Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Noah's Birth Story: Part the First

In honor of Noah's first birthday, his birth story in two parts:

Sunday, August 16, 2009 T-minus 0 days
No baby.  HA.  HAHAHAHAHA.  No child of mine shall ever be born before or on his or her due date.  So I just shrugged and waved 'D-Day' good bye in the mirror.

Monday August 17, 2009 T-plus 1 day
My OB had me scheduled for a non-stress test (NST) and ultrasound in the event that the baby was past due.  (HAHAHAHAHA).  So Dyl and I headed off to the St. Joe's Perinatal Center where the boy evidenced his extreme displeasure to being hooked up to the monitor by kicking the ever-loving shit out of me and basically rendering the monitor useless.  The tech told us his heart-rate was strong and he was active.  (Really?  I hadn't noticed.) and my OB was there for the oh-so-fun and thrilling cervix check.  I'm pretty sure that Dyl was squicked out by that.  No contractions, just a party so we're back to waiting.  Did we want to schedule the induction for the next day?  No, no we do not.  Let's give it a bit more time as I saw my sister deal with a useless induction that ate up a week of her life so NO THANK YOU!  Then we headed over to the ultrasound room to check the amniotic fluid level and size.  Fluid level was fine meaning he could continue to hang out for a while longer and the tech asked us if we wanted to know his size.  Sure, amaze me.  So in the hushed tones one uses for delivering bad news, she intones:  "9 pounds, 4 oz".  To which I replied, yeah, that sounds about right.  Probably not the response she was expecting. "And it's a boy".  Again, yeah, I know.  Four sonograms are pretty conclusive so him suddenly sprouting a vagina at this stage of the game would be news indeed.  What can I say?  I was very pregnant.

Back to work we went with everyone giving me a wide berth along with the terror-filled eyes of "please GOD don't go into labor here!"  No worries gang, that ain't happening today.

Then the hospital registration office called me to confirm the induction the next day and I went through that whole thing again.  No thank you, we'll wait and see if he comes by himself.  Everything looks good, no need to rush him, blah blah blah.  They really seem to want the baby out whereas I'm the one who should be storming the hospital in search of a Pitocin drip and yet was strangely content to let him marinate some more.  I finally convinced them that no, I don't want it.  I'll wait, thanks.  To which my coworkers were all, 'DAMN WOMAN,  GET OUT OF HERE!'

Thursday, August 20, 2009 T-plus 4 days
And...the second NST.  No accompanying sonogram though so was a bit disappointed.  I will be honest:  at this point, even Noelle had been born so I was ready to be done and eagerly awaiting the news that we could schedule an induction for the very! next! day!  To which I would have been 'HELL'S YEAH!"  But...no.  The hospital doesn't do Friday inductions?  Or something?  For the love of pants people, I AM DONE!  What a difference three days make.

Friday, August 21, 2009 T-plus 5 days
I just didn't feel like going to work that day.  So I didn't.  And I kept Noelle home with me too so we could have one last Mommy/Daughter only day.  We played, lunched and napped together while I lulled my coworkers into a false sense of security by not being there.  No baby yet beeshes!  I win the pool!

Sunday, August 23, 2009 T-plus 7 days
Seriously considered going down to the Eastern Shore for my cousin's baby shower because hey!  I'm still pregnant.  And a 3 hour car ride is JUST what the doctor recommended for the giant beached whale of a woman.  Luckily, cooler heads (hi honey!) prevailed and convinced me that doing this was a really, really bad idea.  Turns out that a monsoon or something hit so my mom (with whom I would have been riding), was very grateful I was not there as navigating Route 50 in the second coming of the flood with an enormously pregnant daughter next to her might have pushed her over the edge.  Oh, and still no baby.  But!

