Wednesday, October 26, 2011

my boy

Rhys is a *bit* delayed.  Just a little. Okay, maybe a lot, I don't know. He's been seen by Michele, from Infant Development Program (which actually changed their name this year, but I can't remember what to), since he was a few months old due to his premature birth. (She also came and saw the older two boys when they were little, so she's been in our family for almost 8 years! That's neat to think of!)  According to her Assessment quiz, or whatever it was, Rhys is placed anywhere from 30-36 months of age.  He is actually 40 months old, if I can count properly!  This result doesn't surprise me (and this was just her quick assessment after his testing, and not the whole explained result. I'll get that this week when she comes.) To me, he looks and acts like a 2 1/2 year old, not a child who turned 3 in the summer. He seems smaller, younger...more babyish than child-like. But maybe that's why I love him so much. His baby-ness is endearing to me! He's cute and sweet and so innocent and cuddly. I don't want him to outgrow this yet!  Okay, sometimes I do! But I love his personality, and if having him lose it because he ages, I'd rather he stay little!

We're working on his speech right now, as that is where he is the furthest behind. This is like old hat to me, though, and I'm not worried. We went through this with Kai, and started the process with Bryn, and now here we are with Rhys...what is up with my boys??? :)  I vividly remember the whole long journey with Kai; the painful, stressful, disheartening journey. I don't remember anything with Byrn; how long he was delayed for, what his actual struggle was, none of it! I just remember feeling as though he'd "get it" in time. And, sure enough, when we were placed on the waiting list for speech therapy, by the time we were called, he had caught up!

I still do feel that Rhys will "get it" soon too, and he is, but we have been seen at Surrey Early Speech and Language, where Kai was seen for two years. That was a mixed feeling for me. For one, I wasn't too sure I wanted him to be seen by the ST we were assigned since I remembered her from three years earlier as being a bit stand-off-ish and not warm. Secondly, I didn't really think we needed therapy. I was sure that Rhys would take off on his own soon! I went in thinking it wouldn't be worth my time, to be honest.  (plus, I had to bring in all of the other kids and that's stressful for me. I don't like taking them all with me when we need to see any type of professional) Yes, he was delayed just like Kai was, but he was also so different than him too. Rhys was actually interested in speaking, he just didn't know how or wasn't given the time he needed or...or something. He was delayed but willing to learn. Whereas Kai was not and was such a struggle to get to participate and respond in anything other than grunts; he was so difficult! So I went to our initial appointment with the thoughts that we wouldn't need to do this, that things would work out, that whatever it was that was holding Rhys back would be solved.

How surprised I was to find that I was annoyed with the ST for brushing us off! Well, maybe she didn't really brush us off, but she didn't give any indication that she thought he was needing immediate attention. Instead, she wanted me to attend this parent workshop and then call her for a follow-up assessment in December! She wasn't doing her job and wanted me to do it instead! I was so frustrated with her! I know, how arrogant of me, eh?  I didn't think Rhys needed therapy like Kai did and when she agreed with me in unspoken terms, I was upset! It made no sense!

But, each week, I dutifully attended this parent workshop that was designed to teach parents techniques on getting their child to the next level of speech and how to avoid the things they were doing to hold them back in their development. I went because I had to, because if I didn't, it would make me look bad. I left the first night, not armed with new information or skills (it was info I'd already been told many times before....repeat, repeat, repeat, use 1 word when talking..etc) but with a realization of how my own attitude may have been holding him back!  I sat with a good 10 other couples who actually wanted to be there! In fact, one mom was wanting the help so badly that she had brought along her parents, her brother and his wife, as they all wanted to support and help her out! That blew me away! And a foster mother was there because three of her charges were delayed!  These people came because they thought this was going to help and they welcomed that and they desired to learn some skills! I came because I wanted to. How arrogant of me!

Since starting, Rhys' speech has grown big time! He is starting to use 2-word sentences now (YAY!) and his vocabulary has expanded! It's awesome! I don't think it's because of these classes, to be honest. I think he picked them up on his own. But these classes did help me out. I'm still not too sure what is causing his delayment, but I do wonder if it's because we rush too much. We think we're helping him, but we're speaking for him, supplying him with the answers, and not sitting back and letting him initiate.  We had some homework with our classes, which included setting aside 10 minutes...just 10...where we interacted with the child but were not allowed to respond or talk or fill in answers until we counted to 10 slowly! (So we'd say something, wait to see if they'd respond and then count before saying something again. 1 mississippi, 2 mississippi, 3 mississippi....) That was painfully hard! We naturally want to fill in the spaces of silence. The other one was where we had to spend half an hour NOT asking questions! That was difficult as well. How do you NOT?  It's something parents are constantly doing. What do you see there? Do you hear that? Would you like this? What is wrong? Where is the...?  But when we ask these types of questions to a speech-delayed child, it doesn't give them a chance to expand on their vocabulary. They can point, grunt or just say Yes in response to many of them!  So I've learned a few things. :)

This week, Rhys showed off not only his understanding of words but that he was starting to grow his conversation skills too! (most speech-delayed children are delayed in their vocalization but not in their understanding, which can make it difficult for parents. We know he can understand a lot yet we need to cut back our speaking to a lower level just to give them the chance to respond.)  I've been teaching him that he is a boy and I am a girl, and who our family is. He did not seem to know this last month at the testing, but now he gets it!

We were out shopping as a family on the weekend when Hunny stops at Best Buy for a new sensor bar for our wii (turns out that one of the bunnies had bit through the wires of our old one!) Abi doesn't want to go in, and Eden is sleeping, and frankly, I had no interest in going inside, so we decided to stay in the van. Now, Rhys is the only one left in a 5-point harness car seat (other than Eden, obviously)  so unfortunately, if he can be left in the vehicle, he will be, just for the inconvenience of taking him in and out of his seat. Which is what Hunny was preparing to do at the store. But Rhys starts to cry, saying "me....me....me!" He wanted out too! As B and Kai are climbing out of the van, Hunny says, "I'm sorry, Rhys, I'm going with just The Boys!"  And Rhys says clearly, "Me Boy!" pointing to his chest emphatically!

Can't argue with that! He got to go too! :)

I love my boy. He is my cuddle bug still. He's sensitive. He's cute. He's witty. And he's starting to grow up. And that's exciting. And sad. But mostly exciting.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

on my own

Tonight is the start of a week on my own. Eight whole days. Just me and my kids. All of us. No other adults, just myself. And the kids. All five of them. For a whole week. Yep.

To be honest, I'm not too worried about it. At least, not now. Ask me how I felt about it a week ago and I'm sure I wouldn't have been so relaxed!  I was surprised, stressed, worried, upset, concerned, angry, jealous and down-right not impressed about it! For one, I thought he was going just for the days he wrote on the calendar. Turns out that was just the days he booked off work! He was actually leaving on the Saturday (today), not the Monday!  That was a complete surprise.  I'll bet my blood pressure was high after I learned that one! I didn't even ask when he was returning; I was too scared to at first!

A whole week!!! It was learned that he was leaving Saturday early morning and not retuning until the next Saturday sometime late!

I admit it, I was filled with jealousy too. When would I get to go away for a week? How come he gets to do that? *sigh*

It wasn't just the length of time he was going that bothered me though, it was the meals I had to deal with as well. Anyone who knows me knows that I do not like cooking. I eat because I have to. Not because I worry about my girlish figure (maybe I should worry more, lol) or that I hate food, it's just that cooking and preparing meals is not on my top List of Things To Do For Fun. Now, there are a lot of foods that I like to eat (pasta, yum!) and many more that I should seriously consider cutting back on (chocolate, sugar...), but cooking as a whole doesn't interest me.  Add that on to having a 4 month old who has decided that her favourite time to eat and want to be held is between 3-6pm, and you're looking at a stressed mother! How in the world was I supposed to feed my other children??? As it is now, I try to prepare as much as I can first, but mostly I'm counting down the hours and minutes for my Hunny to come home and make dinner! So my stress level was pretty high.

But I think I've got that figured out. Hunny was nice enough to pick up some quick and easy dinners for me (frozen pizza, yuck, chicken kiev, yum...) and I have my meals all planned out for the week. I'm just going to have to be vigilant in preparing things more in advance, like at lunchtime! I actually did that the first two to three weeks of school, since we were having to pick up Hunny from his work when the kids were out of school, which meant we weren't returning home until around 5pm, when everyone is so hungry they are grabbing quick, unhealthy snacks. (like popping in at Wired Monk for a coffee and treats all around!)
{going back up to two vehicles has many pros and cons.}

This is the first night, and already I'm bored and I'm missing my Hunny. I don't want to go to bed! I don't mind being home alone and I am actually looking forward to having all this time to myself to do things I want to do. I tend to stay up and hang out with him, watching tv shows, just to spend time together. Which is sweet and cheesy and kind of silly. I'm sure his ego can handle it if I decide not to do that for one or two nights! But I have this guilty nag that tells me that I should spend all my time with my Hunny if I want to keep our marriage happy and thriving. (dang old nag!!!) So this week feels open and fun and full of possibility! I can spend my time downstairs being creative in my Stamp Room!!! (or so I like to think...we'll see how Miss Jellybean takes that!)

