The First Sign of Spring

It has been so warm the last few days. From cold Wisconsin winter weather to 60˚F. GORGEOUS! My boys have been outside more this week than they have in the last two months. Getting wet and muddy, thanks to the melting snow, but having a blast. And excepting today, it’s been sunny too. Sun! I’m a sun addict. I can actually feel sunshine like a physical touch, and my body literally feels like it’s soaking it in. Like, actually soaking. Of course today is grey and dreary, and it is so windy that out protected little homestead (surrounded on three sides by wooded hills) is being buffeted and blown. That’s windy, my friends.

A few days ago my Mom was visiting. Because she was here to chase after my rambunctious 22 month old daughter (I can do little chasing these days), my little girl actually got to go outside, and I didn’t have to worry about the muddy, spring-mess she might eat or coat herself in.

What a wonderful treat for us all. My two sons ran about the yard, my husband busied himself happily with work in the fresh air, I got to sit on the deck and soak the sunlight and chat with my Mom, and Rose got to run about our large deck and play in the sunshine, breeze, and balmy 55˚ air. Her blue eyes shone, her cheeks flushed pink, her golden hair bounced around her neck in wisps and baby curls.

She wanted a good cuddling when we came in later. That much fresh air after a long winter of very little does a little girl in. I held her, wrapped up in my arms and her little blanket, and stroked her head while she just rested and listened to Mommy and Grandma. And this is where I found the First Sign of Spring.

The smell of sunshine in her hair.

Yes, little kids actually trap sunshine in their hair. And yes, it has a scent. A lovely, nothing-else-like-it scent that you could just breathe in for hours and hours. Warm weather in March in Wisconsin does not always mean much; it can turn on you in the blink of an eye. But the warm smell of sunshine in the hair of a child?

Hello, Spring. 🙂

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Presenting… The Unpluggable Beast! \(˚o˚)/

The toilet…

… is plugged.

NOOOOOO! \(˚o˚)/

The beast glared at me, daring me to try the plunger that has, for two years, proved useless against the beast’s might. Formed in an oval, curved shape that could only have been designed by a maniacal madman, the bowl is resistant to any attempt to get a seal with the rubber plunger. What happens, instead of the plug dislodging, is the water burps and sloshes on either side of the rubber ring where the rubber and porcelain fail to meet. No effort of mine, however vigorous and determined, is ever successful. Only Sackett Man, my plumbing hero, has ever beaten the beast.

It chose its timing to strike well.

The disassembled remains of our basement bathroom mocks me with its silent, ghostly voice. To fix the water leak that happens every spring in the only finished room in the entire basement, Sackett Man has torn the bathroom down (walls and all), and jack-hammered up the raised concrete pad that housed the floor drain (which meant if a water flood happened, the water would have to be at least three inches deep before it could even reach the floor drain). Bags of cement wait in the garage for him to mix and pour a new, even floor, with a drain low enough to actually drain. A carpenter is on standby, ready to rebuild the walls. Other tools and materials for fixing the water leak are ready. Waiting.

But for now… there is nothing. Nothing but a room-sized, gaping hole in our basement floor. Bare dirt. A silent testament to what was and what will be.

There is only one toilet in the house now. One, for the use of a woman in her ninth month of pregnancy and her desperate, hourly trips. One, for the use of two potty-trained children, who often need to use it at the same time.

One.

And it plugged.

It was only 10:30 this morning when it happened. My mind raced. What could I do? I was facing an entire day, with little kids, with no working toilet!

It is in the 50’s today, bright and sunny, but did I dare send my two sons outside every time nature called, into the mud and melting snow? Did I dare go outside, every hour, hiking entirely too far to get to our woods so that I could answer ‘the call’ in privacy, beyond the curious eyes of three little kids and the many windows of our house? I couldn’t hike that far. I’ve had three false labors already; I didn’t need to have the real one out in the woods!

No. While my oldest could stand on the edge of the deck, my second was too young yet… I didn’t want to think what the state of his pants would be!

