Wednesday, October 31, 2007

The Cross

Yesterday, I had an appointment with a lactation consultant at the hospital. While Jennifer, Jesse and I sat in a room waiting to be taken to the office, Jen pointed at something up on the wall and asked, "What's that?"

I blinked at her in surprise. "That's a cross."

"What does it mean?"

More surprise. "That's what Jesus died on."

"Who's Jesus?"

OK, I thought. I'm going to have to have a little talk with her Sunday school teacher. And, maybe I should be more informative to her on that end, too. "You don't know who Jesus is?" I asked.

She shook her head.

I frowned. "What are they teaching you at church?" I then gave her a brief, summarized explanation of who Jesus was, why He died on the cross and how He died for all of us.

Jennifer got all sad. "He died?"

"Well...yes. The bad people hung Him on the cross. But, Jennifer, it's a good thing. He died for you and me. His death took away all of our sins." I started to wonder how I could explain the concept of original sin to a 6-year-old.

"But He died!" she went on, all teary-eyed and sad. She looked down, a deep frown on her face.

"Honey, Jesus isn't really dead," I explained. "It's just His body that died. Jesus came back to life. And He went to Heaven. His spirit is alive."

This didn't offer much consolation to her. She just sat there all sad, looking down at the floor.

"Don't be sad that He died, be happy," I said, unsure of the right words to say! "When He died, He took away all of our sins. And that means we get to go to Heaven, too, when we die." I thought on this for a minute, then added, "If you're good."

I wondered if those last words had any affect on her.

Well, she soon wasn't so sad anymore. And I made it a point to get out her Children's Bible and read to her the story of Jesus. (Uh, we haven't gotten to that part....yet.)

All of this made me remember that gospel song, "Old Rugged Cross." It wasn't long before it was stuck in my head. I love that song! It's one of my favorites.

Here are the lyrics:

The Old Rugged Cross
Copyright: George Bennard, 1873-1958

On a hill far away stood an old rugged cross,
the emblem of suffering and shame;
and I love that old cross where the dearest and best
for a world of lost sinners was slain.

So I'll cherish the old rugged cross,
till my trophies at last I lay down;
I will cling to the old rugged cross,
and exchange it some day for a crown.

O that old rugged cross, so despised by the world,
has a wondrous attraction for me;
for the dear Lamb of God left his glory above
to bear it to dark Calvary. (Refrain)

In that old rugged cross, stained with blood so divine,
a wondrous beauty I see,
for 'twas on that old cross Jesus suffered and died,
to pardon and sanctify me. (Refrain)

To that old rugged cross I will ever be true,
its shame and reproach gladly bear;
then he'll call me some day to my home far away,
where his glory forever I'll share. (Refrain)

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Labor day

My doctor knew an early birth was in the works. Any day now, she said, the baby would be born. She was right. I was due November 13th but my baby had other plans.

On Thursday, I just finished eating lunch and I went into the kitchen to wash out my glass. Suddenly, my water started leaking out! EEK! I made a beeline for the bathroom and, yup, sure enough, it was DEFINITELY my water leaking. I emailed hubby and he said "call your doctor." So I called the doctor and they told me to go to the ER BUUUT not to drive myself there. I was all by myself so I emailed hubby again and told him what they said. He got off work, picked our daughter up from school (I'd already informed the school we might have to take her out early because of the pending birth) and came home to drive me to the hospital. At this point, I was near tears because my pants were soaked. (Good thing they were icky maternity pants that I never plan to wear again!) I didn't like being so wet in my clothes. Didn't! Like it! >:( So hubby grabbed a towel to put on the seat of the car and we got EVERYTHING together (hospital bag plus a bag for Jen) and headed to the hospital. Good thing they told me not to drive because on the way, contractions started up and I was wincing every time the car turned when we got there. He wheeled me inside then took Jennifer with him to go park the car. I was taken to Labor and Delivery, into a room and they had me change into a gown and get into a bed. My ASL interpreter had been called ahead and she met me there. The room was NICE -- it even had a couch! They strapped a heart monitor around my stomach and something to monitor contractions and not too much longer afterwards, my water officially broke and the contractions became stronger.

The doctor on call came in to talk to me about an epidural. I knew I wanted one but wasn't sure if I would end up getting it too early. He assured me that wouldn't happen. It wouldn't "wear off" like I thought it would because it was like a pump. About 10 minutes later, I told him, "OK, let's do that now."

