Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Some Thoughts on Bedrest, Part II

So, I went to the doctor, only to find out that I've gained another 4 lbs (making NINE in the last 2 weeks), which puts me over the 25-35 lbs recommended weight gain for the first time ever AND at the highest weight of my life, despite starting out lighter. And my uterus, which had been measuring right on with the 1 cm per week, jumped from 34 cm at 34 weeks to 37 cm at 35 weeks, and now to 39 cm at 36 weeks! So I'm as heavy & as big (making me as uncomfortable) as I should ever get...but not likely to deliver soon. The doctor actually said "I don't think you'll be having a baby this week." Waaaahhhhh!

It seems like everyone I talk to has a story about someone being on bedrest, then not having the baby for a while afterwards. Is there a sensitive period for pre-term labor or something? Like maybe I would've had the baby at 33 weeks if not for bedrest, but making it to 36 weeks means I'm stuck pregnant for another month? Or is this evidence that my bedrest was unnecessary? I know, I know, hindsight is 20-20, and it's FAR better to be overly cautious than have a 7+ week premie baby with major problems. But the whole experience has made me feel like the baby's going to come any day now, so I'm getting impatient already!

So, back to my thoughts on bedrest.

One of the other big challenges with bedrest was getting the errands run. I have a notebook where I wrote down everything I thought of that needed to be done, remembered, etc. I sorted the errands (mostly shopping) into things that could wait vs. things Dan had to do for me (then when my mom came I got to give her some of my things that could wait!). Any other time he's had to take care of me & the household, it's been just for a couple days max. So I think he was surprised by how necessary (see Honey, it isn't all "fun" shopping!) & exhausting errands are! He had to go grocery shopping several times - sometimes just for a few essentials like bread & milk, other times he had a much longer list. I sent him to the library a few times (thank goodness for being able to put things on hold from home!). He took Ryan to a doctor appointment, and the boys to the school library night. And there was some other shopping that couldn't wait, like paper plates.

For the most part Dan did very, very well! After his first trip I learned to organize my list so he wouldn't be walking back and forth across the store. And I felt the need to tell him what a good price was on the things we needed that weren't on sale, like cereal (low double digits per ounce), whether or not he appreciated it. There were only a couple issues, like getting the wrong kind of hot dogs which cost $4.49 a package instead of the ones on sale for $1.99 with a coupon to make them $0.99 (same brand even, just wrong variety). But I've made mistakes like that from time to time too...I'm overly sad about it when I do it, too! Also, I would not have gotten that large of plastic cups or paper bowls, they have lead to a lot of wasted food & drink by the little ones! And I just avoided having him buy things that we could survive without until I could go (like toilet paper - we were running low, but not out quite yet). Then my mom came and went on a big stocking up trip to Costco for us, which Dan appreciate far more than he usually would!

One of the things we did that was a really good thing for us was going whatever-the-opposite-of-green-is (brown?), and using disposable plates, bowls, cups, and silverware whenever possible. Practically eliminating dirty dishes sure helped keep the kitchen clean! Yes, I said in my last post that 3 different people did some dishes for us (and that didn't count my mom, so 4 people!)...we're just really that bad at dishes I guess!

One of the interesting things to see was how motivation waned in the 3.5 weeks I was on bedrest. At the beginning I was super on top of the kids picking up every single thing that belonged to them or that they got out (which is easier to do when you're lying on the couch than distracted doing something else!). And I really wanted to help, so I did whatever I felt like I could, like folding laundry (which is something I usually really struggle with). And Dan was SUPER amazing at doing the housework. Seriously, our house has never been as consistently clean as it was from a couple days in to about a week later, and stayed really good most of the following week or two. My dear sweet husband was even rather smug about how much better of a job he was doing than I usually do (love ya Honey!)! Then it slowly started to go back to usual. The kids did NOT develop the habit of picking up after themselves like I had hoped. I stopped searching so hard for ways to help. And Dan seems to have discovered how hard it is to keep up the motivation to do the same chores over and over again when they're just going to get undone in a few minutes and the computer is so enticing. So while I would've been nice to have a spotless house that entire time, I feel rather validated that he got to experience that aspect of homemakership (apparently not a word, but it should be)!

One more quick thing, then I should go attack the dishes (some of which have been soaking for a couple days :-\ ). One other thing I learned was how many productive things I could be doing on bedrest. It was rather disappointing, because it took away my feeling of "having" to relax. I found that I could do some mending by hand, I could call the insurance company to try and sort out stupid issues (nope, wasn't successful yet), write thank you notes (I have a LOT to do!), etc. That realization made it so I was procrastinating rather than just enjoying bedrest. Blah. I think that was about the point I stopped doing much help.

So, that was my bedrest experience. As I said several times (and thought very frequently!), it was much better in theory than in reality. :-P I'm glad to be done and back up on my feet. It was definitely not an experience I have any desire to relive.

Some Thoughts on Bedrest, Part I

Yesterday, February 21st, 36 weeks along

I've been thinking that I really should write down some thoughts about my bedrest experience. Now that I'm back up, I'd better do it before I either forget or have a baby to keep me busy!

