Dec 31, 2013

Questions for My Mom

Every day I think of something I want to ask my mom.  Every single day.  Sometimes the questions are specific to what I'm doing.  A lot of times they're totally random.  And for just a moment, I have a pang of regret that I didn't ask when I had the chance.  But then, usually, I force myself to think of something else and move on with my day.

I've decided to start writing some of my questions down.  I don't know why.  These aren't even memories of her...just things I wish I knew.  And frankly, I can probably get some of the answers from my dad or her siblings.  None-the-less, I wish I could ask HER.

Sometimes, if I do dwell on thoughts of my mom, I'll have a dream about her that night.  And then it's as if I get to spend a little more time with her.  It's hard to wake up from those dreams.

(Starting November 22, 2013)

  • What did your mom (Joann) do again?  She was a nurse or training to be a nurse?  Did she work after your mom and dad got married?
  • Can you come for Thanksgiving?
  • Can't you please just make the Peanut Butter Pies for me this year?
  • What did you do when I (the youngest) went to preschool?  What did you do with your time during the day?  How did your life change?
  • How did you, a night person, manage to get out of bed before all of us and make a hot breakfast every day?  
  • Did you buy/use red or white wheat for your whole wheat bread?
  • Where is your chicken noodle soup recipe?
  • How did you manage our household so well?  With the exception of the "Art Room" (alternately known as the junk room), it was always pretty darn clean, plus you cooked great healthy meals, plus you clipped coupons, plus you hardly ever yelled.  How did you do it?!?  Why can't I be more like you?!?!?!?
  • How did you handle the laundry?  (I remember she would occasionally "go on-strike" if we were throwing too many clean clothes in the hamper--and then we'd have to do our own laundry for a few weeks--but generally she took care of it all.  I do remember I had to fold the wash-cloths when I was very little.)
  • Where did you hide the Christmas presents???  (I never found them!)
  • How did you determine a Christmas budget for kid gifts?
  • What was the best Christmas gift you ever got?
  • What was your favorite Christmas?
  • How did you keep track of kid presents and who was getting what?  Did you worry about giving the kids equal numbers?  Did we count our gifts like my kids do?  (I do remember there were occasionally gifts that got lost and those I got for my birthday (in February) or if they were really lost, for Easter--like the brass doll cradle! :)
  • Why didn't you decorate for Christmas the last few years?!?
That's all I have written down, but I'm sure in the coming days and weeks, I'll have another long list.

This year I bought a small fake Christmas tree and decorated it with all the angel ornaments I own in honor of my Mom.  She collected angels and would have loved it.  (A lot of the ornaments were given to me by my sweet mother-in-law so it reminds me of her too and what an angel SHE is.)  

My favorite new ornament is from Gray's preschool teacher.  It's a photograph of him standing with his hands steepled.  He's cut out and pasted in between two giant foam wings covered in silver glitter with a gold pipe-cleaner halo on top.  The first thing I thought when I saw it was how much my mom would have loved it and that she probably would have stolen it to hang in her house.  

If she were still alive, I would have made an angel of every single one of her grandkids and forced her to get a tree to display all 25--all looking angelic with white foam wings.  (I sure wish she could have met my little angel #25!)  She used to joke when one of the grandkids was being naughty that their halo was slipping a little bit.  Gray's little pipe-cleaner is slipping a LOT.  That would have made her laugh. 

Anyway, the holidays have been hard, and New Year's Eve and Valentines Day wont be any better.  However, I'm grateful for all the happy memories I do have and that I got to have her for 35 years.  I'm grateful for the questions I do have answers to.  
Enough of that though--I promise my next post will be filled with cute pictures of Baby! 

Let me just end with this: if you have any questions for your parent(s), why don't you just go ahead and pick up the phone already!  You wont regret it.  :)  
Happy holidays!!!
Meeting Baby Gray when we visited from Japan

On her (second) wedding day

Meeting Baby Gabe

Swimming with Baby Max at her condo in Springville

Cape Cod with Gabey-Baby--When she visited us in Rhode Island

Grandma Fae LOVED giving babies a bath--Happy Baby Sammy

Nov 5, 2013

Irrational (or are they SO rational...) Baby-Related Fears

I think I've been spending too much time alone in my recliner with the baby because I'm getting a little crazy.  Here's what I've been worrying about lately...
I should be worrying he'll fall out of a book case...but I'm not.
  • What if I get in a car accident because I'm so tired I'm not paying close enough attention so I pull in front of a car and it slams right into me killing me instantly and leaving my children motherless?  (That's a normal worry, right?)
  • What if the little bump on Baby's forehead isn't a harmless cyst?  What if it never goes away?   What if kids tease him about it in elementary school 'cause kids are bratty? What if it's cancer?
  • What if the fact that Baby still hasn't made eye contact with me means he's autistic?  Sure, call me crazy (Doug has) but if in seven years we find out I'm right, I'll refer you all back to this post.
  • What if after four healthy kids, this is the one who ends up with childhood leukemia?
  • What if I slip at the top of the stairs when I'm holding the baby?  Will I be able to hold him up out of harms way even as I plummet downward and land in a crumpled heap at the bottom?  (I think about this pretty much every time I'm at the top of the stairs holding the baby.)
  • Is he too attached to the binky?  Is it causing nipple confusion?  Is it messing with his appetite?  (Sub worry:  Is writing "nipple" on my blog going to attract a bunch of weirdos?)
  • What if he stops taking the binky and STARTS SUCKING HIS THUMB!  Doug will never forgive him!  (This might be a slight exaggeration, but Doug definitely wouldn't like it.)
  • Am I feeding him too much?  Not enough?  Too on-demand?  Not on-demand enough?  Am I ruining his chances of ever sleeping through the night?
  • Am I neglecting him because I look at electronics too much while I nurse?  I mean, I give him a lot of attention, I kiss him a LOT, and hold him pretty much non-stop, but am I still too distracted?  I'm inside my own head too much.  I need to talk and sing to him more.
  • Is the laptop giving off electromagnetic rays that will give him cancer?
  • Is my poor diet making it so he'll never love vegetables?  I read that I should be drinking carrot juice to give him a taste for carrots.  But I hate carrot juice!  Instead I eat chocolate every day.  He'll definitely have a taste for chocolate.
  • I should watch fewer sit-coms like The Goldbergs, and more L.D.S. church talks so he grows up to be a prophet instead of a stand-up comedian.
I love this picture though Doug wasn't thrilled with his receding hair line.
  • Am I completely neglecting Max, Sam and Gabe?
  • Am I spoiling Gray because I'm giving in to him so much because I don't want him to resent Baby?
  • Do all of these irrational fears making me completely crazy?  
Do they???

