Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Big Sis, Little Sis



Pretty much says it all, doesn't it?

2008 Wrap-Up

(Okay, I'm cheating. It's really February 3rd right now, but I wanted to post this. So I backlogged it. I suppose I could have posted it whilst in the hospital over New Years' but you know... baby and stuff.)

1. What did you do in 2008 that you’d never done before?

Did a stint as a stay-at-home mom. Very interesting.

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?


I don't remember making any, but I did resolve this year to be kinder and gentler to people in thought, word and deed. So far it's been a good mindset to remember.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

Yes! Jen and I both gave birth to beautiful baby girls, and we are waiting on Finn and Baby M (both of unknown gender) to make their appearances this spring. Sharing pregnancy with a girlfriend is an amazing and wonderful thing.

4. Did anyone close to you die?
No, I don't think so. It was a good year in that respect.

5. What countries did you visit?

Unfortunately, no international travel this year. Mom and Sis went to Ireland, though!

6. What would you like to have in 2009 that you lacked in 2008?

A really awesome triathlon season. Boy did I ever miss training and competing -- more than I ever thought I would.

7. What dates from 2008 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

January: girls' weekend in Chicago w/Kate & Sooz, saw Buddy Guy in concert

Mother's Day: found out I was pregnant

July 2nd: met John Mayer in person (Milwaukee Summerfest show)
July 3rd: St. Louis JM show
July 17-21st: Girls' weekend in Chicago w/the JM girls; JM Chicago show on the 18th.
August 30-31: Final two JM shows in Florida, road-tripping with Jen

September 8: The Girl's first day of school!

December 17: took a big fall on the ice on my way to school. (I'll tell this story later.)

December 29-30: induction and birth of Baby Bean.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

Honestly? 2008 was a real year of transition for me. I think I had a lot of achievements, from massive improvement of my grades, to coming to terms with my parents' divorce and my relationship with my father, to finally getting the family on a budget so we could live without my part time job.

I also feel like my second birth experience vindicated my first, even though it turned out nothing like I thought it would.

9. What was your biggest failure?


Keeping the house decluttered. Honestly...I have laundry and general cleaning down pat. Clutter...just keeps growing like kudzu around here.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

Pregnancy is not an illness...but I did have my fair share of ups and downs with this one, including dizzy flashes and serious exhaustion. I took a fall about two weeks before the Bean was born and I don't think I've ever experienced that much consistent pain in my life.

11. What was the best thing you bought?
Plane tickets and concert tickets for five (FIVE!) JM summer tour shows.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?

The MN voter recount committee. They are doing a hell of a job in deciding the Senate race between Coleman and Franken. Here's to the process at work!

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?


Sadly, the same as last year: the Bush administration. Thank GOD they are gone and we can get back to the real work of America.

14. Where did most of your money go?

Target! (No really... Target, summer tour travel and probably hospital bills, once they start rolling in.)

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?

Meeting John Mayer and traveling/meeting new friends. My friends are easily the best benefit of being a JM fan.

16. What song will always remind you of 2008?


"Gravity" by Sara Barielles. For many, many reasons.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
a) happier or sadder? Much happier.
b) thinner or fatter? About the same, which is miraculous considering I was pregnant. Be gone, baby weight!
c) richer or poorer? About the same. Probably slightly richer, although that's more likely due to gas prices returning to normal than anything else...

18. What do you wish you’d done more of? Things with the Girl during the summertime. We're going to have to make a concerted effort to get out of the house more when school is out, even with the baby.

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?

Complain, argue and feel sorry for myself. Life's too short.

20. How did you spend Christmas? On the couch, almost immobile and recovering from finals. Also preparing for the baby's arrival.

21. Did you fall in love in 2008?


Absolutely and without question.

22. What was your favorite TV program?


Weeds! We Netflix'ed the first 3 seasons and hello! Awesome!

23. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?

Hate is a strong word. I don't hate anyone. I did lose a friend this year, to a stupid and petty argument. I want to make amends, but need to figure out how.

24. What was the best book you read?


Hmmm... didn't get to read much this year, but I'll bite and say "Shadow Cities." Any book that mentions flying toilets gets a big thumbs up!


25. What was your greatest musical discovery?


Matt Nathanson! (Thanks, Jen!) Possibly re-discovering Jim Croce. Pandora overall rocks pretty hard. And Keri Noble is amazing.

26. What did you want and get?

A healthy baby, a lot of John Mayer, and a new car. (Heinrich!)

27. What did you want and not get?
To do a triathlon and get more in shape.

28. What was your favorite film of this year?

I don't know if I had one! I saw a lot of movies -- mostly of the kid variety, though.


29. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?


Went to Red Robin and had a bowling party!! (I was 31.)

30. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?

Dean's List and a scholarship.

31. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2008?
Clearance rack at Motherhood Maternity!

32. What kept you sane?


My counselor, and having a Summer of Awesome. I needed the time and the perspective, and it made everything so, so much better.


33. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?


A-duh. And I got to meet him this year too!!

34. What political issue stirred you the most?
Equality in marriage. For everyone.

35. Who did you miss?
Jordana.

36. Who was the best new person you met? Can I have more than one? The JM Chicago girls! (Jen, Allison, Geneva, Linda, Amanda and Monica), and Cait and Mara. 2008 was fantastic for friend-making.

37. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2008.

It's NEVER too late to let go and start over. And you never know what form or shape that will take.

38. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.


Joey, baby - don't get crazy
Detours, fences, I get defensive
I know you've heard it all before, so I don't say it anymore
I just stand by and watch you fight your secret war.
Although I used to wonder why, I used to cry 'til I was dry.
Still sometimes I get a strange pain inside,
Oh, Joey, if you're hurting so am I.

Joey, honey - I got some money.
All is forgiven; listen, listen...
And if I seem to be confused, I didn't mean to be with you.
And when you said I scared you, well I guess you scared me too.
But we got lucky once before, and I don't wanna close the door;
And if you're somewhere out there passed out on the floor,
Oh Joey, I'm not angry anymore.

And if I seem to be confused, I didn't mean to be with you.
And when you said I scared you, well I guess you scared me too.
But if it's love you're looking for, then I can give a little more
And if you're somewhere drunk and passed out on the floor,
Oh, Joey I'm not angry anymore...angry anymore...

Hospital #8: Afterbirth

I know I said I was going to try and get the final info up last night, but you know. The last thing my husband was going to let me do was get online -- and quite frankly, we needed a little time to ourselves. We had a good evening, I'm off the IV and the catheter, and for the first time in about 24 hours, I'm feeling vaguely human again.

My husband has gone home for a few hours to shower, change clothes, catch a nap and begin to recover his own humanity. It looks like a beautiful day outside -- lots of sun and warmth, despite the cold.

Oh, speaking of beautiful things...



World, meet The Bean.

By the numbers:

December 30, 2008
5:38PM
10 lb, 4 oz
20.5 inches long
APGAR scores: 8 and 9

Brown hair, blue eyes, and the absolute spitting image of her paternal grandfather and great-grandmother (who greatly favored each other). I have no idea where she got the full head of brown hair -- her older sister favored my family in that respect -- we were all baldies with no more than towheaded peachfuzz until age 2.

She has a number of things in common with her older sister: they are both Capricorns, they both seem feisty and are champion breastfeeders. They share the same long, thin piano fingers and the same freaky monkey toes. They have differences too; where her older sister had an altimeter at birth and preferred to be walked and swayed, this baby seems to like a swaddle and a close cuddle.

I'll write the full recap of the birth in a little while, I think. Right now, I need to go down to the nursery and meet with the on-call pediatrician for the daily check. So far, her numbers are perfect and she's in the best of health.

And I'm in love.

Can't you tell?

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Hospital #7: Decision

Apparently, I have a very stubborn cervix.

I'm tired.

And I want to meet our daughter.

Bottom line: it's going to be a repeat c-section. I'm okay with it. We're both okay and we have the time to go in without rushing. I've done this before. It's not my ideal, but in the end, it's what needs to be done.

