Sunday, February 28, 2010

Red Cheeks for Everyone

I've been banging my head on the wall struggling trying to get Corey to be more conscious of what he's eating each day.  My once chisel-chinned boy has really filled out in the past year or so.  I do understand that boys especially go through some major growth spurts at his age, but this doesn't seem like that.  We talked about it again today.  His response?

"I'm going on a diet.  Krispy Kreme diet.  They've helped millions, you know.  Teach me how to be a leader."

Uh.  Yeah.  I'm working on being glad he couldn't quite keep a straight face at the end.


Since I seem to be in a mood for embarrassing the kids in my family, I'll include a story about my niece, Sarah.  Apparently she's getting the family breasts (since you've never met me, I'll have to tell you the last time I was measured, I was a 38 FF...why let the kids have all the humiliation, right?).  Poor girl.  I sent a message through her mother, who is more reasonably endowed to remind Sarah to always wear a bra.  "Gravity is not her friend.  She should know this early and remember it often."


Madelyn doesn't have any embarrassing stories yet, so I'll just tell you that she's now singing her third song.  First was the ABC's, then Twinkle Twinkle Little Star and now, Rock-a-bye Baby.  I don't know how something so happy can break your heart, but it does.  Today she rocked her penguin (Pay-ma) during the song.  When "down comes the cradle, Pay-ma and all" she tossed it at me or on the ground.  You're going down Pay-ma!


And since we're not leaving out any kids today, I'll tell you that I think I've been feeling the baby move since yesterday.  Obviously not a lot, but there have been a few times when I thought I felt something and it wasn't nearly immediately followed by gas.


This afternoon Tom and Corey are on a mission to pick up a dresser for Mad and the baby to share.  I can't believe the timing of it all.  My sister-in-law, Gina, mentioned that she was about to put a perfectly excellent dresser out on the street because Sarah wants a tall one, not a long one.  We need a long one.  The color seemed to be a good match for Mad's furniture, too.  So we'll take my desk out of there, which has been acting as the changing table.  The dresser will have to spend some time in our garage airing out, because my brother and Gina are both smokers.  Hopefully we can move it into the room in a month or so.  I've never had to air out wood before, so I'm hoping the garage will be sufficient.


And the last bit of news is back to the baby.  We are shockingly close to coming up with names.  Last time we waited until after going on the hospital tour (around the seven months mark or so).  One of our friends asked the nurses what would happen if the baby didn't have a name when they left.  Of course it wasn't horrible, but I'm not up for a hassle... or doing paperwork that I don't really have to do... and I think Tom felt the same way.  So we had names for a boy (Oliver Canyon) and a girl (Madelyn Kenzie) by the end of the weekend.  It was nice to just say to family and friends, "Here are the names.  Tell us how much you love them."  And (except for my mother... ugh!), they did.

Tom has already been telling people what we've come up with so far (Finn Something-or-other for a boy, Fynn Willow for a girl).  I will tell you that I love the name Finn.  I was very excited when Tom loved it, too.  However, I'm starting to second guess it as a girl's name.  The problem with telling people when you haven't really decided is that some people want to guide you away from that which you are beginning to love.  Still, I'm obviously willing to take the risk to find out what you all might think of our choices.

Thursday, February 25, 2010


I was reading a little Anti-Supermom tonight where she declared herself a slacker for "only" having birthed three babies thus far and being a happily married woman.  It brought to mind what made me feel like that with Madelyn.

Because of how things went when I was laboring with Corey, I decided to make a few changes in my approach to pregnancy with Madelyn.  For one thing, I walked everywhere the second time.  Took the stairs at work unless I was toting something too heavy or awkward to be reasonably safe.  If I was off on the day of a doctor's appointment, Corey and I walked the 2.5 miles there and back.  Since the hospital was only two blocks away, I figured we'd walk over when I was in labor, too.

Labor started slowly on a Thursday night.  By 4:00 the next morning I was counting contractions, but insisting Tom should go to work.  After shuttling Corey out the door to school unaware, I canceled my chiropractic appointment and lunch with Nancy.  Corey returned sometime after noon and I told him we'd likely be meeting his Bruster* by the end of the weekend.  Then we walked around the neighborhood for about 90 minutes.  His job was to time the contractions.

Bruster was the name Corey gave for the baby because we didn't know if he was getting a brother or a sister.

