Tuesday, December 30, 2008

wii are grateful

Get it? Yeah, we got a Wii for Christmas. It's pretty fun. Jason is slowly becoming an expert and will soon defeat us at every game. It's hard recovering from giving birth and watching everyone compete without you. The few times I got up to bowl my body screamed at me to sit back down. Maybe this week will be different. I took a 15 minute walk on the dreadmill this morning. I kept trying to push the incline button down as it seemed as though the walk was ridiculously tough. I soon realized that 3+ weeks of laying around will atrophy your legs so even a simple walk will feel like an uphill hike.

Hayden continues to be practically perfect in every way. She has figured out that day time is when you stay awake and night time is when you sleep. I think she's brilliant! Her jaundice is clearing up nicely and she is gaining weight. She wakes up every 3 hours to eat which means that she gets up at 2 am and 5 am. So technically you could say that she only wakes up once at night to eat but I consider the 5am feeding night also. By the time I get up for the 8am I feel like I've been hit by a truck. I need to remember to set the coffeemaker timer at night...

Yesterday was my first day on my own with the kids. The morning went well, I actually showered before 10am. I foolishly attempted to shop with them and even more foolishly tried 3 stores. There are not enough snacks in the world to make it through 3 stores! I miss Darren a lot, not only because he can cook but also because it was nice to have another adult to talk to. I had forgotten how long a day can be without company.

I have been spending the last few evenings working on the piles in every room. In our house the presents get integrated in stages. First, they make it to the designated room. Then, the tags get taken off and finally everything finds a home. As I spend time doing this I have been overwhelmed with gratitude for all the gifts we received this year. We are loved by friends and family and even if these gifts were not given it would be obvious by all the support we received during this month. Thanks to everyone who surrounded us with love and prayers for Hayden. We are grateful!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

hayden emily

I suppose it's time to update the blogosphere on the birth of Hayden Emily Rusco. She is finally here! Last Wednesday I had an appointment at which I nearly blew the blood pressure cuff right off. My doctor came in and scolded me for being so darn predictable and once again being ready to go at 37 weeks. She sent me over to the hospital for monitoring, I had to lay in bed with a monitor on the baby's heartbeat, one for my contractions and a blood pressure cuff that would take a reading every 10-15 minutes. During the time at the hospital my contractions strengthened and my blood pressure kept up enough to set off several alarms. After seeing all of her patients for the day Dr. Yin came in and had me change into a gown, then broke my water. This was it, no turning back!

I got an epidural. I know, it's a controversial choice but let me tell you, it's a necessary one for me and Darren. In order for the two of us to make it through the birthing process, one of us needs drugs to stay coherent... the logical choice would be me. However, Darren also needs me to be calm and at ease so he doesn't get sick... he also needs to keep his eyes averted from all the action. This works for us, we're 3 for 3 with no fainting during delivery.

Hayden stalled a little so I got a pitossin drip. She finally started to make her move around 3am so the doctor was called in. After a few good pushes she was born. We had a really great nurse with us, her name is Natalie. You can see her arms in these pictures as she's working on Hayden. Not only was she very nice and calm she also wore cute scrubs. Way to be stylish, Natalie! (Scrubs can be very ugly!)

So after the clean up, Nanny and Pops came in for their first look at Hayden. What troopers! They endured the discomforts of the hospital waiting room for hours just to be there for the birth. Thanks guys. With all the stuff going on, Darren and I never slept that night. We were up the next morning when Grammy and Papa brought Jason and Cameron to see their new sister.

The rest of that day I spent in and out of consciousness. Darren went home to get some rest. He came back at dinner time for our "Celebration Meal". The hospital likes to fancy up the usual fare for the new parents. We were told that we ate filet mignon, but that's up for debate. I have to say the cheesecake was great, and I even finished Darren's after he left. Throughout the day the nurses monitored my recovery and both my doctor and Hayden's pediatrician were optimistic that we'd go home in the morning. It was not to be! Late that evening I watched my feet and hands swell up and I knew something was wrong.

