Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Aaron's Birth Story

On January 15th I woke up at 5am. To be more specific, Andrew woke up at 5 am, and I woke up shortly therafter, to a little boy calling out "wake up, mommy?" like he does every morning. I had been fighting a cold all week and had finally managed to get a decent nights sleep, and was not happy, so I took Andrew to the potty, then brought him back to bed and told him it was not time to get up and I was not waking up at such a ridiculous hour.

Twenty minutes later, I was lying on the couch with Andrew, reading him "Richard Scarry's Best Counting Book Ever" and trying not to fall asleep, when I felt my first contraction. It caught me off guard, because it was my due date, after all. Who goes into labour on their due date? I kept reading, not too concerned. By the time I had got all the way to "100 fireflies", however, the contractions were starting to be pretty regular, I was having trouble concentrating and beginning to feel a bit chilly and shaky. I thought this was strange, but decided to get a drink of water, and let Dave know that I seemed to be in labour. It was around 6 am. He said "okay, thanks for keeping me updated" and rolled over and went back to sleep. After all, I was in labour for 9 hrs before my water broke and I needed to go to the hospital last time, so this was far from urgent.

Andrew and I read another book, then, since I was starting to feel quite ill, went and watched some Strong Bad cartoons on the computer. I started timing my contractions, because they seemed to be quite close together and intense. They were about 4 or 5 min. apart and 45 seconds long by 6:45. At 7 I woke Dave up and told him to start getting ready to go. So he had a shower and ate some breakfast, and watched videos with Andrew while I started gathering up the things Andrew and I would need for our adventures. The contractions were getting pretty strong now, and I had to stop and breathe through them.

At about 7:30 I went in to our tv/spare room and told Dave that he would have to finish packing things up. I sat down next to Andrew and he watched his video while I breathed through my very strong, regular contractions, and tried to interact calmly with him between then so he would know everything was all right. Andrew ate his apples and watched his video, seeming not to notice what was happening around him.

At 7:45 I told Dave he needed to pack up the car and call the S's to let them know we were coming over. I was now almost entirely in "the zone" -- I knew what was going on around me and was making sure things happened, but at the same time I was really detached and focused on relaxing through contractions. I get really intense and focused in situations like this.

At 8:15 or so we dropped Andrew off at the S's. They waved and wished me good luck, and I just kind of nodded at them.

At about 8:25 or 8:30 I got to the hospital. I thought it was kind of weird that as we drove up to the hospital my contractions started getting less intense. I went straight up to labour and delivery, letting Dave deal with signing me into the hospital. Shortly after this I was in the delivery room, and the nurse was sort of puttering around and getting things ready. She asked if she could check my cervix, just to see how far along I was. I agreed, and she seemed a bit baffled. She said "oh, I think you're about 6 cm, but I can't tell because your membranes are in the way".

Contractions were getting intense, so I asked if I could have some nitrous gas. The nurse offered me the mask, but it didn't really seem to be helping.

The doctor, who was at the hospital doing his morning rounds, came in and decided to check me. He said he might break my water to get things moving along. He checked my cervix and looked a bit surprised, and said, "Oh, you're fully dilated. I think we'll just let things be." He also noticed that the nitrous gas tank was empty -- they called maintenance to get a new tank, but it kind of came too late.

I thought I would try to go to the bathroom before I started really having to push, but instead my water broke on the toilet. I came back and tried to relax, but I really couldn't anymore. I told the nurse that I thought I had to push now. It was about 9 am.

I climbed up on the bed and the doctor came back and I got to work. It was amazing -- this time I could totally feel what was going on, I was so aware of my body and Aaron's passage through it. The doctor commented that I was "in complete control", which was cool. I knew exactly when to push and when to rest -- the doctor only had to tell me when to keep pushing because the head had crowned. 13 minutes later, at 9:13, Aaron was born.

