One more surgery down!

The wee prince is now 6 weeks old and will be 7 on Friday.  He’s totally perfect in every way which, as you know from my last post, is a huge relief as we were still waiting for a final brain scan to be sure things were really healed up.

I know you’ll forgive me for being remiss in my blogging because you’re all wonderful and realize how taxing a newborn is.  I’m going to be trying to update once a week (or more) from now on so please feel free to poke me if I’m slacking.

Seth is hilarious.  He has mommy’s gift for projectile vomiting, most of which has been aimed at my mother in law.  He loves burping, sleeping, and riding in cars.  At his last appointment he was 21.5 inches and 9 lbs 9.5 ounces.  The dogs are totally in love with him (as are we all) and my AMAZING friend Shelly watches him for us three days a week because I am back to working as a photographer!

Thanks to being fired (for being pregnant) from the diner I got unemployment and was off my last month of pregnancy and got a 6 week maternity leave during which I was hired on the spot for a job working as a staff photographer.  I’m very happy and it’s proof that the universe provides for those who are putting in their best effort.

Jake’s band has almost finished recording their album which will be available for purchase and download as soon as they’re finished mastering it.  I think it’s going to do very well and will provide the link for access to it here!  His band is called Friendly White Neighbors, they’re sort of an alternative indie sound blended with proto punk.  It sounds complicated but it’s really just great.

I decided it had been too long since I lost an organ so I had a massive abdominal attack on Tuesday of last week and spent the night in the ER.  Unfortunately we chose a Civil War era hospital that left me (literally) screaming in the waiting room for 4 hours, then told me they could find no cause for my pain and kicked me out with a prescription for Norco.  I would like to point out that I have an exceptionally high pain tolerance so it wasn’t like I was being dramatic, it really was that bad.  I couldn’t be more grateful for my Colorado family, Serena and David dropped everything they were doing to watch the baby so he wasn’t exposed to the nastiness of an ER waiting room.  He won’t be vaccinated for another two weeks and if they hadn’t been able to watch him I wouldn’t have gone.  I woke up yesterday morning with the same pain (but much milder) and Jake insisted on taking me to the ER again but this time we went to the same hospital where I delivered Seth (and also had my previous surgery 2 years ago).  I walked in and was taken straight to a room.  Within an hour I was diagnosed with a massively inflamed gallbladder and within 2 I was in surgery having it removed.  The lesson here is never to go to the Penrose on Nevada, local friends, and instead go to Memorial North.

It was full of gallstones and apparently had a deformity that caused a complication so all my incisions are a little bigger than expected, which means I can’t hold my own baby for a few days.  I also can’t get in or out of bed by myself and I’m hopped up on enough Norco to stop a charging rhino.

But, if it had to happen, this was the ideal week as my wonderful in-laws are in town visiting and Jake and I already had this week off!  So again, something seemingly bad actually worked out for the best.

I designed two birth announcements for him and shared them on Facebook but here they are again in case you missed them!  I made them both thinking I’d pick a favorite and discard the other but I can’t pick.

 

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Just a year later…

Today marks the one year anniversary of the passing of my dear grandpa, Elmer Henry Wayne.  He left us with broken hearts as he went to join my wonderful grandma, Mary Jo.  He taught me acceptance, strength, and fed my love of travel.  He fought as a tail gunner in World War II, he raised a family, he loved us.  He was my Rampa.  I’ll carry him with me forever, in my heart and through my son, Seth Henry.

I love you so much, Rampa.

 

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A quick (long) explanation.

Some of you may have noticed it’s been a while since the last update.  I assure you, I did not forget you.  It’s just been a stressful couple of months and I as a rule don’t like discussing a problem until I have a solution for it.

So, let’s cut right down to the dirty dirty and get that out of the way.

Jake and I went in for our 28 week ultrasound very excited because we were going to get to have a 3-d ultrasound and receive a 4- d video of the little guy wiggling around!  I had big plans to post about my baby shower in Texas (I’d just gotten home from it 2-3 days prior), and show off our little fella.

Unfortunately there’s a whole rhyme about the best laid plans, and things indeed did go awry.  In the middle of the ultrasound, the tech told us that it looked like a ventricle in his brain was unusually swollen.  We smiled that off nervously, sure that it happened all the time.

Turns out it doesn’t.  When my doctor (Jessica Williams) arrived she very gently explained that the condition was so unusual that it only happens in 1/1000 pregnancies and almost always to male children.  She wasn’t trained on how to handle it so all she could do was refer us to a specialist.  She also hugged me while I cried and Jake, ever the perfect husband, cowboy-ed up to be the tough guy because for once I was not in a place where I could compartmentalize and work through it.  We called our moms that afternoon and they were both very reassuring, but that doesn’t help much when you’re flying blind regarding a neonatal neurological condition.