At least I'm not worried vending machines will become the dominant race.  I have that going for me.  (See Dr. Doofenshmirtz below...)

"I've been alone all these years, with my irrational fears..."

Oct 19, 2013

Older Sibling Blues

3.5 weeks later:
Tonight I am upset, (at the big boys)
overwhelmed, (by the noise and messy house)
physically exhausted (bone-weary),
fighting off baby blues...

...and then I bury my face in his neck, and smell his perfect smell, and feel his silky smooth skin and wonder how I got lucky enough to be holding a tiny new person in my arms...

...and it's all worth it.
The miserable pregnancy.
The painful delivery.
All of it.
Of course, all that other stuff is still there today--but for a second, none of it matters.  Just him and the perfect folds in his neck.

I love you Baby Lincoln!  
I'm glad you're finally here!!

(Turns out, I was having similar feelings after the arrival of baby Gray and wrote about it here.  I'm actually doing much better this time and give the weather 95% of the credit.)

Oct 7, 2013

What's In A [5th] Name?

So I push the baby out and now comes the hard part:  Picking a name.
Each morning we were in the hospital, the birth certificate lady would come in to ask if we'd filled out the paperwork.  Each morning, we'd send her away.
 (And turn off "Castle" and start thinking about names again.)
What's my name?!?
This was NOT an easy process.  We've used up EIGHT names already.  Four first names picked because we like 'em, and four middle names picked because we like 'em and they're family names.

Maxwell Douglas (Maxwell after Neal A. Maxwell and 'cause I like it.  Douglas after his Daddy)
Samuel James (James after Doug's dad and James Clark)
Gabriel David (David after Doug's brother)
Grayson Brandon (Brandon after my brother)

For boy name number five, I was mostly looking for a name that can be shortened (i.e. Max, Sam, Gabe, and Gray) and a name that sounds good with Grayson.  Possibly a name ending with "n".  Also, can't be made up and can't be the number one most popular name in the country.

That's how Lincoln came to be on the list.  Can be shortened to Linc, and ends with same sound as Grayson without being too similar.  (Like Jason.  Sam was REALLY pushing for Jason.)

And this is what we eventually ended up naming him:  Lincoln.

(Much to the dismay of my friend Ginger and sister Laura--neither of whom are fans of the name.  Which is why you never tell people your names until they're officially on a birth certificate!  I'm still laughing at the text I got from Ginger saying "Fine, but I'm going to call him DINKon!")

There were other names on the list, we just couldn't agree on any of them!

Cannon  (unfortunately, "Can" doesn't really stand alone.)
Dallin (Evidently the name of a dumb kid Doug knew in high school.  Plus, it's a nephew name.)
Jacob (Another nephew name.)
and the other two top contenders...
I was really liking Benjamin, but we already have a nephew named Benjamin and evidently it's complete insanity to think of a repeat in the same family!  Never mind they'd be 10 years apart and will probably always live in different states.  Regardless, Doug took Benny-Boy out of the running.

William.  Very frequently repeated throughout Doug's lineage.  BUT, add our last name, and that was just a bit too much alliteration for me.  His name would sound too much like "William Wallace" and I'd have Mel Gibson's Scottish accent in my head for the rest of my life.  Plus, I can't have a Willy or a Billy.  I took William off the list.

At the last possible minute before leaving the hospital, we filled out the paperwork.

Heading home!
We named him (after much angst and deliberation) Lincoln Wesley.  Lincoln, because we like it.  (Or maybe because neither of us hated it?) And 'cause it sounds good with Grayson.  Wesley after two of Doug's very best friends:  One a friend from Japan, one our next door neighbor here.  And 'cause we like it.  (And 'cause a little alliteration is a good thing...!)

We're still not sure if Lincoln is the right name for him.  It's so...grown-up.  Mostly, we still call him Baby.  But at least he has a name.  And we were finally able to finish watching Season 5 of Castle.  So, you know...there's that.

We love you Baby Linc/Lincoln/Linney/LincLinc/LinkyLoo
 (Someone please tell me what to call him!)

P.S.  Thought I should record this somewhere:
Since Max is named after Neal A. Maxwell, he really wanted us to name the baby him Neal.
Sam was hoping for Jason or Ron Weasley.
Gabe wanted Joseph after Joseph Smith.
and Gray wanted Baby Brother.  Which is what he still calls him--Bay-ee Bud-ah.  And what we call him half the time.
I guess Gray wins!

Oct 3, 2013

How It All Went Down OR The Arrival of Baby

When I gave birth to Maxwell, almost 12 years ago, my mom was in the room nervously pacing and taking copious notes on every, single, little detail--human, medical, or otherwise.  Doug has since tried to fill her shoes by jotting some notes throughout my subsequent labors/deliveries.  It's a good thing, 'cause once the baby is here a lot of what happened is a big blur.  My sister Laura also added to the list.

