Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Hotel Momma

I've been on some serious bed rest in the hospital. My left arm is tethered to an IV pole that gives me antibiotics, magnesium sulfate to ward off labor, and fluids. My right side is wired to a fetal monitor that tracks baby's heart rate and uterine contractions. I have about a two-foot reach from bed, so everything has to come to me.

Last night the kids came to visit. They think the hospital is "fun" because I have a bed that moves up and down at the touch of a button, a TV that has Cartoon Network, and food brought to me on a tray in bed. Phoebe rubbed my feet, made me a card with a caterpillar on it, and fed me chocolates. Bruce watched Cartoon Network and asked a few serious questions about the baby. He knows what's going on and looked a little scared.

I'm sooooo glad my mom is here taking care of the kids; it gives me much-needed peace of mind knowing that they can hang onto some shred of normalcy while I'm not there. She knows her way around our neighborhood, knows their quirks and routines, and seems to genuinely enjoy filling the need. She took the kids out for Dunkin Donuts on her first day here, so I can only imagine the spoiling that will go on over the next few weeks.

As she focuses on Bruce and Phoebe, I'm focused on keeping this baby in as long as possible. I am reminded that mothers will do anything for their kids. I've grown a double chin, endured painful steroid shots in my thighs, laid in bed and watched 70-degree sunny weather from a window, all in the name of getting this baby here.

And so when I see my mom drop everything at home (and have I mentioned she is a busy lady?!) and catch the next flight to Boston simply because I called, I get it. But I still don't know how to ever repay that - except maybe to do the same for her grandchildren.

Mom, I'm turning into you. And I love it.

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Sunday, April 28, 2013

Whoa baby.

I woke up at 4 a.m. and had to pee. Nothing out of the ordinary there. But I woke up fast when I saw it wasn't just pee. "Um, Scott? Come have a look."

"Yep, you're going to have to go in."

I said that maybe it was nothing and that I'd call in the morning, that I'd go back to bed. It is just too early to be what I think it is, I thought. I got a drink and laid down and tried to get the baby to move just for a little peace of mind. He was moving fine, but I woke up enough to realize that there was no way I was going back to sleep and I had that same trickling feeling that preceded Phoebe's birth. I grabbed my half-packed hospital bag, grabbed a few random items to stuff in it, and headed out.

I got in the car and drove myself to the hospital. Scott stayed in bed but never went back to sleep of course. I didn't want to call a sitter at 4 a.m. when it might not be anything and I'd probably just wait around in the emergency department for awhile.

I checked myself in fairly quickly. As it turns out, there was no wait at 5 a.m. at this hospital. I got a wheelchair ride to my room, got swabbed and poked, and it was confirmed that the membranes had indeed ruptured. So then my tear ducts broke some water.

And then I called Scott, who called our friend to take Bruce and Phoebe, then hightailed it to the hospital.

We talked to lots of doctors and the plan is to keep the baby in as long as possible because we are just shy of 29 weeks. I got some yucky medication to slow/stop contractions and keep labor from progressing. I got a steroid shot in the thigh to help our little man's lungs develop faster (bye bye drug-free birth! And bye bye VBAC, I'm cruising toward a C-section at this point!).

And so our little guy could be here tomorrow, or it could be 2-3 weeks. But he will be here soon. And that is scary and exciting.

In some ways, I feel like we are about as well-prepared as we can be for this to happen. We have been through some preemie issues before, so we have some inkling of what's going to happen and how to manage logistics and such. We have a good support network, all the gear we need (thanks to yesterday's baby shower!), and some savings in case this baby is expensive.

I've been preparing Bruce and Phoebe, guiding them toward self-sufficiency. I've been delegating responsibilities, making lots of meals for new moms to pay it forward a bit, and trying to make myself generally less needed just in case I disappeared for a little while. This Tuesday is my last official day with Miss J, so last week we started transitioning her to new care. While I feel a little bad I'm ditching out of two days of work, I'm glad it's only two days and she has a place to go.

And so while I am scared to do the whole preemie thing again, in some ways I feel like our family has been preparing for this our whole lives.

Go Team Raymond!


Friday, April 26, 2013

Being a mom is exhausting.

Next week is my last with Miss J, as she will be moving to preschool full-time and I will be having a baby at some point. We have been in transition, splitting time between me and the new school so she can get used to it there. Phoebe and I had some free time this morning, so what do we do?

We fill that free time of course. It's what we do.

We took Bruce to school, played at a park, picked up a few items at the grocery store, picked up gardening stuff at the hardware store, took said gardening stuff to garden to put in, dug up and played with worms, baked cookies, delivered a birthday treat, ate picnic lunch outside, and took 10-minute power nap.

Then once we picked up Miss J from preschool, we had to cram in as much fun as possible since our time together is waning.

So we stopped for ice cream, went to an egg hunt at the library, picked up a treat for a friend, delivered said treat, played at a playground, picked up Bruce from his awesome after-school class, and headed home to play with dolls before Miss J's parents came to pick her up.

