Showing posts with label Adele. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Adele. Show all posts
If you haven't read Part I and Part II, please do!

How can a 2019 review be complete without talking about the kids?!

Mommy/Daddy and Kid Dates
We have been asked whether with so many kids, the younger ones get less of our attention.  Answer is definitely a yes.  How could it not be so?  Am I worried about it?  Not really!  Think about it this way.  Sure, they get less attention from their parents, but they have so much more interaction with their siblings that I think their social skills are greatly improved as a result.  Imagine that you have 4 other siblings living with you...would your negotiation and communication skills not be much better? Would you not be much better in navigating through conflict?  I think that's a yes.

With the coronavirus lockdown, the benefit of having many siblings is obvious.  Our kids did not once complain that they were bored in the past 4 weeks of staying at home.  In fact, it's pretty much business as usual for them.  With 7 people in the house, there's never a quiet moment!

Now, having said that, we do recognize the need for attention from us parents.  So, last year, we started a new tradition of 1-on-1 Mommy/Daddy and kid dates.  Renee or I would take one kid out on a date and just spend some 1-on-1 time with them.  We use this time to let them know that they're unique, special and are deserving of our undivided attention.  Both of us actually really enjoy it because it's rare that we get to spend some quiet time with each of them.

We don't do anything too fancy.  Sometimes we got out to the mall.  At other times, we go and grab some food or spend an hour or so at Chuck E Cheese.  Some outings are more extravagant, like one time I got a couple of Leafs tickets from work and went with Athan.  The point is that we spend some quality time together.  Before the lockdown, we tried to do a date once every week or two.  It means each kid gets to go on a date with either of us every month or two.  I would recommend that you parents try something like this with your kids!


Adele turned 10 last year.  She continues to do well in all her endeavours and plays the role of big sister perfectly!  She requires very little attention from us and in fact, helps out with her little brother and sisters.  We're so grateful to have Adele's help as always.

Last year, I started to introduce some programming to Adele beyond what she got at school.  I first got her to take some online HTML/CSS courses, which she had completed, but I felt it was still a bit too advanced for a beginner at her level.  Eventually, in 2020, I found a really good program created by MIT called Scratch, which is very age appropriate and teaches programming fundamentals.  I recommend this to kids 8 or older.

Adele competed in her first triathlon in the summer.  She did very well and I'm so proud of her.  I hope one day, the two of us can run in a race together!  I'm too weak a swimmer so it'll have to be a run or a bike ride!  Sorry, Adele!  Lol!

Adele Running Past the Finish Line in Her First Triathlon

Daddy and Adele Date - Enjoying a Cold Drink at Starbucks


Athan had a great year last year!  He turned 8 and also had his First Communion this year.  He reminds me so much of myself when I was young.  I was a very playful kid and by that, I mean all I wanted to do was play!  I would moan and whine at the thought of doing homework or studying.  This certainly drove my parents insane, especially during my earlier years in Hong Kong where grades were everything.  I certainly didn't ask for this attribute and now know that's just part of how kids learn, through play.  As a result, I give Athan some leniency in this area.  I encourage play but try to direct him to productive playing (that's a term I just invented).  Instead of letting him just stare at the TV or play video games, I try to switch things up and encourage creativity in the things that he deems fun.

He has matured quite a bit in the past few years.  We no longer need to ask him if his homework is done; he just knows to complete it himself.  He is doing well in school and loves to play soccer.  He's been taking Karate lessons since he was 4, but his interest doesn't seem to be there 100%.  We will be re-evaluating whether to redirect his time and energy elsewhere once he completes his red belt (about half way to black belt).

He's also good help with his little sisters.  Although he loves to taunt them and make them scream, he is more than willing to read to them before going to bed.  He's a fun brother to have around and without Athan, things would just be a bit on the dull side.


Audrey entered Grade 1 this year and turned 6 years old.  Both Adele and Athan started reading fairly proficiently in SK, but Audrey had struggled a bit in SK.  Since she's an October baby, we weren't too concerned.  In September, I asked Adele to help Audrey with her reading.  I'm glad to report that at the moment, Audrey is reading at a Grade 2 level (thank you Adele)!  Her penmanship is also superb.  I look at her handwriting and am a bit ashamed that it looks much better than my own! In fact, she has the best penmanship out of all her siblings!

