Friday, June 29, 2007

Wordy Meme, Baby Drama

AmandaD did this meme on her blog I wanted to write a post today, but I didn't know how to start it without being pathetic. So this works. Feel free to use the meme for yourself. It's a nice exercise. The point is to only use one word answers. I cheated a couple of times by making up words or hyphenating. Forgive me.

1. Where is your cell phone? Toybox.
2. Relationship? Tender.
3. Your hair? Uninspiring.
4. Work? Bland.
5. Your sister? Stubborn.
6. Your favorite thing? Mommyhood.
7. Your dream last night? Unknown.
8. Your favorite drink? Water.
9. Your dream car? Organized.
10. The room you're in? Cubicle.
11. Your shoes? Flops.
12. Your fears? Anna-gone.
13. What do you want to be in 10 years? Happy.
14. Who did you hang out with this weekend? Boys.
15. What are you not good at? Pancakes.
16. Muffin? Tops.
17. One of your wish list items? Comfort.
18. Where you grew up? Woods.
19. Last thing you did? Peed.
20. What are you wearing? Support.
21. What aren't you wearing? Style.
22. Your pet? Available.
23. Your computer? Borrowed.
24. Your life? Changing.
25. Your mood? Worried.
26. Missing? Calm.
27. What are you thinking about right now? Eleven-thirty.
28. Your car? Stinky.
29. Your kitchen? Stinkier.
30. Your summer? Watery.
31. Your favorite color? Benskin.
32. Last time you laughed? Gossip.
33. Last time you cried? Car.
34. School? Uninterested.
35. Love? Yup.

I'd like to think I'm not a whiny, drama-packed person. I'd like to be calm and stable. Everytime I get upset about something, I try to step back and make a decision about whether or not it's worth being upset. Sometimes, I'm able to stop the drama there. Other times, I'm swept away. When I get ready to journal/blog, I pick and choose what I want on there. What do I want out on the web that represents my life right now? So I share some of the drama because excluding it all wouldn't be real, wouldn't be honest. And for the most part, the drama-less times of my life are hard to blog about because there's only so many ways I can describe the magic of Ben's smile or the pure, unadulterated joy of Benji Bath Time.

From my meme, though, you can probably figure out that life isn't very happy right now. And it's not. It's full of worry and anxiety and fear and pain.

Wednesday afternoon, I started getting BH contractions more than once an hour, lasting for about ten minutes each, radiating to different parts of my torso. Being a responsible pregnant lady, I logged them all, trying to identify what I was feeling and where. By the end of the day, I had put a folded blanket on my seat to cushion my heiny because it kept going numb and was very sore.

Thursday is when the fun started. Early on in the morning, I did a few undie-checks to make sure I wasn't bleeding. I had felt some "dribbling" but I didn't think it was pee. I chalked it up to girlie moisture and went on with my day. Shortly after lunch, my pelvic region started aching and I felt lots of sharp, stabbing pains in my groin area that spread down my thighs and back again. By three, when I finally called my doctor's office, it felt EXACTLY like it had right after I gave birth. Basically like I had slammed my crotch into a brick wall at 80 mph. Walking was agony, but so was sitting.

My doctor wasn't in and couldn't be reached, though they tried since she doesn't like to pass off her OB patients to the on-call doctor. They finally assigned me someone at 4, and the nurse called me back. At first she figured it was just round ligament pain, but when I described the pain as something I felt right after birth, she and the on-call doc got worried. So I was told to go home and be on bedrest for the rest of the night and to see my doctor the next day.

I cried a lot. I was worried and anxious and scared. By bedtime, the couple hours I had spent horizontal had helped and I wasn't limping anymore. I was tender, but not nearly as pain-wrecked. By morning, I was fine. I'm stiff and awkward, but I'm not in a lot of pain. I get twinges of it every once in a while, but I'm okay. I see my doctor at eleven-thirty this morning. So I'm here at work, playing online, proofing what I can reach, and keeping my feet up and my back relaxed.

Worst case scenario? Pre-term labor which isn't even called pre-term labor until I hit 20 weeks on Monday. Losing my precious baby girl would just be called a miscarriage, which makes it feel less significant, and I hate that.

