10 November 2010

Moving!

I am moving to http://fresh-samantha.blogspot.com. Please follow me there.

11 October 2010

Postpartum Fail

Three good guesses why I'm awake and, no, the baby isn't one of them. Calico and my husband are both peacefully sleeping in the bedroom and I'm up blogging. Why aren't I sleeping? Because I am in PAIN! *jazz hands* and also because I need a break for a little bit.

I'm going to be completely honest: new motherhood kind of sucks and I can't decide if I feel like a jerk for saying that or not. I knew it wasn't going to be easy, but I feel like I'm already failing at it. I don't know what I'd do if Steven hadn't been home for the last two weeks and was home this week. Honestly, he's been my hero and I couldn't ask for a better partner in this.

I think I'd be able to feel like I could swing this better if it weren't for the PAIN! and that my insomnia has kicked back in full force. How cruel is it to not be able to sleep when the baby is at night? We're co-sleeping at the moment because I find I can grab little cat naps if she's in bed with me, at least. I haven't really napped with her at all; Steven has done most of that.

Back to the PAIN!, though. It looks like I will be calling my OB tomorrow about it because this is miserable. I'm still getting the occasional back spasm (not terribly bad), but what's killing me is pelvic girdle pain. Though Calico was a relatively easy birth, the laxity of my joints and her pushing through seems to have caused some fairly serious dysfunction. It hurts to sit, to stand, to cross my legs, to get up from a seated position, to walk any kind of distance, to sleep on my side at night, and so on. And I mean hurts like contractions, not just a little ache. The only bonus now is that I can take Aleve, which works marginally better than Tylenol.

I was reading about this pelvic dysfunction and it looks like it will be minimally 10 weeks before it settles, with an average time for complete recovery being 6.25 years. Not months, years. I am grumpy that we can cure flaccid penises, but apparently, you just suck it up if you're a woman and in pain. The only good thing is that since I had this issue prior to giving birth, I was able to get right back to seeing my physical therapist and hopefully that will facilitate a quicker recovery because, really, 6.25 years? I don't think so.

While I am also whinging like a baby, my next thing is breast-feeding. I likewise kind of hate it. Actually, no. I don't kind of hate it, I have a love/hate relationship with it, but there's been a lot of frustration and tears involved with my boobs.

The good part is that Calico is getting 100% breast milk, which was something important to me. While I want to breast-feed for the health benefits, the main reason behind this is that we really can't afford to do formula. Calico had a hard time latching... still is on the right side, in fact. I was exclusively pumping for a while and we had to rent a pump since the motor in the one we have isn't as good as it needs to be. We saw a lactation consultant last week and she was immensely helpful and got her latched with a nipple shield on the right side. She occasionally can latch on that side without it and she's pretty much good on the left, but it's not been easy.

I'm sure some of what's making it worse is that I really hate having to deal with the Stunt Nipple, I hate guessing how much she's eating, and I generally hate how helpless I feel when I'm feeding her because of the set-up of our living room. Steven is going to try and rearrange it tomorrow so that I can at least have a decent chair to sit in, where I can reach a drink and see the television or get to the computer. Sitting and just watching her eat makes me want to crawl out of my skin, especially when I'm thirsty or hungry. As long as I have something to do, it's not that bad.

Hell, we even managed to nurse in public today, so it's getting better. Hopefully my dislike for it will lessen as it gets easier.

I don't know. On the whole, I just feel like I'm not doing a great job right now. Calico loves Steven, he's definitely her favourite person, which is great, but it also makes me feel like I'm just the dairy barn. I'm afraid it's going to be awful when he goes back to work in a week. I don't know if I can handle it. I'm honestly also terrified of developing postpartum depression, even though I know that plenty of people are watching out for me. I can't tell if this is still baby blues or if it's more serious. I worry a lot lately.

So now that this whole post has been emo, I'm going to try and end on a positive note with things that I am happy about.

Calico is very healthy and obviously, the breast milk is doing something because she'd gained almost half a pound and is over her birth weight now. I need to weigh her tomorrow because I think she's closer to 8lbs now. She really only cries when she's wet or hungry; she's a great baby.

I'm 6lbs below my pre-pregnancy weight and while that doesn't exactly mean pre-pregnancy pants, my belly is almost gone and I was able to buy real! pants! with a non-elastic waistband and a zipper! They're a size above what I was pre-pregnancy, but that's not even bad for two weeks out. And yes, I realize it's a little foolish to buy pants now, but I was back down to two pairs of maternity jeans, one of which is now way too big and the other of which Calico peed on. The maternity pants I bought, expecting to wear them postpartum are not comfortable since they had the giant belly panels.

My husband is amazing and I fall in love more watching him with Calico. He has been amazing while he's been home and I am so blessed that he could take this time off.

I finally got some tonight and it was great. Ssh, don't tell my OB (though she had mentioned a while ago that as long as my lochia had stopped, there wasn't any harm in it). I felt a million times better afterwards.

My lochia has stopped and, aside from the pelvic issues, I've had a great recovery from Calico's birth. While my non-labour did not go as planned, her birth and the period after has been better than I'd hoped. I hope it keeps going well and maybe that will make me feel more like myself again.

Welcome Calico!

Reposted from my personal journal:

I had my last appointment with the OB on the Wednesday before she was born. I was told that I basically managed to have negative progress. My cervix was high, tight, and closed and I was still barely 50% effaced. Coincidentally, I was told she'd probably be in there for a while. Made my calls about that and went home to try and have a nap. I felt lousy all day Thursday, but when Steven got home, we had to run to Target since we were almost out of toilet paper and I wanted Taco Bell.

There in was my last belly picture. I couldn't fit behind the table at Taco Bell, so we posted pictures of that. Anyone on Facebook will have seen that one.

We ate, I still felt lousy, and got ready for bed. I had taken my collection of night pills and was just sitting down with the computer, waiting for them to start working. As we had been talking construction and how we feel like we're living in the Winchester Mystery house with Grandpa, I was googling that. I felt dribbly and figured I probably peed myself. That's one of the perks of pregnancy. Turns out it wasn't pee; it was my amniotic sac and it definitely ruptured when I stood up. Since I was Group B Strep positive, we called the OB and were told to go straight to the hospital so I could start antibiotics.

I picked the worst night ever to break my water. There were 40 other women who went into labour the same night, three who delivered while still in triage and one in the Ante-Natal Centre. I arrived at 1:15, defiled the hell out of the parking lot, and got into a room. I originally asked to have my IV done in the back of my hand, but was assured that it was better in the side of my wrist. I asked for Emla, which apparently doesn't exist at Women & Infants. They got something else out, which did not work at all, and then proceeded to run the line in with a frakking straw. So now I'm panicky, vomiting because I'm stressed, and have no idea what's going on. At this point, I was not having contractions at all.

We got moved to Ante-Natal Care around 6am because all 22 delivery rooms were full. I was until around 5:30. We didn't even see a doctor until around 4 and that basically was because I was having panic attacks since I had been told I would probably need to be sectioned if my water were broken more than 24 hours because of the GBS. They were able to get me an ativan, which also helped. I finally got moved down to Delivery around 5:30.

Unfortunately, they checked me and I still had not progressed at all nor was I having any real contractions. I was given the option of a couple drugs (cytotec or pitocin) to kick start things since we'd basically been trying natural methods all day. I opted for the pitocin since I was going to be getting it one way or the other. Unfortunately, my body did not handle it very well and by the time they'd gotten it to 3, I was in agony. There was also an issue with being able to monitor her when I was basically doing anything but lying still in the bed, which was horrible. My nurse, Pam, at that point suggested an internal monitor if I wanted to keep trying naturally or she could get an anaesthesiologist in, if I wanted to consider the epidural. We opted for the anaesthesiologist. I didn't want to have a monitor screwed into her head.

The one we had, Dr. Winter, was seriously amazing. I told him that if I didn't already have a name for the baby, I would have named her after him. He was good about listening to my fears about the epidural, did explain to me that I would have to hold still for him, but he'd make sure I could handle it. What apparently worked was a cocktail of Diprivan (aka. the Michael Jackson OD drug) and fentanyl. I got 40ccs of Diprivan since I am a spazz. I did feel the pressure of the epidural, but the Diprivan helped in not caring that I was getting it. The worst part was that I was a little itchy from the fentanyl.

