Monday, July 28, 2008

Praise Baby

So Aidan seemed to really be getting into the praise songs at the camp Mike was speaking at last week... or was that just Grandma? (and no apparently we don't know how to hold a camera to take video correctly, but it's still cute!)

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Aidan's First Bath

So we gave Aidan his first "real" bath. He of course was not happy with the event - he basically hates having his clothes off at all. But of course we were snapping away with the camera while he screamed. :)

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

More Pictures

Sleeping baby

With Nana

With Papa

Our Family (and yes I still look pregnant...)

Tuesday, June 17, 2008


The Family of Four

Father's Day - Mike with his two kids

Tired happy mommy

The Name

Emma and Aidan

or more accurately Emmaline Eowyn and Aidan Elessar

We now have two children whose first names at least top the trendy popular baby name lists these days. I'm not one for trends generally and it would probably be false to say our name choices were not influenced by the ethos of our culture, but these have been our top name choices since shortly after we were married over eight years ago. One of my favorite literature professors at Wheaton had a little girl named Emma who came along on our Wheaton in England trip and I think I fell in love with that name then. Mike and I both love the story of St. Aidan - the Irish monk who brought Christianity to Northern England. Where other missionary monks had failed in attempts at conversion by persuasion, Aidan succeeded by befriending and serving those around him. We visited the holy isle of Lindisfarne (where Aidan's monastery was) on our honeymoon. But I think it was after we both read Stephen Lawhead's book Byzantium about an Irish monk (named Aidan) journey to (you guessed it) Byzantium and his parallel faith journey that we discussed how much we liked the name (the book is a good read btw). So the first names were chosen long before we had kids.

Aidan literally means "little fiery one" and is a diminutive of Aodh - the Celtic Sun god 9hence the fire part). If this baby had been a girl, we were learning towards the name Rhiannon - the Welsh Moon goddess. So early on we told people that the baby would be named after a pagan deity. Yes, we are weird like that. But given how active Aidan was in the womb (and now) "fiery one" seems fitting.

Then there's the Lord of the Rings middle names. With Emma, we wanted her to have the name of a strong female. Eowyn's desire to make a significant impact on her world led us to give her name to Emma. With Aidan we went with another LOTR name. If you did't know, Elessar is Aragon's elvish name (he was raised by the elves) and the name he assumes once he becomes King. The term elessar actually refers to a green jewel (in a ring of course) that contains a bit of a star (making it apropos to pair with Aidan). But the person who has the right to wear the stone is also referred to as the elessar - a person who is a healer. In LOTR Aragon shows that he is a healer as well as a leader and King. But the idea behind this type of healer is not just one who can heal physical wounds, but one who can look at any person or situation and see the good underneath. The healing occurs by the elessar being able to bring forth the inherent good in people and in the world. I loved that concept and pray that my child can be one of those who see that "there's good in this world and it's worth fighting for." (and yes, we are complete nerds as well...).

Aidan's Birth

Aidan Elessar Clawson was born June 11 at 3:15. He weighed 8lbs 1oz and was 20 inches long.

That's the short version. I thought I'd write the full birth story here for the random few who are interested. This may be way too much information for some, but I'm writing it anyway. So get ready for a really long and most likely incoherent (I'm still drugged up and sleep deprived) post!

After weeks of feeling miserable, having contractions, and thinking the baby could arrive at any moment - it finally happened. Last Wednesday morning my plan was to get up and call some friends about going out to get Indian food for lunch (hoping the whole spicy foods bring on labor thing was true), instead as I went to get out of bed, my water broke. It wasn't a huge gush, but it was obvious it was my water breaking. I was a bit freaked out because I had been told that with high amniotic fluid my water breaking could cause the cord to prolapse which would be really bad. So we had a friend rush over to stay with Emma and we went to the hospital. I wasn't contracting yet, but was scared about the complications. At the hospital they confirmed that my water had broke and that I was 3cm dilated. At that point they told me that this time it was for real; I wasn't leaving the hospital again without having the baby.

