Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Prepare to Puke

Yesterday, Phil was putting away some clothes in our bedroom (whatta man!) and he found an old bottle of milk under our bed. We're not sure how long it had been there, but there was a brownish liquid in the bottle and floating in the middle was a ball of cheese! Just like the little balls of mozzarella you can buy that are we can make our own! Just kidding!!

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Boys will be boys

Last night, John-Paul came downstairs from playing and was all upset. Phil was in mid-conversation with me so he told John-Paul to wait a minute until he was finished talking to tell us whatever he wanted to say (we're trying to teach some manners over here). You would have thought our eldest son was going to explode while waiting impatiently to tell us the big news. So when he was finally able to spit it out, he shouted "Andrew said 'Stinky Poopy'"! I couldn't help but bust out laughing (I know, what a bad influence) and John-Paul looks at me and says "It's not funny, those are bathroom words. We can't say 'Stinky Poopy' unless we're in the bathroom". I agreed with him (although is it really okay to say words like that when you're in the bathroom or should they be banned altogether??). I looked over at Eamon, who had been listening to this whole conversation, and he looked at me with a big smile on his face and said "Poopy!" So of course Phil and I struggled to hold in our laughter once again, as we explained that he shouldn't say that. Aaaaarrrgghhhh, these kids are so funny sometimes and we just can't control ourselves!

We're Baaaack

Hello again, we've just returned home from a trip to Maryland which is my excuse for not blogging in a long time. Phil's grandfather passed away merely two months after his grandmother died. At least they are now together, which is exactly how he would have wanted it to be. The wake and funeral were at the beginning of this past week, and then we visited friends and family for the remainder of our stay. We took the kids to the DC Zoo and they had a great time seeing all the big animals that we are missing from our zoo; pandas, tigers, chimpanzees, gorillas, lions, etc.

On Saturday, my cousin Eddie got married in DC, and the wedding was awesome!! I got to meet cousins that I had never met before from Ireland and Scotland, and they were so amusing. Especially Grant, the Inspector from Glasgow who wore a kilt, and when asked about what was underneath it, refused to answer. His wife (my cousin) however, happily told us that what they say is true (nothing!). I actually forgot to take my camera to the wedding, but I will get pictures from my Mom to post later.

On the home front, when I went to the gym last night, they were having a special promotion for 2 hours where you could join for $0 down and $19.99/month. When I signed up 2 years ago, I had to pay a $200 fee to join and then it was $19.99/month. Needless to say, this was a great deal and I signed Phil up so that we can both be gym rats together!!

Eamon has just been moved into the "big boy room" with John-Paul and Andrew. It's a big bedroom, and we have 3 beds in there for them. So far, the transition has been smooth sailing.

Hmmmm, what else has happened recently???? Oh yeah, here's big news: Maggie got her ears pierced! I know, I know, I never thought I would be one of those moms that pierced their baby's ears. Turns out that I am. After three boys and then finally having my adorable, but bald, baby girl, I really wanted her to have earrings. So we did it, and she cried for about 20 seconds and then got over it, what a trooper!

Here's some pictures of our vacation week (minus the wedding pics which I will have to get later):

Here's a bunch of pictures of the boys playing outside at Nana & Gramps' house. They have a lot of land and a basketball hoop, and the boys love being outside. Plus, it was low-to-mid 70's the whole time we were there!

Below are two pictures of Maggie and me getting her ears pierced. Notice my nervous smile in the first one, and my shameful mother face in the second...

Here are some zoo shots...

In other Maggie news, here she is trying oatmeal for the first time. She did pretty well and seemed to enjoy it! She also finally began rolling over on the floor just before she turns 5 months old. But at 18 pounds, rolling over was quite a feat!

Sunday, April 13, 2008

The Final Labor Story (for now anyway...)

Now it's time for the fourth and most fantastic labor story of all. Here goes:

When Eamon was 5 months old and being troublesome as could be, we were shocked to discover that baby number four was on its way. How could this be, we wondered, we have a 5 month old people!!! Obviously God had other plans in mind, and we were meant to have this baby right here, right now (well, actually not for 9 months, and at the hospital, but I digress.)