I've always thought I'd make a terrible Single Parent, and I don't want to minimize the hard work of those who have no choice, nor do I want to make it out to be worse than it is, or offend anyone at all, but it's true! I need my Hunny. I don't know if I'm patient enough or skilled enough or alert enough to care for this many children! The idea scares the heck outta me to even consider what it would be like if I were suddenly thrust into a situation where I HAD to be a single mom. Not just a week. But as from now on. Not because I'm that bad of a mom or that my kids are that troublesome, but because I rely on him so much! He has done so much for me and be such a huge part in the lives of these kids. Saying that sounds silly and you're probably thinking, well, yeah, of course he has, he's their father, your husband! But that doesn't mean anything! I have two friends who have left husbands who were NOT good fathers. The way they were treated wasn't nice at all either, but it was the way the kids were ignored and discarded that made it the hardest.  And, to be honest, I felt that I was in that group too, in the beginning. My Hunny was great and meant well and cared deeply for us all, but he wasn't involved. I spent a lot of time grumbling and thinking on how much he needed to change that I didn't see all of what he actually was doing.  If I want my marriage to be "happy and thriving", I need to take a good look at the man I married and see him for who he really is. And he is a wonderful blessing to me! I do admit that he's still lacking in the baby care department (I'm sure I can count on one hand how many diapers he's changed over our course of children!) but he is an incredible father to our Clan! And I need him.

This week will be an adventure for all of us! Ask me in a few days how I'm feeling about this, though! Maybe say a few prayers for us.... ;)

Monday, October 10, 2011

Today

Today I am thankful for family that surround me with love. Children's voices that fill my home. Husbands who cook wonderful dinners. A baby's face that lights up with excitement when she sees me. A God who answers prayers. My life.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! 

Friday, September 16, 2011

12 weeks or so ago....

SO it's been a while. I have been busy, sorry, with one of the best things that have happened to me! My Baby Jellybean arrived! But let's back track....where did I leave you at??? Oh yes! My OB fired me!!! H'mm...

I was quite distressed and angry and frustrated and scared and shocked that my own OB would decide she no longer needed to see me. So much so that I vented to my Hypertension, Dr M. Yep. I tattled!!! And it felt good! It made me feel even better when my doctor was just as surprised about it. A week passed and when I saw her again, she told me that she wasn't comfortable with me not having an Obstetrician and offered to write a letter to Dr G. My awesome sister was was me and spoke up for me, saying how we had no confidence in Dr G and didn't want to see her! This was true for me and for my family, but I doubt I would've said anything! I would've hummed and hawed about seeing her again and begrudgingly gone back, all the while wishing I could be brave enough to speak the truth. But I don't want to hurt any feelings or make an inconvenience or be troublesome. (somehow I equate being honest with "overbearing") When Dr M confirmed that's what we wanted, I did manage to request that she refer an OB for me. That would mean seeing one at BC Women's, but that was okay. I figured I go there often enough as it is, so why not? It would also mean delivering there too, which was mixed for me. I had no problems with being there and having Baby Jellybean there, but I was concerned about making the drive while being in labor. Would I make it in time? :(

I was referred to Dr G, who actually didn't practice at BCW, (only delivered there) but had an office a few blocks away, and incidentally, was on vacation! So I saw a Dr. R instead! :) She was nice and checked me out, saying I wasn't dilated despite the many contractions I'd been having. (I'd been having CX since the beginning of May, after baby dropped, at 32.5w) My cervix was "closed but soft", not that I could remember what that meant! That was on Monday, June 6th. On Tuesday, I felt baby descend even further and I started having contractions that evening! I couldn't sleep through them because I kept paying attention to them! I was so paranoid about going into labor and making it to the hospital on time. Having an OB in Vancouver meant delivering there! It takes an hour (roughly) to get there! (well, only 25ms with no traffic!) I wondered if I made a right decision in requesting one from Dr M. I had a feeling I would go very swift!

So there I was, counting contractions and timing things and attempting sleep. They were coming every 3 minutes for 5 hours now. But they weren't painful. But they were consistent. So I woke up Hunny at 6am (June 8th) and I called my sister---except she wasn't answering her cell, go figure! We left at 7am anyways, and she met us at the hospital.

Of course, on the drive in, I noticed that the contractions were lessening. I had a bad feeling about that. :( Sure enough, there were no CX picked up on the NST (non-stress test) and I still wasn't dilated, and as soon as an OB came to see me an hour after I arrived, she discharged me. Phooey. We hung out at the hospital anyways. I had to wait on lab results (to check my liver and such for pre-e signs) and I had an appointment with Dr M. But we were really hoping the contractions would start up again. We didn't want to pay for parking ($3.50/1hr $7.50/3hr $15/day) just to return later that night. So we walked for a bit and had lunch (and even a little nap in the Admitting waiting room) but nothing happened. We left by around 2pm. I felt silly. And really really tired.

I should've realized it was False Labor with these signs: *non-painful contractions (they lasted for hours, but there weren't terribly painful) *the ability to eat (Hunny wanted to stop for a coffee on the way to the hospital, and I devoured some Timbits! That totally threw off my diabetes numbers too, teehee!)

*sigh*

(me at 37w)

The appointment with Dr M had me a bit paranoid though. She wanted me to ask Dr G (the new OB) about "timing of delivery", ie; being induced. Apparently thirty-eight weeks is a common time for stillbirth from hypertension and gestational diabetes. Yikes!

That Friday night (June 10) I started getting my intense pelvic pressure again. It was so bad that I'd gasp in pain sometimes! It felt like something pushing on my vag, which sounds slightly stupid because I was pregnant and having contractions (of course I'd feel pressure there!) but this was different. They weren't typical contractions. Just very painful. Intense intense pressure. That started at 7pm, but would stop a bit, then start up again. I'd been having them nightly for a while now, and sometimes I'd be in tears because it was so painful; it made me scared. Forget making it to BCW in time, I'd be having the baby in the loo!!!

At 3am, I woke to them again and freaked myself out that I didn't feel Jellybean moving. So I began to pray, and then she'd stretch and I'd rest again. At 5am, Saturday, June 11th, my 38th week, I got out of bed because the pressure and pain was so bad. It was so bad that I couldn't actually think straight. I paced, but was restless. At 5:15am, I woke up Hunny; I couldn't take it anymore! While he had a shower (which seemed incredibly long!) I tried to call Julie's cell (which was on vibrate, so she didn't hear it, go figure) I could barely leave a message though due to the pain, and couldn't call anyone else. When Hunny came out, he called his mom to come over. I was in tears because I just wanted to go to the hospital; it was all taking too long!

We left at 6am and arrived at 6:30am. Hunny dropped me off at Admitting so he could go find a parking spot, but I didn't think I could even get out of the vehicle and walk! But I did. Of course, the room was empty and I was beside myself. I couldn't talk anyways, really. I couldn't think straight. I could hardly walk. Someone did come though and began asking me dumb questions. My personal favourite was, "What brought you into Admitting today?" I looked at her. "Uhm...labor." "Okay. And are you having contractions... uhm... yeah, okay..." At that point, Hunny came in, which I was grateful for because I didn't have time or patience for this woman anymore! I didn't want to deal with anyone who couldn't get this baby from me! I was seriously in my own little world, albeit a very painful one! Of course, the nurse wants you to give a urine sample, get a hospital gown on and lay in a bed. Meanwhile I'm thinking, 'Woman! Can't you see I'm in labor? I don't have time for this!" I just wanted to be checked and have this baby! Put it this way...it was so painful that I was actually crying out and yelling! I didn't care who heard! I couldn't stop anyways. I had never yelled with the others. Not to say that I labored silently with them (I"m not a Scientologist, lol) but I'm not loud nor do I yell in a regular situation. I tend to hold my breath and groan, I think. This yelling surprised me, but maybe "Involuntarily Screaming" is a better description.

When the nurse finally checked me (and let me remind you the pain was in my vag and perineum area so sitting or even laying down scared me. I wanted to stay where I was and hope for no pain!) I hear her say, "Okay, we are moving you right now!" So much for Admitting and Assessment! I was being wheeled into Labor and Delivery, with the nurse calling ahead that I was "9 or 10cm" and needed a room right away! I was writhing in pain by then and couldn't look at anyone. I actually brought a cloth with me that I had got wet with my water bottle and covered my eyes with. I'm not too sure why (even now) to be honest, and I must've looked pretty silly when I think about it, but it made me feel better. It was cool and I seriously couldn't concentrate or look at anyone!

I had several nurses come in and several doctors and I just didn't care! Even when Julie finally arrived, to be honest, I didn't care about that either! (sorry, Julie!) I wasn't interested in who was around me, I just wanted to know that I was being cared for. Just don't talk to me! I had one thought and goal! I didn't even flinch when a nurse put my IV in, and those are typically painful, (and all through the pregnancy I was really nervous about getting one done during my labor.) or when she messed up and had to do it again! (I was told that my swab came back negative for GBS by Dr. S. But a week later, another doctor said a urine sample said I was positive. So I had to have antibiotics. Phooey. I dreaded the idea for months.) I was pleasantly surprised. And it didn't hurt when a doctor wanted to check my progress either (and that's usually incredibly uncomfortable and painful as well. When you're in labor, you want the baby out of you, not have something put in!)