I didn't get to see him immediately because the cord was wrapped around his neck and he was really blue and not crying or moving. About 10 min. later, though, after his nose and mouth were suctioned and he was revived, I had him laying on my chest, looking up at me. We were both a little bit startled -- it had happened so quickly.

After this, things were kind of surreal. I just kept looking at the clock and saying "I don't believe I just had this baby. That was so fast." The doctor filled in all the forms he would have usually done hours earlier while Aaron was having his first nurse, and Dave and I mulled over our list of names. You know it is Dave and I discussing names when you hear things like, "I don't know, enlightened one sounds too Buddhist" . . . "But I like the fact that Aaron spoke to Pharaoh on Moses' behalf when Moses was too afraid" . . . "I like Peter, but its a bit hokey to have Andrew and Peter" . . .

I was the talk of the hospital, which was pretty funny, because it wasn't as if I even had much to do with it -- I didn't plan my labour to be like that, that's just the way it was. My doctor said he would deliver all 10 of my children and that I was the perfect patient because he wouldn't have to miss any appointments that morning. Dr S. (not my doctor) thought it was funny that he could pop in to our room and congratulate us on Aaron's birth while he was on his morning rounds, two hours after we had dropped Andrew off at his house. The admitting nurse came and did my admitting screening questions ( are you allergic to any medications? have there been any complications during this pregnancy we should be aware of? was your last delivery vaginal or Cesarean?) three hours after Aaron was born, by which point most of the information was irrelevant.

I had a feeling it would be an easy, fast labour, but I had no idea it would be that fast. It was really intense, but I didn't feel overwhelmed or like I couldn't handle the pain. Overall, it was a really amazing experience, and I felt blessed to have been given such a complication free, remarkable birth experience. Not to mention such a beautiful and charming little boy.

You know you're getting older when . . .

I was in the doctor's office the other day, and there was a copy of "LouLou" magazine. Basically it is a magazine that doesn't even pretend to have articles -- it just shows you cool stuff you could buy in Canada. Most of the items are trendy clothes (and I must say that this year's trendy clothes scream "Help, I'm a fashion victim!"). Since I love clothes, I thought I would flip through it and see what was "in" right now. And on about page 10 (not including the numerous ads), there it was. The exact leather jacket that my friend Maya used to wear with her skinny black jeans in grade 11. Black leather, cropped, and many-zippered. I know, becuase I took a picture of her in it for one of our many "we're just going down town so we can take photos of the (fill in the blank ) Dr. Giardetti. We promise we'll be back by the end of the period" treks in photography class.

A few pages later, there were the long sweaters they are calling "sweater dresses" these days. I used to have one, with not quite as big of a cowl neck as is now in style. I beleive I wore it with cut off jean shorts and black leggings, most days, and big socks and converse sneakers. A bit further on I saw plaid vans -- mine were red instead of tan.

The really funny thing, though, is that we weren't the cool kids at our school. We sort of wore whatever we wanted to, not what was actually in style in Thunder Bay. I think Julia and Maya and I were the only people in our whole school who wore leggings. But still, when your clothes from highschool start coming around again, you know you're getting old.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Tidbits from the midst of sleep deprivation

I love Oregon chai. You can buy the just-add-milk-and-heat paks of it at Extra Foods. But apparently no one wanted to buy the Chrsitmas blend, because I bought the 1L paks of it for 1.50 each on clearance. I opened the cupboard and a word highlighted in red on the pak caught my eye: CONCENTRATE. My first thought, as a scanned the container, was, "on what?".

On another note, Andrew and Aaron could not be more different children. At first I was surprised by this, but then I realized that Andrew and Aaron could probably not have two more different parents than Dave and I.

We had to drive into Saskatoon yesterday, and I experienced one of those prarie phenomenons while driving home. We were driving north west, and as we drove part of the way out of Saskatoon, the sun started to set and twilight fell. Then about half an hour later, it got lighter, and ten or fifteen minutes, the sun started to set and twilight fell. I realized that the praries are so lacking in vertical geography that it is actually possible to chase the light.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Meet Aaron

Not quite sure what to make of the world at about 30 min. old

Our new family.

