Happy Memories tribute to Uncle Dave

6 Oct

A week ago my Dad’s older brother, my uncle Dave, had a brain aneurysm. It’s terminal. It’s been a stressful week. There are so many anxious, sad, mad, confused and cynical thoughts going through my mind this week. As I talk with relatives I find out I’m not alone. We are going through a hard time.

On Friday he will be taken off of life support and will be allowed to pass away at his own pace. It was his wish that his organs be donated. So like his best organs will go on to preserve life, I too wish to preserve/ celebrate life with my best memories of my uncle.

When I was a kid, I was a super picky eater. My parents believed in encouraging their kids to always try things we don’t like to the point that I always had to pick the mushrooms and onions off of my pizza. (I now love both and believe in the same principle, btw.)

My uncle Dave made amazing pizza. I would venture to say it was probably the best in the history of ever. Whenever we would go to his house for dinner. He would make each person their own pizza. This was always to my absolute delight as he would let me pick whatever I wanted to put on MY personal pizza. After I had told him that I wanted green olives, pineapple, and pepperoni, he would meticulously decorate that pizza with evenly and thickly loaded care. Of course he topped it all off with tons of cheese and baked it on a glass pizza pan. It was soooooo good! I forgot to mention that it was always a home made crust. Thick and fluffy…. I will miss the pizza and I will miss uncle Dave but more then that I’ll remember that he lovingly made it for me.

I know it’s a silly memory, but I was a kid. Kids remember the people that do special things just for them. That’s how I want to remember this special man. I also remember how whenever we visited he would speak well about me. I felt confident and respected.

After I finished high school and moved away I saw him a lot less. I never got to know him as an adult. I wonder what I would be writing today had I known him on a deeper level. I think my last special memory of Uncle Dave was at my wedding. When I looked down into the crowd of my loved ones. I saw my big, strong, bald uncle with glistening eyes. It warmed my heart.

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Mom, Dad, Uncle Dave, late Aunt Karen, Sprout, Aunt Lynn and us at our wedding reception. 

If you knew him well, would you share a good memory or trait about Dave? Something that you loved? Comment below or send me a message.

 

A new kind of worship

27 Jan

On Sunday I left Micah in the nursery with the nursery worker. Gasp! How non attachment parenting! I went into service and, “did my best” to focus on the worship music and then the sermon. My best was very weak. I felt like I was literally holding myself in the sanctuary. I kept checking my phone to see if the nursery worker had text me. Nothing… I was literally looking for a reason to leave and go see him. Finally my milk let down so I ‘had’ to go…  I thought, “I’m ridiculous.”

During that time I gained one helpful, spiritual-growth type of lesson. We were singing an older song that goes, “…in all I do, I honor you.” I had this epiphany that my worship has taken on a new look. My genetic makeup has changed and my worship is now that of a mother’s. When I am changing a poop explosion, I can give God my worship. When I’m comforting a gassy crying baby, I honor God. When I’m at my wits end in the night, it is my ‘sacrificial’ worship. When my nipples are sore from feeding through a growth spurt, I nurse my baby and pray, and worship. (TMI? This is the real deal people!)

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My worship is beyond a prayer and a song. It’s serving God by taking care of the treasure he’s gifted me with, while using the talents he’s given me, even when it’s hard. I can’t explain the amazing patience I’ve experienced, or joy when I should be crying of exhaustion. The verse that says “when I am weak, then I am strong.” is so relevant right now. How could I really do this as the person I used to be?

2 Corinthians 12:9-11 (NIV)

“9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

Am I ridiculous for needing to go to my baby? Some might think so. I think God’s blessed me with a new form of worship. In all I do, I will delight in the Grace that is sufficient and worship the one who made me who I am. In all I do, including figuring out what this weird and amazing attachment means that’s between me and my child.

Just to clarify, I’m not worried about leaving my baby with the people in the nursery. I’m not worried about being apart from him for a little while. I worry a little bit that he’s chewing on a toy that’s not his, but really that’s not the feeling I get in my gut when I’m apart from him. It’s not fear that somethings going to happen. It’s simply separation. We are literally ALWAYS together. Being parted even for an hour is simply a break in the new normal. It doesn’t feel right. I think that’s OK. We were literally attached for the first 9 months of his physical existence…. I think I’m allowed to feel a little weird.

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Any other mama’s go through a paradigm shift in your first months?

Dealing with a bad day.

22 Jan

Today has been a hard day. I attended the wake of a man I knew last evening. Since hearing about his death I just haven’t felt settled. Seeing his family grieving yesterday, each in their own way, has been drawing me into a deeper reflective head space. I want to be alone to ponder and digest what’s happened, what they’re going through, how to respond.

