Saturday, June 28, 2008

My Baby, He's FOUR!

Warning, this post is about childbirth. On a good day I tend to share too much, if you are squeamish or a male family member, you may want to step away from the computer now. Read on at your own risk!

A few weeks ago I posted about Jack’s birth . Today, a mere twenty days later, I will do the same for Kamden’s birthday.

Never in my wildest dreams would I have envisioned having birthdays so close together. It goes to show you that even planners like me can’t plan everything. If I could would I change it though?

No way. June is birthday season in our house and it’s magic. We have Christmas, then six months later, birthdays. Couldn’t have planned it better if I had anything to do with it myself!

Today, at 12:55 pm he turns four. It seems like yesterday that he was this cute little cherub.

I know all parent’s say it but I have to do it again….WHERE does the time go?

My pregnancies with both boys were uneventful and easy going as far as growing another human being goes. I was huge, uncomfortable but loved every minute of it. My favourite part about being pregnant was feeling life moving inside of me. There is no feeling like it. I also remember the distinct lack of life inside me after giving birth to each of them…. It’s there one minute and then it’s gone.

But there they are in the flesh, a little tiny human being, squiggling and crying and LIVING.
Each and every one is an amazing miracle.

I am blessed to have experienced it twice. I will be forever grateful to have had the privilege of bringing life into the world.

Jack’s birth wasn’t at all what I planned so with a second chance I was bound and determined the entire pregnancy that I was going birth this baby the old fashioned way. My sister in law had done it, why couldn’t I?

Of course, that all depended on whether or not my body could carry a baby head down. At the first ultrasound around 20 weeks, Kamden was breech. I actually took it as a good sign because at that point Jack was head down. I am a little superstitious that way, sometimes the rules of opposites really work in my favour.

This was no exception. By about 32 weeks, my doctor was certain this baby was head down. I believe her exact words were, “Welcome to vertex presentation!”

Next was the worry about whether or not my body could naturally go in labour. I had never been in labour before because Jack was scheduled. I was sure I was going to go past my due date, almost positive they were going to have to induce and scared to wits that it wouldn’t take and I would end up in the OR again.

I was desperate to join the club of those who have lived through the horrible throws of extreme pain that childbirth entails. I know, what in the world was I thinking?

My due date was June 25, 2004. On June 27, 2004 we went to bed around 11pm. I couldn’t sleep. I had been irritable all day. Kind of PMS like.

11:30 pm I feel a gush of liquid. Sheesh, do I have to pee that bad I thought?
Stood up to go to the bathroom and there was an unmistakable gush. “My water just broke!” I said excitedly to Jay.

We were in full motion in 5.2 seconds. Adrenalin will do that to you, I guess.
Because I was VBAC, we wasted no time in getting to the hospital. A quick call to a friend to come stay with Jack, a call to my parents to get in the car and drive 2.5 hours to get here and we were off.

Also? When your water breaks, there is not just one gush. Oh no, it keeps a coming. By the time we reached the hospital the precautions I had taken to collect it had long since stopped being effective. There’s that that too much info part I warned you about earlier.

We were placed in a room and I was tested to ensure that indeed my membranes had ruptured. I didn’t need a test, I knew they had or else I had sprung some kind of serious leak that would require major surgery to repair.

At this point I was having mild contractions, though until I had reached active labour I. HAD. NO. IDEA. I was sure this was it. We would meet our second child before morning.

By about 4am our attitudes had changed. The contractions were a mere 4 min apart and were mild. I had been up and walking, you know, like they tell you to in order to get labour going.

At this point the on call doctor was going to send me home. I was 1 cm and 50% efface. I had been that for the last two weeks. Yes, I was disappointed but also? Tired.

We decided to try and get some sleep until the new on call doctor came on at 8am. Here’s where the law of opposites works in my favour again.

I lay down and rest. By 5am the contractions are much stronger. I am starting to have to breath through them. This is when I realized I hadn’t seen anything yet.
By 6am I am starting to get wimpy. Remember that I was 1cm dialated only 2 hours before, my only thoughts were, I cannot do this for 10 more hours, I simply can’t.
Great attitude, no?

Into the tub I go. Yeah, that helped immensely. Yes, that was sarcasm in case you missed it.

At 7am they check me. Still 1cm but now fully effaced. That’s great progress my nurse tells me. Clearly she hasn’t yet figured out I am a bit of an overachiever. To me that is NOTHING. And did I mention that the pain, oh the agonizing pain?

At this point I am all about the narcotics. Demerol here I come. If I am going to be in labour for the next four days, I am going to need some help. At this rate it will be July before this baby makes an entrance.

It takes the edge off they tell you. My foot. The edge? As sharp as ever.

