Thursday, December 5, 2013

A Little Complaining and a Little Christmas Cheer

Hello out there!  I feel like I should re-introduce myself after my unintended hiatus.  I'm Reese.  Hi.  How have you all been?

Things have been status quo for the most part.  My career complaints continue.  T-bug keeps on growing at an astounding pace.  Roo is really starting to take off in Kindergarten.  It's about 20 below right now.  Brrr. 

Since my last ranting post regarding my job prospects, I was called by the Option B hospital for a job interview.  I was interviewed in a room with 7 people.  I thought I was going to faint the entire time, but when I left I had the feeling I had done well, and I don't usually get that feeling after job interviews.  But it wasn't all good news.  The job was a per diem hospice position with no regular hours and extensive weekly and holiday call hours.  I would have to stay in the town during call time because I live an hour away and you have to respond to calls within 30 minutes.  So I would have to stay in a hotel or with someone I vaguely know during those times.  Translation:  nights away from my kids.  Something I am already doing and actually making money at.  Call time only pays $2.50 an hour if you aren't called in.  The thing is?  I really wanted that job.  I didn't know how much I wanted it until I was in the interview.  The people interviewing me were lovely.  And I realized I would be GOOD at hospice, even though it isn't an area I felt I was heading towards in school.  

After the interview, I cried in the grocery store parking lot.  I had this feeling I had done well in the interview, but I knew there was probably no way I could take the job.  Sure enough, two days later they offered it to me.  I tried to negotiate a bit on the call time to see if we could work something out, but in the end I had to turn it down.  The manager was very nice and said she would put a note in my profile stating how hire-able I was.  Since then--nothing.  

The following weekend I went to do my three days at work, and I had the hardest time I've had yet.  Jerry was working nights that week, which he is terrible at adjusting to.  He had stayed up late into the morning to finish a few things and the kids were with their grandparents.  He fell asleep without setting an alarm or turning the ringer up on his phone.  When I got off work that night, I couldn't reach him for three hours.  When I called to check on the kids, they said he had said he would grab them but hadn't shown up.  I ended up sending my dad to our house to find him.  Of course he had only fallen asleep, but I was inconsolable.  My frustration at being so far away and my fear that something bad will happen while I'm gone just combined into one big fat panic attack.  Needless to say, I ended up yelling at Jerry and spent much of the weekend crying my eyes out when I wasn't working.  

These job struggles have been throwing off every aspect of my life lately.  And with Obamacare about to land, the hospitals aren't hiring like they normally would.  I'm still applying like crazy, but the constant rejection can really get to a girl.  Being away from the kiddos for three days at a time is excruciating.  Up until T-Bug was born I hadn't even been away from Roo for more than 2 days, and she was 5.  Now I'm spending three days away from home at a time while breastfeeding?  It sucks.  I am someone who needs to know where I'm headed, needs a plan, so to say I'm not weathering this situation well would be an understatement.  We are waiting to start house hunting until we figure out where I'll be working.  We are waiting to try for another baby until we figure out where I'll be working.  We are waiting to find permanent child care for T-Bug until we figure out where I'll be working.  I feel like everything is waiting on a new job right now. 

Honestly, I've been considering the possibility that I may need to go on an anti-depressant or an anti-anxiety medication.  But I'm breastfeeding, and I do not want to quit early to go on something.  I think that would make me feel worse.  T-Bug will barely take formula as it is, and he isn't very interested in solids yet.  And I'm much better when I'm home than when I'm gone.  When I'm at work I do alright while I am busy, it's the twelve hours I am off between shifts that go badly.  Basically right now I am still hoping this will all sort itself out.  I wasn't having an excessive amount of trouble adjusting to being away from the kids when we lived close to my work and I was only gone for twelve hours.  So I'm hoping that if/when I find a new job, most of these issues will resolve themselves.  I don't know.  

Ohh...let's talk about babies, shall we?  How are your babies?  Mine are just delightful.  Roo is liking Kindergarten.  She kind of does her own thing there.  Plays with boys mostly and doesn't seem too wrapped up in playing with one specific group.  We are word-blending like crazy around here and she is really starting to get it.  She has always loved books so she is actually motivated to read.  Her handwriting is terrible, though, and we practice that a lot at home.  She's a leftie so I think it's just coming to her a bit slower.  She gets it from her dad.  She absolutely adores her baby brother and he loves her right back.  I truly did not expect them to love each other so much, but they have the loveliest relationship.  Every morning when she gets up she runs to his crib and climbs in it to love on him for a moment.  He squeals with delight when he sees her.  She tells me she is going to have a baby boy named Tractor when she grows up and a baby girl whose name changes almost daily. 

T-Bug is crawling at the speed of light, standing and cruising, saying "Mamamama" to get my attention, and getting into everything.  He loves to stick his hands in the toilet.  He loves to stick his hands in the outlets (I have them covered now, of course).  The garbage can in the pantry is also fun.  He is quite the Mama's boy and follows me from room to room.  He also gets away from me frequently and can hide himself in corners fairly well.  We live in a townhouse so the master bedroom, master bath, living room, dining room, and kitchen are on the first floor and there are two bedrooms and a bathroom upstairs as well.  I keep the first floor child-proofed really well and then let Roo go wild with her tiny little girly toys upstairs since T-Bug still rooms with us.  That system is working pretty well so far.  Roo is good about not bringing small toys downstairs and only needs the occasional reminder.  We also have an unfinished basement where the laundry room and litter box are kept.  This door is kept closed and has a baby gate that is also always closed for safety.  He will go to anybody unless I am the one passing him off.  He does very well with Jerry when I am away, but he is a bit clingy when I return.  His laugh is currently the ringtone on my phone.  

He doesn't have much interest in walking, but I can see him letting go of the couch and standing with no support frequently now so I know as soon as he decides to walk, he will.  He's 8.5 months old now, and it's going by so fast.  He still doesn't sleep through the night since he started waking up again at about 5.5 months.  I'm convinced if he would take more solids instead of insisting on a constant supply of breast milk he would sleep better, but try telling him that.  So I'm a bit sleep deprived and I use that as an excuse to take a nap with him every day.  The things I go through.  Every stage is so much fun with both of them so far.

Speaking of fun...Christmas is coming.  I'm normally a bit of a Grinch when left in my natural habitat, but Christmas with little kids is magic.  At 6, I am aware that Roo only has a limited amount of time left to believe in Santa.  The other day she told me that the Tooth Fairy isn't real because she's never seen her.  Uh-oh.  So this house is turning into a Christmas ornament painting, felt-Christmas-tree cutting, hot glue-gunning center of magic this year.  And it's my baby's first Christmas to boot!  On top of it my "Holistic Care of the Older Adult" class wraps on Friday and ACLS classes finish up on Wednesday.  I can read for pleasure again!  I can watch Netflix until I pass out without feeling like I should be studying!  It is going to rock! 

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Slow Down

Yesterday I failed.  At life.  The day started off with a bang, with a huge debate over whether I should drop the extra class that is due to start on Monday.  Do I have too much on my plate?  Am I doing enough? It was pretty intense and I felt myself getting frustrated by the fact that I'm in these classes in the first place.  Because they are stupid and expensive and a huge time suck.  The kids were scheduled to get their pictures taken so there was a fair amount of rushing involved.  Then I get pulled over on the way out of town--going 74 in a 70.  The officer let me off with a warning, but I was irritated that he had pulled me over in the first place and then proceeded to take 15 minutes to do his paperwork.  I was irritated with myself for not paying closer attention to the speedometer.  When we arrived at the studio, Roo's hair had come undone in the car.  And Tanner didn't want to be put down.  Roo kept asking if she was done.  Neither child wanted to cooperate.  We left and got halfway home before I remembered that I needed to stop at the grocery store.  By the time I got home I was so frazzled I thought I was going to explode.

