Tuesday, December 2, 2014

remember always

This kid.  I look at his face, listen to the things he says, watch the way he moves and so many times I have a hard time believing that he is real.  

This morning I was laying in bed, awake but not ready to get up, I could hear him walking towards my room so I closed my eyes and pretended like I was asleep.  When he got a couple feet away from me I yelled, "Boo!" and scared him.  His face… oh his face… now I understand why Karl and Samuel think it is so fun to scare me.  But here's the thing.  He was scared for a split second and then he carried on.  He had an outfit and some underwear in his hand and said, "It's time to get up.  See?  The sun is shining.  It's day time.  It's not night time. It's time to get.  Can you help me put my clothes on?"  But I wasn't done laughing.  I laughed and laughed… because that face.  So, again, he said, "Can you help me put my clothes on?"  

And that is so the way Maximus is.  When he wants something, he will get it.  When his mind is on something, it will not go away.  We try so hard to distract him and, short of something super delicious to eat, nothing works.  

I couldn't capture that face.  Boy, do I wish I capture that face.  The kind of thing that just thinking about it makes you chuckle.  But I did capture Maximus in the bathroom.  This kid.  This cartoon kid that seems to make even a simple trip to the bathroom an adventure… every single time.  

That tiny moment, that half a second.  His face… oh, his face…

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Maximus: handprints and updates

Maximus took an art class at an awesome little art studio in our town.  How cute is that?  We don't have any fast food, grocery stores, or convenience stores but we have an art studio for kids.  
To see how different the personalities of a small group of toddlers are, put them in a little art class.  Some pay so much attention to detail and could work on the same project for the whole class and some are done in 30 seconds and are ready to move on to the next and nothing is going to stop them (ahem, that would be Maximus).  On this particular project, the kids were able to use a roller and roll paint on to their paper.  Max did that for about 30 seconds then chose to change it on
 to finger painting and then hand printing.  Here he is making a hand print with his left hand.  That is as flat as he can get his hand.  But you'll notice, it doesn't stop him.  
When I look at that little handprint, I see an imperfect, perfect little handprint.  It is just so Maximus.  So much story behind that handprint.  
The surgeon let us know in the winter that Maximus was going to have to have more grafts done this summer.  He is growing, the scars are contracting and that makes for a pretty tight palm and fingers that don't get to stretch and straighten like they want to.  So these surgeries seem to be routine.  As long as he is growing, his grafted skin and scars will need help keeping up.  

Routine surgery.  That's a heavy thought.  

So, like he does before every surgery, he gets the gown, refuses the hat, and watches a show as he gets poked and prodded.  
He gets a drug before they wheel him in to the surgery room and it seems it may be just for our entertainment. He gets so silly.  Then we go to the waiting room and wait and wait and wait and wait.  I go down to the cafeteria and get Banbury Cross donuts because they are delicious and some awesome hospital ice but that only kills only a fraction of the time.  When the surgeon finally comes out, we get to hear how the surgery went.  In this case, he told us he did two grafts, taking the skin from two places on his groin area and putting it on the upper palm area.  He also did a z plasty on the webbing between his thumb and forefinger to help ease some of the pulling.  It went well, no complications.  
We go to the recovery room where we wait for Maximus to wake up.  He is in room full of patients that are waking up from surgery.  There is lot's moaning and it's an emotional place.

He wakes up upset.  Mostly angry at the oxygen mask, and then the pulsometer, then the IV, then the blood pressure cuff, then the bandages on his arm.  He begs, cries, demands for them to be removed.  At one point he held all of them up and said, "I don't want any of these. Take them off."
 This time he also had croup from the tube down his throat.  The nurse was able to subside it but he still has a super scratchy throat.  He was asking for his bandages to be removed, saying they were too tight.  We told them they would help him get better.  In pain, he sobbed, "The bandaids aren't working!"

When he is fully awake and breathing on his own, they move us to the rooms that we start in.  In order to leave, Maximus has to be able to hold down drink and food and have a wet diaper.  The nurse offered him a popsicle and he replied, "I'm too bandaid-y for a popsiple."  (He calls them popsicles and we think it's too good to correct).  When it all looks good, we head out, pick up his pain meds, and drive home.  This time, he fell asleep on the way home.  

Knock on wood, but of the outpatient surgeries that he has had, this has been the best recovery so far.  He hasn't pulled off his bandages, has plenty of energy, and is eating and sleeping.  We have even gone on walks and he is asking to go to someone's house.  He won't say whose house he wants to go to, though.  Just someone.  

