Thursday, February 23, 2012

My Heart, it breaks

Chuckles came home from school the other day a little sad, maybe even a bit teary.  He doesn’t know the cool naughty words that other kids do (since he doesn’t have older siblings or much TV exposure).  He feels a little left out.  I’m sure #3 will know all the cool naughty words (and teach them to the other kids whose parents will then hate me).

Since he didn't know the naughty word, he was saying that word meant something (which it really does).  He didn't get the "joke".  He doesn't have the social skills yet to just blow it off and fake like he gets it and go along for a little while. 

Because the slang word he didn't know was male anatomy-related, I put his father in charge.  I will talk about respect for women and not objectifying them by body part.  Dad can discuss what are approrpriate slang words for the locker room.

Today, The Tribune had an article called "What to do when your kid says they ate lunch alone and had no one to play with at recess".  This is one of the best parenting articles I have read for the 6-9 year old set.  I'm out of my depth with these "Big Kid" problems.

Thursday, February 16, 2012


"Fine."  That's what the doctor said.  Muse is "fine".

I was also told that it's crowded in there.  And it is.  There is placenta everywhere.   Seriously, it is amazing how the entire left side of my uterus is filled with placenta (and there is confusion over whether it is a two-lobed placenta or two separate placentas (placenta spuria, in case you were wondering)...I have no idea how I could have two placentas since there is only one umbillical cord (I guess that's why it's a spurious placenta), but the MFM is requesting the pathology report from the placenta after the birth because he's "curious"...not concerned, just curious).   Adding to the crowded conditions, Muse is already about 6 pounds with 5 weeks to go.  Do the math.  If I go to term, that's about 8.5 to 11 pounds depending on rate of weight gain.  I am guessing 8 lbs 8 ounces at 39 weeks 3 days.  Also, there are 14 centimeters of pockets of amniotic fluid.

There was some confusion about why we were there.  We believed we were there to re-scan the heart, which was supposedly subjectively enlarged.  The ultrasound tech had looked through our chart and was doing a growth scan because often babies with the specific soft markers we had at 21 weeks suffer from IUGR.  He was scanning to make sure growth was good.  (And I would say 95th percentile for head, femur, and abdominal circumference is good).  The MFM doctor said that the heart was fine in the last ultrasound, he wasn't concerned about the growth, but that he had seen something in the brain last time that had him concerned.  Normal ventricles can be up to 10 mm.  Muse's were 9.4 mm, so he wanted to re-scan to see what happened.  They are now 7-ish millimeters, so no harm, no foul.  High-normal...we are to report this to the pediatrician after birth, but MFM doesn't see it as an issue.  I looked at the 29 week ultrasound photos.  I think someone was a little sloppy with the measurement cursor.  I measure things on microscope pictures all the time and you need to place your little cross pretty precisely to get an accurate measurement.  And when it counts, we usually do it three times and average the three (and sometimes will have a second person do three measurements to see whether they agree).  Personally, having looked at the images, I don't think it was 9.4 mm anyway.  I'd guess less.  Something in the 8s. 

I guess if we had to be all confused, I am glad I thought it was something with the heart and not something with the brain.  I think I can handle heart issues better than brain issues.  The good news is we left the ultrasound without needing to schedule a follow-up with anyone (neurosurgeon, MFM again, genetic counselor, etc).  Relief, of a kind.  Obviously there is no way to know for sure that everything is OK (or OK enough) until ... you know....whenever it is that you stop worrying about your kids (so never), but I'm a little more relaxed now.

Today is my birthday.  I am 36 now officially.  I was 6 lbs 10 ounces when I was born 36 years ago, but my mom was a smoker.  I think my true birth weight would have been closer to 8 lbs 5 ounces had my mom not smoked.  My older sister was 7 lbs 11 oz (when my mom was not smoking).  Usually your second same gendered child is an average of 10 ounces heavier than your first.  Ergo, I should have been 8 lbs 5 ounces.  By that same logic, Bobo should have been 8 lbs 13 ounces (but was 8 lbs 2 ounces since he was delivered early due to placenta previa).  Poor, tiny Bobo.  So growth restricted and born early and tiny.  Hee hee. Not.  I still think of him as my big baby since he didn't lose nearly as much weight as Chuckles did after birth.

Anyway, that's what's up.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012


Happy Valentine's Day.

In honor of the forced romance of today, Mr. Long-Suffering and I are spending the afternoon in a darkened room - together.  With an ultrasound technician.  This afternoon is the follow-up to the follow-up ultrasound with the high-risk people at the University of Chicago.  I am hoping for uneventful.  Is that too much to ask for?  (Or grammatically, is that too much for which to ask?)