Do I feel like a failure? I don't think so. I got the chance to try, and I stuck with what I knew I wanted. In the end, it's all about what's right for the two of us. The doc was very frank with me, as having had a previous c-section definitely limits my time allotment, in terms of how long they will let me labor on the Pitocin, as opposed to someone who hasn't had a prior C.

Okay, maybe I'm not completely okay with it, but I will be. I feel like this time around I at least gave myself a chance, and that's all I can really ask of myself. I think it comes down to this: I was fine and handling the contractions well, and all of a sudden I felt...not myself. A bit disoriented, a bit sick, definitely tired. I took a 30 minute nap and it helped, but the fact that there is an end in sight makes me feel better than any nap or medicine or words. Part of what makes me feel better about this choice is that I don't feel backed into a corner, and I know what I'm about to do. The other nice thing is that my doc is the one who will be able to do the birth -- that's a tremendous source of comfort to me, rather than having an unknown on-call doctor digging around my insides.

Doc says we'll likely go in around 4-4:30, and my hope is to have some pix and an update up here later this evening. So I'll tell all of you what I told my husband: go get something to eat, relax, and check back in later.

Thanks again, one and all, for your kind words and unfailing support. See you on the flip side...

Hospital #6: Quick Update

Pit's up to 18 now and so far, seems as if there's no change in contractions. Honestly? I think I'm immune to it or something.

It's 12:30. Nurse said if Dr. R. wasn't here within 30 mins she was going to check me herself. At this point, I would really REALLY like to see some progress on the cervix. If I have it, they can possibly break my water and that would definitely get the show on the road. Seems as if the bean is floating along in her little home, oblivious to everything we're trying.

More later...still waiting on the doc.

Hospital #5: All We Need Is Just A Little Patience...

So...we've been at this for about 15 hours, on the Pit for around 12. I'm now at level 8 and for whatever reason the contractions slowed down for awhile, then just decided to pick back up a bit -- they are coming on stronger, at about 4-5 minutes apart. I'm hoping things remain steady.

I forgot to say last night, but my cervix was around a 1 last night, still high and moderately thin. The nurse checked me around an hour ago and roughly no change. She's got a call in to my doc to see what's what in terms of our options.

This is a big crossroads for me. I don't want to think about the words failed induction just yet...I feel like I've made progress in terms of my contractions, but the point is that if my cervix isn't ready, ain't nothin' happenin' no matter what, and it's off to the OR I go if we're serious about having this baby (and we are). I think I'm just bracing myself for whatever news comes down the pike.

OK -- nurse just came in and said Dr. R. is coming down to check on me -- she's at the other hospital and needs to do some administrative stuff. I'm hoping she's here in a couple hours, and those couple hours will show some progress.

*sigh*

The good news is that the contractions are tolerable and mostly evenly spaced, and I feel pretty good physically. I'm wrapping my head around the thought of a repeat C-section, and I think I'm mostly okay with it. I just don't want to resign myself to it...just yet.

Thanks for all the good vibes, y'all...appreciated more than you could ever know.

Oh, by the way? If you ever get a chance to catch a show on USA Network called Burn Notice, check it out. We're on our second episode right now and so far it's pretty good. Plus? Bruce Campbell. Bonus points right there!

Hospital #4: Off to the Races

Not as much rest as I originally intended, but what I got will suffice. Hospital beds are uncomfortable, y'all! Give me my king-size pillowtop anyday.

Time moved slower than molasses in winter, so I broke out some music to make time go faster, and it did. Also turns out I had a change of staff overnight, and my new nurse decided to see what would happen if she turned the Pit up a notch.

It kept me up, is what happened. Apparently my contractions started to pile up, so they turned it back to 4 and there it remains. However, I can definitely feel the intensity picking up, despite the meds remaining at the same level from last night.

My husband is asleep right now...poor guy probably barely got any rest. I take it in stride...I don't think I worry as much about my energy level as his. I know I'll be exhausted after all is said and done...I want him to go home and get some real rest tonight, I think. Our daughter needs to see him, and I won't mind being alone with the baby for a little while. Once the baby is home I'll rest.

Another fun tidbit -- we had 2 nurses in here over the last 15-20 minutes trying to find the bean on the monitor. Apparently she loves to play hide and seek with the monitors, and anytime I so much as twitch, they lose her on the monitor and come rushing in here trying to make sure she's not in distress. All they really have to do is look... she's kicking like a mofo and is still very active, so I am guessing things are a-ok down there.

More contractions soon, I'd suspect. I'm also guessing I'm due for another internal check here in a bit. Oh joy...pray for dilation, y'all...

Hospital #3: Rest and Respite



Last post for the evening. It's 12:40 and a little past my normal bedtime.

I'm up to 4 on the Pitocin (I started at 1) and I'm feeling good -- tolerating things well, and my pattern is good per the monitor. I'm told I'm in a holding pattern now -- unless things change of their own accord in the next 4-6 hours, they won't up the dosage. I can handle that.

So far, besides the indignity of a hospital gown and the stupidity of the hospital wifi blocking Facebook (and Pandora! Geez!) all is well. The nurses seem very nice, nobody has been in my face about much of anything (with the notable exception of Charge Nurse at the start) and I'm hoping for a quiet night. Time to break out the ambient mix and get comfy.

Plan for now? Rest, try and relax a bit, and look forward to the main event tomorrow. We got a fan in the room, so it's far less stuffy, and the white noise should help mask the machines that go *ping!*

Please continue sending your good vibes and good thoughts/prayers our way. I must be honest, this liveblog is not just a good diversion for me, it's really been a way to think through the entire process, and it has given me a good way to let out some steam. Writing is therapy for me, and reading everyone's good wishes and comments brings a smile to my face -- keeps me reminded of how blessed I am to have friends and family who care enough to keep up even in the wee hours.

More in the morning...

Monday, December 29, 2008

Hospital #2: The Big Wait Begins

This:



only took two nurses, two arms, three tries, at packs on both arms, and 15 minutes of pressing and prodding to accomplish. Definitely worthy of a photo.


So the IV is in, and the big wait begins. It is 10:30 and I'm thinking I might try and get some rest, but it's pretty well impossible considering there is noise outside, I'm not really tired, and I have a feeling as soon as I fall asleep, I'll be woken up by my current nurse, who will have to take my blood pressure, as they constantly monitor you and the kiddo when you are on Pitocin.

I suppose now is as good a time as any to explain the course of treatment. Fair Warning: Medical Stuff Ahead...

Normally, when labor is induced, the docs will start with Cervadil or Cytotec, which are drugs that are placed inside the vagina in order to "ripen" the cervix, or get it ready to dilate and birth. Unfortunately for Yours Truly, these ripening agents are contra-indicated in VBAC.

(Oh -- more med term: VBAC = Vaginal Birth After Caesarian. Which is what I'm attempting to do in lieu of a repeat c-section.)

Anyway. I digress.

Right now, I am on an IV drug called Pitocin. (My mother, the one-time L&D nurse, says they used to call it 'Kickapoo Joy Juice.' I assume this is no longer the technical term.) Basically, my doc wants to stimulate contractions in order to try and get the baby's head down and against the cervix, so that I will dilate, so that I will labor and contract, and produce a baby. Overnight, this is low dosage, to establish a regular contraction pattern and see how I respond.

I've been on the IV for about 90 minutes, and so far the contractions aren't any harder than I was experiencing on my own. I take that as a good sign and a bad sign: good in that I'm tolerating things just fine...bad in that I don't know if the meds are really doing much.

The room is also warm right now. Ugh. They turned the thermostat down but it's still feeling a bit stuffy.

If I can't sleep, I'll probably surf or write or look up some stuff on the Interwebz, or maybe blog some more. I'm supremely bummed about the Facebook thing, but I suppose there's not much I can do outside of borrow my husband's blackberry to update my status. Hey wait... there's an idea...

And in other news, I keep looking over at my husband thinking he's farting, then realizing it's the IV machine hookup doing its thing. He caught me looking over at him just now, and I told him I keep thinking he's farting when it's just the machine. His response?

"I really am farting."

This is going to be a loooooooong night.

Photo Blog!

Imported from birth blog.



