I returned home last night after an eventful week with one of our two "adopted" families, as they experienced the birth of their eighth child. Though I didn't give birth to the mother of all these children, she is much like a daughter to me. I was with her for the home birth of numbers 6 and 7 (twin boys born two-and-a-half years ago), and it was a pleasure to be with her again for number 8, a beautiful baby girl weighing in at 9 lb. 14 oz. All of these children call me Grandma, and they are a joy. With five boys and three girls, ranging in age from almost sixteen to newborn, they are also exhausting.
Like many people with MCS, I have other residual ailments as well, and maintaining stamina is always a challenge. However, I am happy to report that despite the mountains of laundry done, the countless peanut butter sandwiches made, the many potty assists (with barely trained twins) and several days of sleep deprivation, I had only one small incident of a chemical reaction, and that was my own fault. (I used some "scent-free" deodorant that contained a masking fragrance.) Even with all those people in one house (including a teen-age daughter), this family manages to stay mostly chemical-free. And what few fragranced things they do use, they went without while I was there.
It was a long trip home, as I had to stop often to stretch my legs, which were stiff from sleeping on a sofa bed with a four-year-old snuggled up next to me. And my right foot is still a little swollen from when a two-year-old ran over it with a monster truck. It will take me a few days to recover, that's for sure, but I wouldn't trade the experience for the best night's sleep in the softest bed anywhere. Ahhhh...birthing is such a joy, at least when you're the grandma.