Archive for the ‘Pregnancy’ Category

We have a birthday party to prep for.

I’m having a hard time wrapping my head around this circled square on the calendar telling me our baby is one. It’s been a whole year since his stormy entrance on a typical April Sunday. Blue skies one minute, snowstorm the next.

Everyday for the past week or so I’ve been thinking back to what we were doing this time a year ago. Waiting….but not so impatiently. Meeting friends at the Easter Sunday church service, hoping the baby would come so we could name him Pascal. (You think I’m kidding, but I’m not.) Visiting Bjørn’s grandma in the hospital when I was there for my standard ”low measurements” ultrasound on my due date. Running errands later in the week, enjoying saying ”two days ago” when asked when the baby was due. Predicting ”maybe on Sunday,” to the moms at barnehage. Visiting friends on Saturday, because life does not slow down for number three. And during all these days, through all the Braxton Hicks contractions and sore back muscles and fatigue, thinking ”I’ll know when it’s the real thing.”


Sunday morning (as predicted, ahem) I woke up around 5:30 with a contraction. And another one about 10 minutes later. And then still another one, about 12 minutes later, even after I’d peed. And then 10 minutes, then maybe 15… but they didn’t go away. So around 7:00 I woke Bjørn up and told him maybe we should call his mom. So we called his mom at 7:30. By 8:00 I’d had like one more contraction, and I told him to call her back and say never mind.

What WAS this??? All these long and irregular intervals… I flashed back 4 1/2 years ago to a hot Wednesday in July, sitting and timing contractions with my mom at our apartment in Minneapolis. This time, blessed woman that I am, I timed them out with my mother-in-law, while fielding questions from the boys and trying not to feel stupid when Karel asked if the baby was coming today and I had to say, ”I don’t know.” (He promptly pushed both of his hands forward in the direction of where the baby would eventually exit, to keep him from popping out on the couch, I guess.)

We called, they said to time them for an hour. We did, there was no change. We called again, and those kind kind midwives asked me if I wanted to come in. Even though they were having one of their busiest days. I said yes.

Forty minutes to the hospital, folks. I had a measly three contractions.

Anyway, they received us, talked to us, examined me, listened to my perplexedness at this whole situation, and then told me that sometimes, with the third one, labor starts and then stops and then starts again.

Please now envision the ”are you serious?” face.

Three centimeters dilated after 7 hours of irregular contractions. I started giving the ”are you serious?” face in my head to all the people who told me how fast the third one was going to go.

Because they were so busy, we were giving a room way way WAY down, two hallways away from the labor rooms. No big deal. We’re easy going. We’re just going to wait and see if anything is happening, anyway.

We ate lunch. I was just back at the hospital a few weeks ago, eating lunch, and I sat in the same spot. This time I did not grip the arms of the chair and lift myself off of it everyone five minutes because of intense pain, however.

We walked to the atrium of the hospital, bought some rolls and a magazine. Stopping next to a wall to breathe every five minutes.

We took the elevator back up, back to the room, waited for someone to come. The next midwife came on shift and asked if I wanted to be examined, so we walked down the two hallways, slowly, stopping to breathe through contractions, trying not to wonder if this woman has ever seen a laboring woman in her LIFE because if she had, would she really ask me if the contractions are painful? Do I seem like I want to walk this slowly and take this many breaks?

Three hours of hard contractions every 5-7 minutes.

Four centimeters.

When she asked ”Disappointed?” I did not respond. (Please re-ask the question above)  When she asked if I wanted some pain pills, I said yes.

Slowly, painfully, back down our two hallways to our room. I managed to convince myself that if we needed to do this the long, hard way, I was going to do it the long, hard way. It was 4:30 p.m when we got back to the room and I swallowed the pills. ‘Baby by midnight’ was the new slogan.

And then the contractions sped up again. Every three minutes or so. I couldn’t do anything other than wait for/ dread them. I figured I wouldn’t be in the tub this time, like I’d been for the first two, and vaguely wondered when that transition happens of going from the clothes you came in to the much-more-appropriate-to-give-birth-in hospital gown.

But dude, the stretchy pants had to go. So there was one item of clothing off.

Fifteen minutes later, I put the call light on.  I was all about doing this the long hard way, but if it was going to be that long and this hard, I was going to need some help.

