Friday, August 09, 2013

Starting to Discuss

The way we've decided to talk through the adoption process probably isn't the way other couples might do it. But, we do what we do, and I may as well put it out there.

We found an agency through my church, and downloaded their adoptive parents pre-questionnaire. The first pages are easy enough -- questions about us, our ethnicity, jobs, religion, health, age, etc. Then there are the pages about what kinds of children we would be interested in adopting. This is a really loaded part of the questionnaire, because who wouldn't want to adopt any child who needed them? But it's harder than that. This isn't a matter of pulling up to the drive-through at McDonalds and ordering up your perfect kid. But it is about what kinds of adoptive issues you're prepared to deal with. And going through these questions are helping us sort through our reasons for adopting and have good conversations about our fears and hopes for how this process may go. Anything that fosters honest conversation is a win in my book. It may take us a long time to work through that questionnaire, but at the end of it, I think we will have a much better idea of what we want to do next with it.

For example, the first question asks about the race of the child. We'd all like to believe we are colorblind and none of us are racists, only willing to adopt a child that looks like us. On the other hand, if we adopt a child of a different race, everyone knows we've adopted that child. Say we adopt a black child. We will get every manner of question from random strangers who might ask (right in front of the child, no less) whether we love Caleb more than our adopted child, or if we didn't believe that the black community would have been a better place for that child, or who knows what else. Do we need to be showy about the fact that we've adopted? Or would it be better not to attract the immediate attention of people around us because we're a "different" looking family? Would it be better for the child to be able to plausibly blend in rather than sticking out? Would we be lining them up to be rejected by their black peers for having a white family while also being rejected by their white peers for not being white? Or does this require everyone around us and them to have to figure out how to make the world a better place for people of all races? And as long as we're talking about "better," better for whom? Is it better for that child to grow up in foster care? Shuffled from family member to family member? Not having anyone to call "mom" and "dad"?

Ultimately, we decided there are only two options. Either we are only willing to adopt a white child, or race doesn't matter. We couldn't think of any reason we would be willing to adopt a black child but not an Asian child or a Native American/Hispanic child. So, we're either wanting to make it look to a stranger that we have a "natural" family, or we're okay with random people looking at us and knowing we have an adopted child. There were a lot of options on that list, but finally, we checked the "Any" box.

I don't think we have rose-colored glasses about what that could mean. We know it will be hard, and we will deal with rudeness. But the thought of rejecting a child from being part of our family simply because of the color of his or her skin just broke us down. We couldn't do that if we could provide them with a better life.

Tuesday, August 06, 2013

New Thoughts on Family Making

So, we've had a crazy month in my little family. Caleb turned one, had hand-foot-and-mouth disease, fell on his head and broke his collarbone. RB got a sinus infection. I had my first post-D&C period which became a suspected ectopic pregnancy. Too much. Really, just too much.

RB is doing better, Caleb is almost all healed up and nearly walking, and I survived my period. One thing I didn't expect, though, was that when we were looking the possibility of dead baby #3, I realized I'm not sure I can deal with that. Sure, I am not real excited about being pregnant again. But the risk that that abysmal pregnancy could turn into not a live baby that I can take home at the end of it is really still there. I have no reasons for my two miscarriages. I don't know if I can take the diagnosis of habitual aborter that comes with a third. Seriously. Who in the medical community thought that was a good name for people who have recurring miscarriages?

At the end of the day, between the likelihood that I would be sick for 9 months (or however long I manage to carry another baby) and the likelihood that I wouldn't be able to carry the baby long enough to get it to viability, we've started talking about other options.

I've always wanted to adopt. There are just too many babies out there who need good homes. And we could be one of them. I have never felt like I would have to be biologically connected to a child to love it and bond with it. We just didn't pursue it right off, since my initial research showed that having been married less than 2-5 years put us in an unlikely-to-be-considered camp. I've since found that to fall in the not-strictly-true camp, but that's what started us on trying to have a biological child. Faster, less red tape, and a smaller likelihood that we would deal with the emotional roller coaster that is adoption.

But now we're on an emotional roller coaster regardless. And we've been married the amount of time at which many of the agencies in our area will consider us. So, we're reconsidering the possibility.

I don't want to give the impression that adoption is easier or somehow a fall-back option or anything like that. It just wasn't an option for us before, and it is now. I'm not even entirely sure if this is what we want to do. Heck, there are days we aren't sure we should even add another child to our brand of crazy. But I want to think it through and make sure we don't have a defaulted decision by aging out or otherwise delaying until it's impractical. I'm still learning all the ways that I have to be delicate in talking about something like this, but I have to start putting pen to paper in order to process this decision.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Dark Can Be Funny, Right?

