Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Time Flies

Time really does fly when you are trying get ahead or say pack for a week at a cottage. As real day -to-day life charges ahead I am trying to pack up our entire house so I can enjoy my relaxing week off week of being a wilderness chambermaid. We are in the process, well mostly I am in the process of getting us ready for a week up North in the lovely Haliburton hills of cottage country.

Note: Not to actual scale, or remotely reminiscent of the cottage I will be actually staying in. I can dream right?

Our friends have a cottage (parents do anyway) and we are renting the cottage next door for the first time. We have never stayed for entire week and this seemed like it would give us a bit of breathing space. As it turns out another couple and their two children are coming up and staying with our friends so their cottage will be pretty cozy.

I have such wonderful memories of going to the cottage as a child. We rented at the same place for years and years in Bobcaygeon and while debating this week up North I kept coming back to my own happy cottage memories. Campfires, walking to town, the little tuck shop and the long freezies, catching my first fish by accident after getting tired of waiting for a fish, I stuck my rod in a crack in the dock and walked away. I came back an hour later to find the smallest Sunfish on my hook. We would play all day while our parents drank big pitchers of Caesar's, I remember barbecuing in the rain and the trips to Fenelon Falls when we were all sick of each other.

So as I look at my front hall and my list and shake my head, I know my girls are going to have a fantastic week. We will relax, not look at the clock, spend time doing nothing, make s'mores around the campfire, play games and make wonderful cottage memories for our girls. To be honest I am not much of a wilderness gal and camping is not my style at all. I just prefer the comforts of indoor plumbing and walls between me and the great outdoors. The cottage is a good compromise between my hotel tendencies and my desire to be at one with nature. I love nature, I love hikes, sunsets, mountains, oceans, all of it. At the end of the day though I love a hot shower and soft bed a bit more I guess. I like having both - call me selfish.

I have not been around much this week (no Monday Musing!) and likely won't be back blogging for a few weeks.

The only thing that makes me more anxious than packing up all this stuff is the idea of unpacking it again in a week.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

How life unfolds

It occurred to me the other day that my blog represents or perhaps more than represents; it is documenting how my life is unfolding. My voice booms loud and clear here, even on the days it barely whispers in the real world. Here I am strong, opinionated and occasionally bright and insightful. I don't need to take two Advils here as often as in my real life, but isn't this a part of my real life? I think I need that Advil.

In my real life I do not talk much (hardly at all) about my feelings of grief or loss. Once I write about these feelings they float a little higher from my body, they hurt less. My writing and blog are a wonderful tonic for my less than joyous feelings.

So in addition to the many wonderful bloggers I have met through their blogs and wonderful stories, it has been so helpful to my own story. I have been able to write about feelings that had been bottled up for a long time. To talk about my quirks and beliefs in a place I know I am not judged.

I have done the Meme's and answered all the questions about what blogging means to me and how it all started and I guess what interests me more now is where is it going? How is this going to unfold, or keep unfolding? Am I going to tire of this (I doubt it) or am I going to not be able to think of things to write about?

I find folding laundry a very satisfying job, actually laundry in general is something I kind of enjoy. It is tactile, it is so predictable - starts off dirty and ends up clean. It is something I don't really mind doing. I usually save my laundry folding for evening and fold while watching some bad TV, I figure the productivity of one cancels out the brain numbing effect of the other. The unfolding of life is not nearly as satisfying though sometimes. You plan it all out and make it clean and then poof, someone dumps your nicely folded basket on the floor.

I just took the book out of the library, Stumbling on Happiness, and while I have barely cracked it open I am already thinking about it. Am I strange for thinking laundry can make me happy?

Below is a quote from the review by Malcolm Gladwell, the author of The Tipping Point and Blink.

Stumbling on Happiness is a book about a very simple but powerful idea. What distinguishes us as human beings from other animals is our ability to predict the future--or rather, our interest in predicting the future. We spend a great deal of our waking life imagining what it would be like to be this way or that way, or to do this or that, or taste or buy or experience some state or feeling or thing. We do that for good reasons: it is what allows us to shape our life. And it is by trying to exert some control over our futures that we attempt to be happy. But by any objective measure, we are really bad at that predictive function. We're terrible at knowing how we will feel a day or a month or year from now, and even worse at knowing what will and will not bring us that cherished happiness. Gilbert sets out to figure what that's so: why we are so terrible at something that would seem to be so extraordinarily important?

Clearly finding out not only what makes us happy but, why it makes us happy is important business. I must say my curiosity is peaked and I will probably read this book cover to cover. So far my life is unfolding in way that makes me happy. I have a loving, happy, and healthy family. We have a nice home, jobs, cars, security - all the things we seek out to create our happiness. The book opens with a line about what would you do if you had 10 minutes to live, would you do what you are doing right now? Duh, no I wouldn't, but rarely in life are you faced with such a scenario. You hear of people traveling to special places as their last wish or trying something new, or just spending time with family. Posting a blog entry I doubt it, but does that make the happiness I get from doing this any less valid?

