Thursday, June 30, 2005

Catch-up Comments

Lucky had a re-check u/s and kidney/spleen aspiration on Tuesday. I found out yesterday that they are cancer free. Yeah! I think this means that today may be her last chemo treatment. Then, we move to radiation of half her body next week and the other half a month from now. After that, just monthly checks to make sure she is still in remission. If not, long hard choices will have to be made, but the way she has responded to the drugs and the fact that she now appears to be cancer free she has a good chance of falling into that 25% chance of staying in permanent remission and dying of other/natural causes. You know what I am hoping and praying for.

My mom was over yesterday. Yes, Wednesday night dinner. After work, I went and lay on the couch wishing I could stay there for the rest of the night. As she was trying to get me up and going for dinner because she was hungry and I was more tired than hungry, the baby gave a big kick. She paused and said, “Did the baby just kick you?” I said, “Yes”. She paused and got a big smile on her face and said, “I saw that from here!”. I think it made her day.

My cousin is going to be coming out this summer after all. They bought tickets Monday. My cousin is coming on July 22nd – Aug. 15th with her 14 y/o son and 8 y/o daughter. Her husband and 15 y/o daughter are going to come the first week of August only. It should be fun. (Katrina, I know you are going to read this and then not want to come. Please come anyway. It will be fun and I think you will really like my cousin.)

I have registered at Baby’s R Us and Pottery Barn kids. I haven’t figured out how (or if) I can get them to display without showing my last name so, despite requests, I probably will not be providing links. I would like to find someplace that has those cute kids drawer knobs and register for some of those, but haven’t.

Did you know that nursery’s are supposed to have a theme? Hmmm. I have thought long and hard about this. If I have to pick one, I think I will pick butterflies and fairies. The only problem with this theme is that none of the places I have looked at sell this stuff. As such, the theme will not show up on any registry. Too bad. That’s my theme and I am sticking with it!

Next OB appointment is tomorrow. I guess I never finish posting about my last appointment. Basically, both my OB and I agreed to proceed as if the little hospital stay never happened and that it was just a hydration issue resulting from travel and getting sick. I expect her to say, all is fine. See you in 2 weeks.

I bought a crib and nursing chair/ottoman on Tuesday. I really, really wanted to just lay on the couch all night, but forced myself up and about. Good thing. I was told 6-8 weeks for arrival. It will be a close call to see what gets here first, the kid or the crib.

Did I mention that I signed a contract with a Doula last Friday? Another task done. I think it went well. She gave me this hypno-birth CD she made to listen to. I need to call her and let her know that it gets really staticy in parts, but I have to say that when I listen to it before bed (and I have only listened to it before bed). I sleep really, really good and solid. It is amazing. I didn’t listen to it last night and didn’t sleep that great. My back has been sore (shoulder and lower back). I need to be stretching more and/or get in the pool and swim for a few minutes every few days or so. Sigh. I just doesn’t seem like there are enough hours in the day right now.

I really should be paying better attention to the meeting/conference call I am in. I hope I haven’t missed anything too important.

I am so glad that this weekend is a long one. I need the break. I am in constant vacation envy as everyone at work (or so it seems) is taking time off right now. I have seriously thought about taking a few days, but then decided to suck it up so I can have more time off when the baby is here.

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Where did the weekend go?

The short version:

Washing clothes, spending money, returning and buying new maternity clothes, and starting a registry.

The longer version:

Saturday, I saw my acupuncturist. I just love her. Then, I returned some maternity clothes that I ordered on-line that didn't fit. It's a long story, but let's just say that JC Penny's customer service is appalling and they have lost my business forever. If I had the energy, I'd tell you the details and call/write them to complain. After that ordeal, I stopped in Motherhood Maternity and actually found 2 dresses, 2 shorts, 1 top, and some walking shorts all for about $100. Everything was on sale except a pair of jeans shorts. I think I am now set on maternity wear. I treated myself to a late lunch/early dinner; came home and took a nap; and then washed baby clothes. I have so many baby clothes it is quite frightening. It will be even more frightening if I don't have enough because I have piles and piles. I think it is at least 6 loads, although the last few weren't quite full, but separated due to color issues. It is all so cute and adorable. I can hardly stand it. If I didn't need the extra time, I'd almost wish that the baby was already here so I could start seeing her in some of it.

On Sunday, I did a few more loads and have the last of the baby clothes washed. Yeah! Now I just need a place to put them other than on every available surface of the baby's room. That should be arriving in about 2 weeks. Yes, I actually purchased some furniture today. No, I don’t have a crib yet, but I do have a long, eight drawer dresser; a tall 6 drawer dresser, and an end table purchased. All three pieces were less than $8oo with free delivery. Now, I just need the crib and a chair, but I know where I am going to get them. The store was just closed by the time I made all the other decisions.

