Monday, December 15, 2008
Speaking of babies, my niece Baby Lorelei was discharged from the hospital today, cootie-free! I know Jen and Chad are excited to be home. In other good news, our friends Carrie and Chris' nine month old, Baby Heath, got a new heart on Sunday!! Right before Thanksgiving he was diagnosed with a heart condition called restrictive cardiomyopathy that is only curable with a heart transplant. His parents were told that it would probably be at least 6 months before he got a heart, but in the middle of the night on Sunday, they found out that a match was available. It is tragic for the donor family, but maybe there will be some comfort in knowing that their baby's heart lives on and that they've given another family the greatest gift imaginable. Baby Heath is still sedated and on a ventilator, but all of his organs are doing really well, and the docs hope to have him off the vent soon. What blessings for Advent!
M had a photo session with K's nephew Baby Alex on Friday. It went really well - our appointment was for 11am, and both of the kids were mellow and cooperative. Here are some pics:
Monday, November 17, 2008
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
Edited to add: K is a jar of fireflies...he lit up as well.
Sunday, October 26, 2008
M has turned a corner and is so much fun lately. Right when I started to look out my door at every passing car, hoping a band of gypsies was coming by that I could give her to, M became a doll... I swear they know when you're hitting your breaking point! She still has her moments, don't get me wrong, but at least the fun-to-sucky ratio is more 9:1 instead of the reverse.
I've been trying to be a more mindful parent lately, trying to stop planning and focusing on the future so much and start enjoying what I've got. One of my colleagues at the research center where I work died of a rare autoimmune disease two weeks ago. I didn't know her that well - we worked on different research areas - but I started reading her blog in September: diaryofadyingmom.blogspot.com
Although you would think the posts would be depressing, Michelle was such a fighter and idealist that, without candy-coating anything or denying how horrible the situation was, her posts are an uplifting call to really LIVE. When she died on Oct 11th, on her 11th wedding anniversary, people from all over the world wrote in to say how much her writing meant to them... I'm not good at expressing that kind of emotion, but I guess my way is to try to incorporate the lessons she was able to communicate into my life the best I can.
Gratuitous kid pic:
Thursday, October 16, 2008
She says what I couldn't get out last night as I was watching the debate, sputtering and cursing...
Friday, October 3, 2008
What, OMG, I'm posting?! I know, don't have a heart attack or anything.
I'm at a conference in Chicago, sans husband and daughter - which is a bummer, but it has been restful... A whole king size bed to myself! I've occupied my free time by going to the Art Institute - very cool, high hipster quotient what with all those under-fed, over-nicotined art students hanging about - and the Shedd Aquarium, which was awesome - M would have loved it. The Shedd has my very favorite sea creatures, the sea horse and sea dragon, because they are heavily involved in habitat conservation and breeding... The sea dragons in particular were so gorgeous - like something from another planet.
I'm manning an exhibit booth at a psychiatric convention... wow, talk about the lunatics running the asylum! I think the psychiatrists spend so much time talking with people with severe mental illness that they can't hold normal conversations anymore (or maybe they never could to begin with). We have candy out, and they are scooping up handfuls like they will never have access to chocolate again...odd bunch.
What's new on the baby front? Well, we're in kind of a holding pattern. I haven't lost the weight I wanted (and needed) to -surprise! - and work is going crazy... I'm starting up three high-profile projects right now. All of this, though, are excuses. I'm basically just scared - scared I won't get pregnant, scared I will, scared I will be super sick again, scared of going through delivery again (not of the actual birth, but of the hospital interventions). K is also somewhat reluctant, knowing what a high risk pregnancy can mean for our family, especially now that we have M.
K and I have started looking at adoption again - we found a program in Haiti that seems like a really good fit. Lithuania is so slow (years and years once you are actually on the list, even when a potential parent is a Lithuanian citizen, like I am), and K has alot of connections to Haiti. What's nice is that, technically, adoptive parents have to be at least 35 yrs old, so we have a couple of years to wrestle with all of the issues that a adoption, particularly transracial adoption, would mean (for the kids and, less, for us). Also, I still have that gut feeling like we are supposed to have one more biological child and then adopt. It isn't rational, but what about having children really is when you get down to the core? As another blogger recently said, it isn't like we're trying to staff the family farm... we in the US have kids for social and emotional reasons.
