Friday, September 26, 2008

It's Never the Thing You Worry About

Locusts - pshaw. My mosquitoes can carry your locusts away. We have mosquitoes. Not just at dusk, either. We have bold, brazen, daytime biting mosquitoes. There are skeeters everywhere. Chuckles was in the grass for 22 seconds and came out nibbled to death. There are mosquitoes in the car, on the front door, covering the grass, in the bushes, lurking in the shadows just waiting to do me harm. And yet, few of them are biting me. The Man and the Boy are being eaten alive, but preggo lady is happily unaffected (mostly, and in comparison).

I have given up cutting the grass. I have also decided that the toenails I painted for the wedding last weekend are the last toenails I will be painting until December. Further to that I got an ingrown hair below the Mason-Dixon line and I had to get out a hand mirror to see it. Apparently, the Battle of the Bulge has been lost and the Baby won. 5 pounds of baby sticking straight out in front. As in, perpendicular to my body.

I have a long torso. I cannot wear a one-piece bathing suit without digging my suit out of my derriere for the entire day. Consequently, there is a large amount of space between the bottom of my (totally ample but well-supported) rack and the start of my Bulge. People keep asking me if I have dropped. Nope. Haven't dropped. I just keep my babies between my knees. I carry low. Low, low, low. I'm sitting here right now (slightly reclined) and my baby is resting on my thighs. It's an icky, gross feeling but the baby leaves my internal organs and my lungs alone, so I can't complain.

We switched to digital broadcast TV a few months back and the switch has left me with spotty ABC coverage. So, I was watching Grey's Anatomy last night while ignoring pleas for a 4th bedtime story, and Christina and Meredith were talking or fighting or something outside, the screen froze for a bit, and the next thing I know there was a giant icicle in Christina's abdomen. OK, then. I turned the TV off shortly after that because it would be too entirely frustrating to try and watch that. At least Chuck is on NBC (on Monday after 9 months of hiatus).

Chuckles is embracing all that is 3. He is three. And so good at being three. We got a report from school yesterday and he pounded (repeatedly) on a classmate who would not give up a toy. He had to be removed bodily. While in the Director's office, he was screaming full on at her. She noticed his tonsils are swollen (I'd thought so too and asked the ped and was told he has big tonsils that don't seem to cause a problem), and was quite concerned. So, my kid is a menace who may or may not have unusually large tonsils. And he's coming in to his bad behavior right before I bring a new baby home. Great. Good timing there.

When Chuckles eats his green beans or stays dry overnight, I tell him "Good Job!". I made myself a little bowl of ice cream the other night. He asked me where it went. I replied that I had eaten it and was finished. I was rewarded with, "Good Job, Mommy!"

Monday, September 22, 2008

No longer waiting for the locusts

The locusts never showed, but homes did start exploding seemingly at random. Possible natural gas. Big fun.

The waters receded and most of the roads reopened, although a few are still closed.

We had a super-social weekend. We did FOUR activities that involved other people and one involved getting dressed up. I wore a dress. And I looked OK.

Although, as an aside to the man who thought I was about to give birth right there during the wedding reception, I have 6 to 10 weeks to go. Don't say that kind of thing to a pregnant woman when there are knives sitting rightthere on the table.

And I had the realization that I may have only 6 weeks to go (as if I ever thought I would make it to term without bed rest!). Since all of the baby stuff had been removed from the basement during the flood, I started dismantling it and washing things. I guess I am nesting. Or panicking. One of those.

I did go to the doctor and my blood pressure is still good. I passed the glucose screening thing. Nookie is still prohibited. I gained virtually no weight last month (my husband did notice that we were not going through as much ice cream recently) after being chastised the previous month. Heartbeat was something in the 140s. And we all agree (four ultrasound techs, the internet, my actual doctor, my mother-in-law, and me) that I am on track, should I go to term, for a 9-pound baby. I would say, "Yikes," but since this is a c-section anyway, who cares?!? And I mentioned 9-pounds to the man at the wedding reception so he wouldn't think I was pretending to be only 7-months pregnant.

We went to the hospital for Sibling Class on Saturday. Chuckles wanted to know if that's where they keep the babies. The class involved a movie in the auditorium and a trip to look through the window at the babies. They unwrapped one baby from its swaddle and I was flabbergasted. That thing was small! Small! I have heard that during the 3 days you are in the hospital your existing child becomes HUGE but DUDE, that baby was small. And blond. They had removed the card from the rolling bassinet that said the baby's name and size, etc. Probably some HIPAA thing, but I really wanted to know how big that baby was. I'd say maybe 19" and 7 lbs at birth (maybe as low as 6 lbs 8 oz now. Yowzers!

