Saturday, April 24, 2010

Chef Boyardyuck!

Back in the day I loved Chef Boyardee Ravioli.  I even fed them to Corey when he was a younger child.  That stopped probably more than 10 years ago as I learned to make things myself (no, not ravioli).  With this pregnancy I have craved just about anything acidic.  In the past 36 hours, for example, I've eaten two whole lemons with salt (salt is the other half of the cravings... I'm mostly trying to cut that back to normal levels).  Just about anything tomato-y is high on my list of wanted foods (of course, they're frequently salty, too).

Tonight Corey and I did the grocery shopping.  I managed to skip the V-8 (I know, Beth, I know), but for some reason I ended up in the processed canned foods aisle.  I don't normally even go there.  The mini ravioli practically leapt into my cart.  Corey was baffled. 

"What are you doing?"

"Look, I know it's crap, but I want it.  You're going to have some, too."

*looking skeptical* "Why?"

"You used to like it when you were little."


So we came home and I cooked it.  Thank god Corey will eat just about anything, because I would have hated to throw it away.  Mushy once-upon-a-time-this-was-pasta in a faintly reminiscent tomato sauce.  Ugh!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Friend Request

I've had a few odd friend requests via Facebook lately.  Corey's paternal grandmother (who did not respond to my message, in case you were wondering) and people from my mom's church who I know, but barely.  But that's not what this is about.  This is about my friend Jody.

She and I have been friends since Corey and her son, Aaron, were about to turn one.  I was newly separated and Jody eventually set me up on my first blind date.  I think it should go down in history as one of the worst blind dates ever.  It was so bad I wrote about it here seven years later (I apologize for the extra large font).

Well Jody is back on the matchmaking front (did she ever leave?).  Tonight she called to tell me about this great Deaf guy she knows ("he's smart and everything!"), who can't seem to find a (presumably hearing) woman to date who'll get past his deafness.  She wanted to know if any of my former sign language students would be interested.

Despite a strong desire to protect my peeps, I mentally ran down the list of candidates.  One man, one lesbian, several married women and a 12 year old Pakistani girl.  Nope.  Not a single candidate.  *Whew!*  Then I remembered Natalie, but she's a few years older than I and the guy is 10 years younger.  Still no. *Double Whew!*

We got off the phone just after she said, "Well think about it.  If you can, throw me a name." 

Yeah, okay.

From Learning To Sit Up To Learning To Sit Still

Mad, Zach, Jovie, Luke (Heather) and Samantha (Valeria) in October, 2008:

And again in the same order yesterday.

Yeah, that's my girl screaming her head off.

Hearts and Winers

I am the one who gets Madelyn to Grandma's in the morning. Instead of setting my alarm I usually wait to hear her talking to her stuffed friends over the monitor. Thus, she is with me as I'm getting dressed.

Yesterday morning in the restroom Mad declared that she wants hearts panties (hard to guess what I was wearing, I know). We talked about getting hearts panties once she starts using the potty. Her next statement?

"I need panty winers."

With any luck, not for a while, Kid.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Going Green

Um... no, I'm not talking about getting all environmentally friendly*, I'm talking about putting in a lawn.  In our yard.  Uh, yeah... in the desert.

*We are mostly environmentally friendly people.  If you saw the vegetable graveyard... er, compost pile we have out back, or know that we frequently recycle twice as much as we throw away... I've even made five or six trips to recycle concrete... you'd know that.  I just need a little green, soft, cool, slightly damp lawn to walk, sit or play upon.

Getting the lawn wasn't exactly high drama, but there has been some drama surrounding our yard.  Last fall when I (finally) went to register Maisy, I learned that we have a $460 lien on the property.  Why?  Because there was dead grass in the yard.  All of the city's records stopped just over a month before we bought the place (staff shortage), so technically, we're not responsible for it.  Dave, our realtor, has been working with the escrow and title companies to get it resolved. 

We had a small amount of hope that the title company would pay to have our lawn put in, but they are standing by the fact that the city didn't report that lien (there was another larger lien for something else, but that had been reported and handled).

Nine or 10 months ago, Tom ripped out all of the dead lawn.  We thought we'd have no problem getting a new lawn in before the real heat of summer, but then the truck conked out and we now have a second massive car payment.  Functioning cars (both are hybrids... we're environmentally friendly, I tell ya!) or lawn?  It was a tough choice, but I guess the right one was made.

Now that winter's over, and we still have that lien hanging, it was time to do some yard work.  Dave thinks he can get the city to drop the fee as long as the work has been done.  Can I just admit here that I'm glad for the lien because it meant doing the lawn before we otherwise would have?  Don't tell Tom... or Dave.

So we had some sod delivered...

