Take a deep breath.

May 28, 2008

Okay, so literally, doing this hurts, but figuratively, I think it’s what I need to do.  I had a decent morning, really.  I woke up at nine, which is nice – not too early and had some snuggle time with Jenny before we got up to have breakfast.  I started to make her breakfast when the phone rang, which usually throws me when it happens so early.  However, it was a good phone call – from the lady who has been more or less running the show at our Thursday morning Bible studies.  She is a great-grandmother and I won’t guess at her age, but obviously, having that status does generally make you “elderly”.  She defies that title, though, as she is full of perk and incredibly easy to talk to.  It seems that once a week now for a few weeks, she has been calling to check up on things with me and to talk about the Bible study and what our plans are for it.  I feel priveleged – she’s a fountain of wisdom and a breath of fresh air when I need it.  Anyway, I talked to her for some time, made breakfast for Jenny and then for Elias when he woke up, and picked at my cereal while I talked.  Just after I hung up the phone with her, close to ten o’clock, my mother-in-law called and asked if we would come over for coffee on the deck at eleven.  I had not even started reading my Bible and had just poured myself a new bowl of cereal (as the kids ate most of the first one).  I figured I could probably do it, though, so I said we’d be there and got on my routine right away.  Really, things seemed to go very smoothly until we left the house.  The kids got dressed without a hassle, I had a shower that wasn’t even rushed and we got to my in-laws right around eleven.  The rest was not quite as nice.  Elias decided that getting into things and doing things he wasn’t supposed to be doing would be lots of fun and so instead of enjoying myself and relaxing in the sun, I kept jumping up to stop him from doing one thing or another.  My sister-in-law was there with her son and she was asking my mother-in-law about breastfeeding and when she started giving solids.  This is where it got fun.  I have opinions about all of this and they are based on research and the facts about babies and what is best for them.  It’s just like car seats – maybe we didn’t ride in proper car seats when we were babies, and maybe we’re just fine now, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t do all we can for our kids now that we have more knowledge.  The same thing goes for breastfeeding and giving solid foods.  Breastfeeding is good for babies.  This has been proven.  Long term breastfeeding is good for them as they get older, and feeding any form of solid food before six months of age is not a good idea.  Their digestive systems are not mature enough yet to handle more than formula or breastmilk, and in reality, they do not need more than either of these.  There is a mentality with some people that if your baby cries more than  you like or demands to be fed or doesn’t sleep through the night often enough, you should give them infant cereals to get them to behave.  Well, Jenny was easy – she slept through the night at two months and was a content baby.  I did nurse her a lot – often forty-five minutes on each side per feeding.  However, she hardly had to get upset when I would know to nurse her, so I never had any temptation to give her anything else.  Elias was a different story.  He was on the breast every two or three hours until he was six months old and still not sleeping through the night.  I persisted in waiting until then to give him solids and guess what – he still didn’t sleep through the night!  The fact is, we have more information now that will benefit our children’s health and well being.  Our mothers had other information, their mothers had other information.  Our daughters, when they are having children, will have new information and we will have to respect that.  Shouldn’t we want the best for our kids and someday, our grandkids?  I should hope so. 

The point it, my mother-in-law started giving my husband solid foods at three months and stopped nursing at five months.  She stopped nursing both her daughters around three months.  She has made comments to my sister-in-law about nursing that indicate that she doesn’t expect her to nurse any longer than she did.  My sister-in-law said today, “How am I going to nurse for a year like my husband wants me to if my mother didn’t do that with me?”  The logic stumped both my mother-in-law and myself, and yet she said, more or less, that it wouldn’t hurt her grandson to have solid foods earlier if he needed it.  I explained my thinking and that it is based on research and what is now advised by the medical community and it felt like she was shooting it down and calling me stupid.  My kids are doing just fine now and they breastfed for a year or more each, did not have solid foods until they were six months and did not have any dairy products until they were over a year old.  I never gave them formula, I never gave them bottles – we went straight to cow’s milk in sippy cups when they were not nursing anymore.  Yes, I know other families who have gone in the opposite direction from this and their kids appear to be just fine as well.  And yes, my husband and his sisters are healthy adults now.  But if our kids could be heartier and healthier because of the differences in how we do things now, why wouldn’t we want them to be?

