Running Around

As of today, I am officially more pregnant than I have ever been. Can you all feel it, too?
(Saturday at Crown Fountain in Millennium Park)

This photo exaggerates my belly a bit, but I'm pretty sure this point in pregnancy is all about exaggeration anyway. I swear my horizontal stripes look more horizontal from the front.

I had an ultrasound on Friday that let me know Magnolia is 6 pounds 4 ounces (at 35 weeks and 2 days). I'm terrified of having a huge baby. If I go full term, and she gains the average amount of weight, I'm looking at a 9 pounder. Yikes. I can't be induced. So it's go into labor naturally while I can still physically deliver her, or have a c-section again. I'm hoping to avoid a c-section.

Since I've been off of bed rest, I have been pounding the pavement. I've walked at least three miles every day, except for today...there was a freak thunderstorm that lasted all day. The best I've been able to do so far is contractions every 3 minutes for an hour. It is so weird for me to not have contractions all the time, even if they're not regular. Something about my hospital stay shocked my uterus into pregnancy compliance. I'm happy about that, but I hope she learns how to revolt again pretty soon...maybe when my last shot of progesterone starts wearing off. I have a doctor appointment on Wednesday, I'll be 36 weeks, holy smokes! There really is an end in sight. Even 40 weeks doesn't seem so far off from here. And if I make it to 40 weeks, I might as well roll over to my dream due date. Do you all remember it? July 4th.

Is a pregnancy optimist being born as I type this?

We'll see. I might just be in a better place now that the sun has gone down and I'm not sitting in a puddle of my own sweat, and the swelling in my feet has gone down.

Check it....
I even ran after Cora while she was playing in the fountain. I look forward to running again when this little baby is on the outside of me. I've been having dreams about it. You know the kind - where you run like you've never run before and aren't the least bit weary.

A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

It finally cooled off today. It wasn't unbearable inside, and outside was gorgeous. Cora and I played out in the yard for about 2 hours, and then I came inside to make dinner. Spicy black bean posole - the meal I ate the night before I had Cora.

Our neighborhood is amazing. I don't think I could have ever imagined how aesthetically appealing it is to me, in so many different ways. Everywhere I look, I find something pleasing to my eyes. There are hundreds, if not thousands entry doors made from beautiful wood with wonderful carvings. The landscaping is out of this world. I don't know how it just seems to appear over night after Winter decides its finally over. The trees are old and cover the streets.

I know why people plant themselves here for good. One of the neighborhood's most famous residents - who am I kidding - the most famous resident and his family returned home today. That's right. The Obamas are in town for the first time since we've been here. We live 2 blocks from their house. We can't park on our street, and it's completely closed to traffic a block west of us. It's so exciting. The likelihood of getting to see them is slim to none, unless I park myself on the sidewalk and wait for them.

But I don't want to do that.

There's something so comforting about coming home. Today was the perfect day to be on Lake Shore Drive. I know the excitement of exiting off into the Historic Kenwood and Hyde Park neighborhoods. Driving down Hyde Park Boulevard, covered in trees. On the news, I saw Michelle run down the sidewalk with Bo. What a sense of peace that must bring. I know how wonderful I feel when I walk through the door after being gone.

I like knowing that the President of the United States is right down the road. But more than that, right now, he is a husband/father who brought his family home for the weekend (even though he'll be in the gulf tomorrow). I hope they love every second of it.

Out and About

I went to the doctor yesterday. I am off of bedrest. YES! First order of business: Pick up Cora! We went outside and played in a little pool that one of our neighbors brings down to the yard. She is great, she brings her pool down, fills it up, let's everyone play in it, and takes it all down again when the day is done. Cora finally got to wear her super cute suit I picked up in the middle of winter. I will post pictures eventually. Our computer has been at the Apple store for the last 9 days.

Today we went to the library - twice. My card has been missing for a few months. I went in to square away the fine I knew was on my account, but I needed to have something with our address on it, according to the clerk. So dumb! I asked her what would work, and she said a piece of mail. I should have put So dumb here. I thanked her for her help (even though I wasn't really thankful), and walked the 4 blocks home, picked up my piece of mail and headed back. I got a different librarian. He didn't even look at my mail, just my photo id. If I wouldn't have just been able to go outside again, I would have been perturbed. But I did get 8 extra blocks in, and I've got some movement to make up.

