Monthly Archives: March 2015

What’s in a Name, Preface

March 18, 2015

I knew I wanted to use family names, whether I had a boy or a girl.  Picking a boy’s name was pretty easy:  Edward Matthias.  My dad’s dad died when I was five, and his mom died before I was born.  My great-aunt and -uncle filled their shoes. Since my brother didn’t have a boy, it was easy to decide I wanted to name a boy after Uncle Ed.  Edward was also my mom’s grandpa’s name; the two of them were very close.  (I recently learned he even took her to the World’s Fair in New York.)  Why Matthias?  Mathias is an old family name.  Generations of men have been named Mathias, including my brother.  (My parents used the alternate spelling with two Ts.)

But a girl’s name was harder.  I’d always liked Sofia because it means wisdom.  I settled on Bernice because it was both my dad’s mom’s name and my mom’s aunt’s name.

You see, I wanted the name to reflect both sides of my family.  Edward and Bernice both reflected both sides of my family.  Since Sofia was a girl, I still had a boy’s name.  But I needed to come up with a new girl’s name.

Instead of Sofia, I’d considered Hannah Genevieve.  Hannah for one of my mom’s great-great-grandmothers and Genevieve for my dad’s mom.  And I considered that again.  Except I’d already named Sofia after my dad’s mom, so I really wanted to name this baby after my mom’s mom.  I settled on Eva Lillian.  Eva for my dad’s grandmother, Lillian for my mom’s mom.

And then the inevitable happened.  You may recall the massive number of pregnancies going around.  Two of the women I work with had girls.  One named her daughter Lilian.  The other?  That’s right.  Ava.  Now, I know that my daughter will rarely, if ever, meet these girls.  But still…

As you know, I finally settled on Anna Gertrude.  More on that to come.

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Damn PTSD

March 17, 2015

All right.  My mom does keep pointing out that I’m also post-partum, so yesterday wasn’t solely the fault of PTSD. Definitely didn’t make things easier.

For the record, having a living child does not make having lost one easier.  It does not negate the grief.  Having a successful birth experience does not cure one of childbirth-trauma PTSD.

There was a tsunami yesterday.  You may remember my mom describing those times you just can’t stop crying as a tsunami.  That was me yesterday.

The second night with just Anna and me did not go quite as well.  Someone decided that she didn’t want to go to bed.  I got her down long enough for me to go to the bathroom, brush my teeth, get bottles set for quick preparation in the middle of the night, and climb into bed.  Then she decided that she was going to cry unless I was holding her.  For an hour.  It probably would have been longer, but that was when I put her in the co-sleeper with the vibration and heartbeat sound turned on.  This meant that the schedule was a bit off.  Instead of feeding at 5, she woke up at 3:30.  (And slept until 7:15…  So I pumped after the 3:30 bottle and went back to bed at 5.)  I did not sleep well.

This was particularly frustrating because I had a 10:30 appointment at the jewelers about resetting my pendant to add an amythest for Anna.  And I was exhausted.  And that usually means I just want to crash at 10.

Not that it turned out to matter.  I got to the jewelers and discovered that they’re closed on Mondays.  Now, I know I said “10:30 on Monday” when I confirmed the appointment time.  I actually sent them an email while standing in the foyer outside the store.

But that was it.  I got back to my parents’ house (they were watching Anna) and started to cry.  And I couldn’t stop.  And it was such a silly little thing.  Frustrating, to be sure, but just a little thing.

And then the diaper service called.  In the middle of my 2pm nap.  To insist that we hadn’t returned all of the diapers and covers.  Which we did.  (If I’d recognized the number, I wouldn’t have answered.)  I put my dad on the case.  (They’re also saying he returned four that we’d missed returning with the last pick-up.  Which is also wrong.  He returned one, not four.  Either they can’t count or they have us confused with another client.)  But it was still one of those little things.

It was just one of those days.  

My mom stayed last night.  (She’s feeding Anna as I write.)  My dad came for dinner.  And because my mom had Knitters’ Guild, he stayed while I took a shower and did my bookkeeping.  And then he stayed a bit longer, just to make sure I was okay.  And I was.

It was just one of those days. 

