Saturday, September 24, 2011

Now It's Time To Say Goodbye

We are leaving on Saturday morning. We've booked our moving truck, set up installation for cable and internet and turned on the gas and electricity. I am looking forward to being near my family but there's definitely things about northern Michigan that I'll miss.

  • The quietness. The sounds of trains blowing their horns, car alarms going off in the middle of the night, ambulances, fire trucks, police sirens...we don't hear those kinds of things here.

  • The safety. This is a doors-left-unlocked kind of place. We don't generally have to worry about crime. And it's very unlikely that a serial killer would accidentally stumble upon our house at night because it's so dark around here you can't even see our house at night! P.S. Serial killers do accidentally stumble upon their victims. If you don't believe me watch this episode of Dateline. P.P.S. I should probably refill my Lexapro...and stop watching Dateline.

  • The stars. There are so many! Downstate we have like 5 on a clear night.

  • The fall colors. The pic in the background of this blog hasn't happened yet and we won't be here when it does. Leaves change color down there, too, except there aren't very many trees.

  • The sun setting in my backyard.

  • Being surrounded by Great Lakes.

  • Pizza from Nonna Lisa's. I can't figure out why, but it really is the best pizza ever.

  • Bloody Marys from Audie's. Olive-infused vodka, salt and pepper rim, pickle in the glass and a beer chaser! YUM!

  • Drying my clothes on a clothesline. That's such a country thing.

  • Our secret beach on Rte 2

  • The perennials that grow all over the yard.

  • The swing.

  • Ian's bright Peanuts-themed nursery. I wish there was a way to take it with us.

  • The Superman ice cream at Kilwin's. Even if it is ridiculously expensive, it's also ridiculously good! And their toasted coconut fudge is to-die!

  • My job and my coworkers, most of whom are pretty laid-back and likable, some are even lovable. I have worked with several mortal versions of satan in the past. Nobody here comes close to that.

  • My aunt's pool

  • My pediatrician and OBGYNs.

  • Seeing the hospital where Ian was born. Every time I drive by it I get a huge rush. I had the best experience there and I can't help but wonder if the "big city" hospitals are as good to their patients. I really doubt it.

  • The small population. Less people equals less traffic, less stoplights, less douchebags hogging the whole aisle at Walmart. Yes, I am definitely a fan of the small population!

  • And last but not least, I know all three of us will miss my aunt and cousins. I'm glad we got to spend the last year and half with them.
I know I complained about it endlessly last winter because it really does suck being bored, lonely and cold for 6 loooooooong months but this place has its charms and I've learned to appreciate them. And who knows, if neither of us end up finding a fantastic this-could-actually-be-a-career kind of job, we might be back up in May. Just as long as I'm far away before winter...

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Traveling With Baby 101: A+

So the funniest thing happened. Brian and I both accidentally ended up with last Friday and Saturday off. Being the weekend before our anniversary and the first time since April that Brian had two days off in one week (except when Ian was born), Brian said the last thing he wanted to do was hang out at home. Then he mentioned that he'd never been to Chicago. In fact, he'd never been to a big city at all. Ever! And that's just unacceptable!

It all happened so fast. One minute it was just an idea and an hour later we were using my employee discount to book a room at Comfort Suites. Only $35 including a hot breakfast and a free shuttle service. I mean, with a deal like that how could we not go?

We left at 7am Friday and returned at 1am Sunday and in between was honestly some of the best hours of my whole life. I remember when I found out I was going to have a baby I thought my days of taking off on a moment's notice and flying by the seat of my pants would have to end. But I proved that to be false. We can fly together =)

Traveling with a baby isn't as hard as people think, especially since there's two of us. When he was hungry we found a place to sit down and feed him. When he needed a diaper change we found a bathroom. We had everything he could possibly need or want in the diaper bag. It was a piece of cake! Of course it helps a LOT that Ian is such a happy-go-lucky kind of guy!

The only minor inconvenience was the stroller. He isn't sitting up on his own yet and is still in the carseat/stroller contraption called a travel system which is like one size smaller than an average minivan. It doesn't go up stairs or escalators and Brian said he'd be damned if he was going to squeeze it through the doors of a bus or trolley. So we were a little limited on transportation options but still managed to get a lot accomplished on foot! On Saturday alone we walked from Willis Tower to the Hancock building and back, including stops at Millenium Park, Navy Pier and the Water Tower mall. It was like 6 miles of walking. And Ian was smiling the whole time! People were even stopping us on the street to tell us what a happy baby he is! He makes us so proud.

Not that the trip was without its disappointments. I told Brian before we got there that I had a tradition of buying a pair of jeans from Gap every time I was in Chicago. I don't spend $60 or $70 on jeans anymore but I thought maybe...if there was a clearance rack...and then we got there and *gulp* they don't carry my size anymore. Correction: They still carry the size, I just don't fit into it. I am totally going on a diet as soon as I'm laid off, I swear it!

Brian decided to carry on the tradition by buying Ian something from Gap instead. He found these pajamas without feet attached for 40% off. I told him not to. Even at 40% they were still like $14. But Brian insisted. And now I'm so glad he did because they are the softest pajamas EVER! Once we move and get settled in with a reliable income I am so ordering him a few more pairs! Pajamas are important, you know.

Another disappointment was the pee. Because we booked last minute the only room we could find in a Choice hotel was 12 miles away from downtown Chicago. On Friday night we took the subway into the city. We could only use subway stops that had elevators because of the stroller. Every elevator we got into smelled like urine. One actually had a puddle of pee on the ground. ICK!

As if that isn't bad enough, we went to Macy's Marketplace to feed and change Ian. I went into the bathroom, peeked into a stall, no good. Went to the next one, even worse. Peeked in another one, almost vomited. It was like someone had taken a hose filled with pee and put out a fire in the bathroom! This is Macy's, not Roses! Geez! I told Brian I'm going to call it Pee-cago from now on.

I know that as Ian gets older he'll become more and more of a handful and we probably won't be able to take last-minute trips like this with him. So I'm glad we had the chance to do it this once. I swear, it seems like the best trips are the ones that aren't planned. Here's some of my favorite pics from the weekend. FYI: no, we did not match our shirts on purpose! I didn't even notice until I uploaded the pics. We might call each other by pet names but we do NOT wear matching outfits.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

The Real World - Mackinaw City

Since there aren't any day care centers in MC and my mom was so excited to have her first grandchild she offered to stay with us, 300 miles from her home and her husband, to take care of Ian while we were at work.

What a little gem she was! She did more than babysit. She did Ian's laundry and washed his bottles everyday. She baked cakes, cookies and muffins which explains why I still have almost almost 30lbs of baby fat to lose. She cooked dinner. She did dishes. She woke up with Ian at 9am everyday so I could sleep in. She basically spoiled the crap out of both of us and, while it was nice, it's not real life. I'm not a celebrity. I'm not supposed to have a nanny! I'm supposed to be exhausted and emotionally drained. Instead I'm well-rested and deliriously happy 24 hours a day. Well, except for last night when I told a coworkers to Eff Off. Not even the strongest SSRI can help me tolerate a total dickwad but I can save up all that good stuff for another blog.

Even though having my mom here was a huge help to Ian, Brian and I, she couldn't stay forever and we had to take her back to her normal life on Monday. The drive downstate was our first overnight trip with Ian. I wasn't sure how many diapers he would need so I packed a whole separate bag with just diapers. Everything else was in his diaper bag. So here we are, having dinner at Olga's, everyone is just loving Ian as he dances on the table. Then we notice the back of his pants....he leaked...and it wasn't pee. No biggie though, I've got a change of clothes in the diaper bag. Except I don't have any DIAPERS because they're all in the other bag that I left at my dad's! OMG! So Brian leaves the restaurant to go to Walmart while I sit there trying not to touch his butt and make it worse. How embarrassing! My excuse: We're still learning. You can bet we won't be caught in public without a diaper ever again! But otherwise the trip went well. My dad bought a playpen to keep at his house and Ian went right to sleep in it and slept all night without so much as a stir.

