Sunday, 26 May 2013

Baby 5: Week 41

How Far Along: 41 Weeks (One week overdue)

How I'm Feeling: We've had a really wonderful week as a family. Now that we've gotten the nursery ready and the house is in a perpetual state of preparedness, we've been doing our best to just enjoy each other. Emotionally I've been so appreciative of all the time to treasure my family. Physically, things are great too. The baby has gotten so low I've lost my belly table (tragic, I know). The upside of this is of course that my lungs are free to do their job, which is to breathe. This of course makes running up and down stairs in hope of inducing labour a much easier feat. Positives abound.

What I'm Thinking: I'm feeling very patient to meet this little person, but at the same time I'm also very excited. Like my husband was saying the other day, it's like being a toddler waiting for Christmas. You don't know exactly when it's coming, but you know it's going to be amazing. It's been really fun seeing everyone's interest and excitement as well. I know every weekend that we show up at Church with no babe in arms we get lots of jokes and smiles. When we finally show up with the baby, there's going to be a lot of joy all around, from us, from our friends, and from our Church family.

What I've Done This Week: I finally conquered the pile of laundry in the basement. I even put it all away. I wish I had taken a before picture so you could see the mammoth pile I was waging war on. On top of all of that I've run all our regular laundry and diapers. As I type the last load is going through the wash and our diapers are hanging to dry. I also did my best to clear up some of the extra stuff that had taken up permanent residence in our kitchen. It's not perfect, but it's a big improvement. Other than that I have (with the constant help of my wonderful husband!) been keeping everything running at a beautiful pace in our house.

What I Hope To Do Next Week: Okay, totally serious this time: Have a baby! On Wednesday when we see the Doctor we're going to have to discuss the possibility of an induction. As they are the WORST I'm hoping Baby will decide to come on his own any time now. Like tonight. Tonight would be fine with me.

Sunday, 19 May 2013

Baby 5: Week 40

How Far Along: 40 Weeks (Yay! Due date is here!)

How I'm Feeling: This week was much better than last week. Excluding some mild greenness on Monday (which produced no more vomiting) we've been in fabulous form, particularly since Wednesday. I have sudden reserves of energy that makes me want to tear the house apart and put it back together (which I'm not! I'm not CRAZY). Baby is sitting approximately between my kneecaps, which is giving my lungs a little more room, thus I have about 2 seconds more stamina than I had even a week ago. For those of you who love the details, when we saw the Doctor on Wednesday I was a stretchy 1cm dilated and %30 effaced (for those who are not savvy I need to get to 10cm and %100 effaced for baby to come out). I'm also starting to get some signs that my mucous plug is slowly starting to come out. I know, fascinating details that you all desperately wanted to know. haha!

What I'm Thinking: We've reached that inevitable point at which baby is definitely coming. I am a delightful mix of totally panicked (over stuff that I know intellectually just doesn't matter) and ridiculously excited. I want baby to stay in so we can clear away those last few details, but honestly am ready to meet our little man. Like yesterday. I'm really grateful we made it through the stomach flu of doom so we can hang our kids off joyfully to their friends while we're in the hospital without worrying if we have enough clean sheets and outfits in case of vomit.

What I've Done This Week: On Friday we went on the big grocery shop-a-thon and got what should hopefully be around two weeks worth of groceries. I usually shop once per week, but in the off chance I go into labour the day before grocery day I don't want our friends left scrounging in our cupboards for food. We also picked up a cool tool that looks like a paper cutter at the hardware store that cuts laminate floorboards manually. We immediately put it to good use and got to work laying the flooring for our baby's room. This wasn't easy as there is some furniture we're having a tough time finding a place for while we're working, but it was totally worth it. I tried my hand with the flooring and did about half of it myself why Hubby moved things around and worked on the baseboards. He did all the hard corners, vents, etc, but I did the square section all on my own. And didn't destroy it! And if I do say so myself it looks fabulous. Today we finished up by assembling the crib and setting up the room. It look so sweet even with the little bit of clutter left in it. In less dramatic work, I managed to keep on top of the dishes and laundry all week. No worries that the kids will end up without socks or underpants! Oh, and I re-packed my hospital bag for the millionth time. Neurotic, I know.

What I Hope To Do Next Week: Have a baby? Haha! That's really the only big thing left. The room is ready. The Godparents are prepared to come sit with the kids. And best of all, we've reached our due date. It's time, little man. Come meet your family!

Sunday, 12 May 2013

Baby 5: Week 39

How Far Along: 39 Weeks (1 week to go! Deep breaths...!)

