Thursday, April 30, 2009

My day with the medical profession

I had my regularly scheduled OB visit this morning at 10:20. Since I was pretty sure I was having a girlie infection problem I didn't want to bring the jedi and subject them to the horrors of Mommy getting poked. We left the house at 9:30, I dropped them off at Vader's office at 10, made it to the OB at 10:20. I didn't wait very long and I wasn't seen very long either. The doc (one of two that I see) didn't even look at the rash on my lower back/upper butt but merely said that PUPPS is on the trunk not the rear. But didn't look at it to tell me what it is then. Argh. And when I mentioned the girlie infection he said I could get the OTC stuff. No poking. No test. So I could have had the kids with me (although it was so much nicer without them) but more importantly I could have had some damn relief days ago! It's my own fault for not calling and checking but I figured they would have to test me since I'm you know, 8 months pregnant and all. Oh well, at least it was a scheduled checkup and not an appt. I made just for that. 

I picked up the kids, got them home by 12, made lunch, tried to clean up after lunch, Vader got home at 1:10, he made his lunch and the kids decided they were hungry. Again. They ate again. We packed up the car. Again. And left at 2 for the Princess's ultrasound at the hospital. It was scheduled for May 14, but I got a notice in the mail saying it had to be cancelled and was rescheduled for today. I had a momentary panic before we left that we were supposed to go to the surgeon's office and not the hospital so I looked for the note, which of course I could not find. We made it to the parking garage of the hospital by 2:30, drove around FOREVER to find a spot, and finally made it inside. They had no record of us. After speaking with the nice Russian-accented ladies at reception AD NAUSEUM, they managed to get the surgeon to fax over a script for the ultrasound. 

It was scheduled at 2:30 but was closer to 3-3:30 by the time we got in there. The Princess was unbelievably well-behaved the entire time. As was SkyWalker. After the ultrasound we headed to the surgeon's office for our consult and what I hoped would be some much needed closure to this whole thing. We got there around 4:30 since we had been so delayed at the hospital. They had no record of us having an appt. Wonderful. It was time for them to go home so they were all cranky. The surgeon wasn't even there. And furthermore when they found us in the computer system she said it had been rescheduled to June 25. JUNE 25. As in, one day before my due date. No. I don't think so. I may be mostly stupid at this point but there is NO WAY IN HELL I would see the date June 25 and say "Okay." ARGH. So they just royally screwed up. The other doctor was there and did the best she could. BUT, radiology had some "questions" about the ultrasound results that only the operating surgeon could answer before anyone could give US any answers. So we went home very much lacking in the closure department. We left there at 5, picked up subs for dinner since I was in no mood to cook. 

We got home at 5:45 and there was a message from Bee on my machine. Sadly, no one had told HER that I was not coming in to work (luckily I had anticipated long waits so I took the night off when I got the new ultrasound date). Even more sad was that it was her son's birthday and she had wanted to go home early. Which she could have done if I had been there. I ate my dinner and kept thinking that maybe I could get down there to let her go home early but it was well after 6 by the time we were done and I needed to the Princess to bed early since she had no nap because of all the doctor visits. I still feel guilty but by the time I would have gotten to the library it just would not have been worth the gas money. And I would really like to lay down before 10:30 tonight. 

Just a short while ago the surgeon called and said that he looked at the ultrasound and that while it's not as good as he had hoped, he is not concerned about anything. It's very consistent with just having had the surgery. Her right ureter is "fat" and it's going to take some time to build up the muscle it needs to do its job. So she is still on the antibiotics (bactrum) and we'll do another ultrasound in 2-3 months. I'm starting to think we will never get the closure we need on this. It wasn't bad news and he said it was not cause for concern at all, but I really just wanted someone to say "She's all good". Although the last time someone said that and took her off meds she got a UTI and wound up with reflux so maybe they are just really covering their asses this time... If they schedule her next ultrasound for June 25 now I will shoot someone. 

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Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Sometimes you just have to let go

Yesterday was one of those roller-coaster days. The Princess and I had a great morning at the park full of sunshine and friends. We picked up SkyWalker, had lunch and she readily went down for her nap and said Bye and waved me out of the room. I had so much to do--laundry is backed up, the bathrooms haven't been cleaned in a while, there were toys everywhere. I got a little done and then she woke up and we all went outside and I just had to let it go. Let the towels stay in the dryer, let the clothes stay in the laundry basket. They played in the sand box and then whined for me to push them in the swing. I did for a short time and had to tell them swing time was over. SkyWalker whined and moaned and the Princess found her own solution. She threw herself on the big swing and rode it like an airplane. I sat on the deck and filmed them (she got her brother to do it too) and it was the perfect afternoon moment. The dogs were outside--both of them--laying in the shade of the playset completely content. We've been trying to let Isaac off the leash a little bit. I don't know if it was because it was the first time I had let him just be outside in MONTHS or if it was the extreme heat, but he just relaxed and had a nice time. 