I will say that my concerns about the epidural taking weird were founded. I had almost no numbness in my legs and was actually able to keep control of my bladder the whole time. My nurse was impressed; she said I was only the 4th with that much control she'd seen in 25 years. They were able to crank up the pitocin so that by 4am, I was dilated to 5cm and by the 7am shift change, I was at 9cm with a little lip. By 8:15, the contractions started feeling different and around 8:30, I was feeling pushy. My day nurse, Dita, went to get the doctor, who apparently thought he might have enough time to deliver another baby before me. She told him not a chance... I started pushing at 8:38, she was out in four pushes by 9:02, and the placenta was out 9:05. I opted not to watch her come out, but Steven did.

Steven got to hold her right away. Because of the hatchet job they did on the IV, it was almost impossible for me to use my right hand/wrist. I was able to breastfeed her about 15 minutes after she was born and Steven was able to hold her for the rest of the first hour she was alive. She never left our sight. They had a warmer in the room so I could watch her while I ate lunch (breakfast was basically all things I was allergic to) and while Steven made calls. Total time at the hospital: 33 hours and yes, we did make Battlestar Galactica jokes.

I was in delivery until almost 3p because of all the women having babies. I was able to nap for a bit, which will play in later. My parents were waiting for us. Mum couldn't get over how much she looked like me as a newborn. She is literally a carbon copy of the pictures I've seen. They hung around long enough so Steven could go home and grab a shower and feed our kitties. He got back around 6, just after they'd left, and we basically sat and wondered at our little girl. And then, this is where the story goes downhill.

I realized I was hungry, but didn't think anything of it until a nurse came in and asked where my tray was. I said what tray? They had forgotten to send me a dinner and, of course, it was very late, so they had nothing good left in the kitchen. Dinner was amazingly lousy. Steven ended up grabbing me some candy from the gift shop and I had jello for dinner again. I was exhausted at this point, so we took the night nurse's offer to have her go to the nursery for a little while, since I'd been up basically forever. I fed her from 4a-5a and they went to take her down. I'd just settled in to sleep, when someone brought her back in abruptly at 5:20a. They didn't check our bracelets, told me she was screaming and inconsolable (she was not), and left the room before I had a chance to ask anything. I got her settled and tried to go back to sleep. I don't even know who came in, but we literally had someone stopping by every 15 minutes until breakfast showed up around 7:30.

Since they didn't bother sending me a dinner the night before, they'd also never sent me the menu so I got some random breakfast which consisted of a bunch of things that I was allergic to and eggs, which I don't eat. So, I lost it. Completely. I started sobbing. This is why I'm glad that Steven was able to stay with me; he went down to the nurses' station and talked to them, as well as getting me a new meal from dietary. We also had an amazing nurse, Millie, from the nursery who Calico loved. Upon thinking about it further, I had not had any substantial sleep since noon on Thursday, nor had I actually had a decent meal since Thursday night. Jackie, my day nurse, got us a Do Not Disturb sign for the door and left instructions for me to be left alone from 1-4:30.

Calico got to meet Deb, Steven's biological mum, and Shirley, his biological grandmother, that morning. They were both excited to get to hold her and I believe Calico is the first great-granddaughter. We had a nice, if short, visit with them and I finally got my nap. Steven opted to go home, shower, and feed the cats again. We also chose to take part in the Stork Dinner Club, which is a special meal for new parents. I wasn't going to get it at first, but I am really, really glad we did! It was probably the best meal we had while we were there. We both had filet mignon, green beans, baked potatoes, and cheesecake, plus a glass of merlot and glasses we could take home to remember the birth of our little girl. We ate by candlelight while looking out over Providence. It was amazing.

We kept our Do Not Disturb sign and finally managed to sleep from about 12:30 to about 7:30, which was amazing. Calico went for a light treatment in the nursery since she was fairly jaundiced and we opted for that rather than to see if she still needed it in the morning and, therefore, would delay going home.

I felt a million times better the next day, which was our last day there. We were supposed to be released at 11am, but the doctor noticed I was coughing and wanted to check my lungs. They were gunky and she ordered a chest xray before we could go anywhere. Calico had to have another heel stick before we could be cleared. I was released with bronchitis, which is exactly what you want to go home with a newborn with. Only good thing is that it's chronic for me and she won't be able to catch it.

We're settling in here now. At a week old, Calico is sleeping a little better at night-- she had bad gas pains at first. She's also having a lot of trouble with her latch, but I have been able to pump enough to have her fully on breastmilk. We have an appointment to see a lactation consultant tomorrow and a nipple shield that seems to allow her to latch a lot better. She did well at her first well baby appointment; she hadn't lost any weight, which was nice to hear.

We're doing pretty well with the cloth diapers so far, as well. We switched her the day after we got home since she was already developing a rash from the disposables. Poor kid seems to have my skin for that, since I was likewise getting rashy. Recovery is going well for me otherwise. I'm hardly bleeding, I'm a pound below my pre-pregnancy weight at 8 days out, and my body feels fairly normal again, aside from the little hormone surges.

Steven is home for three weeks, which is awesome. I am really happy to be able to spend this time with him and our daughter. I wish we had fewer projects to do, but meh... We're still finding time to enjoy the kiddo, take walks, and watch Dancing with the Stars.




10 September 2010

Baby Pool



People guessing extreme weights will be required to change poop diapers.

09 September 2010

9 Months, huh?

I'm starting to wonder if the baby is going to insist on pushing to see if we can hit 10 months. I hit the start of 9 months pregnant on Tuesday and, aside from a few random contractions that generally show up when I'm driving or in the car, she's decided NOW that hey, this here uterus? It's pretty comfortable. Tomorrow's my first weekly appointment, so I assume I'll see if I'm dilated at all. I am guessing no.

U gets a kitten, I gets a kitten.
 We're finally getting to a point where I am not panicking that Hieronymus is going to come home and sleep in a laundry basket. Steven put the crib together over the long week-end and Vlad is taking the chance to test it out. The little cow is a gift from friends, but Vlad is convinced it's a kitten. Tuesday, he took it out from a basket, jumped into the crib, groomed it, and napped with it.

Omg, dis box is da greatest!
This was all part of my master plan. I'm not worried about the cats getting into her crib because they get bored with things quickly. When we first got her bassinet, they were in it constantly for about three days. By the end of a week? Not at all interested. I also have a wicker basket that Vlad particularly likes and I plan to put a towel in it and leave it out as a cat trap when the baby comes home. It never fails.

We're also pretty well stocked up on Essential Baby Supplies... or at least what I can seem to decipher are things we need. We ended up going with Burt's Bees for baby wash and lotion. While we don't know if she's going to have sensitive skin, I certainly do and need to be able to bathe her without breaking out in blisters and hives. I have wipes. Of course, I also realized I don't have a nose sucky thing or baby nail clippers, but hey, I've only been to Target once this week. I could go again.

We likewise have her carseat installed in the car and ready to be checked. Most of the furniture has been moved into place and the colours look great together. All that needs to be painted is the back of her door and the room will done. I even managed to wash a couple loads of baby clothes and all her diapers. In fact, I put most of the 0-6 months clothes away over the week-end.

Why yes, those ARE fat little birds.
But ssh, I haven't packed my hospital bag yet. I still need to pick up slippers and I'd like to get another pair of pyjamas to wear. My fat little bird obsession continues: I want this owl nightie I saw at Target.

I am noticing that I have a lot less energy than I did even two weeks ago. It's getting harder and harder for me to get out to do any kind of errands and the only places I tend to drive myself now are doctors' appointments. Even today, having my mum drive me to the store and doing a little painting meant that I needed a cat nap in the afternoon.

I'm still working on art for her room. I forgot how much I hate painting; I am a terrible painter. I also could only reach three of my brushes, none of which I could use for the whole piece, so I ended up JUST painting the birds before giving up for a while. Unfortunately, I also seem to be getting more back spasms from the angle I draw or paint at, so that means I might be printing some of my photographs rather than creating all new artwork for her room.

This week-end is our hospital tour (aka. what insurance WOULD pay for) and I am going to read a little more of the hypnobirthing book I bought since we aren't taking a birth class (aka. what insurance WOULD NOT pay for). I'm not sure I understand that either, but hey, I only pay a tonne of money so I can have insurance, what do I know?

At least it's finally cool enough that I can cook some meals to freeze and, God forbid, get some knitting done. I haven't knit anything since it got warm.

06 September 2010

It's the bad idea bears!

To celebrate making it to 9 months pregnant, Steven and I decided to go to a baseball game. Checked with the OB, who tentatively okayed it, as long as I wasn't having contracts or driving more than a half hour in the car without a break. It's been a good day on both accounts, so we figured we'd go for a couple innings and head home.

