Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Birth Story number 4. It's Monkeys 5th Birthday!

FYI: I am losing my hair. So much hair. It is all over my house, all over me and all over my baby, and every time I put my hand to my head I come away with a fistful of hair. My ponytail is half size! I know this happens to some degree after I have a baby, but this is nuts! I can see my scalp! I can never see my scalp because I normally have so much hair.
Sorry, I had to get that off my chest, it is making me batty.

So my Monkey boy is 5 years old today. His journey to this earth started on Kalila's first birthday in April 2003 and unfortunately, her death coloured most of my pregnancy with him. To put it mildly, I was scared to death. When we had told the boys that we were pregnant with Kalila, they jumped for joy and cheered. A year after her death we announced to them that we were pregnant again and they said, "Oh." They were scared too. Afraid to hope that they might get another sibling, a live sibling and that made me so sad. They were far too young to have so little hope.
As Monkey grew in my belly and the boys saw how big my belly was getting and felt him moving around in there, they did get more and more excited. It was really a wonderful time in our lives, our first year of homeschooling, doing a ton of fun activities with our best friends and other homeschoolers. And our best friends were also expecting a baby, 3 weeks after ours. Shay and I spent a lot of time together eating ceaser salad, steak and chips. A lot of chips.
I had many scared moments, thinking my baby had died inside of me. Every doctors appointment was filled with apprehension. I only went to emergency for a non-stress test once though, Monkey was an active baby and managed to assauge my fears usually before I freaked out too bad. It was a pretty wonderful pregnancy though. I was healthy and active and I only gained, like 12 pounds. I loved the way I looked!
As we neared the end of my pregnancy the doctors kept close watch over me, sending me for lots of ultrasounds to keep an eye on my fluids which seemed low and to make sure that my womb was still a hospitable environment for Monkey. Just after Christmas, in a better safe than sorry move, they decided that it was time to get my Monkey out of there. He was due on January 9, 2004, but on December 30, 2003, I was taken in for induction. Because there was a bed, the doctor decided to start me on the oxytocin drip immediately, rather than doing a cervical ripening first. If I could do it over again I would have insisted on the ripening first. I also would have asked them to wait a few days so that he was born in January, but that is neither here nor there.
I have little to say about the first 12 hours of labour other than that they were excruciating and unproductive. It would be an understatement to say that I was frightened and tense. I was so tense that every contraction (They happened every 90 seconds and lasted about 30 seconds for hours and hours) was extremely painful and did absolutely nothing. I would brace myself against the pain, my thighs tightened up and I tried not to cry. The doctor kept suggesting an epidural, but I was afraid of that as well.
At some point in the evening, we started to lose Monkey's heartbeat with every contraction. The doctors talked me into having an epidural so that if they had to do an emergency c-section, I would be ready. So I went for it. It did dull the pain and help me relax a bit, but I was still breathing through contractions so they turned it up and gave the (regulated) controller to add an extra burst now and then.
Finally I started to progress, started to open up. But as that happened, and while my nurse was on her lunch break, the alarms on Monkey's heart moniter went off. No heartrate measured, it didn't come back when the contraction stopped, or when I rolled to my side. Brent called for the nurse, screamed actually, and I was crying. The replacement nurse came in and yelled at him impatiently and told us that we were getting upset over nothing. "First-timers," she muttered under her breath. Well, my hubby gave her a piece of his mind, telling her that this was our fourth baby and the last one was born dead, so she better make sure that this one was okay.
She couldn't find his heartbeat and called for the doctor who ran in and called the neonatal resuccitation team.
They told me to push, she wasn't sure I was fully dialated yet, and we couldn't get my contractions to show on the moniters, and I couldn't feel anything. But I was to push, push for my baby's life. And I did, I just kept pushing until his head was out (at 1:47 am). Then they made me stop as they unwrapped the cord from around his neck. And he didn't cry. "Why isn't he crying??" I kept repeating it, but no one would answer me. No one answered because my baby was fine! His apgars were 9, he was just fine. They let me see him for a moment and then whisked him off to the table to make sure he was okay.
It turned out that he was so teeny that he turned around in the birth canal and wrapped the cord around his neck, so during the contractions the cord was compressed, cutting off his lifeline. He came out face up and even though he was 2 pounds smaller than his siblings, at 6lb6oz, he ripped me up nicely.
But he was safe, and healthy and perfect and exactly 5 years ago, this moment, I was begging my doctor to let me take him home to my family, so that I could spend New Year's with them. And she did.

