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Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Of Vanity and Vascular Birthmarks

In case you haven't noticed by now, I am going to have to graciously back out of BlogapaLOSEa. Unfortunately, life has dealt me more than I can handle right now, what with my firstborn starting daycare, with returning to work insanity, and with Hannah's ever growing list of relatively benign medical issues. A little constipation here...a dash of reflux there...some heat rash....but the object of my prevailing obsession has to be Hannah's hemangioma located between her eye and her nose. Hannah's Hemangioma will have to be the title of my first childrens book. Let me introduce you:

4 days old:

20 days old:

6 weeks:

2 months old:

This little benign tumor known as a vascular birthmark, specifically a strawberry hemangioma, popped up about two weeks. We just thought it was a stork bite, but it has been growing...and growing...and growing.

Well, I'm southern.

And vain.

And I want this sucker OFF my kid's face.

If I am honest, it was my vanity that drove me to our pediatrician's office with my bristles up and my claws out at Hannah's four week appointment. You see, the usual course of action for these little boogers is the "wait and see" approach. Although they can get as big as a softball, 50% of these hemangiomas will be gone by the time the child is 5. In 70% of cases they are gone by the time the child is 10.

Pardon? My kid could have a bloody looking softball on her face until she's 10? Maybe longer?

So imagine my surprise when my pediatrician brought it up before I even had a chance and sent us straight to the pediatric plastic surgeon. Ok, not STRAIGHT to the pediatric plastic surgeon. We had to wait an agonizing month. A month of praying. A month of watching this thing get darker and puffier. A month of obsessing on the internet. A month of crying. A month of people asking about it. A month of me saying, "It's not a scratch. It's a hemangioma."'s appointment came with Dr. Claire Sanger at the University of Kentucky. Dr. Sanger has written articles about the evaluation and treatment of hemangiomas and as far as I can tell is a leader in the field in this region. Since, I was dying of anticipation of what this visit would be like, here's pretty much how it went for anyone else in the same boat:

1. We had to register with the University Hospital and fill out a medical history form (not much medical "history" for a 9 week old)

2. They took us back and a medical student gave her a thorough exam looking for any signs of other hemangiomas on the rest of her body.

3. She then measured the length of the hemangioma, about 1 cm and asked us lots of questions about my gestation, her birth, when the hemangioma appeared, and how rapidly it has been growing. She also took a million pictures of my baby's face, which made me unexpectedly uncomfortable.

4. Then Dr. Sanger came in and explained what a hemangioma is exactly and what the different "camps" of thought are on their treatment (i.e. surgery, lasers, steroids, wait and see, etc.)

In her opinion, and I agree with her in our daughter's case, with the "wait and see" approach there is no way of knowing if she will fall into the 70% that are gone by the time the child is 10 years old. There is also no way of knowing wether it will turn out to be a minor hemangioma or something really serious. Furthermore, there is still a risk of it leaving a scar if left to heal on it's own.
She then went on to say that with surgical excision she will 100% for sure have a scar. So her preference is pulsed dye laser. There is a minimal chance of scarring, and they can also use a minimal amount of anesthesia. Because my daughter's hemangioma is so close to both her eye and her nose, Dr. Sanger feels it is absolutely medically necessary to treat it. While it might never get big enough to impede her vision or her breathing, there is also a possibility that it will.

Soooooooo, we are going with pulsed dye laser treatments. They will give her a little gas anethesia for about 10 seconds, do about 30 pulses with the laser, and then HOPEFULLY she will be able to go home. Because she was born 5 weeks prematurely, Dr. Sanger said there is a possibility that she might have to stay overnight, but we are really pushing for this to be outpatient. Her apgar was 9 9 when she was born and she didn't have to spend even one second in the NICU. She was just ready to be born! But we will certainly do whatever they recommend.

Her laser treatments will start in late November (waiting for that 3 month mark for anesthesia) and will be administered every six weeks until the hemangioma is gone. Dr. Sanger said it could take anywhere from 1 treatment to 10. We just don't know how her hemangioma will respond. After the first treatment her hemangioma will turn bright purple like she has been socked in the face and this will last for about a week. Then the hemangioma should start to involute, which means GO AWAY.
In the meantime, they are going to send a letter off to the insurance company explaining that it is a medically necessary procedure and Dr. Sanger is confident that the insurance will cover it. We'll know for sure at her next appointment where they will give her a physical on November 4th.

Of course, as her mother who has been obsessing and reading and researching for 7 weeks now, somehow I was totally tongue tied when I finally got a doctor in front of me who is going to treat it. I have so many questions now that I have LEFT the doctor's office:

How long does "30 pulses" take? 30 seconds? 30 minutes? Three hours? What specific type of hemangioma does my daughter have? superficial? mixed? I have heard these terms, but she didn't call it anything specific. How long will the anesthesia last? Will this be done at her office or will she have to go to the peds unit of the hospital? What are the possible side effects of the anesthesia? Will she be in pain after the laser treatments?

I'm sure I'll think of a million more. For now, I am thrilled that we are going to treat this thing, if not slightly disappointed that we can't treat it sooner than late November. Was hoping those first holiday pics might be Hemangioma-Free! But I definitely want my daughter to be safe.

As I am sure is the case with any medical issue a parent faces with his or her child, my emotions are running the gamut, from fear for her eyesight and breathing, to anger that my baby isn't "perfect", to guilt for feeling the latter emotion, to overwhelming protectiveness from the comments and the constant questions from total strangers.

No one has really been rude yet, but I am already doing that thing where I over-explain it to everyone before they even ask, and then they look at me like I am a crazy person. That said, I have been surprised by how many people say things like, "Oh, I had one of those when I was a baby. They go away," or, "Oh my niece had one of those. She's two now and you can't even tell it was there." Just now, in fact, my assistant informed me that he had one in the exact spot that Hannah does. They surgically removed his and you totally can't tell it was ever there and no signs of a scar.

