Wednesday, December 31, 2008

New Year's Goal

Everyone is writing about resolutions.  Well, maybe not EVERYONE, but quite a few bloggers in my reader are.  I can't remember when I stopped making them.  It was several years ago, mainly because I couldn't keep any of them.
This year, I resolve to... what?  What is it about making a resolution that makes it so difficult to keep?  I'm sure we all have something we need to resolve to do.  Exercise more, eat better, quit smoking/drinking/whatever-your-addiction, build a better relationship with someone, forgive someone, give more, give less (sounds greedy, I know, but I'm sure there are people out there who give and give until they have nothing left for themselves, be it money, emotions, love, whatever), read more, write more, be more creative, spend more time with family/friends, learn to say "no", learn to say "yes", start a new hobby, finish an old project, clean out a closet, learn a new skill. 
There are so many resolutions, but why do we keep it only at the new year?  Just because it's a new year?  The start of something new always seems to lead to wanting to change something in our lives.  The promise of a do-over.  The thought that this time, this year will be different.  But why not each new month or each new day?
My church has Celebrate Recovery on Thursdays.  I haven't been to the services - I'm blessed to not have any addictions - but I do know that some people in recovery go day by day.  Before their feet hit the floor they say Thank You to their greater power, be it God or something else, for giving them this day.  Maybe they have to resolve to not take that drink, or drug, or participate in whatever their addition is every day. 
Why don't we make resolutions every day?  Maybe we do, but don't consider them "resolutions".  It's a To-Do list, or a chore list, or an "I really need to get this done today" list.  I know there are task-oriented people out there who relish the idea of getting things accomplished.  I like being able to mark off something on my list and having the satisfaction of completing something but a resolution hangs over my head like a dark cloud.
This year, I resolve to change it from "resolution" to "goal".  And my goals will be monthly, not yearly.
In January, my goal will be to work out twice a week, which is a big step up since I haven't really worked out at all since school started in August.  
Maybe in February, my goal will be to clear out some things I've collected over the years.  It's tough being a pack-rat married to a non-pack-rat.  Or maybe I'll step up to working out three times a week.  I don't know yet; I'll decide in January.
I like this plan better than one big resolution for the whole year.  I might actually be able to keep a resol- oops, I mean, goal and not break it.  I encourage you to be creative in your thinking for the upcoming New Year's Resolutions, especially if you have trouble keeping them.  Maybe you just need to look at it from a different angle.  Write it down, email yourself a reminder once in a while, put it on a calendar, stick it to the fridge.  Help yourself keep your goals and be successful.  
So, what is your goal for 2009?
(wow, is it really 2009?!?)

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Little Man

I have to tell some stories on my son.  The last few days have been kinda funny with him around and I just want to share.  Then it'll be Monkey's turn, just to be fair, because when you have two children, there's a law somewhere that says what you do with/for one you must do with/for the other.
About three weeks ago or so, we brought home the Christmas tree.  Naturally, the children loved it.  And they played with it while we were still setting it up.  Even the netting that the store wrapped the tree in became something of a toy for Little Man as he would wrap up his security blankets in it.  While I was gone for pizza, though, something must have happened to The King because when I got back and we moved the tree to it's permanent location, Little Man was distraught that The King was under the tree.  He wasn't.  And he wasn't in the trash, tangled up with the netting.  The King was lost.  As any parent can tell you, toys of this great importance must never be lost.  But we couldn't find the King.  
Christmas came and went.  Little Man got a small tractor from Grandma.  Trey was playing with Little Man and "tipped" the tractor.  If you don't know what I'm talking about, go here.  Anyway, watching Little Man later, he tipped the tractor all on his own, with McQueen or Mater doing the work and waiting the few seconds before sounding the "toot" at the end.  Very cute.  Little Man also scored big with Chick Hicks.  This was the one thing he kept asking for and he got the green one and the Dinoco blue one.  Not long after opening all his presents - the same day in fact - the green Chick Hicks got lost, too.  Tragic, I tell you.  I wasn't as concerned about finding Chick.  With all the toys and such scattered about the house with abandon, I knew Chick would show up.
The day after Christmas, I was determined to take down the tree.  I took off the ornaments and boxed them up.  I coiled up all the lights and put them away.  I examined the tree to make sure there weren't any ornaments left behind.  Then I saw it.  Along the bottom of the tree, tucked way back in the branches, was Chick Hicks.  I took it back to Little Man and he giggled his cute little giggle.  When I went back to the tree to finish checking the branches, there was The King.  Tucked in just a little bit further and around the side.  Now Little Man's world was complete.
On Saturday, we had a beautiful, spring-like day.  It's been raining a lot lately, and while I know we need the rain, we also need sunny days to get the kids out and about.  Well, we headed to a park with the puppy in tow.  I figured he needed an outing, too.  At the last minute, I decided to try out the dog park nearby.  It was a great idea.  Unless you take into account all the MUD!  And all the dogs.  Actually, it wasn't so bad - the puppy loved it! - but within 5 minutes of being there, Little Man got tackled by another over-enthusiastic dog and got covered in mud.  He didn't like that much.  Mud was all over his face, hands, in his hair.  And he cried.  I took him to the car and cleaned him up and settled him down.  We went back in and watched Monkey play fetch with a sweet old mix named Bear.  Little Man, of course, had to try.  There were altercations, mistakes were made, feelings were hurt, then Little Man spotted another ball and made a dash for it.  So did the same dog that tackled him before.  As you can imagine, there was another collision.  More mud.  More tears.  But he got over it a little more quickly this time.  We stayed a while longer then headed home.  Needless to say, we'll take the pup back (he was good and tired) but it'll be after some of the mud dries up.
Th-th-th-th-that's all folks!  I'll be back later with more stories and random musings, but I have a long list of chores awaiting me and I must get to it.

