Saturday, February 27, 2010

ooh baby, what you've done to me...

Kickin' it at the pool.
Well, i was sitting out on the side - watching - with tiny fresh Yum napping in my lap.
Neil was running with the littles, helping them wear off a little steam - we have been cooped up a little too much these days.
He walks past me trailing our feisty 5 year old on her way to the diving board... again ... & as he passes, just out of arms reach, he winks at me...

i feel like i'm 18 again... Remember when i was 18 & he bought me socks 'cause my feet were always cold? Yeh. That's love...

He pretends to shiver as he jogs past - & i can tell he's flirting with me.
Suddenly i've got Aretha thrumming through my veins & i glance over to the couple sitting next to me to see if they notice that this dang hot, handsomest man at the pool is flirting with me... but they're completely oblivious.
He trots away...
& i'm left -
happy.
Thank goodness i didn't drop the baby.

Friday, February 26, 2010

normal is peeking at me...

We did school this week...
Not *all* our school, but some school got done.
My boys are finally both wearing cloth...
but only during the day.
My laundry is caught up & my floors are vacuumed...
but my windows need attention.
My 'normal jeans' are in eyesight when i open my closet...
but i can't wear them yet.
We're having a roast beef with mashed potatoes, gravy & yorkshire pudding for supper -
but we had canned soup for lunch.
Neil has been out of town for work...
but not overnight yet.
Ephraim's belly button is getting so yucky...
but it hasn' fallen off yet.
i made a bunch of thank you cards...
but i haven't sent them all yet.
Normal is peeking at me...
she's almost ready to return...
but
not
quite
yet...



Thursday, February 25, 2010

i like to move it, move it...

Neil & i were in the vehicle driving somewhere when it came on the radio...
Where is the love?
He went to change the channel part way through (why do men do this?) & i stopped him... "Babe, this is my song, how can you change it?"
He laughed, knowing exactly what i was referring to.
Mollen had just been born & our small town had just gotten dance instructors who were offering all different types of dance lessons. It seemed like in small towns, whenever there would be something new, we all would give it a go & sign our kids up. Baseball? Sure. Soccer? Yup. Hip Hop? Why not?
When i arrived to register my 2 oldest girls, i noticed they were offering an *adult* class too.
On impulse, i signed up.
i'm the type of girl who dances by pointing my fingers in the air & shaking my bum. That's about the full extent of my dancing skilz. There's not really any degree of talent or ability for me in that area. (Unless you can count pointing & shaking... & some days, i do...)
i didn't care - & neither did my teachers. i wasn't the worst kid in the class - & i loved the excuse to get out of the house for my hour of dance... i could so rarely talk myself into going beyond our walls but i never missed a class.
The song we worked out our routine to was...
Where is the Love?
By the end of the year, i would practice in my kitchen with my burned cd. When Neil would walk by, he would raise his eyebrows & say, "Are you sure you're doing that right? That doesn't *look* like a dance move..."
When they announced that we would be performing in the recital - with the little ones in their kitty costumes & the tiny tap dancers etc... i thought, "bring it on..." laughing, imagining Neil in the audience watching mama show off her new moves with that smirk i can't get enough of on his face...
As it turned out, my inlaws were visiting that weekend.
Perfect....
Neil & i still giggle when we remember my year of hip hop. He still claims those weren't dance moves... but on that elementary school stage, in my "hip hop" costume, at that year end recital, i gave it all i had... & i tried not to laugh out loud till we were done...
i'd do it again...

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

The Name

i love Ephraim's name.
As soon as he was born, i knew the name we had picked out suited him.
Yeh - i'm well aware, he'll likely have some issues with it throughout his life... some, "How do you spell that?" or "How is that pronounced?" But, his name has meaning, substance, history & strength. i'm standing by it :) Ephraim means, "very fruitful".
Magnus was Neil's choice - granted, i told him it had to be a latin name (our other 2 sons have latin middle names & i didn't want him to feel left out)- but i poured over my latin name websites and my latin english dictionary. i read all the names to Neil & when we tried them all over, the only one Neil loved was Magnus. He claims that Ephraim's gonna be a big rugby player & that his daddy's gonna call him Maggie - i can see it already... Magnus means, "great".
We decided to pronounce Ephraim's name "Efrem" with a short e sound. Neil picked the pronunciation and spelling - since there were so many different ways to pronounce it & since i didn't care about the spelling. All around, some pretty good compromises...
Neil's friend joked to him that Ephraim's 2 names are a funny juxtaposition - Eprhaim gets thrown in the arena with the lions and Magnus is the one doing the throwing.
i like how his 2 names fit together...
When Ephraim was only 1 day old - i held him close to me and whispered in his tiny ear - "Baby Ephraim Magnus - may you be very fruitful, and do great things for God's kingdom..."
He looked at me with those dark, serious eyes...
Those eyes make him look like he's a hundred years old...
They seem to look right into me - & understand just exactly what i'm saying...
& then he filled his pants.
i guess a little guy's gotta start somewhere...

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

a little meatloaf by the fireplace...

Exhausted, we each slumped into our chairs, sipping our coffee & trying to wake up.
i'm so grateful to Neil for our little tiny ones that deprive us of sleep... i can't think of a more beautiful expression of my husband's love for me than our sweet little boys - & i tell him so all the time.
Winking at him, i sing in the cracking morning voice of one who never slept, the first line of the Meatloaf song that comes to mind, "i would do anything for love..."
Without missing a beat, he sings the second line, "'i'd run right into hell and back'...your turn, hon." He smiles wryly & i can't stop laughing...
Nothing like an early morning sing-along to get you going.

