Friday, December 31, 2010

Lazy Blogger

I know I should write my own posts instead of quoting everyone else but I'm just so tired. I think of all these things to say but I think they might need to wait til I have some more energy. Like, oh, next summer?

But The Feminist Breeder did a 2010 review and reposted her blog post that, as she terms it, "broke my blog"~her blog server couldn't handle the traffic and her site crashed. Fortunately all was fixed and the post is still accessible; I think I linked to it before but it's so good I have to link it again. The post is called, "When It Comes to Breastfeeding We Can't Handle the Truth" and talks about a lot of social and cultural barriers to successful breastfeeding. It's true that the guilt train is abhorrent and must STOP! But it is also true that cultural and social ambiguity contribute to breastfeeding difficulties for women who want to do it. Individual failure is just not a factor here. This is systemic failure. Systemic failure which doesn't need to be a reality; we're mammals! We're smart mammals! We can fix this. And I believe we're well on our way, since the international infant death rate has fallen in the last few years (I'll find my source for that one in the next few days and insert it here), which the WHO attributes to rising breastfeeding rates worldwide.

[Also of note: breastfeeding duration is important and often overlooked in discussions surrounding breastfeeding, but it must be said that the most significant milk is colostrum. Colostrum alone is an incredible gift to infant health; any milk is better than no milk, health wise, and no woman should ever feel guilty for giving their child the best gift for a shorter duration than another woman. Obviously as an extended breastfeeder I really believe in long term breastfeeding and the evidence based benefits thereof. But the above fact is also very important to me. ♥]

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Quote of the Day

Once I saw fresh graffiti chalked clearly on the pavement in front of the homeless. It said, 'I watch how foolishly man guards his nothing—thereby keeping us out. Truly God is hated here.' (I returned to copy the quote exactly because it felt both prophetic and poetic at the same time.)

I can only imagine what kind of life experience enabled some person to write in such a cutting but truthful way. I understood anew why Jesus seemed to think that the expelled ones had a head start in understanding his message. Usually they have been expelled from what was unreal anyway—the imperial systems of culture, which always create those who are 'in' and those who are 'out,' victors and victims.

-Amy Becker

Monday, December 27, 2010

christmas bullet

-normally I make fun of people who shop the boxing day sales. In my mind. Silently. Because my husband LOVES boxing day shopping and I wouldn't want to make fun of HIM, would I?
I just have a hard time wrapping my mind around shopping as a dessert for shopping, ykwim? Like, we shopped for christmas gifts at the frantic urging of those who want to sell us things and now the day afterwards, after the one day of rest when all the sellers are closed, they are frantic to sell us things as though the one day break didn't even happen. Like, OMG can we ever get away from the SELLING?!
*Ahem* today we went to Ikea because there were these $350 couches on sale for $99. Literally. $99. Remember that big new house we bought? We're going to need couches. Two more. Because we only own one small townhouse sized couch, and now we will have a rec room (with a t.v) and a livingroom, HENCE, we need more couches.
They were sold out. So instead we bought a leather chair for $120, and a kitchen table from the as-is section for $150! Our old table is totally awful for our present needs, and needs refinishing, and is oval which makes it hard for our booster chairs to fit around it properly, and it has only one leaf so when more than one guest comes for dinner we no longer fit.

And that is how one justifies boxing week shopping (oh yes, I forgot to complain about how boxing DAY gradually became boxing WEEK thanks to the damn sellers) when one silently belittles others who do the same. Thank you very much. And I really like my new table. Which was 50% off. So was the chair.

-Now I'm watching Bridget Jones' Diary on t.v. All by my blissful self. And making a list of people whose bounced cheques I need to pay back now. Isn't British humour hysterical? I love this movie.

-Riley is in this hilarious two year old phase where he wants to wear his bumblebee halloween costume all the time, and he's particular about what he wears in general. He MUST pick out his own underwear, he prefers cowboy boots, a.k.a. "Cow boots," insists on putting on his own socks but 95% of the time gets his toes caught in the heel and gets mad as a hornet, and wants to wear pyjamas whenever his bumblebee costume is off.

-The older boys had a terrific christmas. All three of them did, I was just thinking I should write something about everybody. So fun! I love to see them all excited. Brent and I stayed up til 1 a.m. Christmas eve wrapping gifts and stuffing stockings. I like our system; we stuff stockings with small gifts like balls and plastic bugs from the dollar store, and we buy a Santa gift and a from the parents gift for each kid. Not too overwhelming, nor sparse. It's a nice balance.

-Brent had my name this christmas~it was a spouse gift christmas, because on his side we draw names and of the three couples and one singleton, three people had their spouse's name. Brent went above and beyond. He's good at the spectacular gifts. He got me a KITCHEN AID MIXER in RED with GORGEOUS steel attachments and a big sliver bowl and 550 Hp. I've wanted one of these for several years. Thank you husband! =)

-I got him....a pound of coffee and an iTunes gift card. And mixed nuts. Nice. But I didn't have his name so I was just supposed to fill his stocking.
I'm not famously fantastic with the gifts like he is.

-My wedding rings are still missing. It has been two years since they disappeared and they haven't turned up in our deep cleaning to stage the house or any searches for them. Last ditch effort will be moving in a few weeks, when all furniture gets moved and we do a final sweep. After that, I'm giving up hope and crying my eyes out. I had gorgeous rings. My husband had them made to a specific design so the engagement ring looked like a tulip, which was my favorite flower. The three diamonds each looked like a tulip, and then the profile of the entire ring was a tulip also. The wedding ring was white gold to match, and rounded for comfort. They were worth more than we have to replace them with. =(
Very bummed. Still a tiny bit hopeful. Mostly despairing.

-I'm exhausted. Being pregnant is tough. I can't move quickly, I can't speak loudly, I can't go up the stairs without serious shortness of breath, there's no room for food in my stomach or air in my lungs, and I think one of my ribs might have been displaced somehow by this large fetus. It hurts a lot, especially when I'm sleeping. My pelvis feels like it's about to fall into two pieces and my lower back hurts all the time. I can't sit comfortably anymore, lying down hurts my rib and my back and my hips, walking gets pretty tiring, and I can't stand without getting very lightheaded and dizzy.
I like the hiccups the baby has, and how s/he wrestles with whatever bothers him/her: my leg pillow, my leg if I kneel down, Riley when he's breastfeeding and slapping my belly, or sometimes my seatbelt. I like the maternity profile I have. All belly. I like thinking about the baby being here, and nursing one more newborn and relishing that first gorgeous year of babyness. I like anticipating the birth itself, except when it scares me. I've done it before, and think it's amazing, but birth is really intense and sometimes I don't feel up to it, but most of the time I'm excited to anticipate it. I have fantasy daydreams of progressing so fast that I accidentally have a home birth like I wanted, although I don't think that will happen. That would be funny if it did!! But we'd have to go to the hospital right afterwards anyways, so there would be no curling up in my own bed after birth surrounded by all my kids and in my own environment. So.

-I worry a lot. Now, this isn't a big deal for normal people with normal brains, but I have a (well controlled) anxiety disorder, and I'm afraid it might be getting less well controlled in the past few weeks. I would say that now that Christmas is over maybe I can tackle it, but the next big task on the list is moving, so I don't think I'm going to get a stress relief anytime soon. It's the GD and Christmas and lack of money. Maybe now that EI is paying me that will relieve that particular stress (today was my first pay from them) a bit: back to normal anyways, instead of worse than average. Christmas is now finished, which is fun but hectic. And the GD. Well, I have fully adjusted to the idea of a hospital birth, and am now heavily contemplating whether or not to accept the medical treatment of insulin for my GD. I go back and forth. Maybe once I settle that decision I will be able to worry less about that too.

-I think that's all I've got for you tonight. xo

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas 2010

A beautiful perspective on the Christmas story is up on Mothers of Change tonight. You can read it here.

Merry Christmas everyone!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Almost Famous

My friend Ewa Chang took some spontaneous photos of me last night when we were at her house for a christmas celebration. She has a maternity and baby photography business and a studio in her house, so it was a sweet treat! Check out (me) her photo blog here

Merry Christmas Eve!

