Monday, February 26, 2007

Pregnant + Sick = No Gusto

Well darn it. After what was mostly a pretty nice week I managed to come down hard with a nasty chest cold. I've been sick all weekend, and by now my body is so sore from being racked by coughing and sneezing fits that I feel like my ribs are bruised. I was hoping to turn the corner yesterday but this bug is pretty stubborn. I was up most of the night. (But don't worry, I've been in regular contact with the midwives and have been taking their advice and watching my temperature.)

Last week's halter and sun hatThis is a lousy time to get sick. Not just because it adds the discomforts of illness to the discomforts of pregnancy, but mostly because there's so much I'm wanting to get done right now. We need to get this apartment in shape to welcome this baby. I haven't washed any of her clothes, towels or blankets yet. We don't have our diaper changing station set up yet. The car seat has not been installed. And until this weekend all of her "equipment" was boxed up in closets.

These go on the inside of the diapersI am also currently in the throes of a diaper obsession. I am almost eerily thrilled about the propsect of cloth diapering. I spent all my free time last week researching the best methods for laundering the wonderful organic cloth diapers we received at our baby shower. And then of course I made the decision to try my hand at making some of those cute, handy velcro types. After an obscene amount of time spent searching for the best diaper pattern and the optimal materials for sewing them, I got my game plan together. I scored some microfiber towels from the dollar store to be used as absorbent inserts. And then I found flannel in all sorts of adorable prints at Hancock marked down 50%!!! I was practically beside myself with elation, chest cold and all. Wait till you see the monkey print.

These fabrics are for the outsideBut this *&%$#@ cold has me too sick to actually get started with the project. All the materials are stacked up and ready to go, taunting me with their cuteness. All night long when I do actually manage to catch a little shut-eye, I am having fitful dreams - no kidding here - featuring an endless parade of diaper flannel and nail-biting dilemmas about seam allowances and the optimal use of velcro. I can't tell you how many times I've woken up and remonstrated my subconscious, "No more diaper dreams!" What a ride these nesting hormones are.

My HeroP.S. You know your husband loves you when you can send him out into the cold, dark night to bring back kleenex (because you went thru a whole box in 24 hours), cough drops, popcicles (he brought back 2 boxes!), and yes... even bendy straws. It's hard to stay hydrated when you're stuck lying down in bed, and now my struggle is finally over. What a lucky lady am I. He's my hero.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

We are now the proud owners of...

... the ugliest house on the block... which we can't move into for another month! :) And we're pleased as peaches about it. It is nice to have that behind us. Closing was a freaking nightmare - it went on for 4 hours - but we both stayed cool and calm "like little Fonzies" as Arwen likes to say. At the end of it I realized I got through the whole day without crying, and without even coming close!

This week has been so much better than last week. Consciously slowing things down and acknowledging my limitations has made all the difference. I've made a point to step away from work and take a break or two, take a warm bath in the evening and drink a cup of chamomile tea. I am feeling human again.

Coming soon - I have more goodies to post pictures of. I whipped up a cute little tanktop for Roan as well as a pair of t-strap booties last weekend. I'm working on a sunhat for her now, to match the tanktop. Once that's done I think I may have to take an unfortunate hiatus from knitting in order to launch a new project: sewing diapers. I had contemplated it months ago but let Arwen talk me out of it. Now as we're looking more closely into it we're finding the convenient velcro diapers are super expensive - $15 a piece! - and you need about 30-35 to get started with a newborn. I found some patterns that claim you can make your own for $2-3/each. We already have 20 simple chinese prefolds, so that gets us most of the way there; I'd only need to make 10-15. A woman at our Bradley childbirth class brought in a couple she made and they were absolutely the cutest things I'd ever seen. So... we'll see how it goes.

Monday, February 19, 2007

A quick note

It's past my bedtime so I won't be long here... Just wanted to jot down a couple things. Tomorrow (Tuesday) we're supposed to be closing on that house so keep your fingers crossed for us. It seems like mistakes have been made at every turn on this deal so it may take a minor miracle to get us through closing tomorrow.

Also I wanted to say thanks to everyone who's expressed messages of support since my last post. It means so much to know there are folks all over the place thinking good thoughts for us.

In lieu of a belly progress photo I am - hesitantly - posting this candid shot Arwen snuck of me the other day while I was napping, propped up on the seven pillows I sleep with (or try to) every night. As you can see I'm taking notes from Sasha on relaxation techniques.

Saturday, February 17, 2007


Well I'm glad this week is over. It was a rough one. From time to time as I enter a new stage in this pregnancy I find it takes me some time to adjust. And this week we hit a new stage. For the most part, I have kept going at my normal pre-pregnancy pace. All of a sudden this week that has come to a screeching halt.

