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.

Seven Pounds, a Crib, a Peek and a Nest.

Inexplicably, I've gained seven pounds over the last two weeks. How this happened I don't understand. I've actually been trying to stall my weight gain, and have been eating remarkably healthy. Lots of steamed vegetables, an occaional piece of fish, and little to no cheese (my primary diet staple - and bane of the scale).

So yesterday when I weighed myself, I was somewhat dumbfounded. Today, it's the same. I'm afraid when I go to the doctor's office today she's going to be like "what the hell are you doing? eating trays of brownies???" To which I wish the answer was at least yes, rather than the honest no. I've actually been eating very little because the kidlet is jammed up into my stomach - making large meals impossible. And let's be honest, I'm too lazy these days to actually make multiple meals.

In other news, his crib is on the fedex truck for delivery today. To say that I'm excited about finally receiving the last bit of the nursery is an understatement. Of course, they'll come when I'm at the doctor's office for sure.

Tonight we have an appointment for a follow up 3d ultrasound. I'm excited about that too.

And the nesting bug has hit hard core. Friday night I rearranged everything in the 'frig, the two freezers and the pantry. Crazy organization. Everything is pristine in there. Saturday - I hit the closet. Sunday it was the armoire and part of the office, including the bookshelves. Yesterday, it was our bathroom and the guest room and finally burning a giant stack of cds onto itunes. Everything in the bathroom is not only organized, but put into little containers or baggies. [As a side note, if you need body lotion, apparently I'm your girl. I have an entire drawer full of body lotion apparently.] It's insane. Patrick had a good laugh at how meticulous I was being but mentioned how nice it was this morning while he was getting ready for work.

Thankfully, the nesting bug is wearing off on him too and without any prodding on my part he vaccuumed the hallways, all the area rugs, and the stairs. He also rearranged furniture in the office (which is sort of "his" room) and the office area in the basement that I've claimed for a craft room. Oh, and he did five loads of laundry yesterday - and PUT THEM AWAY. And did other odd things like update the lightbulbs in the multitude of lamps and fixtures we have with compact fluorescent bulbs. He also dragged out about fifty frames into the living room (that have nothing in them) and said tonight we're finally figuring out what artwork/photographs are going to be framed and actually hung up in our house. That will clear up all kinds of clutter.

Monday, February 18, 2008


Tagged by Cat.

1) Link to the person that tagged you.
2) Post the rules on your blog.
3) Share six non-important things/habits/quirks about yourself.
4) Tag at least 3 people at the end of your post and link to their blogs.
5) Let each person know they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.
6) Let the fun begin!

Hmmm. Six non-important things/habits/quirks about me. Let's see...

1. I'm an organization nazi. I have weird ways of organizing everything in my life - the closet, the pantry, the bathroom drawers, etc. And it takes a LONG time to get it just the way I want it. And, I'd rather have complete chaos than a system other than my own. My closet, for instance, is organized by color, fabric, sleeve length, skirt length, etc. I can't stand it when someone tries to disrupt my system. The pantry is organized by type of food. All labels have to be front and center, etc. DVDs and books are alphabetized etc. And yet... my house is almost always messy.

2. I almost always have my toenails painted a shade of pink or red. My fingernails however are almost always unpainted, or if I'm feeling particularly adventurous - clear. Since I've been pregnant though that's gone by the wayside and embarassingly (why embarassingly? I don't know. It just bothers me) my toenails are completely natural right now. Colors like blue, green and purple make me freak out. And don't even get me started with airbrushing...

3. I have an amazing sense of smell, and remember times, places and people by their scent.

4. My tongue is abnormally short. The lingual frenulum (the little piece that connects to the underside of your tongue from the bottom of your mouth) should've been cut when I was a baby but wasn't. I can still pull the bar trick of tying a knot in a cherry stem though.

5. I've only mowed a yard one time, when I was about 10. I ran over a blue rosebush in my Granny's yard and I never was allowed to again. I don't even know how to start a gas-powered mower. We just bought an electric mower, and I don't know how to operate it either.

For 99+ other random facts about me, go here.

Hmm. And who to tag? If you haven't been tagged - and are willing to participate, consider yourself up.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Slowly creeping down

Very few people know this, but when my ex-husband Michael and I were married, I had horrible credit. Really, really bad. I'd gotten into serious financial trouble in law school, and let my credit card bills get out of control. Then I had to quit work for school, and didn't have enough money to make even the minimum payments because I was stretched too thin living in an apartment that I really couldn't afford. I struggled for a few months paying minimum balances with student loan money - but in the end embarassingly, many of them were cancelled by the companies as bad debt.

