The birth story

The past four weeks have been pretty hectic. My sweet girl is sleeping peacefully in her bassinet, allowing me the opportunity to make some online updates. So here it is, the birth story of Khloë as I remember it:

I never made it to my next midwife appointment, nor to my due date of December 16th. At 6:40 am on the morning of December 2nd, at 38 weeks on the dot, my water broke! I had been laying in bed when I felt a small trickle. I sat up, unsure, and felt a heavier trickle which alarmed me enough to hop out of bed and run for the bathroom–by the time I made it across the hall my pants were soaked in a big gush of fluid. My first thought was, “As if this just happened”, because it was just like in the movies with the waters gushing out unexpectedly. My second was, “Uh oh, how am I going to get to the phone?!” I ended up wrapping a towel around myself to go grab the telephone. I hurriedly called my husband on his cell. He had left for Kingston the night before, returning to his course. I caught him on his way to breakfast.

“Hi honey. Guess what?”
“What…”
“My water just broke!”
“Does that mean I have to come home right now?”

I told him I hadn’t felt any contractions yet and that I would get back to him after calling my mom and paging the midwives. I quickly called my mom, who was heading to work shortly. I explained what happened and she said that she would have to go to work first but she would be able to drive up today if I really needed her. Then I paged the midwives and waited for a call back. Suki answered the page and I gave her the heads up: “No contractions, amniotic fluid clear. What do I do now?” Knowing I was positive for Group B Strep, I had a certain amount of time before I had to go to the hospital to start antibiotics. I am allergic to penicillin and amoxicillin which are normally administered every 4 hours through IV; instead I would receive clindamycin every 8 hours. Suki said I was to go to the hospital for noon to start the drugs, she would call ahead, and she would make sure the nurse put in a locking IV so that I could return home afterward. She also suggested I tell my husband to think about making the 3 hour drive home.

I called my mom back and she assured me she could leave work and would be at my house by 11:30 am at the latest to take me to the hospital. Jordan had to stay in Kingston to write a test but I felt much better knowing my mom was on her way. I assured Jordan there was no rush, that it could be hours yet before anything happened, and that he should stay to finish the day. Next I called my “emergency” ride, Melissa, and explained the situation.

Then I waited…and waited. Had a quick shower and got dressed in clean clothes. Texted my sisters, Crystal and Keesje. Skyped with Keesje and Ashe. Called my mother-in-law, Charlene, to let her know what was going on. She was actually scheduled to fly to Ontario on December 4th to stay with me before the baby was born. She couldn’t believe that I would most likely have the baby before she even arrived!

Finally my mom arrived by 11:30 am. I still had not experienced any contractions but I was leaking amniotic fluid every time I stood up. We made the 30 minute drive to Pembroke Regional Hospital. A nurse inserted a locking IV in my left arm (ouch!) and started the clindamycin. We were there until almost 3 o’ clock and then headed home. By 4:15 pm, I began to feel contractions that felt like mild period cramps. Okay, I can do this!

I called my husband and told him he had better start driving! My next dose of antibiotics was at 9:00 pm.

Jordan made it home in time for the three of us to head back to the hospital for dose #2. This time the drugs went in faster and we were only there for an hour. Seemed a waste of a 30 minute drive but I was not ready to be admitted. We stopped at Shoppers Drug Mart on the way home to pick up Gravol. I took two Tylenol and two Gravol and crawled into bed, hoping to get some sleep; it had been a long day and no progress had been made. Sometime in the night the contractions started back up, but much more painful and about 8-9 minutes apart. They slowly increased in intensity and got to the point where being in bed was extremely uncomfortable. I got out of bed and went into the living room where I was able to either sit hunched over or lean on the counter during a contraction. Unfortunately I hadn’t been able to sleep, but my mom and Jordan did. I woke them up at 3:30 am and we all got ready to head back to Pembroke Hospital for dose #3 at 4:30 am. It was December 3rd, my brother’s birthday.

