Monday, May 31, 2004

Car Seats

Got all the car seats switched around and the new baby's car seat installed today. It took a lot more time than I thought it would, but it's done now! Now if only the baby would come out, so we can actually use her car seat! I look at it and marvel how tiny it looks. It's always hard to imagine how small newborns are. Although this one must be growing bigger and bigger every day :-)

Still no signs of impending labor, and no nesting urge either. Unless you count the gardening as nesting. Tomorrow I am going to plant lots of tomato plants, tonight hopefully is the last night that we have any danger of frost. I don't want to lose my precious tomato seedlings, after nursing them for so many weeks :-) So going to take them in for one more night, just to be sure.

I got a bunch of dahlias today, which I planted in one of my flower beds. This is the first year I am trying dahlias, hoping they will look nice, for now they are just tiny sprigs ;-) They will need to be lifted in the fall though, which is a pain, but I guess I'll deal with it. I planted the last of my gladiolas, and some broccoli. Maybe I will be able to get everything in before this baby is here!

Off to bed now, really tired, need to rest before labor kicks in, right? ;-)

Saturday, May 29, 2004

Eleven Days And Counting

Nope, nothing. No signs of baby. No signs of labor. Not even any signs of impending labor. Or does it count when mil-s are obsessively cleaning the house? Could I count that count as nesting? No, I didn't think so either.

We went to the farmer's market today, where every one was surprised to see me :-) I told them that this baby was just too comfortable inside :-) My mil stayed home to clean, but my mom went with us, it was fun. We got some more annuals, and I finally finished planting all my containers! No, that does not mean that there isn't any gardening left to do before the baby ;-)

I transplanted some basil into my herb garden, did some weeding, and mil planted bulbs for me. Looking forward to seeing those all grow together with my newborn. Three out of the four dahlias that I planted are starting to sprout, but I just noticed that we have a frost warning for tonight, so I better go and protect them after I write this entry. I also want to take my seedlings inside, hopefully this is the last night that it will be needed and I finally can plant them all!

Baby is healthy and active and has no plans to come out any time soon. Oh well, that means I can get more of my seedlings planted.

My mom, Erik, and me
My mom, Erik, and me, enjoying the sun today


They are addicted to it! It's scary and overwhelming. Will I ever recognize my house again? They keep asking me where I want them to put something and I don't know either. If I knew where to put it, it wouldn't be there in the first place! And I just knew the bath rooms would not be clean enough to their standards, and sure enough, they aren't. Cleaning them is on their list for tomorrow, while I go to the farmer's market. They can't go with me, because they want to clean... And here I was hoping to lure them out of the house!

Today we went to the Montshire Museum, a local science museum. It was fun, and a nice break from cleaning :-) Erik decided to walk back to the van by himself, while we searched the museum for him.... He was brought back by a nice lady, phew. He is too independent for his own good!!!!

Had yet another prenatal today, I really should have had this baby by now!!!! Ten days overdue, and counting. Everything is going well though, baby is very comfortable. And seriously, I am not sure if I would want to come out either, with all the mil stress we are having LOL. I weighed 161 lbs, which is less than 3 weeks ago, but total weight gain is normal, so midwife wasn't worried. Blood pressure was good, and my uterus had shrunk to 36 cm, instead of the 37 cm it was last week ;-) So baby must be really low in there! Ready to be born. Not even posterior anymore, which is good.

Signed up the kids for swimming lessons, paid the mortgage and went back home to the cleaning crew. I need to find more reasons to be out of the house. Although at the moment they are blaming me for not having the baby 'You should stop running around, so that this baby can be born!!' Well, I am still going to the farmer's market tomorrow! And I might find other things to do too ;-)

Thursday, May 27, 2004

They Are Here!!!!

And fast asleep in bed. At least I hope so, since the kids aren't as quiet as I would like them to be. I didn't get everything done that I wanted to get done, but the house is clean for my standards, even if not for mil standards. But I figure that will give them something to do over the next few days while waiting for the baby ;-)

I am always very stressed before visits like this, but now that they are here, things just are as they are, whatever didn't get done is too bad. Not stressed out about that aspect of their visit anymore. If they aren't happy with something in the house, they can pretty well clean it up or organize it themselves! LOL

A friend came over with two frozen meals for after the baby, yum! Now I guess I just need to have that baby some day, still no signs of impending labor. Oh well, that's just the way things are right now. I think we'll do something fun with the mil-s tomorrow, and I have a prenatal. My mil is convinced that the midwife will tell me when the baby will come...

Baby was very active tonight, Tara spent a lot of time feeling him kick, she just loves it. I think it's about time that he comes out though!

6 More Hours...

And I have to get Kate to ballet soon, so can't even work all the time! But I did quite a lot already, still not anywhere close to ready yet though.
  • Planted two tomato seedlings. The sun is coming out, and I just couldn't stay inside. Who wants to be cleaning when you can garden? LOL I'll try to restrain myself from gardening too much though, really want the house to look a lot better than it does now
  • Planted yet another container with annuals
  • Did some weeding
  • Fed the kids lunch
  • Gave the bunnies some nice fresh greens (clover, dandelions, whatever else looked good for bunny food
  • Emptied and filled the dishwasher, it's running now
  • Found pillows for mil-s beds, Tara and Cees put on the pillow cases
  • Took bread out of the oven :-) so that's one thing that's finished
  • The kids are cleaning up the van right now, it really really really really needs it, even more than the house
  • Made lunch for myself
  • Made a big pot of red raspberry leaf tea, maybe it will do something and the baby will come before the mil-s after all???
  • Cleaned out yet another fridge shelf and a drawer.
I am really in the panic phase now, yikes, yikes, yikes. OK, maybe I have been in the panic phase for quite a while, maybe that's why labor isn't starting??? Keep sending those vibes!!!!

8 More Hours...

And not even close to getting ready for them. Geez, this is way more stressful than getting ready for the baby! The baby doesn't care what the house looks like, but the mil-s do! A friend came over to give me the onesies, they are so cute. Just love love love those tiny clothes, only thing I am still missing is the baby LOL. I put them away (she had washed them already) and showed off the organized part of my house (which is limited to the baby clothes and the diapers right now I think LOL)

In the last two hours I have
  • Shaped my bread, it's in the oven now
  • Done two other loads of laundry, one is drying still, the other one is being washed
  • Asked the boys to start picking up the girls room, where the mil-s will sleep, they got the floor totally picked up, so it just needs a vacuum cleaner now. I bribed them with computer time, which they are using right now :-)
  • Got the sheets of my bed and the girls bed, so I can wash them and make them up nicely later today
  • Moved a chest of drawers from the girls room to our bedroom, so the mil-s will have more room
  • Cleaned out the next shelf in the fridge, garbage can is starting to overflow LOL

Off to do more cleaning!!! Keep sending those vibes!

