Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Baby Wonder vs. my bathroom

I will start by saying that this happened a while ago. But as anything that has happened recently isn't funny or even what I want to write about, you all get this.

It's probably taken me so long to write about it because I am just now able to re-live it.

Baby Wonder has a hard time pooping.

Yes, I'm going there. Turn back now if you'd like, I won't be offended. Baby Wonder may be though, if he learns at 15 that I disclosed this information to the world. But as of now, that's neither here nor there. Moving on.

This pooping problem is helped by the use of a daily dose of Miralax, which is the only thing that has seemed to help. We call this his "Superman Juice".  Prior to this discovery, my poor baby was terrified to go, and a diaper change only came after hours (literally) of crying and pushing. Broke our hearts.

Unfortunately, Miralax can also cause things to get a little... runny. That's where our story begins.

Bathtime. 7 PM.

Normally the Mr. is still home at this point, as his shift starts after Baby Wonder gets to bed. Not this night. Duty calls this particular evening and he has to be at court by 6. So it's just the two of us. Normally something I can handle remarkably well.

Right before Baby Wonder is stripped down, he starts to turn a little red. This is my cue to leave the diaper ON. Couple minutes go by, and I clean him up and deposit him into the tub because he's finished.

Or so I thought.

We're splishing and splashing and playing with toys when all of a sudden he quickly stands.

Not two minutes into Baby Wonder's bath and he lets loose in the bathtub.

I am appalled, but still able to hold myself together. I pull the removable shower head down and hose him off, because, yes, it has run down his legs and is floating in horrible semi-clotted animal-shaped shit clouds around my bathtub.

STOP crying. It's just the shower head.

I'm the one who should be cringing. What's your problem? You're the one who chose to poo the water you're standing in. Dogs don't even do that.

Your face is still dirty from dinner. You haven't even been in here long enough for me to clean off spaghetti. Now this.

Why are YOU crying? I'm the one who has to bleach out the tub. You get to stand here naked until I take your own personal toilet bowl down to its pre-painted finish.

I shower here, by the way.

The tub is drained, clots and all. Let's be honest. It's a rental. And I'm not scooping watery, Miralax-infused baby turds out with my hands. We'll just cross our fingers and hope God has a sense of humor.

Which it turns out, He does. 

Baby Wonder is rinsed, and I set him out of the tub behind me so I can proceed with the bleaching, or whatever other chemical I can come up with to calm my gag reflex the next time I put my bare feet in my son's cesspool. 

As stated above, I set Baby Wonder behind me. What I did not clarify, though it is implied, is that he is still naked as the day he was born. This is important. Read on.

The tub and toys are cleaned to satisfaction. While cleaning, I have perfect faith that my son is still in the bathroom with me.

Oh, he's still there all right.

I smile with pride at my speediness and ability to multitask. I turn, as he is now standing right next to me, and say sweetly, "Ok baby, let's try this again."

For the sake of this story I get that whole sentence out. In reality, it does not end with real words, but more of a guttural shriek of terror as I notice out of the corner of my eye the bathroom I had my back turned on.

There. Is. Poop. Everywhere.

Have you ever been so frozen in a moment that you actually cannot move? Everything freezes, except my face. I'm back to the face.

I'm not just talking about a pile of neatly placed poop in a private corner. Nah. I'm talking a multitude of watery Toddler Turds all over my bathmats and builder-grade linoleum.

Baby Wonder looks at me as if he, too, is surprised by this. As if he has no idea how the bathroom came to this state, as if the poop running down his leg has nothing to do with what is on the floors.

Why, Mother. Do you see this? Quite the mystery. 

As I sit in shock, still on the side of the bathtub, scrub brush in hand, I do the only thing I am capable of doing.

I laugh the hysterical, deranged laugh of a woman who is up to her elbows in human waste. I cry, but continue to laugh, therefore cementing my place in a terrible, momentary word of Real or Not Real.

My son seems to find amusment in my expression.

He giggles.

And takes off, a river nasty running down his legs and coming dangerously close to the carpet I cannot afford to replace.

Oh, no way. Get back here you little demon.

We're not packing up and moving because we can't get your poop out of the carpet.