Definitely an empty wallet, full heart day

Home again

We've been home since tuesday. I'm a neglectful blogger this time of year. Who isn't? Our trip home was uneventful! I haven't had much luck with blood sugars, although they're hovering in the range of 6.2. Not horrific, not wonderful. Not a clear signal either way: to insulin or not to insulin? All I know is, ANY carbs at my evening snack shoot up my fasting sugar, so protein only it is. My midwife is so smart.

I finished my book, Secret Daughter, which I had had my eye on for months in Chapters and then received in the book exchange at my parents' place last weekend:

After the book exchange was over my mom said, "That book isn't that good." And I was bummed out. We usually share impressions of books, so if she didn't like it, I likely wouldn't either. But I'm thinking she read a different book and thought it was this one, because this was FANTASTIC! The kind of book where at the end of it you feel cranky and lost for a few days because you can't read it anymore. It's about international adoption, the origins of identity, and the ethical plasticity that is so evident in Indian culture. SO GOOD! I highly recommend it. It helps that I'm entrenched in adoption myself, as an adoptive momma. Though I have absolutely no qualms about my adopted child accessing his birth family. We facilitate this as much as we can, in fact. Anyways. Good read.

I have recently read three books on adoption, all by chance. I read Damaged by Cathy Glass, a foster parent in the UK who writes about her experiences fostering an incredible range of children, and this book was about a deeply disturbing situation and a very disturbed little girl. I hate to attach the label damaged to any child, because it dismisses the very real possibility for redemption, but this case is so severe that even I would agree that she was damaged.
I also am reading about adopted adult siblings who are in the process of seeking their birth parents. That one has a lot of really awful adoption stereotypes in it, and misunderstanding regarding birth mothers, which I find offensive.

Other than books, we've been traipsing around meeting up with friends and family for christmas fun, and generally avoiding wrapping presents.

Happy Christmas Eve, everyone. Love and eggnog. [enjoy an extra mug for me...]

quote of the day

"A therapist once said to me that life is like trying to drive forward using only your rear view mirror. Well yes ma'am, that is exactly what it is like."

-tamie harkins
(entire post available here)

Sunday, December 19, 2010

PreChristmas Christmas

We are at my mom's place for a pre Christmas Christmas celebration. It's great, because everyone from my family of origin is here! My brother Chad and his fiancee Morgan, my sister Megan and her new husband Casey, Brent and myself and our crew, and my parents. Also my grandma, who goes by Gigi (short for Great Grandma). Last night was our big turkey dinner, and my dad's brother and sister were here with their spouses (my aunts and uncles) and one cousin, so we had a VERY full house and awesome food. The kids opened gifts and then the adults did a book gift exchange where you open a gift and anyone after you gets to either steal your gift or open a new one from under the tree. It was quite funny because this year for once nearly everyone got a book they like, that suits them! As you can appreciate, families are assembled largely by chance and hence do not always share the same tastes. :) This makes for hilarious book exchange parties. Last night, however, was a major success. The variety of books was impressive, also, because there was a backroad mapbook of BC, which was stolen numerous times despite the fact that a book like that feels like a waste of printing ink to me (I was born into hicksville, I shouldn't be surprised), an atlas, several novels, a cookbook, and a thick guidebook to training mules and donkeys.
Turkey dinner was awesome, so good, some new variatins of old dishes and an amazing 26 lb turkey with crispy brown skin and nice moist meat. YUMMY. Dessert was a bit torturous; how many christmas goodies do YOU usually eat at dinner? I couldn't have wine (obviously), juice, pop, or punch. Only water and tea. I couldn't have mashed potatoes. No bread. No candied yams or any other dish with brown sugar or maple syrup in it. And worst of all, no dessert. At all. There was a cute wedding cake for Meg and Casey with a surfing theme made of fondant. Mincemeat tarts. Butter tarts. Chocolate dipped shortbread. Jam cookies. Nanaimo bars (my favorite). Candy. There was talk of my mom's famous chocolate trifle, but thank goodness none appeared because that dish is just not resistable. NOT.
I was good. I didn't break a single GD diet rule, I made sure I was not too starving when treats were out, and at dessert I managed to scrounge up a caffeine free diet coke for myself, to satisfy my sweet tooth while everyone else ate chocolate and goodies. It worked. My bedtime blood sugar was 5.8 (goal below 7) and my fasting sugar this morning was 6.2. This number is good because the trend has been upwards and yesterday's was 6.8. I just wanted to see a trend of going back down, and am hoping to get back below 6.1 on a regular basis so I can consider refusing insulin treatment and having a hospital birth with my midwife and avoiding OB-land altogether. I'm becoming more accustomed to the idea of a hospital birth at this point: I am disappointed but the hospital midwife attended birth is the better of my two realistic options at this point so I'm shooting for that now.

At any rate, there's tons of snow to keep my kids busy, tons of adults around to help with the kids, good food, good books, good people, good times. =)
On the drive up we had help, too, because Megan and Casey carpooled with us and were in the middle row of our minivan, so they helped mitigate snacks and squabbles going on in the back row of little Vose boys. Megan even helped mop up Riley's copious amounts of puke that he barfed all over himself and his carseat about 5 km before my parents' house. I mean, it could've been worse if he puked earlier and we had to smell it for the rest of the trip, but you'd think it could've been better and he could hold on for another 5 k! Casey was green and some of the rest of us started gagging. It took me an hour with an old toothbrush and a rag and hot soapy water to get the carseat reasonably clean while the upholstry was in the wash, but it still smelled like puke so Brent folded it and there was deep crack infiltration so he gave the whole thing a hot shower. That did the trick. Ah, parenthood.

Megan and Casey took the skytrain to the end of the line so we could pick them up without driving too far, and Meg said Casey was stressed out because they were running 15 minutes behind schedule. I laughed pretty hard at that: we're always late. I think Brent got to the skytrain at the same time as they did, but we left town an hour and a half behind schedule. I don't move very quickly these days and being sick slowed me down even further, but it's pretty normal for us to aim to leave at a certain time and leave an hour later! Then the trip itself. I used to do that trip solo a lot, to visit my parents while I was in university, and I could do it in four hours if I didn't stop at all and I drove 10 km above the speed limit the whole way. Normally the trip takes about 5 hours. We usually now do it in 7. Nobody ever has to pee or poop at the same time as everyone else, everybody needs to stretch their legs, and there's generally errands we need to do like getting gas (it's cheaper several towns east of us so we usually get on the road before filling up) or buying books for a Christmas book exchange, so the trip is pretty long these days.
But I've learned that if I make it about the trip and not the destination, and I calculate about 7 hours from door to door, we can get through it with minimal stress. It's all about low expectations. =)
There were some *words* tossed at my husband who purchased a 40 pack of timbits in Merrit to share with everyone and I'm not allowed to have timbits. Who wants to resist a 40 pack of sugary chocolate donut holes for three hours? It was kind of poetic justice when Riley puked three pounds of timbits 5 km from the end of the trip.

My brother, who as of yet has no kids, and who grew up with only sisters and is definitely a BOY with a capital B, bought my kids Nerf machine guns with styrofoam darts that shoot out rapidly and have hard tips that actually hurt when they hit bare skin at close range. He laughed his ass off when I yelled "CHAD!!!" when I saw what was under the wrapping paper. NICE. We don't buy our kids guns. But I don't want to be the bad guy who returns an amazingly exciting Christmas gift (my mom did that once to me, my aunt bought me a Barbie doll and I wasn't allowed to have Barbies, so she returned it to the store. I'm glad she didn't let me play with Barbies but I distinctly remember my acute disappointment at her brief stay in my hands. I even remember what she was wearing: a red and white princess dress with red hearts on a white train and a tiara). I threatened to store them at Chad's house but that's an empty threat and he knows it.
Just wait til he has kids. I'll get him.

