Photographs by Laurie @ Horizons Photography

October 27, 2010

God or genie in a bottle?

I have been thinking... (rare I realize but it does happen on occasion) I have been thinking of God like he is a puppet, a friend that I can manipulate in order to serve my needs, he is my 'Genie in a bottle'. He stays in his bottle until I need a wish granted and then I rub the bottle, out he pops and with folded arms he says 'yes master?' and I tell him my current wish, 'make my son well', or 'give me strength' or even just 'I need a coffee, wanna get me one?'. I have been tried in his eyes and found guilty of worshipping a false god. God, the real one, not the one that I have created to suit my needs and desires, is a God who loves me yes, but he never promised a pain free life, he never told me that I wouldn't suffer, in fact the opposite is true, he told that I need to take up my cross and follow him.

The god that I have been serving is only love, he leaves no room for the suffering of martyrs, he allows everyone to do as they will and then he gives them eternity despite it. The god that I have been worshipping owes me, he owes me for my faithfulness, he owes me for my loyalty and he owes me for the times he has let me down. The god I have been serving leaves no room for truth, only grace.

The true God, he has a purpose for my life, he has a purpose for Joshua's life, Kaleb's life and for Tim's life and for now that purpose requires pain and suffering. Why? I don't know. Is it fair? Yes, I think maybe it is, I think maybe I am blessed despite the hurt, blessed in my pain, blessed because of my pain. Is it easy? No, no it's not easy at all and I would rather crawl under a rock and hide from it but do I know the whole story? No, I have no idea what God's ultimate plan is. He has one, of that I have no doubt. Read of the suffering of Stephen the martyr, and how his suffering and death led to the gospel being carried out to the world. Stephen had a Mom you know, he had a Dad and probably he had brothers and sisters, friends and maybe even a woman out there who loved him and missed him after he was gone.

I am not his puppet master to tell him 'make my son well', instead my job is to follow. To pick up my cross and follow him (whatever the cost) and to know that in the midst of both joy and laughter, suffering and pain and any other thing he throws my way, that he will be right beside me, ready to help carry the burden if I only I turn to him and ask, if I only ask and then allow him to help.

Somehow during Joshua's life I have forgotten who God is, I have lost the truth and I have been angry at him because he hasn't answered my prayers the way that I think he should, or the way that I would have. There was a time not so very long ago (while I lived in Austria) that I told God I wanted to suffer for him, that if it would bring me closer to him, if it could build a stronger, more intimate relationship with him then 'bring it on'. Those were my words, 'bring it on' and guess what?! He brought it and I ducked and ran instead of being honoured that he loves me enough to also want that kind of relationship with me.

I should be standing in awe and wonder that the God of the universe, who made the smallest little spider and the largest expanse of the universe cares enough about me that he takes the time to hear my prayers and answer them with...

 'I love you too and I know that this pain, this hurt will allow us a greater intimacy, I know that you hurt, I want to wipe your tears for you and hold you close, crawl up in my lap and rest here when you need to but daughter, you can't see what plans I have, trust me and know always that I love you'. 
(not scripture just what I imagine he would say to me)

The God I serve demands my all, he demands my heart, my mind and yes my very soul. I cannot place my son in front of him nor can I create a false god. I must be willing to give up EVERYTHING to serve him, because only then will I be able to enter the Kingdom of heaven. Now I need to trust God to give me the strength to love him enough to do just that. I now understand fully for the first time in my life why he said that it was harder for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. I am a rich woman, there is a lot to be willing to give up.

'He who loves his Mother or Father more than Me is not worthy of Me; He who loves his son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. He who has found his life will lose it, and he who has lost his life for my sake will find it."
Matthew 10:37-39

Calvin & Hobbes

C "Mom's not feeling well. So I'm making her a get well card." 

H "That's thoughtful of you."

C "See, on the front it says, 'Get Well Soon' ... and on the inside it says,'Because my bed isn't made, my clothes need to be put away and I'm hungry. Love Calvin.' Want to sign it?"

H "Sure, I'm hungry too"
Calvin & Hobbes

So, I know that most of you know who I am referring to when I talk about the comic Calvin and Hobbes. Calvin is this mischievous little boy who has an insane imagination and causes an incredible amount of trouble. His stuffed Tiger is Hobbes and is often the sane voice in Calvin's head.