Once at the hospital they decided to admit me. I was tired of going back and forth and soon I would be hitting the 24 hour mark of my water breaking. The nurse on duty was super nice and gave me the “best” private room at the end of the hall. I would labour, deliver, and remain in this room during my hospital stay. I received the dose of drugs and tried my best to rest while the nurses monitored the baby. When I wasn’t being monitored, Mom and I walked the halls hoping to kick-start those irregular contractions. Early in the morning Suki arrived. She checked my cervix and performed a “stretch and sweep” (which hurt like hell, I must add); then she informed me I was only 2 cm dilated. All this time, and my body was not doing what it was supposed to. Due to the whole Group B Strep bacteria, checking my cervix was to be limited.

By 10:30 am, Kilmeny (who ended up being my primary midwife) said I would have to be induced. I was not happy about that–one intervention leads to another–but I also knew that it had to be done. An induction means transfer of care from my midwife to an obstetrician. Kilmeny would stay with me the whole time, however. I was hooked up to the dreaded pitocin. Slowly the dosage was increased until the contractions became regular and very painful. Kilmeny suggested I take Dilaudid (a narcotic) for pain relief to take the edge off the pain and so that I could get some much-needed rest. I agreed to this; it was something we had previously discussed.

At 2:45 pm I was given a full dose of Dilaudid with Gravol by needle. Oh my God, did it ever burn! And then dose #4 of clindamycin. Here is where events get a little hazy…

The Dilaudid and Gravol combo made me feel woozy, like I was watching events unfold from far away. Yes, it did take the edge off the pain, and yes I was able to rest in between contractions. Because I was so sleepy, though, it became difficult to speak coherently and to answer questions.

At some point the obstetrician checked my cervix and, without telling me what he was doing, broke a hidden water sac which was apparently the cause of my not progressing. Something he did really hurt and I remember yelling when I saw the hook emerge from between my legs. He informed me I was 4 cm. Seriously?!

By evening, if I recall correctly, the narcotic was wearing off. I became very aware of the intensity of the contractions and how fast they were coming on. I was practically climbing the hospital bed during each one, as if I was trying to escape them. I asked for more drugs, anything, please make the pain stop, etc. Kilmeny said I could have an epidural, but I would have to wait an hour for the anesthesiologist. Okay fine, but I needed something right now. The OB said I was allowed a half dose of Dilaudid, but that didn’t help much. I was struggling with breathing through the contractions.

I remember completely breaking down when I waited the hour and then was informed it would be another half hour before the epidural. I started hyperventilating and crying uncontrollably and couldn’t calm myself down. Kilmeny took charge and firmly talked me down from the ledge, so to speak. She coached my breathing until I was (relatively) calm and able to breathe through the contractions. I don’t think I have ever felt pain like that before. I did get through that excruciatingly long half hour and then I was prepped for the epidural insertion.

I don’t remember the needle hurting at all. I do remember sitting on the edge of the bed, hunched over, with my feet on Kilmeny’s chair while she held me steady. I do remember trying so hard to be still as a contraction ripped through my body. And then it was done.

Once the pain relief kicked in, the nurses kept testing the extent of my numbness with ice. After awhile I could feel my legs again, although they felt heavy, and those contractions kept hitting hard. The nurses were only allowed to up the dosage a certain amount while the anesthesiologist was away. (She never returned because she was in surgery.) The OB came in to check my cervix again and announced I was at 8 cm. So close! I couldn’t believe I had waited that long for an epidural, but it didn’t seem to be doing much anyway. He also said that if I didn’t progress any further in the next two hours, I would be prepped for a c-section. I got really upset when he told me that because I am terrified of having one.

Luckily within an hour Kilmeny confirmed I’d reached 10 cm and was ready to push! At first she let me lay on my right side to push. But this caused an excruciating pain in my right hip, worse than the contractions! I was turned onto my back and Jordan grabbed one leg, my mom the other, and I pushed that way for what felt like ages. I was so exhausted that I felt like I wasn’t putting enough energy into pushing, but I was told later by my midwife that I actually did really well.