10 More Hours...

Till they arrive. Yikes, yikes, yikes!!! And no, still no baby. I think it's starting to be extremely unlikely that this baby will be here before the mother-in-law's. Guess I am just concentrating on cleaning today, and maybe that will make the baby come out???? OK, maybe not LOL

For now I have
  • Made breakfast using duck eggs (got those from a friend, neat!)
  • Started bread, dough is rising now
  • Put away the last load of diapers
  • Cleaned out the top shelf of the fridge, wondering how I could have saved some science experiments for that long
  • Listened to half an hour of one of my daughters screaming, she is NOT a good morning person
  • Had another kid freak out for about half an hour about a little thing
Yes, we all are a bit stressed LOL.

Off to get more done, send labor vibes or cleaning vibes or both!!!!!!

Wednesday, May 26, 2004

Still No Baby

But I did get the sunflower house planted! Sunflowers, corn, and morning glory. I had hoped to sow zucchini in my veggie beds, but didn't get that done yet. I figured the sunflower house might be more important to the kids ;-) We also fixed the fence around it, which we put up last year, after the groundhog ate most of our baby sunflowers... I was so ready to give up vegetarianism and prepare groundhog stew!

I was going to clean out the fridge today, since there are too many things growing in it, but life got in the way. We had an end of year party with our homeschool club and that just was more fun than cleaning the fridge. I had a cleaning at the dentist earlier in the morning, so that was another good excuse. I was a few minutes late, and they thought that I must be having that baby LOL.

This afternoon I did the sunflower house and took the kids to karate, so no time for the fridge. I would like it to be cleaned out before the mil's show up tomorrow, YIKES. Although I couldn't care less about the fridge if this baby would decide to be born tonight or tomorrow night. Somehow I think that won't happen though, and that the baby will arrive after the mil's. About 24 more hours to have this baby! I did get all the diapers washed today, so that's one more thing to cross of my list of things that still need to happen. And a friend bought a bunch of onesies for me, so set with those too!

Usually I don't mind going overdue, but the current situation makes it a lot more stressful. I really wanted to have this baby before they were here, but it seems unlikely now. We got Indian food take out tonight, nice and spicy, but that didn't do anything. Somehow I think this baby will decide when he is ready, instead of having me dictate the date of his birth. Oh well, I guess that gives me more time to garden ;-)

Tomorrow will be 'Clean House for Mil's Visit' day. I'd much rather garden! But I guess it would be good to have things a bit more cleaned up, sigh. I just haven't felt like cleaning or decluttering at all this pregnancy, being outside is so much more fun! And it's important to be in good physical condition for the birth, right, gardening and walking will help me with that ;-)

Off to bed, to get some sleep before having this baby. OK, maybe just before having the mother-in-law's :-) Keep sending labor vibes!!!!!! Maybe I can still make it.

Diapers, Diapers!

Wow! I finally did it, worked my way through all the diapers in the house and selected the tiny ones, cute ones, and perfect ones that are going to be used for this baby. Or at least, for the first few weeks / months of this baby, I even found the covers with umbilical cut outs! I am so organized! All that done at only seven days overdue LOL.

OK, I had sex last night, spent a big part of the day digging in the garden, had a chiropractic adjustment done, have the MIL deadline coming up, ate spicy food, walked, walked, and walked, and what do you think? Yup, still no baby, still no labor, just an occasional contraction! I guess that means that I won't be able to cancel my dentist appointment for tomorrow morning, I had been hoping that I would have had the baby by now. Oh well. At least it's just a cleaning / checkup.

Tomorrow, I am going to wash all those diapers, glad I got a new dryer to help me with this. And then I can have the baby tomorrow night, right? Gives me time to sow sunflower seeds for the sunflower house tomorrow during the day. And maybe some zucchini ;-) Please all send labor vibes!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Short entry today, have to be off to bed, spent most of the night sorting diapers :-) But wanted to let you all know that nothing is happening yet. Maybe tomorrow!!!

Monday, May 24, 2004

Baby Clothes

Tara folding baby clothes
Baby clothes have been washed and organized! I could use a few more onesies, but apart from that, am pretty much set. Tara helped me, she really enjoyed it. And was gushing over all the cute clothes we folded and put away :-) Even Timmy took some out and gushed over them.

Now I guess I just need to get organized diaper wise. And I would like to start the sunflower house, but it has been raining too much. And there are tons of other things I still want to do, but time is running out... Only three more days till the in laws are here! Baby, you'd better come out!

I did plant some broccoli seedlings today, but didn't get much else done garden wise. It was just too much rain, blech. I'd much rather be outside than doing all this indoors stuff. And it looks like it's going to rain for most of the week.

I think things are starting to happen, I had to go pee at least six times during the night!!! I was so glad the night was over and I could just stay up :-) During the day I was peeing all the time too, and going up and down the stairs makes my uterus irritable. I wouldn't call it contractions yet, but hey, it's more than there was before, so maybe it's a good sign!

Erik is so funny, he is working on rhyming right now. He will say thing like 'Do honey and funny and bunny rhyme??' and I think he is getting it. But then a few minutes later, he will ask 'Do persons and humans rhyme??' So maybe he isn't really getting it yet LOL. I told him that those were synonyms, but that didn't seem to sink in yet either :-)

Last night, at 11:30pm or so, he was laying next to me in bed, trying to fall asleep. Suddenly he asks 'Mama, can money really grow????' I told him that it kind of could grow, if you put it into the bank, then he wanted to know what a bank was. Glad I didn't mention the stock market! I think the fact that we have a money plant in our front yard has made him wonder about this issue :-)

And when he saw the picture that goes with 'My Father's Birthday' blog entry, he was all excited and asked who that was. I told him that it was a picture of him as a baby. He replied 'Oh, I am so cute!!!' LOL No false modesty there :-)

Going to try to dig up the newborn diapers in our black hole basement tonight. Wish me luck!!!! And send some dilating vibes my way too! This baby needs to come out within the next few days!

Sunday, May 23, 2004

Getting Ready!

