Friday, February 1, 2008


For those of you just tuning it, it was a year ago today that I received my bedrest sentence. I spent a total of 123 days on bedrest, and seven weeks of that time was in the hospital. If you are interested in my bedrest journey then you can start at the beginning of this blog to read all about it. We were very blessed to have had a happy ending at the end of this arduous adventure, and I can attest now that it was only a tiny blip on the radar of life. There were days when it seemed like the time wasn't moving at all, but here we are 8 months later with a happy, healthy, beautiful baby girl. So, keep on keeping on and may God bless you and your family if you are on a similar journey.

For those faithful readers who were along with me for the journey, thank you for all of your kind words and support through out this ordeal. I was very blessed to have such a wonderful, supportive family and network of friends both locally and online. If it weren't for the flood of emails, cards, blog comments, and phone calls, I would have had a totally different experience.

We have had a wacky, fun time trying to adjust to being a family of four, and we are now thriving and well. If you care to continue following our story, then you can find it here on my new blog.

Lastly, I will leave you with a recent photograph of Dylan Grace at 7 1/2 months old.

Ciao, Friends!

Dylan's Arrival Story - Part 2

So the nurse sent someone to call my doctor. Apparently, he was about 25 minutes away so we were going to have to wait for him. The nurse explained to me that they may have to call the hospitalist in to get started if I were to move any faster or if Dylan were to remain in distress. I was to notify them immediately if I had the sensation of needing to go to the bathroom, and whatever I did I was NOT suppose to push in any way, shape, or form.

I had realized a few minutes before this that the music CD I had made for us to listen to while giving birth was left in the car. I had made a special playlist CD full of songs about daddies/daughters, mommies/daughters, and the special-ness of little girls. I felt very irritated and annoyed, but I couldn't have Jonathan go get it at this point.

I am feeling like I am very, very close at this point. The sensation of the contractions was more intense and more frequent. I could see the nurses continuing to exchange glances as they referenced the monitor for "Hershey's" vitals. There was a definite change in their pace and a tenseness that hadn't been present until now. A sense of urgency was swirling around in the air - I wanted to believe that it was because I was dilating so fast and the doctor wasn't there, yet, I knew in my heart that it was because "Hershey" was going in and out of distress.

Meanwhile, a team of people are hustling and bustling around my room - the overhead, bright lights went on, the medical cart with all the necessary tools came rolling in, my bed got adjusted into the giving birth position, and the clean up crew gloved up. The nurses put me in the proper position and told me that as soon as my doc arrived that we would start pushing right away.

My doctor appeared.

This is it. I felt nervous.

Was I going to have the strength to do this?

This is the moment we had worked so hard to get to these past 4 1/2 months. The anxiety and anticipation were building. I was hoping that it would only be a few good pushes. After all, when Holland was born, my first delivery nurse told me that I was a "good pusher", and it was just 2-3 pushes and her head popped out and then 1-2 more and her body followed.

It's kind of crazy what an epidural can do to your body. One's ability to discriminate between muscle groups is jaded. You aren't able to determine which muscles are being activated so other substances come out of other places! It was time for my first push…..

I pushed, grunted, gritted, pushed some more and I knew immediately I had activated the wrong muscles! I felt something oozing - it was poop. I was totally humiliated. The clean up nurse came right over and cleaned me up. A minute passes. Time to push again.

I pushed, grunted, gritted, and pushed some more.

Guess what? More poop.

I looked at Jonathan and said, “Did I just shit on the table AGAIN?!”

My doctor walked away.

In hindsight, I think he was making a conscious effort to NOT make eye-contact with me. I think this was his way of allowing me to maintain some dignity, however I had already blown that!

Needless to say, my next 2-3 pushes were the same result. Poop and more poop. I could not believe how much poop there was. I guarantee that I hold the "most poop during childbirth" hospital record, and I am sure that the nurses are probably still talking about it. Anyway, I think my doctor was getting a little frustrated at this point so the co-nurse stepped up to the plate at this time and had me change positions (she had to step in because my lead nurse was too mousey!). I had a few more big pushes, more grunts, more gritting and then I felt “Hershey” start to pass through the birth canal.

I heard her cry, but it didn't sound right.

They took her away. My heart sank.

A weird feeling came over me. I had just delivered the baby that I had fought so hard to safely deliver and now she was gone. They didn’t even let me see her. I wanted to cry, but the tears wouldn’t come. I wanted to cry because I was overcome with emotion, but it felt forced. I also wanted to cry because they had taken her away, but for whatever reason, the tears weren’t coming. I think this is the first time in my life that I wasn’t able to cry. It was totally bizarre. I think I expected to have this big, huge, climatic, emotional experience, but it just didn’t happen.

I could here them “working” on her across the room. They were cleaning out her lungs and taking vitals. I heard an occasional muffled cry – it still didn’t sound quite right. I just wanted to see her and hold her and cuddle with her. I kept nudging Jonathan to go look at her, but it seemed like he was a little stand offish. I don’t know if he didn’t want to get in the nurses way or what, but I wanted a full report of what she looked like, smelled like, and felt like. Didn’t he want these things, too? Why wasn’t he crowding the nurses and peeking over their shoulders?

Meanwhile, my doctor is cleaning me up as well as sewing me up. I asked him how many stitches he was putting in, and he responded, “I don’t know, I lost count.”. I just assumed that I had torn pretty bad. He didn’t volunteer any information. It wasn’t until about an hour or two later that the nurse told me that he had done an episiotomy. He was concerned about “Hershey” because the chord was wrapped around her neck so he just wanted to get her out as soon as possible. (Understandably so, but he could have at least told me).

So about an hour went by and then they brought her over to me. I looked at her. I held her. I smelled her.

Nothing. Still no tears.

It almost felt like they had handed me someone else’s baby to hold. There wasn’t an immediate bond. This scared me.

We stayed in the birthing room for another 30-45 minutes and then they wheeled me down the hall to the mother/baby wing. I already mentioned the chiming of the bells and how disappointing that was. I expected to be greeted in the halls with a group of nurses who knew me and my story - A group of nurses with open arms and teary eyes. However, there wasn’t a nurse in sight.

Over the course of the next few hours, I started to feel pain. The site of the episiotomy was very, very painful. It hurt to hold her. It hurt to nurse her. It hurt to sit. It hurt to lay. It hurt to stand. It basically hurt to move even the slightest bit. I was on pain medication, but it seemed to only scratch the surface.

I haven’t even mentioned the name factor, yet. We had no idea what we were going to name her. Elsie Belle. Elsie Marie. Lillian Marie. Lillian Grace. Dylan Grace. Dylan Marie. Lilly. Halle. Hazel. So many choices. We were leaning towards Dylan Grace, Elsie Belle, or Lillian Marie. Hours were passing and still no name, just “Baby Potter” and “Hershey”. Jonathan checked out the little poem about the days of birth, and it said that Sunday’s child was full of grace. That sealed the deal – Dylan Grace it was.

The next 24 hours were very challenging. Jonathan got sick. He had strep throat. He was told to quarantine himself and stay away from the baby. We asked our nurse to ask our doctor and the pediatrician about what we should do, and she looked at me like I was an idiot. She said, “He probably needs to stay away from her and not hold her.” Well, no shit! We were thinking that maybe I needed to stay at the hospital for another day or two so she wouldn’t be exposed to any sort of virus. I had tested positive for some sort of infection that occurs during pregnancy and had already taken antibiotics for it, but we weren’t sure if this meant she was already susceptible or vulnerable to a compromised immune system. We just wanted to be sure we were protecting her. Isn’t that our job as parents?

“Well, you can’t stay here. We have already put in your discharge paperwork, and once you’ve been discharged, you have to leave. Besides if you did stay here, we would move you into a room but you wouldn’t get nurses care.”

Jonathan had already left the hospital at this point – he went home to disinfect everything and to get himself ready for being holed up in the basement. This meant that I was left to feed and care for this baby without any support. I had forgotten how exhausting those first couple of days can be, and I had much more pain to manage than I had when Holland was born. I was in so much pain that I had to have the bitchy nurse change Dylan’s diaper.

The discharge nurse continued to make my life miserable. She didn’t answer my page. She brought my pain medication late. She took hours to follow up with me about a phone call to my pediatrician’s office. She didn’t give me proper self-care instructions for going home. She was in a hurry to get me out of there. Etc.

We had to call a friend to come to the hospital and take me home because Jonathan wasn’t suppose to be around the baby. I couldn’t believe that he wasn’t going to be with me when we brought our baby home. This was extremely hard for me. We had such a long journey to bring Dylan into our lives, and then the climax, the grand finale, the pinnacle never happened. Only disappointment.

