Sunday, December 28, 2008

At a loss...

My sister-in-law told me she was pregnant on Thanksgiving day, with her seventh child. She was a few weeks ahead of me, and due in early July. She asked me to keep it quiet, and I did, though I nearly stumbled a few times. On Christmas Day, she told her parents who were visiting for the holidays. And then she called her brother - my husband - and told him. Everyone's excitement was a bit tempered.

She and her husband had just sold their house at a huge loss and moved into a rental. She's a phenomenal mother - and homeschools all of her children. Her parents and brother worried that she was stretched too thin, that her husband's fishing trips were taking him away too long from his family. She's been dealing with a thyroid problem this last year, and they were worried about her health. How will she manage? Financially? Physically?

I have to admit there was a part of me that was jealous she was pregnant. I was baffled at how she could have a seventh when I struggled so hard to get to the point where I was hopefully having a second. I was angry that it was just so easy for her. Angry at who? I have no idea. Not her. The universe, perhaps. How embarrassingly petty of me.

We got a call late last night that she was in the hospital, and that she'd lost the baby. She was about 13 weeks along.

I'm at a loss as to what to say to her. I don't want to cause her additional pain, but I wish I could let her know how sorry I am for her loss. How much my heart is breaking for her.

Last night I started spotting pink after we went shopping for awhile. This morning I'm bleeding a deeper red. I hope that it's just the clot resolving itself. When I called the doctor's office Friday they said not to be alarmed if I had bleeding.

I'm afraid to hope for much of anything right now.

Friday, December 26, 2008

What a long, strange trip it's been.

A little over two weeks ago, I got extremely sick after eating baked potato soup for lunch. Violently, horribly sick. I went back to work on Thursday and Friday though I still was having severe abdominal pain. That Friday Friday, Patrick, Julian and I were out to dinner and I fell ill and was unable to finish much of my food. There was a searing pain in my lower right abdomen, and I was nauseated and unable to eat. The pain was absolutely blinding but I begged Patrick not to take me to the hospital. Saturday morning, I woke up and felt better. Then I ate again and an hour later was doubled over in pain.

By Saturday evening the pain was still unbearable so I finally caved.

We were in the emergency room for about 5 hours before I was admitted with likely appendicitis.

The ultrasounds were only able to show them so much, and they were unable to give me a CT scan to determine whether it was truly appendicitis, a gall bladder issue, or kidney stones because of the pregnancy. We did get to see the baby's heartbeat though - thumping away at about 150 beats per minute.

So based on my symptoms, they bet on appendicitis. I had an emergency appendectomy that Sunday morning. And as it turns out, my appendix was not to blame. During the surgery the doctor found evidence of a burst ovarian cyst due to a large amount of free fluid in the cul de sac, which is apparently common in pregnant women.

They gave me a lot of zofran for the nausea and an IV drip of morphine - and then vicodin - for the pain.

The nurses and surgeon were amazingly nice, except for one night nurse who I wanted to stab in the neck with a blunt pen. She kept insisting I just needed to take ibuprofen (not permitted for pregnant women) and needed to "suck it up" about the pain. The doctor humiliated me a bit at discharge and said that I was in so much pain because I was "surprisingly chunky" in the abdomen and she had to cut through a lot of fat. Look, chica - I get it. I'm not extremely thin - but that was a bit rude and in front of my husband. Patrick said she said it to him before when I was in recovery after the surgery.

I ended up there three nights and four days, and then was sent home without any clear explanation as to why I was still having extreme pain on the right side after meals. The following Thursday I called the doctor's office in tears and they told me that it was just surgical pain. Friday I vomited three times from the pain and finally went back to the E.R. - the doctor there seemed convinced it was my gallbladder but the ultrasound didn't show any stones. So they sent me back home after nearly 7 hours and told me to eat a low fat diet.

They did another pelvic ultrasound that day. Baby's heartrate was up to 171, but they found a subchorionic hemorrhage. I've been trying to follow up with my OBGYN since then, but with the holiday the office has been pretty non-responsive. I went to a hospital where they're not delivering anymore, so I guess they're having trouble getting the records or something. I'm not spotting but I've had some horrendous cramps over the last week that take my breath away. I'm just trying to be hopeful.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Paper Anniversary

Our first anniversary is a week from Saturday. Thankfully, I realized it now as opposed to a week after the anniversary. In our relationship, I'm much more the stereotype attributed to men of being forgetful and not as emotionally available. It's something I'm working on... slowly.

So. Christmas is only five days after our anniversary, and I've already spent a mint on him for that. The traditional gift for the first anniversary (why yes - I am pregnant with our second child and it's our first anniversary, because we're scandalous like that) is paper.

I'm crafty as long as it doesn't involve knitting, or sewing - but don't have too much time. He likes: penguins, 60s Italian films, soccer (Newcastle especially), travel, gardening, hockey and reading.

Any bright ideas for an anniversary gift?

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Sleepy

I don't remember ever being this tired and consistently sleepy when I was pregnant with Julian.

*yawwwwwwwwwwwn*

I don't know how I'll manage to stay awake through the end of the day.

And pssst - if you're lurking? How 'bout saying "hi"? I'd like to know a little about you.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Fuzzy math.

I will never understand the "conentional wisdom" of pregnancy dating.

At the ultrasound on Monday, the tech had a difficult time finding the embryo with the abdominal scan and so I ended up with a transvaginal. After a few tense moments, I finally saw a glimpse of the heartbeat flickering on the screen.

And there was just one.

Whew.

However, I'm not completely in the clear yet. The ultrasound measurements showed that I was just barely 6 weeks pregnant. Only, that's impossible - as by the time of the ultrasound I've known that I was pregnant (from a positive generic HPT on November 17) for three weeks. The math just isn't adding up.

I didn't get the crown to rump measurement, but the embryo had clearly distinct arm and leg buds and the heartrate was in the 120s. I had this same issue when I was pregnant with Julian and then later in the pregnancy they started pulling the "whoa -this baby is way too big for his age!" Only he wasn't - he was perfectly in line with where he should've been based on my dating, notwithstanding that an early ultrasound is supposed to be the most accurate measurement of a pregnancy's duration.

They moved my due date up to August 2nd. According to my LMP I should be due 7/19. I don't think either is accurate. I think somewhere in the middle is probably correct.

I still haven't thrown up this time. Which is a huge change from last, when I was throwing up every day four times a day or more. I get queasy on the train, but the only thing I've noticed is I'm constantly exhausted and craving meat all the time. And considering I eat mainly vegetarian that's a big change for me.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Countdown.

Did you know that if you get pregnant while you're breastfeeding that you are nine times more likely to have twins? Yeah, me either.

If you consume dairy products (which as a mostly-vegetarian I eat cheese, milk, etc. to excess) you are five times more likely to have twins (theorized to be due to increased absorption of insulin-like growth factor).

Taller women (woo! I'm only 5'6" so I'm in the clear there) and women who are overweight (did not dodge that one) are more apt to have a multiple birth.

Having a previous twin pregnancy ups the risk, as does being over age 35. Having a large number of previous pregnancies also increases your risk.

And of course, infertility medications - which isn't a factor for me this time.

Apparently being Nigerian also skyrockets the chances up for you, due in large part to a diet high in cassava - a type of yam, which causes hyperovulation.

If you're Asian or Hispanic you're at a decreased risk, while African Americans are at a higher incidence of multiple births.

If you get pregnant on the pill you're also more likely to have multiples.

And then of course, there's the family history of the mom - and no - the father's family history does not matter. Until late last week I thought I was in the clear here, as I didn't think I had a family history. Until my stepmother called me and told me my grandmother (who died when my father was a child) was a triplet. Before this little bit of news, my doctor was hinting at the possibility of twins. Based on a variety of risk factors she said that instead of the 1 in 33 shot for most pregnancies of a twin or higher order multiple pregnancy, I had a 1 in 4 or 1 in 3 shot.

Our ultrasound is tomorrow morning at 8 a.m.

As a little girl, I always wanted twins. But as adorable as the twins of some of my friends' are - now, with a seven month old I simply don't see how I'd manage with three under 16 months old.

I'm praying hard tonight for just one. Just one, healthy little one. Patrick is a nervous wreck as he's had some kind of psychic power (or predictive abilities far outweighing mere chance) about my pregnancies thus far. He's convinced there's two.

We'll see. I'm trying not to be too nervous. But I'll say one thing - if there's two in there this time, I'm done. No more. Not ever. Finis.

Unlike my sister in law who I have been trying to hide the news from my in-laws that she's pregnant with her seventh child. Seven! And her oldest isn't even 11 yet. Absolutely no way that I could manage that life. I have a hard enough time with my one.

In other news, J is almost completely weaned. We've had just a few night nursings in the last week to calm him down. The doctor said that based on my pre-term contractions with him I need to be fully stopped by the end of my first trimester.

I completely switched out my regular clothes for maternity this weekend as all of my "fat" pants are woefully inadequate at buttoning at this point. Sigh. And I'd like to hide it at work for another month or so. I doubt that's going to be possible.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Pelt

I don't know if it's hormones run amok or that I'm pregnant with another boy but I seem to be growing quite the pelt.

I have a five o'clock shadow now on my legs, where I otherwise could go for a week without shaving before anyone noticed. We won't even mention the underarm fiasco, the trail already sprouting on my belly or... no. We simply won't go there.

Let's just say that I am now single handedly supporting Gillette.

*shudder*

Don't mind me, I'll be sitting over here in a corner methodically cornrowing my leg hair. Handy, considering we're expecting 6 inches of snow by tomorrow.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

nervous anticipation

At this point in pregnancy the doctor said she likes to see doubling every 3 1/2 days. Last check mine is 4,569 and doubling every 1.6 days, so the doctor said "I'm going to need you to come in for an early ultrasound" and hinted that there was a strong possibility of twins. I'll be brutally honest, that would be my worst nightmare right now. Since Patrick is going to be out of town all this week I asked if we could just keep our regularly scheduled ultrasound on the 8th so he could be with me. She said that was fine if we wanted to wait.

