Thursday, July 31, 2008

The Boy’s New ETA

The doctors have finished their round of fisticuffs and have finally agreed to disagree. With mild pre-eclampsia there are very few absolutes in treatment so every doctor has a different opinion on the best course of action. Most of these opinions are conflicting but equally valid. I have discovered that medicine is less a practice of science and more a practice of throwing darts at a Merck Manual.

Anyway, the dueling doctors compromised on a new induction date of August 13th. Until then, I’m back in my world of pee jugs, frequent doctor visits and tests, and trying to figure out how to give birth by watching A Baby Story on TLC (sic) and by googling “how to give birth”.

If Alexander shows any signs of problems, or if my condition worsens, they will move to deliver right away. Assuming we stay on course, we should have our boy here (‘for reals’ this time) on around August 14th. He will weigh about 32 lbs.


Paging Doctor Drama...

I just spoke with my regular doctor. Evidently I have inadvertently stepped into a big pile of doctor drama. Ewww. Although Dr. Gobbles made it sound like my regular doctor was in agreement with postponing the induction, she evidently was not. In fact, she was surprised to show up at the hospital this morning to find nothing in our Labor and Delivery room but tumbleweed. (Tim forgot to re-pack the tumbleweed when we left.) She doesn’t agree with Dr. Gobble’s assessment of the situation and thinks delivery now is better than waiting for the pre-e or blood pressure to get worse.

I should note that she has been my doctor for many years prior to becoming pregnant, and has been my primary doctor throughout this pregnancy. She knows this pregnancy and this baby better than any other doctor. Also, unlike Dr. Gobbles, she has an ability to listen, make eye contact, and share relevant information. Needless to say, we trust her opinion above Dr. Gobbles.

At this time, we still don’t know exactly what is happening. My doctor is calling Dr. Gobbles and getting additional outside consultations. She’ll call me back sometime today with a game plan. So we could be heading back to the hospital soon, or we may be waiting a week… or two or three. In the meantime, we'll try to scrap this pile of doctor drama off the bottom of our shoes so we can walk around with some dignity.

On an adorable sidenote…Bear has decided that since we did not come home with a baby, as we told him we would, the bassinet must be his. He was curled up asleep in it this morning. Hopefully Alexander will arrive before Bear claims all of his stuff.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Scheduled Delivery of Boy Cancelled

We had already been at the hospital getting some initial testing and monitoring done when Dr. Gobbles walks in and asks how we are doing. I say “we’re looking forward to getting the show on the road.” He says “Well, that’s what I want to talk to you about…”


As it turns out, the doctors and some “MFM”s (maternal fetal medicine specialists) had a pow-wow and decided that since I am so stable we should wait a bit longer before inducing. How long? I have no idea. I just know that we are now back home, disoriented, and staring a both my big belly and our empty bassinet. How’s that for an anticlimax?

We don’t know exactly what is going on or when the baby is going to be delivered. But we will keep you posted. For now, the boy is running what feels to be a few victory laps in the womb. I think he is happy he has been given an extension on his lease.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Ready or Not, Here He Comes

Alexander continues to skew the curve. At his biophysical profile yesterday they found he is measuring 3 weeks ahead and weighs about 8 lbs 3 oz. Zoinks! Hopefully, with some good parenting, we can persuade him to use his superpowers for good instead of evil.

Only three more days to go. Good thing, because my clumsy potato hands have gone tempur-pedic. I’ll almost miss making dent-designs on my appendages as a form of entertainment. Almost. OK, it is more creepy than entertaining… but it passes the time.

