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Sunday, February 26, 2017

Brandon Shows Up, Shortly Followed by William

Brandon did, in fact, make it out of Dushanbe on Monday, although nine hours later than the flight was supposed to leave, at three in the afternoon instead of six in the morning.  So in total his flight was delayed by two days and nine hours.  He arrived in Istanbul around six or seven in the evening.  As his flight for Frankfurt didn't leave until 11:15 the next day, he found a quiet spot and got a full nights' sleep.  The next day, Tuesday, he flew through Frankfurt and made it to DC by eight in the evening where his last flight was, of course, delayed.  But this time it was only an hour.

He finally landed at 12:15 in the morning Wednesday, having spent forty-three hours traveling.

After getting to bed around 1:30 Wednesday morning, we spent Wednesday running errands, taking the children to swim lessons and the girls to an activity at church that evening.  As my induction was elective, it was scheduled for the evening.  We were told to expect a call from labor and delivery after shift change, which was around seven.  My phone rang around ten (after a false alarm which was Brandon's bag arriving because, of course, it had been lost) and Brandon and I left for the hospital to finally get the show started.

We checked in around eleven and spent the usual two hours getting settled, IV started, information filled out, and baby monitoring.  My pitocin drip got started at one and we settled down to wait.  I always enjoy the waiting part, the expectant calm, waiting for the baby to show up.  Brandon napped (not having had a full night's sleep since Sunday) and I read and napped.

At three I asked for my epidural (according to my Mom, natural childbirth is delivering without makeup) and it was started about forty-five minutes later.  I had had some problem with low blood pressure while I was in labor with Eleanor, and ran into trouble again this time.  My blood pressure never got above 90/60 for the rest of the labor and the nurses gave me dose after dose of medicine followed by bolus after bolus of IV fluid.

The doctor was finally able to break my water around five (William had been too high before then) and, just as with previous labors, his heartbeat dropped.  Oxygen and a pause in pitocin helped him get back to normal and shortly after he was stabilized, around eight fifteen, I was ready to push.

Ten minutes of pushing and William obliged me by coming out in the fashion that sixth children are supposed to come out - without any trouble.  He was a nice, average weight of seven pounds nine ounces, falling in the same six-ounce range that everyone but Eleanor has fallen in to.  After starting off with some healthy screaming, he calmed down pretty quickly and consented to being adored by everyone around him, especially his siblings when they visited later in the day.

We are grateful to have William join our family and grateful that he arrived without any trouble or problems (and even after Brandon arrived in the US).  I still can't quite believe that I have six beautiful children.  I never, as a child and young adult, imagined that I would be one of those people who have a crazy big family.  Too loud, too busy, too much work, I thought.  Not something I am interested in.  But now that I am one of those people (and yes it often is loud, busy, and a lot of work) I wouldn't have it any other way.  Because even though all of those children have taken over my life and made it something other than I had planned, they have made it better than I could have ever planned.

Welcome, William!  We're happy to have you here!

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Turkish... Again and Then AGAIN

Right now my children are all gathered around the fire in my parents' family room, listening to a story on a quiet Sunday afternoon.  If all had gone according to plan, Brandon would be reading them Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.  But instead of my husband, my father is reading the story (thanks, Dad!).

Friday afternoon it started snowing in Dushanbe and by Sunday morning there were about six or seven inches of snow on the ground.  Somon Airlines managed to get their plane off the ground on Saturday morning, but Turkish (oh Turkish) didn't.  Not only did they not get their plane off the ground in Dushanbe, they just kept the dang thing in Turkey.  Somebody in Istanbul thought that, as long as they wouldn't be coming in Saturday morning, they might as well skip Sunday morning, and just come in Monday morning.  Because, of course, it's perfectly reasonable for a large international airplane to cancel a flight and delay it for two days.

So instead of Brandon coming in at 11:30 on Saturday night, he instead was going to get here at 11:30 on Monday night.  Thankfully I haven't displayed any major signs of labor (my due date is Wednesday) and and I could wait two days.  So I called United, spent an hour and a half on the phone, and got Brandon's ticket rebooked.

Then I called Brandon.  "So," I told him, "your tickets are fixed and you'll be here Monday night at 11:30.  I have an appointment scheduled to be induced Monday night.  Do you think I should cancel it?"  Brandon thought for a few minutes.

"Nope.  Just keep it.  We've got return tickets scheduled and we might as well start the passport/visa/medical clearance process as soon as possible."

So we planned out Monday night.  When the hospital called me to come in - between eight and ten or so Monday night - my mother would take me to the hospital and I would get checked in.  It takes some time to get checked in for an induction (filling out paperwork, printing out ID bracelets, getting into a room, taking vitals, taking them again, starting IVs) and I would probably be starting my lovely pitocin drip about the time Brandon's airplane was touching down at the airport.  My father would head to the airport, pick up Brandon, and take him straight to the hospital where I would be waiting with a change of clothes, razor, and toothbrush.  Then we could start the party in earnest.