After 60 minutes of walking, I called Tom and told him not to resolve everything before coming home just because he'd be gone for a few weeks.   And to stop and get snacks for himself because that was on my to-do list for the day.  Oh, and to pick up dinner for himself and Corey and wonton soup for me.  That's right, I had him multi-tasking on his way home to witness the birth of his first child.  But it was some time after 3:00 and I didn't want Corey whining about being hungry or Tom feeling faint because he hadn't eaten.

Once Tom made it home we ate (hardly anything) and assembled all of the crap we were taking with us to the hospital.  Rolling suitcase full of clothes for me, Tom and the baby.  Bag with shower stuff.  CD player/alarm clock (we're old school like that).  Video camera.  Two extra fluffy pillows.  Backpack with snacks for Corey and Tom.  Oh, and a game, 'cuz I just knew we were going to be playing Boxers or Briefs at some point.  Corey was pulling or carrying everything but the pillows.

By the time we finally left it was almost 6:00.  At the halfway point my contractions were sometimes only a minute apart and hard enough that I would stop to lean on Tom.  Tom commented, "Phew!  Next time we should put the pillows into a carrying case.  This is a lot of work!"

Corey retorted, "You're doing a lot of work?  I'm carrying everything!  And I don't even want to hear about NEXT TIME until we get through this one!"

At this point I could breathe again and laughingly pointed out that neither one of them was doing the most work.

Those two blocks took roughly 30-45 minutes.

I must admit I felt pretty damned cool about walking to the hospital while in labor.

What was it?... three days later when I heard the story on the news about a teenage girl in Long Beach who gave birth on her own at home without waking anyone up and then ran with the baby to the hospital before her placenta had been delivered.

Yeah, I'm not that cool.


Here's a little comparison of this pregnancy to the ones with Corey and Madelyn:

With Corey I was sick all the time.  Any time.  Any place.  In the mall parking lot between two expensive cars.  Twice.  (I rode the bus to work and couldn't always make it to the McDonald's in time.  I'll bet the moms who were in the restroom with their kids each time I did make it were grateful for the days when I didn't.)  I vomited for three months, took a three month break and then started up again.  The doctor wanted to prescribe medication.  Suppositories!  Thank god for the pharmacist at Thrifty's; he suggested Sea Bands.  They worked well enough that I "only" lost five pounds my last month.  (No worries, Corey was 8.0 pounds and, as the doctor proclaimed, "Perfect!")  When it came to food, grapefruit was in, anything remotely spicy brought on contractions.  What does "remotely spicy" mean?  I couldn't even handle rye bread.

I did not throw up once with Madelyn until two hours before she was born.  It seems to be a requirement that I puke at some point in labor, so my plan this time is to just get it over with instead of fighting it.  I did not get off scot free.  There were exactly four and a half months of persistent nausea.  But there was a trade-off for standing in the bathroom facing away from the toilet and telling myself out loud that I wasn't going to turn around because I knew if I looked it'd be over.  Mad and I got to keep whatever I ate (and nothing... not even Indian food bothered her).  I just couldn't keep all of my brain cells.

With this pregnancy I've noticed even less nausea than with Madelyn.  (Part of me thinks that I could be totally nausea-free in three more pregnancies... if I aspired to be Michelle Duggar.)  Mostly it happens in the evening, and the oddest things can make it worse.  The other night I was heading into the kids' bathroom, hoping to win yet another fight with the porcelain gods.  Seeing that Tom hadn't drained the water from Mad's bath the night before almost pushed me over the edge.  And while I have not tried to put on shoes without pants, Baby Brain has struck early and often.

The latest hit came today, when I left home without my insurance card (and so had to postpone today's blood work 'til tomorrow) and shoes!  I usually keep my grown up shoes in the car and wear slippers for the drive down.  Not so today.  What did I have on the schedule?  Only going out to meet with several local businesses followed by a committee meeting with the head of the Economic Development Department to report our findings.  In slippers.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Deserted Living

Just before having a minor meltdown today, I pondered whether it was coming on because of pregnancy hormones.  I don't think so... or at least, that was the response I gave myself during the 2.5 nanosecond conversation.

Part of the meltdown was about Corey and part was about money, but what it really comes down to is the distance between our home and just about everybody and everything else.  There really are good things about having a bit of a drive in the morning or afternoon, and I mostly don't mind it... until I get home and have no energy to do anything.  But being without the life I apparently get from my people is really wearing on me.

