Ten days later…

June 25, 2008

This may very well be my last post on this blog for quite some time.  It is a pregnancy journal, after all, and I do have another blog that is better suited to my everyday life (har har…The Everyday Life of a Messy Housewife). 

However, because this is baby/postpartum related, I figured it fit better here. 

Erik is doing great – he is eating and sleeping really well and gives us a few hours every day of interaction, which seems to be pretty rare at this age.  I know what they say about baby smiles – that any smile before a month of age isn’t a real smile – and I’ve believed it in the past, because my kids definitely had gassy smiles and sleep smiles before they were a month old, but at a month, they looked me in the eye and grinned back at me.  Erik has decided to break the rules; I’m not kidding you – he has smiled at me about four times now.  I have said that you can tell a real smile because of the look in their eyes.  They look right at you and their eyes smile along with their mouths.  Well, that’s just what he has been doing.  I can’t explain it, and you can argue all you want, but if you were his mother, you’d agree with me (I just wish someone else could see it so they’d know what I’m talking about). 

On the kid front, Jenny continues to ask where her “buddo Ewik” is and actually refers to him most of the time as “Ewik buddo”.  Elias just calls him baby, although I think he’s been trying to say Erik and it comes out sounding like “owie”, which is hilarious.  So far, neither of them has made him cry or tried to carry him around the house, although I’ve been very careful to keep him with me or keep my eye on him all the time when he’s not in his bed away from them.  A friend of mine told me a story about her kids that made me decide never to leave the room while Erik is laying on the couch or the floor – her older son was in the room after she changed her newborn’s diaper and she left to get something quickly in the other room.  When she went back, the older boy had picked up his brother and was carrying him upside down, trying to help her.  If I remember right, he said, “Here, Mommy, I bring him to you.”  Yikes!  So I’m going to watch them very carefully, because I can just see it happening with one of them, thinking they were helping me. 

As far as my health/energy goes, I seem to do fine getting up in the morning and having energy until just before lunch, and then I feel like crashing.  Yesterday, I actually dozed on the couch with the kids climbing on me – Elias tearing up an envelope and throwing it around didn’t even faze me, I was so tired.  Today, I feel tired, but when I laid down to have a nap, I could only think of cleaning and writing.  So I got up, swept the living room floor, cleaned up toys, did the dishes and now I’m writing.  I have maybe twenty minutes that I can count on the kids staying asleep, so If I get tired now, it’s probably too late to do anything about it.  As for my actual recovery, I feel pretty good, although I’m still bleeding a good deal, which is getting old.  Yeah, I know it’s only been ten days, but it seems that it’s different this time than it was with the other two.  Also, I got my hopes up because I went all day yesterday without anything at all and then had it come back in the middle of the night.  Okay – enough already!  Fortunately, the cramping quit a week ago, so at least it’s not a bother in that way.  It is true, afterpains seem to get worse each time you have a baby.  I don’t really remember anything with Jenny, but I had them pretty bad with Elias and this time, they were really bad.  But four days of them is not so bad, really.

The other big thing around the house is that as soon as the kids got over their cold/cough, they got another one!  And now Erik has it!  Goopy eyes, coughs and runny/stuffy noses that I’m wiping all the time and Jenny yelling from her room, “I need to blow my nose!!” in the middle of the night (and ten seconds ago – hooray!).  I’ve had a sore throat, but my cough is getting better and I don’t have symptoms of a cold like they do…I just hope it stays that way.  The kids spent all day yesterday lying around watching movies while I wiped noses and read a book.  I’m so glad Erik has decided to be a good baby and sleep for long stretches between feedings.  I don’t know what I would do if he was fussy like Elias was.

So much for twenty minutes, I think I got about ten out of them.  Oh, well.  C’est la vie.  I meant to go into more, like the fact that I weaned myself off of ice, but apparently, I’m out of time.  Oh, yeah, I weaned myself off of ice.  I’ll tell you about it sometime. 

So, no promises, but more than likely, I’ll be sticking to the other blog from now on (at least  until I’m pregnant again, although then the address will be misleading, since it won’t be baby number three anymore).  Well, off I go to be a mommy again (unless my kids have gone back to sleep…oh, wouldn’t that be nice?!).