"Reality continues to ruin my life." Calvin

Every Christmas eve as a child Karen and I would go to bed and start to dream of Santa while my parents stayed up late trying to put together the toys that promised 'easy assembly' but never delivered. Then painfully early (I can say that with full understanding now that I am a parent myself) I would wake up in excitement and want to get the show on the road so to speak. I woke Karen, and when I had convinced her that is was a good idea I would get her to come wake up my parents.


My Dad (who like me prefers to sleep in in the morning) got wise after a few such Christmas's and he set a rule regarding Christmas morning that still remains a family 'tradition'. We could wake up at whatever time we liked, but we couldn't leave our room until eight AM. The first time he told me that I was crushed, when you are waking up at four and five in the morning to welcome Christmas morning the concept of waiting until eight o'clock just seemed cruel somehow.

Christmas morning arrived that first year of the 'eight o'clock rule' and as I began to wake from sleep and come into conciseness I noticed that Santa had been in my room!! He had left a gift for me beside my bed!! I was so excited that I forgot all about the rule and raced into Karen's room to tell her! Thus a tradition began. Every year, Santa left a BEANO book by Karen's bedside and a Calvin & Hobbes beside mine and every year I would sneak into Karen's bed at some disgusting hour to wake her and read our books together.

I loved Calvin, I loved his imagination and his sense of adventure. I used to say 'I would love to have a little boy like Calvin one day. He is so cool!

On January 31st 2008 that wish came true, Joshers was born and guess what? He is more like Calvin everyday. It's amazing! The only thing different other than his name, his parents, and the fact that he isn't real and Josh isn't a cartoon is that Josh doesn't have a toy Tiger, nope. There is no Hobbes. Josh has a bunny and monkey (yet to be named because he isn't talking yet). Two little toys that I question their motives? Are they like Hobbes and speaking words of sanity to him? Somehow I am doubting that.

"MOM, CAN I SET FIRE TO MY BED MATTRESS?"

"No, Calvin."

"CAN I RIDE MY TRICYCLE ON THE ROOF?"

"No, Calvin."

"Then can I have a cookie?"

"No, Calvin."

"She's on to me."
Calvin

The benefit of knowing and loving Calvin is that I could see where his imagination was taking him, when his mother or teachers or Suzie all thought he was just a naughty gross boy I knew that he was actually trying to save the world in his cool new spaceman spiff spaceship or that he was wearing his invisible suit, or that he was a dinosaur ravaging the village of snowmen in the front yard.

As Joshua's mother... I am left out of the imaginings and his antics from this perspective just seem naughty and disgusting... but oh so lovable!

"See Any UFOs?"

"Not yet."

"Well, keep your eyes open, they're bound to land here sometime."

"What will we do when they come?"

"See if we can sell mom and dad into slavery for a star cruiser"
Calvin & Hobbes




October 26, 2010

a flicker of light...

With the out pouring of love that I have had come through my email and this blog I feel I cannot leave it on such a dark and painful note. Thank you so much for all your words. It seems that I have some things I need to work through regarding Josh, his heart and the anger and fear I have surrounding those things. I wrote 8000 words yesterday chronicling the entire pregnancy, today I will move into the first few weeks of his life.

Why? You ask... well it's simple. If writing this blog has been therapeutic then maybe writing about Josh is how I can sort some of these things out. However, there in much more than a mere blog post to write so as I told a friend last night, I opened a word document and began to write. With writing there comes clarity, you can see it through fresh eyes, all your mistakes, all the areas that your thinking has gone wonky. It is a very interesting process but one that has been so helpful.

I went through a time like this before, when I lived in Austria a dark place where I had to struggle to sort out how I felt, what I thought and how I was going to cope in light of the new truths I had faced. What happened as a result of those things was amazing. I became a new person, healed in so many ways. I looked up into dark dark night and I saw millions of brilliant stars. The wounds that I had once thought would kill me, turned out to simply be bruises. Pain that I had thought unbearable turned into meaningful memories but just that, memories. Painful hurts have a way of becoming something huge, a monster looming in the closet, bringing pain and fear when you even think of opening the door but when you finally get the courage to actually turn the door handle you discover there isn't a monster there after all, just a dark room that needs a light to take out the fear.