Probable scenario? SPD or the separation of my pelvic bones. Caused by relaxin. They can't do much for it besides physical therapy and pain medication, and it might make a vaginal birth difficult. I had relaxin issues with Ben. By my seventh month, my wrists had loosened so much that they kept dislocating while I slept. I had to sleep with wrist bands on to keep them in place.

What I don't want to hear? That it's normal and I'm overreacting.

So I'm waiting and monitoring. Feeling okay this morning is reassuring, but now I feel like I maybe hallucinated yesterday.

The rest of my non-baby drama? My brother and his wife are at an impasse with my sister and her husband. They had a fight a couple weeks ago, and though both parties have officially apologized, the grudges remain, and they haven't resumed their usual, day-to-day relationship. I don't really care, but it upsets my mom, and that makes me upset. I get to ignore it and only have to be involved when my mom calls to vent. We are a VERY stubborn family, and we've perfected the fine art of grudge-holding. It's a talent that is passed down through the generations. Seriously. My mom isn't speaking to her siblings either. Since the current argument was over something not incredibly important or vital, eventually the affected parties will decide to move on and exist in denial that the rift ever occurred. The relationship will be stilted for a while, but that's how we roll.

I'll post again this afternoon to give a quick update on what my doctor said at the appointment.

Update: My doctor suspects I'm producing too much relaxin, the pregnancy hormone that relaxes the ligaments to prepare the body for birth. It's causing my pelvis to separate early and more than necessary. There's nothing that can be done. Just tylenol and rest when the pain starts. Good news is that it probably won't cause pre-term labor, which is good, since Baby Anna is 6 weeks away from being a NICU candidate. So I'll be relaxing a lot this weekend and trying not to stress out my hips. Wish me luck.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Introducing the Baby and a Quiet Heart

We've been stepping up our efforts to acclimate Ben to the idea of a little sister. Of a baby in the house. Of the life change that is coming.

Chester and I have been doing this by talking about babies, talking about being a big brother, etc. You get the idea. We have books about the topic, but Ben's never been very good at letting anybody read him books. He'd rather play with the pages.

On Saturday, we went on a mini shopping spree to Target to buy pink stuff. Aside from a collection of pink onesies and sleepers, I picked out a baby doll for Ben. While it was still in the box, he was hugging it and kissing it. I called it "Baby Anna." When we got home, he continued with the baby love, carrying the doll around with her head tucked under his arm.

By Sunday evening, though, Baby Anna was head first in Ben's new potty chair. We'll have to keep an eye on that kid.

As I predicted, the pregnancy feels a lot more real to me now. In many ways, it's scarier, because now I know what I'd be losing if something goes wrong. I have a log now to keep track of my contractions. They still upset me, but I'm trying to have a better attitude about them. And I'm trying to take it easy. It's tough at work, though, because I can't exactly lie down and rest in the middle of the day. All I can do is sit, which I'm doing almost constantly anyway. Oh well. One day at a time.

My best friend Mary came over for a couple of hours on Thursday evening when Chester went kayaking. It was nice, though strange for me to have someone to talk to. I have friends at work, but I don't share anything other than the day-to-day stuff with them. Mary is different. She's like therapy. I'm expected to really "share" with her. Divulge my soul. Bare my heart. I guess that's what best friends are for. But I'm not really used to that anymore. And frankly, my still waters aren't really running that deep lately. So we mostly talked about her. And that's just fine with me. I love her to pieces.

Chester always teases me about how I try to keep up fences and walls between me and the rest of the world. (My blog is ironic). When I first started working at the company where I work now, I was friendly and outgoing, but I didn't eat with my co-workers or socialize outside of work. I'm still like that. It's my thing. Anyway. Mary was drawn to me. She started coming to my cubicle to visit for an hour at a time. We talked about our families, our likes and dislikes, etc. The basics.

Eventually, we got together outside of work. Not often, but enough. She had wormed herself into my heart. And she's stayed.

But I'm still maintaining the walls between me and the rest of the crowd. I open up to my blogging friends now. It gives me an outlet to share without any real risk of betrayal or hurt or real vulnerability. I'm not lonely, but my heart is quiet and I like that calm.

