Friday, December 30, 2005

Ah... the shallowness...

I know this is something that doesn't really matter, and something that will probably take care of itself later...

But I DON'T CARE, I am going to be shallow anyway. I went to the doctor's office the other day. We were trying to weigh the baby. I had to step on the scale and then hold the baby. I wasn't quite sure, but I think the scale read 179 lbs for me!!! Ackkkk!!! So I came home and weighed myself on the scale here, and it read 170 lbs. Better, but still,... very disappointing. I shouldn't weigh more than 5 lbs above my pre-pregnancy weight. I didn't gain more than 5 lbs with previous pregnancies. See? I knew this would happen, I had finally lost that 15 extra lbs I've been lugging around since 1997 and 3 months later I get pregnant again, goodbye slim figure... Now I have to lose it all, all over again. And who knows how long that'll take?

Then, I go and weigh myself on the other scale downstairs, and IT reads about 178!!! Double ACKKKK!!!! So which scale is right? The weird thing is, I am pretty sure that I didn't get much higher than 190 lbs pregnant (when weighed at the gynecologists' office). So how could I possibly weigh almost 180 lbs not pregnant, when the baby was 9 lbs, and the placenta counts for about another 5 lbs? Plus whatever else... Plus I know my face isn't anywhere near as fat as it was when I weighed 180 lbs after Maryssa was born. In fact, I'm almost certain my face isn't as fat as it was when I weighed 170 lbs before. So, are all these scales really off? Or is it all in the belly this time? I still have a big belly. Well, not that huge, but I don't fit into my regular pants yet. And there is this fairly big roll of fat and skin, at least four inches of it that I can pinch off when I sit down. But it's only been 3 weeks and it took about a month and a half for me to lose most of the extra belly I had after Gabriel. I'm not too worried about that yet. But I really, REALLY HATE the idea of having gained all the weight I lost. I've gone back to eating eggs every morning again. I hope that'll help. I tried to a eat a big breakfast while I was pregnant, but pretty much left out the eggs most of the time. (Got tired of them).

I could scream from frustration... ARGGGHHHHH!!!!

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Some Pictures (from Auntie Rose Anne)

December 6, 2005
A couple of hours before giving birth

Gabriel and Nicolas


Auntie Rose Anne and Nicolas

Jean-Alexandre and Nicolas

Me, with Nicolas

He smiled!!!

Nicolas just smiled at me this morning!! He is exactly three weeks old today.

Last night, we slept a bit better. But he still has a cold, so that creates some difficulty breathing. But at least it's not too bad of a cold.

Monday, December 26, 2005

Merry Christmas

Yesterday was nice, and relaxed. Just hung out in pyjamas most of the time...

Not getting much sleep at night though... I am sooooo looking forward to getting over the newborn stage... I have never enjoyed it, and have never been sorry it's over. They drink all the time, are rarely awake, happy and NOT drinking. I get ver little sleep at night, they aren't all that cute and they don't qite fill out their clothes yet.

I know, I know, there are moms out there who just love this stage. Good for them,... Maybe if I had nothing else to do in a day but sit around and take care of a baby while someone else took care of everything else, things would be different. Unfortunately, I have neither cook nor maids, and I have 4 other children to boot.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Registering a Home Birth

Here in Québec we have one month after the baby is born to register the birth, after which we are penalized and it's a bunch of trouble. Nicolas is already 15 days old today. All the papers are ready for him to be registered. Everything is filled out and ready to go, except for one thing. Since he was born at home, "unassisted" (since I had a renegade mid-wife, the birth was "unassisted"), I need a paper signed by a doctor saying he saw me with a newborn baby. I have only two more weeks in which to get this and send everything out.