This pregnancy wasn't planned. We had started talking about the possibility of trying this summer to give Caleb a little sibling, but we hadn't entirely agreed on that timeline. No, we weren't preventing. But considering it took us months to get pregnant before, while actively charting, I didn't really think we were in the market for an Oops. And, yet, that's precisely what happened.

Pregnancy was so far off my radar that I was 10 days late before I even thought to test. Not 10 days past ovulation, but 10 days after I was supposed to get my period. And I'm one of those clockwork cycle ladies.

But we started to adjust to the idea of two under two, RB and I did. And we joked about Caleb's baby twin sisters, because three under two is even more funny. We figured out the baby would be due on New Years' Eve, and so we nervously laughed about our Halloween baby. The only thing funnier than three under two, apparently, is two babies in the NICU with a 15-month-old at home.

As we adjusted and warmed to the idea of trading the Mini Cooper for a minivan, we were starting to actually get excited about this little pickle we'd gotten ourselves into. We codenamed the baby "Inchworm" (Caleb was "Tadpole" until he was 4 days old), and we started to talk about room adjustments and carseat purchases and whether a third baby was in the cards for the future.

However, my progesterone numbers were falling. Not terribly surprisingly, yesterday afternoon the doctor couldn't find a heartbeat anywhere. At 8 weeks, it shouldn't be hard to find a heartbeat, so the pregnancy has been officially called non-viable. We have a D&C scheduled for next week, and then we'll let my body recover before diving into trying again.

In a world where a quarter of all pregnancies end in miscarriage, and a world where some people never have one, there are some of us doomed to have more. No one ever plans to be in the 3-pregnancies-1-child camp, but here I find myself. At least I do have that one child, and he is such a joy. I can't lose sight of that, even though times like this are hard.

So, now that my dark sense of humor is clear, and since I obviously cope oddly, I have to share this song whose slightly modified version is stuck in my head:

Go ahead and watch it. It's only about 2 minutes long. I'll wait.

And you're welcome. I can now virtually guarantee this song will be stuck in your head, too. Because, well, dead babies aren't much fun, either, but the song is catchy.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Why Being Pregnant Scares Me

So, yeah, still (probably) pregnant. Still in a bit of denial here.

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

Getting Back to Running

I gotta get in shape. No, really. I gotta.

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

Cleansing the Body

Years ago, a coworker did this crazy diet -- he consumed nothing but lemon juice, maple syrup, cayenne pepper and water for ten days. It looked miserable during the ten days, but he kept saying how he felt really good. He lost a pretty significant amount of weight, and then switched to a vegetarian diet, and is still thin today.

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

Dealing with Uncle Z

So, my brother-in-law is driving me crazy. We call him Uncle Z, and he's RB's only brother. Sigh.

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

Caleb's Latest Health Fun

Turns out, Caleb can't hear.

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 know. Right? That's the greatest graph you've ever seen. Don't you wish I would make more of them? So, the gray is supposed to be normal eardrum movement, and the green and blue lines were Caleb's eardrums. One is the right ear and the other is the left. So, his eardrums are hardly moving, and that's why the kid isn't responding -- he can't hear us.

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

I know, I know

Yes, I am a slacker. I don't mean to be, but I am.

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

Entering the 21st Century

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.

You're welcome.

Friday, February 01, 2013

Updating the Cough

Caleb was doing better with the cough. We were even able to skip the rescue inhaler a couple of times, which was awesome. And then he got another virus.

It's not terribly surprising that he gets sick. RB and I work full time, and Caleb goes to daycare. We like the facility and the teachers, and he's in a really small class. But he's still around 4-6 other babies on a daily basis. And it's winter. Even in Texas, that's prime time for germy goodness.

We took him to the docter and had this virus tested -- not the flu. Course, there are 37 gazillion other viruses out there, but whatever. He ran a fever for a few days, including a really fun afternoon with a reading of 103.2. That led to me reading the "fever" section of Dr. Sears' book, and doing whatever we could to get that fever down. The strategies worked, and he was doing better, but he was still so stuffy that eating was difficult.

Fast-forward past the fever to just the stuffiness. The wheezing is pretty well gone (which seems to make the medical-types more nervous), but the stuffy nose is out of control (which they don't seem to worry about but, seriously!, he can't eat!). We went to our followup with the pulmonologist, and now we're on another set of nose drops and an oral medication to add to the mix, plus daily chest physical therapy (basically we lay him in weird positions and hit certain places on his chest/back for about a half-hour every evening). I'm starting to think I need a medicine scheduler for my little dude! I can't imagine what people with sick kiddos do, but I can totally see why a parent generally stays home full-time in those situations.