After the initial shock wore off, and the ever-present nausea, we began to plan how we would like this birth to occur. After the epidural scare we had with Eamon, and the not-so-present doctor, we really felt better going with a highly recommended midwife in our area. So we began to see Louise, and we found out that she didn't believe in using epidurals during labor...I had no choice but to go drug-free on this one. I must admit, I was very, very nervous about the upcoming doomsday, oh, I mean labor day. But, we began reading about the husband-coached style of labor (the Bradley Method) and started to get prepared.

We began to think this one would be our 4th boy. I was convinced it was going to be a boy because I felt the same, and I looked the same as I had with the preceding three. However, we decided to once again find out what this baby was, but not tell anyone. So off we went to the ultrasound and I kept repeating in my head "It's a boy, it's a boy" so that I wouldn't be disappointed to hear the ultrasound tech say it was a boy. But she said, "It's a female!" and the tears started streaming down my face. This is why we got pregnant so fast and unexpectedly, because I was meant to have a girl!!! Not just any girl, but this particular girl. Oh, the excitement was too much to contain, and I ran to my sister Maura's house to tell her the news and then straight to my mum's house. We had a double whammy to tell my mum, first that I was having a girly girl, and secondly that she would be named Maggie after her! The tears started flowing again, and we were all so happy!

A few weeks later, I failed my gestational diabetes test and had to go to the hospital to take the 4 hour long test to confirm or deny the first results. I had gone through this while pregnant with Andrew and it had come out negative, but this time I felt different. I was very tired with this pregnancy and I was always thirsty, it was an insatiable thirst that was driving me crazy. The results came in and the midwife told me that I was borderline diabetic. Which was good news because I wouldn't have to test my blood sugar and take insulin, but bad news because I had to cut sweets from my diet and increase the exercise. I was able to control the diabetes that way, thankfully!

So one night, about 5 days before I was due, my sister Maura offered to take the kids so Phil and I could go on a date before Maggie arrived. We ain't no fools, and took her up on that offer as fast as possible. We went out to dinner and then came home and I started feeling a little sick around 11pm, so I went to bed. I woke up at 1 am and felt contractions starting. I went to the bathroom, and tried to time them for a while, but they were coming fast and strong, so I woke Phil up at 1:30 and told him that I thought I was starting labor. Now, my last 3 labors were very long (36 hours, 30 hours, and 24 hours in that order) and these contractions got very intense very quickly so I thought something wasn't right. I decided to jump in the bath to try and relax and Phil called the midwife to say I was starting labor. Of course she wanted to talk to me, but I was mid-contraction and yelling at Phil that I didn't want to talk to her. When I finally got on the phone, she was like "Honey, are they really that bad?" And I, never wanting to sound like a baby when it comes to pain said, "I don't know if I'm even in labor". Ahh, in the craziness of labor pains, I wasn't even making sense. Of course it was labor, what else would it be? So she said for us to come into the hospital right away and she would be there waiting for us. As I did for the other births, I had to take a shower and Phil had to get my brother who lives downstairs to come up and take the monitors of the sleeping kids. Now, my brother is an ER doctor, and he saw me having contractions and kept telling us to hurry up and get to the hospital because there was no way he was gonna deliver this baby. Yes, that would have been very akward for the both of us.

We finally jumped in Phil's car at just after 2 am only to realize there's no gas. (Which was actually my fault because I was the last one to drive his car, and it was at night, and I didn't feel like getting my 9-months-pregnant bum out of the car to pump gas). AAAAHHHHH, this is starting to feel like one of those crazy movie scenes were the woman has just started labor and she's already huffing and puffing like crazy, then the husband can't do anything right in getting her to the hospital. Yup, I guess those scenes are based on reality! So we pulled into a gas station and Phil jumps up only to see the sign says "No Gas" on the pump. We pull around to another pump and it's also out of gas. As a matter of fact, they're all empty. What the heck is going on? We pull into another station and he starts pumping gas as I'm doubled over in pain having contractions every couple minutes.

Once he's done getting enough gas to get us to the hospital, he starts running every red light we come across in order to get me there faster. In all our crazy rush out the door, I had remembered to bring a bowl in case I had to puke, since I usually puke on Phil at least once during each labor. Well, good thing I had the bowl in the car that night, you get the picture.

