Monday, February 22, 2010

Deadbeat Mom

So I am a deadbeat mom. These kids are stinkin' funny and I'm not recording it well enough! grrrrr I am terrible at staying consistent with keeping up with online ramblings, but like I taught my class today, you aren't a failure until you quit. So here we go again. Aidan is 3. Morgan is 2. Their birthday's were fun this year because they are starting to have memories and putting things together. Aidan asked several times after Morgan's birthday if she was going to be bigger than him because now she's 2. How did that happen? Here are some of the highlights as of late.. Aidan
* Knows all his ABC sounds and can recognize capital letters (brilliant)
* Has started loving swords and bad guys and fighting (but he also is obsessed with Straw-ba-ba-ba-berry Shortcake!)
* The "Terrible Threes" are here complete with the impish grin, sneaky moves, and jokes that just aren't funny. (Good thing you are so darn cute!)
* Imagination is a wonderful thing. I just love to listen to Aidan pretend with his pirates or airplanes or trains. Some of it imitates real life, some of it is entirely fantasy - all of it makes me smile and wish that I could somehow record everything so I can just lay back one day and remember it all.

* This girl can talk up a storm. She has the cutest little voice and expressions that go right with them. She is a heartbreaker this one!
* When she really means something she'll throw in the sign language words that we used when she was under 1. You should hear the "I'm forry" with the hand circling the heart and the lip out.
* Morgan loves being a girly girl - "pretties", jewelry, any heels (and she walks WELL in them) She has started picking her own clothes saying "princess clothes" and then giving a funny little laugh.
* I am a fan of Morgan's lisp. My favorite words are "Pwin'thess" and "de wish shish" The little tongue sticks out and it's priceless.

Some funny things we've heard around here....

"When I get to be a big big boy like daddy then I can sleep with no pants on. Cause' I'm a good boy." Aidan (Feb, 2010)

" Mama, your baby is crying." While I was sitting in the living room watching Morgan pitch a fit about going to bed. So cute.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Little Monkey

This could be said of every age and stage so far, but Aidan, you are the most fun right now! I love watching you learning to talk and seeing you soak in everything. That being said, You can have in stitches laughing, fumes of anger, and tears all in the space of a few minutes. You are such a little busy body right now. I thought I'd take a minute to write a few of the funny things that are making you, you.
* I call you a monkey all the time. First, because you climb up and in and over EVERYTHING. Second, because I love to hear you say "oo oo aah aah". Third, because you are small and compact but freakishly strong. The newest party trick is climbing out of your crib. I've been wondering how long it would take you to figure it out because you have been climbing in and out of Morgan's (which is the same model) for almost 2 months. Yesterday when Lorna put you down for nap, she peeked in about an hour later to see if you were awake. You were sitting in your bed reading books but Morgans crib had been pushed next to yours, the hamper was over turned, all the toys and cars were off the shelf, and clothes were strewn all over the room. Aidan is a silly monkey!!

* Aidan's party tricks. I am already planning for gymnastics lessons. We have a swing hammock hanging in our playroom. It's the kind with a big bar across the top. I am amazed every time you come to me and say "up up" I will lift you to the bar and smile ear to ear as you do a full pull up and laugh as I flip your body over the bar. Add to that all of the jumping, climbing on chairs, and loving to hang upside down and I know we have a little gymnast in the making!

* POP! Not only are you a gymnast, but a performer! When we were home this summer Kyah introduced you to the music video "Pop!" from the movie Music and Lyrics. Kyah had made up a dance and would boss Landon into following her every move. You LOVED this song and when the kids would dance. Since coming home from Utah, you have watched the video of you dancing literally hundreds of times. As soon as you wake up you will say "pop" and then watch the kids dancing over and over. You will sing and dance right along. I can't catch it on video very well again because you are becoming all to aware of cameras and don't act natural when they are around. I am going to try to slyly record you dancing around while watching the video of you and your cousins dancing around. It's priceless!!

