Thursday, January 26, 2012

Rooms for Teeth?

Chuckles got his first 6-year molar and has another wiggly tooth up front (and the new tooth has already erupted behind it). There are big happenings in his mouth. I sense braces in our future. Are those expensive?

Bobo is (basically) potty-trained. I took a big box of diapers back to Target (wrong size, regardless and I have another big box still at home) and traded those size 5 diapers in on teeny weeny, tiny hiney diapers. Those up to 10-pounds diapers are awfully tiny. And so cute. And so little. And I bet they’re soft too since I got the really expensive* ones (not that cardboard sandpaper I had been making Bobo wear since he turned 3). But, I haven’t opened them yet because I do not invite the jinx into my home. I am far too smart and superstitious for that.

I have officially now declared myself all better from whatever the heck that was that laid me out like that. I was sleeping 11-12 hours a day, could not stand for more than 6 minutes, and was unable to walk more than about 200 feet without feeling like I would pass out. It took almost 4 weeks to recover. I had no fever and no other symptoms. I thought I might have just had easy pregnancies before and this is why some women don’t like being pregnant, but I recovered, so I am guessing there was something unusual going on. I was too weak most days after going to work and getting the kids in pajamas and off to bed that I hadn’t checked my email in weeks and hadn’t sent out thank you notes for Christmas gifts (if you know me, you know how horrible I felt about the no thank-yous). I couldn’t even stand up for showers. I sat for my showers (and then needed help getting up and out of the tub). But I am better now. Whew.

Mr. Long-Suffering, while picking up my slack and worrying about me, did remark that when I don’t leave the house (and am too tired and weak to sit at the computer), I don’t spend much money. He figured the good people at Discover Card would be calling to find out if I’m alright. On the upside, we did finally get groceries purchased and I made some really exciting purchases at Target (like tiny hiney diapers and stain remover! And toothpaste, deodorant, and a new Libman Wonder Mop mop head!). I have very little brand loyalty, but my Target list was very specific (Nads, Resolve, Totally Toddler stain remover (which they didn’t have so I bought Dreft stain spray), Libman mop head, and 20-Mule Team Borax). It’s the little things, apparently.

We took the kids to the Sibling Class at the hospital. The movie had been updated since we took Chuckles before Bobo was born (and a good thing too since I could have been the little kid in that movie..and now the movie has PIRATES. Everybody loves pirates.). Both kids enjoyed it, but they displayed their entirely different personalities. Chuckles sat back and observed the entire thing in a most detached fashion. Bobo jumped in when asked about whether there had been any changes at your house (his answer: “I got a new big boy bed that used to be Chuckles’s. Now I share a room wif my brudder. Mike the Painter came and painted my new room. Chuckles got a new bed. And I got a binky hook and a night light.”). One of the families in the class is expecting twins. Kids have no filter. Older son: “When my dad found out we were having two babies he was really shocked!” We all laughed, because yes, that is probably true. Then, he went on to detail all the changes that are happening at their house (lots of painting and organizing…possibly a small amount of panicking).

I know that my boys share a Y chromosome, but I am pretty sure they got all the opposite chromosomes for the other 45. They are so different. One has sandy blond hair, the other has white blond, one is fair-skinned, the other is more medium-to-olive, one has blue eyes, the other has green (though they used to be a crystal clear blue), one has narrow feet with toes that can be bent over to make a fist, the other has wide feet with toes that are all mashed together and don’t bend, one has a chin dimple, the other does not but has a cheek dimple, one has hair that tends toward wavy when it gets long, the other has the straight hair of his mother, one is outgoing, the other is more reserved, one eats veggies, fruit and carbs, the other is strictly meat, beef, and sausage, one is cautious and the other is not-so-much. I figure when they’re older and do things together, the outgoing one will make sure they have fun, but the cautious and reserved one will make sure they don’t get into trouble. It’s a nice combo.

