Wednesday, December 16, 2009

A month of OHMYGOD

Well, we have been here a month. I did think I would get back to blogging before now. I was wrong.

And really, this is just a quickie to say we are here, we are alive, we are back in our apartment, I am back to work, I am so overwhelmed and I am struggling daily with the urge to run away. Far, far away. Alone.

The other day my friend was telling me about this stab of emotion she gets every now and again and she just wants to sit and cry. All of a sudden I recognized what I've been feeling. A permanent lump in my throat.

But this too shall pass.

Nothing like a new baby, an international move, packing and unpacking a house, a quasi-new job AND a precocious 2-going-on-12 toddler to spice things up. Oh yeah, and Christmas...

So, I apologize for the silence on my end. When I find time to breathe I have no desire to get on the computer. Or if I do, I read my emails then swear to respond to the messages "the next time".

But then again, my inbox has not been flooded with Well-Wishes and Welcome Homes, so to hell with ya. Our Christmas card pile is pitiful too. Don't think Im not paying attention. Last year you had an excuse not to send (though still a flimsy one... what's one international stamp) but this year.... I'm keeping a list and I'll unfriend you on fb, I swear it.

Here are some of the latest to tide you over til
I really resurface...

This boy drools like a mofo.

Tell me that isn't awesome!

Who's Katie?

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Goodnight Moon

I'm nothing if not consistent and as such, the Irish grass is getting so green in this our last week here. Of course, it could just be the six straight days of rain, rain, rain, bitter cold, rain.

This is my last post from Ireland and my emotions about leaving are bittersweet. I am so excited to be near my family and friends and even looking forward to starting back to work (sure to be a short-lived feeling, never fear) but I've been looking around here and lamenting all that we will be leaving.

Goodbye house.
Goodbye backyard with french doors I can fling open and send Katie out in to play.
Goodbye field with horses across the street.
Goodbye playschool right next door where Katie had such fun - great teachers and all her "best friends".
Goodbye walking distance into town.
Goodbye cheap healthcare.
Goodbye pharmacist, butcher, coffee shop gal that know my name and my order.
Goodbye Castle Park.
Goodbye sweater weather.
Goodbye fire in the fireplace.
Goodbye unlocked front doors.
Goodbye courteous drivers.
Goodbye speaking the language of the majority. (well, sort of...)
Goodbye new American girlfriends - had such a nice time on Sunday (as always).
Goodbye Nana, Papa, the bestest Uncle Brian and Boo Boo.
Goodbye Irish cousins and playmates. (both Katie's and mine)

Hello New Chapter in our lives. Who knows what will happen next...

Goodnight Moon. Goodnight Ireland.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Ongoing Goings-On

Life is hectic and it's about to get even crazier.

But a quick recap of what's been going on:

Michael is proving that what everyone said about Katie is true; that she was a trick baby- too easy to be true. This guy is real. Really tough. Unless he is in your arms AND you are walking around, he is crying. When he is hooked up to the boob he is fairly content too - though lately he is boycotting the right one for some reason.

He turned two months yesterday and goes tomorrow for his first set of shots.

He goes to sleep at midnight and sleeps until five. I feed him and he'll sleep again until 9. And that is it. During the day he sleeps no more than 20 minutes at a time. He is not getting enough sleep and is all the more fussy for it.

He is impossible to burp and has stinky farts. He just went 3 days without a poop. I think it's time for an intervention. A little prune juice by proxy. Lucky me. I just love the stuff.

Katie is struggling with this "share mommy" thing. She asks for her binky all the time, wants up on my lap any time she sees me holding Michael and tries to belly up to the boob bar for cocktail hour. I give her the binky and fit both of them up on my lap but mama ain't "got milk?" for that little gal anymore.

She watches a LOT of tv these days. She has forgotten her ABCs and thinks the sole purpose for numbers six, two and four is to get the Disney channel on the remote.

At least once a day both of them decide to meltdown simultaneously. The sound of two kids wailing is worse than nails on a chalkboard. I stand frozen, nauseous and forlorn. I laugh to keep from crying and think, "this is my life?!"

