Sunday, August 30, 2009

Introducing...

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.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

27 Month Checkup

Dear Katie,

The Terrible Twos are not a myth made up by ugly, bitter people who hate their children.

When your head spins around 360 degrees and fire shoots from your eyes during one of your daily tantrums, I think about selling you to the gypsies. And I say that from a very loving, non-bitter place.

You walk around like a horse with its blinders on, only seeing what is directly in front of you, and whatever that is, that is what you want - what you have to have. Until you get it. By then you have turned your head and changed your mind. Today you had three different cookies, each with one bite out of them and you turned to me, looking for chocolate.

I'm exhausted by the fights over getting dressed, changing your diaper, going to school, leaving school, taking a nap, eating dinner, going to bed. It's so frustrating because though you always come around, a 10 minute tantrum is inevitable.

Its unsettling to realize that you are smarter than me. My words come back at me. I'm told "gimme a second, okay?" when I want you to come to me. Instead of telling you that you can't do something, I would just tell you that you'd have to do something else "first". That worked for a while. Now you tell me that you are going to do whatever you are doing "first". One day you told me you were going to sit in the corner and "fuss first". And you did. You had a tantrum in the corner. When you would ask for a cookie at suppertime, I would tell you that you have to "finish your (meat, veggie, pasta)". So then you just started pushing away your bowl mid-meal, saying "finished!". How can I argue with that?

You walked into the playroom where I had all the pieces to the baby swing out of the box and all over the floor and you just said, "Oh. my. God." Now, I didn't teach you that as I'd never blaspheme, but you got it somewhere and it was hysterical.

It all comes down to you getting better at expressing yourself and that does have an up-side. You've started to say, "I love you, Mommy (and Daddy and Grandma)" It sounds like you are saying it with a mouth full of marbles, but we know what you mean. You ask for "cuddles". If you are sitting next to me, you lean your head on my shoulder.

You are learning your manners. You say "please", "thank you" and "you're welcome" with regularity. You even say "sorry" when you are trying to get around someone. Your vocabulary has exploded. And you are saying it all with a mini Irish accent.

Potty training is on hiatus. You like to take off your diaper and sit on the potty, but you don't do anything there. For about the last two weeks you tell me when you have to "make a big poop in the corner" and then you do. Of course then I ask if you are finished and the answer is always no and we fight for ten minutes about cleaning your bum.

There has to be some clever saying about who the fool is when an adult actually argues and wrestles with a toddler.

I love you Katie, but I am so tired. I'm sure having a newborn in the house will make everything much better. Oh joy.

Some recent photos of Katie being agreeable...

Here's when I asked Katie to pose for a picture with her new outfit.

Katie reacting to the "Smile for the camera!" command.

And see how well Katie leaves the kitty alone?
I love this picture. Which one looks more hostile?

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Showered

Last Sunday was our monthly "American Girls" get-together and the gals surprised me with a baby shower. It was such a great surprise and we had a really fun afternoon. One of the girls, Candi is a professional cake maker and so naturally, she supplied the sweets.
If you ever find yourself in need of a cake while in Ireland, let me know - I've got the hook up.

Jess made one of those awesome diaper cakes. Not that she is a professional diaperer though. But, a florist. That's how she knows all the fancy bows.
Of the two cakes, only one is still standing... And that's only because there wasn't buttercream frosting shmeared between the Huggies.

Though not clear and obscuringly back-lit, one must include the obligatory group photo.
Though not a great shot of either myself or Claire, one must include the obligatory "show how big my boobs are these days" photo.
Though unfortunately portraying an accurate depiction of my equally large upper arms, one must also show the obligatory "opening of the shower presents" photo. And the fiendish sneer. Do I make that face on a regular basis? Why have I not been informed?

The girls weren't the only ones decorating, either. You know how some people will decorate their house to announce the arrival of a baby? Like with big blue ribbons and bows and "It's a Boy!" signs?
Well, not my Manus. He decorates for the arrival of Kilkenny into the All-Ireland Hurling Finals. He's just so... proud. sniff.

I'm not the only one around here blossoming either. FINALLY the bulbs I planted back in April? Maybe May? have begun to flower.
.................
I am absolutely shocked that I haven't killed this rose bush. Its survived two transplants and a vicious weed-whacker attack. And don't even get me started on the slug infestation.
But there it is, life anew. I counted about 8 buds on the bush. I sorta feel like since this little guy survived my "nurturing", there is hope for baby Michael as well. Just gotta keep the slugs off him.

