Sunday, November 30, 2008


So Geoff and I are *so* religious that we attend three churches. Okay, maybe it has less to do with our profound faith and more to do with our inability to make a decision. In any case, we occasionally attend at the church Geoff grew up in (in Winnipeg), the church I grew up in (in Niverville), and a church we've discovered together and really like (in Winnipeg).

This morning, Briony made her first appearance at Geoff's church in Winnipeg and met many, many adoring fans there. The odd thing? Lots of people asked if she was a boy or a girl... And she was wearing head-to-toe PINK. Um, what?!

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You know those life moments that just fill you right up from the top of your head to the tips of your toes with joy? That's what last night was for me. Few things make me as happy as a house full of friends, and the sound of laughter and conversation swirling around all the rooms of my home.

Yesterday, Geoff and I hosted our annual Pilgrim Potluck. It began many years ago when Emily and I made American Thanksgiving dinner as an experiment when we lived together (she has US citizenship). Over the years, it has grown and evolved into a big annual Pilgrim Potluck with friends. Last night, ten of us feasted on a HUGE turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, green bean casserole, sweet potato casserole, hot apple cider, and caramel pumpkin cake. The food was all incredible, and we ate a lot of it. Then we sat around the living room telling stories and catching up until everyone was ready to go home for a deep, turkey-induced sleep.

It was good to be back in the 'real world' again. I even managed to straighten my hair and put on a little bit of makeup. It made me happy to see that I can still hang out with my friends and do normal things with a baby in tow.

The best part (other than the people)? Leftover turkey wraps with cranberry mayonnaise for lunch today, and turkey noodle soup simmering on the stove. (Don't be too impressed by all this turkey talk. I can't take credit for the most domestic parts of the turkey preparation and soup-making, I owe it all to Marilyn.)

PS - I got sucked in by the Superstore commercials and tried out their butter-basted turkey for yesterday's feast. The outside got crunchy, but the inside stayed nice and juicy. Awesome. Go get one for Christmas.

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Friday, November 28, 2008

Good Intentions

I'm finding that I really enjoy being a mom. And I know I'll enjoy it even more once I have my health back. But even on the very hardest days, there is nothing that can't be fixed by cuddling your baby and having her look up into your eyes or grab onto your finger. I know that I'm in trouble once she starts with the smiling and cooing.

Truth? It's been an incredibly difficult two weeks. I knew that I'd need to heal from labour and delivery just like everyone else - and experience sleep deprivation just like everyone else - but I had a few extra challenges thrown in. My arthritis flare-up last week made it almost impossible to pick up my baby, and many tears were shed over that development. I was so grateful that Geoff was home because he was able to bring her to me and I could cuddle with her propped up on pillows beside me.

This week has definitely been better. But it brought its own challenges... Here's the 'too much information' part of my update :)

Because of the mastitis I mentioned earlier and a few additional complications, I had to stop breastfeeding last weekend. Instead, I've been pumping and then bottle feeding - which is a lovely idea, but it's been exhausting. It takes twice as long as either breastfeeding or simply giving her formula, and while I know it's been the right decision, it hasn't helped my sleep situation - and, therefore, my health - at all. I think it's also delaying my recovery from the infection itself, because I'm running myself ragged. I promised myself that I wouldn't make any big decisions for me, they would always be all about my baby - but it's looking like my body might be making this 'selfish' decision on my behalf. The milk I'm able to pump has been diminishing over the past day or two, and we've been forced to start supplementing with formula. And I'm nowhere near healed enough to give breastfeeding another shot right now. I think this may be the beginning of the end. I know that there is absolutely nothing wrong with giving your baby formula, and I've sacrificed so much to make sure that she's receiving as many breastfeeding benefits as she possibly can - it's just something that I'm grieving right now. So many tears have fallen over this one... My mom and Geoff have handled the majority of those tears, and I'm so happy that I have their love and support and understanding. I know it's not true, but it's really hard not to feel like I've failed in a fundamental job that I had to do as a mom. Hormone-driven lies, I know. But that's where I'm at this week.

Well, I'm off to try to sneak in a quick nap. I prayed that I'd have a cuddly baby, and I do... In fact, her favourite time to cuddle is at night - and I was only able to put her down for about three hours total last night. There's a reason why God makes babies so ridiculously cute, otherwise I think that mothers would probably be tempted to eat their young :)

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I Get By (With A Little Help From My Friends)

Wow, things have been quiet on the blog front lately, haven't they? I make no apologies. My priorities have necessarily been shifted elsewhere - to one very adorable almost two-week-old baby girl. But I thought I'd quickly try to catch you all up, and document some of the things that have been going on in our little world this week.

Our little family has been so blessed. I'm amazed at the number of people who are praying for us and supporting us - and helping in such tangible ways, by coming over to help out or drop off food to fill up our freezer. We appreciate it so much.

We also appreciated this week's visit from Geoff's mom, Marilyn. She arrived on Monday and she's staying for a week - even volunteering to take two night shifts this past week so that I could catch a couple of extra hours of rest. Amazing. We'll be sad to see her go, and I know it will be hard for her to leave Briony. Forunately, our tickets are booked for our next visit in late February (mark your calendars, Rob & Vicky and Jason & Amy...).

In the last couple of days, I've finally managed to schedule in a few visits from friends, which has been awesome. Marilyn, Briony, and I even went shopping for a few hours yesterday. We are very slowly discovering what life with a baby will look like, after we emerge from this newborn cocoon. And I'm pretty happy about it :)

Thanks to Amber for capturing this camera-shy shot of my beautiful baby (and choosing an angle where you can't tell that her mommy is sans make-up).

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Friday, November 21, 2008

Life With Baby

So tonight marks a week since I went into labour - the fastest week of my life, no question.

In so many ways, Briony is still a stranger to us. In so many other ways, I can recognize the baby I got to know as I carried her for nine (TEN!) months - the way her hands are always up to her face like in her ultrasound pictures, her incredibly strong kicks, and her active-at-night schedule. We're getting to know each other. And I have to say, I love her so much more than I ever imagined possible.

It helps that she's *so* ridiculously cute :)

It's definitely New Mom Central over here, and it's been a bumpy ride. I have a laundry list of things I need to heal from after the labour and delivery we had, plus all the regular new mom stuff, plus I'm experiencing a definite flare-up of arthritis symptoms. And, um, have I mentioned a double case of mastitis? Yeah. Too much information? Whatever. The public health nurse has *ordered* me to find a walk-in clinic tomorrow morning. Because that's so easy to do with a newborn. Sigh.