Monday, August 24, 2009 T-plus 8 days
Now it had gotten beyond ridiculous but luckily we had ANOTHER NST scheduled for that morning so off we went to the perinatal center again.  I offered to buy Starbucks but Dyl was not in a good mood after dropping Noelle off at daycare.  I, however, needed something to get me going as I only got about 3 hours of sleep the previous night.  While hooked up to the machine, I started fantasizing about my OB taking one look at the screen and hollering, get her to L&D STAT!!!!  Alas, no, though he did ask me if I was feeling contractions to which I replied, not really, I mean, I feel Braxton Hicks up here (indicates fundus) and a weird pressure in my lower abdomen but the 'contraction' contractions.  To which he informed me at this point they were ALL contractions.  The only thing that was missing was the eye roll with 'Bitch, please.'  Yes, things were progressing and we all decided to bring this exciting adventure to an end by the next day if he didn't vacate the premises voluntarily.  So we packed up and back to work Dyl and I went.  I seriously walked into the office and people looked at me with uncomprehending eyes:  'What the hell?  Why are you still here?'  My office mate even asked me that and really, I came in because I wanted to finish up those last minute details, let people know that one way or the other it was my last day for a while and most importantly, I would have gone absolutely stir crazy at home.

12:00 pm - I had lunch which consisted of leftover pasta and sausage; in hindsight, perhaps not a stellar choice.
3:00 pm - Stacey was getting ready to go and we were saying our goodbyes, getting contact information, all that jazz.
3:20 pm - 'POP'!  And all holy hell broke loose...

To be continued...

Monday, August 30, 2010

I have seen the future and she is walking away from me

Have you ever just been standing somewhere and the feeling of absolute certainty comes over you that you are seeing the future?  I had an experience like that this morning.

Today was a big day in our house.  Noelle is starting in a new preschool classroom today, the 3/4s which, ironically enough, coincided with the first day of school in our state.  We have been talking up the switch to the new classroom for a while now; you'll be with your friends again!  New toys to play with!  New things to learn!  More freedom in art projects!  So all weekend she has been telling us that she goes to the 3/4 classroom today because she is a Big Girl. 

She wakes up this morning literally bouncing out of bed.  We have our morning cuddles but she is alert and telling us where she is going today, "I go to 3/4s today Mommy!".  She does her morning business and gets dressed with no tantrums.  At all.  This is, indeed, a watershed moment.  I explained to her that we'll go to her new room first and put her things away then go back to her old classroom to wait for her new teacher Ms. Lisa to come get them.  Well, we were very late as apparently every idiot in the greater Baltimore area decided that this would be the perfect morning to turn 695 into a parking lot thereby making my (wonderful, sainted) mother-in-law late in getting to the house to watch Noah. 

We finally made it to her school and as we were walking down the hall, Ms. Lisa comes out of the classroom going to get the rest of the kids.  Since herding 20 or so preschoolers is even more difficult than wrangling cats, she recommended that I bring Noelle back to the other room as it could take a while.  We located her cubby and unpacked her lunch then headed back down the hall where the wrangling had taken a record time to perform.  Noelle joined the end of the line and we had hugs and kisses and "I love you"s.  Then we walked apart, her one way to a new learning experience and I the other to the door and the responsibilities of a job.  But I watched her little figure walk down the hall and every few feet she would turn around, wave, smile and blow kisses.  I finally stopped and just watched her, waving and smiling back as she reached the classroom door and gave me one last smile, wave and kiss before disappearing inside. 

It was then that I shivered, knowing that I was seeing a sequence of events that was happening right then in elementary schools everywhere as mothers took their children to kindergarten for the first time.  Knowing that in two years, the scene would play out again for us; her smiling, waving and blowing kisses and me smiling, waving and blowing kisses back to her as she disappeared into her classroom.  And, like today, with tears running down my cheeks. 

