Saturday, October 31, 2009

This is the embassy calling…

This morning I was having a post-wake-up nap with baby Miriam while Andrew did homework and Rachel played with Grandma. Rachel had woken up earlier than she has been and came to snuggle with us in bed. Snuggling in bed with two babies makes for a lot more crowding than snuggling in bed with one baby and I was so tired that I eventually got sick of protecting Miriam’s head and kicked Andrew and Rachel out of bed. Rachel’s idea of getting too close to Miriam is a lot more lenient than my idea of getting too close to Miriam.

Andrew left his cell phone on the dresser.

Pretty Little Pumpkins

Halloween is pretty low-key out here in Egypt. It’s not really a holiday here so the reasons for that are pretty self-explanatory. Except for the fact that Egyptian teenagers have decided that buying hundreds of eggs and throwing them at stuff (cars, houses, apartments, bawwabs, other people) is a worthwhile and fulfilling holiday activity…

This year we sent Grandma out to find a pumpkin while we all stayed home and played and did homework and slept. I think Miriam and I did most of the sleeping, Rachel did most of the playing, and Andrew did most of the homeworking.

There were no big parties in the street this year (thank goodness) and we didn’t go out to visit friends or anything exciting like that. But we’re not entirely boring….

Friday, October 30, 2009

First day at church and other tales

We ventured out today for church—all three hours of it. I was exhausted by the time we got home, but it was nice to get out of the house and have somewhere to go. Besides, it was the Primary Presentation today and I didn’t want to miss that. (No, I didn’t walk; I got a ride).

Last time I had a baby I had to miss a big primary thing and I was bummed about it, so this time I decided to go, anyway. I didn’t help out or anything, just sat back and enjoyed the children’s songs and sweet testimonies. It was lovely.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Big day today

Miriam’s umbilical cord fell off. I think it’s kind of cool. They leave them rather long when they send the babies home—it’s like a half-inch long at least—so I can see all the little veins and arteries dried up inside. It makes diaper changes so much easier!

Andrew successfully got Miriam’s birth certificate. Well, at least the Egyptian one. We still need to translate it into English and get her American one. And Canadian one. And her passport. And entrance stamp. And…there might be more Egyptian bureaucracy to deal with. I can’t remember.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Some pictures of today

I’m rather tired and I should be sleeping, but we wanted to put some pictures up for our family back in the States (and elsewhere).

Today was just another lazy recovery day for me. Miriam and I slept and slept and slept. My milk’s coming in so we’re doing a whole lot of eating, too. The first time she got a good mouthful of milk Miriam’s eyes got all big. When she finished eating she delatched, gave a satisfied smack of her lips, raised her eyebrows and got this look on her face that said, “That? Was incredible!” She was much more alert and vocal today; still pretty calm, though!

El Nada Hospital

Nestled on a busy street corner of Manial Island and sandwiched between a fast food restaurant and cramped living quarters lies el Nada Hospital, three full storeys of a semi-sterile environment in the midst of the crowded, polluted chaos called Cairo.


Not everyone can say they were born in Egypt. Not everyone can say they were born on an island in the Nile. Not everyone can say they were born above McDonald’s and saw a donkey parked out front.

Just Miriam.

(And a few of her little friends…and the thousands upon thousands of babies born at this hospital…but now I’m making it sound less exciting…)

Part of a complete breakfast

The hospital food really wasn’t terrible. It wasn’t great, but hospital food rarely is. My only complaint is that everything was so oily. There was oily vermicelli and rice for both lunch and dinner with an oily side of vegetables and meat. Lunch even came with an oily soup that I didn’t finish; it congealed into a solid lump of lard after sitting on my tray for an hour.

Dinner came at 5:00 PM on Sunday. We were hoping to be told we could go home, but instead we were told that we would be spending the night. I almost cried. Andrew ran out and bought some more juice and water and a few snacks.

Home again, home again, jiggy-jig-jig!

Yesterday when we brought Miriam home it was raining. Her first day out in Cairo and it rained! I was totally expecting sunshine but I suppose it has to rain sometime or other—it was only sprinkling by regular standards, but it was raining by Cairene standards.