I decided a few things. The 3 or 4 in one cribs are great ideas, but just don’t expect to get extra furniture like a desk or an end table to grow with the bed…unless you want to go really high quality and spend 3 – 4K. I decided to change my approach and picked out everything, but the crib and then find a crib to match. It’s amazing how much cheap, junky furniture there is out there. Heaven forbid you get decent wood furniture for a child. One sales guy said that people just don’t want to invest much money in children’s stuff. But, all of it (fake wood and shoddy manufacturing) costs a pretty penny as well, but won’t last. Anyway, out of desperation, I went to Michael’s Furniture Warehouse on Woodman in Van Nuys. I have bought a few pieces for both my mom’s and my own house there before and have been happy with it. My new approach was to buy some simple “adult” pieces without the bed. And, that’s what I did. I got pine with maple stain (I had 8 choices of stain), but think I will call back tomorrow and change it to natural finish. I thought one of the cribs I like was pine with maple, but it was pine with oak. I think I will have an easier time matching the natural finish after looking through my brochures from earlier visits. It is a bit lighter than what I would have liked, but it will be fine.

Since the Baby’s R Us Mega store is a mile away from Michael’s, I stopped in to buy some hangers so I could do something with at least a few of the baby clothes that are now washed and just in piles I mentioned...on almost every surface of the baby’s room. It really is quite scary. Good thing my Doula recommended using different color hangers for the various sizes because they didn’t have any with the sizes marked on them as my sister had indicated and I don’t think I would have come up with the idea on my own. While at Baby’s R Us, I started my registry. It was very tiring and some what painful. I couldn’t find a few things, changed my mind on a few things, and needed to research a few things out before I could decide what I wanted. So, I should have at least one registry done about mid-week by the time they get it posted to the internet and I make my changes.

Tomorrow, I just need to go back to Baby Town and buy the crib (I think they had one I liked in pine that I can get in a natural finish for a reasonable price) and, this really, really comfortable swivel, rocker chair with an ottoman. I think I will be close to my original budget of $2K for the entire room. I was starting to think there was no way I could do it and get something decent that I liked. It took some time and a lot of research/work, but I think I may have done it.

The clock is now ticking. I have 2 weeks and counting to go through and clear out all of the junk and find a new place to store, give away, or throw out everything currently in that room. I started a little bit tonight but decided I was too tired and overwhelmed.

Aren’t you proud of all of the progress I am making? Whew, I am almost ready to cross a few more things off my list and they are a few biggies. Hallelujah!!

Off to satisfy a recent addiction/craving of mine…chocolate ice cream with a few M&M’s mixed in. Then, bed! Boy am I really tired, but progress is being made.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Still no baby furniture (frown, very big frown)

Several stores and several hours later, I still have not purchased any baby furniture. I think maybe I am making this harder than it has to be. But, there are so many choices and the ones I like the most are almost twice as expensive as the others. Plus, if I go with a 3 or 4 in 1 converter crib where is starts as a crib and then converts to a toddler bed then a day bed (if a 4 in 1) or a full size bed (if a 3 in 1), I want to make sure that there are other pieces of furniture in the collection to match. And, none of these other pieces like a nightstand, dresser, desk, etc. are on display at the baby stores. So, I have brochures and manufactures names and collections names and prices and web addresses written down. More research required. Maybe this weekend. I must make a decision very soon. As it is, it is very unlikely unless it is in stock that I will get it before the kid arrives. Ugh!!! I’m very tired now. Off to bed for me.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Very, Very Spoilt

My child is already very, very spoilt and she is not even born yet. Who needs a baby shower? The kid has more clothes than she will probably ever be able to wear. And, they are all so adorable. She now owns 4 pairs of shoes. My mom brought the bag from my sister and as expected, it contained the cutest things, including 4 pair of shoes. I do see why I need the special coded hangers though because most of the clothes are in European sizing. While I could probably figure out which socks go with which outfit, learning European sizing may be beyond me at the moment.

My mom asked how Audrey was doing tonight at dinner. I almost flipped out. OMG. While I have started to call her Audrey, I realized I am not ready for others to do so. It was like a jinx. She is not quite real yet. I need to see her and hold her first.

I can’t wait to try to breastfeed. I have to say that I know that it can be more of a struggle than people expect and not everyone takes to it or is able to, but I have always wanted to do this. If it doesn’t work, I am going to be really, really disappointed. While I would prefer an normal, vaginal birth, if I end up with a c-section I will be fine with it. If I am not able to breastfeed, I am going to be really upset. I think maybe that is one of the big reasons I wanted to try to conceive a child instead of adopting. Some people may dream of their nursery, me…I dream of being able to breastfeed my child. Probably, it will not be as awesome and moving as I expect it to be, but I can’t wait to find out myself.

Getting back to the baby name. I talked to my ex-boyfriends mom tonight. She likes to keep in touch and wishes her son had ended up with me. I’m probably better off without him, but he would have been better off with me. We both know this. Maybe it sounds egotistical, but I think it is true. I think we both think it is true. Anyway, she is the first person who told me that they don’t like the name Audrey. LOL. She likes my second choice name, Mackenzie, but not Audrey. LOL. She was thrilled to hear my news and almost demanded an invitation to the baby shower. What is the big deal with this whole shower thing? I assured her that one would be sent her way, but if she wasn’t so adamant, I can tell you it wouldn’t be so.

I still need to sort out the whole guardianship and will thing, but I am feeling less stressed about it because I found out that they would release the baby to a family member, but child services would need to get involved to grant official custody. As long as it isn’t a stranger, I can live with the chance. I have decided that this whole thing needs much more thought and research. I was incredibly ignorant on the whole process and how things work. I need to ponder and get more educated before I can move forward. However, I will get back to it in good time.