So now I have to wait an agonizing month and half before her first treatment. How much bigger will it get between now and then? How many more questions and comments will I have to address? Will I be able to get over my own vanity and take more pictures of my first and possibly only baby girl? This little mark is part of her story. It's how she was made. I'll never get these first months back, and I would like to spend them staring into my daughter's beautiful eyes and not at this stupid thing on her face.

Give me the wisdom.

Update 7/6/2012 - This is probably the worst that her hemangioma ever got:

Hemangioma at 1 year old.

This is Hannah Jane today:

Hemangioma at 2 1/2 years old.
I really think if you didn't know that she had a hemangioma that you wouldn't even see it now.  I am confident it will be completely gone by the time she is 5.  In hindsight, I wish that we had just done the steroids, and foregone the laser treatments.  That is what her hematologist advised us, but the plastic surgeon really pushed for laser treatments.  They were ineffective and were more for our own peace of mind than what was probably best for our child.  Oh well.  It is behind us now.  We did the best we could with the information we had available at the time.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

BlogapaLOSEa Week 3

Well I am two days late in reporting, but at least it is a good report. I lost 2 lbs last week!

I can't attribute this to exercise (with the exception of breastfeeding), because I had to take a break off of my Couch to 5K program due to InSaNiTy at home, but I plan to get back on the wagon after my post partum follow up appointment this Friday. I have, however, been making much more sensible food choices, and I know that has made a difference.

I'm also trying to give myself a break after my pity party last week. If I heard someone saying the things I say about myself in reference to a friend or family member, I would kick their ass. So why can't I treat myself with the same respect that I demand people give to those I care about?

That being said, I finally got fed up with choosing between wearing stretchy, unflattering maternity clothes OR trying to fold up all my flab and shove it into pre-maternity clothes that are a size too small. Sooooooooo, although I have been trying to put it off until I lose my goal of a billion pounds, I finally bit the bullet and just went and bought some clothes in my current size.

And you know what?

I feel a whole lot better about me.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Killing Maternal Instinct Softly

In college, I recall a disturbing lesson in Developmental Psychology: the death of human instinct. Essentially, experts believe that as humans have become more and more intellectually developed as a species, we have shed all but a few of our innate instincts. In fact, it was the conjecture of the particular scholars we were studying that only one true instinct remains. Which instinct? The physiological response to what psychologists refer to as "baby cuteness". Even individuals who dislike or are uncomfortable around babies and children, when placed under the microscopic, physically respond to features that we associate with babies. Rose bud lips. Big eyes. Proportionally larger heads. Relative smallness. Something in us senses young. Perhaps their defenselessness. Perhaps our need to protect them in order to further our species. All environmental factors aside, our biology recognizes babies.

So what of maternal instinct? These scholars purport that like so many other instincts, maternal instinct died out long ago. Any mothering abilities attributed to today's moms are chalked up to that thing called "nurture". We learn to be mothers. This would certainly explain the young mothers who dump their babies in garbage cans at the prom....or leave their babies in a smoldering hot car in the middle of summer....or leave their children with an alcoholic relative.

But can it truly be said with all the biological responses that new mother's bodies go through during pregnancy and after birth that nothing that can be called instinct exists?

Speaking as a person who just gave birth a mere six weeks ago, I can point to all the biological miracles that have occurred between my daughter and myself. I knew when I went into the hospital 6 weeks before my due date for severe kidney pain and inexplicable abdominal pain that I was not going to come out without a baby in tow. Sure enough, my little one came out five weeks early in perfect shape. She was ready...and I just...knew. And that is just an anecdotal example. How about skin to skin contact stabilizing babies blood sugar or the rather disgusting process of lactating? If I hear a baby cry on television nothing happens, but when my little one lets out a squeal the flood gates open. Not to mention that I am a self regulating dairy farm.

So where is the instinct in this? Is it really gone?

Or are we just killing it?

We live in a time where information is light speed accessible. Even Dr. Spock has become archaic...unless of course you are reading his famous book on your kindle. Any symptom your child may have can be plugged into WebMD and a list of horrifying ailments will pour out before you. will let you sign up for weekly updates, presenting you with a neatly organized page of milestones to measure your baby against. Facebook, Twitter, and text messaging allow you to update all your friends and loved ones about the color of your baby's poop and immediately receive dozens of responses letting you know if this is normal, abnormal, and what steps you must take to [fill in the blank] before it's too late and you ruin your child forever. Every inch of your baby can be examined, every behavior analyzed, and every possible illness diagnosed before your poor pediatrician even has a chance to see the little booger.

As an obsessive thinker, my baby has given me a veritable playground of things to obsess about. A strawberry hemangioma on her face. 5 weeks prematurity. Acid reflux. Constipation. I have found myself in tears, combing through webpage after webpage trying to understand, trying to measure, trying to fix, trying to diagnose, trying to prepare, and mostly just trying to control my child's wellbeing with the help of Google and well meaning friends and family.

But what if....I put the laptop away. And the iPhone. And the parenting books.

What if I just sat with my baby...took a deep breath...and listened. Listened to her screaming. Listened to her breathing. Looked into her eyes. Felt her skin against my skin. Would something buried deep inside me start to speak? Would it reassure me? Would it answer all my questions? Or tell me what questions needed to be asked in the first place?

Would instinct bubble up and take the reins?

Maybe with all of our good intentions of being prepared, informed, ready, intellectual in our child rearing...mommies are killing our instincts. Then we are simply left with an empty useless physiological response to those rose bud lips. And big eyes. And large heads. An increased heartrate. A degree or two rise in body temperature. A few more neurons firing here and there. When did we stop making the biological leap of faith and trusting those instincts that followed? And can we ever hope to regain them?