But, I am a mom now. Before that I’m even a wife. I woke up grumpy, feeling drained of emotion. Hubby was chippy with lots of love and questions that I wasn’t ready to reciprocate, baby was fussy and wanting more of me then I was ready to give. To top it all off Micah grabbed for my coffee spilling it on the couch. “Ugh, can I please go back to bed? I’m not ready for this yet.”

The answer is, “no”, I don’t get to reset or hide from these feelings or perceived problems anymore. They are the wake of my existence now. It’s hard, but is it bad?

I really don’t think that all things hard are bad. In fact I think the hardest things are what make the world better. Grieving losses, having to be intentional, putting forth effort and setting priorities; lead us to learn patience and self control along the way. Today, hard is, waiting patiently for that ‘moment to myself’ to ponder the things that are on my heart and I appreciate it. I’m not scrolling Facebook or Pinterest! lol

So, I made another pot of coffee, set the diffuser, put the baby down for a nap. (Thank God he cooperated and went down for a nap!) And- here I am, in the middle of my day reflecting.

Allowing it all to settle down in the depths of my heart where it belongs.

Not floating precariously around in my head where is causes confusion and angry emotions.

Soaking, praying, singing, writing.

Just for a few minutes.

The baby will wake up soon, I’ll reach the bottom of my mug, but I’ll cherish this quiet moment.

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oops! Sorry Mommy. Did I do that?

Micah’s story: Birthing Micah (part 2)

19 Jan

While I was laboring with my ‘pillars of woman hood’  I kept having thoughts about my husband. I have a philosophy that I think women should help women in labor and that their presence and experience was going to help me have the story I wanted. They were amazing! But where was my husband? He had been my Doula until just this afternoon, but lately I had hardly seen him.

Most of the time he was watching me or working on feeding my team. I asked for him while I was laboring on the toilet so my doulas picked up on my need for my man. They helped hubby be the one I leaned on and told him how to hold me so that I was secure. I think they liked the opportunity to get me into yet another position and used my need for my man as an excuse to get me to try something different.

I often felt that being re positioned was annoying. I was so in my head that people telling me what to do felt like when I was a teenager and had just woken up to hear my parents telling me to get ready for school. Necessary but annoying😀 (I wouldn’t have asked for anything else!)

I obeyed because I knew they were trying to get this little guy to move. He was fidgeting inside my pelvis and inside a nice gushy sac of amniotic fluid that was still comfortably (to him) in tact. As I danced with hubby I felt calm and re energized. I was then going to try some other positions and get this baby going!

I rolled my hips on the birthing ball, and hung off of a sling that was secured to the ceiling, laid on my left side, I laid on my right side. Finally I carefully slid off the bed into an extremely intense goddess pose. GUSH! MY WATER BROKE! Well sort of. It felt like a gush to me but it only looked like a trickle to those who’d seen birth before. But it was movement. It was a step in the right direction. It was exciting and comforting. Some of my water broke.

Hours had passed but I was so inside my head and so focused through each contraction that I didn’t notice the time going by. I started to hear my party talking about what day Micah would be born and I wanted to birth him quickly. I prayed and breathed a low loud “ohh” through the next few contractions. People continued to talk about birthday. At that point I rallied some consciousness and asked, “Where is Val?!”

She answered me from the end of the bed very close by, “I’m right here Gina, what do you need?”

“What are we waiting for?” I asked a bit impatiently.

She replied, “Do you feel like you want to push?”

“I think I’ve wanted to push for the last hour!” I replied almost crying with emotion, excitement and prospect. This is what I’d been waiting to do!

Val checked my dilation and I was pretty much at 10cm, close enough that pushing was safe. So on my back with Hubby supporting my shoulders, Alexis on my Left side and Jodi on my Right, mom watching behind Alexis and Val, Dad waiting in the guest sitting area, I pushed! I pushed with all of my might. I pushed for an hour, switching between pushing on my back and laying on my side. I didn’t want to be off the bed and switching between positions was because my little babe was coming into the world looking up! Because the lower part of the membrane was still in tact Val used a tool to loosen it but my next push caused it to make a very wet burst. I was unaware of how messy it was, and I’m glad. I was so aware of my thoughts and feelings and my baby yet pretty much un aware of what was happening in the world around me. I felt protected and nurtured. When I was resting between pushes I heard news that my secondary midwife had arrived but with my permission she was going to attend a birth in another room in the center. Someone else was in distress. My heart suddenly went out to that woman and her child and I prayed a silent prayer for her. Of course I sent the second midwife to her! I have 5 other people attending my birth, pretty sure we were fine.