[My mom used to admonish my siblings and I to write in our journal's by saying "If you don't write it down, it didn't happen!"  I had forgotten all about that until about ten seconds ago.  It's 2 a.m. and I've just been woken by a squeaky baby wanting to nurse.]

Notes from Doug's Phone...
With a *few* additions from me...

(For the record:  I was supposed to get the Cervadil around 5p.m. Wednesday Sept. 24.  Have that all night.  Get Pitocin in the morning.  Have that all day.  Be delivered by my Dr. sometime Thursday afternoon or evening.) 

Wednesday Sept 25, 2013
5:00 pm checked in for induction
5:03 Em's sense of humor is determined to be missing  (Doug was joking with (at) a nurse who was staring at him blankly.  I was so tense worrying I'd be sent home, I almost punched him.)
5:08 brought to room to begin.
Nurse Danielle
3 new IV tries  (They put the IV into my hand and it was digging into a bone.  Since I knew I'd have it for a few days, I made them take it out and do it again. A few collapsed veins later...)
Giving birth in a gown someone died in yesterday.
Much happier now that I know I get to STAY!
8:00 Swirls brought by Jeff and Laura. Emmy downs a peanut butter/chocolate frozen yogurt with plentiful Reese's peanut butter cups on top.  (No judgement!)
9:20 Moved to new room.  
9:30 Finally gets Cervidel.  (After only 4.5 hours of waiting!!!)
9:45 Jeff and Laura leave so Doug and Emmy can watch an episode of "Castle" and get a good night's sleep! Ha ha.
10:00 contractions coming 4 min apart  (Yep, it started working super duper fast.)
10:30 3 min apart and she asks for epidural
10:37 "why is their pain behind my knees?!"  (Well?  Why?!?)
10:45 50% effaced and 3 centimeters dilated. Things are moving fast. She's in pain and wants an epidural now!!
They are coming fast and not much time in between.
10:45 (Laura) after being home for twenty minutes drove like a bat out of Hades to get back when Em texted me that contractions were 2-3 minutes apart.
11:00 Anesthesiologist is finally here!! Hooray!
11:02 Emily moaning. Sounds just like her mama. (Evidently, just like my mom sounded when she was dying.  A little morbid Laura!)  They are giving the epidural so hopefully she'll be out of pain soon. She's telling anesthesiologist that she has a low pain threshold! In other words, hurry up!!!!
11:10 still working on epidural. (It took a long freaking time and a lot of "pressure" and multiple pokes!  Sorta hard to "hold completely still" when the contractions are coming right on top of each other with no break in between.  And did I mention my VERY LOW PAIN THRESHOLD!?!?!?!)  
Ashlin went to sleep at W's so Doug's mom (Susan) could come to the hospital. She should be here soon.
11:15 pain is lessening already. Yay!  
12:00  Doug and Emily fall fitfully asleep for a few hours.  Laura and Susan wait and pace and freeze in the icy cold room.
315 water breaking?
332 dilated to 9
405 cervix is gone (never did like that cervix!)
Doctor is stuck in OR--says not to push
425 doctor coming  (I think he came and checked on me and then left again.)
429 started pushing
At this point I should mention, every single time a new nurse or Dr. came in, they asked if I had any concerns.  I answered (over and over) "Yes, I'm concerned the cord will be around his neck.  It's happened three times before."  Each time I was reassured that a) someone would check...later or b) they'd be able to tell as things progressed.
As things progressed, I pushed and pushed and pushed.  His little head would come down, and then go back up.  I said, "THE CORD IS PROBABLY AROUND HIS NECK!"  (for the 87th time.)
Around 5:55 a.m., I (FINALLY) pushed his head out.  The Dr. had not yet arrived.  The cord was so tight around his little neck, it had to be cut off.  (As opposed to just unwrapped like on Max, Sam, and Gray.)  I'm told to STOP pushing and wait for the Dr.

6:00 a.m.  The resident Dr. rushes in (not my Dr.) and I push the rest of the baby out.  He is limp and blueish-purple.
Initial Apgar is very low.  2 or 3.  Five minute Apgar is also low but a little better.  Maybe 4?  Laura and Susan are freaking out but trying to stay calm.  Doug and I...well, we're pretty used to it by now.  By 15 minutes he's doing well.  Still a little labored breathing, but color is much better.  Definitely looks beat up with blood shot eyes and lots of bruising on his tiny face.  BUT, otherwise healthy and doing well.  They finally bring him back to me to hold.  He's finally here!!!

Official stats:
8 pounds 12.6 ounces
21.75 inches

Little Bruiser
He started out the color of my nails.  Looking much better at this point a few hours later.
Also, not fond of this nail polish color anymore!

Sep 25, 2013

A LOT of Little Boy Things--because I haven't blogged in awhile

Been noticing a few things about how the boys are changing and growing up and thought I better get some written down!

Maxwell:  Maximus is officially a tween.  Although he wont be twelve for another two months, I'm noticing some distinctly teenager-ish behaviors that I was hoping we wouldn't have to deal with for a few more years.  He's become an expert sigher and eye-roller.  And if we press too hard, well, he's not afraid to stomp upstairs and just slam the crap out of his bed room door.  He's starting to question his parents previously assumed omniscience and he likes to call us on any and all parental contradiction or hypocrisy.  (No idea where he got THAT from.)  He's making us step-up our game and be more careful as parents.  But mostly he's just driving us nuts.  
First day of school 2013
But then, every once in awhile, he snuggles up next to me, or climbs on to what's left of my lap, and tells me about something he saw or heard or read or did.  And sometimes, when his family is not being too impossibly annoying, he says or does something funny, or laughs with us about something, and I know I haven't lost him to hormones just yet.  There is still a little string of the old, happy Max to hang on to.  I hope it never disappears.  

