Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Parenting Is Not For The Squeamish...

There are distinct disadvantages to having three children in diapers --- especially when all three decide to monumentally fill their drawers.

At the same time.

Our newborn babe managed to coat the very tips of his toes. While I bathed our littlest family member, our three-year-old's offering completely plugged the toilet. I'm sure I've seen asteroids that were smaller. The contents of our dear girl's diaper triggered Daddy's rock-solid gag reflex.

I'm convinced it was a conspiracy. Bedtime was inevitably delayed while Mom and Dad cleaned up the toxic waste.

How do single parents do it?

Sunday, April 27, 2008

A Big Day

Today's date has been circled on my calendar for several months.  It is our newest family member's due date :-).  I can hardly believe our baby boy is nearly two weeks old already.

Today was a momentous day for our youngest son for another reason as well.  He reached a newborn baby milestone --- tonight his umbilical cord stump fell off.  

Our son has the cutest outie bellybutton.  (Just like his daddy's!)

Friday, April 25, 2008

The Birth Story

Our baby's due date is two days away, on Sunday April 27th. I can hardly believe our beautiful baby boy is already ten days old today. He was a precious, early surprise!

Timothy Mitchell Inkster was born at breakfast time on Tuesday, April 15th. I had been feeling strong contractions for several days before our baby's birth but I wasn't convinced labour was imminent. Ben and I were preparing to put our house up for sale. I had been on my feet, cleaning and organizing, so I believed the contractions were simply a result of my busy week.

I woke up at about four o'clock the morning of April 15th to use the washroom. I'd had strong contractions earlier in the evening but they seemed to fizzle out after I went to sleep. Ben rolled over as I hauled myself out of bed.

"Are you still having contractions?" he mumbled sleepily.

"Not really," I replied, "I think it was a false alarm." I waddled off to the bathroom.

I was shocked by a string of strong contractions within the next few minutes. Maybe it wasn't a false alarm after all ... I returned to the bedroom to wake Ben.

"Umm, Ben," I said, "I lied. I think we're in business. You'd better get up."

The contractions kept coming strong and regular. I ran a warm bath while Ben set up our birth supplies in the kitchen. From the bathtub I phoned our midwife, my mom and Ben's mom. The contractions were strong but not incapacitating. At this point I wasn't totally convinced I was truly in labour. At the same time, I figured it was better to sound the alarm early with our fourth baby. I didn't want the labour to progress too quickly. I was worried the baby could be born before everyone had a chance to arrive!

Our midwife, Kim, walked through the door sometime after five. She was soon joined by our second midwife, Cassie. Our moms also arrived around the same time. Kim checked my cervix and it was dilated to six centimeters and was very stretchy. I wandered downstairs and basically hid in the small bathroom off the kitchen. There were so many people in the house! As the contractions grew stronger I wanted a quiet place to concentrate.

I asked Ben to send our mothers upstairs. I just I needed some space. Ben finished inflating the birth pool and he filled it with water from the kitchen tap. Unfortunately, our water heater was not up to the task so the water was barely lukewarm. Soon after I got into the birth pool I started shivering uncontrollably.

It was time to boil some water (not for the baby but for the mommy). Ben and the midwives took turns bailing cold water out of the pool, boiling water in large pots on the stove, and carefully pouring hot water into the pool. Meanwhile, I found my "primal labour mama" and entered into transition.

I sat cross-legged in the warm water, closed my eyes, and moaned my way through each contraction. With my other births I found that making a low, deep moaning sound helped me to "ride the waves" of each contraction. This labour was unique because I experienced consistent double contractions throughout transition. I joked that they were coming "two by two" --- two big waves with a blessedly long break in between.

I lost track of time but transition probably lasted about an hour. The baby was posterior the whole time. I think his position caused the contractions to feel more intense because his kicking and movements were incredibly uncomfortable. As well, I resisted the labour to a certain degree because of fear --- fear that the baby would be born posterior. I believe the labour would have progressed much more quickly if I had been able to let go of my fear early on.

At the end of transition I shifted my position from sitting to kneeling on all fours. I rested my head on the edge of the pool. At one point I experienced a couple of huge contractions and felt the baby squirm and shift uncomfortably. I'm not certain, but I suspect this was when the baby turned anterior. I continued moaning and breathing and waited for the arrival of "pushy" contractions.