Stuff for the hospital: pillows, backpack, Matt Nathanson tote with food/Gatorade stash, CDs and reading material.



One husband, one Nintendo DS, one husband camp-out chair.




Current vantage point. Soundtrack? Where The Light Is: Trio Set. (What else would I use to get myself in the mood to labor, I ask you?)

Comments

MommyWolf said...

Wow, I can see what I am in store for in just a couple of months! Thanks for the pic, you look really great!!!!! Good luck, smooth sailing, and I will be watching!

carroll said...

Husband with the DS in the Camp-out Chair! Too funny!! The Trio Set will get you pumped up! Those nurses won't know what hit them.

Hospital #1: Oh For...

I have a serious dislike of hospitals.

Always have. Damnit, I'm not sick, I'm having a baby.

Arrived fine, in a decent mood. My husband is doing an admirable job of keeping me laughing. We had a bite at the BK across the street from the hospital parking ramp, and talked about all the things we felt differently about -- mostly that we're a bit older, a bit wiser, and generally more relaxed about this child than we were about our first. We're definitely less on edge about birth, and we're probably better equipped to handle some of the stress of a new baby. Does this make me less susceptible to PPD or any of the other crap that is the afterbirth? Probably not. Just more aware.

So now, I'm in a room in the hospital and I've been here for about 30 minutes...and I've already encountered about some of the reasons why I hate hospitals.

Nurse #1 puts us in the room. Husband makes himself comfortable on the Husband Chair and she gives me the standard "everything off, put this (hospital gown) on, blah blah blah. Cue reason #1: hospital gowns. Not only are they oh so flattering, but they remind me that I am no longer a person, I am a nameless Patient. I know it's probably stupid and overly personal, but I honestly feel dehumanized.

So I ask Nurse #1 "hey, I brought my own night shirt, do you mind?" She says "sure" with a confused look upon her face (as if this is the first time she's ever been questioned on this point) and I just explain that I'm much more comfortable that way.

Commence getting ready, then cue reason #2: pushy damned nurses. Charge Nurse walks in and goes "oh, I thought you'd be dressed." I reply "Oh, I just need to put the belly band on and I'm fine."

"Oh. Well, we're doing an IV tonight so you'll have to put a gown on..."

"Nurse #1 said this would be fine."

"She probably didn't know we were doing an IV tonight, so yeah, we do need you in a gown..."

Oh, for...

I suppose it's because they can get a gown off me with an IV in rather than having to wrestle my clothes off...despite the fact that the nightshirt I brought with me is a $15 special from Target which I could take, leave, shred or whatever. Not that I can think of a reason I'd need to be completely stripped in this situation, but whatev... Anyway.

*eyeroll*

So I'm in, and I'm hooked up to the monitor, and I've got the hospital wifi happening, which is awesome, except for the fact that Facebook is blocked. GAH! Seriously? It wasn't when I was here before, so yeah.

~~30 minutes later~~

Just spent the last bit of time getting my health history (re)taken and getting my cervix checked. Oh that's joyful! (Somehow, my doc never hurts...but all three nurses that have checked me in the last week have managed to give me a case of the serious OUCH.

And that's enough of that. IV to be inserted soon, then we're off for the Big Wait.

Comments

Hahaha! I can feel your pain...or at least remember it. Hang in there :) -- Carroll

Pre-Hospital Entry #2: Medical Bureaucracy

Imported from the birth blog.

Call #1 to hospital (4:10pm): Hello, I'm a patient of Dr. R.'s. What time should I come in for my pre-induction?

Nurse: I'm not sure, the charge nurse is in a meeting. We'll call you back in about 10 minutes.

Me: No problem, here's my number.


Call #2 (4:55pm): Hello, I'm a patient of Dr. R.'s. Tried calling about 45 minutes ago and got no call back, was just following up on when I should come in?

Nurse: Charge nurse is stuck in a delivery, but if nobody calls you back in 15 minutes, call us back again. Sorry about that!

Me: No problem, here's my number, and the phone is right by my side.

At least my insurance and pre-registry info is already verified...grrrr. Part of me understands that all babies want to get borned and they don't generally inform us of their timelines, but the other part of me (the impatient one that's been grousing the last 3 weeks) is all DAMNIT. L2MULTITASK, CHARGE NURSE! WHAT, YOU CAN'T TALK ON THE PHONE AND CATCH A BABY AT THE SAME TIME??

(I know, I know. I'm off to finish packing the last of my hospital crap.)

Update: 5:01pm Charge nurse calls back. Come in around 7pm. Whee!

Comments

Thank goodness they called you back! With my second, they told me to call at 5 a.m., then they said "Sorry, no room in the inn. Call back tomorrow." I called back the next day and they said, "Still no room. We'll call you when there's room. They called two days later and said, "Can you be here in 30 minutes?" -- Carroll

This is sounding eerily familiar. But I just know that you'll be faster than I was... I mean, it's like riding a bike right? -- Bho's Mom

Just Another American Mom/Pre-Hospital Entry #1

Imported from my birth blog.

On my second time around the bend. This is a one-shot blog for all my friends and family, as I attempt a liveblogging experiment for the birth of my second child.

And now...the pre-hospital entry.

I feel much better today than I have in a very long time. I slept relatively well last night and the weather was beautiful -- in the 20's with lots of sunshine. I spent some time with my six year old firstborn today, and she is very excited to become a big sister.

We went out this afternoon to get some air and replenish her crayon and marker supply at Target, then grabbed a bit of lunch at her favorite spot (and frankly, it was fine with me, I want to make sure she's okay with me leaving for a few nights).



I swore I wouldn't do it, but at the request of a friend, here is the official Last Pregnant Picture. No really, that's all me. No basketballs or anything. Just one big ready-to-be-born Bean:



Comments

You look beautiful! I hope it all goes well. I'm rootin' for ya. -- Lindasue714

Awesome!!! Thanks for posting the pic! I love prebirth pictures. The female body is so amazing. You are definitely ready to give birth! GOOD LUCK!!! -- Carroll

Oh man, shortly that baby is gonna be expatriated! -- nekomimi

I come with no lame-o advice and nothing but love for you and the little bean - kudos to you for taking that picture! Down the line you'll be glad to have it. -- Cait

Birth Blogging

In a fit of geekdom and 21st century insanity, I have decided to liveblog the birth of the Bean.

As much as I can, I plan to update on progress, perhaps post a few pictures, and keep everyone updated on the arrival. If things go quiet for awhile, you can probably guess I'm either actively birthing or sleeping.

So far, the game plan goes as follows:

4pm: Call hospital; confirm arrival time.
5-7pm: Arrive at hospital, check-in, begin pre-induction treatment (likely low-dosage of Pitocin, for reasons to be explained later.)

7p-7a: Pre-induction.

7a-??: The Main Event!

Things to keep in mind:

1. This is my second child.
2. This is a planned induction.
3. I'm birthing in a hospital.
4. I'm attempting an unmedicated VBAC.
5. I may end up with a second c-section.
6. I'm not looking for advice.
7. I'm okay with everything in my plan so far, and I'm doing this for family and friends alike.

I love comments, but I will not be moderating anything, nor will I defend any decisions I've made. Explanations down the line, perhaps, but I won't change treatment decisions based upon random commentary. Please leave messages of support, and if I know who you are and we have a comfort level, then feel free to leave additional info. If this is the first time you've read my blog, I appreciate the sentiment but please limit yourself to positive vibes...as that is what I most desperately need during this endeavor.

I am fairly camera shy -- at my last birth, I declined the "moments after birth" photo and I plan to do the same here. It's just not my taste. There will be pix of the babe, tho.

Wish me luck! (And if the whole thing goes to hell and the next you hear from me is an update on New Year's with birth stats, so be it.)

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

And Now She Is Six

Dear Girl,

Today is your sixth birthday.

I'm rather remiss this year, writing to you at 10:10pm, after the festivities are finished, after both birthday and Christmas are retired for yet another year. You are sitting on the couch right now, in your new pink penguin pajamas, playing with yet another obnoxious electronic game, the fascination of which is something you've managed to gain this year. (Streaks of your father in you, no doubt.)

