Saturday, December 25, 2010

The Fantasy

Ever since I was pregnant with Finley and Oliver I've had a fantasy of learning how to play the acoustic guitar. Seriously. The other day I even saw one out by my neighbor's trash and thought of picking it up. It had no back, though, and I thought it might be more trouble than picking through trash in my own neighborhood was worth.

But this afternoon, when we went to my parents' for the second half of Christmas, I unwrapped a beautiful little guitar with my name on it. Actually, it says Fender, but same difference.

I am going to be a totally different person now.

There are actually some pretty decent lessons out there on the internet. For free! And I know it's cheap, but hey, I'm not going pro or anything. This is strictly for the purpose of being the coolest mom ever. I've already learned three chords, which is further than I ever got with guys who were trying to hit on me by teaching me guitar.

. . .

Okay, so I'm not going to be the coolest mom ever. Probably. But I need this. A hobby I can do at home that kids will put up with. That might sometimes put them to sleep. My cello (did you know I played the cello for like 10 years?) is pretty much dead, and considering that it is a whole-body stationary affair, it's not the most motherhood-compatible instrument out there. This thing? It straps on!

But I suddenly had a waking nightmare about the little one swallowing picks. I might have to keep those in a lockbox.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Let's Get Real about Breast Feeding

Okay, so I try not to soapbox about important things on this blog, but I just have to get on this one.

First, I'm going to say the most important thing about breast feeding: It will probably be hard, but YOU CAN DO IT.

I'm not sure how many of you know what I had to go through to breastfeed Finley, but (in short) it took six full months of pumping and bottle feeding, three different types of bottles/nipples, nipple shields, lactation consultants, and TONS of work, practice, and persistence to get it to happen. It sucked. And I know a lot of women aren't willing to do that and can get away without doing it because their babies don't need it like mine did. I wouldn't have done it if I didn't have to.

But after seeing so many NICU babies and knowing the complications and illnesses that can be prevented by using breast milk, I just can't imagine that anyone would choose not to try before their baby is even born. I mean, there are a handful of REAL things that stop women from breastfeeding, and I think most of those women are sad that they and their babies miss out, but it's not like they have a choice.

But then there are women who just don't bother. They don't even try because of fear of failure or of saggy boobs or who knows what. These tend to be the people who get all pissy about "breast is best" articles and try to deny the fact that they've essentially given their child a disadvantage in one of the major parts of the newborn stage: feeding. It's not fun to think you've done that to your kid, but if you didn't even bother to try, well, you have. Don't deny the stats on breastfeeding because of it!

Then there's the group that tries to breastfeed and fails. My heart goes out to these women. It's NOT easy. It certainly doesn't come naturally for most women the way you'd expect. And the education in hospitals is PATHETIC. The consultants I saw even in the NICU were unhelpful. And for most women, unless they can somehow shell out hundreds to see an independent consultant (and it takes that much, especially if you're going more than once as you'll probably need to do), that's all the educated help they get. Two days maybe of help.

This is the real problem. It's such a small percentage of women who actually can't breastfeed because of uncorrectable low milk supply, and yet many women stop for just this reason. There's nobody there to help them through the tough parts, and workplaces are often stuck in the dark ages when it comes to lactating women. Nobody should have to pump in the bathroom (would they ask a man to make his kid a sandwich in a toilet stall?), and adequate break time is essential to a mother-friendly workplace. People need to get over pumping. It's not that weird, and women who do it for their kids are dedicated and working VERY hard.

But back to lactation education. It just needs to be more available. I got lucky because Finley's pediatrician has an IBCLC on staff, and she really got me and Finley breastfeeding and gave me the help and confidence to actually do it—and do it right!

I imagine if this kind of help were available to every woman, we'd have much higher breastfeeding rates and happier moms. So many of us are left to struggle on our own and it's super frustrating. And there are plenty of people out there who say, "Just give up!"

But I'll tell you, if you stick with it, you CAN do it. Statistically, you're not incapable. You WILL make enough milk. It CAN happen. But I think we need some social change. Insurance should pay for lactation counseling—period. Most don't even help with pump rental. We have awesome insurance and still had to pay out of pocket even though Finley was in the NICU and his survival counted on getting breast milk.

I think when you look at the long-term health benefits for children who are breast fed—lowered obesity rates, less likelihood of smoking, fewer episodes of illness during the breastfeeding period—it's clear that any initiative for public health should make helping women breastfeed a number one priority.

In the meantime, if you're struggling, try not to give up yet. If your supply is low, and you can't get baby to help you bring it up by BFing more often, try renting a pump—Medela's are the most comfortable to use. If you can't get a good latch, try a La Leche League meeting. Keeping a lactation consultant on staff at a pediatrician's office isn't uncommon. Ask your pediatrician if they have one. They may be able to bill your insurance for a regular appointment and then you just pay a co-pay.

I don't want to make anyone feel bad about getting frustrated and giving up. You know when enough is enough. But if you've still got energy left in you for breastfeeding, there are resources. And most importantly, you CAN do it.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

The Terrible Mother

I've been a bit sick lately. In fact, there is a support forum for people as nauseated as I am. And today, I am having an incident.

Finley pooped some time during his morning nap. It is a most disgusting poo, which can be smelled rather disgustingly from about 8 feet away from his bedroom door. If I penetrate the poo-stank barrier for longer than a few seconds, I gag. Any longer, and I'm sure I will barf. Who knows what will happen if I actually open the diaper.

Anyway, since I simply cannot stand the thought of turning my day into a vomit- and poo-cleaning party, I am leaving that poo there until Tim can come home. I'd rather keep my stomach acids off of both baby and nursery floor.

And apparently this makes me a terrible mom. My "support" forum, where I posted my problem thinking maybe someone else would understand, has deemed me unfit because I'd risk my baby's bottom skin for an hour waiting to change that poo. Because, as a mother, I should be willing to vomit like crazy AND clean up poo to save my baby from diaper rash.

But you know what? I'm not. So if you're sitting there thinking how much better of a mom you are than me, enjoy it! You win! I am a selfish whore! If you think you could handle my life so much better than I am, you can have it.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

My Lame Gift to You

"Each of us will experience over our lifetime physical pain, emotional anguish, heartache, grief, even betrayal in one form or another. If we attempt to deny the problem or to cover it with a façade of forced sweetness and light, we imperil both ourselves and each other—ourselves because we deny the healing that can result from the love, strength, and insights of true friends, and each other because people then assume we are our façades and feel even more isolated with their problems"
-Mary Stovall

I found this quote last night in a book someone gave me when I was on bed rest. I felt like it summarized why I keep this blog. So I hope you don't feel isolated. And I pray that when you feel like I do, at least you don't feel alone.

And I get the gift of you guys. So many of you have given me your love, strength, and insights, and I can't thank you enough.

Wishing Home Smelled Like Christmas Instead of Dirt

I think I'm going to heat up some apple cider. Not out of any desire to drink apple cider, but because I hope if I do so my house will smell a little more Christmas-y. We put up our tree yesterday, but since it's fake, there's no exciting smell or pine needles to vacuum. And it's not old enough to have built up that musty garage smell that meant Christmas when I was growing up.

Of course, we've already had Christmas Miracles galore this year. We've had Santa come in pieces as many gifts from loving friends, prayers and kindness, and enough fat on my belly to jiggle like a bowl full of jelly. Also, somehow our gas fireplace is non-functional. So what more could we ask for?

