Monday, August 31, 2009

A Great Uncle

Alex, Rae, and Uncle Steven

After my grandparents and Gordie left last week I spent a lot of time off my feet (doctor’s orders) and Justin had some time off of work to help out around the house. He has done everything lately. He cooks, cleans, takes care of the dogs, entertains visitors, and deals with me. At my Tuesday doctor’s appointment my blood pressure was in the 140’s over 90’s (too high) so the doctor insisted I come twice a week. Justin accompanied me to Friday’s appointment. I had a nonstress test were we were able to listen to the babies’ heartbeats and I was instructed to have some lab work done to insure that my body was not being taxed too much. I will get the results of the lab work today. If it is not good they will put me on hospital bed rest. If it is OK I will probably be on bed rest at home. So I am packing my pillow and giving Vern and Scout special kisses just in case.

The highlight of my week was a visit from my Uncle Steven and Cousin Alex. I have always been very close to them yet distance makes it difficult to see them enough (although it does help to have a big ski mountain close by to entice them). Growing up my uncle treated me as a daughter and provided unconditional love and support, so I miss our regular visits. But with age comes change, so I am grateful for the time we have. I know, in ever sense of the term, he will be a Great Uncle to my girls. This week Steven was taking Alex to visit colleges and they planned to stay two nights between visits to Vancouver and Portland schools. Justin and I picked them up from the train on Friday night and we went to one of our favorite Bellingham restaurants, the Pepper Sisters. In retrospect, it will most likely be my last dinner out for a while. Saturday I went with the boys to the farmers market and they were impressed. I live for the crepe stand at the Saturday market. We ate mini cupcakes and got lots of fresh berries, breads, and veggies for the house.

We spent the afternoon and evening hanging at home. The weather was warm and it was very relaxing. It is so nice to catch up. I love hearing about Alex’s life, college plans, and current music interests. I would love it if he was at school close by and we could see each other more often. I even promised unlimited laundry use. The other cool thing about hanging out with these guys is exactly that, they are guys. There is rare when I am with family that I am the only girl (being one of 7 granddaughters and no grandsons) but when I am with Justin, Steven, and Alex I get that precious title. Justin cooked a great fish dinner, I kicked their buts in the Settlers of Catan (board game), and I tried to not wake them up with my many midnight marches through the kitchen.

After taking them to the train yesterday I got a little sad not knowing when they would come back and knowing that I would not be traveling for a while. Then it all sank in, no more visitors until the girls arrive. I spent most of yesterday in bed and uncomfortable. The advantage to visitors at this stage in pregnancy is the much needed distraction and good company they offer. I truly hope Steven and Alex come back to meet the girls, before next summer (maybe a ski weekend huh?).

For now it is laying low. I am honestly getting pretty nervous about the birth. Somehow these girls have to get to the outside world and none of the options for this part of pregnancy sound all that good to me. But I am ready to take my body back and Justin is so excited about participating in baby care. I know that the strong part of me will emerge when it has too and that Justin will be by my side. Welcome to the final countdown.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Family and Friends Visit Bellingham

An Extended Book Club Crew

The Car Seats Ready to Go

Rae and Gordie

The Glacial Water of the Nooksak

Gordie in Baker National Forest

Rae and Justin at Taylor Dock

Nan, Pop and Rae with a Bellingham sunset

Taylor dock at sunset
Sorry for the post dely. No I have not had the girls yet; I was just really tired last night and thought a fresh day would produce a better post. This was truly a great week. Sunday night my dear friend Gordie came to town. Currently he coaches debate for the University of Rochester but was making his way west to visit friends. His debate coach was Steve Woods (the man I work with whose family threw us the baby shower). Knowing my grandparents were headed to town till Thursday Gordie hung out with Steve for the first few days, although Justin and him did escape and made the trek up to Mt Baker.