I've struggled for the last five years to pay off the $20,000+ I owed. But, I paid off every cent. I never settled the accounts for less, even though that option was extended to me time and again. I incurred the debt, and I felt morally obligated to pay them off. And, I was applying to three state bars during that time, and I had to show that I was a reputable person.

Even after unscrupulous credit collection agencies contacted my manager and told them that I was a deadbeat (a blatant violation of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act) who had skipped out on her debt. [That would be Risk Management Alternatives, who I had to fight tooth and nail to prove that I had already paid the debt via cancelled checks, and it still took them over nine months to fix the error. In the meantime, they called my house, my cell phone, my job upwards of 20-30 times a day... one particular employee cursed at me, threatened me with physical harm, called me a whore, a loser, a joke, etc. When I would attempt to make payment arrangements they would laugh and hang up.]

Patrick's credit is impeccable, though he also struggled a great deal with repairing his credit while going through his divorce. One of the conditions of my divorce was that Michael had to refinance the house (I let him keep it - and all equity in it, much to the shock and horror of most of my family and friends) within a "reasonable time." I was trying to be patient, because I knew he still had lousy credit - and unlike me, didn't have much income with which to refinance with. But, his mom was going to help him. As of yet, the mortgage is still in my name, though I have given him a quit claim deed so I technically no longer own it anymore. While I make quite a bit of money, I'm still woefully in debt. I had over $100,000 in student loan debt by the time I was done with my MBA and law school degrees. I'll be paying those babies off for another 25 years or so.

I'm still on the mortgage for the house in Overland Park. Patrick and I bought our rambling historic house last Thanksgiving, and we just bought a new Saab 9-3 about a week and a half ago. Oh. And then there's my car (a '04 Nissan Altima that I bought new in 2005, but we got only with an exorbitant rate because of our bad credit). And... then I'm still on the loan for Michael's car because it was a joint loan.

This morning, I refinanced my car, and was able to cut the interest rate by about 3 points (still not a fabulous deal due to the fact that it's a refinance). But it dropped the payment about $80 per month. I'm going to try to keep up the "normal" payments that I've been making, and hopefully pay it off sooner.

My credit woes are resolving, but it's taken a long, long time to get here. Now, if I could only get Michael to follow through with the refinancing of the house... that would help me tremendously.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

12 lbs is NOT coming out of me that way.

If one accepts the dating of my earliest ultrasound (which is presumably the most accurate) my due date is May 5. That would make me 28 weeks and 2 days pregnant. The baby should weigh about 2.4 - 2.75 lbs. So, I was a little surprised today when I went in for my ultrasound and he's conservatively estimated to weigh 3.75 lbs.

Now, I have always firmly believed that I was about a week further along than what they said I was. I tested at home using a regular over the counter pregnancy test on August 20th, which would've been only 8 days after conception using the May 5th due date. If I used my last menstrual period, that would give me a due date of April 29th, and would put me at just turning 29 weeks. If this was the case the baby should weigh about 2.8-3.1 pounds. Now, I know that every baby is different, and that the weight is just an estimate.

But the perinatologist told me that there's pretty much no likelihood that I'll carry him to term as he'll be too large. He said that based on his growth pattern that we'd be looking at a baby over 12 lbs. I almost passed out at that point. He told me that vaginal delivery at that point would be nearly impossible, due to fourth degree tears, broken tailbones, etc. I waved him off, as I couldn't hear any more about that.

I really don't want a c-section. But... I know that if it's what's healthy for the baby, it's what we'll do, without a second thought.

The perinatologist told me that he would be shocked if I didn't have gestational diabetes based on the baby's growth pattern and the amount of amniotic fluid (I don't exactly understand the connection, but I'm not a doctor). He said that until my OB refers me to a dietician to start cutting out refined flour, sugar, etc. from my diet. I've gained less than 2 lbs. in the last month. The baby's gained 2.5 lbs in the last month just by himself! Update - the doctor's office just called, and my three hour gestational diabetes tests were "within normal range." There was one result that was too high, but that's not enough to be considered diabetes.

One thing the peri did say that was interesting is apparently fetuses (fetii?) with mothers who have gestational diabetes tend to have very large torsos and bellies. Julian is proportional all over though. He's legitimately big boned. However, his larger than normal size (he's apparently over the 90% mark for size - and assuming he grows at a normal pace) puts him at greater risk for shoulder dystocia (the head is delivered, but the shoulders get stuck behind the mother's pelvic bone preventing delivery), a higher incidence of stillbirth, and birth trauma. It puts me at a greater risk of perineal tearing, blood loss, or a broken tailbone.

