Friday, September 12, 2014

You're Being a Jerk

Listen, I have a diagnosed metabolic disorder. The short version, as my endocrinologist explained it to me when I was first diagnosed, is that without medication I would not only have to eat a healthy diet, but also work out 8-10 hours per day, every day, in order to maintain a healthy weight. My body is trying to store (ie turn to fat) everything I eat.

For 30 years I'd go on the same diets as my friends and watch them drop 3 sizes as I stayed the same. I'd start running, to see no change. I did Weight Watchers, Slim Fast, NutriSystem, personal trainers, nutritionists - all with no results at all.

So yes, I take what many of you call "weight loss" medication. And I have news for you, it's not an "easy fix". It doesn't mean I'm lazy. It doesn't mean I haven't tried every eating plan, diet, or exercise program out there. It doesn't mean I'm not still trying. It means my body isn't working properly. It means not all bodies are the same and what works for one doesn't work for others.

Do you know what "weight loss" medication does for responsible patients with responsible doctors? It helps their bodies react to food and exercise in a normal manner so they can begin processing foods properly. That's it. So if you are one of those so-called "normal" people, it helps them be more like you, that's it. It doesn't mean they sit around on the couch eating cartons of ice cream while still dropping a hundred pounds.

My pituitary system is "completely out of whack". Besides how this affects my weight, it also means I'm severely deficient in several vitamins, despite how much I intake in my regular diet. Because when your body isn't working properly it's not 100% about intake / burn, it's about getting things to work like they're supposed to.

I'm under the care of one of the top endocrinologists - nay, one of the top DOCTORS, in the region - so I think I'll take his actual vast medical knowledge above your petty judgments, thank you very much.

So stop judging. Shut up about things you don't know anything about. I'm glad diet and exercise alone worked for you. I really am. I'm jealous of you. I'm terribly, terribly jealous of you. But have no idea the journey many of us go on and to assume every fat person is lazy or not trying, or every person who takes a pill to get their system to work properly is lazy and taking the easy way out really just shows how ignorant and judgmental you are more than anything. In short, you're being a jerk.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Today

Today I will remember.

Today there will be times when my breath catches in my chest, when a lump forms in my throat.

Today I will worry about what my daughter will hear at school.

Today I will picture firefighters running into the Twin Towers. I will see my husband's face, and I will mourn those lost.

Today I will look for planes in the sky.

Today I will hold back the tears.

Today you will catch me staring into space.

Today I will remember.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Update on the Baby

So little Jillian is doing well. She's nearly four months old now, laughing and cooing.

We're doing well, but I have to admit there are tons of things you forget about having an infant in the house, especially with more than five years between the two. Plus each kid is different, so in some ways it's like learning all over again.

One thing is sleep. Jena used to go to sleep out in the living room, lights on, television on, sometimes even vacuum on. She didn't care. Jillian, however, needs dark quiet for her to fall into a good sleep. So much so that we transitioned her to the crib for naps much sooner than I'd intended, because she just wasn't getting good sleep being out in the main part of the house during the day.

She's taking 6 - 7 ounces of formula at a feeding, and once she gets a little more steady with holding her head up we'll start her on cereal. She sleeps anywhere from 6 - 10 hours at a stretch at night. The total is usually around 14 hours, but how it's split up varies widely.

I had starting out breastfeeding, and produced significantly more breastmilk than I did with Jena, but my supply dropped off around 7 weeks in, and I eventually stopped breastfeeding / pumping altogether. Pumping for 30 minutes on both breasts to get literally a few drops in the bottom of the bottle just wasn't cutting it.

She's an amazing little girl, and I can't believe God has blessed us again with such an angel.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Big News

So sorry it's been so long since I've been on. Life has been quite a whirlwind lately.

The biggest thing that I have to fill you in on is that I resigned from my job and am officially a full-time wife, mother, and homemaker.

It was a difficult decision, one that my husband & I discussed possibly hundreds of time.

It is definitely a leap of faith, but there have been numerous things that have occurred that make it seem as if God was laying the path out for us. Some things were giant stones along the path, others were tiny pieces of gravel filling in the cracks, but all of them seemed to be pointing the same direction: me staying home.

It's definitely been an adjustment for all of us.

The most uncomfortable part for me was waiting to officially resign. Even though we decided partway into my leave, for policy technicality reasons I had to finish my leave, return to work, put in a full eight hours, then leave. Keeping it a secret from my co-workers friends until then was really hard. Coming back to all the choruses of "welcome back" and "we missed you" was really hard, since it wasn't announced until lunch. My management team knew first thing, but we had to wait until the official announcement at 12noon. So weird to be there, working, with everyone so glad to see me, but knowing the whole time it was my last day.

I cried. A lot. After 10 years there a lot of those people felt more like family and friends than co-workers.

And there is a huge part of me that wanted to stay. Especially with all the changes at work. My company is relocating, and my division is headed to Michigan. Not that I want to move to Michigan, but I hate not being there for this major development.

Anyway, so far staying home is amazing. I literally cry at least once a week with happiness. I'm still getting the hang of everything, but it's great.

It would help if our routine would stop changing every couple of weeks, but for right now, that's life.

Just as a quick picture, right now my routine consists of going to a fitness boot camp several times a week, taking Jena to piano lessons weekly, and... homeschooling Jena. Plus all the infant care, chores, housework, etc, etc, etc that go along with it.

I'll try to post more details on each later, but I at least wanted to give you all an update on the biggest development since having the baby.

As always, thanks for checking in!

Friday, August 15, 2014

Depression Lies

I just want to say something about the tragedy of Robin Williams passing. And the passing of so many others.

Yes, depression is a mental illness. Yes, there is a chemical, physical, physiological reason that some succumb to the illness more than others. Yes, I have suffered from depression myself, and yes once upon a time I seriously considered ending it.

I was tired of hurting. Tired of the pain. Not so much the physical, but the emotional, the heartbreak that was so bad I could feel it, the pain in my chest that just wouldn't stop hurting.

And I thought of the bottles of narcotics I had in my possession to treat my physical pain, and I thought about taking them. All of them.

Then I called my friend, and I told him. And he saved me that night, just by talking to me.

And I don't know what would have happened if he hadn't picked up the phone.

Like any illness, there is the ability to fight it. To try your hardest to claw your way out of the deep, dark pit. Like any serious illness there will be times when it feels as if we cannot overcome it. Like any hardship, there will be times when it seems as though things will not get better.

But depression lies. Satan lies. And yes, I think Satan uses depression as a tool to stamp out the light in those suffering.

Despite knowing how difficult fighting depression might be, I am wary of saying things like "Robin Williams didn't kill himself, the disease did." I am wary of saying things like "he was helpless". I am wary of saying things like "Genie, you're free."

Each of these statements, well-intentioned though they may be, take away our power and romanticize the illness. We have the power to fight.

You have the power to fight.

Yes you, who is reading this, who might be suffering from depression yourself, who might be tired of fighting, who might be thinking of ways to stop the fight...

You can do this.

You can fight it.

If you choose to end your fight, you are killing yourself. You are letting the disease win. You are giving your illness your power, you are choosing to stop fighting.

I know it's hard. I know at times it seems impossible.

I know. I've been there.

But you can do this.

You can fight it. You can call a friend. You can tell your parents. You can seek help.

You can email me.

You can call a hotline (1-800-273-8255).

You can pray.

You can choose not to believe the lies. You can stop believing the lies.

You can do this.

Don't listen to them. Don't listen to the things people are writing and posting saying that sometimes victims of depression have no choice, can't help themselves. Don't give your illness that much power.

Depression took that from you? Take it back. It's yours. It is your power, not its power. You are amazing and strong, and look how hard you've fought so far! You've already done so much. You do not have to give up now.

People are romanticizing depression and death, saying that now he's free.

There is no freedom in suicide.

There is pain, and heartache, and questions, and guilt that will torment God-knows-how-many people.

There is no healing in suicide. There is only spreading the pain.

Yes, depression is an illness. Yes, we need to reduce and remove the stigma attached to it, and to all mental illness. Yes, there are treatments available. Yes, you can fight it.