I did probably the worst thing I could do which was hop on Google and start researching it.  It’s called “ventriculomegly” and it’s so uncommon, I couldn’t find any information on side effects or long term issues, which only served to wind me up more.  Jake threatened to have the internet disconnected if I didn’t stop it.  He’s a smart guy.

We intentionally decided to keep this very close, not because we don’t appreciate all of you and the love you send our way but because we were both barely holding it together.  My mom probably fielded a dozen sobbing calls wondering what I did to hurt my baby, and we just weren’t in a place to answer questions or talk about it.  We’re not religious so “God has a plan” and prayer aren’t comforting to us and we mostly just circled the wagons and worked on distracting one another.

The first specialist couldn’t see us for a month.  Obviously that wasn’t gonna work, and Jake politely offered to go over and start pulling pipes out of the walls until they could work us in but as usual, my amazing OB/GYN saved the day.  When she found out the wait she called around and got us in at another clinic within 5 days (it was an hour drive, totally worth it).

The specialist was great and let us know that the ventricle in question was at 12.5 mm.  For perspective, 7-10 mm is normal.  10-11 is probably nothing.  11-13 is something to worry about.  Anything over is in the Oh Shit range.  He explained our options (we had none), told us what we could do to improve the situation (nothing), and ran through what would happen if the swelling didn’t go down or continued (c-section and immediate brain surgery).  He was able to rule out brain damage, internal bleeding, and a host of other issues, which was comforting.  With brain damage off the table it seemed a lot more manageable.  We made an appointment for a 6 weeks later and went home, where I kind of turned into a vegetable and Jake played a lot of violent video games.

I’ll skip the details of that 6 weeks, nothing important happened.  I stopped working on the nursery and we got really quiet about everything, all pretty depressing.  I will say my best friend Serena helped snap me out of what was turning into a pretty intense depression by insisting we go to to Babies R Us and spend a couple of hours carefully picking a mattress, cover, and some adorable sheets and then marching my ass back home and insisting I put the crib together and get back to work.

So 6 weeks came and went and I went back to the specialist.  Jake had to work so I was nervous, even more so when my sonogram took a full hour.  The doctor kept flipping through my previous sono and comparing it to the current one and I was getting pretty freaked out.  Then he finally said the words I was dreading, “Can we talk in my office?”.  Something about being asked to talk in an office takes me back to a bunch of school nonsense and bad jobs.

We headed down to the office and he looked at me very seriously for a minute before speaking.  He turned the chart around to show me two pictures that meant nothing to me, then began explaining that he’d expected to be giving me some rough news and to believe it when he said he was as surprised as me, but that the ventricle had gone down on it’s own.  No swelling, no excess fluid, nothing at all to be concerned about or raise any red flags.  He advised having the baby’s brain scanned after birth JUST to be sure, but as far as he could tell we were somehow completely in the clear.

That was pretty awesome for both of us because he confided in me that he’d been having an awful day at the Children’s Hospital to that point and it was amazing to be able to give some good news.

I just sat in my car in the parking lot for half an hour trying to catch my brain up with what had happened, then called Jake who was super happy, then the moms and the few others in our group who knew.  And then I’m pretty sure Rainbow Brite picked me up with Starlight and we drove the rainbow bridge home because it was the best day ever.

So.  There’s that, and why we’ve been very quiet and close to the vest lately.  I’m still going to post my amazing Texas baby shower (finally got all the thank you cards for both showers done!  But I feel like I had an excuse) later this week because our moms really knocked it out of the park.  I’m sorry I didn’t open up to everyone about what was going on but we really needed to take some time with all this and just knowing we had your love and support was enough.

I have barely been able to look at these since we got them because they were this terrible reminder of what happened, but now they make me happy and I want to share them with you!

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We’ve pretty much agreed he’s got Jake’s nose

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But we’re pretty sure that’s my smirky mouth.

So we’re now at 36 weeks and counting, I’ll be keeping everyone updated, and thanks for being so patient!

It’s a…. Party!

Our wonderful friends Serena and Shellie threw a baby shower/gender reveal party for us this weekend and it was super fun.  I’m going to admit that it was a little weird for me to get excited about baby blankets and bottles instead of jewelry and…  different bottles…  but it’s a really great change that makes me happy.  Which is, in and of itself, weird.