I'm exhausted. But if I wasn't, I wouldn't be doing my job right.


Monday, April 22, 2013

Urban lockdown.

As it turns out, Monday's bombings that felt a little too close for comfort got a little closer to us later in the week. I was glad that Bruce missed all this action because he's old enough to get it and be scared by it, and I'm glad Phoebe is young enough to not be scared of anything really.

Late Thursday night, I woke up to the sound of sirens. Not just one or two emergency vehicles, but what sounded like dozens of them racing down our street. I fell back to sleep and woke up a half-hour later and heard more. It seemed that they just kept coming and coming. Phoebe woke up, so I put her back to bed.

I grabbed my phone and checked the news. A police officer had been shot and killed two blocks away, just outside the building where Bruce would have gone to Cub Scouts had he not been in D.C. this week. I was disturbed by the news, but rolled over and slept a few more hours until morning.

I had planned to go running on Friday morning, but my running partner (who knows me well enough to know I don't check the news or emails before heading out early in the mornings) called and said, "Don't go out! There's a manhunt..."

And the story unfolded from there.

The police officer that was shot by my house was shot by the men suspected of carrying out the Boston Marathon bombings. Coincidentally, there was a robbery at the 7-11 just around the corner (one block away - yikes!) at about the same time. When the police reviewed the security footage at 7-11, they spotted the marathon bombing suspects and thus began the chase.

The governor issued a lockdown for our community. Although most of Friday's events (a shootout or two, a day-long search, and the final capture) occurred in the next town over, Phoebe and I stayed indoors behind our locked door for the entire day. It was genuinely scary. I kept checking the news on my phone and found out the identities of the suspects, found that they lived only a few blocks away from us (one block from where Bruce goes to school - that's probably the scariest thing for me to think about), and frequented the same parks and restaurants. It freaks me out to think that we could have passed them at some point - hanging out at the park or getting a Slurpee after a long run. And although I had felt safe earlier in the week after reassuring myself that those bombings were some random event probably caused by some disgruntled people that lived somewhere else, I felt wronged all over again.

I felt some relief once the suspects were captured. I spent my Saturday out and about; Phoebe and I went for a run with friends (we ended at the site where the police officer was shot and left flowers there), went to the circus, went to the playground, and tried to have a "normal" day. I couldn't help but to wonder who I was passing on the streets: Who is this person? Is this person a terrorist? 

Then it occurred to me that 1) I cannot be at peace thinking that everyone in my neighborhood might be a terrorist, and 2) It's just not fair to even think that thought about everyone I cross paths with. And so I'm back to where I started - you know, trying to be nice to everyone. The same thing I tell my kids to do. 

Throughout the past few days, I've had a Christmas song in my head: "I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day" by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. I think when I woke up in the middle of Thursday night I thought something along the lines of "there is no peace on earth" and as soon as I had that thought, this song started playing on repeat in my head, especially the last two verses.

And in despair I bowed my head;
"There is no peace on earth," I said;
"For hate is strong, And mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!"

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
"God is not dead, nor doth He sleep;
The Wrong shall fail, The Right prevail,
With peace on earth, good-will to men."

And so while we may have terrorists in the neighborhood, random robberies of my favorite place to get Slurpees, and certainly plenty of things to fear, I will not let fear paralyze me for God is in charge and will prevail.

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Sunday, April 21, 2013

Bruce sees D.C.

 Scott and Bruce headed to Washington D.C. and Philadelphia for five days. They wanted a little vacation and Bruce wanted to see the sights in D.C. They checked out the National Zoo...
 ...and the National Air and Space Museum.
 This was probably Bruce's favorite; they spent a lot of time here and said they could have spent more time here.
 The Space Shuttle was a highlight.
After a few days in D.C., they headed to Philly and stayed with Nancy and Jared. They checked out the beginnings of our government, ate greasy food, and probably talked medicine way too much (Nancy is in PA school and Jared in med school).

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And now for something completely different.

 Last week after the marathon, Scott took Bruce and the camera and headed to Washington D.C. Thus, I did not get to download photos until today, so here is the random photo dump from the last few weeks. Above is Phoebe with her "joy school" class. Two moms and I took turns teaching these awesome kids twice a week from September through March. We started off using the values-based Joy School curriculum, but the lesson plans hadn't been updated for a few decades so we switched to another slightly more academic curriculum. In March, one kid moved and the other family decided to home-school their other children, so we had a little graduation and called it a school-year. Phoebe already misses her buddies and is going to be a bit socially deprived this summer.
 Phoebe has been asking to go to a museum for awhile, so we waited until Bruce had a day off school and then spent the entire day at the Museum of Science. We went to an IMAX film about caves and canyons, learned about hurricanes, and pushed every button and joystick we walked by.
 Scott took Phoebe on a daddy-daughter date to the Boston Ballet. They dressed up all fancy, took the train downtown to the opera house, and saw "Sleeping Beauty." Phoebe is really into ballet, ballerinas, all things colored pink, etc - so this was right up her alley. Lest you think Bruce is getting ignored, his father-son adventure was next; Scott and Bruce went to Philadelphia and Washington D.C. for five days. Scott had a few days off of work (he gets a few vacation days, but they have to be during specified dates so he had to use them or lose them), so he spoiled me and the kids as much as possible.
And finally, here is the most telling photo of Marathon Monday. This is about what we did on the sidelines, which is why I was sulky and depressed.

