Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Vacation or Purgatory?

As Anne of Green Gables would put it, the spirit moves me to utter a few yowls.... so I shall do so, and then hopefully be done with all undo whining and complaining, which I know is a most unattractive habit anyhow!

DH and I have never been on a vacation together during our 7-years of marriage. We have rarely had the time to take off anyhow, but the main factor has simply been that we have never had enough money even to do an overnight at a Bed and Breakfast. We've always been "just this side" of broke - extras have not been an option. Even now that I'm trying to schedule little overnight camping trips for us, those too are really outside of our budget (when did state parks start charging $25/night????).

So anyhow, this year we are - technically at least - going on vacation. Ten days of it, actually (or rather, six plus two days travel each side) - but am I suitably thankful? No! I am facing the prospect of our upcoming trip with nothing short of dread. I cannot wait until it's over.

Why, you ask? Well, first there's the aforementioned four full days of travel, in the car with two kids - it's 18 hours there and 18 hours back. Blech. Then there's the prospect of trying to keep a baby and an unbelievably energetic four-year-old quietly occupied in an elderly person's home - we're going to be visiting family and staying with DH's adorable grandmother, whom I love dearly, but who is probably more used to peace and quiet than will be plausible. Also, I always find "visiting" visits to be incredibly stressful when they're with people I hardly know from DH's family - one has to be "on" constantly, making small talk, etc., while still trying to occupy and care for one's children - not to mention having every minor foible of one's children open for criticism on the predictable occasions when their non-angelic side breaks out.

Basically, my attitude about this upcoming trip is just plain rotten. I am utterly unenthusiastic over the massive amount of work there is going to be to pull it together and then pull it off. I definitely need a change in attitude!

I am trying to start looking on the bright side of things - that I love Joe's family, that it will be a nice chance to travel and see new things - even Texas in August, when one could cut the humidity with a knife! Hopefully there will be things to do to occupy our 4yo, and at least DH's parents will also be there, which is always a big help. Think positive thoughts! Think! Think! Think! (Maybe this will sink in soon....)

In other news....

For those of you who were awaiting this newsflash, here it is: I have finally discovered the recipe for the best cake in the world. Yes! Check it out! It is a citrus-lover's heaven, and we spent four days feasting upon it's lemony-orangey goodness. Yum. I have no idea where it came from or why it is thus named, but it was wonderful. I ran across the recipe a few years ago and thought it looked good, but I didn't get around to making it until last week, when I made it for my dad's birthday. The whole family raved.

Speaking of state's rights (we weren't, but the cake made me think of it), I am thinking seriously of seceding from my birthday month. Has anyone else ever tried this?

June is an insane - ridiculously insane - month around here. We start off with my dad's birthday, go to DH's dad's birthday, stick in Father's Day (and any graduations), then my birthday, our anniversary, our eldest's birthday, and finish up with Independence Day shortly after. Additionally, since our eldest is the first grandbaby on both sides of the family, we inevitably end up hosting our entire family - in successive waves - during late May and June in order to celebrate his birthday (over and over and over!). Inevitably, my birthday gets completely forgotten. After such an inundation of cake-making, card-writing, package selecting/buying/wrapping/mailing, and hostessing, I am too tired to even care about my own birthday. I don't do much for it anyway, but I do like to make a birthday dinner and cake, and ever since DS was born my attitude has been more along the lines of "More cooking? You've GOT to be kidding" - and so I put it off (to be forgotten).

Thus, I am thinking of exiting the madness! I'm thinking March would be a good un-birthday date, so I'm going to talk it over with DH and see about it.

Our anniversary gets similarly railroaded, so who knows - maybe both events will exit from June's craziness and find saner resting-places.

Under the category of "insanely weird events that somehow find themselves in our life," check this one out:

Last night, DH nearly succeeded in choking himself to death with (wait for it) Nyquil. Yes, seriously. For some reason he choked on it and couldn’t get on top of it, as it caused his throat to constrict tightly, and he ended up nearly blacking out before managing to climb back out of it. I didn’t know about it until the worst was over, as he was in another room. He spent the rest of the evening coughing up cough syrup! We are very thankful that he is okay, though he is still coughing today. It was definitely a creepy (and scary!) event, especially for him, poor fellow!

Well, I could (always!) write more, but I should do something productive with this unexpected windfall of time (both kids asleep at once = miracle). Love to all!!!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

HG Through Three Pregnancies: Amy's Story

Reprinted with permission - thanks, Amy!