It is remarkable to me how much this is a mental/emotional thing as opposed to a physical one. Turns out carrying around 30 extra pounds that writhe with a will of their own isn't really the tough part. Don't get me wrong. I am growing more uncomfortable - sleeping is difficult, my back aches all over all the time, she kicks me in the ribs and stomps on my bladder, and I feel random aches in various places on a regular basis. It is a general sense of increasing discomfort. And as I found hiking the Appalachian Trail it's remarkable how a chronic general discomfort can be more taxing mentally and emotionally than acute pain.

Even still, so far I've found that what I've physically had to put up with in pregnancy is small potatoes compared to what I went thru on the AT. Our bodies are made for this, whereas hiking 2000-odd miles, not so much.

It's the mental and emotional part that's got me all cattywampus this week. My emotions are a helter skelter roller coaster ride that is out of my control. I've felt all week that I was seeing the world through diarreah-colored glasses for lack of a better metaphor. And I just couldn't seem to get my footing and get back on an even keel.

Given where I was at this week, it was just as rough on Arwen as on me. I really don't know what I'd do without him. At times like these he shows more patience and understanding than one would think possible. He is also great at helping me figure out what's going wrong and find a solution.

After a particularly terrible day on Thursday I stopped and took an inventory of what I can do to keep myself in a better place. I realized that it is time to slow down and acknowledge that I can't take on as much as I could before. This is especially true where work is concerned. I made a promise to myself that I won't work any more late hours or weekends or subject myself to stressful deadlines. It is time to start saying no; it's time to start delegating to others. I'm also not going to keep up with what's going on in the news for the next few weeks; it's always depressing anyway. I'm going to prioritize time to relax. And at least for the next few weeks, if it's not related to this pregnancy or to the health and happiness of our new little family, then it's getting relegated to the back burner. I am trying to accept that right now there is only so much I can handle.

Monday, February 12, 2007

The Beard Report

And now for a special report on my Dear Husband. I know I haven't mentioned him much lately, I've been so preoccupied with my nesting.

First of all, we're overdue for a Beard Report. Since he began working from home with me Arwen has been growing his beard out. This has caused him a deep and abiding sense of satisfaction. I've watched it go from Don Johnson to Distinguished Gentleman to Slightly Unkempt, and now it's beginning to enter the stage of Crazy Beard. If he remains on this trajectory, he will be at full on Garden Gnome before spring comes.

Arwen actually has a whole mysterious doctrine around The Importance of the Beard. When I asked him to enlighten me, to bestow upon me his Beard Manifesto he coyly decilned. "That's none of your business," he smirked. However he did confess that he has a superstition about the beard and our luck in labor. He believes that were he to shave the beard - or even to trim it - that Roan or I may have to suffer some inscrutable nefarious consequence as a result. "You've got to let nature take its course, and this," he motioned to his beard, "is nature taking its course.

And who can argue with that logic.

So the other thing I thought you might get a kick out of is hearing how he had all the dads cracking up tonight at our birthing class. Tonight was our unit on breastfeeding. Our instructor is big on getting the dads involved, so she started us out by having each dad blow up a balloon to the same size as their wife's breast. Talk about feeling put on the spot. You could see them all glancing nervously around the room at each other thinking, "Why not just ask me to tell her her ass looks big?"

So then she instructed each dad to wedge the breast balloon under his armpit and attempt to put the toy babies we had brought up to the "breast" to simulate nursing. The idea was to learn from how the dads positioned the babies' bodies relative to their own and relative to the nipple. Neither we nor our classmates had brought actual toy babies. The best we could all come up with was stuffed animals. So there was a wide assortment of teddy bears, silly stuffed monkeys and the like. We had brought a soft gray elephant named Snooty, which was a gift we received at our shower from Uncle Jay.

Arwen could not be content to simply position his "baby" at the "breast." Perhaps he was overcome by the absurdity of a roomful of grown men holding stuffed animals and wearing balloon boobies. Or perhaps it was the realistic way Snooty's lips are parted to perfectly mimic a nursing baby. But I looked over at Arwen and did a double take. He had the toy elephant positioned realistically but he used one hand behind Snooty's ears to subtly move the head back and forth in a rhytmic motion. The effect was to make it appear as though this plush furry pachyderm was enthusiastically suckling at his breast. I mean, it was a little spooky. The darn thing looked like it was alive! He had all the dads cracking up. I guess if breastfeeding were up to Arwen, we'd have it in the bag. Maybe he can give me a few pointers when the time comes.

Getting there

Well we're into week 34 now. Just six weeks or so to go! Roan seems to be growing faster all the time, and she is moving like crazy. I found out today she likes to dance to Keller Williams (such great taste in music, and at such a young age!) I wonder how I can go another six weeks without popping.

