Search This Blog

Friday, 28 August 2009

Me and my big mouth!

I cannot believe the irony, without fail, that ANY time I wait a little while before posting that things are going great, they begin to fall a part not even twenty-four hours later. And then I figure I should wait a little while longer before posting again to see if things are a temporary bump in the road or another problematic period...

Finally, I post that things are NOT going great (which is what I am about to do) and lo and behold, things magically begin to turn around.

Is this coincidence? Is this a demonstration of the power of prayer? Is this some sort of strange cyclical thing and I keep missing the wave? Is life seriously that ironic?


Wait til you see Ethan's recent pics... hang on, will upload some now... We have been hosting lots of company over the last few weeks... could that be it? He seems to be fighting a cold... could that be it? We introduced chicken (which he had a reaction to) could this be lingering effects? I have had more honey in my diet the last few days... could that be it? He definitely acts up if I have had ANY sugar (especially if it's not a naturally occurring sugar)... I have not been able to sleep for a few weeks, is that affecting my milk? Is it the time of year (mould)?

On and on and on the brain goes in the typical over-analysing methodical regurgitation of EVERY little aspect and step in our lives that could POSSIBLY attribute to Ethan's flare-up.

Last night, he woke up so many times that I just stopped counting (mostly because I couldn't remember where the count was at anymore). I hovered in some between-sleep haven inhabited only by the faint sound of Ethan crying, the realization that I was nursing again and the realization that I had to go pee... yet again.

Well, should I die unexpectedly, you can all come to my funeral and joke about the fact that I am FINALLY and I mean FINALLY in ETERNAL SLUMBER!!! Ok, morbid joke, but sadly, I am only half kidding...

Sleep... I think I could write a few books on the psychological effects of lack of sleep. The person you think you are, unshakable and constant, packs its bags and goes away on some little vacation leaving you wondering if you ever truly knew yourself at all. Coherent sentences are a thing of the past as you take on some incarnate form of Porky Pig. And finally, it is realizing that you are standing in the Superstore checkout stand before noticing that your hair looks like you swam in a vat of grease and you're wearing the T-shirt with the big crusted dark circle right around the breast you leaked from earlier that day... or was it yesterday?

Aint motherhood BEE-U-TIFUL?

At least I can say I had two glorious weeks of efficiency, sleep, and best of all HOPE! Two weeks of realizing this will not last forever (even though it feels like an eternal slow-torture of sleeplessness). Two weeks of taking care of myself again and feeling encouraged that who I "thought" I was truly is there beneath this all. Two weeks of thinking "hey, maybe we COULD have another child down the road".

And then these last two weeks to throw me into a panic and wonder if I should get a hysterectomy!!! Nah, I am kidding... mostly.

Hence the "down" part of my roller-coaster postings (wait, no, the last one was even lower... very serious and sombre... sorry about that). Let's hope that this means the next posting will be a good one and we will begin shifting our way UP and OUT of these dark & tiring few weeks.

As for prayers, Ethan has been wheezing at night and there is some concern that we may be experiencing the onset of asthma. Studies show that severely allergic children who ALSO have asthma are at far greater risk of death due to anaphalaxis than other allergic children. This just gets better and better, eh folks?

This is where irony visits us again... I used to be the parent who got so annoyed with the "school allergy" warnings my daughters would bring home. "Come on! It's bad enough I can't make peanut butter sandwiches or send her with healthy granola bars, now there's a kid with dairy allergy, too? There goes the yogurt or cheese stick I can send!"

Seriously, you guys, that was me. The parent who just didn't get it. I was willing to send Mina to school with a granola bar telling her "just wash your hands after". Boy I wish I could go back and slap myself across the face. How dare I be willing to put someone else's precious child AT RISK of DEATH for some stupid inconvenience issue on my part. How unbelievably stupid that I was put off about how difficult this inconvenience was on MY life when this child's parents had to wonder every single day whether or not they could TRUST that the school was providing an environment for their child that wouldn't kill him or her.

Now that I "get" it (and boy do I get it) and I come across people who are "annoyed" by other people's allergies as though they are thinking to themselves "oh, these people are just OVERREACTING" man o man I have to fight cutting off their airways and watch them choke and fill with fear in wondering if I will let go in time for them to live or if this is it. So they can KNOW that is what it is like!

Is this it? Is this the moment?

I suppose we all should have that lingering over our heads to some extent... that way we LIVE each moment of our lives not in judgement of others but in LIFE and LOVE. Is it worth holding on to this THING if it will mean nothing to me in those final moments? Is it worth holding this grudge if it will accomplish nothing in the end other than my own lack of resolution?

Christ said, "the end times will come like a thief in the night" meaning we should LIVE our lives READY. So here is my prayer for you today: that you be blessed with a new understanding of allergies and those around you who have to LIVE with them... that you be filled with a sense of awareness of your own life time-line and a deep desire to make the most of every second you are gifted with on this earth... that you feel good and blessed about being here in the first place and lastly, that you know you are LOVED. Blessings to you all out there!