So, Maximus… it all went well.  Thank goodness. 
I told my friend yesterday that Maximus is determined to enjoy his life.  And maybe some days I feel like he is bulldozing me because I get in the way of him enjoying himself.  But this  post isn't about of me. 

Maybe it is because they only did one had, but he has done so well.  We really apreciate the prayers, texts, comments, and calls wishing the best to Maximus.  We are surrounded by loving people and I am so grateful for that..

So his little handprint can be a reminder… even when things aren't perfect, life can still be enjoyed.   

Tuesday, November 19, 2013


The improvement of the camera phone has made a huge difference in how much of my kids' lives get recorded.  And conveniently, as my memory is getting worse, the camera phone is getting better.  
Every little kid has their quirks.  I would have loved to capture each of them.  Eva would whack her face when she was tired, and she smelled so so sooo sweet (okay, I know my iphone can't capture smells, but I am sure I would have found a way to visually record it), or when she was a toddler and would always find our car keys and stick them in the radiator cover in our little Chicago apartment.  Samuel and his snores that could put any old man to shame, and the way he would hold his hands so tense, or the way he would relax when I would tickle his face.  Maximus and the way he would stick his bottom lip out when he was milk drunk and done nursing, or the second he woke up he would reach up so fast with his baby farmer hands and grab whatever he could (it was usually our faces and we called him Grabby Baby for a while there).  

So, Makoa, four months now, he has his quirks, too.  He reaches over with right hand he grabs behind him.  Here are a couple (out of the bajillion) of photos of him doing it.  
This is his I'm-telling-you-a-very-serious-story face.

Some other quirks… he likes his head upright, even from when he was teensy.  He flips over onto his stomach as soon as I lay him down.  And he sweats.  Boy does this baby sweat.  If he is awake, it's his feet and hands and if he is sleepy the faucet transfers to his head.  

The older kids love to hear about their baby quirks.  They obviously come with their personalities and it's so fun to watch them unfold.  In hindsight, I would have taken more photos of the quirks and less of them sitting there smiling for the camera. 

These tiny things.  So very very endearing. 

Thursday, October 31, 2013

halloween 2013


This year I lacked motivation to do much of anything.  I mostly wanted to hang with my new baby.  And while we hung out, we had a little bit of fun.  He had no opinions about what he wore.  He sat still.  He hardly moved.  He smiled on demand. He was the perfect subject to my artistic outlet.  Most days I posted a new outfit.  Something I totally looked forward to. I didn't buy anything and hardly any of the stuff is actual costume stuff.  Most of the costumes were inspired by something I had sitting around in the house.  Making do.  Not to brag or anything but it's one of my best skills. 

This kid will never complain about being the youngest kid and not having any baby pictures, will he?
We had a little bit of spooky food around these parts, too.  
Severed fingers (string cheese and bell peppers), ghosts (banana halves and chocolate chips), watermelon spew (watermelon and orange), witches brew (apple and orange juice with little witch, bat, and cat apple cutouts), jack-o-lantern veggie tray, pumpkin shaped cheese on crackers (used a cookie cutter for the cheese), and eyeballs (peeled longon).
And the family.
We were all sock monkeys.
So fitting.  
So easy (order hats on etsy for a waaaaay good price, gather gray clothes, sew some tails).
I can't believe my family is this big.
Now I can see why most peoples' eyes get big when I'm holding Makoa and they say, "Is this your first?" and I say, "No, he's my fourth."  It's because four is a lot.  
All this Halloween goodness ends tonight.  Yay and boo.  

All this and Eva pointed out that we didn't decorate.  I pointed out the one banner I hung.  She wasn't impressed.  And I forgot to buy pumpkins.  And on the way home from the store I remembered but hoped the kids wouldn't notice because the store is so far away.  But they did, dang it.  

You can't win 'em all, right?

But we will make do.  You know, because I'm so good at that.

Happy Halloween!

Sunday, October 6, 2013

spinning beach balls, beaches, or no beaches

Feels like my mind space is all taken up these days.  You know how when your Mac has got a lot going on and the beach ball keeps going and going and you're waiting and waiting for a result (I think it's an hour glass on a PC)?  I'm stuck in that beach ball spinning phase.  My mind can't settle.  
I want to be like those ladies that can be happy without stuff... with streamlined wardrobes and zero waste.  
But then I put on the new impulse buy t-shirt that I picked up on the way home from the park today and it feels so soft and I love that I supported a local business.  And, besides, finding the latest and greatest is fun. 
I saw a similiar quilt on-line and loved it and showed it to my mother in law.  And she made this.  And I love it.  I love stuff.  Love it.  

