Saturday, July 31, 2010

On the Subject of Chairs

Yesterday I had to return a booster seat that we'd gotten for Madelyn.  It's been hard to find one that was made for the 30+ pounds club, and this one seemed perfect.  Except that Madelyn couldn't possibly hate it any more than she does.  After I returned it, I found my way over to the nursery furniture section, selected a glider and called Tom to discuss how we should spend the money from the return.  We're pretty good on diapers for the first couple months.  The temporal artery thermometer we've put on our shopping list I'm pretty sure we have in one of our creatively packed boxes in the garage.  So a little discussion was in order, and I was pretty happy to have it in a glider with matching ottoman.  In case you're wondering, I bought a couple rearview mirror extenders and a couple of mirrors so we can see Fynnie while she's rear facing.

We have two rocking chairs.  The first came from my grandparents maybe... egad!... 19 or 20 years ago.  And it was old then.  It's a few years older than I am.  We had someone out to talk about reupholstering a couch a few years back and the man was fascinated with Grandpa's old Lazy Boy.  "I've seen this kind of fabric before, but they don't make it anymore."  Well even if they did, it probably wouldn't come in this particular shade of yellow-gold.  For all it's aesthetic hideousness, I love this chair.  I did give it away once.  To Tom.  Then I married him to get it back.  It sits upstairs in our loft.  We aren't hanging out in there very often lately, but the other night I rocked a very tired and very cranky Mad-a-girl to sleep in it.  As her little body twitched into sleep, I thought about how I'd nursed and rocked both of my babies in this chair.  I look forward to those late nights when I'll be getting up with Fynn and taking her to that chair.

I was happy to learn tonight that Tom shares my fondness for the ugly chair.  Who knows how many photos we have of a new dad, tired but with pride in his eyes, rocking his sleeping daughter.  For a while, he was the only one who could rock her "just so."

The second chair is a traditional wood rocker.  When we moved here, Margaret offered it to us.  It's the chair she rocked her babies in.  As my dad says, it has a charming squeak.  Almost every night since we've lived here, I have either rocked or read to Madelyn in that chair.  Tom has rocked her in it, too.  It's a little tricky to read to her in the rocker these days because my legs don't really want to stay together and my lap is a lot shorter.  Mad ends up straddling one leg; she's wobbly at best, and I have a hard time seeing around her head to read the words on half the pages.  Tom, who usually sits on the floor when reading to her, has said that she generally prefers to sit next to him these days.  But with Mama, it's up on what's left of my lap in "the wock."

This afternoon Tom mentioned that we could bring one of the chairs downstairs so I'll have a place to be with Fynn and still be around everyone else.  It's a great idea, but which one to choose?  The one in Mad's room needs to stay there.  Now that I'm home, we read every morning and night, plus right before her nip-nappy-snip-snappy.  And the one in the loft is right outside our bedroom.  It would fit in our room, but it's fine where it is.

So I, a person who's always been against buying too many non-essential items, slyly suggested that the gliders at the baby store were pretty darned sweet.  Tom, Mr. Rational Thinker, asked how much they cost.  I had no clue.  I told him the last time I knew was years ago, and that you could get them for less than $200.  He suggested we check out yard sales or Freecycle.  I suggested Craigslist.

I looked at the baby store tonight, and you can still get a glider with an ottoman for less than $200.  Of course, you can get them for two to three times that much as well.

Then I checked out Craigslist.  I found one in an area Tom would be passing through on his way home tonight for $65, one up in the mountains for $40 and one in the next town over for $75.  The first was already sold, the second wouldn't be such a great bargain after driving about an hour of mountain roads to get to it and the third was available to check it out tonight.

Tom stopped on his way home, inspected the chair, loved it, talked them down to $65, left and called me on the way home.  Without buying the chair!  Argh!  *ohm*  He had a good reason.  We've already spent extra money this week on other stuff, like a "World's Best Big Bro" shirt for Corey.  But in this case, we'll be fine.  Dude should have just gone out to his car and called me, then either bought the chair or told them no thank you. 

We'll be there at 10:00 tomorrow morning to pick it up.

So Not a Techie

Mad has learned to operate Tom's stereo system.  I could probably learn to work it, too... if I wanted, but I figure it's just as easy to put on a music channel on TV.

Well she may be smart, but she doesn't know how to do everything!  I just helped her load a second CD into the player.

Ahem... then she showed me how to close it and make it play the musgit.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Reason 1,428,982 Why I Love My Coworkers

The kids and I* went down the hill for a chiropractic appointment today.  When we arrived, Corey walked over to my mom's house.  This time he'll be gone for the weekend.  I love taking Mad to these appointments.  Once we're in the room, she helps me change the face paper (why don't people do that before they leave?) and raise the headrest.  While I'm laying there waiting for the doctor, Mad uses the foot levers and puts her hands up over my arm to "help fix Mama's back."  I usually get lots of smooches, too, which makes her adjustments significantly different from what Doc does.