They started monitoring me and I had to have an EKG to determine if my heart issues were going to be an issue during labor. They decided to let me proceed in labor and gave me a low dose of pitocin to get my contractions going. I had very mild contractions for a couple of hours, then they ramped up super fast. Within half an hour I went from feeling nothing to the intense scream inducing every other minute kind. They tried to give me an epidural, but because of my previous back surgery it didn't take (with Emma, it worked partially). At some point they gave me an oxygen mask to help me breathe.

I quickly started feeling the need to push which took the nurses by surprise at how fast it happened. So the nurse checked to see if I was fully dilated (which I was) and that's when the problems began. She said she didn't think that what she was feeling was the baby's head and wondered if he was breech. So the doctor rushed in to check me out. She said she thought he was head down, but something didn't seem right. They rushed an ultrasound machine in and discovered that Aidan was face up and his head was tilted backwards. Basically he was positioned to come out nose first. (Remember all this time I am trying not to push) This freaks the doctor out, apparently if I try to push I could cause severe trauma to Aidan's neck. So that's when things went into emergency c-section mode. Basically they told me I was having to go completely under with general anesthesia and Mike couldn't be in the room and rushed me to an operating room. I saw them doing prep on me and that's the last thing I recall before I woke up about an hour later and was told I had a 8lb son.

The rest of that day really was a blur (I think the drugs I was getting had a lot to do with that). I got to see Aidan briefly shortly after I woke up, but didn't get to hold him for a few hours. Mike's parents drove straight in from Michigan to see him which was great. Emma came in that evening as well. At first she was speechless when she saw him. I think she was expecting a bigger "baby" that would be able to play with her. But then she started saying "he's so cute" over and over. I don't remember much of that first night expect that I could barely keep my eyes open. The next day it really hit me that I had just had surgery and it really hurt. I had prepped myself for the pain (and recovery) of a vaginal delivery, so this whole c-section thing was a shock. The inability to move much at all (like to get up to get the baby) wasn't expected. So my time in the hospital was spent beginning to get over the pain and having to have people do everything for me.

I am so grateful that Aidan is healthy. He was still three and a half weeks early, but was over 8lbs. He never had to go to the NICU or have IVs of any kind. They did an ultrasound of his kidney's and couldn't find anything amiss, so that image on my ultrasounds must have just been false echo. They were concerned at his blood sugar and bilirubin levels (and kept poking his feet to test him), but those have leveled out. In all he is a healthy boy. It was weird having him in the room with me. With Emma, she was taken away to the NICU immediately and I had to go to her. She also stayed in the hospital for nine days. So having Aidan there, not hooked up to a bazillion monitors, and be able to hold and feed him whenever was amazing.

We came home on Saturday night which was a bit overwhelming. Of course the pharmacies were closed by the time we got home so I had no good pain medicine that whole night (not fun). But each day since I have gained some strength and can move around a bit more (despite the lack of sleep). Aidan feeds about every two hours which makes sleep and any activity near impossible, but hanging out catatonic on the easy chair is about all I feel like doing anyway right now. It is weird for the wait and misery of the pregnancy to be over. And we are just trying to take it easy and enjoy this time. My parents are here and are taking care of Emma (spoiling her rotten) this week. She is obviously still adjusting to this new member of our family and it will take some time for that to work itself out.

I'm trying to work on getting back into being myself. Being on heavy duty painkillers and the immediate postpartum hormone dump doesn't help much with that though. I still look 6 months pregnant, my ankles are swollen to grapefruit size, and I'm having a hard time figuring out what clothes actually fit at this point. Like I realized that all of my underwear are bikini cut which lay right on my scar, so we had to make an emergency run for granny panties. I can't fit into any pre-pregnancy clothes and the maternity clothes fit awkwardly. Luckily I have a closet full of elastic waist broom skirts, so that's something. It's silly, but one of those random things I didn't think about beforehand.

I'm sure the next few weeks will be an adventure. I don't know what my life will look like day to day. But we are enjoying finally having Aidan here and look forward to getting to know him.

Monday, June 9, 2008

36 Weeks

So I have amazingly made it to 36 weeks. I am having contractions all the time and am in major pain because of them. I feel huge. I think I was at the hospital 5 times for various things last week (picture from one of those trips). My doctor didn't think I would make it to my next appointment with her which is on Thursday, but we shall see. The false labor and waiting is driving me crazy.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

35 Weeks

So I've made it to 35 weeks and I am so ready for the baby. I have been having constant contractions, but of course they never get intense enough to turn into real labor. So I just get to be really uncomfortable and really really sore.

