Thursday, December 27, 2007

It was a remarkable day because the Toddler took a sleeping nap. Without screaming. Sure, I was driving down the highway when she started sleeping, but that happens frequently on those days when she's overtired and is forced to sit without amusement in a nice smooth gently vibrating seat. No, the real challenge comes when the ride is over. When Daddy is home and unbuckles her for the ride into the house. If she's been asleep we carry her in; these days she's not only capable of but encouraged to walk into the house under her own power. Once inside the house if she's been deeply asleep and is still groggy she gets laid down on her bed. Today there was one brief wail of protest. Then... nothing. Not a peep. She was, instead, fast asleep again and took a two and a half hour (almost 3!) nap. Woke up for dinner. Just now went happily and peacefully (and sleepily) to bed at 8.

This is a normal-type bedtime schedule for her age. This is what I aspire to every day of our lives. This is not so normal for us ever, especially so the past month when Mommy's been having a baby and recovering from same, when she's less inclined to get tough with naptime enforcement and has settled for "at least she's pretending to play quietly." Two hours or so of playing in her room more or less quietly without massive destruction while I tried to get either chores done or resting of my own. Not ideal.

I wouldn't get so hung up on this if not for how badly she still needs that nap. Some kids don't need a nap by this point. Great. I support that. But this kid... she is tired enough it's starting to hurt to see her. And when she's tired she's more easily frustrated. She has more tempers. She has a lower tolerance on how much outside stimulation she can handle before needing that hard swaddle and serious quiet time trying to beat her mommy up. Incidentally, you haven't been kicked until you've had a toddler kicking and punching a recent c-section incision. It's.... unique. Thank God for the nice doctor who gave me that beautiful bottle of percocet when I left the hospital. I use it frequently, still, on those nights after such episodes.

But today everything seemed to go okay. I'm still stressing about other things, nasty money-type things, that I can't control. I just don't have that type of cash laying around. If I did I wouldn't have those stresses. I'd have other, equally annoying, stresses. In the meantime I'll try to concentrate on the successes. Not only those of naps but those of healthy preemies doing well. Baby fat starting to appear. Children tolerating their feeds and gaining weight and coming closer to a dischargable state. It will be very nice to see my babies both home.

And I think I have problems sleeping now? At least this week the not-sleeping is not because I have to deal with wailing and refluxing and pooping children. I may be cranky and awake but I'm doing so in a quiet environment.
I'm getting even more frustrated with the big G. Google. They took away my page rank, as fast as they had given it. And what does that prove? Why should they be the standard when they don't disclose how page rank is given, taken, or anything about their adsense problem. I think by now most people know that Adsense will ban your account without ever giving you a reason or proof of misdoing. Any request for reconsideration to either program insists that you check a box saying that you know the ban was all your own fault. Well, what if it wasn't?

Earthfrisk is coming on the scene. It's a fast and simple way to combine all the major search engines and issue ranks given by your peers on the Net. You can download a customizeable search bar that's compatible with IE and Firefox. Make it work for you. Search Engine does not need to take you to three or four different versions of the same results. Search all the major engines at once and save time! The meta-future is dawning with a new way to do things.

It's Thursday. It is, right? My days and numbers are getting so screwed up this month. On the other hand I look at how much has happened in the past 30 days. Thanksgiving. Christmas. A new baby. Pumping as much as I can stand it. Insomnia. Getting back up to speed on preemie issues, tailored to this season and area. Toddler getting ready to transition to the next educational step through the next several months.

I guess I can cut myself some slack on this.

So the new pumping regimen. I've talked about it already, yes? In the first two days of this slightly different style and timing I've gone back up to half an ounce combined. And I've got a lot of hope that just maybe if I can keep going with it and the hydration required and all that fenugreek I can bump it slowly even higher than that. I hope so. Robbie just went to 15ml a feeding. Yikes! That's half an ounce.

And it's almost the weekend again. I'm so ready for this.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Why am I awake at this horrible hour in the middle of the night? It can't possibly be because it's Christmas, and I have the ability to sleep and snuggle up in the night next to my Boy and know that I don't have to wake up before dawn tomorrow in order to ferry him to work. Well, maybe that's part of it. I can't sleep, anyway, so I might as well sit up and pump out more drips and drops of milk for my Robbie.

He's two pounds now. Two pounds for Christmas. I thought it might happen, but that was positive pushing in my brain. I never fully believed I would see it. We went up to see him and there's just enough chub on his body now that I don't see every breath rushing through his lungs. The internal workings of his body are more of a mystery now. Isn't that something? He begins to look like a Real Live Boy and less of a hairless spider monkey covered in very fine thin fur.

Incredible to stop and think that very soon -sooner than I expect or believe will happen- he'll be coming home. By "soon" I mean that it may be another month or so. Roughly his due date, but we won't know for sure until it happens. One day my phone will ring and the doctor will say that it's time to bring my baby home, and then my world will turn upside down one more time.

Last time I likened it to being in labor mentally. I was more nervous walking into the hospital than I had ever been in my life. I shook, my hands sweated, and I couldn't think beyond one moment to the next. We held the car seat between us. And a diaper bag. I don't even remember what was in it. So clueless, despite everything I thought I knew.

This time will likely be the same. In another year I'll blog about how innocently naive I was tonight. How I thought I knew what I would face, the challenges, the sleepless nights, the endless slogging through learning a new preemie who must be held Just So for feedings, upright or sideways backwards for so many minutes after feeding, how he sleeps best, how to keep socks on his feet... I'll despair about ever sleeping at night with my Boy in the same bed, because it'll seem as though one or the other of us is always awake with this child.

And I will feel so incredibly blessed to be allowed to have this miracle in my life.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Yes, there really was a baby in those blankets! But the blanket bundle was about twice the size of the baby. His head is about the size of a medium lime, and he was flirting with me the whole time I was holding him. So cute! I'm thrilled that I did, indeed, get to hold him before Christmas. This might be the best present I've ever gotten, possibly only tying in place for "best" with the Christmas eve that my Boy came home from a two month stint in Meridian, MS. That was the time I found out I was pregnant with the Toddler two weeks after he left. It was a wonderful moment for us, but then we got worried because nothing really seemed to go right, and he couldn't wait to come home and be with me/us... last set of orders cut before the command there broke for the holidays. He was diverted and rebooked and what with one thing and another he was on one plane or another for 24 hours until finally arriving at SD. I didn't care. I was just so happy to see him at last.

And here we are, Christmas Eve day. I hope it's a merry one for all of you, no matter where you are or what beliefs you ascribe to. Big Hugs.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Yesterday I held my baby for the first time. His head is so small. His body is so small. I have to hold his neck completely straight to keep the airway clear.

note to self. do not let keyboard ever get wet again. it makes the 'v' key stick and make a mess.
I always hated the thought of planning my wedding. Even though we were doing the legal stuff first, we had counted on doing the "church thing " later on. If you've been reading this blog, you know that life didn't work out quite that way for us. There were babies. Preemies. My perpetually cold feet to deal with. But the day will come again that I'll have to sit down and plan as wedding back east, without the benefit of living there. It makes me shiver. On one hand I want to do it; get to be a bride in a white sparkly dress- even though my dress will now be something other than white. On the other hand how do I wade through all the things I'll have to do? There's the location. The food. Alcohol? Lodging for out of town guests who will be traveling there? Lodging for us? And childcare... can't forget that now. In fact, that may be more Of a consideration now than ever before. Philadelphia Weddings are a snap when you have an online option for your planning needs. If you're wary of dealing with crowds of vendors all in your face, there's the convenience of doing it online. If you're too far away to visit a wedding show, there's the convenience of making the arrangements on your own time and schedule instead of with twenty vendors distracting you.

I grew up in the Philadelphia area. I know how hard it can be if you're looking at either a low key wedding or an Event worthy of the Main Line. Budgets are important. If I could do this all for little money and the most convenience, this is where I'd start. Longwood Gardens? Sign me up, when the gardens are budding and if you could arrange for the holiday lights to stay up a little longer? That's just fine with me. This site is as good place for me to start. If I change my mind as to having this party on the east coast, they cover plenty of other big areas

Friday, December 21, 2007

Our Robbie is now 1 and 12. That's 805gm for those of you in a metric world. 1 pound, 12 oz. When speaking to someone else, especially in the world where you're always referring to these weights, we tend to drop the pound/ounce labels. It's x and y, not pounds and y ounces. Convenient.