The chiropractor is right around the corner from my office, so we stopped in to say hello before heading to Grandma's house.  We took the long way to my desk, so we could drop by as many people as possible before getting to the nuthouse section.  Since it's Friday and the middle of summer, almost no one was there.  Perfect!  (Mad's less shy than she has been, but she's also more cranky lately, so I'm not being sarcastic... this time.)  Only three people (out of 10) were in my area.  We were all happy to see one another, and they loved seeing my curly-wurly.  She didn't love them quite as much and decided to sprawl out on the floor to avoid any touching from the possibly slightly overly affectionate Aunt Jill.

As I went to rescue her pick her up, Jill started talking about how great I look.  In particular, what a fine ass I have while pregnant.  She called over another person who concurred.

Okay, I've seen what I have and it really ain't pretty or fine, but they made me smile.  And I might have checked myself out when I used the restroom before heading off to Grandma's.  (And I might have confirmed what I already know, but I love them all the more for being sweet... in our typically inappropriate fashion, of course.)

*I've only begun using that phrase, "the kids and I" in the past few months.  I kind of like it.  Makes me sound like I've got more than two kids.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

If I Can't Sell It, I'll Keep Sittin' On It

The playlist is done.  Turns out the problems I had getting the player to work were with the player, not me.  I exchanged it and got it all set up before canceling my trial membership to Rhapsody.  All is good.  The general mood is relaxed and happy and loving.  Some 70's beach music (from my childhood), reggae (teenage years), rock and country (the rest of my life).  I did end up getting several great suggestions from friends and family.  One of my mom's longest-time friends sent me a list of about 60 songs and artists.  Okay, that was a little obsessive, but she and I have very similar music tastes (which is how she became my mom's longest-time friend, but not oldest friend).  There's no way I took all of her suggestions, but I did include a large percentage.  And sometimes one song led to another.

I included a few songs that Tom suggested (they weren't all bad after all), and a few that made me think of him, like Rainbow Connection (okay, so it's not this exact version, it's by Kenny Loggins).  Tom helped get Kermit the Frog elected at his high school.

His parents made some awesome suggestions.  I took most of them.  Here's one I probably wouldn't have included from anyone else, but it's just exactly the sort of thing his dad would recommend.  Perhaps it'll come at a time when I could use a good laugh.

Madelyn's friend, Lukie Luke, made quite a list.  From him I got a lovely version of Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, which is also one of Mad's favorites.  Corey is represented with Enya's Wild Child.  I have a little Ray Charles for my Wicked Stepmom. 

Almost every one I love is in this list of music somewhere, but it's not always because of their suggestions.  For example, my sister is a huge fan of Elvis.  She recommended "In the Ghetto," a beautiful song about a baby being born, growing up under bad conditions, turning into a thug and dying in a bloody heap on the street.  Yeah, no.  But thanks!

All in all, I have almost seven hours of music.  No telling how I'll feel when the playlist has to start over again.

What's the Difference?

Maybe a year or so ago I began using Google Analytics to see what my blog traffic was like (pitiful, in case you were wondering).  I never had any doubts that it was accurate.  I still think it had been until recently.  About a month ago it began indicating that nobody was visiting me.  Not ever.  From nowhere.  Now I'm "down 93.67%" and have had five visitors and 11 page views in the past month.  All in the last three days.

A few weeks ago I started using Blogger's "stats" function.  According to them, I've had 344 page views since June 30th.  Clearly I prefer Blogger's information, but what the heck?  Anyone else see big changes like this?

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Ever Do Something You Shouldn't?

You know that it's not helpful, healthy or wise, but it's hard to tear yourself away.  Pregnant women should not go around checking out blogs written by women who've lost their babies.  And it's worse if those babies were lost late in pregnancy, or even right after being born.  Note to self.

I dropped in on one because she'd posted something on the forum I'm addicted to a member of.  Then, as is pretty common for me when visiting another person's site, I checked out several of her recommended blogs.  Every single one (quite naturally) shared the theme of baby loss.  I have lost enough of my own babies... this is my eighth pregnancy.  I'm not sure I ever shared that specific information.  So reading these blogs is not only painful because, well who wouldn't find the topic painful to read about, but because it brings back my own memories.  Oddly enough, November of last year isn't the first thing that comes to mind.  That was hard and painful and sad, yes, but knowing we somehow didn't make a baby took a lot of the sting away.  Those first losses, before Corey, were... well, I don't really need to explain it.

In any case, my stated goal for the night is to stop torturing myself with things I cannot control.  The stories I read will stay with me, and the women will be in my heart.  But the rest of me has to keep moving forward.

Support System Down

When Madelyn was able to come home from the hospital, we were advised to take her the next day to Healthy Beginnings.  It was part of the hospital's services for new moms and babies.  In addition to the best baby boutique anywhere, they offered breastfeeding and newborn support.  You could deliver anywhere and still get free services.  One of the coolest things was that they had this wand to check bilirubin levels, whereas the doctor's offices in the area all do blood tests.  Considering that my poor baby had to be heel-pricked no less than four times a day for monitoring of the meds she was on while in NICU, I was relieved she didn't have to go through that again.  Mad and I ended up there several times a week for a while, because we had so much difficulty establishing breastfeeding.  Although she started out at 8 pounds, 3 ounces (slightly above average), her weight quickly had her in the 20-25% range for weight (and 95th for height... probably the only time in her life she'll be called scrawny).  Once she was six weeks old, we switched from newborn support to a breastfeeding support class.  Those weekly group meetings were a lifeline to keep up the effort as my milk supply limped along.  Advice was offered and taken.  I took herbal supplements and increased my water intake.  I nursed-pumped-bottle fed.  But it was not militaristic.  When the recommendation was finally made to supplement with formula, I sobbed.  The lactation specialist, Jeri, held me in her arms and whispered soft words about what a good mother I was, and all the benefits my baby had gotten from all of my hard work.  She talked about a study she'd read that said babies who get four ounces of breastmilk a day still appeared to reap all the benefits.  "A full baby is a happy baby," I was told, and I knew it was true.

