Archive for February, 2009

Again, We Are Home

February 27, 2009

This afternoon we got in the car and came back to Hyde Park at about 4:30. It was a traffic-y and uneventful ride; thousands of times better than the middle-of-the-night no traffic trip to the hospital (very terrifying!).

Thankfully, everything seems to have stabilized. The doctors and nurses in the hospital were wonderful. I had visitors, flowers, phone calls, and delicious (non-hospital) food brought to me. Most of all I was able to rest knowing that lots and lots of people were praying for our Little Cap. All the support allowed me to sleep peacefully and recover from whatever it was that had caused some serious rollicking all over my torso. Thank you!

It’s great to be free from cords and tubes, and to get a quick shower before lying back down here at home. I became convinced that Little Cap was going to suffer greatly from Maternal Stench Syndrome. It seems all of the symptoms were easily scrubbed away. Whew!

Most of all, it’s great to feel Little Cap still dancing around in the womb. The doctors left us saying they had “cautious optimism”. That’s a lot better than the prognosis on Wednesday morning. Glory to God! We’ll have more of an update on Monday after the ultrasound. Please continue to pray that LC stays snug inside.



Quick Hospital Update

February 27, 2009

Elizabeth just informed me over the phone that the discharge papers are ready, and that she will be released as soon as I can pick her up after work instead of the 7:00 or 8:00pm time she had heard yesterday.  That is good news.  We will be able to sleep in our apartment tonight (6 of the last 9 nights have been in the hospital).  I’ll let her give a fuller update upon her arrival in bed at home.  She will need something to occupy her time when nurses aren’t checking up on her every 30 minutes to 2 hours (even during the night!).


Back to the hospital

February 25, 2009

After a full day of debilitating headache and very active nausea on Tuesday, Lizzy was able to relax a bit in the evening and take a bit of dinner (and it stayed down).  Then, she was woken in the middle of the night by cramps, and discovered she was bleeding – a sure sign that we should go back to the ER.  So, at 1:30am, we quickly put some clothes on and made our way to UIC hospital.

There, she was quickly taken to a room, and the resident who performed her surgery got to see and examine her before being called to the operating room.  He confirmed, after analyzing a swab, that not only was the stitch still closed, but there seemed to be no signs of amniotic fluid or infection.  Whew.

However, the attending high-risk doctor, who came to work at 7:00am, decided that it would be best to monitor Lizzy’s contractions and blood flow after some endoc… medicine I don’t remember… for 24 – 48 hours.

So I hopped in the car to get breakfast at home and then headed in to work, and hopefully Lizzy will get some more of that great hospital food (sarcasm) and be able to sleep under the care of some great nurses (not sarcasm).

One day at a time.



February 22, 2009

I was spending some time talking to Little Cap, and Elizabeth told me she felt a kick. This wasn’t the first time. She has been feeling kicks for a week or more, and Little Cap was kicking and flipping around like crazy both times we had ultrasounds this past week. This time, though, I said something again to her belly, and she showed me where she felt it. I put my ear there to listen, as I sometimes do, and then I felt a kick right against the side of my head! I looked up smiling to Elizabeth, and she leaked a bit out of her eyes.

We are still scared and nervous. Her next appointment is a week from Monday, and we hope dearly that we won’t need to go in before then because of weird discharges or early contractions. The appointment is at 1:00pm, and Elizabeth was asking me if I could take off a half day or something. I missed two days of work last week (Thurs-Fri). Half days don’t really work very well at all, and that is the week of the ISAT – Illinois’ high stakes test – which we have been gearing up for all year. “Who will I get to take her and be with her,” I wondered… Then I decided to look at the calendar, and low and behold – it is Casimir Pulaski Day! ISAT must start on Tuesday because Chicago always takes Pulaski Day off. We will be able to go together if everything holds until then.

People from the Vineyard church have brought meals to us both yesterday and today, and we are very thankful. Some of them have said they want to come over to pray for Elizabeth, and the priest from All Saints Antiochian Orthodox Church said he wanted to make a personal visit to our apartment to pray for her, as well.

Tomorrow will be her first week day at home alone. She has plenty of books, Internet, and telephones to keep her a bit busy. I hear she might take up knitting, which seems like a good idea, and I’m going to pick up some of her work and her work computer so she can do some of her work from home in bed later this week. If you’re around, though, please think of stopping by for a visit, as I’m sure that will all become boring very quickly.


Home Again!