But,... I can't even find a doctor willing to look at my baby and sign a paper saying he saw a newborn baby!!! I tried to make an appointment to see my gynecologist, early last week, but the secretary put me on a waiting list. So I called up my family doctor who's office is at least a half hour to 45 mins away. (In a different city.) And his secretary didn't think he "did" that. (Now how hard could it be to do that?), but she'd phone back and let me know. Of course, she hasn't phoned back. So I finally phoned back the gynecologists' office today to find out just how long I might be on the waiting list, and she said not until after the holidays. So then I explained to her, that I'd had the baby at home, and that I needed to have a doctor confirm the birth, that is all. I tried to explain that the baby was already two weeks old, so I only have two more weeks in which to send this paper off but she interupted me: "Oh but then it's not a gynecologist you need, it's a pediatrician!! A pediatrician takes care of babies not a gynecologist! We'll call you back when we have room for you okay?" Yeah, okay, but AM I ASKING HIM TO DO SOMETHING TO THE BABY?!! Come on! ANYONE can look at a newborn baby and see it's a newborn baby, you don't have to be a doctor to tell if it's a newborn baby!! And you certainly don't need to be a pediatrician! I think a gynecologist should be perfectly capable of recognizing a newborn baby, AFTER ALL THEY DO ACCOMPANY WOMEN WHEN THEY GIVE BIRTH, do they not?!!! Unfortunately, the state wants the signature of a doctor, otherwise I'd ask the neighbours to sign! So (I didn't actually respond in kind to the secretary, although I sure felt like it), I phoned up a pediatrican. Well guess what, OF COURSE they're not taking new patients! And the secretary tells me I probably won't find any pediatrician who is! So I explain my situation again and she gives me the number for a pediatric clinic, which is pretty much like those walk-in emergency clinics, except for children, and of course it was all booked up for today and you can't make an appointment in advance for the next day, so I have to phone back tommorrow morning... and hope for the best. I am about ready to camp out at the hospital until someone looks at my baby and confirms he's a newborn!! And the secretary at the gynecologist clinic can just not bother phoning back, because I think I will be refusing to go and see them again anyone, I have just about had it with the bunch of them! Giving me hormones I don't need, talking about inducing labour when I 'm only 39 weeks and now this!!
:evil :evil :evil

Watch out world, Coucoumelle has sprouted horns!!!

Three Things About Me

Copy and re-post into your own bulletin with your three things...
Three names you go by:
1. Coucoumelle (over the internet)
2. Juana la Cubana (to a few people in Paraguay, and on my blog)
3. Mom, Mommy, Maman...
Three parts of your heritage:
1. Ummm, I grew up in Moose Factory, that's a major part of my heritage, I can't claim to be Cree or anything, but Cree people definitely had an influence on how I act and how I think. (Going to live in a non-native environment was actually a culture shock to me, and it took a few years to figure it out!!)
2. French-Canadian
3. Scottish/English-Canadian
(My siblings and I have finally come to the conclusion that we just don't fit in anywhere, English-Canadians think we're French, French-Canadians think we're English, and of course noone's going to mistake us for Cree (heh heh). Or maybe it's just that we're truly Canadian?)
Three things that scare you:
1. The possibility that I might not be able to pass my faith on to my children.
2. Government (and what they're doing to destroy society in the name of certain peoples' so-called "rights").
3. Losing a child in the swimming pool. I live in terror at the thought that another of my children might fall in, and this time, drown to death. Losing a child period. I am also afraid that one will run out into the street in front of a car or something...
Three of your everyday essentials:
1. Patience, (lots of it, in fact I STILL don't have enough of it).
2. A little time to myself, for either writing, communicating, or some artistic thing...
3. Sleep!!!
Three things you are wearing right now:
1. A newborn baby,... yes, I pretty much "wear" him for now... :)
2. Valentine's day pyjamas with little hearts and silly love-messages all over it, which were on sale after Valentine's Day for only a couple of dollars, so hey, who's going to see me in pyjamas anyway?
3. Wedding ring
Three things you need in a relationship (other than real love):
1. Patience
2. Tolerance
3. Compromise
Two truths and a lie (in any order):
1. I am afflicted in every way, but not constrained; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.
2. I shower every day (in fact it is almost an obsession).
3. It should be obligatory for every gynecologist to ALSO follow a course in mid-wifery.
Three physical things about the opposite sex that appeal to you:
1. Broad shoulders
2. Something in the eyes, don't know what it is, but when I see it, I know it...
3. ummmm... a sympathetic face...
Three of your favourite hobbies:
1. Crafts (and painting which I never get to do anymore)
2. Reading (and writing)
3. Sports (which I also never get to do anymore)
Three things you want to do really badly right now:
1. Play soccer again
2. Attend the next World Youth Days in Australia (yeah right, dream on!)
3. Sleep...
Three places you want to go:
1. Scotland
2. Back to Paraguay to visit again
3. Ummmm...
Three things you want to do before you die:
1. See my children grow up (don't want anyone else bringing them up!)
2. Finally learn to play piano properly
3. Be happy
Three ways that you are stereotypically a girl/guy:
1. I like things placed just so...
2. I prefer romance to pure action
3. The maternal instinct

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Praying for my sister-in-law

... and all her family today. They lost their father in May to cancer, and just lost their mother to cancer today at 9:45 am.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Nicolas Raphaël Baril

Bob now has a name. Jean-Alexandre, Marc and I sat down together and debated about the issue and came up with the winning name: Nicolas Raphaël. Nicolas because Marc and I both like that name AND because he was born on the feastday of St. Nicholas. Raphaël because Jean-Alexandre really wanted to call him that and it was also one of Marc's favourites.

