Tag Archives: our little martian

incubating: week forty-one (a.k.a. a very long birth story)

Paige’s birth was nothing like we had imagined, though I will be the first to say that it truly doesn’t matter as in the end she and I are both healthy. For whatever reason, I’ve had this need to get down the chronology of everything that happened. I suppose it’s just my way of processing. I don’t really have any negative emotions about the birth to work through, I’m incredibly thankful I avoided surgery and that I had the support team I had. But, the data nerd in me needs to see it all laid out, so here we go… 

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Monday, 2/23

Forty-one weeks today! Never really thought I would be pregnant at this point, but I’m thankful to not have been induced yet. Greg and I went to an appointment with the midwives for an NST and an ultrasound. The NST showed a great heartbeat on the baby and some regular but mild contractions for me (I could only feel about 25% of the contractions the machine was  picking up). The ultrasound showed plenty of amniotic fluid left for baby to continue on cooking. I was only 1cm dilated though, which was a bummer. I was hoping for something a little more given how far along I was.

Because things looked good, we were given the option of inducing on Thursday or Sunday evening, if the baby hadn’t come on it’s own. We picked Sunday, wanting to give the baby as much time to choose it’s own birthday as possible.

Tuesday, 2/24

Woke up pregnant again. It’s getting more and more frustrating each day. I took the dog for a walk to return a library book that involved a mile downhill and a mile uphill. Was hoping the incline back up might help, but it didn’t seem to make much of a difference. I’m was getting funny looks as I walked around. I guess I was really big, just hard for me to notice as it’s been such a slow progression over 42 weeks.

At 5pm I went to my first acupuncture appointment. The midwife I saw during week 40 suggested I set up a few appointments to help get things moving. It was very relaxing and only  a tiny bit painful. I had heard so many stories of “so-and-so tried acupuncture and her water broke when she got off the table”. That didn’t happen for me, but I was looking forward to my next appointment on Thursday.

Wednesday, 2/25

Today was probably the hardest day of my pregnancy. I just felt defeated. The clock to induction was ticking very loudly, but still days away. I had no plans or appointments and the day felt like it would be never ending at 7am. I told Greg I was going to make reservations downtown for dinner just so I had something to look forward to.

I spent the day reading then walked to Whole Foods and picked up $9 worth of cut pineapple. I sat in the dining area and at it all (1.2 lbs). I was getting desperate and while I’ve never known anyone that went into labor via pineapple, it’s all over the internet. I also picked up bacon and dates because I read that six dates a day will bring on labor. I walked home (imagine, for your enjoyment, a nine plus months pregnant lady walking a mile home in the rain with a reusable bag full of eggs, dates, an bacon) and made myself some bacon wrapped dates.IMG_7073_edited-1

That night I met Greg at Bell + Whete for yet another “last dinner”. The upside to this delayed birth was trying a ton of new-to-us restaurants in the last few weeks. The food was fine but we were both just a little tired and not so much into it. We went to bed early and I tried to convince myself there was no way I could go another night without going into labor.

Thursday, 2/26

This is where things get interesting. A very brief background: I planned to have a natural birth (completely intervention free, preferably) for several reasons, but mostly because when I thought about labor, what stressed me out most was not being able to move around, being connected to a ton of wires, and not being able to feel my legs. I would panic when I thought about these side effects of pain medication, rather than when I thought about contractions, so for me it was preferable to avoid them. To help with this, we hired Jenne, a labor doula. Greg was totally supportive of my desires but since he is new to this too I didn’t expect him to know how to support me through it; Jenne was there to help us both and given how things went down it was a very smart decision.

I knew as my induction neared the chances of being able to stick to this plan were slimmer and slimmer, but I wanted to keep to it as much as possible. Spoiler alert: our first lesson in parenting was learned the hard way. Something about the best laid plans…

(To keep this from being insanely long and to not share more information than some might want to read, I’ve simply referred to each intervention by name and linked to a description of it rather than detailing them out.)

9:15am Left the house and stopped by Cloud City to drop off canned goods for the food bank and pick up a smoothie for my appointment. At the last NST I had to drink a carton of kids apple juice. I brought my own sugar with me this time to wake up baby, who is a day time sleeper and night time partier.

Note: I had planned to be gone for a few hours to attend an appointment with my midwives, another accupuncture session, and coffee with my friend Becca. I was going to come home and cook a big dinner, hoping that standing in the kitchen for a good long while might start labor.  

9:40am Hooked up to the NST machine at the midwives’ office. It’s showing some steadier contractions and I feel most of them though they are not painful. I was reading a book and didn’t notice how long I’d been in there. In the end, it turned out to be lucky that they were running really behind (for the first time ever).

10:30am My appointment that day was with Deborah, who came in once I’d been hooked up for 50 minutes (I had been scheduled for 20 minutes). We talked about next steps and she called the hospital to schedule us for our induction starting at 8pm on Sunday evening. As she reviewed the strips that print out from the machine, she noticed a big drop in baby’s heart rate. She told me to get dressed and she’d be back in to finish up.

10:45am Deborah returned and told me that she had just talked with Cindy (the midwife on call at the childbirth center (CBC) that day) and together they decided I should head over there for a longer evaluation.