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Alphabet Soup

March 16, 2015

Whether you call it hyperemesis gravidarum (HG), nausea and vomiting in pregnancy (NVP), or morning sickness (MS), adding a diagnosis of gestational diabetes (GD) is the worst.  Especially if one also has post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).  What was particularly furstrating for me was the lack of information on HG/NVP/MS and GD.  Here’s what I found to be useful.

Thing One:  Nausea affects your blood sugar.  The days I felt sick were the days I had borderline highs.  Just remember that a borderline high is okay.  It may not be great, but it’s not terrible.  Give yourself a break.

Thing Two:  The biggest effect of my PTSD is that I didn’t (okay, don’t) sleep well.  There was a correlation between how poorly I slept and my fasting blood sugar being high.  (Again, borderline.  I figured as long as it stayed under 100 on those days that I was fine.  See the last sentence of Thing One.)  If I woke up at 2 and never fell back asleep, my fasting sugar was almost always 95-100.  If I did fall back asleep and woke up closer to 4:30 (when I’d take my anti-nausea meds and my fasting sugar), it was below 95.

Thing Three:  Be your own advocate.  If you only have borderline highs, and you’re still nauseated, and your doctor wants to start you on meds (as opposed to controlling your GD by diet alone), insist that your nausea be treated first.  Chances are good that getting your nausea under control will allow you to control your GD by diet alone.  You kind of have to be able to eat first.  Crazy, I know.

Thing Four:  If you haven’t tried B6 injections yet, do.  They may not work for everyone, but they definitely worked for me.  The pain is worth it.  (And be prepared for it to hurt.  It feels like a wasp sting.  And sometimes the sensation lingers.  Consider yourself warned.)

Thing Five:  Figure out what foods you can both stomach and that won’t raise your blood sugar.  Then plan to eat the same thing.  Every.  Day.  Yes, it gets old, but you only have to do it until you have the baby.  Fruit was my enemy.  But I could do pasta and rice.  I ate rice porridge for breakfast every morning and homemade macaroni and cheese for dinner just about every night.  (Mac & cheese is both carb and calorie-dense.  That meant I could have a small serving when I felt sick in the evenings.)  My bedtime snack was a packet of reduced sugar Maple & Brown Sugar oatmeal.  Yes, there was many an evening that I choked it down.  Snacks were frequently a rice cake or graham cracker with goat cheese or cheese and crackers.  (The fact that I couldn’t stomach raw veg made things a bit more awkward.)

Thing Six:  Contractions may cause your blood sugar to spike.  The two days before my C-section, my mac & cheese appeared to have turned on me.  But that was also the time of day that my contractions became worse and more frequent.  I did try to find if there might be a correlation.  Yes, anecdotes do not equal evidence, but forum discussions showed I wasn’t the only person having this experience.

I hope this helps.  If nothing else, it’s proof that you are not alone.  If you have any helpful advice for other women with GD as well as HG, NVP, or MS, please share in the comments.  What worked for you?

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The First Night

March 14, 2015

Well, Anna and I both seem to have survived our first night solo.  It went pretty well, all things considered.  She is, after all, only three weeks old.  One can only expect so much sleep…

But she slept in her cot crib (she’s going to be bilingual… my parents and I keep using both British and American terms for things) until around 3.  At that point she was fussy and would only stay asleep when I was rocking her.  Good for her, not so good for me.  That was when I decided that I would put her in the co-sleeper with the vibration turned on.

Now let me tell you, the vibration is particularly loud when the co-sleeper is on the bed.  (This is the first time it’s actually been used as a co-sleeper and not a basinette.)  And it vibrates the entire bed.

But it worked.  She went back to sleep, and I went to sleep.  And we both slept until about 5.

It’s now 7:30.  I’m tired, and she’s starting to wake back up.  But I was able to pump.  (Which is good.  Skipped the midnight pumping session.  Soaked my nursing pads.  Nightgown will be going in the wash.)  And I’m dressed.  And I’ve had at least a few sips of coffee.  Hair is done.  Teeth have been brushed.  

I do think, however, I’ll ask for back-up tonight.  Don’t think I’m quite ready to do two nights in a row yet.

P.S. We went to Costco yesterday.  Just about did me in.  Took three ibuprofen and a two-hour nap to recover.  I might consider two nights in a row if I weren’t still trying to bounce back from walking a wee bit too much.

