Wednesday, October 30, 2013

October 30, 2013 - Occupational Hazard

Last week Kristoffer was traveling through rural parts of Tanzania for a mission on water hygiene and sanitation.  The ultimate irony was, of course, that he came home with a wretched bacterial infection and amoeba.  When Kristoffer posted on his Facebook that he was hospitalized for it, which he was, someone asked me what was wrong with him.  

The best way I can describe it to an American audience of people about my age:  remember playing Oregon Trail on the computer about 20-25 years ago?  And there were all these things that your people could die of while on the Oregon Trail? Kristoffer had most of those things (no, did not drown in the river because he decided to caulk the wagon).  High fever, nasty stuff going on in his stomach, super dehydrated.

The other downside of this is that he has never been so sick in his life, so he wasn't very good at it.   When I told him that the doctor said he had to stay all day on Sunday and overnight until Monday before she would let him go home, he started yelling at me and saying that he would just drink a lot of water at home.  Riiiight.  Nevermind those pesky life-saving IV antibiotics.  He told her the next day how mad he was and she told him, "That's because you couldn't see yourself with your eyeballs sunk into your head."  Classy.

Anyway, it wasn't a very fun time, but he survived it and is doing very well now.  And my husband is such a giving man that he GAVE me his bacterial infection.  Despite what we tell the kids, sometimes I think sharing is NOT caring!

So I ended up at the doctor's office yesterday with stabbing pains in my stomach - not fun at 15 weeks pregnant! - and some other symptoms as well.  They determined that I was starting with the same bacterial infection and put me on antibiotics right away.  I stayed in bed all day yesterday and am still there now...gearing up for 2 full days of teaching the rest of this week.  Feeling pretty good, and rather lazy frankly.

Needless to say, we survived another round of THAT here in East Africa.  Whenever it is that we don't live here anymore, experiences like these are ones that I will not miss for sure!


Thursday, October 24, 2013

October 24, 2013 - Silver Linings

Sorry for still being quiet on the blog, despite our "secret" being out now.  No matter what I do, I can't seem to get past my current state of permanent exhaustion so blogging is not something I seem to get around to.  Of course it hasn't helped that Kristoffer has been away since Monday and Noah has not been sleeping through night (at close-to-3-years-old?!?!  Come on, buddy! Help a Mama out!).  And I am not really complaining about Kristoffer traveling because he so rarely does it and I know how much he enjoys that part of his work.  I guess it's just something about having two kids, being pregnant, and living in a place that gets hotter by the minute (Pregnant in Dar?!?!  What was I thinking?!?!).  

I'm also really busy at the kids' school.  The Board, of which I am a member, is preparing for our AGM and it is time consuming. Good and interesting and meaningful volunteer work - yes.  But also not helping in the exhaustion department.  I'm also having a hard time eating.  I can eat - yes.  But I never feel really satisfied, nothing quite tastes right, I sort of have to force myself to do it despite being hungry (and thankfully, I am not sick or nauseous) and I haven't gained any weight yet despite my burgeoning belly, which I hope is still normal in the 15th week.    

So all of those complaints aside - and yes I do realize that in the grand scheme of my life and the world today I really have nothing to complain about! - let's try to focus for a few minutes on what makes me smile these days.

*Noah spent about 4-5 minutes tonight talking to my belly, specifically saying/yelling: "Baby, come out!  Come out now!  Baby?  Are you coming?  Come out now!  Come out!"  It really made my life, and also I felt a little bad for the guy that he still has to wait 25 more weeks (give or take a week) to mee the baby.

*We've decided as a family that everybody has a job when the baby is born.  Work assignments are as follows:
  • Noah - is on binky duty
  • Grace - is changing diapers
  • Lisa - will give the baby milk (and also has to take the night shift - ugh)
  • Kristoffer - will give the baby a bath
  • Rose - will put the baby to sleep (when we get back to Dar)
  • Nene - will sing to and rock the baby in the rocking chair (when we are still in the US)
  • Pops - will let the baby sleep on his tummy and will probably sleep with the baby at that time (also when we are still in the US)

Can you think of anything we've forgotten?!  

*Grace and Noah spent approximately 3 hours today going through their big, personal bins of baby/toddler keepsakes (clothes, toys, towels, shoes, gifts, etc.) and deciding, undeciding and then redeciding which things we should share with our new baby and which things we should keep for ourselves.  It was insanely sweet, and again, made me so happy for THEM (nevermind me and Kristoffer) that we are having a baby.  I feel like it is this huge gift we are giving them.  And I hope they see it that way in about 8 months when our two-month-old isn't sleeping through the night and Mama is (similar to these days!) a zombie.

*I found this awesome blog when someone else posted it on Facebook.  And it is so spot on in SO many ways that I've re-read it twice.  And I've bought her book for $4.99 on Kindle...which I look forward to reading whenever I get back to having time to read for pleasure (instead of nap for survival).

