Monthly Archives: July 2013

Things Happen for a Reason

So, you remember the debacle back in February when I tried to see my GP and was told that he was no longer my GP until he found out that I’d been told he was no longer my GP with the ultimate result that I got to see my GP? Turns out that it’s probably a good thing that that happened. I’ve been hoping that I’d be able to have the bump added as one of his patients once it’s born. But because of the debacle (or was it a kerfuffle?) back in February, I decided to start at the top. I left a message for the practice manager today to find out if they’d be able to take my baby on as a new patient. She called back to say that the only new patients they are currently taking are newborns of current patients. In other words, yes. And she was really glad that I called to verify. (Apparently they keep having people wait until they deliver, all the while assuming that they’ll be able to get into the practice.)

So the bump officially has a GP, and it’s the same one that I have. Family tradition continues. And I mean family tradition. The number of Banners this doctor treats… Well, I’d be curious to see just how many shelves our paper files take up!

Next up: Securing day care for after the fourth trimester.

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I Have a Good Excuse

You probably think I’ve been neglecting you. And, yes, I have. But not only have things been really busy, what with my nieces being here and having the “family” baby shower, but I’ve been sick. I mean really sick. Sick to the point that if the antibiotics hadn’t worked, I’d have been in the ER for IV fluids sick.

It all started when my nieces were still here. They came swimming a week ago this past Thursday. I didn’t feel great by the time my mom took them home, but it was also around the time that I normally take my B6-half-a-Unisom combo to keep the morning sickness at bay. My throat was kind of sore. Friday, my throat was really sore. But that was all. I didn’t have any other symptoms. And hot water with honey at work seemed to help. Saturday, my throat was incredibly sore, it-hurts-to-swallow sore. And I had laryngitis. And my chest was feeling phlegmy (phlegmish?). But that was also the day of the family baby shower, so I couldn’t just stay curled up on the sofa all day trying to drink water in small sips. And by the time I got home, I was running a low-grade fever. And it hurt enough to swallow, that there was no way my prenatal vitamin was going down. Or anything else, for that matter. I found a single Children’s Tylenol in my cabinet and called to ask my parents to bring me more on their way home from church. Zofran dissolves on your tongue, so that kept the nausea to a minimum, and the children’s acetaminophen is chewable and brought my temperature back down to normal. By Sunday, my voice was completely gone. And my throat was still on fire. And all I could think was that it was a really good thing I had a Centering appointment on Monday because I could no longer use the phone. The one nice thing about that is that I didn’t have to answer the phone at all while I was at work on Monday. I just let it go to voicemail and then emailed people in reply. Centering isn’t held in exam rooms, so the midwife couldn’t really look down my throat, but she said it felt really swollen. (I’d written down the progression for her so that I didn’t have to talk through the whole thing.) She had a prescription for antibiotics called in, and they were ready for me to pick up on my way home. The instructions said to take the first dose “at once”. I was more than happy to comply. And whatever was going on with my throat, be it strep or something else, it was definitely bacterial. I could swallow again by Tuesday morning. My throat was still sore, but it was at least 50% improved. (I lost about 5 pounds, most of which was clearly dehydration. I couldn’t swallow enough at one time to stay hydrated.) And by Wednesday, my throat felt almost normal again. Whatever it was, the antibiotics knocked it clean out of my system. The midwife was perplexed by one thing, though, which is that strep doesn’t usually cause laryngitis. I think I’ve figured that conundrum out. Whatever was wrong with my throat didn’t cause my laryngitis. The viral upper respiratory infection I managed to pick up simultaneous with the bacterial throat infection is what caused my laryngitis. I know this because I have a long history of URIs resulting in laryngitis. And since the antibiotics did nothing to fix the URI, it is obviously not bacterial. It is, however, getting old. My voice is still not totally back. Although I can once again use the phone, singing is not an option, even in the shower with all that lovely steam. And I’m still coughing up some phlegm although not to the extent that I was a week ago.