Of course, a doctor said I was only 8 or 9cm. Pfft! Why do they always ruin things? LOL I was given gas and air though. That helped a bit, but it makes me lightheaded. I was so determined to breathe through my contractions, be in control and calmed, but it didn't go over so well. :( The nurse kept saying "Okay, now deep breath out." I was so focused on breathing IN! I loved my nurse, Shannon. She kept telling me, "Do what you did last time. You can do it. Just like before." It made me feel like I really could do it. I was in so much pain that I couldn't even lay down properly (I wanted no pressure on my bottom) so I was on the edge of the bed, and every time I had another CX, I'd flail my arms about trying to find something to grab a hold of! (the nearest thing was the NST machine with the SHARPS container on top, which Julie thought I'd pull down!) Hunny mistakenly gave me his hand again too. I tried to be conscientious though and not squeeze too hard, but later he said he thought I'd break his fingers! Funny how you don't like you have Super Human Strength! I guess that's what Adrenaline does! I was offered an epidural when a doctor saw me (before the gas/air) and as much pain as I was in, I just didn't think I'd have enough time! Not when I considered that I'd have to wait for the anesthesiologist to arrive and they'd have to prep me still. But I was offered one, which was almost nice!

The biggest problem was that my waters hadn't broken. It was "bulging", I heard a doctor say, which sounds kinda gross. I had such pressure that I was convinced it wasn't helping, so I begged for them to break it! Two doctors were talking (an OB & pediatrician? Two OBs? And OB & GP? An OB and nurse? ?? I don't even know!) about what to do. I wasn't fully dilated yet (which I said, "Why not????" and everyone laughed at. But I was serious! I was desperate!) but I had labored 45ms, should they break the waters or wait? I thought for sure they said they were going to wait for 45 minutes, which freaked me out! I couldn't last another forty-five minutes! But Julie clarified for me that was the time I'd had already labored. I still begged them to break my waters. I thought that if they did maybe the baby would slip right out too!

So they did. And it was a relief of pressure. Phew! But the baby didn't come out. Phooey.

Guess who that OB was? When she came in, she said, "I know you! We just met!" but it took me a moment to recognize her. It was Dr R, the OB I just saw on Monday! She was in hospital scrubs not in office wear, which threw me off. But it made me happy to know who the doctor was. I don't have good luck with doctors, they all tend to leave and miss the birth of my children!

After a while, the doctors were saying how I was fully dilated (yay! about time!) BUT...my cervix wasn't ready. Whatever that meant. I was confused. Also, the baby wasn't low enough. So I was told not to push yet. But I wanted to! Well, not really. I just wanted the baby out! I even said that too, "Get this baby out of me!", something I've never done before! I had such intense pressure from my vag to my bum. Not like I've ever had before. Finally, I did feel like pushing though. So I let Shannon know in my grunt-like words, "Pushing!" Followed a few moments later by, "Burning!" So she had to call for the doctors to return, since they stepped out of the room. (I guess they had other patients to check on) They actually made it on time too! Wow! It felt like she was stuck though, since she didn't come out as easy as the others did. I asked and the doctor said that she wasn't, but I didn't really believe her! They did mention using the vacuum to get her out though, but then suddenly she was! (that was after the doctor told me to PUSH with the next contraction instead of screaming! *blush* I had a hard time with the Involuntarily Screaming, okay? It was painful.) In the end, I did have some tearing, but all was good. She was here.

EDEN SHAYE ALIYA
6lbs 11oz 19.5"
June 11, 2011 8:21am




And that is where I'm going to leave you. :) I'll tell you the rest of the details later.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

new favourites

Hokey Dinah!!!

(yes, I actually say dumb things like that! *giggle*)

I came across this song and fell in love last night.



And then I heard this one....and WOW. Amazing. And to think it's all done just using what you see in the video. I've often heard these sounds in songs and wondered how they were done...
And, yes, these are the same guys who did Love Story meets Viva la Vida. Steven Sharp Nelson on cello (all 4 of them. seriously! I never knew there was an electric cello!!!!) and Jon Schmidt on piano.




I am in love. And it's a jealous love. I wish I were musically talented enough to play an instrument. I'd like to blame my non-instrument playing on my parents because they never put me in for piano lessons or let me learn to play the violin like I wanted (life is so rough, I know)...but the truth is that it just wasn't an option for me as a child. But what's stopping me now? I can't STILL blame them, can I? Dang! LOL :)

Do you think it's hard to learn to play cello as a 30-something year old woman? How about piano? I sucked at recorder in grade 7 and couldn't learn to read music notes to save my life....do you think that would be an issue now?

I could watch these videos over and over again. I'm manic that way. ...oh wait, I have!

Monday, June 6, 2011

37 weeks

Surely the end must be near for Baby Jellybean! Every week is a surprise for me!



Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Lord, have mercy

I haven't heard this song in a while, and then suddenly one of our worship leaders in church brings it out and tears flow. Such a simple song of deep longing, of truths spilled, and frailness revealed.
Renew the fire again.
Pardon my transgressions.
Help me love you again.




Lord Have Mercy-
Steve Merkel

Jesus, I've forgotten the words that You have spoken
Promises that burned within my heart have now grown dim
With a doubting heart I follow the paths of earthly wisdom
Forgive me for my unbelief
Renew the fire again


Chorus
Lord have mercy
Christ have mercy
Lord have mercy on me
Repeat

I have built an altar where I worship things of men
I have taken journeys that have drawn me far from You
Now I am returning to Your mercies ever flowing
Pardon my transgressions

Help me love You again

Repeat Chorus

I have longed to know You and Your tender mercies
Like a river of forgiveness ever flowing without end
I bow my heart before You in the goodness of Your presence
Your grace forever shining
Like a beacon in the night

Repeat Chorus 2x

(italics mine)
This song is by Michael W. Smith and is on his live Worship Again CD, the blue one (my fave version of the song)

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The End is Near

On Saturday, Jesus was supposed to return, according to an evangelical group in the States. This man used some interesting math to determine that May 21st would be the day and he had many followers who spent millions of dollars advertising the date all over the world. Maybe you've seen them? They all believed there would be earthquakes all over the world that would open graves and such and bring Jesus' return.

I have nothing wrong with the mass earthquakes or the return of the King, but this man forgot to take into account a few things. Such as where it says in the Matthew 24:36 that, “Of that day and hour no one knows, no, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only.” So why does He think that some math would figure it out? Instead, he has made himself out to be a False Prophet ("Watch out that you are not deceived. For many will come in my name, claiming "I am he" and "the time is near". Do not follow them." Luke 21:8) Even if he had good intentions.

So Saturday came and went...and nothing happened. I didn't really think He'd return, but I was hoping...sort of. I have a baby I'd like to be born first. I'm not too sure what happens if you're pregnant during the Rapture---do you have the baby in Heaven? Is the baby alive there or cease to exist? Will I even care? I admit to having a confusion of thoughts over the whole thing. I tend to not even pay attention to most doomsday predictions. But for some reason, this one got a lot of news. Was it because of all of the advertising this group did? (one guy in NY spent his life savings on signs and such) Or was it because they aren't the typical cult? They weren't trying to incite mass suicides or donations, they just seemed to want to warn everyone. They also didn't hold huge events for preaching either, which may've been helpful. But this group does have their own radio program, so maybe they did a lot of doomsday messages there, with many "alter calls". I don't know since I don't listen to them.

The prediction was that Jesus would return on May 21, 2011, and somehow the time 6pm came up, but it wasn't clarified which time zone that was. He said that 200 million followers would be taken up with Him. Five months later, on Oct 21st, the world was going to end. Of course, Biblically, we know that there is no number of the exact amount Jesus will call home and that it's supposed to be 7 years of Tribulation not 5 months. It's interesting how this guy comes up with these numbers.

I feel torn. Disappointed. I wanted Jesus to return, but I wasn't expecting Him to. By Him NOT coming back, it exposes this man as false, and it's add disbelief to people, which I find disheartening. But imagine if He had? Then this group would've been right and taking away the glory due to Him. It's a good thing He has it all figured out and not anyone else!

I was also torn regarding how the whole thing was seen by others. I expected a lot of mocking and jokes at the expense of this group and other Christians, though. But the jokes by fellow Christians was sad. Not that we should believe this guy but it made me think. What if He did return? Were we ready? would we all feel pretty foolish? Aren't we supposed to be on watch and be ready and full of anticipation? ("Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.” Matthew 24:44)

Since none of us know the time or day His return will be, how do you live like that? How do I live like He'll come back today? What if He did? What if today is the last day on earth for me and my family? How does that change things for me? I don't think it made me more loving or patient on Saturday, sad to admit, but true. I can't say if I spent my time wisely or not. (although I did clean my house nice and good. Yay for Nesting!) Or if I was able to teach my children anything useful. (I was happy to learn that the whole thing was discussed at their school though. Abi wisely pointed out that even though we don't know the time or day, we can't say for sure that He wouldn't come back on Saturday! It's good to hear how smart she is!)

I want to live like Heaven is my home and I'm anticipating His return to take me there, but really I'm grounded here, aren't I? As much as I want to live heaven bound, life here is pretty good. I've got a great Hunny and wonderful kids and a warm home and plenty of food to eat and loving family and a great church and things really are perfect for me. I am blessed. And life isn't so terrible that I can't wait to leave. But shouldn't I want to? How did I live like this life is only temporary? How do I instill my children the wonderment of what's to come? We talk about heaven often and what it takes to get there ("I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." John 14:6 "Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under Heaven given to men by which we must be saved." Acts 4:12) so I haven't failed them in any way, but I want to make sure we're living lives with meaning. And most of the time I feel it's "just living."