How I'm Feeling: Excluding a little hip pain and my pregnant waddle, I'd say I probably feel the best I've felt all pregnancy most of this week. However, even the most hopefully beginnings can turn quickly. The last few days have been punctuated with spouts of vomiting from all the kids and now their Dad. Late night projectile vomiting from oldest boy, unexpected piles of puke in younger boy's bed, and baby girl throwing up repeatedly while sitting on my lap. I joined the team by getting sick Friday night so violently I thought for sure it would induce labour. Luckily it didn't! The only one in the family who didn't lose her lunch was our big girl. She's been very worn out and has insisted on not taking risks with her food intake. We've had lots of toast, bananas and apples for our meals. Poor darlings. Excluding the whole vomit out of already vomit coloured shag, I've been a little spoiled through all of this because the kids have been really quiet and sleepy.

What I'm Thinking: I'm more than a little bit in denial about the fact that we only have one week before our due date (and three before baby will be out for sure). I keep putting things off, thinking I have more time, but the time really is almost here. I'm starting to gear up for labour too. Not just physically, although that is clearly happening since I am having more and more frequent Braxton-Hicks. I'm really working on getting my mind in the right head space for labour. Strong, confident, focused.

What I've Done This Week: I finally folded the piles of clean laundry and put them away. This may not sound like a big deal, but with 5 kids and my not having done laundry properly in ages it really is a huge deal for us. I've also managed to keep on top of all the new laundry the late-night vomiting has produced and got even more done with the piles still lingering in the basement. Between bouts of vomiting we've been working hard clearing out the nursery. My husband pulled up the last of the old underlay and has been clearly out all the heavy stuff, vacuuming and pulling up spare nails and staples. We just need some sunshine so he can cut the flooring outside. I also had the great joy of going out for dinner with two of my favourite Mom friends on Monday. We hit an awesome local restaurant and shut that place down! What a great time. I'm really grateful for that time especially as it hit just before the flu took over our house.

What I Hope To Do Next Week: I've already started to, but this week my big task (y'know, besides actually cleaning my house....) will be to get ready little packs for each of the kids so that Baby 5's faithful Godparents will have no problem taking over here while we're at the hospital. I'm setting them up with outfits for the kids, easy diaper related instructions (because we use cloth), and some tips for meals and naptimes. They're totally awesome and capable people. I feel so confident leaving the kids with them! Other than that, I know my husband will be taking an evening or two this week to quickly slap down the flooring. I love seeing the pride on his face knowing he'll be doing it by himself. It's truly his gift for our baby. I have the joy of carrying this wee one for over 9 months. This nursery really is his own private labour of love.

Sunday, 5 May 2013

Baby 5: Week 38

How Far Along: 38 Weeks (2 weeks to go!)

How I'm Feeling: If it's even possible the baby is even lower. I don't know if I've ever had a baby ride this low before, but as my friend S pointed out I'm the most physically active this pregnancy as I've ever been, what with all the walking I've been doing. With that in mind I've probably made it easier for baby to get lodged lower every day. It's causing a somewhat amusing waddle. And by amusing, I mean slightly ridiculous to on-lookers. Other than that I'm feeling great all around. I've had a few sleepless nights because it's difficult to be comfortable with my big ol' belly in the way. I'm starting to have a feeling this baby will come closer to on time or even early. Now that I've said it aloud baby will obviously stay in until 42 weeks.

What I'm Thinking: As we reach what is undeniably the end of pregnancy, I'm noticing how suddenly big the other four kids truly are. My baby boy turned 3 yesterday (what?!?), the oldest two are taking on the role of my big helpers even more, and even baby girl is working hard to shock me with how grown up she is. It feels like they're trying to hit a few more milestones before baby is born so I can notice and appreciate them before I'm in new baby land. I'm so appreciative of who each of them are and how lucky I am to be their Mama.

What I've Done This Week: I spent the bulk of the week working through the laundry. Our laundry room is still piled up with blankets, towels, and out of season coats, hats and gloves. With that in mind, I made it through a lot of the clothes, even with new clothes coming in. The level of satisfaction at seeing the piles go down is indescribable. I also got a few more big items out in our bi-weekly garbage collection. I moved the couch that was taking up way too much room in the nursery and put it in the boys' room. They were really excited to have it and it fits in their room beautifully.  All the big stuff left in the nursery is the furniture we want to keep in there, so all we have to do is find a temporary place to put everything while we lay some flooring.

