Thursday, December 22, 2011

Shut Up, Helen Mirren

Seriously, Helen? A female Doctor Who? You know what you've got a point. Feminism and all that.

If feminism means that young men have ABSOLUTELY NOBODY to look up to, even in pretty much the only genre of television made for them!

Doctor Who is a man. He can't just suddenly be a woman. That's a retarded surgical option humans have created, but I'm going to continue believing that Time Lords can get over any gender-confusion issues with counseling and not by mutilating/replacing their genitalia. Mmkay?

Can't we let it be OKAY to be a guy anymore? And why shouldn't a woman be "just" a sidekick? Is that so wrong? Women are overtaking men in employment rates, higher education, all kinds of stuff. So why can't we let one be a sidekick to a male hero? Can we seriously not get over this?

What's the problem with a woman subordinate to a man when the man treats her with respect? Geez, people. Since when is it uncool for a person to be in charge and also have a penis?

Tuesday, December 6, 2011


LW, this is for you!

I've been working off the baby weight lately. I've tried a few different programs, and I'm still jumping around from thing to thing, but I've found a few favorite ways to burn calories using technology!

1. Wii Fit

You need a Wii and the Wii Fit program for this one. The only thing I use this for lately is tracking my weight and setting goals. The Wii Fit comes with a board that acts as a scale and balance sensor. It graphs my weight and BMI for each time I get on, and I can easily set goals. My first goal? Get that annoying thing to stop saying "That's overweight!" every time it measured me. Check. Next goal? 130.7 lbs. by February 15. That might be a little ambitious. Honestly, the value of the Wii Fit is knowing I have a good scale, setting goals, and having accountability for my gains and losses, even if it is to this guy:

Yeah. He has the audacity to question me, even though I am standing on his face. The workouts focus more on balance than calorie burning, so I don't see them being hugely effective as far as actually making you lose the weight. For that, I turn to my favorite household appliance . . .

2. Xbox Kinect

I think people thought that once Wii came out with motion controls, people would be more active while playing video games. Those people didn't know my friend's little brother, who would do all kinds of crazy dances while playing Sega games during the nineties. But since not everyone can do gymnastics while holding a controller and guiding a tiny man through a 2D sidescroller, the Xbox invented the Kinect, where you guide a 3D character through all kindsa' crap BY doing gymnastics WITHOUT a controller. Essentially. Besides the games listed below, there are plenty of others that get your body moving, but I haven't tried them, because they cost like $50-60 each.

A. Dance Central


Dance video games used to involve stomping on a mat like an idiot. Now they involve actually dancing like an idiot. Honestly though, Dance Central is one of my favorite games, and is great for getting a cardio workout. I have the first game, and it's awesome and fun, but hard to get a good burn on since songs only last a few minutes and then you have to stop and use the menu again. I've heard the sequel, Dance Central 2, has a workout mode that keeps you dancing non stop. It's on my Christmas wish list, since the dances are actually a fun whole-body workout, and if I can go non-stop for 30 minutes to an hour, I'll be set for the day!

B. EA Sports Active 2 (Also available for Wii)

This guy is not kidding. EA Sports Active 2 will really give you a workout. It tracks calories and heart rate, and has a boatload of different activities that will make you sweat. You'll be sore like you went to the gym, with none of the embarrassment of actually doing so. The reviewer says it's pricey, but we got it at a discount for the price of about 2 months at the gym. You may not be getting a bunch of equipment, but you get what is essentially an electronic personal trainer. I'm going to warn you, though: wear a sports bra. There is jumping and bouncing galore.

3. Hulu

The internet, with all of its horrors, actually has some perks now and then. If you haven't discovered Hulu for catching up on TV shows, you should at least take a look for the exercise videos. I have seen a ton of them, but recently I started working out with Kathy Smith. It's like buying a workout DVD, but it's FREE.

You can either hook up your computer to your TV or get a program like PlayOn running on your Xbox, which allows Hulu videos to be played on your TV through your computer and Xbox via network connection. Hulu Plus won't work, since a lot of videos can't be played on a TV (only a computer) because Hulu is run by the Internet Television Nazi Party. Anyway, this is the workout I did this afternoon. It was awesome, got me sweating, and involved my whole body. Besides a few 1:30 commercial breaks, it kept the burn going so I'm fairly sure I spent some calories as well.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011


I hate to brag about my kids to other moms, especially for things they will almost surely do (like roll over or walk), unless it's Finley and we're waiting months and months and working hard on physical therapy for him to do it. I mean really, if your kid had a big bad brain hemorrhage at birth and the neurologist told you that you just get to find out if he'll develop when he does it, all of that rolling over crap would be one hundred times more exciting.

Kella is right on track with her developmental milestones. She aces those cursed ASQ-3 questionnaires as if she knew what was on them and had been studying for months. Most babies do that. No big deal. It actually drives me a little crazy when moms post on Facebook that their kid scooted or something. It's one thing to treasure the special moment and share it with friends, but sometimes it feels like a big "haha! My kid is developing normally!" which is both unnecessary and a little unnerving to those of us with developmental concerns.

But I have to tell you all about Kella's rolling skills. Of course she rolls over, and it will always be miraculous. It is miraculous to me that she is alive and here with us and healthy and so, so beautiful. And she rolls from her front to her back, like most babies her age. But she is SO CLOSE to rolling onto her tummy from her back it drives me flippin' crazy. She gets her entire body except her shoulders and head onto the floor face down, reaches over with her top arm, but never gets past that 90 degree angle with her shoulders! She looks like she's just about to do it, and then FAKE OUT.

When she does do it, I'll say yay, remember the date, and squee to Tim and probably my mom. And then it will be no big deal to anyone but me, because I'm her mom. But you know what's way more talkaboutable? Her almost doing it.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Cheap Things

I generally don't participate in the Facebook birthday wall thing, but today I had three friends with the same birthday, and FB conveniently let me write on all of their walls right there from my homepage, so I figured it couldn't hurt. I wrote nice birthday wishes. They probably won't even read them. So what I could and maybe should have written was this:
Man, every year you do such a fantastic job of aging. It's almost like time goes by without any help from you. Give yourself a pat on the back. Go you.
I mean, if I'm not going to buy them anything, what's the difference?

I love getting mail, but sometimes when someone makes the effort to send me a card, they just sign it. No words. No money (not that it's necessary). It's just a piece of paper they bought, put their name on, wrapped in another piece of paper they bought, and put a sticky piece of paper they bought on top so someone would deliver it to my house. At best, it's a sentiment someone else wrote, or a trite message and a picture of a cat. At worst, it's actually a thank you card I sent to someone which then got returned because my address book is out of date. So if I neglected to send you a card for something at some point, don't be offended. I was mostly just avoiding disappointing you with my lack of both money and clever things to say. I'll send you a picture of the kids when Christmas comes around.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

I Don't Think That Means What You Think It Means

When I tell people Kella's been staying up all night screaming, they often respond with a sympathetic head tilt and something like, "Oh, so she's got her nights and days mixed up? That happens a lot with newborns."

But the appropriate response would have been, "Oh, so you're losing your mind a little more with each passing hour of the day or night? That happens a lot with newborns."

That is all.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011


I slept last night better than I have in weeks. Has it been weeks? Four exactly in another 11 hours or so. And she's finally sleeping between feedings instead of fussing. So on my first night in a long time that included much sleeping at all, I dreamed.

I dreamed that when I looked at Kella, I saw two babies. When she wiggled around on her tummy, another baby wiggled beside her, just as beautiful and touchable and perfect as she is. Grown just as much from that tiny baby I delivered. And suddenly I would remember that Kella had no twin, and the phantom baby would simply disappear like a broken spell. The second time the phantom baby appeared, I called for Tim. I asked him to call the doctor, or someone, because I was delusional. My sub-un-conscious mind was thinking of postpartum psychosis, but couldn't say it. But instead of calling the doctor, dream Tim just sat fiddling with his hands.

When I woke up, I expected to be sad. Sad for twins that didn't happen, by death or by design. But I was relieved. There is only one baby, I thought to myself, and let out a breath. It was all I could do to keep this one baby, and there was no other baby to lose. No child I let down. No overfilled uterus that couldn't hold twice the joy. No overfilled heart with the sorrow of loss. Not this part of my heart. Not the part that belongs to her.

I hold Finley each night before laying him down to sleep, and squeeze him tight with gratitude and a sting of sorrow that where he is, there would have been another, too. The joy of each moment with him casts a shadow, negative space where Oliver would be. Some days the shadow is so short it can hide beneath the happiness. Some days the shadow is long, and the gratitude I have for a living son is overwhelmed with grief. It's like my love for my twin sons was twinned as well, and now my happiness and my pain grow together, communicating in the secret language twins sometimes have.

And then there is Kella. I love her as desperately as I do Finley, but it's a solitary love. She will grow up without a shadow that would have been growing up too, but isn't. And that part of my love for her that is about me—I would be lying if I said there weren't some part of my love for my children that is about me—is whole, and full of joy. One child's worth of joy, and no child's worth of sadness.

I would not go back and make Finley a singleton. Not if it meant never having Oliver. His momentary life was worth everything. But today, I woke up happy to have been blessed with just one.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Questions We Should Be Asking

Does anyone NOT get devil farts after having more than one Fiber One product? Those bars are so flipping delicious, but I just won't keep them in the house for fear of eating them too often and turning my guts into the land of poopy nightmares.

Does anyone like saxophone music anymore? It's like it died with Seinfeld. Am I the only one who just can't stand it these days?

Is summer TV hiatus just a terrible joke? Or some kind of betting opportunity where producers compete to see who can get the most people to watch the most terrible show?

