About eight months ago when we figured out we were going to have a baby due on the 31st of January, Ben said, "it'd be interesting if the baby were born on my birthday."
A month ago when everyone was placing bets on which day Peanut would be born, Ben said, "I pick the 28th in a snowstorm."
Because, of course, that's when Ben was born 35 years ago: on the 28th of January during a giant winter storm. The "Blizzard of '78".
On Sunday evening (the 27th), I was having a fair amount of pain in my ribs because the baby kept kicking a nerve or something there. As we were going to bed sometime around midnight, I got a particularly sharp kick and pushed down on the baby's foot to dislodge it while saying, "Hey kid, you have to move - that hurts!"
Ben leaned over and spoke to me stomach firmly. "Baby, this is your daddy speaking," he said. "It's time for you to come out now."
And then we went to sleep.
For about an hour and a half.
I woke up at 1:30 or so feeling kind of odd. I got up to go to the bathroom and saw some things that scared me enough to call the midwife in spite of the hour to make sure everything was all right. I'd read whatever I could about the early signs of labor and what I was seeing seemed a lot different than what I'd read about. She said it sounded like labor was beginning and that I was seeing signs that things were progressing - she asked if I'd had any contractions and I said no, though I realized I was feeling really achy and kind of swollen or sore. She said she expected I'd be feeling contractions soon and let her know how things were going around 8 or 9 am. Ben heard me on the phone and got up to see what was going on. I actually wasn't feeling very well at that point - apparently there's a hormone change at the beginning of labor that helps everything get going, but it's first effects on me were to cause me to shake like I had a high fever or something. Pretty uncomfortable. Ben turned the shower on because for some reason I relax when I'm in the bathroom with the steam from the shower and the noise of the water going and then he got the book we're reading out loud and read to me a while. At 2:22 AM, I did indeed feel the first real contraction - which is definitely nothing like the practice ones I'd gotten used to!
The shaking got much better, though, and we decided to take a hot shower and go back to bed to rest as much as we could since we figured it would probably be a long day.
And it definitely was. For the next eighteen hours or so, labor went along in "textbook" style, according to Eileen the midwife. My biggest challenge was to keep drinking and eating enough to keep my energy up since the contractions were squeezing my stomach and making having anything in it pretty tough. Ben kept feeding me things like malt-o-meal and water and raspberry leaf tea and gatorade while he set up the hot water tub in the kitchen and made arrangements for Grandma Lila to get next door after she was up and dressed for the day.
By the way, both our families were great through this - even though we know they were probably on pins and needles for information, they didn't keep calling but left us alone to concentrate. Dad Turner also got someone to shovel our driveway, since it turned out that instead of a blizzard we were having a slush storm.
It took a long time, though, and we were starting to wonder if the baby would really make it in time for Ben's birthday. There were some complications at the end that made everything take a lot longer than it would otherwise, but our experienced midwife figured out what to do to overcome them and at 11:00 she turned to Ben and said, "Well, Daddy, this baby's going to make it on your birthday after all!"
At 11:34 pm, Peanut finally emerged as a fat little chubster with a head-full of black curly hair...and she is very definitely a girl. So about my theory about babies all being boys until proven otherwise...I've been proven otherwise!
Peanut is now officially (we filled her birth certificate out today) Abigail Lauren Turner. Her birth weight was 8 lbs, 8 oz, but I still haven't caught how long she is. I'd guess around 21 inches - she's a good-sized little dumpling, which is funny because people kept telling us how small I was and I kept saying, "this baby is NOT small, though!"
She also officially shares Ben's birthday, which is pretty neat. Somewhere near the end of labor, I remember turning to Ben and saying, "How did you know she'd be born today?" And he said, "I don't know - I just guessed." Then he said, "What else would I choose - I mean, it's my birthday!"
