The local hardware store had a free little Halloween thing, so we took the kids. Since their school forbids both masks and any "violent" costumes or weapons, neither of them will be able to wear their full costumes. *sigh*
Batgirl and Wolverine might as well get some use out of them before trick or treating!
Even if Wolverine is missing a tooth...
They had fun in the bounce house.
And playing in the fire truck.
Dmitri tried on the fireman's coat. It was a little big. :)
I have been on a total news media lockdown all weekend. I spent all of last week (and the week before) glued to the news stations, watching election/economy coverage. And feeling sick. And just when I thought I couldn't feel any sicker... oh wait, yep. It gets worse.
Finally, I decided I just couldn't take it anymore, and turned off the TV. My final straw was the woman at the McCain rally, the one who called Obama an "Arab" (that implied, unspoken "dirty" just before it makes me wince, every time). They played it on the local news. On CNN. On MSNBC. On Fox. They played it...and played it...and played it.
And every single time I wanted to crawl under the covers. How embarrassing. What a sick and twisted thing the underbelly of America has become. Our shadow is huge, and yes, I wanted to ignore it, turn away, not see such a horrible, ugly thing on display for the entire world.
Thank God there are people out there willing to look at it, willing to face it, willing to hear it even aimed at themselves, and still move forward, turned toward the light of change.
Me, I like to hide. There are so many things I would rather not know. It feels overwhelming to acknowledge, and looks insurmountable on its face. I get overcome with a feeling of complete helplessness, powerlessness. What can I possibly do about it!?
But then our voter registrations came in the mail. We'd reapplied for them through the mail after we moved, and it had been several weeks. I was worried. What if we didn't get them in time? And there's always that creeping feeling/voice at the back of my head... maybe there really is a conspiracy to keep voters from the polls?
But now that I have this little piece of paper in my hand, I know that there is one thing I can do. It's a small thing, but it's a very important thing, perhaps the most important thing.
I can speak up. I can stand up and be counted and let my voice be heard. It's just one voice for change, but as Mahatma Ghandi once said: "You must be the change you wish to see in the world."
So I will take my little card and go to the little local high school, and I'll vote. And from my rural community, I'll watch our impending global collapse and the possibility of change from my television - a strange window to the rest of the world - and I'll read my Internet news, connected to a global community...
But I'll be thinking of the words of Mohandas Ghandi:
Men should do their actual living and working in communities small enough to permit of genuine self-government and the assumption of personal responsibilities, federated into larger units in such a way that the temptation to abuse great power should not arise.
We had an OB appt today and I finally got my official nuchal scan u/s results back - my risk of having a baby with Downs Syndrome went from 1 in 113 to 1 in 2241, and my risk of having a baby with trisomy 13/18 went from 1 in 201 to 1 in 4001.
Whew! Also heard the heartbeat... the midwife couldn't find it last week, but we heard it galloping along just fine today. And we set up my anatomy ultrasound at 18 weeks - two weeks earlier than I expected.
I think we've decided to find out the gender. The kids are fighting over which they want - brother or sister - and I think getting the disappointment over now is better than waiting until the baby's actually here, kwim?
So we'll know what we're having in four more weeks...
Eighteen years ago today I was in labor with my first. Today, I'm pregnant with my fifth. A nice bookend to my childbearing years. :)
My first baby was a surprise. She was meant to be, and although the birth itself was less than ideal in my memory, I do remember looking at her and thinking how incredible and perfect she was. I'd never been so connected to another human being before as I was the moment she was put into my arms. All my hopes and dreams for this little girl - and we were so thrilled she was a girl! - were brought to fruition in that moment.
It wasn't long before we knew her laughter and her sweetness, and heard the bright, beautiful resonance of her voice. I couldn't imagine my life without her, and she's brought a great deal of joy and insight and contemplation and self-reflection to me in my life. She's always been her own person, done her own thing, from the time she was little, and I appreciate her independence and her strength.
I was a very young mother with her, and we made lots of mistakes along the way in raising her, I'm sure. Only hindsight is 20/20, and all we can do, as parents, is apologize for our human failures and look to the future. And there's no telling what the future can hold.
Today my first daugher is a bright, beautiful eighteen year old woman.
When I was a kid, I always hunted for and found my Christmas presents.
I've never been big on surprises. Most of the time, to me, surprises have been pretty disappointing. I like anticipation, but only when I know WHAT is coming. I like seeing the light at the end of a tunnel, and already knowing that it's not a train!
So the decision to keep the gender of this baby a surprise was a tough one for me. But my first was a surprise. My ex wanted a girl, and I did, too, and that's just what she was, but we didn't know until the moment she arrived. Granted, the OB announced it, and they whisked her away to the warming table to be suctioned, and I didn't see her for a while.
But it was a surprise.
We didn't want to know the sex of our second baby, either, but when the tech asked and I told her no, we didn't know to know, she mouthed the word, "Boy!" to the other tech... and Pandora's box was open.