I think things are unfolding just fine, but for good measure I will read the book anyway. You can never have too much happiness.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Monday Musings - Beautiful and Sad

Yesterday was my brother's wedding and it was a wonderful day. The bride was radiant and my brother made a dashing groom. They are a well-matched, lively and creative couple who complement each other in every way. We got rained on, but other than that the day was lovely. The day is still in many ways a jumble of emotions for me. My feelings about my Dad, seeing cousins I had not seen in 11 years, seeing family friends who knew me as a child and now are shocked to see me with children, the fact that my brother thanked every member of the wedding party, the bride's family and his family - but forgot me and my family. The girls felt a little left out too and that hurt more. The bride was busy with all her girls and family members rushing about, we were in the house ages before we were acknowledged. This is the frenzy of getting ready for a wedding, but for my little girls all primped and ready to be oohed and aahed over it was a bit sad. We did eventually get to the see the bride and all was well after a few pictures and minutes posing with the bride.

There was however, no mention in any of the speeches of me, Hubby or the girls. Am I smarting? Yup. Many people noticed and have commented, I mean we sat at the prime table with his Mom and grandparents. I am sure it was not intentional, but I felt so left out. We worked so hard to prepare for this day and prepare the girls. This is still a little raw and I am sure a perspective will be gained further along the way, but my heart broke a bit when he reached the end of his speech and thanked or mentioned everyone else but us. The bride and groom both loved the slide show we put together with all their baby pictures and current pictures set to music, they were both in tears and told us so, and I know they loved it, I really do. I thought they might mention that at least, but no luck.

They both hugged us and told us how happy they were to have us there throughout the night, I know that is really all the thanks I need. I guess that shout-out meant more to me than I thought. Why is it that knowing you are loved and special and valued is so much different than being told so, is that why we blog then - why I blog - to be told over and over that I matter?

Maybe I was expecting too much. I did not have a say in how my family evolved. My parents divorced when I was a child, both remarried, my Mom would remarry for a third time. My father had two more children and while I love them fiercely maybe you cannot forge a bond that just isn't there in that deep, complicated way living together your whole life gives you. After my father died I made a promise to myself to keep the ties strong with my brother, sister and Step-mother. They are a link to him that no one else has with me. They belonged to him just as much as I did. Without him though, we are left to forge and flounder and find a way to remain a family.

Was this most likely a completely unintentional over-sight of the bride and groom during stressed out moments of cobbling together a speech the night before (knowing my brother), yes probably. Do I have any right to feel so sad over this? That remains to be seen. I certainly do not want them to know how I feel, since I think that this is one of those things that looms large in the forefront of your mind and eventually settles a bit further back day by day until you cannot remember why you were so upset in the first place.

I have got myself out of bed to write out elaborate responses to situations only to tear them up upon the light of day, I know this is one of those cases. My heart is hurt - my ego maybe more; and it smarts, it really does. I feel better already sharing this out loud, the words before me make it less so somehow.

And on to the beautiful.

The girls looked liked angels and behaved so well it was actually a very easy day despite the hectic pace and long hours. They walked up the aisle right on cue and sat on the alter steps for the entire 45 minute ceremony, they were so, so good. Many people came up to me throughout the day (and night) to tell me what pleasure they were to be around all day. Most of the other children ran wildly about and while no one seemed to mind, and they didn't disrupt anything really, it was just really clear that our girls were not behaving like the other kids.

This was a bit of a dilemma for me. I often wonder if we are too hard on the girls or if our expectations are too high. The girls did not have one meltdown or tantrum all day, the only hitch was that at some point Rosebud just wasn't interested in smiling for anymore photos so I promised we would go somewhere special as a reward for all her hard work as a flower girl. We are going to the chosen indoor play land tomorrow, a deal is a deal. They ate their meals and were generally such good company I could see a glimpse of the future where our time spent together is less about wrangling the girls and more about being with the girls.

Omaha Mama made some good points on the fine lines and slippery slopes of good behaviour, attentive parenting and kids being kids. This topic makes its round around the blogosphere every so often. I certainly did not tell my girls they could not have fun or run around. I prepared them for the day by explaining the church is God's house just as always and even though it is a fun occasion it is a special day and we must behave like special guests.

During the dinner the DJ had to ask the children tearing around the dance floor to take their seats after several near misses with the servers carrying huge trays of food. Several parents took their kids outside to run in the lobby area, rather than fight them into their chairs. Rosebud eventually fell asleep on my lap and was transferred to her stroller for the remainder of the evening. Papoosie Girl stayed up until 11:30pm dancing with her Dad and three grandmothers, until 11:30pm when she suddenly declared she was tired and needed to go to bed. My sister-in-law took the girls home for us so we could stay a bit later.