Moving though contractions used the most mental stamina I think I’ve ever used at once. Pushing took that much mental stamina plus an equal amount of physical stamina. I had more stamina than I actually thought possible. I walked and did yoga during my pregnancy but I was in no way fit to this level of work. It is amazing because my body and mind just did it. The encouragement, prayers and support of my team kept me going but there was also a very wild sense that God has made me for this, prepared me for this and I’m doing this! From about noon that day until a few days after Micah was born I had this blood rush sensation of numbness all through my face and parts of my head and neck. It was in one word, sensational. I felt good. I felt intense, but then I felt ready and more ready and come on baby!

Then Micah was born! In a flood of miconium he was hoisted onto my chest. I breathed and panted until I found myself again. The attendants were wiping the miconium from anywhere that he could ingest it and wiping him off a bit but I just wrapped my shaking arms around him. I kissed his head and beamed with joy. The last 28 hours of labor were a far off memory now. I felt so proud of myself and so thankful to God. It was about 1am August 6th.

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So many women desire this kind of story and for one reason or another aren’t able to see it happen. So I don’t take for granted this amazing experience. I don’t resent it in even one-single-way. Though parts of my story might sound snarky I was in a way more alive then I’d ever been and I felt like a bit of a mama bear.

After being so anamalistic for so many hours I started to remember what I had learned in prenatal class and prenatal breastfeeding. Get this baby to nurse! Well he bobbed around on my chest for some time and I helped him find what he was looking for but without much luck. More on that in a future post.

I kept Micah 100% on me for the first hours despite being asked about having him weighted etc. within the first 10 minutes. I simply smiled at the uninformed attendant and said no. No need to get hyper about it. Simple.

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While cuddling and trying to nurse Micah in the first hours my Midwife gave me some laughing gas and a small shot of pitocine. I then easily birthed the placenta and she went to stitching me up. I gladly took the laughing gas though in retrospect I don’t think I needed it and wouldn’t have done that if I could turn back time. I was so tired I just wanted to get things done, get cleaned up and hold my baby some more.

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After I was content that I’d held him as long as I NEEDED to, hubby took him and held him for the first time. He was such a perfect and proud daddy. Hubby stood by and helped with Micah’s apgar. I took a light rinse off type of shower (there was meconium EVERYWHERE) and put on some warm comfortable clothes. We settled into the bed and Alexis dressed Micah and handed him to his grandparents for the first time. Hubby sent his parents in Korea pictures of their first grandbaby. It was a quiet and special moment. We cuddled in bed and took pictures. I ate some weird quinoa dish and shared with whoever wanted some. I preferred the cheese and crackers mom brought me. (FYI Normally I love Quinoa)

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Alexis and Jodi went home to get some sleep and we left the center at about 4am with Val and my parents. I remember us putting Micah into his huge car seat with so much care. I sat in the back seat beside him because I couldn’t bear the thought of being so far from him as the front seat!😉
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My parents slept in the living room that night and Micah slept on my chest where I could hear him breath and feel him move. He was home!

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Micah’s story: Birthing Micah (part 1)

11 Jan

Thank God we were well prepared for this part of the story! It’s the climax in my memory. For as much as I loved being pregnant with Micah, I REALLY LOVED giving birth to him. I know that probably seems a little crazy and that’s why I’m so excited to share my birth story- because it wasn’t scary and traumatically painful. It was hard, intense, biggest challenge of my life, but not in ANY way was it bad. Like I said, thank God.

Early signs: For most of the third trimester I was having Braxton Hicks (practice contractions that basically feel like menstrual cramps) they didn’t get me too excited because I was aware that I would probably have some and that they were a good sign that my body was almost ready to birth this baby. I also started having birthing dreams around this time.

I remember one dream where I was laboring on my hands and knees while my midwife, Val, was near by. I received my baby without anyone’s assistance and it was all very quiet and peaceful. This is far from what the actual experience was like but it was beautiful, encouraging and a sign that my mind was at ease over the prospect of having my baby.

Other things that were happening during these early days were: crazy purging of all useless items in our home, laundering and sorting everything that had been gifted from his FOUR baby showers, exercising, eating dates like crazy, getting acupuncture, drinking red raspberry leaf tea, squatting, visiting the chiropractor, getting a massage, writing up a birthing plan, reading positive birth stories like it was the only thing in the library and online (Ina May Gaskins guide to child birth and Birthing from within where my favorites), calling my mom, and finally making some freezer meals. Which brings us to the story…

Labor begins: I was bustling about our kitchen late in the evening on August 4th. I was baking lactation cookies for the 6 ladies in my life who were due with babies in the coming weeks. I was up so late because August had been hot! The only time I was going to turn on the oven was at night. Even that felt a bit of a sin in this weather. One friend had already had her baby a few days “early” so I needed to get on things before my time came. While talking on the phone with a relative (multitasking) I felt distracted and just a little “off”. When our conversation ended I felt what I assumed was another Braxton Hicks contraction. I wrote it off and continued with my baking and packaging everything up. I wanted them to be ready for a pick up the following morning for the friend who had just had her baby. I had a fridge full of food that I was supposed to drop off to her from other friends (The Good Food Group). Things just felt a little crazy and busy so getting the cookies baked and packed up was crucial to me feeling ready to have Micah.

