Tuesday, December 16, 2014

A Sad Goodbye

I had a really tough afternoon and am still processing things and feeling very sad. We put Pepper down today, she was 15 years old. She has been in a decline for a while now and this past week she almost completely stopped eating.

It made the decision easier as it was an obvious sign that her time was at an end. And yet it was still a choice that I had to make. She wasn't miserable, just sleeping all the time and not eating or drinking, obviously losing weight. I don't think it was the 'right' or 'wrong' choice to put her down, it was a reasonable one and I made it.

I didn't want to watch her slowly starve or try a bunch of treatments to see if we could keep her limping along in life for a little longer. The vet supported the choice.

Actually the vet was very kind and understanding and gave me a lot of time alone with her to cry and say goodbye. I'm glad I had that time, to tell her what a great cat she had been, to love her in that moment even though I haven't had time to love her much these past few years.

She was truly the best cat a person could ask for as far as personality. She knew how to play without using her claws. When she was younger, she would play fetch with little plastic rings. If you threw the ring over her head, she'd jump up to catch it in the air between her paws. She'd ask to play by running up behind you and boxing your legs as she ran past. She loved to be chased.

She loved to be brushed and have people rub her with their feet. She loved feet! Not hands as much.
She knew me and I knew her so well for so long. 14 years together. 11 of those she was my top priority, my precious little friend. We went through so much together, so many moves, the divorce, another cat for a short time, the new family. She absorbed so many of my tears over the years.

I wish these last years had been easier/better ones for her. Once the twins were born Pepper's place in the family changed. She went from the couch and our laps to the floor. She adjusted very well actually but she never regained my attention, wasn't my baby after my babies were born. And her health issues became a burden as did most of her needs. That's what I feel sad about, that I wasn't a better Momma to her in the end.... and yet we did the best we could for her. And I loved her well in the end, loved her and made a choice to spare her a drawn out, uncomfortable end.

She's gone and I'm sad. It'll probably be quite a long time before I stop looking for her in the house.

Goodbye sweet Pepper.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Cierra's First Few Days

Just before delivery they told us they had consulted with the pediatrician and they would want us to stay for 48 hours in the hospital. This was so they could check Cierra regularly for fever to see if she had the HFMD virus that I was recovering from. My contagious period would be over by Monday (48 hour mark) and they wanted me to wear gloves when holding her. I wasn't going to complain.
As long as they didn't take her away, I would be fine.
After she was born, they put her right on my chest and we cuddled for quite a while. Her making little noises, me smiling like the happiest woman on earth and Andrew taking pictures.
Cierra didn't cry, she was breathing, she was pinking up but there was no loud crying from her. After a while they took her away to give her a bit of oxygen and see if they could get a solid cry from her.
They couldn't, she was just fine, finished 'pinking up' but she never gave a good loud cry until later that day, or even the next.
I had torn, so as they stitched me (again, thank God for epidurals!) we bonded and she even latched, on both sides! This girl was a champion sucker already.
Once we were all finished in the delivery room, they moved us to the Mother and Babe unit where we learned the staff would also have to gown and glove and mask whenever they came into the room. They also asked Andrew to not touch anything outside the room if he was leaving. So we had to call someone if I wanted juice or anything else from outside the room. But overall, this wasn't a terrible thing. Apparently there was another 'quarantined' room just down the hall from us so staff had their work cut out for them. (Not sure what the other people had, but actually having everyone gown and glove may have been a nice precaution for us too.)
Andrew went home for dinner and to put the kids to bed on Saturday, then came back for the night. On Sunday, he went home in the morning and brought the kids and grandparents back for a visit, then they all went home. He came back again that night after the twins bedtime and spent the night again.
I felt really good about managing those 9 hours on my own in the hospital. I was fine. Cierra was fine. I was tired and wanted to nap but overall, there were no issues.
The two days passed quite quickly. My pain was very manageable, I never got shocky. Cierra and I had lots of time snuggling. And then we went home.
:)
A 10 minute drive is much easier to prepare for and execute than a 2 hour drive from Nanaimo! We were home before we knew it and then the chaos began.
Sam and Rachel were thrilled that we were home. Loud and happy and pushing boundaries and eager to talk talk talk about everything. My big kids are so big and 'my baby' ('your baby' Sam says, or 'my baby sister') is so small and perfect ... and quiet!
I actually don't remember if all newborns are like this for a while or if Cierra is a super relaxed baby but I'm hoping for the latter.
She eats when she wants to (imagine that! No Schedule, no pushing feeds) and does so very eagerly every 3-4 hours during the morning and afternoon, every 1-2 hours during the evening, and then she sleeps! She Sleeps! During the night!
For the past 4 nights she has gone 4-5 hours (once 6 hours) between feeds at night. Granted when she wakes, she eats a lot for a long time, full hour long feeds, but I have slept more this past week than I ever dreamed was possible with a newborn.
I pray this continues, my perfect baby girl, a good sleeper and a good eater. It doesn't get better than that.







Thursday, November 27, 2014

Nov 21, 22, 23? The hopeful birth story

Friday:
Today I had a Dr apt. I am sooo much better than I was earlier in the week with respect to conquering this virus. I had some real contractions this morning and I'm sure I passed....'something' and I feel I'm caught up on my sleep. So I really hoped that she would find I had made some progress.
Sure enough, I was 3-4 cm dilated. Whoo hooo!
All day I've had contractions on and off between 6 and 9 minutes apart. We went to the hospital for a non-stress test and an ultrasound this afternoon. Baby looks great, they guess she/he is about 7lb11oz.
That's a big baby! Much bigger than my wee 5lb twins.
Came home and managed a little nap and contractions basically stopped. They've started again now that I'm up and now it's a wait and see.. wait and see... wait and see.

***
I had contractions throughout the evening Friday but they slowed down as I got tired. So I went to bed! Did not see that coming. I expected to have a baby that night not go to bed.
I woke around 3:30 feeling ... Not quite right. I stayed in bed and shortly after 4 wondered if I was actually hungry. I considered some food when suddenly a contraction came on much stronger than my previous ones. And then another just a few minutes later and by the third one I started to track them and ran to the bathroom where my body ejected everything from my lower digestive system.
So between strong contractions I had super strong cramping diarrhea. Not fun!
After about 15 to 20 minutes of that, the contractions were coming even faster, every 2.5 minutes, I started to panic a little. I had to get Andrew up! We had to get to the hospital! This was the real thing and it was happening super fast.
I managed to wake him, told him to wake my mom and that we had to go, now! We were out of the house within 15 minutes, it was 5:10. By then I couldn't walk through a contraction.
The great thing about running out the hospital at night is there is no traffic. We were there within 10 minutes. The walk from the parking lot in the rain was harrowing, having to stop twice for contractions and again twice in the hallways.
By now contracts were even closer than 2 mins and I knew I wanted an epidural, which I told them as we were 'checking in.' They took one look at how I was handling the contraction and put us in a delivery room and called the doctor on call.
Everything happened so fast from there, the doctor came right away and checked me. You would not believe the desperate prayer I sent to heaven that I wouldn't be too far along, that there was still time for the meds. I was about 7 cm and thinning nicely! She gave the ok and ordered the epidural.
The anesthesiologist came very quickly with the blessed meds. By now it was probably around 6 am? And contractions were so strong I could hardly breathe through them let alone consider moving. Breathing just made it hurt more and I swear contractions were only about a minute apart.
The epidural started to take effect and I could feel pressure too.
Everything after that point got easier. I got the shakes and they warmed me up with blankets but the pain eased off and I relaxed. By 7 the on-call doctor was debating leaving me until the shift change at 8am or checking me again. Since I was comfortable, she left me for the next doctor and 'let my body do the work' of getting baby down, rather than me pushing baby down.
And since I was comfortable, the next doctor left me too. I was probably fully dilated and could have pushed by 7 or 8am but 'eh, whatever.' She came back once or twice but never checked me until 9:50 and suggested we see how some pushing went.
Andrew made a dash to the bathroom and I attempted one push while he was gone. I made so much progress the doctor told me to stop to wait for him to get back, didn't want him to miss the birth. She was only partly kidding.
After the next contraction I asked for a mirror and got to witness the most beautiful birth ever.
I wasn't scared, I wasn't in shock. I was connected and in the moment and got a little teary with joy and anticipation at watching my baby slowly (not so slowly) come into the world.
The doctor said it was the first time she had ever looked up to see a Mom smiling as she pushed.
My sweet baby girl was born at 10:17 am on November 22, 2014.
Cierra Hope.