Why now and this game? Because Bill "The Spaceman" Lee was pitching. Steven is a Red Sox fan and I like crazy people from Vermont. I check out the ticket selection a week or so ago and noticed that there were plenty of available seats. I picked two and went on my merry way. Every time I checked, it looks like the game would be decent-- not too crowded.

Yep. 9 months pregnant.
Well, when we arrived, the will call line was off the concourse. I personally waited over half an hour. The couple in front of us let SIX of their friends in line to get their tickets. I mean, I am not asking for special treatment for growing another person, but seriously, how much of a jerk must you be to let SIX people cut in line, in front of a pregnant woman, who has been standing there for 30 minutes. And then laugh about how nice it is not to wait in line. I was not pleased, at all.

We did get up to the concourse, finally, during the second inning. We went to find out seats, only to discover there was a guy and his son sitting in them. No usher to be found. Didn't matter anyway, since there was a kid with a balloon in the seat behind us. We ended up going to the top of the concourse instead. To stand.

Spaceman gives up his first homer.
Of course the first pitch was a home run. I was cranky and hungry at this point, but the lines were literally longer than Will Call and I was unwilling to stand there that long to be over charged for fries and a dog.

He bats, too.
We found out later that they ran out of everything except for beer. Someone in catering was not doing their job. The inning was quick, at least, and it wasn't too hot.






Watching the game, standing, 9 months pregnant.
We also got to watch him bat. He had a couple good hits, including a broken bat play that would have been great. Too bad my zoom isn't made of win on the Droid. Maybe we can pretend it's pointillism or something.











I was interesting in the game, when the concrete stadium wasn't killing my back. I spent a lot of time doing belly rolls and hip circles trying to stay comfortable. My back did spasm, but not has bad if I had been sitting in one of those chairs.

No contractions, either. I was very surprised about that. Maybe she will be a baseball fan.

We left at the bottom of the fifth because I was exhausted. Bill Lee did get the win, in the end, so we'd heard, so that was good. I tried to enjoy, but it was tough, being so uncomfortable. I probably should have planned this one out better.

I know the Rox always oversell, but this was expressly bad. They had to be 25% over capacity between SRO and bleachers. Those people always end up in paid seats and sometimes, it's impossible to move them. It's a lot of the reason we stopped holding season tickets.

Here we are, trying not to be cranky.

04 September 2010

Four Weeks

That's four very short or very long weeks, depending on your perspective. It's both for me: four short weeks to get all the things done that I need for her arrival, four short weeks I could go into labour at any time, and four long weeks still I finally get to see the little person who's been subletting my insides since January.

We are moving forward in getting things done for her. I am hoping that we will be able to get her bedroom done tomorrow. Most of what we need is already in there (aside from my husband's pinball machine) and need to be slid into place. Her clothes need washing so they can be put away. Her diapers, of course, are already done, though I do need to get a pail liner for dirties. I have my wetbags, but I need to pack her diaper bag up and I still am at a loss with what I should have for bathtime. We were given a lot at our shower, but some if it is stuff that I can't use, which means either a) I return it or b) someone else bathes Hieronymus permanently. She has a bassinet with sheets now, a pack & play, a swing, and a bouncy seat.

I, of course, have yet to pack my hospital bag. I need some things to wear in the hospital and an outfit to go home in. I still need slippers, though I might be wearing zoris, since my my feet get horribly warm. I'm holding back because I want something cute. After giving birth, I want to have a cute nighty to put on. Maybe there will be one at Target this week-end.

The last two of my nursing bras are here, so I now have five (two HOTMilk, a Fayreform, an Elle MacPherson, and a Bravado). I have my pump, aside from grabbing extra tubing and, oh, figuring out how to work it. I ordered my mama cloth for that icky lochia period. Hell, I even ordered a HypnoBirth book. At worst, it was 5$ and at best, it is an immense help during labout.

I need to make some returns this week-end, as well. We received a lot of non-registry duplicates, so we'll be bringing those back when we return the toiletries we were given. We're getting two more handmade blankets, as far as I know, so I don't see where we need a bunch of minky ones. I may sort this stuff after I finish up this post.

I've finally started getting what I assume are Braxton Hicks contractions, usually when I need to pee or what I've not had enough to drink or something equally foolish. They're odd, to say the least. They don't hurt at all, just a lot of pressure, and I can generally keep doing what I'm doing. The only discomfort I've had is when they're up by my ribs. That is uncomfortable.

23 August 2010

Nursing Top = Sadface

It occurred to me today that at some point in the next 6 to 8 weeks, I will be squeezing my greasy little kitten out and at some point, a) I need to think about stuff for a hospital bag and b) I am going to feed said offspring with my glorious tracts of land. That means, at some point, I should probably think about buying a couple of nursing tops. I have two right now: one from the GAP that a friend of mine ordered and I thought was adorable and one the same friend gave me because it never fit her quite right. Both of which are, admittedly, pretty cool looking... as in, it's possible I would wear them on a regular basis, pre-pregnancy.
Should be easy to find tops like this, right?

Oh my God, internet. Apparently, those tops are the exception to the rule.

Not only that, but my usual go-to places have all of about 9 styles to chose from, half of which are the same top in different colours. Anything that's even vaguely stylish is expensive as hell. And, well, I'm on a very limited budget. 

There doesn't seem to be much on eBay, either.

I'm not trying to be super picky. I'm really not. I just don't want to wear cutesy pink florals, a tonne of ruffles, or those tops that have no shape and the obvious I AM NURSING lift-top just under the boobs. I understand that there is some sacrifice for functionality, but come on. Must I give up any sense of style because I'm having a baby? It's not fair to have to pay 50$ and up for a plain, black shirt, either. 

I've been finding a lot of the same problems getting nursing bras, too. First problem is that the biggest they seem to go up to is a G in American sizings. That's pretty much two sizes smaller than I wore pre-pregnancy-- my bras were a 36G, British sizing. Bravado goes up to and H/I, again in American sizes, but you basically have to get something that looks like a sports bra and goes up to your neck. That means it basically won't work under anything less than a turtleneck. 

Perhaps I was misinformed, but I thought nursing meant I was going to have Shiny New Mum cleavage. And if I have amazing cleavage, I want to show it off, not hide it. Why, then, would I not want a bra that I could wear with a fairly modest V neck? I understand the lack of underwire and blocked ducts, but why no pretty materials?

I have gotten lucky enough to find a couple nice bras (Hot Milk, Fayreform) in what I hope will be my size, but if not, I am out of luck since they were the biggest size I'd seen. (Update: my two Hot Milk bras arrived today, fit perfectly, and have room in the cups for expansion. They're also pretty sexy.) What do women who are larger than me do for nursing bras? Or do they simply not wear a bra, hope not to leak, or just not leave their house ever? 

Target may not be affording me an ability to find cute nursing bras, but they have been an amazing source of clearance items. Tuesday, I found a Baby Bjorn for Steven for half price and Thursday... Oh, Thursday... I found four FuzziBunz in medium for a grand total of 18.12$ Our Target apparently discounts heavily if something has been returned from the internet and I guess they assumed these would be hard to sell. Not to me!

We're doing well rounding out our stash of diapers. I would like to have maybe 10 more and Kawaii Baby is looking like where I want to get them from, as they're very affordable.

It's hard to believe she'll be here in about 6 weeks. It feels like we were just looking at the little pink plus on the pregnancy test and now, I'm watching her elbow me through my belly and we're getting the last few things set.

What were your must haves for a new baby?

14 August 2010

Master List

I've seen a few people doing this and it sounds like a good plan. This will be the master entry for all other entries.

Day 01 – Introduce yourself
Day 02 – Your first love, in great detail
Day 03 – Your parents, in great detail
Day 04 – What you ate today, in great detail
Day 05 – Your definition of love, in great detail
Day 06 – Your day, in great detail
Day 07 – Your best friend, in great detail
Day 08 – A moment, in great detail
Day 09 – Your beliefs, in great detail
Day 10 – What you wore today, in great detail
Day 11 – Your siblings, in great detail
Day 12 – What’s in your bag, in great detail
Day 13 – This week, in great detail
Day 14 – What you wore today, in great detail
Day 15 – Your dreams, in great detail
Day 16 – Your first kiss, in great detail
Day 17 – Your favorite memory, in great detail
Day 18 – Your favorite birthday, in great detail
Day 19 – Something you regret, in great detail
Day 20 – This month, in great detail
Day 21 – Another moment, in great detail
Day 22 – Something that upsets you, in great detail
Day 23 – Something that makes you feel better, in great detail
Day 24 – Something that makes you cry, in great detail
Day 25 – A first, in great detail
Day 26 – Your fears, in great detail
Day 27 – Your favorite place, in great detail
Day 28 – Something that you miss, in great detail
Day 29 – Your aspirations, in great detail
Day 30 – One last moment, in great detail

12 August 2010

Off My Chest?