Monday, February 22, 2010

loooo-sahhhhhh

We came running out into the cold.
Darkness had descended while the littles were swimming...
As we were finding our way to our vehicle, i spotted a couple of teenagers in the shadows. They were smoking - & the girl looked kind of angry, while the boy had a hoodie zipped up over his face that looked like a skeleton. They just stared at us, looking grumpy - well, the girl did... the boy was just motionless.
i thought to myself as we approached them- 'man, that skeleton look would make me nervous if i were a little person. i hope the littles aren't afraid...'
Mollen was skipping ahead of me as i was thinking this & i saw her spin to look at me as she noticed them.
"HAHAHAHAHAHAAAAA!!! LOOKIT THAT GUY, MAMA!!! He must think it's HALLOWE'EN!!! HAHAHAHAHAAA!!!! That's SO FUNNY!!"
i guess they missed their mark, if they were looking to frighten *my* small fry.
i had to quickly shoo her on before she shamed him anymore.
i wonder if when he went home that night, he was able to laugh at himself too? i wonder if a little bit of the hardness melted away, & he was able to see the humour of a little girl who wasn't afraid - or put off by his posturing?
Maybe we could all do with taking some things (ourselves) a little less seriously...

Sunday, February 21, 2010

1 hour

Sloanie: Daddy, if you only had 1 hour to live your whole life, what would you do?

Neil: (not even hesitating) 1 hour? Probably snuggle down for a quick nap.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

click

i feel guilty for not taking any pictures... our camera is broken & i can never find Cai's...
He won't let me put him down.
His sweet little peeling hands grasp the air & his teeny mouth turns in a frown when i put him in a safe place other than my arms.
Sleep deprivation doesn't stand a chance against the sweetness of gratitude. All she can do is to blend the colours a little and deepen their hues.
His fleshy little neck is already starting to fill out - and his skin is the creamiest perfection. i try to breathe him in. His sweet gruntings, that waken me in the night - his sweet rooting mouth, finding solace - his satisfied sigh of contentment that matches my own.
Who needs a camera?
i try to capture these moments in words, in broken shambles of memories created, in scents, touches and sights...
Click.

Friday, February 19, 2010

carry me

Walking to the bus stop.
Baby Yum is 3 days old...
He's snug in the moby wrap for his first ever walk on a February afternoon - tucked underneath my boiled wool poncho.
Charter is bounding ahead of me, throwing snowballs in the air and digging in the snowbanks.
Baby Gagey - my sweet 2 year old sunshine, who i can't stop calling baby - can't decide if he wants to walk or ride in the stroller.
i let him do both.
i'm taking a walk with my 3 sons.
Soaking it in...
We get to the bus stop & wait for little miss to arrive... & when she does, she's delighted with her entourage.
She chirps & cheeps & chatters my ear off part way home.
Gagey has decided he wants neither to walk or ride - so Charter is pushing the stroller & i'm carrying my 2 sweet babes.
Mollen turns to me in a careless fashion, "Mama, will you carry my backpack?"
But when she sees me, laden down, she says, "Oh, never mind... i forgot you have to carry those 2 babies... *and* those 2 big boobies too..."

Thursday, February 18, 2010

ephraim's birth story part 2

We pulled up to the birthing center & all the lights were out. Neil ran to the door to see if anyone was there - but it was still locked up tight.
We waited in the van for a few minutes before my midwife arrived & she got the door unlocked, the tub running & all the welcome cozy lights on by the time we walked the few steps to the door.



While i waited for the tub to fill, i only had a couple of contractions.


i couldn't decide if i wanted to be checked or not - i thought maybe if i got checked and i was only 4cm, i would be discouraged. Right before i got in the tub, Neil told me to go for it - just to get an idea where we were at.
She checked me & told me i was 5-6cm.
i've got to admit, even though i had only been in labour for an hour at this point, i was a little disappointed. i don't know what i expected - but i could feel a distinct change in the contractions that were becoming harder for me to silently relax through.


As i turned off the bathroom lights, slipped out of my dress & climbed into the tub (around 10:20)- i was excited for the new experience of labouring and possibly birthing in water. i found a comfortable position - (on my knees holding onto the side of the tub) and settled in for the long haul.
Neil got me water with ice - i was so thirsty throughout the whole labour...
We visited quietly - wondering if we would have a Valentines baby or not...


It's at this point that i lost all concept of time - it could have been 4 hours, or 4 minutes - i couldn't tell you. My midwife sat back & quietly encouraged me - & Neil kept telling me how well i was doing... but i was in my own little world... Me & baby. i was imagining his descent - & i wondered if it hurt him too - i felt totally connected with him in our joint efforts to birth and be birthed. My eyes were mostly closed & i regretted that we had forgotten my music in our urgency to get to the birthing center. i imagined the chords and the melody & the lyrics of the music i had wanted - & as the contractions got heavier - i found myself sinking further & further into the water, coping however i could, moaning & yearning for the little one coming.

The contractions became unbearable - and i felt myself in urgency, begin to push. With the first push, i felt his little head descend. The second midwife whispered to the first, "do i write, 'assumed complete?'" "Yeah," responded my midwife, "i'm sure i heard a pushy sound there..." but they just sat in the corner & encouraged me to "listen to my body"...

With each unbearable contraction, i bore down - and each time i was rewarded with the feeling of baby coming nearer. My midwife asked me to turn so that she could help guide him into my arms. i asked for one more contraction as i didn't want to break my groove - slowly, laboriously i made my way into a different position & to my shock, i felt his head crown. i wasn't expecting it so soon & i felt grateful that i would soon have my beautiful baby in my arms.