Everyone who reads this might get tired of hearing it, but Ben was pretty wonderful throughout the whole labor and delivery. I was not as cognizant as usual right at the end, but thankfully I do remember seeing Ben's face when Abigail's head was first showing. It was, as some of my family speculated it might be, his "I just lost my queen" look only happier. For those who have never played chess with Ben, this is probably not an easy look to describe other than it's sort of like very happy shock. It was a marathon day for him as well as for me and it's taken us a few days to sort of start getting back to normal. But gradually we're picking things up and getting ourselves together and adjusting to Abigail being around. Grandma Lila has been spending most of her time next door with Mom and Dad, but she will probably be home tomorrow and then it will seem much more as though things are normalizing.
So that's the short version of events at the Turner Junior household this week! I expect Ben is going to put more pictures in the next few days, but for now I'm going to finish this post and get some sleep before Abby needs to be fed again. Now that she's caught on to the whole nursing thing, she's pretty punctual about mealtimes. What else would you expect from a baby Turner who has rolls on top of rolls?
I certainly didn't guess we'd actually go to 40 weeks, but Peanut and I are still completely connected buddies. I got a little excited yesterday morning when I was kept from sleeping at 3:00 in the morning by strong contractions occurring every ten minutes...then every seven minutes after a while...then five...
And then they quit. It's been over 24 hours since they quit and I'm back to feeling not much activity at all except from Peanut trying to find somewhere he can stretch out.
I had false labor once before a few weeks ago, but I was starting to get a little excited this time because I did what I could to test labor (hot shower, moving around, drinking lots of water, etc.) and continued getting very regular contractions anyway.
Oh well. Even false labor does SOMETHING, even if it's just to make all my muscles nice and strong and practiced for the real thing.
In the meantime, our house is very clean. I even pulled the moldy caulk off our bathtub and re-caulked it the other day, one of those small projects that's been bugging me and I just haven't gotten to until now. I guess people call this "nesting", but I tend to think it's more like I'm just hanging around waiting, I can't do anything outside (not even shovel snow, one of my favorite winter activities...), I can't really go anywhere, and I get bored sitting around in a chair all day. My siblings will attest that this kind of project-hunting is not unusual behavior for Lauren-who-is-bored. And it's not going to extremes, either. I have yet to scrub and mop the garage floor. Though that could be possibly because the water would freeze if I tried it. Hm.
We've pretty much continued just staying quietly home with occasional trips to the grocery store. Our freezers are definitely stocked, both with meals and with ingredients for meals; and I made various cookies and some sweet bread for having around in case of visitors. Unfortunately, when I'm bored (and I haven't thought of a project to do) I start cooking. I tried out a recipe for cinnamon rolls the other day that was terrific, though I made half a batch and forgot to cut the milk amount in half, so I had to do some serious amendments to the dough just to get it to roll out. I gave one pan of them to my brother Aaron - who faithfully calls me every day and who has done all kinds of special things like coming over with lunch and taking care of little projects we didn't necessarily have the tools or pieces for - and there is another pan for my brother-in-law Benjamin, who also has done a bunch of special things like bring his cordless drill in and put up the shelf in our kitchen for our little appliances that we've been procrastinating about for a while. We had just enough left over for us to have some for dessert and give some to Mom and Dad next door, which is good. I do not need three pans of cinnamon rolls sitting over here calling my name.
Ben ordered two over-the-toilet cabinets for our bathroom and Grandma's bathroom and spent a few evenings putting them together and installing them. They look great, but I'm still in the process of figuring out what to put in them that makes sense rather than loading them with odds and ends and turning them essentially into junk drawers. I think ours is pretty much going to be holding books and extra towels, while Grandma's will hold the stuff currently in tubs on the bathroom floor like the cream for the sore on her foot and the lotion she uses after showering and so on.
We also have done a lot of talking, discussing things like what God's actual old and new covenants are (they seem to be the same covenant but sealed in different ways: ultimately, we believe the covenant is "You shall love the Lord your God and obey him; and if you do, you will be his people and he will be your God and his commands will be written on your hearts"), reading books like "The Secrets of Golgotha" (which was an absolutely fascinating book, though not nearly as sensational as the title might suggest), discussing how to make ethical insurance claims (Ben had his first meeting with an insurance adjuster due to a business computer job involving a power surge), and watching Deep Space Nine episodes. Yes, I know the last doesn't really seem to fit the others, but...we're strange that way.
