Monday, June 27, 2011

6 months and all's ... well?

Yes, all is well.  About a week ago I promised a post from Sean.  Ah, promises.  Let's just say, in the immortal words of Stitch, that this week finds the Edison-Albright family "little and broken, but still good."  Ja, still good.

Let's get the broken part out of the way, first:

Sean: That awful stomach bug that started two weeks ago?  Still hanging around in abnormal and unpleasant ways.  This week added the particularly scary symptoms of shortness of breath and asthma-like bronchial spasms.  Sean went to urgent care on Thursday and got sent home with an inhaler, which seemed to make his breathing problems much, much worse.  He's got an appointment with a doctor this afternoon.  Throughout the week we canceled all our plans for the weekend except a long-standing date to go fishing with friends from the congregation, plans we kept with some worries about bathroom proximity. I'm so glad we had that afternoon/evening out ... I haven't seen Sean so happy and relaxed in months.  He gets on the water and his whole posture changes.  Yes, as the day went on he had more and more breathing problems.  And it was probably a good thing we didn't try to do more fun things this weekend.  But it was worth it for those hours in the sun, by the water, with friends.

Hank the Dog: Hank also had the time of his life on our fishing trip yesterday.  He got to ride on a boat, play with wonderful kids who love him, overcome his fear of water with joyful doggy abandon, wear a snappy new life preserver, run, play, smell new smells ... such a good day.   After dinner he engaged in a rousing game of "STICK!" (chase stick, return stick, try to get stick away from children, jump, steal stick, run with stick.)  During the "run with stick" portion of the game, Hank managed to position the stick between the ground and his soft palate with such force that the game came to a rather sudden end.  It was awful to watch--we were so close and there was nothing we could do.  He cried, he threw up.  We rushed over and he laid down between us, letting me open his mouth all the way to get a look at the damage.  While we're pretty sure he gave himself a nasty bruise, the only visible damage is a tiny, tiny scratch near the back of his palate, which was a little red but not bleeding.

As you can imagine, the experience of watching a beloved creature who depends on us completely get hurt felt rather significant, and I immediately tried to note our reactions and extrapolate to possible future events: "No, Walter. You are not allowed to run with sticks. Trust me."  I think I stayed pretty calm.  I tried to keep the tone positive and reassure our friends that we were all OK and the evening's fun could continue (although we stopped playing "STICK!" and started playing "everyone gather around Hank and pet him."  Hank appreciated the change in activities.)  Sean's reaction ... well ... I'll let him add his own thoughts/correct mine if I'm off base, but I think that when his mouth was saying "I'm just going to take another look at your mouth, puppy," he was actually communicating this: "HOLY CRAP, MY PUPPY!  MY LITTLE DOG IS HURT! CRAAAAAAAAAAAAP! TAKE ME, GOD, SPARE THE DOG!" To be fair, shortly after the accident Hank seemed to recover almost completely and took off running to explore the woods, as he does.  Sean and I watched him go.  Sean said: "It's fine.  He'll come back."  I said, "Why don't you go after him, though" and actually communicated this: "ARE YOU CRAZY?!  GO GET OUR DOG!  HE IS HURT AND UNTRUSTWORTHY AND WE ARE GOING TO LOSE HIM FOREVER!"  Sean went and retrieved the dog, who was fine and, yes, probably would have come back on his own.  Eventually.  Maybe. 

You guys, I don't know if you're aware of this, but being a parent is terrifying.

I don't know how we'll react the first time Walter takes a tumble or puts something dangerous into his mouth.  I can't imagine how we'd deal with the news my parents got about me in October, 1985: it's cancer, final stage, terminal, your daughter is going to die in less than 6 months.  All I know is that, whatever happens, we won't be alone.

As for Hank, he started acting Hank-like again right away ...a happy, social, mischievous, curious little dog. He was (and still is today) a little more mellow and cuddly than usual.  We're keeping an eye on that, just to make sure he's not brewing up a little mouth infection.  We're giving him ice water in his water bowl, (Hank says: "Thanks! That's thoughtful of you.") and also got him a "pup cup" of softserve from Dairy Queen (Hank says: "YOU ARE THE GREATEST PEOPLE IN THE UNIVERSE!  I LOVE YOU! AND ICE CREAM!")  He's not scared.  He trusts us.  He's a little wary of sticks, but certainly not as wary as he should be ... and that's good. 