Ten minutes later no one had come, and my nice light flowy tunic top had become TOO MUCH and was now on the floor. Right before the top came off there had been a contraction so long, and so painful, that I started laughing, because really, the pain was ridiculous.

I had it in my head, friends, that this baby wasn’t coming before midnight. It did not occur to me that I might be in transition stage RIGHT NOW, meaning imminent BIRTH.

It did not occur to me until 5 minutes after I had adopted my standard, lean-on-the-back-of-the-bed, on-all-fours birthing stance AND STARTED TO DO THE LABOR SHOUT that he was coming now. Which is what I shouted. There are probably children on neighboring pediatrics ward that had their dinner interrupted by the echoes of my ”HE’S COMING!!!!!”

Which is when Bjørn took his first active role in the arrival of his son and sprinted down the hallway to find someone. Anyone.

I, in the meantime, really thought I was going to have to catch this baby by myself. As in, with the next contraction (somehow my underwear were also gone…answering the question of how one undresses to have a baby: in spastic, desperate stages), I had my hand — the one not gripping the bed — ready to catch him.

Thankfully, he did not come just then, but the midwife did. With another set of ”are you serious?” questions. ”You didn’t think to let us know [this was happening]?” ” Do you want to have the baby here?” (”I don’t care!”) ”No, no, I don’t have any equipment.”

Then came my favorite. Please remember I have on a bra and tank top (sorry Dad) and am kneeling on a hospital bed with blood on my hand from trying to catch my own son.

”Can you walk?”


I’m doing the blank stare right now.



So they took the bed. With Bjørn at the helm, the midwife and the baby nurse (who kindly covered my naked bum with a blanket) wheeled the bed down one hallway, then another, to the delivery room. While I concentrated on not pushing I wondered if they actually knew that both beds would fit in the room. They must have, because in we went. I transferred to the other bed, there was a flurry of cloths and pads and whatever other birthing paraphernalia was necessary, but I got the green light to push. Water broke on the second push. Cai Ruben was born on the third. Time of birth: 5:18 p.m.

It was a bit stressful then. I was still on my hands and knees. The baby was still connected by umbilical cord, which had wrapped itself around his neck a couple of times. I couldn’t see him. I couldn’t  hear him. I couldn’t reposition myself. I just had to wait, until we could maneuver leg over cord, bottom below belly, clean sheets in place of bloody ones…but then. Then we had him. Then he was there, on my chest, where he was supposed to be. Our third son. With round ears and dark wisps of hair, and eyes that we could already see were not going to be blue. And we three sat there, laughing with wonder and disbelief, through the shaking and stitching, the surrealness enhanced by the snowflakes pouring down from the skies that had just been blue.

We decided on his name that same day, I think. I wanted a name reflecting how we felt the day 20 weeks ago when the midwife slipped up at the ultrasound and told us we were having another boy. ”Cai” is from the Latin ”Caius,” which is thought to mean ”to rejoice.” And Ruben, of course, from the Hebrew Reuben:

”Behold, a son.”



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We are proud to introduce our newest little man:


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What parents do…

…when they get a night off:


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I’m tired, my back hurts, the baby is so low I can’t bend over (which is annoying as 87% of my life is picking things up off the floor or dressing people shorter than me)…

… so it seems reasonable (if boring) that I’m becoming well acquainted with the evening t.v. schedule. What is possibly less than reasonable is the acute (over-?) reactions I’m finding I have to commercials.


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Our ”kveldsmat”/pre-bedtime snack family conversation turned to the topic of the new baby. More specifically, what we should call the new baby. Karel has been an active participant in this topic before and has set some strict guidelines. 1) The baby cannot be called something that anyone in the rest of the world is called. No repeat names. 2) He has to like it.

So far, none of the names Bjørn or I have suggested have fulfilled either criteria.

Our firstborn is closer to five than he is to four now, but don’t mention that to him. He doesn’t want to grow up. I’m okay with that. But he IS growing up. He’s learning things — words, play, behaviors — from sources outside the house. He’s confused when others act unfairly, upset by conflict, learning to be empathetic. I think both Bjørn and I flash back to our own four-, five-, six-year old selves when we watch Karel learn to navigate social ins-and-outs as a borderline introvert.

So this evening at the table, when our little grown-up suddenly said ”I’ve got it!” after rejecting every name suggestion we came up with, we waited to hear what his undoubtedly brilliant suggestion would be.