I mean, besides everyone's Christmas wish this year: money! Mostly in the form of jobs for our family members. And maybe in the form of a car that will fit our growing clan comfortably. I am shocked at how fast a sedan becomes way too small.

So here's the deal Old Man. If you bring us that stuff, I will keep your belly for another year. Sound good?

Sunday, November 28, 2010

And For the Odd but Related Juxtapositions Trifecta:

Seriously, that Fabi was right. This IS me. Vastly different cup sizes and all ;).


I don't know if everyone gets to this point in their lives, but for me, there are times when I have a hard time believing. Not that I don't believe, or that I find my faith unbelievable, but that believing can make life hard.

Believing in God's plan and that we are eternal individuals who exist before birth, on earth, and then in Heaven, means I can't believe whatever I want to about where my son is now. I can't think he'll come back to me in some other body, or that he is now a bird in my backyard.

Believing in an eternal atonement that can cleanse me from my sins means that I have to repent and turn my life around and not be a bum when sometimes I want to. Really badly.

Believing that there is a Heaven above where my son waits for me means that there is joy to be had in a family that is whole and together, but I have to wait for it. Maybe a really long time. Maybe not too long, but it feels like a long time, the duration of which I cannot control. And that's very hard.

Believing in the Comfort of the Holy Ghost means that I can be happy and comforted. I have to ask. And sometimes I don't want to ask. Because that feeling you get the first moment you see your child is one you want to keep with you, even when it is the tearing of your heart. But God did not make me for constant sorrow. And sometimes that is hard.

And believing in an eternal family is hard. Because it means I have to build a worthy family on Earth to have a whole one in Heaven. Because I have many days I wonder how I could ever be worthy of that blessing. Because I forget that Heavenly Father once lost a son, too, and that sacrifice is mine to call upon for cleanness and comfort and closeness to Him.

But I do believe all of those things. And I believe them enough to make my life have purpose and a plan. Maybe a vague one, but a plan in the basic sense anyway. I believe them even when they hurt, and sometimes enough to let the hurt pass.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Debbie Downer

So I just got this comment on my whiny blog a few posts ago:

"You are a Debbie Downer. Your cynical observations aren't even insightful. I can't read anymore."


So I'm taking this opportunity to sing "It's my blog and I can cry if I want to!" I mean really, what do you guys expect from a pretty severely depressed mama who finds herself a little unready for her challenges in life? My son died! So yeah, sometimes I'm going to cry about life sucking.

Plus, Debbie Downer is hilarious. So yeah, I'm not here to be insightful or smart or optimistic. I am writing this blog to be ME, and right now I'm a short-sighted cynic with nasty mood swings.

But this is the problem, too. I am still getting through (and not getting through) a lot of crap. I suck at coping and can't afford therapy. So I blog. And I'm sorry this blog has become less than what it was. So have I. And my friends are supportive and everything, but people just don't want to be with depressed people. So when you go through a loss like this, you lose friends, too. And when you need someone to talk to the most, there's nobody there. There's nobody who still wants to hear your grief.

As much as you all want me to stop being sad, I want it too! I don't want to be depressed and depressing. But life is still too much some days, and of all of the things that haven't been fair, the thing that pisses me off the most is that I can't turn to my own blog to complain without being called a downer.

This is why depressed people have fewer and fewer friends and worse and worse depression. If you want to serve your fellow man, sometimes you need to spend time with people who aren't easy to be around. It'll probably help them be easier to be around in the future. And not kill themselves in the meantime. One of the natural cures for depression is having friends. So BE one. Not to me if you don't want to, but to your friends who struggle. It's not easy, but it saves lives.

Because the last thing someone who can't handle everything needs (or at least the last thing this mourning mama needs) is a slap in the face. And to you, Fabi, F off.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Women Have Been Doing It for Millenia

Do you ever hear women saying, "Oh, women were having babies long before we knew XYZ about baby care, and they were fine!" or "Women used to deliver naturally before hospitals, and their babies turned out okay!"

Well you know what? They didn't. They had insanely high death rates. So be whatever kind of parent you want, but if your logic is that historically babies survived without their vaccines and without a hospital to be born in, it's seriously flawed. We have modern medicine for a reason. Partake of it wisely, but don't give it up because you're afraid of something terrible happening. Most likely, the terrible things will happen without it, and more often than with.

So if you're pregnant, and you decide that a glass of wine can't hurt because plenty of women drank during their pregnancies before we knew about fetal alcohol syndrome and their kids are fine, or you don't really have to be careful what you eat because it's too paranoid to go and look up what is and isn't okay for your baby, well, all those condom ads are for you.

Thursday, November 18, 2010


So a friend from BYU classes recently posted a couple of links about cheating in higher education. You can find them here and here (thanks, Nathan).

Now, this is a sensitive topic, right? Cheating is bad! We all know it. But who is at fault? And who are the victims?

You can blame the grading- and degree-oriented university system. Or the students. Or the students' parents. Or the people (like the writer of the first article) who facilitate cheating in all of its sneaky incarnations. Frankly, they're all at fault. Well, I'm less inclined to blame the university system. I loved my college experience and found what most people do: you get out of it what you put in.

And really, I'm okay with other people getting degrees they didn't really earn. I don't care if someone I'm competing with for a job is secretly a total moron. The employer will realize it at some point, pay for their hiring mistake, and ta-dah, one more job opening for me. It evens out. And I honestly don't mind if some jerk cheats his way to a master's and gets to wear the hood and I didn't. What I pay for with work, some people pay for with money.

It's a life choice, like being a stay-at-home mom vs. daycare. You pay for daycare, and you miss out on a lot of things. I'm not saying it's cheating at motherhood or anything, I'm just saying that paying someone else to do it will never be the same as doing it yourself.

But there are losers in this cycle:

Universities lose credibility in the world when they unknowingly graduate incompetents. Students applying to prestigious programs, scholarships, etc. lose when a cheater with a better record takes a spot that might have been theirs. Society loses by rewarding the unethical. Oh, and if these people reproduce, their offspring lose.

Oh right, and the patients of doctors and nurses who cheated through their training—their patients lose, and sometimes it's everything.

So who can stop it?

It starts with parents teaching kids the importance of honesty. Students, of course, can stop cheating. But there will always be dishonorable people. Honor codes and honor systems help, but again, there will always be some amount of scumbaggery no matter what. So we come to the system, which (IMHO) in no way creates the cheaters or the cheating.

Technology has made a lot of things easier for Universities. Thanks to scantrons and other auto-grading technology, testing centers, plus computer evaluation and communications, cheating is easier to commit, not just practically, but guilt-wise, too. Cheating to a computer screen or bubble sheet has got to be way easier than cheating to a face. So when it really counts, why not take the time to interview your students? Take five minutes and see if they can talk the talk. And for Pete's sake, don't make your students jump through so many hoops they feel like they have to cheat just to finish the game. I am talking to YOU, BYU language programs.

But really, that's expecting a little much out of the university system to cure all of our ills and talk face to face with every student. Tuition would skyrocket if that amount of time and effort had to go into every education.

So we can put some pressure on parents to teach honor, students to stop being a-holes, and universities to be face-to-face with more of their students (come on, couldn't the educational system use more of that?), but I opine that the single most massive impact comes from the facilitators. Guy-who-found-the-test-key-and-is-selling-it and egotistical-Ghost-essay-writer-man are spreading the plague. These guys make it possible for money to turn into good grades. They facilitate cheating for those who just wouldn't bother if it were harder. Just like if you make MJ legal, more people will smoke it, if you make cheating easy, more people will do it.