Does MTV see no irony in the commercials that come on during 16 & Pregnant and Teen Mom (2)? Every commercial break is basically several minutes of twentysomethings pretending to be teenagers who are about to be/in the middle of/talking about having sex, and then MTV suddenly gets all contrite and says, "Teen pregnancy is 100% preventable!" and gives a website that does its best to give teens info about getting tested for STDs and hides the "100% preventable" portion through a link below the fold. At least they actually mention that abstinence is pretty common (not "unrealistic" as many would have you believe), and wishing you had been abstinent is common too. But honestly, what can we expect of teens whose parents aren't doing the most important part of raising them: not letting them watch MTV, where (judging by the commercials) EVERYONE over the age of 15 is DOING IT?

Why does Apple keep making devices that could be awesome, but then crippling them into expensive status symbols? Like a $500 Angry Birds playing machine that also lets you read Cracked online—do you really need that?

Just how much can I dye my hair before I start to look high maintenance or crazy?

Why, when there are such good cartoons out there like "Avatar: The Last Airbender," are so many kids shows these days so terrible? Any time I somehow get stuck in front of children's TV, I feel like the show was written not only for 8-year-olds, but also by them. Not even talented or creative ones. Thank goodness the old X-men cartoons are on Netflix. Hopefully TMNT from when I was a kid will be available for when Finley is the right age!

Why is nursing clothing so DANGED expensive and/or ugly and/or ill fitting? It's normal to be large-chested while breast feeding, right?

And back to the Fiber One thing: Is all of the fiber in those things really worth the sugar and fat in them as well? I mean, shouldn't I just be getting my veggies and roughage?

Sunday, July 10, 2011


Today was Baby Girl's estimated due date, but she came due early in the morning four days ago. After my Tuesday appointment we made the rest of our preparations: installing another car seat, hanging the curtains, doing the things I figured would keep me from going into labor if left undone. My body has interesting timing that way, but unfortunately the last thing I needed, a good night's sleep, was not on the list of labor-preventingly important to-do items (curtains, yes, but not sleep).

So I woke up at 1 am with what I assumed was just even more painful false labor. The contractions seemed to close together to be real labor, because I certainly wouldn't have missed the 8-10 minute apart contractions that were supposed to signal my call to the OB and trip to the hospital. Ha! So an hour later when they were so painful that I woke up Tim and started timing them, two things that will almost always put an end to false labor, I saw that they were 4-5 minutes apart and figured they MUST be false. But then at 2:30 AM (ish) I called the OB's office, because if I was going to have false labor that painful, I was going to do it with some pain meds.

It wasn't until I actually got in the car with the admit paperwork and had the second contraction of the trip (slowest tollway drive ever, by the way), that I became sure that Baby Girl was actually coming. That thought and a good grip on the "oh crap" handle in the car got me through the rest of the drive, and most of what tied for the worst hour of labor. The rest of that worst hour was mostly me begging every hospital employee from the ER entrance to my OB nurse for that epidural. Dr. Bradley can shove all of his pain management techniques up his butt.

Fortunately by about 3:30 AM I had that tube in my back, GBS antibiotics going, and all those lovely external monitors hooked up. I got 5 nice drowsy hours before I was almost fully dilated and getting nervous about the pushing part. We waited a while past full dilation for that urge to push, which is where the other tied-for-worst hour of labor hit. I grabbed my knees and strained for a good hour without much progress, because I pretty much had no idea what I was doing. As it turns out, I have a lot of different muscles in my abdomen, and it took a pretty specific combination to really get baby moving, and until then I basically wanted to hop off the table, take this terrible constipated poo I was feeling, and be rolled into the OR for that repeat Cesarean section.

I didn't want to deliver on my back, but as it turned out baby was a bit particular about wanting me reclined and back down before she would budge past that +2 position. Once we got there, the nurse called anesthesia in to welly up my epidural. They often try to let them wear off so moms can feel the urge to push, but I was feeling too much urge to push to even focus on pushing. Or breathing. Or anything but GAAAAAHHHHH. Once that extra dose of spine narcotics hit (that nurse gets super bonus points for knowing what I needed), I was good to go. Dr. G showed up to ask if I wanted vacuum help, but I actually felt like I was ready to push for another hour. I could finally feel the just right time, push for long enough, and focus on which muscles I was using. Suddenly the nurse was calling Dr. G back in for delivery! Tim broke the "above the equator" rule when the head started to show up, and that's when it got really exciting. The head exited, the umbilical cord was eased off of the neck, and after barely any more effort I heard, "Look down!" And there she was!

I don't think it was 12 milliseconds before she was in my arms. I think the first thing I did was yelp for joy and say, "Hi! We did it!" I kissed that little head (which wasn't really coney at all) and told her I loved her and held her oxygen mask until they absolutely had to take her to the warming bed to get her turning pink (thanks, Colorado's thin air). I watched her blink and squirm while my tiny tears got stitched up (OW). The tears weren't really bad enough to need repair, but the bleeding was enough to call for it.

Minutes later I had her back, and she nursed like an old pro and cuddled like only a newborn can for over an hour, and then it was time for all of the weighing and measuring and shots and eye goop. She weighed 6 pounds, 5.6 ounces, and was 19 inches long. She has SKINNY feet. Her hair looked dark and wavy, and her coloring was a lot like mine when I was born—a lot more ethnic than I look now.

We named her Kella Rose. It's a Gaelic name that means warrior, much like Finley. And after meeting her, I'm sure about the name. I actually picked it out months ago. I mean the end of January. I fell in love with it, told Tim about it, and no other name has really caught my eye since.

She is beautiful and perfect and has a tiny kink in one ear that I hope stays forever. She has my crazy fingernails and Tim's big toes and grandma's nose, with grandpa's unfortunate hairline. That weird M shape with fuzzy corners must be severely genetically dominant, because so far no child in my dad's line has avoided it. She looks a lot like baby me, the same way Finley looked so much like baby Tim.

She spends her spare time staring at me and Tim, squirming, and apparently getting jaundiced, because she's needed a bilirubin light since yesterday. The little light strip gets stuck in a blanket with her and makes her look like a cuter version of one of those glow worm toys Hasbro used to make. We're hoping she won't need it after her test tomorrow morning, mostly because we don't want her to be jaundiced, but also because having your newborn tethered by a very short cable to a heavy machine that plugs into the wall makes things a bit more difficult than they otherwise would be. She seems happy with it, though!

I love her so much. There wasn't a doubt in my mind that I would, but she isn't my first second child, and so many second timers seem to wonder if they'll love the second as much as the first. They are so easy to love—whether they've just come home from the hospital with you or they're 16 months old and having a bit of a challenge not being the only center of Mom and Dad's universe anymore. We're in elliptical orbit around these two, and I'm so proud of the ways my boy has grown up. Having another 6 pound baby (Finley was about a pound heavier when he came home) around has made me realize that the last year has turned Finley into a big, sturdy boy. He's not a baby anymore, and he certainly isn't fragile like he once was. He gives toddler hugs and cuddles, has a child's soft skin, and smells like exactly as many days as it's been since his last bath, and now I have to recognize how much he's grown.

We've been so blessed with another miracle. It may not have taken extraordinary medical interventions to bring Kella home, but it took so many things going just perfectly for her to be born healthy via the normal route and come home after only two days. She tolerated the entire labor like a champion, and never made the doctor worry about needing to surgically remove her. I went into labor at just the right time, 39 weeks and 3 days, and she had every day she needed in the womb.

So now we're home and enjoying the little things, like witch hazel (me) and breast milk (her) and not having hemorrhoids (both of us). Finley loves to see his baby sister and is learning to be gentle, and Tim is being the hero of the house and making sure I get sleep and meds and food and all of the important things. He even let me sleep in Saturday and took both kids with him to the doctor's office alone! I don't know how he does it all, but he does it without complaining, and I know no other men who do so much for their families. He even slept in that horrible hospital chair so he didn't have to leave me alone after the baby came. He wakes up in the night to comfort the baby after she eats. He loves us, and he knows how to show love better than anyone. I have always been in awe of him, and I know our Baby Girl will never have to wonder how a man should treat his family.

I'm exhausted, and in a bit of pain, and I'm quite tired of needing Rx meds to be able to walk at better than a snail's pace, but overall I have too much to be grateful for to complain. If you really needed something, though, I will say that I can't quite forgive my doctor for showing me the placenta. Honestly, I just lost a good amount of blood, my iron is low, and you expect me to eat meat after seeing that?

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Little Shoes

Saturday we bought Finley's first pairs of real shoes. Not the little newborn ones you stick on their helpless little feet for show, but the kind babies wear when they're learning to walk. He is learning to walk. He holds on with one little hand and wobbles around like an itty bitty drunk. He got small, puffy feet from my side of the family, and we had to buy special baby shoes because they're the only ones that would fit. I don't think my last three or four pairs of shoes cost as much as the two pair we bought.

But sitting in the shoe store, debating the costs of teeny tennies and soft-sole dress shoes made for 6-9-month-old babies, I suddenly wanted to cry. Not because my boy is growing up, because that's what we always wanted him to do, but because my other boy is not. I found myself thinking we should be buying twice as many little shoes, and wondering if Oliver's feet would have been round and stumpy, too. I started to think of what our life should have been like, when I realize that I can only guess what it would have been like. What should be is certainly only God's area of expertise. I only have selfish shoulds—to keep a baby in this world that so valiantly went to the next. Who is in God's own hands instead of mine. Who will have the blessings of eternity and our forever family as much having gone when he did as if he lived a lifetime in this world. I can say it would have been different. But it isn't. And who am I to say it should have been?

