Sunday, December 18, 2011

Christmas is Coming!

One week from today will be Christmas day.  I keep thinking that this cannot be right; it does not yet feel like Christmas.  Perhaps because the weather has been so mild, or because we are living at my parents' house and thus have not pulled out our own Christmas tree and decorations to decorate our home. It's a strange thing to feel so at home in my childhood home, my parents' home, and yet be a bit homesick for our old community. Perhaps my surprise that Christmas is upon us because I seem to be doing less Christmas shopping every year. I started and finished my Christmas shopping for nieces and nephews during a recent grocery shopping trip (thank you, Superstore), and have been picking up little things for O over the past couple of months. T is too young to really understand presents, and therefore have any expectation of gifts, so I'm only attempting to make him one toy before Christmas.  Amongst the adults on both sides of our families, we buy charity gifts.  I like to make a small token gift like a tree ornament to go along with the charity gift to make it more fun, and to remind us in later years about the gifts.  We'll see if I actually get that accomplished in the next week!
I'm so thankful that we do the charity gift giving, even though I was kind of resistant to the idea at first years ago when we first started this tradition.  My emotions caught me off-guard the first year we did this when I realized all the good our collective money was going to do for people who really needed it, rather than the annual exchange of gift cards and coffee mugs and ties and red sweaters.  Lots of red sweaters.  It's also a lot less stressful than trying to find the perfect gift for everyone on your list.
As I reflect on the sentiment of it not feeling like Christmas, I realize that this might not be such a bad thing after all.  The sentiments of Christmas build from year to year, as more memories become wrapped around the nostalgic recollections of childhood Christmases, a time when Christmas seemed like the most magical time.  I love Christmas carols, and Christmas cards, making gingerbread men and Christmas crafts.  I love remembering Christmas gatherings of years passed, and looking forward to seeing family and friends over the holidays.  I love it to feel like Christmas, but, as it doesn't yet this year, it gives me at least a chance to reflect on what Christmas truly is to me:

The seed of hope; God in the flesh.  

Monday, December 5, 2011

The News

I grew up in a family that watched the evening news so religiously, that the timer on the television was set to turn the t.v. on at 6:00 to the news channel automatically.  The news anchors kind of felt like they were part of our extended family; I think I actually thought the main anchor was my uncle for a while when I was really young.  When my sisters and I were given free run on the video camera recorder to quell summer holiday boredom, we recorded hours and hours of made-up newscasts.  Over the last two or three years, I haven't watched very many newscasts.  I think it's a combination of factors: giving up cable television, and having young children in the house whom I don't necessarily want exposed to all the things that show up on the news.  Perhaps I was just oblivious to certain things when I was young, but it seems that the visual array of "news" nowadays is much more likely to need shielding from young eyes.  The other day I noticed the sportscast reporting the results of the latest UFC match, including videoclips of the fight.  The entertainment (or was it perhaps a commercial?) had Victoria's Secret models walking the runway wearing angel wings and precious little else, while my three year old said "Look, Mommy, angels!"  I know I'm verging on sounding prudish here.  Perhaps what I notice more about watching the news now is that I'm a much more anxious person when I do watch the news on a regular basis.  I know I'm the type of person who is generally more prone to anxiety than the average person, so maybe it's just me.  But doesn't it sometimes feel like the evening news could be subtitled "Things to be afraid of" or "Things to make you angry, or, at best, jaded with the world"?  Are we better off not watching "the news"; are we better off not occupying our minds with a list of things that a group of individuals thinks we need to know about?
Or, as some people suggest, do we have some kind of duty to be aware of as many things as possible that are going on around the world?  After all, if we didn't know about the drought in Africa, how could we help?   If we didn't know about the latest toy recall, how would we know to take away the toxic toy our kid has been sucking on for the last six months?  Thoughts?

Friday, October 7, 2011

Mistaken Identities

A bit of a lighter post this time around, folks.

Am I an heiress?
A few weeks ago, I was intrigued to find a letter had arrived for me in the mail from Spain, of all places.  I tore open the envelope and was disappointed to find that it was just a would-be scam.  It was the old "I'm a lawyer and I'm trying to track down the closest living relative to someone with your last name so that I can give that person a large inheritance for a small administration fee" scam.  I think it even said something about a locked treasure box.

A damsel in computer distress?
A couple of days after that, I got an early morning phone call from another scammer.  I had just heard about the scam the day before, so I knew right away what it was all about.  Somebody calls, pretending to be from a computer repair company, and says that your computer has contracted a virus or malware.  Here's my recollection of the phone call:
Me: Hello?
Scammer: Hello Mam!  This is Window Repair Company calling because there is a problem with your computer! [Excuse the excessive exclamation marks, but everything he said was exclaimed!  Bam!]
Me: Really?  Oh dear.
Scammer:  Yes, Mam!  Can you please go turn your computer on?!
Me: Of course.  Would you like me to turn on the remote assistance and give you access to my computer?  Would you like to access my credit cards and bank account to in the interest of saving some time?
He was talking at the same time, so I don't think he heard that part.
Scammer: Can you please turn on your remote assistance so that I can fix the problem with Windows?
Me:  I don't have Windows.
Scammer: What?  You don't have Windows?
Me: No.  Where are you calling from?
Scammer: Toronto, Canada.
Me: Okay.  First of all, do you know what time it is here?
Scammer: No.
Me:  It's 7:00 in the morning.  It's pretty early to be calling.  Second of all, I know this is a scam, so don't ever call this number again.
Scammer:  I will call you every single day!
Me:  Excuse me?  You will call me every single day?
Scammer:  Yes, Mam!  You think that every company is a scam?  This is not a scam!  This is very serious!  Your computer has a serious problem with malware and viruses!
Me: Can I speak to your supervisor?
Scammer: I don't have a supervisor!
Me: Well, if this really is a computer problem, I should get somebody else in the house who knows more about computers to call you back.  Can I have your phone number?
Scammer: There is no phone number here.
Me: No phone number?  How are you calling me?
Long pause
Scammer: Are you still there?
Me: Yes, I'm waiting for that phone number
Scammer gives me a Toronto phone number which I'm sure is just a stolen cell phone number.
Me: Well thank you for calling then.  Bye bye.

I sincerely hope that I brought some annoyance to his day.  At least I wasted some of his time which hopefully prevented some poor person from being suckered into losing $150.  I saw a blurb on the news the other day about this scam making its way through our city, and numerous people have turned on the remote assistance to the caller only to be extorted into paying $150 to have their perfectly functioning computer turned back on.

Am I a juror?
A few days after that, I got another letter in the mail.  When I opened it, I was wishing it was a case of mistaken identity, as it was a summons for jury duty.  Thankfully, I was excused the day after pleading my case: breastfeeding an infant, waiting in pain for gallbladder surgery, in the middle of moving, and not actually even living in that city most of the time anymore.  Phew.

A mushroom famer?
I switched to a new phone number last month when we moved out here so that we aren't paying long distance charges when we live here.  Every time I forget to turn my phone off when I go to bed, I get phone calls in the middle of the night from people who sound just as out of it as I do when I answer it.  I kept wondering who had this number before I did to get phone calls from people all through the night.  Last night, I received a text message saying " still deliver?"  And another one a few minutes later: "Hey person's name!  I'm a friend of name and name from place.  Any chance you have a quarter of shrooms?"  All those late night phone calls suddenly make sense.  Great.  Whoever had this number before me was clearly a supplier of non-culinary mushrooms.  Probably more than that.  I might be in the market for another phone number soon!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Jesus Wept.