As part of the big room re-org, everyone moved one bedroom counter-clockwise (or something). Mr. Long-Suffering and I gave up the master bedroom (which is only master because it’s largest…it’s not a master suite or anything and didn’t have a bathroom or a walk-in closet like today’s modern homes/McMansions). Both boys are now bunking in there (which has been painted a lovely shade of blue by Mike the Painter…as Bobo mentioned in the Sibling class). Mr. Long-Suffering and I took Bobo’s room, which for all intents and purposes was just the guest room with a crib and some nursery-themed wall clings. The nursery that we made before Chuckles was born is being converted back into a nursery. Chuckles had not wanted to give up his room before Bobo was born, and we didn’t make him so he had been living in the smallest bedroom.

Somehow, that smallest bedroom was also the dirtiest room in the house. We have hard wood floors throughout the upstairs, and if you know how that goes, you know about the dust rabbits I found under the bed and behind the dresser. Did you also know that I had to vacuum out the Zhu-Zhu pet habitat and had to vacuum each Zhu-rat because they were filthy and had been living under the bed? It turns out Chuckles also has a bad case of pack-ratism that I let get out of hand. I found one of my slippers, a missing puzzle piece, an empty apple sauce squeezer container (with cap on so it wasn’t really gross), 14 empty oatmeal canisters (each of which had been cut, colored, stickered, taped or otherwise turned into art, a project, an invention, or a craft with the addition of a paper towel core or some self-sticking foam), two bags-worth of paper recycling, countless strands of beads, plastic rings, fake teeth, super balls, and other goodie bag junk, Valentine cards from 3 years ago, some much-prized mulch, a few shells, and 15 labeled, washed and stacked yogurt containers. His treasures. He’s so going to wind up on Hoarders some day. I did the bulk of the trashing while he was at school on MLK Day. I had off; he had school. I have no idea where his stuff went, if he asks (which is true since I have no idea where it is now).

After the cleaning was done (or done enough to move the furniture), the boys set off for their first night ever of sharing a room/first night in a big boy bed. And it was a school night. But what are you going to do? After about 20 minutes, Chuckles came out of his room, “Bobo is talking to me and won’t let me sleep and is walking around.” So Bobo was put back in his bed, re-kissed and re-tucked, told to stay there, and then we built Chuckles a defensive wall of pillows so his brother can’t see him. It seems to be working (mostly). There have been a few extra night wanderings, but it’s within one standard deviation of the mean, so I’ll call it typical.

Last night, during The Letter Show (aka Wheel of Fortune), I hit the wrong button on the remote. Either that or that giant solar storm that hit yesterday did something to the TV, but I think my remote ineptness is more likely (at least I don’t have one of those Universal Remotes that could accidentally launch a Fail-Safe style nuclear war). Anyway, the screen went black and green letters came up and Bobo asked, “Why does that say ‘video’, and where did Vanna White go?” I was…stunned and not because he knew Vanna’s name. “Why do you think that says ‘video’?” “V-I-D-E-O. Video.” “OooooKay then. Let me get Pat and Vanna right back for you.” Also, if you ask him what he wants to name the baby, he will answer “James Ferguson” (a kid in Chuckles’s first grade class). This would make the Letter Show a lot more fun.

If you ask a variety of people in our lives what they want to name the baby, you will get a shocking variety of answers. Gilbert, Tiberius, John, Anthony, Tony the Shark, Zoltan (apparently the most popular boys’ name in Hungary?), James Ferguson, Munker, and Quayden (but pronounced like John because someone thinks she is funny).

My least favorite part of potty training? When the kid half-way wakes up in the middle of the night because he needs to pee, and starts whining/crying. You go in there, ask if he needs to go potty, he has no idea because he’s asleep and new to the whole pain=potty thing, you take him to the bathroom and as soon as you pull the (dry) diaper off, he pees on the rug and your pajamas pants (the only pair that fits your current girth).

Speaking of jammie bottoms…I just discovered that there is something called pajamas jeans. I am intrigued because I am lazy in many ways. But for forty bucks, I’ll just stay intrigued. I was really interested in Eggies (again because I am lazy...and love hand-boiled eggs), until I saw a real-mom review on GMA one morning before Christmas.