”We can take ‘Karel’ and ‘Emil Birk’ and put them together for a name for the baby,” with a finger emphasizing the sounds of names. We’ve been working a bit with letters and phonetics, and I feel fairly certain he was visualizing letters and trying to put them together, like they do on one of his favorite t.v. programs.

Then he turned his head away from us in order to think. We started coming up with our own combinations: ”Karmello!” ”Kamil!” A quick turn, pointed finger, and stern ”Hshhh!” came in our direction. Trying to be sensitive, I said ”okay, we won’t talk about names while you’re thinking about this.”

”No, you can’t talk AT ALL while I am thinking.”

Eyes under raised brows meet across the table. Ohhhhkay. Silence it is.

But the seriousness on his little face; the energy going into just thinking, idea generating… Our eyes became a bit shiny. Closer to five than to four. Closer to school than to daycare.

When he finally turned back to us, he pronounced that his new little brother shall be named Karel Emil Lyngstad. Not bad, we said, wondering why we didn’t come up with that combination four, almost five, years ago. ”I’ll tell him,” and lifting up my shirt he put his blond head next to my stretched out abdomen and said softly, ”Hello, baby. Your name is going to be Karel Emil Lyngstad.”

(Emil Birk followed suit, his mouth pressed to the other side of my belly, and recited all of our names to the baby. This has been his mantra for the last weeks. ”Æ heter ‘Milian. Du heter Kimberly. Pappa heter Bjørn Magne. Karel Magne heter 4 år.” I’m called ‘Milian. You are called Kimberly. Pappa is called Bjørn Magne. Karel Magne is called 4 years. He tries so hard to do what his big brother does, and the look of mild confusion on his face as he mimics Karel or tries to follow Karel’s directions is both endearing and a tiny bit heartbreaking.)

I missed something in what was said next by Emil Birk, something that prompted Karel to ask me half-seriously if I was their mama.

”Yes. I am most definitely your mama. Do you know how I know?”

Wide blue eyes, shaking blonde head.

”I know because I remember every minute of when you were born.”

And then we told him, Bjørn and I, about the night before he was born, when I had to go into another room while Pappa and Grandma were watching a movie (the brilliant La Misma Luna) and the contractions became too strong to ignore. About how at the hospital I felt him flip and flurry inside me into new position, and then it didn’t hurt as badly. About how I was concentrating so hard on pushing that I didn’t even know he’d come out. Pappa had to tell me to look, Kim, here he is, it’s a boy!.

”And do you know what I thought when they gave you to me?”

”That I was a girl?’

”No, that you looked just like Bjørn Magne. You looked just like Pappa when you were born. Now Grandma thinks you look like me. Which is funny because when Emil Birk was born I thought he looked just like me, but now I think he looks like Pappa.”

Without skipping a beat, four-going-on-five half asked, half stated:

”Because he’s crazy.”

And our sentimental reminiscings shifted into gut laughter. ‘Cuz everything happens so fast with kids.

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We made it through December relatively unscathed, but January turned out to be a bit much.

Poor Bjørn has been completely incapacitated twice this month by some evil, miserable virus. From the first round a domino effect came into play — first one man down, then two, then three, then a slow resurrection, then down again… It’s been crazy. In some miracle of immunity I don’t quite understand, I withstood the first round (as well as the round the month before), but as of last week Wednesday my luck ran out. I sat on the couch that afternoon across from my convalescing husband giving myself the pre-barnehage pick-up pep talk: ”Okay. It’s going to be okay,” the next 20 minutes interspersed with randomly placed out-loud ”Okay”s. Interesting how the ”I’m about to get sick” anxiety set in hours before the first physical symptoms.

Does anyone else have these mild anxiety attacks at the prospect of both parents being sick at the same time? I mean, I feel like I’m pretty good at managing my resources, but I draw a blank on that particular scenario.