It took about sixteen seconds for Matthew to figure out how to operate his WEAPON, although since then it's a miracle he hasn't broken it with his various banging and poking and thumping to troubleshoot it when it gets jammed. We should have named him Rambo.
He's also generally pretty loud. He shreiks and screams and yells directives at the top of his lungs, unless you NEED him to talk loudly, and then suddenly a cockroach couldn't hear him in the desert with no background noise for 100 miles. Like when he's talking to Gigi, who has some pretty old ears and needs some volume coupled with lip reading for her to hear, suddenly he doesn't move his lips and he's so quiet I can barely hear him, let alone Gigi. Fortunately she's persistent.
Anyways, he had opened and assembled his machine gun and was shooting people at random in the livingroom, and he aimed at me and hit the inside of my thigh.


I about died laughing. There was about twenty people in the room and they all got to see me get shot in the 'weiner.' It was fortunate I didn't pee my pants, as I was sitting on my mom's good couch.

I go see the nutritionist again on Tuesday. I'll see an endocrinologist sometime after that, to get a specialists' opinion on whether I need insulin or not, and decide from there. But 6.2 is an excellent place to start.
And Christmas goodies aside, the holidays are awesome.

Thursday, December 16, 2010


What would I do without you guys? You make me feel better just by wishing me so and empathizing. Thanks!
Ayden slept til noon, and then felt dizzy, earache, and feverish the rest of the day. He watched t.v. all day with his baby brother. Matthew was at school. Riley had a mild fever and cough, but nothing major. When Brent woke up I asked him to take the night off, and boy, did it ever make a difference already. I was thinking that I would need him for possible night wakings of the kids, but already he took all three boys to the doctor's office so I could go to my midwife solo, then he made dinner, cleaned up, and put the kids to bed. What an enormous difference that made!! Wow, I feel sick still but not nearly as trashed as yesterday at this point. Ayden has a very bad double ear infection AND a chest infection so he's on antibiotics now. Poor kid.
Three cheers for Brent!
My midwife said that in 17 years of practicing, she has only ever had 2 clients who had to go on insulin for gestational diabetes. Nice. Being the bottom of the minority chain is just so great. Fasting BG is the hardest one to manipulate. My daytime sugars are still perfect. Seriously, since I started testing I have not had a SINGLE reading over the recommendations in the daytime. Usually, the fasting BG is the LAST number to go high, but in people with fewer live and functional Beta cells, it is sometimes the one they struggle with. That's genetics.
She gave me some supplements (goodbye, $94) to support nighttime adrenal and liver function, to hopefully limit nighttime hypoglycemia and stored sugar leaking by the liver (which is what makes the fasting BG high: the liver thinks you're starving overnight and leaks stored sugar in the form of glycogen~we used to take advantage of this function at work, by giving glucagon shots to unconscious diabetics where IV glucose was contraindicated, causing their livers to dump all stored sugar into the bloodstream to get them to wake up enough to eat something). My mom's prayer chain is working hard. You guys are praying. I'm praying! At this point, the goal is to keep the fasting BG 6.1 or less: Cathy feels comfortable staying away from an OB consult and insulin at that point, though the recommendation is insulin if it's higher than 5.1. To me, the risk-benefit ratio is a bit ridiculous for under 6.0. Michel Odent has a good, well cited essay on the topic of GD (found here) that states that since the medical system started testing for and treating gestational diabetes, there has been NO improvement in infant or maternal morbidity rates. This essentially means that the gestational diabetes testing and treatment has not resulted in improved outcomes, statistically speaking. This makes me feel ambiguous about treatment.
Henci Goer (obstetrical medical research analyst and writer) also disparages gestational diabetes testing and treatment. She has an article (found here) that delineates how GD became a condition that was tested for, and how treatments were developed for it. She says something interesting at the very end of her article, though, that I think possibly applies to myself and my cousin and my mom and several aunts and and a few other women in my family:

Within the GD population lurk a few women who were either undiagnosed pregestational diabetics or who were tipped into true diabetes by the metabolic stress of pregnancy; a fasting glucose to screen for them might be prudent.

I would guess that since we are all within normal weight limits and none of us (save one) are obese, that pregnancy tips the women in our family into true diabetes, evidenced by large babies all around, normal maternal weight, and a tendency towards the correlated pregnancy diabetes and type II diabetes later in life. This makes the most sense to me, since research does NOT show a correlation between gestational diabetes diagnosis, management, and fetal macrosomia rates, BUT big babies run in my family of small women. This particular pairing, of big babies and small women, is rare.

We're so rare no one knows what to do with us.

My initial goal was BG below 5.3, because my homebirth was still on if we could keep my fasting sugars in that range. That has proven impossible since this week only one reading was below 6, no matter what I did. I haven't given up all hope, but most of it. My midwife hasn't given up hope either~she seems more hopeful than I am. Today we discussed that if I can keep my fasting sugars 6.1 or below, I won't need to be transferred to an OB's care. [Transfer of care in BC means the OB is 'in charge' of my care, but my midwife still follows me prenatally, catches my baby in hospital, and does my postpartum care: I see both professionals and they work together. A big relief because I won't lose my midwife, but a big pain in the ass because I will have to deal with an OB]. The BC recommendation is that women be on insulin with persistent fasting sugars of 5.1 or higher, but I am not comfortable taking insulin, a treatment with ambiguous results and much higher risk of cesarean birth because of the simple classification of 'high risk' and no improvement in infant or maternal morbidity (or mortality, but mortality isn't an issue with gestational diabetes; it can be an issue with women who have diabetes before they become pregnant but that's not me), at marginal rates. Also, I'm not sure what is in the insulin suspension itself: preservative? Suspension solution? Contaminants? I'm having a really hard time finding that info online and my midwife didn't know. My midwife said she'd be comfortable with me refusing insulin if my fasting BG was 6.1 or less. I *CAN* refuse insulin at any number; this is Canada, women have the final say when it comes to their medical treatment and can refuse anything. But I want to work with Cathy, not against her: she also might risk me out to an OB completely if I don't cooperate at a level she's comfortable with, I'm not sure. Plus I don't want a baby larger than 10 lbs 2 oz. I just don't.

If you're still reading, thank you. I know it can be boring to read through medical conditions you don't have yourself, so I appreciate you getting this far!

Other things discussed/discovered at my appointment:
blood pressure 120/80
fundal height 30 cm at 29 wks +1 day
fetal heart rate 140s via pinard horn (aside: baby had hiccups, something I've noticed for the first few times the past few days)
active fetus
total weight gain 19 lbs (lost one pound since GD diagnosis and diet manipulations and increased exercise)
urine normal

Also, I have restless legs especially at night. I know I need more sleep, and my legs get restless when I'm not pregnant and I'm overtired, but this is more severe than my pre pregnant symptoms. Magnesium is supposed to be good for that.

We discussed at length the hospital atmosphere and policies should we wind up there, and the fact that Cathy wants to send me for an ultrasound at 32 weeks. To check fetal size (eye roll) and placental functioning (high BG can cause the placenta to age faster than its gestational age, leading to complications later in pregnancy: hence the Non Stress Tests for women with GD later in pregnancy). She argued that an ultrasound performed by a perinatologist is more accurate than one by a radiologist, and that the perinatologist she uses is very accurate in his size measurements (I call them size 'estimations,' because they are known to be so horrifically inaccurate). I said to make the appointment but I'm still thinking about it. I haven't decided. She feels it's indicated because my fasting BG isn't under control as of yet. The placental age/functioning thing is more convincing to me than fetal size measurements. But how bad can it be with only one number per 24 hours out of control? C'mon.
She has suggested staying home as long as possible to avoid interventions, but we both agreed that my labor is likely to go more rapidly than average, since my first labor was only 8 hours first stage. She is totally comfortable with me refusing continuous EFM and using intermittent doppler checks instead (VBACs usually have cEFM), and being in water as often as I want. We can request a room with a tub and, although my hospital's policy doesn't allow water births, if I just don't get out of the tub she won't protest. Bummer. I wanted one of those nice, deep, birth pools built just for that purpose. Oh well. I wasn't even sure I'd want it, since with Riley all I could do was stand, so being in a tub was a disgusting proposition. But I did want the option.

I think that's all.
Now I need to go to bed, and y'all need to get praying. PRAY HARD!! BELOW 6.1! BELOW 6.1!

