Sunday, December 28, 2008

a birth story

So the night after I was up all night wondering if I was in labor, I actually did get up at 2 am and was in actual labor. You'd think the fourth time around I'd have things pretty well figured out, but I still sat around for an hour or so trying to decide if it was the real thing or not, and timed the contractions which were coming every 10 minutes, give or take a few - and annoyingly enough - not going away. I did a few things around the house, finished up laundry, put a few things away, made the bed downstairs for my mother in law, who would have to come and stay with my kids if we left. And by about 3:30 in the morning, I figured maybe I should wake up my husband so he could call his mother to come over, and we could get on the road. I phoned the hospital to make sure they knew we were coming - told the nurse my contractions were consistently 10 minutes apart and it was my fourth baby, and she said we'd better get on the road then. So, okay - we will.

I remember that in the last 10 minutes or so before we left, I was doing something so stupid as dusting the baseboards on my husband's side of the bed, because we had just finished painting the spare room earlier that night

Earlier that night...

- and even though I made the bed in there, I thought maybe my mother in law would rather sleep in our bed where the paint fumes weren't quite so thick. And when I switched on the light on his side of the bed, I was suddenly mortified by the thickness of the dust on the baseboards.

With all that important stuff taken care of - we hit the road with bags packed at about 4 am. I came back into the house three times looking for the little notepad where I'd been keeping track of contractions for the past few hours, it also had a bunch of important phone numbers and the list of baby names I'd narrowed down - I managed to misplace it sometime in the five minutes before we left the house and it didn't show up until two weeks after we got home.

The drive to the hospital was uneventful - I kept timing the contractions and found another notebook to write them down. They stayed a nice comfortable 10 minutes apart, the weather and the roads were good, so I wasn't worried. We arrived at the hospital around 6 am, they hooked me up to the monitors for a half hour or so - and I only had one contraction the whole time. I decided to walk around for awhile to see if I could get things going again, then went back to the room and fell asleep for an hour or so until my doctor came in to see me - and basically kicked us out! She said she had a bunch of patients being induced and delivering today and would be really busy, and couldn't do anything for me. Which was fine because I don't want her to 'do' anything for me, except catch my baby when he's ready to come out.

She wanted us to stay in town and check back in later or if things started to progress a bit more. That was good news for me because I can't imagine anything more boring than laboring in a hospital all day long, and I certainly didn't want them to speed things up for me. So, we checked out. I asked the nurse at the desk if it was okay if I ate - she said I could even have pizza and beer if I liked. Well, I would have liked, but it was still several hours until noon, so I didn't. I did hit Tim Horton's on the way out of the hospital, though.

We went straight to the mall where I had a big plate of french toast and coffee for breakfast, then we wandered around there for awhile, then went to Canadian Tire where I started to get pretty uncomfortable and had to find a place to sit while Serge wandered the aisles looking for stuff for the old truck he's fixing up. I don't think it was being in labor, but just the fact that its BOOOOORING - I needed to sit.

After that we went to Home Depot and got a screaming deal on a light for the girls' new room and a wireless doorbell, found parts for our vacuum cleaner and scoped out the deals on real Christmas trees. Then we went to Winners where I really started to feel tired and awful - but we had to pick up a few things at Wal-Mart before finally returning to the hospital at about 4 pm.

So, aside from an hour or so napping in the hospital that morning, I'd been up and in labor for 12 hours by that time, and walking all over the place for most of it. The hospital hooked me up to the monitors again, and my contractions weren't any closer than they were that morning. I told them I needed to get a room there, or I'd find one in a hotel because I needed a rest. They decided they had room to admit me this time.

I realized again that my contractions slowed down a lot when I stopped moving, so I spent the next few hours walking the halls and bouncing on one of those exercise balls - trying to get things moving so I could get an epidural and then get some rest. I had a nice long, warm bath and around 7 I was getting uncomfortable enough with the contractions that I wouldn't be able to sleep if I tried - so I finally asked for the epidural - then crawled into bed and slept on and off for the next few hours. Serge had a recliner in the room and he managed to get a little bit of sleep, too. He had bought a couple of DVD movies to watch but we couldn't get them to work on the little TV in the room - but did discover that the TV was hooked up so we weren't bored.

