Monday, May 30, 2011

Pregnancy Update

We have made it to 25 weeks! Three weeks past the scary false labor.

Since then I've been instructed to follow a modified bedrest plan, which basically allows me do anything sitting or laying down. No working out, no bending down, no lifting things heavier than a gallon of milk, and walking as needed. I have slowly started to regain my strength from slashing my super-active lifestyle to resting 24/7. Physically I feel better than before, but my emotions were totally battered. It was devastating to have such a change in routine, and the kids rebelled with all their might! My faith and relationships always strengthen during these life challenges. I have had to rely on Eli like never before, and he has stepped up like a champ. We've become rather resourceful when it comes to me continuing to run a household and raise children from a chair. It took awhile, but the kids have started to adjust to being at the house more and not being picked up all the time. Plus my sister comes over about 4 hours a week to help with chores that are too hard. We're going to get through this!

At last week's dr. appt, I took the fetal fibronectin test which checks to see if there are certain proteins present which indicate an increased risk for preterm labor. I've been having cramping, pressure, and tightening, and it's difficult to know if I'm actually in labor. The test came back negative, determining with 99% accuracy that for the next two weeks, I will not go into labor!! Yay! We also had a sonogram which showed that I am not dilating any more than at 23 wks. Negative tests results would have had me on bedrest perhaps in the hospital with steroid shots to strengthen the baby's lungs.

The next challenge is to keep the baby under 9 lbs. to avoid a c-section.

Thank you for the prayers...keep them up! We can't wait to meet this sweet tiny baby!

Friday, May 27, 2011

Schools...Out...For...Eva!

Look at this girl.

Isn't she sweet?

3-K ended today with a big bang. The class put on a little show for us, which included the chicken dance, the wheels on the bus, and a bunch of other songs which were half-sung by tiny spaced-out and wiggly 3 year olds. Each of the kids gobbled up a bowl of ice cream and got a bucket of goodies on the way out the door. Hooray for summertime!

Monday, May 23, 2011

5 Reasons why I Love my Little Boy

I never quite understood all the talk about "boys being boys". As you know, I have one older brother, and 4 estrogen human beings for sisters. When I taught for kinder, 1st and 4th grades, my boys were the sweetest. It was the little girls who were trouble. My own babygirl Emily, from day one, has been feisty. The NICU nurses used to laugh trying swaddle her little 2 lb. figure, and within seconds she would escape. That crazy kid never stayed still until she was 3. When I was a rookie mom, I thought she was hyperactive because she was a high need baby who had a lot of preemie issues. Nope. She was just busy. Everysecondofthedayandnight.

Leo was the most laid back child on earth straight from the womb. He was just happy sitting around, watching the chaos. As the big 2 rounds the corner, Leo's busting out of his shell and showing mommy what boys are all about.

1. They're messy. And that's just the way they like it.


2. They're chill. Why go inside when you've got unlimited water at your disposal? He will eat/drink anything...including grass, sand, mulch, dog food...you name it, he eats it.


3. They're loud. Oh my all that is holy and good. That kid has a serious set of vocal cords. When Emily came home from the hospital, I was afraid I wouldn't hear her crying in the night. When Leo came home from the hospital, you could hear him screaming down the block and around the corner. He typically gets what he wants when he hollers because I just cannot take the knives slicing through my eardrum.


4. They love bugs. The tender love lasts for about .2 seconds before turning so intense that the bug is squashed 10 times by a pudgy foot. Naturally, Emily flips out when he touches/goes near/smashes anything that remotely resembles an insect.


5. They're always on the run...and on the climb...and on the jump...

Thursday, May 19, 2011

What I've learned while sitting on my bum!

I’m on day 7 of bedrest and I’ve been told that I can do a bit more walking around. So naturally I got out of the house lickety-split and headed to the gym. I know what you’re thinking. And no, I haven’t gone insane after a few days of cabin fever…well, at least not totally. We went to the little gym, of course! Did you think I’m that crazy that I’d actually be *that* anxious to return to my 6am routine on the treadmill?? (ok, ok I admit! I miss the treadmill *tear*)
Well for an hour my kids ran around like chickens with their heads cut off and I sat and moved nothing but my mouth. The energizer bunnies weren’t even phased. It was official. We needed chic-fil-a. They could jump and climb and run and scream for another 2 hours while I sat in the AC. Now that we’re home and Leo’s asleep and Emily’s having quiet time, I’m exhausted. SO exhausted. And I got to thinking.