I'm trying to think positive. I am sick this week after all, maybe that's why my sugars are higher than last week. Here's hoping...
[here's watching my uncomplicated normal beautiful home birth recede into the mist...]

Sick as a dog

Where did the saying come from, sick as a dog? Are dogs generally sicker than other species? When my dog throws up, he eats it. That's gross. You might even describe it as SICK, but as a vernacular, not a cliche.
Whatever its origin, I'm sick as a dog. Last night was horrific. Everyone is sick but Brent; Riley and Matthew were coughing all night, Riley was in my bed at 1 a.m. and up and down all night. But the worst was poor Ayden, he had an earache, threw up, and had fever so bad his teeth were chattering. Poor kid, but he got inadequate care because I'm sick too, and Brent was at work. I've not yet had that situation in three years of a shift working husband, where the kids are up all night and I'm sick and running SOLO.
A friend mom at school when I dropped Matthew off this morning (in my pyjamas) asked me how I am feeling and I said, "Like a warm bag of crap."
This is one of those viruses that comes, leaves, and comes back with a vengeance. I need to crawl into bed and stay there for a few days, but there are some people who also need mothering around here so I can't. I made an appointment with our doctor for Ayden this afternoon, though I don't know how I'm going to survive going there. I might send Brent. I have a midwife appointment around the same time so I guess I better send him! Oh God, I might die before the day is out. If I do, know that I love you all.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Guilty Pleasures

My bloggy friend Em posted a few of her guilty pleasures in life, and I liked that idea so call me a copycat;

-p.s. I don't have any food related guilty pleasures at the moment for obvious reasons, but don't feel bad. At all other times I do...

-Criminal Minds, especially Friday night marathons
-voracious reading
(these last two are guilty because they trump all other activities: parenting, cooking, kitchen tidying, and paying attention to my husband)
-driving past tacky christmas getups in peoples' yards and making fun of them
(blow up anything is generally not a good idea. Sex doll, Santa, there's very little difference when it comes to TACKY)
-texting when I should be watching six year old soccer
-lying on the couch when I should be cleaning
-not fighting my two year old because of utter exhaustion. Want to wear just underpants to bed? Fine. Want to wear spiderman pjs all day? Fine. No underpants? Whatever. Pants inside out? Fine. Don't want to wash your hands? Whatever. No jacket? You'll learn.
Oddly enough, inertia with a two year old elicits worse behavior.
Ha ha.
-long showers that waste too much water
-driving past my new house just to look
-dreaming about post natal brownies

Most Hysterical Essay

My friend Louise (the one who took those nice photogs of me below) sent me the link to this most hilarious article by Anne Lamott on parenting. Specifically, being a parent and getting angry. She's hit the nail on the head, I think, pretty exactly, as is her wont with things. I find her absolutely hilarious ALL the time, but especially her honest, no bones, no holding back, totally authentic descriptions of parenting.

Here you go. Go forth and laugh.
(my favorite bit is when she describes how boring parenting can be some moments...)


Here you go, friends, photos of my baby belly
taken by my friend Louise

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Feeling Much Better...

It's so great how spilling your guts makes you feel better. Thank you friends and family for the supportive comments and prayers after my funk post yesterday, that was a crummy day. It should be against the laws of nature for moms to get sick, since there are no sick days when you are a parent, no Sabbath, no vacations! We should be particularly immune when we're pregnant. Pregnant and sick is just not fair.
We all have bad days, and I often think it's the compounding effect of how we're feeling in life in general that tips the scales from just another day with kids, to a Bad Day. Because I could have that kind of a day and take it in stride and not think twice about it, but because there were several major stressors and anxiety triggers marinating in my mind, it made the day that much more awful, you know? I'm grieving the loss of a home birth. I'm financially stressed. I'm worried about having the stamina for four kids.
Speaking of financial stress, one of the comments on my last post was this one:

I think that addinga 4th chld to your family isi not smart when you struggle financially with three.

Of course this comment was anonymous, because who has the balls to kick someone while they are having a bad day and put their name to it?
Fortunately, I didn't read this comment yesterday. I read it today, after a much needed good night's sleep (thank you, whoever prayed for sleep, it really was a miracle!!!), and after processing much of what I was angry about yesterday, in my blog post, and I actually laughed out loud! Wow! Of all the things to criticize me for yesterday, THAT was the one 'anonymous' picked? Hilarious. Some of you defended me (thank you!), which also made me laugh more, knowing you guys who know me better than anonymous are ready to take up arms for me. ♥ you guys are AWESOME!

It's always tough financially when you 'miss' a payday or two for some reason or other, and mine happens to be fairly legitimate. Having early labour contractions stimulated by lifting anything over 10 lbs, and having a job where I regularly lift people 200 lbs or more, and carry a heavy bag full of medical equipment into each and every call is obviously not compatible. I had to go on maternity leave early, but my maternity pay hasn't kicked in yet because it takes time for those claims to be processed, so we're down two paycheques. I don't make much, but I make enough to be noticed when I 'miss' two paydays!
All of this is to say that we're not in a chronic state of minus $33 and a bounced cheque, although it's not completely unheard of for us. This is a busy, financially taxing stage of life, and just about everyone finds it so, whether they have two or fourteen children.

My most emphatic and heartfelt response to a comment like this one, is that kids are more important than money. Period.

My husband likes to say, of our family: "Empty wallet, full heart." It's true. Of course, your heart can be quite full with two children, and that's fabulous. People can also choose not to want to be taxed further financially than they are comfortable with by limiting the size of their family, and that is fabulous too. We all know what our limits are, and being self aware enough to stop when we're done is very healthy. But asking me to limit my family to three kids rather than four because of financial stress is asking me to stop before I'm ready JUST because of money. Materialism means little to me, but the little people in my life mean much. Besides, it's a little late now, isn't it?!?!! OOPS, sorry baby love, we have decided we can't afford you: can you just UNCONCEIVE?


Babies cost our family very little because breastmilk is free and cloth diapers are cheap and we have tons of clothes and strollers and carseats and stuff from our other three rugrats and the generous gifts and hand me downs of our family and friends, so this baby won't cost us much at all until it starts the Activity Stage: soccer, violin, swimming, etc, etc. If we can't afford soccer one year, we'll take a year off. If we can't afford lessons, we'll take some time off. I'd rather have four kids who rattle around our backyard and read books and climb the walls than have three in soccer.

Hooray for babies

Monday, December 13, 2010

Angry Day

Today I'm pissed off. Mostly just in my head, but there were a few unnecessary shushings of my kids as a result of my irritated state of being.

Here's why:
-I'm exhausted. Exercising as much as I should while this pregnant with GD is possible, but it renders me useless physically, mentally, and emotionally for the rest of the day. I'm waking up several times a night, and generally for the day at around 6:15. For no discernible reason. Last night my body tried to wake me up at 3:44 for the day, but fortunately I talked it out of the idea. I'm short on hours of sleep and long on exercise and daily parent duties. Especially when Brent works days: those are 14 hour days for me and they are looooooooong.

-My fasting blood sugars are not only not responding to my manipulations, they are rising. That first week I stressed because they were 5.1, 5.3, 5.8, 5.2, and 5.8.....I'd give my left arm for those now. This week they have been 6.5, 6.1, 6.8, 6.1, 6.7, 7.0, and 7.3. My homebirth has left the building. Because of this, I am angry. I feel full blown grief. I want to slam pots through windows and drive the van into a fence and eat an entire lemon merengue pie and crawl into bed and not get up til this whole fucking ordeal is over.

-My husband doesn't get it.

-My kids are selfish and self centered and wrapped up in their petty little selves and would never get it even if I explained it to them.

-I feel alone.

-I'm also sick.

Because I'm sick, I'm also utterly exhausted, and I just don't know at the beginning of the day how I'm going to do all the things I need to physically do to get myself and three children out the other end of it, and there is no one I can call for help. My in town family all work full time jobs, my friends all have jobs and families they need to care for, and the rest of my family lives out of town. Oh, and also have jobs and families, of course. It's tough. I feel like I NEED help, I'm willing to ASK, but there's no one to ask, you know?
[Lousie, you're sick too. I'm not asking you when we're BOTH sick!]