In writing I am attempting to turn on the lights in my own dark closet where I have been hiding my hurts and fears surrounding Josh. So far I have lit a match, but it's a comfort to even have a little light, and it's a comfort to know that there are people in my world both near and far that are willing to keep me company in the darkness. A community is a powerful thing, and knowing that I can turn around and see loving faces staring back at me and encouraging me is what has given me the courage to embark on this journey. So I want to thank you, each of you who has loved us, prayed for us, held us close and offered comfort. You have no idea how much you have meant to us, to me. Your strength is giving me strength and your prayers are being heard because after a time of silence I think I am finally hearing God's whisper.

Thank you.

October 25, 2010

Here we go again...

I realize that I keep coming back to this place, the dark place that is Joshua's illness. I started this blog because I wanted to lose weight, and I wanted to be held accountable by the masses and yet it quickly turned into the place that I turn to when I need to share my thoughts without fear of someone seeing my tears, or fully knowing my pain. It bacame my therapy (much cheaper than seeing a shrink too!). I am going to go back there again, so if you are bored I promise not to be offended if you stop reading at the point. Please do come back another day, it won't always be this dark.

Yesterday as I sat praying in church I heard them pray for Joshua, it was the first time I had heard them pray out loud for him since we nearly lost him and it startled me. My heart actually did a little flip flop in my chest before completely falling out and landing on the floor with a rather loud thud. 'Here we go again' is all that I could think. I couldn't stop the tears from coming, couldn't stop the hurt from invading yet again. When will this end? Will it end?

I mentioned in an earlier post that I had been in the ER with Josh last week, and I had said that I didn't want to talk about it yet. I guess the not talking about it part is so much easier than the acknowledging it part. I can hide so much better from it if no one really knows, I can keep a smile on my face and pretend if I don't see thet pity in your eyes or hear the concern in your voice. Yesterday in church I came face to face with reality, I had no where I could hide and it scared the hell out of me. Josh is not okay, his heart is larger (even to the naked eye), he has had some strange things going on, a racing heart, red face, lethargy and a decrease in energy.

People see him and they smile, 'he looks so great'. One lady, just yesterday said to me (although she meant well I have no doubt) 'and to think at one time we were all so worried about him'. This is what makes it so easy to hide in my denial, this is how I get away with making everyone believe (myself included) that he is a normal healthy kid who is going to one day play for the Toronto Maple Leafs (holding the Stanly Cup over his head). He looks so strong, he looks so vital and alive and healthy.

The problem is, that he isn't. He isn't healthy, it's only by sheer miracle that he is as strong as he his! I mean, most cardiac kids are frail and pale. He is a determined young man, he knows how to fight and he does, and will continue to I am sure. The problem is that I am so tired. He's strong but I don't feel strong and how can he remain strong when his Mummy isn't strong anymore!? I am supposed to be the one he can turn to...

Hmm... I warned you that this would be dark. I am the pastors wife, people look to him and I as examples, we aren’t supposed to falter. We aren’t supposed to fall, or at least that is how I feel about it. I am supposed to be stoic, full of faith, trusting always in God's healing power and love, showing no weaknesses or doubts...

I know in my head that God is my strength, that he is the God who is carrying me when I am not strong enough, and he will be the one who will carry Josh if and when Josh get's tired too. I just wish I could know it in my heart as well. For almost three years this cloud called 'heart defect' has hung over our heads, sometimes just to the side but never far away... I am just waiting for the full sunlight to hit our faces. I long for the warmth of those rays.

October 22, 2010

'eee iiii eeee iiii ooooh' or perfectly cut triangle sandwiches

The other day I was on a train ride with the kids and Tim. It was an old historical steam engine and of course we were only there to please Josh (funny isn't how we do anything to please our kids). When the train started up I took Josh for a walk through the cars to the front of the train where there was a Thomas toy train, a clown and a musician. Josh was full of awe and wonder, especially when the man playing guitar started to play Old McDonald... I think he thought his Mummy was the only one who knew that song. As I stood in the isle with him and listened, giggling at Josh's exuberant shouts of 'eee iii eee iii oooh' I noticed three older ladies drinking their tea and eating little sandwiches cut into neat little triangles. It amused me just as much as the sweet little boy pulling my hand and shouting 'wow'.