Jesus may not have returned on Saturday, but my mind feels more focused. I want it to mean something. The good news is that this guy now claims his math was wrong (really?) and that Jesus will return on the October date. So we've all got time to prepare again!

**I came across this website regarding "after May 21st", that I found helpful, if you're looking for more information. I don't know this group who's put this together, so I can't say if their seminars or classes are good or not. But this page is! :) http://www.aftermay21.com/

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

I've been fired!!!

I'm still seeing my group of doctors and my BP is still going up and down. I must admit that I didn't realize your blood pressure can be such a range of numbers. I thought I was so "normal" before, but now it's all over the place; it's hard not to be concerned or stressed! My BP is supposed to be between 80-85 for the diastolic number (the lower one) and yet it fluctuates, and it's hard to not think about what'll happen if it gets too high or too low without me knowing. Especially after my sudden hospitalization two weeks ago!

I saw my regular doctor at the maternity clinic and discovered, yet again, that my BP was lower than it should be. That concerned me, but Dr S shrugged it off, which was frustrating. He also didn't pay much attention to my other concerns and sent me on my way. (such as baby dropping and having pelvic pressure) And that's when I thought, "wait a minute! why am I even still seeing this guy?" So I decided to "fire" him!

He's a good doctor and seems really nice, and he did give me the easiest, quickest and least uncomfortable "womanly visit" exam I've ever had, but he is still just a regular maternity clinic doctor and I have high risk needs to be addressed. If I were a "normal" pregnant woman, I'd have no problem seeing him. But I'm not and frankly, I'm sick of seeing him! That, and the fact that he said my low BP was fine, of course!

Two days after seeing him, I saw my OB, where my BP was in the target range, which surprised and relieved me! I got my Group B Strep Swab done and was told everything was looking good. Baby sounded great, although uncomfortable for me to be lower now, and I'm being seen by a team of specialists and everything is monitored and under control, so Dr G decided to drop a bomb on me. She says she doesn't need to see me anymore!!!

Excuse me?

She says that her job was to get me to 35 weeks and I'm almost there, so there wasn't a need anymore. (I was 33W at the apt)

Excuse me? Am I no longer High Risk? Did I deliver my baby already? After all this work to get in to see an Obstetrician and that's it? She's not going to take me to the end? I don't get it. I can understand her point that things can tend to be done twice with this many doctors (Dr S wants to do the GBS swab on my next week, for example) and that things are going so well for me ---after all, I'm not leaking amniotic fluid or on bed rest (like I was with Rhys) and I technically don't have pre-e (just signs and symptoms of it, but no diagnosis) and I do have everyone possible taking care of me---but if any doctor should be dropped, shouldn't it be the maternity clinic? Since I'm not a regular patient? So much for "firing" Dr S! I think I'm being fired!!!

The doctor did tell me that I can still book appointments with her if I'd like, but I haven't decided what to do yet. (I already have one with Dr S for next week.) A part of me wants to give up and just pretend that it's all normal for me. But another part wants to fight for what I should have. There's always the possibility that I won't even need a specialist in the end, but it doesn't make sense to not see one just because of that chance.

This was something I wasn't expecting. And I am at a loss.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

33 weeks and beyond!

Alright, I didn't expect I'd make it this far! But here I am! I have surpassed 33 weeks, the earliest I've ever gone, and I am so pleased! Things are going better than I anticipated and it's wonderful. I go between being surprised and thinking that maybe, just maybe, things will go along smoothly and I'll go even further in this pregnancy, to having this worry that something will change and this baby will arrive soon! I've been on High Alert since 16 weeks, watching for any sign, any twinge, and I've been waiting for the end and expecting that to be at 30 weeks. Pretty sad way to spend a pregnancy, eh? Always waiting for something to happen.

Here is me at 32 weeks. Looking all cute in my Canucks t-shirt and curly hair! *smile*



And me at 33 weeks.


You probably can't tell, but Baby Jellybean had dropped by this picture! She now sits right in my pelvis. Hooray! It's nice to not have the pressure of the baby squishing my lungs, but now the pain has changed to intense pressure of baby pushing on my hips.

......not much longer.......I think!!!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Up and Down

I admit to going into this pregnancy thinking that it would be "normal"....well, normal for me, that is. I'd see a specialist and they'd watch out for any pre-term labour for me and I may end up on bedrest, but the baby would come early and all would be well. I didn't consider pre-eclampsia or hypertension, although I did have gestational diabetes on my mind as well. So things have been going .... interesting for me. I'd have to say that it's actually been going well all things considered. I have appointments on a weekly basis with all of the doctors I see! I have been expecting to be hospitalized or on bedrest sometime during this pregnancy, but was taken by surprise when it did happen over Easter! I'd already had a crazy week, so I should've seen it coming, but I wasn't too sure what would happen.

It started out with a visit to the maternity clinic, where my blood pressure was noted to be elevated. Of course, I didn't think it was "too high"...but that's because I tend to forget my target range! It had been so good for so long, so each week I had been pleased with the numbers at the MFM Clinic and not having to go back on the anti-hypertension medication. But I was also anticipating a climb, since it's common for it to increase during the third trimester. Turns out, my time was now! Dr S looked at my blood pressure readings, checked his notes and then sent me to the hospital for another NST and some lab work! I was seen by Dr G (my OB, who happened to be on call that day) eventually ---it was a very busy day on the maternity ward--- and was put back on Labetelol, and all was well again. For a few days, at least. I saw my regular GP dr on a Friday (for non-pregnancy stuff) and my BP was checked and discovered too low--although, she didn't do anything about it because she said it was a normal range for me. It had me concerned though! I tried to contact the Internal Meds dr, but couldn't get a hold of her, so I thought I'd hold out and see how things went. I'd watch for any obvious signs/symptoms and go to the ER if I was worried.

Of course, that weekend was terrible for me! I was lightheaded, couldn't concentrate, had bad backpain, had sharp abdominal pain, and felt agitated and crappy and out of it. On Monday night, I didn't think I'd be able to cope much longer, but thankfully, Tuesday was a bit better. I saw Dr G again (at her office for an apointment) and my BP was still very low, so she told me to hold the Labetelol. The very next day, I saw Dr. M at Women's, where my BP was very high again! Good grief! By not being on meds for one day, it jumped up! Yet when I was on it, it plummeted! WTH?

Dr M didn't know about my high BP, NST and lab work done the week earlier (*roll eyes* why can't the drs work together?) so that info had her wondering what was going on. Plus, I had protein in my urine, so add those two together and they're looking at Pre-eclampsia. Phooey. :( Months ago, I thought I'd end up with this, but was starting to think that maybe I wouldn't...

So I was sent to Admitting at Women's, where I had another NST done and more lab work (to check my kidney function and such. Your kidneys put out a hormone that regulates your blood pressure. Too high BP and you could damage them, apparently), and given Labetelol. (actually, Dr M gave me one immediately after seeing my blood pressure numbers) Then I was given a room (which was more like a closet) in the Delivery Suite, and started a 24 HR urine collection (what fun!) I also got to have another ultrasound, which was the most enjoyable part of the whole hospital process! (Baby Jellybean looked to be "just under" 4lbs already! Yay!) They were trying to find me an actual bed and room, but it was busy, so I settled into my closet with the curtain for a door, and observed other patients! (like the woman across from me who was 41w4d and starting contractions! She moaned a lot and I was wondering how long they'd keep her here. Surely she couldn't deliver in this closet!!!) I knew I'd be there overnight, for sure, and was told by Dr C (another MFM doctor, whom I also adore!) that they wanted to get my blood pressure monitored and leveled out, as well as get my thyroid "sorted out" (since it was fluctuating a lot as well, which isn't too strange for pregnancy, but this was more so), and have me be seen by the Dietician for my Gestational Diabetes (since I sadly failed my second 2 hour test. Phooey. And I had felt so good about it too, thinking maybe I didn't have it this time since I passed the GTT test weeks earlier!) Phew! I was going to be seen by a lot of different doctors and nurses during my visit! (I was eventually set up in a room at 3am, just when I was starting to finally fall asleep!)

I had started to think that I must have pre-eclampsia and was trying to learn more about it while waiting for confirmation from the doctor. I learned that it is the most common of the dangerous pregnancy complications for both me and baby. (did that make sense? I stole that from Wikipedia!) Symptoms are headaches, visual disturbances, epigastric pain (upper abdominal), nausea and vomiting. Placental Abruption can occur, which is when the placenta detatches prior to birth, which is incredibly dangerous and causes stillbirth. It can lead to seizures, stroke, multiple organ failure and death in more and/or baby, if untreated. Wow. It's hard NOT to get stressed out by it all!

In the end, I wasn't given any information from the doctor regarding pre-e during my hospital stay, but was told by another MFM doctor at my next apt that it was "complicated". I have signs and symptoms, but I guess they fluctuate so much that it's not a simple diagnosis. Which is wonderful to hear, but also confusing.