It would work.  Hopefully.  I have never progressed quickly in my labors and so there was a very reasonable chance that Brandon wouldn't miss much.

Now we just needed to get him out of Dushanbe.

Brandon called me this morning with good news.  Turkish was sending the airplane on Monday morning.  The driver who was taking Brandon to the airport called Turkish himself and confirmed the news.  Everyone gave each other high-fives the children chattered excitedly about getting to see their father AND their new baby brother so soon.

Then during Sunday lunch this afternoon a text popped up from Brandon.  His flight was delayed.  I quickly started thinking of flights that left later than his scheduled flight.  The direct flights to Boston, Toronto, and DC leave at three or so.  That should work, right?  He could still make my appointment at the hospital that night if everything lined up just right.  Just maybe.

He kept writing.  The flight was delayed by five and a half hours.  I did the math.  Nevermind.  Brandon was not coming Monday night.  I sighed with disappointment and told the children.  Then my Dad called the OB who was doing my induction (I'm going to my Dad's former practice) and told him to cancel my induction.

Brandon wrote an excoriating review of Turkish online and fumed via text.  Then he went to bed.

Since I last spoke with Brandon Turkish has delayed the flight three more hours for a total delay of two days and eight and a half hours.  I'm not going to bother re-booking Brandon's flight until the airplane has actually taken off from Istanbul.  Thanks to knowing a guy, my induction has been re-scheduled for Wednesday night.

But we'll have to see.  Eventually Brandon will get here.  And so will baby William.  Hopefully Brandon will make it before William and not the other way around.

But one thing is absolute.  We are not flying on Turkish this summer.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Party All The Time

We've now been back in the States for just over a month.  And in that month the children have gone camping with their cousins, we've had a play date with nineteen children (and only four moms), my aunt has come down for the weekend, we've gone to the local children's museum three times, my sister and her children have come for the weekend, we've gone to Krispy Kreme twice, we've seen friends from Dushanbe, and we have spent the day playing with friends.

It's been a lot of fun.

I'm lucky to be staying in the same house that I grew up in close to friends that I grew up with and family that (shockingly) wants to see me and my children.  We've been so busy with friends and family that I've hardly had time to miss Brandon.

A few weekends ago, my sister came up to visit with her children.  She is my only sibling with children and all of her four children were born within eight months of my own which means that, of course, the cousins are all best friends.  Maybe in a different life where we bought a house, settled down, and didn't move for the next thirty years (my parents' life), my children would be less attached to their cousins (although I'm still pretty darn attached to some of my own cousins), but for my children who move constantly, their cousins are the only constant friends in their life.

So when my sister had a free weekend she brought her kids up to play.  It was a perfect time to come - my parents were safely thousands of miles away in Australia, my sister's husband had to stay and work, and Brandon was thousands of miles away in the other direction - and we made good use of it.  The children ranged in and out of the house, dressing up, playing games, tromping through the yard, and making the usual ruckus and melee that nine children make when they get together.  My sister and I sat and talked and looked at purses online and did the usual things that sisters do when they get together.  Nobody cooked anything - pizza delivery and frozen foods are amazing - and everyone had a grand time together.  At one point my sister and I even ditched the children with a babysitter (yes, there are nine of them, but I'll pay you a lot of money) and went to the mall for some child-free shopping time.

The next weekend my aunt came down to visit.  I had planned to go up to the DC area where she lives but when I got sick with a cold she abandoned her long-suffering husband to their two dogs and three cats so she could come and take care of me so I wouldn't be alone and sick for my birthday.  We, of course, had a great weekend together.  There was more pizza (can you ever have too much pizza??) and a visit to the local children't museum and doughnuts (because when you're in America and there's a Krispy Kreme on your way home you go to Krispy Kreme) and dinner at a tasty restaurant and of course, more staying much too late talking.  And in the middle of the visit, a good friend from Dushanbe popped by to say hi and happy birthday with flowers and chocolates.

And the weekend after that the children and I went to visit another friend from high school who lives close to Raleigh.  She had children the ages of mine (her fifth and my fifth were born three days apart) and also home schools with the same curriculum we do.  So of course we get together whenever possible because it's always fun to have someone who indulges in pretty much the same kind of crazy that you do.  We went down in the morning around ten, thinking we would spend two or three hours together, and finally left six and a half hours later when grandma showed up to babysit the kids.  I love having friends that, after years of no contact, pick right up where you left off and just keep on going.

Next weekend my cousin, his wife, and their cute little boy are coming down to visit for even more partying before the nuclear bomb known as Baby William arrives.  I'm looking forward to more late nights and talking and laughing and spending time with people that I just don't get to see enough of.

I'm so blessed and lucky to have so many people to see while we're here in America.  Edwin, who doesn't see how people can ever be better than Legos and dinosaurs, asked me why we had to go an see more friends.  "I just want to go back to Dushanbe," he huffed, "and then we won't have to see any more people.  Everyone will just leave me alone!"  But I can't agree with him.  I know we'll have to go back to Dushanbe (and I'm sure I will be ready by then), but until then, the more people the better!