Monthly Archives: March 2014

Team Labor & Delivery

The pregnant cousin had her baby! Now I will need a new name for her. I will figure something out. It isn’t my birth story to tell, but some of it is, so I am going to tell that part.

Not long after I moved in with the cousins (she was about 2 months pregnant at the time), we were watching youtube videos of home births. She looked at me and said, “will you video my delivery?” I happily said that I would. I didn’t really know what I was getting into; I had never been a part of a birth before.

In October, I flew home in hopes of witnessing my nephew’s birth. Sister-in-law had invited me to be in the room. I got there the day he was due. Walked on the beach with Sister-in-law. Told the little babe he was getting an eviction notice. I had traveled over a thousand miles to meet him, he needed to show up. A week later I had to get back and start a new job. My first day on the job my nephew decided to join the world. I missed his birth, but Dad flew me home to meet him a week later.

Nephew just born

There were A LOT of tears (and we are not particularly teary people). My arrival was a surprise for everyone but Mom and Dad. When I walked in the door, Brother’s eyes got wet and he chokes out: what? what? He immediately hands me the baby. I cried, Brother cried, Sister-in-law cried (she is a good crier), Mom and Dad cried, the wee one slept through it all. It was beautiful.

 

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Meeting Nephew. Love this little man so much.

Fast forward 5 and a half months and the very pregnant cousin wants to go for a walk when I got home from work. Now, we have this gorgeous open space walking distance from our house, and quite a bit of the pregnancy has been experienced on this walk. My first few weeks here we would stop often, her to vomit from pregnancy induced nausea, me to adjust to altitude. Second trimester saw frequent potty stops and lots of emotions, hers pregnancy induced, mine life induced (the emotions that is).

So here we are walking along 2 days past her due date she is slow for obvious reasons and I am slow on account of the broken foot. This was going to be a short walk. It was not. It turned into a 2 hour walk. We didn’t take our phones. This was not wise on our part, but oh well. We were walking along…

“Oh my God! Ugh, this hurts, like down here! Is this what a contraction feels like? Am I in labor?”

“I don’t know! How would I know? I only know what period cramps feel like! Let’s get home…”

“Okay, wait…ouch, yeah this is different…okay…lets get back…”

We get back to the house, the sun had set on our walk, we were freezing. Hot showers to warm up.

“Hey, I hate to kick you out but I want the house cleared out.”

I headed to a friends. They were so sweet to have a space waiting for me. I get a text message:

Water just broke; you can tell the group to light candle…

I know I won’t get any sleep, but I decide to try anyway. Just as I was climbing into bed (literally one foot sliding under the covers) this text comes in:

Ok, talked to doctor, she wants us to come in […]

Come over 🙂

Bring a book just in case 🙂

Bring a book? Ha!

Little did we all know how this was going to play out.

Wednesday night, at 11 pm, we meet at the hospital. We all had our hospital bags packed already, we get into the room, the doula arrives. We plug in the lamp we brought. Load up the mini fridge. Plug in the speakers. Set out the ball to sit on, the head massager. Get all of our stuff settled in. We are ready for this baby. I am a little superfluous at this point, but I have the camera ready, and everyones’ phones next to me. I doze off on the couch here and there, and become well acquainted with the ice machine.

The sun rises Thursday morning, the four of us (cousin, pregnant cousin, doula, me) are all still in the room. We have a beautiful view of the mountains. No baby.

At one point pregnant cousin says, “Guys, I think these are just Braxton-Hicks. I am not really in labor.”

We laugh. We are confident these are not Braxton-Hicks. Confident there will be a baby soon.

Now it is afternoon. We order sandwiches. We try to rotate naps between contractions. Contractions seem to be picking up and intensifying. We have started running low on snacks, and energy. But every time I look at her I think, “she is doing the work, she is tired, I can rally.”

At some point, the sun sets behind the mountains. None of us have slept since Tuesday night. The new nurse comes in (we have been there for three shifts now). They are talking about interventions. Everyone is tired. And honestly everyone’s morale is getting a little low. But we are trying to keep our eyes on the prize.