If you think of our little family, please send a prayer our way. We're loving being parents, but I'm finding it very difficult to deal with the intense disappointment of a flare-up and so many complications that are making it hard to take care of myself - never mind a new baby who needs me. Thank god for Geoff, who's been amazing and helping out SO much. It helps to know that it can only get easier.

My mom took this picture the other day. I was feeding Briony, and for some reason she decided to wrap her feet around my arm... It was the most adorable thing ever.


Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Birth Story

This is something that I needed to write for me. I wasn't sure how much to post, but I'm going to share it all... It's one of those things that I'm not really ready to talk about yet, but I know that people need to know.

It helped me so much to just get this down on paper, and to give myself some time to actually process the experience (lots and lots of Kleenex involved). So, thank you :)


I wanted to be sure to capture my memories of Briony's birth, but the truth is that it's going to take some time to sort through all the details. It was one of those deliveries that defied a neat little birth plan (so it's a good thing we didn't have one!) and just kind of goes to show that you can't really count on anything.

Briony was starting to be pretty overdue... My estimated date of delivery was November 3, but nothing was really happening. We chose to just let her be and not intervene until I agreed to a membrane sweep at my appointment on November 13. After that, I felt gross, but I still couldn't quite manage to cross over the line that would take me from feeling gross to feeling undeniable active labour.

We'd decided with our obstetrician to induce on Saturday morning if nothing happened by then on its own. It was a hard decision, because I'd really hoped to avoid the whole induction scenario and wanted to respect our baby and the natural process of pregnancy, but I knew it was time because my own health was suffering. I had a fetal assessment on Friday morning, and everything looked good with the baby - she was strong enough to go ahead with our induction plan, and the doctors hoped that we'd need very little intervention to get things going because labour had seemed imminent for so long.

Apparently, we had many people praying that we'd be able to avoid the induction, because by 04.30 on Saturday I was having strong, consistent contractions around 7 or 8 minutes apart. By 08.30, we were at the hospital, and the adventure began. My labour was progressing steadily but slowly, and we spent many, many hours pacing the halls of the hospital - starting around 4 cm, having my water break around noon, and gradually working up to around 7 cm by midafternoon. I was moved to my LDRP room around 4 pm, and by then - 12 hours into active labour and stuck in the middle of a very slow transition stage - I was no longer able to deal with the pain of the building contractions. I'd been hoping to avoid drugs, but kept it open as a possibility, and by early evening we'd made the call for an epidural after I'd tried some lesser pain management options and determined that - even at those very small 'test' levels - I hated that I was feeling groggy, like I was observing instead of participating. I'd developed a fever and was shaking so badly that I kept on biting my tongue. The nurses tried to start an IV, but blew three veins in my arms while they tried - and eventually, it was started by the anesthesiologist.

The epidural deserves a new paragraph, because it was amazing. I was so determined to make the experience of labour and delivery a positive one, and I'd held on to that for so long on my own - the drugs let me relax and be present in the experience again, which made me really happy. Until they stopped working. We waited for over an hour for the anesthesiologist to come back and assess the situation. In the end, he needed to remove the existing epidural and start a new one, which made me happy again.

At this point, another 'birth plan' item flew out the window as they determined they'd need to start a very low-dose oxytocin drip to speed up the contractions. I was making negligible progress, dilating less than half as fast as I should have been, and my contractions were actually getting farther apart instead of closer together. The oxytocin did its job and I starting making forward progress again - with the stronger, more painful contractions that the drug brings on masked by my new epidural. Which was all good until the second epidural stopped working.

So there we were, more than 24 hours into active labour - EXHAUSTED - and starting to feel more pain than I was equipped to deal with, but so far along that I really didn't have any options left. The nurses did what they could to provide some 'top up' relief, but I never got my pain control back - and it was almost time to push.

Around 05.30 on Sunday morning, it was time to have a baby. Our nurse guided me through my first contraction where I started to push - and I could hear something change on the fetal monitor. The nurse turned down the volume on the fetal monitor. The next contraction came and I pushed again while I watched both her face and Geoff's change into something very scary as they kept their eyes locked on the display that was hidden to me. Then she turned to me and confirmed that the baby's heartrate was dropping substantially every time I pushed, and she'd need to get the doctor in ASAP to determine our next steps. I was given strict instructions not to push and not to panic, and I waited - breathing through contractions that fighting against every natural urge in my body that told me I needed to push - while the room slowly began to fill up with nurses, doctors, and the whispered sounds of urgent conversation. I caught the attention of our nurse, who'd been so funny and friendly and chatty with me all night, and I asked her to please lie to me and tell me that this situation was not a big deal, that they were just being ridiculously careful. She looked at me and said, "Lindsay, I can't do that, because this IS a big deal." She explained that the doctor was making arrangements to have back-ups plans in place - I'd be pushing with everything set up to switch over to a forceps or vaccuum delivery or a c-section at a moment's notice, and that the people setting up in the corner were a special NICU team with everything they needed to give the baby emergency help the moment she was born.

By just after 06.00, everyone was in place and the doctor was ready to go. He explained that they weren't sure exactly what they were dealing with, but that everyone's number one priority was to get the baby out as quickly as they possibly could to make sure that she was safe. He explained that he'd be as low-intervention as possible, but he apologized in advance that things could change at any moment - and I gave him my blessing to do absolutely anything he had to do in order to keep my baby safe. And with all his wisdom and experience guiding the process - and some incredible support from Geoff and the nurses in the room - that's exactly what we did.

Briony Evangeline was born at 06.40 on Sunday, November 16. It was the very best and the very worst moment of my life, because as I felt my daughter entering the world, I could see on everyone's faces that something was wrong. They pulled her out and put her on my chest for a moment while they cut the cord. She had a purple head and the rest of her was chalky white. She was facing away from me, and she wasn't moving at all. Before I could form a coherent thought, she'd been moved to the cart and the NICU team was blocking my view of her completely while they worked on her. The only glimpse of her I had was as they were inserting a giant tube down her throat, through lips that were the scariest colour I could imagine. I don't think that I breathed until she did. It took another couple of minutes before those horrible gurgling, gasping noises turned into her first cry. One of the nurses came and showed her to me for a moment before they took her to the NICU for observation.