An HCG level that is rising rapidly is also a potential sign of Down Syndrome or a molar pregnancy.

They upped the progesterone to 2x a day. The odd thing is, I don't really feel pregnant at all. I've not had any morning sickness and don't feel pregnant at all.

I just want one. One, healthy baby.

Oh, and I had to break out the maternity jeans this weekend as I can no longer button anything in my closet.

Monday, November 24, 2008

On the pills again.

Progesterone was only at an 18, so I'm going to be popping the little coral pills again.

100 mg. once a day.

First ultrasound will be 12/8 at 8:00 a.m.

I'm so amazed that this is actually happening. I know a lot can go wrong from the point that I'm at now, but I just keep reminding myself that nothing bad has happened yet.

Seriously?

In the last two weeks, I finished packing all of my maternity clothes up in plastic tubs and sent them to live in the attic. I'd lost pretty much all of the 40+ pounds I'd gained with Julian, and was so happy to feel "myself" again - and able to fit into new clothes that I hadn't worn in over a year. My body is shaped differently, but I was actually thinner than I was prior to getting pregnant with Julian.

So maybe it's just bloating, but I swear I cannot buckle my pants now. Yesterday, my mom laughed at me while I was standing in the kitchen in a pair of low-rise pj bottoms and warned that "people are going to know soon." This morning I had to wear a pair of control top pantyhose in order to zip one of my biggest pair of pants. These same pants were too big two weeks ago.

Based on my HCG levels, I can't be that far along.

What gives?

Friday, November 21, 2008

Triple play.

Initial beta HCG = 79.

Follow up exactly 48 hours later = 265.

Beta hCG levels usually double approximately every 2 days for the first four weeks of pregnancy. As pregnancy progresses the doubling time increases. By 6 to 7 weeks gestation beta hCG levels may take as long as 3 1/2 days to double. The beta hCG may take more than 2 to 3 days to double in 15% of normal intrauterine pregnancies.

Instead of doubling, mine have more than tripled, with a doubling time of 1.14 days.

Definitely not any indication that this will work, but my heart is swelling with hope.

Wow.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Out damn'd spot.

Spotting.

Sigh.

I know, I know... it can be completely normal for this to happen.

I spotted for the first 14 or so weeks with J, with full on bleeding at times.

That doesn't make it any less nervewracking.

Follow up beta and progesterone tomorrow.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

2-1-3-1-79

2 failed attempts at drawing blood.
+
1 collapsed vein (she shoved the needle straight through it, and still managed to not get any blood out. Then she restuck the same arm before giving up and going to the other side)

equals 3 total tries to draw

for one tiny vial.

With an HCG level of only 79.

I know, I know - it's hard to say what's "normal" as individual women's HCG levels vary substantially based on the length of their cycles, etc.

The American Pregnancy Association cites the following chart as normal ranges of hCG for the number of weeks after the woman’s last menstrual period:

* 3 weeks: 5 - 50 mIU/ml
* 4 weeks: 5 - 426 mIU/ml
* 5 weeks: 18 - 7,340 mIU/ml
* 6 weeks: 1,080 - 56,500 mIU/ml
* 7 - 8 weeks: 7, 650 - 229,000 mIU/ml
* 9 - 12 weeks: 25,700 - 288,000 mIU/ml
* 13 - 16 weeks: 13,300 - 254,000 mIU/ml
* 17 - 24 weeks: 4,060 - 165,400 mIU/ml
* 25 - 40 weeks: 3,640 - 117,000 mIU/ml
* Non-pregnant women: <5.0 mIU/ml
* Postmenopausal women: <9.5 mIU/ml

Because I'm still breastfeeding, I have no idea how long ago I ovulated. My last period was around October 12-13. When I used to monitor my cycles I know that I tended to ovulate late, around day 16-18 or so. Using those numbers, I would've ovulated right around Halloween or November 1st. No idea if this is accurate at all.

All I know is that right now, I'm pregnant.

Still cramping on and off, very similar to period cramps. No spotting to speak of though (which was fairly constant when I was pregnant with Julian).

Repeat blood draw Friday morning. I'll be holding my breath until then.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Well, shit fire and save matches!

For the last week, Patrick has been adamant that I'm pregnant. He offered me a beer last night and when I took a sip - my face screwed up into a contorted grimace. "Ha!" He exclaimed, "I KNEW it!" I gagged, and yelled "Oh that's FOUL!" and said he should taste it himself. He took a judicious swig and also gagged. We had mistakenly grabbed a bottle of Lindeman's Gueze which I might add is supposed to be served as an apertif with sugar cubes. Not swilled out of a pint glass.

It was c'est horrible. Ghastly stuff. Sour, vile.

*Shudder*

Julian refused to nurse again last night. He would take a drink of milk, look at me and spit it out while pouting. He's been doing that all week. I'd been up since 4:15 a.m. working. I was exhausted.

So when Patrick kept needling me about potentially being pregnant I snapped. I stomped upstairs to go to the bathroom, and rescued the last remaining test in the bathroom drawer where I stash the sparkly hair pins that I'll never wear and have no idea why I ever purchased them in the first place.

I thought to myself "I'll show him! And finally shut him up"

After washing my hands - I sat on the freezing edge of the tub, holding the HPT between my fingers. The control line came up right away, and I sighed with relief. Whew. Bullet avoided. The test window was just a smear of pink that was turning white.

While I'd love for us to expand our family next year, it's just not a good time right now. Julian's only 6 months old, we haven't even started on our attic renovaaaaaaaa

(this is the part where you'd hear a record scratching loudly)

What the hell is that? Is that an evaporation line? What is that? Can evaporation lines be faintly pink?

*stunned silence*

I stumbled back downstairs, where Patrick was laying in the floor with Julian watching Arianna Huffington butcher poor Rachel Maddow's show. I held it out to him, and said "can you see two lines?"

He squinted, held it sideways.

"Hmm. perhaps. I guess."

It was just like last time.

I clutched it tight in my hands for thirty minutes, took a picture of it, increased the contrast, flipped it to negative - everything I could think of to make it clearer one way or another.

Finally, I gave up. I tucked it into my briefcase and went upstairs to bed. This morning I obsessively contacted a select few people who I knew would be able to restrain (or add to) my OCD nature.

I've been cramping all day pretty badly, and thought that if I was that it was doomed. Finally at 2:30 I couldn't take it anymore. I went downstairs to Walgreens in my building, and as the nice lady was checking me out and triple bagging my purchase so it wouldn't show through their flimsy bags - one of the partners I work for got in line behind me. Of course he did.

I'm sure he saw.

Oh well. A good thing he didn't see the shock on my face when I went back upstairs to my floor and saw this 10 minutes later...



Beta tomorrow morning.

Patrick is over the moon with excitement. I am... well, right now I just am.

I am also keeping this quiet right now. No one at work knows (I hope). Our families don't know. If you comment on flickr or twitter, please don't mention it.

I don't have a good feeling about this, but for now I need this outlet to talk about it. Because I'm driving my poor friends crazy already after today, I'm afraid.

Twitter-rific

If you're on twitter, you can find me @ http://twitter.com/april_anita

I tend to update there more often than here - though I'm trying to remedy that.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Dear Ms. P,

Dear Ms. P,

I am assuming you have left for an unapproved, unscheduled holiday (to the Bahamas perhaps? I hope it's warmer there than it is here) as it has come to my attention that you have blatantly failed to come in at your regularly scheduled time - or at all - for the last eight days. While we did celebrate your extended leave last year, I thought it was made abundantly clear that in the future we will require advance written notice of any unscheduled time away. Was this unclear at all in our previous conversations? Your performance evaluation shows that in the last few months you have been increasingly difficult to work with, coming across too aggressive and temperamental. Once unfailingly reliable, you have shown up to duty earlier than planned, late, and at generally inconvenient times. Your promptness has been spotty at best.

While not every moment of our last 17 years together has been pleasant, we have found that we were able to work together with at least a modicum of respect. Future lateness will not be tolerated. To put it bluntly, if you don't get your act together soon, we may be forced to take legal action, including but not limited to disciplinary action or even termination of your employment.

You have 48 hours from the receipt of this letter to respond. As a matter of common courtesy, I hope you will issue a statement in your defense before the expiration of this time. I can be reached 24 hours a day should you have any questions or need additional clarification.

Kind regards,

A

----
In other news, my childhood best friend (who has PCOS and who has been trying for over a year) is pregnant, and due May 18th. I am over the moon happy for her.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

What's your family's tradition?

Last Thanksgiving, we had lived in our house for less than a week. I had never used the vintage 1971 oven before that day. I was pregnant, and more absentminded than I care to admit. Our dining room table was literally delivered on Thanksgiving Day - at 12:30 p.m. Patrick's parents were coming to stay with us for the holiday and I was so stressed that I was breaking down in tears.

I made some horrible errors. First, I left the eggs out of the pecan pie - which left it runny. I forgot to take the giblets out of the turkey, so my mother in law still jokes that he brought his own lunch. I have a feeling I will never live that down.

My mom is now living with us, and acting as Julian's full-time nanny. Patrick's parents are heading back up to visit us this Thanksgiving. So we'll have a full house for Thanksgiving this year. I'm excited about planning the menus for the week, and was wondering - what's your family's signature meal? What would simply *not* be thanksgiving for you without a specific dish?

Also, 35 days from LMP. A HPT on Friday was negative, so I guess I'm just running late this cycle. Still breastfeeding (though much less than I was), but I've been fairly regular since he was about 2 months old. Hate this "what's going on" feeling.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

We did it for him.