And through all that, he remains a happy little guy that wakes up from a nap with a smile on his face, who loves to laugh and can't wait to figure out crawling. Melts a momma's heart.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

6 Months Old!

Caleb is six months old today! It's amazing how fast time has flown, and how lucky we really are to be here today. I can hardly believe it. And so, this seems the perfect time to tell about how that day went down for us.

Six months ago, today, I went to church with my mom and sister who were in town because it was the weekend of my baby shower (I was seven months pregnant). As we were leaving, I got the sensation that I was peeing myself on the church steps. By the time I got home, I knew the large amount of fluid that I was sitting in in my car wasn't pee. I called the midwife on call, and she sent me to the hospital. Since I was 32 weeks, there wouldn't have been anything she could have done for me. On our way to the hospital, contractions started, and were immediately 3 minutes apart, lasting 30-45 seconds. I fully expected that we were going to be checked in, given drugs to stop labor and mature his lungs, and then we would have an early baby within 24-48 hours. I was partially right. When we arrived at the hospital, RB dropped me off at the door and I headed up to L&D. I was walking a bit slowly, but the contractions weren't so bad that I needed a wheelchair or anything. When I got to the intake desk, I mentioned that I was 32 weeks and my water had broken. The nurse started to gather paperwork for me to fill out. And then I mentioned that I was having contractions 3 minutes apart, and suddenly I was pointed to a room to be checked out.

The first check of my cervix occurred shortly thereafter -- about 2 hours after the first signs of my water breaking. I was already 7cm dilated. At this point, I kinda freaked. I knew they couldn't stop labor beyond a couple of centimeters of dilation, and I knew that a 32-weekers lungs aren't ready for the outside world, and that steroids usually need at least 24 hours to work well. I knew I didn't have 24 hours. I don't think that it helped that all the personnel started freaking and bustling a lot more, too. Within 30 minutes, I had given them as much history as I could between contractions (I wasn't supposed to deliver at this hospital, so they didn't have any paperwork on me), signed lots of stuff, and the OB on call was in the room starting to say things like, "We are about to have a baby!" and "We need a lot more people in here right now!" Ten minutes later, I was pushing. Three pushes, and we had a baby! He did cry, but it was pretty wimpy. His apgar scores were low (5 and 7), but they let me see and hold him for about two minutes before they whisked him off to the NICU.

And so, Caleb joined us on the outside on July 22, 2012, at 1:30 in the afternoon, just 3 hours after I left church that morning thinking I peed myself. My mom, my sister, and RB's mom were all still in town from the shower having been the day before. They didn't get to see him that day, though, so they all went home. RB and I got to see him in the NICU for the first time about 5:30 in the evening. He wasn't as little as I expected (turns out gestational diabetes is good for something!), at 4 pounds 6 ounces, but he had so much attached to his little head there was no way to know what he looked like. The only thing I knew was that he was pink and breathing. The rest, I figured, we'd get to eventually. Here is Caleb the first time we visited him in the NICU:

Now, he's a happy, (mostly, ignoring the aforementioned cough) healthy 6-month-old (4 months old, adjusted), whose favorite things include being held by mommy, being held by daddy, being held by a random stranger, eating his hands, and sticking out his tongue.

So happy you're here, little man!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Gotta Run!

I used to run quite a bit. I started out liking triathlons, and realizing that I needed to train so that the run at the end of each race didn't kick my rear so badly. So, I got this book (yes, really -- with the old '70's-style running shorts on the cover and everything), read up on the psychology of training and how to avoid injury, and started running. I trained for a half-marathon, and started to train for a full one. I didn't end up doing the marathon (something about the flu for two weeks about a month before the race that made me feel I just couldn't do it), but getting out on those long runs made me start to enjoy the time by myself and the fun little adrenaline high that runners get about 30-40 minutes into the run.

And then I got kicked out of my house, moved back to Texas, rented that converted garage bedroom from that weird couple, finalized my divorce, started dating RB, bought a house, and had Caleb, among other things and not necessarily in this order. And something about all that change in a very short period of time got me completely out of the habit. I miss it.

So, I signed up for a 10-mile race in April. I put together a training plan, so that it wouldn't be too crazy to be ready to go for the race. I followed that plan really well for two weeks.

And then I fell off the wagon again.

I still have plenty of time to be ready, but I really miss all the other benefits -- deeper sleep, a more focused mind, a little less tummy-poochiness, etc. I have a ton of excuses (Caleb still doesn't sleep for long periods at night and I'm TIRED, there's no time to cook a good dinner after getting back from a post-work run, there's no time to run in the mornings before work with everything that has to be done to get Caleb out the door, it's been so cold for so long, etc.), but that's all they are....excuses.