Later that day at the cemetery I see the tiny footprints we had placed on his gravestone. They aren't much smaller than his footprints when we was born—or were his feet that small? One was turned in from the small space he had in the womb, and both were swollen from their station blocking Finley's exit and saving his life, even though he had never before been first in line to be born.

I looked down at my belly (and it's hard to look down and see anything other than belly these days) and almost gasped at the realization that there was no teeny tiny baby in my womb anymore. The feet that will come out in the next week or two will be much, much larger than the tiny footprints on the gravestone. And they might even be average, thin baby feet instead of the roly poly feet I managed to pass to my little almost-walker. I wonder if we'll buy her expensive shoes to learn to walk in, too. Probably, at least for that stage, but maybe not because nothing else will fit. She'll probably learn to walk at the average age and have average feet. She might be what people consider totally normal, or maybe even bright and developmentally ahead. I don't know what to expect from a term baby—not even "early term," because we're so close to her due date now that she'll have every gestational advantage a baby could want.

I'm seeing a pattern now. Will I gestate my next baby for a year? I suppose that child will come out a superhero, possibly with long, gangly feet. My children so far are shaping up to be unexpected and unlikely people with unpredictable fates. To die, to thrive in the face of difficulties, to come despite heavily stacked odds and be uniquely safe and healthy. I wonder who they will be in ten years, or twenty, or when we meet in the next life. I wonder if, in Heaven, there will be a pair of very tiny feet that I can buy expensive shoes for and watch learn to toddle, so many years from now.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

The Man I Married, Who Married Me Back

It didn't take long after meeting Tim to realize he would be an ideal mate. He is careful and kind with his words, respectful, smart, and hard-working. He is humble enough not to recognize these things as his special skills and talents, so he works to improve them every day. He is unselfish, and meets even the least pleasant obligations without complaining, procrastinating, or just waiting around until someone else does it.

I knew some of those things about Tim before I married him, and have discovered the rest over the last (almost) five years. He anchors our family in the goodness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and keeps us praying and seeking help from scripture, doctrine, and revelation. He loves and cares for me and his children the way only the best fathers do. He reads to our son, plays games with him, and helps him learn new things each day. He cares for the health of our daughter and does his best to keep her safe. He shares with me the grief that only parents share at an absent child.

He pays attention to our boy's smallest needs and milestones and cheers him on as he makes progress. He worries about the little challenges and illnesses and health scares, and takes good care to treat them. There is no question that Finley loves his father. On days when Tim is home, there's nobody else Finley really wants to be with. Tim, your infant son thinks you are the very best thing in the world—is there any praise I can give you better than that?

Probably not. I'll just tell you that I love you, and the father you've become, and the man you have always been. Your commitment to provide for us and protect us and lead us toward good things and happiness has brought us the things we most need in this life.

And besides all of the things you dutifully do because you know that's what a great father would do, there are the things that only you can do, like your special talent for bringing us laughter. Like writing amazing stories that have meaning and have the charm of your unique voice. Like your spectacular dancing skills. Like your 99th percentile ability to forgive. Like your desire to be a husband and father as the most important jobs in your life, and how you make us feel like important people because of it.

There is no other father quite like you in the world, Tim, and I couldn't be happier than to have you as the father of my family. We need your special skills and your love and everything you are, because we simply couldn't live without you and only you.

You have put in the years and the emotion and the exhausting efforts that a true father does, and you've done so much more. You've earned the title, the love, and the reverence we should have for your position: father.

Happy Fathers' Day

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Permission to Pop

I had my 35 week OB appointment today! It really wasn't exciting enough to merit an exclamation point, except that I graduated from 17P! No more expensive Makena for me! That's not to say I'm done trying to find a way for Colorado women to get the compounded generic (because even though the FDA changed its ruling, a CO law is still preventing compounding here), but it does mean that in about a week when this last shot wears off, there's nothing but my own body to stop me from going into labor! WAH!

And Dr. S. kept telling me how happy she is that I made it to term. "Not for two more weeks!" I kept reminding her, but she seemed to think 35 was close enough! Babies born at that age do very well, they wouldn't need to stop labor, blah, blah, blah. Certainly it is close compared to 25 weeks, but I really want to hit that 37 week mark for the sake of not having another preemie by technicality, even if it's just by a few days. 12 days would get me to term, and 13 would get me to a business day when one of my two OBs would actually be performing the delivery, so I'm hoping for at least that much longer!

She kept telling me that I'm basically fine to start laboring whenever, and while I see the logic, I'm definitely not ready to go! I have curtains to sew and cleaning to do! I'm looking forward to seeing this baby, and hoping she'll come out ready to fit the collection of adorable newborn-size clothes we have for her, but geez, gimme a minute to meet with the hospital birth plan people (a week from tomorrow) and pack my bag. And maybe get that growth ultrasound I've been wanting to make sure I'm not carrying a Hummer instead of a baby before I decide to forgo that repeat C-section.

I'm hoping she's a procrastinator like me. It would probably not be nice to also wish her a tiny, pointy head.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Feelings You Shouldn't Have

I'll be the first to admit that I have inappropriate feelings. I get pissed off at girls who went to cosmetology school, married rich, and have no guilt for not making any intellectual pursuits whatsoever. Why? Because I totally should have done that. Let's face it: my liberal arts degree is almost worthless now, but people still want haircuts and highlights. I want a haircut and highlights. And I get frustrated with this fetus on occasion for break dancing in my womb while I'd like to be sleeping.

But you know what? Getting frustrated at a fetus is ridiculous. It's not a valuable feeling, and feeling it is really a waste of time and energy and has a negative impact on my mood, outlook, and brain chemistry. It is not healthy to be frustrated with a fetus. Expressing that feeling, as I did for example here, isn't really healthy either. And certainly wishing I'd gone to cosmetology school because I think it might make me as cute as this girl I know who did is a waste of my time, and hating her is a waste of even more than that. So I try not to.

But I keep seeing all this BS in pop culture about how our feelings are (a) out of our own control, (b) all equally worthy of feeling and expressing, and (c) unhealthy to try to control.

For example: "The heart wants what the heart wants." Every time I hear that phrase my heart wants to stab out the eyeballs of the speaker. Can we accept that certain desires and feelings are actually wrong, and act accordingly? So you no longer love your wife and your heart wants to bone the secretary—how about you admit that your heart is a total douchebag, get some marriage counseling, and maybe spend less time at reception?

"I can't help the way I feel." This one's true sometimes in the short run, especially during a personal rage spiral or when your hormones have taken over. But when you get some sleep and your period is over, it's time for some feeling accountability. Just like I'm over my irrational irritation toward my beloved baby girl now that I've actually had a nap, there comes a time to sort out our feelings by which are legitimate and which are illogical or useless or unhealthy, and throw out the latter group.

Therapists call on this kind of sorting in Cognitive Therapy. Usually it's applied to negative feelings, but sometimes it needs to be applied to what seem like neutral or positive feelings, like when Charlie Sheen thinks he's winning, or when I think I'm better than other people because I close the toilet lid before flushing. In reality, Charlie Sheen is in a manic state, and I am just wrong (nobody escapes the patina of fecal bacteria that covers our world).

I think to some extent, over time, we all sort out these feelings. Sometimes not before we do something stupid, and occasionally (and more often with all of this BS about all feelings being important) we just never sort them out, and instead every time we feel irritated at our spouse, we tell him all about it until his heart starts wanting to get the heck away from us. More likely, however, before we sort anything, we put our feelings on Facebook, and then complain when they're not validated, when in reality, we shouldn't be considering them valid ourselves, let alone expecting others to find them valid.

So here's to feelings, and admitting that some of them are dumb. Sometimes your feelings don't matter. Sometimes they're wrong, stupid, harmful, and/or useless. And instead of feeling them for the sake of feelings, you should throw them out and try to feel the way you want to feel (which I hope means feeling like a nice person, a good mom, and, say, someone capable of cleaning the living room now and then). I'm talking to you, self. But I'm also talking to the "feelings" crowd out there who always defends others for feeling the way they feel, even if it's wrong. You wouldn't defend me for feeling hate toward a specific race of people, and you shouldn't defend me (or anyone else) for our other douchey feelings. Because when we're stupid enough to post them on Facebook, we deserve the everlasting flames of the internet to burn the idiot feelings out of us.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

3 Hilarious Products Nobody Should Buy—Except Maybe Me

EasyFeet: For those no longer willing or able to bend down and reach their own feet.

The best part is at about 1:15 when she talks about the high arch for "pudgy" feet, though I suppose that is a more common condition among those who can't be bothered to wash their feet unless there's a product that will do it for them with little to no effort. Seriously HSN ladies, is it that hard to either lift your feet up to the side of the shower or bend down and give a little scrub? Why not buy one of those little shower foot rests that makes it easier?

I am like 8 months pregnant, and I am still capable of washing my own feet. That is not to say I haven't been tempted to outsource my foot washing to a sad little scrubber with "9 suction cups!" but I certainly am not spending $25.00 on such a thing until the day I get my free Rascal.

The Slobstopper: For adult babies.

I saw this on Hulu and didn't think it was real, but if you go to the website, it's totally there. Can you imagine a level of shamelessness where you're willing to put this thing on, even if you're just in your car? And by the time you get to that point, are the clothes you'll be wearing really worth saving from a coffee stain? I get the feeling you might be wearing a Stadium Pal underneath them anyway (also shockingly real).

And while such accessories are abandoned in childhood because the very definition of adulthood denotes the ability to eat and drink without soaking your clothing in leftovers, I have become acutely aware of the difficulty adulthood poses in this particular area. Pregnant women are notoriously clumsy, and I'm no exception. I drop everything. Since I, like most pregnant women, also have a large protruding belly, my shirts have recently become repositories for all kinds of food and drink particles that miss my mouth.

