Sunday, October 11, 2015

Ode to Naps

Oh my sleeping babes
Still, quiet, breathing deeply
I do love my naps

Thursday, October 8, 2015

50 Questions

There's this list out there called, "50 Questions that Will Free Your Mind" that I thought I'd give a try.  Honestly, I wasn't all that impressed.  My mind is definitely no more free than when I started.  Oh well.  Here are my answers anyway.
  1. How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you are? 26. Or 45. Depending on the day. 
  2. Which is worse, failing or never trying? Never trying. 
  3. If life is so short, why do we do so many things we don’t like and like so many things we don’t do? Laziness, fear. 
  4. When it’s all said and done, will you have said more than you’ve done? Probably, but I hope not. 
  5. What is the one thing you’d most like to change about the world? Make it more free from government interference. 
  6. If happiness was the national currency, what kind of work would make you rich? Hiking guide, if that's a thing. Being paid go hiking in beautiful locations. 
  7. Are you doing what you believe in, or are you settling for what you are doing?  Yes and no.  I am doing what I believe in, but I'm not doing it as well as I'd like. 
  8. If the average human life span was 40 years, how would you live your life differently?  I would do more, faster. I'd want to get it all in before I died. 
  9. To what degree have you actually controlled the course your life has taken?  83%
  10. Are you more worried about doing things right, or doing the right things? Right things. 
  11. You’re having lunch with three people you respect and admire.  They all start criticizing a close friend of yours, not knowing she is your friend.  The criticism is distasteful and unjustified.  What do you do?  Get really quiet and uncomfortable. Lose a lot of respect for these people. Stand up for my friend if I don't wuss out. 
  12. If you could offer a newborn child only one piece of advice, what would it be?  God loves you. Look to Him.
  13. Would you break the law to save a loved one?  Yes. 
  14. Have you ever seen insanity where you later saw creativity?  Yes, as my tastes change. 
  15. What’s something you know you do differently than most people?  Dream. 
  16. How come the things that make you happy don’t make everyone happy?  Because I'm not everyone. I'm me. 
  17. What one thing have you not done that you really want to do?  What’s holding you back?  Start a new business. Fear and laziness. 
  18. Are you holding onto something you need to let go of? Resentment toward some people. 
  19. If you had to move to a state or country besides the one you currently live in, where would you move and why? Ecuador. It's beautiful and inexpensive. 
  20. Do you push the elevator button more than once?  Do you really believe it makes the elevator faster?  No. 
  21. Would you rather be a worried genius or a joyful simpleton?  Joyful simpleton. Joy is the best. 
  22. Why are you, you?  Because I said so. 
  23. Have you been the kind of friend you want as a friend? No. I'm a terrible, lazy, antisocial friend. I'm lucky to have much better friends than I am myself. 
  24. Which is worse, when a good friend moves away, or losing touch with a good friend who lives right near you?  Moving. You can always reconnect with the nearby friend, but you can't make someone move back. 
  25. What are you most grateful for?  Redemption. 
  26. Would you rather lose all of your old memories, or never be able to make new ones? Yuck, I don't know. Both feel like they'd be equally horrible. 
  27. Is is possible to know the truth without challenging it first? Yes. You just feel it. 
  28. Has your greatest fear ever come true?  No. My children have never been lost or kidnapped.
  29. Do you remember that time 5 years ago when you were extremely upset?  Does it really matter now?  Yes, I remember.  I does matter now, because that was an extremely difficult time for me.  I made choices that changed my life and myself.
  30. What is your happiest childhood memory?  What makes it so special? Riding on a big inner tube in the snow, as it was pulled behind a truck.  I lived in Nevada at the time and snow was rare.  It was exciting and new and just so darn fun.
