02 Apr 2013 | 2 comments »

(This is Part I of III about Jannik’s birth. Catch Part II, here)


Week 38 of pregnancy was killer. Anabelle was born during week 38 so I was expecting the baby to come any day now. Then Anabelle and Henric got sick over the weekend, both with fevers and nastiness. By the following Tuesday, they were feeling better but I had developed a sinus and ear infection. A trip to the doctor provided some relief with the news that with an at-term baby, I could pretty much ingest any drugs I wanted. Loaded with decongestant, nasal spray and cough drops, I spent the rest of the week balancing rest and Anabelle – all the while reversing my “get this baby out” mantra into “please don’t let me have this baby feeling this crappy.”


We watched a LOT of television. Way beyond the usual one-show-a-day rule. The only relief was that through the sinus headache and pain from coughing, I suddenly no longer felt any of the aches of pregnancy in my hips or back. My chiropractor claims this is totally normal. The mind can only process so much pain so, above a certain threshold, we quit perceiving lower-level pain. This made me consider praying to go into labor because I would either get relief from the head and cough-ache or not feel the pain of labor because of the explosion in my head…


When my sister Jayme arrived on Friday, it was total elation. My sinuses were draining and my newfound addiction to nasal spray was working miracles. I had a nasty, hacking cough but now there was someone to help! We spent the weekend brunching with friends, skiing (me watching, them doing) and hosting a Super Bowl party.


By the time Monday rolled around with my week 39 appointment, my calendar was cleared and I was ready to have the baby. The baby, though, was not ready to be had. The force of all my coughing was helping to move him south (apparently he wasn’t happy about all the hacking tremors and was attempting to exit) but the canal locks were not opening. I was a total of 0 dilated.


Wednesday arrived and Jayme and I spent the morning getting manicures and pedicures and the afternoon chasing Anabelle around Greenlake on her bike. By late afternoon I started getting antsy because I hadn’t felt the baby move all day. Two hours of various positions and trying out every internet trick to get him to move, I still couldn’t feel him and I was getting nervous. I called our midwife and headed over to her house for a stress test.


Within a couple of minutes, it was clear the baby was fine and moving normally. Apparently all the coughing, combined with the massive stomach stretching had caused my abdominal muscles to go numb. He was moving, I just couldn’t feel it anymore. This also explained why it miraculously wasn’t hurting in my stomach anymore every time I coughed.


Once back home I ate supper and settled in to watch bad tv for the evening. When labor started with Anabelle, I was at a David Sedaris reading, listening to him make fun of the special privileges pregnant women think they should be afforded for a disability they inflict upon themselves. I pride myself on sitting through the whole show and driving through my contractions 30 minutes home alone.  I like being able to say I went into labor at a David Sedaris show; someone I respect, admire and thoroughly enjoy reading.


My labor this time started while watching Nashville.


24 Jan 2013 | 7 comments »

We are just days away from the expulsion of He-Who-Has-Not-Been-Named and things are getting uncomfortable. After two weeks of subsisting primarily on ice cream and root beer, my body has decided to no longer tolerate dairy and there are just all kinds of tummy and esophagus-burning unpleasantness that has me convinced it’s time to get the baby out.


Monday we hit a full 37 weeks and our official “you may now have the baby” day meaning I was all ready to start the baby-inducing walk/sex/spice fest but a trip to the midwife with Henric put a damper on my extracurricular activities. She says the baby’s going to come when he comes and anything I do to speed things along is just going to mean a longer labor. That’s not something any of us wants so looks like dairy’s out for the near future, along with sleeping comfortably and movement that’s not accompanied with grunts, sighs and moans.


A 35 week ultrasound gave us the opportunity to get a closer look at who we’ll be greeting soon. Apparently he’s going to be huge (well over 9lbs) and the ultrasound technician said we should name him “Magnus” based on the circumference of his head alone. Hours of internet research later, though, I’ve come down from the panic ladder and convinced myself that my body would not betray me by producing a child I can not push out of my babychute.


We spent the weekend going over our homebirth prep checklist, unpacking old baby supplies and marveling over how small everything seems (insert general “I’ll believe it when I see it” disbelief about whether or not his bottom will seriously fit into those tiny stage one diapers) while discovering how unprepared we are for the impending arrival. Half the bassinet/cosleeper was lost in the move and for me “nesting” has resulted in an inability to make decisions so we’ll be using some kind of modified laundry basket as a baby bed until I find the perfect solution that meets all the requirements of my unrealistic, idealistic vision for where this baby should sleep.


I was feeling kind of down about my current physical state because I just don’t remember being this uncomfortable last time around. Most likely I’ve either purged it from my mind or I was working full time last time around and didn’t have the luxury of time to think about being uncomfortable. Then I started looking at some of the pictures we took this weekend and comparing them to some from nine days before Anabelle was born. I’m convinced that I looked much fatter then so everything’s going to be fine.


08 Jan 2013 | no comments »

Thanksgiving through the New Year just kind of flew by in a hefty gush of really awesome family time, presents, get-togethers, cooking, baking, eating and pregnancy insomnia. I was unable to find the time to update my blog or send out Christmas cards (the last literally went out this morning – yes, that is a full 12 days after the actual holiday and a good 15 days after the post office’s deadline to get cards delivered by Christmas) but I did manage to watch all six seasons (that’s 128 episodes for those of you counting, or about 94 hours sitting on my ass, watching tv and eating something) of Dawson’s Creek. In my defense, the last three seasons were predominately watched during bouts of pregnancy insomnia between midnight and seven am or while I was conveniently giving Henric and Anabelle invaluable daddy-daughter time. I would like to write a whole post arguing the yay’s and nay’s of whether this time was wasted, causing me to miss out on possible holiday memories, or well-spent in valuable reflection on my pubescent self, but there’s a lot that happened in the last six weeks so I should probably share some of that stuff instead.