Happy with an epidural - about 3 hours to go

In the meantime it seems my doctor was delivering babies all over the place - but not mine. Nobody wanted my labor to progress until all these other babies were delivered, and I was more than happy not to be messed with or pushed along. Finally, the doctor had the last c-section done at past eleven or something, then she wanted to break my water and get me started on pitocin so she wouldn't be up all night waiting for me to deliver. It seemed to take forever, and they kept upping the dose on the pitocin - and being surprised when my contractions didn't seem to get any closer together. They kept asking if I felt pressure or anything - and actually - I didn't. I'd sort of lie and say I did just to keep them interested. Yeah, like they were going to call it a night and go home or something. I knew I'd have the baby sooner or later but I was getting bored waiting.

I was just starting to stress a little about what would happen if things didn't start moving - when they checked me and said I was at 9 cm and started dismantling the bed. The doctor came along and said I was ready to push - and she was ready, and I could push any time now. I asked her if I'm supposed to wait for a contraction. She said - well, yes. Cue Jeopardy theme music, because my contractions were *still* 5+ minutes apart, so we have this nurse and doctor waiting around at the end of the bed waiting for me to announce that I am having a contraction, so we can get this show on the road.

The long-awaited contraction finally hits, and so I got down to business with the pushing, etc. which I didn't expect to take long - it was just one or two long pushes, stopping only because she told me to stop (so I told Serge to get the camera, yes seriously, and yes, NOW...) and by the time he reached the camera and had it turned on...Evan arrived!

Hearing him cry for the first time

Helloo, baby!

He was born at 2: in the morning - and it was almost 4 am by the time we were all able to get to sleep. Evan was exhausted from being born, so he slept the rest of the night and woke up sometime after they brought me breakfast in the morning. Then I was finally able to get him out and dressed and take a good look at him - took a few (hundred) pictures. He spent most of his first day sleeping in the big recliner with his dad.

naked, cold and angry about it

warm and happy with clothes on

He clawed his face up the first night,
so then I made sure his hands were covered

soooooooo tired

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

nothing to do at 4 in the morning

except, update my blog, I guess. I keep waking up in the middle of the night thinking, I must be up for a reason. So I wait around for a couple of hours, put in a load of laundry, read a book, watch TV or whatever until it feels close enough to morning that it must be safe to go back to bed.

I really don't want to go into labor in the middle of the night - I did it once and it wasn't my favorite way to go about it. Mostly I hate to wake up when I am sleeping - I like to sleep. In the day I can figure out if I really should be thinking about going anywhere. At night, I just worry that I'll go back to sleep when we should be getting on the road - and end up having a home-birth or something.

It's weird to sit around waiting for your whole life to change. Things won't be the same ever again in a few days, or whenever this happens. Lots of people have babies and are so anxious for them to arrive but at this point, I just like every day we have where things get to stay the same as they've always been. I know those days are numbered, and we have the rest of our lives to enjoy what comes after. Of course I'm looking forward to finding out who he is and I know after he's born I'll be unable to imagine this life we have right now, without him in it. That's how it always goes. And then, I'll be wanting to stop time again because I know they grow up way too fast and I'll want to enjoy every minute of having a little baby. Unless he likes to scream a lot or something...

Anyway, its all going to happen whenever and however it happens, today, tomorrow - next week in the end, its just a day on the calendar. And right now, I just want a few more of those. And more sleep. I really should go back to sleep.

Hmm, I think this belly makes my face look fat. From this angle, anyway.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Wiggles weekend

It should have been much, much worse. What were we thinking, bringing a 3 year old and two 2 year olds out for a weekend of fun? Fun for WHO? It seemed like a good idea 2 months ago when I bought the tickets, but as the weekend loomed - I started to wonder if we'd regret it.

However, Saturday rolled around and we packed the van up with kids and luggage, snacks and DVD's, and hit the road. It was a 3 hour uneventful drive to Regina, the worst behavior on the way there was Annique and her refusal to sleep, instead she gazed out the window. I tried not to think about what that would mean for the rest of the day, and just enjoyed the peace and quiet.

First stop was some sort of Fun-O-Rama type place where kids can run wild and free for hours and nobody lets them out without their mom, so its all good. Best four bucks I ever spent in my life, I think. We met a bunch of girlfriends and their kids, and had coffee and visited while the kids wore themselves out on the play structure thing. It took me a while to get over the fact that my child was very likely to be out of my sight for long periods of time, but the point is for the adults to sit and watch, and the kids to play.