Monday, October 26, 2009

For those of you who are update-starved…

Nancy and Miriam are sleeping. I'm off to bed now, too, finally, after translating Miriam's hospital "birth notification" from English into Arabic. Why they couldn't do it in Arabic in the first place I'll never know… We're in Egypt…

We've got several posts coming down the pipe, but we're a little slow right now. My mom just posted some pictures on her blog—check those out while we get ours up :)

Sunday, October 25, 2009

The birth story

Disclaimer: contains discussion of bodily fluids and other icky things. Reader discretion is advised.

The triage room was puzzling. I wasn’t quite sure what to do. There was a desk and some chairs but considering the three-minute interval between contractions office chairs somehow seemed inappropriate.

There was also a bed of sorts. More like a steel-framed table coated in faux-leather, bent at an 80 degree angle. That seemed inappropriate as well, so instead I stood in my nightgown, leaning against a chair, and wondering, quite loudly, when in the world we were going to be admitted.

The beginning…

I’m not quite sure where to begin Miriam’s birth story; there were several interesting, fun or horrifying events leading up to the actual point where I woke up in the middle of the night and frantically calmly told my husband that the time had come.

Miriam al-Noor Heiss

She's here! Check out our initial Facebook pictures or the PDF of the announcement.

Nancy started "real" labor at 4:15 AM, we were at the hospital at 5:30, Miriam was out at 7:45. Super fast!

Nancy and Miriam are just fine (sleeping now). Grandma is bringing Rachel later today. I'm sitting listening to the chaos of Cairo outside the window.

Beautiful times!

Friday, October 23, 2009

A marvelous work

Two very exciting things happened this week—for me, at least. First, Elder Russel M. Nelson dedicated a meetinghouse in Voronezh, Russia on October 20th. Previously the church had been renting out buildings to hold their meetings, so it’s very exciting to have one of our own.

I remember bussing out to Lipetsk when I lived in Voronezh to sing at the dedication of the church building there, or what I thought was the dedication of it…now that I think of it, I’m not quite sure what it was. No apostle was present, I’m sure, but something went on and our Voronezh choir combined forces with the Lipetsk choir to do a special musical number.

Sometimes when you live in a foreign country you end up not fully understanding what you’re doing all the time but you still go ahead and do it. At least…that’s what I find.

Flashback Friday: Octuplets

Yes, I’m still pregnant, which means that I’ve been spending a lot of my time wishing this weren’t so. It also means I’ve been spending a bit of time reading some books on the Bradley method of natural childbirth, not because this is my choice of methods for natural childbirth but because I happen to have access to some books and it can’t hurt to be familiar with his theory.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

3 years from now you might see this…only bigger...


Our path room got plumped

For the longest time we’ve only had one functioning bathroom. Technically our apartment has two and so technically they both should work since technically rent is higher for apartments with two bathrooms rather than just one.

When we first moved in we naively made a list of everything “wrong” with the apartment so that our landlord could either fix it or at least not charge us for it when we move out.

We told him about the leaky toilet and sink in the spare bathroom—and not leaky in the annoying, but common, drip-drip-drip way. No, our toilet and sink leaked onto the floor and when you flushed the toilet water literally sprayed across the room. So we turned off the water to the toilet because we were tired of having our floors be wet all the time…and we asked our landlord to fix it.

His solution: You are only two people. You don’t need two bathrooms; one will do.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

One week

I think I’m officially the most pregnant lady I know of now. Everyone else has gone off and had their babies leaving me pregnant and wishing. I’m trying not to be too impatient, honest! After all there is still a week left until my estimated due date, which is a rather poorly defined date to be counting down to since the baby isn’t tied to a schedule at all. Still, I can’t help but think of how nice it would be to have Miriam on the outside.

She doesn’t seem to understand that as her quarters get cramped she’s supposed to move less. Instead she decided to kick it up a notch, quite literally. But at least I don’t have to worry about my cervix getting jabbed anymore since her head has effectively plugged off all access to that area; her flailing limbs can’t reach there anymore. That doesn’t mean I’m comfortable.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Anxiously Engaged

Yesterday marked the first day that Miriam could come without causing too much extra and undue stress.

