OK, it's journal time! I've already realized that getting an entry in every day is going to be difficult. Carolyn is not even here yet, and I missed a day. Yesterday my parents came over and transformed the baby's bedroom from a painting project to a real comfy place. The crib is built, the changing table is built, the blinds, switch plates, vents are back in, there are some lighting fixtures, and the clothes and bedding have all been washed in that special baby detergent that they have. Also my mother vacuumed pretty much the whole house--she did the step carpet a lot better than I ever have. My dad was impressed by the sturdiness of the crib, which means that we picked the right one. Mom also got food and kept Ev company. It was a long day and I found I had lost a lot of energy when they left; I struggled with putting the mattress pad on the crib, gave up, then came back to it and discovered that part of the problem was I had it upside down. Evie is very happy with the bedroom and takes a look at it whenever she walks by (on her way to the bathroom).
Last night we also saw Burbella again. Things are very casual in Burbella's office on a Thursday night (he has no Friday hours, at least not this week), and there was only one other person in the waiting room. She has had four or five kids, all but one of which were delivered by Burbella--a ringing endorsement, especially considering she has to drive a long way to get to his office (unlike us...). Burbella says that Ev is starting to get "effaced" (look it up in your pregnancy manual, I'm not going to define it), and that any additional day she gets under her belt is a blessing. It's a-coming! I just hope we can make it through the opening of the shower presents without her going into labor.
Today, April Fools, I went back to work again--two days off this week!--and Ev's parents cleaned up some of the clutter in the house and set up some decorations for the shower tomorrow. Evie can't take her large pills anymore, so we are splitting the capsules open and trying to mix them with all kinds of mushy foods. Banana was a dismal failure. Ice cream didn't work all that well, because it was mint chocolate chip and Ev can't have chocolate so she had to pick out all the chips. Apple sauce seems to have been most successful (it was Burbella's idea). No matter what the food, the medicinal powder instills everything it touches with a ghastly orange color which is just not appetizing. Ev is looking forward to when she can actually eat things again. For now, we will hope the prednisone and Ensure she's taking will fill her up. It's tough, because the parents made us all this food to eat so we wouldn't have to cook, and I'm struggling to eat it all myself! At least the panda cake is finally eaten up, giving us some much-needed fridge space.
Well, I could tell you every single thing I did today, but I guess it wasn't very baby related, and I don't want to get you spoiled by writing a lengthy entry, when I suspect the average size will be much smaller than what I've already put down. Don't miss next entry, when I will tell you what exciting things happened at the shower! Probably I will take some pics of Evie and upload them to the site as well. Since she's stuck in bed, she won't be able to stop me or try to convince me how awful she looks in every photo.
So as promised, here I am after the baby shower to tell you how it went (there are pictures available off of the home page--if you have some of your own photos you'd like to submit for possible inclusion on the site, feel free to email them to me). It went very well, I think. The two Janets performed amazing feats of party planning (and, most appreciated by me, party cleaning-up-after-stuff), decorating, bringing piles of food, helping with presents, etc., etc. (I'm beginning to use "etc." as much as the King of Siam, for God's sake! We'll see if I can break the habit). I was relegated to the upstairs kitchen at not the kiddie table but the Men's table, where we discussed Manly Things like Digital Video Camcorders. The cats were relegated to the basement. We couldn't believe how fancy it ended up being: there were sterno containers, real flowers, very nice balloons (one had Evie's name on it!), and everyone was very good to us with the presents--much more than I could have imagined (you like us! you really like us!). We got so many presents, and so much leftover food, that I don't know what to do with it all. The baby has piles of beautiful clothes for all of her growing stages, lots of bedding, lots of toiletry stuff, three car seats (we'll use all of them--I already know of another couple who had three), a stroller, a very nice scrap book from my cousin in New Mexico, diaper bags, portable changing stations--all kinds of stuff. Heather very nicely made a list of all the gifts in great detail (just as she did at our engagement party--sorry, Heather!).
We got to see lots of friends and family, and they got to see our house looking pretty nice (aside from the lousy weather--here's hoping everyone gets home through the downpour). The best part was that after the party was over (Evie got tired and went to bed), the parents and Jim and Sarah stayed and cleaned everything up. I was so happy that when everybody left, the only thing I had to worry about was all the presents. We all missed Aunt Theresa, Carol, and Claire, Ev's sister, who waited all week for the event, took a day off, and then came down with a nasty fever. Too bad! But she did the right thing, and then got to watch a movie of the whole thing afterwards (filmed on her own Digital Video Camcorder--very manly). We appreciated the corn popper she sent along (I love those things), and the other great presents. My complete total share of help in today's event: 1) I opened some of the boxes; 2) I held open a plastic food storage bag into which Sarah placed salad. I'm experiencing some guilt, though after all, had this happened a few weeks earlier as was originally planned, I wouldn't have been involved at all.