Is that how people developed text-speak? Because they just found that labels so darn convenient? And am I now feeding into the same mindset that makes my teeth clench up every time I'm confronted with a license plate saying I luv u2? Maybe I should administer a self-punishment right now and go read my grammar references. Eesh.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Congrats go out to my cousin's family, as they welcome their new son today! They haven't updated the site just yet, but I've seen the pictures and he's a cute one.
Five days until Christmas. Are you panicking yet? I was... but then I realized that I've got better things to do with that energy. The past couple of days have not been good ones for me; overwhelmed, overstressed, exhausted, unable to let go of anything at all. It's a wonder that my Boy hasn't demanded a six-pack and some quiet hiding time alone with his laptop and computer games off in the closet. Some closet. Somewhere. Far away from the insane one. I've gone from hopeful to a nearly weeping wreck of a woman about fifty times in just the last twenty four hours. This morning he comes into the bedroom as I was getting dressed and just stood quietly at the end of the bed with a loving and patient and determinedly neutral pleasant Look as he asked how I was feeling so far.

Do I appreciate this? Yes. Do I fully comprehend that he's doing the best he knows how to do, based on his extensive knowledge of me and my ways? Yes. Have I been batshit crazy by far this past week, and will it happen again and again in the next year or two? Oh hell yes.

Tonight I'm going to get him some beer on my way to pick him up from work. He's completely earned it, and I know that this situation with Robbie is getting to him too. The difference is that while I'm staring at my breasts willing them to produce milk he's watching me go from banshee to reasonable and back again while staring at my breasts willing them to produce milk, and he's waiting patiently for his wife to re-emerge from this she-demon. It's just the getting there that sucks. The journey's goal is worth it.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

One of the best experiences I ever had with a computer was the day I first watched a dvd on the laptop. At last I had the power to really have a personal viewing experience! Customized to me! A screen in my lap, in bed, with my needlework on the keyboard and the picture just a half-glance away from where my eyes needed to be. It was incredible. This is why high on my priority list is to get me a new laptop. Sometime. Maybe next year, late, after the Robbie-expenses are shaken out of the budget and incorporated into regular rotation instead of the "emergency, unexpected" category.

It's hard to know exactly what your AV needs are going to be for a personal use. If, like me, you spend most of your life on the Net, you know that your every day habits can be easily influenced if you've come across the right motivation. If your favorite website adds a new feature that uses new audio visual equipment and installations, you're so much more likely to rush to pick it up. Learn the bells and whistles. Before you know it that new feature is familiar and you seek out other places to use those applications. It doesn't have to mean spending tons of money in the workplace, if you're primarily using these things at home. On the flip side, if you do use a lot of this sort of stuff in the workplace, you need to stay competitive. Advertising uses a ton. IT needs to know how to make it work and fix it when idiots like me mess around with it and "break" the application. Eventually as the program becomes more mainstream most of us will learn how to use it and either need training on such things or be sought out to train others. There's no way quite like having to teach someone else how to use a product to make you very familiar with it in record time.
My little boy is now 1 lb 11 oz. If this keeps up he might just double his birth weight by the time he's a month old. Isn't that the coolest?

The Toddler, by comparison, took about 6 weeks to double her birth weight. Of course, she was a bigger baby. Just when did 2lb, 10oz become a big baby? About the second that I fully comprehended that I had delivered a 1 pounder.

We're off to a positive start this morning. Mommy slept twelve hours. Toddler slept 14 hours. Newborn remains stable in the NICU, demanding his pretty nurses bring him breakfast in the isolette... Daddy is tired, putting in another 12 hour day. He's got that sucky schedule all this week but I'm crossing my fingers that nothing happens of an emergency nature over the holiday. We all need that little break.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Once upon a time when I still had all my teeth, they were VERY sensitive. So sensitive, in fact, that I had to give up chocolate, candy, ice cream, anything hot or cold, and was down to eating mostly soft, warmish, mushy foods. This is what people used to live with when they had poor dental care. I didn't even have that excuse. It was horrible. Embarassing. I was left out when there were family gatherings and lovely yummy food that I had to pass by or eat horribly carefully and slowly in order to avoid major dental pain. I don't mind certain amounts of pain. I really don't. But dental pain -yeesh. That's a biggie.

There are now a ton of products for sensitive teeth. Some of them whiten, some of them promise to taste better, some sing and dance for you while magically taking out the trash, walking the dog, and toilet-training your children. (Where could I get me that one? I wish!) Biotene is different from the majority of products out there because it contains an enzyme that works to make the causes of dry mouth go away, it helps your gums heal from bleeding and works to counter the sensitivity issues that are causing the pain in the first place. Now, they're not claiming that this product is going to instantly cure you, but it certainly makes the pain less over time while tasting good. What other sensitive toothpaste can say all that?

This was my Robbie last week.

This is my Robbie yesterday. As you can see, the difference from week to week is still pretty slight but I will point out the major change: no vent tubes. In other words, he's breathing under his own power right now. Of course he's nowhere near able to deal with room air; he's on an O2 cannula. Still. I think this is one of the big developmental milestones of preemiehood.

Forget about the normal babybook items. Baby's first smile, first gas, the day the umbilical cord fell off. We are counting such milestones as baby's first day off the vent. Baby's first tube feeding. Baby's first experience trying to suck on a preemie-sized soothie-pacifier. Baby's first time throwing a tantrum inside the isolette and pulling out his leads. Baby's first heart surgery.

Strangely enough I still take all those things as true parental-pride-worthy accomplishments. If I think about them in the context of what the regular baby books tell me, I wonder what planet they've come from, because in our universe those "first" steps aren't going to happen for many months yet to come. They will come, I have every confidence in that. They will arrive here unheralded by balloons or marching bands. It will happen and be marked with quiet joy by a tired mother and father who recognize just how miraculous every sunrise is for this child who started so small and who fought so hard to learn how to breathe and eat and keep his heart beating.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

My week just got shot to hell. I kept thinking, I need to update the blog. Then stuff happened. Then I'd think, I need to update the blog. Then more stuff happened. Rinse and repeat this for most of the week and now we come to the first afternoon I've had to myself with the computer and the Toddler is SUPPOSED to be sleeping but the sounds coming through the wall tell me that she's not. Oh well.

She had an enormous bit of fun this morning at the hanger where Daddy works. The kids' christmas party was held this morning. The hanger was clean and plane-free (for once). The heaters attached at the rafter level were running full blast and made it warm. There was bubble wrap taped down in long strips along the sides of the space for kids to run and stamp on. Somehow I saw more grownups "accidentally" having to cross the bubbles than I did kids. But we were early to the party, so maybe things picked up after we left.

Games and fun were in plentiful supply, as were cakes and cookies and cupcakes and popcorn. A giant moon bounce castle. A christmas tree and the necessary presents underneath it. Toddler ran this way and that way and around and around in circles until she fell and bloodied her nose. Then she didn't want to hold still at all for me to wipe it. She cuddled long enough to dry the tears, then she was off again. According to her eyes, she's tired. According to her? Not So. Me? Nap? You must be joking she lets me know without managing to use any words at all.

Tonight is the grownups christmas party and I'm allowed to go. That sounds wrong. It should read that it's harder than getting the Toddler to use her words consistently to get me willing to go to a party outside the house. Or most social functions. Especially when I'm depressed. But to this party I will go, and try to have a good time and wear my pleasant face. My mom will babysit. My Boy is going to be with me. There might be kissing and holding of hands.

We're wild, you know. Hand-holding in public and everything. Who knows? Anything can happen at an office party when it's held in a jet hanger.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

For so many moms it goes smoothly. You have a normalish conception. A routine pregnancy that you think will never end. At the tail of it, a balloon and a baby are in your hands as you're wheeled out of the hospital to a waiting car. And then there are preemie mom who may have none of that, or some of it, before finding themselves in either a panicky delivery full of medical stuff or a less-rushed delivery full of medical stuff. A neonatologist is standing by, with a baby team, and you may not even know what they are except that your OB doesn't want to deliver without one. You're the mother, it is supposed to be your job to know this, but where do you belong now?

The recovery of life after that is a hard thing to find again. The pieces of your new parenthood without child. Visiting a NICU, learning the language, learning to love a little bundle of wires and tubing without any of the "normal" stuff. It's a chore. The books don't prepare you for this. The shows on tv don't begin to touch the reality of it when this is your baby and your delivery and your emotional pain. And your husband's too- he's so often forgotten in the concern and rush to ask "how's the mom doing". He's the other parent. He's the one who stood or sat by to watch the love of his life go through all this. What about his dreams and hopes for this delivery? What did he imagine in the days before hell broke loose around you both?

The Boy and I were fortunate. We had prepared for a preemie again. It wasn't a question of would he come early, it was a question of how early would he come. We had processed it a bit. That's how my voice doesn't shake when I talk about it. This is how I can function now. I'm dealing. Maybe not well, but I'm still dealing with it. And this is all part and parcel of preemie parenting for me. Suckful, it is. Hellacious, even. I'm exhausted today. Slept twelve hours last night and didn't get up to pump once, and I'm exhausted. Just plain worn out and exhausted. Will it get better? Soon. I trust, soon. The past two weeks have been a total blur. I don't remember half of the days in them. I drink plenty of water and read and love my Toddler. I try to put some of the pieces back together. Unlike the first time I was delivered of a preemie, I do not feel the need to replay every minute of the second delivery like a bad dream. I remember it vividly, yes, and it's all there for me to replay in my head if I need to. But the birthing part is a calmness in my memory; the Boy held my left hand and squeezed my fingertips. He looked me in the eye. We were there together and I was safely delivered of a son.