The name Bob has stuck however. Jean-Alexandre still affectionately calls him Bob, and even I think of him sometimes as Bob. In fact, sometimes I have a hard time to come up with his real name, as Gabriel, Raphaël, Bob or even the dog's name; Toby come into my head first!!!

So, it's another name that works really well in both French and English, and consequently, also in Spanish. Jean-Alexandre is the only one with a name that only works well in French. But when I had him, I hadn't envisioned ever leaving Québec to live elsewhere.

Monday, December 12, 2005


(As Jean-Alexandre calls him, since we still have no name for him yet.)

Sunday, December 11, 2005

It's a boy!

On Tuesday December 6th, I got out of bed at around 6:30 in the morning to get the children up and ready for school. It was at that moment that I started to feel contractions. These were no Braxton-Hicks contractions. These were real contractions, not very strong yet, but real. At just after 8:00 am, I called my sister Rose Anne in Sherbrooke to let her know that the baby was most likely going to come a little earlier than expected. I didn't call the midwife right away, I wanted to make sure that it wasn't all just going to stop all of a sudden first.

I went to my scheduled gynecologist appointment at 9:30 am. I was hoping the contractions wouldn't get any worse while I was there, and I hoped they wouldn't notice anything. Noone noticed anything was going on. In fact, the gynecologist I saw even remarked that I was at 39 weeks and that if I hadn't given birth by next week, we could envision an induction!! That, even after I had made it quite clear that I didn't want to be induced unless abolutely necessary! I couldn't believe it! I wasn't even all the way to 40 weeks yet and she was already talking induction!! Give me a break!

Anyway, at that point it was quite obvious to me that I wouldn't be needing an induction at all, so I couldn't care less what she thought. I came home and called the midwife to let her know labour had started. She said to call back later once the contractions got a bit more intense. The electrician was there, doing some wiring in the basement for the boys' room that Marc is finishing, so in between contractions, I helped him out. Rose Anne arrived at about 12:30. We had lunch, me mostly standing. I thought maybe I should call the midwife soon, but since the contractions weren't all that regular yet, I decided to take a bath first, since baths help to relax. When I got out of the bath, the midwife called me before I could call her, to see how things were going. It must have been 2 or 2:30. She said she'd be right over. By that time, the contractions were getting a bit more intense and more regular. I started to crouch or go on hands and knees when I had a contraction. On hands and knees I felt more comfortable. But then the dog thought I was playing with him!

I think the midwife and her assistant arrived somewhere around 3:30. They started setting things up, while I continued walking around the house and doing little things. About the time they finished setting up, the contractions were starting to get quite intense, so I just stayed in the bedroom with them most of the time. Toby lay down in the doorway and kept watch. I got up fom time to time to go to the bathroom or go check on what the others were doing, and then I suddenly felt a small urge to push with one contraction in the kitchen, so I got Marc to come back to the room with me, and I stayed there from then on.

I remember concentrating on each contraction, breathing through it and being able to separate the pressure from the pain. I realized there was a lot more pressure than actual pain in each contraction, and by relaxing, I could diminish the illusion of pain a bit. Kind of like when it's windy outside, it might only be -5 but it feels like -20. I realised the pain was never much more than bad menstrual cramps, but the pressure made it feel worse. Being on hands and knees took off a bit of the pressure.

I knew I was quite near the end, and my breathing and turned into a slight moan. Toby was moaning in the doorway with me. Silly dog. I don't think that in all there were much more than 10 really bad contractions before I started pushing. Noone had to tell me when to push, I felt quite in control of my body this time. My water started coming out and I started to push right after. That's when I started screaming. I don't usually scream much. With the others I let out a yell or two and then just pushed and they slid out, but this time I roared through two minutes of pushing. I could feel that he wasn't coming out as quick as the others, and then I felt someone disengaging something there, and it got easier to push again. It hurt the perineal area a bit more to push this time, which might be why I kept screaming, that and the effort, and the fact that it was a release and once I started, I didn't care anymore to stop. It took two minutes to get him all the way out. After which I stopped screaming and just breathed really hard for about a minute, as if I'd just run a marathon. I realised the baby was under me and and I picked him up. The umbilical cord was still intact, so I couldn't pull him up too far.

