hump day nuggets: recover

hump day nuggets: little bits of the season in photos and (few) words about the last week

So this last week has been trying. Of my endurance, my patience, my time, my person. Andy's recovery was difficult but manageable, largely thanks to our friends and his mom's timely visit. Thank you for all of the well wishes. And then, one week in, on Monday, way too much blood and clot the size of Margot's fist were in our kitchen sink when I woke. Long story way short, all is well, after a nutty day and some emergency surgery.

And, you know, I was sad and scared and overwhelmed by all of it. But, then there was the hour in the dim, sterile recovery room with my beat up, drugged up husband where I just felt so much gratitude. So grateful for my community and this facility that swiftly fixed my man. I held his pale hand, plucked by an IV and I was grateful for our health. Big picture, this is nothing. We have a lot to look forward to.

I have been thinking a lot about recovery, how one responds to what the universe lays before them. Recovery is a regularly induced state, really. Whether one is recovering from surgery or recovering from the horse's ass who cut one off on Orange Street and caused one to spill coffee all over their person.

The importance isn't the action that pushes a person into recovery. The importance, the lesson is in how the person recovers.


:: My ma in law came over last week and we had great fun amidst all that soup and jello and soup and popsicles and soup. Dressed Margot up in her chicken costume and went to the Halloween party at the Children's Museum, ambled about the neighborhood, sat around and helped Andy heal.

:: Very last harvest. I unearthed the last of the carrots. We, of course, made soup.

:: Margot continues to impress us with her sudden toilet training and constant Alice-loving. Elmo panties help greatly (with the diaper-freeness, not the Alice adoring). Recent things she says that are funny: oh tay (ok), excellent (she doesn't get context yet but it is her longest word and she is pleased with herself when she speaks it), nice! (only when she is thoroughly impressed), good job Margot (after peeing), oh hhhaaaarrrrd (when attempting #2), where'd papa go? whah happened? (whenever Andy isn't immediately visible).

:: In one week, I am at term (37 weeks). Three weeks until my last day at work. Four weeks until the due date. I had my meeting with Dr. Weisul, the CMO at Community, last week (click here to catch up on this story). He brought the Director of Women and Infant Health with him. They were corporate and measured, as I expected. But I felt proud of my approach and presentation of my concerns. They were annoyingly repetitive with the should you need hospital care, we would welcome you with open arms and give you the best care blah blah blah. They wouldn't go into any details of Jeanne's 'pending investigation' and said it was up to her. I asked what they recommended I do and Dr. Weisul replied, I think y0u should have your baby at Community. So while they were supportive of pregnant women, I ultimately felt they were mostly supportive of pregnant women who choose their services. I left feeling cynical but hopeful because they did say they want a compromise. Jeanne received a letter from Dr. Weisul yesterday saying he would be in touch this week to get together.

I told them I was impressed by their patient-centric senior leadership vision statement proudly displayed on the wall outside of their offices. I thanked them for their time. I told them I wouldn't be patronizing their hospital or affiliated businesses on campus until this rule changed. And, I had an opportunity to prove it on Monday when Andy needed emergency services and we drove to St. Pat's even though his doc was at Community. I presented them with a moving and powerful stack of letters from Missoula women who represented the broad spectrum of labor and delivery choice--home births, Birth Center births, hospital births, with and without Jeanne, with and with midwives, emergency transfers to the hospital and so on.

The thing is this: Women who choose Jeanne Hebl as their practitioner make that choice because they want her steady, gentle, knowing and strong presence from one centimeter of cervical dilation to holding a slippery baby in their arms. To ban her from accompanying patients who need to be transferred to the only labor and delivery hospital in town is unsafe and counter-intuitive to everything we know about creating a trusting and supportive environment for a laboring woman under her care.

The next steps, should a compromise not be reached, involve grassroots activism and I'll keep updates coming. Want to get involved? E mail me at digthischick at gmail dot com.

:: I took a bath last night. It was the first 30 minutes completely to myself in over a week. And, it was pure, rejuvenating bliss. My midwife recommended it because I was having some back pain and wild, uncomfortable pressure down, like the kid wanted out all day yesterday. Not yet little nameless bean (not even close to a name decision).

