Monday, May 20, 2013
Obviously, some of my nervousness comes from the fact that Caleb is so young. He still doesn't sleep through the night (well, maybe 1-2 nights a week he will), so I will go from no sleep while pregnant to no sleep while in the NICU to no sleep with a baby to no sleep while pregnant to no sleep with a baby (hoping to skip the NICU this time). That is a really long time to be sleep-deprived.
The other part of it is that I'm just straight up bad at being pregnant. If you don't want to know about the ugly side of being pregnant, you should skip the rest of this post. For real.
Don't say I didn't warn you.
I was so sick with Caleb that I lost weight while pregnant. People don't normally do that unless they are already pretty overweight to start with. I was probably 13-15 pounds overweight when I got pregnant, and after delivery I was 10 pounds underweight. I got a lot of comments about looking like a pregnant skeleton. The problem was I couldn't eat much of anything except salad and fish. You try gaining weight on that diet. Everything made me sick -- smells, textures, flavors. I threw up a lot. I threw up at work. I threw up in the shower. It was not fun. And then at 10 weeks, while trying desperately not to throw up in the trash can in the waiting room, I "got" to take the glucose drink test to diagnose gestational diabetes. Since I had GD, I was forbidden from the diet I would have preferred -- goldfish and Kraft macaroni and cheese -- and had to cut most of the carbs from my already limited diet. No dairy and very little fruit either.
Regardless of the fact that my body was quite sick with all the hormonal changes, I was not producing enough progesterone. Since I had had a previous miscarriage, it was determined that supplementing my already-crazy hormone levels with extra progesterone would be fun. Yay for twice-daily vaginal suppositories through week 12 that are amazingly nasty and guarantee nothing!
At 14 weeks, I gave into the nausea, and went on drugs. I was like a whole new person. It was amazing. I figured it would be short term (maybe I would be one of those women sick for -- gasp! -- 4 months instead of 3!), but every time I tried to wean myself off, I was right back to miserable and pukey. The last time I tried to stop taking them was (inadvertently) the week I ended up delivering. I took my pile of pills each night, including the anti-nauseal, and was usually able to make it through the day with just one dose. That week there was a day that I was sick all day, and figured I'd have to up my dose. Then I went to take my pills that night, and saw my cute little Zofran from the night before wedged in my little pill container, all sad that it had been missed. That's my proof the nausea wasn't psychosomatic, as some had suggested.
Zofran, while wonderful at controlling nausea, did terrible other things to my body. The constipation was so bad that I was consuming 40 grams of fiber in food each day, while taking psyllium husk supplements, and every couple of days I'd still have to take milk of magnesia to manage to do number two in 30-45 minutes. Truly miserable. For the silver lining, though, I figured I got an opportunity to practice my birthing visualizations and relaxing my pelvic floor and pushing out those enormous "butt babies." Seriously, they were so big I couldn't flush them.
My goal was a birthing center birth, so that meant I had to be "low risk". I was, however, automatically "high risk" because I'm over 35. And then I had GD, and found out that if I had to be medicated for it, that would move me up the risk ladder enough that the birth center would have to transfer me elsewhere. So, I controlled that GD with diet. It was hard, but I learned so much about what kinds of things made my body more resistant to insulin, so in addition to what I ate, I controlled my stress levels (through deep breathing, yoga, exercise, reduced hours at work, etc.). It was exhausting, but I was sure it would be worth it.
And then I up and delivered little Caleb at 32 weeks. No warnings from my body, just POP! goes the membranes, and out comes a baby, three hours later, leading to a lovely 40-day NICU stay. I could get all I-didn't-get-the-birth-experience-I-was-looking-for here, but that's not really it. It's just part of how bad I was and this whole pregnancy thing -- I couldn't even carry to close to term.
So, here I am, 8 weeks along, massively nauseous and hating my body for doing this to me. Again. I have some Zofran leftover from Caleb, so I've taken a few doses to keep from descending into the crappiness that I dealt with before. I've given up on any thought of a birthing center birth or a low-risk pregnancy. I'm hearing the same song and dance about low progesterone, and expect to be on the suppositories by week's end. But I'm hoping -- hoping!! -- that we'll see/hear a heartbeat on ultrasound later this week, and looking forward to starting to look forward to this little baby, even with all the ickiness and such that is certain to be my path for the next 5-7 months.