  31. At what time in your recent past have you felt most passionate and alive?  Dancing with Whig at Brandi and Marianne's wedding.  Or hiking up the canyon in Capitol Reef.
  32. If not now, then when?  Tuesday at 3:42 pm
  33. If you haven’t achieved it yet, what do you have to lose?  Relationships, time, energy, many things to lose.  But much to gain as well.  And always playing it safe makes for a dull existence.
  34. Have you ever been with someone, said nothing, and walked away feeling like you just had the best conversation ever? Not that I recall.
  35. Why do religions that support love cause so many wars?   Religions that truly support love rarely cause war.  Political ideologies, on the other hand...
  36. Is it possible to know, without a doubt, what is good and what is evil?  In some cases, yes, it's super obvious.  In others, you have to follow the spirit.
  37. If you just won a million dollars, would you quit your job?  Nope.
  38. Would you rather have less work to do, or more work you actually enjoy doing?  More work that I enjoy.
  39. Do you feel like you’ve lived this day a hundred times before?  Oh my, yes.  Wake up, get myself and little kids dressed. Eat breakfast, feed Ang and put him down for a nap, homeschool Dale while keeping Hamish from jumping on me, make calls/pay bill/etc, lunch, feed Ang, put Hamish down for a nap, nurse Ang and put him down for a nap, read or nap if possible, make dinner, eat, feed Ang... and on and on and on...
  40. When was the last time you marched into the dark with only the soft glow of an idea you strongly believed in?  The last time I started a business
  41. If you knew that everyone you know was going to die tomorrow, who would you visit today?  Whig, if it were possible.  My siblings, if not.  Mostly I'd just be with my children though.
  42. Would you be willing to reduce your life expectancy by 10 years to become extremely attractive or famous?  No.  Though it would be fun to be those things for a while, just to see what it's like.
  43. What is the difference between being alive and truly living?  Everyone's alive, but some people are just kinda phoning life in.  They let life take them where it may, they don't set the course.  They don't figure out what they REALLY want and go for it.
  44. When is it time to stop calculating risk and rewards, and just go ahead and do what you know is right?  When you know in your heart that it's the right path.
  45. If we learn from our mistakes, why are we always so afraid to make a mistake? It's how most of us were raised.  We're taught from a young age that mistakes are bad. 
  46. What would you do differently if you knew nobody would judge you?  Wear pajamas all the time.
  47. When was the last time you noticed the sound of your own breathing?  Beats me. Maybe when Ang was born.
  48. What do you love?  Have any of your recent actions openly expressed this love?  I love running a business, hiking, doing yoga, napping, reading, drawing...  I have been expressing my love of napping lately.  By napping.  And I've been expressing my love of reading by listening to audiobooks.  But other than that, I've been sadly neglecting the other loves in my life. 
  49. In 5 years from now, will you remember what you did yesterday?  What about the day before that?  Or the day before that?  Doubtful.  I will probably remember the week before last, since I had a wonderful few days with Whig before he deployed.  It was also the weekend of my best friend's wedding, so I'll totally remember that.  But since then nothing all that memorable has happened.
  50. Decisions are being made right now.  The question is:  Are you making them for yourself, or are you letting others make them for you? Both, because that's kind of how life works. But there definitely are things I can do differently that I'm not, because I'm tired and frazzled, trying to wrangle Hamish and Ang.   But that's hardly an excuse.  People have accomplished great things while wrangling babies and toddlers, so why can't I?  Quick! To the bat fax!
  51.  (I don't know what made me think of that quote.  It's late.  My mind is weird when it's late.  Twenty gold stars if you know where that line comes from without googling it.)

