July 28, 2013

At Rest

stormy skies watching the wind his daily project cat and belly garlic picked and cleaned (thank you boys!) breakfast picture book independent play keeping the bassinet warm working from home big belly

We are still here! I have been completely unplugged during this extended bed-rest, it's very disorienting. I know that it seems like orders to lie down all day would mean more internet distractions, but mentally I am finding that I need to put all of my energy towards entertaining Little Smith, monitoring my health, and getting through each day. We spend a lot of time reading, drawing, and singing in bed. I really can't say enough about what a trouper Little Smith has been. Each day he spends a good hour entertaining himself constructing giant 'choo choo trains', which means he lines up a collection of his toys, very precisely, end to end. I can hear him grunting as he concentrates, and when he's done he runs to show me his work with the most joyous expression of pride.

James has also helped out a lot; working from home, cooking meals, keeping up with the garden, buying me late night baked goods... lying down all day and doing nothing but eating can't be the best thing, but I've given up caring.

My blood pressure is awful. It's frighteningly high and I'm not even going to list the numbers... but so far my midwife and consulting doctor have continued to allow me bed-rest at home, with two non-stress tests and an ultrasound each week in addition to endless testing and blood work. It's fascinating to me that this is the same exact issue that I had with my last pregnancy and yet the course of action has been completely different. The more that I read about pregnancy induced hypertension, the more I realize that there really is not a clear medical standard, and it is a little stressful how much personal responsibility comes along with refereeing the conflicting opinions. 

Still, I feel like the waiting this time around has been the right choice. The plan is to get to 39 weeks, unless they deem my blood pressure too high or I have any new symptoms at any of these appointments... that means that I will likely be induced some time this week. I'd love to luck out and just go into labor instead, I've had some painful pre-labor contractions but they always subside eventually, so I'm not holding my breath (but still crossing my fingers!).

I do look forward to coming out of hibernation and catching up with everyone during 2AM feedings, but I suspect I will continue to feel very quiet in the next few days as we gear up to meet this little girl. If only I could find a way to ease my nerves and get a little sleep while I wait!


a portrait of my child once a week, every week, in 2013

Making each other laugh. He is more and more mischievous, but somehow also sweeter by the day.

*part of Jodi's 52 project


a portrait of my child once a week, every week, in 2013

Taking a break from keeping mama company on bed-rest to enjoy a popsicle on the back porch... a perfect treat.

*part of Jodi's 52 project

July 15, 2013


a portrait of my child once a week, every week, in 2013

Just a sweet little smile. I love this kid so much it really does hurt my heart. He may have hurled all of our potted herbs off the second floor porch today (and I liked those pots)... but he's still the best thing since sliced bread.

July 14, 2013

Thirty-Six (Plus) Weeks

We are still here, hanging out, bed-resting with a 36 week and four days belly. My appointment last Friday turned out to be a non-event. My blood pressure was high (as expected), but my usual mid-wife wasn't there and the one who was filling in didn't really want to touch my case... so until tomorrow morning we wait. And then we either wait some more, or maybe medication, or I suppose induction is possible (although that's not my preference). I do worry that my blood pressure could be bad for the baby, and google always amplifies my fears. I trust my team though, and I'm confident that they're taking the appropriate precautions.

I feel this little girl moving and punching all the time, that's always reassuring. She's got some good energy! Being tethered to a reclined position does have my always busy mind in overdrive though... I tried to convince James to install plywood flooring on our screened porch. I have it all planned out and it's very doable and budget friendly... but for some reason he thinks it can wait :)

Little Smith is enjoying having pop around to play with him and take him outside. He still wants me to get 'up' and has a few melt-downs about it each day, but overall he's remarkably good. 

Thanks to every one for the sweet and encouraging words, they're the best gift and so appreciated. We will see what the new week brings.

