Monday, September 28, 2009

Baby Watch

Oh, so slow at blogging lately. Might reveal that I'm lazy or unmotivated, but in this case, it suggests that I've got my priorities correctly aligned. I'm been soooo busy, motivated, and productive. On Friday afternoon when Eric arrived home from work, he looked glanced at the house and said, "looks like we're going to have a baby tonight." Which is to say, "Wow, you've been cleaning like a banshee!" Alas, I did not have the baby that night (at a girls' sleepover, no less), but I did time contractions for an hour or so in the night. I am interrupted with several contractions a day lately, sometimes several in a row in the evenings. Unlike with the two previous pregnancies, these ones actually really hurt and feel like they're doing work down low, if you know what I mean. One of the goals of drinking my daily raspberry leaf infusion is to make contractions stronger and more efficient. I'd say, it's working!

So, back to the baby watch. No big news to report. I'm very much enjoying watching the poll of baby girl names change. At my appointment last week, I was dialated to two centimeters, but otherwise not "ready" to go. That is different from Hope, since with her I was TOTALLY ready from week 37 on (meaning dialated to 4+ cm, completely effaced and dropped). Hopefully this labor goes as quickly despite the fact that my body's not getting ready as early.

I had a little preeclampsia scare last week. After a morning play date with old friends who live 45 minutes away, we were about half way home when I realized my hands were killing me. Sure enough, they were swelling at a rapid rate and hurt badly as they expanded. Earlier in the day I had been complaining to my friend that my eyes were bugging me... everything cloudy or spotty or out of focus. I realized that my depth perception was messed up too. By the time we got home, I had a raging headache. When combined, headache, swelling, and vision issues are strong indicators for preeclampsia. That was a crummy day, but thankfully at my appointment the next day my blood pressure was low and my urine was clear, so they declared me preeclampsia free.

At my appointment I learned that I tested positive for Group B strep, which is a first for me. Traditionally, the preferred treatment is to run two doses of IV antibiotics during labor. This should protect the baby from contracting the bacteria in the birth process, and prevent the baby from developing meningitis, pneumonia, and blood poisoning after birth. Even though we are very strong proponents of natural childbirth around here, the statistics are pretty convincing- antibiotics will probably be the plan of attack. We're still looking at some other options and trying to determine if there are good herbal/homeopathic treatments (so far, it looks doubtful). My midwife did say that ideally I would have two doses of the antibiotic, which would take about 8 hours and that probably isn't realistic given my history of shorter labors. Even if I just had one dose, it would take 4 hours. She assured me that if we didn't get the dosing correct, we can test the baby afterward to watch for infection. She was really laid back about the idea of me not getting the antibiotics in time, which leads me to question if they are as critical as some would say. Anyway, I'll probably be experiencing my first ever IV and my first antibiotics in at least 15 years sometime soon!!!

Well, I wrote a while back that I had a list of at least 25 things that I wanted to get done before the baby came (in addition to the normal daily hubbub)... I'm going to end this post on a self-congratulatory note by listing how much has actually gotten done. When it comes to task-efficiency, I am to be doubted. But, NEVER doubt the efficiency and motivation of a woman about to give birth. Here's proof:
clean/declutter/reorganize office - clean/declutter/reorganize storage room - declutter/organize "dungeon" - sort girls' clothes for fall - put away summer clothes - make blanket for Erin - redecorate living room walls - redecorate bedroom walls - redecorate guest room walls - wash/put away baby clothes - set up bassinet - get/organize baby diapers, etc. - make arrangements for girls - clean/install baby car seat - make stain remover - make lots of laundry soap - paint bedroom - paint front door - clean all window blinds - wash inside fridge (twice) - "deep clean" girls' bedroom - deep clean our bedroom - wash all area and throw rugs - scrub living room floor and molding - scrub kitchen floor - vacuum van.

PS) I've left all the essential pieces to the very end: Hopefully I'll get around to packing a hospital bag, making cloth wipes, and printing out our birth plan. For now, I just feel like cleaning a few more things!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Oldies but Goodies

Stay tuned for a "real" pregnancy update tomorrow after my midwife appointment, at which point I will reveal the truth: preeclampsia or no? Yeah, I've had an untidy collection of symptoms over the past few days that are making me a little nervous. Ah well, I'm leaning on past history to indicate that I am just swelling like a balloon in the waning hours of this pregnancy and all is well.

