Tuesday, August 31, 2010

First Day Home

We were able to pick Gage up from the hospital the morning after I was discharged. I was soooo excited to get this little man home. I seriously started squealing when I got the call from the NICU that we were clear to come get him. Look at how teeny he is in his car seat:

Feeding the little man at home:

The Mama stopped by to get in some snuggling:

She came down with a horrible cold and pinkeye a couple of days later, so for the whole next week, she steered clear of Gage. I was grateful for that. I didn't want him to get sick when he's just so little. However, we did rush him to his pediatrician's office later in the evening on that same day that we brought him home. He was working really hard to breathe. We tried to suction him with those little booger sucker thingeys, but it wasn't doing much for him. His doc, after much listening to his lungs, discovered that he was just stuffed up in his nose. His nurse dripped some saline into each nostril, and then suctioned, and voila. Booger city. His doc decided that having that awful ventilation tube going through his nose down to his lung kind of irritated the sinuses, causing the boogerness. I was so glad it wasn't something worse. He breathed easily from then on.

We gave him a bath that night:

Ben is so smart. He put Gage's towel in the dryer for a few minutes before we took him out of the sink. He was loving the warmth of the towel:

Heck, I love warm towels. And those warmed-up blankets they put on you in the hospital. Ahhh.

Gage, as Ben said in a blessing he gave me months ago, has been such a blessing in our home. He is a really good sport. He is on a fantastic eating/playing/sleeping schedule. He's happy snuggling with us or hanging out in his bouncy chair or swing. I've never, ever had such a happy newborn. It's awesome. I'm just soaking up every moment with him, because I know he is my last child. I cuddle him and kiss his little perpetually-wrinkled forehead and stroke his peach fuzz on his back. I smell his hair and stroke his soft little cheeks. I adore him. I'm so, so happy he is in our family.

And I am so, so happy not to be pregnant anymore. :)

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Going Back Home to the Devil Children

My last day at l'hopital (for some reason, that is one of my very favorite French words to say) was a lot more chill. That last day is always kind of hard for me, because I know that I have to check out sometime, and I get sad that I won't be able to have total silence anymore. I know I have to go back home and face Hitler's Youth, as I've come to call my kids. And it really hit me that day how extremely EXHAUSTED I was. All I wanted to do was sleep. And hang out with my little man.

They took out his ventilation tube that morning - you can see where the tape that held it in place irritated his poor little cheek:

It was also a really fun surprise that he was out of his incubator and in a normal little bassinette thingey.

Ben and I got in all the cuddling we could before checking out and heading home without Gagey-Pooh. The doctor told us that we'd probably be able to come and pick up Gage the next morning.

We gathered up all of our stuff (they had to lend us this cart thingey to wheel all of it down to our car), including these gorgeous flowers I got from Ben's office:

And the flowers that Dad gave me:

His office sent these flowers to him, but he was worried that it was "gay" to get flowers when you're a man. So I inherited them by default. Which was okay with me. I am a lover of flowers.

That night was so weird, to come home without a baby. We all just hung out in the living room and watched The Spiderwick Chronicles. Megs got us a pizza that night for dinner, which was really, really sweet of her, considering she had a two-week-old at home herself. I don't know how she's doing all that she's doing - I am hardly functioning, and Gage is three weeks old, now! Lex told me today that she can tell how busy I am by my lack of blogging. I'm still in really good spirits, just superduperduper busy. Hopefully I'll get into more of a rhythm soon...

Monday, August 23, 2010

The Most Popular Boy in the NICU

So after I had sufficiently "stressed Gage out," I was wheeled to my new home, up on the second floor of the hospital. There's a lot of construction going on right now, and there were about ten billion babies born during that week, so the second floor was acting as an overflow for mommies. It was soooo quiet up there, and my room was bigger than the mommy recovery rooms downstairs. So that was pretty sweet. What wasn't sweet was that the NICU was down on the first floor, through a very confusing maze of hallways and elevators. I got lots of exercise in during my time in the hospital.

Ben hung out with me in my room for just a little while, and then he felt badly for Lex and her boyfriend and went home to relieve them for the night. It was so weird to be in my room, alone, at ten o'clock at night, wayyyy too buzzed to sleep. But no baby or husband in sight. I decided to try to relish this time, though, so I settled in to my beddy-poo.

