Katelyn is still warm and cozy in my basketball belly ~ woohoo! Today marks 33 weeks and 1 day pregnant; 41 days till "C" date. In the meantime, the contractions that really took off last week have continued with fair regularity, but 80% (roughly) are pain free. At this point, I'm not experiencing any other signs of impending labor, so we're trucking along fantastically.

... unless you count nesting as a "sign" of impending labor! I have officially washed ALL of the boys and girls clothes in our home, sorted all the boys old clothes into "Ok for a Girl; Size", "Keep for the Next Boy; Size", and "Donation Girl"/"Donation Boy" boxes. I am now in the process of "spring cleaning" our kids' toys, the boys' room, laundry room, and my own closet, which is a size nightmare ~ filled with clothes from size 6 (will there ever be a time again when I can squeeze into them again?) to size Prego-Humongo (seriously, even my pregnancy clothes no longer fit!). Wish me luck! (with the spring cleaning AND fitting into ANY jeans again!)

Pic: My mom, grandma, sister, sister-in-law and I gathered Saturday to celebrate Katelyn's upcoming arrival and the arrival of the sunshine!! We had a lovely afternoon and snapped this shot of the baby-belly (in slimming black!) for those of you making photo requests!


Preterm Labor

My 30th birthday started out like any other day ~ with the added bonus of hearing "Happy Birthdays" wherever I went. But then around 5:30 ~ as the pizzas were being tossed in the oven and friends were starting to arrive ~ my body told me labor was potentially not far off. I called the doctor's after-hours line and was advised to go to the triage if I experienced 6 or more contractions in an hour. Of course, I'd been experiencing more than 6 contractions an hour for approximately 5 days, so after two hours (time for pizza and cake and ice cream), I made a second call to the doctor, left the boys with Brannon (thank you!), and headed off to the hospital.

As it turned out, I was having contractions - with grand regularity - every two minutes. However, only about 1 in 5 had any (mild) pain associated, so I was certain they were merely dirty-rotten Braxton Hicks. But given all the preterm labor signs (pelvic pressure, contractions, etc.), the doctor ordered a swab test. What a neat test. It essentially tests for certain cells that are shed as the labor process begins. A positive test may mean labor is imminent. A negative test typically indicates that the "real" labor process has not yet begun ~ a process which from start of cell shed to birth is approximately 2 weeks. After 4 hours in the hospital tracking contractions, the test came back negative, and we were sent home. Based on the test results, I'm in "preterm" labor and can expect to continue experiencing contractions every two minutes but we should not expect her arrival for at least two weeks from the 20th (and she could remain in utero until we take her out April 7).

Suffice it to say, we were beyond pleased to hear she wasn't on her way yet. At 32 weeks and 2 days on the 20th, she would have been very early, and I would have been transported down to Children's Hospital in Seattle for her birth so specialists could be on hand if necessary to take care of her. If she arrives after March 3, she could be delivered here in Bellingham (although if within days of that 34-week mark, they may ship us down as a precaution).

I was also relieved that she wasn't arriving that night because we were anything but ready. We didn't have any girls clothes washed, neither myself and Kevin nor Katelyn's hospital bags were packed, the camera memory card was full and the batteries dead, my cell phone battery was dead (and although we talked about it as we were jumping in the car, we didn't bring the charger), and the carseat is still up in the storage shelves in the garage. Ok, so all of that could have been worked through, but it was distressing nonetheless. I immediately washed all the hand-me-down girls clothes we've received (thank you, Aaron and Renee!), cleared the memory card on my camera, and charged my cell phone. I "should" have the next two weeks to finish the prep. : ) Phew!

Since then, I HAVE continued to experience contractions every two minutes. Some* are more painful than others, but most are very bearable.

*I missed a meeting this morning because I was in such pain, I was crying in my kitchen. The pain passed within the hour though, and I'm back to every two minute "tightness."

I know you're not supposed to share your birthday wish, but I'm sure after having read this update, I don't have to tell you mine. Hope it comes true!! (And looking so forward to meeting Katelyn ~ when the time is really right!)


46 days, 9 hours, 28 minutes to go ...

The date and time are set: the C-section is scheduled for April 7 at 9:30 a.m. Katelyn's birth date is rapidly approaching!! As we get closer, the reality that we'll soon be a family of five is beginning to dawn on us, and I am becoming more and more anxious to meet her!

In some ways, I feel like I already know her ... she is an avid mover and responds to heat (such as a coffee cup resting on my belly), loud sounds (like when she kicked really hard tonight at the sound of Collin's toilet seat falling to its base), and her brothers' prods and voices. Whenever the boys near my belly, Katelyn starts to move. It is so cool!! And the boys love it! They had sort of "forgotten" the pregnancy in the last couple months, but have - on their own - seemed to also recently gain realization and are back to approaching her (not me), talking to her, kissing her (my belly), and talking about her impending arrival.

Here's a description of where she's at developmentally in this 33rd week: She weighs between 3.75 to 4.5 pounds, and her skin has turned from red to pink. She has started preparing for life outside the womb by storing iron in her liver.