The pushy feeling never really came. I reached down and could feel the bulgy bag of waters still intact between my legs. "Will this go faster if you break my bag of waters?" I asked the midwives. They agreed it probably would. I told Ben to go fetch everyone from upstairs. (The children were all awake by this point.)

Cassie quickly broke the amniotic sac. It was completely painless (for the first time in any of my labours). The contractions still didn't feel terribly pushy but I now had an audience and I was anxious to snuggle my new baby boy. My body knew what to do. With the next few contractions I started to push.

With my second and third babies, pushing was a quick and easy enterprise. Each baby was born after only a couple pushes. This time I was surprised to discover that pushing required some extra effort. I don't know for certain but I believe I pushed for about ten minutes before baby number four finally emerged. It was actually an interesting experience because I reached between my legs and could feel his head descending down the birth canal with each push. I felt the soft wrinkles on the top of his head and could even feel him turning his head and wiggling it from side to side.

Finally, with a long push and a mighty roar, baby's head emerged. I took a quick breath and pushed his shoulders and body out into the warm pool water. Everyone in the room cheered. It was 8:35am. I snuggled our little boy to my breast as oxygen filled his lungs for the first time. His complexion quickly turned from grayish-purple to a gorgeous pink. I could tell he was born a couple weeks early as he was absolutely covered in cheesy vernix. The baby let out a few tiny cries and then cuddled quietly in my arms.

All three of our children were present for the birth of their baby brother. Our five-year-old, in particular, was enthralled by the birth. He was so excited! He practically fell into the pool in a effort to get as close to the action as possible.

Ben cut the umbilical cord after it had stopped pulsing. I delivered the placenta into the pool shortly thereafter. The midwives helped me to my feet and we slowly walked up the stairs and into a hot shower. Absolute bliss! Baby was passed from one set of loving arms to another as I got myself cleaned up.

I believe one of the best parts of home birth is having my own bed. I went straight from the shower to my bed and nursed our new baby. I then spent most of the day upstairs in our room. The children went off to grandma's house and Ben and I enjoyed a lovely "babymoon". I felt so strong and healthy! Baby was born over an intact perineum and within a few hours I hardly felt like I had just delivered a baby. What a blessing!

To be honest, my fourth labour was easy and difficult both at the same time. Physically, everything went extremely well. God has blessed me with a body that is exceptionally capable of carrying and birthing babies. I've never had any complications. However, mentally I did not feel prepared for our fourth baby's birth. We'd had such a busy week leading up to the birth, with the purchase of a new house and putting our own home up for sale. As well, I was caught off guard by baby's arrival two weeks before the due date. I did not feel emotionally prepared to deal with the labour and battled some fear.

Today, ten days after the birth, I can hardly imagine life without little Timothy. He is a joy. He is a calm, content baby and nurses beautifully. The children all love their new baby brother and I am totally in love with him too.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Quote of the Day

(Imagine this statement coming from the mouth of an exasperated Junior Kindergartener.)

"School is so boring.  It's just all about learning."

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Baby Pictures

Our little boy is already eight days old. He is such a calm and peaceful baby. (He basically spends his days eating and sleeping.) I am completely in love with his newborn smell, grunts and sighs and baby sounds, and all the sweet snuggles. Sometimes, I wish our little one could stay a baby forever. The time flies by so quickly.

Our baby boy at one day old.

Baby's first bath.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

We are Experiencing Technical Difficulties...

Life is a funny thing.  Wouldn't you know, the night I went into labour my laptop died.

It's dead Jim.  Dead.  Dead.  Dead.  The death rattle of an Apple is a fearsome thing.

Thankfully, my geeky husband has no shortage of computers at his disposal.  Apple Care should also provide a new laptop for me.  (When we find a moment to call them.)  In the meantime, I have decided to enjoy my "unplugged" season.

I believe it's no coincidence my laptop died within hours of our baby's birth.  Ben and I have entered an intense, but sweet, time in our lives.  We have a new baby and a new house all in the same week!  I feel God is giving me permission to focus on my family more fully, without the distraction of my computer.

Ben will let me borrow his laptop whenever I'd like, but I intend to limit my computer use for the time being.  I'll check in every few days :-).

And yes, I intend to post baby pictures very soon!  I promise!    