And then they all fought me when it was time to come inside and when I had to make dinner and when I asked them to clean up their rooms. While I was going through SkyWalker's clothes looking for some bedtime shorts and pulling stuff that's too small and trying to organize them he decided to dump the box of shoes that I had just looked through to find sandals for his sister. I told them they were all too small, but he insisted on trying them on, and then saying "No, doesn't fit" and THROWING them across his room. So the Princess sat down, grabbed some shoes, "tried" them on and did the same exact thing. And they both refused to clean it up. 

OH! And the biggest thing! Luckily the Princess was naked during this... they both decided that paper is overrated and drew on themselves with marker. All over the Princess's belly. All over both of their hands and hair. Everywhere. That, in addition to the sand from being outside meant Mommy had to give them a bath. I usually skip Monday nights because it's so hard for me to do it alone. 

While they were trying to get on my last nerve I was trying really hard to just let it go and not let them drive me crazy. I'm not saying I didn't raise my voice... but I tried to keep the image of them on the swings finding their own entertainment and giggling by themselves in my head. I was really ready for bedtime and Heroes (argh!) but I tried really hard to just let them be. 

Right now they are downstairs by themselves probably doing some kind of damage. I have laundry in the washing machine and more to do. I have to clean up after snack and figure out what's for dinner. I'm sure I will want to explode when I go downstairs and see what I have sacrificed--despite the warning to not make any big messes. But sometimes I just have to let it go and let them be crazy and not sweat the small stuff. Because even the biggest mess is really small stuff. After how many surgeries we've gone through I need to remind myself of that every once in a while. 

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Thursday, April 23, 2009

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Baby product recommendations

This was supposed to be an e-mail for a particular person, but then I decided the whole world (yes, the whole world reads my blog) could benefit from my vast knowledge and expertise. 

When I was pregnant the first time I knew very little and did NO research when I went to register for my baby bath (no traditional shower for me. We had boys and booze). I therefore made A LOT of mistakes and wound up replacing things on my own later. I am sure that there are some people who are going to disagree with me, but I'm going to just say it anyway. For the most part Evenflo sucks. There, I said it. I hate my Evenflo stroller, Evenflo swing, Evenflo high chair, Evenflo breast pump, Evenflo pack n play. I LOVE my Graco Duo Glider stroller (I can't speak for the single ones out there) and the Graco pack n play I have is MUCH sturdier than the Evenflo I bought my MIL. I have found that Graco is much more reliable than the Evenflo products, but not everything I have is Graco. So, here are my specific recommendations:

1. Swing-- My best friend gave me her Fisher Price Papasan Cradle Swing when she moved to Texas. It is SO much nicer than my traditional Evenflo. It goes side to side as well as front and back and is really good for newborn infants as well as the older infant. I can't wait to use it from day 1 this time!

2. High Chair--I had such a hard time cleaning my old Evenflo. Food would get into the tiny crevices and it was just such a pain in the neck. Years later I finally bought the Fisher Price Space-Saver High Chair which fits right onto a regular chair and is so much easier to clean. It also converts to a booster seat. I'm not using it as one because I knew I'd need it as a high chair again. Instead I'm using the Fisher Price Healthy Care Booster seat (I'm starting to see a pattern that I swear I did not realize before!). I actually have two of these--one for the Princess at home and one I keep in my car for when we are out. Interesting side note--after the Princess started sitting in the booster seat and SkyWalker moved out of it we had a little back and forth over whether or not he needed one. I decided to buy a cheap one that would just give him a little extra height but not be as fancy as the one we have. Guess what? Buy cheap, and you get cheap. Very quickly we (I) decided he didn't need it at all and it is now sitting under our craft table where the baby dolls use it or it's used as a quick stool to see out the window. 

3. Car seats--I originally had the Evenflo infant car seat (part of travel stroller system) for SkyWalker. When I was pregnant with the Princess Consumer Report had that controversial car seat issue and the Evenflo did not do so well. I think the report was later retracted, but I had already been thinking of getting a different infant car seat. I knew I had to get the double stroller and was strongly thinking of the Graco Duo Glider and I don't think the evenflo seat would have fit in that. So I just got the whole travel system that came with the Graco Snugride infant car seat. Although I never had any real problems with the evenflo infant seat, the Graco did seem a bit nicer. 