The problem is that the people in charge of regulating these people are themselves, and they are already chief majors in the scumbag hierarchy. We have no control over these guys, because they pretty much have no souls. You can't teach them, guilt them, commit them, or litigate them into quitting their douchebag ways. Right?

So what do we do? Do you care if people cheat? I had more to say about it than would fit in a facebook comment box, so if you do, link me to your blog on the topic. I want to know what you think, especially my friends in academia.

<selfrighteousness>For the record, I never cheated during my academic career. *takes a bow*</selfrighteousness>

Friday, November 12, 2010

Unintended Consequences

I feel like the title of every post I write, or want to but don't write, could be titled "Things That Suck." I'm going to blame the hormones.

Because seriously, I wouldn't normally complain about everything. But lately, I just feel like it. So here goes:

My clothes don't fit right.

I am tired of nursing and will not feel better about it until I get myself some nice nursing bras and clothes and settle in for the long haul.

It's so flipping cold in here but I don't want to spend money on heating OR wear fuzzy socks that make my feet sweaty.

My tummy hurts all the time and I have two choices to fix it: take meds and be medicated, or eat and get REALLY fat.

I am tired of doctors and doctors bills and remembering to pay them when sometimes it's online, sometimes you have to call, and most of the time they'd rather you sent it in the mail and I never have stamps.

I am extra tired of relief society activities because it seems like you ALWAYS have to pay for them, and the money deadline is like two weeks or more in advance, and I never remember the money on the right day, or I'm home sick, or something, so when the time comes I can't go because I didn't give someone a check or cash two weeks ago, as if those were things I should be carrying around. I'm not effing 50, okay?

There is drool everywhere. I want to cuddle my baby, but he wants to slime me. It makes things uncomfortable.

My house is a disaster, but I'm too tired to clean it and baby won't be left to play independently for more than 30 seconds at a time.

My mom seems to be the only person on earth who can make my baby take a nap.

Parks & Recreation isn't premiering until mid-season, so I have to wait SO LONG to see the next season of a show I finally started to like. On a side note, The Office sucks more than I had ever imagined it would.

There is an ICKY DEAD BUG on my desk. I don't dare touch it, so I'm stuck looking at it.

Our laptop is broken so my computer use is limited to when I can sit myself in what must be the coldest corner of the house in a super uncomfortable chair.

I decided to eat healthier the last time I went shopping and now I regret it because every time I want to eat something all I have is fruit and nuts, and all I want is junk that is easy and not messy, like granola bars or anything with high fructose corn syrup.

Also, eating healthy is like the most expensive thing ever. I could pretty much either (a) eat healthy this year or (b) fill out my new fat-body wardrobe, (c) take a vacation, or (d) buy everyone nice Christmas presents. Considering how much eating healthy sucks, I will take b, c, or d. And the eight chins that come with them.

. . .

I think that's all I have in me for now. Besides a budding headache.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

You Suck at Friendship

We're all busy. Sometimes we forget to get back to one another. And it's terrible.

But we were friends.

And I tried to keep in touch with you. I sent emails. I even visited your family when I was back in our home town. They remembered who I was.

And after the third "hey, still alive?" email, I expected something. It would be rude to go further. Even that guy I went on a few dates with before moving on and later wanted to reconnect with emailed me back after only two emails to tell me he was married. It was awkward, but at least he responded.

But you? No. Nothing. It's like I don't exist. We're friends on facebook, but again, it's like you accepted me and have been hiding ever since. I've tried. And I've given up. Because the one thing that has become clear to me is that we can't be friends. Not because you're not nice and wonderful and all that. Not because we're both busy with life.

Because you suck at friendship. That is all.

BTW, if you're reading this, I'm SURE it's not you, so no guilt. Just complaining.

Friday, November 5, 2010


The mascara in the most recent Clinique Bonus gift comes off way to easily when I hormone-cry. Also, the sunscreen smells too sunscreeny. What I really want out of life is to have free things be awesome all the time. And to not get sun damage. Ever.

Tim is telling me this blog post is over, and I'm thinking he's right. After I have three more grumblecakes and a whinesicle.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

I Wish I Had Thrown Pudding in Her Face

Life is full of regrets. Mine is anyway. Like regretting not saying in clearer words, "Take out the trash, girl, he's worthless," when a friend asked me what her S.O. had been like when I'd dated him, or if she had somehow turned him into a monster. I regret punching Clé in the stomach in high school. It was not a very nice thing to do.

I wish I had never been engaged to Glenn, and I wish I had succeeded in breaking up with him before the number of attempts reached five. I regret believing things I found out later were lies, and I wish I had eaten fewer saturated fats in my early twenties.

But more than anything, I wish I had thrown pudding in her face. There was pudding nearby, there would have been no permanent harm, and she totally deserved it. Sometimes what passes for self control is just a lame excuse not to do something you'll always remember with pride.

So if there is a nasty witch in your life that you have an excuse never* to see again, please, for my sake, throw some pudding in her face. You'll regret not doing it.

*ZOMG not if they're going to die or something!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The Mommy Addiction

Add this to my list of guilty pleasures: Finley just can't get enough of me. Sometimes when Tim is holding him and he's all upset, I'll come and get him and he calms right down and cuddles in. Considering that during the day he's sometimes crabby even when I do pick him up (during the designated crabby hour of the day, between 4 and 5 PM), I think I can enjoy that at least sometimes, he just wants the Momma.

I feel guilty because I worry it makes Tim feel like he's not as good at comforting the boy, but that's just not true. He's just got a mommy addiction, and I am the fix.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Happy HallowEHehNEEEEEHHHHHHghehpleh

I suck at Halloween. When we tried to go as Rogue and Ice man, I ended up being "girl in gloves with Stacy London hair" and Tim was "Mr. Sparkleface." He actually got laughed at at the Albertson's. And no kids showed up to our house that year. It was super lame.

Last Halloween I had morning sickness. 'Nuf said.

And we never get invited to Halloween parties, so we have no excuse but to stay home trapped by all the stupid kids who might come for candy, but never actually show up, and watch our jack-o-lanterns begin to rot on the porch.

I had all but given up celebrating this year. I was thinking if Tim's work had a party we'd just put on some fake mustaches and call it good. And then, lo and behold, I was invited to a Halloween party. I was so excited. And when I got sick (again) earlier in the week, I went right to the doctor for antibiotics hoping I'd be clean in a few days. And so with the hope of someone who is desperate to feel better, I spent yesterday pretending not to be sick anymore and finding THE PERFECT COSTUMES for our little family. For once, I'd had a good idea.

So we purchased the gear, grabbed the makings of some Halloween mini-cupcakes, and went to bed. Of course, I wake up today feeling like total garbage and sounding like my larynx had been run over by one of those dang Christmas truck parades that honk "jingle bells" until the spectators are deaf. Still hoping to fake it, I went to about an hour of Super Saturday with my mom, after which we had to drive home so I could take a five hour nap. And Tim and Finley are sick too.

Worse yet, we bought all the costume stuff at Target, so if Tim's work doesn't have a party, we can only return it for a gift card. They have the worst return policy. They wouldn't even let me return the effing prenatal yoga video I was doing when my water broke at 17 weeks. Brigands.