Monday, September 14, 2009

BlogapaLOSEa Week 2

half a pound. i GAINED half a pound. I'm too depressed to even blog right now. but here's a picture that looks how i feel.

Monday, September 7, 2009

blogapaLOSEa Week 1

So I’m coming up on my six week post-partum appointment, and my body is just a little different than it was this time last year. This time last year I was flouncing around on a beach in Hilton Head in a bikini, so devoid of self consciousness that I decided to throw caution to the wind and get married at sunrise in a skimpy dress I bought in a gift shop for $15.


Fast forward a year. I am jiggling around my house, covered in breast milk and spit up, barely able to will myself out the front door for fear that someone might ask me when I am “due”, causing me to have a complete nervous breakdown. After 8 months of joyfully consuming copious amounts of Indian food and store bought cake, I have given birth to a 5 lb preemie who is supposed to be distracting me from such vanities. Let’s just say she could be doing a better job.

So it is only fitting that Heather Chapman, local blogger, Herald Leader news assistant, mommy, and SCAPA Creative Writing alumna same as Moi, should start blogapaLOSEa right now (full details here). After seeing brave Heather boldly post not only her feet on a scale, but also a full body photo from the front and the BACK, I decided I too could be brave enough to subject myself to public humiliation in the name of accountability.

I humbly submit my mortification for your review. Let us begin with the Diagram of Shame:

A. The Gaggle (Please don’t eat me for Thanksgiving Dinner.)
B. Ginormous Milk Filled Nunga Nungas (Not. Hot.)
C. The Culprit (a.k.a Hannah, The Nugget, My Extra Five Pounds)
D. Uber Fupa (like a deflated beach ball full of sand)
E. Double Knee Chins (dimples optional depending on how I’m sitting)
F. Swimmie® Arms (Perfect for floating in my sea of regret)
G. Saddle Bags (yeah, if I were an elephant)
H. The Stalker Butt (because there’s nothing like the constant feeling of being followed)

And finally, although not required my contest rules, I give you the scale:

*Cue thunder and Psycho shower scene theme music*

So what am I going to do to get back down to my goal weight of 140 lbs? For starters portion control. As a breastfeeding Mommy I need 1800 calories a day, because breastfeeding actually burns anywhere from 300 to 800 calories a day. That said…it’s not really that hard to eat 1800 calories. So, I’ve been trying to not go for that 3rd or 4th slice of pizza if you catch my drift.

Despite the fact that I really want that $75 prize for losing the most pounds, the scale is not the most important thing to me right now. My deflated body really needs to be toned up. I was a runner before I got pregnant and pitifully talked myself into a completely sedentary pregnancy in the name of protecting the baby. Now that I realize I never should have stopped running it is tempting to get out and try to run 3 miles on the first day. I know from experience, however, that is just asking for shin splints, wrecked knees, and quitter inducing soreness. So I am doing the Couch to 5K program and have already completed the first week.

I’ll go into more detail on the C25K program in the weeks to come, as it is one of the best beginners running programs that I have ever done. For now, here’s wishing all of us ladies luck and many pounds lost in the weeks to come.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Hannah Jane Lam

Hannah Jane

Born at Saint Joseph East
August 4, 2009
12:55 PM
5 pounds 7 ounces
18 inches

She has beautiful brown eyes.
She is teeny tiny.
She had jaundice and had to go back to the hospital.
She likes being swaddled.
But mostly so she can break out of it.
Mommy calls her little bean.
And little bit.
Daddy calls her little punk.
Just like he calls Kayla and Mommy.
She has a very special family.
And likes to look people right in the eyes.
She will hold your pinky while she's eating.
And she is very sneaky at meal time.
She acts like she's sucking, but doesn't drink a bite.
She hates being completely naked.
Which makes diaper changes loud.
Sometimes she drinks too fast.
Mommy already had to use the bulb aspirator once.
And it scared Mommy to death.
She prefers breast milk to formula.
Which is fortunate since Mommy is a dairy cow.
She has adorable fuzzy hair.
And didn't cry when Mommy washed it.
She makes faces just like her Daddy.
Especially when she toots.
Which she does quite a bit.
She had a million clothes when she came home.
But didn't fit in any of them.
So now she has a million and a half clothes.
She always wants to be held.
And falls asleep on Mommy.
And makes Mommy cry with joy.

We are totally in love with her already.

And Mommy hopes she knows it...

Monday, June 22, 2009

Already understanding the fear of a parent...

As many of you know, about 3-4 weeks before Memorial Day I started having nagging kidney pain. The pain got progessively worse and after a trip to the ER, I was diagnosed with a urinary tract infection, was given antibiotics, and was then sent home. I had a follow up appointment with my high risk doctor, and since the pain was still there, there seemed to be a little bacteria left in my urine, and my amniotic fluid was kind of low he felt I needed to spend a couple of days in the hospital to get IV fluids and antibiotics.

I spent six days in the hospital and underwent a gamut of tests when the pain still would not subside. I had an ultrasound, which showed fluid on my kidney. This is the first time I was introduced to what has now become my least favorite word in the English language: hydronephrosis. I was assured that this was not serious and was very common in pregnant women, because the baby and/or the uterus itself can push on the ureters and cause fluid to back up into the kidney. Eventually they did urinalysis, which showed that the infection had cleared up. This led to an IVP, which showed moderate hydronephrosis, but no blockage.

I met with a urologist on Memorial Day. I will say this. The concept that you are who you hang around has never rung more true than during my recent encounters with urologists. Apparently, if you spend enough time around become one.

But I digress.

The urologist told me that the only thing they could really do for my pain was to surgically place a stent in my urinary tract. He cautioned however that the stent could cause more pain the hydronephrosis. With this information and the advice of my high risk doctor, I decided to forego the surgery and just try to tough the pain out.