One moment where I knew where she was - the ball pit

We went straight from the play place to the concert, there was barely time to feed the kids so we gave them each a chicken finger to eat in the van. Great parenting! Annique was still clutching hers when we went into the concert but fortunately the security there knew better than to seize chicken from an overtired 2 year old.

The concert was short and sweet - a good time had by all. My three year old nephew really enjoyed it the most - he was dancing and singing and having a really good time. My younger nephew was quite a bit more reserved, but he didn't really hate it or anything. Annique recognized a lot of the songs, was happy to see Dorothy, and loved the dancers who were often looking like ballerinas or princesses - two of her favorite things. I took a few video clips of the concert and NOW she wants to watch them non-stop. With great enthusiasm. WIGGLES!! LOOK, mom - WIGGLES, again!

Gee, do you think its safe to let the kids run here?

From the concert we headed back to the hotel, and hauled all three kids and suitcases and lifejackets and whatnot into the lobby, only to find out that the POOL IS CLOSED. They immediately offered to call and find us a spot at another hotel - I think one look at the kids and they knew we wouldn't be staying in a hotel without a pool. Or, maybe they didn't WANT us there if they didn't have a pool. The second hotel had a pool and waterslide so we settled in there, ordered pizza, and took the kids swimming while we waited for it to be delivered.

My nephew approving of the hotel room

The rooms had two queen beds with four fluffy pillows on each. My sister and I plotted to each have a queen bed all to ourselves - we had a portable crib....

a Thomas the Tank ready-bed...

and a playpen, but my youngest nephew was having *none* of that. So my sister didn't get a bed all to herself, but the rest of us did.

The next day was just unbelievably warm for an April day - we did a little bit of shopping and then met my friend and her two daughters to go to the park to let the kids run off some energy before the drive home. It was so hot, there was nothing to do but take off our shoes and socks, roll up our sleeves and our pants, and soak up the sun. I even got a little sunburn on my face.

It was just a wonderful way to finish the weekend - and all that sunshine and fresh air left no doubt that the three of them would sleep all the way home.

And they did. THE END.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Spring on the prairies

So, this was the tail end of March - we had an evening nice enough that we decided to go for a walk with the kids. I took one million pictures and scrapped a page when I got home:

There? Isn't that nice? Almost worth suffering through the weeks on end of ridiculous ass-freezing cold in February. Its been a miserable winter that way - not even a lot of snow for the kids to play in, I think it really snowed twice in November and early December, and then was just so cold that it never melted. Finally - spring is around the corner!!! Right???!?!

SO, the next day....... know it snowed like crazy. Big, heavy snow, and endless piles of it. I couldn't believe it. And of course, I was driving in it because even if it only snows three times in a winter, with my luck I'd have to get caught driving in it. Thank goodness it wasn't far - I was only driving in and around town but still feared for my life while heading down the treacherous valley hill and I slid over the end of a sharp corner and almost into something that could have been a shrub or a pile of steel, for all I could tell with the thick coating of snow covering it.

I bought a snowplow for my husband's quad for his birthday and it actually plowed a bit of snow back in November but since then of course its been sitting in the garage, parked in the way so that I have no choice but to dent the van doors and bruise my shins a few times a week trying to get in and out. But that's all worthwhile now because my husband plowed the driveway THREE TIMES that day. I went out and took some fabulous crazy snowfall pictures, and of course they were the best photos I've ever taken, because I promptly deleted them off my camera. But I do have the video, so its not a total loss.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Sick of pages yet?

These aren't really recent - I've tried to start several pages in the last week or so and I'm getting nowhere with them. Here's the one I finished a few weeks ago but couldn't post until it was in store. That's all Kathy Moore's stuff and she's at A Cherry on Top now, if you want to check it out.

And the page I made two weekends ago after my nephews visited - we colored eggs. I wanted to show off these cute flowers from my good friend Chris Wazielewski - I've known her for many years now, and its a lot of fun being on a CT for someone who was a friend first. I'm very excited to see that her designing seems to be taking off - she's got a lot of great stuff coming out and is now selling at Divine Digitals and will soon be at Elemental Scraps as well as Rocky Mountain Hobbies, where she started out! Way to go, Chris - I'm so glad you decided to go digital!