Just in time for Christmas.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Food banks are facing crisis this year. That's not news, but it should be. Why? Why do we suddenly hear about it now? Because more and more people are driven to these places to put food on the table at the end of the day? I think so. With bills going up, gas and electric and all the other utilities going up. Rent. Mortgages in crisis. And food becomes the last concern on our plates sometimes even though it may need to start coming first.

We've been lucky. Money is never really enough for our expenses, but we've got food and milk. So far. Where will it be next year? Where will it be if my blogging income tapers off? I don't know. I do know that my car insurance rates are going down a smidgeon, which is good news because we can't afford to not have our car. Living in the middle of nowhere, driving to get anywhere, with two kids soon to have a round of never-ending doctors and specialists and intervention programs and schooling. The Boy needs to get to work. I need to escape these baby blues before I have to add myself back into that train of doctors. Did I think it was hard to get therapy with one baby? How about two? And that second one will be every bit as small and fragile as the Toddler was when she first came out of the NICU.

I'm counting blessings. Really, I am counting them. But those baby blues are chasing me around the house last night and this morning until I think I'll lose my mind. Obsessing about milk supply. About production. About whether or not Robbie will have long term damage from being on the vent so long. About wanting him weaned off it already so that I can hold him next time I'm there. Maybe. Because I want to hold my itty bitty boy. I want to see his face, his whole face, for the very first time. Even if I still can't touch him, I want to see his face.
My mom says that I owe her spa time for all the stress and gray hair I've given her over the years. I will owe my husband the same before long. Whenever we're at the mall he starts coveting a ride in one of the massaging chairs. Those chairs look so nice, and they work at those hard to reach muscle groups trying to relax them and unknot tricky places in your back that you never quite trust other people to get at correctly. Now there's a chair even better suited for getting the tension out of your life. Massage Chairs certified by American College of Chiropractic Orthopedists use a quad roller design to relieve stress and tension. Hmmm.. They even come with a heat feature, and a foot massage option. How nice would that be to look forward to at the end of a long day? whether you're chasing kids or papers around an office, get the downtime and pampering you deserve with one of these.
My Robbie continues to thrive. He's gaining weight rapidly, and on the feeding protocol where he's at this means that his feeds have to be increased daily. Every shift, it seems, they're increasing them a little bit.

Of course he's still drinking little itty bits. This morning they told me that he's up to 3.5ml per feed. That's not a lot. Half a teaspoon. But hey- who am I to quarrel with weight gain and happy baby? He's really doing well on breastmilk. Despite my inner fears that the lack of quantity on my part will lead to some deficit in the quality of the milk he's drinking. Who knows? I don't know. What I know is that my baby boy came early and now he's thriving well in his warm nest despite me not being there. I can concentrate on the blessing that knowledge is and not the creeping depression that leads to dark moments.

Friday, December 07, 2007

stupid, stupid, useless me. Can't do anything right. Can't produce more milk for Robbie. Why the hell do I have these breasts if they're not going to nurture my offspring? Why did I have the gall to have another preemie anyway when the breasts don't work and I don't know how to make them work?
I miss my Robbie. I haven't been up to see him, and I know I said that this weekend only thing was going to work out just fine, and I know that it's not economically feasible to just run up there. I was lying to myself I think. I miss him. I still haven't really "bonded" as such. I feel such a different connection with him already than I did with the Toddler. More a sense of "he's mine". Is this because I am a mother already? Is this because I'm worried about his weight and size and prematurity despite knowing he's got the best possible start for someone born this early?

Is it that he's my baby and I still haven't heard him make a sound a week and a half after he's been born? I want to hold him and I can't. I want to touch him through the portholes of his isolette and I can't. I want to do so much for him and with him, and at the same time I want to throw myself fully into playing and resuming a "normal" life with the Toddler, and that I can do within certain physical limits... I'm torn.

If it was me and the Toddler here, and I was allowed to drive myself, I'd be up at the NICU this morning. Though I don't know who would watch the Toddler since she's not allowed past the waiting room area.

Is this the beginning of baby blues or the beginning of it's nasty depressive cousin or am I just on the rollercoaster of NICU motherhood again?

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

I'm running around right now with washclothes tucked into my bra.

No, I haven't lost what was left of my mind. I just don't want to fork over any money for nursing pads right now. I probably should. It would help prevent leakage from my growing mammary glands. It would soak up the letdown I'm getting from one side while pumping the other. But... I don't want to spend the money. Besides, pioneer women survived this many times before the commercial baby industry came out with this concept.

What I'm working at this week is slowly increasing supply. I feel so proud when I get another half ounce, combined. The reason for my pride is that there's nobody around me to compare that to. I don't know what normal women are expressing at this point. Then again, when have I ever been accused of being normal? I prove my point. In other news, I'm starting to wonder how soon I can reasonably steal my car keys back and start taking over the early morning to-work run with the Boy. I miss my morning travel time. I seriously miss it. That was like, our private little date time together. Now what do we have? The two minutes before closing eyes at night in the big bed? A brief kiss in the morning before he leaves? Not enough to me.

I know I need to rest more. I can rest when the sun rises. I want to see my Boy right now. I want to do that running. I want to drive my car.
Is it not amazing what modern surgery can do? Besides the realm of lifesaving procedures, new techniques in the elective field can dramatically improve your quality of life without permanent internal changes. The Lapband procedure is one of the newer techniques for weight loss surgery tampa. It involves the surgeon going in through tiny incisions and placing a small band around the stomach. This restricts the stomach's capacity for food and also lengthens the digestion process to help you feel fuller faster and longer. Sometimes obesity issues arise from problems that can't be solved with a good diet and exercise. There could be a medical component, or a hormonal one that plays into the rest of it. Some people seem to be hardwired for extra pounds early in life and nothing they do can truly solve it. For these people this is one solution that can get them back on the road to a healthy weight.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Many moons ago I called the Toddler by another name. Her NICU name was the Borgmonkey, because she came into this world looking like a wrinkled spider monkey with a fur problem. (She got cuter, obviously!) She was also attached to so many wires and leads and tubing that she was a Borg. This is a testament to the smartassedness of her parents more than anything else.

When Robbie was born the Boy proudly told me that he was purple. After the morphine kicked in we had further discussion, and decided that this meant Robbie should be referred to as a smurf. As we sat by his isolette this past weekend preparing for the surgery it was further decided that he is now Robosmurf. My brief suggestion of The Bionic Smurf was turned down.

I foresee many future tales of the Robosmurf and his partner-in-crime. Thank you for all the contributions to our Goldfish Cracker Funds; every drop in the bucket helps us out in the next couple of months as we're getting up to the NICU to see Robbie and closer to the date when I've got both of my babies home and in my arms.

Monday, December 03, 2007

My Robbie

Yesterday I went out to what was supposed to be my mother's tea-party for her birthday. Turns out it was a surprise baby shower. This is a first for her- she managed to organize this whole thing, starting five weeks ago, to be a surprise. Without spilling the beans to me. And I managed to not find out about it. Me and my nosiness- it's made any form of surprise a virtual impossibility since I turned two. A good time was had by all. Wonderful. Amazing.

What timing! What amazing timing for the birth, given the pre-arranged party scheduling, and that I was on my feet enough to really enjoy it. I was so stunned that it had taken me by surprise that I came home in a warm fog. Much like I had sat through the whole event.
Overstock is having a christmas promotion; register for the All I want for Christmas Giveaway and win a prize of your choice plus prizes for five friends. Christmas this year is going to be tight for a lot of people. Despite the great sales and deals offered by many retailers, the general public is feeling the tight wallets pinch as gas and heating prices go up. Inflation, the economy, the anticipation of rising mortgage rates with the new year. Around here I can tell that pinch will be harder felt than in many other areas of the country.

I'm going to register for this contest on the chance that just maybe I'll win. I want to sign up for the dream gifts; the stuff that I'd just love to have here for my kids and family to make our lives that much easier in the coming months. Like a really big swingset. Or a nursery suite for Robbie. Or a big couch that will fit all four of us comfortably. I think that on the whole, I'd go with the couch. A nice, big, comfy couch with many pillows and a reclining option. Where the kids can climb on their parents, where my two babies can snuggle up to me in the afternoons when they're definitely not tired but need a nap anyway. Is there a better way to nap?

