Archive for June, 2009

40 Weeks and Fully Fermented

June 30, 2009

Today is Little Cap’s due date. So far he doesn’t seem any more interested in coming out than he has in previous days. Eric made another number, and I’m hoping this is the last photo of our number wall:

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It is amazing that he’s made it this far and we are very thankful. However, I’m not too surprised. At 36 weeks our midwife said, “Ah, lots of our cerclage patients go overdue. Mark my words.” (Or something similarly predictive.)

We started the day with celebratory chocolate chip pancakes, but I guess a sugar rush isn’t what will propel him out.

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Then we traveled to Gordon Food Services Marketplace (GFS) and got 50 pounds of flour. I think GFS is great fun. The actual store is quite small, nothing like a Sam’s Club or Costco. But everything on the shelves is BIG. Have you ever wanted a gallon of soy sauce or red wine vinegar? Your own artificial popcorn flavor? Or ten pounds of potato salad in an over-sized milk carton? Yeah, me neither. But it sure is cool to look at. And the flour is a great deal. After Little Cap is born we won’t have to leave the house; we can just sit around eating bread all day!

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Eric has started another loaf of bread and is carefully documenting the process. Unless things start now and move quickly, it seems bloggyland will receive a Saathoff Sourdough Saga before baby pictures.

We are increasingly eager. Thankfully, the edge has been taken off of the waiting a bit by the completion of the sauerkraut project! We moved the kraut-to-be from the big green bucket to smaller jars when the apartment started smelling a bit too ripe. At that point it was still tangy cabbage and not really sour yet. However, upon the most recent tasting, Eric has declared it sauerkraut and has been snacking away. The oddities of pregnancy have left me uninterested in tasting it so far, but it does smell good and it sure looks right:

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While at GFS a large party pack of Johnsonville Brats called to us from a refrigerated case. This means we now have 18 brats, three jars of homemade sauerkraut and a new loaf of sourdough on the way. I am very eager to meet our son. But, if he and my uterus want to wait until the bread is done and the brats are cooked before contracting and eliminating my appetite… I’m going to be okay with that.

~Elizabeth

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39 Weeks and Just Waiting

June 26, 2009

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On Tuesday it was 39 weeks, and my parents were in town, so my mother added to our wall of numbers with this shiny, ribbony 39. My folks were in town from Saturday to Wednesday morning, and we had a lot of fun. We went to the Garfield Park Conservatory among other things, which is a very nice place to see exotic plants.

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Still, they were hoping to come and see their new grandson, but he has yet to arrive. Elizabeth has experienced a few contractions and some general crampy-ness, but nothing that has lead to labor, obviously. The due date is quickly approaching, and we have two different bags packed – one for during labor and the other for after. Due date is Tuesday, June 30, but maybe he’ll be a July baby. My brother was born on July 4th.

Despite the heat, I have been baking happily since school ended. Here are a couple of teasers. I hope to give a full description of Saathoff Sourdough in the near future. Though, I’d rather just give you baby pictures.

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~Eric

And Finally, The One Dollar Hot Dogs

June 19, 2009

For the past few days I’ve had this song from Mr. Fred Rogers stuck in my head. Other fans of his neighborhood will probably start humming before clicking the link. For the uninitiated the song is called “Let’s Think of Something to Do While We’re Waiting.” It’s a little too appropriate.

Eric updated on our venture into vegetable fermentation. We’ll probably try the sauerkraut today. It’s a neat (and hopefully tasty) project, but it’s not exactly the best idea for our current situation as making sauerkraut is all about waiting.

Thankfully, we came up with a great way to pass the time on Monday. Minor league baseball! Neither of us had been to a minor league game before. Eric researched the minor league options in the area a long while ago but we hadn’t made the trip. He likes watching live baseball a lot and was introduced to Chicago baseball by a lifelong Cubs fan who grew up on the North side. Unfortunately a ticket to a Cubs game costs a kidney.