I want to have a house that has no clutter.
But I love to collect things.  And let's face it, I have kids.  Four of them.  That's officially a lot.  I have a lot of kids.  

I want to be in my hometown where my parents and sister and besties from long ago live.  Where it is fall and the air is crisp and shopping and lot's of restaurants and I don't have to do things by myself unless I want to.  
But then want to be here in Kauai with the oceans, rainbows, warm air and aloha.  And I shouldn't be shopping anyway. 

Looking through my photos and Makoa got a whole lot of doting on when we were on the mainland.   It makes me happy and sad to look at these.  And this isn't even all of them.  Just the ones I still had on my phone at the time.  
I want to be skinny.  Super skinny.  
But I love food.  I love loving food.  I take pictures of food almost as much as I take pictures of my kids.  My family loves food.  We love the whole food experience.  We own a food store.  Also, exercise=work in my book and these days my workload is overflowing.  So, um, no thanks.    

I want to be everywhere and not miss out on anything.  
But then I just want to lay in bed and watch Makoa sleep.  Seriously, I wish that was my only job.  Lately, if I am that close to a pillow, that means that I am also asleep.  Okay, not just lately, I have always been a little bit on the sleep loving side.  
Even with the actual baby asleep just 5 feet away from me, looking at these pictures of Makoa sleeping makes me swoon.  

I want to go to the beach and enjoy the sun and the beauty and let my kids play. 
But getting there is a chore and clean up is a pain especially with two babies, one who wears super tight compression gloves and shorts.  And staying home is easiest.  
I feel young and teachable and inexperienced.
But then I feel old and confused.  Especially when I can't figure out how to organize my bajillion photos on my computer and I even take a class and it seems to make sense when the nice hipster Mac lady explains it all but when I get home I'm confused again. 

I want to settle down and choose a forever home to grow old in.  I want to have routine and predictability.
But then I want to live in 5 different places in 4 different countries at once and I get antsy easily and I have never been good at sticking to a routine.   
I went to Utah and was unprepared for the brisk fall weather.  I ended up borrowing some of my mom's boots for the last couple of days.

 I'm kind of like Maximus in this picture here.  He is pretending to sleep.  Then he pretends to eat.  Eating and sleeping at the same time.  Awesome, right?  Wouldn't it be great to be able to do all the things we want to do at once?  Or be like Maximus and aaaalways know exactly what we want?  

 I guess I need to be grateful that there are so many goods to choose from.  There isn't much that is clearly horrible that I am dodging.  I'm spending my mind time sorting out the good, better, and bests and giving myself pep talks to strive for the bests.  And that's good.  Hehe.  I am trying to convince myself to like this spinning beach ball feeling.  But I'm not doing such a great job. Spinning beach balls drain batteries.  

And I thought by typing this out, maybe I would come to some happy conclusion that would solve all this conflict in my mind.  But... no.  

And maybe it's not so much decisions that I don't like as it is the consequences of making decisions.  And maybe the pressure feels even greater because I have four babies to think about now.  

Baby number four (to think about)...
 Hooray for so many options.  Boo for option paralysis.  But maybe at this time of just having had a baby (how long can I use this excuse?) it is good to not make any choices.  Maybe it's good enough to just... be?

photo cred: Jamie :)
 Anyone else feel like me?  If you don't, please tell my your secret to settling your mind.  Thanks.  

Monday, September 2, 2013

one month post birth: the uprettiest and most beautiful thing

This is my post birth story.  I will warn you on this one, too.  It may be TMI for the people that didn't know that post birth involves nursing and mastitis and breast pumps and pads.  

Moo.  Every once in a while I hear a cow mooing.  The acoustics in my neighborhood make it sound like he is right outside my window.  And when I hear them, I'm like, "Right back at ya."  New babies mean milk.  Lot's and lot's of milk.  

I guess I already showed that giving birth is not always the prettiest thing.  
But at the same time, it is the most beautiful thing.  

Now I will tell you that bringing baby home, and making sure he thrives, and recovering from birth are not always the prettiest thing.
But at the same time, it is the most beautiful thing.

