Tears for a Fellow Mom

June 29, 2007

I’m better, mostly, so I’m going to attempt a real post today.

When we were at Chick-fil-A with my parents for lunch last Saturday, talk turned to what was going on at the church we all attended throughout my high school years and beyond.  I still have friends who go there and get frequent updates from them.  The most recent thing I had heard was about a woman at the church who has been fighting cancer for years; the doctors had finally given up, saying they had done all they could do and her body couldn’t handle any more treatment.  When my parents asked whether I had heard the news about this woman, this is what I thought they were talking about.  It turns out that since that news, she had indeed passed away.

Even though the news was expected, I found myself caught off guard.  I tried not to let it show at the time, giving the appropriate words of sympathy and then steering the conversation elsewhere as soon as possible.  But it has been eating away at me ever since.

It’s not that I was best friends with the woman or anything.  I don’t know that I could have picked her out of a crowd before she got sick.  She lived in our neighborhood, however, and our family and hers intersected fairly often.  My sister house- and dog-sat for them several times.  Her little girl was my sister’s flower girl.  She came to my wedding shower and still sent a gift for PJ less than six months later.  I’d say our families were friends even if I wasn’t personally one of her friends.

What hits me more than how our lives intersected, though, was her role in life.  She was a wife and mother–just like me.  She was a young woman, somewhere in her early thirties.  She had everything to live for, a great family, a great job, a promising future.  She was also a woman who was devoted to serving God.  Even when she was having sicker days, she was doing what she could to help out around the church and help others.  Up until the end, she was someone I could look up to.

I suppose I’m not exactly grieving for a life wasted; she did more in her thirty-something years than many people do in eighty or more.  I’m grieving for her husband who is now a young widower with a young girl to raise.  I’m grieving for her little girl who will have only vague memories of her sick mama.  Why should this little girl be robbed of the opportunity to get to know her mommy the way the rest of us have?

And the worst of it is that if even such a wonderful wife, mother, and godly woman can be taken from life so early, why has mine been spared?  What’s to say it can’t happen to me too?  Or someone I know even better than her, like my mom or a sister?  I know her fight was a long one, and she lived probably five more years than the doctors originally gave her.  But that doesn’t lessen the tragedy in my eyes at all.  This time the big C-word has hit a little too close to home, and I’m terrified next time it will affect me or my family personally.

Penicillin Is My Friend

June 28, 2007

I woke up today feeling just a bit better.  Of course, I think that contributed to the improvement–the sleep before the waking up.  I slept considerably better last night and much longer.  My throat still hurts this morning and I’m still congested, but it’s not excruciating pain like yesterday.  And I’m still draggy and moody like I get when I’m sick.  But I feel like I’m on the road to getting better, even if I’m just starting down it.  It helps that my voice is finally cooperating again.  I’m trying not to use it too much, but at least it’s there when I need it.  I gotta tell you, a whispered, “No!” doesn’t do much to deter a toddler.

I ended up going to the doctor yesterday afternoon.  It’s not like I had much choice.  M had to call my doctor for me to find out just how serious this could be, since I could barely talk at all yesterday, much less on the phone.  He’d set up an appointment for me before I knew what was going on.  My ob/gyn is out of town apparently, so the office sent him elsewhere to have me checked out.  It turned out to be a normal family doctor, not another ob like M made it sound.  Of course, that’s really what I needed.

It turned out that the doctor had just had her fourth kid–and I mean really recently, as in weeks.  She asked who my ob was.  She grinned when I told her.  Any ideas as to why my ob would send me to her?  Yup, my doctor was her doctor.  In fact, I’m really going to laugh if I see my doctor at my ob appointment next week; she would be needing her six weeks post-partum check-up about then.

Oh, and the whole topic of kids came up because I apologized for PJ’s tantrum.  It was a good one, complete with red skin everywhere and tears and all.  I was talking a little better at this point, but obviously it wasn’t fun trying to make myself heard over the screaming kid.  The doctor just smiled and shrugged.  She had a “You ain’t seen nothing yet” attitude about it.  I guess with three older kids, she would know.

Anyway, she agreed I probably had an infection.  She took a swab for strep, just in case, but decided to treat it before getting the results because it could end up serious if it was left untreated too long.  That means I’m on antibiotics for the third time this pregnancy.  This is the one that upset my tummy last pregnancy, but so far I’m not having any problems with it.  I also suspect even the one dose I’d had of it before bed last night helped me start feeling better as soon as today.  I’m just thrilled she had something to offer to me that might help me feel better.  I was not in a mood to just wait it out after feeling so crummy the last few days.