Now that I officially don't have gestational diabetes, I'm not sure what's causing him to be so big.

But I'm thankful that it's one less thing to worry about.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Now in Fruit Punch flavor!

After fasting for 12 hours, my glucose level this morning was 99.

I thought that I'd just barely passed the first of the four draws, but apparently I've actually just barely failed it. This chart shows the levels that the American Diabetes Association considers abnormal at each interval of the test:

Interval Abnormal reading
Fasting 95 mg/dl or higher (mine was a 99. I apparently JUST barely failed)
One hour 180 mg/dl or higher
Two hours 155 mg/dl or higher
Three hours 140 mg/dl or higher

Instead of the horrible flat sunkist flavor stuff that I had last time, I was "treated" to what can only be described as an incredibly thick version of a cheap generic knock-off of Hawaiian Punch flavor kool-aid. Since this was the three hour test, it had 100 g of glucose, rather than the 50 g used in the one hour glucose challenge test. I was able to basically chug it down and headed out to the waiting room to wait for the hour as directed.

About 40 minutes in, my head started splitting. Severe stabbing pain emanated from behind my eyelids. I started getting nauseous and rested my head against the wall. I was trying to read an Amy Vowell book, but the words were swimming on the page, mocking me. After the first hour draw, the phlebotomist told me "you're looking a little pale. Feeling o.k.?" I nodded meekly.

Draw done, they shuttled me back to the waiting room. Wash, rinse, repeat. At the second hour draw this woman with a thick Indian accent told me "it might sting a little." As she SHOVED the needle in, I felt it pop through the back side of my vein. The walls started shimmying - similar to the visual you get while driving on hot asphalt in Texas during August. The road looks wet - and appears to dip and turn. The same mirage-type effect started happening on the wall. She was asking me something, but I couldn't get my mouth to cooperate and answer. I stood up and then...


Fainted. I came to on the way down, and thankfully fell in the chair I had just rose from.

They escorted me to a bed in a back room, where I laid very still and tried to will the room to stop spinning. I laid there for the next hour, when I had my last and final blood draw.

I then drove to Burger King and promptly inhaled a Whopper. (I've essentially given up meat, but it was the only thing I thought I could ingest without immediately chucking it right back up). Oh. and some chicken tenders. And some fries. My head is throbbing now, so I think my poor body is confused and doesn't know what is going on.

Literally as I was pulling into the driveway at home, I skidded out on the ice and clipped a snowbank pretty hard.

I was supposed to go back to the doctor today, but she had an emergency c-section to deal with. So now, I'm waiting for additional info and praying that I am going to pass the remaining three tests.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Hungry. Hungry. Hippo.

It's only 10:12 p.m.

I am supposed to fast for 12 hours before my 3 hour glucose challenge test tomorrow morning. The lab opens at 7:30 so I finished my last bite of dinner at that time.

My stomach is growling like mad. I feel dizzy and lightheaded. And I just realized I won't eat for about 15.5 hours not 12. (figuring 3.5 hours for bloodwork and the testing) I'm drinking copious amounts of water to try to not feel hungry.

This is going to be a long, long night. I hope I just fall asleep soon.

Contractions have been a bear today. I had a few while at the doctor's office, but they normalized, ad all seems to be going well. Another doctor's appointment tomorrow, and then another ultrasound on Wed.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Well *#%&

This morning I went in for my one hour glucose test. It's a normal screening test - routinely given for women between 24 and 28 weeks of pregnancy to check for gestational diabetes (which occurs in 2-5% of pregnancies). A "positive" result on the one hour test doesn't normally mean that you have gestational diabetes, just that you need to have a longer test called a glucose tolerance test.

I was instructed to fast or to eat approximately 2 hours before the test. I went first thing this morning, so I just went ahead and fasted. They prick your finger and take a blood sugar reading, then give you a sugar solution that contains 50 grams of glucose. Allegedly it comes in cola, orange or lime flavors. I ended up with orange. I hate fake orange flavoring, and the taste was akin to what I'd imagine one would put in a hummingbird feeder. You have to drink the entire thing in five minutes (the phlebotomist watched me do it) and then made me sit in the waiting area for an hour. It was gagtastic.

Sadly, I had absolutely no cell or blackberry coverage in the waiting area, and they had the t.v. cranked up SO EFFING LOUD. I tried to read but meh. The hour long wait is to see how efficiently your body processes sugar. Approximately 15-23% of the time, the reading comes back abnormal. A "normal" result after the one hour wait is a blood sugar level of 140 or less, though some practitioners make the cut off at 130.

Mine was a 154.