Shouldn’t be a problem though since we’re on the South side and we ought to cheer for the White Sox anyways, right? It wasn’t to be, Eric was quite turned off by all the commercialism at the Sox’s games. They’re constantly driving trucks out onto the field and doing all kinds of things to promote their sponsors which detracts from the game. It feels all too American, but not in an old-timey baseball kind of way. I agree that the advertisements were over the top and annoying. And I was relieved to know that as a Twins fan I hadn’t married a Sox fan in the making. That could cause some serious marital issues. (Or at least trash talking.)

Thankfully there are other options in the Chicagoland area for live professional baseball! The Northern League is an independent minor league, not affiliated with major league teams and boasting quite a history. Three of the league’s six teams are no so far away.

We researched a bit and found that the Gary South Shore Rail Cats have a special “dollar day” deal for home games on Mondays. We ordered one “box seat” ticket for $10 and got the second ticket for $1.

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We then realized that our super frugal ways might be dashed by the Chicago Skyway/Indiana Tollway taking us to the game and their hefty charges. Upon a bit more research we found we could take Lake Shore Drive (US 41) which turns into US 12 and avoid all tolls! Turns out we avoided all traffic too and saw parts of Chicago and Indiana that we hadn’t explored despite their proximity.

Our seats were in the first row behind the visiting team’s dugout.

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I’ve never paid such close attention to a game. The lack of instant replay on a jumbotron was part of it, but mostly I was scared of a line drive foul.

We arrived nearly an hour early not knowing what the traffic would be like and thus got to see the MVPs of Northern Indiana high school baseball honored by the Railcat’s management. The MVPs also threw out the honorary first pitch (in several lines of six).

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It was great fun to sit so close to the action and get to watch awkward high school players try to make small talk with the people who are usually their opponents.

The Railcat’s Stadium is the “U.S. Steel Yard” it’s a new stadium, but the name and the atmosphere beat “US Cellular” by a long shot. Apparently there was a lot of trouble in Gary when the stadium was built. Our short drive through Gary showed clearly that there are probably other ways the money could have been spent. But the stadium is still really neat, and since they did wind up building it we can bring our Chicago dollars, right?

We weren’t aware, but Monday was also Gary community night. The Gary, Indiana logo was on the home run fence far from us. We zoomed as we as the camera would let us and it still doesn’t make much sense.

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Maybe it’s a strobe light pouring red paint over the earth? Rudy Clay the mayor of Gary threw out the last of the honorary “first” pitches and the game began!

The starting pitchers for both teams were quite good and the game was scoreless through the first four innings. My hopes to see a no-hitter were dashed pretty quickly, but I was still impressed.

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It was a close game with the fifth inning turning the tide in the Railcats favor. One very amazing defensive play snatching a two run homer that would have tied the game from over the top of the fence secured my heart to the Railcats. I think I’m a fan now! The Railcat’s shortstop also got his 1000th career hit.

Of course, all the action wasn’t on the field as the Railcat mascots Rusty and Rascal were introduced and started doing their thing. We were quite close to the action!

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In between innings there were odd diversions like blindfolded baseball finding, spinning around baseball bats, water balloon fights, newspaper tosses, dance-offs, and all the kids in the stadium ages 6-13 running through the outfield.

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(also notice in this picture 11 seagulls in the air out of the approximately 1 million that were flying about and supposedly not being fed by park goers)

It was all quite fun.

The humor of the stadium traditions would have filled in for a not so exciting game. But I was glad we got an exciting one!

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The food was over-priced as all sports event consumables seem to be, but thanks to the Dollar Monday deal we had $1 hot dogs at the top of the fourth! They were tasty.

On the way home I was a very uncomfortable Mama having sat in a stadium seat way too long. But that’s my only complaint. Railcats, we’ll be back!

~Elizabeth

… project #2

June 16, 2009

For our second project, Elizabeth suggested that the bookcases that we had could be condensed by a combination or purging and recreation.

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She noticed an abandoned old bookshelf downstairs that she thought I might be able to somehow salvage.