This hospital also has a Special Care Nursery and NICU and I saw a mom and dad (the mom obviously had recently delviered and was still attached to various IVs) holding a tiny baby who was attached to a million little wires. Someone snapped their picture. THey looked pretty happy. The baby they were holding was big enough so I guess it wasn't too serious. Good thing. THen we saw a mom walk down teh hallway with a car seat and a teeny little baby in it under a batch of cookies. A NICU graduate coming back to thank the nurses. Nice stuff.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Waiting for the Locusts

We got 11" of rain this weekend. At least, I think it was 11". My rain gauge only goes up to 6, but it was emptied and so on. I think I need to channel my inner Spinal Tap and get one that goes to eleven.

The deluge brought about road closures (interstates, side streets, US highways, state roads, more interstates) and flooding. Our only major problem is that the drain tile is filling as fast as the sump pump can pump it out (so we got a SECOND sump pump) and there is no where to put the water that we pump (front yard flooded, back yard a and boy ran hovercraft around the yard yesterday) AND the town's storm and waste water pumping stations went down so some untreated sewage water backed up into our laundry tub. THis wasn't that bad, but it does mean we can't use any of the drains in our house (like no flushing, wash hands into a pot and dump the pot in the lake in the back yard, no showering, and so on). It's fine.

In other news, I had an ultrasound and Doppler blood flow study on Friday. The technician agreed on the bay's sex so I guess that's it. I still don't see it, but whatever. How is it that I can clearly see kidneys but I cannot see genitalia even when it is quite clear to others?

At about 30 weeks, BoBo is measuring 2 weeks ahead with an estimated weight of 1902 g (which is 4 lbs 3 ounces). BoBo was happily playing with the only toy we've give him/her---the umbilical cord. Bobo was playing with it, fondling it, sucking on it, and using its hands to smoosh its face.

My placenta continues to be previa. At 30 weeks, there is not much chance of it moving significantly. It's going to stay previa, I guess, so pelvic rest continues apace, but I do have an appointment with an actual doctor on Thursday to get the official word. My cervix is long and closed at 4.4 cm (down from 5 cm a little over 3 weeks ago, but still totally good and not showing any signs of dilation).

I went to a bar on Saturday and it was an odd experience. I guess I am glad I am married and boring because a noisy, crowded bar was not fun. I had a better time at the bar/restaurant we went to first. It was brighter so I could see everyone and quieter so we could talk and it served actual food which was good (in addition to the full bar menu available for those who chose to imbibe).

Whew. I'm going to go watch the YouTUbe or hulu of the SNL/Tina Fey thing from this weekend.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Seven Eleven

It's been seven years.

Today is the 11th.

I knew this, and yet, somehow, the site of the flag this morning on my very own front porch took my breath away. And then Chuckles asked why Daddy put the flag out. Why indeed?

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Q&A with Chuckles and Mommy

The Convo at Ask Moxie today is all about "Your Three-Year Old: Menace to Society or Mini-Mad Hatter". Here is a rough excerpt of my life for the last 5 days:

Q: Mommy, is that car faster than your truck?
A: Well, mommy's truck is currently driving faster, but I think that Corvette has a higher top-end than my truck. And the Corvette can certainly get off the line and to the legally posted speed limit faster than I can.

Q: Mommy, is grandpa's boat stronger than Daddy's car?
A: The horsepower ratings of the two vehicles are approximately the same, but the boat has to overcome a lot more drag to get through the water than the car does to drive on the road.

Q: Mommy, is Daddy bigger than Uncle Jake?
A: I think Uncle Jake weighs more, but Daddy is taller.

Q: Mommy, are dinosaurs louder than yelling?
A: Dinosaurs are extinct and, therefore, are quite quiet.

Q: Mommy, are my shoes redder than your shoes?
A: Well, your shoes are grey, and mine are black. Black is made up of all the colors in the rainbow. Since my shoes are blacker than your shoes, they are also redder.