We approached the day with the attitude that we would try everything accordingly to the schedule and just see how things went. We started our day at the hair dressers at 7:45am, went to the bride's house for photos, the church, the park for photos, the hall for more photos and the reception. I never imagined it could go this smoothly and I wonder if all the stars and moons aligned for this one perfect day? A day so perfect we keep looking at each other to confirm it really went so well.

Weddings can bring out emotions you forgot were lurking about. Beck blogged about this very thing tonight as well. Seeing family you have not seen in a long time. These people are your flesh and blood, look like you and share a common bond, yet are strangers. You make promises to see each other more often under less orchestrated circumstances knowing that it will not happen, even though you really mean it at the time. I discovered that myself and two of my first cousins gave our children the same middle name, our maiden name in fact. Life goes on and the new family you have created becomes the focus, the object blocking the rest of the view finder.

I know my brother loves me. I know this is and it has it been a complicated and delicate dance of being family and siblings, while never having the opportunity to live together. None of us chose this path, not him, not me and not my sister. We are all family though and will continue to love each other, our captain is gone, but we sail along none-the-less. I wished every Christmas for a brother or sister and was lucky to get one of each.

I truly am grateful to be a part of his special day, he has grown into a wonderful man and his bride is a treasure. It was not a day to be all about me or my feelings and I so get that. You cannot prepare your heart for such day however, it is not quite as tidy as dress fittings or searching for the perfect shoes. So enough whining.

In case I have thoroughly depressed and or bored you with the ticker tape of neurosis that resides in my head, I offer another dose of extreme cuteness. Being flower girls was the thrill of a lifetime for the girls, it really was, and I am so thankful that they were asked.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

A Baby Story - Baby 1 - Part 2

So where were we...right, it was about 3:30am, I was leaking something pinkish, I am a month away from my due date on December 28, 2000.

While Hubby goes to find the phone number for the hospital I pull out a bag. We have not yet had our appointment where we get all this information in a nice neat package. We called the main line and after some garbled ramblings about being pregnant, a month early and leaking we are transferred to Labour and Delivery. I am told I am probably leaking amniotic fluid and thus my water has indeed broken. They are very concerned about the colour which I assure them is not brown only pinky/red. The nurse checks my file and tells me I am about 3-4 days away from being full-term, therefore I am in preterm labour, which sounds very, very, scary when they tell you this over the phone. The nurse tells us to get to the hospital right away, um can I have a shower I ask? The answer is yes, if I don't dawdle, they would like me at the hospital within the hour.

A shower you might think? A girl has plans for her birth you know? Everything taken care of, shaved, prepped, polished and the like. Let's just say it was a hasty preparation. After my quick shower and blow-dry I get dressed. I am leaking still, but a pad seems to do the job fine for now. Now we need to pack the bag, which Hubby starts while I am in the shower - his biggest worry is the stopwatch.

The stopwatch was prominently featured in our childbirth classes, it was important to time the contractions and keep track of everything. He searched and searched and could not find it, much to his dismay. It meant nothing that I wasn't even having contractions, at best I could be described as slightly crampy or perhaps that was cranky. We manage to pack a bag with my must have item - lip balm, I cannot live without lip balm. I love the stuff. We get downstairs and it is about 4am or so and Hubby stops me in the doorway to take a photo, I even look happy.

As we getting in the car, my seat protected with a green garbage bag - I don't know what I thought would happen on the car ride, Hubby informs me we need gas - we are on empty. Huh?! It is 4am I am in labour or something like it and we need to stop for diesel. And so we did. This made me edgy, didn't Hubby pay attention in class, you must have a full tank of gas at all times!

We parked and found our way up to Labour and Delivery with little fuss, with our bags and pillows in tow. I was put into an assessment room with one other woman who was groaning so loudly. I mentioned to the nurse that the baby had been breech about six days at my last appointment when she could not find the heartbeat where it was supposed to be. Right away, I was taking off my nail polish which I don't normally wear, but had put some on at Christmas. Next I was signing all kinds of forms and the words emergency c-section were said somewhere. While I know I was not panicked there was an intensity to this moment that was very palpable.

You might laugh, but the next thing did was check me, you know down there, internally. It was my first internal examination of my entire pregnancy and after declaring I was, "tighter than a steel drum" and not effaced or thinned out at all, I was sent for an ultrasound to confirm where the baby was heading. I remember telling the doctor I was breech just a few days earlier, let's just say he was not in the mood for my assessment. When he told me the baby was indeed head down I was shocked. I had thought I felt the baby turn, but wasn't really sure. It was such a roller coaster of thinking I might have to have a c-section, being terrified, accepting it, and then going through the process all over again when I realized I was going to be pushing this baby out.

