Tuesday, October 25, 2011
When I was carrying Lauren there were so many worries. I tease that she is such a good sleeper now because I never let her sleep for any length of time at all when I was pregnant with her--just making up for sleep lost! If it had been very long since I felt her move I would start poking here and there at my belly to get a little kick or movement. I lived on a continuum of "what if's" followed by appointments assuring that all was fine, followed by what if's again.
I wanted to do everything right. With CJ I learned that doing everything right isn't always enough, and that left me in a very scary place. I knew that things were out of my control, so I trusted it to the One who was orchestrating the show, but still I was filled with anxiety--which was a new (and horrible) feeling for me. It was like my heart knew that everything would be ok, but my head would not stop the static that let me dwell on what my heart was saying.
When I reflect on these feelings I am even more grateful for the girl I hold in my arms tonight for I have learned how fragile and precious life is through the lives of my children...through the death of one and the birth of the other.
I love my little Lauren. Hair pulling and all.
Wednesday, October 5, 2011
We spent one day canning meat. There is nothing like some home canned Iowa beef in some stew, noodles, or as a bbq sandwich on a cold winter day...or a warm fall day for that matter. Anyone who comes to visit us will probably get a taste in some form. (Insert sense of bribery here.) D.Lish.Us.
For those of you who have been to our house, you may remember the window treatments in the master bathroom. IF you received the grand tour, that is, or else randomly wandered in there. They consisted of some shears haphazardly tucked into the mounting hooks for the bamboo shades. Horrifying. What is worse? The view from outside. We discovered this week that the bamboo shades are c.o.m.p.l.e.t.e.l.y. transparent. TRANSPARENT. Completely. As are the shears, as are the walls in our shower. We had too much going on to fix the problem the next day, so Craig showered in the dark while I stopped showering completely. I don't know why it did not occur to me until this very moment to use the upstairs shower. Home Depot has these nifty window clings that make the windows look like etched glass that we applied and they don't look too bad. We left the worthless bamboo shades in place only because they don't look too bad and are putting up a swag curtain tomorrow. What must the neighbors think? I'm not sure, but that is probably for the best. Sigh.
Little L is growing like crazy. She is now rolling from back to tummy. I am sure that she CAN roll from tummy to back, too, but there is no need when Grandma is here...all she has to do is squawk a little. =) She is sitting up and really interacting a lot more. (L, that is, not Grandma. Well, Grandma is too, but that's beside the point) We have spent countless moments picking out the perfect toys to both entertain and educate and she has chosen a paper coffee cup from a hotel as her current favorite, with a newspaper as a close second. She sleeps well, plays well, and eats well. This girl loves to eat. Anything. Whenever we have any food anywhere near her she is always trying to bum a bite. So far we haven't found anything that she doesn't care for, which is good...and a little bad. She giggles when you pretend to eat her tummy, won't smile for a camera for anything, and l.o.v.e.s. her grandma. I don't know what we ever did without this little girl. She is a heart melter.
I'm tired. I know this isn't much, but blogging is always more a dream than a reality these days. Obviously. I'm still hoping that some day I'll be able to catch up, but for now, here are a few more of the things that we have been up to in our time with mom:
Informational knee-replacement meeting, Volleyball games, Wii tournaments (Carnival Golf, Party Games 3), trying new recipes, sleeping in, Ikea, Date night with C, Chocolate, Thrifting, Garage Sales, Christmas gift making, 6 month baby pics, Sushi, Caffeine Free Diet Dew by the 2 liter, Cooking with my new pressure pan (LOVE!), Sorting, cleaning, and playing, playing, playing with a baby girl.
That's it. 'Nite all!
Thursday, August 4, 2011
- Why do I sometimes wish that my daughter would take a nap and then wish that she would wake up as soon as she falls asleep so that we could play some more?
- Does changing one's diaper immediately create the urge for one to fill it?
- How much does the average family spend on batteries for toys and where do we fall in that range?
- How come cute outfits only last a short while before catastrophe strikes but ugly ones can be worn for days?
- Why must diaper companies characterize their diapers? Do you really think that my girl (or I) cares that she has Mickey on her duds? I don't care much for the character ones but am not willing to pay more for fewer quantity of the Pampers Prints which ARE cute.
- Speaking of diapers, do you know that we have already gone through about 500 of them? (sigh)
- Do all old ladies in Michigan grocery shop at Kroger on Thursday mornings? They do here, and so do I because they are sooooo nice. (and I don't know many people here yet.)
- Does anyone else's husband read landscaping supply catalogs from cover to cover? (sigh again)
- Is it possible that after a year of searching and visiting a myriad of churches we may have finally found what we've been looking for? Yessssss!
- Why does my girl hate tummy time so much?
- Is it true that little L has us so in love with her that we daily trash our own house with toys, books, and random amusements?
- Why does baby's rice cereal look so good to me?
- Is it normal that rice cereal looks good?
- Does everyone stop watering their plants when they have a baby? My peace lily no longer looks peaceful or lili-ish.
- Will I ever sleep through the night again? Just because baby does, doesn't mean Mama can.
- Does anyone know where baby's missing pink pacifier or 4 oz bottle are? (I know you have one paci, mom, but there is another that is awol)
- How do you slow down the clock? Time goes entirely too fast.
- What did we ever do before Little L?
Friday, July 22, 2011
The first stop was at the lab with a requisition for some blood tests in hand. It was already warm if not hot outside when we arrived at the clinic. After checking in we found a seat. Maddie buried her nose in her book (imagine that!) while I thumbed through a magazine. FOX news was giving a rundown of the breaking headlines on a tv not too far away. I was drawn into the story of a rescue effort in the Grand Tetons where a group of climbers had met a horrific storm along their quest for the summit. 16 climbers had been rescued via helicopter the day before with various injuries and the search continued for one last climber who, as they reported, could not be located. Something moved within me. A sickening feeling had found my gut and I felt led to pray for the missing climber and their family. I encouraged Maddie, who had become inquisitive about the story, to do the same.