The doctor finished with me, including repair work on the episiotomy that he apologized for a hundred times. He wouldn't tell me how many stitches, just that he'd needed to stitch up three layers. All I know is that it took him a very, very long time - and I'm sure as heck feeling it now, but I don't care one little bit because I know that it provided us with the precious seconds or minutes that might have saved Briony's life. Those minutes each lasted an eternity while we waited for news that our baby was okay.

Once Briony was settled into her observation bed - almost an hour after she was born - the doctor came to tell us that things were looking good, and offered to take Geoff to go and see her. There, the doctors and nurses explained that she was stable - and that she was going to be absolutely okay, they were just keeping her a little longer to be extra-careful. He took along the camera and came back with pictures and videos so that I could see our baby girl. It broke my heart into a million tiny pieces to be watching Briony on a tiny screen instead of holding her in my arms.

Less than two hours after she was born, she was back in my room and absolutely perfect - almost as if we'd imagined the entire nightmare that had unfolded there just hours before.

Briony is alert and healthy and strong and beautiful. In the moments when she fusses and cries (and that girl has an impressive set of lungs...), I can honestly say that I don't care at all. I waited too long to hear that cry. Her dramatic entry into the world made me a mom faster than I imagined possible. I am more tired than I can describe, and my body has been through the ringer - between the 'normal' tolls of delivering a baby, the aftermath of the complications, and my arthritis (which is understandably flared up, given the stress I've experienced). But I am so happy. And I'd do it for her again in a heartbeat.

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Tuesday, November 18, 2008

At Home

Our family is at home now. What a strange, wonderful, scary, exciting, terrifying, happy feeling. I'll post lots more information about the last couple of days soon... Lots of surprises - some good, some bad - including that fact that Miss Briony did *not* end up being induced and chose to come out on her own (an amazing answer to prayer) and the weird little coincidence that Briony has the closest thing possible to a twin (my cousin Sara and Dan's little Eva Elizabeth was born just down the hall, an hour and ten minutes after Briony, and delivered by the same doctor).

We love her. She's pretty amazing. But I have the rest of her life to gush about it :)

Psst! Just uploaded a few photos to Facebook. View them here.


Sunday, November 16, 2008

She's Here!

Geoff and I are so very excited to announce the safe arrival of our beautiful baby girl.

Briony Evangeline Wright was born at 6:40 AM on November 16. She weighs 8 pounds and is 21.5 inches long. What else can I tell you? She's absolutely perfect, and we are in love with her.

We chose Briony simply because we love the name, and to honour Geoff's family by choosing a name with British origin. (Again, it's BRY-oh-nee, with an emphasis on the first syllable - which rhymes with 'fry,' not 'brie' like the cheese. Easy, right? hehe)

Evangeline means 'good news' - and it's the perfect name for her because finding out that we were expecting Briony was the most amazing happy news on a very tough day, when we found out about my mom's cancer. She was our good news, and gave us all a reason to smile and to know that we were safe in God's hands. This pregnancy has been a journey full of blessings and answered prayers. And we're only just beginning...

We'd appreciate keeping any hospital visits to immediate family only (if you're not sure if you fall into that category or not, please get in touch with my parents - or call my cell - and check). Once we're home, we'd love to introduce you to Briony, but *please* call or email to pre-arrange a good time. We'd like to attempt a balance between sharing our joy - and our beautiful girl - with everyone we know and taking the time we need to become a family together (and letting mommy recover well). Thanks so much for understanding :)


Friday, November 14, 2008

Plus Eleven

Wow. What a stubborn little girl!

After a rough night of inconsistent contractions that kept me awake and miserable, Geoff and I managed to get some sleep before we had to leave for my fetal assessment appointment. No contractions today, just lots and lots of general ickiness. We spent the morning at St B where they basically confirmed that Briony's doing really, really well in there - perfect heart rate, perfect movement, perfect fluid measurements, perfect vital signs (and the ultrasound tech was kind enough to confirm once again that we are definitely having a girl). The highlight - by far - was our observation of a couple checking into Labour & Delivery. They were very young and she was very obviously in active labour, and her boyfriend seriously looked like he was going to cry and then puke. Geoff and I barely made it around the corner before we collapsed in fits of laughter, trying to imitate the poor kid's face.

I'm *so* happy that she's doing so great. But it makes me feel a little bit selfish for going ahead with the induction this weekend, because I know it's a little bit more for me than for her. My body is done being pregnant. The arthritis symptoms are getting really difficult for me - and the longer I wait, the higher the risk I run of needing to have a c-section or being too flared-up to take care of her oncce she's born.

So everything's a go to meet our baby girl sometime this weekend. We're just waiting for the call later tonight or sometime tomorrow with a date and time - and Geoff is busy on the phone trying to find a replacement for his scheduled shift at work and sound tech duties at church this weekend (a quick prayer about that would be appreciated, because he's having a heck of a time finding someone to help out from church). I feel totally full of nervous anticipation and excitement... What a scary, wonderful thing :)

And speaking of scary and wonderful, Geoff and I managed to catch the Quantum of Solace matinee this afternoon. What a great movie! A nice birthday treat for him, and a final pre-parenthood movie date for us.

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Happy Birthday to Geoff

Can you believe that, in the middle of all of this, we are also lucky enough to celebrate my husband's birthday? I'll admit that it will be a somewhat subdued celebration... But maybe that's all a now-34-year-old can handle anyway (hehe).

I'm pretty sure that this is the one day of the year when I truly have an open license to brag about my boy, and I intend to. Geoff is an incredible human being. I think that the very first thing that attracted me to him was the way that he cares about people, and the way that he takes care of the people in his life with a selfless generosity that I had previously believed to be an absolutely lost art. In becoming his friend, then his girlfriend, then his fiancee, then his wife - and now his baby mama - I've been lucky enough to be one of those people on the receiving end of his caring and his generosity. And quite simply, that makes me the luckiest girl in the world.

Life has (obviously) been a bit of a roller coaster ride in the 28 months since our first date. But I am totally in love with this life that we've built together, and I am so excited to take this next step in creating a family with this man who I love so much. I can't imagine doing this with anyone else.

Happy Birthday, Babe. Wishing you a year full of laughter and blessings and even more happy memories that we create together.


Thursday, November 13, 2008

One Year Ago

Can't help but comment that - one year ago today - we were en route from Montreal to Winnipeg, the last leg of our journey home from our honeymoon. The Boy and I spent an amazing two weeks together in Athens, a cruise of several Greek islands and Turkey, and then a few days in London.