I mean this title in not what I say to my cat, constantly. For all the time that I spend reading celebrity gossip (and this is a LARGE part of my day), I some how missed Kim Kardashian's tweets over her breastfeeding squeamishness. Except now, I am reading about it a lot and I might as well throw my 2¢ in with the rest of the world.

I generally have a hate/hate relationship with my breasts. They are "use more than the first four letters of the alphabet" large, they cause a lot of back and neck pain for me, and despite what my husband says, they are not especially attractive. I can't even get nice cleavage out of them because push-up bras fit weird. They basically are good for collecting crumbs and balancing things. Oh, and costing a lot of money for decent bras. Now that I am pregnant, I am also hoping that they will actually prove their worth and be able to feed my baby as well.

I want to make this very, very clear. I am going to breastfeed. I'm going to do it for at least a year and I am going to be successful at it. Why? Because it is free. The added bonus is that it's good for the baby and good for me and maybe I can lose baby weight with it, but I am mostly doing it because my husband and I pretty much are poor. It's the same reason we are cloth diapering. Yes, good for the environment, keeps evil chemicals off my baby's bum, but really? It's cheaper. I am completely willing to admit that a lot of my decisions are motivated by money because it's more important to me to be able to be home with Hieronymus than to have a little convenience in my life.

That said, I am honestly not a fan the whole act of breastfeeding. I'm probably going to lose the two people who actually read this blog by saying this, too. The whole concept bothers me. I'm grossed out by my boobs leaking now; I am not in touch with my mammalian nature AT ALL. It doesn't make me feel all womanly, it makes me feel kind of itchy and sticky. But, I did sign up for this and I will get over it. I'll probably even eventually nurse in public, but that bothers me too. Why? Because I am not comfortable with whipping my unattractive tatas out. But hey, kid's got to eat.

I am lucky enough to live in the part of my city that no one really bats an eye about breastfeeding. At the park, on Saturday, there were a group of mothers breastfeeding and I was definitely the only person who looked twice. Part of that is because I'll be doing it soon, but in another way, I am kind of fascinated by it. And yes, I also tend to stare at over-exposed, Kim Kardashian style cleavage too. Really, I tend to stare at any sort of breasts.

I guess this was a long way of saying that I understand both sides. Kim K. is totally entitled to be squicked out by seeing someone breastfeed, especially since she hasn't done it herself. Her boobs are still completely decorative and enjoyable for her. It's kind of like seeing a cute cow. Yea, we all know where hamburg comes from and someday, that cow could be lunch, but you probably don't think about it every time you look at one. In fact, you probably don't even think about it til you're at the butcher shop saying "Hmm, steak for dinner sounds like an okay plan."

Don't mind me. I have food on the brain again.

Twitter, however, was not really the proper place to discuss her squicked-outness. Thinking it to yourself, talking to your companion about it, fine. That's private and, again, she's totally entitled to feel that way. It's taking it to a public forum that's not a great idea. If I see something that bothers me, I try to ignore it, especially if I realize it's me being weird about it. I'm uncomfortable seeing someone feed their baby? I need to look away. If I can't look away (see: reading celeb gossip), I need to at least have the common sense to know that's my issue and not make comments on it.

Legal?

I've started reading StrollerDerby on regular basis because, well, I have a lot of spare time and one can only sew so many little birds and paint so many bathrooms while home. Also, technically, because I am supposed to be off my feet as much as possible, so that means blogs, books, and papers. The post I read today linked to a ParentDish article on children of illegal immigrants and the vehemence against them. I generally try to avoid politics at all costs; my husband is the political one who has Opinions! on Current!Issues. Honestly, though, this is an issue that has always needled me and I could never figure out why until reading this article. Then, it occurred to me. My grandmother, Erzebet, would be considered an anchor baby by a lot of these people, making my father and myself one of these undesirables.

My grandmother was born in New Jersey in the early teens. This was pre-World War I, from what I can gather, and her family was fairly well off. I am not sure exactly why my family was here, but she was born and then my great-grandparents went back to Hungary when she was old enough to travel, a citizen of both countries.

Years later, my father was born somewhere in part of Hungary that had mutable borders, in a small house with a dirt floor (as he tells it). No doctor, just the local midwife. He automatically gained citizenship to both countries because Grandma was already a citizen of American and Grandpa was a Hungarian citizen. After World War II and Grandpa's stint in the resistance, they opted to emigrate to New Jersey rather than stay in post-War Europe.

They did, indeed, go through Ellis Island, though only Grandpa is listed as an immigrant, supposedly, and settled in New Jersey.

My grandparents never learnt more than a few phrases in English in the 30+ years they were here. They relied on my father and uncle to translate for them and they only spoke Magyar in the home. As a child, I learnt enough of it so I could communicate with them.

I technically hold dual citizenship still, through my father and I wonder if this makes me one of the generations of illegals who are "infiltrating" the country. I think this is what bothers me so much about this witchhunt: how do you define illegal? How do you define an anchor baby and what happens after?

I wonder what consequences these proposed laws would hold for people like me? Can you take citizenship away because there was some shady business a couple generations back? I am an American citizen, but I am also the first generation child of an immigrant.

What are your thoughts? Anyone else out there in a similar situation?

09 August 2010

Under the heading of things that seemed like a good idea...

Today is the last day of my 7th. month of pregnancy, according to the little BabyCentre calendar I periodically look at. This means a couple things. First is that, starting tomorrow, I can respond to everything with "Well, I'm 8 months pregnant. What's your reason?" and second is that, at some point in the next four to eight weeks, I am going to actually have a baby.

I am still not quite there with the idea that, after I have the baby, they're just going to hand her over and let me take her home. I mean, really? I don't have to pass a test or anything? No paperwork filled out in triplicate? I don't need a license for to breed and maintain a child in a suburban environment? It's more work to adopt a pet from a shelter than for me to have a baby.

I know basically nothing about babies.

05 August 2010

Project Fail: Paint

Steven and I have a good marriage. We agree on parenting issues, we rarely argue about money, and we even generally like spending time with each other. Our friends tend to tell us we're perfect for each other (or conversely, we deserve each other). But there's a dark side to our marriage. We cannot agree on home décor.

See, we didn't find out about this in the early, heady days of living together and marriage because we lived in apartments. Our furniture was mostly hand-me downs and everything was painted semi-matte ecru. We dreamed of the day we would have a place we could paint, how we would some day buy our own, new furniture, we trolled through IKEA, looking at all the choices. How could things go wrong? We even have the same favourite colour.

R.I.P. 70s Porno Chair
As it turned out, picking out a couch wasn't too hard. After the historic floods this spring, our hand-me down furniture, including my beloved 70s Porno Chair®, a large, brown round velour monstrosity that could seat two swingers comfortably, were soaked irreparably. We developed mould and everything had to go. 

It only took one trip to IKEA to find a couch with both loved and the only question was if we really, truly could justify bright orange in our living room (we could not). We picked out a black couch and chairs. 

Then, we rebuilt the bathroom. 

Suddenly, we had a room we could paint! We were like giddy children, talking about our trips to Home Depot and how exciting it would be to finally be able to decorate a room the way we wanted to. Of course, some of that giddiness was probably brought on from having a bathroom with a functional sink and a real bathtub. 

As I sat in my shiny, new bathtub, I suggested we paint the walls robin's egg blue and my husband made The Face.

I thought I had found the perfect blue in my BFF Martha's line of paints. My husband said it was too green and, it seems, he does not like green bathrooms. We picked out an endless array of those little cards and taped them up all over our walls. It felt like we were making a crazy quilt, we had so many little squares. We bought little samples of paint and we bickered. This was too green, this was too dark, this was not bright enough. My idea of blue is not his.

We ended up finding a colour by accident. I had been send a free sample of Glidden paint, we swatched it on the wall, and we looked at each other and just knew. There was a happy ending.

Of course, in this round of Project Fail, we built the nursery for Hieronymus. With that, we realized that we would now have to pick another paint colour. Oh sure, we both agreed that we'd paint her walls lime green. This meant electric lime to Steven and a softer, sherbet lime to me. I like electric lime, don't get me wrong, but it's not exactly a bedroom colour, especially not one for a baby. 

