- that your car just got broken into. - that talking makes your throat feel like someone is sanding it with salt. - that there was just a blizzard. - that you just spent several hours dealing with how to get the van keys out of the running van when you don't have a second set on you.* - that you only got about 4 hours sleep. - that it's going to be another late night. - that you have to play car games to stay awake for the drive home.** - that you don't even like hockey all that much. - that you didn't have the chance to wrap the birthday present.
Because, sometimes, just sometimes, God gives you a gift that far outweighs any of that and you get to see the look on an 11 year-old's face when he opens up a box with a Florida Panthers jersey in it.*** And you get to find a haven for 3 hours in a stranger's home eating pizza and watching a hockey game**** with your family.
* Yeah, believe me, based on what had fairly recently taken place in our lives (see post below), at this point we DID feel like the stars were aligned against us. ** Does anyone know? IS there a Manitoba town that starts with the letter "J"? *** I got teary-eyed just typing that - remembering the look. Part of me wishes I'd taken a photo but another part of me is quite happy with the photo that's in my brain.***** **** In FRENCH nonetheless. But, seriously, even *I* can admit it was a good game. Scoreless. Overtime. A shoot-out. ***** AND the look on a 39 year-old's face that just gave said jersey to his nephew.
Okay, I'm rather tired. So this is a bit of a do-it-yourself post. Match the adjective with the statement.
(1) Being out with my sister last night. (First time in a long time.) (2) The play at MTC Warehouse. (3) Coming out to see my passenger window broken and a huge mess in my car. (4) Realizing that they didn't steal anything, not even the $1.50 worth of change. (5) The drive home. (6) My sister sitting in the backseat as we drove home. (7) Trying to tuck a blanket into the door with my husband so that the snow wouldn't fill the car overnight. (8) Cuddling with my husband to warm myself. (9) Watching the clock radio tick by. 11:30... 12:00... 12:20... 1:00... 1:30 (10) Waking again at 3:00 to a wide-awake daughter (who for some reason had been sleeping since about 7). (11) Not being able to breathe properly without my throat aching. (12) The three of us all being sick. (13) The drive to work this morning. (14) Realizing there's a good chance we won't be able to go celebrate my nephew's birthday due to the storm. (15) Having to deal with Autopac and a car repair place and how to pick up Abby in this weather with no window due to some idiot with too much time on his/her hands and little to no morals. (Sorry, I know, he/she's probably not an idiot. Probably misunderstood and someone who slipped through the cracks and someone who on a good day I would feel sorry for and try to help. But, today's not that day.)
One of my coworkers headed down to the states last week Thursday. To shop. On that infamous Black Friday. She awoke at 3 to have the hotel breakfast at 4 and to be at the shopping centre at 5. AM! To race in with the hordes to try to get at one of the doorbuster deals.
Know what that sounds like to ME? One of Dante's 9 circles of hell.
Hearing our 8 year-old nephew saying "Welcome to our home, Abby" as we left her there (with him, his sister and mother) for the evening on Friday. I'm just sorry she wasn't feeling better for their evening together.
I just carried a sleeping child into the house. Every time I do that it makes me think back to my father and faking sleep as we neared the driveway. And him carrying me into the house even though I'm sure he knew I wasn't really asleep.
And THAT makes me think of an excerpt from a short story that I like:
'Oh my darling, Clementine' I join in, high and sweet. I tug the brim of my Deadwood cowboy hat over my eyes. Dad bought me the hat, red with white embroidery, in South Dakota. I love it. In Yellowstone, the hat blew off and landed on the crusty edge of a bubbling hot mudpot, two yards out, just far enough so that my father couldn't reach it. While I cried and my mother screamed, my father hopped the boardwalk fence, tiptoed past the Danger sign, and retrieved the hat. You've got to harmonize with someone who would do that for you. I chime in as Dad starts, 'You are lost...'
I'm in a stupidly good mood at the moment. Here's part of the reason why.
1. I quit my job. 2. Pleasantries from coworkers. 3. Jeremy Fisher on my cd player. (again - yes, I LOVE him) 4. Discovering two singers that I love are coming to town. 5. I get to leave work an hour early today. 6. Work Christmas party tonight. 7. My husband treated me to lunch. 8. We held hands at lunch. 9. I discovered this morning that I've lost a bit of weight. 10. It's Friday!