I lucked out with the convertible car seat. I did no research and just picked out the Cosco Alpha Omega. When it was time for the Princess I did a TON of research and picked out... the Cosco Alpha Omega 3-in-1. I think there's an updated version now. It converts to a booster seat as well. 

For those wondering why you would have an infant seat AND a convertible seat (because those can also be placed backwards for infants), here's why: when your infant falls asleep in the car it is a MILLION times easier to pick up the removable infant seat from the base and put it into your travel stroller or bring it inside the house and the baby STAYS ASLEEP. Once you move to that convertible you have to take the baby out of the seat increasing the odds of it waking up. I don't care if you only use the infant seat for a few months because you have a big baby (I got 6-7 months out of it) it is WORTH it. 

A couple of months ago I was thinking about booster seats but SkyWalker is not 40 pounds yet. You've got to be 4 years and 40 pounds for most of the seats. A friend let me know about the ones with the backs-- 3 years and 30 pounds--and my problem was solved! I bought the Graco Turbo booster. It also converts to a backless booster for when your child weighs enough. So when SkyWalker is 10 he should be in it. I don't have him in it yet because the 5 point harness car seat is still the safest for him, and when he's in the booster he'll be in the BACK of the van. It's already in the car and he knows this, but we're not moving him until we need to (for those of you who know my van--SkyWalker will be in the back in the 3rd row all by himself, the Princess will move her car seat into his current position right behind the driver's seat, and #3 will be in the spot where she is now, behind the passenger seat and next to the automatic sliding door.)

4. Breastpump-- you CANNOT GO CHEAP. If you think you are going to breastfeed and will need to pump you need to get the best. And guess what? I still used my pump when I was working part time. I had the evilflo and used it for a couple of weeks when I realized that cheap is cheap. I bought the Medela Pump in Style Advanced. It was so much nicer and easier and more comfortable. And reliable. And I got better results. There might be an updated one now. I am hoping that this time around I can get away without pumping at work (it's only 1 night a week!) but I still plan on pumping every morning so I will definitely get my money's worth out of it. Remember when the Princess was born?

I would even say that if you're not sure you'll breastfeed but you're going to try to get this pump anyway. You can always return it or sell it if it's not used. Keep it in the box and if breastfeeding is going well the first few days, open it up!

5. Bottles--I tried a few different bottles and for breastfeeding moms I really like the Avent ones. I don't know anything about formula feeding but I think there are different bottles that are best for that. The ones that really cut down on gas and whatnot. With breastfeeders the shape of the nipple is really important. And I would strongly recommend that you stay with the newborn nipple no matter how old your child is if you want to keep breastfeeding. Once you go to the older nipples with faster flows babies start to prefer that and it's hard for moms to keep up!

6. Monitors--we have a 2 story (actually 3 if you count the basement/office) house so we need good monitors. The Graco ones we had at first had too much static. I bought the Sony Baby Call Monitors and we still use them. As with all electronics there is occasional static or interference but much less with the Sony than we had with the Graco ones. We've been pretty happy with them. I don't use the monitor to hear my baby breathing. I turn it down low at night and actually keep it in the bathroom off of our room rather than my nightstand. We use them to hear crying we wouldn't normally hear or when I go outside with SkyWalker. If you have a one floor house and your baby's room is right next door, you may not even need a monitor. I just bought the Summer Video Monitor since #3 will be sharing a room with the climbing Princess. I don't think anyone actually *needs* a video monitor. I don't intend on staring at my infant sleeping... but with two in the room I really want to know if that cry in the middle of the night that I would ordinarily ignore is because of the Princess climbing in the crib or throwing things into it. I don't normally run up the stairs at the first cry... but if I can see that the Princess is screwing around... then I'll be running up the stairs. I will be honest, I have it set up now and it is WICKED cool being able to see if she is actually in her bed or if she's messing around in her room. I don't need to see the whites of her eyes but it's nice seeing her position. Particularly with the attic door right there. 

7. Co-Sleeper-- I LOVE the Arms Reach Sleigh Bed co-sleeper. I love it because I'm a breastfeeding mom who needs to feed every 2 or 3 hours for the first few weeks. I love it because it is attached to my bed but the baby is not IN my bed. There's a separation so there's no fear of rolling over or hurting the baby. And I particularly love the sleigh bed style because it is so crib like and I think it helps in the natural progression to the crib. You can also use it as a bassinet when you have the 4th side attached (instead of open and next to your bed). It's more expensive than I think the regular bassinets that most people have are but I just love it. I'm not even sure what brand my crib is... my mother bought it and we picked it out at the store together and it's just fine. I don't feel very strongly about cribs. I just trusted my mother. 