* Words Aidan can say: We started having you watch Sign Language videos when you were about 7 months. We were shocked at 11 months when one day you started doing the sign for "food". We thought you were blowing kisses so we were blowing kisses back to you. You got so frustrated until we finally got it. Aidan can sign food, drink, more, bath, finished, brush teeth, milk, sleepy, please, thank you, grandma. I thought signing was a silly joke until we did it. I think it has helped us communicate and helped stave off some of the fits that kids throw because they know what they want to say but can't say it (we still have plenty of fits!). Words Aidan can say at 18 months - this list is long - You are so smart!! Daddy, mama, Mogo (Morgan), Kyah, Matt, Wambum (landon), Grandma, papa (grandpa), GG (great grandma), Nae Nae (what he called Lorna), Shawn (which he teases daddy with) food, tootie (cookie), water, bath, shower, duck, car, go, bye bye, hi, phone, happy, sad, baby, book, no, touch, remote, movie (this is said very frequently!), ninish (finished), shirt, shoes, sock, hat, water, milk, bottle, binty (binky), cow, cat, dog, up, please, thank you, kiss, eat, soap, brush, teeth, Donos (McDonalds - yes, we were so proud when you said that one), nany (candy), snack, ice, coke (daddy's coke), fish, bird, dance, ouch, hot, burn, shapes, numers (numbers), Butt (button), dance, zoo, book, back- and I'm sure more I haven't thought of at the moment. When we ask how old you are you hold up one finger and say "one". It's such a cute trick. The problem is, when we ask you your name, we get the same reply "one".
You are even starting to string words together. The other funny thing you have figured out is that a cute face and please will get you anything you want..... and that if you are in trouble, you can make anyone laugh. Clever little monkey!!

* Aidan loves to read and sing. Favorite books : I Can Do It!, Brown Bear Brown Bear, and Polar Bear what do you Hear? by Eric Carle, Where is Baby's Belly Button, Who Said Boo, No, David!, It's Ok to be Different and all the other Todd Parr books
Favorite songs: Itsy Bitsy Spider, 5 Little Ducks, Speckled Frogs, Sugar Pie Honey Bunch, Any song that mommy will dance with him!, Pop! (of course), Old McDonald, Monkey's jumping on a bed
Every day is a new adventure and I can't wait to see what will be your favorite tomorrow. I am trying to resist spoiling your every obsession. Right now you love the Lion King....... only the opening scene (This is the big step up from Baby Einstein and Signing Time). I resist buying every lion toy I see. I love the little growl and the excitement on your face when you see or hear a lion. I just wonder what you are going to be into next.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Birth Stories - Long, but important

As one of my favorite movie characters says, “Start at the very beginning. It’s a very good place to start.” The journey to have children is an interesting one for us. My story has about 7 chapters. My quest to have kids, misguidedly began at the age of 19. Luckily things don’t always work out the way we plan. Chapter 1 began with two heartbreaking miscarriages when I was 20 and 21. Thank heavens! What would I have done with kids when I was a kid and didn’t even know who I was? As strange as it sounds, I am so thankful for that turn of events every time I think about it. My life would be so different and I would not be who I am today. Thinking about who and what I would be scares me and I am so glad that I don’t always get everything I think I want. Both dad and I are in agreement that the youngest marrying age at our house is 24…… hear that both of you? 24- Minimum.

After my miscarriages, I began having a reoccurring dream where I was in a white hallway looking into a wall sized window of a beautiful white room. Inside the room were two little girls and a big, white, treasure chest looking box. The little girls were trying to get something out of the box. I was on the outside telling them that it was a little boy, but they couldn’t hear me. I would try everything to get their attention but nothing worked. I knew these were my kids and that I had to help them. Sometimes in the dream, my grandma Leah (who I loved dearly and died when I was 13) would come and sit in a rocking chair and read to the two little girls and the box. For some reason the dream would always have me waking up with my heart pounding and feeling confused. I’ve had this dream at least 20 times. I don’t know what it meant, I still don’t and maybe I never will. I’ve interpreted it several times and been wrong every time.

Chapter 2- A big growing experience for me that helped me solidify my feelings about family and my purpose as a parent. I was volunteering at an orphanage in Korea. After moving to Asia and learning about orphanages around the world and the conditions children lived in, I became passionate about adoption. This was also just after my parents adopted my youngest brother, Matt. I became a huge adoption advocate. While volunteering, I fell in love with a little boy that the workers called Hashi. He was 8 months old and the product of a young girl and an irresponsible military guy. She didn’t keep the baby because of the shame of being a single mother. I actually started paperwork to begin a "single adoption". It was an interesting and heartbreaking process. Long story short, his grandparents didn’t want to raise him but would only allow him to be adopted if he remained in Korea, I couldn’t commit to that. I think about that little boy now and wonder where he is and what he is doing. Our stars didn’t align, but I hope that he is having a happy life.