The weight of grief is so much heavier when a child passes from this life to the next.  It's as if the Earth's gravitational pull has somehow been exponentially multiplied when you are standing graveside in the rain.  Perhaps it is the weight of all that hoped-for life that was not yet lived.  My fourteen year old cousin passed away a week and a half ago.  He passed after eleven years of fighting cancer, just three years old when he was first diagnosed.

When I was young, we used to play silly games in the car to pass the time on long rides.  There was always the alphabet sign game, or the herby-love-bug-spotting game, and the Bible memory verse game.  We would each take a turn reciting a memory verse and whoever could recite the most verses was the winner.  John 11:35 always came in handy during that game, being that it simply reads "Jesus wept."  That verse was always recited with a giggle or at least a smirk for getting credit for such a short verse.  Over the last number of years, that verse has come to mean so much more to me.

Even in its brevity and simplicity, it moves me.  It's that almost-painful feeling you get in your chest when an emotion affects your physical being.  It reaches into me and speaks to the broken parts of me.  When my husband was first diagnosed with cancer, our pastor and his wife came to his bedside in the hospital in those first terrifying days.  He prayed for us and reminded us of this story of Jesus weeping.  Here is a saviour who wept, all too acquainted with the immeasurable sorrow of death in this world.  When I imagine Christ weeping at the grave of his friend Lazarus, I imagine him weeping not only for his personal loss of a dear friend, but at the greater sense of loss.  I think he wept knowing, more than any of us, that this is not the way things are supposed to be.  Yes, God is in control.  Yes, God allows things to happen for a reason.  Yes, God is good.  But I don't think that this is the way things are supposed to be.  And, like Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead in this story, I believe he will make things right again someday.  In the meantime, sometimes it's just hard.

Jesus Wept
James Tissot, 1836-1902

Thursday, September 22, 2011


Last week my sister and I watched a riveting documentary about origami.  I think the description on Netflix actually said "riveting" and we good-naturedly scoffed at the idea of origami being riveting.  However, being that we grew up in a household which often included Japanese exchange students, I think I can safely speak for the both of us and say that we have a bit of a soft spot for paper folding.  And indeed, the doc was riveting.  You should see it, even if you're thinking it's pretty dorky to watch a documentary about origami.
The paper folding that I have enjoyed in the past pretty much peaked at the paper crane level, which I thought was respectably advanced.  The origami artists profiled in this film veritably breathe life into a single piece of paper.  How is this possible with a single square of paper?
Particularly intriguing is the intermingling of art and science.  I so often think of art and science as mutually exclusive realms, when, really, they are tangled up in each other.  It's quite obvious in origami.  When you look at these artists' paper folded sculptures, it is undeniable that they are works of beauty, works of art.  When you unfold these works of art, the fold lines on the flattened paper reveal the genius behind the geometry of the artists' creations.
It has me wondering about the nature of beauty.  Is there order underlying all that we see as beautiful?  A symmetry and an asymmetry, a balance and counterbalance that imbue all that we see as beautiful with that mysterious quality?

Or is it the abstract and random that bring beauty to life?

Or, do the things of beauty we perceive as random and abstract actually follow some kind of order and design that we simply can't grasp well enough to decode?

The changing path of the Mississippi 

Hmm... enough pontificating.  

I started reading this book the other day:

It's intriguing so far.  The premise, as I understand it after reading the first couple of chapters is embracing a lifestyle of "radical gratitude."  The dust jacket says that this book "beckons you to leave the parched ground of pride, fear, and white knuckle control and abandon yourself to the God who overflows your cup."  I like the idea of slowing down the sense of haste in my days enough to notice all the little things and big things that I can be thankful for: watching my boys interact lovingly with each other, the fog rolling into the valley like a quilt, or the seeming miracle of how good a hot shower can feel.  The first chapters hint at being thankful for everything that happens in life, even the bad things.  I can't quite wrap my head around being thankful for the hard things in life.  I can be thankful for things that I have learned from trials in life, but to actually be thankful for things like cancer...hmmm.  I'll have to keep reading to see if she is saying what I think she is saying.

Other books on my coffee table right now:


I borrowed the Rainbow of Stitches book from my library about five times in the last year, so I finally treated myself to a couple of books for my collection with my birthday money this year.  My couch throw pillows, which used to have nice fluffy covers, are starting to look matted and ugly, so I think I'll sew up some new covers and pick some embroidery patterns to stitch onto them.  Perhaps something like one of these (all from pinterest):

embroider your childhood home or other nostalgic building


Friday, September 16, 2011


I started this post almost a week ago now, so it may be rather disjointed.  Our week was interrupted by the stomach flu, a tangible reminder of how delicately balanced our health usually is. Thankfully, T and I seem to have escaped this round of illness.  O and husband...not so much.

Ten years ago this week, my mother awoke me early with the news of planes flying into buildings in New York.  I remember sitting on the pink chair in our family room, involuntary tears falling as I watched live footage of people jumping from the World Trade Centre buildings.  My university classes weren't cancelled that day, per se, but we sat around looking at each other in class, rather dumbfounded about what was happening.
Nearly three thousand lives were lost that day, and how many thousands or perhaps hundreds of thousands of lives have been lost in the past ten years in the name of righting the wrong of 9/11?  Violence begets violence and more violence and more violence.  Hatred: more hatred, fear: more fear.  How do we become lovers of justice and mercy?

We've been camping out at my parent's home for the past week and a half as our house still hasn't sold, and the commute would just be too long and costly to justify staying in our own home.  It's a lot easier to keep my house clean for showings when we aren't actually living in it!  We check on it once a week and have some friends checking in on it as well regularly.  I don't think that it has really sunk into my mind yet that we are actually moving.  It kind of just feels like a prolonged visit to my parents house.  It's been almost nine years since I've lived in this house and in this city, so my bearings feel a little off.  When I'm driving around the city, I second guess my sense of direction because land has been cleared, new buildings have appeared, and new roads have been paved.
My kids are loving the extra attention of having grandparents and an auntie in the house in addition to my husband and I.  My grandmother and step-grandfather live next door, and it's been good to have some extra visits with my grandma.  I didn't realize it, but living further away changed the nature of visits with some family.  Because we had to drive a considerable distance, we usually only made the trek out there for larger family visits.  I had tea with my grandma last week and realized it has been a long, long time since I'd had a one on one visit with her.  Probably about nine years.  Growing up, I took for granted living next to my grandparents.  Now I realize how unusual that is, and what a neat experience it was to have so much access to my grandparents when I was a kid.
We've been going for walks in the evening here, and the closest playground for O is at the school where I attended from kindergarten to grade six.  When we arrived, I was so overwhelmed with the flood of childhood memories that I felt like sitting down right there and having a good cry about the brevity of our years.  How did time go so quickly?  Wasn't I just five years old and lined up outside for the first day of kindergarten?  Or in grade six walking down the hallway to the gymnasium for the first school dance, wearing my white denim skirt and sheer-sleeved blouse?  It's not that I want to start over and live my life from the start again.  It just seems to be picking up speed with every year.  I suppose that is part of what makes life so achingly beautiful: the older you get and the more you understand, the more you realize how precious the days are.
I lined up for kindergarten to the left of the door.  Just in case you were wondering.
I hope my little boys have good memories of their childhood.  O is adjusting quite well to this time of transition, and is just as friendly and effervescent as ever.  He adores his baby brother and loves talking all the time.  I love listening to his chatter, and I never know what he will think of next.  A few weeks ago, he said the funniest thing out of nowhere:
O: "Mom, when the Lord was making me, I was talking.  And the Lord told me to stop."
Me: "He told you to stop talking?"
O, looking very solemn: "Yes, Mom."  Then he burst out giggling.
I rarely tell him to stop talking, so I'm not sure where he got that one from, but I could kind of imagine God asking him to stop talking for a few seconds to concentrate on getting the arm in the armhole and the leg in the leg hole.
Once, when I was still pregnant with T., and running late for a doctor's appointment because the freeway was a parking lot and I was trying to figure out a back route on the fly, O, kept asking me questions about cows, clouds, road signs, and people and everything else under the sun, and I was only half listening and giving pat answers and "hmmms" and "I don't know"'s.  He finally said: "No, mommy, don't say 'I don't know,' think about it!"
T is adjusting well this quasi-move as well, although I wasn't really concerned that he would have trouble with it.  He seems so much older to me than O was at this age.  I think he probably is a little bigger in size, and he's already popped two teeth last week, and been rolling over for about a month already.  He is full of smiles these days, quiet giggles, and eyes filled with adoration for his older brother.  Can't you just see it in this photo?  Not really, I know.  But most of the time it's there.  These are the well enjoyed Bert & Ernie costumes my mom made for my older sister and I when we were kids.  They actually looked more cute than scary when they were filled out with bigger heads and before the mouths become kind of Joker-esque from years of play.
Brotherly love.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Is Thirty-One the new Sixty-One?

