A Long Story of A Short Labor, Part 2–The Waiting Game

Part 1

The Waiting Game

After spending my due date in prodromal labor, I spent the longest ten days of my life waiting for the real thing, answering every phone call from Tyler or Mama with ‘I’m not in labor.’ I saw my midwife, Mrs Lynda, on Thursday, and then Friday, Emma Jane’s birthday, Mama brought my sisters and the kids (little siblings) to spend the day, have a picnic at the park, and try again to walk into labor. (I think we tried every ‘DIY labor induction’ trick in the book over those days!). Still no baby.

I saw Mrs Lynda again on Tuesday, April 9, for a 41 week checkup, and had my first cervical check. I was really hoping to hear that I was already several cm dilated, but instead I was barely 1cm. We talked a little about options–it’s not unusual to reach 41 weeks in an intervention-free pregnancy, but if I went past 42 we would have to start talking about going to the hospital. We recalculated the dates–they were all accurate. We agreed to continue to let things be, but planned to go for a biophysical profile ultrasound if Ezra waited another week.

Thursday night Mrs Lynda texted and asked me to consider going for the biophysical (which is a check on baby, placenta health, and fluid levels) the next day. Mama had come back that afternoon–I needed the emotional support and we felt that I would surely go into labor that weekend…though I was starting to feel that I was going to be pregnant forever. Ezra had changed positions a lot over the last couple of weeks and I was concerned that he would end up posterior (which would mean a long, difficult labor if he didn’t turn) or even breech (which would mean a c-section). If the baby didn’t come by Tuesday I’d have to go to the backup doctor and we’d be considering medical induction. In my emotional state I was really pretty unreasonably upset about that. I decided to go in for the ultrasound first thing Friday morning.

The ultrasound results were good: baby was still looking healthy, placenta showed no signs of aging, and fluid levels were good.The baby was very crowded and his head was deeply engaged. I asked for a weight guesstimate–he was 9 lb 13 oz by the technician’s guess, but she added, ‘That can vary by up to a pound either way.’

We decided to head to the park and try some power walking again. First, though, we dropped by Mrs Lynda’s for a cervical check. The result was a little more encouraging this time: still technically just 1cm, but a ‘stretchy’ 1cm that would only take one or two contractions to reach 4 or 5. We briefly discussed some options for getting things started, but didn’t do anything further that day. After 3 or 4 miles of walking we turned for home where I tried just about everything I could do at home to start things up. At 10 days past the EDD, I was ready. to. have. this. baby. already. I regretted not doing a membrane strip that day.

At the end of the day, I posted ‘OK, Ezra. Joke’s over.’ on Facebook and went to bed not really expecting to go into labor that night (I was feeling pretty pessimistic about the whole thing at that point).

Okay, I promise the next part will be more interesting. Things were about to start happenin’!

A Long Story of a Short Labor–Part 1: The Due Date Birth That Wasn’t

(Emma Jane’s birth story was verrrryyy long–I apparently can’t tell the short version–so I’m going to divide Ezra’s into parts. Can’t predict how many parts it’ll end up being. ;) )

Ezra Tyler Upchurch was born at 6:56 a.m. on Saturday, April 13, 2013, eleven days after his estimated due date of Tuesday, April 2.

The weekend before my due date I was on pins and needles. I went into labor with Emma Jane four days before my due date, so I figured chances were high that I’d have Ezra before his EDD as well. Monday my mama came to spend the day and help with Emma Jane. At that point my imagination was exaggerating every Braxton Hicks into the real thing. We decided to spend the afternoon at the park where I walked two miles, and when we got back I started having mild contractions. Woohoo! I immediately jumped into action on my plan of not jumping into action when I started labor. I made cookies and didn’t try to do any extreme labor management techniques yet. I had a very detailed plan in mind for what I was going to do (and not do) to avoid the exhaustion at the end of labor that led to complications with Emma Jane’s birth…since I was certain I would have another long labor.