Chapter 3 – Enter Shawn, your dad. Shawn had earlier decided that he wasn’t sure he wanted to have children. As we dated, I told him that I wanted children and that was a non-negotiable for me. We talked about it a lot and he started thinking about family. Shawn and I left family planning “up to the wind”. We decided that we were both old enough, in financial and emotional positions to have a baby whenever one came. We went to doctors after a year and a half of trying but no answers were conclusive as to why we couldn’t get pregnant. The problem was me, but what exactly was the issue, no one knew. There were several contributing factors, but not anything that we could “fix”. My mom called one day with shocking news. She had met a woman that had asked her if she knew anyone looking to adopt. We met the woman that summer and made arrangements to support her until the birth of the child. Long story short, she was a con-artist. One day, about a month before the baby was due, my mom went to visit her at her apartment and it was empty. The landlord said that she’d had the baby and the baby had died. Later we found out she had totally skipped town and that she had also been playing the same game with another family (they had even paid her more than we had). It was such a violation of trust and just so sick that I just had to let it go. She had two kids, both of whom had pretty big emotional problems and I just felt so bad for them and for this little boy that would be brought up by her. My mom felt terrible, but there was nothing she had done wrong. Mothers giving up babies for adoption have no legal responsibility to the adoptive families. Even agreements in writing are null until 24 hours after the baby is born (in Utah). I chose to look this sad situation as a woman who must have been incredibly desperate and needed money more than we could ever imagine. I just hope that the money was used for her kids and to help her get ahead in life.

Chapter 4- In February of 2006 we got a fantastic surprise. I was pregnant. We held our breaths through week 12, 13, 14 and everything seemed fine. We were considered “high risk” and had ultrasounds every 2 weeks. We fell in love with our little baby that was so active and seemed to be dancing every time we would take a peak. They told us that it was a girl and we were thrilled. My friends even had a shower for me! Then we got a surprise "75% chance this is a boy" the doctor said. I looked at him confused and so he pointed to the monitor "see here is the penis and scrotum" So funny. Korean doctors can't be wrong to save face so they had to say it was a higher chance it could be a boy. I was finishing my masters in June, Shawn had left for Doha in May and I would join him after a few months at my mom’s. He was going to meet me in Amsterdam and then we would start our new life in Doha with our new baby due on Halloween. The day I left Korea to head to Utah tragedy struck. I was in the airport when I started feeling sick. I thought it was just the stress of the past week and traveling. I went to the restroom and things were not right. I went out and asked my friend Alison (who thankfully had insisted on walking me to my flight even though she was leaving for Japan only 15 minutes after me) to get some help. My water broke and I went into labor in the airport. It was a terrible ordeal. I was rushed through the airport and then by ambulance to a women’s clinic. They did an ultrasound and the baby was still alive so I was rushed to a hospital 30 minutes away. The terrifying thing was that I lost so much blood I, literally, almost died. There was a time in the back of that ambulance, staring at the ceiling that I thought I was letting go. At the hospital they started a blood transfusion immediately and I delivered our tiny baby. He lived for less than 2 minutes. He weighed only 980 grams or just over 2 pounds. His skin was transparent, he already had fuzz on his head, and he would have fit in my hand. I looked at him and sobbed. I couldn’t hold him. I was so afraid that if they put his tiny body in my arms that I would never let him go. I had to have a D&C to stop the bleeding and I had a 6 unit blood transfusion. That's almost all the blood in your body. Alison stayed with me in the hospital for the whole week I was there. I had so much support and love but still felt so alone. Daddy was in Doha but couldn’t have gotten to me so we arranged to meet in Utah. I have never been so relieved to see anyone in my entire life. We weren’t going to name our tiny baby, but I had to. I named him Chandler. I secretly felt like he was my baby because I already knew him. I knew his schedule and his movements. He had been with me every moment for the past while and I missed him more than I have ever missed anything. Because I was the only one who ever saw him, I also felt like he was mine. I opted not to take photos in the hospital. I thought that daddy wouldn’t like it and also I didn’t want to hold onto him that way. Some days I regret my decision, but in the end I think it was best. My heart was broken. I was determined to move to Doha and not be negative. I knew I needed to start over in our new home and to get better physically and emotionally. Nothing could ever replace Chandler and nothing could bring him back so I needed to move on. Little did I know what was in store for us.