I decided to take a look. The sides of the bookshelf were made of particle board that was rotting on several ends. The shelves themselves, however, were solid wood and had a back support of solid wood, all still in relatively good condition. It was all nailed together, and she mentioned it would be good to be able to take our bookshelves apart should we decided to move.

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I took my trusty rubber mallet and walloped the boards apart and then used a regular hammer to tap the old nails out. Elsewhere in the basement there was an old bed dismantled and up for grabs for scraps, so I found two boards of similar width and almost exactly the same height as the old bookshelf sides and brought the whole mess upstairs to our living room.

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I used mostly the same holes from the nails and screwed the shelves back into places, now with new, solid wood sides. The back brace that was already a part of this bookshelf is what a couple of my previous bookshelf attempts were sorely lacking. It provides a great support to prevent lateral movement (or collapsing, as the case may be).

Forward and backward movement is restrained by little feet I put on the bottom of the front side to keep it from tipping if some crawling hands grab at it for some casual pull-ups.

And the new bookshelf:

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Done and done.

~Eric

38 Weeks, 2 Projects, and $1 Hotdogs

June 16, 2009

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Happy 38 weeks. When Elizabeth first started making these numbers, she didn’t feel comfortable celebrating until we made it to 24 weeks, and then she would protest if I suggested making the next number before the actual day had arrived to celebrate because we might jinx it. Now that we’ve passed 37 weeks, we are intentionally making the numbers ahead of time to encourage him to make his exit/arrival.

The first of our projects was inspired by Bubbie, my long lost ex-grandmother’s sister-in-law. After revisiting our love for bratwurst, we decided to try out a different kind of sauerkraut – her recipe, which is made only with cabbage, salt, and artesian well water (note: not artisan). It was so tasty (and healthy) as a side dish that we decided to try and make it ourselves, in a manner not unlike wild yeast sourdough bread baking.

The first thing we had to do was find a food-grade plastic bucket. I called the Bonjour and Medici bakeries to no avail. We visited Ace Hardware and Treasure Island with no luck. Finally, we visited the deli at Hyde Park Produce, and received a just-emptied pickle bucket with a smile. Thank you!

While there, we purchased our main ingredients:

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We could not find an artesian well inside the grocery store, but then we remembered that our recipe does not call for water of any kind in its ingredients listing. “What does it ferment in,” did I hear you ask? The water already present but squeezed out of the cabbage itself.
First things first, we had to chop and properly place the cabbage.

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Then we had to squish the water out of it.

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Then you place a plate over the cabbage and weigh it down. It would be better if the plate were tighter fitting (the bucket’s sides are not straight), so that none of the cabbage can squeeze out, but I believe the main idea is to keep the cabbage below the water level, so it doesn’t have air contact, so if the plate keeps most of the cabbage down, we should be good.

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Weight, cover, and wait some more…

That was three days ago. Here we are today:

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Lots of cabbage water, bubbly. Apparently fermentation works between one week and a couple months depending on the temperature. We’ll probably try a bit after the first week this Saturday.

Bubbie would be proud.

(to be continued….)

~Eric

37 Weeks and the Last Day of School

June 12, 2009

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Tuesday marked 37 weeks of pregnancy, which means that we are officially full term. Little Cap will not be premature, though that doesn’t mean that he will necessarily escape the NICU. On Thursday we had our second meeting with our new midwife, Kathleen, and she went ahead and scheduled us for two more appointments (up to 39 weeks).

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Today (Friday) was the last day of school for this academic year. The way it works in Chicago is that Thursday the kids don’t come to school and then on Friday they come for one hour to say goodbye and pick up their report cards. It’s kind of a silly structure, in my opinion, but if a teacher is swamped I can see how it would really help to have a free day to work on grades before the report card needs to be printed

All year the students had been hearing about our hospital adventures. They wrote Elizabeth a book of recommendations called “What To Do Out of Bed” for when she got off bedrest. Toward the end of the year there was dependably at least one student who would ask how she was during morning meeting. So, for this last hour of school she came in with me and interacted with them quite a bit. They didn’t have as many questions for her as I expected, but they asked her things about what they were familiar with. After that she played hangman with the class while I distributed some extra books. The kids left at 10:00, and the teachers had to stick around until 11:30, so we moseyed around until the end had come.