Full Term

May 19, 2008

It’s official – I am three weeks away as of today.  Well, three weeks away from my anticipated due date, which could be off by weeks.  Not based on the baby or anything else, just based on the fact that very few women actually give birth on their due dates.  I suspect that many don’t even make it within a week.  They’re either early or late.  Last week, we were invited to a party that happened yesterday and I was asked to make sushi, so I was holding out until then to have the baby.  Also, my doctor requested my cooperation in waiting until I was technically full term.  So, today is that day and now I can have the baby.  The car seats are moved back in the van and the base to the baby seat is installed.  That was the big job, although there are lots of small tasks in the house that still need to be done…and the fact that our cradle is still being fixed (well, I hope it’s being fixed anyway).  I don’t really think of these things as a big deal, though.  The thing that keeps me holding on is my desire for another big baby.  It’s highly likely that I’ve mentioned it before, but Jenny was 9 lb. 6 oz. and eight days late, while Elias was 7 lb. 4 oz. and two and a half weeks early.  The difference was amazing and Jenny just never felt so fragile as Elias.  She was big and hearty and healthy, while I worried about him a bit more.  So as much as I don’t want to be pregnant anymore, I would like to have a bigger baby than last time. 

Really what would help is one event per week leading up to my due date that would keep me from wanting to have the baby so badly.  One party or get together, etc. and I could look forward to those things rather than my due date which is still depressingly weeks away.  Typically, my Thursday Bible study would be enough, but it’s not quite cutting it lately.  I thoroughly enjoy it, but if I had the baby..say, tonight, I would probably still go on Thursday.  If I had the baby on Wednesday, the girls could all come to see me in the hospital after the study, which would be awesome.  Therefore, it’s not imperative that I remain pregnant for that reason alone.  Unfortunately, it feels like a quiet month in the way of events.  I suppose I could try using my imagination and pretending that there were things to go to, but then I would be disappointed when the day came and it wasn’t real.

Anyway, I’m rambling now. 

In other news, my family is sick.  Elias came down with a cold last week and his nose ran and he coughed like crazy and effectively passed it on to Jenny.  Now Mike and I have a touch of it as well, although not nearly as bad as the kids.  Jenny has had a fever for most of the day and is acting very sick.  She tends to get hit with things much worse than Elias.  When he is sick, he doesn’t act quite as down as she does.  She will lay on the couch for hours at a time doing nothing and sometimes falling asleep, whereas he is rarely content to sit still.  I am sure that some of it is personality as Jenny seems to be a lot like me when I’m sick and Elias more like Mike.

The nice thing about this illness hitting us now is that tomorrow is Victoria Day and Mike has the day off.  The weather has also been very nice which makes it somewhat easier as well.  I still have lots of things on my to-do list for the house, but if necessary, I imagine we’ll all be nice and lazy tomorrow.

Aside from the cold, I’m not feeling too awful physically.  I’m paying very close attention to the baby lately, making sure that it’s moving enough and if I’m feeling hiccups or small movement down low, which would indicate that it is still head-down.  It’s possible that my kids were like this, but this baby seems to either be going nuts or totally still.  I’ve been on the monitor at the hospital twice now and the first time, the nurses were astounded at how often it moved, while the second time, they were trying to wake it up by giving me ice water to drink.  When it’s calm, it’s hard to believe that I’m carrying a child that could safely be born now.  When it’s awake, there’s no way that I can ignore it, and of course it’s grown enough to be born – it could probably crawl already if it wanted to! 

I just noticed the time stamp on this entry and thought I’d mention that, for the record, it is not yet Monday where I am writing from.  The side bar tells me that there was a draft saved at 6:16 am on Monday, May 19th.  As of this moment, it is 11:14 pm on Sunday night.  So, to clarify, my due date is three weeks from today, Sunday.  I know, nobody cares, but it matters to me right now (blame it on pregnancy…you can do that for almost anything).

I’m sure there are things I could have gone on to say, but I should probably finish doing the dishes and some other general cleaning up.  My concern is that if I went into labour in the middle of the night, my mother-in-law would have to come over to stay while the kids slept and then she’d see how bad it was in the morning.  This is one of my greatest fears…well, okay, it’s diminishing a bit year by year, but still, it’s not a nice thought.  At least if my dishes are done and there aren’t pieces of clothing and garbage strewn about, it’s not quite so bad.

If I’m still pregnant, you’ll hear from me sometime soon (or at least during my thirty-eighth week), and if I’ve had the baby, it may be sooner.  Or later.  Okay, I’d better leave it at that before I stop making any sense at all.