Roo had extra days off school this week, and I had wanted to go back home.  It has been over a year since I've been back, but I decided I was better off staying home and getting things in order (we still haven't unpacked the boxes in the garage).  Yesterday I was so frustrated and stressed and just worked up in general that it wasn't until bedtime that I remembered that a year ago there was only ONE child to photograph.  A year ago, we did Roo's holiday portraits and I was just praying I'd have a baby to get pictures of this year.  And guess what?  My wish came true.  And I couldn't even find a moment in my day to pause and acknowledge that.

Things have been so frazzled lately.  My job frustrations and trying to adjust to having moved twice in 10 months have taken their toll.  Have I mentioned that Roo is having a bit of trouble in Kindergarten?  Or that Tanner has decided to NEVER sleep for the last 6 weeks or so?

Today I decided not to suck at life.  Jerry had to work this weekend, so the kiddos and I packed our bags and took off for parts unknown.  There's a museum about 4 hours from home that I've wanted to take Roo to for a few years now.  We drove down, grabbed a hotel, and did the museum.  Now I'm stretched out in a King-sized bed with both of them tucked in beside me.  They swam their little fins off and passed out the second we laid down to watch a movie.

I don't know how to describe how trapped I've felt by our relocation.  I never wanted to live in a small town, and although I wouldn't consider myself a super outdoorsy person, I miss the mountains much more than I would have thought.  Tonight I sat on my hotel balcony and watched the sun set behind the mountains for the first time in a year.  I thought about how Tanner's never been this close to the place Jerry and I come from.  I never imagined my children would grow up in a different location than I did.

I feel sane again tonight.  I know I'll pay in the upcoming week for the things I didn't get done this weekend, but I think a deliberate slow-down was worth it.

Friday, October 4, 2013

In Which I Complain About My Abysmal Career Prospects

Before I begin this post that is likely to end up being a really hot mess, I should probably mention that the lump is back.  I am not writing this in the most optimistic state of mind.  I'm here right now to dump my emotional baggage all over this blog in the hopes that I can either A) magically come up with a previously unimagined solution or B) magically feel better about my current lot in life.  We'll see.

My career, or rather lack thereof, is pushing the limits of my sanity.  Back in June, I was hired (Waaaay too easy of a process now that I reflect on it--I should have known) at a small (freaking tiny) rural hospital with an attached long term care unit.  I signed up to work 36 hours per biweekly pay period, equaling 3 twelve hour shifts.  The idea was to work weekends so that my schedule wouldn't interfere with Jerry's and we would not need outside child care.  I was to float somewhat between long-term care and hospital/emergency room training.

A week after I started the job Jerry got the call to interview for his now current job.  Of course he gets offered the position, and suddenly we are moving 2.5 hours away.  I was thrilled to leave that crappy, horrible, sorry excuse for a town we had lived in for the last year.  I really really was.  But suddenly, I have a job that is 2.5 hours away from where I live.

If it weren't for the fact that pregnancy kept me on the career bench for a year after nursing school, I honestly would have just quit the job and started a leisurely job search at this time.  Since I need the experience badly, I kept the job and am now searching desperately for a new one. 

The job itself sucks.  I spend too much time stagnating in long term care for my liking.  I know everyone has to start somewhere but I spent years in long term care prior to and during nursing school.  I know my stuff down there, but it's not where I want to be.  The hospital is flooded with several new grad nurses that I now have to jostle a bit with to get ER shifts.  It's hard to jostle when you work part time and your heart just isn't in it.  Even the hospital can be excruciatingly slow, and the ER sometimes sees just 1 or 2 patients in a 12 hour shift (rural, people.  rural.). 

Still, I am getting a smidge of experience under my belt, and in a few days I'll be doing ACLS classes so that's something.  The facility maintains overnight accommodations in the form of mini-apartments where traveling staff (about 85% of the staff does not live locally) can stay while they are working.  It's cheap, clean, and convenient to stay there while you are working.

The thing that's pushing me over the edge?  I am having to leave my children, my 6 year old and 6 month old baby, for 3 days at a time every other weekend to get my hours in.  This is the worst thing ever.  It's just me, my breast pump, and my tears at night.  For 3 nights.  The kids are with Jerry or their grandparents while I am gone.  They are fine.  They are loved.  I know this.  But I can't stand being away.  Last weekend I was sure the T-Bug was going to crawl while I was gone.  I just miss them so much, and I feel so far away.  It makes me resent the job and hate myself for being away.  It is terrible.  It is awful.  I worry about the weekend for days leading up to it.  Days. 

So I should find a different job right?  Well folks, aside from my general inexperience in the nursing field and the fact that there are tons of newly licensed nursing grads out there looking for jobs right now, my options are SEVERELY limited in this area.  Allow me to elaborate.

Option A.  This is the ideal option for me.  It's a government-run clinic and ER (no overnight hospital stays) in a minority community.  Government-run=really nice benefits and student loan repayment programs.  Minority population has a huge need for healthcare and has issues that are unique to the area and the population.  Working there would be challenging and interesting.  Facility is 20 minutes from the house.  The golden chalice of nursing jobs, if you will.  This place will likely take me YEARS to score a job at.  So...I've schmoozed with the director of nursing.  And I'm working on a spiffy little cover letter catered to the job I desire.  But there aren't any positions open in the clinic or the ER.  And I'm not qualified for an ER position with them yet (they want 2 years of ER experience).  

On to Option B.  This is by far the largest hospital and is the most likely option for acquiring ER experience that will get me to Option A.  It's an hour away from my home, which is a significant disadvantage, especially with winter approaching.  I applied for a per diem position there and immediately got a phone interview.  I was passed "onto the hiring manager's desk" and have heard nothing in the month since then.  The position I applied for had been listed for over 90 days by the time I applied.  I think they are likely gathering a pool of applications to draw from before they pick their favorites to interview in person.  And I can't really swim yet.  Anyone with more than 4 months of experience will beat me out of a job.

Option C.  Tiny rural hospital much like the one I am working at now except it is 30 minutes from my home.  I did call there and I have an application for this facility that I haven't sent yet (because I'm busy being anxious and super fun to live with and that's taking up all of my time).  When I spoke to the director of this facility, there was a nursing home position available, but nothing in the hospital.  And if I'm going to be forced to do work in long term care, I may be better off staying at my current job where I am at least getting SOME acute care experience.  So...I just don't know.

Option D.  Local clinic where my entire family goes for their medical care.  And they have a position open.  That my entire extended family called and told me about.  Small town.  I can see the helicopter pad from my patio.  I applied and interviewed at this facility.  It doesn't look like a fun place to work and the health insurance sucks.  The job also entails 4 ten hour days a week plus one night (5 pm to 8 am) of call per week and one weekend (Friday at 5 to Monday at 8) per month.  The problem with this?  As a nurse, I really only want to work full-time if I can do it in the form of 3 twelve hour shifts a week.  I don't want to be away from my kiddos every day.  The thought of putting Tanner in daycare right now seriously makes me nauseous.  I just don't want to.  I will pretty much do anything to make sure I don't miss time with my baby.  One of the big things I love about my life right now is that most days I am home with my kiddos.  Most days I take Roo to Kindergarten and pick her up.  I hang with Tanner and do my schoolwork and make dinner.  I love it.  I don't want to give that up.  This is time that I will never get back and I really feel like I missed a lot of Roo's early years when I was working and going to school.  Screw that.  Jerry and I just made another major location change because we were tired of all the time he was spending away from home for work.  We have given up a lot to get our little family and we both feel we should enjoy it as much as we can.  Thanks to student loan debt and the fact that we want to buy a house within the next year, I do need to work, but I would like it to be as compact and easy on my family as possible.

I tried to casually see if the local clinic would let me do 3 days a week, but they didn't seem into it.  And they haven't called to offer me the job yet anyway so it's a moot point at this time.  These are the ONLY facilities in my area.  There is nothing else, folks.  These places sometimes go a year without openings (except for Option B and their "pool").  I could be stuck in this position for a long time and it is really getting to me.  When I went to nursing school I pictured myself working in a large facility in an urban area.  It has already been a huge adjustment for me to understand that I won't be working in a neonatal intensive care unit or an intensive care unit anytime soon.  Now I also have to give up time with my family?  

