Sunday, December 20, 2009

Facebook stole my blogging energy! Plus the whole mommy blogging world is so competitive, I didn't feel like I was up to it anymore. I am too busy living to be posting about it all. Yet its worth keeping a blog so I can se my kids through the years, I love going back & looking at their stages, since I don't scrapbook--this is my scrapbook.

Last year at this time I was in the hospital, with no idea if my baby would make it through my kidney drama. My urologists were all a bunch of lunchboxes.Thanks to my OB, the only one who knew what was wrong with me, and my own intuition, I made it home & Ramsay made it here healthy & whole!

My days are just frantic with 4 boys, breastfeeding & diapers. The only reason I am able to be here now is the snowstorm we had yesterday that dumped 2 feet of snow in Va.

Some highlights of the fall:
-my mom & I went on a silent retreat, we brought only the baby, it was amazing. I can't wait to go back.
-Jakob has become the biggest fan of Elvis
-the Creature has evolved into a kid that is enjoying school sometimes :)
-Ramsay is 8 months old, boo hooo, growing up too fast!
-JX loves preschool
-my darling husband still makes great beer & is getting to be in the best shape of his life in spite of it :) :)

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Celebrating International Babywearing Week!

I remember how excited I was when the Sacajawea dollar came out in 2000. I was a brand new mother who was so enamored with her little guy and so excited to do everything "naturally." Babywearing was one of the things I jumped into wholeheartedly. I wore Jakob everywhere, I had only a Maya wrap ring sling, but he was always there if we were out, and most of the time at home too. Then, here comes the new Sacajawea dollar coin celebrating a strong babywearing mama who trekked across the entire country, with only breasts and a papoose for her baby boy. I was inspired!

Since then, babywearing has become even more important to me. I can remember arguing with my mom and husband about bringing the "bucket" into a restaurant. "Just let him sleep, don't move him." (I was always trying to get him in that sling, even if it was all twisted up & crazy looking :) When my bucket car seat got too old we replaced it with a convertible car seat that doesn't leave the car, so the sling is where baby goes, even if he's asleep & baby gets used to going right back to sleep as I walk. I am freaky about it, I will sling my little Ramsay from the car to the house these days just so I can carry everything in.

What really made me a fanatic about keeping babies close was something I noticed when I sat and held my second son in the hospital every day for 7 weeks. He was in a coma after his birth and he never did wake up, and died 7 weeks later. Every day of his short life I sat and held him for hours. When I would wash up at the NICU door I could see the monitor that gave me a quick update on his health that day. Oxygen sats, heartrate, etc. Sometimes his oxygen saturation would be below 90% as I sat down next to him. As soon as I picked him up it would go to 100% and stay there until I had to go home. It was a small miracle that I got to see each time I held him. The second night of his life his doctor prepared us to let him go, but we held him the entire night and he rebounded. He was super sick that night, but for whatever reason, he stayed for awhile and I'm so glad he did. If a baby that everyone said wasn't aware of anything was able to love being held, then imagine how it would benefit any baby to be held.

Because of that experience with Alistair I never miss a chance to cuddle one of my babies. When I'm rushing to get someplace, I put on the sling, drop the baby in and go...and I'm instantly calmer...just because baby is close. I love being able to dart in out of the preschool hallways or see what I want in crowded museums. I love shopping and stopping to get sweet smiles from my littlest. I love hearing my older boys tell me, "put the baby on, mom!" I love that there is a week celebrating babywearing, it is such a great thing to get the word out about. Although I am a volunteer LC, I do think keeping a baby close may be more important even than what they eat. I can think of many babies that weren't able to get breastmilk, but were held, a lot, or kept close at night, and they are so connected and so secure. One day when I am no longer blessed to have a little baby, babywearing will probably be what I miss most.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Koi madness

It was a perfect outing, everyone happy & great weather, until JX fell in the koi pond! Luckily it was shallow and mom was right there, but definitely not my finest hour.

Friday, September 18, 2009

My guy is 3!