Friday, June 22, 2007

A Girl Grows In Wisconsin

Quick post to give you all the verdict. It's a girl!

Everything looked good on the ultrasound. It was a lot of fun... and I've been giggling ever since.

Have an awesome weekend everybody!

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Keep An Eye On That

Cue the crazy pregnancy dreams. They are very insane. Amusing, sure. But I think I'm going crazy. At least I have plenty of fodder if I ever wanted to write a major motion picture script.

Tuesday night was full of nightmares and strangely lucid dreams. The first time around, I dreamed that Ben was sucked into this crazy scenario with a serial killer who ended up amassing about sixty children in a large gymnasium type room, only to burn the place down. Bad dream. The second time, I was semi-lucid, and I was able to insert myself into the scenario and try to work out a plan to save the children. Of course since I was dealing with a crafty serial killer, I was at a disadvantage, even if I knew what the intended outcome was. I managed to run from the burning building with Ben in my left arm and two smaller babies tucked under my right arm. I had managed to alert the authorities beforehand, and fire trucks were quickly on hand. I kept running with Ben, though, so I never found out what the final toll was. See. Told you it was crazy and motion-picture-ish.

In other news... we had our 18-week checkup yesterday afternoon. Finally told my OB about all the contractions I've had lately. "Keep an eye on that," she said. Okie-dokie. Will do. And, after four long agonizing minutes of her rubbing the doppler all over my belly... she finally tracked down the heartbeat. Little one apparently has stage fright. But we heard it. *SIGH OF RELIEF*

Our ultrasound appointment is Friday afternoon at two. I'm taking the afternoon off from work that day, so I won't be able to post the results until later that evening when husband gets back from work.

And I think Chester might be finally coming around to liking the boy name I have picked out. He hadn't liked it up until this morning, but he seemed to be warming up to it. Andrew John. It's my mom's favorite name and what she would have named me if I had been a boy (and my dad didn't get his way and name me "Truck"). Andy John. Anyway. That's that.

But of course I'm still hoping for a girl. If it was my choice, and it's not, that's what I'd pick. A few family members have had dreams about my fetus being a girl, so maybe that's actually what is in there. A little Anna Kathryn. We'll see.

And we'll be pleased with whatever ends up coming out of my uterus at the end of this pregnancy.

In "Ben is the cutest toddler in the world" news, I took him outside last night in the rain. He was wearing his galoshes and a diaper. I held an umbrella over us, and I had to teach him how much fun it is to jump in the puddles. He got very excited, which was kind of dangerous. We live on a busy street, and I was nervous about him running out of my grasp while we were so close to the road. We weren't out there for very long, but he laughed a lot. A meltdown ensued when I dragged him back in the house, but he was quickly mollified by the warm bath Dad had waiting for him.

Ben and I are on our own tonight as Chester kayaks up the river with some friends. I don't have much planned except for clipping his fingernails and watching television. Ben pretty much puts himself to bed, so I'm not expecting much drama. Chester informs me that Ben crawls up the stairs on his own, climbs into bed, locates his nuk, lies down and then covers himself with his blanket. All Daddy has to do is say "good night" and turn on the lullabye music. We'll see if Ben will perform that trick when it's Mommy. I kind of doubt it.

This weekend, we'd like to get to the Splash Pad at one of the local parks. It's basically a concrete area with a bunch of different waterfalls, sprinklers, etc. No standing water, so it's pretty safe for the little kids. And only fifty cents a person. We tried to go there last Sunday, but the water was turned off as we were getting Ben out of the car. I guess there was a tornado watch. Pshaw.

The only planned activity/appointment is the Editorial Department BBQ on Sunday. It's bring-your-own-meat-and-beverage-and-a-side-dish-to-share. Should be amusing. Boss lady will be bringing her son who is six months older than Ben. Hopefully they'll play nicely together. It'll be nice to meet the significant others of all the other people in the department. I'm making a slow cooker bean recipe for the side dish. And bringing KFC cole slaw.

Did I tell you I get to find out the gender of my little baby tomorrow? Did I tell you I'm kind of excited? AHHHHH. The wait is agony.

Monday, June 18, 2007

18 Weeks and More Fun Ben Stories

What have I been up to? Eh. Same old. Trying to stay cool. Enjoying Ben and my husband. Working. The usual.

