Monday, April 30, 2012

My kingdom for a Guinness...

Well, before you go off judging, remember that it's been known to increase milk production. Who wouldn't want that for little G-man? If it happens to help mommy get to sleep without the help of additional sleep aids, all the better, yes?

It's true. I have reached that post-partum stage of crappy hair, night sweats and insomnia. This is the part of hormones I detest the most. Last night my little prince slept from 9 PM until 3 AM but mommy? Less than half that, at best. I know it passes and, in the meantime, I'm getting in a lot of good prayer accomplished. I guess I'll just spend the time listening to dh snore and enjoying his slumber.

Speaking of...we just found out that G's baptism will be on May 13th at the 12:45 Mass. That is not only the feast of Our Lady of Fatima, but also Mother's Day and the 47th birthday of my beloved. I though C's baptism on our anniversary was awesome. This may just beat that.

Of course, I have two weeks to pull together some type of shindig. Thankfully the attendance will be quite low and those attending will be of the low-expectation-type (most of them, anyway). So, I'm thinking picnic on Saturday (perhaps featuring the spinning sun fruit plate),

baptism on Sunday and out to meet his public on Monday.

Yes, I'm channeling Rick Santorum (did you hear Kimmel at the Correspondent's Dinner?) and turning my clock back to the 1950's (or 60's at least). No idea why but it's just been so important to me to keep this little one at home until he is baptized. I guess I still have residual fear that something may go wrong out and about so I would feel better post-water and oil (no he won't be bathed for a week - I ADORE that smell). Anyway, he will receive the sacrament exactly one month post-birth, just like his mommy. Did I mention we're both #5? The bond is strengthened once again.

So, keep us in your prayers for that day and I will continue to pray for you during my late nights of no sleep. Thanks :)

Friday, April 20, 2012

This week...

Gianni had his breakfast while we quietly celebrated his 1 week birthday this morning. It's amazing to me that this little man has graced our family for that long. While I can't say we've gotten any type of routine established (although last night was acceptable) we are all so happy to have our #5 at home.

Some random thoughts about the week.

1. Mercy Hospital

We were forced to leave our favorite local hospital (where #1, #2 and #3 were born) to head to one of the "city" hospitals for #4 because my OB relocated there. I had hope, because it is a Catholic hospital, that somehow things would be better. My experience did not live up to my expectations. That, and my ever-present panic attack related to the spinal made it a terrible experience last time around.

Wow, what a difference this time around. Granted, I arranged to have a friend bring Communion this time (although someone did show up before we were discharged Sunday as well, which was wonderful). I also have a wonderful friend "in the business" who arranged to have someone she knew do the anesthesia. The nurse anesthetist and the anesthesiologist were amazing. I can't say I wasn't panicky but their caring and attention kept it short-lived. What a wonderful experience this time. So, if there were to be another (don't ask - you know it's not up to me!) I would feel better about returning at least.

Oh, and they have a new program at the hospital. The night before you leave, they wheel in a beautiful table with china, crystal and yummy food (including sparkling grape juice and complementary wine glasses to take home) to share with your husband before you leave with your baby. How cool is that? What a nice touch ;)
Sorry, I forgot to take the picture until we were almost done. Ooops, starving, sleep-deprived parents.

2. Down Syndrome

If you've been following along, you know that this baby was at a much higher risk of Down Syndrome (1 in 13 when the usual at my age is something like 1 in 100). We chose not to have amniocentesis so we went into delivery not knowing. I continued to pray that I would have the grace to accept God's will and I felt pretty at peace about the whole thing. So, where are we now?

I'm not entirely sure, actually. They had the NICU pediatrician attending the birth and he drew cord blood to run a genetic profile. After he looked at baby boy, he decided it wasn't necessary because "there are no indications that the baby has Down Syndrome" meaning there are no obvious traits that would be seen in a child with DS (hand crease, eye shape, etc.). Every other doctor that has seen G has said the same thing. I guess that means he doesn't have it but, I have to admit, I don't really feel like we received a definitive diagnosis. Or, perhaps, after all the build-up during the pregnancy, I suppose "oops, never mind" leaves me a bit wanting.