We read somewhere that babies who hear their father's voice reasonably often do tend to respond to their father as well as their mother at birth. With all the talking Ben and I do, this baby ought to know Ben just fine by now. It's funny because if Ben leans over and talks right to the baby, the little guy definitely responds. He turns his head and moves his hands and stirs around even if he wasn't doing much beforehand. I'm very pleased about that. Babies should know their fathers!
All in all, right now our world is pretty quiet and secluded, which makes it a little tougher than usual to think of something to write about. It's been kind of the same routine since Christmas and I figure not much is going to change until after the waiting-for-birth process is over. Grandma asks almost every night, "Do you think the baby will be born tonight?" She's pretty convinced she's just going to wake up one morning and there'll be a baby here without her knowing it's coming. I guess that's how all her sisters and her brother were born and she often remembers her childhood clearer than anything else these days. She says her mother never would say when a due date was and people didn't talk about other people being pregnant - she remembers asking her mom one day, "Mother, how come sometimes you're thin and other times you're fat?" and her mother laughed but didn't answer her.
I'm relieved that Grandma consistently remembers there IS a new baby coming these days. Up until a few weeks ago she was still shocked every few days to discover that I was expecting. Now it seems to have really sunk in and she has even been rubbing my stomach and saying, "Yes, there's a baby in there!" In some ways, it must be really odd for her because she hasn't lived in a house with a new baby on the way for many, many years and she's still fuzzy on how she's related to us a lot. I went through the whole birth kit with her and showed her all the different stuff we'd had to collect and she was very fascinated because she never saw that kind of thing when her mom was having babies and when she had Mom, she just went to the hospital where they drugged her enough that she doesn't remember the birth at all. I think part of her would like to be around for this baby to be born, but she's probably going to be next door for that bit since she's going to need someone who can give her a hand with things and make sure she gets her meals and remembers her medicine and so on and I'm not sure I'd trust me and Ben with that responsibility during the labor and delivery.
One interesting thing is that people ask me all the time how I'm feeling and I'm having a ha.rd time figuring out how to answer that. No one needs a catalogue of all the oddball little things going on that make me feel generally not quite up to my usual par, and in the long run I'm having a pretty complaint-free pregnancy anyway; but it seems a little boring to just say, "Fine" all the time. I am fine. But I also have pins and needles constantly in the tips of my right fingers, rolling over in bed actually hurts, breathing and swallowing don't feel exactly normal, I'm experiencing heartburn for the first time in my life, and for some reason I can put my left sock on just fine but it actually hurts to bend in a way that allows me to put my right sock on. Plus my ankles swell up unpredictably, my legs get twitchy when I'm tired, I can't figure out how to carry a laundry basket properly, getting into the car is a really ungraceful procedure that I have to hold my breath to accomplish, and the baby has a stubborn fascination for keeping his knees and his feet pushing on a nerve in my ribs so that I often get a sudden sharp pain that makes me jump.
Now, would you really want someone downloading all that to you when you wanted to know how they were doing?
Of course not. And like I said, if you look at that list, it's all picky little stuff that's dumb to complain about anyway. But it does end up making me feel not quite myself most of the time even if essentially...I'm fine! Just ultimately really looking forward to the baby being outside rather than in. Even if being outside includes feeding, changing, and walking a no-longer-silent Peanut.
So that's what's going on over here. I'm really, really hoping to post some more exciting news soon. Wouldn't it just figure if after thinking the whole nine months that we'd have an early baby, we'd have a late one after all? I remember being really scared at nine weeks that we were losing this baby and asking God very fervently to please let us hang on to this one. I'm sure he's sort of gently chuckling about that right now...
