Monday, April 18, 2011

Sweet Tooth

It is quite unfortunate for my waistline growing belly that I've had a major sweet tooth during this pregnancy. Compared to my last pregnancy, I've gained much less weight so far, and I'd like to keep it that way. Alas, there are so many goodies calling my name.

Game of Thrones Lemon Cakes

Jeff and I have spent the last few months obsessed with George RR Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire series. I won't go into details regarding the obsession, but we're in full geek-out mode. The first book has been made into an HBO series (yes, there is a reason it's on HBO and not basic cable, if you catch my drift). A big part of the series is the food. As a lacto-ovo vegetarian, I wouldn't touch most of it with someone else's fork, let alone my own. However, there are a few stand-outs for me. Most notable are the lemon cakes that are continuously mentioned throughout the series. HBO released an "official" recipe for them, and I've made them twice now. We certainly wouldn't have been without lemon cakes when the show premiered last night! It was a night for thumbs up all over the place. They may not be exactly what I imagined from the book, but they're definitely going to make regular appearances in our kitchen. They're fairly easy to make & require just a handful of simple ingredients. Let me know if you'd like to borrow my little ramekins!

Raspberry Jam Cookies

Harper adores Love is a Handful of Honey by Giles Andreae. It's a very sweet story with beautiful illustrations. On his favorite page, the little bear and his friends have a picnic with some of those delectable heart-shaped jam cookies. You know the ones I mean, right? So I picked up this recipe from the incomparable Martha Stewart. This recipe is great, and would have only been improved with my mother-in-law's infamous raspberry jam fresh from the garden. Harper had a great time "helping" mommy with the dough.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Friday Night Excitement

Yes, the image to the left is an IV at the hospital. I spent much of Friday night writhing in pain at the other end of it. Thankfully, both the baby and I are just fine.

At about noon yesterday, Harper and I were walking up the stairs at home when I suddenly felt dizzy, faint, and extremely weak. After a snack of fresh fruit and a guzzle of water, the spell mostly passed. However, I still felt like there was something wrong. I sent Jeff a message asking if he could come home just in case.

Everything seemed okay for the most part, but shortly after dinner (about 6pm), the sensation came back. This time it was accompanied by severe cramping in my stomach (above the baby) and my mid-back. For a brief time, I was afraid that I was going into pre-term labor because the cramping was simply unbearable. I did realize though that true contractions would be felt elsewhere, and would come in cycles. This was persistent, severe pain. The pain progressed, so I eventually had Jeff take me to the nearest hospital (though not where I'm regularly seen for my prenatal care, almost an hour away).

We were there for almost four hours while they pumped IV fluids into me & made sure both the baby and I were doing okay. The pain did not lessen, but they continued to refuse me any pain medication. They had me in a labor & delivery room, and those beds were not made for comfort. They could have put me in a bed fit for a queen and I probably still wouldn't have been able to get comfortable. I'll spare you the gory details, but I'll just say that they assumed I had a kidney stone and/or a possible stomach bug along with severe dehydration from not being able to keep anything down. At about 10pm they finally agreed to give me pain medication that instantly zapped the horrid cramping. I typically am anti-drug, but this was such sweet relief that I hardly cared. Once my body had finished sucking down a bag and a half of saline, I was discharged with instructions to make an appointment with my regular OB this coming week.

I had never had a kidney stone before, but plenty of mamas state that the pain is plenty worse than labor or childbirth itself. I'm sure that has something to do with the fact that while pregnant, you can't get much relief or treatment for a kidney stone. I didn't experience true labor with Harper since he was a scheduled c-section, so I'll let you know in a few months.

And what would I have done without my sister-in-law, Emily? She agreed to watch Harper at the last minute & much later than anyone would want to babysit. Harper is pretty anti-social, but thank goodness for her son Logan, too. Harper adores his cousin, and from what I was told, his face lit up the moment Logan jumped out to greet him. Emily, thank you so much for helping us out at such short notice & so late at night when you had to work the following morning. Love ya!

As for my experience at Davis Hospital, I was relatively pleased with the care... But let's just say I'd rather not have to go back any time soon.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Finding Peace

When I first met Jeff, I knew that I had finally found peace in my life. As a child I was sensitive and melodramatic. As a young adult I was high-strung. I liked to think of myself as mellow, but when I truly look back, I know that "mellow" was pretty far off. The truth was, I felt anxious all the time, and about everything. That changed when I met Jeff. I immediately knew that he would be in my life forever. As we fell in love, I found wave of peace washing over all of those anxious bits within me. He brought out a calm side of me that I never knew was there.

When I was pregnant with Harper, Jeff and I were worried about birth defects. Okay, okay - ALL parents worry about birth defects. But every time someone would brush off my concerns as typical or trivial, I wanted to smack them (figuratively, not literally of course). The fact of the matter is that our concerns are not typical. Jeff was born with an extremely rare skeletal dysplasia, so each of our pregnancies presents a 50% chance that the baby will have it too. Jeff has had unique challenges in life that few people are likely to comprehend - especially considering his condition has one in a million occurrence. So mister or misses health care professional, please excuse me if I don't appreciate having my concerns brushed off as if they are unfounded.