I haven't mentioned much on the blog about how I feel about this pregnancy, but I am trying to get attached to Muse and yet, for some reason, I keep thinking that I am not getting a take-home baby out of this.  Certainly, I've had DBTs before, but these are so persistent that it's disconcerting.  However, I continue to go through the motions of washing and sorting clothes, purchasing diapers (but not opening the packages), getting the nursing supplies gathered onto the table in the nursery, etc.  It's that old "fake it until you make it" thing.  I'm trying. 

I also haven't mentioned much about Muse's chromosomes since I don't know anything more, and I don't know whether I will know anything additional about them before he is born.  The whole pre-term labor scare thing and 5 weeks of absolute horribleness that followed really shook the genetic fears right out of me.  Prematurity was scarier than Down Syndrome to me, so I just sort of let it slide.  I, of course, still worry that Muse might have something wrong with his heart (which is why we're going for the fetal echocardiogram today...along with regular ultrasound), but I'm not nearly as fearful now as I was 7 weeks ago.

In other news, I developed two new pregnancy symptoms that are un-fun: vertigo and swelling (neither of the caliber to have us worrying about pre-eclampsia).  The vertigo is only if I move my head certain ways (like rolling over in bed, getting from laying to standing, or checking my blind spot while driving).  The swelling is the typical feet and hands (notsomuch face, though there is a definite chipmunking of the cheeks) plus swelling of my lady regions (probably because I carry so fact, if you know where a bikini cut c-section scar is, I start carrying about 1" below that). 

Monkey went missing before bedtime last night.  That’s a tragedy, but we avoided tears at bedtime.  Monkey was still missing this morning.  Chuckles said it’s in supernanny's car.  Supernanny looked.  Not there.  Eventually Chuckles says….oh, he’s in the closet.  Goes, gets him in 2 seconds, and Bobo is thrilled (tears were imminent).  Why oh why couldn’t he have done that last night??? (Monkey was a gift given to Bobo from Chuckles on his first day of life...Grandma had taken Chuckles to Target and this is what he brought to the hospital.)

In honor of Valentine’s Day, Hair Nation played GnR's “Used to Love Her” this morning.  Totally apropos, right?

My girl scout cookies arrived.  Wish me strength.

Chuckles competed in the Pinewood Derby for the first-time ever.  Bobo insisted on calling it the Penguin Derby, which was adorable.  Bobo and I didn't go.  We elected to stay home and go to sleep at a decent hour (Bobo's sleep has drifted into statistically significant bedtime shenanigans and night-time wakings).  Chuckles did not win, but he did fine, and best of all, my competitive little jerk (I say with love) was a gracious loser.  That is one of the most important things I want him to learn in Cub Scouts and life. 

I made pancakes and stamped them with Star Wars cookie cutters.  Am winner mother - even if I don't know a Death Star from an X-wing Fighter (though I think the X-wing is actually shaped like an X).  I am not sure who was more excited about these pancakes - husband or children.  Also, served them with homemade fruit syrup that I canned on Saturday (nesting much?).

Sacrilegiously, whenever I hear "May the force be with you," I want to follow it up by saying, "And also with you."

Wednesday, February 08, 2012


And I’m not talking football.

Although, there was this really big game that happens at the end of the season. It’s the Great Bowl. No, the Fantastic Bowl. No, the Roman Numeral Bowl. No, the Super Bowl (duh duh duh dun). And I like football. Yet, I did not care at all about who won or lost. The one QB is married to a fricken super model and the other one comes from a seemingly nice family of football players. And I still didn’t really care.

I went to a party, discovered I am a terribly picky eater who doesn’t like football food, watched most of the game, did a Sudoku and a crossword puzzle, watched the commercials and half-time showstravaganza, came home, and had cereal. I don’t care for brats and wings. In my defense, had there been chili, I would have been all over that. I had some bean salad, guacamole, and positioned myself near the cheese tray.

My in-laws celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary. Congrats to them. I don’t know whether I will live long enough to see my own 40th, but it’s only 30 years from now. We took the whole family (all of their progeny) out for dinner to celebrate their milestone. All 4.78 of their grandsons were there (our 2.78 boys plus the two boy cousins).   The kids behaved at the fancy restaurant, but we came home for dessert (ice cream cake!) to keep our in-restaurant time down.

Speaking of my 0.78 boy, he’s actually 0.8735 of a kid now. I’m about 33.5 weeks. At my last routine ob appointment, I had only gained a pound in the previous 3 weeks. Considering the baby put on about a pound in that time, I felt pretty good about that. While at the ob, I also confirmed that I do not need to sign any papers in advance to get my tubes tied while they are in there performing their baby-ectomy. It seems awfully permanent, but since we don’t want any more kids and I have yet to find a birth control method that I like for nursing, it’s a go. (For the record, there are several forms of birth control that I LOVE while not nursing.)