"What's this?" i heard the midwife say... "Ohhhh, baby, that's not very nice..." She murmured - as another contraction broke my body in two and i pushed with all my might. i felt his head slide from me & i expected his body to follow soon.

(As soon as he was born, he wanted to try to put his hand back in the position he was born in - little sweetheart, how can that be comfortable?)


"Paige, he has his arm wrapped around the back of his head with his hand on his face, you're gonna have to work a little harder for this one... "
My body began working independently of my mind - & i gave everything i had to free him. Slowly, slowly, slowly, we made progress - pushes that wracked my whole frame & with more effort than i thought i had in me brought his little body into the water.
"There we go..." my midwife said quietly, "He's comin' up your way, you got him?"
i reached into the water... & in that darkened room - with the sounds of chirping birds coming from the bedroom - i pulled my son up from the waters & put him to my chest. His cord pulsed between us - & i felt like i could hardly breathe. i couldn't look at him - i just sunk our bodies into the warmth of the water and held on. It was 11:11 pm. My entire labour and delivery had taken just under 2 hours from start... to achingly beautiful finish.



He was floppy and tired - & i don't think he felt like crying... or responding at all. We rubbed his sweet body with a warm wet towel & tried to get him to respond for what felt like forever.

Finally my midwife asked me if it was ok for her to suction him to get him to respond a little bit. i agreed, and finally, finally - we heard that sweet, thin wail. He got 8 & 10 on his apgars - but isn't it funny how those moments are eternity when you're living them?
We rested for quite awhile - every so often dipping his towel back into the water to keep it warm and snuggling in the warmth of the water.
After awhile - & after the cord had stopped pulsing - Cai got the chance to cut the cord

& we wrapped our sweetness in warm towels & passed him off to daddy while i finished off in the tub.



My placenta had separated a bit & caused some bleeding, so my midwife was wanting me to finish off that little job - & once that was finished and i was rinsed off, i wrapped up warm and snug too & climbed into the bed to enjoy our beautiful babe.
Thankfully - miraculously, considering his funky presentation, i was all intact & not needing any extra care, so the midwives went to the living room, while our little welcoming committee crowed over our newest member & loved on our precious little prince.

By the time we bothered to get him weighed and measured, he had pooped all over his towels & made a big mess...


Just made Neil happier we were at the birthing center and not at home! hehe. He seemed happier once we got him all clean and warm and snug in his "cocoon" that my friend had sent me only the day before he was born! Neil brought me toast & apple juice & i felt good, happy & strong.


After an hour or so, Neil came to me & said, "i'm not trying to rush you - but i'm feeling ready to go home..."

Funny enough, i was too - i felt like i would rest better at home & i was eager to get home to the rest of our small fry. By the time we were packed up & ready to leave, it was 1am. We had only been at the birthing center for 3 hours....

... but what a wonderful 3 hours it had been...

& this is just the beginning.



video

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Hope's Day... The unpublished post...

As we waited for baby Yum to come - i found i felt like writing in the afternoons... This is the post i had prepared for the morning of February 14th... i'm gonna post it now... Seems fitting as February 17th was Caleb's due date. Amidst my gratitude for this beautiful, fresh life in my home - i remember the little ones i didn't get to keep - & i'm grateful for them too.
T - thinking of you this week in your sorrow & loss...
*********************************************************************


There are little holes in our family.
When someone asks me what number i'm currently carrying and i answer, "Seven."
i say it tentatively.
My mother's heart refuses to deny the 2 i didn't get to raise.
They have each carved their place in my life - & i can't imagine - nor do i want to imagine - the person i would be if they had never come.

February 14th 2007 -
That was Hope's day.
i'm sure there is much that could be written about these "in between" years too - the years that carried us from the Mollen years to Hope's day... from Sexsmith to Calgary... in Neil's career from production to sales... from finished finality to the possibility of more children...
But, for now - for today - i think it's time to tell you about baby Hope.
i woke up in the morning of February 12th, knowing that the life in my womb had gone...
It was the most bizarre feeling - i was still early enough in my pregnancy that, really - there shouldn't have been much to indicate there was anything awry. i had thrown up only days before - i was bloated and tired and deliriously excited to be expecting another baby.
But, when i woke up that morning, in a panic - i layed my hands on my abdomen - & the first thing i did was to cry out to God to give me my baby back. i pled with Him for the little life - remembering how in the Bible, he heard the cries of grieving mothers - and had done miraculous things. i hoped for no less for my little baby.
i felt Him say, "No".
My rational brain tried to tell me that i was being crazy... but i went to see a doctor & when she saw how distraught i was - she immediately ordered me an early ultrasound - for February 14th. "Mostly for your peace of mind..." she said.. but i could tell, she believed me.
It was Valentines day - & the littles had planned a red an pink celebration.
As they babbled excitedly about the new baby who would be attending next Valentines day - my heart silently broke & i asked them to be quiet.
Neil was gone on a business trip -
i sat at my piano & praised the God who is the giver and taker of life.

He saw me...

& in the holy hush of that heartwrenching morning - He came and met with me... and remained with me for my whole vigil - that lasted until February 26th, when finally my body let go of the little one it had longed to carry.
Those days are emblazoned on my memory - a testimony of my Father's faithfulness. There wasn't a moment i was alone - or felt abandoned.
Hope's life was a gift - a treasure.
You can read Hope's whole story here.
What a faithful, loving Father i serve....

i'll share a note i wrote to some friends yesterday that captured a bit of my heart for these tender days waiting for another precious baby - praying for peace, for health, for life...

