Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Some fun rules at my house

Parenthood has forced me to be more creative than I thought possible.  Here are some of the rules that have become necessary at my house (in no particular order):

1.  If you wake the baby, you get to take care of him/her until the time that he/she should have woken up on their own.

2.  If you come out of your room after we have read stories, brushed teeth, and said goodnight, you are volunteering to do an extra chore, and who am *I* to stand in the way of a helpful child?  (I try to make it something that a person hates wouldn't ordinarily choose to do, for example:  cleaning the garbage can, cleaning the kitchen sink, scrubbing the kitchen floor with a cleaning cloth, scooping the litter box, etc...)

3.  If you leave marks* on somebody by inappropriately using your body**, you get to do the injured person's chores until the marks go away.

*Marks include, but are not limited to:  bruises, split lips, scratches or cuts, broken bones.
**Inappropriately using your body includes, but is not limited to:  hitting, pushing, tripping, or tackling someone, throwing things at to someone, throwing something that "accidentally" hits someone, touching someone when you are angry with them, "accidentally" hitting someone harder than you intended to with a pillow or other object, or not being gentle with someone smaller than you.

4.  If you are saying nasty, mean things can't speak to someone kindly behind closed doors, I will have your father take your door off of the hinges and put it in the garage.

5.  If you will not stop jumping on your bed or taking the mattress off of your bed frame, I will have your father take your bed apart and you will sleep on the floor.

6.  If you jump out and yell "BOO!" to scare your sister, she has permission to hit you as hard as she can, and if you hit her back you will move to the bottom of the behavior chart AND you will do her chores for a week.  (Normally, I do not condone violence, but delicate Marie is completely outnumbered by strapping, bruiser brothers who think--or used to think, before this rule--that it is funny to jump out and scare her when she is going somewhere in the house.  Strangely enough, after the brothers watched me giving Marie punching lessons, they stopped trying to scare her.)

7.  If you break something while disobeying rules (most often:  throwing or launching things), you must pay to replace it.

8.  If Mom is wearing earmuffs, it is because you people can't stop arguing, talking, screaming, singing, or making some irritating noise for ONE MINUTE she is grumpy, and you would be wise not to speak to her until the earmuffs come off. 

9.  At night before they go to bed, I remind the children to pick up everything they want to keep from the main living area of the house.  After they go to bed, I walk around with my laundry basket and pick up the things I find.  Some things I throw away (papers, magazines, toys I'm tired of picking up, craft projects), and some things go in my basket (shoes, socks, books, piggy banks, favorite toys, or toys *I* like).  I used to put all of these things in my closet and tell the children that they had a week or so to earn them back before I donated everything to Goodwill, but then my closet would get full with their things, and they would forget to earn them back.  Now, they must either earn back their belongings (by doing regular chores, extra chores, or schoolwork), or tell me to donate them, in the morning, after breakfast, before they can do anything else (read, play, go outside).  They are required to earn back clothes, shoes, and books, but they can choose to donate anything else.

That's all I can think of at the moment...I'll post again if I think of more.  Do you have any interesting, effective rules at your house?  I'm always looking for good ideas to keep people on their toes =)!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Am I in labor? Labor #4

This time, I had the feeling it was going to be a boy, and I was right!  I was also pretty certain that I had his name picked out, but I wanted to wait until he was born to make the final decision.

The THREE previous children had all been born during week 37 of my pregnancy, either the beginning, middle, or end of that week, so when it came time for my mother to come help, we planned to have her come week 37.  I became VERY GRUMPY as the week wore on, and the time for my mother to leave quickly approached, and there was still NO BABY.  I was very concerned about how big he was going to be, considering how big the others had been despite arriving early.  I ended up taking Marie to see the doctor that week because she had an ear infection.  After we got home from our appointment, the doctor's office called to let us know that while we had been there, someone had brought their child in with chicken pox.  NICE!  Then I not only worried about whether or not this baby was going to make an appearance while I had help, but I also worried that we were going to have chicken pox at our house with a new baby!  (Thankfully, there ended up being no chicken pox at our house.)

