Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Bunnies in the Cold

As our nighttime temperatures are dipping into the teens, a lot of people ask us how the bunnies do out in the cold.  The short answer is - they love it.  Mini rex rabbits have very dense fur (if you buy rabbit fur, it is probably from Rex rabbits).  The are happy and frisky in the chilly temperatures.  They have a much harder time staying cool in the summer!



It has been fun to watch them prepare for the cold.  The girls and the boys both have burrows with lots of straw. They all snuggle in together at night.
Erin tends the rabbits tirelessly, and uses her own money to buy food and bedding for them.  We've started buying straw by the bale, and pellets in 50 lb sacks.

Here if you look carefully, you can see the boys' burrow slanting down into the straw.  Above is a close-up of the picture to the right.

 It's so neat to watch all the things they just know how to do.  Hazel knew how to keep her kits just the right temperature when they were tiny, despite widely fluctuating fall temperatures.  Now, they all obviously have things under control despite the cold.  As long as we give them shelter from the wind and lots of straw, they take it from there.  As a human mom, I envy them the automatic know-how.  Here I am always looking things up and still goofing up left and right...:)


 
To see all the bunny posts, follow the label! :)

Monday, December 12, 2011

A slice of life - our week in review

Pardon my absence these past few days...we've been quite busy around here.


Raising bunnies: they need lots of straw to stay warm and lots of attention too.  They sure get it.  Erin made her first bunny sale to some good friends and is on cloud nine over that.  She's got one more for sale if anyone is interested.


Making pancakes.  My five year old loves heart shaped pancakes.


We all love pancakes, so I make a lot.  A few of these are still in the freezer, but not very many.


Alex loves pancakes.  He also loves to color on any available surface.  Including, apparently, pancakes.  He was quite incensed when I picked it up to take a picture.  I gave him back the pancake, but not the marker.


Isn't the syrup the best part, anyway?  Why waste time?



Leaping into cushion towers.


Oreo bark

Making two kinds of Christmas candy.  Recipes coming soon!


Peppermint bark



And, of course, eating the Christmas candy!

Cheers!



Easy and lovely Christmas candy

This week I made our Christmas candy.  I make this most every year.  Often I make it and give most of it away.  This year we, um, decided to eat it all ourselves.  *blush*

Both of these recipes I hand-copied out of a waiting room magazine years ago.  The only thing I had to write on was a little paper bag.  By now, you may know that I am NOT the kind of person that would keep a recipe on a paper bag for 6 or 7 years.  I, of course, rushed right home and copied the recipes, in my best calligraphy, on recipe cards.

Or not.  At least I haven't lost it.

Anyway.  Here are the recipes.  We love both of these, and they are quick enough to not stress me out too much, what with everything else there is to do in December!

Mint Chocolate Bark

2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup white chocolate chips
1 t oil
1 t peppermint extract
2 drops green food coloring
  1. Line a cookie sheet with waxed paper.  Melt the semisweet chips, in the microwave or in a double boiler, whatever makes you happy.   When completely smooth, pour onto cookie sheet and spread to 1/4 inch thick.
  2. Melt the white chocolate chips with the oil.  When melted and smooth, add peppermint extract and the green coloring.  Stir well.  Pour over chocolate layer, and spread to edges.  Draw a knife thru the layers to swirl.  (Mine tends to swirl quite a bit on its own, but I do the knife thing anyway for effect. ;)Refrigerate until firm, about 30 minute.
  3. Remove from pan, peel off paper, and chop into bars of desired size.  Store in the refrigerator.


Oreo Cookie Bark
Usually I use the regular kind, but this year I had some of the seasonal red ones in the pantry, so I used those.  I liked the effect.
20 Oreos, broken. 
2 2/3 cup white chocolate chips or semisweet chips
1 t vanilla, if you use the semisweet chips

  1. Line a 9 inch square baking pan with waxed paper and spray with cooking spray.  (If you think cooking spray is nasty like I do, you could just rub some butter on it.)
  2. Melt your chips.  If using the semisweet, add vanilla.  Quickly fold in cookie pieces with a spatula.  Scrape into prepared pan, and spread to 1/2 inch thick.  Refrigerate until solid, about 1 hour.
  3. Remove from pan, peel off paper.  Use a good sharp knife and chop into 12 bars or 24 triangles.
We chopped ours a little smaller than the recipe says.


Linked up at 4 Moms' favorite holiday recipes!