There's an upside to this, too. We grabbed a couple samples right away and today, I painted swatches. There were really only two choices that we both agreed on. I'm pretty sure we even like the same colour for trim, too. What's left to agree on? Satin finish or semi-gloss... our modern Romeo and Juliet. 

Now, if only our daughter likes colours as much as we do. I don't know if I can have a child who wants to paint everything ecru.

01 August 2010

Project Fail 2010: Revenge of the Walls

It's a good thing we haven't gotten to the third part of Project Fail 2010 because I might be out of clever titles at the moment. Most likely, I'll have at least a month before I need to think of another one, though.

This was the sort of designated week-end to finish (read: get another third) of the renovation down here done. My father was actually supposed to be back a couple weeks ago, but it did not work out. He arrived around half past 6 yesterday, which was surprisingly ahead of what I had guessed for his schedule. We'd been doing a pretty half-assed job of cleaning before that, so obviously, it was time for a well-deserved dinner break because I was starving.

Which is different from, oh, any other time, because I'm pregnant and I'm always starving. We went out for Mexican Friday (craving burritos) and I had scarfed my entire (huge) burrito before Steven had eaten 2/3s of his, which he did not finish (seriously, it was huge). Then, I proceeded to eat dessert and by the time we got home, I was hungry again. This is the Pregnancy That Ate Rhode Island.

We introduced my father to Five Guys Burgers and I proceeded to eat 5 million french fries. I swear, I actually generally eat really well, but obviously, I do not blog about that. I may or may not have taken off with the remainder of bagged fries like a raccoon out of a garbage can, either. And I also may or may not be thinking about reheating some and eating them now.

This installation of Project Fail will supposedly contain the following:

  • Framing, walling, and finishing Hieronymus's room
  • Creating 3 closets: two on the previous room (no, I don't know why either) and one for our kitchen
  • Cabinet doors so the cats no longer thing that that nice, new space is a special cat room Just! For! Them!
  • An entry way for our underground bunker because everyone is convinced that I am going to fall down the stairs
  • Trimming off and sanding the bathroom to prep for painting.
Framing: Much easier than removing a 50 year old steel tank full of oil.
Not nearly the over-weaning nightmare that last time's "simple project" turned out to be. In fact, I think my husband and father might actually accomplish three of four of these projects, making this less Project Fail and more of Project Minor inconvenience. 

Since I took that picture, they actually have most of the drywall up in the baby's room and the only swearing, really, has come from me and is wholly unrelated to actual construction. 

Well, except that part where my husband told me that, oops, they forgot to run the All Mighty Cable Line over one of the studs for the room and I might need to do without the internet for a little while. There was definitely a couple colourful words about that and a quick reminder tonight kicks off Shark Week and, well, I haven't had anything worthwhile watching since the Tour de France ended last Sunday.

Funny tangent: in the last three weeks, we've had half a dozen great white shark sitings off Cape Cod and the Massachusetts coast. Seriously, it's almost like the Discovery Channel is paying them to do promotional work. Hope they're paying in seals and not chum.

The flaw I am discovering with building a new room is that it now needs painting. I did, finally, finish most of the changing table, no thanks to Vlad. Every time the cats starting napping, I'd go paint a quick section. Like I've said: baby practice. I am pretty convinced her room needs to be a nice, soft lime colour, since there's already pale violet and bright blue in there. I guess I should be glad that basically all my favourite colours are harmonious. 

You know, I think this is secretly related to nesting, because I am looking at the walls around the rest of the Underground Bunker® and my hindbrain is whispering "Rearrange... rearrange!" I'm also seeing a lot of places that need a quick coat of paint, too. Hello, dingy midbeam. I'm looking at you.

Well, that or I'm reading too much Martha and getting delusions from it. Either way.

26 July 2010

Nesting

It looks like I can add yet another thing to my list of things people weren't kidding about in pregnancy: nesting.

Anyone who knows me knows that I am NOT a neat freak, especially with two cats and living in a basement. I tend to go through fits, generally before holidays, where I want everything spotless and in total order, but I can also live with some clutter. Part of that is because we're packrats and like our knickknacks. Most of it now is because we have 2.75 people living here and 0 storage. And, well, we're still packrats.

I woke up at 8am on Saturday morning, though, with a whole to do list in my head of WHAT MUST BE DONE! and they were all baby things. I needed to do them like I generally need to pee: urgently. Up until recently, I've had no motivation to really do anything regarding Hieronymus's nursery area. Some of that has to do with the fact that Project Fail 2010 isn't actually finished, so anything put together would have to be moved and part of it is that I still feel kind of crappy.

Help you say? I'm very helpful.
But no. I urgently NEEDED to get things ready for the baby. As it turns out, my nesting instinct is pretty intrinsically linked to my crafting instinct and not so much connected to my cleaning instinct. Rather than cleaning everything, I sanded down the changing table my father built for her, sketched out a piece of wall art for her room, and sorted all her baby clothes. Again. Yesterday and today, I've been painting the changing table in fits and starts since, well, I am pretty largely pregnant and I also have a lot of help.

We're painting it Moonlight Waltz, from Behr's Disney collection. Right there, I'm sure that's at least some sign of the coming apocalypse. I know we're having a girl, but I swore up and down that I would not buy into the Disney Princess craze. I'm not really against Disney, I grew up with it, but I don't especially care for the whole Princess marketing thing. It figures, though, that they would have just the right shade of pale violet, a shade brighter than what my BFF Martha had in Wisteria.

I did finally finish painting most of the table, by the way. I just waited until my cats were napping elsewhere and painted very, very fast, starting with any and all flat surfaces. When Vlad finally realized how left out of the process he was and jumped up, the top was nearly dry.

I also ordered felt to make Hieronymus a fat little bird mobile since I am not actually willing to spend money on something I can make on my own. As it turns out, no one carries craft felt these days. Sure, you can find projects to make with craft felt, but actually getting it in your hands? Good luck. There was nothing in any of the craft stores I went to. I finally bought some off of fabric.com, which coincidentally has some fantastic fabric. If only my sewing machine worked or wasn't hidden in the crawlspace, life would be good. Or if I had unlimited funds. That might also be good.

In non-nesting news, I rolled into the third trimester last week and we celebrated it by spending four hours in Labour & Delivery because I am lucky enough to have back spasms. After a long, miserable night of being woken up in PAIN!!!! every 45 minutes, I phoned my OB's office because, in so much as they generally just tell me to suck it up and deal, I like them to know exactly how miserable I am.

They finally called back while I was in the middle of Target and I told them what was going on: I was having back spasms. How do I know this? Because I have had them in my upper-mid back before and, while I don't know what labour feels like, I do know what these are like. But no, they wanted me to head over to L&D because it could be pre-eclampsia! I'm not sure how mid-back muscle pain translates to that, but hey, what do I know.

Apparently, enough, because the intake nurse also looked at me like I had three heads when I explained why I was there. On my call ahead sheet, the office had indicated LOWER back pain. Here I am, trying to explain that no, seriously, my lower back feels pretty good, it's the area right at my bra line that hurts. Nope, no where near my kidneys, no trouble peeing, and my blood pressure was good. Probably back spasms and, oh wait, that's exactly what I said.

Better still is after that, the poor nurse couldn't find Hieronymus's heartbeat. She went through three dopplers trying to locate it. We could see her moving in there (princess does not like doppler, ultrasound, etc), but she could not find the heartbeat. I suggested she check on the upper right side, since that's generally where I feel her gigantic head. Ta da! Heartbeat, loud and clear.

Had you been told she was breech, the nurse asked me.

No, but now I have another thing I can worry about! It had never occurred to me why I was feeling her head under my ribs til it was mentioned. I have an ultrasound this week, so I guess I shall ask about it then. As far as I know, she's always been heads up like this, and that's why we've seen so much of her bum at appointments. It could be worse, I suppose.

Four hours later, we were finally discharged with a prescription for muscle relaxants. Low and behold, they've worked pretty well. Obviously, enough that I've indulged in painting. As of tomorrow, we're down to 10 weeks left. It feels like we were just at 10 weeks along and I was switching OBs. It's gone by very fast.

01 July 2010

That was ...fun...

We made our first trip to Labour & Delivery last night. This isn't the first scare we've obviously had with the pregnancy, but most of them have managed to be during daylight, office hours.