We took JX on a birthday tour of the city in a DC Ducks mobile. We all loved it, first you see all the important stuff in the city, White House, Capitol, etc & then you get in the Potomac river and see the city much more peacefully & quietly. It was amazing, and I have always been the anti-tourist. Then we had a party, which was perfect because we invited exactly 3 3 year olds. I can't believe my Joaquin is already 3.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

The article I wish I had written

Wow! I was writing this article in my head about how crazy those African HIV/circumcision studies are & then voila! Someone else wrote it for me & did an awesome job to boot:

Friday, July 31, 2009

At the lake this year, rainy day pictures taken by my cousin Gale:

A blogger who also lost a baby boy to the same thing I lost mine to, wrote something about how he flinches and feels horrible every time he thinks of his son's birth and feels amazed that he has survived every day since. I feel the same way. There is pride in surviving all kinds of things: cancer, poverty...but there is no pride in surviving your own child. The only pride I have (and maybe pride is not the right word) is that my marriage survived the loss of our son.

It is wild for me to think I've had 5 kids. I definitely look like I've had 5 kids these days, it is very tiring & as I get older the weight doesn't come off from just breastfeeding. I am not one to feel sorry for myself, I have four very healthy boys, one of whom is just a wee bit crazier than the others, yet, I do miss my second son and I have many layers of loss involved with his death. I am not articulate about grief anymore, like I once was, I'm not in the rawest place. Sometimes I oddly miss that first year of pain though because I felt closest to my little guy then. Every day for the first year I could remember exactly how holding him felt, now I have him mixed up with the other babies.

Tonight I went to a friend's house with older kids. She kept pointing out all of the great things I could do to my house in the future when my kids are the age of hers. She seemed very worried my boys would get out of control in her house. Things improved after we had some beer. :)
I really am not in a rush to have the perfect house or the quiet of older kids who are into their own stuff. I am overjoyed to have a tiny baby, a toddler/almost preschooler, and 2 bigger boys. I breathe in the baby constantly, I just soak in his sweetness. He smiles at me no matter what, its no wonder I hold him constantly. I know what its like to have them grow and want less to do with you and I know what its like when your child is not here, at all.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Ramsay's baptism

Ramsay was baptised on Saturday and it was a wonderful and comical and stressful day. We were late for our own kids baptism which was embarrassing. My mom came to the car to help with the kids as I pulled up alone with 3 of them (dear husband was 20 minutes behind me!) My mom really let me have it! I had to do the walk of shame into the church where the other 4 families were already assembled with their crews, about 30 deep each. Although we were the last ones there, we had the first baptism.

They bless every kid in the church & then take each kid one by one with assembled crews, to the font in the vestibule and christen the baby. Then its back inside for candles and chrism. I love bringing Ramsay into our faith this way.

I love his Godparents so much that I miss them right now. We picked dh's oldest female friend, almost cousin, & her husband and its the first time we had an actual couple be Godparents. I can't express how seriously they took this and how much they helped with the whole day, planning & decorating for the party & cooking almost all of the food. They brought tons of Chilean wine (she is Chilean also) and she made a watermelon basket filled with fruit. The night before the party they came over with their teenage son and decorated every room, put balloons outside covering each corner of our fence & just helped me clean and do final shaping up before the big day. And they live an hour away! The party was smooth & perfect thanks to them, except for the AC breaking, which was pretty miserable, but one thing should always go wrong, too perfect is scary!

So, a beautiful day. It has been a bit of a letdown the past 2 days, but good times are ahead next week at the lake, God willing. I am just busy these days, soaking in the moments with my precious little baby and keeping bigger boys happy & occupied.

Monday, June 08, 2009

For the 3rd year in a row we went to the fair! I really wanted to go b/c Naughty by Nature (among other "old skool all stars") was going to be playing & they are a lot of fun & I always had a crush on Treach. So we went, with all the kids, my brother & Ramsay's godparents. It was easier than I imagined b/c little guy slept the whole time, only waking up to eat at the end. Naughty by NAture was awesome, but the kids hated it. I always say there's no such thing as too much bass, but I think I heard too much bass, it was really thumping! My friend Jen said it sounded like the space shuttle being launched!
The big boy holding Joaquin in the pics is the teenage son of Ramsay's godparents, my boys love him. Joaquin is the only one who would go on rides, my other boys wouldn't ride a thing, they just wanted to eat fair food & people watch :)

Friday, May 29, 2009

Thursday, May 21, 2009

In the first 2 weeks after giving birth, most women's emotions are all over the place. In fact I have never met anyone that hasn't had pretty extreme ups and downs in the first extremely hormonal weeks. And I talk to LOTS of mamas. This time, for me, the situation of adjusting to Ramsay was complicated by the fact that my due date was almost the same as Alistair's. Of all pregnancies to have to "do over" timeline-wise, it was very hard for it be that one, the one that ended in tragedy and changed our lives forever.

