Worth Reading

This post is very funny. That is not so surprising. Lots of posts make me laugh, and Amy is very good at being funny.

No, what's remarkable about this little piece is that it makes me laugh, and then suddenly makes me stop laughing.

And then laugh again, gently and joyously, without a trace of bitterness... laugh at myself for laughing.

Pass the carrots.


It's 10:00... way past her bedtime. I should be getting to bed, too. But oh, the glowing of her grin, the softness of her skin... and where on earth did she get that strange little tender pout, and that achingly sweet little croaky voice?

"Mama-bunny, I love you."

My baby.

It's 10pm, way past her bedtime. I should be getting to bed, too. But tomorrow she may not be such a baby, and tomorrow I may have another baby in my arms. Time slips away so preciously, and I must hold her while I can.


Fruit of my labor

Having put in a week or so of gentle warm-up contractions, and 12 hours or so of intense labor, you'd think I'd have a baby to show for it.

Not yet.

But I do have this cute little bag for September's birthday.

Jessica linked to an adorable granny square tote, which inspired this (much simpler) project.

In digging the newborn clothes out of the attic, I realized just how much fantastic material I have for rag crochet. This used to be a skirt and a shirt. Much cuter this way.

It was good distraction... and it feels good to have something to show for it, anyway.


No news is... no news.

I've been slipping in and out of labor... it's been very, very slow.

I actually got a pretty good night's sleep last night, but Saturday night I kept having contractions strong enough to keep me from sleeping, just not strong enough to actually have a baby. As I lay there groaning, my husband (still asleep) sat bolt upright and firmly shushed me. It's a good thing I'm used to his sleep-talking. We had a good laugh about it in the morning. =)

Through church, I was contracting gently but insistently, and I was utterly incapable of concentration. It was a good sermon... I think it may have had something to do with the Apostle Paul? This is a very strange experience for me, to be so utterly averse to rational thought.

Afterwards, the ladies of the church threw a lovely luncheon and shower for baby and me, which September and I greatly enjoyed. The contractions were quite easy to ignore as long as I had lots of distraction that didn't require the use of my suddenly nonexistent rational capacities.

Until the very end. I didn't need to leave early... but we sure packed up in a hurry, and the pastor's wife did go over the speed limit driving Timmo and I home.

The midwife met me at home, and one of the ladies from church stayed to watch the kids.

I went upstairs and contracted until I felt like I was going to split in two, and then I contracted some more... and then it stopped.

Second verse same as the first.

This could take a while.

It's frustrating and discouraging... but all the same, I'm very glad for the good night's sleep. I feel much more ready for whatever it is that comes next.


I did NOT expect to be live-blogging labor.

But then again, I didn't expect everything to stall out after 6 hours of hard labor.

I guess I get a break. Which is okay, because my water didn't break, so we aren't on any sort of urgent timetable.

The midwife went home, but the kids still stayed the night with Uncle Paul and Aunt Lorre.

So we had ourselves a date night. Except that our idea of an ideal date involves way more intellectual activity than is possible for a woman under the influence of labor hormones.

Which I still am, just not powerfully enough to produce any major contractions. The world is warm and gentle and a little bit blurry--maybe the hormones are supposed to help me empathize with baby. Or who knows, maybe during one of those enormous contractions, some wires got crossed, and baby would like nothing better than to help Daddy out with that geometry problem.

In any case, we rented a movie.

And now, for a few observations on labor from the middle of things:

1. It's true. The first thing the midwife does when she walks in the door is tell somebody to start boiling water. Apparently midwives have known to sterilize their instruments for a very, very long time. Go figure.

2. They call it labor for a reason. It hurts. A lot. It's not like cutting-off-your-toe hurt, though... more like weight-lifting hurts, or running a marathon. You know, "feel the burn." Except that you don't get to choose when to stop "feeling the burn." You just keep right on exercising through to the point where it's torture, and then beyond. Way, way beyond. I feel like I have a better idea what the Children of Israel were going through in Egypt.

3. My own personal slave driver seems to be pretty merciful, though.... for better and for worse. I really don't need quite this many breaks, and they don't have to be quite so long, either. But that's the the thing about labor--you don't get to pick your pace.

4. I like ripe strawberries, grapes, and almonds way better than ice chips. Way better than ice chips. =)


Turn, Baby, Turn!

No, he's not breech.

But at my last appointment, the midwife pointed out that he's facing frontward. She said I should keep my spine as straight as possible to encourage him to turn around.