I was first admitted on Wednesday, not knowing how long I'd stay, but learning it would be for sure overnight. Dr M wanted me monitored and Dr C wanted everything "sorted out", and Dr Unger, another OB, wanted me checked out, and Dr Thompson, the Diabetic Dr, needed to see me.... But after my urine collection was done and my BP was stabilized on Thursday, Dr C and Unger had me discharged. I was almost free! But then Dr Thompson wanted me to stay! Phooey! He wanted to get a better look at my blood sugar levels since I had just started to check. They had been elevated and he wanted 24 hours to get a feel for an average for me. (Poor Hunny was so stressed over it all! He doesn't handle sudden things like this very well, and had to find babysitters for the Youngers, and get the Olders off to school and leave work early and take time off and it was just hard for him to figure out.) I spent Good Friday in the hospital, eating pork chops {*shudder*} and learning how to give myself insulin injections, while my family had a nice turkey dinner!

Yep, I'm giving myself needles! I thought it would happen during my pregnancy with Rhys, since I had such a struggle getting my numbers in order even while on a diabetic diet, but it didn't happen. So I wasn't surprised, but wasn't happy either! It's one thing knowing you'll need to go on insulin and a completely different thing having to actually inject yourself with a needle on a daily basis! But I will admit that I have been so proud of myself! I've been able to do this and do it well! It helps that the needles are small guage and don't really hurt going in, but still! Wow. To think that some people become addicted to a high so much that they're willing to give needles even though they don't "need" them is so bizarre to me!

My hospital stay was finally over on Saturday. Three days later. Or four days, depending on how you count! I got to spend the rest of Easter with my family, and celebrate my anniversary, and see my extended family. It was all good! But it's amazing how quickly things can change. Up and down my numbers go.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Blessings

I have been blessed so much to have all that I have. He never ceases to amaze me with all that He grants, all the wishes and desires I long for. When I look back upon my life thus far, I can't help but feel a bit silly for all those wasted tears, when I questioned or wondered if I would ever get a prayer answered. I am learning that EVERYTHING good comes from Him and that He longs to give us good things and that it is always better to wait for His timing!

This song was passed on to me by my Mom and it touches me so. I hope it does for you too, and that you feel Him and His love surrounding you.



Blessings ~ Laura Story

We pray for blessings
We pray for peace
Comfort for family, protection while we sleep
We pray for healing, for prosperity
We pray for Your mighty hand to ease our suffering
All the while, You hear each spoken need
Yet love us way too much to give us lesser things

Cause what if Your blessings come through raindrops
What if Your healing comes through tears
What if a thousand sleepless nights
Are what it takes to know You’re near
What if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise

We pray for wisdom
Your voice to hear
And we cry in anger when we cannot feel You near
We doubt Your goodness, we doubt Your love
As if every promise from Your Word is not enough
All the while, You hear each desperate plea
And long that we'd have faith to believe

Cause what if Your blessings come through raindrops
What if Your healing comes through tears
What if a thousand sleepless nights
Are what it takes to know You’re near
And what if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise

When friends betray us
When darkness seems to win
We know the pain reminds this heart
That this is not, this is not our home
It's not our home

Cause what if Your blessings come through raindrops
What if Your healing comes through tears
And what if a thousand sleepless nights
Are what it takes to know You’re near
What if my greatest disappointments
Or the aching of this life
Is the revealing of a greater thirst this world can’t satisfy
And what if trials of this life
The rain, the storms, the hardest nights
Are Your mercies in disguise

*italics on my fave lines. :)

Thursday, April 28, 2011

not so routine after all

Back in November, Kai's Cardiologist made a comment about doing an MRI "in the future" just for some more information on his heart. He'd already had a heart catheterization in 2008, which gave no indication to the cause for his cardiomyopathy and nothing further for Dr H to go on, so that was disappointing. I just wasn't expecting it to come up sooner rather than more future-thinking.

Kai was scheduled for his MRI at the end of March. Now that he's older, he tends to understand more and I need to explain procedures better. I can't just say he's seeing the doctor and leave it at that anymore! So I tried to let him know that it was a rather simple test, it wouldn't hurt, he wouldn't even be touched by anything, he was just going to be put to sleep for it. I think that caused him concern though, because he kept asking about that. Why would he be sleeping? How would they put him to sleep? Would he wake up during the testing? Questions like that. Both Hunny and I have had MRI's (for his knee and my back pain years ago) so we told him how they worked like a more detailed X-ray machine, except you were in a box for a long time and couldn't move. (Sleeping through it would've been a great option for me!)

The day before his procedure, I had to take Kai in for a meeting with the anesthesiologist. He was excited to be missing school and I was feeling anxious! I remembered his surgery over two years ago and how I almost passed out as they put him to sleep! I was keenly aware it could happen again, and felt nervous about the day of his exam. I didn't expect I'd react upon meeting the anesthesiologists! They came in, we shook hands, they talked about the procedure, and I started to feel hot to the point where I could feel sweat beading on my forehead! I don't recall hearing much of what they said, as I wanted to pass out, but I remember leaving with the feeling it would be just a routine MRI: put him in the machine, take a few pictures and scans and we'd be home in a few hours.

The next morning was an early one for us, and not knowing how traffic would be on a drive into Vancouver at 6am, we left extra time for us to arrive. So, of course, we got there a good hour early! Thankfully they left us in and got us set up. The nurses told me that the whole thing would be a good 1/2 hour, then we'd be in recovery for an hour and go home. Routine. First, he had to have an X-Ray though. (not too sure why....preggo brain and all!)

I went in with Kai to see the anesthesiologists, and to keep him distracted while they put an IV into his hand. He'd already been wearing a numbing gel on them for an hour, so he really wouldn't have felt it, but neither him nor I were expecting it. I told him they'd just give him a mask to help him sleep, like they did with his catheterization. So when he noticed, he started to cry, and I started to feel woozy. How embarrassing. He's crying about it hurting and the blood is draining from my face and pooling in my ears and I'm having trouble hearing. (I've discovered the closer I am to passing out, the less I can actually hear of anything! Voices and noises sound so far away.This is quite common I guess!) I was trying to comfort him, but I had to sit down!

And that's how it all began.

I found out it wasn't so "routine" after all. I was told that they were putting him to sleep (which literally took 3 seconds after they put whatever-it-was in his IV) not to keep him still or comfortable, but because they needed to speed up his heart and slow it down for different tests, as well as getting him to hold his breath. I wondered how they'd do that, but the anesthesiologist cryptically said they "had their ways", and I'm sure that I likely didn't really want to know. According to the info sheet I was given, the MRI would be 1 1/2 hours, so already I had two different times of length.

I sat in the waiting room, had an hour nap (sortof, what I could manage in a chair in a waiting room full of other parents), wandered over to Starbucks for a snack, tried to access FB and my BBM (there was bad reception so that didn't go over well), thumbed through a few magazines and made some acquaintances. Three hours pass and I'm starting to wonder if I should be concerned. I was just about to ask at the nurses station when I was called to see Kai in the recovery room. (Usually a doctor comes to see you prior to that to let you know how it all went, so I was confused. I never did talk to anyone about the MRI, other than to hear that Kai's blood pressure dipped at the end. Not hearing anything bothered me, but hopefully I'll learn more from our own doctor.) Apparently this was a special cardiac MRI.

After a few popsicles and insisting they hadn't taken him in yet, and telling all the nurses that he missed breakfast AND lunch, Kai was allowed to go home! He was sleepy and chatty and cute and spent the rest of the day on the couch. Not that I could keep him still or resting, of course!

Now we wait. I don't know how long it takes for doctor's to get MRI results or when we'll hear from Dr H for another appointment, but it's been a month. I hope we get some answers this time. But even if we don't, I'm happy with how well Kai's been with his condition. Considering there isn't much info out there on a child with this type of cardiomyopathy, he's doing really good.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

In the Home Stretch

I've been getting a lot of comments and questions from strangers on when I'm due, and my answer varies from five weeks all the way to two months. I am 31W now, so technically, I should be looking at 8-10 weeks to go, but we all know that I never go Full Term. I must be looking huge if people are asking me how much longer I have to go! At first, I felt big, but the more I hung out at the hospital, the more I felt small and not-quite-ready.





Do I look ready to pop? These were taken last week. My Maternity shirts are starting to not cover my bump all the way now! *teehee* I do look like I'm ready to go have the baby now, don't I? Or at least like I'm having more than one baby, but I assure you, there is still only one in that big o' tummy of mine! It's a bit strange to think I may only have a month to go! Wow. Four weeks until Baby Jellybean's arrival! Glee!

I saw friends last week whom I hadn't seen since last June, and who didn't know I was pregnant. It's funny to show up to an event with a big belly and to see the expressions --if the reactions are good, that is. One comment I got, immediately upon seeing me, was "Again?" That threw me off. What do you mean, "again"? My last baby is almost three years old, so it's not like it was soon after or that not enough time has elapsed. I wasn't too sure how to respond to her, so I just laughed it off, but the truth is that I was annoyed. It was comments like that that made me not share much of my pregnancy with many people this time around. I had already been dealing for some time with friend's opinions on how I shouldn't have more children and it hurt. I know they meant well and had good intentions, but wow, some people need to learn how to give loving advice without stomping on others' dreams and wishes. Offering me a list of reasons NOT to have children is a bit harsh.

Yes, I knew beforehand that I'd be a High Risk Pregnancy. Yes, I did consider that I may go on bed rest again. Yes, I did wonder about my health in carrying a child for long enough while caring for four other children at home. Yes, I did think of our finances. Yes, I weighed the pros and cons.