Later in the afternoon, some of the teachers were holding a teacher get-together, so the both of us went to that, too. It was quite a lot of fun. Teachers don’t get a lot of time to interact with one another at work – most spend almost the entire day without adult interactions – so it’s a lot of fun when we can just relax and be ourselves with our colleagues. We had hamburgers, chicken, scallops and more, and I hope we do it next year, too.

Now that the year is ending, I’m wondering what to do with myself. Of course, I know what I’ll be busy with soon, but he’s not here yet. Right now I’m sitting around in the evening without anything to prepare, and tomorrow morning will be my first morning of summer, and I’ll probably wake up feeling restless and a bit aimless.

The due date is June 30, and it’s June 12. We’re going to go for a walk in a little bit to feel a bit better after all that eating but also to try and get things moving… John and Lila’s wedding is on July 12, so now would be a great time to have Little Cap enter the external world and get a little settled in order to take our first family vacation. If the timing doesn’t work out, we’ll probably make our way some time later, which might be more fun (in a different kind of way).

Summer is upon us, and I’ve only made one serious plan for the summer.  What do I do until then?

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~Eric

36 Weeks and a Very Social Weekend

June 7, 2009

Last Tuesday we hit 36 weeks, but in all the excitement of post-bed rest life, the number wasn’t made until today:

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Eric, the number maker, filled you in on our date on Friday, but did not mention that the excitement began earlier in the week when Little Cap received a package from his Yiayia Saathoff. He’s got a new portable bassinet/crib and some diapers. Unfortunately, he also has goofy parents who diapered his sock monkey and let the stuffed animal try out the pack ‘n play in advance.

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Before the date on Friday my dear friend Jean came for a visit. We went out to the park and soaked in a whole lot of sun. Jean also enlightened me regarding the statue in the pool of water at Harold Washington Park. The pool of water (that always seems to be locked up) is actually a “Model Yacht Basin.” I guess that means it’s a place for miniature boats? I’ve only seen ducks in the water, since they can get past the locked gates.

The statue in the middle of the basin was a gift from the Clinton family who bought it in 1998 and moved it from the Ravinia Festival to be repaired by the sculptor, Virginio Ferrari. The statue was completed in Hyde Park in 1974. We thought it was an interesting story; a gift to the city plopped down by the Clintons in Obama’s neighborhood in 2007. Turns out the “Clinton Family” mentioned on the plaque isn’t the political one, but the owners of the Regents Park apartments just north of Harold Washington Park. More can be read here.

Saturday started quietly with pancakes, bacon and eggs. But it only picked up from there! We set off on a walk to regain some post-bed rest leg strength and to encourage gravity to assist Little Cap in his decent as much as possible. It turned into a bit more of a walk than I expected as we ventured into Jackson Park and found all kinds of fun.

It all started with several families of baby geese. Even aggressive and messy geese can look pretty cute as babies.

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Then we crossed the Clarence Darrow Memorial Bridge. The bridge seems to be devolving right now.

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Then it was on to the Japanese Garden, complete with a waterfall and GIGANTIC fish flopping in the water.

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From there we made it to the butterfly sanctuary. A nice family on their way out told us they only saw one butterfly but that the flowers smelled really good, so we ventured in. We didn’t spot any butterflies, but we’ll have to return. The entire area is full of milkweed. I can’t wait to see the monarchs!

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And indeed, there were strange marbled flowers with a lovely scent.

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From there we walked to “The Republic“, another statue with an interesting story (see plaque).

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After that we walked to the driving range…

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And I used the bathroom.

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Next up was the bird watching area. There were more huge fish flipping around in the water, and what Eric thinks was a water snake. Unfortunately we only got a picture of rippling water. Unlike the butterfly sanctuary we saw a lot of birds, including an oriole. And daisies!

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On the way home we crossed another bridge with fishermen on one side (who were pumping love songs from their car radio, Eric thinks this must be a fish luring technique) and boaters on the other.