A stranger actually pointed and laughed at me when Tim had to tell me I'd decorated myself with frozen yogurt. I've been going through Spray'n'Wash at ten times normal speed. "Rewear," that invaluable part of any limited maternity wardrobe/lexicon, is disappearing, and I am feeling the pain. Still, at $15 a pop, I think I'll stick to the public embarrassment of a yogurt stain instead of switching to the humiliation of wearing a giant bib.

Pajama Jeans: For those sitting on the last ledge before rock bottom.

I think people have already said what needs to be said about these things. But as horrifying as it is to think of wearing sweats with a stretch waist and "mock fly," I can't help but think, "Yes, it IS hard to fit into regular jeans . . . and I HATE when they leave marks in my belly pooch!" I fantasize about slipping into stretchy pajama jeans, tucking my postpartum jellybelly into the waistband, and hiding the entire mess under that sexy gray T-shirt (a whole outfit!). Forget losing the weight, toning my tummy, working down the sizes until I'm back to my ideal weight—I could just live in pajama jeans. I wouldn't even have to change clothes when I get in and out of bed.

I'm starting to see a whole new lifestyle forming for me.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Hate This/Love That: Bacteria Edition

Hate This:

Bacteria and I are not friends. Well, some bacteria. I have had a few nasty run-ins with some BAMF strains (Mom, don't Google BAMF), like Clostridium difficile, and Whatevertheheck causesUTIs. I highly recommend hand washing, food safety techniques, and using alcohol and/or bleach to sanitize stuff. Of course, I'll also tell you to skip antibacterial soaps containing triclosan, since that stuff will mess you up (and by you I mean your hormones).

So when I had two nasty colds in a row, and my sinuses were reaching critical mass after 3 solid weeks of abuse, I finally was diagnosed with a sinus infection and got those cool antibiotics that work in 5 days and are equivalent to 30 doses of regular antibiotics. Yay!

And naturally, since these things come in threes (note: most things don't come in threes), I was also recently diagnosed (today) with a UTI (yes, this is a third thing, because each of those colds counted as one thing). And I picked up even more antibiotics! A three-day course, this time.

As the infection slowly dies within me and those tiny, dead bacterial bodies are expelled from my vessel, all I can think of are the casualties of war on my side. You know, that other bacteria. The ones that are my friends. The ones in my colon. All they're trying to do is protect me from baddies like C. difficile and other nasty gut bugs, but they take it in the rear when antibiotics enter the scene (ya see what I did there?). That's why "diarrhea" (I am so, so sorry for using that word in this safe place) is almost always on the side effects list for antibiotics. Those good guys in your colon are keepin' you regular . . . and occasionally giving you gas, but you can't be too picky here.

With every one of those tiny deaths in my colon, I am more sensitive to evils that might attack, you know, my colon. Which brings me to the second half of this entry:

Love That:

Probiotics. I don't know why doctors don't prescribe them every time anyone has gut issues or takes antibiotics. I'm not sure how much they help during antibiotic treatment, but at least afterward they essentially repopulate your desolate colon after Hurricane Poopsalot or the Antibiotic Tsunami wreak death and destruction. Acidophilus and Bifidus are probably the most popular ones, but you can get all kinds of blends, and they are the good bacteria Red Cross. My favorites are (1) these chewables that taste like powdered yogurt, and (2) actual yogurt. A nurse once recommended Florastor, so sure, I'll plug that too. Just not with a link, because it's expensive. If you need me to help you click to it, you probably can't afford it.

Anyway, if you love your guts—and trust me, you LOVE your guts—you'll keep some of these around to keep them populated with a massive army of tiny protectors.

Oh, and today I also love my AZO at home UTI test strips. I'm not a huge fan of nonessential doctor's office visits, and I am a huge fan of knowing what I need to do and taking care of myself. It's an independence that comes once you get over giving yourself shots and start to think, "What do they even do at these checkups, anyway?" (Okay, they do plenty, but I can at least avoid anything unnecessary with a few tricks and a 24/7 nurse hotline.)

Anyway, I had some flipping awful back pain the other day. With no other symptoms for the pain, I decided to use a strip. Peeing on strips in a clinically appropriate situation is a hobby of mine. I got the high score for white blood cells! That's exactly what Charlie Sheen means by winning, I think. But at my OB appointment, my doctor said the pain sounded more pregnancy related, and my test there came back normal. They sent it off for a culture, and thank goodness, because apparently I am an infection machine. I wouldn't have questioned it if they said it came back with nothing (the back pain went away), but thanks to a penchant for pee sticks, I'm not letting an asymptomatic UTI turn into pyelophrenitis or pyelonephritis or whatever. Boo yah. Take that, UTI bacteria, I WIN!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Hate This/Love That: Name Brand Diaper Edition

Hate This:

I pretty much can't stand Huggies. I mean, their diapers aren't all that bad. We actually use Huggies wipes because they were the first wipes we used that didn't irritate Finley's adorable and sensitive behind. But the diapers tend to chafe, and I find them to be exactly the same quality as generic diapers, but more expensive.

But by far the worst thing they offer is their "Enjoy the Ride" "rewards" program. Trust me, they worked hard to earn those scare quotes around "rewards"; in spite of using these wipes for a year now, I have yet to get ANYTHING from it. Besides that, I am NOT enjoying the ride, if by ride they are referring to their ugly, badly designed website and their nonexistent rewards.Not only does logging every code require (a) three screens' worth of BS, (b) two modes of verification—where I bought the dang wipes and one of those illegible text filters—and (c) clicking a RIDICULOUS number of times, but redeeming the points is somehow even more annoying. I have options: sweepstakes, instant win, donate, and catalog. Since there's never anything under donate (seriously, these A-holes won't let me just get rid of these things to help March of Dimes in some tiny way), and the catalog only ever allows you to purchase coupons for more Huggies products, I choose "Instant Win." Translation: "Lose, but Not Before Watching Annoying Animation." I click several buttons to verify that yes, I want to spend my idiotic points on this. I watch the moronic animation. I lose. I click to confirm my loss. I have disposed of 2 points. There is no way for me to just dump in all of my points to just get rid of them. Even though the program they use to dole out "rewards" would hand out the same instant win/loss result, they get some kind of sick pleasure out of me watching a cartoon mom watch her ugly cartoon baby fart in a bathtub.

Thanks, Huggies. My "reward" for using your product is apparently the desire to smash my computer monitor. If anyone wants my Huggies points, I will email you the codes, and where I bought them. The anti-robot code and Huggies BS is up to you.

Love That:

I can't get enough of Pampers. I love the diapers, and how they're super soft on my baby's super soft skin. They're the only diaper that never leaves nasty crinkle marks. The newborn ones have mesh that catches meconium nicely, plus a wetness indicator so I can keep baby dry. The sizes above are (like the newborn ones) super absorbent, soft, and of the utmost quality. We switched to cheaper Luvs for a while, but when I realized that through Amazon Mom I could switch back to Pampers for only a few bucks a month, I did it in a second. Admittedly, it was mostly because the Luvs have a perfume that was driving me nuts, and Pampers smell fine to me.

The rewards program, "Gifts to Grow," is fantastic. The website is easy to navigate, the points are SUPER easy to enter (I can even enter multiple codes at once), and the rewards are fantastic. They have donation options, toys, shutterfly packages—that's how I'm getting baby girl's announcements printed!—everything actual moms actually want. And you actually get things when you spend your points. You can even choose to buy multiples of most things if you want to use more points. It's like shopping, instead of like a torturous trip to a gas station in the middle of Hell where you have to scratch that nasty silver crap off of hundreds of little cards to find out you've won NOTHING—oh sorry, I stopped talking about Huggies "rewards" earlier. Anyway, Pampers rewards can be used to actually purchase things you want.

And they're not stingy with them, either. I have plenty of points to get those baby announcements, and by the time I buy them I will have enough more for maybe some cute thank-yous or at least a small donation to a charity that helps kids. They give away points through their Facebook page, through extras when you purchase, and as freebies in registry packages. They're not kidding; there are actual rewards to buying Pampers besides putting something soft on your kid's butt.

While no diaper, no matter how hard it tries, can stop the most horrible of inevitable blowouts, and in that respect all diapers may be equal, I choose Pampers for superiority in every other way. Well, except price. They're the most expensive mass-market diapers you can put on your baby that you have to throw away afterward. Still, to me the few bucks a month is totally worth it.

Oh, and as an aside about Pampers wipes: I love them. The boy may be allergic to them, but I used what was left in the pack to remove makeup or refresh my face. They're fantastic as far as wipes go, with an actual weave to them instead of being like thick, wet, quilted TP. So if you see me in Target buying some, it's because (a) I'm hoping baby girl isn't allergic to them, or (b) I ran out of face wash and they're just so . . . nice.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Makena Drama: I Will Never Escape

It almost makes me sick to be dealing with this yet again. I confirmed with my doctor's office that the FDA was allowing compounders to create 17P (hydroxyprogesterone caproate), and asked my CVS/Caremark pharmacy not to send me another $100 (copay) refill for the last 5 shots of Makena. After all, why spend $100 (and let my insurance pay KV Pharmaceutical) when my compounding pharmacy could produce the same drug and make a profit with just me paying them about $35 for the same amount?

I have had a bit of a cold, so I put off calling my local specialty pharmacy until Friday, thinking they could get the drug to me by Tuesday, when my 32-week shot is due. Last time they filled the scrip it was the same day I brought in the order. The pharmacy rep told me that they could no longer compound 17P. "Aha!" I said, "but the FDA reversed that decision, and now compounding pharmacies can make 17P!" Seriously, am I the only person in Colorado on this drug? And then the other government issue shoe fell.