Kind of hard to believe that it's been a year... We've been reminiscing over the last week or two, and it's impossible to pick a favourite moment, but there were a few top contenders:
- Doing a 10K together in Athens for Joints in Motion
- Our amazing 'date night' when we arrived in Athens
- Laughing at all the wild cats
- Exploring the ruins of ancient Ephesus in Turkey
- Riding donkeys in Santorini
- Heck, everything about being in Santorini
- Visiting family just outside of London
- Dinner and then seeing Mary Poppins in London's theatre district

We arrived home sick, exhausted, and happy. It was an amazing trip, and a fun start to our new life together.

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Maybe Baby

I felt good today until around lunchtime, when my nerves started to kick in. I'm not sure why these 'overdue' appointments have become so stressful for me, but they have. Fortunately, I'd thought ahead and planned to leave early - early enough to pick up some Starbucks and go spend a half-hour with Anja, whose office is just two blocks from my obstetrician's office. It was so nice to see her... It took my mind off my appointment completely.

When I got to the obstetrician's office, she could see me right away - so I had no time to get nervous again at all. And the second she walked in, I felt relaxed again. She is such a good doctor, and I realized right away that half of my stress from the last couple of weeks would have been eliminated just by seeing her instead of the other doctors I had to have appointments with in her absence. She's so great at answering questions, respecting what we want, and explaining what's going on and what our options are.

She did a quick internal exam and confirmed that I'm still totally effaced and she thinks I'm probably close to 4 cm dilated. She did a 'really good' membrane sweep, which was not as bad as I'd feared at all. It was really no big deal (whew!). So we're hoping that might work and put me into labour later tonight... If nothing happens, we're booked for a fetal assessment at St B tomorrow at 10.30. If everything checks out then (and she's confident that it will), Geoff and I will go home and - if labour still hasn't started on its own - I'll be getting a call with an induction time for Saturday. She warned me that St B is very busy, so if there are no beds available, there's a chance they could bump me from Saturday to Sunday. But regardless, we should have a baby by the end of this weekend. Yay!

I'm feeling calmer about the induction, too. She explained that because I'm effaced already, the cervical gel would be unnecessary. Instead, they'll induce with an IV drip - which I was a little uncomfortable with, but she let me know that they'll be starting me on the very lowest possible dose. Because I'm so far along on my own, she doesn't think it will take much to get things going... She actually laughed and said that this might be the gentlest induction they've ever done, because there's really no reason at all that I haven't gone into labour on my own sometime in the last couple of weeks. My body is totally ready for this, it might just need a tiny bit of help.

I experienced a few extra little blessings today too. I looked outside this morning, and my car was covered in ice and snow - but by the time I needed to leave, it had all totally melted away. And when I got downtown, I spent about four seconds looking for a parking spot before the *perfect* one opened up right in front of me. These sound like such small things, but they felt like little hugs from God :)

So it's a matter of 'hurry up and wait' again (or still). So far, I'm feeling okay since the sweep - just kind of crampy with some lower back pain.

If there's no baby by tomorrow, the silver lining is that I'll get to spend Geoff's birthday with him - we're talking about going for lunch and catching a matinee of Quantum of Solace. And that's not such a bad consolation prize :)

PS - Radiation went awesome today for my mom. She sounded so good when I talked to her this evening and we compared notes on the day's medical adventures - and even better when she heard the news that she'd be a grandma again so very soon.

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Plus Ten

No baby yet, so it looks like I'm off to see my obstetrician this afternoon. It's a little annoying how many of these 'just in case' appointments I've made it to so far... The plan (as far as I know) is to do a membrane sweep today, and book a date for induction if the sweep doesn't do anything - which could be as early as tomorrow morning or as late as sometime early next week.

I'm feeling calm about my appointment and a little anxious about my mom starting radiation today. Which is funny, because I talked to her last night and she's feeling calm about starting radiation today and a little anxious about my appointment :)

PS - Turns out God hasn't completely forgotten about me... Lenny Kravitz had to cancel the end of his Canadian tour because of his ongoing throat/voice issues. But he made it to Winnipeg before that happened... YAY for me!

UPDATE: 13.00
Okay, scratch that. I'm feeling anxious about *both* things now. But I'm heading out soon so that I have time to pick up Starbucks and squeeze in a quick visit with Anja before my appointment, which should help. Anja always helps... And it's amazing how much good can come from a perfectly-made caramel macchiato.

UPDATE: 17.05
Okay, scratch that. I had an eggnog latte instead, my first of the year, and it was amazing. Appointment update coming soon, after I take a quick catnap (nothing big and crazy going on, so you'll be fine til then, I promise).

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Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Testing the Trust Thing

So it seems that my newly discovered state of trust-induced zen is being taken for a test drive. My mom got the call this morning that she'll be starting radiation tomorrow afternoon. Nothing like advance warning to prepare yourself, hey? As incredibly selfish as it sounds, my immediate reaction was to throw a little internal hissy fit in God's general direction. I was *supposed* to have my baby before this happened. And I was very clear about that expectation of mine...

In so many ways, it's great news that she's starting so soon. It means that there's a chance she'll be done by Christmas - and that would be incredible. I can't even imagine the Christmas celebration my family has in store this year, with my mom's cancer journey nearing its close, and TWO new baby girls to enjoy.

For today, I need to trust that my mom is going to be one of those people who sails through the first couple of weeks of radiation appointments with no side effects at all. I need to trust this because - with a baby on the way and my arthritis refusing to go away - I am going to need my mom. I know that other people can help, but it's not the same. The silver lining is that my mom is going to be at HSC for radiation every single day for the next five to six weeks, which is only ten minutes away from our house. So as long as she's not experiencing any major side effects, she'll be very close by and able to stop in and help.

Please pray for my family tomorrow. I'm feeling a little bit nervous about my appointment with my obstetrician in the afternoon (my last one!), and my mom's first radiation treatment will be happening almost simultaneously.

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Recipes for a Snowy Day

This one's for Jobina...

Baked Potato Soup

6 medium potatoes
1 carton chicken broth
2 cups milk
6 slices chopped, cooked bacon (or substitute ham)
1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
4 green onions, chopped

Chop potatoes into small pieces, leaving the peel on. Add to cooking pot with chicken broth, milk, bacon, and onions. Bring to a boil, then simmer until potatoes are soft. Mash potatoes lightly. Add seasoning to taste (I've used a little bit of onion soup mix, garlic powder, and pepper). Stir in cheese, and let simmer until ready to serve (it's yummier if you leave it for a while).