Though we worried about Harper (who was not affected), my worries felt different early on during this second pregnancy. I can't quite explain it, but something within me knew that this baby was affected. Four weeks ago, we were told during our first ultrasound that the baby did indeed have growth anomalies that coincide with spondylometaphyseal dysplasia (can't pronounce it? Either Jeff's mom Carol or I can pronounce it for you... she especially knows it well). Though there is no exact prenatal test for Jeff's type of dysplasia, it's quite apparent that the baby has it. Of course our initial reaction was mostly sadness. And if you catch me during a hormonal moment, you might see tears in my eyes. But honestly, the longer it sits in my heart, the more I become okay with it.

For those of you readers lucky enough to know my husband Jeff, you know how incredible he is. This is not just coming from his wife and best friend. Ask anyone - his grandparents, parents, siblings, nieces, nephews, and all of the people that have really known him. He is everyone's favorite, and for good reason. He's funny, inspirational, modest, and just so dang selfless. If anyone ever had a good reason to complain, it would be Jeff... but he doesn't complain at all. One would never know what he's endured. He is my heart, and I love him so much. I can't ever imagine spending my life with anyone else, and could NEVER have asked for a better father to my children.

So it is with Jeff that I am finding peace in this situation. It seems that so few people have marriages as true and strong as ours, and we'll need every bit of that strength to get through what lies ahead. I'm also finding peace as I imagine holding this sweet little baby in my arms, feeling my heart stretch as it makes more room for the love already growing for him/her. The road ahead will not be easy. But I couldn't be any luckier than to have an amazing husband and family to lean on throughout everything. So from me, Jeff, Harper, and the baby, a big thank you to Mom, Dad, Tyra, Anthony, Greg, Mario, Carol, Mark, Shelly, Scott, Tracy, Emily, Ryan, Kelli, Jared, and all the rest of our family.

And here is a profile image our little wiggly peanut at 24-weeks, saying hello. I really love the new team of people providing us with amazing care, including my new doctor who not only has a background in genetics, but just happens to have special interest in skeletal dysplasias. Just check out her U of U faculty profile - impressive, right? We'll probably have a new picture just like this at least once month to share, up until the baby is here in about 16 more weeks!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Motivation to Quilt

More than ten years ago, my older brother Greg came back from living in the Midwest for a short while. He returned with a lovely art quilt with a large hand-appliqué of Orion on the front. My interest piqued when he told me about how he had been introduced to quilting. And so my interest in quilting and all things crafty began. Though I would be surprised if he's picked up a needle and thread since, you can't say the same about me. (I eventually weaseled the Orion quilt out of his hands and into mine. Well... into Harper's technically.)

Let me provide full disclosure here: I am not a quilter. Sure, I'd love to be. Alas, I am not. Perhaps I will someday call myself a quilter after lots and lots of practice. Since learning about quilting from my brother, I have started and not finished four quilts. I'm not even including the piles of fabric that I hope to someday plan a quilt around. I'll get to them someday... but today is not that day.

There's one exception to all of these hibernating quilts. I finally finished one in January. Last year, my beautiful mother-in-law battled with cancer for the third time. When she first told us about the diagnosis, I immediately had the idea of putting together the sort of tribute quilt that she often does for her ill friends and family. After months of planning, designing, trips to the craft store, trips to the post office, cutting, sewing, trial, error, and advice from the good ol' Internet, it was complete. Quilt squares were decorated by every one of her children, their spouses, her grandchildren, as well as her husband. All of my in-laws did such creative things with their squares, and you could tell there was a lot of thought put into each sentiment. I also used photo transfer paper to get their wedding photo in there, which was just lovely. My favorite part was the crazy mosaic-like scrappy purple strips that I came up with. Maybe someday I'll do a tutorial on that. I do regret not taking proper photos of the finished quilt, but I'll include what I have at the bottom of the post (just don't look too closely at the noob mistakes). I also regret not getting any photos of the backing, which was a well-coordinated print that tied everything together nicely.

The quilt was complete around the time that she was given the exciting news that the cancer was GONE GONE GONE! What better way to celebrate than to give her this gift from her entire family? It was a day that I will always remember and cherish. It was quite special to her, but it was also an experience that was quite overwhelmingly emotional for me. I am so fortunate to have such a wonderful person in my life. She is warm, caring, thoughtful, patient, talented, loving, and a priceless source of inspiration. She's given me comfort and laughter in a relationship that I never expected to have with someone else's mom. She's not just an in-law, she's my family.

Every seam stitched (or ripped!), every swipe of the rotary cutter, every press of the iron, and every bit of work that went into that quilt came from my heart. More importantly, all of the squares that her family assembled represent not only her legacy, but also... well, let's have The Beatles say it: "The love you take is equal to the love you make."

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