When my friend came to get me, I had her wheel me out by the nurses' station in one last attempt to get that joyous celebration from all the nurses. There was one nurse there who happened to be one of my favorites so that was nice. She gave me big congratulatory hugs, and then I heard his voice. Dr. Sunshine was right there in the nurses station. I had the urge to set him straight and finally give him a piece of my mind, but I was afraid I would be too overcome with a hormonal rage that I might get myself in deeper than I really wanted to be!

I had to catch myself to not call him Dr. Sunshine to his face! I said, “Is that Dr. Sun err, I mean Dr. _____?” (I inserted his real name at the time, however I have promptly forgotten it now).

“Hey – you owe me a dance” , I said.

The nurse said, “it’s Ashley Potter, she had her baby.”

He responded, “yeah, I saw your name on the board, and wondered how that happened.” That was another stupid response. Not surprising though.

“I made it to 37 ½ weeks, that’s how that happened.” “And you owe me a dance. You told me that IF I made it to 24 weeks, you would do a dance.”

He didn’t really have a response to this. He looked a little puzzled and slightly embarrassed. He then congratulated me, wished me well, and left.

I got the last word, but it wasn’t totally satisfying. I wish I had given him some constructive criticism on how to not send patients into tailspins, and what not to say to pregnant, hormonal woman who aren’t sure of the outcome of their pregnancy, and how not to bring the big, dark cloud into patients rooms every time he enters, but it just wasn’t the appropriate time. So, we carried onward to the car that was waiting for me outside. Lots of emotions swirling around as we were about to depart.

I had a nurse escorting me out. A different nurse than my bitchy discharge nurse. I think it technically was her job to escort me out, but she kind of knew I didn’t want to spend any more time with her so she had someone else do it. Smart move on her part, except that this nurse turned on me, too.

I had sweet Dylan all swaddled up nice and tight in a blanket. I knew that it was going to be bright outside and very over stimulating with all of the sights and sounds so I made sure to have her nice and cozy so she could feel safe and comfortable. As I was loading her into the car seat, the nurse popped her head into my car. I think she wanted to get a peak at the new baby and wish us well, but her demeanor immediately changed.

“Oh no”, she said. “You can’t take that hospital blanket home with you. We are very short on them.”

And then she did the unthinkable.

She reached further into my car and unwrapped this one-day-old newborn baby from its cozy, safe haven that I had just made sure to put her in. She took the blanket, bid us farewell, and proudly marched right back up to the labor and delivery wing of the hospital.


I stood there dumbfounded as I watched her walk away so proudly. She had just saved another blanket from leaving hospital grounds.

“Ha” I thought to myself. I have two more stuffed away in my hospital bag!

And that is the conclusion to my birth story. My disappointing-less-than-perfect birth story.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Dylan's Arrival Story - Part 1

Giving birth is miraculous. There is not doubt about that. I don't think you will find a woman on this earth who has given birth that wouldn't attest to its miraculousness. All of our birthing stories are so different. Our experiences are so rich with the sights, sounds, sensations, and emotions that come flooding through.

I have been among different groups of women at different times when the subject of birthing comes up and undoubtedly every woman wants to share her story or stories no matter how old her children are. Giving birth is an experience that unites us even if only for the 5 or 10 minutes that it takes us to tell our part.

I have two wonderful, amazing, beautiful daughters and their birthing stories couldn't be more different. I feel like I need to share Holland's story in order to share Dylan's. It was because of my experience of giving birth to Holland that I was able to formulate my thoughts, my highlights, and even my frustrations about giving birth to Dylan.

When Holland was born, we had the most amazing experience from start to finish. There isn't a thing I would change about the whole pregnancy - not even the gestational diabetes or the 6 week stint with bedrest.

I adored being pregnant.

I loved the way my body changed, the way Jonathan constantly told me how beautiful I was, and the way friends and strangers would frequently inquire about my status. I loved the cute clothes that I splurged on, the pregnancy books,the birthing classes, etc. etc. etc.

I embraced every minute of it.

I loved discovering that the gift of life is so miraculous, amazing, mysterious, life altering, thought provoking, weird, wondrous, and bizarre all at the same time.

I had been on bedrest 7 weeks prior to Holland's arrival. I had one week of freedom from the time my bedrest sentence ended to the time that she was born. The night that I went into labor, I had been having contractions about 3-4 minutes apart for about an hour, and then I got up to go the bathroom and my water broke. I felt a massive gush of fluid come rushing out and crashing to the floor (like a huge water balloon bursting all over the ground). The amount of fluid was unbelievable. Jonathan quickly jumped out of bed, grabbed a couple of towels, realized he needed a dozen more, and then proceeded to do clean up duty as I raced around looking for something else to put on. The adrenaline rush immediately kicked in. This was it! We had no idea what to expect as we forged on to the hospital for the most amazing experience of each of our lives.

We arrived at the hospital at 1:30 a.m and she was born at 4:57 a.m. My labor was so fast that I missed the opportunity for an epidural so she was born all natural. My labor and delivery nurse was a godsend. She was absolutely amazing. My OB-GYN was a master at the fine art of delivering babies. He delivered Holland with such gracefulness and expertise. I had only about 3 pushes and I felt her head slip through the canal and then her body quickly followed. I remember thinking that giving birth was the most exhausting and exhilarating thing I had or would ever experience. I vividly remember this strong urge to climb up on a mountain, beat my chest, and scream to the world, "I am woman!".

Within 5 seconds of delivering Holland, she was on my chest and we were skin to skin. The tears were pouring down my face as I held our sweet baby girl for the first time and stared up at my adoring husband with complete and utter wonderment.

Life has never been the same since.

When we transferred from the delivery room to the mother/baby room, chimes rang through out the hospital informing all that were present that a baby had arrived. I couldn't help but think of "It's a Wonderful Life" and the bells that rang signifying that "an angel had gotten their wings". Holland was our sweet angel and she was receiving her wings as she entered into our world.

By contrast, when we walked down the hall to transfer rooms after Dylan's birth, the nurse took us to the button on the wall that made the chimes ring. She allowed us to push the button for the recorded chimes. This somehow took away from the magic of the experience. I didn't want to see where the chimes came from, I just wanted them to miraculously be chiming as we carried our sweet girl into our room. And what tainted the whole chime thing even more is that when I pushed the button it didn't work the first time. I had to push it again.

So let me backtrack a little bit now. Back to the beginning of Dylan's arrival. I have already mentioned that the two experiences were totally different. I think I must have expected that my experience of Dylan's birth would be equally amazing as my experience of Holland's birth, however that is not the case.

This is really hard for me to write because it involves me coming to terms with the fact that there was disappointment surrounding the whole event-- from the time that I stepped into the hospital to the time that we took Dylan home. I have such a fairytale mentality that I never could have imagined that I could feel this way about a birth of a baby. (This is probably another reason I have been putting off posting this story).

It all started on Saturday evening. We had spent the day at a nearby lake with Jonathan's parents and our niece who had come to visit for the weekend. We were really hoping that this weekend would be the time as we had an instant babysitter for Holland, Jonathan's parents would already be in town (they live 2 hours away), our doctor was on-call, and of course the obvious fact that we were tired of waiting!

At at about 9:45, I was watching T.V and I felt a slight little trickle. I stood up to go investigate and a small leakage of fluid ran down my leg. It wasn't a gush though and it wasn't high volumes of fluid so I wasn't quite sure if I had actually ruptured or not. When I got to the bathroom, there was a slight gush of more fluid and it was all clear so I knew it must be my water breaking. I casually called for Jonathan and told him, "I think it's time". As I changed my clothes, he gathered stuff for his hospital bag -- the hospital bag that I had asked him to pack days in advance!

We went through the emergency room and of course there wasn't a parking place so Jonathan just parked in a fire lane. He hunted down a wheelchair and wheeled me in past various shady looking characters smoking and meandering outside. Someone from ER transported me to L&D as the hospital transportation transporters were backed up for the time being. My disappointment started as we approached the L&D nurses station and I didn't recognize any of the nurses. How could that be? I had lived at the hospital for 7 weeks and knew at least 30-40 different nurses. I thought for sure that I knew most all of them. I had fantasized about having one of the nurses who cared for us during our pre-term labor days continue her care by being part of our delivery team. I longed for the personal embrace, the flooding of tears, and the sincere congratulatory blessing that could only come from a nurse who had been a part of our personal journey.