All night I had cramps that would wake me up. They were annoying disturbances, but not all that exciting. My hubby was suffering with a stiff neck all night and couldn’t sleep. He came to discover that something was up when he woke in the middle of the night to find me in child’s pose breathing deeply.  We slept off and on the rest of the night but woke early and called my mid wife on call. She encouraged us to get some more sleep. Hubby was able to crawl back into bed for another hour tops but I wasn’t able to sleep any more. I had been forcing myself to sleep all night so now resting was the best I could do. I ran a warm bath since I’d heard that was something that labouring women do. It wasn’t as enjoyable for me as I’d heard it is for other women. I had been in child’s pose when hubby found me and I pretty much wanted to be in some variation of that position for every other contraction. Thus the tub was not my comfort of choice. Rather counter pressure was the key. Hubby would use some of the tools we learned in our prenatal class and with our Chiropractor Jodi (who will come join us later). Learning these pressure points made a HUGE difference. Though I was so focused during the contractions, any pressure I felt in my back and uterus was alleviated by the counter pressure hubby was using.

Hubby was on all morning timing contractions, giving me counter pressure and warming up my heating pad. He was off the hook around noon when my girl friends aka doulas arrived. He subjected himself to the kitchen where he made us lunch and prepared dinner to take for the party attending my birth. It felt joyful when they arrived since they just busied themselves around helping me through my contractions. Actually Jodi took hubby to the bed room and gave his neck an adjustment after taking one look at him. (yeah! thank you!)

Their experience told them I should call my midwife, this was shortly after lunch. Things were getting a little more intense but I was still managing well. Val came and checked me out. My mucous plug came out (thankfully into the toilet) around the time she arrived. I was progressing well but only at about 5 cm. She left and told me not to transition until after rush hour.😉 My parents arrived at about 4pm. Mom and my doulas took me for a little walk down the street against my wishes. I just wanted to stay on my couch on my hands and knees doing child’s pose when a contraction would come. They felt that if I was more active that things would move along more. So I complied with much difficulty. I slipped into my running shoes and green socks and hobbled a few steps out the door stopped for a contraction. Hobbled into the fresh air, had a contraction. Got to the end of the side walk, had a contraction. Almost didn’t make it across the street, had another contraction. Walked a little further two more contractions…. I want to go back home!🙂 They took me back in, stopping at each point for another contraction along the way. The weather was beautiful!

The contractions at this point were really intense and the pressure on my pelvis was what was making it hard to walk. I felt like I couldn’t tuck my pelvis into walk up straight. I didn’t find out for hours later but my baby was turning a lot and spending time in a posterior position. FUN!

When we got back into the apartment building someone saw the stairs that go down to the basement and suggested I try them slowly with support. I felt at that point that if I comply they will let me back into my apartment. As soon as I stepped in the apartment I had the most massive and intense contraction yet. I vocalized louder, and my mind went blank. I only remember telling my dad off for taking my picture. (I don’t kow what happened to that picture.) We called the Midwife (it was now the middle of rush hour…irony) and she agreed we should head to the Birthing center. We beat her there by at least 20 minutes though it felt like hours. We weren’t permitted into the center until she arrived so I labored on a picnic table in the yard of the center.

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When she arrived and we were permitted into the room I was ushered into the birthing tub. It was warm and nice on my back putting a towel on the floor of the massive tub helped alleviate some pain I was starting to have in my knees. Jodi and Alexis were in the tub with me most of the time doing counter pressure and offering other options for positions and reminding me to keep my breathing and vocalizing low. They were really encouraging. They also offered me drinks after every contraction.

At some point I was told to leave the tub to try going to the bathroom. I had been drinking a lot and not peed in a very long time. The only time I was scared was when I got out of the tub. I was immediately so cold that I started shaking like crazy. I could see my bloody show all over the towel I was standing on and I was in such a focused state of mind that it didn’t entirely make sense. I was quickly comforted though. Someone threw a big warm blanket around me and then my team walked me into the bathroom. Sitting on the toilet was very uncomfortable. I knew it was necessary but it was painful on my back and awkward to have people I normally drink tea with hugging me and breathing with me. The funny thing about being in that moment though, was that its something you just go with. Its real and those people still want to be my friends. Actually, we are closer then ever.

to be continued…

Micah’s story: Pregnant with Micah

5 Jan

Being Pregnant with Micah was so much fun. I was beyond thrilled to be pregnant. I couldn’t wait at first for my baby bump to start to show, for the flutters to start inside and to tell all of our friends. When we went to the dating ultrasound at 15 weeks things got so real. We were so excited to see that little bean that was our son, developing inside me.