Sadly, I didn't manage to get that last blanket finished over the weekend yet. I got some work done on it, but I decided to get a few other more practical things out of the way instead. I put together a list of pediatrician interview questions, and I also compiled all the numerous handouts, brochures and hand-scribbled notes into a tabbed notebook. We have all kinds of handy information, but I figured if it's not organized we'll never find it when we need it.

Here's the farm scene blanket, as it currently stands:

Here's a detail:

I plan to embroider her name on it, back it with some soft yellow fabric, and attach this ruffle to the edge:

Hopefully I'll get it done here soon and will post the photos. Then the question is WHAT TO MAKE NEXT?!?!?!

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Another one bites the dust

Woo hoo, I got project #3 for the weekend behind me today. This is what I started with: a thin blanket with 28 cross stitched squares.

Here's a detail of one of the squares. I for Iguana:

I added some cotton batting and secured it in place with french knots between each square. Then I backed it with satin and mitred the edge.

I'm really happy with how it came out. And the best part is it's DONE!

So Cute It Hurts

It's waaaay past my bedtime, but I was on a mission tonight. I had lost steam on finishing up the apricot bonnet & booties set, so I cheated on my knitting with a new project: these cute little red mary janes. I just happened to have the perfect pearly vintage buttons to finish them off. In real life they're not quite the garish color you see here; they're some happy place between crimson and fire engine red. They came out so quick and so cute I'm tempted to make her a pair in every color of the rainbow.

Getting those done gave me the boost I needed to power through the bootie and bonnet set. It's a very traditional pattern, and its lacework makes it one of the most challenging I've tackled. I had envisioned putting her in this to take her home from the hospital, but I'm afraid it's a size too big for a newborn baby. Before I realized this problem, we found a cute little dress (with matching bloomers not pictured) to pair it with. It's trimmed in a similar apricot color. It'll be adorable on her at some point, even if it's not when we take her home from the hospital.

So this gets me halfway to my goal this weekend. Two projects down, two more to go. I have two cross stitched baby blankets that I made literally about 10 years ago. The cross stitching is all done, but they both need to be backed and trimmed and all finished up. I made a trip to the cloth store last night and made some great finds. I got some baby blue bridal satin to back and edge one of the blankets with. And I got some yellow and white striped seersucker for a ruffled border on the second one, to be backed with some fun, fuzzy yellow fleecy terrycloth craziness. Like I said before I am not the best seamstress. Sewing stresses me out a little, as opposed to knitting, which I find very relaxing. But it's exciting to finish up these old projects that have been hanging around for ages. And it's absolutely mind blowing to think that there is going to be a new person in our house drooling all over them soon.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Ok, this is starting to suck a little

There's no doubt about it - I've been pretty darn lucky through this pregnancy. I never had true morning sickness, the aches and pains have been manageable, the acid reflux has been minimal, and I haven't had any swelling in my hands or feet. So don't get me wrong, I'm grateful for all that.

But this week we seem to have entered a new stage of minor discomforts and sleeplessness. My low back keeps getting kinks in it, I sometimes feel a persistent achey pain across my lower abdomen - not cramps exactly, but something like that - and I now require exactly seven pillows - one of them being a six-foot body pillow - arranged *just so* in order to steal a few hours of sleep.

Last night was actually a pretty good night. But earlier this week we hit a rough patch and I got almost no sleep for two nights in a row. I found out real quick it doesn't take much sleep deprivation at all to turn me into a real cranky b*tch. My midwife says she thinks it's the body's way of preparing you for the sleeplessness you'll endure after the baby comes. I have this dreadful suspicion she's 100% right.

This week I finished yet another book - this one on the Bradley Method of childbirth. Like it's not enough to take a 12 week class on the subject; I had to check out every book at the library too. I've lost count of how many books I've read in preparation for Roan's arrival. Everything from curing colic to managing labor pains to breastfeeding to general baby care. But this week I think I've finally decided it's time for the madness to stop. I've taken in enough information. From this point forward I think it's important for both me and Arwen to trust our own judgement and just do the best we can. I want to have a sense of confidence when she comes into the world, and not find myself running to my books every time she cries.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Party On

Week 33Roan went to her first wild party over the weekend. Our friends Jay & Clover in Breckenridge hosted a luge party at their luxury mountain cabin. They made their own incredible luge in the front yard - it must've been 2 and a half stories tall with six foot walls. (A luge, for those of you who don't live in Antarctica like us, is a big ol' ice slide you go down in sleds.)

Next to the luge they set up a fully stocked ice bar they made with packed snow and topped with a shot block. And next to that was a fire barrel, so partygoers could alternately cruise the luge, and then warm themselves up by the fire or with a shot. And let me tell you, it was cooooold out there - about 5 degrees with blowing snow and wind.