I liked the June gloom better. The last few days have been really hot and I can tell the difference in my energy level. I am dragging a lot more. Sigh. I’m so glad for the a/c. Normally, I set it at 80 and this seems to be okay for the afternoon, but in the evening…I have been lowering it. I’m so bad, I cranked low the a/c and then took a warm bath. I know that makes no sense, but …I wanted to. My house, my bills, my money. I can do stupid things like that if I want to.

I think there were a few other random thoughts I wanted to share, but my mind is now a blank.

Oh yes, I am making progress on the list. Got bug guy coming tomorrow to take care of spiders and ants. Faxed in receipts for my medical savings account; bought three 40 lb bags of dog food so I wouldn’t have to worry about running out late in pregnancy or right after the baby is born; got a referral for a handyman to install fire alarms and do a few other things like climb up into the small space and clean the air filter for my a/c. My cousins kids usually do this for me every summer when they come, but…I am SOL this year since it looks like they aren’t coming. I still have plenty on the list, but I am getting there. Now, the stupid Dr. D (perinatoligist) had the nerve to close his office for a week so I haven’t been able to schedule my 32 week u/s. Did I mention that I talked my OB into that? I guess it is standard protocol if you decline amnio to get a better look. I told Dr. P that I am not really concerned with the baby being abnormal, but I would hate to turn down another chance to look at the baby so Dr. P agreed to submitted the referal and the medical group approved it. Yeah!

And, my sciatic nerve problem seems to have almost worked itself out. My lower back is still a bit tight, but mostly the pain is gone. I have noticed that it seems to be a bit worse in the evenings the last night or two after the night time walk. And, since it has been warm, I have been wearing sandals to walk in. I think I will need to switch back to tennis shoes even if they are much hotter. Oh well, it will be worth it.

I am back to being worried that Audrey isn’t moving enough. Not so worried that I have actually resorted to the fetal heart monitor yet. Or, emailing my OB to tell her that I am paranoid, although I did briefly consider it. I do still feel her move several times a day, but she seems less active when I do feel her. When she does grace me with her movement, she is packing more of a punch. I have heard that the movement does start to slow down a bit as they grow and run out of space. I’m hoping it is that or the heat or something. I am drinking lots and lots of water so I don’t think I am dehydrated again. I don’t think I will ever get tired of feeling the movement. Not only is it very, very cool. It is affirming that all is well. I am sure that all is well. I just think she should be a bit more considerate of her mother’s fears and paranoia. I guess I had better get used to it, huh?

What else?

A few weeks ago, I went to Costco myself instead of having someone else go on my behalf. You know what I found? Costco makes/sells a Kirkland brand of laundry detergent that is both high efficiency and ink/die free. Yeah Costco!! I was able to take off the list petitioning other manufactures for this product. Whew, what a relief. LOL.

Hmm. I think there were a few more things, but I guess I will have to save them for another day when I can actually remember what they are. My mind is now a complete blank and my bed is calling my name. No, it is screaming it. I can hear it from across the house.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

On baby clothes

I finally decided that I should actually look at what people have given me so far so that when I am forced into the baby store to buy furniture in a few days I may be able to start registering for my shower that I have become resigned to, but could live without. At this point, it is not the event itself. I am past the paranoia stage, mostly, by now. It is what must be done to prepare. I was told I would have to do nothing. HAHAHAHAHA. I need to register. Before I can register, I must identify what I need/want. Which means going through what I have been given. Then, I must supply names. And, not just names, but addresses as well. I need to decide on the cloth vs. desposible issue. And, if cloth, diaper service or buying diapers. Which is best, most economical, how many will I need? These are just a few of the things that must be decided upon before registering can occur. This is work. This is several things added to “the list”.

I am a type A personality (in case you haven’t been able to figure that out by now). Long list = Bad. Short list = Good. It is very stressful for me to have a long list. I must get things done so I can cross them off. It pains me every time I think of something else that must go on the list. I really hope the kid (oh yeah, I was going to start trying to call her Audrey) doesn’t get here before the list is complete. Yeah, not only because it is healthier and I don’t want her at risk or to have to be in the NICU, but also…because you know…”The list”. It has become a necessary evil. I hate the list. I love crossing things off the list.

Maybe I should point out that I am feeling a bit tired and cranky right now. Probably, I should not post and just go lie down for a bit. But, what the heck…just know that I have a bit of a ‘tude today.

The irony of this whole shower thing is when I was talking to my older sister, Julie, the other day, she said she may have to “pass off” helping with the shower to my other sister or just let my friend do it all and give her money since she doesn’t have time now. This is the same sister that swore she would do it all, I would have to do nothing, and insisted I have the shower in the first place. Whatever, I have known her all my life. It is not as if I expected her to keep her word.

Anyway, back to the original topic. Baby clothes. I have such great friends and have received so many wonderful baby things. I started going through the baby clothes Sunday night. Hey, after two mini naps and laying in bed all day, I felt somewhat up to the task. I currently have 3 full washing machine loads of baby clothes and this is with the extra capacity washer that I just bought. They have all been washed and sorted into relative size, but I may need another pass at that because I think some of the clothes may have ended up in the wrong pile. Plus, I need to separate out onesies (How is that spelt? I can never remember) vs. sleep clothes vs. outfits. This has been my “project” the last few days when not working.