For starters, Andrew got our passports back from AUC who had to expedite them from the mugama with our new visas. We turned in our passports quite a while ago—before the swine flu closure and before eid and before our visas expired. They expired the last day in September and we haven’t heard a peep from the visa office at AUC so Andrew went to nag them.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Guest Post

Today I'm being featured as a guest writer on my friend and (step-)cousin-in-law's blog, The Grass is Greener, while she's off gallivanting the European continent. And she just got back from Hawaii, too. I tell you this girl never sits still! She's awesome and I was so excited to be able to write a little something for her.

And a high of 102°F

Rachel has been so excited about the coming winter. She’s been pulling out sweaters and hats for weeks and trying them on—getting ready for winter. Ever since we hit our “cold spell” earlier this month she’s been waiting for “our winter.”

It was still 80 to 90 degrees by day and 70 to 80 degrees by night and she insisted that it was cold enough to wear pants, long sleeves, socks and shoes. And frankly, it did feel good. We took the fan out of her room because she was getting too cold at night. We started sleeping under the top sheet. It certainly did look like winter was upon us.

But this past week we’ve been back up in the high 90s and low 100s. Today’s high is 102°F (39°C)! Need I mention it’s the middle of October?

Friday, October 16, 2009

Flashback Friday: Once I skinned a badger

I’ve always been a bit of a conservationist at heart. My friend Emily and I started an “Earth Club” when we were little and would do clean-up projects in our neighbourhoods. Just little things, like picking up all the discarded flyers around the mailboxes.

I collected bugs, both live and dead. My mom’s cousin Don had an extensive bug collection and would invite me over sometimes to look at it. He taught me a lot about collecting bugs. My collection disappeared when we moved to Utah. Weird how those things happen.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Like a hamster wheel…only for ants…

Rachel and I were colouring this afternoon amid the left-over ants from lunch. The fact that we’ve been invaded with ants again is entirely my fault.
I thought the ants had gone away for the “winter” so I put the honey container back in the cupboard—it had been quarantined on our counter all summer long because for some reason the ants can’t find their way onto this one particular counter we have—and the ants found their way to it. So when I got it out for lunch it was swarming with ants and I didn’t even notice until I had set it on the table and they scattered everywhere.

Communication Black Hole

Andrew’s cell phone sat on top of my dresser all day today; he forgot to grab it when he left for school this morning. That’s not a tragedy, really, except that my uterus is a ticking time bomb.

I didn’t even notice he had forgotten his cell phone, but he did. It serves as his clock on campus where they are apparently morally opposed to clocks—Andrew says there are no clocks in any classrooms and no clocks in the library—and more recently he feels it is important to have it on hand in case he should get “the call” from me.

Hospital Test Run

I woke up yesterday morning to the sound of screeching tires skidding on sand and a loud *THUNK!* It always surprises me how dense the sound of metal crashing into metal is: thick, heavy, final. For some reason I always expect it to sound more tinny.

The short silence of the aftermath was followed by an eruption of angry Arabic. I didn’t understand much of it except for “!عامل ايه؟” which in this situation can be roughly translated as “What do you think you’re doing!?” (pronounced ‘aamil ay).

Voices and shuffling footsteps gathered around taking sides and making sure the verbal fight didn’t escalate into a physical one while the two drivers involved in the accident continued yelling at each other. Human curiosity got the better of me, too,

Monday, October 12, 2009

I loves you, Momma!

Rachel still loves to cuddle, which I love, too, even though she’s a great big two-year-old instead of my tiny, precious baby girl.

Right now she has to curl herself around my tummy while I rock her and it’s a little bit awkward, but I love it. While I was singing to her the other night, with her half-squishing, half-supporting her baby sister, I looked down into her eyes and she looked up at me. I recognized that face immediately—I had seen it several times before when she was younger—she was staring at me so intently, her darling blue eyes focused on my own.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

TMI, probably

*Sigh* I’m still pregnant. It’s not exactly like I was expecting to not be pregnant by this point, but my friend Amy had her baby on the ninth and my friend Natalie is scheduled for a c-section tomorrow.

