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16 Jan 09 Learning the virtues of a deep breath

I’ve always prided myself for not being a “stereotypical” woman. You know, the one whose husband refers to, with a roll of his eyes, as “the wife”. This woman is irrational and moody and seems to be in a perpetual hormone-induced bad mood. Over the past few weeks, however, I’ve learned how this stereotype can rear its ugly head before you can say “PMS”.

Let me first paint a picture of my current state of mind. Since Dec. 2, I have not had more than 3 hours’ consecutive sleep. I’m full of postpartum hormones. I spend my days with a 4-year-old who loves to find new power struggles to torture me with every day, a 2-year-old who eats only 7 things and has chosen this week to decide to start walking (yay Nicole!) and a 6-week-old who doesn’t like to be alone. EVER. In the past week, I’ve shut an unbelievably heavy door on my finger, fallen on the subway grate and stubbed my toe more times than I can count. Last night, I spilled a whole glass of water on the bed and all I could think was that if I changed the sheets, it would take away from time I could be sleeping, so I threw down a towel and went back to sleep.

In this current state of mind, I have, on several occasions, been “visited” by this stereotypical woman. Certain times, I can contain her. Other times, she’s much stronger than I and I become a lunatic. What I’ve learned is that a simple breath – a very deep one – can usually keep her at bay.

Let me give you a couple of examples. Dave was away for two consecutive days this week, which left me alone taking care of the girls without the 1 hour nap I usually take when he gets home. I was so tired I could barely see straight. His first night back, after a late meeting, Dave called to say his coworkers were going for a drink and would I mind if he went with them. God bless him for asking and God bless me for taking a breath before responding. The breath allowed me to muster, after a prolonged silence, “I’m really tired” instead of what the stereotypical woman was telling me to say.

The breath also comes in very handy with Marley, who doesn’t like not getting her way. She, too, is a woman, after all. Taking a deep breath before responding to her 100th request for chocolate, for example, gives me the strength to find the answer that will keep excessive whining, crying and tantruming (from both of us) at bay.

Life is too short to be grumpy, and we all need to breathe anyway, so we may as well do it wisely.

05 Jan 09 Welcome 2009 – Happy Birthday Karyn!

Wow, the holidays went by so quickly. We had a great time. It began with the arrival of Gwen on December 2nd. Karyn’s Mom (Gramma) spent the second week of December with us, followed by Dave’s sister and parents. We’ve spent the last week alone and today get back into our regular routine. Except today is Karyn’s birthday, so we have one last hurrah! Happy birthday Karyn/Mommy!

Here is a card that Dave and the girls made this week. Other photos from the holidays are posted on our Flickr profile.

We love you!

We love you!

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10 Dec 08 Daddy and his new little girl

Dave finally got a chance to get a photo with Gwen.

Daddy and Gwen

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07 Dec 08 Gwen is home

Gwen was released from the NICU this morning. Hooray! This video shows her release and Marley’s first chance to hold her.

Nicole shows her love with a kiss.

Nicole gives more kisses

And Marley perfects her holding style with Karyn’s assistance.

Getting acquainted

Dave is behind the camera, in case you’re wondering.

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06 Dec 08 Gwen gets strong

After three days in the NICU, Gwen has started to show signs that she’s ready to come home. The tests for infection came back negative. She has been subject to numerous blood, jaundice, cardiac and respiratory tests, and all seems fine. After two episodes of apnea, we are waiting for the results on a brain scan but she’s doing really well.

Officially, she was one day premature. Many preemies experience apnea and grow out of it in a very short time. Her last episode was yesterday morning. Fingers crossed that’s it. The hospital will probably release her 4-5 days after the last episode, so she may be home for the first time early next week.

Karyn continues to nurse her in the hospital every three hours and she is eating very well now. She’s already started putting on weight.

It will be really nice to see her disconnected from all the leads, needles and monitors, and to hold her without worrying about disconnecting her from the machine.

We’re actually pretty grateful that she’s been receiving care in the NICU since we’d have totally flipped out had she stopped breathing and turned blue at home. Everything happens for a reason, right?

Thanks to everyone for the wishes, thoughts and prayers. We haven’t had time to response to the influx of email, but know that we are very grateful for everyone’s support. We’re all doing well, just a bit tired.

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