Max is also growing into himself more as a student.  He usually takes care of his homework as quickly as possible so he can get back to doing something he wants to do.  He misses assignments occasionally, and Dad always goes through his math with him, but he's doing pretty well.  Max's main limiting issue in life at the moment is speed.  He want's to do everything super FAST!  He eats fast, he reads fast, he rushes through his homework as fast as possible.  Sometimes this is okay, like when you ask him to go get dressed and he's back 45 seconds later.  Reading fast gets him through multiple books a week.  But speeding through a math worksheet or reading comprehension assignment generally doesn't serve him well.   So we're working on slowing down a little.  When I was a kid, the thing I heard most from my mom in relation to homework was "Stay on task!" and/or "Put your blinders on!"  (I had a tendency to get distracted easily.  And still do.)  Poor Max will hear "SLOW DOWN" another million and a half times before he gets through school.  But maybe it will eventually sink in and even save him from running (literally running) into so much furniture!  

His other Achilles Heal is sugar.  He's addicted to sugar.  He wants it.  He craves it.  He thinks about it constantly.  For a kid who looks so much like his father, he sure is a lot like me.  I talk to him about healthy choices, about hypoglycemia, about what's happening in his body, about finding a sweet but healthy alternative like fruit.  Sometimes it works.  Sometimes he suffers until we leave the vicinity of the kitchen and then finds something to sneak--like chocolate chips or straight up white granulated sugar.  Sometimes we just let him have whatever he's asking for.  Not sure what the right course of action is in this case, but we've determined that unlimited sugar isn't it.  He has no off switch or satiety point.  Any ideas let us know!  Love you Maxer!  
Cute right?  Wrong.  I hate taking all four boys into a store with me!!!  Especially WAL-MART!
Samuel:  Another school year, another set of issues to overcome and hopefully eventually conquer.  Homework trauma being one.  But I have to say, Sweet Sammy is growing up.  He has quite a few things he has to deal with, but slowly and surely, he's figuring them out.  How to not get overwhelmed.  How to respond to his own anger and/or frustration.  So much of what trips up Sammy is in his head.  His own thoughts telling him he can't do something or it's too hard, or too much.  But he's getting better.  And generally, once he gets into a routine, things get even easier for him.  

You're witnessing a miracle right here!
He, like Max, is still a voracious reader and that helps.  If nothing else is going his way (Wii remotes not charged!  Netflix not working!  AND ALL THIS ON THE ONE DAY I'M ALLOWED TO WATCH TV AND PLAY WII!!??!?!?!?!?!)  he still has a good book to fall into.  Plus, happily, somehow he and Max seem to get along really well right now!  They share a room, and it's actually not terrible!  They play a lot of games together.  Chess and Sorry are favorites at the moment.  They listen to Audio Books from the library and build Lego ships and fortresses.  They probably complain about their parents together.  Whatever they have going on, at the moment, it's working for them.  
Sam is also VERY excited for his new baby brother.  He really wanted a sister, but he came to terms with another boy pretty quick.  (A lot quicker than his mother.)  He loves babies and is naturally very nurturing and sweet to little kids and babies.  It's going to be fun to see him with a new baby to love again.  I sure love my Sammy.  He's a great kid.

Gabriel:  Gabey makes us laugh.  He's a TINY bit like Pavlov's dog.  Every night during dinner, usually just after sitting down, Gabe has to go to the bathroom.  
And he tells us repeatedly until either Doug or I respond and give him the go ahead.  "I have to go potty.  Can I go potty?  I'm going potty.  Okay?  OKAY?!?"
Every night when I tuck him in and tell him to say his prayer, he starts it, "Heavenly Father..." and then has a yawning attack.  He has to yawn at least two or three times before he can get another single word out.  Every time.  It's pretty funny.  But once he's through the yawning, you should hear his prayers.  He remembers every family member in need.  He prays for Grandmas and Grandpas (even the ones in Heaven) and missionaries.  He prays "please bless Jesus and help me to have good dreams and not nightmares..." (pronounced night-mayos)  He's just a sweet kid.  And speaking of praying, he's the most curious about God, and heaven and religion.  He asks a lot of questions.  He asked me if it was okay to say prayers anytime.  (YES!)  If he had to fold his arms and close his eyes to pray. (Only at night!)  Then a few days later, talking about his day, he said, "I got bored at recess so I just said a prayer.  In my head!"  He's the most out-going of all the boys and makes friends wherever he goes.  His school teacher loves him and so do the moms of his friends.  Gabe is the kid that makes your kid behave better during a playdate.  This is an entirely new thing for a Dub boy! ;)  

Of course, often with sweet and sensitive you get whiney and overly-emotional on the other side.  You do NOT want to deal with a sleep-deprived or overly hungry Gabe.  First grade has been hard on him.  I think it's just super busy and exhausting and his body still hasn't quite adjusted.  So we've had some long, tearful/whine-filled evenings. Reading is also hard for him.  I think we all thought it would come as naturally to him as it did to the big brothers.  But it isn't coming and it's hard for him.  Luckily, he still loves being read to, and he's working hard on reading his own books from school.  I know he'll get there, it's just going to take him longer.  And that's okay.  Gabe's best friend is David, whom he reluctantly shares with Gray.  But he still misses his best buddy Isaac--our neighbor in Japan--and still talks about him and writes him letters.  (Which I may or may not get around to mailing...)  Sometimes they get to talk on Skype when their mothers get it together enough to call at the right times.  Gabey is a sweet, loyal, and loving little kid and we sure like him a lot.