A few more weeks went by and the pain itself didn't worsen much, but the toll that the constant nature of the pain was starting to take a toll on me mentally. My primary doctor, whom I love and trust with my life, felt that the doctors were not being as forthcoming with all the information as they could be. She felt that without intervention 12 weeks to my due date was too long to wait and I was risking losing my kidney or going into premature labor from infection or the pain. I told her I had a standing appointment with a different urologist than jerkwad from the hospital, and I would discuss getting the stent.

I did not make it to that appointment.

This past Monday, the pain was following it's typical pattern. Virtually non-existent that morning, right after I woke up. Started nagging around 11:00 am. Became more intense in the afternoon. But by dinner time, I just couldn't take it anymore. My mom took me to the ER and they gave me dealudin (sp??), which immediately relieved my pain. All of my doctors were on vacation: my primary doc, my high risk doc, and the urologist I was supposed to be seeing in a couple of weeks. So I got assigned to the on-call OB, who was lovely and felt that we had officially reached stent time. She got a urology consult and the urologist seemed nice enough and said they would do the stent surgery the next day.

I was on cloud nine. Finally, the hope of some relief from the constant pain. I spent the night and the next day in triage (too many pregnant ladies to get a real room). They came and got me around 4:00 and took me to pre-op. I layed in pre-op or a couple of hours, because they "couldn't find" my urologist. Everyone was there: the anesthesiologist, the surgical nurses, the labor and delivery urologist. How does that happen?

The urologist finally decided to grace us all with his presence. He seemed alarmingly hyper to me and practically forced me to say I wanted to be discharged immediately after the surgery. I kind of muttered, "You are the doctor, if you think I am well enough to discharge me afterwards then go ahead."

Cue the anesthetic black out.

As soon as I came to, I knew something was wrong. First of all, what woke me up was myself vomiting. I told them beforehand to load me up with enough anti-nausea medicine to kill a cow, but it still wasn't enough. When I finally stopped vomiting, I couldn't I started screaming I couldn't breath. The post-op folks sprung into action and started giving me oxygen and trying to get me to calm down and tell them my name and my birthday and what year it was....these questions become terrifying when you start to realize that they are being asked to keep you concious.

When I finally regained some control of my breathing, it hit me. I am in horrifying pain. And it's not my kidney. It's my bladder.

The only way I can describe it is that you feel like you have been holding your urine for weeks and have been unable to empty your bladder. I started having violent bladder spasms and a complete psychological breakdown. All my stoicism, all my pep talks melted away and I just started bawling. I bawled loud and proud and didn't care who heard me.

I later found out that the urologist had gone out and had a nice long talk with my parents and my husband. He answered all their questions, told them I'd be a little sore and might feel like I needed to urinate for a while, but that everything went great. He then sped off in his BMW, presumably to return to whatever activity made him forget about my surgery in the first place.

I never even got to talk to him.

Obviously, even though the urologist had signed off on my discharge the OB doc was not going to let me go home in the state I was in. They were trying everything they could to stop the spasms and keep me from going into the labor. I was in that much pain. It was a night of bedpans, morphine pumps, antispasm shots, antispasm pills, heating pads...on and on.

By the next day, I still had the urgency, but I had calmed down. A morphine pump will do that to you. I was trying to tough out the constant feeling of having to urinate, but when they discharged me that evening, I started my bawl fest again, because I knew that I still wasn't right.

And worst of all...

My kidney still hurt.

I gave it three days.

Some might say I should have toughed it out longer and given the stent more time to work. But when I called the urology office to ask questions like 1) is this normal? 2) how long should I expect to feel like this? 3) is there anything else I can take?.... the urologist was too busy to call me back. Instead, he had his receptionist call me back to say he had called me in some ditropan. That's it. That's all I got.

I tried the ditropan. It didn't work. The OB who saw me in the hospital called me in some spasm medicine that seemed to help the night I spent in the hospital. It didn't work. I was chugging water by the gallons. It wasn't helping.

So Friday night I was done. I called the urologist and said I wanted the stent out. He was extremely annoyed and rude, but I didn't care. I wanted it out. He said he couldn't take it out, because he wasn't in the office. I told him I would go the ER and get a different urologist then. He said I "didn't need another urologist" and to go the ER and meet one of his residents over there and he would take it out. Three hours later, I was stent free, but still spasming. I spent the night at home vomiting and scared and the weekend slowly recovering.

It is now Monday. And I am waiting for the urologist to return my call. I'd venture to say I can expect a call either at 5:00 when his office closes or later this week, based on his previous interest in treating me. I am still experiencing a little bladder discomfort, but everyday it gets a little better. The kidney pain, on the other hand, is back in full force.

Which brings me to my laundry list of fears.

1) I am afraid they will take my baby early. I've heard everything bantered around from 32 weeks to 38 weeks, but no one saying 40 weeks.

2) I am afraid I will lose my kidney if I leave the hydronephrosis untreated.

3) I am afraid of the stent alternative - a tube in my back and carrying my pee around with me everywhere in a bag.

Here is the breakdown of my medical professionals opinion:

Primary Care OB - Wanted me to get the stent and was concerned about me losing my kidney. To date, however, she has never seen an ultrasound of my kidney. She also has no idea that I had the stent surgery and subsequent stent removal.

High Risk OB - Did not want me to get the stent surgery until he saw my follow up kidney ultrasound at 26 weeks preggo. Then he referred me to a urologist, who couldn't see me for four weeks, because he would be on vacation. (so not a lot of urgency)

First Urologist I saw on Memorial Day - Didn't seem to think stent was all that necessary, except to help with the pain. In fact, he pretty much talked me out of getting the stent.

Second Urologist I saw who performed my stent surgery - Also never really said the stent surgery was necessary, beyond pain management. When we had our spat on the phone Friday night, he actually said, "I put the stent in because that is what the ER OB and your High Risk OB wanted me to do."