And then Baby Girl got stuck! Turned out she was facing up, rather than down. The obstetrician returned once again, this time with a team of nurses, and took over from Kilmeny. He explained that he would use a suction vacuum to assist the baby out of the birth canal; he would also have to perform an episiotomy. Yikes!

After an hour of pushing and with assistance of the vacuum, at 9:22 pm, Khloë Willow Alexandra was born! She was immediately placed in my arms. I couldn’t believe I was finally holding our baby girl! She was covered in a thick white layer of vernix and Jordan made the comment that “she looks like a chicken”, hence the nickname Little Chicken. She weighed 7 lbs 4 oz and was 19 inches long. No one guessed I would have a baby that big! Imagine what she would have weighed if she had been on time or overdue?! After being cleaned up, Khloë nursed right away.


Newborn

Things were a bit of a whirlwind after that. Jordan spent the night in our room while Mom went back to our house. I was awake most of the night from either breastfeeding or being poked by nurses. Sleeping in a hospital is impossible. I don’t remember ever feeling this kind of exhaustion before.

Blood-work that was taken earlier came back showing an iron deficiency. Anemic! This meant I had to stay in the hospital until Thursday (I gave birth on a Tuesday). The next night I was alone since Jordan had to head back to Kingston for work. That was the worst night because I still hadn’t slept and Khloë fussed a lot. Finally at 3:00 am I asked the night nurse to take her so I could rest. When she rolled my baby out of the room I started crying because I wanted her back and felt awful for sending her away. I knew I had to try to get some sleep, though, or I would be no good to anyone, let alone a brand-new baby! I woke up at 6:00 am and paged for the nurse to bring her back.

Later in the morning, on Thursday, Khloë had her heels pricked and a release was signed for her. However, I still hadn’t been released. Mom showed up around breakfast time and we waited and waited until after lunch, when finally my release was signed. Time to go home! We made a pit stop at Walmart to pick up a specific kind of iron pills that wouldn’t upset my stomach, but they didn’t have any in stock. I ended up having to nurse the baby at the back of the store before we could head to the drug store. And then–at last–we made it home!

Dec 4: When we left the hospital, Khloë weighed 6 lb 14 oz.
Dec 9: Suki made a home visit and Khloë weighed 6 lb 10 oz and had mild jaundice.
Dec 12: Khloë visited her family doctor and weighed 7 lb 1 oz.
Dec 14: Another home visit from Suki and Khloë weighed 7 lb 2 oz.
Dec 20: On our last home visit Khloë weighed 7 lb 10 oz.
Jan 9: Upon discharge from midwife care, Khloë weighed 9 lb 15 oz.

Second trimester: Weeks 22 – 25

Week 22 (August 12)
Lately I’ve been feeling a lot of movement. Her kicks were very strong this week; even Jordan felt them. She seems to be most active in the morning, after breakfast, and then of course at night when I’m falling asleep. Picked up supplies to paint Baby K’s first name in wood letters for the nursery. I also printed “thank you” notes onto white cardstock and made colourful envelopes with scrapbook paper (for the baby shower). I have so many decorating ideas!


Weeks 22-23

Weeks 22-23


Week 23 (August 19)
Sometimes when Baby K kicks, it’s so hard that I jump! Getting closer to my next midwife appointment.

In other news, I finished painting the wood letters, sealed them with a clear coat, and glued on pink silk flowers and silver pearls. They look amazing! I used turquoise and pink for the paint. I also framed some 12×12 fairy tale scrapbook paper, embellished with flowers and rhinestones, for the nursery.

Week 24 (August 26)
My midwife appointment on August 30th went well. I met Suki for the first time and immediately felt comfortable with her. This time my husband came with me, as he was available. We discussed a little about what I wanted for pain relief at the hospital. I explained that I originally wanted an epidural as soon as possible, but now I’m not so sure. The hospital only has one anesthesiologist on staff who works specific daytime hours and I cannot be guaranteed he won’t be needed elsewhere for emergencies. Even if I wanted an epidural, I may not get one (which happened to a friend a few weeks ago). Suki mentioned that, although they no longer use Demerol for pain relief, there is a similar opiate, Dilaudid, that is safer that can be offered if I’m looking to take the edge off. She said we would talk more about pain relief later; she just wanted to get me thinking about it. I really like that she will tell me my options and then let me decide; nothing will be pushed on me at the hospital. I also mentioned that I wanted to avoid an induction unless it was absolutely necessary.