"i'm *feeling* it this morning - it is close... like a presence. i have never felt imminent birth like this - there was too much focus on myself at the end of my other pregnancies... This is something beautiful. i'm finally getting mild *mild* contractions... Oh, God, let this be it...
Tomorrow is the anniversary of the day i found out that baby Hope had died. After we found out, Neil & i decided to wait & let baby come on it's own timing. It took almost 2 full weeks for my body to l.e.t. g.o.
i'm wondering if God's timing has anything to do with a sort of a washing & a redemption for me... Either way - i never thought these dates would come so close. Caleb's due date (my first son i lost) was February 17th... This time of year is always so poignant for me - & as i'm walking closer & closer to these dates - i feel Him walking with me.

i'm grateful."

Monday, February 15, 2010

Ephraim's birth story part 1

At 16 days past dates, we were more than ready to meet our sweet little son.
Throughout the final weeks and days of my pregnancy - my body showed no signs of impending labour. No practice braxton hicks contractions, no added discomfort...
i began to wonder if my tiny dolly would ever make an appearance.
On February 13th, i felt a few tightenings throughout the day - so mild that i had to stop what i was doing & concentrate & ask myself, "Was that a tiny contraction? Or am i imagining things?"
Neil had taken the kids swimming - and i stayed home with little Gagey & vacuumed, did laundry and tidied the house.
Gagey and i had a sword fight, a snuggle on his floor, a tubby together. He wanted to nurse a lot - & i sure didn't discourage him, he has been feeling so crummy lately & i hoped that him nursing would bring on labour. i didn't know it would be the last day before his little brother rocked his tiny world... i'm glad we spent it the way we did.
That evening, the 2 big girls were babysitting at a benefit for an orphanage in Haiti that was happening at our church. While they were gone, i got a couple of nice contractions. Nothing timeable- (i tried - 15 minutes+ - if i could feel them). That was sometime after 8:30pm. When Neil went to go pick up the girls at 9pm, i decided to get up & check my email & update my friends on my birthboard. i knew i was running out of time as far as an induction - & i was sure hoping that i could avoid the usual braxton hicks at the end of pregnancy & that these first tentative contractions would lead to the real thing.
i sat down at my computer - Neil & the girls walked through the door & were visiting in the kitchen. Suddenly, i felt a familiar "pop" & felt the warm water soak my dress and my chair.
i stayed where i was for just a second, in shock - not sure if i should sound the alarm to Neil right in front of the girls, or if i should just sit where i was till they went downstairs & Neil & i could form a plan. It was 9:20 & Gage was the only child who was already asleep. i called Neil over, & mumbled, "Um, my water just broke..." as it dribbled over the side of my chair.
Neil was like a 4 year old, hopping into the kitchen & immediately setting a tone of frenzied excitement.
i stood up - and created a tiny flood on the floor - something i'm sure my big girls will remember for the rest of their lives. Sloanie ran & got a towel & i went and changed into some fresh clothes (including my bikini top!) and we started to get ready to go. i didn't figure i would be in for a long labour, so i wanted to get to the birthing center (a 25 minute drive) as soon as possible. i phoned the midwife & we arranged to meet at the birthing center as soon as we could both get there.
In those moments, we made decisions as to who would come, who we would need to phone, & what we needed to bring. We decided that Sloanie would sleep upstairs with all the little ones & that Cai and Peyton would come with us to the birth center. i was sure glad i had packed a little bag already & as we jumped into the van - contractions started to hit hard - & that made panic start to rise up in my chest. Maybe it was just the speed with which labour had begun, but i vocalized with those first contractions more than i did later on - just getting myself under control. Nice low moans, keeping my mouth loose and my body relaxed. After a couple contractions like that, i realized that i needed to let go of my fear. i knew it was fear that was making me vocalize - & that things were going to get harder before the night was over. That drive turned out to be the best thing for me. i let go of all fear & gathered my wits about me. i laboured the rest of the way in a sort of hypnotized silence. Neil offered his hand for me to squeeze, but i just wanted to touch him, lightly - with my eyes closed - to know he was there... He was amazing - i just let the *feelings*, the *tightenings*, the *pain* - wash over me...
In between contractions, i could talk, smile, laugh with the girls... and it wasn't long till we arrived at the birthing center.
Part 2 tomorrow.



My tiny assistant coach, Peyton - she did an incredible job - getting whatever i needed & being supportive and excited. So proud of my bigs.


One last belly pic. 42 weeks 2 days.


My sweet little "coach".

In the van, just arrived at the birthing center... Gonna have a baby in 1 hour....

Sunday, February 14, 2010

we interrupt this program...

To bring you the following beautiful news...
Ephraim Magnus was born in a beautiful waterbirth - 11:11pm Feb. 13th.
8lbs 11oz & 21"
Details to follow, but it's 2:15am & i'm tired - & i have something beautiful that i need to stare at.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

i saw you... day 16

So i went for my biophysical profile yesterday. We had decided to go that route just to make sure that all still looked in good working order.
i hate ultrasounds.
i know - strange - but i find them kind of invasive... i'll get one in pregnancy 'cause weighing the risks & benefits, we can see some of the good things that can come out of an ultrasound... but to have 2?
i declined at first - but my midwife asked me again last Wednesday if i would consider having a biophysical profile if i made it to Friday - & seeing as i have never gone this far past dates, i decided it wouldn't be a bad idea.
Sloanie (my company) & i had to get up early to get all the way up to the clinic in the North of the city for our 7:45 appointment. We ended up being really, really late because there was an accident on the deerfoot & we were at a dead stop for 20 minutes - but they got us in anyway.
My baby is a genius, because baby got a perfect score on that test.
Practicing breathing? check.
Adequate fluid? check.
Lots of movement? yoooouuuu betcha.
i phoned my midwife who had wanted to see me after the ultrasound to go over options - & she was so pleased with the results that she cancelled our appointment.
i came home feeling a little buoyed.
Another day... i can do another day... can't i? After all, we can't just go on in limbo forever... can we?