After the party, Ev woke up, had another piece of sandwich (trooper!) and we watched some of the Saturday Night Live DVDs my dad has been creating from his old VHS tapes (thanks dad!). I also had the interesting and new experience of pushing red currant jelly through a strainer (really). Now the Nets are on--let's see if they can defeat the Orlando Magic. Incidentally, the Orlando Magic was the team we witnessed utterly trounce the Nets on the originally-planned date of the shower. Is this irony? In a humorous real-time twist, half the lights have just gone out in the Continental Airlines Arena, where the Nets play (no doubt due to the lousy weather). The commentators now have to come up with very funny things to say to fill the down time. They've decided to start playing again!
Tomorrow I am hoping will be like the day after Christmas, when we sit around all day and play with our toys. Evie is impatient and wants to start playing tonight. We'll see if she has enough energy to stay up for it. Thanks very much to all! I advise everyone to have a child--people are very nice to you when you do.
Last night I put our new high chair together. It's a very sturdy thing that has toys to distract the baby from throwing food on the floor or fully realizing that it is tightly harnessed and strapped inside of a chair. I've got a few baby things already assembled and a few still to assemble, and at this point I've decided that each assembly process will involve at least one moment of frustration. In the case of the high chair, the frustration came when I had to feed the harness straps through very small sets of slits. I overcame this, however. The Nets, sadly, did not overcome the Orlando Magic--they were beaten by one point. My next assembly hurdle is the stroller, which I'm actually kind of looking forward to--it's kind of like a car for babies. It has cupholders and wheels.
Today was fairly productive. We piled up all of our clothes (the ones for the baby, not the ones we wear), carefully cut off all the tags, and now they are ready to be washed. A surprisingly low number of duplicates, most of which were ok because they were in different sizes. Carolyn, for example, can be a busy bee both in her newborn stage and past three months. This is good. I also sorted the non-cloth presents and put them in places in Carolyn's bedroom. Evelyn ate a lot better today, and we actually almost had a normal series of meals together, though she still can't eat nearly as much as usual.
One of my main chores today, other than putting up pictures of the shower on the site and taking care of Ev and the presents, was to take care of the pets. We are both concerned that our pets will get very angry at us for neglecting them once the baby comes. For now, though, with Ev on bed rest, the pets are probably getting more attention than ever before. Shelby the cat, in fact, is currently grooming herself in my lap as I write this--she spent the last few hours sleeping next to Evelyn's leg. We are hoping to keep the cats out of the crib, though we're probably going to have to come up with some kind of strategy for this, since I could barely keep Shelby out of the sugar bowl today.
It was a pretty quiet day today, even though we were busy. The computer fortunately reminded me to set our clocks forward an hour, so I guess we lost an hour, but it didn't feel like it too much. These kind of slow, sleepy days won't happen too often in the future. I even got a chance to read aloud to Evelyn, something we used to do all the time in months past, but which we'd gotten out of the habit of doing since she got back from the hospital. If the baby can really catch any of it, it's nice that she's hearing James Herriot, a veterinarian in England who tells nice positive stories involving farm animals. If nothing else, it will be a nice foil to the darker viewpoint on life she might glean from the Robert B. Parker novel Ev's father is reading her...Ha!
I'll just quickly type in a few words here about today. Twenty-some years ago today (well, I shouldn't allude directly to her age, should I?), Evelyn was born. Early this morning, I had scary dreams about the baby. I think I feel superstitious about describing them, but needless to say they are some of the easiest to interpret dreams I've ever had, symptomatic of the anxiety I feel at the prospect of having to care totally for a living thing which will be dependent on me.
Anyways, I went to work, where for a change my co-worker took a day off because her son hurt his knee and she wanted to stay with him (something I will be doing in the future...?). Meanwhile, Evelyn had a doctor appointment. In an important move, the doctor has decided that Ev will stop taking her Brethine (the medicine to stop her contractions) THIS WEDNESDAY. As far as I know, this means she may go into labor as early as the day after tomorrow. Ah! She will be relieved (she says now).
For Evie's birthday, I picked up a big carryout meal from her favorite restaurant, the Macaroni Grill. While we watched Bananas, an excellent early zany Woody Allen film which it will be many years before we will be able to show to Cara without having to cover her eyes and ears through half of it, Ev managed to pick at several courses, including a salad, appetizer (fried mozzarella) and lobster ravioli. More leftovers in the fridge. We also have some nice chicken soup from Ev's mom.
