Wednesday, August 31, 2011

God-given Godparents

I never grew up knowing much about godparents nor the concept behind assigning godparents to one's children.  As far as I knew, it was a Catholic thing so naturally, as a non-denominational fundamental Protestant (say that 5 times fast!), I didn't have a clue.  But once Michael and I started having children, I just knew that somehow in someway we had to publicly and symbolically include our best friends into our family tree.  Now I still may not know exactly the correct ritual or role of godparents in the church, however for us, it means that not only are Dave and Erin spiritual guardians of our children (beyond us, of course), but also legal guardians if something were to ever happen to us.  They are, in all accounts, God-parents of my children.  And I know it's something they take seriously.  We're very fortunate to have them in our lives and my boys will always have another set of parents looking out for them...physically and spiritually. 

Damien getting to know Erin & Vivi

Though Dave & Erin and kids have up and moved to France for the next year, we're missing them and staying in touch via Skype (video conference calling). It was very important to Erin that Landon not forget them and that Damien start to learn who they are over the course of this coming year.  Though they've just recently left, we're already looking forward to their return!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Landon's Newest Hobby

Landon, being 3 1/2 years old, is stuck between being too young to for his older brothers to want to play with him and not being the baby of the family anymore.  So his interests have led him to more independent activities such as playing on the computer and on the Wii.  Since electronics are on a very limited schedule in our house, he ends up being bored a lot.  He doesn't like playing with play dough like his big brother Jayce and isn't old enough to read like Reagan.  He doesn't even really like to color.  So what's a boy to do?  Well, he just discovered painting!  Which he asks to do now every day.  Here's a look at him busy at his masterpieces...


Saturday, August 27, 2011

Baby Update

Well, things are starting to get a bit calmer and happier around here.  I said, "starting".  Damien still won't let us put him down for long periods of time, but Michael was so excited when he was able to make breakfast without interruption because baby was content being in the exersaucer for 25 whole minutes!  And two days ago, he rolled over for the first time.  I only know this because he took a nap on his belly (the only way he'll sleep probably due to colic) then woke up screaming.  When I went to go check on him, he was on his back.  I think the rolling over scared him hence the piercing screams. We're finally getting more smiles now as well.  Check out the dimples:

Thursday, August 18, 2011

The Hell of Colic

Never before have I had a baby with colic.  After birthing and rearing four children, this one was my first experience dealing with colic. I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy.  Ok, maybe on my worst enemy.  If I had one.  But colic breeds a different kind of baby, and after four days of it, I started checking the return policy on this new baby.  It wasn't that he was inconsolable (though at times he was).  It was simply that he never, let me state that again, NEVER let me put him down.  Not for one minute.  Not even for a second.  And watching him writhe in pain as he tried to digest his food (yes, I'm nursing) and scream while he was trying to do it was agony.

After going online to do my typical research, I discovered that colic wasn't just tied to those gassy foods a mom can eat that can pass onto her baby like broccoli, cabbage and onions.  It can also be attributed to gluten and dairy foods.  Well, I was desperate enough to try anything so as soon as I was done reading that sentence, I put myself on a gluten-free and dairy-free diet. And this after looking so forward to some sugary treats after being on my diabetic diet for three months!  Yes, this is how desperate I was. My craving for peace, quiet and the American dream (no, literally in sleep) overshadowed my craving for chocolate croissants, double chocolate mousse cake and fresh baked baguette.  I kid you not when I say that Damien was a different baby within 24 hours.  He still wasn't exactly a happy baby - heck, he's still not a happy baby - but it was tolerable and he wasn't writhing around in pain anymore.  It took a few days of experimenting, and I still stumble across foods he can't tolerate very well (like spaghetti sauce), and we'll have a bad day.  But overall he has no problems with digestion anymore.  He still won't let anyone put him down for more than a few minutes.  We're not sure if this behavior is tied to the colic and he'll grow out of it, or if this will continue until he becomes more independent. Essentially, this baby has rendered me useless as a homeschool mom and housewife. I actually have a dear woman from my church come once a week simply to hold him so I can get some things done around here.  I'm kind of thinking my mother jinxed me when she presented us with a baby gift in the hospital that consisted of a t-shirt that reads cranky but cute - just ask mommy!  So thanks, Mom!

Proof he lets me put him down...but only when he's sleeping

P.S.  The other thing that helped us survive colic was Colic Calm - the most magical all-natural remedy on the planet!  A little bit of this, and baby was so much better within 15-20 minutes. We tried a few different remedies, but this was, hands down, the winner.  I would buy stock in it...if the stock market wasn't so bad right now...and we could afford to buy stocks in the first place.