I have no idea where to go from here.  Needless to say, I'm really hoping that something gives soon.

Monday, September 30, 2013


...I had a 91 year old female patient with dementia who could NOT be contained. She paced the halls with her walker frequently and the staff constantly had to watch to make sure she didn't elope from the facility.  I am pretty green on the acute care scene, but my years of long term care experience before nursing school have given me plenty of tools to deal with such patients and I was not bothered by her at all.  She had sort of a gruff manner about her--one tough little cookie, and I liked her immediately.

ALL day for two days this little woman would go up to staff members and say, "Can you hear that baby crying?  Where is he?  I'm on my way to get him, but I can't find him.  Can't you hear that?  Are they hurting him? He's REALLY crying..."   There was, of course, no baby at all in the entire hospital.  She would get increasingly agitated as the day wore on and the baby's crying continued in her head. We were able to redirect her for a few minutes or so, but then there she was again, asking for that baby.  For anyone not familiar with dementia just go with the flow as much as you can with these people.  You don't remind her that her mother is dead if she asks.  You don't argue with her if she says it's 1954.  So...basically I lied to this woman all day.  This little part of me would cringe on the inside.  I'd say, "Oh, the baby is just finishing his shots.  He's ok.  Can I show you to the waiting room?"  She would allow me to take her back to her room, get her something to drink.  But a few minutes later she'd be back.  Looking for that baby.

An aide found a doll somewhere and tried to give her "baby" back to her.  She looked right at the aide and said, "That's a doll.  I'm looking for my baby."

I commented to another nurse how terrible that must feel for this poor lady.  I mean, if you are a mother you know you can't get to your baby fast enough when you hear that cry.  The pain cry is different than the tired cry, the hungry cry.  The pain cry makes you scramble.  It couldn't be a nice feeling to be unable to locate the baby when you know he needs you.

It wasn't until the end of my second shift that this woman's daughter came to check in on her mother.  When I told her about the woman's constant requests for the baby, the daughter stopped short. "A baby boy?" she asked.  "Yes, always" I replied.  

I teared up when she told me the woman had long ago lost her youngest child, her only baby boy in a family of girls, a month after he was born.  Every time she asked for her baby over the next three days, I would take her hand, look her in the eye and say, "He's ok.  I promise."  Because, what else can you say?

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

6 Months!

I know every parent says this...but I CANNOT get over how fast time is flying by.  I wish I could reach out and freeze my children, just as they are, for a moment so I can come back to it later when they are grown and gone from me.  I learned a long time ago--you think you will never forget what it's like to hold your tiny baby in your arms...but it does fade a bit.  The baby gets replaced by a toddler and then a preschooler.  I find that as Tanner progresses through the baby stages, I am remembering things about Roo when she was his age, and I'll think, "Oh yeah, how could I possibly have forgotten that?"  That makes me sad.  Knowing I forget so many little things and I'll never be able to get them all back.  

Tanner is...such a great joy at this stage.  He weighs a whopping 17 pounds now, and he is on the brink of crawling.  He gets into the position and rocks back and forth constantly.  If I get on the floor and call to him, I can just see him thinking about how to get over to me.  He ends up trying to crawl using his hands and feet and then toppling over completely.  I hardly ever see him get frustrated over it, though.  He is always on the move and can get across the living room in no time flat.  He seems content to flop around and play with whatever he encounters along the way so I live in fear of the errant Barbie shoe or toy ring.  He is a happy little dude most of the time, but when he is mad...WATCH OUT!  He seems to be a bit like me in the personality department--doesn't have much of a neutral gear.  He's either really happy or really not.  

In the looks department he is all Jerry.  His eyes are still blue and his hair is lighter than Jerry or I's.

We are just starting to toy with solids and he doesn't have a whole lot of interest, but I'm hoping he'll get the hang of it soon. Because breastfeeding?  Hasn't been all that much fun since I went back to work.  I spend WAY too much quality time with my breast pump.  And then when I get home we have to re-orient to breastfeeding.  I'm nowhere near ready to throw in the towel, but the small break that solid foods will provide will be welcome when it comes.  He's also starting to wake up at night to feed again.  Nooooooo!  We were doing so great at sleeping through the night up until a couple weeks ago. 

I wake up every morning feeling grateful that he is here.  That both of them are here.  The hole Matthew left will never go away.  I know by now that I will always have it.  When I look at my kids in the rear view mirror while I'm driving I always know that one is missing, but I am still incredibly blessed.  When I was pregnant and someone would say something to me that was optimistic enough to frighten me I would say something like, "Oh, I don't count my babies before they hatch."  Gees, that sounds terrible doesn't it?  I loved him from the moment I knew of his existence, but I tried my damnedest to avoid dreaming of taking my baby home.  Because there are no guarantees, you know?  Now as I pass last year's landmarks and remember how scared I was I am just so grateful to be on the other side.  On the 7th, I passed the one year mark of my first ultrasound with Tanner.  I took that little picture out and I just held my baby and cried.  I was 11 weeks pregnant, and I kept my eyes closed until I heard the heartbeat.  He was just a little brand-new being, a little snippet of hope, a year ago and now here I am with a roly-poly little 6-month old in my arms snoring. That just blows me away, you guys. 

I wish the stork would deliver one annually. 

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

In Case You Thought I Was a Normal Mother...

My 5.5 month old sleeps with an apnea monitor.  Not because he was premature.  Not because he needs it.  Because I need it.  A doctor did not order this.  I alternate usage between the Snuza and the Angelcare monitors, and I CANNOT sleep if I can't hear the beep of his breathing movements.  It can't be set to silent.  I need the beep. 

I also freak out if anyone tries to let him nap on a surface that isn't firm.  I let him have a binky because there is some evidence that it COULD potentially help prevent SIDS.  I would never, ever co-sleep, but his crib is in our room.  I use a video monitor during the day when needed. 

I don't know if this is normal behavior for someone who has never lost a baby?  I feel like it's within normal bounds for my history, at least.  I thought all moms lived in fear of SIDS and apnea.  The T-Man loves to sleep on his belly, too, which only serves to increase my anxiety.  And yes, I know that once they can turn themselves onto their belly it is ok to leave them there to sleep. I still turn him back onto his side or back every chance I get.  Since Jerry isn't one to say much about my baby neuroses, I was surprised when my aunt seemed shocked by my level of paranoia at a recent family gathering.  She seemed to think it was ludacris that I would use a sleep monitor when it came up in conversation.

So I'm wondering...Am I taking it too far?  I do lots of other non-neurotic mom stuff, I swear:  I let him get passed around at family gatherings (and I have a huge extended family); I frequently clean his binky off with my mouth; and if he scoots off his blanket on the living room floor I let him stay on the bare floor for awhile.  Oh, and he frequently naps without the monitors if I am close by.  Totally laid back right?  My concern is that I might not realize if I am overprotective to the point that it is interfering with my children's lives. 

When Roo was an infant I had trouble sleeping even though she slept through the night by the time she was discharged from the hospital.  I woke up constantly to check her breathing.  So with The T-Man I figured--why not?  It doesn't seem to bother him or interfere with his rest.  And it allows me to rest.  I refused to defend my choice to my aunt at the family gathering on principle (you know, the mind-your-own-business, keep-nosy-family-members-at-bay principle).

On a similarly over-protective note, Roo started Kindergarten a few weeks ago (so cute!), and I am realizing that I have waaaaay overprotected her.  I was the ONLY mother still walking her daughter to the morning line-up spot by the second day of school (and no, this didn't make me stop walking her).  Ditto for picking her up after school.  She has yet to ride the school bus.  

See?  I have issues. 

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Been Awhile...

Wow, time really flies when you're having fun huh?  As usual summer is blowing by at warp speed.   I think it has been over two months since I last wrote.  Let's see what I can catch you up on in the fifteen minutes I have carved out to write.