One of the most difficult moments of my entire labour happened during this assessment. The nurse told me that since the baby was preterm he/she would have to stay in the hospital while I went home...that the baby might be sick and would have to stay in the nursery while I went home. I am sure she was just trying to prepare me, but it cast a shadow on the labour that never really lifted. I was scared already and even though my assigned nurse was great and reassured me that the baby was going to be fine, those first words stuck with me.

By about 6am we were settled in our large, pink, room (a sign!) equipped with all the necessities like a big TV. I was told I would have to be put on Pitocin since I was not quite in labour despite my water breaking I was not having any real contractions, it was important to get things moving. They started all the IV's and the massive bruise on my arm lingered for weeks where the nurse could not get it in right.

We were settled, I was feeling fine, no pain yet and the TV was on for Hubby to watch a little news. I waited until about 8:30am to call my Mom (she was working that day) and tell her I was at the hospital, despite me assuring her I was fine she left work and came to the hospital around noon. I had never discussed with Hubby who (if anyone) would be present at the birth of our baby, I think it was just unspoken that it would be us only. I am a very private person, I once yelled at a doctor as a child for lifting up my shirt.

We also phoned my in-laws and my best friend. My best friend (we met in Grade 9 and while very different in personality, love each other like sisters) was home and her Hubby was out skiing with his brother and she decided to come by and arrived around 2pm. Her initial reaction to the call from Hubby was "yeah right" she had seen me the night before at the Nutcracker, she thought it was a was the crepes he told her. In fact, all the phone calls we made to tell people we were having or had the baby were met with similar reactions. Several people flat out didn't believe him at all. I would have to take the phone to make them believe it.

The day passed slowly I remember, but when I think of what I might have done for all those hours I cannot think of a single thing. I was not allowed out the bed since I was on the Pictocin, I did not pack cards or games, I was not allowed to eat anything, I just remember my Mom, Hubby and my friend sitting by the edge of my bed in a very reassuring way. I was mad I couldn't use the tub, I had been imagining my labour taking place in the tub and thought of it as a magical place to labour, I never made it to the tub the second time either. Er.

By early afternoon I was still one centimetre despite the increasing Pitocin coursing through me for hours. I was getting uncomfortable, but was still not in enough pain to get the epidural. My lovely nurse, Caroline kept telling me that Pictocin causes a very intense labour and to not be so stubborn to not say when I might need it. By the time I realized I needed it and could not cope, I was having back labour and contractions minutes apart. They made everyone - including Hubby leave to do the epidural which upset me greatly. It hurt like hell of course, but once it was done I felt a bit better knowing that I would feel better soon. That however, never happened, it did not work as it was supposed to, I could still feel everything. We waited and waited, then they "topped me up" directly into the line. Nothing. My option was to stay as it or try it again. Hubby says he heard me scream done the hall while they pulled it out and did it again. Thankfully, the second time it worked and I was numb in no time.

By about 3pm I was still one centimetre or so and had had a few scary moments when the baby's heartbeat dropped suddenly. Out of nowhere, nurses rushed in and put a mask over my face, furiously checking the papers spewing out of the machines. For most of the day up until that point, my nurse would come and go checking on me and the papers with little fanfare. My nurse kept saying over and over how this must be a boy because she would constantly lose the heartbeat with the fetal belt around my belly. Over and over she would readjust the belt and faithfully the baby would wiggle away. It drove her crazy. Something that drove me crazy was the blood pressure cuff that went off automatically every 15 minutes. In the middle of pushing I demanded it be removed, it was bothering me more than pushing.

When the doctor would check me every few hours it would always be the same, I was getting thinner and the baby was moving down, but I was not dilating. When the heartbeat dropped for the second time they consulted about what to do next. They decided to "Pit past it" which I think meant that if it happened again after increasing the Pictocin one more time I would have to consider a c-section. Thankfully that didn't happen again. I was told at some point that there would be several people in the room for the delivery, the baby would have his/her own nurse and doctor and there was a special warming table moved into the end of my room. I was warned the baby would be taken to the Special Care Nursery for assessment and I may not even get to hold the baby depending on how things were...

By 6pm Hubby was starving so he left to grab some food. I think my Mom and friend did come and go and had grabbed coffees and food at some point. Right after he left the doctor came to check me and I was finally dilated, I was 10 centimetres and there was just a tiny edge left and soon I would be able to push! Uh, where is Hubby? Bring him back now!! My Mom goes to find him and he returns (food uneaten) just as I am giving the nurse a practice push, just to see how I can do it, in her words. What happens next is pretty quick. It is about 6:30pm, I am showing the nurse my great pushing skills when she tells me to stop pushing and I hear the doctor being paged to our room. At some point I am put into the stirrups, they are asking me who is staying in the room - they only wanted two people in the room so my friend leaves, which freaks me out. I don't want anyone to leave me, I want them all there. No dice, so she watches from the hall. My Mom and Hubby are by my side, something I never imagined was having my mother in the delivery room, that is just not me, yet somehow it was exactly as it was meant to be.