Well, at least some days include every day miracles that make you glad you’ve chosen to live like this.  We went to bed early Sunday night for the first time in a very long time.  Mike has had hockey nearly every Sunday night since September (as in, maybe he’s had three Sundays off in that whole time), and as a result, we haven’t gotten to bed early on a Sunday night in ages.  After the horrors of Saturday night – oh, yeah, I didn’t talk about that yet – we had a nap Sunday afternoon and went to bed by ten that night.  Although I had the requisite three wakings to use the bathroom, none of them involved Jenny getting up at the same time – miracle number one.  When Mike got up to shower in the morning, Jenny woke up and I resigned myself to another early morning.  However, I managed to leave Elias crying in his bed – figuring that I would only get him up if he was really upset for awhile.  Jenny came back to bed with me and promptly went back to sleep.  We slept until ten – miracle number two!  Elias stayed asleep that whole time and Jenny only woke up once to ask for water and then went back to sleep.  I think she was still getting over being a bit sick over the weekend and just needed the sleep, but it has been ages since she slept in so late.  We had an easy morning with everyone being content with their breakfast and then Elias played in their room and Jenny laid on the couch while I cleaned the bathroom – miracle number three.  When they went down for their nap, I managed to clean out the van and still have time to watch a movie and relax before the kids got up – miracle number four. 

It was probably really vital to my sanity to have so much sleep and so many good things in one day after Saturday night.  Jenny kept getting up before we went to bed and when we finally did get to bed sometime after one, she still wasn’t sleeping.  We brought her into our room hoping she would sleep, but it seemed that every time I managed to drift off, she’d say something or push her feet against my back or something equally obnoxious.  I finally put her back to bed around two-thirty.  I had just drifted off (yet again) when I heard her yelling that she had to poop.  She yelled it twice and then suddenly started scream/crying and saying it again.  I got to her door, brought her into the bathroom, turned on the light and only then realized that I hadn’t made it in time.  She had diarrhea that had absolutely no substance and was now pooling on the rug and a dozen other places along the hallway.  I yelled for Mike to come clean things up a bit while I got Jenny cleaned up.  After some effort to do it sans water, I finally figured that a bath was the only way out.  So, Jenny happily took a three AM bath.  The major frustration wasn’t even the fact that we had to clean up so much and do laundry and give her a bath, it was that she was giddy about it.  She’s potty trained – she knows that she shouldn’t poop her pants (not that she could have helped it), but she was all excited about the bath and kept reminding me that she had pooped her pants. 

All through the bath, Mike was attempting to get Elias back to sleep, since all the activity had woken him up.  He got him to sleep and as soon as he laid him down in bed, he woke up again.  Once Jenny was back in bed, we went back to bed for five minutes before deciding that it would be wise to bring Elias in with us to see if I could get him to sleep with a little snuggling.  Fortunately, it worked pretty quickly, but it was still around four when I finally went to sleep.  Jenny was then up again to go the bathroom just before seven.  After that, we slept until ten, but I was dragging all morning.  So obviously, the nap, early night and sleeping in Monday morning were all very important for me. 

This morning was a bit earlier than yesterday, but nothing unusual.  My housecleaning goal this week is to do one relatively small job each day and more if I can handle it.  I have a huge list, but I think today I might try to tackle the laundry room.  Now that hockey is done for the year, Mike’s equipment can be moved out to the shed again and I can have my laundry room back.  The only trouble is that it’s also full of other junk.  Recycling needs to go out, shelves that are stacked on the floor need to be put up in the kids’ room and various other things just need to find better homes.

My big goal is to have the house in much better order before the baby is born.  If I wait too long, I will just wear myself out and risk not getting it done.  I have a habit of getting so frustrated with the state of things that I try to do everything all at once and just frustrate myself even more when I can’t get it all done.  I’m hoping that the one small job a day plan will work for me. 

Of course, pregnancy is only making everything more complicated, but nothing is out of the ordinary.  I’m two months away from D-day today, but it still feels like a long way off.  Of course, in another month, I’ll probably feel even more like that – as if it will never end.  I can hardly wait to be done with it and hold my baby.  I’m certain that no matter how many times I do it, that part will never get old.  With Jenny, it was maybe a bit more amazing, just because it was the first time I’d ever held my own child in my arms, but the amount of love I felt for Elias was certainly no less than when Jenny was born. 

For anyone reading who has one child and worries that they wouldn’t have enough love for a second child because they love their first so much, don’t worry – it won’t be a problem. 

Until next week…

Things to read

February 11, 2008

I realized today that there are a few books that I think every parent should read (or in some cases, every mother).  I figured I’d make a list, although right now I only have three books to recommend.