Thursday, November 20, 2014

41 Weeks and Healing

I'm a full week overdue now and maybe the only woman in history to be so incredibly grateful for the delay.
I am now over the worst of the hand foot and mouth disaster that struck our house. This 'mild' virus that most adults are immune to struck us all like dominos. One benefit seems to be that we were all at our worst at different times and the worst of the virus runs it's course over 4 or 5 days. This spread out the timeline of the whole contagious household period (seriously stressful when giving birth is imminent!) but allowed us to focus on the individual who was at their worst at the moment. Sam and Rachel each had two bad nights. Andrew and I each had two bad nights but those nights never really coincided with the others.
Tuesday night was my worst ever. My feet were on FIRE! Tylenol did very little. Melatonin was a total tease, relaxing me only enough to make my feet more sensitive. 12:30 found me soaking my feet in cold water in an attempt to bring down the swelling just a bit.... so they didn't feel like they were going to explode when the sheets touched them. I slept about 3 hours total.
(Many of the blisters develop deep under the skin and are super painful on skin that is thick like the soles of the feet. I think that explains why the kids blisters only bothered them for a short time and Andrew and I suffered for 3 whole days with them. The kid's skin is so soft that the blisters came up more easily.)
However by Wednesday morning I didn't feel I needed to take a Tylenol to get through the morning. And I napped morning and afternoon and could feel the swelling decrease throughout the day. Walking was less and less painful as the hours passed and I could see the swelling and fluid disappearing from the blisters in my hands throughout the day. By dinner time handwashing wasn't painful anymore at all. Thank you God for the immune system!
Last night I slept through... well as much as one does at 41 weeks pregnant. By sleep through the night, I mean I was only up to pee (5 times?) and fell right back to sleep afterwards. Heavenly Sleep! And this morning after getting the kids out of the house I went back and slept another 2 hours. I better catch up now because whatever my future holds, I know it isn't an abundance of sleep.
Now that I can walk and use my hands without pain again, my day is going to consist of tackling laundry to help decontaminate the house. Woohoo, exciting times!
Baby Hope, we are almost ready for you. How about giving Mommy one more good night of sleep and then arrive on 11/21/14? Those numbers seem very lucky to me.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Over due prayer request

I never thought I'd be overdue with this baby. I never thought I'd be praying to hold on as long as possible.
Sam and Rachel and Andrew all have hand foot and mouth disease and I fear I'm coming down with it too.  If I stay healthy, the worst of the contagion should be over by Thursday, one full week past my due date.
If I come down with it, it's pretty much guaranteed the baby will get it.... And my immune system will help her recover through breastfeeding. But breastfeeding might be mighty challenging if baby has sores in her mouth.
Gaaaaagh, I'm not liking our odds here. I've got a sore throat today and it's making me very anxious.
I'm suddenly anxious the way I was through so much of the twin pregnancy, freaked out about pains, about baby moving enough, about the possible complications and illness and keeping an infant safe through cold and flu season.
I'm trying to trust in God's timing, that all will work out the way it is meant to. That baby will be born on the day she is meant to be born and we can handle anything that happens.
I'm not succeeding. And I'll keep trying.
I've had some real contractions today. Baby is definitely lower and I know my body is preparing for this big event. I just don't know how ready I am emotionally given our rough week.
So I'm asking for prayers for all of us.

Friday, November 7, 2014

3 Year Old Rachel

Oh my beautiful girl at 3 is quite a handful. This is a harder post to write because I want to be honest and I want to do justice to the complexity that is my girl.


Rachel has always been our still water that runs deep. Rae loves hugs and will often grab your arm or leg for a quick snuggle. She is very keen to talk about the baby in my belly and I can tell she had a lot going on in her mind about babies and families but doesn't quite have a complexity of language to talk about it all yet. She is slow with words but is capable of complex sentences and complex ideas during play. But she is getting more and more determined in her ideas and in acting out her preferences, whether those around her go along with them or not.


She has an intensity of focus that allows her to play by herself for long periods of time and she will carefully place her toys to get things exactly the way she wants them to be. I often wonder if all the 'language' that Sam exhibits all the time disturbs her. And I also think she is pretty good at totally ignoring him and doing her very own thing, sometimes silently, and sometimes completely contradicting him without caring one bit.


Rachel loves to play house and takes very good care of her babies, whether the baby is Sam (a rather loud, opinionated, difficult baby for whom she has incredible patience!) or a Lovey who apparently cries the minute she puts it down or hands it over to someone else to hold for a minute. She is soothing and gentle 'Mommy.' 


When she is in a happy mood and playing WITH Sam, her constant refrain is 'ok ok ok' and then she will contribute some new idea to the scenario or suggest something contradictory to what they are doing but regardless of his reaction, she will not break from her persona of 'happy playmate,' just respond with an appeasing 'ok ok ok.' I'm not sure where she gets this from....but when she is happy, this girl is unflappable in her play... and shows an amazing tenacity in her effort to bring Sam in-line with her ideas.


She also really enjoys pretending to be a cat these days. She will meow and nuzzle up to us saying, 'I a kitty' and not break character for a very loooong time. Sometimes she will eat a whole meal or go through a whole routine, like getting out of the house, while maintaining her cat persona.


In spite of her independence, at this 3 year mark Rachel is highly emotional. She has multiple meltdowns every day, hysterical crying that seems to come out of the blue over simple things like, 'it's time to eat.' It's hard to know when these meltdowns are coming because they seem to start out silently....the initial response isn't tears, or a verbal reply, it's a silent passive refusal to do what is asked or respond to a request. Which leaves me not knowing what the heck is going on for her and the more I try to find out, the worse things get.


Once the waterworks start, there is no pleasing her, everything is a disaster and she counters every single option you give her. The upshot is that her default request is for a 'nap' whereby she goes to cry on her bed until she calms down, which is a thousand times better than a kid who throws tantrums or throws things or hurts themselves. Sometimes I will give her whatever time she needs to calm down and then she will come out and say 'I happy now.' Sometimes I will go in and try to talk to her, which almost never works. Sometimes I will go in and rub her back, use very few words, offer a hug; this seems to be more effective than trying to talk.


I think in the love languages area, Rachel's language is physical touch. She is very sensitive to it and anything harsh really affects her and reconnecting with her when she is in an emotional place is best done WITHOUT words. I find this hard because I tend to be very verbal but we are working on it and have seen good progress this week.