Baby K’s heart rate this time was 146 bpm. My blood pressure was excellent. Fundal height was at 23 cm (on the good side of normal for 24 weeks).

Suki gave me the option of either doing the glucose tolerance test in a couple weeks or close monitoring of weight gain and growth of baby. Since I’m not at risk for gestational diabetes, I chose to keep an eye on my weight gain and be careful with eating sugars. This means less bloodwork for me to do! Next appointment is September 27th.


Weeks 24-25

Weeks 24-25


Week 25 (September 2)
We had a natural gas furnace installed this week. The city will be extending gas lines in October and then we will be all set for winter. I missed my Prenatal Nutrition group this week because of the installation. I’ll miss it again next week as we will be away on vacation. Allergies really bothered me the past two weeks, especially at night when I’m trying to sleep. I hate itchy eyes.

I’m at maximum stretchability with some of my tank tops (like in Week 25 picture). I can’t believe how large and round my belly is now! Total weight gain is at 21.5 lbs!

Ashe, Disney, and other news

My little nephew will be 2 years old next Saturday. Isn’t that crazy? We are having a “Thomas the Train” birthday party for him down at the cottage. He loves “choo choos” so much right now. I’m really excited to drive down next week for another visit with the little monkey.


Ashe @ 23 months old

Ashe @ 23 months old


With Jordan beginning a new occupation in the military this summer, he will be going away on course in the fall. And doesn’t it just happen to occur during our planned trip to Walt Disney World. I’ve recently cancelled the trip and we will be getting our deposit back. I’m sad that we won’t get to go, but there’s other news to keep us happy.

On December 16, 2013 I will be 40 weeks pregnant. 🙂

A whole lot of playing “catch up”

After two weeks of living in our new house, Jordan was sent away on an exercise in the U.S. until the first week of March and I was left on my own. I don’t know anybody here, which made it kind of lonely. I ended up going back to Kingston for four days, staying at my mom’s house and visiting my family and old co-workers. I was really missing my nephew Ashe, so it was great to get to spend so much time with him. He’s such a happy child!


Playing iPhone games with my buddy!

Playing iPhone games with my buddy!


I’ve noticed that it seems to snow every day here, even if it only lasts a few minutes. The snow is also heavier and sticks to the ground much longer than I’ve seen in Kingston. I hate shoveling. Now that it’s April, the snow is finally melting.

When my darling husband returned, he used up the rest of his leave and ended up with the majority of March off work. We spent a weekend in Kingston staying with friends and I got to visit with Ashe again (in the above photo). Little monkey was 20 months old in that picture, and as of yesterday he’s now 21 months. He’ll be two this July, which is insane!


Ashe @ 20 months old

Ashe @ 20 months old


My mom came up for the second last weekend of March. We painted the master bedroom:


Before

Before

After

After


I am SO excited about moving our furniture into that room. I’ve always wanted a purple room and Jordan said he didn’t care what colour our bedroom was. 🙂 While my mom was here we did lots of cooking and baking. She showed me how to make mushroom risotto. OMG, delicious! I am not a fan of rice, and her risotto was like eating dessert. We also used my Kitchen Aid mixer for the first time (she wants to buy one) and made caramel sticky rolls from scratch and applesauce muffins.

We also spent Easter weekend in Ottawa at his sister and brother-in-law’s. Our niece, Zoë, is just over a year old now. She’s still shy and takes awhile to warm up to us. She’s pretty cute. We didn’t do anything fancy, just hung around the house or went shopping, and had Easter breakfast at their church on Sunday morning, which I think we did last year as well. On the drive home, we detoured through Fort-Coulonge because Jordan wanted to see the red covered bridge:


Standing with the covered bridge in Fort-Coulonge, Quebec.