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It was soon after seeing the ultrasound that hubby started thinking about names. He came to me with the name Micah and we couldn’t think of a boy name we liked more.  The Hebrew meaning is ‘who is like God’, there weren’t any other names just right.

Telling “the family”
The family is a group of friends that started off as hubby and his roommates and their girl friends. Over the years the girlfriends became wives and then came baby#1. Mama#1 had bought the ultra pack of pregnancy tests only to conceive the first of the four pack. She generously gave the rest to me. I took them and stashed them until I thought I’d actually need one. Well if it wasn’t the first out of that box that I pulled out, and had the positive results!

I wrapped up the box like a Christmas gift and brought it for someone to open at our annual Family Christmas party. One of the boys, thinking it was chocolate, volunteered to open the “gift”. I’d written on the box and after a moment of inspection and uncertainty what the box even contained… mama#1 exclaimed, “Are you guys pregnant?!”  :D

Morning Sickness:
In January I developed “morning sickness” which was really anytime of the day sickness. I threw up at different times of the day and seemingly random things threw me off. I’ll never forget, the first time was at my chiropractors office. I ate a clementine in the waiting room and then ran for the washroom. I was embarrassed and worried about how my appointment would go. Thankfully my chiropractor is my good friend and the treatment didn’t cause anymore upset. Another time was at home and hubby was occupying the bathroom. I could feel my tummy turning but knew the current situation… I used the bath tub. We laugh about that one a lot. The other significant memory of all day sickness was when we were on our way home from a lovely dinner with friends. I knew I was nauseous even leaving their house so when we got in the car I knew it was a disaster waiting to happen. We got half way home (pretty good) before hubby had to pull off to the side of the road. Then he told me he needed something for the car and pulled into a parking lot (box store lot) so I left my mark at the stop sign, then again in front of the McDonald’s and finally in our parking spot in front of Canadian tire. I just curled up in a ball to wait for him to return.
Because the pregnancy sickness was so nasty I continued getting acupuncture treatment every week through my first trimester. The sickness had completely disappeared by week 24, yeah! finally!

Telling my Girlfriends
Telling a few of my girlfriends was one of the scariest things to prepare for. I wasn’t the only one who wanted a baby. For two of these friends I planned separate visits. But the results were almost exactly the same. PRAISE GOD!

Sitting on the couch, drinking tea and talking through our lives I timidly broach the subject, “I have some news, I’m pregnant.”

No joke, both friends in their respective visits literally or nearly jumped on me and laughed and before telling their families exclaimed, “Me too!”

These are some of the most joyful memories!

The next challenge I faced was recurring and quite awful migraine headaches. (That might have been the cause of the last described sickness). These headaches were so debilitating, I would just try to sleep for an entire day. Tylenol upset my stomach and there isn’t much else you can take during pregnancy over the counter. I went seeking out my medical team and all agreed that I was likely not staying hydrated enough. I was drinking a ton of water every day, but I was flushing out my electrolytes! Thankfully that was an easy enough problem to solve and sure enough, the migraines became fewer and further apart. If I did sense one coming on early enough and I got a power drink in me I was able to avoid it completely! I also took a little extra magnesium on a daily basis.

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Having my health back to normal and somewhat under control made such a difference in how I felt about the rest of the pregnancy. Plus it was about the same time my baby bump started to really show and the weather started to get lovely again. The world felt like the most amazing place to be. I would go for long inspirational walks with my other two pregnant friends and we’d talk about how we were feeling and any challenges we were facing. It was too much fun going through it all with them. Hubby and I were so dreamy in love with each other. We were always talking and dreaming about our precious child and what life would be like. I loved my body in its pregnant state better then I’d ever loved my body. I felt so beautiful and I loved feeling Micah moving around inside me.

Telling friends at church
The first friend I told at church was my friend Rachel. She did this cute little freakout with excitment. Pastor Greg was walking by and saw the interaction and jokingly asked, “Hey, are you guys pregnant or something?”

We affectionately answered, “Why yes we are!”

We told Sean and Helen after service. We shed tears and they gave us their prayers. It was a special moment we still treasure.