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

101 Achievements

 I read somewhere on the interwebs about writing down 101 things that you have achieved in your life so far. Since writing lists in pretty much my favorite thing ever, I decided to give it a go.  Some of my "achievements" are more "things I've crossed off my bucket list".  And I'm sure some things that are significant to me would not even rate a second thought to you, and vice versa.  But that's one of the great things about this list -it's my personal achievements, the things that were challenging or significant to me.  You should most definitely go do the same for yourself. It's a fun and uplifting exercise.

101 Things I Have Achieved in My Life (in more or less chronological order)

  1.  Learned all of those things you learn how to do as a child (sit up, crawl, walk, speak, feed myself, get dressed, etc) that as adults we kind of take for granted, but are really quite remarkable if you think about it.
  2. Was baptized, received the Holy Ghost, and was confirmed a member of the Mormon church
  3. Won awards in several local and state art contests
  4. Helped raise four calves
  5. Started my first business at age ten -I sold Laffy Taffy and baseball cards on the bus
  6. Used the money to buy a mustang (horse, not car)
  7. Once leaped off a galloping horse (he spooked)
  8. Got back on afterward, like a boss. (ok, there may have been some blubbering involved)
  9. Jumped off a two story building onto a trampoline
  10.  Played a song on the piano during sacrament meeting.  Didn't die. (I have an insane public piano-playing phobia)
  11. Helped found "The Guapas Chicas", an epic group my friends and I invented. We sang covers and original songs very badly and recorded them on a cassette tape. If you don't know what a cassette tape is, go ask your parents.
  12. Performed in a local church musical (Saturday's Warriors)
  13. Wrote and directed two extremely simple, super short plays for Young Women's activities
  14. Went to Mardi Gras
  15. Won $50 in a writing contest 
  16. Earned my Young Womanhood Recognition award
  17. Was president of my Seminary class
  18. Member of the National Honors Society and National Art Honors Society in High School
  19. Graduated high school
  20. Graduated seminary
  21. Attended BYU 
  22. Hid an unauthorized time capsule somewhere in the Eyring Science Center (it might still be there)
  23. Helped take down a bagel thief
  24. Lived in Mexico for two months
  25. Worked 4 part-time jobs to pay for the Mexico trip
  26. Went snorkeling
  27. Received my temple ordinances 
  28. Married Whig in the temple
  29. Graduated college
  30. Had a baby (That first one was terrifying! I did not know what the heck I was doing.)
  31. Lived on my own with a toddler and newborn for a year (well, the newborn was only around part of the year) while Whig was in South Korea
  32. Went to Korea for two weeks
  33. Gave birth to Gigi while Whig was gone
  34. Went on a cruise to the Bahamas
  35. Ate escargot (it's not too bad as long as you don't think about what you're eating)
  36. Played with a dolphin
  37. Went horseback riding on the beach
  38. Rode a horse bareback in the ocean
  39. Went parasailing
  40. Drove a segway
  41. Became certified to teach yoga
  42. Taught yoga for several years
  43. Patented an idea  
  44. Trademarked a name 
  45. Started a business in my basement
  46. Built a website (with the help of a web building site)
  47. Spoke for several minutes on live TV without throwing up on the hostess' shoes (I have an insane public speaking phobia)
  48. Designed a product that was an editor's pick in Better Homes and Gardens, and in the running to be in Real Simple magazine's "30 Gifts Under $30"
  49. Moved my business to a warehouse
  50. Oversaw a dozen employees
  51. Had a troll on my blog. Much fun was had.
  52. Was a witness in a small claims case. The good guy won. 
  53. Sold my business, even though it was heartbreaking, because it was the right choice
  54. Survived a horrible lawsuit 
  55. Learned to forgive (am still learning to forgive)
  56. Took Dale and Gigi out of school to homeschool them.  That was scary.
  57. Wrote a fairly popular series of articles on 72 hour kits
  58. Taught several preparedness classes that were lined up because people liked previous prepping classes I had taught.  So that was nice. 
  59. Compiled a cookbook of family recipes
  60. Painted several paintings for friends
  61. Made several quilled creations for family
  62. Raised chickens and ducks
  63. Completed two EHOPD Challenges
  64. Hosted Christmas dinner at my house for several families
  65. Ate alligator (Not a fan -too fishy.)
  66. Gave birth at home
  67. Gave birth naturally
  68. Have four awesome kids 
  69. Put Gigi in school this year even though it was hard to let go
  70. Am in the process of starting another business
  71. Am still happily married after almost 14 years
(This is where the chronological part ends)