Tom does not have the same predicament as I.  In addition to his day job, he's been working very hard to set up his own financial planning business.  He took a break over the holidays and I reveled in the time we had together, but now it's back on... and rightfully so.  It just means he's busy three to four nights a week plus half the weekend.  On top of that he has baseball and trips to the gym.

I am either at work or at home.  If I'm home, I'm either doing something with Mad, on the computer or sleeping.  There just isn't anything else happening.  I have taken to watching American Idol.  It's not how I'm designed to be, I think.

Tom and I had a long talk, after which I felt better.  Even if there aren't any solutions, knowing he was listening helped a lot.  When he went to get our mail, the local community college's "enrichment courses" listing was in there.

No, I don't have time to commit to regular classes because of Tom's schedule... not to mention that the money could easily go to other things, but it was nice to dream for a minute.

As I browsed the courses, a few stood out as future contenders.  One about digital photography, a set of cooking classes.  A Zumba group brought back memories of the last time I was pregnant.  Someone brought it to work and I loved it.  The class offered through the community college was even on a night that I could probably make work with Tom's schedule.

I continued leafing the pages and came across this:
I apologize for the small, wavy font.  I took the picture on my cell phone.  In case you can't tell, it's a grammar course entitled, "Learning English is Fun."  The last sentence reads, "At the end of this course, you will have, you will have a good grasp of basic English grammar." 

I wonder if proofreading the blurb will be part of the course. 

As your eyes strain to read the rest of the page, try to note the dates (here's a hint: 01/05 - 02/11).  That's right, we just received it yesterday, but all of the classes have already ended.

Ah well, I will go back to counting down the year and a half or so until the belly baby can let me out of his/her sight long enough to start teaching a class up here.  I probably should have done it once I stopped teaching down the hill, but it seemed better to wait until the baby/no baby matter was settled.  Note to self.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Sisters By Birth

As you might know, my family motto is, "Putting the F. U. in fun," which I consider to be at least one step beyond "Putting the fun in dysfunctional."

As a child, I grew up with my brother (same mother and father), (step)sister, and stepbrother.  My sister has always been one of my best friends.  Her (*sigh* okay, our) brother has been a source of wonder and chagrin.

Down the road about 80 miles, bio-dad and his wife (my "Wicked Stepmom," whom I adore... and who is another of the best women in my life) raised my two half sisters.

Eventually my mom and dad divorced and, as Dad is wont to do, he remarried pretty quickly.  Margaret has two daughters that I sort of think of like stepsisters almost.  Anyway, I think of their kids as my nephews and nieces.

You'd think a girl like me wouldn't need any more siblings, right?  Well I think I've got room for more.

When we were expecting Madelyn, Tom and I took a prepared childbirth class together.  The instructor, Pamela, was phenomenal.  She also teaches a new mommy group after the babies are born.  Two of the women from my childbirth class were in the same group.  (Okay, so three women, but one was only there once and we were all... including Pamela... relieved when she didn't return.)  It was nice to see familiar faces.  Pamela strongly encouraged the mommies to meet for lunch afterward each week.  Some of us did.  Five of us continued to meet for months after the five-week course was complete.  We are still in contact, although some more than others.  We're an odd mix, because the only thing we have in common is our babies.

Think I'm kidding?  Here's a summary of each of them:

Lauren celebrated her 21st birthday during the mommy group class.  She's from New York and away from all of her family for the first time.  Very private, unfortunately, she dealt with a serious case of postpartum depression.  She just had her second child and except for a confirmation through Jennifer that everyone was doing well, we haven't heard anything.

Next up is a Jennifer, who came to class with her expensive sunglasses on each day, as though it was too bright in the building.  She has established a mommy group through her church and doesn't really hang with us anymore.  My heathen beliefs and attitudes could very well be the reason.

Third in line is Valeria.  Valeria, from Belarus, is a former model.  She used to work for Disney doing something with costume design.  Now she is working on her own fashion line.  Valeria and her husband were in our childbirth class.  She and I are on the cusp of friendship even though she is a germ-obsessed (seriously... she put hand sanitizer on her daughter's hands because Sami put her hands into her own water cup) mom who can't fathom letting her daughter sleep in her own room.  "It's so far."  (Uh, it's less than 30 feet away and you have a video monitor.)

Last up (in order of preference) is Heather.  Heather is the mother of Luke Skywalker.  Yes, I'm serious.  I, the least sci-fi person on the planet, have sister love for someone who named her kid after a character from Star Wars.  Heather and her husband were in the childbirth class, too.  Nobody really hung out and chatted there.  Tom saw them arrive at the hospital while I was laboring.  Girlfriend arrived three hours after us and delivered four hours before us and I still like her.