Oh baby - you were such a cutie. i caught just the shortest glimpse of your chubby cheeks... Sloanie said your lips looked like hers (big and full). You looked so sweet - and calm - and maybe like you have more faith than i do. You were so big that we could only see little parts of you at each time...
"That's baby's leg bone..."
"See that? That's a tiny stomach... bladder... spine..."
"Oh, look at that heart - beating away perfectly..."
The black and white blotches on the screen don't do you justice though, baby - i'm ready to see you in full, living colour. i'm ready to touch your sweet clingy fingers, to see those chubby cheeks, to kiss those full lips. Oh, sweet one, i'm ready to hold you in my arms - to inhale your apple scent & breathe a sigh of relief - that you're here, you're safe, we're done.
Tears come easily and frequently - but we're on the homestretch...
i can see the finish line...

Friday, February 12, 2010

complaining is overrated... (stolen)

My friend wrote a post with this title & i loved the theme... so i'm stealing it. Anyone else wanna join in?
My husband did some annoying things...
He didn't hear gagey cry twice in the night...
He was a little cheeky when he said, "Oh, don't worry, hon, *i'll* clean the kitchen *all by myself*."
He was too busy to hang out with me after supper - & when i sat on his lap, he said, "My knees were never meant to bear this kind of weight..."
He woke me up from my first nap in months.

i love my husband because:
He appreciated me getting up in the night with Gagey - when he didn't even hear him.
He actually *did* clean up the kitchen all by himself...
He was too busy to hang with me because he was playing a game of crib with our oldest daughter - who needed her daddy...
He teases me & never lets me take myself too seriously.
When he woke me from my nap, it was to take me out for a hot drink & to try to buy the piece that is missing from my sewing machine.


So many times, the negative overshadows - the inconveniences are highlighted - the flaws pointed out. Underneath lie good intentions, loving actions and attempts at unity.

My marriage is so precious to me. i wanna be on the lookout for love.

*post script* - day 15 & no baby... i can't believe i'm typing that. If anyone is actually reading my blog, you are crazy to read the ramblings of a woman with the most *amazing* fluctuations in her hormones. i go from sky high to the "depths of despair" in the blink of an eye. i go from supreme comfort & patience & peace - to paralysing fear in a flash. i go from tears to anger to joy several times over the course of the day.

If you are still braving the crashing waves of my blog snippets - i like you. Lemme know you're there.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

MIS B

Mollen, Your initials spell Mis B - & i called you that when you were just the tiniest kitten of a baby with soft dark hair & sweet smelling soft folds of baby flesh.
Today is a day for a repost. i just went and re read these posts that i dedicated to Moll's story - & the front of my dress is now soaked with tears. Read, or skip if you want.
The Mollen Years Part 1
The Mollen Years Part 2
The Mollen years remind me how grateful i am to have this opportunity to grow again - to have this little baby - to be a momma.
Mollen, you are the spunkiest little spitfire of a person. You have added unforeseen dimensions to our family & to me as a mother.
i find it impossible to express my thankfulness to God for the gift of your life.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

whose baby? -Day 13

Yours, Father.


i want this little gift, this little treasure, this little tiny baby in my arms...
But this baby belongs to You.
This one You created in the secret place - You weaved together so intricately - You lovingly formed from nothing.
This baby is...
Not mine.
Your design is perfect -
i know that full well.


Not my timing, my will, my plan -
Not a life borne by the will of a father and mother...
Not a mistake - but a perfect piece of what You've intended for our lives.


Yours.


Oh, Father, i ache with longing...
My heart is so tender with love...

My body is weary...
My mind is steadfast...


But, this baby remains -
Yours.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

new territory... Day 12

i have never made it this far in a pregnancy before...
It is sort of a surreal feeling to wake up in the morning (or several times during the night) & realize that you're still pregnant - that you have no signs of imminent labour - that you will need to make a new plan for a new day, a new week... with no new baby.
Physically, i feel fine. i'm lucky in how i seem to carry my babies with minimal discomfort. i'm still enjoying little punches and jabs... the curiosity is killing me though... as i wonder about this tiny one who just isn't ready to come & meet mama yet.
i had meals mapped out perfectly - if i went 3, 4 or 5 days past dates... but we're starting to eat out of the freezer. Part of me is rebelling - i don't want to go to the grocery store *again* - when i thought i already went for "the last time" before baby.
Neil has been sneaking to Sobey's or Superstore - picking up that extra gallon of milk, another dozen eggs, all those things that seem to disappear all too quickly in a family of 8.
i can't put it off forever though - our pantry is wearing down - my parents are arriving tonight - another weekend has passed & another week begun. The littles have violin, awana, lessons and appointments... life has to go on...
As we continue to wait on life.
Baby, mama's sure ready for you...

