Monday, January 30, 2012

Week One

     Well, we have officially mastered the first week as a family of five. I find it difficult to wrap my head around the fact that Raegan has only been with us for seven days- it feels as though she has always held a place in our family; that we were merely waiting, living "around her" until she could arrive. I also cannot believe how much easier it is to be a New Parent the third time around. Perhaps I have matured a little, or maybe it's as simple as now knowing what to expect- regardless, I am more relaxed and patient with this baby. Her piercing cries at all hours of the night don't phase me, her 133 crappy diapers are no surprise, and the lack of available time to conquer mounting housework isn't stressing me out either.

     I wish I could go back in time and kick myself in the ass. After first bringing home Noelle four years ago, I complained to my mom that the sum of my days were spent feeding, burping, and changing the baby. Not to mention all the time spent snuggling her to sleep! I wasn't getting anything done. What a jackass I was. I would trade my left foot (my least favorite) for that kind of luxury now. I miss those quiet days.

     I love the fact that Noelle is interested in the baby and find it unbearably adorable how seriously Dryden takes his role as big brother; however, I wish that they would show their interest with a little less...enthusiasm. Today I had to tackle Dryden as he tried to force feed his Oreo cookie to her. ("Baby needs a 'nack Momma.") I am no longer allowed to feed Raegan without his approval or supervision, and he insists on stuffing her mouth full of pacifier the second she starts crying. I went to the bathroom and when I came back into the living room, Raegan had a pacifier in her mouth. So did Saku. And he cornered Noelle and was trying to convince her it was the cool thing to do. Christ, now I have to hide all the pacifiers so he'll stop "helping." Noelle is experiencing some jealousy issues. She doesn't care about us holding a new baby- she's pissed that a new baby is sitting in all her favorite baby toys. I caught her trying to sit on the baby in the baby swing; she took the toy bar off the bouncy chair and gave Raegan shit in babble-talk (I can only assume it went something like this: "Who said you could play with Bear, Elephant, and Bumble Bee?! Step off little one...these toys are mine.") Noelle also found the fish tank musical thing for the baby's crib- I watched her run away with it and later found it hidden in her bed. Next she'll be going through the dresser and stealing all her old baby clothes and stashing them around the house. I now see all the baby toys as potential weapons: the bouncy chair could act as a baby launch pad- Raegan could be the first baby in space with the right amount of help from Dryden flinging her. The baby swing could induce incredible motion sickness- and projectile vomit- as Noelle likes to turn the dial full blast because she likes the sound it makes at that level.

     I set up a baby swing in the bathroom tonight- I think it's only fair that if I  hide from Noelle and Dryden in there during the day, as a good Mom, it seems like I should let her hide in there too.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

A Great Day to Have a Baby

     Sunday: That morning I had our respite worker watch both Noelle and Dryden while I ran around doing errands for four hours straight. It felt good to get out and get stuff done solo, while taking my mind off being large and uncomfortable and ever pregnant. I was pretty satisfied to scratch everything off my list and head home to relieve Jenna. After both kiddies were stuffed with soup and goldfish crackers and tucked into bed for naps, I sat down to decompress. I texted my sister-in-law Marie and lied to her- telling her it was "baby time." I got a good chuckle out of her excited reaction, and laughed even more when I busted her bubble and told her I was joking (apparently I am easily amused by sheer asshole-ness.) 20 minutes later, I felt the tell-tale, gut wrenching jolt of a contraction. Well played Karma. Well frigging played...

     The contractions stayed 10 minutes apart all day and into the early evening. A call to the hospital at 9 pm directed us to come on down and have me assessed. We (who am I kidding? I was sitting on the couch with my feet up drinking my last Pepsi for a very long time. This was Nick's role in "Baby Time") plucked the confused, yet excited, kids out of their beds and shipped them off to Nick's parents' for the night. I placed a quick phone call to my mother, who assured me that this- my third delivery- would be rapid compared to the others. Shit, I just might pop this baby out by midnight!

     I did not.

     The contractions stayed 10 minutes apart all night. They gave me a shot of something to help me sleep- I didn't even pretend to care what it was...I waved off the explanation and pointed to which cheek I wanted the needle in. Nick went home to sleep in our bed instead of curled up in the fetal position on the awkward half bed provided for him. They turned the lights out in my room and that's was my Sunday.

