is, but you make it sound pretty important!

I love this picture. Granny says it looks like she's plugging her ears. :)

Soon, Soon..

I thank you all for your lovely well-wishes and 'virtual' meals. :)

When I have 2 free hands with which to type and a moment, I'll write the story and put up pics.

She is a doll. :)

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Baby Arrived!!

This is EllaJac's cousin performing another service for her with a willing heart. Below are the details of her beautiful little bundle of joy.

Saturday, August 15, 2009
10:41 am
8 lbs even
21 1/4 inches

It's a GIRL!!!!

Friday, August 14, 2009

One Down...

...One to go, I guess.

SIL delivered a healthy 7 lb 12 oz Paisley at 12:30 or so (so much for the 9 lb prediction of the ob earlier this week *rolls eyes*). Everything went really well, according to reports. THANK YOU for your prayers!!!

Everything looked good at my midwife appt. I LOVE passing pee tests. My blood pressure was 94/65 or something like that. No induction for me! I did some errands, bought some groceries and whatnot.

I stopped at the hospital (to acquire my toilet paper) but they'd just ousted everyone to give her and her hubby time with the wee one, so wasn't able to meet her. I must admit I was a bit nervous... Would they see me teetering on the brink of 41 weeks and strap me down for some IV pit? I think my blood pressure went up for a little while at this point. I managed to leave without incident; I didn't even have to push any elevator buttons while I was there. *whew*

Thank you again!!!

For I Consider...

For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. Romans 8:18

Why do I always think of this verse when I'm overdue with a baby?

This is certainly a new record. Six days past; my latest beforehand was born 5 days over, but I was in labor on the 4th.

Hubby's Taoist Naturopath promises he has a 100% success rate putting women into labor within 48 hours of an acupuncture session. What's with acupuncture, anyway? He's not a Christian, obviously, and I don't want anyone using Dark Arts on me. :)

Today's sufferings are as follows:

I have a midwife appointment at 11. Which means I have to leave the house.

I have to acquire my toilet paper. This seems odd, but my mother-in-law picked some up for us early this week, and meant to bring it then. Obviously she's tied up at the hospital right now, so I need to find her car and break in. Or something like that. It's getting dicey around here with 3 adults and 5 kids, 2 more adults scheduled to arrive later today. We NEED toilet paper.

My mom's severe ear infection is trying to come back, so we made her an appointment for this afternoon with above Taoist Naturopath. Which means I have to get back here in time for her to leave for that... and I can't leave until she's out of the shower and Costco isn't open yet anyway and...! Then hurry home and probably babysit 5 kids. I know, I know; there are mothers in my state who have their own 5 kids to look after every day, but Other People's Children are never so easy as our own (or at least not used to the rules/routine). PLUS, one's an almost-3-year-old boy, so use your imagination.

The budget is shot, due to all sorts of noble reasons, but I still need to buy coffee for Hubby and eggs (yes! My wicked chickens are in rebellion!) so my dad will be happy when he gets here. Actually my mom gave me money to buy eggs and a few more extravagant items (peaches in a jar, from costco, so her kids will eat cottage cheese? My kids will be ruined forever...).

My other children who were a bit overdue (by 5 days and 4 days, respectively) were 9 lb 5 oz and 9 lb 6 oz and I'm a little bit freaking out that this one is packing on the weight while I twiddle. Healing is rough when they're that size/weight (maybe any size/weight?), and I feel like I can't afford much downtime. After all, the "help" have lives to return to shortly!

I'm fighting a lot of discouragement and overwhelm, not exclusively related to having not had this baby yet.

For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.

In good news: This morning I heard that SIL had some good contractions to 4 cm, got an epidural which slowed things, of course, but she's resting and progressing. Her bp dropped enough that they're pushing fluids on her, so I assume that's better than the opposite. Everything seems to be looking good for her situation. Thank you for your continued prayers!!!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Ho, Hum.