What I Hope To Do Next Week: Now that our boy has had his birthday, my primary goal is to stop trying to avoid labour. I don't want to exhaust myself, but my plan is to be up and about as much as possible. The other side of this is that I'm going to try and keep the house in relatively good order so that when we do go into labour, everything will be easy to find for our beautifully accommodating babysitters (ie baby's godparents!). This means I have to really keep on top of washing diapers, regular laundry, dishes, and have everything accessible in clean(ish) areas. I also have to write up a sort of loose schedule for the kids' day. Seems silly since our friends are great with kids, but I know it's comforting for the kids to have their routine and it'll make it easier for our friends to avoid certain meltdown for what I hope are the few hours we need to be at the hospital.

Thursday, 2 May 2013

Love Letter: Baby Boy

Baby boy, I want you to be able to look back after you're born and all grown up and know how loved you were before we'd ever seen your face. You haven't had the chance to make us love you with your sweet face, beautiful eyes, and new baby smells. But we already love you. We've loved you since the second we knew you were going to join our family. When we told your brothers and sisters they were really excited too. Ever since they've been asking how much longer until you will be born. They want so badly to meet you, baby boy. Don't let their impatience (or mine) sway you, precious child. I know that whether you come tomorrow or two weeks after you're due, you will have been worth the wait.

I want you to know how wanted you are. Before you took up residence in my ever expanding belly, your Daddy and I weren't sure we'd ever have another baby. We wanted another baby. We prayed hard that God would bless us more if that was His will. We already have your amazing brothers and sisters, but still felt there was something missing. That something was obviously you. We weren't sure last summer if we'd ever be lucky enough to hold another baby in our arms, but God surprised us again. You see, Daddy had to have a special surgery to help his stomach work better (the jury's out on if it actually worked) and the Doctor told us there was a chance that it would mean we wouldn't be able to have more babies. When we decided to check if we were pregnant (on a whim) and saw those two pink lines on the test, we were absolutely overjoyed. We told your brothers and sisters and they started to clap and jump around because they were so happy that you were coming. Mere seconds after the test was positive we called everyone we could think of to tell them the good news that you were coming. I remember that night after I got home (I had a date with some of my Mommy friends) I cried because I was so happy that God was giving you to us. I had wanted you so badly, with my whole heart. You were a wish I was almost too afraid to make out loud. Who was I to ask for more blessings when God had already given me 4 beautiful babies? But I knew and trusted that you belonged in my heart.

I still remember the first time I saw your beautiful face. Daddy and I watched together as you jumped around, showing off how vivacious and truly alive you already were at a mere twelve and a half weeks old. When you slowed down for a few seconds and we finally saw your little face I wanted to kiss the screen on the ultrasound, because you were so perfect and beautiful. You were jumping and waving and mugging for the ultrasound wand. Just what I'd expect from one of my little ones.

Here we are about 25 weeks later. You've been so busy growing this last little while. You went from barely making a bump on me to feeling crammed tightly in my belly. I love feeling your little knees and feet rolling across my belly. You're so big now even Daddy and your brothers and sisters can feel you pushing and kicking. Every day your big brothers and sisters run up to me to hug and kiss my belly, sing you songs, and cuddle with you. I find myself singing little songs to you all day too, because I can tell you like to dance in what little room you have left. When we have a quiet moment together it's almost like I can feel your heart beating, your own special rhythm that makes you so unique while being so much still a part of me right now. I dream of the little drummer beat of your heart moving closer and closer to me as we get closer to seeing each other face to face. I also keep trying to imagine your face, to flesh out the cute little black and white picture from your ultrasound. You've had a lot of time to grow since we saw you at 20 weeks. I wonder if you're a chunky monkey like your oldest brother, or long and lean like your biggest sister. I wonder too about your personality. Each of your siblings is so unique, and were since birth. I wonder what new twist you'll bring to our family.

Whoever you are, whatever you look like, I know that you've already changed our family forever. You are a precious gift, the answer to a whispered prayer and many tears. I know when you come you're going to make our hearts a little bigger and show us a little more about what true love looks like. You're going to pour your own special brand of love and wildness into our overflowing house and we'll all know that you belong because you'll fit in from the moment we bring you through the door. You'll share our name and our arms and our hearts. And we'll keep loving you and growing with you and rejoicing in you. And we'll spend every day adding your name to our prayers because we feel like the luckiest family in the world for each moment we've had to spend with you.

I love you, baby boy. I can't wait to meet you and introduce you to your family in person. For now, I'm so happy I get to enjoy just a little bit long holding you close, cuddling with you all day, and feeling your heart beat so strong and wild.