Monday, August 16, 2010

Yes, they really do listen to what you say

For a while I've been convinced that talking to the wall or my shoes would be of bigger impact than talking to Noelle.  It feels like I tell her fifty times a day 1) don't pull your brother down  2) don't grab things from him  3) be gentle, don't squish him 4) don't hit your brother, that's not nice and 5) if you have an accident I'm going to be very upset with you.  Before anyone thinks I'm punishing her for having an accident, it's in the context of accidents that happen outside of nap time.  When she knows full well she needs to use the potty but can't be bothered to stop what she's doing to go.  Still, not my finest moment of parenting saying that....  Well, this weekend I got confirmation that while she was listening, she had no intention of actually following my directions. 

While she was using the potty, she said to me in all seriousness "Mommy, I no have an accident."  "That's great sweetie, I'm really proud of you."  "Mommy, if you have an accident, I'll be so mad at you!"  *Insert mental cringing here* "If I have an accident baby, you have every right to be mad at me."  Man, I felt bad.  Now every time she goes to the potty, she tells me that she didn't have an accident.  I'm really proud of her but man, what have I done?  I know that it happens and when I said it I was frustrated as it was her second accident in 4 hours but the last thing that I wanted her to do was fixate on it.  I only wanted her to be more aware.  I'm so glad that I didn't say anything to put her down or make her feel bad, just expressed disappointment and she doesn't seem to be too traumatized by it though I'm sure the therapy bills in the years to come will be huge. 

She's also been giving me advice on how to take care of a baby.  "Mommy, you don't hit the baby.  You can kiss the baby.  You can cuddle the baby.  You can pet the baby but you don't hit the baby.  If you hit the baby, I'll be so mad at you!"  And I agree with her wholeheartedly "You are so right baby, we never hit a baby.  If anyone ever hits a baby you should be mad at them!"  Though so far this maternal concern has only applied to her baby doll.  We've yet to see this sentiment applied to her little brother who has, fortunately and unfortunately, reached the age where Yay! he can play somewhat now and Crap, he can get into her business and really piss her off. 

Tangent 1:  the music table just decided to start playing by itself.  That's not scary at all.  Good thing I had peed already as I would have had an accident and incurred the sanctimonious wrath of a 3 going on 13 year old. 

Tangent 2:  for the past two nights, she has been sleeping in her sleeping bag.  On the floor.  No particular reason other than she saw it in her closet and wanted to sleep in it.  Indulgent parenting or wise selection of battles? Discuss.

Thankfully she shows that she listens in other less guilt-inducing ways.  She clears her plate off the table now and puts it in the sink, she almost always says 'please' and 'thank you' and even once when I took her with me to get a new bathing suit, she said to me while I was changing, "Mommy, you are so pretty."  Yeah, I think I'll keep her.  And watch my mouth since I know now she's listening.

Friday, August 13, 2010

I passed, but I failed. Yeah!*

So you remember the job that I didn't get?  The one that would have springboarded me from the 9th circle of hell to oh, the 3rd or 4th?  At least?  Yeah, that one.  I received this morning one of the most bizarre phone calls  that I have ever received in my life (ranking up there with the guy who asked me to go out with him in 7th grade to whom I replied in all seriousness:  go where?).  It was, no joke, the hiring manager wanting to explain things to me.

This went down at 8 this morning after I had already been A) up at 4 to B) get to work by 6 so I was C) very tired and still really bummed but D) put on my happy professional voice to take her call even though I had not had enough coffee yet.  She was very impressed with my resume and interview and thought I was an excellent candidate and would be holding onto to my resume for future reference.  The only thing that the 'winner' had that I did not was packaging experience and in their succession planning, the only person who had that type of experience would be retiring within a few years.  But she stated over and over again how impressed she was with me and how it had been such a great career move on my part to apply for the job as it raised my visibility within the company since plant personnel tend to be invisible and overlooked in talent reviews and succession planning.  How did this raise my visibility?  She personally handed my resume to the CORPORATE VICE PRESIDENT OF QUALITY...and HE was impressed by my experience and qualifications!  Holy. Effen. Cow.