Serve plain, or top with some extra bacon, cheese, and onions and a bit of sour cream.


And this one's just because I'm feeling generous today as I feast on a particularly delicious pumpkin muffin that I made the other night :)

Pumpkin Muffins

3 cups flour
1 can pumpkin pie filling (NOT plain canned pumpkin)
4 eggs
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 cups brown sugar
1 cup margarine
2 tsp baking powder

Mix all dry ingredients together in a bowl. Cut in margarine. Add pumpkin and eggs, and stir until blended. Pour into greased or paper-lined muffin tins. Bake at 375 for 18-20 minutes. Makes 24 muffins.

These muffins are great on their own, but they're also great with pecans or cream cheese icing on top (or both!).

This muffin recipe *easily* becomes a recipe for two pumpkin loaves - just pour into greased loaf pans instead of muffin tins, and bake at 350 for 45-55 minutes.

And if you're feeling ambitious, these already yummy muffins become even more delicious if you combine one package of light cream cheese, 2 tbsp sugar, and 4 egg whites. Spoon half the batter into muffin tins or loaf pans, then drop some of the cream cheese mixture over top. Cover with remaining pumpkin batter, and bake as usual (be careful to check that it's baked all the way through - for some reason, the loaves seem to take a few minutes longer with the filling inside).


Plus Nine

Calm down, kids. No baby yet :)


Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Plus Eight

I think I've been doing a pretty good job of staying relaxed and trying to take things as they come (or don't come) over the last couple of days. But today was a milestone in our little family. It was the day that Geoff went back to work.

I kind of just took for granted that we'd have a baby by now, so I wasn't really worrying about it - because as soon as I go into labour, Geoff will have some time off. But all along, I've been nervous about going into labour while he's at work. Because of his work, it's critical that the ward is adequately staffed at all times, no exceptions. And so far this month, there have been a couple of days when they've found themselves with a skeleton staff. What that could potentially mean for us is that Geoff would not be able to leave work when I need him to - until a replacement can be found, or until the end of his twelve-hour shift. Now you begin to see the source of my stress... We're a team. We're a really good team. And the idea of doing any part of this on my own is not really okay with me.

For the rest of this week, Geoff is working a twelve-hour shift every day. Which means that, if I go into labour and include travel time in my calculation, there's better than a 50/50 chance that he'll be away from home when that happens. If he's not, then he's getting some much-needed sleep in between shifts. Not really what we'd hoped for and planned on. The only real 'out' is if I don't go into labour... Which means that at my Thursday appointment (that I'll need to go to on my own), we'll make induction decisions - which isn't really the delivery I'd hoped for either.

Can you tell that I've been over-thinking all of this? I slept kind of pathetically last night. I was up tossing and turning for most of the night (as much as a very pregnant lady can toss and turn - it's not pretty). Then sometime around 5 am, I had a moment. In that moment, I realized that this situation with our baby is entirely outside of my control. I can worry about how this week is going to play out, but it doesn't change a single thing. So I could worry... Or I could let it go.

I'm choosing to let it go. And as soon as I spoke those words out loud, I slept like a baby. It sounds so simple, but it feels pretty profound. God has blessed us with this baby, and he has known my baby girl's birthday since before even I was born. And that's the day when she'll get here and officially join our little family.

But I kind of wish that day had been yesterday... :)


A few random thoughts...

I need to stay out of the kitchen. We have one of those fancy stoves with a touchpad on the front of it, and a microwave over top. Every time I use the stove - or the microwave - my belly hits the touchpad and turns the oven on. Seriously. I hear that beep so many times a day.

I'm seriously down to one pair of jeans and maybe three tops that I can wear in public. I have outgrown everything else. So anyone who sees me at home is absolutely guaranteed to see me in sweats rolled down under my belly, and a shirt that's covering about 2/3 of what it's supposed to be (and these are maternity shirts). I cannot believe how low a belly can drop.

It's *almost* starting to be fun to have strangers ask when I'm due. 'Eight days ago.' You should see their faces...

It's not like there's nothing going on here. It's just not anything significant. I've been having lots of 'pre-labour' symptoms and contractions for days and days, they're just not consistant or regular at all. For some reason, I'm just missing that trigger that will turn all this weirdness with my body into actual labour. It's the strangest process.

I got out of bed this morning to go answer the door... For a bunch of Jehovah's Witnesses who really wanted to convert me. I managed to be polite, but that is *not* how I would choose to start my day.

Apparently, my Baby Ticker on the side of my blog has given up on us. Not only is it counting up again... There's no baby in there anymore!


Monday, November 10, 2008


The Telegraph published two articles over the weekend that made me smile (thanks for sending them my way, Geoff!):
A Collection of Barackisms
50 Facts You Might Not Know

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Plus Seven

I think that the mornings are the hardest.

In that first moment - just before I open my eyes - I have one of those Christmas moments. You know the ones where you know that something wonderful is about to happen, something that you've been looking forward to. You start going through the typical list (is it Christmas? is it my birthday? are we going on a trip? did something awesome happen at work? do I have an incredible new pair of shoes to wear today?) It takes a split second before it registers, before I remember: we're having a baby!

It's that next second that hurts my heart a little bit - the second where I realize that I've slept through another night without going into labour, and that I'm starting another day with my arms empty.

It's usually around that time that Briony realizes I'm awake and starts into her first gymnastics routine of the morning, and it's hard to stay sad once that happens. Instead, I lie there and enjoy the time we're spending together - and start to plan my day that had previously had 'give birth to baby girl' pencilled in as a priority activity.

Today, Geoff and I are going shopping to fill an Operation Christmas Child shoebox. And my mom is coming for lunch.

And tomorrow is another day, another chance.


Monday Secret

PS - This is my 1,000th blog post at RunLindsayRun (I had a different blog for a couple of years before, now shut down and forever floating around cyberspace). Crazy, hey? I thought about writing something profound because it feels like a milestone... But that's not really the kind of blog that I write. I kind of love that this is the post that ended up being my 1,000th.


Sunday, November 09, 2008

Plus Six

Yeah, we're still pregnant over here. It's November 9, and the last time I checked, Geoff and I were the proud parents of exactly zero babies. I'm still feeling mostly 'up' today. An extra week (or longer) is barely a blip when you think about the scope of our daughter's lifetime.