The painful ironic twist is that with Riley I COULD HAVE had a home birth; my midwives were more than willing, I had no diagnoses or ailments, I just wasn't 100% ready yet. It was my backup plan if the hospitals were on diversion while I was in labour; both my midwives agreed that it was fine with them to have me deliver at home rather than lose them as caregivers.
When I did go into labour, Surrey WAS full, and the thought of going to Langley or Peace Arch was absolutely disgusting to me, for some weird reason. I knew that if Surrey wouldn't take us, I would stay at home. But since my midwife offered to bring her partner midwife in to the hospital with her and therefore all we would require was a room, and not the presence of a nurse, they let us come. And off we went.
Now I wish we stayed. Although last time I didn't care if I had a drug free birth, a peaceful birth, an empowering birth, a hospital birth, or a birth upside down in a headstand. All I wanted was a VBAC. So I am not sure I would have appreciated the home birth even if I had it~that was for this time, when I have more experience, more knowledge, and more desire to stay at home and it feels right for THIS birth. So I need to try and avoid projecting THIS birth onto THAT birth in retrospect and forcing a geography on it that didn't feel right for THAT birth just because I want it and can't have it this time.

I KNOW I should be grateful to give birth at all. I'm aware that there are plenty of friends and family of mine who either have difficult pregnancies and births, or repeated miscarriages, or infertility struggles and I should be happy and grateful to give birth at all, hospital or no, but that particular knowledge isn't helping me tame my emotions right now. I just feel angry, angry, angry. Unfair, unfair, unfair. Around 4% of women have GD, and the vast majority of them can control it with diet and exercise. What's with being in the minority of the minority? I want to cry but I'm too damn busy exercising and running around after little people so I don't have time.


Add to all this the fact that today was just one of those days where nothing seems to go right. I woke up too early. My blood sugar was too high. I got a phone call at 8:10 from Matthew's speech therapist at school; Matthew's teacher, learning assistance teacher, and the speech therapist were all waiting for me for our meeting at 8:00 a.m., was I coming? HOLY......I made it from everyone sitting at the kitchen table to the school in 9 minutes.
The meeting went long because there was tons to cover and because I was late, so I missed my water aerobics class at 9:15. I tried to roll with things and be flexible, so I took Riley to the rec centre anyways and figured I'd put him in the (Monday mornings 9-11 a.m. ONLY) child care there and swim laps. I forgot my pass for the pool. They were gracious and let me promise to pay with 2 punches next time. I didn't pack my goggles because I was planning on going to aerobics so I had to do laps with no goggles. The lanes were all full so I was forced to share a lane with the "fast" people and this Hummer of a woman kept passing me and giving me dirty looks. The lanes were set up in the deep end and I'm scared of the deep end. I forgot my shampoo, my brush, and my soap. I dropped my glasses in the shower afterwards. Riley is sick so he's cranky and he just did NOT want to transition between activities today and I can't carry him to make him do what I need him to do! So two year old temper tantrums are particularly frustrating these days. He had a lot of them today.
Because we left so quickly in the morning, I had to go home and make Ayden and Matthew lunches and drop them off at the school, necessitating more transitions for my two year old. At noon I had a shower. There was no hot water. E.I. hasn't started to pay me yet and I've unpaid bills and people nagging me and classes organizing group gifts for teachers and wanting me to pay them and a bounced cheque for the kids' school photos, and my gas tank is empty and yet I still have to drive places and I have minus $33 dollars in my bank account.
I dropped my keys SO MANY times today. Picking things up off the floor is getting awkward and painful. I want to eat ice cream.
Walking home from school Ayden dropped behind us: he does this on purpose because he really needs some solitude after school and I generally don't mind because he knows his way home and he's a responsible kid, but after 15 minutes of being home and STILL NO AYDEN I was in a STATE: we walk through the woods so I can't drive to get him, I'm in pain and exhausted and VERY pregnant so it feels utterly impossible to WALK back to get him, and I'm increasingly anxious about his safety every second. Then he came home. And got an earful.
I wrote a cheque for violin lessons that I hope doesn't clear until Wednesday. Nothing like praying for a cheque to take awhile to pass through the system, hey?
And then my midwife's office called; they want me to go in tomorrow to see her about my BG but the only times they had were 9:30 (Matthew has a follow up with his ENT surgeon at 9:00 in Surrey), and 3:45. Brent's on day shift so the 3:45 appointment will mean me going to my midwife's office with ALL THREE of my boys. GONG SHOW. I'm also meeting with friends at 4:30 to go to a Christmas play so this may be logistically unfeasible but obviously my pregnancy comes first so I am not sure if I forfeit the play or meet up with them late or what--I am not sure about that one.

All day I felt like passing out, but as you can see I was too busy to bother. My blood pressure is too low lately and it makes me feel very faint, but how do you fix that one? It drops when I don't get enough sleep.
Maybe I need a sleep aid.
But then again, I can't afford one.

Slam pots. Van into fence. Eat lemon merengue pie. Crawl under my covers and not get up for months. Blechhhhhh.......

Sunday, December 12, 2010


Yesterday we were at an Ugly Christmas Sweater party near Surrey Hospital, so we dropped by afterwards at around 10 p.m. so I could register there for my birth. Although I'm planning a home birth, it is wise to register at your backup hospital to ensure they have your information on file in case you need to transfer to the hospital or go into labor early or something unexpected like that. Surrey has a reputation for being more midwife friendly than other hospitals in my area, which is why I chose that hospital to deliver Riley at, and why I'm registering there now. It's a hassle to register because you have to do it in person and the hospital isn't in my regular route for anything. I was having trouble even remembering to do it!!!
Brent acts as my long term memory these days, so he was instrumental in making it happen. It's kind of odd to go into the maternity ward at 10 o'clock at night to register but at least there's no lineup then :)
The clerk was very nice, and asked me about home delivery in a cheerful and supportive way, so that was awesome. It was also very good for me to go in myself because it reminded me that I feel *quite* comfortable there, and I have good memories of Riley's birth, and it feels familiar to me. The reason why this is good is because those morning blood sugars have been such a bitch for me to control so far, so a hospital birth looks more likely than I originally hoped. I haven't given up all hope yet on the BG front, and I found a website with helpful tips this morning that I will try tonight. I had wondered about moving back the time of my evening snack, and that's one of the first things she recommends: ensuring that your bedtime BG is less than 7. I often wind up eating my snack BECAUSE I'm falling asleep on the couch and going to bed within a half hour or an hour afterwards. It's true that if you fast for a long time, your body leaks sugar stored from your liver into your bloodstream and the fasting BG can be higher. But it's also true that high bedtime BG can make that morning BG higher, too. The trick is finding the right balance for me. And the right snack. I'm going to play around with that for a bit and see what I can do, as well as go back to the steel cut oats. Squirrely bread just isn't doing it for me. Steel cut oats weren't either, but they were doing a better job of it than squirrely bread! Although hummus might work for me too, we'll have to see.

At any rate, visiting SMH Family Birthing Unit yesterday was a positive thing for me: first and foremost, because I got to talk about my home birth plans in a positive way with the clerk, which gave me renewed hope, and secondly because it reminded me that this maternity ward is a nice place. With positive births. If I do wind up delivering there, hopefully I can manage to get released within a few hours afterwards and then go recover at home--the hospital visit will be a short period of time.
That's what I said last time. We were there for three days.
I've been praying pretty hard about those morning blood sugars going down; I know prayer isn't a magical potion that cures all our difficulties in life but I'm a deep believer that it helps us connect with God and to sort out healthier outlooks on things, as well as sometimes resulting in a positive outcome. Here's hoping sincerely for all three.