When I was about to start pushing, someone had gotten the dog out of the way, so people could get in and out the door without stepping on him, so I got Marc to let him out again. I moved closer to the door so Toby could smell the new baby because he's not allowed in the room. (I was already pretty close to the door.) We had also gotten the kids to come in so they could see the birth, but just before I pushed him out the two oldest left to go to the kitchen so they missed it. But Maryssa snd Gabriel saw the baby come out. So did Auntie Rose Anne.

Maryssa wanted to know why I had been yelling. I told her it was because I had to push hard.

After a few minutes on the floor with the baby born, the midwife cut the umbilical cord, and I moved up onto the bed to wait for the the expulsion of the placenta. That was when they told me that he had had one hand up by his head. So that was what I felt the midwife disengaging, and why it had been a little harder to push. Then she weighed him, and we discovered the other reason why it had been harder to push him out; he weighed 9 whole pounds! My other babies were 7,5 7,6 7,8 and 8,1. I'd never had a baby this big before!

It was a very nice birth. If I had to do it over again, I would do it at home again.

Edited to add: We found out later that the baby was not born at 9 pounds after all, the scale was probably off when he was weighed and we'll never know exactly how much he weighed. But by deducted how much he gained in a month (he was 9 lbs 4 oz at one months and just over 12 lbs at two months) we guessed it was probably about 7 lbs 8 oz or so. Which fits right in with the others. I had a hard time believing he was tht big and wanted to ask them to check again, I wish I had now. I didn't because I didn't want to insult them by implying that they weren't competent... sigh... that's what you get for being too nice, ha ha.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005


Well, I'm getting some serious activity here. Can't guarantee yet whether or not it's actually going to develope into something, but I'm getting some contractions that hurt and they've been quite regular since I got up. At first I thought maybe it was just gas, but it didn't go away even after I went to the bathroom.

If I lie down again, they might possibly go away? Who knows...

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Second Sunday of Advent

Today is the second Sunday of Advent. It is also December 4, the Eve of St-Nicholas's Feastday. Tonight, my children will be leaving carrots out for St. Nicholas's horse and in the morning they should find some gold coins... (chocolate gold-foil covered coins).

I have to get out the story of St. Nicholas again, and read it to them.

I have decided with Gabriel what we are going to make for him to put in the stockings for everyone. I can't say here what that might be, because Auntie Rose Anne might see it and we wouldn't want her to know what he's putting in her stocking now would we? Auntie Rose Anne will be spending Christmas with us. (Yay!)

Maryssa has already done something, and Jean-Alexandre knows what he's doing, so now, I just have to find something to do with Dominic.

I am starting to get nervous/excited about giving birth. I've never done this at home before, so I am wondering how much better it will be, and hoping/expecting that it will be better than doing so in a hospital. I'm due in about a week. So it's getting close! I am so huge I can barely tie up my own boots anymore. Of course, the fact that when I bend over, the skin on one side of my belly really hurts (like it was being pulled apart or something) doesn't help either. I am looking forward to not being pregnant anymore, even though I am not looking forward to labour! Could we just skip over that part please?! I saw the mid-wife last Tuesday evening and she said I was dilated to one centimeter and that my cervix was about 60% effaced. The Thursday and Friday before that, I had noticed alot of small contractions and mestruation-like cramps, so I was not surprised that some work had already been done.

Marc has been busy fixing the boys' room. We have a skeleton wall up between their room and the family room now. And the door is in, and it can be closed and locked now. The electrician has been here, re-doing wiring, and adding some outlets and things. He's not quite done yet. I would help him with some of the stuff, but I'm so pregnant, I just can't bend over and get into places anymore.

Edited to add:

Oops, actually it turns out the Dec. 6th is the feastday of St. Nicolas and not Dec. 5th, but oh well... Next year we will get it right. I get mixed up with that because my Dutch friends celebrate it on the 5th.