"Hi Diana,

"I'm very excited to find your blog. I have three children, and had HG with each pregnancy. Not as severe as other stories I've read, but bad enough! The first one (a boy), it was easier to cope since I didn't have young children to look after. But I was so sick I would wake up out of a deep sleep to vomit with no warning. My husband lived in constant fear of being puked on :) I don't remember how much weight I lost, but I could barely walk. My doctor was convinced I would either lose the baby or have small, sickly one. I gained most of my weight in the last trimester of my pregnancy when I felt better, and my son weighed just over nine pounds! I can't tell you how relieved we were to have a healthy baby.

"My second pregnancy started only 7 months after my son was born! Which terrified me after being so sick. For some reason this was my easiest pregnancy. I was only sick for about seven weeks and could at least stomach milk and bananas. This was also a boy.

"My third pregnancy was not so easy. My doctor put me on diclectin right away, which made the nausea more manageable but made me so drowsy I couldn't function. I took it for a few days, decided I was feeling well and couldn't handle the drowsiness, and stopped taking the diclectin. It only took about three hours for me to start vomiting, and vomiting, and vomiting. I couldn't hold down even a sip of water, and when my stomach was empty I still kept throwing up. My husband came home from work and SOMEHOW we managed to get a dicletin pill down and keep it down long enough to take effect.

"My church arranged for ladies to come to our home and take turns babysitting, cleaning, and cooking. If they hadn't done this my husband probably would have lost his job. I can remember fighting to hold down Boost and seeing beautiful pastel bubbles float by my bed. There were days when I asked God to please let me die in my sleep. This pregnancy was a girl.

"My mother and grandmother also had HG (somehow my lucky sister missed the family curse). It helped to have family who understood and believed what I was going through, and were supportive. During my grandmother's second pregnancy she had to temporarily place my mother in an orphanage because she couldn't care for her and my grandfather couldn't stay home with her.

"Anyway, just thought you'd like to hear another story :)


Sunday, June 27, 2010

An Unexpected Blessing

A few weeks ago, we heard the news that our local Christian bookstore is closing (due to the economy and competition with the larger chain bookstore). This was extremely sad news for us, as we love our little bookstore - and it's been a great resource for us. However, since it was my birthday and I'd told DH that I wanted a Christian parenting book, AND the store was offering 50% off for their closing sale, we decided to head down to pick up my birthday present.

But.... we procrastinated a week or so. By the time we actually moseyed down there this past week, their sales were up to 70% off... but their shelves were stripped bare. Utterly. The only books left were those poor, lone volumes who came under the category "books no one wanted." Poor things.

So I wandered the aisles for a while, wondering "Should I buy something just because we came here to buy something, even though I don't really want any of these?" And then DH called out - "Oh, and have you seen their second-hand section back here? There are a lot of books still here!" I hadn't even known that they had a second-hand section! So I went to check it out.

Unfortunately I was in a bit of a hurry (grandparents were babysitting, so the clock was ticking), so I was tossing books left and right without taking much time to consider, but I ended up walking away with six books - for $12.00!!! That's better than I could have done for one or two new books, even at 70% off!

And better yet, upon closer scrutiny they all look to be winners. I am so excited, and so grateful to God for providing this windfall.

And so, without further ado, here is what will be on my nightstand for the next few weeks (or rather, in my bathroom, as the only real reading I get done is when I lock myself in the bathroom and take an extra long time brushing my teeth):

"Answering the 8 Cries of the Spirited Child (Strong Children Need Confident Parents)" by David and Claudia Arp - Have just finished this and it is AWESOME. Highly recommended.

"We Should Do THIS More Often: A Parents' Guide to Romance, Passion, and Other Preschild Activities You Vaguely Recall" by Lorilee Craker - Does romance go out the window when children come in? Short answer: Yes. This is a great, much-needed read.

"Family Driven Faith: Doing What It Takes to Raise Sons and Daughters Who Walk with God" by Voddie Baucham Jr. - We heard him speak several times last year at the homeschool convention, where he was the keynote speaker, and he is amazing, awesome, brilliant, etc. I have started this book and it is similarly wonderful. He has lots of other books we want to get as well.

"You've Got to Be Kidding: Real-Life Parenting Advice from a Mom and Dad of Nineteen" by Pat and Ruth Williams

"The Home Team: Spiritual Practices for a Winning Family" by Nate Adams

"Common Sense Parenting: The Essentials of Building a Christian Family" by Kent and Barbara Hughes

Looking forward to it!