I think I don’t need to buy any clothes at all for the entire first year. The only age I may be a bit short on is the 6 – 9 months because 1) my friend Heather’s daughter was born in January and was 6 – 9 months during the summer and Audrey will be 6 – 9 months in winter/spring. There are some really cute summer outfits though so it will be a shame that she can’t wear them. But, I know another SMC mom who is pregnant with a girl who is 10 weeks behind me so maybe she can use/will want them. I am going to wait before giving them up though to make sure that she won’t fit them, just in case because they are so cute. 2) My friend Rosa had a son (they didn’t know the gender until he was born) so she only had gender neutral clothes for the first 0 – 6 months.

My sister Kris is just back from visiting my sister Cindy and took an extra bag empty so that Cindy could send back baby clothes/bedding. I am told that it is quite another haul. My mom is supposed to bring it with her tomorrow.

Cindy is too funny. She has instructed me to make sure that I buy the baby hangers that have the age/size on them and to have them prior to when she comes out for the shower so that she can sort through them/organize them all for me. This is a MUST!! She also told me that while it will be painful for her, I don’t have to give the clothes back when done. I can pass them on to someone else. However, I do need to return the bedding. She has decided that she just can’t officially part from it. LOL. She has told me which outfit I should use to bring Audrey home for the hospital in. She made sure that each outfit was packed together with the matching socks in the sleeve so I would know what went with what. I am sure I will be quizzed when she gets here. Hey, now that I think about it. Really no point in me resorting and organizing everything now because it will just be wrong and Cindy will re-do it all anyway, you know…the “right” way. This is the same sister that when I would watch her children for her when she and her husband were away she would have an outfit laid out for each day they were gone, clearly labeled with the day of the week for each child so she was sure that her kids were decently dressed while she was gone. LOL. Oh….

I do love my family. I do.

Anyway, no way I will be prepared to register this week. But, it was kind of fun to sort through all the clothes and look at all the cute outfits. I just hope she gets to use them all. I am starting to really want her here already, but not too soon because I don’t want her to have to be in the NICU and I still have more to do to get ready.

These clothes. They are so cute. G-d, I hope I can figure out what bottoms match what tops match what socks. My poor child. LOL.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Lazy, Lazy Me

Sometimes I am amazed at how little I can get done. I was supposed to buy baby furniture this weekend. NOT! I only got as far as calling a few stores to find out if they actually had any in stock. Babies R Us and Burlington Coat Factory – Baby Depot do. JC Penny and Macy’s do not. And, I only did that when urged by a friend. We have plans on Thursday night to go check it out. I will be buying furniture one way or another that night. Same friend was horrified when I said I wished someone would just buy it for me. I wasn’t kidding. At this point, I really don’t care as long as it is done.

Yesterday, I spent hanging out with a friend in from the Bay Area at her sister’s house. Her sister and I are due around the same time. She has a C-section scheduled on my due date and we are delivering in the same hospital. It will be so cool if we are there at the same time! It was a good time where kids ran around and played out side and we just hung out and talked and didn’t do much of anything. It was great to see her son who is now 9 mo.’s. He is a cutie.

Today, I got out of bed late at the urging of one of my dogs who seemed a bit concerned that she may not actually get walked today. Took them out, came back and climbed in bed (and think I actually dozed off), before I had to shower and get ready to meet a friend for brunch. Came home, climbed back in bed, researched sciatica nerve pain (not for ideal curiosity, but because I think this is what is causing me the recent pain I have had since I woke up Saturday, making walking and transitioning from sitting to standing painful), didn’t find much, but finally figured out how to spell it, think I dozed off again. Talked to a friend who urged me out of bed to call about the furniture. This motivated me enough (being out of bed) to give the dogs their evening walk and here I am.

Bills still aren’t paid, dishes still aren’t washed, etc, but, I managed to spend a whole day and do (almost) nothing. I really like days like this. Makes me feel a bit decadent.

Friday, June 17, 2005

Heavy on my mind……

It has been a busy week as I get things done from “the list”.

Monday - Meet with Doula. Decided to go with her.
Tuesday - Chiropractor Apt.. Love Dr. Dan. He is the man!
Wednesday – Dentist Apt. Three months late on teeth cleaning, but done now.
Thursday – Lucky Chemo. Decide on more aggressive treatment.
Friday – Car Serviced. 2K over due for 30K service.

I was so wiped earlier today that I didn’t meet up with a friend in from out of town that I haven’t seen in a year when she was as pregnant as I am now. Her son is already almost 9 months. Wow, what a year.

Any yet, it is now 10:30 pm and I am still up. Why?

While I have been busy getting things done, something has been weighing heavy on my mind. What happens if I die in childbirth or something happens to me, but the baby lives? Now, I don’t actually think this will happen and I am not worried about it in the paranoid way that I am that Audrey will die in utero or during labor. But, it must be considered. As a single woman, I have heard/been told that if I die, and I have not made prior arrangements (like a Will, etc.), she will be put in foster care until things get sorted out. How can I leave that to chance? I didn’t go through all that I have gone through to have her put in foster care with someone who may or may not love and cherish her.