I went in for another ultrasound today. I am still measuring large (37 weeks - they estimate the baby to be 7.5 pounds) and have lots of excess amniotic fluid. The doctor did notice an "echo" on one of the baby's kidneys. It could indicate a cyst, so they will need to perform an ultrasound on the baby after birth. As with everything that has happened this could be really bad or mean nothing at all. But of course it is one more thing to be concerned about.

At this point I am to just keep going as is. Everyone expects me to give birth soon - so much so that the doctor said not to bother making another appointment. He did joke and say it would be crazy after all this if I went another three weeks and they had to induce me. I couldn't even begin to imagine what the baby would weigh at that point...

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Hospital Trip and Baby Shower

So I've had an eventful past couple of days. This morning I was just drifting off to sleep around 2:30 when I started have contractions. I also discovered that my mucus plug had fallen out. So I lay in bed for a couple of hours timing the contractions (every ten minutes) wondering what I should do. As the contractions became more frequent I woke Mike up around 4:30. I called the doctor and she said it was up to me if I wanted to go into labor and delivery. They wouldn't stop labor since I was past 34 weeks, so I might want to see if the contractions intensify. I waited another couple of hours and they got stronger and closer together. So we called Kelsey (sorry for the early morning wake up!) and she came out to watch Emma. At that point the contractions were 3 minutes apart and I could hardly breathe through them. It was a bit scary going in wondering if the baby was coming today. So I check in and get all hooked up to the monitors and of course the contractions slow down. They monitor me for a few hours, see that I'm not dilating, and then send me home. Of course I'm still having random painful contractions, so it's been a long day. I was told to expect to most likely be back in real labor within the week, so we shall see what happens.

In other news, our church family threw us a baby shower this past Sunday. Basically it was a diaper shower. We are trying to use mostly cloth diapers this time around. And while cloth diapers are cheaper than disposable over time, the initial investment can be overwhelming. So the group pooled resources and got us set up with a decent start of cloth diapers. It was really cool to be taken care of that way and we had a fun time at the party. The pictures are of a game to teach Mike and Luke how to use the old school style cloth diapers (not what I am using!) and Char's disturbing test of their proficiency. Thanks all for the shower!

Monday, May 19, 2008

Belly Pic

Me looking huge wearing the monitor thingy.

Monday, May 12, 2008

32 Week update

So I made it to 32 weeks which is a really good thing. Babies born at this point have a really good chance of survival without longterm complications. The big benchmark/goal is 34 weeks (Emma was born at 34 weeks to the day). The doctors say they won't do much to stop labor after that point.

Anyway I went in for another ultrasound today and that turned into a rather interesting experience. I go to the maternal/fetal specialists for my ultrasound so it's way more in depth each time than a typical one. But of course as I went in today, I was feeling out of breath and my heat was pounding - normal life these days. But while I was there I started feeling much worse. I got dizzy, nauseated, and my heart rate shot up. I could hardly breathe and had to interrupt the ultrasound a few times to stabilize myself. This of course worried the nurses and doctors. Then we saw through the ultrasound that the baby is measuring big - really big for 32 weeks. He weighs approximately 6 pounds already and looks closer to 35 weeks. (no wonder I feel huge and my maternity clothes are getting small). And there is a ton of extra amniotic fluid (which is kinda weird since I am not diabetic). This is good in a sense because of all the preterm labor issues, but bad in regard to how my body will be able to handle getting even bigger with all the heart issues I am having.

The doctor immediately checked me into a hospital room (ultrasound is right next to labor and delivery) to do a stress monitoring test on the baby. So I got hooked up to five different machines meant to monitor both my and the baby's vital signs. Everything looked okay, especially once my heart rate started going down. But my resting heart rate was still elevated, so the doctor is talking to my other doctors about getting me on drugs to reduce it (yes I have multiple doctors for all this, it's kinda crazy). He says the pregnancy (since the baby is a boy) needs to go at least 3 more weeks, but that he is not sure if my body can take that or be able to deliver safely. So I am waiting to hear if the doctors think I can handle the drugs and if that will actually help with anything. Exciting times. Oh and Mike and Emma were there the whole time. Emma was a tad confused by the whole thing, but enjoyed watching cartoons in the hospital room. And so the pregnancy adventure continues...