Even if I could have predicted the roller-coaster ride my life would take over the last twelve months, I don't know if I would have done anything differently in being your mom. I found myself being purposeful in my actions toward you; trying my best not to take out frustration or outside hurt on you. You are as ever my bright, blonde shining star, even when it seems you don't want to hear what I have to say.

I was so excited to have you along for the ride during our summer trips this year. You were aware enough to ask questions about the things you saw in the airport and the reasons why things appeared outside your car window. You tease me about my musical obsessions, saying things like "Mommy, you love John Mayer!" And when I tell you "no, I love John Mayer's music; I love Daddy" you simply giggle and roll your eyes, a mere shadow of the teenager brewing inside and awaiting her debut in six short years.

You're halfway there, Girl. Take it easy on us for a little while, won't you?

Last year's letter could also have never predicted the fact that you will become a big sister in a little less than a week. When we told you that we would have a new baby, you found out on the same day we did. I took the fateful test, had a private conversation with your dad, and then we looked at each other and simply called you into the room. The last seven and a half months or so have been filled with questions from you, mostly to do with when the baby would come (after your birthday), whether it would be a brother or sister (sister, as evidenced by the ultrasound you got to witness in August, and I will never forget your expression and giggle as you watched the alien ballet on the screen while the technician scanned my belly), and reminders that you will be a good helper, and will remember to keep your toys off the floor.

I suppose I'll be writing another of these letters next week, and your presence in our new baby's life will be paramount. She will look up to you, and, one big sister to another, it will be your job to talk to her when she won't talk to me, as much as I hate to think either of you would ever be in that position. Until that time, my sweet Girl, enjoy your world of princesses and imagination, and be willing to share it with your sister when she asks.

Another situation I could never have fathomed was your need for speech therapy. It came upon me not long ago that some of your adorable proclivities weren't resolving themselves, and true enough, the school's analysis rang true. I believe you will grow out of it; I believe half of your issue is that you are thinking at twice the speed your mouth will move. But I also believe you are you, and you will adjust in your own time, just as you always have. You'll start the therapy when you return to school in January for the second half of Kindergarten, and you'll tackle it with aplomb, just as you swam circles around the other kids in your Level 1 swimming class this fall.

I am, as ever, inordinately proud of your growth, physically, intellectually and emotionally. This year will be another of firsts, from learning to live with a new baby, to riding your bike without training wheels, to advancing in swimming lessons and perhaps tackling a new activity (dance or basketball? Whatever you'd like, my Girl.) Sometimes you'll win, and sometimes you'll lose. You won't always be top of your class, or the best, or the most special. Learn your moments and take pride that you have done your own best. I always will.

The world is your oyster, and you are a pearl in it. Never ever doubt that; for even as imperfect as they sometimes are, they each contribute beauty and depth to the world, in their own special way.

I love you, my dear, sweet, firstborn Girl. Happy Sixth Birthday.

Love,

Mommy

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Twelve Days of Christmas: Day Two

I have my Constitutional Law final tomorrow afternoon, and as soon as I post this to Holidailies, I'm headed to bed. My legs feel like tree trunks, my ankles and feet look like balloons, and my head is swimming after a 10 hour study marathon. If anyone wants to give me some pointers on the analysis of substantive due process and how to identify a dormant commerce clause issue, feel free. Tomorrow after the final, we're going to do some baby shopping and then hopefully get the house slightly cleaned up in anticipation of the holidays and the impending arrival. If luck stays with us, we may have a baby before Christmas.

Today's musical selection hits me in two places. It's probably not as well known as much of the rest of the Christmas music canon, but it's fantastic in its simplicity, and has stuck with me since the first time I heard it.

First, it is a beautiful madrigal. We sung it in high school, a cappella, in womens' voice. It was part of choir and also part of the school's annual madrigal festival/dinner, which was a large part of my high school experience. I remember thinking the sentiment was lovely: it seems that the Three Wise Men weren't the only ones to visit the newborn Jesus in the manger. I like to think that a woman called upon two of her friends to bring a torch and visit the baby, reminding each other to admire, but stay quiet, so as not to disturb the quiet of His new life.

In a way, it reminds me of the old Christmas adage: if there had been Three Wise Women instead of Three Wise Men, they would have asked for directions, arrived early, brought a casserole, helped deliver the baby and cleaned up afterward.

The song is slightly more elegant in sentiment.

The second place this song hits me, especially this year, is that my good friend Jen delivered her third baby on Thursday. Baby V. is a tiny little peanut of a thing, not even 6.5 pounds. She's the spitting image of her mother, and the perfect addition to Jen's family. They are home and resting, and seem to be in fine fettle. I can't help but think that my little one will be with us shortly, and I can only hope that I come through this birth with as much grace and dignity as Jen.

Bring A Torch, Jeanette, Isabella

Hush, hush! Beautiful is the mother...
Hush, hush! Beautiful is the child...


Friday, December 12, 2008

Twelve Days Of Christmas Music (Give or Take)



Okay, I need a distraction. What with all the talk of babies and finals and OB appointments, I have had very little time this year to enjoy the season. I love Christmas music, of all stripes and kinds. (Save perhaps Band Aid's "Do They Know It's Christmastime?". Seriously people. It ranks lower than the Chipmunks Christmas Album.)

We don't have the tree up, we don't have an Advent calendar for the Girl, we don't even have the house cleaned or presents wrapped. We baked a few cookies, but that's about it.

We do have music. For the next twelve or so days, I will highlight a favorite Christmas song, and where possible, post an audio or Youtube of it. Of course, I'll intersperse the usual blog blatherings (bloggerings?) of life as I know it, and of course, baby news will be included. I went to the Concordia College choir concert at Orchestra Hall last night, and let me tell you something: those Lutherans know their Christmas music. It was just enough to kick my Catholic ass into gear and embrace the season. Damnit.

First up: a modern classic. Born of a Canadian collaboration, formed from two ancient carols heard in churches the world around. Set to a funky jazz-swing beat reminiscent of Django Reinhardt's "Minor Swing." Easily one of my favorite Christmas tunes. I present the Barenaked Ladies and Sarah McLachlan, performing "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen/We Three Kings."

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Bad Mommy



Did you ever have one of those can't do anything right, dropped the baby on her head, forgot to turn the coffee pot off, check engine light went on in the car, missed the due date on the credit card bill, don't want to put the Christmas tree up, terrible, horrible, no-good, very-bad days?

Welcome to today. Population me.

Today started out just as any other normal day would. Running slightly late, but got the Girl off to the bus stop just about on time, breakfasted, and dressed for the weather.

I got myself dressed and then headed off to school, to finish my outline and take my Misdemeanors final. Spent all morning in the lounge, in the zone, all things are well. Afternoon exam session started at 1:30pm, and I was done with the final around 3:40 or so. Packed up, turned in my exam to the Registrar, and was met by one of the assistant registrars.

"We got a call from Safety and Security."

This would drive fear into the heart of any student.

"It's about your daughter."

This made my heart drop to my knees.

"Apparently, today was an early release day for the schools and she got home, and got scared that nobody was there. Somehow she managed to get hold of Safety and Security, and everything's fine...they got hold of your husband, but they called over here looking for you, and we would have pulled you out of the final if something were wrong, but we wanted you to know."

It was at this point that I had one of those parental moments. Somewhere between fear, anger, neglect and self-hatred resides a monster of a different sort. This is the one that says "no, really. It was you that took a completely controllable situation and fucked it up because you've had seventeen thousand other things on your mind, not the least of which is your daughter."

Needless to say, I rushed home, and found the Boy and the Girl at the neighbor's house. We walked home and put the pieces together.

Apparently the Girl got scared when she got home and found nobody here. (I was taking my final, naturally.) As previously stated, it was an early release day, meaning she would be home two hours earlier than normal (around 2pm instead of 4pm.) Now, preface all of this by saying that she has arrived home before me on a few occasions, and she's been instructed to stay in the house and wait for me -- I am generally home within 10 minutes of her arrival and she doesn't freak out. This semester I had a class that met once a week and let out about 5-10 minutes after her bus arrived. Ironically enough, this class was the final I took today.