Part of what I want in a home birth is for my other kids to be more organically involved. They are most comfortable in their own home, and food is easy to get for them, there is no one they need to worry about disturbing, they can sleep in their own beds if they want to, pee in their own toilets if they need to, wander in and out, and watch t.v. or play if they get bored. YET they can still be a part of this big new event for our family, and be immediately present to welcome our newest family member. In hospital, they can either be there or not, but it's not really as welcoming an environment for them, or as organic a transition to a family of six.
Another big part of it is wanting a peaceful, calm, undisturbed birth for this baby. For his or her sake, I'd like the birth to be as gentle and normal and hassle free as humanly possible, and for us not to be separated after it is born for at least several hours. I mean literally, not off my body. Not once. No baby warmer, no bassinet, NOTHING except maybe its daddy and brothers and then back to my body. The most likely geographical place for this type of environment is my own home, and possibly even my own bathtub.
It would also be heavenly not to have to GET IN THE CAR during labor.
It would also be heavenly to bake brownies while I'm in labor and reward myself after the birth with a big bowlful of brownie with vanilla ice cream, after all this strenuous diet doing for the sake of the karate kid in my belly. =)
There's just no place like home, even for birth.

Saturday, December 11, 2010


Since I figured out that lifting was what was causing my painful contractions (I always preface contractions with 'painful,' because these weren't your run of the mill Braxton-Hicks tightenings that you feel, but are not supposed to be painful), I've been able to avoid lifting to the point where I haven't had any contractions in quite a few weeks. I was beginning to question myself about them: did you really have them? Were they really that painful, or were you just overreacting?
Well. Enter two year old son. I was dressing him for bed and he was struggling because he didn't want to get ready for bed. He was lying on his back on the floor in front of me and as a part of his protest he lifted both legs up over his head and slammed them down on my belly. It hurt so bad! I grabbed his ankles and gave him a stern "No!" and The Mommy Look. He said, "Okay!" so I let go, and he wound up and did it again rapidly, twice in quick succession. Why didn't I move out of the way? I'm very pregnant. Moving is no longer something that has anything to do with the word 'rapid.'
Those contractions came back with such a vengeance that I could barely, hardly, crawl to my bedroom four feet away and lie on the floor there. I was trying to get to my bed but there was no way. Brent took over wrestling the two year old and putting the mob to bed, while I lay on the floor and breathed. This was actually not really like a contraction but more like an enormous charley horse in my uterus! It lasted for over ten minutes. And wiped me out for the rest of the night. I fell asleep on the couch again, watching t.v., and got totally freaked out about the prospect of going through labour again. The next day the Feminist Breeder posted a video of a baby crowning and being delivered; I couldn't watch the video but even the still shot that shows before you press 'play' was enough to make me faint with dread.
It's so hilarious how an experience like giving birth can be so positive and empowering and intense but at the same time make me naseous with fear as the prospect of it approaches ever nearer and feels much more real with the two year old's induced charley horse. Yikes! I'm too tired to grapple with the demands of labour. I'm too old. I'm too wimpy. I don't want to. I'm afraid. [said the birth nut].
On the flip side it's surreal to me that I'm so close to completing my reproductive stage in life. I mean, anything could happen on the other side of the "we're DONE having kids" plan, but if all goes according to plan this baby will be my last, and then, well, that's odd. I've anticipated having babies for so long and now been immersed in the world of having babies for so long, that it's weird to be eleven weeks from the other side of finished.
There's not even a metaphor I can think of to describe it. It's just anticipation for 25 years, having babies for 8 years, and then in a heartbeat, we're done. It will feel odd. It already feels that way.

Gestational diabetes update: still haven't found the magic snack. Will try 1 cup veggies, 1 glass milk, and hummous tonight. Will try steel cut oats again tomorrow if that doesn't work. Will try getting up at 2:30 a.m. to eat protein snack if that doesn't work. Will cry in despair if that doesn't work.

And Christmas Goody Season is a bitch when you have gestational diabetes, let me TELL YOU. Everywhere I go, there are sugary chocolaty carbohydrate rich dessert foods surrounded by oranges. Everything off limits. And then my kids bring home candy enriched gingerbread houses. And my book club christmas party hosted at my house was a cheese and chocolate fondu party, everything off limits AND me starving because it was in my own house AND: AND everyone left their forbidden-to-me FOOD at my house after the party, including bread and chocolate and red licorice and angel food cake OH MY GOD!
We went to Brent's work Christmas party last night and there was lots of food I can eat, and fruit on the dessert table and I ate too much of everything I'm allowed to eat and we at late (around 8 pm) so I was at a loss: do I eat my bedtime snack at 11:30, or not? Apparantly not, because I did and my sugar was 6.1 this morning. I am so damn tired of eggs, nuts, chicken breast, and vegetables, let me tell you. And rice. I have never really liked rice, but brown rice is one of the carbohydrates I'm supposed to have (I had one day where I had not eaten enough good carbyhydrates the previous day and I had ketones in my urine and felt like I had the flu or was simply a bag of shit warmed over: fortunately Riley was very game to play around on the living room floor and watch t.v. all day while I recovered on the couch. NOT doing that again!) so I'm sick of brown rice, too.
Pray hard for my fasting blood sugar. It doesn't look good.

Thursday, December 9, 2010


The pregnancy widget on my sidebar just showed me 11+ weeks to go. Yikes! Eleven weeks is NOT ENOUGH TIME! I'm not organized! I've hardly paid attention to being pregnant! I don't know where the baby clothes are! I'm not moved into my new house so I can't organize! What happened?!

Gestational diabetes update:
midwife advice re: evening snack was totally off. It was worth a shot but absolutely didn't work for my body.
Saw dietician at GD clinic yesterday: this was amazing. She surmised that I need more carbs in my evening snack: increase to 30 g (and consider more if that doesn't work), and pair with a protein. She said that 'high 5's' would require insulin, 'low 5s' we could let that slide. This seems more attainable than 5.0 or less: she asked me early in the appointment if avoiding insulin was a big deal for me, and I spilled the beans and told her about the homebirth plans and having to stay 5.3 or under in the a.m. for that to be an option. I waited in silence for Judgement Day regarding home birth, or at least awkward This Woman Is Weird laughter. Instead, she said, "Oh, I had a home birth!"
This, for me, was a huge release of worry and anticipation and very significant. I don't have to fight my dietician, we're on the same page. I also felt like this was a specific reassurance from God regarding his care and provision for this pregnancy and birth, which was a relief. Whew. And she gave me some tips, including: don't use a blood sample that requires a lot of squeezing to get a large enough drop, because it can affect the reading and make it higher. Also, if you test high on one finger, test again on the other hand and record the lower number. Since these numbers are so important in my particular case, she said this could make a difference for me. True, since my numbers are only slightly above the border of acceptable.

Last night I took her advice as per evening snack and this morning my BG was 5.4. Not perfect, but a heckofalot better than 6.7 like Sunday morning!!! And 6.1 after the protein only snack.

Ayden's parent teacher conference was this afternoon. He's a quiet boy who takes school very seriously and hardly ever talks. This is Ayden VOSE we're talking about, right??! The Vose boy with the Vose Talkety Talk gene!? The boy who talks my ear off all the way home from school and often another 20 minutes after we get home, too!? Yesterday i got to hear over an hour of details about Pokemon characters and all their different HPs and characteristics and strengths and how they fight each other and who would win over who and who is biggest and cutest and grossest and ALL the details about Pokemon I never knew I didn't want to know.
But at school, he's quiet. He's saving it all up for me at the end of the day. =)
Also, one of his teachers said she saw him get frustrated with Matthew once recently and was VERY surprised to see that side of Ayden [those of you who know Ayden well will have seen his temper: fortunately he keeps it calm at school].
Ayden's in a special montessori style classroom at his school and it suits him very well. He gets challenged intellectually instead of ignored because the material comes easily to him, and he gets taught life skills like leadership, creative thinking and problem solving, social skills, and all kinds of hands on learning tools. He's doing well and thriving in that environment, and I'm very happy he's in it. He LOVES his classroom and worries already about graduating out of it when he starts Grade 4.