Sunday, December 02, 2007

The PDA is fixed. The surgeon went in and made a small incision under my boy's left shoulderblade and slipped a titanium clip around the right place, and now Robbie has a functioning heart that should fix the blood pressure problem and help him grow and thrive. It's amazing what can be done these days, with just a few things. Ultrasounds saved him from distress. Heated isolettes are keeping him warm while machines breathe for him and deliver warmed breastmilk to his stomach a few drops at a time. Other lines bring the raw nutrients to his blood directly. All this, twenty years ago, could it have happened? I want to say that yes it could. I don't really know.

Combined with the miracle of my newborn, the miracle of what is being done now to bring him home to me unscathed is enough to completely take my breath away. Is there anything more to life? Is there anything bigger than a newborn child that could fit in a loaf pan?

Emotions are starting to get the better of us here. Tempers are running high. I don't know where to begin to help my husband. He is keeping everything to himself again; trying to be strong. He's the support, he's the rock, and when will he let any of this out? How hard dare I push?
Have you been seeing the trailers for Sweeney Todd, a new movie from Tim Burton? I just visited the Confessional, where readers are asked to call or write in their own confessionals. Apparantly nothing is offlimits here. There's a badge you can put onto your website, letting your readers know that you've confessed. Of course the confessions are focused towards revenge acts- that's the theme of the movie, after all.

Based on the mother of all current horror film themes, this is about a barber who kills his customers and turns the bodies over to his lover who bakes them into pies. Revenge is one motive. Is greed another? Watch and find out. There's a lot of information on the web about the origins of this legend, about how he was caught, tried, and executed. If you visit Sweeney Todd on MySpace you'll find the confessional feature. Go ahead. You know you want to write your own confessional about what you did to that one person, that one time, when they were mean to you back in middle school. Take this chance to get it off your chest and find out that you're not exactly the worst person out there for doing things like that. You can even visit the official Sweeney Todd movie site for more about the latest adaptation of the story, which is being offered up with Burton's usual flair for making the abnormal seem extraordinary. The cast, from what I can see, only enhances the skill of the filmmaker.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

When my baby girl was born she had a small opening in one of the valves in her heart. It hadn't finished closing, but it did within a few days of her birth. Robbie was born with the same thing. Normally they close just fine and there are no problems; even with preemies. Sometimes they do not.

Tomorrow morning my little boy is going to have surgery to fix the hole in his heart. I do not know what to think; my brain is fuzzy with the morning's events. I thought everything was fine and I was coping, and then I heard this news. While I know it's routine, while I know that everything will likely go just fine, I want to close my eyes and let the rest of the world go on without my knowledge for a few hours. I need to regroup my brain and get some rest before I can cope with this knowledge.

Today is my mother's birthday and all the things I wanted to do to make it a happy one for her are now so far from my brain that I don't remember half of them. She'll forgive me. I don't know if I'll forgive myself later on.
If I didn't know better, I'd have thought that the gift basket the Boy brought home from his office yesterday was from Delightful Gifts. It was just the sort of thing I've seen on their website. If you're looking for a unique gift, why not a basket? It's multiple items, each worthy of being a gift in and of itself. And the container it comes in is often as neat as the collection inside. We couldn't be happier with what we got. I was browsing this website throughout this past year for various stuff; while I never got around to ordering anything off it I was always taken with how many types of baskets they offered. This is a great resource to have on tap if you're living away from the people you'd normally gift for special occasions- why spend time shopping, wrapping, and packing? Then paying to drive to the post office, wait in line, and mail the package, when you can click a few times and have it done while sitting in a comfy chair wearing your fuzzy bunny slippers?

That's what I thought. I sure wouldn't do that if I had another option. Doubly so this week. And so with that argument I wanted to also bring up a few other points of interest before moving on to the article below. Firstly, online shopping for presents this season is on the upswing. Secondly, why leave the house when you don't have to, especially when so many options include free shipping? Thirdly, is there an easier way to send a thoughtful gift than selecting a specialty gift basket that takes into consideration the whole taste of the recipient? The basket we received was remarkable because it came packed inside of the fisher price aquarium tub. There was a pack of preemie diapers in addition to the newborn size that frequently is the size of choice in these things- and preemie diapers are wonderful when dealing with an actual preemie. They may look small initially, but when you then view them on a preemie that's only 3 or 4 pounds, they seem huge. Recognized as Hot 100 Retail Website

Internet Retailer Ranks Website Among Best in Nation for 2008

NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE), the premiere Internet Gift Retailer and America’s #1 Gift Basket Website, today announced it has been named one of The Hot 100 Retail Websites for 2008 by leading industry magazine, Internet Retailer. The Hot 100 list represents the best of what retailers are doing online, highlighting innovation and setting the standards in online for what the rest of the industry should be doing., a privately-held company, with one of the largest and most unique selections of gourmet gifts, ranked alongside larger sites such as Dell, Nike and, by building its award-winning site on selection, functionality, speed and the complete customer experience. A recent re-design has improved the customer’s shopping experience to make holiday gift-giving easy and enjoyable, including rating and reviews, behavioral recommendations and free shipping offers.

“We are extremely honored to be recognized as a pacesetter in online retailing,” said Eric Lituchy, Founder and CEO of “We pride ourselves on using the latest technology to make gift-giving fun and easy. Being named among the best in the nation validates we are succeeding in our efforts to deliver the best possible customer experience.”

In addition to making Internet Retailer’s The Hot 100 list for 2008, was recently recognized by Inc. Magazine as part of its Inc. 5000, which highlights the fastest growing private companies. offers over 2000 unique and delicious gifts from America’s best brands to the finest boutique shops. Consumers can easily shop the site by gift or food category, occasion, type and best-seller. Corporate gift-givers can choose from hundreds of customized gourmet treats.

For additional information, and to see a complete selection of gifts available, visit

About Delightful Deliveries is an award-winning website that began in 1998 and quickly established itself as one of the premier Internet gift retailers. Its mission is to bring great products to gift-givers, while providing world-class service. The company selects its offerings from a broad variety of fine food gift products for consumers and for corporate gifts, and gathers them in one place to make the selection process quick and simple.
Back in the blogging saddle! Yippee! It's been a wonderful night here at the old homestead. The Toddler slept well. My two moms have settled in and slept well. The Boy slept well. I even managed to sleep well after the painkillers kicked in. Big surprise, I may have overdone things just a bit yesterday. Then I had a coughing fit, and any one who's ever had a c-section can tell you that it hurts.

Today we're hoping to get up to the NICU to see Robbie. I don't know if I'm anxious or nervous or what. This is new, this is not new, this is new. I am a preemie mom again. I pump milk, therefore I am. I had a baby and saw him whisked away in an isolette with a transport team to a new home in intensive care, and I will not get to be his mother for several months. In the meantime I've got the Toddler and that is more encouraging than last time when I had no child at all to remind me that I was now a mom.

It all makes sense, somewhere. In the meantime my thoughts are scrambled and my feelings a little jumbled. But not, thank God, bruised. The depression remains at bay and I'm still cautiously optimistic about the whole prospect of what today holds for us.
Is there someone on your list who is yearning for a new set of binoculars? An avid watcher of the night skies? Fashion conscious teenager who wants the latest in Ray Ban? Look no further than OpticsPlanet for your gifts. Free ground shipping on orders over $29.95, and the Best sellers are even listed for you so that you don't have to guess. This site might look a little crowded upon first glance, but I found the link organization fairly easily to navigate. Gift guides cover everything from what to get the ladies in your life to Guy Gadgets and father's day presents. Stocking Stuffers! They have stocking stuffers as well; that's good for me because I always find myself staring at the orange in the bottom of the stocking and wondering how on earth to fill it up.

Friday, November 30, 2007

It's been a few days. Want a quick update? The short version: I had a baby this week.

Now for the longer one: I had a feeling on Tuesday that I'd be kept when I went in to see the doctor. Well, I was right. Robbie ran out of fluids. He had very little left, and what there was in there was in no way able to support him. Fortunately we had more time than last time to do something about it. I went up to triage and called the Boy, and due to some serious wrangling of everybody in the family here in Hanford we got the Boy up to the hospital in time to hold my hand.

I had a normal emergency c-section around 2ish. Actually it took a lot longer than it would have otherwise because the OR was out of twinkies. In english, this means that the preferred equipment used by the anesthesiologist was all out and he had to go downstairs to get more. Some sort of padding, I presume. The curve in my spine made it a bit complicated, but he managed to get the spinal block in place and this time I did not lose my shit right there in the OR. This time I was awake when my Boy came in, all scrubbed up. This time I held his hand when my baby was delivered and I got to be in the room when my Boy saw his Boy for the first time. Apparantly newborn baby boys at 29wk gestation are purple. Good to know. The rest of the day is kinda blurry. There were many wonderful painkillers involved.

