Friday, 31 July 2009

What are the odds...

James mother is currently vacationing in Scotland, visiting friends and family and seeing the sights. Yesterday Colin received a postcard from her. (He loves getting mail, especially when it's addressed to him!) There was a photograph of a bagpiper on the front, and a lovely note telling him how much Grandma missed her little darling, and also talking about the instrument on the back.

Colin was intrigued, but I could see in his eyes the concept of the bagpipe was escaping him. I've got a plethora of instruments at home, but this one had a little too much going on for him to grasp it all.

Then, later on in the afternoon as we lay relaxing in the house, I heard the clear, loud tones of...a bagpipe floating on the air! So loud, I knew they had to be really close. I grabbed Colin's hand and we raced out barefoot into the backyard. And lo and behold, there in the parking lot behind our backyard, standing barely 20 feet from where we stood, was a woman in full Scottish regalia, warming up her bagpipe! There is a funeral home across the street, and I'm assuming that's where she was headed off to. But for now, she had parked right behind our yard and was playing away for our enjoyment! Colin stared hard, trying to take it all in - the bag, the pipes, the way it was played, the sound it produced. He thought it was neat, but I was just blown away by the coincidence! What are the odds?!

Wednesday, 29 July 2009


There was an old TV ad that I found really funny, and it has always stuck in my mind. A man is driving in his car. He parks in a parking lot and starts walking. He passes by those huge construction fences - the big wooden sheets that mean you can't see what's going on behind. His pace slows a little, and he happens upon a small hold in the fence. He stops and peers through the whole, completely taken by the busy construction scene going on. Cut to him squeezing through a full row of people at a baseball game. He sits beside his friends and they ask him why he is late. The man shrugs and simply says "construction." The others nod knowingly.

Well, I guess it's an inborn guy thing. There is a major construction project just getting started behind our house. So far, the only thing actually going on is a digger that scoops dirt and drops it into a truck, that then disappears around the corner to dump it. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.

But something about it has my boys captivated. Yesterday we sat on the lawn in front of the construction scene and watched it for an hour. This morning they asked to watch again. The construction workers know us now; they always wave to the boys and today they even came over to chat with them. Seriously - all there is, is a digger, digging dirt. They are going to be ecstatic when the real stuff starts! (Oh, and I'm SO excited for all the dirt and noise and the 5-story retirement building going in behind our lot.)

Tuesday, 28 July 2009

Caleb's words

Following in his brother's footsteps, Caleb didn't even attempt speaking until he was past 18 months. But now, at 20 months, his vocabulary has exploded!

As with Colin, I had casually used a few sign language words with Caleb, but he only ever learned two of them: "more" and "food". Not always in conjunction with each other; he also uses "more" in relation to music, asking for song after song after song. Bright kid that he is, he also adapted one other sign: "popcorn". There is a children's song we sing often about spring blossoms that look like popcorn, and it has little hand actions that include a sign for popcorn. I still remember the day a few weeks back when he came back from the fair with Grandma and Grandpa. "Did you have anything to eat?" I asked, and he nodded. "Did you have a hot dog?" and he grinned and nodded again. "Did you eat anything else?" I queried. He nodded, paused, and then proceeded to "sign" to me: popcorn! I laughed at the joy in his face, but then watched as his expression grew contemplative for a moment. Then he peered up at me and signed: "More popcorn?" He doesn't miss a beat.

I can proudly say that "Mommy" was his first word, followed closely by "Daddy". I couldn't even try to count all the words he has now. But, very notably, none of his words are superfluous. He doesn't bother himself with animals or colours or shapes - every word committed to memory is in direct correlation to his needs and wants.