Quote of the day

Glitter is the herpes of the craft world.

Friday, December 26, 2008

the aftermath

It's the day after.
The day after the Son is born.
The day after the big fat guy in a furry red suit comes down the chimney. 
The day after the kids have blown through their presents like whirling dervishes.
The day after a huge dinner that was surprisingly easy to cook this year.
The day after we spend the entire day in our pajamas - except for Monkey, who changed from the old pajamas she slept in to the new Hannah Montana pajamas she got from Mawmaw and Pawpaw.
This is the day after.
This is the day Trey takes the opened and destroyed boxes to recycling.
This is the day Trey shops for a new TV for the bedroom (this has been a long... discussion... between us and I finally gave up).
This is the day that Trey witnessed two men arguing and road-raging; the Christmas spirit must be gone.
This is the day that I make a dog and cat food run to the grocery store.
This is the day that I get the kids OUT of the house no matter what.
This is the day that the tree is coming DOWN because I'm tired of Little Man breaking ornaments and of the cats peeing on the paper underneath it. 
This is the day that the Lord has made;  Let us rejoice and be glad in it.  Psalm 118:24

Monday, December 22, 2008

What's in the box??

Is Christmas really only a couple of days away?  I'm so excited!  There's a box here - opened! - with my name on it and I really REALLY want to peek inside.  Trey has delicately taped it shut, with a tiny hair placed just so, so he'd know if I went snooping around.
Ok, not really, but all the same, it's KILLING ME!
And I can't wait for the kids to open their gifts.  Monkey has been asking  for one thing and I got it!  It's an American Girl doll, and I got it for a steal from someone I work with.  She never really played with it that much when she was younger - it's just been sitting in its box in her closet.  And I bought it with a scene book.  Something that is big enough that Monkey can set it up and play with the doll in different rooms and stuff.  It's really cool.
Little Man was easy to shop for this year, too.  He loves Cars, so that's most of what he's getting.  It's funny, but this is the first year that I was pretty much DONE with all my shopping well before Christmas.  By "well before," I mean about two weeks before Christmas.  I'm not good enough to get all my shopping done before November.  I just can't do that.  I've been a procrastinator for years.  It takes a while to change habits but I'm working on it.  Right now I'm enjoying not having shopping hanging over my head.
And now my house is a little cleaner than it was this morning.  I only did the bathrooms, kitchen floor and vacuuming (again, because Little Man broke yet another ornament).  I cleared out some leftovers from the fridge and changed the litter box because the trash service comes tomorrow morning.
Now it's time to sit on the couch and eat bon bons.  I need a book.  There's a particular book that I'm waiting on from the library, but it isn't in yet.  Bummer.  I got roped in by some friends to read Twilight.  It's 500+ pages and I finished it within 24 hours.  Luckily, someone had given me book two, New Moon, to hang on to while I was finding the friend to borrow Twilight from, so as soon as I was done with Twilight, I went right into New Moon.  Again, 500+ pages done within 24 hours.  I had to wait a few days to borrow the third one, Eclipse.  I didn't finish that one as quickly because I started it the Friday before Little Man's birthday, but I was done with it by Sunday.  It's been over a week since I've finished it and I'm just dying to get my hands on the last one, Breaking Dawn.  Now it's just a waiting game to see who comes up with it first; the library or my friend who is still reading it.
Yes, this is one of those random stream-of-consciousness kind of posts where nothing is really connected, I'm just letting my fingers type.  
Trey is screwing with me now.  He just plopped THE BOX on the desk right next to me.  He's just mean.  I hate it when he does this.  He's just goading me on to open the box and spoil my Christmas.  
Survey question:  Do I open the box or wait until Christmas?