Completely mindless but this gave me a bit of a chuckle today.
For those of you too important/busy/intelligent to waste your time reading it, it's basically this: Forbes has made up a list of the top fictional wealthiest characters. Did you catch that? Fictional. That's right, someone (probably more than one person) sat in an office somewhere and calculated what the net worth is of various fictional individuals. Absolutely absurd. And yet, here I am writing about it. Go figure. Some of the top characters:
1. Oliver "Daddy" Warbucks. Net worth: $36.2 billion (Man, I'm happy for Annie. Such a nice guy and so very rich yet too. Come on, sing everybody: Together at last! Together forever! ... I don't need anything but you!) 2. Charles Montgomery Ward. Net worth: $16.8 billion 3. Scrooge McDuck (tee hee) Net worth: $10.9 billion
But, the one that made me chuckle the most is (directly from the article):
Also making his Fictional 15 debut: spam entrepreneur Prince Abakaliki of Nigeria. Abakaliki is notable for being the only fictional character on our list who regularly e-mails real people, usually begging for assistance in recovering large sums of money.
I failed. I thought about posting yesterday but never made it to the computer to do so. I was too busy helping my mom make cabbage rolls. And by helping I mean doing all the work so that she could rock, sing or play with my baby.
Oh yeah, and trying to make a decision that could change my life. More on that at another time.
Stole this Christmas meme from another blog. I love Christmas so I really didn't mind doing this one.
Egg Nog or Hot Chocolate? Oh man. Neither really. I can handle egg nog if it's been cut with a LOT of milk (more milk than egg nog) and I have hot chocolate once or twice a year.
Does Santa wrap presents or just sit them under the tree? Goodness, I have no idea. Never really given Santa much thought.
Colored lights on tree/house or white? You honestly don't want to get me started on lights. I don't know if J-L and I will ever be able to have lights on our house. We are just THAT fussy. We often look at other homes during this time of year and criticize their lights. (I know, shameful, aren't we?) They have to be straight. VERY straight. And they all have to be the same colour or there has to been a very clear pattern. And don't even get me started on how we feel if there are several lights missing, let alone a whole section. It makes me shudder just thinking about it. As for on the tree? White.
Do you hang mistletoe? Never have. But the blog that I got this from once had live mistletoe and that I think I would hang up.
When do you put your decorations up? December 1stish. We "usually" (and by usually you know what I mean since we've only been married 2.5 years) do it the first Saturday after the first.
What is your favorite holiday dish (excluding dessert)? Oh man. Stuffing or bubbat. Or perogies. Or cabbage rolls. Or waffles with vanilla cream sauce. Basically, my mom's food. Mmm. I'm getting hungry just thinking about it.
Favorite holiday memory as a child: Too many to count. I was very blessed as a child. Still am.
When and how did you learn the truth about Santa? I never believed in santa. My parents were very strong on Christmas being Jesus' birthday. Very strong. We didn't use wrapping paper that had santa on it and we didn't have our photos taken with santa. At the school Christmas concert most of the kids got gifts from santa but we didn't. It wasn't the easiest thing in the world but we knew not to expect our names to be called. Except for one year. One glorious year. I was being stalwart and brave putting on the impression that I didn't care as the other schoolchildren got their presents. And my name was called. (I still get goosebumps remembering that feeling.) I couldn't believe my ears. I thought there was a mistake at first. But there wasn't. My name was called! The delight. I still remember the gift. Vividly. A 64 box of crayons. The one with the sharpener on the side. The one with the gold and silver crayons included. What a brilliantly impractical gift from parents who didn't necessarily always have the money to go the impractical route.
Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve? No. We always opened our gifts Christmas. In the afternoon. LATE afternoon. It was torture on us as small children. But, our first Christmas together J-L made me open a gift on Christmas Eve. It was a nice treat. We may keep that tradition. Who knows.
How do you decorate your Christmas tree? All in icy blue and silver these days. But that will change. I can't stay with the same theme forever.
Snow! Love it or Dread it? Oh, it's not as simple as all that. Not for me. I figure if it's going to be cold out there may as well be white as I prefer that over grey/brown. But, driving in a snowstorm is up there as one of my least favorite things in the entire world.