But before they could do that now, they had to put an IV in first. No problem, I thought. Just a one-time sting and that's that.


My veins ended up NOT cooperating. Every time they stuck a needle in, my vein popped! (So weird....) I was writhing in pain as they tried one area of my arm AND hand after another. (This isn't the first time this has happened. On one occasion I was in the hospital having reconstructive surgery, the doctors couldn't get a good vein on my arm and spent 10 minutes or so poking ALL OVER my foot and leg. Yeah, I was pretty much screaming in pain while the nurses held me down. And let us NOT forget, boys and girls, the 15 shots into my spine I once had for a spinal tap. Ugh. WHY??!!!) Finally, they called someone else in. She had the idea of numbing my hand, that maybe it would help them get a better vein. So she numbed it (not TOO much) and, on the VERY first try, they successfully put the IV in. It didn't hurt AT ALL. I told her, "Next time, I want some more of that numbing stuff!" Heh-heh.

But since the IV was in my hand, I was concerned about being able to fingerspell to hubby. (He is also a non-aid-wearing deafie.) (You know, they should make an acronym for that!) We DO talk to each other and use lip-reading, but sometimes we DO have to sign or fingerspell. So the nurse asked me to try fingerspelling her name. "What's your name?" I asked. She fingerspelled E-R-I-N. I was able to do that okay so no worries there.

Next they wheeled a funny looking metal thingy in that looked like one of those thingies they have at spas for people to get into a position for a back rub. The anesthethiologist administering the epidural introduced herself and explained the procedure, as well as answering my other questions. (You can tell it's the first time I've ever had one!) The nurse monitored the baby's heartbeat and helped me get into position. At this point, the interpreter, hubby and Jennifer were out in the hall. Jennifer is PHOBIC around shots and I didn't want her to see that. When the anesthethiologist looked at my back, she had some concerns. I have third degree burn scars on my back (from the accident) and she wasn't sure if it would work. But she did some more examining of the damaged skin on my back (it covers my whole back) and said she thought it would be fine. So my back was washed down and the needle was inserted into my spine. I SCREAMED! I didn't expect THAT kind of reaction but, boy oh boy, did that HURT!! But the pain soon went away and I felt weird with my legs all tingling and getting numb. I could feel the medication being injected and that felt strange, too. She covered my back with a tape and I was allowed to lie back down in bed.

I can only say one thing about the epidural: God bless whoever invented it!! The contraction pain was long gone, but it sure as heck felt weird when there was a pressure-feeling every time they happened (they were happening A LOT!!). Having my legs all numb was a weird feeling, too. The nurses would occasionally check to see how much my cervix was dilated and they would have to move my legs themselves to do it. Finally, there came the announcement: "It's time to push!"

Jennifer was not in the room for this. The interpreter volunteered to watch her for us in the hallway. I'd talked with hubby about this. Of course, the birth of her little brother is a special moment, but I was concerned the sight of all the blood and me trying to push him out might scare her. So we agreed she would not be in the room for this.

When I'd given birth to my daughter, I didn't have an epidural. But pushing her was HARD. Whether or not you get an epidural, the pushing is ALWAYS hard. I couldn't "feel" the baby to push him out, so I focused on using my muscles to push. This was NOT easy! At first I thought the epidural made it harder for me to focus on that, but I knew it was just 100% mind over matter. Still, I was pushing so hard, it felt like my brain would explode!!

Then I noticed that when the nurse told me to breathe, she breathed differently than I did. She illustrated to push on the exhale, not on the inhale. So I changed my breathing to copy hers and this helped A LOT! Still, the pushing was REALLY HARD and soon there was bad pain down there, too. In between yelling "ow!" and grunting for air, I was pushing like crazy! But even as I pushed, I kept thinking, "I can't do it! I can't!" His head was just too big! They told me his head was on the pelvic bone and I tensed, remembering how this one woman giving birth had her pelvic bone broken in the process. I kept saying "I'm afraid I'll break" and the doctor kept assuring me I won't "break." I wanted to start crying and saying "I can't do it!" but I knew I couldn't say that. I couldn't THINK that. I HAD to do it! I had to get this baby out of me!