Ian started sleeping through the night at 11 weeks. I don't know why or how, I guess it was just time. There are all kinds of tricks and methods of getting a baby to sleep through the night but I never paid any attention. I never had a problem getting up with him in the middle of the night. It was the only time I had to be alone with him and he usually went back to sleep as soon as he was done eating so it was no big deal. He's always been a good sleeper and now he's gotten even better at it! He must take after his mommy.

Another update: He cries real tears now! It's kind of bittersweet. It means he's developing as he should and that's a good thing. But a sad face is sad enough. Add tears and it's just heart-breaking. It's a good thing he smiles and laughs at lot more than he cries!

Sorry I have to cut this short but I have a house to pack up. I'll try to keep my few readers up to date on all things Ian when I can!

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

I Need A New Title

Remember that crapnugget of a day in March when the gas truck dropped off a $500 bill and the landlord came over and raised our rent $150 a month? I didn't mention it in my blog, but he also told us at that time that it would "work out well" for him if we moved out at the end of the season. He said he wanted to get in and do some remodeling. We figured it was for the best anyway. It was better to be forced to move on and face change than to get too comfortable and stay in a place where we're not completely happy.

I made it no secret how much I hated living here last winter so our plan was to save up money during the summer and move downstate in the fall to be near my family. We would use the savings to pre-pay a 6-month lease for an apartment while we looked for jobs. If we found some, great, we'd live happily ever after. If we didn't find decent jobs we'd move back up here in May. It's always been our intention to end up downstate eventually because I do want my parents to be close to their first grandchild, but I also really really did not want to be here for another cold, dreary, lonely, boring, poor miserable winter.

When I told my dad our plan he said it would be better to use our savings to buy a house rather than waste it on an apartment. Houses down there are super cheap right now. We thought we could pool our money together and get a "fixer-upper" and use it as an investment in the future. And, even though we had 5 months to do this, by the time we found a fixer-upper we liked we realized it needed to be fixed up before we moved in and we didn't have the time or the money to do the repairs that quickly.

That's when my dad found a house in immaculate condition that came fully furnished. It was like going to an estate sale and buying the entire estate for one low price. It has everything! All appliances, furniture, curtains, lamps, even the dishes in the cupboards! It's going to be like our very own episode of Storage Wars lol. The catch - it's not in the best neighborhood. The bright side - it's move-in ready! And my dad says the place is so spotless we could eat off the floor. Not that we would or anything...

So now we have a new plan. He's going to let us live there while he does some minor remodeling. We will continue to build our savings and keep looking for a cheap fixer-upper in a nicer neighborhood that we can make our own.

I guess I need to change the name of my blog since I won't be in Northern Michigan anymore. At least not for the winter. The first thought that came to mind was "Talkin Bout The Ghetto," but it's really not that bad. It's not a place where wealthy people live but it's mostly families who live by the you-leave-me-alone-I-leave-you-alone motto. And it's certainly better for us to save up money for a house than to throw our money away on another rental. People sometimes have to make sacrifices to get where they want. It's taking us a long time, but we'll eventually have our white-picket-fence life in the suburbs.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Bombshell Tonight!

Breaking news!

Ian is sleeping in his crib! In. His. Nursery!

I had a few teeth pulled on Thursday and was taking narcotics. It's not safe to sleep with a baby when under the influence of drugs so I really had no choice but to let him go. We got him to fall asleep in his crib with the help of his sleep bear and a pacifier. Luckily for me I was so doped up I fell asleep with no problem at all.

He woke up at 3am for a diaper change and a quick snack and, to my surprise, he fell asleep as soon as I put him back in the crib!

After his 6am feeding he was fussy. I figured the drugs had worn off so I took him to bed with me. But it was light out by then so I can still technically say that he slept in his crib for the whole night =)

Last night I guess I was super tired because Brian & I went into our room to watch Source Code and I was unconscious before the opening credits were over. I woke up to Ian crying from the nursery at 5am! He slept in there 5 hours! I gave him a bottle, put him back down, turned on the sleep bear and he fell asleep immediately. No pacifier needed.

The switch wasn't as hard as I thought it would be for either of us. The drugs were actually a blessing and came at the perfect time because they helped me relax just long enough to get used to the idea of sleeping without him. And he doesn't seem to care at all because he's sleeping just fine in there. I guess it's official - my baby has left the nest.

In other news...

I wore pants with a zipper and a button today! They are a size bigger than I used to wear. I bought them in January when I was 17 weeks pregnant so this isn't exactly a huge victory but it is a step in the right direction.

I am also proud to announce that Ian has his first set of fat rolls on his thighs! They are the cutest softest pinchable little chunks. He is growing up so fast! I've seen him laugh twice and he is starting to notice his toys and reach out for them. He holds onto his burp clothes and blankets so tightly that I can carry him around the house and he doesn't drop them. He's also started making noises. Innocent and sweet baby noises. Yesterday we laid in bed, eye to eye, and had a conversation for about 30 minutes that consisted mostly of goos and gaas. It's amazing to watch him get stronger and smarter everyday and I know he's only going to be more fun as he grows!

Here we are at Outback tonight. Look at his face. He always looks so curious.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Smiling On Demand

Ian turned 2 months old yesterday! I had to work but my mom, aunt and cousin brought Ian in to the restaurant. He enjoyed a bottle of white by the fireplace, lol.

When he was one month old he weighed barely over 7lbs and was in the 5th percentile which meant that 95% of babies his age weighed more than him. The pediatrician was concerned and tried to refer me to a nutritionist like I'm starving my kid or something. We weighed him yesterday and he's 10.4, right at the 25th percentile! I would give the dr and nutritionist the finger right now but that wouldn't be setting a good example.

Last month when he reached his one month birthday I realized I had never ordered a set of onesie stickers to mark the months so I decorated a onesie myself. I had so much fun doing it that I decided to make him a birthday onesie every month. I know I'm not all that skilled but it makes me feel good to make him something and it'll be fun to show him the onesies when he grows up. Here are the first two.

I got a little nervous on Friday when he reached the 8 week mark because I didn't feel like he was smiling at me on purpose and everything I've read said a baby should smile at his parents by two months of age. I started wondering if he was autistic. My mom told me to chill out, that he wasn't technically 2 months for 5 more days. Turns out she was right because all of a sudden he just started smiling on demand! I smile and he smiles back just about every time. The other night I smiled at him while he was eating. He couldn't smile back since he had a bottle in his mouth so he squinted his eyes at me in an "eye smile." I thought it was a fluke so I smiled again and he squinted again! I wish I had it on video, it was super sweet! I do have this on video, though.

I had my final check-up with my OB yesterday. In the waiting room they had me fill out a questionnaire to screen me for PPD. When they asked if I'm happy, if I laugh a lot, the answers were yes. I've honestly never been happier in my whole life!

But when they asked about worrying and anxiety...that's another story. I answered that I worry often. When the Dr asked what I worry about I told him SIDS, whooping cough, skin cancer from the sun, west nile virus from bug bites, I worry every time someone coughs, sneezes or when anyone other than family touches him. He asked if I thought I needed medication or if worrying is just part of who I am. I mean, I guess it's part of who I am but it's not a part that I like. I said no to the medication because it's not like I can't leave the house or anything. Though I might need to reconsider once Ian starts sleeping in his nursery.

The Dr also asked me if I needed birth control. I asked him when it would be ok for us to get pregnant again and he said we can try right now if we want! I know what he's probably thinking. Another pregnancy = another c-section = more money for him!

Oh, and speaking of c-sections, I'm pretty sure I'm 100% healed. I just wish the "swelling" would go away. I still can't get my wedding rings on. Of course, it might not be swelling at might just be that I'm fat-TER. I'm not gonna worry too much about it right now, though. I have tunnel vision for the rest of the season. I'm only concerned with my family and my job. Anything else can wait until November.

When I Have Kids, I Will Never...

I know every childless person has this list. Even if they never intended on having kids, they still have a list of all the things they would never do if they did.

It starts when they are little and their parents do something terrible to them, like take away their allowance because they didn't finish their chores. "When I have kids I will NEVER do that!" they scream, as they run into their bedroom and slam the door.