Mad and I attended that group until she was about a year old.  If I had questions about sleeping or solid foods or milestones, I knew I could go to Jeri for guidance.

Even though we're so far away, it has been our plan to use their services with Fynn, too.  I mean, hopefully we'll get to start nursing right away, and nothing will hamper our chances for success.  But to whatever degree we need, we've planned to be there.

When Tom and I attended the early pregnancy class, Pamela mentioned to us that the grant used to fund Healthy Beginnings was in jeopardy.  After we took the refresher course for prepared childbirth a few months ago, she said things would likely not be free anymore, and she didn't know what would be offered until the grant was finalized one way or the other.  One of our good friends, Dayna, recently took her newborn daughter over to Healthy Beginnings because they have a woman who does the most adorable clay handprints.  This woman mentioned that services are no longer free, and that they don't offer all the services anymore.  Dayna mentioned it to me, so I went to investigate yesterday before my checkup.

The first thing I noticed were the hours of operation.  Tuesdays and Thursdays used to be their long days.  Now the clinic area is only open until 1:00.  When I went in, my beloved receptionist, Sandy, wasn't there.  Why do I love Sandy?  Because for all the women and babies who've been in there, and I must have met 60 or so over the time we were going, Sandy always knows who I am.  She never calls my daughter Madelyn, she calls her a nickname she made up based on our last name. 

Phew! Turned out she was just off for the afternoon.

The stand-in receptionist explained the new fee structure to me.  It's not horrible but, along with the commute, it will add to the reasons we (hopefully) won't go as much. 

Breastfeeding support group?  Gone.
Postpartum support group?  Gone.
Moms Supporting Moms (the mommy group where we met Madelyn's first friends) that Pamela ran?  Gone.
Pamela?  Gone. 

Well, in her case it's all worked out for the best.  Her older daughter is in Washington and her youngest just left to Utah for school.  Pamela and her husband had talked about moving out of California anyway, I guess.  So they put their house on the market, sold it after a bidding war three days later, went to Utah and found their dream house the following weekend, had a short escrow and have been gone for a few weeks.  Utah is a very lucky state these days.

The good news from that recon mission?  Jeri was there.  She explained that the hospital had stepped in to keep the center open when a new grant was not forthcoming. We spent almost an hour catching up and talking about the changes at the center.  We talked about our sons, who are very similar.  I was there so long that I was almost late for my prenatal appointment.

I had already looked into mommy groups up here.  My backup hospital has one.  Since it's a Catholic hospital, I'll be calling to find out if it's a religious-based group or not.  Hopefully they'll take a heathen and her baby.  If that works out, it could be just the thing I need to start making good friends up here.

Sunday, July 25, 2010


I realize that by writing this right after my previous post, people may not read the one that came before.  Please check it out if you have a sec.  I need a little help for a non-earth shattering situation.

I've been feeling a lot like a lazy person lately.  I get that I'm mere weeks from due (24 days) with my third child, and I know that I rested a lot more while pregnant with Mad than I have this time.  (Some of that's because it's hard to go home and nap at lunch these days.  Last time I lived four miles from my office, and within two miles of four of my schools.  Plus, Fynn seems to require less sleep from my body.  Not that I'm awake, but if I nap, I lose that time trying to sleep at night.)  Between having Madelyn running around, and the fact that Tom's working such crazy long hours, I feel guilty about laying down during the day and leaving her care completely to him.  (Not that he's anything less than 100% qualified.  I'm not one of those annoying women who "let" their husbands "babysit" for them.)

Today I decided to risk it.  Tom and I slept while Mad was safely in her room, not napping.  I found a new reason not to sleep during the day, too.

I had a dream.  Now, I am known for my unusually detailed and bizarre dreams even when I'm not pregnant.  Sometimes I get physically involved in them.  Did I ever tell you about the time I thought a blue shadow man was going into Corey's room?  I leapt out of bed to rescue him.  Unfortunately, I led with the foot that was in the center of the bed, and that toe became tangled in the blankets on the way out of my very high bed.  I landed with a very painful thud on my knees.  Had some nasty hematomas that lasted for weeks.  Was happy I didn't break my toe off.

Today's dream didn't involve any physicality, and I did not become injured in any way.  Still, it was the worst.  I dreamt that my car was stolen.  It's a Hybrid Ford Escape.  Although the details of our neighborhood were different, the car was exactly the same (*sigh* in desperate need of a wash).  When I realized it was gone, my first instinct was to call the police.  But then I started thinking about what would happen if we didn't get the car back.  How would we afford to replace it?  What would I end up with?  And suddenly, I knew.