This is the week that we get to make our ultrasound appointment. That's right, folks. I'm 18 weeks pregnant already. My OB should give us the go-ahead to schedule the anatomy ultrasound after our appointment on Wednesday afternoon. I'm very excited to learn the gender... but there's quite a large part of me that's very frightened.

Why? We haven't heard the heartbeat yet. When we first didn't hear the heartbeat at 10 weeks, I had a quick ultrasound a couple days later, and I saw the heart beating. But since then? Nothing. My OB can't find it yet. And I haven't really felt a lot of movement, which is kind of weird for a second baby.

My belly seems to be getting bigger. At least that's what my husband says. So how do I know that everything's okay? I don't. My biggest reassurances are that I haven't started miscarrying and I'm still having pregnancy symptoms like nausea, exhaustion and frequent urinating.

So if another OB visit goes by and we can't hear the heartbeat... I may lose it. Go ballistic. That's that. Okay. Onward.

Ben is, of course, a total delight. He's getting funnier every day. Yesterday morning he entertained us by walking into the living room with his green crocodile galoshes on, a diaper, and a sailor hat on inside-out and covering his eyes. Then he started to dance. It was like a very strange Village People performance. This morning, we gave him a rubber thomas train toy to play with in the car on our way to daycare. We've been teaching him "chugga-chugga-choo-choo" for a while, and all he has down is the "choo-choo" part. So it was "tsu-tsu" all the way to Amber's house. High-pitched and emotive.

We went to a birthday party on Saturday, and he went wild playing with all the toys. They even had a swingset/tree house/slide combo in the backyard... which he fell out of and scraped his cheek. Now he has a bruise there as a souvenir. And yesterday, he split his lip open at the hardware store with Daddy. It's tough to be Ben sometimes, but it doesn't seem to wreck his good nature.

Another new thing he's doing... we have one cabinet in our kitchen that doesn't lock on its own. The handles are the old-fashioned kind with a built-in clicky lock. The one that won't click is right under the sink. The undersink area is split by a shelf in the middle. Ben has learned, though, that he has enough head room to sit on that shelf and then use the towel bar on the door to pull it closed. He'll disappear in there for a while and start yelling and banging the door open and shut. Over and over again. It's quite amusing.

In other news, I totally ruined the beef stew I lovingly threw together to feed my family last week. First, the potatoes weren't done by dinner time because I had turned the slow cooker down to low at noon when I put them in. Then, in an effort to had some flavor since it was kind of bland and flavorless, I put in some Kitchen Bouquet beef browning stuff. But I read the directions incorrectly. I thought I read 3 TBS when it was really 1/2 tsp. That's a big difference. So I had a very dark brown, oily sauce that didn't have much flavor at all. I cried. I was really looking forward to it. After serving it for dinner the next night, I dumped the rest out in the trash. Better luck next time. In reality, I should have added some beef broth or boullion cubes or more worchestershire sauce.

My mom makes hers in the microwave in a big ceramic dutch oven. I think I may have to measure out my microwave and invest in one.

This week we're having spaghetti, and tonight I might make a meat loaf and some baked potatoes to have on hand for a couple of days.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

The Many Joys of Ben

My boss is lucky I've been so busy this morning. No time to write my letter of resignation. I think I've mentally shouted, "I quit," at least a dozen times (I've said it out loud to at least three people who don't matter).

Co-worker: Cheryl, can you help me...
Cheryl: Sorry. That's it. I quit.
Co-worker: OK. So I need such and such...

No. I'm not actually going to resign yet. I just had a bad morning. And I miss my boss. She was gone yesterday and won't be back until this afternoon, so I'm doing my job, her job, and the job of the open position that's in our group. I'm not fond of the situation, but the morning is almost over. I'm obviously taking a break right now to blog. They can all bite me.

I've had a couple of frustrating days with Ben, so I decided this morning I would write a post today about all of the things that he's doing now that I love. So here it goes.

I love our early morning cuddles when I drag myself up the stairs to keep him company until Daddy comes up to carry him down. We nestle together in a club chair and listen to music. When Daddy comes up, we'll all play for a little bit. This morning it was catch, though most of it was "Monkey in the Middle." Ben didn't mind. He thought it was absolutely nifty that Mommy and Daddy both love the same game that he loves.