Collin at 3 1/2

We spent the most beautiful morning at Maritime Park tossing rocks into the Bay, collecting sticks, climbing trees and atop rocks, and enjoying the first sun in months! The frost was just melting as we arrived, and it was a glorious morning! 2.18.08
After I recently gave an Owen update, it occurred that I hadn't given a Collin update in quite some time, so here goes:

At three and a half, Collin
is doing great! He is the most patient, steadfast, exuberant child I know. He loves art projects, socializing with friends, collecting sticks (and rocks, shells, etc.), learning, and reading the same stories over and over again. He recently completed a week's chore chart with lasting success. Each day he was charged with (1) sleeping through the night, (2) dressing himself, (3) doing something nice for Owen, (4) brushing his teeth - morning and night, (5) clearing his plate and wiping down the table, (5) either putting the silverware away or moving the laundry over. He loved the positive recognition, and I was pleasantly surprised to realize how often he did something nice for Owen or helped out around the house. It was a great "lesson" for us both!! I loved it!

Collin loves school ~ especially sign class and "show and share." This past week, the class has been studying bears, and I have enjoyed hearing each night of the new things he's learned. "Did you know bears eat wild things? Like bugs and fish and steak and spaghetti?" There's a "bear cave" set up in their classroom, complete with real branches and stumps so the kids can discover bear environments. "Polar bears live in the sea. Brown bears sometimes live in the rivers. Do you think we'll see at brown bear at Lake Padden trying to catch a fish? I'd like to see that."

Collin's main strength is perseverance, and it's manifesting itself this month as he's learning more and more who he is in our family, what his role is, what he's capable of, and where the boundaries lie. When he poses a challenge, you best be ready to hold your ground ... and I mean hold it. Because you may be in for a long battle. A simple "I don't want to brush my teeth tonight" can become an hour debacle in the bathroom. Once he sets his mind to anything, he's committed -- whether the task be learning something new, putting something together, building something, or getting his point across to another. He is a master negotiator, which can be
great fun if you're in the mood and the circumstances are right! Collin is definitely a boy who will fail 100 times, but succeed on the 101st attempt and meet great success accomplishing something no one thought possible because he kept at it. So as frustrating as it can be for those of us raising him, Collin's perseverance drives many accomplishments, immense learning, and much great discovery!

Speaking of learning, Collin learns best through personal trial and error. Case in point: For a week I felt like I was repeating myself over and over. "Collin, please go to the bathroom; it's time for bed." And every night, he'd say, "I don't want to, and I don't have to, and I don't want to try. I'm too tired." (Of course, he doesn't really mean he's sleepy tired -- 'tired' is just his new "excuse" for why he can't do things we ask). So, after the week, I realized I was taking the wrong approach. He didn't care if I said, "But Collin, if you don't, you'll wet yourself and your bed." My "expertise" in the area meant nothing to him. He needed to learn the consequence for himself. So I said, "Ok. Your choice. But know that you are also choosing to wake up in the middle of the night, soaked with pee, uncomfortable and cold, and needing fresh sheets and clothes." That night, as predicted, he came into the room shivering, having dropped his drawers in the hallway because they were soaked. Granted, I had to get up to change the bed, but he was awake and uncomfortable during the whole process. The next night, "Collin, please go to the bathroom; it's time for bed." He literally responded with: "Ok, Mom. I'll try because I don't want to be wet and uncomfortable like last night." And we haven't struggled since.

So how do I introduce trial and error in the following challenge? Santa gave the boys "Peter Pan" for Christmas, probably thinking that all boys would love its tales of pirates and Indians and flying and mischief. Good thinking. However, Santa didn't realize how much the boys would want to become and be just like Peter Pan. Collin is totally into
Peter Pan and swords and "fighting" with swords. As a result, we're constantly providing the message through that (1) not everyone wants to sword fight, (2) sword fighting is for play - be gentle, (3) if you hurt your friends - a. they may not want to be your friends and b. you lose your swords. We've banned Peter Pan for a week to see if we can curb it ... none of it is intentional - it's all in play. But EVERYTHING is a sword -- a jump rope, the vacuum cleaner attachment, a pickle, etc. Back to the trial and error ... do I give a sword to another kid and ask him to whack Collin so he'll appreciate the hurt he can transfer unwittingly? (Of course not. But I am open to any "other, real" suggestions.)

A great Collin tale went something like this after our friend Lily's 2nd birthday party this past Sunday:
Collin in the van on the way home - "I'm feeling a bit hungry. Can I have a grilled cheese when we get home?"
Me - "We could maybe have grilled cheese for dinner, but you'll have to wait until then to eat."
Collin - "But I'm hungry now!"
Me - "Owen and I ate a wonderful lunch at Lily's party before we enjoyed our cupcakes, and I'm still full. What did you eat?"
Collin - "Just a cupcake and a piece of chocolate. But I was making sure there was enough for you guys to get strong and healthy!"
** He must have got the point because he didn't ask for anything until dinner was served. : )


Collin Quotes 2.3.08

Me: Collin, it's time to settle down for quiet time.
Collin: Well, I'll try, but it's not going to be easy. : )

Sunday Collin was counting off the people we expected at our home for the SuperBowl game. Forgetting most of the parents, he'd reached #9. Then he said: "And if Katelyn pops out, then there will be 10!"

Two weeks ago, we were loading into the car in downtown Seattle (1.26.08), and Collin perched on the center console of the Jeep.
Me: Collin, you need to climb into the back and into your carseat. Let's buckle-it-up, Dude.
Collin: I will. But first I just need to be up here for a minute because I want to be close to you because I love you, Mom. (Little Manipulator!!)

Which reminds me ... Once upon a time I thought he'd dropped the "-my" of "Mommy." I'm pleased to report, I'm still "Mommy" most of the time! I'm only Mom when he's "educating" me matter of factly.

Another clarification: Once upon a time Owen went potty in the toilet and I got really excited ... for about three days. He's been full on in diapers ever since.