Did a little gardening,

(Okay, some of us might have done more intense, hard labor)

And some of us might have dragged our feet more than we should have (and we still didn't get to go see Amber again, dang it all!),  

But in the end, a lawn was made.

I am more sore than I've been in years, but it was good to work side by side with Tom and have something to show for it.  He did most of the truly hard stuff.  Corey (mostly) cleared the spot on the other side of the driveway and picked up rocks and debris that came out of our yard (a four foot length of rusted metal? really?).  I cut open all the bags of topper and topsoil and did most of the sod cutting (edges and sprinklers).  And I swept dirt for what seemed like days.  Tom did pretty much everything else.

My dad and Margaret showed up at 8:00 last night when they'd heard we were struggling to wrap things up.  I could have cried.  Margaret took control of Madelyn and wrangled our downstairs floor into shape while Corey made dinner.  Dad helped lay sod and used the roller.  As soon as it was done, they were out of here.  They took a two hour drive (round trip) to help us.

We've definitely learned our lesson.  We didn't think we'd need much help (a brother-in-law helped us get all of the non-sod components home), and the backyard will be a much larger project (digging sprinkler trenches in clay? should be fun); we didn't want to ask for help too often.

I have already sent out an email to our local-ish friends and family.  We probably won't get to the backyard until next year, so they can either move far, far away, or be ready for the Bat Signal.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Sergeant Mary?

For 12 years I have enjoyed the song, "My Hero" by Foo Fighters.  I just discovered today that the line is "He's ordinary," not "Sergeant Mary." 

Makes a lot more sense now.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Choosing Sides

When you hear news about someone who's been accused of hurting another person, what is your automatic reaction?  I, for one, tend to assume the person is guilty.  When there is a tug-of-war between my head ("of course they did it... almost everyone who's accused in these situations is guilty") and my heart ("well if his mom says he couldn't do it... she probably knows him best"), my head tends to win.

Here's why I bring this up:  One of the educational assistants (Person A*) I have worked with for over six years has been accused of purposely injuring one of the students in that class.  The student is non-verbal and wheelchair bound.  Something clearly happened to her; she had the welts to prove it.

The accusations come from another aide (Person B) who was in the room when it allegedly happened.  No one else was around but those three.

Here's the rub:  Person B's side of the story includes not doing anything to stop it and waiting to say what happened until a third aide noticed the welts.  Also, at some point Person B took the student to the restroom on her own, as did the third aide.  And Person B is known for causing problems.  She was, I believe, instrumental in creating such a bad environment in another class that one of our best aides left.  On the flip side, Person A has always been reliable, caring and aware.

Based on everything I've heard, I have cast my vote for Person A (as has the girl's parent).  It honestly sounds to me like either Person B or the third aide injured the girl.  Both of them, as well as the teacher, have clearly lied about how the classroom operates.  I was not asked to give any impressions.

Person A has been removed from the classroom and was given the choice of resigning or being fired.  I drafted her letter of defense.  To protect her future job options, she chose to resign.  I wrote out her resignation and gave her a letter of recommendation .  A police report was filed, and the DA is pursuing charges.  I have provided a character reference.

Here's where I get a little wimpy:  I believe that what I'm doing is right, but I still have to work with the teacher and other aides.  My way of making this happen has been to send Nance to their class instead of going myself.  I can sometimes be too confrontational, especially when there is a question of right and wrong regarding children.  As it is, mere hours before Person A asked for a character reference, I was on the phone with the teacher pointing out yet again that paperwork needs to be done a certain way.  Despite my best efforts at self-control I blurted out, "When Person A was there it was always done a certain way, which is the right way.  Whatever you need to do to do it like she did, that's what has to happen."  Ugh.  Nice.  Professional, too.  I am concerned about how things will go once they all go to court.  Knowing that I have to work with women who are dishonest... and one of whom hurt a defenseless child... makes me a little queasy.  Keeping my distance is my best defense.  Nancy's not getting involved, which is her usual preference, so she can seem neutral.

Have you ever been in this kind of situation?  What would you do?

*They have the same first name.  Such is the lack of creativity on my part today, I have not come up with something different.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

The First Big Thing and Girl Parts

Okay, it's the second, really, but the first first thing isn't working out so well.  What the heck am I talking about?  Baby stuff!  Yay!

A couple of months ago my niece gave us her old dresser.  It's the right color and size, and the style even works with the girls' room.  But my brother and his wife are heavy duty smokers.  We have had that dresser and all the drawers spread out over our patio on sunny days and wiped it down with vinegar five or six times.  The smell seemed to be gone well enough that we moved it upstairs to our loft.  Still didn't notice any bad aromas.  We had Mad's party and the big reveal on Sunday (more on that later), and put the drawers back into the dresser just for tidiness.  When I took my dad upstairs to show him Mad's "new bed" we stopped and took a whiff of the dresser.