Nothing exciting to report. I'm still feeling lots of pressure and tightening, but it's just not turning into 'real' contractions. She's still moving around lots, so I know that she's okay - but with her head so low, those wiggles are getting very uncomfortable.

Today, Geoff and I went to church and then met up with Emily and Paul for lunch. We spent some time walking around The Forks this afternoon with no real agenda. It was a good day. I'm so blessed to have a husband who loves me, even in this cartoonish and emotional state.

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Saturday, November 08, 2008

Plus Five

I'm feeling more like myself again today... I don't know why I keep on getting caught off guard my these 'off' days. More often than not, as soon as I've (a) had a nap, and (b) had something to eat, Lindsay starts to peek through again.

And let me say, I am the world's biggest advocate for prenatal yoga. I've been having so much discomfort in my back and my hips this week, but I spent an hour this morning and three hours yesterday doing yoga and concentrating on poses that I knew would focus the stretching on those areas. That, combined with the forced relaxation and breathing, must have done the trick because I feel *so* much better.

I'm hanging in there, and I had a *much* better sleep last night. Briony's still kicking and wiggling away in there, so I know she's okay. I spent some time on the phone with Kari-Ann this morning, who is always my very best reality check (it helps that she went almost two and half weeks overdue with Scarlett this past spring). I just keep on thinking how very, very blessed we are that we're able to have a child and that I'm able to be pregnant at all - it just seems so ridiculous to complain about being pregnant for an extra week when there are women I know and love who would give anything for this experience.

I really want to be outside and walking around, but it's snowy and slippery here - so Geoff and I are off to walk the mall again. I'm already counting down to my Starbucks fix :)


Friday, November 07, 2008

More Medical Frustration

Okay... Trying not to freak out... But I just got a call from my doctor to let me know that the fetal assessment clinic is totally booked up until November 17 - so no assessment for Briony and I, because she'll be born by then. Of course, I asked about a cancellation list and about the possibility of getting checked at a different hospital, but neither idea is an option.

It feels a little scary to be missing out on this routine check for overdue babies, and to just trust that everything's okay in there. This whole pregnancy has been an exercise in trust - something that does *not* come naturally for me. It's not really comforting to be told to just call or head for the hospital if anything changes or seems off, because I don't want to take chances with my baby.

Hopefully, she'll be born by next week, which would make my current meltdown irrelevant...


Plus Four

I've been up and wide awake for almost an hour already, and feeling kind of strange. Not in a bad way. Just different. I feel less uncomfortable than I have been so far this week, and a little more energetic - plus my brain is working a thousand miles an hour. Briony is still moving more than the books say she should be to indicate that she's happy and healthy, but a little less than usual for her. And I had no contractions at all yesterday that I could feel - not even after my appointment - even though I could tell my stomach was tightening.

No clue if all of this means that I'm not making any more progress right now, or if my body is gearing up for something big that is coming...? Time will tell. In the meantime, I've spent a lot of time since our appointment yesterday with my hands on my belly, feeling all of her little kicks and wiggles. I know that - no matter what - our time like this is almost over.

Geoff has been off since Monday night, but he's working a day shift today (and then off again until Tuesday). And I'm planning to stay put. The snow is so pretty, but I'm a Manitoban and I won't be fooled - I know it's icky out there :)

The wintery view through our living room window this morning that's making me want to haul out Christmas decorations... The Boy thinks I'm being ridiculous :)


Thursday, November 06, 2008

Snug as a Bug

In all the emotion and busyness of this week, I forgot to post about our car seat check experience. We picked up our carseat/stroller system last week and Geoff installed the seat base into the backseat of my car - but we were concerned that it was still a little wiggly, and wanted to be sure that we'd done it exactly right.

I called the organization that advocates for safely installed carseats in Manitoba, and I was informed that there were a few fire stations that did checks - but that the closest one was in St Vital. We weren't very impressed with that news (especially because you can't book an appointment, but have to take your chances that the firemen aren't out on a call when you get there). Instead of driving all the way to St Vital, we decided we'd try stopping at the station just a few blocks from our house and at least *ask* if they could do the check there.

Turns out that they could. In fact, it turns out that the station by our house does more checks than any other station in the city. And we were happy that it was so close to home, because it took three visits over a day and a half to get the check completed - they kept on getting called out.

The fireman who helped us was awesome, and he showed us a few tips and tricks to get the seat to fit more snugly (including adding a piece of a pool noodle under the base, which he did for us). I'm sure it was all stuff that we could eventually have figured out on our own, but it was a huge relief to have it all checked out professionally and to know absolutely that it's all as safe as can be.

I'm considering writing a strongly-worded letter to the lady who wanted to send me across the city, though... We'll see how cranky I'm feeling tomorrow :)

Okay. Back to bouncing on my exercise ball - hehe.

PS - This is the carseat/stroller combo we ended up deciding on.


Feeling Better

So today turned out a little differently than I'd thought. I had an appointment to see my obstetrician this afternoon, but the phone rang at 10.30 to let me know that I'd need to reschedule with another doctor - mine was stuck at the hospital with a c-section in progress. I suppose the good news is that I've now had appointments with three out of the six doctors in our practice group, so the odds are good that we'll know the doctor who eventually delivers Briony. I was just less than impressed, because (a) now we had to hustle to make it there for an 11.30 appointment, and (b) I haven't seen my 'real' doctor since Week 38, and I had a bunch of stuff I wanted to discuss with her.

It turned out to be okay. I liked the doctor we met with - and the baby's heartbeat, my blood pressure, and all measurements were perfect. She checked things out and I'm totally effaced, Briony's head is lower than last week and fully engaged, and I'm 3 cm dilated. Again, I opted not to do the membrane sweep... I know it's probably not that big of a deal, but I feel like Briony's doing so well on her own - if we just let her be for a few more days, she's pretty likely to be born all by herself, without anyone messing around and trying to speed things up.

In the meantime, they'll be booking me for a fetal assessment just to make sure she's still safe in there, and I have an appointment booked with my doctor on November 13 - just in case I'm still pregnant then. That means we're possibly looking at November 14 (Geoff's birthday) as an induction date, if it comes to that.

The doctor was *so* encouraging about her belief in my ability to deliver this baby despite my arthritis complications, so I'm feeling much calmer about that today. I needed to hear it from a medical professional.