Here is a good sampling of his words so far:

Foods: Cereal, bar (granola), cheese, cracker, yogurt, water, milk, juice, bread, peanut butter, ketchup, syrup, food, hungry.
Bedtime: Soother, nap, blanket, cuddle (my favourite word, by far!), poop (diaper change), sleep, clock, light, pillow.
Family: Mommy, Daddy, Colin, Caleb, Ma, Pa, cat, Bampa (Grandpa/Grandma), "Fer" (Jennifer) "Kyrs" (Krystal), Hello, Bye.
Songs: Popcorn ("Popcorn Popping), Daddy (a song about Dad) Mommy (a song about Mom) Spider (Eensy Weensy Spider), "inkle" (Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star)
Toys: Truck, car, train. (nothing more needed!)
Activities: Self ("let me do this by myself!"), walk, car (travel by car), centre (a local play centre) park, stroller, bike, scooter.

Caleb and Colin are alike in the respect that both spoke their first word later than normal, but then virtually exploded right away. But where Colin picked up all the words from books and pictures (like colours, shapes, animals, etc) and favourite songs (like "The Impossible Dream") and used generic words like "food" instead of specifying further, Caleb is very specific about exactly what needs he has, from what food he wants, what drink he wants, if he wants a cuddle or a rest or a nap or a sleep or just to sit in the crib - and has no need for any words that don't have an immediate purpose.

As I mentioned above, my favourite word Caleb has right now is "cuddle." He'll randomly stop what he's doing at numerous times throughout the day, find wherever I am and ask for a cuddle. I sit on the floor and he climbs up into my lap, leaning his head against my chest and just taking a break from the busyness of a toddler's day. It usually lasts a minute or two and then he's up and going again. But it's like he's checking back in with me, making sure I know that even though he's all about independence, he still needs me around. This is what being a mom is all about.

Monday, 27 July 2009

Pregnancy treats

During normal healthy periods of my life, I am really good at keeping treats to a minimum. I don't spend the money at the grocery store, which means we don't have them sitting around the house. And I almost never make late night runs (or make James make late night runs) for ice cream or other desserts. It took a lot of self-control in the beginning, but now I'm just used to it.

But during pregnancy, I figure that all bets should be off. I feel awful, and so if I feel like indulging in a Dairy Queen Blizzard at 10pm, or send James to a 24-hour grocery store for nachos and cheese, I don't feel too bad about doing it.

The problem is, during pregnancy, I get on this crazy healthy snacking kick! The other day we went to Dairy Queen with the boys, and I bought a Blizzard to bring home, not really feeling like eating it right after dinner. But later that night, when I opened the fridge, I was staring at both the ice cream and the raspberries, and all I wanted was the raspberries! My two favourite snacks right now are:

1. Tomato, red pepper and cheese quesadillas
2. Spinach, strawberry and walnut salads with balsamic vinaigrette dressing.

While both these things are delectable, I feel slightly cheated out of the dessert allowance I would give myself during pregnancy.

Friday, 24 July 2009


Although I previously quoted the chorus from this song, truly the entire piece has inspired me lately. Each verse contains a kernel of truth that resonates in me, something I connect to on a personal level, some I have experienced myself. And so here is Hilary Week's song "Reaching" in its entirety.

There's a time I can recall

Four years old and three feet tall
Trying to touch the stars and the cookie jar
And both were out of reach

Later on in my high school
It seemed to me a little cruel
How the right words to say always seemed
To stay just out of reach

I should not have thought it strange
That growing causes growing pains
'Cause the more we learn the more we know
We don't know anything

But still it seems a tragic fate
Living with this quiet ache
The constant strain for what remains
Just out of reach

We are reaching for the future
We are reaching for the past
And no matter what we have we reach for more
We are desperate to discover
What is just beyond our grasp
Maybe that's what heaven is for

There are times I can't forget
Dressed up in my Sunday best
Trying not to squirm and to try to learn
A bit of what the teacher would teach

Later lying in the dark
I felt a stirring in my heart
And though I longed to see what could not be seen
I still believed

I guess I shouldn't think it odd
Until we see the face of God
The yearning deep within us tells us
There's more to come

So when we taste of the divine
It leaves us hungry every time
One more taste of what awaits
When heaven's gates are reached

We are reaching for the future
We are reaching for the past
And no matter what we have we reach for more
We are desperate to discover
What is just beyond our grasp
Maybe that's what heaven is for

Lots of little things

I've had lots of little things swimming around in my mind lately. Each one deserves its own treatment, commentary and post, but I'm just too exhausted to start, and more than likely these little sparks will flicker out into the abyss of my terrible memory before I ever get around to it. So this is simply a collection of some of those thoughts.