Organizing challenge - Declawing the FBD

The cat is inspecting the newly open floor...
Well, the Frightening Bedroom of Doom is a little less scary now.  Of course, if you are accustomed to a clean bedroom, it still may appear a bit shocking.  It's all a matter of what you expect when you walk in the door.

I think I spent a little over an hour this week, in bits and pieces.  I did a lot of clear off of the dresser.  If you are new to this series and don't believe me, here are the "before" pics. 

I threw out a broken lamp and set up another one. See, I had a broken lamp plugged in and unusable since the switch broke.  I had a functional lamp sitting on the other end of the dresser with no bulb and the shade all wonky - not plugged in.  The dresser was so messy I was afraid to move either one of them...and so we were lampless.  For few days weeks months.  No more!!  Now I blog by lamplight...so much nicer than blogging by closet-light.


This pile is a lot smaller.  I put some things away and filled two boxes to donate.  And I will donate them tomorrow.  Occasionally I have left donate boxes sitting around for almost as long as I left the broken lamp.  Not this time!  I want my bedroom back!

There's the cat again.  She was determined to be in the thick of things this time.  She loves it when I clean - she flops down in the midst of any newly cleared spot.

So!  There we are.  Progress enough to make me happy, and it will have to see me through the rest of the month, because I won't have any more time to work on it before January. We'll resume the challenge then!





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Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Birth Story #5 - Alexander - a difficult labor

When I became pregnant again after the elevator birth, I knew we had some things to think about.  Much as I enjoyed the non-intervention, I did NOT wish to have another baby in the elevator, or anywhere else that babies aren't normally born.  (Wal Mart, for example.)

I seriously considered home birth.  I've gone into that before (see here), so I won't rehash all the reasons I still chose to have a hospital birth.  They were, in this case, largely financial - my health coverage at the time covered a hospital birth 100%, and a home birth was not covered at all.

So, I went back to the same midwife I'd had for Jonathan.  We then had an unfortunate hitch, when about halfway through my pregnancy, she relocated her practice about 40 minutes away, up the canyon, instead of being practically next door.  We had to decide whether to find a new midwife at this point, or face the drive, knowing that my labors can move fast.

Trust is so important in a caregiver.  I trusted my midwife, I knew her, and I was worried to transfer care to someone who may push a more managerial approach to making sure my birth happened in the right place.  I was not willing to induce or undergo other interventions to try to time my birth.  So, we stuck with her, and made plans to zip up the canyon at the first sign of labor.  I can't tell you how many people suggested I camp out in the hospital parking lot!

Well, one evening I began to think I was in labor.  I was having mild, irregular contractions, and I felt awful.  I had made Garlic Salted Chicken, and I pulled it out of the oven and left it on the counter for the kids to help themselves while I laid down.  I still found my labor signs confusing - as I've said before, I feel laborish for the whole last month, so labor is often hard to identify when it does come on.

In the end that night we decided we had better head up to the hospital and see what was up.  We left around 6 pm.  We made it to the hospital, past the elevators, and into the room...and it turns out, I was indeed in active labor.  Given my history, they scrambled around getting everything ready.  We all thought we'd see the baby in an hour or two...but hour after hour ticked by, and not much was happening.

I would have some strong contractions, and then they would just disappear.  I slept a good portion of the night, and in the morning, nothing had really changed.  The weird on-again, off-again contractions continued.  The baby was completely descended, with all the discomfort that brings.  I was terribly nauseated, and in the bathroom almost constantly.

And here, we made what I consider to easily be the biggest birthing mistake we have ever made.  We allowed the midwife to break my water, around 11am.  She thought it would stimulate a more effective labor, and probably end in a quick delivery.

It did not.

I learned later that I had many symptoms of posterior labor (back labor), but no one recognized them, probably because I did not have the characteristic back pain.  I did have the very slow labor, the irregular ineffective contractions.  Baby was backwards and also positioned poorly, with his head tilted back a bit.  Breaking my water, in this case, was a very bad choice that could have had serious results.

Anyway, it had no effect at all on my contractions.  I walked the hospital for hours, painfully aware of the fact that with my membranes ruptured, we were now "on the clock."  Later that afternoon, I sat on the bed and cried after refusing Pitocin.  I was told that if I didn't get the Pitocin soon, I was risking a C-section when the time ran out.  I bitterly regretted allowing my water to be broken.  I realized that we had put Alex and myself at some risk, for no good reason.

So, I walked.  I pumped. And finally, in a very merciful answer to prayer, I began to have stronger contractions that didn't fizzle out.  After that, it was a couple more hours till Alex was born.