What have I learned lately??

1. Resting makes you tired. Really. Really. Tired. I seriously did nothing but load kids in the car a couple times and sit without my legs propped, and I felt like I got hit by a truck. Resting to me is like making a wheelchair bound person run a marathon. How did I miss this memo?

2. My children are trying to kill each other. Is this normal? Every 30 seconds we have a mini-crisis because Leo pulled out a handful of Emily’s hair, or Emily pushed Leo off the couch and he nearly cracked open his head on the tile, or someone is hitting someone over the head with a skillet. All while I sit, and cringe, and feel desperately unhelpful. Let’s just say we’re still “adjusting.”

3. Half chewed spaghetti and moldy strawberries and dried up scrambled eggs remain under your child’s high chair until you clean it up. Someone forgot to queue the vortex which opens in the filthy floor and sucks away all the remains. Maybe we should get a dog.

4. I have ankles. I honestly darn near forgot that under all that swollen fleshy flesh is a pair of skinny bones which are called ankles. And I got to see mine today. Highlight of my week!

5. I had a heavenly idea of resting while watching my mild-mannered-sitdownski-children read, play puzzles, and have round the clock tea parties. I gloriously would catch up on my book club reading (Called to Love├áhighly recommend!), blogging, watching movies, etc. Basically go on vacation in order to keep this unborn child content with staying in the womb. Clearly I was on a different planet. Our household at the moment is most similar to that movie Animal House. I have yet to scratch one thing off that glorious list. But I did, more importantly, watch a tv show called Pregnant in Heels. Just when my self esteem and wallowing misery was at a high, this ridiculous show sent my ego soaring through the rafters. If you’re pregnant, do yourself a favor. Watch the show. You’ll feel a lot better about your life.

6. I have amazing friends. Thank you from the bottom of my heart to you all have prayed for us, cheered me on, made us meals, or let Leo hit your little girl a million times without passing judgment or killing him. And thank you Eli. You’re my boy, blue!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

sisters


I get the feeling that Emily would like for the ol' bun in the oven to be female. I'm not sure how I got the clue. Perhaps it's because she calls Leo her little sister, or it could be that pesky daily dressup where she prefers him in heels and pearls. Some of you may know my husband--definitely the girly type who embraces the whole princess theme. There's no way he would suggest trucks, balls, or wrestling to his son in lieu of tea parties or doll house. No way jose.

I'm not positive, but I think Eli would enjoy having a house full of daughters. He's told me how much he looks forward to meeting nervous prom dates. In 13 years I fully expect to see him sittin' on the front lawn polishin' his trusty shotgun in anticipation of the "what are your intentions with my daughter" confrontation.

I wouldn't mind another girl. Perhaps that's because I grew up with 4 sisters. Life was always...what's the word...dramatic? no...insane? no...*lovely*. We shared everything: makeup, clothes, crushes, pillow talks, and the same bathroom. And somehow, we survived. And hey! We actually like each other sometimes!

A couple weeks ago, my baby sister turned 13. Ah, sweet memories back in 1998. Kids running everywhere aged 16, 13, 11, 9, 6, and newborn. Those were the good ol days when 5 of us would spend hour after hour crammed in a refrigerator box sliding down the stairs. Or when we would ride our bikes to the corner store to buy and eat and 6 candy bars. Yum. Or when we would eavesdrop on my older brother's cute friends during sleepovers and hope to hear them talking about us. They didn't talk about us. They only talked about two things: sports and food.

That year when I turned 13, my birthday was *awe-some*. My favorite present was a Whitney Houston cassette tape with her hit single "I will always love you." I listened to that song on repeat about...hmm, a kabillion times. My dad gave me 13 gorgeous pink roses and my mom gave me a stick of mascara saying that I could wear it to mass. Score.