I remember demanding the cuff be removed (in the photos though it appears to be still on after the birth so perhaps I only imagined they took it off), I remember the oxygen mask put on my face, and mostly I remember Hubby right in my face talking to me and telling me to listen to him and I remember hearing lots of voices, but it was like they were floating in the air far away from my ears. Between 6:30pm and 7:01pm when Papoosie Girl was born was a blur in a way. I was not trying to push, it was like my body took over, and even though they were telling me to, "blow it away" my body just did what it was supposed to do. Her head was out before the doctor arrived and I think I may have pushed about 6 or 7 times. She came out very quickly, which I paid for in the form of many, many stitches.

Since this was somewhat of a high-risk delivery, we did not cut the cord and she was given to me very briefly. They took her to the end of the room in the warmer and told us she seemed fine and wasn't even that small (she was 6lbs, 7oz's), but they had to take her to the Special Care Nursery for a more thorough assessment. I got to hold her for about a minute and while I sometimes wished for those early bonding moments I really was in no shape for much at that moment. Hubby stayed with me initially while my Mom followed the baby, my friend had immediately bee-lined into the room once the baby was born and took our first photos. I sent Hubby to see the baby and my friend remained by my side during the less than delicate after-birth part of labour.

There was lots of blood, that I remember and the stitches took nearly an hour. My friend held my hand during the entire hour and regaled me with stories about her co-workers to distract me. At one point the doctor asks, "is she a vegetarian?" to which she replied no. The doctor never addressed me directly and was complaining about my poor tissue quality and was wondering if I was a vegetarian, I piped up that I did have low iron and I don't think she answered me. Later when the epidural had worn off and I was literally lifting off the bed, they gave me a shot of local anesthesia - ouch! At some point I asked when this was going to be done, a voice came up from the bottom of the bed, "I will be done when I am done." To be fair this doctor came by room the next day to apologize for being so terse, she told me later that I was so bad she was very worried I might need more than what she could do, she had done over 50 stitches. I was thankful she was so concerned if not personable. I do not know what I would have done if my friend had not been with me, she saved me at that moment.

During our hospital tour we stood outside the door to the Special Care Nursery. I remember kind of zoning out as they talked about the various scenarios for which you might require the nursery. There were pregnant women all around walking, being wheeled, on beds going by, some with babies, some still in labour and I was totally distracted by it all. When were initially told our baby would be going to the nursery I remember thinking I was being punished for not paying closer attention on the tour. Stupid I know, but I felt so guilty about that after delivery that I practically memorized the brochure they gave me.

Hubby gave me a present right after Papoosie Girl was born and off in the nursery with Nana. He had the idea to present me with a special gift right after the birth, a keepsake of this momentous occasion. He forgot the present in our haste to leave the house and had his parents bring it to the hospital, which I found out about much later.

It was a tough delivery in so many ways, but of course it ended with a healthy, beautiful baby girl we loved and loved as if she was always a part of us. She was not allowed to room with me since she was quite jaundice and needed to be hooked up the "Bili" blanket all the time. The SCN staff were wonderful and Papoosie Girl was assigned a nurse every 12 hours and we had complete access whenever we wanted. I could call or visit anytime. It took me until the afternoon before I could walk down there the next day, after sitting on a rubber glove full of ice all night.

She was our special little angel and always managed to get out her hand to put it on her face...she still sleeps like this sometimes.

That is the end of this story. the only other important information and maybe those of you who had babies around the same time have picked up on it. I was planning on taking a one year maternity leave as the legislation was changing from six months to one year at midnight December 31, 2000. At some point during labour we realized I was not going to get the one year leave, it didn't matter when you were due, it mattered when the baby was born. Not a high concern when you are in the middle of labour, but let me tell you I cursed that little monkey quite a bit after. I was three days shy of getting an extra six months of maternity leave. I ended up taking off eight months in total, the last two months with no benefits.

We went home on New Year's Eve 2000 and I remember asking the nurse what would happen if someone was pushing right near midnight? I mean one push either way and you are out six months with your baby! She told me it really would not be a factor, the health of everyone, blah, blah, blah. Let me tell you, I bet a lot of babies were born at 12:01 am that night.

I will take a little birthing break before I recount the one or two paragraphs my planned c-section with Rosebud will take. She deserves her moment though no matter how orchestrated it was. It was still special and all that, just not as riveting. Well, there was the problem of no name up until the night before, that was fun.