What else? I could throw aside all shower rules and have them go in the shower. It had a drain, and could be easily cleaned. I was pleased with this solution. No muss, no fuss. But then my eldest posed a very dark and disturbing question: What about… number two?

Oh no. There was no plan for this. No good way to fix it. What about Two? That was NOT happening in my shower!!! I couldn’t see any good way of having the two little ones going outside for it, either. Not in the mud and barely-melting snow, and we certainly didn’t want a surprise of that sort in our yard when spring really, truly came!

I could line a pail or a bucket with plastic bags, but then I would have to help them perch by holding them up above the bucket so they didn’t fall in. Kids are heavy. Not pregnant, I could do this. Nine months pregnant? This was not a good plan. I scratched it immediately.

And then it came to me. The potty chair! The one we had put away months and months ago! The boys could easily use that! And if I lined the bowl with a bag, that would make any cleanup the easiest thing ever!

With more delight than a scientist discovering renewable, unending world energy, I set about my task. I made my single trek downstairs to the basement (my doctor has limited me to stairs once a day). I found the potty chair, brought it up, and cleaned the dust from it. I lined it lovingly with a plastic shopping bag. I set it gently against the wall in the bathroom, and put the free-standing toilet paper holder beside it with great care. I took blue painter’s tape and taped the toilet-beast shut. And then I called in my two-member troop of boys, and explained to them what to do when they needed to go. I was met with approval, but not the applause I was hoping for.

Oh well. I thought. Someday, when they are grown and have children of their own, they will understand.

Silently, I cheered.

The toilet, unpluggable beast that it is, thought it had finally beaten me. But I have risen victorious and found a way.

The day may be long. The hours will not be the easiest. But we will survive.

And when evening comes, so too shall Sackett Man, riding up the driveway in his noble green pickup.

With his toilet auger.

God Knows Best

I have been in to the hospital three times now with false labor. Well, the first time was because of some blood. The next two times I had contractions 3-4 minutes apart for hours before they suddenly would just disappear! What?! Why? The last time I was positive it was real. It hurt so bad and was so constant! And then ‘poof’. Like magic. I was SO FRUSTRATED! We live 40 minutes from the hospital. We have three kids that we have to drop off at a relative’s house every single time. My husband usually ends up taking off the next day of work because I end up so sore that I can hardly move the next day. These trips are not simple or easy, despite the medical staff always breezily telling us “Oh, just keep coming in each time. Even if it’s a dozen more times. No problem. One of these times it will happen!”

No problem? Says them. It’s a two day ordeal for us.

What I have come to realize though is this: I think God is stopping it each time. Why? Because a) Sackett Man has got the mother cold of mother colds. He wouldn’t be able to hold or kiss his new baby boy. And b) stomach flu has hit our house today. Not exactly the best time to introduce a new baby into the family.

So I’m okay now. I wasn’t before; I was getting mad and frustrated with the emotional and physical stress of thinking “This is it! Hello, William!” and then having it not happen. Now, this morning, I’ve hit a new understanding that God has not only kept this pregnancy healthy and safe, kept me from having him prematurely (yay!), but He is also making sure that William comes when we are healthy and ready to receive him.

So I’m taking a deep breath, and I’m just going to wait for the germs to leave us. Because I know I won’t be pregnant forever, despite what my pregnancy hormones keep telling me. I just need to be patient. God knows what He’s doing. 🙂

Nesting a Car

Nesting is a funny thing. We ready-to-pop pregnant mothers have so little energy, but a buzz of unexpected, out of the blue get-up-and-go can enable us to do some hard stuff. I have so little energy right now, and the little mister inside of me is currently grinding his head into some rather painful nerves, making it hard to walk and causing my sciatic to go bonkers. Naughty boy! So moving is difficult, to say the least. But yesterday I went down into our attached garage to clean the seat where our baby will go. Vacuum up the crumbs, clean off the spill of milk from my daughter, and then hook in the base for his infant car seat. I took a big rag, some safe cleaner, and the dustbuster to vacuum up the crud and crumbs.