On Monday my grandparents came to Bellingham. It is such a treat to have them in town. They had come up from visiting family in Seattle by way of Whidbey Island and brought the wonderful weather with them. Monday night we enjoyed an amazing dinner at Anthony’s and a sunset on Taylor dock. Eating is hard for me these days. Because I am so big, (I am not longer reporting numbers, just trust me, I am huge) I cannot really consume at lot at one point, seven meals a day treats me a lot better. So, sharing some great fish with Nana and chocolate dessert with everyone served me well. Justin even gave up watching a preseason Panther game for the meal.
On Tuesday I met Nan and Pop at their hotel for breakfast and we ran errands including a trip to Trader Joes (or Trader Toms as Nan prefers to call it). That morning I learned that Nana is addicted to Joe/Tom’s biscotti and Pop was a bagel stringer. I swear every time I talk to Pop I learn about another job he had. That night Justin and I were glad to have the opportunity to cook for them. I cannot count the amount of meals they have made for me; it is a rare treat to have them in our home. Plus, Scout really loves Pop. At one point I told Pop that my Mom had gone a bit overboard buying things for the girls. Unexpectedly he looked at me with a very serious expression and said “grandchildren is what we live for, don’t ruin it for her.” I had never thought about it that way but it explained a lot about our special relationship.

Wednesday was a great day. First they bought us a squirrel proof bird feeder—our local feathered community seems very appreciative. Then, I took Nan to the doctor with me. She had never seen a baby on ultra sound (never mind two) and it was very cool to share this rare treat with her. At 33 weeks the girls were 3 lbs 13 oz and 4lbs 7oz. The doctor said I was doing well and that if I made it to 34 weeks (this Thursday) it was very likely the girls and I could stay in Bellingham—a very big achievement for twins. She is hoping I can make it two or three more weeks because at 36 weeks the girls might avoid a stay in the nursery. So I am resting and taking it easy. Nan and Pop were sure to leave the afternoons open for my nap. They really enjoyed Bellingham and we enjoyed having them.

Thursday we picked up Gordie and had the pleasure of hanging with him till Sunday. Justin and Gordie totally geeked out over sports. Like two boys the night before Christmas, they psyched each other up for the upcoming football season, played frisbee golf, traditional golf (yes Justin came out of his five year retirement), and consulted each other on fantasy draft picks. At one point on Saturday, Gordie was drafting his fantasy players on the computer, Justin was watching the Pathner's preseason football game on a web cam threw his friend Carl’s TV, and Justin’s friend Jason was engaged in the Nascar race on our TV. From there, Gordie and I went to cheer on Steve’s son William at his baseball game. I like sports with the rest of them but these guys really love sports. I can only hope the girls do not show up on Panther’s opening day. All and all visiting with Gordie was wonderful. While I have no regrets about leaving the world of debate, I do miss seeing good friends like Gordie, Sarah, and Helen on a regular basis. Yet debate also taught me how small the world can be and I am glad to have friends willing to make the trip to visit.

It was nice to have family and friends visit before my life changes and gets a bit busy. It is weird to think the next time I will see them I will (hopefully) be a Mother of two. I am also grateful to have this time free from school. It takes a lot of pressure off and enables me to control my level of activity, guilt free. Saturday night when Justin got in to bed he thought I was sleeping. And while I kinda was, I heard him quietly whisper how excited he and Scout were for the girls’ arrival. It was so sweet. After dropping Gordie at the train on Sunday I came home to a husband eager to install car seats and making lists of emergancy phone numbers. Something has clicked for him and while pregnancy has its plusses, it will be nice to meet the karate kids I am carrying. Last night after a wonderful book club gathering, I came home tired, but pleased with the life and community Justin and I have made for ourselves. Thank you for taking the time to share it with us.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

32 &1/2 weeks

My doctor’s appointment went well this week. The highlight is that I am passed the really scary phase and even if my girls were born today and had to stay in a NICU for a few weeks they would make it. I am 32 ½ weeks and my doctor hopes I can go another three of four. Justin and I also went for a three hour tour of the hospital. It was nice to know all rooms are private with a bed for me and one for Justin. The babies stay in our room and there is a fridge. So if you are local feel free to bring something yummy for us to eat, I hear the food has much to me desired.
This week our visitors are arriving and that should be really nice. Yet with only weeks to go I have begun thinking about what life is going to be like without pregnancy and with two little girls. Here are the pluses and minuses of the former (as I see them now):

Things I will not miss about being pregnant:
1) peeing every half hour or more
2) sleeping on my side (I much prefer the belly)
3) being closer to 200lbs then 100lbs
4) aching ligaments
5) lack of general mobility
6) extreme tiredness (although this might not end for a while)
7) my inability to exercise
8) my limited wardrobe

Things I will miss about pregnancy:
1) that special look other women give me as if we share a secret
2) a guilt free diet
3) the relative ease at which the three of us can move around without car seats and strollers
4) the extreme compassion of strangers
5) the lack of crying (mine and babies)
6) time to myself
7) the attention I can devote to my furry friends (I will really try to not give this up)
8) the time Justin and I can spend talking without interruption