Last night we had our first family sit-down dinner together. We had finally broken down and bought him a booster seat for the dining room table. So last night, though we were late getting home because we went grocery shopping first, and it was just Fazolis and not a home-cooked meal, we sat together and ate. And wow... did we notice a change in Ben! It was kind of funny. He had been fussy and whiny, but he instantly mellowed out and really enjoyed the meal. He kept looking back and forth between hubby and me, watching our faces, listening to us talk. I loved the contented expression on his face.

Ever since I was little, I've had a penchant for putting things on my head. Sure, sometimes it's hats and veils... but usually it's random items like pillows, pans, buckets and bowls. I find that it makes me feel more centered to balance something on my head. So I've been a goofball with Ben and will suggest that some toys and items are actually hats. "Ben, is the bucket a hat?" Ben, look at Mommy's hat (sock)!" And now he does it on his own. If he's playing somewhere else in the house, he'll come running to where I am and proudly show me what he put on his head. I find it charming.

Whenever music plays during a commercial, a tv show, on the radio, Ben starts to dance. And he doesn't have a lot of grace or groove yet. His dancing usually involves him playing air drums with his hands, raising one knee at a time and jerking his head from side to side. (I think he learned it from Chester.) Sometimes it catches me off guard. Really. Anytime there's a few bars of music, he dances. He'll do it for me even if there's no music. I say, "Dance, boy, dance!" And he does. Of course he loves it more if we get up and dance with him.

Last Friday, I had to give Ben a bath when Chester was out kayaking. Usually, bathtime is Daddy's time to focus on the boy. But that night, the joy was mine. And Ben learned a new trick. Sure, it's not the safest thing you can do in a bathtub, but it sure looked like fun, and it got Mommy very wet indeed. He'd stand up, jump a little and fall down on his butt with a huge splash. Over and over again. Like a mini cannonball. Tonight is bath night again, and Chester gets the joy of experiencing Ben's new talent.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Back on the Zo.

This was a weird week, and I'm glad it's finally Friday. TGIFF.

Summer is one of the busiest seasons for us in the catalog proofreading business because we're eyeball-deep in production of fall catalogs. I've been working my tail off.

Ben had a checkup on Tuesday as a follow-up on his weird, funky rash last week and his bronchial spasms a month ago. I was brave and told the doctor that we couldn't easily afford his Pulmicort, and she suggested a new treatment plan. So now he's on Singulair every day, Pulmicort once a day when he has a cough, Pulmicort 2x a day and Albuterol when he's wheezing. The Singulair is a quarter of the cost of Pulmicort, so we're very happy. Hopefully, Ben will respond well. So far so good.

Ben and I had a power struggle over dinner last night. It was the first time I served him chili because I wasn't sure he'd like it last time I made it. I took a chance. He refused it point blank when I offered it to him, so I just told him that no, he wouldn't be getting more graham crackers, and I turned my back and did some dishes. I peeked a minute later, and he was wolfing it down. He's not that great with a spoon, especially for entrées with liquid content, but he managed. He loved it so much that he picked up all the pieces he dropped and ate those as well. He let me help him scrape the bowl, and then he devoured another bowl of the stuff. Homerun for mommy. Nice, full belly for the Ben Boy. It was a little messy, and he ended up with chili juice in his neck crease and he had to be stripped immediately after, but we survived.

As for me. Well. This week sucked. It started off badly when the 10-pound bag of Idaho potatoes we had on the kitchen floor decided to start leaking. One of the potatoes at the bottom was bad, and it liquified during the night, causing a moldy ick slick across the kitchen floor. We threw out the bag and mopped, but the smell remains. It's disgusting. I'm going to get a stronger floor cleaner this weekend and hope that takes care of it.

I've also been having baby issues. I'll tell you my symptoms, but first I'll tell you how I treated them. I called the doctor's office, and I went back on Zoloft. I kept growing more and more tense this week with fear over losing the baby, and I was suspicious it was that old anxiety disorder resurfacing. It's a chemical imbalance, and I can't just relax it away all the time. So I'm back on the happy drugs. We'll see how things change. The symptoms can all be normal pregnancy symptoms, but spun the wrong way can spell danger. I took the risk and labeled them "normal" and my feelings about them "abnormal."