This is the photo that I chose for Makoa's announcement.  I was drawn to the photo that didn't really show the red rings around the iris of his eyes , or the bruise up in the corner of his eyelid, or the red dots all over, or his yellow skin and eyes, or his skinny legs and ribs that poked out.  I didn't want to show any of that.  I especially didn't want to show that when he was awake, he mostly looked like an old man.  And let's face it, most babies do.  I chose this photo because it is sweet, and he looks just about perfect...
...Even though most of the time he looked more like this... yellow, wrinkled, skinny, dotty, and his head was kind of a weird shape.  
I chose the perfect pictures because here's the thing... In the stress of things, I didn't realize how soon things would change.  

Four days after Makoa was born, we took him into the pediatrician where we learned that he wasn't gaining weight, he had a staph infection (all the little dots on his skin), and he had jaundice (his yellow skin).   It was kind of a lot to take in all once.   

We had to get him weighed everyday.  The midwives finally just left the scale at my house so I could weigh him daily.  The pediatrician gave me this fancy tube on a syringe thing to help me feed him more while he nursed.  We supplemented with bottles of milk that I pumped.    

Karl took Makoa down to the clinic every day for five days where they would prick Makoa's heel to draw blood to get his bilirubin count.  We had to put Makoa in sunlight to help bring those counts down.  Here he is on my desk, so he could get the last bit of sunlight of the day.  

At one point, one pediatrician said we need to definitely check him in to the hospital and that going to Oahu was a possibility.  
I panicked.  I cried.  Karl called and go second and third opinions.  
Turns out, there was no need to panic.  
But I still called my mom.  And she hopped on a plane.  She couldn't stay long because she   is a shop owner now and is all kinds of busy.  

But it was just enough to make me delicious food.  And spoil my kids.  And let me push the mental reset button because we just weren't getting a break.  
I'm telling you, good food makes everything better.  Well, at least for me.  

Because before we knew it, skin cleared up, bilirubin counts went down, his started gaining weight, and we got to enjoy Makoa without daily weigh ins and heel pricks.  

I did my very very best to savor the teensy stage.  Ooooh, I loved it so much, especially after I finished panicking.  I loooooved laying in my room with tiny Makoa. 
Makoa kai, he seems to be fitting right in to our family.  

Eva, Samuel, and Maximus have been greater than I could have ever hoped.  Makoa brought a little bit of peace into our house.  I often find myself amazed at the people that they are becoming.  

Yes, the reality is still that it took a lot of shouting and bribing to get a single photo of the four of them.  And it took about 18 photos to get one that kinda worked.  But maybe that's the way it's going to be for a while.  It's going to take a lot of work and lots of tries to get it.  

Who does he look like?  I don't know.  I look at him and all I can see is Makoa.  Who is he most like?  I don't know that either.  
He eats like a champ, he likes to keep his back arched (the only time he relaxes enough to cuddle is when he is asleep), he squeaks a lot in his sleep, when he is awake, he wiggles the whole time, he doesn't spit up much but can burp like a frat boy, he looks suprised a lot (the kids call it crazy eyes) and for a while I did think he was always surprised until I finally decided it is just his eye shape (how could one kid be surprised that much?  Even at this family, right?), he grabs a lot (my hair, his own hair...), grunts when the milk doesn't come fast enough (like I feel like doing when my food doesn't come fast enough), and now?  He seems to be growing like a weed. It's so beautiful just to watch him grow.  I have a feeling I will be in awe of the person he turns out to be, too.  

Ya, so I feel like a cow.  Girls, as far as I know, never want to feel like a cow.  I don't like milk. Not cow milk. Not even the kind they get from tiny almond nipples (tee hee).  Not even my own.  And how about when I get mastitis and husband giggles and reminisces about his days working on a dairy farm and that all he knows about mastitis is when the cows would get it, they had to put iodine on them.  Girls, as far as I know, don't really like to remind you of your days working on the dairy farm.  

That 's the unpretty part of my story.  Or how about when I find myself arguing with the toddler that the pads that I was using post birth were not, in fact, diapers because you have trying to convince toddler for the last few weeks that diapers are for babies and big kids need underwear not diapers. 
"Mommy's diaper."
"No, it's not a diaper."
"Mommy's diaper."
"No, it's not a diaper."

Repeat about 5 times. 
And finally, 
"Okay, fine.  Mommy's diaper."

Yes, that is so unpretty.  