Thursday, December 18, 2008

What do you like?

Hello dear readers,
I was having a conversation on twitter with Writer Dad about music and it got me to wondering.  What's in your CD player?  What's on your iPod?  Who do you listen to?
I would LOVE to hear your suggestions and recommendations.  I like finding new music and I'm sure you can help me.  


Is it Thursday already?  Time just flies by.  I had 170 entries to read in my reader this morning.  Will I get to them all?  No way.  Too much to do.  I really don't even have time to write this but I feel as though I'm neglecting my blog duties, so here I am.
I believe that I was tagged last week by Blogger Dad.  So, here goes...
The Rules:
1) Link to the person who tagged you.
2) Post the rules on your blog.
3) Write six random things about yourself.
4) Tag six people at the end of your post and link to them.
5) Let each person know they are tagged and leave a comment on their blog.
6) Let the tagger know when your entry is up.
Six random things about me.
1)  I have a freckle on the side of my foot.  
2)  I have a tattoo on the back of my shoulder.  It's of an eye.  It's kinda neat, actually - I designed it myself.
3)  I like "guy movies" better than "chick flicks."  
4)  I got some wonderfully smelling homemade soap from a good friend for Christmas and every time I use it (which is several times a day 'cause I love it), I think of that nasty scene in Fight Club.  You know the one...
5)  I can't wait for the new season of Lost.
6)  I like to do crafty things.
Ok, now for the tagging.  I'm tagging Michaela, who gave me the soap; Hey Lola because she makes beautiful things;  Secret Agent Mama because I love her photography;  Scott at The Ever-Changing Thought because he writes openly about alcoholism; Chuck Westbrook and his under-appreciated blog project; and Dawn at Because I Said So because she said so.
Now, for other randomness...
I have a party at Monkey's school today; a party at Trey's work tomorrow that I'm bringing a dessert to; about 3 dozen cookies to bake because our church delivers them on Christmas Eve to people who are working and they need the cookies dropped off this Sunday so they can get them all packaged up; I still haven't gotten my mom's Christmas present and I need to ship that out to where she lives; I still have birthday party pictures I need to upload to the internet;  and somewhere in there I need to eat, sleep and breathe.
Don't you just love this time of year?  

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Catching up

It's amazing some of the things you miss when you spend an entire week focused on one story.  I'm not sure I could ever be a true niche writer.  I would feel like I'm leaving too much out.  
Let's start with a tree.  We got a Christmas tree this week.  Monkey picked it out and I have to admit, she picked a nice tree.  Then we put it up and let the kids decorate.  It was a very bottom-heavily decorated tree until Trey and I started picking up the children and helping them place some ornaments near the top.   It's a very good-looking tree if I do say so myself.  I did the rest of the decorating by Thursday.  I didn't do as much as I have in the past.  I mean, we do have an 8 month old puppy and a now three-year old, so I was less inclined to put out my nice fragile stuff.  As it is, I can't tell you how many ornaments have been knocked off the tree.
As if you could miss it, yesterday was Little Man's birthday.  Let me be the first to tell you, kid's birthday parties whip my tail.  Especially my own kids.  And we had two parties back to back.  I was exhausted by the time we got home that afternoon.
The first party, Little Man's, was at Chuck-E-Cheese.  Oh, how I hate that place.  We also had Monkey's party there, back in August, but it was much, much busier there yesterday.  The second party was for WB, Little Man's best friend.  They have such a love/hate relationship, they really should be related.  His party was at one of those indoor bounce house places with all the fun inflatibles.  The best part was watching Trey and WB's dad race through the obstacle course.  Now THAT was worth the torturous day of screaming children suffering from the hypoglycemic rush of pizza and birthday cake - twice!
There's more to catch up with, like getting tagged for the first time, but I just don't have the energy right now.  Another day perhaps...