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Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Boston 2013

Marathon Monday started out beautifully. The weather was perfect - 40s in the morning warming to low-to-mis-50s during the day. There was hardly a breeze, a few clouds in the sky; truly perfect marathoning weather. Of course, I thought, the weather is perfect because I'm not racing this year.

Scott had to work all day but I had the day off from Miss J, so the kids and I headed to Mile 19 in Newton. It's out in the 'burbs with grass and trees lining the course, so there's room to spread out on the curb and let the kids play on the grass. Bruce and Phoebe snacked, watched DVDs, played with other kids, and petted lots of dogs while I watched the elite women, then elite men, then waves and waves of runners pass.

Honestly, I felt a little sulky. I was already a little jealous of the nice weather, then to watch something so inspiring while sitting in a lawn chair 28 pounds heavier than a year ago - it just felt weird. I wanted to be running down that yellow line in the middle of the road, not sitting at the sideline. Don't get me wrong: I wasn't feeling regret, just longing. Hopefully the longing that will get me back into shape someday soon.

I had lots of people to cheer for - Anna Novick (my long-time running partner who still puts up with my slow pregnant 5-mile runs every morning!), Emili Lawson Smith (former BYU XC teammate and next-door locker neighbor while a Cougar), Carolyn Quebe Williams (also a former BYU teammate who now lives in Boston), Darcee Burnett (former member of the church congregation we went to while we lived in Arlington and super-inspiring person), and the dozen or so runners wearing Greater Boston Track Club singlets.

I positioned myself beyond the 30K (18.6 miles) timing mats but before the 19-mile marker and kept checking my phone for text message alerts of my runners. Emili was the first to go by - according to my text anyway. Unfortunately I never saw her; huge crowds were streaming by and it occurred to me that I should have asked her what she was going to wear. Oops. Anna came by next, but I missed her too; I think I might have been changing Phoebe's DVD or something at that point. I was bummed about that because I had a bunch of signs made up and a waterbottle to hand to her. I did see Carolyn and Darcee, but I'm not sure they heard me in the sea of spectators.

I sat and sulked a little longer, watching runners and clutching my phone waiting for text updates. Anna went on to run a near-perfectly paced race in a PR of 2:56. Victory! Emili came in at 3:06, Carolyn at 3:24, and Darcee at 3:27. Once everyone crossed the line, I packed up the kids and headed home. When I walked in the door, I got a phone call.

"Emily, are you okay?" My sister-in-law called. I thought she was just being nice and understanding of my sulky pregnant-runner status, so I started whining about my sulky sidelined morning. She gave me the news and my phone started buzzing with texts and incoming calls.

I reassured everyone that I hadn't gone to the finish line this year (I have in the past, and was toying with the idea of meeting up downtown with runners afterward, but decided against it being pregnant/lazy and not wanting to chase two kids around crowds of people), then started making texts and calls of my own. All of my GBTC teammates, their families, and my friends that I tracked were all out of the finish area when the bombs went off. I confirmed that everyone was okay, then followed the news for the rest of the day trying to make sense of it all. I still can't make sense of it.

If anything, this event has only stoked my desire to race the marathon even more. I've been thinking of a Boston Marathon return in 2015 because it will give me ample time to build up mileage and get fast post-baby, but now I'm eager to be part of the marathon in 2014 even if I am not in top shape. I'm not sure it's realistic; I have to re-qualify (my 2012 time will be considered too old for the 2014 registration requirement) and registration is in September (a month after having a baby?!), but there are back door methods of getting in (charity, waivers, etc.) so there's still a chance.

I would just love to run down Boylston Street as my own personal flip-of-the-bird to terrorism. You can't run me out of Boston! I will run you out.

In 2014 if I can.

In 2015 for sure.

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Friday, April 12, 2013

Still here.

The blog is getting dusty. Phoebe stopped napping, so emails go unanswered and the blog gets ignored. Maybe this is a sign of things to come?

I'm 26 weeks along, still feeling ok. I felt great until last week when I lost sleep because of baby's midnight partying and had a leg cramp one night (ouch!). I've been really tired too; I took the kids to the zoo yesterday and felt like a sluggish old person for the rest of the day.

The Boston Marathon is Monday and since I won't be racing it this year, I am putting my efforts into cheering my running partner on. The weather looks perfect (of course!), so it should be a good fast year.