A gold minivan.*

And not one with all the cool features.  A gold minivan with bad gas mileage, slow acceleration, cereal pre-ground into the carpet and seats.

Instead of trusting the local PD, I went out and searched for my car myself.

I woke up and told Tom about it.  I think he was more horrified than I had been.

*Yes, I know you have a minivan and you love it.  I'm just not ready to move to the dark side.

On Becoming a Writer

I found out about a website that hires freelance writers.  It seems fairly straightforward.  You apply, are (hopefully) accepted and then write articles about topics you know.  Payment is twice a week through Paypal.  Extra money would be less than a luxury.  More like very high on the list of things we could really use these days.

In each of my last two positions, writing has been part of the job.  These days I write for a local business journal.  (I land in the top three writers.  The rest, sadly, have serious issues with basic writing.)  Previously, I wrote detailed evaluations of my clients' vocational assessment results.  (That's right, I helped guide the futures of complete strangers.  Occasionally I was able to help someone grow or change paths because of what they presented.  I miss that job sometimes.  Then I remember the crazy people, like the former cop [who'd been fired] who kept dropping in to see me... even brought his kids to introduce us once.  And the woman who blurted out, "I am NOT A SEX OFFENDER!" while refusing to get up from my coworker's desk.  Oh, and the homeless guy who would come into our building and try to engage in kung fu type matches with my clients, or with the kids from the juvenile hall program across the hall.  That always went over well.)

I do not consider myself a great writer.  I'm more serviceable.  I know this, and it's mostly okay.  If I happen to glean some bit of skill or knowledge while reading, I try to apply it.  There is a whole world of writing rules that I have no inkling of (yes, I am aware of the dangers of dangling prepositions).

All the same, I've put my resume together.  I need to come up with a 300 word article.  Drawing a total blank.

While looking through the website, I came across their style guide.  It seems that I break at least three major rules regularly.  Some rules I've heard of, but don't understand well enough to know if I'm more inclined to follow them or break them (which seems kind of lame, don't you think?).  Others are more technical and easy to change, like how I tend to type phone numbers versus how they want them.

It just makes me wonder if I would even be accepted.  There's only one way to find out, of course.  So if you have any topic suggestions for a 300 word article I might be able to write in an active voice, with traditional subject-verb-object construction and limited "to be" verb usage* (the mark of amateurs, don'cha know), I'd be ever so grateful.

*If I could present my articles in ASL, there'd be no problem omitting the verb "to be" as it is considered redundant and, therefore, generally not used.  Alack and alas.

Friday, July 23, 2010

11+ Sheets

... but not to the wind.

Wicked Stepmom called to check on me today. In case you haven't been around that long, she gave herself that name, but is a good and loving friend to me. Her youngest daughter is due about a week before I am *coughcough*with-her-sixth-child-by-five-men*coughchokecough*. Apparently youngest sister's friends threw her a baby shower. One of the games they played involved guessing how many sheets of toilet paper it would take to fit around her belly. Eleven was the winning number.

Wicked Stepmom wanted me to see how many it would take to go around my belly, too, because she looks at her daughter and wonders how we compare. We haven't seen each other since Corey was maybe 18 months old, so she does what she can to plant me there with her. It's really too bad everybody can't have a Wicked Stepmom.

We had this conversation today as the kids and I were heading back up the hill from my chiropractic appointment. Today's my first day of maternity leave, so why I scheduled an appointment down the hill is beyond me (oh yeah, it's payday, which means I can definitely fit it into my budget). The adjustment wasn't the only plan for the morning, however. I also made plans with a young woman I'd been chatting with online through this pregnancy forum I'm part of. She lives near me, just turned 19 a week ago and is expecting her first child, a boy, about four days ahead of me. And with the pregnancy came the joys of moving back home.

Been there, done that... only because of a divorce the first time and because of a massive pay cut the second time. It sucks moving in with parents after you've been out on your own.

Anyway, we have a ton of stuff for Fynn. Knowing in advance she's a girl made things a lot easier for us this time (although I've since learned that easier isn't always compatible with more fun and exciting). We waited for Madelyn's birth to find out. Thus, we had a bunch of gender neutral stuff in small sizes. Plus, people were so incredibly generous with us last time that she has ridiculous amounts of clothes and blankets. There were things we'd never even used with Mad. And now gifts have started coming in for Fynn, too.

So I packed up a bunch of the green and yellow clothes, a few blankets and some other odds and ends, and made arrangements to meet this young woman for lunch today. I told her I'd probably bring Corey and suggested she bring someone, too. Nobody needs to worry about being the next big news story that way.

Before the big lunch gathering, we stopped at Target. I finally got a trashcan for diapers. Yes, Mad's 27 months old. We've just been taking them out of the room 2-3 times a day... or immediately, when necessary. No, it's not a diaper genie or anything like that. I feel bad enough about using disposable diapers without wrapping each one individually in plastic. On the way out, I stopped to use the restroom. While in there, I thought about the call from Wicked Stepmom.