I love my family dearly and any of them would take in my child and raise her, but for various reasons this wasn’t sitting well with me. Two of my sisters already have children and my youngest sister I’m not confident that she would raise Audrey like I would want her to be raised. If I had to pick among family, my first choice would be my cousin Terri and her husband. She would raise her most like I would want. But, again, she already has her children and her husband has had the snip/snip to prevent more. The more I thought and pondered the situation, what I realized I wanted was for Audrey to go to someone who has been trying unsuccessfully to have a child and who also has similar views as mine. Someone who wouldn’t just “take in” Audrey, but would WANT Audrey. Someone who would love and cherish her like their own. Someone who has wanted and tried to be a mom, but hasn’t yet achieved that goal. I feel best about that decision.

Two names easily came to mind and I talked to both of them this week. The first, who I am actually closer to in terms of friendship on a day to day basis, was a little hesitant and I don’t really think understood why I wouldn’t have Audrey go to family. The second one right away said she would be honored and completely understood my thought process. She knows it is very, very unlikely, but she would be thrilled. Yes, sad for me, but happy. If that makes sense. I just feel really good about the choice. If I have to go, I want someone who has struggled and appreciate the miracle of my daughter. Someone who would raise her as well as, if not better, than I would do myself. I feel like this person would do that, without a question, hands down.

I talked to my cousin tonight about what I wanted and my thought process. She understood. She asked that she be put down as second choice in case something happened to my first choice, but she understood why I would want Audrey to be a miracle to someone who has struggled and is not yet a mom. She advised that I leave a letter explaining my choice and rational to my sisters/mom. When I was telling her what a great idea that was so I didn’t have to hear about it and defend my position, she chimed in that she hadn’t thought about that, she just didn’t want to have to be the one to explain it. LOL. We agreed that this is something they don’t need to know unless it actually happens and then I will be dead and then she will have to deal with it.

While we were on morbid discussions and for the record, I don’t want to be on life support (pull the plug); cremate me (I don’t care what happens to the ashes…use me as mulch for a rose bush or spread me out on a hiking trail, whatever…); donate whatever body part or organ to whoever could use it/wants it.

Anyway, I need to find a lawyer and get it all in writing and legal, but I am glad conversations have been had and decisions have been made. I’m glad that I am enough of a planner that if I do die, I will be leaving a solid financial situation between life insurance, personal accident insurance, my house and other investments that caring for her will not be a burden in any way.

As a single parent, I would have needed to get all of this in place anyway. I don’t have the spouse as the default guardian. While dying during childbirth or from an accident prior to that which would cause me to die, but Audrey to live is really, really remote and not something I am truly worried about. I can’t leave it to chance. It is just not my style.

No one else in the world has to agree or like my choice and what I put in place, but I really think it is the best choice, the choice I am most happy and feel best about, for both Audrey and the person who agreed to it. As for me, I’ll be dead. It won’t matter.

Sorry for such a gloomy post, but it has been heavy on my mind and I am happy that I have a plan that 3 other people beside myself know about it. I will be happier when it is all set up and legal. That’s one of next week’s tasks.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Lucky gets invited to cancer camp!

Have I told you lately how great my dog is? She really is. I hope this chemo does its job and she stays in permanent remission. She was asked today (okay, I was asked on her behalf) to go to cancer camp on July 31st. There is a two week camp for children with cancer and on one day, they take dogs that are going through cancer as well to the camp to play with the kids. Her chemo vet asked me today if we would be interested in going. How cool is that? Kids are one of Lucky’s most favorite things. She would love going and if the kids at the camp react similar to almost all of the kids who come in contact with her, they will love her as well. I am just so honored. I almost started to cry when asked I was so touched. I’m going to ask one of my neighbors if she will be back up, just in case, to take Lucky if I either have the baby early or can’t go for some reason. I’m not sure if that is the weekend of my shower or not, but I will need to tell them I can’t do it that day. Something like this is WAY more important than a stupid shower.

Lucky’s treatment has been going well. She completed the 10 weeks of initial treatment. It seems like a lot longer than 10 weeks, but makes me feel less worried about getting things done before Audrey gets here (as I am now 10 weeks from my due date). We decided today to go with the more aggressive radiation treatment instead of standard maintenance. I could go into all of the details and risks and pro’s and con’s, but I will spare you. Basically, she has 3 more weeks (another cycle) of injectibles and in 4 weeks (July 14th) she will have radiation on half of her body. She has no treatment for a month. Then, she has a second radiation treatment (on August 11th) a month later. From there, we go to monthly monitoring and hope/pray she stays in remission. The alternative would be to move to bi-weekly chemo treatments with me giving her home treatment on the off week (pill by mouth) for a few months and then move to 3 weeks, etc. hoping she stayed in remission. She has tolerated the treatment so far very well. I hope she continues to do so.

On the baby front, things are going fine. I am starting to get things crossed of my list (of things that need to get done before the kid gets here), but I have a lot still on it. Last night, I had the coolest experience. I was taking a bath and she really started moving around. She is now strong enough that she can make my stomach move. It was all jiggly and shaky. I was just in awe. When I complain or comment that I don’t feel her move as much as I should, I keep getting told that soon I will be sick of it (basically, be glad in not so many words). I just don’t see it happening. Feeling the baby move and actually being able to see it has by far been the best part of being pregnant for me. I have tried to put my hand on my stomach to feel it that way, but that seems to be one of the quickest ways to get her to stop moving (darn that kid!). Other than the occasional panic attack that she is going to just die in uterus or during labor, I am doing just fine. I think I like this part of the pregnancy best of all so far. I am feeling good. And, now that I am 30 weeks, her chances of survival and being healthy even if I go into pre-term labor are really good. I’m also loving the cool June (June gloom) that everyone around here has been complaining about. We had 2 really warm days earlier this week or last week and it just zapped my energy. I had to make a concerted effort to stay hydrated. I could really tell the difference. All in all, things are going very well right now.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Maternity Benefits and Tentative Plan

I talked to one of our benefit reps today about my maternity leave and how our employer, Federal, and State benefits interact. Some of the benefits are job protection and others are wage replacement that can overlap. Here is a summary and my tentative plan.