I took my last round of progesterone yesterday. I could take it through 37 weeks, but if you couldn't tell already, I'm ready to meet Magnolia. I've got a list of activities that will carry me through - things I've yet to do/see in Chicago. And repeats of some of my favorites.

Friday: Ultrasound
Saturday: Buckingham Fountain/People watch at Millenium Park
Sunday: I'd like to have a baby on this day. If not, church and the lake
Monday: Chicago History Museum
Tuesday: I'm giving this day to Jake to use as he wishes in preparation for his final presentation on Wed.
Wednesday: Doctor appointment and Something at the university - Smart Museum or Oriental Institute.
Thursday: Lincoln Park Zoo
Friday: if I'm not feeling totally cheap - the Willis Tower (aka Sears Tower)

That's all I've got for now. Hopefully I won't get through it all before Magnolia arrives.

This Floral Chair

Today I woke up with sinuses full of snot and a migraine caused by lack of sleep. Jake and Cora went to the pharmacy and picked up some Zyrtec, and then to Hype Park Produce where, among other things, he picked up some sea salt for Neti Pot. If you are an allergy sufferer and don't have a neti pot, you should get one. I used it a little while ago, and oh sweet relief.

Chicago has been in the upper 80's, and I believe some 90's are on the horizon. This is the land of awesome old buildings without central air conditioning. Our apartment is a blazin'. I've resigned myself to the den, formerly known as the guest room. It's the coolest room. When we rearranged everything, we moved a large floral chair in here. I am glad about that.

This has been one of my all time favorite chairs since I first laid eyes on it on July 7, 2003. It was sitting in my not-yet in-laws living room. It had all of the perfect colors, and two people could fit in it. I was happy to inherit it way back in our 495 sf studio days, even though it totally clashed with the couch and was way too big for the space. I haven't always had the perfect place for it, but it has stayed with us.

As I'm sprawled out across it, two fans pointing at me from different directions, with my belly bulging up from the center, I am certain this is the perfect place for it right now.

Bless you, Chair. I promise you a thorough cleaning when we get back to Oklahoma. You will get to grace the sunroom in the apartment I'm still praying we'll get to reside in. And I will read Dandelion Wine in you at the start of every summer we get to be together.

PS: Tomorrow, two families I know who are supposed to have children go in for surgery. One is for her hand, and the other is for his heart. You can send good thoughts and lots prayers their direction.

Giving In

I packed my hospital bag today. It contains some clothes, a few toiletries, and a blanket and coming home outfit for Magnolia.

I've been resisting the bag packing because I didn't want to think about the possibility of going in before I was ready. I'm supposed to be thinking about keeping her in, not going to have her taken out. I had a doctor appoinment today. My blood pressure was higher than usual, so I was sent to the hospital for tests and monitoring. Everything came back good. Good.

I think the hardest news to hear in pregnancy is that no progress is being made. Granted, it's good news at this stage (34 weeks and 3 days), but my life is in a sort of holding pattern. There are only so many things I can do. Before today, I hadn't been out of my apartment since Monday. And I don't think an outing to the doctor and hospital really counts as getting out.

One more week of bedrest. I'm working really hard at putting myself in a place to fully embrace the rest of this pregnacy. I'm also trying to find a balance where it doesn't completely consume my every waking moment. I need some yoga in my life right now.

Magnolia, you come when you are ready, and I will try my hardest not to speculate when that time should be.


I love windows.

And I like rooms with nice views.

My current in-bed post affords me quite a lovely view. I get to look out across Hyde Park Blvd. It's covered in a canopy of trees. I like to watch neighbors walk the sidewalks and people running to catch the bus. Today there are a lot of children playing in our communal yard.

Mine is one of them, thanks to Mary, a friend from church. Cora adores Mary, and I'm glad for that.