I did not want to make so many unnecessary trips to the hospital this time, so I thought back carefully over my experience with Marie and decided that frequency and regularity of contractions was NOT what I was looking for, despite popular opinion.  My clue that it was time to leave for the hospital was wanting to punch smack ANYONE near me who dared to BREATHE in my presence bother me when I was having a contraction.  I thought it was pretty sad that, so far, the only time I'd been able to tell that I was in labor was the time my water broke!

We were down to 3 days left with my mom.  Marie still had her ear infection and was very grumpy because of that.  I had been having an irritating contraction about every 45 minutes or so, but, despite the determined get-this-labor-moving walk we had taken that evening, nothing seemed to be happening.  I got up with Marie around midnight and ended up rocking her for an hour, and by the time I put her down I noticed that the contractions were hurting, but they were still very irregular.  I tried to go back to sleep for an hour or two, but I felt like someone was stabbing me in the stomach every so often, and I really wanted to smack someone during each stabbing incident.......hey!  I must be in labor!  I woke Husband up around 3am, and we told Mom that we were going to the hospital.  This was 8 days before his due date.

Of course, as soon as we started for the hospital, the contractions slowed down again, and I was worried that they were going to send me home, but when the doctor checked me I was dilated to 7cm.  (OF COURSE, it was the ONE doctor I didn't want because he had gone to high school with my brother-in-law!  OF COURSE!)  My labor had gone pretty quickly the previous 2 times, so I thought I would try doing it without drugs this time.  I was able to easily talk through my contractions, so I decided to walk down the hall to see if I could get things moving along.  By the time I got to the end of the hall, I realized that I had made a BIG MISTAKE in getting so far away (30 feet or so) from my room.  Suddenly I felt like I was going to throw up during each contraction, I also felt like I was going to pee on myself if I relaxed during the contractions, and I still had to get back to my room! 

By the time I got back to my room, I was dilated to 9cm.  I didn't want to start screaming at everyone in the room every time I had a contraction pee all over myself, and I couldn't stand the contractions without being able to relax, so I had my nurse send for the anesthesiologist.  The wonderful nurse lied and said I was only dilated to 8cm so that the anesthesiologist would give me something, and I opted for a spinal block this time.  The only worry was that it would wear off before the baby came (For some reason, I could never think clearly during labor.  It was pretty obvious THE BABY WAS COMING!).  I LOVED the spinal!  It took the edge off of the contractions, but I could still feel them and I could move. 

My contractions never did get regular.  Even when it was time for me to push, I would push through one contraction and then we would all wait and wait and wait (with every part of me just HANGING OUT for all the people in the room to see) for the next one;  thankfully it only took pushing through 2 or 3 contractions for him to come out.  I thought the spinal was GREAT.....until I FELT THE BABY CROWN!  (Later, I asked someone why nobody had warned me that I would feel the baby come out, and she said, "Oh, you didn't feel the baby crown.  You only felt 'pressure'."  ?!?!?!?!?!? I guess we have differing definitions of the word "pressure".)  After feeling that, I thought FOR SURE he had done some damage on his way out, but no!  All 8 pounds 11 ounces and 19.8 inches of him made it out without leaving permanent, severe damage necessitating any stitches.  He was born at 6:49AM.

Again, I had the extraordinary experience of holding my new baby as soon as he was out of my body.
My BRAND NEW baby!!
FOR THE FIRST TIME IN MY CHILD-BEARING EXPERIENCE, when I looked at his sweet little face, he actually looked like the name I had picked out!  (He still looked like a cute little stranger, though;  quite adorable, but no "AHA!" moment when I looked into his eyes.)  On this blog, I will call him "Joseph".

Minutes old!  The serious face!

When I looked at him later, I really thought he looked like a sumo wrestler or a football player:

He had a little crimp on his right ear.  I loved it when my babies had something like that because then I could be CERTAIN there were no baby mix-ups while we were at the hospital =).

Saturday, June 18, 2011

SURELY it will be different this time: Pregnancy #4

In between pregnancies I would say, "Those pregnancies were so awful;  I just don't know how I'm going to do that again!"  And people would ACTUALLY SAY, "Oh, you'll forget how bad it was!" which made me think 2 things: 
1.  Apparently people either think I'm a big whiner about "morning sickness" or I'm just not explaining the severity of the misery clearly enough because I WILL NEVER FORGET how awful it was, and
2.  HELLO?!  I am not pregnant when we are having this conversation and, OBVIOUSLY, I STILL REMEMBER.