Picture taken this morning by my husband.


And for ourselves.

And for the man who delivered my documents this morning.

For my mom.

For my great-grandmother who passed away this fall and voted in every single election.

For my sisters.

For our nieces and nephews.

For everyone. For people that I don't agree with, people I admire, people that I love.

Please. Get out the vote today.

Vote with your heart, vote your convictions - even if your political predilections aren't the same as mine.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Home Sweet Home

When we moved into our home last fall, we got a letter from a local pastor who had found some old pictures of our home in the church records. He enclosed them with a little note that he hoped we would enjoy them. The odd thing is, aside from the old streetcar line, the old car out front and the difference in landscaping, our home looks nearly identical to what it did in these shots (from approximately 1928).



There used to be an electric streetcar that ran in the median in front of our home, but that was discontinued sometime in the 1940s. While built in 1925, surprisingly we are only the third owners. The first owner was the town pharmacist. During the great depression he rented out rooms in the house to boarders. A young woman rented out the master bedroom and en suite bathroom during that time, and she later married. After her marriage, the home came up for sale in the 1950s, and she and her husband scraped together every penny they had to buy the house. They lived in it and raised their four children. The father of the family was a prominent local musician, and taught music at the high school. His wife taught piano lessons in what is now Patrick's office. One of their sons is now an opera singer for the Met in New York. When the husband passed away, and the wife went to an assisted living center the house sat vacant for over a year.

When we first saw it - it was gorgeous, but it needed a LOT of updating. I had just found out that I was pregnant with Julian and we were swimming in unbridled hope.

We closed on it the friday before Thanksgiving, and moved in that weekend.

In some ways I can hardly believe that we've been here that long - and in others - it feels like it's always been our home.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Hey baby... how much?

Um, no. Not what you're thinking.

Since my mom has moved in, I bought her a new flat screen t.v. for her room (a small one but her having it gives us loads more privacy and "family" time together downstairs in the evenings after work) and a new laptop (v cheap model, but we have wireless internet - and that way she can't access it from her room anytime she wants). Anywho, I need to start paying her a regular wage, but I don't know how much to give her. She doesn't have utilities (other than her cell phone) or rent as she's living with us right now, but I'd like to start her saving so she can have her own place eventually.

What's the going rate for childcare in your area? What does that cover?

Any input would be greatly appreciated.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Back on the chain gang...

Things have been... insane, to say the least.

We took a long vacation driving around Lake Michigan, spending the majority of it in the upper peninsula of Michigan and then a quick jaunt into Canada.


Patrick and Julian on the shore of Lake Superior.

I finally managed to slay the post-partum depression beast that was smothering me at night while I slept.

I moved my mom up from Texas in a UHaul with a geriatric obese chihuahua and a very pissed off teething baby with a car on a trailer behind us.

But things are starting to settle down and fall back into place. I'm back at work full-time, and honestly happier than I've ever been. Mom is now living with us, and is taking care of Julian while I'm at work. It's not the set-up I imagined, but oddly it's working far better than we had hoped. She's getting used to living in Illinois (we had our first - albeit very brief snowfall yesterday). Julian absolutely adores her. Saturday I worked in my bedroom for an hour or so and listened to her read to him in his nursery across the hall with tears welling up in my eyes.

I've been back at work for two full weeks, and am still pumping (another rant for another day). I've already missed J's bedtime once (coming home long after he was asleep for the night). I'm trying to find my groove and figure out how to balance everything.

But I just wanted to say hi - and thanks to those that have e-mailed, commented or asked after me on twitter (april_anita).

It's hard for me to believe that J will be six months old already on the first. He's not quite crawling, but can easily get from one side of the room to the next via a combination army crawl and rolling. He's still working on pushing those bottom two teeth through. His laughter (a rarity - he's a very smiley baby but not so big on the big guffaws) is the sweetest sound I've ever heard. He loves "reading" to himself - flipping the pages in his board books and petting (and by petting I mean, grabbing giant fistfuls of fur from the eternally patient and long-suffering cats). He loves butternut squash, dragon fruit and pears. He hates socks, avocados and bedtime.

In short, I adore him. Completely. Utterly.


(Shot from our trip down to Texas, J is being held by Patrick's dad)

We're hoping to start trying for another one soon. Yes, we're likely crazy, and who knows it may never happen. But I never knew it was possible to love like this. As cliched as it sounds, it's true. Completely true.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Worried.

Lincoln Charles made it into the world via c-section August 27 after almost 20 hours of trying to induce labor to no avail and my sister running a high fever. He was 7 lbs. 6 oz. and 20 inches long. Of course, I'm biased, but I think he's beautiful.



Initially his oxygen levels were troubling and was thus whisked to the nursery after delivery as they were concerned he had a tear in his lungs. My sister didn't even get to see her son for the first time for almost three hours after delivery. They kept him in the nursery for the first night to continue monitoring and to give her some much deserved sleep - as she'd been up for almost 40 hours at that point and was feverish.

She's been running a fever ever since. They've been pumping her full of antibiotics and as of this morning it was 102.4. She's been having uncontrollable shaking on top of it. If she still has a fever tonight they are going to do a CT scan of her abdomen tomorrow, and a heart scan Monday. Of course, the way insurance works in this "civilized" country of ours - Lincoln has to be discharged tomorrow. So much for bonding with your newborn, I guess. While she was leaning toward formula feeding with all that's happened, she's had no choice but to give up any hope of breastfeeding.

I'm worried, but there's really nothing I can do for her. And that breaks my heart.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Keeping my fingers crossed

My younger sister, Daphnne is pregnant with a baby boy, to be named Lincoln. She's due in a few weeks. This was a picture of her taken last month when I was in Dallas.



Her blood pressure is skyrocketing and she's spilling protein in her urine. She's going to be induced tomorrow at midnight. I'm not sure why the doctors are waiting, but I suppose there's a reason why I went to law school and not medical school.

All I know right now is that I wish I wasn't half a country away, and that I could be there for her more than just in spirit.

Please keep her and the baby in your thoughts.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

It's all fun and games until someone gets hurt.

About three weeks ago I went upstairs to put laundry away (hahaha, I jest - who knows what I was doing, but I guarantee you it wasn't that). I left Julian in the bouncy seat on the breakfast table. The problem with this, you see, is that Ennis is convinced that it's HIS seat.



So when I heard Julian screaming bloody murder, I started sprinting downstairs to make sure that Ennis hadn't chewed his toes off. As an aside, I have this ridiculous fear that the cats will eat the baby's toes. I have no idea where this comes from, maybe some news story about something similar?

Anyway... I start sprinting down the stairs.

You see where this is going right? I bound down two stairs and then...

SPLAT.

Only it wasn't so much "SPLAT" as it was a long, arduous slow motion fall that made me fall ass over tea kettle down the entire flight. I was shaken, but nothing appeared to be broken and the next few days just tried to take it easy.

A few days later I decided to go get some groceries (and of course by "groceries" I mean wine. and cheese. maybe coffee.) I went to lug my chunkster son out of the car in his carseat and then suddenly I was sitting in the Meijer parking lot crying, fighting back waves of nausea and blinding pain was shooting through my back and down my right leg.

The next day I went to the doctor and she put me on a week's worth of steroids, some muscle relaxers and vicodin. Now, while I was appreciative, since I'm still nursing J - I can't take the muscle relaxers or the vicodin unless he's not going to nurse for 12 or more hours. I hate pumping and dumping. So, I've managed to get by about a week with only the tiniest church mouse nibble of the good stuff. I was starting to feel better, and then yesterday while I was tiling the kitchen, I twisted ever so slightly to the left, and wham. Same damn thing happened again. On the floor, ready to pass out from pain.

Today I had a follow up with an orthopedist, and had eight x-rays of my spine. It's so surreal to me to see my own body in x-ray films. Spine looks o.k. - no fractures or breaks thankfully. I get an MRI next week - woo! And am being sent to physical therapy and will start using a TENS device. She's concerned that because of previous damage I have to my back that one of my discs may have ruptured.

In other news... my kitchen floor is missing. I got frustrated with the disgusting white berber carpet that was in there when we moved in last fall. Who the HELL puts white berber carpet in a kitchen? So, one day I just started ripping it up, and then ripping up the 1940s linoleum that was underneath it, and then the thick paper padding under that... until I was down to the bare plank subfloor. So now, when you're standing in the kitchen you can see slivers of the basement beneath you. Not exactly the ideal situation for someone (such as myself) who is afraid of heights. I also ripped all the 1970s trim off the kitchen cabinets, and am in the process of repainting them, and switching out all the hardware. I am painting the walls an asparagus green color and we picked out a solid carbonized bamboo floor to put in. I bought some amazing vintage french mosaic tiles and ripped out the old tile and replaced the backsplash with those. I've still got about two full days worth of work in there, but I think it's going to be a huge improvement.




Oh, and apparently J didn't have rotavirus. They don't know what is wrong with him (whatever it is -is back. A plague of watery green poop is upon us again). His poor little butt is so raw that it looks blistered. I've tried every brand of diaper cream I can find, and nothing seems to help.

And one last thing. I just cut off six inches or more of my own hair. In my bathroom sink. It wasn't quite pulling a Britney... but close.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Getting slowly better

Definitely rotavirus. Poor baby... every diaper change he screams so hard his body shakes. His poor skin is so raw, but he's doing better.

Slightly better at least.

Thanks for the well wishes.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Tip of the Day - Can't find your rolling pin?

While making pastry, if you can't find your rolling pin, or need an extra one - simply fill a straight sided wine bottle with cold water and recork. The cold water will make the pastry easier to roll.

Oops. That was meant for a post on my food blog.