Since Robbie didn't have prolonged distress issues, and I hadn't topped out on my bp scores, I spent a minimal amount of time in recovery. They moved me to the ward that evening and I got to see my Robbie in his travelling isolette before he was transferred over to Children's on the far north end of the city. My pressure and sugar returned to near-normal within hours. I got to go home yesterday, under the understanding that I'm still recovering from surgery and shouldn't overdo things. As before, my speedy recovery from the incision site is likely due to small size and placement. It's amazing how little the opening has to be to pass a preemie that small through.

Me. Mother of two. No more babies for us. Now we start the NICU ride all over again. Happy Birthday to Robbie (Robert Raymond), born November 27th, 2007. 1lb, 3oz.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Today is the first day of the rest of this week. We're off to a good start with glucose and pressure and diet all within limits. See the recipe for apricot chicken here. It turned out great and helped use up some leftovers from the fridge.

Last week I was outraged to see frost on my car. Frost! On my car! In Hanford! Well it happened again and I'm beginning to suspect that this will continue until spring. After spending three years in SD this feels wrong. I lost a season somewhere in a town where Birds of Paradise grow as an afterthought and where lilies fill the rainditches as often as they can.

Now that the chill is creeping in I'm again drawn towards warm blankets. Quilts. Sweaters. I'm bundling up and remembering the thrill that comes with stepping on crunchy frozen leaves. Ice crystals melting and glittering in the sun. Frozen rain coating bushes and branches in a solid case of ice, as clear as new plastic. This morning I remembered the good. Not the bad, not the shoveling, scraping, the bad driving conditions. Just the happiness.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

It's important that our emergency response professionals have the gear they need. There are even people who want to look into owning their very own gear. Stuff like tactical vests, Galco holsters, flashlights. It seems the only thing you can't buy from this site is an actual firearm... they have great deals on shipping and offer shipping to APO/FPO addresses for people overseas- believe it or not there are companies that just don't do that.
A week of rebellion against diet and insulin has led to a very screwed up series of glucose numbers. It's Sunday again. The traditional (to us at least) start of the new week. Is there a better time to commit to a new start? So in the next week I commit to taking my insulin as scheduled. Don't ignore it. Don't put off testing. Don't do the wrong thing for the wrong reasons.

I have done this off and on again over years over many other things. When it comes to trying to drink more fluids or lose a few pounds that's one thing. Failure to keep up with those programs will not result in controlled blood sugars which in turn are not good for this baby. It sucks. But I've got to behave and get the sugar under control again and so far today -at least after my initial fasting numbers- things are looking good.

But did this come at the price of mostly ignoring the need to lay on my side and rest? Um. Yeah. I'm doing that right after I get done here. I really mean it. I'm going to go and lay down and rest and get that pressure back into limits. Then I can go on with my life and perhaps have a date night later on.
Do you ever have a customer experience that feels you feeling as though something more needs to be said? Whether it's praise or not, every now and then you walk away and are left with a feeling that this experience just has not ended yet. Before you might spend those minutes ranting/raving about it to your family and friends. What happens when you don't have them readily available? Do you suck it all up inside and hold on to that? Or do you wish there was a place online to lodge your commentary. Well, now there is to explore. It's a new site where you can post those sorts of things, whether or not they're favorable or a warning to other people to stay away. The last word in customer service can now be had by the consumer. These reviews might save someone else the hassle you experience over an oil change gone horribly wrong. They might give free advertising to a company who has gone over and beyond the norm.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Did you hear the one about the mom who got to sleep in and never managed to do it? I had official orders to sleep in today. Did I manage to sleep? No. I did manage to lay in bed for an hour extra. I managed to let the Boy get the Toddler up this morning and set down with her toys and breakfast- ready to start the day. Did I manage to do anything else? Well, let's see. I watched a movie on tv. I read a little. I listened to the iPod. I lay on my side on the floor until the carpet has become almost as familiar to me as my own pillow in bed. I am taking my vitamins, my fluids, my insulin, and I've got zits erupting all over my body because of the pregnant hormones run amok.

I've got a cute Toddler who has been willing to cuddle with me for periods of time up to fifteen minutes. She's given me hugs. She's read with me. She's climbed over my body until we both had acheived a nest in the big heap o'blankies on the floor. This is so cool. Beyond cool. I'm playing with her AND resting. And now I've been sitting up for over twenty minutes which is past my safe point, so I'm going to go off and lay down again. We'll see what happens next. Could be fun. Could be exciting. Could lead to more laying down!
Towns where culture and history meet without the glitzy showiness of modern consumerism are high on my list of favorite places. A time and place set aside for meandering through antique shops and bookstores, where the merchants set out little cookies and refreshments, where musicians stroll the streets after dusk... it all adds to the feeling of a more peaceful lifestyle. The St Augustine First Friday Weekend Artwalk is being held again this coming weekend. On the first Friday of every month the parking is free, along with guided trolley tours so you can see the historic sights of Old Town from 5 to 9. The trolley comes along every fifteen minutes.

St. Augustine in Florida is one of the oldest cities in this country at 442 years old. Can that be said of more than a handful of continuously occupied cities outside of Europe? Packed with history. Located in a wonderful (warm) vacation spot that still isn't completely over-run with tourist attractions and money-sucks, it's on the short list of places I'd like to visit one of these days. The St. Augustine Artwalk is sponsored by the art galleries, which collectively hold the finest eclectic art in North Florida. Your tour starts at the San Sebastian Winery, so why not have dinner there to get all comfy and relaxed and settle into the evening?

Friday, November 23, 2007

Alright, so it's a consumer culture. I get it. I do. Everywhere I turn I'm bombarded with images of the latest item that I've got to have Now. Ads tell me that my life just isn't complete without this or that, that I'm somehow failing my family by not buying into the latest convenience fad of housework. Doesn't it occur to them that every now and again what matters more is the act of doing it? That in the time it takes to set up that new fad and incorporate it into my life I could have saved twenty bucks and twenty minutes just getting down and cleaning something? Elbow grease and soap. What a combination! Amazing, no? That it works today as well as it did fifty years ago. And I'm not a bad mom for doing half my stuff the old-fashioned way instead of paying through the nose for a drive-through consumeristic lifestyle.

Once again, let me thank everyone who's been dropping by and adding a few drops into the Goldfish Cracker Fund. Every couple clicks helps add to the fund, and I appreciate it with all my heart.
After the desert heat and winds of this past summer I didn't think it would ever be cold again. This morning I woke up to frost on the windshield and chunks of ice growing on the top of my driver's door. I really am not into Black Friday in a huge way. Oh, every year I go out for a token sale item, but I'm not someone who plans it with all the seriousness of a military campaign. I do not go out into the dark at 4am to stand in lines outside department stores. I barely skim over most sale papers.


Last night my mom pointed out to me The Chair. It was on sale nearby, an early bird special, and I figured that hey, since it was the big present I wanted to get the Boy for Christmas this year I might as well go out today and pick it up for that low, low price. We tentatively agreed to go halfsies on it. We also sorta thought that since this was Hanford the store wouldn't be that crowded at the crack of opening this morning (6) and they surely wouldn't sell every last one in the first couple hours of the day in any case.

When did my retail sense of reality die? No, I mean that. When did I lose touch with the consumer sense of urgency? It's a decent price, and a very good sale price, and with all the big name and big brand things out there I honestly did think that this quiet little town would not lose it's mind. I woke up this morning and clicked on the tv in the bleary pre-dawn darkness to check in on the world/national/local news while regaining slow consciousness. As I did this, I saw the reporters standing in dark parking lots outside similar stores to the one I needed to visit this morning, showing wide angle views of the customers who showed up with rental vans.

Eep, I thought. Better get dressed and out to the store. It's 6:15 now. It'll be 6:30 when I get there. There will be plenty of these chairs left and I will feel silly to have gotten there this early on my own for that, but I'll get the chair I want for that low price. At 6:30 this morning when I arrived I got the last chair available, the floor model. I got that price. I got that last chair in the store of that model, half an hour after opening.

Sign me up as one of the crazy people today.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

What happened the last time you had a major car repair? Did you lose your mind, temporarily, and wonder "how am I going to deal with this? WHO am I going to get to deal with this?" Well, I can tell you the story of the first month I was married... Ten days after the Boy became the Husband, he went overseas on his first deployment. The third day after he left, I came home to find a three foot trench in what used to be my bathroom and a jackhammer in the hall. One week and one day after that mess, I went out to start my car after work and found that not only would it not start, the battery had eaten through it's own connector cables. So... okay. At least it gave me something else to focus on besides how broke I was and how lonely I was.