I'm happy that our little boy is healthy. I don't really feel one way or another about the DS, although I am probably relieved that I don't have to deal with the outside world regarding their opinion/advice/commentary about my special needs child. This, of course, is kind of a fib since I just got off the phone with the school secretary who was consoling #1 who forgot her book bag and was reduced to a pile of tears. We have unique challenges with each of our children, even if they "look" like everyone else.

Ultimately, I am annoyed at the medical community. Going through this pregnancy, it was a continual assault of reminders that "your child is at a very heightened risk" and every sonogram, blood test, etc., seemed to be a search for things to convince me that this was true (remember "sandal gap toe?). I look back and think about the anxiety I had. Then I consider a woman going through the same thing that I did but who doesn't have the insurance for an amnio and thus had to make her best guess. I'm thinking, since abortion rates are about 90% for identified babies with DS, she may have made a different decision about the outcome. How tragic would that be, considering the beautiful little man I'm holding in my arms.

Why is our society all about avoiding (at all costs, even death in this case) any type of anxiety or uncertainty or struggle? Why all the drama up front just to say "never mind" when it doesn't turn out to be as bad as they predicted? Why can't we struggle and grow from that? Who promised an easy life? (sorry, didn't really know that would turn into a rant. stopping now)

3. Our new addition

The last week has been stressful and long but, wow, how 'chock full of blessings as well! The kids are as much in love with Gianni as we and what a blessing that is right now. Pray for us so that we can continue to heal and grow and face the challenges we are presented. Here are some sibling pictures from this week.

Have a blessed weekend!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

D is Just Ducky!

One of the things I am most thankful for is my babysitter/mother's helper. She is truly an angel who was sent by God to help us with baby #3 and, thankfully, she has never left. She is so thoughtful and cares so much for the kids. What a blessing.

Last year, instead of buying a gift or toy, she started taking the older kids for a "special day" out with just her for her birthday. Here are some photos from the soon-to-be 5-year-old's Duck Boat Tour. He had a wonderful time!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Welcome Gianni Pasquale!

We have a new baby boy!!! I'm way too tired to type it all now but I'll post some pictures to keep you busy in the meantime :)

The important stuff:

Gianni Pasquale

April 13, 2012

8:13 AM

10 lbs., 8 oz 

21.25 inches


Thursday, April 12, 2012

One wake-up!

I have a friend who used to tell her kids, when they were little, about things to come in terms of "wake-ups" or "days and wake-ups". I suddenly find myself one wake-up away from the new baby. That's an exciting and terrifying thing. So, to keep my mind off the terrifying part, God has allowed me to interrupt my regular life with the following silly interludes...

1. This morning, as many of you know, the "announcement" went out a day early and with no information. I am thankful that (I hope) most of you figured it out and will allow the fact that I'm one day from delivery to soften your opinion of my air-headedness (why don't people use that term anymore? )

2. I cut myself badly enough to have to hold a compression on it for several minutes. Why does it seem, every time I have to give blood or have major surgery, I do this the night prior? Seriously, someone come lock up all the sharp things next time. I clearly cannot be trusted.

3. While making the "airport loop" to pick up Aunt Julie today, I stopped on the side of the road to quickly check her flight status. I didn't park because I had my pregnant self plus 4 little people in the car, one of whom was sleeping (not me). You can imagine that the red lights were kind of a downer when I looked in the rear view.

The officer came up and asked for my license, taking a peek in the car. Then he informed me that I would be receiving a parking citation. I was totally serene. I thought to myself, if this guy can look at the woman with the swollen belly and four little kids sitting 1/2 mile from the airport and still think she's some kind of terrorist, so be it. You, Sir, have no soul. Truthfully, though, when eldest daughter asked why the police officer was there, I told her I did something wrong and now I had to suffer punishment. Which is true. Still, if he were to see his way to a "warning" I wouldn't exactly have complained. Such is life.