Sorry, we'll return to your regularly scheduled programming shortly.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Insane

When Patrick and I bought our house last November, we looked all through the Fox Valley. We decided on our town because there was easy Metra access, and we could afford a house on one of the most beautiful streets in town with gorgeous historic homes. Mind you, the house we bought had been lived in for the last fifty years by one couple. The house had some SERIOUS updating to be done. In fact, it still has its original 1925 bathrooms - complete with 1925 toilets. They're the most horribly water inefficient things ever - but we heart the hex tiles on the floor and the subway tile on the walls. Eventually, we'd like to restore them and make some changes.

One of the best things about the house is that it has a lot of room to grow with. There's a huge walk-up attic and a complete basement. Both, however, are unfinished and will require quite a bit of work to make them livable spaces.

This brings us to our current predicament.

My mom was providing my great-grandmother "Granny" with 24 hour a day Alzheimer's care for the last five years of her life. She gave up working as it simply wasn't compatible with trying to keep Granny from hurting herself or walking down the streets confused. Mom's had a hard life. A very, very hard life. Granted, a lot of this is her own fault. Those of you who have been long-time readers (from my old site) know that my childhood was peppered with her going in and out of rehab. I didn't live with her after I was 11 years old. Now, in her defense, she was a wonderful parent before she tried escaping an abusive philandering husband in bottles of vodka. She's been sober almost fifteen years.

She was promised the opportunity to live in Granny's house once Granny passed as a thank you for her years of unpaid labor bathing Granny, changing her diapers, etc. And then the heirs sold the house out from under her - with 30 days notice for a pittance.

We've had a very strained, distanced relationship up until the time I got pregnant with Julian. Now Mom is essentially homeless. My grandmother has asked her to come live with her, but she's a bipolar alcoholic and I honestly think that one of them would end up killing the other (or herself) before the end of the year if they moved in together. Mom is a brilliant person - though she has only a high school education. She's fluent in american sign language. She's patient, and great with children. She's an artist and is incredibly creative. She also suffers from an anxiety disorder and hasn't held a steady job in over 3 years.

After long, careful discussions, Patrick and I decided that we would ask her to move up here from Dallas and be our nanny. It would allow us to help her, without giving her a handout... and would ensure that Julian was being watched by someone who loved him as much as we do.

She agreed to do it. I was honestly a bit surprised. The catch is that we'll be completely supporting her. COMPLETELY. Gas, groceries, housing, utilities, etc. Essentially as if she was an au pair. Which brings us to the housing issue.

I'm currently on unpaid maternity leave. I.e. no cash flow coming in. We've got savings, but not a ton. Our original plan was that we'd buy a second small home for her to live in (in our names) as an investment property. Gives her privacy, gives us some potential return on the outlay of money for housing, etc. Great idea except the well, not being paid part. We can do it, but the minimum downpayment would essentially drain all of our savings. Once I go back to work, it wouldn't be that big of a deal. We could easily do a second home in six months or so, after I've been back to work for awhile. That, and I'm a bit hesitant to take on another mortgage not knowing for sure if she's going to be happy with the arrangement.

So... that leaves us with two options. Get a short term lease on an apartment. Cheap monthly expenses, but we're just throwing the money out in a way.

Which leads us to the (probable) solution we're going to take... finish out our basement and let her live with us for six or eight months while we save up for a down payment on a second place. She would have a separate entrance to use if she wanted, and we'd be putting in a bathroom, bedroom and living area downstairs. It's virtually soundproof from the rest of the house. The only thing we'd be sharing is the kitchen. There's a separate back door that goes to the landing between the kitchen and basement. Putting the money into the renovations rather than rent would greatly increase our property value, and give us much needed space for a playroom and additional guest room once she's gone.

Patrick's dad is a general contractor, and we're calling him tonight for his thoughts and ideas. It wouldn't be a perfect situation, but it would help us more than the other option for a temporary solution.

I think we may be crazy. But sometimes, a little bit of craziness is what's necessary.

Monday, August 4, 2008

I'll take the Rotavirus with a small side of pneumonia.

By 1:00 this afternoon, Julian had seventeen poopy diapers in the last eighteen hours. They were watery and looked like the color of grass clippings. And he was screaming, wailing - and it was breaking my heart. I was a bit worried that the stool softener (apparently it wasn't actually a laxative) that I'd taken had caused him to be sick. But I didn't think it would make him that sick (as it turns out, that wasn't what was wrong). He was running a low grade fever, but nothing to write home about. His voice was hoarse, but I thought it was from crying so much over the last 24 hours. He was a bit raspy and wheezy but he seemed in fairly good spirits.

I called the pediatrician's office and described what his symptoms were. Their instructions - "Go directly to the emergency room." I called Patrick, lamenting those instructions, and said that I didn't think it was necessary, that he didn't seem that sick to me. I was pissed that we'd have to pay a $100 co-pay instead of the $20 for the doctor's office.

We spent seven hours at the hospital. He had two IVs, IV antibiotics, a chest x-ray and a full blood workup. His x-ray showed some potential pneumonia and some "left perihilar stranding densities representing atelectasis" whatever that means. His white blood cell count was too high, his red blood cell count too low, hemoglobin too low, platelets way too high, neurtrophils too low, lymphocytes shockingly high, glucose almost double what it should have been, creatinine too low, potassium and calcium too high. I have no idea what any of this means - except that elevated white blood cells indicate an infection of some kind. He's to follow up with the pediatrician's office tomorrow at 9:15. I've been directed to let him nurse as much as he possibly will and then top him off with pedialyte through the night. I took a sip of it before I put it in a bottle for him, and it tastes like liquid medicated ass. Blech. He actually seems to like it though.

While in the emergency room, we were sharing the room with a guy who'd gotten his nose broken (and heard him moaning and throwing up blood while his face was stitched up) and an elderly woman who was in for shingles and a potential heart attack. I'm praying to God he doesn't get chicken pox now (since shingles are the same virus). We were separated only by a flimsy cotton divider.

My nerves are wrecked, even though Patrick actually made it to the hospital before we did and stayed with me the entire time. I lost it and started bawling when they put a catheter in his tiny little penis and he let out the most blood curdling cry I've ever heard. I had to leave the room when they put the IV in because I almost passed out.

I felt so awful that I'd initially hesitated to take him to the hospital, as I really didn't think he was that sick. The rotavirus results will be back in two days, but the doctor said that's what her money would be on. They're doing some further analysis on the chest x-rays to get a better feel about whether he has pneumonia.

Oh, and in other news - I am not pregnant. Took a test last weekend, and all is well. I'm incredibly thankful, as that was something we didn't want right now.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Things I learned today...

When breastfeeding, it's best to never even think about taking a laxative. Even if it's been almost a week. You'll change more dirty diapers than you ever imagined possible, and they will all reek like rotten apricots.

Real post coming later, I promise.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Christ on a cracker.

I'm a well educated woman. I essentially skipped my last two years of high school and finished my undergraduate degree when I was only 18.

I had my MBA before I could legally buy alcohol.

I finished law school at 23.

I work for a high profile law firm and negotiate multi-million dollar contracts on a regular basis.

Annnnnd... I apparently can't fucking read the directions that go with my birth control pill.

Patrick and I had a few rounds of unprotected sex before my "back in the saddle" 6 week check up (which I actually had at 7 or 8 weeks postpartum). I had a pregnancy test in the office, and it was... negative.

White as snow. I assumed it would be.

So, because I'm breastfeeding, they put me on the mini pill so as not to interfere with milk production. Great. Fabulous. The nurse was in a hurry, they were closing early that Friday and she shooed me out with the prescription.

With my bouncing bundle of screaming infant buckled safely in the backseat of the car - (inside his Maxi-Cosi seat which I incidentally hate and can't wait for him to grow out of) the pharmacist asked me if I had any questions when I picked up my prescription.

Nope, no questions. Just hand over the pills lady. Mind you, I took the pill for years (and actually got pregnant while taking it TWICE at age 19). And that kind of luck makes you REALLY careful about taking the pill on time every day.

Until, that is - you have a newborn and are battling postpartum depression and are schlepping a baby through the airport more times than you should at his age to get halfway across the country before your closest relative passed away... you know... I would've been pretty vigilant about taking it.

But, you see, I wasn't. I took it haphazardly - forgot a day? No problem, take a double dose the next day. Right? FUCKING WRONG. Apparently you have to take the mini-pill the exact same time every single day to be effective. No skipping doses, to being late... unless you want to be late if you know what I'm saying.

The first week I was on it, I had pretty significant spotting - no surprise as I always had breakthrough bleeding on the pill.

Like the "regular" pill I thought the last week of the mini pill was a placebo. Um, no. Apparently not. So last Saturday when I was supposed to start the last week (and expected my period to show up - since the hormones were apparently wrecking havoc on my body) I ditched the pill pack. Today, well - today's Wednesday and all day I've been trying to not puke all over the place.

I've been wearing white panties all week and well, there's not even the hint of spotting.

I was infertile for five years while married to my ex-husband. Patrick and I weren't exactly being careful but we weren't trying to get pregnant when we conceived Julian. We'd love another child, but um, not yet. Not anytime soon.

I know that because I'm breastfeeding, and at least was taking the minipill somewhat correctly that my chances are lower.

But seriously? This is the first time in a very, very long time that I've worried about being pregnant and desperately not wanted to be.

Ugh. When do I test? When do I start a new pack of pills?

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Alive and adapting...

Thank you all for your sweet comments. It's hard to believe that three months will have gone by this Thursday already.

Julian is doing well. He's in the 95th percentile for height, and at his last pediatrician's visit three weeks ago he was already tipping the scales at 13 lbs. Given his usual weight gain, and based on how much he's grown in just those few weeks, I would bet he's close to 15 lbs. now. Right about the two month mark, he started teething. Yep. Teething... at two months. Poor bugger hasn't actually had a tooth break through yet, but you can feel the two middle ones on the bottom coming in. It sucks because he can't hold a teething toy yet, so we've been improvising with frozen washrags and frozen carrots.