Upon meeting my nurse, I knew immediately she wasn't going to be of the calibre of the delivery nurse we had when Holland was born. It wasn't so much that she was unlikable, it was more that I knew she wasn't going to meet my needs as a delivery nurse. She was very soft spoken, introverted, and didn't have a "coaching" bone in her body. Or maybe she was just having a bad night. She was rather quiet and reserved. I think I was mostly disappointed that I didn't know her and that she didn't know my story, but I have to confess that I felt annoyed at her basic lack of presence -- and that started the big ball of disappointment rolling.

I started having contractions pretty soon after I got settled into my delivery room. I knew that this would probably be a fairly quick labor based on Holland's delivery and also based on my cervical situation. The nurse had no sense of urgency even after I explained my situation.

Shortly after she "checked" me, the epidural guy came in to talk to me about an epidural. I was at a "4" at that point, and I knew that if I didn't choose right then that it may be too late. I was already experiencing pretty intense contractions and they were about 2 minutes apart. I was so scared that I wasn't going to have the stamina and endurance needed to make this happen the way it should happen. The reality is that in the past 5 months I hadn't exerted any more energy than it took to walk down the hall and read Holland a bedtime story! I was pretty uncomfortable and decided at that point that I was going to "treat myself" to an epidural! And I did!

The epidural was amazing. It took all of the pain out of the contractions but left me with the sensation. I could feel when I was contracting, but didn't have to endure the excruciating pain and discomfort. I could tell that the contractions were getting closer and closer together, but my nurse did not seem to have any sense of urgency as far as "checking" me again. I was monitoring my contractions verbally to Jonathan and she never once inquired about them. I thought it was pretty clear that I was dilating quickly.

Dylan was in slight distress. Her heart rate kept dropping when a contraction would come on. They said it wasn't happening with every contraction and that her heart rate wasn't too, too low, but low enough to be concerned. They made me change positions a few times to try and relieve any pressure that may have been causing the distress. I wasn't able to see the heart monitor, but I saw the exchange of glances between my two nurses that was just as telling as the numbers would have been. I was starting to get nervous, however trying to maintain my composure and manage any anxiety and fear that was creeping in.

After about 45 minutes of this, my nurse decided to "check" me a second time. They had just put an oxygen mask on me so that Dylan could get more oxygen. It was at this point that I began to feel some anxiety. As soon as she "checked" me, her eyes widened and she said, "you are at a 9 .... a 9 1/2, we need to call the doctor".

Stay tuned for part 2

Sunday, August 5, 2007


I am writing this post with my tail between my legs as I am so embarrassed and so incredibly sorry that I have neglected my blog for so long. I haven't been very fair to my readers and wouldn't be surprised if all of you have gone blogging elsewhere. I am constantly getting questioned by family and friends about the blog status, and just the other day I received a blog comment, an email, and a phone call all in the same day all regarding my blog! This really made me think about "closure". I need closure on the blog and I think my readers also need closure. So many of you followed my entire journey and then I haven't even delivered the climax, the birth story. LAME.

Believe it or not, I make a "to do" list every day and write my final blog entries is always top on my list, however I have found a ton of reasons to not write and here they are:

  1. Leisure. I have been enjoying sharing my summer maternity leave with my husband's summer off schedule (he has a 10 month contract). When will we ever have a summer off together again?

  2. Ailments. I have had chronic neck pain that flares up when I sit at the computer for longer than 5 minutes. It is a burning, aching, throbbing sensation that brings tears to my eyes. I can only get relief by walking away and changing my position. I also did something to my tail bone while giving birth. My doc said I could have fractured it, but it is hard to actually diagnose. Sitting in a hard chair is excruciating.

  3. Motherhood. Newborns take up a lot of time! Being "on call" 24/7 is very draining and I am often sleep deprived and I don't feel like exerting the mental energy it is going to take to post my closing stories and statements.

  4. Slackness. I haven't finished writing my birth story or my "last encounter with Dr. Sunshine" story.

  5. Selfishness. I will be so sad to write these last posts and close down Bedrest Boutique, and besides that, I haven't thought of a new name for a new blog, yet.
So, there you have it.

Excuses. Excuses. Excuses.

I am sincerely sorry though. I feel like I have let you down as well as let myself down. I do intend to bring closure to my journey though by posting my last posts very, very soon.

If you are still reading, thank you for sticking by me and holding out for the end. I will deliver.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Meet and Greet

Hi everyone,

I just wanted to check in with you and let you know what we have been up to this last week. I forgot to mention that we are traveling through out the state of Washington on a "meet and greet tour". We have lots of dear family and friends across the whole state, and so we decided to hit the road to introduce them all to our precious Dylan!

Most of these people would have made a trek across the mountains to come to us over the next few weeks and months, but I decided that I wanted us to go to them! I have had a bad case of cabin fever with a huge travel bug on top of it so I was eager to get out and about.

Our stops include: Kennewick, Yakima, Wenatchee, Seattle, Ballard, and Snohomish and then back home again.

So, having said all of that - I may be off the blog for a few more days. I do have partial posts already written though so maybe I will find the time to finish them and post them.

I hope all of you are well!


Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Stay Tuned

Hi Everyone,

Just wanted to let you all know that I really do have a last encounter with Dr. Sunshine to tell you about as well as Dylan's birth story. I have started writing both of them, but I'm having a hard time completing them.

I think that I have been putting them off because I know that I will probably close down "Bedrest Boutique" shortly after I post them (I won't actually close it down, but I will stop posting to it).

Gosh! I just got teary-eyed writing that.

Sappy. Sappy. Sappy. That's me!

This blog has been such a huge part of my life these last few months, I will be sad to see it go. I do plan on starting another blog, just not sure of its focus. I will keep you posted.

Happy Wednesday to you all!

Wednesday's Picture of the Day

Fountain Fun
River Front Park
Spokane, WA

Saturday, June 16, 2007

It's a Girl's Name, Too

[Warning: This entry contains spoilers. If you haven't seen Children of Men yet and you're bothered by spoilers, go out and rent it and watch it before reading this or watching the clip below, which is the final scene of the movie.]

A few weeks ago, we watched a lovely, provocative movie called Children of Men. The movie depicts a time in the near future when the entire human population has inexplicably become infertile. Society has been pitched into despair-laden chaos as a result.

"I can't really remember when I last had any hope, and I certainly can't remember when anyone else did either," the main character, Theo, says. "Because really, since women stopped being able to have babies, what's left to hope for?"

"As the sound of the playgrounds faded, the despair set in," says another character. "Very odd, what happens in a world without children's voices."

A woman named Kee, however, is pregnant. "Your baby is the miracle the whole world has been waiting for," someone says.

So you can see how we might draw some parallels between the message of this movie and our own experience holding out hope for Dylan to make it to term these past few weeks and months.

In the movie it is revealed that Theo had had a son named Dylan who had died in early childhood many years prior. When Kee (with Theo's help) gives birth to a healthy baby girl in the middle of a bombed-out apocalyptic ruins, bullets whizzing all around, she jokes about naming her Bazooka.

But then, in the final scene of the movie, Kee declares: "Dylan. I'll call my baby Dylan. It's a girl's name, too."

That's when Ashley said, "I love Dylan as a girl's name."

In case you were wondering.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007


I have a confession to make to all of you! I have been holding out on sharing some information regarding this new phase of our two-child family status. I think part of the problem is that I am still processing it myself. I am hoping that by disclosing this information through out all of cyberspace that I may come to terms with it. There will be no more denying it because it will be "out there".

I have had extensive conversations with many, many girlfriends over the years about how I would never, NEVER do what Jonathan and I did. I have had a strong conviction for a couple of decades that *this thing that we did* was not an option for us. As we were in the process, I turned to Jonathan and asked him, "What is it going to say about me that I have held this conviction for so, so long and within twenty minutes I am being persuaded to go against what I felt so strongly about?" I just can't believe that we went through with it. I am in complete and utter shock, not to mention major denial.

Jonathan and I bought a minivan.


I said it.

Oh my gosh, I said it.

I think I need to go to some sort of group - the opposite of a 12 step. I need practice saying, "Hi, my name is Ashley. I own a minivan."

(It took everything in my power to type that out and not delete it!)

Now don't get me wrong. I don't want to offend any minivan owners out there. There is no denying that they have come a long, long way over the years. And as far as function, convenience, and kid carrying luxury - they are the way to go. However, I am still having a hard time accepting that this is the phase that we have entered into. I can't wait for the PTA, soccer mom days to come, I just didn't want the minivan stigma to go along with it. And now here I am with the minivan stigma, 3 years earlier than PTA mommy status!

If you are wondering how this came all about then keep on reading! It all started out because I had been researching 7-passenger SUVs for us to upgrade to. We have company in town all the time and oftentimes it is just my mom or just my sister. This means we need one more seat in order for them to ride around with us. It would be ridiculous to drive two cars around for a weekend.

