23 January 2016

A Different Kind of Friday Night Dinner

I'm beyond happy to tell you that baby Five has arrived.  He was nearly a week late and after putting his mom through four days of progressive labor, he arrived at a fighting weight of 9 lbs 6 oz and 20.4 inches tall.  His hands and feet are ginormous and he looks just like his daddy.

His mama is doing great and happy to be home.  She so impressed me with her strength and grace.  The girl made hardly any noise during labor.  Not a curse word, not a scream, not even a complaint.   She had 30 minutes hard labor and ended the evening like she didn't just birth a giant baby.  It was as if she'd merely had an unpleasant dental experience.

At one point, She mentioned that it was too quiet.  I asked her if she wanted some music but a contraction hit so she couldn't answer.  After the contraction ended, Nephew asked her "How about some Skrillex?" then proceeded to "Cats.Boots.Cats.Boots.Cats.Boots" beat box.  We were cracking up laughing.  This is an example of how the evening went.

My nephew stood in it the whole way, he never wavered.  I was so proud of him, I could burst.  He didn't get grossed out (his words), he helped her when she needed it and more importantly, gave her space when she wanted it.  He made jokes that made everyone laugh.unfortunately extensive knowledge of hospital rooms and stays, he knew what to do to make her comfortable before she even really knew she needed it.  He adjusted her IV, he knew how to pack her pillows around her, and knew how to read the monitors.  He knew how to ask things from the nurses and doctors without seeming like the demanding, overbearing husband.

So, details.  She had been partially dilated, fully effaced, and having contractions the whole week.  Finally at 4:00 they went to the hospital when contractions were consistently five minutes apart.  The family arrived over the next hour and by 5:30, things were getting real.

However, her water wouldn't break.  All the other things were happening but her water wouldn't let go.  They did it for her and let her progress.  Then her cervix would only open fully on one side.  So, with the threat of pitocin lingering, they put her in a few different poses to help facilitate the process and told us that after an hour they would have to intervene. 

Right as we were nearing the one hour mark, I went out of the room for a moment.  The nurse asked how she was doing and I told her that her contractions were pretty consistent but that you wouldn't know it because you would think she was just resting.  The nurse said she would check on her again in a few minutes.

When I returned, the nurse came in and checked her.  (this is where I state the obvious: there is no such thing as dignity in the hospital, specifically during childbirth)  We watched as the nurse reached in and suddenly her eyes grew wide.  "Oh, there's the babys head!"

Suddenly there was a group of people in the room.  The baby had earlier pooed in the birth canal so they had the trauma birth team there just in case. Thirty minutes later, he was laying on his mama's chest, sucking his thumb, and looking at us like "Who the hell are you people?"

We loved the birthing team.  I don't know if  they are just quiet as a group or if they followed her lead but they were so quiet.  No raised voices, no sense of urgency, just encouragement.  They even commented about how strong she was during hard labor. 

Now, the fun stuff.  The boys weren't in the room at all.  Kevin, his brother and dad all waited out in the waiting room.  The kids were at their bio dads.  Her mom is in jail (I  think I told you that story?  in jail for the next eight years) so it was all of nephews family: his mom, his grandma (Kevin's mom), his sister, and me.  Her sister was on her way but things were happening so fast, it looked like she was going to miss it.

It turns out that she arrived on nearly the last push.  The nurse asked if she was allowed in and Niece was all "Sure, why not?" in between pushing.   I watched the sister come in, see the goings on, hesitate with goggled eyes, then with determination walk all the way into the room.  Unfortunately, the only space left was nearly head on with the delivery so we had a good giggle at that.  

Kevin's mom knew what was happening, of course, but she kept kind of losing the thread of events.  My sister-in-law gave her the tablet to play Candy Crush.  My hand to god, she sat not six feet away with a straight-on view of the birth and played Candy Crush.  Occasionally she would look up then return to her game.  At one point, she just said "Oh, he will be out with the next push" without hardly pausing her game. 

I texted Kevin a photo:
The other mother related story was right as things were starting to progress, my mother-in-laws cell phone rang.  She never has her ringer set below SHOUT and it's been a thing.  My sister-in-law snagged it out of her hands with ninja-like reflexes and shut if off.  Then she firmly put it down next to her and said "No." as if speaking to a small child.  Sister repeated "No." when she protested while the rest of us tried to hide our laughter.

I loved the maternity nurse too.  She put Nephew and I to work taking care of both his wife and the baby.  We helped bathe him, dress him, hold him while they did his bracelets, shots, and tests. Like his parents, he's the most chill baby.  He fussed a bit with his shots and he protested during the bath but he was otherwise just a happy baby.  I just so appreciated her kindness and the being given the opportunity to be hands on with him the first few minutes of his life. 

