Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Noodles and Applesauce


I have a friend who just started blogging.  She's a not-yet-geriatric mum of two kids under two years of age.  She may go crazy if she doesn't let her sarcastic wit out somewhere, so she decided a blog might be the best place to let her crazy out.  No, she's not really crazy.  Just fun to hang out with.  She'll make you laugh; she'll make you cry; she'll make you want to eat buttercream icing. 

Her very first post went up last night.  Check back in with her every so often and give her a bit of encouragement if you can.  Her name is Dori and you can find her over here at Noodles and Applesauce

No wait, this is my child at her wedding.

Ah, yes, the lovely Dori and her hubby on their wedding day
Sorry, he's too cute.  I couldn't resist.




Monday, April 29, 2013

Neighbourhood Watch

I gotta be honest with you for a moment... 

I just chewed out and lectured two neighbourhood boys who were playing with my sons and ended up hurting them.  I told these boys that I was a mother and would naturally be very upset with whoever hurt my boys. 

I spoke to the one who hurt my youngest and told him that I didn't want him playing with him if he couldn't be careful enough to try not to hurt him again. 
Who could hurt this sweet boy?

I spoke to the one who hurt my oldest and told him that it didn't really matter if it was an accident or not, this was my son and I do not want to see him get hurt.
Mess with my kid, you mess with me

The two neighbourhood boys apologized to me and to the boys they had injured, so I let them keep playing.  But, just to be safe, I thought I'd post a picture of them, just so the other neighbourhood parents know that these are the boys that were playing a little too roughly with my boys today:

Has been known to accidentally hurt boys much bigger than he is

Not known to be mean but can hurt all the same.


An "I'm an idiot" moment

I procrastinating right now.  I have a to-do list for today as we get ready for our new carpet to be installed tomorrow.  My list currently looks like this:


- Sand drywall compound on wall by videos (done)
- sand wood filler in kids' rooms (done)
- sand girl's room (around light switch) (done)
- sand upstairs bathroom walls (two spots) (done)
- dig out painting supplies from the back corner of the fully-loaded long-term storage closet under the stairs (done)
- kick yourself for burying painting supplies when you emptied the carpeted portion of the basement (I'm stuck on this one.)
- paint family room walls, w/roller, don't miss spot on wall between windows
- paint upstairs bathroom
- blog one of two ideas scratched on scrap paper
- exercise
- make dinner (salad and grilled chicken)
- drop off books at Christian thrift store
- take carpet underpad to dump 

Photo from www.rona.ca catalog
Okay, back to work.  And, yeah, word to the wise - If you plan to paint anything, don't bury your painting supplies behind everything that was previously floating around your basement.

Friday, April 26, 2013

The Blessing of Friendship

I'm so blessed to have some really great friends.  And I've got them all over the place! 

I have great friends in Europe who are so encouraging from afar. 
I've got wonderful church friends who like to have fun when it's time to have fun and who will gather around to care and pray when there is need for that.
I've got summer Family Camp friends who stay in touch throughout the year.
I've got friends from school days who have persisted in staying in touch with me.
Of course, I have friends in my family.  Sisters and cousins are good that way.
I have friends who crossed paths with us in years passed and I've held on to them because they are too valuable to let go.
And I have a fabulous network of friends within my neighbourhood!

I'm planning to be out tonight, visiting with a group of friends who have been meeting about once a month for a quite a few years now.  It's been so much fun to see how our friendships have grown.  We're comfortable being ourselves.  There is no pretending to be someone else.  We're okay with being different from each other, making different choices for our families, having different political leanings.  We treasure how valuable a good friend is.

The thing I love most about a good friend is knowing that she (or he) will be there, whatever the need may be.  A whole bag of sugar?  A ride to the auto shop? A hug and a shoulder to cry on?  Someone to laugh with over tea and brownies?  Someone willing to help with a bag of groceries for a stranger in need?  These ladies rock.

In chatting with another sweet friend yesterday, I realized how rare it is to have this many rockin' awesome friends.  My friends encourage instead of tearing down.  They help and build others up instead of always draining the life out of people.  They are full of love and joy.  The more I think about it, the more I realize that they show what it means to have the fruit of the Spirit...


If you don't have friends like that, find some.  Or find one.  And then find out who that person's friends are.  That kind of friend is invaluable!