Let me just say - posterior birth is hard.  It's really hard.  One would think that by the time you are on your fifth natural birth, you would pretty much know what it feels like...but a poorly positioned, posterior birth is a whole different ball game.  It felt like something was wrong; it hurt a lot more.  It took a long time, too.  When little Alex finally made his appearance, it was a full 24 hours after labor began.  His poor little face was all bruised from his awkward passage; I was battered and exhausted.  It took me much longer to recover from that birth than from any other, too.

So I walked away with a couple of lessons:
  • Never let anyone break my water again.  I'm not saying everyone should follow this rule, but it is my rule, now, and it will take a lot of convincing to change it.
  • I'm never having another posterior baby.  Never.  And my saying so will make it happen. ;-)
Xander-zoodle.  Worth every minute of a hard labor!



All the birth stories...
Birth Story #6 - Abigail
Birth Story #5 - Alex
Birth Story #4 - Jonathan
Birth Story #3 - Rebecca
Birth Story #2 - Anna
Birth Story #1: Erin

Monday, December 5, 2011

Organizing Challenge: Baby Steps

Yes, Flylady said it first...and she is so right about that one.  I used to be a huge Flylady fan - she really helped me get my act together and change some important habits, back a good 7 or 8 years ago now.  I don't find her system to work well for me now, with 6 kids and homeschooling, but some important principles remain.  From those days, these are some principles that have stuck with me:
  • 15 minutes at a time.  For anyone with a very full, possibly unpredictable schedule - like a homeschooling mama with a pile o' little ones - this is really, really helpful indispensable.  For example, the mess in our master bedroom is large.  It's shocking.  It's embarrassing, and so overwhelming.  I know it will take hours to take care of.  But guess what?  Hours are made of minutes.  I can't spend hours...but I have a few minutes, now and then, and they do add up.
  • You can't organize clutter.  It's true.  You just can't, and it's a waste of time to try.  Toss it and feel your space lighten up.  If it is usable, donate it and let it bless someone who may really need it.
  • Baby steps.  Big changes come gradually.  A little steady progress is the best kind!
So...it's been a very long time since I've been over to Flylady's website, so I don't know if much has changed, but that is what I remember.  For the record...I was never willing to wear shoes.   Maybe I'm just a hick, but bare feet tell my brain, "I'm home, happy, and ready to roll!" ;-)

Anyway, that being said, I'm reporting in to share my "baby steps" on the Frightening Bedroom of Doom.  The FBD hasn't gotten nearly as much attention as I hoped it would, what with Thanksgiving and a baby who has suddenly decided that sleep is a nighttime-only activity.  (She has almost entirely stopped napping.  She is not quite 6 months old.  I think she may be teething, and if you would like to pray that she will get over this phase quickly I'd be much obliged!).  Hence you may notice that I have altered the title of the series from a "weekly" challenge to a less demanding "organizing" challenge.  Aaaahhh...that much less stress in my life.

Ok, so here is the desk BEFORE I spent about half an hour on it.  I don't have a severe piling habit screaming to be broken, by the way.  In case you were wondering.


Now, here it is, after.  This really only took me about 30 minutes.  Mark is so delighted that he can reach Turretin without causing seismic activity.  Obviously, it's not done.  Baby steps, right?


Now, if you read the end of the girls' room series, you will recognize this:



Today I was able to spend about 20 minutes (didn't time it, but I promise I didn't have much time.  Didn't even have time to time it...).  Here is how far I got:


I finally found a home for the white drawer thingy which I moved out of the kids' room last month.  Behind it was a largish pile of baby clothes, mostly outgrown or off season, that I sorted out.  So, yep, it's still a mess.  But it's a SMALLER mess, and that is an encouraging thought. 

Is the whole room still overwhelming?  Yes.  Yes it is.  It's still the FBD.  I hope to make a lot of progress this week, since after this week I'll be quite busy with Christmas prep.  I guess we'll see how that goes. 

Do you have a room that is so overwhelming you can hardly face it?  Go spend 5 minutes on it.  Just 5.  You'll be surprised how it adds up - and who knows?  You may find a long lost treasure that some short person lost a month ago, and that will make you the hero of the day.  I love it when that happens!



Linked up with:

Baby rabbits - 6 weeks and ready to wean

Well, today Erin moved the two buck rabbits into a separate hutch.  Old enough to wean - and old enough to need to be separated from the girls before we have more bunnies than we know what to do with!  She tells me that this is a delicate time for them as they adjust to being away from their mother.   Here they are checking out the new accommodations.