Happy New Year's everyone, I hope you ring it in with those you love. We will be. I had hoped to go to Monkey's fireworks this evening (they have early one's for kids in a nearby neighbourhood) but it is blizzarding out, so we may miss it. But we will be together, ringing in the New Year and celebrating the birth of our amazing Monkey. Love!

For a Christmas photos link (I am super lazy) and a cute layout of Zed, go here

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

taking a breather

So I thought I was going to have the 26th and 27th off and to myself, boy was I wrong. Today I finally have some time, baby is fussing but I am determined to write something on my blog! I have a Christmas post in the works, but not done yet and it is already the 30th.

It has been a bit frantic around here. Cleaning, visiting, skiing, cooking, visiting, shopping. Fun, but I am done and I think Zed is too, he seems to have a virus of some sort and he was up most of last night. I am obviously fighting something off, as I have a nice cold sore on my lip. Yuck.

The year is almost done, and it has flown by, well except for a few very pregnant weeks in the summer. Those days dragged their feet a bit, but since Zed has arrived the days seems like moments. Tomorrow is Monkey boy's 5th birthday. Fifth! I have been thinking of him as my baby boy for so long and now he is five, no longer a toddler or a preschooler. 5! He really is still my baby though, he is a teensy little powerhouse, a force to be reckoned with one moment and curled up in my arms like a baby the next.

He so wants to be like his big brothers, to do everything they do. He is 'cool' not 'cute.' He no longer plays with his Thomas trains, but with Lego and Playmobil like Superboy. He doesn't want to use his leapster, but one of the boys' Gameboy DS'. His favourite movies are Star Wars instead of Diego. He sings rock songs instead of nursery rhymes and taught himself to read in a matter of weeks, so that he could walk around with his nose in a book just like the bigger boys.

Poor Girly had lost her playmate recently, Monkey wanted nothing to do with her, he just followed his brothers around. Thankfully, since Christmas, that has changed again and they have been playing together. I have caught them splitting the dollhouse into two houses and playing together. All Monkey's Lego Star Wars characters were laying in a dolly bed with their helmets on the floor.

I have to say that even though Monkey is becoming such a big boy, I am thankful that he still wants to cuddle with mommy every day. He gives the best snuggles. And I still think his thumb sucking is cute, but it is time to stop. He agreed that when he was five that he would stop. So we need to go and pick out a finger puppet today that he will wear on his thumb to discourage the sucking. Hope it goes well!

I guess today won't be quite as relaxing as I thought. I need to make a birthday cake, get my house ready to have dinner guests, buy a birhtday present... oh and fold laundry! So much laundry!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas!

Well, I am just on my way out to finish my shopping. Nothing like leaving stuff until the last moment. I still need to deep clean my house, wrap presents, make dough for the buns and dessert for tomorrow. I took your advice and decided to forget about trying to crochet Zed's stocking in time for tonight and a good thing too. I am so behind and so freaking out. I waited way too long to order my gifts and half of them aren't here yet! I haven't even finished decorating my tree.
I am excited though, I can't wait for tomorrow, for Zed's first Christmas, for our first Christmas with 5 kids sitting under our tree.

I wish you all a very Merry and Blessed Christmas and Happy Hanukkah. I can't wait to visit you all on Boxing day, I can't bear the thought of more shopping after Christmas, so I plan to blog and scrapbook. Hubby will be working and skiing with the kids while I am tucked in with my latte, my laptop and my babies by the fire. I can hardly wait.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Bitter Sweets!