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Happy Birthday!!

Our family is pleased to announce the early arrival of our newest member:

Timothy Mitchell Inkster was born yesterday, April 15th at 8:35am. 

Active labour started at about four in the morning.  Timothy was born at home with the assistance of midwives.  We were blessed with another peaceful waterbirth.  All three of Timothy's siblings were present, along with Ben's mom, my mom, my sister, and (of course) Ben.

Timothy arrived 12 days before his due date.  He weighed 8lb. 8oz. and was 20 1/2 in. long at birth.  (I am glad he didn't wait another two weeks!). He nurses like a champ and is quite calm and content.

I will share pictures soon!

Monday, April 14, 2008

The First Day

Our house officially went on the market this morning.

The same morning my three lovely children decided it would be a good idea to flood the basement.

(Okay, so maybe it was just a large puddle in the middle of the carpet. But still, my poor nerves can't handle that kind of excitement today of all days...)

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Menu Plan Monday
April 14, 2008

Life has gone a little crazy for our family. This week we have a new house, are selling our current home, and are anxiously awaiting the arrival of Baby #4. I am thankful to have Menu Plan Monday to keep me on track. Hopefully, we will not resort to eating out this week!

Here is my (loosely) proposed menu plan:

Monday: No cooking (supper with my parents)
Tuesday: Vegetable lasagna (from the freezer), green salad
Wednesday: Encore performance
Thursday: Whole wheat spaghetti with meat sauce, steamed broccoli
Friday: Leftovers
Saturday: Tomato soup, grilled cheese sandwiches, raw veggies
Sunday: No cooking (supper with Ben's parents)

If you would like to see other great menu plans, check out Menu Plan Monday on Org Junkie.

Friday, April 11, 2008

The Budding Theologian

(I don't claim to say his preschooler theology is correct...)

You know, God's will is like soy sauce.  He pours it out.  But if He pours out too much on you, like if you pour too much soy sauce on your rice, then there won't be anything left for anyone else.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

A Quick Update

Things are moving along in Inksterland. Ben and I spent most of the day cleaning and tidying our current home. Tomorrow our real estate agent will take pictures and prepare the house listing. Our house officially goes on the market first thing Monday morning.

Ben and I are both tired. (Exhausted. Not quite firing on all cylinders at this point...) However, we don't have much left to do. My pregnancy nesting coupled with a neat-nick personality resulted in a fairly tidy home to begin with. We should be finished all the odd jobs by tomorrow night.

Baby is staying put in my womb for now. I have been having some strong contractions over the past few days. Will Baby make his appearance soon? I'm not sure. I wouldn't be surprised if he arrived this weekend, but the contractions could simply be a result of all the excitement lately. If Baby waits two or three more weeks perhaps our house will sell before the birth. (Wouldn't that be great...)

Things are moving along at an alarming rate, but Ben and I feel surprisingly peaceful amidst it all. It's as though we are in the eye of a hurricane. We can certainly tell many people are praying for our family. Thank you for your prayers!

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

A Big Day

I can hardly believe it.

Ben and I bought a HOUSE today.

A really, really beautiful house. In an ideal location. With everything we could ever want.

This is the house we intend to raise our children in. The house has a walk-out basement and backs onto a series of soccer fields. The fields are directly across the street from our children's school. I cannot imagine a more perfect location.

Someday we plan to develop part of the walk-out basement to be my piano studio :-).

This house is a complete and unexpected gift from God. I am shocked at the timing of everything. Less than a week ago we did not know this house existed, and were not even thinking of moving for several years.

God has been very, very good to us. I am totally overwhelmed by His blessing.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

That Little Monkey

I visited my midwife this morning. Apparently, babe has turned completely posterior. (No wonder so many people have commented my belly shape looks "different" this week...) I guess that also explains all the crazy "alien belly" bulges I've been experiencing!

I'm not too worried. Baby #3 also turned posterior in the final weeks of pregnancy. She got herself turned around during labour, and I suspect this baby will do the same. My midwife says it is quite common for later babies (#3, #4, etc.) to choose the posterior position. They have more room to perform acrobatics in the womb.

I can hardly believe baby's due date is only 19 days away. Could be any day now...

Monday, April 07, 2008

When Did My Husband Grow a Uterus?