I love reading about other birth stories, mostly because mine were so different, none of the hewing and hawing, cursing or hours of pacing and pushing. I guess they are all different no matter which way it goes. A birth is a miracle each and every time. I was so lucky to be in the delivery room for both of my godchildren - the friend who held my hand, her kids. I was able to witness it in such a way that I could never have with my own girls. It was so moving and special to witness a baby coming into this world, such a high I could barely sleep both times. She is pregnant with her third child and if I am invited I will try to be there again. I have no idea if I will make it to the delivery room again, I can't even think about it right now. It makes me too sad to think it is all over.

Tell me your story! Now it is your turn.

Monday, July 09, 2007

A Baby Story - Baby 1 - Part 1

I have been inspired by the birth story of Miss Baby that Mimi recounted with such wonderful detail and suspense! I have decided that I should do the same thing for Papoosie Girl and Rosebud and while I have alluded to some of the details here and there, now is the time for an official documentation of the wild and wonderful births of my daughters. How the best laid plans fall to the ground while the magic and force of childbirth take over. My births could not be more different, but in the end I got the same thing, a blessing in the form of a daughter in a magical moment that is burned into my heart forever.

Setting the stage

While pregnant with Papoosie Girl, a planned pregnancy following a miscarriage, we were ecstatic. After being married for two and a half years we felt ready to start our family and got pregnant easily on the first month of trying (actually that happened each time I got pregnant), much to Hubby's chagrin, shouldn't we have to try for months he would complain. We told our families on July 1, 2000 which not only was Canada Day it is my Hubby's Name Day so we invited everyone over for a BBQ and put the following sign on a borrowed highchair and didn't say a word, just let everyone figure it out. It was a wonderful day. I have searched high and low for the photos from that day and they remain missing for the moment. The sign has been in Papoosie Girl's keepsake box all this time and I am so glad we kept it. Another sign this was not meant to be was that first version Hubby brought home he mistakenly typed 2000 instead of 2001 and he had to make another one. Our baby was determined to make an early entrance it seemed.

I have a small confession in that I told my Mom ( just my Mom I swear!) the weekend before and there is a photo of the two of us right after I told her that I didn't know was taken. We are both beaming.

I was suffering morning sickness quite badly and was losing a lot of weight, about 15 pounds in total, I would later gain back about 9 pounds. I would constantly joke it was the best diet I was ever on. By about 10 weeks I was getting nervous and even though I knew my dates my doctor ordered an early ultrasound to officially date the pregnancy - although I think he ordered it so I would stop all the questions about how can a baby grow when all I do is throw up and why am I losing all this weight?

At 10 weeks we got our first glimpse of Papoosie Girl (who for the record I knew was a girl all along, either that or I willed it) and she was a delightful tadpole with a tiny black speck of a heart, a heart that was beating strongly right into my own.

Moving along

Things progressed along and by about four months I was much less sick, but still was hyper-sensitive to smells and was eating a very unhealthy diet. I basically could eat things that were white which included, white bread, Arrowroot cookies, poutine (from Harvey's), yoghurt, and grilled cheese. It was the most unhealthy and disgusting diet I have ever followed, what I ate was directly controlled by what it smelled or looked like. Hubby could not eat in front of me at all and the sight of meat in any form would make me ill. Grocery stores became toxic pits of nasty smells and any food smell sent me over the edge.

A friend later told me she knew I was pregnant when we went to The Keg and I ordered a plain baked potato for dinner. The only good thing I ate really was what I drank, and that was lots of milk. I would anguish over the What To Do if You are a Good Person and Pregnant books and the phrase, "making every bite count" haunted me. By about four and a half months I was at least looking pregnant and starting to wear maternity clothes that were hanging in my closest taunting me. I remember the first time I wore maternity clothes it was an August evening and we went to the movies, I could not believe everyone was going about their business, could they not see I WAS PREGNANT AND WEARING MATERNITY CLOTHES!

Throughout this time of nausea and losing weight my doctors were never concerned at all. It took longer to find a parking space, go up the elevator, check-in and wait than any of my appointments lasted. Each month I would lose more weight and each month I would ask in a scared voice, how can the baby be growing? I was always assured the baby was growing just fine. I am quite sure that unless I was lying in a pool of blood, holding one of my own limbs, I would have gotten the same trite responses to any question I asked, " that happens during pregnancy" they would tell me. After about 6 months of constant weight loss Hubby was getting concerned, perhaps I was asking the wrong questions he would suggest helpfully. So at my 6 month check-up I laid it on the line, please doctor tell me what is wrong. After thinking for about a minute this was her reply; " if you were skinny we would be worried." I left the appointment and phoned Hubby, everything is fine with the baby I told him and the doctor just called me fat! It is true I am not a skinny girl, but I was not enormous either, at any rate, I had lots of reserves so no problem losing the weight. Phew.