I have...
72.  Lived in 8 different states in U.S. (Missouri, Texas, Nevada, Mississippi, Utah, California, Maryland, Georgia)
73. Swum in the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans and the Gulf of Mexico
74. Survived 2 (going on 3) of Whig's deployments to Afghanistan and Iraq
75. Potty trained 2 (going on 3) kids
76. Taught primary for about 7 of the last 13 years
77. Bought three homes, sold two
78. Been a landlord twice
78. Never wrecked a car (knock on wood)
79. Never had a speeding ticket (double knock on wood)
80. Read the entire Book of Mormon more than once (not sure on the exact number)
81. Read over 50 books on my "Book-et List"

I know how to...
82. Drive a stick shift
83. Ride a bike
84. Ride a horse
85. Rollerblade
86. Swim
87. Cook
88. Bake
89. Grow a garden
90. Mend clothes
91. Sew on a button
92. Play 3 hymns on the piano well enough to play in church
93. Do taxes (using turbotax, but still)
94. Change a wriggly, screaming toddler's diaper
95. Care for an infant
96. Do a front flip on the trampoline (at least I used to be able to)
97. Speak terrible, extremely limited Spanish
98. Recite the 13 Articles of Faith from memory
99. Do crane and wheel poses (yoga)
100. Recognize when I'm having an anxiety attack or bout of depression, and have learned coping mechanisms for both
101. Be a responsible adult

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Reading Challenge Update - February and March

As you know, I had my baby the beginning of February, so I wasn't in the right mental state to do much heavy reading.  Instead I read the Harry Potter series while I was nursing.  

Sure, none of them were on my list, but they're easy, entertaining, not too heavy (except maybe the last book, but even that one's not that bad) -perfect for those sleepless, foggy-brained weeks of newborn parenthood.  And now that I'm starting too feel more like a normal person again I'm excited get working on my list.
Next up, - Gift from the Sea Classics for Adults.

Happy Reading!

Friday, March 27, 2015

Dream a Little Dream of Me

My friend Harmony and I were main characters on one of those crime-solving TV shows.  She was the meticulous one who had perfect hair and clothes with lots of clean lines.  I was the loose cannon who dressed kind of like a homeless person. 

Harmony looked a little like Veronica from Better Off Ted, only not so harsh.

And here's me.

We walked down the hallway of a luxurious mall (which is apparently where the TV show was shot) and rehearsed our lines. Harmony delivered hers flawlessly.  I had completely forgotten mine so I made up something ridiculous that made us laugh.  Harmony then said my lines to me, so I complained dramatically at having such a perfect costar who made me look bad by knowing my lines better than I did.  I repeated her lines and exclaimed, "See! If you can play me, I can play you. Let's switch clothes!"  So we did.  Only when we were done she still looked like she just stepped out of a photo shoot and I still looked like I rolled down a hill in baggy pajamas.
I got over that indignity by jumping on my childhood trampoline.  I broke my glasses.  Then I returned to set where I untangled the harnesses of the pony and two sheep that were hitched to Dame Judi Dench's adorably rustic Easter wagon. My other co-star David Boreanaz showed up and told me (in character) that he didn't have feelings for me. I wasn't too worried, I knew my character got the guy in the end. I finally made it back to where the show was rehearsing to find out I wasn't in the episode. I asked for a cigarette so I could sulk properly.  Harmony handed me a pack and I took one out and pretended to smoke.  It immediately came unrolled.  She offered to fix it for me, but I insisted I could do it.  I tried to shove the dried mixture of tobacco, lavender flowers, and was that dried bacon? back into the paper and close it, but failed miserably.
Which is when I awoke to the sound of Hamish banging on my door yelling, "Mom, Mom! Iron Man!"  And here we are.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Birth Story