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Telling my Brother
I don’t know why, but I wanted to do something special to tell my brother he was going to be an uncle. I wanted telling him and his family to be a bit silly and light hearted but not over the top.
I made a certificate of promotion, from awesome brother to Uncle. I send it in a private message. He (thankfully) opened it with his smart and pretty partner standing near by. He read it and showed her and she said, “Gina’s Pregnant!”

Haha! I love how it took him off guard. I love my brother and his family and I love how they adore their nephew now.

In the third trimester I still felt pretty wonderful for the most part. Yet, comfortable sleep was difficult as I was getting so much bigger and my legs would ache and feel restless. I also found it harder to get around during the day. I was short of breath easily and my hips were wider then I ever thought possible.  Despite the discomfort, I was happy and peaceful. There were only a few weeks near the very end where emotions were running high. I felt sensitive to peoples remarks and I had some unexpected feelings of guilt related to my previous infertility.

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I loved being pregnant with Micah. I miss my beautiful pregnant body even with some of the limitations it brought. The rewards of carrying that body around are still with me happily in my memory. The blessing of carrying this child is one I could hardly feel worthy of. I can’t wait to share the rest of the story of how he came into this world.

Micah’s story: Conceiving Micah PG13

3 Sep

After two and a half years of longing to have a baby, Hubby and I found out we were expecting in December of 2014. It was the most amazing feeling when I saw the positive pregnancy test. The emotions that flooded through my body mind and soul were coming from every different direction. I’ve waited to share this story with the world because it was such a touchy subject I was afraid to say what we were doing and receive any criticism. I was too tender the deal with it anymore then I already had to. I was sharing and processing with many others who are going through similar trials. The friendships born from that pain are more then worth the time and waiting I spent. I also received tons of encouragement from my community. I can’t emphasize that enough. I’m so thankful!

What’s going on?
I have irregular periods which means irregular ovulation. That makes it pretty tricky to conceive… During those two years we spent a lot of time and money on me. I went to see a Naturalpathic Doctor. (You may have read about some of the other ailments she helped me with in earlier posts.) For the first year I focused on balancing my hormones and eating a diet that would encourage healthy fertility and health in general. I took some herbs as well and attempted to live a more stress free life.

The following spring I had seen improvements in my health and in the regularity of my cycle, but I still didn’t have any answers about why my cycle was such a mess. I talked to my family doctor and after a few tests she referred us to the fertility clinic. After feeling like a science experiment I was told I had a very common hindrance to pregnancy called Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS). It was such a relief to finally have an answer but also a  whole new level of scary in regards to the future of our family building prospects.

Our specialist did encourage us that it is not  impossible to get pregnant with PCOS, just difficult. He recommended I take synthetic hormones to force my period and ovulation. I asked if there were other options for treatment and I was told that there were not. Long story short, I wasn’t convinced. I wanted to be healthy so that I could conceive naturally. Treat the cause, not the symptom. I went home and did some personal research and found many many stories of how women with PCOS dealt with their condition, and got pregnant without the use of medications. Using my Naturalpath as my “am I being safe and intelligent” accountability, I dove deeper into the world of fertility diet and wellness. I saw little hints of improvement in my health.

Hope
It was that winter that Hubby came to me and said he thought God had told him we were going to be pregnant this time next year. We tucked the thought away to wait and see. This premonition filled me with hope and determination.

One more spring passed and after much deliberation Hubby and I decided it was time for a big change. I left my job working for the church to stay home and rest. I finished my days with an awesome team at the beginning of June, I did a few crazy things in July and early August with my youth group and then I slept! For about a week I just rested and tried to come down from my crazy busy and oh so important lifestyle.😉

Health
After hibernating for a few weeks Hubby had an idea for me. He’d been seeing a Traditional Chinese Medicine Doctor in the city for years, and he suggested I go and meet him and consider the treatment that he could offer. I went into my research mode again and with greatly renewed anticipation agreed to go and meet this doctor. When we sat down with him, he began by telling me his own story of trying to conceive with his wife for a long time. He talked about how timing has a big part to play in it. He talked about how the womb needs to be in the right condition to grow a baby. Like a field needs to be in the right condition to grow a crop, the womb needs to be warm and hydrated. He also talked to us about the spiritual component of his journey. Everything is connected. I felt deep in my heart that this was going to be different. I had my first acupuncture appointment and ordered a months worth of Chinese herbal medicine. For the next couple of months I visited this doctor for acupuncture twice a week and took my herbs twice a day. As I lay with the needles in me I would pray that this was Gods way of healing me, and I would pray for the many people I’d met who were struggling with infertility as well. My cycle which had been absent for over 100 days came around the beginning of the treatment and then again at the end of the second month of treatment. A two month cycle for me was really close together. Finally significant improvement! (And I didn’t have to take any synthetic hormones which was really important to me!)