Gallbladder:  your days are numbered.  Thank you for the past thirty-one years of bile storage; your service was much appreciated.

Pardon the long absence from posting.  I had a "gallbladder attack" last Saturday night.  I had never before really considered this smallish organ that sits just under my liver.   I certainly had never given much thought to gallbladder attacks before last Saturday.  I've quickly become acquainted with this little bile-storing organ, however, and I now know why they call it a gallbladder attack.  The pain was so sudden and so intense, I though I might have been having a heart attack.  I know that sounds melodramatic, but...whoa, Nellie.

I'll meet with the surgeon for a consult on August 16th, and hopefully my surgery will be soon to follow.  They are currently backed up to October, but perhaps I can get it sooner since I'm nursing a baby and hardly able to eat anything myself!  I'll skip the rest of my complaints about pain and nausea and share the glimmers of miracles this week.  On Saturday evening, a few hours before my attack, I noticed that I was uncomfortably full of milk even after feeding T, which hasn't happened before.  I pulled out my breast pump and filled a whole bottle, and stuck it in the fridge.  As they were loading me into the ambulance a few hours later, I was able to tell my bewildered husband where the bottles were.  Even though our older son always refused the bottle, T. happily slurped it up while I was at the hospital.  And kudos to my husband for figuring out how to sterilize the bottle and warm up the milk on the fly!

The other glint of God's goodness this week, kind of like a divine wink, came after a myriad of confusion surrounding my ultrasound requisition after an error was made at the hospital.  I couldn't get the error sorted out over the phone because the ER sends your records to another planet as soon as you are discharged, so I spent five hours in the ER on my birthday (which is also my now three-year-old's birthday) getting the mistake sorted out.  It turned out to be a good thing because the first doctor didn't take blood or urine samples, and it turned out that I also had a UTI.  Too much information?  I know, but really, is thirty-one supposed to feel like sixty-one?!  In the end, I had my ultrasound done the next day even though I was told it would be a two-month wait.  The ultrasound technician who performed my gallbladder ultrasound was the same technician who performed the first ultrasound on baby T., when I thought that I had miscarried him.  I didn't think he would remember us after doing hundreds of ultrasounds since last year, but he remembered before I even said anything and was so excited to see T.  It was such a good reminder of the difficulties that God has brought us through, and the two miracle babies he has given us.

Today was our last Sunday at our church.  Leaving a church is hard, which is probably a good sign.  It would be even sadder if I wasn't sad about leaving after five years.  I'm so thankful for the time we've had here, and the people who have shared the journey with us.  Two girls from our youth group and one young adult girl became members today, and it was such a sweet way to spend our last Sunday there.  Baptism Sundays are my favourite; I love hearing people's stories and hearing about God's goodness in their lives.

Everyone has a story worth sharing.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Catching Some Zees. Or Zeds, Where I'm From.

The other half of my last blog post draft that was mysteriously deleted was about sleep.  And lack thereof.  One of the most pleasant surprises of parenting a newborn the second time around is that I'm getting more sleep!  I started out with baby T. sleeping beside our bed in a charming antique bassinet that my mom found in my grandmother's basement.  Well, truth be told, the first night home from the hospital, he actually slept on a chair for part of the night.  I know, don't tell the public health nurses about that one!  I started out the night with T. in the bassinet part of the playpen.  The playpen is much to big to ride sidecar beside our bed though, so after getting up about four hundred times to check on him, I retreated to the couch in the living room with the chair pulled up flush to the couch.  Not the best idea, in hindsight, but the chair is firm and has breathable wicker or caning sides on it.  If he had managed to move at all, the only place to move was directly into my face.  The bassinet arrived the next day, and worked well for a few weeks.
Then, at about six weeks old, I discovered that I had some physical trauma from his birth after all, and was pretty much immobile for a week.  That's a whole different story involving getting to know my local urologist.  Fun times.  Oh, the things our bodies go through to bring children into this world...that we generally don't talk about.  I couldn't face the prospect of getting up and down to feed T. in the night, so I decided to give co-sleeping a try.  I knew that our queen-sized bed is much too soft to be safe for a newborn, so I moved O. into the playpen in our room, and T. and I slept in his "big boy bed" bunk beds in his room.  Much to my delight, I had the best sleep in months.  It is infinitely easier to nurse laying down than to sit up and try to stay fully awake for feedings!  Perhaps it's my imagination, but I think T. started sleeping longer and better as well.  He wiggles and thrashes his little limbs around until he is snuggled up next to me, and then he's out like a light.  I think he's only waking once a night for a feed, around 4:00 a.m.  It works so well that we've kept this arrangement going for the time being.  It's a little unorthodox, but it seems to be working.  I just feel badly that we worked on getting O. out of his crib and into his big boy bed for so long, and now he's been evicted from that bed!  Now he's sleeping on the crib mattress on the floor next to the big bed, so I get to hear all the cute things he says in his sleep.  Last night he was talking about pumpkins.  He probably thought that Halloween was coming soon with all this Fall-like summer weather we've been having!
I wish that I had given bed-sharing a better try when O. was a baby.  I was seriously exhausted for much of his first year of life.  I eventually put a camping mat on the floor on his room as a last resort because I was worried about how many times I fell asleep sitting in the rocking chair, nursing him.  I would wake up in a panic that I had dropped him or smothered him in my sleep, not to mention the fact that my neck was in a state of permanent kink from all that sleeping sitting up.  I thought that co-sleeping wasn't "safe" according to public health, so I didn't really make an effort to make it work comfortably.  Sleeping on an inch-thick camping mat is not much more comfortable than sitting up, so I was jubilant when he finally started sleeping through the night at seventeen months old.  I pretty much always went to him when he cried in the night.  We tried the "cry it out" method once and I don't think I even lasted five minutes.  I quickly realized that I would be crying it out too if I had to lay there and listen to him cry.  I'm not going to judge other people who are comfortable with that, but I just couldn't handle that approach.  Still, I wish I could have tried co-sleeping with him so he didn't need to cry in the first place.  With T., we somehow wake at the same time when he's ready to feed, and I can't remember the last time he cried in the night.
In one of my first post-natal appointments with my midwife, she talked about the benefits of co-sleeping, and ways to co-sleep safely.  When I gave it a try for myself, I decided to do a little more reading about what she had mentioned.  After digging into it, though no sleep environment can be without any risk, I feel confident that sharing a bed can be just as safe, if not even safer, than having baby sleep on his or her own, in terms of SIDS prevention.  In the end, I just have to do my best to make sure the babes are safe, and go to sleep myself.  I don't know how long we will co-sleep for, but with all the changes going on in our lives right now, at least I'm getting a decent sleep!
Rather than duplicate all the information about safe sleeping here, I'll leave you with some links if you are interested in finding out more.
this blog, thanks to this friend for the link! article

How about you?  How does your family sleep?  Thoughts on co-sleeping?