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Love Letter: Baby Girl

You're not going to be my baby for much longer, but because the newest baby is a boy, can you stay my baby girl for just a little while longer? I don't know how much long you'll let me call you my baby. For a while now you've been calling all dolls Mimi (as in Me! Me!), but this month you started calling them baby instead. You're already creating space between yourself and the idea of babyhood. Your walk (or dare I say strut) is already turning into a run. Your few words have suddenly turned into full sentences, filled with emotion, affection, and passion. You have always been my clingy baby. Not in a bad way, you must know. You, unlike your darling siblings, are a Mama's girl. You co-slept the longest, breastfed the longest, and you almost stayed in my womb the longest. Until recently, you have only wanted me to hold you and comfort you. Even this afternoon you demanded to have your spot on my ever decreasing lap so we could cuddle while you chatted away at me.

But change is a-brewing. I'm not sure when it started, but quietly, gently, you're putting away your baby habits in favour of being a big girl. First it was your bed. We weren't sure if we wanted to try it, but when we set it up in your room, you took right too it, and were utterly done with your crib. No begging to go back. No tears. You got your big girl bed and then slept in it like it was the most natural thing. Then it was potty training. I want you to know that I personally don't believe in making little kids potty train until they're much older than you were when you started. But you asked for it. You held your pees all morning and watched jealously while your siblings took their turns in the bathroom. So we took you up on your insistence and you embraced the experience. You're down to diapers at nap and bedtime (and the naptime one is really for my peace of mind, as it's nearly always dry). You're petite, and still look to me like such a wee baby, but in your own mind, you're already one of the big kids. You're demanding your place at the big table. Playing with the big kids. Leading the pack whenever you can. You don't mind that I call you my baby, because that's just a word. You're a big girl in your own mind.

The biggest change I noticed was the day you became a Daddy's girl. Not that I mind. I honestly love this part of you. You've always loved your Daddy in a way so precious, but he has always come second to me. Before you knew what it meant, you would mimic your siblings and slur your own version of "I love you, Daddy!!!" as he left for work. Now you want to chat with him on the phone, snuggle with him in his chair, and wait for him by the door all day. Just the other day you wept and begged for him to "Take me! Daddy, take me too!". When Daddy's here, I'm still special, but I'm no Daddy. Part of me wants to be so happy and appreciate how timely your sudden switch to Daddy's girl was. I don't want you to be so jealous of your baby brother because he's going to steal your Mommy. Still, there's a part of me that misses being your number one. I get to be a little bit of that for you still when Daddy goes to work, but it's just another part of your grown up girl independence.

You're still growing, changing, and finding your own way to express the personality I've seen in you since birth. You're still my sweet, shy little girl, but I can see when we're out your humour and affection are starting to shine through to others. Those lucky enough to really get to know are already blessed by you. You've already managed to make a best friend (and got Mommy one too, thanks girlie) despite your shyness. I'm so glad to see other people falling in love with you too. I feel so blessed to be walking with you through these years, even though I find myself grasping at the last remnants of your fleeting babyhood. Just like you were clinging to me as a baby, I want to spend a lifetime clinging to you. You came into our lives in a moment full of prayer and grace, and have spent every second of your life pouring more of that grace into our hearts. I am so grateful that God gave you to me, and for almost two years I've been able to watch you grow into this incredible little person. From the second I knew you were in my womb, I knew I couldn't live without you. You are my sweetheart. You are my baby girl. You are in your own way the love of my life. I pray that I can be more like you, more loving, more gentle and yet more boisterous. I pray I can sing my heart out even if I don't know the words. I pray that I can give my heart fearlessly to those who love me most. I pray that you will always feel as loved as you truly are as our beloved child and as a daughter of God. I love you for who you were, who you are, and who you will be. Always and forever.

Love Letter: Monkey Boy

It seems silly to call you my Monkey Boy, but that's really what you are in my head. And you'd like that, knowing that I think of you as my Monkey Boy. Much better than calling you my baby boy. You hate being called a baby (well, most of the time). That's your sister's job. You're a big boy now, and in my own mind, so suddenly I can barely catch my breath. You've always been small for your age. You were even the smallest of all our babies at birth. I remember when you were born you came out so tiny (although you were just about the same size as your oldest sister, but after your big brother who had 7oz on you, you seemed tiny) and crying. You cried so hard for such a little baby. Those tears didn't last long though. You became quickly a very calm, serene baby. You were so calm I rarely knew when you needed anything. I had to guess a lot of the time and over time became in touch with your subtle cues. I remember so vividly how you were the delight of your brother and sister. They weren't jealous of you because, just like your Daddy and I, they were completely taken in by your charm. Your eyes were so big and such a deep blue. All of us were drawn into your sweet silence. Unlike your big brother, who was all rolls and chunkiness, you were a slim baby. When I held you I could barely feel the weight. I hated putting you down as I was so drawn to be near you in your calm silence and littleness.