Damien's Arrival

Damien Berube was born on February 2, 1647 in Normandy, France.  In June of 1671, he sailed to North America and arrived in Quebec as the first Berube to settle on this continent.  Twelve generations later, his great-grandson Damien made his own arrival to this world.  This is baby Damien's birth story:

With my previous history of HELLP syndrome, the doctors were keeping a watchful eye on me and ordering occasional blood tests.  The glucose intolerance was well under control by diet and because of this, I was able to escape more extensive tests such as repetitive non-stress tests and ultrasounds.  The baby seemed big and healthy, and at 38 weeks there was no sign of HELLP.  However because of low platelets, my doctor wanted to test me again a week later.  At 39 weeks, my tests came back showing that my platelets had dropped even more and my liver enzymes had started to rise.  Because of this, the call was made to induce me.

Now my doctor knew I was all kinds against induction, however since I'm all kinds *more* against HELLP and an emergency C-section, I decided to go ahead with the induction.  Since I had been contracting almost every day for a couple weeks and even started contracting on the way to the hospital that day, my hope was that my body was ready for labor and my prayer was that God would make this induction quick and easy.  It took a couple hours to start the Pitocin after arriving, and by the time it was 8pm, I was mentally preparing myself (i.e. freaking out) for the hard work ahead.  

Labor started easily enough and from the very beginning, contractions were steady and increasing.  Since my naturopath's last words to me were, "Stay on your feet as much as possible," I stood up most of the time especially in the beginning.  For some reason, I did not want to lie down and did so only when I hit my wall of fatigue because it was so late at night and way past my bedtime.  Most of the time I was standing, kneeling, sitting, rocking back and forth, just about every position in the book.  I did take advantage of the bathroom jacuzzi for a bit but knowing I wasn't able to give birth in the water (against hospital's regulations), I was only in there for some of my transition period.  All this time they were steadily increasing the Pitocin to bring on stronger contractions, and by the time I got out of the water, the Pitocin drip was at 10cc's (max is 30 cc's).  After rocking in the rocking chair for a little bit, I finally started to feel that blessed pressure of baby's head and wanted my doctor to check me and see if I was fully dilated yet. 
They suggested sitting on a birthing stool (an interesting contraption I've never used before), and things went very quickly after that.  In fact, as I hear it, the baby's head descended so quickly the doctor had to catch him one-handed (she didn't have a glove on her other hand yet), flipped him over in mid-air and sat him down on the pillow underneath me.  They then handed him to me immediately, and holding one's baby while it is still attached to one's body is a strange but exhilarating feeling.  His APGAR scores were 9 and 10 - great scores that I attribute to our waiting to cut the umbilical cord until it stopped pulsing.  He was pink and beautiful!  And he was big - 9 lbs (and he was early)!

Overall, I have to say this labor was my favorite labor.  I felt more aware of everything going on.  I had Erin reading Bible verses to me and Michael playing relaxing music throughout labor.  I had the prayers of every one of my lovely friends and family members, and the support of some great doctors.  Even though I was not able to give birth at home (which would have been my ideal plan), the hospital allowed us freedoms we have never taken advantage of before in previous labors.  The Lord provided us with a wonderful birth experience and most precious of all, a beautiful, healthy baby boy.  Praise God from Whom all blessings flow!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Everything We Learned, We Learned from Cartoons

So our best friends took their family to France and swapped houses with a French family...for a whole year!  Anyway, Michael and I started talking about the differences in nature between France and New England.  It all started when he offered the French family produce from his garden and handed them a veggie they had never seen before.  It was summer squash.  So it brought up the question, "I wonder what other things they'll experience here that they've never seen before in nature?"  It got me to thinking about raccoons.  And possums.  I mentioned to Mike that I thought raccoons were a distinctly American creature.  Because in the Disney movie, Pocahontas, John Smith didn't recognize the raccoon as a familiar animal.  Then I asked Mike about skunks - do they live worldwide or just here?  That's when he pointed out that they must live in Europe as well.  After all, Pepe Le Pew was French.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

My Baby Shower

Baby showers have been an elusive or tough event in my life.  I've been pregnant 5 times now, and I've had your traditional big baby shower twice - once for my daughter 20 years ago and another for my firstborn son 9 years ago.  And hey, I completely understand that's typically one more than most people!  However since my firstborn son arrived in 2002, each pregnancy has presented its own challenges in allowing my best friend to throw her own unique celebrations for each new baby. Mind you, I have no need for new baby products for each new pregnancy and instead appreciate the thought that goes into trying to simply celebrate this new life as well as new stage in my own life. My previous two pregnancies seemed determine to end with nary a nod to my burgeoning belly, esp. thanks to an early emergency cesarean with Landon.  Which is why I was so pleased and grateful that my friend was able to finally celebrate (and in style!) this latest pregnancy with all of our girlfriends.

The party was held at my friend Erin's house.
 There was wonderful food...

Peg's daughter, Emma, worked her magic as a henna artist...

Beautiful, isn't it?  All the names of my family are included in the Tree of Life except the baby's which we were keeping somewhat of a secret at the time...

 Fun and laughter abounded...

And everybody had a chance to get "inked"...

 Thank you, dear friends.