Back in late summer when the obviousness and hunger pains of this pregnancy were starting to become relevant, I somehow managed to convince Henric to sign up for his first half marathon to help me train for my last before the birth. I had it pretty much calculated out that if I stayed focused and on-track I’d make the Route 66 Half, in Tulsa the weekend before Thanksgiving, my last big race before the delivery. I’d be seven and a half months pregnant on race day and I knew I’d need some moral support to keep me going out on runs over the next several months.


Unfortunately, my body decided that wasn’t going to happen. I made it up to eight miles before my right knee started bothering me in a new delightfully painful way. I tried to push through with trips to the chiropractor every other day, prenatal yoga and shorter runs before my body just finally said, “enough.” The chiropractor, midwife and yoga teacher were all giving not so subtle hints that maybe I just wasn’t one of those people who could run up to their delivery date and then our unplanned trip to Germany sort of provided a gentle bowing out of my pregnancy running career.


Henric, though, flourished. He ran through the hills and rain of Germany and stayed steady and focused on his training plan. Race day dawned and Henric did awesome. He ran his race and finished within a minute of his goal pace time. Really remarkable and I was so proud.


Anabelle and I headed up the ultimate cheerleading team and our posters were a hit. We made five stops on the half route and another three on the full route to cheer on Christina and Jayme. Christina finished her first marathon still smiling and looking strong and Jayme PR’d, finally getting to run a full without rain, hail, freezing temps or me slowing her down. I was a little bit sad to have missed out on running but was super psyched for each of their successes and am excited about post-baby redemption next year.


**The next several posts will probably back-track a little bit of our holiday fun but look for lots of post to catch up over the next two weeks. I sent out the first of the Christmas “thank you” cards yesterday so I’m on track to get 2013 off to a more timely start. Resolution #1: cut back on tv time.


29 Nov 2012 | 1 comment »

We made it back to Seattle just in time for the St. Martin’s Day Lantern Festival at Anabelle’s school. One of the big advantages of our move to Seattle has been that Henric can reconnect with his German childhood and all the traditions that weren’t super present in the heartland, Austin. An added bonus is that Anabelle has hit the fun age where it’s all super exciting and relevant and Henric can pretend we’re getting into these traditions for her sake and not just his.


We actually got to celebrate two lantern festivals this year. This first was the Fremont Arts Council’s Luminata Lantern Parade, a celebration of the autumnal equinox. Henric and Anabelle spent the evening before the parade making lanterns. (I also made a lantern but it was later deemed subpar by the German designer and his offspring and therefore did not make the “save for next year” or “memory book” cut.) The next night we headed down to Greenlake to take in the festivities and parade. The show began with the welcoming of King Winter in the form of a decorated boat. As we bade farewell to summer a large lantern of the sun accidently caught fire and the master of ceremonies burning hat got a little out of control and briefly lit his hair on fire. It was all one big, spectacular, fun mess of classic small town arts council organizational chaos. Super entertaining but terrifying for the children in the audience and more than one child broke out in tears.


Following the show, we headed out to parade around the lake. I had forgotten the stroller but figured we’d make it halfway around the lake and could stop for dinner along the way. About a quarter of a mile in, though, Anabelle started drifting and so Henric put her on his shoulders. Another quarter of a mile later, she was asleep and we headed back to the car two miles early.


By the time the school’s Lantern Festival rolled around, we were in much better walking shape, making it all the way to the parade destination, surviving a good half hour of singing, and marching all the way back to pass out in the car before we left the parking lot. The whole trip was accompanied by an accordion and trumpet player and despite being gone the weeks leading up to the festival, Anabelle joined right in with the new songs and quickly found her old friends ready to hold hands and march along.


Being gone two weeks, it was super touching too, that one of Anabelle’s classmates had made her a lantern because he was afraid she wouldn’t have one for the parade. We started the school year each with the goal to make real friends this year and the texts, calls, emails, and offers of help over the last several weeks have been such an encouragement that we’re right on track to create really great relationships in Seattle. So excited about old and new traditions in the year to come.


26 Nov 2012 | no comments »

We wrapped up our unexpected jaunt to Germany with a trip to the town of Kirchen for their annual music festival and visit to Flippolino, Germany’s children play paradise (or the German equivalent of a jump zone / bounceU). Anabelle came up a little short on this trip in the area of play opportunities and kid time so she and I made two treks to this mecca of loudness and color during our two week Westerwald stay.


Much like its American counterparts, Flippolino featured an array of bounce houses, ball pits and trampolines. Unlike its American counterparts, though, there were no employees policing the facility and the owners genuinely appear to believe the posted signs “Parents are responsible for their children” and “Play at your own risk” would legally suffice in the event of an accident. This led to a level of unregulated and more questionably dangerous play situations than I’m used to in a children’s play place. It also led to an incredible amount of parents playing in the ball pits and jumping in the bounce houses and me being moderately disappointed when I realized that my pregnant stomach would not fit through all the tubes in the slide jungle gym. I did have quite a good time on the roller slide and the trampoline (until it hit me that that movement might also not be good for the baby). Guess we’ll be coming back here once the baby’s born…