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The Smiths recently returned from a week long camping trip in the mountains of Colorado. While we do tent camp, we do not backpack camp. I have a friend that refers to this as “fat camping” because if you are not carrying it around you are fat and lazy. We tent camped with a king size air mattress (yes our tent is that big) and it is a good thing: All four of us slept on it every night, Ries, myself, Gideon, and Pullo (who kept our feet warm in the cold mountain air).

Here we are on our hike on Inter-Laken Trail in Twin Lakes, CO. Notice Pullo’s shoes in the photo.

Trip stats:

    Hours to travel there: 23
    Days it rained: pretty much every one, a shower at least
    Days it rained continuously and we considered leaving altogether: 3
    Generations on the camping trip: 4
    Tents: 2
    Popups and RVs: 2
    Cushy accommodations (aka RVs and popups) slept in by the “Old Folks”: 2
    Miles hiked: 5
    Miles driven during the trip: 3,018
    Spoiled dogs who required their own hiking shoes: 1
    Showers taken: one on Wednesday
    Baths taken by Gideon: 3, one in the fancy RV!
    Peeps harmed and consumed in the Great Campfire Roasting of 2010: 12
    Nights I had to leave the tent to go to the bathroom (outhouse really) and wonder if a bear would eat me: all of them
    Towns visited: Telluride (gondolas!), Mountain Village, Ouray (hot springs!), Leadville
    Hours to travel home: 20

It was a nice trip though it rained constantly the first three days we were in Telluride. We actually left that area Tuesday, after realizing that the rain would not stop and the tents had taken all the moisture they were going to deal with before the rain came inside in buckets. Once in Leadville, where we hooked up with my grandparents, the weather was amazing, with the normal mountain showers and sunshine.

We hiked Inter-Laken trail, a short 5 mile hike to an abandoned resort on Twin Lakes. Pullo wore his saddle bags and new hiking shoes and I think 5 miles is about all he is able to go. He was very pooped at the end of the day. Gideon made it about a third of the way and then was passed around for the rest of the journey.

We ended up in Leadville for their annual Boom Days festival which is a fun weekend of small town festivities, including a pancake breakfast, parade, and mining events.

I loved being in the mountains again. It has been too long since I have been surrounded by my favorite views. Gideon had a wonderful time being dirty all week and being spoiled by Grammy and Oma (whose idea of a morning snack is Green Tea and an Oreo cookie). The day after we got back, he cried and asked to go back to the campsite to Oma.

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Gideon is getting bossy for one with so few years, but occasionally, his bossiness is appreciated.

Last night, Gideon and I had finished dinner and I was sitting on the couch. It was about 7:15. He came over, patted my arm, and pointed to his room. I asked him to, “Show me.”

He led me down the hall, pointing. Gideon walked right up to the rocking chair and pointed again.

I asked him, “Are you tired?”
“Yes,” he answered, nodding and smiling.
“Do you want milkies?”
Again, he nodded and smiled.
“You can go to bed if you want.”

At that he walked into the hall, where he could see Ries, who was still eating, and said, “Bye-Bye,” and walked back to me.

I fed him and he was asleep by 7:35.

I think he has us trained.

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Those Left Behind

I have wonderful in-laws. They are here about once a week to visit Gideon. Gammy (Cindy) is afraid that Gideon will forget her if too much time lapses. They arrive and swoop the baby away to go to Wal-Mart or the Dollar Store (my MIL favorite stores). I get a little quiet and time to myself.  Sometimes, they clean while they are here too. I always feel like Cindy is disappointed if there are not dust bunnies for her to vanquish.

One of the running jokes about Cindy is that she always leaves things at my house.  Sometimes, I know about the things. Sometimes, I am surprised by an item that turns up.

She has various reasons for leaving things. Cindy has that compulsion that all mothers have to bring food to their children. Regardless of age, mothers always feel the need to feed their children. My mother usually wants to send leftovers home with us, especially if it is protein related, as if I never feed my husband meat. Cindy usually brings and leaves food she thinks we need or would like. She also brings things she likes so that they are here when she visits.  Children should always accept food from their mothers. It reminds the children that our mothers think of us often and love us and it reassures the mothers that their children will always need them. Both of these things are true.

In the past things that have been left, stealthily or not, include dry roasted peanuts, pillows, and bottles of wine (which normally would be great but this is really, really bad wine).  Monday, Cindy was at my house for the weekly visit and brought us the following:

  • A loaf of cinnamon bread
  • A loaf of oatmeal bread (homemade)
  • 2 half gallons of ice cream: Blue Bell Pecan Pralines and Cream and Blue Bell Mocha Madness

Tuesday morning, I discovered the following in my pantry:

  • One can of Diet Vanilla Pepsi
  • One snack size Sour Skittles

I know she left the Pepsi for next time, but I can not figure out the Skittles.

