Monday, May 28, 2012

Cheaper By The (Half) Dozen

In the wee hours of the morning on May 25, we had a wee baby:


Margaux Julia VT was born May 25 at 2:27 am, weighing just 5 pounds 7 ounces - tiny but perfect!



I had hoped not to go into labor before school ended, with all of its attendant little events and administrative chores; and I had also hoped she wouldn't come before our neighborhood's School's Out Pool Party - why?  Because no child should miss out on a free sno cone because of the birth of a sibling?  I don't know, people!  But lo, right after I got the children to bed after the pool party - BOOM.  I started having contractions, rather intense ones, about four minutes apart - there was no gradual crescendo here.


So PVT and I launched out into the night to the hospital.  The nurse checked me; I was only 2 cm dilated, and my water was still intact, but they decided to keep me because "after 4 C-Sections, you're in a whole other realm."  Right.

After what seemed like hours of worrisome digging, moaning, griping and sighing on the on-call surgeon's part, we finally heard Margaux's lusty cry.  If there is a more glorious sound on earth to a pregnant woman, I don't know it.

Then I heard her weight - just 5 pounds 7 ounces!  I fretted about this while I was being reassembled:  why so little?  Surely it wasn't my nightly meth habit?   Nah.  My diet?  Not perfect - there were chocolates and cookies in there, but surely God doesn't require sainthood from pregnant women, suffering so much as they do from various indignities already.  But I ate plenty of greens, vegetables, fish, cheeses and nuts, so that couldn't be it?  My only theory - that the surgeon corroborated - is that my uterus is slowing disintegrating into a big mess of scar tissue (it was apparently transparent in a few places).  The fact that I keep producing smaller and smaller children may not be coincidental.

Fortunately, though, her wee-ness is only a footnote; she is healthy in every way - already a champion eater, pooper, pee-er, and listener, fascinated by voices.  Her siblings adore her.  We are all rather smitten with our new little girl.
And now I am home, happily on Percocet, my leg and horrifying veins slowly improving, and I find myself with all this post-delivery adrenaline:  I should be doing something great!  Writing a book?  Remodeling the house?  Tonight, however, I came to my senses:  that "something great" will be recovering well from my fifth C-Section, feeding and nurturing my newborn, and keeping the rest of the clan reasonably happy, healthy and alive.  That will be pretty freaking great enough - the rest can wait. 

For a very long time, if necessary.  

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Waiting for Godot. I Mean Margot. Or Margaux.

Today this little quiche that I've been lovingly (er, more or less) toting around since the Mesozoic era is considered full term!  Woo hoo!  I've had four healthy babies within a day of this milestone (and one slowpoke who arrived at 38 weeks). 

And:  my mom is here.  My toes are painted.  My hair is recently high-lit.  I even endured a BIKINI wax.  The house is not a total pigsty (although that could change in a minute). 

So, baby girl?  We're ready! 

Although yesterday the doctor said she was lying transverse across my belly, which is not awesome.  I think she has rotated since then, given the jaw-dropping kicks and painful gut wrenches I had yesterday, but what do I know?  I've only done this FIVE times before.

It's tricky, this am I in labor thing or not:  I'll have contractions, and wonder:  is this it?  I don't want to blow the doozies off, and then, as my doctor so colorfully put it, "bust open my C-section scar."  But I don't want to take every little twinge so seriously that I go to Labor and Delivery, and then they end up taking the baby before she's ready. 

Oh, the drama!  I'm just so glad she's almost here, and so glad I get to have one more, and so hopeful that everything goes well.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Duckies, Contractions, and Oh! The Olympics!

So today we entered a whole new world:  the insane, estrogen-fueled spectacle that is the Big Dance Recital.  Oh my, you all.  What a circus.  The studio held its recital downtown at the Tulsa Performing Arts Center, and there must have been 1,500 people there (that is an estimate by PVT, who is good at those kind of things).  With hundreds of little and big girls in tutus, and their mummies all decked out in their best dance mom finery, I'm surprised the whole place didn't burn up in a big girly hot flash of flames. 

I think Colette was a little overwhelmed at first; I was supposed to drop her with the "stage mom" and then go to my seat, while the (saintly, patient) stage mom shepherded the girls from backstage to their performance - about 30 minutes into the show.  Colette didn't want me to leave at first, but after a few gummy bears, she was OK.
The Duckies, All Lined Up - Thank You to Stage Mom Kelly P!
I suspected, though, once I left she would do just fine; she is preternaturally poised in situations like this, despite her penchant for throwing five-alarm tantrums at home. 

And she danced her little heart out, front and center - even Sylvie could see her red-headed sister from five miles away where we perched in the mezzanine seating.