So I kept pushing and pushing. They put this metal thing at the side of the bed for me to grab onto when I pushed and that plus them holding my legs helped, too. As I pushed, I also looked at the clock. I wondered if the baby would be born at the same time Jennifer was. Well, Jennifer was born at 8:58 P.M. and it wasn't even 8:00 yet. So, I kinda hoped it WASN'T going to happen at the same time. I hoped it would be sooner! Even at 8!

Finally, after 40 minutes of strenuous, exhaustive pushing, the baby's head came out. I tried to push more but the doctor did most of the work, pulling the rest of him out. That hurt but I instead focused on the feeling of his little body leaving mine. (Yes, even with epidural, I could FEEL that!) The doctor got him out and put him on my stomach. That tiny, shivering purplish baby on my tummy was MY NEWBORN SON!! Relief swam over me, mixed with exhaustion, as I stared at my beautiful little boy. Tears came into my eyes and everyone started giving me hugs. I was SOO HAPPY!! All of that hard work, all of it, had been worth it. My son had finally been born. Words cannot even BEGIN to describe how happy I was. It was such a magical moment!!

Hubby and I had not decided on a name EXACTLY. It was either Jesse (his choice) or Ryan (my choice). The minute I looked down at my baby, I knew which name to give him. It struck me just like that: Jesse. He LOOKED like a Jesse, so on October 25, 2007, at 8:06 P.M., an 8 pound, 7 ounce and 21-inch-long Jesse Taylor Wilson was born.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Power less

Yesterday, we lost power for 3 1/2 hours. I didn't catch on to the power going out right away. Jen was playing her computer game while I was going around the house, tidying up and getting the morning routine "started." She stopped me on my way past the computer and said that the computer went off in the middle of her game. Confused, I looked over the computer, then I woke up hubby to tell him about it. He nodded, said to let the computer stay off for 10 minutes, then start it up again. (It's a new computer so I don't know why this news didn't surprise him.) But before I left the room, he alerted me to the fact that the alarm clock was off, too. He told me to check next door to see if they were without power. But first I checked the other rooms to verify that the lights weren't working. Then I went next door, on both sides, and sure enough, my neighbors were without power, too. I asked one neighbor if he was going to call to find out what happened and, when he said yes, I asked him to let me know. (We can't make phone calls ourselves to find out.)

When I came back, hubby was up and checking around to make sure the power outage wasn't going to hurt anything. Then he took a candle into the bathroom for light while he showered.

Jen had a hard time understanding what the power outage meant. She wanted to watch a Rolie Polie Olie movie she checked out from the library but I told her the TV and DVD player won't work when the power is out. So we went over the things she COULDN'T do while the power was out: She couldn't play her computer game, watch any movies or listen to music. And she said, "And you can't check your email." (Well, I was okay with that, since I'd already checked it earlier that morning.) She wanted something to do so I suggested, "Well, why don't you do some art?" I reminded her how I'd cleaned up and organized her desk just the day before and how all of her paper and art stuff was right there for her to use. (Good thing I got her extra paper!) So she went into her room to create art at her desk.

Meanwhile, I wasn't stressing out over the power outage. It wasn't summer with HIGH HEAT to deal with (thank God!) and it's not like we had steaks in the freezer, or anything. (Actually...we pretty much just had a little bit of milk and two slices of turkey lunch meat in there to worry about. LOL Yeah, we had to do some grocery shopping.) But I DID get antsy over not being able to vacuum the carpet or do the laundry. I did what housework I could (except the dishes, since I'd assigned THAT job for after lunch/before dinner) but soon grew restless. Jennifer got restless, too, so soon I was suggesting other things that we could do together.

Like...put up the Halloween decorations! I'd bought the decorations WEEKS ago but we've all been so busy that we didn't get around to putting them up. So we all three put the decorations up. It was fun and Jennifer was really excited over it. I enjoyed it more because we did it together as a family.

Jennifer also wanted to do paper crafts. She created envelopes and wrote letters to her friends. She and her dad also played with a newspaper hat he made for her. And during all this, we munched on the leftover donuts and pizza that were in the fridge. (Well, we might as well eat them now!)

Finally, I worked with Jennifer on an activity book she had to do for school. Right around the time we finished, the power came back on! (How appropriate.) She ran around the house, turning on all the lights. Then she put on music and started playing her computer game again. Ah, yeah. She missed technology. LOL (I'd found out that the power had gone out because some guy had crashed into a power pole on a nearby street.)

