Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Apparently She is Sleeping Comfortably...

...I say this based on the fact that she always sleeps this way.

Coming Home

The other night Hubby put on some music. He does this often, but a lot of his favorites are, well, decidedly not my favorites, so this time he wanted to put on something for me. He chose John Denver. I enjoy most of JD's music, but this time I heard several songs with a new perspective. The one that struck me most was "Rocky Mountain High" these excerpts with the female pronouns (ie, me) substituted in (and a couple of other word trades):

She was born in the summer of her 27th year
Comin' home to a place she'd never been before
She left yesterday behind her, you might say she was born again
You might say she found a key for every door

Now she walks in quiet solitude the forest and the streams
Seeking grace in every step she takes
Her sight has turned inside herself to try and understand
The serenity of a clear blue mountain lake

And the [Alaskan] rocky mountain high
I've seen it rainin' fire in the sky
You can talk to God and listen to the casual reply
Rocky mountain high

Now her life is full of wonder...

And the [Alaskan] rocky mountain high
I've seen it rainin' fire in the sky
I know she'd be a poorer one if she never saw an eagle fly
Rocky mountain high

Alright, so I guess a few of the mountain references should be changed to ocean ones if you really want it to be totally accurate...I know these aren't the Rocky mountains, but they are rocky, so it still works in my book.

Alaska is not just a place to live--it's a way to live. It's a life unlike any other. I was raised in forests and on streams; the family spent summers in national parks and hiking the wilderness...but there is nothing like Alaska.

Truly, I have come home.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Quirky Thursday--Noodle Nut

I have to break the spaghetti noodles in half when I put them in the pan to cook, even if the pan is big enough to accommodate them unbroken.
I hate loooooong noodles on my plate. Not enough to complain if someone else cooks them whole, but definitely enough that I always break them when I cook them. Always.
Of course, I think spaghetti noodles are too fat...I'd rather have angel hair anyway. And yes, I break that in half too.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Love the New Wool Longies

Bear's new longies from BundlesofJoy (another member of the Etsy cloth diapers team)
They are reversable, with lambswool on one side and merino on the other, and oh so soft! I intentionally bought them a little big to accomodate Bear's long rise, thus the rolled cuff.
No more leaking in the bed at night! Yay for wool!

Monday, April 7, 2008

Remembering Thomas

Four years ago tonight I was laying in an emergency room, mourning the abrupt loss of my first baby, and trying not to bleed to death. I talked about it a little here, but there is more to the story, so I'm going to share it now.

For what it's worth, this is graphic. Read at your own discretion.

I was expecting a honeymoon baby, which was exactly what we had hoped for. I was 14 weeks along and had just begun to develop a tummy. I had happily gone to the thrift store just a few days earlier and picked up some drawstring pants that gave me a little more room. On the day before my second midwife appointment, I noticed a little spotting. I called my midwife and she assured me that there were lots of reasons why that could happen, and that since I wasn't cramping there was probably no need to worry and she'd see me tomorrow.
Tomorrow came and she was out for a delivery, so I saw her apprentice. Her apprentice was unable to pick up a heartbeat on the doppler, but apologetically told me that she was inexperienced at it still and that the midwife would probably do a better job. The midwife came to my house that afternoon to try the dopper herself...still no heartbeat to be heard. She assured me that were were many reasons for not hearing it at this stage and that it was still pretty early, but that we could arrange an ultrasound if we wanted to. We scheduled one for the following week.
That night I thought I had indigestion. I couldn't figure out what I had eaten that would tie my stomach in knots like that, but I laid out on the couch and watched a movie with Hubby and it seemed to go away. The next morning (wednesday) the tight tummy returned, and I was sufficiently bothered by it to call my mother and ask if she knew of safe herbal options for dealing with indigestion. I didn't want to hurt the baby, but was uncomfortable enough I even tried mint tea (and I HATE teas of all kinds). Of course it didn't make a difference, because it wasn't indigestion; it was labor. I didn't recognize it for what it was because I did not expect it. No one expects to go into labor at the end of their first trimester.
The cramps (contractions) came and went a little through the day, but in retrospect I realize that they were there all day. I went grocery shopping in the early afternoon. I had promised to teach a neighbor how to make bread, so when we got home from the store I called her and she came over, along with her two little daughters. We were chatting and adding ingredients when suddenly the pains became quite pronounced and I had to sit down for a while. I told her what was happening, and she assured me that she'd had similar pains throughout her recent pregnancy, but her baby had been fine. We continued to chat as we finished up the bread dough and set it on the counter to rise and then went into the living room. My discomfort had increased to where I can solidly call it pain. No position was comfortable--I sat on the chair, on the floor, laid down...nothing helped. I was sitting cross-legged on the floor when I felt a mighty WOOSH and looked down to see red. On the one hand I was miscarrying, on the other hand I had a clueless neighbor (whom I barely knew) standing in my living room talking to me. I said something about sorry to rush you out but I have stuff to do, and she left, none the wiser to what had just occured. I got up and headed for the toilet. As I pulled down my pants I found proof of my fears--a little ball of water, about the size of a grapefruit, and inside it, my tiny son.
I called to Wolf, who was 3, and asked him to bring me the phone. He did so, and was concerned about all the blood; but, trusting my reassurances that I would be fine, he returned to playing. Hubby had an evening class, and I knew he would not answer his phone, but I left a message. I told him that I was pretty sure I was miscarrying and to please come home. I didn't think he would check his messages until after class, but thankfully he left class to check it, and came straight home. Also thankfully, we lived just 5 minutes from campus. As soon as he got home he took Wolf to the neighbors (who happened to be Hubby's brother and his family) and then helped me get into the bathtub to clean up.
As I laid there washing up I realized that I was still bleeding. Hubby called the midwife and my mother, and also someone from church whom I was supposed to meet with that night (even on the brink of a major hemmorage I was worried about letting someone down). Hubby handled all the calls and then asked me what I thought about going to the emergency room. I felt weak and woozy, and had the distinct impression that if I tried to stand I would pass out, and that if I passed out I would not wake up, so I agreed that the ER would be a very wise choice.
At the hospital they gave me an IV to rehydrate me, something to ease the pain, pitocin to try to stop the bleeding, and a lot of warm blankets. Apparently I had retained part of the placenta, but after a couple of hours we finally managed to get it all out and the bleeding stopped, so they released me to go home. They were concerned about my becoming anemic, but said my hematocrit was ok so they let me go. (In retrospect, they probably should have kept me overnight, because my hematocrit dipped drastically in the following days, and if I had been on iron supplements it would have helped.)
My bread dough rose and rose and spilled off the edge of the counter. Hubby left the hospital to go get me some clothing, and I asked him to please take care of the bread. He assured me he would, but he didn't. I know he had more urgent concerns, but all night I kept thinking about the pile of bread dough and feeling frustrated.
The next morning, assured that I was ok, Hubby and I finally held our little son's body. At 14 weeks, most of a baby's parts are formed. He had fingers and toes and so many perfect little details. We held him for a while, took some pictures, and then put him on a blue washcloth in a pretty little wooden box and Hubby took him down to the hospital. I wish we could have buried him in our own yard, but we were renting and had nowhere to do so. I refuse to think about what they did with him. I can't. I do know that Hubby said he took the box to the nurse at the desk and said "this is my son" and she was very understanding and kind.