In an only slightly related matter, I found two sippy cups in my fridge today which could only be from the day we dyed eggs. And they had milk in them, unfortunately. I wonder if my sister wants her cup back?

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Another couple of LO's

I am still scrapping. I have no idea what got into me. So two more layouts to share:

This one I actually started a week or two ago and I keep pushing the elements around and switching and adding and resizing things and finally just decided to upload it and be done with it. By the time I want to print it, I'll probably be able to open it and spend five minutes moving this or that, and it will finally look 'right'. But right now its just frustrating me so its as done as its going to get for now.

This one was a lot easier - its a great free kit from Shabby Princess if you haven't grabbed it yet, you should! I still pushed stuff around endlessly on the page but at least I'm happy with how it turned out. The pictures should look familiar - from about 2 blog posts ago. Its a good thing I uploaded them here because the originals were lost in the Great EHD Crash of Feb. '08.

Credits are in my DST gallery.

Monday, March 10, 2008

return of mojo?

Whenever someone on the digiscrapping sites says they lost their mojo - I consider how long its been since I had these candies:

And - do they even make them anymore? Where can I get my hands on some? I really liked the pink ones. And the green ones. And the yellow ones.... you know, Mojos might be the only colored candy in existence where each color is a different flavor and they are all equally good.

Anyway, its been a long time since I had a mojo (the candy) but if we're talking 'scrapping mojo' - well, then mine's been lost for the good part of a year. I haven't had any real interest since last spring. I've been so busy lately with hockey pictures and signs and cards and everything BUT scrapping. I'm staring at Photoshop all day and I really don't feel like opening it up to scrap. The last real layout I made was in October or November, I think.

Well, last week - I just started up again and its crazy, I have five layouts done and two half- finished. I even made 12 pages for a calendar and sent that to print. I don't know what got into me but I'll get as much done as I can because who knows how long this motivation is going to last.

Credits for all layouts are in my DST gallery - I have one more done that I can't post until it goes up in the store, and another two that I keep messing with so I'm not happy enough to upload them yet.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

First lost tooth

My oldest daughter lost her first tooth today - very exciting business. I know she's getting older and smarter and growing up faster than I think she should - every time I turn around she's doing something new - reading books, writing her own stories, skipping rope, blowing bubbles with bubblegum, and I wonder when that happened. Those things are happening too fast, no doubt - but this tooth-losing thing happens literally overnight. Sure, a few weeks ago she said her top tooth was wiggly - it was still really solid but if I really pushed, I imagined that it wiggled just a little tiny bit. *sigh*

Earlier this week I was looking at some kids' pictures and I realized - it should be the bottom teeth that fall out first, not the top ones. And sure enough, yesterday she comes to me and says her bottom tooth is wiggly. And I didn't need my imagination this time - it really was. I did what any mother would do and ran for the camera to get the last picture of her pretty full set of teeth for what I knew would be the last time.

With all of her teeth, yesterday afternoon

Then I went to take pictures of 6- and-under and 8 -and- under hockey teams and I am sure they thought I was obsessed with teeth. "Show me your teeth! Do you have all of your teeth? You're missing most of your teeth! Oh, look -*you* still have a full set of teeth! Are those your new teeth, or your old ones?" I couldn't help but notice. This is normal - all the kids are doing it.

Today, she was sad. This tooth-losing thing hurts a bit and is kind of scary when you taste blood in your mouth. She cried through lunch when it hurt to eat macaroni (macaroni?!??) but managed to eat ribs for supper with very little trouble. She couldn't leave the wiggly tooth alone and had her fingers in her mouth most of the evening, kept looking in the mirror to see what it looked like.
Still there, just barely hanging on
Just the teeth fall out. The tongue stays in. Usually.

(If you look closely, you can see the legendary hexagonal forest green bathroom sink with built-in staircase. Its great when you have three kids brushing their teeth three times a day. Always looks fabulous.)

Her dad said "Let me see!" and I had this horrible vision of him just yanking it out which made me feel faint and somewhat nauseous. I didn't want her to be scared because I realize *some* kids actually think its fun if you just yank their tooth out. I am not one of those kids. So I told my husband she gets to decide how she loses her tooth and he's not allowed to decide for her.

