Monthly Archives: May 2013


Like many devoted Talk of the Nation listeners, I was distraught to hear that the show is going to be ending this year. (Okay, distraught is probably a little too strong. Devastated? No? How about perplexed? Anyway…) I love Talk of the Nation. I love it so much that when Michigan Radio switches to local programming when they should be playing the second hour, I turn of the radio and open the NPR app on my phone so that I can stream it from one of the many stations that plays both hours of the show. (For those of you who are curious, I usually load Interlochen’s stream. It’s fun to hear the arts calendar from Up North.) The only problem that I have is that I leave work at 3:30. TOTN runs until 4. Yes, I have lost track of time on more than one occasion.

And, yes, I realize that by listening on my phone, I could keep listening, but it seems a little weird to carry it with me down the hall as I leave work for the day.

Today I almost stayed at work until 4 just to hear the entire discussion. They were talking about genetic testing. Prenatal genetic testing. The guests were two women who’d had genetic testing done. One had opted to carry her pregnancy to term; the other had not. The questions for callers were: How did you decide whether or not to undergo the screening? How did you decide what to do with the results?

By the time I left work, all of the callers were people with stories similar to the guests. I should have emailed in to broaden the discussion.

Me? I thought about it. I thought about it a lot. When I first saw Lydia, I was only 11 weeks pregnant. I had more than a month to decide what I wanted to do. And I realized that it didn’t matter to me what the test said. I worked too hard to conceive. Even if the test showed that my child had a high likelihood of having a very short life, I still want to have that time. And if I’m not going to do anything with the results, then why spend the money on the test?

I may have to go back and listen to the rest of the discussion. Perhaps someone who opted against testing did call in. I frequently have the best of intentions about listening to the 30 minutes that I miss each day, but I rarely get around to it. But even if I don’t get around to it, it was nice to hear 2/3 of a calm, measured discussion about an issue that can be very fraught.

TOTN, I’m really going to miss you when you’re gone!


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Trying to Get Out of My Head

I confess that I was horribly unproductive on Friday. You know how I was going to try not to stress about placenta previa? Yeah, on Friday, I failed miserably. I figure I got maybe four hours of sleep the night before, so I was absolutely exhausted, which never helps. And I simply couldn’t focus.

At first I was waiting for Dr Z to get in so that I could give him the low down on whether or not I’d be cleared to attend the ACCME workshop when I’m 34 weeks along. Or at least that was the excuse I used. And after that? I ran out of excuses. And I still couldn’t focus on the work that desperately needs to be done. I kind of can’t use accreditation as an excuse when we’re simply waiting for a decision. I am, however, still using it as an excuse for why things aren’t happening as quickly as they should.

On a happy side note related to that, I got a call today from one of the applicants who has been waiting very patiently for his approval letter. He knew we’d been swamped with accreditation. I assured him if he didn’t get it from me today, he would have it tomorrow morning at the earliest (and then I moved his app to the top of the pile). He then told me that they really needed to hire more help for me. I told him we were hopeful that would happen this year. Okay, so “happy” probably isn’t exactly the right word, but it made me smile.

But back to Friday. In keeping with it being a stressful day, I was completely out of yogurt, which made packing breakfast and lunch difficult, and meant I really needed to go grocery shopping. I meant to stop and pick some up on my way home from Mastec but wound up taking a different route home that day and didn’t think of it until I was almost in my parking space. On Friday I convinced myself that I only had to go to Harding’s. But by the afternoon, I could barely keep my eyes open, and since we’d be having Banner Memorial Day dinner very close to the Plainwell Meijer’s on Saturday, I decided I could survive another day. When I got home, I curled up on the sofa and slept for two hours.

I distracted myself with Hulu for a few hours before deciding to take my book and go to bed, figuring I’d read until I couldn’t keep my eyes open anymore. And while I was brushing my teeth, I lost it. I just started to cry and couldn’t stop. And you have to remember that I blubber, which is really awkward to do when you’re trying to brush your teeth. I called my mom, and once I was able to get out that I was physically okay so that she could stop worrying that something bad had happened, we talked for an hour.

I’ve been mostly okay since then. Trying to keep busy. Trying to distract myself. Trying not to think. I’m sure everything is going to be fine, but my brain keeps trying to write The Worst Case Scenario Survival Handbook: Pregnancy. (Does that one even exist? I know there’s a parenting one…) So I did what any good knitter would do. I knit a pair of booties. I contemplated casting on a second pair but opted to work on a sweater instead.

I read. I unpacked a little bit more of what is currently stored in what will be the baby’s room. I texted with my nieces. That got a little bit simpler once I learned that it wasn’t my mother who was sending me messages that were completely out of context. I listened to what is probably my favorite podcast: Pop Culture Happy Hour.