A conversation I heard about money and charity posed the question "is it a sin to be rich?" Stemming from the story in the New Testament about the rich man told to give away all his possessions that he may inherit the Kingdom of God, it is an interesting thought. My instinct is, it can't be a sin to be rich, because there are so many charities doing so much good in the world, and they need their funds to come from somewhere. A selfish person may only spend money on themselves, living in million dollar homes and splurging on toys and vacations, spending outrageous amounts of money on things like shampoo and hand soap. We need good-hearted people to be rich, that they might help those who truly need it.

This is the answer given in the conversation: "It is not a sin to be rich, but it is a sin to die rich." That struck me to the core. What would be the use of hoarding all my money my whole life, never spreading it around to those in need, and to those I love?


I am just finishing a paper-weight of a book about the legend of King Authur. Meticulously researched, I have been mesmerized by a look into the complete turn to Christianity in the British Isles. The book chronicles the "pagan" beliefs, and I love learning and discovering and finding understanding in other belief systems outside of my own. Even a Christian today would eschew the idea of pagan rituals, mostly because of what is the common understanding of them. But I was amazed to find that the pagan beliefs in their original form were much closer to current Christianity today than one might think. (Most notably a reverence of the earth created for us, tolerance of other people's beliefs, a deep level of spirituality and communion with God, and an understanding that although some of the mysteries of God are given to us to know, they must be learned step by step, precept by precept, and still will never be completely understood or explained.) Yes, there were many rituals and practices that did not jive with the practice of Christianity in that time period (ie: chastity and purity), but in the end I have discovered a kinship previously unimagined.

It has spurred on my interest to study the religions and beliefs throughout history. I have a feeling that when studied side by side, there would be recurring truths among them all that would give us a real sense of what truth was in the beginning of man's existence.


I have always been a seeker of knowledge. Critical thinking is simply a part of my makeup, which has never let me simply believe something because someone else said so. I always challenge ideas - my own included - to really question what I am accepting.

I think mankind has the inherent desire to constantly learn more, also. We want to go to the moon, then Mars, then...then...then... There is never a contentment with what we know - we always need to learn more.

This, then, poses a problem when it comes to faith and religion. By it's very definition, faith is a belief in something that cannot be seen or proven. You just have to take the leap. And so how can a species inherently curious ever be content with faith?

I have felt a surrender within myself over the past few months. With so many unanswered questions, and so many partial answers, it seemed like each answer only led to more questions. Each argument, each belief, each idea, could be just as equally and firmly proved as unproved. Man's knowledge seemed to be failing me.

But I heard these beautiful lyrics by Hilary Weeks, and suddenly felt the calm and peace I was searching for. The entire song is beautiful but it was this chorus that particularly struck me:

We are reaching for the future
We are reaching for the past
And no matter what we have we reach for more
We are desperate to discover
What is just beyond our grasp
Maybe that's what heaven is for

I am finally discovering in myself the ability to find peace that I will not, I cannot, learn it all here and now, but that there will come a day when heaven's gates are opened and, no longer imprisoned by a finite mind, I may come to understand eternal and infinite ideas.


Friday, 17 July 2009

My little baby

16 week pre-natal appointment today - and I finally heard the heartbeat. 130 bmp, nice and strong. According to the old wives tale, hat means I'm having a boy, but we'll know better next month when we go for our ultrasound. Over the last few days I have finally seen that bump on my tummy take the shape of a baby - small, round and firm rather than the flab of 6 large bags of potato chips. Those chips got me through the nausea like a miracle drug, but they certainly decided to hang around! I am now into my total health food pregnancy kick, meaning that I crave nothing but fruits and vegetables. The thought of meat makes me sick, and any grains just sit like a lump in my stomach. I have a really hard time with chocolate and ice cream. My daily snacks are apples and carrots.