Thankfully, I had to run out to a meeting so I didn't have to witness whatever happened next - but when I got home there were photos of my little girl - minus one lower-front tooth, on my camera. She looks pretty happy so I guess it all went well. Her dad says he did yank it out, I still feel nauseous at the thought. That's it - she looks different now. This isn't like learning to read or growing out of her clothes. Its something that was the same yesterday and is different today. She's growing up and there's not a thing I can do about it.

There, finally lost it!

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Christmas Vacation - part one!

We still have a few days of vacation left but I've got a lot of pictures to post so I'd better get started. Here's all the pre-Christmas excitement.

Before posting the pictures, I have to say that I had a 97% normal upbringing. There were three really quirky things that I am sure ONLY my mother did - otherwise she just pretty much went with the flow. First, she never heated our Alpha-getti. (for the Americans, that would be Spaghetti-O's, but we get the whole alphabet instead of just O's) Those went straight from the can to the bowl, and I still love them that way. The second thing was breakfast. We were allowed to have the sugary cereals, but only if they were completely outnumbered by a slightly less sugary cereal. So I could have a handful of Froot Loops in a bowl of Cheerios. Or a half a cup of Cap'n Crunch drowning in a sea of Rice Krispies. When we had a babysitter and they poured us a whole bowl of Froot Loops, we thought we'd died and gone to heaven.

The third thing my mother did was make sure we NEVER saw Santa Claus. There are no pictures of me sitting on Santa's knee, because I never did. I suppose he used to show up at Christmas parties and at the school and I am certain he was in the malls -but my mother steered us in the opposite direction and we had no idea. I was completely in awe of my friends who had pictures of themselves on Santa's lap. Where did they FIND him?

This morning my six year old finally figured out the cereal thing - and asked why we can never have a whole bowl of the same cereal. I don't think she has any idea that Alpha-getti is supposed to be warm. But I gave up on the Santa thing long ago - he's everywhere, and I might as well just accept it, and take pictures whenever I have the opportunity. He's been showing up at our community's annual Santa Day (wonders never cease) every year, and my husband's work Christmas party, and at the school, and this year he showed up somewhere VERY special - but that's for later. For now, here's Santa day.

A. making sure none of the other children are harmed on Santa's lap,
also noting that they all get candy

Cecily seemed to make it through okay

Madeleine also seems to be enjoying herself
Santa passed security clearance. She'll sit.
But she'd prefer to get the candy up front.

and then, there was the hay ride
I don't know about you, dad, but there is no way in hell I'm going on that wagon.
Annique 'wrote' her first letter to Santa - glued pictures of her favorite things from the catalog on some snowman stationary. Cecily wrote her letter and asked for a Baby Alive, and marbles. I have no idea what possessed her to ask for marbles, but she was absolutely sure she needed some. Madeleine wrote her letter to Santa at school and the whole class went down to the post office to mail them. I wanted to get a picture of that but Annique was napping so I missed it - I did get a picture when Cecily mailed hers, though. Santa wrote back to Madeleine in French, and she was really impressed. She was very worried when her letter took forever to arrive - Dad teased her that SANTA KNOWS she didn't eat her supper etc. Thankfully it showed up on the last day before Christmas.

Dear Santa...

She addressed her letter all by herself this year

mailing her Santa letter - this picture was in the paper last week
Why toddlers should eat vanilla pudding only.
A few days before Christmas the girls painted their Christmas ornaments. Our little tree is full of handmade ornaments and the kids add a few of them every year. I make an ornament with a photo for each of them every year, too. Of the three girls, Annique actually painted most of hers all by herself - slathering on blue and purple and glittery paint everywhere. I wiped some of the paint off of the face and hands, etc. and painted those parts in but the rest was all hers. The older girls painted a lot of theirs but got frustrated with the details so they made Dad do it for them, and he wasn't much better at it so I just filled in the white spots and painted faces on when they were done. This was a really fun project so we'll probably pick some more up next year.

When they're all done, they're kind of pretty.
More art projects - I made sippy cups and scrapbook tumblers for the girls and my niece and nephews. I also did a calendar for both sides of the family - the printing is complicated and was probably more trouble than actually doing the layouts - I used Shabby Princess calendar QP's so that part was really easy.

A few days before Christmas (the last day of school, actually) my husband was home for the day, and got bored, and decided to tear apart our garage for no particular reason. There's supposed to be a workbench and cabinets along the far wall, under the shelves. I made him put it all back where he found it. I can't believe men actually have to invent things for themselves to do, three days before Christmas. What is wrong with this world?