This is NOT funny. Just because I'm laughing does not mean this is funny.

I catch him and deposit him back in the tub, rinsing him off again with the shower head.

The carpet escaped permanent damage.

I am still healing.

I'm glad I had the presence of mind to capture the pictures I did. Even while it was happening, I knew I would never let him live this down.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

DIY magazine tray

My husband and mother have conspired to send me and Baby Wonder to California for November. Since it is a challenge to take care of myself, the house, and especially my two year old terror, I will be shipped off to my mother's care for as long as possible until I am no longer allowed to fly, at around 34 weeks along. My dad will come and fly with both of us, doing the workhorse share of flying with Baby Wonder. I do not envy him.

My husband will get the rest he needs, and has not been getting since our adventure in the hospital, and my friends and family here will be able to take a break before we come back in December. I will get to rest with a backyard view of the ocean and take long baths in my parent's soaker tub, and Baby Wonder will be so overwhelmed with attention by my parents and brother that he won't have time to realize how crippled I am. Win-Win situation, if you ask me.

Since I have only a couple weeks left here to complete the scheduled doctor's appointments for myself and Baby Wonder, as well as finish up his birthday party planning and get a few last minute crafts done, I have been busy! Luckily, most everything I have to do can be done sitting down. Anything else, I have my pack of friends for. They can take their limping, pregnant friend to the store, do birthday party crafts, or help me build a birthday cake. LOVE YOU GUYS!

Since I have limited time left in my own house until the Christmas holidays, I want to try and get as much done as possible. I have a few projects that I've wanted to work on, and since Mom was here for so long, she was able to help me get the majority of the supplies so I could craft when I had the chance.

This tray took less than a nap time to build, and as an added bonus, requires no strength past applying wood glue and decorative nails. My kind of project!

I have to say that I LOVE the Shanty2Chic sisters. A lot of my DIY projects come from them, and if you're ever interested in working with wood to make things for your home, that is the blog to check out. Or you can just stick around here, because I am slowly making my way through their entire project gallery!

I wanted to make this tray here for a while, so I buckled down one afternoon and got it done. This project is super inexpensive (my favorite part) and you certainly can't find a match in a store for anywhere close to a comparable price.

Here's what you need:

1- 1x3" furring strip, 5- 18" pieces
1- 1x4" furring strip, 2-12.25" & 2- 19.5" pieces

If you don't know where furring strips are in your Home Depot, ask. These are the lowest grade of lumber, so my HD lumber guy told me when I asked, so they are the most inexpensive. Great for projects like this.

Bring these measurements to HD with you and ask nicely to have them cut.

I also used decorative metal L angles, but they are not necessary. They can be found in the LUMBER section for .58 cents a piece. There are similar ones in a different aisle, packaged, that come 2 for $4. Sneaky, sneaky, Home Depot. I got the handles in the hardware section for about $2 each.

Here's how to do it:

Assemble your 5 18" pieces so they are side to side. Secure to each other with wood glue.

Attach your shorter side pieces (12.25") to each end with another thin layer of wood glue.

Then attach your longer side pieces. You can use finishing nails to secure the ends together. This allows you to continue with the project while the wood glue dries.

I swear I had step by step pictures of this, but that no longer seems accurate. No idea what happened to them! You can tell by the finished pictures how it was put together.

Now for the painting/distressing.

I found this method for distressing wood, and I really like how it turned out. Here is how I did it:

You will need two different colors- the color you want your finished project to be (mine is Heirloom White spray paint by Rustoleum) and the color you want showing through the distressed parts (mine is dark walnut wood stain by MinWax). You can also use an acrylic paint, either in brown or another color if you want.

Begin by staining or painting just the parts of the tray you want to show through.

Next, apply a THIN coat of petroleum jelly to however much you DON'T want covered in your top coat. The petroleum jelly will prevent your paint from sticking to the stain, allowing it to be rubbed and sanded off with no effort.

Then spray paint your top coat on evenly.

OOOPS. got the grass. and the patio.

After it dried completely, I took a few paper towels and just wiped off the jelly spots. The paint came right off. Take a fine grit sandpaper to those spots to smooth them out, and it comes out great!

Add your handles and decorative corner brackets.

