True Love

Warning: This next post contains some snobbery.

A few months ago, Steve said to me "It would be really cool to have a hatchet." I filed that information away in the 'Possible Gifts' part of my brain and pulled it out earlier this month when thinking about Valentine's Day. It wasn't a great idea, but it was an only idea. And so it became a reality.

I do want to save many animals, and I do want to conserve much land, but I don't want to interact with either. I'm not real out-doorsey. But because I love my husband, the Tadpole and I traveled to Cabela's.

Cabela's is not my kind of store. I prefer the book library to the Ammunition Library, and I like my retail space to smell better than the Great Salt Lake. (Which stinks.) But true love guided me through. Past the camo, through the Patagonia and North Face, yonder the fishing reels and miles of, what, string? to the knives. Oh such knives. A knife to kill any living thing, from bison to bumble bee. Knives for hunting on horse back, knives to hide in your boot, knives for gutting a dear, and knives for giving to your sweetheart.

There I found it. The Hatchet. It's metal. It's heavy. And the stamped leather sheath will look great right where it's designed to be worn, on a belt. It's a home run for Steve. A home run that will be hit not with a bat, but with a hatchet. Or is it an axe?


A few of his Favorite Things

Time is flying! Above are a few of Tad's favorite things.

This is his least favorite thing:

His car seat. Right from the get-go, he screams and wails almost every time. Good thing we don't travel too far.

And my favorite things:


On a Trip to the Market

Tad and I went on our first full-length, must-do trip to the grocery store by ourselves. It went well until the end. As I was placing my selected items on the conveyer, it fell apart. Here I recreate, in stream of consciousness style, my thoughts on the experience.

Yes, of course this is my baby. Thomas. He's a boy. Thomas is a boy's name. No, strange-smelling stranger, please don't touch his hand, it will end up in his mouth. No, same stranger, please, please, please don't handle his pacifier. I realize he is starting to fuss, but I'd rather you didn't put that pacifier your dirty looking hands have been touching into his mouth. Yeah, lots of people love babies. That's why our species have survived so well. Yes, he's going to cry. Alright, now I'll just pull the cart away from you and stop talking to you. Checker Lady and Bagger Gal will surely see that I'm finding myself in a rush, with a fussing baby and all, and will work to get me out of their store. Isn't that a part of their jobs?

Oh, apparently not. Yes, of course this is my baby. He's about four weeks old. Look, I'm moving my hands and talking at the same time, you can't do this? Yes, he is screaming. Yes, he is turning red. Yes, some babies spit up when they get screaming like this. Yes, those are my groceries that you haven't scanned yet, Checker Lady. No, you didn't scan my Fresh Values card yet. Oh Checker Lady, please hurry.

What's that, Bagger Gal? You don't mind it when new babies cry? Perhaps that's because you are not experiencing let down as this beautiful baby cries. You've heard if you touch a baby on the forehead it calms them? No, please don't demonstrate. Do you realize that as you demonstrate this touch (which is not working) that you cannot bag my groceries? I'm sure I'll have another one some day. Alright then, I'll put these in the bag myself. Alright, I'll load these bags into the cart myself. Oh, you think he must be wet or hungry? Wonderful diagnosis. You are a baby whisperer.

No, Checker Lady? You think he's just exercising his lungs?
Wet or hungry?
Wet or hungry?
Wet or hungry?
No, no. Don't argue. I'll solve this mystery as soon as I get home, a destination that seems to be getting further with each syllable you two utter.

Yes, I have paid. Yes, everything has been loaded. Yes, I will probably be back soon. Yes, we do live close. Yes, I will run you over to get out of here. Thank you for your help?

That's better.


Tad Awe!

Well, he's finally here: Thomas Steven Caldwell, and we're calling him Tad. So the title of this post can be read "ta dah", if you like. He weighed in at 8 lbs 7 oz, stretched out to 22" and has all the expected bits and pieces. He's really quite wonderful. His systems are working well, he sleeps well, and nursing is going well. I hate to think too much about how easy he is for fear of jinxing myself, but he's pretty easy.

And now, if you're interested, are all the details. Background: I've been a patient at the Nurse Midwifery practice at our local big box hospital. A CNM (certified nurse midwife) is a nurse practitioner with special training. This practice operates from the hospital. After doing some reading, I decided to try for a natural birth using the Bradley Method.

Alright. He was due the 16th. On the 26th I had dozed off in bed (around 4:30 pm) and woke up convinced I was wetting the bed. I ran to the bathroom where I realized my water had broken. Then I was frantic. I called Steve and he came home. I was having contractions and we timed a few, they were about ten minutes apart. I called the midwife, she told me to come in when labor picked up, or to call at ten. I called at ten with contractions seven minutes apart and she said to come in when I felt closer.

I decided to try to get some sleep and I did, which means my labor wasn't progressing. One of the midwives called me at ten am on the 27th and told me to come to labor and delivery. I was dilated clear to a one. Wow. Eighteen hours and I was at 1 cm (you need about 10 cm to push out a baby). This was a problem because your chances of becoming infected go up the longer your water is broken. 24 hours is kind of the limit for a lot of health care providers. We decided to start pitocin, a medicine that gives you strong, intense contractions.