So, there may be a dramatic pause in blog entries for a little while. We'll be a bit tied up starting Wednesday with the hoo-hoo-hoo-heeee (that's lamaze breathing. Can you believe it? Not a single lesson!) But stay tuned and I’ll try to post a picture of the latest version of Nicola before he graduates high school.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Dr. Gobbles Strikes Again

I had an NST today… but I couldn’t tell you how it went because Dr. Gobbles isn’t one to share information. I also don’t know how the bloodwork and latest pee-jug looked. Dr. Gobbles has a “don’t ask, don’t tell” approach to communicating with patients. Also a “don’t make eye contact, don’t speak at an audible decibel level” approach. When Dr. Gobbles does want to share information, he treats it like lighting a firecracker. He quickly blurts out alarming and confusing statements and then runs for cover. Nice.

I don’t want to sound completely unsympathetic to how he handles what is, I am sure, a very stressful job. And I appreciate that having to look at women’s…um… Georgia O'Keeffes … all day can do strange things to a man’s disposition. But Dr. Gobbles is in serious need of some remedial coursework in bedside manners.

I think he gets away with it because he employs a very disarming look. This is a good strategy for anyone who wants to be a jerk and get away with it. There are many to choose from – confused old man, big-eyed innocent child, slightly injured bunny… Dr. Gobbles has gone with the classic “big teddy bear” look. He’s well over 6 feet tall, 300+ lbs, and covered in hair – including a face-encompassing beard. This could be an imposing look if not for his big bright eyes peering through his facial fur. It sounds strange, but the look works for him.

(file photo of Dr. Gobbles, date unknown)

The other thing that helps him get away with a horrible bedside manner is that women hate to shop around for an OB/GYN. Many will stubbornly stick with the first person they pick off their insurance list just to avoid stirrup-time tryouts with a new physician. Most of us would prefer to keep a very short list of people who have seen us assume such a position…

Alright, I’m done venting. I swear. Hopefully that will be my last time seeing Dr. Gobbles anyway. I have a biophysical tomorrow, so I’ll give all you blogophiles out there an update on the boy’s latest stats then. (Yes, all two of you.)

Only five more days before Alexander is served his eviction notice!!!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Sniglar Provides Valuable Life Lesson

Our legion of fan has voiced concern over the lack of blog entries lately. So Tim is cracking the whip and forcing me to sit up and write a post. I know this may seem a bit extreme, but Tim is still in the “Reign of Terror” phase of his patriarchal rule. He has an image to uphold.

Only eight days to go before the induction begins. I have read that released prisoners often have trouble adjusting to life on the outside, so I have been trying to prepare Alexander to make the transition to civilian life as well. I didn’t really know where to start, there is so much to tell him about. So I pulled out a dictionary and decided to just start at the beginning. So far, he is well versed on the letter “a” and knows what to do if he encounters an aardvark.

Those two dictionary entries took about 3 hours to explain, so there's no way we’d make all the way through Zymurgy before next Wednesday. Plus, I think I was over-explaining things and freaking him out. He may have a lifelong phobia of Arthur, the aardvark of PBS Kids fame, after everything I told him…

(Note: Arthur has suspiciously lost his aardvark nose over the years. Just another example of anti-aardvark propaganda in the media.)

Before more time was wasted or phobias created, I gave up on the dictionary approach to preparing Alexander for life on the outside. Plan B was to watch The Learning Channel (TLC) with the volume turned up. After eight hours of this, I realized that TLC is now little more than a reality TV station for people too embarrassed to watch reality TV on Fox. Makeover shows, Bridezilla shows, some comedy/horror show about the parents of septuplets… I think TLC needs to hand over that “L”. While entertaining, there is nothing to be learned here. So I’ll just call it The Channel, or TC, from now on.

So Plan A and Plan B had both failed to prepare Alexander for life on the outside. It was time for Plan C. Plan C was simple and elegant: I watched Tim assemble the Sniglar from IKEA. I tried to give Alexander a running narration (“He’s rolling his eyes. Now he is counting the number of screws again. He’s squinting his eyes at the instructions. Now he is laughing…and now crying.”) What better way to prepare for life in the real world than to observe your father trying to assemble cheap Swedish furniture following cartoon instructions?