She told me that the Colorado Board of Pharmacy would not allow them to compound it. I looked up the board—it's the state pharmacy licensing agency, responsible for (a) licensing, and (b) enforcing laws through licensing, not licensing, revoking licenses, etc. They're not a legislative agency, so I was confused as to how they'd have anything to do with me and my 17P. Naturally, since I have nothing better to do, I called the state professional licensing organization and they connected me to a very nice man at the Pharmacy Board.

He directed me to the Colorado Revised Statutes (i.e. Colorado legislation), namely CRS 12-22-121(18)(c):
(I) A prescription drug outlet shall not compound drugs that are commercially available except as provided in subparagraph (II) of this paragraph (c).
(II) A pharmacist may compound a commercially available drug if the compounded drug is significantly different from the commercially available drug or if use of the compounded drug is in the best medical interest of the patient, based upon the practitioner's drug order, including, without limitation, the removal of a dye that causes an allergic reaction. If a drug is compounded in lieu of a commercially available product, the patient shall be notified of the fact.
Translation: unless I'm allergic to the commercially available form, I HAVE to buy it.

It's really not a bad law. It's made to protect manufacturers from compounding pharmacies simply stealing away business by making whatever drugs they want. When you look at the way most drugs go through the processes of creation, approval, patenting, going generic, etc., it makes total sense. This whole Makena thing is just so F'd up that the only way for the commercial drug to have competition was through compounders, since no other commercial options are available. The drug is over 50 years old!

The problem stems from KV Pharmaceutical "developing" a drug that already existed, and from the FDA's promise of orphan drug status that would give them a monopoly. Orphan drug status, of course, only goes to drugs that affect a small number of people. Thanks, FDA, for screwing those of us in the minority with the "rare" problem of preterm labor. At least they shaped up in the end, but unfortunately I am still screwed into getting another rush order of the expensive stuff.

I'm going to say that if KV couldn't make the drug at a competitive price, they shouldn't have made it in the first place.

I continue to be baffled by the high price of Makena. I get the difference between the compounded version of hydroxyprogesterone and the commercial version: KV Pharmaceutical is mass producing the drug, ensuring that dosing standards are met exactly, and regulating the quality of the drug. Mass production is usually a cost-saving measure. It's because of mass production that factory-made items are less expensive than hand-made items. Efficiency cuts costs.

But what if mass production isn't efficient and doesn't cut costs? The high price of Makena is a result of one or both of two things: price gouging because Makena had the "orphan drug" monopoly that eliminated competition, or high production costs, meaning Makena is produced less efficiently than at compounding pharmacies. If it's so expensive solely because of inefficiency of production, then we need to look at whether the dosing and quality regulation they do is really worth the added expense over the dosing and quality control individual compounders do. Certainly compounders are held accountable for any mistakes, as was made clear when the FDA began to allow compounding pharmacies to compete with Makena again so that women could get this important drug. Essentially they said that though they'd allow pharmacies to compound the "orphan drug" without punishment, these individual pharmacies would still be held accountable for the safety, quality, and sterility of their products. I don't know about you, but I trust a smaller local firm with a lot to lose over a giant pharmaceutical company that has a lot more resources and power to fight or hide anything substandard in their product.

So the benefits offered by Makena, in all its commercial glory, have debatable value. No, since the FDA seems to think the commercial production is valuable, I'll say they have definite value. But shouldn't the consumer be able to decide how much value? Can't I say how much mass production and standardization is worth to me? It's not worth as much as Makena costs, that's for sure. And now laws that were made to protect both consumers and drug companies from knockoff drugs are keeping me, yet again, from getting the meds I need at a fair price.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

My Mom

There are lots of moms out there, of lots of different types. There are moms who can cook anything, and my mom can do that, though by the time I could appreciate an excellent meal without flopping down at the kitchen table and saying "EW!" my father had taken over much of the cooking so my mom could get her business degree.

There are moms who are smart, and my mom has always been one of those. Shockingly so. She has the ability to think critically, analyze situations, and make plans of action like nobody else I've met. I used to help her study for classes by drilling her with her own notecards as we drove around town, and as a result my understanding of economics was quite well established by the time I hit college. And that's not the only thing my mom taught me. She is singlehandedly responsible for my knowledge of algebra (though that was more of an endurance/persistence/patience effort than intelligence on her part), and actually got me liking math. I mean to the point that I would do it in my spare time, and wound up actually enjoying multivariable calculus at 16. Enjoying it. And I'll lay that squarely on my mother's shoulders.

My mom was ahead of her time in mothering skills. She practiced attachment parenting before it was cool, and fostered our intellectual growth at home both before we entered formal schooling and after. She read my brother and me books and helped us participate in sports and learn musical instruments. She put us to work around the house and showed us how to clean, cook, gather kindling, prepare firewood, and start fires (in a totally safe, non-arson type way). She took us outdoors and showed us birds and animals and crazy awesome dangerous nature things. She taught us to stand up for ourselves and others, and to keep values that were difficult or unpopular growing up.

You'd think a mom with outdoors skills and brains and patience wouldn't be one a girly-girl either, but my mom was. She taught me about makeup and skincare and proper nail painting techniques. We still sometimes get to shop together for clothes or makeup.

And that's the part of my mom I discovered as an adult. She is a fantastic friend. We watch reality TV together, shop together, eat together. We discuss books and news. She is always, always there to help me when I need it. She is interesting and thoughtful, so we never run out of things to talk about. She is a good advice giver, but knows when not to advise. She is generous with everything she has.

Her mother could have named her Prudence or Hope or Charity or any of those other somewhat terrible "value" names, but instead she named her Rose. Roses are beautiful and strong, with thorns to protect themselves and solid roots to grow tall. They climb toward light, and bloom so fantastically that no other flower quite compares. Of all of the good things my grandmother could have called my mom, I think she picked the most fitting name, because my mom truly is a Rose.

Friday, May 6, 2011


Sometimes it feels like my life is falling apart. Other times, it just feels like the stuff I need to live my life is falling apart.

Like Saturday, when I had a lovely trip to the zoo with my family and friends, and came out to find my windshield broken by a stray golf ball. And by "stray," I mean it was irresponsibly driven across two lanes of traffic, a superwide ramp down to a parking garage, and the fences/nets put up by the golf course—oh wait! there weren't any!—into the car we traded down to to get rid of our car payment. You know, because we need that money for the baby we're expecting in about two months.

I would've loved a "golf course nearby" sign. Or maybe even three feet of fence over the parking lot wall that would have saved me from this whole problem. Instead I got a nasty windshield replacement bill, and a lesson to purchase a lower deductible plan for my auto glass, because I have zero control over what happens to it.

And Sunday I got Finley's cold. It took him a solid 3-4 days of fever to start showing symptoms, but it hit me like an unwelcome golf ball when in the morning I woke up with a massive headache, sore throat, crapped out sinuses, and a really tough time speaking. I figured a couple of days would see me through the worst of it, and by Tuesday I really felt awesome for my 30-week check up (all is well, baby is good, and even a very on-time delivery is starting to loom close enough to make detailed plans for).

Naturally after the doctor's appointment high, my cold fell right back into place. Super. So that second thing I need to live my life, that is a face I can breathe through, is totally broken too.

Then, at 11:30 PM tonight, when my very average sized husband threw himself exhausted onto the bed, the bed riser broke. And it scraped the crap out of our bed leg. AND it somehow pulled a screw out of the bed and discombobulated the entire corner support. Unfortunately since most of the storage in our house is under that bed, and it's not exactly bed-riser season at Wal-mart, I had to use my superhuman pregnancy strength to recombobulate the bed corner and find the exact right old textbooks to prop up the bed leg so we could at least sleep for the night.

Here's my crossed fingers and toes hoping it doesn't collapse again before we can get it more permanently fixed.

My windshield, my face, my bed—this is starting to seem like either a really weird dream or a set of nasty omens. Or on the other (and more likely) hand, it probably seems that way because of the congestion-interrupted sleep I've been getting (and not getting).

But fortunately, the thing that isn't falling apart is my happy little fetus and her well-sealed home. My stretch marks are definitely growing, but the fantasy of an eventual tummy tuck is enough to comfort me (who knows if that will actually happen). By biggest pregnancy worry is VBAC or repeat CS (yes, they do both suck), and that's simply fantastic. Also fantastic is having the strength and ability to walk around for hours, play with my son, and occasionally have a night out with the hubs. Some things might be falling apart, but I, for once, am not.

Friday, April 15, 2011


I think my favorite part of pregnancy ever is the cute belly. Maybe it's because when I struggled with infertility I was so jealous of that rich, round sign of impending baby. And maybe it's partly because I felt cheated out of showing off my belly when at 17 weeks I was bedbound for the remainder of my last pregnancy, and because I didn't get nearly as big as I would have liked to.

In any event, I love having a belly, and watching my bellybutton shallow out to a faint star in the middle of a heavy mass of mama, and trying to walk like a normal person when there is another person hanging out the front of my abdomen.

So now, finally, I am starting to get that nice, big, third-trimester belly. I'm carrying round. The rest of me is roughly proportional to my pre-pregnancy self (you know, from the two weeks I got back into those size 8 jeans before having to surrender them to the "clothes that won't fit for another year" trunk). Oh, and my second chin has even retreated a bit! But my belly has stretched the front of me from boobs to C-section scar with shocking evenness. And while I'm lucky not to look too chubby from the front, the belly definitely takes up the width of my abdomen too. I am by no means carrying small.