The CBC is not a free-standing birth center. It is part of Northwest Hospital and where my midwives deliver. It is very mom and baby friendly but also has the benefits of a NICU and OBs on call 24/7 should the need for a serious intervention arise. These are pretty popular around the PNW and I’m thankful to have an option between a regular hospital and a home birth.  

11:00am On my way to the hospital, I call and cancel my acupuncture appointment and then call Greg to let him know what’s going on. He asks if he should meet me, but I see no sense in both of us being stuck in a room for a two hour evaluation so I tell him to stay at work and I’ll keep him posted.

11:30am I am put in a room in the CBC and hooked back up to the monitor. Within ten minutes of being there, the baby’s heart rate has dropped twice. My nurse, Amy, takes a few minutes to explain to me why it’s worrisome. The baby’s heart rate was dropping at the peak of contractions, which is a sign of an aging placenta. However, it wasn’t happening with every contraction which is not something that they usually see. I went the next hour with no drops.

11:45am Cindy comes in and asks me if Greg is on his way. I ask if he should be. She says yes, based on what they are seeing the next time I’m leaving the hospital will be with a baby.

Screen Shot 2015-03-07 at 1.15.24 PMThis is so not how I imagined leaving for the hospital. I thought we’d finish packing our bags, take one last picture with us and the dog, etc. 

12:00pm I order lunch from the hospital menu, a spinach and chicken salad with a side of mashed potatoes. You can order one entree and as many sides as you want every hour.

12:30pm Greg arrives and they move us to our actual room, 203. One of the reasons I picked this hospital was that you labor, deliver, and recover in the same room. Little did I know I’d be spending five days and four nights in room 203.

1:00pm Time for my hep lock. This is the one thing I had agree to pre-labor. If something was going to go wrong (ha!), I wanted to make sure they could administer any needed medications as soon as possible. My nurse attempted to insert the lock twice, on the two good veins on my left hand. This is not a painless procedure, FYI. Because she wasn’t able to salvage either one, she called in another nurse to help.

1:30pm Hep lock attempt number three. Unfortunately the second nurse had to use my right hand as there were no good veins on the left use. Ideally, you want this on your non-dominant hand so that it’s less in the way for however long you have to have it on.

2:00pm Cindy (along with Anna, the midwife in training) comes in to talk about induction options. Because my Bishop’s score is still really low (my body is not really in labor on it’s own at all), we have to do two rounds of induction. They suggest that we use the Cook balloon method, which is the method I wanted to go with for induction number one as it’s non-medicinal. They told me they’d come back at 3:15 to do the procedure.

2:30pm Amy has me change into a hospital gown. Up until this point I was just wearing the jeans and sweater I had on from the morning. It seems more real now that I’m in a hospital gown and slippers.

2:45pm My first unwanted intervention – I’m told that I will have to have an external fetal monitor on at all times until the baby is born. The original plan was that once I was in labor, they’d use an external monitor for 20 minutes to make sure the baby is okay and then I would just have a check by my midwife every 30 minutes with the doppler. When I’m in bed I’m hooked up to the machine next to my bed, but I do have the option of a travel pack so that I can be mobile.

3:00pm Greg and I decide that if we’re going to be in the hospital for awhile, it would be nice to watch some Top Chef. He heads out to get cables at Best Buy so we can hook up our iPad to the TV, get his own lunch, and drop one of our cars off at home.

3:15pm The birth clock has started, it’s time for my first induction! The baby was not happy with me laying on my back in bed, so I had to switch to my side. It took three attempts to complete the procedure given that I wasn’t flat on my back. I would rate the procedure as very unpleasant, but not necessarily painful. For the first hour post-procedure I was pretty uncomfortable and after that (12 hours in total) it was more of an annoyance.

4:00pm Greg returns from errands and we settle in to watch Top Chef for the evening.

6:00pm We ordered dinner, but at this point I have no idea what I ate.

7:00pm We ordered a second entree so Greg could have dinner. Again, no memory of even getting the food, but I know we ordered two dinners that night.

8:00pm I start to feel decent contractions! I’m really hopeful that this is my own body and not just the Cook balloon causing contractions. They are not active labor type contractions, meaning I can still talk and walk through them. But they are something.

8:30pm We start to feel a little stir crazy in 203 so I request my travel pack for the fetal monitor and Greg and I spend some time walking up and down the hall. Unfortunately we only have a hallway about 50 yards long where we can walk. If we go out the L&D doors the monitor won’t pick up the baby’s heart rate.

We happened to be walking while a tour of the center is going on. It was a little awkward to be in my gown and robe and somewhat on display. We also ran into Evash, one of the dad’s in our birth class, coming out of the snack room while we were walking. His wife, Lisa, had delivered a baby boy that morning.

9:00pm I call Jenne, our doula, to let her know what’s going on. My contractions are about 5 minutes apart, but still walkable and talkable. We agree that I’ll give her a call once I can only breath through them.

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9:30pm There are only so many episodes of Top Chef we can watch in one evening. Greg unfolds and makes up his couch bed and we decided to try to get some sleep before the next procedure in a few hours.

Friday, 2/27

3:15am Cindy comes in to remove the Cook balloon. The procedure has worked well and I’ve progressed from 1.5cm to 4cm. I also am much more comfortable and able to fall into a decent sleep finally.