My October resolution is to post at least once a week - you in the back there, stop snickering! - hopefully more often... I've got some great pics of M that need to be posted. Laters!
Monday, July 28, 2008
Stuff has happened this month, though, which makes it even more ridiculous that I haven't posted. At the beginning of the month, we visited my sister and her family for the 4th of July. We had a blast, the kids got along well, and my pregnant sister wasn't TOO grumpy :) We went to the local rec center for fireworks - the, I'm not kidding you, "Firecracker Fest 2008!" - all the kids/babies (M was the oldest at 2 years) were totally cool with the fireworks... Pretty amazing that nobody freaked out - the odds were not in our favor.
Then my mom came to visit and while she was here, we went to her side of the family's family reunion. It was a cultural experience, to say the least. They are from the rural, eastern part of the state, and many are still farmers in the same area that my grandfather (one of 12 siblings) grew up. My great-grandfather was a circuit preacher and the church that he was associated with (and which one of his grandsons is the minister) was having its 100 year re-dedication. After an evangelical service, we ate tasty fried chicken, fried shrimp, and eastern NC style pork barbecue and then, the highlight of the day, the Guiding Lights sang.
The Guiding Lights are a gospel group made up of some of my mother's cousins and second cousins... they sing old style, close 4-part harmony, white gospel (stylistically different from black gospel singing - those of you in the south know what I mean). M and her cousin D were grooving, especially during the up-tempo songs. The Guiding Lights sing very traditionally within the style and don't really show the type of emotion associated with contemporary evangelical christian singing... you know, the hands in the air, crying, mass catharsis... But, they had one younger guy who sang with an off-shoot group and he starting singing "I Surrender All," putting his hand in the air and crying - M. starts putting her hand up like she's feeling the Spirit and K and I start getting cracked up... Presbyterians aren't exactly known for their emotional expression of their faith - we aren't called the "frozen chosen" for nothing...
In more recent news, M started at formal daycare today. Last school year she attended a 1/2 day preschool and then went home with a friend of ours... This year she's in a daycare that starts at age 2. When we visited she seemed to like it, but this morning she really got upset, crying, clinging (totally out of character for her), which made leaving difficult. But, true to form, when I went back in the building (not her classroom) 3 minutes after we left her to tell the lady at the front desk something I forgot, she said that M had already stopped crying and was playing with another kid. When we picked her up, the assistant teacher said that M had been the easiest new kid that they have had. I'm sure they tell a lot of parents that, but it was nice to hear anyway. M did so well using the potty (they have the miniaturized versions of real toilets - she LOVES them) that they would like to try underwear starting next Monday...Hey, if I can get someone else to take the final potty training leap with M, I am all for it!
Alright - I'm sure you are all thrilled to hear about my family reunions and my child's bathroom habits, but I've got to jet - I plomise* to post again before the end of August... Catch you on the flip side.
* An extra special gold star to those of you who get that totally lame reference
Wednesday, June 25, 2008
Sunday, June 15, 2008
M woke up several times last night, and at about 3am we brought her into our queen size bed. (For those who don't know us, K is 6'2" and I'm 5'10" - add a 3ft, 30 lb toddler and the bed is crowded, to say the least...) About 5am M woke up needing to go to the bathroom. K said "I'll take her," and the next beat I heard a THUD - he had fallen out of bed like a log, luckily missing the boxes and the bedside table next to his side of the bed, and luckily with M landing on top of him. He said it was one of those super slow falls... he knew exactly what was going to happen, he was just powerless to stop it - HILARIOUS (since everyone is ok)
Later, we had eaten lunch at the mall and were walking to the car, M on K's shoulders, when M had a sneezing attack... With the third sneeze, I could see boogers fly - K says in a completely deadpan voice, "I have boogers in my hair." I replied, super cheery, "Happy Fathers' Day!"