When I was pregnant with Hamish I read the books Spiritual Midwifery and Ina May's Guide to Childbirth, both by Ina May Gaskin.  They painted such a beautiful picture of natural home birth that I became more and more convinced that I wanted to give it a try.  I decided to have a natural birth with my current pregnancy and if it was a good experience I'd try for a home birth the next time. Well, that didn't happen.  I wussed out and got an epidural when Hamish was born.  But it worked out in the end, so I don't regret it.
Pregnancy number four made it's appearance right as we were preparing to move.  Between moving
 to a different state, buying a house, selling our rental property in Utah, and you know, life, I didn't give much thought to how I wanted to give birth.  Around Thanksgiving (month 7 of the pregnancy) I started thinking about it again.  I reread my pregnancy books and was converted all over again to the idea of a home birth.  I asked around and found out there was ONE midwife in our area that did home births.  I emailed her and she said she was available.  It took some time, but eventually Whig got on board with the idea, so I set up the initial consult and got the money together to pay for it (our insurance wouldn't cover the midwife).  Two days before the consult the midwife told me she wouldn't be available to attend the birth after all. I was devastated.
Gradually I resigned myself to a hospital birth, though this time I was determined to go natural.  I had many different strategies thought up to deal with the pain.  When the contractions were still not too painful I'd have Whig read to me, or play music or an audiobook on my Ipod.  I would walk the halls of the hospital, take a long hot shower, sit on a birthing ball, try getting in different positions, but most definitely NOT lay down in the bed, because I HATE feeling trapped there.  I need to move around to effectively deal with the pain.  I practiced relaxation techniques and rehearsed calming and empowering mantras. I reminded myself that Hamish's birth was nothing like I pictured, and this one probably wouldn't be either, but I still held that picture in my mind as a guide.
 About this same time I started the ball rolling to have Gigi tested for sleep apnea.  It was a much more involved task than I anticipated.  First I took her to her pediatrician and talked about our suspicions.  The doctor then referred Gigi to a sleep lab where she would stay overnight for testing.  Then I experienced the joy of nearly 3 months of phone tag, miscommunication, and incompetence as I tried to sort out tangles between the doctor's office, the sleep lab, and the insurance company.  Our initial appointment eventually had to be rescheduled, and the new date was two weeks before the baby was due.  I doubted it would be a problem, and set the date.
Time grew closer. Those fun third trimester aches and pains started. I got bigger and bigger until at 30 weeks I looked and felt like I was full term.  I did all those things you do before your due date.  I made arrangements for the kids in case I went into labor at night (which I had always done before).  I bought frozen meals and easy-to-prepare foods.  I bugged Whig about getting the baby clothes out of storage so I could wash them.
Friday, February 6th rolled around.  It was the day of Gigi's sleep study.  I began to be nervous that I'd go into labor while she and Whig were at the hospital. They were due at the sleep lab at 9 pm Friday night, they'd sleep there, and be done at 6 am.  From our house the sleep study hospital was 15 minutes west and the delivery hospital was 30 minutes east.  Also, I wouldn't have a car.  So, yes.  It was on my mind a bit.  I posted my worries on facebook that morning, hoping that I would be sort of anti-jinxing myself.  It didn't work.
I laid down with Hamish for a nap around noon a woke up to a text from Whig asking if I wanted to attend a going away dinner at 5.  I declined and tried to go back to sleep.  I noticed an unusual pain shooting down the outside of my legs. I googled it and found out that during the third trimester the baby's weight can compress nerves in your legs, causing cramps.  Yet another pregnancy pain to add to my growing list.
I laid back down for a bit, then got up and did some laundry.  I noticed the pain had moved up my legs to include my backside.  I grumbled to myself but didn't think much of it.  I didn't suspect labor pains because I had never experienced anything like it with my previous pregnancies.  Maybe an hour later I realized the pain was now in my lower back.  This is weird, I thought.  I began to pay more attention.  Around 3:30 I was sure I was having contractions, but whether or not they were the real thing was still unclear.  They were very irregular and still mostly in my back, though they seemed to be moving around to the front too.  I sent Whig a text that said as much, he responded that he was already on his way home.
Whig got home a few minutes later and we decided to see if we could find someone to take Gigi to her sleep study, just in case.  At 4:00 I texted a friend and explained the situation to her.  She agreed to take Gigi and stay with her overnight at the sleep lab if needed.  If we ended up going to the hospital we'd drop her off on the way.  I talked to another friend who agreed to take the boys overnight.  She said she was just leaving the house, so why didn't she come by and pick them up now?  She even volunteered to take Gigi to the first friend's house while she was at it.  Everything was falling into place perfectly, which was fortuitous, because that's when I started falling apart.