Tanner had his 4-month check-up today.  He weighs 14 pounds 11 ounces.  He smiles, he laughs, he rolls over, he grabs objects with his hands, and is working on sitting up.  He has already had his first haircut, and could use another.  He was a bit of a fussy newborn, but since just past 6 weeks he has been such a joyful, happy little guy.  He is so much fun.  He has been sleeping through the night since about 7 weeks, but he doesn't nap very well during the day.  I am a little sad at the end of each day at the thought of him growing up so fast.  Why does the baby part always go so fast? His sister just absolutely adores him and frequently has to be reminded to be gentle and give him a little space.  She is, however, very handy when he needs his binky replaced quickly, or someone entertaining to stare at for a few minutes while I shower. 

I started a job at a tiny rural hospital working weekends.  Jerry has been adjusting well to having both the kiddos on the days I work.  Tanner doesn't seem to mind at all.  I, on the other hand, have yet to get used to leaving him.  I thought it would get easier this time around, having already gone through this with Roo.  But no. I am really glad to be working, and I feel blessed to not have to leave him with a stranger, but it's HARD.  Pumping at work really sucks.  Then Tanner gets used to having a bottle for two days in a row and is a bit difficult to get back on the breast when Monday rolls around. 

I took a break from classes after my course wrapped up at the end of May.  I had forgotten what it felt like to be out of feels way too good.  Classes will be starting up again in a couple of weeks and I am not looking forward to it.

Jerry just got a new job and we are going to be moving!  I am so excited to get out of this tiny, ridiculous excuse for a town.  The town we are moving to is still pretty small but it is much more centrally located and is a mere 90 minute drive from the city Tanner was born in (I am currently 3.5 hours away from that city so...yeah).  It's not a place I ever thought I'd live and I still have reservations about it all, but the job is too good to turn down. We got the go-ahead to pick a start date today.  Now it's time to start house hunting!

I really want to write more.  The days with my little family are so fleeting and I miss the aware-of-the-moment feeling that more frequent posting gives me.  I like when I get the chance to take stock of everything that's happening and write it all down.  This post feels so short, but I really do have ten more waiting in my head right now. 

Monday, May 6, 2013

Validation, Baby

On Thursday I had my 6-week postpartum check.  It was great to have the chance to show Tanner off to the people who helped get us to the finish line.  They all seemed genuinely happy for us, and Tanner's full head of hair was quite the topic of discussion.  

Dr. VBAC and I did not see eye-to-eye on everything during my pregnancy.  For awhile, I think he had some trouble deciding whether to be irritated or amused by me, but by the end of our journey I think we had developed a good rapport.  He visited my hospital room 3 or 4 times a day and would sit and talk for much longer than necessary, frequently about non-medical things.  He has a nurse practitioner who works for him named Nancy who I absolutely adored.  Either Dr. VBAC or Nancy has called to check on me weekly since Tanner was born.  These are people that I am eternally grateful to.  

One of the issues Dr. VBAC and I had was whether or not I should have a VBAC.  As you know, I chose to have a c-section with Roo.  I had a wonderful peri, Dr. M, who delivered her safely and on-time.  He passed away a year after she was born, and was thus unavailable as a resource to me during this pregnancy.

I didn't know it when I wrote this post, but Dr. VBAC likes to travel the country encouraging rural hospitals to allow more women to attempt VBACs.  At nearly every appointment either he or the nurses would mention it to me as an option.  I ended up feeling like he was pushing his own personal agenda on me, and I really resented it.

At the same time, I felt very conflicted.  Obviously, I wish with all my heart that I had been able to give birth vaginally with Matthew.  No one would be trying to limit the number of children I have.  I wouldn't have to live in fear of uterine rupture or another horrifyingly painful recovery.  And I love witnessing childbirth.  In my nursing career so far, women and babies have been what most fascinates me.  I wish I had the chance to have a vaginal birth.  I wish it was that simple.

So my internal conflict raged throughout Tanner's pregnancy.  Dr. M had said no, but Dr. VBAC was saying yes.  A VBAC wasn't something I had known I wanted, but the more times it was offered, the more tempting the option became.  In the end, fear kept me from trying.  Fear and the knowledge that if I tried it and something were to go wrong, I could lose not only another little boy, but also a chance at future pregnancies.  As any woman who has experienced infertility or the loss of a child knows, the chance of a future child can be priceless. I was more frightened during this pregnancy than I have ever been in my life.  The premature labor and being hospitalized in the same places where Matthew and I were 7 years ago was emotional torture.  Having a baby boy stirred some old feelings up that I had thought were long buried.  Being separated from Jerry during the week caused some extra anxiety.  I was....terrified the entire time.

Here I am now.  Safely on the other side of all that. After Tanner's birth, I spoke with Dr. VBAC about the possibility of another pregnancy in a few years and I was glad to hear him say that I can attempt one in the future.  He also casually mentioned that he felt the "VBAC ship had sailed."  

But at my check-up, Nancy gave me a gift.  Without any provocation whatsoever--we were talking about birth control--she paused, looked me in the eye, and said, "Reese, I want you to know that although we think you are ok to attempt another pregnancy, your uterine wall was thinner than Dr. VBAC thought it would be.  We wouldn't let you labor in the future because we wouldn't want your uterus contracting.  Dr. VBAC was actually very glad that you chose to have a c-section."

I didn't know what to say.  Nancy knew that I had struggled with my decision, and she was handing me absolution.  I looked at her, and I knew she understood exactly what she was giving me.  I barely held back my tears.

I felt a weight lift.  There was a part of me that worried that perhaps I had limited myself unnecessarily.  There was a part of me that felt I had wimped out because I was afraid to try.  I am so relieved that I followed my instincts and trusted that Dr. M, the peri who had actually seen my uterus, knew what he was talking about. 

I don't know if I'll ever get another baby, but I know I haven't given up on the idea.  In my heart, I really want to do it one more time.  In my heart I want to hear that precious new heartbeat and feel those first tiny kicks one more time.  And now I know for sure that the choices I made during Tanner's pregnancy just might make it possible for me to do it one more time.  For right now, though, it's time to focus on enjoying the two wonderful babies I have here on this earth.  It's time to put that tiny little flame of hope that is my fourth child away until the time comes to take it out again. 

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

A Trip to the ER

Let me preface this post by saying that I wouldn't even be telling this story if I didn't have Jerry to verify that I am not, in fact, crazy.

I kicked ass today.  I got so much cleaning done.  I felt like my old pre-pregnant self again.  Better than my pre-pregnant self.  I practiced handwriting with Roo.  I made hotel reservations for my upcoming trip to the city (just  me and the kids--should be interesting).  I scrubbed the mud room free of all the spring mud.  After a rough night, Tanner slept like a baby all day.

Around the time I was getting ready to start dinner, he started to fuss.   A really high-pitched type of fuss.  When I opened his diaper I almost fainted.  His scrotum was hugely swollen on the right side all the way up into the crease of his groin and slightly discolored.  

I freaked, you guys.  To be honest, one of the things that made me apprehensive about having a little boy was dealing with the boy parts.  All the nursing school textbook stories of undescended testicles, circumcisions gone wrong, circumcisions gone right, varicoceles, and inguinal hernias really scare me.  I knew he didn't have a fever.  I knew he was peeing, pooping, and eating on schedule.  But he looked a bit pale when I thought about it and combined with the high-pitched cry and the obvious sudden discrepancy down there...yeah. Tanner clearly has some sort of inguinal hernia (at best) or testicular torsion (at worst) going on.   

Jerry arrives home and I open his diaper to show him the goods.  We head to the ER.  Tanner, finished with his baby-rant, passes out again.  Tanner dozes peacefully in his car seat.

We arrive at the ER.  Tanner wakes up and proceeds to smile at the receptionist and a nurse who comes over to check him out.  Obviously not in distress, we are shoved in a room and wait over 2 hours to be seen. Tanner stays awake the entire time, staring at the world in sheer contented wonder. 