5:45am We learn our first hospital lesson – the louder the noise, the less scary the problem – when we are woken out of deep sleep to a very loud beeping from the machine monitoring my contractions and the baby’s heart rate. Turns out it was out of paper to record the data.

Also, I notice that my contractions are gone. Turns out they were caused by the Cook balloon and not my body actually moving into labor on it’s own.

6:00am The night nurse is in to check my vitals. Routine procedure, until she notices baby’s heart rate has dipped and the usual flipping to my side isn’t bringing it back up. She hands me an oxygen mask and says “I’m going to press a button that’s going to have a lot of people come running”. She was not kidding. Several nurses and Cindy come running and after a bit of moving me around baby is doing well again. I’m pretty shaken up, but also crazy impressed at how quickly the room was full of care providers who fixed the situation.

6:15am My hep lock is put to use much earlier than I was hoping or expecting when they decide the baby could benefit from fluids. Now I’m tethered to both the heart rate / contraction monitor and the IV pole. Cindy had planned to start my second induction (pitocin) at 7am, but lets us know we’ll push it back to closer to 8am to give the baby more time to recover.

7:45am The real fun starts as Cindy gives my nurse the go-ahead to start the second induction. A bag of pitocin is added to my IV pole and a low dose is administered. The plan is to keep an eye on how the baby reacts and slowly increase the dose every thirty minutes until I’m in a sustained active labor.

10:00am I’m officially in active labor! Contractions are regular and I’m having to concentrate and breath through them. The baby is handing the pitocin fine so we’ve steadily been increasing it.

11:00am We have a decal and Mary Lou and Anna want me to stay in bed on my side to help the baby. The contractions are getting worse and I’m not able to move around or use gravity to work with them. Frustrating given that this was my birth plan. I ask Greg to call Jenne at this point. I’m ready for her to arrive for more support.

12:00pm Jenne arrives and I’m still in bed on my side, but now flipped to the other side. This is not a fun way to labor at all but I need to stay on this side for another hour. My early active labor has helped me progress to 6 cm. This gives me a little boost to keep going as I am.

I don’t remember a lot about the next eight and a half hours in terms of timelines. I took my glasses off so that I could focus inward a little more and not be distracted by everything going on around me, but that also meant that I couldn’t see a clock.

I tried laboring in several positions that would work with gravity, but the baby did not like any of those, including walking. It got to the point where it was more stressful for me to try new positions than to just lay on the bed because I didn’t know how the baby would handle them. Being in middle of a contraction and told to flip around or move into a new position while a heart rate monitor is beeping much more slowly than it should be is pretty awful. I was able to get into the tub for a while in a laying position that supported the baby, which was helpful.

These eight hours were not fun, to put it lightly. The pitocin was inducing contractions one after another. At some points I would have five contractions in a row with no break between them. I used everything I learned in prenatal yoga and suggestions from Jenne to get through it. I did very little speaking, if any, during these hours and had a little liquid that Greg was able to get me to get down. I was completely in my own world as that was the only way I could handle each contraction. 

Eventually I make it back to the bed. It had been hours and I was hoping to hear a good progress report from the midwives… 

8:30pm I’m checked again and hear Anna tell Mary Lou “no change”. I’m hoping I heard wrong, but they quickly confirm that I’m still at 6cm after all these hours of hard labor.

I decide that after 12+ hours of natural labor on pitocin, I’m done. All the complications that I had been hoping to avoid by not going with an epidural (not being able to walk around or easily change position, not being tethered to anything) are part of my reality now, so I decide to ask for relief. Everyone agrees I need rest and that this is the right decision. Mary Lou calls for the anesthesiologist.

Also during this time, I’ve had three more interventions. The external fetal monitor is no longer picking up the baby’s heart rate very well so we are switched to an internal fetal monitor. This has me tethered to the heart rate monitor with no ability to get out of bed. While they did that, they also switched the contraction monitor to internal. My water was broken in hopes that it will move labor along. The downside to breaking water is that it starts the twenty four hour clock to a c-section.

8:40pm Of course I have a fever! A bag of antibiotics is added to my very crowded IV pole and I’m told that the baby will have to have at least four doses of antibiotics because they can’t rule out an infection causing the fever.  Also, we will be required to stay an extra 24 hours in the hospital. As much as I want to say no to the antibiotics for both me and the baby, I realize that as a nutritional therapist I understand the risks of getting antibiotics. What I don’t know are the risks of not taking them on both me and the baby and at this point I’m in no shape to ask questions so I decide to trust my providers.

8:50pm Mary Lou and Anna let me know that they found meconium when they broke my water. Of course they did! They let the neonatologist on call know that he will need to be present at the birth in case the baby needs to have his or her lungs suctioned.

9:00pm Dr. Lubeck arrives and is very matter of fact. She’s an ex-military anesthesiologist and I found her to be hilarious. I also found her to be awesome because within about eight minutes of being in our room, for the first time in twelve hours I felt like I could function like a human being again. It was an awesome epidural – I couldn’t feel my contractions but was still able to move my legs, and my body in general, on my own.

The epidural adds another wire over my shoulder and taped down my back plus I now have to have a blood pressure cuff on 24/7 as it automatically takes a reading every 15 minutes. I’m also no longer allowed out of bed (though I couldn’t anyway with the internal monitoring) and can only have water and ice chips. I really should have eaten something (as everyone suggested) before Dr. Lubeck arrived.