Michael was baptized last Monday evening. We chose Oct 19th as it is the anniversary of his namesake's death. He wore the same gown that Katie wore which was the same gown every Walsh since 1911 was baptized in. And we got no pictures of it. Horrible second child syndrome.
Have a few pics taken of the service but they are shit and I look like a bloated cow so they will not be posted. But the important thing is we have another Catholic in the family. thank heavens.

My cousin Erin had her second daughter on Friday. She sent pictures but I can't download them on this archaic fuckbox of a computer. Pretty baby from the looks of it and they named her Bella. You know you can't give that name to an ugly kid.

In the last week my computer died, my ipod went on the fritz and lightbulbs burned out in the lamp by my bed, Katie's nightlight and TWICE in my mighty mini reading light. I'm afraid to hug Granny with the pacemaker.

My internet browsing/email sending/facebook stalking/blog posting has been severely compromised as I have to use the old laptop that, as you may have noticed, posts blank blogs, randomly deletes whole paragraphs of text and makes noises like a giraffe trying to mate with a turtle.

Manus and Katie caught a cold and gave it to Michael. Further complicating the sleep thing was the sound of Walsh Family Synchronized Night Coughing competitions. In a muted panic, I took Mick to the doctor when we passed the two week mark of the cold yet hadn't passed the eight week mark of his life. He got miraculously better the next day. Something magic about shelling out 50 euro(80 bucks) to the doctor. But, any parent knows; peace of mind is priceless.

I went out with Manus and his brother Friday night for a charity show. I was out from 8 to 11:30pm and it was the longest I'd been away from the children since baby was born. The show was so boring (all about hurling) so I sat and played Texas Hold'Em on Manus' blackberry. Manus apologized for dragging me to something I had no interest in. I was slugging down Bud Lights and NOT holding a baby/soothing a toddler. I WAS IN HEAVEN.

All this is going on as we embark on MAJOR LIFE CHANGE No. 763 "Moving Back to Miami". Three weeks from yesterday we land in Miami. Manus, myself, two kids, a car seat, two strollers and our maximum allowance of 6 suitcases, 3 carry-ons and 2 diaper bags. Something will be accidentally left behind. Fingers crossed it isn't a child.

And all these bags have to be packed this week as we move out of this house and in with the in-laws on Saturday. So far the process has been slow, painful and the teeniest, tiniest bit stressful. Mostly though its just moving stuff from one place to another and into it's appropriate pile. We have:

1. Stuff to throw away
2. Stuff to give to charity
3. Stuff to pack, but need to use this week
4. Stuff to store at Nana and Papa's, subdivided into:
a. stuff we will need if/when we move back here (winter clothes, wall clocks, measuring cups)
b. stuff we may never again take out of a box (maternity clothes, baby clothes, a full night's sleep)
5. Stuff we will need for the next three weeks, subdivided into:
a. stuff that will then be packed for Miami
b. stuff that will then be stored in Ireland
6. Stuff we are bringing back to Miami, once again subdivided into:
a. stuff we will need during the two weeks we stay at my parents upon our Miami arrival
b. stuff we don't need and subsequently can keep in a sealed suitcase until we pack up AGAIN and return to our place on the beach.

It would all be easier without the little helpers. For every two things that go into a box, three things are pulled back out. And Michael's farting doesn't help either.

I think I am heading for my own nails-down-a-chalkboard meltdown myself. Time for a shower. Think I have to shave my legs.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

oh happy day

Friday, October 16, 2009

The Mom Chronicles. Chapter 7

Okay, confession time.

Katie got a cold and was feeling lousy and all I could think was, "Cool. She'll sleep more."

I've started shaving my legs again just to have an excuse to spend more time in the shower. It's the only alone time that I get.

And it's rarely alone at that as Katie insists on taking a shower with me so she can waste the shampoo washing the walls. She does help with washing my legs, my feet, my belly and of course, my nu-nu; known to some more technically as the hoo-ha.

While most newborns get nice warm baths in a fancy baby tub or maybe the kitchen sink, Mick just gets rinsed off in the shower with me. Not that he has to endure it that frequently. His eye goop dries to crust, he gets a roll of stinky old skin collecting in his armpits, his poor little hands and feet,as sweaty as mine, gather lint in various colors, but only when his head starts smelling like McDonald's again, do we toss him in for a clean up. In the shower, though ,he is very quiet and serene. eh, maybe more like shell-shocked. He is afraid to cry for fear of a mouthful of water. He did pee on my leg as retribution.