Moving on.

She waited about 15 minutes and when nobody came home, she apparently went outside (dressed in her coat, boots and snowpants, thank God) and got noticed by the neighbor, who promptly invited her in and got enough information out of her to call her school and get the school to call the Boy at work.

Whilst the school got hold of the Boy, the neighbor called over to campus security and got them working on finding me. (Meanwhile I'm in a sequestered exam room, with my cell phone off and my computer working offline in exam software mode, and hence, incommunicado.)

The Girl stayed at the neighbor's until the Boy got home. I got out of my exam, got the news and immediately took off for home as quickly as I could waddle.

When all was said and done, we are very lucky nothing happened. Lucky that the neighbor was home, lucky that the Girl had the wherewithal to know that the neighbor was a safe place to go, lucky the Boy wasn't out of town on business, lucky that the school got hold of him right away.

I am still waiting for the lump in my throat to go away, for the guilt at not having looked closely at the school calendar to subside. My hands are literally shaking, and I could care less about how I did on the stupid final. The Girl is no worse for the wear, apparently. The Boy and I are about as wrecked as two parents could be.

We now have the name and number of the neighbor. We're going to type up a laminated card for the bottom of her backpack with all of our info as well as campus info for me. And we're going to get her a pay as you go cell phone which has numbers programmed into it, and we'll teach her to use it so she can call one of us directly if something like this happens again.

I'm also going to teach her how to walk to the law building and to the safety and security office so she knows where to go to find me or find help.

And next semester, I'm getting extra copies of the school calendar to post in every room, computer, calendar, Outlook, alarm and cell phone in the house. This will NOT happen again.

The horrid part of it is that this could have been prevented. I should have been more mindful, I should have checked the calendar, I should have done ten other easy things to make sure she was cared for. The exam I took today was self-scheduled. It would have easily kept until tomorrow morning. Or next week.

I keep thinking about how she could have gotten picked up by a stranger or run over by a car, or hundreds of other horrible things that you hear on CNN... I keep picturing her little body at the bottom of a ditch, or frozen or frostbitten or worse, simply gone and vanished into thin air. I hear Amber Alerts all the time for kids, and every time I hear one I pray to God that child returns home, and I thank God that it's not my Girl.

It may seem blown out of proportion, especially to the non-parents who read this, but when you're one step away from shoulda-coulda-woulda, and it's your child's safety on the line, I dare you to feel otherwise.

I'm fairly well wrecked right now...and things will be better in the morning. I doubt it will stop me from waking up every couple of hours tonight, just to check that she's still asleep in her bed, safe from the cold cruel world for at least one more night.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

ZOMG

I had an ultrasound today. At this point I was supposedly 35 weeks.

The baby is measuring around 8 pounds and according to the tech, my first-week-of-January due date has been revised to "sometime before Christmas."

Okay, I knew the kid would come early but this? Is insane. We don't have a name finalized. We don't have a carseat installed, or Christmas shopping completed, or the crib assembled, or baby laundry done, or any of the other seventy zillion things I was supposed to get done between finals and babytime.

I have finals until the 20th. I just need to last until then.

Just until then.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

On His Own




You'll indulge me a fangirl moment.

Tonight, John played an amazing solo set lasting two hours. Without benefit of a backing band, relief, or anything other than a drum machine, a set of loop pedals and his own guts and wits, he filled the Nokia Theatre in L.A.

The show was livestreamed on his website as well, and since I am great with child and had neither time nor funds to go to L.A. for the real show, I sufficed by listening in and chatting with a bunch of other fanfreaks on teh Webz.

He never ceases to astound me.

Five Grammy nods in a year without a new studio album.

A tour without a new project to support, which came off beautifully and gave the fans something to talk about.

Now this.

Honestly, I don't know where he gets it.

Toward the end of the show, he told a story of when he traveled alone in Japan from Tokyo to Kyoto, and how coming up ten yen short meant he had to give the snack cart lady his peanuts back. It was one of his most humbling moments, because she didn't speak much English, and he doesn't speak much Japanese. In that moment he was just another guy, another gaijin who was ten yen down for a complete lunch. It didn't matter that he was rich or famous or anything. He was ten yen down, and he had to give back the peanuts just like anyone else.

I suppose it's not something I think about much, because I tend to live a rather humble life anyway (for a middle-class American, at least). It's not hard for me to remember that I am, as the song says, everyday people. I think regardless of how much money I might earn or how extravagant my lifestyle has the potential to become, I'll remember that one of these days, I'll still be just another woman who is ten yen short, and maybe I too will have to give back the bag of peanuts.

I hope so, anyway.



Thanks for an awesome concert, John. Happy Holidays!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Gay Marriages Will Save The Economy!!

(At least, according to Marc Shaiman. Transcript follows below.)

I think this is quite possibly one of the most brilliant and relevant pieces of satire I've ever seen in my life. Besides, it's not everyday you get Jack Black as Jesus Christ.

See more Jack Black videos at Funny or Die


It’s a brand-new bright Obama day!
What a time to be black, a girl or gay!
No, nothing could go wrong, so join us in this song
Of happy days for the gays, nothing can go wrong!

Look nobody’s watching, it’s time to spread some hate
And put it the constitution
Now, how?
Proposition 8!

(Proposition 8!)
Great!

People listen to our plea
They’ll teach kids about sodomy!
(Sodomy!)

That wasn’t right, that’s a lie
But it worked so we don’t care!

Now you wish we’d all shut up
But make our clothes and fix our hair

And our love is not a sin!
Well, the Bible says it’s so!

Well, the Bible says a lot of things, you know?
(gasp) JESUS CHRIST!

Hey, how’s it goin’?

Jesus, doesn’t the Bible say these people are an abomination?
(Obama-nation?)

Yeah, but it says the exact same thing about this shrimp cocktail!
(mmmm, shrimp cocktail!)
Uh-uh-uh! Leviticus says shellfish is an abomination!
(Obama-nation!)

What else does the Bible say, Jesus?

(laughing)…The Bible says a LOT of interesting things…
Like you can stone your wife or sell your daughter into slavery
Well we ignore those verses!
Well then friend it seems to me you pick and choose
(We pick and choose!)
Well please choose love instead of hate!
Besides your nation
Was built on separation of church and state!

(See you later, sinners!)
(Bye, Jesus! Bye! We love you! I love you, Jesus!)

You know, here’s another thought to wrap things up…

Oh, every time a gay or lesbian finds love at the parade,
There’s money to be made! (He’s right!)

It’s time two grooms say “paint that wedding hall, and lavender’s the shade!”
There’s money to be made! (He has a point!)

Think of all the carriages and four white horses
There’s millions lost from all your disapproving (well that’s not good!)
Think of all the lawyers for the gay divorces,
Think of the tattoo removing!

We get it now! We’ve been such fools!

I can see America’s calling me!
Yes, gay marriages will save the economy!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Crossing A Threshold



Once again, it's Holidailies time!

Hello, my name is Kate.

(Hi, Kate.)

I haven't decided whether I will just do the daily prompts on the Holidailies site, or if I'll branch off on my own. I hope to accomplish 20-25 posts this year, and considering the month I have before me, that will be a fair task. Today's prompt is to introduce myself.

It's funny how such a menial task can encompass so many things. I could tell you that I'm a law student, or a massive John Mayer fan, or a wife or a mother, but you can find those things out on my blog layout.

I could tell you some of my deepest, darkest secrets, but this is a public blog, and I honestly don't think anything in my life is that deep, dark or exciting.

I could share my family drama (of which there is plenty, and more coming down the road) but I'm not ready to discuss the latest dirt just yet.

So I'll simply say this: I crossed a threshold yesterday at the OB's office...one which I didn't think I'd ever see in my lifetime. One that I am not proud of, that being 35 weeks pregnant does not assuage. It scares me. It has to do with my weight, and I'm having a hard time processing the fact. I weigh twice what some of the women in my law class weigh, and yes, I am currently housing two people, but the other person is about 2.5% of my current weight.

This is not encouraging.