Contractions have been pretty sparse compared to normal. I have mixed feelings about it. Obviously, I want a healthy child, but after one is sucked into the vortex of preterm labor, waiting becomes very difficult. She could come at any time, or not for several weeks, though the likelihood is sooner rather than later. It's the not knowing.

I was looking on craigslist for a place to live in OKC. To my astonishment and sheer delight, I saw thatthe lower unit in our old duplex was for rent. It's my favorite place I'be ever lived, and in an area of the city I would want to plant myself forever. I emailed our old landlord. Living there would mean a months worth of double rent. Double anything is a hard pill for this cheapo to swallow. But I would do it to live there. It has a basement and a sunroom. And some of the greatest expanses of windows I've ever seen.

And a back yard. Dreamy.

If we could get that, and hear back from OCU about a job, I would be as happy as a piggy in slop - even if I'm still lying around all day.

OCU -We want to work for you. We always have. And we want to be an active part of your community for a really, really long time. I've been thinking about Wanda, and how she will always be such a treasure in my life. I loved talking to her about art. She passed away during my three weeks of labor with Cora. I always wished I could have had one last uplifting conversation with her.

I Am Home.

I was released from the hospital a little after noon today, just after my last scrumptious meal - A grilled cheese sandwich on Texas toast with some tomato soup and cheesecake. Just a 2 day stay this time, not 2 weeks. Phew. I'm so relieved.

I'm on the worst kind of bed rest. I can get up to go to the bathroom. That's about it. I did decide that I would get up and eat with my family as well. And I do want to spend parts of my day lying on the couch so I can feel like I'm a part of home life. I think the saddest part is that I can't lift anything. That's right. I can't pick up my darling daughter. What a little dagger to the heart. I know it's temporary. [This is where I'm holding back a few tears.] It is temporary. And soon enough I will have my little Magnolia in my arms.

My husband is a Saint. He is taking it all on. And it's nice because it's him. It means I don't have to worry about a thing. When he has to go to school and work, we're having some volunteers from church take Cora. I'm so glad he is just taking one class this semester. Kindness and service never cease to amaze me. The very thought makes my cup to runneth over.

And let me just tell you that I am holding out hope that some day, perhaps with my next pregnancy, I will walk into a hospital all round and ripe and ready to deliver. I will have that baby because it is time, and a few days later, I will leave with the weird deflated belly that a woman can't quite be prepared for, all set up for late night feedings, diaper changes, the works when it comes to how a newborn completely transforms a home. You know, just one hospital visit. A girl can dream.

PS: My OB is flying to Oklahoma City tonight for training on the da Vinci robot. She flies back Tuesday night. How ironic, right?

Hangin' Around

On Friday night, I was busy making Magnolia's mobile. Jake was helping. We were stuffing, embroidering, and sewing on buttons. I bet he never thought he'd learn such fun things from me.

Magnolia was excited, too. She was going crazy for almost 3 hours. It was fun. And weird. But mostly fun. Towards the end of her thrashing about, I took note of my tummy. It had become low and pointy. The top half was no longer solid feeling. Squishy, one of those weird gel balls everyone loves to squeeze.

"Hmm," I thought. "She dropped."

Saturday we went to a little outdoor shindig at UChicago. We had delectable veggie burgers, some jamba juice, and a fried twinkie. I had the fried twinkie. Jake had a cupcake. It was good. It was free. And just as we were leaving, we got to see Damian Marley get out of his limo. Plus a few other guys with seriously awesome dreads.

Things livened up on the way home. I started having some regular contractions. They were different. Not what I would call painful, but they were definitely taking my breath away. We got home, I parked it on the couch, put my feet up and got serious about timing. Every 3 minutes. Ugh. I sent a text to my OB, she had me go to the hospital to be checked out.

When I got there, I was dilated to a 1, Magnolia was stationed at a -2*, but my cervix was still pretty thick - about 2 cm. Not bad. An hour later, same reading, but my cervix was getting thinner. 1-1.5 cm thick [50% effaced*]. And then the results of my fetal fibronectin test came back. Positive*. I was admitted.

