Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Can You Do What?!?

So Mad says to me, "C'mon Mama, let's go look at boys!" I am hoping she saw some boys playing outside, because she goes to a front room window and we look around. No boys. No anybody.

I ask if she wants to come with me to check the mail (mail boxes are across the street), and she does.

While out there a little boy, maybe 5 years old, is getting his mail. Mad says to me, "What's that?"

"That's a boy."

"Can I touch him?"

Oh dear god.

Sunday, August 29, 2010


Since Judy and Larry are in town, I wanted to stick with tradition and take a family outing.  Previous day trips with them have included San Juan Capistrano, Moss Point in Laguna Beach, salt dunes in the Mojave Desert.

Next time I want to "get out and see something" with a three week old and a two year old, somebody remind me that when the in-laws came to visit after Madelyn was born, I didn't go anywhere.  Oh yeah, they traveled around and saw some sights without us.  Doh! 

And where did I suggest we go?  Lake Arrowhead.  They used to have an awesome children's museum.  I already knew it was closed when I called to find out their hours and it was someone's home (uh, perhaps Lake Arrowhead should update their website?).  Still, the other closest children's museums are about two hours away, the county museum didn't seem all that exciting to my husband and, really, a trip to the mountains to feed the ducks sounded refreshing (even though my in-laws did bring the cooler weather as promised).

Here's a brief summary of how we spent our time in Lake Arrowhead (imagine this with many different backgrounds):

What made it better?  Only this:

Thursday, August 26, 2010

My New Life

So many changes in my life lately.  Here are a few that I didn't realize were coming my way:

*Monday afternoon there was a 40 minute span between when I told Tom we should be leaving my Dad's place and when we actually drove away.  Forty.

*I have had 17 days of not gagging while brushing my teeth.  I may go brush them again tonight just to enjoy the experience again before morning.

*In fact, I drove today and did not retch, gag or have to reach for tissue or a bag while pulling out of my driveway (yes, I'm sure the neighbors are almost as relieved as I am that that's over).

*I now weigh what I did when I got pregnant... with Madelyn.  It's not a huge jump from there to what I weighed when I got pregnant with Fynn, but I'm happy to be at the lower number.  Now to regain something like the shape I was in when I got pregnant with Mad.  Even better, I'd like to get to the weight and shape I was in a year before I got pregnant with Madelyn.

*Free trials of Rhapsody are only good for a limited time. I plugged in my MP3 player today to listen to the birth playlist while Fynnie and I headed out to a mommy group I found up here.  We were able to listen only to songs I'd uploaded from CDs.  That sucks.  On the other hand, it was good when I needed it.

*There were only two other mommies and their wee ones at this mommy group.  They could not have cared less what I had to say.  One is going back to work tomorrow, so she won't be there again.  The other talked about what a great rapport she had with the nurses at the hospital.  And I got to hear an 11 week blow-by-blow of her preterm labor drama.  Eventually she didn't even talk to me about it (the other mom had left by then); she and the nurse who was facilitating the group had their own private gab.  What I heard about the "best" OB up here and a few of the "good" pediatricians made me glad we drove down to our preferred hospital.

*Having a daughter with an unusual name is going to mean coming up with a way of telling people her name is not Flynn.  Corey has an unusual name, but he's always gone by Corey, so it rarely comes up.  Fynn will be going by Fynn (or Fynnie... or Fynnster around here), so we'll probably be dealing with this a lot.  Up til now I've just been ignoring it and hoping people catch on.

*Today it was 104 degrees and storming.  I enjoyed it (from my air conditioned car).  The last time this happened was in July, and there was nothing pleasurable about the experience.  Being unpregnant is good.

*Our bedroom is a cluttery mess.  My in-laws will be here tomorrow (which is why the temperature will drop by about 35 degrees by this weekend... thank you Judy and Larry!), and I should be straightening (or sleeping) since Fynn's asleep, but I don't seem to have that sort of direction.