After our appointment, Geoff and I spent the afternoon at Polo Park. We grabbed lunch at McNally Robinson (the samosas were just as good as we'd heard), then spent a few hours walking around because it was too nasty to walk outside. The upside is that I managed to get almost half of my Christmas shopping done - a record for me, and a relief because I think it's going to be very tricky to finish with a newborn...

I'm feeling better today. Thanks for all of your encouragement :)

In case you need a smile:
My stomach is now officially large enough for me to balance a bowl of ice cream on it. (And yes, I'm wearing sweats and no make-up. I feel I've earned the right.)


Plus Three

Apparently, this baby of ours takes after Geoff more than me. I would have stuck to the schedule. He'd be cool with taking his time. And let's look at the evidence: We've created a child together, and said child is still not born, despite the fact that we are now sitting at Due Date + Three Days...

I know it's normal. I don't really care about normal anymore. I care about COMFORTABLE. And overdue is *not* comfortable. Especially when you're overdue with such an incredibly active baby - those wiggles and kicks are starting to seriously hurt. I'm becoming increasingly certain that she's messing with vital organs in there.

Not sure why today is so much more annoying than usual to me. It could be the fact that I had another truly horrible sleep (I managed to stay in bed until 6 am, when I finally gave up and came downstairs in search of some kind of distraction - hopefully, I'll nap later). It could be the fact that I'm seeing my doctor again today (an appointment I'd hoped to not need). It could be the fact that, in my head, this baby was coming at the end of autumn and it's now feeling more like winter outside (ick). It could be the fact that I've gone to bed the last five or six nights having really nasty cramps and contractions, convinced that I'll wake up in a few hours and be in the middle of 'real' labour (and then I wake up in the morning and feel okay again). It could be the fact that I spent yesterday evening cuddling a brand new baby girl who was not *our* baby girl (even though I love her to pieces). It could be the fact that Geoff is clearly losing patience with Mean Lindsay, who's been living with him for a few days now (I am honestly trying very, very hard to be nice...). It could be all my incessant worrying about the fact that - even though my cold has pretty much cleared up - my arthritis is in pretty rough shape (which kind of complicates everything right now). It could be the email newsletters in my Inbox that no longer count down to Baby's arrival, but instead congratulate me and give advice on what to do with a newborn (or the messages and calls from people I barely know who are 'just curious' to find out if we've had the baby yet). It could be that I've spent the last week experiencing every single 'you're about to have a baby!' symptom in the book (multiple books, actually) - every single one except for the one where the contractions don't stop until the baby comes out. It could be that we've now officially passed every milestone I had in my head (work is finished, chemo is finished, got to see Lenny, got to see Obama elected, became an auntie), and now we are seriously just waiting...

It *could* just be hormones :)

Honestly, I think it's more the arthritis than the pregnancy. The overdue baby can't be helping, but I always start to go a little crazy once we hit Week Two of a flare-up. I think that the incessant pain just starts to make real life a little difficult to deal with.

In any case, we're starting another day over here... The days are usually okay. By evening, the combination of pregnant and arthritis and nights of bad sleep blends into a pretty nasty cocktail. But I start each day determined to enjoy it, because I want to have mostly happy memories of being pregnant - and our baby girl will be here before we know it (and I'll have days when I wish she was back inside of me, when life was 'easy'). Wish me luck!


Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Pictures of Baby Chloe

Geoff and I roadtripped it out to Steinbach tonight to meet our brand new niece... Be quiet. It's totally far away.

Proud Uncle Aaron & Auntie Cait.

Geoff, now an uncle for the *ninth* time. Pretty impressive.

Holding two babies at once. For the record, actually kind of tricky. Plus Briony was totally kicking Chloe... Probably the last time our little city girl will have the advantage over her country cousin - hehe.

A closer peek at the baby.

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Baby News

Well, I'm not a mom - but I'm an aunt :)

In all fairness, I became an aunt eight times over when Geoff and I got married last year. But it's a little bit different to actually be in the picture when they're born - as opposed to joining the family when the kids are in high school.

My sister Jessica and her husband Kevin welcomed a baby girl into the world at 13.13 today - Chloe Marie. She was 6 lb 14.5 oz and 21.5 inches long. That's all I know... Other than the fact that they went into the hospital early on Tuesday morning, and we've all been secretly and patiently waiting for news since then! My parents are on their way to go check things out now.

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Election Wrap-Up

So, the world is safe. (Or, it will be by January.) And I'm pretty happy about it. YOU CAN COME OUT NOW, BABY.

It's incredible to me how riled up a bunch of Canadians can get about another country's election. I understand, of course, because I know that it's all very significant to us too - our country is inextricably bound to the US, and in so many ways their future is our future. What shocks me is that people would actually take the time to attempt to debate the merits and pitfalls of an election outcome that none of us voted in. And that most of those people who'd like to start that debate have absolutely no idea what they're talking about.

It's no secret that I wanted Obama to win. I'll admit that I cried a little last night when the announcement was made. But it wasn't a bandwagon thing for me... I watched more election coverage than most Americans, I'll bet - and even read the books (hehe). I knew who they were electing. And that's why I celebrated.

People need a leader. They need their leader to have vision, and to be willing to take risks or make decisions that might be unpopular in the short term but will be brilliant in the long run. They need someone to believe in and to stand behind. They need to be proud of their leader when he (or she) is thrust onto the international stage. To be honest, I'm a little jealous. We Canadians didn't have a single option of a candidate who was *any* of those things.

I got a comment from someone on Facebook this morning that implied that Obama would have aborted my baby, given the chance. Wow. The incredibly rich irony is that, while he doesn't want to go back and reverse standing decisions, Obama has actually declared himself to be *personally* pro-life. He's an incredibly conservative Democrat. And I don't seriously think that he's against having babies - hehe. It was such a 'Joe the Plumber' moment that I honestly didn't know what to say.

So yes, while I believe that yesterday's election was in fact historic and showed great progress and promise... As a human race, we clearly have a long way to go in celebrating differences of opinion and learning to communicate effectively (and respectfully) with those people we might disagree with. In many ways, I think that the historic nature of what happened last night may have been more to do with the election of a young man with vision and new ideas and less about the colour of his skin. I want to see qualified, capable women in our government as much as the next girl, but I still wasn't supporting Sarah Palin. And Obama wasn't elected because he was black - or even, I believe, in spite of it. I'd like to think that we're all a little smarter than that. At least, in Fake America - hehe.