Wednesday, 26 August 2009

God bless the little ones...

I don't know if I should have a disclaimer here or not but my heart is heavy tonight and I would like to share with you why. Keep in mind that this is my own opinion and experience. I do not expect anyone to believe what I believe but ask only that what I believe be respected and vice-versa.

Tonight I weep for the little ones who are lost to us via abortion.

Now I have many friends who have had abortions, some even more than one. I have wept for their lost babies but have never stopped loving them. I do, however, believe that there is a lack of information about the PROCESS of abortion. Too many people consider that the pregnant woman walks into the clinic pregnant and then walks out no longer pregnant.

But it is the PROCESS of what has to happen that people either ignore or simply have not been properly informed.

When I was barely sixteen years old and pregnant with Melina, I participated in a class debate about abortion. I brought a tape recording of Mina's beating heart at twelve weeks so that everyone could hear the life that was developing even as we listened to it on tape. I brought paintings by severely handicapped persons who clearly demonstrate a beautiful outlook on life despite their challenges. I spoke of Helen Keller who was deaf and blind but who went on to change the world. And I spoke of accountability in being sexually active... an act that ultimately leads to pro-creation.

Lastly, my debate partner and I showed a video called Silent Scream, an ultrasound recording of an abortion being performed. The room went dead quiet as some wiped tears away, some left the room but NONE were unaffected by what they had just witnessed… the brutal death of a child. No one KNEW the process of abortion and none would ever forget it.

Even as I watched it, I clung to my belly protectively and grateful that precious life was moving about within me.

I wept for the women who did not KNOW what was truly being done. I wept for the unborn children and for the millions upon millions who are lost each year.

The documentary can be viewed at "". It provides basic facts of the procedure and is shared by an obstetrician who used to perform abortions in the USA's leading clinics... that is, until science technology depicted that the fetus was in fact (and legally) an obstetrician's SECOND PATIENT.

Even more disturbing are the many testimonials of abortion providers and those who were TRAINED to SELL them via abortion-funded "crisis help lines". You will be appalled at the marketing ploy and the deliberate misinformation given to frightened, fragile & vulnerable young women, the complications that haunted these providers and their motivations to STOP performing abortions. See them here:

If you are reading this and you have had an abortion, please know that you are loved and that I am so sorry that you have ever had to make that sort of decision. I am sorry for the pain you endured both physically and emotionally and I pray for the little life you must have mourned.

I thank you all for granting me the freedom to share these thoughts with you. I pray you receive them with the intention with which they are sent out. And may you join with me in prayer: may the little life that we witness being extinguished in this video live on in our hearts as the sacrifice who brought us truth. And may these little ones be embraced by God’s infinite love for them for all eternity.

I am grateful that you are all here, touching lives in ways you cannot even know and leaving your story in the hearts of those who love you. Peace be with you all. Amen.

Saturday, 15 August 2009

It is good

The sky is grey and the mood is nostalgic, pensive, reflective... My thoughts wrap themselves around me like a snuggly blanket. Ethan is napping and Duane has taken Anika on an outdoor exploration so I find myself in peace and ready to connect with you.

At this very moment in my life, after the chaos of these last six months, I am finding peace again. It is such a beautiful thing! Ethan is now only nursing at midnight and four in the morning and somehow knowing when these nightly interruptions will occur really help me to feel more settled.

Potty training with Anika has been great. I had the blessing of my friend Amy staying with us for the end of June and the last half of July and she really played a key role in getting the ball rolling beyond just sitting on the potty after naps... which is all we had been doing for the past six months. Thank you, Amy, for that. Anika proudly wears her "big girl panties" and much to my older nieces and nephews' chagrin, she proudly shows them off when they come visiting. Hee hee hee!

Another key role Amy played in my life during her time with us was getting back into an exercise routine. I had been so used to putting myself last in meeting the needs of my family but Amy showed me a basic 20 minute workout (intense workout) that I managed to fit into my life. This is do-able now because the little ones have their own bedrooms (it just wasn't working out with them screaming and keeping each other up until late at night) AND they are both asleep by 8:30 pm!!!

Oh yes, I am tasting freedom again... AND LOVING IT!

Isabel is in the basement which now seems like her own little apartment! Her medical bed (which was lots of fun carrying down two flights of stairs), the respite worker bed and her own TV are some highlights for her new space. And I no longer fight constantly with Anika to pull her away from Izzy's TV which was just off the kitchen before. I have a wireless camera facing Izzy downstairs which feeds into a small tv in the kitchen so I can actually "see" Isabel better than when she was on the main floor. The other piece of good news is that we are going to start building our home addition for Isabel (main floor bedroom & bathroom with wheel-in shower) this September. But don't get me started on the discrimination we're experiencing in trying to find ANY financial support through government grants!!! Apparently if your family income exceeds $40,000 annually, you are on your own with mandatory house modifications to meet the needs of your disabled child.