So, this means I have to take a 3 hour test. In the three hour test, you drink the same sugary sweet concoction - though with 100 grams of glucose in it instead of 50, and they monitor your sugar levels via blood and urine at 30 minutes, 1 hour, 2 hours and 3 hours after you finish it. You're supposed to carb-load a few days before the test -which I'll likely have at some point next week.

Thankfully I read a study this morning that said that only about 30% of women that are in my "bracket" at the end of the one hour test go on to develop full fledged gestational diabetes. I'm keeping my fingers crossed. 

Wednesday, February 6, 2008


I've suddenly gotten the cleaning/organization bug - and as a result every baby item I have is now washed and put away. This is what his nursery looks like now (sans crib, which should be delivered sometime this week) and will be placed on the wall next to the door.

And yes, that is our cat Ennis in the bassinet. He's quite fond of this room, and thinks it's his special play area. He begrudgingly will allow his littermate Jack in the room. I'm hoping that he adapts o.k. to someone else sharing "his" space. More details about the nursery can be found on my flickr pictures.

Oh, and there's a recent shot of me there too - though I'm not posting in the entire picture so as not to offend anyone who's feeling a little sensitive about belly shots at the moment..

Tuesday, February 5, 2008


The fetal fibronectin test was negative.

To say that I'm thankful is a vast understatement.

So I'm apparently in the clear for the next two weeks.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Fibronectin pending

I stopped in to see the doctor this morning and mentioned the cramping and some slight pink spotting that I'd had over the last week. After doing an internal exam, she immediately said I needed to have a fetal fibronectin (sp?) test as my cervix was very soft and "floppy", but that the os was closed. It's still at a "3" - 3 inches I guess - I don't really remember what she said. Allegedly the test will determine whether I'm more likely to give birth in the next two weeks. There isn't any blood at the cervix. 

He's head down and heart rate was between 140-150.  She said that I am to stay on modified bedrest for the "indefinite future." 

The fetal fibronectin results should be in tomorrow morning. 

I'm laying down and keeping everything crossed. 

Oh. and we've gotten close to 20 inches of snow since Thursday. Insanity. 

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Commutation on the commute

On Friday, I was having a multitude of contractions at work and no less than four people stopped me to say that they were concerned about my well being. I spoke to a woman who was on bedrest at the beginning of last year, and to another woman who has two young(ish) children at home. Both of them concurred that I should approach my boss and broach the very real possibility that I may need to start coming in less often to the office.

Honestly, the work itself isn't bothering me. If anything, it's a pleasant distraction that allows me not to worry about how things are developing. I like what I do, and I like who I work with.

The problem, however, is the commute. We live about 45 miles out from the city. I take a train in, then walk about 3/4 of a mile one way (usually through the snow, though I'll save the "uphill and downhill with no shoes" drama for when Julian's older) through the city to my office. Oh, and I usually have my purse and my briefcase or a backpack with me, full of documents. They're heavy. I'm slow. I waddle, and with the ice and snow we've had lately (over 15 inches since Thursday) I tend to slip and fall a lot. My balance - is perhaps only as reliable as a Yugo. I tend to lurch then stall more than walk with any degree of fluidity.

Anywho, my advisor is the second in command in my department. His wife went into labor with triplets at 25 weeks. He's kind and incredibly thoughtful. I approached him this past week and asked if it would be possible to see what my options are if I a) have to start working from home more often and b) give birth prior to April 9th which is my one year anniversary with the firm, and the time that I will be "officially" eligible for maternity leave.

He said he would need to clear it with the big kahuna, but that he sees no reason why I really need to be in the office. Essentially, as long as I am available by e-mail and phone, there's really no reason that I have to be in the office at all.

This is - an ENORMOUS relief, as I'm guessing that I'm going to be put on bedrest shortly.

Oh, and for the TMI question. If you're male, easily squicked out, or know me in real life - you can stop reading now.

No, seriously.

I mean it.

You'll thank me for it later.

Anyway, if you're still with me, and you checked cervical position before you got pregnant, or even after - or for rabid Dr. Google fans - I have a query of sorts. Suppose one, who at 28 weeks pregnant randomly decided to check her cervix after a bout of particularly bad cramping. I somewhat remember my cervix being high, closed and very firm when I first got pregnant. I'm not one to typically go poking around inside there, so I can't say what's "normal" for this pregnancy. But I was rather surprised to feel that my cervix was incredibly soft - almost squishy like touching cold oatmeal. But more troubling to me was that it felt - sorry for being so blunt - but surprisingly open. The "os" felt open enough that I could've slipped my fingertip inside. (Gross, I know. Sorry).

I guess this is something I need a medical professional to verify, but any calming words you can spare would be greatly appreciated.