Just as we were about to move on I heard one of the older ladies yell to the other two (my guess is that their hearing aides were either not working or they were in denial about the hearing loss altogether). Anyway, that isn't the point is it?. She yelled to her two friends 'I think this must be a train for children' and she had a particularly disgruntled look on her face. It made me giggle a little, I mean, did she really think a steam ride with clowns and toy trains was going to be a nice place for afternoon tea and cakes? I leaned in, giving her a wink and said 'childhood is a state of mind'. She looked at me, again a little perturbed and I could almost imagine how the Queen would look aboard a train like this with Old Mac Donald and BINGO playing as back ground music. It was her friend who turned to me, looked down at Josh and smiled, 'yes dear' she said ' I believe you might be right' and then she too started to clap and sing "eee iii eee iii oh'.

Loving the life lessons I have been having lately... it's been a rough fall and sometimes it's easy to imagine that I am one of those old ladies, and instead of getting out of my seat and singing, glad to be alive I would rather sit and grumble over tea and perfectly cut triangle sandwiches. I will do my best to remember to yell out 'eee iii eee iii oooh' at the top of my lungs then next time life throws another sucker punch! :)

October 21, 2010

One special community

3 years ago we started a small group from our home, we met on Wednesdays at 7pm and studied the Bible together, hung out together, joked and shared snacks. We have been together for a long time, we have gotten to know each other intimately. We have said goodbye to some and hello to others, both with sadness and joy.

This group of people, fellow travellers of this road called life they have journeyed with us through the ups and downs of illness, frustrations, and helplessness. I have watched as they circle around one of us who is hurting, protecting them and doing everything in their power to help out where they could. I have been on the receiving end of such love on a number of occasions. When I was placed on bed rest while carrying Kaleb, with Tim in England and only my Mom to help this amazing group of people stepped up to help out. Bringing dinners, babysitting Josh, keeping me company and then finally painting Josh's big boy room so that I could have the baby in the nursery. They have been there through Joshua's surgeries, praying, bringing food, calling for comfort and offering support. Yesterday Josh had to be rushed into the ER for a heart related issue. (A long story that I don't feel ready to talk about yet). Tim had to work late last night, he had no one to cover him. I didn't want to take Kaleb as well, I called one of our group who dropped everything to come and babysit Kaleb (until very late). Then another group member met me in the hospital so that I could have company. She stayed until we were discharged.



I have watched as this group of people raised money for a woman in need, simply because they heard about her, I have watched them go above and beyond so many times for so many people. I am so proud to say that these people are my friends. I am so thankful that I have been blessed to have them in my life. My hope and prayer for anyone reading this is that you can each experience community in the way that I have. My hope and prayer for myself, is that I can live up to the standard these special people have set.

October 20, 2010

Project Smile part 2

I was so excited today to hear from TWO people about a past blog post in which I talked about people's lack of connecting with each other. I talked about walking down the street and smiling at a few different people, all of which received fairly negative responses. That was when Project Smile started...

The day after I started project smile I had a few more positive responses but that was followed by more negative ones in the days that followed. I did continue (and still do to be honest). This is what I have discovered...

Old women, they smile at me. They might be remembering days when they themselves were young mothers rushing around with their own children. They might be smiling in pity or it could be pleasure at those memories, I am not sure which. I still get the occasional grumpy old lady, and at one point I stopped and turned to the giver of the grumpy look and smiled again and said 'I hope you have a good day'. This was met with a stare, and a muttered 'thankyou'.

I once smiled at an older man, he was coming out of a bar and looked like he might have had a few too many, but I smiled and he looked up at me and beamed (probably from the drink) and said 'now that's the first smile I have seen all day'. (How sad is that?). Another time I was passing by homeless gentleman, he was rough looking and sitting on the bench outside of a church. It was night and I was coming home from the gym, I have to admit I was rushing so Project Smile wasn't on my mind and if I am more honest with you it hadn't been on my mind for a few days. The boys had been sick, I had been sick, I was tired and over extended with my commitments... anyway, I was walking past this homeless man and he looked up at me and said 'Oh darling, are you still mad at me?' and I turned and had to smile. He laughed and told me to have a good night and we had a nice little chat about life for a few minutes. I found it so ironic that the face of someone most would ignore in society was the one to remind me about project smile. This man, down and out as he was managed to connect with me in a way that we in our business don't often do.

Life lesson: Next time you see a homeless person, smile, wish them well. They too are made by our creator in his own image and loved by God. In the words of a Canadian songwriter Jack Connolly 'we could use some change'.