Standing with the covered bridge in Fort-Coulonge, Quebec.

Snapshot while driving through the covered bridge (iPhone).

Snapshot while driving through the covered bridge (iPhone).


Received a chocolate package from the Attewell’s in Germany:


Chocolate stash from Germany (iPhone).

Chocolate stash from Germany (iPhone).


I’ve begun learning how to use my Canon 60D camera on Manual mode. With the help of this book:


Understanding Exposure by Bryan Peterson

Understanding Exposure by Bryan Peterson


It’s something I’ve always wanted to do and I’m now taking the time to teach myself. Doesn’t seem as difficult as I expected, but I’ve still got lots to learn. My camera came with a Canon 18-200mm IS lens and I have been saving up to purchase the Sigma 17-70mm OS lens. One more week and I should be able to buy it. I’m really excited! Not only for a new lens, but for Walt Disney World!

That’s right, we are going to the World where dreams do come true! We are booked into POP Century, a value resort, for 8 nights/9 days in October. We are planning to drive and will also spend a night and full day in Washington, D.C. I’m a little obsessed with Disney World right now. I’ve done so much research and planning already. I even have an itinerary done up in Excel. Okay, I’m crazy. But anyway, I’m going to master Manual mode on my camera and take amazing photos on our vacation, I just know it! 😉

Germany – Part III

***Continued from previous post.

{November 9 – 12:00 pm – Berlin}
On the ICE direct train to Nuremberg. (Cost: €194) The trains are so expensive! It should take about five hours to reach our destination. This morning we were up at 8:30 am (why, on our last day in Berlin, were we able to get up?!) to start packing our things. By 10:30 am we had checked out and walked down to catch the M5 tram to the stop just after Alexanderplatz. Hopped on the S-bahn to Berlin Hauptbahnhof. Bought our tickets for the 11:52 am train to Nuremberg (Nürnberg). Grabbed some sandwiches to bring with us for lunch (discount with Welcome Cards).

{November 9 – 7:15 pm – Nuremberg}
Here we are in Nuremberg! The streets are cobbled and the architecture is beautiful. At the Nuremberg Hauptbahnhof, we waited in line at the DB kiosk so that we could ask directions to our hotel, the Sorat Agneshof, and purchased bus tickets. Before leaving the station we found a grocery store and bought a few snacks. We absolutely love these refrigerated Kinder snacks:


Kinder treats (iPhone)

From the train station we hopped onto a local U-bahn train. After going a couple stops, we realized that we were heading in the wrong direction! I find the underground railway so confusing to use. We quickly got off and went to the other side of the platform and caught the proper train to Rathenauplatz. Then we transferred to bus #36 and got off at the Rathaus stop. From there we proceeded to get lost in the dark! We didn’t have a map with us and kind of wandered around, going up and down the cobbled, hilly streets dragging our suitcases until we ended up sitting on a bench in what turned out to be Albrecht Dürer Square. I stayed put, munching on a chocolate pastry and guarding our suitcases, while Jordan went in search of our hotel. Less than 10 minutes later he reappeared and told me that we had walked by the street earlier. Figures! Checked into our hotel. The room is small but it was cheap so no complaints! There is a bed, a television, and a good-sized bathroom, which is all we need.


Jordan & I heading to Nuremberg

{November 9 – 10:20 pm – Nuremberg}
After checking into our room on the second floor, we freshened up and went in search of dinner. The gentleman at reception gave us a few restaurant suggestions. More wandering around in the dark took us back to the square and past the castle, until finally we ended up at “Albrecht-Dürer-Stube”. This restaurant is just around the corner from the hotel and came highly recommended. Everyone sits around communal tables and the atmosphere is very warm and friendly. I ordered the pork shoulder with dumpling and red cabbage, while Jordan had the venison stew. (Cost: €25) We are getting low on cash, better find an ATM soon.