So that’s why I haven’t told you about the shower yet. Or about the fun and games at the last Centering group. I’ve been sick. And I was going to write on Tuesday, but I was up coughing most of the night, so I only went to work for about two hours after which I stopped at Harding’s to get some popsicles and juice and easy-to-digest food, and then came home to take a nap and work from the comfort of my sofa. So, yes, I was home, but I still wound up working most of the day. And I was going to write on Wednesday, but by the time I worked a little late to make up the time I missed on Monday for Centering and on Tuesday for being sick, and then went to the library, it was time to just do nothing when I got home. And I was going to write on Thursday, but Dorcas started leaking in the middle of the night, so I needed to run to Target for cheap bras I could sleep in and nursing pads. (Obviously, no one gave me nursing pads at the baby shower.) And Friday, well, I wasn’t going to write because I had to go to East Lansing for work. On Saturday, I was a good girl and wrote thank you notes. On Sunday, I continued being a good girl and finished writing thank you notes, and I had knitting group. And, well, that brings us to today. And now that you have the thumbnails…

THE BABY SHOWER

You will recall that my nieces were the official hostesses-with-the-mostesses of this shower. And despite the fact that I was miserable by the time I finally got to go home, it was fun, and it was great to see some people I don’t see very often. And the girls were pretty cute running the games. There were two games: pin-the-pacifier-on-the-baby and a beanbag toss. Emily was in charge of the former, Felicity of the latter. All of the guests got a clothespin with a 1 or a 2 on it. And then there was a second number so that people would know what order they were supposed to line up in. The “1s” played Emily’s game while the “2s” played Felicity’s, and then they switched. I did get the sense they found the present opening portion of the afternoon to be a tad frustrating because I didn’t just tear through all of the packages. The concept that people were there to see me open what they gave me and to see what other people gave me did not totally jibe with their concept of how presents should be opened. But they survived. And there’s now an umbrella stroller for my house and an umbrella stroller for my mom’s. And the dresser is now adorned with a changing pad. And there were, of course, cute stuffed animals, and onesies, and a variety of that miscellany that babies need so much of.

CENTERING

When I told Lori that I had laryngitis (which she figured out without me saying much), she commented that it was going to be a quiet group with me being unable to contribute. We talked a lot about birth plans and birthing positions and epidurals. And it was really hard not to chime in every time I wanted to. But I didn’t. I did have a coughing fit in the middle of the session. One of those annoying ones that just needs to pass. Thank you for the offer of a glass of water, but, no, that’s not going to help. I’m coughing because of my lungs, not my throat. I’m not the only one who is planning for all natural, but if it’s between an epidural or a C-section, I’ll take the epidural. I do need to talk to Lori about that, though. Based on my experience getting my wisdom teeth pulled (I never fell asleep – no pain, but I was awake), anesthesia makes me nervous. It’s that trust issue – will it actually work? I’m the girl who’s been taking Unisom every day for 25 weeks, and it has yet to make me drowsy.

DORCAS STRIKES AGAIN

As mentioned above, Dorcas started leaking in the middle of the night. I discovered this when I got up to go to the bathroom and noticed a stiff, nipple-sized spot on my t-shirt. And that spot corresponded perfectly to Dorcas. It clearly wasn’t a lot, but it was enough that I decided I probably should not just let it go without making sure I was prepared for it to increase. And while I was trying on bras at Target, I noticed that Madge had decided Dorcas was pretty clever. Again, not a lot, but enough that it was time to make sure I had supplies on hand. Yes, I bought a two-pack of nursing bras at Target. Yes, they are completely worthless as far as anything resembling support is concerned. But they do hold nursing pads in place while I sleep which is all I am asking them to do. I also bought a non-nursing non-underwire bra. It is ridiculously comfortable. And it has a reasonable amount of coverage. It, too, has a pitiful amount of support, but it’s perfect for weekends. (It’s also a brilliant shade of turquoise, which makes me smile.)