Friday, December 12, 2008

Our baby story-part six

photo by *spud* 
  I'm typing this up the same day as part five because tomorrow is Little Man's birthday, as well as his best buddy, WB.  We have a combined total of 4 hours of birthday parties and probably won't have time to post the final part of my series tomorrow morning.  Thank you for staying with me and allowing me to share our story with you.
After Little Man was born, we got a quick peak at him before the nurses whisked him away to the NICU.  He was so tiny!  But so long!  And so beautiful.  Trey was torn between staying with me and following Little Man to the NICU.  I told him to go with the baby, I would be fine.  My doula came in to keep me company while they were finishing the surgery.  There's nothing weirder than being awake and aware that your innards are on display to a whole surgical team.  Truly.
Naturally, it took me some time to recover from my surgery.  By the time I was able to see Little Man again, he had been in this world for more than five hours.  He was under a heat lamp (I know there is a technical name for it, but I don't know what) since he was unable to control his own body temp.  And he had all these lines and tubes and things hooked up to him, feeding him, helping him breathe, checking his blood pressure.  He looked so fragile and helpless and I couldn't hold him like I wanted to.  According to the nurses, though, he was doing just fine, and I couldn't really do anything, so I went back to my recovery room.
My doctor thought that my blood pressure would improve as soon as Little Man was born.  It didn't.  It remained on the low end of high, but somewhat controlled under the medication.  Then one day, while my friend who was keeping Monkey brought her (and her own kids) for a quick visit with me and Trey, the machine monitoring my BP started alarming.  We looked at it and it was something like 210/150.  I swear.  Things started moving rapidly, as they had just before my surgery.  My family and friends were ushered out of the room.  I was being moved to a room closer to the nurse's station and they were going to give me something called a Magnesium Sulfate drip to try and bring down my BP.  I thought my freak-out meter was pegged before, but this just completely broke the meter.  
Friends, let me explain something to you.  Words cannot adequately describe what I went through.  That Magnesium Sulfate stuff beat me down like nothing ever has before.  It's administered through an IV, in my hand, and a nurse has to monitor me very closely.  And it burns.  And I don't mean a little uncomfortable kind of burning.  I mean my body was on fire from the inside out.  I could feel it traveling up my hand and through my arm.  I could think of nothing else.  Not my kids, not my husband, not Christmas, nothing for however long I was on it.  All of my focus was on not completely freaking the shit out and ripping all the wires from my body and leaving the hospital.
I have no idea how long it lasted.  12 hours is a good guess because I remember being miserable all night long.  When the MagSulf finally worked it's way out of my body, I slept.  For 24 hours, in the same position.
After that, everything returned to "normal."  My BP was down and controllable by oral medications.  I recovered from the surgery and went home.  Little Man had to stay at the hospital.  Trey had to head back out of town to continue his training and I tried to go about taking care of Monkey, finish my Christmas shopping and getting the house ready for Little Man.  Thank goodness a bassinet from Trey's sister had arrived just recently.
Little Man spent a total of 24 days in the hospital.  He was off everything except the nasal tube feeding by the first few days and slowly progressed to different beds as his ability to regulate his temperature grew.  By the time he was discharged, he weighed in at a whopping 4 pounds and 13.4 ounces.  He was so tiny, when he wasn't sleeping in his bassinet in our bedroom, he was sleeping in a laundry basket in our living room.
But he grew and grew and grew.  You would never know, to look at him now, that his start was so rocky.  He's barely on the Almighty Growth Curve, but at least he's on it (he wasn't for two years).  He runs and plays and fights with his sister and his best full-term buddy and he can hold his own.  
I'm so excited to share this day - his day - with him; my Little Man.