When Teresa turned 13, she was gifted something even cooler. I know, I know, what can be cooler than Whitney?? A girls day-boat trip that’s what! My three sisters who live 277 miles away came down for Easter. We spent the morning getting a mani/pedi, went to our favorite Chinese restaurant, and then spent the rest of the afternoon sunbathing in the middle of a lake. Boo-yah.

We had a blast swimming, dancing, singing, and sister-ing. There were some hilarious moments. One time we all jumped in, and I flipped out thanks to my tricky pregnancy hormones screaming YOU CANT SWIM!!! (um, hello life guard, captain of your high school swim team, yes, it's called kick your legs a bit and you'll stay afloat). Then the panic turned to HOW THE HECK ARE YOU PLANNING TO CLIMB BACK THE BOAT WITH THAT GIGANTIC BELLY?!?! (it’s called a ladder…clearly I just don’t know who to yell at when my kids and husband aren’t around. Kidding!) My heart was about to beat out of my chest.

So after we almost got stuck in some tree stumps and Teresa almost drowned, life was good. We were just riding around, picking out which lakeside mansion would be ours in the future, when all of a sudden we hit a colossal tidal wave, gushing a foot of water on board soaking every. single. thing. on. the. boat. Um, did I mention this was a pontoon boat? Like the safest, slowest boat that should stay…dry? Well it was perfect timing to return the boat and hit the road. Fun times my friends. Can’t wait to do it again next year.

When it’s all said and done, I'm sure that we'll end up just like my dad's family--seven boys and one girl. And that’ll be wonderful too:)

Friday, May 13, 2011

The 411

I’m not really the type to share these private details (mainly because I feel incredibly awkward when people give me sympathy), but most people just want to know what the heck’s goin on with my labor-happy body. So here’s the scoop.

The baby decided last night that he’d like a test-run at this whole labor thing. You see, he’s the super-excited-bounce-all-the-time type (so much that I’ve actually lost my dinner from his kicks) and he’d just like to go ahead and get the show on the road. Apparently he has an age complex too because he’s only 22 weeks old. After an hour of lightening-bolt contractions, I dropped the kids off at my wonderful amazing mom’s house and Eli and I headed to the hospital. Once I was in L&D, we were able to get those painful contractions under control, but it was followed by 5 hours of cramping and general baby flailing. The ultrasound showed no dilating, and eventually my blood pressure and temperature regulated. I spent the night without a husband, iphone, or toothbrush. ROUGH! Could you imagine not brushing your teeth at night? Tragic! J

What’s going on, and how are we gonna fix it?
I delivered Emily at 27 weeks because my water broke. This situation is different. Contractions could be caused by many things, and in my case it’s most likely due to my low progesterone levels which are tested weekly. Progesterone is a hormone that naturally drops dramatically right before delivery. I’ve been taking progesterone by pill and injection in hopes that we can keep the level high until the time is right.
Contractions could also be caused by over-exertion. Even though I HATE to admit it, (read: hate hate hate hate hate), I’m sure that I over work myself. Solution: bed-rest.

How are you going to take care of your kids? Your house? Wont you go crazy?
Let’s take this one day at a time. Eli and I know that there are times in a marriage that one person has to pull more weight. Since I’m a full-time incubator, he’s keeping house after work. The kids will learn how to deal. I have my parents and sisters who will get me through. We’ll figure it out. I’m sure we’ll all go crazy, but at the end, hopefully we’ll have the most amazing prize!

What can I do?
Pray. 24 weeks gestation is when a baby can survive. 28 weeks is even better because the baby wont have as many lasting health conditions. Ask God to give us strength and to allow the pregnancy to last 40 weeks--until September.
Be a cheerleader. Tell me I’ve got this in the bag.
Remind me that Leo went to 39 weeks and almost 9 lbs.
Remind me that Emily is beautiful, happy, and completely healthy.
Share your love with Eli. He’s so often working behind the scenes and needs equal moral support.
If you were on bedrest with a toddler and a preschooler, share your tips.

I’ll keep you posted.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Say Say Oh Playmate

Say say oh playmates, come out and play with me

And bring your swimsuits three, Splash in my pool with glee.