She took a year of ballet and had her first recital in June.  As you can see below, she was adorable in her little costume!  When September came around to re-enroll, she actually asked not to re-enroll in dance because she wanted to take up visual arts, which is where her real strength lies.  I think she gets it from mommy!  You can see a sample of her work below in Chinese Martyrs Catholic Church's calendar.  Thanks to Grandma for enrolling Adele and Audrey in the competition.  Adele's drawing also made it on the calendar!

Audrey's Drawing Featured on Chinese Martyrs Catholic Church Calendar

Anne turned 3 in 2019 and this will be her last year at home before she starts JK.  It turns out that the more fair-skinned kids in the family are more rascally than the others! Lol!  She has quite the character and is at the same time lovable and deserving of reprimand!  She's definitely the life of the party!

She started ballet lessons in September and is absolutely enjoying it.  Whenever we have some music playing at home, she would start dancing to the music.  It is really by nature and not nurture that she has this interest and talent.  Since we have more data points in the number of kids (lol), we can confidently say that their interests and talents are usually not due to what we want them to be, but rather, are gifted by God.

Anne also really knows how to tearjerk with her words.  There was one occasion where she was over tired during dinner and was not being cooperative.  I reprimanded her and after dinner when I was changing her into her PJs, she said, "Daddy, I miss you all day (when you are) at work!"  Upon hearing it, I suddenly choked up and was full of regret about how I had reprimanded her earlier.  She's a smart cookie, maybe a bit too smart with her words!

Amelia turned 1 last year (2 years old now) and is growing really quickly!  She's running around and talking in full sentences.  Of all five kids, I think she looks like me the most!  She is always smiley and loves to participate in all family activities.  It is really easy to make her cry - just tell her it's nap time or bedtime and she will immediately start whining or be on the verge of crying, because she doesn't want to be left alone in her room; she wants to be part of whatever is happening.

Being the youngest, she's definitely the loudest with her screams and cries; she needs to get the attention!  She's not to be bullied and she uses her voice to ensure that.

We are so blessed to have our wonderful kids!  Is it tough to parent 5 kids at the same time?  You bet!  But boy, do we feel privileged to be their parents!  We hope we're doing an ok job!
Hope You Had a Merry Christmas!

It seems like I've settled on writing once every few months, and sometimes in bursts. Life, as a father of five, as you can imagine, is busy, but that's no excuse for not getting things done. As the saying goes, "if you want to get something done, ask a busy person." (It is with great pride to say that people often ask me to do things for them.)  Prioritizing and extreme focus are keys to achieving goals in a busy environment. However, I sometimes lack either or both. So, while it has been an eventful year, I wish I had been more successful in doing the two things above.

This post has been greatly inspired by our friend, Stella, who has been very religious in sending us an annual update of their family during the Christmas season. I love reading them and thought it'd be a good idea to do something of my own here.  I hope you will enjoy this long one!

Let's start with the kids, shall we?

Amelia Was Born

Merry Christmas Everyone!

Of course, the biggest event of 2018 was the birth of Amelia in January!  She has been a wonderfully easy baby. Either that or we've gotten into the groove by now... Or probably both! :)  Her older siblings adore her and are so helpful in keeping an occasional eye on her while we cook, clean, etc.

Amelia is a happy baby. Anytime anyone speaks to her, a glowing smile would appear on her face and she would get so excited. She has been saying "mama" and "baba" for quite some time now. Also being very mobile, she's crawling and cruising everywhere and putting anything that's in her path into her mouth! Yikes!

Cutie Pie Anne

Look at Those Big Round Eyes! <3

Anne just turned 3 in January and has developed quite a vocabulary. She's pretty much fully bilingual now, but is still a bit more proficient in Cantonese. Our favourite phrase that she would say, when she can't find a book she's looking for, is "Perhaps Daddy donated it (可能爸爸捐咗)."  We couldn't stop laughing.  She said this because I'm constantly asking the kids to pick out some of the 2000 books they own to donate.  It's so cute to hear her speak in very coherent sentences.  When we went to take pictures with Santa, Santa asked her, "and what would you like for Christmas?"  As she shyly looked at him with her big round eyes, I wondered if she knew what he was asking. To my surprise, she answered with a short and sweet, "Princess!" I chuckled softly at that.