Once they get into high school and all of their friends start having kids the list gets longer. They sit back and observe all these parents make all these mistakes, all the while making a note on their mental checklist. Some of them go one step above and actually say it out loud. I don't think I was ever that obnoxious. But I did have a list.

Now that I'm no longer childless I have started a new list. It's called "All The Things I Swore I'd Never Do That I Ended Up Doing." I know the list will grow but this is what I have so far.

1. I will never spit on my kid's face.

I believe it was day 3 when I broke this rule. Ian had something on his face so I licked my finger and wiped it off. I felt bad when I realized what I'd done. I always hated this when I was younger. I'm going to try really hard to use face wipes instead!

2. I will never use baby talk.

I know that babies learn to speak by listening to others and I know they will copy the sounds they hear so I understand how important it is that they learn to speak properly. Besides that, baby talk is super annoying. But I have caught myself telling him I wuv him a few times.

3. I will never have one of those babies who have to be held all the time.

I'm not sure if I made a mistake here or if he was just born this way, but he likes attention. He will sit in his bouncer, swing or on a blanket for maybe 5 minutes before he starts to scream. And all it takes to stop the screaming is to pick him up and love on him. So that's what I do. People tell me he is spoiled but I don't care. I didn't try to conceive for 2 years, go through 37 weeks and 6 days of pregnancy including 8 weeks of bedrest just to have a baby so I could sit here and watch him cry! WTH? And what is the point of that anyway? Am I supposed to be teaching him a lesson that the world is cruel and he's on his own? No way. Spoiled or not, my baby is never going to feel alone and unloved as long as I can help it.

4. I will never sleep with my baby.

This one is definitely my mistake. I'm ashamed of myself because I actually know someone who rolled over and smothered her baby and I have always gotten on my friends' cases for doing this. It didn't start off this way. He started off in a bassinet on Brian's side of the bed because it didn't fit on my side. When he woke up in the middle of the night I would change him, feed him, and put him back in the bassinet. I would stand there and stare at him for a few minutes to make sure he was sleeping, all the while wondering if I would literally pass out and hoping that if I did I would fall into the bed and not into the mirror on the wall. Once I thought he was in a deep sleep I'd get back into bed and try to get comfortable which is no easy task for someone who just had abdominal surgery and I swear as soon as I was comfortable he was awake and crying again. I tried swaddling and that worked well until summer finally kicked in up here. Even though I have the lightest swaddling blankets they are still too heavy when it's 95 and we have no air conditioning! We tried the sleep machine and that helped put him to sleep but didn't help keep him asleep. So after a few weeks of exhaustion I gave up and took the easy way out. I put him in bed next to me and he slept for 5.5 hours straight. I woke up, saw that it was light outside, and panicked thinking I'd killed him but no, there he was, his cute little face smiling at me in his sleep...and I was hooked. People say this is a hard habit to break the babies of but I think it's harder to break the parents. I woke up this morning and Ian was lying next to me ON HIS STOMACH! I flipped out. Babies can die from that. So I know I need to move him to the crib because it's a firmer mattress and Brian is going to move the crib into our room. I just can't imagine having him in his crib in the nursery at the other end of the house. I would seriously have a panic attack.

P.S. I did some research on safe co-sleeping and we take every precaution to keep him safe. I would also like to point out that the risk of SIDS is NOT higher when babies are in bed with parents. SIDS is when babies die from an unknown reason. A baby being smothered by parents or bedding is not an unknown reason.

Here's the remnants of the previous list. It'll be interesting to see how many of them get broken.

* I will never take my child in public in only his underwear (this includes diapers)
* I will NOT under any circumstances have a "screamer." I understand screaming at the playground or Chuck E Cheese but random screaming every 5 minutes WILL NOT HAPPEN!
* My child will not drink soda except on very special occasions.
* I will not ever appear drunk in front of my children.
* When we go out to eat I will bring my own entertainment for my kids, not expect the server to provide it and then complain to them that the kids are getting restless because they are starving and the food is taking so long. If the kids are restless that is YOUR fault, not mine! And if you wanted fast food you should have gone to a fast food restaurant! Oh, sorry, didn't mean for that to turn into a rant, lol.
* My kids will not use pacifiers past 6 months of age. BTW, Ian doesn't use a pacifier yet. I'm thinking about giving him one at night because it's safer but one thing I can't stand is seeing a toddler walking and talking and sucking on a pacifier.

Oh, and for all who don't see pics of Ian on FB almost he is!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

The Game of Life

I went back to work on Sunday at 5 weeks 2 days post-op. I was supposed to wait until 6 weeks but that would have put me starting on the Friday of a yacht race weekend so I cheated a little. What's a few days anyway?

I wasn't excited to go back. I was enjoying my lazy days with Ian and I wasn't 100% sure that I was healed enough. And even a perfectly healthy me is afraid of that place sometimes! But there are only 3.5 months left of the season and I needed to start making money! They added me to the schedule for Monday but the boss called Sunday, said they were shorthanded and asked me if I could be there in an hour. It was perfect because I didn't have time to be nervous! I realized after the first few hours that nothing was hurting. I actually felt better being up and active than I had being a lump at home! Plus I was making money for my family which made me feel more worthy as a person.

Now that I've finished my first week my feet hurt worse than ever before in my life but otherwise I'm feeling good. Can't say that I'm looking good though. I didn't spend a lot of time looking in mirrors for the last 8 months but now that I'm back to work I try to look presentable. I was getting ready the other day and noticed that I had two ginormous zits on my chin, a mustache and a beard. I thought to myself, geez, if only I could grow some sideburns I could totally max out my self-esteem. Thank you, Ian, for the hormones! I told Brian how disgusting I felt and he said not to worry, that pretty soon we'll be able to afford laser hair removal, Proactive and a gym membership (so I can get rid of this baby bump because it's not very cool to walk around with a baby bump when there's no longer a baby in it).

I guess you can say that we have high hopes for the future just like we did last summer. I don't know if it's going to work out this year or not. It certainly didn't work out last year. But we do have potential...and hope.

It's nice to be able to look at the future with anticipation and excitement rather than dread or indifference or fear. I don't know if we'll ever reach success or if we'll always feel like our car is stuck in the mud. But we corrected the mistakes we made last summer, we have a plan and we're working towards it together. I don't know which square we're going to land on next, but we're cruising across the board on the Game of Life with a baby blue peg in the backseat of the car and right now that's enough.
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Friday, July 1, 2011

Stationery Card

Truffle Ruffle Blue Birth Announcement
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View the entire collection of cards.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Baby Blues

No, I'm not talking about my favorite color, but postpartum depression, the condition made famous when Brooke Shields told the whole world that it made her feel like throwing her baby at the wall.

Being paranoid, I was sure I was going to suffer from this. You know me, always thinking worst case scenario, I imagined Postpartum Psychosis as some kind of demon that was going to take over my body like a poltergeist and get me to commit some horrendous act which would then result in me being the new "bombshell tonight" on an episode of Nancy Grace where they found the worst picture ever tagged of me on Facebook and threw it all over the TV screen while people called in to tell her how great her twins are and how evil I am.

Disclaimer: I have a very wild imagination. But from what I hear about PPP, it can turn a totally normal person into a psychotic killer. Susan Smith's husband was just on TV the other day saying he had no warning whatsoever and still doesn't understand why she killed their kids. I mean, you just can't be too careful! So that's why I talked to my dr about my fears and made sure he would give me whatever pills I thought I needed if I showed signs of PPD and just knowing that I could get help as soon as I needed it gave me a huge sense of relief.

The doctor said that almost every new mom experiences the "baby blues" due to dramatic hormonal changes and that it was only a cause for concern if it lasted longer than two weeks. That doesn't mean that if a woman makes it to the two week mark without developing PPD that she won't develop it in the future but I was counting down the first two weeks nonetheless and over-analyzing every mood swing, ready to call the Dr at a moment's notice.

Here's the lowdown:

I was fine in the hospital but I definitely noticed a change in me once we got home. I could go from happy as a pig in shit to sobbing hysterics in seriously less than one second. And I had no control over it, either. It was insane.