Fishing: just what the doctor ordered!
Me: Compared to Sean and Hank, my brokenness is pretty unexciting.  On Monday I had the repeated and very unpleasant experience of throwing up immediately every time I took a bite of food or slightly reclined my body from the locked and upright position.  I wasn't nauseous, it was just an instant reflex.  In fact, it was reflux.  Digusting, acidy, day-and-night-ruining reflux.  I called the nurse help line the next day and she recommended Pepcid AC; small, bland meals; no fatty, spicy or acidy foods; staying upright as much as possible (especially after meals); and no food for at least an hour before bed.  "If that doesn't work," she said, "We'll have to check your gallbladder.  And you shouldn't wait for office hours, you should go to the ER."  Never have I put more faith and hope in over-the-counter medications and simple dietary changes.  And it worked.  I have repented of my pie-eating ways.  Mostly.  As long as I don't lie down for a nap right after the pie I seem to be OK.  You know how much I love a good after-pie nap, though.  No one said this was going to be easy. 

You may be wondering, "But how is Walter?"  Walter seems to be doing just fine.  He's started doing this adorable thing where he wakes up right as I'm trying to go to bed and pummels my vital organs with his feet and fists.  Honestly, even when he's taking shots at my one, solitary, incredibly-important-for-both-of-our-lives kidney, it's reassuring to feel him up and active.  This week was hard.  Regular and vigorous Scooter movements were welcome bright spots.

But they weren't the only bright spots!  We have been absolutely surrounded by love and blessings as of late.  The Fites, a clergy couple serving a congregation nearby, gave us a stroller/car seat/baby carrier system that is the coolest thing I've ever seen, along with tons of baby boy clothes, tiny shoes, pillows and carrying devices and all sorts of wonderful baby gear.  A gorgeously illustrated book of Walt Whitman's "When I heard the learned astronomer" arrived from John and Jeannie along with a much appreciated Amazon gift card.  My cousin Rachel sent several classic storybooks ... in Spanish!  Buenas Noches, Luna!  Sean's folks sent us "Christmas in June" gifts that included some particularly adorable clothes for Walt ... Sean especially loves the orange "Rock Star" hoodie combo.  Friends from near and far have checked in on us, prayed for heath and healing, given good advice and offered help in many real and tangible ways.

The most tangible help for me this week came in the form of ... a bed.  A thing of beauty: the head and feet of the bead can be raised and lowered, giving acid reflux a run for it's soggy money.  It also had several massage functions. =)  The bed is on loan from Pastor Gretchen's mom and was delivered by the Anderson clan last night, bless their aching backs!  And I slept, oh did I sleep.  I slept through the whole night for the first time since ... week 6, maybe?

In an email, Gretchen said: "You are loved ... and God answers prayers we scarcely ask."  I can't think of a better way to sum up this week, this pregnancy, this life.

All's well. =)

Me and Hank with Emma, Cooper and Maggie.  For more pictures of our wonderful day with the Behnke Family, including pics of me looking huge and ridiculously pregnant, go to our flickr album.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Celebrating Dads

Note the beverages. =)

I was at confirmation camp all week with no internet connection (you would not believe the amount of sleep I got ... it was awesome!)  Sean was home alone with Hank and some sort of terrible stomach bug (not awesome at all.)  So we're a bit behind on getting our weekly post together.  Here are some Scooter-related items to tide you over until Sean's post, promised for later this week.

First, a gift from Mom and Dad Edison-Swift (or Grandma and Grandpa, depending on your perspective):

 I love it!  Scoooooooter!

Also, I gave a sermon today that prominently featured stories of our Scooter preparations. This graphic is a teaser to pique your interest:

And finally, a family portrait:

Friday, June 10, 2011

Symptoms include ...

The Mayo Clinic Guide to Terrifying Pregnant People says to expect these things during the second trimester:

Vivid, unpleasant dreams
Check!  Although they haven't been as bad as my usual anxiety nightmares, just more life-like and frantic.  I'm usually doing something that requires a tremendous amount of energy, like directing a high school musical.  I wake up exhausted.  This morning, though, I had an incredibly vivid dream that I was eating oatmeal.  Then I woke up and ate some oatmeal for breakfast (and some for lunch, too.)  What a helpful dream!

Heartburn, baby.  Acid reflux-o-rama.  Did you know that all good foods cause heartburn?  Oatmeal seems to be a notable exception.  Milk and chocolate are both on the list of foods to avoid, but for some reason chocolate milk seems to be all good for me and Scooter.  Scooter also likes peanut butter cup blizzards, chocolate milkshakes, and cherry dipped vanilla softserve cones from Dairy Queen.  Not all at once, though.  We are trying to be healthy.

Irrational Fears
I've been really busy this week.  That's the reason I'm giving for the fact that I went a whole day without noticing any Scooter movement.  I'm sure the movement was there (in the days since, there has been tons of movement, including an adorable case of late night fetal hiccups after one of those trips to Dairy Queen.)  I just didn't notice it, and then I noticed that I hadn't noticed it, and then I panicked a little.  Sean was very calm and encouraging.  He put his mouth right next to the belly and addressed the Scooter directly: "Walter!  This is your daddy.  Knock once if you can hear me!"  We waited for about 30 seconds, and then there was one very distinct bop from inside the womb. The child is not even born yet and already the menfolk are in cahoots.