Audrey the Mischievous Girly Girl

In Front of Cinderella's Castle

Audrey is in SK this year. She's now able to read simple Seussian sentences like, "The hat is on the cat."  She started school as a very quiet student but now has warmed up in class. Being the middle child, she's very dramatic at times. She's a girly girl and wants to wear dresses all the time. She's also gotten the artistic genes from mommy and likes to draw.  Just last weekend, she received 2nd place in a colouring contest at Chinese Martyrs.  I feel like she'll grow up to be the girl that everyone wants to hang out with, because of her fun loving nature.

Athan the Maturing Young Man

His Tastes are Definitely Grown Up!

Athan has matured quite a bit. When he was 3 and was going to Montessori, the teacher once sent home a letter complaining how he would not listen in class and can't seem to keep his hands to himself. We were very worried and continued to worry about him until his SK year.  It has been a gradual but very visible turn for the better. He even got the All Round Performance award in his class last year! This year, he started piano and is enjoying it so far.  The most impressive thing is that he's often the first to wake up by himself on a school day, gets dressed and finishes breakfast before mommy is even out of bed (although the motivation is to play video games before leaving for school '-_- ).  We're really happy with his progress!

Adele the Big Sister

Little Young Lady

Without a doubt, Adele is the big sister.  She is super responsible and is always helpful.  "Adele, can you get your sister buckled?...Adele, can you look after Amelia for a minute?...Adele, can you brush Anne's teeth?"  These are often our requests and she would have no problem helping us.  We're so thankful for her help.

This winter, she got interested in Harry Potter and have been reading the set of books.  She has now far exceeded our reading speed, plowing through the 800-page novel in a is that even possible??  Many parents want to encourage their kids to read more, but we're faced with the problem of Adele reading too much!  She would even walk up the stairs very slowly while reading a novel!  I recall when I was still doing my Master of Theological Studies at U of T that I struggled with all of the reading assignments.  Each week, we would be assigned hundreds of pages of readings and on top of that, write pages of reflections.  I'm sure she will be more like my fellow students, who had no issue with the readings, than me, who struggled to read half of the assigned readings!

Trip to Orlando

In September, just a week after school started, we took a week off to go to Orlando.  Why in the middle of September after school started?  Well, earlier I met up with my old boss, Michael, from ATS, and he told me about how he brought his wife and 7 kids (!!) to Orlando the week after school started and it was awesome.  If that man can recommend going the week after the start of school, who am I to question his wisdom!?!

Indeed, we had an awesome time.  Since September was still Hurricane season and school had just started, the crowds were so much smaller than at other times.  The longest line that we waited in was an hour at Space Mountain.  All other lines were under 45 minutes and sometimes, none at all, when using Fast Passes.  And in terms of weather - perfect!  The days were hot, but surely not as hot as in July and August, and it only rained for about 30 minutes the entire time we were there.  We did get a bit anxious seeing Hurricane Florence just miss Florida and made landing in the Carolinas instead.  But speaking with locals, they say that Orlando is actually very well situated; most hurricanes land either north or south of the area, which may be why Disney World and other attractions were built here.

Anyway, we won't go into too much detail about Disney or Universal here...but I did want to talk about how we got there.  I had been watching airfares for a better part of the year and was recently made aware of Frontier Airlines, which is a budget airline that flies mainly in the US.  There were some fairly good deals throughout the year, but for this trip, I found one that was simply unbeatable.  My first choice was to fly out of Buffalo for obvious reasons, but the flights were still not as cheap as I'd like them to be.  I then increased my search radius and that gave me 3 more airports to search from: Detroit, Cleveland, and Pittsburgh, all of which were about 4-6 hours drive away.  Then I found it, the impossible fare!  I found a direct flight from Pittsburgh to Orlando for $40 USD round trip!  With luggage, we ended up paying $350 USD for the entire family - 7 human beings!  To top that off, my travel credit card gave me a rebate of $100 CAD for luggage fees.  In the end, we paid about $60 CAD per person.  So, go ahead and visit Frontier Airlines and send me a cheque for all the money you're going to save!