Or how about me trying to not to use the breast pump when the kids are around because I was too sensitive at the time to handle one more joke about it looking like the canned air horns?  

Or how about the fact that every time my milk lets down at random times I think of Keven Malone fake baby crying trying to get Pam's milk to let down?

Or how about the fact that we are still figuring out timing and by the time I get dinner ready, it is time for baby to eat and when baby wants to eat and mom wants to eat at the same time, baby wins.  Every time.  

But the beautiful parts.  Oooh, the beautiful parts.  You don't know how many times I wished I didn't have to do anything every again exept watch little Makoa sleep. And I think if I watch close enough, I can actually see him plump up and grow and grow.  Because it is happening that fast.  
This was just the first month.  And even though I just spent a lot of this post telling about the unpretty parts, I'm here to tell you that there are so so many beautiful parts, too.  

I think you need the unpretty parts to make the story great.  I love the photos of too skinny, scary eyed, crying Makoa.  It's part of his story.  Just like the chubby cheeked (he's chubby now), smiling, sweetly sleeping photos are part of his story, too.  

I feel so lucky to be a part of his story.  And I feel so so so grateful that he is a part of mine.  


Tuesday, July 9, 2013

normal: a TMI novel about something we may never be

This is my birth story.  And let me just tell you, birth isn't pretty.  At least mine aren't. So I might use words like blood, and maxi pad, and vagina, and all kinds of girl parts.  That's my warning.  It may be TMI for people that have never heard of these things and didn't know that having babies includes all of these things.  

I don't really know where to start this story.  So I'm going to start it with this cup.  I love giant plastic cups.  Of the giant plastic cups, this happens to be my favorite.   And for some reason, in my mind, they kind of have an expiration date.  So I can't just keep this giant cup forever.  As soon as one of my kids gets a hold of it and the straw gets rough, or I've been home from the hospital for a while, it seems like the cup needs to retire.  But maybe it's not the cup.  Maybe it is what the cup holds... hospital ice.  THE ice.  Chewy ice, Sonic ice, chewblets, deer poopie ice, nugget ice, the good ice... this vessel holds a ton of this perfect ice.  It's kind of like, sorry you have to be in the hospital, here is your gigantor cup of perfect ice water.  I happen to think it helps ease the pain.  I really do.  
I don't try and think of ways to be abnormal.  Or stand out.  Or even look for adventures.  They just come.  I swear.  When we decided to have a fourth baby (I have always wanted four), I thought I would try this birthing center.  Here is my reasoning to how this seemed normal to me.  If I was a blogger during the births of my first two kids, you would know that they were both fast, crazy, painful, and anything but normal births.  So, for the third, I did a lot of research and chose a midwife over a doctor.  It was a fast but calm birth with minimal amounts of trauma.  Mostly because she could sit with me during labor and she believed me that my babies come really really (really really) fast.  

So, on this sweet little island of mine, midwives can't work in the hospitals.  My options were to have a baby in the hospital with a doctor, have a baby in a birthing center with a midwife, or have the baby at home with a midwife.  After taking a tour of the birthing center and finding that it wasn't a yurt and that it was instead a beautiful super clean facility on a huge property and very very close to what you would picture as paradise and talking to the midwives the decision was easy and it seemed like the most normal choice for me.  My house wouldn't get gross (if you saw my last post, you can see I can't handle gross right now), I could get their place gross, they had enough experience and facilities that I felt more than comfortable.  The place was beautiful.  I'm wondering if my story is negative advertising.  Even though it shouldn't be at all.  It's me that is negative advertising.  I think I might be scaring people away from having babies :).  These days I get grossed out easily even at hotels and a hospital feels like a hotel but only for sick or injured people and in my mind birth is supposed to be a lovely natural thing.  I know this is not the normal thought for all.  But this is how my choice became normal in my mind.  

The downsides to this choice:
1) It is far from my house.  45 min in heavy traffic.  And 32 min with no traffic (that two minutes becomes important later in the story).  What if I didn't get to the birthing center on time?
2) If there is a medical emergency, I would have to go to the hospital.  
3) The cup.  I wouldn't get my cup of perfect ice water.  
I had to console a lot of sceptics... doctor and nurse friends that know all the horror stories of homebirths gone wrong, people that have had great births in the traditional hospitals, and most of all I had to console myself.  There is a part of my brain that never lets me be comfortable with any decision I make.  