Our baby story-part five

I was being induced.  
I was being induced?  Here?  Now?  
No, this can't be.  There's just too much going on right now.  I don't have time for this!  Trey isn't even in town.  He's FOUR hours away.  I have two parties to do for Pampered Chef.  I haven't even finished my Christmas shopping!  My baby shower isn't until Saturday!  Wait - this is too soon, right?  What about the baby?  Will he survive?  He's not due for another 6 weeks!  No way you're inducing me now.  It's just not feasible.  Nope, there has to be another solution.
All that went through my head in a matter of seconds.  While the doctor was still talking about steroid shots for the baby, my blood pressure, pitocin drips, possible C-Section.
You know that scratching record sound effect people use on TV when they're "showing" a sudden change of thought?  I heard that in my head when the Doc mentioned C-section.  
I snapped my attention back to the present and asked him to repeat himself with the c-section part.  You see, dear readers, I did NOT under any circumstances want a c-section.  My doctor knew this.  In fact, he was the MD of a birthing center, where they have mid-wives and such, which is one of the reasons why I chose him.  Sure, I wanted to have the baby in a hospital, but under my own power, so to speak.  Plus, my father had open-heart surgery several years back, contracted MRSA, and it took him six months, plus another surgery to remove the dirty wire, for him to recover.  There was no way I was going under the knife.
But I also wasn't going to risk the health of the baby, so I agreed after he assured me they would do everything possible to avoid the c-section.
The next several hours crawled by.  I never did get to eat dinner because of the induction.  I contacted Trey and he thought he would be able to get out of training to come back home, but he had to wait until the next day to talk to the powers that be.  I called my doula and told her what was happening.  I called my girlfriend who was keeping Monkey, found consultants to do my parties for me, called my parents to give them updates, called Trey's parents to give them updates.  Then I proceeded to "rest."  Not really, but I guess you can call it that.
The blood pressure cuff kept going, every 15 minutes.  Oh, how I hated that thing.   I still could not move from my left sided position on the bed.  Skipping ahead to the next morning, they started the drip.  Contractions began and the baby monitor beeped.  Nurses came and went.  Everything proceeded slowly.  Almost too slowly.  Trey finally arrived and it was around lunchtime.  Somewhere along the way I got an epidural.  The doula tried massaging my feet and back but my prone position was just miserable.  Think about it.  Have you ever laid  in the same position for 15 hours?  
However, I was not progressing enough in my labor for the doctor's satisfaction.  Our baby's heart rate started dropping.  My blood pressure remained high.  Trey had left the hospital for something - I don't remember what, lunch maybe?  But naturally, right after he left, the doctor came in and told me that there had to be an emergency c-section.  The baby's heart rate was just dropping too low.
My freak-out meter pegged.  I was terrified, going into surgery without my husband.  Would he be back in time?  Was he going to miss the birth of our baby??  My doula called him as they whisked me off to the surgery room, then she joined me so I wouldn't be alone.  Trey showed up while they were prepping me and hovered by my head.  He wiped tears from my face and talked to me.  I have no idea what he was telling me, but it was comforting hearing his voice.  I tried really hard not to listen to the doctor and nurses.  I'm sure it didn't take long, less than 30 minutes from start to finish, I think, but it seemed like hours. 
Then Little Man was born.  33 1/2 weeks early.  3 pounds 10 ounces and 17 inches long.  

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Our baby Story - part four

To those of you who are just joining us, the beginning starts here.  
Here are some random facts that go along with this story.  Three years ago today was a Sunday.  Trey was a student and the phase of training he was in took him to another part of Oklahoma.  We decided it would be best for me and the kids to stay in the town where we had a network of friends already established, plus Monkey had preschool.  He would only be working out of town for a few months and would be home on weekends.  No big deal.   
Three years ago, I was still selling Pampered Chef.  I had two parties left to do before the holidays.  I've always been a last minute shopper for Christmas and hey, I still had two weeks!  I also had my baby shower to look forward to.
None of that really mattered in the long run.  On December 12th, a Monday, Trey left to head out of town.  It was a four hour drive, so he left early.  I went about my normal routine during the day and then took Monkey over to a friend's house because I had my weekly doctor appointment that afternoon.
When they checked my blood pressure, it was something like 180/120.  On medication.  The nurse had me go lie down for a while and see if it would come down any.  It didn't.  They checked it four or five times.  The doctor would come in and out of the room checking on me and the baby to see how we were.  Finally, he told me he was sending me to the hospital to see if they could help bring down my blood pressure.  He was all calm about it, but my freak-out meter started climbing, just a little.  Then he tells me to pack an overnight bag, "just in case."
Ummm.... Okay....
He told me to go straight home, to get my bag, then straight to the hospital.  My freak-out meter started climbing even more.  As I was driving, I called my friend who was keeping Monkey.  Thank God for good friends.  She was totally cool with Monkey hanging out with her kids, for however long necessary.  
I called Trey, but he was already in class and couldn't answer.  I left a message trying really hard not to sound frantic, but just to, you know, say "honey, they're sending me to the hospital..."  I called my mom.  Her freak-out meter starting climbing really fast.  I called my dad.  I called everyone I knew, it seemed.  When I got home, I grabbed clothes, a book, music, and my paperwork for my parties.  Just in case.
When I got to the hospital, I went straight to a room and they put on the pressure cuff and had me lie on my left side.  My blood pressure was still high.  I lay there for what seemed like hours and the only way to keep it on the low end of high was to stay on my left side.  I couldn't even move to my back or my BP would spike.   My freak out meter got even higher.  Nurses would come and go.  Finally, my doctor came in.  It was sometime after dinner and not only were pressure sores forming on my left hip, but I was hungry, too.
He starts talking to me about my BP and how they can't seem to get it down.  The only thing they can do now is try and induce me. 
Ummm.... Okay....  I'm thinking he's talking about in a couple of weeks.  Nope.
My due date was January 20th and they were inducing me on December 13th.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Our Baby Story - part three