In the morning Dr. Yin checked in with me again. My blood pressure was still up, even though delivering the baby is supposed to relieve preeclampsia. She said that the swelling and BP proved that induction was the way to go as my body continued to act out what it was planning on doing if we hadn't gotten the baby out. Make sense? Anyway, she agreed to let me go home only if I would continue bedrest, take BP medicine and monitor my BP. I heartily agreed. However, during the night, Hayden's body started to act up also and she had jaundice! Dr. Tedford agreed to let us go home on the condition that we would put her on the bili blanket like we had with the other kids. No problem, we knew the routine. About an hour later my nurse walked in with the bad news. All the bili blankets in the county were already checked out and Dr. Tedford wanted us to stay in the hospital for one more night to use their lights. Right as I got this news Darren walked in and the tears began to flow (mine, not his... the hormones kicked in and I was a mess!). So here we were, Friday morning, ready to go home only to be denied!

This turned out to be a blessing in disguise. The hospital lights are much more powerful than the bili blankets and Hayden was able to knock her biliruben down a point over 24 hours. This also allowed time for her pooper to start working and my milk to come in, a combination that defeats jaundice naturally. It also allowed time for me to start BP meds and for me to get below 140/90. This was Dr. Yin's requirement for me to go home. Darren spent Friday with me and went out to buy lunch at Mondeo... much more appetizing than hospital food. I did eat the hospital dinner, some sort of mystery meat covered in gravy with veggies and a hard roll. By 11pm I was starving so I ventured out to the nurses station to see if they had any snacks. My night nurse was awesome, she pointed me in the right direction and soon I was snacking on bagels, pudding and juice.

In the morning both doctors were happy with our progress so we were both released. I love how the nurses are pulling for you when they know you've been let down. My day nurse hustled through the discharge paperwork so we could get out of there. It's nice when they know you're on your third baby so they can trust you to know what you're doing. Darren drove us home but took us to In-n-Out first for lunch. We picked up the kids at Nanny and Pops' house and I don't think I've ever seen two happier kids. We spent Saturday afternoon at HOME doing nothing but being together and getting to know Hayden.

So far Hayden is perfect. Jason was our first so we panicked at every noise he made. We read the books and were easily discouraged when he didn't conform to their rules. With Cameron, we thought we knew what we were doing and thought we'd be more relaxed. But she proved us wrong and gave us challenges every day. She was a very disgruntled baby, difficult to please. Hayden seems to be a reward of sorts. She just eats, sleeps and poops, no crying "just because". Every cry has a reason and once that problem's solved she just goes back to sleep. We are very happy with the kid's acceptance of her. Jason is a great big brother, very gentle and loving, always available to help. Cameron has adopted a sweet high-pitched voice for talking to Hayden and she loves to share her toys with her sister. So far, so good.

I try my best to rest. It's hard being home and just sitting around when I feel OK. I know that I still need time for my BP to recover, I still have swollen feet and hands. I feel like I need to make up for lost time with the kids because my hospital stay seemed to last a lifetime. But, as I watch them play I know they have moved on and are just glad to have everyone home together. Tonight we start the first of our many Christmas celebrations with family. I need to nap a little because it can be overwhelming. Hayden is here at last and we are a very thankful, happy family!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

new favorite ornament

I have a new favorite ornament this year.  Last night at Cubbies, Cameron's craft project was to make an ornament for her parents.  Click on the picture to enlarge and see what will be hanging on my tree FOREVER!  I love it because right now, at 3, this is exactly who Cameron is: crazy.  But at 16, 30, 45?  Will she despise it or embrace it?  I will treasure it forever!  Also I thought I'd include a picture of Cam doing some Christmas crafts.  I gave her free reign with the glue bottle and it kept her busy for 30 minutes (that's forever in 3 year old time!).

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

gifts for the bedridden

This is the time of year when everyone puts out a holiday gift giving guide. In the spirit of this I would like to offer a few gift ideas for the bedridden people in your life. These ideas are not seasonal, so next time a friend is out of commission for a while try one of these gifts to cheer them up. (This is not a sneaky plea for gifts to be poured on me. I've been on bedrest for 2 weeks now and I am determined to deliver a baby tomorrow. I have an appointment, the 17th, I know, prime number, sigh. Maybe this will change my thing about numbers...)