See that sharp rise on the right? Baby's back.


hump day nuggets: I'm rich

hump day nuggets: little bits of the season in photos and (few) words about the last week

Well geez. I cannot believe the outpouring of love this week while my man is all dopey, and quite funny, on painkillers...child care, pots of soup, text, phone and facebook love. How did I end up so lucky and isn't it remarkable that the week I have been dreading is turning out to be one of my most favorite weeks ever. A week where I find peace in the knowledge that I am RICH in everything that really matters to me: friends, family, community. My village.

:: When I was a kid and home from school sick, my mom would make a bed on our couch, carefully tucking the cool sheets and piling layers of heavy blankets to make an irresistibly cozy place to rest. Next to me was a small table holding the Essentials for Healing: tissues, tv remote, phone and a grape juice slushie with a bendy straw. At some point I ate a brothy soup with skinny noodles.

The magic slushie is grape juice concentrate blended with ice and sometimes a splash of ginger ale.

My mom would watch movies with me and sweep my hair out of my face and kiss my forehead. Being home sick was kinda the best because of my mom. Now that I have a family it is interesting to notice which traditions I create on my own and which of my mom's I embrace and memorialize. The care of an ailing family member is one practice my mom perfected and I am proud to attempt its reproduction. And, so, this week, Andy reclines on a couch bed and sips grape slushies with a bendy straw, a table with essentials within arm's reach. And I kiss his forehead.

:: Neighborhood walks with Margot and Alice. They always seem like a good idea and most of the time are but sometimes I feel like I am unfairly tethered between a dog who wants to run and a kid who wants to count all the rocks in Missoula.

But it is those walks where I am problem-solving the whole time and getting all flustered about the inconsistent pace, that I seem to come home laughing (after swearing).

Check out those new boots! We splurged on some burly Montana boots to keep tiny toes warm when she is on her first pair of skis this winter.

Because, really, although annoying at times, I love that my daughter loves the intricacies of rocks and can count to 13 with confidence. And, I love that my dog is so curious with her world that she can't get there fast enough. And, then, I love the moments when those two worlds collide with a hug.

:: Rediscovering our library. I don't ever go and that is changing starting last Monday.

Notice that tiny bum? Yes, bug is now an undie-wearing girl most of the time.

:: I am fired up. My midwife, Jeanne Hebl, was recently, unfairly banned from Community Medical Center, the only hospital in Missoula that delivers babies. So, for me, this means that if something were to come up during my home birth and I needed additional care at a hospital, my practitioner, whom I trust, whom we chose, cannot come with me. But the issue is way bigger than me and my choices. It is about continuity of care. It is about patient-centric policy making. It is about empowering women to make the choices that are best for them and their family. And so I am meeting with the CMO later this week and my voice will be heard until this changes. I actually don't think I have ever felt so motivated to move a boulder. And I don't know if Community understands the herculean strength of a determined 8 1/2-month pregnant woman. I am intentionally being brief because this shit storm is very complicated but I promise to write more later. In the meantime, if you are a Missoulian motivated by this infringement, write a statement expressing why it is important to you to have choice in your labor and delivery support at your hospital. Email it to me at digthischick at gmail dot com by Thursday night.

:: My girl and gwawing. She asks to gwaw several times a day and the art-making station I set up for her works perfectly. It makes me a proud mama.

:: A friend organized a pre-babe getaway/baby blessing kinda thing at Jackson Hot Springs last weekend. Eight women landed in the Big Hole Valley for one full day of laughing, soaking, eating and bit more laughing. I was so present and relaxed and just wholly happy.