I had solutions to these downsides:
1) I would be uber super duper extra sensitive to the signs of birth and would head up there as soon as I felt any.  Even if it meant spending a lot of time up there just waiting. 
2) I had never had any complications before and if I did, the hospital was only 15 minutes away.  Closer than if I was leaving from my house.  But in the five years that the birthing center had been open, they had never had an emergency delivery, just cases where the moms changed their mind for one reason or another.  
3)  We bought an ice machine.  I could have my perfect ice water after all.  I could go on and on about this machine.  But if you understand this ice, I don't need to do that for you.  You just know the joy and you celebrate with me (there is heavenly music playing in the background as I type this, I swear).
So I had all the kinks worked out.  Things were going to go smoothly.  

July 4th came along.  I had a few contractions and so I called in all the troops.  My sweet (sweet sweet sweet) neighbor Jamie was ready to come up and hang with my kids, my bags were all packed, we loaded up the car and we started our journey.  I got up there and sure enough I had dilated from the 4 I was earlier that week to a 5 and I was 70 % effaced.  We were ready.  So I walked around, we took pictures, had a delicious lunch (priorities, right?), even stopped at Ace Hardware to get a piece to install the ice machine.  It was a leisurely afternoon, hanging out near the birthing center, keeping close tabs on any signs of progression in my labor.  But after about 4 hours and no progression, we started to get antsy. And after 8 hours, it was obvious nothing was going to happen any time soon.  Eva was weepy at home because she had visions of the family spending the holiday together, Samuel had been wanting to light fireworks with Karl all year, Karl had a list of things that he wanted to get done before baby come, and Jamie's family had to cancel party plans because she was hanging with my kids.  

I was putting everyone out.  By being oh so careful and cautious.  And I had nothing to show for it.  

The fifth came and went.  I couldn't rest because I was so anxious.  Not a contraction in sight.
The sixth came and went.  Same story.  
So the evening of the sixth we took a two mile walk.  I'm not a walker.  And still nothing.  

We did get a few neat photos.  And the scenery was gorgeous.
The night was like any other night.  I woke up at one, then two, then three.  Each time going to the bathroom to make sure everything was still in tact and hoping that if I went then, it would mean I could sleep for a longer stretch.  That's kind of what happens when you have something growing inside you and it kind of feels like you are waiting to get hit by a truck any minute.  Just after four am, I felt a contraction and a little gush.  I went to the bathroom and it seems that everything was in tact but there was enough fluid there to soak a maxi pad but not get my underwear wet.  

Remember how I kind of ruined the fourth and everyone in my family was kind of complaining about it that day?  Let's just say I was gun shy.  The next time I was going to turn everything upside down, I was going to be sure.  

I woke Karl just to kind of give him heads up but told him he didn't need to get up just yet.  I hoped in the shower and felt nothing.  After I got out I had my second real contraction, woke Karl up for reals this time, and we got ready to go.  The whole process took just minutes and we were on the road at 4:30 am and letting the midwives know we were on our way.  There were hardly any cars on the road and things were looking good.  This is how contractions go for me.  They kill and I get scared mostly because I know another one is going to come.  Then my body relaxes and all is good for a few minutes and I almost forget how bad the pain was.  That's what I do.  I forget pain.  That is how I survive.  During the relaxing time I said to Karl, "You can't take anything I say out of context.  I am going to be in a lot of pain and I can't worry about your feelings right now."  My thoughts during my last few contractions:

The next one I am going to roll down the window and let the wind distract me.  I'm going to hang my head out like a puppy and it will feel good.  

After this one I am going to open my eyes and hope that we are closer even though I know we aren't going to be.

What is that word that they call contractions that is supposed to sound less painful?  I can't remember.  How about my body is hugging my baby.  Hugging.  HUGGING.  Oh no! My body is hugging my baby out!!

This all happened in fifteen minutes.  Seriously.  Just 15.  Karl asked if I needed him to rub my back.  I said, "This isn't about my back anymore.  It's my vagina, now."  The baby was coming.  

I had Karl call the midwives again and tell them to be ready.  I could feel the head.  This was for reals.  I remember opening my eyes and we were passing the jail.  Still not close enough. They told him to have me pant.  

Okay, pant.  Keep panting.  Nope, baby is still coming.  

No sitting on the birthing ball.  No rubbing my back.  No ice chips.  No photos of me walking around holding my belly.  None of that.  This baby was coming.  I channeled in my bestie, who is strong and cherishes all things natural.   