Now I know I said it is supposed to be a magazine tray, and really that's what it was called in the original blog. But I'm a mom who hates having kid crap all over the place. So this tray has become a diaper caddy, and it fits in perfectly under our coffee table. It's nice having a home for all the diaper changing things, especially since we will have twice as much in the next couple months!

Sunday, October 7, 2012

find your glory, even here

Last week I discovered that this pain and discomfort from my previous hospital stay will be permanent until after our Wee One is born. I brought my list of concerns and symptoms to my OB for my follow up appointment; it was quite the list and I was prepared for her to tell me that there was another infection.

Instead she told me that, while unfortunate, these problems were quite "normal" for my situation. Everyone is effected by this surgery differently, and while some handle the recovery with limited issues, it seems that my body is not recovering quite as smoothly as I would have hoped for. Again, while unfortunate, nothing to be immediately concerned about.

Unless you're me. Who worries about everything. 

Throughout my last trimester, for the next 3 months, I will continue to be monitored via blood and urine analysis at my biweekly appointments to make sure this doesn't return.

Kidney problems, especially in pregnancy, can lead to additional kidney problems, and those can come on faster and more dangerous than the first. The most frustrating thing about this is that the very thing left in my body to aid in keeping Wee One safe is what is causing my constant pain.

It is as I type that last sentence that I wonder why must it simply be frustrating? This, too, can be filled with Grace.

The will of God will never take you where the grace of God will not protect you. 

It is never a challenge to question when handed an obstacle. Why me? is fabulously easy to weep out when you are in pain; when your heart is broken or your life is in shambles and you simply cannot find all the pieces it is almost impossible to remember that you aren't responsible for the pieces at all. No, you must strive to see through the fogginess of your situation in order to see your path ahead. It is only then that you can come back to your understanding that the path never wavers. It is never destroyed or altered. It is only covered by the circumstances of life. Fog rolls in an obscures your vision, muddling your directions and messing with your compass, but it never effects the path that is layed down for you.

There are so many things we cling to in order to find our own way. It is hard to simply trust that the path is still there when you cannot see it through your own tears.

When your abundant blessings seem to come to a screeching halt, and you are delivered hardships and heartbreaks to choke down a dry throat, the irony of remembering anything positive is not lost.

There is always water to quench your thirst.

It is fun and easy to praise God when he gives you what you want, when your prayers are answered with shinning light and comfortable surroundings. Singing songs and rasing your hands in worship reinforces your belief that He is good.

Will you praise him when life doesn't go your way? When He doesn't seem so good, because no matter how strong your faith is, at times He is an easy target for blame. Praise doesn't present itself as easily as the other option. Rage and anger provide a temporarily clear outlet for disappointment.

When out of weakness we must bow, to hear You say "it's over now"...

Sometimes all it takes is a childlike approach to finding the positive. Recognize that He is there, and thank Him for your challenges, as hard as it may be. As I repent of my anger and frustration, not for the first time and not for the last, I am reminded in my heart of the majesty that holds me and mine in love and protection.

So thank You for giving me the opportunity to put my child's well being before my own. I can appreciate this pain, because I know she is in no danger while I suffer. My pain provides my child with a safe haven to grow, something I could not provide if You had not designed me to be her ultimate protector.

Your plan for our lives, for the happiness and health of my family, far exceed the difficulities of these circumstances.

Thank You for providing me with the ability to see that. Please provide me with the grace to remember it.

"'For I know the plans that I have for you.' declares the Lord, 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans to give you hope and a future'". Jer 29:11

We hold this dear in our home. A regular reminder of His mercies.

I cannot lie and deny my fear. I can, however, turn it over.

I do not question where you are this time, as I so often do when I hurt. You are in every kick and hiccup I feel. You are in every strengthening muscle and in every healthy beat of my daughter's heart. You are in my son's happy smile and in his confident steps. You are in my husband's heart as he worries and loves over his family. You are in his steady hand and clear head when he leaves us each night to protect others. You keep him safe when his mind is occupied by troubles at home.

Please continue to hold them .

You walk through our mess to love us anyway. Well, here is my mess. And You climbed in the middle of it and waited for me to look up and realize that You've been there, the whole time. Your glory never fades and Your grace is abundant, mess or not.