And since no one has told me otherwise, I'm eating goldfish for an afternoon snack. I already had mac and cheese for lunch. So sue me. I'm going to survive pregnancy as well as I can until it becomes the miserable hell that I know is coming.
Tuesday, May 07, 2013
A couple of weeks ago, I ran a 10-mile race. Well, ran is a bad word. But when I signed up for it in November, it sounded like a good idea. I was sure our family would settle into a routine where I would be able to go running on a regular basis, and paying the registration fee for a race was a sure-fire way to make sure I wouldn't bail on my need to train. Oops.
I think I ran a total of 10 miles between November and race day. Soooooooo not ready. But, I'd signed up, and so I was certainly getting the free stuff you get with running a race. And I can't wear that cool t-shirt if I didn't actually complete the event. I guess my various ingrained rules got the best of me, and so I lined up to start. I jogged the first 3 miles. I alternated jogging and walking for the next mile. Then I found a walking partner, and walked the next 3 miles. I jogged when I could and walked most of the next few miles, but I absolutely ran that last quarter mile when they take all the pictures.
Certainly not a great completion time, and definitely didn't make the time I thought I'd do when I signed up. But I finished, and now I am oddly motivated to figure out how to fit regular running, swimming and biking into my weeks. Swimming shouldn't be too bad, especially once I convice RB to hang out with Caleb in the kiddie pool while I swim some laps. And I think I'll put the bike on its stand and "ride" out on the porch or driveway while Caleb plays in the yard (that child *will* enjoy playing in the grass, if I have anything to say about it). And if we can get back to that whole sleeping-through-the-night thing, I might even be able to manage throwing him in the jogging stroller and getting out in the early morning (though, right now, the idea of getting up at 5:30 to run doesn't sound terribly appealing after being up with him at midnight and 4).
I think I can....I think I can...I think I can!
Wednesday, May 01, 2013
I was intrigued, so I researched it. Called the Master Cleanse, it is intended to remove toxins from the body and give the digestive system a rest so it can get rejuvenated and ready to go again. Toxins end up in our system from fast food, processed food, chemicals in the water, etc. Now, I don't subscribe to any of the conspiracy theories about the government trying to poison us, but I do know that a lot of the chemicals used in foods to brighten up the color or enhance the flavor haven't been around long enough to *really* know what they can do to us long-term. I really don't want to use my body as a part of that experiment, so I thought I'd give it the old college try.
I made my first attempt a couple of years ago. I tried out the concoction, and it actually tastes pretty good, and does a decent job of keeping the hunger pangs to a minimum. However, I derailed at day three when french fries were consumed in my presence. I love carbs, and I just didn't have the willpower to resist those fries. And then I moved. And then I got married. And then I got pregnant. And then I miscarried. And then I got pregnant again. And then I was pumping. Some of those were probably excuses, but several were legitmate reasons not to do, in effect, a starvation diet. So I held off. And then I did it in April. I finished all ten days of the diet with no cheating or anything. I had two really tough days in there (day four and day eight), but otherwise it was just the boredom of the same thing every day that was more of a factor than the craving of any food in particular.
I lost 9.5 pounds on the cleanse, and really felt pretty good -- energized and ready to take on the world again. When I returned to eating regular food, I have been following the diet I did while pregnant with gestational diabetes (but with occasional alcohol). Mostly, that entails eating more salad and fewer/better carbs. And I eschew most fast food (I love the word eschew, but now I want a cashew). I certainly expected my weight to go up as I added calories and solid food back into my, but it hasn't gone up much. At a week out from finishing the cleanse, I appear to have stabilized at about a 6-7 pound loss. Add to that some exercise, and I should be in good shape. My goal was drop a few pounds to reduce my likelihood for developing gestational diabetes if we get pregnant again.