***Please read to the end.***

I'll try to toss *something* interesting into this post, since you're all tired of hearing, "no, nothing yet". I know I'm tired of saying it, and living it.

I was nearly hopeful last night; for a couple hours I was having some contractions, but they'd stop when I sat down. I walked for a full weekend once, because someone told me that would work, and my daughter still wasn't born for several more days. Why wear myself out, right?

Tomorrow is supposed to bring some T-storms through, and much cooler weather again, and I'm hopeful. Last week I had some regular contractions during similar weather, and it was likely brought on by the barometric pressure change. Too bad my dad hasn't bought his plane; he could fly here instead of drive and give me a ride to help things along, right?

My mom is still a few hours away, but they're finally on their way here. Tomorrow my dad is set to arrive with my cousin, whose purpose was supposed to be helping wrangle kiddos while my mom cooked stuff to keep us going while I recovered. I suppose that might still work.

I'm thinking about posting some "rules" somewhere. Rules for everyone's safety. Things like,
  • Do NOT tell the pregnant lady to 'hurry up and have that baby.' If it were that easy and up to her, it would be done long since.
  • Do NOT ask her why she hasn't had the baby yet. Don't you think she'd love to know herself?
  • Do NOT ask her what's for dinner. Again, these rules are for your well-being.
  • Do NOT make her feel guilty if she asks you all to leave the house for a bit so she can have the baby in peace and solitude. She loves you all, she just needs alone-ness.
  • Do NOT make her feel bad (or worse) if you all have to leave town before the baby arrives. After all, you only have a road-trip with nothing to show for it. She will have had at least an extra 9 days of swollen ankles, achy everything, and carrying an extra 45 pounds everywhere she goes. AND another half-pound or more of baby to look forward to delivering.
Ok, now for the part where I'm not complaining or grumbling (is it possible, you ask?):

These are the gifts I made for my sister-in-law's baby shower a few weeks back. I bought a package of plain onesies and used my favorite sewing machine to 'embroider' her first name on one, and her initials on another. Yes, her name will be "Paisley." :)

I also made a pair of little cloth shoes. Out of "paisley" material, of course.

***As I was uploading those photos, my mother-in-law called. My sister-in-law, who is due on Monday, is being induced starting now due to elevated blood pressure. Her cervix isn't even close to being "ripe," so it's going to be a long haul, starting with the cervix-softening stuff, followed by pitocin in the wee hours tomorrow. PLEASE pray for her, and little Paisley.

*That her body would respond well, and that things would go as smoothly and naturally as possible, given the circumstances.

*That she and her husband would lean heavily on the Lord, and come through this with strengthened faith and trust in Him.

*That fear would have no place in the situation.

*That the doctors and nurses would be wise and sensitive to what is needed, medically or otherwise.

*That Paisley's arrival would be safe for both her and her Mama.

Thank you.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Nope, Still Here.

Trying not to pace like a caged animal.

The girls lost part of my snap press, halting a project I was working on.

I've been finding some great pattern alteration techniques and tutorials for making nursing wear (which I've never had, and would like to try out). BUT - I don't have enough of any suitable fabric to give it a go, which makes me a little cranky. I'm starting to eye the bedsheets and table linens...

I had about 1 1/2 contractions this morning. Do you think that means anything?

My mom delayed her arrival by a day, then another when my neice spiked a fever. They'll head this direction tomorrow, unless something else derails things. I'd like to greet my weekend guests with a baby in hand, not in womb. Otherwise I'll have to kick a houseful of people out for the event, and the grief I imagine I'll garner makes me hyperventilate. OR, send them all home Monday, with no baby present, and the grief I imagine I'll garner for that makes me hyperventilate.

Next time I'm not telling anyone I'm pregnant. Not until, like, 6 weeks after my due date. I should have something to show for it then, right?