DH was happy since, one day before delivering Dominic, I backed into this HUGE vehicle driven by a Secret Service agent which was parked at the gas pump at our local convenience mart. The guy proceeded to swear (a LOT) and tell me how low my IQ was. Wasn't he surprised when an extremely pregnant and weeping woman got out of the car? Hee, hee. Sorry, that day still cracks me up.

So, I bid you all Au Revoir. Catch you later with all the news that's fit to print about Baby #5 :)

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Can you say denial?

I'm sitting here thinking, two days from now, I'll be in the hospital dealing with a fresh new little person (God willing, of course). You would think that would inspire me to do something, anything, to finish the preparation. At this point, I'm not even willing to check the list (OK, I haven't even written a list).

I asked DH the other day if we have enough stuff to make it a week when the baby comes home and his answer was "yes". This morning (at 6 AM, ugh) I was at Mercy getting my pre-op blood work. Now they give you your wrist band which apparently admits you to surgery on the day of. If I lose it/cut it off, "there will be delays". So, I guess the constant reminder is making me slow down even more. I have gotten a few things done that matter to me but I'm still looking at a half-packed suitcase with no real interest. Surely there is someone you can hire to do this stuff? ;0)

I had my Anointing of the Sick on Monday morning after Mass. We took all the kids so that they could see me get my "special blessing" and not feel so scared. I don't think little man bought it (His big sister, budding MD that she is, explained the c-section in detail and he doesn't want me to have "a big hole in my belly" Thanks, sis). Anyway, that seems to have helped my anxiety a bit.

I went to Mass today and had a wonderful visit prior by our Pastor who stopped to wish me well and assure me of his hopes that things will go smoothly on Friday. When I got home I got really choked up by that. He is a great Pastor and I can see him doing that all on his own but today, he was completely a conduit for my dad. Really. I am not someone who has ever "finished strong" and my dad knew that. When Father came up and started speaking, it was all my dad, telling me to push through until the end. What a precious gift to me.

Maybe I'm just feeling a bit linked to those who have gone before since I watched "The Way" last night. It's a really good film. I don't think I cried once (which is even hard for me to believe) but it's got a lot of good writing and Martin Sheen does an excellent job. That and the thurible scene at the end - totally worth the 2 hours! (It's much better on the movie, btw)

The Botafumeiro of Santiago de Compostela

Finally, have you seen this "Texts from Hillary" page? With all the depression I'm feeling surrounding the upcoming elections, I couldn't help but laugh out loud at some of these. The captions are priceless.

Tomorrow is school Mass and cafeteria duty then off to the airport to pickup Aunt Julie (thank goodness!). I guess it will all sink in then and I can stay up all night making things just right for my departure. Since I haven't slept in about 3 days I guess I might as well use the time productively.

Have a wonderful, continued Easter celebration everyone! I look forward to posting some baby updates when I return home. Thanks, as always, for the prayers. We can surely use them!

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Alleluia! He is Risen!

Happy Easter, everyone!

I could see, from the quick downhill progression of my throat, that this Easter will be more low-key than usual. Knowing this, we got everyone up, took them to 7 AM Mass, and spent the morning giving thanks for Our Risen Lord. Well, we tried, anyway. The little two were pretty much asleep and the older two were content to sing a bit, read a bit, and space out. Considering it was standing room only (at 7 AM Mass!) that was the best we could have hoped for in the end.

We headed home and I stayed up long enough to help the kids make Resurrection Rolls. They are very cute and just what we needed to reinforce the message of the week.

You take a crescent roll (I used the canned ones) and lay it flat. Next, dip a marshmallow in melted butter and roll it in cinnamon and sugar then lay it on the dough. The marshmallow is Jesus and the cinnamon/sugar are the spices with which they prepared Him for burial. Fold it all over the marshmallow and voila, Jesus is in the sealed tomb.