My doctors (a husband and wife team) always love to have resident doctors in their office. I love that they are so willing to support those working to become doctors themselves. Both this doctor's visit and my last one I saw the resident. It takes a little longer, because they are still trying to remember everything. But I don't mind - I am in awe that their memory can possibly hold all the information they need to know, and I never mind if they are unsure and want to ask someone or look something up. We are all learning all the time, and better they admit they are unsure than they plow forward and possibly make a mistake. Last time the resident had some trouble with the Doppler ultrasound - I watched her stare at the counter for a few minutes, and check some drawers. She kept picking up a tube of thick white cream, opening it, and putting it down. After a few minutes I gently pointed to the bottle of blue gel on the counter. We both laughed about it. Today the resident (a different one) completely forgot about doing the ultrasound at all. Of course I hadn't forgotten, and as he was about to leave I casually asked if we could take a minute to hear the heartbeat before I left. Again, we both had a laugh, as I joked that I was more experienced in this area than he.

All in all, I feel much better now. Emotionally, at least. I'm still exhausted beyond words, and can't manage more than 5 minutes of any task, but at least my mind can finally have a little peace.

Thursday, 16 July 2009

Not liking this stage

I've just entered the really irritable, easily annoyed, quickly snapping stage of pregnancy. I don't like it. I'm usually a happy, positive and patient person. The last few days my fuse has been very short and I have snapped at most members of my family more than a few times. More than anything I am grateful for a husband who gets that this isn't me. He wants the old me back, but understands that I want this over as much as he does. I'm tired of being pregnant and I'm not even halfway. Who decided humans need nine months gestation?

Thursday, 9 July 2009

Getting there...

I'm slowly on the road to recovery. I can finally take care of myself again, getting food when I need it, doing a little tidying, and getting out to brief social outings. I'm able to watch the boys for a short time, up to about two hours. I was able to do the dishes once, and make a really simple oven/microwave meal for myself and the boys the other day. I'm still winded easily; just going up and then down the stairs means I need to sit down for a short rest. Eating is still awful, and I always need to lie down after a meal. I'm still not up to daily showers yet - it's the one thing I really dread. The water on my skin makes me dizzy, nauseous and ill, so you can understand my reluctance to get in every day. Luckily the weather has been cool and my activity level is low, so hopefully I'm bearable for my family! (Although I knew it was time for a shower the other day when Colin wrinkled his nose after giving me a hug, proclaiming "the baby smells!")

I've been able to spend about 10 minutes at a time on the piano. I'm able to get outside and sit int he backyard. Our nanny, Bethany, is still here until naptime, but I've been able to handle some of the afternoons. After next week I'm hoping to reduce Bethany to 2-3 times a week, handling a couple full days a week.

I have my next pre-natal appointment next Friday. It can't come soon enough. I can't tell you how much I need the reassurance of hearing a heartbeat right now. I'm a small person who doesn't show my pregnancy until later, and it's too early for kicking, which means there's not a lot for me to rely on to see how things are going. I just want to rush in to the doctors, lie down on the bed and hear that heartbeat first thing. I'm hoping that once I get this reassurance, at 16 weeks, perhaps then my mind will be eased a little bit more. I'm not sure the worry will ever disappear, but I'm hoping I will get a little peace of mind.

All in all, I'm glad to finally be on the mend. Life is starting to feel a little more normal now.

Tuesday, 7 July 2009


Poor Colin seems to have inherited my tendency to nightmares. He was up twice last night, sobbing in his bed. Like myself, there is no screaming, no jumping up from bed; just a quiet but deep sob leaving the pillow soaked with tears.