Wide awake at 5 days old.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Finally getting around to aanouncing the birth of . . .

Aaron Luke Chapman
Time: 9:13 am, Jan. 15, 2007
Weight: 8lbs 13 oz
Length: 22 in.

This is the message i emailed atound on Wed afternoon:
Hello everyone! Just thought we'd let you know that Aaron arrived safely and quickly on Mon. morning. We just got home about an hour ago, and all is well. I am recovering well, and Aaron is a strong, healthy nurser. My dr said I was "an ideal patient" and that he would deliver all 10 of my children. Andrew and Dave have been hanging in at home. Dave is a proud dad again, and Andrew is still a bit uncertain what to make of this new little stranger in his mom's arms, but he seems to be adjusting well so far. Our church family has been very supportive, and have already set up a meal tree for us until next Friday.
Aaron Luke means "enlightened one, bringer of light". Our prayer for him is that he will be filled with the light of Christ, and enabled to carry it into the darkness of our world as he grows to manhood.

It is now Sat. afternoon, and i am typing with a sleepy newborn in one arm and a "i'm not tired, mommy" two year old being rocked by my foot in a stroller while he eats teddy grahams to try to keep himself awake. aaron is stil a pretty mellow guy -- i keep waiting for the other shoe to drop -- and has miraculously been sleeping in 2 and 3 hr chunks. some of them are even at times when i can sleep too. andrew is still uncertain about the whole sibling thing, but also quite protective of his new brother. i am exhusted trying to keep up with them both and occasionally get some dishes or laundry done and deal with all the physical discomforts of early post partum (does anyone have an extra baby i can borrow for a few days until my milk supply evens out?). all i can say so far is that i'm glad i had andrew first. i could not imagine having such a fussy newborn plus a toddler to deal with. dave is still helping out where he can. i hope he can manage to work out something to say tomorrow morning too. . .

when i emerge from my stacks of dishes and piles of laundry (if only big baskets of laundry were not so fun to dump out everywhere . . ) i will post pictures and a birth story. thanks for all the well wishes.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Update on the storm

Well, with typical plucky Saskatchewan fervor, pretty much everyone is dug out already. Our neighbours had just happened to bring home their ATV from their cabin a few weeks ago, so they cleared out our driveway for us (including starting and pushing out our car and cleaning around it). I haven't been out to check, but I assume the main streets have been plowed by now, and there are enough ruts on more minor streets to make the roads passable. So, aside from there being a lot of snow everywhere and it being really really cold, the blizzard crisis is over already.

Its so funny because it is so different that B.C. Here everyone is used to snow, but there if there is a blizzard it is a major disaster and hazardous to drive until the snow melts or a week or so has gone past. I remember being out there the year that there was about a foot of snow right after Christmas, and the roads were closed, the airport shut down, schools and businesses were closed, cars were driven off the road all up and down the highway . . . Dave and I couldn't stop laughing. But then we realized that there were no snow plows, no snow tires, no one had snow shovels or proper clothes to wear, and the cities had no idea how to clear the roads, so they were slick and dangerous for a few days. And no one knew how to stop on ice, so people would swerve all over the place and just hit you because they couldn't stop. It was qute crazy.

In Saskatchewan, however, unless there's snow past your armpits, a blizzard is really just an excuse for everyone to play with their 4X4's, ATVs, snowmobiles and snowblowers and justify that new pair of Sorells they bought this fall.

All that to say that we are now good to go again should I go into labour. I just need to get rid of what has now turned into a nasty sinus infection and we will be good to go. Well, or we might be going before I get rid of it, but here's hoping and praying my antibiotics and the snatches of sleep I can manage to grab are enough to kill it in the next few days. I really would not like my new baby to be startled awake all night and day by his/her mother's horrible hacking cough.