Still praying for deliverance,

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Sunday, August 09, 2009

STILL Nuthin'

I'm sure you love reading a post that says, "no, nothing new here." But at least here I can put that right up front, leaving you no doubt. When I call people, however, my caller ID shows up and they get all anxious wondering if it's IMPORTANT.

I wonder if the phone company could temporarily change my name to "Don't Get Excited."

It's warmer today, which is not my preference, but I certainly enjoyed the reprieve!

I finished the last of my midwife's sewing, just now, so that's done.

I frantically (hehe, imagine that..) searched high and low for a pattern I bought a decade ago or more, to no avail. It's a historical reproduction "Regency" wardrobe (think Jane Austen and empire waistlines). I found a tutorial for changing such a pattern to have nursing access, and thought that would be fun. I've never had "real" nursing clothes before, and have NEVER worn a dress when I was nursing. Alas, I could not find it.

I knitted a dishcloth. I can't very well start a soaker without a color scheme, now can I? The dishcloth is yellow, though.

My sister-in-law, due in a week or so was thinking something may be happening the other day. But nope. Nothin'. I figure if I'm lucky I'll have this baby before my mom and her kids show up (Tuesday), and if I'm unlucky, Alternate Babysitter (my mother-in-law) will be tied up at the hospital with my Sis-in-law. Wouldn't that just figure? :)

So, how 'bout you? Anything happening? Or not?

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Nope, Nuthin'.

At least, nothing that my friends and family are expecting to happen TODAY. AUGUST 8! It is, after all the DUE DATE. And if you miss your due date at the library, terrible things happen.

Which is a bummer, because I've got a daughter with a birthday of 5/5/04, and one that is 8/8/09 would be handy for remembering. Guess we could shoot for 8/9/09?

All is not lost, however. I have washed dishes (I swear that man knows not that a skillet can be washed), laundry, set up a baby changing table that a friend gave me (it's so purty! Like real furniture!), sewn some more (for my midwife. I'll have her paid off yet!), and put the girls to work for a short time doing some footwork-jobs around here.

We've had a delightful cool spell the past few days (highs in the 60s? crazy!), and it has freed me to use the dryer. I know that's not great for the power bill, but not having to hoist heavy laundry baskets full of wet clothes through the house, out the back, down the steps, down an incline and to the clothesline has made a huge difference in my "laundry productivity level." Big Sister asked why it would be so cold (chilly enough for coats yesterday!) in the middle of summer, and I told her, "Because God loves me." He does. I can feel it in the breeze. :)

Hubby, who has had very little OT this season, had to work late last night. And we had a wedding to go to. Me at 40 weeks pregnant, with 3 girls (one a VERY active toddler!) to corral at a special occasion isn't my idea of fun. Worse is when "I've had it" and take them home - BEFORE the cake was served! They had been talking about the cake all day. *sigh* I owe them a cake when I can spend more kitchen time, I suppose!

I'll try to keep things updated while we wait out this baby.

Anyone want to venture a guess as to date, or gender? Maybe weight or length? Maybe I could think up a prize for any correct guesses. And I'll try to think of something niftier than an umbilical cord clamp, ok?

Thursday, August 06, 2009

So Cute

Last weekend I actually did a little bit of nesting. I've been sewing a lot for my midwife, and I'd love to bake or cook or other things, but the energy just hasn't been there. "The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak." Too, if I ever gain this much weight I think I'd have to have my feet amputated. Ouch!

Anyways, I purchased the "Trimsies" diaper pattern and got to work right away. A dear friend had given me some real life microfleece, so I thought it would be the perfect way to try it out. I made two diapers, both size "small," which REALLY is small. I'm a little worried my baby has already outgrown them (no, it's not born yet)! But isn't it the cutest thing?

The pattern has a unique soaker/doubler option, so while it's technically an "All In One," it has the quick-dry properties of a pocket diaper. The instructions call for these layers to be sewn along the front edge of the soaker and doubler to the liner, so they hang out like flaps in the washer and dryer.