Lastly, here's a super funny video of "Meet the Raptor" attraction at Islands of Adventure.  It was so well done!

Meet the Raptor at Universal's Islands of Adventure

Surf's Up!

Battling Darth Vader at Hollywood Studios

Seuss Landing at Islands of Adventure

Fireworks Were Worth Staying Late For!

My Favourite Attraction: Meeting Princesses!

Swimming at Resort

In Pittsburgh Just Before Flying Out

Stay Tuned!
There's much more to 2018!  Stay tuned!
Thanks to +Matthew Siu's recent blog posts, I decided to re-start this personal blog.  I'm not sure I've ever advertised this, but here it is!  I even went out and bought the domain (which, by the way, cost me only $13 for the year)!

Anyway, since it's been about 4 years since my last post, thought I'd share a picture of my rascals with you!  Hope it won't take me another 4 years until my next post.

Audrey, Athan, and Adele at Grand Bend
Today was Adele's swimming class.  It's her first time swimming since our trip to Cuba.  Naturally, she was a little nervous when she went into the pool.  In one instance, we had to lay the toddlers on their backs to do back floats.  So, I tried laying Adele down and she started squirming and screaming, because she didn't like the sound of water in her ears and she was also afraid of drowning.  These days, we're trying to get her to stop whining and screaming when she wants something, because she can pretty much say anything now.  So, I told her, "Adele, just say, 'Baba, please don't let go.'"  She grabbed onto me, looked into my eyes and said, "Baba, don't let go, don't let go!"  I almost teared up right there and then.  I held her in my arms and whispered into her ears, "I won't let go."

Adele, I'll never let go!
Last night after dinner, Renee and I spent some time with Adele playing with Playdough.  On most weeknights, we try to spend as much time as we can with her before she goes to sleep.  Because she sleeps at around 8:30 pm, we only get to see her for a couple of hours each day.  We really miss out a lot and it's a shame, but that's the reality of life, I guess.  This is the reason why I think we need to invest aggressively (but safely) to have an early retirement, but that's a totally different discussion (see my other blog).

So, while we were playing with Adele, I walked away for a while, and immediately, she cried out to me, "Baba, play Playdough, play Playdough!"  I then walked back and said, almost not thinking about the words, "Yuet Yuet, one day, you will grow up and not want to play with Baba anymore."  Immediately after those words, a feeling of melancholy came over me.  Those words are probably going to come true at some point in time.  The saddest thing is that there are times now that I wished Adele would not require so much attention from me.  I have different things to do like watch TV, surf the web, write blogs...How ironic!  When Adele grows up to be an adolescent, I can just imagine that we would make a switch.  I'd want her to spend time with me, but she would rather hang out with friends, etc.

That is life...and so, I'm going to consciously maximize the amount of attention I give to her, while she still wants it.  Sometimes that's more easily said than done, but every time I find myself doing something else when I can be spending time with her, I'll be sure to correct myself!
Poor Adele Waiting to be Seen by a Doctor

I just turned 32!  I can't say it's one of the best birthdays I've had, but it'll definitely go down as one of the most memorable.  The last time I wrote, we were in the emergency room at Scarborough Grace Hospital, because Adele had a fever for about 4 days.  It's been 2 days since that and Adele has been getting better.  The doctor couldn't really diagnose what was wrong that night, because Adele kept on crying and so he couldn't hear her breathing very well.  He also couldn't look inside her ear to see if there's any infection because there was too much ear wax.  Because she wasn't very calm and was moving about, he couldn't really clean her ears either.  Anyway, he prescribed some antibiotics just in case it was a bacterial infection.