Think of it as a metaphor for how things are out here: Simple and yet confusing, deceptively sturdy, and lacking English instructions. You are now ready for the real world, boy.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Small Man Continues to Sublet Uterus

Don’t let the dramatic pause in blog entries fool you. I’m not in labor or anything. I just don’t have much to report. It’s been a slow news week, what can I say? Plus I’ve been having first trimester deja vu with all this nausea, which has made me feel less bloggerific than usual. Plus, I’ve been really busy staring at a crack on the wall that actually moves when you don’t blink for long enough. Plus (er…mostly) laziness has prevailed.

I dropped off the big jug-o-pee today and had the weekly blood draw. While at the lab, I ran into a nurse from the OB office and suddenly realized just how familiar I had become with many of the good people at the medical center (or possibly “centre” if you are feeling a bit Canadian today). I’m almost going to miss seeing the “gang” three times a week when this is all done.

While they don’t want to act on it yet, the doctors are a little concerned about a rise in uric acid in my bloodwork which apparently indicates some kind of kidney malfunction. But, hey, what’s a little kidney malfunction? Wouldn’t we expect there to be at least some major organ shenanigans, given how weird this whole situation is? I mean, come on, I have a small man living in my uterus. The kidneys, the liver, the stomach… they all know something is up and probably feel a bit nervous. They are probably worried I am condo-ing out my whole abdomen and soon I’ll have little men living in every organ in my body. Well, dear organs, let me assure you that is not the case. So BUCK UP! Besides, the kid’s getting an eviction notice at the end of the month anyway.

My little tenant seems to be doing well at the moment, and that’s all I really care about. More news, and possibly non-news, as it happens.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

House is Clean, Cats are Traumatized

The floors are very clean. Of course, we still have piles of clutter but the areas around the clutter are sparkling clean. The Molly Maids were very sweet and wanting to hear all about the baby on the way. The one named Eema* had a very thick accent, though, and I’m not sure she and I were always having the same conversation. She probably wasn’t at all interested in hearing about the baby, but when in doubt I just volunteered baby information.

When Eema was cleaning the bedroom it gave us a good twenty minutes of alone time together. I got hopelessly lost in the conversation and I felt bad that I was saying “What was that?” every five seconds. So I just started nodding a lot. At one point, I swear she told me that her son was studying to be a priest but then came out as gay and had to quit his studies. That sounded like an extraordinarily interesting revelation, but I couldn’t be sure that was what she said. I had been nodding for so long and was so lost that I couldn’t possibly ask for clarification without exposing my poor listening skills and my shameful fa├žade of head nods. She looked at me, obviously expecting a certain reaction to what she had just said. I stared at her wide-eyed, hoping for some additional cue on how to respond because I really wasn't at all sure of what she said. It was exactly like that moment in the movies when you can hear a clock ticking, even if there are no clocks around. Finally, Eema said “So that has been hard” and I quickly said “I bet.”

I really wanted to ask more questions, but my ego wouldn’t let me because my phony nods would be exposed. Oh, the shame! *sigh* I win the number one phony baloney award.

Anyway... the maids have come and gone and the house is now much cleaner. Since all the kids are doing it these days, how about I just sum things up with a haiku:

two maid tornado
leaving in its wake pine scent
and terrified cats


That’s some high quality faux Japanese poetry right there. Yep, I like to bring a little class to the blog… a little art for art’s sake…a little turtleneck wearing…a little NPRishness… a little buying-an-obscure-album-to-display-but-never-listen-to-ness… you know what I mean. I’m bringing a little of that the blog.

Alright, I’ve got to focus on comforting the kitties now,

*actual spelling may vary

We have an ETA on the Boy!

Induction is scheduled to begin July 30th. Wah-hoooooo!!!!! This is assuming Alexander isn’t twirling his invisible mustache right now and secretly planning a surprise. The doctor said it could take a couple days of labor before the actual delivery happens. Niiice. So the boy will probably arrive on July 31st or August 1st.