- 2 weeks prior to due date off at full pay
- 6 weeks after birth for vaginal delivery at full pay or 8 weeks after birth for c-section at full pay
- 2 weeks of paternity benefit at full pay
- Accrued vacation

If I go out 2 weeks prior to due date, but don't deliver until 1 week after due date. Employer absorbs the extra week (or whatever amount of time is involved). If I go out 2 weeks prior to my due date and deliver 1 week early, I "lose" the second week and my 6 (or 8) week clock starts.

Federal (Family Medical Leave Act)
12 weeks job protection after delivery for bonding, unpaid

State - California
Pregnancy Disability - 4 weeks prior to due date at 55% of wage. Note: It would actually be 55% for the first 2 weeks only because then the employer benefit at 100% would kick in.
CFRA - 12 weeks job protection above and beyond FMLA unpaid
CFL (California Family Leave) - 6 weeks wage replacement at 55% of salary (can/usually runs concurrently with CFRA and you must use at least 2 weeks of accrued vacation before it kicks in)

Tentative Plan - Assuming an 8/25 due date (which I need to confirm with my OB) and that I deliver on my due date and have a normal/vaginal delivery

2 w prior to due date; Last Day Work: August 11th (Thursday)
(assume 8/25 normal delivery)
6 w maternity - October 6th
2 w paternity - October 20th
2 w (10 d) vacation - November 3rd
2d vacation - November 4th/5th; Return to Work - November 8th (Tuesday)

3d vacation - Thanksgiving Holiday
4 d vacation - Christmas/New Year Holiday
1 d vacation previously used in March

I would use all of the 12 w FMLA benefit. I could use some of the CFRA benefit for the extra 2 w and 2 days of vacation plus however many days extra of I deliver late or if I have a c-section. If I deliver early and have a normal delivery, the CFRA benefit may not kick in. I do not plan on using either of the CA - Pregnancy Disability or California Family Leave Benefit.

Sunday, June 12, 2005

A breakfast of champions

Grilled Hamburger for Breakfast! Hmmm. MMMM. Nothing like a home made grilled hamburger for breakfast. I had one yesterday for lunch at the SMC pool party and it tasted so good. Someone came a bit late and fixed a hamburger and it smelled so good, I wanted another one, but was so full. There was no room in the tummy. I wisely didn’t go there. But, I have been thinking about another hamburger ever since. So, I started up the grill and cooked up a few more this morning. Maybe I will have burgers for breakfast, lunch, and dinner today. I just finished one and want another one, but I will refrain for at least an hour or so.

The pool party went well except for the weather that didn’t cooperate and no one actually got in the pool. However, we did sit around it and talked and relaxed. It was a nice time. Afterwards, I laid down to watch a bit of TV before heading out to my neighbors Wedding reception party and fell asleep. I didn’t even think I was tired, but I must have been. I vaguely remember waking up and turning off the TV before falling back to sleep for another hour. I got up and had some left over cantaloupe for dinner that someone brought to the party. I wish I hadn’t eaten it all last night, because that sounds really good right now as well (but, not so good that I will actually go to the store to buy one).

I thought about not going to the Wedding reception, but decided to suck it up (since I really wasn’t tired after such a long nap) and headed out. It was at Rick’s parents house about 10 min. away, not just next door. But, that was fine because I needed to stop and get a present on the way. I only stayed about an hour, but was glad I went just because they were so happy I came. Anthony, their little boy, was so cute. He wanted to know why I hadn’t brought the dogs with me. Rick's mom came up, gave me a big hug and told me how glad she was that I made it, and told her sister what a great neighbor I am to Rick and Stephanie.

It’s funny how protective “the guys” are of me. Mark, Rick’s best friend, took me over to the table of “girls” and made them all put out there cigarettes. He was happily telling his wife, who was at the table, “look who came”. She was like WTF, who is this, before the light bulb came on (after he said, Rick’s neighbor). It was a tad awkward “with the girls” on my part because I know that Mark and his wife have been trying to have a baby and had a m/c and myomectomy within a month or two of when I did. I’m not sure if Mark’s wife knows how much I know about their personal situation. And, I know how hard it is to be around someone who is pregnant when you aren’t and wish you were. It made me realize that I mostly know and talk with the guys and the kids, who tend to be outside more. And, how much personal stuff they tell me that their wives/girlfriends likely don’t know about. LOL.

Mark went on and on about how I needed to make sure that I let them know if I needed ANYTHING at all. It was no trouble. They would be happy to help. They were never doing that much, but hanging out and BS’ing. He knew that sometimes people didn’t like to ask for help, but they…Rick, his brother Mike, and Mark…wanted to help and to just let them know. This special treatment went over very well with “the girls” let me tell you, but I have to say that it did make me feel nice. When you are 205+ lbs, 7 mo. pregnant, and single, you take your complements and attention where you can get it. And, you never know when you may need that safety net of help from someone. Needless to say, I excused myself not long after that, but like I said, I did have a good time and was glad I went.