I think everyone's kind of worried that we're just going to suddenly announce the birth of our baby one day without any prior warning. Jenny called Kim today and the first thing Kim wanted to know was whether there was any news to tell.
I'd really like to set everyone's mind at ease and say we'll let people know as faithfully as we can given time constraints (not sure even the most excited want a call at 3 a.m. to say labor has begun...). The actual due date is still a few weeks away (January 31), but after the big Make-Sure-All-Is-Ready visit by Eileen the midwife this week, it looks like we might be coming up on a slightly earlier birthday for Peanut. His little head is all settled in a good position ready to go and he's far enough down that his chances of flipping breech are a lot slimmer than they used to be. I also have some physical things going on that indicate we're pretty close now. And I've had so many contractions that my muscles ought to be marathon ready at this point - seriously, I had no idea I was going to do quite this much practicing ahead of time, but I'm thankful for it because moms who do this much practicing usually have nice smooth fast labors. Hey, I can be optimistic, right?
Over the past week, I've had so many people tell me what days the baby can or can't be born on that I'm a little confused myself - someone needs to create a calendar for me so I know which days it's okay to go ahead and get on with things. My extended family has some type of betting system going on in which everyone has picked a day they expect the baby to be born on - as far as I can tell, from here until February 1st, every day is covered so someone is going to win something.
If anyone's interested, I'll put my candy bar on the 16th. Just for the fun of it.
Everything around here is very quiet and sleepy for the most part. I haven't had a lot of energy, so I get a few important things done every day and then spend a lot of time with my feet up. Grandma has learned to transfer herself on one leg from wheelchair to regular chair to toilet to bed, etc., so I take care of getting her medicine and meals and making her bed and coaching her now and then when she forgets which side to position the wheelchair on to get into her easy chair. We had a consultation last week with the orthopedic surgeon and it looks like Grandma may be doing this for a very long time, perhaps the rest of her life, in order to preserve the hip joint that's thinning around the spacer that connects her hip to her leg. We are investigating the possibility that she might need to get the joint replaced altogether, but it's a tough decision to make because right now things are very tolerable and doing the surgery would be extremely rough. The question is whether keeping Grandma from walking will preserve the joint long enough for her to have a peaceful and relatively pain-free life to the end of her days or if she'll have the joint break down in a few years and cause a pretty catastrophic situation.
The orthopedic surgeon, by the way, does not think Grandma really has a broken hip but says it's very difficult to tell and to keep her off that foot until the beginning of February just to be safe. Grandma herself still is not suffering pain unless she starts thinking about her hip having a problem; and even then, it appears what pain she's suffering is now coming from the joint and muscle stiffness that accompanies not actively using that leg. If we do her exercises with her, the aching gets much better. Ben is a good physical therapist.
He's also a good coach. He's been telling me every day that he's looking forward to this baby's birth and he thinks it's going to be a very special and enjoyable thing and he has every confidence that I'm going to handle it just fine. I haven't felt terribly jittery or anything about the upcoming birth, but I appreciate every one of the times Ben tells me, "This is going to be an amazing thing we're going to do and you're going to handle it wonderfully. You were made to and I absolutely believe you will." He is also patiently putting up with me waking him up by snoring at night (this is extremely embarrassing - I've always been a very quiet sleeper) and having a lot of dinners that are essentially soup and sandwiches and he sits and reads to me when I take baths at night to get sore muscles to ease up.
Yep, it's a pretty rough life around here these past few weeks. We're just waiting and staying close to home and hopefully avoiding the outbreak of norovirus in the area (yikes...that'd be no fun to get right now!). We had a surprise delivery of a dumpster to our driveway because of a project my family is doing a few streets away: our garage and basement are free of construction debris for the first time in a year and that was our big excitement of the week.
So for all of you betting and waiting along with us, know that currently there's nothing much going on and we will most certainly let you know as soon as we can if something is.
Wife of Benjamin and mother to two wonderful little girls who are getting bigger every day. Enjoys writing down thoughts and discussions we are having within the family and sharing them with whoever is interested in reading.
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