Chapter 5- In October 2006 we were happily settling into Doha and loving our new routine. We felt so lucky to both have landed the jobs we wanted and pulled the strings to have everything in our favor. I was still having a hard time with the loss of little Chandler but had some really great friends who helped me through it. My friend, Lisa, knows our whole history and had been my dear friend in Korea. Having her also be in Qatar and know the whole story without having to explain it was invaluable. Her wisdom, life experiences, listening ear, and empathetic/sympathetic reactions and advice were a life saver. I could talk to her ad nauseum and even at my most dramatic, she always listened and didn’t make me feel obsessive or obtrusive. I could talk to her when I couldn’t talk to Shawn because I was too worried about making him upset. She was everything I needed. I also started teaching with Adam. Adam is one of those people that has an instant calming influence. I felt very drawn to him as soon as I met him – sort of the cliché “felt like I’d know them forever”. We told him and his wife Kirke our story and they were so supportive. Adam does Rake and offered to do a session with me if I wanted. After reading more about it and thinking about it, I took him up on the offer. It was a very intense and cathartic hour that ended with Adam, Shawn, and I sitting in a circle talking about the whole experience in Korea and some of my pent up feelings, frustrations, and confusions. The next day I got an e-mail from my mom telling me that my sister, Lora, had talked to a girl at her salon whose sister was in jail and thinking about putting her baby up for adoption. My mom said that she felt this drive to “find” our baby. I immediately went to Lisa’s room and told her the “crazy” story about my “crazy” mom. I talked to Shawn, I talked to Adam, I talked to Kirke. I thought about the craziness of it some more. Then I wrote my mom back and said that we didn't have anything to lose, we'd be smarter this time, and it was worth a shot. She and Lora started visiting Ashley at the jail. At that point Ashley was thinking about adoption but hadn’t decided 100%. So, Lora and my mom began their weekly visits. Getting to know her, helping her get things she needed, and I started writing letters to Ashley. She decided to place the baby in an adoptive home. We were overjoyed. The first week of November we went camping with our friends. It was an overnight trip that should have been a scene from a movie. Good friends, good food, beautiful scenery. We danced around the camp fire, talked, laughed, and talked some more. I was sitting in my camping chair looking at the explosion of stars in the sky, feeling so lucky to be me. All of a sudden I felt very emotional, happy, but emotional. I closed my eyes and sort of said a prayer in my heart. I basically said that I needed a sign and that if I got one then I was “in” 100% - no more emotions in reservation. I opened my eyes and a shooting star streaked across the sky. My breath caught. I am not a sign seeker. I’ve been exploring and really discovering what religion and spirituality mean to me. I’ve questioned God and the meaning of life and all of that. I still don’t know those answers – but I do know that wherever that came from it was for me and it was my sign. It was a pivotal moment in my life. I felt sure that everything was going to work out in our favor. Then and there I fell absolutely in love with this baby I didn’t know. The last week of November Ashley told my family that another family had approached her and offered to pay her a lot of money to place the baby with them. I was sick. All of my sureness and faith dissolved and I freaked. I read the e-mail over and over and then just left school. I called Shawn to meet me for a picnic. I fell in love with him even more that day as we sat on the Corniche in the Doha sun. Up to this point, he had been so unsure because of everything we had gone through. He took my hands and said, “Go home, if she meets you and still decides to choose the other family then we’ve done everything we can.” My school was getting out Dec. 1st because of the Asian Games. I got the e-mail on a Wednesday. Shawn purchased my ticket on Thursday and I was on a plane Saturday morning. While home, I went to the jail and met Ashley. I laid everything on the line to her. I told her that she needed to pick the family that she wanted. We couldn’t pay her huge amounts of money; we would take care of her, but couldn’t “buy” this baby. Besides the fact that we don’t have piles of money lying around, I wanted to be able to tell this child that all decisions were made out of love for him. I went to Logan to visit my grandparents with my mom. We got a phone call. It was Lora saying that Ashley was out of jail (she was not supposed to get out until March) and that she had been calling for me all afternoon. We drove in a fog as fast as possible home from Logan and collected Ashley. I put her up in a hotel while we decided what to do. The jail basically cut her sentence short because they didn’t want the liability of her having the baby while incarcerated. Ashley and I then spent the next 3 weeks together almost all day every day. She told the other family that she chose us. We looked for an apartment, but she was frightened to live on her own. After careful consideration and counseling with everyone I could, Ashley moved in with my mom and Matt. I came back to Doha and planned to return just 2 weeks later on January 12th. The baby was due January 21st. Shawn would follow on the 19th and hopefully be there in time for the birth. It was a whirlwind of a time and my school and friends were so supportive. I went back to Utah, Shawn arrived. Everything was going as planned until we went to an