Contractions continued throughout the evening, slowly getting a little stronger and a little closer together. After supper they started averaging ten minutes apart. I texted my midwife a head’s up that I might be in labor, Mama decided to spend the night, and we settled in to watch ‘The Hobbit’. I was convinced I was really in labor: it seemed to be the same labor pattern I had with Emma Jane. I was going to have a baby on my due date! In keeping with my plan to rest in early labor, I laid down on the couch…and the contractions slowed down. I ended up going to bed with mild contractions around fifteen minutes apart, hoping they’d intensify during the night.

I woke up the morning of my due date still having occasional mild contractions…but it looked as if they were going to peter out. At 9:00 a.m. I told Tyler to go to work–I’d call him if they started back up. It was raining, so Mama, Emma Jane, and I went mall-walking to get them started back up. It didn’t work. I only had one contraction the whole time we were there. Eventually I accepted that I wasn’t in labor and Mama went home.

Part 2

The Great Book Count of 2013, Part I of A Lot

Last spring, during several weeks of obsessive cleaning and decluttering, I got rid of 5 boxes of books (at least 100, though I didn’t count). I don’t normally think of books as clutter, but these were college textbooks, 1,000 or so books on obscure languages we don’t want to learn, dated current events books that weren’t from our political perspective. They were cluttering up the bookshelves and annoying me, so they went. After they were gone we looked at the newly-cleared shelf  and realised what every bibliophile knows: Empty bookshelves were made to be filled.

We buy so many books every year. I know that we at least replaced what we got rid of in 2012. I pick up piles of children’s books every time I go to a yard sale or a thrift store. Tyler frequents Amazon’s used market. We always buy each other books for special occasions, and we inevitably spend the majority of our birthday money on new books. We have a small budget category marked ‘education’ which is supposed to be spent on things like distance courses, but somehow it always ends up going to more books. And as of November, we have an ongoing monthly date morning when a local thrift store puts books on sale for dimes a pound. I think we’ve added 70 or so just from the two months we’ve done that.

That bookshelf I cleared off? We had to throw it away because it sagged and collapsed under the weight of the books. I carefully organised the books by subject during my spring cleaning craze, and several shelves ended up with two rows of books. I noticed a couple of months that another shelf had come loose and was only held up by the double row under it. And recently another one bit the dust when I dropped a heavy set of The Complete Calvin and Hobbes (representing, you know, my husband’s interest in theology and philosophy) and it took out half the bookshelf with it. We were having overnight guests, so I left dozens of books on the floor and shut off the office until they left.

I’ve become curious about exactly how many books we buy in a year and how much money we spend on them. There’s no way I’ll be able to figure out how many books we bought last year, so I decided to keep track in 2013. Today I took my Christmas money and Emma Jane’s and went to my favourite thrift store with the intention of spending it on clothes for Emma Jane and Ezra. No, I didn’t spend it on books instead. I did buy several books, though. It was the first book purchase of the year and I wondered where to write it down.

Then I thought it would be fun to keep up with it on my blog. Please understand that this is not intended to keep us accountable about spending too much money on books. Heresy! If anything, we’ll probably be encouraged to buy more. ‘Ooh, let’s see if we can break 100 in the first six months!’ Oh, and I’ll be counting gifts to us as acquisitions, but won’t count books we buy for others.

Thursday, January 3, 2012

The third day of the year. I bought nine books (that’s an average of 3 per day).

Farmer Boy, $0.99

(I’ve been trying to collect all the Little House books, some of my childhood favourites, for our children. I’m only short two now!)

The Complete Adventures of Curious George, $2.99

Eric Carle’s The Very Quiet Cricket, $0.99

(He’s Emma Jane’s favourite author.)

The Christmas Story, $0.99

(A vintage Little Golden Book, illustrated by Eloise Wilkin. I have a lot of trouble finding Christmas storybooks I like and a quick skim showed that this one was lovely and Scripturally accurate.)

And my favourite find of the day:

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All five volumes of Joel Beeke’s Building on the Rock series, $0.99 apiece.

That books-by-the-pound sale is Saturday. I can’t wait.