Thursday, April 25, 2013

The best Mother's Day present

May I suggest, with Mother's Day approaching, that the moms reading this consider asking for a life-changing gift this year?  Instead of flowers and dinner out, have dinner in and ask for one of these...

There are a few organizations (Compassion International, World Vision, and others) that have gifts you can purchase for another family. $40 buys a pig for a family who may be facing starvation. $79 gives a family clean drinking water for life.  $52 can send a girl to school for a year.  It doesn't have to be expensive either.  $10 gives a family the seeds to start a garden, plus guidance from workers who can teach them about sowing and harvesting.

It's a little thing for us moms to give up, and a huge thing for a family in need. I got a "pig" for Christmas a couple years ago, along with a stuffed animal pig and a World Vision card. I keep it on one of my bookshelves and smile when I think about that family enjoying that pig.


We don't usually buy a lot of gifts for Mother's Day, so I think this year I will put together a veggie basket from the local market and present it to my mother-in-law with a card saying I purchased the $10 seeds  for a family in need.  She loves healthy eating and she loves helping others.  If you know what the mother you're buying for is passionate about you can choose your gift around that.

My cousin has very aptly pointed out that "it's also a great idea for those of us who have mothers who, shall we say, are no longer easy to buy for."  It's so true.  You can honor the life of a mother who has passed away and is no longer physically present to receive a gift, but still very much part of you.

This is also a great way to honour the woman who so wishes she could be a mother.  She may not physically be capable of bearing a child, but she still has a mother's heart and she can be honoured all the same.

It's such a little thing for us to ask of our families.  But it can mean the difference between life and death for another family.

If you want to do this for yourself or for a mother in your life, please let me know in the comments so we can follow up and find out how the world was changed for Mother's Day this year.


Wednesday, April 24, 2013

"Your First Story Was Better"

We may have let our daughter watch The Princess Bride one too many times*...

While reading a fictional book called "The Holocaust Diary of Rose Rabinowitz," we discovered that the narrator/main character's father died at the hand of some German gunmen.  I paused for a moment to assess the children's states of mind at this dreary section of the book.  Our nine year old pipes up and says, "There's only one thing left to do.  Go through his clothes and look for loose change."

Aaron and I, horrified, looked at her for an explanation.  She gave us that How Do You Not Get It look and said, "Miracle Max...  That's what he says when you're all dead."


*For the record, despite the bad timing of her remarks, I'm quite happy that my daughter is learning to integrate The Princess Bride into her everyday speech.

My Budding Scientist

You know those moments where you get to peek into your child's life without them realizing it?  And you are so proud of your child because of their awesome behaviour and astute observations?  Well, that didn't happen today.

I was helping out in my seven year old boy's class today.  They had a scientist (Scientist Michelle) teaching them about "Matter."  Scientist Michelle asked what makes up matter.  Eventually, someone got the right answer, "Molecules."  Again from Scientist Michelle, "What are the smaller parts that make up molecules?  Does anyone know?"  My boy shot his hand straight up in the air with assurance.  He had this one.

"Yes, Scientist Simon..."

"Pixels!"

I wonder where he got that idea...

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Motivation

I have found a great way to get my kids to practice piano. We've told them that for every song they pass they get 10 minutes of free-play piano time at their next practice.

I'm realizing that this motivates some more than others.

The oldest one (aka "The Rule Follower"), who needs no motivation, has a hard time figuring out what to do for free time. He sits there, frustrated, unsure what to do without the book. (We do let him look at the book, he's just created a rule for himself that free time should not involve the book.)

The youngest one, on the other hand, loves his free time. This is the same boy who, a month ago, complained any time he had to touch a piano. Today, during twenty blissful minutes of free time (he passed two songs yesterday!) the youngest announced, "I know what I want to be when I grow up! I want to be a piano player and someone who writes the songs."

Moments like that make my heart happy.


Monday, April 22, 2013

What do you deserve?

Warning - Make sure you have on steel-toed boots.  It's quite possible I will be stepping stomping on your nicely painted toes today.

I've been growing increasingly annoyed with the use of one particular word these days.  It's a word used by many and I don't know if we've really thought this word through or not. 

"You deserve a piece of chocolate after the day you had." 
"Get a pedicure this weekend.  You deserve it for putting up with work all week!"
"You two should totally go to New York City!  You deserve some time away from the kids."