At 8am my doctor stopped by on rounds. “How’s it going?” she asked. In my most childlike whine I said, “IT HURTS!” “Don’t be afraid to use the narcotics,” she advised. Um, yeah, like I’ve already done that was my response. “oh. – to nurse – as soon as she’s 4cm get her an epidural” Um again, LIKE. I. HADN’T. THOUGHT. OF. THAT! See I am quite tolerant of pain and stay very rational while in the midst of it.

Jay was my strength. Without him there by my side, I would have given up. He held my hand through every single one of the excruciatingly painful contractions. You know it’s going to hurt like hell, everyone tells you this, but you have no idea until you actually experience it yourself.

They weren’t even going to check me again until 10am unless I couldn’t stand the pain anymore.

At 9am, Jay had to use the facilities. He left. One and half contractions later I was buzzing the nurse. Um, about that pain, I CAN’T STAND IT ANYMORE.
She checked me. I was 8 – 9 cm. In two hours I go from 1cm to 8 – 9?

You might expect jubilation on my part. Oh no, nothing like that.

More whining cause I am so cool that way.

But the epidural, I NEED the epidural. See again with the high pain tolerance and rational reaction.

That nurse? She is my hero. I got an epidural. There were C-sections up the wazoo that morning and only one anesthesiologist. Somehow she got him in there and for that I will be eternally grateful.

I know, at this point why do I need an epidural you might be wondering. He’s minutes from making his appearance.

See that’s where you’d be wrong. The dude? Not coming out for almost four more hours.

Since I wasn’t quite fully dilated, I was advised to rest once the epidural took effect. It was bliss. I was groggy from the Gravol that had accompanied the Demerol a couple hours ago so resting was easy. I was also told that if I felt like pushing to go ahead. I don’t remember if I did or not.

By 11am I was pushing with every contraction. The nurse was very encouraging telling me I was doing a great job. I can’t tell you how much you need to hear that at this point. I pushed on my back, and then alternated sides.

He was stuck.

I was starting to worry though with all the pushing I didn’t have too much time to. Just my luck, I would get this far and still end up on the OR. At least I got to try though.

12:15 the doctor came and they decided he wasn’t quite face down and was not getting around the corner. As the doctor walked out I said I was willing to push as long as it took so long as baby was stable. By this point they had put the monitor into his scalp and he was doing A-1.

“Oh you will do this,” she said, “you just might need a bit of help.”

If I hadn’t been in the middle of pushing a baby out I just might have done a happy dance right then and there.

It took three pushes with the vacuum and she didn’t allow him to recede back in between which, let me tell you, epidural or not, is not pleasant. He crowned on the second and I am not proud to say that I uttered the very words I mocked others saying when I watched the baby story….”GET IT OUT!” Do the words Burning Ring of Fire mean anything to you?

Then he came out with vengeance and I had third degree tears to prove it.

They put him on my chest and I couldn’t believe how beautiful he was. And also? How much he didn’t look like his brother.

It was the most amazing experience of my life.

Happy birthday sweet Kamden! Our family would not be the same without you.


Tuesday, June 24, 2008

The Evolution of Cakes

When Jack turned one, I must have felt like I had oodles of spare time. Time to lolly gag on the couch eating bon bons. My remedy for all this free time?

Make an elaborate birthday cake involving Elmo (*shakes head disgustedly at self*). And I did. It was, well, remember, I am an accountant... I live IN the box....

At 12 months of age Jack loved Elmo, it was in fact one of his first words, or something more along the lines of Elny but we knew what he meant, that totally counts as a word.

By age 2, the Elny had become Elmo and he still loved him. I went a little bit out of that box and made an even better Elmo cake. For an accountant with a lot of free time, not bad eh?

Well look what I started. All fine and dandy until his third birthday came along and I was 20 days away from giving birth to Kamden. The cake? Not made by me. Nope, made by local bakery and had a picture of a barn on it. As in a scanned picture from the internet. He liked it, that's all that matters, right?

Age 4. Jack is well into the farm equipment and together, he and I decided on a tractor. Yes, by now it's a tradition. See what I get myself into?

To date, this one is definitely the best. Now remember, 20 days later is Kamden's first birthday. I may be crazy but I am not stupid. Kamden's cake was nothing to get excited about. In fact, I have no picture of it at all. To the best of my recollection, I made ice cream cone cupcakes and I also remember them being kind of icky. For the grown ups I made an ice cream cake and decorated it with some balloons, nothing special.

Then next year, Jack turned five and Kamden turned two. Jack asked for a cake exactly like I made for Kamden the previous year. That's right, balloons, that's all he wanted. I am positive he's holding that for future use against me. I know I would!

This meant I had some free time (HA!) to be more creative with Kamden's cake.

No, it wouldn't win any awards but he was two, it looked like Nemo, kind of, if you squint with one eye and close the other. It's all good.

The following year, Jack turns six and enters the era of Cars and Lightening McQueen. We stil haven't left that era, apparently it's a long one.