So, some things about bedrest are obviously awesome. I read a few books, watched 3 seasons of Psych (one of the few shows that is interesting to me without being inappropriate for my 3 year old companion), and played some Super Mario Bros on the Wii. We had dinner brought in MWF, with 10 total meals that I didn't have to make or worry about (or pay for, for that matter)! I even had several different people come over and help clean my house while I relaxed (attempted to, at least) on the couch. When you first think of bedrest, these are the wonderful things that initially occur to you.

A weekend of bedrest would be really great. Or maybe part time bedrest - do chores & errands in the morning, be on bedrest the rest of the day. But full time bedrest for 3.5 weeks was much less awesome than one might expect.

I've never been a great housekeeper. Over the years I've gotten better at keeping the living room clean...but don't look past that one room! I had 3 different ward members do some dishes when they were over for various other reasons, and I kind of felt bad that they assumed the mess was due to my bedrest! The truth is, it is pretty common for there to be dishes in my sink, piles of laundry waiting to be folded and/or put away, etc.

The irony of the bedrest situation was that then, when I was supposed to do far less than usual, I wanted to do WAY MORE! I've decided that there are 4 main reasons for that:
  1. First of all, I noticed it a lot more while laying on the couch. I don't know where my days usually disappear to (something I hope to be more aware of PBR - post bedrest), but I certainly don't spend much time just sitting there looking at the mess! So even though I had several things to entertain myself with on the couch, I was definitely way more aware of the mess in that part of the house!
  2. Also, I wanted the house clean because of all the people that kept coming over! Most of the people that brought us dinner came in to put it on the table and chat with me for a few minutes. Even though they obviously knew that I wasn't supposed to be cleaning (and probably would've felt bad if I'd gotten up and cleaned while they were making me dinner!), it was still hard to let people, several of whom I don't know very well, see the messiness. Add to that people coming just to visit or something, and we had someone in our house at least 4 or 5 times a week, when it's often not at all or only once.
  3. I think there was some "I want to do it just because I'm not supposed to." Having it feel rebellious to hurry and clean off the table was a lot more exciting than usual! Maybe we should find a way to incorporate that into regular life..."No, Rachel, DON'T vacuum!"
  4. And on top of all that, it's nesting time for this pregnant lady. Sometimes I had a really hard time relaxing (sleeping at night was particularly difficult) because I couldn't stop thinking about organizing the playroom or some similar project. Something about being close to having a baby makes your brain go crazy and notice all sorts of messes that usually don't phase you. So the whole not being allowed to clean would've been hard enough without that nesting instinct, but with it, it was even more frustrating!
I have my weekly checkup in 13 minutes, so I'd better run. Rather than save this for later and end up with a superpost, I'll just post what I have now, and (hopefully) do another one (or two) later!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Katy's Lesson

About a year or two ago, our kids started to really like having Family Home Evening. We've been really consistent about having it since then (prior to that we probably hit about 50% on average, often going in cycles of several weeks having, several weeks forgetting).

We've discovered recently, also, that the kids, or Katy at least, care(s) a lot about following the usual order of things. A few weeks ago I tried to get by with skipping the conducting, opening song, prayer, kids singing individual songs, and lessons, and just have us play together on the Wii and have a treat. This did not count as Family Home Evening to them/her.

So, I'd had this little chart (yes, it's just a piece of baseboard with nails partway nailed in) partly done for a while, but I hadn't decided exactly how to do the little "icons." I had it in my head that I had to find cute graphics online and mod podge them on or something. Then a week or so ago I just grabbed my paint pens and free handed what you see above. Nothing spectacular, but it works!

Wow, I'm rambling. Day 5 of being stuck at home, and apparently I'm already losing my mind. 20 days to go...oh dear!

So I finally had this chart and all the name things done for last night's FHE. Ryan remembered that he had lead the music last week, so it was his turn for the opening prayer (yes, they've been moved along since last night...by whom, I don't know, I just noticed that when I took the picture!). So I conducted from my perch on the couch, David led us in singing a new song they're learning in primary (I've got to find it online, none of them know the tune very well and neither Dan or I know it), and Ryan said the opening prayer. Then the kids each took 2 turns singing a song to us.

Then it was time for the lesson. We often use a wonderful FHE binder that Great-Grandma Smith made for us a few years ago, and we also occasionally have the kids just pick a picture from the Life of Christ or Gospel Art Kit and tell us about it. But since I was stuck on the couch, and we were running low on time, I just told Katy it was her turn to give the lesson, and waited to see what she did. I don't know what I expected - probably "I don't know what to do!" or something. I certainly did NOT expect what happened!

Sweet, adorable, 3 1/2 year old Katy stood up at the front of the room and said "Don't fight." After a brief moment of surprise, Dan & I asked her some questions like "Why aren't we supposed to fight?" She elaborated nicely, and the boys added to the discussion...and it was the best lesson ever, in about 1 minute or less!

This morning while getting their breakfast, the boys started bugging each other (surprise!) a bit. Sweet little Katy piped up "Remember my lesson!"...and they actually stopped! A little while later, after Katy finished eating and was snuggling with me on the couch, she started bothering David. So I said "Don't forget your lesson!"...and once again, it worked! She stopped immediately!

Now, I have no illusions that all fighting will stop or anything. But it seems that for now, at least, Katy's simple lesson to not fight has actually made a difference! Go, Katy!