Family friend The Nephrologist - said I am well on my way to losing my kidney. He also has never seen an ultrasound of my kidney though, and is just going by my story thus far.

So, I am in a sea of confusion. I don't know which way is up, if I did that right thing getting the stent, if I did the right thing getting the stent out, what I should do now, how much urgency I should be putting on follow up appointments, am I weeks from losing my kidney?, days?, is "losing my kidney" not even really a fear of the urologists and just a fear of my baby doctors?.......

But my prevailing fear...what is going to happen to little Hannah Jane? Have I hurt her putting her through these surgeries and all the accompanying meds? What about the pain killers and morphine? Have I done irreversible damage to her? Is she scared? Is she in pain too?

And what if they really want to take her early? Will the fact that I couldn't suck it up and deal with the pain of the stent mean that my baby girl could have all the issues of a premie? breathing problems? mental disabilities? Could I live with myself?

Here's what I need to know:

Could I really lose my kidney?
If so, how long before I need to intervene?
Would conservative treatments like bed rest and staying on my left side be effective?
What do I have to do to keep my baby inside where she is safe and kicking for the next ten weeks?

Please keep Hannah Jane in your thoughts and prayers. I am turning this one over to the big guy. I am done. I am out of fight. I surrender.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Worry Box

A therapist once suggested that a patient create a "Worry Box". Basically, you wrote down all the things that you were worried about on sheets of paper, and you gave yourself an allotted amount of time each day (i.e. 15 minutes) to open the box, read the sheets of paper, and....well....worry about them!

I always thought it was a stupid idea, because I know myself and I would not quit worrying just because I closed the box lid. Lately, though, with these uncontrollable pregnancy hormones and being in pain...I AM SO CREATING A WORRY BOX! Here are the sheets of paper that will probably make the box:

1) The volatile situation with my step daughter's mother
2) Whether or not, I will be a good mother
3) What if I don't like the baby? (I know. Particularly stupid, but it's up there in my cerebrum)
4) Did we make a mistake buying a more expensive house?
5) Are we going to be able to afford this baby?
6) I can't find the energy to get everything done that needs to be done (take cats to the vet, clean the house, make dinner)
7) My kidney hurts and will continue to hurt for the next 14 1/2 weeks
8) What if they fire me, because I need special treatment for being pregnant?

The last one has been the biggest one lately, because it pretty much ties in with all of my other worries. The financial pressure of this economy, and the disastrous nightmare of either my husband or I losing our job right now, is a constant nagging worry.

In fact, I'm getting back to work now. I'll let you know how the worry box goes.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Updates from the Fat Lady

I know I've been a bad blogger. God and I are creating a life. I've been busy.

On to the updates:

1) I am in my new house and I luuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuurve it. My hubby says he still hasn't quite gotten over the feeling of being in "someone else's house", but I settled in day one. This is the house where I will raise my children. This is my house where I will grow old. Did I mention I love it?

2) I am 24 weeks and 1 day pregnant and officially had my first scare. This is a long one:

So beginning Friday I started having a stabbing, nagging, aching pain behind my back right ribs I thought maybe my bra was too tight, or I was just having normal back pain, or whatever. By Sunday, I finally broke down and called my doctor (so far have not made any weekend calls). She told me to go straight to the ER, because they needed to check my kidneys, liver, and gall bladder.
I still felt like I could make it until the following day, but decided I better listen to her (imagine that). So DH and I head to the ER at 10:00 Sunday night. There were like a million people in the waiitng room and I thought, "Great, I'll be here for hours waiting to be seen."
So I go up to the girl at the counter and barely get out the following, "I am here because I'm having pain in my back and my doctor told me to tell you I was 24 weeks pregnant.." and this girl's eyes get as big as saucers and she says, "Did you say pregnant. OH, We need to get you upstairs!!!"
So I start trying to explain that I am not in labor, but she pages this kid with a wheelchair anway. I started to argue with him that I could walk by myself and didn't need a wheelchair, but then my husband gave me the death ray and I enjoyed a 100 mile an hour ride up to labor and delivery. IT WAS SO EMBARASSING.
But then it quickly turned to scary when they started hooking me up to all these monitors and doing swabs to see if I was in preterm labor and taking urine. That's when it hit me.
There is a baby in here and SHE is going to decide when she's coming out, not ME. I've been treating this pregnancy like this vacation I have been planning for and now I realize that anything can happen for the next 16 weeks. YIKES!!
Fortunately, four hours later they finally determine that I have a kidney infection. A kidney infection can cause pre-term labor, so I guess it is more serious in a pregnant person. I got the eight millionth lecture this pregnancy about not drinking enough water and I will definitely be taking it more seriously now. Also, whenever I go the ER from now on, I am going to tell them I'm pregnant. It's like a line jump pass at a theme park!
3) I STILL HAVE A KIDNEY INFECTION. They told me it could take 2-3 days for the pain to start subsiding when the antibiotics kicked'S WEDNESDAY!!!! Can we kick in already??? It feels like I am being stabbed repeatedly in the kidney.
Someone out there has a voo doo doll with a shock of my hair pinned to it.
That's all I'm saying.

Friday, April 17, 2009


I have three countdowns on my desktop.

1) A countdown to finding out the baby's gender. Currently sitting at 6 days 3 hours 45 minutes and 42 seconds.

2) A countdown to closing on our house we are selling and the house we are buying. A.k.a. MOVING DAY. Currently sitting at 12 days 22 hours 44 minutes and 47 seconds.

3) A countdown to the birth of our little one. Currently sitting at 4 months 21 days 10 hours 43 minutes and 29 seconds. (but then only one person really knows on this one, and he ain't talkin!)

Some days these countdowns seem like A LONG TIME AWAY. Other days they seem frighteningly close. My assistant told me yesterday, "Just think about it. If you save a penny a day, you will only have a $1.43 when the baby is born."

Thanks, Anthony.

You're fired.