So, all in all,  Project Smile is an ongoing thing. I am being taught a lot and learning from unexpected places. Now that I know there are people out there who are interested I will write again on the subject but I would also really love to hear from you about your own project smiles... have you tried it? How did it turn out?

October 19, 2010

A pub, a hockey game and a game of pool...

Last night the Leafs (my team) lost in overtime to the New York Islanders... I was bummed, I felt like it should have been our win, we outplayed them without question. Usually when we watch a game, it ends and we turn off the lights, head to bed and fall fast asleep.

Last night, we were on an actual date! We were in a pub, yelling at refs in chorus with all the other fans watching the game, groaning at the bad decisions and cheering wildly with the good plays. We played pool, drank a beer and ate some wings, and when the game ended in a disappointing overtime goal by the Islanders we took the last sip of our beer and started the walk home arm in arm. We talked about life, we talked about the kids and we talked about our marriage.

We had realized something. There was a reason we got married to begin with, we actually find this person we are married to be a fun person. For my part, I enjoy Tim's company, he makes me laugh and he makes me feel so loved. He is smart, strong, easy to be with, committed and I respect and trust him in a way that few men have evoked in me.

I think we will taking `marriage time`much more often...

October 18, 2010

Waiting for patience impatiently

I have been alive a loooong time... (no I won't say exactly what a loooong time is) and in all that time I have been impatient. I used to say 'God made me this way, surly he likes me the way he made me, he doesn't make mistakes', but alas I think that the reality is that my impatience is actually something sinful in me that God is constantly trying to change in me... something that I have yet to learn. I wish he would just snap his fingers and grant me patience, would really be so much easier than always WAITING!

It seems like I am always in a perpetual state of waiting. This most recent waiting has to do with Josh yet again... he has been Gods tool in the lesson of patience MANY MANY times. First there was the pregnancy, I was so excited to meet the little man and I had to WAIT 9 months (although God took pity on me and I only had to wait months). Then there was the wait to see if he is healthy, what level of damage there was to his heart etc. Waiting waiting and then some more waiting.


 Now, we are again in a state of wait. Josh has been showing signs of lack of energy, extreme tiredness and times when he just plain lethargic. Our cardiologist is fantastic and is really great at emailing me to reassure me when I have worries or questions. Usually I write and say 'this is worrying me... should I be worried?' and within 24 hours she reassures me and I go about my life worry free (or relatively worry free at least). This time however, she didn't tell me that, she didn't say 'worry' but she didn't say 'don't worry'... instead she said 'let's hope it's not his heart and get him in for an ECHO to check it out'... in essence it was a big fat "Wait".

So, now here I sit... waiting for patience impatiently...

October 14, 2010

difference = equality

A few nights ago I watched an episode of NCIS in which one of the female main characters ends up being killed. It wasn't the greatest episode, disappointing considering the story line could have been fantastic! However, that isn't why I am writing about it today... in one scene the Senior Agent (Gibbs) is in the autopsy room with the medical examiner (Duckie) and they are discussing women in combat. It was Duckie who said, 'until they can be equal in death they can never really be equal in combat'. I thought about that statement for days afterwards. I fully believe in the equality of gender, however, there is something to be said for the differences in genders that has simply been ignored since women's lib. Is equal the same as different? I don't think so.

As a woman I enjoy being feminine, I love that my husband is bigger than myself and can wrap his strong arms around me in a protective embrace and I will feel safe there. I love that at night before bed he goes around and locks the house up, or when we walk down the street he walks closest to the road just in case a rogue car leaps the curb, I enjoy the feel of his hand over mine when travelling in a crowd, as he makes his way in front of me so that a path is cleared and I don't get bumped.

Does all of this mean that I am old fashioned? Men were built to be stronger, to be the hunter, to be the protector and you know what? I am okay with that, because I was built for my own purposes as well. Together man and woman compliment each other, we dance together and it's beautiful, our footing is perfect, if each dancer were to attempt to do the same part they would end up in a colossal mess on the stage.

Now, all of this is not to say that I believe women should not be in the military or in combat... not at all... I just wanted to point out the value in having roles that are different, that doesn't mean we aren't equal just that we are not the same.

October 12, 2010

Thank you!