photo by Mrs. Flinger.
 I think I missed a detail yesterday.  I was laying in bed at 4am this morning (just after Little Man came to wake me up for more water) trying to remember when we first went to the perinatologist in Oklahoma City (which is not where we lived).  I believe it was just a week or so after my 19 week ultrasound that was inconclusive.  So we traveled to OKC to have one of those really cool 4D ultrasounds.
When we arrived, they first took a family history and did a little genetic counseling.  Then we did a normal ultrasound to get measurements again.  They were laying their own foundation for my progress.  Again, it was inconclusive.  The only thing they could say for sure is that even though the fetus was growing, he was still a week or two behind based on my conception and due dates.  Even though my blood pressure was high, but controlled with medicine, everything looked good.
Even when they did the 4D ultrasound - which is really cool, by the way - they couldn't confirm whether or not our son had DS.  They, too, advised doing an amniocentesis to know for sure, but at 20 weeks, there is a risk of miscarriage or early delivery and chances are the baby wouldn't survive.  So we opted to wait.  And no one was sticking a needle that big into my belly.  I was to come back in 8 weeks for another ultrasound and see if there were any changes.
The next two months were the longest of my life.  My blood pressure was still high, but no other signs of preclamsia showed up.  Everything else progressed normally, if you want to call it that.  Around 28 weeks we went back to OKC for our next ultrasound.
Again, nothing conclusive except the size of the baby being smaller than expected.  So we opt to do the amnio.  I never really saw the needle - if I had, I'm sure I would have passed out - but Trey saw it.  He said it was huge.  I think I tried to squeeze off the fingers of his hand that I was holding.  All things considered, it wasn't really that bad.  But then there was waiting for the results.
I have no idea how long we waited.  I'm sure it was days, it may have been one day or five days, but I got the call at work.  Deep breath, everything is normal.  I had to ask the nurse to repeat herself.  No Downs Syndrome, or any other genetic problems for that matter.  And he was definitely a boy.
I never realized the weight that had been on my shoulders until it was gone.
But she wasn't done.  The size of the fetus was still a concern, so they wanted me back in a week or so for another ultrasound.  They wanted to make sure it wasn't my blood pressure or anything that was keeping the baby from growing any faster than he was.
Over the next few weeks, I went to OKC twice, I think.  Once for an ultrasound, once for an extended stress test on the baby.  Even though he was only about 32 weeks old, and small, his stress test rated him somewhere around a 35 or 36 week old fetus.  I could tell I confused the doctor a bit but he told me that they would recommend inducing me around 37 weeks because of my BP.
Turns out, I didn't have to wait that long.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Our Baby Story - part two

photo by memekode
"You tested positive for Downs Syndrome."
Everything kinda went hazy.  The nurse went on talking about moving up my next ultrasound, the one normally scheduled for about 25 weeks to around 19 weeks.  Numbly, I agreed.  But wait - I had questions.  Why the ultrasound?  
They can take measurements of the baby, look for benchmarks, she explained to me.  Oh.  Okay.  I still felt like I wasn't getting it.  But I acted as though I understood everything she was telling me.  As soon as she got off the phone,  I sat down and finished my lunch.  Keep it together, I kept telling myself.  You're at a Wendy's for goodness sake!  You can't fall apart here.
I couldn't contact Trey because he was working.  I was on my own until he called me.  Sorry, people, but the details of the next few days were a little fuzzy, I hope you understand.  It was like I was in a fog.  I remember calling a dear friend of mine back in NC who has a son with Downs.  They have a daughter, too, a year younger than Monkey, without Downs, so I wanted to know what happened.  
I had a long conversation with them, first with Diane, then with Chris, and they even offered to give me some of their frequent flyer miles to bring me to Duke University.  Have I mentioned that I have really good friends?  Chris, I believe it was, told me that the odds of the DS part of the test being correct vs. incorrect are about the same as flipping a coin.  The other parts of the test, for the more serious, life-threatening diseases are much more accurate which is why they still do the tests.  The same thing had happened with their daughter.  Her test had come back positive for DS, too, but she doesn't have it.  
I can't speak for Trey.  He was working and in school and was focusing on that.  Internalizing, compartmentalizing the struggle with whether or not our son had DS.  I was up late at night.  I would wake up at 2 or 3 in the morning and get online and research.  I looked at reports, published ultrasound pictures.  I learned about measuring the nuchal fold and the lengths of the femur bones and something to do with the nose.  
Finally the day came for the next ultrasound.  Trey came with me; Monkey was at preschool.  The ultrasound technician was very nice and we chatted.  I remember he was a traveler, meaning he would work at a location for a few months to cover an open position, then move on.  At the time, my mom was, too, so we talked about some of the places he has worked.  I watched the images flicker on the screen.  The black, white and grey images that had become my late-night obsession.   The magic of an ultrasound is lost when you're trying to verify a genetic disease.
The only thing the ultrasound could confirm was that the fetus was a little smaller than my gestational time showed and that the fetus was most likely a boy.  The tech even showed us the "turtle" sign.
So, at 19 weeks, we still don't know if he has DS or not.  The only way now to confirm is to do an amniocentesis or wait 8 more weeks and do another ultrasound.  There was no way anyone was sticking a needle in my belly, so we waited.
And my blood pressure started creeping up.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Pardon the interruption