We have passed the 24 hour mark since her water broke. We are past the 24 hours at the hospital mark.

We have a scary moment. Nurses come rushing in. It happened pretty quickly. Now pregnant cousin has an epidural (she never asked for it, but the doctor explained in that moment that it was getting necessary and she agrees). She is able to doze off for the first time since morning.

It is Friday.

25 hours at the hospital I send this text to a friend:

It is official. We ran out of real food. I just had a soda, candy bar, package of peanut butter, and two shock blocks and called that dinner.

I don’t know why I am so concerned about food. Whatever. The doula and I give the parents a few moments alone. We make instant broth and think it is the most amazing food. I am telling you, I was well acquainted with the beverage and snack station.  I also found possibly the only person in his office on the first floor at 1 am. He made change for me for the vending machine. The doula and I invent recipes from the snack station. We get the giggles. Giggles are good. Giggles motivate us. We get back to the future parents.

Future Dad finally agrees to nap on the couch. I am behind the pregnant lady rubbing her back falling asleep sitting up. Doula is on the other side of the bed rubbing lotion into her dry hands and massaging her head. Pregnant cousin rouses, asks me to rub her feet. I comply. She rouses again and remembers that I really dislike touching other people’s feet. Emotional gratitude for a moment. Then sleep again. I really am not a fan of feet. I am also too tired to care.

She rouses again and asks:

“Where is Lyndsay?”

“At home. You want her?”

“Is that my leg? Why is it over there?”

Guess that epidural is working. She dozes again.

3:30 Friday morning. Time to wake up and rally. I feel like I am a professional at reading the monitors. I understand how people know when a contraction is coming. I know what numbers are for Mommy and which are for baby. This might really happen soon. I am excited again. Where does all this energy come from? How are we all still functioning?!

Riding the wave. This girl is a champion. I am kind of in awe.

Sometime in the five o’clock hour it is time to start pushing. Cousin/Future Dad is holding Soon to be Not Pregnant Cousin’s hand. Doula has the right leg. I have the left. Commence pushing.

“Which one of you guys keeps farting?! Ugh that is really bad! [Husband] is that you?!”

The doctor tells her it is her.

“Don’t get that on the baby!!”

The doctor assures her she won’t.

We laughed about it later. We might have even laughed about it then, but I assure you we laugh about that now.

She continues to push.

This is one of the most amazing things I have ever seen. This focus and calm wash over her (she might disagree, but I swear to you she looked different). In this moment she was the most beautiful woman I had ever seen. Sure she had been up for days, and in labor for 30 hours, and on the roller coaster of her life. But I am telling you, breath taking.

I see a head. I take a picture. She wants to see it. Her eyes get huge. And time for another series of pushing.

A nurse takes over the left leg. I start filming.

The phone had been playing spa type music all day. The baby is crowning. I kid you not, the phone is playing Hallelujah Chorus.

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Little Peanut just born.

6:17 am Friday morning we have a baby. 5 lbs 12 oz 19 ¾ inches. Happy healthy baby boy. Elated family. Tears and laughter.

Life changing experience.

 

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Promising him his Auntie Aimee will always be there and be THAT aunt.

I feel so blessed to have these two precious babes in my life. I love them both so much. They are truly incredible.

 

 

The Tutu Saga Continues

So when I last left you I had the materials and a plan, but no sewing machine. Purim has come and gone, so here is the story of my tutu.

I realized that my next step really needed to involve the acquisition of a sewing machine. Luckily our neighbors have one. They also have a tiny, precious, new baby. Just saying.

After Dad dug the tutu out of the closet and sent me all those great pictures, Mom got home and got involved as well. She measured the width of each gather, the distance between each layer. She measured and wrote down all the information I could possibly need. We video chatted. She offered to mail me my tutu. Dad raced down to get it in the mail, only to find that it was too late to go out that day, and to next-day it would cost over $30. As much as I want to have my tutu here with me, I just couldn’t see spending that much to mail it. Also, I was still determined to make my vision come true.