I can barely smell anything, but as soon as we opened the drawer, I could smell that smell.  Ugh!  If anyone has a workable solution to get the stench out, I would love to hear it.  Plan B is to post wanted ads on and hope we get a better dresser.

So what has supplanted the dresser as the first big thing?  We got the baby's mattress.  As we've learned more about being green (I'm proud to say we were green before green was cool... but embarrassed to say we're lazy... so maybe we're really teal? aqua?) and health conscious, we have learned about all the nasties that get put into crib mattresses.  So Mad has our family's first organic mattress.  And by organic, I don't mean the cotton cover is organic, but sprayed with chemical flame retardants.  I mean it's got an organic rubber core and cotton and wool padding and cover.  Wool is a natural flame retardant.

We love the mattress, but hated the whole process of getting it.  I found a website for a company based in Vermont, called and made the order.  The 2-3 weeks estimate for shipping turned into 10 weeks.  It almost didn't arrive before Madelyn!  And when it did arrive, it was folded in half in a box.

Even if that company were still in business, there's no way I'd send them my money again.  We found another company, EcoBaby Pure Rest, that not only manufactures their own mattresses, they have a showroom.  And they're in my hometown, San Diego!  I called to confirm that they had mattresses in stock, Nance and I made the drive and picked one up.  It's leaning against the wall in our living room right now.  Shipping is only $35, which is about what I spent in gas, but I was glad to have it in my hands immediately (okay, after about two and a half hours of driving).  The bonus of the day came when the sales guy, Victor, told me they give a 20% discount for coming to pick it up.  I saved $88.  Yay!

To make it less of a spent-the-whole-day-driving kind of day, we went over to the harbor and had a fabulous lunch at The Fish Market in an enclosed patio right over the water.  The only downside for me is that I haven't completely regained my taste buds from this pesky cold.

In other Baby Fynn news, I had the EKG done yesterday.  Her heart is strong and healthy.  Even though I have some minor heart things, she does not.  The doctor asked if I avoid caffeine.  I do, in part because of my own palpitations and mainly because who wants to have a hyper baby en utero?  Then he told us something we'd never heard before:  Caffeine during pregnancy is linked to babies developing skipped heartbeats, too.  Who knew?

After he was done checking out her heart, Doc spent a little time doing another ultrasound.  For part of it he switched to 4D.  I saw my daughter's face.  It felt like meeting her a little.  I can't wait to really be face to face with her.

And, causing me to think these ultrasound people are more than slightly obsessed with genitalia, he reconfirmed that we are having a girl.  The picture he printed is pretty grainy, so to be sure we didn't forget that we're having a girl, he typed "Vagina" and put three arrows pointing to it.  If that wasn't enough, he also typed a message in the corner.


Thanks, dude, for the picture I will never show (at least until she's, you know... annoying me around her friends or something).

Monday, April 12, 2010

A Long Story About A Quick Delivery

On this morning two years ago, at 4:35 A.M., Mad shot into the world like a rocket (after 36 hours of labor).  Since I've already written about the first part of my labor, this starts up once we arrived at the hospital.

Despite repeated warnings on the hospital tour about how it's better not to arrive during shift change, that's exactly what we did.  The downside is that we were stuck standing outside the maternity entrance for a minute while we waited for a response to the buzzing doorbell... and then again once we were two feet inside the maternity lobby and waiting to get into the maternity department.

The upside was that all the exam rooms were taken, so we went immediately into the room where our baby would be born.  Oliver Canyon or Madelyn Kenzie?  We didn't know.

The nurse who checked me out, Philomena ("or you can just call me Phil"), wasn't exactly pleasant, friendly or gentle.  I would have sworn she was wearing a 9 karat ring on her finger during the exam.  She declared I was dilated to about 3; I was so sure I was at least 4 by then, especially after all the walking I'd done over the past two days (not to mention, on the way to the hospital).  Lucky for us, Phil was going off duty and Maribel Cruz became our nurse.

Maribel was the kind of nurse I hope to have again next time.  Heck, I'd really prefer to have Maribel herself.

She had us on the monitor for an hour to see what the contractions were like.  When she re-examined me, I was dilated another centimeter and a half (or Phil's ring got in the way).  We were staying.  Corey was given a cell phone and a list of people to call.

We presented our birth plan, which was written mainly for us since we knew the hospital allowed most of the things we wanted.  It was pretty simple and straightforward.