Both physically and with other things. I actually have felt some uterine activity, both last night and today. Not much, not very exciting, but hey, I'll take whatever I can get LOL. I seem to be having occasional contractions when walking around, and the baby is so low that I have to pee every five minutes or so. This morning I woke up really nauseous, and was wondering whether that could be a sign of impending labor. It obviously wasn't :-) I am still waiting to lose my mucus plug, which has happened a few days before the birth for the last four kids. I really want this baby out before the mother-in-law's arrive, only four more days!

Before cleaningDh was home today, so I volunteered him to help me to clean up a desk. This is a desk in our living room, which is one of those perfect clutter magnets. All the mail that comes in goes on it. All the magazines I still want to read are on it. All the books that I am reading, or just read, or was going to read. A bunch of cute baby presents that I have been showing to people. Anything that was on the floor close to the desk and got 'cleaned up' by the boys. Everything that I was holding in my hands when I was in the living room, and one of the kids needed attention. A big mess!

There were stacks and stacks of mail and other stuff. Every time I would add something, a stack was in danger of falling over. Every time I needed something, it took me hours to find it, because it was so hard to dig and not have everything out of balance and falling off. Every time I looked at it, I would feel guilty. But not guilty enough to actually clean it up :-)

Today was different. Could be a sign of impending labor, right? Today, I actually got my act together and we did it! Took us quite a few hours, with numerous kid interruptions. 'Mom????? What sound does the W make???' 'Mom!!! They are standing on my bed and won't go off!!!' 'Mom!!! I've got BLOOD!!!!' 'Mom???? Can you print out a picture for me???' And that was only during the first ten minutes or so... Repeat ad infinitum during the rest of the process LOL.

But we did it!!!! The picture on top is the before picture, the picture on the bottom is how the desk looked after we did it. Wow!!! Quite a difference! Now how long will it take before it will look like the before pic again?

We also sterilized towels, wash clothes, and some diapers, and will put them in the birth kit tonight. We will sterilize the scissors too, but I'll do that after I post this blog entry. Getting closer and closer to ready. Dh got one of those plastic chests of drawers out of the basement, which I am going to use for the new baby's clothes for now. I really want Jane's clothes to go to the girls room, Erik's clothes where Jane's clothes are now, and then the new baby's clothes where Erik's clothes are, but I know that it's unlikely that I will get all that done before baby is out. So for now the chest of drawers seems like a perfect compromise.


I was going to sort through the washed clothes tonight, and put them in the drawers, but, as usual, life got in the way. I am pretty tired now, so I think I'll just do it tomorrow morning. That will enable Tara to help me, which she really wants. And it gives me an excuse to just sit down and relax right now, and go to bed soon :-) Have to be well rested before labor starts, right?

Today, we went out and got a birthing pool, an inflatable kiddie pool. Not the famous fishie one, but one that's close. I am still not sure whether I am going to do a water birth or not, but we figured it would be nice to have everything in the house if I do decide on it during, or shortly before labor. We also got an electric pump, since dh spent most of my labor with Jane inflating the stupid inflatable pool with a small foot pump LOL. That is not going to happen to me again :-)

We also got a few more presents 'from the new baby' for the older siblings. We always do that when a new baby is born, and the kids definitely like that tradition :-) I had most, but not all, but we are all set now! I have ordered a few more things on line, but wanted to have things on hand just in case they didn't arrive in time. Another thing to cross off the list.

Saturday, May 22, 2004

Swan Lake Cake

Swan Lake Cake
I did it!!! Made my very first swan lake cake! And it turned out pretty well, better than I had hoped. I think the blueberry topping could have been a bit sweeter. And the buttercream icing wasn't as stiff as I wanted it to, and the cake under the lake wasn't as flat as it should have been, but Tara was very very happy with the finished product. And since it was her birthday, I think I can declare this cake a success.

I had wanted to put flowers in the swans, but it was raining today, and we never made it to the farmer's market. They looked nice without flowers too though, maybe even nicer than they would have looked with them. Tara didn't want a candle on her cake, because of messing up the perfect composition. So I put an 8 numeral birthday candle on a separate small plate, I wanted her to have something to light and blow out for her birthday. Worked out well.

She invited just a few friends, two of them are sleeping here tonight. Only eight kids in the house, a lot quieter than when we had twelve a few days ago :-) :-) Tara wanted a water balloon fight, but the perfect weather turned to cold and rainy today, so we had to skip that activity. They did play quite a lot with normal balloons though, had a treasure hunt and played a game of killer bunnies...

I am really glad we did this birthday party before the baby is here. It would have been a lot harder to do with a tiny newborn in my arms, freshly post partum. But now I am ready to have this baby, he'd better come out before the mother-in-law's are here, five days from now! :-) And if he doesn't, well, I guess we'll cross that bridge when we come to it. For now I am going to think that he will come out in time. Which of course will jinx me and then he will stay put till after every one is gone again :-) One thing that encourages me is that I measured 37 cm at my last prenatal, and that's exactly what I measured when Kate and Erik were born. Now this baby just has to copy his two older siblings :-) All my other babies were born at less than 37 cm fundal height.

Swan Lake Cake

Just posted this to the ICAN mailing list, but wanted to share it here too.

Are they going to induce you???

I got my first 'Are they going to induce you???' a few days ago, when a stranger found out that I was two days overdue. Yes, TWO whole days, definitely time for Them to induce me, right?

It's amazing how ingrained it seems to be in our society that They are in charge, that They will decide when the baby has to be born and that we are just going to lay down and have procedures done to us, because we are gestating. Not because the baby or the mom needs it, but because the calendar tells Them to start getting that baby out now. Before the placenta detoriates. Before the fluid level gets too low. Before the baby gets into trouble. Before we explode. Before They have Their Friday night dinner date, or Their Saturday morning golf outing.

What happened to waiting till the baby comes out on his own? To trusting our intuitions and our bodies, trusting our babies? Why do so many people seem to think that They know better, that we should just submit to Them and have Them induce us or cut us open? This was just a stranger, and she seemed to think that it would be totally normal for Them to start interfering with my pregnancy right now. Because of being two frigging days overdue.

I just told her 'No', but I wanted to yell and scream 'Why, why, why would They induce me and why would I give Them authority over my body anyway????? Who are They that They could just do that to me and have you think that would be the most normal thing in the world???' ' So instead of screaming at an innocent bystander, I am just sharing my frustration and anger at the system with you all. Aren't you lucky? LOL

I do realize that there are instances that induction is best for mom and baby, but I think that there are way more instances here in the States, when it is just done for convenience or for fear of litigation. Very sad.