I of course rarely follow all the instructions. Instead of sewing the doubler and soaker to the lining, I sewed them to each other, and set snaps in the doubler (is that what the small one is?) and in the diaper lining, towards the back.

Below you can see it 'unsnapped' and the soaker/doubler turned over.

My reasoning for this is as follows: If we can use a cover several times over a prefold before washing it, it stands to reason that this diaper could act the same way. The outer portion is microfleece and PUL, like many covers are, and instead of a prefold, these soaker/doubler parts are the absorbent element. If I don't sew them in permanently, but make extra sets of the absorbent parts, couldn't I switch them out via the snaps and not have to make as many 'covers'? At least for the newborn stage?

Perhaps someone could set me straight on this.

I really like the pattern. It's the first one I haven't downloaded for free or borrowed from another mom. I haven't made any additional diapers or bigger sizes, but I did learn quite a bit on this effort.

First: If you're used to making front-snapping diapers, DOUBLE-CHECK which side you want your snaps to be on the wings. Thankfully, after setting a mere 24 snaps, I realized a mistake. And I'm REALLY thankful we just bought Hubby a new rechargeable battery for his DeWalt drill.

Also: This pattern requires some bit of cloth diapering experience. It doesn't really offer any fabric recommendations or the like, and I had to do a bit of research. I've never used doublers or soakers, and I found a lot of them are made with fabrics I have no experience with. Things like Bamboo velour and hemp, french terry and other fancy things. I know prefolds, I know microfiber (when it comes in a bright yellow automotive polishing cloth from Costco).

I chose the PUL outer, obviously, and the microfleece liner. For the soaker (larger pad), I used a layer of microfleece for the top (figuring it would be a stay-dry fabric and super soft), a layer of microfleece in the middle (you don't want it against baby's skin, but it absorbs quickly), and some nice fall-themed flannel for the bottom (more absorbency) The doubler is flannel on top and bottom, with the microfleece in the middle (yes, I sacrificed an automotive cloth). I serged around these, and I apologize for the color. I found some woolly nylon on sale a bit ago, and bought blue, dark and light pink, and black.

Obviously, I don't know if this fabric combination will work yet or not. I'm excited to try them out sometime soon, hopefully (I'm due the 8th, after all! That's in... 27 hours or so!), and I'll let you know if my ideas work.

Sunday, August 02, 2009

For The Laundry's Sake...

...we are killed all the day long (Rom. 8:36, loosely translated). Ok, not killed. Merely persecuted.

Gi-gi arrived today, the first time in about a year. I couldn't hold her back any longer. :)

Many, many loads of laundry have been washed and hung out, even folded and put away (I did help a lot with this, just not the packing laundry in and out).

But it comes with a price.

Gi-gi: "Haven't you cut their hair yet? [to the girls:] I thought you were going to cut your hair."
Me: "I gave them a 3-day 'cooling-off' period and they decided against it."
Gi-gi: "Well, next time you come to visit I'll just take them and..."
"It would be so much easier to take care of..."
"It would help your Mama so much..."
"It would be so much cooler."
"They look like little waifs."
"Wait till they're 15 when they can french braid their own hair, then they can grow it out if they want."

Have I blogged yet about the permanent scars left on my psyche by unwanted trips to the hairdresser's as a young child? How I couldn't have braids or pony tails or cute barrettes like the other girls? No? I thought not. Those wounds are still deep.

I'm not going to force my kids to cut their hair. It's a complex I have.

Gi-gi: "How often do homeschoolers have to be assessed by the state?"
Me: "Thankfully, never."
Gi-gi: "What??!?"
Me: "Not all states are the same, but fortunately we enjoy a lot of freedom here."
Gi-gi: "Well, I don't know that I'd call it fortunate! There's a lot of parents completely unqualified to teach their children.."
Me: "Read the stats, Gram. Parents with high-school educations or less are still turning out homeschooled children who far exceed anything the public school system is doing."
Gi-gi: "A lot of people homeschool just because it's easier than getting up and walking their kids to the bus stop."
Me: nearly speechless.