Well, working on my posture is always a good idea, but I couldn't see how being front-facing could be bad thing. After all, it's fun to feel lots of arm and leg movements--not to mention reassuring. Surely it can't make that big a difference which direction he's facing... right?

But now I completely understand.

I'm not even in labor yet, but last night had me ready to beg for an epidural.

I'm pretty confident about the contractions. I know it's going to be hard, but I feel ready to face it.

The back of baby's skull grinding against my spine? Not so much.

Please pray for mercy, and a rear-facing baby.

Turn, baby, turn!


The Stories that Weren't

"Mama, I'd like to tell you a story tomorrow morning."

My firstborn flung his arms around my neck and grinned at me.

"You could tell it to me now, if you wanted to. I'd love to hear it."

"Well... okay."

"So what's your story about?"

"It's about the Veggie Tales and the train."

"Oh, that sounds like a good story. So what happened."

"Well... nothing happened! Because the train didn't fall into the water, and the bridge didn't fall into the water!"

How frequently do I forget to marvel in gratefulness, for all the horrendously eventful happenings that don't.


Life on the Inside

They asked if Baby Jack had a home inside my belly. (Baby Jack may well turn out to be Baby Jill, but you have to call the child something...)

I told them that yes, Baby Jack has a nice, cozy home inside me.

And so ever since, they've been speculating about the sort of facilities he might have.

Does he have a bed? What about a potty? You know, surely Baby Jack must be busy building a log cabin, and a suspension bridge. Every baby needs a suspension bridge.

Perhaps this is why my skin isn't fitting very well.

Last night we finally made use of our community pool, having discovered the reason why it never seemed to be open when it ought to be. The spot where the lifeguard naps when nobody's at the pool happens not to be visible from the gate, that's all. I can certainly understand why he would rest in the shade when there is nobody about, but the situation seems to be rather self-perpetuating. Perhaps this might also explain the heated arguments at the HOA meeting over whether or not the pool was ever open last summer. But in any case, once you figure out that he's there, he does come let you in when you holler, so having solved this mystery, we put on our suits and went swimming.

As she skipped happily toward the door, September paused to pat my belly.

"Baby Jack's going swimming, too!"

I nodded in affirmation. We've talked before about how he's swimming around in amniotic fluid; also, Baby Jack would definitely be coming along on this excursion. I wasn't sure exactly what she meant by the phrase, but one way or another, Baby Jack was definitely going swimming.

Her next question had me flumoxed, though.

I have no idea what color his bathing suit is.



It's hot outside, because Isaiah is sweaty.

Oh yes.


Poetry in reverse

I've been thinking a lot about childbirth lately.

Might have something to do with the little feet that keep pressing insistently against my ribs, warming up, as it were, to help catapult new life into the world.

As I think about birth, my mind can't help but turn to other concepts, more abstract and more familiar. And like so many other times, my "new" thoughts are expressible only by the old words and phrases I've heard a thousand times before.

I think perhaps that being born must be something akin to being born again.

And certainly my midwife's role is highly Socratic, being someone who has walked this road herself a number of times, and now guides other women through the births of their children. You could almost say that being a midwife is like being a "midwife of ideas."

The poetry of birth is all around us, inescapably so. So many deeply important things are impossible to discuss without talking in terms of birth. Can we really understand them without understanding birth?

And so it is that I'm quivering with impatient excitement, eager to dance that poem with this, my littlest child.



Our food has been thoroughly blessed of late. Every night the kids argue about who will pray, and so most nights, they all do.

Tonight, after Nathan said grace, Isaiah offered up the following prayer, reproduced to the best of my memory:

"Dear Jesus, thank you for this food. Please bless it to our bodies."

Nathan gave a hearty "Amen" to this, but his brother wasn't finished.

"Thank you for the orange juice. The orange juice. Thank you for all the orange juice. Thank you for the pot lid, and the pot. Thank you for the silverware and the plates. Thank you for the plates and all the food on the plates. Thank you for the orange juice. Thank you for the table and the chairs, and thank you for the light bulbs."

At this point, we lost it. We'd been trying so hard not to chuckle, but we just couldn't hold it in any longer.

Isaiah didn't mind, though, and joined in the laughter, a natural outflowing of his unselfconscious gratitude.

It was a fitting prayer for such a meal. There are some crock-pot experiments that just shouldn't be made.

Thank you, Jesus, for the silverware and the plates and the orange juice and the light bulbs. And for Kraft Mac 'n Cheese.