The timing could not have been better as they are beginning their quarterly talent review for succession planning and now HERE I AM BITCHES; NOBODY PUTS ME IN THE CORNER!  The icing would have been getting the job but you know, being on the radar of the Corporate Vice President isn't such a bad silver medal all things considered.  I guess I can tough it out here for a while longer.  This probably means I should get my butt in gear with the starting of the MS in Quality Assurance.  So I'm in a much better place mentally now though the 4 cups of coffee I've had this morning haven't hurt. 

So thank you for putting up with my pity party the other day (in which I actually did not knock back a beer.  Or three)..  This is one of the reasons I love the Internets and blogging  - you can dump your feelings, work through them and no one (for the most part) is judgemental.  At least not to me yet but I'm a newbie. 

*I'm feeling a need to watch Real Genius tonight....

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Welcome to my pity party!

This week has, in a word, sucked.  Worse than a vacuum cleaner on steroids.  Worse than the snot-sucker I regularly torture the baby with.  Worse than me throwing all the grammar rules out of the window and ending a sentence with a preposition.  In the grand scheme of things/big picture/perspective, they are but minor annoyances.  I know this.  But still, it's my party and I want to pity.  Myself that is.  What is so bad about this week you may ask?  Oh, just let me tell you.

1.  I didn't get a job I applied for.  Yes, I have a job and I should be be grateful/ecstatic/pooping rainbows that I have one and my family is not precariously teetering on the precipice of disaster.  It doesn't change the fact that I hate my job with the passion of a thousand fiery suns. I hate the constant state of emergency, I hate how quality is always blamed for everything that goes wrong, I hate smelling like the inside of a garbage can at the end of the day.  I've been with the company for almost 13 years and am no longer the young, ingenue-type employee that everyone wants on their team.  I fear that I've been typecast and pigeon-holed as 'that plant person' and will never escape from this ninth circle of hell in which I spend my days tasting raw materials in failing products for the elusive off onion/garlic note and GODDAMN IT, THERE IS NO OFF ONION FLAVOR!  But!  the analytical work said there was so I must taste every. single. one.  Of about 60 raw materials since GOD FORBID these people make a straightforward product.  I also just might need a good cry.  I'm not discounting that.

2.  My laptop was infiltrated by a rogue computer virus that said there were myriad number of nasty viruses/spyware/etc. lurking on my machine.  So I've been in utter fear of even booting up and almost in as much fear of the amount it will cost to make it safe and whole again.  Hackers/thieves/assorted nasty persons:  LEAVE MY COMPUTER ALONE!

3.  Noelle actually does have strep throat.  The rapid culture was negative but the 48 hour incubation came back positive.  It happens, kids get sick but the timing forced her to miss a planned swimming date at our friends' pool, a trip to the zoo with Grandmom and Grandad, water play day at school, soccer day at school and, oh yes!  The ENTIRE week of school.  I love having to pay for her NOT to be there. 

4.  There was a massive morning thunderstorm today.  Which was fine, whatever, I was locked in my little veal-hole of an office but!  I left one of the car windows down about 2 inches.  In a storm that I'm pretty certain rivaled the one that got the ark floating.  The only bright side is that Noelle won't have to sit in her seat until Saturday at the earliest.

5.  While shaving my legs in the shower this morning at 0-dark-thirty, I was A) half asleep and B) not really paying attention when I completely zoned out and nicked my butt.  Because of course I did.  So now I'm having to spend a large chunk of the day doing data analysis and data entry for the roughly eleventy-million raw materials which requires sitting.  On the butt cheek with the slice.  This?  Is not comfortable.

So yeah, the pity party is in full swing round these parts.  Pull up a stool and help yourself to the pretzels.  I'll bring the beer.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Mommy guilt is alive and well. And ridiculous.