February 21, 2009

Greetings from home! We arrived back in Hyde Park at about 1pm today and it is wonderful to be out of the hospital. I’m feeling a whole lot better and Little Cap is still turning summersaults, so I think all is well in the womb too.

We got some pictures of Little Cap at the ultra sound. The quality isn’t great because I took pictures of the pictures. It may take a little imagination to “get the picture.” As the mother-type, I am inclined to think we have the most adorable child in the world. Please don’t try arguing this with me.

img_0745 (profile shot)

img_0743 (face and fist glamour shot)

As someone who has fainted from needles in the past, I think I did pretty well. Blood was drawn several times, amniocentisis was performed, IVs were inserted, spinal anesthesia administered and stitches inserted. I’m still no fan of getting pricked, but I think I’ve gotten over the fainting thing. Eric is the best hand holder I can imagine, he’s great at distracting and even knew just when to hold my arms down during the amnio. If you’re in the area and need someone to accompany you to the hospital, I highly recommend him. We also concluded from the experience that nurses are AWESOME. To any nurse who may be reading, you are so appreciated!

Note the thumbs up before getting blood drawn

Here’s a bright artsy picture with the IV inserted (we have a future in hand modeling)

Here’s Eric, keeping me smiling

And here’s hospital food

While the hospital wasn’t much fun, we are very grateful to have found the “incompetancy” of my cervix. We have confidence in the doctors and that the decisions we’ve made will give Little Cap every chance to stay in the womb as long as possible. Please keep praying that LC stays inside cooking for many, many more weeks.

We’ll keep you posted.


Hospital Update

February 20, 2009

Howdy folks.

Things have changed a bit.  After a routine ultrasound, we were advised to see a high-risk doctor, and our dear mother (and my DW) had to have a minor surgery to help keep Little Cap inside the comfy, cozy, and life-supporting womb.
This will now necessitate a “modified bed rest” for Elizabeth, which I’m sure will become increasingly frustrating, but will give Little Cap the best position for vitality and sufficient gestation.
Please pray for mercy, patience, and strength.  We hope to be home from the hospital tomorrow morning.  We will also post some baby pictures that we got from the ultrasounds we did.  Little Cap seems to be thriving at the moment, praise be to God.


Freecycle Crib and Bubbles

February 15, 2009

Freecycle keeps on giving.  We replied to an offer for a crib and were chosen as the lucky recipients.  She told us to meet her at a storage facility near downtown Chicago.  We failed to get a picture, but as we drove up to this huge, isolated building, I asked Elizabeth, “Did she sound like a murderer on the phone?”  Without much fear, we went into the lobby to meet her.  All we found were a deskman and another fellow sitting in a chair.  It turned out he knew we were from Freecycle because he, too, was there to receive a carseat from her (another item we already got from Freecycle).  When she came down to make the handoff with him, she took us up to her storage cell with her playful daughter and pulled out all the pieces.
We also failed to get a picture of all the pieces, but here is me finishing the setup:
There were a couple of spots where the bolts had been ripped out and the holes were stripped, but it was easy to go to Ace and get some longer bolts and washers to secure those parts.  Here’s how it looks all set up:
img_0702 img_0703
Both sides go up and down easily, so there will be easy access to the baby, and the actual matress can go up and down as the baby grows in size.  I’m told they get bigger after they come out.  Elizabeth thinks it matches well with our free changing table, and now it’s all set up in the bedroom and ready to go.  Also, this woman emailed back offering us a “Pack n’ Play,” and we have accepted the offer to pick that up, as well, though I don’t know how much we really need it.

In other news, we have received nice packages in the mail with good maternity tops, and along with one package we also got this very nice decoration from the Bud and Blossom:
img_0697 img_0699

In still other news, Elizabeth has been indicating with excitement “bubbles” that she’s felt from time to time.  These have also been described as baby movement, but not “kicks.”  Stay tuned!


Krispy Krime! and chili

February 11, 2009

Tonight for dinner we had our friend, Ilona, over, and we ate some chili with beans.  Where I come from in Kansas we make a distinction between “chili straight” and “chili with beans.”  Here’s a snippet of chili history from the International Chili Society.

“By the fifties, everbody was talking and writing about chili. Columnist Westbrook Pegler was taken to task by chili lovers everywhere when he suggested that chili should be made with beans […] In 1952, a Texas journalist who had devoted much of his life to the study of chili wrote a book entitled With or Without Beans. His name was Joe Cooper […] ‘Originally,’ says Valdez, ‘chili was made with meat of horses or deer, chile peppers and cornmeal from ears of stalks that grew only to the knee. No beans.’”