Anyway, after this mental upset – it’s not like we actually  had an argument, it just felt like we were on the edge of one – I brought the kids home and fed them lunch.  Jenny wanted applesauce and there wasn’t much left, so I split it between both kids and then made them sandwiches.  Jenny first had to throw a small fit because she wanted applesauce and not a sandwich, and then when she was over that, she ate two or three bites of her sandwich and said she was done.  I then had to do a great deal of forceful speaking to her to get her to go to the bathroom and to bed.  Elias made a gigantic mess with his lunch, so much that I had to just take his overalls off before putting him to bed.  And then, as I finally sat down to check my email and have some lunch myself, I can still hear them talking in their room.  In fact, right now, forty minutes later, I think I can hear Jenny humming.  This does not fare well for the rest of the day, because we are supposed to be going to the lake with the family for supper at four.  Some days.

So, I’m going to try to take a deep breath and keep hoping and praying that I’ll go into labour today and at least get the physical pains taken care of.  Who knows, it could happen.

Only sixteen weeks to go

February 22, 2008

Keep in mind that the title I’m using is written tongue in cheek big time.  Sixteen weeks seems like a very very long time.  Pregnancy always feels like it stretches out absolutely forever, and yet after my babies have been born, I feel as though I can hardly remember what it was like.

I did not have the best week.  Or at least, Saturday of last week through Wednesday were pretty bad.  I’ll admit something that maybe a lot of women refuse to: I get depressed during pregnancy.  So many people are very concerned about post-partum depression, but research has shown that about the same number of women get depressed during pregnancy as do after pregnancy.  I think I am saved from post-partum depression because I am so thrilled with new babies.  But the waiting during pregnancy and what I feel are my inadequacies in keeping house or taking care of myself or my kids seem to come out and make me feel awful about myself.  Not only that, but there always seems to be something going wrong at some point.  This time, it’s major feelings of isolation.  I don’t hear much from my own family and my in-laws seem to all be too busy to do much with me or even just talk to me, so it was easy to start feeling lonely.  It’s hard for me to know what to do when I feel so bad – I never feel that it’s worth it to go on medication, because usually, my bad days only amount to seven or eight every other month.  The question now is whether it’s worth it to look into counselling or if I can really just blame most of this on hormones.  Hard to say, I guess.  I’m doing better today, and yesterday was a pretty good day (aside from my children being insane…but more on that later).  I’m hoping to stay busy enough this weekend to ignore any feelings of exclusion that I might start feeling.

As for what made my day yesterday not so great – my kids decided that it was a good idea to be a pain all day long.  The last straw came when I took them to Wal Mart with me to grab a few things.  I had no major plans, just diapers, bread, juice and a few other small things.  I was planning to wait to go shopping after Mike got home, but he was going to be late, so I figured it was a good idea to just go.  Oh,  how wrong I was.  I knew as soon as we were halfway done that my children were going to need to spend some quality time with Daddy in the evening and let Mommy escape for a bit.  We were already planning to eat leftovers for supper, so at least I didn’t have to make anything.  Mike was getting stuff heated up for himself and the kids and suggested that I could pick something up when I went out.  This appealed to me, but it wasn’t just going to be any old quick eating.  I went somewhere decent, used a coupon to get a free appetizer, order a meal, ate the whole appetizer and the whole veggie burger that I ordered and sat and read a book while eating it.  It was so relaxing.  The funny thing was the book I was reading.  I stopped by the Christian bookstore on my way home after Bible study in the morning to buy John Piper’s When the Darkness Will Not Lift, and while I was there, found a discount bin.  I almost didn’t buy a second book, but then the title jumped out at me: Taking Care of the Me in Mommy.  It’s written by Lisa Whelchel (she was Blair in The Fact’s of Life…which was before my time, but still..) and she gives all sorts of ideas for moms to take time out for their spirit, body and soul.  I think if anyone had noticed the title of the book as I sat in White Spot eating alone, they would have chuckled….and understood why I was there by myself.  When I got home, I felt a whole lot better (and Mike had a friend over while I was gone, so he didn’t mind being me leaving at all).  I am now determined to do things like that more often.  It may not always be going out to eat by myself, but maybe using my alone time away from home to do things other than shop for groceries (which is just way easier without kids). 