I couldn't believe how amazing I felt. The second that baby left my body, so did the nausea, heartburn, restless legs, excess spit, my Pet Loogie, and a zillion other things that had been plagueing me for eight months. I kept smiling to myself. And I kept catching myself sighing in contentment as I snuggled on my side with my pillows tucked all around me.

I woke up at two and was ready to party. I decided to go down and visit my little man. I was allowed to touch him in the incubator through these round little windows. I was careful to just touch him and leave my hands there, not to do any tickling or rubbing. I didn't want to "stress him out" more. :) The nurses asked me if I wanted to sit and still touch him, but the chair was too low, and if I couldn't hold him, why sit, you know? So I left after only a little while and went back up to bed.

A phlebotomist and her trainee came in at like six in the morning to take my blood. I still have the bruise from it. And it wasn't even the trainee who took my blood!! It was the phlebotomist herself!! What a butcher! I missed my favorite phlebotomist at my gynie's office. She's a genius.

I woke up again at 7:45 and again was ready and raring to go. So I went down to the NICU again. I was coldly informed that, between seven and eight in the morning and at night, the nurses are reporting to each other when they change shifts. I was told to sit on this cold chair while they finished. I felt so dumb. And so mad. This was MY baby, dammit. I should be able to see him when I want! I was very emotional and still hormonal, obviously. I just wish they had said it nicer. Again, I wasn't allowed to hold Gage. Just touch him through the windows. I was aching to cuddle him. I went back upstairs and sat dejectedly on my bed, and then was served a disgusting breakfast.

The rest of the day went much, much better. Gage kept pulling his oxygen out of his nose, so they gave it a go without it, and he was breathing just fine. They still had a little tube taped to his face that was going up his nose and down to his lung to ventilate it until all of the liquid was absorbed. And he still had billions of IV's and heart monitors sticking out everywhere. But they finally let me hold him. Bliss.

The daytime nurses were way nicer. They would call me when it was time for Gage to eat so that I could go down and get practice feeding him on his side. I loved every visit. This was my very first time feeding him - before I realized that he practically drowns when you feed him like this:

I was allowed to bring my visitors down to the NICU one at a time and let them hold Gage, too, which was so much fun. The daytime nurses were very nice to let so many people in and out.



Lex's main man, Chris:

Ben brought the kids over, and even though they were allowed to hold Gage, Ben wouldn't let them. :) He made them just touch Gage through the incubator holes. Ben is funny sometimes.

That second day was bath day for Gage, and Ben just adores giving our babies their first baths in the hospital. So I volunteered to keep the kids in my hospital room while Ben did that. Oh, what a nightmare. Micah went into my bathroom and found the little spray bottle that you use to clean yourself after you pee, and he sprayed it all over the floor, then came out and announced, "Potty! Potty on floor!" So I had to clean up all the water. My friend, Em, brought me some chocolate, so I offered it to the kids, hoping it would shut them up. Nope. It didn't. And Micah got chocolate all over my bedding. Sadie was stressed out that she couldn't find the light switch that went to a certain light in my room. And Dylan was changing the channels on my TV and mad that he couldn't find Disney XD. My poor friend, Megs, came to visit right then, and she probably thinks my kids are the Spawn of Satan. I was really embarrassed. And ready for the kids to go home. When Ben finally came back upstairs, I informed them that the kids were not invited to come to the hospital again.

I went upstairs to visit my daddy-o, who was still in the hospital that day. (He had this thing called pancreatitis, where your pancreas just needs to "rest." It was very random. But he ended up being discharged the same day I was.) It was weird that we were the Hospital Family at that time. Three of us on three different floors. Dad came down to the NICU to visit, but they wouldn't let him in, so I had to show Gage to him through the windows. He mouthed that Gage looked "just like Micah." Poor Dad, standing there with his IV bag, wearing his hospital gown, looking through the window. Nat's kids had to look through the window. They only let siblings in to hold the babies. They all gave me thumbs-up signs and smooshed their cute little noses against the glass to make me laugh. Jake was disappointed not to be able to hold Gage, but I told him that, when Gage got home, Jake could be my Gage Holder. He smiled, muttering, "I'm the Gage Holder. I'm the Gage Holder."

And I felt fantastic all day, running up and down between my room and the NICU. My nurse (my own personal nurse, who was absolutely adorable - she yelled at the mean nighttime NICU nurse that made me feel dumb, which made me feel better, and she has this adorable lisp) was worried that I was exhausting myself, but I assured her that I felt like a million bucks compared to the last eight months.