On the surface, we don't have much in common either, except that Luke and Mad were born on the same day, mere yards apart.  Her approach to dealing with feelings and emotions is much different than the way I tend to move.  For example, feelings and emotions are important to me, but not necessarily the driving force in decision making and interacting with others.

Maybe it's that we both come from crazy families.  And that we are both talkers.  That's probably enough right there.  Whatever it is that forms our bond, it seems to be getting stronger.

Yesterday I found myself consulting with her about Madelyn's birthday.  Last year we did a huge housewarming/Mad's first birthday bash.  It was way bigger than I'd wanted for her birthday, but I didn't want to deal with two parties.  We scheduled it pretty quickly, not thinking about the fact that we might be interfering with their plans.

Once we decided, then Heather and Richard got to choose their date for Luke's party.  And do it around the other babies' parties, too.  After all the way-too-big parties were over, the mommies made a pact that we wouldn't do that to ourselves next year.  We agreed that private parties with family and then a small get-together where the kids draw names would be better for everyone.

Two days ago I made the mistake of asking Tom an open-ended question.

"Got any thoughts about Mad's birthday?"

"Yep.  I think we'll keep it small this year."


"So the family..."

(The family, not our family.  Okay, that's 24 people.)

"... and some of our friends.  And of course, Mad's friends.  She should have some people her own age."

So a "small" party is approaching 40 people.  Yes, he is crazy, thanks for asking.

I called Heather to commiserate and to see what her plans were for Luke.  She is going to see if she can stick to our plan better than I could.  I'm pulling for her.

She was surprised when I asked her to figure out Luke's date first, but to me it only seemed right.  I feel like we're related and our kids have the same birthday.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Curly Head


Please disregard her outfit.  It was going to be mid-70's to low 80's at Grandma's house today (ergo the sleeveless top and dress), but frosty when we left this morning (thus, the pants and sweatshirt).

Sunday, February 14, 2010


This morning Madelyn woke up quite early.  We spent a lovely morning reading, munching grapes and hanging out before Seh-A-Stwee came on at 7:00.  Grapes are tied for her most favorite food.  The co-winner?  Raisins, of course.

Daddy has been trying to get Mad to say, "I love Mama."  I did hear it this morning, but not before she said, "I love grapes."  (FYI, I came in ahead of "I love fwog.")

After the love-fest, we watched Sesame Street like we usually do, with lots of running around and doing other stuff.  Eventually Curious George came on and the narrator said something that I thought might have been good to know a few days ago:

"There's nothing like spending a long weekend in the country with some of your closest inflatable friends."

So... I hope your long weekend is everything you could have hoped it to be.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Day of Love and Disappointment

Well, it's that time of year again.  Spouses all over will secretly be planning their requisite holiday sex just so they can get that special gleam in their eyes when someone asks, "And how was your Valentine's Day?"

Some frustrated girlfriends will be thinking, "If he doesn't ask me to marry him this time, that's IT!"

Teen boys will lament that their only Valentine came from their grandparents.  (But at least you scored $10, right Corey?)

Little girls will wander around pointing out all the hawhts.

And us?  Well we talked about how we might spend some time alone together. Tom suggested that we actually go see a movie.  At the theater.  I told one of my friends that the last movie we'd seen out was Knocked Up.  She said that we ought to think very carefully about choosing what to see this time.

As it turns out, Mom's not available to watch Corey.  Sure, he's 16 and not mentally retarded.  Therefore he should be able to be left home alone.  Ain't goin'a happ'n.

So anybody have romantic ideas that we can do at home with a teen and a toddler?

Dude... we did that.  How do you think I got in this condition in the first place?  Something a little original, please?

Yes, I know I'm asking at almost 10:00 on the night before Valentine's Day.  What?!

Monday, February 08, 2010

Dear Dog

You are now over a year old, an age when I think a few things should be perfectly clear.

The crate is a pain in the rear for all of us.  You don't like going into it.  We don't like the space it takes up in the kitchen.  Stop pooping on the carpet and we can put this whole thing behind us.

No, you can't have your bed in the crate at night.  You ate your last one.  And the way you flip the new one around... well, we're just not taking any chances, are we?