Room (Sorat Agneshof) Bathroom (Sorat Agneshof) Pork shoulder with dumpling and red cabbage

{November 10 – 6:25 pm – Nuremberg}
After being out all day (what else is new?!), we are having dinner at “Karl’s Brückla”, a restaurant we found randomly.

This morning we ate breakfast at the hotel to save ourselves some time. (Cost: €14) We got a map from reception and pinpointed where the nearest Deutsche Bank ATM is. Walked over to the Hauptmarkt (main square) and found the tourist info kiosk. Purchased a special group day pass for €8 which we will more than make up for just by taking the bus to and from the Documentation Centre. Looked around the square for a little while; all sorts of tables were set up with fresh produce, cheeses, lebkuchen, etc.


Agnes Sorathof Nuremberg Hauptmarkt Nuremberg

Walked to the Deutsche Bank and withdrew €250. And then returned to the Hauptmarkt to catch bus #36 to the Doku-Zentrum stop. Our plan for the day is to spend some time at the Documentation Centre & Former Nazi Party Rally Grounds. Admission with audioguide to the Documentation Centre is €10 per person. We spent over an hour in there, touring through the exhibits. Although it was very interesting, we got so hot and bored with listening to the audioguide that we ended up hurrying through the last few sections. Most of the information we had already read about in other museums. At the end of the tour we stepped outside to view the inside of the Congress Hall. We handed in the audioguides then went outside for some fresh, but chilly, air and ended up walking around the Congress Hall to take some pictures. Jordan really wanted to see Zeppelin Field so we asked directions inside the Centre, then set out walking again in the drizzle. It is about a 10 minute walk from the Centre. I’m glad we went because it was neat to see. The steps are crumbling and it’s “climb at your own risk” and the immense field is now a stadium.


Strange sculpture On the bus Documentation Centre Congress Hall View of Congress Hall across the water Pausing in the rain for a photo

Caught bus #36 back to the Hauptmarkt. Looked around at a few shops. I bought a keychain for Lori. Walked around for what felt like eternity before finding a place to eat dinner. I ordered the pork cutlets stuffed with ham and cheese (also came with salad and fries) and a delicious hot chocolate; Jordan ordered pork topped with a fried egg (with potato wedges, salad, and 2 beers). (Cost: €27) I couldn’t finish my amazing meal because the cutlets were huge!


Press this button for Breakfast

{November 10 – 10:30 pm – Nuremberg}
After that filling meal we hopped on the U-bahn at Lorenzkirche and journeyed to the train station. Purchased our expensive tickets for tomorrow’s ride to Geilenkirchen. (Cost: €230) Also got a couple snacks then returned to the hotel for the night. Too bad we couldn’t stay here longer because we didn’t get to see very much!


Zeppelin Field Hitler's platform Pork cutlets stuffed with ham and cheese Amazing hot chocolate from "Karl's Bruekla" Warming my hands

{November 11 – 1:25 pm – Somewhere between Wurzberg and Frankfurt}
On the noon ICE train to Frankfurt. Once there we change to another ICE heading to Aachen. From Aachen we will end up in Geilenkirchen where Tammy & Tyler will pick us up. We ate breakfast at the hotel again, then took the bus and U-bahn to get to Nuremberg Hauptbahnhof. We should be in Geilenkirchen by 5:00 pm.

{November 11 – 3:00 pm – Montabaur}
We barely made our connection in Frankfurt. Once we boarded and found our seats there was announcement stating that the train would be delayed 6 minutes. I hope that doesn’t mess up our connection in Aachen. Ate our chocolate cookies for snack.

{November 11 – 6:00 pm – Tüddern}
Made our train in Aachen. Tammy & Tyler were waiting for us in Geilenkirchen, with their dog Doug. Now we are just settling in.

{November 12 – 6:45 pm – Tüddern}
Yesterday we had veggies & dip, various cheeses, herbed crackers, and sliced sausages for a snack at Tammy & Tyler’s home. Later, Tammy made chicken kebabs, rice, and white asparagus for dinner. We sat around eating and watching “Top Gear” on Netflix for the rest of the night.