I had one more contraction where the baby stayed put.  But I noticed I still had my head out the window and Karl couldn't hear on the phone because of the wind but if I sat down I would squish the baby.   I put the phone on speaker phone and it's all kind of a blurr but I'm not kidding when I say he just started slithering out.  But my underwear was holding him in.  Karl pulled over.  He had to reach in to unlock my door.  I couldn't move.  He had to put my legs kind of together to get my underwear off and I remember that hurting, I did have a baby right there, after all.  Before I knew it, the baby was in my arms, Karl ran around the car looking for something to wrap him in, ended up taking off his shirt, he shut all the doors, cranked up the heater, and we were off.  We were so so so close the birthing center.  Less than a mile.  Remember when I said those two minutes would matter?  The baby was out.  Everyone was safe.  Karl had had his wits about him enough to make sure the cord wasn't around his neck.   My other three kids did.  This one did not.  I finally got to relax.

(This is where we had him.  With only the horse as our witness.)  
And I wish that was where the story ended.  I wish so bad.  Already I had messed up on concern number one.  I didn't make it to the birthing center on time.  

I walked into the birthing suite.  The cord had stopped pulsing.  The cut it and clamped it.  And I nursed sweet healthy baby in my arms.  

And here is where the story begins.  
My placenta would not detach from my uterus.  And until it did, I would keep hemorrhaging.  So she had to stick her arm up and try and manually detatch it.  And it is as gross as it sounds.  I could see her hand moving under my stomach.  And the pain.  When I say that giving birth is nothing compared to this, some of you can fathom.  I had to push, and they had to scrape.  To no avail.  

Then came what I didn't want to hear.  They said I could either have an ambulance come get me or we could drive down but either way they wanted me to go down to the hospital.  They made the decision for me and called.  I had no doubt they knew exactly what they were going and were not going to put my life at risk.  They tried a couple more times while we waited for the ambulance.  The ambulance driver tried as we drove down to the hospital.

This is not going to be cheap.  I did not want this. 

I knew I shouldn't be thinking it.  But I kept thinking about how much this was going to cost.  Lame, I know.  It helped distract me from worrying about my life.  I wasn't worried about that.  

And the whole time, the sweet unnamed, unweighed, unmeasured baby nursed in my arms.  

They took me up to labor and delivery and they checked me in.  They gave me some pain med options and tried to start something but they didn't go through.  

The doctor came in and it was time.  I know I have heard the saying, it was like having someone reach in and rip your insides apart.  That is what she had to do.  She said if it didn't work then she would have to do a D and C.  A real surgery.  I haven't had one of those.  I kind of prefer it that way and want to avoid them if I can.  So, Karl took the baby, backed up, and the doctor went for it.  She had to pull and scrape.  I had to push.  I remember saying, "Excuse me."  Hehe, I still have my manners even when I am in pain.  She had to get the placenta out.  I had to focus on not kicking her hand out of me because that is really what I wanted to do when she was hurting me so bad.  

I remember screaming, I remember twisting.  I remember my eyes closing involuntarily because it hurt so bad.  I remember the nurse giving me her hand but feeling like I would smoosh it.  I remember yelling, "Karl!" As if he could somehow save me.  And she got it.  All in one piece.  They brought in the ultrasound and they got the whole thing.

"I made a mess." The doctor said.  There was blood all over.  Splashed all the way to the chairs.  

And then they sent the pain meds through.  Just a little late.  

That's pretty much where the story ends.  
Karl went and cleaned the car.  It looked like a murder scene.  

The midwives said I set all kinds of records in their five years of having the birth center open.  First car birth ever.  Second ambulance ride.  I feel bad.  They can put an asterisk by my case.  I'm not normal.

I meant to do it normal.  I really really tried.  Maybe next year can be a normal year.  

And there are some bright sides to this whole painful mess.  Get this one, I didn't tear.  Not a single stitch.  This has been my best recovery yet.  Besides the normal tiredness and worn outness, I feel so good.  

Oh, and we can't forget the cup.  I got my cup, right?

Things settled down.  We weighed the baby.  He was 7 lbs 8 oz. He is tiny.  
We finally got some pictures in. 
And we all got some rest.  
 The pain is over.  I survived.  
Samuel said, "There are so many best days of my life.  This is one of them.  He is so cute it makes me want to almost cry."
This is our baby, born in Hawaii, in our car, on the side of the road.  Fearless, right?  So that is what we are calling him...  Makoa.  Koa for short.  He kind of named himself, don't you think?