Jonathan has always been anti-SUV but I have always wanted one. I wanted one of the smaller ones though, and recently I discovered that Toyota had added a back row to their Highlander and RAV4 (we are devout Toyota drivers and wanted to stay with them if we could!). So I talked Jonathan into going to the lot with me to "just look". This is all I could convince him to do. As a matter of fact, on the way there, he made it clear to me that he didn't want to talk to a salesperson and he absolutely did not want to "talk numbers".

When we approached the lot, we were immediately greeted by a friendly salesperson. (A friendly, young, hip salesman that holds the record for most minivans sold in a year!) I think they must have all been standing around, saw us coming, pushing our baby stroller, and then had him pounce on us! With a little bit of minivan "convenience" mumbo-jumbo we were a "sure sell".

We started out looking at the Highlander and the RAV4. However, it never dawned on me that in order to get to the back seat you would have to lift the middle seat up. This means the car seats would have to be taken out each time someone would get in or out of the back seat or we would have to put the car seats in the back seat which is just too far away to meet their immediate needs. The inside also felt very cramped, and it would probably be only a matter of minutes before a claustrophobic attack would take place. (My husband, my sister and my mom are all claustrophobic). So, it wasn't long before I realized that these models were not functional and I was still holding fast to my conviction of not wanting to go any bigger in size and smaller in gas mileage, etc.

So, this meant the only option was a test drive of the minivan. Jonathan's whole demeanor changed at this point. He got very enthusiastic about the car buying process. And I on the other hand could not believe I was even considering peering into one much less driving one. I think I ducked down and tried to hide as I was getting into on the off chance that someone I knew would drive by and see me.

Well, the rest is pretty much history. The drive was super smooth, super quiet, and felt super functional. Maybe I was persuaded because it was such a smooth ride and this was the first time I had driven a car since January! The freedom of driving on an open freeway at accelerated speeds was quite refreshing. It probably wouldn't have mattered what I was driving - I would have enjoyed it no matter what!

Needless to say, as we returned the car to the lot, I peaked into the the more luxurious models. Leather interior, sun roof, wood grain paneling, 6 CD changer, DVD player, all-wheel drive, built-in Ipod plug in, dual heating/air control, bun warmers, etc, etc, etc. I quickly decided that IF I was going to be persuaded into making such a life-altering purchase that I was going to do it in style.

So there you have it.

"My name is Ashley. And I am a resigned, reluctant owner of a luxurious (yet functional) minivan".

I'll have to work on saying it without the "resigned", and "reluctant" modifiers, but for now it is where I stand. I am coming out of denial.

Friday, June 8, 2007

Friday's Picture of the Day

Hi everyone! We are in a state of new baby bliss at our house, and it has definitely taken a toll on our computer time. Hope you can understand! I do plan on posting a birth story, a last encounter with Dr. Sunshine, a few more photos, and some last bedrest boutique reflections. So, stay tuned.

Much love from the Potter household!

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Big Sister

The twinkle in Holland's eye when she is referred to as "big sister" brightens the whole room! She is such a proud big sister. She has adjusted quite well to having a new member to our family, and has been delightful to watch.

When Jonathan and I brought Holland home from the hospital, it was an amazing experience to share. Now that we have brought Dylan home we are sharing the miraculous journey once again, but this time there is a more profound sweet richness because we get to vicariously experience the newness and wonder of a new and much-anticipated baby sister in the life of a three-year-old ("I'm three and a half, Mommy") big sister.

Monday, June 4, 2007

Sunday, June 3, 2007

The Girl Formerly Known as Hershey

Dylan Grace .... born at 1:24 AM, June 3, 2007; 5 lbs. 12 oz; 19 inches.

The birth of a child is a joyous and solemn occasion in the life of a family. We, Ashley and Jonathan, bid you therefore to join us in giving thanks to Almighty God our heavenly Father, the Lord of all life, for the gift of Dylan Grace to be our daughter and with Holland Olivia for a new sister. Praise God, from Whom all blessings flow!

Sunday's Child

Ashley's water broke a few hours ago, just a little before ten o'clock, Saturday night. Now we are in the very wee hours of Sunday morning and everything is progressing as it should. We're back at our old home away from home, getting increasingly expectant by the minute.

Yes, we are actually blogging from the delivery room.

It looks like June 3 is the newly revised due date. Stay tuned.

So much for bed rest!

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Hodge Podge Post

I have a few things I have been meaning to report on and follow-up on so I am just going to post them all "hodge podge-ely" in this post:

First, I had my weekly ultrasound and follow-up appointment yesterday and things are progressing right along. Baby Hershey has had a growth spurt to almost 6lbs! We have really been concerned with her growth and my doctor was even considering inducing labor if she were continuing down the "slowed down growth" path. So, Hooray for her! The amniotic fluid and blood pressure in the cord issues have also resolved themselves so that is good news, too! I am swearing by the Gatorade regime that I have put myself on! I read somewhere online that is was a good source for replenishing amniotic fluid, etc. and things have totally turned around since I have been consuming so much of it! I may never know the true answer as to why she has made such great progress, so for now I will give Gatorade all the glory! (and God too, of course!)

Secondly, there are a few people left in the running for the "delivery prediction" contest. My mom guessed tomorrow (the 31st) because there is a full moon so we shall see. Britt guessed June 1st - not sure if there is any significance or personal connection to that date or not. The last two contenders are AngelMeg who had June 6th in honor of her oldest child's birthday, and then my dear friend, Heather is hoping for the 12th which is her birthday. Personally, tomorrow or the next day sound pretty good to me! I'm not sure I want to drag this on until the 6th or 12th - sorry girls! I guess only time will tell though - Good luck to all of you!

Thirdly, oh yeah - I also found out at my doctor's appointment that I am dilated 2cm. So, let the dilation begin..... 8 more cm to go!

Fourthly, thanks for all of the insurance "bill" predictions! I am thinking that the insurance companies are probably pretty thankful that many of you aren't into medical billing due to your astronomical guesses! The actual "bill" to the insurance company is between $155,000-$165,000 for seven weeks of hospital stay. This means Amanda hit it right on the head. She guessed between $150-175,000 based on her experience of a personal hospital stay in 2000. Good Job, Amanda! Thanks again to all of you who participated!

Lastly, I emailed the guy who wrote the article in the Spokesman Review about my blog and asked him if he found my blog randomly or if someone "tipped" him off. He told me that his wife was a featured reporter at the paper and someone had told her about it. So, if you are a friend or co-worker of Frank Sennet's wife and gave her the tip, I would love to know who you are! Are you a friend of mine? A parent of someone my daughter goes to school with? A co-worker of Jonathan's? Just curious!

Hope I am posting about a new baby girl sometime soon.

P.S We decided on a name (FINALLY)..... you have to stay tuned though!

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Read All About It - Take 2!

I just realized that you couldn't actually access the lengthy article that was in our local paper without subscribing to the Spokesman Review. Sorry about that! Here is a cut and paste copy of it:

Spokesman Review, May 28, 2007

By the time you read this, Ashley Potter may have given birth to her second daughter. Why should you care? You'll understand after reading the Spokane speech therapist's Bedrest Boutique blog.

Posting to the site has helped Potter endure nearly four months of bed rest — much of it in the hospital she refers to as Sacred Heart Hotel — by giving voice to her frustrations and fears while keeping her connected with family, friends and online supporters.

Bedrest Boutique illustrates how useful short-term blogs can be for chronicling life's important and memorable moments. It's also a compelling read, a potential resource for other women facing difficult pregnancies and, as Potter put it, "a journal for me to look back on."

After only 20 weeks of pregnancy, she launched the blog Feb. 1 with a post that was no less harrowing for the humor she injected into it. "I got some bad news today at my ultrasound hearing," Potter wrote. "I went in to have some measurements taken, and got sentenced to bedrest at the local prenatal correctional facility (hospital). My initial sentence: charged with a misdemeanor violation of the Incompetent Cervix Rehabilitation Act, found guilty, 3-4 month term in hospital, no chance of parole, no bail."

More details soon emerged. With an abnormally short cervix endangering her pregnancy, Potter had it reinforced with stitches. Combined with bed rest, this cerclage procedure can help prevent midterm miscarriages.

But Potter didn't dwell on the medical particulars. Instead, she detailed the emotional ups and (mostly) downs of having a vital life so suddenly restricted, and for such a scary reason.

In 114 entries over the 111 days until she had her cerclage removed last Tuesday, Potter gave readers regular progress reports on how she was coping with the monotony, boredom, nervousness and sometimes brusque medical care familiar to women in her condition. Husband Jonathan and 3-year-old daughter Holland helped keep her strong.