So what happens when you're faced with a situation like that? I was lucky; I had roadside assistance through my insurance company. I don't have that anymore; but there are some places that offer it as part of a major repair "package". AAMCOoffers free towing with a major repair. This would have come in especially handy in that situation. Before it was over, I had my poor car towed 30 miles and then another 5 to the nearest Saturn dealer. Turns out the battery had been leaking acid all over the serpentine belt, because it decided to snap quite messily when they fired the car up after replacing those battery connections and testing it out. Thankfully this did not occur on the highway. This upcoming season, take a minute or two to do something nice for your car, like making sure the necessary maintenance is done. Don't put it off in favor of an extra present under the tree. I think that your loved ones would rather have you around for years to come than a new pair of slippers.

Just when I begin to fret that Robbie's not moving, not growing, not thriving... I'll lay as still as I can and put my hand on my belly. I breathe deep. From the diaphraghm like we always learned in music class and choral singing. I breathe deep and full, letting the oxygen fill every available bit of my lungs. I empty my mind and let go of all those fears. And then he kicks. I feel him moving, stretching, growing. I feel him letting me know that it's okay right now. Today, at least, I don't have to worry about it.

I'm going to enjoy today. Savor these moments and treasure every kick I feel. Right now I can keep him safe. Right now I can hold him close in my heart and soul. Later I'll hold him in my arms, for now I'll hold him closer than that. Maybe I can't hear him cry now. I don't even know if babies cry in the womb. I suspect not. When he's born and settled into that isolette, or warming crib (let's think positively that he'll just be a feeder/grower and not in the level 3), the first week or so he won't cry either. Tiffany couldn't cry for at least two weeks. Soundless crying is horrible to watch in your babies.

That wasn't very comforting, was it? Let me just leave you with the first paragraph then. Let me worry about the second- but forgive me for letting it remain here. I need to remember these things. As self-injuring as it seems, I need that pain in my mind to stay saner this week. To remember that this is going to be just the beginning of a long ride that will make me cry oftener than it will make me laugh. One day the laughter will outweigh the tears again and I'll let go of it all. Salt makes the sugar taste sweeter.
Sesame Street, I love you. Between you and the Teletubbies, you ensure that I generally have 1.3 hours every morning to start catching up on email. I can take my insulin without "help" from the toddler. I can drink some generic crystal light, and eat breakfast. I can, in short, wake up and become mostly human without snapping at my family. Sometimes all it takes is five minutes to get your stuff in order and your day started right.

Of course, two hours later will this matter? Maybe. Maybe not. It depends. If you know the day is going to be rough, if the kids are sick or if you're sick, if everybody just woke up in a crabby mood... just savoring those quiet minutes that will be yours alone can be a lifesaver. I'm all for lifesavers. I'm all for the wonderful peace that comes with them.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone, everywhere. I hope you find it a good one. Whether you've got immense family meals planned or a quiet lazy day, enjoy and make the most of it.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

I'm coming to accept that I will not realize the dream of having a five pound newborn. Hell, I think that at this point I'll be fortunate to have a 2 pound 10oz newborn again. That's 1195 grams, for those Readers in countries that are more comfortable with metric units. I always remember the Toddler's weight in grams because of that “95” ending. She was so close to 1200... And those 5 grams allowed her to place in the very small for gestational age category of preemiehood. But I'm not going to be seeing a large baby.

That's so out of line with the stuff I read about the dangers of gestational diabetes, too. I mean, you always hear about how if left uncontrolled you'll have a very large infant. How about the dangers of producing a very small infant that come when the diabetes comes next to the blood pressure angle? When complications in pregnancy result something better left to a chinese takeout menu? Sure, I'll have two from column A, three from B, and maybe a nice almond cookie to round it out? -Nothing against chinese menus, mind you. I think that's a great approach to food. Just not to babies.
How do you choose an ISP for your needs? There's hundreds of options and companies all eager to take your money and give you services. It seems like someone would have to become an expert before ever getting to the point of having internet access from their home. The GetISP Info site offers ISP cancellation tips and information about how to choose both a service and a plan that's right for you. Dialup too slow for the amount of online gaming you do? Check for a DSL or cable high-speed package that fits your lifestyle. Wireless network more of an issue for your family? Remember to secure it against outsiders. Choose an ISP that offers bundling? Depending on the price and the bundle, you could get a better deal outside from separate companies.

Even if you've made a poor choice before this site could help you out. They have a page of tips on how to cancel your current service and sign up with a new one.
Are you addicted to stress? Adrenaline? According to an article I just read, an awful lot of women are. They say that with the added benefits of high-paying jobs, motherhood, the ability of some to get all the cake they want and eat it too, they tend to turn into stress junkies. Running from one big thing to another, never stopping, constantly courting burnout. Part of this has been linked to deep levels of insecurity.

I can see that. I want to be a supermom because it offers me a validation from the outside that makes me feel better. If I lose the ability to have a neat home and wonderful kids and a great husband, what do I have? If I lose the validations that ease the insecurity that makes me feel proud and confident of myself, I fall off the supermom pedestal and crash and burn. That would seriously impact that feel-good attitude. So I don't let up on myself. I push myself to be more, to do more, to show off more to the people I come in contact with- is that good? Not really. It gets a need met in me, but I'm doing it for some other reason than that I solely love my family.

Maybe that's the problem I'm mainly having with bedrest right now. I keep seeing it as a failure in me to be able to continue to nurture the family while gestating a new member. I see it as a lack instead of an opportunity to give him a better start in life. It's not a lack, it's a chance. I didn't get this chance last time. I didn't take things seriously enough.

This time? It's serious.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

I passed my weekly appt. Yay! This means one more week of continuing to gestate. One more week to try and let Robbie grow big. One more week to lay still and rest. One more week to lose my mind wondering...

The doctor says that I should just keep coming every week. Be prepared for being kept at any time. She's starting to get that Doctor look. You know the one. The one that's kind and concerned. I don't know if that's worse than the kind and worried or not- right now it's all the same for me as far as immediate consequences. Either way I'd end up flat on my back in some hospital bed and in an endless state of waiting. I don't like waiting. I've never been what you could call patient. Pregnancy only points that out as I get further and further into this no-man's-land of uncertainty. If this were a normal pregnancy I'd be getting larger and uncomfortable right about now. Instead I'm tracking my gain/loss of weight in ounces. Obsessing over every bite. Obsessing again over how much I need to eat to gain something and how much of that will be expected to carry over to the baby. I know that so far this baby is smaller even than his sister. Who was, if you recall, pretty damn small herself.

So we carry on carrying on. I'm trying to let go. Live every day one at a time. Stop obsessing because that's only going to raise blood pressure and make the glucose wacky, and that's not what we need. I just need to slow down and keep drinking those fluids and keep everything as calm as possible. And then I can keep being pregnant for another week. I can keep gestating. I can keep praying that this boy grows big.
Have you thought of taking a New Zealand Holiday? It's beautiful this time of year. Heck, it's beautiful no matter what time of year! The landscapes have been used over and over again in tv shows and movies, unsullied by so much of modern society and life. Dialaflight is now offering flights to Wellingtonalong with other New Zealand Flights at some good rates. Cheap flights abound. Just call their customer service line and speak with someone who will help you to book a holiday of a lifetime from the UK to any of several warm and sunny destinations. Don't miss out on holiday offers to get where you'd like to be.
I told my daughter to wait for me
Today I tell my son the same
Do not rush to us
Stay safe where you are
Grow big. Grow strong.
I can do what needs doing
Rest, hydrate, injections
do not rush to meet us
Mama's waiting patiently
We'll be ready when you are
Hush now. Sleep tight.
Tuck your head down and grow
No worries
No need to fret your little head
Ready for you
I'll sleep for you, eat for you
Pray for you in the silent night
You will be a joy to our hearts
As your sister was light to our lives
So wait with peace to take your first breath
Be ready first.
How much community service do you do? What counts as community service, anyway? At a recent speech, Bush praised those who give of themselves for a larger cause. Whether or not he was speaking in support of the military, of volunteering in America, of something else, it makes me think.

Community service is a punishment for some. Mandatory for others. Something lovingly contributed back for the good of all by yet others. Which is better? It seems to me that the last is the only “real” service. If it's mandated, is it really service? Maybe that's my upbringing talking. I tend to resist anything that I'm told to do. That's my nature. Comes with being a control freak, and with being incredibly stubborn. Give me a minute or two and I'll come around if it's a reasonable thing. Give me an hour and I'll convince myself that it was all my own idea to start with. Just don't ever flat out tell me to do something and expect blind obedience.

This, incidentally, causes the most concern in the Boy from time to time. He's used to this behavior in me. It's one of the reasons he loves me. Yet whenever I immediately roll over and agree with him on any topic or directive he stops and looks sideways at me. Just making sure that I'm alright. I get a little thrill out of that pause- another way of control? A passive-aggressive approach? Probably. I should look into that sometime. When I have the time.

When is service no longer service? I'd say when it is given grudgingly. If you're going to give something, give it. Don't lay conditions on it, don't lay expectations on it. Just go and do it. The reward may be small or non existent, but you'll have made the corner of the world you live in just that much better.