If you are in that place right now, please listen to me. I believe in you. You can do this. It won't be easy. It won't be quick. But you are strong enough, you are enough.

You are worth saving. You have light to show the world. You have amazing, beautiful light that some of us have yet to see. Let us see it.

Depression lies. Satan lies.

"You'll get thru this. It won't be easy. It won't be quick. But God will will use this mess for good. Don't be foolish or naive. But don't despair either, you'll get thru this."  -- Max Lucado

Monday, August 4, 2014

An update. But not really.

I know, I know. Where have I been?!?

So busy. Not busy at all.

Crazy busy with lots of new things. Spending my free time enjoying one new thing (yes, I mean baby Jillian).

There are lots of changes coming up in the Geiman household, some of which I cannot divulge publicly just yet. But when I can, I promise to keep ya'll updated.

Trusting all is well with my readers.

Thanks for checking in.

Oh, and before I forget... gratuitous cute kid pic

photo by JCPenney Studios

Friday, July 25, 2014

I Drove Myself Crazy

Yesterday was busy. So I stayed up until midnight tidying up the house. Still not as clean as I'd like, but passable, by our family's standards.

Then Jillian woke me up for a feeding at 3:30am. She had trouble going back down, the I had trouble falling back to sleep, so I was up with her from 3:30am to 5am.

She woke me back up at 7am for her next feeding. So tired. After her feeding I figured I had a better chance of getting more sleep if I slept with her on the couch, so I tried. Half an hour later Jena came in and woke me up.

Score. A total of 6 hours of (interrupted) sleep.

Six hours of sleep actually isn't bad for me. Or for millions of other Americans. Especially moms. It's the interruptions that get us. My longest stretch was 3 1/2 hours. Ugh.

And then I thought about it.

No wonder my mental health was so screwed up after I had Jena. I mean, I know a lot of it was physiological, but no wonder it got so bad and took so long to get better. Because at this stage in the game with her, I had already been back to work for a month.

I also was trying much harder to keep a clean house, cook dinners, etc.

So the scenario back then would have played out something like this:

Stay up until at least midnight (possibly as late as 2am) doing housework.
Up at 3:30am for feeding.
When not asleep by 5am, realize I might as well stay up for work.
Throw in a load of laundry. Do another random household chore.
Get ready for work.
Work for eight-ish hours.
Cook dinner.
In between taking care of Jena, do housework until at least midnight.

Several times a week, literally pass out on the couch, and wake up 2 -3  hours later, usually because Jena is crying or Jason is waking me up. Commence housework or child care.


Here's the deal. Even on that schedule, while my house was cleaner than it is now, it was still a constant mess. While I cooked more than I do now, we still ate out way too often. No matter how hard I tried, how much I did, it was never enough.

And my mental health caved.

My long-time readers might remember this one night in 2011. Nearly three years after Jena was born. It took me nearly three years to realize that my mental health was worth more than a clean house that will never be clean enough, worth more than a smaller pile of laundry that will never be all the way gone.

I know there are women out there who disagree with me, but I think it's ridiculous that our society expects women to be working moms, to return to work when the baby is just six weeks old, most often not even sleeping thru the night yet. Before I had kids I thought nothing of it.

Now, I think it's ludicrous. If that's what you need to do for the financial stability of your family, then so be it. Fine. Good for you for taking care of your family. But the fact that the is has became a societal expectation is ridiculous. Crazy.

And we're driving ourselves crazy - sometimes literally - trying to meet that expectation.

Friday, July 18, 2014

So you want to be outraged?

I'm sorry, but promoting misinformation has got to stop. I am sick & tired of people getting outraged over whether or not Hobby Lobby will be forced to pay for birth control for their female employees.

The argument is that an employer should not have a say over a woman's healthcare. Which is missing the point entirely.

My boss does not have a say over my healthcare. They do however have a say over what they will or will not pay for.
You want to get outraged over something healthcare related? Over what your boss will or won't pay for? Then get outraged over people whose cancer treatments aren't covered. Or who miss qualifying for payment because their necessary surgery happened three days too soon according to the fine print in their policy. Or the drugs used to manage your disease are no longer covered. Or any of the other necessary medical procedures that health insurance companies deny every single day. Don't get outraged because you have to be responsible for your own sex life.
The idea that women aren't able or necessary to take responsibility for their own reproductive health is degrading and sexist thinking. The idea that I need a man in the White House, or the man running my company, or the man running my insurance company to pay for me to have sex freely and without consequence is essentially calling me an irresponsible whore. Stop it.

I am a grown woman. I can decide when I have sex. I decide whether or not to protect myself from the consequences of that sex.

You want to talk freedom of choice? Then fine. Let's talk responsible choice. Let's stop pretending like women are so sex crazed that we can't say 'no' and need to be protected from our own choices. Let's stop treating women as if they are so weak and unable to take care of themselves that we are found making huge issues out of what should be simple personal responsibility. I am responsible for my own sex life and my own reproductive health and I am sick and tired of being told that I need a man's world to take care of me.
So you want to get outraged? Stop getting outraged over sex. Start getting outraged over real health issues. Cancer. Heart Disease. Alzheimer's. Anything other than sex. Anything other than something that we all make a choice to do or not do, to protect ourselves or not protect ourselves. Anything other than what our society has essentially turned into a recreational activity. Stop getting outraged over whether or not someone else will have to pay so you can have sex for fun instead of procreation, and start getting outraged over real issues.
Seriously.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Thank you

Dear Jillian,

Thank you. Thank you so much. Thank you for being mine. Thank you for being here. Thank you for healing parts of me that I didn't know were broken. Thank you.


Thursday, June 26, 2014

It's part of life. And no, life isn't fair.

Today as I was picking Jena up from Vacation Bible School I overheard a woman complaining about the snacks they were serving this week.

Well, really just one snack. On Friday the kids get cheese pizza. Her daughter cannot eat pizza due to food allergies.

This woman ranted for over 10 minutes to her friend about how it's not fair that her daughter won't be able to eat the "cool food", and stated that she thought they should change the menu to accommodate the kids with food allergies.

Over and over again I heard how upset she was that her daughter would miss out on the "cool" food / treat. She went on about how it's one thing when you're older, but when you're a kid it's just really hard to miss out on the "cool" stuff.

And then when a VBS worker walked by, she stopped them and went on a very polite tirade about the stinkin' cheese pizza.

I'm gonna be honest. At first, I thought 'whatever' but the more she pounding her point into the ground, the harder it got to hold my tongue. But I did manage to. But now ya'll get to hear my perspective on the issue.

Here's the deal. Jena is sensitive to chocolate. For those of you that don't know, many of the food "allergies" out there are actually sensitivities. The difference (in a very simplistic nutshell) is that an allergy can kill you, a sensitivity just makes you sick. Possibly really sick, but you aren't gonna die from it.

source
Chocolate makes Jena really, really sick to her stomach. Sick isn't really the right word. It's painful. Heartburn remedies ease the discomfort, so I suspect it has something to do with acid reflux, but we don't know exactly. What we do know is that if she eats even a small amount of chocolate she is sick enough to be out of commission for several hours.

Now, I don't know if this woman's daughter had an allergy or a sensitivity. For the purposes of what I'm going to say, I don't think it matters either way.

Back to Jena and the chocolate. Believe me, we know what it's like when you're kid can't have the "cool food". When their friends at school bring only chocolate cupcakes to share for their birthday, and your kid can't have any. When the cafeteria decides that as a reward for good behavior during lunch, kids can have chocolate milk, so no matter how well behaved your child is, no matter how often she is well behaved during lunch, she will never get the reward. We know what it's like to have your kid be the only kid who can't have the "cool" treat. Trust me, we get it.

In fact, at this particular VBS, we have to pack Jena's snack three out of five days, because on three out of five days the snack they are serving involves chocolate (M&Ms, pudding, chocolate chip cookies).

Are we whining about it? Asking that they change the menu?

Nope.

The whining going in surrounding this issue is that my five year old is upset that because she's on the list of kids with food allergies, she has to ask the teacher every day for her snack, then the teacher checks the list to see if Jena can have the regular snack or has to eat her packed option. Jena's complaint is that she can regulate her diet herself and she shouldn't have to ask permission because she's responsible enough to monitor it herself.