We're breastfeeding, though he gets the occasional bottle of formula, especially if we're traveling. While we struggled with it a great deal at first, I started taking Fenugreek and it's helped my supply tremendously (though I do smell a little like a pancake house reject).

He's laughing now, and cooing. About three weeks ago he rolled over for the first time, from his back to his front, and looked at me like hmmm, what was that? It's only happened one other time since then. He loves his bathtime, and tries desperately to convince me to let him go naked (though Jack, one of our cats would be horrified at that considering Jack got nailed in between the eyes during one of our early diaper changes).

We've had a rough three months. I had an emergency trip to Dallas - to see Granny before she passed away. Mind you, this was in the midst of my battling some mild postpartum depression. I struggled to figure out how to care for and what to do with a newborn after Patrick went back to work and I was home alone with the baby all day. While in Dallas I managed to come down with a bladder infection (common post-delivery, it seems) that necessitated a hospital emergency room visit after I had 103 degree fever for three days and developed shaking so much that I couldn't hold the baby. And of course, we had the seemingly never ending stream of baby tourists.

Miraculously, I've lost all 39 lbs of the pregnancy weight, though I'll admit that my body doesn't look anything like it did before I got pregnant. I'm just now starting to go back to the gym, and making a conscious effort to get back in shape. Say what you will about breastfeeding, but I'll say this - it melted the weight off for me. Here's hoping it continues to do so.

I'm still taking pictures and now I'm food blogging as well. I promise I'll do better about updating here. Honestly, there's just so much of the day that I love watching him that I'm finding it hard to get the most basic things finished. Such is life, I guess.

I go back to work exactly 12 weeks from today. Before then, I have to move my mom up (she's coming to live as our paid nanny) and find her a place to live. I'm also in the midst of house renovations ('cause that's a sane thing to do while on leave, no?) and am trying to squeeze every minute out of the day.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Amazed.




Julian Randall was born at 11:01 p.m. on Thursday, May 1st weighing 8 lbs, 8 oz. and measuring 20 inches long.

I hope to write out his entire birth story this afternoon, after we take my parents back to the airport - but the short of it is -

planned natural labor with no pain medicine - ended up blissfully happy with an epidural and have no regrets whatsoever about it...
extensive episotomy and very, very painful stitches (three cuts necessary to get him out)
an hour and a half of pushing
the doctors were contemplating a hysterectomy after - as I couldn't stop bleeding
we stayed at the hospital exactly 24 hours after his birth

I'm exhausted, but happier than I've ever been in my entire life.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Mayday Mayday Mayday

I thought I'd have something fabulously thought provoking and profound to write about today... the eve of the culmination of all these years of longing to hold my child in my arms.

Instead? I've been pacing the floors trying to quell the rising tide of bile in my throat.

I go in tomorrow morning at 6:30 a.m. to be induced. Simply put, I'm on maternity leave now from work and I feel like I'm wasting it by not spending it with my son (who um, hasn't been born yet). That - and given the frightening predictions about his weight, the doctor agreed that induction seemed to be a reasonable idea. I wanted to wait it out and go into labor naturally - and since I've been having contractions since well, DECEMBER, one would think that my body would know what to do by now. Instead? No. I had strong contractions yesterday for about five hours, and they got as close as five minutes apart before just petering out into nothingness.

My parents are coming to visit us for the first time ever - and they arrive at the airport Saturday at noon. Mind you, we never technically unpacked all the way when we moved in uh, last November. Pesky bedrest and all that.


I'm trying to conquer the house in a whirlwind of activity today, largely because, well, it's making the time go by faster. I don't know how I'll manage to sleep though.

The honest truth is I'm frightened. Horribly so. I mastered "pregnancy", and feel completely comfortable with that aspect of the journey. However, that bit of knowledge is rapidly becoming obsolescent. Tomorrow (hopefully) I will be a mother. I don't know the first thing about babies, and how to care for one - especially a son. Dear God, what have I gotten into? All I can hope for is an easy and safe delivery. I'll even trade the easy part for a healthy baby.

Tomorrow - hopefully, I'll hold him in my arms.

I've never been so afraid or so excited in my entire life.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

DBT and L&D

Julian was so active last night that it felt like my uterus was going to explode. We'd gone out for TexMex (mediocre at best, as we have no "real" Tex Mex places here) and I guess he was unhappy about the room he had available based on the sheer amount of fajitas and queso in my belly. He was moving so much that it was almost ferociously violent. And the last time I felt him was around 8:30 p.m.

As of 11:45 this morning, I'd only felt him move once. Normally he's very active, and while he's pretty much run out of room inside, it still shocked me that I couldn't feel him move. I ate some cereal and tried laying on my side to count his movements.

Nothing.

I drank some blood orange juice, and laid down again.

Nothing.

I tried to push the panic out of my mind and quell the DBTs (dead baby thoughts).

I waited and waited, and still felt nothing. My voice quavering, I told Patrick that I was really scared.

Patrick took one look at me and said "let's go to the hospital." So... we did. I was put into L&D triage, and they strapped me up to the monitors. The nurse was having a hard time finding his heart beat and I started to panic. Then, after a minute or two, there was the blissful thumpthumpthump that I was so longing to hear. He was active with accelerations and decelerations for the first five minutes or so of the test, and while I was having contractions, they weren't really painful at all. Then he sort of slowed down, and wouldn't move. The nurse had me turn on my side and see if that would help. I still hadn't felt him move by this point, and was starting to feel nervous.

His heartrate eventually went back to a "normal" pattern, and the nurse checked me to see where I was from a dilation standpoint. At a 2.5 or "slightly more" - the wetness I'd been feeling the last few days was just watery discharge, and not leaking amniotic fluid.

He moved twice while I was at the hospital, but that was it.

They sent me for another ultrasound, and the AFI (amniotic fluid index) came back at 12 something - so he's fine there. Based on my last menstrual period, his due date is tomorrow. I am so ready for him to be here.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Stripped.

Last night when Patrick got home we went for a walk in the neighborhood until the contractions were so strong that I could barely walk through them. When we got home, they stopped temporarily. I got horribly, horribly sick and went to bed. In the middle of the night, they started back up - and I woke myself and Patrick screaming out with pain. They eventually subsided and I was able to drift in and out of sleep for a few hours.

This morning at 11 a.m. I went to the doctor's office. I'm now 38 weeks plus a few days (according to the early ultrasound - over 39 weeks based on when I got my first positive HPT on August 20). I'm 2 cm. dilated and 80% effaced. She stripped my membranes - and I'm bleeding pretty badly from it.

She said that she won't induce me until May 1st. I'm contracting hard now - and hoping that stripping my membranes will trigger real labor. If not, I'm to be at the hospital at 6:30 a.m. on the first (a week from Thursday) for pitocin, and the doctor will be there to break my water at 7:30. I am so excited, and so ready to have him here.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Full Pink Moon

And no - the title is not referring to me dropping trou on anyone.

Tonight is a full moon - the "full pink moon" to be exact. Did you know each of the full moons for every month have a specific name? Well, they do - April's name came from the herb moss pink, or wild ground phlox, which is one of the earliest widespread flowers of the spring. Other names for this month's celestial body include the Full Sprouting Grass Moon, the Egg Moon, and among coastal tribes the Full Fish Moon, because this was the time that the shad swam upstream to spawn.

Allegedly, women who are close to giving birth are more apt to do so at the full moon. This is of course, complete hogwash if you ask me. The theory is that the moon's gravitational pull effects the amniotic fluid in much the same way as it effects the water in the sea, rivers and even the water that's otherwise found in our bodies.

As a woman's body prepares for natural childbirth, the amniotic sac becomes distended so the point where it will easily burst if put under pressure. Under normal circumstances, the pressure of labor contractions bursts the sac. During a full moon, the pressure caused by the moon's effect on the water inside the sac can cause the same things to happen, but without the accompanying contractions.

I spent the ENTIRE day with the following activities: sex, more sex, heavy gardening and planting in the backyard, walking the grocery store aisles (including what looks like breaking my pinky toe on a cart at Whole Foods - and sobbing in the produce section when it started turning black), eating eggplant, trolling bookstores, etc.

Contractions have been pretty lame to tell the truth - and I am convinced (sorely so) that this kid is just NOT going to make an appearance anytime this month. Cue much wailing and gnashing of teeth.

Oh, and did I mention I have a raging sinus and ear infection? I am not pleasant to be around right now. I think I'm about to go cuddle up with my pint of Wattleseed ice cream (or "Waddle-seed" as Patrick has renamed it given my current state) and call it a night.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Non-responsive.

I'm still only dilated to around a 1. The doctor said that my cervix wasn't even open enough to try to strip my membranes. I begged and pleaded for her to induce me, and she laughed and said no. Not this week. Instead she said we could talk about it next week after weighing the risks (lung maturity, etc.) In the meantime she encouraged me to walk as much as I wanted, to try to help open my cervix more.

Patrick worked from home today so that he could go with me to the doctor's office. I noticed that I'd been feeling Julian move a lot less lately. I thought that perhaps he was just running out of room, but it was concerning. At my doctor's appointment today, I mentioned it in passing and she said she wanted me to have a non-stress test in the office before we left. So they strapped me up with the monitors, and started the test. The baby was sleeping, I guess because he wasn't very active. The nurse brought me a package of Lorna Doone shortbread cookies, and asked me to eat them - hoping it would wake him up a bit. It didn't. Next was a giant bottle of ice water which also didn't work. Finally, they gave me some apple juice and that also didn't seem to stir him much. In total, he moved twice in about thirty minutes. The nurse took the report out to the doctor. The doctor came in and said "I need you to go to the hospital for more monitoring." I laughed - thinking she was teasing as the nurse hadn't seemed concerned with the report. I asked "what day do you need me to make the appointment?" She said "I need you to go now. She said that we would be there for a few hours. And then she said "I need you to go right now - as soon as you leave this office." The floor started feeling woozy beneath me, and I asked "well can we stop for lunch on the way over there?" She replied "only if you stop somewhere with a quick drive through."