And I thought I'd paid my genetic dues last time, when I stretched from upper thighs to belly button in big, red streaks the cocoa butter was just barely starting to fade into shiny lines. I supposed that the postpartum shrinking had effectively nail polished the ends of the giant runs in my skin, so I could continue wearing it without worry that my runny-stocking skin would tear through the rest of me.

Naturally, I was super, super wrong about that. Now that I'm passing the limits of my prior belly stretch, I'm starting to get growing pains once again, and to top it off last night after my bath I found a new, tiny tear sprouting from the top of one of my old ones. It hit me instantly: I am going to have giant stretch marks from head to toe. By the time I carry this baby to term (and I WILL carry her to term), I will be that old stocking you thought you could wear one more time, but by the end of the night it was only a scrap of barely-held-together nylon gossamer, embarrassing you with its complete decrepitude.

Which brings me to a strange realization. Before that tiny rip appeared in my otherwise good-enough-after-delivering-twins belly, the technology that had most inspired my gratitude for living in this particular time was indoor plumbing. Screw the internet. But now, another holy blessing of invention shares that spot: cosmetic surgery.

Say what you will. Before this decade is over, I am going to see about having these shiny marks tattooed back to my normal skin color, and then having some of them just completely removed. I'm talking tummy tuck. I don't need a bikini body, but hey, I know when it's time to buy new stockings.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Dear Pepsi,

I am a fan of many caramel-colored, caffeinated, cold, carbonated beverages. Colas have been a tradition in my family for as long as I can remember. And though I had my youthful flings with orange soda and cherry syrup, the classics remain my favorite: Coca-Cola, Pepsi, and Dr. Pepper still top my list.

Dr. Pepper wins for unique flavor. Pepsi takes second because everyone carries it and it's better than Coke (sorry Coke). But Coca-Cola gets the nod because (a) Mexican Coke has cane sugar instead of higher GI corn syrup, and (b) Mexican Coke is somehow way tastier than Mexican Pepsi.

But along with my fancy new unsweet tooth, I've gotten a heightened sensitivity to caffeine, so I've been struggling without my Mormony equivalent of booze the way some women suffer for red wine when they're pregnant. It's not a bad sacrifice, but I still want the good stuff if I can get it. Pregnancy exhaustion/stress plus wrangling a one-year-old who is not as mobile as he really, really wants to be leaves me extra needy for the little joys in life.

So today, Pepsi, you have won my affections. Pepsi is the only caffeine-free version of my favorite drinks easily located at stores outside of Utah, and there it was, on the shelf at King Sooper's, for only a dollar per two-liter bottle. And it was SOOOOOOO good. Without the caffeine heightening the sugar taste, the flavor was beyond perfect, at a time when everything else I eat tastes just a little wrong.

Knowing that I won't be up all night made it even better. I have another bottle and a half left to enjoy, preferably before my glucose tolerance test results come back. The next few days should be totally awesome.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Breaking the Trail

I haven't been to this part of a pregnancy before. Baby girl is due in 3 months, or 13 weeks from today. She's got enough uterus time for some serious advantages in life, including a better than 90% survival rate outside the womb if she were born this week. The even better news: she probably won't be born this week.

Which brings me to my point: Suddenly this pregnancy seems to be going on forever, and I'm in the part of it I've never technically experienced. Of course, every pregnancy is different, and this one is doing some strange things. I can't complain about a long pregnancy, but if history has taught us anything, we should know that I can find something to complain about.

It's my sweet tooth. It's been injured. I tend to love sugar. I crave it, I eat it, and I thoroughly enjoy it. Hormones have taken away the two most important parts of that equation. I don't crave sugar. It's the best candy season of the year, and while some of my favorites catch my eye when I walk through Wal-Mart, I just don't have the same desire I once did. On the other hand, I still occasionally buy and eat it. Robin Eggs, Pay Day bars, Cadbury Creme Eggs, chocolate covered marshmallows - and that's just in the last few weeks. It may not be a complete accounting of my indulgences, either.

Full disclosure of my sugar binges is not important; the problem is that though I continue to eat sugar, it has become rather awful. I never wanted to know why some people don't like Hostess products and cheap candy, and I do, and it's terrible. This must be what drug addicts feel like when their regular dose stops delivering a high. And that thought is even more depressing, because I realize how much I use sugar to change my mood. It is my drug of choice.

Now that I'm seeking out snacks and easy foods that don't have tons of sugar, I'm finding out how sugar-infused American non-perishable grocery items are. Even beef jerky, that pinnacle of easy protein, is coated in sickly sugar. Do not want. So snack foods are limited, and since I am awful at keeping veggies good long enough to remember to cook them, and since I am far too lazy to actually cook up a piece of meat when I need to eat lunch, I am seriously struggling with meals.

Yesterday and today: tacos for lunch. Easy because Tim made the meat and everything else is pretty simple. During the week: I find things around the house. Cheese. Crackers. Nothing. And half the time I'm too tired, busy, and braindead to even remember to eat, and then I end up having a nearly-passing-out episode in the middle of relief society. Because I ate a cupcake for breakfast after only a few hours of decent sleep. Depending on the calendar you use this is about the first day of my first third trimester, and I already suck at it.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Okay, One More

Update about the 17P situation that is. After I finally heard from my insurance, I was satisfied with a price for me of about $200 for the rest of my shots. That doesn't seem too bad until you compare it to the $100 I paid for Finley's whole 13-week NICU stay. Yes, it would be cheaper for me to just have this baby out now. That screwed-upness lies somewhere between the insurance company and Ther-Rx/KV Pharmaceutical, but I do not let the makers of Makena off the hook for their ridiculous pricing.

Fortunately, neither does the FDA. Just a couple days after my order for 1 $100 refill of 5 Makena shots went in (rushed), today I found that the FDA will be allowing compounding pharmacies to continue making the inexpensive 17P I've been enjoying for the last 10 weeks. That still leaves me and my insurance with paying those criminals at Ther-Rx for 5 shots, but I had to do what was necessary to keep this pregnancy safe.

But of course, life is never so simple. My last precious milliliter of 17P wound up being only .5 mL. That doesn't mean the pharmacy shorted me (of a $3.50 value! Oh no!), it just means that somewhere in the last 10 shots, .5 mL got lost in mixing needles or stuck to the sides of the vials. It's normal. And at $7/shot, I can afford little losses like that.

So even though I moved as fast as I could to make sure I'd get my shots, I'm still anxiously awaiting the rush shipment from my CVS/Caremark specialty pharmacy so I can make up for the lost dose amount. And hopefully not need a progesterone suppository, which my OB's office has threatened if I don't get my shipment before Friday. I'm just hoping that if I do need the suppository, it goes in the shipping and receiving door and not the, uh, emergency exit (for evacuation only). Are you as sick of my metaphor as I am?

So that's the story. The hope is that in another month, I will get my last 5 mL from the compounders at a totally reasonable price. I haven't called the compounding pharmacy to check up on it, but I can't imagine the hassle they've been going though between the angry pregnant ladies and the greedy pharmaceutical reps. In fact, I'm pretty sure that's a worse place to be than between rock/hard place, frying pan/fire, mama bear/cubs, bull elk/harem.

I'm not stressing about the situation much now, mostly because I'm wondering if I'm the only little girl who got the "don't get between a bull elk and his harem" speech.

For the record, after 2:34 AM tomorrow morning, I will be the most pregnant I have ever been: a full 25 weeks and 4 days!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Ha! Malfunctioning Body, Take That!

I've had a problem with early morning waking (my OB's words) for a bit over a week, and I thought I was going to lose it from lack of sleep. I mean, if you don't consider it already losing it to (a) burst into tears at no provocation, (b) lose further sleep because of stress dreams about being too tired to care for my child, and (c) only have a few hours during the day when I can track or carry a meaningful conversation.

I told my doctor about the sleeping troubles at my last cervix check. I mean LAST cervix check. No more ultrasounds or internal exams until delivery time, and I get to stop going in every two weeks for a while. Anyway, Dr. G prescribed Ambien. I took the stuff a couple times when I was on hospital bed rest. If you didn't know, when they dispense meds in the hospital, you don't get a bottle with a bunch of literature about how you might die from taking it. You just get a pill and a nurse to watch you swallow it.

Being an avid reader of boring things and especially packaging, I discovered some of the somnambulant activities Ambien may cause. Sleep driving. Sleep eating. Sleep conversing: like sleep talking but you can have a seemingly lucid conversation in which the other person may not know you're sleeping. Amnesia of all of your nighttime activities. And these aren't the worst.

And while I didn't have any issues in the hospital (at least I don't remember having any), I fear that my uncontrolled, Jekyll-ish, sleepwalking self might get me in trouble in some of the following ways:
  • Waking up Finley and feeding or diapering him in the middle of the night, and messing up either of these activities in a dangerous way.
  • Calling, emailing, or facebooking friends, family, and acquaintances.
  • Eating dairy and getting sick from it the following day.
  • Promising to help Tim with something important and then not doing it because of the memory loss thing. (Actually, I sometimes do this when I'm half asleep anyway.)
  • Driving myself to Target to look at baby clothes in my pajamas (underwear).
And there's always the possibility that my unconscious self will visit several all-night diners each night and eat all of their bacon. On the other hand, the idea of eating, drinking, and visiting the ladies' room while simultaneously sleeping sounds very convenient. At least I'd stop waking up starving and dehydrated (and therefore nauseated).

None of these exciting possibilities could be overshadowed by the possibility of not losing my mind from sleep deprivation, so short of having the hubs watch me for strange activity all night, I had to settle for a whole Unisom and a prayer that it wouldn't make me groggy until lunchtime the next day. It helped that I took it at 7 PM. While I still woke up every 4 hours to pee, I actually got back to sleep and had a full 12 hours. And didn't burst into tears the next day over having to leave the house.