We had time, so I went ahead and counted out 15 sheets of toilet paper before pulling off the strip. Youngest sister is generally much more slender than I am, but the general consensus is that I'm carrying smaller this time than last time, so I didn't get all crazy with it.

Turns out we're pretty close. It takes just over 11 sheets, not quite 11.5, to wrap around my belly. (I'm dying to know... how many sheets does it take for you?)

Lunch was great, by the way. Not only did I get the strawberry pancakes I've been thinking about for two weeks since we made these plans, but I got to meet a couple of cool young women. Young Mama was really appreciative of what we gave her. It made me feel even more glad that I didn't get greedy and try to hold on to stuff we really don't need (it's usually just an inner battle, but sometimes I have a hard time sharing). She gave me a great big hug at the end. Loved it!

When we got home, I texted Wicked Stepmom to let her know how many sheets. She just responded:

"Okay, my eyes are closed and I picture your face and S's tummy. Okay, all is good. Love you so much."

Yep, everyone should have a Wicked Stepmom.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

One Month

Hard to believe that I'm nearing the end of this pregnancy.  It has not gone so fast.  November seems a long time ago.  Heck, June seems a long time ago.  This doesn't mean it's dragging on, either.  I guess I have managed to just be pregnant.  I started off feeling like this pregnancy was a means to an end (giving Mad a relative from her own generation and completing our family).  I was excited about the potential little person inside of me, but also eager to get my body back and my life before babies somewhat back.

The past several months have created a shift in my thinking.  Oh, I will still be happy when my feet don't get strap marks from shoes that are a whole size larger than I normally wear.  Wearing my wedding rings and Mama ring on fingers will be cool, too!  And I'm still looking forward to next year when I can teach a sign class or two up here.  But I am fully aware now that Fynnie is the last person who will share my body in this way.  Never again will I feel that first flutter or revel in prenatal hiccups.  After this child is born, I will never wonder again if I'll be able to get through labor and delivery at my age.

In lieu of the future, my focus has been on now.  This minute.  What can I get done today?  A lot, as it turns out (with help, of course).

The crib is assembled.  Furniture is moved into place.  The bedding arrived (still needs to be washed).  All of Mad's smallest baby clothes are washed and in the dresser (plus two of the drawers in our dresser!).  The remaining sizes that Mad wore during her first year are sorted.  The rug and a blanket that match the bedding were ordered today. 

Diapers for the first six weeks or so will be purchased tomorrow.  I still need to wash all of Fynn's new stuff (a few towels, washcloths, some clothes plus the bedding), and we need to find a coming home outfit for her.  The infant tub needs to be cleaned.  There are still a few boxes in the garage and one of our closets that have random stuff, including things we could use for Fynn, so those will need to be gone through.  But really, truly, all we need is the baby.

I am in the midst of making the playlist for labor.  I sent out a request to friends and family to send me ideas.  Last time we used CDs, and I just brought things that were overall mellow in nature.  This time we've upgraded to an MP3 player.  Suddenly all the songs on any CD are no longer quite right.  With the several hundred CDs we own, I was only able to come up with 24 songs.  I asked Tom for help.  "Galileo" by Indigo Girls is cool.  Yes, yes it is.  However, it starts off with his head on the chopping block.  Next!  "Tangled Up In Blue" is awesome.  You mean the one that's about stealing cars, drugs and taking some dude's girl?  *deep cleansing breath*  (Whaddayou mean I was overanalyzing it?!?... ahem... that's why I sent out the request for help.) 

If you have any suggestions you'd like to make, please feel free.  In case you're like most of the people who have responded so far, you are freaking out about what type of music I like.  I like everything (current list ranges from Ray Charles and Van Morrison to Erykah Badu and Trisha Yearwood.  I am totally including the suggestion of Peter, Paul and Mary's "Puff the Magic Dragon."  I may include the suggestion from Mad's best friend, Lukie Luke, which is the theme from Superman.  We'll see.

I made my birth plan tonight.  Yes, I did include that we would like our baby not to have to deal with a pneumothorax, and that we want her to please come home with us.

What else is left?  We're ready when she's ready.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Freaky Freecycler

Are you familiar with Freecycle? I began stalking my (quasi) local group a few months back before I resorted to Craigslist to get a dresser for the girls. I am still receiving the digest email each day. Here was one request that will be hard to beat: 

Hello, due to company dress code standards I will be forced to shave my beard in the near future. I am posting this in hopes that a past master of disguise may be a part of our Freecycle group and may be willing to part with an assortment of prosthetic beards. I am hoping for brown or lighter as long as the fibers are dye-able. Various styles would be desirable as I could interchange styles before and after shifts. Not only will a prosthetic beard allow me to keep my current or similar look, but the ability to alter my appearance at will may also lead me to pursue my lifelong dream of crime fighting. Please, prosthetic beards only, I do not need leftover shavings as I can produce those myself. Thank you.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Open Wide

It was one of those long, hot days of summer, made longer by my 35 week appointment this afternoon and the maternity tour at the hospital this evening.  Somewhere in the day I left my cell phone in a class.  Since the teachers and I left about 15-20 minutes after school got out, I didn't bother going back for it.  There is some mild anxiety about not having my cell phone, lame as that sounds.  Aside from having everyone's numbers, I use the calendar to track my plans.  Moreover, I often play Scrabble or some version of solitaire before falling asleep at night.  Perhaps most importantly, I use the alarm to make sure I get up in the morning.  Our regular alarm clock is across the room.  Normally that's great, but ever since dealing with that torn hip muscle, getting out of bed for the alarm seems like cruel and unusual punishment.