So about 2:30 am Phil pulls into the hospital like a crazy man, right where the ambulances are supposed to go, and I get out in the middle of a huge contraction and walk over to the wall to let it finish. Next thing I know, there's a bunch of nurses around me outside of the hospital, asking me if I'm Colleen, and making me sit in a wheelchair. Turns out my midwife let everyone know that I would be arriving in heavy labor. They start wheeling me up to the maternity wing, and I ask to walk there because there's no pain worse than having a contraction, unless you're trying to have a contraction while you're sitting down. They get me to the room, and Phil finds me just as the wonderful midwife tries to get a heartbeat on the baby. They have a lot of trouble finding one, and I can barely sit still, so she checks me and says I'm 7 cm. What?!?! I just felt my first contraction 1.5 hours ago, and I'm already 7 cm!! Phil later said that I told the midwife that I loved her (as if she had anything to do with how fast this labor was progressing) and then made my way over to the jacuzzi tub.

I labored in the tub for about 20 minutes and then told the nurse that I felt pressure and before I knew it, my body just pushed. It was like when you have to sneeze, and you can't control your body, it just comes out. The nurse frantically pushed the emergency button, and the midwife ran in, told me to push her the rest of the way out. Louise then reached under water to grab Maggie, unwrapped the cord from around her neck, and she took her first breath. I had to see her to really believe she was a girl, and she was so beautiful!!

So, all in all, the whole labor only took 2 hours from the time I felt the very first contraction to the time she was born. We were only in the hospital for 37 minutes before she came out. And I finally did it...I had a labor with no drugs, and it was the best one yet!! Maggie (Margaret Rosemary) was such a great nurser and slept lots of chunks during the night right from the start. Now at 4 months old, she is such a good baby, happy and content. And she is my perfect little daughter, my buddy who will always hold a special place in my heart.

Labor Story Numero 3

The last post I wrote about Eamon wasn't meant to replace his labor story, I just wanted to blog about him at that moment. So here's his story:

When Andrew was about 15 months old, I realized that if I were to become pregnant, Andrew and the next baby would be exactly 2 years apart, and that was something Phil and I wanted. So for the first time, we actually tried to have a baby. After one month of "trying" I got really sick with a stomach virus and ended up being so completely dehydrated that I had to go to the hospital where they gave me a magical pill that stopped the nausea and 2 IV bags of fluid. Ahhh, the miracles of modern medicine! They took my blood to see if I had an infection and of course the doctor asked me if I was pregnant. To which I responded with my standard "I don't know, could be, it's always possible" and then, like whomever asks me this, she looks at me perplexed until I say, "I use NFP". In these cases, I either get the I'm-so-sorry-for-you-my-poor-misguided-child look or they have no idea what I'm talking about. This time I got the former response. Anyways, it's always an opportunity to evangelize in a small way.

Needless to say, they tested my blood to see if I was pregnant, and the doctor came back to report that I wasn't. Phil was in shock...we actually tried to get pregnant this time, and it didn't work. I had to remind him that sometimes it takes couples months and years before they can conceive, and we have just been very lucky in the past. I think it was a blow to his manhood. However, a couple of weeks later, I took a home pregnancy test and it came out positive! I guess I was so newly pregnant at the hospital that I got a false negative result. Yeah, we were expecting baby number three and Phil felt like a real macho man once again! (He's gonna kill me for writing that...)

After the initial whole-day sickness (morning sickness, yeah right!) wore off, I got huge as a house and we decided that since we already had two boys (by surprise), we wanted to know what this baby would be. We found out he was a boy! We wanted to name him Brendan, but then I had a dream that I went into labor early, and when the baby came out I said "We shall call him Brendan" and then he died. So we changed the name to Eamon, which was a cousin on my mom's side and I had always loved the name. Phil took a little while to get used to it, but when I suggested we give Eamon the middle name Philip, he was all for it!

Since I had tried to have 2 drug-free births before, and always ended up getting the epidural at the last minute, we decided to forgo the midwife and get an Ob/Gyn and get the epidural early on. I figured if I was gonna get one anyway at the end, I might as well get it early and be comfortable the whole labor.

Once labor had started 10 days early, we went to the hospital and even though I was only about 2 cm with irregular contractions, they let me stay and I got the epidural around 3 cm. Then I started feeling really strange and my blood pressure fell way down, and the nurse yelled for the anestesioligist to come back because the baby's pressure was dropping as well. It was really scary. But after everything was settled, Phil and I were able to relax, sleep and watch tv throughout the night. Then in the morning my doctor came in before her office shift to check me, and said she would be back at noon to deliver the baby and just to rest until then. Hmmm, not sure I liked this whole doctor thing after being used to midwives who stayed with me almost the whole time, and let my body do what it needed to instead of working around what the clock said. (Disclaimer: with 4 doctors in my immediate family, I have nothing against doctors in general, they have the hardest jobs ever, get no respect and deserve every penny they make. However, during childbirth I have felt that in a healthy delivery, it is far better to have a midwife that an OB.)