We rushed out of her office and drove the thirty minutes or so to the hospital, with me panicked all the way. Patrick was surprisingly calm and told me that we'd be fine. That everything would be o.k.

We stopped for some burritos on the way and then made it up to labor and delivery triage. They sent me down for a bio-physical profile of the baby via ultrasound which showed that he was practicing his breathing and was moving fine. Then I was sent back upstairs for a non-stress test. Julian's heartbeat was between 145-150 with dips as low as 130 and as high as 175. He didn't move that often, but he was far more active. Unfortunately, after I'd been hooked up to the blood pressure monitor the nurse dashed out of the room. An hour and twenty minutes later, I was still hooked up to it - thought it had thankfully deflated on its own. I didn't take it off because there were a lot of monitor-y looking wires that were connected to the machine. The room was swelteringly hot - and poor Patrick was bored out of his mind. As it turns out, there were two deliveries back to back which is why the nurse disappeared on us for so long. It was kind of scary though.

All in all, there was far more excitement in the day than I'd hoped for - er, at least not the same kind that I'd hoped.

But he's o.k. and I'm to go back to the doctor next week - assuming I don't go into labor before then.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Not even doing my taxes helped.

I've been having fairly consistent contractions on and off since Friday. Mind you, I'm still sitting at my desk at home - so they haven't progressed into anything "real."

Friday night I was having to actively manage my breathing to get through them, and thought I'd just go lay down in our bed to get a short nap in before (what I thought at the time would inevitably be) the trip to the hospital. While I napped, Patrick packed the bag, and then they stopped.

Saturday was rainy/snowy and gross, so we went to every single large store we could find and I just walked the aisles. I walked so much that my feet were so swollen I could not move my toes. I've always prided myself on my slender ankles (an odd thing - but it's the only part of me that's always been thin). I literally am so swollen that I have fat rolls on my ankle. My toes look like sausages. Contractions were fairly constant as long as I was moving, but as soon as I stopped they stopped.

Sunday the weather was unseasonably cool but clear and we went strolling in the neighborhood for ages. I came back home, and started working on our taxes (federal and THREE states. meh) and not even the stress of that could keep them going.

I've tried nearly every old wives tale possible short of castor oil. And I'm sorry - but I'm just not going there.

I am so ready for him to just be here already. I have a doctor's appointment tomorrow morning, and am going to beg the doctor to induce me. I can't take much more of this.

Friday, April 11, 2008

My gravity is broken.

Last night we went to our favorite little intimate Italian restaurant, hoping that we'd enjoy what perhaps would be our "final" night out as just a couple. The food was fantastic - but... apparently my body doesn't like being bribed with food.

My little sister's ultrasound was yesterday, she's also having a boy. She's due September 2nd, on her mom's birthday. I'm excited for her, but feel bad in a way - everyone was hoping she'd have a girl, since I was having a boy. I'm actually happier that she's having a boy. Partially for selfish reasons that I'm even too embarrassed to go into here. But I also like that our sons will be so close in age.

I woke up this morning at 4 with a raging ear ache. No fever, but my head is swimming and my equilibrium is way off. Only, in my sleepy stupor this morning I kept telling Patrick that my gravity was broken, and he looked at me like I had three heads. I was trying to say equilibrium, but couldn't remember the word for it.

We gave the uh, "natural prostaglandin" approach a try this morning. Let's just say that sex was a lot more fun when you aren't feeling like a beached whale - who has a broken gravity ;)

So now my ears are full of rubbing alcohol. It's actually pretty and sunny for a change outside, so I may try the "walk through the neighborhood" approach in a bit. There are signs that spring is actually upon us - if I can ignore the fact that it's supposed to snow again tomorrow.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Unplugged.

I just lost my mucous plug, or at least part of it. I think, at least. I called the doctor's office and described what I saw. It was pretty gross. The nurse said it sounded pretty much textbook for what it should look like. She said it could be tomorrow or could be two weeks.

I have a mild backache, and contractions are here - but not rhythmic. Just a ton of pressure in my back and pelvis.

I'm going to pack my bag. Anyone have any "must haves" for the hospital that they took - or stuff you took and wish you hadn't wasted your time packing?

What did you (or would you - if you were me) bring for the baby to come home in?

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Insomnia

It was pouring down rain all day yesterday, so we went to Costco so I could walk the aisles and try to see if things would get moving. Then I ate a giant meal of Mexican food - which an old wives tale says will trigger labor. Labor? Pffft - all it triggered was some serious heartburn. I would've bet cash money that I could've belched fire if I'd tried.

All day yesterday I was racked with horrible contractions - but they abruptly stopped about 5 p.m. It's now 5:20 a.m. and I've now been up for three and a half hours. The contractions are back, but it still doesn't feel like anything productive is happening. Just kind of uncomfortable pressure and a nagging backache. I went downstairs because my tossing and turning had woken up Patrick, Ennis and Jack. I figured someone ought to be able to sleep if I couldn't, so I'm now sitting at the desk in the office bundled up in a blue blanket. Jack and Ennis have both come down to check on what's going on - and have been meowing incessantly. Thankfully, I think they've both wandered off to finally go back to sleep.

Looking out through the old mottled glass window - our neighborhood is gently bathed in the soft glow of moonlight. The storms that were earlier pummeling the roof with rain have apparently moved on, and the tree limbs seem eerily still in the calm quiet of the night.

I made my one-year anniversary for work as of midnight - so I now qualify for 6 months of maternity leave. That means you can make your appearance any time now, J. Granted, there are things I still need to finish, some cleaning to be done, etc. but for the most part - I'm ready.

As ready as I'm going to be at least.

The songbirds are starting to stir in the branches, and their melodic songs are signaling that I need to try to sleep for an hour or two before Patrick has to leave for work.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

You're putting your fingers WHERE?

Two weeks ago, I was 1 cm dilated, and my cervix was soft - but still over 3.6 cm long. My cervix is apparently a "shower." I was measuring over 37 weeks then, and was feeling enormous.

On Friday morning I started experiencing unbearable pressure and pain in my pelvis. It literally felt as if I was splitting apart from the inside. I couldn't walk the pain was so intense, and I just sat at the desk or laid on the couch and writhed in agony. I am such a martyr at times...

Yesterday morning I went in for my 36 week checkup, and of course my doctor is out of town until Sunday. I met with a very socially awkward nurse practitioner instead - with a limp fish handshake. She examined me, and said I was measuring just below 37 weeks (fundal height - with the tape measurer) and that I must have dropped since the last time I was in. Considering I could breathe without feeling like I was going to wheeze to death for the last week - I thought that I had. That and my belly is differently shaped now. Where it was high and round before it's now ski-sloped shape and protrudes differently. Julian's also kicking me about four inches or so below where he was last week.

She did an internal, and proclaimed that my cervical length was now less than 1 cm - so I am over 75% effaced. I was still between a 1-2cm dilated, so she said "I'm going to see if I can stretch things out a bit and get the show on the road." She slipped her finger(s) in my cervix and proceeded to slowly (and excruciatingly) stretch it out. I was hit by a wave of nausea when she was doing it, and felt suddenly lightheaded and hot. All the thoughts I had of natural childbirth basically went out the window as I literally came up off the table as she was doing that. If those were just her fingers... I shudder to think about what the baby's head would feel like. She pulled her gloved hands out and showed me that I was bleeding and said I'd likely bleed some throughout the night (which I did - in conjunction with cramping and contractions that were strong, but not rhythmic).

If I can make it to midnight tonight, I'll get my six months of maternity leave. I go back tomorrow morning for them to do an ultrasound of Julian to see how his growth is progressing. I think tonight I'll start finishing up the last of the projects that I want to get done before he comes - and start the walking/sex after packing my bag.

I'm ready to meet him. I'm petrified of labor and of actually being a parent, but I'm so ready to just hold him.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Please make it stop.

This weekend I had a burst of energy. We took a trip to IKEA - and sweet jumping jesus on a pogo stick - how enormous is that store - and picked out some giant bookshelves and a desk to fill out Patrick's office until we find something we like better. While the Saab has pretty good cargo room, we still picked out way more stuff than could fit in one trip. So we ended up coming back on Saturday to pick up more of it - and then he had to pick up the desk last night. Sunday, my lower back was hurting pretty badly so we decided to go to Meijer and Whole Foods and stock up on things so that if the baby decided to make an early appearance we'd have a supply of provisions for awhile. While in Meijer, I was cringing with every step. Sharp pain was racing through my body, and I was in tears. I had to make four pit stops to go to the bathroom while we were grocery shopping at one store. I was never able to pass more than about a tablespoon of urine at a time, and the last two times, it was just blood.

Sunday night in bed, I got the shakes really bad and started getting extremely nauseous. I slept fitfully from about 8:30 p.m. until 5 a.m. - waking up crying from the pain in my lower back.

Monday morning I high-tailed it to the doctor's office, and they did a preliminary urine check and said it was fine. A little over a year ago, I had a bladder infection that was so bad that I was passing blood clots almost the size of nickels in my urine. There was so much blood in my urine that my old doctor was arguing with me that I must be mistaken and just be on my period. I wasn't. I know my body.

I told the doctor yesterday that I needed her to run labs. Something was very wrong. My kidneys felt like they were exploding in my back, and the pain was making me dizzy. I've been somewhat of a martyr over this pregnancy, and never took painkillers even when things were very bad. But the last two days, I've been chewing through extra strength Tylenol like they're candy. And it's not doing a damn thing for me.