But that feeling that another little person wanted to join our family just WOULD NOT GO AWAY!  I was SO busy with my three littles, and there always the worry that I would get sick again if I got pregnant.  BUT!  I LOVED all of my kids, and I wanted this new baby too!  I STILL HAD HOPE:  maybe I was one of those people who just got really sick THE FIRST TIME I was pregnant with a boy or girl--now that I'd had one of each, maybe it wouldn't be so bad this next time!  Maybe it would be like my second pregnancy!  And SURELY it couldn't have been as bad as I remembered the other times!  SURELY it was just in my head and if I just REFUSED to be sick it wouldn't happen, right?  And maybe I hadn't felt as sick the 2nd pregnancy because I had taken the vitamin B and half a Unisom every night, so maybe if I started that the moment I found out I was pregnant, it would keep me from getting so sick this time!  (Ian's response when told him that we were going to try to add another baby to our family:  "Oh good!  If you get another baby in your tummy, you'll get sick and we can watch TV all day again!")

The planning of this baby was a little tricky because we knew we were going to be moving at a certain time.  So, either Marie and the next baby would be closer together than any of the others had been, or they were going to be much farther apart because we would need to be finished moving before I got pregnant (just in case...).  We only had a small window of time if we were going to have the baby before we moved, so we decided to try, and if I didn't get pregnant we would wait until after the move.  (I was thinking that there was a SLIM chance of getting pregnant because, hello!  Three kids!  HOW do people even have more children after the first few;  there is LIMITED opportunity, if you know what I mean.)  It didn't take long.  Marie was about 14 months old when I got pregnant.

We told the children that we would be getting a new baby in a few months and that Marie wouldn't be our baby anymore because she would be a big girl.  A few days later, David came up to me looking worried, and asked in the saddest voice, "Are we going to have to give Marie back since she's not going to be our baby anymore?"
Love that sister!  (Who pulled her beautiful, lacy headband off after 1 picture...)
Two weeks after I found out I was pregnant, despite taking the Vitamin B and Unisom IMMEDIATELY, the constant, severe nausea started again.  And, again, it was EVEN WORSE than it had been the time before.  THIS time, I had to lie down for 8 weeks, and then, for the next 4 weeks, I could stand if I didn't move too quickly.  I tried the Vitamin B and Unisom, sea bands, some homeopathic nausea medicine, Zofran, a special electronic bracelet thing that was supposed to zap a certain point on my wrist to keep me from feeling nauseous, crackers, peppermint, ginger, sour candies, drinking small sips of water all through the day...nothing worked and I vomited more than I had the last time.

I discovered at one doctor's appointment, that I had lost 12 pounds in one month.  Naturally, the doctor put in a referral for me to talk to the Nutrition Center because OBVIOUSLY the problem was that I didn't know how to eat properly.  The problem CERTAINLY had nothing to do with the unending nausea that flared into a fiery, erupting volcano every time I tried to eat or drink anything. 

My mother came to stay for 4 weeks to help take care of things while I was sick (Husband did what he could, but he had just started his Master's program).  She said, "This is terrible!  I can't believe you are suffering this much and nothing can be done!"  I said, "Mom, it was like this with Ian and Marie too."  She was shocked;  I guess you have to see it to really believe it, and she hadn't actually been around me the other times I had been sick.  Again I wondered how I person could feel SO AWFUL and not just die from the suffering.  And I wondered HOW IN THE WORLD I was going to be able to choose to do that again because I still felt like our family was not going to be complete after this baby.

Somehow I managed to nurse Marie through all of this (she was down to 2 feedings).  I kept nursing her because she was so tiny, and any time she would get sick she would fall off the weight chart.  When she wasn't sick, she would be in the 3rd percentile for her weight because she just wouldn't eat much.  I hated to wean her since she WOULD nurse, and I had heard that my milk would change around week 20 of the pregnancy, so I hoped she wouldn't like that and stop on her own.  No luck!  One week, she was about 18 months old, she had a cold, and couldn't nurse for a few days because of her stuffy nose, and that was that.  I SINCERELY HOPED that since I ended up nursing Marie for over half the pregnancy, that my body would still be in bfeeding mode and I wouldn't have the nursing agony this time.  (Have you noticed that my hopes are so frequently misplaced?)