Maybe that's why I had all the drama of the kidney stone during the 2nd trimester & all the hell that went with it. Maybe I didn't properly face the pain and so I had to suffer physically, although I doubt it. I faced that pain pretty well and still do. I still worry all the time about the next kidney attack. But...back to the present moment. I have a healthy baby who is adorable and awesome. I have survived a huge surgery (for the 3rd time) that used to be a last ditch effort when a laboring mom was dying.

In the 1st 2 weeks I lamented the fact that I have to have C sections, the reason I have to is because my son died during a natural birth. It is horrible, but then I had no choice but to be positive about it. I am here, still, and I do need surgery, but I set goals to get through it & I made all my goals. Cath & Iv out first thing in the morning after surgery, in the shower that 1st morning too. All drugs out of my system before 2 weeks. And leading my breastfeeding support group at 4 weeks out. I made it and I'm very grateful. And all of my boys, including my precious Alistair in heaven, have a new brother, who is also unique and unrepeatable.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Ramsay is one month old now and its been busy! This C section recovery has been good, but harder than the others. At 3 weeks postpartum I felt MUCH better and its been good since then, he eats constantly when he is awake & sleeps deeply and for a long time when he's asleep. Its tough with 4 boys but getting easier each day.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Friday, April 24, 2009

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Ramsay Kieran is here!

My sweet mellow little boy was born on April 16th at 8:09 am . He weighed 8 lbs 7 oz & it was a very smooth and fast C section. I think something was added to my IV b/c I was feeling more out of it during this birth than with the last 2. And I am dealing with some typical post surgical pain, but ... its nothing compared to kidney stones!!
I am just so thankful that we made it to 39 weeks and that he is healthy and strong. He is already pretty good at holding his head up. Today he smiled at me too!

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

My Grandmother, Mary Straub, mother of my dad, died last night. She was an intense type of matriarch, a very powerful personality with a lot of strong opinions. Her husband was a surgeon and she had a great life in New York City, with summers at their house in the Hamptons. Later, they left the city for good and stayed out on the island. I miss their house on Long Island so much, after my grandfather died, she sold it.

Its a whole era that I miss, mostly because it included them. They had smart and interesting friends that would come over for cocktail hour almost every night and then we wouldn't eat dinner until late, close to 9 or 10 pm. It was not a kid-centric world and as grandparents, they wanted to be called by their names. I respect the way we were left to our own devices while they socialized. I'm pretty much the same with my kids now. Kids, go play, adults are talking now! I would try to come in and eat as much brie as I could before my grandmother caught me though...

Once my parents sent me to NYC to stay with them when I was 10. I flew alone and she picked me up and we spent every minute together for the whole week. I loved it! She took me shopping at Bloomingdales, to her hair salon, on the city bus, to an Ice Capades show at Madison Sq Gardens & she showed me Trump Tower, which she hated :). We met my grandfather for dinner at the fancy neighborhood steak house when he got off work. I was also sent to stay alone with them at their house in the Hamptons when I was about 14.

I have too many great memories of her to do her justice here on this puny blog, but in later years she suffered from dementia, so she hasn't been fully with us for awhile. Its just weird to have her completely gone. I aspire to be an awesome and powerful matriarch like her, she had her order and things she liked her way, but could also be very loving & surprisingly compassionate. Did I mention she was a beautiful woman? She was elegant and always fashionable, she subscribed to Vogue and was tall and slim. She had black hair and blue eyes & got very tan when she was living at the beach in her youth.

We will all miss her, my boys have known her their whole lives and she loved my husband. I don't look forward to telling my oldest that she is gone, when he comes home from school. Our family is less complete, but I know my grandfather and grandmother ( Ramsay and Mary) are together forever.