Noah will be one year old in less than two weeks.  And I can count on the fingers of two hands the number of bottles of formula he has and in the past eleven and a half months.  Otherwise?  All breast milk.  This is good, right?  The AAP recommends breast milk exclusively for the first six months.  We made that with no problem.  So why the guilt?  My supply has inexplicably decreased from about 40 ounces a day to 25-26 and we are down to our five bags of frozen breast milk.  So sometime this week he will be getting two bottles of formula a day to cover what he drinks. 

And this is why the guilt is ridiculous.  We made it to over ELEVEN MONTHS on straight breast milk.  I didn't come anywhere close to that with Noelle (I'm sorry sweetie).  It will only be for about two weeks but still, I feel a sense of failure.  I was thisclose to achieving my goal of one year with no formula supplementation.  And I'm going to miss it by two weeks when he'll switch to whole milk.  It's not a big deal, I know this.  But I still can't help but feel that I failed him in some way.  Is it a response to the battle lines which have been drawn between breast and bottle?  The ongoing debate on breast milk versus formula?  I try to stay out of the fray, to do what is best for my baby but can't seem to get my head and my heart to agree.  It's not like there is the mourning of the closeness of nursing as he has not nursed since about 4 months old though I have developed a very strong bond with my pump.  So why do I feel like a failure?  Rationally I know that two weeks means precisely jack.  If I'm being honest with myself, it's because I set a goal and will have come so close to meeting it but won't quite.  And therein lies the issue:  as mothers we are in competition with each other and ourselves to prove that we are doing it 'right'. But there is no absolute right, it's all shades of gray which plays right into the notion of 'competitive mothering'.   The competition is ridiculous.  The guilt is ridiculous.  But it's there and it's pervasive and it isn't going away.

Someday I'll be asked what my biggest regret or failure of motherhood was and as of today I would have to say:  two weeks.  And that pisses me off.  So as of right now, I am making it my goal to not subject myself to guilty feelings over what needs to be done be it having to work or supplement with formula for two weeks.  I'll do my best for my baby, for my family and only I can know what it is.  But I made the goal and I wrote about the goal so I ask you to help me in remembering and working to achieve the goal.  It will be hard and will require absolute conviction in what I do but if something is not worth doing right, it's not worth doing at all.

Still, two weeks.

Monday, August 9, 2010

I am a grownup. And I can prove it.

Though you wouldn't be able to tell this by looking at my normal selection of reading material.  One could easily get me confused with a 12 year old girl or a 16 year old boy.  Let's put it this way,  I used to work at Barnes & Noble and took the opportunity to bury myself in fantasy and YA (young adult) novels.  Not the latest memoir/self help tome from the celebrity/asshole du jour, not the most recent offering for women examining relationships with food/sister/friends/self/sex and definitely not the 'classics' (in fact I have never even picked up a copy of Pride and Prejudice).  Nope, give me my fantasy and YA.  Why?  Because to me they are better written and (this is most important) unpretentious.  They aren't trying to impress the reader with erudite, flowing lines, for soaring metaphors or for existential truths.  They simply tell a story.  Reading is my escape and I'll be damned if I want to be lectured at so I simply choose not to read it.  My 'library' table is piled high with The Darwath Trilogy, the Percy Jackson series, the latest in 'he Wheel of Time, and the newest from Rick Riordan 'The Kane Chronicles'.  And of course, the Twilight series.