I so love my girl and her quiet, strong personality.  I can't wait to see how we bond over this new addition to our lives. I know she is going to be an amazing big sister.



3 Year Old Sam

With baby 3 due any day, I'm anxious to spend some time capturing who Sam and Rachel are right now as they turn 3.


Now, before the big change in their lives. Now, at the 3rd year mark that seemed so important and so far away when they were little. (Yeah, ok, I'm 3 weeks late but better late than never!)


I was told by other twin parents that 3 was kind of a magic age for twins. An age where it became easier to have two than to have a singleton.


I'm happy to say I think we are experiencing this although it isn't an overnight thing but rather something we've seen significant strides in over the past 6 - 9 months.


They play together for extended periods now, especially if they aren't supposed to! Naps have disappeared and I'm trying to enforce a quite time where they are both in their rooms playing quietly (or napping if need be) and I can nap! Instead they sneak out into each others rooms and play so incredibly well together for AN HOUR that I can't help but allow it and be grateful that we have achieved this stage.


Sam at 3 years old is pretty much the definition of a happy boy. His mood is pretty consistent and it is one that brings to mind sunny, blue-sky days, warm grass, picnic lunches and nothing to do but roll down the hills in the grass. He is a very connected, communicative guy who is deeply in tune with the people around him. Loving him is about communicating with him and he is so good at saying what he needs.


His ability to show empathy for others (including Rachel) surprises me every week. Example: Rachel was having a meltdown in the car on the way to daycare this week, a 15 minute trip that is usually filled with Sam talking non-stop about everything he sees and thinks. True 3 year old stream of consciousness - it's the Sam show. But this morning with Rachel crying beside him, he was silent, intermittently looking out the window and looking over at her, gaging how she was doing as she slowly calmed down over the course of about 10 minutes. After she had been quiet for a minute he asked, 'You happy now, Rae?' It was such a sweet question, so sincere, after a display of such patience and compassion. He made space in that time for her to have her big feelings. I was so touched.... Rachel wasn't... her sour reply of 'No' did not phase him though. I followed up his question with my own, 'Are you happy Sam?' 'Yeah I happy!' he quickly replied. I asked Rachel, 'How do you feel Rachel?' She replied, 'I still grumpy.'  Fair enough.


His ability to talk non-stop about everything and anything continues to amaze me as well. Generally, if he is awake he is making noise. However, it isn't crazy noise (although he does do a lot of sound effects), it's usually talking with the intent of communicating with someone, which touches my heart like nothing else. Granted, sometimes him asking the same question 3 times drives me a little nuts but he's getting better about moving on to the next point or taking a cue as to how to move the conversation along.


We have a new rule of staying in the bedroom after the bedtime routine even if they aren't tired yet. They can play by themselves in their individual rooms. Sam pushes the physical boundary of his room and almost every single night falls asleep in the middle of his bedroom doorway with his Lovey tucked under his arm. I take a picture almost every night because I find it hilarious.


This is not to say he is perfect. We still have 3 year old meltdowns over 'no more TV' especially when he's hungry or tired but they are short lived and he hasn't had what I consider a tantrum for months now. He's showing an ability to modulate his emotions that I would not expect at this age. He is a true delight to be around and I adore him.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Non-Events are the Biggest Wins

Sometimes the non-events are the biggest wins in my parenting experience. So far these are the biggest successes:
- fun Dr Apts
- weening from breastfeeding
- taking the crib sides off
- transition to big kid beds
- soother extrication
I will spend a little time preparing the kids for a transition (look at the big kid bed pictures) or a new experience like a doctor's appointment, playing out all the things the doctor will do and then the experience will go totally smoothly. Parenting win! Maybe my efforts help smooth out any issues, maybe not but I think it's worth taking a little time to talk about these things.
However, recently I've made a bigger deal out of some things than I needed to. The soother extrication was the perfect example of me over-thinking.
Rachel loves her soothers. The house rule is that soothers were only for using in bed which was generally accepted. Until recently she would like having two or three in her hands as she went to sleep for naps or for bedtime. Whenever I went to check on her she'd always have spit them out, so I was pretty sure she didn't sleep with them in her mouth but I knew they were a big comfort for her.
So in an attempt to get her off of them prior to baby coming (I just can't stand the idea of her playing with and sucking on a soother and then it going into the baby's mouth) I created the 'soother fairy.'
I explained that the soothers were getting old and might break and if that happened, she'd get a present. Then she explained that Mommy can buy more at the store!
Oh bugger, the logic of a nearly 3 year old!
I explained that new soothers were only for babies. When babies are born they get some soothers but as they get bigger those soothers break and the big kids get presents. They both wanted to know why Sam had no soothers so I told them the truth, we tried giving baby Sam soothers and he spit them out! They found that quite funny.
So when one of her soothers broke (yes I deliberately cut it up) I showed it to her and we put it in the soother fairy box and the next day the soother fairy left a present for her. I was prepared to do this for all 4 remaining soothers.
The soother at daycare 'broke' (I requested the daycare provider assist in that breakage) and we brought it home and put it in the soother fairy box and magically big girl and big boy pillows arrived the next morning.
The purple soother got 'lost' and the last remaining beloved pink soother I agonized about the timing of. What if she totally freaked out after it broke? What if she woke up all night long for a week?
So as a soft trial the soother got left at home (again deliberately) when we went up to spend a couple of nights at Grandma and Grandpa's house. I wasn't sure how those nights would go and if she'd be a crying mess without it or not. But I guessed that the novelty of sleeping somewhere else would distract her from the fact that the soother wasn't there. She never even mentioned it!
When we got home that last pink soother was just 'missing' and Rachel cried for it one afternoon when she was upset about something and she cried for it in the middle of the night one night when she woke up. Both times the tears lasted less than 2 minutes and we just told her we didn't know where it went. It hasn't been mentioned again.
YAY! We've got at least a month till baby comes (hopefully) and I'm hoping by then she will be over the idea of having her own soothers because she is a big girl. :)
I so love my big kids!

Thursday, October 2, 2014

I am Wonder Woman

Sometimes we have to do really hard things and then find they aren't nearly as hard as we thought they were. Still hard but not the struggle that we feared.

This week has been that way for me. My loving husband abandoned us for a week in southern France....for work but still! An entire week by myself at 7.5 months pregnant while taking care of 2 two-year-olds and having to still work was seriously daunting for me. I was QUITE crabby and stressed out leading up to this week alone.

And then he left ... and we were ... fine. There have been some tears and a few small meltdowns and of course I came down with a rotten cold right after he left but overall, we've done really, really well, far better than I thought we would. It's been a calmer, happier week than a lot of other weeks when there are two parents at home. In fact I've gotten more done this week than a lot of other weeks. I baked with the kids, I cleared out all their old clothes, I cooked real meals for dinner most nights.

The kids have enjoyed skyping with Daddy this week, which we fit into the morning routine most mornings.  They talk a lot about Daddy being in an airplane and on a train and that the airplane will bring him home again. They sometimes really really need a Daddy hug and after some sad tears they settle for a Mommy hug. Poor pumpkins!

I've relaxed my TV rules and that has helped. I also adjusted my expectations for timing in the mornings and that has helped. Overall, I find if I don't push for things to be done when I want them done, they generally happen anyway at close to the same time. And if they don't, it's not the end of the world.