In other news, we've had several showings of our house so far, but no offers yet.  I'm kind of attached to this house; it's strange to imagine another family living in our home.  At the same time, I'm getting excited about eventually finding a new home and making it our own.  When I was young, perhaps seven or eight, my parents did some renovations in the basement involving putting up a new wall.  Before the wall was sealed up, we drew pictures and wrote little notes about our family and our lives and stuck them into the hole incase anyone ever took down that wall and found our little souvenirs.  Perhaps I should find somewhere in this house to leave a note about the inhabitants of this home for the past five years.  Our first home, where we moved the week we lost our first baby at fourteen weeks pregnancy, and later brought our two boys home from the hospital.  Our adventures as landlords of the basement suite and our bitter battles with the neighbourhood cats who poop on the roof of our shed, and the neighbourhood rat who tried to move into the shed.  Hmmm...I hope any potential buyers aren't reading that part.  Don't worry, the rat will not be back.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Resting, Pining and Pinning

Hmmm...I'm pretty sure I posted this before, but it seems to have disappeared from my blog.  So here it is again from the archives...

You've got to be kidding me, blogger.  I drafted a post yesterday, much of it typed with one hand while nursing or holding my baby in the other, and today the draft is gone.  Arg.

Our house is officially on the market now.  I hope, as does everyone who embarks upon this house-selling adventure, that our wee abode sells quickly and for a decent price.  Keeping the house tidy and clean is a meaty task while caring for two little people.  It's kind of like shoveling the driveway during a blizzard.  Luckily, I left my clean house behind for eleven days while my husband is out of town, and staying with my parents at their beach house.  I miss my husband, but I'm enjoying this time with my parents while I'm pining away for him.  I'm pretty fortunate to have sweet enough parents that I look forward to spending eleven days with them, and that they are happy to take us in anytime.  We've been soaking up every bit of this first taste of summer weather of the year.  We go for walks, play in the backyard, and of course, spend time at the beach.  O. is at a great age for the beach; he's old enough not to eat sand and rocks anymore (purposely - there may be some incidental ingestion), and young enough to be enthralled with the beach.  We collect shells and rocks and ocean glass, and look for baby crabs under the rocks.  One of the neat things about having kids is discovering the world again through their eyes; awakening that childlike part of yourself that is okay with collecting sea shells for an hour, or watching an ant crawl across a log, carrying a giant leaf.
Photo by me!  Zoom up on the ant carrying the leaf.  It was pretty neat.

Children don't worry about whether they are being productive enough with their time.  It's refreshing.  Can I just admit while I'm at it that I really like playing lego with O.?  I've been scooping up lego when I see it at thrift stores since I was pregnant with O., and finally pulled it out of the closet a couple of weeks ago.  It's fun.  I saw a Spirograph set at a thrift store a couple of days ago but unfortunately somebody beat me to it.  I loved playing with my grandma's spirograph set when I was little.  I might even splurge and buy it brand new if I can't find a vintage one at a thrift store sometime soon.
Remember this post where I mentioned the neat-o site Pinterest?  If you haven't discovered Pinterest yet, and you enjoy dilly dallying on the internet (which you probably do if you are reading this blog!), you are in for a treat!  It's a virtual visual collection of bulletin boards, onto which you can "pin" ideas that you find around the internet or on other people's boards.  It's perfect for those middle of the night nursing times when you are surfing the web on your ipod, trying to stay awake!  Here are a few of the fun ideas that I've found so far:

How fun would it be to have a slide beside your staircase?  Kind of practical too...

Spirograph-inspired embroidery!

How to spray paint a lamp base

neat idea for places that you've lived.


Cute idea - you could change up the quotes whenever you want

who would have thought painting a piano could be this fantastic?
 Happy Pinning!

Friday, June 24, 2011


So, it's official.  We're moving!

My hubby accepted an associate pastor position at a church in the city where I grew up.  He starts on September 1st, so we plan on moving sometime in August.  It's a strange thing to have such conflicting emotions about a single event.

On the one hand...

I'm thrilled to be moving closer to my family.  If we're able to find a place to live in the area close to the church, we'll be living very close to both sets of parents, my two sisters and hubby's two brothers and their respective families, both of my grandmothers, and even most of our extended family.  I grew up next door to my grandparents and cousins, and I'm excited that my kids will be able to see our families more often than we have in the past few years.  I'm excited for new opportunities: a new church, new people to meet, new places and activities to discover, and a new (new to us) home to make our own.

On the other hand...

My heart is heavy when I think about all we will be missing here, where we have built our lives for the past five years.  I think of the friends who have become like family to us and it literally hurts inside when I think about moving away.


We're only moving 85 kilometers away.  It's not as if we're moving to the other side of the country or the world; it's just an hour to hour and a half drive away.  And the world is a different place since the last time we moved.  I know many would beg to differ, but I think the inception of facebook will make it easier to keep up with friends when we don't see each other every week anymore.  Blogs, email, and the ol' telephone will help too, right?  I hope.


This is the most difficult decision we've made in our married lives together, and we will miss being part of this community in the way we have been for the past five years.  I hesitate to say that we made the "right" decision, because I don't think it was a matter of a right or wrong choice.  I don't know if either decision - to stay or leave, would be without uncertainties.  But we've wrestled with the decision, prayed about it, talked about it, and it feels right.  So I have to trust in God's goodness, let go of uncertainties, and hang on to the good that remains.

Monday, June 20, 2011


“Change of one sort or another is the essence of life, so there will always be the loneliness and insecurity that come with change.  When we refuse to accept that loneliness and insecurity are part of life, when we refuse to accept that they are the price of change, we close the door on many possibilities for ourselves; our lives become lessened, we are less than fully human.”

~Jean Vanier
from: Becoming Human


Thursday, June 2, 2011

Some good links for those who don't like cancer (and who does?):

B.C. contemplates a province-wide ban on the use of tanning beds for people under 18 years of age:
In September last year, the New England Journal of Medicine wrote: "We believe that regulation of this industry may offer one of the most profound cancer-prevention opportunities of our time."

Is a province-wide ban on cosmetic pesticides & herbicides in our future?  I hope so!
"Why should those who can’t be bothered to weed by hand endanger others by building up a toxic environment?"