     Monday: I started my day with a breakfast of (pregnant) champions: weak decaf coffee with no cream, water, pineapple juice, and orange jello. Crap, even last night's drugs couldn't make that appealing. My contractions were still hovering at that annoying 10 minute mark; too far apart to be effective, and yet close enough to be painful and tiring. At 10 am my OB/GYN came into the room and told me that they were sending me home. They anticipated a busy day in the maternity ward, with four babies slated to enter the world so... would I mind coming back in on Wednesday to be induced? Fak. What was I supposed to say? I considered the effectiveness of throwing a fit and refusing to get out of the bed but, in the end I just shrugged and said, "ok." The doctor wanted to preform one last exam before sending me home to endure two days of contractions every 10 minutes (thoughtful of her) so I shimmied my ass down to the end of the bed while I texted Nick and told him the news. Fate took pity on me- the doctor accidentally broke my water while examining me. I tried very hard not to look smug while I texted Nick and told him the new news; ready or not, today was the day.

     My smugness dissipated rapidly when the contractions really kicked in a few minutes later. Wednesday was starting to look like a better idea...I texted Nick (who was on his way back to the hospital) and told him that I had changed my mind and wanted to go home instead. When my nurse, Ellenor, came in to check on me at 11am, I asked her about an epidural (actually, I asked for it like I was ordering from a menu: "Ellenor, I'd love to have an epidural please. With a side of garlic mushrooms.") She said that sounded like a lovely idea, and she'd get right on that immediately after examining me.    *disclaimer* For any of my friends who have not given birth yet: being examined internally by numerous people during labour is normal. You might think that this would be embarrassing or invasive, but I can assure you, at that point, you really don't give a shit if the janitor himself came in to check your v-jay-jay. Hell, maybe some WD-40 would speed things up...

"Um, actually dear, you are already 8-9 cm dilated. You don't have time to have an epidural. I'm sure you'll probably do just fine without it dear." That Ellenor, a true voice of confidence and reassurance. Double Fak. I tried my best to endure in silence- whimpering only at the worst contractions. I stole a trick from a friend; doing math equations in my head during labour pains. Sounds stupid- but it is genius! Factor in that I'm god-awful at math and you have hours of mental distraction. Seriously though, it saved me- thanks Gina. Somewhere along the way, my unsuspecting husband arrived, more than likely expecting me to still be in the earlier stages of labour. He came to the side of the bed and asked what he thought was a seemingly innocent question: "How are you feeling?" It was a this point that I sat straight up in bed, my head twisted a full 360 degrees, and I commanded in a demonic voice for him to go sit down in the corner. Suddenly, an old priest burst in the room and sprayed me with holy water, screaming "the power of Christ compels you! The power of Christ compels you!" Seriously weird and inappropriate in a maternity ward...

     The doctor and nurses were gathered around, waiting for me to start pushing. Nick was hiding from me in the ensuit bathroom- afraid that I would eat him. A nursing student- god bless her- leaned in and said "Rachel, how are you feeling?"
Side Note: During the delivery of our first born, Noelle, I started the day with a very young nurse. I don't quite remember what happened, but I made her cry. And I got a different nurse for the rest of the delivery.
Keeping this in mind, I reined in my bitchiness and replied, "I'm just peachy-fucking-keen thanks." The rest is kind of a blur- I zone out during the pushing phase of birth. It's like being stoned; present and aware but stuck inside my own head. It's how I deal with the pain. I pushed for 10-15 minutes and was rewarded with a perfectly pink little girl. As I was giving birth, one of the nurses yelled at Nick to come watch, that he was missing the best part. I hear him yell back from the ensuit, "No, I'm good here thanks." I can't say that I blame him really. He sucked it up and came out to welcome his daughter into the world (but he stayed out of striking distance from me though.) Raegan Elizabeth Pomainville was born on January 23rd at 11:40 am- a perfectly sunny winter day to start her life.