The hospital does this thing called the Stork Dinner the night after you give birth - it's kind of fancy-ish, like a celebration. They bring you Martinelli's sparkling apple cider and stuff. It's cute. So Mom watched the munchkins while Ben and I had our Really Romantic Dinner, as I kept jokingly calling it. My baked potato was good, but the London Broil.... meh...

Ben went home pretty soon after the Really Romantic Dinner. Too soon, I felt. But we didn't want to take advantage of Mom, and she needed to be with Dad sometimes, too.

That second night, I slept like a ROCK. It really is nice to turn over the feedings to the nursery ladies. With my other three, I was breastfeeding, and I mainly kept my babies in my room with me, which means I got very little rest. This bottle-from-the-get-go thing was so awesome in the hospital.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

The Labor and Delivery, or, My First Time Being Stoned

Okay. So. I had a gynie appointment on Monday, Aug. 9. He said I was dilated to a two - I was stoked, but honestly, I knew I could be dilated to a two for ages. So I tucked that info nicely into a folder inside my head, opening it every now and then and smiling at the knowledge that my body was making progress.

That day also, my poor dad was admitted to the hospital. He was having very severe stomach pain. My sisters and I were all freaking out and calling each other all day.

Also that day, I took Dylan to his cousin, Jakob's, birthday party. And then I picked him up. It was a "water party," but it rained most of the time. Poor Nat. All those plans. The kids didn't seem to mind, though. They played out there in the rain like there was nothing amiss. I had lent Nat my slip-n-slide and went outside to retrieve it, slipped on Nat's porch in my crappy flip-flops (the only shoes that fit my feet), and fell, HARD. The only thing that hurt was my bumb. The baby continued to happily move inside of me the rest of the night, so I figured it was kind of like a fun roller-coaster ride for him.

Another thing that happened that day - Ben finally, finally, FINALLY got us a car that holds four children. It's a white Durango. It's gorgeous. It has a DVD player. The kids are in love. I am in love. I'm so happy to be rid of the crappy Explorer. A post on the new car later.

The next morning was Braxton-Hicks Mania. Tons of them. I would get them like every fifteen minutes. But I knew they were Braxton-Hicks - not painful. Tight like a bowling ball. Making blood rush to my head, making me feel like I was blushing all the time. I had been through them during my whole pregnancy. I figured they would probably go away in a few hours. I ran some errands with the kids - I think I even took Ben something at work. I was wearing my least favorite pregnancy outfit, one that I have named Pepto-Bismal. It's a bright, bubblegum pink. It was a gift. It always needs to be ironed, but I was not in an ironing mood. So I wore it wrinkly all day.

I came home from running errands with the munchkins and fed us all lunch. And then I took a shower. I noticed during the shower that the contractions were turning painful. But they were still fifteen minutes apart. I was not about to go to the hospital in an excited dither and then get turned back around by the nurses. I still really thought they'd go away. Then they started to get ten minutes apart. I called Ben to put him on the alert, but neither of us took it seriously. I put Micah down for a nap. Then I got the weirdest nesting thing. I decided I needed to organize our family game shelf. Of all the things to do right then. Pack a hospital bag? Nah. Organize your game shelf, Kar. It was so weird.

Suddenly, my contractions started to be five minutes apart. I was going to wait until I had them five minutes apart for an hour before I called Ben, like a good little girl, but man, they were really, really starting to kill. I called Ben again, telling him to get home - if this wasn't labor, it was something really major, and we needed to get into the hospital. I kept thinking, "This can't be right. I still have three and a half more weeks..." Ben had taken the new Durango to a place to have something about the compression checked - like a final step in buying a new car, according to his dad.

Ben said, "Do you think you can wait ten more minutes? They're just wrapping up."

I was like, "Yeah. I can wait ten. Just come home as soon as you're done there." We hung up.

And then BAM. The contractions started coming every THREE minutes. Lasting for a full minute per contraction. So painful I was lying on the kitchen floor, on my side, grunting and shaking. The oldest two kids were playing in the living room, oblivious to what was going on. I called Ben back.

"Honey," I said, "They are coming every three minutes. I'm starting to get scared."

He said, "I'll find a way to get home right now." I changed out of Pepto Bismal and into something more cozy.