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After our long walk we had lunch and then headed to an Intervarsity reunion that was part of alumni weekend. We then cleaned out the car (no more stepping on spelling tests!), and went to a birthday dinner at Pizza Capri. This morning we went to church, lunch and grocery shopping. And now I am exhausted. Tuesday will be full term!

~Elizabeth

“UP” in the hood for a date

June 6, 2009

Yesterday we went to see the movie “UP.” Elizabeth suggested it after listening to a review she liked, so I jumped on the opportunity.

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Before we went we had a nice dinner of guacamole and pinto chili dip, and discussed why it is that we often use side dishes as main courses in our house. Elizabeth decided she needed a balance in her meal, so she made herself a tall glass of spinach and fruit sludge.

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We went to the ICE theater (Inner City Entertainment) on 87th and Dan Ryan. It’s one of the only theaters on the South Side, and Elizabeth had never been. It also has a big parking lot, so we wouldn’t need to take the CTA and exhaust our mother’s legs and back more than necessary.

*Spoilers Ahead*
(I wouldn’t want to have read this before seeing the movie!)

“UP” is a Pixar movie. Before the movie began there was a short called “Partly Cloudy.” This was an extremely enjoyable vignette about the creation of babies (of all types) in the clouds and their delivery by storks (clouds and babies make a brief appearance in the feature, as well).

When the movie begins, you’re introduced to a young boy obsessed with an adventurer. He soon finds a girl of like mind, and after some very fun interaction between them, we witness a video montage of them getting married and growing older together. They are shown to be very happy and in love, despite numerous setbacks in their ambitions together. When the young boy-now old husband finally decides to realize their dream together, she is hospitalized and soon passes away, and he is left alone. This is all backstory. The movie fades to black, and the real story begins.

The real story involves a new young boy adventurer looking to aid an old man, and an old man newly inspired to achieve his and his wife’s life ambition to pursue a specific adventure in the likeness of their hero. Lots of things happen – funny animals, unexpected bad guy, adventure chases, etc. The point ends up being that the boy isn’t cared for by his father, and the now old man sort of adopts him as grandson.

*End of Spoilers*
(I wouldn’t want to have read that before seeing the movie!)

I told a friend recently that when I was younger I was good at reasoning away the watching of almost any kind of film – finding some aspect that made it worth watching despite numerous objectionable aspects. Since marrying and also since going to the Orthodox Church (which is very visually oriented), I have become more selective about what kinds of images I want to see. For instance, I have become more sensitive to graphic violence or unnecessary nudity when previously I may have shrugged these off while secretly relishing them both. I have also become more sensitive to the messages in movies. In the discussion I had with my friend, I explained how I was no longer satisfied with movies that simply want to state in some quirky manner how screwed up life is, what a complicated mess it is, involving all of man’s passions partly or completely uncontrolled (I was referring at the time to Coen brothers movies). Yes, these can reflect reality in some ways, and yes they can be an enjoyable tale, but they don’t enrich my life, and they don’t put a message into my head that I want to nurture.

Instead, I would prefer to see a movie that has a positive (not only negative) message and visuals that are more intentional and thoughtful rather than cheap thrills. This movie had a very pro-family message, which is obviously very appealing to us at this time. The husband and wife were completely faithful to one another and he pined for her after her death. In her absence he had a brief period of grumpiness before pursuing another family-type relationship with a young boy without a good father figure. My favorite parts were actually the backstory of the feature and the short before it. After the feature really began, there were more slapstick and chases than I really needed, but it was a kids movie.

I find this movie to be in great contrast to a movie I recently showed my students (when studying animals in captivity): “Happy Feet.” I forgot how much I disliked this film the first time I saw it. It was a cartoon with songs about a tap dancing penguin in the Antarctic.
The movie was filled with sexual innuendoes in an effort to blend the natural mating of penguins with their human-like portrayal as cartoon characters. It also seemed to have strong messages of individualism, disrespect for elders, and anti-religion.
I regretted showing it.