After visiting classes and employers all morning, I headed back to the office for a meeting.  Between the heat and our office chairs, my feet have swollen beyond recognition.  At one point, the skin on top of my left foot was shiny.  Gross!  And I got shiny, swollen feet because of what all-important meeting?  Oh, you know... the one for the freaking brochure committee.  So, at least it was worthwhile.

Next stop was the doctor's office.  Normally I'm in and out, but from what I gathered, Doc was very likely performing a D & C on a woman, so things got backed up.  Once the receptionist blabbed to someone on the phone that "he's doing a procedure," the mood in the room changed.  There were two men sitting with us, and it didn't take long to figure out who the "lucky" guy was.  Doc called him back and, although he spoke quietly, I think we all heard the, "I'm sorry."  As he and the woman left, I had a hard time not breaking into tears.  I have been in her painful shoes.

Once we were in the exam room and I was naked from the waist down (Group B Strep test today), Doc walked in.  We always exchange pleasantries.  Part of me wanted to say, "Rough day, huh?"  But I figured it wasn't my place to bring up this other woman.  So instead I asked about his vacation last week.  He started off in my hometown, San Diego.  I wanted to hear more about it, but he came over, laid the table back and examined Fynn and me.  She's head down, though not engaged, and he estimates her to be around 6 pounds.  She measures 38 weeks, which he thought was great.  Her heartbeat was a little tricky to find, but she'd been moving all over just a minute before so I wasn't too worried.  Eventually he did find it and she sounded beautiful.

Then he went to the end of the table and told me, "Open wide."

It was all I could do not to say, "Ahh."  And thinking about it made me laugh.  Laughing isn't exactly something you want to be doing when someone's swabbing your rectum.  Especially not if you're dealing with lovely pregnancy side effects, like hemorrhoids.  That's right, I'll say it.  The man stabbed me in a 'roid before getting the job done.  Nice.  Thanks, Doc.

After all the technical stuff was handled, we asked our questions.  We didn't have a lot.  Tom asked, "What's it like when you deliver a baby?"  One thing we learned that I was very happy about, is that he will remind me to watch the baby being born.  That was probably the one thing I'd do differently about Mad's delivery (what came next, of course, I'd change a bunch of different ways).

This evening Tom and I went on the hospital tour.  Someone was laboring away in the very room where Mad took her first breaths.  Whenever I am near that door, I want to go in.  If someone else is there, I want to talk with them and tell them how wonderful it is to share this space with them.  I wonder if they know to open the blinds so they can see the enormous pepper tree outside.

Tom and I both feel a connection with the room.  Does that seem odd?  As we stood outside it, listening to which rooms were for what purposes, he mentioned that maybe we could request room 149 if it's available when we go in.

Then we saw what an actual labor, delivery, recovery and postpartum room is like.  Holy moly!  Turns out we got placed in what used to be an "alternate birthing room" back in the day.  Now they just use them if the others are full.  That's why a few hours after Mad was born and we'd seen her off to the NICU, they moved me to a room in the "maternity" section.  I had no idea!  If I end up in an LDRP room this time, I probably will use the shower as a soother.  It's a nice size  The other bathroom was claustrophobic.  It was a tiny shower, sink and toilet, with the wall maybe 12-15 inches in front of it.  The only good thing was that they'd put a bar on that wall, which came in handy during contractions.

In the nursery we saw a two day old baby.  Adorable.  All of the stories we heard about what they do with babies under normal circumstances made me hope even harder to have a baby without complications this time.  I've been telling Tom that I really want to bring her home with us when I leave.  Like he doesn't, right?  But having a baby go into the NICU has apparently shaken my normally reasonable expectations that everything will be alright.

After the tour, we picked up Mad and brought her home.  Tom took over Mad duties while I went to work re-organizing the loft.  Mad's baby clothes were everywhere.  Since I'd asked my mom to come up and be here when Corey got out of school, she (quite naturally) assumed she was spending the night.  I didn't have any thoughts of the sort, so the sleeper sofa was buried.  But now it is ready for her, and my bed is ready for me.  Hopefully the morning will bring smaller feet and then the return of my phone! 

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

What Are They Seeing?

Last Friday I was at my chiropractor awaiting blessed relief from my hips and neck when a woman walked up and asked if I'd like a free five minute massage.  Uh, yes!  I stood up, waddled over to her and then followed her to the room.

She walked to the head of the massage table, put her hands on the face ring and said, "Lay down and put your face right here."

"I don't think I can do that."

"Why not."

I turned sideways.

"OH!  You hide it so well!"


Sunday we're at Best Buy looking at computers with a salesperson.  Standing in one place makes me woozy at best (and once landed me in the hospital while I was pregnant with Madelyn).  It was just a matter of some decisions that Tom could very well make without me, so I waddled myself over to the service area, where they had some chairs.  The woman asked Tom where I was going and he said, "To sit down."  She asked if I was okay and he said, "She's fine, she's just pregnant."