But I got the last laugh, for I confess, as I attempted once to change his diaper, (you have to move quick as he's perfecting the urinary arc), he peed onto his own face. I laughed. So hard. While he looked on, puzzled and disturbed.

One day not too long ago, I was brainy and thought to get all of us in the bathtub together. It's a fairly big jacuzzi tub and Katie could play while I washed Michael and relaxed myself in a warm bath. All was well for a while, Katie and I splashing and laughing... I had Michael sitting on my lap, facing me, propped up against my legs. That's when it happened. A warning grunt, a faraway look and one squirt. It all happened so fast. Ran straight down into my crotch and so help me, my first thought was, "so much for the years of wiping front to back..." Hate to have to explain to the doctor how I got a UTI from someone else's shite. That's just gross. (and yet, here I share... someone will say one day, you know that girl - the one that's always talking about the poop.)

Only a mother gets the joy of wiping off poop from bath toys. But on the bright side, didn't have to fight with Katie to get her out of the bath. A technique I should remember?

But so far, the best parenting moment I've had was sitting next to Katie on the couch getting ready to feed Michael and as I positioned my boob to his mouth, a spray of breastmilk shot out and hit Katie on the arm. Her puzzlement as she reached out to wipe her arm was priceless. I laughed so hard I peed myself a little (damn you Kegel's!) Poor girl never knew what hit her.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Same and same

We weren't sure who Mick looked like when he was first born. Me? Manus? Then we looked back at the pictures of Katie. There is a bit of a family resemblance. See if you can tell who is who.

Or maybe we just aren't original enough with our photo ops....

Manus changes the first diapers. Both times. And that shirt. I'm not allowed to give birth if he isn't wearing the Kilkenny colors. Um... obsessed much?

This used to be where I lay my head.

Snug as two bugs in two rugs.

Different baby, same champagne. Some traditions are too good to retire.

And this one, I would SWEAR on a stack of bibles that this was Michael. And then god would send me to hell for lying. This is Katie. Doing her Michael impersonation. Take my word for it, it's good.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Things Are Different Here (part VI)

Things are different here when you are having a baby.

(So this post is a little belated... I've been busy. Pretend it's a month ago and I just got out of the hospital and you asked me what I thought of having a baby in Ireland and because you asked so nicely, I'll tell you, complete with pictures of really random things.)

St. Luke's Hospital in Kilkenny is nothing like Baptist Hospital in Miami where I had Katie.

Baptist Hospital boasts state-of-the-art, top of the line Hill-Rom brand hospital beds. These beds will do everything short of fixing your coffee in the morning. With the push of a button, you can go from fully reclined to an upright chair position.

In Ireland, you get this -
At Baptist, the air conditioner is adjustable via thermostat controls in each hospital room, ensuring all patients can be kept at the temperature they desire. Rooms utilize reverse isolation to protect patients against airborne contaminants.

In Ireland, flying insects and construction noise come standard.
Baptist offers a "room service" menu allowing individuals to customize their mealtimes.

In Ireland, you can have anything you want for breakfast, so long as it is tea and toast.

Adhering to the cultural standards, the hospital offers the main hot meal at midday. (Here they even call it "dinner" even though we all know it's lunch. And then dinner is called "tea" and it consists of a light snack; sandwich or salad and, wait for it... a pot of tea. Then at around 10 pm they come around offering... TEA! The strong. dark stuff. Perfect to soothe you into a night's slumber and caffeinated goodness for your breastfed newborn.

After Katie was born, I was offered Percocet and Motrin tablets for pain control post cesarean.

In Ireland, you get a PCA (patient controlled analgesia) filled with intravenous Morphine (!) for the first 48 hours post-op. Unlike the electronic pumps they use for PCAs in the states, I had this nifty contraption: The black wristband housed a button that opened the flow of medicine and required five minutes to reset, avoiding pesky overdose issues. The medication was instilled in the pressurized tube that I kept in my pocket. Mama and Baby slept well those first two days.