And Kamden's cake? Yeah, it was bad. SO BAD that I won't even post a picture of it. It was bad enough that friends and family had to burn their retinas on it, I won't subject you to it too. Also, I didn't take a picture of it.

It involved Dora figurines, that's all I'll say. But look at Lightening and Mater, they are awesome.

Okay so, not my best work. You know those Wilton cake pans? A really good idea. Jack liked them though, at least he told me he did. By this age though he likely knew the fine art of not hurting Mommy's feelings.

Here we are, 2008 and Jack turned seven (SEVEN!). He's into football and wanted a football cake. Dude, like, make it easy for your Mommy or what?

Galloping by on a horse, totally looks like a football. Don't you dare slow down though.

Kamden, as you may remember, wants to be Buzz Lightyear when he grows up. I wanted to do a Buzz cake. But Wilton? You let me down. There was no Buzz cake pan in any store here or on-line anywhere. Up until the morning of his party I had no concrete plans for his cake. I was about to free hand Buzz on a pan cake until the doorbell rang. It was my dear friend Candace with her son's Buzz figurines.

I was saved by her and my hubby who found an illustration on-line depicting a moon with Buzz and Zurg, the evil villain, facing off.

Whew. I dodged another bullet. Stay tuned for the next installment of Kami's Kake Kapades: What will she butcher next?


Tuesday, June 17, 2008

It's All Michelle's Fault

We've been renovating and re-decorating our house for the last 7 years off and on which ironically or maybe not so ironically, is as long as we’ve lived in our house. Just recently we tackled our master bedroom. Paint, new bedding, framed pictures by MOI and in the process decided to also change the light fixtures.

Now, normally I am pretty go with the flow, follow the crowd, let’s be a sheep when it comes to decorating because really I have no talent for it. I like our house to be comfortable rather than magazine photographer ready.

Think of the yelling if it had to be kept magazine worthy all the time….*shudders for my children*.

But I do want it to look nice, in my opinion, because I am the one who has to look at it all the time.

I have seen these lights in the stores.

I used to like them. And they would have been my first choice had I not had a very significant conversation with my lovely sister in law, Michelle. She kindly pointed out to me what they, in quite a striking way, resemble.

Anyone see it?

I never even thought of it until she pointed it out to me.

I am so glad she did.

I wouldn't want to lie in bed and look up at a....

you know, a, er, hmmmm, how can I say this nicely?

A light shaped like MAMMARY GLAND (trying to avoid undesirable google searches here) on high alert!


Tuesday, June 10, 2008

The Honeymoon is over

Me and my camera left the honeymoon period of our relationship and recently took a walk down the wow, maybe we rushed into this too soon path. However, I think we may have found our way back to the straight and narrow.

We have work to do but I am re-inspired to give it the effort it requires.

I think.

I go back and forth from feeling like I have this f-stop, shutter speed and ISO stuff figured and then I take 1600 really crappy pictures and I put the camera down feeling intimidated.

Then I see some amazing pictures taken by people who know what they are doing and I get even more intimidated.

What do I know? I am an accountant. I live IN the box. People who live in the box are not creative.

Then I look at these pictures:

I took these BMNC (before my new camera) and I LOVE them. I love them so much that they are hanging in our newly re-decorated bedroom. I have a meme to do about that but the room is not yet complete.

Last night I attended a 3 hour seminar for the Canon Rebel camera held at a local photo store here in town.

To say it was enlightening would be an understatement. It took Angella’s Foto Friday’s to the next level. I learn best by listening, watching and then doing which is what last night was all about.

And as I drove home with all the information swimming around in my head I started thinking about some of the photos that have taken that I love. Those that evoke deep emotion within my heart and give me great satisfaction.

And I get concerned.


Because the experts would find faults, literally hundreds of faults. The angle, the colouring, the location of the subject in the frame.....and so on and so on. I noted this to Jay when I got home and he told me to stop looking at them.

Obviously someone who knows what they are doing could have taken far better photos of the same scenery but that doesn't mean I can't love them. I took them and I used a point and shoot with no training at all. Yes, I got decent shots by luck but so what? They are my shots and the subjects are my fabulous kids. Who needs more than that?

The intimidation I feel is me putting way to much pressure on myself.

I am but on the tip of the iceburg and it's supposed to be fun, not intimidating. I will learn and take better photos but for now, the old ones will remain loved regardless of whether or not they are expert worthy.

Because I am no expert and I am okay with that.


Sunday, June 08, 2008

Number 7

Today marks the day I entered motherhood. Last year's birthday post cannot be topped. I still echo everything I wrote last year so this year I finally, 7 years later, will document my labour, or lack thereof, and delivery story.