So as of now, we're all dressed up with someplace to go but no energy to do it and too much contagion guilt to risk getting anyone else sick by going anyway. And I can't even sleep it off because I'm too busy hacking up my lungs and several other organs. F my life.

Monday, September 27, 2010


I'm not. Coping, that is. When Finley was still in the NICU, a nurse asked Tim how he keeps going every day, but everyone knows the answer to that question. You just do. You get up in the morning, breathe in and out, etc. It doesn't matter how little you want to or how much it hurts. You do it. There isn't a choice.

A woman in the ward I grew up in lost her son, who wasn't much older than my brother. A few weeks later, she died too. The obituary said it was from a broken heart, and I keep wondering if that's a real thing, or if it's a euphemism. I think it's a real thing. Her surviving son and husband somehow still live, though. No matter how much or how little they want to, here they are, on Earth, breathing in and out.

Life and death just don't belong to us mortals.

How do we live with that? How can I find hope among the mourning and fear? How do I know the world won't collapse around me tomorrow when one day, not so very long ago, it did just that? How do I hang on for the future I believe in when I don't believe I'm good enough to get there?

And how do I hang on today when I am literally falling apart? I've had more than seven infections in the past eight months, and my doc says my immune system may not be working properly. My sensitive-lunged baby and I got a cold around the same time, and while he's doing just fine now, I'm still a mess of snot and tissues and aching.

So I find myself here, with the best of all reasons to live and the one thing that makes living so miserable I am sometimes ready to crumble beneath all of the breathing in and out.

And though there are many days where I can inhale without tasting hell on my lips in the air here on Earth, today, past the time anyone would ask how I am coping, I would answer, "Not well. Not well at all."

Monday, September 6, 2010


Do you ever get that feeling like you've forgotten something really important? Like you've left the stove on and you're a six hour drive from home and your stomach bottoms out because you're sure your house is going to burn down and there's nothing you can do about it? I mean, in that case I'm sure you could call the fire department and have them break in and turn it off or something.

But does it ever happen in a dream? Like you realize at the end of the semester that you signed up for a class and NEVER WENT ONCE? And you go running like crazy around campus trying to figure out how you're ever going to graduate, and you can't wake up until you realize that in reality, you got your BA like two years ago.

Or how about in your waking hours—do you ever get that terrible stress feeling like you're about to fail a test or something: your palms are sweating, your stomach hurts, and you think you might pass out? Well, I've been getting that. But there's no test. There's no class I didn't sign up for. There is no emergency, and I'm at home and no imminent danger approaches. There's always the chance I'm afraid I could die at any moment and I'll go to Hell, but though I may not be a saint, I'm thinking it's a little crazy to spend my days in a state of panic over that.

And really, that's what I've been doing. My body has gone stress-mad over nothing. As I type this my family is sleeping, clothes are running through the laundry, the house is relatively clean, and in the end, everything is okay. But my hands are clammy and I kinda want to puke. I'm lightheaded. I'm having that acute stress reaction I'd get for five minutes over a tense meeting or a bad report card.

But my life is fine. Right? Isn't it? Is there a bill I forgot to pay? Are parts of my brain rotting in my skull and the panic is the only way my body can tell me? Or am I just mentally ill? And in case you haven't guessed, asking myself these questions is not helping the stress situation.

*pant* *pant* *pant*

Thank goodness every day isn't like this.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Stupid Things

I saw an ad recently bragging that seven out of ten people who switch to Geico save money. I can't help but wonder what is up with those other three idiots.

Or the iPad. We can talk about the name all we want, but the fact is that Apple made a device that does the same things the iPhone does—minus making calls—with the "advantage" being that it's bigger. Because that's what we all want in our portable devices. Now, people like big screens, but what kills me is the incredibly inefficient use of space. There's room in that tablet to do just about as much as a regular netbook, but instead they've crippled the thing into only running apps and crap. It's backward innovation.

How about yoga classes? I've been looking for a place to get away for an hour or two a week and exercise, or maybe take a mommy and me class and get the kiddo some gym time too. And they're ridiculously expensive. Like $17 for one class, or $15 if you buy a bunch at once. What new mom can afford that on top of the cost of a new sports bra for her giant nursing boobs?

Saturday, July 31, 2010

When I Grow Up

When I was a little girl, I wanted to be a ballerina or a stand up comedian. Then I wanted to be a writer. Then I wanted to be a forensic pathologist. Then I wanted to write again. And then I wanted to do math. And then I wanted to edit. And then I wanted to do linguistics. I never particularly wanted to be a mom.

And one day I woke up and realized that being a mom was the most important thing to me in the world. It happened before that day a couple of years ago when a doctor first told me I was probably infertile. It must have been some time after I finally met a man whose children I'd be willing to bear. I could say my biological clock just went "ding" or the pressures of living in a breeding culture finally got to me, but I don't think that's it.

There are moments in life when you find your place and everything seems to work out. Like choosing a major I adored, or marrying a man worth marrying. And whatever compelled me to take what has been a rather perilous journey to motherhood, I say I have found my niche. Of all of the lives I have wished for myself, this is the one I still want the most.

I dance day and night to keep baby calm, and tell ridiculous jokes to a rapt crowd of one. I have seen more medical equipment than I care to talk about. I am writing two life stories and teaching a baby to speak. I am changing diapers. I am changing everything (which is also sometimes poopy).

There will never be anywhere else I am so much wanted or needed. This is what I wanted and needed. So I'll just admit it:

When I grow up, I want to be a mom.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010


My first mommy guilt trip is here. This is the reason my MIL says I will hate all future Mother's Days. This is one of those days I will look back on when having a pity party and thinking of reason after reason I'm not good enough. And the thing is, I'm generally really good at giving myself a break. I just can't seem to let this one go.

There's a Farnsworth family reunion in town this week. I love me some Farnsworths. And I knew we'd have to go easy on the activities because of our bitty baby (now like ten pounds). So I had some reservations about going to tonight's dinner activity. But when tempted with free pizza, I gave in. And . . .


. . . took my baby to a bowling alley. With loud music. And people. And germs. And now I'm blaming myself for his not-unheard-of pre-bedtime fussies. His totally normal feeling temperature. His typical schedule of sneezes.

Just when I was starting to get into the rhythm of this mom thing, the self-hate is here. Sigh.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010


I wore my new jeans today, and it wasn't until I was at the doctor's office strippin' down that I heard the telltale clatter of tags still hanging from the inside of my pants. It wouldn't have been such a stupid mistake except that this was the second time I've worn the things. Oops.

But apparently I'm not the only one suffering from a brain fog—this morning I found a bottle of Finley's milk in the cabinet where we keep his bottles, just sitting there going bad. I swear it wasn't me. Then again, I suppose it's entirely possible that it was, but I think I'll let Tim take the fall.

And speaking of brain degeneration, I bought a trashy celeb-stalking mag today. I was just so disappointed that the most interesting thing in my doc's waiting room was Ladies' Home Journal—whose readers are apparently very interested in failing/rekindled marriages—that I picked up a Star at the King Sooper's when I went to grab more kid supplies.

So I may not remember to take all of the tags off of my new clothes, or properly put things away, but I can sure as heck remember what Miley Cyrus wore in Paris on the first! I'm so glad I don't have any little girls ready to be lead into slutdom by another post-Disney musical whore in the making. Have we learned nothing from Lindsay Lohan?