I am still at the hospital. The good news is that my contractions are much better, and I haven't progressed since last night. I've taken two different medications. The first was a shot that didn't do anything. The second, Procardia, seems to have things under control. Which is awesome because the same treatment didn't work at all with Cora. The first dose threw me for a loop. It's generally used for high blood pressure, but it can relax the walls of the uterus. My normal bp is 90/60, which is on the low side. After the first big dose, it dropped to 86/41. It's been better because each dose after has consisted of 1 pill, rather than 3.

There's a good chance I can go home tomorrow morning if I don't progress anymore. I received the first steroid shot for Magnolia's lungs last night around 9. The treatment includes 2 doses that are supposed to be administered 24 hours a part. After all the precautionary drugs are out of the way, I hope I can get out of here. I miss my home and my bed, and Cora and Jake. The good news is that everything is set at home. We are fully prepared to bring Magnolia home. What a wonderful feeling.

Our goal is to make it to 35 weeks. I'll have the option of staying in the hospital, but my doctor thinks I'm reliable, phew. What that really means is that at home I'll be on strict bed rest and taking my medication to keep the turbulent contractions at bay. I'll be 34 weeks on Wednesday.

PS: I received 4 liters of fluid through my iv last night. I have never gone to the bathroom so much in my life. And it was not easy negotiating all the cords that were connected to me. I had an awesome nurse who helped. Sister Thomas. Yes, she's a nun. We had some great late night conversations.

* A baby’s station, refers to how far down his/her head has come into the mother's pelvis. 0 station is when the head is fully engaged in the pelvis and ready to enter into the birth canal. The decent into the pelvis is measured from -3 to -1, and the decent from entering the birth canal to a position where the baby is ready to be born is measured as +1 to +3.
*As labor nears the cervix begins to shorten and thin out. This action is referred to as effacement. When the cervix is fully thinned out, it is 100% effaced
*A positive fetal fibronectin test means the glue holding a pregnancy together is starting to come a part.


Everyone has their thing when it comes to clean. Mine are floors. If they are clean, everything else feels good.

A gleaming spread of beautiful hardwoods. Nothing is better.

With that being said, I've been on floor strike since winter. Since winter started. A little after Christmas. I kept cleaning up after we'd come in with wet boots, and one day - a day when I was quite ill - I decided that I wasn't going to clean them the way I love to until Spring came.

Well, today was the day. After yesterday's high of 47, and today's potential high of 70-something, I decided it would be okay.

I've been meaning to get to it for a while. I believe I'm in the nesting phase. I couldn't remember this part with Cora, but then I realized it was because it hit when I was in the hospital. And I did have the cleanest, nicest smelling room in all of OU Childrens Hospital. The doctors and nurses told me so. And I think I got special privileges because of it, like a pretty raspberry colored blanket, instead of a yucky pastel.

I took on the kitchen. Jake made his way on hands and knees through the living room and hallway. [We're saving the bedrooms for tomorrow.] It must be done that way - on hands and knees - when it hasn't been done on a regular basis. I'm lying on the couch right now, looking out across a job well done and feeling a contentment that hasn't been present in a while.

Tomorrow, we're rearranging our room to set up a "nursery" at one end. Our room is big. It will require converting Cora's newly converted toddler bed back into a crib, and moving the daybed in the guestroom into her room. Don't worry, we've gone over it. One is a "baby bed" that Magnolia will get to use, and the other is a "big girl bed" that Cora would get to use after Grandma's and Grandpa's visit. We let her pick out some new sheets. Her color options were a fun springy green, pink, or turquoise. Turquoise was the winner. I was secretly rooting for it. I chose those three colors because they coordinate with the decor her room will eventually have. I'll fill you in on that later.

Until next time, happy orange pine sol inhalations.

PS: I did spot clean our floors as necessary during my strike. I couldn't neglect my floors altogether. I needed you to know that.

PPS: I've had Greyson Michael Chance's cover of Lady Gaga's Paparazzi stuck in my head all day long.

PPPS: Jake picked up some Chipotle for our dinner on his way home from work. Yum.

