Gabriel is, without a doubt, already having an impact on our family.  Some in expected ways and some in unexpected ways.

I knew the boys would have some obvious questions about babies and I also knew it would probably evoke some questions about their birthmom.  Both of which have happened.  Last night, after church, I was having more talks with them.

Chris asked me, “Why do you rub your tummy?”

I responded to him, “Well…moms love their babies before they are even born.  Since I can’t hold him yet, I rub my belly to give him a hug.”

Chris, “Did C. rub her belly when I was inside of her and I just forgot she did it?”  (They have always called their birthmom by her first name.  That is not something they started after we adopted them.)

This is where I wish I could press pause, think for awhile, then hit play again and answer him.  Instead, I have to think quickly on my feet and hope I respond in the best way possible.  It’s such a fine line to not hurt their feelings, causing further emotional damage, and keeping the whole situation realistic since they were obviously taken from her for her inability to care for them in an appropriate manner.

Me, “I wasn’t there when she was pregnant with you but it’s possible she rubbed her belly when you were inside of her.  Gabriel won’t remember me rubbing my belly after he’s born either.  That’s normal.”

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We did a lesson on blood vessels today directly inspired by being pregnant with varicose veins.  My leg has progressively gotten worse.  Les and the kids have now witnessed me cry in pain and grabbing my leg to try to ease the throbbing as I’m cooking dinner because I was standing in one place too long.  Les rushed over with a chair for me to sit and he finished cutting the vegetables while I talked him through what needed to be done next.  The torture tights are an everyday necessity now despite my efforts to only wear them when I knew I’d be standing a lot. Unfortunately, I did not wash them before going to bed last night and thus today was “Mommy Teaches from Her Chair Day” while the tights were in the washer and then hung to dry.

I wanted to do a lesson on blood vessels today for a few reasons:

  1. I retain information best when I learn about it in context thus I try to do the same for my kids.  
  2. I kept having to sit in church last night.  The boys tend to copy me, for the most part, so they attempted to automatically sit when I did.  I would tell them to stand back up.  I want them to understand why I’m sitting but telling them to stand up so they don’t think I’m being mean.
  3. I want my boys to be supportive, sympathetic, helpful, and loving to their wives – especially if any of their wives have varicose veins while they are pregnant – just like their dad is for me.

It’s hard for me to see the back of my leg so I had Niki take a picture of it for our lesson today.  I gasped a little when I saw it.  It looks about half as bad as it feels.  I pulled up the picture on my computer and explained to the boys that this is why I’m having to sit a lot and it causes me a tremendous amount of pain.

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We talked about veins and arteries today for our science lesson.  The circular varicose vein in the middle of my thigh was caused by Niki many, many years ago – the rest is all Gabriel.  I told Niki she could bond with Gabriel over the varicose veins they gave me – most of which have shown up this week.  I also told her that our bodies are meant to have babies younger (not too young) rather than older especially when you’re genetically predisposed to things like hormone imbalances and varicose veins like the two of us.  Not that I had a choice in this since I tried to have babies long before now but I try to be realistic with Niki about having babies just like I am with the boys about their birthmom.  My pregnancy with Niki was COMPLETELY different from my pregnancy with Gabriel.  I most definitely feel my age this time around.  I watched my mom as she was pregnant with my five younger siblings as well.  Her last two were more like mine this time around and we were about the same age.

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I found this website explaining veins and arteries for children and then a different page on the same website about varicose veins.

Then I got a coloring sheet of our blood vessels for the boys to color. (page 18)

I also created my own worksheet to go along with the lesson for Zach and Chris and then had Justin do some spelling/handwriting relating to the lesson.  WS – Blood Vessel

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Les’ “baby mojo” is continuing.  (Please understand – we say this in jest.  We fully realize that God is blessing us greatly!)

I had a second ultrasound yesterday.  Precautionary primarily because of my age and Gabriel is slightly small – which without sharing even more details (I think the picture of my leg is enough for one day) is really unnecessary but I’m humoring the doctor.

Les had a trip and would be in California for this ultrasound.  There was no way for him to get out of it.  He was soooo bummed he was going to miss seeing Gabriel again.  A few nights ago, he called me from his hotel in California and told me he wasn’t able to really sit and talk with me that night because he was beyond exhausted from flying all day and intended to go straight to bed.  We said our goodnights and went to sleep.  Just a few minutes after he got off the phone with me and crawled into bed, his cell phone rang.  It was the scheduler for his company needing Les’ help.  One of the airplane owners wanted to use an airplane but the scheduler was not finding a way to make it happen since all the pilots were being used already.  When the scheduler talked to “the boss”, the boss told the scheduler to just make it happen.  Les looked at the schedule and initially didn’t see a way to make it happen either.  Then it occurred to him that if he bought a ticket on the airlines to come back that night, he could do the flight for this owner.  He got off the phone, got permission to buy a ticket, and then packed up everything at the hotel and went to the airport.  He flew through the night and got back home in the morning.  He was then home to go to the ultrasound with me early in the morning before having to be back at work to fly that afternoon.  God is good.

I LOVE going to the ultrasounds with Les – for many reasons – but probably the greatest reason is watching his face as he’s watching the monitor.  His face is filled with sheer joy, love, and excitement.  A bonding moment I can’t really put to words.  I love this man!!!!

Gabriel looks perfect according to yesterday’s ultrasound.  He’s 5 days small but that’s understandable given my cycles have always been longer than the norm.  I’ve told them we would not do genetic testing and that I would not abort regardless if there was a problem with him so I would not put him in unnecessary danger.  (I’m past the point of being able to just do a simple blood test now by several weeks according to the ultrasound doctor.)  I told them it would be one thing if something needed to be done immediately at delivery to save his life and quite another just because of my age and he’s slightly small (regardless of the fact that I’ve explained my situation to them).  My midwife is being completely supportive and told me she just wanted to see consistent growth at this ultrasound – I’m getting the pressure from the ultrasound doctor after the technician was required to share the information about Gabriel being small the first time.  This second ultrasound was to see consistent growth – which we saw.  The technician very thoroughly went through and looked at all of Gabriel’s organs and they all looked great!  They tried very hard to find something abnormal with him to prove me wrong…and didn’t find anything.  Even if they missed something, it wouldn’t change our decision at this point.

Why am I sharing all this stuff?  Precisely for this reason.