Deserve - verb
- to be worthy of (Merriam Webster Dictionary)
- do something or have or show qualities worthy of (a reaction which rewards or punishes as appropriate) (Oxford Dictionary)
- to have earned or to be given something because of the way you have behaved or the qualities you have (Cambridge Dictionary)
-to merit, be qualified for, or have a claim to (reward, assistance, punishment, etc.) because of actions, qualities, or situation (Dictionary.com)

I tried to find a Bible verse that says we deserve a temporary reward for an act of valour.  This is what I found:
The labourer deserves to be paid for the work he does. (Matt 10:10, Luke 10:7, 1 Tim 5:18)
A house that accepts you is deserving of your peace (Matt 10:13)
Jesus healed the Centurion's servant, not because the Centurion deserved it, but because of his faith. (Luke 7:1-10)

And I found a boatload of other verses that talk about other things we deserve:

"The wages of sin is death" Rom 6:23a NIV
"Know therefore that God exacts from you less than your iniquity deserves." Job 11:6 NKJV
"Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them."  Romans 1:32 NIV
"We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve..."  Luke 23:41 (Spoken by one of the thieves hanging on a cross beside Jesus.)
There were many more that spoke of an enemy deserving death for sin.

So what do we deserve?
"Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving."  Colossians 3:23-24
"... but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord." Romans 6:23b
"And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him." Hebrews 11:6 
But you have to keep reading to see what the reward is...
"All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance, admitting that they were foreigners and strangers on earth. ...they were longing for a better country—a heavenly one." [parts of] Hebrews 11:13-16

In the Bible, every reward for good work is an eternal reward.  There isn't an earthly temporary reward for doing the good that know we should do.

Why do I deserve chocolate or a pedicure or a vacation?  Because I chose to get married and have kids?  Because I went out and did something to provide for my family?  Because I had to talk to someone who doesn't typically think logically about things?  That's part of life.  It's what everyone has to deal with.  Yep, sometimes "going to work" is no fun.  Who ever says they're "going to easy"?  It's called "work" for a reason.

In Ecclesiastes, Solomon writes about how work/toil is meaningless.  But hidden in his rant is a little ray of sunshine: "A person can do nothing better than to eat and drink and find satisfaction in their own toil. This too, I see, is from the hand of God, for without him, who can eat or find enjoyment?"  (Ecc 2:24-25) If you're finding life to be stressful or difficult, realize that your work is for God, not for man. (See Col 3:23-24 above if you forgot about that already.)  Find enjoyment in serving His big purpose for this world.  Are you weary of trying to keep up with the demands of this life?  Bring it to Jesus.  "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest."  Matthew 11:28

Sure indulge in some chocolate.  Paint your nails.  Take a vacation.  The Bible encourages rest.  But don't tell people that you deserve it.  You deserve a lot more than that.  Thank God for Jesus!

Friday, April 19, 2013

Life, to the full

This verse, these words of Jesus, keeps coming up again, in different discussions:
"The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full." John 10:10.
 

Things that steal, kill, destroy.  Things that are not good.  Those things are not from God.  God gives us good gifts.  God gave us Jesus, the ultimate gift.   He gave so that we could have life to the full.

I am reminded, once again, of these words from Katie Davis in the book Kisses From Katie, "I hadn't realized what a transformation had taken place while I had been in Uganda, the spiritual richness I had experienced in material poverty and the spiritual poverty I felt now in a land of material wealth.” She actually felt spiritually impoverished when she had enough food to eat, because she wasn't relying on God to supply her needs any longer; she was relying on her own strength.

A recent question came up - "What motto do you live by?"

I didn't really have a ready-made answer. I started typing, letting my fingers transcribe the ramblings of my mind.:

"Q: What a motto?
"A: Nothing, what's the matter with you?

"Sorry, I have kids.

"No motto. Just Truth.

"Lately though it's been: "God *will* give you more than you can handle, so that when you find yourself struggling, you go to Him instead of living life in your own power."

"I'm realizing more and more these days that "life to the full" is less about physical pleasures and more about spiritual dependence.
"

I don't know where it will take me, or what it will look like, but I know I want "life to the full." I've spent so much time wanting a life that is full of physical pleasure that I have never stopped to consider that those pleasures I pursue can actually be detrimental my life "to the full."

If I were you, this is what I'd be thinking right now...