I thought my baby was perfect. He wasn't ugly (tell me I'm not the only person to worry about this), he wasn't fussy, he was sleeping well at night and even at a few days old I thought he had so much personality. And I kept thinking to myself what did I do to deserve something so perfect? I've never built a house for homeless people, volunteered at a soup kitchen or sent any money to the animals in that awful Sheryl Crow commercial! I think bad things about people in my head at times, especially people on MTV's reality shows. Sometimes I'm mean to my mom (sorry, mom). I haven't even been to church since my wedding day! I don't deserve this perfect child! I was waiting for the other shoe to drop, for the rug to be pulled out from under me. I felt like the only way something this good was going to happen to me was if something bad happened to me in exchange.

I guess you could say I was acting a little crazy. I checked his temperature about 4 times a day, I googled pictures of baby poop to make sure his was normal and I didn't sleep very much because I was afraid of SIDS. I tried giving him a pacifier since it's supposed to lower the risk of SIDS but he wouldn't take it which caused a burst of hysterics from me in the middle of the night.

That crazyiness lasted about 4 days.

At one week postpartum I went to the OB's office to get my staples removed. We were told to make an appt for my 6-week check-up. On the way out of the office that I'd been coming to once a week, as we walked through the lobby and I smelled the familiar scent of the coffee bar, I realized that after my 6 week appt I would have no reason to ever come here again and that made me cry. The OB office had been such a big part of my life for the last 9 months. It's where we saw our perfect looking sac, where we first heard Ian's heartbeat, where we first saw his cute little profile, and now all of that was over and it made me sad. Silly, huh?

And Brian, bless his heart, just took my hand and told me he couldn't wait until the two weeks were up.

I've been doing fine since then. My mom was staying with us the first week to help out and I think that contributed to my anxiety a little because it made me wonder if I could do it all on my own once she left. Now that she's gone I've discovered I can do it and that's just about as good as any drug the dr could have prescribed.

I still have a few moments here and there. I did get a little sad when I went to the hospital to return my breast pump, knowing I would most likely never return to the place where the most amazing day of my life occurred. And when someone made a comment on FB that I shouldn't take my baby in public so soon I did stay up in a panic until 4:30am checking for signs of meningitis. But for the most part I've been a happy mom. I don't want to spend too much time dwelling on all the bad things that could happen. I'd rather just enjoy the great things that do this face, so content after a bath...

And the perfect day we spent together as a family yesterday...

I made it through those two weeks of baby blues and I feel great! PPD can show up months later out of nowhere so I'm not in the clear just yet, but I'm not afraid anymore either. Being aware of myself and my feelings, knowing I can get help if I need it, and not being afraid to admit when I need it, those are the things that will save me from PPD. One thing I'm sure of is that I'm definitely not going to be making any cameos on Nancy Grace.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Oh, What a Night!

I had my first "mom moment" tonight.

At 7pm I put Ian down for a nap. I figured I had 2 hours before Ian would be up so I decided to make dinner. I stuck dinner in the oven and put the timer on for 40 minutes.

Approximately 37 minutes later Ian started crying from the bassinet in our bedroom. I went in there and saw that he had peed outside of his diaper. Oh, the joys of having a boy. I had a waterproof pad under him to save the sheet but it was under the bottom half of his body and the wetness was towards the top of his body. So now I had a wet baby, wet pajamas, wet sheet and a wet bassinet pad.

I took Ian into the nursery to change him and the oven timer started going off. I can't leave him on the changing table and I can't set a wet baby anywhere else so I left the dinner in the oven.

His sleeve was soaking wet and so was his hair. Great. If it was just his skin that was wet I could have wiped him clean with a washcloth and Mustela water but pee in the hair means an all-out sponge bath.

I put on a fresh diaper and carried him out of the nursery. The oven timer was blaring. I needed both hands to get the food out but I can't put him in his bassinet because it's wet! So I set him on the couch, put some pillows around him, grabbed the food from the oven and threw it on top the stove.

I got Ian and gathered supplies for the sponge bath. Body wash, bowl of water, towels and washcloths. He cried the whole time.

Eventually I had a clean and dry baby in a fresh pair of pajamas making hungry faces at me. I made him a bottle. He sucked on it for 15 minutes and only ate 1/2 an ounce before he fell asleep.

I got a new waterproof pad, cleaned and dried the bassinet pad which, luckily, has a waterproof liner, and put him back in the bassinet sans sheet (we only have one). I got my dinner on my plate and just as I sat down to eat, Ian started crying again. Yup, soaking wet. This time the waterproof pad did the job but I still ended up with 1 wet sheet, 2 wet pee pads, 2 pairs of wet PJs, 2 wet towels, and 2 wet washcloths and there was no way I could wash them because it was only 55 degrees out and they would never dry on the clothesline before dark!

When he soaked himself the first time I thought maybe he was growing out of the NB size diapers so I put him in a gigantic size 1. It didn't work because he still managed to be a Pee Houdini (I call him this because he pees outside of his diaper without getting his diaper wet). However, because the diaper was so huge, when he started crying he brought his knees up which made the diaper hit the umbilical cord and when I took off his 2nd pair of wet pajamas I saw that his umbilical cord stump had come off halfway, had blood around it and smelled horrendous!

When it was all over I ended up eating my cold and overcooked dinner with a cranky baby on my lap while Googling infected umbilical cords on the laptop.

All of this happened in less than one hour! It was a pretty hectic hour but I made it through just fine. I know I will have days a lot worse than this one but I'm ready for them because this is what I get to look at when the hectic times are over:

Monday, June 13, 2011

Happy Birthday!

After two hours in recovery (I'm not sure why it took so long), it was time for us to make our way to our room. They turned on the "baby charms" music and wheeled me down the hall towards my parents who were waiting impatiently to see their grandson! Brian pushed the crib behind us.

Everyone stayed out in the hall while the nurses got me into bed. My parents had decorated the room for us. There were cupcakes with blue sprinkles, a Happy Birthday banner, an It's A Boy balloon, It's a Boy suckers, party hats with Snoopy stickers on them, champagne on ice and the dry-erase board said "Welcome Jodie, Brian and Ian." My mom had even wrote Ian's name on the champagne glasses!

By this time I was feeling pretty loopy from the Stadol and crazy-itchy from the Morphine but I do remember feeling like this "birthday" was better than all 32 of my own birthdays combined!

Once they got me settled into a bed that worked (the first one was broken), and everyone had taken a bajillion pictures and sent out text messages and facebook updates, it was time for cupcakes and a champagne toast.

It was truly the best day of my life! I can't believe I was so afraid of it! I understand now why some people are addicted to having babies, lol. It's the most beautiful and incredible experience. I love being a mom and I look forward to giving Ian a lifetime of experiences just as incredible.

The First Moments

When they wheeled me into the recovery room the first thing I saw was Brian sitting in a chair holding Ian. They had put a turquoise knitted hat on Ian's head. I will never forget, as long as I live, the proud look on Brian's face.

They already had Ian's identification card placed in his crib with his name, weight and measurements. Brian had given them the name to write on it. Now it was official. We had a tiny baby boy named Ian.

They set Ian and his bundle of blankets in my arms and I held him for the first time. He was so quiet and peaceful and seemed to have a perpetual smile on his face. I could tell he was happy.

The anesthesia started to wear off right away. I could move my legs all the way up to my knees within about 5 minutes. Brian ran to the waiting room to show my parents pictures from the camera since no visitors were allowed in recovery.

At the one-hour mark the nurse said it was time for his first bath. She told Brian to get the camera ready because babies love it when you wash their hair.

After the bath the lactation specialist came in to give me my first "lesson." She unwrapped Ian from his blanket and set him belly-down on my chest. And this little tiny baby lifted up his head, opened his eyes and looked at me! He knew who I was! He loved me and he trusted me completely. I could tell all of that in just one look. I have heard that new mothers get disappointed because they don't bond with their babies right away. Some people say it took them like 4 or 5 days to really feel love for their child. But I guess I got lucky because I loved him right away. The moment our eyes met our bond was sealed for life and I was filled with love from the tips of my toes to the top of my head. My heart felt bigger than ever before. This is another moment I will never forget.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

And We Have A Baby Boy!