This had become common practice in the last few months. I was still bearing the fresh wounds of loss. It was just 4 months prior that Christopher was born into heaven. My dad hadn't been gone even a year then. Kimmi had been gone just a little over a year. Someones child was in danger while all his parents could do is wait to see what happened next. I remembered those feelings of helplessness that I faced in the hospital while waiting to see if by some small miracle we would get to keep our son, knowing that another parent somewhere was likely experiencing a similar scenario. My mother's heart was connecting.
The lab tech interrupted my thoughts, did my labs, and sent us on our way. We barely made it to Target before my phone rang. Daryl and Chris on the caller ID. I don't usually refer to my parents by name, but programmed my phone to do so so that I didn't have to scroll all the way down to the "M's" to call Mom. After Dad died I never changed it and now probably never will. I like seeing his name and something seems a little too final about taking it off. I still have Kimmi's long-since disconnected number in my phone, too. Anyway...Mom is not very good at hiding it when something is bothering her. Her voice was shaky as she tried unsuccessfully to small-talk. Finally she got down the the reason for her call. "Your cousin Brandon is missing. He was on a climbing trip in the Tetons...." It connected instantly. Tears of concern (to say the least) worked their way to the surface. Our conversation was short and after we hung up I told Maddie about it and called Craig. On the way home we prayed for Uncle Bob, Aunt Linda, and Brandon's siblings as they faced the unknown, as well as for Brandon that he would be found safe and quickly.
As I pulled into the driveway, glad to be home, the phone rang again. It was my doctor's office. "Congratulations! You're pregnant!" And there went the fruit basket. A quick phone call was made to Craig giving him a coded message (Maddie's ears are never far away when she's with us!) about our good news. I recall feeling so bad for Madison. She is such a tenderhearted girl and was hurting over the situation surrounding Brandon, but I could not share my great news with her yet...I was only 16 days along. As I pulled the car in the garage another issue surfaced and provided a needed distraction. Our pet rabbit, Dixie, was looking a little not so healthy.
In record time I had called Craig, found a vet that treats rabbits in the area, and returned to the garage where Dixie's cage was temporarily set up. There I found very confused Maddie and a rabbit that was now seizing. Wonderful. I think that it is safe to say that I was in some level of shock then. I explained to Maddie that Dixie was probably dying. We talked about how she looked comfortable, and we wished that we could help her, but the best thing that we could do for her then was to love her, talk to her, and pet her until she was gone. Craig really wanted me to still take her to the vet, but there is a limit to what I will and will not do. Not to sound cruel, but I will not scoop up a not-in-pain appearing 8 year old rabbit with a 6 year life expectancy mid seizure and drive around the suburbs of Detroit looking for the bunny vet. Not gonna happen. Luckily she went pretty quickly, but it didn't necessarily ease the process of explaining the death process to an already upset child. We were able to get a good laugh in, though, when I called the vet's office to cancel our appointment and they offered their "deepest condolences on the loss of our special dog."
I spent quite a bit of time in the basement that afternoon. Our wireless internet was not working just yet and the only way I could get online was to hardwire in. I checked my e-mail constantly waiting for an update from the family, and continuously browsed news websites for any information that would tell me that Brandon had been found and was OK. Eventually the call came. Brandon's body was found 3,000 feet below where he had last been seen. In a split second with a clap of thunder the Lord had whispered "Come with me." Just as he did to dad and to Christopher.
My heart wrenched and my body shook with the news. Several thoughts and none at all were surging through my head at the seeming senselessness of it all. Some people get mad at God when tragedy of this magnitude strikes, especially repetitively, but I can't. God's perfect plan for this world didn't include pain, separation, I was sick of it. I get it. People die and we're separated from them, but I was just tired of hurting and seeing people that I love hurt.
That night was a somber one at our house. We buried Dixie under a tree in the back yard (our first whole-family time spent in the yard while the neighbors watched, mind you). We cried and didn't have much of an appetite for dinner, but mostly we talked, and appreciated more the time that we have together. And we prayed, thanking God for Brandon's life and the little life that had taken root under my heart. The life that we we now know as our little miracle, Lauren.
I miss Brandon. I wish that I had known him better. One of my favorite memories of him is at a family reunion once when him and his dad were singing some song about the King of the Jungle and Brandon was dancing wildly while doing the actions. I miss his high-energy enthusiasm.
Sports Illustrated published an article about the climb that Brandon was on when his accident occurred. Here's a link for anyone who may be interested: http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/vault/article/magazine/MAG1188183/6/index.htm
Friday, July 8, 2011
Family Family Family.
Reconnecting with friends.
Baby off schedule big time.
Good old Iowa Tenderloin.
Spoiling of a baby girl.
Sketchy cell service.
Lots of cuddle time with my girl.
Successful parade experience.
Over indulging on the taste of "home."
New jewelery. =)
AE Skim Chocolate Milk.
Surrounded by growing crops.
Casey's General store (and pizza).
Slip N Slide (only an observer, though!)
Caffeine Free Diet Mountain Dew in 2 liters/20 oz bottles.
Hair frizzy from humidity.
So much fun.
Monday, June 13, 2011
Check out how big Lauren and Maddie are getting! Can't believe it. Never mind the laundry basket...it never really seems to get to stay in its "home" for long...laundry is popular around here!
Ok, I have a quick minute to blog. I have been wanting to write so much lately, but either have not had the time or free hands to do so. Things are going well. Very well. We are adjusting to life with a baby and it is wonderful! Lauren has grown so much and is such a joy. It is week 2 of Madison being with us for 6 weeks this summer, and it is awesome to watch her and Lauren adore each other. Madison loves picking out Lauren's outfit each morning, gets her dressed, and is a great help throughout the day. She can really get Lauren to smiling.
Lauren is 2 1/2 months old already. I can't believe it! She is smiling quite a lot and has quite a lot to say at times. She has her mom's sleeping tendencies (YESS!!) and would rather sleep in a little than get up too early. She usually goes to bed around 10:30 and gets up around 5, eats, then goes right back to sleep until around 9. This is definitely my kid. =)
We had Lauren baptized in Davenport on June 6. It was a perfect day...so wonderful to celebrate with our family and Quad Cities friends that are like family. Lauren was in a good mood all day (she usually is) and didn't mind being passed around to many waiting arms at all. I hope to give her baptism its own post soon--but at the rate things go, we'll see how soon I get to it!