Before Bobo was born, I investigated maternity leave options and was delightfully and pleasantly surprised to find out that we received the two weeks prior to our due date, the 6-8 weeks of disability, followed by 12 weeks of FMLA that did not need to run concurrently with the disability. That gave me 22 weeks off. That’s practically 5 months. I was elated. I had seen an email go out about a year ago saying that we no longer get the two weeks before our due dates off. I was a little disappointed, but it seemed very generous to me at the time, so I figured that during these tough economic times, it made sense to eliminate that perq. You can take vacation for those two weeks or if you’re really miserable, get disability for pregnancy-related conditions (which change to birth-related conditions after birth). Or you can work up to your due date (and beyond). So, I filled out my paperwork for disability and FMLA to get my 20 weeks off (8 of disability plus 12 of FMLA) and was shocked when I got the paperwork back allowing 18 weeks. Nowadays, our disability insurance provider is only offering 6 weeks after a c-section. I’m speechless. That’s…just…I’ve had two c-sections before and am not generally walking upright at the 8 week time frame, let alone the 6 week. It usually takes me a good 9 weeks to feel mostly human again. I’m sure that if I were to have my doctor write a note saying that I was still disabled at 6 weeks, that I could get 8 weeks off of work, but really…the standard has changed? That’s just crazy-talk.

*I had coupons.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

One Bourbon, One Scotch, and One Beer

Here is the story of how the ultrasound played out with extraneous details removed, though I could tell you how our local radio station plays Two for Tuesday and it was George Thorogood or how we got to watch all of Access Hollywood (or whatever show it was) about Beyonce’s baby’s escape from the paparazzi while we waited over a half hour for our appointment.

We had the chatty tech. She’s also pregnant. I would guess it’s her first and a girl based on how she is carrying. She measured the cervix. All is good. It’s tipped or curved or something so a curved line measurement gives >5 cm. No imminent labor here. So that is really, super good news. I’ve been feeling better on the contraction front (though not on the energy front) and have been itching to do exotic things like go to the grocery store and climb stairs. I don’t think I am up for either of those activities yet, but it’s nice to know that if I do them and overdo it, I am probably not going in to labor. I finally did have enough energy to stand at the bathroom mirror and pluck my eyebrows. Three weeks. I can’t believe I went three weeks. It looked like caterpillars were inching their way toward each other.

After the cervix, she moved on to the placenta. It’s receiving good blood flow. The smaller lobe is anterior and the larger lobe is posterior. I don’t think that’s important; I’m just letting you know what I know.

Then she measured structures in the brain. Everything there is fine. She measured the head circumference and it’s fine. Then she did abdominal circumference. That is all fine too.

She went to the face. And the cutest thing happened, I nearly died. The baby yawned while the tech was in 3-D view of the face. And then? Muse fell asleep. He yawned and fell asleep. He’s a genius. He’s a genius who appears to resemble Bobo with Mr. Long-Suffering’s nose.

She moved on to the bowel. She turned the contrast down. She moved a little and turned the contrast down again. Then she did that again. The bowel was not as bright as bone in any of the views and would not be called echogenic. I knew what she was doing, but I couldn’t tell whether it was as bright as bone, so we asked. And she said she is not calling it bright. Whew. Moving on.

She took a photo of tiny baby feet for us. Then, I noticed that yes, indeed, this baby is a boy. I can’t believe I never noticed those parts in ultrasounds with my other children. It was so obvious. I guess once you know what you’re looking for, you can find it. Chuckles, by the way, giggles and gets all shy when he sees ultrasound photos with an arrow saying “Boy”. Very embarrassing.

Finally, on to the heart. She took echos and let us listen to the heart beat, measured the rate, and took several views of the heart. I could see the valves opening and closing. The valves! How tiny they must be (I saw the valves with Bobo too…but way back when I was pregnant with Chuckles, the technology wasn’t good enough for that in a standard ultrasound). She could not find an echogenic focus in the heart either. So that is good.

She mentioned that the baby is breech (no big deal with the planned c-section and not a surprise given placental location and the fact that I know where the head is all the time). She finished up with the weight estimate of 3 pounds and baby is measuring about 10 days ahead (which is normal because I have always had babies measure ahead and be large at birth).

We went in to see the perinatalogist who said that the computers were taking a break because of the unseasonably warm weather (54 degrees in Chicago in January). Only the first half of the photos made their way from the ultrasound room to the computer on his desk (and I think they go through the server located in Bahrain on their way). He popped out of the room to go look at the photos on the machine. He came back and said the tech was already scanning the next patient, so we should go home, he said the tech said everything looked ok, and he would call us that night.