I can still remember my first nightmare. I was about 4 years old, and the villain was Cruella DeVille from Disney's "101 Dalmations." My family was arriving by car at my Nana's house; it stood at the end of a road at the top of a hill, surrounded on three sides by forested hillsides sloping down sharply. I was the last to climb out of the car, and just as my foot hit the ground I caught sight of Cruella DeVille, and had only enough to to scuttle back into the car and slam the door. My parents and sisters had managed to escape to the house, leaving me to my own defenses. I crawled around the car in a frenzy, slamming my hand down on the locks. I cowered in the back seat as this frightening woman loomed above, pounding on the windows and cursing at me to open the doors. I hoped fervently the car could withstand her, and after a terrifying length of time, she relented. Hoping on a bicycle, she tore off down the road, her fists shaking in the air and her shrill screams of "I'll get you next time!" echoing in my ears. The last sight I saw was a huge truck careening down the road behind her, her two henchmen from the movie in the cab.

It was a recurring nightmare, one that haunted me for at least two weeks. And it was the beginning of a long line of terrifying nightmares for me. I don't recall any others based so specifically on a film; but I do know that often news events intruded my dreams. I witnessed or was victim to many horrifying things: wars and bloodshed, rapes and murders, acts of terrorism and genocide. A handful over the years have been a little more exciting; I vividly remember being recruited once to an elite gun squad, responsible for bringing down worldwide crime organizations dealing in illegal weapons. But mostly I dreamed vividly of terrible things.

Last night, while Colin wrestled with his nightmares, I slept restlessly with my own.

I am sitting with a large group of people; it's a community band of which I am part. I recognize a few friends and strike up a conversation with someone I haven't seen for years. She tells me of her brother, serving in the army on the other side of the world, caught daily in dangerous battles with the enemy. My heart breaks for him, but my friend gives me a sad smile. He is where he wants to be, she assures me. Suddenly I know his story, as if I was fighting at his side. Before he found the army, he had wandered aimlessly in life, feeling like he had no place. Now he has found himself, found meaning in his daily existence. It's dangerous, but he feels he is making a difference for the countrymen who are caught in the middle. It's those people he fights for, not his own country thousands of miles away, and people who have no idea what life in a war-torn country is really like. He fights to erase the fear he sees in their eyes.

I, and the band, are suddenly transported, and we find ourselves in a poor nation I am unfamiliar with. There is a sense of a tourist industry; we are not the only foreigners here. But there is a thick haze of danger lying heavy in the air, and I sense that all is not right. We are here to perform, to give our music as a gift to those who have had so little happiness in their lives. We are here to let them know they are not alone, that there are others in the world willing to stand with them.

The day has been long and I make my way back to my hotel, a once beautiful structure that time has ravaged. I am not to go alone, it is too dangerous, and so I find two men to escort me up the elevator. At the last moment they are called away. I, not to be cowed by fear, assure them I can make my way the short distance to my room. Alone in the small elevator, I taste my first true sense of fear and uneasiness. It is hard to bear, because the fear is not strong enough to imprison me in my room, but more than enough to make me shift my eyes nervously about. I count the steps down the hallway to the door - 21. I close the door quickly and engage the flimsy lock that surely would hold no one out, but more likely would hinder me if I needed a quick escape. Nevertheless, I leave it locked.

My three roommates are already here. I find their joyful sounds jarring. They are sharing the local crafts they purchased, gifts for themselves and friends back home. They have picked up a few pieces of local clothing also, colourful wraps and scarves, which they entwine around their bodies. I shut myself up in the bathroom for a breath of silence to myself.

It is time for another quick rehearsal before another show. There are at least 50, maybe more, band members, all tuning instruments and laughing and creating a cacophony of sound. No one is paying much attention to anything, and I am the only one whose eye is caught by something in the large glass window in the ceiling above me. I stare up, hardly understanding what I see. People, many people, hundreds of people, flying not 20 feet above the roof. There are men and women, couples holding hands, a mother holding an infant. I focus my eyes, and finally understand - they are wearing parachutes, and are landing in the city streets around us.