Since then, she's gotten a lot better.  Before, she was sleeping something like 22 hours a day and wouldn't eat anything.  The past 2 days have been better.  She's been moving about, playing, talking, and eating some solid food.  So, there was definitely progress.  Today, we brought her over to Joanne's (my sister-in-law) mom's place to play with her cousins.  Everything was going swell until we gave her one of grandma's oatmeal cookies.  She probably inhaled bits of it and began to cough every 2-3 seconds.  This continued for about half an hour.  We gave her milk, patted her back...essentially did everything we could think of, but the coughing was still the same.  If you are a parent, you would know how heart wrenching that would be.  So, we left and drove back to my parents' place where we're staying.  We thought maybe we could do something there.  We tried putting her in a steamy bathroom and hope that the humidity would help...nope, didn't work.  We tried giving her more fluids.  We googled for other remedies, but to no avail.  At about 1.5 hours after she started choking (we'll call it that), we decided to bring her to the emergency room.  (Parents, imagine...1.5 hours of non-stop coughing...I want to cry just thinking about it)

So, we went to Grace Hospital again.  A pregnant lady (she claimed 6 weeks) was with the triage nurse, complaining about abdominal pain.  When the nurse saw Adele coughing incessantly, she kicked the pregnant lady out and began admitting Adele.  I was parking the car at this point, so I found this out from Renee afterwards.  No wonder when I walked in, there was this nervous man who kept walking into the triage area. Anyway, the nurse helped us bypass the waiting room outside the emergency room and routed us to the inner waiting room.  Rewind a few minutes and the triage nurse was weighing Adele.  Adele cried at the top of her lungs because she really wanted to be with mommy.  I think that 30 seconds of crying helped her dislodge the cookie from her airways.  So, after sitting down in the waiting area, we suddenly realized that her coughing had stopped completely.  It was like a light switch...cookie in, cough on...cookie out, cough off!

Renee wanted to leave at that point because she thought we were wasting the hospital's resources, but I wasn't going to take any chances.  So, we agreed to have the staff take an x-ray of Adele's lungs.  It must have been terrifying for Adele, because to get her to be still during the x-ray, the technician had to put her in a "fixture". She had to sit on a bicycle seat and then her arms had to be held high.  Then two curved polycarbonate sheets closed around her body.  She was crying her head off at first, but I was there to reassure her.  I was kind of surprised that she stopped crying after about half a minute and was only making whining noises.

The doctor then finally saw her and confirmed that she had pneumonia from the x-ray.  This doctor wanted the pediatrician who was on duty to take a look at Adele just to be sure.  The pediatrician was very good.  She was an older lady and was very experienced by the way she handled Adele.  She sat down beside us and  just asked us all the background questions, until Adele was calm and started to fall asleep. Then, she listened to her breathing and did the other usual checks.  She explained that Adele's case of pneumonia was not very severe, but was present, nonetheless.  Since it was less than 2 days from when we first started giving her the antibiotics, it was a good idea to continue it.  By the end of tomorrow, her fever should go away.  She also thought that Adele's resumption of activity was a good sign that she was already recovering.  So, she sent us off with another prescription, in case Adele's fever was still there after tomorrow.

We got home around 11:30 pm and Adele went to bed very quickly and very soundly.  It's 1:40 am now, but I'm still kind of worked up and don't feel too sleepy.  The good thing is that I haven't heard her cough at all since she fell asleep.

So, my birthday was quite eventful.  It was not the best birthday I've ever had, but then again, it was not the worst either.  Things could have turned out much worse than they did.  I'm just grateful things seem to be better now.  We've decided to cancel the New Year's Eve party that we were planning to have at our place tomorrow, but it's no big deal.  As long as Adele gets better, we really couldn't ask for anything more.  Actually, I can...Renee also started coughing about 2 days ago.  I pray that it wouldn't get any worse.  For those of us who are healthy...seriously, don't take it for granted!  And for you parents who have gone through this as well, you know our pain, and we know yours too!  And for you yet-to-be parents (especially our friends on whom we cancelled our party), please forgive us even if you don't quite understand.  It's one thing to be sick yourself, and quite another to see your child sick.  I would prefer the former, without even a thought!
It's been 4 days since Adele has had her fever.  We've been giving her Advil and she's still a little hot at 101 degrees F.  We were going to bring her to the doctor's in the morning, but she was flopping around in bed during the night.  Afraid that her condition was getting worse or there was some other more serious condition (e.g. meningitis), we took her to the emergency room at Scarborough Grace Hospital (we were at my mom's).