"She is?"

"Yes, she's due next month."

"She IS?!?"

What the heck are these people seeing when they look at me?  I mean, I realize I'm not the smallest woman out there, but it should be pretty clear that I'm pregnant.  It is to me.  This was my view as Mad recently gave her sister a hug...

Monday, July 05, 2010

Seventeen Years

Today is Corey's birthday. It's so hard to believe that 17 years ago I worked so hard to bring him into this world. We bonded instantly. When I saw him in the nursery a few hours later, I knew him.

He has been by my side through some pretty great highs and pretty awful lows. Some of those highs and lows he brought about himself. Some of them I brought into our lives. Throughout it all, he has loved me as strongly and deeply as I have loved him.

He has caused me to laugh, to cry, to lose sleep, to scream at the top of my lungs and to sit quietly in wonder. He made me become a woman, a person who isn't afraid to question everything to make the best decisions I can.

The only thing I've done longer than I've loved him and been his mama is to breathe.

Sunday, July 04, 2010

Patriotism, American Style

Happy Independence Day!  How is your family spending this fine holiday?  Ours has decided to follow what I used to think of as the Bush Doctrine, but that I now realize transcends political parties.  That's right, we have been out spending gobs of money we don't really have on things we'd truly like to believe that we need.

Starting out at Home Depot (Mad calls it The Depot Store), we purchased fertilizer, a spreader, light bulbs, special glue and a set of grips to repair damage that Tom did while putting up the Christmas lights (yeah, it's been bugging me that long, but at least we've figured out how to fix it now), and a barrier to keep the grass from invading the planter beds at the top of our front yard. 

Once we dropped that off at home, our next destination was Best Buy.  Why?  Because or computer took it's final dive last night.  I loved that computer (as much as I can love any piece of technology, anyway), but we have put too much money into upgrades and repairs in the past year. 

What did we select to replace my custom-built, once upon a time near top of the line computer with the cool gel lights on the tower?  Two Toshiba laptops.  Now we won't have to worry about keeping the computer locked in the office (thereby keeping Corey away from it to reduce by 90% the problems we've had) or worry about Corey trying to go in through the window (note to the home inspector who said that was impossible... you were wrong) and I won't have to worry about the computer crashing every time Tom installs some new software or update from his business.

I'm getting around fairly well on this one, but it has been seven years since I used a laptop (and that was a Mac).  Remembering where not to rest my thumbs has been the hardest part so far.

Along with the laptops we picked up cases, cooling trays, software, an MP3 player and docking station.  So we might not be having potato salad, fried chicken, barbecued steaks or friends over, but we have pumped serious dollars into the local economy (well, and the larger national economy, since neither store was truly local).

As Tom has said, now all we have to do is figure out how to pay for it.

Friday, July 02, 2010

Which Side Are You On?

When I was expecting Corey, my mom offered to throw a shower.  True to her ways, she then laid out stipulations like, it had to be some place near her (about 90 minutes from me... but she was closer to most of my friends) and in the middle of June (due July 4).  Neither of those was too demanding, so I acquiesced.  Then, even more true to my mother, as the date approached (*cough* and she hadn't made any preparations or sent out invitations *coughcough*) she added one more.  "Oh, and I'll need to have your doctor approve your driving up here.  In writing."

Doc didn't approve it and Mom was off the hook.  One of my best friends came down to Ocean Beach (San Diego) and threw a party for me.  Mom didn't make it for whatever reason.  Neither did most of my closer-to-LA friends.  So Laura rallied the people in the little apartment complex where we lived.  By today's standards, it was pitiful.  But back before everybody seemed to go crazy with gift giving, it was pretty nice.  We got a few outfits, a hygiene and safety kit, a few toys and a bathtub.

When I was expecting Madelyn, I wondered about the appropriateness of having a shower for a second child.  Granted, she came 15 years after Corey.  Not to mention had I still had any of his baby clothes, they mostly wouldn't have worked for her.  Since we weren't finding out if she was male or female until her grand entrance into this world, I figured we'd just have a Welcome Baby party after we knew who she was.  Not quite how it worked out (but you won't hear me complain).

We ended up with showers from a women's group I was in, my office (all books*) and even one of the schools I serve.  Each was lovely and people were extremely generous (as has been the custom for the past eight or nine years, don't you think?).

*Okay, the books were all great, even if we did get three Bibles.  The only one that still makes me shake my head came from our group of counselors.  Which book did they collectively choose?  A first edition Beastly Feasts by Robert Forbes.  Oh, it's a great book with tons of animals.  Like "Spike the Biker," who puts cheap gas in his motorcycle and comes home in a casket.  Mad's personal favorite for at least a year now?  "The Tiger and the Tyke."  You know that old classic where big brother annoys tiger, tiger escapes and eats little brother because the other one's too fast?  Yeah.  We read that in a sing-songy voice whenever she requests it.  Now she asks for it by the first line, "Tigew tigew, feawsome sight?"  I just wonder which one of the counselors will be providing her therapy when she realizes what we've been reading.