"This my friend is JUMBO/large!"

as Strongbad would put it (see "road trip" under SB emails).
39 weeks and not counting anymore. Just wondering every day if this is going to be THE day or not. I must say that so far baby has had the courtesy not to come during the middle of my terrible cold or a terrible blizzard. So far, so good. Although I would like to be able to get up off the floor by myself again sometime soon, so once the blizzard is over, baby, feel free to enter the world. Any time now. Or now. Like now. How about now?

Really Weird Day

Those of you who are in Canada have probably already heard that there was a major blizzard in Saskatchewan today, especially if you are a fan of that all time Canadian winter occupation -- watching the weather channel. "Look at that, dear! There's snow right across the praries today! All the highways on the lower two thirds of the province are red! Oh, good, here comes the ski report. I always like to see how much snow there is at Whistler."

Anyway, around 2 pm this afternoon, if you were to look out our front window, you would have seen this:

Yes, it was a complete white out. Dave decided he had to check the mail (like the mail could have got in to our town) and return some videos, so he put on his Sorells and his ice fishing pants and his MEC parka and braved the snow and blowing wind to ensure he was not charged 5.00 in late fees. He told me our car was covered past the bumper already at 4:30, and it has been snowing for at least another 5 hours.

Needless to say, we didn't go anywhere today. And we made a list of our friends who have 4 wheel drive, just in case I go into labour tonight or tomorrow.

The other weird thing happened today when I happened to take a closer look at our Christmas tree. Our cut Christmas tree, that Dave and Andrew cut down in the bush. It has put out a whole new set of branches. At the end of about 15 branches on our tree there are these little 3" or so new shoots. I am wondering if that is what started this whole cold / sinus thing in the first place -- nothing like growing a spruce tree in your living room.

Despite my natural curiosity, which leaves me inclined to just keep watering the tree and see if it puts down roots in our tree stand, I think the tree has to go tomorrow. Although my sinus infection is almost gone, thanks to some mild antibiotics, I am still coughing all day and night. Now the only question is if we will be able to get it out the door by tomorrow morning . . .

Thursday, January 04, 2007

This is getting ridiculous (not a post for the faint of heart)

As you all know, I am very pregnant now. Like, 38 and a bit weeks pregnant. And this baby's head is wedged between my hip bones. And I have one of my killer allergy/asthma colds. Those of you who have known me for a long time know the colds I'm talking about. Those ones where I go around blissfully barking like a dog for weeks on end and using up all the paper products within a two block radius of my house. Also, sometime during these colds I generally have an asthma attack and end up in the emergency. But the problem this time is that the baby's feet are pushing into my diaphram and his/her head is right down in launch position in my pelvis. So every time I cough, my darling child's head bumps into my cervix. Ouch.

Before I had children, I used to treat these colds by buying a bottle of NyQuill, which would put me in a state of blissful, cough-free oblivion, and sleeping for 2 or 3 days straight.Then I would re-emerge my usualy, generally cheerful self. But now, I have pregnancy hormones, heartburn and my cough (which I can't take anything for but lemon and honey) to keep me up at night, and my darling son to keep me up all day.

I just hope this cold/allergy subsides before I go into labour. I am just imagining what fun it would be to have an asthma attack in the middle of giving birth.

Monday, January 01, 2007

Happy New Year!

Well, I had about half a dozen amusing Christmasy posts that I was planning to write about Terry Prattchet's "The Hogfather", our Christmas tree that it four feet high and raised four feet off the ground, and our Afrikanns Christmas Eve, but unfortunately I have been either exhausted or frantically nesting or quilting (see post below) in the last few weeks, so none of them got written. Sorry. Thanks for continuing to check my blog, oh loyal audience.