The Frog in My Throat Is on Fire

June 27, 2007

Now I know I’m sick.  I don’t even want to talk instead of just being unable to do so.  I don’t even really want to blog.  My mind is unable to focus on anything other than how to get even a little bit of relief from the sore throat and all the other ickiness I’m feeling now.  M called his mom earlier when he heard how bad I’m feeling, and she’s worried about strep.  I never leave the house, so how could I have gotten it?  The only possibility is that it happened this weekend.  Could it have set in that fast?  Oh, no, I hope I didn’t pass it on to M’s aunt when we ate over there Saturday night; her immune system is compromised because of chemo.  I have an even better reason now to hope it’s a sinus infection.  Whatever it is, I hope it’s not serious but serious enough that I can be medicated to get rid of it in one way or another.  I’m tired of being forced to just suffer with nothing to do to help myself feel better.

It’s PJ’s naptime, which is an indication to me that I should be doing the same.  I slept awful last night, waking up every two hours from the sore throat (usually needing to pee too; I am pregnant after all) and with heartburn at the same time.  I was miserable.  I feel today like I haven’t slept at all.  How am I supposed to recover from whatever exactly this is if I don’t sleep?

Up and Running

June 26, 2007

Oh, yeah, the “other” blog is up and running now.  If you need the address, go check back in that password protected post or just e-mail me.  Just remember that no one who reads that blog knows about this one (except you select few who figured me out right away).

I Apologize in Advance

June 26, 2007

You guys are in a heap of trouble today and possibly into tomorrow.  I have a killer sore throat that makes it hard to even whisper right now.  If I can’t talk, then how can I get these many, many thoughts out of my head?  (Along the same lines, how do you take care of a toddler when you can’t talk to him?  Not that he usually listens to me talk anyway.)  M, on the other hand, is probably loving this.  He’s probably thinking he’ll have peace and quiet at home for the first time in a long time.  I’m so making up for lost time when this gets better.

By the way, I suspect it’s allergy related.  All the climate changes over the weekend with traveling have wreaked havoc on my sinuses.  They act like they’re starting to recover today, but the damage has been done on my throat already.  I seriously can’t recall ever having this painful of a sore throat–although it probably just stands out to me more right now since it’s my only symptom, not just part of a worse head or chest cold.

Okay, more about the ultrasound now as promised.  It wasn’t remarkable at the time.  It felt much like the last one, considering we were in the same room with the same tech and the same group of people.  BabyN’s pictures turned out much better, and it was obvious he had grown considerably in the last month.  But nothing inside me changed right away.

When we got home, I was a little uncomfortable, probably due to the heat outside and the massive temperature changes my body was being forced to undergo repeatedly, so I went to lie down.  Like the grandmas didn’t love that, getting to take care of PJ by themselves.  It was while I was lying down trying to get comfortable that I let my mind drift back to the ultrasound.  Suddenly it was downright amazing that I had just gotten to see pictures of my unborn child.  I was able to see the face to go along with the name we had chosen.  It wasn’t the alien fetus face that we saw last time; this time it was more unique.  The pictures we came home with are at least somewhat different from everyone else’s because our baby is an individual and doesn’t look like anyone else’s baby.

It was a bizarre realization that the ultrasound truly did live up to its corny catch line of helping you bond with your baby.  Before, I kept letting myself forget that the huge belly contained an actual unique baby that was part of M and me.  Life kept distracting me from focusing on that fact.  I guess I kept expecting another PJ would eventually pop out of me.  Now I suddenly get that this is a baby, not PJ but BabyN.  This isn’t just a temporary experience my body is going through, but it is actually feeding and nurturing this little life inside me.

I know I mentioned it yesterday, but it has also helped considerably to know how BabyN is positioned.  The bumps and kicks I’ve been feeling for a while had grown common to me; they were just the baby’s movements.  Now I can feel something and think to myself, “Oh, that’s BabyN’s arm” and “Over here is his butt sticking out.”  It’s hard to explain why that in particular helps me bond with him.  I guess it’s that identifying specific body parts causing the bumps and kicks makes him more like my baby than something anonymous.  I feel like I know my son better if I can tell what he is doing in there to make me feel what I’m feeling.

Off the topic, while we thought we had everything we really needed to bring BabyN home from the hospital at any time, that changed over the weekend.  My mom has been in search of a playard for some time now that she’s thinking about the needs of four grandbabies, not just the one.  My brother and SIL in particular would be flying across the country when they visit and won’t have a playard or crib with them.  My mom had set aside money to go buy one that would work but wasn’t as fancy as what she really wanted.  She was hoping to have the playard before our visit this past weekend.  When she mentioned that to me, I said in complete jest that she could just have ours and buy us a new one instead.  She hesitated for a second, and I was afraid I’d offended her.  I repeated over and over after that that I was joking.  Ours was perfectly fine.  Apparently she didn’t agree when she heard my lame reasons for even considering a new one.  She called while I was packing on Friday to tell us to bring the playard but that we’d be leaving it there.  She’s buying us a new one instead.  Of course I feel guilty now, but you don’t argue with my mom.  So we’re technically not totally ready for BabyN’s arrival yet; we need to decide on and go buy a new one first.  I guess I’ll put up with that nuisance.