After the movie, we drove further west to end our date with a nice big ice cream cone. We decided to make our second visit to the Original Rainbow Cone, where the signature cone has scoops of chocolate, pistachio, strawberry and Palmer House (a cherry-nut blend) ice creams, as well as a layer of orange sherbet. I substituted vanilla for Palmer House, but Elizabeth ordered the classic.

~Eric

Medical Bills

June 6, 2009

On Thursday when I got home there was a bill in the mail from the UIC hospitals. I opened it and found out our expenses regarding the emergency room visits (Elizabeth only) totaled around $29,000. Apparently Blue Cross thought there was a hint of a chance Elizabeth had some other insurance and held out until we made them check and discover that she was not, in fact, trying to cheat them (or be cheated by them).

After one phone call, $28,000 has already been paid by the insurance company (minus $300 copay), and the rest should be handled, as well. Insurance is a benefit (or service) that can’t be overlooked.

I’m looking at it as if I got a $29,000 bonus for this year’s work!

~Eric

Stitches Out, Baby In

June 1, 2009

The hospital bag is packed, the car seat is installed. It’s the end of the world as we know it.

Today we will head to UIC for our latest check-up. Since tomorrow will mark 36 weeks the stitches that have held our Little Cap in will be removed. Will we suddenly be transformed to “normal”, come home, have dinner, and meet our son in about a month? Or will he come out tonight? We can’t know. It’s exciting and terrifying and confusing and wonderful all at once. We’re still hoping for full-term at 37 weeks, and it would be especially nice if he waits until the school year is over. But, if he comes today, he should be sufficiently baked to avoid big pre-maturity issues and a really long hospital stay.

On Friday I had my last day of work. My co-workers, many of whom I hadn’t seen since January or February, threw a surprise party and everyone enjoyed many goodies. My supervisors even sent me home with toys and books for LC (yes, at least one of them has a counting theme – can’t start too soon on the Everyday Math). I finished editing a unit guide, copied everything that I could imagine being important to a flash drive, turned in my computer (I will truly miss the joys of a PC) and said my goodbyes. My first four days as a “stay-at-home-mom” (or SAHM for those of you who like internet-speak) have been exhausting, and there isn’t even an out-of-womb baby yet. Oh my.

Friday evening we had our last “official” pre-baby date. Thanks to Angela and Insoo we had some very tasty steak at Wildfire and (I, at least) felt pretty fancy. After hauling my belly onto the CTA and indulging in such rich food, I slept in until 10 on Saturday, enjoyed a gigantic breakfast made by Eric and didn’t really bother to move until 1:30. This does not bode well for mothering! On Saturday evening and Sunday morning we went to church. Otherwise I shuffled about doing putsy baby-prep and resting. Eric has been diligently grading in case room 219 has a substitute for a few days. We plotted out a good one-week meal plan and got all the necessary ingredients for a nicely stocked fridge. The last time we did this together without visitors in town was three days before bed rest began. Will this food really be eaten before it goes bad?

Today I am trying to be somewhat restful until 2:00 when I can head out for the doctor’s appointment. It isn’t easy getting around and picking things up anymore (and bed rest pretty well eliminated my ability to even see messes), so I’m doing a pretty good job on the physical side of rest. My mind and emotions, however, are on overdrive trying to anticipate what life will look like with LC in our arms, trying to wade through the events of the last year in my mind, and trying to calm myself down from questions, excitement and worry.

A little over a year ago I was taking the day off of work to accompany Eric to the hospital to have mysterious heart palpitations checked. A few months later we were married and I learned to love my unemployed life, perhaps a little too much. A few months later I was a nervous wreck on the couch texting Eric who was stuck to an IV in an ER far off in the suburbs with a terrible infection (caused by a scratch in his toe???). A few months after that I was employed and we were falling in love with the new life growing in my womb. We were getting used to the idea of being parents and enduring first trimester nausea with lots and lots of Eric’s homemade baguettes. About two months later we were back in the ER, this time in Minneapolis where Eric was diagnosed with Deep Vein Thrombosis in his leg. And about two months and many injections after that we were in the ER at UIC. That time I was the messed up one, with an incompetent cervix. And the next week we were back in the ER with preterm labor. After sending Eric to work since he missed several days with the first hospital stay, the high-risk doctor making rounds came to tell me that they would keep me for awhile, and that “You won’t be having a nice juicy baby, this is an uphill battle. I want to be realistic, it doesn’t look good.” And a little more than three months after that brings us to today. There’s a healthy husband at work, a big juicy baby inside me and I’m sitting here rejoicing in every one of his little kicks and hiccups.