A Feat

Mother's Day falls on an important day for me this year. It's purely coincidence, but it's what I've been thinking about. I am 32 weeks and 4 days along in this pregnancy.

I woke up on this pregnant day with Cora, and I put on tights. No easy feat for a late-in-the-game pregnant woman. I was proud of myself. I was wearing my favorite maternity dress that I'd finally grown into. I grabbed my lunch that Jake always made and left for work. I also left a pile of laundry in the corner of my room. I was going to tackle it when I got home.

On this day with Cora, I went into labor.

This day was the first of a 2 week hospital stay. When I was changing into my hospital gown, I remember thinking how difficult it was for me to get these tights on just two hours before. I had no idea what was in store. IVs, ultrasounds, gushing blood, morphine, breech presentation, and finally, a batch of late night tears. I was 32 weeks, contracting every two minutes and dilated to a 2. I didn't know I would miss home so much that when I returned I would cry as I walked through each room, fully aware of how abruptly life can change. Change on days that start out just as normal as the rest.

I was sitting in church this morning, adding up my weeks and days, and thinking about how I was in such a different place. Then I looked down and realized I was wearing the same dress, sans tights, thankfully. This has been a completely different experience so far. And while I still have a few weeks to go to surpass Cora's 35 week delivery mark, something about today being so low key and easy makes me breathe a little sigh of relief. All is well.

To Andrew on his Blessing Day

Hi Baby Andrew,

I'm so happy you finally got to meet all of your mom's sisters (and your grandpa and great-grandma)! You have a boat load of crazy-cool aunts. I hope you're enjoying playing and cuddling, and laughing with all of them. I wish that we could be there with you. Cora still talks about meeting you. And she didn't even get to see you smile, but she does love looking at all of your pictures.

You won't remember today, the official happenings, but you will definitely always feel the love that is surrounding you. It will be with you your whole life through.

Tell your mom Happy Mother's Day with a big gummy kiss. She'll enjoy it.

We love you!

PS: I just want you to know that when Aunt Kiersty came for Cora's blessing, she [Cora] threw up all over her. Not that I'm wishing that for her again, but if you do need to throw up, she knows how it goes.


I drove to the airport to pick my parents up for their maiden trip to Chicago. The trip usually takes 20 minutes.


It took over an hour.

I pull into the parking garage 40 minutes after their plane had landed. Cora coughs. I look in the review mirror.


She has a hand full of throw up. She coughs again. It's chunking its way out. Macaroni and cheese from lunch a few hours ago.


It looks exactly the same as it did going in. I park. YES! I'm not moving any more. I get out and take the initial barf off the front of her.


Someone is going to find a big pile of barf next to their car. After a handful of wipes and a daughter with only leggings and shoes on (her dress is wadded up in the back), we're ready to make our way in.


I packed a sweater - just in case. It only has three buttons at the top. her naval is showing. I don't even care that I look like one of those moms.


There my parents are in the baggage claim, right off of the door I walk in through. I'm ready to claim them and take them home. Not before a quick clean up in the bathroom.

It took 20 minutes, by the way, to get home. Though we'd missed our train into downtown. Tonight was supposed to be the Art Institute - it's free (and my favorite). Otherwise it would be $18/person. I'm cheap. I live for free.

Surprise? No, not really.

We still got to eat Chicago style pizza. Cora got to spend time opening her presents. And we got to spend time relaxing a bit this evening. Cora's car seat cover and straps are drying. I hope the barf smell is exiting our car, though I don't know how. This is Chicago, you don't leave the windows cracked.

I'm happy for the guests occupying our guest room. I'm happy Cora's throw up seems to be an isolated event. And I'm happy I get to see Magnolia in action tomorrow. Hopefully we'll get a sweet shot.

Where it Ought Not Be

Tonight Jake took Cora's hair out of her little Yellow rubber band. A few minutes after her hair was out, Jake asked "where's your rubber band?"

To which she replied, "nose," while pointing to her right nostril.


I looked up, thought I saw something, and went for the tweezers. I ended up tweezing out a big booger on my first attempt. Hmmm.

I got a flashlight.