appointment on Jan. 20th and Ashley walked out of the doctor’s office pale as a ghost. It appeared that they had changed her due date at her 20 week ultrasound but no one had informed her. The baby was not due until February 17th. We were all stunned. Shawn and I had tickets to fly back Feb. 18th. I was already using my maternity leave to be there. Shawn had used every moment of leave to come also. But there was nothing we could do. The next 3 weeks crawled by. Ashley was getting progressively impatient and starting hanging out with some of her old friends and going home a lot more often. Every time she walked out the door I would get nervous. She had my baby but I couldn’t control what she was doing with her body. She started trying all the old wives tales to induce labor – even the crazy ones. The doctor agreed to induce labor. We went to the hospital; they put her on pitocin to start contractions. They stripped her membranes, then discharged her 24 hours later because nothing was moving. She was induced twice and didn’t go into labor! On February 11th the doctor did an amniocentesis to check the baby’s lung development. He was fully formed and so they would allow her water to be broken. We were on a waiting list to be admitted to the hospital for another induction and kept getting bumped because of people who really were in labor. It almost became comical. We were just doing everything we could to keep Ashley comfortable. February 12th, Finally, the call we had been waiting for. We got to the hospital at about 5:30. Our little Aidan was born just after 7:00. I was in the room and watched him come into this world. Shawn was standing close enough for me to touch, but was on the other side of a curtain. He heard every sound. As soon as Aidan was born he proved to be extra strong and healthy. Shawn saw him within his first minute of life. It was incredible. He was really here. I had a bracelet to go with him into the nursery. He was bald and perfectly proportioned. He weighed 6 pounds 2 ounces and was 19 inches long. I fed him and bathed him and held him. He was perfect. The nurses were really understanding and gave us a little room to sit in for awhile since we didn’t have our own room (against hospital policy). Later that night we left our little baby and went home exhausted and happy. The attorney’s and social workers were scheduled to meet at 8:00 to sign papers. The next morning Ashley called me saying she had taken a pain pill. She had to be off all narcotic pain pills for 8 hours in order to sign the documents. She knew this. When she called my stomach just dropped because I could tell her voice was horse from crying. She had the baby in her room all night. We got to the hospital with the whole adoption crew. Ashley was holed up in the room with the baby. She wouldn’t let anyone in. Shawn and I sat on the couch in the waiting room and cried. 2 hours passed, 3 hours passed. Everyone was pacing and telling us that it would be ok. I realized that in our happiness, we forgot that Ashley was giving up her baby. The day before we had been acting like we were playing some scene from an after school special – All 4 of us together, happy about the baby. Our little family and Ashley. We had taken pictures and I had held the baby and fed him while Ashley joked and talked about random things. I realized that I had been so selfish the day before. I can't even describe the turmoil of those hours, but the hell of waiting for a yes or no is something that I don’t ever want to experience again. We had to discharge from the hospital at 6:00. At 3:00 she still hadn’t signed papers. I thought about my shooting star and starting doubting myself – who believed in signs anyway? Then at 4:00 Ashley asked to see me. I went in and we talked. She was calm and ready. She needed the time with him by herself. She needed to say good-bye. I’m glad she had that time. I’m glad she loved him so much that she chose us to be his family. I can’t even imagine the choice she made or how she must have felt that day and the days after. I think about her everyday and am so thankful to her for bringing my son into the world. Ashley is a good person. She is beautiful, smart, and fun. She made some really bad decisions in her life and the consequences were big. I am not a person to judge her, I definitely have opinions, but they are too private to share in a blog setting. Aidan, if you ever want to talk about Ashley or ask my thoughts, I promise to be candid and honest. But you should know that all decisions, on both sides, were made out of love and wanting the best life for you. Ashley signed the papers that relinquished her rights as a parent forever and Shawn and I became Aidan’s “legal guardians”. It was so strange. As we walked out of the hospital I kept looking around thinking “We’re taking him home.” I sort of looked around to see if everyone was really letting us just take him. We bundled him up in his car seat. Ashley and her mom and Shawn, Aidan, and I walked out to the parking lot together. We loaded Aidan in the car and drove our separate ways. I kept waiting for someone to come out and stop us – kept waiting for someone to yell for us to stop. We got home to find everyone waiting for us. It was an amazing experience and a very emotional time. Aidan was beautiful from the second he was born. Everything about him was perfect. We spent the next day running around getting his passport ready and getting a decree from the judge to allow us to take him out of the country. Shawn left on February 18th and I stayed in Utah until March 12th. Aidan made his first international flight at the age of 1 month. Shawn was about jumping out of his clothes when we arrived at the airport. It was amazing to see my husband become a father and to have us become a family.