8. Bouncy seats--I don't have an actual bouncy seat. As in, it doesn't bounce. I have the Fisher Price Infant-to-toddler rocker (2 of them). It vibrates and that was GREAT for SkyWalker. It helped break up his gas. Right now both of them are in the living room as rockers and the Princess still likes to go and sit in one. She turns on the vibrations by herself and chills out for a minute or two. SkyWalker also likes to sit in it but usually when the two of them are pretending they are trains and they sit in front of one another and move them along the floor. I really hope that I can use one for the baby and not have to buy a third!

9. Walker-- I had a walker. SkyWalker was never big enough for it and I got rid of it. I am glad. Walkers are dangerous. I would go with a stationary exersaucer for keeping the baby occupied and then the Playskool Walk n Ride for helping the baby to walk. 

I'd love to hear what other moms would recommend as well! I know a couple of soon to be first-time moms who would benefit from all the info they can get.

Added 7:57 pm
I KNEW there was something I was forgetting!

10. Bumpers--The first time around I got the traditional bumper that matched the baby blanket (that wasn't used until well after a year old when the bumpers were off). I hated them. They got in the way of the drop side crib rail--I definitely need that rail because I am 5 feet 1 when I stretch--they were a pain when I changed the sheets. And SkyWalker would sleep with his little head shmushed against it. I didn't use them at all for the Princess. That was fine while she was swaddled (with a swaddle me blanket. Velcro is so much easier than trying to secure a regular blanket!) but once she wasn't she would get her legs and arms caught. This time around I have the new (to me) mesh bumpers.  They keep baby's limbs in the crib while allowing the baby to breathe through the mesh. I am also hoping that it will provide a little visual barrier so the baby is not staring at the Princess when he/she should be sleeping! It comes in two sections, one for the main part and one for the drop side rail. So much easier than the original one I had. And instead of a million little ties all over it has velcro at the edge. I loves it!

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Monday, April 20, 2009

Neither divorced nor in jail

Or naked. 

And for those of you not on facebook who have no idea what I'm talking about... sucks to be you!

So after my last locked post I had a lot of time to think and some good friends give me advice. I feel a bit better now--I always feel better when I have plans. I think I'm going to have to A) open myself up a bit more to my friends and make more of a family here and B) suck it up and visit my family more. 

As far as my husband goes.... I have to just accept the fact that he will always have his projects and there is nothing I can do about it. I can't say I knew it when I married him because we didn't have a house, let alone one with almost 6 acres of land. As much as it bugs me I have not said ANYTHING complaining to him about the 80 (yes, it's actually 80 now) trees. And at least he's had SkyWalker outside with him a lot. Right now they are both outside working on it. He has one more day off of work and hoping to be done today. 

The problem is that he spends all of this time doing this stuff on the weekend--our only time with him--and the rest of the time his mother is over! Every single weekend. Unless *she* has plans in which case it is okay to miss. The other night I told Vader that I want to take one weekend a month and do a family fun activity--going to a playground or a park or even a walk in our yard--without his mother. He thought it was a great idea and I couldn't believe I had been expecting a big thing. A few hours later I said "Did you understand when I said without your mother I meant we don't see your mother for the entire weekend? Not for lunch or dinner? One whole weekend without her?". He did not. And everything changed. He never actually said whether he would agree to it or not. So that's where we are now. I told him last night that we would have to have a discussion about our conversation and come to an agreement, but that I understood that he was exhausted from the trees so I wouldn't badger him until that's over. 

I had to tell my family that we couldn't go to my sister's 30th birthday dinner because he needed to plant trees but he can't tell his mother that ONE weekend a month we won't see her? (I wonder if she wasn't in Texas right now would he have told her that he was too busy with the trees, or would she still have come over for lunch. I would bet that she would still come over for lunch and then he would go outside and continue working and leave me alone with her.) Let alone that she often does her church business when SkyWalker is in preschool so she manages to see him during the damn week too. Argh. I think every weekend is too much but it's never mattered what I thought. Ever. I would prefer every other week (hell I'd prefer once a month) but I didn't push it, I just asked for ONE weekend a month. If he seriously can't agree to it I'm going to tell him that I'm going to need to go to some kind of counseling then so I don't wind up hating him in 30 years for feeling like I am second in his life and that her feelings/wishes are more important than mine. Because if that's what it comes down to, I really do think I'm going to need counseling to deal with that. 