You need not follow me into the restroom.  Even Mad will let me go alone most of the time, and she's younger than you in dog years.  If you do happen to push your nose in and join me, do not make faces at any sounds you might hear.  I don't judge what you do in your private moments, do I?  Or if I do, it's to cheer you on.  Maybe look a little less perplexed and a bit more rah rah if you insist on coming in.

And speaking of private moments, you're old enough to go outside and do your business alone.  Peeing on the concrete because I am standing inside does not earn you any treats.

Running in the house is fine, as long as you don't knock anyone over.  We'd love to take you for walks, but you ate your leash.  A new leash has been placed on The List of Things We'd Like to Have But Are Not High Priorities Today.  When we get through the list and down to the new leash, we'll let you know.

That's enough for now.  Next time we'll address your other problems, like digging holes and pooping on the compost.  Until then, mind your manners.

Friday, February 05, 2010

Walk of Shame

This was written on April 11, 2008.  It was part of a longer story about how I went into labor the night before.  Twenty-two hours after I wrote it we met Mad face to face for the first time.

I took the car to my pals at Big O in Ontario to get the oil changed. I wasn't sure if I was having lunch with Nance or not, and I hadn't eaten yet, so I decided to walk down the street three blocks or so to where all the food places are. For those of you who are familiar with the area, this is not the Big O at the Mills, this is the original Ontario location... on Holt. I adore Mike and Carlos, and they do great work, so that's where I go. Normally I would have taken Corey with me, but he had work to do and I was looking forward to girl time if I did get together with Nance. Plus, Corey whines every time we go to Casa... he says the food is bland, but he almost always orders the exact same thing... a bean and cheese burrito with rice and beans on the side... freak!

I knew that it would be kind of a long wait at Big O before I brought the car over, which is why I decided to trek down and get something to eat. I figured that waiting would only make me sick and that I'd have a harder time going if it became really necessary later. So I waddled off down the street.

Holt is a fairly busy street, and I heard lots of people honking at each other as I worked my way to Grinder Haven. Once there, I enjoyed a breakfast burrito (but no machaca like they used to make when I was a kid... grr), and then I headed back to Big O. Along the way there was still more honking, and try as I might, I never could see where anyone cut anybody else off or any other reason for people to be honking. Then a man in a Lexus SUV honked at me, pulled into the center lane and looked directly at me. I couldn't see him clearly, but I wondered if maybe I knew him from the Chamber or something... until he drove off and came back up the street and did a U-turn ahead of me (but on the other side).

Then I realized what I should have known from the get-go: I can't walk on Holt, land of hookers since well before I was a kid, alone! Even if I am nine months pregnant, wearing the entirely unsexy black polo shirt, jeans and flip flops. I'm on Holt. Alone! Idiot. And I'm not sure who the bigger idiot is here, me or the people who thought I could/would fulfill any pregnant woman fantasies. Seriously, do I look like a whore?

So when I got back to the shop I told Carlos, "Never let me walk unattended in this area again!" Poor guy. Horrified, he said, "Shannon, I didn't even see you leave. I would have given you a ride." What a sweetie. And besides, I wouldn't have taken the ride, I was going for the double benefit of eating and taking a walk.

Thursday, February 04, 2010

The Driving Issue and Other... Stuff

I noticed a sign at my office today, "Surrogate Parent Training."  As I continued along the maze of my office, I came across a few people who I figured were likely to be offering the training.

"I see your sign for surrogate parent training.  Do you need a kid?  Because I have one.  And your parents would be seriously trained after dealing with him."

They laughed like I was kidding.

For some reason I cannot fathom, the song "Hillbilly Bone" is stuck in my brain.  It has been for the past three evenings.  If you're not familiar with it, I beg you to resist looking it up.  I think my problem began when I read an article about it and watched the accompanying video.  Tragic.  For me, not the video.

Yesterday I had three new tires put on my car (yes, Dad, only three... the fourth was replaced in June).  I've known for a couple of months that they needed to be replaced, but we prioritized Christmas first.  I'm not saying it was the best decision, only the one we made.  Anyway, we've had the same tire shop/mechanic for about five years.  They've had a couple of names, but the important part was the owner... or owners, really, Mike and Carlos.  I have fond memories of their place... and one not so fond, too (it's part of Mad's story, and I'll try to get it up later tonight).  The dudes retired last week and sold their shop.

I spoke with the new owner on the phone before going in.  He seemed really nice and even gave me an excellent deal.  When I arrived for my appointment, the front desk guy came out and knew exactly what I was there for.  The owner came over and greeted me.  Kinda made me feel like a rock superstar.