July 12, 2013

Details B7.01

a handful of scapes wild morning winds first watercolor tiny artist cambridge block party staying cool rinsing (overgrown) peas fresh squash early dinner hoarding that glowstick 

Last weekend I had been advised to 'take it easy', but wasn't yet on full bed-rest. It was blazing hot and we decided to forego the big Boston fireworks display for the 4th and head to a neighboring 'burb for a low-key show. It was a wise move, Little Smith loved everything (except the fireworks, he said they weren't scary but insisted on facing the other way the entire time?). The glowsticks and staying out extra late were the biggest thrill.

We also braved the crowds to take a dip in Walden Pond, and it was the best thing I've done all summer. I'm such a wuss with cold water that on our earlier trips I've never actually submerged by large belly. Ninety degree temperatures gave me the courage that I needed, and all the rumors about the joy of swimming during pregnancy are true. It was amazing, weightless perfection. The three of us splashed around and giggled until our fingers were so wrinkled we had to get out, then we waited twenty minutes and did it all over again. 

And now, bed-rest. It hasn't been fun, although of course I'm grateful that it's come so late and it's well worth it for our little girl. I have to actually be lying down, not sitting, and preferably on my left side. I'm also watching Little Smith who has been such a trouper and only goes stir-crazy about once a day. Pop is getting him outside too, and while I could call in the reserves, I'm still clinging to these final moments as a family of three. My blood pressure isn't great though, even at home. I have an appointment this afternoon, so depending on how that goes we will re-evaluate for next week. I made it to 36 weeks! That gives me slightly more confidence that I'm far enough along for our baby to have a healthy arrival. 37 would be even better!

July 10, 2013

Names and Rain

Dreaming up baby names has always been a big past-time for me, and it's funny to look back on the long list of favorites that started with my dolls and has continued to roll into adulthood. It's not too often that I get to participate in naming a real live baby though, and it's a responsibility that has caused a lot of second guessing over the last eight months. 

Choosing Little Smith's name was much more intuitive. I've been an Easy Rider fan since my pre-teen years and always liked the strength of the name, James loved it too... done and done. Being among the first of our crowd to have a baby, we didn't know any other kids. There wasn't much consideration over naming trends, whether it was too popular, or what 'kind' of person would choose this name for their child. Of course I now know that it is a trendy name, but luckily not very popular here in New England (guess we can all just stay here for life to avoid those name twins!).

This time around we are much more up in our heads. We had a name that we loved, but then worried that it's too on trend. We've gone through lots of unusual names (with such a common last name I will not do Jane, no matter how classic and great a name like that is), but we don't truly love any of them as much. It's easy to think of great names for a character in a story, but ultimately the name also has to resonate with our family. It has to feel like one of us.

In the end, we don't care that Little Smith's name is on the rise and fairly popular. We love it and it feels perfect for him. I think we're going back to our first choice for our baby girl too, because even if we could choose a name that we're certain is an original, there isn't much point if we don't completely adore it... except of course simply being original... and applauded for our creativity. I don't think a kid should have to carry a name that's more about our egos than our instincts. 

Adding to this naming fun, I also have to decide what to call the new baby in this space. Obviously I don't use Little Smith's first name here. With our last name being in the title of the site, and also very common, I want to protect my kids' future privacy and avoid search engines leading here. I'm aware of the hypocrisy of putting so much information out there and still trying to preserve anonymity, but that's my story and I'm sticking to it!

So I've contemplated Miss Smith, Little Miss... It's going to be confusing no matter what. Maybe I should go in a completely different direction and just choose a silly nickname, suggestions are welcome. And don't worry, while I won't type it in searchable text, I'll definitely share the little lady's real moniker here right away. I'm always so excited to see a new baby's name, hope ours goes over well. No guesses, or I might reconsider!

*photos are all from that dance in the rain a few weeks ago. is there anything better on a hot night than getting a little wet and muddy before bed?


a portrait of my child once a week, every week, in 2013

So tuckered out, after a full day visiting farm animals and swimming in the pond, that he fell asleep on the kitchen floor. That does not typically happen with this finicky napper.