One of the loveliest elements was experienced over breakfast just before we were to leave. Each of these extraordinary women brought a bead. The beads will be strung onto a bracelet that I will wear when I am rocking and moaning and pushing a kid into my world next month. Each shared words, while rolling and loving the bead in their palm, before handing the object to me. They explained the layers and the colors and the history of their choice...every bead was carefully chosen for my soul and, well, I just sat there inhaling and exhaling the bright air. Those still, grounding minutes around a table in a town with a population of 35 on a Sunday morning moved me into the last weeks of my pregnancy with a positive energy that will undoubtedly hold on until we meet our girl.


hump day nuggets: ebb

hump day nuggets: little bits of the season in photos and (few) words about the last week

I had hoped for more a slow, lumbering-into-second-kid few months but, yo, Life has a different agenda. We have been really nuts over here and without going into gnarly details a lot has to do with Andy's bike accident in 8th grade and subsequent 19 years of mouth surgeries that is currently landing us with monthly surgeries to get his pearly whites and all that bone that holds it together in tip top. AND he is having his tonsils out next week. So, it'll be another few weeks of mayhem and then, *hopefully*, slow and lumbering...

So, this lady has been doing a lot of single-parenting and animal care while taking care of my man and, wow, it has rocked my energy level. But, you know, once I let go of diaper covers and books sprinkled throughout the house and the Fact that my sheets just aren't going to get changed any time soon and that annie's mac and cheese with fresh tomatoes is just perfect for dinner two nights in a row, or three, it's all just a blip. Looking back at the last week in photos for hump day nuggets helps me realize all the lovely, important and memorable activity surrounding the running-behind chaos. Oh, and I will have a mamalode piece that further delves into my current mama balance...soon. I am a fan of saying soon lately. Frees up any commitment to an actual time things will be accomplished. I think all mamas of toddlers should embrace soon whenever possible.

nuggets (mostly about bug).

:: We got an early christmas package from my mom because she is as terrible about waiting for the actual date as I am and I love that. A quilt she made for bug. And it is BEAUTIFUL. Margot thinks it is quite special and says oh blanket! when we go to bed at night. Seriously, mom. So so amazing.

:: And, speaking of quilts, chicken will have two because I am making her a quilt as well (lucky girl). In 5-15 minutes chunks of time here and there. I sew in the morning with coffee before work or when I go downstairs to get laundry, sometimes only one or two squares. But it'll get done this way to and feels so doable. I am loving it so far.

And, notice those paintings of Andy's in our studio? More on that soon too...he has an exhibit opening on November 20 at the Dana Gallery.

:: Margot had her first haircut. The baby mullet is a bit more gone than it was before (but still there a little bit). I actually adore baby mullets but Andy isn't such a fan so he was ready whenever I was. And, a few nights ago, over post-dinner, pre-bed candlelight, I grabbed scissors and cut her little whispy locks. I'm impulsive like that. And her little bob is, well, cute of course. She LOVED getting her hair cut.

:: Margot is digging the toilet and we are too. After she has a success, she stands up, lifts her hands to the sky and says looket that! Her cool undies make it even better. Especially when paired with her froggy boots. The froggy boots are the new can't-ever-take-off accessory to the sweater. She has been wearing this sweater for a year. Daily. No joke. Bug is quite dedicated to her favorite things. Elmo is still a necessity as well. As is this duck bowling pin thing. And, of course, the maraca.

:: LOTS of apple pear sauce. Again prepared and canned in small slivers of time. Small batches of five or eight pints prepared one evening and canned the next day.

:: I made this door snake to keep winter draft out. It was super easy and I wish I'd done it long ago. Just some scrap fabric (12" by 4" more than the width of the door) sewed in a tube and filled with pea gravel or whatever you might have on hand like rice or kitty litter.

:: This is what our back seat looks like on every car trip. It always makes me smile. Her little personality. Her intention.

:: Margot and Alice. They are such pals. Margot now knows how to be gentle with Alice and Alice has always been the gentlest with Margot, indulging her imagination. Margot often reads to Alice and really enjoys giving her a 'coat' (door mat) and yoga mats. Little gifts that Alice pretends to enjoy. It is a good reminder for me to be patient with my dog as she tends to be really underfoot lately. I am sure she anticipates change just as she did as we neared Margot's entrance into our world.

:: Finally, guess what bug is going to be for halloween?


and the first....