We were greeted by a nurse in a pretty bad mood.  It almost felt like we were at fault to be there.  She was absolutely not gentle with Adele when measuring her weight and giving her Tylenol.  I'm glad I'm getting top notch service for my tax dollars.  After waiting for about an hour, we were called in from the waiting room to a second waiting room.  This second waiting room was really just a hallway and there weren't enough chairs.  So, our friendly nurse decided to kick me out. That explains why I'm writing this while sitting in the first waiting room.

Ok, enough ranting.  Adele seemed to have improved since we woke her.  On the way here, we had Christmas music in the car and she sang along when we played Jingle Bells, which is her favourite Christmas tune at the moment.  I really hope it's just a normal cold or flu or some viral infection.  We had plans to go to Niagara-on-the-lake with her the day after tomorrow, along with Lai Chuen and friends.  We rarely get to spend time with her during our normal work week.  So, that would be fun for all of us.  But those plans may fall through now.  Oh well, there's really nothing we can do to change things.

For now, we'll continue praying...
This December has not been good in terms of health for our family.  I was literally sick for 3 weeks, starting at the end of November.  Then, about 4 days ago, Adele came down with a fever and a cough.  Since this happened over Christmas, there were some mandatory family events that we could not miss.  So, we dragged her with us to a couple of parties, and even to my own birthday party (which was a surprise, by the way...but more on that in another post).  This is the 4th day that she's had the fever and we're starting to get a little worried.  My brother, Eric, who's a family doctor, took a brief look at her and thought she was not in too bad of a shape.  But he didn't have his "tools" (what are they called anyway?), so he couldn't properly examine her.  In any case, she's just constantly tired and is sleeping probably 80% of the day.  It sort of worries me what infection she's got.

Her cough is also not helping.  Because she's so young (almost 20 months), she doesn't really know how to control a cough.  So, for the past couple of nights, she's gagged herself during coughing and threw up in bed.  It's the most painful thing to see...the poor little girl going through all this pain.  I never understood why my parents always hassled me to see a doctor when I was sick, but I guess now I do.

To make matters worse, Renee seems to have contracted the infection from Adele.  She's feeling dizzy and has a headache and a sore throat.  They're now sleeping upstairs.  And what can I do to help?  I just feel so helpless and useless.  I remember reading or hearing somewhere (believe it's originally from St. Bernard of Clairvaux...after some googling) that there are 4 degrees of love, in ascending order:

  1. Loving self for self
  2. Loving other for self
  3. Loving other for other
  4. Love self for other
The least selfless love is loving the self for the sake of the self.  E.g.) I buy an iPad for myself because I want to own an iPad.  The second degree is loving another person for sake of self.  E.g.) I love my wife, because I feel good when I love somebody.  The third degree, often thought of as the highest degree, is loving the other for the sake of the other.  E.g.) I love my wife and sacrifice for her so that she would be better off.  However, that is not the highest degree.  The highest degree is loving the self for the sake of others.  And here is where it applies to my situation.  I must love myself (i.e. take good care of myself) for the sake of Renee and Adele.  Since they are both sick, I need to care for myself first, because if I also become sick, then that would do them no good.  So, the love of the self is in fact, a selfless love.  It is the highest degree because it may be most difficult, but yet, the right thing to do.  The direct application in "real" life is during an airplane safety video, "when the oxygen masks drop from the overhead compartment, put the mask on before helping others with their masks..."

So, I'm going to go to eat some fruits, take a nice hot shower, shave (yeah, I shave in the evenings...weird!), and go to bed early tonight, because I need to love myself!  And to all you caregivers out there, please take good care of yourself too!
To Renee, my daughter's mother. You are the love of my life and from you comes the second love of my life.

To Susanna, my mother;
To Anita, Renee's mother;
Without you, we wouldn't be here!

To Mary, our heavenly Mother. Without your intercession, I would not be writing this!

It's 12:54 am on May 12, 2009. I'm sitting here in Room 368 at the Trillium Health Centre in Mississauga. My wife, Renee, and my newborn daughter, Adele, are sleeping soundly beside me. As I reflect on what happened in the last 72 hours, I can't help but feel a little overwhelmed. I don't think I will ever fully understand a mother's love, but having seen what Renee had to endure leading up to Adele's birth, I think I now have a better appreciation for a mother's selfless love for her children.