Thursday afternoon I rushed home from work and picked up the machine. I laid all the netting and tulle out on the floor. I did all the math (which was more difficult that it probably should have been) to adjust the measurements Mom sent from my white tutu to the new tutu. I started to measure. I began to cut. Things were getting exciting.

I made one gather. Hot. Mess. I made another gather. Okay, this one worked.

At this point in the story it is relevant to share with you that I live with my cousins (well he is my cousin by genetics, she is my cousin because she was awesome enough to marry him). It is also incredibly important that you know that she is pregnant. Not just a little pregnant, but on the day I was sewing, she was 4 days away from her due date. Okay, now that you know that I will continue.

I have made two gathers, but one will never see the light of day. An hour or two have passed since I walked in with the sewing machine. My cousin isn’t feeling so hot. She is taking a nap on the couch. Now, I have never been pregnant, but I have heard that flu like symptoms can be a sign of labor being imminent. Although at this stage in pregnancy isn’t labor always imminent? I also couldn’t help but notice that when she walked to the couch to lie down she was waddling. Like really waddling (sorry, but you were). This was new; hadn’t happened yet. Something was different.

I sat on the floor with all my netting and thought. I was conflicted, probably more than I should have been. I stared at my yards of netting and tulle. I stared at the sleeping pregnant lady. And I thought.

I came to the conclusion that if labor were to start on this night or even the next there was a very real chance I would be too busy to finish all 10 layers of the tutu. And even if I did finish all the layers, would I have time to sew them on?

If you read my last post, you know how irrationally committed I was to this tutu. But watching the napping pregnant lady, I knew I was far more committed to her, my cousin, the baby, and being part of what I have dubbed “Team Labor and Delivery”, than I was to some costume.

So I folded the netting in half length-wise. Then in half again. I sewed a casing. I measured the elastic and I began to gather all 20 yards of netting.

By the time we went to get frozen yogurt for dinner (hey, who am I to argue with a pregnant lady), I had a tutu. It wasn’t the tutu I had in mind, the one I had been dreaming of, but it was fluffy and it would work.

Friday after work, I added glitter. This happened outside, because that is where glitter belongs. Also, I am pretty sure glitter and spray glue in the house would make most homeowners apoplectic.

The glittery tutu went into a box in the garage.

Saturday night the box was put in the trunk of the car as to avoid getting glitter all over the car.

Standing on Pearl Street, I stepped into my tutu, added the glittery ribbons as streamers and off we went!

The party was a blast. The actual party, not me, I was The Party, but what I mean was the event was great. I think walking around throwing confetti at people and being covered in glitter might be my new calling in life. I am still finding glitter and confetti on and in things that I didn’t even have with me Saturday night, and multiple friends have reported evidence of the party at their house.

Mission accomplished.

And if you were wondering, still no baby. But I do have extra confetti to celebrate his arrival when he does show up.

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Seriously, throwing confetti is fun. I recommend it.

My Quest To Make A Tutu

With Purim  fast approaching I started thinking about costumes. The Purim Party has a P theme, in other words dress up as something that begins with the letter P.

My friend gave me a brilliant idea. I should be the Party. Streamers, tutu, confetti, the whole enchilada. She is pretty brilliant.

I decided I would sew my own costume. Since I have moved out (you know, away from Mom’s sewing machine that I largely ignored for 20 plus years), I seem to keep finding excuses to need to sew. Simply declaring: I can just make that!

If you don’t already know, I am very much my gramp’s granddaughter, my parents’ child too for that matter. It just doesn’t occur to me that I can’t do something. Once I have decided I can, there is little deterring me. Thanks Mom and Dad for raising such a confident daughter.

The very first sewing endeavor I set out on this year was the costume for my first half marathon. I spent more time on this costume than I did training. The process went something like this:

1. Spend months looking online for a brown running skirt.

2. Find only one option; it costs $80.

3. Pout about how the universe is making life difficult.

4. Watch a few dozen youtube videos on how to make a running skirt.

5. Download a pattern.

6. Decide a pattern is not important.

7. Go to the store with no measurements.

8. Buy fabric, oh and some sequins, a feather, maybe some fringe would be fun….

9. Still no measurements.

10. Find a friend of a friend who will allow a stranger to come over and use her sewing machine.

11. Bask in the glow of a new running costume.

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My Princess Tiger Lily Running Costume

Oh wait, this is supposed to be about my tutu.