Today, I have no social obligations. I have the whole day to myself to do with what I like. There are so many possibilities, so many things I could do. I’m just going to play it by ear and see how it shapes up and what I feel like. Maybe I will get motivated to finish my blog about my last OB appointment. Or, maybe I won’t. Maybe I will pay my bills and go through household paperwork. And, maybe I won’t. Probably, I will eat another hamburger (or maybe two) because it was so good. I just may eat a burger for breakfast, lunch, and dinner today. We will see.

Friday, June 10, 2005

The Painting is done!!

The painting is done and my house is reclaimed. And, mostly in order. Sure, the pictures in my office still need to be re-hung and the books gone through and re-organized; the baseboards and kitchen cabinets could be wiped down; the microwave clock could be reset, etc. but, all in all…the house is in great shape…if I do say so myself, which I do. The low point was on Wednesday when the painters actually finished and I realized they only took things out and painted, but didn’t put the house back together again. OMG, was the house a complete and utter mess. It was quite scary. My mom was here, because it was Wednesday. Yes, dinner with Mom night. I asked her to help me put the two hallway closets back together (linen and medicine). Mostly because I needed to get that stuff physically out of the way before the painters left because I needed them to move back the furniture from the spare room to the office where it belonged and that stuff was in the way. She started whining and complaining about how her back already hurt 10 minutes in. I was only slightly sympathetic, but pointed her in the direction of the Advil or Tylenol which was recently replaced. My sister called in the middle of this and wanted to come to dinner with us. I said sure, but I need to wait until the painters left and mentioned what a wreck everything was. She said she would come right by as soon as traffic allowed. Her bossy, take charge attitude can come in handy sometimes. She took one look around and started ordering mom around and between them, with just a little help from me, they got the china cabinet put back together, the stuff put back on the shelves above the washer/dryer, and the games, music, and kid toys back in the entertainment center. Basically, my front rooms were reclaimed and I had table and counter space again. When my mom tried to stop and get us to leave for dinner, Julie put her foot down and said, we can’t leave her with things like this. Go Julie! At dinner, when I thanked her for all of her help, she said she heard the panic in my voice. I told her without the help I probably just would have come home and cried. It was just that bad. I asked if she could come back Thursday night, but that was a no go. However, she did offer up one of her daughter’s home from college and still looking for a job, in desperate need of money. She came by for a few hours Thursday night and got the rest of the big stuff done. It was some of the best $30 I ever spent. I also planted the seed to have her come back and do other things for me like stain the pantry and wash down the kitchen cabinets. I haven’t heard back from her yet, but I think it was a win-win. I was extremely grateful for the help and she was extremely grateful for the cash. As much as I would like to see her gainfully employed, I hope she stays a bit desperate for money for a bit longer. I can use her services. Then, today, the finishing touches. Ana, my cleaning lady came, and cleaned and put everything else back in place. What a wonderful, charming woman! When I found out the painters would be here on her cleaning day, I called and told her not to bother to come, but that I would pay her anyway because I know she really counts on the money. She offered to come Friday afternoon after her regular house instead. I accepted, gratefully, and gave her a bonus today. She could have gotten paid for not coming at all and instead she came on a Friday afternoon/evening into what she knew would be a worse than normal mess. Things aren’t put back exactly as I would have done it, but it is done and I didn’t have to do it. So, that’s where I have been the last few days, behaving myself by not lifting anything heavy and spreading the cash for those willing to help. It was still very time consuming and tiring, but it is done and looks good. I knew that painting would be messy and a lot of work, but underestimated exactly how bad it would be and forgot about the I can’t lift anything or do it myself. I am not sure I would have gone through with it if I had, but I sure am glad this is behind me and that I like it. I thought several times during the week that it was a blessing that I did not need to paint my room or the spare room (the one room that I painted myself). Having those two rooms torn apart as well would have put me over the edge. I just know it. No way am I going through this again anytime soon.

In other, baby related, news, I got the results back from my 3 hour glucose tolerance test and I passed. No gestational diabetes. I haven’t had time to email back my Dr. to find out why the 1 hour test would fail, but the 3 hour one would pass. I think maybe it means that I am slightly insulin resistant and still should watch it, but it doesn’t need as active monitoring. Anyway, that was very good news and I was pleased to say the least, although not particularly surprised since I didn’t have the bad physical reaction on Tuesday (when I took the 3 hour test) as I did when I took the one hour test.

Tomorrow is the SMC pool party. All I need to do is slice some tomatoes and onions and wash some lettuce and I am set. Yep, having a party tomorrow. What, I am crazy you say? True. Not many would tackle a full interior house paint job the week before such an event. However, I had the extra sympathy factor. Maybe my sister, niece, and Ana would not have been so willing to help if that event wasn’t looming. I’m not sure the pregnancy factor would have done it by itself. Plus, house painting was on the critical path for those things that must get done before the baby gets here. As bad as it was, it would have been infinitely worse with and infant or young child. And, it really had to be done at some point soon. I had been living for 2 or 3 years with patched and paint striped walls (from all of my potential color choices). Not painting in the near future was not an option.

It was a difficult tiring week. I’m glad I did it. And, I am glad it is behind me.