Once or twice I had to take Marie to my neighbor to get her diaper changed because I knew I would throw up all over her if I tried to do it.  (BLESS THAT NEIGHBOR!!!!!)

Around the time I could stand again without throwing up, I went grocery shopping to see if I could find ANYTHING I thought I could eat.  I could eat something once, but it would immediately make me so sick that the next time I considered eating it I just couldn't get past that sick feeling.  I went to the store to see if there was anything I hadn't already tried eating, and I came home with a can of cashews.  Marie wanted some, so I gave them to her because nuts were one thing she WOULD eat, and they were high in healthy fat and protein.  I had noticed that every time I gave her peanuts she would stick a bunch of them in her cheeks, so this time I only gave her 3 cashew halves.  *sigh*  Twenty minutes later, she was covered in hives.  I had had an allergic reaction to something when I was a child, so I knew what hives were, and I knew that this could lead to trouble breathing.  I took her to the ER and told them she had eaten cashews and was now covered in hives;  they rolled their eyes at me (apparently many people think they have hives when they don't?), and then were SO SURPRISED when I took her clothes off and she was covered in hives!  (Thankfully, she never had trouble breathing.)  In the end, they told me I should keep her away from all nuts, and, by the way, this long list of things is also related to nuts, so keep her away from those too, and get her right in to see the allergy doctor. 

The first appointment we could get at the allergy doctor was SIX WEEKS LATER!  I DID NOT appreciate that AT ALL (HELLO!  LIFE THREATENING ALLERGIC REACTION!), and it was a very stressful 6 weeks!  When she finally did get in and get tested, she tested negative for cashews but positive for hazelnuts.  I knew we were in SERIOUS TROUBLE if she had had such a strong reaction without actually eating a hazelnut:  she had eaten something that had COME IN CONTACT WITH a hazelnut.  They sent me home with an epi-pen and instructions to keep her away from nuts and have her retested in a few years.  It was so frustrating to have to take nuts out of her diet because they were something she would eat and they were a good source of calories for her!  (I took her to another allergy doctor about 4 years later to be re-tested, and, thankfully, she tested negative for any nut allergies, however, even though she is still very thin and could use the calories, she refuses to eat anything with nuts in it.)

David and Marie were very excited about the baby in my tummy!  (Ian was....resigned to the fact that we would be getting YET ANOTHER baby at our house.)  They loved to feel my tummy and give the baby kisses.  Marie was quite proud that she knew where our new baby was.
I was quite surprised when 4 year old David informed me that Battleship was his new favorite game;  aren't kids supposed to be a little older before they can play (the old, non-electronic) Battleship?


Marie signing "shoes".  Oh the adorable girl outfits!!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Strawberries with Chocolate...or should it be Chocolate with Strawberries?

Today was another one of THOSE days seemed like a good day for some chocolate!  I try to be polite healthy, so instead of eating it out of the pan with my fingers I thought I would combine my chocolate with some fresh strawberries.

In a saucepan, combine 1/2 Cup of butter, 2 Tablespoons (or more, depending on how bad of a day it was...I used 1/3 of a Cup tonight) of unsweetened cocoa powder, and 1/4 Cup of milk.  Heat to boiling, stirring constantly, or, you know, frequently.  Turn off heat and add 3 1/2 Cups Powdered Sugar (whisk this in slowly if you don't want it to be lumpy, but dump it in and stir quickly if you are trying to SAVE LIVES!) and 1 Teaspoon Vanilla.  Mix well.
This is what it looks like when it's done if you opted for the "In the interest of saving the lives of those around me, I am dumping the powdered sugar in and mixing as fast as I can" method.  Lumpy, but STILL CHOCOLATE!
Then, to give anyone who may be interested a CLEAR idea of what to expect, take pictures to illustrate the finished project further.  The pictures must be EXCELLENT, so take LOTS of them, JUST TO BE SURE you are correctly representing the deliciousness.