Thursday, May 27, 2010


Sometimes so many bad things happen in a row it starts being kind of funny. And then you get rear ended just days before you finally get to bring your first baby home. Let's just think about the latter part.

I mean, I suppose I've been a mom since I got pregnant. And then more officially at special moments like childbirth, the first diaper change, the first time I got to hold Finley . . . blah blah blah. But I've always felt like I'm not quite a mom until I actually bring my baby home and lose weeks of sleep feeding him in the middle of the night. At the very least I feel like I don't know if I'm going to be even a halfway decent mom until I know I can do this impossibly hard part.

So I'm flipping out a little bit since I have no idea what car I'm bringing Finley home in, and the doctor says that'll be probably Saturday, which I'm hearing as sometime between Saturday and Tuesday. We'll sleep over with him at the hospital tomorrow night, and then pray like mad we all make it through this thing.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010


I need a book.

It was around 10:00 a.m. when I got the urge to do the dishes. Instead of giving in, I decided to walk to the mailbox. I wasn't shocked by the very suburban rows of trash cans lined up in front of houses (each painted one of four painstakingly bland color combinations). We pay monthly HOA dues to make absolutely sure that (a) the trash is picked up each Tuesday, and (b) nobody paints their house an interesting color.

I was surprised that on my block there were two men at home in the middle of the day and two motorcycles (not lawnmowers) with rumbling motors pulling into separate garages. That the men and the motorcycles should go together is no odd thing—what unemployed man wouldn't have a death wish best fulfilled by a long and bloody skid down the asphalt? Irresponsible vehicle choices aside, I'll hope for the best and assume these people are making mortgage payments by clicking ads online, which I have heard through my television friends to be quite lucrative. And which, I'd imagine, could give someone the same kind of death wish.

And that's the sum of the entertainment happening outside. My stay-at-home motherhood clearly will not be like Rear Window or Desperate Housewives. I've only seen three spiders, so no Arachnophobia here, either. The lawns aren't nice enough for this to be Stepford, and I'm not sure anyone here steps out in their robe and slippers to pick up the paper.

It's after noon and now the trash cans have all been blown onto their backs by the breeze. I tried washing dishes with the window open, but the neighbor's dog wanted a loud cross-fence chat, and I didn't. If I weren't going to leave for the hospital in another hour, I'd bake someone cookies and go introduce myself.

And I know better than to expect some drama from the NICU—it isn't the coma ward after all—unless a set of twins has been separated at birth, or there's a case of mistaken paternity. Or mistaken maternity, which, thanks to IVF, is a thing now, and has provided us with several movie and TV plot twists over the past few years.

You can plainly see that having no book has forced me spend hours honing my mental acuity with BrainAge, which in turn has given me way too much brain power to spend looking out my window for fun.

As a result, I need a book.

Friday, April 9, 2010

The Mom Club

So when I was dealing with infertility (and really, to some extent you never stop dealing with infertility), I always felt like there was an exclusive Mom Club just for women with kids, most of whom did the whole pregnancy thing as well. These people went through the whole L&D process, got their stretchmarks, did the whole no-sleep newborn thing, and are somewhere in the middle of raising their little ones.

I hated not being a part of the club.

You know how in "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" the main chick as a kid feels all bad about not sitting with the cute blonde girls at lunch? That was me. Relief Society meetings, social gatherings, work gatherings—all of these things were a nightmare at some point because I was not welcome in the Mom Club, and therefore knew nothing about the whole momming process, and could not complain about fat'n'happies at all. And while realizing that "feeling left out" is the stupidest part of infertility, it stung.

But now I have officially inducted myself into the Mom Club, and by authority of doubling my pants size and finding angry stripes all over my expanded and somewhat jellyish body, I'm going to say the following:

Sure, we all look at old pictures of ourselves and think life might be better if we were still that skinny. If we still fit into our jeans from high school. If sexy in our bedrooms meant the same thing it means on TV. Heck, I've done it since my metabolism started slowing down (which is how I describe the year I learned how to bake).

But I was right about making the trade. It was a great trade. I say we give ourselves a collective break, and call stretch marks and baby weight a thing of beauty because they are proof we did something awesome, and made the necessary sacrifices. We can realistically say that the physical sacrifices are the easy ones. We can love our bodies because they gave life and bodies to our children. The price was cheap, and we no longer need to complain about paying it.

Here's to C-section scars, jelly bellies, stretch marks in various states of lumpiness, and letting go of things that aren't coming back. And to allowing husbands to redefine what is "hot" to equal what is "you." And when people excluded from the Mom Club tell us to shut it about how sad it is to have a mom bod because we look awesome anyway, let's finally start listening.

Things to Say Again

I'm starting to have things to say again. Things besides all of the day-to-day of being a NICU mom, which I put on Finley's blog at In fact, that's not about me at all. It's all about him. Pictures, video, weight updates, and gushing about kangaroo time. Which is awesome.

I've decided to keep this blog about me. That sounds super selfish, doesn't it? I just figured I need to occasionally think about other things (yes, all things not my children are now "other") for the sake of my long term mental health. And the other day, while looking at a bread bag, I had a thought I wanted to blog about that wasn't about my time in the NICU with the munchkin.

I have no idea what it was, but I do know that for a moment, my brain had exited the hospital and gone somewhere entertaining. Somewhere that wasn't Desperate Housewives' Wisteria Lane. And lately I've even stopped having dreams that take place in real or imagined lands within the World of Warcraft (yeah, I dream in low-quality graphics about killing dragonkin every now and then). Suddenly this entry has turned into a rehashing of my most shameful recreational activities. Where was I?

I'm not saying this blog won't mention Finley or Oliver. But it'll probably be more about how I feel about life with and without them than about them specifically. And Finley's journaling will stay on his blog, and Oliver's will stay in my heart.

For instance, where I talked about how much like Tim Finley looks on Finley's blog, here I might mention how happy I am that we avoided one of my irrational IVF nightmares—that the clinic would take an "any sperm will do" (sing that along with Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat) attitude toward gamete combining and I'd end up having a kid with, like, George Costanza or something.

Anyway, for a moment I had something to say that escaped even the realm of "gosh I miss my B-cups," and "when will these lumps around my C-section scar go away?" but it left as fast as it came. Oh well, it can't be much to feel sorry about. How interesting could a blog inspired by a bread bag be?

Wednesday, March 10, 2010


I'm a mess. It's been a month and I'm a huge sobbing mess. And if I don't write this I may never blog again, because this post simply has to come first.

On February 10, 2010, at around 2:15 in the afternoon, my firstborn son came into the world. He lived a few moments, and then his special spirit left his tiny body—just under a pound and just over ten inches. And because he lived, Tim gave him a name and a blessing. We named him Oliver Michael Gordon. Oliver is after the Green Arrow, and Michael is after his uncle and his grandfather on my side.

But before he entered the world, he was in the world in my womb with his brother. I know he was there in both spirit and body because in his tiny life's end he became our family's little hero, and he saved his brother's life.

Weeks after my water broke, after I'd met Dr. P, the high-risk obstetrician, I started bleeding. It was the third or fourth time doctors looked at me hopelessly and sent me home to wait for whatever happened next. My babies were still alive and well, but my body would not contain them much longer. I had kept them longer than anyone expected past a membrane rupture (water breaking), but at any moment I could go into labor and lose my sons, whom I had loved and waited for my whole life so far.