SHE'S FIVE.

I don't know how old this woman's daughter is, but since five is the youngest class at this VBS, I can reasonably assume that she is Jena's age or older.

Now, I understand that some allergies are easier to monitor than others. It's easy for Jena to know whether or not something has chocolate in it. Whether or not something has, say, peanut oil, can be much more difficult to decipher. Which is why they have the rules. I get it.

But the fact is that at five years old Jena regularly monitors her diet herself. More than once over the past few years a teacher has forgotten and tried to give Jena a snack she couldn't have and Jena corrected them.

SHE'S FIVE.

Anyway, back to my points.

Should they change the menu to accommodate children with food allergies?

No.

First of all, this VBS has over 400 kids and workers participating. Trying to create a menu that will accommodate every single food allergy and sensitivity would be near impossible.

I surmise this is why they sent an email to all parents & workers the week prior giving us the menu for the week and advising us to pack a snack if our child was unable to eat the snack of the day.

Secondly, it will not get easier for your child if you shelter them from the reality of their condition their entire childhood, then when they get older suddenly spring it on them.

Is it easy now? No. But if your raise your child in an environment where they are aware of their condition, know / learn what they can & cannot eat, and begin dealing with the social issues of not being able to eat the "cool" foods now - well then they learn how to manage their condition, monitor their diet, and handle themselves in difficult social & peer pressure settings. If you shelter them from it when they are young, then at some predetermined age just spring on them, suddenly expecting them to handle it themselves, they are most likely going to be overwhelmed at the responsibility, resentful of the social implications, etc, etc etc.

It's part of life. And no, life isn't fair. And no matter how hard you try, you cannot make life "fair" for your kids. What you can do is give them the tools to handle the unfairness, however it presents itself.

So get over it. Teach your child to be responsible for themselves. Educate those around you about the dangers of food allergies. But for Pete's sake don't demand that the world bow to the needs of your one child so that you can continue to shelter them from reality.

Just my two cents. Thanks for checking in!

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

It's sad, really.

Back when I was in my late teens / early 20s I became aware of a class of women who I have been jealous of for years.

These women seemed to have the ability to absolutely control men. They had scores of men dying to date them, and whether they dated or not, it seemed if they asked something of a guy, any guy, they jumped to do her bidding. Most of them married early, having found their Prince Charming early on. Easy enough, I'm sure, with all the men falling at their feet.

As someone who didn't date until I was 19, and didn't marry until I was 30 - and not for lack of desire on my part - I envied these women. I wished I had that kind of hold on a man. I remember thinking that I wouldn't want to manipulate men the way they did, but that to have the ability to gain & keep the attention of scores of men, for a man to want to do things to please me, well, that would be nice.

So for years I envied them.

Now, in my mid-30s, I see things a little more clearly, because I've see who these women become.

I see that they are the woman who's onto her third husband... and isn't even 30 years old yet.

I see that they are the women relegating themselves to the role of adulteress, because it's the only way they know to get attention.

I see that they are the women posting graphic pictures of themselves online, desperate for comments or interaction from men, trying desperately to prove that they still have that kind of hold on a man.

I see that they are the divorcees and the widows who find themselves lost, unable to function in this world without a man making them the center of his world.

I see more clearly now, and instead of envying them, there's a part of me that pities them.

As difficult as it was sometimes being "late to marry", by being older, more settled into myself, I became confident in who I was as a woman, as a person. I know my own identity, and it isn't tied to a man. I lived as a single woman, and I know how to take care of myself. I have a good job, earn a good living.

In short, though I may want a man in my life, I don't need a man to survive or to be happy.

These women, unless they make a conscious effort to change, will never know what it's like to be a strong independent woman person. Their identity will always be tied to men, and they will never be able to have a happy, successful, fulfilling life without a man (or men) to give them attention.

It's sad, really.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

My Damn Phone

So the other day we ventured to the park, first time taking Jill, first time as a family of four.

At one point I was in the backseat of the car feeding Jill, Jena was playing on the playground, and Jason was watching Jena.

Or was supposed to be.

I watched as she yelled out "Watch this Daddy!", then jumped onto the monkey bars, her latest conquest.

She finished her trick, and turned back to him... to see him staring down at the phone. I saw the look of disappointment cross her face. I saw her hesitate for a minute, before moving along to the next piece of equipment.

source

And it broke my heart.

And I'm not telling you this to vilify my husband in any way.

Because the truth is I'm sure she's seen me do the same thing more than once. I'm sure that look of disappointment has crossed her face more than once because I was staring at my damn phone.

I'm telling you this because I know many of you are guilty of the same thing.

I've read the articles, seen the blog posts. But to see the look on my own daughter's face, to see how it affected her directly... well, it really makes it hit home a little more.

I know it's extra hard for Jena right now, as she's also adjusting to sharing our attention with another child for the first time in five years. So once I finished feeding Jill, I took her out of the car, handed her to Jason, and spent a few minutes following Jena around the playground, asking her to pose for pictures that I took, making her the center of my universe for the first time in way-too-long.

And I watched her entire demeanor change... for the better.

And so I challenge my blog readers to do the same: at your next possible chance, spend 10-15 minutes giving your child your undivided attention. Let me know if there's a noticeable change in their attitude. There was with mine.

As always, thanks for checking in.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Our Little Graduate

While all this baby stuff was going on, my little girl also managed to graduate from Kindergarten.



We are so proud of her and all the hard work she did this year.

Congratulations Jena!

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Man! I (don't) Feel Like a Woman

About a week ago, as I made my way to the couch for one of my regular pumping sessions*, Jason jokingly asked if I felt sexy. I answered, seriously, by telling him that not only do I not feel sexy, I don't even feel like a woman.

And it's the truth.

* I am breastfeeding & pumping, but supplementing with formula as my supply is only enough to provide roughly half of Jillian's needed feedings.


The irony is I'm doing what might actually be the most feminine, most womanly thing possible: I carried and then birthed a child, and I'm feeding her from my breast - yet I don't feel feminine at all.

It actually started towards the end of my pregnancy, and hasn't changed yet. I feel like some androgynous lump filling some basic natural need in procreation. Like a machine or something. My gender, my sex seems irrelevant.

I think it probably originated from all of the issues I had with this pregnancy. Not only did I have much higher priorities (ie. the health of my child & myself), but I was horribly uncomfortable during pretty much the entire pregnancy. My body was not my own.

While we still had sex on a fairly regular basis, it wasn't with near the frequency as pre-pregnancy, and quite frankly I don't even remember the last time I enjoyed it. Let me be clear though, that it's thru no fault of my husband's. As previously mentioned, my body was terribly uncomfortable & sometimes painful, my belly was so large so early on that it was difficult to maneuver, and sex was just awkward for me.

I wanted to. My husband was terribly patient and understanding, and to do so was usually my idea. But again, there was no enjoyment for me, and I often felt more like some androgynous being simply filling a purpose.

And while I think it's born out of respect for me, and trying to give me and my body the space it needs to heal, plus the fact that he's been super-busy with his business, the fact is my husband now doesn't seem interested in me at all. Not even a little bit.

Why tell you about my sex life? Because I think it has a direct affect on how I currently feel about my gender identification, or lack thereof.

As did my wardrobe. I know this seems all over the place, but bear with me.

Finding plus size maternity clothes that fit my every-growing gigantic belly was hard enough. Finding clothes that looked cute became near-impossible. My belly grew thru three different sizes of maternity clothes during my pregnancy. Not only was 'cute' hard to find, but our budget couldn't handle much more of these complete wardrobe changes. Nor did I have a lot of time to search near & far for the perfect clothes.

Eventually I stopped trying for clothes that I looked good in, and settled for anything that fit my body, covered all the necessary parts, and bonus if it met my employer's dress code.

Weeks post-partum I still wear maternity clothes the majority of the time. Sometimes paired with one of Jason's shirts. I have so far found one of my pre-pregnancy t-shirts that is large enough for me to wear comfortably. One shirt.