And...his parts look completely normal.  Seriously.  The PA was looking at me like, "Why are you here?"  and then she recommended I follow-up with his pediatrician.

I mean, I'm thrilled that this trip to the ER didn't end with someone getting airlifted to a larger hospital (because that happened recently, remember?).  Or with emergency surgery on my infant son.  But I felt like an idiot because there really didn't seem to be anything wrong with him.  And I'm an RN.  I feel like I should know better or something.

On the way home I asked Jerry about 6 times, "I mean, it WAS swollen right?"  and every time he agreed with me that it had been. 

So I guess I'll call his pediatrician in the morning?  It should be interesting trying to relay this little story to her.  For now I'm just glad that my baby seems to be ok. 

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Just Generally Overwhelmed

What can I say?  It's April.  This is the third April that I've had a blog, and as I look back over my previous April posts it becomes very clear that April is always overwhelming.  It's always a hard month to get through.  So I'm not too alarmed that I'm feeling like a bit of a train wreck.  

The baby is a month old tomorrow.  I knew it would go by faster than, say, the last month of pregnancy went by but sheesh!  He is a lovely little guy.  Enjoys staring at things, eating, pooping, and the occasional screamfest.  Doing a fair amount of smiling.  Working on his double chin.  Oh, and let's not forget being held, which I have no problem doing. I suspect that he doesn't enjoy his crib.  Last week I was convinced that he had decided that sleep is for wussies and had instead chosen to sustain himself with a multitude of naps in a wide variety of positions.  Positions that I had to guess at. I was obliged to hold him in my arms until he fell asleep, and he always seemed to fall asleep when the tv remote was just out of the reach of my fingers. He would also just doze lightly so as to never miss a single noise his sister or father made. This week he has slept a bit more.  He absolutely rocks.  I am trying to soak up every possible second of these days.  He's so delicious.  I find myself constantly staring at him, pressing my face into his little neck and breathing him in. I would take a dozen more just like him.

Or so I say until I remember that they turn into 5 year olds who are also vying for your attention.  Having 2 kids?  It's a little....busier... than I was thinking it would be.  There's just more juggling involved, and no one really warned me that there would be a transition.  People are so willing to warn you how difficult your first child will be (a theory that I found completely incorrect, by the way.  She wasn't difficult in the least.), but when you have two at home no one says anything.  I'm really not sure how much sleep I'm getting.  I don't even want to know.  I learned in nursing school that it's usually better if you don't count how many hours of sleep you got last night.

Poor Roo is a very enthusiastic big sister, but she is a bit lonely.  The spotlight has been on her for the last 6 years and she just isn't used to waiting to have my attention or getting by with less of it.  To her credit, she absolutely adores her baby brother and pretty much finds him endlessly fascinating.  She is such a little mama.  Woman after my own heart.  Tomorrow we are hopefully going to get signed up for swimming lessons--she needs a little outside entertainment.

My body doesn't seem to be bouncing back.  I'm still in a considerable amount of pain, and I feel really run-down.  It has honestly been very frustrating for me.  I find it shocking that this c-section has been so brutal when I had two c-sections in 15 months with Matthew and Roo.  I wasn't expecting surprises when it came to my recovery.  I'm just hoping I start feeling better soon.  I need my body back in fighting shape.   Trying to be patient and gentle and all that crap with myself, but come on. 

Winter refuses to relent here in Nowhereville.  It's driving me absolutely crazy.  It snowed over 15 inches here the other day.  It really stresses me out that I'm still worrying about road conditions when Jerry leaves for work in the morning.  

Speaking of Jerry...he is working too much.  Between the commute and the long hours he is hardly ever gone less than 16 hours a day during the week.  I just do my best to make sure he eats, kisses the kiddos, and gets to bed quickly.  He is such a good sport about it all.  He never complains, but I can see how tired he is. 

We both agree that we are not living in a place we want to stay long at.  We really want to move closer to a city and ASAP.  Seriously.  I (We) hate it here.  I feel like we've given it a fair shot at this point.  It's just not for us.  I mean, the pregnancy was about 4x as difficult to get through because of the distance between the hospital and home.  If we ever want to try for another baby, we've agreed that we absolutely cannot do it 3.5 hours from the hospital again.  I've mentioned that the grocery store is the size of a gas station, right?  And that there are absolutely no stores, restaurants, etc?  No activities for Roo (the swimming lessons require a one hour commute each way)?  And my internet service is only available through a phone line? 

Now that Little Man is here safely, we are turning our attention to getting Jerry a different job that will allow us to get the hell out of here.  Hopefully quickly.  It really can't happen too quickly as far as I'm concerned.  

I'm just starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel when it comes to the medical bills, so that's something positive.  And I can get a job in a couple months or so, provided I can find adequate child care in this hell hole.  Just the thought of leaving him with someone else give me anxiety....

I'm really glad I took Jerry's advice and only enrolled in one class for this session.  Because it's kicking my ass.  I am barely meeting deadlines, but it's no longer because I procrastinated.  It's because I can barely find time to put on a clean shirt, let alone write a paper.  

Never a dull moment around here.

The truth is that these are all pretty great problems to have.  Sleep deprivation, job options, school overload.  At least I have my wonderful little family to make the days brighter.  I've been behind on commenting--I'm still reading!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

To My Son on His 7th Birthday

Dear Matthew,

I usually feel almost silly writing to you, but I feel compelled to do it today.  I believe you know my heart and that nothing truly needs to be said in writing.  I believe you know exactly how much you are loved, how much you are missed.  Yet today I find I want to say these things.  Out loud, on paper, from the rooftops. 

Your baby brother screamed for a good portion of the night, a testament to his fully-formed lungs.  So I was awake at the hour of your birth yet again.  It seems something always wakes me up on this day.  I told your sister that today is your 7th birthday, and she asked if you were coming down for it.  I think you are almost as real to her as you are to me. 

I cannot believe you are 7 years old today.  I cannot believe that in a few days it will be 7 years since we held you in our arms.  It seems unfathomable.  After 7 years I still catch myself picturing the way things were supposed to be.  It's not difficult; I don't even have to concentrate very hard to see you here with us, what life would be like if we got to keep you. 

After 7 years, it hasn't gotten any easier.  It seems to get a bit harder.  Every time I have to add on another year that we've been without you, another year that I've missed out on with you, it hurts a little more.  People think we are used to it by now, that we've "healed" or something, but that just isn't true.  Grief can still completely pull me under with its random cruelty, the same as it could in the months after you died. 

When I look at my children, I want you to know that I always see 3 of you.  You are always there with them.  You will always be my first baby, the child of my heart.  There will never be a day that goes by when I don't think of you, miss you, wish you were here with us. 

Happy 7th Birthday, Matthew Chase! 


Tuesday, April 2, 2013

15 Days

Today very hard.  Tanner is 15 days old today.  It's gone by so fast.   It's such a short amount of time, but there has been so much love crammed into the last 15 days.  It's hard to remember a time when he was not woven into the fabric of our lives.  He fits right into our little family, and I spend huge portions of the day just soaking him up.  Sometimes he'll be sleeping and look so sweet that I just have to stop what I'm doing to hold him in my arms.  We've been missing a little boy in our lives for such a long time. 

But all day I was thinking of Matthew, and the 15 days we had with him.  And I don't feel gratitude today.  I feel terrified.  What if 15 days is all I get with Tanner?  What if he slips away while I'm sleeping (obviously using my little apnea monitor tonight) and not watching him?  For that matter, what if something happens to Roo?  I've had nearly 6 years with her and it's STILL not enough. 

Today I can't find that place where I can say, "We are grateful for the time we had with him.  I know it's more than many people get."  On good days I can find that place.  But it's April, the month of Matthew's birth and death.  And my newborn son is 15 days old.  So today, I'm angry.  I mean...what a fucking rip off.  Am I the only one who sometimes looks at people who lost children older than our own and wishes that they could've had as much time?  It's ridiculous, really.  It's not like anyone who's lost a child has won the time jackpot.  We ALL got ripped off.  We ALL have gaping holes in our lives where that child once was no matter what age the child died at.  Why do I have to console myself with crap like, "Oh, at least we got 15 days with him?"  If my child had lived I could just bounce around halfway taking my children for granted like the assholes you run into ALL the time do.  Like healthy babies grow on trees or something. 