As the barrier between my babies and the world they couldn't yet survive grew shorter and shorter, my doctor told me our only chance at survival for even one of our sons would be to deliver our poor waterless baby and try to keep the remaining baby in for as much longer as possible (called a Delayed Interval Delivery, or DID). But Baby B, our little PPROM boy with no water left around him, was way at the top of my uterus, and Baby A, with his full bag of water, had his head blocking the exit. He had been protecting his brother with the support of his own water bag and his larger body sitting over my diminishing cervix.

I was torn between the horrible hope that Baby B would move down so his brother would have a shot at life if I went into labor, and the thread of possibility that I could somehow hold them both in. Part of me understood that even if I could, Baby B moving down would give A a better shot at life if he could stay in even a little longer than his brother if they were both born after viability. But there were weeks left to cross.

I cried and cried over the horrible thought of losing one son to save the other, comforted only by the thought that it wasn't my choice. It was out of my hands and in God's. And in Baby B's. And over the next week, where I had felt only tiny movements before from my struggling son, I had the sensation of him wiggling in his tiny smooshed spot, and over the next days he moved more than ever. And at some point I remember knowing that Baby B would leave us, but Baby A would stay. Facing that thought hurt like Hell, but not as badly as saying goodbye when the time came.

February 8 was a Monday, and I went to see Dr. P for another ultrasound. My sweet little Baby B had somehow fought his way down, and with his little feet he had pushed past his brother's head and taken his place as the first to go. And though I knew it was God's will that this baby should come first, I also knew it was Baby B's choice.

I was scared to death when I left that the baby might just fall out, but Dr. P convinced me I'd have time to get to the hospital. That night I started contracting, and Tuesday morning I was in labor and headed to the hospital.

The doctors did an amniocentesis to make sure A was not infected, since he couldn't stay in if he was. The markers were borderline, but Dr. P was willing to try the procedure. I asked him if he would push Baby A back in if he started coming out too, and Dr. P said yes. And after that, a labor that hadn't been progressing much for about a day took less than an hour to go from "Let's see what happens after my meeting," to "Time to deliver!"

It hurt. There must have been six pairs of hands between my legs, but there had also been a skilled anesthesiologist at my side since the wee hours of the morning. Once little Baby B was born, they sedated me until the procedure was complete. Dr. P worked a complete miracle. He managed to get Baby B out and keep Baby A in while stitching me closed from being almost fully dilated. At one point, under the influence of all those drugs, I apparently told Dr. P he was like God. In truth, I'm sure God was guiding his hands to save my baby and keep me pregnant.

But there was Oliver, as we had finally agreed to call him. By the time everything was over, I knew he was gone. I had felt his precious body leave me, and Tim had seen him wiggle in those small moments of freedom he had before he died. When I got into recovery, they brought us his miniature body to see and hold. It is one of the two most perfect and beautiful things I have ever seen.

His feet were swollen from the brave steps he took to save his brother. His hand sat over his heart with five perfect little fingers. He had Tim's nose and my mouth. His hair was bleach white and too young for color. In many ways, he took after his father. And in my eyes, he was the most wonderful thing to ever enter the world. And he was gone before I ever met him face to face.

I will always mourn that he isn't with us. That I don't get to raise him right now. The life he won't live. That his brother will not meet him until we are reunited in Heaven. But I rejoice that he waits for us there. And he has family with him. And I am honored and blessed beyond imagination that he came to us. That I am his mother, and Tim is his father. That my baby boy has a little savior who will one day smile and laugh when they meet, remembering a distant past where they shared a too-small room and did their darnedest to keep each other alive.

I will always cry over that last moment I held him and the pictures a charitable organization took of our little family when it was finally the three of us. I will always miss him. I will love him forever and ever. And maybe someday, I won't be in so much pain every time I think of my firstborn son. But today it has been only a month.

And I am a mess.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Things, Etc.

I'm going to be brief.

I have 6mm of cervix left—maybe a week's worth at the rate I've been progressing. Baby B has managed to get a foot down below Baby A, so my doctor is fairly sure that when I go into labor, we will have a shot at a delayed-interval delivery, meaning our boys would have different birthdays, and Baby A would likely be a lot healthier than if we delivered them both early. The complication is that labor could begin basically whenever. We need it to hold off for at least 11 more days for Baby B to be viable. Any way to stop labor is contraindicated in my situation, so we basically need another miracle. And that's totally possible.

Now on to more exciting things!

We're in the middle of buying a house. Once all of our loan paperwork is processed, we're basically ready to close on March 5 or so. I'm falling more and more in love with this house. It's a cute 3-bedroom, 2-bath ranch with vaulted ceilings throughout. The third bedroom/office is in the front of the house off of the living room, and will make a great computer/playroom area since the boys will be sharing a room.

The kitchen is enormous. We'll buy all new appliances and basically never want for cabinet/eating/hangout space. I'm excited to change out the hardware on the cabinets and find a way to comfortably fill all that space.

Of course, the biggest deal to me is that we'll finally have a master bathroom! It's lovely and has a vanity space where I can sit and do my makeup. We'll tile the whole thing and put in radiant heat so our toes don't freeze off in winter, and it'll be ready for us to move in in no time at all.

While I won't get to go home there until both babies are safely delivered, once I can move in, I'll be able to enjoy a nice bath in the soaking tub, pick out my preferred decor, arrange the furniture the way I want it (or at least ask Tim to do it), and do something other than lie in bed playing idiotic Facebook games for hours on end and falling asleep anytime I out a show on.

I hope decorating, organizing, and watching spring bloom in our cute backyard will keep me distracted during the babies' inevitable NICU stay . . . which may start as soon as 11 days from now.

Monday, January 25, 2010

The Long Scary Version

So after a short walk and a long wheelchair ride through St. Luke's, and then back through St. Luke's the other way, I made it to the ultrasound area and started an hour-long—and very gloopy—series of pokes and prods and measurements, during which a dollop of ultrasound gel found its way onto the bottom of my sock, even though my feet were both hidden beneath a sheet and a small table during the whole procedure. I would not be shocked if an entire bottle of the stuff followed me home one day, only to spread its stickiness and stink onto every article of clothing I own.

There's bad news. Baby B doesn't appear to have much fluid at all. He's squished good and a bit crumpled, and his odds aren't fabulous for making it, even if I can keep these brothers in. But that's not the point.

There's good news. Because we've got twins in there, Baby A's fluid acts as a bit of leeway for Baby B to stretch his lungs. Baby B's odds are better than if he were alone. And happy news, we can decorate the nursery a little differently now that we've found that second set of man parts. As it turns out, Baby B is a boy.

I still hold great hopes for Baby B. If he's as strong as his father and as stubborn as his mother, his odds are better than expected. We can hope that with his brother's protection and the prayers of friends and family across the nation, he will live. We have faith for his safety, whatever the will of God is.

And we do have excellent care. Dr. P up at St. Luke's will see me in a week to keep an eye on my cervix (if you're cringing at the word, just stop reading now), to make sure it doesn't thin out. If it does, they'll do a cerclage. I looked up what that is, and frankly, the least disturbing way to say it is that they will sew my uterus shut. The whole thing sounds completely unpleasant. At least I'd be under anesthesia when they did it. But that's for next week, if I need it.

And if I make it a full four weeks, they'll measure the babies again and I'll talk with a neonatologist about what may be next. We'll have a lot more difficult questions to answer along with our difficult realities to face and difficult odds to swallow.