Can you ice skate? Yes. Not well but I can manage.
Do you remember your favorite gift? Oh goodness, no. There have been so many. Like the bookends that Joyska made with quotes about reading all over them. Or the calendar that Pam made (I think Corrie helped). Or the crockpot that J-L gave me. Or the hamster that my brother and sister-in-law gave me. (That squeaked on its wheel in the room I was sleeping in all night the night before Christmas, confusing me completely.) Or the guitar that my parents splurged on one year. So many great gifts.
What's the most important thing about the holidays for you? Hands down, being with people. Family and friends. Dinners and games and visiting and bowling and laughing and movies and... Oh, I just love it so.
What is your favorite holiday dessert? Sorry, nothing comes to mind. I'm not that much of a dessert person.
What is your favorite holiday tradition? Christmas. My family around me. Dad opening his leatherbound Bible to read from Luke. Or Isaiah. And now that Dad's gone we still use that Bible at Christmas. It just seems right. (I'll do my best to remember to bring it along to Calgary this year.)
What tops your tree? A very basic silver wire star. I tend to like simple. And yet, when I decided to go for the silver/icy blue theme I could NOT find a silver tree topper that I liked. Drove me crazy. (Probably drove J-L crazy too as he went from store to store with me.) Eventually, I bought a gold star and spray painted it silver.
Which do you prefer giving or receiving? I know it's not politically correct to say it but I like both. I really do. I LOVE giving a gift that I know someone will like and sitting there anticipating it being opened. But I also love feeling the love as I unwrap something that someone picked out just for me.
What is your favorite Christmas song? Okay, this could so easily end up being a longwinded answer. I'm sorry. But, the thing is, I LOVE Christmas carols. And it makes me so happy that my church sings some of the traditional ones. My church doesn't sing enough hymns for my liking but at Christmas they bring out some of the oldies. I'm quite fond of "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing". "Silent Night" nearly everyone knows and I do love listening to it quietly being song by many voices. "Angels We Have Heard on High" has a neat alto entry that makes me think of my mom and her handle of the alto line. "Good King Wenceslas" also makes me think of my mom and how we like to sing it together and I also love the crescendo and diminuendo of that song that helps convey the story. "I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day" makes me think of my dad which is odd since it's not his favorite song or anything. But, I very clearly remember him pondering the line "there is no peace on earth" when reading the Time magazine once. "Who is He in Yonder Stall?" makes me think of my sister. Heather and I performed it in our church once. A clarinet and flute duet. But, like I said, I'm droning on. All things considered, my current favorite Christmas carol is (drumroll, please) "O Come, O Come Emmanuel" for these lines:
And ransom captive Israel That mourns in lonely exile here Until the Son of God appear Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel Shall come to thee, O Israel.
What?! A list from ccap? I KNOW, shocking, isn't it?
Things I learned this week:
(1) Bananas taste not bad when consumed with the morning coffee. (2) Mandarin oranges and coffee do NOT go together. (3) Abby has a crush on Pam and would rather go to her for a treat than either of her parents. (4) Ordering office supplies to fill my new desk feels a bit like Christmas. (5) Seeing someone digging through the BFI bin just before heading to work can make me rather pensive and sad for the drive. And very grateful. (6) Dropping Abby off in the morning is WAY harder than picking her up. (7) Watching my naked husband wander around the room in the dark, using his phone's led light to search for something is rather funny. And sweet too (that he refused to turn on the light even though I was wide awake).
Sorry, Becky, I don't have the energy or the time to go to 10 right now.
It occurred to me the other day that not all of you were lucky enough to see my babe in her Halloween costume or to be at her birthday party. And so, I give you my little stinker, her costume, her birthday cake (made in the likeness of one of her favorite stuffed toys, by my favorite friends) and a bonus shot of cuteness.
No, this isn't another whining post. Quite the opposite really. Today is one of those days when I'm just gushing with love. It's amazing what a good email (or 30) can do to change one's mood. In the last 24 hours I have received several emails which made me smile. I recognize that this is one of those inane posts that will have most of you wondering why exactly I would bother to post something that is so obviously filled with inside jokes. C'est la vie.