My first warning yell has no sound. It takes another moment or two for my voice to rise above the mess of sounds around me. I point, I yell, I try to explain what I inexplicably understand: we are under attack. En masse we move out into the streets, dodging the falling bodies and following the flow of people. In such a large town I expect to be crushed by the herds; instead we are eerily spaced out, vulnerable to the indiscernible enemy. They are natives from another part of the country, and yet they look much like those who live in this city.

The attackers are chanting something in unison, a word. I strain to hear, and seem to make out a single word they are repeating: Malaicron. I know this word, it means triumph, victory, celebration. I wonder if the battle has already been lost.

Then I find the conductor of my band pacing quickly by my side. "They are not saying malaicron. Listen closer. It is ubanda."

I strain again, and hear it more clearly now. She is right, but I am unfamiliar with this word. She hastens to explain. It is a derogatory word about women, one that insinuates immorality and worthlessness. But the repetitive chant carries an even deeper meaning. They are looking to make a count of the number of ubandas they can find, numbering them off with the intention of doing much worse. I will be saved the worst fate, because I am a foreigner.

The conductor's pace picks up a little and now she is 10 feet ahead of me. I see the knife-wielding woman too late. With a curling sneer on her lips, she rips out a small dagger and digs it into my friend's heel. She drags it down savagely, leaving a deep bloody line. "One!" she counts off in her native tongue. Everything in my body tightens as I force my legs to move at the quick walking pace I am keeping, and resist the urge to break out in a run and draw attention to myself. I am now 6 feet from the knife, 4 feet, 2 feet. I feel myself easing by her, but then it is too late for me as well. I feel the dagger set into my left hand, tearing a long length down from above my wrist to the knuckles of my fingers. "Two!" I hear her spit at me in triumph. I let my hand float beside me. I can feel the intense pain, yet at the same time I feel nothing. then a dull throb sets in, and there is only one thought in my head:

I will never play the piano again.

I feel a deep gulf of shame immediately. This gouge, this branding, is the worst I will experience. The other native women running around me will have to endure worse, much worse. In fact, I know that most are praying for death, instead of the torture, pain and suffering most will go through.

It is at this point I wake from my sleep. I am wrapped in my sheets and the shame I still feel. My hand is still throbbing from the imaginary injury. I turn my pillow over, a habit long ago acquired to deal with the soaking from tears. I know I will lay awake for a good hour, the scenes replaying over and over in my mind. The morning will not erase the memory, but as the day goes on the details will fade. But the emotions and the general scene will stay with me forever.

I have a whole collection of these dreams stored in my memory. This is the first I have committed to writing, and even with this one I have let enough hours go by that some of the details are already gone. But it, too, will be stored with the others, a collection of experiences I am not sure what to do with. I have no formed opinion on the place and meaning of dreams; I think I am afraid to come to such a conclusion, afraid what importance these terrible things might have. For now I file them away and try to live with a little more compassion for the things human beings endure in this life.


Sunday, 5 July 2009

Old tunes

I love my cuddle and lullaby time with my babies. I often indulge in a half hour or more with my little one's arms wrapped around my neck, softly singing from my catalogue. A few times I have been guilty of going on too long, which makes him fall asleep in my arms, only to be startled awake when I try to move him. But that just means a few more songs...

Tonight, after Caleb's request of "Sunshine" ("You are my Sunshine"), I continued in the same folk sound and pulled out some of my old favourites. "Shenandoah," "Clementine," "Waltzing Matilda," "Blowing in the Wind," "Homeward Bound," just to name a few. I was laughing with James the other day about how my music education is practically zero. I have no idea what is playing on the radio right now, and was never really caught up with what was hot at the time. Even my music history is spotty; there are few songs I can identify with their artists, and even fewer albums that I could name.