I called Mom, who was with Dad at the hospital. I sheepishly asked her if she could come home from the hospital so that I could go to the hospital. I told her I thought I might be in labor. She said she'd run home to be with my kids, and that she'd call my sis, Lex, who lives in Pocatello, to come up and watch them so that she could come and see the birth. Certainly there would be time for Lex to get up here.

Some lady that worked at the car place raced Ben home. I saw him get out and actually SPRINT across the lawn. If you know Ben, you know that he is never, ever in a hurry to get anywhere. He never runs. I call him an Ent (those trees in Lord of the Rings). It was shocking to see him running. And really funny. I started giggling, and then got cut off mid-giggle with another contraction. Mom wasn't at my house yet, and Ben saw what bad shape I was in. He made a decision. He went into the living room and grabbed Dylan by the shoulders.

"Dylan," he said, "Mommy is going to have this baby early. I have to take her to the hospital right this instant. Can you watch the two kids until grandma gets here? She will be here in five minutes." Dylan nodded solemnly. Probably the first time he hasn't argued back about something we've asked him to do. Seriously. So we went out and got into our other car and jetted to the hospital.

Ben told me to close my eyes so I wouldn't see how recklessly he was driving. I complied. I couldn't keep my eyes open, anyways. I had to squeeze them shut when I was having my contractions. They started to be two minutes apart. I was terrified that I would arrive to the hospital too late to get my epidural and have to push this baby out naturally. TERRIFIED. My biggest fear.

Ben took me to the front door of the hospital and said, "I'm going to go park. Do you want to wait inside?"

"No," I said. "I'm going to start walking to the labor and delivery area. I'll meet you there."

"Okay, hon. I'll run."

I walked into the front door, and there, at the front desk, was my Aunt Terri. She works there. I waddled up to her, grabbed the desk, and said, "Terri." And then had a huge contraction. I saw her eyes get as big as saucers, and she raced around the desk with a wheelchair to put me in. She speedwalked me to the women's wing, and Ben caught up to us in the hall. I was again really surprised at his speed.

We got put into a room, and the lady asked me to strip down and pee in a cup. I tried between two contractions to pee, and my body wouldn't let me. I tried again between another two contractions, and again, no pee. I apologized to her. She said it was fine, to just lie down so I could get my IV in. She checked me first, and said I was dilated to a five.

"Holy s**t," I whispered, and then had another contraction. Then she put the IV in me.

"Do you want an epidural, honey?" she asked.


So they called for the epidural guy.

Ben was like, "Ahhh! I forgot the camera! Are you okay while I go get it??"


He came back like a millisecond later. The nurse saw how hard my contractions were and how much I was shaking, and she said, "We're going to put something in your IV to help with the pain until the anesthesiologist gets here."

"Please do. Please."

The effect was almost immediate. The contractions stopped hurting. I started getting REALLY tired. I would doze off, and then wake myself up, because I knew I needed to be awake when the epidural man came. And then doze off, and then wake up. He finally came. I don't remember much about him being there. I remember that he was showing Ben every little thing he was doing, like he was freaking teaching a class about it. I remember thinking, "Dude, this is taking like ten hours." The nurse held me at the side of the bed, cradled in her arms. I liked it. I felt like my mom was hugging me. I played with her nurse tags. I fell asleep. I woke up and reminded the epidural guy not to give me the shot during a contraction. (I forgot that I was no longer feeling the contractions.) I played with the nurses's tags some more. I fell asleep. I woke up. He was still back there, explaining the intricacies of the ligaments in my back. I again reminded him not to give me the shot during a contraction. At some point, he finally finished. I didn't get the usual, hot-water-pouring-from-my-chest-to-my-toes feeling of the epidural. I was too stoned. I think I got a catheter at some point.

And then I just slept. It felt like I slept an entire night, but it was only for an hour. Ben woke me up to tell me he was getting batteries in the gift shop for the camera, and that he was getting some Subway downstairs. I hmphed my approval and went back to sleep:

I remember the nurses changing shifts. I got a new, perky little gal. I knew I'd miss the lady that hugged me like my mom. But I liked the perky gal, too. She nudged me awake at about eight o'clock and said, "Your contractions have slowed down, so we just put some percocet into your IV to speed them up again."

"Okay." Yawn.

And then....

I felt like I had to poop. I knew that sensation.

"Ben," I said, "It's time to push. Call them back in." They had literally just left my room. Ben yelled, and they came back in.

Perky Girl looked down under and said, "Whoa, you're right! It IS time to push!"