On Potter's first Sunday in the hospital, Holland said, "I don't want to go to Mass with you, daddy. I just want to stay here with poor old mommy." (Potter later wrote of putting pigtails in Holland's hair, "It's amazing how something so simple can bring such pleasure.")

When Jonathan learned his office was visible from his wife's room, he started turning the lights on and off in greeting. One day he surprised her with a wheelchair-load of scrapbooking supplies.

Connecting to the outside world was important as well. Two readers shared their bed-rest baby stories after Potter put out a call for support on a particularly down day. She also tapped into a network of other women who have gone through high-risk pregnancies at and even started e-mailing with a June 19 "due-date buddy."

On the other hand, "I don't think I have even picked up a book since the computer was turned on 13 days ago," Potter wrote early on in her ordeal. "I haven't had quiet time to reflect … I never would have thought I would have issues with 'balance' while being laid up in a hospital."

Though they may be time bandits, bed-rest blogs are emerging as a small subset of online pregnancy diaries. Sites similar to Potter's include Blessed with Two, Stop the Ride and Team Menace. Read them if you want inspiring insights into the resiliency of the human spirit.

Drilling Down French Soil, French Soul is another blog by an area woman chronicling an important stage in her life. Carol Price Spurling and her family are leaving Moscow, Idaho, in August to spend a year working on organic farms in Europe.

Spurling, a writer whose work has appeared in The Spokesman-Review, will be sharing many tales of memorable meals if her site's address is any guide. It's

Monday, May 28, 2007

Read All About It!

My father-in-law called this morning and asked if I knew I was in the paper. I said, "What?!" He said a friend of his had called him and said there was a story about my blog on page A11 in the Spokane newspaper, The Spokesman Review.

I had no idea what he was talking about and figured it was just part of a listing of local blogs. Nonetheless I sent Jonathan racing out to get a copy of the paper.

Wow!! Correspondent Frank Sennett wrote a lengthy article profiling me and my blog in considerable detail. Just when I was feeling like the bedrest blahs were getting the best of me and sucking the life out of this blog, Mr. Sennett's article comes along and gives me a great boost.

Thank you!

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Babies 'R' Us Field Trip Ends in 8-Hour Hospital Visit

Jonathan here, reporting live from the basement while Ashley and Holland snooze upstairs. (I'm the insomniac of the family and with insomnia comes responsibility for attending to the blog, lest ye readers of Bedrest Boutique worry yourselves.)

We spent a few hours at the hospital again today. All's well, though, and we're back home now. It seems Ashley's cervix is still recovering from the removal of the cerclage last Tuesday -- the stitches that have been denying baby Hershey access to the outside world for the past six months. Ashley was supposed to be remaining horizontal like a bottle of fine wine all weekend, hoping not to go into labor prior to things healing up a bit in the nether regions (yes, "nether regions" is an actual a medical term). In a burst of foolhardiness, however, Ashley decided we should take a field trip to Babies 'R' Us this morning. (How many mothers have gone into labor while shopping there, one wonders.)

She and Holland and I had roamed the aisles for a half hour or so, filling a shopping cart (or buggy, if you're from south of the Mason-Dixon) with baby thingamajigs and whozits and drool-catchers and such, when Ashley abruptly excused herself to the bathroom. Holland and I were trying out a fancy stroller (that's a perambulator for those of you reading from across the pond) with a platform upon which the elder sister may either stand as though piloting a Segway or sit facing the parent in order to converse about important matters of the day. Just when I was remarking to Holland that we should go check on Mommy and make sure baby Hershey wasn't in the process of being born right there in Babies 'R' Us (however appropriate that might be) Ashley reappeared looking wan and hunched over and said, "We need to get to the hospital." So she oozed blood all the way there, which was fairly disconcerting. Beyond that, I will refrain from further description.

Fortunately the grandparents were nearby. They picked up Holland and had a fun afternoon riding the carousel and sliding down the Big Red Wagon slide. Meanwhile Ashley got poked and prodded and observed and monitored in the triage room and then placed in a room just two doors down from our old one. I went home and grabbed some DVDs. We watched three episodes of House and two of Boston Legal, having exhausted Lost and Grey's Anatomy. Boredom and malaise crouched at the door. The clock ticked. The baby within fidgeted and hiccuped. A variety of nurses and a friendly resident doctor with a Beatles song as his cell phone ringtone ambled in from time to time. The conclusion at the end of the day was that that the largish puddle of blood that had oozed from the nether regions had originated from the outside of the cervix, where the stitches were removed of late, and that everything and everyone on the inside was well and good and properly percolating.

The moral of the story: Back to bedrest. Be still. Hurry up and wait. And no more trips to Babies 'R' Us for at least the next week.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Preliminary Hospital Charges (the bill)

We received a copy in the mail today of the claim that was sent to our insurance company from our hospital.

Who wants to take a stab at the outrageous cost?

7 weeks of around the clock nurse/doctor care, daily prescriptions, weekly ultrasounds, 3 meals and 2 snacks a day, linen service, daily monitoring of myself and baby, cable, wireless Internet, etc.....

Go to comment section and cast your prediction.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Famous Last Words

Blogging from my hospital bed, once again.

Went in to have my cerclage removed today. Following the procedure, my doctor decided to admit me into the hospital to be monitored "for a few hours." I couldn't help but recall that those were the same words he used when he admitted me into the hospital the last time, which turned out to be for a seven-week stay.

"Will you keep her there overnight?" Jonathan asked.

"Well, we'll see how it goes," was my doctor's noncommittal reply.

UPDATE: Back in bed at home now. (Just seven hours at the hospital this time, instead of seven weeks!) Had some heavy contractions for an hour or so but they subsided. Strict bedrest continues in hopes of a little more growth before birth.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Our Miracle Baby

Tomorrow could be a day of truth for me. I go in at 10:15 and my doctor will remove my cerclage (the stitches that have been holding my cervix together for 6 months). I am a little bit nervous about this because anything could happen. I am going to be nervous to even stand up when he is finished in fear that the baby and all will come rushing out! My doctor explained that he has seen both extremes -- women going into labor within a few hours or days, and those who continue to incubate for a few more weeks despite the fact that there is no cervical length to speak of.

He said, "Well, you have defied all odds up till now so there is no telling what you will do!" I really don't think that he thought I would make it his far. He kept saying all along that he would be happy if I made it to 32 weeks, and now here we are at 36. Amazing.

Personally, I am expecting to be in labor within a couple of days from the removal of the stitches. This means after 16 weeks of incubating this precious, little girl and keeping her safe and snug inside my belly, I may actually be holding her in my arms this week. I'm not sure I am ready. There were times that I didn't even know if this would become my reality and now here we are.

When I stop and think about this whole process, I realize that it has truly been miraculous. Giving birth and carrying a baby full term is miraculous in and of itself. Sustaining a fragile life inside of you is astounding and wondrous, yet not easily understood when pondered. However, when you are faced with a situation like mine and the reality of life's fragility and precariousness are there to greet you each morning, you must come to terms that each day really matters --and the miraculousness of life is brought into sharper relief.

I remember very vividly being admitted into the hospital on that first day and not really thinking that my situation was very serious. My doctor was pretty emotionless. He did not convey any sort of sense of emergency or panic. He matter of factly sent me to the hospital to be monitored, and I thought that was the extent of it.

Most of you who know me know that I am a die hard optimist--glass always 1/2 if not 3/4 full--fairytale believer--sunny side up--kinda girl! It wasn't until Dr. Sunshine told me how "unviable" my pregnancy was and that I had been given a "raw deal" combined with a couple of comments from my girlfriends that I realized my situation may not have a happy ending. The birth of my daughter was uncertain. One of my girlfriends said, "Ashley, this is going to be your miracle baby," and another one came right out and asked me, "Do they think you can even carry her to term?"

Reality set in. My baby may not make it to term or if she is born, she may be born way too early and suffer some severe complications. Ventilators, respirators, feeding tubes, stomach tubes, kidney failure, underdeveloped heart, lungs, brain -- any of these things or a combination of any of them could be my reality. These are not thoughts that any mom ever wants to consider to be a possibility. They are all too scary, too chilling, too daunting. The vulnerability that surfaces is too painful to face.

This is when I had to let go and come to the realization that I was not in control. I had to have faith that God's grace was going to see me through this. I had to pray for peace of mind and the strength to face each day as they came.

It is at this point that I decided to make the best of my situation. I decided to embrace the time that I had been given to pray, reflect, meditate, read, write, create, etc. Things that I have trouble making time for in my every day non-bedrest life.