On to Gray:  Gray is a sweet, adorable, little tyrant.  If Gray wants something, he stands in front of the nearest family member and yells at them until said family member gives in and gets him what he wants.  It doesn't normally take long.  He's very persistent.  I think Gray knows there is change coming and I think he doesn't like it.  Over the last few weeks, he's become very clingy to Mommy.  Daddy will not do, and big brothers are DEFINITELY not allowed to help him, talk to him, or touch him if he darn-well doesn't feel like it.  (Sorry big brothers!  No more hugs and kisses for you--better luck with the next kid...)

With the one exception of play-dates with David, Gray wants to be near Mommy at all times even while sleeping,  (he generally stumbles in around 1 a.m. and knows to come right to my side) and while with Mommy, he wants the i-Pad all to himself.  (And NO brothers looking over his shoulder.)  My phone will do in a pinch, but it has no movies, and no Netflix so it is clearly inferior.   
This is a habit we developed mutually when I had morning sickness.  It was how the two of us got through the day.  Unfortunately, I'm over the morning sickness, but Gray isn't giving up the i-Pad.  It's gotten a little out-of-control. He wakes up asking for it and he asks for it until I give in.  And I usually give in.  Sometimes so I can sleep a little longer.  Sometimes so I can shower in peace.  Sometimes to get him to do something like get dressed, or go to preschool, or leave my side.  Sometimes because I just can't take the begging/screaming/crying any more.  
Why yes, the i-Pad is on the table in front of him..
To try to mitigate the i-Pad addiction, and to give him something fun to do in anticipation for new baby stealing all of Mom's time and attention, we recently enrolled him in a little neighborhood preschool program.  It's right up the street and is on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9-12.  I really thought he'd love it.  He's only been about 5 times now, but so far, he does NOT love it.  The first day he wouldn't leave my side and we finally left after an hour.  The second day, after being offered all sorts of bribes and incentives, he went happily.  But I think he thought maybe he could be done after that.  Because he hasn't really gone happily since then.  BUT, at least he's still going, and of course, he comes out very happy and proud of his work.  
First (full) day of preschool!
Yesterday, before he left, I told him it was "show-and-tell" day.  He was supposed to bring something that he could do by himself.  As I talked to him I grabbed his toothbrush.  "Want to show your friends you can brush your teeth?"  For some reason, the very idea of public teeth-brushing offended him.  He started yelling "NO!  NO TOOF BWUSH!" and stood in the hall spread-eagled so I wouldn't be able to get past him to his backpack.  I went ahead and put it back in the bathroom.  It was pretty funny.  Not sure if he did anything for show-and-tell yesterday, but he definitely didn't demonstrate his brushing skills.

Gray is going to have his world turned upside down soon.  Hopefully he'll be okay, but I'm a little worried about him.  In the mean time, I'm letting him sleep in my bed and stay next to me constantly and get lots of cuddling in.  Hope it helps, though it might just make the contrast of baby arriving more severe.  Wish us luck with that one.  I sure love my little tyrant Gray.  Hope he loves his baby brother!  If not, I suppose there is always the i-Pad for consolation...we all might need it!

A Really Long, Boring, Journal Entry About NOT Having a Baby

"Man plans, God laughs."

I was supposed to have a brand new baby boy today.  I was supposed to check in to the hospital yesterday morning at 7 a.m. where they would start me on Pitocin and get this party started.

BUT sometime after six, after responding to my "good luck!" texts from friends, after showering and putting make up on, after Doug had packed the car with every conceivable thing the two of us might need for the next two days, my Dr. called.  My phone was charging and I missed her call so I had a message.  Just before walking out the door I heard that the hospital was too busy and I'd need to reschedule.

Frantic phone calls ensued trying to get in touch with her (my Dr.) and then the hospital.  One hospital nurse said they'd have room for us later in the day after two mom's went home.  But then the Day Shift Nurse put the kibosh on all that.  NOT TODAY!  AND MAYBE NOT TOMORROW--WE HAVE TO HOLD ROOMS FOR WOMEN WHO COME IN ACTUALLY IN LABOR! (subtext: YOU WIMP WHO'S BEING INDUCED A WEEK EARLY FOR NO GOOD REASON!  EVERY PREGNANT WOMAN IN THIS CITY GETS PRIORITY OVER YOU!)
(Why oh why don't people consider ginormous babies a good enough reason for induction?!)

Well HHMPFH!  So much for being responsible and trying to plan ahead!  In some cases this type of planning is rewarded, ya know...!?!?!

So, we got the boys off to school, and little Gray begrudgingly off to preschool, and while Grandma Dub stayed to have a swim, Doug and I went off to drown our sorrows in Mexican hot chocolate at Pipes.  It could have been a relaxing day!  No kids, two foot-loose and fancy-free lovebirds with an unexpected empty day?  But when you're self employed, and you've taken time off to have a baby, and then there's no chance of having said baby, well--you're just losing money and wasting a day-off.

At 10:45 I went to my previously scheduled then cancelled Dr. appt.
2.5 cm dilated.
She stripped my membranes.
(Want to know what that means you'll have to Google it.  I try to keep it PG around here.  Oh, and maybe try Web MD before you watch a YouTube video.  Just sayin'..)

I hoped that that would start labor, but to help things along, we went shopping.  Lots of walking!
We went to the baby store and bought 5 more things.  We went to Target and bought Gabe and Gray gifts that will be from Baby Brother.  We walked and walked.

Then we went home and I jumped on the trampoline until I was on the verge of peeing my pants.  (Turns out trampolines are super painful at 39 weeks.)
At least it amused Doug.