We love you, K!
Tuesday, June 3, 2008
Continuing to lose weight will help all of this, so in that spirit K and I bought an exercise bike yesterday… We have a really small house and it is sitting in the living room staring at me, so I think we might actually use it. My goal is to use it at least during Jeopardy – what could be more fun than sweating while answering nerdy questions?!
My current BMI is 29.8 – or, Fatty McButterpants, put down that cupcake! (mmm, cupcakes…) I would like to get to 24.7, which is in the Normal BMI range and would require me to lose 36 lbs – 6 lbs/month for the next 6 months. Do-able, but I’m not going to like the process.
Sunday, May 18, 2008
Things I'd like to get answers/opinions on:
- My current risk profile for preeclampsia?
- I know I need to keep losing weight, but where should I realistically try to be to minimize risk?
- Should I continue on the Aldomet or try to get off of it? Chronic hypertension was unmasked last time I was pregnant, but I am currently well controlled on a low dose of Aldomet - an anti-hypertensive that is considered reasonably safe during pregnancy
- Right before I was pregnant with M, I was tested for abnormal clotting factors... One of them, lupus anti-coagulant was higher than the normal range. This could be important because these clotting factors are implicated in repeat pregnancy loss (ding!) and pre-eclampsia (ding! ding! we have a winner!) Usually, they test again in a month or two, because one reading can be false positive/negative... They didn't test me again b/c I got and stayed pregnant with M. My question for Dr. Special will be: Should I be tested again? If so what will we do? Low dose aspirin (see question below), low molecular weight heparin?
- Should I take low dose aspirin? - That's where the latest pre-e research is pointing...
- If so, when should I start? Some people start early in pregnancy to help with implantation... The thought is good implantation & vascularization results in lower risk of pre-e
- Can I deliver with the local free-standing birthcenter midwives with routine monitoring by Dr. Special? - The birthcenter midwives have admitting privileges at the hospital...
- If so, when/how should I be monitored by Dr. Special?
- If not, can I deliver with the hospital-based midwives? When should I be monitored by Dr. Special?
- When I had an epidural during M's delivery, I had a really bad allergic reaction to the mastisol (type of adhesive) they use to tape down the epidural catheter - it looked like a chemical burn and took 25 days of prednisone to calm down... I also got a staph infection from the hospital, so it was a huge mess... I am not planning to have an epidural again (see: freestanding birthcenter midwives), but if I am induced again for pre-e or another medical emergency, I know I may want one, especially if I am on pitocin and have to labor in bed like last time... My question to Dr. Special will be: Is there anything else they can use or do to tape the catheter down?
So, um, I guess I have a few issues to discuss... I'll let you know how it goes.
Thursday, May 15, 2008
What happens when toddlers are left unsupervised on a sun porch with a large flower pot...
I'm thinking about having her audition for Oliver! or maybe take up boot-blacking. Or, if being a pirate ever comes back in style, she's certainly got the teeth and the snarl.
Wednesday, April 30, 2008
Things my 2 year old has said lately:
Wednesday, April 9, 2008
“Other parents worry about the worst,” she told me, “but they don’t really believe it could happen. We know better.”
As I contemplate another pregnancy, any anticipation, excitement, or potential joy is always tempered by this feeling. It is not just my education, although as a maternal and child health researcher I am acutely aware of all the potential complications of pregnancy, labor, and delivery... It is not just my own history (recurrent miscarriages, hyperemesis, preeclampsia) , or the history of my friends, my fierce mama tribe (infertility, miscarriage, stillbirth, preterm birth, developmental delays)... It is instead a growing realization of how sick I was during my pregnancy with M and how long it has taken me to recover, an overwhelming gratitude that things turned out as well as they did, and a sense of not wanting to tempt fate, knowing that it could always be worse.
The cruel catch-22 of infertility/subfertility is that you repeatedly make the conscious decision to subject yourself to mental and sometimes physical pain with the hope that it will result in the ultimate joy. I cannot deny the joy, but the equation seems more complicated now. How do I remain a good parent to the child I have, while going through all the hell that conception and pregnancy can mean for me? The impulse of those who care for me is to say not to worry, that everything will be fine... and it may be, or it could be worse than I can even imagine...
