Thursday, November 14, 2013

My Second Little Love (or What I've Been Doing for the Last Few Years)

I haven't introduced my youngest daughter, Claire, yet and that is just not right! Claire is a funny, loving, smart, adorable and dream-come-true girl. She's now just over three years old and is my almost-constant companion. Just prior to finding out I was pregnant with her, I was definitely beginning to think that Kate would be my only. I was beginning to make peace with that and I was so grateful and happy to be Kate's mom. I worried a little about her being an only child and wondered how that would be for her. I began reading a nonfiction book of essays about growing up as an only child, which were written, of course, by only children. I was just looking for reassurance that Kate could grow up happy and be well-adjusted (as much as that's possible with a mom who's slightly neurotic). And I know she could have.

To my great surprise and delight, however, I found out I was pregnant early in the winter of 2010 and I could not have been more thrilled. As had become customary with my pregnancies, I had to monitor the pregnancy by having HCG levels checked and then having an early ultrasound. I was ecstatic when I found out that the pregnancy looked normal. I won't pretend that I was relaxed and unworried throughout my pregnancy with Claire. Nope. I was riddled with anxiety throughout, unfortunately, but I also enjoyed being pregnant and tried to savor it as I knew it would be my last time.

I had a midwife and hired a doula and prepared to do anything I could to have a natural, vaginal birth as I had had a cesarean with Kate and I really wanted to have the experience of birthing a baby, holding her immediately afterward and trying to nurse soon after that. I did manage to have a vaginal birth after cesarean (VBAC) with the help of my doula, midwives, the nurses at the hospital, and my supportive husband. I labored and delivered completely unmedicated which was so very exhausting and difficult but, man, was it worth it. I held Claire right away and tried to nurse her shortly thereafter. Claire made her entrance into the world a full month ahead of her due date so she had to stay in the NICU for a few days, but aside from being a little jaundiced and having low blood sugar levels, she was healthy (she actually has a kidney disorder called MCDK, but we knew that before she was born and it wasn't something that would put her in immediate danger). I was fortunate enough to be able to stay in the hospital with her and for the last night of our hospital stay she slept in my room with me.

Claire has been the most wonderful addition to our family. Kate was thrilled to be a big sister, although I admit that there was a period of adjustment for her and understandably so, I think; she had spent four years with my and Sean's undivided attention, so it was a bit challenging to have to learn to share us with her sister. She loved Claire from the beginning, though, and is a great big sister. Claire, as little sisters are wont to do, adores her big sister and wants to be just like her.

Here was Claire then:


Here is Claire now:


Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Best About Life

After reading and before singing last night, while Kate and I were laying in her twin bed in the dark, she asked me what I like best about life. No one has ever asked me that before. She's six, almost seven.

I told her, after giving it a bit of thought, that I like my relationships best. The ones I have with her, Claire, and Sean. And also those I have with other family members and friends.

I asked her why she asked. She said she's planning to write a 100 page book about a family with 100 members in it who will all be asked that question, and each page of the book will be each person's reply. Wow.

She said that after relationships, her favourite things are nature and the beautiful sights you can see throughout the world. She said nature is amazing because it's just like that—no one constructed it.

One of the things that I like best about life is my daughter's mind.