Monday, November 19, 2007

I've had pain for years now. I've lived with it day in and out, as I've shared before -among other long and drawnout tales of depression, motherhood, and how does it feel when your baby beats you up without meaning to. Before we moved to CA it was impossible for me to live above the first floor, because my knees just would not accept steps at the end of a long day in the weather. Cold, rain, they all bother me. Snow. Ice. Part of the picture comes from longterm side effects to the chemo and radiation. Some of it comes from a myriad of accidents and injuries sustained over the course of an accident-prone childhood.

What do I do? Do I live with it? How do I treat it? There comes a point at which the OTC meds don't really work to relieve the pain. There's a point at which you cannot ask a doctor to help you because they just won't- the pain isn't something they can see or diagnose, and they've medicated it before, and they think you're just a whiny crybaby addict who wants something they're not supposed to have. Screw that! I just want not to hurt so much I can't sleep at night. Is that wrong? I have enough problems with insomnia as it is. I'm depressed enough already. Chronic pain makes that worse. Especially when you know it's not going to go away. That you've just got to find a way to live with this for the rest of your life.

I'm entering a contest to win a year's supply of FreezeIt, which I tried off a friend the other week and which actually helped in a way that other things have not. I put some on my wrist where it got banged, and the pain went away. Imagine that! It didn't smell all medicinal. It felt good. You can use Freeze It Gel for sore muscles, sprains, shoulder and neck (lower back? Cause that's been hurting a lot more since this baby started shifting...) Strains. In short, all the ailments that come along with parenting a small and verbally-resistant child. Winning this contest will make my life as a mother of two with all those associated aches and pains so much better- a year's supply of this stuff... so cool. So Frosty, even. I hate living with chronic pain. I hate living with something that will take valuable energy away from my babies.

A toddler meltdown caused by the sheer gall of me making her move her body two whole feet to drink from her own sippy cup instead of from my empty water bottle. Wow. We had crying, screaming, rolling, thrashing, ripping my glasses from my face and hurling them across the room, tearing chunks of my hair from my head -does ten strands count as a chunk? It should- and all the associated snot produced from a still congested toddler.

Will this end? Peace has been slightly encouraged to flourish here. The wails have been stopped for now. Have I been thwarted from my goal of resting quietly for a bit? Of course. In this too I'm becoming increasingly fatalistic. The lowering of my blood pressure will not happen. The resting will not happen. Better get that bag packed because I may not be allowed to "rest" at home much longer. And then won't that be fun for this one car family?
For those of us who do enough selling online to justify having your Very Own Shop, how do you set up a storefront without either first getting a degree in webdesign and hosting, or selling your soul to someone who will do it for you while charging an arm and a leg AND your firstborn? Shopping Cart Software is included in a package from Ecommerce, who will provide the relevant things for you in return for a reasonable fee. Their site is easy to navigate while you're setting up your own little piece of retail paradise. Some important features include credit card processing, the shopping cart ability, and 24/7 support. If your business is small and only on the web, you can eliminate a lot of unnecessary overhead while offering a polished presentation. Having a good storefront is half the job in making Net sales. Having a good and functional storefront is more than halfway to success. Ecommerce software will ease your path to a painless website setup with tutorials and live help in addition to their customizable templates. If you want, you can even get them to design your storefront for you. The last piece of the puzzle is you. Do you have something you'd like to sell? Do you have something to offer customers that they can't get anywhere else? Start a home business today and find out how easy it is.

Today I got out of the house and bought newborn diapers.

This is a serious thing. This is admitting that I will need them sooner than I hoped I would. This is really not a Huge Deal as defined by most of my other pre-baby freakouts. So what? Diapers are diapers. If I do go with cloth diapers full-time, we'll still be needing the occasional disposable. If for no other reason that sometimes, no matter how crunchy a family tries to be, there are places that require their use. Like the zoo.

Regardless of when the child appears, he will require diapers. Diapers are shelf-stable. I should not lose my shit over the purchase of one package of disposable diapers. No matter how useful or needful they are. This morning I also was pricing cases of Neosure. That's not quite as sobering as the other; but darn near close. Neosure is now running about $105 a case (6 cans of powder). Worth it. I don't think WIC will cover us this time around. There goes another expense for us. I also have to go and pack my hospital bag. I won't bother putting anything in it for Robbie, because if he's born now he won't be coming home with us yet. It'll be a long time off. I'm just all full of bad thoughts this afternoon, aren't I?

This morning I woke up with a bp of 154/105. It came down after several hours of laying on my side. Tomorrow I have my weekly OB appt. I don't know what will happen. I really don't. I'm scared. And tired. And I think of packing a lonely little hospital bag and want to start crying all over again.
It's recommended that you get new quotes on car insurance every year or two. At the very least you should be reviewing your policy terms to make sure that it fits into your current life and situation. High deductibles may save a few dollars off the policy, but what happens if you need to use it? Will that 500 dollar price tag mean a repair you can't afford? Do you have rental coverage for emergencies? Roadside service? Get car insurance quotes today for all your needs. Don't let life happen to you, you happen to it! I've changed companies once already, and I end up changing my policy terms about once a year. Sometimes it's to raise the deductible, sometimes to lower it. I like dealing with companies that let you do the entire thing online. I don't like companies that give you hassles when it comes to managing the paperwork. So far I've been lucky- I've only had to make 4 claims over the course of car ownership. Now, four claims in a decade is a lot- but one was collision beyond my control and the others were all theft-related; and how can you really expect that your car will consistently seem that attractive to burglars? I never thought that. With another baby on the way, you'd better believe I'm going to be double-locking my car from now on.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

I'm reading today's babycenter email about my pregnancy at 28 weeks. According to them and to most of the other "authorities", my baby should be two pounds and some about now. The size of a cabbage. They also say that my belly should be making me uncomfortable, and want to sell me creams to reduce stretch marks, and reassure me that I will lose all that baby weight after the birth.

Except... what baby weight? What belly? What cabbage? My last appt we did measurements, and I'm measuring just over 23 weeks. Which means that he's more a mango than a cabbage. Just about a pound now. I have to lift up and hold in my boobs to see the makings of a baby belly. I'm almost losing weight from pre-pregnancy at this point. It's a struggle to remind myself that I really am pregnant, and not showing unless I take steps to make that happen, and to the average person on the street I'm going to have adopted this new baby- because obviously I've never been pregnant. I'll be one of those "lucky" women who don't struggle to regain their figure. Again. I'm diabetic, but skinny as a rail and whenever I have to tell someone that I'm on insulin these days to control it they look at me blankly and say "but, you're not overweight!" as if that is some magic reason why I can't possibly be pregnant, or diabetic, or have high blood pressure to these levels. It is possible, people. I'm all of these things.

This weekend we're still nursing colds. The Toddler, the Gram, and me. I'm only having a mild sore throat today though, which is good, but which is not improving my mood. More bed rest. Even more fluids. Even more and more of the monitoring.

I lay in bed at night and whisper "grow big" to my belly and the baby inside. I pray that he grows big and fast and strong. Our time together grows limited- I am giving up all those illusions and delusions of getting even to 32 weeks now. I just want him to grow big and fast and strong so he'll have a fighting chance.

Am I so horribly damaged, that I can't even manage what millions of women do every year? That I cannot sustain my unborn children until they're able to breathe on their own? I'll be spending hours in a chair by another isolette; hours of lonely work cursing at a breast pump with little to show for it. But if God is merciful, we'll both survive these next months.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Here we are at 5pm. The sun has set. The blogging for today has been done. The month is halfway over, the christmas decorations in town have been raised, and I'm ready for bed. This is crazy. Chalk it up to the not feeling good. I feel some sort of deep-seated need to outlast the Toddler to bedtime, despite being surround by two very capable adults who are willing to handle things. So why can I not just give in and go to bed? God only knows. I sure don't. But that seems to be the way this evening is shaping up...

the Gram has announced her intentions for bed. So that means that I'm here. For the duration. I'm here, the Toddler is still awake, and in a few minutes I'm thinking of laying back down on the couch to "rest". By which definition is now "let Toddler crawl over you and pound you with board books". That's cool though. She's two. It's her way.

Good night, all, whereever you are. See you in the morning. Don't do anything too crazy now.

The really cool thing that happened today was that I got a chance to try out a few new products. We got a Smencil (cherry flavored), some rainbow candles, and instant snow powder. The snow powder was the biggest hit with the Toddler- I mixed it up with ice water and let her have a sensory experience in the living room. Sensory play is great to help her with some of her issues. It also has the benefit of relaxing her, stimulating just the right combination of things to help her sleep better at night and focus better in the evening before bedtime, and using the snow powder was enough different from her rice table that it gave her a new sensation.