*While I have been the world's most defunct sports fan this past year, I am super happy that the Red Sox are once again in the World Series and even won Game 1.  There are lots of funny things online about Boston's current state of sports domination across sports, but especially after the Boston Marathon terrorist attack this year I feel really happy for the people at home to have something keeping everyone close and happy. 

Bottom line:  there's always a silver lining.  And to prove that point exactly, Kristoffer was supposed to come home on Saturday evening but just texted me that he will now be coming home tomorrow!  Even in time for dinner!  Amen and Hallelujah!

Things are already looking up.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

October 15, 2013 - Family News

I had a friend tell me recently that I always "get quiet" on the blog when I'm pregnant.  That's what makes her suspect it.  So I suppose it might be no surprise to you, reading this now, after I have been a bit on the quiet side...that yes, we are expecting another baby in our family.

Meet "Bonus Baby" (BB), due April 22nd but likely to arrive a week or so before that in Boston, where we will go this time for my third and final c-section.  No more African babies for us.  BB is 13 weeks old on the inside today.  I feel like some kind of champion to be through the first trimester for the third time. 

While "to have or not to have" another baby discussions (negotations?) were underway in our house, the decision had not actually been made.  Or at least not to our knowledge.  So the news did come as a small surprise just after my birthday, and it has been a busy and emotional couple of months since then.  

My 12-week ultrasound was wonderful, with no signs of anything to worry about and a very active baby doing flips the whole time.  (Third time around and I am still absolutely amazed that something the size of a lemon can be doing flips!)  Kristoffer was especially relieved to see - proof with his own eyes! - that there is only one baby in there. 

My pregnancy has not been difficult so far (especially compared to the roller coaster of Noah's pregnancy...knock on wood...) and my biggest symptom is exhaustion.  ALL. THE. TIME.  Even if I have just slept 8 hours.  I was a little bit sick when we were in Denmark, but I chalk that up to the antibiotics I was on for a sinus infection rather than pregnancy specifically.  My skin was HORRIBLE (worse than a teenager!) for about six weeks but that is getting better now.  My eating issues are similar to pregnancies of the past: I feel hungry, but nothing sounds or smells or tastes that good to me.  My sense of smell is DEFINITELY heightened.  My normally emotional nature is at an all time high (maybe you're glad you live so far away now?).

The most exciting part for us right now is that we told Grace and Noah on Saturday.  We showed them the ultrasound pictures along with their own so we could talk about the baby being inside my belly.  They were really happy - and have been crazy, crazy cute since then.  On Sunday morning they spent about an hour hunting down baby toys in our house and packing them all in one bag to take to the hospital (in 6 months).  They are kissing and talking to my belly, and planning what we need to buy for the baby.  So far the most urgent requests are: new car seat and a binky.  Better get on it!

So if we had reservations about having a third, I think they are now overshadowed by the joy this baby will bring to his/her big sister and first-time big brother.  When BB is born they will be 5 and 3 years old, and we expect it will be a totally different ballgame than when Grace, not yet 2 years old, became a big sister for the first time (and would sometimes bang her head against the wall when I nursed).  It will be a new adventure for us having to travel and arrange logistics in a new way, but I think we're ready for it.  And if I didn't mention yet that we are happy, let me say it now:  we are very happy about Bonus Baby's upcoming arrival and it is feeling more real everyday. 

Thank you for hanging in there with us for another baby story!

Monday, October 14, 2013

October 14, 2013 - Thank You

I would like to say a warm and heartfelt thank you to everyone who remembered our nephew Kyle last week with a candle on the anniversary of his death (and also some people who did it in September for his birthday).  I think in the end I have about 70 candles and will be compiling all of the beautiful pictures into a book for Kyle's parents.  It was not an easy day, but was certainly softened quite a bit by such an outpouring of love and support. It was a special way to honor Kyle's life.  Thank you all very, very much.


Monday, October 7, 2013

October 7, 2013 - A Candle for Kyle

It is hard for me to write about this today. Yesterday was actually particuarly difficult...because I arrived in America last year on a Sunday afternoon, and Kyle passed away about 90 minutes after I saw him for the first time in the hospital.  Sunday at 7:07 pm.  The memories of that evening and the week that followed are vivid and clear, and very, very difficult.  It was the worst week of my life, but was also nothing in comparison to what Kyle's parents went through and continue to go through in their daily lives without him. 

And while my feelings are elaborate and complex, I actually can't bring myself to write it all down.  It's just too much.

But for today, Kyle's candle in our home has been lit.  I've been talking to his picture this morning, singing "our song" (This Little Light of Mine...) and remembering this Irish prayer, for sweet Kyle.

May the road rise to meet you,
May the wind be always at your back,
And until we meet again...
May God hold you in the palm of his hand.

If you'd like to share your candle for Kyle as well, so that his parents won't feel so alone in remembering their son today, please email a picture to or click here.