When I talked to the girls about my growing list of pregnancy issues last week, they looked at me incredulously and asked, "and you wanted another baby?"

What kind of question is that???

For one, I didn't know I'd have Hypertension (and I definitely didn't know it was pre-existing) or gallstones or any of that. My other pregnancies only had leaking, some bed rest and gestational diabetes to prepare mentally for, and even those risks weren't enough to stop me. But truthfully, had I known beforehand the health issues I'd be having this time around, I'd still find it worth the risk. I will admit it now, though, that this will be our last pregnancy, so you can all stop worrying! My body doesn't enjoy being pregnant and it feels too old for it (which is so sad to say, but there aren't any other words to describe it) and I will have the longed-after five children I've always wanted.

I remember when Nadya"Octomom" Suleman had her eight babies and the controversy it caused (and still does). My heart really went out for her. I understood her desires. I knew what it was to like to want babies and a lot of them. No, her situation wasn't the best (unwed with already a large family of young children to care for and no visible income) and yes, her OB was unethical in transplanting so many embryos, but I understood. I can't say if I'd ever do things her way since I've never been in her situation, but I suppose a lot of people could find similarities in our stories. I still desired my "last baby" (even though I could admit then that I didn't know how many more it would take for me to stop wanting another), that badly wanted second daughter, even though many questioned my health and sanity.

I find it so sad that people can't support and help someone instead of criticizing those they don't agree with. Instead of the love and support Ms. Suleman deserved, that came with the McCaughey septuplets or the Gosselins, people shunned her and questioned her. We should've been encouraging her. After all, she carried eight babies! She didn't selectively terminate some to suit a doctor or the general public's opinion. She risked her own health for her babies, and that sacrifice is one we should commend. Isn't that what makes a hero in our eyes? One who lays their life down for others? No matter what the circumstances were? I hope this woman feels fulfilled by her large brood and has the support and love she needs. She's been staying out of the spotlight as much as she can, which is great as she needs the privacy, but I hope one day she lets us see her life and family! :)

Isn't it interesting how we shun and criticize the things that we don't personally understand? I do it all the time without thinking. We tear down the people we envy as well. I've noticed a few times where I've made bitter comments or tried to embarrass someone else' interests just because I didn't share them, and I've had to bite my tongue and chastise myself. Just look at the gossip sites for examples if you don't believe me. Notice how many people make fun of the Jolie-Pitts for all their children instead of applauding them for adopting children who need homes? Yet they are one of the biggest names in philanthropic work worldwide.

I decided to go ahead and have "one last baby" despite my health risks, so that can be perceived as selfish, I'm sure. But I think almost everything we choose to do can be traced to our own selfish natures. I didn't one day decide it would be a fun, nor did I say, 'screw what everyone thinks' (although I wish I didn't care so much of other people's opinions sometimes). In fact, we had been "trying but not really" for a few months with no results, so I was starting to wonder if maybe it wouldn't happen. Maybe it wasn't meant to be. But then we were happily surprised in Autumn. God has granted me my desires. Not because He wanted to teach me a lesson in consequences, (although I am living out the actions of my growing our family) but because it was also a part of His Plan, and because He knows our futures and what we can all handle. And because He loves little children too (Psalms 127:3) :)

I am learning to find my identity in Him and leaning on His truths and my beliefs in Him, instead of taking criticism of my ways as personal attacks. I can do ALL things through Christ who strengthens me. (Philippians 4:13) Even carry a Baby Jellybean, despite the serious health concerns of others. Having Hypertension and Gestational Diabetes isn't ideal, but it's the way things are, and I'm the Home Stretch now, and it'll all be a fond memory soon.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

the face of fear

Today was the kids' first day of swimming lessons. Bryn started the pre-school group, Sea Stars, while Abi & Kai started Level 1. (except, Kai had to miss out after his MRI......more soon...) This is Abi's 2nd time at this level, 3rd time attempting swimming lessons altogether. All of the kids were very excited to start this!

In the Older's group there is a boy who looks to be about 10 years old He's the biggest in the group, with a head of sandy brown hair. I was happy that the class size was small (only 5 students) and of various ages (I'd say average age was 8 or 9), so that the kids wouldn't have to feel that they were "too old" to be in the very first level, knowing that most of their friends are already in level 3 or higher in swimming. I stood and watched their class for a few minutes as the Instructor asked them all the put their faces into the water and blow bubbles. (an activity taught in each swimming level, I've found) One by one, the students followed, and I grinned with pride as Abi did as well. A year ago and she would've hesitated and only dunked the tip of her nose to give the appearance of submersion. Then I noticed the older boy. He hadn't participated. When the Instructor asked him to, he turned away to face the outside of the pool, with tears in his eyes. And my heart broke for him. I understood his fear, or rather, I remembered his fear. I remembered the many years Hunny & I tried to coax our children to put their faces into water or to allow water to run down their foreheads. I remembered the tears and their cries, and I wanted to go to that boy and tell him things would be okay, that it was alright to be afriad, but it would get better over time.

But, of course, I didn't. Instead, I walked away, letting the Instructor deal with her student, and observed Bryn's class as they learned to blow bubbles in the shallow end of the pool. Bryn timidly placed his face into the water, but came up sputtering. He looked so tragic as tears flowed along with drips down his little cheeks. It was all I could do to not call out to him, to gather him up and wipe his face and comfort his fears. But I needed to be brave and so I looked the other way, trusting the Instructor to allay any fears these small children had. When I looked back a few minutes later, Bryn was all smiles again. He looked like he was having the time of his life, and my heart swelled.

I wandered back to the Olders to see how they were faring, and I saw the boy still with the Instructor, attempting one-on-one teaching. (another volunteer took over with the other kids and they practiced kicking and submerging their heads) The gangly child still had a face full of fear, and tears flowed from the corners of his eyes, yet I watched him as he tried to relax and rest in the Teacher's arms and lay his back in the water. His body was stiff and he was fighting with the task. But he was doing it. He has his arms outstretched, the cuff of his neck was in the water now, and his knees up, so not a complete follow-through, but he was doing it. And I was so proud of this boy. And I don't even know him! I wanted to encourage him, let him know of my support, tell him how awesome he was doing, but I kept quiet and observed. And smiled.

This boy looked miserable. You could tell he really struggled with the lesson and that he didn't enjoy it. But to me, he was the bravest boy out in that pool. He hated what he had to do and he feared it, but he did it anyways. And I was so proud of him

I hope that tonight, at home, he had someone to tell him how brave and strong he was. I hope I see him at the next lesson, and I hope that over time, he begins to see his strength as well. And I hope that I can instill in my own children a sense of bravery to fight their fears as well.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Gut issues

Oh the nausea!

I am almost 27w and I am still dealing with nausea. It's not a constant thing though, thankfully; some days I don't have any issues at all, but then some days are full of acid reflux. I am still taking my Diclectin, but it's not too helpful, to be honest. So my doctor recommended that I take Gravol. Today I am regretting not picking some up when I picked up my synthroid perscription. BLAH!

I'm not too sure if this is just one of those "morning sickness" nausea or if it's from something else. With my Hypertension, I was told to watch out for it as a symptom. It could also be from my gall bladder. Remember me mentioning having to go for an abdominal ultrasound? It was to check out my innards because I had been having pains after eating. Not severe, but enough for me to have to lie down for an hour or so. I wasn't thinking anything of the ultrasound and was really expecting it to come back all clear. What a surprise when they said that I had gallstones! "Quite a few of them", too, according to the doctor! Apparently it can be common with women after having several children. I had no idea!

I am so thankful that I am not having any of the typical pains with gallstones though. I was reading up on them on a pregnancy forum and the postings were making me so nervous and upset that I had to stop reading! "Pains worse than labor"??? Really? Eek! So far, I only get some sharp pains that last at most an hour, but they don't send me to the hospital. And this only happened for a few days and hasn't returned in about a month, which is such a relief! I am terrified to think that one day they may. I'm quite confident in saying that I don't want to have to go through that! I'm scared enough of labour, and I've gone through that a few times already!

I learned that the main option for "curing" gallstones are to remove the Gall Bladder via laproscopic surgery. Hey, why not, they still haven't found a genuine use for it, which is bizarre! I'm sure it must be useful for something! I can't picture God giving us extra body parts for the fun of it, but they still don't have a "real" use for tonsils yet either. *shrugs* The other option is to take medication to break down the stones, but you have to take these meds for up to 5 years since it takes that long. Are you serious? That's crazy talk! I'm hoping mine just go away. Just because they say that I have "several" of them doesn't tell me the size of them and if I need to be concerned. I was just told to watch for symptoms, such as pain that lasts 5 hours or more, and vomiting and nausea. If I have that, I need to go to the ER. Oh great. So far things are okay and the pain seems to have gone away for the most part; I'm watching my diet more and trying to avoid lots of fat, but I've found that the things that most people say to stay away from don't seem to bother me. (such as cheese and chocolate) I would say that I am blessed. Lucky. And grateful.

This pregnancy is so strange to me. I have all these issues that I was not anticipating and they're all about ME and not about the baby. Which is a good thing, but I am anxious about what else is to come. I am still on the lookout for any suspicious signs of pre-term labour and leaking. Along with all the other symptoms I'm too look out for. Like nausea, headaches, swelling, pain, vomiting, dizziness, sight problems.....h'mm.....what else?