The doctor was explaining to me what I could expect. In addition to two separate labor-inducing drugs, I will be put on a “nasty drug” called Magnesium Sulfate. Yes, those quotation marks do reflect a direct quote from my doctor. Not the words I wanted to hear, but I appreciate that she wasn’t sugar-coating things… like when a dentist tells you ‘you may feel a tickle’ as they start up the drill and immediately strike a nerve. *shaking fist in general direction of local dentist’s office*

Anyway, this drug is to prevent seizures, which is a risk for pre-eclamptic preggosauruses such as myself. Reducing the risk of seizures is obviously a good thing, but this drug has some unfortunate side effects like vomiting, muscle weakness, overheating and severe headache. Good times! I’ll have to stay on it throughout labor and for 24 hours after delivery. I feel most sorry for my labor coaches (Tim and mom)… not only will I be whining over labor pains, I’ll also be wrecked on this anti-seizure drug. I’m sure they’ll be fighting over the privilege to hold the puke bucket. I can already sense that I’ll need to send them both an FTD I’m Sorry Bouquet™ when this is all done.

Well, however the boy arrives into this world doesn’t really matter. Just as long as he gets here safely. Still, my hippie dreams of having a totally natural drug-free childbirth have gone to pot (so to speak). I can still, of course, refuse an epidural or pain meds… but my doctor urged me to keep an open mind about things and reminded me that induced labors tend to be both longer and more painful than labors that start on their own. I called her “Dr. HippieDreamCrusher”, threw my pee jug at her and left. (There’s yet another FTD I’m Sorry Bouquet ™ I need to order.)

PS- the Molly Maids are here right now! They are my new best friends.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Our Big Little Guy

I had an ultrasound today in which the boy measured 5 lbs, 12 oz!!! Holy cow. This kid is off the charts HUGE. Maybe it’s a good thing the doctor’s won’t let me go to 40 weeks. If I did, and this trend continued, I project that I’d be pushing a full grown 185 lb man. Instead of coming out crying, he’d come out saying in a deep baritone “Hello, mother. That was rather unpleasant, wasn’t it? Perchance do you have a wet-nap?” (Well, maybe he wouldn’t be quite that big… I’ll have to recheck my math on that.)

My mom (Alexander’s Grandma) came along with me to the appointment today, which was really fun. Despite the archaic ultrasound equipment they were using, the tech got a few interesting views. The baby was opening and closing his hand, as if he were waving at my mom … so he is already making his grandma very proud and happy! That’s a sizable portion of his job description right there, so he is already outstanding in the field of baby excellence.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Tim’s World

As you can imagine, I spend many hours a week in the doctor’s office. The office visits are seriously a part-time job in themselves as they can take several hours each, and they are often placed right in the middle of the day so as to ensure maximum inconvenience. Tim’s really gone to more appointments than the average dad, and met all the doctor’s at the practice … so he’s already earned his kick-butt Dad-to-Be stripes. Since my appointment schedule has gone into overdrive, Tim doesn’t usually go with me so that he can go about building his (evil) audio and video empire.

We have a role reversal today, though, as Tim is going to an appointment and I am staying home. No, they aren’t slathering his belly with goo and strapping him down with various monitoring devices (as far as I know). He is actually out interviewing our potential pediatrician right now.

I picked the pediatrician because she is down the hall from our family doctor, and in her bio she said she had two grade-school age kids and a Labrador Retriever. OK, it was the lab that really tipped the scales for me. Someone with an outstanding dog must also be an outstanding doctor. It was hard to come up with good questions… but I knew we were supposed go in with questions ready. At first, all I could come up with is…
(1) So… you like kids?
(2) How is your dog?
(3) Did you ever see that one episode of Seinfield where the pediatrician referred to both an ugly baby and Elaine as breathtaking? It was funny.

But thanks to a consultation with Dr. Google, Tim and I came up with some better ones. So Tim is grilling the doctor with questions right now, and hopefully making good use of that extra bright interrogation light I sent along with him. The thing is, I am sure we’ll use her unless Tim comes home and says she is just way too twitchy.