So we’ve spent a good portion of January in our pajamas (which is like a dream come true for Karel). Thus I’ve spent a good portion of January watching the layers of dust in all but the most necessary portions of the house grow and trying not to freak out about it. The problem with being mom-sick seems to be that sometimes it’s just your body that gives out. Or both body and mind give out and you can’t move for a day, but after about 24 hours your brain starts going again while your body just can’t. Oh, the THINKING! Good Lord have mercy, make the thinking stop. Evidently once no longer physically able to do the very physically demanding jobs of my housewifey world, my brain goes into overdrive remembering all the other things I was going to do. Take a class, find a job, write an article, blah, blah, blah. But doing those things STILL takes energy that you DON’T HAVE…so let’s launch into another wave of guilt and anxiety over things not accomplished. (insert eye roll.) Then, at the time you need sleep the most, nightime insomnia-born-of-anxiety sets in, because in this crazy world-of-germs it seems better to just stay awake than to fall asleep just to be woken up by coughs or cries or people falling out of bed.

Seriously. It’s ridiculous.

On the other hand, it hit me for the first time during this month of revolving door viruses that my future is going to hold a whole lotta man-sickness.

Once again, good Lord have mercy.

Bjørn is an undemanding patient; granted, when he’s down he’s down, but other than allowing him rest, he doesn’t ask for much. Karel, however, seems to be heading down the more typical mansick path. Not feeling good is met with wails of ”Oh, what is happening to me?” as if he’s suddenly discovered green plaques all over his body. Or  panicked outburst inches outside the bathroom: ”I just can’t walk anymore”. My favorite so far is the politely worded yet pathetically toned: ”Mama, I really need you to help me a lot today,” uttered by the young master languishing on the couch, requesting ”warm drinks” that are lovingly prepared but then never drunk.

Emil Birk is slightly less dramatic so far, but just as clingy. He’s developed a TV addiction that we’ll have to deal with later, as well as an affinity for the saying the word ”no” while interestingly enough completely disregarding it when it’s said by someone else. Ricocheting back and forth between acting as comforter and terrorizer of his older brother is his other main activity.

The little guy in utero is kicking around as strong as ever, despite the demise of his family all around him. But he, too, adds another dimension to being momsick. What do you get when you pair sudden coughing attacks with a weak, squished, bladder? Let’s just say it’s not only peed-in little boy underwear making up our laundry pile these days.

Anyway, I’m on round two of the crud now, brought on no doubt by a combination of exhaustion and residual viral bits in my system. So this time I’m doing my best to turn my brain off and concentrate solely on recovery and baby-growing.

Here’s to a healthy February!

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Today it was seeing each perfect, tiny little vertebra in our baby’s back.

I don’t think I will ever get over the marvel of an ultrasound. Showing me, inside me, what this little life is up to. Reassuring us that so far, so far, everything looks fine. Looked better than fine to me — ”s/he’s perfect,” I kept thinking.  I don’t know why it was so dramatic this time around; maybe even though I think about this baby a lot, it’s sometimes laced with insecurity over my ability to take care of another one. (Seriously, Emil Birk wakes up wrestling with Karel.) But seeing her face, a tiny thumb pointing up saying ”it’s all good, mama,” a leg squirming away from the waves of the ultrasound; felt a lot like those minutes after birth, when you just know that it’s going to be fine because your baby is fine. Better than fine, actually. As close to perfect as one can get on this side.

(Little one’s gender shall not be revealed…. so pronouns are arbitrary!)

So that was a definite bright spot in this week of single-parenting. And great to confirm how many babes are in there, a matter I’ve spent WAY too much time googling in the last months. The boys are ready for pappa to come home, I think. Their differences have been highlighted in the last few days, especially in the mornings and evenings. You know, when we actually need to get somewhere. Like bed. Emil goes into hyper-crazy-whirlwind mode, which CAN be funny when it involves cheerleader stances and enthusiasm for random food items (”PINE- APPLE!!! PINE- APPLE!!!), but is NOT funny when it involves refusing to lie still in bed. Karel, on the other hand reverts to deaf turtle mode. Meaning a decreased capacity to hear instructions and total incapacity to follow through on those instructions once they DO penetrate. There is something about taking 20 minutes to wash hands that makes me crazy.

I’m sure that there is some very calm, collected way to embrace their individuals styles and channel them into the directions I’d like them to go, but I just haven’t stumbled upon that little zen pocket of understanding yet.

Anyway, at least they usually like each other. (she types over shouts of ”NEII!!! Nei!!)

Gotta go. Here’s a pic of belly just shy of 20 weeks — late at night, after a plate of nachos. And one of Emilian who likes to put things on his head.

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