The doctor said that with the amount of blood I was describing and the deep pain in my kidney that it's likely kidney stones. She said that unfortunately there's not a lot that they can do about it if I have one until after the baby comes. She had me get labs done, and they called me yesterday at 5:02. I was on the other line for work, and called them back literally within a minute and a half, tops. But, the operator informed me that she couldn't put me through to the front desk because their phones are turned off at 5:00 p.m.

So, another night of agony.

This morning, I called as soon as they were open. Sure enough, I have a raging bladder infection. As it turns out, peeing blood isn't normal. It hurts tremendously, and I'm waiting for the pharmacy to fill my prescription.

I just hope we've caught it in time for it not to have developed into a kidney infection. My poor kidneys are stressed enough as it is.

Oh, and the one stretchmark I was so proud of? Yeah. About that. I have about another twenty or so angry deep purple marks traversing my abdomen now. They weren't there a week ago, and then suddenly, they just appeared en masse. I'm really self-conscious about them, but Patrick's been very loving about it.

Oh. Still measuring large. Over 37 weeks yesterday, and a fingertip dilated.

Just two 14 days or so (edited to say - until I manage to qualify for an additional month of paid maternity leave. I'm actually only 34 weeks right now according to my early ultrasound).

God, I hope he can stay put for that long.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

And no cadbury eggs, to boot.

I had a doctor's appointment this morning at 10:00, so at 9:40ish I moseyed (dear Gawwwwwwd did I just say "moseyed"?) to the garage, hopped in, turned the key and ...

Nothing.

Not a damn thing happened.

My battery has been acting screwy lately, so I popped the hood, scraped off what corrosion I could see from the battery post and plugged in the external battery charger that we keep for such purposes.

I called the doctor and said I was running late.

In 15 minutes, it showed that it was completely charged so I tried again.

Still no go.

I called our roadside assistance plan, and then the doctor to reschedule the appointment. I spent the majority of the afternoon at Wal-Mart, getting the battery replaced and when I got home I was so irritated that I sequestered myself in my office/craft room in the basement and set about organizing my scrapbook stuff.

All in all, a completely worthless day - but that's o.k.

It's one more day (so far, at least - that J wasn't born).

Monday, March 17, 2008

The things they don't tell you...

As of today, I'm officially 33 weeks pregnant according to the 5/5/08 due date. I had an ultrasound last week to check on J's growth, the perinatologist said that he's conservatively estimated to weigh 5 lbs. 11 oz. He's supposed to be about 3 lbs. 12 oz, which is exactly what he weighed a month ago. He's apparently over the 95th percentile for size, and the doctor said he's essentially just "linebacker" material. The doctor said that they're contemplating making me retake the 3 hour glucose test.

Add to that the excess amniotic fluid, and I'm measuring a full month ahead (which is why my contractions have been so bad - my body thinks I'm near term when I really have about 7 weeks to go). He's healthy though, and that's all that matters to me. I shuddered when the doctor told me that first babies are usually late, and usually the smallest. Hopefully that won't be the case for me.

During the ultrasound, he was practicing his breathing, and I sat mesmerized watching his diaphragm move rhythmically. To say that I'm already madly in love with him would be a vast understatement.

However, I am quickly growing tired of being pregnant.

There are things about the last parts of pregnancy that no one really talks about - that I feel obligated to dish on, even at the risk of embarrassing myself.

1. You will leak, a variety of bodily fluids.

My breasts have been leaking colostrum since around the 15th week or so, but now - sexual arousal or a hot shower is almost a guaranteed gush (at least from the right side). Another thing, dried colostrum is sticky. Very sticky. I find that I'm peeling my nipples from the inside of my bras more often than I'd like to admit. Very sexy, no?

"Urine for a big surprise" - I prided myself for years on the fact that I was potty-trained at about 18 months. I've done more kegels than I thought humanly possible. And yet, if I cough too hard or sneeze, or laugh too heartily there's a very real danger of what is pleasantly called "stress incontinence" but in reality is just you pissing your pants. The only thing I can say is go when the urge strikes (which is about every 45 minutes now as the baby is using my bladder as a trampoline).

Other "unmentionable" leaking. I never had the prolific vaginal discharge that was described in the pregnancy books as common in the first two trimesters. If anything, my delicate lady bits were so dry that they were practically sub-saharan. Now, though - my god. It's apparently monsoon season between my thighs.

2. You will snore. A lot. I'm now wearing breathe-right strips every single night, sometimes two at a time (and regardless of the fact that I'm allergic to the adhesive they're coated with). If I don't wear them, Patrick can't sleep because I can now apparently out-snore lumberjacks.

3. Everyone will tell you that you should catch up on a lot of sleep now before the baby comes, but the cruel irony is that YOU CANNOT SLEEP. I sleep in 45 minute increments - tops before waking up due to night sweats, having to pee (again), or crazy psychotic dreams resulting from pregnancy hormones. And then there's just the uncomfortableness of the extra weight in your abdomen that makes it impossible to get comfortable. Oh. and maybe I'm just a lucky one, but my babe apparently thinks 2-5:30 a.m. is time to slam dance inside. Every. Single. Night. I wake up every morning exhausted.

4. More bathroom TMI. I've spent my life perpetually constipated, even going as long as 18 days before I actually broke down and had to go. There. I said it. I hate pooping. Pregnancy, however, seems to have reversed this trend for me. In the last week, I've actually gone up to six times a day. I'm really ready for this to be over.

5. There will come a point, more quickly than you'll imagine, where your maternity shirts no longer cover the bottom of your belly. All the cute little tops you thought you'd never fill out will now seemingly be made for a waif. A waif who is not pregnant and does not have boobs.
6. Speaking of boobs, your boobs will continue to grow. I was told that most large breasted women didn't grow much. Whoever told me this is a liar. I was a large size D when I started this pregnancy business. I'm now spilling out of a DD - and am shuddering thinking about how huge they're going to be once my milk comes in.

7. You will justify the most random and extravagant expenses (especially if this is your first child). We finally broke down and bought our stroller (a Mutsy Urban Rider) and car seat (Maxi-Cosi). Mind you, when we first started looking, we were appalled at the cost of the $200 Graco 'travel system' which had both. I'm actually hoping we have another one so we can reuse the stroller.

I only need 22 more days before J comes in order to qualify for the extra month of maternity benefits. I just got a pretty hefty raise that's retroactive to January 1st, so my leave benefits will be a lot more lucrative. I'd still like that extra paid month and the unpaid time. I've been crampy and contracting all morning, but that's not really anything new. Still. Patrick's petrified that I'm going to go into labor this week for some reason. I hope not.

Work has been insanely busy this last week, so I've barely had time to breathe - let alone enjoy working from home. I'm ready to actually be on leave.

Oh. and I just ordered a kit from Mama's Belly after talking to Maggie,the artist. She's letting us pay the item out, and I'm delighted, as I couldn't justify spending all of it right now before he's born.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

An unwelcome surprise

Last night my lower back started aching rather badly, and I ended up asleep before 9:30. Though "asleep" is a bit of a misnomer, as I slept in 15-30 minute fits all night. I think part of it was the new bed and mattress got delivered yesterday, and I'm not used to it yet - and part of it is that I was sleeping on "his" side of the bed instead of mine. I'd fallen asleep first, so he just left me where I was, and got into bed on my side. At 4:00, I finally gave up and went downstairs to work on finishing a document for work (something I do often, as the first thing in the morning like that I seem to be most productive). Tired, and frustrated, I went back upstairs to caroused him into a little action, thinking that (since I appear to be wired like a man, and when it's over I'm out cold - but could you go make me a sandwich before I fall asleep?). I started cramping really badly immediately after, to the point that I lost control and started sobbing. Then I went to the bathroom to clean up - and noticed that I had bright pink blood running down my legs, pooling onto the hexagonal tile floor.

I have a doctor's appointment at 10 a.m. The baby is really active this morning, and I'm hoping it's just an abrasion on my cervix.

But in the meantime, I'm scared. The strong cramping has stopped, but my lower back is aching and there's a weird feeling of pressure inside my vagina that I can't describe. Did I mention I have a work deadline today that I cannot miss?

Here's hoping that she says we're fine and sends me back home so I can finish up my project.

----
Updated: Embarassingly (though thankfully) the bleeding was just due to the "high vascularity" and "general crankiness" of my cervix. I picture my cervix looking something like the cranky old woman "Maxine" in the Hallmark line of cards, dirty coffee cup in one hand, cigarette with excess ash hanging from the os - while mumbling about how unfair life is. I'm afraid in my sleep-deprived mind I've blatantly lifted that from another blogger because it's almost too vivid to be of my own fuzzy brain at the moment.

In other news, while I should be at 31 weeks I am still consistently measuring far ahead, nearing 35.5 weeks. I've somehow gained six pounds in two weeks (GASP!). I've got another ultrasound scheduled for next week to approximate his weight. The doctor said that if I start experiencing pre-term labor in the next three weeks, we'll try to stop it - but after that - it's all systems go if he decides to make his appearance. I'll likely be required to have a c-section if he's estimated to be over 10.5 pounds at the time of birth.

I also apparently have an anterior placenta (my placenta is attached on the wall of my uterus beneath my belly button, rather than the posterior, or back wall which is typical in about 85% of pregnancies). Generally babies will face the placenta, which means in the vast majority of cases that as labor nears, the baby is head down and facing the mother's spine. This particular position allows the smallest part of the head to present first, easing birth. J is head down, but he's "sunny side up" and acing my stomach. If he doesn't turn (which there is thankfully still plenty of time for him to do so) I may be looking forward to longer (and more painful than usual) labor. Fun. If the placenta doesn't "move" upward enough, there are additional dangers in a c-section, as they will have to cut through the placenta in order to deliver him.