And then, because we still have all these OTHER children, we had to go back to real life.  Homework for the big three with little Gray trying to be as distracting as possible--as per normal.   (Until he was finally given the i-pad  with password entered--then he happily disappeared to flip from game, to Pixar movie, to Netflix kid show and back again.  If that doesn't cause more ADD in this family, I don't know what will.) You'd think with three adults to help it would be easier.  It wasn't.  Homework just plain stinks.

Finally, homework was completed and we all loaded up to head to Rubios for "Taco Tuesday".  One dollar off Original Fish Tacos!!!  We met my sister and her family there, and then just happened to run into our good friends and neighbors from England.  Hannah and Lee and their three boys.

Hannah had a baby one month ago at the same hospital.  And had a similar situation.  Was scheduled to be induced early in the morning, (one week early--because baby was measuring so large) was headed out the door when the hospital called and they were told to come tomorrow.  The same hospital that told them in their tour; "We ALWAYS have PLENTY of room...!!!"
Whatever.  She labored for two days and had a beautiful ten-pounder named Thomas (the Tank).
I suppose it was worth the wait, but STILL...!

Around this time, I started keeping track of my contractions.  After about 2 hours, I could safely say they were coming every ten minutes.  Sometimes quicker.  Sister Laura was convinced last night was the night.  I wasn't sure.  They were steady, and some were pretty close, but they weren't intense.  I'm a big wuss about pain, so I'm on high alert for "intense".  Intense means painful and I flee to the hospital at the first sign of any pain.  No intensity so even though they seemed to be getting closer as the night went on, after an episode of "Castle", I decided to go to bed.

At 2:20 am I woke up.  I'd managed to sleep at least 4 hours without a contraction hard enough to wake me up.  I tried to go back to sleep, but of course my mind wouldn't shut down.  After awhile, I realized I hadn't felt the baby kick for awhile.  I started to poke and prod my stomach.  No response.  Usually when I get up in the night, Baby wakes up too and starts his kick-boxing routine.  Not this time.

Finally, my worries got the best of me and I woke up Doug.  "Decreased fetal movement!  Let's go!"

We drove to the hospital, we had to walk in through Emergency where everyone could tell just by looking at me that I was NOT in labor.  "I haven't felt the baby kick for awhile.  I've had three with the cord around their necks so I'm a little nervous."

About the time they got me into the bed and hooked up to monitors, contractions had slowed to a crawl and Baby Brother was, of course kick boxing again.

"BUT!"  Nurse lady says, "Things are looking really good for you tomorrow at five!  Assuming we don't have any more moms come in!!!"

*sigh*  Rookie mistake.  Walk of shame out of the hospital and back in bed by 5 a.m.

It's now 10:00 a.m.  Gray is with his buddy David.  Boys are at school.  Grandma and Doug went to the beach to visit with the ocean.

And I'm sitting here all alone.  Not contracting.  Not even trying to keep track any more.  They're not intense.  What's the point!?

My new check-in time is tonight at 5 p.m.  IF L&D doesn't get too busy again.  In which case, well, I'm low priority.  I can wait.  And wait.

This is officially the longest I've ever had to wait--longest I've ever been pregnant.  I've always been at least a week early.  This baby is trying to teach me patience already.  Hope I can learn my lesson quick and we can get this show on the road as soon as possible!!!

Wish me luck--and patience!  I clearly need it!!

Aug 18, 2013

"How Are You???"

Listen, I know when people ask this question they're not actually looking for the truth.  And I TRY to lie--I really do!   But somehow the facts just come spewing out!  Usually, the first thing I blurt is "Waddle-y".  Which draws blank stares.  So then I have to expound.  "Oh, ya hip joints just hurt so it's hard to walk.  And sit down.  And stand up.  Plus my feet really' arches are falling...." *oversharing! I start to mumble and trail off...*  "so I'm just tired and sorta waddle-y..."

"Well!" he or she will say, "At least you're at the end, right?!?"  (sometimes followed by) "It looks like you're ready to pop!!"  I should just nod and walk off at this point--save us both some pain.  But again, that darn verbal diarrhea just can't be contained.  "Actually, I still have..." (This exact conversation has been happening for at least the last two months so insert the appropriate number of weeks.  Currently it's...) "seven weeks!"  *awkward pause or perhaps "are you sure there aren't twins in there?"  Yep.  I'm sure.*  I power on:  "My actual due date is Oct. 1st but my OB said she'd induce me a week early.  'Cause I have such big babies..." *start trailing off again...*

This conversation could potentially go on for an hour.

When all they wanted to hear was "I'm fine!!!"
In other news, I had an OB appointment on Wednesday after not having gone in for a month.  (She cancelled my last check because she was doing an emergency c-section.  Am I over-sharing again?)

First off, I'm officially the heaviest I've ever been in my entire life.  More than I've weighed full-term with any other boy.  I currently weigh
(sucker.  I'm not posting that.)
much more than I should.  Fortunately, she hasn't bothered to lecture me about it.  (Maybe she can sense I'm just barely hanging on to my sanity at this point!)

Anyway, as she was feeling around my stomach, she couldn't quite figure out where the head was/is.  So she decided to do a quick ultra-sound and pulled the machine into the room.

Turns out, his head (he has a very cute little face, btw) is on my left side and his feet are on my right side.  In other words, he's not head down yet.  At 33 weeks, this isn't a huge deal, but she'd like him to flip asap.  So she starts to tell me how other women have been successful getting their babies head down.  "You can put your feet on the couch and your hands down on the floor..." (me=baffled) "or you could try walking your feet up the wall..."  Again, I'm just sitting there trying to imagine how I could do anything of the kind when I barely got myself into and out of the car to make it to this appointment.  I can barely keep my balance in an upright position and she wants me to turn my self upside down.  Or get my feet behind me and above my head?!?!
"Anyway, sometimes the baby will flip if you do that..."
Uh huh.
He's just gonna have to work this one out on his own...
The appointment goes on and I ask her about the induction.  Can I still be induced a week early?  "Yes, we'll plan on that.  It looks like the baby currently weighs...(consults ultrasound machine) 5lbs. 8oz.  That's the 98%.  How much did he weigh?"  (points at Gray who accompanies me to all my appts.)  "He was over 9 pounds at a week early."  "Yes, it looks like this baby is on track to be about the same..."
me=*wimpery noise*
"Unfortunately, they wont let us induce any earlier than one week..."
me=*sobbing on the inside*
So there you go.
THAT is how I REALLY am.