Still, we had a great time even WITH the power out. And I'd noticed how neighbors were coming outside to clean up their yards or driveways and to just play together as a family. It made me think of maybe just how much we all miss as far as "together time" is concerned because of all the technological distractions in our lives. TV, radio, computers and video games.

So in a way, I'm glad the power went out. We needed that time together as a family. And, we should have some more of it happen, too -- not JUST when there's a power outage.

Friday, October 19, 2007

heat sickness

I was supposed to interview someone over the phone this morning at 6 but I was not able to do it. Why? I was too sick! Hubby left the heater on all night and when I woke up at 5, I wasn't feeling so good. I went to sit in front of the fan but I was also feeling really sluggish. I was SO FREAKIN' HOT!! I was wearing only a nightie but I was still so hot. When I'd gotten up to let the dog outside, it was like 50 degrees out and I stood in the open door, relishing the cold air.

After feeling a LITTLE BIT better, I went to the bathroom to take a shower. Problem was, I was soon feeling really sick again. I was breathing hard, sweating and felt really queasy in my stomach. I was burning up! So I couldn't take the shower.

And I was too sick to do the interview.

Hubby ended up getting up to get our daughter dressed and drive her to school. Next time, I'm going to have to REMIND him that there's a pregnant woman in this house and to leave that darn heater OFF!

At least, for the next three weeks. They can live through THAT, right??

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Thursday, October 11, 2007


Hubby did a Very Good Thing recently: He bought us cell phones. Not JUST cell phones, mind you, but the kind of phone that also has a camera, voice recorder, flashlight, email/text, calculator and games. It even vibrates when a message is received! (MacGyver would LOVE these.) It's a good thing he got these phones because, a couple days later, my email on my old ISP stopped working, on the same day I had to take our sick daughter to the doctor and hubby wanted to stay updated on what happened while he was at work.

I hate to admit it, but I'm becoming addicted to this little phone. I use it for EVERYTHING! Well, except to cook meals and do the laundry with, though it would be nice if The Powers That Be could find some way to incorporate those features into an updated version of the phone. ;) (There's also the fact that it doesn't have a word processor thingy on it, either. How sad, especially since I have been without MS Word and STRUGGLING because I can't work on my books. Ack!)

But one thing I'm really going nuts over is the camera feature. For the longest time, I would envy people who had camera phones. I'd watch them hold their little phones up to take pictures and all the while seethe over how I don't have one of those camera-phone-thingies myself. Sigh. Now I finally do! And despite hubby's cautions not to go nuts over taking pictures with my phone, I just can't help myself.

My daughter somehow or another spells her uncle's name (WITHOUT HELP) while we're playing Scrabble? Click!

A weird-looking spider is on the tree outside? Click!

A VERY foggy morning blankets my daughter's school in fog? Click!

A culinary disaster turns into an artistic curiosity? Click!

My dog is cuddled up asleep next to my chair? Click!

I know that sometimes there are things that are NOT worthy of being photographed but sometimes that obsession to take pics with my nifty camera phone overrides that common sense. It doesn't matter if it's my daughter standing in front of the TV watching a movie or if it's a cool-looking autumn leaf found outside. Nothing can escape my clicking finger when it comes to the camera phone! Bwaa-haha!

Of course, to save room, I email the pics to my email account. And sending an email costs 5 cents each time. I wouldn't be surprised if hubby faints when the bill comes in.

Meanwhile, my digital camera is sitting in the case on the shelf, feeling all neglected and jealous of the new guy. I still use it every once in a while, just to let it know it's still useful to me, but when it comes to portability and instant email receipt of a photo, the camera phone still comes out on top.

At least, until they come up with something else that's even better....

Friday, October 05, 2007

MySpace -- the OTHER free Internet email account

Ever notice how some people have a preference on how to be contacted? Some prefer a specific email account, some prefer texting while others prefer being contacted by cell phone.

I know a lot of people who have a MySpace profile. And for some of these people, MySpace is their main way of contacting others the same they would via an email account! One of my sisters, for example, checks her MySpace messages more than her email account. It's gotten to where I would just opt to contact her via MySpace instead of her email account, especially if my message to her is time-sensitive. (The worst part is, I have to wait for a page to completely load before I can click on "Message." Unfortunately, her page takes a looooong time to load. Yesterday, for example, her page took so long to load, I was able to write up a one-page short story while I waited for it to load. And when I was done, it was STILL loading!! I may have a new ISP now but I'm still on dial-up, which is not much fun but WAAAAAY better and faster than AOL.)