Friday, January 13, 2012

A Very Big Day

     Today was Noelle's very first day of school. She was slated to start on Monday, but the flu and a snow day postponed the big event until today (and really, who wouldn't love a one-day school week?) I packed her brand new Tinkerbell book bag with diapers and wipes, indoor shoes and extra clothes, and tucked in a short note to her teaching staff wishing them a good day together. Although she will only be attending class daily from 9:15-11:00, Nick and I were doubting our decision to send her to school. But in actuality, the hang ups were our own; Noelle doesn't know enough to be nervous or anxious. To her this was just going to be another van ride, another day out, another adult to hug, more little kids like her brother to play and make noise around her. She doesn't realize the implications of starting school- nor does she give a hoot. Noelle's teacher has prepared the kids for her classroom with lessons on being special and talking about being different, as Noelley will be the only special needs child in her entire school. The teacher assured us that on top of Noelle's personal education assistant, there were 32 four and five year olds who were super excited to be Noelle's little helpers.

     Her van came to our door promptly at 8:55 and I gathered Noelle- all bundled up in her snowsuit- and book bag and headed out the door. At the last second I noticed that it was snowing/freezing rain outside so I grabbed my own coat off the hook and out we went. After strapping her into her car seat, I exchanged a few words with her driver- a lovely older woman named Joan. I gave Noelley a quick kiss on the cheek, slid the van door closed and watched as they drove down our lane and down the road. I had just allowed a stranger to drive away with my a snow storm. I felt fat, swollen tears sliding down my cheeks; I gave myself permission to cry- I had earned it. I turned and headed back up our front steps and went inside. Or at least tried to...the door was locked. The fucking door was locked!!

     It was at that moment that Dryden and Saku, both of whom were on the other side of the locked door, came into the foyer and saw me standing in the snow/rain frantically jingling the doorknob. Dryden waved. I lost it and became hysterical. Not only had I just sent my daughter off with some stranger, but I also managed to abandon my two year old son alone in the house with a dog who eats his own shit as the sole babysitter. I am the worst parent. Ever. I rested my forehead against the window of the door and bawled. I heard Dryden tell Saku, "Momma's sad." I ran around the house trying every door and window, hoping like crazy that one was left unlocked. No such luck. Meanwhile, Dryden and Saku followed me from door to door, window to window, waving and blowing kisses. I knew it was a long shot but I tried anyways..."Dryden," I yelled through the door, "can you open? Can you let Momma in?" His little mess of blond curls nodded vigorously. He ran to the closet and retrieved his snow boots, put them on and then stood there with a "Ta-da!" expression on his face. Great. I could feel the bubble of hysteria percolating in my chest again. I ran to the garage, praying that Nick had foreseen me being an idiot and this exact situation and had placed a spare key in there.


     I tied my boots, buttoned my jacket, and turned up the collar. "Breath," I told myself softly...all I needed now was to panic and go into labour, in the snow, in our back yard, by myself. "Think!" I begged my brain to come up with a solution. Our closest neighbour is across the street, but they both work during the day. Our other neighbour is a farmer down the road- at least 1/4 of a mile away. I am 40 weeks pregnant, so I calculated that it would take me approximately 3.78 hours to waddle that distance and I wasn't even certain that they were home. Plus I didn't want to leave Dryden "alone." I peeked in the window to see what they were up to. Dryden had freed the box of Cheerios from the cupboard and was setting up a feast for him and the dog. I tried every door and window yet again. The back door was frozen shut from the freezing rain yesterday so that was a bust. Our side door has a wonky doorknob and is tricky for adults to open on a good day so I was holding out little hope that a toddler with peanut buttery fingers could manage it. At this point I had been stuck outside for over half an hour. It was time to get destructive. I went back in the garage and found a short length of 2x4 and Nick's step ladder. I went to the front of the house (we have an insulated front porch) and picked a window that already had a crack in one corner. I knew we had thick plastic to winterize our old windows so the plan was to break the window, climb my fat ass inside, hug the little guy,  plastic the window up, call Nick up and apologize profusely.

     Just then, Dryden and Saku came into the porch (he had added a toque  and one oven mitt to his outfit.) "Hi Momma!" he yelled through the door. I said a small, desperate prayer and tried once more before smashing the window. "Dryden," I yelled at him over the wind, "Can you open? Can you let Momma in please?" He very casually walked over to the door, grabbed the knob, and gave it a slight twist...just enough to unlock it. I burst in, picked him up, and hugged the bejesus out of him.
I honestly hadn't expected him to do it. Needless to say, Dryden got a free pass for the day: No scolding, as much TV as he wanted, a glass of Pepsi with Momma and a we shared a whole bag of York peppermint patties bacuase quite frankly, I frigging needed it.