Note to self: Trying to make candy while mothering a baby and 2 preschoolers is pointless. And a week is far too long to go without blogging!

I have been trying to get some Christmas stuff done, I feel Christmassy, but time and energy have been lacking. Today the kids and I are going to do up a bunch of gingerbread and shortbread, the dough is made and ready to roll out. While waiting for the gingerbread to chill for 2 hours, I thought I would make up some toffee.
I nursed Zed and put him down asleep, I put the butter and sugar in the pot and started to bring it to a boil. Then Girly starts yelling, "Mommy! I need to pee! I need your help!" So I got the boy to come and stir my candy while I went to wipe her bum. I peeked in on Zed and saw that he was now awake already. ugh.
I got the boy to hold Zed while I continued making the toffee. The recipe says to stir for 13 minutes until candy is 300 degrees and separates into brittle threads in cold water. So I stir. And Zed starts to scream, apparently he feels that I am ignoring him and he wants me. Now. Then Girly starts to scream. I guess she realized that she had more to do in the bathroom and now she needed me to wipe her. again.
I have ten more minutes of stirring and 2 screaming kids. They scream louder and louder and I stir faster and faster, wishing away the minutes, calling out consolingly to the kids. If I stop stirring now, the candy will be ruined. Louder and louder, faster and faster....
Then the butter starts to separate from the candy and I can't get the dumb stuff to make threads and the kids are freaking out. So I dump the candy on the pan, hoping for the best, cuddle the baby on the way up to wipe the little bum. ahhh...
Then the best thing happens. My hubby calls and I tell him my story. He says some lovely words to me, "Would you like some help?"
What?! Yes! He is on his way home from work early, yay!
So we are going to decorate our tree and make cookies now, with an extra set of parental hands. Perfect.

ooh! Zed just did the cutest thing. Monkey is watching Diego and there was a bird sound. Caw...Caw...caw
Then Zed copied the sound.
Then the movie bird cawed again,
Then Zed cawed again!
So cute! So freaky!

Hope you are all enjoying the hustle and bustle of the season, you are all in my thoughts, even in my absence. I don't imagine I will be around much until Christmas is here, but Merry Christmas from our home to yours.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Snapshots of Mighty

Monkey boy was hiding in a box and wanted me to take his picture!





Zed is 3 months old!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

And the Mighty shall fall...

Remember how I was able to laugh off the craziness of the other day? I was all, oh yeah, it is crazy here, people screaming all the time, but it's cool. I can handle it.
Yeah.
Not handling it so well today. Sitting at the table with them as they are doing their school and they won't stop fooling around. They won't stop chattering about video games. The little kids are climbing on the big kids or running around and screaming, or fighting with each other. Zed can't sleep because every time he starts to drift off, someone bops him or screams or jumps on my shoulders from the back of the couch like a cat. It is a zoo. And apparently the animals are in charge for the day.
After repeating my firm reminders to smarten up, sit up, stop fooling, screaming and fighting hundreds of times, I started to lose it. SHUT UP! was heard from my mouth. STOP IT NOW!! at top volume. IF YOU DO THAT ONE MORE TIME... IF YOU DON'T STOP...

Yep, some stellar parenting happening over at casa de Mighty. If you are my neighbour and you are reading this, I apologize for the lack of volume control today. Apparently, today I suck at this. This whole parenting thing. Or at least the parenting on too little sleep, day in and day out thing. I just made Girly cry because she is kicking my hands off the computer and I told her to stop or to go and get in her bed. nice. (She really does need a nap, Daddy doesn't get home from work until 8:30 or later and they have been waiting up for him the last few nights.)

So today I get an F. sigh... But I will end it with hugs and apologies and maybe some nice hot chocolate as we go through our advent study and Bible reading. Maybe we can salvage something.

And tomorrow? Well tomorrow is a clean slate, yet to be written. Thank you, God.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Babies, babies, babies

Aaaah! Guitar practice time. What was my dad thinking, giving them an amplifier! My eldest just discovered the joy of minor chords, ugh.