Yes, I felt better after writing that :-) I got some good advice about not sharing my due date with others next time, which I might follow. Or maybe I'll just tell them that the baby is due about two weeks from when the 'real' due date is, since my babies always are overdue anyway. That should be pretty close to the expected birth date.
baby erik with grandparents

My Father's Birthday

Today was my father's birthday. He passed away two years ago, he would have turned 75 this year. I still miss him a lot, and I have to admit that I had kind of hoped that this baby would have been born on his birthday. But at least it will be close to his birthday, so that's something. Makes me feel that he and the new baby are connected in a way, even although he will never see our baby in this life. The picture shows my father, mother, and Erik, when I traveled to the Netherlands to say goodbye to him. I am glad I was able to do that. And I am glad he at least got to meet Erik. But also sad that I never will see him together with this new little one.

I am happy my friend was here today, which made the day easier than it would have been otherwise. And she watched my kids, so Sander and I could go to the midwife together. Hoping that this was my last prenatal, LOL. She went over 'what to do to support karen and baby during birth and what to have ready' with him. We also did the normal prenatal stuff and found that I weighed 175 lbs according to her scales... 2 Weeks ago, I was 162 lbs... Sounded like a wee bit too much weight gain... So she checked and she thought it was off. She zeroed the scales and we tried weighing again. Now I was 179 lbs... Which seemed too much too. LOL. We ditched the weight and just did the rest of the prenatal.

Urine was fine, blood pressure was 100/70 and baby's heart rate was 128 bpm. All perfect. Baby was posterior, which is less than perfect, but I guess all the walking and digging and gardening I am doing should hopefully get him to turn before the birth. She asked whether I wanted to do a vaginal exam, but I declined. The numbers mean so little, I will just find out when the baby comes out. I got my first 'Are they going to induce you????' from a stranger yesterday, when I told her that I was 2 days overdue. Geez!

Tara and Jane had a cleaning at the dentist today. No cavities, but two referrals for orthodontics. Blech! Not going to worry about it for now though, will concentrate on having this baby first :-) They could choose a tooth brush at the end of their cleaning and Jane asked Tara which one she had chosen. Tara replied that she had taken a random one. Jane looked puzzled and said that her room didn't have any random ones LOL.

Had a fun day with my friend. We baked Tara's birthday cake, but didn't assemble it yet. I found out that my friend is much better in separating eggs than I am ;-) I will make the frosting and the blueberry topping tomorrow. The kids enjoyed playing together. Although Erik made sure to put most of his stuff out of reach of her toddler LOL.

When they were gone, I spent some time mulching my plum trees, cranberry bushes, and forsythia. I would have liked to do more, but I had promised Tara to take her grocery shopping to get ready for her party tomorrow. We spent quite some time in the grocery store, it was hard for her to decide what kind of candy to put in her goody bags :-) But she finally decided on just the right junk food and she and Cees have gotten them all assembled already.

Friday, May 21, 2004

Busy, Busy, Busy

Quick update, I didn't want people to think that I was having this baby when I am not yet :-) Today was a full and busy day, lots of running around and I didn't even get any gardening done. Which is unusual for me.

I took Kate into the allergist to have a checkup for her eczema and asthma. Basically no new developments there, but her ears were clear, which is a relief after about 5 months of fluid in them. Afterwards she had some pizza in the hospital restaurant, she loves to have that special time out after a dr's visit.

In the afternoon, it was time for ballet, which I had almost forgotten about, because I was so concentrated on the dr's visit. Luckily I remembered in time. She enjoyed herself, and I got to run some errands while she was at ballet.

Then later in the afternoon, my friend from Canada arrived with six of her ten kids. I hadn't seen her for quite a long time, so I was glad she finally managed to make it down here again. The kids ran around, played together, we even had a birthday cake for one of her kids. Now, after midnight, the house finally is quiet, I don't think every one is asleep yet, but at least most of them should be by now.

I actually managed to have one contraction during a walk today! It was when I went uphill fast, after walking in a slower tempo for a while (because we had a toddler with us). So maybe things are happening? OK, maybe not :-)

Birthday cake!

Thursday, May 20, 2004

Overdue :-)

Which is not really a surprise, and actually a kind of a nice gift from my baby, having some extra time to prepare. Guess I am just as much of a procrastinator as he is :-)

Today, I have been planting more potatoes, so I am all set with them now. I also planted some seedlings I got at the nursery, acorn and butternut squash, eggplant, and cherry tomatoes. Erik helped me by watering exactly one of the planted potatoes LOL. I planted some more annuals in containers on the deck, only a few more containers to fill.

We have decided to have Tara's birthday party early, on Saturday, instead of after the baby is born, which is when her real birthday is. I figured it would be easier to do the party without a few days/weeks old baby in my arms. We will do our family celebration on her real birthday, but get her party out of the way this weekend. She likes the idea of having an early party and was excited about all the preparations we will have to do in a few days now. Tonight, we went out together to get at least part of the things we need.

She wants a 'Swan Lake Cake', basically an oval cake with blueberry topping and meringue swans on top. I know the extent of my artistic skills and realized that the meringue swans might be a bit beyond them. So I told her that we would look for plastic swans instead. We tried two party stores and both didn't even have any swans! But we were in luck at the dollar store, where we found perfect swans in the kitsch section. I think they are supposed to be flower pots for small plants, but they will work just fine on the cake. Especially since they were only $1 a piece :-) I might put some violets from the garden in them, which would go well with the blueberries. Tara had decided that if we couldn't find swans, we could do flamingoes, which are water birds too. Then we would have had a Flamingo Lake Cake ;-)

We also needed oval cake pans, but no luck on those. So I'll just improvise by using a square pan and a circle pan, custom making my own oval. I am glad that I will be able to do this before the baby is here, it would have been much harder freshly post partum.

Walked for an hour tonight, and yet again, a grand total of zero contractions. I think this baby just feels not ready to come out yet. And now that we have decided on Tara's birthday party, it would be nice if he waited till after Saturday. But I do want him out before my mother and mother-in-law come :-) Geez, maybe I should have done the scheduled c-section, so that I could have picked the birth date. Although I am pretty sure that they would have wanted an earlier date than this, so I would most likely have had this baby already. Glad that I declined!