PVT was especially impressed with his daughter's performance in front of the lights and multitudes.  When I asked him if he had gone to his sister's dance recitals as a kid, he gave me a look:  "She's deaf.  She didn't dance.  She couldn't have heard the music."

Oh....RIGHT!  Ahem. 

Here's to many more years of feathers, tutus and all that nonsense.  Isn't it great?

***

Yesterday I started having some really intense contractions.  They were erratic, but wow - when they came they were WHOPPERS.  So I did what any 38-year old mother of five would do when she suspects the baby might not wait much longer:  I called my MOMMY.  Yes, I did - and luckily she is now coming to our rescue a few days early.  Today I felt a little better, so I probably summoned her here early just to wait around for a jillion days.  Ah, well.  At least my mental state will be much improved!

***

I had heard vaguely that there's an Olympics this year - summer?  London?  Right.  I hadn't really paid much attention, until I got this in the mail:  

OK, Mr. Ryan Lochte, I'm paying attention now!

Friday, May 18, 2012

Just In Case You Are Covered In Fresh Blowout Right Now

Instead of doing practical things before this baby comes (like buying wee newborn diapers!  My sister asked if I had done that; nope!  Hadn't thought of it!), I am trying to read as much as I can.  Books, that is; once I have a newborn to contend with, Life and Style will be about the extent of my reading level.  But before she comes, I am going to dive into this hot mess (lots of lit crit theory; I might hate it, since that sort of esoteric, postmodernist nonsense drove me from majoring in English Literature to - blech - accounting).  But now, I am just finishing up a book I've read many times, a book that I just love:  "To Hell with All That:  Loving and Loathing Our Inner Housewife," by Caitlin Flanagan. 

This time, I found a line that really moved me:

"What's missing from so many affluent American households is the one thing you can't buy:  the presence of someone who cares deeply and principally about that home and the people who live in it; who is willing to spend a significant portion of each day thinking about what those people are going to eat and what clothes they will need for which occasions; who knows when it's time to turn the mattresses and when the baby needs to be taken out for a bit of fresh air and sunshine."

Well, gosh, that would be me.  And maybe you.  And probably 99% of all stay at home mothers.  When it feels like this work is drudgery, nagging, crumbs and bums, it is nice to be reminded that it is so much more - and that it does actually matter to the home's inhabitants, no matter how little they might realize it.  And when I'm frustrated with my lack of earning power, or my geographical circumstances, or how awful the kids are being to each other, or to me, or how awful I am being to the kids - well, that right there is my job description.  I do care - deeply and principally - about every aspect of these monsters' lives.  And PVT's.  And most of the time, it is enough.  More than enough.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Can She Just Have That Baby And Shut Up Already

One might think after birthing five children I would be rather blasé about cranking out another kid in the next couple of weeks.  Alas, I am not.  I think no matter how many times you give birth to a real live human being who must be extracted from your body in some fashion - well, one of two fashions, neither of which is super pleasant - you are always facing a bit of a hair-raising proposition. 
Courtesy of Alphamom

Lately, because of a toxic cocktail of an inability to get comfortable, and an inability to turn off my head - particularly if there is a nocturnal awakening from my dear toddler - I cannot sleep.  I toss and turn, with a ticker tape running through my head:  willthisbabybehealthytoo canIholdherrightaway
Ihopethere'snoNICUorjaundice
willthekidsbeOKwhileI'minthehospital et cetera et cetera...

And then the next day I can barely function or be civil to the out-of-utero children, something I'd desperately like to be in these waning weeks of ONLY having five to cluck over. 

But on to a much more PRESSING problem:  HAIR REMOVAL.  I am always mortified when I go in for a C-section and the poor nurses have to hack their way, machete-like, through the forest to prep me for surgery - that whole area being of course obscured from my view since sometime in 2011.  So I thought, hey!  I should get a bikini wax!  Or - gulp - a Brazilian wax!  Never mind that I have never had one of these before in my life, and in fact chickened out at the final hour from obtaining one many years ago.  But I thought an investigative waxing would be good fodder for my column - anything for my readers, you know. 

So I have an appointment on Saturday.  If the esthetician doesn't pass out when she sees my swollen cartography of veins, and if I don't run screaming from the waxing room, I will let you know how it goes. 

Sunday, May 13, 2012

A Nanosecond of Paradise

Oh 'twas a Happy Mother's Day around these here parts!  Why, you ask?  Piano is done.  First Communion is done.  Soccer games and tournaments are done (although the practices continue, I'm told, until the boys reach early middle age).  School is winding down, as is homework.  At one point today, five children - FIVE - were upstairs playing Legos all together, at the same time, with minimal bickering and hair-pulling.  No, it didn't last, but what a glorious 18 minutes.  And PVT bought me obnoxious, liqueur-laced truffles the size of golf balls, grilled steak for dinner, and watched the children during my very expensive, nine-hour long hair appointment.