Last weekend we went on a little family road trip. The four of us went to Boyne Falls and the upper peninsula of Michigan. It was nice to have some family time with our girls. Time that went entirely too fast. We had a little excitement on our way home when we decided to break up the drive and make a quick stop at Bronner's Christmas Wonderland. Before we got to the intersection that we were supposed to turn at we we were re-routed by the police as there was some sort of Bavarian festival and parade. Somehow in our efforts to get to the other side of town we ended up driving down the main street where the parade was being held. I covered my face while urging Maddie to throw the remaining fruit roll ups out the window and wave. She didn't.
Ok. That is all I have time for for now. Lauren's patience is wearing thin...time to eat and get to bed. Hopefully I'll be back to update more soon!
Monday, May 2, 2011
Where have the last 5 weeks gone? I can't believe that much time has passed since our little Lauren landed in my arms. I have not spent much time blogging or on my computer. The T.V. has not been on much. The house has gotten progressively less tidy. Craig's parents, my mom, Maddie, and my friend Molly have all paid visits. We have taken our first road trip (to get Mom and Maddie in Grand Rapids and see family and our friend Mary). We've fallen into some sort of awkward routine. We've laughed and cried, but mostly have been humbled in awe of how in love we have fallen with this little miracle girl.
I knew by her trickery in the middle of the pregnancy that this little one would either be very stubborn or very content. As it turns out, we got the latter. Having no real relative experience, it seems safe to say that Lauren is a very easy baby. She cries when she is hungry, she cries when she needs a diaper change, and she sleeps. And sleeps and sleeps and sleeps. I never dreamed that I would spend so much time waking up my baby to eat. She gets so cozy that she would sleep literally all day and was slow to gain back the weight that she lost shortly after birth, so we had to (and still do at times) wake her up to eat. There is something so unnatural about that!
We are so blessed. I used to question why having a family was such a process for us, but when I hold my girl in my arms, there is no doubt in my mind that God was waiting for His perfect timing for her to join our family. He is so very good to us.
With that, I will close with a few random statements/questions that you may have heard if you were a fly on our wall in the last 5 weeks.
- "What did we ever do before Lauren?"
- "What happened to us?" (while completely sleep deprived in the doctor's office while Craig read me a children's book and I laughed hysterically)
- "Whose idea was this baby thing?" (asked in the middle of the night while attempting to quiet and comfort a screaming baby)
- "How many times this week have you washed the sheets?" (the answer was four. The kid's timing is impeccable)
- "Diaper failure! Diaper failure! Help!"
- "I'm not the one that spoiled her."
- "What do we do now?"
- "What happened to the box of diapers?"
- "It's my pillow, and if I am ok with baby puke on it, then that is my business." (not me)
- "How did we get so lucky to be parents to this little angel?" (spoken in all honesty)
- "This kid is just playing games with me now."
- "I think I just got outsmarted by a newborn."
OK...time is up and baby is awake. Goodnight all! We're hoping for a good nights sleep tonight, but if not, those quiet moments in the middle of the night holding my girl are pretty awesome, too!
Wednesday, April 6, 2011
Today is the first day since she was born that I have actually accomplished anything. I sorted through some baby clothes because Lauren is starting to push the limits of the newborn sizes already. That makes me sad. I am on my 3rd of 5 loads of laundry, have tidied up the kitchen, finished a few thank-yous, sorted the mail from the last three days, and even read the news. Now I'm settling in the chair with my little sweet. She's getting hungry again and then we're (hopefully AND likely) going to take a nap. Naps when I can get them are a must in my new world...otherwise evenings are not so pretty.
I'll sign out with a teaser of the professional pictures that we had taken when she was just a day old at the hospital. This is not the best one, but gives you a peek at our little miracle girl. We are so blessed.
OK...so maybe I'll open with the picture instead. I don't feel like fighting with the blog today to get the picture where I want it to be!
Happy Wednesday, All!
Sunday, March 27, 2011
Tuesday, March 22, 2011
- Do you remember when McDonald's had Mac Jr. sandwiches? I wish they'd make a comeback. A Big Mac is too big (and too much fat, and too salty) but a Jr. would be about right. The snack wraps don't do it for me, either.
- Toothpaste is still disgusting. I can tolerate it now, but can't think about what I am doing...which actually works well because my brain doesn't really work anyway.
- A lot of good things in life are overlooked when your attitude gets bad. The key to bed rest for me was to stay positive...someone else always has it worse.
- Strength is found in silence when you just let the Holy Spirit fill you. I love a quiet house these days...but am quite sure that they are limited.
- It is easy to forget how far a 9 month pregnant belly sticks out. I've gotten "stuck" a few times or ran into things. Sorry, baby!
- Hearing my baby's heartbeat and feeling it kick are the best sounds and feelings in the world. I try not to take one moment of them for granted...even though I REALLY want to hold this baby in my arms, and sometimes those kicks are painful!
- Beef roast with potatoes and carrots is the best meal ever. I love plopping it in the crock pot in the morning, smelling it all day, and devouring it for dinner.
- How sad is it that I can polish my toenails without much difficulty but have trouble getting my socks on? (or seeing how the polish job turned out?)
- Finishing a good book is bittersweet. I love to find out how they end, but hate it that I usually end up wondering what happened next.
- Craig eats onions regularly now! Shhhh...please don't tell him, he doesn't know!
- It makes no sense to me how I spent week after week on strict bed rest trying to keep this baby in, and now have been up for nearly a month without going into labor.
- I think that hardwood floors look nice, but I didn't realize that they need to be swiffered every single day. Come on, it is just the two of us...and apparently some dust-producing bunnies.
- I don't know how, but am pretty sure that Baby Riedel has acquired some miscellaneous sports equipment in its playpen. I swear it was playing racquetball last night.