Friday, June 25, 2010

Note on Residual Nausea

If you remember my original posts on residual nausea, or HG nausea (in varying levels) that continues past pregnancy - either in constant levels or in being "nausea-prone" - I concluded that it must be pretty rare, as it was only myself and one other mama who reported it. However, in the past 24 hours I have received comments form 2 more HG mamas who have also experienced post-pregnancy nausea issues. That makes 4 of us - Anna, aren't you glad we're not alone? :)

Unfortunately there is little to no literature and/or research on this one out there. The two OBs I have asked about this gave me the deer-in-the-headlights look and then quickly changed the subject. Maybe sometime I'll post on my birth lists to find out more info on the subject if any exists in the midwifery community. Definitely a rare complication of a rare disease - not something likely to be burgeoning with research and information.

Cheers, all!

Turn it UP! UP! UP!

So. Big churches and loud music. Why are they intrinsically linked? Is it cause and effect? Effect and cause? Is it just because musicians (and thus soundbooth guys) are often a bit deaf from over-exposure to loud music, and they just turn it up too far? Is it because this generation grew up on rock, and we're all deaf?

DH and I have been discussing the church we had been attending (church #3), and both of us find the music (though very good!) to be painfully loud. The question: Is this a deal-breaker, or do we just need to buy ear plugs? We're still debating. Regardless, we WILL be buying ear plugs before we go back to that church. The pain isn't worth it!

Speaking of loud music, here's a good one:

At the church we briefly attended (the hyper-Calvinist bastion), they have evening services which are "contemporary contemporary" and which are known to be a bit on the loud side. Well, we attended one evening on a day when we didn't make it in the morning.

Never again!

When we walked up (we were a bit late), I noticed with some trepidation that not only was the building shaking.... the ground was shaking. When we walked in and took a seat, I was shaking! Literally - every fiber of my being was vibrating to the intense sound which was pounding from the floor-to-ceiling speakers. I gave up trying to sing pretty quickly - not only could I not hear myself sing, I couldn't even feel myself sing. It was like a total loss of self-identity - I had become one with the music. I could have died of a heart attack, birthed a baby, or set off a small (or large) bomb in the back row, and no one would have noticed - because it was that loud.

Afterward, I told DH: "If you ever come back, I hope you enjoy it!" :)

On a more serious note. Has anyone ever studied the negative impact that churches are having on their community's hearing? We can wear ear plugs if we want to, but what about kids who come in with their parents and are getting blasted every week? It's an interesting question - the interface between the church and public health.

I'd write more, but I have a cranker-baby on my lap - more later! Love to all!

Writings of Another HG Mama!

I have been corresponding with a local HG mama, and she has written out her experiences with HG. Check it out:

Severe Morning Sickness

She has also written out her tips for dealing with morning sickness/HG:

How to Cope with Morning Sickness

Thanks for the tips!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Church Shopping

We have now been gone from our church for six months - how the time has flown! I miss it dreadfully, but am doing my best not to think about it too much and to focus on the future.

Anyhow, when we first left, we automatically started attending the church where I have done women's ministries for many years, and we thought we'd end up there. However, over the past few months, we decided that we wanted to start looking again. There were numerous reasons, a big one of which was that DH couldn't stand the militant Calvinism. Our former church was also Calvinist, but in a gentler, background sort of way so that people of many beliefs in the Calvinist/Arminian spectrum could attend comfortably. Not so this church! They are more along the lines of: "Thank you for attending this morning! You were elected to be here. Please greet one another and then join us in reciting the Doctrines of Grace. The non-elect may leave before the sermon."

Okay, it wasn't that bad - but they are overtly, obviously, constantly Calvinist, and DH couldn't take it anymore! We're both in the middle on the spectrum, so militant Calvinism isn't really for us. There were other factors too, so we decided to start looking.

So far, we've seen three churches:

(1) Large (~800) Baptist church. My first time ever in a Baptist church. Great pipe organ, choir, orchestra, and we also found some friends of ours there. The downside: A choir director who feels the need to give speeches before every song (and since they only sang 1-2 verse of each hymn, it meant that worship was mostly speeches!), and a bit too formal for me. Having spent most of my Christian life in California-surfer-type churches, the suit-and-tie atmosphere was a bit intimidating. But we might try it again.

(2) Moderate-sized (~150) Presbyterian church. My first time ever in a Presbyterian church! Good, solid theology - no complaints there. Downside - possibly a bit dull, and the music was very basic.

(3) Large (1000+) ultra-modern mini-megachurch. Modern music, ultra-casual dress, etc.

My conclusions?

First of all, I'm not a fan of church shopping with kids. Without kids, it was kind of fun. With kids, it's much more difficult, in knowing that constantly flopping from church to church is unsettling for the kidlets - esp. since our eldest DS is going through a rather puzzling "But I don't wanna go to church!" phase. So beside dealing with that, we're also dealing with trying to find something that suits both us, as adults, and our kids. We can't go to a church that DS hates and dreads, no matter how much we like it.