Here is mom and her daughters still in the other hutch.  Two of the girls will be sold in January.  The black one is to stay a year or so to have a few litters. She's to live with Hazel until it's time to find her a new home.   (Incidentally, the black one - who has a charming name I can't quite remember this late at night after a ridiculously busy Saturday - is my favorite.  I think she's gorgeous.)  Hazel is not ever to be sold - as the matriarch and, more importantly, cherished pet.



The two hutches.  The right hand one acquired a new base today, so it is up off the ground now. 

I am so glad Erin and Anna get to do this.  It's sort of funny to see Erin spending her own money on bulk pellets and bales of straw and hay.  She absolutely dotes on all the rabbits, too.  She handles them to keep them tame, ready to be pets or ready to be show animals.

Plus, I get tons of free fertilizer.  How can I argue with that?

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Holiday Homeschooling

Holidays.

Homeschooling.

Anyone else have a hard time with that??

What happens to my brain, and to the kids?  Whatever it is, it starts immediately prior to Thanksgiving and doesn't let up till after New Years.

We'd rather bake cookies than read Herodotus.  We'd rather make gifts than study long division.  Or for the shorter members of the tribe...we'd rather race around like maniacs than anything else. 

But, you know, for all the virtues in some of these things...school must go on.  I don't actually want to take the entire last 6 weeks of the year off.  We already take a month - last three weeks of December, first week of January.  I think 7 weeks is probably pushing it.  Possibly.

So how does one beat the holiday lack of focus?  Here are some thoughts:

  1. Be firm.  Okay, so the first one's no fun.  But, let's face it, that's the way it goes sometimes.  As a mom, sometimes I feel like the Official Spoiler of Fun in the family.  Don't you?  It's good for all of us to just slog through when we don't feel like it.  Great life lesson for the kids.  And, it will make you all feel better if you make yourselves stay on target and accomplish what you planned.
  2. Switch things up.  Now that you've been the Schoolwork Grinch, get back in their good graces by planning something different.  I find that planned fun is more fun and also less generally disruptive than the spontaneous kind that happens when you all just throw in the towel.  Hopefully it's even educational.  That being said...
  3. Know when to quit.  I know, I'm a bundle of contradictions.  ;-)  Leave room in your schedule for when you'd rather live to school another day.  If you are consistently staying on track, don't feel guilty if you need to tell everyone to pack it up early once in a while.  It's not the end of the world, and if Mama can't take much more - learning is not going to be optimal, anyway.  Remember how much learning happens out of the books, and how much developing faith and character is what we are really about here.
Now, if you're craving more order than my holiday-beleaguered brain can offer you, here is a good post on the subject.

So, tomorrow - I'm going for Point 1.  How about you?



Update:  "Point 1" went so swell that the following day we strung Christmas lights and made gingerbread men...:-D


This post is linked to No Ordinary Blog Hop.



Tuesday, November 29, 2011

$600 Vision Forum Giveaways at 6 different blogs!

Oh my.  I don't post giveaways too frequently...but this one is rather worth a look if you like Vision Forum.  You can enter to win $300, $200, and $100 gift certificates - and not just on one blog, but on six.  Here they are:

Vision Forum is one of our favorite resources for Christian books,  movies, and toys.  They are very thoughtful, and very intentional about challenging the culture.   Very good stuff - but they can be a little pricey, so I like to watch for sales.  Now, if I had a $300 gift certificate, I would have a great time watching for sales!! :-D

Monday, November 28, 2011

Our Chore System

The chore system we use, like most everything I do, bears the distinctive hallmarks of somebody-else's-system, jury rigged and stuffed, slightly crooked, into my fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants style of managing things.  I figure if it works, that's ok.

Sooo...here is what we do for chores.  I think I've mentioned before that I like Managers of Their Chores by the Maxwells.  Their chore card system is extremely helpful, and a little over a year ago I sat down with it and put it all together for my four oldest kids. 

Wait...did I say four?  Yes. And yes, there are only two in the picture.  Here's why.

For a lot of years, I felt terribly guilty, because I have never been good at teaching my tiny ones to do chores.  Sure, the toddler sometimes can be persuaded that putting away blocks is fun.  My four year old is now pretty sure that putting his shoes away means he won't have to search high and low for them next time he needs them.  My five year old, bless her born-organized little heart, makes her bed every morning even though I have never asked her to - or *blush* even taught her how.  I do call them to help put away toys they left out, and we all work together on lots of things.  So I'm not a total slacker or anything, here. ;-)  But routine chores....mmmm, no, not really.  Not for the littles.  I wait until they are older - around 6 or so - before introducing routine, written down, daily chores that they are accountable for.   So I made up little chore packs for them, but never really used them.