Top 10 Favorite Lines from Recent Emails 10. Ahhh, c'mon! I was thinking a round of Settlers, a round of Monopoly, a round of Risk.... :-) 9. Just don't even SUGGEST Stock Ticker or I'll find some other family to celebrate with. 8. Could I possibly blow this out of perspective even more? 7. I've remained uncharacteristically silent and pensive throughout this whole exchange... 6. Are they the monkey poo cookies? 5. The last time I remember beating Brad at Monopoly he cried and I felt so guilty I decided never to do that again:) Actually, it felt pretty good, but I've kinda lost my taste for Monopoly since my kids started beating me... 4. Yes, fbf. I'm really going to give this a go. 3. After a horrible day with all the [blank] fiasco shall we drown our sorrow in light and pixels? 2. "You guys should come out and [blank]!" Me: "For sure, sounds like fun!" (really meaning, "When I've died and claimed my seat below")
And the number one line I loved from an email came from my dear husband. Drumroll please.
1. By the way, I'm bringing sexy back. I'm just not sure how.
Today has been one of those days when it's a good thing I didn't get another job offer because I would have taken it immediately without weighing the pros and cons.
Not that it's been a horribly bad day. Not at all.
And very, very lonely*.
* The place where they've seated me is way off from the rest of the group. I hear them chatting sometimes but I'm not included in the conversations. At all. Some days I don't mind the quiet, some days I do.** ** Maybe tomorrow I will bring in my radio.
I wrote this on little bits of paper on November 4th. I was just going to put it in her baby book but thought I'd type it out more legibly first. It's taken me awhile. I'm afraid the bits of paper will go missing soon so I'd best get it typed out.
Dear Abigail, So here it is, your first birthday. Wow. I don't know how I'm supposed to make it through this without crying. And so I won't. I will cry. And we will lay here on the couch together. The cleaning can wait. You sleep and I will cry. This is one of my favorite things in the world - you asleep on my chest. The first 6 months of your life you had every single one of your morning naps here. Now you don't let me do this as much anymore. You sleep better in bed. I miss it. There are many nights when I can't sleep that I desperately just want to snatch you and cuddle with you on the couch.
I love you, Abigail. Sometimes I wonder where this love was before you came into my life. Was it just laying there latent, waiting for you to come along to cause it to explode?
I love to watch you sleep. I know this nap won't be as long as it would have been had you slept in bed. But so be it. I couldn't help myself. Not today.
I love to look at your long, dark eyelashes brushed up on your cheek.
I love the way you clutch your pink bear with your arm.
I love your hair. I'm sure the day will come when we both curse those curls. But for right now, I love them. When you nap they get sweaty and stick out in awkward directions which helps you continue to look like a baby instead of the toddler you are becoming.
I love to listen to you breathing. I know the rhythm of your breath. It is comfortable and familiar.
I love watching you practicing to walk. You seem so immensely pleased with yourself.
I love to watch you discovering things. How to roll over. How to open a door. How to stand on your own. How to make me laugh. I hope you love to discover things your whole life.
I love the way you point at things. It goes well with your love of discovery. With every point it seems there is an exclamation mark attached. Like in your head you're saying "Whoa! Look at that! I've never noticed that before!"
I love your sense of wonder. When we went on our trip this summer we could hand you the most mundane thing to play with (a film canister, a pill bottle filled with rocks, a pop bottle... anything) and you would grin back at us with a beaming smile that suggested we had just given you the world. "Really? For me?!" Please, my dear girl, keep that sense of wonder for the rest of your days. Please. It's on my list of things I want most for you.
I love to watch you with your papa. I love the way the two of you make each other laugh. I love the adoration you have for each other. I loved your father before you were here but seeing you two together has increased that love a hundred fold.
I wonder about you and who you will become. I look forward to seeing you grow up and develop your own individuality. But not right now. For now, just stay one. And sleep. Curled gently in the curve of my neck.
I can't let it end like this. No, I can't give up - not having made it 11 days. Perhaps for tonight it will just be a quick portion from a book I love.