Getting the tires on took longer than I'd expected, but the new guys had more customers than I've seen around there lately.  By the time my car was done, the owner was gone.  The price ended up being even better than what I'd thought the owner had quoted, enough that I could have afforded the alignment they recommended (and which I know is needed).  But timing-wise... I didn't want to be any later with my day than I already was, so I said I'd return sometime the next day.

As I drove away, the "low tire pressure" gauge came on, so I swung around and headed back.  Not one, but three men told little old me (I really hate guys who act like that) that my car's computer would reset after driving a little bit.

"How far's a little bit?"

"Probably less than a block... but not more than 20 miles."

"I live 50 miles from here and don't want to come back after 100 miles to have it reset."

"It'll reset."

It did not reset.

I spoke with Nance, AKA Car Girl and she suggested go to the dealership.  I stopped at the one up here to see if they could reset it for me.

"We can check it out.  Uh, it'll be $97."

"That's crazy."

And from the back seat, "That's cwazy!"

"I'll be going somewhere else."


I may have actually rolled my eyes at the service tech as I drove away.

When I dropped Mad off this morning, I asked Dad what he recommended.  He told me how he manually resets his gauges.  I think he forgot that I drive a Ford and he drives a Saturn.  It seems to be important.

So I drove back to the shop today.  Getting stuck behind a driver from Nebraska who, best as I can tell, marveled at every single intersection we crossed (no, not just the ones with pretty lights) did not improve my mood.  (Nor did the Nebraska driver who apparently couldn't fathom going 70 uphill this afternoon.  Dude, I know it's a big hill; it's called a mountain.  It's okay!  That's the speed limit.  Hell, anything about 50 would be appreciated right now.  The semis are passing us.)

Two of the three "hey there little lady" guys came over as soon as I got out.

"Did it reset?"

"It did not.  How long will it take to reset it?"

"Probably about 10 minutes."

Nearly 20 minutes later, and after observing the service guy reading the manual to my car, the gauge was reset.  The manual was crammed back into my glove box, but without the rest of the car guides.  They were tossed on the front seat.

I understand not always knowing how to do everything on every single type of car.  In fact, the first time I took my Hybrid Escape in to Mike for an oil change, the tech didn't reset the gauge.  I went in and they worked it out, probably in a way very similar to how things happened today, only less obviously.  The thing is, Mike and Carlos' place is a tire place.  And the new owners had a tire place before.  If people know tires and the associated stuff, they should know about tire pressure gauges, too, right?  Right.  It's not like my car is the newest thing on the road.  So no, I didn't get the alignment done.

If anyone's got a referral for a reasonably knowledgeable mechanic, holla!

***That story about my not-so-fond memories will have to wait.  Tom got home from softball with a lovely black eye and cuts in the shape of ball stitching.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Pardon Me While I Squirm

I figure if you follow my blog and you were dying to know how things went today, you have probably guessed from my previous post that everything turned out just fine.  You have guessed correctly, Grasshoppah!

So let's get into how it went, shall we?

What's the first thing every woman dreads about getting an ultrasound?  Waiting with a full bladder, right?  No fricken kidding!

The appointment was at 11:00.  Tom and I arrived with my very full bladder at 10:30, spent 15 minutes finding parking spots and one another and then waddled headed in.  I hadn't been told a number of ounces to drink, just "a lot all morning" but I figured it was good to stop at, oh... 42.  Almost a Super Big Gulp, as Tom pointed out.

Not surprisingly after seeing the parking lot, the place was packed.  I asked the receptionist if I had to have a full bladder for the test.  She said I could go ahead and use the facilities because they had water available

Blessed relief.

As soon as I came out, I began refilling.  I had my own water (I'm a water snob... I know... I suck), but this time stopped after 36 ounces and hoped it was enough.  It's not like I'd peed 42 ounces, right?

NINETY minutes later, it was finally our turn... to meet with the genetic counselor.  I truly wanted to hear what she had to say, especially with my history, but I interrupted her at least once with, "Pardon me while I squirm."

Fortunately for me, I'd had genetic testing done after all the miscarriages before Corey, and I was okay.  And with the last pregnancy being chemical, Doc concluded that my risks were not greater than 2% of having a genetic abnormality.  Yay!  Even better, instead of sending us out to wait in the lobby until a tech was available, she found a room for me right away.