Anyway, it was super fun and now I’m going to revert to pictures for the bulk of this post because they say it better than me.

 

 

 

Oh, I’m sorry.  Did you come here to find out the gender and not to see a bunch of party pictures?

 

Well in that case…

Get off my bladder please…

This kid thinks my bladder is a trampoline, so that’s fun and exciting.  I should really just be glad I can feel movement, one of the ladies I’m friends with on one of my pregnancy forums just lost her baby at 22 weeks.

Baby shower this weekend!!!  And the other one is March 12!!!  Sooooo happy I get to go home for a few days, though I’m sure a week of humidity will make me miss Colorado.

Because there was a mix-up on the invitations, I’m going to be tacky and post clarification here:

We are registered at:

Babies-R-Us

and

MyRegistry.com

We do -not- expect anything and the real gift is your presence to help us celebrate our baby, but we absolutely appreciate the help in preparing!

So in the course of one evening I got a compliment and an insult about the same issue which was entertaining.

When I hit 21 weeks I suddenly popped out and started to actually look pregnant, so I’ve had a few people comment on it.  On Monday I was talking to a nice woman who asked how far along I was.  I told her I was 23 weeks and she was shocked, remarking several times that I was so tiny that she wouldn’t have put me nearly that far along and complimented me on how I was “all belly”.  Very nice, very sweet, and absolutely lavished me with compliments.

An hour later I was chatting with another woman who kept giving me odd looks and finally asked how far along I am.  I again said 23 weeks.  She pursed her lips for a moment and then asked me if I wasn’t rather large for 23 weeks.  I raised an eyebrow and mentioned my doctor considered me small for almost six months to which she made a very bitchy smirky smile and said, “different generations, I guess”.

Apparently because I wasn’t born in 1932 I let myself get fat?  I’ll work on it, the baby’s health isn’t nearly as important as being able to leave the hospital in my pre-pregnancy jeans and having dinner on the table at 6.

She then proceeded to ask me what I thought was wrong with couples today and why people my age were ruining marriage.  At first I thought she meant high divorce rates, so I started to approach that carefully.  Then she clarified that she means the “gays and weirdos” and I extricated myself at that point.

Also I lost my glasses last night/this morning so the whole world is squinty again.  Yes, I could put my contacts in, but they’re ALL THE WAY OVER THERE.

Babies and Pibbles and OMG I can’t reach my feet.

So Bender and the baby are already playing together.

Two days ago I was laying on my side in bed, reading a book.  Bender (who is 85 pounds of solid muscle and 100% a sissy) HAS to lay near me at all times so he invited himself up and decided to nudge his nose under my belly for whatever reason.  In doing that, he gave me a little poke in the belly.  The baby, who had not moved in a bit, apparently thought this was interesting and I suddenly felt a flurry of little kicks right where Bender’s nose was.  Bender was intrigued and gave me another soft poke with his nose, which started another round of baby kicks in response.  This went on for half an hour and was easily the cutest if strangest thing to happen in my pregnancy so far.

I’m showing a LOT and weirdly enough have begun to waddle when I’ve been on my feet for a while, which is charming and makes me feel super attractive.

But on a high note, I’ve got two baby showers coming up and I’m SO excited for both of them!  My Colorado friends are throwing a baby shower/gender reveal on the 20th and then I’m heading down to Texas in March for the shower my mom and mother-in-law are throwing for me and then I get to attend my younger sister’s shower!  I don’t know if I’ve mentioned it here before but she’s a couple of weeks ahead of me in her pregnancy so my mom is going from zero to two grandbabies in a single month!  I mean if she’s early and I’m late I guess it could be over the course of a couple of months but we’re anticipating both babies coming in June.  I am very grateful that I have people willing to throw us two showers and that we have so many amazing friends who want to help us celebrate the baby!

Registering has been nuts but I think what we set up is pretty solid.  I don’t feel right asking people to spend a lot of money on a choice I made, so I tried to keep things pretty modest.  We registered at MyRegistry.com which I like because it lets you register for gifts from pretty much anywhere, we like to compare prices and register for the least expensive option (case in point: Jake really liked a certain baby monitor, after a quick Google search we discovered that one shop had it listed for $150, another had it for $225, and we found another place with the audacity to ask $325 for it).  The only thing I wasn’t happy about was that it didn’t let us sync our Babies R Us registry but honestly if that’s our worst issue, WAH.

 

 

 

The chair!