So resisting the temptation with baby number three and four was just too difficult. And Michael wanted to know, too, so I figured, why not? People could buy us gender-specific things (and since it had been so long since I'd had a baby, I had no baby things left!) which they were begging to do...
But I was going to stick to my guns with this baby. It was going to be a surprise, no matter how tempting it was to find out at that twenty-week ultrasound. A nice bookend to my first pregnancy.
Now I'm re-thinking that, but it's not my curious-kitty instincts that are changing my mind. What I didn't count on were the other kids having very strong preferences for one gender or the other. Zoe wants a sister. She very adamantly wants a sister. And Dmitri wants a brother. And they are fighting about it constantly, which gender it is, and who's going to get what.
I'm trying to imagine the disappointment and resentment - inevitable, with one, if not the other - at the birth. That's gonna suck. It should be a joyful time, and I really don't want to have to console a first-grader because the baby isn't the gender they wanted. *sigh*
So, selfishly, I'm wondering if I should just find out now, and tell them so they can get the disappointment over with, and then get used to having either a brother or a sister? That way, there will be no big surprises for them at the birth. They'll already know if we're welcoming Luke or Lucy...
I suppose it makes the most sense. And hey, I love finding out secrets. I'm fourteen weeks today, so that ultrasound is six weeks away. I still have time to consider and think about it.
I had no idea how much tension I was carrying around, thinking about actually planning a hospital birth.
I was actually considering it. I am older, after all. Plus, I've had two home births, so having a baby at home is not something I would be missing out on doing. And, of course, the big consideration, insurance pays for all of it if you go to a hospital...
I hate that money is an issue, but when you've got an insurance company willing to pay the full cost of your coverage on one hand, and you're looking at paying a midwife for a home birth out of pocket (a hell of a lot less than your insurance company would pay, granted - thousands of dollars less, which is a drop in the bucket for BCBS, but a huge chunk of change for ME!) on the other hand, it's a difficult decision to weigh.
And don't even get me started on the fact that we have to make this decision at all. Insurance should pay for midwives, period, wherever the birth takes place. You'd think insurance companies would jump at the chance to save the cash, but noooo... *shaking head*
So after my u/s appt. and my run-in with the u/s doc, I started calling midwives. I've been a doula and involved in the birth community since 2001, so you'd think it would be easy, but since we've moved an hour away from the hub of where I developed all my birth contacts, it really isn't. Midwives usually don't travel more than hour or so to a birth - and you can understand why, especially for a fifth-time mom. The chances of missing a birth are just too great!
I debated, I researched, I called other doulas, I talked to people about their experiences with the midwives who practice up here in the area, and the same name and practice kept coming up in a positive way over and over. The good news is the name was familiar to me as well. Years ago (back in 2001, actually) I did a Birthing From Within training class to become a childbirth educator, and this midwife and I had connected and had lunch together.
I didn't expect her to remember - but when I gave her a call, she actually did remember! We had a long talk, connected immediately like birth-junkies tend to do - she told me all about the birth she'd just come from, a tough breech with a tired mom - and it felt immediately comfortable and easy.
So I invited her over for an "interview," and she answered all my questions quite satisfactorily. Yes, the bring oxygen, yes, they carry pitocin, their transfer rate is a very low 2%, they don't demand that you take any tests (gestational diabetes, GBS, etc) or do any newborn tests you don't want.
My only disappointment was they don't have their own water birth tub they bring - but they do know someone who rents one, so we're looking into it! I'm not sure yet if I want to. I've never done a water birth, and I really would love to, but since we're renting, I worry about the weight of the tub on the floor... can you imagine if something went wrong!? Eek!
But I'll cross that bridge when I get there...
Oh, and she also told us she does a great deal of Amish births out this way (Awesome! I love the Amish! :) ) and she invited us to an Amish dairy farm for a "field trip" in a few weeks, so the kids can milk a cow, and pet the chickens, and get some fresh milk. How cool!
By the end of the night, she was hired and had her doppler out looking for the heartbeat (baby was hiding, but I know he/she's fine... I've been feeling movement since 10 weeks with this one! I think it's a gymnast...) and showing the kids a model of a 12 week fetus they could hold in their hands. Awesome.
I literally breathed a sigh of relief that night when Michael and I were in bed, and he said the exact same thing I was thinking. "Well, that's a relief, isn't it?"
I couldn't believe how much. I hadn't realized I was holding my breath, bracing myself for dealing with the medical community. I could do that easily as a doula - but as a birthing mother? It would have made it SO much harder. (Makes you really understand one of the important roles doulas play, doesn't it?)
Now we'll be able to stay home and really relax and enjoy the birth (you know, as much as you can enjoy excruciating pain *grin* )
And two big bonuses: she comes to our house to do prenatals AND she actually charges less than rest of the midwives I talked to, even with her years and years of experience.