*Soft music playing (Corey was the DJ)
*Friends and family allowed during labor
*Do not offer pain medication; I will ask for it if I need it
*Lots of walking and changing positions to stimulate labor
*Break my water if necessary instead of administering pitocin
*No antibiotic eye cream for the baby (as it just so happens, I don't have any STD's, so it was unnecessary)
*No vitamin K shot unless the baby has bruising or bleeding
*No Hep B shot (none of the people in our circle have hepatitis and we were counting on the baby not being sexually active for quite some time, so it was unnecessary... and it reduces appetite and increases lethargy, which are not good things for newborns)

Of course we had to sign declination forms for the shots and eye cream, but Maribel didn't make a big deal about it.  She did ask about our reasoning, but it seemed to be more out of curiosity than condescension.

One thing I did agree to was an IV fluids line.  Maintaining hydration isn't always easy for me under the best of circumstances.  When I was in labor with Corey, I'd taken several hot showers.  Getting an IV put an end to that.  I never even asked if showering would be possible this time.  Although the room was spacious, the bathroom was tiny; I didn't even want to try a shower. 

My mom and Nancy both arrived and stayed for the duration.  Tom was by my side almost every minute.  I used the restroom by myself... we're just not that kind of couple.  I'm not sure if Tom ever got to use the restroom.  I remember he tried to at one point, but couldn't get more than a foot from me before another contraction would start.  We walked the halls numerous times until around 11:00 or so.  I was usually in bed by 10:00, and my body wanted to catch some sleep like usual. 

Tom counted out my breaths for each contraction.  I know, I know... a lot of women would find that annoying, but I can not find a focus point on the wall or in a pair of booties.  I found it in Tom's voice.

Everybody in the room was quiet for most of the night. Once, my mom dared to whisper something to Nance while I was having a contraction. I shushed her. My own mother. As soon as the contraction went away I felt bad about it.

For quite a while things progressed pretty close to the one centimeter per hour like you hear.  But then I hung out at 8+ for over three hours.  That was not fun.  As we approached 3.5 hours of no progress, I started losing control of my pain (and, perhaps, my mind).  According to Nancy, the only thing I said the whole time (and only once) was a very quiet, "Oh my."

Can I be frank?  I have quite the sailor's vocabulary.  I could have said a lot of things, and I was definitely thinking them, but I had Corey in the room.  I wanted him to be part of the labor and see (to a point) what a woman goes through.  I did not want to traumatize him.  I also had my mom and Nance, two churchgoing women... who've heard my foul mouth on (the hopefully rare) occasion.  But it just hit me as unseemly at that moment (I don't know why then, when I really could have gotten away with it).  And lastly, I had Tom there.  I felt very protective over him and Corey.  I didn't want to scare either of them since they'd never been through this side of labor before.

At one point Corey, who is a night owl, decided he needed a snack.  We'd brought plenty for just such a moment.  He selected his A-1 steak sauce flavored beef jerky.  When the package was torn open, I could have sworn a skunk had been let loose in the room.  It smelled awful!  I explained, as rationally as I could, that even though it didn't make any sense he would have to get those things out of the room and not open them up again near me until after the baby was born.

Sometime around 3:30 in the morning I started enquiring about pain medications.  Even though I could recite which drugs do what to Mom and Baby, and Tom and I shared a common view on each of them, I really didn't care what they gave me.  I just wanted the pain to end. 

Tom knew how much I wanted to deliver naturally, and Maribel also understood me (she was pregnant, too... Fynnie will be born when her son is about 2).  When Tom called to ask her about pain meds, she came to talk with us. 

We talked after Mad was born and Maribel said, "I knew how much you wanted to go natural, but you'd been stalled out for so long.  What if it took several more hours?"

Tom asked if it was still possible to get an epidural.  She said it was, had me change positions (we'd forgotten that step somewhere along the way) and then left us alone to talk about it.  Of course, with the position change, the pain of the contractions increased.  I was as close to wanting an epidural as I'd ever been in my life.

Tom called Maribel back and they talked some more about my getting the epidural.  She had me change positions again (ugh!) and told me the anesthesiologist was just down the hall.  He was about to do someone else first who had been waiting a long time, but if it was really bad, she would have him come to me first.  I don't recall an actual response, but in my mind there was no way I could step in front of someone else. 

Another exam and I was at 9.  Progress!  Maribel left the room again.  I'm not sure if a decision had been made at that point.  It seems to me she or Tom said something about talking it over and getting back to her.

Are you onto them yet?  They tag-teamed me and stalled me.  Whatever.

At some point, though, I did specifically ask for the epidural.

I've heard that "you know a woman's about to have a baby when she doesn't care who sees her naked." Not so much on my end, thanks.  With the position changes that Maribel suggested, somewhere in the fog of my brain I recalled that getting on all fours could be useful.  I didn't mind doing that in front of my peeps, but I didn't want the back side of my gown opening and revealing... me... to them.