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

My Heart Stuff

So I mentioned before that my doctor sent me to see a cardiologist because of the weird racing heart/dizziness/difficulty breathing issues I was having. Those could all be just hormones and nutritional issues caused by pregnancy that will go away or they could be causing long term heart issues. So, I got to go get an EKG and an ultrasound of my heart - which both came back normal. But they still wondered why my heart was beating so fast and hard all the time. The solution was for me to wear a heart monitor for a month.

So yesterday I got the monitor and immediately started having issues. Basically I have electrodes attached to my chest that lead to an ipod sized monitor that I have to wear at all times for the next 30 days (no this is not a Morgan Spurlock episode). Whenever I have an incident I record it and then send it over the phone to the lab. If my heart reaches a certain rate it will autorecord the incident then beep at me incessantly until I call it in (I'm feeling scarily like Sawyer on Lost at this point). Fun times.

Well its all good until about an hour later when I'm at the grocery store and the thing starts autorecording. I'm not feeling anything, but apparently my heart level is elevated enough to record an incident. This is a tad disturbing since what I call incidents are much much worse. (now I'm thinking about the rabbit on Lost...). so I go to call it in only to discover that i can't use a cell phone to report things in. It has to be a landline. Um, we don't have a landline. We don't work anywhere that has a landline. So after many calls back and forth to the doctor's office and the lab about options and stupid technology... we are getting a landline. For a month.

Can I just take this moment to express my level of frustration with my health and this pregnancy... Why does it seem that everything has to be insanely way more complicated than it ever should be? Can't I just be pregnant without umpteen bazillion complications and hassles? (and yes I feel very guilty in a knock on wood sort of way for complaining about anything to do with the pregnancy, but still...)

okay rant over.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Belly Pic and Update

So the belly continues to grow - the pictures at 28 weeks. The baby is measuring 2 weeks ahead of schedule which is a good thing. I'm still having all sorts of issues though. Last week I had to go into the hospital to be monitored since I was having regular contractions. They did another ffn test which was negative and there were no other signs of labor - just the weirdness of contractions every 6 minutes. I'm still getting the hormone shots, which may be causing all the heart issues and dizziness. I went to the cardiologist and basically just got more tests scheduled. I'll have to wear a heart monitor to see what's up with all that. I'm hoping it's all just strange pregnancy/hormone related stuff. So I'm getting along. I still don't drive because of the vertigo and limit going out because I get so worn out (and dizzy, can't breathe...). I feel huge and am tired of not doing much of anything. Anyway, that's the status at the moment.

Friday, March 28, 2008


So the contractions have slowed and things looked okay at my check-up today. As my doctor put it, "well, at least nothing's worse." So it's the status quo around here.

I did get referred to go see a cardiologist to try and figure out why I can't breathe, have a racing heartbeat, and and dizzy all the time (could be the hormone shots that are preventing/slowing the preterm labor...). But of course, that's in a couple of weeks (gotta love non-emergency appointment scheduling). Anyway just thought I'd give an update.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Preterm Labor Issues

It's been a long day. Since early this morning I'm been having lots of regular contractions - not a good thing at this stage. I did all the "how to stop contractions" things, but they kept going. So I had an emergency trip to the doctor this afternoon. Thankfully the contractions aren't productive (causing real labor signs) at this point. They did a fetal fibronectin test which thankfully came back negative, which basically tells us that there is a 99% chance that I will not deliver the baby within the next week (um, I need like three more months!). Anyway, I'm stuck feeling really crappy, having to lay down, and drink massive amounts of water in hopes the contractions stop (they've been going all day). I see the doctor again in a couple of days. It's just really frustrating and I'm not really sure what's going on.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

My Pregnancy Diet

So for the first time in months I am finally able to eat somewhat normally again. This whole pregnancy takes over my body, appetite, smell thing is really overwhelming. I spent over four months not being able to eat or drink hardly anything. I lost a lot of weight, was hospitalized for dehydration, and took drugs to prevent me from throwing up what I did manage to put in my mouth. Most days that was a very small selection of carbs. I could do potatoes and bread (with no crust). For awhile the only things that I could force myself to eat were tator tots and Cinnamon toast crunch. sounds yummy, doesn't it?