I don't mean to sound ungrateful.  Actually, scratch that.  I hate that I feel guilty for sounding ungrateful.  The truth is, 15 days really does suck.  Am I a bad person for saying so?  

If Matthew had lived, I'd be done having children.  My pregnancy and recovery from this one were so hard, I honestly don't think I'd do it again if he was with us.  If he had lived my family would be complete now.  Two boys and a girl.  Wouldn't that be perfect?  

Sigh.  I guess it really never does get easy to get through these anniversaries and landmarks, does it?  I don't want to feel angry when I wake up tomorrow.  I want to be back in the warm little place of gratitude that I've been in since my little guy was born safely.  So as usual, I just took advantage of my blog and dumped all my emotional baggage.  I promise I have a few more cheerful posts on the assembly line.  With sweet baby pictures.  In case that helps.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Postpartum Frustrations

Yesterday I was going to post something here that was annoyingly cheerful, but I ran out of time.  Nothing major has changed today.  The baby is still absolutely delicious.  Roo is such a sweet big sister.  I am just so in love with my little family.

But today?  I am really really postpartum-y.  I found myself on the verge of tears for the entire day. Jerry called to say he was going to have to work tomorrow.  Then his mother called (lets just leave it at that, shall we?).  I couldn't get schoolwork done, and I didn't much want to.  Roo was frustrated with playing by herself and entertaining herself with movies all day.  I was frustrated.  Stressing about finances, and other nonsense I can't do anything about.  My incision hurt all day long. I'm still pretty fat and swollen, and my body just isn't bouncing back like I desperately wish it would. 

Oh, and let us not forget that I am STILL toting a catheter for a few more days.  Allow me to elaborate.  During my surgery, Dr. VBAC toted a resident into the operating room with him.  I was really having a pretty shitty time between the anesthesia and the sheer terror and whatnot, so I was making sure to listen to everything that was being said on the other side of the curtain.  I even sent Jerry and my mother scampering over to the baby's side of the room to watch him be weighed and measured so I could just listen and take it all in.  The sound of my son's crying, the tears pouring down my cheeks, the wave of gratitude I was feeling.  All of it.  

Then I hear Dr. VBAC say quietly, "See that?" to the resident.  As a recent nursing student I was very much aware that these are the kinds of things my nursing instructor would say when she wanted to call our attention to something interesting or irregular without alarming the patient she was referring to.  So immediately I know he's pointing out something abnormal.  

I start panicking, thinking it is likely something to do with scar tissue and I'm about to be told there will be no more children.  They take a really long time finishing me up.  By the time the doctor comes to my hospital room to talk, I am relieved to learn it is "only" my bladder experiencing the complication. 

Apparently c-sections aren't that great for you, and when you have multiple c-sections you can sometimes get adhesions.  And I got them.  My bladder was adhered to my uterus, so then it got all kinds of little incisions and stitches from being separated.  The catheter is to keep my bladder nice and decompressed so it can heal.  I'm supposed to remove it on Monday.  Thank goodness.  The bag is super annoying to tote around.  If I have the handy "leg bag" on that straps to my leg, I can't get down on my knees to play with Roo or clean.  If I have the large foley catheter bag on, I have to pick the bag up and tote it with me wherever I go.  There is also no concealing it.  I end up hooking the damn thing to the waistband of my pants, which can potentially reflux the urine from the tubing back into my bladder.  Not ideal.  

Today, was just the kind of day that I am glad to be done with now.  Tomorrow, the kids and I (it still feels really strange and new to be able to say "kids") are going to attempt our first outing alone.  Driving to the town an hour away to see the Easter bunny.  I'm trying not to focus too much on the fact that the kids outnumber me when Jerry is at work.  Or that I haven't actually gone anywhere in the car without riding in the back seat with the baby...Wish me luck.

Sunday, March 24, 2013


My little family all together for the first time.

Daddy and Tanner

Busting out of the hospital

First time in the car seat!
Here are the promised photos.  Sorry it took me so long to get them up--I haven't wanted to put my little guy down for a second.  Actually, he's snuggled up on my chest right now.  As you can see, he's got a full head of dark hair that is perfect for burying my face in.  He smells amazing--nothing better than that new baby smell.  His pajamas have rockets on them.  I feel like my heart is going to burst a lot these days.

We are all tucked in at home now, and it feels really good to be here.  It's been a long road.  It is so surreal to be using the baby things, dealing with the sleep deprivation, the whole package.  Until I heard that baby cry in the operating room, there was a huge, fearful, quivering part of me that did not believe we would be taking a baby home.  Thankfully, now that he is here, that fearful part of me is a bit more in control.  Although, I am really nervous about one of my dogs being around the baby--he's a real weirdo of a dog, and I'm not taking any chances.  

As he's laying here on my chest, I feel a sense of disbelief that he was in my belly just a few days ago.  He isn't even back to his birth weight yet, but I just don't know how he fit in there.  He still folds himself up the way he was positioned in my uterus, with his knees pulled up to his chest.  It really explains why his kicks were capable of inflicting pain for the last bit of pregnancy.  

As for me...I'm looking pretty postpartumy.  I want to save his birth story for its own post, but I do want to share that I brought something else home from the hospital besides a baby.  Any guesses?  Okay, I guess I'll tell...It's a catheter.  It conveniently allows me to empty my bladder into a bag.  And it lets me know when my urine is bloody from trying to accomplish too much in one day.  If I could think of a disadvantage?  I guess it can be a bit awkward trying to tote a pee bag everywhere while also holding a newborn.  And it makes it difficult to want to answer the door when the neighbors knock.  So anyway, that's my excuse for not posting any pictures of myself in the above collage.  I'm a bit behind on commenting, but I promise I'll catch up soon.

Monday, March 18, 2013


Tanner Parker was born at 8:08 this morning weighing 7lbs 6oz. He is named for my maternal grandfather who held him in his arms and cried this evening. We are too happy for words, too grateful for words. I am holding my newborn son on my chest as I type this from my iPhone because I cannot give him up to retrieve my laptop. Will do a longer post with pictures very soon but for now just picture us soaking it in. We cannot thank you enough for your thoughts and prayers.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

On the Eve of My Child's Birth

To my as-yet-unnamed baby boy:

First we called you The Embryo, then we affectionately referred to you as The Fetus.  Now here we are, the night before you are scheduled to be born.  We are nervous, scared, excited.  I can't sleep even though I know I should be sleeping.

I can't wait for the next stage, but I know I will miss you as you are now.  You've been such a lovely little guy in utero.  I'll always have pleasant memories of this pregnancy because it brought me you.  

I feel like I know you, but there is so much I am looking forward to learning about you.  I know we will take great joy in watching your personality unfold before us.  Right now?  I know you are a fan of chewing because you flip around without fail every time my jaw starts moving.  You are a very punctual mover, and as we progressed through the last few months I've used my doppler less and less because you are so reliable.  Over the last couple of weeks, you've become capable of inflicting pain with your shifting and kicking.  You still seem to have quite a few options for positioning in there, and you switch frequently.  You don't really appreciate being pushed on from the outside, but as you've begun to run out of room you've started to push back a bit in irritation. You've been quite a stoic and reassuring little fetus.

We know you have hair because we've seen it on ultrasound.  I hope you look like your big brother and sister.  I hope you are born fat and healthy and screaming.  Your daddy, your big sister and I are waiting for you.   See you in the morning, Baby Boy.  We can't wait to officially meet you.

Tags Off!

Friday, March 15, 2013

And Now...We Wait

I'm writing this post with a sense of disbelief.  I'm having trouble accepting the fact that we actually made it.  I mean, I'm not actually scheduled until Monday morning, but this baby could come at any time and it would be OK.  We are ready.  We are waiting.