It's been approximately 11 million degrees up until yesterday and Hieronymus, like she does randomly, was not terribly active yesterday after a very busy couple days. I started feeling lousy in the afternoon and developed diarrhea shortly after 9. This, of course, had some very exciting cramping involved because, duh, diarrhea and by 1, when it had not abated, even after drinking more water and laying down, I turned to my friend, Dr. Google.

Honestly, here's some advice: Don't google things at 1 in the morning. You will be sorry. You'll probably be sorry you googled things at any point, but especially in the middle of the night.

Dr. Google tells me PRETERM LABOUR!!! I'm at risk for that with the placenta previa anyway, so I do what any woman having her first baby would do and panic. I wake Steven up. We call the afterhours line at my OB's office.

To their credit, they called back. I missed the call because I was pooping and no one could get to the phone quick enough. I was told 20 minutes, so honestly I didn't think to take the phone with me since I was panicking.

Here is where I am less than pleased: no one from my doctor's office was on call. I get a very terse message from the on-call doctor telling me she doesn't know what she's going to do for me with diarrhea AT TWO IN THE MORNING, but *sigh* if I still think it's an emergency to call back.

When I called, I told the answering service all my pertinent information, including the previa. I also mentioned that this was not just a little soft poop, it had been going on for several hours, tried laying down and drinking, and had decreased fetal movement. Maybe this didn't get passed on, but you know what? You're an OB and you're on call. It's been hot as hell. You should expect nervous calls from pregnant women and not be frakking bitchy about it. Trust me, it disturbed MY sleep too.

I called back, was told the same thing about getting a call in 20 minutes. Half an hour later, nothing, so Steven calls and is told that someone went into labour and they'll call back when they call back. We debate for a couple minutes and decide to just go to Women and Infants. We got settled in, hooked up to a monitor for contractions, and waited.

Hieronymus is fine. She spent the whole time we were hooked up kicking at the monitors. Typical kid, shows up once she realizes she's in trouble. She looked fine on the ultrasound, even if she is still bum to the wind and hid her face the whole time. She is still definitely a girl.  What was actually happening was a crummy intestinal bug that they've see a lot of women coming in with, since it mimics some of the preterm labour symptoms, a baby who was chilling out low, behind the placenta, hence why I felt her less, and her kicking the same few spots, which is like poking a bruise. We left there at 5am.

I'm glad I'm home and I'm glad it turned out to be nothing, even if I am kind of pissed at the on call doctor.

30 June 2010

Well...

So way back in March, I posted this rant about how I hated my OB group. I felt bullied by them, as well as overly diagnosed and that they were forcing a lot of tests on me. Ultimately, after leaving several appointments in tears, I chose to leave and go to a new practise.

Fast forward to now. I was watching the news and saw something on a large, local OB being charged with inserting unapproved IUDs in various women. Turns out, it's my old OB, Ob-Gyn Associates, and the more I looked into it, the more I am really glad that I switched.

They were buying these IUDs from some 800 number, allegedly in Canada. They knew these weren't devices approved; according to the compliance order, they admitted so and then told the representative from Bayer to leave. Supposedly, they were also ordering these devices at a cut rate and then billing for what an approved IUD would have cost.

They are currently barred from inserting ANY IUDs and all the doctors, nurse practitioners, and midwives are under investigation by the medical board.

It makes me wonder what else was going on in that practise. They wanted me to have a minimum of two glucose tolerance tests, starting at 9 weeks. They were willing to diagnose me with gestational diabetes without any tests. I was told my blood pressure was "extremely high" without being given numbers and after being yelled at and that I needed to come in every other week and have monthly ultrasounds. In fact, I had an ultrasound at every appointment because both doctors I saw told me that they "didn't feel like" using a doppler to hear the heartbeat. My care level dropped with both doctors I saw as soon as I declined the extra tests.

How much of this was real and how much of this was fabricated to create a bigger bill? I know soon as I switched, my blood pressure was suddenly fine. They never mentioned the GTT; even at 26 weeks, they are not giving me too a hard time about having declined it.

Of course, to be fair, my current practise is on the list as having used unapproved IUDs, though for a month in 2009 and supposedly they used them in good faith, according to their lawyer. I can't decide if I feel better or worse because of that. I suppose the good thing is that my current OB is not barred from inserting IUDs and, far as I can tell, self-reported this issue. I suppose this also means that when I do get an IUD after the baby, it will definitely be an approved one, since I'm sure the state will be watching.

Links:
http://www.health.ri.gov/news/nonfdaapprovediuds/
http://www.projo.com/news/content/MORE_IUD_TROUBLE_06-30-10_ARJ21RC_v11.175f20e.html
http://newsblog.projo.com/2010/06/probe-of-unapproved-iuds-expan-1.html
http://www.boston.com/news/local/massachusetts/articles/2010/06/29/ri_officials_more_doctors_used_unapproved_iuds/

27 May 2010

Writing Workshop Wednesday



From Mama's Losin It. I picked prompt #2, "If you could do your wedding over, how would you do it?
(Inspired by this tweet “I am watching TLC’s wedding shows and this makes me want to get married again. Same groom but a totally different ceremony."

I think the simple answer is that we would have skipped the whole wedding and gone to Vegas, like we did with our vow renewal this year. Elvis was the least complicated of our ceremonies.

As a background, Steven and I managed to get married THREE times. The first was a quickie courthouse ceremony because I no longer had insurance and had a nasty case of bronchitis. The second was our actual wedding, which we had been planning for two years, at that point, and then we opted to renew our vows when we took an anniversary trip to Las Vegas.

With our wedding, we spent a lot of time worrying about budget and trying to do the right thing. We planned out just south of Boston wedding on a budget of 6000$. The average wedding around that area is, I believe, around 21k, so we started out, basically, at a loss. This translated to a lot of extra work for us to make sure we could stretch every single dollar. What also made it a tough time was that my mother was diagnosed with cancer in January 2006. Two months before my wedding, she had reconstructive surgery and we weren't sure exactly what would happen.

There were definitely things we did right. As much as I griped about it, I enjoyed making all the floral arrangements, including handwiring my bouquet. Because we used silks, I did not have to worry about preserving it and, if Hieronymus wants to use it if she gets married, she will be able to. Instant keepsake. We also didn't have to worry about if the flowers would wilt in the December cold. Making centrepieces definitely also gave my mother a good project while she was recovering and bored. 

I loved our chapel and our reverend. We paid 60$ to get married less than 1000 feet from the Atlantic Ocean in a beautiful little stone chapel and our reverend was a friend who I'd met on LiveJournal. We were able to have our friends and family help us decorate the night before and it was a chance to get to see everyone before things were insane the next day. I actually also loved our reception site, which was a local hall. It definitely wasn't as polished if as if we'd had it in a hotel, but we had the freedom to decorate however we wanted. We also had amazing catering.

Now, for what I would change. I would have, first and foremost, cut budget elsewhere and hired a better photographer. We used a friend in exchange for being able to use our photos and because of a series of misfortunate events including a dead flash, we have very few good pictures of our wedding. We lost or missed photos of our belly dancer, us cutting the cake, our entrance, and a lot of the middle of the reception. A lot of the photos are dark and off-coloured or out of focus. The bright side of this is that I am good with Photoshop, but it would have been nice to have an album straight-out. 

I would have eaten at the place we had our rehearsal before we went there. Food was crap.

This big thing I would have changed was we would have invited fewer family and more of our friends. My mother-in-law, in the months before our wedding, became increasingly belligerent about our marriage, as well as things she didn't approve of in the wedding. We had fights about our ceremony (mainly non-denomination because I am Catholic and he is Jewish), our decor, the food, where we had our rehearsal dinner, and how she was to be announced because SHE WAS IMPORTANT. A month out, she felt the need to phone up my mother and list all the reasons she didn't like me. The day of our wedding, she showed up over three hours late, refused to be in pictures or allow my father-in-law to be in them, and spent the little time she was at the reception saying crappy things and complaining. I would have not tried to be nice, keep the peace, and told her not to bother coming at all. 

But that's not why you're slogging through this post. You're here because you want to see pictures of what we'd do, right?

This dress, much less ornate than my original, but vintagey. Why this? Because as much as I loved my wedding gown, my tastes are different now and honestly, because it was very heavy and I was too hot, even in December.
Birdcage veil. I wore one that I made for our vow renewal in Vegas and would definitely opt to make my own again.
Feathered comb. I would probably go with peacock feathers, though, and again, I would make my own. I have a lovely one I wore to a friend's wedding last year that would also work nicely. It would also be a nice splash of colour.
In royal blue, of course. I loved our original colours of royal blue, silver, and white and would definitely not change it. I actually loved our original dresses, but this would fit better with a vintage theme.
This is my original bouquet, but hey, I like it, so this would stay the same. I am very proud of having made that myself, thanks.
And, of course, totally keeping that GQMF for the groom. After all, I did marry him three times, I might as well.