Totals so far:

9 books

$10.91

Words, Words, Words

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mama–spoken whenever she wants anything.

daddy–spoken long before she learned my name.

no–spoken at every opportunity, especially if I just gave her something I thought she wanted.

shoe–spoken whenever she notices I’m not wearing them. Followed by insisting I put one on. Followed by grabbing my toes and freaking out because I’m only wearing one. Followed by putting on her own shoes. Followed by going to the door and saying…

bye-bye–spoken at any random time she decides it’s time to go.

uh-oh–spoken any time she thinks the equilibrium of the universe has been upset. Such as when I’m not wearing shoes, or we aren’t going bye-bye. Or when she notices that something she’s not allowed to have has been placed out of reach.

whoa–spoken when the equilibrium of the universe is upset in a funny way. (also, she sounds like WALL-E when she says it.)

water–spoken as ‘wa-wa’ whenever she sees me taking a drink. Often followed by ‘no’.

bow–spoken whenever she has upset the equilibrium of the universe by taking hers out.

hot–spoken when I’m fixing her breakfast or lunch, followed by crying because I don’t give her said hot object right away.

puppy–spoken with eagerness whenever she sees or hears one. Followed by giving her hands to them to lick.

hi–spoken as a greeting to everything with a face, such as Daddy, Mommy, grandparents, aunts, the door greeter at Walmart, the little girl at the park, dogs, squirrels, baby dolls, stuffed animals, pictures, my Willow Tree figures, and her imaginary friend.

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(I think teaching her to say ‘Bilbo’ before The Hobbit movie comes out should be top priority.)

Pregnancy Update, Week 18

(Yes, I know it’s terribly cliche to write a pregnancy update–but I finally got around to having Tyler take my first belly shot, so I had to write a post to go with it.)

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At 18 weeks:

–I think I’m feeling baby now.

–I have gained 1/3 to 1/4 the weight I’d gained by this time with Emma Jane. I attribute this to my more active lifestyle (chasing a toddler will do that to you) and much better diet. It adds up to about 7 pounds.

–Speaking of Emma Jane, we quit co-sleeping about a month ago and started night weaning two weeks ago. It’s done wonders for my energy level.

–Also weaning during the day now. Down to two feedings. It’s all kinda sad, I must admit. Half of me wanted to tandem nurse.

–My 16 week checkup had to be rescheduled, so I just heard the baby’s heartbeat for the second time on Thursday. She found it within a minute, which was surprising since it took a good 15 at my 12 week visit. Very good, strong heartbeat, but in the midrange (meaning no gender guessing).

–My arthritis has not gone into remission this time. It’s definitely been the hardest thing about this pregnancy. For the last six weeks I’ve been having moderate to severe flareups at least once a week. However, it seems to be getting better now. Don’t know if it’s weaning or just getting to the second trimester that’s making a difference, but I’ll take it.

–I’m craving milk and baked potatoes. And pork invariably makes me sick. Also I’m very sensitive to heat. I made my more husband turn off the heat in the car this evening, even though it was 43 degrees outside.

–I started wearing maternity skirts and leggings last week. This week I wore my first maternity top. I’m at the awkward stage where regular clothes are too small and maternity clothes are too big. In the picture I’m wearing a maternity top and regular skirt.

–Emma Jane has no idea, though she has been very into babies for the last couple of months.

–Baby Poppyseed is no longer an accurate moniker, as baby is now the size of a bellpepper. Why do they measure it by food? Just to tease pregnant women with cravings and aversions?

–Last pregnancy I had a spurt of second trimester nesting. That is the only way I can explain the constant urge to ‘do stuff’ that has hit me over the last three weeks. Fall housecleaning! Big organisation projects! Decorating the house! Christmas shopping! I want to do it all!

–I think I’m scheduling our ultrasound for Friday, though I may decide to wait till 19 weeks. And yes, we’re finding out the gender. Why would we have an ultrasound and not find out the gender? We’re not the patient types.

–I can’t believe I’m almost halfway through!

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Of Blank Canvases, Babies, and Sisters

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Friday is always busy day here, as we catch up on the week’s work so that we can enjoy maximum family time on Tyler’s day off and rest on the Sabbath. It’s the day when I finish up projects, give the house a good cleaning, and do all the ‘extra’ laundry (linens, aprons, whatever doesn’t get worn and washed regularly).