Thankfully none of those have happened to me to a bad degree. Except now I have leg cramps to deal with, which is common in pregnancy, but still. I can't sleep at night because my legs ache and I can't get comfortable. *sigh* The trials a mother must go through to have a baby!

Friday, March 11, 2011

one down...

Last night, I made my first trip onto the maternity ward at Peace Arch Hospital, where I *will*may* deliver. I hadn't been there in 2 and a half years and a lot has changed as they are just finishing up their upgrades. Wow. It looks great! Totally unrecognizable. Which is good, and sad, since I had so many good baby memories there and it's unfamiliar now, but it was small and needed updating badly, so... all-in-all a good thing. Too bad my visit wasn't a nicer one.

For two days, I had been having strong Braxton Hicks (BH) and some abdominal pain and lower back pain. The first day, I shrugged them off, even though I was concerned. But yesterday, the stomach pain woke me up from my otherwise pleasant napping on the couch! Not nice! I spent the next two hours alternating between BH and the pain, all the while trying to keep myself occupied by unloading/loading the dishwasher (yes, in that order), filling the bread maker with ingredients and sweeping and cleaning my kitchen floors. None of which took away the pain or lessened it or even took my mind off of it. Yet, I still waffled on whether or not I should head into the hospital.

I have this bizarre problem called a "guilt complex". I'm not too sure if it comes from being a Mom or if it's just a "me thing", but it tends to govern how I treat my own health crisis'. I couldn't just head to the hospital because, not only did I have the Youngers at home, but I'd have to go get the Olders from school in two hours, so I'd have to wait. And I didn't want to go when Hunny came home because he'd need help with dinner and getting the kids into bed and prepping for school the next day. And then I couldn't go later because then it would be a late night and we'd never get the sleep we need and...and...and... it's all so silly. But I really hate to inconvenience anyone with my little issues. I even start to tell myself that the nurses and doctors don't need to be bothered with a paranoid mother who doesn't actually have a health problem; I certainly don't need to be taking up their time when they could be dealing with other patients more serious than myself. I'd rather deal with my own problems at home, by myself, not tell anyone. (which is how I end up leaking waters for hours instead of telling my Hunny to come home from work to take me to the hospital for 3 of our children's births, and laboring at home until I was almost fully dialated with the other....*blush*)

But I couldn't shake this feeling where something just "wasn't right". So I finally decided enough was enough and told Hunny I was heading in to PAH. ...that is, after I called the maternity ward to get their opinion and make sure they weren't too busy, and after I called my sister to see if she wanted to go for a drive (my Hunny and Mom insisted that I get her to go with me! I tried not to take it as a thought that they didn't think I could handle it on my own, but it did make me laugh!)---she was out though, so I went alone.

The whole 20 minute drive was full of fear on my part (I am only 24w along) and praying, and BH and pain. I've got it in my head that they'll find something wrong with me, that I'm in early labor (hey, my signs say that I am according to the internet, the evil thing!) and I'll be admitted and put on bed rest. I'm near tears and I'm scared and it's the real reason why I didn't want to go to the hospital earlier.

I got hooked up to the machine and Baby Jellybean and I had our first non-stress test (NST). They listened to baby's heartbeat, and I had to note whenever I felt movement (which was a bit tough as I'd hear the movement on the machine's speakers but sometimes I wouldn't feel it, so I'd have to tell myself not to click the button just because the machine says something!) and I had a probe-thing attached to me to detect any contractions. They monitored me for half an hour, until the nurse lost the baby and all was coming up good. Guess how many contractions or BH I logged during that time? None. Nada. Nothing. Zero. After having them all freakin' day long.... It was a good thing, for sure, but awfully frustrating too.

Since my urine and blood tests came back negative and good and I had no pains or tightenings to show, the doctor cleared me all good and safe to return home. I was in my bed, snuggling for sleep by 11:30pm! (ok, so I didn't go to bed until after midnight, but the point was that I wasn't at PAH for hours on end like I was worried) I was happy and felt a bit better and confident that I wasn't in any early labor, but I didn't get any answers or suggestions for my pain and BH. They did keep asking me if I was "taking it easy.....or as easy as you can with four children." (I was asked that by both nurses and the doctor at different times!) but I'm not too sure how to answer that. I'm *trying* to take it easy, but, again that Guilt Complex comes into play. I feel like I'm not doing *enough*. I spend a lot of my mornings laying down, resting and napping, so I feel by late afternoon I should be doing something. The house is a mess, dinner needs to be made, the dishes are piling up, we're running out of clean clothes... I don't want Hunny to come home and think, "goodness, did she do anything today?" So I'm trying to put an effort out. Especially since one day I may not be able to.

Tonight, I really felt like I was doing "too much". I had no problems whatsoever during the day with BH or pain, and so I was really happy. That is, until I came home from picking up the kids' from school and I started to get really painful back spasms. I was just walking in the kitchen, deciding on dinner, nothing major. But I had been cleaning and had been carrying Rhys around a lot (since he's been asking me to do that lately this week) and I was pooped.

I admit it, I am paranoid. I get scared. Every new week is another to cross of my list, which gives me some relief, but every week also brings fear. Will this week be the week....that I start to leak? that my body fails? that I end up on bed rest? Every pregnancy has been earlier for pre-term. Abi at 37w. Kai at 36w. Bryn at 33w. Rhys at 30w (when I was put on bedrest for leaking, and had complete PROM at 35w, when he was delivered) So I have been on high alert and watch since, oh maybe 16w. *sigh* I haven't slept very good lately. Imagine that. But I want to be paying attention and be sure of what's going on. If there is something happening, I need to be aware so that I can get the help I need. I know that there have been great wonderful advances in medical science that can have a 24 weeker survive, but I surely don't want to have to go through that. Poor Jellybean isn't ready to be born. There's not enough fat to keep her warm, her lungs aren't developed, she's so tiny. It would be wonderful not to lose her and to have her grow strong enough in the NICU, but the developmental issues afterwards are scary! I don't want to have to go through that. So, every week, I breathe a bit better.

I find that I am waiting for 30 weeks to come, as if that is when I think things will happen. I'm just praying it doesn't happen sooner.

It was good to have some reassurance that my body isn't going against me right now and that baby is still safe and that we didn't need to be admitted to the maternity ward. I left the hospital feeling good, but a bit frustrated that all my symptoms disappeared while there. The nurses bid me good night when I left, saying they'd see me again in 16 weeks! We'll see... I have a feeling I'll be back there for more NST's though. We got our first one out of the way though and passed with flying colours! *smile*

I'll Stand with arms high and heart abandoned

This song has been on my mind tonight. Had to share, of course.

What can I say? What can I do? But to offer this heart, oh God, completely to you.



The Stand - Hillsong United

You stood before creation
Eternity within Your hand
You spoke the earth into motion
My soul now to stand

You stood before my failure
Carried the Cross for my shame
My sin weighed upon Your shoulders
My soul now to stand

So what can I say
What can I do
But offer this heart O God
Completely to You

So I'll walk upon salvation
Your Spirit alive in me
This life to declare Your promise
My soul now to stand

So what can I say
What can I do
But offer this heart O God
Completely to You

So I'll stand
With arms high and heart abandoned
In awe of the One who gave it all

So I'll stand
My soul Lord to You surrendered
All I am is Yours

Saturday, March 5, 2011

FINALLY!!!! (in which I vent a little)

I FINALLY have an OB!!! I'm happy and relieved. Especially since I'm already 24 weeks along today (which means I'm in my 6th Month...I think. I forget months and think in terms of weeks during pregnancy, since that's how it goes!) This has been an ongoing challenge for me, something I've been fighting for since the beginning, so I feel frustrated and unsure. Indifferent and cranky. Satisfied and pleased.

I've joked to family about how I'll "try not to be bitter" when I see the Obstetrician at the end of the month, but I really don't think I am. Even though I do feel that I have every right to be. See, soon after I found out I was pregnant, I requested a referral to this specific OB from my own doctor, since I had seen her during my pregnancy with Rhys. I am a High Risk Pregnancy and knew that I'd just likely end up needing to see a specialist anyways, so why not skip the "middle man" at the Maternity Clinic and get the care I needed? However, I hadn't heard anything from them yet and I was nearing the end of my first trimester, so I brought it up to the doctor's receptionist again, to which they called around and found out that this OB didn't want to see me. She wanted me to go through the Mat Clinic first. *roll eyes* Whatever for? You'd think she'd like how I asked for her and wanted her to be my doctor!

So I asked for a different OB at a different hospital. Knowing how I have a tendency to not go full term, I may as well go straight to the hospital with the great NICU (where Bryn was born at 33w) However, I find out that they want me to go through the Mat Clinic first as well, until that doctor says I'm "high risk". Are you kidding me? I already am! I began this pregnancy that way! Once you're "high risk" in one pregnancy, you're considered it for the next ones too!!! Sheesh. So no skipping the "middle man". I begrudgingly went to the Maternity Clinic. I didn't even care who saw me, I was only interested in getting the appointments over and getting them to refer me. But even that wasn't going to happen easily!

I even tried to get a Midwife. I really wanted a specialist who was interested in ME and the baby, who would give me the time of day, who would talk to me and go over concerns I'd had and would let the whole pregnancy feel "natural" and beautiful, instead of tiring and heavy, as it's been for me before. Like a midwife would do. I looked up online for midwives in the area, checked out the ones that had delivering abilities at the hospitals I wanted, and even asked friends for opinions. But that didn't work out well for me in the end either, as they won't take on High Risk Pregnancies; which I understand, but also felt bummed about.