"Right, so now Wanda's going to sell everything and check into a convent?"
"No, I saw her shopping and eating out last night.  Hypocrite!"
"Well, she'll probably just want to talk about God all the time now."
"Maybe.  I don't know.  She was laughing about an episode of The Big Bang Theory just a couple days ago."
"Hmm...  I'll guess we'll have to wait and see how far off the deep end she goes now."


I don't want to live in a convent and spend the rest of my life depriving myself for the sake of deprivation.  There is no "life to the full" value in that. 

I want to care less about the temporal. 
I want to have a proper perspective. 
I want to realize the difference between need and want.
 

I need to care less about the temporal. 
I need to have a proper perspective. 

I need to have "life to the full" as my goal in decision-making.




Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Being available for important things

It's always when I'm in the shower.  The kids' radar activates and tells them that now is the best time to ask Mom that really not-incredibly important question.

Let me set the stage:

Fan is blowing, shower is running, water is clogging my ears.

I hear indeterminate mumbling just outside the bathroom door.  Think Charlie Brown's teacher.

Me:  You know I can't hear you right?  If it's important come on in so I can hear you.

Door opens.

7 year-old boy: Mom, what's that thing you do for a hundred years?
Me, trying to make sense of what I think I just heard:  Wh-huh...What?
7 year-old boy:  That thing, that lasts a hundred years.  What's it called?
Me, wondering where this is going: A century?
7 year-old boy:  Oh yah. 

Click.

And he's gone.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Words

I have this in my kitchen, on one of my cupboards. 



I see it every day.  My kids see it every day.  My husband sees it every day. 

It's a good thing for us to see.  It's a good thing for me to know as I talk on the phone in my kitchen.  I talk on the phone in my kitchen often.

Our words witness for us.  And we have no idea how far our words can reach.  Our words witness to our children, to our visitors, to our friend on the other side of the phone, to beings in the spiritual realm... 

Let your words build others up, according to their needs.  Let your words be beneficial to all who hear them.

Silly Haiku

Inspired by a discussion on one particular form of Japanese Poetry:

When I write haiku
I use my fingers to count
All the syllables


 
Give it your best shot.  
A silly haiku from you
Would make me happy.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

A Birth Story - Part Four (In Praise of Midwives)

When I tell the stories of how my children were born, I love to share how much we appreciated having midwives.  And whether my sister is around or not, I always imagine her interjecting at some point to tell her story.  Since she is not as bloggy as I, please let my rendition of things suffice.

Five years ago, my sister was in the middle of a difficult (first) pregnancy.  She had pain, she had difficulty eating, she had shortness of breath.  She did not enjoy being pregnant and she was ready to be done.  She went into the hospital to deliver her little girl.  Complications arose.  Heart-rates spiked and then dropped.  Blood pressure was rising.  A C-Section was done.  I do not know all the details.  But I do know that my niece had a stroke when she was born.  She lives with cerebral palsy today as a result of that stroke.

My sister has always said she was very glad to be in a hospital when she delivered because "who knows" what would have happened had she been at home with a midwife.  And I agree with her.  I'm very glad she was at a hospital for my niece's birth.  And I'm quite certain that the doctors at the hospital did everything possible to help make a bad situation as good as it could be.

This is when I like to jump back in though.  The thing that a lot of people don't understand about midwives is that they are very good about understanding what they do.  And when things happen outside of their training, they are wonderful about referring the mother to an obstetrician who knows how to deal with high-risk pregnancies. 

I appreciated the chart that the midwives gave me on that first visit.  It had a list of scenarios that would cause me to be referred to an OB.  Some were minor, some were major.  If one minor indicator arose, we would watch it.  If two minor indicators popped up, then they would discuss transferring care to an OB.  They were some indicators that were automatic transferal to an OB.  Midwives aren't snooty like that.  They just want the very best for each mother and baby.  I am convinced that sometime around the 7th month, my sister's symptoms would have triggered a transfer to an OB had she been under the care of midwives.

I want to turn your attention to what's happening in the Niagara Region right now.  The area of the Niagara region is 1,852 km².  We now have only two hospitals that have functioning maternity wards.  They are both on the north shore of the region (Grimsby and St Catharines.)  Local midwives and their clients could potentially have to drive over an hour to reach either of these hospitals, depending on where they live in the region.  For the unscheduled birth (as most are with midwives) that's far enough to be cause for concern.