I finished my class (with a B) in the early hours Wednesday morning.  Jerry finished the week at work.  I drove home this morning to pick him up and bring him back to the city with me so that we only have one vehicle to get home after I am released from the hospital.  My family is here to watch Kiddo (and driving me absolutely crazy, as usual). My dogs have been dropped off at the vet to be boarded for the next week.  Kiddo's sibling gift is wrapped and ready.  My hospital bag is packed. The car seat base has been installed for weeks and the car seat is sitting by the door. 

I still haven't done the baby's laundry, but I am making progress.  I opened the breast pump today, which is a big committment because they cannot be returned once the seal is broken on the box.  So there.  I'm acknowledging that I will likely need a breast pump soon.

Tomorrow my daughter is off to stay with family until Monday afternoon.  Jerry and I are going to, well, basically do nothing.  I'm looking forward to it.  

I really never thought I would get to have a scheduled sort of delivery where things are organized and calm.  It's strange for me to feel so ready for this little one's birth, but I'm not complaining.  If I were to complain it would be about family members who think their presence in the OR is absolutely essential when it absolutely is not.  But I'm not in the mood to complain tonight.  The overall mood today between Jerry and I has been one of sheer elation.  I woke this morning feeling excited and looking forward to the next few days.  When I arrived at our home to pick him up, I found Jerry in exactly the same state. 

I plan to relax and shop as much as my swollen ankles will allow until it's time to go.  Can't wait for what comes next, but I'm so glad to not have to be worried about going into labor anymore. 

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

In Which Pregnancy Brain Officially Takes Over...

I definitely believe in pregnancy brain.  This time it's ripping my GPA to shreds.  I don't know if I come across as Type A here at all...but I would assume I do.  I think it would be difficult to spend five minutes around me and not realize that.  

I don't often do poorly in school. I do very well in school, and if a grade doesn't meet my standards, I have trouble accepting it.  I haven't seen a substandard grade in....a very long time.   I see A's as the minimum grade that is personally acceptable to me.  I don't appreciate B's but I can let one slide every once in awhile.

Pregnancy has apparently changed all of this for me.  Why?  Because I DO NOT CARE anymore.  I hate these classes.  I'm having trouble convincing myself that I shouldn't just quit.  I can barely focus on the assignments and I dread opening my computer and books to study. I'll read, underline, highlight, take notes, do the practice questions.  I'll be positive that I know the material inside and out.  Then I'll take the weekly quiz and feel like I don't know anything.  I just want this stupid class to be over so that I can zone out for the next few days and hang out with my Kiddo.  

As proof of my apathy (maybe that's the wrong word?), today I received a 72% on one of the two finals in this class.  You would think I would've seen it coming, but I did not.  I actually felt like the test was going okay, and then BAM.  Oops.  Lucky for me it is only worth 10% of the final grade in the class, but since I still have another one to take I am a bit concerned at this point. 

I'm really hoping that the history class I'm taking next session restores the balance a bit for me.  I cannot continue to force myself to take classes that are dull and that I hate when I will hopefully have my lovely children to pay attention to.  Little guy will be a week old when the history class starts and I just know I'll have better things to do. 

I have one more test that is worth 10% of my grade, so as long as I pass the test I won't do too much damage to the final grade.  Here's hoping.  Because I prefer to spend my last nights of pregnancy reading bedtime stories and overdosing on bad television.

6 more days...

Monday, March 11, 2013

38 Weeks

7 days at the most.  Daylight savings is here and it feels like spring outside these days.  Spring is my absolute favorite--isn't it everyone's?

I'm feeling...pretty large.  Anxious. Definitely short-tempered. Ready for this to move on to the next stage.  Saturday evening I was having a string of steady contractions along with a lot of irritability and some radiating back pain.  I was thrilled.  Jerry was here with me, we were at 37 weeks 5 days (with lung steroids on board), and I was more than willing to let things progress.  So of course, it all came to a standstill as soon as I had come to this conclusion.  Little Guy was kicking merrily away the entire time. He would rearrange his butt position on alternating sides of my stomach every couple of contractions and he almost always gives a little kick at the end of each contraction I think he's happy in there for as long as we'll leave him in.  He seems to have no plans to escape whatsoever. 

Jerry is completing his last few days of work before his leave begins.  Hopefully I won't go into labor until Saturday now.  Since he is anywhere from 3.5 to 6 hours away from me during his workdays, I am extremely worried that he might miss the birth if it comes at an inopportune moment.  On Friday morning, I will be driving up to pick him up and bring him back to the city with me to await Eviction Day.  This way we only have one vehicle to deal with getting home afterwards.  

I'm also hoping not to have to use the babysitting services of my elderly grandparents in the middle of the night.  My grandfather is at that stage where he really shouldn't be allowed to drive anymore, but no one has found a solution yet and he hasn't had any accidents so.... he still considers it appropriate to drive.  But I can't have them driving ANYWHERE with Roo.  

I have a window of just 4 more days to get through before we are home free.  My mother is coming up in a couple of days so that will eliminate my grandparent worries and if we can just get through Friday, I won't have to worry about Jerry missing the show anymore.  I have a few days of studying to finish my finals for my current class, and then I am officially on break for almost two weeks.

Aside from the baby excitement, I really cannot wait to go home.  I'm just praying everything goes smoothly and that Little Guy's emergence goes well and he is healthy.  I'm ready for that weight to be lifted.  

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

37 Weeks 1 Day

Full term!

My second attempt at the Chuck E. Cheese experience went much more smoothly and Roo left fed, exhausted, and with a bunch of crappy ticket counter jewelry.

For most of last week, I was feeling a bit frustrated about being stuck in the hospital halfway house.  So Jerry and I decided that it wouldn't be terrible if I snuck away for the weekend as long as I was only home while Jerry was close by to drive me to the hospital if need be.  Roo and I were so excited to get home.  It felt great to finally be able to nest away in my own habitat.  I finished cleaning out the office/future nursery of clutter. It now holds my desk, bookshelf, treadmill and baby dresser--a vast improvement from all the junk that was sitting in it a week ago. I organized and filed a year's worth of paperwork.  I supervised Jerry while he painted the living room and scrubbed the floors.  I did the laundry.  I folded all the baby outfits (tags still on, of course) and put them away in the baby dresser.  It felt great.

I was planning on heading back Monday morning after Jerry left for work, but a huge winter storm came and I was stuck.  I have to admit, it panicked me a bit being stranded so far from the hospital 37 weeks pregnant.  Then we lost power for about 3 hours.  Thankfully, the roads had cleared up enough for us to get back to the city this morning.  Needless to say, that was our last trip home while pregnant.  I'm thrilled to be full term, but I'm still not keen on going into labor in the middle of nowhere. 

I miss being around Jerry when we have to split up for the week.  His presence keeps me from getting too anxious or stressing about all the things I have no control over right now.  Today, my worry-of-choice was the medical bills, a particular favorite subject of mine.  Don't think I limit myself to actual medical bills either.  I like to consider all the potential medial bills as well.  Even listening to a little of D. Ramsey's financial wizardry didn't help me settle down.  I found myself wondering what he would have to say about hi-risk pregnancy and the things women like myself are willing to go through to get a baby.  To hell with him.

I feel much better about bringing a baby home after getting some cleaning and organizing in this weekend, but I still have quite a list of things to get done before I'm "ready" for baby to come.   If all goes as planned (Ha!) I will be having this little guy during my one week break between my microbiology class' end and the beginning of my history class.  I can potentially increase that time to almost two weeks if I kick butt on studying this week and take the final on Monday.  The problem is, I'm quite the procrastinator and it seems unlikely that I will change my ways in the next few days.  And if I don't finish and I have to take my final from my hospital be it. 

It's hard to believe this will all be over in 13 days or less.  It still feels like it's a long way off, but when I start to go over my to-do list, it doesn't feel like long at all.  My body is sore and slow.  I am eager for a happy ending, but I dread the ending at the same time.  