By about November I was starting to not feel well, although putting a finger on it exactly was difficult and my OB/GYN was never interested or concerned about my feelings. While I was not sick exactly I just felt off. They would assure me it was hormones, and I was tired and all that was true, but this was different. Work was stressing me out and while I worked in a very stressful and busy job, it was not new to me and I could handle it normally quite easily. By mid-November I was dumped another huge project with no assistance or support. In a rather dramatic move I left the office one day and headed to my family doctor and spilled everything. He told me I had a choice and that was to keep going or to leave work now. While he was never really alarmed he knows me well enough to know when I have had enough and that I know my body and my body was speaking to me loud and clear.

I returned to work the next morning to tell my boss I was leaving work early on medical advice and this was my last day of work. To this day I am not sure what was really wrong with me, which I am sure sounds strange. My short-term disability which I was approved for was labeled as Anxiety/Pre-Natal Depression (if memory serves me correctly) and I am grateful I worked for a company with such benefits. I remember talking to the benefit person I was assigned and telling her quite frankly that I wasn't interested in spelling out a huge case for my benefits, if my documentation was not enough I was not going back and they could just cancel my pay. I was in a place mentally that I have never been before, a place where instinct to protect my unborn child and my own sanity took over. I remember the benefit person being surprised at my candor and telling me a story of her own sister's anxious pregnancy - I was approved without any other questions.

I stopped working the last week of November and at the time my January 27, 2001 due date seemed safely far away. I had a surprise shower to keep me busy, then there was Christmas to get ready for and a special New Year's Eve - it was the year 2000 and we planned to go out for dinner and a movie with our friends that night. What is funny now while I am reliving and remembering, that so many signs were there for me to figure out something was happening - I just didn't have clue what I would have been looking for at the time.

My entire pregnancy the baby was breech at all of my check-ups, but also still small enough to move around a lot. The baby was not in "position" at what would be my final check-up on December 21, and the doctor told me that we would have to talk about options at my next appointment the first week of January. I was terrified about the prospect of a c-section, but I also knew that I had a month to go and the baby still had time to get into position.

Christmas Day was busy and hectic and we did more visiting on Boxing Day. I remember thinking I felt funny on Boxing Day and while I couldn't really put an actual reason to it, I knew I felt funny. We headed out on the 27th to buy a new camera at Henry's, we were getting it as a Christmas present to ourselves before the baby came. That night we were looking forward (well, the girls were anyway) to seeing the Nutcracker and for dinner at Le Papillon for crepes.

We finished our shopping and got ready to pick up our friends. We drove and we all piled into our Volkswagen Golf diesel that we drove at the time. About ten minutes into the Nutcracker both of the guys were dosing and while the show was spectacular I was so distracted. Right before the intermission I felt some movements so huge I nearly had to leave my seat. I am quite certain now that the baby turned and that turning somehow broke my water. We finish out the Nutcracker and head to dinner. The crepes were delicious and I was feeling strange, but again could not really come up with a concrete reason why, so I kept quiet. The discussion of course made it's way to the upcoming arrival and the fact that I had not yet packed my bag. I remember saying, "I have plenty of time, the baby is not due for another month" little did I know I would be packing one in a matter of hours. I have not eaten crepes since that night. I am aware that they could not possibly cause early labour, but I take no chances - even when obviously not even pregnant.

Dinner was finished and we drove home around 11pm that night. We dropped off our friends and headed home. I was showered and in bed by midnight and fell quickly asleep. I awoke at about 3am to go pee, since the bathroom is attached to our bedroom and the door is about three feet from my side of the bed I rarely put the light on or put on my glasses. After a quick pee I washed my hands and got a drink of water. As I was standing at the sink running the water to get a bit colder, warm water started to drip down my legs. Sleepy, disoriented and in the dark I thought I was still peeing. I quickly put on the light and grabbed my glasses and in those moments of confusion I was standing on our bathroom carpet which is blue so I was unaware of the colour of my pee that I thought was dripping down my legs.

After getting my glasses from the night table I noticed that the pee was not exactly a normal colour, it was pink. Pink drips covered my bathroom floor, in that moment I remember thinking what could this be? At that moment I still did not figure out this could be my water breaking. They say that time stands still during certain moments of your life. At 3am on December 28, 2000 I stood in my bathroom alone wondering for a moment what was happening to me. I woke up Hubby with the delicate and touching words, "I'm leaking" we were both in the bathroom when we decided this must be my water breaking despite being a month away from my due date and no apparent signs of labour. No huge whoosh of water like in the movies, no hee hee haw breathing during contractions, just pink drops and two people who had no idea where this night would lead.

Here is where the story ends for today....I am having such fun recalling all these moments, but I am worried the minute I hit Publish I will remember something else. How did Mimi do it?