Monday, February 8, 2010

raspberry leaf tea - day 11

i haven't had a glass of it till yesterday. i normally drink it throughout the last part of my pregnancies, but this time - i just haven't bothered.
i brewed up a pot & drank it throughout the day.
"Mmmmmm, raspberry leaf tea!" Cai exclaimed, "i love that stuff..."
& she poured herself a glass...
"Mom, is it bad for me to drink this since it's herbal?"
"i don't think so - it's supposed to be good to tone your uterus, so it's probably good for you..."
"Good. i'm going to be using my uterus a lot in a few years."
Neil & i laughed & he said, "Maybe you won't even get married or have babies..."
She looked at him coldly, "Yes, daddy, maybe all my dreams will be shattered..."
& took a sip of her tea.
Neil looked chastened.
Hilarious.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

chew man

The page that i wanted to quote from my journal has fallen out & been lost... but i remember writing it as clear as if it was yesterday.
The end of Peyton's pregnancy journal documented what i described as "large set back after small set back after set back..."
The beginning of *your* journal was a different story. i wrote about "large leap forward after small leap forward, after leap forward..." Daddy got offered a promotion as soon as he started working & within that first year, he got offered a second promotion. We loved our new house & community - & dad loved his work.
The trade off was that he was gone a lot - but i figured as long as he was happy - i would take what he could give & that would be enough.
i remember one time walking in on your big sisters playing a game they called, "Neil & Paige". "Neil's" cell phone rang & Sloan (playing Neil) said, "Oh, no, it's work". Cai, (playing Paige) in a disappointed voice said, "Let's pretend it wasn't..."
It resonated with my lonely heart.
It was a big year for me too, buddy... Daddy was working a lot - & your big sisters were growing. When i was pregnant with you, Cai was in kindergarten. i knew within the first couple of months that we would become homeschoolers. The thought terrified me - & got me kind of excited - both at the same time. Poor little Cai was completely out of her element at kindergarten. She was physically little - & even though academically, she has always excelled - she just wasn't socially ready for the rigours of kindergarten. We spent our mornings at kindergarten... Me with the little girls & my growing belly - trying to comfort my eldest & help her to feel apart. She tolerated going - barely... but was relieved & grateful when i told her that she wouldn't be joining her class for grade 1.
Your pregnancy was a happy one for me. i felt relaxed & hopeful & excited for you to come... & more confident in my body than i had been in my previous 2 pregnancies. i went to less doctor appointments & loved feeling you move around inside. We swam a lot during my pregnancy - & it was eventually swimming that i think encouraged you to turn from breech at the beginning of my third trimester.
When i was 34 weeks pregnant, i went out for coffee with some girlfriends. It was something that i rarely did - i've always found it hard getting out & about - being a bit of a hermit... Daddy really encouraged me to go. Before i went, nesting instinct in full force, i cleaned the house. i arrived home to dimmed lights & noticed some papers sitting out on the table... i was immediately irritated with papers being out of place - till i turned my head - & saw something huge and black in the corner of my living room.
i felt like i could hardly breathe.
i walked closer and saw an amazing sight...
A beautiful, ebony baby grand piano.
Gently i touched the keys - not wanting to play to wake the children - & yet completely stunned with the extravagance that stood in front of me.
i sat heavily on the bench - speechless in my silent house... & then daddy came tip toeing around the corner.
"What... did... you... do?" i finally got out...
"i want you to remember all the things you do & you are besides just being a mama... You're an amazing musician, Paige - & you deserve this instrument."
Charter, i'm gonna tell you a secret.
Now, 8 years later, i play that piano like an old friend. i bang & i shout, i cry & i moan & i play to my heart's content...
But for the first several months that that new black friend sat in my living room - i could hardly play it at all. i felt so completely unworthy - & so awed by your daddy's gesture of love. When i played, the notes sounded thin & tentative - & i wasn't sure i would ever love that instrument.
Daddy says now that she was worth every penny.
i'm glad he thinks so.
i want you to remember this story if you ever have a wife that stays at home with your babies... Remember her passions - & encourage her in her gifts.
Your daddy is an incredible husband. i want you to be one someday too.
A couple of days later, friends of ours had their second baby. Dad came home from work & as he walked in the door, i told him about the baby's arrival.
"What did they have?" he questioned.
"A boy." i answered.
"Oh." & just in a look that flashed across his face, i saw a flicker of hope & i burst into tears.
"i'm so sorry i can't give you a son!"
"How do you know?" He laughed - the look completely gone. "i don't care anyway - i love our girls. We'll have what we'll have & baby will be perfect."
But i knew from that one look that he longed for a little boy.. little did we know...
Time flew - & before i knew it, your due date had arrived.
And passed.
Granny arrived a few days after your due date.
And we waited.
And waited.
6, 7 & 8 days passed. The hospital policy was to not allow pregnancies to progress further than 9 days past dates. i started to worry that you were running out of time - as my doctor told me that in the morning of the 9th day, i would need to phone the hospital for an induction.
i woke at 2:15 am, stood up & my water broke.
i immediately felt a huge sense of relief. You were choosing your own birthday!! My contractions started up right away, so we headed out to the hospital. We arrived at 3am & i laboured holding onto the back of the bed or on my hands and knees. By 4am, i was ready to start pushing. For whatever reason, after i delivered your head, your big ol' shoulders got stuck. i remember daddy leaning over & begging me, "Please, babe, push harder, please honey, please..." After a herculean effort on both of our parts, the rest of your little body was finally delivered.
"It's a boy!" i heard daddy sing, "A big, one honey - it's a big boy!"
i asked them to give daddy oxygen because i could tell he felt worse than i did... They said he would be fine. You & i both burst blood vessels in our eyes, we had worked so hard.
It was 4:26am when you were born & you were my biggest baby, weighing 9lbs 1oz.
Oh, honey - you were perfect...
& you are the perfect little guy for our family.
Today you came up to me in sweet mock competitiveness & said, "Momma! i sure wish that baby would come today, 'cause if baby comes tomorrow, i'll lose my RECORD of latest baby!!"
i'm writing this on the eve of baby's 10th day past dates.
You're losing your record, babe.
But, you'll always be our only sweet little chew man.
& we're so grateful you came.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Friday, February 5, 2010

9th midwife appointment...