I’m weaning Emma Jane. This week we are working on cutting out her wake-up feeding, which means changing our wake-up routine, which means changing our morning routine, which means changing our whole daily schedule. She has been waking up way too early for this pregnant mommy’s taste, so the last few days I’ve been giving her a snack and letting her sit on my bed and eat it while I get some more rest (not sleep necessarily, but everything counts!).

This morning she spilled water and crumbled her waffle all over my bed, so I had to wash my sheets for the second time this week. I did the laundry, straightened the house, mopped the floors, and finished a major cleaning and decluttering of the office (now only two jobs away from being finished with my fall housecleaning! Yay!).

Finally late this afternoon Emma Jane and I headed to my bedroom to finish up the last task of the day: putting the sheets back on the bed and folding all the laundry. I started to put the sheets on, then paused to text my mama for a labour update, leaving all the bedding on floor with Emma Jane sitting on it. When I picked up the top sheet to finish I realised that Emma Jane had scattered cheese from her snack dish all over the clean sheets and all over the freshly mopped floor, where we were both stepping on it and smooshing it into the floor. Oh well. :) I like to think of cleaning as creating a blank canvas for little people (and big people!) to live out loud on. Or maybe it’s more like a Magna-Doodle, since one can hardly paint on a canvas more than once, whereas no matter how many times you erase a Magna-Doodle it always gets scribbled on again. Do they even make Magna-Doodles any more? Anyway, it’s a helpful attitude to have and keeps my Martha tendencies somewhat in check!

Oh, did I say labour update? No, it’s not me :). My sweet sister Ellen is in labour with her first child–my second niece and third time to become an aunt (just what I always wanted!). There’s nothing quite like watching my sister go through pregnancy. Of course I’ve already been Auntie Em for almost two years and it’s been fun–my dear sister-in-law (who is like a sister–I know, I know, everyone says that, but it’s true! Love ya, Candace!) made me an aunt; we were pregnant at the same time and it was so fun to be pregnant together! Tyler’s sister also had her first (our first niece) last summer and that was also fun.

But it’s just special in a different way to see the little girl I was a little girl with, my roommate for eighteen years, the sister I fought with and played with and bossed around and looked down on when we were kids and later learned to look up to; the girl I shared so many experiences with–getting our own big girl room (we decorated with green toile bedspreads, which she hated, and orange paint, which I hated) away from our little sisters, going through the Tolkien obsession that was the most embarrassing part of my teens (we seriously reenacted scenes from the movie on a daily basis), staying up till midnight talking about everything under the sun, teaching me to sew, putting up with one another’s annoying drama (or annoying lack thereof in her case), car pools to Bible studies and girl parties with our dear friends (never knowing that Ellen would end up marrying their brother); the girl who put up with me through all the jealousy and frustration of my spiritually rough late teens; the girl who stood beside me as I married my love and the woman I stood beside sixteen months ago as she made her vows to her own true love…..seeing her become a mother has a specialness all its own.

We’ve always said, ‘Ellen is the nurturing one’; there are no pictures of her without a baby on her hip from the time she was three years old. She always wanted real babies, not dolls and she’s always looked forward to being a mommy. I’ve enjoyed seeing her go through the fun parts and the rough parts of pregnancy and preparing for baby Adeline’s arrival. I’ve never been so excited to pick out a baby shower gift (I got her an Ergo carrier, since she always loved wearing babies and looked forward to wearing her own!). I’ve loved being the know-it-all big sister, giving advice on everything from birth to cloth diapers.

But as special as my sister’s pregnancy has been, I especially look forward to seeing her raise her daughter to be woman of God. She is one of the godliest women I’ve ever known and I know she will do her utmost to always point her children to Christ.

Now, Adeline just needs to hurry up and get here! We can’t wait to meet her!

(small note: Ellen has already become a mother nearly a year ago to a precious baby now with the Saviour…definitely don’t want to forget! Auntie Em loves the one we never knew too!)

 

UPDATE: Adeline Joy was born in the wee hours of the morning on Saturday, October 27, 2012. 6lbs, 7oz, 18 1/2 inches long!

Summer Reality

(I always feel silly writing these update posts, because I know everyone reading them saw all of it on Facebook! But it’s a low stress way to jump back in after a couple months off, so here goes!)