At Baptist, all visitors to the baby ward were required to present photo identification and have their pictures taken for security purposes.

In Ireland, they just use the Baby Lo-Jack.
Baptist's showers are the size of a phone booth for midgets. You have to go in aiming the side you want most clean toward the water because you can't turn around once you are in there. They have a flimsy fabric shower curtain and a big raised tile ledge that you have to maneuver up and over to get into the stall. I have soaked myself many a time trying to help bathe a patient.

Kudos to Ireland. They know what they are doing in the shower department. Brilliant.
Now, because I am special and because we bought the supplemental private insurance (but mostly because I am special), I had one of the few private en suite rooms. Most of the new moms were stuck, four to a room, their only privacy being a wraparound curtain that enclosed their bed and bedside table and not much else. Those gals had to walk down the hall to use the community bathroom. THAT would suck. When you've just experienced traumatic events to your delicates, you want to have a place you can call your own, a place to store your hemorrhoidal foams, your feminine cleansing wipes, your inventory of twin bed mattresses they call maternity pads...

What they don't tell you in the brochure is that Ireland is BYOT. I knew I had to supply my own baby diapers and wipes, but stock some bath towels! Throw the girl a bone!

Some things are the same in both countries; your newborn sleeps next to you in their very own Rubbermaid under-the-bed storage bin. But score one for Ireland, this cabinet/bedstand was designed to act like a cradle. Literally, this bed rocked!
And the bed wasn't the only thing that rocked. Unlike with Katie, where she was whisked away immediately after birth and kept in the nursery (albeit with my bff Leslie - thankfully on duty that day) for the first few hours of her life while I recovered from the spinal block and awaited my room, Michael was wiped clean, checked over, weighed and Apgar-ed and immediately handed over to Manus. While I was in recovery, M and M were having some serious male bonding time. He got the first, precious skin-to-skin contact and it was there, in that baby room, the two boys made a pact - it was girls v. boys at our house and they were sticking together no matter what. Last night I caught Michael look over and wink conspiratorially at Manus as I struggled unsuccessfully to soothe and quiet his evening tantrum. Manus took him into arms and he fell contentedly silent in seconds.
But perhaps the biggest and best difference this time around, was that there was one more very special person in our baby welcoming committee.
This time around we didn't just make a baby, we made a brother and a sister.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Happy One Month

Happy One Month Birthday, Michael!

I'd sing to you, but you won't stop shrieking long enough to hear me.

And I'd write more on this blog, but see reason above...

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

In the Name of the Father

On the second Saturday of our courtship, Manus and I, sitting on two barstools in Norman's Tavern on Miami Beach, named our children. Kathryn Anne was to be the girl's name, honoring Manus' mother (Catherine), my paternal grandmother (Kathryn) and my mother (Margaret Ann). Sure we were probably six Bud Lights into the night when we had this conversation, but I still have the cocktail napkin on which we documented our future children's noms de plume.

On May 16th, 2007 we fulfilled half our promise when our daughter was born. While we only just had our son on August 25th, we've known his name for 6 years.

Michael - Manus' father was Michael Walsh. He died when Manus was only seven. Both Katie and our Michael bear a strong resemblance to Brian, Manus' brother, who is actually Michael Brian and though this could be considered disconcerting to a less secure man, I joke with Manus that at least he can be sure he is related to his children. Manus takes after his mother's side looks-wise and I think Brian looks a lot like his dad, at least based on the pictures I've seen, so its nice to see some Walsh traits passing through our kids.

David - My dad's name is David (and my dad's dad's middle name was David too). I was always a Daddy's Girl. I think I still am. I find it difficult to have the heart-to-hearts with him, so I know that I don't tell him often enough, but I think he is amazing. I'm even having a hard time writing this. I hold his opinion in the highest regard, though he has always worked to make sure I create my own. My grandmother has a black and white photo of my dad as a baby and when I watch Michael sleep, I can see that picture in my mind's eye. I would be thrilled to have my son grow up to be half the generous and compassionate man that my father is.