I’ve been baking all morning for my brother-in-law’s birthday supper and now I’m done and have two hours ahead of me to use as I like.  I think laying down on the couch with the leftover fries that I simply could not fit last night and watching a movie would be a nice thing to do.  And anyway, I have a George Eliot BBC movie from the library that I haven’t seen before.  Hooray!

To start things off, this is officially the beginning of week sixteen, so let it be known that I am not skipping this week just because it’s Christmas as well.  And besides, it’s almost 1:30 in the morning and I’ve nothing better to do. 

I’ve been eating too much of the wrong food.  Candy of all sorts, cookies, appetizers, pop, etc. and I’m starting to feel it.  Take today for example:

Breakfast: A sip of water and one Reeses peanut butter cup.  I think that’s all I managed to get down as I tried to get the kids fed and get all of us ready to head to church.

Lunch: A bit more healthy, but not quite solid enough, I suspect.  Salad with fried onions and pecans for topping with Asian Sesame dressing, a few pieces of smoked Gouda, lobster pate on two wheat thins, chips and guacamole…not sure I can remember what else I ate, but I did have two and a half Christmas cookies and split a butter tart with Jenny.  And a cup of Earl Gray tea with cream and sugar.  And some eggnog (“watered” down with milk).  I think that was about it.  I was satisfied, but I get the feeling that it has something to do with how I feel now.

Supper: Fried Tilapia in cajun seasoning, asparagus, butternut squash.  This meal sounds a whole lot healthier and certainly felt better going down since I got some veggies in there, but it was perhaps not quite enough to redeem the rest of the day.  And certainly not enough to redeem what followed.

The rest of the night: Donut and hot chocolate at hockey (someone brought about six dozen donuts and hot chocolate for the annual rec. vs. church hockey game that my father-in-law puts on), one Reeses cup, more or less, since Jenny had a few bites, about six Sour Patch Kids, remainder of a bag of Cheezies, and a few sips of water (still at hockey).  After coming home: one donut brought home from hockey.  We were the last ones there and someone said we should take them.  Thanks.  Now I have a dozen leftover donuts in my house.  I can literally smell them right now from their perch atop the high chair in the living room.  Sickly sweet.  After donut:  water, sip of juice to see how it tasted (new variety, I was curious), approximately 15 vegetarian samosas, most of which were dipped in some sort of plum sauce.  Followed by two cups of water. 

This isn’t even taking into consideration what I ate yesterday (way too much Coke and a slushy on the way home..what on earth was I thinking?).  And what I’ll eat tomorrow.  Or the next day.  I yearn right now for the strength to fast and clean out my system, but pregnancy simply won’t allow it.  And as sick as I might feel now, I know that tomorrow morning, I’ll be hungry again, willing to dig into the last of the donuts to fill my stomach.  Where did the days of yogurt and eggs go?  The days when I made an effort to watch what I ate so that I could quit gaining weight?  Well, I’m on my pregnancy diet now, and what I crave gets attention.  In the past, it’s worked wonderfully for me: I eat what I like when I like and I’ve never gained more than 33 pounds in a pregnancy (and that one was eight days overdue).  I weight twenty-five pounds less now than I did at this point in my last pregnancy, which is obviously a good thing, but my weight loss doesn’t care much for the all-sugar diet (I don’t blame it).  This poor child is going to come out with a sugar (and possibly caffeine) addiction and I won’t know what to do with it. 