- I have spent 13 1/2 of the last 17 months pregnant and am beginning to wonder what it feels like to not be edgy.
- Aside from Maddie's room, we do not have any room in our house completely "settled" yet after our move. Tonight we are going to hang some metal thing above our mantle on the kitchen side of the fireplace...it will be the first holes in the wall. Pictures? We'll see...I'm not so good at follow through on that.
- This pregnancy has had its share of unusual symptoms, but hasn't been textbook. For example: my appetite is nil, (I have now gained 7 pounds over my pre-pregnancy weight and baby measures 7 lbs 11 oz!), I have no stretch marks on my belly, and my regular t-shirts and athletic pants fit and still have a little growing room.
- Kroger is now the grocery store of choice. They are the only place in eastern Michigan that consistently has Hot Tamales in stock, plus they have this incredible ice cream.
- Flying a 12 year old unaccompanied minor on a direct flight is ridiculous. Honestly, it is cheaper to fly an adult with her. Matter of fact it is even cheaper (by about $500) to fly her to Grand Rapids with a layover in Detroit than to fly direct to Detroit. Makes no sense at all! Thanks, Baby Riedel, for not arriving on our time sensitive schedule so that we can pay to fly Maddie twice. :)
- I really wish I knew how to knit cute hats. Wait...summer is coming!
- This week I renewed my Michigan nursing license (which for some reason they only issued for 9 months). My Iowa license expires in November, and my Illinois license next May. I have no idea what I am going to do work-wise at this point, but at least the doors are open for a lot of options.
- I thought that my orchid would bloom near the same time that baby was born. I was wrong and don't plan on waiting for it...although the kid seems to be holding out...
- Tomorrow is the big day. Stay tuned for updates! I'll post soon!
Saturday, March 19, 2011
Today Craig and I dropped Maddie and my mom off at the airport. It was sad. I don't like good-byes. At all.
Today I got my belly stuck between some lady's cart and the checkout counter at the grocery store. It was embarrassing. Sometimes I forget that my belly sticks out more than ever and has no give.
Today I went on a date with my husband for the first time in several months. We went to a movie...Just Go With It....it was good, but not great.
Today I waited in the restroom line for about 5 minutes at the movie theater before I realized that I would rather risk wetting my pants in the car than standing in that line. (I did make it home, for the record!)
Today I reaped the benefits of always checking the supply of toilet paper before picking a stall in a public restroom. 2 out of 3 had empty dispensers. Whew!
Today I fixed my husband dinner. Who cares if it was leftovers.
Today I made a little girl's day when I bought three boxes of girl scout cookies. Sadly though, neither one of us could figure out how much change she owed me. My brain is failing fast.
Today I watched Craig and Maddie struggle to put clean sheets on Maddie's loft bed and only helped a little bit. I hate making that bed so much.
Today I posed for one last "family of three" picture before Maddie left.
Today was a good day.
Thursday, March 10, 2011
It is hard to believe that it was a year ago now that he died. The images of our little guy are so fresh in my mind and I hope that they will always stay that way. I remember seeing him for the first time and feeling completely overwhelmed that this was actually happening. I remember the awesome midwife that assisted with the delivery saying "He looks like a perfect little boy." I remember Craig sitting in the chair near my bed looking upon our son, his eyes brimming with tears of both pride and loss. And I remember that little body so perfect, complete and peaceful. It was at that moment that I realized how precious life is once again. How at some moment in the last day our tiny son's little heart gave its final beat and changed the future as we had planned it leaving feelings of hurt and confusion in its wake.
Shortly after his silent birth Craig and I had a heart to heart while passing our still son back and forth in his little basket. It was perhaps the conversation that changed our relationship from great to awesome. We talked between unrestrained tears about a lot of things with our souls exposed and vulnerable. That conversation ended with a a few promises to each other. One was that the day our son died would not also be the day that his parents stopped living. Our mindset in our journey, which required rather intense medical intervention, to becoming a family was always to choose life....no matter what. This time we needed to make a conscious decision, in honor of our son, to choose life not for him because it was too late, but for ourselves. We knew that there would be lots of new feelings and emotions that we likely had never felt before, and those thoughts could be given the power to either unite us further or break us down. We committed to unite, to share, to trust, and to pull together and to heal. Another promise was that we would not allow the sad place we found ourselves in that day to be where our journey becoming a family would end. Though the future could easily result in more loss and hurt we could not leave that hospital room and our son behind knowing that it was the end. It couldn't be. In honor of our son we would try again. He will always be my firstborn, always be very loved and very wanted and will never be replaced in our hearts or lives.
A lot of healing has taken place between then and now, but my heart will forever bear a scar from the hurt caused by the loss and my mind will always wonder how life would be if he had lived. We were blessed by his existence and have been blessed in ways that we never would have imagined since his passing.
So here's to a day of honoring our firstborn son whose time with us was much too short. Our son whose life brought us joy and purpose. Our son whose death left us broken but united. Our baby who made March 10 be a day that we celebrate the fact that he lived. Our sweet Christopher Job who was born into heaven last year on this day.
Friday, March 4, 2011
It has been a pleasure getting to know you and your super brothers (whoever they may be)again via the Wii. I know that our relationship has been rather intense lately, but I find it only proper to inform you that soon I will be breaking up with you. I have also very much enjoyed the opportunity to practice mad driving skills while living vicariously through your friend, Daisy, on the Mach Bike. Unfortunately this has become slightly less than fun lately as everyone that I have competed against has completely annihilated and embarrassed me.
However, my baby seems to absolutely love your sound effects. Or perhaps it is the voice of its father screaming "UNFAIR" (to put it mildly) during competitions. Either way, we may be interested in having you perform your background music during some times when nothing else is working. A soundtrack for infants would be nice.
Remember when you used to come to me every night for about 9 hours? I miss that. Please come back.
Dear Baby Riedel,
It has been a joy to carry you and I have absolutely no regrets about our time together...Well...I guess I regret the turkey sausage ingestion that one day, but that is not your fault. However, I am very ready to hold you in my arms and see the chubby cheeks that you've likely gained from stealing all of my calories for the last several months. I will definitely miss all of your silly antics from within, though.