     When I saw Noelle's van turning down our lane at 11:20, I unlocked two door, tucked my cell and keys in my coat pocket and put on a hat before closing the door behind me. Noelle must have had a full morning because she was snoring softly in her car seat in the back of the van when I opened the door to take her out. Her driver said that she is a sweetie and a pleasure. Her teacher sent home a note outlining her morning and activities and put to rest any doubts we may have had about integrating her into J/K. Noelle has officially and successfully navigated through her first day of school- and Mommy somehow managed to survive it too.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

A Brief Comparison of Decades

     Today is my 30th birthday. I had no "Dirty 30" birthday party to kick off this milestone; instead, I spent a quiet day watching movies on the couch with two sick toddlers and one 100lb dog who was pretending to be a sick toddler- all of whom wanted to sit on my lap, have their ginger ale/Gatorade cocktails refilled, and their backs rubbed (ass scratched in Saku's case.) While I might normally protest spending my birthday wiping noses and administering Pepto Bismal- I don't actually mind today. I'm not missing out: I am 40 weeks preggo and barely over the flu myself- how much partying would I be up for, really? So an all day jammie party was in order- I even drank my ginger ale out of a wine glass to feel more festive.

     I've given some thought as to what it means to be 30 years old. I can vividly remember my oldest brother turning 30 and thinking to myself, "that's sad, he's like, almost half dead now!"
It's also sad that I was (a) that stupid  (b) that bad at math  (c) so unappreciative to what the third decade of life will bring. I now feel like the twenties were the warm up for what the rest of my life will be. Today, in between movies, I made a mental list comparing how my 20s were and how I expect my 30s to be.

                                                         My 20s Vs. My 30s

20s: I logged in some major time sleeping in university and beyond: between classes, before and after the bars, on weekends, in the sun, in the shade. Wherever, whenever.
30s: I'll sleep when I'm dead. Besides, we'll have three little kids soon; the bulk of our sleep will be retained during Caillou episodes and between 9pm-3am. Problem solved.

20s: Spent a great deal of time getting ready to go to the bar, pre-drinking at Someone's house before hand, spending all night dancing, smoking, and drinking, paying for my last call drink with the last remnants of pocket change. Eventually getting kicked out by the bouncer/owner/bartender/coat check girl/slightly less drunk drinking patron.
30s: Avoiding bars altogether. I'd like dinner parties, wine and cheese samplings, and backyard BBQs please. I'll get my "bar" fix from wing nights out with Nick and friends, community events, and the odd girls' night out.

20s: I was able to eat anything and everything without weight gain or GI problems. Pizza and poutine at 3am? Yes please! McDonald's breakfast at 5am before going to bed? Great idea! Chips and Pepsi while watching TV? Well obviously! Cheesecake covered, Oreo stuffed chocolate chip cookies? I shouldn't...I'll only have 17 please...
30s: Anything other than water after 7 pm gives me heartburn now. So I can snack on Rolaids basically...crunch, crunch, crunch.

20s: Worried needlessly about my insecurities and the "imperfections" of my body- when in fact, this was when my body was at its most rockin'. I wish I could go back in time and kick myself in my tight ass. And walk around with less clothes on.
30s: Wearing my extra curves with confidence. Liking my stretch marks- they are a badge of honour. Finally being comfortable in my own skin. Maybe getting a boob job. Just saying...the girls could use a little lift...

20s: The first half of the decade is a bit of a blur. I was pretty drunk and stoned. You could insert any "Stupid Rachel" story here and I'd have to believe it.
30s: I get buzzed off an extra strength Tylenol. If I pair it with a Robax back pill- whoa! That will mess. My. Shit. Up. This decade, I will try to put better things into my body.