What was it going to take to get a specialist to care for me and the baby????

To say that the first 16 weeks weren't stressful would be a lie. I was so stressed and so upset and worried and paranoid and angry and frustrated! I was trying to be proactive but I felt I wasn't being taken seriously, and it was difficult. To say that in the past 6 months I have been preoccupied by this whole issue would be downplaying it. I haven't been able to concentrate on anything else other than this problem, much to the faltering of my business and my family. *sigh*

But then things picked up.

After they fell apart, that is.

I had high blood pressure. And when I say "high", I mean really high. As in not good high. As in I needed to be seen by a team of specialists out at BC Women's Hospital that deals only in high BP during pregnancy. This team takes on only special cases, those that are pre-eclampsia and IUGR. I was freaking out when I learned that! I was told by many not to worry and to not get too far ahead of myself, but well, what else was I to do but look online for more information??? I know, I know, some people would say that is a bad idea, but I'd rather be informed at the options and choices and solutions than to not have a clue going into something. Of course, that also only made me convinced that not only was I pre-e, but I was one of those rare cases of pre-e that show up really early, even though it typically only does in late term. I had convinced myself that this pregnancy was doomed and I'd be on bed rest and maybe hospitalized and spent much of my time praying that we'd make it to a reasonable stage of the pregnancy for viability. (which I am very close to now, thankfully)

I walked into the EMMA clinic with apprehension and concern, and left with assurance and hope. After an ultrasound, detailed past history, medical knowledge (not mine of course, the team of doctors) consistent BP checks, some medication, and a lot of appointments it was determined that my hypertension was pre-existing. What a shock that was to me. It wasn't even an option that popped into my head! Sure, it was a possibility on every site I looked up, but I hadn't even considered it. I've never had high blood pressure. Never. How could this be something I entered the pregnancy with? What an idea! But this all was detected at 14 weeks, so it was the most obvious suggestion.

I was not at high risk for pre-e! HOORAY! In fact, they assessed me at only a 30% chance of it becoming that! What a relief! But what another surprise I had when, at my appointment, the doctor I was seeing "kicked me out" of the EMMA Clinic!!! It was a good thing, indeed, but also something I wasn't expecting! Instead, I was to be followed by the Internal Medicine Doctor, who deals with hypertension outside of pregnancy from now on.

I see Dr M every two weeks, and we check my blood pressure and go over any issues that I may have and we discuss medication (currently I am not on any as my blood pressure is great!) and she sends me for lab work. Lots of lab work. I have my urine checked and whatever else they look at in my blood (lol) and things are being regulated. I go out to Vancouver so often, I am used to it and I enjoy it! I love this doctor and her intern doctor (at least, I think that's who she is. Or she's doing her practicum, I'm not too sure. I don't understand it all. But she's a doctor and I like her a lot too!) and I feel good and secure and happy. I feel that things are being taken care of.

But then I forget that this woman is taking care of ME. She's *my* doctor, and I still don't have a "baby doctor". I hadn't even seen my own doctor at the maternity clinic in two months, when he said he'd put a referral in to an OB for me just after Christmas, and I hadn't heard from that doctor either. So when that reality set in again, it was frustrating. Granted, things were going well, and I was being monitored on a regular basis, and the baby was growing and I could feel constant kicking, so in that aspect I didn't need to be too concerned. But I was annoyed at feeling discarded. When I finally did get in to the Mat Clinic again, I was feeling so let down over the whole issue that I just didn't *care* anymore. I wasn't going to fight or push or anything. I'll just take the first specialist they'll give me.

So I'm going to see the OB that I requested back in October.

Yeah. The one that didn't want to see me. I feel I have a "right" to be bitter over it all, and in some ways I am. But in more ways, I also feel relieved and resigned about the whole thing. I was starting to think that maybe I didn't even need a doctor, that I'd done this all before and would go in to the hospital I wanted to deliver at when I felt I needed to! After all, no doctor has actually even delivered any of my children, they'd all been too late or left the room for unusual reasons when I'd been fully dialated! But then I don't want to become "that kind of mom"...the one who self-diagnoses and then finds herself in trouble later on.

So when I see this doctor at the end of the month, I'll do my best to accept her type of care and her insight into my High Risk-edness, and to not try to mess it up. I'll also try real hard not too let my mind get ahead of itself and to think up issues that aren't happening. I've had too many sleepless nights because of paranoia of early leaking, and of constant checking and questioning myself. After all, maybe things will be okay. Maybe I won't even *need* this OB. Maybe it will all turn out for naught. Wouldn't that be a blessing? I am trying to convince myself that I won't have any baby issues, even though past history tells me otherwise. One thing I do believe already is that every pregnancy is different.

Isn't that the truth!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Placebo Girl

I had to make another trip downtown to BC Women's to see my wonderful specialist, and I felt so sick, and I didn't want to go b/c I felt sick, and I didn't want to cough in my favouritist' sister's car and spread my germs all over her borderline germophobe personal space, but I also wanted to go b/c I wanted the doctor to see that I was sick and I wanted her to tell me that I should stay in bed and be pampered and that I should really start to take some strong medication to make me normal again. It was a conflicting appointment for me. As we sat in the room waiting for the doctor, somehow our conversation got onto being sick (imagine that...maybe it was all the tissues I kept grabbing to cough into) and medications and my sister made a comment about me needing a placebo. Which got me thinking.

A placebo. H'mm....

And it occurred to me that she is completely correct. That's the nice thing about family; they know you. But I am in need of a placebo. And if I'm really honest, I think I would be able to admit that I'd rather have a placebo than have to take actual medications on a daily basis! Give me a pretend medication, make me feel better. Is it bad that I can admit to that or is that just admitting the sad state of my mind? I think the truth is that I just want someone to care, to put an effort out, make me feel better, even for just a moment. I want to be babied sometimes!

I was feeling so bad for myself one night, laying in bed, hacking, coughing, and sputtering, and crying. I knew I wasn't dying and wasn't close to it, but my mind kept thinking of all these terrible things happening, like what if I actually couldn't breathe and I had to crawl down the hall, panting and wheezing, trying to get someone's attention, while fumbling for the phone so that I can dial 9-1-1 and start banging on the digits just so they can figure out there is a serious problem on the other end and they need to send someone over stat to heal me. (Yeah, my mind is a wonder, isn't it?) What if no one noticed that I needed serious help? The thought was oppressing my mind, weighing on me, making me feel worse. Finally, I got up, in tears, and confessed to my Hunny that I was most likely going to die on my own in the bedroom while he watched tv. He took care of me and made me feel better, and half an hour later, I could go back to bed, feeling confident that things were ok.


Yeah, I need a placebo. I'm happy with simple care. Someone to listen to me and not laugh at my drama. A gentle hug, an encouraging word. It makes my heart feel lighter and I can continue on and feel strengthened.

I left the doctor's office with a nice prescription for a strong medication and immediately I felt a good 90% better than I had that morning. And I hadn't even started the medication yet!!! It was just knowing that it wasn't all in my head that made me feel better. The next day, whilst on our way to yet another appointment, I was talking to my wonderfulest sister about how easy things can change for me. I can honestly say that I would be perfect for those medical studies where they give half the test group the real meds and the other half the placebos. I'd be completely happy in the placebo group!

I'm not too sure how I feel about this though. I think it's great to admit that I don't need a lot to make me feel secure, yet the thought that I can be deceived and possibly feel "okay" about it makes me feel uneasy. It's a complex thought. I obviously don't like being lied to and I am deeply hurt and offended by people who are fake or aren't deep, yet I am also simple enough to be able to accept pseudo care. Maybe the word isn't "simple". Maybe it's "strong". Yeah, let's go with that one. Maybe I'm confident enough and am smart enough to know the truth and that in some circumstances, having a placebo is enough b/c I know that's what it is.

Maybe the whole thing really just shows how easy it is to turn things around for me. It's not about how "simple" I am, and it doesn't mean that I have esteem issues or anything. Instead, it is a way to see how to help me get back on my feet. When I need help, I just need a little sympathy, someone to tell me that it's not all in my head, and to help me pick myself back up. A placebo doesn't have to mean "fake." I just need some reassurance sometimes.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Bunny Luv


Ginger sure has grown since the last time we saw her! Wow. Now look at her! She looks like a little sausage!

I decided to take her out of her cage for a bit of hopping around on Abi's bed. You have to be careful with her and supervise, though; she's the sneaky one and will try to find a way off the bed and into the wide open spaces of the room, whereas Thumper looks down to the ground and says he's not big enough to jump that far! *smile*


Rhys absolutely loves the bunnehs and wants to cuddle, hug, kiss, and hold them whenever he can. Funnily enough though, once one is placed in his lap, he freaks out, so we don't do that too often!


Both Abi & Rhys have similar gentle personalities in the way they handle pets, which is really sweet to see. I hope Ginger feels loved! (and not squashed and cornered!)

Hope this feeds your Bunneh desires for now. Abi is still looking to convince her Daddy that we NEED to have baby bunnies, so if you are seriously considering a pet bunny (hey, thinking ahead to Easter is a wise thing to start now) then drop me a line! *big grin*
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