And I saw my aunts and uncles and cousins for dinner and ice cream on Saturday. And I got together with girlfriends to knit on Sunday. And like everyone else, I bemoaned the rotten weather we had on Monday. (I was planning on sitting out on my balcony while I read and knit and listened to podcasts. The best laid plans…)

And I made a rhubarb upside down cake. I’d say that always makes everything better, but that’s probably exaggerating its powers a little too much. I rarely make more than one each year, and it sure tastes good.

But night is still rough. That’s when it’s just me and my brain. Normally, I’d take a couple (or three) Calms Forte, and that makes me lose my train of thought enough to let me sleep. Not sure if those are contraindicated for pregnancy; whether or not they are, I haven’t taken any. So at night, my brain starts to go off on its own. Haven’t had another cry like Friday evening, but I’ve been on the verge of tears pretty regularly since then. I’ll be fine, really. It’s just been harder than I wish it would be.

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Waiting for Z

So, accreditation, right? Dr Z wants to make sure we at least look to the ACCME like we’re really participating in everything they have to offer. They have a newsletter? We’re on the list. They want to give a training workshop? We’re there. Except we’ve just gotten the dates for the next workshop. July 31-Aug 2. One of us should go. And Dr Z? Yeah. He’s going to be in Ireland. I said I’d ask the midwife about it at Centering today. It’s only as far as Chicago, so it’s not as though I need to get on a plane to go there.

And here’s what the midwife said. It should be okay, but I should see someone at the clinic before going. This means I could have my hotel booked and the registration paid and wind up losing all of that money. In order to get a refund, you have to cancel registration mid-July. The hotel? Yeah, it has a 72 hour cancellation policy. And you know who would get stuck with the bill? If you think it’s work, you’re wrong. Can’t get reimbursed for something I don’t attend.

And the real wrench in the works? While the baby was fine on the ultrasound, the momma was only mostly fine.

“Do you know what placenta previa is?” the midwife asked.

“Yes,” I replied. She didn’t look surprised. She must have remembered what I do for a living.

“Your ultrasound showed a slight placenta previa.”

While this isn’t good news, it’s not completely bad news. What it means is that the placenta is partially covering my cervix. But only partially. As my uterus continues to grow, the placenta should move up with it. Understandably, I’ll be having another ultrasound closer to my due date. Vaginal delivery and placenta previa don’t mix.

So. I’ll be 34 weeks, so not too far along to travel, but I have a potential complication. I’m not sure if Dr Z will be in the office tomorrow or not. I think he said he would be, but I could be wrong. Space is limited at the workshop. We can’t wait to register at the last minute. But I’m hoping he says it’s not worth the risk, either fiscal or physical.

And in the meanwhile, I’m going to try not to stress over my slight placenta previa. So far it’s been completely asymptomatic. Fingers crossed it stays that way.

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Live! From Kalamazoo! It’s…

You may notice something different about this post. Something that’s missing.

That’s right! My blog has finally caught up with the calendar. What I’m going to tell you about today Actually Happened Today! Novel, I know.

The alternative title for today’s post is Madge and Dorcas Buy a New House (Or Three). And, I might add, they’re really looking forward to moving in tomorrow. All of my pre-pregnancy bras have been put in the back of the lingerie drawer.

Yes, I bit the bullet and went to Mastec after work today. Why today? Quite simply because there was a thunderstorm. And I really needed new bras. But mostly because of the storm. You see, the pool is now open at my complex. After work on Monday, I didn’t quite christen my new maternity bathing suit, but I did sit a good spell with my feet dangling in the water. The water was cold, but it was hot enough out that it felt heavenly. And both my mother and Mr. Kent from whom I learned to swim taught me that you should never swim outside during a thunderstorm. Which made today the perfect day to go bra shopping.

And Mastec was everything I told you it would be. I tried on at least ten bras, and the clerk was pulling more while I was in the changing room. Once I found one that fit, we looked at the size (34H) and then she pulled all of the 36H bras for me to try on. And supposing you have good reading comprehension skills, as you can tell from the alternate title, I found three that I liked. There were two more that I thought about buying, but they were a little weird. They looked fine under my tank top, but they were only okay. (I think this is because they weren’t underwires so the girls didn’t get the same separation that they get from the three bras I bought.)

And to make things even better, they were on sale. For $10 a piece. I bought three bras for $36 including tax!