24 May 2010

Now With World Famous Hungarian Plumbing!

I just got to go prevent Hungarian plumbing from happening in my basement. Why would I do this? Because, like most of the world, I prefer to have my cold water control on the right side where the dial actually says it is.

We've had just a shower in our place for the last year and a half. When we found out I was pregnant, I had a giant fit and demanded I have things like a bathtub and a working sink in the bathroom. Since my father is a licensed contractor, we generally get these things done for cost of supplies and a large amount of aggravation. I am not actually participating in this fiasco since I am not allowed to do things like this, but I helped build the shower and the bathroom when we first moved here, so I am familiar with the process.

This is how things go:

After several months of insisting he come down and do work for his first grandchild, my father calls 36 hours in advance and says he'll be down. I tell him no, we have plans and it will need to be the following week-end. He tells me he will arrive at 4, which in contractor-speak, means 9:30 at night, after Lowes has closed. Nothing will get done Saturday, except he will make grandiose plans for all the things that need doing. The project started as a bathtub and a sink. Now, we are additionally refinishing the kitchen, adding shelving, a utility room, gutting and remodeling the bathroom, building a couple of closets, partitioning off the utility room, and building the baby's room BIGGER and BETTER!

Then, there's the time estimate. My father works on contractor time, which has no bearing on reality. Estimate: just Sunday afternoon. Real time: at least through Monday and probably with multiple trips. This is a pro-tip. Whatever amount of time your contractor tells you, triple it.

Steven and my father left the house at 8:30 yesterday to go to Lowes. I sent a list. A good list, with SKUs and everything. Time they rolled back in: 1:30, with McDonalds. Time work started: some time after 2. To be fair, they did work until after 9, so I am not complaining about actual time spent.

As of today, at 4, the bathroom is pretty well started and the kitchen is mostly finished. There's another Lowes run happening. Here's another pro-tip: your contractor will never have everything you need, no matter how much planning you've done. Minimally, they will require at least one extra trip for a part that is crucial to everything finished. If you are lucky, it will be while the supplier is open.

This brings me back to Hungarian plumbing. My father built the house I grew up in. Obviously, to save money, he built as much of it on his own as he could. This lead to our bathroom water being piped in completely backwards. For whatever reason, my father is completely incapable of managing to pipe cold water in on the right-hand side.

So my husband comes bounding up the stairs, telling me I need to come downstairs before we are installed backwards. Steven has a big stake in this: while I grew up with this fine plumbing, Steven lived in a house that was built by actual contractors who were not related to him and would burn himself. So I tell my father that I would like my bath to have cold water on the right. I am pretty sure he doesn't actually believe me, but apparently, since I am pregnant, I can have things plumbed however I want. I pointed out that the mixer actually says cold on the left, too, but that could be fixed by installing it upside down. No one is the wiser, right?

So here's a tally.

Things That Were Done In Theory:

  • Bathroom renovation
  • Kitchen renovation, including new counter
  • Oil tank drained and removed
  • 2+ closets added
  • Baby's room made with false wall
  • Utility room
  • Shelving
Here's what will be done at some point today:
  • Bathroom mostly finished. Will need spackling, painting, and some kind of floor treatment.
  • Kitchen renovation, including new counter.
  • Oil tank drained and set outside.
Still waiting on the theoretical bill for how much this would have cost. Cost of an ill-advised home renovation project while pregnant? Priceless.

20 May 2010

Why I Wish I Could Fire Aetna and My GP.

I was going to write a happy entry about how my pre-Mother Mother's Day was awesome because my husband knows me and took me to see Iron Man 2 and bought me a burrito. Then, I briefly thought about writing about how the Never Ending Home Renovation Project® is about to start this week-end because my father isn't capable of actual advance plans. Or possible about other, Serious Things have been happening.

But no, I really want to write a crankypants blog about how I want Aetna and my GP to DIAF.

I'm sick. Starting sometime last Monday, I woke up feeling kind of blech with a sore throat and swollen glands. Generally, that means I should just get a little more sleep and stop stressing, which I did. And then? It got worse. Now it's a chest cold. I thought it was gone by last Friday, but no. It came back in FULL FORCE, completely with a fever and Christmas boogers on Sunday. OB suggested I phone my GP for an appointment to make sure it wasn't A Plague or something.

My normal doctor wasn't in and my preferred back-up was also out, so I got to see the doctor I like least; the one who makes me feel like an idiot. And of course, he's all LULZ! It's a virus and you should feel better, oh, yesterday, because they only last about 10 days. I could have saved my 10$ and watched Keeping Up with the Kardashians or something for that. Then, he informs me I need to see the office manager on the way out.

I want to pause and mention I have Aetna for insurance. Here is what they cover: sick visits and related treatment, random things they deign coverable. Here is what they don't cover: EVERYTHING ELSE. Why do we have this insurance? Because it's what his job offers and we could not afford the better insurance offered by my work nor could we afford private pay.

What makes this even more awesome is that sometimes, the system glitches and it appears we don't have insurance, eg. Steven has been terminated. This isn't a hard fix since his cheque very obviously states that we've paid, but sometimes it takes a week or two to straighten out. Generally, the doctor's office resubmits the claim and all is well. On rare occasions, it takes a couple months of the office resubmitting paperwork to finish the claim.

Having told my doctor's office this, I naïvely assumed that they would, I don't know, let me know when there was an issue and either they can resubmit or Steven can phone them and THEN they can resubmit.

I assumed that was the reason the office manager wanted to talk to me. No, apparently I have a balance of 1100$ and oops, they just forgot to tell me. I have not received a single bill from them. So I'm wtfing over this and asked if they've tried, oh, resubmitting the claim like I've asked and, haha, nope, they've been sent to collections and whoops, no one has sent me a bill from them either. One of life's great mysteries, huh.

Now I'm being told they're going to fire me as a patient and pursue this, so fine. I asked about a payment plan and they're looking for 100$ a month.

Let's review: I am 5 months pregnant, I am out on disability indefinitely, and, let's be honest, we weren't living the high life before I was pregnant. I have these other bills, like my car insurance, that like to be paid and, oh, I don't know, sometimes I like to eat, so I guess that's out. I countered with 10$.

This means I will basically be paid off with this by the time I am 39. Wonderful.

I can't even think what I could possibly have done to keep this from happening. I was told everything was fine when I'd gone in for sick visits, I've never received a call or a bill,  and I haven't received any suggestions from my insurance company that they weren't doing their job.

Without getting into the political aspects of this, since I am not interested in debate and I am not going to understand your side about how things are fine they way they are especially after today, this is why things need to be reformed. I pay a stupid amount of money a month to get at least basic care and I apparently can't even get that.

07 May 2010

And she needs how many names?

After finding out what variety of genitalia Hieronymus possessed, my husband and I were able to cross our chosen boy's name off the list. This is probably a good thing, since we literally barely agreed on it and it was a pretty good chance that we were just going to call the baby No Name if we'd come up with boy bits. The girl name we've had for a while, so it was good to go.

I made the mistake of mentioning awesome, now we don't need to plan a bris or have a few good rounds of debate on circumcision since the lack of a penis kind of precludes that. Then he's all ...oh yea, but she needs a Hebrew name. Oh, okay.

Here's what I know about Judaism: they wandered around in the desert for a while, wrote the original half of the Bible, and apparently produce a lot of great entertainers. You can't eat bacon cheeseburgers. My husband is probably going to hell because of that. Their mourning rituals make a lot of sense. And someone, for the benefit of idiots like me, wrote jewfaq.com

Before I get accused of being insensitive, I know approximately the same amount about Catholicism and I was raised Catholic. I did not convert when Steven I got married because a) it was disingenuous to do it JUST because he was and b) I'm a shitty Catholic. I would not be a better Jew.

All of this means I am totally the right person to say "Hey, our baby needs a Hebrew name." I have awesome google-fu; why not? How hard can this be? I suggested we use my husband's Hebrew name since it's unisex, I like the sound of it, and it means happy.

Except you can't use the name of someone living. Which I didn't know because as we established above, I know NOTHING.