Through the pain, I can have rest in You. 

"I will never leave you. I will never forsake you." Hebrews 13:5

Talk about a promise.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

2x4 fall pumpkins

As many of you know, I got sick last week and have been stuck on "rest and hydrate" instructions. Unfortunately, after my follow up, these instructions stuck. It's going to be a rough third trimester, stuck on a very low gear, until the doctors can do the second part of the surgery after the baby is born in January. The good news is this gave my mom an excuse to fly in from California for a couple weeks to help me out.

While I won't be building any more furniture projects in the near future, this hasn't stopped me from making little things for the house.  This project (source here) is a perfect stuck-on-your-butt craft, and since I had planned on doing this before I got sick, I already had all the supplies on hand!

Here's what you need:
  • Spanish Moss (I have a GIANT bag that I use for lots of things, it cost $5, but you can get smaller bags for much cheaper if this is all you'll use it for)
  • Raffia ribbon (Again, I have a TON of this stuff. It also cost around $5, but it will last me forever)
  • 2x4 blocks, cut in varying heights. Figure out where you want your pumpkins displayed. I knew I wanted mine to add HEIGHT to the shelf behind my couch I made mine much taller than the original plans called for. See what works best for your space, and take those measurements to Home Depot.
  • The stems for your pumpkins, which are thick sticks cut about 2 inches high. My mom did this part :)
  • Thick black floral wire
  • Orange and brown acrylic paint, and a paint brush or sponge brush
  • Sandpaper & hot glue gun
Here's how to do it:
    Begin by sanding your blocks and giving them a coat of orange paint. The colors I bought were Jack-O-Lantern orange and Melted Chocolate. It turns out my orange was a little too bright for my taste, so I mixed it with brown to get the darker shade I wanted.

    This step is OPTIONAL. Sand down your painted blocks again to create distressed edges. Mix a squirt of brown paint with about a half cup of water to create a brown wash. Paint this over your blocks, paying attention to darkening the edges. It is best to dip your sponge or paint brush very lightly at first to gauge the amount of wash that looks best on your pumpkins... you don't want to make it too dark accidentally.

    After everything dries (pretty quickly, since it's acrylic paint) attach your stems to the top of the pumpkins using a generous amount of hot glue. 

    Curl a length of floral wire around a pen and pull the coil to make it "loose".

    Wrap the coil around the stem to create a vine in the front. Hot glue some Spanish moss around the stem and wire. I switched these two steps when I was making these, but I decided that it would be easier to do it this way. That's why my pictures are off a bit. If you look at the next two pictures, it will clear up any confusion.

    Tie a length of raffia around the stem.

    Fall in love :)

    Probably my favorite spot in the house!

    Tuesday, October 2, 2012

    the angels of st. ann's

    As most of my family and friends know, last week held a level of worry in our home.

    Last Friday I ran several errands, including a trip to Lowes where I got lumber for a couple projects I wanted to do around my home. Nothing overly strenuous, but I was definitely moving around like a normal person. Then suddenly, early in the afternoon, I started having incredible pain in my lower back and abdomen.

    At only 25 weeks pregnant, this is an uncomfortable and terrifying experience.

    By 4 PM I had called my Aunt, a Douala, and she told me, with no minced words, to get to a hospital. I couldn't stand, and in less than a half hour, my mother in law had taken me to our local hospital. They ran a urinalysis, and after establishing the appearance of a fair amount of blood, told me it was "probably" a kidney stone, hence the pain. They sent me home with instructions to tough it out and drink lots of water.

    I have discussed before my intense and often fierce dislike of this hospital and its staff. Unfortunately the multitude of chances I have given have proved fruitless, and this experience has prompted me to never again register my name or the names of my family in their data base a patients. It almost cost us our lives.

    I began throwing up in the car on our way home. After a painful night, along with an equally miserable day of keeping nothing down and having no relief from the ever-increasing pain racking my lower body, I was back at the hospital. This time, however, we made the drive to Saint Ann's hospital.