It’s easy to write about the ills of my diet right now because my stomach is threatening mutiny at the moment.  Gurgling and aching for relief….with no relief in sight.  My best bet is to take my Diclectin with a nice big gulp of water, take a few Tums, brush my teeth and go to bed.  With any luck, I’d fall asleep quickly and not have to get up to puke.

The problem is that tomorrow, all the same stuff will appeal to me again.  Candy and Coke and chips and so forth will call out to me like sirens.  I ought to resist, but I’m not sure I’ll want to when it comes down to it. 

On a different subject, the ranks of mothers and father keep filling up as my husband’s first cousin and his wife just had a baby girl.  She was a month early and not supposed to be the first grandchild as her cousin was due to be born before her (sometime the end of this month).  The little unnamed thing weighed around five pounds.  Makes me glad I’ve never had a baby that early.  With that announcement, coming by way of my mother-in-law, came another: that little baby will have another cousin, as my husband’s other cousin and his wife are expecting now as well.  It will have taken my in-laws almost three years to have three grandchildren (almost four) while it will only take my husband’s aunt another eight months or so to have three.  Number one born yesterday, number two due in a few weeks and number three due sometime next year (August, perhaps?).  Even though we don’t see them very often, I’m very excited about all the babies coming into the world.  I like to know that I’m not alone in this part of life.  It should be obvious, but somehow it’s just so much more reassuring to have people all around me having babies. 

Well, I feel like I might be rambling a bit and not making much sense anymore (which is highly possible, given the hour), so I’d better put an end to it.  I may even write again this week, but hopefully if I do, I won’t be feeling like puking or falling asleep in my chair. 

Merry Christmas and thanks for reading (if anyone still is)!!

Week fifteen and changes are speeding up, I suspect.  I’ve had far more energy this last week and not nearly so much sick stomach (thank goodness!).  I also have had at least one person comment on my belly.  If I wear a sweater, it’s not so noticable, but with a t-shirt on, I have a pretty noticeable bump.  I also feel a significant tightness in my only pair of jeans.  They were big enough to pull straight off without unbuttoning before I got pregnant, but now I at least have to undo the button, if not the zipper.  My favourites at the moment are grey dress pants that my mother-in-law bought me just after I got married – they came from Salvation Army and cost her a whole dollar.  They still look great and fit nice and loose so nothing is digging in.  I have to wear a belt or they would fall down easily, but that makes me pretty giddy in itself.  Here I am, on my third pregnancy, and the pants that I had to squeeze into before I was ever pregnant fit me loosely!  Hooray!  I feel pretty good about the size I am now and I feel healthy, even if I’m still technically overweight according to my body mass index. 

On a completely (more or less) different topic, my eye was caught by this headline: Skateboarders Rescue Baby Left in Dumpster and article.  Two brothers in Queens, aged 15 and 13 were skateboarding by around 8 pm when they heard the baby making noise.  They quickly went to check and found her facing down in a paper bag.  She was cold, but according to the hospital, she’s fine.  She still had her umbilical cord attached and was very fortunate to be found when she was. 

It still amazes me that people can do that to babies, but in a society where inconvenient children are dealt with in a number of frightening ways, it shouldn’t be a surprise.  I imagine a great deal of it has to do with panic on the part of the mother or at times, both parents.  The baby is unwanted and the trouble is unwanted, even just the trouble of finding a safe place to leave the child.  The parent panics and figures that no one will ever have to know if they put the child in a dumpster or throw them in a river or any number of other quick solutions that endanger or take the life of the child. 

As I read the article, a chilling thought came to me – we always hear the story told when a child is found – whether it lives or not – but how often are babies dumped and not found?  How many children lay unnoticed and uncared for until they die and then are dumped along with banana peels, dirty diapers and un-needed household furniture?  How many are dumped while still alive?  The thought also entered my mind that if that baby had been sleeping or just not making noise when those boys skated by, she may have never been found. 