Yes, she really said that.

Gi-gi, totally shifting her position: "Some people I know tried it out and decided there's no way they could hack it."
Me: "Really? Who?"
Gi-gi, scrambling a bit: "Uh... a mother I was talking to at a mother's group [I'm sure she frequents these gatherings], she tried it and decided 'no way!'"
Me: "Well, everyone has their own reasons for doing it or not."

Some people "can't hack" parenthood either, and for them there is public school and after-school activities and clubs and ipods and in-the-kids-room internet and video gaming and summer camp and daycare and family vacations where the kids have separate everything. So I somehow shouldn't expect to parent, either, because others can't hack it?

Gi-gi: "I was talking to [someone or other] and telling them that I have a granddaughter who homeschools and gets pregnant every other year and..."
Me: "I don't get pregnant every other year." [the first gaps are 2 yrs, 8 months, and 3 yrs, 4 months. This last one, notsomuch.]
Gi-gi: "I figure you're 31, and probably have 15 fertile years left, and by then you'll have 10 kids!"
Me, unable to resist: "You counted wrong, Gram. In 15 years at your rate, I could have at least SEVEN more, and that would make ELEVEN total."
Gi-gi: [diatribe on how many women in her parish had Down's babies after age 40].


So here I am, venting about the complications of my life these days on my "aspiring to simplicity" blog. Shame on me.

I have 6 days left until this baby is due. The laundry was in dire need, as are other areas. Gi-gi came to help, and help she certainly does. But at what price? And I don't mean the anecdotes above. I mean, I want to be an example of how this CAN be done. That I'm not some poor, overworked housewife who can't handle the tasks at her hand, and yet that's the very image I'm sure I portray. And the very image Gi-gi will portray to her friends and compatriots when she leaves on Tuesday. And I hate that I bear witness to that prevalent perception. That is costly.

I know it's not a sin to need. To need help, or to accept it. Once upon a time families and communities came together for people who "couldn't do it" for a while. And not with an attitude of pity or complaint, but to love and serve and hold each other up, joyfully (or so I imagine it). But now is not a time like that, and they'd be the first to point out that I shouldn't try to live that way when it's not like that anymore. But I want her (and those she talks to!) to know how truly blessed I am. That yes, this week I am overwhelmed. Organique was fevered for a couple days (and made more laundry with her throwing-up). One is still wetting the bed with some regularity, and without proper precautions (an absorbent, waterproof pad) might require an entire bed to be stripped and washed (and might not tell me about this until 10 pm the next night). I'm so slow, so ill-inclined to bend over any more to retrieve whatever has found it's way to the floor. Overwhelmed? For sure. Tired and sore, even. But does it matter that I am happy? That I see eternity when I look into three (almost four!) pairs of eyes in the morning (I see eternity when I look into the laundry area too, but of a different sort...). Some people never have this. And others decide one pair, or two, is enough for them. And they will never know what might have been waiting in the wings. Or maybe not. Maybe they felt Divine Certainty that They Were Done. Me, I haven't felt that yet.

And I'm tired of being the shining example of why people *should* feel that, and long before #4 is impending.

I want to be the shining example of glorious, thankful, blessed motherhood. I don't need a perfectly clean house, but comfortably clean would be nice. To be able to answer something positive, when someone asks me how I'm doing (and I'm 9 months pregnant and it's 100 degrees).

Maybe God has a higher purpose (I mean, other than teaching me patience and dealing with pride)? Maybe He wants everyone to see me at *this* point, so later, when He's gotten me all put together (please, God?), I will be that shining testimony?

Soap Nuts Giveaway

Well, no, it's a sample of a new soap nuts detergent.

Natural, biodegradable, renewable, yadda yadda... No, I haven't tried them, YET.

But how does a half-teaspoon per load of laundry sound?

Learn more and enter at Passionate Homemaking.