So, we left feeling pretty good about ourselves. We even stopped and got dinner to bring home to the kids. Hamburgers, fries, and shakes! Woo hoo.

True to his word (and I think I love him), the perinatalogist called shortly after I finished eating. He said the echogenic focus in the heart is gone and the bowel is no longer echogenic as well, but that the heart appears enlarged. He said he is not worried about it because we are big people and maybe if it was his baby since he is only 5’ tall that it might be something to note, but since we are big people it’s probably nothing, come back in 4-6 weeks and be scanned again. We really are big people. I am 5’8” and Mr. Long-Suffering is 6’4”. However, I would assume that the heart is large for the baby’s size so even though the baby is large, the heart is large even for that. But I know that without volumetric calculations, large is a subjective thing based on the specific angle of the scanning and so on. I am trying to be quite zen about it. Google is not terribly helpful on this point. Enlarged fetal heart on ultrasound doesn’t yield the kind of useful hits one might like to find. Nothing reassuring, though nothing terribly alarming either. There are three things it could be, and they aren’t that bad: absolutely nothing (I always love it when the most likely scenario is that the scary thing is just something that is totally normal and sometimes seen), a relic of gestational diabetes that will revert to normal within 6 months of birth, and Down Syndrome.

That was Tuesday. Wednesday morning, I had my regularly scheduled ob appointment. I asked about my gestational diabetes screening which I had done right before Christmas. I made a strategic error. I had it done in the morning of December 22nd on my way to work so I had eaten a large-ish bowl of oatmeal and munched on two Christmas cookies right before going. So, I guess we could call that the worst-case scenario. And even with all of that, I still got a 126, which passes (since you need to be <130). I’d never had GD before so I wasn’t terribly worried I would all of a sudden have it. The regular ob was happy to hear that the foci were gone in the ultrasound and glad to hear I am having a follow-up on the enlarged heart, and told me to come back in 3 weeks. I’ll be about 33 weeks then. He said then I would go to every two weeks and we would start additional testing at 35 weeks. I have no idea what additional testing he is referring to and I didn’t think to ask. I can’t remember what it was last time. I figure they’ll check for anemia or something to make sure I am good for a c-section. They won’t be checking for group strep B since I will be having the c-section (and antibiotics) regardless.

So, that is what I know. The baby is a giant genius with a big heart.  Who doesn’t want a kid with a big heart?

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Baby Names as a form of distraction

We’re going to talk baby names because I have an ultrasound this afternoon to follow up on echogenic whatsits and ccervical lengthamajigs, and we are la-la-la I can’t hear you.

So, baby names. I believe in naming children after family members, and I am not really a fan of anything trendy (no Caydens, no Braydens). However, Trend-Alert: I hear that traditional names are making a roaring comeback. So maybe I am a trendsetter after all since both Bobo and Chuckles have real-life, non-clown names that would be fit for a king (or a president, pro-athlete, accountant, or farmer).

Also, we’ve pretty much run out of family names because the Italian tradition of naming kids after family members means that many of the names in the family are repeats. With only the boys’ four names, we’ve already honored my father, my step-father, my husband, my father-in-law and his mother’s brother and father, my mother-in-law’s father and both her brothers, and my mother’s brother.

I’ve consulted nymbler and used our names as inspiration. Anyway, please combine the following suggestions in some order to come up with a good name. Or, better yet, suggest similar names that you like.



Thursday, January 05, 2012

Still Pregnant

I just thought I should let you know that I didn't run off and have a baby. (Thank goodness, cross fingers, etc.)

I feel I should tell you (since we're totally close like that) that the fetal fibronectin test has a high false positive rate, and one of the things that can make it read positive even though labor is not imminent is, ahem, rhymes with hecks.  So, I will just say that, obviously, I wasn't feeling too bad on Christmas Eve.

I continue to recover from whatever little bug I had that made me think a baby was about to fall out of me.  Sorry for the worry I caused, but now I can totally say that I can't do that laundry, vacuum that floor, etc, because I feel just awful and need to go rest.