And this is a good video, in the words of my cousin-in-law, for anybody who has skin, or knows somebody who does.  Grab a hanky before you watch it.  But watch it.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Poor, neglected little blog.  Sometimes, during mid-night feedings, I think about things that I want to blog about.  Wouldn't it be great if there was a record button in your brain and you could record your thoughts?  By morning, I've usually forgotten what it was that I wanted to write about.  Not that I would have time to write anyhow.  And, just as often, I realize that whatever it was that I wanted to write about was kind of non-sensical, which is to be expected when you are sleeping on a newborn's schedule.  There have been plenty of notable events to blog about: the wedding of a prince, Japan's unfolding nuclear crisis, the assassination of America's number one enemy and the rather shameful jubilant reaction of many people to that death, our own country's fourth national election in seven years, and the fact that we are now just a few weeks away from the official start of Summer even though Spring has yet to show up.  Oh, and I won another online contest!  Two pocket diapers and a wetbag from Hipkiddo diapers.
Some days, I feel like I'm functioning quite well despite the lack of sleep.  Other days, I drive half-way to church (about 2km) without buckling my two-year-old into his car seat.  Confession and clarification - this only happened once.  And hopefully it is one of those things that only ever happens once because I still feel sick to my stomach when I think about it.  I turned around to say something to O. in the car at a red light on Sunday on the way to church, and gasped when I saw that his straps were not clicked in.  The light turned green just as I noticed this, so I turned on my hazard lights and crawled back there to snap the buckles together.  I feel like the hazard lights were warning the whole world that I am a hazard as a mother!  The people behind me missed the green light, but were strangely polite about the whole thing.  Sick, sick, sick.
On a less serious note, I've also been creating nutritional hazards to the elder of my offspring as of late.  I gave him crackers and cheese and a banana for lunch a couple of weeks ago because it took less time than making a sandwich, and I had a crying newborn waiting for me to feed him too.  A few days later, I decided to repeat that menu.  When I took out the box of "crackers," I realized that they were in fact cookies.  In my defense, it was such a cracker type box.  He must have thought that was the best lunch ever.  No wonder he kept asking for more crackers; I must have given him about seven or eight.
One more sleep deprivation story of a more raunchy variety.  A few days after T. was born, I decided to clean around his little umbilical cord with a q-tip dipped in a saline solution because it was looking a little sketchy.  I had my hubby bring me the salt water in a mug and the q-tips, and didn't really pay attention to what he did with the mug after I was done cleaning T.'s belly button.  You can see where this is going.  The next day, I sat down at the couch to nurse and, as usual, forgot to get myself a glass of water beforehand.  As soon as I start nursing, I feel always feel super thirsty.  So, I was delighted to find a mug of water within reach beside me.  Yes, it was that mug of water.  Thankfully, I spit the water out before I swallowed it because it tasted salty, and the realization of where that water had come from was quickly upon me.  Belly-button water.  Lovely.
Despite my sleep-deprived shortcomings, we're all still here and happy, and enjoying being a family of four.  I'm trying to savour all these moments because I know this time around how quickly this baby stage really goes.  I can't believe my first baby will be three years old in a couple of months.  T. is quite a contented baby most of the time.  I was holding my breath waiting for the colicky evenings to start, but perhaps this is just going to be his temperament.  I wonder if O.'s discontent as a baby was at all related to his rough start in life.  Now that I know how smoothly the first days and weeks of T.'s life have been, I feel sad for the start that O. had in the NICU for the first eight days of his life.  I know that it really isn't serious in the grand scheme of things, and that he is a healthy, thriving little boy, but I wish it could have been different for him...more snuggles, no needle pokes and feeding tubes, bright lights and loud beeping noises 24/7.  But thank the Lord and Tommy Douglas for good medical care.
O. is doing a stellar job of being a big brother so far.  There have been times where he has needed some guidance (i.e. don't pick T.'s nose for him, don't open his eyelids for him), but overall he's been very gentle and loving.  Sometimes when T. is crying, O. will come over and sing "Jesus loves me" to him, or coo "Don't worry, I'm here" in his ear.  And sometimes he just covers his ears and says "T.'s crying is hurting my ears!" which is what we all feel like doing sometimes, isn't it?
I've been thinking about the birth story that I posted here last time, and I hope that it didn't come across as being uppity to anyone reading it.  I don't think there's any shame at all in having an epidural and I the idea of having one is quite appealing to me if I decide to have another baby someday.  Truth be told, the idea of having another baby is contingent on getting an epidural at some moments when I think about it!  My desire to avoid an epidural was not to prove anything to myself or to anyone else; I desperately wanted the outcome of this birth to be more positive than O.'s birth.  From the reading that I did, an epidural seemed to indicate a higher risk of complications, so I set out to avoid it.  And since this blog is, in part, a way for me to remember things, I wanted to remember the fact that my shenanigans during labour and delivery were understandable under the circumstances!
Since I haven't really been up to much in the project department besides plumping up a skinny newborn into an almost-plump one-month old, I thought I would post a few things that I finished in the last few months and never got around to posting.

My fuzzy-headed little newborn.
This blanket is finally done.  I started it before I was even married, so that was at least eight years ago.  I had it mostly done for several years, but never got around to weaving in and sewing down the numerous loose bits of yarn.

I also made a batch of these kitchen towels.  I'm not sure what they are actually called, but my collection from my wedding shower gifts were in a sorry state.  I had some from my grandmothers and my husband's late grandmother, and some were gifts bought from other people's grandmothers who sit at tables in the mall filled with crocheted knick knacks.   I think that will probably be me in forty years.  I decided to forgo the floral or tropical bird motifs popular with todays grandmothers, and found some black and white tea towels at Superstore that may be popular when I am a grandmother sitting at my mall kiosk.  I realize that most malls don't have this variety of kiosks, but the mini-mall here is the kind of mall with carpeted hallways and little independent stores with names like "Sports Store."  The towels are actually pretty easy to make: you simply cut the towel in half, sew a zig zag stitch with your sewing machine over the cut edge to keep it from fraying, and crochet away!  I used crochet thread, and a small steel hook that pokes right through the towel along the cut edge.  There are free patterns that you can follow on line, but I found it was easier and more fun to just play it by ear and decrease the number of stitches every row or two.  Add a funky button at the end and voila!

My rocking chair is now sitting in our living room, and the china cabinet is directly in my line of sight fro my usual nursing perch.  After staring at it for many hours a day, I started wondering about re-vamping my dining room furniture.  Specifically, painting it ivory white and distressing the edged for that "shabby chic" look.  I'm still not decided but I probably won't have time for a project of that magnitude for at least a year from now.  We inherited the dining room table, chairs, and china cabinet from my husband's Oma when she got remarried a couple of weeks after we got married.  She and her new husband both had the exact same set, so we were the lucky recipients of one of the duplicates.  It probably isn't my dream dining set, but it's very functional and the china cabinet has great storage.  I was going to wait until my kids were past the spilling food on everything stage to re-cover the chair pads, but I don't think that's going to cut it anymore.  The wood is poking through the corners of the chair pads now, and the foam is barely contained along some of the edges.  So perhaps it would be a good time to re-do the whole set if I'm going to repair the chairs anyhow.  I did some googling and found my exact china cabinet painted shabby chic, so I have a preview of the possibility.  Opinions?  I don't want to paint it and then regret it because we can't buy a new set, and there's no way I'm ever stripping the paint off another piece of furniture again.  I started a project like that a couple of years before I got married for my bedroom, and it is a miserable job to try to do that.  I never did complete that project; it's now sitting in my grandma's basement.  And now, when I look at the dresser, I think it would look kind of cute painted white again, but there's no way I would do that after all that work!