i knew we'd have to talk about it eventually...
The fact that all the due dates have come & gone...
& this little one is still comfy and growing inside...
i brought my dreamy eyed Sloanie with me - & she soothed me with her silence & smiled at me as we left - holding my hand as i sighed.
It was little disappointments - miscommunication & misunderstanding about the possibilities of locations for birth... a swift, late change of heart on my husband's part - & the seeming impossibility of changing directions this late in the game.
i declined the biophysical profile-
and the cervical sweep-
and the "herbal induction" -
and even the cervical check -
My body seemed to be saying, "Leave me alone..."
or maybe it was the tiny one inside... begging for more time... needing just a few more days to be ready to meet the world.
My midwife smiled sympathetically - not pushing - but sensing my own sensitivity.
"We'll call you on Monday if you're still pregnant & book that last appointment... k?"
It took me till evening to pull up my bootstraps, tend to my fragile state & remind myself that each day was a fresh opportunity for baby to come... we were just talking about the possibilities in the future... we still had days and days before we had to talk about interventions again...
So, now i tell those thoughts to quit nagging at the back of my mind...
i have a tiny one - growing - to enjoy - for whatever time there is left in this precious expectant time.


& Tiny One, enjoy you, i will...

Thursday, February 4, 2010

in between

ok, Little Ones,
i have to pause in telling each of your stories because a lot happened between having Peyton & having Charter - even though it was only a 23 month span.
It wasn't long after Peyton was born that that old mill *did* shut it's doors & we were left without an income - & we weren't quite sure what we should do next.
First, let me go way back in time though & fill you in a bit on your daddy. Maybe there are some things you don't know about him yet.
For Dad, school wasn't an easy thing. Maybe he was being lazy, having too much fun, unmotivated - but for whatever reason, he didn't get great grades throughout his public school education. When he graduated, he didn't apply to different colleges & universities - he applied at a construction site & worked hard every single day - rain or shine.
That's when we got married.
He jokes that he went to the "School of Luv".
He wasn't even a full year out of highschool, he didn't really know what he was going to do with his career & now he also had a wife & little baby to support. We were living in Kelowna & the cost of living was high & there wasn't a ton of job security so dad made the call that we would move out to Manitoba where he could get a good job at the mill there.
Seeing my husband, your father, work at his job - (he told me his first job there was basically to sweep the floors - for 12 hour shifts) - i saw a light bulb go on for him. He became interested in how the mill worked, who had the ability to maximise production - how were management decisions made? What managers effectively managed their crews to have the best outcomes?
He worked there for a couple years, working his way up to "paint booth operator" all the while, watching and learning... His supervisors loved his willingness to work hard & his commitment to giving his all to whatever job he was given. They could see that here was a guy who wanted to 'move up'. After a couple years though, he saw that moving up was going to be a slow laborious process, as he had been hired later than most of the long time residents of that small town. The mill was HUGE & promotions were given based on seniority. He decided to find a smaller mill. One where he could get in on the ground floor & work his way up into management. He started phoning around, asking questions & finally sent his resume to a small strawboard mill that was starting up in central Alberta. When he got offered the job as foreman, i knew he was going to take it - even though it meant a substantial pay *decrease* and the cost of moving for us to go. The money meant little to Neil... It was now the career that he was after... he figured if he could get the opportunities and experience, the money could come later.
i think Daddy learned more in the next 2 years than most guys do in University. i watched him try everything and anything to make that mill money - & to no avail. At the end, he could see why things didn't work & the lessons he learned there have been invaluable to him... He has always said, "You can learn as much, if not more from a bad situation as from a good one..."
It was heartbreaking to see him work so hard for something that ultimately failed, but i think that the time spent there showed me even more of the character of the man i married. When the mill finally did shut it's doors - he was out the next day pouring concrete sidewalks, building a barn, doing odd jobs... Anything to keep from collecting EI. i was frustrated with his stubbornness. i had a new baby & going on EI seemed a tempting option to me, at least until he could find something we could live off of - & yet in my heart of hearts i was also very proud. He would come home tired & dirty & discouraged... but he felt strongly that as long as he had a body that could work & someone willing to pay him to do it, it was his responsibility to get out there & provide for his little family. When he would get home, he would make phone calls, work on his resume, follow job leads... It wasn't long till he got offered another job up north. It seemed like a dream job. The money was great (from our youthful perspective), it was a brand new mill & it looked to be a great opportunity. Daddy packed us up and we dropped Cai & Sloanie off at Granny & Grampsie's house & we drove all the way up north with baby Peyton to check it out.
Way up north.
Way, way up north.
He went to interviews all day & i checked out the town.
i tried to find all the positive things i could (did i mention how far north this little town was?), i phoned churches, read up on the community & looked at real estate so i could have something good to say to him when he got back - including the midnight golf tournament they held once a year because the sun only set for minutes...
But when he got back, he surprised me...
"i don't think this is where we're supposed to raise our family, Paige..."
It didn't make any logical sense. We didn't have a lot of options - & he did get a great offer. He would be working with some people he already knew, who liked him & who he liked...
But, i had grown to really trust him in our short marriage, so i didn't say much... & he turned down that offer & kept looking.
It wasn't long till he found what he was looking for... i remember that he phoned & asked if he could come in for an interview. The job was 6 hours away & i heard him ramble on some story about how he would "be in the neighbourhood" & would "love an opportunity to come and see the mill." He knew he was young & that his resume was short. He felt like if he could get in there & meet with them in person, he just might have a shot.
He was right.
He made the drive up there & arrived with his big smile & firm handshake and they hired him the next day.
After a month of living apart - him already moved to a new town & a new job, & me packing up our happy little house & looking after our 3 little girlies - he came to get us & bring us to our new home - a tiny 4-plex in another sweet little small town.
8 months later, we moved into our very own house - & we found out then, that there was another baby on the way...