But I have always had a spot in my heart for both folk songs, and music from the early 1910 - 1950. The '50's are so fun; I still remember my first exposure to this decade. A car trip out to Quebec to a friend's cottage when I was 10 - her family had a '50's compilation tape that I think we completely wore out. But some of my favourite songs are ones you've probably never heard of. These I know because of my Great Grandma Martin. She was a marvelous piano player, who played anything she heard by ear. At some point two Reader's Digest songbooks showed up at our house, which contained many of these old gems she would play out on our piano. I spent many afternoons as a teen thumbing through the book and finding the songs she had played. I'm terrible at playing by ear, but my sight reading is really good, and so I was able in my own way to recreate those beloved songs for myself.

So I guess, in the end, my boys may not have an appreciation of current music, but I've sung folk and show tunes and religious and songs that span 50 years. Not bad at all, I say.

Saturday, 4 July 2009

Counting days and weeks

I have long mulled over posting again about pregnancy and the eruption of emotions that accompany this subject for me. I have been stopped each time by feelings of guilt, sadness and vulnerability. But some experiences in art and literature over the past few days have radically shifted my timid nature. If I am looking for truth and honesty in the things that I read, then how can I expect any less from myself in my own writing?

With my first two pregnancies, I hardly thought about the actual physicality of it all. Inside there was a baby growing, and in nine months it would be born. But having experienced a miscarriage, there is never a day that goes by in this pregnancy that I don't mark in my mind.

7 weeks and 3 days. Still feeling ill, which is actually good, because I didn't have any sickness with the pregnancy I lost.

10 weeks and 2 days. I now have reached the mark at which I lost the last one. I made it this far. Safe to this point.

13 weeks and 6 days. Most miscarriages happen between 5 and 14 weeks. I'm into the second trimester. I'm passed the first real big marker. The biggest danger is over.

Each day crawls by, inches by, getting me closer and closer to delivery. I wonder if I'll ever reach a point in this pregnancy where I'll feel safe, in the clear, or if I'll always worry about making it to January.

Even when there are no signs of trouble, I worry. There can be a stretch of weeks between the fetus dying and the actual miscarriage. My last doctor's appointment they tried to hear the heartbeat, but said it's hard to hear one before 16 weeks with the audio ultrasound. We couldn't find it. It was a student doctor (I had to tell her which bottle was the jelly), it was early in the pregnancy, and there was no reason to worry. But I do. I count down the days until my 16 week appointment to hear that heartbeat.

The stress on my body has been hard - two months in bed now. But the emotional stress is what is really wearing me down. Some nights I lie awake, wondering if a cramp is digestive or worse. Some days I stare at the wall and wonder not only if I could do this again, but if I even want to make it through this one.

At my most vulnerable during these past two months, there have been moments I almost wished it would all just end. I hated feeling sick. I missed outings with the family. More than anything I actually missed spending time with James. I would fantasize of evenings and dates and special trips and overnights at a hotel and dinners together. A strange feeling would pass over me that maybe I could handle a miscarriage all over again, because at least there would be relief.

But of course I don't wish that in stable states of mind. It's July already and January will come soon enough. I'm enjoying the good weather, but find myself longing for the beauty and crispness of autumn, because it will mean being all that closer to delivery.

Writing this has been both draining and therapeutic. But sometimes just getting the ghosts out relieves the heavy weight and provides a few days of easiness.

Thursday, 2 July 2009


Today Caleb climbed into his crib on his own. But not to sleep. I heard him from my bedroom and went to check it out.

He spent the first few minutes jumping. Not bouncing, jumping. Man, those crib springs have bounce in them! He was flying!

Then he decided to do laps. As full speed as a 4 foot by 2 1/2 foot space will allow, he tore around and around and around the crib. Sometimes he used his hands to propel him off the end, sometimes he threw his hands out to regain balance. After a few minutes of laps he discovered that if he went really fast he could actually just careen his body of the sides of the crib and so propel himself around and around and around.

Then he was done and wanted out.