I fell asleep while they were making preparations. They woke me up again. I saw Dr. H for the first time and said hello.

"Okay, Karlenn," said Perky Girl. "We're going to have you push at this next contraction. Just push like you're having a big bowel movement."

I yawned. "Okay," I said, smiling.

"And... NOW!"

I pushed halfheartedly, trying really hard not to fall asleep, and I felt the baby's head come out, and then the rest of his body slip out after. Everyone was so surprised, me included.

"Wow, Karlenn!" yelled Perky. "Good job! He's out!!!"

I only gave like half a push!!! Dr. H hadn't said much during this process. He is a man of few words.

And then we began re-living the nightmare that happened with Micah - Gage wasn't breathing very well. They put him on my chest for one second while they cut his umbilical cord, and then they rushed him away to the other side of the room to start working on him.

Ben said, "Kar, I'm going over here with Gage, okay?"

"Totally okay, hon," I said. I leaned back and watched them work on him while Dr. H delivered my placenta and made sure everything was out.

When I felt the placenta come out, I tried to make a joke to Dr. H. "Sooo. It feels like I delivered the Ugly Twin, huh?"

"Yep," said Dr. H, and he lifted it up and showed me. Ewwwwww! I didn't want to SEE it! I turned away. How ungrateful of me. My placenta did a good job. I should have looked at it for longer. Oh well. Sorry, placenta. I asked Dr. H if I tore or had to get cut, and he said nope. I told him he was a genius.

I wasn't scared for Gage during this time. The nurses helped Micah in this situation; I knew Gage would be alright. Or maybe I wasn't scared because I was soooo stoned. After the nurses worked on him for a few minutes, they told me that he had some liquid in his lung, and that they had to take him to the NICU. Ben again asked if he could go be with Gage. Definitely. They left. And I fell asleep. Some pics Ben took in the NICU while I was sleeping:

Ben came back into my room after awhile - I don't know how much time passed. And in rushed Mom. She looked around, saw the absence of nurses, and looked at me and saw the absence of a huge belly. "Did I MISS it???" she asked, incredulously.

I nodded sheepishly. "Sorry, Mom. It just went soooo fast."

And YES, Mom had only taken a few more minutes to get to our house after we left it. Dylan did a good job watching his sibs. Micah was asleep in his room, so I don't think it was too hard. Maybe I'm a bad mom to have left him in charge, but he was seven. When I was seven, I was baby-sitting my chicken-pox-ridden little sisters.

Don't turn me in to CPS.

Back to the story. After Mom showed up, the nurses came in and asked if I wanted to go to the NICU to see Gage. They said that he was alright, but would need to be watched carefully for the next few days. I definitely wanted to see him, so they put me in a wheelchair and wheeled me over. Here is me, pre-wheelchair, and still TOTALLY STONED:

They wheeled me in, accompanied by my mom and my sis, Nat, who appeared from out of nowhere. I learned later that she had been visiting Dad upstairs. I was surprised when I saw a young couple from our ward in the NICU. I said hello, I think. I honestly don't know what I said to anyone for the next 24 hours or so. Seriously.

There Gage was, all tubed up.

They said I could touch him, so I stroked his little head. I was so surprised that he was just in a diaper, and that was it, but then when I stuck my hand under those little heated lamps, I realized that he was nice and toasty warm. Our pediatrician happened to be right there - he goes in to the hospital every night to check up on his babies. He said I could hold the baby. I was so, so excited. He was kind of crying, but when I held him to me and started talking to him, he turned his head right toward me and stopped. He totally knew my voice. I love that. And then he started cooing at me. Like he was telling me his story.

"Ohhhhh, ohhhh, ohhhhh..." he said.

I was patting his bumb and grinning, and the pediatrician said, "Um, you're stressing him out."

Jigga what?

I guess Gage wasn't telling me his story. I guess preemies (that's what they kept calling him, even though he was six pounds, 11 ounces, so it was weird to me) make that ohhhhhh, ohhhhhh, ohhhhhhh noise when they're stressed out. The pediatrician told me to stop patting the baby, that they like still, long touches. Oh. I felt really dumb. Too soon, they told me I had to put the baby back under the lamp, and I was wheeled to my new room.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Gage is Here!!!

Duuuude! Gage came so early! 3 1/2 weeks early. I'll give all the nitty gritty details really soon. As you can tell, having four kids is keeping me busy. But I'm in really good spirits - no postpardem yet. I feel amazing, physically. And the baby is doing great, which is the most important thing of all. A few pics to whet your appetite...