Of course I handled it all with tact and aplomb.  I believe my frantically whispered words to Tom were, "Get those people out of here!"

"What?  Who?"

"Them!  Those people!  Get them out!"

Tom ushered them out pretty quickly.  We changed positions a couple more times.  Eventually I had him call because I thought maybe I had to push.

Nope, 9+.  Maribel worked some obstetrical magic on my body.  A few minutes later when she checked me... just as the anesthesiologist walked in... I was finally at 10.

The pain doc apologized for taking so long.  I said, "No, it's good.  Really."  I was so relieved to have made it, even if it wasn't entirely of my own free will or internal strength.  My man and my nurse helped me get where I wanted to go, even if they had to carry me a little way.

Maribel left one last time to call the doctor.  In no time at all I understood the difference between, "I think maybe I have to push" and "I can't not push!"  It's pretty amazing what you can feel when you aren't medicated.  I remember being able to visualize the baby's head moving down the birth canal.  It might sound painful, but it wasn't.  It was a tangible sign of progress.

The whole time I pushed I made some sort of a low, guttural humming sound.  I remember hearing myself and wondering why I was doing it, but I didn't stop.

One thing I didn't want was to have someone counting out how long I should push.  I was concerned more about feeling like I couldn't breathe when I wanted.  Turned out that I didn't care about breathing, all I could do was push.

I'd been working on my right side and was pretty comfortable that way.  So when Maribel came in and had me move to my back, I was not thrilled.  Just then my water broke and there was some meconium in it.  She called in all the people who would need to check the baby out after he or she was born. 

On the last night of class Pamela had done an activity that showed how many people would be in the room if there were any complications.  Tom was the "mom in labor," I was his partner and the rest of the other members of the class ended up surrounding us as Pamela told us what each person's job would be in such a case.  We weren't panicked.  I felt pretty calm because I'd seen so many "Baby Story" shows where meconium was present.  Everything was smooth sailing and I figured the same would be true for us.

I pushed for 10-15 minutes.  The bed was not broken down and the doctor did not arrive until after the baby was halfway out.  Tom was the person who saw first and said, "I think it's a girl."

Someone, maybe Maribel, said, "Let's look."

Tom said, "No, it's a girl!"

I sat up to look at her and immediately noticed she had Tom's mouth and chin.  She had the same pucker he makes while sleeping.  Her left hand made the sign for the letter T.

Tom cut the cord after some instructions from Maribel.  I was surprised that he did because he gets pretty queasy around blood, but he had no problems.  He seemed rather proud of himself.  I know I was.

We didn't get to hear that first cry for a long time as they worked to clear out her lungs.  It was a loud, strong cry.  So loud that the family was able to hear her even though they'd been shuttled to the lobby and were on the other side of a glass door (ours was the room second from the lobby door).

Tom went to be with our little girl as the doctors and nurses tried to stabilize her breathing.  She had been upset, but when she heard Daddy's voice, she stopped crying and looked at him.  That was beautiful.

It was a good thing he was there, too, because the doc stepped in then to deliver the placenta.  Someone pressed on my abdomen and blood and guts shot out of me and hit Doc with a large splat.  I had been laying back, but sat up to see what had happened.  I looked at her scrubs and said, "Well that's a mess."  Doc laughed and said she needed more patients like me.

Again, I was just glad Tom was over with Madelyn, because I had virtually promised him that there wouldn't be much blood involved in delivering our baby.  There wasn't any when Corey was born.

Doc said I had a small tear.  She gave me enough anesthetic to numb a miniscule tear.  I could feel the last several stitches.  Even though I told her, she did not do anything but continue sewing.  Jeez!

After about 20 minutes I was finally able to hold Madelyn (Tom handed her to me), but only for a couple minutes because she was still having a hard time breathing.  She was grunting and rather gray and on her way to the nursery.  Everyone got to see her while I held her, but that was it.  Once Mad was on her way, Nancy kissed me goodbye and went to take her husband on what would end up being his last trip sailing.  Mom took Corey to her house and I'm sure they slept the day away.  I began calling anybody who was out of state and likely to be up.

An hour or so later Tom came in to report that Madelyn was going to the neonatal intensive care unit.  She had a collapsed lung and the air had gone into her chest, not out her mouth or nose.  Because of the meconium, she was at risk of a potentially fatal infection.  And the course of treatment required at least three days.

The first time I got to see her looking pink was in a photo a nurse brought to me.  My sweet daughter was covered in tubes and wires.  It was surreal.