I can truly say that I enjoyed a lot of my time. Yes, there were times that were very difficult. I had moments of finding myself in fear and uncertainty. I had moments of loneliness and despair. But above all, I had moments of peace. I had moments of reflection. I had moments every day of listening to the rapid, little heart beat that was thriving inside me. I had moments of joy and anticipation.

As I am nearing the end, I hope that this experience will allow me to find more of these things in my everyday life. I am anticipating the second that I hear her cry and the next second when she will be placed on my bare chest - skin to skin. The tears will be flooding as I will remember she is our miracle baby.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

It's been a few days.....

Sorry it has been a few days since I have posted anything. I got caught up in Mother's Day, summer like weather, doctor's appointments, and making plans for this last little homestretch! In what follows will be a re-cap of our last few days. If you aren't someone who knows me and really cares about how we spent our weekend then I will warn you that this is a long post, and you may find it rather boring! Even those of you who do know me and care about how we spent our weekend may find it boring! So, be forewarned.....

To get you caught up, I will start with Mother's Day. I had a wonderful weekend. Jonathan went above and beyond the call of duty (once again). The weekend celebration started on Friday at my prenatal massage appointment! I had a doctor's appointment on Friday morning and the hospital's massage clinic is right next door to the office I was visiting. Pretty convenient, huh? My massage was wonderful - very relaxing, very soothing, very needed.

On Saturday, the weather was absolutely amazing here. Every year on Mother's Day, Holland and I have a tradition of having a mommy/daughter photo shoot at the lilac garden close to our house (Manito Park). I was afraid that the weather might not hold up on Sunday so we went a day early this year. I love family traditions, and this one has become one of my favorites. The sun was shining so bright so it actually didn't make for great lighting for photography so these pictures aren't as good as previous years. I am learning though that it is all about the memories and being "present in the moment" which doesn't always have to be captured on camera.

After our photo shoot, I talked Jonathan into taking me to a garden store so I could buy some flowers and herbs to plant. I rode around in the store's little automatic scooter, but I got stuck in between some fountain accessories and some big, huge planters. The scooter is a nice service that many stores are offering now and I enjoy riding around in it, but I have two complaints: 1. it doesn't go fast enough, and 2. when you put it in reverse, you get the "wide load coming through" beep for all of those around you to be warned- it's a bit humiliating. Anyway, I kinda abandoned the scooter there after I got stuck as we were almost done anyway. I loaded up a few more things in the cart, and went to the car to recline and there I waited for Jonathan to stand in line and pay. Then once we were home, I laid in the grass while Holland filled up the pots with soil for me. She had such a fun time using her little garden tools. She was delighted to be such a big helper, and I was delighted to be sharing the day with her doing something we both love.

On Sunday, I ventured out to mass for the first time since January. It was so nice to be able to be with my family at mass on such a special day. The pews are a little rough on the pregnant, bedridden body so I had to take a cushioned donut pillow to sit on! Imagine the sight!

After mass, we went to an annual historical homes tour to see Mediterrean style homes in our neighborhood. There were 5 homes to view but I could only make it to 3. These few hours out and about just about did me in. We came home so I could rest before we went back out for dinner.

Dinner was amazing. We went to Spencer's Steakhouse which is voted one of the top ten steak houses in the country (at least it was at one time). I had a big, fatty, juicy ribeye steak, lyonnaise red potatoes, fresh asparagus, and broiled tomatoes with a balsamic vinegar reduction sauce. Mmmmmmm. I am starting to salivate just thinking about it.

Needless to say, Monday was a day of rest. I was absolutely exhausted. I knew the whole weekend that I was "over doing it", and I was going against doctor's oders, but I just couldn't stop myself. I did make sure to listen to my body, and I took breaks when I needed them. I am still not having any sort of contractions so that was one of the ways that I justified so much activity.

In addition to the massage, home made cards, breakfast in bed, trip to the lilac garden and garden center, historical home tour, dinner at a fancy restaurant, I still received gifts!

As most of you know, I have been watching food network like crazy. I now have a long list of kitchen gadgets that I need to acquire - one gadget being a grill pan. It seems like ALL of the chef's use them so I hinted to Jonathan for one and he actually came through with one! Usually, he doesn't even acknowledge my hints, much less carry though with them! He also bought us 8 crystal, red wine glasses to replace the ones that we received from wedding gifts 8 years ago. It has taken us that many years to break them all and we are down to 2 from 16!

So needless to say, I was spoiled rotten this year for Mother's Day. Actually, I have been spoiled rotten almost this entire year! I could easily look at every day so far as a special "mother's day" as I have been served countless meals in bed, had laundry service, maid service, chauefer service, computer repair service, car detail service, massage service, personal chef service, lawn service, etc, etc, etc. at my disposal.

My husband is amazing. He leaves me completely and utterly speechless.

At the end of the day on Mother's Day, I said, "Thank you for such a wonderful Mother's Day" in which Jonathan replied, "Thank you for being such a wonderful mother!"

(that comment alone would have been enough for Mother's Day!)

Friday, May 11, 2007

DAY 100!

It has been 100 days since I received my original bedrest sentence. I can not believe it. I was thinking today about all of the things I haven't done in 100 days, and wondering how I was ever going to catch up! I thought it would be fun to make a list of those every day activities that I have missed out on!

It has been at least 100 days since......

I physically picked up my daughter.
I cooked a whole meal.
I swept, mopped, or vacuumed the floor.
I had my eyebrows waxed. (don't worry - I have been plucking!)
I've driven a car.
I've had my hair cut.
I've washed a load of laundry.
I have been to work.
I've walked to the park with hubby and daughter.
I've taken my daughter to school or ballet class.
I've gone to the grocery store.
I have had conjugal relations with my husband!
I've washed dishes.
I've cleaned the bathroom.
I've been to mass.
I've been on a shopping spree.
I have gone out to dinner to a favorite restaurant.
I have been to the gym.
I have gone out in public and shown off my pregnant belly.
I've mowed the lawn.
I have traveled more than 10 miles away from my house.
I've bathed my child.
I have lounged in the hammock.
I've done jumping jacks.

And the list could go on and on and on.....

I am sure there are so many other things that I haven't done or been a part of, but that is all that I can brainstorm at the moment. I think that when this is all said and done, I will make a list and cross each of these things off as I happily re-introduce them into my life. Even the vacuuming and the mopping. I've missed it ALL.

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Family Photo Shoot

All photos taken by my dear friend, Mary
MKC Photography ©

Dr. Sunshine Owes Me.....

Do you guys remember Dr. Sunshine? I have been thinking about him lately as more and more days are being crossed off the calendar. For those of you who haven't been around on my blog since the beginning, I will give you some background information on him.

Dr. Sunshine was a resident that I had to see my first few weeks in the hospital. He was ALL "doom and gloom". Every time he left my room, I would go into a tailspin and be completely scared to death and down in the dumps. (Jonathan gave him the nickname!)

He is the one that made comments like:
"You have been given a raw deal",
"24 weeks is the magic number"
"We are hoping that you stay pregnant"
"IF you make it to 24 weeks, then I am going to do a dance"

Well, I didn't ever get my dance when we made it to the "magic number" (maybe because I asked that he be removed from my case), but nonetheless, I think he owes me more than a dance now that I am at 34 weeks! If I am MIA later on, I might just be out on a joyride in my wheelchair hunting his little sunshiney self down. He needs to pay up!

(You can click here or here to read the original Dr. Sunshine stories!)

Monday, May 7, 2007

Miscellaneous Monday

1. I am in for a rude awakening when I finally get relieved of this bedrest buisness. Imagine what happens to your muscles, stamina, and endurance after not exerting hardly any energy for 14-16 weeks. The last couple of weeks, I have noticed that when I get up to go to the bathroom and then go into read Holland a bedtime story, I am panting half way through! I literally can not make it through a bedtime story without needing to catch my breath. Pathetic. Scary. Reality.

2. Barney at 7:00 a.m. doesn't quite work for me! It's torture. Holland got up super early this morning, and I wasn't ready to get up so I let her turn on the t.v. I paid for it though. Next time I'll grab her a book or something!

3. I'm afraid that Holland now thinks that what I have been through is just the norm for pregnant women. Jonathan and I went out the other night for a couple of hours, and she said, "But mommy, you can't do that. You're pregnant. You need to get back to bed."

4. It is suppose to be 75 and 80 degrees here today and tomorrow. Bring it on, Tom Sherry! (our local meterologist)

5. We have three beautiful lilac trees in our backyard. They are just starting to bloom and are transforming our yard into an aromatic, spring like wonderland. Holland has a great view of them from her bedroom window. Yesterday, she came running down the hall yelling enthusiastically, "Mommy, Mommy, Mommy the lilacs are growing. Aren't they so beautiful?"