So, when my period was late, I didn't give it a second thought. I figured I was essentially on a starvation diet for 10 days, and that's bound to mess up a woman's cycle. As I ate more normally again, my body would naturally start doing those things it does. And then, last night, I realized I'm now 8 days late. Like a good woman of childbearing age planning to start trying to get pregnant again this summer, I had some tests on hand. So I took one this morning -- fully expecting a negative result. Surely I'm just late because of the diet.
And then there was that faint second line. And now I feel awful. I was doing this diet right when I would have ovulated, and that's not a great start for a baby. Praying hard today that everything is okay.
Tuesday, April 30, 2013
A little background. When RB and I started dating again (that's another story for another day), things were fun and carefree between us. RB was living in Dallas and I was living in Austin, so one of us would make the trek, and we would enjoy an immensely fun weekend of lazing by the pool, eating great food, and watching movies. When we'd been dating for about 4 months, I went to Dallas for RB's birthday. The sixth Harry Potter movie was coming out that weekend, so I went up on Thursday, and both took Friday off to celebrate with a long weekend. We went out for sushi, and were ecstatic to go to bed late and know that we could sleep in like slackers playing hooky. Instead, we got a call at 6:30am from an old girlfriend of Uncle Z that he had shot himself and was at the big trauma hospital in Houston. Uncle Z posted his suicide note on Facebook for the world to see (do you know that it's impossible to get anything changed on someone else's Facebook page if you don't have their password?), so there was lots of conjecture and rumors going everywhere. Regardless of the lack of speaking, RB was obviously upset. The hospital had no record of Uncle Z coming in, their mom was heading down there, and the police wanted to talk to someone and turn over the gun to someone in the family for safe-keeping. So, he headed to Houston, eventually found his brother, was there for a week and every weekend for 3 months after that. He paid his brother's bills (including a mortgage that was 4 months behind), spent a ton of time with him and their mother, and worked with several friends to clean up the blood at the house and to fill in the holes in the walls/ceiling (he fired at least 3 rounds). Once Uncle Z was released from the hospital, he went to live with his mom, and has lived there for about 3 years now.
So, Uncle Z has some depression issues, and he's generally not a very nice person (part of why the brothers had stopped speaking years before). He's aggressive, mopey, completely unappreciative of anything anyone does for him while simultaneously being pissed when he doesn't feel like his gestures are appreciated enough (which they never are). He's miserable, and expects everyone to make every effort to make his life better. He's had 2 contract jobs since the attempt -- he ruined the first by using copyrighted material in a website that got the merchant sued and is currently ruining the second by being massively over budget and behind on every deadline since the first week. He hates his mother, so at least once a week, RB is playing mediator between the two of them (sometimes I take on the role of calming down the mom while RB takes on Uncle Z -- it's draining). At least once a month, Uncle Z can't handle his mother anymore and comes and stays with us for a week (that's my limit -- I don't care what kind of awful person that makes me, I WILL NOT have that man living with us -- he can be homeless, as far as I'm concerned). When he visits he brings his ornery dog, a rat terrier that loves to growl and snap at Caleb. So he gets to be locked up in his kennel or be outside when they come. Cause, well, this is Caleb's house, and he's not going to be pushed out by any visitors' dog.
The thing that has me worked up right now, though, is that he is now bailing on coming to our crawfish boil this weekend (we're having a crawfish boil this weekend! Woohoo!), because his mother is staying with us Friday to Sunday, and my parents are staying with us Sunday through Tuesday, so we don't have anywhere for him to stay with us. We told him this at least a month ago, and he's got friends in Austin (that are also coming to the boil, so we know they're in town), but rather than calling them and asking if he can crash there, he's now saying we didn't really want him to come, so he's throwing a 40-year-old man tantrum. That's the best way I have to describe it. Every time my family comes to town, I have to make them stay in a hotel, because Uncle Z and my mother-in-law can't figure out how to do that. I refused to do that this time. I gave everyone ample time to figure it out (heck, Houston isn't even that far -- he could drive in Sunday morning and drive back that evening -- it's only 2-2.5 hours!), so I hate being made out to be the bad guy just because he's wanting to be a small child. He comes by this behaviour naturally. Their dad hasn't been in our lives because he doesn't feel that RB really "meant" the invitation to the wedding, so he's been pitching a fit ever since. Has never met his only grandchild, though we've invited him to the Bris and the baptism, and we send him pictures. I guess the apple (Uncle Z) doesn't fall far from the tree (father-in-law).
