Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Sometimes, 1/2 really counts

Remember when you were a kid and someone would ask you how old you were and you'd always make sure to add in the half? "I'm eight and a half." That half was essential. It meant you were that much closer to becoming an adult. Or at least that much closer to becoming a teenager which is thrilling because teenagers got to do all the fun stuff like going rollerskating or staying up past 9pm.

That extra half has become important to me again lately. I'm 31 1/2 weeks pregnant. That half means I'm that much closer to having a baby who is older and less likely to have any problems breathing or eating on his own, which is why I'm strapped to a hospital bed at the moment. The doctors tell me that each day I'm pregnant is one less day that the baby will have to spend in the NICU.

Through all of this, I was curious as to what the goal was since I have little to look forward to each day other than breakfast, lunch and dinner. I was unsure of whether the doctor wanted me to stay in bed for another 8 1/2 weeks as my body slowly becomes one with the mattress, or if they had a different plan in mind. The doctors tell me the plan is to make it to at least 35 weeks, which is when I gave birth to my daughter in my last pregnancy. She was born perfectly healthy with no complications, but apparently little preemie girls do better than preemie boys. The nurses here actually refer to the preemie boys as "wimpy white boys." Probably because they'd rather lay around on their uterine water beds and eat all day rather than bother with being born. Typical.

For now, I'm just counting my blessings as the days continue to pass and I continue to stay pregnant. Plus, the daily naps don't hurt.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Let's keep it boring

A whole 5 days have passed since my admission to the hospital and my life has gotten pretty predictable. Most days go something like this:

  • 6:30am: Wake up tangled in my Snoogle (giant pregnancy pillow resembling a huge, cushy candy cane) and bed sheets, feeling slightly hung over from my nightly dosage of Ambien.
  • 6:40am: After an epic battle similar to World War I, but without the aid of neighboring countries, manage to free self from the giant pillow.
  • 6:45am: Browse the menu on my side table for the 80th time, even though I have the entire thing committed to memory. Wrestle with the difficult decision of whether to order Raisin Bran or french toast sticks. Choose french toast sticks after deciding bed rest + Raisin Bran=recipe for disaster.
  • 7:00am: Turn the TV on to TLC to watch "A Baby Story." Watch as multiple women undergo horrible labors that last for 3 days without epidurals. Decide watching this show was probably not my best decision considering my state, and that people who decide not to get an epidural must be at least a little crazy.
  • 7:45am: Food arrives. Try to close my eyes and pretend I'm at IHOP. Nurse comes in and checks my blood pressure. Decide that if this same service was offered at IHOP, people would probably eat a lot fewer Rooty Tooty Fresh and Fruity's.
  • 8:00am-12pm: Spend morning switching between TLC, Discovery Channel, Travel Channel, and Food Network. Become very knowledgable about giving birth to multiples, species of animals living in the Amazon, luxury yachts, and how to make a mean chipotle.
  • 12:05pm-12:45pm: Order lunch and take an unreasonably long shower since it's one of the only times I'm allowed to stand. Consider attempting to trim hair with toenail clippers. Decide to have husband bring real scissors later to avoid the risk of making myself look like a little boy.
  • 12:45pm-2pm: Eat lunch and turn on computer. Facebook stalk everyone on my friends list (hey, I have a lot of time on my hands here. No one is safe.)
  • 2:05pm-4:45pm: More television time mixed with occassional book reading.
  • 4:50pm-6:30pm: Husband and daughter come to visit. Spend most of the time watching Fresh Beat Band and trying to convince my daughter that the bathroom is not an amusement park. Say goodbye to my family.
  • 6:45pm: Eat dinner and make a mental note to never order the turkey and stuffing again, unless I have a sudden craving for shoe leather.
  • 7pm-10pm: More TV time.
  • 10:05pm: Nurse brings medications. Fall asleep in an Ambien daze.
  • Rinse, repeat.