TODAY

Oh, yeah, there’s some important stuff that happened today, too. I had my follow-up ultrasound. And I saw Lydia, who is technically my primary midwife and was really excited to see me because she hasn’t seen me in ages because I’m doing Centering. (Yes, this is the second time I’ve seen her. Can I just reiterate that I love my new practice and am totally sticking with Lydia for my regular gynecology appointments?) Once again, the bump was having nothing to do with this ultrasound thing. It threw its arm up over its head and left it there. The tech must have tried for ten or fifteen minutes to get it to move so that we could see both sides of its face. The bump refused. And then, it smirked at us. The little stinker. And because the reason for the follow-up was my partial placenta previa, I had to have a transvaginal ultrasound as well. The tech said she couldn’t see the placenta at all from that angle, so even before I saw Lydia, I knew that issue was resolved. And Lydia said that everything else on the ultrasound looked good. The bump weighs 4 lbs 5 ozs today. My fluid level was fine. Indeed, my placenta is fine. She saw no reason I shouldn’t go to the conference in Chicago this week, as long as we stop for bathroom/stretch breaks every hour or so. She did, however, say that 35 weeks and a trip to Frankenmuth (aka next week’s conference) was not such a good idea, especially since my boss will be at that conference, negating the necessity that I be there representing our program.

And I think this makes us mostly caught up. The bump’s room is turning more into a nursery each week. I haven’t been hit by that nesting urge yet, but I figure it will come, especially now that I don’t have to go to Frankenmuth next week. (Lydia was totally like those parents who are cool: Do you want to go to Frankenmuth? Not particularly. Then you’re not allowed to go to Frankenmuth. No, we didn’t have that exact conversation, but that’s pretty much the gist of it.) And, yes, there will be some time this week that you won’t hear from me. The conference in Chicago is at an expensive hotel. And you know what expensive hotels mean: extra charge for internet access. I love you guys, but I’m not writing a blog post on my phone. I’ll tell you all about it after I’m back.

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So, Apparently, I’m Pregnant

I know. You’re shocked. I can hear you all gasping. But it’s been funny at work over the past few weeks because all of a sudden, people are realizing or hearing or learning directly from me that, yes, indeed, I am pregnant. I think my favorite interchange was with one of the doctors who heard it from my boss.

“I was so relieved when Dr Zeller told me you were pregnant. I mean, I didn’t want to say anything…”

So my assessment of my colleagues was correct. They noticed that I was growing something, but just in case it turned out that I’d gained weight in a rather pregnant fashion without actually being pregnant, they’re all too polite to comment. (Of course, I do live in the Midwest, and we are a polite sort of people in general.)

But I am not above playing the pregnancy card while I can. I went to see Bye Bye Birdie at Kindleberger on Sunday, and while I did manage to find a parking space that did not require climbing down the hill and then back up the hill, it was a reasonable walk with no shade to get to where my parents and nieces were waiting for me. And when the volunteer came putting along in the golf cart, I told him I would happily take a ride instead of walking. And after the show? Why, yes. Yes, I did take a ride back to my car.

And last night before going to bed, I did break down and turn on the air. At that time, I didn’t find the temperature in my apartment to be too bad, but it was pretty humid. And with today’s temperatures in the 90s and heat index of 100, I have to say that I’m really happy to be living someplace with central air. If I were still in my old apartment, I’d be naked on my yoga mat in the middle of my living room right now. (That would have put me directly under the ceiling fan in that room.) Instead, I still have clothes on. Which is good because as soon as I post this, I’m headed over to my parents’ to have dinner. It’s going to be another busy week. My nieces are here through Saturday. And while my parents don’t actually expect me to see them every day this week, I probably still will.

And, yes, this means the family shower hosted by my nieces is on Saturday. Stay tuned. I’ve only heard a few details of exactly what’s been planned. Something about a ring toss…

P.S. Okay, there was one other exchange with a colleague that highly amused me, but it was with someone who already knew I was pregnant:

“Beth, I’ve been meaning to ask you what you’re having.”