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Party Killer

Yep, that's me.  Yesterday I was grumpy and snappy on the phone with my mother until she retreated to "victim mode" and told me she'd just talk to me later.  In my defense, I was in the dressing room of a popular maternity chain store reluctantly getting fitted for a nursing bra when she called.  It was my third trip into the store--the previous two times I had left because the sales girls were all "OMG, when are you due?!!!  What are you having?!!  Are you soooo excited?!"  And I can't handle that shit.  Yesterday, on the third try, the sales lady had a nice motherly tone.  I found her tolerable and acquiesced to trying on some of the awful nursing bras that they charge way too much for.  Anyway, my mother called just after the sales lady had pinched a wad of the side-boob muffin top that was squishing out the top of my bra and gently suggested a different cup size.  Also, she kept saying she had each particular bra "in a nude tone as well."  As though it was exciting or something.  I'm telling you, not one of those bras had sequins.  I would've liked some sequins.  Just saying.  I determinedly chose two of the least horrendous ones I could find and got the hell out of there. 

Poor Roo, must be so sick of hanging out with me constantly in the "halfway house" by now.  I'm trying to be fun, but I seem fun to anyone right now (don't ask my mother)?  Today I decided the timing was perfect to introduce my daughter to the wonder that is Chuck E Cheese's.  Neither she or I had ever been.  We got there, ate our food, and were industriously shoving tokens into games.  She was freaking out about the entire atmosphere, just running around being 5.  All of a sudden, I started getting these really painful cramping sensations.  The contractions that are my normal are merely annoying, they aren't painful in the slightest.  So...I started to panic a bit and yanked her out of there without the usual 5-minute departure warning that a 5 year old needs.  She was devastated and cried the whole way back to the house. Not the bratty, tantrumy cry.  The sad, heartbroken cry.  I felt like an asshole.  She had been so excited to go and was so happy to be running around playing. 

I decided to head back to the house rather than go straight to the hospital.  Because the house is a mere two blocks from the hospital, I felt comfortable going home to further assess before rushing into L&D.  Plus, the fetus was kicking away cheerfully.  As usual, the little guy has been oblivious to the chaos.  As I suspected, laying on my left side and sipping a bit of water made the pains disappear.  I promised Roo we would try again tomorrow. 

20 days to go...

Thursday, February 21, 2013

It's a Date

Today...well, it was much better than yesterday.  It started out well.  I had to see Dr. VBAC in the morning, and we set the date for delivery:  March 18th at 0730.  You'd think this would have pleased me.  It did not.  In my head all I could think was, "What the hell am I going to do with myself for 26 more days?"  I wanted to cry but I didn't have a private moment to do so.  

I think I've made it pretty clear that I have disliked my doctor(s) this entire pregnancy.  I think he's a real jerk.  He's also a perinatologist and there aren't many to choose from in my state we are.  He's supposed to be the best, but he has the personality of a rock.  A condescending rock who pushes his own personal agenda onto his patients.  He better be as good as they say.


I spent the rest of yesterday doing some hard-core moping and bringing the moods of everyone around me down.  I know I'm being a wuss.  But I'm living in fear here.  I have horrible dreams that do not end with a take-home baby. I'm good and freaked out about the delivery.  I wonder constantly if he's okay in there.  I think about how excited my little girl is to be a big sister and how excited Jerry is to have a son, and I could just cry.  I want my happy ending.  I want my good outcome.  I've waited for it, sometimes patiently, sometimes not so patiently, but I HAVE waited.

By the time I closed my eyes last night I was really worked up.  Luckily for Jerry and Roo, I woke up in a much more relaxed mood today.  Roo and I found a great little tea set while out shopping and we had a tea party while I was supposed to be studying.  I think she could tell that the mood was lighter today because she was extra enthusiastic about shopping for  baby stuff.  Much of the joy I've derived from this pregnancy has been in seeing how much she is looking forward to having a baby too.  She'll likely want to send him back to wherever he came from a week in, but right now it's definitely sweet.

So we baby shopped.  I bought diapers, which is a big step for me.  I still haven't opened a thing or taken the tags off a single clothing item.  I tuck the tags away carefully in an organized little folder.  Just in case.  Living in Frontier Land makes it difficult to abstain from preparing beforehand.  With Roo, I bought an outfit the day we found out we were having a girl.  I told myself it was to mark the occasion, remember her by if she didn't make it.  Other than that, we went on a big shopping trip the weekend before my scheduled delivery.  I can't really do that this time, so I've tried to find a compromise where I buy things as my paranoia allows.  I have packed a baby hospital bag that I keep in the trunk of my car, and I will wash those clothes the day before.  Or if I go into labor, Jerry knows how to use the baby detergent.

Even with my extreme baby gear phobia, I have to say:  I freaking love baby gear.  Love it.  I can wander the baby aisles of any store for hours.  I adore when mommies blog about what products they love.  I will hunt and hunt for the perfect baby socks:  not too tight but they stay on little feet.  It is so scary and exciting to picture all the unused items actually being used by a baby.  

Hi ICLW folks!  I've been meaning to get a tab up that tells of my/our journey for the last 3 ICLW's, and it hasn't happened yet.  I'll try to do a brief intro here.  I'm Reese, 29, new-grad RN, currently knocked up.  My guy Jerry and I are not legally married (yet--engaged for almost 7 years now) but you will hear me refer to him as my husband here.  In our hearts we've been married for a long time, but the ceremony is still hanging out on our to-do list.  I'm not at all embarrassed to say that I am crazy about him.  There was no one else for me from the moment he entered my life.  I try not to say mushy stuff like that to his face too often.  I am so incredibly blessed to have him.  I am grateful that he and I generally find ourselves on the same page when it comes to family-building, as I don't think I would've made it through without his support.  When I say we generally agree, I am not including shopping for baby gear.  You should hear us in the Target baby section discussing swings.  It's pretty bad.  Good thing it's about as bad as we get. 

I have a little girl who is 5.5.  She is the best thing ever.  I call her Roo or Kiddo here.  

I'm not an infertile, but even before nursing school I've always been fascinated by fertility treatments.  I spent some time precepting with the first doctor in my state to take IVF patients and I can completely see my self working for a reproductive endocrinologist some day, helping to get women knocked up (and stay that way) for a living.  I also have a NICU obsession and can't decide if working in a NICU would be good or bad for my emotional well-being.  We'll see where I end up. 

My family-building difficulties come during pregnancy.  Basically, my uterus is an asshole.  My first pregnancy in 2006 ended at 27 weeks when I had a random complete placental abruption that forced my 2lb 3oz son to be born in a rural hospital that was unprepared for us.  Though Matthew was transferred to a fully capable NICU, he passed away when he was 15 days old.  He had no brain bleeds, no NEC, no heart defects, but he had crappy crappy lungs.  I have no words to describe what my life became when he left.  It's been almost 7 years, but some days it still feels like it all happened yesterday.  We miss him every day.

My uterus then decided to behave for me to have Roo 15 months later.  I had no complications, just some mandatory bed rest and an obscene amount of monitoring.

Fast forward to the present.  We are having a little boy.  My uterus decided to attempt evacuation back at 30 weeks.  I also have a wonky placenta this time.  I had to go to the same rural hospital where I had Matthew and they airlifted me out as soon as they could find a reason.  Which the uterus was more than happy to provide them with.  As of now I'm currently hanging out in the city at a hospital "halfway house" a block from the L&D unit and 3.5 hours from home.  Waiting.

I imagine that due to my history of uterine issues, preterm labor, caesareans and placental abruption, I will be lucky to actually have a choice about when I am done having babies.  If I get to choose when my uterus permanently leaves my body, I swear I'm going to have a bonfire and a uterus burning ceremony as a personal grand finale to the difficulties that have plagued my reproductive years.

I think that brings you up to speed.  Oh yeah, except that for this entire pregnancy I've been an emotional basket case.  You have been warned.

As of now I have 25 days to delivery.