For example, yesterday Sam was up at 6am hungry for breakfast. I fed him, set him up with Backyardigans on the TV and then got in the shower and was completely ready by 7:15 when Rachel woke up. A quick breakfast/milk for her and we were out the door and at daycare by 8:05!
This morning however, they both slept till 7:15 and we didn't get to daycare until 9. So my very last work day was delayed by a full hour... and who cares? It's mostly a sick day anyway cuz oh my heavens this is a nasty cold!

I've packed us to to spend a couple of nights up at Grandma and Grandpa's house to add some variety to the week and then on Saturday we will pick up Daddy at the airport. YAY!

I'm feeling pretty positive right now as we head into this fall season. I'm in count down mode, 6 weeks till baby comes (although my Dr predicts that I won't go to term) and a lot of little milestones along the way to look forward to. Birthday party for the kids, me going to a friend's wedding, prepping for Christmas now that I'm off work cuz I'm pretty sure nothing is going to get done after the baby comes. :P

Monday, August 25, 2014

Goodbye naps, hello looong third trimester

Well, I finally accepted that the bedtime issue just wasn't going to resolve itself magically. The fact is both kids were up for over an hour after the later bedtime and we were only getting 45 minute of adult time before our own bedtime.


So I'm sad to say our napping days are basically over.  


It has been over 2 weeks now of either no naps or just short 30 minute naps and bedtime is now a dream. Both kids asleep almost immediately.  This makes me happy!


However, the idea of going through my whole third trimester with no naps makes me want to cry.
I'm at 28 weeks, and still feeling pretty good. If I lift too much or do too much helping the kids, I end up with really a sore belly by the end of the day. But overall, I'm very mobile and still have pretty good energy for doing activities. This is a bit surprising since my iron is quite low again... I only felt it for the first time yesterday; this feeling of being completely drained of my "life force."


I want to tire these kiddos out every day so I try to leave the house with them twice a day. That involves shopping, water parks, playgrounds, library and sometimes even swimming! I'm very pleased to be able to say I can now take two two-year-olds swimming by myself. They aren't kids who run away, they listen well, follow instructions, especially when they are happy.


The only issue I run into is when we need to leave and they are getting hungry, which equals less cooperative. So when they say "I stay," I don't argue with them, I just say, "Ok, Mommy needs to go home and have lunch/snack/whatever else" and then I start getting ready to go. Inevitably I get about 2 feet away and they pipe up "Sam coming too!" or "I go Mommy," which I always respond to with delight that they will be joining me. :) When they are old enough to call my bluff, I'll have to change tactics but I'm loving this one right now.


So here I am 28 weeks, shockingly weighing basically exactly what I did with the twins. I think I may actually have to work at losing this baby weight! I'm okay with that, I'll take a natural (short) delivery, healthy recovery, no infection, no debilitating anxiety and a regular workout schedule, thank you very much. I so wish we could just order these things online like everything else. :)

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Bossiness and Bedtimes

Oh boy are things getting bossy around these parts! Pleases and thank yous do happen but they are an after-thought most of the time or something we need to remind them of.

Frequent refrains these days:
"Daddy no drive way out Sam/ Rachel/mommy."  (Somehow they are always a little worried about being left behind or leaving someone important behind.... And they don't have the word 'without,' or away, it's just 'out' and 'way'.
"Saaaammmmyyy, Go Sleep Right Now! No get up gain!" (Rachel is determined to play this bedtime game nearly everyday after dinner. Sam will comply for a minute and then get up at which time Rachel starts hanging onto his waist trying to drag him back into the bedroom, yelling at him to go to bed. Sam finds this a little funny but has no intention of playing along with the game and Rae gets more and more incensed! We are trying to explain personal choice to Rae and get her to pick another game.)

Tangent: Bedtime in our house has shifted rather dramatically this past month from 7:30ish to 8:30ish with sleep achieved closer to 9:30. It's partially due to the later days, we're just more relaxed about timing but also I would prefer they still nap, so even though they probably could just do a 30 minute cat nap or none at all, I could really use an hour! So they aren't as tired at 7 or 7:30 as they used to be. Also Andrew took the sides of the cribs off about 3 weeks ago and we decided to just see what would happen.

Here's what happened. After about a week Rachel decided to test her new freedom and sneak out of her bedroom after getting tucked in. We strongly enforced the rule of "you can play in your room but if you leave your room, we will close your door." Closing the door results in loud screaming and general distress so that appears to have worked. She now happily plays almost silently in her room until she's ready for a final diaper change and to get tucked in which often occurs around 9, 9:30.

Sam still doesn't seem to grasp the fact that he can get out of the bed himself without a grownup present. YAAAY! So he continues to yell for us from his crib for whatever he seems to need after we put him down, "One last huuuug Mooommy. One Last Hug!!" and "Music OOON Daddy" and "Turn hallway light On Daddy, too dark" and "Tuck Me In" and "Sam need water, one last drink." Putting Sam to sleep is a little like a game of wack-a-mole, you never know which hit is going to actually win the game. Sometimes he just needs one last hug and he's asleep but more often he runs through that whole list of requests over the course of an hour before he finally falls asleep. Siiigh!

With the later bedtime they are sleeping in a bit later in the mornings- usually 6:30, even 7:30 sometimes, which is way better than 5:30... although it's Andrew who gets up with them in the mornings so I can't really complain either way. Andrew lets me sleep an extra hour usually, sometimes even 2 hours depending on the day, which is making this pregnancy thing much easier. (I sleep far better in the mornings than late at night when baby Hope likes to Tango and Cha cha and generally get her groove on.)

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Lovin the words ...and almost words

I love the mispronunciations that are happening in our house right now. I find it funny how some words are perfect and others that seem simple are totally mispronounced. They can say caterpillar, butterfly, complex words but the following are all their own:
Libear = Library
Potadot = polkadot
Prednes = present
Sampuh = something
Bargoo = barbeque
Shishoo = tissue
Laka = elastic
These are too cute to correct. I do use the correct pronunciation when I say the word but I don't try to get them to repeat it.
And since I can't seem to post pictures, here are a couple of links to recent videos. The twins are very keen on taking care of babies these days:
Baby Bear Rocking and Feeding
Twins Changing Diapers
(I don't know what the 'ever ever ever' was all about...it's a new word for them so I think they were just trying it out ... in an odd context.)

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Picture update

I'm a wordy person by nature, images are lovely but not my immediate inclination. But I'm sad that I don't have more pictures on this blog because we have a tonne of them on our computer!
So here's a quick update of images....scratch that...one image. For some reason I'm having trouble uploading multiple images. Grrr.

Oh well, this is one of the cutest recent shots. Sam grabbed a bunch of lovies from his crib and started rocking them on the chair. Rachel took one look, ran to get her two lovies and climbed up next to him. They rocked and rocked together getting their lovies to sleep.
I'm a little shocked that I actually got a picture of it. :)

When I ask them if they want a baby brother or baby sister, they most often say baby sister. When I tell them there is a baby in Mommy' tummy, they want to see it...so I show them my tummy and explain that the baby is growing inside. They look a little skeptical of the idea but generally let it go at that point.









Thursday, June 5, 2014

Diligence and patience

He'd been quiet for a good half hour, I thought him asleep. Suddenly a distressed little voice called out "daddy pick up mess daddy, pick up mess!"

I thought he was saying bear or music, that his music frog had fallen down. But no. I walk in to see him standing at the foot of his crib next to the change table pointing to the floor. The full box of wipes sitting at the edge of the change table with a pile of wipes sitting on top. And Sam pointing at another pile of wipes on the floor.