“A baby.”

She rolled her eyes. “I know that.”

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Catching Up

I had Centering on Wednesday, and I was going to tell you about it then, but by the time I got off the phone with my mom, had dinner, took a shower… So I was going to tell you about it yesterday, but I really needed to go grocery shopping, and the weather was so perfect, and no one was in the pool… But today, today I desperately needed to do laundry, so I’m kind of tied to the apartment (because I’m a good neighbor who tries not to leave her laundry tying up the machine any longer than is necessary), so I have no more excuses for not sitting down and writing.

Yes, I’m now pregnant enough that my appointments are twice a month. I’ll actually wind up with three this month because I’m hoping to be cleared to travel to a couple of conferences at the beginning of August. I’ll have the follow-up ultrasound checking to make sure my placenta is no longer previa, and I’ll see one of the midwives, too. Unfortunately, they couldn’t schedule those back-to-back, so I’ve put in PTO for that day. Not the most fun way to spend a day off, but there you have it.

Anyway, it wasn’t until we were all heading out of the building that I realized my glucose tolerance test really must have been fine because the midwife didn’t mention it and I forgot to ask. We were too busy discussing important things like how my morning sickness has been kind of rough this week and how awesome ponytails are.

The rest of the session mainly focused on birth control. Different options in the long run. What’s safe to use while breastfeeding. Pros and cons of different methods. And, honestly, it was a lot of fun. The midwife was amazed at how many hormonal versions I’d been on until I said I had dysmenorrhea. It was interesting to listen to what the others were considering – who was interested in IUDs, who didn’t want anything hormonal. (There were also multiple couples who were there as proof of how some methods fail. But they could all laugh at themselves, so it really did make the discussion pretty funny.) And, of course, talking about birth control at a Catholic hospital… Well, let’s face it, that’s always good times. Our midwife LOVES talking about birth control, especially given where she works. And do not read that last sentence with any hint of sarcasm. She really and truly loves this topic. She wants to make sure we all have birth control as part of our birth plans so that we don’t get pregnant as soon as we start having sex again. Yeah… I’m not so worried about that.

I also refrained from sharing my grandmother’s stories about IUDs. You may recall she was a neonatal nurse after the war. She and the other nurses used to joke about babies coming out holding the IUD because they saw so many women who’d gotten pregnant despite having one. One of the other women in our group appeared to be seriously considering it as an option; I decided not to scare her.

The funniest was, of course, talking about abstinence as an option because it led to the discussion of what you can do and still be abstinent. We proposed some excellent things. High fives. Fist bumps. Bro hugs.

My current plan is to see how my body does once I’m no longer pregnant. If I really did have endometriosis, this might have been what my body needed in order to heal itself. I mean, I wasn’t taking the pill for recreational purposes. Maybe my body will finally know how to have a normal period, whatever that means.

And when I got home, my new chair was in place in the living room (thanks, Daddy!), and my apartment was cleaned (thanks, Mommy!). And there was a teddy sitting in the crib. A Pooh-Bear type of teddy. The bump has its first stuffed animal.

And to change the subject completely, my mom has frequently said that she didn’t learn just how many women she knew who’d had miscarriages until she had one herself. Well, I’m finding myself in a similar situation except because of how I got pregnant, I’m now part of two communities – the infertility community and the single choice mom community. Obviously, it’s not as though I’ve hidden any of this. I haven’t exactly discussed it at work, but most people there do realize that I’m single. I had one colleague share with me how her daughter is hoping to do what I’m doing. Today, I had another colleague excitedly tell me that her daughter and son-in-law just saw their surrogate’s ultrasound. When I started this, I was so alone. But friends emailed with their fertility woe stories, and it was just comforting to know that it wasn’t just a group of strangers online who understood. It was people I knew and loved. But I didn’t know their stories until I shared mine. It’s kind of like when I was in Rome. (Yes: ROME CENTER STORY ALERT!) There were one semester students and full-year students. Without asking, we full-years found and befriended each other pretty quickly. I feel like the same is true of my life now. Even people who don’t know my full story must be feeling some vibe that tells them they can share their stories with me.

