Friday, November 27, 2009

Miracles, Large and Small

In the spirit of the season, I've been counting my blessings. Admittedly, I have special reason to be thankful this year since we have welcomed little Miscellany, a particularly delightful addition to our family. (A note to some of you out there: Miscellany is not her real name, in case you were wondering. We use aliases around here, remember?) We are blessed to have her at all, and that, my friends, is a story of miracles.

I'm grateful that I wasn't born 100 years ago. 100 years ago, I would have never had children at all because in vitro fertilization was not even a germ of an idea in the mind of the most brilliant scientist. I would have been childless and sad.

One hundred years ago, if, by some miracle, I had conceived, I would probably have miscarried. Have any of you had a Rhogam shot? If you have, you've been blessed by a modern medical miracle, too, as you were prevented from having an immunological rejection of your fetus.

One hundred years ago, little Miscellany would not have survived her delivery. When my water was broken, the amniotic fluid rushed out of the sac and suddenly we all heard the scary sounds of a fetal heart deceleration. As her heart rate plummeted to the 50s, suddenly my hospital room filled with nurses. They all knew their jobs, and did what had to be done as my doctor attached a monitor to the baby's head, reinfused amniotic fluid into my uterus and then manipulated my numb body into multiple positions in an attempt to find a place that didn't stress the little one any further. My mom and my sister stood in the corner and sent up prayers on our behalf, and watched my doctor do the same as she donned her surgical scrubs. My husband held my hands and my eyes as he helped me grasp the oxygen mask covering my face. The anesthesiologist stood behind me ready to dose my epidural as another nurse shaved my abdomen in preparation for an emergency caesarean section.

And then . . . and then, I experienced a tender mercy: an overwhelming sense of calm, and a certain knowledge that all would be well. I knew the baby would be fine, regardless of her doorway. I breathed deeply, and I felt the baby settle. And then the fetal heart tones began to regulate, and steadily increased to a normal level. It was the scariest 15 minutes of my life. We delivered her, with great joy, the old fashioned way, and without further complication even though the umbilical cord was wrapped around her neck.

I am grateful for the miracles discovered and applied and perfected in hospitals and laboratories all over the world every day. I am thankful to the practitioners, doctors and nurses alike, who know their stuff, and risk their lives, names and reputations every single time they engage in patient care.

I am grateful for the miracle of a kind, caring, and devoted husband. I'm not exactly sure where I'd be (probably institutionalized) if it weren't for the efforts of my dearest one. He is the greatest. What's that scripture? I cannot say the least part of what I feel. And I love him.

I am grateful for the miracle of the Magic Grandma. Every time my mom walks through my front door, she saves my life. Miscellany is three weeks old now, and for her first two weeks of life, my mom came over every day.. She walked into piles and piles of laundry, dishes gathered and untouched since she had last done them, an emotionally fragile and sleep-deprived mommy, and three very stir-crazy, energetic and rambunctious boys. She built forts, channeled energy, straightened messes, and soothed frayed nerves. And she did it with style, managing to juggle all of that plus running a business and a stake Relief Society program without missing a beat.

I am grateful for my dad. His quiet, selfless service and sensitivity to the Spirit are miracles unto themselves. Since the baby was born, he has several times just shown up to take my boys with him somewhere – anywhere. And the hour of quiet that entered the house as they left was golden and peaceful. He is also the one who, while my mom mitigates and tries to make my husband feel better by saying some little feature on Miscellany's face looks like Daddy, instead says, “Nah, this baby looks just like InkMom.” And I know he means it because when he looks at her, he looks like he is remembering.

I am grateful for the miracle of sisters who are best friends, and best friends who may as well be sisters. I have experienced an outpouring of love and support from friends whose lives are at least as busy as mine. They have cooked and cleaned for me. They have made me laugh. They have taken care of my children and increased their own burdens as they have lightened mine. One has taken beautiful pictures of my baby. (You must go see them. Here and here.) My dear Heather left her own five children with family and came to visit from Idaho with her husband. While he went to continuing education classes at a professional conference, she scrubbed my hardwood floor and played games with my crazy boys. She mopped pee off of the tile in the little boys' bathroom and changed poopy diapers. She sword-fought with them and let them creep down the stairs early in the morning to wake her up in the basement That is friendship!

I am grateful for the miracle of my three boys, who love their sister so much. I am surprised by this. MayDay has been the baby for three years, and I worried he would regard his sister with hostility. Instead, the first thing he did when we brought her home was get his beloved blanket and spread it lovingly over her little body. I expected G-Dog to maul her to death, but I did not expect him to say, every morning, “I think she's a little bit bigger today, Mommy.” He gives her so many hugs and kisses that I'm certain she'll grow tired of them before she's a few months old. When MayDay was born, ConMan just ignored him – as in, if I don't look at him, maybe he's not really here. He is not as effusive as his twin, but he is still enamored of his baby sister. He approaches shyly, and looks up at me with big blue eyes. “Mommy, she's so pretty!” And she is.

My life is blessed by miracles. Isn't yours?

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Miscellany

1. I've been a little stingy with photos of pregnant me. So in case you needed evidence, here I am 10 days before delivery:



2. I also neglected to blog about Halloween. The moment has passed, but still. My children were ADORABLE. And it's my blog. So here you go:


GDog as Luigi, ConMan as Mario, and MayDay as Toad, all characters from Super Mario Bros. In case you've been living under a rock since the early eighties. We stopped at a video game store on Halloween, and the boys were already dressed for trick or treating. The overgrown children who run the store gave my kids some serious props for their costumes, and the boys really thought they were something.

3. Also, my husband is adorable. He's the greatest daddy in the world. Here's a good shot of all my boys, after we carved our pumpkin for FHE:



Now that we're home from the hospital, he's been carrying the weight of the entire world on his shoulders, as he has taken up the slack when it comes to dishes and meal preparation and most major parenting duties for our three older children:


I swear to you this was spontaneous.

4. And now, introducing . . . Miscellany: 8 lb 1 oz, 20.5" long, born at 8:02PM on Thursday, November 5, 2009. She is our lovely girl child, all in her own category, the one item on the miscellaneous list. Here she is, in all her beauty, exactly 24 hours old:



In the delivery room:



And, oh, the hair! It's not red! No offense to my red-headed men, but honestly, it's about time some of my genes were expressed.



And another one, just because I can:



And another one, just because I love her:



I'll spare you the gory details of the delivery, except for these two choice tidbits: we were mere moments away from an emergency c-section when the crisis was averted (who needs wax? I heard the shaver and knew I was in trouble!); and when my doctor told me to push, it was merely a formality, because by the time the words were out of her mouth, Miscellany had pretty much arrived. My mom and MommyJ were there, and, of course, CPod, and we spent the better part of the day laughing. Good company and entertaining conversation will go a long way to ease the pains of labor, let me tell you.

Miraculously, Miscellany is still alive, in spite of her brothers' very heartfelt and loving attempts to "help" Mommy change her diaper, or nurse her, or clean her umbilical cord, or move the bassinet . . . you get the picture.

I just looked at my Google Reader and, heaven help me, it has 152 items. Maybe in my spare time . . . yeah. Love to you all, and know that even if my presence here in cyberland is scarce over the next couple of weeks, we're making it, we're healthy, and I'm probably lurking somewhere, unable to type one-handed, or too lazy to use the iPhone to comment. Later!