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

keeper

"i'm kind of excited for you to go 'over'." He grinned at me as we were getting ready for bed on Sunday night. "i'm not physically or mentally prepared yet for the baby to come..." He had a twinkle in his eye, daring me to respond, as he watched me limp into bed.
i know he's keeping my spirits up.
He's not the sympathetic type - i remember when our biggest baby was crowning, he leaned over & whispered in my ear, "It doesn't seem like you're in very much pain... are you?"
The other night, we were having a tubby & he said, "It will be nice when we have a little more room in here again, eh?" while grabbing my wobbly hips.
i burst out laughing, "You're really gonna go there with your 9months pregnant, hormonal wife??"
He cockily answered, "i can handle you..."
Neil teases.
It's how he says, "Are you still ok? You know i love you. Only a little longer..."
He has never been the compassionate, soft, emotional type of guy.
He makes me stronger... much to my annoyance sometimes when i feel like being a baby - & having someone take care of me.
But - as i lean into him, my impatience melts into his patience, my irritation disappears into his humour, any pain into his strength.
He's a keeper.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

The heart of God

When i post things like what i posted yesterday, i am fully aware that there are people who read it & want to roll their eyes & say, "Gimme a break... make all things right? There is *nothing* right about what i'm going through in my life right now..."
One time i remember being questioned about my faith. The person was harsh, angry... & maybe a little drunk. The asker wondered about historical discrepancies, the accuracy of the bible & the intentions of so called, "leaders of the church..." - Stuff i bet almost any Christian has wondered about themselves... i know i sure have.
After a particularly long rant about the flood, he turned to me & said, "Well, what do you have to say about that??"
i told him that there were a whole lot of things that i didn't know - but i would love to talk about some of the things i do know.
"Like what?"
"Well, i believe that *there is a God*"
i wasn't sure what his response would be - but after some thought, he acknowledged that yes, he believed there was a God too.
"If you believe in God - then you're faced with the obvious question... Is God Good? i believe that He is."
i think that's the place where a lot of us - Christian or no - get stuck.
Is God's heart good?
There are so many things that we don't understand about our Father. Why is there hurt & pain? Why are my children suffering? Why has Haiti been devastated? Why did that evil person escape punishment? Why didn't He step in & save the day? Why do i still feel so sad & hurt by circumstances - when He could have prevented my pain?
i think it's at times like this that i've had to take a step back & return to what i *do* know. i know that God is good. His purposes might be completely beyond my understanding... but i've come to a place where i recognize that -
He loves me so much...
He is so completely trustworthy...
& He is so Holy - ...
That it would be silly for me to try to stack up evidence against Him.
Resting in that knowledge is a really hard thing for a lot of people to do, i've noticed. There's a lot of anger, bitterness & resentment... but it only serves to hold us back. People say, "God is big enough to handle your disappointment, anger... emotional tidal wave..."
& He is...
But why rage against the One who loves us the most?
Why not press into His Good Heart - & seek to follow & submit to His molding on our tender, teachable hearts?
It reminds me of a little one who's hurt. They're angry & trying to protect their tiny wound - & as their mama reaches out to comfort them, they smack her away & flail their tender tiny bodies to the ground in despair.
Yeh, mama's big enough to handle baby's anger - but her mother's heart wants to comfort - to hold & love.
i think God is like that...
i think He wants to teach us... hold us... love us... be Our Father...
if we'd just let Him...

Monday, February 1, 2010

replacing God

i see people trying to do that all the time. As a matter of fact, i unwittingly tried to do it once myself.
i see it in a few areas - one being *order* - if i can have my physical life in order - what do i need God for anyway? We try all manner of things to achieve order. A Martha Stewart home, well-rounded children, a schedule that runs like a well-oiled machine. But, thing is - outside issues creep in - a sick child, dust & crumbs in our kitchen & obstacle after obstacle that keeps us from *perfect order*. & lemme be honest here - even the women who have been the most successful at creating a perfect, orderly life & home... still ache & their hearts cry out for the only One who can fill us.
Another person might try to fill the void by being the perfect parent. They build relationship, they spend time, money & energy on raising good kids. They love doing it too... "maybe, on my own, i can *be* god for my children... i can supply all they lack - i can find the answers they need - i can fill that cavernous void in their lives that was never filled in my own..."
But, we can't. Children aren't perfect - & their hearts - as our own - were shaped to fit Him...
And then i'm sure there are others like me...
i love Neil. Like, i crazy love Neil. He wants people to think, 'what you see is what you get' with him... but i know better... i know there's so much more... right down to his bones, he's a good man with a good heart - who loves me like i have never, ever been loved...
But, the poor guy's not God.
i had a friend *o so gently* point that out to me about 7 years into my marriage. i didn't even realize that i had been trying to get Neil to be God for me. Once i shifted my perspective & saw that he was a gift *from* God - i was even happier with my happy marriage & my sweet husband - who wasn't God... & so was unable to replace Him.
i guess the thing is... God is not someone we can replace. We can try to ignore our hunger for Him. We can try to make others fill the void left by pushing Him out of our lives... We can do our best to meet our own needs so that we don't have to acknowledge what we truly lack...
But when we let Him in....
He meets our needs... He fills the void that we lack. He brings peace, and comfort, and light... Life won't be perfect & flawless & free from chaos - but we will cling to the only One who will make things right.

Tomorrow... - the heart of God... unless i have a baby... then it will have to wait.

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