Back in April, I wrote a list of ‘stuff to do’ this summer. I’ve done five of the fourteen items on it. I picked strawberries on an overcast day at the very end of the season. I didn’t get enough of them (Tyler has singlehandedly almost finished the jam I made), and they weren’t very good. But I did it! I went to the farmer’s market…once. We ate on the front porch…once. I took Emma Jane to the park a few times, but then it got hot. I grew five herb plants and let them die of thirst during our recent heat wave. But I use my clothesline nearly every day! And…I did put in that caveat at the end. :) More on that later.

So far this summer (besides staying in our air-conditioned house as much as possible):

we went to the zoo twice, once with my family and once with Tyler’s (this picture is rotten, I know)

My love built a plate rack to go over my sideboard….

…see? (lovin’ that Etta B Pottery!)

We had a drive-in date.

We hung out with our awesome GC fam.

Clearance sales got me in the Christmas spirit (Tupelo has way better clearance sales than Memphis. Just sayin’.)

We celebrated my brother’s birthday with a family dinner in Ethiopia (or as close to there as we could get)….

…where Emma Jane chowed down on her first injera.

Emma Jane saw fireworks for the second time (first time really doesn’t count though, because she was only three months old. Oh, and she’s not terrified, just sleepy. Really. No kidding.)

We also hung out at the Little Fredericks’ second annual Independence Day cookout, but I don’t have pictures.

We had guests.

I hosted a baby shower without anyone to direct me. At someone else’s house.

Our first niece was born, and since it was an important occasion, it goes without saying that I forgot to take pictures.

Our fridge looked like this…

…and this. (found on the fridge one morning when my sweet husband let me sleep in)

I finished a Pinterest project. I also finished our wedding album. It only took two and a half years.

Also (and without pictures):

Tyler had lots of brilliant ideas that he is working on every spare hour.

Emma Jane and I went yard saling. Some days we spent lots of gas and came home tired, hungry, and empty-handed. Other days we found lots of deals and came home tired, hungry, and with new stuff.

Tyler entered a temporary business partnership with his grandfather. Anybody want to buy a house?

Emma Jane hit lots of milestones. She is now a full-fledged toddler, no longer a baby.

She reads books.

She stacks blocks.

She (doesn’t) sit still and read her Bible in church.

She walks. And is addicted to technology.

She climbs on the table and steals my lunch.

She brushes her teeth.

She takes tea. (but won’t eat her veggies)

She (starts to) learns to go to sleep in her own bed by herself.

And she practices her big sister skills.

Because, yes. She is a big sister. Her little brother or sister is due three days before her second birthday. (no, we did not plan it that way).

We couldn’t be happier to be a family of four! The baby’s name is Poppyseed, because when I used the due date calculator, it said the baby was the size of a poppyseed. It seemed right. Okay, that’s not the permanent name, but since we don’t have any names picked out yet, I’m sticking with Baby Poppyseed right now.

And that’s it! Our summer in a (really big) nutshell! Oh wait, there are still six weeks of summer left. I’ll be sitting under the window unit drinking gallons of ice water….

Emily of Green Shutters

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Kindred spirits are not so scarce as I used to think. It’s splendid to find out there are so many of them in the world.’ ~Anne Shirley

I remember when I first met Anne. It was spring, fourteen years ago; I was ten and ripe for new reading material, having run through Little House, all the ‘American Girl’ books, and every horse story I could find, all several times over. Mama came home from her annual curriculum fair trip (always an event in our bibliophile home!) with a book she thought I’d like–Anne of Green Gables. (Incidentally, I had never seen Anne spelled with an E, and I thought it was pronounced ‘Annie’).

I loved it from the very first reading. I was a voracious reader and had become acquainted with many book-people that I liked, but Anne was the first to become a friend, as real as any other I had–the first kindred spirit, as she would say herself. I read the book dozens of times; I had an Anne doll that went with me everywhere. I named every little tree and path and mudhole in our yard in imitation of Anne’s Lakes of Shining Waters and Lover’s Lanes. I was so into Anne that my parents started calling me ‘Emily of Green Shutters’. Mama and I read through the rest of the series together and dreamed of visiting Prince Edward Island.