Slowly the nausea subsided to the point where I can now stand the taste of water and eat basic food. And by basic food that means I can tolerate most typical American food (i.e. junk food) - hamburgers, pizza, grilled cheese, ice cream. Veggies and fruits still make me gag. So I feel like I am 5 and it's driving me nuts. I am so into eating healthy and organic and here all I can eat is the worst sorts of foods for me. I eat freaking processed coffee cake for breakfast because super-sweet stuff is all I can handle in the mornings. I feel like I'm betraying myself at just about every meal and yet I need to eat. It's just really weird.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

The Meaning of Easter

This disturbs me

(currently displayed on the Amazon baby frontpage...)

Wednesday, March 5, 2008


So now on top of everything else Mike and Emma passed the nasty headcold on to me. Just when I thought I couldn't feel any more miserable my head feels like it is going to explode and I can't swallow. Bah.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Emma's Tummy

So during this whole pregnancy Emma has wanted to be like mommy and have something in her tummy. She at first said she had a baby in her tummy too and said her tummy hurt just like mommy's. Then as we tried to clear that up she just talked about how she had a bebo (a belly-button for the non-Sandra Boynton initiated) in her tummy. Well now for some reason she has started insisting that she has kittens in her tummy. Oh the joys of the three year old mind...

Friday, February 29, 2008

When will the world stop spinning?

So I collapsed at the doctor's office today. I was getting a shot and then everything started spinning and I started blacking out. They had to lay me down while I tried not to throw up and clenched my eyes against the light. Well at least now I assume they believe me when when I say "dizziness and vertigo are a problem"... It was embarrassing though. When this happens at home I just lie down. At the doctor's office they kinda freak out, run for the doctor and start doing all sorts of tests on me. Of course they found nothing wrong besides the fact that I'm weird and my body really doesn't like being pregnant (not that they put it in those words exactly).

I'm just sick of all the dizziness and wish the world would stop spinning occasionally. Most days stuff is just vaguely "off." I can still function, read, write and all that. Other days I shut down I feel so horrible. The closest thing I can compare it to is a combination of the worst parts of being drunk plus the hangover afterwards - I'm dizzy, nauseated, shaky, sensitive to light and sound, achy, and stuck with a splitting headache. On top of that then often comes the cramping, contractions, and heartburn. This isn't stuff they talk about in those "what to expect when you're expecting books." I'm excited and happy about the baby, but I would love to just feel normal for a day

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Monday, February 25, 2008

20 Weeks

Baby bulge picture - Julie at 20 weeks

Baby Registry

Baby Registry
Mike and Julie Clawson and Baby due June 30, 2008

We want to use cloth diapers this time around and so need to actually get some!

Diapers (3 dozen needed)

Little Beetle ONE
All sizes (mostly 2), any color. snap closures. Top choice.

Swaddlebees Organic Cotton Velour Fitted Diaper
All sizes, any color.

Sckoon 100% Cotton Breathable Baby Diaper
All sizes.

Bottombumpers All-In-Ones (Organic Cotton)
All sizes. Any color. (except pink).

bum genius One size Organic All-in-Ones
Grasshopper or Twilight

Diaper Covers (6-8 needed)

Organic Cotton Velour Diaper Cover
Any color. Sizes Sm - XL.

Bumkins Cloth Diaper Cover
All sizes. Blue colors.

Sckoon Organic Cotton Breathable Baby Diaper Cover
All sizes.

Other Items that would be useful/fun

Sit n' Stand Stroller

Wahmies Diaper Pail Liner
3 needed, any color

Wahmies Wet Bag - 2 needed, regular size

Hotsling Organic Baby Carrier

Nursing Shawl

The Safe Sippy - 3 desired, any color

We could also use boy appropriate baby clothes. Being me, I prefer earth-toned and animal themes to the typical sports, construction, and vehicle themes of most boy clothing. And organic fabrics would be nice as well.

Many of these items are also listed on our Amazon Registry

Thank you!