I switched on the light to see what was what and started to stuff the wipes back into the box only to discover that it was completely full of crumpled up wipes already stuffed back in.
How? What?

I stuffed them in with difficulty, picked up the ones from the floor to deal with after Sam. I told Sam it was ok that I cleaned up and I tried to organized his very disorganized crib only to find.... More wipes!

His blanket was wet from top to bottom, more crumpled up wipes that he had missed were tucked under the folds of it. It wouldn't have taken him long to pull out every single wipe from a full box, maybe 5 to 10 minutes. But to then work at stuffing every single one back into the box? To eliminate every piece of evidence from his crib that he could find? (His blanket was truly soaked.) To stack the ones he couldn't fit on top of the box back on the change table and only give up in desperation when part of the pile fell on the floor? And then to call for help from the people he knew would be 'grumpy' about it? 

I am impressed! I'm in awe a little of the sheer determination of the mind that would do that, that he got all the way to the very end of the box, he pulled out nearly 100 wipes, and then worked very very hard to fix it and make it look like he hadn't done it..... I wasn't even mad. Though I did initially ask what did you do? I later, when he remained rather upset, remembered to tell him several times that I forgave him.

Sweet boy fell asleep pretty fast after that; a last hug and kiss from Mommy and Daddy helped.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Clarity of Communication

The development of language in a child fascinates me. Sam and Rachel learned to speak very differently - Sam never stopped making noise until it made sense, Rachel thought long and hard before coming out with a word or a part of a word and her babbling was generally more like talking to herself or singing to herself.

They have both been communicating their needs well over the past several months and clarity is getting better and better....even the lispy S's are slowly starting to be less lispy. But the past week Sam and Rachel have both learned pronouns and it's amazing.

How did "Bear Rachel crib" so quickly become "Bear in Rachel crib" and suddenly morph to "Rachel throw Bear in her crib?" Rachel just said that last one this morning and I was shocked.

A few days ago Sam surprised me at bedtime with "Mommy sleep her bed. Daddy sleep his bed."

Mostly sentences are still third person, which I find very endearing, but every so often Sam will say 'me.' Last month he yelled 'Daddy come catch ME" to entice Andrew into playing in the hallway. They still enjoy running into our arms and having us catch them.

I love it! And I love how proud they are when they master a complex word right off the bat. This weekend: caterpillar! Said perfectly.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

The 2 Year Old Irrationale

Oh my, oh my, some days we hit rough patches that take me to the brink of screaming at the kids. The very brink! I mean beyond yelling, I do yell... usually "Stop yelling at Mommy!" Which probably doesn't help the situation but it kind of makes me feel better.

This morning was just one of those mornings with Sam.

In the beginning he didn't want to get dressed, he wanted to investigate the pineapple on the counter. Ok, so fine, I take Rachel to get dressed. That's when the yelling started and didn't stop for the next 15 minutes. Maybe he was mad because I walked out of the room with Rae and he was jealous?

He wanted me to look at the pineapple, he wanted me to hold his hand while he walked to the bedroom, or no, back to the kitchen. He didn't want a diaper change. He wanted a hug. He wanted a Daddy hug. He was furious that I took his PJ pants off to change his diaper. He spent the next 10 minutes wanting me to put the dirty diaper back on him. He didn't want to get dressed, he wanted to wear his PJ's to daycare. He didn't want Rachel to touch his shoes, but for him to get them from the shelf himself. He was just crying, screaming  mad about every single thing this morning. Right up to getting into the car and then he seemed okay with it all and off he went with Daddy to daycare.

Rachel mostly stood back and was super cooperative, probably to make up for the screaming. Or to make sure Mommy didn't yell at her to stop yelling.

Sigh!

It's a good thing days like this are balanced out by days like yesterday. Yesterday and Sunday were nearly perfect days. The kids were happy and cooperative, they slept well, they ate well, they played well alone and together, they were just happy as little pigs in dirt.

I'm sure part of that was the fact that we were busy but not rushed this weekend. And we did a lot outside!

Saturday we went to the petting zoo and then the playground and then had a picnic lunch. It was the perfect outing and the kids looooved the baby goats. Last year they didn't want to get close to those freaky, hairy creatures. This year they were gentle but totally excited to pet, brush and even try to give little hugs to the goats with no coaxing from us at all - well, ok, Rachel needed a little encouragement at first.

Sunday we visited friends in the morning and then in the afternoon we got the bike trailer out and went for our first family ride of the year. They were quite thrilled with the whole experience. Last year we'd have at least a little whining or crying during every ride. This time around they talked to us, to each other or sat quietly and watched everything around them as we rode. We stopped at the lake and let them run all the way to the end of the bridge and back. Exhausting them in the fresh air works wonders for bedtime!

Monday morning was a long visit to the local park and ducks. The afternoon was spent buying plants for the garden and then we planted them after dinner. The kids 'helped' but I have to say they mostly played pretend gardening while we did the planting and they were so freaking happy about it. They would get a tool to put dirt in the empty flower containers and then dump it out in a different spot. They would try to dig little holes. They'd ask each other for help and work together to do something....and, frankly, I'm not sure what else. I was busy planting and they were busy being kids....kids in dirt.

I'd look up from time to time and remind them, "Don't step on the plants," or "Don't put the dirt on your shoes."  "Okay Mommy" they'd immediately reply. They were completely compliant with every request. Maybe they were so happy because we let them be little pigs in dirt?

I do love my little piggies.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Clothing the Growing Belly

I pulled out my maternity clothes this week do wash them all and review what I have. I recall not having a lot, especially at the end I had 2 tops and one pair of pants that fit. But let's face it, the twin baby belly is HUUUGE at the end so that's not shocking.

However I did stop to question how I managed to get through an entire pregnancy with:
- 1 pair capri khakis
- 1 pair capri jeans
- 1 pair jeans
- 2 pair leggings (one huuuuge pair for the very end)
- 2 skirts
- 2 pairs of shorts
- 1 dress
- 6 tops, all short sleeved
- 1 pair dress pants (worn about 3 times)

Seriously!! That's my entire maternity wardrobe, it's crazy! But then remember that I was house bound for almost my entire pregnancy. The people at my work heard I was pregnant (14 weeks = measuring 18 weeks), saw me for a couple of weeks and then I was gone.

At 17 weeks I had a bleed and was told to stay home that week. I worked from home that week and the next and then was put on house-arrest for the remainder due to my irritable uterus. So I sat alone, in a lot of pain most of the time, worrying and waiting for the next 4.5 months. That was noooo fun!

Anyway, back to the clothes, so basically I started showing, needed maternity clothes and then was imprisoned and let's face it, my couch didn't care that I wore the same two pairs of capri pants for 3.5 months.

This time around I'm pregnant at the same time of year but expect to need some work appropriate clothing. I'll be able to get away with my regular wardrobe for another couple of weeks wearing skirts and loose tops and shirts but soon enough it'll be time to shop. I'm rather excited about that!

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

12 weeks and alls well

We had our 12 week ultrasound on Monday and our little one was super active, putting on a great show for us. And I'm so sure it's a girl that I'm just going to refer to her that way going forward.

She's got hands and feet and long legs and arms. She spins and kicks and stretches out. It was very fun to see. So with that lovely view in my mind I left for work on Tuesday with the kids ready to tell all my work people that I'm expecting.

I left for work Tuesday morning with the kids in the backseat heading to daycare first, Sam chatting away, rain pelting down but sunshine breaking through the sparse dark clouds.