Yesterday baby Zed was 3 months old. I can't believe how quickly the time is flying by. He talks and coos and laughs, he thinks his big siblings are hilarious. When I let him grip my fingers, he can pull right up to standing from laying, stiff as a board. He can sit for a second or two, with his hands on his knees. He rolls 3/4 of the way over whenever he wants to nurse, sometimes he ends up on his tummy by accident. Even though he is number 5, it is all new again and just as exciting. He is just the light in all of our days. ( I have some pictures to post, but I can't find my upload cord for my camera!)

And yesterday, my nephew was born. He is the first baby, outside of my kids, in my hubby's family, so everyone is pretty thrilled. Brent's brother kept calling him while his wife was in labour, it was cute. He was 10lb 15 ounces and 23 inches long, he is huge! She had a cesarean, thank goodness. Congratulations guys, we are so very happy for you and can't wait to cuddle your sweet baby boy.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Thankful, even in thanklessness

My hubby called at lunch today. I went up to my room to try and find a quiet place to nurse Zed and talk to Brent. Zed was really tired and having a hard time calming and going to sleep. He kept arching his back and screaming (turns out he was trying to have a bm ;p). Girly came in and started trying to make Zed feel better. This comprised of her turning his head and yelling in his face and then jumping on the bed yelling. Brent said he had to turn down his phone. All I could do was laugh, I couldn't turn down the noise.

I repeatedly asked Girly to stop jumping, to which she laughed and jumped out of reach. Then she hit her head on the chandelier. She started screaming. More out of anger than hurt and then she thought she should come and take it out on me and Zed. When I told her to leave him alone and tried to comfort her, she scooted away and blew me a raspberry!

I sighed to my hubby about how thankless my job is. They either think I am an ogre or an idiot most days. She hurts herself, then is mean to me as I try to comfort her and she blows me a raspberry! From the biggest child I get huge eye rolls and sighs when trying to do my job. From the second, I get the doe eyes when I call him on anything. He seems to think that if he opens his eyes wide enough he can get away with anything.

We laughed and then he told me how thankful he was for all I do. I then had to laugh harder as I asked him why, if he was so thankful, did he leave all the crap from the bathroom on the hall floor and about a few other surprises he left for me this morning. ...big sigh...

There definitely are days and moments when motherhood seems thankless. But the rewards are too numerous to mention, though I may not see the fruition of some for many years to come. One of the best things about my job is the absolute knowledge that I am doing exactly what I am supposed to be doing. This is God's plan for me for this season. This long season!

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Buy the Cow

I am in desperate need of a dairy cow! I think we have steamed 4-6 litres (1 to 1.5 gallons) of milk with the new espresso machine already. In two days! On top of my lattes and cappuccinos the kids have been having endless vanilla steamers and hot chocolates. Hubby picked up vanilla syrup as well as the Bailey's and Kahlua, endless hot milk and coffee possibilities. I need to run to the store and get a few more gallons of milk.

We just finished our Advent readings together and the kids are getting ready for bed. I am thinking about that dreaded to do list again and I feel like burying my head in the pillow and ignoring it all. Like the school prep I need to do right now, and the scrapbooking/calendar making that needs to be finished.

Maybe I will just make myself some hot chocolate and pull out my crochet bag. I can work on Zed's stocking while watching some tv with the hubby.Tomorrow will come soon enough.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

It will all be worth it.