Dear Water company,
So sorry for our recent influx of water demands. Blame it on the kid. Many times it was a false alarm. Do we still have to pay for those flushes?
Thank you for finally agreeing to credit me back the $5.25/day charge for turning on the TV and the $2.75/day charge for phone service during my 8 day stay in December. Perhaps you now realize that especially unemployed dutch pregnant women don't part with their pennies lightly.
Thank you for being patient with me as I struggle to write these days. I will update soon. Hopefully I will have some "real" news!
Thursday, February 17, 2011
Many people have asked what I will do first if given the go-ahead. To be honest, probably not much! We may stop and actually have lunch at a restaurant on our way home, but otherwise I plan to spend a lot of time up and about at home. I never dreamed that there would be a day when going to a mall seemed daunting or getting groceries impossible. One thing is for sure, though. Craig will be by my side. I am looking forward to fixing meals again and doing a little cleaning that has been bugging me. (Not that Craig hasn't done a fantastic job, he just doesn't seems to have a more tolerant relationship with dust bunnies!).
My mom is coming out in a couple of weeks for a while. My sister and her family will be here and bringing Maddie over their spring break, and Craig's parents will be coming for a time also over their spring break, so things will be busy. Who knows whether or not we will have the baby yet by the time any of them are here...but we've had lots of "encouragement" to get this kid out before their arrivals. =)
On the last ultrasound they did another biophysical profile which can take up to 30 minutes to gather enough information to see how strong baby is and how well developed the lungs are. The probe was on my belly for less than 5 minutes before the tech said that baby had already passed. Breathing movements are strong and for the last few weeks baby has been described as "perfect," which I already knew! (but there may be a bit of bias coming into play!)
Overall, I am feeling pretty well. Heartburn doesn't bother me much anymore at all, I am sleeping pretty well most of the time, and baby seems to have found a "middle ground" in the last few days where it is neither constantly pushing on my bladder or invading my lung space. I can definitely tell that he/she is running out of space in there because the movements are not as lighthearted. If this kid is going to move it is like a steamroller these days. I love those wiggles. Honestly, I will not be surprised either if a foot comes poking through my side one of these days. Baby tends to pick a spot and then show it no mercy. =)
OK...that is enough for now. Happy Thursday, all!
Tuesday, February 15, 2011
This morning I killed a spider in the bathroom. I had just taken a shower and was sitting on the edge of the tub to lotion up when it appeared out of nowhere and tried to kill me. I hate spiders. This one was about the size of an eraser but did not survive it's unfortunate encounter with a kleenex. It is the first spider that I have seen in this house and hopefully the last. I do not like insects because they are creepy. All of them.
We've been working on a lighting project. (FYI, in case you didn't realize, when I say "we" I really mean "Craig"). We bought our house from an investor who replaced all of the fixtures that the previous owners had removed before they abandoned the property. The fixtures are nice, but the one in the dining room was annoying us because the new one evidently had a smaller base than the old one, which left a ring on the ceiling. We decided that the most efficient fix was just to put a light medallion around it. That is what they do on HGTV and they look nice. Buying it was the easy part. Craig then cut the base to size to fit the current fixture (which of course was non-standard), spray painted the medallion, and proceeded to dry fit the fixture. The screws were now too short. Trip one to Home Depot: longer screws. Looked perfect, but were slightly larger diameter than the original ones so the bolt wouldn't fit. Trip two to Depot: slightly smaller screws, but lo and behold they weren't quite long enough. Trip three to Depot followed by trip to Lowe's: right size screws, but one was a little stripped on the end and wouldn't thread. Trip four to hardware store: replacement screws of same size. Um, maybe they actually weren't quite long enough after all. Yes, trip five: Ace Hardware: Perfect screws, a little long, but easily trimmed. Light fixture wired in and installed. No sparks. No smoke, works, looks great, but at the cost of one very frustrated "that wasn't worth it" spewing husband and therefore, a slightly cranky (due to starvation) pregnant wife. No more "little" projects for us for a while.
I could tell you about how we spent Valentine's day. It was an exciting one! Craig of course had to work and is taking a class this week so he couldn't come home for lunch. After work he got home at his usual time and was bearing a gift...quite possibly his greatest v-tines gift to me of all time. A half eaten bag of cinnamon gummy hearts. I got a hankering for them on Saturday and Craig stopped at: Walgreens, CVS, Meijer, Wal-Mart, Target, Hallmark and some random candy shop looking for them on Sunday. Without luck. At work on Monday a co-worker had brought in a stash that she had found and Craig bummed them off of her after telling her of his plight.
In addition to providing me with crazy dreams, the state of my mind has entertained me in other sad ways in the last few weeks. Here is an example, one that I probably would not care to share unless I had the hormones to blame. Last night Craig was tired and ready for bed. I was not. Since I am trying to stay on some sort of schedule, I grabbed my book and headed for bed at the same time. I just started this book the night before and had accidentally dropped it on the floor before I got to the end of chapter two. I decided just to leave it there and call it a night. I shoved my bookmark in a random page with intentions of sorting it out in the morning. I didn't get around to reading yesterday, so last night I started looking for where I thought I left off. Actually, none of chapter two was sounding too familiar, so I just started over from the beginning of the chapter. I read it and thought I fell back into the story line, became tired, and called it a night. I reached for the paper that was randomly in the book and it was a different bookmark. I was so confused, but after looking at the title of the book and reading the opening lines again, realized that I had just read chapter two of an entirely different book. I am not sure how that happened or why I didn't realize it before, but now feel ridiculously stupid that I didn't catch it before I read the whole darn chapter. This baby better come soon or there will be no hope.
I am obsessed with food. Not necessarily eating it, but thinking about it. Especially meat and pasta. Hot dogs come to mind a lot. I haven't eaten one in ages and have no intention of doing so, but I do think about them a lot. Other cravings are: cinnamon gummies (anything gummy for that matter), frozen zebra cakes, mint chip ice cream, baby swiss Cheez-Its, baked potatoes, honey nut cheerios, ramen noodles, fresh fruit, spaghetti, cream cheese pickle things (again, have not eaten them b/c of the lunch meat thing), suckers, garbage salads, carrots with ranch, and my very favorite...green beans. Craig bought 2 packages of frozen green beans last Friday, and they were gone by Monday morning. It has been a long week since then...