My mind is trying to make plans and pictures of what the next 12 months will look like. But, it seems my heart has learned something and is shouting, “STOP! You don’t know anything!” Will I really rest once my son is squirming in my arms, my husband has a (reliable) clean bill of health, and I fall into a routine in my new vocation? No, I will probably wake the baby just to make sure he’s breathing, nag Eric about healthy eating and exercise, and need a million reminders to have patience while completing repetitive tasks. That is… if any of those things happen. Will our son come home with us from the hospital? Will we wake up tomorrow morning? Things that seemed so reasonable and normal are no longer “for-sure”. (Okay, there are a few “for-sure” things, like the fact that Blue Cross Blue Shield must hate us. That’s pretty much etched in stone – we are so thankful for health insurance!)

While it has been a scary year full of “life and death” type situations, I’d much rather be faced with these kinds of uncertainties in my life than the unfaithfulness, injustice and violence that rears its nastiness in so many lives. In the midst of worry and fear-of-loss, I am learning little by little to fear only God and my own tendencies to be selfish and uncaring. Hopefully, I’m learning to love fully and without regret. Presently, I am being poked in the ribs by a little boy who has completely won my heart and already cracks me up. So, I gently poke him back, pray that he will have an intelligent soul, and rub my tummy with trembling hands. Lord have mercy!

(For those in the internet world who are facing pessimistic words from doctors and your own bed rest central, check out sidelines.org, it’s chock full of people who know just how important that 24 week milestone is and will cheer you on. And for those facing miscarriage, still birth or loss of an infant, I don’t know what to say, but this book: namingthechild.com looks like it could be helpful. I’ve met the author a couple of times and read some of her other work, I think she’s pretty great. Also, she’s speaking in Hyde Park on June 10th.)

~Elizabeth

(UPDATE)

We’re safely back at home free of stitches with a baby still snug inside, hooray!

Now that I’m happily off bed rest I took the CTA to the appointment. No problems there. But when I stepped off of the train I managed to turn the wrong way. There was a compass rose stamped into the cement outside the train station. (I know, I know, a degree in Geography too. Please, it’s the UofC, we all know it’s not applicable.) A few blocks later, once I was thoroughly confused into the maze of Rush Hospital buildings (yes, that’s the wrong hospital), I called Eric. He tried to point me in the correct direction with my scanty landmarks and street names. Then I spotted St. Basil’s church and thought he might have steered me wrong. So I called him again. Sure enough, that landmark plus Eric’s sound mind set me right.

And then it started pouring. I got thoroughly drenched in a three block’s walk despite my raincoat and really fast waddle.

I got to the appointment with 5 minutes to spare, and Eric arrived soon thereafter before I was called back.

I think the doctor thought it was weird when I asked to see the stitches (more like a drawstring) once they were finally out. It was long and thick and pretty amazing. Honestly, why wouldn’t you want to see the thread that kept your baby inside? It’s not like I asked to keep it. Although, now that I think about it, that would be a pretty unique baby book element.

The doctor pronounced me two centimeters dilated and then we showered the midwife with questions about labor and delivery at UIMC. While we decided not to switch back to West Suburban (due only to the headache it was to switch back), we have decided to deliver with midwives at UIC. We like Dr. Ahn, a lot. But she’s a high-risk doctor and we’re not really high-risk anymore. It’s almost a guarantee that we won’t know the midwife we labor and deliver with, but if we delivered with Dr. Ahn, we wouldn’t know the nurses who would be doing the vast majority of our labor support either.