Talking about scheduled c-sections, reading about more and more hospitals that don't 'allow' VBACs anymore makes me slightly sick and very sad. Today I read yet another article where hospitals just don't give women a choice about having a VBAC or not. Not even if they have had successful vaginal births after their c-section. It's ridiculous!

And they describe a VBAC as an 'elective procedure'. Since when is giving birth vaginally an elective procedure???? I noticed that one of those hospitals has an almost 30 % c-section rate, and now all those women will have to have a c-section again for all their future kids? Even although that increases risks for scary complications like placenta percreta and such. And increases stillbirth risk for future babies. I really wonder about the birthing culture here in the US.

Tuesday, May 18, 2004

Due Today!!!!!

But somehow the baby still isn't here, which wasn't much of a surprise :-) No signs of impending labor either, which is good, since I still am not ready. I have another week or so before I want this baby out, so that I can have her before my mother and mother-in-law are here. For now I am just happy that I have some extra time to get all the things ready that are on my list of 'Things to do. URGENT!!'

Tonight, I tried walking for an hour to get things moving, and I had exactly ZERO contractions during my walk, so much for that. Well, at least I will be in excellent condition by the time I go into labor :-)

I had some LLL friends over today and was able to get rid of some of my tomato and basil seedlings to them. It was a nice morning. In the afternoon, I planted sunflowers and cucumbers in my newly dug bed. Nature cooperated by sending a good thunder storm our way afterwards, so I didn't even have to water it. I added some composted cow manure to the bed, and Erik was all excited when I got the bag out of the car. 'Is that cow doodoo??????' He even helped me put it on, no qualms about getting it on his hands at all. Still trying to decide whether that's a good thing or not :-)

I didn't have the baby, but I did get our new dryer today. Our old one has been broken for four or five months now, so it was about time. The boys were elated about it 'Now we don't have to hang the laundry anymore!!!!!!!' Never knew two boys could be so excited about a new dryer LOL. Of course, now that the new dryer has been installed, the washer suddenly looks really old and wornout...

Baby is active and shows no signs of wanting to come out. I know it won't last that long anymore, so I am really enjoying this time with her still inside. It's very special to be a unity for a bit longer.


Monday, May 17, 2004

One More Day!

And not ready at all. Well, actually I am very ready emotionally, but there are too many things that I still would like to do before baby is here. I have decided to concentrate on the gardening stuff and to ignore the inside stuff. Even if I would get a lot decluttered, it would be cluttered again two months from now. But if I get all my plants planted, I will have wonderful, organic veggies and nice flowers two months from now, much more fun :-)

The ob who did my myomectomy found out about my unattended home birth plans and offered to have me birth in their birthing center after all. I just would have to sign an 'Against Medical Advice' form. I appreciate her offer, it shows she cares a lot more than the obs who dropped me a few weeks ago. She had expected me to go to the big teaching hospital, and now that she heard about my homebirth plans, she decided to offer this option to me.

I am not going to take her up on her offer, I feel strongly that an unattended homebirth is the best option for me this time. There is a feeling of rightness to it, a feeling of peace, and appropriateness. This is what I am destined to do for this baby and this birth. I don't want to go into the birthing center and be considered a uterus ready to rupture. I want to be in my own house, with my own friends and family to support me and to birth this baby in an atmosphere of love instead of fear. But I have to admit that it surprised me that she did offer this, and it makes me appreciate her a lot more than I did before.

My new sunflower bed is finally finished, spent a lot of time digging today. Now I just need to sow the sunflowers. I also did some lawn mowing, although it was more like dandelion mowing. That part of the lawn looks nice now, it's a pity it's only a tiny part of our lawn. I think we have too much grass and not enough veggie and flower gardens, so always trying to rectify that. That's why I keep digging new gardens :-) The girls enjoyed the short grass and spent quite some time riding their bikes on it. It's a lot easier if it's short instead of long and dandelioney :-)

I was a bit thirsty before I started to mow the lawn, but I didn't want to drink, figuring that that would make me have to pee every two minutes. This was not a very wise decision. I ended up hot, tired, and extremely thirsty, and the lawn mower was acting up. I always have a hard time starting it, so at some point I just gave up, deciding to ignore the 8,981 leftover dandelions. Maybe I'll get rid of them some other day, maybe not :-) I was vaguely hoping that some dehydration and hard work would push me into labor, but it didn't even do that... Oh well :-) I decided to seduce hubby to try to accomplish the same result, but that didn't work either. But maybe it softened my cervix some, which would be good too.

Saw the chiropractor today, so my spine is in optimal condition for birth, although I expect to see him again next week. My babies are always a bit tardy. I just hope she will arrive before my mother and my mother-in-law are here, since they come over to help me with the baby. And that would be hard if the baby hasn't shown up yet.

Sunday, May 16, 2004


Two More Days!

Yikes! Glad that my babies always come late. I know that due dates don't really mean much, but it still suddenly feels really close. And it's not like the garden is ready yet either :-) Did some more digging today, I don't have a good place to put my sunflowers this year, so am working on a new bed for them. I might make it a bit bigger, but it's getting pretty close to the size I want it to be. And the best news is that I found only one big rock, all the others were normal or small. How unusual :-)

I did find a huge rock close to where I planted the baby's new irises though. I got hubby to help me dig it out, but after digging and not being able to move it at all, we looked at each other and decided to just put the soil back and pretend it isn't there LOL. I got my irises planted, close to our porch, so they will be very visible. I love the idea of having them to celebrate this baby's birth. What a perfect present!

The kids discovered a new frog in our pond! A pretty small one, so they called it 'Baby Frog'. This makes three frogs, we had Big Frog and Little Frog already. We are ready for the stork ;-) The mosquito larvae population has decreased to almost zero, so the fish must be doing their jobs pretty well. I guess now we'll have to hope more mosquitoes lay eggs in the pond :-) Otherwise I'll actually have to feed our fish!

Today was a nice, quiet day, we didn't have to go anywhere, so the kids did their things, and I gardened and gardened. Dh hung the 'rainbow' hammock (lots of colors) and the kids enjoyed swinging in it. I transplanted some broccoli seedlings, and Erik very carefully watered them, he looked so serious and concerned while doing it, mumbling that they needed water, it was very cute. After that, he went on to water the dandelions... We must have hundreds of them, if not more. Oh well, I am mostly ignoring them and using them for rabbit food. We have tons of violets too, which I do like and which the girls like to eat, they are fascinated by the fact that you can actually just eat those flowers.