OK, I am really done writing for now. Hopefully soon I will have something more exciting to report...it won't be much longer before baby Riedel makes an appearance...so stay tuned!
Thursday, February 3, 2011
- Health. I may not have the best equipped body for carrying a baby, but I am healthy. Other than hearing loss in my left ear, I've got it pretty darn good.
- Craig. I've said it before and I'll say it forever. He is AWESOME. I have told him over and over that there is NO way that I could get through this without him...and also that I would not be in this situation without him. =) There is a delicate balance between inflating your man's ego and excusing him from responsibility. A very fine line indeed. Don't cross it.
- Maddie. Talking to her on the phone is uplifting. She is such a blessing to us and it is so sweet that she seems to like us too. Oh I can't wait until March when I get to love on her for a little while in person.
- Ornery little Riedel or Riedelette. This kid is already full of spunk. (For simplicity sake, I will refer to baby as a "she" today) I told her that she needed to sleep well on Monday night because we had an ultrasound on Tuesday and it was one where her being alert would help her mother to get off of bed rest sooner. Of course, there was very little time between 4 pm Monday afternoon and 10:30 Tuesday morning that there was any stillness in my belly. Then, as the tech placed the ultrasound probe later in the morning, someone fell into a sleep cycle and didn't budge hardly at all, except to avoid a cute profile shot. Ugh. I get results tomorrow, but this kid could be grounded before birth.
- Food. My appetite has gone haywire. Yesterday I had dinner 3 times. The amounts that I can take in at once are smaller, but I am constantly hungry, and not for just a little piece of fruit or something, but for a steak, taco, casserole, pizza, or plate of spaghetti. Oh...I need to not think about food...getting hungry again. Craig has been good about learning to cook, too, and a friend has brought over a few yummy meals that give him a nice break. Thank you so much, Julie, if you're reading out there...
- A warm house. I told Craig that I really don't believe that we actually need to run the furnace this winter. I am so warm all of the time. Craig curls up in a wool army blanket topped with a down comforter while I sprawl out in sleeveless PJ's with a fan. My skin feels cool to the touch but this little pot belly stove thing I've got going on is cranking out some serious heat on the inside. I'm comfortable with the thermostat in the low 60's while Craig sneaks it up when he is home saying that he can see his breath in our family room.
- My plants. I have a lot of plants and they make me smile. According to my calculations, my orchid (which I had all but given up on) will bloom about the time the baby is born. It is kind of odd because I first notice the sprout for the bloom the day that I found out I was pregnant. It really likes its home on the surround for the whirlpool tub and didn't even seem to mind when someone (not me) accidentally took it swimming during last week's watering. Oops.
- Skype and free long distance service. It's been a lifesaver. Enough said.
- Wii. Mario Kart is sa-weet! It is Diddy Kong on the Mach Bike all the way for me. If you are a fellow Karter and have your wii wifi up and going, send me your digits and I'll challenge you to a race on any track but Rainbow Road. You'll probably win, but I'll have fun chucking turtle shells at you.
- Jeopardy. It stimulates my mind. I'm not half bad, either!
- Family and Friends. The little notes/texts/calls of encouragement have been awesome. It amazes me that they arrive just when I need a little lift.
- Our new table and chairs. We ordered a custom made Amish table with 6 chairs in December. I called yesterday to check the status and we could get them this month! So excited to get a little cherry in the dining room to complete it.
- The mantle. It is littered with: a picture of Maddie, 2 Isabel Bloom pieces, a meerschaum vase that Craig brought home from Iraq, a small framed picture of CJ's little hand, 2 special Willow trees, a small plant, and a rhino that Maddie got us in Africa. All means a lot to me. Oh, and the Wii sensor. It's practical.
- A comfy couch. Firm, yet cozy. I heart it but am ready to quit bonding with it.
- Windows. We have a huge wall of windows in our family room. It is so nice to know what the weather is doing and watch the neighbor twin girls play in the snow.
- My tongue has healed up again! After last week's episode of minor tongue swelling followed by the painful shedding of nearly all my taste buds, it is now getting better!
- Zebra Cakes. When frozen, they are just about the perfect snack.
- Green Beans. I never knew one could feel so strongly about a vegetable. Take them from their frozen state to slightly still crunchy, add a few bacon pieces, some butter, and voila! D.Lish.Us.
There are lots of other things that make me smile, but right now I'm not thinking of anything but food, so I'll spare you the details. Have a great weekend all! Stay safe and warm through this frigid wintery weather.
Sunday, January 30, 2011
Generally speaking things have been going pretty well. Since September (gulp) I have been on restricted activity, and since December 6th I have only been on my feet long enough to take a quick shower, use the bathroom, or go to a doctors appointment. The lack of stimulation was catching up with me. The cloud of frustration was starting to build, and by mid week last week all emotions ran amuck and the storm began to brew.
It was the accumulation of a lot of things, actually. The helpless feeling of watching Craig go to work all day, come home tired and knowing he just wanted to relax, but instead starting in on a pan of spaghetti for dinner. The reality of the distance between my family and I being far apart as my grandma moved out of her home and into a care center...of hearing the stress in mom's voice as she was forced to face another of life's difficult choices. Not having had a doctor's appointment for 2 weeks, keeping me completely home bound and without fresh air (well, unless you count the short time I spent in front of the open patio door.) Missing seeing what goes on in the "real" world except through the eyes of the TV, Internet, or what others have told me. Lack of sleep because the very same night that baby quit punching my bladder it began thrusting up on my diaphragm, leaving me without enough air, an overly full stomach, and reflux like I have never dreamed of. And speaking of dreams, lots of them...everything from my grandma playing in a harmonica band while I was trying to teach a class on PICC line placement to a bunch of ladies at my mom's church to fairly vivid dreams about my dad. The bottom line was exhaustion. Beyond tired of limitations. So with that the tears started. And didn't stop. Not for nearly two days. Not even watching YouTube videos of babies born too early were helping me keep my motivation as they usually do.