Immediately after arranging childcare I jumped into the shower.  The hot water helped me relax into the increasingly painful contractions.  They were getting stronger and closer together.  When I got out of the shower I told Whig we needed to go to the hospital immediately.  I threw on an undershirt and bra, and a pair of Whig's sleeping pants to tide me over until my jeans were done in the dryer.  I walked over to the sink to brush my teeth when my water broke.  I said, "Oh!" and jumped into to the tub.  Hamish came in and said, "Wa'r?"  I told him I didn't need the water turned on, thank you.  "Bubble?"  No, no bubbles either.  He saw me have another contraction and said, "S'rry Mama.  Mama, s'rry." and patted my leg.  I got back into the shower and rinsed my legs off. I went into my room and tried to get dressed, but couldn't seem to manage between contractions.  Whig came in from getting the kids ready to go and asked if we were going to make it to the hospital.  I told him I didn't think so.  He called 911.
From my bedroom I heard my friend arrive and start gathering up the kids.  I tried to move around, walk through the pain, but it was getting to the point where I couldn't do anything.  I could barely move it hurt so bad.  The fire department arrived.  I frantically threw a pajama shirt on before they walked in.  One asked me to lay on the bed so he could see if the baby was crowning.  Whig put a towel down and I laid on it.  No crowning yet.  I had the overwhelming urge to push.  The EMTs showed up.  (My friend told me later she was pulling out with the kids just as they pulled in.)  They came in and checked me.  The baby was crowning.
I was having my baby right there.

With four strange men in my bedroom.

I didn't care one bit.

When I imagined this birth, I thought I would have hours to prepare for the really bad pain.  My previous pregnancies always started with a long build up of contractions that slowly, gradually became more painful.  I was counting on that slow increase to help me get into the right mindset for the really painful contractions down the line.  Instead, my contractions seemed to go from 0-60 in 4.5 seconds.  Well, not 4.5 seconds, but in less than an hour.  Which is a very short amount of time when you're in labor.  In other words, I was not prepared for the pain.