The neonatologist came to see us and told  us the plan.  He said I could go into the nursery and hold her for a few minutes before they moved her to the NICU.  After that we wouldn't be able to do more than touch her foot for a while (and that only every couple of visits, it turned out).  We were there as soon as we were allowed and held her as long as they let us.  Seeing my baby with a pacifier made me kind of sad (like there wasn't enough other stuff, right?), and I remember being surprised at how little she seemed.  At 8 pounds 3 ounces, small isn't usually what one thinks about a newborn.

I didn't make any more calls that morning, but I may have sent out a text.  In any case, friends came to visit, which made things better.  My dad and Margaret brought my sister and niece.  All the adults took turns going in to see Mad with Tom while I stayed in the lobby with the rest.

Speaking of which, I do understand keeping the regular nursery separate from the NICU, but is it really necessary to put it on the other side of the maternity ward... and on the other side of the lobby?  The family of about 20 people who were waiting for their own long delivery knew our entire story after Tom had passed through there about a dozen times.

Mom brought Corey back later that afternoon.  Corey didn't want to see the baby like that.  Mom stayed with me while Corey and Tom walked home to feed the iguana and get our car.

I remember feeling like I was ready to leave the hospital almost immediately after giving birth.  The only thing that kept me there was Madelyn.  The nurses and my family all encouraged me to stay just because it was easier to visit with her from my room instead of a few blocks away.  So I postponed walking out of there and into our home without her. 

The air pocket (which was now surrounding her lung and heart) did not resolve itself as can happen, so it was removed with a needle.  The doctor said that Madelyn didn't cry.  Except for the risk of infection, she could have gone home the next day.  Her respiratory distress resolved pretty quickly.

Instead of starting off with breastfeeding, Mad went without food for about 24 hours.  Then she was given IV nutrition and then a bottle.  Meanwhile I was pumping everything I could.  It was hardly anything.  Even though I wasn't outwardly expressing how upset I was, the lack of physical contact with my daughter was killing me.  After the 12th time I pumped, I finally managed to get a few drops of colostrum.  We got to nurse when she was three days old.  Making it happen involved me, Mad, Tom, a lactation consultant and the neonatologist (who had to tell the lone idiot nurse we had that Madelyn could nurse).

It seemed like every time Mad would reach a feeding milestone set by the medical staff, they would increase the goal.  When a mild case of jaundice occurred, they talked about keeping her for up to an additional week (that was another gem from the lone idiot nurse... the rest were spectacular).  I might have raised a small amount of holy hell because the jaundice numbers were low; if we were home we'd have to keep her near a window for the indirect sunlight.

She kept getting stronger and was able to regulate her body temperature and breathing.  The morning after the course of antibiotics was completed, she came home.

One thing we decided after bringing her home was that it was nice to do all of her first diapers and feedings and baths under the caring supervision of the NICU nurses.  Tom became an expert at everything and my skills were refreshed, so we weren't as nervous as we might otherwise have been.  Most importantly, we got to bring her home.  I never doubted we would, but it was easy to wonder if it would ever really happen.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Best Practices For First Haircuts

First, make sure you do it within 24 hours of a major, life-changing event.

Second, make sure you wait for the perfect time of day.  3:00 in the afternoon on a day where the "my new bed!" excitement precluded any actual sleeping sounds perfect.

Entice her with a ride in an elevated, one-eyed convertible Bug.  If the horn still beeps, consider it a bonus.

Spray her down.

No really, she likes it.  Do it some more.

If you're lucky she'll get the "gone to my happy place" look.

But be quick, the car can't hold a young girl's interest forever, ya know!

Uh, well... I mean... normally it can't.

When leaving, exit the building and jump into your car quickly lest people think you are harming her in ways other than taking her out of the Bug.


I thoroughly enjoyed being pregnant with Corey, even though I vomited for the first and last three months.  Everything about being pregnant was fabulous and wonderful.

It was natural to wonder how my 37 year old body would handle pregnancy compared to doing it at 22.  Just so happens that being pregnant was even more wonderful and exciting than carrying Corey, and involved almost no vomiting whatsoever. 

Pregnancy glow?  Check.
Reduction in allergies?  Check.
Slower hair growth on the legs and pits?  Double check.
People happy to carry things and open doors for me?  Check.

Basically, if there was a benefit to being pregnant, I had it.  I honestly don't recall if any of those perks happened with Corey, mainly because I wasn't aware of the possibilities (and I didn't have allergies back then).

I will be the first to admit that I had less than a wholehearted desire to get pregnant again after Madelyn.  Nothing against Fynnie.  The first time Tom brought up having another baby was when we confirmed the singleton en utero.  And when last summer came and went without even a small twinkling of a reason to pee on a stick, I started to get excited about making plans for my body that only involved me (uh, don't get all pervy, I'm talking about getting my tattoo re-inked and setting up a couple of classes to teach up here... that kind of stuff). 