There are things for which I wish I had a countdown. Like a countdown to the first real kick. I have been feeling the baby move, but not a good solid elbow or forearm or judo chop.

How about a countdown to the first smile. Or the day I master breastfeeding. Or to the day when our new house really feels like home.

Lately, I feel like all I do is wait. And when I wait...I worry. So I have to find distractions.

Currently, my biggest distraction is Some for the articles. But mostly....


You have not seen hormones until you see a bunch of pregnant women at the same stage of pregnancy typing away on an internet forum to people that they know they will never have to actually meet or talk to in person.

Holy Cat Fight, Batman!

Here are some surprising topics that you may not realize cause pregnant women to LOSE THEIR MINDS:

1) To circumcise or not to circumcise.

Oddly this seemingly completely arbitrary choice causes pregnant women to become completely enraged at one another. If you are planning to circumcise your son, then you are a foreskin murderer with no regard for your son's personal wishes or the way nature intended his body to be. You are dooming him to a life of desensitized sex and, the best one I heard yesterday, "he will never be able to walk naked through the woods like his ancestors, without fear of branches or animals hiding in tall grasses."

Yes. That is a quote.

If you are planning to leave your son intact, then you are a lazy, hippy, tree hugging mother who will have a son who will constantly smell, get infections, and no woman will ever want to touch him. You are dooming your son to a life of locker room ridicule and giving every person he sleeps with a yeast infection and aids.


At the end of the day, whichever study you want to stand behind, there are pros and cons to either decision. Pick one and calm down.

2) Breastfeeding

Here is another one, where you are darned if you do and darned if you don't. The pressure to breastfeed is something that comes from all directions. Parents. Grandparents. Medical professionals. Magazines. Television. And the upstanding ladies on

Here's how this one breaks down.

If you breastfeed then you are hippy.
If you don't breastfeed then you are the devil.
If you tried to breastfeed and failed, then you were not trying hard enough.


Breastfeeding is a completely personal choice and I know plenty of people who were not breastfed and turned out perfectly fine. (i.e. my wonderful self) I also happen to know people who were breastfed and have a host of medical problems. (i.e. my DH who was breastfed until he was like 2!)

It is indisputable that breastfeeding is beneficial to newborns and infants. It is also indisputable that human milk can never be completely replicated by even the most expensive commercial formula. That being said, it is also not the end of the world when someone can't or chooses not to breastfeed. If breastfeeding is going to become a source of stress and anxiety for mommy then I think that inhibits the ability to successfully bond with baby, and then aren't you really doing more harm than good?

I am going to give breastfeeding the good old college try, but the minute things start going south I am slapping that formula bottle in the kids mouth and calling it a day. Period.

3) SAHM or WM

For those of you not well acquainted with tech-mom speak, SAHM = Stay at home mom and WM = Working mom.

I am a feminist. I am what is called a social feminist. I believe that all roles that men and women play should be equally valued. A woman's role as a contributing member to the workforce is just as valuable as a woman's role as a good mommy. These are certainly not mutually exclusive roles to play. And by the year 2009, I would have thought that most people would be on board with me.....

but I was wrong.

The amount of stones being thrown at working moms in this forum is unbelievable. People quote all sorts of notables in their arguments: Dr. Phil, Dr. Laura, Rush Limbaugh.

You know. Experts.

They say that working moms are selfish. That you should be willing to adjust your lifestyle to be with your kids. That your kids will be irreparably harmed by your absence. That it would be better to be on live in a two bedroom not have use food use live with other family buy your kids clothes at Goodwill.....on and on and on......

The language used is very telling. "Dumping your kids at daycare." "Having your kids raised by strangers." etc.

I hardly think that given the amount of time, research, and energy that most women put into finding childcare that it could be considered "dumping" or "strangers". It is simply not economically feasible for some women to work. Period.

If I could stay home, I would.

I can't.

So, I will find the best childcare I can possibly afford and when I am with my babies I will lavish all the love and attention I have stored up in my body to make up for the time I spend away.

And no one is going to make me feel guilty for that.

Which is really where all of this comes from.

Guilt and fear.

Mothers are held to an impossible standard. We are endowed with the unrelenting weight of creating human beings that will thrive and flourish in the world. We are creators. That is a big deal.

So, I guess it is natural that we get overly defensive of our positions on those questions that have no good answers. Because we desperately want reassurance that we are right. Because God help us if we are wrong.

Distractions. Distractions.

How will I come out on the other side?

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Firstborn Child...Dachshund....whichever....

I had to report my first semi-offensive pregnancy comment. This goes out to you Ashley.

So I'm at a tradeshow working our company's booth. It's pretty obvious at this point that I am pregnant, as I have a small soccer ball developing under my shirt. So people are being polite and asking me about my pregnancy and when I am due etc. Then one person asks, "Is this your first?"

I reply politely, "Yes, this is our first. We are very excited."

Then they say, and I quote, "Well our dachshund is getting ready to do her first trial competition and we are really excited too."

Did they just compare my kid to their dachschund?


Oh well. I'm a dog person. I get it.

In other news, I killed a goose. By accident. And frankly I don't know if I really killed it, because it disappeared. Two geese flew out in front of my truck. I felt impact and saw a puff of feathers. When I looked back in horror, though, all I saw was a few feathers floating through the sky and his little friend standing in the middle of the road dumbfounded. I frantically raced to my husband's body shop to see if maybe he was just caught under my truck and could possibly be resuscitated. But he was nowhere to be found...

and the pregnant lady...

Cried all the way to Cincinnati.

More news to come. Appraisers and Realtors and Brokers, Oh My!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

You Can't Have My Teeth

I took post civil war history in college. It was a required class. It was also at 8:00 AM. So, needless to say, I only remember two things from that class.

1) My best friend turning to me on the first day of class and asking fervently, "Now, who won the civil war again?"