P.S.  I learned this week from my wise older sister that toothpaste can be used to polish silver!  I can finally polish these sweet candlesticks I inherited from my husband's late great aunt from Birks.

Time to go make lunch.  Hmmm...maybe cookies again?

Monday, May 16, 2011

Birth Story, Episode Two

Sorry to keep you all hanging with the birth story episodes.  It's such an important event in our lives as women when we bring a child into this world, and even though sometimes I think I'd like to forget everything about childbirth, in the end I don't want to forget it.  It's the beginning of my beloved children's lives on this earth, and I never want to forget the moment when I first held them or heard their voices.  There's something important about sharing our birth stories, too.  We don't usually write them down, but don't we all love (or hate to love) sharing our birth stories with each other?  My husband would rather not relive any of the experience by talking about it, which I completely understand.  Sometimes it's harder to be the spouse who is standing on the sidelines when the other is hurting.  There are times when he is more able to talk about his cancer journey than I am, especially with others who have been through it.  I find that even women who haven't given birth in decades are usually ready to recount their stories.  I think there's some therapeutic value for those who have experienced childbirth in sharing our stories with each other, and hopefully there is some power in our stories to inspire and give confidence to women who are heading toward the journey of bringing a baby into this world for the first time.  
Everyone's birth experience is different, so I hope that my story doesn't plant any fear in the mind of anybody who is about to have their first baby.  One of my relatives, who is of a very petite build and has four children, gave birth to her first child in three hours, start to finish, and said that she really didn't experience a lot of pain!  So please don't think that my birth stories are the way that it unfolds for everyone.  I think it's important for women to know that childbirth can be painful, otherwise you might think you are a huge wimp if you do experience pain, or that something is going wrong during childbirth if you experience pain and were not expecting to.  But it's also important to know that our bodies were built to do this, and that any pain is temporary.  Even when there is pain, there is nothing in the world quite as exquisite like holding your baby for the first time.  
I've edited out some details of the birth story that are a bit more personal because this blog is open to everyone.  But I think the resulting story is true to what I can remember from the day my sweet second boy arrived.  