Sorry it took me so long to write this. At first I couldn't sit up to type because of my incision. Then it was the massive swelling in my legs. And then I was just too busy being a mom. But here it is, better late than never.

The night before surgery my dad took me out for my "last supper." I was acting calm but inside I was seriously freaking out. This was going to be the biggest day of my whole life. Bigger than getting my driver's license, graduating high school, turning 21, graduating college and getting married all rolled into one. I was starting to think Brian and I had bitten off more than we could chew. What if I didn't like being a mom? What if I wasn't good at it? What if Brian thought he wanted kids until he had one and then decided he didn't and left me? And the usual fears of surgery like what if he doesn't realize my anesthesia didn't work and starts cutting me open and I feel the whole thing?!? I was so scared that I actually wished for time to stop so I could stay happily pregnant and looking forward to the future forever.

But time didn't stop and we arrived at the hospital at 5:45 Friday morning because no matter what happened the baby had to come out of me one way or another. My mom took this last bump pic of us.

After changing into a hospital gown it was time for my IV. Nurse said she didn't see any veins on me and wrapped up my arm in a warm towel to draw them to the surface. Then she poked me. Then poked me again. And again. And again...and then she apologized. "It's ok", I said. "At least it's over." But it wasn't. Oh no. Not even close. She said the vein blew and she tried again on 4 different places before calling someone for help. I tried to imagine myself at my favorite beach on Grand Cayman but it was hard to maintain any kind of Zen-like trance because all I could do was wonder if the surgical team was as good at their jobs as this nurse. I now have 5 bruises on my hands, wrists and arms. I didn't know it then but the IV incident ended up being the worst part of the day.

There were about 8 people in the OR. It was a pretty small room with lots of bright lights. I had on booties and a hairnet. I had to go in by myself to get my spinal while Brian got dressed. The anesthesiologist was great. He explained everything he was doing and described exactly how it would feel. I had a surgical tech on each side of me. They were kind of like hugging me and telling me I was doing great and that the hardest part was almost over. P.S. The spinal block was nowhere near as bad as the IVs.

After that they sent Brian in in his jumpsuit, hairnet and face mask. I was so happy to see him I almost cried but somehow I held it together. I knew that if I freaked out I would be put to sleep and I definitely did NOT want that. Brian played the role of supporter perfectly. He knew just how to touch me and just what to say to keep me calm.

I thought that the spinal block would numb me completely and that I would feel nothing at all but this was not the case. I could feel things and I could even wiggle my toes. I asked the anesthesiologist is that was ok and he told me that the surgery had already begun. He said they gave me a test cut and when I didn't respond to it the dr went ahead and started. So that part thrilled me! I could feel a lot of pushing around inside of me. It felt very similar to the baby's movements but much stronger which makes sense I guess since it was a man's hands in there and not a baby's.

It seemed like only 5 minutes or so went by when a man on the other side of the curtain yelled, "And we have a baby boy!" Everyone clapped! Brian jumped out of his seat and looked over the curtain. "Honey, I saw him! I saw him come out!" He was SO excited! I have never seen him that giddy before. He had tears in his eyes and gave me a kiss through our face masks.

Everyone seemed to be talking at once. Butt first. What a beautiful little boy. Looks like his daddy. He's a small one. Congratulations, mom and dad. I listened to everything going on around me. I was so happy I felt like my whole body was shaking. And then I heard him cry and it was the sweetest sound I've ever heard.

Brian went over to the crib to watch Ian's exam. He was so giddy! He kept taking pics on the camera and running back to show them to me then running to Ian again. Before I knew it Brian came around the curtain with my baby boy wrapped up in a blanket. One of the techs took pics of the three of us. They put Ian next to me but I couldn't touch him. Then a nurse said it was time for Brian and Ian to head to the recovery room. It didn't take long for them to finish me up. Thank goodness because I couldn't wait to get my hands on that baby!

I didn't think this experience would be as special as it was. I thought it would be scary. I thought I was missing out on something. I figured the surgical team wouldn't really care about another baby being born since they deliver babies everyday. But I was wrong! I felt no pain. I don't feel like I missed out on anything at all and there was tons of celebrating going on in that OR and there would be more celebrating to come. It was only the beginning of the most amazing day of my life!

Here's my little Bub. Ian James. Born June 3, 2011. 7:39am. 6lbs, 1oz.
Look at that smile!

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Bump on a Blog

When I lost my first baby I had at least 6 pregnant "friends" on my FB and I ended up having to hide some of them from my newsfeed because every post was a pregnancy complaint. Not only did it re-break my heart every time it happened, but it also made me angry. Why were they blessed with a child they didn't appreciate when mine was taken away? I wanted to scream at them, "Don't you know how lucky you are?" Sometimes I did remind them that they were lucky and they would tell me to "just wait" until I was pregnant and I'd be complaining, too.

Well here I am, about 50 hours away from the end of my pregnancy to report my progress. I have yet to publicly complain about any physical symptoms and I know everyone is on the edge of their seats dying to know the truth. Was it really that easy and painless? Was I bluffing to save face? Or was I censoring myself to spare the feelings of others who may have lost children?

And the answer - It really was that easy. I might have been put through the emotional garbage disposal every time I turned another corner but as for all of the horrible dreadful things pregnancy does to a woman's body, it just didn't happen to me. I had one day of morning sickness, only mild sporadic cramping, no stretch marks or itchy skin, no carpal tunnel, no braxton hicks, no swelling, no digestion problems, no getting up every hour to pee. I am going to have a baby in 2 days and I still don't know what a contraction feels like. Aside from my dehydration episodes which only lasted as long as it took to swallow some Gatorade, I've been just peachy.

Just so all the hormonal pregnant people who aren't as lucky as I was don't come chasing after me with baseball bats, I'll admit that these last few weeks have had their challenges. It really feels like there's a bowling ball between my legs which makes the inside of my thighs very sore, so sore that trying to put on a pair of pants can bring me to tears. And every time I shift in bed, even just a centimeter, lightening bolts of pain shoot down my thighs. Turning over in bed has become similar to ripping off a band-aid. Every teeny tiny move hurts like hell but I just can't seem to do it quickly. Turning over now requires a strategy!

Also, there is another human being inside of me taking up a lot of space. You know that feeling you get after Thanksgiving dinner where you think if only you could unbutton your pants you'd feel so much better? Well that is what pregnancy feels like, except you don't have any pants on (because it hurt too much to put them on, remember?)

Oh, and one more thing - I have a skull chilling out right under my rib cage. Which means it's a real beyatch to bend over, even the slightest bit forward. I can live without polish on my toes and a little bit of stubble on my ankles won't hurt anyone and the Cocoa Pebbles I dropped on the carpet yesterday, I'm sure the cats got em. But there is something else that requires bending forward slightly, something that happens in the bathroom about 12 times a day and it's non-negotiable. It hurts bad enough that I do sometimes whine or scream and once I was even desperate enough to ask for help (no, he didn't).

Like I said, I was fine until a few weeks ago and what is a few weeks of discomfort in exchange for another human life? I don't know how I would have felt if I hadn't lost that first baby. Maybe I would have been a Facebook complainer, too. But knowing how lucky I am to have this baby in me makes it a lot easier to deal with the pain when it does happen. Because I know I'm exchanging it for something amazing!!!! And I hope I can remember that during my c-section!

I really loved being pregnant and that is the truth; no bluffing, no censoring. I especially love my baby bump! It tells the world that I am building a baby in there and that makes me feel special and important. And it's a wonderful feeling to not have to suck it in. And being able to wear tight shirts for the first time in my life! I'm very proud of the fact that my belly enters a room about five seconds before the rest of my body (I walk a little slow these days). That was one of the things that upset me the most about bedrest, was not being able to show off my bump. It's a real shame that in 2 days I'll be expected to suck it in again. So I decided to make the best out of this 90 degree fluke of a day in Northern Michigan and I took my bump to the streets....and the lake...and even a BBQ.