Oops!  There's a lump of powdered sugar on that one...better lick it off and try again....
Hmmm, that kind of looks like I'm flipping someone off....better lick it off and try again....
Well, that one looks OK, but maybe I should demonstrate the polite way of getting the chocolate in your mouth proper way of dipping a strawberry in the chocolate, JUST IN CASE there is somebody out there who doesn't know how!  (This is all about HELPING OTHERS, so sacrifices must be made!)  Better lick it off and try again.....
Hmmm, not quite sure if that strawberry is in focus....better take a bite before the chocolate drips off and makes a mess and try again....
Well, hopefully this is good enough because I think I'm about to go into a sugar coma.  (HOWEVER!  The people around me don't seem as loud obnoxious rambunctious irritating bothersome as they were a few minutes ago!)  As you were.
*Note:  this makes a lot of chocolate, but you can keep what you can't eat because you're in a sugar coma what's left in the refrigerator.  To make it dipping consistency again, microwave it for 15-30 seconds and stir.  Keep microwaving and stirring until it is the consistency you want. 
*CAUTION:  For SAFETY PURPOSES, make sure your chocolate does not have an extended stay in your refrigerator.  We wouldn't want you to get sick from chocolate that has gone bad--better safe than sorry ;-)!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

PSA: Notebooks and More on Color Coding

*Edited at the bottom

We move a lot/see a variety of doctors, and I quickly became tired of one doctor asking me about one of the children's medical histories and me not remembering those details and the doctor not finding the information in the child's chart.  So!  I bought little spiral bound notebooks in family colors for taking to doctor's appointments.  (Actually, I originally had files on my PDA where I kept this information, but then the PDA died and I didn't want to replace it, so I bought notebooks, wrote down everything I had in the PDA, and figured that this way I could give the information to the child when they grew up and moved away.)

Mine is the sparkly heart notebook.  WHAT?!  They, uh, didn't have my family color.  (Also, disregard the dirty table;  the table-cleaning child isn't up yet...)

Every time someone has a doctor's appointment, I try to remember to bring their little notebook.  I write down:
*the date--helpful for looking up information from that appointment weeks, months, years later
*the doctor's name (if it is a specialist or someone different than the regular doctor),
*the height and weight measurements the nurse takes at the beginning--this has been helpful for figuring out the correct dose of over-the-counter medications at a later date when I don't remember how much someone currently weighs
*(during the appointment) the doctor's diagnosis and any medicine prescribed--this is helpful when you see a different doctor and they ask what medicines your child has been on already for long-term issues, or if you end up taking your child to Urgent Care for an ear infection or something that doesn't go away, and then you  see your regular doctor for the next visit.

I TRY (and often forget) to also write in their notebook when someone starts throwing up or having a cough or fever at home because the doctor always asks how long the symptoms have been going on, and these things tend to be a blur after days of dealing with cleaning up after a sick child, sick child being VERY GRUMPY, sick child waking up during the night....and I write down any incident that I think could lead to a future doctor's visit:  newly walking baby falling on his head multiple times in a day, any time someone falls/crashes into a wall/fights wrestles with a sibling and I wonder if it might lead to x-rays at some point, baby eating peanuts left out by siblings (possible allergic reaction), or anything I think is unusual (see below:  drooping eyelid and walking on toes).

For writing down appointments made at the doctor's/orthodontist's office in my portable calendar (planner?) I found one of those pens that has lots of colors.  This becomes tricky if you have a large family because most of the pens I found had only 4 colors.  I kept googling and eventually found one that had 10 colors on it!  (Similar to this one.)  It's not the best pen I've ever used, and some of the colors are light/not quite the right shade, but it works for keeping track of appointments made on the go (since I didn't want to keep 7 markers in my purse....although, my purse is already huge, so it probably wouldn't be too hard to keep the markers in my purse if I left them in their box...)!

Last night, as I was trying unsuccessfully to get to sleep, I remembered more things that I have bought in our family colors:
*Razor scooters conveniently came in our family colors!
*Those big (basketball size), rubber balls the younger kids like to play with.
*Bottles of bubbles--no fighting over who the bubbles belong to!
*Picture albums--oh how I wish I had noticed (did they even exist then?) photo books when I started keeping pictures for the kids!
*Popsicles--the dreaded, hated ice cream truck had whistle pops in our family colors;  this halted any chance of people fighting over the whistle when they were done with their popsicle.