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

unfun and nesting

Here I am in all my 37.5 pregnant girth and glory.  
According to the app on my phone, baby is as big as Swiss chard.  But in my opinion, this baby is anything but light and leafy.  
For the last 2.5 weeks I have been alone.  Not the bad kind of alone.  It's the good kind of alone where I know that everyone will come back and for the next year, I will never be alone.  

And I would have said something earlier but I heard you're not supposed to announce when you're alone.  But I can say something now because in about 40 minutes.  I will go and pick my family up from the airport.  

They have been living it up on the mainland.  Having a blast.  Karl flew with our three munchkins and spent the time eating and playing.  After a day of a real mall, the Mac store, IKEA, and the water park, Samuel told Karl, "Mom is right, Dad, you ARE the fun parent."

He even took them to Disneyland.  What's a fun parent without Disneyland (and Legoland, and the beach, and the pool, and SeaWorld, and...)?  One guy four kids (he picked my nephew up along the way to give my brother a break who has a baby in the NICU :( ). 

I am most definately not the fun parent.  I used to think I would be.  But it's all relative.  If we ran out of diapers, who would freak out?  Me.  If we didn't have proper snacks and naps, who would be the first to complain?  Ya, probably me.  If someone didn't have have shoes... okay.  You get the point.  I think I am the carer worrier person.  And so without me, they had a blast.  
 And I was here, on my little island having a blast on my own.  
When I signed up to be a mom, I never realized how exciting it would be to clean out cupboards without having to sacrifice sleep or neglect my kids in some sort of way.  

Or how about a countertops that stay clutter free all day long?  Oh man, it has been a blast.  This clean cupbaord gives me as much thrill as any roller coaster.  Ya, I am most definately the unfun parent.

For a little while longer, these counter tops will remain spill free, and the floor underneath those chairs crumb free.  Oh, and those chairs will be pushed in.
In my nesting, I even got rid of my couches.  There are replacements.  But I have gone to exremes.  At least for me.  I tend to hold on to things.  I also want to get rid of that coffee table and that big thing in the corner.  Even though they are fine.  But nesting does that.

See that rug?  It's orange and white.  For now.  I knew I was taking a risk when I bought it.  But I liked it enough to risk it.  So, for a little while it remain those two colors, and will soon be joined by foot prints and spills and whatever else.  Oh, and it will be bunched up.  This place gets a lot of traffic.
In just a little while, these toys are going to be all over.  And someone might be standing on that table.  And someone else will be rolling on that rug.  Or rolling up in that rug.  They like to do that.
These toys don't actually like sitting on this shelf either.  But for the last 2.5 weeks, they have been.  Because the unfun parent has been in charge.

And this room, the boys' room, is usually a hub of activity/mess.  
I have been having so much unfun.  I got the baby's corner of our room ready.  My nice mother in law sewed the Boppy cover for me.
 It was just cleaning and scrubbing and labeling and purging.  I sewed baby #4 his own hooded towel.  My kids have been using these for ages.  They are big so even the 10 year old fits.  So many memories of freshly bathed kids running around the house in these.  Oh, and curled up underneath them waiting for us to wonder out loud where they are.  They love that.  Feels so official to see four hanging there.  Welcome to the family, son, here is your hooded towel.  
I took on my fear of the zipper.  And made a pillow and then another and another and... I had to force myself to stop because I had other projects to do.  But I made about a bajillion.  Some of those will move downstairs to the couch.  I still have about 5 more pillows that are floating in my head waiting to come to reality.  But they are going to have to wait.  I also made some curtains for this window seat.  One of those things that I have been meaning to do ever since I bought that fabric a year ago.  Yay, fun!  Right?
My to-do list was 4.5 pages long.  I'm not kidding.  That's what happens when you haven't been alone for 10 years.  You have things that don't get done.  I didn't get it all done.  But I got most.  And it feels gooooooooood.  I even cleaned up after myself.  This room is usually a mess.  And is still a tad bit messy.  But it's as good as it gets because I use it so much and I happen to be a naturally messy person.  And for the record, the sink is empty and the laundry is all done, too.  I know this may not be amazing to some.  But for me, this is.  

So, now it's time for me to go get them.  I have typed my time away. I just wanted to record that my house was once clean.  Because pretty soon I will forget that this ever existed.  

Clean house... recorded.  


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