Isn't that so sweet?

6. We are struggling with the "name game". We just can't make a final decision. ARGGGGGGGGG!

7. We are getting our car detailed today in preparation for our new baby! Yay! Next step, carseat installation! Crazy. Scary. Reality.

8. Ellen is on day 4 of bedrest for a back injury. She is taping her show from her hospital bed, and each of her guests crawl into a hospital bed beside her. It's pretty funny! Only Ellen could pull that off.

9. Jonathan and I are going on a picnic in a few minutes. Can't wait for the fresh air, sunshine, and hubby time! A perfect way to spend our day!

10. Tomorrow, I will be 34 weeks!

Saturday, May 5, 2007

Food Network Junkies

Holland and I have both turned into food network junkies. I think she loves it as much as I do. If I have it on, she will climb up in my lap and ask me, "Mommy, may I watch food network with you?". She has learned all of chef's names (Rachel Ray, Paul Deen, Giada, Barefoot Contessa, Sandra Lee,etc). She knows them by what color spatula they use! She is very interested in the variety of colors and a bit disappointed that we only have a white one. "Mommy, we need to buy a blue spatula like Rachel Ray!".

She is always wanting to help us cook these days. I have just started in the last week or so helping out with some prep work for dinner (cutting up herbs, or veggies or making marinades). She loves to get her cutting board and knife and chop away with us. She has informed us that one of her favorite kitchen utensils is the whisk! She loves to stir and mix things up!

I am constantly finding her cooking in her kitchen these days with play dough, water, salt, pepper, and whatever fruit that is in her reach. She makes all sorts of gourmet dishes and offers them to us through out the day. This particular concoction has been in our kitchen for about a week now (another part of my "letting go" therapy). I took some pictures of it, and asked her about it so in what follows will be our conversation pertaining to her cooking process......

M: "So, Holland, what did you make?"
H: "Chicken pie"
M: "Who's recipe did you use?"
H: " Um, Paula Deen's"
M: "What did you put in your chicken pie?"
H: "I put some black bird seeds, some rainbow sugar, some cinnamon, and I added flour, and I added almond butter, and peanut butter, and jelly".
M: "Did you put any chicken in your chicken pie?"
H: "Sure I did. And to mix it up, I mixed it up with chicken soup".
H: "Do you want some?"
M: "Sure, I would love some! It looks so delicious."

Anyone else want some? There is plenty to go around!

Thursday, May 3, 2007

33 Week Update

First, I want to report on my friend Amy (the one that I posted the prayer request on). She and baby Lucas are doing well. Lucas weighed a little over 6 lbs. even though he was 6 week premature! He is in NICU to get a little help with his breathing. Amy's surgery went well. She did end up having a blood transfusion due to the amount of blood lost, but she is expected to make a full recovery.

Thank all of you who kept her in your prayers.

As far I am concerned, Baby "hershey" and I are remaining stable. Our appointment this week revealed that the amniotic fluid and blood pressure in the umbilical cord is staying where it needs to stay. We didn't actually measure growth this week because it is hard to get accurate measurements when they are done so close together, so for sure we will get those measurements next week. My doctor told us that as long as the amniotic fluid and blood pressure was staying within normal limits that he wouldn't go ahead and induce unless she completely stopped growing. So, that is good news.

I am really starting to realize that we are going to be a "family of 4" in the next few weeks. I just can't totally process all of it though! I know that it is reality, but I can't put myself there. I keep feeling like there is still so much that we haven't done to prepare for her. I feel like there are major things that I have overlooked or just forgotten. We have the crib, the cradle, the co-sleeper, the car seat, some diapers/wipes, lots of clothes, tiny nail clippers, a nose bulby syringe...... What else is there?

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Prayer Request

For those of you who have been following my blog for a few months, you may remember a prayer request that was posted a while back. You can click here to read the original post.

Tomorrow (Monday) is the day that Amy will undergo a c-section to deliver her baby, and then she will continue to be in surgery for an additional 3-5 hours due to the complications she has experienced. She is 34 weeks along, and it is hospital policy that babies aren't discharged until 35 weeks, so her baby boy will automatically be admitted into the NICU. Please say a quick little prayer that she will deliver a healthy baby, and that her surgery will be successful.

Thank you so much for all of your continued prayers and support.

Delivery Prediction

Calling all predictors - cast your prediction today!

When is "baby hershey" going to arrive?

Here are some facts to consider when predicting:
I am not officially due until June 19th, 2007
I will be 33 weeks pregnant on Tuesday, May 1st
My cerclage will most likely come out in week 36 (week of May 21)
Holland was born at 38 weeks after 7 weeks of bedrest
Holland weighed 5 lbs and was 18 inches long

Post your prediction in the comment section. Feel free to predict the day, time, weight, and length if you are up for all that!

Prizes yet to be determined!

Thursday, April 26, 2007

These Little Piggies

These little piggies got a pedicure
and went "whee, whee, whee" all the way back to bed!
(okay, it doesn't really work, but you get the idea!)
I sweet talked my hubby into letting me get a pedicure yesterday. I figured it wasn't that big of a deal. I rode in the car in a reclined position the whole 10 minutes it took us to get to the place, and then I was only sitting up for about 40 minutes during the pedicure, and then back to a reclined position for the drive home. I'm sure my doctor would have approved had I asked him! I am a pedicure kind of girl. I think that pedicures are one of the ultimate pampering experiences. I've never understood women who don't get them or who are simply grossed out by them. I just can not relate to that!
the soothing hot water,
the foot rub,
the leg massage,
the cheesy vibrating chair,
even the out dated pop culture magazines -
I love, love, love it all!
I informed Jonathan that this is just the first pampering experience of many, many more to come! The only problem is that I can't decide what to sweet talk him into letting me do next - eyebrows? hair cut & color? massage? facial? manicure?
Actually, the bigger decision I need to make is: do I continue to spread them all out one-at-a-time? Or do I save the rest of them up for a full day of spa treatment? I have always wanted to have the full spa "day of beauty" package so I am leaning towards that option. Hmmmm..... So many pampering choices and I'm running out of time to ponder!


Doesn't it look like she is blowing bubbles?!

This week's ultrasound picture.

Look at those sweet, little lips and those squeezable cheeks!

I had an ultrasound yesterday, but no follow up with my doctor. I was thinking that I would see him immediately after my ultrasound, but then I remembered that Wednesdays are one of his surgery days. Anyway, the sonographer was able to give us some encouraging news. She measured the amniotic fluid which was 7 cm (last week), and up to 15 cm yesterday. My doctor had told us that he wanted it to be about 10 cm at least, so that was very encouraging. I had read online to drink lots of water and even Gatorade to replenish the fluid so I did just that! I'm not sure of the validity of the Gatorade recommendation, but my fluid was definitely replenished so I'm not gonna question it. The sonographer also reported that the blood pressure in the umbilical cord looked good, and that she was still measuring within normal limits for growth. She had gained about 4-5 ounces in those few days so we were pleased to hear she is still growing. I'm not sure how many ounces they are suppose to gain daily, but nonetheless it is hard to get accurate measurements on growth when they are taken that close together. So next week's ultrasound will be more telling and should give us a better idea on her growth status. I am just thankful for the stability that we saw, and for the fact that I wasn't rushed in for an emergency induction! After twelve weeks and a few days of resting, I am asking for a couple more weeks. I just haven't had quite enough!

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Frumpy Bedrest Fatigue Syndrome

I have FBFS (Frumpy Bedrest Fatigue Syndrome). I suspect I have had it all along, but it is really raring it's ugly head these last couple of weeks. The nature of this disorder is that as time passes, it advances into more progressive stages. Mine has advanced rather quickly. Unfortunately, there really aren't any cures for this syndrome. Occasionally, a dose of sunshine, a visit from a friend, a really, good meal, or a long, hot bath will treat the symptoms, but these things only provide temporary relief. The worst part of it is that once the FBFS goes into remission, you are often hit with FNMSDS (Frumpy New Mom Sleep Deprivation Syndrome). Similar symptoms, similar course of action - only time will heal.

Here is a list of warning signs and symptoms:

bedrest for longer than 6 weeks
overgrown eyebrows
loss of energy
calloused feet
lack of motivation
shortness of breath
in need of a haircut
bouts of extreme boredom
severe fatigue
excessive wearing of lounge pants and t-shirts
loss of muscle tone
weight gain
anxiety and depression
fresh air withdrawals
overall unkemptness
obsessive compulsive tendencies
stiff muscles
dry lips
mental turmoil and exhaustion
loss of conversational skills

If you or anyone you know is experiencing these symptoms, it is highly recommended that you search the Internet immediately for online blogs, email bedrest buddies, or cyberspace support groups to assist you with this physically and emotionally draining disorder!