I looked for a while. Nothing. I made her blow her nose, we wiggled around, I looked again. Aha! I see a rubber band. In her left nostril. I pull it out. Oh wait.

It's Blue.

And it is covered in boogers, and kind of crunchy - you know how old rubber bands get. I have no idea how long it has been there. It's been several days since we've used a blue one...I can't remember to be exact. Sunday - pink, Monday - pink, Tuesday - white, and today's yellow.

So tonight, while she lay sleeping in her bed, there is a foreign object floating around somewhere in her nasal cavity. Did I already say "Great?"

32 Weeks

I met with my OB today. Have I ever told you how much I love her? I do. I love her a lot. I found her through a friend at church, and I know I will always be glad I did. She has this amazing calm about her. She believes that women should listen to their bodies. She believes God knows what he's doing. She performs VBACs (vaginal birth after c-section), and gives women the opportunity to deliver breech babies the old fashioned way. She follows the natural rhythm of labor and decides what to do when that rhythm isn't quite right. She calls Cora and me her girls. She gives her expecting patients her cell phone number. I can text her whenever I need to. Brilliant. Having her in this process makes me a little less anxious about this whole pregnancy/delivery thing. Have I mentioned I'm timid about having a baby? I am. I have a baby, but have no idea what it's like to "give birth." At this very moment, I am looking forward to it.

And not just because I won't be pregnant anymore.

So at today's appointment I discovered I'm rockin' the scales at 6 pounds more than I weighed the day I had Cora. I gained back all the weight I lost in the beginning of this pregnancy with a vengeance. Oh well. I'll have some work to do.

The biggest news: Magnolia's head has made its initial descent into my pelvis. It is the reason for the additional pressure on my nerves, the reason why I have to tinkle every time I stand up, the reason why my tummy looks a little different, and the reason why I can breathe a little better. I think it happened on Sunday. I hope this means she will officially remain head down. She can't just wiggle out of it now, can she?

And finally, I talked with her about stopping my progesterone shots (the weekly shots Jake gives me to help prevent preterm labor) a few weeks early. I want to see what my body will do on its own. I brought up 34 weeks, we made a deal to stop at 35 weeks - if my cervical length hasn't started to make a drastic change (the longer the cervix, the less likely one is to go into labor). I have an ultrasound on Friday, so we can see about all the technical aspects of our deal.


I've had issues with my sciatic nerve since I was in my mid teens. Every once in a while after certain activities, or when the weather is cool and damp (I don't know how that works), my lower back begins to ache and it resonates down one side through my thigh and knee all the way down my leg. I take some ibuprofen or acetaminophen and feel relief after a while. Some instances require a few doses. I'm used to it.

Yesterday, my birthday to be exact, I was walking around Target and this sharp burning sensation went through the right side of my lower back. Weird. I kept walking. It kept shooting. All day long, and still today. It hurts to walk. I spent the morning in bed. I don't like this one bit. I was feeling some relief when I sat or laid down, but now when I sit I have the achiness I'm used to. You know, and then the sharp pain when I walk. I hope this does not last long. My parents are coming at the end of the week, and they've not been to Chicago yet.

I have an OB appointment tomorrow. When I was pregnant with Cora, I always told people I felt like I could run a marathon. I felt great! It's been a wee bit different this time around. I'm 32 weeks tomorrow. That's the point I went into labor with Cora. I'm holding my breath and counting my blessings that some things aren't quite the same.

Dear Lola

Today my little family and I took part in Pick Up Trash Day in Chicago. I was a little nervous that we wouldn't be able to because just as we went outside, it started raining. We went to dinner at one of our favorite restaurants, and when we came out, the sun was shining. I was so happy to see clear skies! We hurried home, picked up our trash bags and got to work.

We carried two bags with us: One was for trash, and the other was for items that could be recycled. Can you guess which one we filled up first?

Recycling won by a landslide.

Cora loved putting things in either Mama's Bag (I had the recycling) or Papa's Bag (we let him carry the trash).

I just wanted to say Thank You for loving the earth, and for inspiring people to do something great today.

You are a girl after my own heart.


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