Project 52 – 29 – Baby’s Coming!

It’s time for Project 52, Week 29!


29 weeks ago, on my 52nd Birthday, I began Project 52. Since there are 52 weeks in a year, each week I’m taking one year of my life and blogging about it. This week, I’m covering the year I was 29, June 14, 1993, to June 14, 1994.

Coincidentally, the day I’m writing this is also the 30th anniversary of the day I got married. In case you’re wondering, when I was 29, our marriage was still going strong, and I had no reason to think that would ever change. I see by my 1993 calendar that on June 19, our friends the Keaheys watched Josh while Steve and I went on a date! We saw the movie “Dave” — still one of my favorite movies.

The year before had been surprisingly stable, as I mentioned last week. Stable enough, that I started hankering for a baby. A baby when we felt ready for one! But come on, I was almost thirty — we didn’t want to wait too long! My thinking was that if I had the baby at the start of summer, I could take the summer semester off, and teach fall and spring….

That summer, I was teaching Calculus 3 6:00 to 10:00 pm on Mondays and Wednesdays.

Well, look at that! Now that I found old calendars, I realize that I dated some pictures incorrectly. Although we did go to Wisconsin and see Grandma Eklund shortly after we moved to Illinois, the big Eklund Family Reunion happened in July 1993. So the pictures I posted of that in Year 27 were in the wrong place, and that’s why Josh looked bigger!

My calendar shows we were busy, busy. Josh was taking piano lessons. I was doing things with friends, mostly from church. Oh look — I wrote down that was when we finished reading Runaway Ralph to Josh. We had transitioned from three books at bedtime to three chapters at bedtime. I think we usually traded nights between Steve and me, but we read different books. I think that was about the time that Steve read the Little House books all to Josh.

In early August, we visited Aunt Kay in Chicago again.


We also visited Jody and Craig Sunken, friends from New Jersey who were now living in Chicago.


We went to the Lincoln Park Zoo.


And we stopped to see the Rauseos, too.


I don’t remember the occasion, but the next week, Kathe came to visit! And let’s see — by that time she was expecting her firstborn, who would be named Tim. I ended up choosing the same name for my next child (They were six months apart.) But that wouldn’t matter — It wasn’t like they’d ever live near each other!

It looks like Animal Concentration was something we played with guests at that time!


Hmmm. Kathe brought Josh a book with a dog named Tim in it.


And we took Kathe to the St. Louis Science Center. Have I raved about the Science Center yet? I so loved that St. Louis had a fabulous Science Center and a fabulous Zoo — and they were both free! So we could drive to St. Louis and spend a couple hours and see cool things — and we didn’t have to feel like we had to spend the whole day to get our money’s worth. It’s such a wonderful concept. (Hmmm. Now the Smithsonian’s available, but I don’t go there as often. Though to be fair, the Smithsonian is much harder to get to and doesn’t have free parking.)



And that Fall, Josh started Kindergarten! I walked with them to school and back through the base and past a cornfield. It was half-day Kindergarten. Their teacher was Mrs. Schieppe. She was wonderful.


Also that Fall, I began coaching the church’s Quiz Team! It was all about memorization. The kids memorized I Corinthians and II Corinthians and the quiz questions were taken straight from Scripture. I have long been a believer in Bible memorization — It does you good in spite of yourself! So I agreed to coach the Quiz team. We’d go on trips about once a month to other churches in Illinois to compete.

Here are the kids on the team:


Here’s a sweater I knitted for a friend’s baby:


And that explains it! That picture I posted of the first sweater I knitted for Josh was in the wrong year. (It was on the roll with the Wisconsin Reunion.)


So it really was after cross-stitching a blanket for Megan that I realized how much nicer it would be to knit things instead of cross stitch. Because you wouldn’t have to frame the results. It turns out it’s also much easier to do while you’re doing something else — like watching a video or reading to your kid (when they hold the book). With knitting, you don’t have to look as carefully at where you put your needles. I never looked back.

Fall semester, I was teaching Calculus 3 and Intro Statistics, both on Monday/Wednesday nights. Still busy, busy.

One thing I loved about our base housing in Illinois was the sweet gum tree out our window. That meant we had to rake leaves.

And that meant time with an exuberant 5-year-old.













Josh dressed up on Halloween as a clown again. Halloween was Sunday, so base trick-or-treating was on Saturday. Our church had an alternative to Halloween party, but since that was on Sunday, we went to both! Josh won the costume contest with their great big grin.



I wrote a Josh quote on my calendar on that Saturday. “This is the best day of my life. But then, I’ve only lived 5 years, but hey…”



Shortly after Halloween, a sad thing happened. On Wednesday, November 3rd, Steve left for a trip to March Air Force Base in California. He took our camera with him, since they were going to stop at the Grand Canyon.