Friday, April 20, 2007

Ultrasound Update

I had an ultrasound and follow up appointment with my doctor today, and there has been a slight change in my status. There were a couple of findings on the ultrasound which mean "baby hershey" needs to be very closely monitored from here on out.

When I delivered Holland, there were a few things that the doctor found disconscerning. He said that my umblicial cord was very thin and there were lots of micro blood clots on the outside of the placenta. I guess it is somewhat normal for there to be some blood clots, but I had an excessive amount. Lastly, Holland only weighed 5 lbs and she was a full term baby. My doctor had predicted she would be less than 7 lbs, but he was a little freaked out that she ended up being that small. He said it appeared that she had stopped growing towards the end or at least that her growth rate had decreased significantly.

In the weeks following Holland's birth, I had a ton of bloodwork done and a whole battery of different tests to try and get answers. Everything came back okay so we were just sent on our merry way. I have always been curious and wanted to know more about what caused the problems (even though we didn't know they were problems). It has been a bit unsettling to know something was wrong but answers were not provided. There is a history of all the babies born by my mom and my sisters - they have all been less than 6 lbs, most born 3-8 weeks early, super fast deliveries, and a couple of bedrest sentences. Maybe this is something hereditary that needs to be addressed so that our daughters can be more prepared and informed.

So today, my doctor asked me about Holland's birth again and followed it up with , "it looks like it is happening again". He said that the amniotic fluid had decreased, the blood pressure in the umbilical cord had decreased, and so had her rate of growth. He said everything was still within normal limits at this time and he wasn't "too concerned" right now, but that this sort of thing ususally progresses and then there is a definite need for concern.

His plan is to bring me in twice a week for monitoring and non-stress tests as well as weekly ultrasounds. He did say that if she continued at this rate then we would have a baby in 2-3 weeks. He would more than likely induce labor rather than let her continue this way.

I'm not sure how I feel about all of this. I was just starting to feel relieved and like we were well on our way to having a healthy baby. This throws a little wrench in my peace of mind status. It is very likely that this was happening with Holland too, but I wasn't being monitored this closely. There is no way to know how early it started with her either. She is still very petite and she always will be. I was always the smallest one in my class all the way to high school and beyond!

We are very blessed with a doctor that is so "on top" of things. He sent me to the lab yesterday for more bloodwork and another battery of tests. He is hoping he can get some answers. Maybe my last doctor missed some things or maybe there is something that is more advanced this time around. We will be eager to get the results, but until then we are feeling a little unsettled and uncertain about the risks involved with this situation.

Please keep us in your prayers as we go through these next couple of weeks.

Thank you, friends!

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

"Busted" (again) by My Three-Year-Old

The other day, Jonathan left me alone with Holland while he went to mass. I got up to get something to drink out of the kitchen, and I got a little distracted by the dirty sink, the crumbs on the counter, and the unswept floor (it really wasn't a big deal at all, but I got a little frustrated). I let out a BIG sigh and said, "Holland, you're Daddy doesn't know how to clean!". What I really meant by that was, "Holland, you're Daddy doesn't know how to clean like I clean".

I didn't think she was even listening to me as she was just passing through the kitchen when I made the comment. Well, about an hour 1/2 later, Jonathan returned from mass, and Holland was super eager that he was home. She started jumping up and down (more so than she usually does), as soon as she saw is his car pull up in the drive way. The second he walked in the room, she could hardly contain her excitement. A huge smirky smile spread across her face, her eyes lit up, and she blurted out, "Mommy, I need to tell Daddy something."

I said, "Okay, what do you need to tell him?" (I had no idea what was coming)

She then shouted, "Daddy, Mommy said you didn't know how to clean!" and started laughing hysterically dropping to the floor.

What a little tattle-tale! I couldn't help but crack up, but then felt the need to explain myself! Jonathan was very understanding as he always is. My comment didn't phase him a bit probably because he and I both know he has been working his *@%* off!

In his defense, I do need to publically declare that he has been totally amazing through out this whole ordeal. He is constantly cleaning things, vacuuming, washing clothes, straightening H's room, sweeping, mopping, etc. I am sure he is doing it so that I remain sane since I have turned into a bit of a clean freak these last few years. I appreciate ALL that he is doing even if it doesn't have quite as much "attention to detail" as my cleaning has!

Thanks, Babe! You Rock!

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Crafty Ashley Continues Being Crafty

These are the projects that I completed, yesterday. The first little onesie has a pea pod on it (I hope you could tell that's what it was!). I love baby stuff with pea pods on it, it's so sweet!

The second one was made from a scrapbooking embellishment that I just sewed on - it's a little felt flower with a pearl in the middle. So, so sweet!

I think I am going to make some for Holland too. She asked me, "Mommy, can you make me one with three flowers because I'm three?"

"Of course I can, sweet pea!"

Monday, April 16, 2007

DAY 75: Miscellaneous Monday

1. Today is DAY 75 that I have been on bedrest. Can you believe it? That sounds like such a long time!

2. Jonathan is enjoying a new obsession of creating "face food". Holland and I receive at least one plate of face food each day. Click here to see a picture and blog entry about one of his latest creations. Remember my "sweet, goofy husband" posts?

3. I think I forgot to give an update about gestational diabetes. I DON'T have it this time around. I can't even convey how very relieved I am. Yippee! "Pass the Jellie Bellies, please!"

4. I am feeling like I am on the "homestretch", and I still have a long list of bedrest projects to complete. I may have made my list a bit too long, but I'm going to try and be super productive this week. I love crossing things off lists.

5. I am officially up to date on Grey's Anatomy. I started watching all of the episodes from the very beginning when I was first admitted into the hosptial. It makes a huge difference to have all of the story, the subtle dynamics of each relationship, and the history and baggage of each character! We rented season 1 and season 2, but the beginning of season 3 wasn't available to rent, however luckily, I was able to download them onto my ipod. I have watched 56 episodes total! Crazy, huh? I am not an avid TV watcher at all so this was fun to take on and it was a great way to pass the hours!

6. We ordered another load of groceries online again today! Very convenient. I think Jonathan is hooked. I personally like to go the grocery store, but for now this is fun and efficient!

7. I watched the first ever "Food Network Awards" last night. Pretty pathetic. I don't know what I was expecting, but it didn't quite cut it.

8. It is suppose to be a gorgeous day here today followed by a week of rain and clouds. I am hoping to get the lounge chair back out!

9. My hospital bag is officially packed. Well, actually I have everything in a pile in a corner of my room to put into a suitcase. I keep forgetting to ask Jonathan to bring a bag up from the basement. (If you are reading this babe, can you bring the small, black bag up?)

10. Holland is "into" dresses these days. I am so excited. It was almost impossible to get her to put a dress on last spring and summer. Thankfully, I didn't let that sway me in my end of the year shopping sales! She is totally set.

Happy Monday! (I'm 31 weeks, tomorrow)

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Autism Awareness Month

******************* This is not a bedrest related post! ***************

Most of you know that when I am not on bedrest, I am a pediatric Speech Language Pathologist who specializes in working with children with autism. I have been working with this population for about 10 years now and I absolutely love it. This month is Autism Awareness Month so I thought I would take a quick minute to post some information on Autism.

* Autism now impacts 1 in 150 children
* 1 to 1.5 million Americans
* Fastest-growing developmental disability
* 1 in 94 boys is on the autism spectrum
*67 children are diagnosed per day
* A new case is diagnosed almost every 20 minutes
*Boys are four times more likely than girls to have autism
*There is no medical detection or cure for autism (at this time)

Autism Speaks created a music video of the Five for Fighting song, "World", which features images of autistic children and their families. It is a truly moving video and was the work of Bill Shea. The band is generously donating $0.49 to Autism Speaks for each time the video is viewed - the funding goes toward research studies to help find a cure. When you have a moment, please visit the link below to watch the video and pass it along to your friends and family. They are aiming for 10,000 hits, but hopefully we can help them to surpass this goal.

To view the video, click here.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Crafty Ashley

Look at what I made! I have been wanting to learn to embroider for a long time and now I am teaching myself! I was given an embroider kit while I was in the hospital from Jonathan's co-workers and I just pulled it out yesterday. Thank you again EWU for all of the goodies!
This is my first attempt at anything - it is a tea towel that I am handing off to Holland for her play kitchen area. It's a little messy, but I think I will get better as I practice. I will get better, right?

My next project will be something babyish - maybe a onesie, a t-shirt, a pillow case, or something to frame for the wall. Gosh! There are so many choices! Stay tuned for postings of future projects!

Happy Weekend Everyone!