We actually spent a portion of Ayden's parent teacher conference talking about Matthew, because I've contemplated putting him in the same class next year because he's a late bloomer and that class allows each child to have their own lesson plan based on what they are ready for. Kids bloom at their own speed.
But the class itself can be a bit chaotic in an organized fashion, much like our large, noisy family can be. I really think this brings out a higher level of stress in Matthew, fracturing his focus and bringing out his stutter and encouraging him to ignore his urges to pee. He's happy and healthy and everything, but he needs some time where his environment is calm, focused, and VERY structured in order to foster the best learning for him.
These past few months have been transformative for Matthew, because he really seems to be more centered and mature and self confident as a result of the more traditional style classroom. His behavior is exemplary, for the most part (he DID steal another kid's lunch the other day and hide it in his desk and not return it til after school, so the poor kid got to eat no lunch). He's kind, funny, sociable, and follows directions. (This is feedback from his parent teacher conference a few weeks ago). His stutter is less severe, even at home. His peeing is less abundant and less obvious, even at home. He's developing a separate sense of self because for the first time in, well, EVER, he's got his entirely own thing independent of Ayden and devoid of the opportunity or need to compete with Ayden. And he's learning to read, which is good for his confidence. He doesn't seem to be noticing that he's behind the curve, and he isn't frustrated with having to do tasks over again or do extra work at home, so that is positive.
I think he just really responds well to structure. And a peaceful environment. He really does seem more centered.
We've been working with him at home to develop his literacy skills, since he wasn't grasping a lot of the concepts in class, and we've nearly caught him up. He can now sound out simple words (though he still has trouble with letter recognition sometimes: he often thinks 'i' says 'lllll' instead of 'i', or guesses nonexistent words like 'to' became 'tong' this morning with a weird inflection that made it not a word), and can very quickly master his spelling word list. He can write legibly. None of this came easily, but it's falling into place with the extra help in learning assistance and at home.
The more I think about it, the more I know that a traditional style classroom is a better fit for Matthew. This is also an environment that I could not offer him at home. I love homeschooling and think it's fantastic and fully support it, but there are some things about the classroom that are a positive fit for him that are not things I could do at home. Plus, he and I sometimes can get snarled up in a negative feedback loop of mutual frustration that he can avoid with a teacher who is less invested in his success as a person. I mean, she cares! She cares so much! But she's not his mom who sets her success or failure as a human being in this life on the health and self sufficiency of him as an adult. You know? Like if he turns out on a bent path somewhere later in life his Grade 1 teacher would say, "Oh that's too bad! So sad." Whereas I would say, "I failed him."

I think I mentioned this once before but a few months after Riley was born when I went to see a counsellor for my post partum anxiety we got talking about Matthew and she asked me, "Do you ever picture him as a healthy adult with a happy family and a fulfilling life?" I was stunned to realize that no, I never did. I don't mean I didn't very often. I mean NEVER. Not once since we had adopted him, up to that point, did I picture him as anything but a rapist and a murderer. Because his mother failed him so utterly, obviously. In retrospect this seems so ludicrous it's funny, but it was no laughing matter. What a foothold anxiety and evil had on my mind, to continually shout in my head that my mistakes and difficulties were sending my child straight to sociophathic violence. What a nightmare to live with that kind of projected responsibility for something that hasn't happened and will highly likely never happen (especially if I can avoid believing it will and creating a self fulfilling prophecy or just simply a miserable existence with a very unhappy momma).

Now, I never picture him as anything but healthy and well adjusted and happy. It makes more sense: he's a well adjusted and happy kid now, he lives in a functional and loving family, he has fabulous extended family relationships, and he relates well to others, displays empathy, regulates his emotions (he didn't always!! He does now), and loves his unique identity characteristics like being Thai, being adopted, having 3 mommies, having brown skin, and having unique early childhood circumstances. He walks a more difficult path than most children. And he does it bravely and well.

What a relief.

It takes a lot less effort to think normally, and sane. And it takes a LOT less effort and energy to maintain a healthy low to no anxiety life than it does to fight it when it has a firm hold on me. It's like a path in a meadow; if you walk it often, you wear down a hard dirt surface with no grass on it and where seeds won't penetrate. These are anxious thoughts. Especially reoccurring ones that strike deep into what I hold in extremely high value. Once I start training myself to leave the habitual path and walk around the meadow in new loops or simply scattered all over the meadow, eventually those old paths grow over and they don't have such hard, worn, easy to use surfaces anymore. So even when these thoughts return to harass me, it's easier to dismiss them when they're not entrenched neurologically. It was habit for me to think of Matthew as on a trajectory for sociopathic violence. Now it's not, so it seems ridiculous that I ever engaged with the idea in the first place.
[sometimes it pops back up, but it's easier to talk myself back into more balanced thinking patterns now]

Now, when I picture his future I see several possibilities;
youth pastor
business owner
mountain climber
manager or owner of an outdoor facility that specializes in group strength building exercises or teamwork through physical challenges and feats
teacher in an alternative school
rock star
fun, hilarious, energetic, loving dad
funny, frustrating, inspiring, charismatic, lovable spouse

Ayden seems like he would make a good teacher, and he also loves music so I could totally see rock star or symphony orchestra in his future. Biologist, maybe? I used to think paramedic but he's pretty wimpy when it comes to blood and vomit. He takes after his dad.

Riley will be a good fit as a professional food critic.
Or a professional cliff diver.
Or a pilot.
He's pretty fearless.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Thank you, Thank you, Thank you....

Yesterday I was still quite anxious about my blood sugars. Less so than Sunday, but still up there. I was fiddling with my nighttime snack and not getting anywhere: the morning number just went up and up and up!! Yesterday I sent out several emails to people I thought might have some insight or tips to help me tweak that fasting BG, and I phoned my midwife (/naturopathic physician) and left a message for her to call me with advice regarding additional supplements or tips regarding lowering that problematic number.
Her office called me back saying she wanted to see me, so they squeezed me in this morning at 10 a.m. between her other appointments (she's VERY heavily booked, weeks in advance) and she was amazing. Amazing. I feel so blessed to have found the absolute perfect fit for midwives twice in a row. Cathy is exactly what I need THIS pregnancy: she's supportive, a good listener, confident, empowering, and has extra tools to help my medical conditions (including my anxiety levels AND my blood sugar levels) because she's a naturopath. She fits me in, and never makes me feel rushed or bad about taking up her time. This is the second time she has squeezed me in between other appointments. She's reassuring. And she isn't dismissive of my fears, she acknowledges them, and then reassures me with evidence based on her many years of experience and her large health related knowledge base. The more I think about it, the more I'm positive she's a fantastic fit for me this time.
She looked closely at my diet journal and my BG readings journal and was very reassuring. All of my daytime readings are perfect, so she was happy with that, and she added more chromium to my supplements, tweaked the time of day of my exercise routine, and told me to try protein only for the bedtime snack, and to make that snack smaller. But she also reassured me that based on my BG journal, she doesn't think I need insulin at all, even though my numbers are high in the morning. They are above optimum, but not high enough to need insulin, and there are still a number of things we can try.
WHEW!!! We didn't talk about homebirth vs hospital birth, so it wasn't that I felt GREAT! HOMEBIRTH STILL ON!! It was more about being reassured and then empowered with more tools to tackle this problem. Emotional support makes ALL THE DIFFERENCE. I get tons from you guys, and I'm so grateful. I also get tons from her, and I'm so grateful. Wow, this is the way to do maternity care, people. Now it's hard for me to imagine going back to the style of care I had with my doctor during my first pregnancy! It's just so totally different, but with only a few actual differences in the behavior of the caregiver. It's hard to quantify emotional support to a scientific community, which is maybe why it's so rare. My midwives do ALL that my doctor did, and so much more, just by paying attention to emotional support, and by believing in the natural physiological process of pregnancy and birth. What a wild difference in just a small shift in thinking and behavior, hey?
I just want to send a shout out to God for sending Cathy my way. And you guys, who listen and send me good vibes and prayers and comments...

Monday, December 6, 2010

Bullet Post Again

-I'm getting overwhelmed by all the things I want to tell you so I think i'll make it more attainable and bullet post!

-My daytime blood sugars are perfect. My morning blood sugars are asinine.