*Yesterday I had a moment of sheer insanity and asked Tom if he was sure we don't want to have any more babies.  Except for that 30 seconds, I have never been more sure.  I think it's just the finality and the closing of such an important part of my life that momentarily got to me.  Tom and I agree we don't want to be senior citizens when the girls graduate.  As it is, I'm now the age our parents were when we were seniors in high school.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Fynn's Birth Story ~ As Told By Mama

I was up late and messing around on the computer which, that night at least, was in the office downstairs. Tom was asleep on the couch in the next room. There was a rather unexpected pop down low in my pelvis. I froze, wondering if this was the pop I'd heard people speak of before. (With Corey and Mad, my water broke just before they were delivered... in those instances I was just relieved to not have peed myself in front of others and never noticed any physical sensations besides the unusual wetness of amniotic fluid). As I leaned back in my chair it became clear, this was it!
I stood up and called to Tom, "Tom. Tom! DUDE!" He sat up.

"I think my water broke," I said, chuckling in a soft, semi-maniacal sort of way. Note to self: giggling equals gushing.

"My water broke! This is the most bizarre thing ever." We may have briefly discussed the fact that we'd be having Fynnie within the next 24 hours as I headed in to the bathroom. In there, I was able to check off most of my "TACO" list.

T = time. No clue... late. (I later figured it to be just before 2:20 A.M.)
A = amount. Oh, definitely not just a trickle. Heck, not just a gush.
C = color. Clear. Thank god for no meconium this time!
O = odor. None, and especially nothing funky. More good news.

When I came out, Tom was nowhere to be seen. I went upstairs to grab a shower and found him wearing a completely different set of clothes. We talked about things that needed to be gathered up and put in the car (pillows, chargers, the green bag with the camera that I'd put by the door earlier in the day). It looked like Tom might try to keep me from taking a shower, so great was his need to get on the road. I understood, but A) I wasn't having any big contractions yet and B) even if I had been, I was not going in without a shower.

The shower was great. I managed to do everything but pumice my feet. Still no big contractions, but I didn't want to be caught off guard. It was especially good that I didn't race through the shower. That way I was still in there when Tom came in and asked, "Uh, we should probably bring the kids, right?"

Dude, didn't you hear that giggling leads to gushing?! Somebody pass this guy the memo.

Getting out of the shower and into clothes presented its own challenges. I offer the answers in case you ever find yourself in my soggy shoes.

*How do I walk around without ruining the carpet (and why do we still have carpet in the bathroom?)? Grab Tom's towel, roll it up and pretend like you're a kid at the pool with those floating tube thingies (and it's because we're focusing on the exterior first... carpeted bathrooms later).

*How do I make that ginormous pad fit into my underwear? You don't. Just do the best you can and be glad you thought to buy them before the baby arrived this time.

*How do I, a nine months pregnant woman, get my panties on while standing in the closet, when I've had trouble doing this same activity for months without straddling a giant soggy towel? I'm not gonna lie, it ain't easy, and you'll be glad that towel's there for as long as it can be. Still, you will say to your husband on the way out of the room, "Add the closet to the places that need to be cleaned, m'kay?"

*In choosing attire for the hour-long trip to the hospital, you may wonder why you didn't do laundry as you'd planned and why the heck you don't own a skirt or dress that could save you the effort of getting into pants. There are no answers for these questions.

Coming downstairs, I was impressed to see that Tom, who was now in his third outfit of the evening, had gotten the car loaded and the kids up and dressed. He had so many towels on the front passenger seat that I had a hard time getting in.

Once on the road, I called Grandma Margaret and let her know Mad was coming to hang out. That woman answered the phone halfway through the first ring and sounded like she was sitting up waiting for my call. I am just not that good when faking alert!

I called Tom's mom and left her a message. Just as I finished, she called back and got the news directly.

Then I sent out emails to a few friends, posted my news on the pregnancy forum and sat back to enjoy the ride. I did have one or two contractions along the way. Tom made it clear that we could always have my dad and Margaret pick Mad up at the hospital if necessary, but the contractions weren't anything like that.

I carried Mad into Dad's house. She wanted me to sit down and snuggle with her, but by then my pants were completely soaked to about mid-thigh. It was a strange tug to want to get to the hospital and want to stay with my daughter. Eventually Mad realized she was at Grandma's house, and Grandma will put Sesame Street on at any time day or night. She barely noticed us leaving. Just before we drove away, I realized we'd left the MP3 player at home. It had been in my car, and I'd brought it in and put it by the door, but not in the green bag. Tom went back in and told my dad.