There is hope for our little struggling baby, and for his slightly larger brother. They'll both need strength and miracles to survive. We already know that's possible. What's left to us is the work of prayer—and the acceptance, on my part, of wheelchair rides and continued room service. And patience with the waiting and seeing that has already gone by faster than we can turn our heads.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Hands of God

But I'm forgetting something important. Maybe there is some mystical point at which children become ours. And maybe it is simply God's providence that decides whether we get there or not. Or with everything in God's power, especially his precious babies, I imagine it wouldn't be a stretch to imagine he treats these things on a case-by-case basis.

In any event, it is up to me to trust that God will grant motherhood in his own time, in his own way. And however it happens, fairness and justice beyond my understanding will be perfect anyway.


In a high risk situation like mine, it's hard not to contemplate all of the options. And when you're a believer in a special kind of afterlife, like I am, it's easy for what seemed like a simple eternity to turn into a place full of questions—the type nobody claims to know the answers to. And the answers are suddenly the most important thing in the world.

When am I a mom? And I mean that in a literal sense: when do I have my daughter and son? It's a crucial part of my belief system that children born to my husband and I will be our children even after our deaths and into the eternities. And any child who dies young is innocent and goes to heaven. If I go there, that's where I can meet them. But what counts as born?

Am I just growing little bodies who will get spirits when they come out hearts beating? Or breathing? Or at what point do they get spirits to whom I am the earthly mother? They could come out of me alive but doomed to die at any point. Would they never have tiny spirits in those bodies? Or would they come just for those brief moments, even if they can't take a breath and won't receive medical attention? If they live only seconds?

And what if they die before they make the exit? Is that what decides if they were ever alive at all? And does it make a difference whether it happens at 20 weeks or 35? Or 12?

Or does it have more to do with what I do? Do I earn my motherhood badge? Or do I only get it if I somehow carry these babies to viability and deliver them alive? At what point do I earn the privilege of meeting them in heaven?

If I can't have children now, there will be opportunities for children in the next life, when God makes everything perfect and my body will conceive and bear children as easily as anyone else's. But it is these two whom I have loved. In all my vomiting spells and late nights up with the queasies and moments I have waited quietly for them to kick me and desperate times I have prayed for their safety, I have loved these children.

If they die before they're born, is it in the afterlife as if they never existed? Is it just the potential for souls that I have loved?

But then, what about the tiny bundles of cells that never stick, or die before they can? What happens when a new creature comes into being at the successful fertilization of an egg, but isn't even noticed before it leaves? Or the ones that do stick, but stay for only a few days before they die? So many of these go unnoticed—could they all be our children that we don't know we have? What sense does that make? And if they aren't our children when they're a hopeless bundle of cells, when do they become our children? It seems like it should be at the moment of conception (whenever you consider that to be) or at the moment baby takes a breath.

If I beg hard enough can it be sometime in between? Can heaven be neither full of children we never knew we had nor empty of those we tried so hard to deliver alive into the world? And if it can, when is that miracle moment when these bodies I carry become children I will love throughout eternity? And does it make any sense for a child to be or not be based on whether they will be mourned?

None of it makes sense to me. I trust that everything will be just and fair in heaven. And I suppose now I can know for sure that my understanding of just and fair falls as short of enough as Earth falls short of heaven. And where some women will always call their miscarried children their angels in heaven, I will walk feeling like that tiny bird in P.D. Eastman's iconic book, but asking a far stranger question: Am I your mother?

Tuesday, January 19, 2010


They make my mouth taste like a tide pool at low tide on an unfortunately hot and sunny day. Except not quite as good. In fact, I imagine between the salt and the minerals in the rocks and the little creatures living in there, it probably has a decent sushi-ish taste that would be quite an improvement on the post-graham-cracker funk I've got going on in here.

It is Colorado's fundamental problem that there are no nearby tide pools for me to lick.

But I do appreciate the delightful concentrations of Adventists and Presbyterians who run hospitals here. All my doctors seem religious in a very friendly way, and I've really never enjoyed hospitals so much. The Adventist hospitals in Parker and Littleton have been unmatched in their medical services. I had to spend only five or so minutes at a Littleton Adventist shot clinic to get my H1N1 vaccine, and Parker Adventist has been fabulous through several ER visits.

And Monday, I get to go up to Presbyterian St. Luke's in Denver to see a high-risk pregnancy specialist who works at the best NICU at which you can deliver in the western US. So GO PROTESTANTS! My hat is off to you and the fabulous services you offer.

And what I'm hoping your finest can tell me is how my kiddos are faring in that regularly ultrasounded belly of mine. Seriously, I don't know that I'll ever get the residue of ultrasound gel off of me. The stuff dries on my skin while the ultrasound is still in progress, and by the time it's over all the napkins in the world can't scrub the stuff off. It peels itchily off of the parts of my abdomen I can no longer see without a flashlight and a mirror, and I just have to hope it's coming off in the reduced-soap showers I'm required to take. Apparently soap, like so many other things, is an infection risk.


But with Dr. G's office equipment, the visual has been tentatively encouraging. Goofuth is still low on juice, but it doesn't look too terrible. And while Gallant regularly flashes any interested doctor with his mini-man parts, Goofuth appears to be man-part free. Nothing is certain, especially in some of those grainy pictures, but all bets are on Gallant having a sister. Judging by their earlier ultrasound behavior (from when they had equal fluid surrounding them), they're essentially miniatures of Tim and me: one restless girl with a severe case of the wiggles, and one patient boy with a tendency toward quiet. Or so I'd assume based on Gallant's having stuck his head firmly in the placenta at the furthest end from his sister, and Goofuth's enthusiastic squishing of my guts.

We're two days away from three weeks past membrane rupture, and three days away from the 20-week mark at which doctors will administer labor-postponing drugs if I start contracting. It is very much a miracle that we've made it this far, and I can't thank you enough for your prayers and thoughts on our behalf. I really believe that it's because of your efforts that God has preserved our precious little babies so far. It has taken lots of power to keep the kids safe this long, and that's the power called down from heaven by prayer. So thank you, and thank God for the countless blessings that add up to two live fetuses still in the womb.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Video Games are Good

So I guess there is a portion of society that thinks video games are evil. And I'd also guess that they think so because of the way some people die from video game addictions, or how some kids have no real social lives and instead play VGs all the time, or it could be the school shootings that get blamed on VG violence. Okay, so these people might have a point.

But saying VGs is evil for these reasons is like saying food is evil because people get fat and die eating it. My giant, bacony Five Guys burger (I couldn't type that without salivating) could be compared to, say, World of Warcraft. I really enjoy it, but I don't have it all the time. If I had Five Guys or WOW all the time, I'd die from it eventually. And like WOW is designed by psychologists to be addictive, many fast food chains employ chemical flavorings designed to make you crave their food. The thing is, eating fast food every now and then can be a part of a healthy diet. I argue that video games of all types can be part of a healthy recreational diet.

Violence? Social lives? Yeah, we all know those kids were screwed up before their N64 showed up under the Christmas tree. People blame video games for being a drug-like "escape from reality." I doubt anyone has had a drug trip that pushed them into a fantasy that they were the muscle for a fascist-style dictator in a socialist community where their penultimate authority allows them to not only fully allocate all resources, but also destroy anything and salvage its every component for use in whatever other structure they see fit. Or that they can wield ancient weapons and ride exotic creatures as they hunt down the enemies that threaten whichever community hires them as mercenary.