Funny note: As soon as I had the epidural I immediately popped back to life and started questioning how I would approach the birth of baby number two. Try for natural again? Go straight for the epi? Jenne was looking at me like I was crazy but my sweet husband knows me and just let me talk. I can’t help being a planner, it’s just how my brain works. If you’re curious, I’m totally undecided. Right now I’m leaning towards adoption. 🙂 

9:15pm It’s been fifteen minutes, so of course we should have another intervention! This is actually one that Greg and I had never come across in our birth class, a sort of reverse breaking the waters if you will. To help avoid a c-section, we start fluid injection back into the uterus. I think this is the point that I laughed – what else was there left to do? A c-section is pretty much the only intervention I haven’t had at this point.

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I asked Greg to take this picture of my IV pole. Earlier in the day the nurses had been laughing that there were so many hooks on it (this pole was from another floor, not typically the one that they have in the CBC). By the time I was done, they were nearly out of hooks to hang new bags on. This is totally what the natural birth I had envisioned looked like…

9:30pm We have another major heart rate deceleration and I flip around back and forth (with the help of nurses now that I’m somewhat numb) until we land in child’s pose with a big bean bag supporting me. This seems to be the only position that makes the baby happy so I stay in it for three or four hours. I didn’t realize how sore my hips were because I was numb, but this made pushing later on quite difficult.IMG_0146_edited-1

Thumbs up to epidurals. There are no pictures of me in labor pre-epidural, which is probably a good thing. I’m not sure I will ever enjoy child’s pose again. 

11:00pm I’m starting to feel some pain from contractions, which I let my nurse know about. She calls in Mary Lou who suggests that we have Dr. Lubeck come back and top me off. I get the top off a few minutes later and while it takes the contraction pressure away, it also makes me legs go completely numb. Of everything that’s happened, this is the first thing that almost makes me break down. I could not stand the feeling of not being able to move my toes voluntarily.

11:30pm The midwives tell me I really need to sleep, so Jenne goes off to find a place to rest and Greg remakes his couch bed and settles in for the evening. Unfortunately my nurse has left the sound up on baby’s heart rate monitor so I spend most of the night awake listening to it and monitoring. It’s a very helpless feeling to not be able to fix something like this. The few times there are decelerations, nurses quickly come in (they are monitoring from their station) and flip me around as I’m unable to do it myself now. I eventually ask them to turn the sound down as I’m making myself crazy and know I need sleep.

Saturday, 2/28

12:30am Anna and Mary Lou come in and we talk about the reality of what’s going on. It’s been almost 36 hours since my induction started. More worrisome, it’s been four hours since my water was broken and there has been no progress. They give us a deadline of 2:30am (two hours away) to show progress or we will have to really think about a c-section. They have been in contact all evening with the on-call OB and everyone is comfortable giving me another two hours.

1:30am My nurse comes in to take vitals and I mention to her that I’m feeling new pressure sensations. She let Mary Lou know, who sends Anna in to check me. Finally some good news – I’m at 7 cm! Progress means tat the 2:30am c-section discussion is off the table.

I attempted to sleep through the rest of the night but only got a few minutes here and there. I would have nurses come in to change my position about once an hour or so when the baby’s heart rate dropped since I couldn’t move my lower body at all at this point. It was a terrible night of sleep in which I pretty much just looked out the window and waited for sunrise.

7:30am Mary Lou and Anna come in to say good morning and check progress. I’m not quite at a ten, so they decide to dial up the pitocin a bit to see if we can get me to a ten and get this baby out.

8:00am Baby is not liking the pitocin, so we’ve turned it off and the midwives decide that my 9.5 cm is going to have to be good enough. Deborah is now the midwife on call and Mary Lou and Anna come in to say good bye. (They also had another ‘problem’ labor going on at the same time that had ended in an emergency c-section around midnight. I can only imagine it was a very long shift for them.) You know you are in labor for a long time when you’ve gone through three midwives – they work 24 hour shifts!

8:30am Deborah is ready to go and we start pushing. I can’t feel any of the pushing but the epidural is wearing off enough that I can feel contractions again. This is really helpful for knowing when to push. Greg and Jenne help me with my legs since I still don’t have much ability to move them, no matter how hard I try. My hips are also incredibly sore from spending hours in child’s pose the night before, which does not make pushing a ton of fun.

While the pushing felt productive, it was exhausting. I hadn’t slept in about 36 hours (and hadn’t had good sleep in days) and I hadn’t eaten anything in 24 hours. There were a few times I seriously thought I could fall asleep right there and just not have a baby. I was alternating every other contraction between pushing and oxygen. By this time I’m really over oxygen. I’d been having it fairly regularly for more than 24 hours and my mouth and lips were so dry. It also feels much better to push during a contraction than to just lay back and breath in the oxygen. But it was helping the baby so it was worth it. 

10:00am Deborah says we are very close and calls the baby’s nurse and the neonatalogist into the room. She tells me we’re going to have the baby in the next three pushes.

10:07am I tell Deborah I’m not interested in three more contractions and I push the baby out on the next one (in retrospect, probably not the smartest idea ever). The baby is born 43 hours after my induction was started.