We pulled in to the maternity parking lot sometime before 4:30. The last time we'd done this was when we were coming back to pick up Madelyn after she'd been released from the NICU. Between my good-bye to Mad and the memories in the parking lot, my mood shifted from giddy to somewhat emotional.

I was excited to learn that I was dilated to 2 cm; this was progress from Wednesday's exam. After the initial monitoring and paperwork was complete, we were moved from triage to the room where I would deliver our baby. It was two rooms over from where Mad made her first cries.

Maybe it was knowing that my doctor (or the on-call doctor, as it happened) wouldn't allow me to remain pregnant beyond 24 hours after my water broke, but time was flying by. Unfortunately, my progress wasn't keeping up. I explained to our nurse that I have had two very long labors.

"What do you mean long? Twelve hours?"

"Uh, no... 24 and 36 hours. In that order. But I deliver quickly. Mad was born after 10-15 minutes of pushing." (Yes, I was holding out for that part not to be a fluke.) Still, she figured I'd progress at a rate of 1-1.5 cm per hour. Imagine her chagrin and my dismay when, seven hours after my water broke, I was only dilated to 3. "Barely 3," is what she said. It was around this time that Tom decided he wanted to wager on when Fynn would arrive. He said she'd be here by 6:45 that evening. I was playfully upset that he was saying I'd be in labor 10 more hours when the nurse clearly felt we'd be done in seven or less. I mean, if my baby's not getting the uber-cool birth date of 8.9.10, then at least let her come soon, right?

The on-call doctor had wanted to start pitocin after six hours, but I asked for extra time. I used about half of it squatting and the rest of it trying to get some rest. I was suddenly exhausted. The doctor, a woman who I really liked a lot (but who's name I cannot for the life of me recall), stopped in to see me and explain what we were doing, why and what options I had. She was supportive about my desire to avoid pain medications, but authorized the epidural so I wouldn't have to wait should I change my mind (she didn't say that, the first nurse told us before shift change in the morning).

My dad arrived just as the pitocin was started. He handed me the MP3 player and I almost burst into tears of love and gratitude.  Then he told us he'd taken care of our dog, and that he'd drive back up to our place that evening to do it again.  Doh!  We made plans for everybody but Maisy.  Dad told me, "Do good.  I know you will," and headed back home.

The first song, "Into the Mystic" by Van Morrison made me smile. The second, "Lullaby" by the Dixie Chicks made me cry (ack! it still does). I couldn't believe we were really and truly going to meet this little baby we'd loved forever already.

Nancy arrived just before her favorite song in the whole world, "Cruisin'" by Smokey Robinson, began to play.

It didn't take long for the pitocin to work its evil magic. Having the music playing in the background was a lot more help than I could have imagined. There were times when I didn't notice it, but when I did... without fail it brought peace or joy or a reminder of what I was laboring for. The songs made me think of the people who helped me choose them or who were the reason for the choice. That Ruth Brown song? Made me laugh part way through a nasty contraction (and then I don't recall the rest of the song).

Tom started off counting through my contractions. This may strike people as odd, but it was completely successful for me with Madelyn. I'm that girl at the gym who can't keep track of her own reps. Even just counting to four or five during labor practice was beyond my ken. The pitocin-driven contractions made it nearly impossible to stay on top of the pain. Eventually I asked Tom to forgo counting and instead to remind me to relax. And especially, please, remind me why we're doing this. It was hard for him to make the shift from counter to meditation guide. We'd never practiced that before. Eventually he got the hang of it.

"Relax your shoulders." I would think, "My shoulders are relaxed!" and then I'd feel them drop a few inches.

"Relax your feet."

"This is a really productive contraction. It's bringing Fynnie closer to us."

"We're getting ready to meet Fynnie."

"You're doing this for Fynn."

That pretty much summed up his repertoire, but the points were important, not variety. I couldn't articulate that the last thing I did at the end of each contraction was to relax my bottom. He had no idea what was going on down there. I could have been making diamonds!