I used to do this by accident, and feel guilty.  Now, as I have seen that it works out well for us, I do it on purpose.

So, the chore cards.  My oldest two daughters use them, and they are really quite wonderful.  The book has you write down the things that need done, divvy them up to different children, and then print off cards to go in the chore packs that clip on to the kids' clothes (good for the forgetful child).  I love that part of our schedule is morning and afternoon job time; the girls know what they need to do, and since they have had the same jobs for a long time, they are getting quite good at them.  It puts the whole thing on autopilot, and saves me quite a bit of brain power, thinking of what all needs done.  I do have to remember to check on them, because quality will slide if I don't.  They tend to start skipping the weekly type jobs if I'm not paying attention, too.

The book includes wonderful resources for keeping tabs on everything in a more systematic way, which is great...but like I said, other people's systems.  My distinctive, less-than-systematic touch. :)

We also have evening jobs, but we don't have cards for that.  I think we used to, but since it's pretty much helping fix dinner, set the table, tend the baby while I cook, and help clean up, we don't really need them.

The kids really like doing things this way, because they know I'm not normally going to jump on them with a list of jobs out of the blue.  They know what to expect and when to expect it.  I think it is because of that, at least partly, that I never hear any complaining about job times. 

I know that as my littler ones get older and get added into the job time crew, the job packs will be even more helpful at keeping everyone's assignments organized, doable, and remembered.

Do you have a chore system for your kids?  Do share!




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On Worry and Contentment

"Now godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.   But you, O man of God, flee these things and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, gentleness.  Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, to which you were also called and have confessed the good confession in the presence of many witnesses."     I Timothy 6:6-12 NKJV

“Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?  Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature?
  “So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin;  and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.  Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven,
will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?
  “Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’  For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.  But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day
is its own trouble,"  Matthew 6:25-34
NKJV

Contentment.  Worry.  What a struggle for me.  This has always been an area of weakness for me, and so, it sometimes seems that the Lord prepares special trials for me in this area.  A weak muscle, I suppose, requires extra exercise.

I'm kind of an idealist (an INFP, if anybody else is amused by such things).  I have lofty dreams and goals, and I'm not real patient.  

We have been in a state of feeling financially precarious for many years; up until this year, we never knew what our income would be from semester to semester.  Currently, we have been greatly blessed by a one-year position with a dependable and much higher salary than we used to have - but when the year is up, we don't know what is next.  It is a challenging time to find a position in my husband's field - not to mention, his ideology is not precisely popular in mainstream academia.  It seems for us that every door we try is jammed shut.  And yet, this past year, when we had just given up hope for a better year (again) - he was offered this one year position that had not even been made public or applied for.  It has been such a blessing!

Yet I struggle.  I'm tired of not knowing, from year to year, how things will be.  I'm tired of prefacing any statement about the coming year with, "if we still live here."  I like to have a plan.  I like to at least think I know what that plan is for the next 12 months.  I know that no plan of ours is guaranteed.  I just like to have one.  And, I'm realizing to my dismay that nearly twice what we used to live on is still pretty tight.

But I know that my path is not my own.  I'm not here in this world to fulfill my dreams - and oddly, that's a comfort.  It's a comfort, because it means that if I never get my dreams, it's ok.  It's a comfort, because I know that my path and my end are in God's hands, and will serve His purposes in the way that He chooses.  My part is to obey; the provision is His.  With that, I can truly be content no matter what comes - petty discomfort or heart-rending trials. 


Take a moment to listen to one of my all-time favorite songs.  I hope it will be a comfort and encouragement to you, as it has been to me!

Please note:  I am not affiliated in any way with Matthew Smith and don't receive any benefit of any kind from including the song.  It is just a blessing to me and I hope it will be to you, too. :)







Friday, November 25, 2011

Birth Story #4 - Jonathan a.k.a. "elevator boy"

Okay.  How to begin?  This is the birth story I am modestly famous for.  At least, it feels that way, because from time to time I am introduced to someone I have never met, who I find has already heard this story.  I guess I'll tell it how I experienced it.