I’m not able to hold her immediately as the mystery of her heart rate is solved when we see that she has the cord wrapped around her neck. In the end it turned out to be a blessing that she had the meconium and we had the neonatologist in the room at birth. She let out a little squeal but not much else so was taken to the other side of the room where they regulated her breathing.

10:15am We all realize in the hurry to get her stabilized no one looked at gender. Greg walked over to where they were working on her and proudly announced “it’s a Paige!”. We had a girl name picked out but for a boy we had not settled on a name, just had a short list of five names going. We were both a little relieved we didn’t have to figure out which seemed most appropriate for a little guy.

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10:20am Paige is brought over to me and laid on my chest. Greg and I just stared at her until Jenne suggested we talk to her. The next hour is a blur of being totally fixated on this beautiful little girl.

11:30am Paige’s nurse lets us know she has to take her to the NICU to get the antibiotics started. My legs are still numb and I can’t get out of bed so Greg goes with her. Jenne suggests I hand express some colostrum that Greg can feed her with his pinky, since we hadn’t managed to breastfeed before they needed to take her.

We spent the next two days in the hospital as Paige had to have antibiotics until her blood culture showed no infections at 48 hours after birth. We had a few visitors and mostly spent time cuddling our sweet girl and learning how to feed her. Greg quickly became the diaper changing king. On Monday morning both Paige and I were examined and given the okay to go home. I

We struggled for quite some time with adjusting the carseat to her size and were sure they were going to consider us unfit to care for this tiny human. But no, once we got it sorted out they made sure she was secure and sent us on our way. It’s sort of surreal when they tell you to take the baby home. After the slowest two mile drive home (and a stop at Chipotle to pick up lunch), we made it home to start this next phase of our lives as a family of four. Yes, Alfred still counts. 

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introducing Paige Clara Martin

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Paige Clara Martin was born at 10:07 on Saturday morning, February 28th. She’s a little nugget, weighing 6lbs 15oz. And that’s at one day shy of 42 weeks gestation! She is 20″ long with strawberry blonde hair and a possible dimple. IMG_8966_edited-1

To say we are smitten is an understatement. She’s captured our hearts completely. Every facial expression is the cutest thing we’ve ever seen and every squawk the cutest noise. We’ve gone from our comfortable adult only life to raving about how great that two hour stretch of sleep felt. Things are going well and we’re looking forward to adding Alfred back to the mix tomorrow.

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I’m working on writing out Paige’s birth story as a way to process it myself. The way in which it occurred is so far from our birth plan it’s comical. But at the end of the day we have a healthy baby, and a healthy mama to take care of her. That’s what really matters. It’s not a short story, but it is one with a very sweet ending.

incubating: weeks thirty seven to forty

I wasn’t quite prepared for actually making it all the way through week 40. We are still hanging in here, but definitely ready for this baby to make it’s appearance. S/he has a great heart beat and is measuring right on size; I’m trying to focus on the fact that it is healthy and doing well and just taking it’s time before joining us. IMG_6961_edited-1The last few weeks have been pretty quiet. We didn’t plan a whole lot starting in late January, unsure of when the baby would arrive. We did host our third annual Super Bowl party for people who don’t really care about the Super Bowl. It’s quite fun. We have a ton of food, lots of conversation, and a little football. The last two years have been a little more football focused since the Seahawks have been contenders. This year Greg and I even got in the spirit (only because I happened to win two hats at a work event the week before). Clearly we are not good luck charms.

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The biggest change for me is that as of last week I am now on maternity leave. I’m taking a six month leave of absence, with a return date in mid-August. I have no idea what will happen between now and then and am not stressing about it. We’ll make decisions that make the best sense for our little family. It feels a little like no man’s land right now – I’m eager to move on to this next stage of our life, but it’s not here yet. I spent the week walking, going to yoga, and reading. I’ve read five books already in February and am enjoying the freedom to stop in at Starbucks, have a coffee, and read for an hour. That won’t be the case shortly.

IMG_7036_edited-1I’m only half joking when I say that my biggest accomplishment was painting my own toenails last week. At 40+2 it was not exactly an easy task.

IMG_7029_edited-1You can find us on the couch most nights, watching Top Chef. We’ve watched seasons one, two, and three in the last month. I don’t have a ton of energy by the time Greg gets home from work, so our typical evening includes dinner (that I don’t cook because I’m over cooking right now) and two episodes of Top Chef. One night we watched four episodes and felt like awful people, so now we limit ourselves to two, then I read and Greg works on his Lego project or work. I have to say my husband is a saint when it comes to eating dinner. He ate a burger four out of five nights last week because that was the only thing that sounded good to me. I tend to stick to one thing for several nights in a row then move on. We’ve had a lot of Pho this pregnancy (we’re talking two or three nights a week sometimes); I’m curious to see if I ever want to eat it again once the baby is born.

IMG_6950_edited-1The nursery is done, the bags are packed, we have a pack ‘n play set up in our room, and a changing station upstairs is ready. There’s really nothing left to prepare. Our house is more picked up then it’s ever been, laundry is constantly done and put away, and I’m even reading about how to re-season my cast iron cookware. I’m stretching for ways to keep busy.

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I was surprised to see that I actually grew a little more over these last weeks. It makes sense as the baby is definitely putting on weight, but it doesn’t feel like I have gotten much bigger. I had even lost a little weight at my latest appointment (I’ve now gained exactly 30 pounds).