Trier, Germany

Funky statue (Trier) Porta Nigra Trier's Church of Our Lady

Thermal bath ruins

Today we drove for 2 hours to Trier and walked around the town centre. We bought “cone fries” (aka fries in a cone of paper that we fell in love with in Austria two years ago) and “pizza in a pocket”. Bought a couple postcards to add to my collection. Took some photos of the Church of Our Lady, Porta Nigra (near the tourist information building), and the thermal bath ruins. Beautiful day to be out! I should note that I finally had to pay for use of a toilet today. When you gotta pee, you gotta pee!

{November 13 – 2:40 pm – Tüddern}
Tammy had to work today so Tyler, Jordan, and I drove out to Aachen. We wandered around the area near the cathedral. There are tons of bakeries selling printen (Aachen’s version of lebkuchen). I bought a bag of miniature printen pieces covered in chocolate. The christmas displays in the bakeries are beautiful to look at. Jordan bought a cherry danish for a snack. We found a Starbucks and I had to go in to try the lebkuchen latte; it tastes like a light gingerbread with a lot of cinnamon. Jordan ordered a caramel macchiato and we enjoyed our beverages sitting on a bench by the cathedral.


Enjoying a danish in Aachen Aachener printen Aachen Cathedral

Our main reason for coming to Aachen was to visit the Lindt chocolate factory. Jordan asked for directions in the Starbucks and the girl gave him a free map with the route drawn on. We walked over to the factory, when we probably should have drove. Luckily it wasn’t raining and we all seemed to have plenty of energy thanks to our coffees. When we got near the factory we noticed a huge sign saying “Lindt Chocolate Factory” but neither of us noticed the huge arrow pointing to the left. Instead we kept walking straight and ended up having to walk around the entire perimeter of the factory to find the entrance. Oops! No photos allowed inside the factory and it’s cash or debit only. I went a little crazy seeing all the beautiful chocolate for sale but knowing we could only pay cash, I tried to limit myself. I ended up spending €34 on chocolate! It could have been worse….


Drinking a lebkuchen latte Jordan's caramel macchiato Lindt chocolate factory

Posing in Aachen

We got back to the truck by 1:30 pm just as our parking was about to expire. On the way back to Tüddern we stopped at a gas station in The Netherlands and bought some sparkling Lipton iced tea! Reunited at last with my favourite iced tea. And then the realization kicks in: Oh no, tomorrow we leave!


Sparkling iced tea (iPhone)

{November 14 – 5:30 pm – In the Air}
We’ve been in the air since 2:00 pm. Time to play catch-up.

Didn’t do much yesterday after returning from Aachen. Watched the boys play Forza Horizons on Tyler’s XBox 360. Once Tammy came home from work she heated up some cheesy tortellini for dinner. And of course we snacked on more bread, crackers, and cheese. We talked the boys into turning off their game and instead watched more “Top Gear” episodes that cracked us up. By 10:30 pm we had our things packed and were in bed. I can’t believe how much cramming I had to do to get all that chocolate to fit in my suitcase.


Leaving Germany Plane food A fighter jet outside my window

Tyler came home from work early and drove us to the Köln-Bonn Flughafen. Took about 1.5 hours. He dropped us off at Crew Gate Alpha. After getting the attention of some military personnel on the other side of a glass door, we were let inside and passed through security quickly. We waited outside for what seemed like ages before a bus showed up to bring us to the plane. Sat on the bus with four other people, also for ages, before being allowed to board the plane.

***End of journal.


Welcome home!

The food served on these military flights is so much better than other flights I’ve been on. Each time the stewardess came by, she would give me cookies! The flight home was fine. Jordan and I sat at the front for the first leg of the journey, which gave us lots of leg room. Once we entered Canadian airspace, two fighter jets came up along side the plane and welcomed the soldiers returning from Afghanistan. That was pretty cool!

My chocolate stash and souvenirs:


Kinder and Milka Lindt chocolate bags Yummy Lindt treats

More Lindt chocolate bars

Postcards Magnets