Oh geez. This was quite the rant. All this to say, it's very tiring, though there's a tiny part of me that's happy I may not have to deal with him this weekend (but only tiny, because he will make us pay for us making him feel "unwelcome"). I know you don't marry a person, you marry their family. And believe me, this family gave me pause. But we will get through this, too. RB is so incredibly patient with his brother. I've been studying the book of James with my women's Bible study group, and I keep being reminded of James 1:2-4:
Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.I know we're being readied for a strong-willed teenaged (or earlier) Caleb or some other patience-trying fun. The "completing" process, though, is really no fun and is never complete. I want to get to that not-lacking-anything place, but I'm not sure that I can survive the refining process. And I'm having trouble finding the joy in this trial.
Friday, April 26, 2013
I'd been lamenting to friends that he hadn't started "conversing" with us, and didn't seem to respond when I came into daycare unless he could see me. I was told that I was overreacting, and that he was just being stubborn and ornery early, and I should just get used to being ignored. I'm his mother, after all.
But it still didn't seem right. So, when he had his 6-month (adjusted) developmental appointment with the high-risk clinic, I asked them about it. Maybe he's just not responsive to you, they tell me. They clap in front of him. He smiles. I point out that he's very responsive to things he sees, and he loves watching people. They ring a bell in his ear. He turns, but I still think it's more because he saw the bell out of the corner of his eye. So they tell me to say his name from behind him. No response. I mention that on a recent morning, he was awake in his crib, but laying on his stomach facing the wall. I walked in and sat right in front of the crib and talked to him, and he never turned his head. Maybe it's just your voice, they say. They call his name. No response. Finally, they decide there may be something to what I'm saying and they refer us to a pediatric ENT.
Fast forward a couple of weeks. We go to the ENT, and Caleb is in an extra fussy mood. We get asked about ear infections (none) and medications (lots for the lungs/wheezing), and then Dr. S. gets to looking in Caleb's ears. He says nothing, and sends us down the hall to the audiologist. We sit quietly, and she says things at various decibel levels through several speakers in the little soundproof room. Then there are beeps. Caleb has his head firmly fixated watching the audiologist the whole time. She says he is young, and probably doesn't understand what we are asking him to do. She pulls out a little wand and explains how she will test how well his eardrums are moving. We hold Caleb down and she does her thing. She's sure the measurement is wrong and tries again. And again. She writes some things down, and then shows us the graph. I don't have an actual picture, but my (bad) artist rendering is something like this:
I'm being deliberately macabre, here. He passed his newborn hearing screen, so we know his brain is wired for hearing. He just has so much fluid in his ears that he can't get any vibration in there. We're trying antibiotics first, but if that doesn't work, we're probably looking at tubes.
The only thing I worry about with tubes is whether he can still go swimming in a pool this summer. Anyone with experience who can tell me we'll still be able to dunk him in all kinds of chlorinated goodness?
Thursday, April 25, 2013
Turns out I'm having trouble fitting in the things I *want* to do with all the things I *have* to do. So, something has to move around and make room.
I'm making room.
I have tons I want to write about. Partly because there is lots of stuff that I need to get out of my brain and process on a screen, but also partly because I need to re-find my way to what kind of blogging I will do now that my life is rather different in many ways.
Here goes nothing.
Saturday, February 23, 2013
Check it out! I'm blogging from my phone! Who knew there would be an app for that?
Now, it's just a matter of whether I really want to write posts on my phone, what with the annoying autocorrects it tries to force on me and the thumb cramps that are inevitable.n the plus side, though, I'm laying in bed with my computer in the other room, and I'm still able to post. That's a pretty sweet tradeoff, and just might be worth the thumb cramps.
So, now that I've entered the realm where the smartphone intersects the blogosphere, you just might hear from me more often.