* a scented candle* Did you know that you can create quite a stink just by laying around all day? This is very similar to the delightful smell after a night's sleep. A scented candle is not only a gift for the bedridden but also the people who have to put up with them.

* makeup brushes* It's nice to receive real makeup brushes. They are much better for applying makeup than the silly little foam applicators that come with eyeshadows. It also reminds the bedridden that it's nice to see them looking alive rather than the dead lump of sweatpants and blankies that they have become.

* tabloid magazines* The person on bedrest wants to assure you that the time will be well spent catching up on the classics that they cheated on during high school. Please understand, this is a lie. The bedridden want to peruse issues revealing celebrity cellulite... it cheers us up much more than the great American novel.

* junk food and home cooked meals* This desire alternates. The bedridden are often surrounded by lovely family members who are talented chefs. However, when you're a stinky mess of blankies some days you just want to pound a bag of Cheetos and a diet Coke. (Diet of course, because you're watching your weight. You wouldn't want this little setback to derail your figure.). Other days you watch your loved one stare longingly into the fridge trying to figure out what to make for dinner and you just want to put him out of his misery by magically wishing a home-cooked meal would appear on your doorstep. He does such a good job of caring for you that you want to give him a little gift in return.

I hope you enjoyed this little gift guide. I'm going to roll over now, I can only type one-sided!

Monday, December 15, 2008

numbers quirk

Yes, I have a quirk about numbers.  I love the fact that my birthday is on the 15th.  I am delighted that Jason's b-day is the 25th.  I like it when things happen on multiples of 5.  We were married on the 10th.  It's just so neat and pretty.  So today is the 15th, and baby, if you're paying attention:  it's GO TIME!  I've been having contractions all weekend and Friday at my appointment the doctor gave me that awful teaser:  "oh wow, you're already dialated to 2!"  Do you know how long a girl can stay at 2 cm?  WEEKS!  It's 8 o'clock in the morning, I've got 16 more hours to make this happen... I think I'll go jump on Cam's trampoline!

Here's a few pics of our Christmas decorating.  I love how Cameron proves clothing to be so unnecessary and Darren shows that using a handsaw is a piece of cake!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

bedrest crafting 2

Still on bedrest, still trying to keep sane. My appointment for today got bumped to Friday so I'm defiantly cheating, getting up more often than I should. Anyway, no need to confess any more, I just wanted to show off the present I made for Cameron. I got the template and instructions at The Long Thread . So excited! I think I'll be playing with this more than Cam!

I can't post any pictures of the other handmade things I've been making because some loyal blog readers will be spoiled... you'll just have to wait!

Friday, December 5, 2008

bedrest crafting

When I was a teenager I remember blowing off the whole "it's the thought that counts" concept and dreaded opening presents from distant relatives. I instead appreciated the folks who took the time to write a check or buy a gift card. Messed up, I know... but I was a teenager! It's the age of me-ism... I got over it. So now when we have teens and pre-teens on our Christmas list I don't have any problem with giving gift cards. I know that I have no clue as to their interests and I don't want to pretend to know what they'd like. Maybe I'm giving up too easily or maybe I'm just realistic. Either way, I like to dress up the gift card just a bit. Here are the felt holders I made this year. Two down and two to go... it's ok, I have a lot of time on my hands!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

what about the kids?

So while I'm out of commission the kids have been staying very busy.  Darren has taken them to my mom's house the last 2 days to do school in the morning while he works a little in the office.  This has been a great treat for the kids and for Nanny!  Today Darren had to get back to the office for a few more hours so he put Jason in charge.  Jason gave his sister a snack and then created this indoor hopscotch game for the two of them.  Not only was it creative but it is wearing them out!  They also put on dance performances for me and we've done a few wordsearches together.  I think big brother is doing a great job.

cheaters never prosper

Do you remember chanting this in a sing-song voice on the playground during the elementary years?  I know I did (there's a lot of Angela Martin in me... the party planning committee part, not the beeper part).  So yesterday in my first full day of bedrest I was feeling so well that I cheated a little, or a lot, or you know.....