Why tell you about my wardrobe? Because I think my difficulty finding clothes that I felt looked good on me has a direct affect on how I currently feel.

I wish I knew how to explain how I feel. Sure, plenty of times in my life I have felt unattractive, but this goes beyond that. I honestly don't even feel like a woman. Whether or not I am attractive hasn't crossed my mind in months, except for the purpose of working out how I'm feeling about these issues. Which also didn't even cross my mind until recently. It just was what it was.

And so I sit here, bathed in androgyny, waiting for something, someone to help me feel like a woman again. We can work on 'attractive' later. Right now I just want to feel like a woman.

As always thanks for checking in.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Only Time Will Tell

So after delivering Jillian via C-section, I was in the hospital for two-and-a-half days before being released. Considering I was hospitalized for five days for my vaginal delivery with Jena, I think half that time for a C-section is pretty awesome.


I had a few issues in the hospital, minor I suppose. And I have no frame of reference since it was my first C-section, so maybe they're all common.

First of all, when they removed my catheter, it was excruciatingly painful to urinate. We're talking a 10 out of 10 on the pain scale. We're talking me sobbing on the toilet. And keep in mind that at this point I'm still on pretty good pain meds. But seriously, 10 out of 10. Horrible. That took a little while to improve, and by the time I went home it was no longer painful, but was still uncomfortable to pee. But within a few more days, all was back to normal on the pee front.

Secondly, I passed a large blood clot during my first shower at the hospital. Large as in, call my husband in from the other room, and we both pulled the cords to call the nurse. I'd say roughly four inches in diameter. Large enough that they weighed it. Apparently it didn't weigh enough to be of major concern, so I was told as long as I didn't pass any others I was good to go. And I didn't, so...

Lastly, I was having horrible abdominal pain, even on the pain meds. But, you know, only when I moved. But when I moved? Easily ranged from an 8 to 10 on the pain scale. Ouch!
And not at my incision site. What was frustrating to me about this is that I was told repeatedly that if I had abdominal pain not at the incision site, I needed to let them know immediately. But when I did, I was told it was probably just from my uterus shrinking back to normal size and was nothing to worry about. So is it serious or not? Seemed to be conflicting info. Hmph.

Then on my second day home I was seen at home by a nurse. She took out my staples and did a general check up. During the check up she again mentioned that if I experienced any abdominal pain not at the incision site, I needed to let them know. So I told her I was still having horrible abdominal pain and was nearly out of my Vicodin. She assured me that it was probably 'normal', and advised me to call my doctor for a refill.

So I called the office for a refill. The nurse asked me a bunch of questions, confirmed that I was still taking the max dosage of Vicodin, talked to the doctor, then called me back to tell me that the pain I was feeling was probably normal, they'd call in another two days worth of meds, but that was it, so I needed to begin weaning off of the meds immediately. Honestly, I felt like I was treated like a drug seeker. Keep in mind my abdominal pain is not at the incision site (my incision actually never caused me trouble), and when I moved certain ways, especially lying down or getting up, my pain was easily a 10 out of 10. It was excruciating.

I attempted to wean off of the meds, but was still experiencing horrible pain, so two days later, I called and insisted on getting worked in to see the doctor. So glad I did.

I have an infection in my uterus. He could actually see the redness thru the skin. I was put on antibiotics and given a stronger pain med and orders to come back three days later.

A couple of days on the antibiotic and there was noticeable improvement. By the time I went back for my checkup, even the staff commented on how much better I looked. The doctor agreed that it seemed to be clearing up, ordered me to make sure I finished the antibiotic as prescribed, renewed my pain meds, and gave me orders to come back immediately if the pain, tenderness, or redness worsened at any point, or to come in if after I finished the antibiotic I was still experiencing any pain or tenderness at all, as by the time the antibiotic was finished the infection should be completely cleared up.

So we'll see.

Honestly, I'm not very hopeful. I've been weaning myself off the pain meds, and will run out tomorrow. Antibiotics run out in three days. Though it is much improved, I still have pain. At times up to a 3 or 4 on the pain scale. And I'm a little concerned at how bad it's gonna be after I'm off the pain meds completely. And how bad it's gonna be once I stop the antibiotics. Because I'm thinking if the infection's not completely gone by the time I stop the antibiotics, then the minute I stop them it's probably gonna flare back up again. I guess we'll just have to wait & see.

So... because of the infection, I had "babysitters" round the clock for two weeks as I was both unable to perform routine menial tasks, was in near-constant pain, and there were health concerns. Though I'm super-grateful for everything they did, I am so glad to not have a house full of people constantly. This introvert needed time alone with her family. Seriously.

So that's where we are now. Hopefully the anti-biotic will finish clearing up the infection over the next couple of days and we'll really start seeing an upswing in my recovery. Only time will tell.

As always, thanks for checking in.

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Update on the Job Front

In other, work related news, I have no idea what is going to happen with me career-wise.

source
Many of you know that I haven't been terribly happy at my job as of late. In fact, I believe I used the word "miserable". While I can't say things have gotten worse, they haven't gotten better either. I've tried talking to my Manager, to my General Manager, to my HR rep, to other members of management in my department. Everyone tells me their hands are tied. Even those who acknowledge that there are issues claim there's nothing they can do to improve the situation.

I've come to hate that phrase "my hands are tied". Mostly because I don't believe it anymore. I used to. But I just have a really hard time believing that no one in management can do a darn thing about it. It's that they don't want to.

Add to that the fact that shortly before I left on maternity leave my company made a major announcement that will have a direct impact on my job, a major impact on my job, and I'm in a sort of career limbo.

We're in process of reviewing all of our options, both if I stay and if I leave, and trying to determine what's best for our family. Unfortunately it's difficult to make the decision because my company is waiting a few more months to reveal all the details about how my position is impacted by the announcement, and we need some of those details to help us make a decision.

So, quite frankly, it's a bit stressful. I hate not knowing. The limbo is frustrating and for me, stressful. I'm a security gal. I need the security of knowing what's going to happen. But right now that's kinda impossible.

So that's an update on the job front. As always, thanks for checking in.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Birth Story

So as I mentioned in my last post, Jillian arrived roughly two weeks ago, nearly three weeks early.

one of our first family pictures
I had gone in to see my Ob for my pre-op appointment in preparation for my scheduled C-section, but all of my labs came back borderline. Everything.

My sugar was controlled with insulin, but borderline. My blood pressure was technically high, but just by a couple of points. The protein in my urine came in just barely over what they want to see. And... I'm pretty sure they checked some other things too, but am blanking on what they were right now. The main thing is that every single thing that they checked came in as borderline problem.

So borderline, in fact, that my regular Ob didn't feel comfortable making the decision himself. He sent me home with instructions to pack my hospital bag, rest, and wait for him to call with further instructions after he consulted with other doctors in the practice. He consulted with two other doctors, then called me himself telling me they had booked the OR for me the following morning.

Unfortunately since it was unexpected, we didn't get my regular Ob, as he wasn't on the schedule for hospital rotation that day, but all of the physicians in the practice are fantastic, so no biggie really.

Jason was on shift, so took off the last 12 hours so he could come home and be home the night before. My parents met us at the hospital and stayed in the waiting room with Jena while waiting. My sister and my mother-in-law were also there.

Pre-op schtuff went as expected & planned. No worries there.

I will tell you that the spinal hurt more than I anticipated. Getting my epidural when Jena was born is one of the parts of her birth that is still blacked out of my memory, so I had no frame of reference. All I knew is that the anesthesiologist told me that after the numbing shot there shouldn't be any pain, only pressure.

Liar.

In fact, turns out where I'm feeling pain helps them know whether or not it's going in correctly. So seriously... liar. LOL.

The C-section itself was less pain than I anticipated. Everyone I had talked to - both medical personnel and other C-section mommas - had told me that I would feel so much pressure that it was painful. Not for me. No pain, and barely any pressure to speak of.

What was unexpected was how much nausea I had. The anesthesiologist told me it's from my blood pressure dropping from the spinal, and is fairly common. Yeah, I was really sick.