It was this tension as pain control that worried me. What if I was impeding my own progress through my inability to relax the most important muscles? It wasn't an unreasonable fear, either. It took five hours to go from 2 to 3 cm without pitocin. With it, it took another three hours to get to 4 cm and four more to get to 5. If I hadn't the presence of an extremely limited mind to ask what station Fynnie was at, I would have thrown in the drug-free towel right there. She was at zero station; she was coming down (she'd been "floating" on arrival).

Meanwhile the contractions were so... oh, there's just no other word... heinous that my blood pressure kept spiking. Nurse Deanna would turn it off, but my contractions would wimp out. So she'd ask me if I wanted to turn it back on. "No, but let's do it anyway." Occasionally they'd stop the pitocin because my body seemed to have established a nice pattern of rock-me-to-the-core contractions. Yet again, that only lasted with the pitocin. Having to say I wanted it back on seemed like cruel and unusual punishment.

When it wasn't my body rebelling against the pitocin, it was Fynn's. I have no idea how long I spent laying on my left side to help her.

My mom arrived very late in the day. It was something that bothered me more and more as the day went on. Later I recalled letting her know a few months back that she could choose to be there the whole time or just come when things were really moving along. To hear her speak of it, it sounds like I said I didn't want her there until the end. I guess that was my original thought, even though I hadn't felt that way when I talked to her about it, so I let it go (not that we discussed it then) . And really, once she was there, I was just glad.

I spent the last few hours sitting upright with my feet together. I heard occasional whispered conversations about how well I was handling "things." I wanted to snap at them that I wasn't doing well at all, but I was too exhausted to do more than wait for the next contraction. Deanna kept trying to get me to change positions, but I resisted out of fear. I made a nasty retort when Tom commented on how great I was handling the pain. However, he couldn't make out what I'd said. Apparently I also gave him quite the look after he said something about this labor being "nothing compared to 24 and 36 hours." I must have blocked that whole thing out.

When I wasn't being cranky or sleeping between contractions (I actually snored myself awake once!), my mind drifted to peaceful places.  Sometimes these were guided by songs I could hear.  I'd taken two songs from Rebecca's birth playlist.  When one of them came on, I was thinking about a picture of her in labor, sitting on a birthing ball with her arms in the air.  It is an image of strength and peace, and it helped me get through a few hard times (so thank you!).

Just before 6:00 I told Tom I wanted to be checked at 6:15. Not because I thought pushing was imminent, but because I was reaching the end my abilities to deal with the pain. "If I haven't made significant progress, I'm getting pain meds. I just want you to know."

Corey piped up with one of his few comments of the day, "Do you want some hot sauce?"  Sounds crazy, right?  Not if you know his birth story, which involved a middle-of-the-night run to Del Taco for their latest big thing:  Tacos with Del Scorcho sauce.

For the first time ever, time slowed down. It wasn't even 6:10 when I had Tom call. To my utter amazement and relief, I was "at 7... almost 8. Let me know if you need to push because I want the doctor here!" I mentioned that I'd gotten stuck at 8+ for over three hours last time. She then made me change positions. I opted for getting on my knees facing the back of the bed. Within seconds I needed to push and, every woman's fear, "I'm gonna poop too!" I think I heard Tom stifle a giggle.  I definitely regretted snacking after midnight right then.

Mom, Corey and Nance had stepped out during the exam. I really wanted them nearby to hear Fynn's first cry but, for reasons I'm not sure I completely understand, when Tom heard that I needed to push, he asked the nurse to send them to the lobby.

I couldn't help pushing even as I was in that position, even as I was worried that I might cause things to swell up and slow down further if I didn't knock it off. Last I knew I was almost 8, not 10. Moving to my back took a lot of effort. I heard Deanna call the nurse's station and ask them to call the doctor ("she'll be here in 10!") and to send a pre-sep team (I later learned a pre-sep team steps in when Doc can't get there in time). Less than a minute later she checked me and said, "She's right there!"  She called again and told that team to hurry up. Deanna instructed me to grab my knees, but I refused, worried that she'd start counting for my pushes. Then I realized I needed to grab them just because I was shaking so hard.

Four or five minutes after I'd gotten on my knees, I felt this small mass of parts come out and I was so worried that my cord had prolapsed.

"What was that?!?"

"She's out!"  (In retrospect, "she's right there" should have clued me in that everything was fine, but I'd let fear be my guide.)  It was 6:26. Tom beamed when he realized he was right (he'd beam now, too, if he weren't sleeping as I type).