Anyway, now it is 2007. We did not have a New Years Baby. We celebrated by, um, sleeping? You see, the funny thing about being a minster is that everyone wants you around for their Christmas party / dinner, but no one ever invites you to their house for their New Years' Eve Party. I can't think of why. Since the week was pretty intense for Dave, he went to sleep early.
I have been averaging about 4 hrs of sleep a night this week, between my late night pregnancy insomnia and my son's penchant to start the day at 5:30 am. So last night, when he refused to nap and then crashed at 7:30, I went to sleep with him. I woke up about 5 times, and slept for an hour on the couch in the middle of the night when my heartburn got really bad (but then my feet started swelling, so I went back to bed . .. ), but my body has learned that you take what you can get.

Well, readers, let us tip a metaphorical glass to the New Year! May it be full of joy and may you grow closer to God and those you love in the year to come. Cheers!

Fish Quilt -- Finally!

This is the baby quilt I made for baby Morwyn (born Dec. 22 or so) Kelso, my very good friend Lisa's baby. Lisa and I have been friends for 19 years this June, and I have been friends with her husband Iain for about 15 years. I introduced them, and convinced a very shy Iain that he should ask an equally shy Lisa out on a date many, many years ago. Iain is a geologist, and in his spare time composes film scores, when he can find a contract. Lisa is a forest fire radio operator, and in her spare time used to grow coral and take care of a salt water fish tank. Thus the inspiration for this quilt.

I bought this fabric before Morwyn was conceived, because it was a bit of a frustrating process, and I bought it as sort of a bid of confidence. Strange, I know, but it worked. So, first I bought the green fabric, which actually has shells and seahorses on in and the ocean scene fabric that comprises the middle strip, and the swirly water print. I didn't really know what I was going to do with it, so I just bought a metre of each. Then I found the pattern for a much larger version of this quilt, with 4 longer rows of interlocking fish. I took that idea and used the pattern for the fish blocks and this is the end result.

I'm quite proud of this quilt because a) it looks really amazing and b) it was damn hard to piece together.

The two fish and two tail pieces consist of 9 seperate triangles which had to be sewn on a perfect diagonal, then ironed on a perfect diagonal, on the fabric's bias, to create each fish block. It took me about a month to put them together. The rest of the piecing was pretty easy, since its all just strips of fabric, but I discovered about half way through that the dark green fabric is actually really directional, and so had to be cut and pieced really carefully as well so the quilt would work.

Also, I hand quilted all the yellow and orange fish and then added eyes so that they would stand out a bit better. This took me about 6 or 8 hours all together, although I did it over the course of a week or two. The rest of the quilting was really quick in-the-ditch machine quilting. I didn't even quilt any wavy patterns into the borders or the middle band -- I figured they were small enough that it wouldn't kill the quilt not to, and I still have to make a quilt for my new niece and, oh yeah, my own baby who is due any day now.

I was more careful with this one and pre-washed the fabrics, used cotton thread and used a minimum 1/4 inch seam allowance. This photo was taken after it was washed, and it did not tear apart like my last quilt. So I was releived. It is not tucked away in a plastic bag, so my cat doesn't sit on it (she loves new quilts) before I send it away -- Iain is really quite allergic to cats.

What I will miss . . .

about only having one child. It has been nice to be able to give Andrew my undivided attention for two years. Not always easy, since he does frequently demand, well, my undivided attention. But I imagine that there will be few moments as peaceful as this in the next few months. I've been in mourning, a bit, for the special relationship I've shared with my son, and how it will be changing any day now. I am excited about adding a new baby to our family, obviously, and I think it will be great for Andrew to have more people around -- I've always said he would be happier with a sibling and I still think that it true. But I will miss all the cuddling and talking and sleeping and other one-on-one time we've had together. My second child will never receive my undivided attention like Andrew did, and I'm a bit sad about that, too. But then, he or she will never know any different, so I think its just a mom thing to worry so much.

Incidentally, it was three days after the above shot that we finally got and set up Andrew's "big boy bed". He is within arms' reach of me, but he reaches for me less and less each night. In the last few days he has not even fallen asleep cuddling next to me, but rather rolled over onto his own pillow, on his own bed.