-Yesterday was the day from HELL. You know those days, where you drop and lose and smash and spill and your kids are ornery and you're ridiculously late for everything and your two year old poops his pants and it spills down his leg onto the coffee shop floor and you don't have any extra pants for him this is the ONE DAY you didn't bring extra pants and you take three kids to Costco by yourself to pick up one item and fight the crowds and stand in line only to realize, once your item is on the conveyer belt, that you only have money on your mastercard and Costco doesn't TAKE mastercard and you're already an hour late for that Bible Study homegroup thingy where you promised to bring that one item on the conveyer belt? Yeah, yesterday involved a lot of crying on my part.

-The day before was awesome; we went to a tree farm and cut down a tree, nobody pooped their pants all day and we moved the dog back home from gramma and grampa's where he was while we staged and sold our house. It was also spectacularly sunny.

-Today for no reason I woke up at 4 a.m. and couldn't get back to sleep

-I'm a wreck but I still went to water aerobics and the ladies there are pretty friendly: they all outweigh me by about 100 lbs and are at least 30 years older than me and they all kick my ass when it comes to water aerobics

-The kids' church concert was yesterday and they were all very cute: Riley and the other 2 year olds sang two songs and he did the actions only and had on a red sweater with a train on it and I think I really couldn't have made him cuter if I tried. Ayden had a speaking part in the play: he was a canucks hockey player which was very popular and he loved all the cheering for him. Matthew HATES anything theatrical which is hilarious because he's so theatrical in everyday life you'd think an opportunity to be on stage would be his Dream Come True but he hates to sing and gets bored with waiting so instead he sat on stage and stripped. Yes, I said stripped. Shoes, socks, hat, costume (he was a christmas tree ornament), christmas sweater, dress shirt: I think the pants were next but his sunday school teacher intercepted. HYsterical.

-As an aside I get the impression that the children's pastor at our church doesn't like Matthew much at all~it's just an impression I get from watching her interact with him when she doesn't know I'm there, it's subtle but she doesn't seem to *get* him and I feel frustrated that I want to but can't toss myself in front of everyone who might not *get* him in life and explain him to them so they can gain some insight and compassion and love him the way he deserves to be loved, fully and deeply in a way that celebrates his strengths and compensates for his childhood trauma, but what do you do? She's not a main character in his life so what do you do?

-My sister is married, people. This is weird.

-I'm feeling much less anxious about bonding with this baby when it comes, boy or girl, busy and hectic or not, after I posted about it on Mothers of Change. It's amazing how sometimes a worry just needs to be voiced and then it subsides.
This is not the case with my blood sugar readings.

-I'm tired. I'm so, so tired. A few nights ago Brent and I were in the living room: he was on the computer and I was reading a book on the couch and I fell asleep sitting up, and only woke up when the book crashed out of my hands onto the floor! I have chronic insomnia, friends. I don't know that I've ever fallen asleep sitting up before! At least not as an adult. It's the pregnancy combined with the shift working husband combined with the increased exercise to manage my diabetes combined with my two year old and having three kids. C'mon baby, just come...(by that I don't mean come early, I mean for time to hurry up and move so it can be mid February and I can give birth to her without worries)
Did you see that? I said her. I think about it as a she all the time.

-It's advent. That's about all I have time for in regards to advent. Noted. Plus the advent post I wrote on Tamie's blog, so I read the daily posts there for my daily dose of advent. I love advent! Next year I'll get creative and make the kids an advent calendar and stuff. On the list this year is making a gingerbread house from scratch with the kids, and making ornaments out of dough.

-xo, all

Saturday, December 4, 2010


We decided on my #1 pick in the end (thanks for all your votes and comments!), which rapidly became Brent's #1 pick as well, especially when we walked back thru both houses. The blue house needed more immediate repairs and wasn't the best layout for our family, although it was 700 sq. ft bigger.

I wish we moved before Christmas, I'm so excited!!! I LOVE that house, and I'll post a photo with us by the SOLD sign if we can manage to (a) get a photo before they take the sign down, and (b) find my camera cord....I think it might be in a box somewhere, packed by accident....

HOORAY! We own a BIG HOUSE! Now we need a lawnmower....

Another mini

I wrote this as a comment response but I think I'll post it here too!

Thanks for the support, guys. I had a 5.8 this a.m. so I think the combo of NO carb dinner and steel cut oats & protein snack is better for my body than a dinner with reduced carbs and then my snack with the steel cut oats (I thought it might be the key to that o.1).

I exercise every single day. Pool and walking.

My diet is very good, I have no more than 2 pcs of fruit per day, but the weird key to lower morning BG is a carbohydrate snack before bed--the longer you fast, the HIGHER your blood sugar, which is counterintuitive but true. So I can try and eliminate the strawberries but I suspect that, as a high fibre carbohydrate option (the diabetic diet has them listed as 2 cups of strawberries=one serving of carbohydrates: I eat about 1/2 cup at night) they are a positive choice, especially when paired with cottage cheese and steel cut oats. I don't mind the oats, I'm eating the strawberries on purpose for their fibre and carbohydrates.

If you eliminate all carbs, you can get ketones in your bloodstream from burning fat, and those are not good for baby or mom. A severely reduced carb diet (fruit is considered a carb), high protein, lots of exercise, etc, is what helps, but like I said the nighttime snack being a carbohydrate rich one is critical. If the body thinks its starving it dumps sugar from your liver into your bloodstream which spikes that morning blood sugar: the longer you fast, the higher that BG.

I'm thinking of waking up around 3:30 and eating a snack. Will keep you posted!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Mini Update

Sorry I've been light on the posting. Some days I post four times, then I go a week with nothing. Same with photos. This is kinda my style, I guess! And my life!!

I just wanted to update you that I went to the diabetic clinic at the hospital on Tuesday. They gave me a free glucometer to test my blood sugars numerous times a day, and nutritional counseling.
I hated being in the hospital. I hated being medicalized. I hated being in a group of women with gestational diabetes. I hated being talked down to by the nurse. I hated it when she said, numerous times, "If you can't control your diabetes with diet an exercise, we'll just give you a little bit of insulin, it's no big deal." Insulin is 'no big deal.' She's trying to be reassuring for those who hate needles, but she's unaware that a low risk vs a high risk classification changes a ton of things for me. I hated it, too, when she said that although the risk of cesarean is higher for women with gestational diabetes, "Cesareans are safe." One the one hand, this is true. The complication rates are low. I reassure doula clients who have cesareans that it is the most frequently performed surgery in Canada and that obstetricians are VERY good at what they do. On the other hand, it is also true that cesareans are LESS safe statistically than vaginal births. And that future pregnancies are at higher risk for complications, including placenta previa, accretia, abrubtio placenta, uterine rupture, hemorrhage, etc. Not to mention higher risk for another cesarean, since VBAC is so unpopular these days.
It's surgery, people. It's not just another way to have a baby.
I don't object to women being reassured that cesareans are safe. I object to them being misinformed regarding the risks.

You know how I feel about all this already, so I'll move on.

I appreciated the nutritional counseling, the free glucometer, and the dietician who spoke. She and I seem to have similar philosophies when it comes to food, whereby REAL FOOD is always better than fake, and you really can't go wrong with vegetables. She taught us how to read food labels for diabetes and educated us to make informed choices with regards to diet. I liked her a lot.

Already I've confirmed (with my little glucometer) what I suspected: my daytime blood sugar is very well regulated, but I don't tolerate sugar and my fasting blood sugar rating is consistently too high. My cousin gave me some good tips, and last night I ate steel cut oats, defrosted strawberries, and cottage cheese for a bedtime snack. This morning my BG (blood glucose) was 5.1, and my goal is 5.0 or lower. This is good! Not excellent, 5.1 is still 'uncontrolled,' but closer than yesterday's morning BG, which was 5.8!

Pray hard, people, PRAY HARD! I need that tenth of a point. NEED IT.
I'm working so hard at the diet. I'm at the pool and walking every day. What more can i do? PRAY PRAY PRAY!!!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

guest post...

Tamie is doing an advent series again this year over on her blog. She asked me to do a guest post and it's up today, if you want to go read!!