When I read stories like this, I long for the days when it was acceptable to leave babies at churches or hospitals and not face charges of neglect.  Of course, the ideal would be for mothers who do not wish to keep their children to set up adoption in advance, but I suspect that some (particularly young girls) think in some part of their minds that they do want to keep their babies.  When the child is in their arms after a painful delivery, instead of love and affection, panic ensues.  The thought of caring for the child for even one day while awaiting foster care is simply too much and so they do the unthinkable. 

I cannot imagine that these acts are ever very pre-meditated.  With abortion being readily available, why on earth would someone face criminal charges for abandoning their baby after it is born?  And if a girl has decided not to kill her baby through an abortion, why would she kill it (or allow it to die) after its birth? 

Having a baby can be overwhelming in so many ways, but my only experience has been pure joy upon holding my children.  Instant love.  A desire to protect and nurture.  While I cannot imagine feeling anything but these emotions, there are women out there who do feel something else.  I feel for them and for those babies and the futures they will or will not have.  In the ideal world, we would all wait for sex and marriage until we were ready to be parents (physically and otherwise) and we would cherish the children we bore.  But in that world, what would happen to those unable to conceive on their own?  Adoption is a viable, important option.  I have seen agony on the faces of women not able to bear babies on their own.  I have two cousins who were adopted and they are 100% a part of our family.  They gave their parents what they could not achieve on their own and have been a source of joy to them ever since.  In Canada, using public adoption, couples may have to wait seven years to adopt a baby.  For an older child, the wait is usually shorter, but by that time, most of them have been in and out of foster care or their biological parents homes for years.  I hope that someday, we can provide a permanent home for a child who has been denied one in their young life.  The question is, why do people have to resort to expensive medical procedures or overseas adoption to hold a baby in their arms?  My answer: there aren’t many unwanted babies anymore.  In other words, they are seldom carried to term if they are unwanted by their biological mother.  Even though they are very much wanted by childless couples.  I can only hope that in the future, we will see more education about the blessing those young (or at times, not so young) mothers could be to families wanting to adopt.  Yes, their bodies will look different, and they may have to take time off of work or school to give birth.  Yes, they will deal with emotional issues as they give up that child, but they will know that the life they helped to create is being taken care of by a loving family.

My point wasn’t so much to get into the abortion issue, but the question of why or how any woman could give birth to a child and then abandon it to death or illness.  And how many of these children have been overlooked and lie forgotten in dumps around the world?

I skipped the eleventh week and I very nearly skipped week twelve, too, but I caught myself.  This week, we heard our baby’s heartbeat.  It always amazes and impresses me, even now.  I think in some ways, it’s more incredible after the first baby, because I realize that that tiny heart that is beating is going to be an individual and will look different than my other children and will have their own personality – and I will love them so much.  It also solidifies a pregnancy because except for feeling sick, there is nothing to prove that I’m pregnant until I start to show.  At twelve weeks, I can’t quite suck my stomach in, but that’s nothing that strange anyway.  Hearing that baby’s heart beating at 150 beats per minute just proves that there is, indeed, a little one growing in my womb. 

After being through it twice before, you would think I wouldn’t need proof other than puking and a pregnancy test, but the heartbeat and the ultrasound are usually big moments for me.  Not that I enjoy ultrasounds (because I really don’t), but seeing the baby is pretty incredible.

I suppose the reason I didn’t write last week was primarily because I was so sick, but this week, I just feel a lack of creativity.

To recap week eleven, I ran out of Diclectin on Sunday night and didn’t get an emergency supply until Thursday (since I didn’t know I could do that).  I was right back to being as sick as I was when I was six weeks pregnant (which was by far the worst week I had).  This last week has been pretty easy, except for cramps I’ve been having that are nothing more than uterine stretching (and very normal for this time of pregnancy) and one night when I puked after going to bed.  I laid there, trying to have a normal conversation with Mike and then realized it was pointless to put it off – I had to vomit.  Fun, fun.