Slide down my slide,

Eat yummy snacks galore,

And we'll be jolly friends, Forever more - more - more!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Mommy's Day

I love mother’s day. I love the sleep-in, aka pretend to sleep while you listen to daddy try to make breakfast with kids screaming *but I want to help.* I love the breakfast in bed while the kids go nuts and try to steal all your food. I love the pregnant belly which provides a perfect table to set your tray upon. I love the handprint card that somehow gets crumpled and torn in the 20 second walk from the kitchen to the bedroom. I love my new diaper bag because my old one smells like spoiled milk and cheese crackers. I love the raspy voice of an almost 2 year old saying “app-ee mommys deah” to my own special mom. I love the special mothers day prayer which prioritizes my parents’ dog B over all other moms or grandmothers. I love the swimming, splashing, squirting, sliding, smiling. I love the blonde 3 year old girl who calls me mommy and is currently sneaking into the Easter candy stash.
I love the blonde smiley little boy who calls me mommy and is currently borrowing my toothbrush.
I love the sweet husband who has given me such a beautiful life. Happy Mother’s Day!

Monday, May 2, 2011

The Doomed Garden

When we bought our house a year ago, our master gardener neighbor came by and asked us if we planned to start a vegetable garden. Hmmm, let's see, there's a fabulous idea! Our yard is so lush already! With all the, uh, weeds, and that one bush currently burned to a crisp. But hey, I could totally have a--what do you call that? A green finger?? As time wore on, the pressure did too. What the what?? Is this some type of necessity?!?! I'm in the business to make my life easier peeps! There's this thing called a grocery store that sells vegetables super duper cheap. Let's just be honest here...half the time I'm too lazy to make a salad because the lettuce doesn't come chopped. But nevertheless the garden idea was planted into my foolish brain and in Kate Danze fashion I went to the library to check out as many gardening for idiots books as possible. That's when it all started. These books said that the only thing these so called vegetable plants needed was dirt, sun, and water to grow. PAH! Easy Peasy! It's not like they ever taught me this very valuable information in grade school or by means of that whole degree thingy in something called elementary education.

Awesome. I will dominate this garden and add yet *another* gold star to my glistening mommy belt. My brilliant children will go to prek with an entire knowledge of plant life cycles and photosynthesis. My brother-who-started-a-roof-garden-in-NYC-and-lived-off-the-produce-for-like-a-year gave us his magical seeds and Eli tilled(ish) the soil. Too easy! Bring on the hard stuff! Emily and Leo were so excited that they dragged out a couch to lay on.

See! I told-ya they were thrilled!

Since I'm never ever ever meticulous about anything , this would be a very relaxing family fun activity. Emily and Leo will dress in their garden attire and prace around the garden singing merrily "the farmer sews his seed" in harmony. Upon completion, Eli and I will sit back and bask in the glow of our newest home project. Ahh, it would be beautiful.

Planting Day came. A master-gardener in training, naturally I mapped out exactly which seeds would go where. I carefully explained to Emily how to delicately place the seeds exactly where Daddy was pointing his finger. We were so organized! I would hand out the seeds, and Eli would show the sweet angels where to put them. We were ready to get started. Emily began to follow directions. Oh, the sweetness. But then, oh no, oh nonononono, approximately 0.1 seconds later, it was all over. Leo snatched the seed envelope and Emily followed suit, all conspiracy-like, and they commenced a ferocious seed throwing party. All of the next 30 seconds were spend by Eli and I floundering, screaching, and frantically trying to save the seeds. *Sigh* *Double sigh* I think we ended up with about 100 seeds in a 4x8 garden box. I sat watching the madness as Eli tried to pick up seeds the size of a grain of sand and the crazies jumped around for joy. Mommy fail.

So the beauty of planting seeds are that they sprout ever so soon and come with a name tag distinguishing them from their look alike weed friends too. How convienent. Well, we waited. And waited. And the kids were sooo excited to see what would come up (and by kids I really mean just me). By some miracle by the grace of God we had some plants that hey, I recognized!!

To the left is broccoli, middle is tomato, and right are corn stalks. Swoon. (And yes, that there's a soaker hose, because we're all fancy-like)
But hold the phone! Recently more little guys have sprouted and wouldn't ya know, we could tell what those mini veggies are too. We've got cucumbers, lettuce, carrots, and watermellon growing. Woohoo! Mommy win!