We interrupt our regularly scheduled blog program of my son's Birth Story to bring you an AWARD!  I got a blog award!  How cool is that??
Rosie, from gave me this:
The rules are that the recipient is to list 6 things that make him/her happy before subsequently passing forward the glee to others.
6 Things That Make Me Happy
1) laughing with my husband.
2) watching my kids explore their imagination - as long as it isn't destructive.
3) driving through the mountains on a beautiful, sunny day.
4) curling up with a really good book.
5) poolside cocktail service. (haven't had that since our honeymoon!  Vegas, baby.  Vegas.)
6) lounging on the boat.
Now, to give this to 6 other bloggers.  Hmmm.... that's tough.  I have about 35-40 blogs in my reader...  OK, someone else needs to give me an award, just so I can give more awards out....
Ok, first would be Tara @ Sticky Fingers.
Then there is Kate @ Live Out of the Box
Next would be Bridge @ Becoming Bridge
Fourth is Daisy @ Namas Daisy and Sean @ Writer Dad.  They come as a perfectly matched set.  (Yes, I am cheating a bit on this one).
Then comes Dave @ Blogger Dad
And last but not certainly not least,  Matthew @ Matthew Dryden
(Now I just need to figure out how to put this in my sidebar.  There's no way I'm letting my first blog award go away in the archives.)

Our Baby story - part one

photo by Josh Parrish
  In celebration of my son's birthday, I'm writing about the.... adventures... surrounding my pregnancy with him and his birth.  If you already know the story, I'm sorry if I bore you.  If you don't know the story, I'm sorry if I bore you.  Blame Blogger Dad because I got the idea from him.
We were living in Oklahoma at the time.  It was hot and miserable and windy.  Did I mention windy?  I have a horrible memory but I remember a few things about when I told Trey I was pregnant.  He was out cutting the grass and looking miserable.  I went outside and waited to catch his eye.  He was too focused on what he was doing, trying to get it done quickly because, as I said, it was hot and miserable and windy.  I couldn't wait.  I yelled.  He looked up, irritated that I had interrupted but I waved him over anyway.  I think I also bribed him with cold water.
I didn't say anything, I just showed him the test.  He broke into a wide smile and hugged me, covered in sweat and dirt and grass clippings.  It was gross.  But we were excited and we celebrated that night with a nice dinner.  We didn't say anything to Monkey, yet.
The first 5 or 6 weeks were long for us.  I had an early miscarriage just before we moved to OK, so we were nervous about this one.  I went for my doctor's appointment and they did bloodwork to check my levels.  They said I was pregnant.  I explained to the doctor my concern about actually seeing the baby (because I had been through the miscarriage) so he was kind enough to do an ultrasound right then.  I saw the little kidney bean with the tiny flicker of a heartbeat.  He said everything looked good.
The next several weeks passed without too many incidents.  I didn't have morning sickness in the vomiting-my-guts-up every morning sense, but brushing my teeth was a very difficult thing with all the gagging I was doing.  I'm surprised my teeth survived.  I couldn't drink coffee because it tasted revolting (and I love coffee) and I was tired all the time.  It was nothing for me to fall asleep on the couch after dinner.
The only hiccup so far with my appointments was that the doctor couldn't hear the baby's heartbeat with the doppler, so I got an ultrasound at every visit to see the heartbeat.  Then at 15 weeks or so, they did the triple screen blood test.  I didn't think anything of it at the time.  I don't remember how long it was after the test that they called me - if it was a few hours or a couple of days, but I remember I was at Wendy's when I got the call.  I must have had a craving for their french fries.
The nurse was going on about the test and although I was paying attention, I was also distracted because I was waiting for my food.  "I'm sorry, could you repeat that last?" I asked her.
"You tested positive for Downs Syndrome."