She had lived such a life of imaginings that she was quite equal to accepting any wonderful thing that happened, and almost to cease, in a short time, to find it bewildering. - A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett
Bought some tickets on ticketmaster.ca this week. I will give the sum total of the convenience charge ($14.50 for 2 tickets) to anyone out there who can adequately explain to me WHAT THE CONVENIENCE CHARGE IS!? I bought them online and am picking them up myself. Have I put somebody out? Seems to me that if you want to take advantage of me without me feeling angry you should just rather increase the price of the tickets 'cause then I'd never know.
Typically, I'm not affected by the passing of a celebrity. It's not like it directly relates to my life or anything. I mean, I may feel a momentary sadness at a life finished too early. Or, I may have a sense of melancholy at never hearing or seeing anything new from them. But, for some odd reason, this oneseems to be affecting me a lot. Probably partially because it will be without much pomp or circumstance. I mean, there will be tributes but it most likely won't be the headline news or if mentioned on tv, it will be towards the end of the program.
I know that's part of it but there's more.
This is one of those moments when I feel like my connection with my father is slipping away little by little. Don't get me wrong, he will always be my father and I will never forget him. I get that. I know that. But sometimes it feels like the time is getting too great. The memories not as crisp. And then there's something like this death when I feel like so many things have changed that the era of my father seems not quite as tangible. I don't know if this makes any sense. I don't even know if I can quite put into words what went on in my head when I heard the news. My father LOVED 60 Minutes. I mean, he LOVED it. Bar none, it was his favorite television show. (Not that the man watched a lot of television.) Sunday at 6:00 pm. In he would come from chores. He would turn on the tv. Loudly. If he'd had time to eat before he would sit on the couch in the living room to enjoy the show. (I would sit with him when I was home.) If he hadn't eaten before he would pull the kitchen table over so that he could watch the show while enjoying his bun and jam. And we would watch and discuss and argue over the news items. And then at the very end Andy Rooney would come on and Dad would smirk his beloved one-of-a-kind-under-the-bushy-eyebrows smirks at Andy's absurdities.
First Mike Wallace retired and now Ed Bradley's gone. And soon, the show won't have any of the familiar faces. Any of the faces connected with my dad. And THAT'S what makes me mourn Ed's death.
I was prepared for the fact that I would want to (and do) look at her photo hundreds of times during the day.
I think I knew that it would be sad and overwhelming to me thinking of her in someone else's care. And that sometimes I would have to shut that part of my brain off during the day or I'd be in tears for most of it.
I knew that the drive to pick her up would feel too long and that there would be a spring in my step as I crossed the street to the sitter's house.
I knew that the transition would be a struggle for all of us. And that there would be tears and whining.
But I was not prepared for the smell. I was not prepared to cuddle her at the end of the day and to have her smell unfamiliar. To sink my face into her neck as we hug and to be greeted by another scent. Of another woman. Another home.
Your choice of venting topics regarding our computer:
(a) We were bit by a rather large virus earlier this week. (b) Said virus was not caught by Norton antivirus. (c) We had to pay $70 extra for Norton to help us out with this virus. (Handy, hey? Pay for Norton but pay again if they don't do the job you paid them for in the first place.) (d) J-L wasting two entire evenings on the phone with Norton and MTS. (e) It's STILL not fixed!
J-L, do you have any options to add? I'm sure you're WAY more frustrated than I.
1. If Britney and Kevin can’t make it, how can we?
2. Abby’s 12 month doctor’s appointment yesterday afternoon. She continues to be a tall, thin babe. 19 lbs, 8 oz. Just shy of 31” tall. (According to the website I found that’s in the 20th percentile for weight and the 90th for height.)
3. Guess who broke her glass-topped coffee table the other night?
4. The flowers (a lovely mixture of daisies and alstroemerias) my husband bought me for my first day of work are still looking friendly here on my desk.
5. I just took a phone call from a business contact who basically shrieked “I’m so glad to have you back!” in my ear. It was very nice to hear.
6. Babel and Stranger than Fiction both open this weekend. Oh dear, oh my. Which shall I see first?
7. Two people are missing from the office this week. I am covering both of their desks. I'm happy to be busy again.
8. It is currently 9 degrees out there (that’s about 48 degrees Fahrenheit). No complaints here.
9. I have 8 days of holidays coming to me that I have to use up before the end of the year or I lose them. (I have more coming to me but I can carry some forward.) What a problem to have, hey? Again, no complaints here.