The pink dot shows the St. Catharines Hospital location.  Grimsby is up to the left.
There has been talk of opening Birthing Centres in Ontario to accomodate the women who want to have midwives but don't want to give birth at home.  It's a safe alternative to hospitals and with our current geographical layout, a couple strategically placed Birthing Centres would be a wonderful and welcome addition to the area.  The much-maligned Niagara Health System would find itself getting many pats on the back and words of praise for such a cost-effective decision.  Frankly, it would be akin to a shot of adrenaline for a sytem that is failing those in the southern half of the region.

To read more on midwives and Birthing Centres in Ontario, check out this recent article from the Welland Tribune.  (The midwife in the article, Anne...  She was in our home when Riley was born.  Anne took her vitals and cared for her in her first few moments of life.)

My point in all this is to help you understand that midwives are a great place to start when you're at the beginning of this pregnancy journey.  They will hold your hand and lead you along as you get your feet under you.  And they are humble enough to know when it's best to hand your care over to an obstetrician.  They only want to see a healthy mama deliver a healthy baby, every time.  It doesn't matter if it's under their care or not.

Read the rest here:
Part One - Luke's Birth Story
Part Two - Riley's Birth Story
Part Three - Simon's Birth Story

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

While the Enemy Watches

"You prepare a feast for me in the presence of my enemies."

Most of us have memorized Psalm 23.  We have recited it by heart many times.  And as often happens with rote recitation, sometimes the beauty of the words gets lost in the regurgitation of it.  I had the first half of Psalm 23:5 rolling around in my head just now...

David, who wrote this Psalm, was a warrior.  He had been in many battles and knew what it meant to have enemies.  And here he is, writing a song about sitting down to enjoy a feast while the enemy is there.  The enemy has closed in and is ready to attack.  The enemy is right there, in his presence.  But instead of calling the troops to defend this attack, he sits down to a feast, prepared for him by the One who has promised to give him all that he needs.  The One who has promised to comfort and protect him.

If you are being battered by the enemy, stop trying to defend yourself.  You can't.  You only have One Defense.  Sit down at God's table and rest in His comfort and protection.

A Birth Story - Part Three

Green Grandma has started telling birth stories every Thursday on her blog.  I volunteered to tell a condensed version of mine.  But I also wanted to write out what I remembered in detail, so that my kids could come back and read all about it later on in life.  If they're ever interested.  So here we have:


Part Three - Simon's Birth Story

21 months after we met Riley, I was 39 weeks pregnant again.  The third time around, I planned to have my baby at home.  I had a very healthy, normal pregnancy and had no reason to be worried about things going wrong.  All the same, the midwives has assured me that they had all the standard hospital equipment with them in case of emergency, and we were about 7 minutes away from the nearest hospital.  So we planned to stay home when I went into labour with #3.

Unfortunately, I didn't get the now-expected 4:00 am wake-up call this time.  We were up and getting ready to head to our Sunday morning church meeting.  The kids and I were dressed for church and Aaron was about to get ready when I started feeling “not-so-good.”  It was around 8:00 in the morning, one week before the EDD.  I started keep track of contractions and things moved along as expected.  While we waited for Grandma to arrive to take care of the younger kids, we had a little "we-can't-be-at-church" sing-along which I recorded.  I just love that this is what my house sounded like while I was in labour.

Having done this twice, once at home, I was very comfortable and at-ease.  I don't remember a whole lot from this day, because it went just as expected.  Grandma arrived (skipping church to be with us) to care for the younger two as I brought her next grand-child into the world.  We had a different midwife, Kelly, join us to help usher Simon into the world.  Once again I was walking up and down the stairs, bouncing on an exercise ball, and trying to find the best way to move to accomodate the pain.

Kelly finally broke my water to move things along when it was beneficial.  Just as last time, I had #3 about an hour later on that birthing stool.  Simon was born in our bedroom around 2:10 pm on November 27, weighing exactly 7 lbs.

The thing I remember most from my recovery this time is that going from two kids to three kids was so much easier than going from one kid to two kids.  The older two had built-in play-mates in each other, so I found that I had more time to spend resting and caring for Simon.  My mom came to help out for a week or two (as she did with the other two) and she had a chance to love on all three of them while being there to help me as well.  I truly appreciated having her around each time.