Chapter 6- I was blissfully happy with my new little baby. Aidan was in all ways perfect. At 6 weeks he started sleeping through the night. He was smiley and chill and -aside from hating his car seat- was an angel baby. Shawn and I had never met a more perfect person. All the paperwork was on track and the dust was settling. School was coming to a close and I was really looking forward to a summer of just playing mommy! As always happens at the end of the school year, I was tired. Every morning I would go to school and sit in the staff lounge with my friends Timbra and Kirke. We would joke about being so lazy and tired. I was there, even if it was just me, and I pulled as many people into my lazy club as I could get. Eventually I convinced Melissa and Paul to go the way of the “laze” also. We would get to school at 7 and lay on the couches drinking coffee and tea until 8:00 when we HAD to be in class. I had this flu that I just couldn’t shake and I started napping with Aidan in the afternoon. When school got out everyone left except Adam and Kirke. Shawn and I started hanging out with them everyday just having lazy summer days. I finally went to the doctor because I was sure that I had a cyst on my ovaries again and the flu was not shaking. The doctor asked me questions and then had me lay down for an ultrasound to see what the problem was. She laughed and said, “Mam, you will be all better in about 6 months.” “What?!” I said, thinking I understood her but feeling disbelief. “Look, here is the baby sac.” She smiled. I lost it. I just started crying and explained to her that I had a very little, perfect baby at home. The nurses were worried that I wasn't married. I called Shawn and called Kirke and sat in shock for a few days. I was so scared that something was going to go wrong. I had everything I had ever wanted and now I was jinxing it. We went home to Utah for the summer to hear everyone saying they just knew this would happen. I was just too scared that something would go wrong. We got back to Doha and I went to the doctor. I was already dilating so she recommended a cervical circlage, basically, they sewed me shut so the baby couldn’t fall out. The rest of my pregnancy was text book. I wasn’t very sick and aside from some of the usual aches and pains, I had it very easy. I didn’t get huge. I could still do everything I normally did. But I was scared. At 18 weeks we went to an ultrasound and the tech said “do you want to know the gender of this girl.” Then she became more real. We were having a baby, a baby girl. Everything looked on track to be totally healthy, but I just could never believe them fully. I knew something would go wrong. I was in love with this little baby. I would lay in the tub and watch her roll in my stomach. Aidan and I would sing and read to her. The baby was due January 31st or February 4th (depending on the ultrasound tech). The end of December the doctor said that I was dilating around the stitches and did not want to chance ripping my skin, so they took the stitches out. I was dilated to a 3. I expected the baby to just come in the next days. But she didn’t come and life progressed as normal. I worked right up until 2 days before she was born. I had a rough couple of days and wasn’t sure what was happening. Shawn’s mom was supposed to come for the birth, but had hurt her back and wouldn’t make it. We hadn’t taken birthing classes because she is a doula and so we were going to use her as our birth coach. I had read tons of literature and kept thinking “every person on earth got here the same way. Women in Africa and throughout history don’t have birthing coaches or fancy hospitals or all the books with all the answers. If they can do it, so can I." Giving birth is the most common and natural thing in the world, until it's you. On Monday morning I made Shawn take me to the hospital because I felt like I was going to crawl out of my own skin. They checked me and I was dilated to a 5+. We went upstairs and everything began. Shawn was an amazing coach. I felt very strongly about having as natural birth as possible. I didn’t want drugs or an epidural. Shawn rubbed my legs during contractions, helped me move around to feel comfortable and reassured me that everything would be alright. And it was. I was in active labor for only 5 hours. At 3:00 Morgan Jade was born. One moment she was a part of me and the next moment she was laying on my stomach – a squirming, mad to be cold and in the bright lights little girl. Shawn collapsed on my chest and said, “She’s here. She’s alive.” I didn’t realize that he had been as scared as I was. He was being brave for me, but in that moment when everything was ok, he could show his fears. They took her to the bassinette to suction her nose and clean her up. Shawn was glued to her. The instant love was incredible to behold. All of my fears and holding back melted away. Our little girl was here. She weighed 6 pounds 3 ounces and was 20 inches long. She had hair and Shawn’s nose and was a beautiful olive color. We went to our room and friends came to visit us. Lisa and Tara and the girls came first, closely followed by Adam and Kirke, Timbra, and Dan with Max and Mya. Shawn had worked all night the night before. He went home exhausted and to be with Aidan. I missed him. I held Morgan through the night and just marveled at my little girl. The next morning Shawn came in to let Aidan meet his little sister. All of a sudden our baby looked so big. It was hard to believe he was a big brother. He looked at her and smiled and said in his tiny voice the his only word at the time “Oh”. He wanted to touch her and when I held him in my arms he bent down and gave his little sister a kiss on the head. Nothing melts my heart more than watching my family love each other. That was it, we had the perfect family.