It doesn't exactly fit my family's schedule or my preferred lifestyle to go to sleep at dinnertime and wake up before Tim leaves for work, but it does fit enough of my brain's idea of when I should be awake that we seem to have compromised in a healthy way. Also, it means I might avoid the possibility of accidentally videotaping my naked, pregnant T-rex impression and posting it to YouTube.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Excuses and Why I Don't Need to Make Them

My son is one year old. His "adjusted age" for prematurity is 9 months. He weighs about as much as your average 6-month-old, and is probably as tall as a 9-month-old. He's starting to say a few words, wave to people when he's not feeling too shy, and instigate games with me and his dad—all skills closer to his actual age. He struggles with crawling, and that's a skill most babies learn around 6 or 6-9 months. He continues to be a lean baby (like the Baby Spanx baby!), and people say he looks like the Gerber Baby all the time.

And I love all of those things about my son. I cry a little every time he gains a new skill. I am not worried about his development; we work on his physical skills every day, talk and read, feed him plenty, and give him what he needs to learn and grow. I'm not worried about his size. He isn't stunted, just behind—is your kid ten times his birth weight at one year? I didn't think so. He's doing excellently, especially for someone born among the very earliest and tiniest preemies. But I don't think I need to say that all the time.

Strangers in public places like to comment about babies. It's not always their business, and it's often uncalled for, but they do it anyway. So many of these people say things about Finley's head scar, where he had two brain surgeries but, against the odds, needed no permanent drainage shunt and has healed rather beautifully. They comment on his size, asking if he's just a few months old. They ask me his age all the time, as if they needed to know. People without infants of their own really don't know what "12 months old" even means. They certainly don't ask my age (judging by the under-eye circles, 112 years).

And every time they ask the age, I say, "But he was three months premature. That's why he is so tiny!" I'm afraid people will think I'm starving him or something, and certainly people have assumed he came across his head scar violently rather than surgically (curse you, Harry Potter). I'm scared to death of all of these people judging me and my baby.

Then, a few weeks ago, I ran into a mother around my age pushing her son in a stroller through Costco. We stopped to talk, and I found out her son is about Finley's adjusted age. He was also much, much bigger and had eight little teeth, where Finley had not quite cut his first. And I made my excuses. Prematurity! I yelled, before anyone could blame my terrible parenting skills.

And then this mom said the nicest thing to me. "You don't need to tell people he is premature. He is perfect!" Another stay-at-home mom, attentive to her child's needs and what is normal development, called me out of my dumb excuses. Because my son is just perfect. He is a fine size, and he is strong, smart, and active. He is learning and growing. He is not average, and he is not the same as other kids his age. But all of these excuses I make for him are not for him at all. They're because I'm so insecure as a mom I have to explain away everything people might see as wrong.

What do I do now? I still make excuses probably half of the time. But the other half of the time, I finally do what I should do all the time, and should have done all along: I tell people my son's age when they ask, try to get him to say, "Hi!" like he does when he's in a good mood, and I let them think what they will. I don't need to make excuses. My son is perfect.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Makena Update: Action Taken, Waiting on Results

Since my last post, I've learned a few important things about the Makena and 17P debate, and there are a few things that I wanted to mention.

First, another reason this drug price is ridiculous: low-income women are the most at risk for preterm labor, and will probably be most in need of the drug. According to American Pregnancy, risk factors for preterm labor include "low income . . . little or no prenatal care . . . lack of social support," and the list goes on, including being underweight or overweight. All of those conditions speak to preterm labor targeting poorer classes, meaning that first, the target market of the drug is probably the least able to pay such ludicrous prices, and second, that much of the payment will come out of Medicaid funding. And while I support Medicaid funds being used to help pregnant women, it feels like KV Pharmaceutical is grabbing for an unfair share of that taxpayer money.

Second, two US Senators are seeking an investigation into pricing and anti-competitive conduct by KV Pharmaceutical! This is the best news yet, since so far our only course of action has been to complain, and an FTC investigation could mean required change—I'm hoping that compounding pharmacies will be allowed to compound the same 17P that has been helping women for years.

March of Dimes declared success on Facebook when Ther-Rx came out with a statement on their website. The release didn't seem to even hint at a price drop. Here's their action plan:
We are scheduling meetings with key audiences – including payors and national organizations that are committed to the advancement of obstetric care and infant health. We hope to meet with them at the earliest possible dates to discuss and address all of their concerns. We are committed to working closely with all parties to develop and implement plans that will ensure that this important, FDA-approved product will be covered by the payor community and available to all women who are prescribed Makena at an affordable cost.

Specifically the part that says, " . . . ensure that this . . . product will be covered by the payor community," makes me think that Ther-Rx is going to "address concerns" by continuing to hold fetal safety hostage, but not to make mothers pay, rather to make insurance companies and government organizations pay their exorbitant price. Of course, that money doesn't come out of nowhere. It shows up in our premiums, in our tax rates, and in less funding for other important or necessary things in the Medicaid budget. That's not what we asked for.

So again, I'm calling for KV Pharmaceutical, or Ther-Rx, or whatever brand name they want to go by today, to LOWER THE PRICE of Makena. I was getting it for $7 per shot, and 20 weekly shots are usually prescribed. Sure, some people, organizations, or companies might be able to afford up to $30,000 per pregnancy for this drug to save babies, but nobody should have to, whether we're doing it as individuals or as a community!

*On a personal note, I was on Denver's ABC 7 last night for a spot highlighting this problem. If you are a pregnant woman affected by this, contact your local news and ask them to do a story. We need local and national awareness that this is a problem, to support the investigation those senators are requesting, and to hold KV Pharmaceutical responsible for their actions.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Makena & Ther-Rx: Where Saving Babies Meets Price Gouging

I am now over 23 weeks pregnant. In a couple of weeks and a couple of days, I will be the most pregnant I have ever been before. No freak water breaks, excellent prenatal monitoring, and a special drug called 17-alpha Hydroxyprogesterone Caproate, or 17P, have made heroic contributions. I want to talk about 17P.

The drug is meant to help prevent preterm labor. There are a handful of drugs that can stop preterm labor, called tocolytics, but these drugs can only reliably put off labor for a couple of days. A couple of days is long enough for a dose of life-saving corticosteroids to prepare a preemie's lungs for birth, but not long enough to save a baby for a woman who goes into labor before 23 or 24 weeks, or to give a baby a better chance at life by being born later.

Besides reducing risk factors, progesterone therapy with 17P is the only preventive measure against preterm labor for women with a history of preterm births. For someone like me, who has had preterm labor and delivery, and is currently carrying a single fetus, this drug is the only thing that might keep preterm labor from even happening. If I were to suddenly discontinue my weekly injections of 17P, minus the support of the drug my body might begin preterm labor again. And because of Ther-Rx and their new patent on Makena, that's exactly the possibility I'm facing in three weeks when my 17P prescription needs to be refilled.

Yesterday my pharmacy notified me that they would no longer be able to compound 17P for me, and my doctor's office confirmed that the same drug would now cost around $1,200 per weekly dose. When I bought my first ten doses of the drug at 16 weeks pregnant, without submitting the cost to insurance, I paid $7 per weekly dose.

A couple of weeks ago everyone was singing the praises of FDA approval for Makena, which is exactly the same chemical compound as 17P, which has been around for years, originally under another brand name, and then available generically. The only difference with Makena is that Ther-Rx will have it mass produced, while 17P has, in the past, been compounded by specialty pharmacies. Mine was compounded in the same town as my OB's office. With smaller batches made local to patients, 17P inevitably has variances in quality and efficacy. The claim with mass production is that everyone will get the same drug. Of course, we all know that mass production is no guarantee of quality, since we've all heard of drug contamination or efficacy issues with other mass produced drugs. Of course, if there's a problem in mass production, these companies are much more likely than local compounders to have deep pockets for a lawsuit, and they will have already distributed the product to women far and wide.

Anyway, I'm just not sure if there are real benefits to mass production, except that mass production should make the drug cheaper and more available. And yet, with the cost of Makena, the opposite is true. At $1,200 per dose (or more), only those with generous insurance or plenty of cash on hand will be able to afford Makena for the 20 weekly doses required to maintain a pregnancy to term.

Of course, if Makena is so expensive, can't people still get the $7 per dose generic? Somehow, no! Usually, drug companies are required to change the chemical composition of their drug in some way to re-patent it and make a new, more expensive competition for generics of their old drug. It's such minor changes that have turned birth control pill Yasmin into Yaz and then Beyaz (now with folate!), each with a new patent so the company has some time to exclusively produce the unique drug and recoup the costs of researching, developing, testing, and gaining FDA approval for the new chemical compound. Creating a new drug for public use is an expensive and long process.

But Makena, even though it is the same chemical compound as the 17P that has been around for years, received a patent that legally prevents the generic compounding of any other 17P. All women prescribed the only drug available to prevent preterm labor are now fully dependent on Ther-Rx for Makena, now the only form of the drug. I can't imagine how this deal was done, but I don't understand how a company can gain a patent on a generic already in use. Even if it were a new drug with a new patent, the generics should still be allowed, just like generic Yasmin and Yaz are available in spite of the recently patented Beyaz. In other words, this sudden monopoly reeks.

So though I have two or three doses of 17P left in my prescription vial, once those are gone I have no choice for the second half of my course of 17P but to buy Makena from Ther-Rx at more than 171 times the price, an astronomical increase from $7 to $1,200 per week, or at least $12,000 to maintain my pregnancy to term. Discontinuing 17P puts me back at heightened risk for preterm labor, and considering my complex history, that might be fine, or it might mean I go into labor shortly after my last dose wears off. Both my peace of mind and the safety of my baby are being held hostage at a steep price for any woman, let alone one with a young family and a bread-winner only two years out of college.