All right, how about using his nana's name? That would be fine, except he doesn't know it and my MIL guards it like a state secret. That leads me to believe she doesn't know it either. No go there. We could use Esther, his grandma's, but I'm kind of meh about that. Back to Google, at which point he tells me he's kind of burnt out on names. I'm hoping that means I can just pick one and go with it.

At least if we baptize her, we can just give her my baptismal name. The standard for Catholics is pick a saint, there are a million, and they all died horribly, so you can't go wrong.

That kind of leads me into I have no idea quite how you go about the whole naming tradition. I understand the bris, we have friends who have been there and done that, and my stepson had one when he was born. But there doesn't seem to be a clear cut ritual for girls. Our friends' advice was to talk to a rabbi, but that brings up another issue. We don't belong to a temple; how do you find a rabbi?

Of course, we're sort of in the same boat about having her baptized since we don't exactly belong to a church, either. To be honest, I'm not about to join any kind of religious edifice just to have Hieronymus blessed. I think the plan was to have the awesome reverend who married us (in a lovely, non-denominational chapel, by the way) bless her. 

Oh well. I'm sure jewfaq.com will rescue my proverbial ass again. Thank God for that.

06 May 2010

Gotcha!

I'm officially 18 weeks pregnant now and the one thing that I have gotten from the last, oh, 12 weeks, is that pregnancy is nature's big gotcha. You enjoy sex, once you get the hang of it, you experiment and it just gets better, then your body starts whispering "...baby...baby..." and shorts the rational part of your brain out, leaving you thinking that if sex is that awesome, pregnancy must be amazing.

GOTCHA!

You get knocked up and everything everyone ever told you about how great pregnancy is turns into a dirty, rotten liar. There's gas and nausea and weight gain in places like your elbows and oh, don't forgot the random black hairs. The image of pregnancy is to real life what a tampon ad is to a real period.

The real sucker punch is the pregnancy amnesia after that allows you to tell people how amazing it was and for you to repeat the process again. That's the killer.

We went for our Level II scan this week, our first since the one I had for bleeding at 7 weeks. I guess the good news is little Hieronymus no longer rocks the vestigial tail. Or looks like a demented seahorse. Or apparently has even a modicum of modesty. First view, Hieronymus was upside down with legs wide open. I am sure that there is a position in pole dancing that would perfectly illustrate what we saw. What we also saw is that, without any doubt, our little parasite is in possession and apparently enamoured of a set of ladybits. That's my little princess, right there, taking after Mama.

The truth of this is that I expected something very different from pregnancy. I grew up hearing about how my mother had a wonderful, complication free pregnancy. She skiied til she was 7 months and that was only because she couldn't do up her boots. She was playing tennis the week she had me. Yes, she had a tough delivery and I was late, but her pregnancy was fine.

I expected that and, in a way, I feel gypped that I am having the pregnancy I'm having. Honestly, though, I should have realized this was my own experience and not to judge based on other people's. I also know there are women who are far worse than me, for whom my issue would be just a little drop in the bucket.

The lost of control over my body is hard to accept for me. Early on, there was a subchorionic haemotoma that put my at risk for miscarriage. Then, my sacroiliac joint is out of whack, cutting down on my mobility: no twisting, limited movement, sit when possible. This Monday, it's placenta previa and all the modified rest that goes along with it. I'm basically left with watching movies, reading/internet, and swimming for at least the next 10 weeks. It's frustrating.

I know this all sounds sour grapes. I did choose this, I wanted a baby, but I wanted to enjoy the time gestating as well. All the problems make me feel detached from the experience. Having an anterior placenta doesn't help either; it means I feel her kicks more like vague wiggles.

I wanted this to be more upbeat, but I'm feeling very achy and disenfranchised right now.

25 March 2010

I hate my OB

Has anyone else had this trouble? I hate my OB. As in, hate them so much, I left my appointment today in tears.

I went in with bleeding early in my pregnancy-- around 6 weeks-- and was diagnosed with a subchorionic haematoma. This bumped me up slightly higher in the risk level, but not that much. I went in at 6 weeks, 7 weeks, 9 weeks, and now at 12 weeks. First two appointments, I had a great doctor. I've been trying to get an appointment with him again since, but no dice.

My first "official" appointment was horrible. I spent the whole time getting a lecture on how I'm morbidly obese and how I obviously have gestational diabetes and I don't take care of myself and don't care about the baby. Why did I get this lecture? Because I declined having several tests for gestational diabetes, including a 24 hour urine catch and an early 1 hour screening.

Here's the thing: at 9 weeks pregnant, I weighed around 190lbs. I'm around 5'4". Based on BMI's formula, that DOES make me obese. However, at this weight, pre-pregnancy, I was wearing between a 12 and a 14.  The nurse even remarked to me that without the machine, she never would have known I was morbidly obese.

Um, hi? Maybe because I'm not?

The nurse took it upon herself to diagnose me as diabetic and put me on a restrictive, low carb diet, as well as berated me and harassed me about the different ways I could take the test. Didn't matter how many times I said no, I understood the risks, but I'd done my own research and was declining it. The doctor went through the same thing, though she at least acknowledged I was within my right to decline as long as I understood it was AMA.

The reason why I declined the test was simple. Until recently, it wasn't considered a routine test. You had it basically if ketones turned up in your pee test. I'm 28 and in relatively good shape. Based on that, even with weight as an elevated risk factor, I have a 4% chance of developing gestational diabetes. The test is meant to screen out the needle in a haystack. It also has a pretty high rate of false positives. And personally? Since I don't eat a lot of sugary things, the glucola would probably make me sick as hell. I can't even drink regular soda without feeling gross. I am comfortable with declining it.

I assumed that this would all be over and done with after last appointment, but apparently not. Going in today, the first thing out of the doctor's mouth was when could we schedule my 1 hour screening? Uh, we are not. I've declined it TWICE. Her whole attitude changed from there. She was terse and demeaning, telling me that I obviously didn't care about my health or my baby, that my baby would die from complications, that I was being stupid, and that I was tying their hands and they could not give me proper care if I refused taking this test SEVERAL times. She told me she "didn't feel like" looking for the baby's heartbeat on Doppler, so I had an ultrasound instead.

The only good thing about that appointment is that the baby looks good.

I didn't even get a chance to ask her the couple questions wanted to because she made it clear that she was done soon as I was not following her advice to a T.

Better still? My blood pressure was borderline at this appointment. It was high at the last one, which was, coincidentally, right after I had bloodwork done. Let's ignore that giant panic attack I'd had because I hate having labwork done, shall we? But according to this doctor, anxiety doesn't cause high blood pressure. Sure, that's why my blood pressure's always been low otherwise. I guess my GP is an idiot for mistaking my low blood pressure all this time.

But no, there's no way I could have crappy blood pressure from anything else, so I've been officially elevated to a high risk pregnancy and I now need to go in biweekly for blood pressure checks and ultrasounds. I asked if they could take my blood pressure after the appointment and was told they "don't do that". I left in tears.

I have a couple calls into other practices. I'm meeting with a highly recommended midwife on Monday and have a couple other places I'm looking into. There is no reason I should spend a whole day depressed and feeling like I should stop eating because of a doctor. I shouldn't leave feeling stupid, worthless, and in tears. That's not the kind of person I want to deliver my baby.

But hey, the baby is perfect and that's what matters, right?

23 March 2010

Oh, baby...

This week kicks off 12 weeks of gestating a new life and the official entry of my "safe" period, so it seems appropriate to kick off the blog this week, too. O hai, world, I'm knocked up!

The one thing I've learnt in the last 12 weeks is that whomever the Power That Be is has a really sick sense of humour. Pregnancy is the biggest bait and switch EVER. I mean, sex is awesome and then BOOM! You get pregnant: sick, hormonal, everything hurts, et cetera. And nature's all "Haha, gotcha, sucker! That's what you get for enjoying sex!"

Did you know that water has a smell? A gaggable smell? Who would have thought.

What I am loving is how the first trimester fatigue has cured my insomnia. Is this how the rest of the world sleeps? It is amazing being able to fall asleep within a half hour of going to bed without pills. I still can't swing the nap thing, but this is pretty great. 

I've already given up my pride. Starting in week 11, I developed pretty miserable tailbone pain. I mean it hurts to sit, stand, and walk. It also feels like my pelvis is going to split in half. Right now, I'm sitting on a nice, inflatable cushion that makes it just a tiny bit more bearable. Good thing I have another appointment coming soon, because I sort of need to walk to live life.

It's hard to believe that next week is the beginning of the next trimester. Time is flying.