Meanwhile, I present some pictures. Months ago now, I threw a baby shower for my little sister who was having her first child. Well, baby Levi arrived three weeks ago, and I still haven't posted any pics from the shower. The main glitch was that my camera battery died, so there just aren't very many pictures. But, I did coax my dad into taking a few shots. And he finally sent them over the wires. So, without further ado-
My sister Erin (exactly 38 weeks) and myself (exactly 32 weeks)
Erin (38 wks.), me (32 wks.), and our cousin Emily (28 weeks)
Erin, me, Emily, and uhhhh, my dad (not pregnant, just proud of a little "sympathy" weight). We sure love you, Dad. You're one fun dude!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Timeless questions

In my last post I told you all about the Steam Threshers Reunion that we visited last week. Well, Eva was visibly excited to go into a shed labeled "Milking Shed." When we got in there, I showed her the milking equipment and explained that it saves dairy farmers a lot of time and sore hands if they use mechanical pumps. There was a man in there wearing old time farm clothes and answering questions, so Eva casually approached the man. With all earnesty, she looked up at him and asked in a quiet voice, "how do they get the chocolate in the milk?" As if chocolate milk is a mainstay in our household! The man chuckled and gave the age-old reply, "It comes from brown cows."

I was so surprised to hear really ask that question! As we were walking out I explained the correct answer to her question. Sadly, I think she was unimpressed with the real deal!

Friday, September 11, 2009

a little of this and a little of that

This post is a brief recap of our Labor Day weekend visit to Eric's hometown. We gallivanted a little, and we sat around a little, and we worked a little, and we ate and talked a little. OK. We ate and talked a lot, but isn't that what you do when you get together with family?!? So, here comes a little bit of everything I captured on camera.

Our first destination was pure craziness: The Western Minnesota Steam Threshers Reunion. If you're not from the rural Midwest, you would have been a total fish out of water here. But, since both Eric and I come from agrarian roots and cherish our days (or years) spent sitting on a tractor seat, we were fond of this gathering. It was really something too! I've never seen so many OLD and UNIQUE tractors in one place. It was a mecca for all things mechanical or antique. Most things were steam powered (as the title suggests) or horse powered. There were demonstrations of practically everything I could imagine that was involved in the early days of making our country the industrialized nation that it is. Brother Ryan, you would have been enthralled! It might not have been the perfect destination for a woman who was (and is) about to burst forth with child, but the day of walking and jostling along on tractor wagons couldn't have been bad for preggo here :)!

Human powered (old fashioned) teeter totters, everyone but myself took a turn!
Steam powered carousel, which the kids adored. We watched a parade of zillions of different tractors, vehicles, and steam engines. This one was cool...So was this one.... (it is water cooled with that pretty little waterfall that flows over everything. Even growing up with my dad- Mr. mechanical- I had never seen anything like this).A highlight of the trip for Eva- taking a ride around a lake on an old steam train.
Here we all are in our cattle car...We left the festival at dusk, enjoying the full moon over the wheat fields and machinery. Onto a little more of this and that- Brian, Mom, and Eric discovered that they all have the same, work-issued laptop. So, Eric spent some time guiding Mom and Brian through some of the finer features of their machines (not steam powered!). I thought maybe I could send this pic into HP for a $5.00 off coupon or something :).No trip to Crookston is complete without time spent at the farm. On this occasion, I decided that my favorite part of visiting the farm is the sound. Or lack of sound. Or perhaps just the wind. That is what you hear out there. Only wind rushing through the grasses and trees. And the occasional chicken clucking. It is peaceful, and a little like stepping back in time.
Speaking of stepping back in time, Eric took the opportunity to photograph some iconic shots of old farm equipment that is no longer in use. If you're unable to read the writing on this rusty 5 gallon pail, it says, "Asbestoline." Hmmmm.There is always something quirky and surprising to be found at the farm, and this trip did not disappoint in that regard. Y'all know about John Deere, right? But did you know about the "John Deer Stand?" That's right. A John Deere tractor, converted into a mobile deer stand machine (also not steam powered!). So, Eric and the girls went for a spin in the deer stand mobile. Who would've thought!?! The designer and engineer himself-We also clamored around in the hay loft of the barn, which is something I haven't done since I first visited the farm (when Eric was still a hopeful college girl's infatuation). Believe me, it was not the same experience to climb that rickety ladder this time around. Let's just say, my current weight is not well proportioned for ladder climbing!
This is coming back down the ladder.
Hope peered out of the big windows at the fields and trees below. Later, Grandpa took the girls for a spin in a stanky wheelbarrow. Eva's imagination was alive, imagining being a kid when this hay loft was in it's glory days. She had the perfect spot for a rope swing. Eric jumped on board the imagination train and told us that he had always wanted to host a barn dance up there. I think the Patenaude siblings might have to revisit that idea some future summer. It sounds like so much fun!
Back in town at Eric's mom's house, we spent a sunny Labor Day playing outside and getting wet. By the end of the day, the kids were ready to chill out on the couch and enjoy a few good books. So was I. (L-R: Katelyn, Eva, Elysa, Evan, me) And while we played in the yard and chilled out in the basement, Eric earned the son-of-the-year award. He spent his day attempting to install a new light fixture and fan in his mom's living room, where there was no existing wiring. He spent hours in the tiny crawl space above the house, fishing wires around, army crawling, and talking himself out of claustrophobia and panic attacks!