The Advent Wreath

The Advent wreath
is an increasingly popular symbol of the beginning of the Church year in many churches as well as homes. It is a circular evergreen wreath (real or artificial) with five candles, four around the wreath and one in the center. Since the wreath is symbolic and a vehicle to tell the Christmas story, there are various ways to understand the symbolism. The exact meaning given to the various aspects of the wreath is not as important as the story to which it invites us to listen, and participate.

The circle of the wreath reminds us of God Himself, His eternity and endless mercy, which has no beginning or end. The green of the wreath speaks of the hope that we have in God, the hope of newness, of renewal, of eternal life. Candles symbolize the light of God coming into the world through the birth of His son. The four outer candles represent the period of waiting during the four Sundays of Advent, which themselves symbolize the four centuries of waiting between the prophet Malachi and the birth of Christ.

The colors of the candles vary with different traditions, but there are usually three purple or blue candles, corresponding to the sanctuary colors of Advent, and one pink or rose candle. One of the purple candles is lighted the first Sunday of Advent, a Scripture is read, a short devotional or reading is given, and a prayer offered. On subsequent Sundays, previous candles are relighted with an additional one lighted. The pink candle is usually lighted on the third Sunday of Advent. However, different churches or traditions light the pink candle on different Sundays depending on the symbolism used. In Churches that use a Service of the Nativity, it is often lighted on the fourth Sunday of Advent, the final Sunday before Christmas.

The light of the candles itself becomes an important symbol of the season. The light reminds us that Jesus is the light of the world that comes into the darkness of our lives to bring newness, life, and hope. It also reminds us that we are called to be a light to the world as we reflect the light of God's grace to others (Isa 42:6). The progression in the lighting of the candles symbolizes the various aspects of our waiting experience. As the candles are lighted over the four week period, it also symbolizes the darkness of fear and hopelessness receding and the shadows of sin falling away as more and more light is shed into the world. The flame of each new candle reminds the worshippers that something is happening, and that more is yet to come. Finally, the light that has come into the world is plainly visible as the Christ candle is lighted at Christmas, and worshippers rejoice over the fact that the promise of long ago has been realized.

The first candle is traditionally the candle of Expectation or Hope (or in some traditions, Prophecy). This draws attention to the anticipation of the coming of a Messiah that weaves its way like a golden thread through Old Testament history. As God’s people were abused by power hungry kings, led astray by self-centered prophets, and lulled into apathy by half-hearted religious leaders, there arose a longing among some for God to raise up a new king who could show them how to be God’s people. They yearned for a return of God’s dynamic presence in their midst.

And so, God revealed to some of the prophets that indeed He would not leave His people without a true Shepherd. While they expected a new earthly king, their expectations fell far short of God’s revelation of Himself in Christ. And yet, the world is not yet fully redeemed. So, we again with expectation, with hope, await God’s new work in history, the second Advent, in which He will again reveal Himself to the world. And we understand in a profound sense that the best, the highest of our expectations will fall far short of what our Lord’s Second Advent will reveal!

The remaining three candles of Advent may be associated with different aspects of the Advent story in different churches, or even in different years. Usually they are organized around characters or themes as a way to unfold the story and direct attention to the celebrations and worship in the season. So, the sequence for the remaining three Sundays might be Bethlehem, Shepherds, Angels. Or Peace, Love, Joy. Or John the Baptist, the Magi, Mary. Or the Annunciation, Proclamation, Fulfillment. Whatever sequence is used, the Scripture readings, prayers, lighting of the candles, the participation of worshipers in the service, all are geared to telling the story of redemption through God’s grace in the Incarnation.

The third candle, usually for the Third or Forth Sunday of Advent, is traditionally Pink or Rose, and symbolizes Joy at the Advent of the Christ. Sometimes the colors of the sanctuary and vestments are also changed to Rose for this Sunday. Whatever sequence is adopted for these Sundays, the theme of Joy can still be the focus. For example, when using the third Sunday to commemorate the visit of the Magi the focus can be on the Joy of worshipping the new found King. Or the Shepherds as the symbol for the third Sunday brings to mind the joy of the proclamation made to them in the fields, and the adoration expressed as they knelt before the Child at the manager. If used on the fourth Sunday of Advent, it can symbolize the Joy in fulfilled hope.

The center candle is white and is called the Christ Candle. It is traditionally lighted on Christmas Eve or Day. However, since many Protestant churches do not have services on those days, many light it on the Sunday preceding Christmas, with all five candles continuing to be lighted in services through Epiphany (Jan 6). The central location of the Christ Candle reminds us that the incarnation is the heart of the season, giving light to the world.