The ultrasound tech was about seven months pregnant, herself.  She felt my pain.  When I laid back, it looked like I was maybe two months farther along... and it hurt.  She said that laying back should make it a little better, but as soon as she saw it wasn't, she stopped everything, wiped off my belly and told me to go empty my bladder.

"I'm a woman, too, and I just can't push on you in this state."  As if she'd read my mind... or heard me telling Tom, "And she's going to push on my belly.  I'm going to die!"

The term "... like a racehorse" would be very appropriate here.

The ultrasound went very quickly and very well.  Immediately I saw the heart beating.  There was a very beautiful little baby face with a tiny little nose.  We saw his/her hand going up to the mouth.  Maybe this baby has already mastered thumbsucking.  Mad got the hang of thumb chewing around three months old, if I recall correctly.  Corey never cared one way or the other.

The important part is that I have screened negative for Down Syndrome and Trisomy 18.  I'll have more blood work in a few weeks to further rule those out, along with some other big nasties.

We got pictures, but they weren't nearly as good as the images on the screen.  Plus, Tom has them and I'll probably never see 'em again (he'll probably put them in the second drawer of the filing cabinet), otherwise I'd put one here for ya.

I go back at the end of March for the ultrasound (you know... the one where Tom has to keep his end of the bargain and we all find out if we're having a boy or a girl) and again two weeks later for an echocardiogram of the baby's heart.  Apparently these are all standard practice here in California.  So much has changed in the very few years since Mad was en utero.  With her, I ended up doing exactly the same stuff as I did with Corey, which was the AFP test to screen for Down Syndrome.  No other genetic testing at all.  I mean, I could have done the amnio with Mad, but I never would, and nothing else was offered.  I kind of like these chances to see the baby.  And now that, yet again, my fears have proved unfounded, I'm going to just deep breathe my way through the next six and a half months.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Craptacular Days for Everybody!

It seems there's a theme running among a few of my favorite blogs, Anti-Supermom and The Rambler (and no ladies, you are not listed in order of preference... I love you equally).  Normally I try to avoid jumping on bandwagons, but the stories brought to mind one of my own.  It's from June 2008, when Mad was a wee babe of not quite three months.  The original title was BGS and the Craptacular Day. 

I mention this because BGS has been Nancy's nickname for Mad since she was en utero.  It stands for Baby Girl Sweener (our combined last names); she always knew I was going to have a daughter.  This is relevant because you may hear me mention BBS periodically until we find out at the end of next month whether we need to come up with a new nickname or not.  And I'll work on telling you how everything went today regarding BBS once I get this posted.

Madelyn and I got going early today... well, actually, I got up and going early today. I managed to have a shower while both of my children (I'm still not quite used to that, lol) slept. I looked outside and felt the window (my usual way of figuring out the weather... it's at least as good as any weatherman's report) before dressing Mad. I was pretty excited to put her into my favorite bloomers outfit because today we were going visiting with Nancy at some of our classes.

As the three of us walked out the door (Corey was loading La Mad for me), we realized it was misting... not the best day for the bloomers outfit, so I ran back in and grabbed not one, but two! footie sleeper outfits. I tossed them in the car and figured I'd change her at my first stop, which was the newborn center.

Just as we pulled in I got the text from Nance saying that she was heading down to get the van, which was my cue to work my way over to one of our employers.

I went to pull Madelyn out of the car and realized that the diaper bag wasn't there... we'd gone for an extended walk yesterday evening (complete with a stop at the polling place for Madelyn's first "I voted" sticker) and we brought the bag along just in case. I forgot about the sleepers and just ran on in so I could get Mad weighed. Then we dash back home, where I grabbed the diaper bag and a few other things I'd forgotten, and off we went to meet Nance at the employer's.

When we got there, I backed my vehicle up to the dock so that a bunch of gifts for the students could be loaded up. Loading had occasionally taken a bit of time to handle previously, so I took that opportunity to nurse Madelyn and change her diaper and clothes. No problem, but there was more stuff for the kids than my car would hold, so Nance had to cram the van (very skillfully, I might add) up next to my car on the dock. Her vehicle was loaded pretty quickly, too, and FedEx had just arrived, so we had to scoot off the dock.

I loaded Mad into her seat and we headed over to Casa Sanchez. She nursed virtually the entire time we were there, and mostly slept when she wasn't eating. At one point the owner came over and said to Madelyn, "I'm the one who fed your mommy when she was pregnant," but Mad was screaming by then so it we hightailed it.