So, I guess we are now officially ready. The 38 week mark passed yesterday without incident. My To-Do list is dwindling...
  • My hospital bag IS finally packed.
  • We picked up the car seat we will be using from Manus' cousin Mary last night. She is also loaning us her cradle, but it won't fit in the trunk, so we will get it this weekend.
  • I washed all the new baby clothes we got from the shower and they are folded and put away.
  • I've yet to write the thank you notes, but that will be done today.
  • My TENS machine arrived yesterday (mini taser you hook up to your back during labor so you don't feel the labor pain as badly). Set it up and tested it out last night. Sure, you don't feel labor pains cause you're too busy wincing from the shocks. A hammer to my big toe would be easier.
  • Gonna set up the baby swing and get batteries for it in town.
  • Also going to get a baby bouncer chair so as to have something to set baby down in while being domestic (cooking, cleaning, darning socks by firelight). Cheapest one I could find here in Ireland is 35 euro. That's almost 50 bucks. God, grant me the strength to make it til I can once again shop at Target.
  • Practicing my Kegels daily.
  • Shaved my legs (!) Or at least, what I could see and reach. Baby better come soon, don't think I'll be contorting myself again that way. Took 10 minutes to get up off the shower floor.
  • Have Manus performing potentially perineum-saving stretching techniques that are 1) not at all pleasant - but have given opportunity for me to practice my breathing and mental focus and 2)one step beyond that 'nice' level of couple intimacy - bordering on creepy, clinical and may perhaps be the reason we never have a third kid.
  • And finally, have now officially visited all rings of fiery Pregnant Woman hell. Thought hot flashes, morning sickness, heartburn, flatulence, stretch marks, sore pelvis, minor urinary incontinence, nasal congestion, constipation, hormone storms, emotional instability, adult acne, varicose veins, weight gain and swollen ankles were enough motivation to make any woman want to experience the joy of pregnancy... But no. There is more. While prepping to push out a 7 pound baby, I worked on pushing out a 7 pound turd and found that this baby has, already, created one giant PAIN IN MY ASS.

Holy Hemmie! Pass the Preparation H!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Yo Pops!

Hey Daddy-O!

Katie's not the only one that wanted to say hi and tell you to hurry home... Who knows how much longer I can stay in here. Its dark. And getting really crowded. (Apparently I'm 7 pounds today) And I'm tired of hanging out upside down.


Of course, Katie wants to say some things as well...

video

And here she says it all:

video

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Dear Daddy

Dear Daddy,

Mommy and I miss you and we are ready for you to come home now! Since you left, this is the face that I have been making most of the time.

But when I think about you coming home, I make this face:

Mom and I are having lots of fun. Especially now that I'm not barfing or making the stinkiest, foulest, squeeze-out-the-leg-and-up-the-back-diarrhea any more! Mommy thought it was very clever of me to wait until you went out of town to get sick all over the place. I thought it was funny to watch her try to get her big belly over the side of my cot to change my sheets all 8 times in two days.
(This is me doing my "mommy impression" - see the chins?)

When Mommy told me today that we still have 4 days until you come back and then I started thinking about all that quality Mommy and Katie time til then, I made this face:
But then again, so did Mommy.

I've been practicing my hurling so we can play when you get back.
KILKENNY!
I hope you can hear me on this video. You know how quiet and demure I am all the time...

video

I love you,

Katie

Monday, August 3, 2009

Things Are Different Here (part V)

Being pregnant in Ireland has been a very different experience to being pregnant in the States. For the most part, the Irish seem to have a much more laid-back, go with the flow, your-body-knows-what's-best attitude. I don't buy that crap for a minute. My body has betrayed me on more than one occasion. Hello? Sweat much? IBS, Missing teeth, and, pray tell, does my body really think it's best to store that much fat in my thighs and upper arms? Oh and sweet heavens, the double chin!

Someone near to me said it straight - to look at me is to see more chins than in a Chinese phonebook.

But I digress...

My cousin lived in Argentina for a few years and she said one time one of the most eye-opening experiences was to realize how America looks from the outside. Ethnocentrism is alive and well in the States and I realized very early on I would have to overcome a lot of pre-conceived ideas about my great homeland living abroad. And I did welcome the challenge. So when the doctor suggested that a lot of the antenatal tests performed in the States may be more for the insurance payments and reimbursements than for the benefit of the results, I said, Alright Dr. Pepper... I'm picking up what you're putting down.. Let's roll.