I sat up, touched my beautiful, tiny baby girl and welcomed her into this world. Somewhere in the fog of my brain I realized that I hadn't pooped after all. Then I said, "I'm so glad I never have to go through that again." It felt a little disloyal to Fynn once I said it, but it couldn't have been more true.

Tom and I were expecting that Fynn would be placed on my chest immediately after birth if there were no complications. It's the hospital's standard M.O. Maybe because we didn't include it specifically in our birth plan... or more likely because no doctor was present again (we're calling it tradition), the nurses took care of all the checking and measuring and weighing before finally handing her back to us. If I hadn't been gripped by fear that something was wrong (the nurses were so quiet!), I would have asked for her sooner. It wasn't until one of the team members who was standing over my daughter in the bassinet said something about Fynn having broken something that I found my voice. Turned out that the tape measure broke when the nurse was trying to get Fynn's chest measurements.

That's when I asked Tom if he wanted to go stand by Fynn. He nodded blankly and went to the other side of the room. Pretty sure he was as freaked out as I was, but once the trance was broken, he stepped right into his best Daddy shoes. One second he was at my side and the next he was soothing Fynnie and telling me about her new hat. Before long, she was handed to me. Oddly, neither of us can remember if he brought her to me or if a nurse did.  I can picture it both ways.

Once Fynn was in my arms it seemed clear that she was hungry. I brought her to my breast and was amazed when she started nursing right away. Multi-tasker that she is, she also checked out her new surroundings and the face of her mama. Although Tom and I have no clue what song played while Fynn was born, we know for sure that Cyndi Lauper's "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun" was on during her first meal.

That's when the doctor arrived. Apparently she'd been in her garden when the call came in and had to clean up first. She took care of all my post-labor needs and was very sweet in her congratulations on our baby and my avoidance of pain meds. Tom has since pointed out that I have a knack for wanting pain relief just as things are almost over.  Well, yeah!

When Nance was allowed into the room, she had no idea that Fynn was born. She had decided after a few minutes of waiting in the lobby that she'd rather be closer. She still missed Fynn's first cries, as did Corey and my mom (apparently they were right behind her, but I don't recall). But the joy on their faces as they saw her... and then got to hold her seems to have made up for it. With Mad, they got to look on as I held her for a few short minutes before she was whisked away. Corey, in a tradition of his own, chose not to hold his baby sister, or even touch her right away. He didn't seem nearly as afraid of her as he did of Mad, though.

That night Tom gave Fynn her first bath. She stayed in our room except for the trip to get reweighed and have the PKU test done. We were totally prepared to leave the next morning. My OB came in to see us pretty early and broke the news that the local pediatricians have decided not to release newborns until they've been in hospital for two nights. It was good to have that heads up, because we had to make plans for Mad and Corey (my mom took Corey and my dad and Margaret kept Mad one more night). Normally I think we would have balked at staying longer, but Fynn was having slight temperature regulation control problems. I know I didn't want to take any chances, even if it seemed a little ridiculous.

Our ped was on vacation, so we had one doctor drop in on Monday morning and a second on Tuesday morning. The sweetest words I ever heard were, "You have a beautiful daughter. She's perfectly healthy. You may take her home." Ahh, even thinking about it now brings tears to my eyes. We left the hospital with our daughter. It's one of only a few things from our birth plan that happened as we'd hoped, but it's by far the most important. We couldn't be happier. 

She is our Grand Fynnale

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Fynn Willow ~ A Birth Story As Told By Daddy