Seven short years ago I wasn’t a Mom yet. I mean I was because I was pregnant with my little bean but I didn’t know the joy, the ever bounding love, the perpetual worry and extreme pride of being a mother. I hadn’t held my baby in my arms. I didn’t know his name. I didn’t even know he was a he.

Those things are not possible to experience until you live them.

What I did know was that he was upside down or breach as the doctors call it. Frank breach to be exact which means that his feet were up by his ears. Flexible yes, stubborn, well yes, also that. In an effort to avoid a C-section, we had gone through a procedure a couple weeks before called external cephalic version, which is a really fancy name for attempting to turn the baby or in layman’s terms, holy hell that hurts. The stubborn part was evident, the little dude was going no where.

He was quite comfy with his left butt cheek perched there on my bladder, his right on my stomach. His head? Compressing my lungs so that a nice satisfying deep breath eluded me for the latter 2 months of the pregnancy, though it was neat to see the outline of his head pop out of my tummy when he would move.

Scheduled C-section it was. The neat thing is that we knew the day he would be born about a week and half in advance.

As they wheeled me down to the OR I began shake uncontrollably. What’s wrong I asked the nurse. Nerves she said.

What? I am fine I was thinking.

It’s amazing how delusional one can be when entering the OR for the first time to have your first child. Who was I kidding? My life was changing and in a big way. I had no idea.

I was given a spinal and immediately started acting neurotic. If you know me, you know that you could use a lot of words to describe me, kooky, crazy, opinionated, mouthy, clumsy but neurotic would never enter your mind.

It was the first of 3 interesting reactions I would have to the drugs involved in having a baby via C-section.

As the doctor made the incision I became even more agitated. I can feel that, should I be able to feel that? Try be awake while someone is slitting you open with a knife and let me know how calm you are. Me not so calm.

“I see a wrinkly hip!” the doctor exclaimed.

Followed very shortly by, “It’s a boy!”

Then I saw a blur of what was my first born fly by to the team from NICU. I am pretty sure I was crying.

And I woke up an hour and half later asking Jay the same three questions over and over.

“Where am I?”
“We had a boy, right?”
“Where is my baby?”

That, my friends, is the magic of Valium (weird reaction #2).

Due to my neurotic behavior (um, I just had a baby, was I not entitled to shed a tear or two?) I was given Valium to calm me down not 40 second after “giving birth”. The result? Being robbed of any type of birth experience I had ever envisioned in all my 27 years.

A few days later I also had the extreme pleasure of feeling the overwhelming hopelessness that is postpartum depression. I was lucky though, for me it a reaction to one of the pain medications I was on (weird reaction #3). I would not wish that feeling on my worst enemy. My heart goes out to anyone who must face that struggle whether it be post partum or otherwise.

Now I know I sound bitter and ungrateful, but if I could, would I change any of it?

Not a chance.

Happy Birthday Jack! You changed my life and I wouldn't have it any other way.

If you are interested, a plethora of pictures from birth to age five can be found here, here and here .


Thursday, June 05, 2008

First Troll Alert

That’s right folks, I had the honour of my first troll comment not 5 minutes ago. What a rush, I must have finally made it now, people are bashing me. That’s what it means right?

The comment came on my all time #1 Google hit, the post about strep butt . Seriously, there isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t get a hit (or three) from Google of some one searching about this topic. It I had known that would be what makes me infamous I might have polished up the post a bit.

This morning as I am checking my Google reader my email dings. It’s an anonymous (or course, do trolls ever use their name?) comment so I go check it out. Here’s what I see:

“I am a professional healthcare provider and I feel compelled to say that rectal streptococus (strep butt) in no laughing matter. It is a serious affliction, in the same league as corneal chlamydia (whore's eye) or vaginal lice (va-J-J vermin). You wouldn't be laughing if you had spinal extendus(monkey tail)or exopthalmos (bug eyes). Or what about choditis (crotch rot) and uterine prolapse (crotch purse).These people deserve your compassion, not your ridicule.”

Wow, there, “professional health care provider”, you sure like to throw a lot of who ha diseases around. Is that name dropping in Hollywood? Is it supposed to show your credibility?

If you had actually read the post, you would see that I was not ridiculing my own sons who are the ones who actually had strep butt. Nor should you put strep butt in the same category as all the venereal infections you felt so free to throw around above. Seriously, va-J-J vermin? You did notice it was my boys who had the strep butt? Last time I checked they had neither a va-J-J or a who ha or vermin for that matter.

And also? The fact that I took them to the doctor and then followed through on the treatment probably means that I most certainly did take the infection seriously. But I might be going out on limb there.

I have to think that maybe this is the same “professional health care provider” who was sharing the love over at Anna's while back.

The only person I was ridiculing in that post was myself for ignoring the symptoms so long. I guess I owe myself some sympathy rather than ridicule then?

I’m good with that. Thanks for sharing the love!