So I’ve mentioned I was given a glider a few times, by my DELIGHTFUL friends Tom and Shellie.  It was beautiful and so far out of my price-range that I just about cried when they dropped it off.  I loved the piece as it was but I really like to personalize things.

As you may have read, we decided to paint the nursery purple, blue, and a pewter tone of grey regardless of the gender because honestly, baby Blair is not going to give a poo what color the nursery is.  Jake’s favorite color is purple, mine is blue, and we like grey as a neutral more than cream or beige.

I spent a lot of time trying to decide what to do because the fabric is microfiber.  I’m not adept enough to make a slip cover yet and RIT dye didn’t seem like a good idea, so I turned to the mother of all answers, Google.  What I found was a great blog called Happiness is Homemade.  It had all the answers and supplies I needed so I got to work.

It started with a couple of trips around town for supplies!

The first thing I needed was something called Textile Fabric Medium.  The recipe called for 16 ounces for a quart of paint, so I looked on Amazon first and found it for $8.99 plus shipping.  I figured I’d check around town and see what I could find, resorting to Amazon as a last resort.

Lo and behold, I found them at Hobby Lobby (I know, I usually boycott them but pregnancy nesting required results).  I did, however, cheat the system a little as they were priced at $5.99 each and I used the 40% coupon on each bottle, bringing them down to $2.40 each.  Way better than the $18 plus shipping on Amazon.

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I will say this is the first time Amazon has ever failed me.  I still love you, online shopping lover.

Now that I knew I could actually accomplish the task I had to go grab some paint.  I knew  I wanted a nice vivid blue (stop trying to read into it, I just like blue) so we went by Lowe’s to take a look.  I wanted an Indoor Satin with Primer so I didn’t have to spend an hour scrubbing the seats before painting (little things like marker and pen can bleed through the paint).  I only needed a quart so I just found the cheapest stuff they had and went from there.

Olympic Planitarium Blue, the required paint, and a nice big spongey brush!

 

Then I got home and the real work started.

Had to take the chair apart!  I’m blonde and didn’t realize everything was going to unsnap and un-velcro, I thought I had to tape everything up and do it the hard way.  Luckily Brian was there, yet again, to show me the obvious answer.  Also River was heavily involved in all of this.  As was Bender.  In case you were wondering.

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They take painting quite seriously, if you could all stop messing around it would help this whole thing a LOT.

Okay, chair is stripped, we put down an old sheet for a drop sheet, put all the paint stuff in box in case of spills, and did the most important thing of all:  made fresh tea.

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Step One: Pour the Fabric Textile Medium into the paint!

 

 

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Step Two: Realize that’s not going to fit and make a big mess!

 

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Step Three: Find a WAY bigger jar and pour everything into that.

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Step Four: Stir it forever.  Forever.  Forever.

From there it’s pretty much what you’d expect.  Paint one side.  Let it dry.  Do a second coat.  Let it dry.  Paint the other side.  Do a second coat.

 

It took 2 days, because it had to dry between each coat.

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Jake wanted me to include this really awful picture of me wearing a surgical mask so no one freaked out and wrote me a 2-page letter about how I’m hurting the baby.

In the end it was TOTALLY worth all the effort because I am 100% in love with the color!  We’re going to paint the wall a soft pewter and do bright pops of color through the room and this chair is going to really work with that.

So, with no further preamble, the finished chair!

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IMG_6253 Continue reading

Grrrrr…

This is just going to be a little rant.  In the last few years I’ve really gotten into conserving, upcycling, and generally trying to reduce my carbon footprint.  I’ve started learning to sew (making my own belly bands, mending clothes, making curtains, burp cloths, etc).  I’m really enjoying most of this, honestly, and I feel good about our decisions.

So naturally when we decided to have a baby, we agreed we’d continue that conservation-minded path.  While we have registered for a few things new that we probably could have gotten used (baby bath, bottles, etc) those were mostly hygiene concerns.  The majority of what we want for the kid’s room are items we’ve been given or have purchased used.  For example, I’m in the process up upcycling a great glider chair we were given to make the colors work for the nursery (light purple, a soft blue, and pewter, we picked them before we knew the gender because they work for either one).  I’ll post pictures of that tomorrow when it’s all done.

For the last two weeks I’ve been searching Craigslist and checking out the Arc and Goodwill to see what I can find in regard to a dresser and a night stand, and possibly some additional storage.  I have yet to find anything that isn’t falling apart priced or under $75.

I don’t mind paying a little more for quality but these are Ikea pieces, made of composite board, with some paint slapped on them so the seller can call them “distressed” and ask for $125.