10. Becky, this one’s for you. Seems to me the list HAS to end in a number divisible by 5, no? And yet, I’ve definitely taken up enough time on this one.
I will NOT, under any circumstances, be posting a photo of the inside of my fridge. I have an unhealthy addiction to purchasing sauces, dressings and things of that nature and I'm (due to some fairly recent eyerolling of the husband) rather sheepish about it. It's gotten to the point that he's got me on a bit of a moratorium until I start using some of them. Problem is, I love to buy them, I love to look at them, I love to taste them and smell them but I DO not like to use them as then they will be gone. And so many of them were bought while I was on a trip somewhere. They're far too nostalgic to use up. Do you see my predicament?
And so, my fridge is overflowing with many jars that contain words like "curry" or "black bean" or "peach salsa" or "chutney".
In light of a birthday party for Abby, a flu bug that hit me with a vengeance and about 4 loads of laundry that have yet to be done, no post for today. Just a joke that got my funny bone earlier this week.
Brace yourself, this will likely be a long one. And rather scattered - I remember moments, not necessarily enough to write this out clearly and/or eloquently.
We join our previously scheduled program, already in progress.
12:30 am It's time to head to the hospital. I've been enduring very painful contractions for over 5 hours and for the last 2 of those they've been about 5 minutes apart consistently.
12:45 Make a couple of phone calls to let some family know that we're on our way in.
1:00 We're at the hospital. I very vividly remember checking in. They kept asking me banal questions and I kept thinking "What are you doing?! You have all of our information from previous doctor's appointments. Can't you just look it up?! Can't you see that I'm in tremendous pain and can barely breathe?"
We get into triage. I receive the lovely gown. I'm examined. 2 cm. dilated, 80% effaced. (And, if I remembered any of my birthing classes, I'd know what that meant.) Right while the triage physician is in the room I throw up. Fiercely. Painfully. (I remember looking into the garbage can at something that looked like noodles and spending many moments over the next few hours wondering what that was. The only thing I'd eaten in the last few hours was a dessert square while I was out for coffee with Joyska.) I'm not sure if it was the look on my face, the moaning or the vomit but they found me a bed right away.
On to the birthing room. (Interesting to note: In our scattered notes from that day J-L has written down twice that the room was "very nice". He, he.)
And we enter the dark hours. It's been a year and I still start to tear up remembering them. I don't even know how to describe them. The pain was so completely overwhelming that I nearly lost consciousness. My eyes were rolling back in my head and I could not speak. I have a very vivid memory of a nurse coming in to ask some questions of me and through a surreal haze I remember thinking "Gosh, I hope J-L can respond to her as I don't know how to speak." I remember J-L walking away from my side for moments and when a contraction would hit I would grasp the rocking chair I was on with one hand and try to signal him with the other hand because I couldn't call out his name. Yes, to answer the age-old question: There is a sound when one hand claps. I'm sure J-L can remember it still. I also remember more than one nurse stating that there was no rush for the epidural as I seemed to be handling it quite well. And, again, in my haze I wondered "REALLY?! What does someone look like or do that ISN'T handling it well?"
The worst position for me to endure a contraction was lying on my back in bed.
4:20 am The anesthesiologist shows up to give me the epidural. They want me to lay down in bed. THEY WANT ME TO LAY DOWN IN BED. I think at this point I probably shrieked or cried. The contraction I had just prior to the epidural was the most painful of any of them.
And then I receive the epidural. I feel like we should pause in the story at this point. Perhaps some light should beam down from heaven. A choir singing? Something. I think since I have been with J-L it was the only time that I have considered cheating on him. At the point the epidural kicked in I would have happily kissed whoever invented such a glorious thing. I am still slightly awestruck.
I'll try to speed this up a bit. Did I mention that I loved the epidural yet? I felt like I was given my consciousness back. Seriously. It was like I was living in some drug movie previously. Some scene where you're experiencing something and watching your body go through it on the other side of the room. And in between are colours and movement but they are all so disconnected and blurry and unusual. The epidural hit and I felt like I could see again. I felt like I could speak again. I still felt the contractions but they didn't cause me to black out or moan quite as much.
But I did shake though. A lot. And then they brought me the warmed blanket. Oh my. Divine.