Yet, I remained thankful that we are at a point in our lives where we can do this. I'm not laying here all wrapped up in this blanket of confusion for nothing. I am doing this for something so much more than myself. I'm doing this for our future, for our baby that is growing and kicking and thriving under my inactivity. The thought makes me smile, yet doesn't erase the frustration. It is an odd place to find ones self in when you don't want to be where you're at for one second longer, yet wouldn't do a single thing to change it. That's where I was.
On day 2 of the funk, Craig gently approached me.
"Honey, we have to do something different." and then he stepped back (and quite possibly assumed a defensive posture...I think he is scared of me.)
"What? What can I do different?"
"This weekend we're getting you out of this house."
"There comes a time when the health of your mind is just as important as everything else."
"Where would we go?"
"Wherever you want. You need a break."
"Target? With pizza and bread sticks from the Pizza Hut snack bar inside? Really, do you think it is ok?"
"31 weeks. There's always a risk, but we'll get you a wheelchair and just stay for a little bit."
And with that the hormonal pendulum swung 180 degrees to the other end of the spectrum. The tears were gone and I was ecstatic. The only other person who really understands and shares the reality of our situation had given me the go ahead. I had a date. With a little nervousness but even more excitement Saturday finally came. We took it very very slow and easy. I humbly rode slightly reclined in a wheelchair and warded off the stares of those who in my mind were thinking "Why does SHE need that?" We rolled through the aisles of baby stuff. Stopped and shared a small cheese pizza and 3 piece order of bread sticks. Above all, I found my smile. I was not just an incubation machine for our baby, but a real person. It felt so incredibly good.
Despite my determination not to overdo, I had just enough in me for a quick peek at Wal-Mart's baby stuff. I perused the baby section from a motorized wheelchair (there were no other ones available) while Craig chased me. Yes, it was embarrassing, but my goal was to take a break from the mundane, not to have a baby that day. We picked up a few things and some groceries. Within 2 hours from the time we left I was back on the couch fairly tired but not having felt better in a very long time.
This will not be the norm. I only have a few more weeks and have no intention of breaking the rules again. I was just at that place where the benefit outweighed the risk. I'm glad I did it, and now am back at home on the couch where I need to be until my doctor gives the green light to be up. At last week's appointment he said that as long as the next three ultrasounds looked good I can be on my feet again in about 3 weeks. THREE WEEKS people!! That is better than I had hoped for. It won't be much longer...I can do this! It is about time to reap the reward of our persistence.
I hesitate to post this because I don't want it to sound like I am complaining about our situation or that I would not do anything in the world to keep this baby safe. I am trusting that you know where my heart is in all of this without further explanation. After all, I have always claimed that it is not easy being me!
Thursday, January 20, 2011
- The best show available? Criminal Minds. Hands down. It is intense, thought provoking, a little creepy, and highly addictive.
- E-Trade has the very best commercials. They need to make a few more for variety, but I love the one that starts off "Apparently, riding the dog like it is a small horse is frowned upon..." Hilarious!
- I Didn't Know I Was Pregnant. Whatever. I wouldn't know I was pregnant either...if I hadn't been crabbier than a she-bear for the first few months (when I hadn't fallen asleep from exhaustion for no reason, anyway), puked nearly every time I thought of or used toothpaste, felt near constant pummeling from within, and if my belly hadn't started resembling a flesh colored watermelon. I don't believe it much...
- The Biggest Loser is awesome, but the contestants cry entirely too often. That gets annoying.
- Yesterday's episode of A Baby Story was a little irritating. The chick went on and on about how horrible 10 weeks of bedrest was. Ok, I get it. Can't really call it a party, but seriously, how many moms have been lucky enough to feel just about every one of their baby's movements. Not to mention the fact that what you did worked, and you have a healthy baby. It's about perspective, lady. I'm glad to know that this is what I need to do to keep our little one safe...therefore, I will not complain.
- Man Vs. Food. A little disgusting. It used to make me nauseous, so I would avoid watching it. Now it makes me hungry. Especially for that massive burger he tried to eat the other night.
- Storage Wars is pretty good. Go Jarod and Brandi go. Dave has a bad attitude, Barry is weird, and Darrell is entertaining. Just wish that the new episodes started before 10 pm.
- The Cheez-It commercials are annoying. I do like Cheez-its, but the "Nacho Cheese" commercial is on my last nerve. Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that Craig laughs at the stupid joke every single time.
- Chili's jalapeno sliders look fabulous. I am all about spicy with this pregnancy. Baby doesn't seem to mind, but keep the majority of dairy products far, far away. Strange, I know.
- House Hunters has amazingly few reruns. I like that.
- Nationwide has the worst commercials. They are neither funny or informative. Waste of time
I think that is the end of my opinions on TV. It is clearly overrated. What are your favorite shows?
Monday, January 10, 2011
Sometimes my heart dreams the dream that is my firstborn son. I wander through images of him playing and cuddling and doing all of the things that he, had he lived, might be doing today. He would be 6 months old. Learning so much and bringing smiles to our faces. I think about how we would have just celebrated our first Christmas with him and how different our lives would be.
I can only dream in the "what-if's," for they are not our reality. The "what if's" may never be, but our reality is certain. Our reality is that our very much loved and desired Christopher has died. We can't hold him, or touch him, or make new memories with him. What remains of him are contained in a tiny urn and memories in our hearts. That is our reality, and it stinks. Reality has also informed us that that hospital room on March 10 is not where our journey to becoming a family came to an end.
The "what-ifs" have plagued me once again through this pregnancy. Listing them here would only cause me to think too much about them and re-create uncertainty. Our reality in this situation is and has been from the beginning that nearly 29 weeks ago now a living, kicking, and likely ornery little one was planted under my heart. Each day it continues to grow and get stronger, and even if he/she were born today the viability rates are 90%, but there would be significant time spent in the NICU. Our reality also is that things have stabilized since baby's escape plan was thwarted. There have been essentially no changes on the ultrasound. Praise the Lord!