I was ushered into my own room, and my husband started the forty minute drive home to retrieve a few things that I had forgotten to put in my hospital bag.  I didn't have any comfortable shoes since we were just at our Easter dinner, and I hoped to be able to walk around comfortably during labour.  I was starting to get hungry, since I hadn't eaten anything since Easter dinner about six hours earlier.  The nurse told me that I couldn't eat anything because of the pitocin, but talked her into "letting" me have a granola bar.  Her reasoning was that I might get sick later on if I ate now, and that would make me uncomfortable, but I was feeling uncomfortably hungry already, so I decided to take my chances.  I'd like to think that I would have eaten it anyways even if she had said no, but it's harder to follow though on things that you think you are going to be assertive about when you are nervous and feeling very alone.  The nurse asked me if I would be okay with having a student nurse insert my IV.  I only felt a little bit badly about saying no; I didn't want to start the birthing journey as a human pincushion.  Perhaps I should have invited better karma and said yes, because the nurse botched the first attempt in my arm and had to put the IV in the most awkward spot on the back of my hand.  Seriously, I think it was the worst IV placement I've ever had because it was so tricky to tape down to my hand to prevent it from catching on everything, and I couldn't flex my right wrist without significant discomfort in my hand.  In retrospect, I should have just asked her to try again on my other arm.  The other annoying part about being on pitocin is that they then want to have you hooked up to continuous fetal monitoring.  The two giant elastic bands with monitors attached to them are pretty uncomfortable pulled tight around your belly, and they slipped out of place about every three minutes.  The night shift nurse was pretty reluctant to let me move around and sit on the birthing ball because it made the elastic bands slip off even more frequently.  I spent most of the night in the bed, breathing through the contractions and resting in between them.  My poor husband, unbeknownst to me, was dealing with the beginning of a 24 hour flu.  I had told him to try and get some rest anyhow, since he had been awake since 5 am the day before, and I knew I would need his support later on when things got hairy!  
I had three doses of penicillin in the night because of the group B strep.  When the nurses had their shift change at 7:30 a.m., they checked me for the first time to see how dilated I was.  The night-shift nurse said that she wanted to stick around if it looked like baby would be coming soon.  I suppose it would be a bit anti-climatic as a nurse to support a patient for their labour and miss the delivery.  I was only at 3 cm though, so she went home.  
I was more determined to get out of that bed and move around with the break of day, and, thankfully, the day-shift nurse, Cynthia, was much more supportive of whatever I wanted to do.  I did lots of walking around, and tried different positions to will that baby downwards.  The contractions were getting more intense, and a little bit closer together; about four within a ten minute period.  My husband and I discussed a name for the baby if it turned out to be a girl in between contractions.  Isn’t that crazy that we still hadn’t decided after all?  We finally decided on a name, but I was feeling pretty certain that it was going to be a boy!  We tried to distract ourselves by making up scattergories categories and seeing who could think of more things for each category.  Pretty soon I was done playing games and finding it harder to cope.  One of the midwives was on call that morning, and she arrived at around 11:00 a.m.  She was accompanied by a second midwife who was in the process on joining their practice.  She had been a midwife for twenty years in another community, so I felt fortunate to have two experienced midwives and a fantastic nurse with me for the remainder of my labour and delivery.  As a side note, doesn’t it seem like most nurses are great people?  I suppose it’s a profession that draws people with sensitivity, empathy, and great care.  I say most nurses because I spotted a nurse at the nurse’s station on one of my walks around the hallway who was at the hospital where I delivered O.  Many of the nurses moved to the new hospital when it opened, so I wasn’t surprised to see her, but I was hoping to avoid another negative interaction with her, especially when I was in labour.  I’m sure that my fragile state at the time greatly informed my impression of her when she gave me the heave-ho from the hospital when O. was still in the NICU, but I didn’t want any negative emotions slowing down my labour at that point, so I nonchalantly inquired to my own nurse about which nurse would be covering her meal breaks.  I was in the clear, so thankfully I didn’t have to create an awkward situation by requesting a different nurse to cover her breaks! 
Before my midwife checked to see dilated I was, I tried not to think of a number so that I wouldn’t be disappointed.  Despite my best efforts not to imagine a number, I was hoping for at least 6 cm based on the difference in the intensity of my contractions, and the effort I had put into walking around and moving about.  My midwife checked me and I was still only at 3 cm.  “But it’s a stretchy three!” she said, trying to encourage me.  I felt like I had been playing Settlers of Catan for 12 hours and still only had three points (you start the game with 3 points).  Twelve rather uncomfortable and exhausting hours.  More like playing Monopoly for 12 hours; I detest that game and I actually enjoy Settlers.  I did my best not to let the disappointment take over, but it was another low moment.  The nurse asked me again about pain relief options, and I said I was starting to think about using the laughing gas.  My midwife gently talked me out of starting the laughing gas at that point.  She probably knew that I still had quite a journey before this baby was ready to come out!  She reminded me how much I wanted my baby to stay with me right after the birth, so that renewed my resolve to hold off on drugs as long as I could.  She also discovered that somehow my bag of waters had sealed itself back up.  My midwife was questioning whether my water had actually broken the night before, and I assured her that it had.  She later confirmed this with the doctor who had seen me when I first checked into the hospital, and he agreed that my water definitely had broken, so it’s a bit of a mystery how it sealed itself back up again.  It seems my body was determined to keep that baby inside!
I had been on the maximum dosage of pitocin that midwives and general doctors are allowed to prescribe since 6:00 a.m., so for about five hours already.  The midwife explained that to help my labour to progress, we needed to either bump the pitocin up to a higher level after consulting with an obstetrician, or try to help things move along by doing some more walking around.  Some serious walking around.  Given my experience with pitocin last time, I chose the walking around option, although I didn’t realize how vigorous this walking exercise was going to be!  After they switched all my monitors and IVs to portable versions, I set off on my marathon.  We walked the hallway, my midwife explaining that I needed to walk like I was climbing a mountain, and that I couldn’t stop walking during the contractions.  It was … rather challenging.  I seemed to have contractions at the same points along the walk each time around, so I started naming the spots in my head.  Contraction Corner, the Hallelujah Hall of relief, Anticipation Alley, the Crying Corridor where I heard another woman in pain and prayed for her between my own contractions.  After close to two hours of walking around, all the while my husband was bravely hiding his own flu symptoms, the battery on the portable monitors died, so I had to go back to my room.  Thank goodness for weak batteries, because I was done!
The midwives checked me again, and now I was at 6 cm.  Which would have been great if it had happened about four hours earlier.  They decided to bring the obstetrician in for a second opinion to see if they needed to up the pitocin after all anyway, since my labour seemed to have the motivation of a snail.  She came and checked me too, and said to just keep doing what we were doing, and that I had made good progress from the walking.  
At about 1:00 p.m., I was starting to not be able to stay on top of the contractions just with breathing and visualizing.  My husband asked me if I wanted to think about the laughing gas, which I had totally forgotten about at that point.  I think I had forgotten my own name at that point.  I agreed and my fabulous nurse had the little mask in my hand before the next contraction.  This brings me to the ugly part of the story, and I’ve decided to just recount the funny parts for the sake of my friends who haven’t had babies yet, especially the pregnant ones, and for my own sake too in case I want to have more babies some day!  Because despite what I wrote in a previous post, you do forget the pain of childbirth.  Even if you think you’ve remembered, you realize when you are going through it again that you did forget. 
I used the laughing gas for about half an hour before the pushing stage.  I tried to make a mental note of what the laughing gas feels like when I was using it so that I could describe it later, because I found it so hard to describe after the first time.  You can still feel the pain, but it somehow helps you not to think about it.  It’s kind of like being in that strange place between sleep and wakefulness, or right before you are about to pass out.  Kind of.  It’s still hard to describe, and I have a feeling that it might be different for everybody.  I remember after having O., the doctor remarking that the laughing gas doesn’t usually work that well for everybody.  I thought that it didn’t work that well for me, even though it helped, because I could still feel the pain.  After having T., one of the midwives made the same comment to me, and it was then that I realized that they weren’t talking about the pain relief aspect, but rather the ability to make someone so detached from their usual sensibilities.  Oh goodness, I am glad that there was no recording of me made during that half hour.  Over the past couple of weeks, something random will trigger a memory of something that I said or did during that half hour, and I have to sheepishly ask my husband “Did I really do x?” or “Did I actually say x?”   A couple of rich tidbits for you: Certain things seemed hilarious to me, like all the noises the machines were making.  So I imitated all of the noises – the beeping, the humming, the alarm sounds, etc.  Then I would laugh uncontrollably until I had tears coming down my face.  When I laughed, everything sounded echo-y so that it sounded like the baby’s heartbeat was beating a million times a minute.  So I would go from fits of laughter to panic that the baby’s heart was beating too fast.  I made all sorts of funny faces, and thanked my husband over and over for suggesting the gas.  I could tell that he was concerned about me from his voice, and told him not worry because I was much better than before.  I think I heard someone say to him at that point that he’d better not let me ever get close to using real drugs. I remember laughing because it sounded like I was talking with my Mom’s voice for some reason, and I kept picturing the scene from The Little Mermaid when Ursula morphs into a pretty girl and has Ariel’s stolen voice in a seashell necklace.  When the pains came faster than the gas, I remember saying "Oh Jesus, help me on Easter MONDAY!"  really loudly (it was Easter Monday, so at least that part made sense).  Pretty soon, the pain starting pushing through even my best efforts to suck back the gas as fast as I could.  They tried to persuade me to breathe some regular air, and I told everyone to stop talking to me!  There may have been some obscenities thrown in there too.  I started to feel the urge to push, which was so powerful and surprising to me since I never felt that sensation with my first, as the doctor just told me when to push.  I lied about it at first when they asked me if that was what I was feeling, because I knew that they would take away that lovely laughing gas for the pushing stage.  I remember saying “Please don’t take it away, I’ll be a good girl.”  Somewhere in the fog of the gas, I realized that even though I didn’t want to do this anymore (which I may have mentioned a few dozen times) that it was almost done and my baby was almost here.  I’d like to think I gave up the gas voluntarily, but I think they shut it off and I eventually realized that the mask wasn’t doing anything anymore.
They put T. right on my chest after he finally came out, and he was crying like a champion.  After a while, I realized that I still didn’t know if he was a boy or a girl, so I lifted one of his legs and said “It’s a boy!”  It was such a surreal, magical moment for me to be able to discover the baby’s gender; I would definitely want to do that again if I have another, or let my husband be the one to discover it.  He started nursing right away, and stayed latched on for maybe a whole hour or two.  It was so peaceful and wonderful, and different than our first experience bringing a baby into this world.  I don’t think I realized how traumatic O.’s birth experience was for all of us until I had T.  It was like we were holding our breath for the first little while after he was born for something to go wrong, but it was just…peaceful.  We didn’t even weigh him for the first while until he was done nursing, and then we called our families and friends while the midwives weighed him and measured him, and cleaned him up a little bit.  I had a wonderful hot shower, and my bed was freshly made up for me when I came out. 
I had to stay in the hospital for 24 hours for observation since I had been on the pitocin for such a long time.  I was kind of hoping to sneak out the back door after the performance I had given everyone.  I brushed off the midwives’ and the nurses comments that I had done really well, because all I could remember was the crazy things I said and did during the last hour of labour and delivery.  I was feeling pretty embarrassed to eventually have to leave my little room and see people who had heard me.  Let’s just say that there was some choice language coming out of my room quite unbefitting of a “pastor’s wife,” and a few really, really good screams.  I was apologizing to the nurse a couple of hours later for my string of obscenities and rather loud vocalizations, and she finally said to me that I shouldn’t feel embarrassed because I did do really well, and my baby had a very gentle birth.  She said that she’s only ever seen one other woman give birth while on pitocin without getting an epidural, and that woman had a shot of narcotics.  Not to toot my own horn, but that made me feel better about my craziness in that last hour.  Although…I think I might opt for the epidural next time, if there is a next time!  Just kidding.  I think.  

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Birth Story, Episode One

Here is episode one of little T.'s birth story.  I love this little guy already.  And I love my big little guy so much too.  It's so neat to see him becoming a big brother.  He loves his little brother already and loves talking to him and stroking his head.  I'm sure they'll be bickering like any siblings in a couple of years (or does that happen sooner?!) but I'm just enjoying watching O. interact with him so much at this stage.  
We are doing really well; the second time around has been a much smoother transition that the first time bringing a baby home, probably because of all the complications O. and I had after his birth.  I'm not quite as tired as I was after having O., although zombie mom has had her moments.  I actually forgot T.'s name in the middle of the night for like five whole seconds.  I called him by O.'s name, and even when I realized that it wasn't right, I couldn't quite remember his name.  I suppose it's better than when I had O. and I kept calling him Elmo, the name of a cat that we had for a couple of years when I was a teenager.  That's pretty bad when you are so exhausted you call your child by a cat's name, a cat who has been in a better place for fifteen years!