Or, ya know...


Jun 13, 2013

European Vacation Day 4 - Gold Beach in Arromanches and Versailles with B's.

The next morning after another delightful breakfast, we headed out in the rain for our last Normandy destination: Gold Beach in Arromanches. We had stopped by briefly the night before, but came back to go through the Musée du Débarquement. I was glad we did. I could have spent hours wandering around in there.

Learning all about Mulberry Harbor, the floating harbor built by the allies, was amazing. It was thanks to this incredible innovation that supplies were provided to the Allied troops helping them win the war.  Although it was meant to be temporary, pieces are still floating out in the channel.

After another peek back in time, we headed out of Normandy to our next destination: Monet's Home and Garden in Giverny-80 miles west of Paris.
We were thrilled to be meeting another Misawa couple, Ryan and Diane.  (You may remember Ryan as my former home teacher and OBGYN.)
As a huge fan and long time admirer of Impressionist art and artists, I was SO EXCITED to visit Giverny. This was probably the only time I REALLY wished we had taken a real camera with us to Europe instead of relying on our i-phones.  These photos just don't do justice to the beautiful flowers and scenery.
 Although it was incredibly crowded, it was still fun walking through his house and gardens and had an excellent gift shop for an art lover. I could have browsed that gift shop for hours, but it turns out, the men I was traveling with, could not.

May 16, 2013

Why I Need to Remember NOT to Get Pregnant Again

This post is just for me.  A personal reminder of why this should be my very last pregnancy.  JUST IN CASE, a year or two from now, when post-partum amnesia has set in, I convince myself to pony up $20,000+ and do IVF-with-sex-selection to get a girl.  This post has many of the same items from THIS post.  The reason all of these things are so much more traumatic this time around, is because they're starting much earlier.  The last post was written at 8 months.  Right now, I'm barely 5 months.


1.  WEIGHT!  I'm gaining weight.  But not just normal pregnancy weight.  LOTS of extra weight.  And since I'm a lazy sloth who hates exercise, this is not good for me!  Each pregnancy I start out weighing 5+ pounds more than I weighed when I started the last one.  This is not a reassuring precedence.

2.  THE PAIN!  A few weeks ago, my feet started to hurt.  I couldn't figure it out.  Every day they were a little worse.  A foot rub from Doug didn't help.  Soaking them in the hot tub didn't help.  I cut down my flip-flop wearing.  That didn't help.  Pretty soon I was hobbling around like an old woman and sitting down every possible second.  (Not helping my weight.)  Finally I went to the podiatrist.  He said it was caused by the normal pregnancy thing where your ligaments get loose in preparation for the baby.  This normally occurs in my hips the last few weeks.  It's never happened to my feet.  Prescription:  Only wear shoes with great arch support and roll feet frequently on a frozen water bottle.  If that doesn't work, come back in for custom insoles.  Also, my arches just might fall.
No more flip flops?  No slippers around the house?  No more bare feet?  And the possibility of FLAT feet?  Terrible!  And, by-the-way, turns out rolling your feet on ice is COLD!
WHY pregnancy, WHY?!?!?!

3.  MORE PAIN!  That ligament pain I mentioned?  The extreme inconvenience that normally doesn't hit until week 34-35?  It's already starting in my hips.  Makes it painful to walk, climb stairs, sit down, get in and out of pretty much just sucks.  And again, it's happening much earlier this time.  I'm only 20 weeks!  TWENTY MORE WEEKS OF THIS!?!?!

4.  CAN'T EXERCISE!  When I was first pregnant, I had a morning when I was feeling okay.  Not too nauseated.  I got on my exercise bike and started peddling.  Three minutes later I was hanging over the toilet saying good-bye to my stomach contents.  Now that I'm over the morning sickness, exercise has a different result.  Even mild exercise leaves me sore for the next 3-5 days.  AGAIN, not helping my weight.  Even the pool left be sore the other day.  I think it's the stupid ligament thing.  Stupid, stupid, stupid!

5.  HAIR!  Excessive hair growth.   And no, I don't mean my hair is getting long and luxurious.  It's as thin and wimpy as ever.  (And after I have the baby, it will all fall out.)  No, I mean body hair.
I will say no more about this topic ever.  (Unless it's to tell you I'm a big fan of laser hair removal.)

6.  NAUSEA!  I would mention the three months* of incessant puking and nausea, but I'm trying hard to block it out.  (*Three months this time.  Six months with Gray--lest I forget that.)

7.  EXHAUSTION!  I'm tired!!!  Okay, fine.  I'm always tired.  No change there.  But adding one more kid to the mix doesn't normally improve matters either.

8.  ANEMIA.  Again.  Always.  Dizzy.  Light-headed.  I'm over it!  And p.s., taking iron does weird things to your, um..., poop.

9.  LINEA NEGRA!  Why me?  I do not fit the profile of having darker skin tone!  I'm down-right ghostly!  Yet I always have it and I always take extreme and painful measures trying to scrub it off post-partum.  Why?  (And in the same area we also have "Ugly Belly-Button Syndrome")

10.  ACID REFLUX!  Brought on by pretty much anything with any flavor or seasoning of any kind.  Extremely uncomfortable!