About ten minutes later I realized I was upside down vacuuming under the seat, and that I’d removed two car mats already. And I couldn’t stop! I just kept removing mats and vacuuming and vacuuming and vacuuming, crawling and getting myself into crazy positions to try and get the crumbs and crud that liked to hide in out-of-the-way places and corners, and then I took my rag and cleaner and scrubbed and scrubbed. Then I took the rubber mats and dumped them in the tub of our basement bathroom, grabbed a cleaning brush, and washed and scoured them till they looked like new. Finally, an hour-and-a-half later, I hooked in the infant car seat and shut the doors. (Don’t worry, I had turned off all the lights to save the battery.)

The car doesn’t look brand-spanking new, but it’s pretty good. It’s the best that a fully-pregnant woman could do, anyway!

You should have seen the look Sackett Man gave me when he came home from work. “Not to criticize, but was that the best thing for you to do right now?” he asked, concerned. “I mean, you can hardly walk…”

I hobbled around, my baby boy grinding his head, nerves pinching and hurting like fire and my sciatic twanging away as I tried to prepare supper. “Right now, I go when the energy’s good!”

He shook his head in exasperation, but his green eyes were soft and tender, and a little smile tugged at the corner of his mouth.

And once the kids were in bed, he treated me to a leg and foot rub. 🙂

The Two Week Drain

We’re nearing the end. Hallelujah. Not that I don’t love parts of being pregnant… but this last month has quickly propelled me to an early state of “I’m ready when you are!”. Especially the last two weeks. I had spotting two weeks ago, and ended up under observation for five hours being poked, prodded, ultrasound-ed, and monitored. It was nothing. He’d shifted down, causing the stitches of my cerclage to pull. That was it.

The next week I got the mother of all stomach flus. It would have been bad enough getting it on a normal day, but getting it while eight months pregnant? At one point I was crying and begging God to ‘just take me now’. It took three days to get to a point where I could eat normal food without my stomach cringing.

Two days later I started contracting. I laid down on the couch, drank water, did everything one is supposed to, but pretty soon I was timing the contractions to about ten minutes apart. Which for me means “Get in the car NOW!” (I have 3 hour labors. Fast and Furious, according to my doctor.) In the car it went from six minutes apart down to four. I labored with contractions four minutes apart for TWO HOURS at the hospital. The doctor on call wasn’t my doctor, and he did not believe me when I told him that I have three-hour labors. It took them two hours just to check and see if the labor was real, and I still had my cerclage in. Because of my repeated insistence and my husband and my mother’s pushing he finally called some other specialists, and was flatly told that due to my history, YES, the cerclage should come out. Even if this labor turned out to be false. Because I live 40 minutes from the hospital, I’m home alone during the day with my three children, the next time could be real, and let’s just say that labor and cerclages don’t mix. So he grudgingly came in and took out the cerclage stitches.

Within 30 minutes the contractions stopped.

Needless to say I was upset that it had turned out to be false. It’s hard being in labor that long and being all ready to welcome your little one and dealing with a difficult doctor and then having it all be for nothing! The one good thing is that I no longer have the stitches to worry about. If I go into labor now, I can just proceed like a normal woman and have my baby. Yay!

Perhaps God had this happen so that we went from almost-prepped to totally prepped. Not only is my cerclage out (a HUGE stresser gone), but I have packed my hospital bag completely (along with stuff for my husband and our baby boy), packed an overnight bag for our other three kids, prepped our room with the bassinet, another dresser, baby clothes and paraphernalia, and got the infant car seat ready.

Now I can just rest easy. And wait.

The unfortunate thing is that I am so physically exhausted from the last week that it’s hard to do much each day. Between the flu and the long false labor, I’m still in rough shape. I’ve had to pick one project for the day, per day, and that’s it. If I find I have energy enough after to do another thing—score!

But now I can look forward to having my baby, whenever he decides to show up, in peace. Because I’m no longer stitched shut.

Sackett Man and I can welcome little William whenever. 🙂