I’m 41 weeks today and have an ultrasound and NST scheduled around lunchtime. The ultrasound will ensure the placenta is still chugging along and the NST will ensure the baby is still doing well. We’ll repeat that again on Thursday at 41.5 weeks. At 42 weeks (next Monday) they will strongly encourage inducing. At the suggestion of my midwives, I have three acupuncture appointments scheduled for this week and my usual massage (she has started to do pressure points but clearly they haven’t helped). I’ve never had acupuncture done before but I’m willing to try anything to avoid being induced, so why not.

because we needed another blanket

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After finishing the first knit blanket for the martian my plan was to make him or her a quilt. I had just finished Sloane’s toddler quilt though and realized there was no way I could managed another one at eight and nine months pregnant. I still wanted something bright and colorful and decided to revisit the Purl Bee baby blanket pattern for a third time (one, two).

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PC: Purl Bee

I loved the colors used in the tutorial – they were gender neutral and reminded me of sunset over the ocean. The yarn kit is $105 and I wasn’t really looking to spend that much. Off to JoAnne’s I went, looking for similar colors. The only line of yarn I could find that had a decent match to the colors was Vanna White’s. I’ve used it before but would like to move away from it as it’s acrylic. The colors aren’t quite as bright and vivid as the more expensive yarn, but I still ended up really liking the final product.

IMG_8901_edited-1I would be lying if I said I expected to finish this before the baby arrived. I am trying to look at the bright side – who knows when it would have been finished post baby. And now I have another option for staging baby photo shoots. But I would still really like for this kid to make an appearance. Soon. As of the writing of this post (11am on Friday, 2/20), no baby on the horizon.

IMG_7025_edited-1I started with the dark orange and until I added the final color I really wasn’t feeling the blanket. It felt blah and muted. The oranges and yellows with just the light blue looked really off and I almost didn’t want to finish. That was probably more pregnancy frustration speaking, it rears it’s head in odd ways. Something about the final color, the teal blue, made it all come together and work for me. I’m loving it.

IMG_8911_edited-1I’m getting better at casting on the correct number of stitches for my desired size. This blanket was intended by to 40 x 63 inches and turned out to be 43 x 59. Pretty close to the ratio I was going for. What’s funny is I didn’t realize just how large that would be. It’s definitely not a baby blanket for swaddling or over the carseat, but perfect for me to use when I’m down in the nursery or for the baby to play on.

IMG_8890_edited-1I did have to go back and buy a second skein of each color as I was only about to get through about 2/3 of each color with the first skein. Next time I use this pattern I’ll keep that in mind and follow the same proportions but make the dimensions a bit smaller.

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Project: 14/35
Time: 2 months of TV time
Tutorial: none, but inspired by Purl Bee baby blanket pattern
Cost: $56 (2 skeins each of 7 colors of yarn @ $3.99)

weekend update | while we’re waiting

First off: nope, no baby yet. Yesterday was my due date but I’m not really in a big hurry. We haven’t had this much down time…ever, maybe? It’s been so nice to just spend time together, relax, and make plans at the spur of the moment. I’m not feeling horribly uncomfortable, though sleep is a little lacking. I’m walking a lot and keeping my food pretty clean in hopes of continuing to feel good until it’s go time.

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The baby did not get the memo that Martins are punctual. Let’s hope s/he understands that our family motto is “efficiency” and makes this a quick labor once it’s time.

My last day of work was Friday and as I was heading home Greg mentioned that he and our friend, KII, would be staying later at work to finish a project. You might think this means a work project, but no, it was to update their lego station in the break area to include our company’s new logo.

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We’ve been doing Friday night happy hour (though it’s turned out to be dinner every week) with KII and his wife Becca lately, so us ladies decided to go out on our own while they nerded out. The point of Friday night happy hour is to try new restaurants as we all felt like we’d been in a rut (adventure is happening, people!). Last week we had dinner at Brunswick & Hunt in Ballard. Great atmosphere, delicious food, big portions. Since I’m not imbibing all I can say is that the drinks looked pretty tasty as well. Try the Merguez sausage and take the half you can’t eat home to enjoy with eggs the next morning.

Back to this weekend. Becca and I tried mkt. in Tangletown. It is super tiny (28 seats) with an open kitchen. Greg and I are currently watching all the seasons of Top Chef from the beginning and I love open kitchens and watching chefs do their art. We showed up right when they opened at 5 and got the only non-reserved seats they had for the rest of the weekend. Let’s just say that it’s three days later and Becca and I are still texting each other about the food. I’ve never lusted over green beans before. Or a beet salad. Or quail. I have lusted over hamachi before, but there’s was delicious as well.

No different than other years, our Valentine’s Day was very low key. We started off with brunch at Liam’s in U-Village, another new-to-us restaurant. We are on a roll. There is nothing like the pending arrival of a newborn to make you get out of the house way more than you normally would! While cleaning out a coin purse last week, I found a gift card from our wedding in 2012. I looked up where it could be used and one of the places was Liam’s. Thanks, Smithskis, for our Valentine’s brunch!  The food was pretty good, but what we were really excited to see was a number of strollers and car seats. Another baby friendly place to add to our mental list.