I am sure nothing will be as I plan. And, as it also is, the future will be filled with both wonderful and trying moments. Until then, I continue to try and enjoy the present for what it is.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Taking It Easy

Scout, hanging in the girls room

The bathroom Justin remodeled

Scout, hoping the girls are ready to play

Vern, supervising rest time
This has been a pretty mellow week. Now that summer classes have ended and the weather is back in the high 60’s, things have slowed down a bit. At my weekly doctor’s appointment the girls seemed to be doing well and my high blood pressure makes it important that I rest. So I generally get up and do an activity in the morning (work, food shopping, etc.), come home and have lunch, rest until about five, and then enjoy dinner and hang out until bed time. I am trying, although it is hard, to appreciate the free time while I can. This week I am a bit sad not to be at the Women’s Debate Institute in beautiful Port Townsend, WA. But the Port is two hours from a hospital making its location too remote for me to attend.

Justin has been a great help, as always. He finished remodeling the upstairs bathroom, plumbing and all, does most of the cooking, all of the dog care, and is super excited about the arrival of our girls. They are moving so much lately I can literally watch them squirm. It is crazy to think we are no longer talking about months, but weeks. I am 31 ½ weeks and my doctor would like to see me make it to at least 35 weeks. I said I would do my best, as though I have any control. Friday I have my first non-stress test (they hook my up to a monitor to check for contractions and the baby’s reaction) so that should give us some indication about how fast things are moving.

We are looking forward to a short wave of visitors coming through Bellingham in the next three weeks. First, our dear friend Gordie is making his west coast rounds. Then my grandparents are visiting on their way to a family wedding in LA. And finally my Uncle Steven and Cousin Alex are driving through on their summer college tour. It would be great to have Alex in the area for the next four years. I know I could always use Mt. Baker's slopes, a home cooked meal, and free clothes washing, as justification for him to visit. I can only hope to stay off bed rest so I can hang out with everyone. And, if the girls could wait, they would all be forced to return. Until then, its quality time with our furry friends. For now, I just hope that our team of four makes it safely and healthy to a family of six.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

A Full House

The Book Club Girls

A Baby Book Club

Beating the Heat with Friends at Lake Samish

This was a good, hot week. Justin and I have always joked that when we move to an area we effect the local weather patterns. For example, Iowa City had never been hit by a tornado until we moved there. Bellingham saw record wind storms the year we moved to town. This winter the area saw more snow then it had in over a decade and this week Western Washington broke an all-time record for heat. Never had the area gotten over 100 degrees, until the past few days. No one has air conditioning and fans were hard to come by. But we tried to do a lot of swimming and managed through. Hopefully we can get back to the 70’s soon.

At my doctor’s appointment this week, she said I was doing well and should continue to take it easy with the hopes I can carry for another 6 weeks. While 6 weeks is a nice idea in theory, I cannot imagine what that would be like. At the moment my belly is so full of babies that I can barley move from laying down to standing (somthing I have to do each hour at night) and a variety of other movements in between. The good news is that the girls are growing; one is 3 lbs 7 oz and the other 3 lbs. I know that growth is good for their health but I seem to be running out of space. I am truly glad this is a temporary housing situation and my doctor promises to evict them if they do not begin to move out on their own by 37 weeks (I am 30 ½ now).

In case they plan to move out earlier then expected I am making emergency plans. We have two groups of friends willing to take Vern and Scout, 2 people on call to get me to the hospital, and a variety of folks who have agreed to help in any way they can. The nest is about done, and I am trying to get some school work finished in the time I have left. This week my book club met and the girls surprised me (kinda) with children’s books. It was such nice a nice gesture. I was especially glad to get some doggy books like Go Dog Go. I read it Vern for practice and she seemed to like it a lot. I was also gratful that my friend Wendy have us a huge box of 6-12m clothing. It was unexpected and so kind.

I have also tried to get in some alone time, before it is too late. Yesterday, after meeting a friend at the farmers market, I walked around and checked out the chalk art festival, grabbed a big lunch (which I later paid for) at the bit of Bellingham, and took a swim in the local pool. Bellingham is a great town we are so lucky to have ended up here. There is always good music, great lakes, and many hiking and camping spots. I miss the outdoors this summer but I look forward to many family camping trips in our future. Thanks for reading.