I remember when I was young, in Chinese school we studied a famous essay called, "Motherly Love" (母愛). I never quite understood why so much emphasis was put on a mother's love, as opposed to a father's love. I now have a bit of an idea.

Renee's contractions started around 2:00am on May 9 (yes, the date is correct). They were not very regular, nor were they very intense. She didn't even wake me up at that point. They were, however, uncomfortable enough to have kept her up all night. The next morning, we canceled all of our events for the day, in hope that labour would begin shortly. The contractions did become stronger and more frequent, but not frequent enough (i.e. once every 5 minutes) to require going to the hospital. After dinner, the contractions became significantly more intense and we knew we were getting close. Just after midnight, both of us were fairly tired and wanted to see if we could catch a quick nap, but lying down only slowed down the contractions and so, we forced ourselves to stay up.

At 4:00 am, we decided to head off to the hospital. We went to wake up Rachel (Renee's sister) but found out that she was just lying in bed, having trouble falling asleep because of all the excitement. We got to the hospital at 4:20 and got assessed at around 4:45. At that point, Renee was 2 cm dilated, which was apparently not enough to be admitted to a delivery room. We were instructed to walk around the hospital until 7:00 am because walking helps the cervix dilate a little more quickly. So, that's what we did and we also went to the Tim Hortons in the hospital to grab some breakfast.

When we got back at 7:00, we waited in a room for 45 minutes until being assess again. This time, Renee was 5 cm dilated and was officially admitted. Our nurse, Annie, was really helpful and encouraging. To her, everything we did was perfect and Renee always made excellent progress. By 11:00, Renee was 7 cm dilated. At that point, I could notice that the contractions really started to become very painful. Before this, Renee was always walking, talking, and laughing in between contractions, but now, she mainly rested and closed her eyes while she could. And when the contractions did come, her grip on my hands were a lot firmer and I could feel the sweat in her palms.

At one point, Annie got a phone call that her daughter-in-law had given birth to a daughter, and naturally, she had to leave to see her new grandchild. Another nurse, Barb, came to replace her. Barb was also an excellent nurse. By this time, around 12:30, Renee was 9 cm dilated, but there was a lip at her cervix which prevented Adele's head from progressing farther downwards. Barb had to use a catheter to empty Renee's bladder to create more room. It looked like a painful procedure to me, but Renee didn't complain one bit. I was absolutely astonished by her endurance!

Finally, after 1:00, the lip on the cervix was gone, after Renee changed to a sideways position. It was finally time to push the baby out. I could tell it was the most painful part of the delivery because Renee said to me a few times that she couldn't push or that she was in a lot of pain. I felt so helpless because all I could do was tell her that soon it would be over and we would be able to see our daughter. I wanted to take the pain away, but all I could do was watch her experience it over and over again. I asked myself silently, how I could ever get mad again at Renee or give her attitude or be impatient with her, for all the pain that she has had to endure to give birth to our child. 

Then, at around 2:00, we saw the tip of Adele's head slowly emerging with every push. Finally, at 2:13 pm, on May 10, 2009, our daughter Adele was born. It all happened so quickly. I could not quite fathom how a baby of such size could be born in this way at all. I simply cannot imagine the pain that Renee felt. 

And there she was, Adele, my daughter, lying in front of me. You know the feeling when you're on a roller coaster when it goes down that first big hill? When your heart seems to want to jump out of your body? When your heart beats 200 times a minute? That was the feeling I had when I saw her there. I could not help but let tears well up in my eyes. Doctor Stein then handed me a pair of scissors to cut the umbilical cord. My hand trembled so much that I missed the cord the first time. The nurse then put Adele into Renee's arms and she held her ever so tenderly. Doctor Stein had to stitch Renee up, and while he applied the local anesthetic with a huge needle, Renee's gaze was still fixated on Adele, smiling and tearing at the same time; she did not flinch one bit. All she cared about was that Adele was now here, in her arms. And this is the epitome of a mother's love!

Now, I understand why we should call our mothers more often. Now, I understand why we had to study the essay, "Motherly Love". It is for all of the sacrifices that they have made for us, not only during our births but over their entire lives. We fathers, will always ponder what it is like to give birth, but that is the privilege reserved for mothers, and we must forever respect that and be grateful. Now, go tell your mother you love her!
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