Cornelius - When Manus said that he wanted to include Cornelius to the baby's ever-growing list of names, I was quick to agree. If we are honoring our fathers with this name, it wouldn't be right to leave it out. Cornelius (Niall) Walsh is Manus' step-father. As he joined the family when Manus was about ten, he didn't have much experience with young children. Until ours came along. Katie has Papa wrapped around her little finger. Picture a big, burly man, farmer by trade, quiet and reserved, lying on the floor with his legs kicking up in the air just to satisfy the whim of a two-year old. And Michael at one day old was certainly the youngest baby his hands had ever held. Michael will soon learn what Manus, Katie and myself already know; that we are so lucky to have Niall in our lives.

I love this picture of Papa Niall and Michael:

With so many names, you'd think we'd have no problem deciding what to call our boy. But I am all about the nicknames. Kathryn Anne is only Kathryn Anne when she is in trouble. The other fifteen minutes of the day she is Katie. And Katie is the perfect name for a little cute, happy girl. So what about Michael? He just isn't a Mike. I don't think he ever will be... But what is he?

Katie calls him "Baby Michael"
Manus plans on him being "Mick" when he is older. (not a racial slur when you ARE Irish)
So I'm thinking "Mickey" is super cute, but it just doesn't roll off my tongue when I look at him.
Little Mick?
Cousin Jenny calls him MDCW pronounced "mid-cue"
How about "Em-Deecee-Dub"?
Or Doctor CW (get the m.d. part...)
So maybe just "Doc"?
Uncle Brian has taken to calling him "Mickey Nail"
I like Mickey Dee...

I even think his greasy head smells like McDonald's fries sometimes.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Mick Pics

I know I am behind on my blog postings. I just don't know where the days go. My mom has been here since last Tuesday and it is amazing having her here. Katie only has eyes for Grandma and Grandma is eating it up! They have played in the park and in the pool and innumerable games of "Do that", Katie's new favorite activity where she basically bosses you around. It's fun. But only the first 50 times or so.

The only thing that would make her visit better is if my dad were here too. But, I understand that he couldn't come. I'm also trying to convince my mom to stay until oh, say, November but she keeps talking about this job thing that she has to get back to. How selfish.

So until I find the time to write more about "Life after August 25th", perhaps some pictures will keep you going.
Katie absolutely loves to hold her brother.
Katie and Michael on All-Ireland day. Up the Cats!
Katie loves her brother...
Or does she?
And that is why Mommy never leaves Katie alone with Michael...

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

(Real) Labor Day 2009

So there I was last Monday night, lying in bed awake at 1:30 in the morning. Neither Manus nor I could sleep (as was becoming the norm - ever since the previous Monday night when we thought the contractions had begun...). Manus had taken a few Tylenol PM and was watching TV in the den, awaiting their effects. As the antihistamine drowsiness was starting to settle over him, he returned to the bedroom. As he entered I told him not to worry about being quiet as I was still awake. He joked, Why? Are you having contractions? Before I could launch into a diatribe on just how lacking in humor I found my spouse at that moment, I felt the most bizarre sensation in my stomach.

Someone had snapped a rubber band against my insides causing a sharp pain and a warmish splash in my pants. Could it be? No. Only 10% of women start labor that way! So I got up and went to the bathroom. I peed. It was sorta a pee plus. Maybe there was more liquid that came out. Cant be sure. Back to bed. Lie down, thus disengaging baby's head/plug from birth canal and proceed to wet the bed. Jump up, back to toilet, underwear around my ankles in a splashing puddle of amniotic fluid. Clean up in aisle nine!

An hour later, we are at St. Luke's Hospital. The contractions have begun; mild annoyances. The TENS machine is in place on my lower back, sending electrical currents to, ostensibly, scramble the pain messages to my brain. (Remember, I'm doing this au naturale ) I'm on my third pair of pants as, little known fact - you never stop leaking. The body continues to make more amniotic fluid and every time you change position...douche!
Look! Real contractions... At this point, about 6 minutes apart.
Manus and I were planning on having this baby by change of shift in the morning. Katie was born at 8:58am and we thought it reasonable that we would have our Michael at the same time. Our nurse was gentle as she broke it to us that there was "No fucking way I'd have the baby that quickly." Ha! What does she know?