2) My professor telling us one of the Great Depression stories that he collected to write his book.

It went a little something like this. Old Farmer lives with wife. Depression hits. Old Farmer begins schlepping his wife's teeth to the fields every day. Why? So she wouldn't eat all the food while he was gone.

I truly feel that we are on the cusp of another serious depression. I just feel it in my bones. Everything is more expensive. My friends are losing jobs left and right. The housing market is in the toilet. Government is a complete joke right now from the president all the way down to my city council person.

Let's look at this logically.

In the little government microcosm that is Lexington, KY, we all depend on the different branches of government for different things. So let me thank those departments who have filled me with such confidence in the ability of public officials to handle the more important aspects of our species survival:

Thank you, Lexington Department of Sanitary Sewers. Thanks to you, I get to smell poop approximately 325 days out of the year. As if the smell did not fill me with enough gratitude, you also managed to overflow the pump station behind my house. How fondly I recall coming home to men in hasmat suits in my backyard and then learning that the spill killed some fish in a nearby creek and caused everyone's water bill to go up. Good job, Charlie Martin. Thank you.

Thank you, K.C. Crosbie. Thank you for responding so effectively to my district's needs and concerns. I have had many a delightful phone conversation with your legal aid about the fact that my neighborhood smells like your butt crapped out another butt. You have always been too busy to return any of my phone calls and also couldn't be bothered to even show up at the question and answer forum during last fall's city council election. Presumably, you were out trying to fix the pump station. Thank you, K.C. Thank you.

Thank you, Lexington Department of Water Quality for at least having the decency to lie to me and tell me that, although the pump station flooded mere yards from the reservoir, my water was still safe to drink and shower in.

Thank you, LFUCG police department. Thank you for never responding to calls about things that actually happen in my neighborhood, like dogs being chained up and left to bark for hours on end or neighbors who throw trash in my yard. I thank you because you show up when it really matters. Like when my dad, with his conceal and carry permit, has the audacity to look at his handgun in his parked car. You managed to have him cuffed and searched in less time than it takes for my neighbor to beat his wife into submission in their driveway. And even less time than it took for the sex offender to get moved in across the street. Thanks, guys. You're the best.

Thank you, Lexington KY Animal Control. Actually I guess I should just direct my thanks to the one guy who is running Animal Control from his house with a cell phone. Not only have you never followed up on my neighborhood's complaints about certain people's dogs running amuck through the streets and barking from 3:00 in the morning until 11:00 at night, but you show so much dedication that the last time I called you were taking a crap when you answered the phone. Bravo, Lexington KY Animal Control Guy. We thank you.

Thank you, Lexington Health Department. When I called to notify you that the illegal halfway house for mentally retarded people next door to me had started throwing their used medical waste in my yard, you responded three days later by telling me that the trash posed a contagious illness risk, what with the bloody, pussy gauze and used adult diapers strewn throughout my yard. And you were also kind enough to inform me that it was not the responsibility of the health department to clean it up, but rather mine since it was my yard. How grateful I felt while I tried to scoop urine stained Depends and perhaps even an HIV laden gauze into a trash bag with a stick. And how much more grateful still while I poured chlorox bleach onto my bare hands as an alternative to amputation. Thank you, Lexington Health Department. Thank you.

Thank you, Lexington Building Inspector. When I called to report that a medical halfway house was being run in a residential neighborhood and, in fact, next door to me, you clickety clicked with such fury to discover that, Egads!, they did not have a business license to be running such a facility. And armed with this information you boldly...did absolutely nothing. I thank you Building Inspector. And the nurses who smoke pot on the back porch while the mentally handicapped tenants scream inside thank you too. They still have a place to work. And smoke out.

Thank you, Lexington Department of Solid Waste. I love walking three doors down in the rain to collect my herbie and rosey from the middle of the street. One day I hope to see how you are able to launch it with such awesome trajectory.

Thank you, Lexington Department of Transportation. I look forward to being stuck behind your bus parked in the middle of my street every morning while you incorrectly load wheelchair users from next door for half an hour. I try to never be on time to work when I can help it.

Since it seems I have run out of departments to be failed by, a blanket thank you to all of the Lexington Fayette Urban County Government. Your complete ineptitude is inspiring.

So if this is the level of competency that I can expect from my local government, I am thrilled that our president is signing us up for more government than we already have now. Please be in charge of my health care, my drinking water, my natural disaster relief, and my military. With any luck my house will be burnt to the ground, I'll get to live under a bridge, and my children will be educated by the Game Warden, who will have been the only one in government not to bankrupt his department.

Just one thing...

When all this happens...


Wednesday, February 25, 2009

The Fat Lady Is Still With Us

I have been a terrible blogger and an even worse author (Demise is still in the works, almost another chapter done), but I have been very preoccupied. Pregnancy has already been a roller coaster and I am only 12 weeks along. One day I will feel awesome and almost bored with being pregnant because nothing is happening. The next day I will gag at the smell of my shampoo and realize I have not had a bowel movement in 4 days. Of the many things that they DON'T tell you about being pregnant ("they", of course, referring to the evil cult of women known as "mothers" who are trying to suck you in and make you drink the sugar free coolaid), the one thing that has shocked me the most is how exhausted it makes you. I feel like I could fall asleep in the middle of this sfdskljaflkdjsalkfsdjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjj

Okay sorry, I'm back and I'm sure the keyboard outlines on my forehead will fade soon.

Besides growing my little bean, here's what else I've been up to (mostly TV shows I am currently obsessed with):

1) Top Chef - I just have five words. STEFAN, YOU ARE GOING DOWN. Stefan is the last remaining member of team "Euro" having been born in Finland and raised in Germany and has been a complete arse the entire show. If Stefan wins tonight I will never watch this show again. Okay, I will watch the show again, but I won't like it. Seriously, how can a person be from Finland and have such a superiority complex to Americans? Can anyone name something that Finland has contributed to the world? Anybody?