Fynn’s Birth Story

August 8, 2010 – Mommy was up late on Saturday night reading BabyCenter when her (your) water broke. She was up late a lot while pregnant with you, so it’s not surprising that your birth story begins at 2:20 a.m. Mommy woke Daddy up from his nap on the couch and Daddy woke up Corey (your big brother) and Madelyn (your big sister) to get them ready to go to the hospital. Mommy took a shower while Daddy, brother and sister gathered up everything we wanted to take and away we went. Daddy drove everyone down to Grandma and Papa’s so we could drop off Madelyn and the rest of us went to the hospital. We spent a little while in a tiny room near the nurse’s station and then went to room 146. Since Mommy’s water had broken, she wasn’t allowed to go away from the monitors, so we spent most of our time waiting for you right there in the room. Daddy and Brother did go to the cafeteria for breakfast and to the lobby to make phone calls, but mostly we stayed with Mommy. We listened to music that Mommy had collected for the occasion (once Papa brought it from home – we forgot it when we were gathering things at the house), watched movies (Blind Side in particular), and chatted with Aunt Nancy and later Grammy Judi, who came to the hospital to wait with us. We waited in that room for almost 13 hours. Mommy needed medicine to get her labor moving along, so the nurses gave her Pitocin (Mommy calls it da debbil!). When a woman’s water breaks, the nurses and doctors only give her 24 hours to deliver the baby herself before they go in to get the baby out. Mommy was determined to deliver you herself. At about the same time Mommy was first getting the Pitocin, Daddy was predicting that you would be born at 6:45 in the evening. Mommy was at 2 cm (10 is fully dilated, or ready to deliver) when we first got to the hospital. She reached 4 cm at 1:00 in the afternoon and then 5 cm at 4:00. Things started moving faster then. Mommy worked really hard for the next two hours and at 6:15, she was at nearly 8 cm. She changed her position and was ready to push. After 5 minutes of pushing, we saw you for the first time. You weighed 6 pounds, 8 ounces and measured 19 inches long. Smaller than we expected, but perfectly healthy and completely beautiful.

***I'll be including my side when I have use of two hands for longer than a few minutes.

Friday, August 06, 2010

Thanks, Mom

I've mentioned before that my mom and I have a somewhat complicated relationship, right?  Right.  So the following story should not come as a surprise to anyone, least of all me.

Mom texted me yesterday to tell me about a story she'd just read online.  Maybe you read it, too.  I had.  A woman gave birth to quintuplets.

The end of Mom's text?  "Are you sure you've just got one in there?"

I wanted to respond with, "You know, some people would think you're calling me fat."

Or more to the heart of the problem, "Yes, and if you had bothered to come to any of the appointments we've had over the past eight months, you'd know that."

Instead I said nothing.  To her.

Thursday, August 05, 2010

From Ugh! to Ooh!

My heartburn has returned.  Not that it was gone for that long, but absence does not make this heart grow fonder.  So last night when I got an invitation from Nance to come down early and have lunch at our favorite (Mexican) place, I couldn't even think about food long enough to come up with a response.  I opened and closed the email twice before going to bed last night.

Today was Mad's first trip down the hill with Daddy.  She goes down twice a week to keep her used to being at Grandma's, but last week I was able to take her both times.  Going with Daddy means leaving at 4:30 in the morning.  Once they had plenty of time to arrive, I called Tom to see how it went.  Twice.  No answer.  I wasn't exactly worried, just figured he was rocking the rest of the way to work.  When I hadn't heard from him by 7:15, I went ahead and emailed him.  As soon as I got a response, I was able to go back to sleep.  I slept until 10:45.  If you subtract the hours I waited to know Mad was safely at Grandma's, it was like getting up at 7:30.  I felt well rested; Mad rarely lets me sleep that late.

Nance had texted me to ask again if I'd like to meet her at Casa.  I really didn't feel like rushing, and I had to have a shower for today's big exam, so I scheduled a late lunch.

Corey and I jumped in the car, running a little behind, only to find that the car WOULD NOT START.  Again.

I called roadside assistance, again, and ended up with the same fabulous mechanic, Arturo, again.  His English was better than my Spanish, which wasn't saying much for either of us.  However, I was able to get his opinion; it was my car's standard battery, not the massive battery that makes it a hybrid.  The good news?  Quicker and easier to fix than the big one.  The bad news?  The standard battery doesn't fall under the warranty like the $8,000 massive one does.

The only problem with Arturo being done so quickly is that I forgot to bring my freshly printed birth plan with me when we left.  Once the car was running, Corey and I hopped in and headed out.  I wanted to get the battery resolved ASAP.

I called the Sears Automotive nearest my doctor's office.  (Note: I tried to call the one that was closest to my mom's place, so I wouldn't have to drop Corey off along the way, but Goog-411 has some serious limitations!)  The man who answered, Norberto, had some difficulty catching everything I was saying.  I attribute this to the fact that there was smoke off in the distance, and Verizon likes any excuse not to have clear calls.  We don't get that many clouds up here, which are sure to mess up reception, so it had to be the smoke.  Off in the distance.