Consequently, last night and this morning I am enduring another headache.  So my lesson has been learned:

* Doing a load of laundry is cheating.
* Getting up to get a cup of juice for Cameron or a snack is cheating.
* Working on the 1000 piece puzzle at the dining room table is cheating.
* Sitting upright is cheating.

So today I will do my best to lay down.  Which in turn will lead to a very good day tomorrow, probably tempting me to cheat a little and then have a lousy day on Saturday.  I guess it's tough to learn this lesson!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008


So Hayden and I are on bedrest!  I have a headache that I just can't shake and my doctor confirmed that my blood pressure is up (which is the reason for the headache).  So, to buy us a another week or two we have to lay low for a while.  What will I be doing with all my down time?  Here's a fascinating look:

* Eating:  I am currently typing between bites of chocolate Zinger and sips of hot chocolate (it's bedrest, not a diet!)

* Shopping:  I'll be cruising Amazon and a few other sites to finish (er, begin) my holiday shopping.  I would send Darren out with a list but then he might come home with random items like the aforementioned chocolate Zingers (... although I'm not complaining!).

* Crafting:  My goal for tomorrow is to figure out how to scrapbook while laying on my side... I may end up with a lot of crooked cuts!

* Watching TV:  I am in love with DVR.  I can watch all of this season's Office episodes back to back to back...

* Cleaning:  I have been known to cheat while on bedrest.  If I linger long in the bathroom it's because I started cleaning... the scent of clean doesn't usually follow a lengthy bathroom visit...

*  Appreciating Darren:  He's a great dad, chef and housekeeper, and I'm very happy to hand things over to him for a while.

Monday, December 1, 2008

small town life

When we first moved to San Miguel I was unsure about small-town life. Ultimately, I loved living in Portland and thought of myself as a big-city girl. Moving to Paso Robles was a little disappointing after having access to anything and everything in Portland. And San Miguel... well let's just say it's quite a bit smaller than Paso! But, the last few weeks have really changed my mind.

Three weeks ago the kids and I were in the library for our usual Thursday visit. The library is about the size of our living room but they cram a surprising amount of books in there! The kids picked out their books and I checked out an "express" book. "Express" means that it's a new book, has a lot of demand and can only be checked out for one week, no back to back renewals and a dollar a day late fee. It's a big risk to check out an express book! But I thought, no big deal, I can get it read in time and we'll be back next Thursday anyway. Well, the next Thursday came and the library was closed so I dropped the books in the box outside (not Thanksgiving, the week before). I promptly got my automated library email expressing their dismay at my tardiness and the resulting fees. The next time we went to the library I went to the counter to hand over my fees. The librarian said, "which day was it due? Last Thursday? Oh, I was sick on Thursday (thus the unexpected closure), don't worry about it. Besides, I never collect fees anyway!"

This morning Darren asked me to pay the bills and get them in the mail because he forgot to do it this weekend. No big deal, happy to help. He called later in the morning to ask which ones I had sent out so he could update the spreadsheet (yeah, he's a spreadsheet guy... I can't get away with anything!). When I listed them off he paused and then asked if I had read the statement correctly on one of the bills. Apparently, he had set up automatic deduction and the company sent us a statement to confirm the amount and due date. The company included in very small print (this is not a bill). Thanks a lot! December is not the month to be doubling up on payments! I tried to call the company to stop the automated payment... that's a no go less than 5 days from the due date. I went to the mailbox to stalk the mail carrier (we have a locked drop box)... no good when an impatient 3 year old is along for the ride. I thought about calling the bank to stop payment, but put it off when seeing the fee. So last resort I headed down to the post office to see if they could find the letter for me. Wouldn't you know it, that was the simplest solution! The postal worker there took my name and address and phone number and said she'd call me when the carrier got in. Less than an hour later I had the silly bill in my hand!

I am now officially satisfied with small town life. And since gas prices are falling so steadily, driving into town is not a big deal anymore. Thanks for reading my rambling stories...