The most amazing, wonderful thing is that I was aware of everything and I remember everything. All of it. When they placed her on my chest. The look on my husband's face. The sound of her first cry. Overhearing the doctor's comments, the nurses' conversations. All of it. All of it is wonderful. Every second.

All of those things that I missed during Jena's birth, that I blacked out during, that the PTSD has still blocked from my memory, that I have so much guilt over not remembering, that I've always felt that I missed out on. I didn't miss them this time. I experienced all of them, and I remember it all. And that is such an amazing gift that I thank the Lord for.

***********************

As a side note about remembering the doctor's comments: he was a bit disappointed. He really believed Jillian would break his record for the largest baby he'd ever delivered, and he fully anticipated her weighing in at 12 lbs.

She "only" weighed 10 lbs 8 oz.

The placenta weighed nearly as much.

That's right folks, I literally lost 20 lbs in the span of about 20 minutes, LOL.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Sorry I haven't been around...

... but I've been a little busy...


Jillian made here arrive roughly two weeks ago. Birth story and other details to follow. But the short version is we're all a little enchanted with our new addition.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Hugs & Kisses


So I’ve made a parenting decision that seems to be stirring a bit of trouble. Ends up neither set of grandparents like the decision, and my mother-in-law actually finds it “rude”.

What could this be?

Well, I decided from the beginning that Jena would not be forced to give hugs or kisses as a greeting. Even to us. Even to grandparents.

This was a deliberate, thought-out decision.

My thinking is that I don’t ever want to teach my daughter that anyone has the right to obligate, coerce, or force her to show physical affection. Anyone. Including me.

My hope is that this type of thinking will stick to her, long past her childhood years, into her teenage years, into dating, and relationships, and quite frankly throughout the rest of her life.

In fact, dear readers, let me reiterate this teaching for you, in case no one ever told you:

No one has the right to obligate, coerce, force, or shame you to extend or receive physical affection. No one.

It’s not something that I plan on backing down from. I understand there are those who disagree; those who think that children should be taught to give hugs & kisses as greetings, especially to family members.

That’s okay. We’re just gonna have to agree to disagree.

With Jena, I can tell you it’s probably about a 50/50 shot whether or not she gives hugs. Kisses are very rare. This is whether it is me, Jason, my parents, or my mother-in-law. Outside of that circle, your chances of receiving physical affection of her of any sort are very slim.

And I’m okay with that.

Are there times when I would like a hug & a kiss instead of an outstretched hand followed by a loud “BYE!” ? Sure there are. She’s my daughter. I’d smother her with affection on a regular basis. Except she’s not comfortable with that. And I respect that.

Not all family members do
.
My parents have decided to respect our parenting decision, but they also let us know that it sometimes hurts their feelings if she doesn’t want to give them a hug or kiss.

My mother-in-law recently described Jena’s behavior as “rude” and “disrespectful”. When pressed for examples, not giving a hug or kiss every time they see each other was one of only two she could provide. And she’s upset that we don’t “correct” her behavior.

I’ll be honest,  I’m not sure how to handle this. I certainly don’t want my child to be truly rude or disrespectful, to anyone, let alone her grandmother. But I also am not backing down on this issue either. And since we’ve previously explained our stance on this, and why, to ask Jena to do otherwise, or to ask us to “correct” her behavior when she’s following the guidelines we’ve set forth, is quite  disrespectful to us as her parents.

At the same time, MIL appears to be quite upset about the “respect” issue, and since this is only one of two issues she brought up, part of me feels compelled to act. I just don’t know how.

Any thoughts, dear readers?

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Work Vent


I… just… cannot…handle it today. So you get to read my vent.

About three weeks ago my work brought in a temp to cover basic administrative duties while I’m off on maternity leave. Fine.

Then it ends up that they didn’t even screen her for her knowledge of Microsoft Office, which, you know, I use constantly in my job. Like most of the corporate world.

Especially Excel. We use Excel for just about everything. She had never been in the program. Which meant I spent much of her first week teaching her things like how to color the background of a cell, how to insert a row, how to delete a column, etc., etc., etc.

I get that it’s not her fault. The blame falls on the management members who hired her for not screening her properly. But still… Drives. Me. Nuts.

And then there are things that I just consider intuitive in a corporate office setting. Things like if your computer hasn’t been working properly in a week, call the Help Desk. Or, I don’t know, maybe let me or our supervisor know, so we can tell you to call the HelpDesk.

Or you can just sit there complaining about it until I explicitly tell you “call the Help Desk”, then you complain for another 20 minutes before making the call.

Things like when you’re logging into a new system, and  Information Systems has informed you to leave your password blank the first time, and you will be prompted to create a new password. So you try to log in, then when you get to password, you ask me what to put. And I say “Didn’t I/S tell you to leave it blank?”

“Well… yes.”

“Then I suggest you leave it blank.”

{{ head desk }}
Stuff like this happens all. day. long.
Things like, our Assistant Manager tells you to book a specific meeting room. There’s a problem with the room. You inform me with a helpless look on your face. I tell you to call the Assistant Manager who made the request. You do so. Problem solved.
Why do I have to explain this to you?
Like having someone send me an attachment for a meeting notice that you sent out, then me having to explain to you that since you sent out the invite, I cannot add the attachment.

Why would you have them send it to me, when you sent out the original meeting invite with the original attachments?

This makes no sense to me.
Like when you’re expecting someone  to stop by your desk, so you have to discuss with me whether or not it’s okay to take your break right now, or if you should wait.
You are a 40-something supposedly professional. Can you not figure this out for yourself?
I don’t understand.

And when I told you to use the group email for our entire group, and not just our location, it wasn’t just for fun. We have employees located at other locations. The email needed to go to all of our employees. So why did you use the one just for this location? When I specifically included the correct group address in the written work instructions, and verbally explained to you which one to use and why?

Why?

And when our Manager told you to remind an entire group to fill out a specific form, then you ask me if you should remind everyone, or just one person. He said the entire group. He gave you a list of names.

I don’t understand why you even have to ask. He very clearly told you what to do.

Today, my patience is thin. I’m tired, I’m irritable, I don’t want to be here at all.

And it doesn’t help that this temp, whose previous best trait was the fact that she was really super-nice, and willing to learn has decided to cop an attitude, demanding why she hasn’t been trained on more (because you can’t handle it), and blaming me and other team members on her lack of training thus far.

Here’s the deal: how can I train you on more complicated items, when I have to teach you the basics of the software first?

So no, you will not be getting access to our secure database system to run queries, pull data streams, etc. Because it’s too easy to mess up the entire database if you don’t know what you’re doing. Which is why only three of us in the entire division have access to it to begin with. And since I just taught you how to bold the text in an Excel cell, no, we don’t trust your skill level to even be able to do that part of the job, let alone not screw up the entire system because you don’t know what you’re doing. So quit stomping your feet.

Besides your skill level, you’ve shown over & over that your attention to detail is not what it needs to be to be successful at this job. There are too many mistakes on too many menial tasks.

Oh, and as for not having a full work day? Talk to management. I advised them months ago that since you would only be doing the very basic administrative  items, part-time would be more than enough. They insisted on bringing someone in full time.

The transition work plan that you have a copy of clearly shows a workload of approximately 12 hours per week of standard work. Leaving roughly another 4 hours for non-standard requests. That’s an estimated 16 hours per week. I don’t have more to give you. Don’t like it? Talk to the manager. Stop huffing at me like I’m holding out on you.

The management team & I have discussed it. There was talk of letting you go. You got to stay. The decision was that:
a) the department can muddle thru for a couple of months, and
b) since I could be out literally any day now, re-training someone else on the items you have learned is too time consuming. It’s risky.

You got to stay. Appreciate that.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Quick Baby Check In

Quick baby check-in:

I continue to have contractions (not Braxton Hicks, like real-actual contractions), but no changes to my cervix, so we're still on this "okay to resume normal activity" bull crap. Even though the contractions are getting stronger. So blah.

Had an ultrasound yesterday. This little girl is already weighing in at an estimated 8 lbs 12 oz.

And we have four weeks until our scheduled C-section. Did I tell ya'll that? C-section is scheduled for May 20. If we make it that long.