I received a gift for Christmas, but I hadn’t felt good enough to use it until last weekend. I went to the spa and received a pre-natal massage. If you ever find yourself knocked up, I highly recommend it. They have a special insert for the table with a hole in it so you can lay on your stomach while they massage your (very tired) back. I would pay good money just to lay on their table let alone have someone massage me. One small problem: I could not figure out how to get up when it was done. I really needed to push myself up on my arms and yet there was no where to put my hands. Eventually, I figured it out and escaped.

I have a variety of mild peculiarities. You could call them little minor OCD things, except they’re so minor, they’re more like quirks.

If you were to overlay my footpath every day from the time I enter the factory on the access road until I sit at my desk, it would be the exact same number of steps and route every single day. I park in the same spot, remove my lunch, purse, and laptop from the car using the same hands in the same way every day, enter the building through the same door, take the same path to my desk, put the computer in the docking station, lay my coat on the chair, grab my tea cup and tea bag (and swish it in the 7/8 hot water the same number of times, then fill it 1/8 of the way with cold water to get the perfect temperature), every day.

I am similarly ritualistic with other aspects of my day. I have had my maternity leave fill-in here as trainee for the last few weeks trying to learn my job. He is throwing me all off of my rhythm. He unstapled papers that I had stapled (at a perfect 45-degree angle, mind you). He did not remove the staple. He just ripped them apart. He does not print documents 2 pages per sheet, double sided. I’m so unmoored listing in the rough waters of person invading my space.

And I realize that my quirks are a little…obsessive. It just bothers me so much when he messes my things up (and I have to come back to this when I return). I mean, I staple things so that they stay together when I put them in my awesome filing system. Do not mess with the filing system. The filing system is the reason if you ask me what happened on August 3rd, I can tell you within a few minutes. Also, I never delete an email with any information in it. I have an elaborate filing system and am just a wee bit neurotic about flushing my inbox. In fact, I only have 282 items in my inbox right now. Considering that I receive in excess of 300 emails per day at work, I would say that’s not too bad. Trainee guy doesn’t save email, doesn’t have any personal folders or rules to handle email. Honestly, I have no idea how he survives. He watched me answer a few questions wherein I went to my 2009 email folder, subfolder corporate policies, and pulled out an edict and answered a question. He was awed. I was ticked that he didn’t see the value in saving and filing things. For the future. So you don’t actually have to remember anything other than I heard about that once back in March of 2009.

Speaking of my quirks…I might as well lay it out there. I’m a rigid person who likes to have a way to handle her life. The illusion of control is comforting. I try to keep the skin on an orange in one piece when I peel it. I succeed about 1/3 of the time. On clementines, it’s closer to 90%.

I also have a weird thing about the visualization of time. I imagine the year as a wheel…almost like a clock. The new year is at the 6 o’clock position (and is very dark), July 1st is at 12 o’clock (and is bright white or yellow). A lot of times when someone is asking a question, I remember that we last discussed this around the 10 o’clock position (forward and to the left) and getting lighter, so I can then go and find the file or email pertaining to this with the items from perhaps early May. I rarely remember what we said, but I can usually find my notes within a 2 week time period of when I remember discussing it. This might be some kind of synesthesia, but it’s not any kind of hindrance and probably makes me the life of the party. I just looked synesthesia up on Wikipedia for the first-time ever. Apparently, clock-face based associations are very common. So, very common. Not special at all.

In other news, Mr. Long-Suffering and I went to a professional society meeting last night. We work in the same industry but in different specialties. Let’s say we both worked in a hospital but one of us was in food service and the other in custodial. We would both work in health care but our professional societies would be different. We went to his society and heard a moving lecture on monetary policy. The laugh line of the night was a potshot at Illinois and its propensity for raising taxes without doing anything to control its spending. If you are not aware, Illinois is practically California or Italy (not as bad as Greece – yet). My college minor was actually in economics, and there was a slight political slant to the presentation, which happened to match pretty well with my politics, so overall, I enjoyed myself greatly. The speech was objectively very good as well. In fact, a banquet hall full of 300+ factory workers gave a standing ovation to a speech on monetary policy. That’s how you know it was a good talk. If the guy giving the speech wanted to run for elected office, he’d have a decent start to a stump speech. And his powerpoint slides were not too busy and the font was (for the most part) large enough to be seen in the cheap seats. I recapped the speech at work today and people were actually disappointed that they had not gone.

We arrived home from the meeting around 9:30 to lightly falling snow. And a still-awake Bobo. I gave him some time to see whether he was going to fall asleep, but eventually, I went and checked on him. “I’m huhn-gurry and I need to go potty.” So, that’s how I was exhausted, dressed up, and feeding Bobo string cheese and strawberries at 10:30 last night. Fortunately, despite years of early sleep troubles, Chuckles is able to sleep through all of this Bobo night-waking, new bed, new room shenanigans.

I just ate a Clementine. And I won when I peeled it! SarcastiCarrie is winning at life!

Oh, and the 49ers reference is a nod to the number of days until my due date when I went for my massage and someone asked my how much longer…49 days!