It Tuesday October 12th... Which means that we have just celebrated Canadian Thanksgiving weekend. Now, people are stuffed, the gym is full and people are feeling more thankful (or should be anyway). Me? Well, thanksgiving didn't quite go as I had planned this year. We were headed to the cottage, Kaleb was turning one on Saturday and we were having a big party to celebrate the occasion.

Thursday after speech therapy we were to drive north, but first I had to drop something off on the East end of the city for someone. Josh cried the whole way there, he hadn't been very happy all morning and my patience was wearing a little thin. Just as I was pulling up the house where we were dropping things off he started to puke... everywhere! I quickly stripped him, then woke up a sleeping Kaleb who then started to cry and had to carry both of them and a large box into the building... what a nightmare!

Once back in the car I quickly got both back into car seats and although I debated not going to the cottage I have to admit that part of me was thinking this was just motion sickness... boy was I wrong!

By the time we pulled up to the cottage both boys were sick, runny nose, coughs and in Josh's case vomiting. By Friday morning I had the flu, Saturday morning Kaleb woke up for his first birthday and he too had a fever and flu. I think he got it the worst, or at least he was the suckiest. :) Nothing but me would do, all he wanted was snuggles but I too was sick.

We drove home after his party on Saturday night, Sunday was spent crying and fighting between the boys. The house was insanity and Mummy was about to go completely mad. Monday morning it happened, Mummy snapped. Both boys were crying, both whining for the 4th straight day, no one was happy unless I was holding them. I love my guys, I really do but sometimes I need a break. At one point I was hiding in my room being very careful not to make any noise because if Kaleb hears me he will start crying all over again. Yes, I do know how crazy I sound right now... then it hit me.

I am not thankful. Here it is, Thanksgiving day and I am hiding from my family because I am annoyed. I have no thankful spirit, no compassion. I got on my knees and thanked God for the thousands of blessings these kids bring.

I have two healthy kids, a strong and loving husband who works hard so that I can stay home and raise our boys and fulfill my dream of starting a photography business. He supports me, loves me and would do anything for me. My boys are sweet, funny, for the most part they are healthy and alive in both body and spirit. Josh is doing well and Kaleb is on track developmentally. I have everything I need, including a home that is safe and warm, friends who love me and are here for me when I need them. I have hope for a future and healing from the past. Who am I to hide in my room and moan and groan about simple frustrations?! On Thanksgiving no less?

Thank you God for the flu that brought me to this important realization this weekend.

October 5, 2010

Yoga?

We have all seen it... the sitcom episode where the lead character has to go to a Yoga class. We have seen it because there is certain humour there, every writer be it for a Hollywood script, a sitcom, a New York seller or just a lowly blogger knows that if you want to amuse people you take them on a tour of a Yoga class.
So, here I am, about to share with you my Yoga journey. I aim to amuse... don't tell me if I fail, I don't think I am 'grounded' enough to hear it. :)

Two weeks ago it was raining, my friend and I were planning on going for a walk but with the rain we decided against it. She is a member at a gym close to me so we decided to go for a class, the problem was that the only class for the time we could make it was the  Yoga Freedom class. The ad said that it was for 'enthusiastic beginners'... whatever that means! So, we decided to try it.

The Yoga studio is on the top floor of the gym, there were a pile of shoes outside the door so after taking off our shoes we slipped into a dark room with a lot of people sitting on mats. We quickly grabbed a mat and sat down, finding space very close to the door... you never know when you will need to make a quick exit.

Everyone was very serious, sitting cross legged and breathing deeply with closed eyes... very hard not to giggle in a moment like that... when the teacher came in she asked everyone what we were wanting that night, did we want an intense workout or a relaxing stretch. I have to admit the relaxing stretch sounded  just about perfect to me but alas I was pretty much alone in that... except of course for my friend. Turns out that everyone else was really looking forward to an intense work out. Too bad for us 'enthusiastic beginners'!