When the OB came back at her lunch break, I pushed 2 times and out popped Eamon Philip. He was adorable and a great eater. Unfortunately he was also allergic to dairy and soy so I had to cut those from my diet in order to breastfeed. He was colicky and spit up so much that we had him tested for acid reflux, which came back negative even though he threw up all the time. So we switched him over to the hypoallergenic formula at 3 months (which our health insurance paid for thankfully) and he started doing a little better. He was always fussy and crying, and had 3 ear infections by the time he was 7 months old. We went to our ENT doctor and he suggested tubes (which Andrew also had) and that seemed to help, at least with the recurring ear infections. But we finally realized that he was just a high-need kiddo, and the older he grows, the better he becomes. He is my most challenging child thus far, but nevertheless will always hold a special place in my heart.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Number 3, otherwise known as Eamon

Eamon is a troublesome kid. I've been saying it since he was born. Actually, I've been known to say at times that he is the devil incarnate, but you get the point. He was a colicky baby and cried and spit up constantly until around a year old. He didn't sleep through the night until he was 17 months old (and at 18 months, he's still not consistent). He doesn't know how to talk quietly, only how to scream for what he wants. He always wants to be "up" in my arms, but will never give me a hug or kiss when I ask for one. He now sleeps in a big-boy bed (yes, at merely 18 months) because he climbs/falls out of his crib and my OCD-self thinks he will break his neck one night. He picks his nose non-stop and then proceeds to eat it and says "yum". He charges at his older brothers full-force to wrestle with them. He just learned to say "no" with great enthusiasm and knows exactly when to use it to push my buttons.

So why is it, that with all his stubborn ways, I find this kid so irresistible? Like when he kisses his baby sister on the head and touches her so gently. Or when he runs over to me and gives me a big kiss (but only when I don't ask for one). Or how he makes a little fist and taps my fist and says "sup". Or when he runs around all day with a big smile on his face just happy to be a part of this crazy family. Or how he blows kisses to Jesus, Mary and the angels anytime he sees a statue. Or how he claps at anything good that his coming his way (a cookie, Elmo, going outside). Or how he sings at Holy Mass even when everyone else has stopped.

This kid is definitely Heaven-sent. God is using him to teach me a lot about myself, to see my own flaws and imperfections, and to learn how to love unconditionally. Eamon is here to put a prayer in my heart and a smile on my face everyday. And I thank God for him...really I do!

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Busy, Busy

I realized today that I have been so busy lately, I have hardly had time to check email, never mind post on my blog. But right now everybody is taking a nap (miraculous!!) and I am using this time to eat lunch and check email and post. I should really be putting in a wash and cleaning the floors, but everyone deserves a break once in a while! Last Saturday, I had to work all day because it's tax season, yuck! But then on Sunday, my whole family got together to celebrate my mom's 70th birthday with a surprise brunch! Later that afternoon, Phil and I, along with my sister and her husband, went to a country concert...Phil Vassar! He was so great, talented and entertaining plus not ugly at all! My pictures were very blurry because he wouldn't stop moving around onstage (the nerve!) for me to take a perfect shot. Also newsworthy is that Maggie and Andrew have colds so that has been keeping me very occupied, but they are on the mend. So here are some recent pics of what's been happening...

Eamon on Easter morning excited about what the Easter Bunny brought. The Easter Bunny was very smart this year and gave the goodies in beach pails and a toy wheelbarrow instead of baskets so that the boys had summer beach toys to play with as well!

Me and Maggie on Easter right before we went outside to Easter egg hunt at my brother's house

Andrew hunting for eggs...this is his typical camera smile

John-Paul and his cousin, Caitlin, count out the eggs they found

John-Paul letting Gammy know that it's her surprise birthday party!

Andrew and me hanging out while he was feeling a little sick. He is wearing a post-it note from John-Paul that says "Andrew, your (you're) my best friend" sweet!

Phil Vassar in concert playing the piano....

And here he is again, inviting the audience to sing with him to "Carleen", my song. Of course, I sing it as "Colleen"!