We stopped at one school and saw some of my favorite people (kids and adults), went to another employer's and then to another school. While we were at the second school it was time to nurse again, so I spent the whole time there bundled up in the car with Madelyn. Kids and teachers came and went and I really didn't get to say much more than hi to them.

Madelyn was in serious eating mode, so I said goodbye to Nance and watched her drive away. Mad finished on one side and I decided to check to see if she needed another diaper change.

I put her on the back seat... I probably should have done it in the cargo area, but that seemed more exposed than I wanted her to be... and I wasn't even sure that she needed a change, so I hadn't put a pad down, just the blanket that I'd used while she was nursing. I used that second footie sleeper to prop her up from where the seat is angled and to cushion her against the seatbelts.

Did she need a change? OMG, yes!!!

Tom and I have talked about diapers in the past few weeks as being "the messiest" or "the biggest" or "the one that took the most wipes." This was the diaper to beat all other diapers. Possibly even adult diapers.

A little baby poo primer for ya... breast milk diapers look like seedy mustard. Madelyn looked like someone had taken a large bottle of mustard and dumped it in her diaper. That thing was full to the edges... in the front, sides and the back!

A little Madelyn primer for ya... Madelyn doesn't like anything cold or wet, and the combination of cold and wet will drive her over the edge.

So I opened the old diaper and began the massive cleanup. But it was cold and windy, which was making Madelyn very unhappy, and it was also making the poo stick to her body like glue... and not just on the private parts that she's used to getting cleaned up, but even up to her abdomen! I was taking a sort of "top down" approach, so I started on her belly first (good to keep the hands from getting into anything nasty). While I did that, she screamed bloody murder and flailed her legs. After a few minutes and several wipes and I'm still not sure that I've gotten her stomach clean, I realized that Madelyn's feet are in the dirty diaper, which she has kicked open. And there's poo on her clothes.

I worked frantically to get her done. My back was aching from being bent over like that (ugh! I'm old!) and I was talking to her, trying to soothe her and get it done as quickly and as best I could. What happened next?

She peed, of course.

No pad, remember? So I grabbed another blanket and stuck it under everything to hopefully absorb as much as possible before it ruined my still new car interior.

The upside? Pee acts as a poo-glue remover and I was able to finish up fairly quickly and get my poor baby girl into a clean diaper and some dry clothes... but not that other sleeper, because it also helped catch pee.

After I got everything into bags, I took her back to the front seat of the car and we snuggled and then finished nursing. After that, life was good and she fell asleep pretty quickly.  I could have done the same.

Monday, February 01, 2010

Tentatively Sighing With Something Like Relief

The other day I wrote out a lengthy and dramatic post about what we've been going through with Corey.  I decided not to publicize it.  It's the truly hard stuff of life (not the decision, the drama that caused the post) and I just wasn't sure where it was going.  With Corey, I never really am.  But there is part of it all that I wanted to share.

Turns out Corey and Lisa were going through some seriously rough times.  They did not make it through.  Last night her aunt called to tell me that Lisa wants to break up.


As things were devolving, I became increasingly worried for Corey.  It's his first love and his first heartbreak.  We had conversations about how he is bigger than the relationship and more than just "Corey and Lisa."  He seemed to understand and even felt like things should be over because of the way she'd been treating him... he just wasn't ready quite yet.

When I got off the phone with the aunt last night, I laid it on the line for him as gently as I could.

Internally, I was rather seething for him.  I mean, seriously.  Have your aunt call and talk to your boyfriend's mom?!  And some of the stuff the aunt said for Lisa were fricking ridiculous.

Honestly, I always assumed when Corey had his first breakup, I'd be the stern, "Well next time you ought to try being more this and less that" sort of responder (I hesitate to call it comfort).  The nature of my son's personality and behavior frequently leads to those kinds of conversations.  Instead, I find myself being the mother bear who wants to verbally bash the stupid little girl who hurt my boy.  I won't (or not any more than the little I've done here), but it's nice to know I can make the switch when the circumstances call for it

I was especially dreading how today would go for him.  Turns out Corey handled everything as well as I could have hoped.  Lisa asked if they could "be friends until she's ready."  He didn't really give her his answer, but told me that it's a no.  She didn't treat him like a boyfriend (insert air quotes), so he figures she won't treat him like a friend either.

This afternoon we went to the bookstore and exchanged the book he'd gotten for her birthday for a CD/DVD for himself.  Apparently it's pretty funny.  I keep hearing him laugh.
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