This evening, to my surprise, I snapped together the stroller. It was incredibly easy, much easier than I had anticipated. Not because I'm incredibly mechanically inclined, but because the stroller came in the box about 90% assembled, in two main halves, and all you had to do was literally snap on some pieces. It was very cool. Now all I have to do is figure out how to install the car seat--and quick!!
Between steps in the stroller assembly, when I had to go downstairs, I would swipe bites at a piece of bread from Macaroni Grill. When I was assembling the high chair, I would take breaks to go downstairs and wolf down huge bits from a piece of the baby shower cake. Let me tell you, even though that cake is good--very good--there is only so much that mortal man was meant to eat during one furniture assembly. The high chair was done before the cake.
Also today I tried to finalize my plans for taking off from work. I can take up to twelve weeks unpaid, but plan on using just half of that. More tomorrow.
(That "more tomorrow" comment, as it turns out, was a lie. Nothing really interesting in the baby-related world happened yesterday, so I skipped an entry.) Yesterday at 6 pm, Ev took her last dose of Brethine. This morning, she started feeling what we think are contractions. Therefore, I stayed home from work just in case. We have paged the doctor and are going to go see him at 4 pm so he can check on her. It's very hard to tell fake contractions ("Braxton Hicks" contractions, they're called--some guy named Braxton Hicks clearly had false contractions and named them after himself) from the real ones, because apparently they can feel, be located, and last the same time as the real ones. Evie had an appointment with Rapisarda (the gastroenterologist) this morning which I took her to, and while she was on the table waiting for him to come in (he took an hour), I attempted to time the things. (Rapisarda requested that we please not have the baby in his office, and we obliged him.) In the doctor's office the contractions were fairly regular, lasting around one minute with three-five minutes between. This made no sense to me, since what I'd heard was that early contractions last around 30 seconds and have about seven minutes between--they only got to a minute in much later stages. However, Evie has been having apparent contractions for weeks now--it's why she was on the Brethine in the first place--so perhaps hers is not exactly a regular case. It's all much harder to predict than I had anticipated--Evie has difficulty even telling when the "contractions," if that's what they really are, end, as it seems to be a very gradual easing off. We both would like this to be it, and get the baby out of her today if at all possible. We'll see what develops.
Meanwhile, Ev's dad was here and planted some various bulbs which I bought at a flower sale a week or so ago. The firehouse right across from our old apartment does a flower sale at the beginning of each Spring to raise money, and we had participated in previous years. This year's flowers, which I bought on the last possible day, were considered by Evelyn to be my birthday present to her--good thing, since I've had little time for doing any shopping lately!
In other meanwhiles, we have chosen a pediatrician. After doing some research on the web and calling some people, Evelyn spoke to one of her work friends, who recommended a little place not far from the house, with a group of doctors, so we're going with them. At our infant care classes, we were told that the upside to a team of pediatricians is that their hours are usually more flexible, and I have a feeling this will be good for us. We were down to the wire on this particular chore, because neither of us expected the baby to want to come so soon. Now we want it to come as soon as possible!
Well, since I'm home, I'm doing the laundry, so I have to go and fold clothes now. Then I may attempt to unlock the mystery of the infant car seat--or perhaps that's a chore for another day. If Evelyn is really heading for labor, the next entry may be Carolyn's birthday...
A few more things. Evelyn decided that the reason she was on bed rest was because we were trying to hold off the contractions. However, since she has stopped taking the Breathine, we're not trying to hold off the contractions anymore, therefore Evelyn considers herself off of bed rest. For the first time in a long time, she ate at the kitchen table, took a close examination of the fridge, and is now reading a book on the couch. One interesting side effect of the whole bed rest thing was that I now know where Evelyn keeps all of her different articles of clothing. I had tried to avoid learning this in the past, but now I will have no excuse when it comes to putting away laundry.
Another addendum: just installed the car seat in my Toyota. It was, after a lot of reading and fiddling, very easy. So easy that I am suspicious of whether I really did it correctly. But I just spent a lot of time reviewing the manual for both the seat and the car, and they both seem to confirm that what I did is correct. There are simply these two latch hooks that latch onto hidden metal tabs in the crease at the base of the back seat. That's it. The only thing that's complicated about the whole car seat thing is that there are lots of different possible ways to attach different models in different cars. Anyways, we have to go off to Ev's appointment now and see if we can't get this darn baby born. I'm beginning to have the sinking feeling that it will not be today.
...It was not "today," but it was the next day. This is, then, the end of the prologue! Click on "Week One" below to read about the birth.