The midwife warned me that my body wasn't prepared for how intense the contractions would be, but I wanted to try as naturally as I could. They put in the pitocin and Oh, My, Stars. Those are contractions! Suddenly every two minutes apart, sometimes one minute apart, sometimes coupling (double peaking), and just ripping through my body. After six hours of crying and shouting she checked me again and I was at a 4, so depressing. I decided to try some fentinol (sp?). It was alright. The contractions were still just as strong, but I could relax in-between, when there was an in-between. I figured if I could feel that decent, why not just go all the way. I called in the anesthesiologist for an epidural.

It was a great epidural. Not every one is like this was. The doctor was outside my door when I requested it, so it was fast. He was done in less than five minutes and I could still feel and move my legs. I could feel my contractions, but they weren't ripping through me. For the next four hours Steve and I dozed and watched TV. I only wish I could have eaten.

After those four hours she checked me and I was ready to push! I pushed for about forty-five minutes (though it only seemed like ten) and my baby was born! Right away he was on my chest and nursing. It was amazing. Steve helped weigh him and stared at him while the wonderful midwife worked on me. I delivered the placenta (which is worth taking a look at. We didn't keep it, but we did think it was cool.) I'd torn pretty deeply and that took some sewing. The midwife worked like a surgeon. I didn't watch, but Steve said she was amazing. I ended up running a fever at the end, so I started a round of antibiotics and then they carted me to recovery.

I was nervous I'd be disappointed in myself for not fulfilling my natural birth plan, but I'm not. I would have loved for it to go that way, but it didn't. The Bradley classes we took were well worth the money. Becoming more aware of our options and my capabilities as a woman were huge advantages. I'm happy Tad came out before he started a fever also (a risk with water breaking and labor not starting) and I feel like both midwives we worked with listened to me and helped me with whatever I was choosing right then. The really hard part was deciding if I wanted an epidural right in the thick of things. I wish I had thought about that earlier. The contractions were so intense right then that I'm not sure I was really thinking.

Tad is an amazing baby and Steve is an amazing dad (big surprise). Toby is a great big brother. The first day was a little difficult, but now he's just bored with the baby. He will, of course, lick him whenever given a chance.


A More General Summer Update

Well, I know I've skipped seven months on this silly blog and that's a lot of time to make up. I'll tell you what I've been doing lately: hanging out with the dog. And it's great. He's such a great dog and he's excited to be a big brother any day now. We've been trying to get him ready to be dethroned, but, as we always say, he's a dog. We found a CD of a baby crying and have been playing it for him. The first few times he was very interested and perked his ears and listened. After that he'd just go outside when we played it.
The most exciting thing all summer has been my garden, as mentioned in the last post. The worst thing all summer is a fairly new development. I receive calls several times a day asking if I'm in labor and so far, I haven't been. The worst offenders: our moms. They pride themselves in only calling once a day, but the copious text messages from our younger siblings are quite suspect. If I don't answer the phone (because I never answer the phone anyway) poor Steve gets called. I feel bad about it, but I sometimes let it happen anyway. He's wonderful.
And, lastly, although it hasn't happened yet, Sunday, August 16th 2009 is our 4th
anniversary of our marriage. Awwwww.

This was then

And this is now (well, in April)

And, just to post something wonderful, Jo and my dad switched places for a few minutes and it was wonderful. I'm just glad I was there to capture the moment.

Don't you love it?

I've Created Life!

The most exciting thing all summer has been my garden. It is a total success, in my opinion. We eat from it about every day and it's delicious. So far we've harvested: spinach, lettuce, green beans, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, roma tomatoes, some fancy kind of green tomatoes, zucchini squash, crookneck squash, and watermelon. We're still waiting on bell and jalipenio peppers, cantaloupes, and red onions. The only casualty: asparagus, which is interesting that I couldn't grow it because it grows as a weed in some places. And, on the plant, waiting to be eaten: artichokes! Lots of people told me they didn't think they could grow here, but here they are! (This is not a picture of one of my artichokes, but they do look like this!)


Oh, Yeah

     I think I've been going through this school year forgetting to savor one of the most simple pleasures of teaching young children: they say mean things.  They don't mean to, they don't think they're being mean, and so I guess they're not.  They just haven't developed what I call the "filter."  That part of your brain that tells you "rephrase that" or "shut up."  They're still missing that part.
     But it came up earlier this week when one of my favorite little guys told me that my hands "look old and wrinkly."  He didn't mean that I'm old (even though he things I am) and he didn't mean that my hands look ugly, he was just making an observation, that's all.  It reminded me of some of the un-filtered comments I've heard and thought I ought to write them down before I lose them.  Here are the ones that have seared me enough to remember.  They're pretty funny.
  • "You look like a man."  (on a day when I tried something different with my hair)
  • "You looked better yesterday." (the same day)
  • "Are you almost going to have a baby?" (meaning: you look fat)
  • "Can you not have babies? My mom had lots of babies when she was your age."
  • "My mom hates you."
  • "Mr. Meakin gave Mrs. Meakin flowers. Mr. Caldwell didn't give you any?"
  • "We are not friends." 
  • "On no, you're wearing those ugly glasses."     
     I guess I should be glad they're learning English.