There are more reasons, (Optical Migraines!) but I'm feeling like a pretty big whiner.  Suffice it to say, I am not one of those women who have pain and hassle-free pregnancies.  (But all of YOU women, should go ahead and have 10-12 kids to make up for wimpy people like me!)  In fact, I think my body is really trying it's hardest to punish me for this one.  It seems to be telling me, "If you proceed in this baby-making folly, I'll have no choice but to self-destruct one item at a time.  Hair, eyes, bladder, joints, feet, weight, mental health (such as it is)....all will fail you.  So knock it off!"

There are other ways to get babies.  If I decide I really can't live without a girl, I would like to declare--to myself--right now that ADOPTION IS YOUR ONLY CHOICE!  Hopefully "Future Me" will listen.

I must never forget!!!

P.S.  I should mention, on a serious note, that I am very grateful that my body has the ability to make babies.  I'm grateful for all five of my pregnancies.  I realize there are women dying to experience what I'm complaining about.  All I'm saying is, now that I've experienced it (almost) five times, I don't want to make it six.

Apr 29, 2013

Book Review: The Classics

My neighbor Lisa and I started a "Classics" Book Club.  (She wanted a book club, I wanted "classics" so as to avoid the typical trashy modern book club selections.  I could write a whole post about modern books I've hated and am still mad I read, but I'll spare you.)

Anyway, I want to list a few of the books we've read so far, plus a few I've read on my own.  Here goes:  (Book club ones get *)

"Bleak House" by Charles Dickens:  While still living in Japan, my sister J-Bird sent me The BBC mini-series version of "Bleak House" on DVD.  Doug and I both got really into it and it made me want to read the book.  Which I loved.  I was glad, however, that I watched the mini-series first because it made it much easier to keep track of all the characters.

"The Woman in White" by Wilkie Collins
I love mysteries, I love nineteenth century British literature.  Loved it.

*"East of Eden" by John Steinbeck
Steinbeck became one of my favorite authors in High School.  (Loved "Winter of Our Discontent".)  But I hadn't read anything of his for a long time.  Super glad Lisa picked "East of Eden".  I loved everything about it.  I don't know why, but Steinbeck is about the only author who can wax poetic and philosophical  about landscapes and cityscapes and not bore me.  Although under critical observation the book isn't perfect, I still loved it!
(P.S.  I've never read "Grapes of Wrath" and I did NOT like "Of Mice and Men".)

*"The Importance of Being Earnest" and "An Ideal Husband" by Oscar Wilde
These are both plays, both short, and both hilarious.  Plus they have great BBC movies to go with them.  Highly recommend.
(Read "The Picture of Dorian Gray" a few years back.  It's also pretty good if you're into exploring the moral implications of Hedonism. )

*"Les Miserables" by Victor Hugo
Here's the deal.  Doug and I saw the play years ago while still living in SLC and liked it.  When the movie came out, we saw it and loved it.    After seeing the movie, I read the book and...mostly liked it.  But I didn't LOVE it!
Here's why:  Holy crap Hugo, can we just stick to the plot and forget the super-boring historical asides that go on for pages and pages and pages and don't advance the storyline at all?!?!?!?!?

Honestly, the details about the Paris sewer systems and how sewage should be pumped back into the city to fertilize the crops---were just way too much for me.  Same with the description of the Battle of Waterloo.  And many other long-winded descriptions of Parisian social ills.  TOO MUCH DIGRESSION!  (And coming from me, that's saying something.)

My un-researched theory is that the point of the book was to advance those theories and philosophies to the Parisians--with the story of Jean Valjean being secondary to make the boring stuff go down easier.  Any thoughts from those who've read it?  Am I way off?  Why else would he muck up a perfectly good story line with sewage details?!?

Here was my one other disappointment.  Marius has got to be the most lame, over-rated, self-indulgent wuss in the whole history of literature.  Seriously dude!  Get a job!  Grow up!  Talk to your Grandpa!  Sorry.  I know that's not a popular opinion, but he really bugged me.  If you've ever seen the movie, just stick with that version of him--he's a little more manly.  Oh, and if you haven't read the book and are planning to?  Find a good abridged version!!!

"Vanity Fair" by William Makepeace Thackeray.  I really liked this one.  It isn't the best book ever written but the plot definitely kept me turning pages and I read it pretty fast.  It had sort of an annoying character, but she (finally!) pulled it together in the end.   Looking forward to watching the mini-series.

"A Room with a View" by E.M. Forster.  I watched the 80's film version of this (with Helena Bonham Carter) in high school and loved it but just got around to reading the book.  Turns out, they're very similar.  The dialog in the movie is taken from the book almost word for word. (And it's a short book so they fit most of it in!)  So actually, reading the book didn't add too much like it usually does when you read the book second.
But I still really liked it and I just forced Doug to watch the movie with me so I could see it again.  He did NOT approve of the nudie skinny-dipping pond scene though I tried my hardest to make him see it in a humorous light.   He also thought the movie was very boring and started checking sport scores on the Internet about 20 minutes in.  I thought the movie did have some rather awkward 80's moments, but still feel it holds up for the most part after all these years.  (The movie is unrated so I can't be blamed for watching the (BRIEF) r-rated content.  Or at least, I couldn't be blamed the FIRST time I watched it.  Book is G-rated, btw.)

(P.S.  I read "A Passage to India" by Forster a few years ago and found it pretty darn boring.  Like Les Mis, I think it was meant to be a commentary on a current social problem.  In this case; Anglo-Indian relations.  Not that there is anything wrong with that, but the story line just didn't do it for me.)

So, any thoughts for me?  Agree?  Disagree?  Have you read any classics lately that you highly recommend?!?