In any case, he set aside a battery for me and I dashed over after leaving Corey near Mom's place.  Norberto was lovely.  Friendly and assured, but the man just would not take "it's a hybrid" for an answer.

"Is it a four cylinder or V6?"

"Uh, when we bought it they said it's like a V6 (which it's not, power-wise), but it's a hybrid."

"Oh that's okay, except for the hybrid part, the engine is the same."

We had that conversation a couple of times, both on the phone and in person.  When I arrived, he came over to greet me and took me to the wall of batteries.  He pointed out "the only battery that should go in your car" and explained the warranty.  As he keyed my info into the system, we chatted about where I live, which is not too far from where he owns a second home.  Apparently his wife was too smart refused decided not to move up the hill.

As I was leaving to go walk the mall like a good pregnant woman in the summer, Norberto decided to tell me that, ever since he was a little boy and he doesn't know why, "pregnant women are beautiful to me."

Then in the biggest bonehead move ever, he adds, "Even if they're not... uh... uh... not that you are this... you've got it... so not you... but you know some women might not be so... good loo... well, they are all beautiful to me."

Dude, did you just call me ugly?  Ugh!

Twenty minutes after I left, Norberto called to tell me that "the only battery that should go in your car" didn't fit.  They had the right one in stock, but it would cost more.  Oh, and the air filter for my car was different, "because it's a hybrid, it's not a filter, it's a cartridge" and so the oil change was going up, too.  Fine, they both had to be done.

Tom had to pick me up at the mall so we could make it to the appointment on time.  No problem there (which is impressive because Tom tends to be late more than he is anything else... I did not personally have this problem until I was pregnant with his child, so I blame him completely whether he's around or not).

As I was walking through the automotive department to catch Tom, Norberto stopped me.  "That other battery didn't fit either.  But we have the right one now.  And good news, it's less expensive."  Great.  I was in a hurry, so I refrained from asking if it was already in so they knew for sure it was the right one.

Tom and I headed off to the appointment, which was less than two miles away.  As I was stripping down for the big exam, I told Tom I'd be willing to bet money that I hadn't made any progress.  With Corey, I don't recall the doctor checking me for dilation at the 38 week checkup.  The following week I was 1.5 cm dilated (and somehow when I arrived at the hospital I was "barely one").  With Mad, there was no progress at 38 weeks and I was "a fingertip" at 39 weeks.

Today, however, I was found to be already a centimeter and thinning.  I would like to attribute this to the five very painful contractions I've had since Sunday night.  Please don't tell me anything else, because five contractions per centimeter seems like a completely rational equation to me.  As Doc said (and I already knew), this is minimal progress, but it's more than I've ever had at this stage in the game, so I'm excited.  Then he said he wanted to see me on Monday instead of Wednesday. 

Tom was excited, but I saw through Doc's plan immediately.  He'd given us the spiel two years ago, and despite the fact that we said then and we have said this time we do not want to be induced, he thinks he sees a "red, ripe apple, ready for plucking."  His routine is to check a woman on a Monday and then schedule the induction for Thursday.  As it turns out, his convenience isn't a medical reason, even if he is a doctor.  If I'd remembered to bring the birth plan, he'd have seen in black and lilac that I do not want any induction methods unless absolutely necessary.  On the other hand, I don't mind getting a little sneak preview of whatever's happening with my body, so we went ahead and scheduled for Monday.

When I returned to Sears, my car was waiting.  I paid and was very happy when the car started immediately, so I guess they did find something that fit.  And they checked the alternator, which had "no problems."  Tomorrow I'm making up a reason for a car trip just to be sure it's still working.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Oh My Days

I'm a reasonably intelligent woman.  Okay, so I got more than my share of "does not work to potential" comments throughout my education, and I won't argue about a single one.  But I catch on pretty quickly most of the time.

So why is it that I look at my calendar with confusion and befuddlement.  And then when I realize how many days I have left until this baby's due date, my reaction is just as likely to be laughing tears as it is to be a double take.