Even for someone like me - not drinking and not luging - it was a blast. People were flying down that thing, I tell ya. Even with six foot walls lots of people flew right out lots of times. And Arwen was one of the craziest of all of them. I'm pretty sure he went airborne more times than anyone. At one point I was standing near the end of the luge when he came cruising down, hit a bump, flew up over my head and landed - thump - in a snowbank 10 feet away. He was having a blast.

Anyway, I won't bore you with a play by play, but suffice it to say there was lots of drinking, foul language, a craps table, naked luging, some harmless violence, and vomiting. A successful party indeed.

After all that revelry we needed a full day to recuperate. Arwen and I got up early the next morning, fixed breakfast for all the stragglers who slept over, then proceeded to lay around the house like slugs for the whole rest of the day. I spent the *entire* day watching movies and knitting. It was beautiful.

Speaking of beautiful, I knitted up a bonnet for Roan that may possibly be my best creation yet. I started with some hand-dyed yarn. It was my first try at dying yarn myself, and to be honest I'm still a little ambivalent about the color. I was hoping for a pale peach but instead it came out more like a light salmon. But because of the gentle dye process I used the color has these slight variations to it that give the finished piece almost a luminous quality. And the traditional lace design that makes the bonnet is wonderfully delicate. I plan to make some booties to match, naturally. I'll post a picture when the whole set is done.

Awake BabySleeping BabyWarm Baby

I also finished that blanket from last week, as well as the Bambi pillow. If I keep up this pace I might actually finish all the baby projects on my list before Roan gets here. As my sister Jen pointed out to me recently, yes I am a freak. I don't pretend that there is any logical, rational reason for making all this stuff. Maybe it's genetic or maybe it's some defect in my lizard brain. I don't question it. It's just what I do, and I love doing it!

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Eew, that is just WRONG!

The Offending DishI typically do not like to use this blog as a forum to harass my dear husband, but I just can't let another day go by without getting something off my chest. Although there are many areas of life in which I may be willing to defer to his judgement - matters of technology, finance, and home repair, for instance - I must say that matters of the culinary arts are clearly not his forte. Case in point: The boy puts KETCHUP on his RAVIOLI. That is just not right. Not only do I have to endure in the knowledge that he is befouling his ravioli, but I also have to listen to the undignified ketchup squeeze bottle farting sound as he drowns the poor helpless pasta. Not to mention the ketchup-ricotta breath he has for hours afterwards.

Oh the things we put up with for love.

Ok, that was fun. Thanks for indulging me in a bit of silliness. I thought you might like a recap of what's been going on lately. It looks like we are going to get this house. We've had a few close calls this week, between the results of the inspection and issues with the downstairs tenant. But it seems like it's all going to work out and proceed to closing.

Also my friend Molly (the one I knit the booties & hat below for) who was 5 weeks ahead of me in her pregnancy had her baby yesterday morning, 3 weeks early. And IT'S A GIRL! So Roan will have a playmate. Very exciting.

This week we took a class called "Babies, Baths & Bundles" which went over basic newborn care. We learned the essentials of keeping the little one alive, at least for the first few weeks. Beyond that, all bets are off.

Arwen was really cute. He insisted on holding our toy practice baby for pretty much the entire 3 hour class. We learned about all the crazy rashes, bumps and other oddities they can get that are all normal things, so hopefully that'll save us a few trips to the emergency room.

We still have so much to do to get ready. The next major thing is to find a pediatrician. That's a whole process of course. They do interviews now apparently, to help neurotic control freak parents determine whether the doc is a good fit. So I guess that means I have to come up with a list of questions. Lord have mercy. Thank gawd for the Internet.

Honestly I have little interest in attending to the practical matters such as these. I am in an all out panic to finish up the zillions of sewing & knitting projects I've been meaning to get done for this child. You know, cutesy little things that I'll spend hours and hours working on, that our precious darling will either spit up on, poop on or outgrow in the blink of an eye. But hey, it's not like I have a nursery I can decorate right now. All that nesting instinct has to be channeled into something.

So here's a photo of one project that is *almost* completed. It's meant to be a pillow that hangs on the door to indicate whether the baby is napping. On one side is awake Bambi, on the other side is sleeping Bambi. I did the cross stitched design about a million years ago (I have since sworn off cross stitching entirely, since KNITTING RULES). Last night I whipped up a lavender ruffle for the edge - my first attempt at this - and did the main pillow assembly. This was a thoroughly nerve-wracking experience, as I am a fairly competent knitter but a pretty lousy seamstress. But it turned out so cute! Now I just need to stuff it and sew up the last little bit by hand. I'll post a picture of the finished product when it's done.

Only 7 1/2 weeks to go!