2) Real Housewives - Atlanta, New York, OC, I love them all! There is nothing that fills me with more joy than watcing a bunch of classless, catty biotches duke it out over the title of queen high terd. My favorite line so far this year comes from RHNYC:

"No, I'm sorry. The Countess does not drink beer from a bottle."

Countess, I will tell you what I have told many people who live in an imaginary world of their own making. No matter how important or significant or superior you think you are...there are 2 billion Chinese people who don't care.

3) Chicken Tika Masala - I have not had any chicken tika masala in a while, but it is all I think about when I am hungry. My cruel husband won't eat Indian food, because he says the colors are unappetizing. Will I ever get any chicken tika masala? Will I go my whole pregnancy without tasting the delicious, spicy, tomatoey, creamy goodness? Guess I'll have to wait and see.

4) Lost - yep. That's what I am. What in the world is going on? And when will I watch an episode that makes me NOT ask that question?

That's it for now. I'll try to be a better blogger and give you more than this drivel today. Just thought I should throw something out there for prosperity.

Friday, February 13, 2009

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Wednesday, February 4, 2009

A Pre-Valentine

I am not a girl who believes that women should have to do ANYTHING for Valentine's Day. In fact, I am pretty much against the holiday in it's entirety. All that you are doing is setting yourself up for disappointment. If your significant other does something stupid for Valentine's Day then he RUINED the most romantic day of the year. However, if he does something wonderful then you wonder why he "only does stuff like that on Valentine's Day"!


However, this year, I decided that I would do something for my hubby. But I am calling it a Pre-Valentine, as the only thing I will be doing on Valentine's Day is being worshiped and adored.

I made him a book. A book of my photos. A book of our memories. Each page has a little special nugget from our life together thus far. A matchbook from the Salty Dog Cafe. A scorecard from the Robert Trent Jones Golf Course. Etc. Here are the pages from said book. You can click them to enlarge. Enjoy...

Friday, January 30, 2009

Where has the time gone...

I have been a bad blogger. But I have a very good excuse.

I'm pregnant!

8 weeks and 1 day to be precise.

Here's the rundown of symptoms:

1. Sore boobies - this was worse in the beginning, now it comes and goes.
2. T-I-R-E-D - you cannot believe how physically draining pregnancy is, at least in the first trimester. There for about 3 weeks it was all I could do to keep my body erect at the computer. You just want to lay down and never get up again. Here about week 8 though I am FINALLY starting to get some energy back, so hopefully that means that my hormones are evening out.
3. Nauseous - just a little bit throughout the day. The only thing that helps is constantly snacking, which is going to catch up with me sooner than later, see #4.
4. The Pooch - yes, the waistline is already getting thicker. Since my baby is only the size of a kidney bean, I can hardly blame it on him.

That's about it. So I would say I am definitely one of the lucky ones. I wouldn't really say I am having cravings in the sense that I want ONE food, but I am definitely picky. Mostly because of the nausea. There will be about one thing per day that I HAVE to HAVE or else.

Of course....

I wouldn't be me without a little drama.

So here is how my little Kidney Bean's first 8 weeks of life have gone:

1) The first week that I found out I was pregnant, I started having stabbing, aching pains in my right shoulder blade. So of course, after much neurotic searching on the internet, I had diagnosed myself with ectopic pregnancy. One emergency trip to the gyno and here is my little nugget at 4 weeks and 1 day:

Just a little black spot.

My doctor gave me a fervent lecture on being positive. "If you think negatively, negative things will happen," I believe were her exact words.

Clearly she knows nothing about me.

Fast forward about a week and half and all hell breaks loose at my office, when I lost my administrative assistant. I am using the word "lost" here, and trust me when I say that is a saying a mouthful. This is all in the throws of a cold for which I can't take any medication and morning sickness from which I was sure I was going to die.

That Monday, with the universe against me, I headed to the doctor with my hubby in the hopes of hearing a heartbeat. And hear it we did. Here is our little nugget at 6 weeks and 1 day:

135 bpm. Slow and steady. "Maybe a boy..." my doctor says. The heartbeat is amazing to hear, like pounding hoof beats. But I have to say that the only thing cooler than hearing the heartbeat is SEEING the heartbeat. My sister said it best. It looks like a little twinkling star on the ultrasound. Breathtaking.

Armed with my good news I head back to the office to find out some bad news. My former assistant has blown the whistle on my pregnancy to my boss in what I can only imagine was some pathetic attempt to get me in trouble.

Soapbox, please.


Women have a difficult enough time navigating the murky waters of the workforce, without getting pregnant. Pregnancy and family, however, make the waters even murkier than they already are. To take away my right to announce my pregnancy to my employer at the time and place of my choosing is not only a violation of me personally, but it is traitorous to ALL women. Furthermore, to use my child to further some sinister and malevolent agenda makes her not much better than a child molester. All I've got to say is give your heart to God, because your ass belongs to Karma, Lady. I pity you.

Okay, you can put the soapbox away now.

So, after an awkward discussion about family planning and trying to answer questions that I don't even know the answers to yet, that little nightmare is over.

Onto the next nightmare.

Our company website gets hacked.

Picture Office Space and the TPS reports. We have about 75 employees in the company. I think I heard on a daily basis from 73 of them, letting me know the website was "broken". We are still sorting out the website issue....

When the ice storm hits and knocks out my power for three days.


So the poor little Kidney Bean.

I am trying so hard to remain zen and give him the most relaxing and soothing environment possible that I have actually been seeing an anxiety specialist to learn diaphragmatic breathing techniques.

I will get through this and come out the other side a stronger person.

So that's my story and I'm sticking to it. I am sure there will be many many many updates to come, but for now, check out my little widget to the right. That's about what my baby looks like right now. Freaky, huh?