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Why I Live in an Apartment

Okay, I really wanted to name this “Why I Live at the PO”, but I don’t nor do I have an annoying niece named Shirley Temple… (Read the short story if you haven’t. It’s delightful.)

For giggles, the mechanism that tells the toilet tank that it’s full stopped working in the middle of the night. The good news is that it decided the tank was full, even when it wasn’t. The bad news is that this meant it took a reeeeeaaaaallllly long time for the tank to fill, so there wasn’t reliably enough water to flush the toilet. Not exactly something you want to discover at 1am. But since I rent, I didn’t have to figure out what was wrong or go and find the right replacement part. (Yes, of course I Googled it in the middle of the night, so I did figure out what was wrong, but I still didn’t have to deal with the fixing of it.) Nope, I have free maintenance. When I got to work, I left a voicemail at the complex office saying that it wasn’t an emergency, so someone didn’t need to come in during off-hours to fix it, but if someone could fix it while I was at work, I’d really appreciate it.

There is one thing I wish our maintenance guys carried – Post-its. It would just be nice to come home to a note on the door stating that they’d been there. But since they’d moved the bathroom wastebasket and shifted a few things on the bathroom counter, it was clear that they had been. (I also took the lid off the tank and could see the shiny, or at least as shiny as plastic gets, new part.) Yes, I am fully capable of doing basic home repairs. But it is lovely to go off to work and know that what’s broken will be fixed when I get home.

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Monday, Monday

Well, I’m back down to two bras, and it’s all Dorcas’s fault. She’s been growing increasingly unhappy with one of my three fabulous $10 Mastec finds. The only good news about this is that I purchased two tan bras and one white one, and the one Dorcas is growing out of is the white one. So at least I still have the two tan ones. But this also means the quest once again begins for a nursing bra that will accommodate the girls without costing an arm and a leg. ‘Cause I really don’t see the point in purchasing another regular-ol’ bra when I’m already 30 weeks along. (Sorry, Bronson. I know your policy is that you won’t fit anyone less than 34 weeks. Not that I planned on giving you my money anyway.)

But in good news, I had a lovely four-day weekend. And it’s really good that I took Friday off because my mom and I spent many hours sorting through the last of the boxes. Some things found homes. Some things went into my storage unit. And, yes, some things went into my parents’ basement. That last location was offered by my mom. Just thought I should make it clear that I didn’t ask for things to be stored there.

And that afternoon, my dad brought the crib over and assembled it. I still have a few things to deal with before it is really the nursery and not still a sorting zone, but it’s shaping up nicely.

Good thing, too, because I bought a chair today. At the moment, the rocking chair is in the living room. I’ve been looking for an armchair for that space, but the rocker has been filling in in the meanwhile. Well, after 11 on Wednesday, my new chair will be available for me (read my dad) to pick up. And, yes, my daddy did say he’d rather just go and pick it up without me so that he doesn’t have to wait until I’m done with Centering at 5. So by the time I get home on Wednesday, my new chair will have taken up residence in my living room. (I told him I’d move the rocking chair to the nursery.)

So things are finally coming together. I still feel like I’ve been way too busy, and unfortunately, there’s little sign of that abating any time soon. But at least the list of things that need to be done isn’t quite so overwhelming.