Later I found LM Montgomery’s other books at the library; they formed the bulk of my literary diet for the next four years (my adolescent journals are peppered with references to Anne, Emily, Pat, Rilla, the Story Girl….)–I read them so addictively that when I was thirteen or fourteen my parents took them away for several months. After that I lost interest in them–I had discovered historical fiction and was entering a more grown-up literary world and felt that I had rather outgrown them, though I picked one up again every once in awhile for ‘brain candy’. Really, I’d read and reread them so many times that they had become outworn and dull.

But I’ve found the way to Avonlea again. A few weeks ago I found three or four old paperback Anne books just like the ones of my girlhood at a yard sale (complete with cover illustrations by people who’d obviously never read them–in one of them Gilbert has red hair!). When I got them home I realised that I had a nearly complete set again. (As a proof that I’d never completely left Anne behind, I picked up a copy of Rilla of Ingleside in a used bookstore on our honeymoon). I’ve been interested in revisiting childhood favourites lately–I suppose having a daughter does that to one!–and thought it would be lovely to reread all eight books in order for the first time in a dozen years.

It has been lovelier than I would have guessed. Aside from the real pleasure of enjoying them as a adult–seeing so much more humour and insight and beauty than I did as a girl–I see for the first time the reason Anne captivated me so as a nerdy little girl whose glasses always slid down her nose. In Anne I see the girl I was then…I remember how I lived in a dreamland of my own imagination….often laughed at by grown-up people for my big words…..creating drama at every opportunity (my grandparents have a home video of my eight-year-old self, exclaiming ‘It’s a dream come true!’ over a birthday present)…..always a little odd to my friends…..and yes, I had a fierce temper! (I can already see some of that dramatic personality in Emma Jane).

Dear Anne, thank you for being the best of friends to that nerdy little girl. Thanks for bringing her to my mind today and making me smile. Thank you for being as enchanting today as you were then. I can’t wait to share you with another dramatic, dreamy little girl.

I wrote this after finishing the first book yesterday…..now I can’t wait to watch Anne grow up all over again!

Blessings of Today

Several months ago, I told an older mom that I didn’t have time to blog because I was too busy with the baby. She replied, ‘You have more time now than you ever will again.’

We’ve felt ready for another baby for awhile now, and every time I’ve been inclined to be disappointed that no. 2 has yet to put in an appearance, my mama reminds me, ‘You have a baby–enjoy the baby you you have!’

Every season of life the Lord brings us through is a blessing, with its own gifts, opportunities, and responsibilities. I suppose all of us have a tendency to look ahead to the next season as the one where we’ll be really productive for the Kingdom, treating the current one as just ‘biding our time’ (or maybe it’s just me?)

I look forward to having a houseful of little ones (D.V.)–to having a cup so overflowing with little souls to train that time for other things runs a bit short. I can’t wait to have a soft little newborn in the house again, or to see Emma Jane as a big sister. But I don’t want to look forward to the blessing I hope for in future seasons so much that I neglect the blessings I have now in this one.

This is the season when I can drop everything at a moment’s notice when Tyler calls and asks if ‘his girls’ want to ride along on a work errand. Right now it’s easy to jump in the car and take a weekend road trip. It won’t always be that way. In this season, I have time to write and play the piano and hone my domestic skills and experiment in the kitchen. It’s no problem (most days!) to find quiet time to be in God’s word. Right now, it’s not a struggle to put down my cleaning rag and play with my girl, as it will be when time is in shorter supply. I have time to just sit and watch her as she learns so many new things, from walking to stacking blocks, or even to watch her sleep. It’s wonderful time, full of gifts that will never come again (though of course the future holds many gifts too!)

I don’t know how long this season will last–it could be a month, it could be years! But I want to revel in its abundant blessings for whatever time is left.

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Adventure is out there!

Instagram Week

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Saturday: new yard sale toy

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Sunday: making molasses cookies

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Monday: wrecked nursery

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Monday: raiding the closet

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Tuesday: playing the piano

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Wednesday: being herself

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Thursday: tantrum time

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Saturday: going to visit Mimi

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Sunday: ready for church

 

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