More things I have used colored tape to code:
*Ear buds/headphones--although those can be bought in family colors
*(Inexpensive so they are all the same color) MP3 players

Edit:  I remembered something else!  I just recently bought a bag of balloons because my kids will be entertained for HOURS a while if I give them a balloon every so often.  BUT, I CAN'T STAND to hear "He/She's touching MY BALLOON!!!!" the whole time they are playing with balloons, so I purposely picked a bag that contained our family colors.  When I pass out balloons, a person is only allowed to play with THEIR color of balloon.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

What's For Dinner? Quick and Easy Cheese Wedges

I LOVE a good biscuit, but I rarely make them because they are so sticky and messy (sticky and messy equals more cleaning up time!).  I finally found a recipe that is quick, so yummy, and it isn't messy!
The delicious finished product!
Original Recipe with my alterations in italics:
2 Cups Flour (for the above batch, I used 1 1/2 cups wheat flour and 1/2 cup white flour)
1 3/4 teaspoon Baking Powder (seriously?  I round it to 2 teaspoons and have noticed no ill effects)
1 teaspoon Sugar
1/2 teaspoon Baking Soda
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1/4 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
1/2 Cup Chilled Butter
2/3 Cup Shredded Monterey Jack cheese (I use whatever is in the fridge;  I think it was some sort of 4 Mexican cheese blend for this batch.)
1/2 Cup Grated Parmesan
2 teaspoons dried Parsley
3/4 Cup Buttermilk (I NEVER have Buttermilk, so I put about 1 Tablespoon of lemon juice or vinegar in my liquid measuring cup, fill it up to 3/4 with milk, and let it sit for a few minutes.)
1 Large Egg

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Mix dry ingredients (technically the first 6 ingredients, but I always add the parsley here too), then cut butter into flour mixture until coarse crumbs form.
Coarse Crumbs, I think....
Stir in cheeses and parsley.
Yum!  I have the bad habit of putting my measuring cup over the bowl and then dumping the shredded cheese in, so I accidentally end up with more like 1 Cup of shredded cheese because I love cheese BECAUSE SOME OF IT SPILLS when I'm dumping measuring.
Add milk and egg all at once.  (I mixed the egg in with the milk before I did this step.)
Knead into a 9-inch circle on floured surface <-------(I don't do this because it is messy and sticky!  I just use my spatula and mix it in the bowl.)
No floured surface necessary!
Cut into 12 wedges.
I scooped the dough right out of the bowl into this pan, smoothed it down with the spatula, and then cut it.
Bake for 20-22 minutes.
So delicious!  Try not to burn your mouth when you are overcome by the enticing aroma and must try it immediately!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

PSA: Color coding family members

As we have had more children, I have been VERY GRATEFUL that I started color-coding things early!  It just sort of happened at my house:  Ian went through his firefighter/fire engine phase, then David LOVED "Blue's Clues".  Ian claimed all things red and informed me that David could have all things blue, and our color-coding system was born!  I decided that those colors were pretty close to their birthstones, so from then on I would assign children their color according to their birthstone color.  I also assigned Husband and I colors (mostly for calendar purposes).

A pack of markers that goes on sale at school supply time is about $1, and usually has:  black, brown, red, blue, green, yellow, purple, and orange.  Also, I've noticed that a lot of things come in red, blue, yellow, and green, so keep that in mind as you choose colors.

Color coding people has been VERY HANDY for: 
*writing appointments on the calendar:  it's easy to glace up and see who has something that day
*cereal bowls, cups:  NO MORE FIGHTING OVER WHICH COLOR CUP SOMEONE IS GOING TO USE!  After a few times of saying, "I'm sorry you want the _______ cup, your family color is _______." they GAVE IT UP and just used their color!
*toothbrushes:  no more mixing up toothbrushes!
*plastic Easter eggs:  when we have an egg hunt, everybody knows to only pick up THEIR color of egg, so we have no problems with one person getting most of the eggs while someone else hardly gets any
*re-usable water bottles:  everyone has their own color, so no fighting over who it belongs to
*notebooks, folder, pencils, scissors, backpacks, lunch boxes:  no more wondering whose school supplies are lying around

For things that I can't buy in different colors, I went to the paint section, I believe, of a certain store, and discovered that they now make duct tape in different colors!  So I bought a roll in everyone's family color, and I use that to mark things that are identical or don't have a specific color (toothbrushes, bags of candy or boxes of cereal for Christmas/Easter/Valentine's Day, toys from kids' meals).  This is really helpful at Christmas, or any other time a lot of new things come in the house, because I can tag everyone's new toys and then I don't have to try to remember which thing belongs to which person. 