Now, the college where I taught, Belleville Area College, had a “Kids’ Club” that students and teachers could use. Now that Josh was in Kindergarten, they were old enough to go to Kids’ Club, and I didn’t have to find a babysitter when Steve was out of town.

But that night, when I finished teaching at 10:00 pm, I was going up the stairs in our apartment holding my books and hurrying Josh along. I think I was holding one of Josh’s hands. I know I was anxious to get both of us into bed, since Josh had school the next day.

And Josh tripped — and hit their face on a step — and cut their face open right below their eye.

We went to the Emergency Room, and Josh got 8 stitches. (It reminded me of when I got stitches when I was in Kindergarten. Oh, looks like I didn’t write about that in the Kindergarten post.) Josh was a great sport and held still when told. They fell asleep while the stitches happened. I was something of a wreck.

Naturally, this happened on the very day Steve had left for a 10-day trip! And Steve had taken the camera, so no pictures of Josh’s impressive black eye.

Here’s how it looked months later:


The next day I let Josh sleep late, and they made a dramatic entrance to Kindergarten.

Some time that Fall, we had another fire next door! It was a Saturday, and we were sleeping late. I heard some noise outside, and looked out and saw a fireman all in his gear — in our backyard! When we went outside, they were putting out a fire in the downstairs apartment on the other side of our building! (We were on the top right as you look at the building. This was the one on the bottom left.) They hadn’t thought anyone else was home! I was pretty mad they hadn’t gotten us out!

Since they were planning to build new base housing, they just left the burned apartment and the one above it empty. They probably didn’t require them to clean at all, so after they moved out, we had two empty and not clean apartments next to us.

That year, we went to Aunt Kay’s for Thanksgiving again.



And — that was the year I met my Uncle Duane’s family. Uncle Duane was the only one of my Dad’s siblings who didn’t live on the west coast, but in Rockford, Illinois.

Here are Uncle Duane and Aunt Vanie:


Here I am with my cousins Karen (bottom left) and Terry (top right):


And here are our kids:


I thought this one was funny because their heads all look alike!


Josh was still taking piano classes and had a recital in December.


The teacher had the kids doing songs together with drumsticks and rhythm. She explained to us how to make a Christmas tree costume for the recital. It was cute!


Here’s Josh performing:


For Christmas that year, we drove out to Phoenix, stopping in Colorado Springs to see Sam Powell, our friend from Biola, and his kids:


We went to Four Corners:


And saw the Grand Canyon:


We saw Gram E and Gramp E in Phoenix, and that was the Christmas when we told them that we were expecting a baby in August! (Remember how I thought I’d have a baby at the start of the summer? Well, we managed to hit a due date of August 12. That was right in between summer and fall semesters. Why not? I’d teach both semesters!)


And went to California. Here’s Baby Megan (Becky’s third child) and Dave at the Hatch house:


We spent some time at a park by the sea with the Friese family:






We got to Ruth’s house again. Jennifer and Susan met us there. I’m pretty sure that Jennifer was expecting her first, Carl John, at that time.


We went to Disneyland again. This year, Ruth and John went with us.


Josh was now old enough to pose for pictures when they hugged the characters they loved so much.






More time with the Frieses:




I like this one of the three kids playing Monopoly. You thought Josh was precocious playing Monopoly at 4 years old? Take a look at Michael here!


Here’s Megan being adorable again:


And then….


And the whole Friese family!


So we had a wonderful trip. Back home, we did get a few snow days that year.


I have a note that on January 25, I heard the baby’s heartbeat!

I like this picture. I was a member of Children’s Book-of-the-Month Club, and I suspect I took this picture when we had just received The Three Little Wolves and the Big Bad Pig, by Eugene Trivizias. I laughed so hard! It’s still one of my favorite picture books.


And a little bit late, I finished knitting a blanket for Kathe’s baby, Timothy. Kathe prefers natural fibers, so I chose a cotton yarn. And it was so soft to knit, that got me started on my own run of knitting with cotton.


On Josh’s 6th Birthday in March, I still hadn’t discovered the wonders of letting Chuck E. Cheese do all the work. We had a party at our house.


The little girl on the right in the cat costume in the picture below was quite a talker, and didn’t like anyone to top her. When Josh told them all that on the next birthday in our family, his Mom would be THIRTY, that sweet little girl said, “Well, MY Mom’s going to be EIGHTY!”

What really cracked me up about that was the other kids, including Josh, all bought it! They looked very impressed. The girl’s mother actually looked to be about twenty.



Steve’s Mom always sent us an egg-coloring kit at Easter. Steve, who had more patience for such things, was usually the one who colored eggs with Josh.


So — Things were going according to plan. I was teaching Calculus III and Statistics again, two nights per week. I took Josh to Kids’ Club when Steve was on trips. I didn’t lose my headaches for that pregnancy, but everything was going pretty smoothly.