In fact, those fantasies sound a lot more like those brought on by another media substance occasionally considered evil: books. For readers, who often sequester themselves to finish entire series they find exciting, the interactions they have with words on a page penetrate to affect the psyche as much as any video game, and for most readers, more. Of course there are massive differences between VG and book interactions, but none of those makes video games evil.

So if I've finally assuaged those of you with some religious anti-VG feelings, maybe I can get a little relief from those of you who look at me funny when I mention my xbox games or WOW toons. I'm going to go kick some more Keflings on my 360.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Drowing in Boredom (Also, Water)

There's nothing like lying in bed all day to get my mind off of how much danger my unborn children are in. It's a total distraction from how massively worried I am that (a) I will go into labor any second or (b) Baby B is being so squished his tiny body is failing under the pressure.

And if any of you can drink 120 ounces of water a day (during a day you spend almost constantly partially or fully reclined) without getting massive reflux, you're a better woman than me.

So to distract me from each day's 24 hours of possible insanity, I've decided to pick up a few new skills. First, I want to learn to crochet or knit. I want to make a couple of tiny baby hats to illustrate head sizes for each month I'm pregnant until they come out. Then, no matter when it happens, they will have hats.

I've always had a come-and-go fancy to learn the acoustic guitar. Heaven knows I'm a sucker for acoustic music, and how cool would it be if babies' first lullabies could reverberate right off my belly? So cool! Does anyone have an extra? Maybe send me your husband's from back when he was using it to try and pick up chicks.

I would use the time to write, but frankly my brain is on the fritz. And I mean the severe fritz. This must be what people just above the mental retardation IQ border feel like. I can still enjoy a good read and make sense of the same things—it just takes a lot longer. And my attention span is short. Ask anyone who's tried to converse with me in the last few months. Don't ask me. I won't be paying attention by the time we get to the question mark. I've put this blog entry down no less than five times already.

My current time-suck is losing game after game of spider solitaire on medium difficulty. I could really use a new sudoku book, but that stuff has melted my brain plenty already. So what I want from you is a mindless hobby you love. The busier it keeps my hands, the better. I have to be able to do it in bed, put it down at a moment's notice when I need to, and keep pressure or strain off of my stomach. Wacky arm movements are probably a bad idea, too.

In fact, this question might be better posed to the residents of a convalescence home. We share a few important traits: slow brains, an inability to exercise, and bodies that can't take a lot of pressure. Then again, they, like me, might have difficulty focusing long enough to give a coherent answer.

Still, I can't complain. Even a pregnancy with severe complications has turned out to be more fun than gainful employment!

Monday, January 4, 2010

Babygate Update

I just got back from seeing Dr. G (and eating soup and a sandwich), and the news is, uh, okay. It's pretty clear that Baby B (the upper baby) had the rupture. The bag is still pretty low on fluids, but there is at least a little in there, and we saw the little one lick his or her lips. What we have to worry about is lung development. Babies need to breathe amniotic fluid for their lungs to develop, so little Goofuth's sac needs to refill and stay full, at least enough for his lungs to mature. If the fluid is insufficient, he'll have Potter's Syndrome and won't survive the outside.

So the prayer is that the fluid can build up and stay in, at least as much as is necessary. They'll probably give me steroids at around 24 weeks to help his lungs, but they won't do any good without enough fluid—and there's nothing anyone can do about that. Dr. G says we just need to wait to see what happens and have faith.

Gallant is doing great in there. He's got plenty of fluid—enough to squish his twin so much we couldn't tell the gender. But we did see little boy parts on Baby A! He's wiggling away in there and looking very healthy. In other news, his placenta appears to be right on top of the exit, so it looks like a definite Cesarean (which will likely be bloody bloody bloody since the placenta is right where they make the emergency exit, too).

While preterm labor is still a concern, I've made it over four days since the rupture without going into labor. Dr. G says the reason it's so uncommon for women to break their water so early and still deliver at term is because it's extremely rare for a woman to break her water without contractions causing it or following right after (or for the cause to be an infection that makes it necessary to deliver immediately).

I guess our first miracle of 2010 is me not going into labor. Let's hope the second is for Goofuth to get enough fluid to have big strong lungs. Come May or so I want to hear two sets of tiny lungs screaming. Until then, I'll do my best to keep baby boy and mystery sibling in my big swelly belly.

Friday, January 1, 2010

What's Going On

Okay, so at midnight two nights ago my water broke. I thought I'd just completely lost urinary continence, threw my pants in the sink to rinse, and took another several minutes to realize I was not peeing. The insurance's nurse line told me to get to the ER, and call an ambulance if I couldn't get a ride. Naturally, I panicked a little before throwing on some fresh bottoms, grabbing Tim's wallet and keys, and screaming for him to take me to the hospital.

I read online that over 20% of women who go to the hospital thinking they're leaking amniotic fluid get sent home because they've actually just peed their pants. I was pretty sure that wasn't the case, but hey, a girl can dream!

I got wheeled into triage, and then up to the OB floor, where they could run a few tests to see exactly what it was I was leaking. The look on my nurse's face gave me sweaty palms when the second test showed positive for amniotic fluid where amniotic fluid should NOT be when you're 17 weeks pregnant.

A quick exam proved it—baby A's water bag had sprung a leak. Everyone knows that water breaking leads to labor, but the OB deck doc had to explain it to me very carefully. I was most likely to begin labor in the next 48 hours, and there was nothing the hospital would do to stop it this early, and nothing they could do to save the babies if they delivered before 23 weeks.

Then my OB called to tell me that since hospital intervention wouldn't happen (even to delay labor) until at least 20 weeks, I'd be best off sitting at home and hoping I don't go into labor. If they kept me at the hospital, I'd be on the GYN floor, since the pregnancy doesn't graduate to OB status until 20ish weeks.

Frankly, the chances of survival for the babies are not good at all. Everyone in the room decided to hang on to the slim chance that I wouldn't go into labor, and the fluid leak would seal. Both babies are healthy and big and have nice strong heartbeats, but my ability to keep them in is suddenly extremely questionable.

I went from about a 97% chance of carrying to term to odds so slim they won't tell me what they are—only that they know a woman who broke her water at 18 weeks and lasted to deliver at term. They gave me antibiotics and sent me home in the very early morning with instructions to stay on very strict bedrest and only get up to use the restroom. For the rest of the pregnancy.

I've done without a hitch almost 46 of the 48 hours during which I'm most likely to go into labor. There's no sign of infection. I still feel the babies move, and I'm not leaking a huge amount. There is still a chance I get to keep them. If I make it about three more weeks, they'll hospitalize me for the remainder of the pregnancy, likely at St. Luke's. Then they can give me medicine to put off labor if anything goes wrong. After 24 weeks, the hospital will perform lifesaving measures if I deliver the babies. Best case scenario is I end up in the hospital in three weeks and stay there for another four or five months before I deliver the babies. Worst case scenario is obvious.

I'm almost to the 48-hour milestone. Then 12 more days until the two-week milestone. Then another week before I see my doctor and he decides on hospitalization. If all goes well, I have a long stretch of sitting in bed all the time in front of me. It is already boring, but I hope to everything that's good I have to stay in bed until at least May.

So that's what happened. I skyrocketed to a super high-risk pregnancy overnight, and now all I can do is stay in bed and wait for something to not happen.