Yesterday was a bit of a whirlwind. We went Christmas shopping in the morning and blew our whole huge wad of gift cards that I ordered from airmiles on the kids and hubby's Christmas gifts. We got some great deals and didn't spend a dime!
We then picked up the kids and took them for haircuts, then to Costco for hot dogs and groceries and then to Mexx to outfit The Boy for his Christmas banquet. He bought his first tie and I must say he looked so handsome in his charcoal, fine wale chords, deep plum button-up, charcoal sweater vest and grey/plum tie. He actually has pretty good taste for a 14 year old and he looked terrific. So grown-up though.
We raced home for him to shower and then dropped him and his buddy off. I mentioned to Brent that I was so surprised at how he looked in his tie. I expected him to look like a kid wearing Daddy's tie, like his buddy who is a few months younger. But he didn't. He looked like a young man, comfortable in his own skin and his clothes.
In the midst of this getting ready last night, and putting the groceries away, we discovered that the deep freeze in the basement had been accidentally unplugged. We have a whole side of beef in there that we bought from my friends parents when they butchered a few this spring. Hundreds of dollars worth of meat. It had evidently been a few days, long enough for at least half of the meat to be mostly defrosted. Thankfully very little was actually spoiled. But we have been cooking beef and other meat for hours and hours. Must have done up 10 lbs of hamburger last night. Trays of meatballs are now cooked and in the freezer. We threw 2 roasts in the oven and now those are cut and frozen again. Another roast is in the slow cooker. Hubby has been cutting up steaks all day and sauteing them for future fajitas and stews.
I am even more thankful that hubby has this time off, because I would not have handled that emergency well myself. I hate meat, especially beef and pork! Well, I don't mind eating beef occasionally, but I hate handling it. I am a big baby!
My house just reeks of cooking meat, but at least it isn't the smell of rotting meat.

This morning my hubby tried out my new Christmas present, also from airmiles. My espresso maker. He made me up a vanilla latte and I had that with a croissant and mandarin orange for breakfast. So decadent!
Tonight we are gonna do up cappuccinos with baileys, so yummy, our reward for putting in a long day. We will do some hot chocolates for the kids and maybe decorate the tree. Hubby's idea, I usually do it about the 21st! In the mean time, more cleaning and cooking for us.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Lucky Ducky

What a great week! I have won stuff from two of my favourite digital scrapbook sites! I won a Memory Makers journaling book from the wearestorytellers.com blog and this fun kit from weedsandwildflowers.com. If you ever check out my layouts at Immortality Art, you would soon realize that I almost always scrapbook with stuff from these 2 sites, so I am totally psyched!

I was thinking about my nieces this morning. They are both six. My sister Angela got pregnant first, then six weeks later Hayley (whose son is the same age as Superboy) was pregnant. Six weeks after her, I got pregnant too. (An amazing feat considering I had only been ovulating once or twice a year for the eight years since my eldest had been born.) It was such a novelty to be pregnant together, I went up to visit them and we were fully immersed in our expectant states. I was about 16 weeks and felt Kalila's first movements as we preggo sisters sat together. She was saying hi to her cousins. Her belly buddies.

My sisters decided to come back to Calgary with us for a visit and to shop for maternity clothes. My poor husband had to make that 800km drive with 3 preggo ladies and 3 small boys. I am sure there were never more bathroom stops made on any road trip ever!

We spent our short days together shopping in maternity stores, playing card games and eating junk food. What's the point of being preggo if you can't get good and fat?!? At one store, the shop girls were quite taken with the 3 preggo sisters. They thought that I was the youngest (I am the oldest!) and more pregnant than I was, I was thrilled. I bought the very first pair of non-panel maternity jeans they had in the city, and a gorgeous wrap shirt that I have worn for the last 3 babies as well.

It was one of the happiest times of my life. I just knew that I was going to have my long awaited girl. And I had no inkling that my whole world would implode in a few short weeks.

They were still born at six week intervals. But Kalila was first, not last; dead, not alive. And instead of tears of pure joy attending all of their births, I cried bittersweet, mixed tears of joy and utter sorrow at each of their births.

I adore my nieces, neither of them are terribly patient with my affections, but if I could I would wrap them up in my arms for hours at a time. They were to be my daughter's bosom friends, her forever playmates, her cousins. All of us imagined the holidays we would spend together watching them play, seeing their triplet faces light up at the presents under the Christmas tree or covered in chocolate after the Easter egg hunt. We wondered how they would work out the problems of being 3, if one cousin would end up feeling left out. But one of them is missing. And her absense is always felt most keenly when we are all together. When there are 2 little girls, instead of 3.