Clearly I am a willing and quite happy participant in the creation of the little girl inside me.  I cannot wait to meet her and watch what becomes of her life.

Still... I am also glad to know that this is our last baby.  It seems strange to think it, let alone put it out there, but once she is born, I am glad to be done. 

I suppose it is just the universe's way of keeping my focus on the children we have and not the ones we'll never have; instead of getting all the perks of pregnancy, here's what I have:

Allergies in full force?  Achoo... er... check.
Stuffy nose even when allergies are fine? Check.
Bloody nose?  Ugh... check.
Teenaged acne face? Spot, spot... why is that one bleeding?... and check.
Persistent nausea?  Check.
Recurring heartburn?  Check.
Backache, complete with torn hip muscle?  Youch!  Check.

So we're 10 days past the halfway mark.  I'm not in the kind of hurry to have Fynn that says, "I wish she'd hurry up and get here."  It's totally cool with me if she comes on time or even slightly late.  But I am looking beyond her birth and the year or so of nursing, and this pregnancy is helping to ensure I don't look back. 

Thank you, universe?

Friday, April 09, 2010

Time For Change

Have I ever mentioned that it was my brilliant decision not to order the toddler bed guard rails when we ordered Mad's crib?  I mean, we bought the side rails because it'll eventually convert into a full-size bed, but to pay $60 for a coordinating wood piece instead of $30 for something equally functional seemed ridiculous to me.

I realized two months ago that "functional" guard rails don't work with convertible crib mattresses.

The ones that come with her crib (and are now $70) weren't even able to be special ordered  until last week.  They arrived today.  Tom installed them in a huff this afternoon because I didn't want to wait until tomorrow.  I'm not just being cranky and hormonal here... I'm off Monday, so it seems wise that we should give Mad (and ourselves) as much time to adjust to her new sleeping arrangement before going back to work.

It occurred to me that I should do some prep work and figure out how to help a kid make the transition from beloved crib to bed.  I started researching online after Tom found everything he needed and was banging away upstairs.

The first five sites I read recommend waiting until age three.  Three?!?

Corey was younger than Mad when he made the switch.  Of course, he and I shared a room at my mom's house and he was still nursing, so what really ended up happening is that Corey made the transition from his crib to my bed.  He spent part of nearly every night there for the next seven years or so.*  Yes, I am both embarrassed to admit it and sad for him that I didn't figure out how to do something better.  All I can say is that my past mistakes have been strong motivators with Mad. 

*No, he did not nurse that long (although I was convinced he might if I didn't put an end to it when he was about two and a half).

So I searched websites until I finally came across one that said the change happens between 18 and 30 months.  That's right, I looked for my bias before going deeper.  Kind of like a lot of people do with politics and religion.

Once her bed was set up, the whole family went up to check it out.  Mad loved it.  She loved getting up and down so much that I thought she'd never want to sleep there again.  It was about 45 minutes before bedtime, so I physically dragged my shrieking daughter out of there and took her on a walk to get the mail (she recovers quickly, thank goodness).  When we returned I had Corey take her on another, slightly longer walk.  I wanted to get as much of her energy expended as possible.

Then it was our standard bedtime routine, which for tonight did not include a bath.  Daddy stayed home with her today, so she got one this morning instead.  Their day of getting the oil changed and picking up guard rails didn't involve dirt, and Mad never bothered putting yogurt in her hair, so we skipped it.  It was just a diaper change, jams on, story, goodnight world, turn the mooga (music) on and the light off and close the door.  I carried her to the cri... bed and set her down so she could get in herself.  She crawled up, selected Leppi the Leopard as her cuddle buddy and flopped over on him.  I walked out like I always do, waiting to hear her at the door.

I think if Corey and I had waited until the music stopped an hour after she went down, she would have gone to sleep like normal.  Instead, we simultaneously wanted to go up and see how she was sleeping halfway through her CD.  I turned on the hall light and slowly opened the door.  Before it was open a foot I saw her legs go up in the air like she was trying to sit up from laying flat on her back.  I quickly and quietly shut the door and turned off the hall light.

Once the music stopped we heard her over the monitor chatting with her friends and to herself.  I went back in about an hour later... a little to check on her and a lot because my keys were left in her room.  I can't get into my own bedroom or this room without them (thanks, Corey dude!).  Naturally Mad sat up as soon as I opened the door.

We had a whispered conversation about why she was still up.  She suggested a diaper change and a bit of rocking.  I declined at first, thinking I could be setting up some bad habit, but then agreed, wondering if she just needed some reassurance that she's still my baby girl.  When it comes to pre-bed rocking, I usually keep it short, 3-5 minutes.  Lately she hasn't wanted to rock more than 10-15 seconds, if at all.  Tonight was somewhere around the 2.5 minute mark.