The class started with this wonderful relaxing stretch, I was yawning and feeling quite sleepy, I have to admit that at this point I was rather proud, if this is an intense work out then I must be super fit! However, before I could take my next yawn we were moved into the downward dog for what seemed like 10 minutes! Then it was a plank, then another downward dog... on and on it went without relief, no break, no water, no hope... then, just when I thought I couldn't cope another second she had us fold lie down on our backs, sweet relief... but before I could fully enjoy the lying down part she had us roll onto our shoulders, throwing our legs up and over our heads, keeping our hands on our hips... now, if you are anything like me you too are asking 'WHAT?' I mean, is this even possible? I am here to say that yes, this is in fact possible, I saw it with my own eyes, although I myself couldn't manage it... I just flopped around like a fish out of water (literally) and giggled (you know the hysterical giggle that you know you can't be doing but it only makes it worse?)... they did that for a while, I continued to flop about and pray that it would end soon. It didn't, she then wanted us to do something really odd with our thighs and bums... (don't ask cause I still don't know)... that was when I just stopped what I was doing to watch what other people were doing, I mean, were these things possible human positions? The teacher, at that moment was talking about variations of that position, noticed that I was not doing it and said 'or of course you can learn how to do it by watching... ' while staring right at me! :(

Then came the 'ahhhh' breathing... that was just funny... deep inhale, then exhale with a loud 'ahhhh'... you try it... seriously... do it right now while you are reading this.... (I will wait)...... okay, done? Now, you laughed right?? Tell me honestly? Now, picture it with a room full of people all taking it very seriously! How could I not laugh right??!!

After what seemed like forever the teacher turned out the lights, made us lie on our backs and 'think of our bodies and their relationship to the earth'... the lady behind me started to snore... and that was pretty much when I left...

So, next time you feel like getting out and living the sit-com life head to a yoga freedom class... :) It's worth it... my emotional self felt better for the laughter and my body did actually get a good workout...

October 3, 2010

One Year

Let me be sarcastic for a moment... (I am entitled really, it's 6:30 am and I have been awake - or at least out of bed for the past hour and a half). So, back to sarcasm, pregnancy is grand, but the postpartum period is SO much better!

Leaking boobs, zero sleep, grumpy 2 year old, and doctor appointments where they ask invasive questions, although let's be honest they have already been where no one should go, including that baby that just sprang from your loins.

I have spoken at length about Josh, told you all the woes of his birth and his health issues after his birth. Now, let me tell you about my second pregnancy. (There is a point to me bringing this up now... keep reading). So, the day I found out that Kaleb was there, growing inside of me I was both shocked, excited and terrified. The risks for more heart troubles in a second child go up once you have a child with a cardiac issue. I was scared to get too excited because what it if happened again? Then came the realization that I had a child running around me and I was already exhausted, what business did I have to do this again? Was I insane? Pregnancy left me exhausted the first time, I could barely get out of bed some days and ALWAYS required a nap! How can I possibly take time to rest with a spunky Joshua running me ragged. Then, underlying all those thoughts was the sheer excitement that one can only feel when they learn that they are bringing life into the world. That inside of them there is a little miracle growing and waiting for your arms. I got over the fear and shock and I embraced the joy.

We were entitled to a Fetal ECHO because we had a child with cardiac issues and Tim and I decided that we would rather know, rather be prepared so we went ahead and made the appointment. The day came and Tim couldn't be there with me, but my Mom came to care for Josh during the appointment. I lay on the table while they poked and prodded at me, and finally told me that they were just getting the doctor to go over the results with me. While I was a little nervous I have to admit I didn't really think anything way wrong. Neither did Tim actually which is why he didn't come. So, when the technician asked me to wait not in the waiting room but in the counselling room (where we heard the news about Josh) my heart fell and instantly tears came. They had found what 'could' be a whole in the heart but could also be nothing. The doctor smiled, it will be nothing like you had with your first child. You can enjoy your pregnancy and relax. RELIEF! I was still scared but not as worried as I had been.

After that the pregnancy ran really smoothly. The baby grew well, and I got so huge that I honestly didn't think that he could grow much more. I had a midwife who was taking good care of me and a Mom who allowed me to spend a lot of time at the cottage to keep cool and to get help with Josh. Things were good. :)

Then on September 17th Tim went to the UK for work, he was going to be gone for almost 3 weeks. I was supposed to go to the cottage for the whole time. The second night of my time away I woke up in the middle of the night feeling so dizzy that I got motion sickness. I couldn't walk straight, in fact it felt like I was on a boat and the waves were tossing me this way and that... scary stuff! I was awake the rest of the night feeling sick and scared. The next morning I was feeling a little better, but that afternoon it came back, I felt so sick and my head hurt. We googled the problem (this is the era of self diagnosis is it not?!) Apparently this can be caused from high blood pressure. Now, I don't know about you but I have never had blood pressure issues, nor do I really know anything about blood pressure, and up until that point I didn't really care. It was foreign to me so I dismissed it. I would be fine, just needed to lie down. I wasn't fine though and finally that night my Mom made me go to the local walmart to check my blood pressure. I don't remember the number but I do know that my Mother got worried. It was high. I called the midwife and she asked me to come back to Toronto, to head to the hospital and have it checked there. I found this SUPER annoying because the last thing I wanted was to drive 2 hours when I felt that sick, but Mom was there to insure me that I had no choice.