He was six pounds, eleven ounces, and 19 inches long:

When he came out, he wasn't breathing very well. And they found some fluid in his lung. So they whisked him away to the NICU. I didn't get to hold him until a couple of hours later. Here he is, all wired and tubed up:

He hung out in the incubator for two of his three days there (Isn't he gorgeous??):

My kids got to touch him through the little windows of the incubator:

First bath (this is Ben's favorite thing to do):

A close-up:

Angelina Jolie mixed with Mr. Magoo.
Ben, getting in some smooching:

We got to bring him home on Friday morning, one day after I was discharged. We were soooo excited to get him home:

We have to feed him in a different way, because he's so immature. He does better if we feed him lying on his side:

Sadie is loving this little man:

Dylan couldn't care less. He's too self-absorbed. :) Micah is very sweet with him.
This is such a fun pic of him. Too bad it's fuzzy:

Yay, Gage! Yay for not being pregnant anymore! We are ELATED!!!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

A Grudging Admission

In the spring of 2009, my husband totally revamped my garden, without my permission. I was sooooooo mad. And he made some questionable decisions. My crocuses weren't very happy this spring as a result of his little makeover. I'm going to have to plant some more this fall.

I have to say, though, he made a few really good choices. A few of the plants he chose are late summer bloomers, which is good, because I like there to be some color at all parts of the blooming season. I'm not sure what these are (he neglected to remember the names of any of the things he planted), but the yellow is nice:

And these are some other things he planted. They are quite Seussian. I like 'em:

As far as the old school flower beds are concerned, here is my late-blooming diantha:

Every year, one of my dianthas blooms a couple of weeks before the other does. I sure wish they would coordinate.

Mom had some extra petunias, so she gave them to me:

I LOVE the way these smell.

She also had a couple of extra verbena:

Every time I learn the names of flowers, I laugh, because I've always heard or seen characters in plays, movies, and books with flower names. I watched How to Make an American Quilt last night (one of my all-time favorite movies), and the two sisters are named Hyacinth and Gladiola. They go by Hy and Glady. I know I've heard the name Petunia somewhere. A kid I grew up with actually married a girl named Diantha. And Verbena is the name of the housekeeper/cook lady who works for the dad in The Parent Trap. The lady that always says, "It's none of my never mind. I just mind my own business..."

My mums:

They are CRAZY happy at my house. I got some cuts from mom last year and planted them; I didn't expect them to be so very enormous and happy this year.

On a very rare feel-good afternoon about a month ago, I went out to do some deadheading, and my little shadow came with. He loves flowers as much as his mommy does.

I soooo need to do more deadheading. My mums are done for the season, and I have to cut them down so my glads, which are behind them, can make their debut.

I am sorely, sorely tempted to get more verbena or petunias to make my garden fuller. I'd have to use some of my grocery money, though... And it's getting REALLY hard to garden right now. Bending over is impossible, even on a little stool. Scootching along on my bumb is extremely difficult, as well. I'm just...large. But that's part of the pregnancy biz, right? Right.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010


Today is my eight-months-along-birthday. OMG. Can you feel my excitement?? I feel like I can see the light at the end of the tunnel! I have five weeks left. My babies have all come two weeks early, so if Gage follows suit, I have THREE weeks left. So. Dang. Exciting.

I was trying so hard to smile in the above picture, which Ben took on Sunday. But my face is so poofy that it's kind of hard to smile right now. Weird, huh?

My feet have really embraced the poofiness with this pregnancy:

They would poof on and off with my others, but man, this is crazy poofiness. The tops of my feet feel bruised. Isn't that weird? If I'm on the floor and getting up, I have to put one leg against the floor, obviously, and it hurts the top of the foot on that leg. Ben thinks my feet are hilarious. They are his own little playthings. He enjoys gently pushing a finger into the tops of them, and then watching as his finger leaves a big dent in my foot that slowly fills up with fluid again.