When the firefighter first asked me to lay back so he could check me, I did not intend to stay there.  I was fully prepared to get right back up and walk, or get on hands and knees, or squat, or get in ANY position other than on my back.  Only I couldn't.  I physically could not move from that spot.  Even rolling over on my side caused such unbearable pain that I had to give up trying.  I was stuck there, on my bed, in the one position I hated most.  My mind kept screaming, "Get up! Get up! At least sit up some so you're not flat on your back.  This is the worst position possible! Move, darn it!  Tell that guy right there to help you up!" but I couldn't even speak the words.  My mouth was too busy yelling, "AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!  IT HURTS!  MAKE IT STOP! OW OW OW OW OW OW OW" for me to relay any instructions to the men around me.  Yes, as lovely and peaceful as I imagined my natural birth to be, it was not so. Not even a little bit.  I yelled.  I screamed.  I sobbed. I felt like I was in a cyclone, thrown to and fro by gale-force winds of pain. I had no control over anything.
I pushed.  I was amazed at how physical the urge was to push.  I had to push.  I needed to push.  I didn't have much control over that either.
The senior EMT began relaying instructions to the others in the room.  (This was the fifth birth he had assisted during his career.)  Someone grabbed the labor and delivery bag from the ambulance.  They spread some kind of covering down on the floor and bed.  They got out equipment, and did other things too, but I don't recall exactly what.  It's all kind of a blur. The junior EMT held my left hand, Whig held my right.  The fire fighters stood against the wall, waiting for instructions from the senior EMT.  (I found out later that this was the first shift the two EMTs had ever worked together.  At the start of the shift the junior EMT told his new partner that he would do anything but deliver babies.  He didn't have kids, wasn't married, and didn't plan on being so for a while.  He wanted his first experience with a birth to be with his future wife and child.  During the delivery he stayed right by my head the entire time, so he wouldn't see anything.)
I pushed, but it was slow going.  I wasn't making much progress.  The senior EMT tried to give me encouragement along the way.  I would yell, "I CAN'T DO IT!" and he would say, "You can do it." or "You have to do this." or my personal favorite, "There's no turning back now."  It actually was rather helpful, because I realized there was no use fighting it.  I might as well get it over with.
Whig was much better.  He prayed for me, he cheered me on, he let me know he was there for me.  At one point I declared, "I don't want to do this anymore!" to which he replied, "I didn't want you to do it in the first place!" in the exact right tone of voice to make me laugh.  It was tremendously helpful, to laugh. He held my hand and kissed my forehead.  I could tell he was scared spitless, but he was trying his darnedest not to show it. He made me want to be brave because he was being brave.
I was afraid to push too hard, afraid I would tear.  I could feel myself growing tired.  But I needed finish this.  I needed to have this baby.  I gathered up my courage and pushed again, as hard as I could.  And again.  So close.  And again.  I felt his head pop out.  If you've never felt a baby's head pop out of you, let me tell you, it's a singular experience.  I pushed one more time and his body slid out. Baby Angus was born.  It was 5:33 pm.
They laid him on my chest.  I laughed and cried and said, "Hey baby!"  He was rather slimy, covered in white vernix, but was still the most beautiful thing I had ever seen.  I tried to hold him, but I was too shakey.  I felt weak and in shock.  I asked Whig to take him.  I laid back and said, "Well that sucked."  My helpers laughed.  I tried to catch my breath and reorient myself.  I delivered the placenta, which was about one million times easier than delivering the baby, though it too was an extremely odd feeling.
The junior EMT gave me an IV. (After missing two different veins in my arm and giving me bruises I finally told him to put the line in the back of my hand.  I don't blame him, I've always had jumpy veins in my arms.)  The EMT who delivered the baby clamped and cut the umbilical cord.  Then he wiped baby Angus down and wrapped him in a foil emergency blanket thing and a regular blanket to keep him warm.  He told his partner that Angus had an Apgar score of 10.  The firefighters packed up equipment and threw away trash.  At one point during the clean up the senior EMT said, "My name's John, by the way. Nice to meet you."  We shook hands.
The junior EMT helped me wrap up in a blanket and they walked me out to the stretcher.  John took Angus to the ambulance where it was warm.  Whig followed.
 I was strapped down to the stretcher and placed in the back of the ambulance, where I got to hold my baby.  It was heavenly.  I felt such euphoria. I'm sure some of it was post-delivery hormones coupled with the sheer relief of not being in pain anymore.  Most of it though, was the joy of having my baby with me.  Of seeing his face, feeling his warm body in my arms.  It's a feeling I can't adequately describe. I kept saying, "I can't believe he's really here!"
The ambulance sped toward the hospital, sirens blaring.  Whig sat in the front with the driver, John was in back with me, periodically checking to make sure the baby was still healthy. I remember holding Angus and looking out the back window of the ambulance.  We were headed east, and behind us was one of the most beautiful sunsets I have ever seen.  The sky was bathed in a brilliant orange and pink glow.  It felt like the very heavens were reflecting the joy I felt.  It was perfect.

To be continued...hopefully.

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Reading Challenge Update - January

I finished six books from my 2015 Reading Challenge list and I must say I am seriously loving this challenge. 
My first book, Anne of the Island, by L.M. Montgomery, I chose because I had read the first two books in the series and was still in an Anne kind of mood. Aren't these books just lovely?  I read them when I was younger, and have seen the show many times, but I was surprised by how much more I enjoyed the books as an adult.  They are so full of charm and dreams and beauty.

