Well folks, we did it.
After the mad rush of moving (most of) our stuff to Charlotte House, settling the kids into their new digs, throwing together a semi-functional bathroom, and prepping the house for a home birth, we were finally able to “relax” for a few days as we awaited the arrival of our newest teammate.
And by relax, we obviously mean, “Attend to a number of minor injuries” and “Try not to freak out about the sewage backup in the basement.”
What’s Been Happening
Is the Doctor In?
Jack was already a few days past her due date when Jim’s back decided to go on strike and incapacitate him on the bathroom floor. He was able to send one of the kids for help (“Go wake up Mama, please…”) and eventually get himself upright, but we were worried about if he was going to be able to (literally) support Jack during labor when the baby finally came.
Obviously the hard part is Mama’s job, but at the very least we needed Jim to be capable of lending a hand while Jack was in labor/having contractions/performing a miracle. With a spasm-ing back, that would be difficult, but since we didn’t know when labor was going to start, we didn’t know if we’d have time to get Jim to the doctor to grab some painkillers.
But no worry! One of the kids promptly took care of that by slipping and bashing her head into the dining room table (an ultimate “We told you so” moment), splitting her skin just above her eye in the process.
A quick trip to Urgent Care later, and both Papa and child got to see the doc and get their respective prescriptions and bandages. Mama even got a toddler-support bandaid to help the little one feel more comfortable, but the real winner (once again) was a viewing of Yellow Submarine on Jim’s cell phone, which was the only distraction that actually worked while the doctor glued up the boo-boo.
Oddly enough, the most stressful part of the excursion was hoping that Jack wouldn’t go into labor while we were there. Since the Urgent Care is attached to the local hospital, we were worried that if her water broke or contractions started, that they wouldn’t allow her to leave without signing waivers and whatnot, even though she was the only one not there seeking medical attention on that particular visit.
Little did we know, we still had more than a week of waiting to go…
In the meantime, shit happened!
Like, actual poop in places it didn’t belong (even when factoring kids into the equation).
Just a few days after our family trip to the Urgent Care, Jim stumbled upon a bit of water in the basement. Upon further inspection, he realized the water was especially smelly, and dark, and coming out of the basement sewer drain, and…oh…shit.
He called a plumber and the issue actually turned out to be pretty straight forward. When we had replaced the sidewalk a couple of years ago (OMG this house took forever), it seems that a good amount of debris had ended up falling into the exterior sewer vent next to the street. The plumber found several bricks and bits of concrete blocking the pipe, and was easily able to clear everything out.
The pipe had seemingly been blocked for some time, as the grass around that vent was extra lush and…well-fertilized? But it wasn’t until we had moved in a couple of weeks earlier and started using the water more that the pipe could no longer handle the volume, and proceeded to back up into the basement.
Luckily we don’t really have anything down there, and Jim caught the issue very quickly, so we were able to get that particular shit handled in less than a day and go back to flushing our new toilet and entertaining the children with the washing machine.
Biding Our Time, Dextering Our Room
The long baby wait gave us a little extra time to Dexter the Primary bedroom a bit more in preparation for the main event. This was our fourth home birth, so we’d learned a few things and really got the chance to try some things differently that we hoped would work.
[We’ve also gotten a lot of questions about home birth in general, so Jack will try to put a post together about home birth tips soon – put your name on our Email List if you don’t want to miss anything]
Jack even decided that this time around, she wanted to keep the birth pool but not fill it with water—like a little inflatable birth nest. (This turned out to be an especially good choice, considering the sewer line issue discussed above.)
We also got the bed set up with a few layers of disposable sheets, and Jack was able to use the extra time to listen to some birth meditations and get in the right mental zone for ejecting a human from her body.
Overall, we were mostly able to enjoy the downtime by giving the kids a little extra attention and attempting to stock up on some sleep hours. It was a rare but welcome break from having a million things to do. Or at least, the perfect excuse to put things off for a short while.
And Finally, GO Time…
Just one day before we were going to need to start some old midwives’ tricks to kick-start labor, things progressed all on their own and baby was clearly on the way.
Jack tuned in to her Fierce Baby Mama mode, Jim hunkered down into his support role with a fully-functioning back, and Yaya and kids slept through the whole three-hour, middle-of-the-night ordeal without a clue anything was happening.
We’re just a couple weeks into figuring out some new routines and getting to know the baby a bit better (Such a great sleeper! So many hiccups!), but her older siblings are as smitten with her as we are and we’re so grateful to have them “all together now” in the new house (🎵 Cue the music! 🎵)
Thanks to everyone who’s reached out, sent cards and pesto, and been following along on Instagram and/or Facebook with us so far. There’s still a lot to take care of around here, and we’ll be doing our best to keep you updated on what’s happening with Charlotte House and this crazy crew she’s dealing with!
Necessary(-ish) Things This Week
- Jim’s hiring a new employee that starts in just a couple weeks, so his office renovation has suddenly moved up to the top of our priority list. Stay tuned for plans and pics of that space (we’ll be showing more of that on our Family Instagram account @withjackandjim and here on the blog)
- We are still without a Primary bathroom shower or tub, but we did finally get the glass shower wall we needed, so we might start addressing the plumbing for that in the coming weeks