We were told that her size, while large, is very proportional, which means they have no way to guess if her large size is simply genetic or is caused by the gestational diabetes. Apparently if it's caused by GD, the belly is usually disproportionately large, while Peanut's is not.

Not that it really matters to me. My biggest concern about the GD is that my sugars, while better, still aren't totally controlled. Even with major diet changes and repeatedly upping my insulin doses. Which means that she's been getting pumped full of sugar constantly for months. Which means that when the umbilical cord is clipped there's a significant chance that her blood sugar will drop significantly, leading to a stay in the NICU.

That, is my concern. I don't care how big she is, or why. I don't really even are that much about the fact that my sugar is uncontrolled. I do care about the possibility of how it will affect her health. That is why I follow my diet and stick myself with insulin twice daily. That is why "indulging" myself now means having a 2nd apple with peanut butter, as that's the sweetest thing I allow myself on a regular basis.

Anywho... kinda got off on a tangent there. Everything looked great at the ultrasound. So we'll keep hanging in there.

As always, thanks for checking in!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

This Summer is Gonna be Awesome

So the upcoming Summer has been a subject of quite a good amount of anxiety for me. Why? you ask. Well, I'll tell you.

First of all, we'll be welcoming a newborn into our home.

Then, there's the fact that I will be off work for the first time since I was... 15? Looking back on work (and way back including school in the mix), I have never had this much time away from daily scheduled obligations since I was 15. Which was a long time ago.

And then let's add in that Jena will be staying home with me (ie. not going to preschool). So for the first time in three years (she's only five, mind you), she will be home all Summer, not participating in the daily structured atmosphere of preschool. And since my parents watched her before she started preschool, she'll be staying home for the longest period of time in her life.

On the surface, all of these are good things. Really good.

But I also am keenly aware that they are all three major changes. Changes that will need adjusting to. Adjustments which will almost certainly cause at least a small amount of stress on our family.

And they're all happening at the same time.

I have been anxious about everything from just the stress of so much change to our family at once, to what will I feed Jena for lunch, to what will I eat for lunch.

What will we do to occupy our time? With me taking care of a newborn? And a five year old with lots of energy to burn?

So much anxiety over it.

Until recently.

Now, mind you I do still realize there will be some stress involved. And some anxious moments. And we'll probably go to McDonald's more than once simply because I forgot that I have to feed us lunch at home now, but...

There's so much good too.

I get to spend all Summer home with my girls.

I don't have to make Jena come in from playing outside, just because we have work/school the next day. I anticipate lots of chasing-of-lightening-bugs and other dusk fun.

My house might actually be clean. Maybe.

I can visit with friend or my parents whenever I want. No trying to squeeze visits into already busy nights & weekends.

We can visit Daddy at the firehouse during the week. No more waiting until a weekend when the stars align just so, so that he's on shift and we have nothing planned to do.

We can go to the park during the day. No squeezing it in after work/school and worrying that if we stay too late she'll be up too late then won't want to get up for school the next day.

We could maybe do a play date with some friends.

So much available. I know we won't do it all. But it's there. It's a real possibility. For the first time ever.

This Summer is gonna be awesome.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

I'm ready

There's been a lot of talk this pregnancy about the chance of pre-term labor.

This has led to a lot of anxiety on my part. First and foremost for Peanut's health. But then there's the other stuff: the nursery's not ready, the house is a wreck, we have no diapers, blah, blah, blah.

And then,  yesterday, at exactly 34 weeks pregnant, I just kinda had this moment:

I'm ready.

Not in a practical way. Nursery still isn't done. House is still a mess.

But in a mental and emotional way. I'm ready for this baby to come.

Which is both a calming feeling, and a frustrating one. Because I'm ready. Now. And so now we've reached the point where we just wait for our youngest daughter to make her presence known.

And whenever that is, it will be okay. Because now... I'm ready.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

General Update

Jena:

We've decided to give the public school a try next year. To be honest, from our experience so far and things we've heard from other parents we're not terribly optimistic, but we don't want to give up on the public school system without first at least trying.

I'm a public school kid, and had a great experience, but I also recognize that because of things like No Child Left Behind and Common Core, the schools that I went to and benefited so much from quite frankly may not exist anymore. But we want to at least try it.

The latest thing for Jena to start is Girl Scouts. It's brand new, but she is super-excited about it. So am I.

Jason:

The biggest news in Jason's world right now is that his business has taken off like gang-busters. We expected it to be busier this year than last, but it really has just exploded here in the past few weeks. I'm so proud of the work that he's done and it's so exciting to see his efforts pay off.

Me:

Well, most I'm gearing up to have a baby. But I guess you knew that. At work, they've hired a temp to fill in while I'm on maternity leave, and she started yesterday. It's a little weird to train someone for your job, when you have no intention of handing it over, you know?

Baby:

Baby is doing well. My blood sugar has seems to be much better controlled since they last upped my insulin, so that's good.

I've been having contractions off & on since last week, so that's a pain. Last night they were every 3 - 10 minutes... for seven hours. From around 7pm until the last time they woke me up at 2am. Needless to say I not only didn't sleep well, I'm also physically tired from my belly's activity.

Those are the major updates. As always, thanks for checking in!

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

No Restrictions

So the other day I felt crampy all day. But I had a NST scheduled for that afternoon, so I figured I'd just wait and have it checked out then.

Sure enough, contractions. I was sent to Labor & Delivery triage to determine if I were in pre-term labor.

After a shot of something to stop the contractions, they were milder, but didn't go away. So I was given a liter of fluid in the hopes that being hydrated would stop them. Nope. In fact, by the end the intensity was returning.

But I wasn't dilated at all, so I was sent home. Without restrictions.


All good news, but I have to say I think once they determine you're having honest-to-God for real contractions, you should at least get a couple of days off of work. At least.

Can I get a witness?


In other news, assuming Peanut doesn't decide to make an early entrance, we have a C-section scheduled for May 20.

Yay.

Friday, March 21, 2014

30 week update

Quick baby update:

Peanut is now nearly 6 lbs, and all measurements are between 35-36 weeks gestation, even though she is only 30 weeks. Big, but proportionately so, which is good.

My gestational diabetes has improved with medication & diet, but is still considered uncontrolled. Starting insulin injections as soon as the pharmacy fills it.

The good news is my A1C bloodwork came back good (5.3), and the maternal fetal doctor said that is a good sign that my diabetes will resolve once the pregnancy is over. Not for sure, but apparently it's a good indication that it will.

On the other hand, maternal fetal has had a special interest in my metabolic syndrome, and feels that the gestational diabetes is probably tied in with that. They've said on a couple of occasions that I will probably need treatment for the rest of my life, and will be lucky to dodge Type II Diabetes at some point down the line. Nothing we didn't know, but still a bummer to hear.

We did go ahead and start Non Stress Tests (NSTs) this week. First one went well. From here on out I'll have 2 per week, on top of at least one doctor appointment per week. Fun fun.

All of my doctors agree that a scheduled C-section is the way to go, but at the same time no one wants to commit, and definitely not schedule. That's a little frustrating for me. To have five different doctors say they think that's our best option, considering the complications with this current pregnancy and the complications I had during L&D with my first, but then have them turn around and say we'll wait until later in the pregnancy to confirm it's what's needed I find frustrating. I'm a planner. And as much as I realize that there are no guarantees, and even if we schedule it, she might try to come on her own terms, it would give me some peace of mind to have it confirmed. And if we had a date in the books it would be even better.

So despite all the complications, extra appointments, etc. things are going well. I'm horribly uncomfortable & tired all the time, but... okay. Jason's mom is throwing me a shower this weekend, so that should be fun. Jena is really looking forward to it, and is spending the night with her Mamaw the night before so she can help get things ready.

I guess that's about it for now. I'll try to post again soon. As always, thanks for checking in!

Monday, March 17, 2014

Jena Schooling Update


You may remember the issues we’ve had with the local public school regarding Jena’s age (she misses the cutoff by less than a week).

We were originally told that she would need to repeat Kindergarten, strictly because of her age.