Sometimes I wonder how life would have been different if Thomas had lived to be born into our family. He would be three and a half now. Even though he didn't get to live in our family, he is part of it, because he changed us all.

Perhaps, someday, I will understand.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

So Big, So Little

I sit here looking at my sleeping baby, who will be 15 months old next week, and realize how big he is, and how little.
My mother had a sibling 14 months younger than herself, as did my father. One of my cousins is 15 months apart from his brother. I am 18 months older than my next sister. It is a common story for the second child to follow closely behind the first, so it seems. Since Wolf is adopted, my body perceives Bear as my firstborn, and I expected a second child to be in the oven by now...but nature had other plans, as my post-baby fertility is still MIA. 14 or 15 or even 18 months was closer than my ideal--I was hoping to get about 21 months apart, but even that timing has come and gone now. Part of me is a little sad, because I want a large family and feel the biological clock mother had three children and a fourth on the way when she was my age...I had expected something similar for myself...but miscarriages got me off to a later-than-expected start, and now my night-nursing baby joins with nature to assure generous child spacing.
But perhaps it is better this way.
As I look at Bear, I cannot imagine if I already had another newborn. I would love to be pregnant soon (I would love to be pregnant now), but I am also glad that I won't have children less than 2 years apart. Bear is so big--he walks and runs, he climbs everything, he has clear preferences and personality, he communicates verbally and is beginning to use words. But Bear is also so little--he loves to cuddle, and almost always needs nurn [nursing] for going to sleep. He sleeps in my bed and nurns at night. He loves daddy, but still needs a lot of mommy time.
He is, after all, still a baby...even though he is also a big boy.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

The Very Best Nursing Bras

At least, this is my favorite place to get nursing bras.
For starters, they are the only place I have been able to find nursing bras in my size! Yeah, I'm one of those classic hard-to-fit ladies...and I have a hard time finding bras in my size in the first place, let alone a variety of them, let alone pretty ones!
But Birth And Baby has it all! One item was not in stock (they had to special order it and it took about 3 weeks), but they at least offered it, and nobody else did!
So here's the short version of why I like them, and heartily recommend them to everyone!
  • Excellent measuring instructions, to help you get the right fit. I had measured myself for bras before, but never had instructions this thorough, and never gotten this size before either...and what do you know, these new bras (in the new size) fit better than any others I've ever had!
  • Over 75 styles of bra from 25 companies, with sizes from 28A--48L/M! plus each bra listing includes a notation of which breast shapes it is best suited to!
  • The lady who answers the phones is very helpful, and really knows her products. She helped me through the measuring process, and was able to recommend a bra that I have LOVED even more than the ones I chose for myself!
  • They have their bra pages sorted by size range (so you don't start coveting a bra only to learn it doesn't come in your size), by type (underwire, seamless, sleep, color, etc), or by the company that makes them.
  • They will accept a return/exchange after you have tried on the bra for 5-10 min, so long as you didn't leak milk on it!
  • $1 shipping; so it's affordable to make returns/exchanges if you need to.
  • They can special order pretty much any size, and are happy to do so. And they'll take returns/exchanges on those special orders too.
  • They have other stuff besides nursing bras...I have no idea what the other stuff is like, but I sure love their nursing bras!!!

I recently learned an additional fact about them! The lady who owns it is LDS and a LaLecheLeague leader, so I kinda like supporting her in the first place. Secondly, if you sign up your local LLL chapter with B&B, then mention them when you make your order, a portion of your purchase price will be donated back to your local chapter of LLL. How cool is that?!

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