Oh yeah, I was going to speed this up a bit. I'm sure you've all stopped reading anyway. Which reminds me, I'm recording this for future Abby. So, really, if you're bored, continue with your day, I won't mind.
Over the next few hours there were many contractions. And several more times of me throwing up. But, this was bearable.
7:55 am Due to the epidural I've lost some feeling in my legs and I'm incapable of getting up and walking so they put in a catheter.
10:20 am I'm progressing but not at the rate they would have expected based on how long I've been in labour so they brake my water.
11:05 am I'm too frozen and they're worried the freezing may reach up to my lungs so they turn the epidural off. No, no, no, PLEASE no.
12:25 pm The epidural is turned back on. Unfortunately, this time it takes a lot longer to take affect. I endure some pretty intense contractions again and remember what life was like before the epidural.
1:00 pm I have another internal. 6 cm. dilated. 100% effaced.
The contractions are getting quite strong again and I vomit a few more times. Twice neither the nurses nor J-L make it to me on time and I vomit on myself. The first time they change my gown apologetically. The second time I tell them to leave me naked - what's the point. (Keep in mind I've had nothing but ice chips and water for the past 12 hours so it's nothing too disgusting coming out.)
3:15 pm 10 cm dilated!
4:37 pm The pushing begins. And, again, a lot of this is a blur. I remember being in pain. I remember not knowing what I was to do. The nurses and doctors kept telling me that the contractions would change. That they'd be lower down and I would feel the need to push. I never felt the need to push. I felt like a failure. I would look at them and I felt like they thought I wasn't trying enough. That I wasn't focusing enough. That if I REALLY paid attention to the contraction I would recognize when to push. I never really recognized when to push. I pushed and pushed and pushed but apparently I wasn't using the right muscles. I wasn't pushing correctly. I was working so hard but still it was progressing very slowly. I remember quitting at one point. I sat back in bed, crossed my arms and declared that I was done. They would have to find some other way to get this baby out of me. But then the next contraction came and they told me to push and I did. I just got so very discouraged. I look back on it and I feel sad for that past Cynthia. Two things finally helped more than anything else and both were compliments of my husband. One: During a short break between contractions he prayed for me. Two: He started counting each time I was pushing and that seemed to give me something to focus on. A goal - to make it to 10.
And, apparently, at some point I must have learned how to push. To this day I have no idea what worked or how my pushing changed and frankly, I don't really care. All I know is that there was a lot of pain and many people in the room by the end (seriously, I think there were up to 15 people in there or something. J-L and I had no idea where they all came from or what their roles were. For all we know the janitor stopped by for a visit.) and then came one final whoosh and my darling baby was born at 6:39 pm.
And I think that's where we'll end the story for now. I could continue to discuss how incredibly painful it was when they were stitching me up which surprised me seeing as what I'd been through. I could talk about that first ham sandwich that they brought me and how delicious it tasted after the hard work and no eating for many, many hours.
I always meant to record some of this but never did. I suppose it's never too late. Some of it is still very vivid. Some of it (thankfully) is fading a little. Best write it down before I forget more.
November 3, 2005 2:oo am Is that what I think it is? Could it be? I've often wondered if I'd know it when I felt it. Now I'm just not sure. No-one has ever been able to describe it to me completely. Perhaps it's just gas pains?
2:15 am There it is again. Hmm. I wonder...
2:30 am You know, I very much doubt that that's gas. Seems like it comes and goes.
3:00 am (Heart racing) Oh my. I think I'm having contractions. I know I've wanted this for awhile but I still don't know that I'm ready. I'd best let J-L sleep a bit. No point in both of us losing sleep.
3:25 am "J-L, wake up, I think I'm in the early stages."
4:40 am Wow. I really never thought it would get this intense this quickly. More than one person (including our doula/birthing class instructor) described the early stages like they were menstrual cramps. I have some pretty severe menstrual cramps but NOTHING like this.
5:36 Oh my sweet heavens above. I don't know if I can handle this. I've heard of people who go shopping or such when they're in their early stages. Holy Hannah, I can't even stand upright without support.
6:00 How am I going to endure this?
6:30 Dear GOD, take this away!
7:00 Oh, no, wait. It's going away. Shoot. You know, God, when I asked to have it taken away I was only a little bit serious. I know I have to go through it eventually. (And, since they seemed to be fading slightly J-L decided to head to work. He asks me to edit: He HAD to, his boss was in from Saskatchewan.)