Read the rest here:
Part One - Luke's Birth Story
Part Two - Riley's Birth Story
Part Four - In Praise of Midwives

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

A Birth Story - Part Two

Green Grandma has started telling birth stories every Thursday on her blog.  I volunteered to tell a condensed version of mine.  But I also wanted to write out what I remembered in  detail, so that my kids could come back and read all about it later on in life.  If they're ever interested.  So here we have:

Black and White photos taken by my friend Moni,
who can be found blogging at The Momo Miles.

Part Two - Riley's Birth Story

20 months after Luke was born, I found myself in a very similar predicament. 

A month or so before my Estimated Due Date (EDD), our midwives had told us to be prepared for a home-birth.  Since I was only in labour for five hours the first time, it could go even quicker this time.  So we were ready.  We had everything on the list for a home-birth.  But we were still planning a hospital birth.

I was 39 weeks pregnant with #2, a girl this time.  There's something about 4 am...  I woke up just after 4:00 am feeling very much the same as I did with #1.  Only this time, I was still full from “all you can eat pasta” of the night before.  Once that left my stomach, I felt a bit better.

As with the last time, we called the midwife pager around 6:30 and said that we were in labour.  She told us to give it a half hour and see how things were going. 

So Aaron was once again on the phone with our midwife, Kristy, around 7:00 am, telling that this was full-blown labour.  She asked what we wanted to do, putting it to us this way, “If you go to the hospital, it will be in an ambulance because you could have this baby at any moment.  If you stay at home, I will be there in a few minutes and you can call if anything changes."  I did NOT want to move anywhere and was very happy to know that Kristy could be at my house shortly, so I said that I wanted to stay at home.

Within 30 minutes, my mother-in-law arrived (to care for our just-waking 20 month old boy) and Kristy arrived (to care for me.)  I had the freedom to walk around my house, choosing to go up and down stairs to speed up labour as necessary.  I seemed to be “transitioning” but not getting anywhere.  All that really meant to me was that my body was in a lot of pain but that baby wasn't working her way out yet.  Kristy offered to break the membrane, knowing that my body was ready and that it would speed things up.  I very readily agreed, so she did.  I was in labour another hour or so and got to use a birthing stool to deliver her.  It was so wonderful!  Aaron was sitting on a chair across from me and I was leaning into him for support as I pushed.  I had my lovely baby girl, weighing 7 lb 6 oz, around 10:20 am on Feb 12, 7 days before my EDD.



The first picture of our family of four
Grandma B, Grandma Cecil, Riley and Luke

Grandma and Grandpa B with Riley and Luke

 One of my favourite memories from this day is that as we sat on the couch, just an hour or two after our little girl entered the world, Aaron made breakfast for everyone.  We sat visiting, midwives (three of them by now), Grandma, and our family of four, over omelets and toast.  It was such a happy moment, one I will cherish, knowing how special and unique it was.

Her first beau, Grandpa B, with her first flower

Recovering from the delivery of my second child took more of a toll on me and I was so glad to once again be recovering at home.  The regular visits from the midwives were wonderful too.  They came, again, to check on us five times in the first week.

Read the rest here:
Part One - Luke's Birth Story
Part Three - Simon's Birth Story
Part Four - In Praise of Midwives

Monday, April 8, 2013

A Birth Story - Part One

Green Grandma has started telling birth stories every Thursday on her blog.  I volunteered to tell a condensed version of mine.  But I also wanted to write out what I remembered in  detail, so that my kids could come back and read all about it later on in life.  If they're ever interested.  So here we have:

Part One - Luke's Birth Story
When I found out I was pregnant with Luke, I read as much as I could to prepare myself. Somewhere around my third month, on my third time through “What to Expect When You're Expecting,” I actually read that teeny, tiny little paragraph about midwives.  Being in Ontario, I had no concern about the cost of an OB/GYN.  But being someone who had no idea what to expect, I liked the idea of a medical professional who would treat me as a person instead of a patient.  I found some local midwives and fell in love with them pretty quickly.  We got to know each other pretty well during our 30-45 minute long appointments. The midwives understood and supported my decision to have my baby in the hospital.  I felt SO well-cared for with them.  I was very assured and confident of my ability to get through this labour and delivery process. Until I got to pre-natal class.