It will be one of my favorite memories watching Nephew care for his wife after delivery.  They were in their own little world and for once in my life, it was a Hallmark Channel moment to behold.  He helped clean her up like it wasn't gross, making self-deprecating jokes the whole time.  I actually heard him joke "It's like a crime scene, he murdered your vagina."  This made me laugh but I watched the nurses look at him in disbelief.  They laughed too, eventually.

There was no plan for all of us to be in the delivery room, specifically me.  I had planned on waiting outside, knowing it was going to be a quick delivery.  (she had C2 in the car on the way to the hospital)  But things did progress gradually that I was in the middle of it before I even realized what was happening.

And I wouldn't change a moment.  Because I didn't have children and I wasn't a part of any other the other births, my only frame of reference was high school biology and my Greys Anatomy medical degree.  While it wasn't angel singing, ethereal wonderfulness nor was it the melodramatic screaming and grossness.  It was fantastic and amazing.  One moment there wasn't a baby and the next there was.

Welcome to the wold little man.

10 January 2016

Photos of Gold

I am a glutton for punishment and brought home a box of photos from my parents house.  I figured that I had already sorted out quite a few into albums years ago, so it wouldn't be too bad.

And it's not, it's not a full paper box worth of photos but there were a few surprises.  Photos of my parents, who haven't seemed happy in years, actually looking happy.  Photos of me that I hadn't seen in years.  Fire department and fireworks photos that need to be shared.

One group were photos my niece found that were nearly ruined.  She showed them to me and I just asked her to throw them in the box because you never know.  I looked at them a little closer yesterday and they were of a major bridge being built here in Skagit County.  Kind of a big deal.

There was a weathered envelope in there also. I noticed that the letterhead said CAT, like in Caterpiller Heavy Equipment.  It was a photo shoot, of all things, of my grandfather on a new CAT bulldozer, building a very prominent road in Anacortes.  There was also a newspaper clipping from the shoot. 

That discovery was the biggest and best out of all.  I scanned them all in and put them on my facebook.   It was fun to share that little bit of history with everyone.

There is a jumble of old, old, old photographs of folks I have no idea whom they are.  It looks like it's from my dad's family.  As both of his parents died young-ish and left behind spouses and we had a disconnected father, we have very little information or photographs from his side of the family.  

When my great aunt died in early 2000's, my dad was the executor of the will.  This let us have unprecedented access to our past.  I have a small box of photos that I brought home, knowing that they would be lost forever if I left them anywhere but in my possession.  Otherwise, we would have nothing.

Posting these photographs on facebook gained me two cousins from that side of the family.  This will hopefully open the door to a little more sharing than ever before.

In a random little, mostly empty photo album, I found a photo that was washed out.  I think it was a dinner table set of a holiday dinner.  I think it's my grandfather, when he was still married to my grandmother.  

I scanned it and did some doctoring and can see it a little better.  But it turned into one of those horror show moments for a minute when I noticed the reflection in the mirror and then Who is that in the corner!?!?!! 

I think it's my grandma, but it could be a ghost for all I know.
So, the adventure continues.  If you don't hear from me again, it's because I lost my mind or that spooky lady in the photo has taken me.

03 January 2016

Unfinished Thoughts

I did this once before, posted unfinished posts.  I believe I borrowed the idea from the lovely Swistle. In fact, let's just assume that I have.

So, here is one year worth of unfinished thoughts.  I actually kept three posts while culling that I will make an effort to finish as they feel like they have merit.

The Day Before Christmas Eve:

Kevin decided that the kids needed more stocking stuffers so we went to the target after breakfast.  We didn't find anything that the kids really needed that was in the stocking stuffer range.  It's Christmas Eve, so things are pretty well picked through.  Also, the kids aren't into Star Wars and all the things are Star Wars right now.

A few stores down was a dollar store.  This dollar store concept fascinates Kevin.  I've only gone with him twice before, and only because there was something specific that we were looking for.  (they have a cleaner called Totally Awesome, which is probably totally radioactive, but it works really well on outside/garage-type stuff)

OH MY Sweet Tiny Baby Jesus.  $25 later.  About $12 of it wasn't for the children.  Buy All the Things ! Because $1!   But, we got some cool Spiderman color posters for the little boys, gummy worms for all the kids, a book for one of the nerd nephews (there are two), and other oddities that only kids under twelve could love.