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Ries with Gideon (and CPAP)I got to hold my boy for the first time last night. Well, technically the second. Our midwife let me hold him for just a second while she was trying to bring up his O2 saturation. But that didn’t count. Last night our nurse was going to give him a bath and then change his bed. After the bath, which of course no boy likes to take a bath, when he was nice and agitated I got to hold him. It took him a little while to calm him down after the bath and he REALLY doesn’t like the CPAP. He is always wiggle his way out of it or making the hose come off. But by the time Michelle got back from cleaning equipment he was settled and fast asleep.

This time it was Michelle’s turn to read I held him for over an hour while she read “The Horse and his Boy” by C.S. Lewis. We finished it up this morning and next up is “Prince Caspian”.

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Today we are going to start a new routine at the hospital.  We are going to try and leave today.  Michelle knows we need to go but every time she thinks about leaving she cries and says she doesn’t want to go.

I am generally more practical.  Maybe it is in a male’s nature to make those hard decisions based on the good of the whole family as opposed to just an individual.  It is hard for me too.  We had a good morning where Michelle and I spent a good chunk of time with him this morning.  I want nothing more than to just continue doing that until he can come home.  But I know we cannot.  I have to work so that I can pay the mortgage and have a house to bring him home to.  I also need insurance because someone has to pay for all these babysitters.  I will try to start working tomorrow and I think I have developed a schedule so that I work every other day.  That way I can extend my sick time and be here for a longer period of time even though I won’t be here every day.

We will leave here early this afternoon and try to go home and relax a bit before sleeping in our own bed.  We are hoping that they put his central line in before we leave.  Regardless of if they get his central line in today or not his umbilical lines have to come out today.  We would rather not have the peripheral IV line also.

Michelle now has a new job now.  She has to get up every morning and make her commute to the hospital so that she can be here for her boy.  Being a cow sure is harder than I thought it would be.

–Ries, trying to do what is best

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(I have not read Ries’ posts yet, but several of you have sent txt saying you liked them already. He will be glad. He worked very hard on them. My view of the birth story will come later)

You know, sometimes life gets real crazy real fast. If you have read Reis’ posts you know I was in labor for 38 hours. It is a long damn time. Keep in mind that the small build-up of things that sent to the ER are fairly normal given that time period and the stress you are under in the NICU.

Sunday night, I got the chills. From them on, I was chilled feverish or fine in cycles. The shakes are normal after childbirth because you are losing adrenaline. Low grade fevers can also be common when you are breastfeeding or pumping (which I have been like crazy so I can feed that boy when he is better). Nothing terribly alarming there. I then proceeded to pass out in the shower that morning, but Ries was there since I am unable to bathe myself or get in the tub alone.

My whole body was sore, you, the whole labor thing, but my legs were especially sore. I expected my lady business would feel the most abused but I must have super powers because those have felt fine. My legs continued to be sore, especially my left leg where it meets my hip joint. All the other soreness faded somewhat but the left leg persisted. I would be better in the morning, then by afternoon, I would barely be able to walk, lift that leg, or put any weight on it (though I have mostly been in a wheel chair anyway, labor, you know). Getting into bed was excruciating and amusing.

My midwife, Jackie Griggs, who is amazing, checked me Monday and said I was fine and did some blood work. All the normal things were working. Bleeding going down, no soreness, no trouble in the bathroom. She said if anything ese happened to call her. No problem.

In the early afternoon, Ries and I went in to see Gideon before getting lunch. I could feel my fever coming back and got the shakes while we were there. We left. As we exited the NICU area, one of the nurse practitioners, Mary, also awesome, tracked us down and told me I looked terrible, have I checked my temp, what was I feeling. I explained the above. She insisted I go next door to St. Luke’s Emergency. I took my temp; it was 101, the highest it has been.

We called Jackie, my Mom, my sister-in-law Katy who works in the Med Center and away we went. I felt like absolute crap was scared something could be seriously wrong, and was afraid of leaving my boy. His Smith Grandparents stayed to keep an eye on him.

By the time we got to St. Luke’s, a mere elevator and hallway walk away, my temp went up to 102.8. Oops. They took a bunch of blood and I peed in a cup which was a feat in itself. More tests. Some very unpleasant. No woman wants her recently abused stuff being touched. I got examined a lot down there and, though they were gentle, damn it was not fun. More tests. We wait.
The result. All of my womanly parts are working fine. That is good. The leg is more than likely soft tissue damage from pushing in several positions for 4 hours. It should go away in a couple weeks. My ginormous swollen legs and feet, also normal postpartum; they gave me some pressure stockings which are fabulous.

The fever is likely caused by a slight bladder infection. They gave me IV drugs and a script for pills for seven days. I can’t save the milk I pump during that time or breastfeed, but Gideon will not be ready for eating from the source in that time so that is ok.

I am ok. Still sore, but recovering.

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