Yet, YET, I still feel a drive to try for another, to have another darling child, to give M a sibling... What is the definition of insanity? Doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results? Well, I guess I should just go ahead and punch my ticket for the crazy train.
Saturday, March 15, 2008
Sorry for the no blogging, but we have been S-I-C-K over here....First K got in a car accident and got a nasty concussion. He wasn't driving, a co-worker was, but still...I think I'm going to make him wear a bubble-wrap suit like in Dude, Where's My Car (Zoltan!). After spending a week waking him up every 2 hrs and staring at him in between, I was beat. Then M got sick again with a pseudo-flu, got better for a couple of days, and then has been sick all this past week. I got tonsilitis last Sat (WHO gets tonsilitis as a grown-up?!), had an allergic reaction to the first antibiotic Dr. Nice gave me, and then spent the rest of the week slowly getting better on another antibiotic (while of course taking care of M and doing everything in the house...bitter, party of one). So, boring, boring, nothing to blog about...
Thursday, January 31, 2008
Sunday, after shriveling under the icy glare of the video game dorks at GameStop and swearing never to go in there again, we stopped by T*rget and, lo and behold, there were two (TWO!) wiis sitting in the case. I rang the service bell, all the while playing it cool so as to not attract attention, and then followed the oldest T*rget employee (I mean, in the entire company) as he inched towards the register. I was shaking as I left the store and made my way back to the car - K started grinning as he saw the bags in my hands and hasn't stopped since...
Apparently I chose a magic wii that changed our luck, since yesterday K got a fantastic job offer - it uses his previous job experience and his recently earned masters, all the while paying more than he gets now as a float nurse plus benefits (retirement, what's that?) PLUS he will be working a normal 9-5 Monday through Friday schedule!!!
Since my brain (I just typed "brian") is tired and I'm not putting together a very coherent post, let me placate you with some pictures:
M. in her SUPERFIT shoes from Germany... I think we have a future rock star on our hands - Boom! Boom!
Wednesday, January 23, 2008
So, anyway, the power is back on, but WTF? I'm starting to get paranoid...
Tuesday, January 22, 2008
On Sunday morning, K. wrecked our VW Beetle, sliding on some ice on the way to the hospital where he works... Luckily, only our car was damaged: He was ok, no one else was hurt, no other vehicles or property were involved. He went around a curve and slid on some ice, hitting a curb, and now the wheels on the passenger side are bent in underneath the car. Since the Beetle is a cross between a tank and an egg, none of the body is damaged (at least, visibly) - it just looks like our car has had too much to drink.
If that wasn't scary enough, M had her very own version of a no good, very bad, horrible day... I went to pick her up after work from the babysitter, getting there at 5:45. When I got there, Jenn (whom I think is awesome) apologetically told me about the day M had:
- At 3:30, she fell down a flight of stairs, somersaulting until she thankfully landed on her bottom...I burst into tears upon hearing this
- Then, her fingers got pinched in the cover that goes over the keys of the piano
- Then, Jenn's 3 year old threw a football and got M in the eye
- Oh, and by the way, at 4:30, Jenn noticed a rash on her stomach... when we checked out the rash, it had spread and was starting to look welty
I placed a call to Dr. Nice and then hustled M into the car. I was fine until I called my husband - then I really lost my shit... I talked to K, crying, and he said that I should come to the hospital, and he would meet me in the ER.
So, battling stupid "it's raining and we've never seen rain before" rush hour traffic and trying to keep M awake (she, of course, had no nap today) all the while saying Hail Marys under my breath (apparently I become Catholic when I'm stressed), I made it to the ER. We only had to wait 30 min or so before we saw a super nice triage nurse - the right mix of reassuring without patronizing - who talked us through what would be the signs of head trauma (which M has not exhibited) and said that the rash was most certainly from the new antibiotic. The pediatric ER was full, with 2 more unseen patients ahead of us, so I asked the nurse (mother of 4 kids) off the record what she would do. She suggested keeping an eye on M at night, letting her get some rest instead of staying in the ER until the middle of the night, and seeing Dr. Nice in the morning. Conveniently, we have an appointment already for 9:45am, so that's what we decided to do. Dr. Nice called as we were walking in the door, apologizing for not getting back to us sooner, and echoed what the ER nurse had said, making us feel even better.