8:00 am And they're gone. Drat.
I proceed with the day. Nothing too unusual. A bit of this, a bit of that. (Edited to add: Doctors' appointment at 1:00 pm. Described the night to them. Both were quite confident that was the real thing and that they'd be seeing us sooner rather than later.) Some coffee with a friend of mine around 4ish. On the drive home another contraction.
And we resume our story at about 7:00 pm.
7:00 pm Here we go again. Bearable.
7:15 pm I can handle this.
7:30 pm I am strong.
7:38 pm I am woman. I am with child. I am all powerful. Here me roar.
7:50 pm Sweet heavens above! I can't handle this!
8:00 pm I am incredibly weak!
8:30 pm ROAR.
And the next 4 hours pass by in a bit of a blur. We did, at one point, walk to the grocery store to buy some snacks for the inevitable hospital stay. But, we had to stop every once and awhile for me to endure the pain. Looking back, even a year later, I am stunned with how painful it was. Completely dumbfounded. I was not at all prepared for that. I mean, my mother had talked about giving birth; my sister had; we'd been to the birthing classes and watched videos... But NONE of it would prepare me. I mean, I knew pushing a child out would hurt but I never thought it would get so painful so fast. Within the first hour I was on all fours moaning. The only way I seemed to be able to get through each contraction was either in that position or standing up, letting J-L hold all of my weight or laying in the bathtub.
This will probably only mean something to those who have worked in a large organization
I got my computer today. Hurray.
Interestingly enough, turns out the company I work for does not shut down the email address of someone off on maternity leave.
Thankfully, my contacts and people I dealt with on a regular basis knew that I was gone for a year.
But, you know those generic emails? Those mass emails? The ones that head office sends out stating so and so got fired or so and so got promoted? Yeah, those were still all sent to my active email address. For the PAST YEAR. My computer got set up this morning. In my email inbox? 1,423 emails. Can we say mass delete.
Start of the day: An early morning phone call from our daycare lady. She's sick. Frantically figuring out what we could do.
Mid-day: A presentation where the speaker used the word "utilize" over and over again when "use" would have worked perfectly fine.
Evening: Several diapers filled with VERY runny diarrhea.
There were moments of pleasure though. Two phone calls with two very dear friends to help me process some of the mess that is my work situation. And, an evening of television and visiting with my two favorite friends.
So there it is. It's done. And mostly, I don't really feel like thinking or talking about it much. Mostly I just feel like hanging out with my family. And so, I will leave you with a list of pros and cons about the day and a quick photo of Abby getting dressed for her first full day of daycare.
Pro: Driving, in a car, by myself, thinking and singing. Con: Driving, in a car, in rush hour, in barely moving traffic.
Pro: Being welcomed with (literally) open arms. Con: Bursting into tears when first asked "how are you doing?"
Pro: Being treated to lunch. Con: Getting reacquainted with all the old office politics.
Pro: Having a mindless task to do. (With it being my first day back and my brain feeling sluggish, it was absolutely PERFECT to be doing something brainless.) Con: Still not having a good sense of what I'll be doing on a day-to-day basis.
Pro: Sitting and having coffee with several different people and catching up on bits of news. Con: Being stuck with the worst desk in the worst spot imaginable.
Pro: I may not have to be there forever. Maybe only for a month or two. Two other job possibilities at different companies are in the works. Con: While I'm there, at least for right now, I feel a bit like a temp. And I HATE that. It honestly feels like I went from close to the top of the totem pole to the scraping-the-grass-dog-peeing-on-me bottom of it.
Pro: Picking up my beautiful daughter at the end of the day. Con: Dealing with a cranky daughter who's struggling with adjustment just as much as her mom and dad are.
Pro: Feeling productive. Con: Feeling exhausted.
And that's that. I'm glad it's done. And, in some aspects it wasn't nearly as bad as I'd had envisioned in my brain and in others it was even worse. But, we shall see. If it gets better, great. If it doesn't, I'll count down the days until I can either head to a new job or have another baby.
And, now, the photo I promised. Apparently not, Blogger seems to hate me at the moment. Oh well, your loss.