I know I'm supposed to be on bedrest but I figure if I made it 8 weeks, I can act like a semi-normal person for 2 days, right? So here it is, my Bump on a Blog. My bump, my bump, my lovely baby bump. I sure will miss it when it's gone but I can't wait to meet the little boy that's coming out of it!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The Best of Times, The Worst of Times

On a message board I've been visiting for the last few months there was a discussion about what we all considered the best and worst moments of our pregnancies so far. Even though I answered there, I want to put it here in my blog, as well, to make sure I don't forget. I have a feeling that once I have this baby, all the pregnancy stuff won't seem to matter anymore and I want to make sure that I remember later on that it did matter.

If you've been following my blog for awhile you can probably guess that the worst moment was the 20 week ultrasound when they thought our baby might have a neural tube defect. We don't need to dwell on it now, though, because it turns out they were just being extra-extra cautious. (The same thing they were doing when they told me I couldn't work and put me to bed for 23 hours a day and told me I was going to have a preemie baby based on one blood pressure reading. And now here I am still in bed with a baby still inside me and a stable BP and losing money everyday and looking like the pregnant lady who cried preemie....Oh, and let me make sure it's clear that I did not want a preemie but I was prepared for it. I also said I wanted a girl originally but fell in love with my boy and if it comes out a girl I'm going to have to grieve the loss of a boy I never really had in the first place. Gosh, pregnancy can be so complicated!) Anyway, no more dwelling on the extra-extra cautious. It can be annoying but it is far better to be safe than sorry!

Now for the best of times...

As you all know, Brian and I were both laid off for the winter. So from week 8 through week 30 we were together nearly 24-7. He might have gone to the gas station or bank without me but mostly we were together. And when we are together, unless we are sleeping, Brian is talking. I don't know why women are said to be the talkative ones. Brian seriously never stops. And this baby, from the time he was able to hear, has been hearing his daddy talk and talk and talk...

But on April 11th Brian went back to work and I was all alone for a whole 8 hours and the house was quiet. The baby was usually very active in the day time but this day he was hardly moving at all. I was scared enough to text my friend and tell her the baby wasn't moving and I was freaking out. But then as soon as Brian came home and started talking about work the baby started going crazy in there! Brian was only joking when he said Ian probably just missed him.

The next time Brian went to work he decided to test the theory. Ian was still all day long. When Brian walked in after work he yelled, "Ian! Daddy's home!" And Ian gave me a fist pump! I swear he really did. That was the first time in the pregnancy that I felt he communicated with us. And that is the moment I chose as our "best of times."

We scheduled our c-section yesterday. On June 3rd we are going to have a baby on the outside. I'm sure everything he does, even pooping and crying, will be adorable to us. At least for a little while. And pretty soon these 38 weeks will only be a distant memory. It seems like it takes such a long time to build a baby but in the scheme of things 9 months is nothing. So I'm glad my friends convinced me to start a blog during my unemployment. Now I can look back on these times and even show him how much mommy and daddy loved him, even when he was just an inside baby.

Friday, May 20, 2011

The Bright Side

A couple of months ago when I was researching baby gear I came across a website that described, in great detail, the postpartum experience. Check out this care kit at Amazon. The inner tube pillow is so you can sit down without hurting all of the hemorrhoids you developed during pushing. The tucks pads and Dermaplast spray are to sooth the wound you got when you ripped open from end to end. The peri bottle and sitz bath are to clean that rip. The site also recommended getting Depends for women because there would be "more blood than you've ever seen in your life" and most women also lose control of their bladder for a little while. I was in shock! I went to a few more sites to verify this woman's claims and saw that another woman described her undercarriage as resembling hamburger meat!!! Let's just say I didn't sleep for about 2 days after reading this.

There are like 10 kids between my BFFs and none of them EVER mentioned ANY of this. I felt incredibly naive for being so surprised. I imagined there might be a little blood but not enough to require a 6-week supply of adult diapers! And losing control of your bladder?!? Needing to sit on a doughnut pillow?!? One new mom even recommended lacing your Depends with witch hazel and sticking them into the freezer!

And this is why I'm looking on the bright side of the C-section. Don't get me wrong. I'm very, very afraid of surgery. Being cut open and sewed or stapled shut is frightening! But when you think about it, I was going to be ripped open and sewed shut either way. It's just in a different area is all.

And what is this labor experience so important for anyway? If I want to put my hair back in a headband and get all sweaty I can go to the gym. I can buy my own birthing ball and bounce around in my living room if it means that much to me. Jacuzzi tubs are probably overrated. And I'm definitely not an ice-chewer! I don't need labor!

So here's my Bright Side list: Why C-Sections Aren't So Bad

*No hemorrhoids from pushing
*No burning when I pee
*No losing control of my bladder
*No "hamburger meat"
*No pains from labor
*No conehead baby
*I have an excuse to buy some cute summer dresses that won't irritate my incision
*I don't have to worry about baby getting stuck during his decent, losing oxygen and developing any number of problems as a result

And one more thing. My doctors were intending on inducing me. Inductions are notorious for resulting in an emergency c-section. Emergency c-sections are rushed and panic-y and scary. And how much would it suck to have gone through 12 hours of painful labor and had this baby get halfway through the birth canal (OUCH!) just to have to be cut open in the abdomen anyway? That's double the pain, double the recovery and a whole bunch of trauma. So I'm glad to know that I'm not going to be one of those poor unlucky moms.

I've had a few days to adjust to the idea and I've accepted my fate. If baby turns around, that's cool, I've got my headband ready. But if he doesn't, that's fine, too. Either way I get to meet my baby boy.

Oh, and as for hanging upside down off the bed, standing on my head in a swimming pool or paying for someone to light incense at my feet, I'm not going to do all that. I'm just going to let what's meant to

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

I Should Buy A Lottery Ticket

This baby is BREECH! Only 3% of babies are breech at birth. How is it that I keep beating all the odds? I've mentioned before that I don't like gambling but I'm thinking it's time to buy a lottery ticket! Seriously, can anything go right?!?!?

I know, I know, I shouldn't complain about all of this rotten luck because I'm lucky just to have a baby at all and the way he comes out of me shouldn't matter. And I know there are much, MUCH, worse things that can happen. And I've said tons of times that I used up all my luck when I met Brian. But still, I'm getting tired of this. I'm tired of something else discouraging me every single freakin appointment!

I'm also tired of my doctors not knowing what the heck they wanna do. One said I'd be induced at 36 weeks, 2 of them said 37 and now 2 of them are saying 38. It's not like I don't want the extra time for baby to develop (and hopefully turn his butt around), but it's frustrating! After the scare last week they had me thinking baby would really be here any day, like I wouldn't even make it to today's appointment. So I got all my stuff ready. My hospital bag was packed, aluminum foil was placed in the bassinet to keep the cats out*, the bottles were sterilized, and we were both mentally prepared to have a baby today. I was hoping for another week, but I was ready for anything....except another problem!

Now it's not an induction they are planning, it's a c-section. I have never been admitted into a hospital in my life. I have never had a single stitch or broken bone. I am going to be 32 years old in a week and I still cry when I go to the dentist! And now they are talking about tying me down to a table and cutting my body open and that is so terrifying to me that if I'm able to sleep at all this next week I'm going to be plagued by nightmares. Especially since the nurse who did my hospital tour told me they prescribe Motrin after a c-section. Yeah, that's not gonna work.

Scheduled c-sections are crappy for other reasons, too. I was actually looking forward to the experience of labor. Using the breathing techniques we learned in class, writing my name in cursive with my hips, relaxing in the jacuzzi tub in the birthing suite, having Brian massage my feet and bring me ice chips, and then that moment when the pain and pushing is over and the baby is placed on my chest looking all gray and bloody, and Brian and I can barely even see the baby through the tears in our eyes...I was really excited to experience all of this.

I'm sorry for being a whiner. I'm just feeling discouraged. I never imagined there would be so many roadblocks on this journey. I mean, the cavewomen made it look so easy.

*I read that putting aluminum foil in the bassinet, crib and playpen will keep cats from jumping in them. Apparently cats aren't supposed to like foil so if they jump in once and find foil they will jump back out and never go near it again. Turns out this is not true. Little Miss Sunshine doesn't seem to dislike foil at all so now my mom is standing guard at the bassinet with a water bottle.