Once I got to baby #4, my body pretty much seemed to know what it was doing.  That was the first pregnancy I remember where I began to feel like I was in the early stages of labor for the entire final month.  I wish I knew whether this is a common thing with moms of many, or is it just me?  If you also experience this, I would really love to hear from you.  This happens in every pregnancy for me, now.  Beginning around 35 or 36 weeks, I feel "labory."  My Braxton Hicks contractions are quite uncomfortable; I get low backache, nausea, exhaustion, emotional labor signs, the whole shebang.

And so, one morning very late in pregnancy, I got up feeling pretty unwell.  This was no great shock to me at 39 weeks along.  I was having some contractions; nothing too regular or bothersome.  Timing them revealed no pattern at all, so I fixed breakfast and went slowly about my business.  I spent a good part of the morning sitting at the table drinking tea while I let my two older girls entertain my toddler.

After a while, I was just feeling so excessively pregnant that I decided a bath might feel nice; I stayed there for quite some time. Mark came home from teaching his morning class.  When he arrived, I told him, "I don't feel well.  I think the baby will come in the next few days."  With that, I went to take a nap.

The nap was cut short; as I was just dozing off, I was startled back awake - my water broke.  I was amazed by this, as before it had not happened spontaneously until just before birth.  That fact also made me a little anxious to get to the hospital; I wasn't too worried, though, as I wasn't having any obvious contractions.  I got cleaned up and stripped the bed while Mark called his mom to let her know we wanted to head for the hospital - she would be watching our other three children.

In the half hour or so that it took for Lisa to arrive, I began to have some strong, regular contractions.  I've no idea how far apart they were, but I do remember lying down while I waited; I must have been starting to feel that things were moving along quickly.  We left promptly for the hospital once Lisa was there.

On the way, it became clear that I was really in labor.  Every tiny bump in the road - I think every pebble we ran over! - was agony to me.  It was a ten minute trip on smooth city roads, but it was excruciatingly long to me!  I think it was around now that my husband began to worry.  I wasn't worried, though.  I have no idea why - I guess I was too busy!

We arrived at the hospital, and being somewhat distracted managed to park in the employee parking garage that is freestanding beside the hospital, rather than the Women's Center parking garage which is attached to the hospital.  I hear they have improved their signage, all on my account.

Mark had asked me if I wanted him to pull up to the front and go get a wheelchair, but I was insistent that I didn't want him to leave me alone. So, we parked and walked to the elevator - thinking that it would lead up to the Women's Center lobby.  Instead, it only led to more parking garage.

While we were still confused about that...

"OH NO!"  I yelled.

"What!?" Mark answered.  "He sounds a little tense,"  I remember thinking in some calm, detached part of my head.

"He's coming!!"

A flurry while we blocked the elevator door open with my bag to keep from going up and down.

I was down on the floor. 

Some lady with a cell phone told me not to push and called the hospital for us.  I was pushing anyway; I couldn't help it. The lady left at some point; I don't remember when, or why.

An elderly couple walked by, stared, and kept walking when Mark waved them on.

I was conscious of the characteristic, earthy yells of a woman in hard labor echoing through the mostly deserted garage.

I knew there was no more time.  "You have to catch him,"  I said to Mark.  He had that one figured out way ahead of me.  "I know,"  was all he said.  And he did.  As the baby slid into his hands, I heard him say only, "Jonathan..."

The brief pause there always is, to realize labor is over.

Then he is in my arms.  We wrap him in a blanket from our things.  He looks fine.  I think we may have started to laugh at that point...

It wasn't until about ten minutes later that the doctor and nurses arrived.  It turns out that Cell Phone Lady was mixed up and sent them to the parking garage on the opposite end of the hospital.  Jonathan was nursing by then.

With my permission - I was worried about him, I remember, it was a cold day - they whisked first him, and then me, off to our delivery room to get checked out, cleaned up, etc.  We were both totally fine.

My following hospital stay was lovely; I was somewhat of a celebrity, and the nurses all felt so sorry for me that they absolutely doted on me.  I have since heard that they invented a whole new code color after that, just for someone who is in distress on hospital grounds, but not in the hospital proper.  At nurse's trainings, when they learn the code, they hear my story - at least, they did last I heard, a couple years ago.

My "elevator boy" today
As for Mark and I, we were far less traumatized than people seemed to expect us to be.  I have some post-elevator thoughts to share, but I will add those in a followup post, forthcoming.  If you have any questions about it, feel free to ask and I will try to answer them in the followup, too. :)







All the birth stories...
Birth Story #6 - Abigail
Birth Story #5 - Alex
Birth Story #4 - Jonathan
Birth Story #3 - Rebecca
Birth Story #2 - Anna
Birth Story #1: Erin