One realization that I had is that the dollar store must be an absolute lifesaver for some families.  Kids don't always realize what costs $1 and what's $10.  With a little creativity, a person could really do a lot of gifting without spending a bunch of money.  I found myself oddly grateful for this, as we browsed around.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~
November, Pre-Trip Jitters:

We leave in two days for our trip and I've reached the Anxiety Level.

This year my niece and her best friend are house and puppy sitting for us.  A person would think that this would lessen anxiety but it hasn't.  This doesn't reflect on my niece in any way, this is all on me.

In addition to worrying about stopping our mail, paying our bills early, and making sure everything is in order, now I'm fussing that I need to make sure they have food and that our sheets are changed before we leave at 7:00 in the morning and is there anything that I'm going to forget to tell them.

Fruitless worrying.  Today I was nearly disabled because I had so much to do that I couldn't even get my sh*t together.  Instead, I am going to extra busy tomorrow and the next day.  Well done, me.  I have actually become an internet meme.

And it is not like any of this is super important.  Choosing which books to take, making sure we have the toiletries we need. (they do have stores in Vegas, I know this), changing the laces in my new sneakers because this is so important. (*eye roll*)  Printing our itinerary has even thwarted me.  Seriously ridiculous.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Post Trip Gathering:

Today we went to a birthday party for one of Kevin's oldest friends.  It was at his parents house, where Kevin spent a lot of time as a kid.

It was fun to watch Kevin with his second parents and in their home.  He has known this family since he was six.  His childhood home was behind their house and across a field.  He knew that house probably as well as his own. 

But as things do, the house had changed.  It was interesting to watch him process and remember how it used to be.  It was also fun  to watch him interact with these folks, seeing glimpses of  the little boy he used to be. 

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Months Ago, and I'm still horrified:

The other day someone posted a horrific comment on Facebook.  I don't usually read the comments unless I know for certain that they will be positive or clever or am seeking more information.  But this comment was pointed out to me, just so I could share their dismay.  Without being specific to the situation, someone announced the gender of their baby and a person commented on how this couple shouldn't have children. Like, ever.

My friend wondered if it was perhaps an inside joke and that we all shouldn't be so horrified. (it was posted on a mutual friends page)  I thought that if it was an inside joke then that almost made it worse. Because we, and others, don't understand that it was an inside joke. Imagine the mother-in-law reading that, or the cousin who lives on the opposite coast, or the coworker reading that.

All I could think of was "Their family saw that, their friends, their coworkers." It just makes me cringe. It made me sad for the couple whose special moment was ruined.  It made me sad for the commenter, whose life is so small and angry that they felt compelled to post something so hurtful.

I don't care if this is child number seven, or if they're poor, or if they're just bad parents.  When they clicked "post", they were joyful. What right did Sister AngryPants have to comment?

I'm sure the commenter would feel righteously justified in posting the comment, if asked.  But it's a judgement, which none of us should do. It's a  scattershot judgement that wasn't just given directly to the intended folks, but to everyone else that ever looks at their social media page.  For one quick moment, that judgmental comment ruined not only their moment but took a little bit from anyone who had to read it, whether they know the person or not.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Kevin's Mom's Super Bowl Sweatshirt:

Kevin's mom's sweatshirt arrived today.  Packages for us are usually accepted by my in-laws so when it arrived, it's a good assumption that it's at their house when we get home.

Amazon sends notifications now so when I got one, I called Kevin to say it was at the house.  He said that his mom had phoned to say there was a package for us.  Kevin just said thanks and didn't let on what it was.  It was for her.

He asked me if he should tell her that he wasn't sure what was in the box and ask her to open it.  I said yes, because that's fun.  He phoned her back, she opened it and was very pleased.  "Oh, you guys. You didn't have to do that!"

And then...

Kevin called about an hour later and said that the sweatshirt was too big for her.  He wondered about having me order another one and we would just give this one to his dad.  Ugh, but okay.  I went online to reorder the sweatshirt and they were out of stock.  Because: Super Bowl.

I phoned Kevin to break the news.  I should have waited until I did a proper search but I wanted to get this done before Sunday.  Kevin actually offered to go to Wally World, in a true act of heroism.

I went back and did another search.  This time it showed it was in stock.  Sigh.  I reordered it and even paid five whole dollars to make sure it arrived before the Super Bowl.  What was supposed to be a kind gesture now  turned into a mildly expensive thing. 

Well, she forgot about the second sweatshirt so when it arrived, it was like Christmas all over again.  She also didn't know that kevin had decided to keep the too large sweatshirt and give it to his dad. Now the parents are outfitted for Seahawks SuperBowl and ready to celebrate.

Happy New Year!