Friday, May 13, 2011

35 Weeks!

Sorry I haven't been updating much. Typing while lying down is kind of a b-word.

It's hard to believe I've been on bedrest for over a month already! You'd think the time would drag but it's actually gone pretty fast!

We have now seen 4 different doctors since this whole mess started. Four different opinions and attitudes. Apparently obstetrics isn't as easy as 2+2=4.

Dr 1 scared the crap out of me. I did my own research on pre-e which scared me even more. I read that 10,000 moms die every year from pre-e and the condition can come on so fast that you can have a perfect dr's sppt in the morning and lose your baby by that afternoon! Dr. Google is no friend of mine, that's for sure! And either is because that's where I got those lovely pieces of info. Thanks a lot, A-holes!

Dr 2 was more relaxed. She said I don't have pre-e, I just have pregnancy-induced high blood pressure, but they are keeping an eye on me as if I do have pre-e just to stay ahead of the game. Her goal was for me to make it to week 35 because a baby born before that would have to be born at a hospital with a NICU 123 miles away! Can you imagine the heartbreak of leaving a little preemie at a hospital over 2 hours away from mom and dad?!

Dr 3 was cool as a cucumber in blue jeans. It must have been Casual Tuesday that day. (I'm picturing a cucumber wearing blue jeans right now and it's hilarious). He said as long as my BP remained under control they would let me go to 37 or 38 weeks before inducing.

Dr 4 was in a bit of a panic. He wanted to put me in the hospital. He had me go in to get my BP checked 2 days in a row and said if it didn't go down any that I was being admitted and they may have to induce the next day! Scary stuff! Luckily my BP took a dive the next morning and I'm in the clear for now.

I saw Dr 2 again on Wednesday and she tried to explain the decision making process to me. She said she has 2 things to worry about: the health of mom and the health of baby. The younger the baby is, the worse mom needs to be for them to take baby. The earlier they take baby, the more danger baby is in. But the longer they keep baby in there, the more danger mom is in as this condition gets worse the longer the pregnancy lasts. So they have to try to find a happy place where they meet in the middle. It's no wonder some of these drs are high-strung! These are major decisions!

Also, she said they are not going to schedule the induction because this condition is so unpredictable that a schedule would be pointless. It could literally happen at any time just like real labor which is kind of exciting.

I will be 35 weeks tomorrow so whenever they do decide to get Ian out, at least it will be at the closer hospital. That's one less thing for me to worry about.

Brian's been checking my BP several times a day. It goes up a little bit every week so I don't know how much longer it'll be. We're just taking it one day at a time. Everyday that I can keep him in there is a victory.

Monday, April 25, 2011

My Last Hurrah

At my 28 week appt my blood pressure was 135 over something. The dr seemed pretty concerned about it and sent me to the lab for blood tests. She called later that night and said the blood tests were normal for now but she was predicting blood pressure problems in the future. I thought she meant way in the future....

So Saturday, April 9th, was my baby shower. We drove home the next day and stopped at the Motherhood outlet where I got some work clothes. I was supposed to start work on May 6th and I was going to be the cutest pregnant waitress ever!

I spent that night clipping tags off of our baby's new clothes and Brian put the swing, bouncer and stroller together. Now that the shower was over it was time to get down to business! I was so excited to wash all the baby clothes and organize them in the closet and get the nursery set up and finish shopping for everything else we needed. I would have washed everything that night but I was waiting for the weather to warm up so I could hang them on the clothes line. (We decided not to have a dryer in the house. We do have one but it was going to cost over $200 to get it hooked up to our propane tank PLUS the cost of propane which we all know by now is a very sore subject in this household. It costs us less than $1 a week to dry our clothes at the laundromat in the winter and we hang dry them in the summer.)

On Monday Brian started back at work after 5 months off.

On Tuesday we had a 3:15 OB appt and a 7pm childbirth class, both in Petoskey which is a 90-mile round trip. Obviously we're not going to come home between the two so Brian said since it was such a nice day out (almost 60), that we could grab some takeout after the dr's appt and have a picnic by the lake.

I remember a friend of mine asking me after my bridal shower in 2008 if I got everything I wanted and I said, "Everything except the picnic basket." And she burst out laughing. She said I was in for a major reality check. "You'll do a lot of things as a married couple. You'll argue over money disappearing from the checking account, bills that were supposed to be paid but weren't, you might even have to pawn your wedding rings just to keep your lights on, but you definitely won't be going on any picnics!"

So when Brian suggested a picnic I was stoked! Since we don't have a picnic basket I packed up a plastic bag with napkins, plates and silverware and practically skipped out of the house, without a jacket on might I add! As we were walking towards the car Brian said it was going to be even warmer tomorrow and I said I was definitely going to start yardwork and he said to make sure I wore gloves in case there were bugs in the flowerbeds. And we headed down the road with the windows rolled down. I felt great. I was happy. I was looking forward to so many things.

My blood pressure was 155/87. Nurse tells me to lie down on my left side and the Dr would be right in. Dr comes in and takes my BP while I'm lying down. 110/65. I made a comment about how I checked it at the Walmart pharmacy over the weekend and he said, "What were you doing at Walmart? Aren't you on bedrest?" I said no. And he said, "Well you are now."

Everything after that happened so fast. He said I needed to be lying down on either my right or left side for 23 hours a day. I can get out of bed to shower and use the bathroom and I can sit upright for meals.

He said he can't give me medication to lower my BP because the BP is a symptom of the preeclampsia and I'd still have preeclampsia even if the BP was under control. He didn't tell me what preeclampsia was though.

He said, "We're gonna hold off on delivering as long as we can. I'm hoping with the bedrest that we can get 4 more weeks but 6 would be even better." (I was due in 10 weeks at this point).

I asked him what would happen if I wasn't on bedrest and he said seizures, organ failure, placental abruption and even death for me and Ian!

When Brian asked if that meant we shouldn't go to our childbirth classes anymore, Dr said the classes would actually be good for me and I could consider that my weekly treat.

And that was it. We left the office scared and confused. But we were an hour from home and I still needed to eat so we got some chicken and went ahead with our picnic on the lake. I called it my last hurrah because apparently, my pregnancy was basically over.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

How BC Became Ian

There are certain things in life that I always thought would be fun.

Like going to the Prom! My date left with another girl because she had a joint.

Or choosing your wedding gown! Ugh, I tried on over 30 dresses at 8 different bridal salons and I never got that clouds-parting-sun-shining-this-is-it moment. I ordered one off the internet that I had never tried on and, while it was a nice dress, I still ended up looking like a Beluga whale. Granted, Belugas are one of the smaller whales, but still whales nonetheless.

Naming your baby! That's gotta be fun! And that is where this story begins...

Just like I scoped out bridal magazines when I was in junior high, I've also been keeping a baby name list since about 5th grade. This was definitely going to be the most exciting thing about having children, right? BIG FAT WRONG.

It was loads of fun before we found out the sex, probably because it didn't seem so real then. But once we knew for sure we were having a boy, it seemed like panic set in. There really was a baby in there and that baby had to have a name and we were halfway into the pregnancy and absolutely clueless. So many options and we could only choose one! (Middle names don't really count). We made a list of criteria to help us along the way.

1. No trendy names like Bentley or anything that ends in X.
2. No uber-popular names like Aiden or anything that rhymes with it.
3. But it can't be so unpopular that you need to repeat it 4 times and then spell it when meeting someone for the first time.
4. It should be an acceptable name for both a child and an adult.
5. No Twilight names or Glee names. Even though I love Finn and Quinn, I have a feeling they are about to take over the world. Too bad you can't play the baby name market like the stock market.
6. No "old man" names like Henry. There are so many babies named Henry these days. I just don't get it.
7. No names that end in a C or K sound, including nicknames. A lot of great names were out with this rule like Linc, Lochlan, Nicholas, Zachary, sad.
8. No names that end in ER because our last name ends in ER and Brian didn't like the way it flowed. Goodbye Dexter and Oliver...sniff sniff.
9. I would like a Scottish name to reflect my heritage but it isn't a must.
10. Brian and I BOTH had to love it.