 To read while pregnant with your first child (preferably): 

First-Time Mom by Dr. Kevin Leman

Kevin Leman is the birth order guy.  If you’re not familiar with The Birth Order Book, it’s also a good one – it does a lot to explain personality traits that are common in firstborn, middle and lastborn children.  It also talks about the challenges you might face if you are, for instance, a firstborn married to a firstborn.  The First-Time Mom book touches on some of this as well, but relating to the relationship between mother and child.  If you are a firstborn or only child, you may have specific challenges to deal with when you have your first child.  I read the book when I was pregnant with Jenny and found it very helpful in giving me a heads up about the emotional side of parenting where the typical pregnancy books primarily dealt with the physical and mental side of parenting.  I’m sure that this book can be read after having your first child or even after having a few kids, but the way that it is written suggests that you will get the most out of it if you read it before you’ve even given birth to baby number one.  If you read it at another time in life, it may still give you insights into your relationship with your firstborn.

A book to read anytime:

Child Rearing for Fun by Anne Atkins

This British author does a fantastic job of showing you how to “Trust your instincts and enjoy your children.”  One of the main points aside from all the humour was to remember that you know your kids better than anyone else does – better than doctors and teachers and “experts”.  The world we live in today often suggests that it would be better if we left the child raising to “professionals” in the field: qualified daycare teachers who have studied early childhood development, preschool teachers who will make sure your children are ready for kindergarten, public or private school teachers who will make sure your children get a balanced education and maintain a high self-esteem.  Doctors and counselors who will tell you which medications will help fix your child’s mental or physical problem, even magazine articles that suggest what kind of discipline is still okay to use.  Anne Atkins has raised five kids – one who was diagnosed with Asberger’s syndrome and at one point attempted suicide, another who was diagnosed with severe Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and more of her children who were severely depressed.  She has also been through five miscarriages.  In the end, she is able to say that what she was able to do for her kids in just loving them and enjoying them was more effective in helping them to be “normal” than anything any expert could have told her.  I got this book just after I had Jenny – at the time, the nursery at church was giving each new mom a free book and this one jumped out at me.  I’m very glad to have it – it’s very humourous and puts society in its place regarding who will be the best parent for your kids.  Most of all, I think it serves to remind the reader that kids are fun, even when they’re not as normal as other kids appear to be.  Even through mental illness, she sees humour and fun in her kids – as should we.

This one’s a gem and good for a laugh any time:

Babies and other Hazards of Sex by Dave Barry

“How to make a tiny person in only 9 months, with tools you probably have around the home.”  If you’re not familiar with Dave Barry, he is a humorist author, and this book was his second work of non-fiction, written in 1984.  It feels a bit dated at times, but it is still hilarious.  The book is full of cartoons depicting the look of a pregnant woman, what babies looks like when they are born, what the various baby necessities will look like, etc.  A little taste of what’s inside: on page 13, in the chapter entitled Pregnancy, there is a section of answers to common questions about pregnancy.  Question 1: “What will happen to my body during pregnancy besides that I will become huge and tired and throw up a lot and be constipated and develop hemorrhoids and have to urinate all the time and have leg cramps and varicose veins?” Answer: “Many women also have lower back pain.”  Dave Barry has taken pregnancy and childrearing and extracted all the funny and uncomfortable parts and made them ridiculous.  Satire abounds in this one, and it’s a good read if you’re expecting a baby, thinking about having a baby, in the process of giving birth (okay, I’ll be realistic – maybe not then) or already have kids.  The book can still be found on Amazon, both in a release from 2000 and in the original 1984 edition.  It’s also part of Dave Barry’s Guide to Life from 1991, along with three other non-fiction pieces.  It does have a few slightly less than tasteful things in it, so if you’re sensitive when it comes to jokes about sex or bodily functions, you may want to avoid it.

If I come up with any others, I’ll throw them in here somewhere.  For now, those are the ones that jumped off the shelf at me. 

Now I think I may have to go puke again.  Or at least find a way to not puke.  I’m a little concerned that I may have the flu, since I haven’t been sick to my stomach because of pregnancy for awhile.  All I know is that my stomach is in turmoil this morning and it also happens to be the day Mike has started his new job and is no longer home to watch the kids while I sleep or puke.  I have to do some problem solving, anyway. 