Now that you're about to turn 3, I'm not sure that the word calm can be applied. Except for when you're asleep I suppose. You grew from a tiny little baby into a little man what feels like overnight. You waited so long to walk, clearly not feeling any necessity to get up and run with the big kids, as they were more than likely to stop and sit with you instead. You changed so fast I missed it. I went in to the hospital to have your baby sister and you were crawling, and I came home two days later to my little man, walking and owning the room. When I expressed my surprise and joy, you gave me a look that said "Well of course I can walk. I just didn't feel like it!". My baby disappeared and I came home to a big kid. You've done that to me a few times, my wild child. You managed to keep your code of silence for so long (with a few breaks for the usual Dadas and Mamas) and then one day, out of the blue, you started speaking in full sentences like it was the most natural thing in the world. There's no room for awe as you skipped past milestones at whatever pace you liked. In another flash I lost a little more of my baby, and found him replaced by this walking, talking, little man. I never had time to kiss my baby goodbye. He was replaced by a sticky, funny, noisy, running toddler.

So here were are now, and you're a toddler. Practically a preschooler really. You refused to be held back by anyone and have such a mind of your own. Inside your still small frame is all the force of a dragon. You'd like that too, me calling you a dragon. Don't worry, I know you're a friendly dragon. Some moments I see you and you're so quiet, the picture of the little baby who would lay in my arms all day and just smile. Then, all of a sudden, you're running, roaring, fighting, yelling and making sure everyone knows you're there. I say yelling, but I'm not quite sure you've mastered that yet. You have a voice and know how to use it when you're standing up to your big brother (who you can and do take in a living room brawl any day of the week), but when you want to talk to us, your voice is an earnest whisper, so quiet it's almost not a sound. The sweet, almost shy side of you comes out as you open your mouth wide enough to scream but then only squeak out a whisper. It's worth all the frustration trying to figure out what you're almost saying out loud when we do get it right and you dazzle us with your toothy grin before running off.

When you look back, I suspect you'll wonder why I think of you as my little monkey boy. Perhaps as you get older you'll forget what a hilariously sneaky toddler you were. We're getting ready to welcome our 5th child, and I've never met a child quite so hilarious and mischievous as you are. Besides your earlier (and thankfully now ended) penchant for wall art featuring the contents of your diaper, you have found a way to use your natural stealth to get in all sorts of messes. Just the other day I found you "baking" in the kitchen, which is to say I found you with a ridiculous amount of packages from the pantry broken open and poured haphazardly in a bowl on the floor. I'm still finding chili flakes around the kitchen. Besides your actual acts of mischief (and I could go on), you have quite a way of making the most serious conversation positively hilarious. You seem to have figured out that dramatic hand gestures as well as a few goofy facial expressions can get you out of most of the trouble in the world. For a boy with a talent for trouble, this is an important skill. You can pull faces that can make me laugh even when what I really wanted to do two seconds before was scream my head off. It really is a gift to me to have you there to clown around with me. You make me a better Mama by embracing your irresistible silly side whenever possible.

None of your goofiness gets in the way of how cuddly you still manage to be (even dragons and monkeys need their Mama sometimes). There's nothing you like better than when I sing you "your dragon song" (which for those who haven't watched the Robert Munsch Christmas special on Netflix is the song from "Love you Forever"). When you have a bad dream and you ask me to sing it to you, it reminds me that even though I feel like I've lost my baby, he's still in there somewhere, needing to know that his Mama hasn't forgotten him. Part of me hopes that that never goes away. Part of me hopes you never forget that being in the middle doesn't mean you only get a medium amount of love. I know that there are times when big sister needs help with school and baby sister (and soon baby brother) needs extra attention, but that doesn't mean that you are any less special than you were the moment I first held you in my womb. I'll never stop wanting to scoop you up when you're hurt, sing you your favourite song when you're sad, and hold you close for one more second before you run off on the fast road to being a big boy and then a man. Even if we have 100 babies, not one of them can take your place in my heart and in my arms. You will always be my baby, my little boy, my big man. And I will always be your Mama. I am so grateful that God gave you to me. He must have known how much I needed you, and how little my heart still was before I had you in my life. Since the moment I've had you, you've made me a better person because you taught me a lot more about what true love is. I'm so thankful that I get to spend the rest of my life knowing you, and learning from you. I love you more each day than I knew was possible. Thank you for being my boy.

I'll love you forever. I'll like you for always. As long as I'm living, my baby you'll be.
~ Robert Munsch