I recently had my first appointment with the high risk group since discharge from the hospital. As it turns out, it is also my last appointment with them. Now that we are officially in the third trimester there is nothing more that they need to do. It is up to this body of mine to cooperate and keep this baby in for as long as possible (within reason, of course!). As tradition has it, I got lost leaving. This time while wandering through the parking garage trying to find the car. The sad part? I even convinced Craig that HE was the one who was looking in the wrong place. "NO, Honey, I am SURE we parked over here..." We didn't--he was right all along. I honestly don't know why he ever listens to me anymore, other than the fact that he is probably scared that I will have a (like it would be an isolated incident) meltdown if I thought he wasn't listening.
Nothing had changed at my appointment...good news. The doctor did tell me that at 36 weeks I could pick up my activity a little. Although that is still 7 weeks away, 7 is better than 12. Before we even left the house the morning of my appointment I was exhausted. My muscles have already lost tone and were sore from just walking down a flight of stairs and to the elevator in the office. I hope that I have a little time before baby gets here to strengthen back up a little. One of the joys, I guess. Part of my tiredness was also due, in part, to the fact that I woke up at 0430 that morning when someone decided to put a little extra pressure on my bladder again. As I returned to bed after using the bathroom I started thinking about food. We had only gotten take out once since being in the hospital and had agreed to drive through McDonald's for breakfast. I was still awake at 0630 when my alarm went off trying to decide whether I wanted a breakfast burrito or an sausage mc muffin. 2 hours of deliberation over a 99 cent item? Seriously! (I went with the Mc Muffin, by the way, which I realized actually comes on an english muffin, not a biscuit, which is what I really wanted and the whole reason it wasn't a clear winning choice from the beginning.) Mc Muffin= English muffin, Biscuit=biscuit. Should be easy to remember!
It is finally starting to settle in a little bit that we are actually going to bring a baby into our lives. Even as I type that sentence it sounds a little shocking. We have waited for this phase of life for SO long, and to know that soon we will get to see, hold, raise, and love this little one is nothing short of glorious. We cannot wait. Every night as we go to bed now Craig and I talk about how we're one day closer. Closer to not a dream, but a reality that is this, our child.
Wednesday, January 5, 2011
Here are the essentials:
The Water Jug. Filled. No ice. Pretty much all I drink these days is water...and I drink a LOT of it. So much so that some may even feel that I am starting to resemble a camel, only with the bump on the wrong side (that is on the belly, not the back). Milk has been upsetting my stomach, but I still try to drink it on occasion. Juices are pretty much out right now because they irritate my tongue spots, which are getting much better. Occasionally, I will have a small glass of Squirt, but water really tastes the best. I guess that is good.
The Remotes. TV, DVD, Cable, and Wii. My rule is generally no tv until mid afternoon. Otherwise, I find myself in a funk. There really isn't anything good on, and I prefer to stimulate my mind with things other than court tv and Freaky Eaters. (That show is nuts, I tell you. There was one chick who drank 37 CASES of cola per month, and another who would eat nothing but french fries--ever. Bleh!) I do indulge in a few games of Mario Kart through the day. Someday I will reach my lofty goal of placing first on the Wario's Gold Mine track. For now, I just try not to fall off of the track more than 10 times in the three laps.
Magazines. (Thanks, S!) Who knew that if you eat chocolate five or more times a week you may be 57% less likely to have coronary heart disease than people who don't? This is stuff I need to know! I also learned that it is winter outside. There were snowflakes and everything in the air today! It is toasty warm in here all curled up in my knit pants and ted hose. Those knit pants, by the way, fit just fine last week but are feeling a little snug today. Somebody is growing!
Crossword Puzzles. (Thanks, B!) Proof that my brain still does still work well...for recalling trivial information, anyway. Anyone know what a 5 letter word for "diminish" is? _BA_O.
My laptop. AKA the Green Bean. It has kept me connected and sane...although the latter is questionable.
The Phones. One charged cordless land line and my cell. What I ever do before texting? Good thing we have the unlimited data plan.
A Book. Just finished Peace Like a River by L. Enger. A good read. Took a bit to draw me in, but I enjoyed it. Now back to my good friend, Frannie. (that is Francine Rivers and I have been crushing on her books for a long time now.) Last time I went to the library I checked out 6 books, read, and returned them before they were due. This time Craig checked out two for me and I'll be calling later today to renew.
The latest ultrasound pictures. They are of a face, a foot, and a hand (I think). When boredom sets in and the days seem long they renew my focus on how far we've come and that, really, two more months of this is nothing compared to how many years of joy this child will bring. I can tell even in the last 3 weeks how much baby has grown, offering assurance that we're doing what we have to do right now. New pics next Tuesday!
The dustbuster. Things tend to get a little messy when one eats all of their meals in a reclined position. I have spent a fair amount of time dustbusting the couch, floor in front of it, and myself. I even had to dustbust my hair once. That was gross. Parmesan cheese and it was an accident, if you must know.
My Bible. The Psalms are really getting a workout these days. I need to delve deeper into another chapter, but the concentration just isn't there.
A Journal. This child will hate that book for someday, because I will pull it out when the kid is out of control naughty and inform them of every little detail of the things I have endured for their existence. =) It is fun to think about, but probably would never happen. Probably.
I think that is it for the essentials, but the other items that are currently occupying space on the coffee table are: insurance forms (gag), some thank you cards, some tortilla chips left over from Mexican take-out last night (de.lish.us), my magic mirror, a banana, a box of stale Cheez-its, a can of compressed air (I really need to clean my keyboard!), scratch paper, Christmas receipts, a basket with my pills, a few random M&M's, and a Hello Kitty watch. It's a pretty full table.
I hope this finds you all safe and warm on these chilly winter days. We are at 28 weeks now, which is a good milestone for us because the hospital that is closest to us is able to handle a premie that small. We really don't want to utilize those NICU services, but it is reassuring to know that they are there.
Until next time,