When I got to the hospital I was again sure that nothing would be wrong, that they would take the blood pressure and send me off for another 2 hours in the car. That was not to be however, my blood pressure was higher than before and they were admitting me. I had what they call pre-eclampsia (the silent killer of pregnant and post partum women). I couldn't think of a suckier situation (and yes I know that suckier isn't really a word). With Tim in England and my Mom needing to take care of Josh I was on my own. I made some calls and managed to get Tim's Dad who phoned Tim, who then called me, and it wasn't until I heard his voice that I started to cry. (Funny isn't that we can hold up and be strong until someone we love comes along and offers to be strong for us, allowing us to finally shed the tears that need to be shed?)

So, now I am in the hospital, the doctors run tests and one doctor comes in to tell me that I am having contractions (Now, I have never had a contraction before - keep in mind that Josh was Emergency C-section) but I have spoken to and heard women who did and were having contractions. From what I understand it's not something that you need to be told you are having. However, the doctor moved me to a delivery room and hooked me up to yet another monitor, told me that the contractions were 6 minutes apart, then promptly left the room. :s HUH?

I was still alone, lying on that bed for an hour thinking I was going to have this baby and Tim wouldn't be here to help, in fact no one could help because Mom was watching Josh. Talk about a way to make someones blood pressure rise. Anyway, without explanation (to this day I have no idea what happened that day) I was taken off the monitor and taken back to my room and put on bed rest.

My prayer quickly became, just keep the baby in until Tim comes home. I was allowed to go home, but I had to stay on bed rest and there were strict instructions to come in should anything change. The problem was that every day I felt sicker, my head always hurt and I didn't know if that was a 'change' or normal. I don't know how many nights my Mom and I discussed whether or not I should go to the hospital. One night, I was so sick that I finally took myself in, I got a doctor who's name I cannot for the life of me remember but I called him Dr. Death. He kept telling me that I should not take this so lightly, that I could die (he said that so many times that I barely remember the rest of the conversation). I promised to things seriously and he let me go home but again made me promise to remain on bed rest.

It seemed life forever before Tim got home... I was SOOO glad! Finally I had someone to come to the hospital with me, or to keep me company while I sat on my bed and did nothing... Our small group came over and painted Josh's big boy room so that we could have the nursery ready for the baby. Things were coming together. Everyday I felt worse, until finally they scheduled a c-section for October 12th (Thanksgiving day for you Canadians). I just had to make it to that day. The Thursday before the baby was to come I became very ill and had another dizzy spell, we went back to the hospital. I had a pre booked apt. for the Friday so they allowed me to go home after a few hours instead of admitting me. Friday came, and I came for the appointment but was so sick that the doctor decided to take the baby that night. It was an intense night, I was so sick that I was vomiting in the OR and for many hours after Kaleb was born. He was so sweet though, so tiny and perfect. He sucked his fingers, and took to breast feeding immediately. The paediatrician checked his heart and found nothing to be off, there was no whole. He was a healthy baby boy! The relief I felt was so intense, I was going to take home a healthy baby, breast feed him and experience all the things that happen in the first few days and weeks after having a baby. It was fantastic! There were still health issues for me, my blood pressure took months to regulate and the toxins that had leaked into my kidney's did damage, I had a lot of trouble with the C-section scar and ultimately I was diagnosed with post partum depression.

All of that, and here I sit, with two wonderful little boys, one of which turns one year old in just a few days time. I look back at the past year, at all that we have gone through with my own health issues, trips, home owning and renovations and what stands out for me is the moment I met my youngest son, just minutes after taking him out of me they placed him in my arms and he sucked my nose. It was a moment I never got to share with Joshers, a moment that I longed for a finally got. Watching Kaleb grow, watching him learn and smile and call for me, I realize that in all the coming years of his life, and Josh's life I will be the luckiest woman alive, I am so blessed, so rich to have them in my life.