Bake the crescent rolls according to the package and serve them with breakfast. The kids break them open and SURPRISE! No marshmallow (Jesus)!

Yes, she did shout, "Alleluia, He is Risen!" ;)

The inside of the roll is hollow, representing the empty tomb.

They weren't perfect for a first attempt, but I think everyone got the message.

Then I went to bed and slept for 3 hours. We're going to miss the Blessing of the Families with the Bishop today. This pains me greatly because, at 39 weeks pregnant and with my family, that is where I want to be this afternoon. Still, I can't push anymore. I need to get well and start preparing for the big day. Thus, it's back to bed for me. I am so thankful for a husband who can just take over when I need to rest, considering all the other things he has to do.

Leftovers from last night's Blessed Easter Feast for dinner. Simple and relaxed, just the way I like it.

I hope you are all enjoying the blessings of family and peace on this joyous day! Happy Easter!

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Prayer of Saint Teresa of Avila

Let nothing disturb you,
Let nothing frighten you,
All things are passing away:
God never changes.
Patience obtains all things
Whoever has God lacks nothing;
God alone suffices.

-- St. Teresa of Avila

I am trying to memorize this as my mantra while the spinal is taking effect on Friday so that I don't have a panic attack, as usual. I'm hoping to at least get a line or two to repeat while staring at the crucifix in the OR. ( I do love that the OR has a crucifix!)

Perhaps, dear readers, if you find yourself with a few minutes between 8:00 and 8:15 on Friday morning, you can say it once or twice for/along with me. Or just pray any kind of prayer. I love being pregnant and I love raising little people. The part that comes between the two is a definite trial for me.

God bless :)

Friday, April 6, 2012

Good Friday

I started the day in bed with a sore throat and a strained ankle (I fell down a few stairs yesterday - call me Grace). That in and of itself was a blessing. The little people slept in (until 7 AM) and DH took care of them for the next few hours.
Laying there, I debated whether or not to take my eldest to Good Friday services. I have not been since she was in the womb and I miss it dearly. It is such a moving time for me. Sometimes I struggle with "being there" during Mass but when I go to Good Friday, I am there, with the people, participating in the persecution of Christ. Yes I weep. A lot.

So, we went. She's 6 1/2 and is more than a bit restless but I guess she did OK. Even with her wiggles, this time was an even deeper experience for me. There is something so moving about watching your little one venerate the cross for the first time. She did a great job, very reverent. I'm happy I waited this long. I think she is in a place where she, at least from a child's perspective, "gets it".

She was even the optimist today (a huge change) asking me, "Are you OK, Mom?" "Yes," I said, "I'm just sad because Jesus died today." "Oh," she said. "But don't forget that he rose on Easter Sunday!"

I'm so glad to have her around to remind me that Sunday is coming. Perhaps I will try to remember that in all of my trials over the next few months ;)

Lastly, a good thought for today from my very favorite Cardinal!
"Why on Earth would we call this day Good?"

"The Earth quaked, so that we could be calm"...wonderful.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Fun, fun, fun...

Well, our play date fell through this morning (after we were in the car) so mama had to do some quick thinking (and praying that the rain stayed away). We ended up heading to the mall to run some errands, play a bit, then off for lunch.
Today was amazingly free from comments, positive or negative, about my huge belly and the four little people walking along with me. That's got to be some kind of record :)

I was happy to get some time with the whole crew since they'll be short on that in a little over a week.

Wishing you all a prayerful and holy Triduum.

Monday, April 2, 2012

well...if correct no wonder you are uncomfortable! WOW YIKES

An IM from dh this afternoon after I gave him the "predicted" stats for the baby.
Today - 9 lbs, 5 oz
Term - 10 lbs, 8 oz

I suppose the good news is that the delivery will happen 4 days before "term" so, I'm sure we won't go any higher than 10 lbs, 2 oz, tops. LOL ;)

In the meantime, I will be using this new information to rest as much as humanly possible for the next 11 days. Keep us in your prayers, please!