And I know that sounds so hypocritical... complaining about lack of family and yet not wanting to see her every weekend. But this woman has invaded my privacy and pushed my buttons for so long now that it's just more work to see her, it's not pleasant for me. There is a whole history here that I can't possibly go into. 

So even though I'm not quite sure where I stand with my husband, I do feel better. I'm not just bitching and moaning. I'm trying to fix this situation. 

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Tuesday, April 14, 2009


I had a wonderful playdate this morning so this hopefully won't be as depressing as it would have been had I written it last night when I wanted to. 

I'm sure that most of this is hormones and the craziness that overwhelms me when I am pregnant. I don't ask my husband to get me sandwiches in the middle of the night, I don't really get "crazy" but I do get emotional. And it builds and builds and I cry in the shower until I explode. I know, it doesn't sound much different from non-pregnant me, but it is. It's much much worse. 

Anyway, lately I've been feeling very alone and isolated. And all I've been thinking about is everything I don't have. It always gets worse after I see my family. I see how much my kids love my siblings and it kills me that we see them so infrequently. And that it will be even less once they start having their own families. SkyWalker is old enough now to really miss them and to tell me so. None of us are really big travelers, so even though it's not *that* far away, it's far enough to be a pain in the ass. It's impossible to have a spontaneous visit. Babysitting is completely impossible. 

I hope I remember to lock this. 

Yesterday my brother told SkyWalker that he was going to have a cousin and he said "Liam is my cousin. But he moved to Texas and now somebody else lives in his house." Which brings me to my next lament. And I apologize Shinesalot because I know you don't need this now either... 

Being so far away from my family was okay before... it was acceptable... because I had my own created family here. And now she is gone. And I think about how she's holding other people's babies and not mine. And when will I ever meet her new little one? And my heart just breaks a little more each day. 

And what bothers me more than anything about all of this is that I feel like I've given up so much but I've gotten nothing in return. I love my house. I love this area. That's about it. What do I have? I have a MIL that is "so nice" to the rest of the world and is constantly under my skin. That is our entire family up here. No siblings, no cousins, no extended family. NOBODY. And when his mother goes we will truly be on our own. And my husband? I love him dearly and clearly I keep having babies with him, but he spends more time with his precious trees than he does with us. And I'm not even talking about mowing the huge lawn. He just bought 70, yes, 70 trees. He's been out planning where he's going to put his trees (including Easter morning). Next weekend he will pick them up and then he will be planting them. And these are not TREES, these are little friggin' sticks that he will have to take care of. He claims that this will help us because he is filling in all the gaps so that he doesn't have to mow the lawn. When are these trees going to grow?? It's going to take 30 years! The trees that he planted in October all DIED. If he really wants to save some friggin' time with the lawn, then spend the money and buy 4-foot trees or get a lawn service. Don't tell me that planting sticks in the ground is going to "save" us time, because it's not. Not any time soon when we need the time. I really hope that his trees sprout legs and visit him when he is old. 

The Princess is turning 2 next month and I don't think I have the energy to have a party for her. I can't think about themes and favors and crap like that. I don't think anyone in my family can come up. And the idea of doing something with just my MIL makes me so friggin' sad I just want to cry. When SkyWalker turned 2 we didn't have a big party, we had my in-laws (there were 2 of them then) and Shinesalot and Littleman and that was fine. But we don't have Shinesalot and Littleman anymore. 

And I cry over things that I cannot control. I cannot control the fact that my husband has no siblings. I cannot control where my best friend buys a house. I'm not willing to move, even if I could convince my husband to move away from his mother, so I really can't control how far away I am from my family either. 

I *have* made some friends so I am not completely alone. And I've made friends that I trust to watch my children which is different from people you'd just meet at a playground. I like that I have more than one friend now and that I have a circle...  but what I really need is a family. And they all have their own. Maybe I'll be like my husband and just keep having babies now in the hopes that I'll have what I want in 30 years. 

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Monday, April 6, 2009


My children are sharks. 

They smell the weakness in me. The vulnerability. The lack of energy for a fight. They know they have me, circling, pushing buttons, until they swoop in for the kill. I used to be so strong, so unwavering, so disciplined. 

I have hope. In ten weeks I will regain my strength. I might be exhausted but it is a good exhaustion and I manage to run on pure adrenaline. The weakness fades. I find my balance. I regain my position as top of the totem pole instead of steadily falling and letting the little creatures climb over me. 

Let's hope I don't get eaten before then.

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