I've been having across-the-belly contractions where my whole abdomen tenses up suddenly and holds the contraction for minutes at a time. It's hard to walk when it's happening, and it leaves me with a very sore, tender belly. They don't come on a regular basis, but I haven't been keeping track.

Let's make that a bit scarier by adding the tingly feeling I get in my cervix after the contraction eases. Try looking that symptom up online and all you'll find is warnings about genital herpes. I teased my husband about it, but he didn't find it funny.

And yesterday, I swore I was spotting when I wiped after peeing. In retrospect, I figured out that it was just bleed-through from the recycled content of the toilet paper.

I've still felt the baby moving. And it feels like there's a balloon resting in my pelvic bone that keeps trying to inflate more. My anxiety rests more in the concept that my body won't be able to carry the baby to term, not that there is anything wrong with the baby. And the anxiety is overwhelming. I'm hoping that the Zoloft will help me have a better perspective on things, and I can start really looking forward to the baby rather than just hating the pregnancy. I'll let you know how that works out.

Quick gossip about Ben's old daycare. We saw a couple of his old daycare teachers at the grocery store the other day, and they had quite the stories to tell. Ben's favorite teacher had her paycheck bounce. Twice. Which of course caused her rent check and car payment to bounce. The director was unwilling to make amends over any of the late fees, so the teacher quit after her shift. Another girl is still working there, but desperately trying to find a new job so she can quit. And Ben's other teacher already put in her notice. A lot of people are really disgusted with what's been happening during the "transition" to the new way of running things. We're glad we're gone.

Our current daycare lady has a history with the director of the center. The director started out by having an inhome daycare, and that's where Amber sent her kids when they were babies. Not for that long, though. The director kept raising the rates every other month, insisted on a security deposit for each child, and kept raising the amount needed for the deposit. The current children had to make additional security deposit payments. It seemed like she was always have financial difficulties. And those difficulties seem to be a lifelong trial for her, since that's what's troubling her with her group center. I'm glad she's out of our life, even though we never actually met her.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Pelvic Gyrations, Buzz Cut Weekend

This little peanut of mine has now started to act just like its older brother Ben. I remember how uncomfortable it was when Ben refused to get his head out of my pelvic bone. He never did the total somersaults, though he did spin around and flail quite a bit. Throughout most of his time in the womb, he remained head down, pressed right up against my cervix.

And now this little one is starting down the same path. While there's at least four inches of uterus available now above my pelvic bone, this baby has been twisting and turning down low all morning. While the baby isn't big enough to really make it feel like my hips are about to break, I'm definitely getting the sensation that it's possible.

I'm trying to put a positive spin on this. At my last doctor's appointment two weeks ago, we couldn't find the heartbeat AGAIN. And yet I haven't started to miscarry, and my belly seems to keep growing, so I have to assume everything is moving smoothly along. And while I could convince myself that the kicks and nudges I've felt over the last couple of weeks are just gas, it's hard to mistake these acrobatics taking place right now.

So that's what the baby has been up to.

Ben on the other hand has been terrific. We went to the waterpark on Saturday, and he had a blast. Loved splashing and going down the slides in the baby section. We played hard for two hours.

He stayed awake for the twenty minute car ride home, but tripped on his way into the house. And, lying there flat on his face, he decided it would be a good place for a nap. We hoisted him back up to his feet and said he had to get ALL THE WAY into the house. And he walked to the far side of the kitchen, laid down, and closed his eyes. Completely tuckered out.

Yesterday, he woke up with the idea that we should immediately go outside and play (at 5:30 in the morning). Since the weather wasn't really cooperating, we stayed in until late afternoon when we took him to get his hair cut at the new place in town that caters exclusively to children. He had a wonderful time and got his first buzz cut! I think his favorite part was the balloon they gave him when we were leaving. That poor balloon put up with a bunch of abuse until it finally gave up and popped itself out of existence shortly after dinner. I almost peed myself at the pop, and Ben cried in misery for about three seconds.