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Happiness Catch-up

March 13, 2015

  1. I’m starting to get caught up on my Smithsonian reading again.  (I kind of hadn’t read anything since January…  I’m now into the March 2012 issue.  My goal is to read at least one article every day.  Takes about two weeks to read an issue, so I got through a couple of years’ worth of issues last year.)
  2. And I’m trying to get caught up on reading blog posts, too.  This would be easier if I didn’t keep getting a bunch of “new” NPR posts that are actually old.  Sure, it’s fast to skip by them, but that’s still time that could be spent reading new posts.  But I have few enough now that Feedly no longer tells me I have “499+” to read.
  3. Anna and I went to visit friends at the Civic yesterday.  We hadn’t seen Aunt Nicki (that would be awnt, not ant, per Nicki’s request) since Anna was three days old.  And, obviously, no one else at the Civic had met her yet.  But we got to see Barb and Mike, and then we went over to the main stage and saw Lynn and Kristen.  And we ran into Ben in the kitchen on our way to Preston’s office.  Village assembly has officially begun.  I have at least three friends/families who live very close and who are all happy to watch Anna while I do little things like sleep or shower.  (Thanks, Preston, Meredith, and Julie & Asa!)
  4. Since I am getting caught up on blogs, I have NPR galore to share.  First there was this interesting report about how gerbils (not rats) may have been responsible for the Black Death.
  5. Then there was this interesting report about eyelashes.  I’ve been watching Anna’s eyelashes grow, so it was particularly interesting.  (Hers appear to be red, BTW.)
  6. And what collection of NPR posts is complete without one from Linda Holmes?  In this post, she interviews a regular watch about the Apple Watch.
  7. Jordan Klepper continues to rock on The Daily Show.  He had a brilliant field report about Florida physicians being banned from discussing gun safety.
  8. And finally, John Lewis was on The Daily Show this week to discuss the 50th anniversary of Bloody Sunday and Selma.  It was a wonderful interview.  I highly recommend watching it.  The first act was good, too, but if you watch nothing else, at least watch the two parts of the on-air interview with John Lewis.  Part one is hereAnd part two is here.

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The Opinionated Child

March 11, 2015

You already know Anna’s take on breastfeeding.  She has now weighed in on the debate between cloth and dispoasable diapers.  Since we had diaper service, she has, of course, voted for disposables.

Not too long after getting home, Anna got a bad diaper rash.  Boudreaux’s Butt Paste helped, but it wasn’t until we put her in the disposables that were leftover from the hospital that it really cleared up.  Significantly.  Quickly. But we had diaper service.  So my mom quickly whipped off a couple of wool soakers to use as diaper covers.  (More on that shortly.)  And the rash came back.  Quickly.  Significantly.  So back to disposables it was, and the rash is almost gone.  Diaper service has been canceled.

This has also led to the discovery that my daughter is, apparently, part cat.  She wore the first soaker through one diaper change.  During that first diaper change, she expressed her displeasure by peeing on it.  And now we’re looking at what brand of disposables to use.  We’ve tried Pampers and Luvs, and we had a sample of Huggies.  I’d no sooner gotten that one sample under her bum when she peed on it.  If she hadn’t already peed on the soaker, it wouldn’t have been so funny when she repeated the act on the new diaper.

Yes, my child is not quite three weeks old.  But she clearly has a mind of her own.

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My Mechanic & Me

March 10, 2015

My car went in for its 60,000 mile maintenance yesterday.  That’s right.  My 10-year-old car has finally reached 60k.  <sigh> I remember those days that I lived close enought to work that I could walk…

Anyway…

When I went to pick up my car, I had the following conversation with my mechanic.

Gary:  I love your bumper sticker.

Me:  Thanks.

Gary:  You know, back when I was an altar boy, they wouldn’t even let girls do that.

Me:  When I taught at St A’s, we had both altar boys and altar girls, but they weren’t allowed to serve at the same time.  It was either all boys or all girls.  (I left out the difference in what they wore…)

Gary (rolls his eyes):  It’s time for an American Catholic Church.

‘Cause, you know, this is a normal sort of conversation to have with one’s mechanic…

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