And the sweetest question of all after I spent the evening in bed last night because I had Braxton-Hicks contractions that would not stop if I was even remotely upright:
Q: Mommy, are you still sick?
A: No, but climb up in bed with me so I can read you a book and give you a kiss.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Post-Vacay Q&A

Q: So, are you, like, a Republican?
A: No, I am not. I have voted for a few in my day and some of my best friends are, but I am not. I am a Libertarian who sometimes has trouble finding viable candidates, so I need to venture out and vote for others. In the interest of full-disclosure, I voted for Ron Paul in the Republican primary (to send a message to John McCain about picking a running mate). Ron Paul and I definitely do not see eye-to-eye on all the issues. I will also divulge that my husband voted in the Democratic primary but abstained from voting in the Presidential part of it. He was more concerned about some local elections.

Q: How was your vacation?
A: I feel like I got hit by a Mack truck.

Q: Oh, that's funny.
A: Yes, it is, because I was actually hit by a 2006 Mack Truck AND a 2003 International Harvester semi.

Q: What the heck?
A: Oh, right. Chicagoland, yesterday, rush hour, Tri-State Tollway, driving rain, construction zone, towing a boat, rear-ended by two semis. Glad to be alive. Boat not so lucky. Spent the evening in the L&D being evaluated.

Q: So what is it with you and winding up in the hospital on vacation?
A: Good-timing and luck, I would guess.

Q: Is everything OK?
A: Baby is moving and looked great on the monitors. I was not given an internal exam because of the previa, but things appeared OK from the outside. I am taking it easy today and looking for signs of abruption, but none are apparent, so I feel OK. Waiting for a call back from the insurance company. (Note to the reader, I did not read the Mayo Clinic article at the link about placental abruption because I need no help freaking myself right out. No help at all.)

Q: Anything else you want to tell us?
A: I called 9-1-1, and they were quite speedy. The cell phone shows the number as SOS Call.
We drove home, and my husband dropped me off at our local hospital on the way and came back for me later.
My husband actually backed up on the highway to put us in a safer place. That's right...he backed up with a trailer in traffic. But it felt safer to be on teh shoulder rather than sitting in the left lane.
The people in the hospital have a hard time when you don't give them a maiden name but insist that you are married. What is the right way to handle that? Why do they really need my maiden name?
Oh, and funny thing...the nurse asking for my history had me look at a paper to answer one question when taking my history in front of my husband. The question was whether I had a history of STDs. Ha ha ha, no.

Q: When involved in a minor crash, do you need to replace your child's car seat?
A: Excellent question. NHTSA says Maybe Yes, Maybe No. Read here to decide for yourself. You may wish to contact your seat manufacturer to find out what they recommend (they may even replace yours for free if you send your used one in so they can do research and testing on seats that have gone through actual accidents installed in vehicles and used by real people).

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Twenty-Nine and One

I am 29 weeks now. Viability is good. Placental location will be checked next week. I went for my glucose tolerance screening on Tuesday. I felt fine, so I assume I passed.

And I'd like to send a hearty congratulations out to a friend who had her second baby last week. Welcome William James. And his name meets all my criteria!

I'm going out-of-town for a few days here. (Bags not yet packed but will be tonight, local in-network hospital located in our destination city should the need arise, small copy of my medical record tucked into my handbag, a little silent prayer that my cold gets better and Chuckles sleeps through the night while we're gone.) Wish me luck.

I am not a Feminist

I am not a feminist. I'm not all screedy and anti-male. I don't think women owe it to other women to work in their chosen profession if what they really want to do is stay at home and raise their children. Or even if that's not what they want to do, but it's what they've chosen to do because it feels right to them or best or easiest or whatever. Your choice, your thing. Oh, hey I guess I am Pro-Choice! Woo woo. I trust women to make their own choices! Yay women!

So, I'm not one of those Establishment Feminists. I believe men and women should be treated fairly and more-or-less equally, although I think it is impossible to treat two separate people equally because everyone is different. So, let's stick with fairly. People should be treated fairly.

Do you know what is not fair? It is not fair to ask Sarah Palin how she will have enough time to devote to her family and children and not ask the same of Barack Obama nor John McCain, who also have minor children. She's not even running for President. The job of Vice-President is far less-taxing than that of President. She'll have gobs of time. And her husband will probably quit his job to stay home and raise their children (two of whom I assume will be out of the house in the next year...the son, Track who is leaving next week to serve in Iraq and the daughter, Bristol, who will be busy getting married and raising her own family).