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We spent the rest of the day relaxing. We watched a lot of Top Chef season two, took the dog out to play fetch in the amazing weather and worked on our hobbies.IMG_7001_edited-1

I’m almost done with a giant blanket that I don’t particularly love but want to finish.

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Greg continues to classify and rebuild all his childhood lego sets.

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We had a very romantic dinner of burgers and fries (my request) from a restaurant a few blocks from us. I was enjoying the lazy downtime and didn’t want to bother actually going there for dinner so we ordered it instead. I don’t know when the last time I had french fries was. They were amazing. To make myself feel better about being good and skipping the bun and cheese, I added egg and bacon to my burger. We’re not total heathens and I did add a beet salad to our order. It might be because I was 39 weeks and 6 days pregnant at the time of consumption, but that meal was amazing. We watched the season two Top Chef finale while we dined and it was a lovely way to end the day. By 9pm I was pretty excited that the chances of having a holiday baby were getting close to zero. That was gift enough for me.

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The weather continued to be amazing and yesterday we took the dog around Green Lake for a brisk walk. I consider keeping up with my 6″ tall husband at nine months pregnant to be brisk.

IMG_7012_edited-1Greg has gotten in the habit of making extreme statements every time we leave the house now, like “this might be the last time we ever go to brunch”. I did have to give him this one, though. This very well could have been the last time the three of us walk around Green Lake. I don’t really see a situation in which together we take the dog without the baby. Of course that means I had to commemorate it with a shadow picture. Turns out pregnancy isn’t great in shadows.

I’m writing myself a short to do list of the last few things I’d like to get done before baby, but otherwise plan to do a lot of reading, finish my blanket, and maybe even bust out the sewing machine. I’ve never not had a job since I was 16 so this feels a little strange, but definitely doable. And I will continue to walk briskly until the kid decides it wants to make an appearance. Have a great week!

 

the baby’s room

A few year’s back I saw this blog post on a baby girl’s room and I loved it. The room is cheerful and bright for a child, but also fits in with the rest of their home. It was a room I would love to spend time in, not just tolerate for the kid. When I first started thinking about the martian’s room I knew I wanted it to have a similar look and feel. I’ve said it before and I totally own it – I’m an executioner, not a strategist.

In late summer Greg and I went to a Neil deGrasse Tyson lecture here in Seattle. It was hands down the best lecture I’ve ever heard – I would go sit through the exact same one right now just to hear it again. During the Q&A, a woman asked him something along the lines of how he defines success and his reply stuck with me. He said he measures his days as successful if he’s learned something new and if he has done something to make someone else’s day better.

In my head that translated to be kind and be curious. And that is exactly what I hope for for our kids. First and foremost, be nice people. I’ve been the nice girl tormented by the mean girls and, sad to say, for a brief period in junior high, I was on the flip side of that coin. Being kind is way, way better. And curiosity. I don’t care what he (or she) is into and I look forward to watching it change over the years, but I hope he looks at the world like it’s full of possibilities waiting to be found.

All that to say, those were my two influences on decorating this little room in our house. I should also add that I had the goal of buying as few baby only pieces of furniture as possible with the hope that most things can be repurposed once we no longer need a nursery. IMG_8852_edited-1Here’s the room from the hallway. We don’t have yellow hall walls, I’m just an amateur photographer trying to deal with a basement room on a half sunny winter Seattle day. Believe it or not, the walls in the hallway are the exact same color as the baby’s room. Time for a photography lighting class, perhaps?

I am so excited to bring the black and white Crate and Barrel rug back into our home! I loved it in our office, but it wasn’t realistic with how often shoes and muddy doodle feet walked on it. Down in the baby’s room, though? Totally will work. I even went with the 5×8 instead of the 4×6. More stripes is always a good thing.

IMG_8868_edited-1The right side of the room. I used the throw pillow (formerly of our couch, but displaced when we got a new rug in the office) to pick colors for the room. I figured I like the pillow, so as long as everything I put in the room matched it, I would like it too. The side table will be perfect for collecting stuff as I nurse and then can easily move into other areas of our home in a few years. I loved the whimsical look of the lamp. We’re still trying to find the best positioning for it to be accessible but not shine directly in our face. The striped basket is full of swaddle blankets and burp cloths, two things I’m told we can’t have enough of.

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This pillow makes me happier than a throw pillow should. But it just screams cheerful.

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I love these digital prints I found on Etsy and printed on our home printer. The “Adventure Awaits” was a no brainer given my OLW this year. The shop was having a two for one deal on digital prints and I had two large frames. I picked up the bear to add a little California love to the room. Lauren pointed out it also adds a little UCLA love, too. We’ll start early with proper loyalties.

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I was going to try to paint “be kind” and “be curious” script art myself, but then I found that Kal Barteski had this print that wouldn’t involve any doomed-from-the-start DIY. Sold. Combined with the two other sentiments, this wall is my favorite. I think it speaks just as much to me as to the baby.

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And there’s the crib. I wanted a non-toxic crib and there are two options, really. Spend $800+ on something fancy or go to IKEA and get the wood one (no paint, no varnish, no glue) for $70. Sold. I love that it’s so plain and simple it doesn’t become the focal point of the room. Greg did his fatherly duty and put it together, documenting the process here. The baby will be sleeping in a pack n’ play we borrowed from friends in our room for some amount of time post-birth and will eventually move into the crib. That could be on the second night s/he’s here or in 18 months. I’m trying not to control things that I have no experience with yet.