I am lucky to have excellent insurance. It comes at a high premium, but the coverage is generally great. Still, I'm waiting for the results of a benefits investigation that will decide whether my insurance will pay for Makena's ridiculous price. If it doesn't, we simply can't afford the price, and we won't qualify for low-income programs that have been proposed to make the drug more available. Even the half of the prescription course that's left costs more than 20% of our annual gross income.

But if my insurance does cover it, and I will have to take it because the safety of the baby I'm carrying is more important than even my own morals, I will have severe objections to my insurance company or anyone else paying such an exorbitant price. Ther-Rx's work was already done with the research and development of the drug when 17P was invented years ago—so the high price is for what, the new cheaper manufacturing practices? Someone's pockets are being thickly lined with the dollars of pregnant women at risk for preterm labor, who are often young, poor, sickly, or otherwise at a disadvantage. Preterm labor is an affliction of the lower classes—not exclusively, but largely.

We don't have much recourse when a patent has already been approved, but what can we do against a company so corrupt as to price gouge poor pregnant women by holding the safety of their babies at ransom? First, we can write to Ther-Rx (as March of Dimes did, though I'd use stronger language) at this address:

Greg Divis, President
Ther-Rx Corporation
One Corporate Woods
Bridgeton, Missouri 63044

But since I doubt this guy will listen to letters from people who actually care about the health and safety of babies, I say we make a giant PR problem for them. ABC, NPR, and other networks have covered the story (KV and Ther-Rx are just corporation/branding differences, same people), but if we can get this problem on TV and on every news site and public health forum, we might make enough of a dent in their image to make it worth Ther-Rx's while to lower to price to a reasonable level. Let's do it.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Well That's New

I accidentally took a bit of a shower in the car wash today. We traded down to an older SUV so we could use what once was car payment money for baby preparations (and the crib I want is on sale this week!), and when securing the car for a wash today, nobody thought the sun roof might be open. That fantasy I used to have of bathing in a car wash with all of the soap sprayers and automatic rinsers almost came true, and now I have a rash on my arms from the detergent. Figures that a high-quality shower would have skin-irritating soap.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011


It is Finley's first birthday today. In fact, we just passed the very time he was born one year ago. I remember the days leading up - lots of labor through the weekend that was repeatedly stopped with multiple tocolytics including mag sulfate, which worked for a couple of nights until it didn't.

I had a dream the night before I went into labor that my regular OB saw me and told me it was a good day to have a baby. Of course, 25 weeks and 4 days pregnant is never a good day to have a baby, but it is better than the 25 weeks and 3 days that come before it, many of which had been narrow misses for me. I dreamed my little boy growing up in all of the ways a mother could hope for: walking, talking, going to school, even getting ready to leave home.

I had a normal day with normal bacon sandwiches and Nintendo DS and a fan on my hot, bloated face. I was prepared in the evening when the contractions started again, since they'd been coming nightly for a while, and in spite of medical technology's best efforts to keep my baby in (heck, my cerclage was more like 3 cerclages) the contractions didn't stop, got supremely painful, and eventually made my uterus uninhabitable. I was days away from the 26 week mark when the survival stats go up to 80%, but it might have been years away, because my body and that baby were insisting on a delivery ASAP.

So after I forget how many tries to keep me awake during the surgery, they put me to sleep, my baby was born, and neonatologists and nurses applied the fantastic advances of American medicine to let my baby breathe, and to make his heart beat. And it did beat. And with help, he did breathe. 12 hours later, when I finally met him, I was in love. Forget having the right hormones or being undrugged or immediate breastfeeding or everything going wrong. This baby was perfect.

And he is perfect today. Through my experiences I've met many other mothers of preemies, and mothers who lost babies. Some of those babies were born at Finley's same gestational age. The survival rate for babies born at 25 weeks gestation is 50%. Sometimes 50% is a lot. When I consider the odds of carrying Finley as long as I did, it seems huge.

But on days like this, and days completely unlike this, when I think with gratitude of the survival of my son, I think of the other mothers of babies born when Finley was. I think of J, who had a story so similar to mine. We had both lost one of IVF twins, and both, weeks later, delivered the next just days apart at identical gestational ages. Our babies often shared nurses in the hospital. When her sweet daughter passed away, I suddenly felt how unfair life was. How unfair 50% is. How earth is neither just nor merciful. After months (years?) of wondering why me - infertility, pregnancy complications, loss - I started to wonder why her?

Even when things are at their most terrible, someone is suffering or has suffered worse. We get to know the awful and the sad and the horrifying and the heartbreaking, but we never know the worst. The only being ever to know the worst was an innocent Jesus Christ, who suffered as guilty. A God who suffered as a mortal, and worse than any mortal could suffer. Being guilty, being mortal, I can neither suffer the way he did, nor expect to pass through life without suffering. Justice and mercy are here, and by them I both suffer and am saved - not from everything, but from the worst. When the time comes, there will be both justice and mercy in full. For me and for the mothers who lost their babies. For everyone, life will be truly fair.

Until then, on days like today, I wonder, "Why me?" To raise a son, and see him alive and developing and healthy at one year old is a miracle that no obedience or faith could have earned me. It is a gift no mortal can truly deserve. It's given to so many, and so many cry for the lack of it. God has his plans, and I do not understand them. So today, I weep with gratitude that I have a son, and that he survived and is alive. To be a mother is the undeserved gift God has given me (somehow me), and I can only marvel and thank and rejoice for the miracles that brought me motherhood, and for the miracles that have kept my son with me, alive, and growing.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Uh, Thanks?

Am I the only one weirded out by these ultrasound technicians and their universal desire to give me a keepsake photo of my fetus's genitalia?

It's a girl, by the way. I've been waiting for the anatomy scan to say for sure, but the magic 8 ball has been coming up "lady" for the past month's worth of cervix scans. Speaking of my cervix (which I never do), I lost like 1.25 cm in the last 12 days. I'm still within normal range, but I'm hoping this is just a fluke, because continuing at that rate of effacement, I'd have to get that dang cerclage at my next appointment in two weeks. And if I ever again hear the words "pelvic rest" from a medical professional, I may build myself a maternity Iron Man suit and start blasting the buttholes off of anyone else who posts that "teachers are underpaid babysitters" meme.

Those of you who know me know that cranky isn't a new emotion for this particular fat-n-happy, but this pregnancy is taking it to a whole new level. So far I haven't yelled at anybody in public or kicked any puppies, but if this lack of bacon sandwiches continues, it's only a matter of time.

And really, I am giving myself license to eat whatever the frig I want. At halfway through this pregnancy, I still haven't been able to budge the scale. I usually come in at 1*8.6, and today, it was 1*8.4. Even though I hadn't peed yet. That dang digital scale is laughing at me. I'm relieved that baby is growing right on track, but I'm still stressed that uneven weight gain will mean something terrible for the future of my metabolism. On the plus side, my face is not all fat this time around, and my gross loss has erased the bit I retained from my last pregnancy. Meager gratitude for this post, I know.

Anyway, I just cringe a little every time another tech hands me a crotch shot of my baby that says in a very awkward way what they'd already told me during the scan. If I'd waited to find out until the baby was born, I wouldn't then take a picture of baby's junk for the scrapbook. Would you? Anyway, I'm just not sure what to do with these things. I would feel bad throwing away a picture of my unborn child, so I'm now forced into storing medical-grade pictures of vaginas indefinitely. Sigh.

Monday, February 21, 2011


I am 20 weeks and one day pregnant. Nothing is wrong. Dr. A is ready to do backflips over my top-of-range cervical length as of 11 days ago. Baby's anatomy scan is Tuesday, and we'll probably find growth still on track and most other things looking very normal. So here I am, still walking around like a healthy person unfollowed by clouds of impending doom just waiting to burst.

This time last year I was sitting around in the hospital. I think it was about this time that I went home for an hour before having to be readmitted to the hospital. It's the in-between time again of my sons' births, where I ate bacon sandwiches every day to fill the parts of me not already overstuffed with hope and despair.

This time last pregnancy I was lying in pretty much the same place I am now, with at least five pillows, trying not to sneeze. I'd been told by pretty much every doctor ever to wait for doom. Dr. P. told me to hope for something a little better. People were praying, and it was working. My pregnancy was getting unlikelier every day. By the end of things, the unlikely was overshadowed by the unheard of, the nearly impossible, the record-breaking, and what was probably actually impossible before it happened.

So it's strange and unknown to me to have a normal pregnancy. Well, mostly normal, if you forget the extra medical attention. And instead of praying for another day of pregnancy, I'm praying with good hopes for 20 more weeks. I bought a pink baby book that I promise myself I won't wind up hiding in a drawer somewhere. I worry about delivery positioning and whether my lady parts will turn into Upton Sinclair's The Jungle (don't overthink the reference). I plan on delivering a BIG baby, and holding her right away. I even wonder if I'll deliver late.

And while I remember this nausea, and most of these aches, and how my belly should expand, I know I never had these particular imaginings of my future before. There were early morning blood draws, more bacon than a hospital should allow any patient to eat, massaging leg cuffs, and wheelchair trips. Now there are outings that don't end in an ultrasound room, shopping trips on a whim, dinners with family, and plenty of swishes and kicks from a safe baby. No blood. No doom. Time to think about how painful this whole process is, and still be so glad.

Oh, and no bacon! Or at least not nearly as much. I think this whole limited-bacon situation may be contributing to the migraines. Today, that is my biggest worry.