As a side note, we Canadians can act as smug and superior as we want to, but I suspect that - as a whole - we're a long way from electing a First Nations prime minister, great ideas or not. And that embarrasses me.

Or maybe we can just send all the people who are anti-progress to live somewhere else (Alaska?), and we'll elect ourselves an Obama here next time...

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Tuesday, November 04, 2008


You know what's kind of funny and depressing? My baby countdown ticker apparently starts to count back UP once you pass your due date... :)


Happy Election Day!

A gift for all my nerd friends...

Check out this article from today's New York times for a great little synopsis of what to watch / listen for during tonight's election coverage.

Sadly, I cannot partake due to the fact that my baby refuses to be born... But in case you're so inclined, I've included links to a couple of Election Night Drinking Game options - there are many, many more ideas to be found all over the internet.
- Link 1
- Link 2
- Link 3
- Link 4
- Link 5
- Link 6
- Link 7
- Link 8
- Link 9
- Link 10

Note that one site recommends eating Halloween candy vs drinking alcohol... Interesting. I think they could make you equally sick - EW. Assuming baby doesn't show up between now and the beginning of all the election coverage, I think I'll be spending my day inventing and perfecting a non-alcoholic shot recipe.

Have fun, and be safe! Oh, and if you're American - VOTE!

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Monday, November 03, 2008

Hooray for Parents

So, it would appear our house decided to commemorate the coming (and going) of my due date by having the furnace break down. No joke. Ugh. Fortunately, I have one of Those Dads who tends to be the go-to guy for pretty much anything that seems fix-y and masculine. My parents arrived around 1 pm today, and by 4 pm - we had heat! And all it took was a $36 part, my dad's insider connections, and a little bit of elbow grease on the parts of Geoff and my dad. Oh, and I fed them. But in the meantime, I got to spend the afternoon with my mom. So despite the cold beginning, it ended up being a pretty great day.

HOORAY FOR PARENTS. Especially the kind who don't mind coming to their children's rescue every once in a while.

I'm feeling incredibly grateful that:
(a) It's November in Winnipeg and still 16 degrees outside
(b) We didn't have to worry about a cold house with a newborn here
(c) We got away with a $36 furnace fix

Geoff and I went for a short walk early this evening. I wish I could walk more, but the baby dropped lower today (as if that's even possible...) and it was just too uncomfortable. We peeked into a few shops close to our house to admire their new Christmas stuff, then headed back home. Since then, it's been a quiet night on the couch with Law & Order reruns and the SNL Presidential Bash.

Is it just me, or do the first couple of days after Daylight Savings Time always feel a little off? I keep on thinking it's bedtime because it's so dark.

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Monday Secret(s)

(Shakes fist in general direction of Frank Warren.)

I couldn't decide, so you get TWO secrets this week! You're so lucky! How can this possibly be a bad week now, with such an extra-happy Monday? :)

I thought everyone did this... No? :)

Okay, and everyone WANTS to do this...


And this is not a Monday Secret, but my brother sent me this pic earlier this morning, and it made me laugh so hard that I very nearly spewed hot chocolate out of my nose... Yeah. My husband came home from work this morning with a Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate from Starbucks in hand for his highly pregnant wife. I think I'll keep him :)

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Due Date

Well, today's the day. Unfortunately, I don't think our baby knows that. I'd imagine that there is a distinct lack of calendars or other timekeeping devices in there :)

How I'm Feeling:
BIG. Uncomfortable. Tired. Emotional. Apprehensive. Nervous excitement. Wanting to meet our baby. (Eek, that was not the most positive list... It's not as bad as it sounds, I promise!)

New Stuff Last Month:
- More 'practice' contractions
- Various icky late-pregnancy symptoms
- Some swelling in my ankles and fingers by the end of the day
- Outgrowing more of my maternity clothes
- Feeling the baby drop (and now worrying every time I sneeze, hehe)
- Lots of hip pain
- A couple of prenatal massages... ahhh...
- Finished my weekly Prenatal Yoga classes
- Finished working, and started mat leave
- Lots of doctors appointments
- Packed for the hospital

What's On Mommy's Mind:
I think that every day makes me a little more excited to meet you. Whether or not I'll have any idea what to do when you get here is another question entirely... But your daddy and I are very much looking forward to meeting you and bringing you home to live with us.

I'm starting to get pretty uncomfortable now, but I'm making sure to enjoy these moments. I still feel lucky to be pregnant with you, and to get to experience all of this.

The doctor told us again last week that you're doing well, and that everything's ready to go... We're just waiting for my body to decide that it's time. It sounds like such a simple thing, but it's so hard to wait and wonder. But no matter how long these weeks seem right now, you'll be here before we know it and we'll look back on this someday and wonder where the time went.

You have no idea how much we love you already, and how excited we are that you're coming. We can't wait for our little family to become three people. You are so wanted, so anticipated, and so loved.

I don't really feel like taking a new picture right now. Maybe later today. For now, you can all just deal with this one from late last week :)

Psst! Click on the 'Month By Month' tag below to view past updates and belly pictures.

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Sunday, November 02, 2008

My Baby is a Democrat

I'm starting to wonder if this baby really *is* smart enough to avoid being born before Obama wins... Atta girl :)

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Saturday, November 01, 2008

A Little Bit Discouraged

I could use a little bit of encouragement this weekend. I woke up during the night feeling sick - fever, sore throat, congested, and achy. I'm taking good care of myself and feeling a little better today, but I'm far from healed.

As you can imagine, knowing that this baby is coming within the next two weeks, I'm a little worried about the implications of labour, delivery, and new motherhood when I'm feeling less than awesome to begin with. The flu symptoms are one thing - I can totally handle that - but along with feeling sick, I'm also feeling the effects of an arthritis flare-up. And that has me a little panicked.

I've been so healthy throughout this pregnancy that I'd pretty much managed to push all my old arthritis worries from my head. I really thought that I'd be able to avoid the c-section that my doctors have always told me to expect. And so far, there has been no reason at all to believe that I'd be unable to deliver this baby on my terms (assuming, of course, that she cooperates). Now I'm not so sure. I know that it doesn't really matter *how* she's born, but I know that my heart has been set on a non-surgical delivery - and I know that I'll be disappointed if my arthritis comes back just long enough to destroy that dream, or to mess with my ability to take care of our new baby girl.

There's still time for this flare-up to go away... I'd appreciate your prayers and positive thoughts this weekend. Thanks :)

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