Melina has been enjoying her summer off. You would think she was part of some reading marathon the way that kid devours books! She grows more and more beautiful every day and her groundedness leaves me thankful that she will have a better grasp on life than I did at her age. The fact that she is only six months away from being how old I was when I started dating her father (who was 19) has left me phoning my parents randomly to apologize profusely for the stress I must have caused them. I recall those days and how I couldn't figure out why it was such a big deal... HA!

Moving right along...

I have been able to have the kitchen cleaned WHILE making my meals and have made a point of meal planning and making lunch our main course and working with leftovers for supper. This has cut my kitchen time in half! And my sister gave me her old Miracle Chef chopper which has "cut" my chopping time drastically!! THANK YOU DIANE & RICK!!!!

I have also started jogging for 3-4 kms several times a week which has given me a whole new energy. I can't believe I justified NOT looking after myself or setting time aside to tend to my needs. By simply taking 30-50 minutes for myself every day, I am able to give far more to my family than I could before. Why did I ever struggle with giving myself PERMISSION to do this?

At any rate, it has been a glorious discovery.

Slowly but surely, we are no longer simply surviving... it finally feels like we are LIVING again. Would you believe I am even on top of my laundry and have gone back to cloth diapers.

So consistent bedtimes & waketimes, one less child in diapers, some quality "me" time and answers to Ethan's allergies are some examples of answered prayer, and this is where I thank YOU for that. I am smiling so much again! I have starting singing again! And that constant feeling of "it is good" permeates my being. I can close my eyes and KNOW that who I am is returning... that it was never truly lost or forgotten.

Thank you so much for every second you spent in prayer on my behalf. I pray that my own simple prayers find you and offer you even more hope and peace than I have found from yours. Truly I say to you, "it is good."

Tuesday, 11 August 2009

Visiting daddy at work

We have been very fortunate that Duane has been stationed at a firehall close to home (15 minute drive). Typically, firefighters rotate between halls varying from slow hall to busy hall every four years. Duane had been stationed at 4 station when we met which happens to be one of the top four busiest halls in the city. Needless to say, transitioning to a quieter hall has been beautifully timed. When he works his night shifts, he can sometimes get better sleep at work than he does at home!!! But we miss him when he is gone and sometimes like to pop in and see the "wee oooo wee ooo firetwuk" as Anika calls it.

"Where's daddy tonight, anika?"

"He's at the weee-oooo-weee-oooo firetwuk."

Here are some pics that we took at our last visit. It's always a treat to visit daddy at work.

That really bites!

As you can see, our poor Anika fell victim to preying mosquitos. What started as a small bite just above her eye turned out to be quite the disfiguring reaction! Thank goodness for google images of "insect bites" or else we would have thought she was having some sort of reaction...

If I ever complain about life being boring, you have permission to cuff me upside the head!!!

Saturday, 8 August 2009

Appears better today

Ethan is in better spirits this morning and seems to be feeling better. I am grateful that yesterday's events are in the past and have not trickled into today. The reality is that we will likely go through something like this again but Duane pointed out last night that God granted us a "dry run" to know what to expect and how to do things should we ever be in a more serious situation.

I would just sooner not have to know any of this stuff and watch my son eat whatever he pleases and never think twice about whether or not I washed the floor enough or the counters or my hands. I feel like I am getting short of asking to hose people down before they come into our house!

Will that ever subside and ease up? What happened to non-challant, easy-going Rita?

But when your children's lives are at stake, the mother bear within is roaring with an iron will to shred to pieces ANYTHING that threatens your kids' well being. How do you protect your children from food? From their environment?

What are we up against? How do we protect him? How do we strengthen him?

Just a window into my thoughts this morning as I watch myself become a person I never thought I would be... suspicious, nonsensical and unyielding. Anyone want to invite me to their parties? Hee hee hee... sigh.

I guess I am afraid that if I am not ALWAYS on guard, something bad will happen... like yesterday. I still struggle with surrendering Ethan's life into God's hands, which is so not-smart because He would do a far better job of caring for him than I ever could. So much work to do in my heart and I feel like I am going backwards instead of forwards.

Maybe with time this, too, shall pass. Only time... and life-surrendering prayer.

Friday, 7 August 2009

Epipens & Emergency

Before I continue... Lisa, you are NOT the reason this happened! (My good friend came by for a visit yesterday and was terrified that she would be "one of those 'friend' comments" on my blog regarding an Ethan reaction... hee hee hee. She left saying "I'll be checking your blog to make sure I didn't cause some sort of reaction!"