Oh. and joy of joys. I have to have a follow up three hour glucose test. Again. Given how large I'm measuring, and the fact that I failed my first glucose screening, they want me to do the three hour test again.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Afro to fumanchu

I have a confession to make, and this is a post all about pubic hair.

It's been about 2 months since I could comfortably see the "area" or - as one of my coworkers felt the need to share with me - my "lady garden." Thus, let's say that well - the garden was a bit unkempt. When I was in seventh grade, we watched the Nova Miracle of Life movie in my science class - and when the birth scene started some guy in the back row shouted out "OH MY GOD, WHAT A HUGE BUSH!" leaving Coach Hall (why in Texas are middle school science teachers always coaches?) so startled that he fell off the counter he was sitting on in the back of the class. Anyway, I could've done a stand in for this woman's 70s porno bush.

Before I met Patrick, I tended to keep things very, very short on top, and shaved everywhere else. My ex preferred the entire thing to be waxed/shaved bare but it was well, itchy and honestly I felt a little creepy being completely bare. The pre-pubescent look just wasn't for me and at least a little bit of hair seemed to provide some protection against chafing. And let's face it. Lady bits? Do not like to be chafed.

Anyway, Patrick was much more supportive of the "natural but contained" look, and as I'd never really experienced it before - I have to admit, it was sort of liberating. Just mind the bikini line and trim things up a bit, but leave the natural triangle shape.

However, now that I'm so hugely pregnant, I can't really tidy things up so well. So laziness set in and I've just sort of let it all go to hell in a handbasket. The doctor said that I could start swimming some, as it would relieve the pressure of carrying around the extra weight on my back and wouldn't likely aggravate the contractions like walking does. Our gym has a warm therapy pool that sounded heavenly so I found a maternity swimsuit and though I was in business.

Then I realized I may not be able to see the pelt that is quickly growing over the region, but other people would be, aside from the fact that it was so uh, fluffy that it would give me a fake penis look. So, this morning I decided to grab Patrick's beard trimmer and give it a quick once over.

I've been up since 4 a.m. working on finishing something up for work, so I have to admit I wasn't clearly thinking. I forgot to put a guard on the shaver. And, my arms are apparently not long enough to really reach all of the important bits, so I've mangled things a bit. Quite literally, I'm afraid as apparently if you nick your nether regions with those, it leads to a lot of blood.

So I now have ... what can only be described as a cross between a reversed landing strip and a fumanchu. I'm trying to figure out how I'm going to fix this before he gets home because if he sees it, I'm afraid he'll die laughing before he's able to fix it for me.

On a completely unrelated note, we were extremely ridiculous this weekend and bought ourselves a new bed. We both came into our relationship with beds that had been shared with exes, and it really, really bothered me. We compromised a bit, and slept in my bed frame and his mattress, but it irked me. Since I don't sleep at night, these are the kind of things I worry about. Anyway... we went to the Macy's Furniture Outlet and bought a bed that is so incredibly beautiful I may marry it. Of course, I'll have to - as it's a Barbara Barry and there's no way we'll ever get rid of it because of the cost. We also managed an amazing deal on a mattress set that was originally $2800 that we got for $550. The bed. Yeah. Not that good of a deal. It's being delivered on Wed. and I am so freaking excited.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

40 days and 40 nights.

I've been working from home since February 2nd, and I'll be honest - it's a lot harder to do than one would imagine. Take for instance the fact that today I had to fax something to work - which necessitated a trip to FedEx/Kinkos as we don't have a land line (something I'm going to have to fix - as given the number of conference calls I've been on lately my minutes are going into unchartered OH MY FUCKING GOD THIS IS GOING TO BE EXPENSIVE levels). And, while I could've scanned the documents and e-mailed them, the scanner/copier/fax we bought isn't compatible with Mac's Leopard operating system, so it's unusable to me at the moment. So, a trip to FedEx to send a fax cost me $1.49 for the first page and $.99 for each remaining page. And it took about 2 minutes per page for the fax to go through, so it was a looooooong expensive excursion.

The Braxton Hicks contractions I've been having are increasing with regularity and apparently I'm one of the "lucky" ones who have really strong contractions that border on downright painful at times. The other night, I was convinced I was about to go into labor as they were coming with increasing strength and frequency. Patrick was timing them and begging me to pack a bag. Instead, I had a glass of wine (it's what my doctor recommended, and I actually only drank about half of it) and promptly fell asleep on the couch. Thankfully they seemed to ease up with the nap. Based on the earliest ultrasound I had, they put the estimated due date at May 5th. I've still never understood how this was possible given that I found out at home on August 20th and have been measuring ahead the entire time, but what do I know? Anyway, based on that date, I'm only 30 weeks, 4 days along. Three weeks ago, I was measuring close to 32 weeks via ultrasound. I need J to hang tight for exactly 40 days and 40 nights before he makes his appearance.

I got an email today from my advisor at work, and he said that if something were to happen now, I'm entitled to 8 weeks at 100% of pay based on my short term disability policy. That's great as I honestly thought I wouldn't be entitled to any leave as I haven't been with the firm a year yet. However, if I can make it to my one year anniversary with the firm (I started April 9th last year) I'm entitled to 12 weeks at full pay and an additional 8 or 12 weeks of unpaid leave. We were contemplating me taking some additional unpaid leave, but that won't be possible if J comes early.

Now, they say most first pregnancies last longer. However, based on the number of contractions I've had, the amount of amniotic fluid J is lounging around in and the fact that he appears to be a giant (or at least has delusions of such) they're betting I won't make it that long. So, at this point - I'm asking for any old wives tales that might exist for how to keep the kid cosy inside for at least another 40 days. I've read all kinds of urban legends about how to get labor started, but what I want to know is how to prevent it.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

The revolving door

As I mentioned in the last post, Patrick and I live 15 hours away from our parents (his parents live about 80 miles from my dad and stepmom, and about 40 miles from my mom).

My dad, stepmom and three sisters as well as my mom and his parents all want to be here for the birth. Patrick's taking a week off after the baby is born, with the intention that we take time to we bond together as a family.

The problem is of course that everyone wants to stay with us. We have a four bedroom house - but one bedroom is an office and one is the nursery. That leaves us with only one guest room. Technically two people, possibly three could sleep comfortably on the couch (we have a giant sectional with a chaise). But... while I do want everyone to come up and see us -I also don't want anyone in the delivery room with me. I would like a few extra days for us to just bond together without having everyone come up at once. Having company over stresses me out incredibly - and I would like to have some time just to get to know our son.

Does anyone have any advice about how to schedule them coming up without hurting feelings? I know that everyone will want to be the "first" to be here, but honestly -it would help us a lot more to stretch out the visits a bit. Everyone's starting to pressure us about when they'll be able to come, and it's making me crazy. I don't want to hurt any feelings - but I really want some time for "just us."

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

I'm going to be an aunt, or so I've been told.

I found out today that my younger sister is pregnant.

She's 21, the oldest of my three younger sisters. She's due September 8th. She was allegedly off birth control pills for three weeks when she got pregnant because she didn't want to fork out the money for a replacement pack when she had a temporary lapse in her health insurance coverage due to an administrative error.

She still hasn't told me, or our dad. Her mom (my stepmom) told me last night on the phone when I asked how she was doing. I guess she's about 10 weeks along now.

About two weeks ago, I saw something innocuous on her myspace page - a message from her best friend asking if she'd gone to the doctor yet. Her response, "no - just the nurse so far." And I looked up - and told Patrick "I'll bet you cash money my sister is pregnant." He laughed at me and told me not to get myself worked up.

Our birthdays are 6 years and 4 days apart, and the entire time growing up we always had to have joint birthday parties on HER birthday because it was a national holiday, and people were typically off work on her birthday. I always felt like she got preferential treatment. She got braces. I didn't. My parents (well, my dad and her mom) loaned money to help put her through school (she's still not finished). On the day I got married to my first husband, they took her to get her hair and nails done. I did my own. They paid for her car (they still do) and her car insurance. Granted, my dad has occasionally helped me with new tires or repairs, but never actually paid for my car. She's still on their health insurance. I paid for all of my own school - with my own debt. They did pay for a year of car insurance for me, and a semester of gas when I was tight on money. And they paid $1500 for a month of rent for me my first year of law school when I got into so much financial trouble.

She and her boyfriend are buying a house less than 10 minutes from our parents. Patrick and I live about 15 hours away. Rationally, I know she didn't do this to steal my thunder. I know she's going to have a lot on her plate. She's not finished with school. I know she was sleeping with someone else while she and her boyfriend where on a "break" less than a year ago - as she brought the new guy up to visit us. She has told me before that she's not sure she's in love with her boyfriend. She's only 21 - and while a LOT of her friends have children, this is scary. I know that she needs a support system and feels alone. My parents were very supportive of my pregnancy, and aren't showing her the same support. I know that part of it is that I'm older. I've finished school. I have a career. She doesn't.

I want to be happy for her, but I'm hurt. I was so excited about the fact that we'd have the only grandchild on my parents' side since Patrick's sister has six. I was so excited that for once, I'd have the undivided attention of my family. I'm hurt that she didn't tell me - and that she still hasn't yet.

I'm overwhelmed by the news really.

I don't know whether to say something to her - to let her know I'm here if she wants to talk and needs advice. Or whether she's trying to make it clear that she doesn't want my input.

Sigh. I'm actually glad that my stepmother was the one who told me, as I broke down in tears when I heard the news. I feel so ashamed for that reaction - but it was visceral, real. It was terribly selfish of me, and I worry about what that says about me as a person.

...

And on a completely unrelated note - here's a shot of Julian from tonight. The entire ultrasound he had his hand squarely in front of his face - and that coupled with the placenta on the front of the uterus made it nearly impossible to get a shot of his face.