Chapter 7: Happily Ever After! Aidan and Morgan are 11 ½ months apart. Now that they are both here, I wouldn’t have it any other way. Both of them are the loves of my life. I marvel at how fast they grow and change. They are just now starting to really be aware of each other and to play. Aidan is so sweet to his sister and Morgan lights up when Aidan is in the room. They watch each other and I can already tell that they are going to be good friends. I am not rushing time, but I can already envision them running around getting into mischief together. We have the perfect little family. Shawn and I will do everything we can to provide our children with all the love and happiness they can have. Hopefully we can provide a balance that will allow them to be whoever they are. Both of them have such big personalities already. Every parent thinks that their child is a miracle – both of mine truly are. Both of them are so special and came to us under such amazing circumstances that I will never take them for granted. I know that I have been entrusted with something amazing. I think I've only had 3 true miracles in my life. One was meeting your dad (totally random and we still wonder how it happened) and the two of you. The three of you are my every thing.

There isn’t anything that your dad and I wouldn’t do for you. Someday when you are bigger and read this, there are other details that haven’t been written. If you ever want to know anything, just ask. Know that you are destined for greatness – you just are. I can never tell you how lucky I feel to be your mom. I am so thankful everyday that all of our stars aligned so that we are together. I love both of you!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Morgan has a little cold

Dear Morgan,

You’ve had a little cold the past 2 days. Last night was a rough one- but that is really a silly statement. You are such a sweetheart that you don’t really cry, just sort of whine and wiggle around. It’s heartbreaking because you look at me with big teary eyes like “I don’t feel good. Fix it.” The responsibility is overwhelming. The trust and love that pours out of that one look is what makes all the clichés about being a mother feel true – I’d jump in front of a bus to save you, would give anything for you.

Last night daddy had to go to bed early because of work so you were all mine. I’d given you medicine, a bath, suctioned your nose, a bottle, bounced you, rubbed you with baby mentholated cream; nothing could make you comfortable. Finally, I found a comfy position and settled into the rocking chair. It is one of my most peaceful places; Rocking one of my babies. I sat there watching you as you slowly nestled into that place right before sleep. You always reach up and stroke my face. Your tiny fingers curl back and forth against my skin. It always makes me smile when you do it to daddy because it is such a sweet gesture, he is completely enraptured by you, and I can tell already you love his beard (me too). I love to have you hold my finger. You can never just hold it, even when the rest of your body is giving in; your hands will open and close around my finger or against my arm or against my face.

I sat in the dark listening to your brother’s even breathing in the crib next to us and feeling you get heavier and heavier as you gave in to sleep. I couldn’t help smiling as I watched him curl around his blanket, his fingers rubbing the silk edge even in his sleep and looked down at you with your chubby little hands pulsing around my finger. The cats always stalk around to check on us – they pretend not to like you guys, but they are very interested and protective. I never (well, rarely) begrudge the times that I’ve had to get up or sit up in the night with either your brother or you. It makes me feel important and needed. I like being the person that makes you feel safe and better.

I rocked and started thinking about this letter and all the advice people gave me when I became a parent. Lot’s of people warned us how little sleep we were going to get having two babies so close together. They said we would be running ragged and feeling crazy. Those people didn’t know you guys. Every time I have a chance to snuggle you like that I try to hold on to and savor every moment. It’s a conscious thought and I try to seer the feelings, sounds, and smells into my memory. You grow so fast and soon you won’t need me to rock you to sleep or find your binky in the night or hold you when you wake up scared.