O. and I spent the morning watching Backyardigans and "Story Shoe."  He has Toy Story shoes that light up when he walks (which were a pretty good $2.00 deal at my thrift store, by the way!) and somehow the name of the movie has morphed into "Story Shoe" for him.  At about 3:00 in the afternoon, we started to get packed up to go to my sister's house for Easter dinner.  As I bent down to change O.'s diapers, I felt a little...leakage.  The thought of my water breaking briefly crossed my mind, but I pushed the thought away and chalked it up to the inevitable result of one's bladder being reduced to the size of a grape coupled with bending over to change a diaper on the floor.  I had a false alarm when I was pregnant with O. when I thought my water had broken.  My doctor came to the hospital to check on me and we realized that I had just peed a little bit.  It was fabulously embarrassing at the time, but just seems funny now.  
The thought must have been in my mind long enough for me to decide to throw my hospital bag into the van at the last minute.  We had a lovely visit with my family at my sister's house, and I tried to ignore the nagging thought in my mind that perhaps I had sprung a leak.  Later in the evening, I felt the same thing a couple more times but I was not contorting my body in any way on those occasions.  I talked it over with my hubby and we decided to go get checked out at the hospital.  I had found out at my pre-natal appointment a few days earlier that I had tested positive for GBS this time, so I knew I needed to get checked out.  We left O. at my sister's house and zipped over to the hospital close to their house.  Sure enough, their test showed positive for amniotic fluid.  We took a collective breath and headed back to my sister's house.  We explained to O. as best we could what was happening and sent him home with my parents for a sleepover.  Everyone wished us well and managed not to get too misty eyed, for which I am glad because it probably would have started my waterworks.  The tears, I mean.  Apparently, I already had enough waterworks happening elsewhere in my body.  The hospital that I was registered to deliver at was about halfway between my sister's house and my house, so it took us just over half an hour to get there and check in.  
My prenatal care had been managed by a practice that is made up of two doctors and two midwives.  The one practitioner that I had not yet met, one of the two doctors, was on call that night.  After he arrived, he wanted to do an exam to determine conclusively whether my water had in fact broken.  While he was getting everything ready, my water really broke.  No more trickle, and I think everyone was glad to avoid an exam that early in the labour.  I knew from O.'s birth experience that the fewer exams, the less chance of any infections, so I had set out to avoid any unnecessary exams.  
The doctor and I talked over the options.  Even though I desperately wanted to avoid any pitocin / synthetic oxytocin with this baby's birth, I knew it was coming.  My water had been broken for over eight hours by this point, and I had no signs of labour starting other than the same painless contractions I had been having for the past couple of months.  They were coming more consistently, but with no pains, I suspected they weren't doing anything productive.  Given the fact that my water had been broken for 24 hours with O.'s birth experience without labour starting on its own, and that he wound up with an infection that kept him in the NICU for over a week after he was born, I decided to agree to the pitocin to get labour started.  I was really impressed with the doctor when he explained that he had no intention of torturing me with the pitocin as is often the case, and that he wanted to mimic a natural, physiological birth as best as we could.  This was before I had told him anything about my experience with O.'s birth, and admitted that I was scared of having the pitocin again.  So, with some trepidation and disappointment that this was likely not going to be the natural birth that I had hoped for, I started on the pitocin at 11:30 that night, wondering if I would be able to avoid any further interventions.  

to be continued...

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Prelude to a Birth Story

Happy Mother's Day to all you mommies out there!  I'm brimming with gratefulness today for the gift of motherhood that God has given me.  It is such an immense privilege to be entrusted with mothering these two little boys of mine.  I'm thankful for the partner that I have been given in this carrying out this responsibility; my husband is amazing and I can't imagine doing this without him.  I'm also thankful, especially today, for the mothers in my life.  Now that I am a mother myself, I appreciate my own mom all the more, and hope to be as good of a mother to my children as she is to me.  Not only do I have my own Mom, but I've been given an unexpected gift of a mother-in-law whom I can count among my friends.  I also know how fortunate I am at my age to have both of my grandmothers, both wise and lively women.

I'm working on writing out little T.'s birth story.  Here is the prelude...

The day before little T.'s labour started was one of the most enjoyable days I've had this year.  My husband and little O. indulged me in accompanying me on several errands which made them much more fun and less "errand-y".  Looking back, I wonder if these errands, which seemed very important at the time, should have clued me into the fact that my baby boy was about to make an early appearance.  As I was falling asleep the night before, I suddenly became very set on the idea of organizing my closet the next morning.  So off we went to Superstore to pick up a large rubbermaid bin for my embarrassingly expanding yarn stash.  Then off to Zellers, which, by the way, is the source of said yarn stash with their impossible to resist bags of discounted surplus yarn, to buy yet another ball of yarn to finish the crocheted robot I'm making for O.  We hit my favourite thrift store on the way and scored a fantastically annoying Buzz Lightyear figurine that talks really loud and has no off button.  But O. is so into Toy Story right now, and it was only a dollar, so we decided to spoil him a little bit.  I bought a couple of newborn clothes for 50 cents a piece, and this neat-o bin type thing for toys or whatever for a dollar.  The sides of the bin zipper down to make a flat playing surface with a farm scene on it.  Our next stop was a little walk around downtown (downtown of our little town, not the big city).  It was one of the few warm days we've had this "Spring" so far, and the cherry blossoms were out in full bloom.  We stopped at a couple of specialty baby shops for me to scope out amber teething necklaces and pacifiers (gasp, I know).  We finished our morning with a stop at the new candy store downtown and reminisced about candy brands we hadn't seen since we were kids.  It was a pretty sweet morning of just spending time together and indulging my strange errand obsessions.  O. and I had naps after lunch, and then we spent a couple of hours outside where I built trellises for the garden.  Then O. helped me to dig holes and plant the peas and scatter the lettuce seeds.  I think he'll have fun this year watching the plants grow and eating the veggies.  Somewhere in there I also reorganized my yarn collection and made my husband reassure me that he loves me even though I'm kin d of a pack-rat.  A near-perfect day.
I woke up with scorching heartburn at about 3:00 a.m. the next morning.  After maxing out on my Tums allowance and sitting up for a while, I tried to get back to sleep to no avail.  My hubby was up at 5:00 a.m. to get ready for the Sunrise Service at 6:00 a.m.  I told him that O. and I probably wouldn't make it to the regular church service at 9:30 since I hadn't slept since 3:00 and O. probably still had a cold.  And I had no illusions of us going to the sunrise service at 6:00 a.m., even though it was going to be held on the roof of the tallest hotel in our town; that would have been kind of neat.  I decided to just get up and have shower at about 5:30 since it looked like sleep was going to elude me.  My hubby checked on me just before he left, and I started blubbering in the shower because I was so tired and heartburn-y, sad about missing Easter Sunday service, and wondering how I was going to manage being huge and pregnant for at least (I thought) another two weeks.  It was kind of a low moment.  Little did I know that I wouldn't be pregnant for much longer!
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