It's like Canyon Ranch around here! 

All we have left before my little sojourn to the Spa St. Francis are nine days of school, a few field trips, a 4th grade "graduation," and a "Baby Ballet" dress rehearsal and recital.

Pshaw.  I could do that measly stuff pregnant with QUADRUPLETS.

I think I'll pass, though.  I've got nothing left to prove.

Here's to hoping YOUR Mother's Day was as ridiculously easy and self-indulgent as mine was.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

I Really Want To Give Birth. And Shop. In That Order.

The glorious thing about having a baby in May is that I will not be pregnant during the Hades-like Oklahoma summer.  The less glorious thing about having a baby in May is that while everyone else is lying out in their bikinis, sporting their fresh-from-the-gym hard bodies, I will be in that aesthetically challenging postpartum period, where everything sags, pooches, droops and leaks. 

But what a great excuse to buy flowy, camouflage-y gossamer whispers like this tropical halter dress: 

Oh, and I can always buy SHOES, no matter how revolting I look this summer:



At this point, though, I don't care how hideous I look.  I just want to meet this little girl, and hope that it all goes well, and that everyone is healthy.

What else is there?



Sunday, May 6, 2012

I Know Jesus is Rolling His Eyes At Me Right Now

There are things that I do as a mother that lull me into thinking I am fairly competent:  I get dinner on the table, I keep up with the laundry, I get kids out the door in the morning. 

But then there are the major events in my children's lives - things like their First Communions, for freak's sake - where I totally fall apart.

You may recall two years ago I congratulated myself on getting Keane's First Communion suit in February, so we would be all ready for May. 

But I forgot to get the poor child dress shoes.  So he had a lovely suit on...with navy sneakers

Oh, but this time I was going to be all prepared:  I had the suit - Keane's from two years ago - cleaned and ready!  Rory had gorgeous leather loafers from Nordstrom!  We were set!  I just had to have him try it on - but come on, I wasn't really worried.  Two second grade brothers - it had to fit, right? 

So, despite having had the thought for weeks that he needed to try it on, I kept forgetting - and had him try it on last night.  And I was reminded that Rory is why I have C-Sections:  the suit was way too small.  He couldn't even button the pants.  The shirt was too short, and I couldn't button the top button.  So after a few frantic calls to local stores ("We have one black suit in size 14!"), I paired the suit with some of Rory's own khakis, and with the jacket buttoned, you couldn't really tell the shirt was too small.  So I thought we were set.  
A Very Irritated First Communion Candidate
But then this morning I discovered you can't clip a tie on a shirt that is not buttoned at the top.  Well, I tried, but then Rory looked like a drunk wedding guest.  PVT finally got the top button buttoned, and the tie on, but by the time we arrived at church, Rory was in tears - he was being choked.  At first I fretted - but all the other boys have ties! - and then I woke up:  he's not going to suffer because his mother's an idiot.  He's not going to suffer because his mother cares so much what people think.  So we went tieless, and he looked fine, and did a beautiful job receiving his First Communion (unlike another girl who grabbed the Host from the priest and almost dropped it - which would have been A. Big. Effing. Deal). 

So here he is, post-Communion, tie-less, jacket-less, with a First Communion Lego treat.


Jesus and Legos can go a long, long, way in making a 2nd grade boy happy.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Where Getting a C-Section Is Looking Freaking Relaxing

These next few weeks of May are so kid-centric I want to curl up in a corner and lie in the fetal position along with my fetus:  First Communion, piano recitals, field trips, "Celebration of Learnings," 4th grade graduations, Mother's Day Teas (call me a cynic, but the scripted Mother's Day events coordinated by schools mean a lot less to me that the spontaneous drawing presented by a proud child on a Tuesday)...it's a veritable cyclone of kiddie-ness.  I am trying to tell myself that all of these events are a wonderful way to spend some time individually with each child before we face the seismic upheaval of baby #6, which is certainly true...but it's not quite working.  It's all good stuff, of course, but I just wish I could face all of it without bone-crushing fatigue and swollen unmentionables.   

Stop having kids, you say?  RIGHT!  I am just hoping I REMEMBER how these last few weeks of pregnancy just drag, and drag, and drag one's saggy, tired body along with them.  And can you believe I complain this much and usually only gestate for 37 weeks?  40 weeks must seem like you've been pregnant for a decade.

Speaking of having many kids, here is my latest article for Tulsa Kids - it is the piece I read for Listen to Your Mother.  I really still do believe you should have another kid, too - I'm just hoping your body is in better shape than mine!