The good news is that I'm fundamentally healthy, my blood pressure continues to astound my doctor (118/68 yesterday, thankyouverymuch) and all signs point to a healthy delivery at the end of this month.

Until then, I have five finals to study for, a Christmas to celebrate, a Girl who will turn six and a Boy who has the patience of a saint when I climb into bed at night. (No really. It takes me a good 3 minutes to get everything arranged properly and get comfortable. If you've ever been pregnant, you can relate.

If you get anything out of this post, it's that I am like the fly on the proverbial windshield -- this blog is me all over, and I am who I am. I hope you enjoy visiting my world for a little while, and please feel free to introduce yourself in my comments.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Why I Don't Shop At Wal-Mart




There are a number of reasons why I have not set foot in a Wal-Mart or Sam's Club in well over a year. Even before that, I was never a true-red Wal-Mart shopper. The last time I actively chose Wal-Mart over Target or another discount superstore was probably college. Why? The Wal-Mart in my college town was a brand-new SuperCenter, with a grocery store and a McDonald's inside. It had a car repair shop and was open 24 hours. It worked perfectly for my college student lifestyle, and yes, my budget.

When I did my student teaching, Wal-Mart was out of the way. Instead, I shopped at Albertson's -- originators of fresh warm bread at 4pm, and home to a few of the gourmet items I loved to indulge in on occasion. It helped that my roommate was East Indian and preferred the ethnic food aisle at Albertson's for her basmati rice.

Around this time, Target opened a store in my hometown. It too was new, exciting and had lots of cool stuff at roughly the same prices as Wal-Mart. And it was closer to my house. Stamp a red target on my forehead, I had found my store.

Then I got pregnant. And the boy lost his job.

Even the slight price differences in diapers and formula added up, and I reverted to Wal-Mart out of necessity of feeding and diapering the Girl. When our financial situation rectified itself, I once again turned to Target for my discount store needs, only going to Wal-Mart when I needed things like craft supplies (Target does not have a fabric department, and our town did not have a Hobby Lobby or Michael's at the time.)

Now, it's simply easier to go to Target. I live in the land of Target. Target HQ is down the Interstate a country piece from my house. We have two Targets in spitting distance from me. Everywhere you look, Target. SuperTarget. Target Greatland.

There is one Wal-Mart that I know of. It's about 1/3 mile from the SuperTarget I frequent the most. It's a sad, sad little store - old, no grocery, barely a lawn & garden section (though what would you expect in an urban environment like the Twin Cities?) and really run down. The lighting is bad and they have security in the parking lot 24/7. It creeps me out.

The reasons run deeper though, and primarily this: I am in a position in life where I can choose where to source my food and goods. If I can afford 50 cents more for 1 oz less of shampoo, knowing that the deal was fairly struck and not coerced, I'll do it. If I know that the company doesn't abhor unions to the point of closing stores to avoid them, I'll support it. If the company pays a decent wage, does not engage in unfair tactics, or encourage its "part-time staff" to work 35 hours (no more, no less) and gives them lessons on how to apply for public Medicaid, then I'll give them my money.

Bottom line: Wal-Mart treats its employees poorly in pay and perqs, runs roughshod over manufacturers who can't afford NOT to have a distribution contract with Wal-Mart, sets its own prices, labeling and sizes (oh yeah. "Comparison shopping" is impossible: Wal-Mart won't lower a price because the sizes aren't exact. Check it out sometime: go find a bottle of Johnson's baby shampoo at Wal-Mart. Then find the same SIZE bottle at Target. Can't be done.), and kills off Mom and Pop shops. (They are dying anyway -- Wal-Mart is basically euthanasia for ailing businesses.)

It's easy for me not to shop there. I have a plethora of other options, most of which I take full advantage. But even if I didn't, I'd source them out and attempt to avoid Wal-Mart as best I could. I'm very proud to say that the Boy and I will not be having a Wal-Mart Christmas -- nothing under our tree or that we give to others will come from Wal-Mart. I don't care if I'm just another customer to Wal-Mart. My $300 per month household budget doesn't matter to them, but it matters to me, and until I spend it, I control it.

Truth is, they don't care much about any of the people who shop or work there. And that's what bothers me the most.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Holidailies/World AIDS Day 2008



So I signed up for Holidailies again, and this year they are starting late -- Friday, to be exact. I'm hoping I can get a few entries in between now and then so I can get into the swing of things.

Today is World Aids Day, and I still feel the same way as I did last year. Things are still bleak in Africa, despite strides to help, and the problem isn't so much that we don't want to or don't have the money; it's that the help has no way to get to the people who need it most. Here at home, gay men are still the most at-risk population for new infection, and yet, we refuse to give them the right to commit to healthy, monogamous relationships in the eyes of the state.

I feel slightly more hopeful because we have a new President who will be inaugurated a few short weeks after I give birth, and with that change comes hope.

I still plan to give this year, I wore my red ribbon and a red shirt today in solidarity. I hope one day that it's in celebration of the defeat of the disease.

Remember. Fight. Love.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Grateful

I give grateful thanks for the following things:

A healthy babe.




A beautiful Girl.



The most fantastic Boy on the planet.



Family, forever and always.









Friends new and old.







The gift of education.



And the countless blessings which I enjoy on a daily basis. Make no mistake, I am a richly blessed woman. Happy Thanksgiving to all, and may you all have as much to give thanks for as I.

"Lord, for the erring thought
Not into evil wrought:
Lord, for the wicked will
Betrayed and baffled still;
For the heart from itself kept,
Our thanksgiving accept."


-- William Dean Howells

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Funk

I came home today in a general funk. I am just so ready for this semester, and this pregnancy, and the holidays and everything to be OVER. Third trimester malaise has set in and I'm snapping at everyone, my mobility is limited and I barely feel like anything will get done in the next few weeks.

I keep thinking about January, and a new semester, with classes that are demanding but of my own choosing, and a new baby, and the ability to walk. For once I'm actually looking forward to getting a new year started, and I'm confident that I've worked my ass off in school enough to survive this semester and then some.

I've worked my ass off on myself as well; it seems like a lot of things have changed over the last year. 2008 was a year of change, for certain. I am not the same person I was on the first day of law school, and for me, that's a good thing.

Classes are over, save for one last make-up session for Con Law and one last class for Misdemeanors.

I have my Negotiation take-home in hand, and while it looks like it's going to be a fair amount of work, my goal is to have it done by the end of Thanksgiving weekend. I don't want to have to think about it too much after that.

Study goals for the remainder of the semester (more for me than you, sorry if this bores you...)

This week:

Mon-Weds (11/24-11/26):
* Outline Negotiation take home
* Do Family Law outline
* Start Misdemeanors outline

Thurs-Sun (11/27-11/30):
* Write Negotiation take-home
* Finish outside reading for Property (Shadow Cities). Begin thinking/outlining for open book final.

Next Three Weeks:
Mon-Tues (12/1-12/2):
* Read last Con Law assignment; begin overview of outline/case studies.
* Finish Misdemeanors outline; meet with prof.
* Finish Family Law outline; write sample exam answers.

Weds-Fri (12/3-12/5):
* Meet with Family Law prof/possibly ASP tutor.
* Review Con Law, continue outline and sample case studies
* Last Misdemeanors class; review tests.
* If done, turn in Negotiation final and journal.

Sat 12/6:
* Last Con Law session. Study session PM to consist of outlining, case studies and finishing up Con Law prep.

Sun 12/7:
* Finish Negotiation if necessary.
* Study for Misdemeanors

Mon 12/8:
* Turn in Negotiation if not already done
* Study AM for Misdemeanors
* PM Self-scheduled exam: Misdemeanors

Tues-Weds 12/9-12/10:
* Study Family Law

Thurs 12/11
* AM: Finish Family Law prep
* PM: Self-scheduled exam: Family Law

Fri-Sat 12/12-12/13
* Review/markup Property outside reading and outline
* Prep for final

Sun 12/14:
*AM: Finish Property Prep
*PM: Property Final (scheduled)

Mon 12/15: OFF

Tues-Fri 12/16-12/19:
*Con Law Prep

Sat 12/20:
*AM: Sleep in
*PM: Con Law Final (scheduled)

I'm also planning to do Holidailies again, and hopefully the Bean will cooperate and maybe give me a really cool blog entry around the 28th or so. Somewhere in the middle of all this I still have to pick out a hospital and go to the OB and and and and...