    Within the first hour of my arrival, I was wildly impressed by an experience I had never realized I was missing. Despite the pain I was in, I could immediately recognize the actual care and genuine concern reflected by the ER staff. I was spoken to gently, touched carefully, and escorted to the Maternity Ward by a nurse whose name I will never know but whose efforts to make me comfortable I will never forget. He was kind and patient, and the word genuine is again repeated in his compassion for me.

    By the time I got to the Maternity Ward, I had tears in my eyes and my knuckles were white around the pail they gave me to hold whatever refused to stay in my stomach. The triage nurse established that there was in fact something wrong with my kidneys, though not as minor as LMH had believed. I was put on an IV drip and antibiotics before I even left triage.

    The evening and night were rough, and to be honest I don't remember much of it. I have an image of a nurse talking to me, holding my hand, with lady bug earrings in. I was visited frequently through the night by nurses who made every effort to make me comfortable, though by morning pain killers were doing nothing and all I could do was lay there. They ran tests through the night, and I was scheduled for an ultrasound on my kidneys first thing in the morning.

    As soon as was possible that morning, I was taken to an ultrasound technician. She made a uncomfortable grimace when scanning my kidneys and said "Well no wonder you're in pain". The obstetrician from my midwife's medical team came down to the ultrasound room and reviewed the scans on the screen, before they were even printed off for her, no time wasted. An hour later we were scheduled for surgery.

    My nurse and the transport nurse did their best to stall as long as possible for surgery, as through my haze I insisted that my husband be there. My nurse made all my phone calls for me, taking my cell into the hallway and talking to the variety of family members required to pass the word of my surgery and to find my husband. I remember insisting that she tell my Aunt to come, who lives 3 hours away from the hospital. Delirious, right??

    My husband made it, thanks especially to the team who walked slowly and "missed" OR calls, and he was there to be my ears as the anesthesiologist and doctors explained the procedure. He tried to hold my hand, but in doing so accidentally brushed my back. He didn't even realize he did it, but I could feel the pain from the brief encounter to my toes.

    They took me into the OR, where I could only wait for the relief I knew would come from being knocked out. This carried with it a heaping measure of guilt. What about my baby? How is she faring through this pain and obvious infection? Is it selfish of me to crave this relief so badly when I know, on some level, she'll be effected? Apparently my concerns were obvious, though not spoken. An OR nurse, whose eyes were all I could see, held my hand. It takes a wonderful sort of person to be a comfort to a stranger, to convey genuine kindness through only your eyes and body language. I felt like I was the only person she cared about in that moment. She told me:

    "We'll fix this, and you. Your baby will be beautiful when she comes on time. Don't worry"

    That was the last thing I heard, and I cried as the anesthesia took over.

    After surgery, I was shocked at how much better I immediately felt. OR nurses whose faces I didn't even recognize smiled happy smiles when they saw me waking. The transport nurses acted like family members who had been anxiously awaiting my recovery. I have never seen strangers so pleased to see me sitting up.

    I got hugs and happy cheers when I arrived back in the Maternity Ward later that evening. One by one, the team of doctors who attended my surgery stopped in to see me. It turns out that I had had an infection, but that, because ofmy 24 hours of "drinkng water and toughing it out", it hadn't been caught in time. One theory was that it started out as a kidney stone , another that it was an abscess, but by the time they got to my kidney, there was so much infection that needed to be cleared out, they could never be sure what was there originally. The toxic levels in my kidney had hurt me severely, but they were able to stop the infection before it went septic and seeped into my blood, and therefore, before it reached the baby. According to the Infecious Disease Specialist, we only had hours.The OB relayed that the safest, and most comfortable place for the baby the entire time was right where she was. She was fine, the whole time.

    The next three days were a blurr of pain control, of which I was proud to handle as much on my own as I could.

    I cannot repeat enough the happiness and surprise I felt so often at the level of care given by the staff. On my second day of recovery, I was allowed to take a walk around the Unit. As I slowly made my way past the nurse's station, several people looked up. I had nurses I didn't know, who I was sure were not part of my immediate care group, tell me how happy they were to see me up and about. How much they had worried, and prayed, for our recovery. The girl with the ladybug earrings was standing at the desk, same smile and kindness now as when I couldn't remember her face.

    So this is a thank you to my team. The doctors who saved my life, and the nurses who brought me back to it.