A year ago today marked my the end of my fifth week of “house arrest” (otherwise known as bed rest.)
Chloe, the older of our two daughters, was born prematurely and spent roughly six weeks in the hospital. So last May, when baby number two threatened to make an appearance two months ahead of schedule, I was advised to stay off my feet for SIX LONG WEEKS.
Being confined to bed rest in your third trimester is excruciating. Not in terms of physical discomfort (although there is a bit of that.) Rather, it’s the psychological distress that’s unbearable. Not only are you steeped in worry over your unborn child, but you’re locked in this perverse battle of wanting – or perhaps more accurately, NEEDING – to give in to the all-consuming “nesting instinct,” yet you know that your baby’s health depends on ignoring that desire/need. Ultimately, you end up glued to the couch for a month and a half, obsessing about everything that isn’t getting done.
Since climbing the stairs was forbidden, climbing the walls definitely wasn’t option. So as I anxiously waited for Ginger’s arrival (and hoped that she wouldn’t arrive too soon) I tried to find ways to keep myself occupied.
At first I decided to do some sewing â€“ a fairly comical decision in retrospect, as I don’t actually know how to sew. I’ve taken a whopping two (2) sewing classes in my lifetime. In the first class, we learned how to make aprons. Yup – an apron. (It was a pretty nifty apron though, with an adjustable strap and a snazzy front pocket.) In the second class, we learned how to make a bathrobe. I chose really soft and lovely retro-printed fabric and even learned how to create piping. Finishing the damn thing ended up taking forever though, so I quit working on it about three quarters of the way through. Come to think of it, I don’t think I ever finished the apron either! But did that prevent me from dragging out the sewing machine and going crazy with sewing projects for the nursery? Hell no!
I guess nesting is a bizarre sort of prenatal psychosis because almost overnight, I became a sewing maniac! I made black polka-dotted valances and a tablecloth for the playroom, complete with ribbon trim and pom-pom fringe:
I also sewed rocking-chair cushions, a changing pad cover for the changing table, and curtains and a dust ruffle for Ginger’s room. (Amazingly, if you don’t look too closely at the seams, everything looks passable.)
Then it got HOT – so incredibly hot – in the triple digits for days on end! My feet puffed up to the size of watermelons and I simply couldn’t bear sitting inside hunkered down with my sewing machine any longer. (Which was OK. I was out of fabric anyway.) So, my bulging belly and I moved out to the patio where I soaked my enormous melon-feet in ice water and started painting. No – sadly – not the outside of the house (which was, and remains, in dire need of new paint) but three teeny square canvases for the baby’s room.
I’d been leaning toward trying to match the baby’s bedding with paintings of frogs and lily pads, but big sister Chloe voted for ladybugs. (She has something of a polka-dot fixation, if you couldn’t tell from the playroom.) Since I had plenty of time on my hands, I ended up painting both.
Now, I’m no more an artist than I am a seamstress, but again, the hormones seemed to kick my creativity up a notch, so if you don’t look TOO closely, the paintings didn’t turn out too badly:
I joke that I was in labor for three months because I began having contractions in May and, much to everyone’s surprise, Ginger decided to wait until August 3rd (12 days past her due date) to join our family:
You might think that with all of those weeks between the end of May and the beginning of August we would have had plenty of time to finish Ginger’s room, but you would be, um, wrong.
Our goals at this time last year were to finish enough of Chloe’s room to allow her to move upstairs before her baby sister arrived, and to finish enough of the playroom to give Chloe a hangout to escape to when her sister was sleeping. We did somehow manage to meet those goals. But in the process, Ginger’s room ended up getting pushed aside and she wound up bunking with us for awhile. Ten months to be exact. Ten months and counting, in fact!
Our goal this summer is to FINALLY move Ginger into her own room â€“ hopefully before her first birthday rolls around. I can’t believe that’s she’s almost one! For as unbearably long as my six weeks on house arrest seemed at the time, the past year has gone by in a blink, and our â€œnew baby” is almost a toddler now. Where does the time go?
So, without further ado, here is a sneak peek at Ginger’s room:
Doors still need to be stained and hung, and oh â€“ I don’t know â€“ moving the crib and changing table into the room might be helpful too. But the closet and dresser are full of baby clothes, the curtains are hung and the stuffed animals are just waiting to be snuggled (and probably chewed and drooled upon.) In other words, after all this time, it is finally starting to look like a real nursery. Hopefully Ginger will enjoy it.