Jenn called and apologized for not calling me at work when M fell down the stairs, and I just clarified that I'd rather know and get to make the call that she's fine, than not find out until later. I also added that it isn't fair to her (Jenn) to have to take that responsibility, esp. if something happened. So, we're cool now, which is a relief - I really like her and her family, and I trust her with M.
I really feel like we've dodged a couple of bullets this week...All that stuff about fragility/resilience in toddlers in the last post - I believe it doubly now. Hopefully, this is it for us, at least this week! (Knock wood, spit over my shoulder, poo poo poo)
Next up, I've got a couple of posts brewing about pregnancy-related stuff - I know, shocking!
Saturday, January 19, 2008
So, M. has pneumonia - pretty scary, especially when she started wheezing Wed night - but thanks to the power of steroids (look out, Marion Jones) and a new antibiotic, she seems to be on the mend. This was the first time in my parenting career that I thought that I might actually have to call 911 or go to the hospital... toddlers seem so resilient one minute, slamming into things and falling down and just going on their merry way like nothing happened, but then you realize how fragile they really are. The stakes seem so high with your first child... is that a hold over from a time when you needed several children to survive? Not that having more than one makes any of them expendable, but it seems like it would feel different, if only because you have more experience to draw upon.
Wow, what a way to bring a blog down quickly, huh? I'm great at parties!
On to a different topic... Things on the weight loss front have been progressing nicely: I've lost about 5 lbs, mostly due to the "Great Austerity Project" (or, GAP, for short) that we're on in an effort to stop the Christmas hemorraging - eating at home is making a big difference weight-wise, as well as financially. But, I think I'm going to have to haul my cookies to the Y to at least swim or take a class or something if I want the downward trend to continue. Lots of people rave about T-Tapp, but I don't have such a great track record doing things at home by myself... I definitely need some external motivation. Maybe the library has some DVDs I can rent before making the committment.... Ah, the library! My sister says I'm the only person she knows who has larger late-book fines than late-video fines.
Well, here concludes an incredibly boring post... They better improve from here, or even my sister won't read me! It is supposed to snow today, so maybe I can salvage this blog with some cute pics... Here's hoping.
Sunday, January 13, 2008
So, here is the pertinent cast of characters in my life:
- My husband, K - the murse...Think Ricky Schroder as Paul Flowers on Scrubs, but cooler and looking more like Fred Flinstone
- my 21 month old daughter, M - a highly entertaining spitfire
- my sister, Jennifer (check out: http://jenprosser.blogspot.com/)
- my mother, Mom, who is married to JB
- my father, Dad, who is married to Mimi
- my two younger sisters, MarP (14) and AB (11)
- my primary care physician, Dr. Nice
- my reproductive endocrinologist, Dr. Twitchy
M was born in March 2006, after 4 previous pregnancies ended in miscarriage... It was a rough pregnancy, to say the least: Hyperemesis gravadarium, preeclampsia, induction at 37 weeks (that, at least, was ok), post-partum staph infection, and then the little ingrate wouldn't latch... I ended up exclusively pumping for 14.5 months... Yeah, it sucked even more than you think. BUT, I was blessed with a child with a sunny personality and a husband who is super supportive, making all that pumping possible.
Public Service Announcement: Anyone who is searching the internet frantically for exclusive pumping info, please email me - I've got lots of advice just percolating under the surface, looking for an outlet.
Now, I'm trying to lose weight - each of my 5 pregnancies added about 5 lbs as a parting gift - with the hope of getting pregnant again this summer and making it through without losing the pregnancy, puking my guts up, or a BP of 140/90...