Denial
My next cycle came 30 days after the first of my last cycle! It felt like a miracle because things were improving so much! I was so excited to see if my next cycle would come at 30 days. I continued to track my temperature and signs for ovulation and I thought I might have ovulated but my signs weren’t all quite where I thought they should be. After years of this kind of  thing it doesn’t really effect your emotions any more. I just figured that we will keep waiting and see what next month has in store. My period was late, my breasts were sore, my emotions were up and down, I was pretty sure I was getting my period about two weeks “late”. My friend was visiting over the weekend and kept pushing me to check and see. She’d noticed that I was eating a lot more then usual and was wondering what was up. Another friend who was trying to conceive at the same time was also pushing me to check. I was reluctant because when you have an irregular cycle you don’t check every time you’re “late” because late is only relevant to a “normal 28 day cycle”, which I most definitely did not have. Not to mention there is a lot of pressure when other people think you’re pregnant and you know how many negative tests you’ve seen. I was scared and sceptical.

The test
I woke up on a Sunday morning in early December about 3 weeks “late” and figured I might as well try. It would at least get my friends to stop asking. I took the test and just stared at it in disbelief. I had never seen the test look like that. My throat suddenly got really hard and my eyes filled up. I gasped a few gulps of air and let the moment sink in. It wasn’t sinking in, I set the test aside on the sink and went and sat on the edge of our bed where Hubby was still asleep. I sat staring into space waiting to understand. Hubby woke up suddenly like something loud and spontaneous had just happened but the room was quiet and still. He asked me if I was ok. I looked at him and said, “I don’t know!” My head was whirling.

I jumped up and ran to get the box and test to show him. He stared with disbelief just as I had. We talked about and googled the possibility of false positive. It was too good to be true for both of us. He then held me in our bed and we prayed asking for this to be true.

I called my family doctors office to get an appointment for the next day so that we could confirm. Church that afternoon was so difficult. We had friends come and pray for us and I felt so deceptive not saying, “I think  I really am pregnant this time!”

Finally!
We went to the doctors appointment the next day and confirmed that I really was pregnant! We booked our first ultrasound and called our parents to tell them the great news. We had finally conceived! The next weeks of keeping it a secret from friends and extended family were brutal. We only told a few of our closest friends so that if something tragic happened we wouldn’t be left to deal with it all on our own. I’ll save telling friends for the next story, Pregnant with Micah.

freezer quesadilla’s

27 Aug

So sometimes there is occasion to have your freezer stalked with delicious easy meals you can quickly heat and eat. Hubby and I came up with this easy idea together.

Freezer quesadillas are so yummy and easy to reheat. We completely made them and packaged them so that when we just need something quick to satisfy our appetite we can warm up a couple of these. We either throw a couple on a cookie sheet in the oven or warm one or two up on the stove top in a pan.

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Here’s how we made them…

Step1: assemble your favorite quesadilla ingredients. We chose mushrooms, chicken, green onion and shredded cheese is not optional. We used a simple marble cheese.

Step 2: make your quesadillas as you would if you were eating them right now. We fried up the chicken and mushrooms in a pan and chopped green onions.

Step3: in a frying pan or a sizzle pan cook the quesadillas for about 3min. on each side or until the wrap gets a little brown and the cheese is melting. Adjust the heat as needed.

Step4: let them cool! I set mine loosely piled in the fridge on a cookie sheet. Don’t package them until they are totally cooled or they will get mushy.

Step 5: package them up. We used squares of parchment paper to wrap around each delicious morsel then in groups of six we put them in zip lock freezer bags. I did a little more extensive labeling when I gave these to friends who just had a baby.

Lay them flat to freeze initially then when they are hard they can stand upright.  To reheat just place then on a cookie sheet at 350° for 5-10min. or in a frying pan in the stove top for 5min.


Très Yummy Popcicles

13 Jul

Yesterday I was melting. I sat with the fan directly on me and continued to sweat. It was then that my survival instincts kicked in and I was completely inspired to whip up a nice cold smoothie with some of this and that, from around the kitchen. When done enjoying my smoothie there was plenty still left over so I poured it into Popsicle molds and, “voila!”

It was the most delicious summer brain child I’ve ever had!

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Here is what I did:

Ingredients:
1 can of coconut milk
about 2 cups of frozen fruit I had a mango strawberry mix in my freezer
1 TBS honey

Instructions:
1. Add your frozen fruit to the blender and then add your coconut milk on top (so it doesn’t splash you)
2. Blend for a minute or so
3. add honey and more fruit if you want
4. Blend to your desired consistency
5. Using a small scoop or spoon, move the smoothie into your Popsicle mold and let it freeze overnight
6. Drink any leftovers in a pretty glass and enjoy!