(breathe, Kate.)

Monday, November 17, 2008

Even Flow

Alright, I'm two days shy of a month in neglecting my poor little blog. Let me explain.

No. Too much. Let me sum up.

Study, study, study. Score 26/30 on Property quiz. Leap for joy at successfully challenging known right answer, score raises to 27/30, leap further for joy at scoring 90% on something in law school. Quite the feat considering my current gestational level.

More studying.

Halloween.

More studying.

OB appointments. Bean still growing. Lurking pain in inner thighs and crotch drives doc to give me an internal, followed by peeing in a cup. Lab monkeys have fun at my expense, ten day course of antibiotics.

Pain between legs persists.

More studying.

All-nighter to finish family law paper, topic of which will likely cost me 20+ poll points and my first election due to lack of commitment to 'family values', despite the paper being written from a purely academic point of view.

More studying.

Change of season forces change of shoes from Crocs to very loosely laced Adidas. No other shoes fit. Stupid swollen feet. Looking forward to post partum, if for no other reason than I'm sick of wearing two pair of shoes.

Fall conferences for the girl results in possible referral to speech therapy. Fast and furious emails to friend from undergrad who is a speech-language pathologist.

Negotiations regarding Thanksgiving dinner ongoing. The Boy insists that he will cook dinner this year due to my lack of energy and/or willingness to be in the kitchen all day. Still contemplating pre-notification of insurance company, landlord and fire department.

New phone! Joined the mobile digital age with a new Palm Centro (in spiffy red color) that has unlimited data, text and enough minutes to get me through. Also? a phone, a video cam, and the world's smallest QWERTY keyboard. The phone signals the shedding of the last vestiges of our old home, as it carries with it a Minnesota phone number.

I can't believe Thanksgiving is next week, finals are in three, and baby's due in six. Where the heck did the time go??

If the baby is due in six weeks, then that means I get to start training in about eight to ten (lightly, lightly...). Pearl Jam's "Even Flow" came on Pandora tonight, and I was reminded that it is the first song on my "Run Like A Maniac" playlist. As someone who can barely walk right now, much less run or do anything athletic, the song is a good reminder of what I will be able to accomplish once I give birth. What I have accomplished in the past, and what can be accomplished next year.

Yes. I will do this.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Results

Quickly, so I don't forget: I passed my glucose challenge, my blood sugar score was 110, and I'm told anything under 120 in a pregnant woman is right on the money, so I'm pretty much in the clear in terms of gestational diabetes. Woo!

They may do a fasting blood sugar again in 4 weeks just to make sure, but I'm feeling like this is just one more piece of good news.

And now, I'm back to my regularly scheduled Sunday programming: more of the same, enjoying fall break and doing the last of my wash. Yeah...rethinking that decision to buy only one pair of maternity jeans...

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Too Much Spongebob, or How I Spent John Mayer's 31st Birthday

The Girl has a four-day weekend starting today, and I have no school this weekend! Full of win.

I had a doctor's appointment today. Officially, I'm 28 weeks, and in my third trimester. This pregnancy has flown -- on one hand I feel like I've been pregnant forever, but on the other hand, the past 28 weeks or so have been some of the best of my life. I'm in such a good place right now... school is (mostly) under control, the Girl is thriving in Kindergarten, I'm healthy, and I've dealt with so much crap in the last year that I think it's time to take some time for myself and sit back and enjoy.

Yes, this time of year is rough on me. I have had so many bad things happen during the cycle of Libra, which is really strange considering it is normally a time of balance. Perhaps I'm supposed to get my bad out now, in order to balance the good and Awesome that happened this summer? Karma can be a bitch, if you believe in her I guess.

Anyway, I plan to do some school work this weekend, but I also plan to camp out with the girl, watch too much damned Spongebob, bake some banana bread and catch up on laundry, and generally chill.

Today, we did just that. Except the part where we went to the OB's office. The Girl was thrilled -- she's beyond excited for this new baby and she loved the idea that she could go and hear the baby's heartbeat. I also had to take my glucose challenge test, which should frankly be against the law for its grossness and disgust. (Come in early after fasting 3+ hours, drink 5 oz of nasty flat cola soda without bubbles, go see the OB, come back, get blood drawn and pee in a cup, await result.)

The idea is to see if you have either developed or have the possibility to develop gestational diabetes, which can be bad bad bad if undiagnosed. Ironically enough, I purposely scheduled this appointment on the 16th, because I knew I wouldn't forget it if it was on JM's birthday. Such is the life of a fangirl.

In case anyone's interested, the appointment by the numbers:

Fetal HR: 150 (rock steady at this rate since we first caught it. This kid is nothing if not consistent).
Fundal Height: 32cm (appx 3-4 weeks ahead, again consistent)
BP: 130/65 (top number high most likely because the lab monkeys had their heads up their asses, and it got me riled up)
Weight: +3 since last appt, +10 total pregnancy.


In other news, looks like JM is back with his last girlfriend. I actually think they are pretty good together...they just have to work out a timeline that's good for both of them. I really hope if they decide to have kids together they decide to move someplace quiet -- this latest brouhaha with the police escort in front of his house is just too much to put a kid through. I also hope her ego is strong enough to handle living somewhere like NYC or another place where nobody cares who they are. I do wonder if her ego is feeding some of the crap, but I don't know her personally. He seems to have no problems slipping back and forth between the public and the private, and it's nice to go a few weeks without seeing a picture of him at dinner. I love it when he gets a week of positive publicity for spending time teaching class and mentoring music students at Berklee. If I had a birthday wish for JM this year, it would be to be happy and be in love, but make it all about the music.

Happy Birthday, John.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

When I'm Sixty-Four

When I get older, losing my hair
Many years from now
Will you still be sending me a valentine, birthday greetings, bottle of wine?
If I'd been out till quarter to three, would you lock the door?
Will you still need me, will you still feed me,
When I'm sixty-four?


"When I'm Sixty-Four"The Beatles

I need to call my mother-in-law. She's 64 today. Funny how you mark time in another person's age: I remember how old she is by thinking about the fact that they boy and I had our first date the day before her 50th birthday in 1994. Therefore, she was born in 1944. Therefore, I can calculate her age based on the current year. Sound convoluted? Perhaps. It's one more example of my addled thought process.

She really is a blessing in my life. Perhaps the fact that we met when I was so young solidified her standing with me -- when my own mom wasn't someone I wanted to talk to about something, my mother-in-law was always one for a cup of tea and a good chat. It's still one of the first things we do whenever we get together: amazing how much is cured and talked over and accomplished with some face time and freshly brewed chamomile. I nearly always send email to her with the salutation "Dear Favorite MIL" -- it's a bit tongue in cheek but it's true. So many of my friends drew the short ends of the stick when it came to their mothers-in-law: whether it was a clash of personality or a different family's way of doing things, it can be an inevitably difficult relationship.

I have the best of both worlds: a mom who is awesome, and a mother in law who is awesome too.

Happy Birthday, Favorite MIL. I hope I can be all you are when I'm sixty-four.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

In Due Time

"How wonderful!"
"You look great!"
"When are you due?"

It's that last question that bugs me. Let me clarify. It's when people don't accept my answer to that last question that bugs me.

When someone asks me when I am due, my standard reply is "this winter, likely around the New Year." The reply is generally, "oh, do you have an actual date?"

Yes. Yes I do. Somewhere in the deep recesses of my chart at the OB's office, calculated by a combination of a magic wheel with a pharmaceutical logo on it and a dating ultrasound done in June, there is a Date. A specific Date by which, it seems, everyone must live or die. A date that was plucked out of the air by the use of my self-reported last menstrual period date (LMP for short, and highly dubious, as I hardly paid attention to my cycles during April and May of last year -- finals, you know), plugged into the magic wheel, and presto! The Date.

