Thursday, August 23, 2007

Trip to Quebec

Our bags are (mostly) packed, and we're (mostly) ready to go! I don't think I've ever seen a more excited bunch of kids than my six youngest and the slew of grandkids that are going with us.

We'll be heading out on Sunday, travelling about 5 hours' drive to Grenville, where we'll stay overnight in Grenville Park Campground. My brother Lorne and his family will be travelling down from the Ottawa area to enjoy supper and a campfire with us.

On Monday morning, we'll be packing up the trailers and heading to Quebec. On the way, we'll be talking about the Long Sault, and the bravery of Dollard. We'll point out the rapids on the St. Lawrence River, and talk about Champlain visiting Hochelaga in 1535. We'll discuss the geography of this part of Canada - the Canadian Shield - and point out the rocks and the rivers and the coniferous forests. The children will have maps to follow, so they can keep track of our progress, and before we know it we'll see the two bridges at Quebec. I will remind them that on the day my Aunt Ruth was born, the centre span of the old Quebec bridge collapsed.

We'll make our way to the Camp de la Joie, and hopefully, we will have our campsites set up in time to enjoy a nice supper and a bit of relaxation.

Tuesday will be a touristy day. I want to take the kids to Old Quebec, to point out the old wall, the Citadel, the Plains of Abraham, and so on. I want to drive them down by the river, in Lower Town, and show them the Island of Orleans. Perhaps the Aquarium will be on the agenda for that day, perhaps not. I want to point out the House of Parliament, and take them to see the big shopping centre and other spots I remember from my childhood. I wonder if the church the fat lady sat on is still there? Hmmmm.

Wednesday, August 29, is Adeena's birthday. We have scheduled the burial service for my Aunt Ruth on that day, so we'll be spending some time in Lac Beauport. Apparently there are no landmarks that I will recognize from my childhood jaunts through my grandfather's property. The massive trees are gone, the sand pit is gone, the buildings have been replaced by modern condos. It will be sad, but I am still looking forward to driving out past the house where we waited expectantly for my dad to phone with the news that my brother was born! I want to explore the woods near the house to see if "my" rock is still there. It will also be nice to visit with people that are only a memory from thirty-five years ago. They knew me when I was a teenager; such a change - 12 kids, 14 grandkids - a lifetime of living in Ontario.

Thursday will be filled with more tourism. I want to take the kids to Montmorency Falls, and maybe we'll drive to Tadoussac. A trip on the ferry might give them a chance to see Beluga whales! At least they will see the long, narrow farms, leading down to the water, which we studied about in History class.

We plan to head out on Friday, travelling to Bath, Maine, to see Rick's cousin Janet. We'll be staying in a beautiful home on an inlet, and Janet has promised to take us to historic sites, and to let us experience the culture and geography and fun of that part of the USA.

The following Wednesday, we'll pack up and travel to the Ottawa area, to visit our friends and my brother. It'll be fun to be on the dairy farm and help with chores. Linda hopes to go riding horseback with her friend, and I want to visit with Debbie! Friday will be our day with Uncle and Aunt and Cousins...then, we'll have to pack up for the trip home on Saturday.

I have been praying that the trip will be a memorable one; that the kids will learn a lot, and that relationships will grow and lives will be impacted.

Only two more days of packing, then we leave! I'd better get cracking.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Birth Story - Rachel's twins!

Rachel was due to be induced on Sunday, August 5th, but when she called the hospital as directed, the nurse told her not to come in. They were simply too busy. Rachel had a good cry, then spent the day with Mike, visiting the children at the campsite and trying to stay cool.

On Monday morning, Rachel was told to be at the hospital by 8:00 am. When we arrived at 8:30, they checked the babies and Rachel in Triage, then moved her to her room - 224 - the same room that Stewart was born in. The OB was busy with a c-section, but took some time to come in and break Rachel's water, around 9:30 or so.

Nothing much happened for a couple of hours, but by noon, the contractions were strong. Rachel did beautifully, breathing through them, relaxing her muscles as much as possible. They were about 6 minutes apart for the first while, but gradually increased in intensity and duration. Rachel was beginning to feel nauseated, and was shaky, trembling in her hands and legs, so the nurse was sure she was getting close to transition. We were so disappointed when they checked, and she was only 5 cm dilated. The head was right there, however, so Rachel soldiered on.

The contractions became harder and longer. Mike helped Rachel by putting a cold cloth on her head and giving her ice chips. She could not find a comfortable position, and she complained about the bands that held the monitors in place. They really hurt during contractions, but the nurse insisted that it was imperative to monitor the babies continually. Heidi kept running away from the monitor, flipping and someone had to hold the thing in place and tilt it towards the baby!

After another hour and a trip to the bathroom, they checked and she was only 6 cm. Rachel decided that she was done. She couldn't handle the pain any more. The nurse offered her the gas. "No!" Then how about a shot of Demoral? "NO!"

"I want an epidural!"

Are you sure this is what you want? With your first pregnancy it didn't take, and you were numb in your legs but felt the uterine contractions and backache. Are you sure?


The doctor came and administered the epidural, and within 15 minutes Rachel had dilated to 9 cm! They moved her to the operating room as a precaution. She was lying there, totally calm. She had colour back in her cheeks. The stress level in the room had diminished. The doc checked, and she was fully dilated.

They got her to push...BIG BREATH, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8....let it out...another breath.... With each contraction, Rachel pushed three times. Only four contractions later, Matthew's head was crowning. Rachel gave little pushes as the OB requested, and once the cord was removed from around the baby's neck, out he came, crying before the cord was even cut. He was 6 lbs, 7 ounces, and 9, 9, 10 on the apgar score!

Heidi began to hide, swimming away from the doctor. She first presented with her arm up over her head. Not good. Then there was a hand and a foot, then a knee and a hand.... Finally, two feet! Doc pulled on baby's legs while Rachel pushed to help. It was so amazing to watch this long skinny baby hanging feet first from Mom...seconds later, her head was born and she was here!

Heidi didn't breathe right away, but didn't take long. They did have to bag her, but only briefly. She was 8, 9, 10 on the apgar score, and weighed in at 5 lbs, 9 oz.

The placentas came away with no difficulty. NO tears. Rachel is fine, babies are fine, Mike is fine, Granny is fine, although a little teary even today. Both Mike and Granny were crying in the delivery room. It was such a beautiful moment to witness the birth of these two precious babies, and to know both Mom and babes were healthy.

The epidural, in this case, was just what Rachel needed. There is no way she could have handled the pain of the doc fishing for the second twin. Her dilation was proceeding too slowly, and she was at the point of panic, so the epidural calmed her down enough that her body could do what it was supposed to do. I am thankful that she chose to have this medication.

Both twins are nursing well. The Lord provided a mother of twins as Rachel's night nurse. She was a real encouragement, as she nursed her boy/girl twins for a year.

Truly, children are a heritage of the Lord, and the fruit of the womb is His reward. Truly, we are blessed.