Well, it took three months and talking to nine members of the administration, but we finally got word that as long as we produce a certificate of completion from the Kindergarten program she’s currently in, the will permit her to start first grade in the Fall after all.

We are still exploring the possibility of homeschooling, and no decision has been made yet, but it’s nice to finally know that if we do choose to send her to public school she will at least be able to progress to the next grade.

She is doing exceptionally well in Kindergarten, and amazes us regularly with her progress.

Jena is currently reading on a 3rd grade level, has finished her first chapter book, and informed me that all the books we have at home are “too easy”. So the search to expand her library at home is on.

It’s my understanding that her math skills are currently at an end of 1st / beginning of 2nd grade level. She adds & subtracts numbers up to 100, does “carrying math” (ie. carry the 2…), and is progressing in her understanding of money & time.

Handwriting is still her struggle point, but we have seen huge improvements since the beginning of the school year.

And she’s such a little nerd. In a good way. She knows that she will go to a different school next year (she’s currently in a private preschool that ends after Kindergarten), and she knows it will either be the “big kid school” or homeschool, and that Mommy & Daddy haven’t decided yet.

When I explained to her that she wouldn’t go to school this Summer, she was confused. See, she’s gone to preschool every year, including Summers, since she was two.

She asked if it were because of the baby. I told her yes, since Mommy will be staying home from work after having the baby, Jena will just stay home with us too.

{{ insert frowny face }}

She then asked why we couldn’t at least do homeschool during the Summer, even if she were going to big kid school in August. Because she likes school. And she likes work. And she doesn’t want to not go to school all Summer.

And I love it.

I guess that’s all on her for now. Thanks for checking in!

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Family Business Update


Regarding the business, Jason's starting the season with a bang. Since his job is so “weather permitting”, this week is the first week with several days available for him to work. And on Monday he had two jobs. He has several others lined up for later this week as well, but we’re honestly not sure if he’ll be able to do them or need to postpone them.

Why?

Well, first of all after a couple of days of beautiful weather, we’re back in a cold snap. So the weather for later this week is very iffy.

Secondly, his work van – the one that pulls his the trailer with all of his equipment and holds all of his tools – died Monday. Transmission went out. We knew it would happen eventually, as the van is nearly 20 years old, but it showed no signs of problems.

Luckily we were already planning on the business buying a truck later this year. It just came sooner than we thought. So yesterday he bought a work truck. But the dealership has to finalize some paperwork, so he can’t pick it up until tomorrow. And while he got a great deal on it, it does need tires. And brakes. And a trailer hitch so it can actually pull his trailer. And as optimistic as I am, the idea of all of that getting done in time for him to pick up the truck, finish the work that needs to be done on the truck, then go out and do a few jobs all in the next two days seems highly unlikely. So the jobs will probably need to be postponed.

Oh well. We hate to disappointment customers, but sometimes things like this can’t be helped. And now we have a new truck, which we knew we’d need eventually anyway. So I’m sure it’ll all work out in the end after all.

As always, thanks for checking in!

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Baby Update


My appointment with MFM (Maternal Fetal Medicine) went well. They were very thorough, and also took a lot of time explaining everything to me. In fact, the appointment took around two hours. I don’t think I’ve ever had a doctor appointment that long before, but I’m glad it was. There was so much to go over!

Although the appointment went well, and I’m very satisfied with everything, there were definitely some parts I wish I could just put my head in the sand over.
Words like:
                NICU
                incubator
                stillbirth

Yeah. I’m glad I’m well-informed, but I could go a lifetime with never hearing those words.

He agrees with our plan for a scheduled C-section. Honestly don’t remember if I told you guys that or not, but our regular Ob had already agreed that it was our safest options, considering the complications I had during labor & delivery with Jena. So we’re all on board there.

The biggest concern right now seems to be the baby’s size. Peanut is on track to be 11 lbs, which doesn’t surprise us at all, and we believe to be at least mostly genetic, but the doctors are concerned because of the what-ifs. Namely, what if the baby grows bigger than the placenta can support?

He said at the first sign that Peanut might be in distress because the placenta can no longer support her, we will immediately go for a C-section. As he said, we know babies cannot survive if the placenta cannot support them, but the NICU has very fine incubators.

I’m sure they do, but it’s still scary to think of.

They started me on meds for my GD (gestational diabetes). So far my numbers have come down, but not enough. I anticipate they will raise the dosage at my next appointment.

I am to begin kick counts twice a day immediately, fax my blood sugar numbers to them weekly, have an ultrasound scheduled for next week, and will begin NSTs (Non Stress Tests) no later than 32 weeks (three weeks from now). I also have at least one doctor appointment weekly, sometimes more than one.
On a less-medical-more-practical front, we still need to work on the nursery. Badly. I’ve sorted out everything that was in there, but need Jason to find some time to actually move the boxes for me, since I’m not supposed to lift. After going thru everything, eight of the boxes are headed straight to the trash. The rest we need to keep.

Once that stuff gets moved out we can clean everything really well, paint if needed, set up the crib, etc.

Unfortunately this comes at the time when Jason’s business is taking off for the season. I told him this morning we need to pick a day that is nursery work day. Nothing else (because there’s always something else). Hopefully if we do that we can knock out most (if not all) of it in one day and be done.

That's all for now. Thanks for checking in!

Thursday, March 6, 2014

28 Week Baby Update

So much to catch you up on!

Well, my blood pressure has normalized on its own, so we're still watching it, but so far out of the woods.

Unfortunately my gestational diabetes (GD) is currently "uncontrolled". I am doing my best to follow the eating plan given to me, but my numbers keep going up. My morning fasting blood sugar is the worst, at double or more the target.

And just for added fun, this week I started weekly visits to the High Risk Pregnancy Clinic, and at my visit was told that I need to consult with the Maternal Fetal Medicine Specialist at the hospital where I will deliver.

Why so much attention? Well, it's a combination. First & foremost seems to be my "advanced reproductive age". They really like bringing up how old I am, LOL.
Then you add to that my giant baby. Peanut is currently on target to be 11 lbs at birth. Not bad considering my husband was nearly 12 lbs, and my dad was 10 lbs, so we're getting it on both sides. And I was informed that if I had carried Jena to term she would likely have been 10.5 lbs. But still. Big babies mean higher risks for mom, so... there's that.
And of course my uncontrolled GD on top of that. And then the hypertension, even though it's currently resolved, is yet one more reason to keep an eye on things.

So high risk clinic & specialists it is.

We are starting to enter panic mode, realizing how quickly this baby is coming. If I carry to term (which is unlikely), we have a mere 12 weeks left. The nursery isn't really even started. We still have to finish cleaning out the room, before we can begin putting it together. We just went thru all of Jena's old things that we had in storage over the weekend, and did manage to register last night. But it's all happening so fast.

Speaking of registering, my mother-in-law is throwing me a shower. I know there's all kinds of different views on second baby showers, but she wanted to do it. Honestly, I'm not expecting much of a turnout. My family doesn't "do" 2nd baby showers. So besides my mom & my sister, I'm not sure anyone else will show up. Which is fine. I understand the view, and it's okay.

But... I'm questioning the logic. Growing up obviously we never did them. The reasoning (as it was explained to me) is that the first time you shower the mom with things she'll need for baby. For the second child, she should already have what she needs, so to have another shower is akin to being greedy.

But here's the thing:
- after years in storage, some of our items from Jena just didn't survive. Pack-n-Play. Diaper bag. Baby bath. To name a few of the larger items
- there is also a bevy of smaller items that just need to be replaced, or are disposable

I'm gonna be honest, I was surprised at how much did end up on our registry. There's so much that we don't have, despite all the things we kept from when Jena was a baby (which was a lot, IMO).

So for me the logic doesn't hold. If you're gonna help the mom out the first time, why not the second time? It seems a little hypocritical to say you're okay with bringing presents for baby #1, but not for baby #2.

It's okay if you don't want to because you don't want to. But the logic for not doing 2nd showers as it was always explained to me just doesn't hold. Just my opinion.

Besides, when I was pregnant with Jena I knew I wanted a shower for any other kids we might have. Not because of the presents, but because I just can't imagine having all this celebration over one child, but not celebrating any subsequent children. How could I not celebrate Peanut's upcoming arrival? Because tradition says we don't? Sounds like a tradition that needs to go, in my opinion.