IMG_8859_edited-1Then we get to the fun stuff. The bookshelf had been in our garage for a few years but wasn’t a necessity (more like a place to collect junk) so we cleaned it off and brought it back in the house. The top bin holds all the stuffed animals that we’ve been gifted. After finding a stuffed bear a little damp and laying in the hallway one day, I realized we’re going to have to do some training with Alfred. All the toys in the house are no longer his. So for now they are tucked away out of view. Thanks to friends and family, we have a great little library collection going. The building blocks have the elements from the periodic table on them, a Christmas gift to baby from Greg. He sadly couldn’t find the flow chart baby blocks that we came across online in stock anywhere. #nerdbaby

Untitled-1One of my first purchases for the baby was the globe. I get that the kid is not going to understand it for years, but I still like the idea of him (or her) loving Seattle but realizing there is a whole big world out there. The little giraffe is made by women who work for the Kenyan organization that one of my good friends is the US director for. I became obsessed with finding old school wooden toys for the baby. I love how they look and that they are simple. (The bottom right basket in the shelf is full of hand-me-down regular newborn and baby toys, which I’m sure the baby will love way more than my Esty finds.) The penguin is a gift from my good friend in San Francisco; it’s so adorable it finally got me excited about buying baby stuff when I received it.

IMG_8862_edited-1And lastly we have the dresser / changing table area. We are cloth diapering so the top drawer is full of diapers; I have newborn clothes in the second drawer and 0-3 month in the third. Future sizes are all stored away in the closet (door on right) to be pulled out when needed. I don’t love the decor above the dresser but I’m feeling done so for now it’s staying. The map is of the US and its meant to be cross-stitched as you visit different states. We’ll see if that happens someday. We already have plans for at least three but probably four states this year (if the first trip isn’t an epic disaster), so maybe I will be motivated to update it every few months. Once the baby is named I might do something with it’s name above here as well.

We will be using disposable diapers for the first few weeks and they are stored in the little turqouise IKEA cart. (I’m obsessed with these carts and own one in each of the three colors they currently produce.) We also have disposable and reusable wipes with the diapers, and once I get around to making them, the other baby cleaning products will be stored on top as well. Nursing supplies are on the second shelf and baby health care items on the bottom. We have a second cart in cream upstairs that has diapers, wipes, nursing supplies, burp clothes, and blankets. I’ve heard from several people that we will be very thankful to have a baby station on both floors.

So that’s it. Room three of six in our home is decorated and I love it. The countdown is now to three weeks at the very longest before we can bring the little one home and put the room to use. Also, that means my countdown to sushi is three weeks. It’s the one pregnancy ‘rule’ I followed and I feel like I should see it through now that I’m so close.

The Goods

As usual, I waited for everything to go on sale (minus IKEA and Amazon) and use eBates whenever I can for the automatic rebate.

rug // crib // sheet // striped blanket // paper poufs // rocker // foot stool pouf // lamp // side table // ‘adventure awaits’ print // bear print // large frames // ‘be’ print // ‘you are so loved’ print  (no longer available) // ‘see the world’ print // white frames // striped basket // curtains // bookshelf (similar) // large baskets (container store) // globe // california toy // rainbow wooden stacker // wooden toys // periodic table blocks // cart // dresser // changing pad // US stitch map (Happy Mail by A Beautiful Mess – no longer available)

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what I want to remember | third trimester

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Prenatal Yoga I started at 13 weeks and and in the early months being around pregnant women weekly was a sanity saver. The constant worry of ‘is this normal?’ eases a little when another woman mentions she’s experiencing the same thing. But now in the third trimester it’s a body saver. Just as soon as I think I can’t possibly stand the pain in my upper right back any longer, it’s time to go to yoga again. 75 minutes of stretching is pretty much the only thing that makes me comfortable these days.

Jamba Juice Until November, I’d probably had a smoothie twice since college. I’m not a smoothie or juice person at all, but something came over me one day and I had to have a Jamba Juice. Thus started a two month obsession with the Mega Mango. After the holidays I tamed the beast (I think I had one in January). The resulting heart burn and sugar cravings weren’t worth it. But I might need to have one more before the baby arrives.

Epsom Salt Baths I don’t remember why I started this, but I have an almost nightly ritual now of taking a (luke warm) bath. I use a ton of epsom salt, back from my CrossFit days, and read a book. It’s the most relaxing thirty minutes of my day. It also helps with aches and pains, I think just being in the water in general takes some of the load of my body. I am REALLY looking forward to a hot bath once I don’t have to consider heating amniotic fluid.

The Toe Watch So I had no idea I wouldn’t be able to see my toes at some point until a friend asked if I could still see them. This was around week 28 or so and I became obsessed with checking every morning. They finally disappeared during week 34. Not sure why this made me so happy, but I question nothing about feelings in pregnancy. Reference my newly established love of smoothies as proof nothing makes sense while you are growing a human.

Walking Always high on my list of favorite activities, but now it’s even more enjoyable. I’m not sitting and I’m not standing, both of which are less comfortable than moving. We’ve been doing Green Lake on the weekends and lots of neighborhood walks (when the doodle is willing to cooperate) during the week. Starting this weekend I’m hoping to do three miles a day as part of my eviction plan…