I miss my daughter. I miss my nieces too. One of them, E, just lost her first tooth this week. I so wish I was there so that I could see her gap-toothed smile! E calls me Auntie Ducky, so named because of my rubber duck covered bath robe that I wore when she was small. A has already lost a few teeth and I missed those too. And I am reminded, in those darling, gap-toothed smiles, of my daughter and what might have been. A Christmas morning photo of 3, gap-toothed girls giggling by the tree.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Future Rockstars

The soundtrack of my childhood was based on the sounds of my Dad's guitar. All the warm memories came flooding back this past weekend as my Dad sat with my boys and gave them lessons. Just hearing him tune a guitar makes me reminisce.
He bought all 3 big grandsons electric guitars a few years back, but none of them have shown much interest until now. They may have dreams of rock stardom in their heads, but for me, the sight of my boys and their Papa sharing their love of music and making memories fills me with joy.
(check out The Boy's beautiful musician's hands!)

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

4 am means crappy writing.

4am.
I have been up since 4 am. For no reason, I just couldn't sleep. And it is getting really difficult to function and accomplish anything on no sleep.
Anyways... sorry to complain, it just sucks and I feel all teary when I think about it. I lay there praying for sleep last night. ugh.

Of course the scary political situation here in Canada probably didn't help. Our 3 opposition parties have agreed to topple our governing party and take over the government in a coalition. What the heck? Doesn't the fact that we just had an election and democratically chose our government mean anything? Doesn't the fact that the economy is already on shaky ground and that political shenanigans (like staging a coup) make it worse, mean anything to these guys? Or the fact that one of the parties involved exists for those in Quebec who want Quebec to separate from Canada?
I am not all that politically informed anymore, I must admit, and I am not one to share my politics here or anywhere, but this is all a bit scary to me. I guess I can just pray for the best resolution for all of this.

Personally, I am having a lovely afternoon. Cup of tea, cozy in my house while the snow blows outside, kids all occupied with paints or computers. Baby just started to cry, so I guess I am done blogging for a bit, but I hope you are all snug and warm with your families tonight.

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Monday, December 01, 2008

December 1st???!!!!!!!

It is only the first day of December and all of a sudden I am feeling anxiety. I haven't done any shopping! I don't have any extra Christmas money tucked away! I am still working on my gifts! I haven't done Zed's stocking! My house is a disaster and I still have no flooring! Oh! Maybe I should do some baking! The kids want to make a gingerbread house! I need to make it from scratch, don't I?? Church performance! Charitable service! The tree! The lights! ack! argh! I am running out of time!

Girl! Take a breath.... slooooooowwwwww ddddoooowwwwnnn..... You still have 24 days.

24 days!!!! Only 24 days!!! What am I gonna do?? How can I possibly do it all??? Ack! Argh!

Okay, sitting down with my tea. Taking some deep breaths. in.............. out............
Remember I was talking about priorities? Well, I have to keep reminding myself of that in regards to Christmas. Christmas is the birth of Christ, that is what we are celebrating. So my time and energy needs to be concentrated there. And then my family, my kids and husband. The things I do should keep them in mind and most of my resources should be there. Teaching them about Christ and doing for others and making Christmas magical for my family. Spending time with those I love, rather than screaming at everyone to get their buts in gear with their chores and stop messing up my perfectly decorated tree.

So I know all those things, and that is part of why we are observing Advent this year. Today we are making doves for our Jesse tree. But, in reality, I know that I will do all those things on my list. I hope to not make my family hate me in the process... or wrap the baby up in a gift by mistake. And more importantly I will try to be present to what I am doing and find the joy in each task, rather than worrying about all the other to do's on my list. There is really no point in all the traditions if we do not do them with joy and love.



And I can get my Superboy to do the baking!