So Lisa, I am 99.9% sure that the following story has nothing to do with your visit!!

Ethan has been irritable most of today but those days seem to come and go without it being anything out of the ordinary. I started introducing carrots a few days ago so I figured his irritability had to do with a new food.

However, this afternoon, Ethan woke up from his nap still difficult to console. I fed him little bite size pieces of avocado, which he has LOVED for a few months now. I was getting ready to leave for a grocery shop and was going to hand him off to Duane. But first, I asked Duane to take the frozen pickerel out and set it to thaw in the sink. It came time to trade off so Duane then continued feeding Ethan... with his hands... although he did wash them under hot soapy water.

Next, Duane was rinsing out Ethan's washcloth to wash his little avocado-messy face. Being distracted by Ethan on his hip, Duane was not sure if a corner of the washcloth dipped into the water where the fish was thawing so he rinsed it again under hot water before proceeding to clean Ethan's face.

I was checking our cupboard inventory while this was going on until Duane said, "Hey, his face is getting pretty red."

When I looked over at Ethan, my heart nearly stopped. He was getting increasingly upset and scratching at his nose and eyes and mouth which were covered in white hives over red swollen skin. Oh my dear God!!!

Keep in mind that I have recently conversed with a woman who founded a support group for parents of highly allergic children and she shared with me the fact that she missed giving her daughter an epipen once because she wasn't sure of ALL the symptoms... she only knew of the problems breathing. Well, apparently at that point, it may be too LATE to administer an epipen.

So I have been spending the last few weeks since that conversation FEARING the first time I would have to use Ethan's. Will I know when it's supposed to be given? What if it's not needed and I pump my little baby with adrenaline and send his heart racing or overload his adrenal glands or liver for nothing? What if I don't give it in time? What if I miss the signs??? What if... what if... what if...

So here is my precious son, worse than I have ever seen him before and my heart is racing as though I were the one pumping the adrenaline...

Dear God... is this it?

Thankfully, we called Duane's sister who works in an allergy clinic. After a few questions, she strongly advised administering the epipen and rushing to emergency. But I am supposed to be picking up my big girls as this is our Friday switch... who will look after Anika? Can they get here immediately or do we take her with us to emergency until someone can come and get her to bring her back home? Do I try to pack something to eat because we can't eat anything that hasn't been made with our dietary restrictions and it is nearly supper time?

Too many thoughts... not enough time...

I start to cry because I am scared. I don't know what I am doing, if it is right, if it is wrong. I am just scared and I can't hide it as the tears are flowing and Anika is looking at me concerned. Duane is calm as always as he holds Ethan.

"Get the Epipen NOW!" No please, no "ok, hun?" no time for anything other than alarm.

Duane opens the package and we quickly re-read the instructions. Ethan is on his lap as he sticks it next to his little inner thigh (should be outer thigh to avoid the artery... we later learned) and the "ping" of the pin going into him went off. His poor little face startled as he began to scream while Duane held the pin in place for several seconds.

I am wailing right there with him and Anika is looking at this thing in her little brother's leg. "Essan's cwying!" Yeah, and mommy, too!

Duane pulls the epipen away and blood trickles down from Ethan's thigh. I am at the mercy of whatever is running through his blood now... and God's grace. Duane's niece was at our house within minutes to take care of Anika as we rushed to emergency.

You know, I couldn't help the tears as I watched Ethan the whole drive there thinking "Is this how I will lose you someday? Someone won't be careful? Or it will just be too much for your body? Dear God almighty, just grant Ethan healing and strength, PLEASE! I don't want to know the pain of losing a child, please God. I have had enough of that in knowing Isabel has surpassed her life expectancy."

At which point I am reminded of the irony of doing this familiar run with a whole other child now. We later had to pick up Isabel and she joined us in the observation area. The emergency nurse recognized Isabel and we chuckled at the irony of her NOT being the patient this time.

We chuckled because the stress of the event had passed, Ethan's heart rate was finally slowing down, his oxygen sats were great, the hives went away almost immediately after administering the epipen and only came back mildly later.

So we are finally just back home now from the hospital. Ethan is sleeping, Isabel is sleeping, Duane and I are exhausted, Melina is at a friend's house for a sleepover.

Man I miss the days when Friday nights were spent lounging or going out with friends... not sitting in an emergency room for six hours of observation time (I didn't know that's how long they like to keep a patient post administering an epipen).

I sure hope you are all spending your Friday night doing something FUN or RELAXING and soak it up for our sake, please! I miss feeling like life is normal. Maybe it's just not ever meant to be normal? And who measures it anyways? I guess to me, crisis with my children IS "normal".

Thanks for your prayers and for being part of this with us. In those panicked moments, would you believe I think of you all out there and the prayers that have been gaining momentum and the ARMY of love behind my little ones? It is a much needed strength and I thank you from the bottom of my heart.