I did ballet for 15 years. I wore plenty of tutus. I remember the first “big girl tutu” I got to wear. It was a white romantic style tutu with gold embellishments. We were waving wheat. It was the most itchy thing I had ever experienced, I thought I might just die. My last tutu was the most darling Powder Puff (also Balanchine/Karinska) tutu I had ever experienced. I felt just perfect in it. 10 years later I have found many excuses to wear it again (working at summer camp has perks). But when I was loading my life into the back of my car at the end of summer, a tutu just didn’t seem like the thing I needed to bring with me.

But now I am sitting here, over 1,000 miles away from my tutu and I got it in my head that I would make a tutu. A sassy and sophisticated tutu. Not a romantic or platter tutu, those are too itchy or too poofy or too difficult to wear to a bar (yup, a tutu in a bar). I began my search.

Search: how to make a tutu

My momentum came to a grinding stop. These no sew tutus, the ones that are made the same way Mom made my grass skirt, these are not real tutus. This is no good. I’ll try again.

Search: how to make a real tutu

Same thing.

Search: how to make a  Powder Puff Balanchine/Karinska tutu

Still nothing useful.

I check the clock. It is 2 a.m. I have been at this for longer than I would like to admit. If I could just get my hands on my old tutu I could figure this out. Why are tutu makers so secretive?! Is it too late at night to call my parents? I mean I know it is too much to ask for them to over night my tutu (is it?), but maybe some quality pictures and video chat time with it would work. I check the clock again. Yeah, it is too late. I will have to call them tomorrow.

This is when I should say that I went to bed. That I closed my laptop and stopped thinking about it. But then I would be lying.

I looked up local dance supply stores. There is only 1! What kind of remote godforsaken place did I move to?!

I tried youtube again. Some better videos, but still only dressup quality tutus, nothing legit.

At this point I realize a few things. First, I am irrationally committed to having a real tutu. Second, professional tutu makers do not make youtube videos for us novices because what they do is an art, not a DIY crafter activity.

This is where I tell you I realize my limits and I make a good enough tutu. But once again, if I did that, I would be lying.

Instead, I came up with a plan. Driven by my confidence that I can just do anything I set my mind to, I throw aside the idea that tutu making is an art for which I have no training. Forget that I work all day. I have no sewing machine at home. No pattern. No worries. I have a plan. Here is what happened.

I asked Dad to send me a picture of my closet at their house so that I could tell him where my tutu could be found. He kindly indulged.  This turned out to be more of a process than I expected, almost as difficult as chasing the chickens around the yard the day before. But we found it, well truthfully Dad found it. He kept sending me pictures of things until it was located. Thanks Dad, I would have been dead in the water without you!

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This NOT how I remember leaving it. I am almost embarrassed to show you, but this is what Dad had to contend with.
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It has seen better more fluffy days, it doesn’t help that it was found stuffed in that hot mess of a closet.

I went to my local craft supply store. I still haven’t measured, mind you. I do consider buying a measuring tape, but I am not sure if that is too big of a commitment. “A commitment to what Aimee?” you might be asking. I don’t know. But I assure you I am just not ready for it.

I buy piles upon piles of tulle and netting. Some ribbon and elastic just incase. I throw in a little spray adhesive, glitter, and jewels for good measure.

I visit the 1 and only dance supply store in town. I buy dance briefs, maybe a pair of tights too.

Now I just have to conquer the issue of not having a sewing machine at home. But I have decided not to worry about this yet. I am confident I will figure it out.