Color-coding has been a BIG HELP for me!

Friday, June 3, 2011

Better get checked, just in case: Labor #3

Since David had been born SO quickly (I woke up at 4AM, he was born at 6:37AM) I was REALLY nervous about accidentally giving birth at home, especially since the hospital was about 20 minutes away this time.  I started having irritating contractions about a month before the baby was due.  I would have regular contractions for hours, so we would go to the hospital to get checked, and then get sent home;  we went twice and the contractions would stop as soon as we made it to the parking lot.  SO FRUSTRATING! 

Then one night, about 2 weeks before the baby was due, I couldn't sleep, around midnight, and I found myself getting more and more irritated as the hours wore on.  I finally realized that I was irritated because I was having contractions that were starting to hurt...but they weren't at all regular;  they ranged from 3-10 minutes apart.  I didn't want to feel stupid going to the hospital AGAIN, so I waited until I wanted to smack anyone who BREATHED NEAR ME during each contraction, and THEN we headed to the hospital (despite calling the hospital and having the nurse tell us to wait until the contractions were more regular).  I WAS NOT LEAVING THIS TIME WITH THAT BABY STILL IN MY BODY!

We got to the hospital around 3AM;  I was 6cm dilated, 80% effaced, and ready for my epidural!  I got the epidural around 4:30, but this time it only worked on half of me (still, I was grateful for that half!)!  The doctor broke my water around 4:45 and I was 8cm dilated.  She said she would come check on me around 6am, but I had the nurse go get her at 5am.  I pushed a few times, and the baby came right out, a little more quickly than the doctor had expected!  Baby #3 was born at 5:16am, 2 weeks before her due date, weighing 8 pounds 1 ounce, and measuring 19 1/2 inches long!  Again, I could hardly BELIEVE how good I felt compared to the first time!

THIS TIME, I was smart enough to realize that the hospital did not, indeed, have MY best interests at heart, and I had found out previously what the hospital's routine procedures were and refused to follow the procedures I didn't like or feel were necessary.  At this hospital, the pediatric team routinely snatched the baby as soon as it was out, but I was having NONE OF THAT (unless it was MEDICALLY NECESSARY), especially after all I had suffered to bring this baby into the world.  For the first time, *I* got to be the first person in the room to hold my new baby, and it was SO amazing!  So incredible to hold this tiny little person who was still so warm from being INSIDE MY BODY only moments before!  I thought FOR SURE, this time, I would feel an instant connection to my baby because it was a girl, and aren't mothers and daughters supposed to have a special bond or something?  No luck;  again, my baby looked like a cute little stranger.

We pretty quickly picked out her name (did I mention that, after seeing me go through that first labor, Husband became a lot LESS opinionated about baby names, and largely let me pick?), and on this blog I will call her "Marie".

The boys were excited to come to the hospital to meet their new sister.  Ian came in, politely looked at Marie and said, "Oh, how nice, the baby's here.  Where's my present?"  And that was that.  He was much more interested in the rolling baby bed.  I wasn't sure how David was going to react to the new baby since he had been the baby for over two years, but he INSTANTLY fell in love with her!
So happy to be a big brother!

I LOVED this picture!!
Tiny 3-day-old foot with Giant 2-year-old foot

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Nothing to worry about now, right? Pregnancy #3

When the boys were about 4 1/2 years old and 20 months old, I started getting the feeling that another little person wanted to join our family.  I was a little nervous, still remembering how sick I had been the first time, but since I hadn't been so sick the second time, I figured I must have just been one of those people who got really sick with the first pregnancy, and SURELY God would have mercy on me since I was doing my best to take care of Ian two little boys, right?!

The first time I took a pregnancy test, I waited the recommended time but there was only one line, so I threw it away.  I came back a few minutes later, and looked at it again because I'm crazy just to be sure, and it had TWO lines! 