This wouldn’t bother me, but I’m not due until the 27th. Natalie’s due date is technically the 23rd. Amy’s due date was the 20th. So while they should have been my comrades in pregnancy still, they aren’t. As of tomorrow I will be the only one pregnant, with no end in sight—except for the knowledge that eventually the baby has to come out.

Friday, October 09, 2009

Flashback Friday: Gullible

When I was younger I was quite fleeceable. Pulling the wool over my eyes was no difficult task and thus made me the obvious victim for any pranks my older siblings wanted to play. I was so gullible that it’s possible they weren’t even trying to trick me at all; off-handed remarks and sarcasm were often taken very seriously by me and once I reacted to anything they said they would take the ball and run with it.

So it’s not entirely their fault.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Eleven little pumpkins sitting on our couch


I wonder if, when you already have other kids, part of nesting is suddenly coming up with projects to do together so that you can spend some quality one-on-one time before another little person enters the scene. Either that or it’s leftover guilt from the first trimester when all I did was sleep all day, neglecting any and all parental and housekeeping responsibilities.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009


When Andrew was learning how to drive, his dad would constantly lecture him about watching for things straying onto his path (kids, balls, deer) and how he should react to that.

One day when they were out doing driving together, Reid started giving Andrew the same lecture he’d heard several times before. And then, in the middle of the lecture, Reid yelled,


Andrew slammed on the breaks and momentarily freaked out.

Crafty Day

Rachel was in a bit of an exploratory mood today and I really wasn’t so instead we did crafts and played school. She got to learn about the world around her and go exploring in that sense and I didn’t have to change out of my nightgown all day long.

In the morning and early afternoon we worked long and hard to put together a Thanksgiving* turkey.** First we painted feathers on paper and then let our paintings dry while we had lunch. Then we cut up the feathers and wrote down the things we were thankful for. Rachel was so funny when she was coming up with her contributions.

“What are you thankful for?” I asked.

“Ummm…Mommy and Daddy!” she said.

“Okay, what else are you thankful for?”

“The food,” she piped up, quickly falling back on a rote prayer answer.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Two big worries

We’re really getting down to the end here, and I’m still rather nervous about a number of things but I feel like we’re slowly getting the necessities done. Thank you, nesting instinct. I don’t know where I’d be without you. Lying on the couch, probably.

The two things I’m most nervous about right now are:

1) Recognizing I’m in labour when I go into labour
2) Changing our family dynamics

Unfortunately I can’t do much either of those things until the time comes. How do you learn to recognize you’re in labour without actually being in labor, or practice bringing a brand-new baby home to be a part of your family forever? We read about it, we talk about it, we pray about it…and I’m sure everything will work out fine, but there isn’t really anything concrete I can do to ensure that everything runs as smoothly as possible. 

Monday, October 05, 2009

Lindsays’ Farewell

We’ve reached that glorious stage in life where we show up to a branch function and Rachel runs off to play. By herself.

It’s awesome.

It leaves us free to chat with other grown-ups, which is really nice for me since I’ve been in primary for the past…well, since before we got married. Not that I mind being in primary, but sometimes it’s nice to remember that there are people in this world who are older than six years old.

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Running Commentary

Ever since Rachel was born we’ve narrated life for her. While it’s important to talk to babies, it’s almost impossible to know what to say to them—so we started narrating and she’s grown up hearing a running commentary on her life.

Now that she’s more able to communicate back to us and understands more about the world around her, the need to narrate is waning. She asks for clarification when she doesn’t understand something—trust me, she asks—all the time she asks. Who? What? Why? When? Where? Repeat.

Answering all those questions is more complicated and confusing than washing your hair, even.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Give the girl a lawyer…she’s cheating on pink!

This morning I got up early with Rachel, at least earlier than I wanted to get up with her, so when Andrew woke up I informed him that I would be going back to bed for a while or I wouldn’t make it through the day—I had a primary meeting in the afternoon and then he had an evening class and I was already grumpy.

Rachel was being a good girl and was entertaining herself quite nicely so I didn’t think it would be too much of a problem for him to watch her while doing homework. I don’t know why it was even a problem for me; I just was grumpy today. Perhaps it’s a combination of pregnancy, phone stalking, insurance woes and general Egypt malady all combining forces against me.