On May 10, we saw an Annular Solar Eclipse. We took Josh out of Kindergarten early. It was a bright sunny day, and we got a great view of it, with special viewers. I thought it was really cool the way the shadows of leaves all had little bites taken out of them.

On May 11, we went to Chuck E. Cheese. (I have no idea why. Maybe that’s what sent me over the edge.)

On May 12, I gave my Final Exams. Ready for about 3 weeks off, then I’d teach a full load for summer school — two classes, essentially full time (8 hours teaching per week). That way I could afford to take a half load in the fall after the baby was born.

On May 13, I went on an overnight trip with the Quiz Team.

I haven’t mentioned it yet, but somewhere along the way, I learned that Monosodium Glutamate, MSG, gave me awful stomach cramps. Back in my college days, I’d finally figured out that MSG was why I always got a headache after having canned soup or a frozen meat pie. But by this time, I got bad stomach cramps.

Now, I never intentionally ate it, but there was usually something suspect when I had this problem. My mother-in-law liked to use cream of mushroom soup in casseroles, and that could do it, for example.

Well, we had a potluck meal for lunch on Saturday May 14, where the Quiz Meet was happening. Perhaps that was the problem. But anyway, we stopped at McDonalds on the way home. It also may have been the vanilla shake I drank — but after we’d eaten, when we were almost ready to go, I had to duck into the bathroom with awful stomach cramps.

The other Mom who was on the trip with me was a nurse. She said you could tell if they’re contractions if your stomach gets hard. Hmmm. It felt pretty hard to me.

Well, by the time I got home, I just wanted to go to bed. Steve told me that Josh had a really bad mosquito bite, and had had a fever at bedtime.

In the morning, I took one look at Josh — they were covered with spots. Definitely chicken pox!

And I still had stomach cramps. I called the hospital. They said the only way to tell if it was contractions or not was to come in and have them put on a monitor. It was contractions. I was at 29 weeks.

That was Sunday. Steve was supposed to leave that day for a trip with the brass quintet to Chicago for a week. They waited to leave until the hospital had gotten my contractions to slow down. I was supposed to go home and take it easy.

I woke up that night at 2 am with contractions 2 minutes apart.

And — remember how we had two vacant apartments on the other side of a wall? Well, that night I discovered that we had giant cockroaches. My scream woke up Josh.

Now — remember, Josh has chicken pox. It’s the middle of the night. Two church families have said they’d take Josh if I had to go to the hospital again. The family across the street had not had chicken pox, but the mom insisted that she wanted her kids to get it while they were young. I hadn’t meant to ask her, thinking I’d go with the family who lived 20 minutes away and had had chicken pox before.

I managed to stall until almost 5 am, but then I called the hospital. They said I should get there as quickly as possible. So I panicked and took Josh to the neighbor across the street. (It was SO nice of her to volunteer! I don’t think her kids did end up getting chicken pox from it.)

So — they admitted me and tried to get the contractions to stop. Steve’s work was nice. After he played the National Anthem at a Cubs game that day, they brought another tuba player off his vacation and Steve got to come home. And they let Steve take care of Josh all week while I was in the hospital the next five days.

Of course, they couldn’t visit me, because Josh had a really bad case, with spots in their mouth and their ears.


I must have graded my papers in the hospital. Remember how the Final was the day before the Quiz trip? At first, I still hoped to teach that summer — but it was not to be. I got put on bed rest and told to take Terbutaline (to stop contractions) every 4 hours around the clock.

My church really stepped up. People brought us food twice a week. I got a whole lot more time with Josh than I would have gotten that summer if I’d been teaching full time.

It would have been just lovely — ordered not to do housework, able to do nothing but lie around and read and write — if I hadn’t been worried about the Baby. Though they assured me that he would probably survive if born that early, but we were trying to keep him inside as long as we could.

I had a couple more overnights in the hospital. One happened when I slept through my alarm and missed my terbutaline dose. I really was having contractions that whole time. After awhile, Steve started joking that if I was admitted a dozen times, I should get a free t-shirt.

Oh, I should have mentioned that the first, five-day hospital stay, I stopped any caffeine, because the contractions scared me — so naturally I got a vicious migraine. And then they started doing construction with a jackhammer outside my room! (I’m not making that up.)

But Steve was wonderful, taking care of me, taking care of Josh. Later, when I was closer to delivery, I told Steve that people were really saying they admired how I’d handled the bed rest. He said, “It’s a dream come true for you!” And he was absolutely right. Again: Ordered not to do any housework. People bring you meals. All I could do was lie around and read and write and play with Josh. (I did get tired of the Sonic the Hedgehog song.) No, it was all much, much harder on Steve than on me.

And — my 30th birthday was coming up! I couldn’t possibly be surprised, but since I hadn’t been able to go out and see people for a month, Steve threw me a party, and people came to me.


And more about that next week!

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