I like my chili straight, and Elizabeth’s recipe called for 1lb of beef.  All we could buy at the store was a package with 2lbs, so I made the happy suggestion that we double the meat ratio, and it came out very meaty and very good.  It did have kidney beans in it.  And a chipotle chili.

After our bowls of chili, the adventure of the evening was ready to begin.  Ilona, a German, had stated that she had never been to Krispy Kreme, and she really needed to badly.  We were more than happy to oblige.  So off we went.

We journeyed far into the western portion of the city and felt a little lost and alone, but when we spotted the warm glow of the “Hot Now” sign and the waving American flag, we knew we were at home.

The “Hot Now” sign tells you that if you enter the building (can one call it a restaurant?) you will be handed a hot doughnut fresh off the conveyer thingy.  So, we accepted and chowed down.
img_0672 img_0673

Then, after one doughnut made us all full, we decided to purchase another 12 just to make sure there was no more space in our stomachs and that all of the fat we had burnt off that day was exceedingly replenished.
img_0675 img_0677

Ilona had a custard-filled, but Elizabeth unwisely chose the whiskey-filled.
img_0678 img_0679

After eating 4 Krispy Kreme doughnuts, the remaining six were calling out to me.  “Eat us!” they cried.  “We only want to fill you with warmth and creamy goodness!”  I held firm and stared them down.
img_0680 img_0681

Obviously, Elizabeth and Ilona were no match for the Krispy Kreme temptation, and suffered death by doughnut.

Here are the mugshots:
img_0686 img_0687


Little Cap Update / Freecycle Been Berry, Berry Good to Me

February 10, 2009

We went to Oak Park again today, and Little Cap’s heartbeat was again deemed “perfect.”  Next week is the ultrasound, and in one month I’ll be tested for gestational diabetes, which means I get to drink orange pop (for prescription use only).

img_0666  I hope it’s tasty!


Last night also took us far from Hyde Park, as a kind (and small) woman was giving away her stash of maternity clothes in Lincoln Square.  This is especially handy since shopping for clothes is like getting my blood drawn.  Ok, not that bad.



The Baby Name Post

February 8, 2009


Thank you to everyone who weighed in on the naming chops of my 3rd grade class. Now the real fun begins.

So, we’ve decided against giving you a name list to choose from in the traditional sense. Instead, we’re going to give you the formula we’ve decided upon following, and see what kinds of combinations you come up with on your own.

The formula is as follows:

First = Saint’s Name (celebrated in the Orthodox Church)
Middle = Family Name
Last = Saathoff

To assist those who may not be very well versed in one or both of the naming categories, we have a long list of family names mixed up below, and a few links where you can explore Orthodox Saints’ names and/or lives (for these are important to us, as well).

OCA – The Lives of the Saints
Orthodox Women Saints
Abba Moses – Orthodox Saints and Feasts
Online Chapel – Saints and Feasts
List of American Orthodox Saints
(Some saints only show up on one or two of these sites, so if you want to be thorough you could check them all!)

Family Names:

Boosalis           Michael           Robert
Stella           Birdie           Harry
Casey           Katina           Benjamin
Karen           Chris           Tonya
Margaret           Jack           Kathleen
Carol           Judith           Gerald
Patricia           Brooke           Richard
Kurt           Lois           Mark
Philip           Evan           Charles


“Let us afford our children from the first an incentive to goodness from the name that we give them.” – St. John Chrysostom



Our son was born, and his name is Basil Samuel Saathoff.

We played with some different names, such as Theodore and Chris, but this is the one that we settled upon. While at the hospital to get the emergency cerclage, we chose a boy and girl name for the baby, not knowing what might happen with the whole preterm labor business. After choosing Basil Saathoff then it was hard to change it, and ultimately we didn’t want to.

Basil comes from Saint Basil the Great, and it is a version of Vasili and Basileus meaning “royal” or “kingly.”

Samuel comes from Samuel the Prophet and Judge and my father, meaning “God heard” or “His name is God.”

Thus, it does fulfill the formula we came up with above and both were strong favorites from the very beginning. Thank you to everyone who took an interest. We wanted his name to have great meaning – not only in what the actual words mean but in who stands behind them. We hope for the three particular bearers of these names mentioned above to have special place in the life of our son throughout his life.

Right now I enjoy calling him “Mr. Basil.”