I’ll spare you the rest of my ramblings for now.  PJ went back to sleep for me, so I might just do the same for a few minutes, if my throat will cooperate.

Bullet Stories

June 25, 2007

 Okay, here are a few of the weekend’s stories, in bulleted form so I’m not as tempted to get long-winded:

  • PJ officially hit twenty pounds on Wednesday night, so we turned his carseat around Thursday night.  Friday’s trip was his first experience facing forward while traveling.  He was surprisingly nonchalant about the whole thing, but he seemed to like being able to see me in the front seat from where he was sitting.
  • Yes, as mentioned last night, the in-laws showed up for the ultrasound.  They didn’t warn us of any of their plans much ahead of time.  We were out running errands when they called to say they were on their way over to my parents’ house to hang out with us before the u/s.  When they heard the plans were to put PJ down for a quick pre-u/s nap when we got home, they suddenly lost interest in hanging out.  They made it over to my parents’ house just barely in time for us to leave in time to make the appointment.  We were a few minutes late because of traffic.  Thanks, in=laws!
  • My MIL made one passive-aggressive comment about the blog but was otherwise mostly well-behaved.  The blog comment rankles (is that the right word?) and makes me hesitate to blog a post I know I really should.  That one will probably nearly start off the new blog, once I’m finally ready to reveal it.
  • I haven’t had a nausea pill since the drive up there, and I don’t feel like I need one.  Yay!
  • I’m finally feeling pregnant enough to be grateful for the special privileges the belly gets me.  I’ve turned down preggie parking at several places that offer it, even when alone with PJ, because I didn’t want to take the privilege from someone who needed it more.  Suddenly now I’m that woman who needs it more, even if someone else can carry PJ in for me.  Walking gets more difficult each day.
  • M and I played some fun car games on the way home.  My favorite one is where we made guesses as to what my brother and SIL are planning to name their baby.  They’re still being secretive about the name.  We listed all sorts of horrendous names like Agatha and Marjorie, but we think they’re going to settle on something somewhat trendy (but not popular) with religious connections.  My guess is something like Madison Grace.  I’ll let you know how close I was when I hear the final name.
  • Oh, did you read all of this just to see if I would post ultrasound pictures?  You didn’t want to see them, did you?  You sure?  Well, okay.  The u/s went really well.  They didn’t do all the measurements like a medical place would, but the tech suspects BabyN is kind of big for his gestational age (like my belly doesn’t already hint at that!).  He is definitely chubby, something I didn’t expect after seeing scrawny PJ a little older, at 31 weeks.  I guess this kid is showing how much he loves chocolate, since he’s making me eat it all the time.  He looks healthy, though, and it’s so encouraging.  It was a really bonding experience, and I’m hoping to write a whole post devoted to that subject later, maybe tomorrow.  And here are the pictures:

If it helps any, in all the pictures, his head is on the left, facing right.  In most of them you can only see the one eye.  BabyN’s mouth is open in this picture, and he has his left hand curled up under his chin.  You might be able to find those tiny fingers if you can’t figure out anything else.

He’s looking down more here, still with his fist up by his face.

This profile picture looks so serene.  It’s a little creepier than the others, but kind of sweet as well.

His whole hand is under his chin here.  You can’t even see his fingers.  I think this might be one of the pictures we got where his eyes were open.  Creepy, isn’t it?

It was so cool to see him moving around just like a real baby in there, flailing his hands around and sucking on his fingers.  We found out that he has rotated around completely.  Before, his head was sitting under my right boob, and he was sitting pretty much straight down from there, almost completely on my right side.  Now he’s in a transverse position, his head on my lower left side and feet and butt on the upper right side.  That’s where I’ve felt all the kicks lately, so it makes sense!  It’s also relieving to hear he’s not in a head-down, ready-for-birth position.  Most women want the baby there, but it tells me that BabyN isn’t getting ready to be born yet.  Maybe I have a while with him yet.  I hope so, now that I’m enjoying the pregnancy again, despite the aching.

So Many Stories…

June 24, 2007

so little time.  I’m sorry about the sudden two-day absence.  I intended to do a quick blog on Friday before we left for the weekend, but M ended up getting off work several hours early, so my routine was thrown off.  I didn’t do anything I planned to do before leaving except pack and shower.  We even accidentally left the camera at home.  That’s practically sacrilege around here.

I have tons of stories about the weekend in Big City with my parents.  If you remember, we went for our second 3D u/s.  That means the in-laws also decided to make the drive so they could go again.  More patience needed again.  I survived.  Expect some more sonogram pictures tomorrow, and maybe some of the weekend stories.  In the meantime, I have some catching up to do.  I haven’t just relaxed since Thursday night, and it is definitely time.