We turned onto Wilkinson and a moving truck was in front of us. We drove along happily following until he quite slowly turned left into a driveway. I had to slow down a bit but not a lot and just as he cleared my field of vision I saw a red truck in the other lane over near the shoulder moving fast. Moving so fast he looked like he was going to go right under the moving truck. Then he swerved hard.

He swerved so his nose was pointed straight at us and I gasped or yelled or something. He straightened at the last second and instead of hitting us head on he plowed stright into the rear tire of the moving truck.

I looked to pull over but there was no shoulder on my side of the road and there were a line of cars coming behind me. Sam kept repeating over and over, "red truck hit big truck," "red truck hit big truck."

I talked to him and explained it as best I could and validated what they saw and told him the man would get help. I kept looking for a place to stop or turn around and yet I kept driving. I was shaken.

I dropped the kids off and went to work. I discovered that you can fill out a witness form online and submit it for both ICBC and the police, which I did. But I wish I'd done more.... if it hadn't been raining, or I hadn't had the kids or there had been a place to pull over or no traffic coming up fast behind me or or or or...

I hope I do get a call from the police or ICBC so I know they received my information. When I travelled that same route this morning I noticed the location where it happened and I do believe the red truck was just going too fast as he came around the small hill and turn and he didn't have time to stop when he saw the truck.

And I can't help but believe his split second decision to straighten out may have saved our lives. There were four souls in my car that morning, three tiny precious ones that I"m responsible for.

That man's split second decision may have changed the course of our lives, it certainly changed the course of our day. Instead of dealing with hospitals and insurance and physical trauma of some kind or other, instead of working through fear and pain and shock yesterday, my children got to play happily at daycare and I got to go to work and share my beautiful news with my coworkers, "I'm expecting a baby."

How did we get so lucky?

I'm left thanking God over and over and praying for the driver of the red truck.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Week 10

Things have been a bit up and down lately regarding this pregnancy but overall it's all good.

Week 6 - scary bleeding all week, day 2 of which I got an ultrasound (woohoo for private care!) and it showed a small bleed which was low in the uterus while baby (with a heartbeat we could hear) was up high.

Week 7 - bleeding stopped and our second ultrasound (again YAY for private care) showed that baby was looking good. We had a last chat with Dr H who basically said, 'call your Dr for your first regular maternity apt, I probably won't see you again."  Basically, this is a low risk pregnancy because, although I'm turning 37 this year, risk is based on the age of the egg, which was only 33 when it was frozen. So baby is just a young thang and my aging uterus can take care of it just fine! :) So I'm considered a regular pregnancy after one last ultrasound to confirm things still look good.

Week 9 -  regular maternity apt with Dr. L, found the heartbeat with the dopler.

Week 10 - last ultrasound with the fertility clinic and things look great, baby waved to us and showed off that he/she has feet. YAY Feet!

So with that verification I felt confident enough to tell my work that I will be leaving again on mat leave.
Eeek that really makes this feel real. I'm telling the world!

In related news, thank goodness for diclectin, it has saved me from complete misery with my nausea. I still have some really tough evenings/bedtimes where wave after wave of nausea makes it hard to sleep. But I'm not throwing up, so I'm grateful.

We have a crazy couple of weeks coming up but I'm not panicked about them. All will be well. We are pregnant and I have a crazy confidence in our Hope that I didn't have with the twin pregnancy. This little one is meant to be.

Monday, March 31, 2014

So I remember

Just in case I should ever forget, not that I did after the first pregnancy, this nausea business is disgusting! I love what it means but I hate how it feels.
It's rough trying to keep up with two toddlers when I feel like I'm going to retch. However, I also think the effort I put into smiling and reading to them and playing and making snacks also keeps me from fixating on how bad I feel.
With the twin pregnancy I remember starting to feel better around 14 weeks and really wasn't struggling at all by 16 weeks. So I'm counting down the weeks.... 6.5 before things improve. I think I can I think I can I think I can
One good thing about these days is that Sam and Rachel are really great 2.5 year olds. I can't believe I worried about age 2, everything just gets easier the more they can speak. Their comprehension has always been fantastic but their patience is improving more every week and they are sharing better and taking turns without freaking out, they even say please and excuse me.... To each other!We haven't had a timeout in weeks!  I just adore this age.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Numbers are good

I'm a numbers person. I like things that can be quantified. I love knowing the beta numbers that provide proof that I'm actually pregnant.
However, after the second confirmation (which the Dr needs) I have resisted going back for more blood tests.
I could. I have a standing order for the whole month.
But the Dr was happy with the second numbers and the ultrasound is scheduled for March 26, which will verify the heartbeat. And verify that it's only one little babe, not identicals.... of any number. I've got to admit, I had a nightmare about having identical quintuplets. It was nooot pretty!
And although I'm not really feeling significant pregnancy symptoms, I am quite confident all is well. And I think I can make it one more week before I need reassurance.
Grow little Hope, grow.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Happily Hopeful

I'm happy to say Hope is still here! I feel so completely blessed.
My initial reaction was surprise, then tears. How could we get so lucky?
My blood test came back yesterday at 759, I think anything over 50 = pregnant. So 759 is high but not shocking given that we transferred a 6 day blastocyst and it's been 12 days since the transfer.
No reason to think it's twins, so I'm thrilled and not scared right now. There is so much to think about, so much to dream over, so much to accomplish between now and when baby is due.... which should be sometime mid-November.
There are still a lot of hurdles to jump, the next blood test on Thursday needs to double and then we'll get an ultrasound in a few weeks to confirm things look good. But somehow it feels like the biggest challenge is out of the way.
I don't have unreasonably rosey expectations that I will sail through this pregnancy but I do believe it will be different from the twin pregnancy. And I'm committed to living in the moment and dealing with one thing at a time. Right now, this feels like the honeymoon period, I'm confident that Hope will continue to grow and the nausea, pain, heartburn, gas and exhaustion hasn't started yet. 
We did it! Hope did it!
I'm a very happy woman ... and incredibly relaxed compared to this time last week. 

Friday, March 7, 2014

The wait is sooooo long

This wait is awful. Imagine your most hormonal period and extend it for weeks, then add a big emotional climax over which you have little to no control.
However, just in case it might make a difference, during this awful wait you are supposed to relax, eat very healthy and basically not participate in a single stress relieving activity - no exercise, no sex, no booze, no sugar, no wheat, little dairy or red meat.
And whether is works or not, it still costs a fortune, in money and in your emotional and physical energy.
I've been an emotional wreck this week, stressed to the limit.
I've been sure that I pregnant and sure that I'm not.
I've been super relaxed and holding on by my fingernails.
I've been praying for Hope and trying to trust.
I've been irrationally angry, had screaming arguments (in my head) with people I love.
This is all hormones and anxiety and stress and I know it will pass to some extent as soon as I know if Hope is still with us next week.
I've tried to post a picture here of our little perfect 19 but for some reason it is not working. So you'll just have to trust me, she is beautiful, shining like a diamond.
I just have to get through another 4.5 days.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Lighter moments

S: look I fixed the straps on my lunch bag.
A: oh yeah, now just don't let Rachel stand in it.
S: is that how it broke? Rachel stood in it and pulled on the straps.
A: well I was carrying her around in it.
So: aaaah hmmm so it's not so much the standing as the carrying that may have been the issue.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Hope rejoined