Let me know if you try this recipe and how yummy you find it! I know that coconut milk is more fattening then what most people are looking for. You could substitute with Coconut- Almond milk though it might not have the creamy texture after it’s frozen. I like the coconut almond milk in smoothies though! Or just go for it with the Coconut milk, it’s good fat😉

Love ya’s!

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Simple Christmas Part 2: Gifts

12 Dec

Gift giving is a complete joy for some people and it is a stress induced headache for others.

This is incredibly true in my immediate family. My Dad is a gifter. He loves to think about people while he’s shopping and find things that are really great. I always love the gifts my dad gives. My husband on the other hand, really has to put his mind to it to get through the gift giving holidays. What to do?

Well we humble ourselves knowing that we can’t out do dad in the gift department. He’s the boss there. It’s good that he is good at giving gifts with a cheerful heart. As long as we are thankful he asks for nothing in return.

I know this isn’t the case with every person, in every family. Which is why it is important to ask ourselves what our priorities are and what we hope to achieve over Christmas. We give, without causing ourselves or anyone else stress. Remember part 1? Be honest. Find out what that means for others in your family as well.

Here is how I try to continue with the tradition of gift giving without getting stressed from all of the chaos of stores and the cash we leave there.

keep it simple and uniform. The last few years have been a bit tight on cash, and time. So instead of gifting to every person I gifted to the couples or families. A dollar store basket some cellophane, and whatever goodies are on sale at shoppers or Walmart was well received. I also have a favorite coffee shop that I was able to buy small bags of artesian coffee for the coffee lovers basket. Each basket came to about a $15 value. That could still add up if you have a big family, but you can certainly keep your baskets small and likely do something closer to $5 per gift.

Hand made. But only if you can start in September and it’s something you truly want to do! This can cut some cost, but only if you shop smart. If hand made makes you more stressed, then don’t do it! It is truly not for everyone. Sometimes you just have to know yourself a little and roll like that. This year I have been willfully unemployed since this summer, so I have the time on my hands to do this. With one income though, it needs to be cash savvy! Michaels has coupons on their web site everyday. As I have needed more yarn, I go in with my coupons and have been able to purchase every ball for under $4. I also have attempted to keep my creations simple so that I only need a ball or less per project. I’m also keeping it uniform by basically making the same thing over and over again but in colours and styles that suite each person. (Eg. a headband for my 16 yr old cousin and a headband for my ma look a little different) One of my friends suggested writing some poetry or a song for a loved one if that’s your talent. How about some homemade art, wood work, diy creation?

second hand. This was a no no in my family, but I’m happy to hear that some of my friends do this for their kids. Vintage toys, perfectly good used clothing and books are a great option, plus it is arguably a good move for the environment and depending on where you shop your supporting a good organization. I’d be so happy receiving consignment lovelies under my tree.

set limits. Why do I so often feel like what I’m giving isn’t enough? I made a list of everything I wanted to make for my family this year and this list was so unrealistic I had to scale back significantly. Why not stick to one simple gift that was given in love and thoughtfulness? Instead of a little of this and a little of that to make the gift look full and “complete”. This one is really hard for me, but I think it’s good one for me to work on. I know many people who regift, and get rid of much of what they bring home, or it becomes clutter. Clutter steals peace in the home too. A hot way of setting limits for gifting to children is: Something they want, something they need, something to wear, something the read. Four gifts. Still a lot, but maybe more manageable. Or do the $100 challenge. That’s spend no more then $100 on all of your Christmas gifts. For Heavens sake! Don’t go into dept for Christmas!

skip the stuff. Instead focus on memory making! Go see a play or a movie together (many churches have special Christmas musicals leading up to Christmas). Plan your Christmas occasion around activities instead of the gifts. (Bust out some bored games, minute to win it, sledding, snowshoeing, cross country skiing, crafts, making the meal together) Gift coupons! I’ve seen this a lot on Pinterest lately, here is one idea you can use for your spouse to have a gift that gives all year long! Here are some more ideas for how to focus on activities instead of gifts.

One Gift. Something we like to do with our friends is “Secret Santa” or “White Elephant“. These take a little more preparation beforehand, but they make for fun memories and significantly cut the number of gifts you might have prepared for otherwise. Make sure when playing these gift swap games that everyone knows the agreed on budget per gift.

I hope that in all of this hustle and bustle to give good Christmas gifts that you are able to take a moment to appreciate the person you are gifting to and enjoy the experiences that are made during that time.

Do you have any other ideas for simplifying your Christmas gift giving traditions?

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