Snow! A bit early this year and the surprise was a lovely one this morning.

Sunflowers hang their heads with heavy snow bonnets.

Chickens are cuddling, boots dug out of the closet.

An extra cup of coffee and extra long time in pjs. And then tea.

Sudden need to finish up all that canning and freezing and sudden overwhelming desire to meet the 17-inch kid in my stretching midsection.

A good day to have off from work with my family.


hump day nuggets: what fall looks like

hump day nuggets: little bits of the season in photos and (few) words about the last week

Behind my midwife's office are four trees dripping with fruit. Unsprayed and beautiful. And when I inquired about the plight of the fruit she said, have at it. Oh sweet music to my ears.

A friend and I picked and picked and picked and you couldn't even tell we had been there. I got 20 pounds of plums, 35 pounds of pears and another 10 pounds of apples.

I made plum butter and it was smelling and looking so lovely and then in an instant I burned it again. I don't know what my problem is with plums but oh how dreadfully painful to throw away eight pounds of fruit and all that time I spent stirring and stirring with all that stirring. The thing with plums is that, in my experience, they tend to be quite delicate and when they feel neglected, they just give me the middle finger and go and burn. In a nice, thick crust on the bottom of my favorite pot. I don't know if my mom can get this one out....I was so mad at the plums I tossed them down the drain and then so mad at the pot that it is in time-out in our garage. And it got down to 22 degrees out there. Let it learn a lesson. hmpf.

This color combination makes me dizzy. It always sways me into thinking I like purple but then I go and paint a wall or try on an article and realize it is only split plums in a bowl in October.

But then I made more and I made jam with pectin added and the stirring only had to last about 45 minutes and while the jam is a scosh runny, it is beautiful and delish. I can split and pit a plum in four seconds y'all. And a good thing I made a boat load more jam because a certain six foot one inch man in my house has eaten eight jars of peach butter since I made it.

Also, I made these jar labels and they were super easy. Got a package of these labels and it was a snap. They're charming, no?

I plan to make pear apple sauce because my household agrees we could eat it all winter and never get tired of it. And that is the point of all of this preserving: to supply our family with local produce through these cold months. We will not get scurvy. I am sure we will buy a few bananas because bug and Andy love their bananas even though the long, mushy, pasty fruit sends me straight to the er. Yes, I am allergic to bananas. An allergy that emerged when I was in high school when they didn't make me feel good so I stopped eating them. And then my dad, who thinks bananas are nature's super food, kept trying to make me eat them before my cross country races because I wouldn't eat and he was convinced a banana would shave minutes off my time. I told him I thought I was allergic to which he said, eh (he totally denies this). So, out of sixteen-year-old spunk, I ate a banana and then ran a terrible race and went straight to the doc while vomiting all the way. Turns out I am allergic to bananas. By the way, my dad is a super nice man and this was the only time he made me eat a banana. And he felt real bad.

And new exhibits up at the museum. Margot loves it when we install new shows and I love that my girl is as comfortable surrounded my contemporary art as she is in her bed with elmo and me.

She is really freaked out/enchanted with the new Scott Fife exhibit. Big heads? she asks and then No big heads mama.

I have been making a selling shirts like crazy (Thank you!). I am slowing production a bit until I am no longer in my current full time job and instead with two children because then I will have loads of time! snicker. Right now I have stuff available locally at Blackbird Kid Shop and in my etsy shop. Soon these skull and crossbone tees will be available up to size 6T. Soonish.

And my sewing tags are cute.

Perhaps the last walk of the year in flip flops.

Because it was this cold last Sunday morning.

Lots of cookie-making around our home lately. I was just craving cookies one night at like 9pm and Andy was seriously considering going to get butter (we were out of butter) to make them for me. Very sweet but also I think he was tired of hearing me moan about it. And then, the very next day, right when he got home from his 10-hour work day, he set straight to the kitchen. Without saying a word about what he was doing. When I asked he said I'm making you cookies, babe. The Best Peanut Butter Cookies In The Galaxy. What a guy.

Downtown Missoula. Love it here.

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