Our little Hope thawed out beautifully and remains a fantastic 19/20! That is great news.
The transfer went very well and I did my best to spend the rest of the day lying very low. I even hid from my children for an hour when the came home from daycare to avoid the worst of the evening crazies. No guilt!
Now for the long wait. 12 long days until I do the blood test which will confirm where we stand.
Things are looking very very good though. And I think it's no small thing that today is my brothers birthday.
My brother Wes is probably the biggest reason I ever wanted to be a mom. I was 4 and a half when he was born and I recall waiting at my aunty Lillian's house waiting for my dad to come tell us what kind of baby mommy had. I remember him arriving and saying it was a boy and I yelled and shrieked and ran around in circles for ages thrilled at the news.
I called him 'she' and 'her' for over a year but gender was irrelevant. I adored my baby brother, adored him, wanted to do everything to take care of him, was pretty sure he was mine and my mom just helped.
I am certain he was there with us today pulling for our Hope, loving us from heaven.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

First Full Sentences

Sam has been stringing individual words together for quite a while now.
"Mommy! Bear Down! Up! Please!" or "Bear Crib Wait!" or "Bear Down! Sad! Hug Better!" said with clarity and exclamation points.
He likes to narrate everything that is happening every minute of the day. So it's not surprising that he's the first one to put a full proper sentence together which happened this weekend:
Here you go, Daddy.
I did it.
Sam did it.
I have the feeling it will be non-stop chatter from now until he's a teenager.
Also in January he transitioned from calling himself Nam to Tam (for a few weeks) and he's now got his S's in place. He is officially Ssam. :)

Rachel continues to use single words and word combinations and simply doesn't feel the need to articulate the obvious every minute of the day. But her language is coming along very nicely.

Now if only I could figure out if they are RG colour blind. They get the other colours correctly almost all the time but they mix up red and green a LOT!

Monday, February 24, 2014

Riding the wave

So much about the ivf process leaves me waiting and anxious and with more questions than answers.
You wait for the first ultrasound to see how the lining is doing. Then you wait for the blood test results. If anything is off, you wait for the plan of action which usually involves more tests and waiting and not being able to plan your life because of all the 'what ifs.'
My lining looked good at the ultrasound but I had a follicle growing in spite of being suppressed so we had to wait for it to ovulate before starting the new meds which prepare me for the transfer.
Regardless, I'm now on the new meds and the transfer is scheduled for Thursday.
It's a big deal this transfer. It's our chance to expand our family. Maybe not the only chance we will ever have but by far the best chance we'll ever have. We have about a 50-60% chance that this will work. Compared to about 5-10% chance of conceiving naturally.... Supposedly that is. But when  3.5 years of unprotected sex yields 0 results, one can't help but think natural conception is a myth and the odds are more like 0%.
So I'm holding on till Thursday, being thankful for all my body has accomplished and recovered from in the past and choosing to trust in god when it all seems like too much.
I trust that asking for another child is not selfish.
I trust that if it works, the twins will make great big siblings.
I trust that there is lots of love in this family and we will be able to add to it without becoming unhinged.
I trust that if this doesn't work, we can still have hope for another.
And I trust that if this doesn't work, I will be able to find great contentment and joy with my two fabulous children.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

14/day

An FET cycle is easy peazy compared to a full IVF cycle. Just some estrogen pills for 12 days, some ultrasounds (daily for 5-7 days) and the transfer, which is very non-invasive compared to retrieval.
So I'm on the estrogen now...
And the antibiotics, oh and a probiotic to help counter the antibiotic affect on the tummy.
Oh and vitamin D to help keep the immune system strong.
Oh and of course the regular multivitamin.
Oh and a daily aspirin to .... God only knows what! Maybe thin the blood just a bit? Reduce any other inflammation?
It all boils down to 14 pills a day. 14 pills a day!
This is my day, I had to write it down because there was no other way to remember it all:
Breakfast: antibiotics (x2), estrogen(2), aspirin
Snack am: probiotic and vitamin d
Snack pm: antibiotic
Dinner: antibiotic, vitamin D
Evening snack: multivitamin, estrogen(2)
Bedtime: antibiotic

This really is easy compared to pills AND needles with meds that you have to mix etc. but wholly smack! Some people can just have sex and accomplish conception?!?! Really? Really?
Crickey.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Reviving Hope

If you've been reading this blog for years, or have read back through the archives, or are someone who knows me and we talk fertility, which probably covers everyone who reads this blog, then you know we gave one embryo remaining from our IVF cycle with the twins.
Sam and Rachel were our fresh cycle and one embryo made it to the freezing stage. Since the day I learned that it would be frozen, day 6, I have thought of it as our hope. I have thought of it, prayed for it, continued to hope that one day I'd be brave enough to try this again when the twins were older.
When the twins were little I put it in the far back of my mind. The idea of having extra energy or the ability to split my attention further seemed ludicrous. However, slowly but surely as they get older life gets easier and I think about our little hope more and more.
Frankly, I have a fantasy of what it would be like to care for just one little baby. (And two three year olds of course.) I  fantasize about getting a second chance at this motherhood thing. A chance to do it better, have it just a little easier. When people have singletons they must experience that desire too, not just a desire for another child but the desire to experience it all again a (slightly more relaxed?) second or third time: all the wonderful firsts that a child goes through, that you go through as you learn to know your child.
I want that.
And so we begin our journey again. It all takes time, it's not going to be an overnight thing. Right now I'm on antibiotics for some inflammation that can affect implantation. I may start meds as soon as Thursday if all goes well.
Because this is a frozen embryo transfer (FET) it's a whole lot less invasive than a full IVF cycle. No needles in the stomach, no retrieval. Just a few pills, some ultrasounds and a transfer if the thaw goes well.
We're very hopeful. :)

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Rereading - Safe in the Arms of the Author

I often reread good books, books with stories that I enjoy, books where the writing/language itself is something I enjoy or the setting transports me to a place and time that I find engaging.
 
Rereading a good book is like taking a little vacation day after day. I relax into it, I settle down to enjoy how the story unfolds, let go of my cares and move through the story knowing that there will be no surprises that I can't handle, no unsettling changes to the outcome, delighting in reading the details that I'd forgotten or rushed through during the first or second read. And truthfully, any uncomfortable parts or slow parts of the story, I sometimes skim through when it's my second or third read.
 
When I reread a book I rest, fully relaxed, safe in the arms of the author. I love that feeling. There have only been a few instances when I read a book the first time that I've developed that same sense of trust in the author. It's not a frequent occurrence for me.
 
It struck me today...what if I could do that with my own life? Would I want to relive my life if I were given the chance to, knowing all the outcomes already, perhaps forgetting the small details and delighting in remembering them or grieving again as I went but basically knowing how all the major events unfold and how the story ends... would I choose to relive my life again? Would I choose to reread my own story?
 
I don't think so.

Harsh, eh? I wouldn't choose to relive my life. (Although I'd probably reread it if it were a book and written well. :)) It's just that the sad times have been so sad that I think knowing the outcomes would rob me of enjoying the good that preceded them. I'd agonize knowing that my brother would die so young, I'd be so sad and bitter knowing that my first marriage would end that the good times preceding those ends would be tainted.
 
BUT! What if I could somehow achieve the benefits of knowing the important outcomes the first time around? What if I could achieve that sense of trust in the author during the first read? Is that possible or even desirable?
 