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Speaking of Cars

Not sure how I left this out the other day, but Tom saved all of our lives.

We were returning from the family barbecue, making our way up the hill.  Traffic was light on our side, because people don't tend to go to Vegas or the River on Sunday evenings.  The speed limit is 70, which generally means you'd better be in the slow lane if that's all you're doing.  I have had people speed past me while I was doing 80.  It's a fast road. 

A mini pickup had a blowout as he sped past us  He was struggling to maintain control, but was doing a pretty good job.  Little pieces of tire were flying at all around.  Over to the side I saw a black car and a little silver car come racing up.

The squeal of brakes and that smell filled the air.  Time slowed down enough for me to think about how badly things go when time slows down.  The black car skidded.  The silver car fish-tailed.  It looked like they were dancing.  Although they had passed us, we ended up close behind them and sort of next to them as they twisted and turned and almost flipped over.  Tom kept the car moving, slowing without joining the fray.

The truck, black sedan and little silver car managed to pull themselves together pretty much at the same time.  Not surprisingly, they all pulled over, each car about a quarter of a mile apart.

Once it was all over (15-2o seconds later), I felt the burn of tears stinging my eyes.  All I could do was tell Tom how well he had handled everything and try not to think about what could have happened.  (And maybe feel glad that I hadn't complained about his driving the whole way down like I might have wanted... phew!)

What You Don't Want

... is to be 37 weeks and 6 days pregnant, 50 miles from the hospital and find that your car won't start.

Corey just thought it was bad because we were finally going to Gamestop and he'd had that $20 for, like, 16 hours!

When I called roadside assistance, the service rep said he'd call a tow truck to take my car to the closest dealership because of "high voltage dangers.  If they don't do it just right, jump starting a hybrid can be... uh... fatal."

Are you kidding me? 

Our local dealership sucks, so I canceled the call to find out how much said dealership would charge to jump my car.  Took three people to get an answer, the final woman hunted down a mechanic who said there was no reason the roadside guy couldn't do it.  I could hear their conversation; that was the extent of it.  She comes back on and tells me that the dealership wouldn't charge me to jump it, but that I really should get the battery diagnostic test done for $98.  Must be their magic number, since that's how much they were going to charge me to diagnose my need for the tire pressure gauge to be reset, when I knew that was all I needed.

I called roadside assistance again and told the new service rep that I needed to have my battery jumped, that it shouldn't be a problem for a trained mechanic and could they please send someone.  I had to explain why I was telling her all this.  Her response, "I'm not a mechanic, so I'll get one on the line and see if they can do it.  Hang on."  Thirty seconds later she told me who would be coming and when.  It was supposed to be a lengthy wait, but he came in less than 20 minutes, hooked my car up to some portable charging device I've never seen before and it started right away.

I was relieved.  Corey was ecstatic.


This afternoon I laid down for a nap not long before I expected Mad to be up from hers.  I asked Corey, "If she wakes up before 3:00, please get her.  If you need me, of course come and get me."  He agreed.

To me, the above conversation means I need 45 minutes of rest. I'm not sure what it meant to Corey.

I woke up at 5:45 when Tom got home from work.  Apparently Mad got up around 4:00, but I never registered her talking over the monitor, and Corey never brought her to me (nice, but girlfriend could have used a diaper change).  Instead I was busy in dreamland, solving work-related problems and getting ready to deal with teachers, three whom I love and one who I should not have to deal with at all, let alone in my dreams while in my second week of maternity leave.  For that I'd like to thank the employer who called my cell phone today.  She didn't write down any of the information I gave her two weeks ago, so could I please call her and tell her again?  At least she was honest, I guess.

On top of being wide awake tonight, I have been hungrier than I've been in weeks.  Honestly that started yesterday at the barbecue.  It'll be interesting to see what my weight is on Wednesday.

Monday, August 02, 2010

Dad and Margaret decided to gather all of the kids and grandkids together yesterday for a barbecue before the grandkids start school (some of them next week!).

Mad spent quite a bit of time watering things (the grass, herself, the bird feeder, plants).

Then she decided to spend some time "dirting" things (see previous list).

Once she formed her mud pies, it was time to get down to some serious cooking!

Someone chose other activities rather than sampling his daughter's delights.
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