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Security blankets

Little Man likes cars.  And he likes Cars.  If you're "in the know,"  as in haven't been living under a rock in the last several years, you know what Cars is.  It's a great little movie about a race car named Lightning McQueen.  Marketing has been HUGE for these little cars.  There are big toy cars - the kind the kids can actually drive - and little hot wheels sized cars, and now they've even made Mini Adventure Cars that are about half the size of the die cast metals ones.
Little Man will be getting lots of Cars for his birthday and Christmas.  See, his birthday is in a little over a week.  I have the unique challenge of making sure his birthday is celebrated just as it would be any other time of year and not right before Christmas.  No Christmas wrapped presents will be given to him on his birthday.  No Christmas candy in the goodie bags.  No "this is for your birthday and Christmas" combined presents.  I've even thought about taking down the Christmas decorations at home for that one day and redecorating for his birthday.  OK, not really, because 1) I don't even have the Christmas decorations up yet and 2) that would be entirely too much work.
But this isn't about his birthday (look for something next week, though, that will be in celebration of his birthday).  This is about his Cars.  He has two of the die cast metal cars.  "The King" and "Lightning McQueen" (he calls them "King" and "Queen").  They are his security blanket.
They travel everywhere with us.  It has become quite the discussion when we get ready to go to school because he wants to take them to school.  We do manage to keep the Cars in the car at drop off time.  They go to the grocery store.  They get dropped out of the cart often and if I happen to miss that because I'm doing something important like trying to figure out which detergent will get me the best price with my coupons and sales and then move on without picking up the wayward car and he starts to worry about his car being lost and the upset tone of his voice gets higher and louder and then I have to backtrack and try and figure out where the car was last seen because God KNOWS I can't leave the store without King/Queen and he's so happy when I find it waaay up under the shelf that he actually giggles.  Deep Breath.
He sleeps with them.  Successfully, I might add.  Only once in a while does he lose one in the blankets.  And when he comes to climb in bed with us first thing in the morning, the clacking of little metal cars precedes him as he puts them both in one hand so his other is free to help pull himself up onto our bed.  
They've also become something of a weapon.  I've caught him using them to hit the poor puppy on the head before or throwing them across the room when he's in a tantrum.  Those little cars hurt, in case you were wondering.
I'm sure at some point he'll outgrow his need to carry the Cars cars everywhere he goes and after December, he'll have a plethora of Cars cars to choose from, but for now, I think it's kinda cute.
What's your security blanket?

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Still Christmas shopping?

I got this idea over this past weekend that some of you may still be looking for that perfect gift for the mom/sister/friend in your life.  Maybe you're scrambling to find that extra-special custom gift that only she can use.  Well, allow me to scramble with you.  Let's crack those eggs and make an omelette.
I make Mommy Bracelets.  I actually hold a BFA in Metal Design but this is all I can do right now.  I've been making these bracelets mostly for friends and family for a few years now, but occasionally I get asked to make one for a gift.  
I've used children's names with their matching birthstones....
I've used nicknames like Grandma, Mawmaw and Nanny with all of their grandkids' birthstones...
And I've also made bracelets for little girls.  I have a picture of one I made for Monkey but the focus is all out of whack.  Speaking of bad pictures, please don't let the quality of my pictures sway your opinion on my bracelets.  I still haven't figured out how to take good shots of these things.
They are all made with sterling silver clasps and beads and the birthstone beads are Swarovski crystal.
If you are interested in one of these custom bracelets, please let me know in the comments section or by sending me a direct email and we can talk about what you have in mind.  Prices generally run as such:
Single strand:  $35
Double strand:  $50
Triple strand:  $65
I can keep adding strands if you like but at some point people may start comparing you to Mr. T, so if you have more than three children/grandchildren you want on a bracelet, think about ways to make it one or two strands.  If you need ideas or suggestions, I'm happy to help.
Shipping is a flat $5 and it'll be sent priority mail.  Oh, and since we only have about 22 days left, I can't take orders after December 10th so that I'll have time to get the beads, make the bracelet and get it back in the mail to you before Christmas.
Hungry for an omelette yet?