For me, I think it would be ideal. I would experience so much less stress if I were assured and I truly trusted that I could handle whatever might happen, whatever the rest of my story holds; truly trust that my ending is a good one.  If I could rest comfortably, trusting in the author of my life, in God's plan for me, I would be a different, happier, more giving, more vibrant, alive person. I would be free... in so many ways.
 
This may sound strange but I believe I've been given this assurance, verbally, directly, from God.... through a man on a park bench on a sunny fall day.
 
I wrote about it at the time but I was writing it to get it down as quickly and as clearly as I could. I didn't have the time or mental capacity to express what the moment meant to me. But I've thought about that moment many, many times since then and I always remember it with the same profound feeling deep inside my ribcage.
 
An elderly man, a stranger on a park bench said just one sentence to me as I walked by and those words will never leave me: "It turned out all right for us, didn't it?"
 
I replied with a smile, "it sure did" and kept walking. But within my next heartbeat those words charged through my solar plexus, reverberated through my spine, my mind and imprinted on my soul.
 
The man was referring to the weather that day but whether he knew it or not he was also delivering a message I desperately needed to hear. Words that assured me that my baby boy would not die, in spite of his awful reflux choking, that I would someday properly love my little girl in spite of my daily agonizing over who I 'should' give her away to because surely anyone else could love and care for her better than I could.
 
And my boy didn't die and I do love and adore my girl.
 
And I believe there will come a day long in the future, when an elderly man (Andrew) will say those words to me again: It turned out all right for us, didn't it? Those words are true today and will continue to be true right through till the end.
 
If ever I've heard the word of God, this is it. He met me on a park bench in one of my most troubled times. And he will continue to meet me, continue to carry me, and I will enjoy my story more this first read through if I choose to trust and rest in His arms.
 
My word for the 2014 is Trust.  

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Sleep Update

Night 9: No whimper, no whine, complete silence....for 30 minutes, followed by 30 minutes of seriously cranky crying hollering, etc. Then again some cranky wakings in the night.


Night 10: No whimper, no whine, completely silent falling asleep and slept straight through till 6am. Hallelujah, praise the Lord! It is possible and this will happen more frequently and we will never backslide the same way again.


Wooohooo!

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Sleep Training - Take... 5? 10?

Sleep for our little Sam has always been a challenge. We had a good stretch from around 11 months (old) to around 15 months but then many setbacks from 15 months to 20 month. He we just sick so so many times.


There were so many setbacks that we moved the futon permanently into his room so if one of us had to sleep there, we could.


I seem to vaguely recall a good 4-6 weeks in the summer around 21 months old where we could leave him in the room by himself and he'd cry for a bit and talk for a bit and then fall asleep. Sometimes we'd still have to go in to sooth him or rock him mostly asleep but he slept mostly independently. Then we had the upheaval of company and tried moving Rachel into the same room and then we went on vacation and it all went to pot.


So once we were back from vacation and trying to get things normalized, we were almost pleasantly surprised to discover that all Sam really wanted was for one of us to stay in the room with him while he fell asleep. This was a big step forward from the rocking so we obliged....we obliged every night (45 minutes to 2hrs/evening) for 4 months.


After that we started formulating a plan and on January 1 we implemented Mission: Sam the big boy who can sleep by himself. We talked about it with him during the day and then implemented it for his nap...the nap was easy... the night bedtime was pure nightmare. Here is how the mission has played out:


Jan 1: 1.5 hours of crying, screaming, begging, hysterics. In 10 - 15 minute intervals, or whenever the pitch seemed to reach hysteria, we would go in and comfort him. Hugs, back pats but no rocking and we didn't stay for long. The hardest part was after a while he was desperate to do anything to keep me in the room. He knew the old rule that as long as he stayed lying down in his crib I would stay with him. So when I went in to comfort him and he threw himself down on his mattress, plastered his face to his blanket and gestured wildly at the bed begging, 'stay stay mummy stay bed.'
I said "no Sam Mommy won't stay, I'm close, you're a big boy now."
"mummy sit chair sit sit mummy please."
I said "no Sam, Mommy leave the door open, you can hear Mommy and Daddy we are here."
"rock rock stay stay down."
He was using all his words, all his knowledge of how this had worked in the past to try to make it better.
It was the most awful 1.5 hours. My heart broke for him.
He finally fell asleep....until 12:30.
12:30-1:15 crying, calling. We went in various times to comfort him finally let him get noisy. At 1:20 I'd had enough but I went in one last time to give one last hug and be firm. I found out his diaper had leaked at some point and his PJs and blankets and sheets were soaking wet and freezing cold. My Poor Boy!!
I changed him, changed the crib, found new blankets and couldn't bear to leave him again. So I crawled into the spare bed and spent the night. He woke several times through the rest of the night calling for me but was comforted by me being so close.
Night 1 felt like an epic fail.


It got better.


Jan 2: 1 hour, whining crying, no hysterics and he slept through the night with just one verbal comfort - which we could do from our own bed in the other room.


Jan 3: 30 minutes, intermittent whining, crying. Again slept through with just one verbal comfort in the middle of the night


Jan 4: 20 minutes, whining. Several verbal comfort, hugs through the night.


Jan 5: 20 minutes, only whining. Verbal comfort, hugs in the middle of the night.


Jan 6: 40 minutes, mad, crying! Verbal comfort, hugs in the middle of the night.


Jan 7: 20 minutes, mostly talking calling, no crying. Several wakings but quickly comforted.


Jan 8: 10 minutes, one call for water. Slept through the night!!


Fingers crossed for tonight!

Thursday, January 2, 2014

The odd years, 2013 reflection

The odd years in my life tend to be the best ones, the most momentous ones. I haven't found a significant correlation between the odd calendar years but I have to say 2013 was a great year. We got our feet under us this year as parents, as a family, and had a lot of fun.
The kids went from tiny toddlers to big toddlers who are much more predictable and flexible with regards to schedules and activities. We have many words and big ideas and they are playing together more and more all the time. Still looking forward to sentences...although once those non-stop babbling sessions become non-stop talking sessions, I may regret the desire for sentences.
We had our first family vacation this year and Rachel and mommy their first girls weekend. Andrew and I incorporated some alone time into the year for each other and on our own, which we hope to do more of.
This Christmas was spent at home with Grandma and Papa (Grandpa) and the kids loved having them here. Things I hope to remember about Christmas 2013:
  • Rachel spending much of Christmas afternoon diligently serving tea to Grandma, Grandpa and Mommy in the living room with her new tea set. She had quite an elaborate routine and was very serious about the entire matter, serving each person and giving refills and taking away the cup. She had a routine with her little kitchen where she'd put the teapot in the oven, then set up the tea cup on the table, get the pot out, pour and then serve us in the living room. I threw her for a loop when I asked for a cookie on a plate as well. She had to pause and think that through for a moment but after she worked it out we all received plates with our cups of tea.
  • Sam taking a liking to Rachel's new dolly and carefully combing her hair.
  • Rachel learned to jump with two feet off the ground this Christmas and enjoyed practising it a great deal. Sam on the other hand is getting more daring and is now jumping off the couch by himself and sticking his landings like a pro gymnast.
  • Sam and Rachel learned to say 'excuse me' this Christmas (Goo me) and they find every opportunity to use it. It's adorable hearing them say it to each other over and over again.
I know there is more but that's all I've got at the moment. The holiday season is ending on a lower note unfortunately as the kids seem to have Christmas 'hangovers' and are fighting colds, as am I. We haven't been very jolly the past couple of days and hope the rest of 2014 improves from this point. :)

S