I also have a friend who has an email account, but he can't give it out since it's business-related so he uses his MySpace account to send and receive emails.

Because of this, I have kept my MySpace account. There have been sooo many times I've been tempted to cancel it because of dealing with creeps on there (I'm NOT on MySpace to hook up with anyone or "find true love"), as well as dealing with all the SPAM that keeps being thrown my way. (Seriously, if I want a new cell phone carrier, work-from-home job or free ringtones, I'll look for that myself, thanks. Your spam for these products is JUST spam and automatically gets deleted.) Still, I keep it because it's practically my lifeline of staying in touch with friends and family.

However, I have changed the way I use my MySpace profile. My main one (author profile) is for writing and book-related stuff. I have created another one for family-only stuff. On THIS account, I talk about stuff going on, fill out the surveys (when and IF I have the free time for it!), share family pics and info and just keep everybody updated on stuff going on out here with us, since EVERYBODY lives so far away!

All the same, I think it's kinda funny that some people rely on their MySpace accounts to stay in touch with other people than they would their email accounts. As far as writing goes, I have A LOT of contacts on MySpace who respond to my messages there faster than they would through their email accounts. Emails can get lost, forgotten and misplaced. Still, I've had better luck in hearing back from them via MySpace messaging.

I don't know why some people prefer this method to communicate over an email account. In my friend's case, it's a no-brainer. Perhaps for some, they prefer it because email accounts can occasionally crash, get blocked or even refuse to work right. (I've had to deal with problems logging in to certain email accounts several times.) Also, there are vigorous spam filters which block certain emails from the accounts, even emails that have cleared in the past! (I have another friend who I've been emailing regularly for 3 years and, sometimes, his spam filter blocks some of my emails from getting through to his inbox.)

But, I guess, whatever works. With me, I accept being contacted any old way, email or MySpace -- even when my email accounts can be hard to log into.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

The parking lot wars

The more I have to face that chaotic parking lot every time Jennifer gets out iof school, the more I am trying to figure out my best strategy to make picking her up a little less stressful.

It's not just the HUNDREDS of cars I have to contend with when picking her up (I pick her up at the front of her school), it's also the parking. Mainly, if I park my car and wait for her to come outside, there's a VERY good chance I'll get trapped. In the school parking lot, people throw parking laws right out the window. They park EVERYWHERE; behind parked cars, at odd angles alongside curbs, they double-park and even turn a section of the lot into a two-way thruway going only ONE way!

It's ridiculous.

At first I thought, 'Well, if I leave early, I can get a good spot where I WON'T get trapped, pull out when she comes outside and pick her up.' This turned out to be a bad idea, because apparently, it's the same exact thing EVERYBODY ELSE was thinking! All of the other parents try to get there early. (I can't tell you the many times I got stuck trying this. At one point, a guy had to help me maneuver my way out of a parking space where I was snagged between cars!)

So next I tried getting there just a TEENSY bit later. Say, 2-3 minutes later. That worked for a while, but today I figured I should move that to 4-5 minutes after school is let out.

Today I got there a little later after school was out. Jennifer's class was not outside yet, so I tried looping around the parking lot to come back around again. Bad idea. I made a turn into the middle of the lot and, after I saw what lay ahead of me, I released a deep groan. "Ohhh, nooo." I. Was. Trapped. I hadn't seen it, but at the end of that part of the lot, a semicircle of cars were parked, blocking my exit. Thankfully, the last driver was in his car, AND his child walked up to the car asking him how he planned to get out since I was RIGHT THERE, blocking HIS way out of that mess. He motioned that he'd just back up and move around the car in front of him. I was relieved; at least he wasn't angry at me for "blocking" his way out (even though NORMAL driving rules allow me a lane in THIS particular area of the parking lot!) and at least there was a way for BOTH of us to get out of there.

Next week, I'm going to try getting to the school 5 minutes AFTER release so I can just drive my way through the parking lot without having to stop and get trapped. (If you park anywhere, you WILL get trapped!) If that doesn't work, I'll just park on the street and walk up to the school and pick her up in person. This is something a few parents have been doing, and I'm starting to wonder if they do this to avoid the madness of the school parking lot.

Well, I just hope I figure SOMETHING out. Maybe next year, I'll just have Jen take the bus.