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I Really Can Still Do Math in My Head

Between my Centering appointment last week and my dentist appointment this week, both of which fall during the same pay period, I knew I needed to pick up some extra time so that I wouldn’t have to use PTO for either appointment. And since I took both last Friday and this Friday off and tomorrow is a holiday, that gave me three fewer days on which to pick up that extra time. So I stayed late on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday last week and on Monday this week. And I knew that I hadn’t used all of that extra time by the end of work yesterday, but I figured that meant I could leave at 3 today instead of 3:30. And then I punched out for lunch. And I did the math in my head. And I knew I must have made a mistake somewhere because the math in my head told me that I only needed to work one more hour after I punched back in from lunch. That couldn’t possibly be right. So I opened a spreadsheet and did the math there, and the spreadsheet told me the same thing. Which still couldn’t possibly be right. So I worked the calculations a slightly different way. And I got the same answer as the first way. Which was the same answer that I came up with in my head. So not only do I still have the ability to do math in my head, I was able to leave work at 2:15 today.

My car was in the shop for a brake job, but Doug called to tell me it was finished around 10, so it didn’t matter what time I left work. And my mom was available to pick me up at 2:15, so she did, and I got my car back. I estimate that in the six years I’ve owned this car, I’ve maybe put $500 in repairs on it. The used car dealer I bought it from told me he thought I really would be happier with this car (which really was exactly the car I was looking for in the first place) because it had a good service record. He wasn’t kidding. Oil changes and gas. That’s about all the money I’ve spent on it other than a new battery a few years ago and new brakes today.

Oh, and speaking of my car and doing math in my head, I only have two more payments and then my car is all mine. And I did the math in my head – a month of diaper service is slightly less than a car payment. I know where the money to pay for diaper service can come from! Of course, if you were thinking of giving me a week or two of diaper service as a shower gift, please still do. I will happily take those gifted weeks, too!

The bump did give me a bit of a… well, I’m not sure what word to use. Scare and panic are both too extreme. It was just that as I was getting ready to leave work, I realized that I hadn’t felt it move since lunch. I should add that it was one of our coordinator’s last day, so lunch included a piece of cake. That usually gets the bump to dance around a bit. And I didn’t remember that it had. So, yes, I was pleading with it to move. But I think it was really being the stinker that I’ve discovered it is. It knew we were going to see Nonna soon, so it waited until Nonna had dropped us off at the shop and we were in my car driving home. It’s been stretching and kicking pretty consistently since then. Making up for lost time, I figure.

And finally, my small American woman who comes once a week came and cleaned the flat today. She is neither a small Austrian woman nor a large Austrian woman, but she’s pretty awesome. She even folded the toilet paper in a point. I know that some people have heard about how my mom has told me that I need to let her come and clean and think that she is a “really good mom” for doing this. Please don’t say that. She doesn’t think it’s something that a “really good mom” does. (Don’t get me wrong. My mom is awesome. I am incredibly appreciative. She is really and truly a really good mom.) She wants to make it known that this is family. Part of being a family is taking care of each other. She knows that I don’t have someone to pick up the slack, and she lives close enough to help out, so she is. If I were one of my cousins and not her daughter, she would do the same thing. Because that’s what family does. So, yes, she is a really good mom, but she’s feeling overly praised for something she thinks is ordinary.

And if you don’t get my Austrian woman references, you really need to see the movie Hopscotch. One of my favorite exchanges from it takes place in Salzburg. Walter Matthau says, “Nice place. Do you have any help?” Glenda Jackson replies, “One small Austrian woman three times a week and one large Austrian woman four times a week.” My mom told me that she’s neither of those things, but one small American woman once a week is still pretty darn good, especially since it means I don’t have to smell the cleaning products.

P.S. I must be in the clear for gestational diabetes because there is no way they would have waited this long to call with my results if my glucose had been high last Friday.

P.P.S. My boss really is going to write some sections of the self-study. I put together a calendar with each of our writing goals for this month. He not only loved the schedule but asked if he’d be able to see it on his phone. My boss is not tech savvy. He’s had an iPhone for maybe two months. He’s in love with it. He can’t believe all of the things it can do. He can check his email on it. He keeps raving to me about how fabulous it is and how easy it is to use. Which is good because I’m the person he comes to when he can’t figure out how to make his computer work.

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