8 Lessons from a Broken Foot

About 4 weeks ago, I broke my foot. This is my first broken bone. When people ask what happened the story goes something like this:

Well, our neighbors across the street had a baby not that long ago, and being the good neighbors we are, we took them a casserole of something. While the baby was napping, they came over, baby monitor and clean casserole dish in hand. They went down to the bottom of the property to look at the newest garden project my cousin has going. I was still in the house and I noticed what looked like smoke coming from their house.

Without thinking, I ran across the street and sure enough, the dog had knocked over a space heater and it was starting to catch fire. I grabbed the baby and ran. On my way out, I tripped and kicked the couch.

Once I made it outside with the baby, and the dog in tow, I realized my foot was quite broken.

The real story is that I was walking in the house, walked into the couch, broke my foot. I thought it was a stubbed toe. You know the kind, where your pinky toe catches on something and you think you might die. So the next day I taped it and went out with friends, because after all it is just a stubbed toe. In the morning, I realized I had better go to the doctor to get a letter so I could defer my half marathon the next weekend. I didn’t expect it to be a “real” injury.

Transverse fracture of the fifth metatarsal.

It was too close to my race date to get a deferral, so I did what any sane person would do, I raced anyway. I wouldn’t say I ran it, well maybe the last two miles, but it wasn’t exactly a stroll either. Sorry Mom.

I have learned a few things, and with 2 weeks left to go before I can resume activity I thought I might share some of those lessons.

1. Wheelchairs are neither convenient nor comfortable.

At least not the kind that you rent at a theme park. Although, I will say, at the end of the day my lap was a handy place to pile all the things we had acquired.

Why carry things when I can just pile them in my lap?!
Why carry things when I can just pile them in my lap?!

2. Post-op boots provide no traction on ice.

If you read my last post then you know that I am still learning how to walk on ice anyway (learning how to winter). Wearing one good shoe and one post op boot seems like a combination for another broken something. My solution has been to wear real boots on days when it is going to be particularly wet or icy. It isn’t comfortable, but it is the best solution I can think of.

3. Suddenly the color of my sock matters.

One thing you should know about me is that I believe life is too colorful to wear boring socks. As a result very few of my socks are plain in color. Even fewer are a solid color. My sock collection rocks lots of neon, stripes, and general sassiness. This normally is never a problem except that nothing matches the open toe blue and black, with a bright white sole, post op boot. This makes looking stylish, professional, and grown up challenging.

4. Many of my socks have holes.

Again, sorry Mom, I guess I still walk around outside in my socks.

5. Things that I never wanted to do are now suddenly a deep burning desire since the doctor told me to avoid activity.

Despite the fact that I just finished my second half marathon, I am not a runner. I hardly trained. I am not very active at all in fact. I haven’t tried skiing or snowboarding yet. I don’t even go on walks very often. But suddenly I want to run, and ski, and go on hikes. I want to rock climb and go dancing. I want to get back to doing Krav a few nights a week. I feel like I am dying, that I might burst, to do these activities, to do basically anything that would be bad for my foot.

My friend's dog has bad hind legs, we made quite a pair. Oh! and one hole free black sock!
My friend’s dog has bad hind legs, we made quite a pair. Oh, and one hole free black sock!

6. Children will climb across your lap while you are in a wheelchair if you are blocking them.

Yes, this happened. No, the child did not know me.

7. No shoe has quite the same sole thickness as the boot.

Well, one pair of flip-flops is pretty close in thickness, but it is winter. I am tired of only wearing a left shoe. And as if it isn’t difficult enough to walk in a boot with a broken foot, having two different shoes on makes it more obvious and challenging.

8. Cruise control.

My old car didn’t have cruise control, so I often forget that it exists. But if you ever break your right foot, you stop forgetting about cruise control.

Riding in style, got to keep it elevated. It is nice when someone else drives.
Riding in style, got to keep it elevated. It is nice when someone else drives.

I guess I will just add it to the list of adventures I am having. It hasn’t been so terrible, mostly inconvenient and uncomfortable, but not an adventure I ever need to experience again.

We were warriors, it was 4:30 in the morning east coast time...it seemed like a fun idea.
We were warriors, it was 4:30 in the morning east coast time…it seemed like a cute idea.