So to those invited, come. Bring a gift, don't bring a gift, I really don't care. But help me celebrate this child and everything she means to me and my family.

Well... that got a lot longer than I originally intended. I guess that's what happens when I don't get to write as often, huh?

Thanks for checking in!

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Fun


So clearly I owe you a quick update.

But it’s gonna have to be very quick.

My blood pressure has been borderline my last 2 Ob visits, so I am now diagnosed with PIH (Pregnancy Induced Hypertension). So far my labs are good, so no pre-eclampsia. Yet.

And just today I got the phone call that I tested positive for GD (Gestational Diabetes). Fun.

I fully expected to get the you-weigh-too-much lecture about both. Not in a bad way, but let’s face it, I’m overweight, and that is a risk factor for both conditions.

Not a word from my doctors. They say my weight gain so far is good as well.

But… they do like to remind me of my advanced reproductive age. Apparently it is more my age that they see as an issue, as I’ve heard about it way too many times this week. Fun. I’m old.

Other than that we’re good. Pretty much.

Jena has been fighting a stomach bug. Not fun. But other than that is awesome as ever.

Jason has been doing a lot of work to get his business ready for Spring.

I’m just plugging along, realizing that this baby is coming way too fast and I am soooooo not ready, LOL.

That’s a quick update to tide you over.

As always, thanks for checking in!

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Education Dilemma


So, I mentioned in my last post that the current dilemma is what to do regarding Jena’s education for next year and beyond.

You see, we had always planned on sending her to the local public school, and I had even called  talked to them prior to enrolling her in Kindergarten at her current school. Why did I call? Because she misses the cutoff for the school year by less than a week. But I wanted to make sure there wouldn’t be any issues.

At that time I was assured that if she completed an accredited Kindergarten program, there would be no issues enrolling her in first grade the following year.

So a couple of months ago, due to several things that were going on, I met with her current teachers, then called the public school again.

Uh, no. They want her to repeat Kindergarten next year. Strictly because of her age. I explained that she will have completed an accredited Kindergarten program, that her current teachers think she will be more than ready to proceed to first grade both academically & socially, and offered to bring her in for whatever testing / evaluations they feel are necessary.

No.

Basically they really, really, REALLY don’t like to move kids out of the neat & tidy little box associated with their age.

It was explained to me that even if she did test into first grade, and they evaluated her to be socially ready, and IF they decided to then permit her to enter into first grade, they still would only allow her to attend half-day, because kids her age aren’t ready for a full day of school. According to them. Even though she's been in a full-day preschool since she was 2 years old. Oh, and schools across the country have full-day kindergarten. But, whatever.

Oh, and they’d charge us a tuition (yes, to a public school) as well.

How she’s supposed to only attend half day first grade and still progress along with the other students I have no idea. Or how that’s not supposed to hurt her socially, as she leaves every day while her friends stay. Or why they’re charging tuition to a public school. Or why her completing a Kindergarten program, accredited, in the same state, isn’t good enough. I. Don’t. Know.

Momma not happy.

Especially since I had previously called and been assured there would be no problems. Apparently our definition of “issues” is different. Hmph.

So, we may be able to get her into public school, but in order to do so we will have to go before the school board and fight for it. And quite frankly, even if we succeed in getting her in, I’m not sure I want my child attending a school where the administration  seems to think that all children should fit into this tidy little box based solely on age. Or any other factor for that matter.

And did I mention the cost of after-school care?

If they permit her to attend full-time, it will eat up over 15% of my paycheck each month. Not bad. Pretty much expected.

If she only attends half-day, the after school programs in the area will cost us nearly 25% of my paycheck. Starting to hurt a little more.

But if the school charges us a tuition on top of that? We might as well send her to private school.

So… we looked into that. Basically there’s only one private school in the area who has a good academic reputation, doesn’t add too much onto my daily commute, and we might be able to afford.

Except… private school tuition + after school care = nearly 75% of my paycheck.

At which point… why am I working?

So… we’re looking into homeschooling.

Seriously.

Right now it seems like the best option, except for that minor losing-my-income thing. Because our last tax statement showed that I bring home over 40% of our net income, plus provide all the benefits & childcare. Not exactly chump change to lose.

Thus, the dilemma.

Currently we’ve pretty much ruled out private school because of the cost. So we’re actively looking into homeschool curriculums as well as area groups / co-ops for homeschoolers while at the same time moving forward with trying to get her into full-time first grade in the public school. We figure if we get her in we can always change our minds later if we see fit, but all decisions regarding enrollment have to be made by the end of the previous school year (so May-ish timing), so we’d better start now so we know if that’s even an option.

I'm pretty much adamant that she not be forced to repeat Kindergarten. Just knowing her as her parent, plus having her current teachers tell me that not only is she the most academically advanced of all the kindergartners, she's also one of the most mature students in the class, I honestly believe forcing her to repeat Kindergarten would be detrimental to her development both academically and socially. So that is pretty much our worst case, last choice, we can't figure out any other possible way option.

So that’s where we are right now with that. As always, thanks for checking in!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Jena's Turn!


And now it’s Jena’s turn!

Jena is doing as awesome as ever.

She is happily halfway thru Kindergarten, and is doing very well. We are blessed that she is currently in a setting where the teachers strive to meet each kid at their ability.

While Jena started the year already reading at a 2nd grade level, her best friend started the year not even knowing the letters of the alphabet (long story). It’s interesting to see such a difference in two best friends, and how the teachers reacted to it and adjusted the lessons & homework so that each child could progress at their level.

Unfortunately she is currently at a preschool, and Kindergarten is the last level. She will graduate in May. The current dilemma is what to do about her schooling for next year (and beyond), but that could easily be another post in and of itself.

She is excited to be a big sister, and was really hoping for it to be a girl so she could have a little sister. She talks regularly about what it will be like having a little sister, and naming ways she can help. I know there will be an adjustment period for all of us, but I really think she will be a great big sister and am so excited to see her in that role.

Currently she loves all things Barbie, and this has for the most part taken over for her love of Disney Princesses.

She still likes her princesses, but the obsession is definitely Barbie now.

So that’s about it on my Jena for now. As always, thanks for checking in!

Sunday, January 19, 2014

All About the Hubs


This post is all about the hubs. I know my posting has been spotty lately, and I figured it was time for an update.

Jason is doing really well. The business he started last Spring has taken off even more than we expected, and we are looking forward to a very prosperous second year.

It’s a seasonal business (house washing, roof cleaning, etc.) and we only expected him to have jobs booked maybe thru October if we were lucky.

To our surprise he has been able to keep fairly steady work all the way thru December, and has already worked a couple of jobs in January!

Thanks mostly to the fickle weather around here we’ve had days warm enough for him to go out and work (it has to be 40 degrees or higher or his equipment will freeze up).

And also thanks in part to the two corporate contracts he was able to get. One is with a local credit union, and he cleans their walkways and teller drive-thrus quarterly. The other is with a local Chik-fil-A franchise. He cleans their walkways, entryway, and drive-thru twice monthly. Weather permitting, of course.

Jason has also been serving as an usher at our church for nearly a year now. He helps people find seats when it’s crowded (or even just if they’re new), passes the offering plate, and assists with anything else they need. Because our church is a little short on ushers right now, he ends up serving nearly every Sunday that he’s there.

It’s exciting to see him serve the Lord in this manner, and I’m very proud of him.

Most recently, the local water rescue team he’s a member of nominated & voted for him to be a liaison between the general membership and the officers. Honestly, I’m not really sure what this means exactly, other than he goes to an extra meeting every month, but he seems excited about it, so I’m trying to be too.

And of course, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention his role of Daddy. He’s been working hard to get our laundry room done, because we need to move things from our spare room into there, so we can convert the spare room into the nursery. I think he’s both excited & nervous to have another baby girl in the house, but I know he’s a great daddy to Jena and can’t wait to see him with his girls.

Anyway, that’s about the long & short of it for now.

As always, thanks for checking in!
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