I actually watched her speech last night at the RNC. I have no idea why. I am a huge politcal junkie, but I normally do not have the patience to sit through an entire speech. I got out of the shower shortly before she went on and I went to bed promptly at 10 pm, even though she wasn't done. I thought the part of her speech that I saw was great. Really great. This morning people of the chattering classes were saying that it was too negative and too sarcastic.

Huh? I didn't even notice. I didn't see any sarcasm, although I guess it was there. Perhaps I just don't see sarcasm any longer since it oozes from the tips of my fingers. And too negative? No. It was not negative. She said she loved the US of A, apple pie, children, old people, the military (and she wants us to WIN), Alaska, small towns, people who work for a living, and low taxes. She likes cutting waste (I loved the part where she said she put Alaska's executive jet on e*bay).

She also took some shots at the opposing party. I didn't find it negative. She made some substantive arguments (although, perhaps her line about the Greek columns was a little biting...but it was funny). In fact, her funniest line of the night...which all the news organizations are picking up this morning...was unscripted and improvised. The line about the Hockey Mom, The Pitbull, and Lipstick. She improvised a joke. And got a big laugh.

At one point during the introduce-your-family part of the speech, baby Trig went from Daddy's arms to the 5 or 6 year old, Piper's arms. Daddy was going to be introduced and need to stand, smile, and wave, so he needed his arms free. So the kid has the baby and she is looking at him and smoothing his hair and fawning on him. They cut back to the speech then back to the kid and back to the speech and at one point, the kid licks her hand to smooth down her (sleeping) baby brother’s hair. It was the cutest thing I have seen on TV in a month. And some people think that was gross, but seriously, moms and sisters do this to babies all-the-time. And a 5-year old doing it is just precious.

It was a good speech. She appears capable. She has at least as much, if not more, executive-level experience than Barack. And she's a woman. Which apparently, makes this a "game-changer". I'm excited to see it all play out. I don't like some of the criticism I am hearing because it makes me realize that there really is a double-standard for men and women in power. In fact, some people even criticized the earrings she wore to visit the Gulf Coast in the run-up to Gustav. She needed more-serious earrings? You have to be kidding me. Just kill me now. Certainly, she's no Suze Orman (did you know Suze only owns one pair of earrings?). But really, her earrings. Let's bash her for turning a national disaster-in-the-making into a photo-op and leave her earrings out of it, OK? And her red shoes, for that matter.

Oh hey, there are policy issues and stuff about which I disagree with Sarah Palin. For starters, abortion. She is only OK with it in the case of risk to a mother's life. A fine position to have, but one which I do not share. Rape, no? Incest, no? Health of the mother (wherein her life is not actually endangered but her health oh, I don't know, need to terminate a pregnancy because you just discovered you have cancer and need chemo now and you already have 2 kids whom you do not want to about your heartbreaking choice!)?

I'm not really worried about the abortion thing though because with a Democratically-controlled Congress, which I do not see changing in the next 4-8 years, no legislative Roe rollback is going to happen any time soon. Sure, McCain could appoint enough justices to the court, but it would then go to the legislature or to the states, neither of which disturbs me at this point.

Palin is lukewarm on the War on Drugs. It's one war I don't think we should be fighting, so I'm OK with her position here.

She supports school-choice programs. Yay!!!

She is supposedly socially and religiously conservative, but she vetoed a bill in Alaska that would have denied health insurance to same-sex couples because it was in violation of the state constituion. You have to love someone whose personal beliefs may contradict directly with their actions because they are bound by the constitution. Unlike some people for whom the 2nd Amendment is merely window-dressing, I guess.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

The Personal Becomes Political

I am Pro-Choice. I am seriously Pro-Choice. And I support every one's right to make whatever choices they need to make for themselves. I do not support people who want to impose their choices onto you (or me!).

So, let's talk about Sarah Palin. She's Pro-Life. She is seriously Pro-Life. She talks her talk and walks her walk. Despite knowing her youngest son would have Down Syndrome and being given the option to terminate, she chose to continue the pregnancy and has said that her son, Trig, is perfect. And honestly, having seen pictures of him, I'd say he's perfect too. He's one cute baby.

I do not think this makes her any better than anyone else. She is Pro-Life. What else could she have done? If you are Pro-Life, there really isn't any other option for you. I'm glad she's not a hypocrite. And I'm sure it was very difficult knowing the diagnosis and coming to terms with giving birth to a child with special needs. I assume there is a grieving process upon diagnosis, but I really have no idea as I have never been in that position.