Anti-climactic revelation of baby's name
As noted above. =)  We are quite excited to meet wee Walter and have started using his name with gleeful abandon.  We've been duly warned by many experienced parents: sometimes the baby arrives and does not look at all like the name you've chosen.  We think we're safe, though, because every baby, male and female, looks like a Walter (ie, like an old man.)  We know it's not a particularly fashionable name, but we love it.  He's named only partly after Mr. Whitman (he of our last pictoral clue) and really only tangentially after WALL-E (the lovable robot).  Mostly he's named after Sean's grandpa, his mom's dad, who Sean never got to meet but who he's always loved.   We're planning on calling him "Walt," aware that we may eventually be overruled by the child himself when it comes to nickname preferences (today, for example, we learned that Hank comes very quickly like a good boy when he hears the word, "Cake.")

Attempts to regain sense of drama with the baby's middle name
So, middle name clues!  As Sean noted, it is another family name. Walt will also share this name with someone who shows up quite a lot in Christian iconography carrying a sword and showing off his receding hair line (he's depicted with a "high forehead" to indicate his great intelligence.)  No pictures this time ... the last one I posted actually had the name written in the lower right hand corner, leading Sean to note that the two of us need an upgrade to our monitors or our glasses.

Amphibious characteristics
I have taken to the water.  I spent my free time at Synod Assembly floating, treading, and jogging around the hotel pool.  I've been to two water aerobics classes at the Y and am looking forward to more.  This swimming thing seems to be nothing but good for me.  I am less dangerously clumsy in the water (still clumsy, just not as dangerous.)  I feel light.  The water seems to take some pressure off my innards, leading to better digestion, and the chlorine seems to be clearing up my awful back acne. (I make pregnancy sound so glamorous and beautiful, don't I?)  I've noticed that it seems to already be helping me get my strength and stamina back after those 3 months of near total immobility.  Water is very, very good.  

Even moar weeping
We went to a piano recital of two young members of the congregation last night.  This was the greatest beginner recital I've ever been to--the kids were all so proud, so happy, so confident and just giddy with the chance to do something they clearly enjoyed. Of course I cried.  You would too if you'd been there to hear Cooper's own arrangement of "Amazing Grace."  We got a pamphlet for the program ... it's a music appreciation curriculum that starts with infants!  We are so doing this.  Also, Baby Swim. 

Wonderful gifts
This doesn't really fit with the "terrifying pregnancy facts" theme, although it is related to the symptom described above.  Also, I am a little terrified that I will be too paralyzed by guilt to sit down and write thank you notes, because I'm already so very far behind.  There's my next vivid dream, I predict.  But oh, the wonderful gifts!  There were ladybug cards from Nancy and booties from the Andersons (who have also lent us the most gorgeous crib you've ever seen.  Their youngest son recommends we rock it by attaching a string to the crib and the other end of the string to my big toe.)  There was the blanket from Audrey you heard about before, and a classic text on "Expectant Motherhood" from Shannon (along with a note which I will always treasure.)  My parents sent us Bunnicula II--descended from the noble line of Bunnicula, my all-time favorite stuffed animal and vampire bunny series protagonist.  I got a book on child rearing from my confirmation co-teacher and an adorable bunny figurine from a member of the women's study group.  And today ... today a box arrived from Texas.

The box came from Arwen.  Like the box from Audrey, you could tell right away that it was good because it was covered with stickers. Inside was something truly wonderful indeed. 
A homemade, hand-crafted fraggle!

Arwen remembered that fraggles played a significant role in the early wooing days of Scooter's parents, and she remembered fondly the enthusiasm she and I shared for Fraggle Rock during our time as teachers together. When we started this blog four years ago, Arwen decided to make us (and Baby Edison-Albright) a fraggle.  We've named him Groovy Fraggle and we LOVE him.  But there's more!  Other handmade items in the box: a doozer (we named him Biscuit,) a radish, a cupcake, and a hat for Sean to wear for comedic effect in the delivery room (you can see the hat in the picture, too.)

Little Walt, you are so loved by so many amazing people. Friends and family  from all over have been preparing for years for your arrival.  If you feel the love, knock once. [Bop!]

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Clue number two

First, a hint about yesterday's hint : yesterday's date was an important one for the old fellow, as well. (The Scooter has been leaping in the womb lately, but the clue is not Visitation related, although we appreciated the synchronicity.)

And since I'm in such a good mood... another clue: both of little Scooter's names (first and middle) are family names.