The nurses have been coming in each day to check on me and make sure everything is going well - and probably to make sure I haven't become a zombie yet. A pregnant woman roaming the halls in search of brains is probably not good for the hospital's image. My nurse this afternoon gave me this piece of advice: "Let's keep it boring."

No problem. I've had lots of practice.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Roller coaster

For this post, I had originally planned on writing about all the new winter clothes I've been making Haley with all of the cooler weather. Unfortunately, things don't always go quite as we plan do they? I've discovered that to be more and more true over the past 2 1/2 days. But then again, my road in life isn't full of just valleys. There are the hills, too.

I'm not sure how much I've mentioned previously about the complications I had with my daughter when I was pregnant with her since I started writing this particular blog after she was born, but I'll try to make a long, drawn out story short. While pregnant with her it was discovered that I have a small cervix. For those of you who aren't up to date on female anatomy, the cervix is a very important part that helps to keep the baby in. For women with a small cervix, that means there is a very good chance of having a premature baby. Unfortunately, I am one of those people.

At 25 weeks pregnant with my daughter, my cervix became so shortened that I was forced to go on bed rest for the remainder of my pregnancy, which ended up being 10 more weeks until my daughter made her way into the world in all of her impatient glory after only 30 minutes of pushing. See, I'm great at the whole labor and delivery thing, but I'm not so good at the whole staying pregnant thing. Which brings me to recent events.

This time around, my husband and I were aware of my incompetent cervix. I approached each monthly visit with my OB tentatively, always with the thought in the back of my head that things might take a turn for the worse like they had the last time. But when I made it to 26 weeks with still no sign of a singular complication I thought, "maybe this time things are different!" And they were, but only until this past Tuesday at my 30th week appointment when it was discovered that my cervix had shortened from a normal length of 3 cm to a mere 6 mm.

I can't tell you how disappointed I was at that moment. Disappointed that things were, in fact, NOT different this time around. They were just the same.

And so I was wheeled off to the labor and delivery wing of the hospital to make sure I didn't go into early labor. And that is where I sit now (still pregnant, thankfully.) It's been 2 1/2 days since I was brought here and part of me still can't believe it's even been that long. I feel like I've been on a roller coaster, one that I can't seem to get off. Despite everything though, I have found a lot to be thankful for.

  1. My husband. Because of these sudden events, my poor hubby has had to take over a ton of responsibility, including being the sole caretaker of our daughter while I'm at the hospital. If you see my daughter and her hair resembles that of a Troll doll, I take no responsibility.
  2. The support of some amazing friends. In the past 2 1/2 days, I've had friends come visit me to keep me company, paint my toenails, bring me foods I've been craving, help my husband care for my little girl at home, bring me reading materials, and handle my vomit container after I got sick. I don't know what I did to deserve such awesome friends, but I know that I'm eternally indebted to at least 9 people, and I'm ok with that.
  3. Prayers of family. There's nothing like the knowledge that your family loves you so much that they have an entire state praying for your health and that of your baby. Between mine and my husband's family members, we pretty much have the entire East Coast praying for us.
  4. Solid food. When someone tells you you can only eat ice chips for a day-and-a-half it's amazing how good a mediocre cafeteria hamburger can taste.
  5. Hot showers. There's nothing like a good, burning hot shower to make you feel human again. It's probably good for the people that have to be around me as well.
  6. Animal socks. Really, how can I stay down when I'm wearing monkeys on my feet?
  7. I'm still pregnant. Thankfully, this little guy decided it would be ok after all to stay in his uterine home a little while longer.

The continued good health of my baby is what this is all about. While it's so hard for me to be away from my husband and daughter and the comfortable surroundings of my home, I know I'll look back in just a few short weeks after I'm holding this little boy in my arms and say "it was all worth it."