Tom's mom's work even threw her a "grandma party," which was really a shower for Mad, just 2500 miles away.  About six weeks or so after Mad was born, we did have that meet and greet.  Nearly 70 guests and probably just as many outfits and blankets later, all the celebrations were over.

When we finally were expecting Fynn, I decided that I did not want another shower.  It just seems greedy for me to ask people to buy things for our second girl in two years.  (True to my own ways, my rules on this are just for me.  Have as many showers for all 25 of your kids as people will attend.  I don't mind.)  Plus, while I like hanging out with people, I don't really like to be the one everyone's watching. 

We've registered for stuff, but it's a shopping list for us and a chance to get another percent-off coupon once she's here.  Almost everything has been purchased.  I do believe that every child's birth should be celebrated, and we will host another Welcome Baby party.  But the girl does not need clothes, blankets or toys, so we'll be finding a way to put that on the invitations such that people don't think, "Are they just asking for money?!?"  We saved everything from Madelyn for just this situation.  The things she needs are all "big" items, like a couple of convertible car seats and bedding.  Did I ever show you the bedding we've picked out?

Imagine it with a very dark cherry crib.  

We were going to order it about two weeks ago, but something else came up and it didn't happen.

My team at work held what was supposed to have a half-day meeting on Tuesday.  I know the women, so I blocked out the whole day (smart move on my part).  Unlike most meetings, this was well thought out and well run.  It did end up taking seven hours during which I mostly behaved quite well (I'm just as shocked as anybody).  There were several points of discussion and a couple of activities.

What the heck is my point, right?  The last "activity" of the day was a surprise shower for Fynnie. 

I almost cried ugly tears.  The gifts were sweet, hilarious (like the card that said, "Dear Shan, gift's on my kitchen counter.  Love Dawn H." or the adorable set of onesies for boys because Carol thought she'd been told the baby's name is Finn William, not Fynn Willow) and extremely generous.  Like the bedding.  Nance ordered it for us.  Should be here a few weeks before the baby.

So it turns out that I'm perfectly happy to have surprise showers for this, my second daughter in two years.

Friend Request? Really?

A few months back I mentioned that my former mother-in-law wanted to friend me on Facebook.  I sent her a message saying that Corey wasn't interested in contact with anybody from that side of his family, but that I'd be willing to update her and send her pictures and whatnot.  Never got a reply.

Then a slew of people I barely know wanted to friend me.  I just leave them in friend purgatory because I don't know if they get a "you've been declined" message or not.  I'd just rather not.  And it's not like I'm on Facebook ever.  If you were to see my wall, you'd see people wishing me Happy Valentine's at Christmas because they figure that's when I'll get the message.

A month or so ago my sister Rachelle friended me.  I'd never say no to her for anything (except the offer to come stay with us for three weeks after Fynn's born... with her exceptionally rambunctious son).  Next was my niece.  I wouldn't say no to her either.

Last night I got the oddball friend request to end all oddball friend requests.  From who?  Rachelle's husband.  He is not one of my people.  The feelings are mutual.  We are courteous to one another when we happen to be in the same place, but that's a rare occurrence because he often skips out on Shell's family gatherings.

I decided to click on the link to his Facebook page to see what he had going on (before accepting or declining).  I never noticed anything once I saw his "photo."

What could be more appropriate than that?  And it's practically true to size, too!

How To Potty Train Your... Duck

Grandma got tired of waiting for me to bring down the potty seat we'd gotten for Madelyn (girl has no interest in going near it, so I just haven't bothered).  She and Papa went out and bought a potty seat and a potty chair and asked me to choose on Monday morning when we arrived (uh, let's just skip any unnecessary steps, 'kay?).

Grandma and I walked gleefully into the bathroom together.  Madelyn stayed down the hall, quietly saying, "No" every time we asked if she was coming to see what we were doing.  Then we boisterously discussed how exciting and fun and interesting this was.  Mad-a-Cat came creeping in to see what we were doing.  She watched as we oohed and aahed over the toilet seat, but declined to get on to it.

I suggested she go get Duck.  She raced out and came cautiously back, Duck in tow.  Duck sat on the potty and Mad said, "She peeing."  (Although she can identify "man, woman, boy and girl, everybody is "she," a fact that sometimes gets to Corey.)  Mad got some toilet paper and wiped Duck down before flushing the paper away.  The process was repeated twice (when a duck's gotta go, a duck's gotta go) before I headed off to work.

Margaret said that she got Mad up on the potty right after nap that day, but that nothing happened.  I haven't heard any more about it until yesterday, when I received these photos at work.  They remind me of an instruction manual.

Step 1:  Put Duck on the seat and wait politely while she does her business.

Step 2:  Wipe, but be discreet.

Step 3: Maybe you should pay more attention to the task at hand.  (Notice Duck looking slightly perplexed at this new experience.)

Step 4: No really.  Get in there!

Step 5: Make sure everything is all gone.

 So glad we won't have to buy any more diapers for Duck!

Practicing Now For The Teen Years

Not once but three times yesterday did I try to respond to something Madelyn had just said only to be told, "I talking to New Fwog" (or Penguin... or Maisy).  Girlfriend set me straight!
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