*Okay, I don't know what just happened but I tried to Control-I and instead Control-somethinged which published the post even though it really wasn't supposed to.  So sorry about that....*

So it is with great fanfare that I announce my recently completed reading marathon of...the Millennium trilogy by Stieg Larssons.  The story and conflicts were gripping though the Swedish history lessons took me a few tries to follow (I was way too distracted trying to figure out how to pronounce some of the names but finally got past that) and as I also like a thrilling mystery, this fit in my repertoire nicely.  HOWEVER, and I'm loath to speak ill of the dead, Herr Larssons seemed to have a MASSIVE problem with women.  As in, they were repeatedly assaulted and abused throughout the series which was quite disturbing at times.  To his credit, they didn't all rely on a man rescuing them; they rescued each other and found strength and independence through their respective experiences but still.  DAMN.  Also distracting was the very very short, simple sentence structure.  I'm no fan of the page-long run on sentence with wanton use of semicolons, colons and parentheses but a few compound sentences and the restrained sprinkle of adverbs and even(gasp!) the judicious use of metaphors would have been a welcome way to keep the flow from breaking.  But, I'm willing to overlook that as it was translated from Swedish and the subtleties do tend to get lost in translation.  To summarize:  while I loved the overall story, I was aghast at the treatment of women and lukewarm on the writing style.  Check it out for yourself and form your own opinion before Hollywood gets completely ahold of this and bastardizes it beyond all recognition. 

Though with the assaults and abuses are such an integral part, I don't know how they can pull this off without an NC-17 rating and still do justice to the story.  So there you have it, my first book/series review and no spoilers given away.  No plot given away either; I'm coy like that.

(Also, I'm pumping right now any my boobs itch.  Lovely.  I'm sure that you wanted to know.  I'm a giver. No need to thank me.)

Sunday, August 8, 2010

It had to happen sometime

Our unprecedented run of health-related good luck has come to a screeching halt.  Noelle has had a decent fever since yesterday prompting a cancellation of pools plans for Saturday and potentially derailing a special sleep-over/zoo trip at Grandmom Yvonne and Granddad's house tomorrow.  I say unprecedented because she has not been sick since her first year of life where pink eye and diarrhea were the norm. And one episode of RSV that required a trip to the pediatric ER for a nebulizer but we don't really count that one. But she isn't complaining mostly because she has been able to watch a ridiculous amount of TV and movies the past two days.  What else do you do with a preschooler who is running a fever but can't read to herself?  She plays with her toys (it was soccer and baseball this morning.  Yes, in the house.  I know.) until the Motrin wears off and her eyes start looking glassy.  And to top it off, it is a beautiful weekend that should be spent outdoors.

But she doesn't complain.  It's amazing given that she got a new bike.  A big girl bike that Dada put together this week and she has been chomping at the bit to get outside and practice so she can ride bikes with her friend Nico who also has a big boy bike.  Her bike is pink with Disney Princesses on it.  It has sparkly tassels and a 'purse' on the front she can put things in; in fact it is already full.  She has her bike helmet and has been practicing getting onto and off of the bike by herself.  She wants to go outside in the worst way.  But she can't.  Or rather, we won't let her.  It's amazing she doesn't complain even though we can to cancel plans to go to our best friends' pool so she could swim and splash around.  She wanted to play with her friend; she was really looking forward to it and it made me sad to tell her that she couldn't go.  But she didn't complain.  Not in the slightest. 

She is such a good girl even when she isn't feeling well.  She lets me take her temperature without fuss.  Okay, without fuss after the first time yesterday when her fever first spiked and she didn't want anything to do with the thermometer or the Motrin.  But the subsequent times, she pulled her arm out of her sleeve and let me get the readings.  She takes her medicine wonderfully though I'm sure that it doesn't hurt that it tastes like bubblegum.  So my poor baby is sick.  Just a fever and nothing else to do but ride it out. 

All we can do is monitor it and hope that she feels well enough for her special day with her grandparents.  But if not, then we reschedule.  Nothing else to do but that.  Though it hurts to see her propped up in our bed, so tiny and vulnerable under the covers, my heart swells with love looking at her knowing that, for a short time at least, she's counting on me to make everything better.  It's the crux of parenthood; the delight and the despair:  the gift and burden of  absolute trust our children have in us which is simultaneously gratifying and terrifying.  I'll always do my best to be worthy of your trust sweet pea, I promise.