I was going to sow zucchini, squash, and such today, but life keeps getting in the way. The kids wanted to walk the bunnies (yes, we do have bunny leashes, don't ask LOL) and that took us a while. Maybe I can get some stuff sown tomorrow, it would be nice to have those in the ground before this baby is here. After an hour's worth of walking tonight, I had exactly one Braxton Hicks contraction, so that wasn't very impressive, and makes me think that I still have some time before the baby will be born.

Our new baby's iris :-)

Saturday, May 15, 2004

9mo pregnant

Three More Days!

My LLL group threw me a baby shower today! It was wonderful, they all are good friends and they surrounded me with love and positive vibes for my baby and the upcoming birth. I feel so blessed that they did this for me. We had seven moms (including myself), nine little ones running around, and two small babies. One of the other moms is pregnant too, she is about four months along. There was tons of good food, and just the best atmosphere, everything just felt right about it. I realized later that five out of those seven moms have had home births, that's 72 %, how cool!

I got nice purple irises, which I can plant now and they will bloom every year around the baby's birthday. A dozen of Chinese prefold diapers (natural unbleached cotton), a Bummis cover, a Liz's Cloth wool cover, a baby picture album, a picture frame, some baby books, a cute baby bath toy, yummy smelling baby soap, chocolate, some frozen meals, and the promise of more of those. And a bottle of sparkling apple cider to celebrate after the birth. Wow! I am so happy that they did this for me, it makes me feel really special. They also wrote good wishes for me and the new baby in a nice notebook, but I managed to leave that at their house, so will have to wait till Tuesday before I can sit down and read through them. Looking forward to it.

We went to the farmer's market in the morning, it was hot! But always fun. People looked kind of doubtful when I told them I would still be there with a big belly next week :-) But I am not sure whether I'll make it two more weeks, I think next week will be my last farmer's market before baby.

Emotionally I am totally ready for the birth, practically there still is this list of 5,000 things I want to do. I know there is no way I can do them all, but I would at least like to cross off some of those list items. But if it doesn't happen, oh well, we will be fine, the house just won't be as decluttered and clean as I would like it to be. And I have to admit that gardening is just so much more fun than doing inside stuff, that it's unlikely that even part of the inside stuff will get done. Gardening can count as nesting too though, right? ;-)

The baby liked the presents, he was kicking while I was opening them. He liked the chocolate cake too, but that might have had to do with the sugar content :-) It was an excellent cake, took the leftovers home to share with the older kids and dh, they were thrilled.

Hmmmm, I just realize we had seven moms for my almost seven kids again, just like we had with the homeschool group baby celebration. What fun!

Lots of presents!

Friday, May 14, 2004


Four More Days!

But who's counting? :-) I actually was TIRED today, totally unlike me! And the only thing I did was digging part of a new veggie bed, some weeding, and planting a bunch of annuals in the hot sun, no reason to get tired! Geez! You would think I was 9 months or so pregnant. Wait, maybe I am :-) I even spent some time resting after all this, and I still was tired. Didn't keep me from walking an hour tonight though, so I guess it can't have been too bad ;-)

This morning, I was supposed to have a prenatal, and dh was going with me. We arrived and she wasn't there yet, so we waited and waited, but she never showed up. Went home to check my messages and yes, she had called earlier in the morning to tell that she was at a birth. Which we were kind of thinking anyway, so it was no big deal, especially not since the weather was nice. It was good to have some uninterrupted together time. I don't know yet when the prenatal will be now, I guess early next week. But I know that baby is doing well, so it doesn't matter much.

Washed even more baby clothes today, now I just need a place to put them. Also did some administrative stuff, but most of the day was spent gardening, so much more fun :-) Time is running out, so I really need to get as much gardening in as I can. Totally ignoring the inside of the house for now.

crabapple tree

Five More Days!

Till 40 weeks! Not that I expect the baby to be born that day, but it still is fun to count down :-) I did some gardening, but not as much as I wanted. I transplanted a few broccoli seedlings into the garden, and I started digging a new bed to plant sunflowers. Some weeding, and that was about it for today, not very impressive. But I also had to try to get a present for Cees in the morning, and it took us three stores to find the perfect one. In the afternoon Kate had ballet, and then Cees and Jane had belt testing at karate. They both now are the proud owners of a new color belt! Cees has a purple belt, Jane a yellow one.

The belt testing always takes way too long from the point of view of the little ones. Especially Erik was extremely bouncy and had a hard time with being quiet. I am glad it is over! At least a few more months till a next belt test will come up. The timing of the test didn't help either, from 5 to 7pm. About the worst time behaviorwise for my kids.

The mail brought another nice surprise, I am having lots of fun mail this week. It was a regional parenting magazine, with one of my articles in it, and the payment!!! Woohoo! I am going to get rich. OK, maybe not rich, but I still like making some money with my writing, even if it isn't much. Guess I should send out more articles and queries, I got out of the habit, but this should help to get me back into it.

I washed some baby clothes today, I feel super organized that I am doing this before my due date even! Not that I have a place to put them yet, I want to reorganize where Erik's clothes are, but to do that I have to reorganize Jane's clothes first. But still, at least there are some freshly washed baby clothes in the house now!

At karate, a little girl came over to me and stated 'You are fat!' LOL I explained about the baby and she was just totally fascinated. I let her feel one of his feet and she was feeling all over my belly to see whether she could figure out more baby parts. Later she went to her father and made him come over to me 'Look!!!! She has an upside down baby in her belly!!!!!' :-) I think she must have been about five years old.

One of our frogs
One of our pond frogs, will he help to lure the stork to our house? ;-)

Thursday, May 13, 2004

Six More Days!

Till 40 weeks. And my birth supplies arrived yesterday! See, I could have ordered them even later and would have been just fine. Now dh is talking about buying a new fishy pool, so I guess he is also feeling the 'get ready' jitters. That was one thing, ok, the only thing, that I liked about going to the hospital. The fact that I could just use their birthing tubs instead of having to bother with setting up one ourselves. I like water birth, but somehow I couldn't figure out the logistics this time, don't really have a good space unless I do a lot more cleaning / decluttering.