Saturday, April 04, 2009

Little boys begging for youtube fairy tale vids. Me sitting on my park bench, watching boys play. My darling husband surprised me with 2 gigantic palm trees!

And last weekend my dear friend Carol invited us to an incredible Italian dinner party and surprised us with gifts, for us, not the baby, since we have the same type of baby each time, we don't need much, It was such an amazing treat and wonderful to be surrounded by great friends.

Monday, March 30, 2009

The beautiful "party tree" in our Hobbit like Shire that we luckily live in...

Friday, March 27, 2009

This week in the health news have been more headlines about circumcision being an important "tool" in the fight against 2 more STD's : Herpes & HPV. Of course, again, this info was based on the African studies. Studies that were done in ways that we could never do them in the US. I think its weird (of course!) to cut a newborn based on the premise that he might be promiscuous and I also think its weird to cut them knowing that in the time between now and the time he is sexually active the could easily have a cure for all of these diseases.

I also don't believe these studies are even true. Here in the U.S. we have an astronomically high rate of HPV, 80% of the women my age have it, and yet the partners of these women are from the generation that had a 90% circ rate. Again, they cut some African men, left others intact, left them alone & checked them later on. The cut men were home healing for up to 2 months after the surgery!

Here is what a guy named "Perspective" said on my mothering board today about it:

"We are a culture trying to find reasonings to continue practicing one of our most outdated traditions. And in the process are wasting the time of researchers and doctors, money, and taking unneeded risks with men's health.

Its time to let the circ issue die, and let the practice of circumcision reseed to the same level of importance as mall piercings, and dive bar tattoo's."

So well said! Its obviously a tradition that is dying out as educated parents question the practice of removing healthy tissue (that has many functions) and so the medical establishment sees a huge loss of income & is happy to do anything to keep it going in America, even though its been virtually abandoned in Canada, the UK & Australia.
Last night I was lying on my side and I had my hand on my belly for a minute because bedtime is baby's craziest time of the day. All of a sudden I felt a fist hit me in the hand! It was bizarre and kind of creepy, but cool. The last 2 times I had the placenta completely covering the front so I never got exact parts, but this time I have a very high placenta so its been easy to tell exactly how little boy is positioned in there, and that fist was so obvious! Life in utero is definitely really life!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

I am back from my 36 week dr visit today. I like the dr, he is the senior partner in the practice and very very sweet to my boys. He let me break their rule about doing a GBS test at 36 weeks and I can wait a week to do it, so I don't have to have a pelvic exam with my kids!
Needing to have this baby surgically is tough, but I brought up all of my worries and he gave a lot of attention to each one, and I feel OK about it all. I have to dig deep after my appointments and re-connect with the little guy and remember that I am strong and healthy and we will get through this & enjoy meeting him and taking care of him so much.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Thursday, March 05, 2009

I'm weird, I love this part of pregnancy. I am so damn big! 193 lbs last week and still growing. I wish I could maintain my size better, but I kind of don't care. After the kidney/bladder drama all of my typical pregnancy complaints are NOTHING in comparison to that. My little guy kicks and has hiccups and just gets bigger all the time. I hope he is a lot like The Creature & Teeny, and is quiet and easy. Jakob was more of a fussy guy but that's only b/c I had no clue what I was doing when it came to feeding him.

Here are some recent pictures:

About Me

My photo
I'm just a mom in the world. A crunchy Catholic mama of 6 trying to make sense of it all and stay positive. 5 boys here & 1 in heaven. One awesome man who I get to grow old with. I help new moms breastfeed. I`m happy. I don`t go to shows or dance clubs every night but I would if I could. Where`s the nanny? When I see her she`s SO fired! One of my boys is super sweet and sensitive, another one is a holy terror. I learn a ton from all of them daily. Like Nigella says, as any parent of small children knows,there comes a point in the day where you can`t go any further without a drink! I love cocktail hour. I`d like nothing more than to be with my family and some good friends surrounded by tropical plants drinking a margarita listening to the Eagles. I don`t care about trendy, I like that grungy 70`s vibe.