20s: Spent trolling for The Perfect Man. The first five years were spent settling for Mr. Not-a-Complete-Asshole, hook ups with various forms of Sir I-Look-Really-Hot-in-the-Dark, and one unfortunate relationship with Captain I'm-Way-Too-Attached-to-my-Mom.
30s: I'm married now. I will never marry again, nor is divorce an option. So it's either I outsmart CSI when I off my husband, or I put everything into this relationship to make it not only work, but to make it amazing and worthwhile.

20s: Sex was good. And frequent.
30s: Sex will be great. And frequent.

20s: I lived off Pepsi. Literally.
30s: I will end my affair with Pepsi. After one last wild fling. I swear it'll be the last time...and I'll be discreet.

20s: I was not always super concerned with the state of relationships with with family members. I have a big family, so my reasoning was that "meh, if one is pissed at me, I'll hang out with one of the other dozen members. No biggie."
30s: I will make my family a priority. I realize that our time together is finite and I won't have everyone around me forever- except my Nana. She will outlive us all; she's 'effing indestructable.

20s: Worried about what others thought of me; what others said about me; got caught up in the allure and scandal of gossip; hated not being saught out as a person "in the know."
30s: I have no time or intrest for that shit. Does that mean I really am old? No, I think it means I am finally smarter.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Trial Run

     When I woke up Friday morning, there were three things which I was absolutely positive of:
1. I had the flu.
2. I was having contractions and was, therefore, in labour.
3. Edward Cullen was a vampire and I was unconditionally and irrevocably in love with him.

     After I finished barfing up my anxieties and stomach contents I called Nick- who had just finished driving on icy, dangerous roads to make it to work on time- and told him to please hit those same shitty roads again and come home. It was baby time! (and I wanted him to bring me some ginger ale. I thought it was worth risking his life for...) Karma took pity of my grey face and kept Noelle and Dryden sleeping so I didn't have to pretend to be a good mommy as I whipped up breakfast while all I really wanted to do was take root in the bathroom, and suffer through my gut wrenching contractions. Nick (and my ginger ale) made it home safe and he immediately took over domestic duties so I could hide upstairs; alternating between soaking in the bathtub, curled up in the fetal position in our bed, and perched on the toilet. All in all, it was an awesome morning.

     I think, if given the option, Nick would choose tending to the little ones over participating in childbirth anytime. For Noelle, he was quite helpful. Holding my hand, helping me into comfier positions during contractions, bringing me ice chips, bracing my leg while I pushed. He was great. For Dryden...not so much. He had spent all day and night drinking at a neighbour's BBQ and was hammered when I started having contractions. His Dad drove me to the hospital. Nick passed out on the couch in the birthing suite throughout the labour and he hid in the corner, looking very green, as I delivered our son. I don't think he was looking forward to this delivery at all.

     Throughout the morning and early afternoon I got progressively sicker with the flu, and my contractions became more frequent and intense. I couldn't tough it out at home anymore. I gave Nick the nod and he scrambled getting everything ready- waking the kids up from their nap, tossing them in the van, getting them and their little pre-packed suitcases over to Grandma and Grampa's house, coming home to collect me and my bag, and even remembering to throw Saku a bone as a consolation for being left alone.

     I was settled into my room at the hospital attached to various machines, and IVs, listening to the baby's heartbeat as back round music while trying to breath through the pain. My lovely nurse, Rhonda, came in to check how far along I was and to see how I was progressing. I was willing to overlook this painful process because I knew that immediately afterwards they would be inquiring as to what kind of pain management I would be using. I had been thinking about my epidural since about 11:30 am....I was unprepared for what came next; I was told that I wasn't dilated at all. Seven hours after my first contraction and nothing?! I cried. And then I barfed. Long story short: I was not in labour. I was severely dehydrated from the flu and my uterus was reacting to the dehydration. I still can't believe how painful these cramps were; I've given birth to two children and I couldn't tell these apart from actual contractions. I spent the night in the hospital being rehydrated and medicated for the pain (there were, after all, some perks to this experience) while Nick went home to tend to Noelle and Dryden- who were both exhibiting symptoms of the flu too. I came home today at lunch time...minus a new baby swaddled in pink. I think the most frustrating thing about this is that I will have to do it all over again (for real) soon. On the plus side though, I'm happy not to be bringing a new baby home right now; Noelle is still vomiting and might miss her first day of school, Nick is feeling sick and might call in sick to work, and Dryden is suffering from a mean case of the poops. So, although Mother Natural is a supreme bitch...she might just know what she's doing. I'm going to pour myself some ginger ale and take a bubble bath- not because I'm in pain, but just because I can.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

A (New)d Year, A (New)d Mommy...