When he's not out playing 'good cop/bad cop' with the interrogation light, Tim has been keeping really busy with his audio/video empire building work. He spent most of yesterday “making sibilance” into each of his gazillion microphones. It’s for some… thing… with a compressor… and… this guy…??? I don’t know. I try really hard to understand audio engineering stuff, but I get confused and inevitably get the story completely wrong. I really do try, though. I just don’t have the techie brain for it so everything he says about compressors and preamps and patchbays and buses barely manages to get into my ears before my brain scrambles it into the sound of Charlie Brown’s teacher (“wha-wha-whant-wha-whan”)

In addition to the studio building stuff, he’s also been busy working on two video commercial projects, as well as a music video for a neighbor. So he’s been bringing home some fine bacon.

And that is Tim’s World…as far as I can tell. Actual “Tim World” may vary.

Slothy Wife Calls Maid Service

While Tim’s been bringing home the bacon, I’ve just been bringing home artificial bacon bits. It’s weird that I am still getting a paycheck from work seeing as I am not working. I’m using sick time. Every time I see a paycheck come in through the mail, I just think “suuuckers”. It doesn’t seem like I should be getting paid for slothing around at home. It feels very unearned, and like I said, very artificial-bacon-bity.

I am thinking about getting this book for Tim to help him understand my transformation:

Well, it's been less of a transformation and more a magnification of my pre-existing slothy traits.

I figured I’d really pile on the baby weight since all I am doing is lounging around and eating large amounts of ice cream. Surprisingly, load mode has resulted in my dropping about 8 lbs in the last two weeks. The doctor said that is normal and it is due to a reduction in swelling. I still have a lot of swelling – but now it is more in my hands and face and legs rather than my feet and ankles. Mmmm…gravity. So I am celebrating the re-emergence of my ankles, but sadly my hands are now like two big potatoes. I can’t even make a closed fist anymore. Whenever I pet Cow with my clumsy potato hand, I can’t help but say “I'm gonna love her, and squeeze her and call her Cow."

Due to my potato hands and load-mode status, you can imagine what our kitchen looks like. Not pretty. It’s not that I’ve ever been a clean-freak (my parents would be happy to show you embarrassing pictures of my teenage bedroom to prove it) but I always like to keep the kitchen nice… and now look at it:

OK, that isn’t our kitchen… but you get the idea. Just take it down a couple of notches, and that’s almost semi-sorta-kinda-close to the squalor level of our kitchen. But Tim has made me the happiest slothy wife in the world by agreeing to let me have a maid service come in and clean one afternoon. I know!! How la-tee-dah, huh?

As excited as I am, I felt soooo weird calling up Molly Maids and asking for someone to come clean the house. I felt like I was really apologizing as I called and trying to justify why I would even need their services. It’s not like I work an 80-hour week or travel a lot, which I suspect is the case for most of their clientele. So when the maids show up and I am at home, they are going to be like “Why do you need us? Why can’t you clean the floors? What’s wrong with you? What kind of wife are you, anyway?” Geez, imaginary maids are SO MEAN. Anyway, I think I managed to awkwardly slip in “I’m on bedrest” a couple of times during the phone call to Molly Maids as my pathetic attempt to offer justification for requesting their services.

I suspect I’ll get over these feelings as soon as the maids come and go and our house is shiny. They are scheduled to come in next Tuesday. I realized after I hung up that Tuesdays are my pee jug days. Great… nothing like a jug of pee in a cooler on the bathroom floor to tell a stranger “a real twisted piece of fruit lives here!” Oh… the shame compounds.

Well, like I said, I’ll get over it quickly. I am so thankful to have this service come around, and I’m so lucky Tim is being Mr. Supportive Pants and letting me have strangers come into our house to power clean.

*sigh* I can’t wait to have a shiny clean house for our baby to spit-up all over.