The real question is: What would I do?
And the answer is: I have no idea. Since I am Pro-Choice, I could theoretically choose to terminate. That's where choice comes in.

Now, we find out that Palin's 17-year old daughter (unmarried) is pregnant. She is planning to marry the father of her baby. Given the family's Pro-Life credentials, this makes sense. Generations of girls who found themselves "in trouble" married the baby's father. It was expected. And generally, girls did not sleep with boys who couldn't be counted on to "do the right thing".

Also, given the Pro-Life credentials, she could place the child for adoption. Many a middle-class girl did that back in the day. By my mother's generation, there were not a ton of girls sent to "spend a summer with their aunts", but in the 10 or 20 years prior to her, many girls were sent away to have babies and place them for adoption. My mother, who found herself in a family way, married my father. It worked out OK. They divorced 13 years later, but they get along well now and their two children are functional, college-graduate adults who were married years before procreating. No cycle of unwed pregnancy was started.

I'm sure Bristol Palin can marry her baby's father, and they can all grow up to be healthy, successful adults.

I'm not even sure where I am going with this, but here it is. Half of the babies born in my county are born to unwed mothers. I imagine many more than that are conceived by unwed mothers. It's not exactly a national tragedy. And teenagers having sex isn't really news. And there is not much of a stigma left to unwed, teenage pregnancy, especially not if the girl marries the baby's father prior to birth. No story here. Nothing really to see here. Move along.

Even Barack Obama has noted that having a pregnant teenage daughter does not reflect on Gov. Palin's ability to govern. If anything, it says that they have a normal family life. Barack himself was born to an 18-year old mother. Dick Cheney has a gay daughter. Joe Biden has a son who is a lobbyist. People have families, and candidates really can't control the other members of their families to keep their image in line. When I read about Jenna Bush's recent wedding, I noted something that in previous generations would have been taboo hat these days isn't even an issue. He husband proposed to her while they were on vacation camping together in some mountains. No big deal to me. To previous generations, an unmarried young lady on a vacation trip camping(!) unchaperoned with a boy would have been big news.

Times change. Families can still embarrass you. Move along, nothing to see here.


Seven years ago today, I married Mr. Long-Suffering. He's still recovering.

Despite my super-traditional baby naming choices, there are some things about me that are totally moderne.

For example, I lived with Mr. L-S prior to marrying him, and we lived in my (!) house. Yes, that's right. A single woman bought a house on her own. In the 1990s. And lived with a man without the benefit of clergy.

We did marry in a church, but only for two reasons (1) the reception hall was unavailable for the ceremony earlier in the day and (2) Mr. L-S's grandmother had a lovely church that would accomodate us. She did not live too long after that, and we are so glad we were able to honor her with this. Her name was in the church bulletin that week stating that her grandson was being married in her church. Many people called on her and congratulated her and speculated on the arrival of great-grandchildren with her. She was beaming. I think it was extra-special for her because her only child, a son, married in the Church of his (future)-wife.

I was married on a Sunday. Why? Because I was engaged and married relatively quickly (less than 6 months), and most places had already been booked. It was a holiday weekend, so no one needed to be anywhere on Monday. It worked out well.

I didn't wear white or a veil. I wore shimmering silver, and I looked stunning, if I do say so myself.

And I did not avoid seeing the groom the morning of the ceremony. In fact, we woke up in bed together (like every other morning of the preceding 2 years), had a lovely brunch, and then parted ways not to see eachother until ceremony time.

I did not change my last name. I didn't even compromise with a hyphen. I've always said that if I screw up royally, I reserve the right to change my name to save my good name!

I did follow one fun tradition. I did the old, new, borrowed, blue thing. I had my great-grandmother's gorgeous mine-cut diamond ring with filigree. I had my new dress and new shoes (from TJ Maxx, no less). I borrowed the most-beautiful piece of jewelry I have ever seen from my mother-in-law but which pulled every single hair out of my wrist and hurt like you wouldn't believe...good thing I wore it a couple of days in advance or my wrist would've been red in all the photos. I had a $2 blue garter from the craft/hobby store. I also carried an antique handkerchief which I fooolishly handed to my sister with my flowers during the ceremony. I was one of the teariest, weepiest brides you'd ever seen. In fact, the minister (who had not attended a Sunday wedding since his own 30 years prior) actually asked me whether I was capable of going on. I was, and we did. And it's been a pretty good ride ever since.