A portion of our pre-natal class was designed to test our tolerance for pain.  Our husbands were to hold an ice cube to our wrist.  When I could no longer stand it, I had to tell him to stop.  We timed ourselves.  Of the four pregnant mamas in the room, I was the first to beg my husband to stop.  I like to tell this story because when we met up with the other couples in that room a year later, I discovered that I was the only one to deliver naturally, without pain medication.  I hate pain.  Unless there's a meaningful purpose to it.

But I'm getting ahead of myself.

So we were all set to have our baby.  I had taken my maternity leave two weeks before my Estimated Due Date (EDD) of June 20.  My sister came from 5 hours away to stay with me and massage my feet and help me if I happened to go into labour while she was there.  June 20 came and went.  I wasn't too worried.  The midwives had warned me that most first-time moms go 7-10 days overdue, and that the EDD really was just an estimation.  Some mamas are pregnant beyond 42 weeks they assured me.  Oh great.

Two days after my due date, I woke up early, around 4:30 am.  I felt like I was getting period cramps and had to go the bathroom.  A lot.  Once my intestines were mostly cleared, I tried to go back to sleep, to no avail.  I finally realized that I was having fairly steady contractions and we decided to call the midwives around 6:00 am.  Our beloved midwife, Kristy, said that since I was able to talk to her on the phone through the contractions, they weren't too strong and we should be fine to labour at home for a while longer.  My sister, Aaron and I started timing them, at Kristy's request, and noticed that they were coming every five minutes for 60-90 seconds.  We called her back at 6:30 am.  She said to try taking a bath to slow them down.  I ran the water and took a bath.  It did absolutely nothing for me. 

My contractions were getting stronger and lasting longer.  I had Aaron call Kristy back again just after 7:00 am.  After hearing the update she said to get out of the tub, get dressed and get to the hospital ASAP.  She'd meet us there but wouldn't get there before we did.  So she called ahead and told the nurses we were on our way.

I must interject that my sister was a trooper through all of this.  She was there when my water broke as I got out of the tub.  She was there when I vomited what I had eaten that morning.  She helped Aaron and I get through this first-time experience.  She dressed me and got me ready to go to the hospital.

Pain!  That's all I remember about that drive.  I was glad to finally get there, but did not like having to lie on that bed waiting for the Kristy to get there.  They strapped some monitor to my belly and said that everything looked good.  Kristy got there and “checked me.”  I was 8 cm dilated.  After a few more contractions I told her I wanted to try the birthing tub in the other room.  She said there probably wasn't enough time to fill it and checked me again.  10 cm!  Well, that was fast.

I pushed for maybe 20 or 30 minutes on the hospital bed and gave birth to a beautiful baby boy.  They gently, but quickly, wiped him off and handed him to me so I could cuddle with him.  About 30 minutes later, I delivered the placenta with no problems and they put a couple stitches in.  My 7lb 5 oz baby boy was born in a rush on June 22 at 9:33 am.

An hour or so after giving birth to Luke.
This was before the days of digital cameras. 
We didn't know we looked this awful or we would have done a retake
The rest of the family came to see our new baby while we were still at the hospital.  Great-Grandma Cecil got to meet him just an hour or so after he joined us.


Four generations, Luke, Daddy Aaron, Grandma Joyce, Great-Grandma Cecil

And then, just as soon as we got there, it seemed that we were leaving.  With midwives, their goal is to get you home and recovering where you are most comfortable.  We left the hospital 3.5 hours after Luke was born and had a very pleasant and easy recovery at home.  (Total time in the hospital, about five hours.)  Our midwives came to visit us in our home five times in that first week.  They were so reassuring and encouraging.
Best midwife ever, Kristy, with Luke at one of the home visits

We felt incredibly blessed to have had such an amazing experience with our first baby.

Wanda, snuggling with Luke

Aaron, doing what he and Luke did best

Read the rest here:
Part Two - Riley's Birth Story
Part Three - Simon's Birth Story
Part Four - In Praise of Midwives





Friday, April 5, 2013

Mommy

I have tears streaming down my eyes as I tap this out with one finger on my iPod. I have read something that has shown me, clearer than anything else, the beauty of being a parent.

Tonight I had to stop reading at page 64 of Kisses From Katie (the book, not the website.) Katie Davis, who has dedicated her life to serving the people of Uganda, has written in these first pages about the first few children she adopted in Uganda. These children spent years knowing dirt and filth and sorrow and abandonment and rejection and now - NOW - they have someone who cares for them, loving them because Jesus loves them, finding ways to fill their needs when to do so seems impossible. But it's not just the girls who call her "Mommy."