Now of course, we have changed plans to home birth (yay!) but still hadn't figured out whether I wanted to bother with the tub or not. I was thinking I could labor in the normal bath tub and come out for birth, I keep visualizing that I am squatting somewhere and that I am pushing out a healthy little baby boy. But it would be weird to have a 'land birth' after four water births. I guess I am still not decided yet on what I want, maybe I'll wait till labor to decide. Having a fishy pool around wouldn't hurt, it sets up pretty fast. Something else to get before baby is here :-)

Today the mail brought me a surprise package with four kissaluvs cloth diapers. What a cute colors!!! I had never seen those 'in person', I have to say that they are really nice and soft. Made me sit down and dream about this baby yet again, visualizing him in those soft diapers :-)

I planted a lot of potatoes, the ones that were stored in the basement and didn't get eaten over the winter. They were our own harvest from last year, nice organic potatoes, all kinds of colors, purple, blue, red, and just white/yellow. I had enough left to plant two beds already and still have more, so now have to decide where to put those. Hmmm, time to dig yet another veggie bed?

Our crabapple tree is blooming, very beautiful, pink flowers. I just love this time of the year, perfect time to have a baby. Well, if only he wouldn't interfere with gardening season LOL.

Our pond was starting to get more and more mosquito larvae, so we went out and got four goldfish and ten mosquito fish for it. The kids were very excited. As were the frogs, but that was just because of all the kids running around the pond LOL. We got them into the pond and it looked like they enjoyed all the live food in there. Now let's hope that they survive, we had a hard time last year keeping all the fish alive in the pond. But we didn't try mosquito fish back then, just small gold fish. Hopefully they will do better this year! I hope the pond is more established now, which should help.

Today I had a LLL meeting, the second one that I was an official leader. It was fun, one of the moms showed up with her 2wo infant, so precious! The meeting went well, and on Saturday, they are going to throw a 'honoring this new baby' party for me!!! Very much looking forward to that!

beautiful tulip

Saturday, May 08, 2004

Rocks, and More Rocks

Still working on my new vegetable bed, mostly because the number of rocks is unbelievable. It is almost finished now, but there is one big rock that I just can't get out, so dh is going to be volunteered to dig that one up as a Mother's Day present :-) Not sure yet what I will plant in this bed, but I know that I was running out of room when I was doing the planning for this year's garden. So I am sure I will find something :-)

I will use the rocks as a border for my veggie beds, or maybe to surround the pond. It's nice not to have to buy rocks to do stuff like that, see, I am trying to see the positive side of finding 3,713 rocks in every vegetable bed I dig! I have found that digging is much easier when I am pregnant, because I have more mass ;-) Usually it's harder to get the spade in packed ground. So trying to get all the digging done before baby is here.

Today was farmer's market day, always tons of fun. Kids enjoy the special treats and I enjoy the good veggies and the atmosphere. I got lettuce and wild leeks, yummy! I also got some goat cheese, and elk meat for when my mother and my mother-in-law will be here after the birth. My mother is not too thrilled about a vegetarian diet, so she will appreciate having some meat around. Although I am not sure how she will react to the idea of elk meat... ;-) She always says 'I eat everything', usually followed by a 'But not THAT!!!' when she sees what I am serving...

I also got a peonie, some pansies (including black ones!) and rhubarb. Planted the peanie already, at the bottom of the driveway, so it will be very visible, both from the street and when you enter our driveway. I do have some rhubarb, but I would like more, and I am too impatient to wait till the current one is healthy enough to divide. So buying an extra one seemed like a good idea Will have to plant the peonies and the rhubarb tomorrow.

Spent a lot of time digging, and I mulched one of my flower beds. I dug up some baby lilacs from our lilac trees, and planted them in the same bed that I put the peonies in. They are still pretty small, so it will take a while before they start flowering. But I figure you can't beat free plants from your own garden. Last year I did the same, and then dh destroyed them when mowing the lawn... Well, at least it wasn't like I had spent tons of money on them. But still...

Early this morning, I went birding! Those trips start at 6:30am in a neighboring town, so I left the house at 6am. Yawn! We didn't even see that many birds! But it was nice to be outside and hiking, so I didn't care. I liked the kingbirds the best, they were very active, flying around, catching insects and then back to a tree limb, so that we could admire them :-) Sure beat all the warblers we could hear, but had no idea where to find them. At home, I saw the catbird again, hadn't seen him yet this year. I had heard him a few days ago, but couldn't find him back then. Today, I saw him a lot and he was loud, loud, loud, I like the way he makes up lots of different songs and calls. Last year, it took me ages to figure out what kind of bird it was, but now that I know, it's really easy to recognize his singing.

Baby is kicking away, I just love feeling him inside me. On the one hand I am looking forward to birthing him and meeting him, on the other hands, I am really enjoying the special feelings of having him inside me, to be a unity together with him. I can start the countdown to 40 weeks today, exactly 10 days left! Makes me wonder when the birthing supplies I ordered will arrive...

Friday, May 07, 2004


Great prenatal today, we basically confirmed that things are going well. My urine was clear, blood pressure was 120/70. My fundal height was 35cm, which is pretty normal for me at this time of pregnancy. We looked up my old records, and Kate and Erik both were 37 cm at the end, so I need to grow 2 more cm and then I can give birth :-) Although Tara and Jane were born when my fundus was only 34 cm...

I have gained only 2 lbs over the last two months, but quite a lot before that, so she wasn't worried about it. Baby has been growing fine anyway, and I have to admit that I don't mind not gaining much. My belly sure is getting bigger every day!

The baby's head is nicely engaged in my pelvis now, so that means that the risk of cord prolapse is a lot lower. Of course, it can go back to floating again, but somehow I don't expect that. The baby's back was turned to my left today, usually it's more towards my right side. The heartbeat rate was 128 bpm.

We talked a bit about the birth, told her I got all the supplies ordered. I mentioned that I am not ready for birth yet, but that at the same time I feel really good about the unattended birth I am planning, So I guess I would be fine if I would go into labor right now, but I really would prefer some extra time! Maybe I will even be able to find some clothes before the birth then ;-)

Our frogs are back!!! Not sure whether they hibernated in the pond, or whether they are new ones, but we have two of them now. Jane discovered them yesterday, she was very happy about them. And today, I saw the first hummingbird of the year! Guess I have to dig the hummingbird feeder out of the basement and fill it tomorrow. I always love watching them drink from the feeder.