*part of Jodi's 52 project.

Well, I'm glad we packed everything in when we could because I'm now on full bed-rest... except that I'm actually still watching Little Smith too. Not exactly compliant with doctor's orders, but it's what has to be for now. Luckily he is such a focused kid that building block structures, reading, and playing with trains makes for a pretty full day. Movies too! We'll see what our next appointment on Friday brings.

July 7, 2013

Glimpses: Shared Room

A few projects have yet to be crossed off the list in the new kids' room, but out of necessity we are wrapping it up, for this phase at least. It's close to being done, there is a desk where the crib will end up going and a fish tank on the dresser (both of which will be swapped when we're through with post-baby guests and Little Smith makes the move, probably September). I do also still have a small shopping list; some kind of pouf as well as a rug, I'm now thinking about this one.  These finishing touches are being taken off the high priority list though as we scramble to wash and install the infant car seat and get ourselves ready for this baby girl, whenever she does decide to make her entrance. It's a little unreal that we're already here!

There are many small details that I'm proud of in this room and have yet to share, and I will show overall peeks as we start to use the space more (a proper tour will follow once the crib makes the switch). I'm too pregnant and overheated to wait for decent light and adequately photograph the space at the moment, but these glimpses really do capture much of the spirit of this sweet little room; lots of white, lots of bold color, and a mix of geometric and organic prints, most of which were selected with input from Little Smith.

He is already so excited about this 'big boy room' and pulls all the toys off the shelves each day to arrange into a long 'train' which stretches across the empty floor.  It's fun to watch him add his own touches and see what is a hit and what has yet to be noticed. Hopefully it's a place where he and his sister will make lots of messes and happy memories in the years to come. 

July 2, 2013


a portrait of my child once a week, every week, in 2013

It was so funny splashing everyone with water, until he accidentally splashed his own face. Whoops!

*part of Jodi's 52 series.

Catching up here... and trying to catch up everywhere, just in case :)

July 1, 2013

Backyard BBQ + A Bit About Baby

I have been struggling with a case of the nerves as we get close to the point in this pregnancy where my blood pressure jumped in the last one. We decided to prescribe a big dose of relaxation for this past week-end. Very little was accomplished, which was a big change of pace and much needed. 

The boys went to the garden and picked garlic scapes and peas and greens for us to enjoy, we brought Little Smith to his very first movie in a real theater (a special showing of Earth which he absolutely loved), and we filled up the kiddie pool and splashed and put our feet up and barbecued in our little yard.

Then came my appointment with the midwife this morning... and my blood pressure was high. Not insanely high (as it was when I was ultimately forced to induce last time), but high enough that it was more than nerves and set off the alarms- literally. I spent the better part of the day in the hospital, getting my blood pressure monitored in various positions and waiting for a bunch of lab work. Happily I was released for the time being, and I get at least a few days before the next dreaded blood pressure check. I'm holding out hope that things stay steady, and this baby girl gets a few more weeks to grow inside my belly.

Of course I'm grateful that I'm coming up on 35 weeks and the baby is in a place where she can be delivered safely, I know so many people struggle with much earlier births and far more serious situations. Still, I am feeling very blue about it all. I want more time... to be pregnant, to grow a healthy baby, to spend quality time with my baby boy and my husband. These thoughts aren't productive and I realize it's not where I should be putting my mental energy, but at the moment I can't help it, I'm just a little sad.

So I will be spending the next few days thinking low blood pressure thoughts, showering Little Smith with my undivided attention, sleeping as much as I can, and taking lots of deep breaths. Hopefully this will just be a little bump, and everything will end up going smoothly. Ultimately what is meant to be will be, and I know how lucky I am. I'm still working to surrender to my lack of control. That's always been a hard learned lesson for me, but I'm getting there.