He was gasping for air and dripping with sweat when he finally emerged looking like a walking dust bunny! Sad, but true, the wiring work was perfect, but the light fixture and fan ended up not looking right. So after all that hard work, we ended up driving home that night with an unfinished job. Mom and I were feeling major pangs of sadness for Eric, but he claimed that working in the crawl space and living to tell about it was enough of a victory to leave him satisfied. Bless him!
So, that's the end of a "little" of this and a "lot" of that. It sure was a relaxing end of summer for us. Thanks family!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Tea Time

We spent much of the last week in Crookston, visiting with Eric's family and relaxing. This post all started with the playful jest from his mom, "I think this is cute enough for a blog entry!" Sure enough, it was... A few days before we left town, this invitation came addressed to Eva and Hope. Eva immediately began assessing which dress was her "nicest," put it in her suitcase, and the countdown began. She doesn't quite have her pinky finger in the air, but that look says, "Tea and crumpets, anyone?" in a most uppity tone of voice!
The ladies snacked (although it looked a little like gorging to me) on blackberries, powdered doughnuts, butter cookies, and mini banana muffins. A greater number of "treats" than they've ever had in one sitting before (at least for Elysa and Katelyn)! They used the prettiest little porcelain tea set, each plate and cup painted with delicate pink roses.
Grandma started the morning by taking the girls into a bedroom and giving each a fancy hat to wear. She also gave them pretty little necklaces, wrapped in tissue paper at each of their places. Don't you love Katelyn's teasing look and her red hat?

Hope gets a lot of exposure in this post, but I couldn't resist the next series of shots.Eva's smile says, "aren't we all grown up and beautiful, mom?" She had her very best manners on display that morning with lots of , "May I please have some more...., Grandma?"

Grandma was dressed in girlish finery herself and used her best tea-pouring skills. Elysa was by far the oldest of the cousins present that day, but as always, was a great sport about spending time with the "little" girls. After all, she said it was the first tea party she had attended!
Of course it is nearly impossible to get a great shot of little more than one little person at a time, so I was disappointed that I didn't get a really good picture of all the little girls together with Grandma. Here they are after tea time had concluded on Grandma's front steps. Thanks for the special memory, Grandma. I know the girls loved it!

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Welcome Levi Justice!

After 9 long months and a few extra days, we finally got to welcome the first cousin on my side of the family! My sister labored for 18 hours, then "popped" the little guy out. Though I'm sure she'll do this again some day, she wasn't really impressed with the process that got her to the "popping" out point. However, I am sure that she is totally impressed and in love with her little man!
Levi Justice
Born September 2, 2009
7 pounds, 8 ounces - 21 inches
Eva's looking the little guy over :).
The happy little family.
We think he looks like a Selin, but of course only time will tell!
Happy Mama.
I really, really wish I could get this photo to turn horizontal! This close up of Levi's hands just blew me away. How quintessentially newborn! Wrinkly, red, peely... fresh to the outside world! I also think they look strangely like they could belong on an old woman (odd how the circle of life flows...) - wrinkly, but with long perfectly formed fingernails.

Ahhhh, the miracle of life! We can't wait to watch you grow, little boy!

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Muffin Tin Monday

I happened across a new idea during some aimless Internet browsing recently: muffin tin Mondays! When lunch time rolled around today, the girls were tempting me off a cliff of insanity with their overtired, day-after-a-busy-weekend dramatics. Fortunately, as I perused the cupboards for something healthy, quick, and kid-friendly, I remembered the muffin tin idea. Having nothing really exciting to throw on their plates, I hoped the novelty of a muffin tin would win them over and avoid the disapproval of agitated chicas. Most certainly, offering only a small portion of cheeze-its would have triggered a wild coup de tete (I know cheeze-its are horrible for your health, but they are such a treat!). Sure enough, they were impressed! Starting at the top right and working clockwise, we consumed apple chunks, cheddar cheese, cheeze-its, more apples, avocado chunks, and leftover corn and bean salad. This may become a weekly tradition at our house! You can participate in a weekly muffin tin carnival of sorts over at Her Cup Overfloweth.