And this will be just another small hill in my journey.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Quilted burp cloth tutorial

Finally, the long-awaited tutorial for how to make a quilted burp cloth! Sorry for the wait, but I promise it's worth it :)

In this post, I explained how I found a great tutorial for quilted bibs in one of my craft books. I used the same idea and made some coordinating quilted burp cloths. These burp cloths make adorable gifts for any baby boy or girl depending on which fabrics you choose. The possibilities are endless.

Here's what you need:

  • Cloth diapers
  • Scraps of 5 coordinating cotton fabrics (I just dug through the remnant pile at Hancock Fabrics)
  • Thread
  • Rotary cutting tool and mat

1. First, cut out all of your fabric scrap rectangles (use a rotary cutter and cutting mat if you have them. It's much easier that way.) My rectangles were approximately 2 inches wide by 4 inches tall. You can cut some of your rectangles in half to make your final quilted pattern look more interesting, or cut them any sizes you prefer to make your own unique quilted pattern.

2. Lay out all of your pieces on top of your cloth diaper to make sure the pieces are long enough and that you have them in the pattern you want. Your outer edges may not all line up exactly (see picture below), that's OK, you will trim them after piecing them together.

3. Piece your scraps together by placing them with the right sides (or the sides with the pattern on them) together and sewing the edges to join. Repeat until all scraps are sewn together in one long rectangle. Iron flat.

4. Trim the edges of your pieced together rectangle so that both sides are straight and even. Use a ruler and your cutting mat and rotary tool to do this, or use a ruler and fabric marker to mark a straight line down each side, then use scissors to trim the extra.

5. Lay your burp cloth flat and pin your rectangle of scraps to the middle of your burp cloth. Using coordinating thread and a straight stitch, sew lines 3/4 of an inch or so apart from one end of the burp cloth to the other, making sure to backstitch some on each end to secure your stitches. For mine, I used a zig zag stitch to enclose the outside raw edges of the fabric rectangle and give it a nice decorative look. If you're feeling extra adventurous, you could also stitch all around the perimeter of the burp cloth with the coordinating thread to add to the look.

6. Place baby on burp cloth, pat away!

Pretty easy, right? I love these because they're so unique; you'll never find ones like them in any store. Let me know if you have any questions! I don't consider myself the best teacher, so if I've confused you in any way let me know :)

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

A visit from an old friend

Whew! Where did September go?? I feel like I blinked and it was October already! September was a great month of visiting family, garage saling, preparing for #2, and more recently, a visit from my best friend and her son Nate - who has grown up way too quickly if you ask me.

Chrissy and I have been friends since we were 17 and 18. We've been through a lot together, but besides all of the history we've shared, one of the biggest things that has kept us so close is our sense of humor. Chrissy is the only person I know who is as weird as me, and yes I mean that as a compliment. Don't get me wrong, my husband is pretty weird too (love you!) but Chrissy and I take our weird humor to a different level. Once when we were younger, we dressed up in my brother's clothes and walked around Wal-Mart looking like thugs. Yes, we were 18, old enough to know better. Another time, we smuggled Chrissy's cat into Wal-Mart in my sweatshirt, just to see if we could get away with it. We did. We did a lot of stuff at Wal-Mart apparently, which included digging through the bargain movie bin for treasures like "The Never Ending Story 2." By the way, there's a reason that movie is in the bargain bin.

Chrissy is also the only other person I know who holds a conversation by talking about whatever comes to mind in rapid successtion - regardless of whether the topics relate or not. From the time I picked Chrissy and Nate up from the airport until we got back to my house half an hour later, we had covered everything from Jersey Shore to church and raising children. Believe me, there are few people in the world that can understand the link between those 3 topics easily.

I had a great time while Chrissy and Nate were here, it was just nice catching up face-to-face instead of talking over the phone states apart.

We went to the zoo...

...and saw a panda who conveniently decided it was nap time while we were there.

We played some football...

...blew bubbles...

...and Nate even pretended to tolerate Haley (not something easy for an only child to do.)

Even though Chrissy and I are both much older now and have kids of our own, there's still a lot that has stayed the same. I guess us weirdos have to stick together, right?


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