Two weeks after I found out I was pregnant, the deathly nausea started again =(.  I didn't think it could be POSSIBLE, but it was EVEN WORSE than it had been the first time!  Again I could barely eat or drink.  For 4 weeks I had to lie down because if I sat up or tried to walk I would throw up.  This made it VERY DIFFICULT to take care of the boys!  They ended up watching A LOT of "Blue's Clues", "Mr. Roger's Neighborhood", and "Reading Rainbow".  It was HIDEOUS having to not only stand up to fix lunch for the boys, but to also have to smell the food =(.  For the second 4 weeks I was able to sit up without throwing up, and the 4 weeks after that I could stand, as long as I didn't move around too much or too quickly.  The keeping still did not make the intense nausea any better, it just kept me from actually throwing up. 

Again, my doctor wouldn't do anything to help me.  "Pregnant women get nauseous."  I had heard about anti-nausea medication at some point, so I asked her about that, and she finally consented to let me try Zofran.  For the first 3 days I took it, it was HEAVEN!  I COULD NOT BELIEVE that nobody had told me about this miracle medicine before then and that my doctor didn't immediately offer it up!  I would have KISSED THE FEET of whoever invented that medicine!  I could eat!  And drink water!  And move around without throwing up!  But it only lasted for 3 days =(.

I was so miserable I finally had Husband to drive me to the Emergency Room because I JUST COULDN'T TAKE IT ANYMORE and there had to be SOMETHING they could do to help me!  I hadn't eaten or been able to drink in so long, and death was looking like a GREAT option for escaping the suffering.  The lady who checked me in asked me why I was there and I told her that I was pregnant, had been throwing up for days, and hadn't been able to keep down any food or water.  She looked at me suspiciously and said, "I was pregnant 6 times and never got sick."  Then the nurse who took my vital signs asked why I was there, and I told him that I was afraid I was dehydrated;  he sort of snorted at me and said, "You don't look dehydrated."  They gave me an IV, and were genuinely surprised when I had had FOUR BAGS of fluid and still didn't need to pee.  After I had had 2 bags of fluid and some Phenergan in my IV, I could actually think about food again without feeling sick!  I was there for 6 HOURS, they wouldn't bring me anything to eat, and then they were surprised when there was protein in my urine, and that the number kept going up every time they took a sample.  HELLO?!  They gave me another dose of Phenergan before I went home, but, after that dose, my legs twitched constantly for hours, so I was not allowed to take Phenergan anymore.  After my stellar experience I didn't go back to the emergency room:  Husband couldn't miss much work, and I didn't have anyone to take care of the boys.  Again I wondered how a body could feel SO AWFUL and not just die from the misery.

During this time....sigh.  We had been a little concerned about the blinds in our new house, and we had tried putting some safety things on the strings, but apparently one of them didn't work.  Ian had been told to NEVER, EVER, EVER, EVER TOUCH THE STRING ON THE BLINDS!!!!  We didn't give him any specifics because we didn't want to give him ideas, so we figured "Never touch the string" should cover everything.  One day I heard a cry and a thump.  Ian came downstairs looking like this:  (Warning:  Graphic Picture Below)

Miracles still happen:  he is still alive.
He had climbed on his dresser, wrapped the string from the blinds around his neck and JUMPED OFF THE DRESSER.  ?????????  Around this time, he switched from FIREFIGHTERS to DINOSAURS!  Also, I found a therapist for him and started taking him to play therapy.


Unlike Ian, when David was 18 months old and it was time for him to go to the church nursery, he was having NONE OF THAT!  We stayed with him for MONTHS before he would stay by himself.  He was never one for much talking;  he had decided that a shriek that could break glass a good shriek would do for most occasions.  By the time he was 2 years old, he would say:  mama, dada, "I DO!" (as in, "Who wants a cookie?" "I do!"), and hi.  BUT he would sign:  please, thank-you, more, milk, juice, cheese, water, and movie. 

"I DO!"
This pregnancy, I just figured we were having a boy.  We had all of the boy stuff, we knew we weren't done having kids yet and nobody would harass us next time if we had all boys because they would just think we were trying for a girl, I had been a mother of boys for over 4 years, it would be great to have another boy!  I didn't feel like crocheting girl things, and I wasn't sure where the girl name list had ended up.  You know where this is going, right?  Shortly after David's 2nd birthday, we found out we were having a GIRL!  Ian was especially excited because he had been saying that he wanted a sister, and he thought we should name her "Ms. Frizzle".