We've decided to camp at church #3 for a few weeks to see how it goes - for us and for DS. We liked it a lot, with a couple of reservations, so we're going to see if it's a keeper or not. If not, we'll hit the road again.

Have a great night, all!

Week #2 Task Postscript

As I planned, I got out our wedding pictures and looked over them with DH tonight. So much fun to remember! Even with an energetic 4yo looking on, whose main concern seemed to be about the wedding cake and when he could have some. :)

But WHOA - I only got married 7 years ago! I had no idea how much we'd aged! Yikes! And also how much weight we'd both gained! (*Ahem*) Ah well... guess we're becoming an old married couple. There are worse things.

Additionally, on a more depressing note, I was amazed to see how many couples were at our wedding who are now divorced. So sad. I counted at least six couples who are now divorced, not to mention all the dating couples who broke up (that's expected), and a considerable number of people who have died. Frankly, being at our wedding was apparently not a healthful exercise - physically or relationally!

Task #2 - now completed!

Vintage Morning Sickness

Jill at The Unnecesarean (one of my favorite birth blogs!) posted this ad and accompanying article (1959), with her commentary, on the anti-nausea drug Mornidine (Pipamazine) - a drug I'd never heard of!

Mornidine: Now She Can Cook Breakfast Again

This is not of any interest for modern morning sickness help - just an interesting glimpse into the past. Enjoy!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Morning Sickness Tips

These just in:

From Enjoy Birth: A sheet of tips posted by a mama who wrote down all the morning sickness helps that worked for her:

Miserable with Morning Sickness?

From my friend Jen, who is now SEVEN WEEKS with their precious little embryo adoption babies:

List of Morning Sickness Helps

Love seeing resources out there!

Completing Him Challenge: Task #2

Week #2 Task - And I'm only two days late! :)

"June 14 – Post Pictures from your dating days (or tell us all about it!). Think about one thing you used to do or have as a couple that you have lost in the shuffle of life. How can you regain it?"

She elaborates:

"Purpose this week to do something that reminds your husband of the youthful wife you once were - maybe it's wearing something you know he loves on you (remember we dressed to please back in those dating days!), go somewhere you both used to enjoy going together - alone!, look at photos together of the "good ol' days", watch a favorite movie, or just simply sit together talking, listening, dreaming, holding hands, rubbing his back, and simply paying attention to the amazing husband of your youth! Treasure him this week!"

Boy, is it easy to forget romance and relationship once kids arrive. Oh, my goodness, it's amazing how fast all that stuff goes out the window. Even though I swore it never would. Round-the-clock insane busyness, constant exhaustion, the never-ending needs of babies and small children - I completely understand how marital romance is lost once little ones arrive. Before I got married I read all those Christian marriage books and swore that I would always be the perfect, romantic wife who met her husband's every need and never forgot the romance. And now? Hmm... well, I do my best to be dressed when my husband gets home and to be reasonably cheerful, but - romance? Our last "official" date night was... hmm..... well, it was so long ago that I can't remember it! Oh yes, I think it was about a year ago. The one before that was multiple years prior.

The lesson? Keeping a marriage healthy after kids is HARD! That is why I need this challenge!

So, our dating story:

I actually saw my husband about six months before I met him. He was playing Judas in a Passion Play at our town's local megachurch, and for some reason I went to see the show. (The show, by the way, was an awesome show - it was The Masterpiece by Keith Ward, with music to die for that I still listen to around Easter. You can see a picture of my DH as Judas if you click here and scroll down to "Judas Remembers". The pictures on the site are of the first run of the show (DH was in it three times) at the church where I saw it.). He did a great job!

Six months later, a friend of mine, Becky, invited me to her annual Halloween/Harvest party. I went, even though I was desperately behind in my organic chemistry work, and I also had a new liturgy to learn to play in the morning at my church where I was the organist. I dressed like a farmer - the only thing I could throw together last minute without going shopping! I showed up on time, and, as Becky hangs with the theatrical crowd, I was therefore the only one there for the first 30 minutes! So we got to hang out in the bounce house and chat for a while, and had a lovely time catching up. Becky and I had been friendly acquaintances in high school, but our friendship really blossomed after graduation, when we were each attending different colleges. (There's a reason for that, but that's a whole different story! Suffice it to say that it was the most interesting love quadrangle you've ever seen. No, make that a love quint-angle.).