Stay tuned.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Flower Girls

My brother is getting married next weekend. Both the girls are flower girls, their first time and they are practically bursting with excitement. We have been to many dress fittings and related getting ready for a wedding errands. Tonight is the wedding rehearsal at 7:30pm at the Church, a time that normally would be filled with nice, quiet activities before bed. I fear going out to something so thrilling at bedtime may bring on a level of excited behaviour I am frankly not up for tonight.

After the rehearsal is dinner, which we may or may not attend. It is being held at my Step-Mom's house - my brother's Mom - the back story being my Dad and Mom divorced when I was quite young. My Dad remarried and had two more children, the elder, my brother is getting married next weekend. My Dad has since passed away, 11 years ago this August, he was 48 years old.

She lives about 30 minutes away from the Church so we may pass since this means the party will be starting around 9pm, and while I feel bad, it is just so late for the girls and to top it off it is another 30-40 minute drive back to our house after the party.

Rosebud has been fighting a cold for the last few days and I just want her to get all the rest she can this weekend. This wedding while we are involved we are not. It is just one of those things. The bride has a huge and involved family who are really handling everything well, not to mention her sister, cousins and countless friends. While we picked the dresses for the girls together the rest has really been all me. Deciding on their shoes, hairstyle, etc. has been fun in an exhausting kind of way. It is strange to be a part of the wedding and so much on the outside, odd somehow.

Hubby and I have also prepared the slide show for the wedding, all of their baby pictures and together pictures set to music all thanks to Hubby's talents in iMovie (I think?) anyway it is so amazing and quite a tear-jerker. No one has seen it except my sister and my Mom so I am really excited to show this off at the wedding. We never did anything like this for our wedding and I kind of wish we did, I guess it wasn't the rage ten years ago.

This wedding while a fun distraction and joyous event is bringing to the surface many, many wishes and regrets. My Dad should be here to see this, to set everyone straight, to witness his second eldest getting married. I think by now everyone thinks, while this was a tragedy, you really should have moved on by now. And I have in many ways. This wedding though is different, my babies will walk down the aisle so proud and my heart will be leaping with a million bounces of joy and be breaking into a million shards of sorrow too. I am so happy both my Mother and her husband and my in-laws will be there to see the spectacle. I want the girls to know they are loved by so many people and their circle of family may not be conventional (my Mom is attending my brother's wedding) it is full of love for them. They have three "Grandma's" and they love them all. They are lucky girls for sure. I just wish that providence saw to it that we were just a tiny bit luckier. That would have been something. Of course, even saying this out loud makes me want to knock on everything, in hopes that God knows how truly and grateful and blessed I feel. I am blessed, I know that, my heart just needs convincing sometimes.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Monday Musings - Just the Facts (and a few Habits)

That sweetie Beck tagged me for this meme which I have sort of done before, it was weird things about me. This meme is about facts and habits, so here goes.

No, not these Facts....

Here are the rules:

A. Each player lists 8 facts/habits about themselves. Will do.

B. The rules of the game are posted at the beginning before those facts/habits are listed. OK

C. At the end of the post, the player then tags 8 people and posts their names, then goes to their blogs and leaves them a comment, letting them know that they have been tagged and asking them to read your blog. Not going to happen, everyone I know has been tagged.

8 Things About Me You Don’t Really Care About You Need to Know:

1) Habit - If I am doing more than one load of laundry during the day I sort the items by person as they come out of the dryer to make folding faster. I use three baskets, one for each girl and one for us. If I have towels I use another basket for them.

2) Fact - I have no tattoos, but my ears are double-pierced. I have not put earrings in the second holes in years. Want more? I did the second myself with an ice cube and sewing needle. This is true, I swear. It is also true that it usually took about three nurses to hold me to get a needle as a child.

3) Habit - I try to touch papers once, a habit I learned in my past office life. I either make a note, file it, or recycle it after I receive it. This doesn't explain all the things on my cork board in the kitchen, but it sure sounds good. Actually, the cork board is usually full of appointment cards or invitations, full of helpful maps and registry cards.

4) Fact - My middle name is Ann, without the "e". I have always wanted that "e" just like a certain Miss Shirley.

5) Habit - I never go to bed with dirty dishes. I cannot relax for the evening until my kitchen is clean. Other chores can wait, not the kitchen.

6) Fact - I rarely wear deodorant, it gives me a rash. Well, not so much a rash as it just irritates my skin. When I do use it I use Dove for sensitive skin which is the least irritating I have found. I shower everyday and use cornstarch powder and everyone always tells me how nice I smell. Even on the days I don't wear any perfume. I also don't get any sweaty marks on my clothes.

7) Habit - Checking my blog for comments or new posts on Google Reader five times a day.

8) Fact - I am considering having another baby...well it might be a joint decision, but you get the idea.

All Done