The Date was confirmed (roughly) by the ultrasound, which measured the Bean against what I must imagine are actuarial tables and normative values, plugged into the scanner's hard drive by some code monkey at GE Medical Systems. Measure here, plot there, compare to chart, presto! You are X weeks along, and your Date is Y.

However, in my usual manner, I am being recalcitrant and stubbornly refuse to acknowledge said date. Why? Because I had a number of dates with the Girl, none of which coincided with her actual birthday. All of which were fairly inaccurate. And that got me thinking.

For hundreds of years, woman has expected her child based on nature cycles, moon cycles, old wives' tales, and a general communal knowledge. Women could look at other women, and just know. Before doctors, midwives would anticipate gestational age by "quickening" and maternal feelings, as well as outward signals -- a change in skin condition, hair color, and the obvious swell of abdomen. Perhaps a prairie woman would say she was due "after harvest." A Native woman might count lunar cycles and say "around the time of the Wolf Moon."

In other words, the baby will come when the baby comes.

Of course, I balance this outlook with one of modern practicality: had we continued to wait upon the girl to decide to be born, there could have been massive ramifications for both of us. In my mind though, the flexible attitude regarding the Bean's birth actually bodes well in that aspect. I'm more apt not to cling to a particular date, and I'm also more aware of what my body does when it grows babies. If I go a couple weeks early, or if I wait it out a little while, it's all good.

This little Bean knows when she's supposed to be born, and she'll let me know. It'll be around the turn of the new year.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

My First Blogiversary

A year ago today, on a Sunday afternoon in the student lounge, mostly on a whim, I started this blog. I was sitting roughly where I am now (back table near the SBA office), and wondering if the third time would really be the charm.

I'll have to get back to you on that. So far, so good.

This year has been a rollercoaster. I doubt that many people survive their first year of law school without describing it that way.

When we moved here, I had no idea what the hell I was doing. Sure, I knew law school would be tough, that it would break me down intellectually and reshape my thinking, that it would be wonderful and horrible and the hardest academic work I'd ever done in my life, and that I would probably hate it (because everybody does) and love it (because everybody does) all at the same time.

All of the above is true. Plus more:

I found out that my gut instinct regarding friends was absolutely true. The five people I consider my closest friends are funny, amazing, joyous, bawdy, and in the exact same boat as I am. We've done everything together this past year, from studying to drinking, to boating on the river, to the State Fair, to celebrating landmarks.

I found out that school broke me down mentally as well as intellectually. I was broken my first semester, and it almost cost me everything. My grades suffered, I was depressed, and though I put on a good front for both myself and my friends, I knew deep down that it was as close to the edge as I ever wanted to be, and there was a strong wind blowing which could knock me over without warning. Thank God I figured out how to send up smoke signals and get the help I needed. Lord knows where I'd be without it.

I found out that my body *still* does not react well to changing birth control methods. The last time I did that was around six years ago, and the result of that change now rides a yellow school bus to kindergarten every day. I'll meet the result of this last change sometime after finals, and hopefully before New Year's.

I found out that a Summer of Awesome is just the remedy for a first year like mine.

I found out that things aren't always the way they seem.

I found out that I should give my husband more credit where it's due.

I found out that Craigslist is the ONLY way to go to sell a used car.

Mostly I found out that I'm the only one who can light a fire under my own ass, and it's got to be constantly tended and stoked if I want to accomplish anything.

Here's what I wrote last year, and I think it's apropos that I update it.

I'm a first year law student, or "1L." I live in the Twin Cities area of Minnesota. I recently relocated here from another part of the Midwest, specifically to attend law school.

I am now a 2L, still living in the Twin Cities. It's looking more and more like we'll settle here after graduation. I'm okay with that.

I'm a wife. Happily married to my high school sweetheart, going on 8 1/2 years. To say it's been unadulterated bliss would be a big ass lie- no marriage is perfect. However, we love each other, we communicate, and we are very happy. He provides, he's a great father, he's my best friend. I can't imagine my life without him.

Still true. Our tenth (!) anniversary is next May. We'll have two kids, half a legal education and an amazing ride under our belts by then, and I hope like hell we're aging like good whiskey.

I'm a mother. We have a beautiful blonde-haired, blue-eyed, sassy-mouthed, loud-laughing, fast-running, ticklish-tummied, soon-to-be-five-year-old daughter. She puts the color inside of our world.

The Girl is now nearly six, and a kindergartener. She's looking forward to being a big sister to V2.0 come winter.

I'm a huge John Mayer fan...you may find my posts sprinkled with lyrics and references to JM and his various influences...and I make no apologies.

This year I got to meet John in person, and I saw him in concert five times this summer. I still make no apologies.

I am a triathlete. I am heading into my third season, and hopefully can talk a little about that. I am seriously hoping that I can fit some training time into my schedule.

If you see a very pregnant woman in a trisuit at the campus pool, that's me. I had to put my season on hold this year and I am looking forward to getting back into the groove this coming spring. I also hope the exercise-induced endorphins will help get me over the post-partum depression I fear might set in.

As of right now, life is good. The rock candy has melted...only diamonds now remain. I need to remember that.

No, I'm not the same girl I used to be lately -- see, you met me at an interesting time. I'm still on the lookout for clarity, but if this year has taught me anything, it's to be even more vigilant against gravity.

I don't know how many people actually read my blog, but for those of you that do, thanks.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

The First of Autumn

I noticed the first change of leaves two days ago, as I sat on the corner awaiting the girl's school bus to arrive. I often watch her, in her enthusiasm, bound off the bus and run across the street, legs pumping and blonde hair flying in the wind, reflecting the sun. Being five and a half must be a tough gig for a five and a half year old, but the only thing I see in her is innocence and curiosity.

It took me a minute to realize that it was the first day of fall, and I was reminded of my friend K., who took his own life when I was pregnant with the girl, right around this time of year six years ago. I'd seen him a few weeks before his death, and though I knew of his depression and manic episodes, and knew he had ups and downs, the last time I saw him, he was happy and smiling, and gave me a huge hug and congratulated me on the impending arrival of the girl. As it turns out, he was happy because he, like most suicidal people, had a plan and a way out. He was happy because he had made his decision and felt inner peace.

K. hung himself on the last day of summer, before the sun could rise on autumn, before he had to see the leaves change and wither and die, before the snow flew and the air froze and he had to live through another winter of seasonal affective disorder, which I'm told (but never knew personally) exacerbated his depression and kicked his mania into overdrive.

The timing of his death coincided with the anniversary of my grandmother's death as well. She died relatively young (age 66) after an extraordinarily rough life and a case of hepatitis, contracted at the hospital where she worked in the 1960's and '70's, which basically destroyed her liver. I was sixteen when she died and I think I still harbor resentment at my mother's choice to hide the extent of her illness from me. It was a shock when she died, as she was not only my favorite grandparent, she was also the first of my grandparents to die, and the first death I'd ever truly experienced firsthand.

Perhaps that is why I'm so attuned to the change of seasons. This year in particular because I can't help but relive the loss I experienced in the wake of the girl's impending arrival. I mark time in her face and growth. I listen to her voice and watch her eyes sparkle, and I hope like crazy she stays small for just a little longer. It's a joyful thing to raise a child, but nothing else makes you fly headfirst into the wall of your own mortality.

As I sat at the bus stop, and looked into the breeze, I reveled in the movement of the air, and felt warmth. I wonder why the earth takes so long to go dormant, and then in one moment, revive and turn green again. The most beautiful time of the year signifies the end of active growth and a slow retreat into hibernation. It was one of those unexpected moments of reflection and solitude. God gives us life, and retreat, and hibernation, and renewal, and the fleeting moment should be captured, cherished, and I suppose, ultimately released. In that moment, I felt actual loss. The end of summer is upon us, and so many things come to pass when another summer is done.

I breathe the mist
Floating about the stars
I can caress with velvet hands
I breathe the mist
Floating within without
This pen between my fingers

Messiah
I know you are there
Within without me holding me
Messiah
I know you are there
Catching carrying this beautiful mess

Escape the pain
Within a room somewhere
Escape the pain
So deep inside the soul
I have no key
No map to find

-- "Within A Room Somewhere" Sixpence None The Richer