Anyhow, after that, the second guest arrived, and lo and behold, it was "Judas"! Becky said "I'd like you to meet my friend Joe," and so we were introduced. Our conversation that night was very basic and brief, but I did go home rather smitten, as, I found out later, did he. And I don't even believe in love at first sight! :)

Our acquaintance continued to unfold over the next month. The next time I saw him was when we both showed up (unknowingly) at Becky's choir concert. The three of us spent the evening after the concert talking together at a Denny's (a horrible, filthy, disgusting Denny's - please don't ever go there!) and having a wonderful time despite the revolting ambiance and the deplorable service. After that, we both had an excuse to see the other, through our mutual friend Becky, and so we got to know each other. Becky eventually acted as our go-between, and Joe asked me out officially the week before Thanksgiving.

We dated for a year and a half before getting engaged, and then were engaged for one year before getting married. So many fun memories!

Our courtship was not, however, always a bed of roses. My mom disapproved of me marrying "young," and of my marrying a man who had not graduated from college and whose income was not stellar. There were plenty of fights and lots of tension in the house. As a matter of fact, one of the worst fights I ever had with my mom was the night Joe and I got engaged, because she found out (through a slip-up) that I was considering going to culinary school instead of getting my Master's Degree, which had been my original plan though I had little interest in it. As a result of that, we never ended up telling my parents that we had gotten engaged. What a weekend - that would make for a story in itself.

Additionally, I was in the process of discovering my Christian faith, and Joe was a bit back-slidden in his faith at the time - which created its own set of complications. Our debates and conversation, though, were a great growing exercise for my faith, as was the clash between his ultra-Pentecostal and my Lutheran upbringings.

Anyhow, we got married at a lovely little Lutheran church - not my own church, which was too small (and ugly!) to get married in, and then went on a 10-day camping honeymoon up the coast of California - Joe's first encounter with camping! We had a great time. Shortly thereafter, we moved one state away to our new home in Arizona, and have been here ever since. Marriage, like all post-high-school experiences, has been an intense growing experience and an ever-present source of surprises and challenges. What a time it has been!

Okay, that was fun! Now I have to think of something "dating-days"-ish to do - I think I'll get out our wedding photo book to look through with hubbie. That should be fun!

Second week's challenge - CHECK!

Monday, June 14, 2010

An Uncertain Birth Future

A few days ago, I received the rather upsetting news that our midwife, due to a new practice partner, will not be able to accept the bartering arrangement by which we have "paid" for our two births (we've done computer services for birth services). The question now: Where does that leave us in case of another surprise baby?

Here are some of the options I can think of (good and bad lumped together):

(1) Pay cash - nearly impossible, as our finances can be described by the term "shoestring"

(2) Traditional OB care and hospital birth - Not even an option.

(3) Traditional OB care with "oops!" unassisted homebirth

(4) Unassisted pregnancy and birth

(5) Trying to find a midwife with discounted prices for bartering or using a senior student as primary caregiver

(6) If my husband changes jobs, hoping that homebirth will be covered by a new insurance. Or using a "flex spending account" - not quite sure what that is, or if it's an option.


While I completely support a woman's right to UC (unassisted childbirth), I'm not comfortable with it for myself, for three reasons: (1) I know quite a bit about birth, but my husband does not; and a woman in labor is not the best midwife in the world, (2) something could easily happen outside of our ability to handle it, (3) both of our babies have had a hard time at the end of labor, especially our last, who required some resuscitation and suctioning. Not fun to handle solo.

However, at the very least it looks like we might have to face the chance of losing our midwife. I guess we'd live through it, but we are really bonded with her and would hate to lose her. Kind of an upsetting transition!

Of course, this is all entirely theoretical. We have not yet come to a peaceful answer to the "Are we done or not?" question regarding childbearing. But I'm one of those uptight people who likes to have theoretical future situations resolved in advance, even if they may never materialize! So here is yet another question for us to ponder.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Doing a Summer Challenge

I found this randomly in a blog I just started following:

Completing Him Summer Challenge

And on a lark, I decided to do it! It looks easy, helpful, and not very time-consuming, so it shouldn't be hard to keep up with (though with my blogging skills, I'm sure I'll manage to be late with most of the tasks). And I can't figure out how to do the button (my button skills are weak lately), so I'll just have to leave the link. But in the meantime, it should be fun!

This week's task: "June 7 - announce to your readers you are participating by posting the button on your site and leaving your link below. Optional: Embed the HTML from this video in your blog post!" As far as I can complete that, I have. Check!

I've been meaning to do a "life update" for the past month or so, so I'll hope to do that soon. I really need to learn how to do short and sweet updates rather than saving everything for the great-American-novel type of update - my blogging life could improve if I could learn that skill! In the meantime, enjoy your summer! (Personally, I'm just counting the days till summer is over.... I am SO not a heat fat!)