Instead of letting her crawl into bed, I went ahead and laid her down like I've been doing.  She rolled right over and got into her toady sleep position.  I'm interested to see how the rest of the night will go, but I'm hopeful that we can all avoid pestering her and let her get the sleep she's used to.

I just want to see her sleeping in her new bed.  Is that so wrong?

Thursday, April 08, 2010

It's the Same Old New Math

Went to my prenatal appointment yesterday.  I've apparently lost two pounds from the day of the ultrasound last week.  I attribute it a little bit to my cold and a lot to having gone straight to the ultrasound appointment from a fabulous lunch. 

Oh, sure, I realize that one scale isn't exactly the same as the next, but I am choosing to believe I've lost weight.  And without harming the growth of the baby, too.  How can I be so sure?

According to Doc's tape measure, Baby Fynn is not measuring 21 weeks.  Nope.  She measures 29!  He checked twice.

Now Mad typically measured large, too, but never two months larger than one would expect. 

On the other hand, Doc did say, "You're 21 weeks.  Nine to go."

I hope he doesn't have a premonition or otherwise know something I don't know!

Nah, this is the same guy who gave us more than half a dozen due dates for Mad (aside from the ones we got from our initial doctor and the big ultrasound).  Granted, once he made his final decision, he was pretty spot on.  She was about 20 hours early.  So I'll just go back in a month and see what he says then.

Trading Off

Corey had mentioned that he wasn't feeling especially well a few times lately.  I noticed a bit of a cough, but it didn't seem to be holding him back, so I just didn't worry too much.

About a week ago, while we were enjoying our spring break, Corey went outside to load up the car with the last bits of slag concrete that had been pulled from our backyard.  (Yes, this is how one enjoys a vacation with a teen who has gotten himself grounded.  Many things were crossed off a lengthy list.  Quite enjoyable.  For me, anyway.)  As he opened the garage door, several police cars (marked and unmarked) pulled up into our cul de sac and stopped in front of our home.  Officers got out and headed down the street (we're on the corner)... straight for Corey's friend's house.

We closed up our house and didn't try to gawk or find out what was happening.  In the meantime, Corey was visibly upset, as you can imagine.  I gave him a hug.

Do you know how rare it can be to get a hug from a teenaged boy?  For all the problems I have with him, Corey's a pretty affectionate guy, but he's still a guy.  So I hugged him tight and we talked about how he could offer to let his friend come over here any time problems were happening at home.

I gave him some guidance and love.

He gave me his cold.

I'm gonna say that, even though I am now home sick... and I must look as bad as I feel based on the way people looked at me yesterday... I came out ahead.

That's saying something because in 36 hours I've gone through three large boxes of tissue and three rolls of toilet paper.

I have considered walking around with whole tissues sticking out of each nostril, just so I don't have to wipe one more time.

According to my now painful stomach muscles, I may be on my way to having abs of steel from the coughing.

I can't taste or smell anything.

The nausea (which still hasn't gone away) has gotten worse from all of the moco draining.

I have to carry tissue around to spit into or otherwise gross people out by retching in the middle of conversations.

And I have had to give serious thought to changing from a panty liner to those massive things women use after giving birth.

On the upside, I had to make a presentation at a real estate office yesterday.  These used to be pretty frequent and I had a routine down, but it's been a while since the last one.  Nancy normally co-presents to make sure my stupid remarks and lame jokes are kept to a minimum.  (For example, a few years ago I introduced us as Shannon and Nancy Parker.  Then to cover myself, I added, "We're from Massachusetts."  That sort of stuff doesn't always go down as well in a professional setting as one might think.)

On the way to the presentation I mentally prepared my words.  I am proud to say that I did not go with my first choice, which was to ask, "Which one of the seven dwarfs am I - Sleepy, Dopey or Sneezy?"  Besides, it was a trick question.  The answer was D) All of the above.

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Her First Time (Sort Of)

The first egg... began with the white crayon and proper dipper technique.
Ahh, lovely.

Specifying colors and requesting a new "white egg" can make a young girl feel the power within.

Making the egg go "spish spash" ain't so bad either!

All that work can make a bunny... er... girl... thirsty.

Happiness is knowing that you are getting a new watch long before either of your little sisters do (despite Mom's claims that you have asked so much you may never own a watch until you're out of the house).

Minnie Pearl is ready to work in the garden.

Hunting for eggs (which are so fun to smash into the Easter basket... and if they don't smash well on your first try, you know you can always just press them into the basket really hard).

What, Mama?  You think there's an egg in my wagon?

Dad, what's wrong with Mama?  Clearly an egg has not been placed in here.

"How I spent the first Easter where I really did anything other than run around, watch Mama and Dada open presents for me, or nap."
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