Wednesday, November 14, 2012


Looking back at Rachel's journal I can already see vast improvement in her handwriting and her confidence in expressing herself. It's fun to watch. She didn't know what to write today but I told her there is always something to write; she managed to come up with four sentences. Right now I seem to be having the same dilemma myself—not knowing what to write—but look, I have managed to eke out four sentences already.

We had a fairly enjoyable evening together. I folded laundry and made dinner. The girls played with play dough together. Benjamin played on the floor (and screamed quite a bit, too). Everyone got along so well until just before they were sent to bed. 

We'd already finished story time and scriptures and for some reason I had decided to change Benjamin's diaper before having family prayer. Probably because the girls were finishing up with their bedtime preparations after we had scriptures. I changed his diaper, put some nice warm jammies on him, and then went to put his dirty diaper in the diaper pail. No sooner had I left the room than he was screaming bloody murder. 

I ran back into the living room and he was lying on the floor right where I left him. Rachel was sitting innocently on the couch. Miriam was lurking guiltily behind the rocking chair. I picked up Benjamin and quieted him down. I don't remember how I discovered it exactly, but I found two sets of bite marks on his hand—one set right in the middle of his hand and the other on his poor little pinkie finger. No wonder he was so sad!
Miriam got in huge trouble—basically I said, "You're in huge trouble!" and she dissolved into tearful remorse; she's relatively easy to punish at this age. 

It was a frustrating evening but we powered through it. Now I'm excited to clean the kitchen and read until I'm too tired to stay awake because I don't think I'll be able to fall asleep otherwise. 

Here is one of my favourite parts from my current read The Last Lecture, by Paul Rausch, which I'm reading on my Kindle (but you'll be happy to learn that the paper copy was found, in excellent condition, and has already been returned to the library):
Given how I cherished the World Book, one of my childhood dreams was to be a contributor. But it's not like you can call World Book headquarters in Chicago and suggest yourself. The World Book has to find you.
A few years ago, believe it or not, the call finally came.... 
I couldn't tell them that I'd been waiting all my life for this call. All I could say was, "Yes, of course!" I wrote the entry....
No editor ever questioned what I wrote, but I assume that's the World Book way. They pick an exert and trust that the expert won't abuse the privilege.
...Having been selected to be an author in the World Book, I now believe that Wikipedia is a perfectly fine source for your information, because I know what the quality control is for real encyclopedias. 
That's from section 1, chapter 8, "You'll Find Me Under 'V'." I giggled when I read it. I also loved reading the World Book Encyclopedia and vowed that I would have an encyclopedia in my home for my children to enjoy. We don't have the World Book. Instead we have Wikipedia and I love it every bit as much as World Book. My girls and I hop on to read up on things all the time, just like I used to do in the World Book Encyclopedia before the days of widespread internet usage.

Another section that stood out, obviously, was chapter 19, "A New Year's Story," in which he talks about the premature birth of his son.
The preemies who come out limp often have the most trouble. But the ones who come out all pissed off and full of noise, they're the fighters. They're the ones who thrive.
His language is a bit stronger than I would ever use myself but I had to giggle at that quote because Benjamin didn't just come out screaming. He literally came out peeing.

Rausch also talked about the hospital, saying, "they did a wonderful job of simultaneously communicating two dissonant things. In so many words, they told parents that 1) Your child is special and we understand that his medical needs are unique, and 2) Don't worry, we've had a million babies like yours come through here." I think our nurses and doctors did an excellent job of conveying the same message to us; and it really is a difficult thing to manage.

Sometimes I feel like the whole preemie thing is so far behind us—like it's a distant, foggy nightmare—but at the same time we're still dealing with preemie issues: Benjamin's small size, his insane reflux, things like that. Part of me feels like the world is probably tired of hearing about "Benjamin, The Preemie," but I just can't stop talking about it. Maybe one day I'll be able to move past all the emotions I feel whenever anyone talks about going into labour—or worse, going into preterm labour—or losing a baby or anything like that. This week alone I had a dear friend lose a baby, another be kept at the hospital for preterm labour symptoms (due to dehydration), and another deliver a healthy full-term baby. Yet another just announced that she's expecting her seventh baby in July.

Each of their stories made me tear up.

Birth is such a miraculous thing. I always knew that but now I know it so much that it makes me cry just thinking about it. I think I'm still emotionally exhausted from this summer. I'm sure it will get better with time, though I don't know how much time it will take. And we're among the lucky ones! Benjamin's preemie story has been as smooth as silk, but even a story as simple as ours had kinks in it and those were difficult to work through. So much about birth is hard.

Getting pregnant is hard.
Being pregnant is hard.
Having a baby is hard.
Losing a baby is hard.

Teetering between having a baby and losing a baby is hard.

So much about life is hard, but that's okay because life was meant to be hard.

I'm torn between which cliche to throw at you: "What doesn't kill you makes you stronger," or "Life is hard and then you die." I suppose you can take your pick.

Whoa...I almost got carried away reading before finishing this post because I had to find my spot again (which is more difficult for me to do on a Kindle than in a real book; perhaps there's a bookmarking system I should know about) so I suppose I'm finished writing and I wrote quite a lot considering I didn't know what I was going to write before I sat down to write it. 

There's always something to write. "Everybody loves telling stories. It's one of the truly universal things about our species" (that's from chapter 27, by the way).


  1. I totally loved World Book, too. I think I read all of the volumes, several times. I wish I had kept the paper copies. Sometimes I just want to look things up the old-fashioned way...

  2. I think wikipedia is the reason two stubborn oldest children like Dr. J and I can stay married. We can argue about methodologies, inferences, speculations, and conclusions but we never have to argue about facts. If one of us disagrees it takes two seconds on wikipedia to find out who is right and who is wrong and then we move on. The loser files that now piece of information away correctly, the end :) I don't think it is ever possible to fully recover from having a preemie. I think of all the nurses and friends I had who came to see me and cried with me in the hospital. I had lots of friends who felt sorry for me but the preemie moms they could truly relate because they had been there and they could remember those feelings. I'm sure it is the same with losing a child. Maybe you can move on to functioning but I don't think you ever can forget.

  3. That's how we solve our debates in our house as well. :)