Last week, my perinatologist was so concerned with my poofiness (it's in my face and hands, too) that he took my blood pressure. It was pretty high - 134 over something. You're supposed to call your doc if your blood pressure is above 140, my pregnancy book tells me. It so alarmed him that he is now having me do non-stress tests once per week and ultrasounds once per week, in addition to my now-weekly gynie visits. My poor mother has to watch my kids so much. I was at Smith's the next evening, getting some stuff, and I ran into cute Dawn and Noelle from my ward. They saw my feet and were like, "Holy cow. Are you OKAY???" Dawn actually walked me to the pharmacy area and had me take my blood pressure, right then and there. It was 142 over 86. I called the labor and delivery department when I got home, and they said that I should come in immediately if it is 150 or higher on the top and 90 or higher on the bottom. Amazingly, my blood pressure dropped the next day and hasn't hovered any higher ever since then. Ben says it's an answer to his prayers. I forget sometimes that people pray for me. It makes me happy. He told me a couple of weeks ago that he was begging Heavenly Father to take away my nausea, pain, etc. It really touched me that he was praying for me. I realized that, when it comes to Ben, I spend all my time thanking Heavenly Father for him, but then I forget to pray for him. He's just the best. Despite the fact that he likes to play with my poofy feet.

I can't reach my toes anymore, so Ben has become my pedicure guy:

It hurts to have other people trim your nails, just FYI. But I don't have a nail file. So I had to just flinch and occasionally yell, "Owwww! Too deep! Too deep! I'm going to bleed!!!" He painted my nails purple, because purple is my favorite color.

Want to see more craptastic ultrasound photos? I knew you would!

Feeling peaceful at 32 weeks:

Looking like he has one of those fat suit masks on his face, also at 32 weeks:

And playing Skeletor at 34 weeks:

These pictures so frighten me. I hope he looks okay when he comes out. :)

At my 34 week ultrasound (last week), they were guesstimating his weight to be 6 pounds, 10 ounces. Yikes. Bikes. My gynie pooh-pooh's this guesstimate. He says that ultrasounds this late in pregnancy are usually really off when it comes to the weight of the baby. Ain't that the truth.

Baby's anemia is holding relatively low, as are my antibodies. For awhile, they thought that they may have to give the baby a blood transfusion soon after his birth, but now they think he's going to be AOK without one. Good. I've never seen a blood transfusion take place, but I don't imagine that it's pleasant. I don't want needles stuck in my baby. Unless it's absolutely necessary. At my ultrasound this week, they discovered that my amniotic fluid is a little low. I had this issue with Sadie - they had to induce me with her, two weeks early. Which was AWESOME. If the same thing happens with Gage, I won't be sad. The perinatologist keeps telling me to stay hydrated and keep my feet up. I told him that I'm really trying, but that I barf a lot. And water makes me nauseated. But I'm drinking lots of low-cal grape Gatorade. I also told him that trying to keep my feet up all day with three kids is basically impossible, but that I am trying.

I had a gynie appointment a couple of days ago, and I'm dilated to a one! Don't get too excited, folks. I once sat at a three for THREE WEEKS. But it shows progress.

I'm having all of these fears about post-baby time. I know that I get baby blues for about two weeks after the baby is born. And it is sooooo hard to cope. So I'm starting to get anxious about that time. I so wish I could skip the baby blues phase. I'm jealous of women who don't have that issue.

Another thing I'm anxious about - I have decided not to breastfeed. I'm very happy with that decision. I have tried three times; I have failed three times. I've blogged bountifully on this topic. But today, it hit me: If I don't breastfeed, I won't lose the baby weight very fast or very easily. Breastfeeding is like the best diet in the world. You don't even have to watch what you eat, or jog. You just breastfeed, and whoop! You're skinnier than you've been in years. But you know, I will have just had a baby. I need to be kind to my body. It may take longer to lose the weight, but that's fine. I think it will be worth the weight - get it? Worth the WEIGHT? - to bottle feed this baby. For my sanity. Sanity trumps chubbiness.

Ben says I'm edgy lately. We were driving to Nat's house last night (it was Troy Boy's birthday - a post on that later), and I was telling him how much I hate that stupid Spaceman Stu McDonald's commercial. It makes absolutely no sense. Is the moral of the commercial that McDonald's food will make gravity go away? Why does he have to walk like that, bent backwards, to see the stars? Why can't he just tilt his head? It's freaky. It's dumb. I hate it. So I was telling Ben this, and he's like, "Wow, Kar, it's just a commercial. You're really intense about it." I was like, "No I'm not. I'm just telling you that I dislike that commercial. If you wanted a girl without opinions, you shouldn't have married me."

Yeah, I guess I am a little edgy...

Okay, friends. Five weeks (or maybe three weeks) to go! Let's get this little man OUTTA HERE!!
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