     I must say that I have been dragging my feet making a new years resolution. Not that I haven't invested significant thought towards the matter; on the contrary, I believe that I have over thought the whole deal to the point of confusion. I normally agree wholeheartedly with the notion of self-improvement, of setting attainable goals that will better yourself, and your life, or possibly the lives of those you surround yourself with. I usually like the crisp, freshness of a new year bringing forth new thoughts, and attitudes, and lifestyles to those that are open to change. This year, however, I am stumped and thoroughly uninspired.

     One goal that will eventually play a major role in my life in 2012 is to finally lose the extra pounds that I've accumulated and hoarded throughout various pregnancies and to engage in healthier eating habits. The problem with this goal becoming my new years resolution lies within the inconvenient timing of New Years...two weeks before my due date. I am completely self-aware of my habits and character. I know that in the weeks immediately after I (finally) give birth I will be an emotional, blubbering, bitchy, sleep-deprived zombie/woman hybrid and embarking on a weight loss and exercise regime at this time may be unwise for my well being. And the well being of everyone in the nearby vicinity. This will have to be a personal goal that I will tackle once my body is healed, my hormones have calmed the fuck down, the baby is settled comfortably in our home and family, and I no longer need to rely on dark chocolate and Pepsi to get through the day.

     Another area in my life that I would like to refresh in 2012 would be my marriage. I would like more date nights (not grocery shopping or working on the house- but actual dates: with a babysitter, and makeup, and sitting down for a entire meal that I didn't have to make, and dare I wish...maybe even a movie after?) I'd like more stolen moments as a couple to appreciate the qualities that attracted us to each other so many years ago. Again, I realize that this will be highly unlikely in the months to come as we adjust to being outnumbered by the children. This too shall have to be an "I'll get to this eventually..."

     I'd love to save more money this year- maybe that could be my resolution! However, upon further thought, I concluded that this too might not be a realistic goal. I am a stay at home mom; we have lived on one income for years now, and adhere to an already rigid budget. We are already putting money aside for our planned addition and future renovation. Although I have grand visions of cutting back and pinching pennies in order to achieve these plans sooner- I can see Nicholas being very unimpressed and less than eager to participate. I can envision him glowering at me in the dark as I go around shutting off all the lights and TVs and lighting candles instead (he already calls me the Hydro Nazi), or refusing to eat any vegetarian suppers simply because they are cheaper (Nick: "um...where's the meat? There seems to be a lot of side dish here, but where's the steak? Is it hiding? Is this a game? I'm so confused...and hungry.") I got a sewing machine for Christmas, maybe I could make Nick some clothes for Father's Day instead of buying them?  * I literally laughed out loud right there. I pictured him wearing some plaid monstrosity and looking sooo mad *

     There are honestly numerous areas in my life that could use some tweaking and motivation: volunteer with an organization, spend more time with friends, initiate more get togethers with family, get involved within my community, spend time helping at Noelle's school, learn a new art or hobby, become more organized, more involved, more toned, more tanned, more, more, more! It is at this point where I must stop myself. No, seriously, I have to stop to pee- this baby is kicking the bejesus out of my bladder.  BRB.         (* quiet interlude *) 
Yes, it is at this point where I must stop myself. I will stop myself from trying to be "More" this year. More stressed. More exasperated. More alienated. More martyred than the average mom. This year I resolve not to have a resolution. I want to have this baby (apparently whenever her highness is good and frigging ready) and struggle through the first few weeks, like every parent does, without any additional agendas. I want to settle my little ones into a routine and just enjoy our time together. I want to guide Noelle through the immensely huge milestone of going to school and allowing myself to be available if they need me to help out; and to acknowledge that the entire Upper Canada District School board will not disintegrate if I am not fully involved. I want to slowly change my habits and activity level to the point where I am healthy and happy with my body. I want to relax and have fun with my husband, and family, and friends.

     This year's resolution is to let go and allow myself to just "be". Be Rachel. Be Mommy. Be happy.