Can you see why this is more stressful than it is fun?

We finally settled on Jonah Louis. My dad's name is Joseph, I'm Jodie and I thought Jonah would be following in tradition. Brian really wanted to honor his late grandpa whom he loved and missed very much and I had no problem with that. That's where the name Louis came from. Also, I intended on calling him Joe-Louis, after a hometown hero. It was perfect! A little bit of mom, a little bit of dad, a little bit of ancestry and a little bit of hometown pride. Plus, there are tons of baby things with whales on them; bibs, towels, washcloths...

So we named him Jonah Louis and continued to call him Jonah or Joe-Louis for several weeks. I didn't say anything, but I wasn't feeling 100% right about it. I always thought that when we found the right name, I would just "know" it and I didn't feel certain about Jonah. I was secretly relieved when Brian finally confessed that he didn't want to use Louis anymore because it might hurt people in his family, that he used this person's name instead of that person's name. It made sense. We decided to scratch it and start from the beginning.

Next up was Cohen. I've loved the name since the OC and Brian also loved it and wouldn't the nickname Coey be adorable?!?!? Then I googled the name and found out that Cohen is the most popular Jewish last name and that a non-Jewish person naming their baby Cohen was like a non-Christian naming their baby Jesus. It was seen as a mockery and an insult. Granted, I can count the number of Jewish people I've met in my lifetime on one hand but who knows where our lives will take us in the future? I didn't want a name that would offend people.

Then there was Brody. A combination of Brian and Jodie and it's Scottish, too. All of our family and friends seemed to love it and it was the cutest name for a little boy or a young man but it didn't seem to age well past like 25. Could you really take a 50-year-old professional gentleman seriously with a name like Brody? I liked it best in its long form of Broderic but that was out with the Cs.

Due date was getting closer and closer and we had nothing!!!! I was waiting for a name that really spoke to me. Finally, just a few weeks ago, I was looking at the Scottish names one more time and reading them out loud to Brian. Cameron? It's a girl name now. Cullen? Twilight name. Finley? Glee name. Ian?

And Brian looked up. He seemed inspired and thoughtful. "Ian," he repeated. "I like it." Then he put his face to my belly and said, "Hello in there baby Ian. Daddy loves you." And that was the moment that spoke to me. That was when BC became Ian.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

A Gender Reveal!

I know I promised I wouldn't renege on this decision again but I lied. Remember the day we found out that BC was a "perfect" baby and the ultrasound tech put the gender picture into an envelope for us to open on Valentine's Day?

Right after that appt we went to Target to register. All along I'd been saying that I didn't care what sex the baby was as long as s/he was healthy. Then, like a typical woman, I found out BC was healthy and changed my mind. I blame this on Target.

See, they had set up all the summer stuff in the baby department. In Northern Michigan....where we have 4 inches of snow on the ground as I write this on April 20th. They had a summer accessory set for baby girls that came with a pair of pink sunglasses, pink sandals and a hairbow. They also had a newborn size bathing suit that was turquoise with big hot pink flowers on it and a matching hot pink sunhat. And that was all it took. I wanted that sunhat and I wanted a girl.

When I was a child I was the only girl in the neighborhood. I was forced to play with GI Joes and didn't own a single Barbie doll! I lived with my dad and two brothers. Though my dad did like to do my hair (and still does sometimes), neither he nor my mom knew a thing about makeup, jewelry or high heels. To this day I can't stand the way foundation makes my face feel greasy or the way high heels feel more like devices of torture than fashion statements. I only own one belt and its purpose is not to look cute, but to hold up my pants when I'm dieting. The only jewelry I wear are my wedding rings because earrings hurt my ears and necklaces make me feel strangled. Sometimes I'll go more than 6 months without a haircut because I forgot to get one! Basically, I'm really bad at being a girl and I think this is why I wanted one of my own. All it took was a cute summer display of girly stuff and suddenly my life with a daughter was flashing before my eyes. The hairbows and headbands and cute baby legwarmers! Getting pedicures and highlights together. A Kate Spade for me, a Kate Spade for you...

That night I posted on FB that baby was perfect and we were excited to find out the sex on V-day. And instead of being happy about the healthy baby, people commented on how disappointed they were that we were finding out the sex! These comments hurt me. They put a damper on what had been a great day for us. I tried to put them out of my mind but a few days later I was still upset about it. I decided to rebel against them and take control of my own pregnancy. I had Brian go into the garbage and dig out that ripped up photo. We kept the results to ourselves since certain people clearly didn't want to know. I was afraid that I would be ashamed of myself for peeking but I have never regretted that decision. Knowing the sex of my baby really did make me feel closer to BC. And it also helped me let go of the hurt and anger I felt over the FB comments. It was a win-win! Now we just had to be very careful not to accidentally use certain pronouns!

Our baby shower was on April 9th and it was wonderful! I got my hair cut in the morning and after a mental breakdown over my flabby arms and a last minute costume change, everything went perfectly! My mom did a great job of picking the venue because the food was excellent. My dad surprised us by taking a painting of Dopey from the Seven Dwarfs that I painted in 9th grade and having it framed for BC's nursery! I didn't know he kept it!

After all of our gifts were opened (everyone was so generous) we had a surprise for them, too - a gender-reveal! I had talked to the baker beforehand and told her what color to make the cake. When I cut into it and held up the first piece, everyone saw that it was blue. We are having a boy and everyone got to find out at the same time! Even my brothers were on speakerphone from NC! It was really neat. If I had waited to announce it after the birth, most people would have found out through phone, FB or email so I think we did the right thing.

So no, there will be no hairbows or hot pink sunhats just yet, but I wouldn't trade this little boy in for anything! It's probably for the best anyway. That fictional girl at Target was starting to turn into a diva.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Labor Superstar, That Is What You Are

Our first Childbirth class was Tuesday night. I have heard great things about different methods of childbirth like Bradley and Hypnobabies but we don't have those kinds of options up here. What we have is a basic 6-week class taught by a nurse from the Labor & Delivery unit at our hospital. I know that labor is not something I can plan or control but it's not like we have anything else to do. And I'll be more comfortable going into labor knowing what my options are.

It started off just like in the movies. We filled out a name tag to clip to our shirts then we went around the circle and introduced ourselves to the group. I kind of felt inadequate when the first couple spoke. "My husband's a lawyer and I work in child behavior and development." But the second couple made me feel a lot better. Her perky voice could cheer up Ebenezer Scrooge. "My husband works at the hospital in General Surgery and I'm a yoga instructor!" Seriously.

Then we split into two groups for a game of trivia. Name as many physical signs of impending labor as you can in one minute. Brian starts spewing things off faster than they can be written down. Back pain! Nesting! Flu-like symptoms! We started off the round up by one.

Next question: What percentage of babies are born on their due date? Everyone stared at each other blankly. Someone said 20. I had no idea. Brian said it was 5%. And the answer? 5%! How did he know that?

Then, when asked when it was generally time to head for the hospital Brian said, "When contractions last 60 seconds and are 5 minutes apart!" I was so proud of my husband. Everyone in our group won a Snickers bar thanks to my labor superstar!

The two perfect couples were on the other team.

Disclaimer: I don't mean to sound like I have anything against them. I actually know 2 perfect couples myself (I'm sure they know who they are) and I don't be hatin.

After the trivia game the instructor dimmed the lights, put some lullabies on the boom box and had us moms lie down on pillows and mats to practice relaxation techniques while the "partners" massaged our hands with lavender lotion. It was kind of creepy and I don't believe I'm going to give a crap about a relaxation technique when I'm in labor since my fake contractions have been painful enough to bring me to tears. (BTW, I found out those weren't Braxton Hicks. They were episodes of uterine irritability brought on by dehydration. Totally my fault and totally preventable so they won't be happening again).

It ended up being a fun night out for us and I'm looking forward to next week. She told us to wear comfy clothes because we'll be trying out the birthing ball and birthing peanut. I don't even know what a birthing peanut is. I'll have to ask Brian.