So far the closest I’ve found to a “deal” is a 3 drawer dresser that looks like it was pulled out of a dumpster.  It was priced at $55 and the seller was very firm about it.

I’m not begrudging anyone the right to make a deal and get a little money back, but it seems crazy to me to look at a dresser you paid $65 for at Target and decide ask for triple the original price on the resale.

So yea.  That’s me whining.  Luckily I have another 4 months to complete my search.

Turns out not spending money left right and sideways is a great way to get your finances back on track so we’re doing great at getting back to where I like to be, my photography website is being redesigned so I can relaunch that, and today a friend at work gave me a bunch of cookies.  The dogs are sleeping quietly, they both got baths today and are exhausted from the efforts of resisting said bath.

All together, not a bad week.

It’s a… Surprise!

We had our very first sonogram today and it was awesome because Jake was able to be there (we try and schedule everything on Tuesdays because we both have the day off).  The baby is very squirmy and moved around so much that the tech had trouble getting good pictures which I think is NUTS because I have yet to feel anything.

The heartbeat was great, everything was size and development appropriate, and apparently I’m not feeling much because I have a high, back placed placenta which means less sensitivity to it.

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So there’s our mini-person, all healthy and right on schedule.

We were told the gender and we’re going to aggravate all of our friends and family by not telling until the baby shower Serena is throwing us on the 20th.

I’ve been yelled at, scolded, and threatened multiple times about this decision (oddly enough only by people to whom I’m not actually very close) but that’s okay.  I’m going to do it this way because it’s fun and because I want to, so there’s that.

According to the scale I gained 10 pounds but I refuse to believe that because I had just eaten a very big lunch and had a full bladder so I choose to believe that number was high.  I looooove my doctor, she’s completely supportive of everything I want in regard to having the baby.  Her only request was that we go over my birth plan together, and she seemed hugely relieved when I mentioned that I wasn’t married to any of it and realized sometimes things don’t go according to plan.

 

I am not now, nor have I ever been, a morning person.

And if you are I hate you and admire you and want to steal your powers.

Jake and I went out last night for the first time since we found out I was pregnant so of course we went to the only smoking-permitted bar in the state!

It’s actually a really cool speakeasy themed cigar bar called 15-C and our friends in The Key Of Joy were playing a jazz-themed set which was awesome.  I had a great time and then we went to a local sports bar called Old Chicago to hang out and not be surrounded by smoke.

Oh, and public welfare alert:  To the guy who showed to a fairly upscale 1920s bar in a University of Idaho hoodie, Titlest beanie, and hiking boots, then shoved a waiter out of the way to lunge behind our table to attempt to hit on a pair of girls talking on the couch; They weren’t even slightly interested.  Not when you were repeatedly rude to the server, not when you almost knocked our table over on one of your many jaunts back and forth from the couch, not when you ordered that $4 cigar and smoked it down to the ring.  And seriously, how much could you have possibly enjoyed smoking something that smelled like you stuffed an old work boot with straw and set it on fire?  We, on the other hand, had a wonderful time speculating about you and your hobbies as well as your need to stare directly into my eyes and smile suggestively (I assume that awkward lip curl and slanted sneer were intended to be suggestive, otherwise you were challenging my pack dominance and I should have lunged for the throat) despite the fact that I A) am clearly pregnant and B) was sitting next to my husband with his arm around me.

 

Anyway we had a GREAT time!  It was so fun to go out with friends and do something that didn’t involve Netflix in my jimjams, even though that’s exactly what I’m doing right now.  I’m kicking myself because I didn’t take a single picture of anything and I actually looked pretty cute.  I tend to choose to just enjoy going out and not worry about pictures but I kind of wish I had this time.

ANYWAY.

We stayed exactly on budget for the evening, had a great time, then rushed home and very sexily had a contest to see who could fall asleep first.  He won, as usual.

We’re driving down to Texas for a baby shower which I’m excited about and I’m almost more excited that I’ve booked 5 photography sessions with clients down there!  I love taking pictures in Texas, the beach and lighting and everything is awesome, plus the trip pays for itself which is awesome.  I am eternally grateful that my mom and mother in law are great friends and are having a blast planning everything together.  I do not even want to think about what life is like for women whose in-laws hate them or hate their parents, that sounds like hell.  We’ll be down for Texas spring break (the week of March 12) so if you need some photograph done, lemme know!

My bestie Serena is throwing me a Colorado Shower on February 20th and I’m super excited for that too, I’m really surprised enough people actually like me to bother with a party.

Alright, time to shower.  Like, wash my hair, not babies.