The first time I held you, you weren’t even the length of my arm. Your little head fit in the palm of my hand. Now, just 6 months later you are already such a big girl. Sitting up, opinions and emotions of your own, rolling over, playing with toys and yelling at Aidan when he snatches them. I think having kids makes time go faster. Each phase both of you have gone through is my favorite. I love watching you learn and grow and change on what seems like a daily basis.

Tonight when daddy got home from work he got the first real smile of the whole day. You two have a special connection. Even with your watery eyes and runny nose you gave him a big smile and giggle. He picked you up and snuggled you tight and for a few minutes you forgot you were sick. You adore both the boys in this house so much. Aidan and Daddy make you light up and wiggle with happiness. No one can make you laugh like daddy and watching you watch Aidan brings to mind the term “hero worship. I just can’t compete with the boys in this house; nor do I want to. You and I will have a special relationship all our own as time goes on. I’m choosing right now to believe that we won’t go through the typical “mother/daughter years” – I can’t even imagine it. (I’ll eat that crow later)

I wrote this letter so I will never forget how it feels to hold you and rock you to sleep. It makes me think about and appreciate my mom. She did this and felt this for me. It’s something you truly can’t understand until you do it yourself. If you choose to have children, I can’t wait to have that conversation. When you call and say “Mom, remember the letter you wrote about rocking me? Now I understand.”

I hope you feel better tomorrow, sweet baby. For now, you are sleeping soundly in your bed after another good while of rocking.

I’ll love you forever. I’ll like you for always.


Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Name Meanings and Sign

Aidan is a Celtic name that means Fiery.

is a Celtic name that means Lady of the Sea.

It's interesting because both names fit the personalities and situations of how you came to be.
Even more interesting (and unplanned) is the balance that is struck between the two - Fire and Water. I don't always give creed to astrological signs, but yours are the same and seem to already fit both of you.

children are naturally intelligent, funny, and leaders because of their natural charisma. When I read about the "Aquarius child" I just laugh because it already fits both of you. When I looked further into sun signs and moon signs - it fit even more. Now, I know with this "sign seeking" you often find what you look for, but I find it amusing that you both stack up to the amazing characteristics common for people of this sign.


I spend a lot of time thinking about things I should do. I have a LOT of great ideas... just not so great on the follow through. I also have lots of great excuses for why I don't do things - but that also doesn't get a lot accomplished. Today I decided that I am done being jealous of people that do, stop comparing myself to others, and stop not acting on my great ideas.
One of those ideas was inspired by a mom of a kid in my 5th grade class. She gave me an interesting gift. A box for each of you made of recycled materials, but the interesting part was her instructions. She told me to keep letters from other people but more importantly from myself inside the boxes. Her mother passed away when she was a teen ager and she told me that more than anything in the world she wishes she had letters from her mom. A morbid thought to think that I should go before you, but life has proved again and again that I am not in charge no matter how much I plan. I am not planning on dying, but I did start thinking that I want you to know how much I love you in different stages of your life. I want to remember all those silly little stories that I swear I could never forget but somehow they get jumbled as you grow and do other things.
So this blog is inspired by that mom, who was thoughtful enough to share with me some very personal "motherly advice". My sister, Lora, for challenging our family to keep in better touch through blogging and for trying again and again to be the peacemaker. And Jabiz, our neighbor. He has a blog for his daughter, Kaia. It is my envy. He takes photos of them, as a family, every week. It is so fun, in a voyeuristic way, to experience every day events through writing and photos and to be a part of the little changes that you don't notice week to week. It is insightful to be privy to his thoughts about his daughter. I respect him so much for being so candid and honest.
So here we go. I am committing to keep up and if I don't keep up - not to bag it, but pick up and keep going. I'm committed to be a great mom. To love you forever and to do whatever it takes to see you grow up happy, productive, excited, responsible, compassionate and limitless. I always think about the things you are and will be. I compose letters to you in my head all the time (sounds very corny, but it's true) If only I had a scribe to follow me around catching those thoughts! I guess I will be my own scribe and hopefully this blog can be the net to catch the random thoughts.

As my dad always says at the close of letters; "I'll love you forever. I'll like you for always."