My second book was Unbroken, by Laura Hillenbrand. I was surprised by how much I loved this book.  I was expecting a good survives-against-all-odds kind of story, but it turned out to be so much more than that.  Louie Zamperini was a truly remarkable man. His strength, determination, and fortitude were unbelievable.  The fact that he survived the war is nothing short of miraculous. Hillenbrand did an excellent job of packing this book with historical information without weighing down the story.  It could easily have been dry, but she brought it to life.  
I enjoyed this book so much I considered recommending it to my kids, but decided against it because of a few not very kid-friendly scenes. I was thrilled when I found out there was a young adult version of the book.  I immediately bought the audiobook and the whole family listened to it when we were out and about in the car.  Everyone loved it.  Many times during the book one or another of us would say, "Whoa" or "No way".  I remember one time in particular, we were just pulling up to a store when we reached an especially powerful part of the book.  My husband turned off the car and my daughter said, "I feel like might start crying!" My son responded, "Start crying? I did a little bit!" Whig and I admitted to getting teary-eyed ourselves.  It was a beautiful moment.

Unbroken left me on a WWII kick, so I picked The Hiding Place, by Corrie ten Boom.  Oh my goodness, what a book!  This one is my favorite of the ones I read this month, and that's saying something.  TJed really encourages you to highlight and make notes in the book you're reading, and I have a hard time of it, because I get so engrossed that I forget to write in it. But I marked the heck out of this one.  Not because I wasn't engrossed, but because there was so much to write!  This book is rich with history, but more importantly, it's full to the brim with examples of true Christlike love. I marveled at the wisdom of Corrie's father, the goodness of Betsie, the complete honesty of Nollie, the foresight and charity of Willem. Apart from Corrie's father, I think Corrie herself was my favorite person in the book because she was so human and accessible.  She struggled with the same doubts, fears, and weaknesses as the rest of us.  She wasn't perfect, and struggled to understand and emulate the goodness that she saw in members of her family.   Her insights inspired me.  Her growth helped me grow.  Her love for others, even her enemies, softened my own heart.  This is such a beautiful, life-changing book. I highly recommend it to everyone.  And take my advice, highlight and take notes in your book.  It really enriches your reading experience.

Somewhere in the middle of reading all these books I listened to Monster Hunter International, by Larry Correia.  I like listening to audiobooks when I'm making dinner or doing chores.  It makes the work less tedious.  My husband had listened to this one previously and recommended it, so I gave it a go.  This is a fun book.  It's not a classic by any means, but it is full of monsters, heavy-duty weaponry, libertarianism, and punching, so I enjoyed it. There is some language and loads of violence, so be warned.  Otherwise it was a nice break from my more ponder-worthy reads. 

I figured I'd finish up the WWII books on my list by reading Diary of Ann Frank. (The version I read is the complete one, which is about twice as long as the edited version I had read in High School.)  It's such a different experience reading this as a mother than as a teenager. I often found myself thinking, "Wow, she is such a teenager." or "Yep, I used to do that same thing when I was her age."  I think I'll read it again when Gigi gets into her teen years, just to remind myself how moody, confused, and conflicted teenagers can be, even (or maybe especially) in their own minds.  I didn't start marking this book up until the last half, when she's been in hiding about a year.  Before that it's mostly teenage angst and complaining.  But something changes, I'm not sure what, where she started becoming more self-aware, more mature, more desirous to improve herself. 

My final book this month was  The Great Brain, by John D. Fitzgerald.  I have mixed feelings about this book.  One one hand, there are some stinking funny parts.  I shared the chapter where J.D. tries to get the mumps with my kids and they thought it was hilarious.  There are also great lessons about kindness and looking out for others.  And I must admit, Tom is pretty ingenious.  On the other hand,  Tom is SO greedy and proud! It was driving me nuts, especially the way he manipulates J.D.  I was all set to seriously dislike this one, but the very end turned it around for me.  I love how much he helps his friend and that he doesn't (for once!) accept payment for it.  I gives me hope for book two, which I think I'll read next even though it's not on my list.  It's a quick read after all.

I'm excited at how many books I got through this month. Reading that many excellent books in such a short amount of time was a great experience.  I'm starting to get how life-changing reading the classics (and lots of them!) can be.  Here's hoping I'll be able to keep the momentum going after the baby's born!