What a weekend I had.  I picked Mike up Thursday afternoon and he was feeling rotten – he’d been sick since lunch – so I took him home and put him to bed while I made supper.  I was so glad I was feeling good so that I could take care of him – I had a good day on Thursday and had felt good all day.  I went grocery shopping later that night and took Elias with me while Jenny stayed home with Mike and watched a movie.  I was tired by the time we went to bed, but not feeling sick at all.  At two o’clock, I woke up with a heave.  I rushed to the bathroom and threw up.  I went back to bed.  I woke up an  hour later and threw up again.  By four o’clock, I had nothing left in my stomach to throw up, but I still threw up again and then once more before Mike and the kids woke up.  Mike was still feeling a little off, so he called in sick at eight.  I felt a little hungry, so I had Mike make me some toast and before I had chewed two bites of it, I threw up again.  Over the course of the day, I threw up another four or five times and slept on and off in the living room or in bed.  Thankfully, Mike was feeling almost completely back to normal, so he was able to take care of the kids while I rested.  His mom came and took the kids for a few hours, which was also a help. 

I was a bit concerned about being so hungry and thirsty and not being able to keep anything down, so we did talk about going to the hospital in the evening, but Mike didn’t think it was all that bad.  My doctor had told me to come in, but I wasn’t throwing up in the evening and was able to have a bit to drink before bed.  I woke up Saturday morning wanting to eat, so we went out to eat with the family and I had a good breakfast, but still felt a bit sick into the afternoon. 

Meanwhile, Elias didn’t want to nap in the afternoon and was crying hard throughout the day and not wanting to eat.  He was acting a lot like how he had been when he last had an ear infection.  We went to my sister-in-law’s hockey game at four-thirty and I had to spend a good deal of it walking all over the arena with Elias just to keep him happy.  We decided that the best course of action after the game was to grab some supper and take Elias to the emergency room so that we wouldn’t have to wait until Monday to take him to the doctor. 

What we didn’t know was that we would be there for three hours waiting to see a doctor.  Apparently, about forty-five minutes before we got there (at quarter to seven), a man had been brought in after cutting into his arm while cutting up a moose.  He hit an artery and had nearly bled to death by the time he made it to the hospital and was then in surgery for over two hours.  The emergency room was full – although other than the man in surgery, there weren’t any major emergencies. 

By the time we got Elias back to see a doctor, it was after nine.  The doctor finally came in after a nurse had come to give Elias Advil and some Pedialyte, and he said that while his ear was red and his throat looked like the start of tonsilitis, he didn’t have a bacterial infection yet.  We left the hospital at quarter to ten with a prescription and instructions to wait to see if he got better before giving him the antibiotic.

We went  home, put the kids to bed, did a few things around the house and went to bed.  We talked for half an hour and then turned the light off around midnight.  We had noticed a great deal of cars outside the neighbour’s house when we got home, but until we turned off the light, we didn’t notice any real noise.  

Almost as if on cue, the party started when we decided to go to sleep.  Mike fell asleep while I laid there with the wall vibrating behind me.  Finally, after half an hour or more, I decided I couldn’t stand it and went to call the police.  They gave me the standard response (“We’ll send someone out to check it out.”) and I went back to bed.  I heard yelling and talking outside a while later, so I got up to see what was going on.  At the end of our driveway was a vomiting man.  His girlfriend or some other female stood beside him and rubbed his back while he puked and then dragged him running into the house when she saw a police car pull up. 

This was good news – a quick response should mean that I could go to sleep soon.  A second car pulled up and two officers walked into the house next door.  I got back in bed again and heard a bunch of laughter from next door, but no change in the level of noise.  When I got up to see if the cops were still there ten or fifteen minutes later, both cars were gone, but more people had come to the party.  The music may have been turned down for the course of one or two songs, but it was turned up again quickly.  This went on until after three in the morning.  I managed to drift off a few times in my sleepiness, but kept waking up with every new bass line in the music.   

Eventually, I thought I heard someone say something about going home, so I took a look in my curiousity and watched as a great deal of people got into a little red hatchback.  A man wearing a suit and sunglasses finished his beer and threw the can on the ground while another guy wearing tights and a red cape opened the back of the hatchback.  Suit man was then shoved into the back of the car and they all drove away.  After that, I think it may have gotten quiet (since I was finally able to stay asleep), and amazingly enough, in the morning, all the cars were gone from the street and the driveway next door.  It usually seems that everyone is too drunk over there to go home, but I guess they had a few people who were sober enough to drive (I hope they were sober enough, anyway).

The good news was that we slept until almost nine and Elias was feeling obviously better on Sunday.  Sunday is another story all together (we were up late again), but this morning, I was able to sleep until ten (an amazingly rare thing) and I feel fairly well rested now.  I also feel like my pregnancy sickness might be getting better this week, which would be a great relief, especially after having the flu.

I am also feeling a bit of motivation regarding the house.  This weekend just made things a whole lot worse and now I really have my work cut out for me, but maybe I can manage it now..we’ll see.