My beloved is currently sprawled on the couch, sipping red raspberry leaf tea, thoroughly engrossed in Pride and Prejudice.

Is this normal male behavior???

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Menu Plan Monday
April 7, 2008

I suspect this week will be an eventful one for our family. Therefore, I am keeping my menu plan simple and easy!

Monday: No cooking! (supper with my parents)
Tuesday: Homemade chicken and rice soup (from the freezer), fresh bread
Wednesday: Whole wheat spaghetti with meat sauce (from the freezer), green salad
Thursday: Leftovers
Friday: Spanish rice and beans casserole (from the freezer), green salad
Saturday: Encore performance
Sunday: No cooking! (supper with Ben's parents)

Check out Laura's terrific site, Org Junkie, for other great Menu Plan Monday recipes and ideas.

Friday, April 04, 2008


I think it is a bad sign that we have our favourite mechanic's phone number on speed dial.

Our van's transmission blew yesterday.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

100 Things About Me

I've seen the "100 Things" meme floating around the blogosphere lately and thought I would jump on the bandwagon. Hopefully, I don't bore anyone with this...

1. I am 29 years old.
2. I was born in Saskatoon.
3. I've lived in three major Canadian cities --- Saskatoon, Edmonton and Calgary.
4. I have lived in Calgary since 1990.
5. Ben and I have visited every province in Canada and every major Canadian city.
6. We drove across Canada, from Victoria to St. John's, in the summer of 2002.
7. I was pregnant with our first child at the time.
8. I met my future husband on our first day of Grade 10. He was only 14!
9. Ben and I started dating in Grade 11.
10. We dated for almost exactly four years before our wedding day.
11. Our anniversary is December 29th.
12. Ben and I have been married a little more than eight years.
13. Our wedding was on a Wednesday.
14. We became engaged on a Wednesday.
15. We started dating on a Wednesday.
16. Our first child was born on a Wednesday.
17. Our first son was born almost exactly three years into our marriage.
18. Ben and I have three children right now.
19. I am (roughly) three weeks away from birthing our fourth child.
20. Our fourth baby will be born almost exactly six years from the conception date of our firstborn.
21. Adding up all my pregnancies, I will have carried a baby three of the past six years.
22. For the most part, I enjoy being pregnant.
23. I've been blessed with easy, uncomplicated pregnancies and births.
24. Our first two sons were born in the hospital.
25. Our daughter was born at home with the assistance of a midwife.
26. God willing, our fourth baby will also be born at home.
27. I believe natural childbirth is best for mom and baby.
28. Some day I would love to teach prenatal or childbirth classes.
29. I was raised Catholic.
30. I attended Catholic schools from kindergarten through Grade 12.
31. I accepted Christ as my savior on July 10, 1992 at Bible camp.
32. I was 13.
33. I started attending a Protestant church when I was 16 (after earning my driver's license).
34. My parents were quite understanding and supportive of my spiritual choices.
35. I studied fine arts in university.
36. At one time, I aspired to be an art teacher.
36. I have my BFA in Developmental Art (art education).
37. I minored in Museum and Heritage Studies.
38. After my first degree, I went into the BEd. program.
39. I dropped out after one year because I became very disillusioned with the public education system.
40. I got pregnant with our first baby to seal the deal.
41. Ben and I married in the middle of my third year of university.
42. At one point, Ben and I were both in post-secondary school at the same time.
43. We ate mostly noodle soup and our parents' benevolent leftovers.
44. On the day our first son was born, we had $30 in our bank account.
45. God has always been faithful to provide for our family.
46. Ben and I are grateful for our "early poverty days".
47. I play the piano.
48. I started taking piano lessons when I was 5 years old.
49. I took my Grade 10 piano exam when I was 19.
50. I taught piano lessons part-time for eight years.
51. I really like teaching piano, and plan to go back to it when our children are older.
52. I am now working on my ARCT diploma in piano.
53. Some day I would like to learn the cello.
54. I love deep, resonant instruments.
55. One summer I learned to play the electric bass.
56. I have a passable singing voice, but I wish it had less treble and more texture.
57. I led worship at our former church for four years.
58. I did not enjoy leading worship. I served because I was competent, not because I was passionate.
59. I have not been part of a worship team for almost five years.
60. I think God is still healing my heart in this area.
61. I love to read books.
62. I read my Bible every day when the children nap.
63. I really like the One Year Bible.
64. I also really like Kay Arthur's inductive Bible studies.
65. My favourite reading material is usually Christian fiction.
66. I'm a softy when it comes to Christian romance novels.
67. Some of my favourite authors include: Francine Rivers, Karen Kingsbury, Bodie and Brock Thoene, Beverly Lewis and Randy Alcorn.
68. My emotions are affected by what I read, so I try to stick with Christian books.
69. Ben and I rarely watch movies.
70. We don't have a TV in our house.
71. Ben and I each have our own laptop computer.
72. I probably spend an hour each day on the computer.
73. I love working on my blog.
74. My blog was two years old yesterday.
75. I am reasonably computer literate, thanks to my geeky husband!
76. I love anything to do with crafts.
77. I wish crafts were cool when I was in art school.
78. Last year I learned how to crochet.
79. I am learning how to knit.
80. I have been knitting the same afghan for almost two years. (Maybe I'll finish someday...)
81. I fear I like reading books about knitting more than I enjoy knitting itself.
82. My studio major in art school was painting.
83. I never paint now, but I have some ideas I'd love to work on.
84. I always have way too many ideas for all sorts of projects.
85. Some day I would like to write a novel.
86. I have the novel outlined.
87. I would also like to write and illustrate a series of children's books.
88. And open my own piano studio.
89. And open my own Etsy store.
90. And raise a great family.
91. God is teaching me to be more focused ;-).
92. I think my parents and sister are pretty great.
93. I know I'm blessed to have parents who have been married for over 30 years.
94. I'm thankful to have great in-laws too.
95. I have a wonderful circle of friends.
96. I tend to be introverted.
97. Being friendly and outgoing is a learned behavior for me.
98. I harbour an unhealthy fear of talking on the phone.
99. I definitely prefer using email.
100. I love being a wife and stay-at-home mom. I am living my dream.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Book Review:

Seventh Day
by Bodie and Brock Thoene

The Thoenes' A.D. Chronicles series rank among my favourite books of all time. I greatly enjoy historical fiction and especially appreciate stories set around the time of Christ. The A.D. Chronicles are fascinating because the series is based on actual Biblical accounts and extensive historical research. These books bring stories from the Bible vibrantly to life. In all honesty, the Thoenes' fiction has worked to deepen my Christian faith and my personal hunger for God's Word.

I recommend reading the books in this series in order. The characters and stories progressively build and develop. My favourite A.D. Chronicles book (thus far) is Sixth Covenant, which describes the events surrounding Jesus' birth in Bethlehem. I believe the sixth book is the best in the series to date. Seventh Day had a hard act to follow!

The series' seventh installment revisits several previous story lines and characters. At times, it felt as though the book played a lot of "catch up", reintroducing people and plots. In a way, Seventh Day felt a bit like a filler --- bridging the gap between the sixth and (future) eighth A.D. Chronicles books.

That said, Seventh Day is a brilliant book and quite engaging in its own right. Much of the plot centers around the Biblical account of Lazarus and his miraculous return from death. The Thoenes flesh out Lazarus' story and propose a compelling interpretation of the events.

All seven of the A.D. Chronicles books have found their way into our personal library. I believe these books will stand the test of time and continue to inspire readers for years to come. I look forward to sharing the A.D. Chronicles with our own children some day. The Thoenes are a gifted team and their books are always a pleasure to read.

If you would like to read book reviews by other Spring Reading Thing participants, please take a look at the Mr. Linky on Callapidder Days.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Big Boys Use the Potty

The potty training journey continues in our household. Our three-year-old son continues to wear pull ups and has an accident of some sort every day. It has been a difficult, humbling experience.

However, we may have finally turned a corner this week. Our son has decided he likes using the little portable potty (rather than the big toilet with a special seat). He has consistently used the little potty chair for the past two days. Yesterday, for the first time in many months, he was accident-free.

Even better, today at bath time (without prompting) our son took off all his own clothes, put them in the laundry, used the potty, and then dumped the potty's contents in the toilet! What a great display of self-motivation! Perhaps our three-year-old is finally starting to realize he can do "big boy things" all on his own.

We praised our boy a great deal this evening. His little chest puffed out with pride in his new accomplishments. I am praying this trend continues in the coming days...