Thursday, June 09, 2005

With Sorrow

I can’t sleep. During our staff meeting this afternoon, we were told that our boss would not be joining us because she had just received a call from home saying they couldn’t awaking her 19 year old daughter from sleep and an ambulance was on the way. We got an email about an hour later saying that her daughter Megan had passed away in her sleep. I can only imagine the grief and sorrow that my boss is feeling right now. I have just come to terms recently in my own mind that the rest of my pregnancy would be fine and that I am actually going to get a live baby out of this whole thing and then stories like this reiterated how uncertain life can be. I never met Megan, but her passing and the tragedy of my boss losing a child, just on the brink of adulthood and independence, has hit me hard. Again, I can only imagine how my boss and her family are feeling. They are in my thoughts and prayers. I can only cry for her and all of the other injustices in the world.

Monday, June 06, 2005

Painting in progress

I just wanted to post a quick update to say not to worry if I don’t post most of this week. The interior of my house is getting painted and things are very chaotic and it is NOT (most likely – ha ha) that I am back in the hospital. I was in the middle of writing a blog on my Friday appointment (which went well, details later) when the painters came and started prep work. They were suppose to start today, but called at the last min. and asked if they could start Saturday morning. I can’t get to anything, including the lab slip for my 3 hour glucose tolerance test tomorrow. I guess if the Dr.’s office can’t fax it to the lab, I will be doing in next week and will have fasted for nothing. Things should be back in order by the weekend. This is a major milestone!! The house painting was on the critical path to birth preparations. It will be GREAT to finally have this done!

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Quick Post – On the mend

I have steak on the grill so I only have a few min. Just wanted to say that all is well and think I am on the mend from this cold/flu thing. No vomiting or diarrhea today. Still a bit stuffy on and off, but feeling pretty good right now. I am happy to report that the baby has been moving all afternoon. I should just break down and start calling her Audrey, but I am afraid that maybe after I have her she won’t look like an Audrey and I will want to change my mind. Anyway, I also thought I would pass on a little known pregnancy thing or maybe it is well known and I am just clueless or I am just a freak. Hmm. Anyway, as things start changing down there, things loosen up and … bladder control problems are the result. I did not think this would happen to me, but sadly it has. It is much more likely with coughing and sneezing. It has been bad lately. I am glad that I work from home full time so I can “change” if you know what I mean. Okay, timer is going off, got to go.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

On the same note and on a different note

I guess I am going to end the day on the same note that I started it, retching in the sink. I was so sure that you could not go on without that piece of information that I decided to delay my bedtime just to tell you all about it. Aren’t you glad you stopped by to see what was new with me?

The vomiting along with the diarrhea is not helping my hydration situation much, but don’t tell my friend C this or she will try to convince me, again, I should be on bed rest full time. I can hear it now. Just kidding. C, if you are reading this, I didn’t purposely not tell you. I just forgot. Really!

A funny hospital story, the on-call dr. prescribed a stool softener for me. We hadn’t talked about it only about an order to help something for the cough. She prescribed Robitusin with Codine, to help me sleep. Ha ha ha, like THAT happened, I would need WAY more drugs to sleep in a hospital with all kinds of monitors hooked up to me and every time I moved and even when I didn't (I have to blame some of it on the kid) we would loose the heartbeat and the monitor would need to be adjusted. Anyway, I digress... I told the nurse I have been having diarrhea and that I don’t think that is such a good idea. She agreed and said I could decline it. I did. The stool softener not the Robitusin with Codine.

Another funny thing is that I completely forgot about vomiting this morning until I started vomiting again tonight. I guess it is just so common place that it isn’t even note worthy anymore, except on my blog, of course, since I remembered that it happened.

I am so tired and stuffy. It is the damn flem (is that a word and if so, why is it not in my spell check?) and drainage. Oh, I am having fun now. Really, as bad as I am feeling today and as tired as I am, the only thing I kept thinking about was how glad I am not to be on bed rest. Off to take some Benadryl and to climb into bed. After I remember to take my prenatal vitamin that I keep thinking about taking and forgetting tonight.

Now, I just have to remember to go change over the clothes from the washer to the dryer sometime in the middle of the night so I have shorts to hike..oh…I mean walk in a rural area on a reasonably flat path among wild flowers and brush and weeds and bunny rabbits and birds and coyotes and ticks enjoying nature/God’s beauty in all of its forms…in tomorrow. I am going to stop calling it hiking because I think it gives the wrong impression of what actually occurs. I am behaving myself. I promise. For goodness sakes, I have a 15 year old, 80 lb dog with me. I am hauling 205+ (down a few pounds with this whole sickness thing) of me and baby around, not running a race or winning speed records. Really, it is not that strenuous. I think I need to take some of the skeptics on a trail or two with me so they can see how easy I really am taking it. Of course, I'll take you on some of the easiest trails I do and say they are the most difficult. Just kidding. Shesh, some people can't take a joke these days.

On a different note, I just poured out a bottle of water because it was tasting funny and got another one. The second bottle tasted just like the first one. And, this is the same brand of water (and the only brand of water) that has tasted good to me while pregnant. I’m all screwed up.

Time to end the day and hope that by tomorrow this cold/flu thing starts becoming a distant memory. Shouldn’t take long once the symptoms stop with my short term memory these days.