And some things are great. The doctor doesn't make you get on a scale every time you go for a visit. Nothing was more demoralizing than the sound of the creak and clank as you stepped up on the platform and the nurse took her time inching the weights over more to the right, the right, the right... Doc says what does your weight tell us? We'd only check if you were grossly obese to start with (phew) or we suspected an eating disorder and wanted to make sure you WERE gaining. (um. so my gaining is obvious?)

I also love that you are called back from the waiting room BY the doctor. He comes and gets you, sits you in his office, HE takes your blood pressure, HE checks your temperature and then HE, without gloves (!), takes your urine specimen and dunks the reagent strip into it - all just over the garbage can in the corner of the room! That I could live without. And the fact that you bring in your specimen from home. They give you this glorified (and apparently reusable) test tube with a lid and say bring this back full at your next visit.

Seriously, I thought aiming into the dixie cup in the States was a challenge, but this is impossible. First off, I can hardly reach around my belly to hold the cup while I hover and pee. Second, something about having a baby's head squashing down on all your lady parts makes a single stream of urine a physical impossibility so I am reduced to chasing drops of pee around, trying to catch them in the tube, wetting my hand more than anything else while trying not to pass out from holding my breath because I am doubled over trying to see around a giant beachball belly and keep my balance all at the same time. And then what do you do with the tube of urine while you are walking to the doctor's office? Does it go in your purse? Back pocket? Dangled from your key chain? I have yet to find an appropriate urine specimen caddy.

And that's not all on offer from the pregnancy take-out menu. When I queried the doc as to the Group B Strep test, standard in the states, he said they do not commonly find GBS in Irish women ergo it is not a routinely performed test. However, seeing as how I am American and thus "potentially infected", it may be wise indeed to test me. He then proceeds to hand me a swab and instructions to bring it back with me on my next visit! WHAT?! Okay, so I am nurse. I can handle a swab culture. IF I COULD REACH IT! My poor husband is traumatized still from his role in "Vaginal Swab: the play-at-home edition".

In fact, I haven't had to drop trow once for my good friend, Mr. MD. His table HAS no stirrups! How does he know I'm not tragically malformed all up in there? Is that not something the Irish have to deal with? I guess they figure if the sperm got in, the baby can come out. I asked him on a recent visit when he would start checking me for dilation and effacement and he said, "labor".

Allrighty then.

As Ireland boast socialized medicine, we had a choice as to whether we wanted to go "publicly" or "privately". As I have the history of a c-section/breech birth and wanted to go for the vbac (vaginal delivery after cesarean) we thought it best to have the best and thus coughed up the 3000 euro plus fee for the top obstetrician in Kilkenny. I am beginning to wonder what our money has gotten us.

When I suspected I was pregnant, I was instructed to go to my GP where I got a handshake and a referral to the obstetrician to be seen in 3 months time. No pregnancy test even performed. I took 3 tests at home and got a yes, a no and a maybe. I was sorta hoping for a tie-breaker. They said, nah, their tests are as reliable as mine and that was why you don't even go to the obstetrician for the first 3 months because "its still so early and anything could happen" (reassuring...) and provided I never get my period, I should keep my next appointment.

I had to ASK at my last appointment (36 weeks, mind you) what exactly I should do when I go into labor. Didn't think I would have to ask, thought maybe they would OFFER that info... but however. I was told I call the hospital. Do I then call my super-expensive doctor? No. Just the hospital. The hospital-staffed midwives will be doing my delivery, I am told, provided there are no complications. "They are the ones that do this sort of thing every day". But my doctor will be at the hospital with me, right? Well, he is obligated to LIVE within a certain distance from the hospital, so if he is needed, he can be there asap. Eh, no. For 3 grand, I want my doctor in the room, holding my hand, rubbing my feet, and telling me how beautiful I look doing my "tee, hee, hee" Lamaze breathing. And a mint on my pillow. And a stocked mini-bar.

Have I mentioned that I am hoping for a natural childbirth experience? No epidural. No pain medicine. No forceps. No suction. Just the beautiful and horrific agony of pushing out a baby... 'Cause, my body knows best.

Ah... can't wait to see how this fucking disaster turns out...