We were moved to our birthing suite. It rivaled anything at Baptist Hospital. We were duly impressed.
Like, where else do you get a view of a castle from your hospital room? Dude! This place rocks.
We put some cool tunes on the stereo and waited. I was supposed to rest, as we had a long day ahead, but I was determined to stay upright and walking as that was what was going to speed early labor along. Remember - Manus had taken Tylenol PM earlier. I was expecting a scene straight from Father of the Bride Part 2, but he was a champ- stayed awake and cheered me on.
That quickly became this:
OY VEY! the pain! It was five hours later and change of shift and my check showed I was barely 1 cm dilated. Plans for au naturale were finito totalmente. I was screaming "EPIDURAL!"

They use something here called Entenox, also known as 'Gas and Air' (which as coincidence will have it, is the name of our groovy family band - Michael proving to be the breakout star of this Farting Foursome). Entenox is oxygen and nitrous oxide that you inhale through a tube. Basically, its a whippet. They convinced me to try it before going for the epidural. It made me feel really funny and did nothing for the pain and after I tried it for the morning nurse and ended the contraction in a bawling, hyperventilating, snotty mess, the nurse too was screaming "EPIDURAL!"

Long story short, as Manus' tweets do tell the tale -

epidural in ->
Malinda sane once again ->
contractions slow ->
no dilation ->
hours pass ->
doctor consulted ->
pitocin begun ->
contractions remain slow ->
no dilation ->
baby no like pitocin - decreased "variable decelerations" (apparently important to have)->
doctor consulted
hours pass
no dilation
baby still unhappy as per heart rate monitor
no change, no change, no change.... Cesarean Time!

At this point, I don't care. I'd had my labor experience, now its time to keep baby safe. Once the decision is made, it is a whirlwind of activity - sign here, drink this, put these on, this monitor on, this monitor off, move, move, move! When we bumped another stretcher doing down the elevator calling priority for the "emergency c-section" I started to cry. No one said "emergency" before... (they could have told me that any unplanned section is referred to as emergency...)

But then: bada bing, bada boom -

A baby is born.

So, as it turns out... After the surgeon made the cut into my skin, he moved aside my bladder and there was Michael. My uterus had dehisced (de·hisce (dĭ-hĭs') Medicine: To rupture or break open, as a surgical wound.) The exact reason VBACs are a risk. Also the reason my labor was never going to progress. The contraction message begins at the top of the uterus and must work its way down the muscle. A break in the muscle interrupts the message. Had we continued with the pitocin (which we stopped because of the baby's heart rate troubles) I could have burst the thin membrane keeping Michael where he belonged and not floating, tangled in my guts. So, in the end you realize things happen for a reason. Trust your doctors, trust your nurses, trust your instincts, trust that your baby just might save you both.

(I also choose to believe that the rupture was causing the contractions to be more painful than "normal contractions" and thus the reason I had to wimp out and get the drip... I could ask the doctor if that's plausible, but it might ruin my defense. Why mess with the truth when fiction and possibility fit your needs so well.)

Sunday, August 30, 2009


Michael David Cornelius Walsh

Born Tuesday, August 25th 2009 at 3:39pm
3.335 kgs (7 lbs, 6 ozs) 50.5 cms (19.88 inches)

I promise more details to follow... sometime. soon? yeah. check back.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

I'm a watched pot right now....

I'm beginning to think I may never boil.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Oh. My. Gosh.

When Katie refused to nap in her crib today, (and I don't mean refused like, "Excuse me dearest mother, but I feel it in my best interest not to lie down for my mid-day rest" but more like "NONONONONONONO!!!!!! AGGGHHHHHHHHHHH! NOOOOOOOOOOO", with sparks of fire and snot spewing from her face) Manus was called in to save her life. He lie down next to her in the big bed until it seemed she had dosed off. That's when he snuck out, leaving her to slumber amid a couple of piles of clothes and her diaper changing station. And her diaper cream.
She was so nice and quiet, who knew she wasn't actually asleep in there?

Future mug shot:
I think she looks like an Australian Aborigone.

If you think of it, a water-based diaper barrier cream wouldn't be very effective. There is a downside to that fact.