Well, my lack of creativity is making it hard to think of things to say.  But at least I can say I only missed one week of journaling.

Week six: I’ll try not to repeat too much of what I wrote last week, but it’s hard to think of much right now.  My stomach is worse this week and that twin thought it nagging at the back of my mind almost all the time.  I broke down and got some pills from my doctor on Monday and I’ve taken a few of them since.  The trouble is, they make me drowsy and they cost a fortune (thirty little pills to ideally take three times a day cost me $48.00!).  I’m trying to limit myself to taking one only when it really feels necessary, but for the last few days, it’s felt necessary all the time.

Someone told me that the sixth week is supposed to be the worst, and I’m really hoping she’s right.  If it gets worse, they may have to put me in the hospital or hire someone to take care of my kids and the house, because I certainly won’t be able to do it.  It’s been hard enough this week just to make sure they’re taken care of and we all get enough to eat.  The temptation has been ever present to go out to eat when Mike gets home, since the thought of cooking something that appeals to him makes me feel sick.

Part of the trick, I’m finding, is eating things that really appeal to me.  I had almost two peanut butter sandwiches (just plain peanut butter, nothing else) and I could probably eat another two just because they are going over so well.  At least it’s natural peanut butter on whole wheat bread and not deep fried ice cream or something.  While I don’t feel like losing weight is a good idea, I don’t want to gain ten pounds in the first trimester.

Another half of a peanut butter sandwich…that may be the end of that for now, though.  The kids are playing (happily? I hope) in their room for now..and naptime isn’t very far away – what a relief!  I’ve been taking naps all week and they do seem to help, although they make me feel somewhat detatched from real life.  I put the kids down at two o’clock, put myself down a little while later, and by the time we all get up, Mike is either home or soon to be home.  Then, in my after-nap stupor, I have to decide what we will have for supper.  That’s the downside of taking a nap, I guess. 

So what’s for supper tonight?  Good question.  I don’t have time to think about that – I have to put the kids to bed and lay myself down somewhere for a couple hours. 

Au revoir.

Hello baby!

October 3, 2007

On the 15th of September, I decided that I really was ready to have another baby.  I have a two year old daughter and a one year old son and actually thought I was pregnant in August, but wasn’t.  Upon my sister and brother-in-law’s announcement of their first pregnancy, I told my husband it was time.

The only thing about saying that is that we have never used any form of birth control, so it’s not really up to us.  We were married six months before I was pregnant with my daughter, and my daughter was seven months old when I found out I was pregnant with my son.  When a whole year went by after the birth of my son, I felt a bit surprised.  After all, it had been the longest un-pregnant time since before I was married.  However, God must have heard my heart, because around the twenty-second of September, I started feeling sick about every other day.  By last week (around the twenty-seventh), it became every day.  My sister-in-law got married on the twenty-ninth and I spent the whole weekend fighting the sick feeling in my stomach and telling people that I was 95% sure I was pregnant.  My dad was here visiting and even though I was only two days late, I took a test yesterday morning (the second of October) so I could tell him while he was still here.  The second line was pretty pale pink, but there were definitely two, so I’m definitely pregnant. 

The baby is due on the eigth of June, less than a month after my sister-in-law’s due date.  I’m counting on my kids doing really well playing together and keeping each other entertained after the baby is born – my daughter will be three on the first of June and my son will be twenty-one months.  This is certainly more space than I expected to have between my kids, and it had its perks.  I started losing weight in January and managed to get rid of twenty-five pounds by August, which puts me below what I weighed when I got married three and a half years ago.  I have had very good luck losing my pregnancy weight, but I had put on twenty pounds just after I got married.  I am still about ten pounds over what I should be to be in my ideal weight range, but I feel good and I feel ready to put on another thirty for the sake of a baby.

I’ll try to update weekly…but no promises.  Also, in the next two months, things may not change drastically anyway.  But I’ll do my best.