Started to dig a new veggie bed today, since it looks like I will be running out of room in my exisiting ones with all the plans I have. I wonder how that keeps happening???? Figured I better dug it now, before baby is here. I found tons of rocks, even although I didn't dig the whole bed yet. Two of them were pretty big, the rest was just 'normal'. It's amazing how many rocks somebody has buried in our yard :-) Oh well, all that digging for rocks keeps me in top condition.
A few of my asparagus roots have started to grow, I found five spears today! The empty bed looked very discouraging, I am glad that something is popping up now. Of course, we can't eat any this year yet, but still, it's nice to see that they seem to be growing.

Lots of flowers in bloom now, daffodils, tulips, and some hyacinths. New flowers, and soon a new baby! Nice to have a spring baby. Looking forward to meeting this little one!

Wednesday, May 05, 2004


Well, at least, most of it. Just a few things left and of course, I'll have to wait till the shipment with my stuff actually arrives. But still, I got things bought and ordered! Now Rachel can stop worrying about my birth supplies ;-) That leaves only the diapers, the clothes, the garden and the house... LOL

Jane's betta is not doing well. I hope it will survive, somehow it's not as active as I had expected it to be. It's not eating much either. I hope it's just the adjustment to a new environment and not something more worrisome. I spent a lot of time surfing betta web sites yesterday. Not that it helped, but at least I learned a bunch of interesting facts about them.

Still stuck inside with the 10,000 seedlings. I hope the weather will turn nicer soon! I want to garden instead of doing inside stuff. Cees helped with some decluttering of the mudroom, it's not perfect yet, but we did clean up quite a lot. Maybe I am entering my nesting stage? Maybe not though. 38 Weeks feels so much farther along than 37 weeks did, yikes!

Tuesday, May 04, 2004


I got at least half, maybe even more, at a local pharmacy tonight. I still need to find my baby scales though (some where in our basement). Now if Erik ever will go to sleep, I can order the rest of the stuff on line, he is sitting on my lap and being way too hyper right now. But hey, even if I don't get everything ordered tonight, at least I have made a start with getting things ready!

We went to the pet store to get a new aquarium filter and came home with a new pet... Jane couldn't resist the betta fish, so she is the proud owner of a dark blue betta now, bought with her own allowance. Cees really wanted a dog, but the fact that it would need walking a few times a day made him decide that he preferred a bird LOL. He will need to save up some money though, they are a bit more expensive than bettas are.

Just found out that bettas do jump out of their bowls, which I had never realized. We put a plate on top for now, but will have to come up with something better I guess. OK, Erik is asleep, so I better try to get some birthing supplies ordered :-)


... I am going to try to get my birth supplies ordered! It is cold and dreary outside, so a good excuse to do indoors stuff for a change. I finally got thank you notes written for my baby shower, apart from one whose mailing address I am missing. And I had dh get the old box of birthing supplies from the basement, so I can compare those to the list and figure out what I still need. So the box is standing here now, I might even open it after updating my journal :-) Send birthing supplies vibes my way!

I couldn't put my seedlings outside today, because it was too cold and windy, but had fun counting them, while they all were at the kitchen table and the living room floor. I have about 138 tomato, 27 cabbage, 43 basil, 40 broccoli, 10 hot peppers, a lot of tiny celery, egg plant, bee balm, and parsley, and 15 paprika peppers seedlings. Then I have 9 little pots in which musk melons have been sowed, and 9 with midget water melons, but both of them haven't sprouted yet. I look at all this and wonder what I was thinking???!!! LOL This baby better not be too early! I really would like at least part of all this in the ground, and I hope to be able to give away a lot of them too. What else are friends for? ;-) I gave away 18 of them already to the friend who visited me last week, I hope she will still want to visit me again some day :-)

Monday, May 03, 2004

Blue flowers

Thirty Seven Weeks!

Actually, 37.5 weeks! How did that happen???? Maybe I have miscalculated somewhere and I really am not that far along yet? Shamefacedly admitting that the birthing supplies still haven't been ordered, yes, Heather, you are right, in the Netherlands I would have been in big trouble :-) :-) I know the baby will be born just fine without birthing supplies here anyway though, we still have some leftovers from other births. I keep wanting to get out the old box and figure out what I still need. But then life gets in the way, and it gets late at night, and Erik is hyper, and I just am too tired to deal with it. But some day soon, I will order them, really!

Still feeling great, although a bit more tired than usual. Especially when the weather suddenly turned HOT and I insisted on gardening anyway. Why did I have to put all those gardens in those nice, sunny locations????? But I did get lots done. Planted more peas. Dug up strawberries from old, overgrown bed, to plant in newly built, raised bed. Sowed melons. Transplanted more tomatoes, so I think my total number of tomato seedlings is over one hundred now... My friends better oblige me by taking some of my hands :-) Next time I might do the sowing by myself instead of having kids help me, there were just too many seeds in each little pot.

TulipOne of my newly planted plum trees has some flowers already. There are tons of daffodils, crocuses, hyacinths, tulips, and other bulbs blooming, and my forsythia is starting. I planted some gladiolas. We got a few dahlia bulbs at the farmer's market, three of which have been planted already. I just love this time of the year!

Yesterday was the first farmer's market for the season. It was nice to see every one again, the winter always seems too long. There even were some veggies, but not many yet. But we did have fingerling potatoes, red leaf lettuce, and fiddlehead ferns with our dinner. This was the first time ever that I have eaten those fiddleheads. They reminded me a lot of rolled up green beans. I also got some pansies, which I planted today, with Kate's help. She watered them after planting.

After planting Erik's dahlia, he was very impatient for it to start growing. I think he has been to the planting spot at least five or six times since yesterday, checking whether you can see anything yet. And the raspberries aren't ripe yet either! LOL

Last week, I had a good friend stop at my house on her way to upstate New York. She brought five of her kids with her and we had a wonderful time. The kids started out in family clans, looking at each other, but not daring to actually interact. But after a while, the mingling started to happen, and in the end we had the usual boys vs girls fights, instead of the our family vs their family ones :-) She stayed the night, and we ended up chatting till 3am, drinking tea, and eating chocolate, after all the kids finally had gone to sleep. I could show of my garden to her, and I gave her some of my baby lilacs (oh, and tomato seedlings of course ;-) It will be nice to know that they will be growing in her garden, way up in the far north... :-)

Baby is still nice and active, and I get a lot of walking in. I have occasional braxton hicks contractions when I walk, but never at any other moments. I am starting to feel the strain of going up our very steep driveway though, especially after walking for an hour :-) That was nice about the Netherlands, everything is just flat, flat, flat. On the other hand, I do get a much better workout when I walk here, going uphill both ways :-)

My very first plum blossom!