Other offerings from VAT19 include the USB LED Desk Lamp, which would come in really handy during some light night computer sessions. It has an off/on switch, which is better than having to crawl behind the computer -if you don't have a laptop- for plugging, unplugging, plugging...

Here we have two pictures. Toddler with Snow, Toddler with Shovel. The Snow shots didn't come out as nice as I would have wished- I put it in a baking pan on a tray on the floor. As promised, the snow vacuumed up quite easily. Non-toxic, easy cleanup, lots of fun. It was perfect.
The Toddler is sick. A sniffleupagus has invaded her body, causing warm skin, flushed face, and a river of snot. Other than that she's feeling just fine; and perfectly willing to carry on her daily life. I fear she has infected me. Not a great fear, mind you, just the acceptance that whatever my child has I'm going to get as a matter of course. This is the price paid by mothers as we tend the kids; as we wipe noses, let them cough all over us, and cuddle them long into the night so they can breathe just that little bit better.

My problem seems to be that not only can I not get comfortable today, my throat is scratchy and I'm thirsty. I could drink a river. Well, a stream. Possibly a rivulet. Although I'd much prefer a never-ending bottle of cold water. I keep falling asleep on my side. I don't want to move. There were a couple really good things that happened here today, and I'm going to concentrate on them as I prepare to hunker down for a long night spent resting and recovering (?!) from this malaise. But I think I can probably chalk the majority of it up to the pregnancy.

Friday, November 16, 2007

On the first day of Christmas Coupon Shopping, the Net offered to me: the perfect delivered fresh-cut fir tree. This is just one of the offerings included in the Top 10 Christmas Gifts list. This site offers a wide variety of gifts; each portrayed in a short post with images and a review of the company offering them. From candy to gift baskets, cosmetics to christmas trees delivered to your front door from the same nursery supplying the White House this season, this place can give you a new and unique spin on each gift on your list. I'll admit that this year I am spending more time looking at the offerings as possible things to treat myself with than I am looking at the things I'd like to give my loved ones. In my defense I'll point out that it's only because I've pretty much already decided what I'm giving them. The Toddler gets a sliding board shaped like a carrot. And a tent where she can take all her books and hide. The Gram gets something well suited to her tastes and personality. The same for the Boy. I can't tell you what they get because they might read this page and then they'd know- and I have enough trouble keeping my mouth shut about what I buy for people without giving it up that easy.
Have you noticed that the baby industry has gotten nearly as carried away as the wedding industry? There's tons of stuff that is all "must-have". How much does a person really, truly, honestly need? I don't know, but it's certainly not anywhere near what the lists tell you.

I could spend hundreds and thousands of dollars going on the necessity lists off Amazon and babycenter. Do I really need a bouncer, exersaucer, bumbo, and three types of baby wraps? Do I absolutely need the entire baby enstein collection? Plus toys? Plus a bottle warmer, wipe warmer, sterilizer, mobiles that light up and play tunes? Where and what can I draw the line on? I know more now than I did when I was pregnant the first time. I am actually able to know what I'll use, what I'll likely continue to regard as a waste of money and effort. This, I see as a good thing. I also have a ton more confidence that I'll still be a good mother even if I don't have all the latest and greatest gadgets.
It's a challenge when you can't plan ahead "properly". In an ideal world, we'd all have our vacations and trips planned months in advance, with the best deals on hotels, cars, flights, meals... in short, with every last detail worked out and making the entire experience a smooth and painless process. It's a pity that life just won't work that way. If you're like the rest of us, often there will come up some little thing that makes you have to scramble. Last Minute Hotel Rooms are one of the biggest expenses when it comes to traveling. Flights, I've found, might be an extra hundred or two and may be frazzling to nerves and hair, but they're of a limited duration. A connection or two and they're over. Hotel rooms have to be considered a lot more carefully. That's where the majority of us find our solace from the craziness of the trip. When I go out traveling, I reach my destination tired and frazzled (especially with infant in arms) and I need something to soothe me. I look forward to reaching my room, to kicking off shoes and finding a quiet haven to erase the stress of the trip. Using a site like this one (see link above) would help me find the best deal on the best room- saving money, saving my mental health, and making the entire trip that much more pleasant. Why should I pay through the nose for something to be my haven and not have a good time? That's not sense.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Paid blogging, yadda-yadda, sponsored posts, yadda-yadda, selling ads... make thousands a day from home, let google work for you, the latest google smackdown of PR... I used to talk about work to my family. Now I talk PR and googlesmacks and Alexa ranks and how many/what kind of paid opportunities I can take day to day. As I've mentioned before, it is possible to make money blogging and sitting on the couch. It is possible to get some income doing this; just as some people are able to make some income on ebay and amazon and etsy. As anything else, it's a job. Me? I blog. I'm good at writing. At electronic babbling. I even have a fairly decent readership at the moment, which does wonders for my self-esteem. I get a boost from reading comments, and I get a boost from seeing my paypal balance increase a little at a time. I'm not unique. At a guesstimate I would think that half the blogs I read are making that little bit extra through their blogs; either by selling textlinks or ads or those sponsored post bits.

Want to know something wierd? I dream in blogging now. Last night I dreamed I was babysitting for a lady who runs one of my daily reading blogs. She wrote a post about me. Just the thought that I had been mentioned on her high-profile blog made me all warm and fuzzy. A Bloglebrity.

It goes to show that sometimes the subconscious tells you things that you already kinda knew but didn't really know how important it had become. So blogging is now my job. It's worth my time and it pays me to sit here coming up with blurbs three or four times a day. It's worth the time and trouble for a whole bunch of housewives who know not to get involved with MLMs, with work-at-home promises that seem to either require massive amounts of upfront money or unreasonable returns. I'm sure that a decent portion of work-at-home jobs are real; but just like with any other job you've got to look at your own needs and figure out what is going to work.

Are you the sort that socializes easily and with lots of people, always picking up new friends and acquaintances and finding it easy to talk with them? Look for the ones that get you out of the house and involve those people. Are you a shy introvert who finds it difficult to get out of the house or to even talk to the people you already know? Find something that lets you play on your strengths! I'm in the latter half, although I'm fairly good at stringing words together. We're on a tight income; can't afford to put the toddler in daycare to go out and get a real job, underlaying medical reasons that make that impractical in any case. Blogger has free blogs. I was blogging in any case. I found a reputable company to start getting paid for this. I tried it out, didn't put too much time into it until the payouts happened. When it proved to be everything promised I went all out- this is my job now in addition to the mother and housewife aspect of me. Twenty minutes here and there. Thirty minutes here and there to read new blogs every day as much as I catch up with the ones I read just for me. Comment. Post. Read forums and articles on how to blog better. Read current events. Read lots. Comment and post lots. Never comment just to fill space- always put something of quality out there so that my readers will forgive the times when I get sloppy/lazy/have a bad day and are just trying to get something out on paper to get through another day. I know you can tell. I can tell too. Everytime I post something that is just too awful I feel bad and make myself leave it up as a warning to myself to do better the next time.

The next couple of weeks I'm going to be bringing in the Christmas shopping money. After that who knows? I'm being googlesmacked again; my PR rose briefly to let me take all those high-paying posts and this week it's dropped to a big fat zero. Which makes no posts available beyond a bare handful of choices. And there are plenty of people who are depending on these posts to pay the bills this season. They're like me. They have young kids. They have to balance school, work, family, kids, bills and mortgages and rent to pay. Paid blogging makes it easier for us all to get by. We don't have to sacrifice the time with our babies to work outside the home. But there are weeks like this one when we're looking at the holidays and the tight budgets and the lack of an income we've been starting to count on to make the ends meet. We're all afraid. We can see the tight times closing in. We try to reassure each other that it's a cycle, that it'll go through again, that things will improve in a couple of weeks and we'll be okay. The company we're mostly working for understands this concerns and seem to be trying to do something about it. Does that help those fears today?

I don't have an answer for that.
We're getting closer and closer to the holidays, and gift-giving season is upon us once again. Where are you shopping to get the most for your money? I've been looking at Coupon Chief again because I think they do provide the best collection of coupon deals for my family. With as much online shopping as I do, I feel it's especially important to use those coupons to get better deals. Money is tight, after all, in so many houses besides this one. Why not use every tool you can to spend as little as possible? Squirrel away those extra pennies- they add up too, and when this is all over you can afford a little extra something whether that be adding it to your rainy day fund or a new pair of fuzzy slippers. One thing my motherinlaw is thinking about is how she can get the best deal on plane fare out here when the baby comes along. She could look here for Orbitz deals. Maybe my Boy will go to Blue Nile for a coupon? I'm not much for diamonds, officially, but I do like a sparkle or two and I've got a feeling that after this baby comes along I'm going to deserve a little extra treat or two. Not that he doesn't treat me plenty- but this is the sort of occasion that needs something more.