I cannot stress the importance of this company enough. If you or a friend has had a mastectomy, they will help fit you AND work with your insurance. If you or your friend are like me and are just plain buxom, they have bras (that are currently ON SALE!) that are those specialty sizes you cannot find at a normal store. And they are barely staying afloat. There’s a reason all of the non-mastectomy bras are currently on sale for $10. They’re trying to decide whether or not to keep that part of the business. Please spread the word. If you live in the Kalamazoo area, don’t go online to buy a new bra. Stop in at Mastec first. Help show them that they really are serving a need in our community.

And if you don’t want to do it for them, do it for me. After all, I may be wearing a 34/36H today, but who knows what size the girls will decide to grow to by the time September rolls around.


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Madge and Dorcas Go House Hunting

May 17, 2013

I really didn’t feel like going shopping after work today, but as you know, Madge and Dorcas are getting more desperate for new lodgings and going after work today was better than going after market tomorrow. (I’m hoping there’s rhubarb this week!)

There were two places left in Kalamazoo that I figured were worth a try for new bras. (Okay, they’re both really in Portage, but I’m pretending they’re in Kalamazoo.) I hadn’t checked Motherhood yet, and if that was a no go, I know Mastec will be able to fit me.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with Mastec, it is a wonderful company whose mission is to serve women who’ve had mastectomies. They sell specialty bras and prostheses. But they also carry “plus-size” bras. I put that in quotes for a reason. After all, Lane Bryant also claims to carry “plus-size” bras. The difference? The few times I’ve checked the sizes available at Lane Bryant, they’ve only offered bands that are far too big for me, 40+. At Mastec, you can get a 34 band. I’m currently wearing a 32G. My rib cage has expanded to accommodate my lungs better since the bump is pushing all of my organs upward. A 34 is exactly what I’m looking for.

But I decided to try Motherhood first. At the very least, I knew I was going to get far better customer service than I got at Bronson. And that’s exactly what I got. I’d barely crossed the threshold to the store when a clerk asked if I needed help with anything.

“Yes, I do,” I said cheerily. “I’m currently wearing a 32G, and I’m starting to grow out of it.”

“Oh, I’m so sorry,” the clerk said. “The largest we carry in the store is an F. Have you ever heard of a company called Mastec?”

I laughed and told her that was the next place I’d planned to go. She explained that that’s where they send all of their customers who need something larger than an F.

And if I’d been thinking, I would have gone to Mastec immediately. I was practically there. But I didn’t feel like shopping any more than I already had, and I wasn’t certain exactly where Mastec was, and I’d just gone to the mall, so was it really necessary to go somewhere else, too? Yes, I didn’t think about the fact that I have a smart phone and could have easily pulled up Waze to direct me Mastec from where I was. Yes, I realized that fact when I got home and looked up Mastec on my iPad.

But the good news is that according to Mastec’s website, they should have something in stock that will fit. And I know that they will be incredibly kind. After all, they cater to a particularly vulnerable population of women. Now I just need to decide when to drive back out to Portage. (See, I can admit that they aren’t actually in Kalamazoo!) I’m thinking next Friday. We’ll see. Madge and Dorcas might convince me to go sooner than that.

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In Which I Have the Most Awesome Weird Pregnancy Dream

May 16, 2013

Weird dreams are par for the course during pregnancy. Whether this is because dreams are weirder than usual or one is simply more apt to wake up in the middle of regular weird dreams science has yet to determine. And I’ve had plenty of weird dreams over the past few months, but last night’s was pretty awesome.

I totally took LL Cool J to school with my knowledge of hip hop dance and its relationship to other world dances.

That is all.

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Open Enrollment

May 13, 2013

It’s open enrollment season at work. I was ready for this to be as simple as it usually is. The bump doesn’t come until September, so I’m still making elections just for me. I know which health insurance plan I want, and which dental insurance plan, and I can easily do some quick math to estimate how much to put in my health flexible spending account. The bump won’t be in day care until late in the cycle, so there’s no sense in trying to guess how much to put in a dependent care FSA this year. (Our insurance and FSAs run July 1 – June 30.)

But then they threw something new our way this year. They’re adding three Aflac policies to our possible benefits starting July 1. This meant I had to do real math, both looking at cost-benefit and whether or not I can straight-up afford the additional coverage. The hospital indemnity was tempting, but would be a month’s rent once the bump was covered, too. Plus, since I’m already pregnant, they wouldn’t cover anything from labor and delivery because it’s a pre-existing condition. Cost way too high. But the critical care coverage is surprisingly cheap, plus the bump gets covered at no additional charge. And I’ll get almost half of it back each year when I go in for my annual. That’s a cost I can manage.

I do still need to meet with our benefits specialist to go over fun things like FMLA and short-term disability, but those can wait a bit longer. I’ll let her get through the open enrollment period first.

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