So, I am renewing my commitment to being good to myself. It is a beautiful, sunny day, and things are already lined up for me to leave the office a bit earlier than usual. A friend gave me her jogging stroller, and it would be a shame not to use it.

Don't let me sneak out on my plan. I've got to get out there and run!

Friday, January 11, 2013


So, it turns out that the chest x-ray we had done in December wasn't quite as clear as we were led to believe. The quote from the pulmonologist was "They told you this was normal?" Anyway, so we have bronchitis. And now we're working on learning a new medicine delivery mechanism. We had finally gotten pretty good with managing the nebulizer treatments (even if that meant that RB and I were running out of fun, upbeat songs to sing to the little man during them), but now we're using an inhaler for both his medicines, and I feel like we have a little asthmatic in our house these days -- one inhaler on a regular schedule for long-term management, and a "rescue" inhaler for his extra-fun coughing fits.

How do you use an inhaler with an infant, you ask? Well, first you sacrifice a chicken and then you do a little voodoo dance together with your best cat-pill-giving skills. Not really. We pump the inhaler into a chamber attached to a tiny pediatric mask which we hold over his face and count his breaths to make sure he inhales 6-8 times per pump. Then we wash off his face and rinse out his mouth so that the medicine doesn't irritate his skin or leave a nasty taste in his mouth.

Hopefully this works. Because if not, the doctor is talking about next steps which include full sedation for a bronchoscopy, and I'd rather avoid that if we can.

Friday, January 04, 2013

Caleb's Cough

I am SO over this cough that Caleb has. He is so little and so sweet and so happy all the time. And he's had this stupid cough and the associated wheezing for seven weeks now. That's nearly a third of his little life. A third. He'll be 24 weeks old on Sunday, and it's broken down into thirds -- the first third was in the NICU, the second third was our "normal baby" adjustment time, and the last third he has had this cough.

In the last week, the cough has escalated to the point that he's made himself throw up four times now. We're doing two kinds of drugs in the nebulizer -- one to reduce inflammation in his airways, and one to open them up -- but it feels like we are fighting a battle that will never end. We have now been referred to a pediatric pulmonologist, so we'll get to go see him next week. I know that he's really okay -- he's still eating and gaining weight, has good oxygen saturation, and hasn't shown any signs of dehydration. But I just feel bad for him.

In addition to the inhaled medications, we are spending time in a small bathroom with the hottest shower possible generating a good steam, he's got a humidifier running in his room, we put Baby Vicks on his chest when we get him ready for bed, and we put menthol-eucalyptus VaporBath in his tub for bathtime. He still coughs for a few minutes about every hour or two, around the clock. Any other ideas of things I can do to survive the week until we get into see the pulmonologist?

Thursday, January 03, 2013

Reintroducing Myself

Since I was away for a while, I was thinking that I kinda need to do a reintroduction to myself. And since I just had to do this Get To Know You type exercise, I thought I would share the results here.

What is your favorite color? Why, yes! Every shade of blue IS my favorite color! Except when I'm also loving green and red. Or purple. But never pink. There is no such thing as a good shade of pink.

What is your favorite season? I love summer with all my heart. And I live in Texas, so I get a lot of summer. I love the hot, hot, hotness of summer. You know when you walk out into the hot day and you practically get knocked over by the heat wave that hits you? I love that. I go running in that. And to the pool. And I eat ice cream.

What is your favorite treat? Cheetos. I love salty things, and Cheetos are my biggest weakness. So much so that I try not to buy them, because I just will likely eat the whole bag in one sitting.

What is your favorite scent? I love unsweet smells -- rain and baby powder and cucumber and mint and mild flowers like freesia and lavender.

What is your favorite ice cream coping mechanism? Mint chocolate chip. Mmmmmmmmm.

What do you like to do in your free time moments? What is free time? I like to cook and scrapbook and crochet and journal. I also run and hike and swim. Who am I kidding -- I try to stay on top of baby laundry and keep the baby puke in my hair to a minimum.

What do you not enjoy doing, and why, but have to do anyway? I really hate cleaning. I have to break cleaning tasks into 15-minute chores and give myself a treat at the end of them in order to ever make progress on the house.

If someone gave you money with the instruction that you had to spend it on something frivolous for yourself, what would you buy? I would probably get a massage or a pedicure.

Do you have any decorating themes in your home/office? I don't know how to decorate, and had never considered themes. Go figure.

Is there something that you REALLY, REALLY like? Sushi!

What is the VERY! BEST! present you have ever received and why was it the best? My parents gave me a leather computer bag when I first became a manager. I could just imagine my mother standing in the store putting them each over her shoulder and trying to pick JUST the right one. It was awesome to have them celebrate an achievement of mine with me.