The store clerks and teachers call her Mommy. The doctors and nurses call her Mommy. The parents and grandparents call her Mommy. She is the one in that village who comforts and provides. She is the one who can clean and heal. It doesn't matter if she is their Mommy or not. She is the one they go to. And she is filled with love for them when she hears them calling her "Mommy." How much more must our Heavenly Father be filled with joy when we call on Him?

That is the beauty of being a parent. Seeing how much our children need and love us, unconditionally. Knowing that we can provide some of the comfort that they need. Delighting in the joy that we see around us. Experiencing the heartache. Witnessing bad decisions. And continuing to love. If we, as parents, feel this way, how much more must our Heavenly Father feel this way?

This is the beauty of being a parent.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Bills, bills, bills


Have you seen Babes in Toyland?  Poor Annette...


This was one of my many favourite movie scenes as a kid.  As a grown up, I can relate.  I've been growing increasingly frustrated as "the price of milk and eggs and bread is rising everyday."

Yesterday, we received a notice stating that our internet rate from our current internet company (Provider A) was, once again, increasing.  In the past, we have chosen to stay with our provider because of the hassle of changing the email address associated with my business, The Cleaner Sweep.  But, as of March 2013, my sister is the sole operator of that business, so I don't need to maintain the email address for it anymore.  With that hindrance out of the way, Aaron and I decided to start looking around for better monthly rates.


We found a company (Provider B) that offers a monthly rate that is $15 lower than our current rate ($17 lower than the rate it is climbing to in June 2013).  So I called up Provider A to see if they could lower my rate.  I was hoping they'd give me the $15 off that is offered to new customers.  I didn't quite get that.

A gentleman offered me $5 off my current rate, which I could lock in for 12 months, giving me $7 off come June.  I asked him to note that on my account and I would call back after chatting with my husband.

Buckle your seat-belt; there's some simple math coming up.  Try to stay with me.


Aaron and I figured that at the old rate from Provider A ($51/mth), it would take us just over one year (12.5 months) to start saving money with Provider B (at $35/mth) because of the (approximately) $200 in start-up fees and new modem purchase.  With the new rate ($44/mth), it would be just under two years (22 months) before we started saving money. 

We decided that the hassle and uncertainty of how a new provider would work was not worth the switch, so we agreed to stay with Provider A for the reduced price. 

The best part was that the nice lady that I spoke with at the very end said "We appreciate having you as a customer.  Please feel free to call back again in 12 months to discuss your rate.  We'd like to keep you happy."

You just have to ask.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Birth Sounds

Please don't get weirded out, thinking that I'm going to show you a video of  me, giving birth.  I'm not...

Fellow blogger, Green Grandma, has asked for some guest bloggers to share their birth stories.  That got me thinking about my kids and their early days...  Which got me digging around my picture files on my computer.  I came across this video and looked at the time stamp.  November 27, 2005, 9:33 AM.  My youngest was born about five hours later on November 27, 2005 at about 2:00 PM.

While this scenario was happening, the rest of the members of my church family were getting in their cars to meet for Sunday morning worship.  My family had dressed in their Sunday clothes and were ready to go, but I had decided that we needed to stay home so I could have a baby.  I had probably been in labour for about an hour at the point that this video was taken.

It is so sweet for me to see this and know that my kids have been singing songs about Jesus as long as they can remember.


video

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Mawwiage

My kids have recently discovered the joy of The Princess Bride, so please excuse me while I quote it for a minute here...

Mawwiage, that bwessed event. That dream wiffin a dream.
...Then wuv, Twuuuuue wuv...

~ ~ ~ ~ ~
 

You know, you have to marry the right person.  Because that person is going to change you.  You will either harden against them or soften towards them, but you will be changed, one way or another.  So make sure they are the person you want to be the most influential in how you change.

I regularly feel incredibly blessed to have married someone who has changed me for the better. And I am very thankful to God for bringing Aaron and I together, and for giving me the grace to be willing to change alongside him. 




Life is more fun when you enjoy the person you're stuck with committed to, so it really is best to figure out how to live with each other.

And by "committed" I don't mean institutionalized.  
Marriage is fun.  Or at least it can be...  If you're each willing to change to accommodate the other.