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.

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June 21, 2007

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On My Soapbox

June 21, 2007

Hmmm.  I’m starting to realize why I tend not to write deep or controversial topics on the blog.  It’s awfully hard to concentrate when you are forced to write in spurts, distracted by toddler needs every few minutes.  I also hate controversy, so I don’t know why I’m even going to do this to myself.

When I was about two and a half years old, my dad changed jobs and we moved from the suburbs of a nice normal midwest city to a small town about as far south as you can get and still be in the United States.  Needless to say, the racial make-up of the town we moved to was radically different from what we moved from (not that I can remember).  By the time I hit junior high, I was nerdy and one of the few white girls in school.  I faced discrimination of a sort that is rarely mentioned.  I was bullied relentlessly, primarily because of my race, although my nerdiness certainly didn’t help matters.  The situation had grown so torturous that when my dad dropped the bomb that we were moving, I couldn’t find one thing I would miss about the old place.  I’ve been back once since then, about a year after we moved, and I don’t feel like I’ve missed a thing by staying away.

Unfortunately the city we moved to wasn’t much better.  The suburb we lived in through my high school years was nice, definitely upper middle class, where the predominant races in the area and the schools were whites and Asians.  My nerdiness blended in naturally and eventually grew less nerdy as time progressed.  But the majority of the city was the same race I had learned to hate during my elementary and junior high years.  Fortunately I was protected from having to face any discrimination against them or from them because of the bubble of the suburb where we lived.  The same was true of both areas where I taught school after returning to the city after college.

Then M and I got married and moved to yet another new suburb of town.  We didn’t realize it at the time, but it has turned into a haven for this one particular race.  The new commercial areas going up are already built with bars on the windows; the names of the stores are in Spanish.  We cannot walk into our local Wal-Mart without being stared at and pushed around because we don’t look like anybody else in the store.  I won’t pretend I don’t have my own biases against people of that race because of what I went through in junior high, but it’s really hard for a group of people to gain my friendship when all they’ll do is glare at me, push me around, and mutter, “Gringo,” as they pass by me.

The reason this is heavy on my mind right now is because this week has been particularly hard for M and me iin the area of people being unfairly rude to us.  It started Monday when M got chewed out and insulted at work for no real reason.  This is unrelated to the point of the post, but it set into motion a week that continues to get worse.  Monday night on our way home from grocery shopping (also an interesting experience since we’re apparently one of their few customers who does not buy at least milk on WIC), we were honked at twice within a minute or two.  The first was because we dared turn right–from the right turn lane at a green light and using our turn signal.  How dare we!  Then the guy in front of us at a light didn’t floor it the second the light turned green, so we were honked at for going too slowly.  That second driver continued to drive aggressively around us the rest of the way home.  Both drivers were, you guessed it, of that particular race.

We have also had neighbor issues this week.  Our neighbors on both sides of us are of that race.  It hasn’t been an issue at all with the neighbors on our left.  M works with the mom, and they’re very respectful, even friends of a sort.  But their sons are both being brainwashed at school and are hanging out with friends who look down on white people.  Tuesday night their son rang our doorbell late at night, waking up PJ, and then ran.  M caught him and asked him not to do that again (okay, so it was more like he scared him not to do that again).  Then yesterday one of the son’s friends was peeing on a buxh in our front yard.  Why?  Because he could.  M didn’t catch up with him in time to chew him out, but clearly the situation is getting ridiculous.  For some reason, he thought it was best not to catch the kid with his you-know hanging out since they would probably press charges of him being a pedophile or something.  We think the mother would put a stop to it if she knew what was going on, but neither of us knows quite how to bring that subject up with the neighbors.

The other neighbors looked like they were going to fit the stereotype perfectly from the get-go.  They could barely afford the house; when they moved their five boys into the three bedroom house, we understood why.  Their lawn is unkempt all the time, bringing down the look of the whole neighborhood.  It only lacks flamingoes and a car on blocks to perfect the look.  We know they’ve said things to each other about us that are derogatory, but they treat us like normal people.  As long as that lasts, we’ll be satisfied with that.  Honestly, that’s pretty much how we act about them, so I’d feel bad expecting more from them.

All of this has come to a head this morning as I listened to the sounds of lawn mowers circling the house.  You’ve all heard the stereotype of most lawn crews being this race.  M and I have even made off-color jokes about how all their relatives probably do lawns, yet they can’t seem to keep their yards looking decent.  On the other hand, our lawn looks like a dream.  M takes really good care of it.  That’s right, with the abundance of cheap lawn care around here M still cares for ours on his own.  Somehow our neighbors can’t believe that.  When he mowed on Tuesday evening, he made the neighbors on both side look really bad.  That’s why they both got out this morning to take care of their lawns.  The funniest part?  Ours still looks better.

Could it be that maybe our neighbors use our race as an excuse to hate us when really they’re jealous of us?  Could that even be widespread through members of that group?

I’ll be honest that typically I’m tolerant of other people and accepting of people of all races.  My problems with discrimination and racial issues come in where other people are not tolerant of me.  How can people push for racial equality when they continue to discriminate against certain races themselves?  I guess it’s the hypocrisy that bothers me.  Why should M and I, as white people, be held to higher standards as everyone else?  If we reach those standards, then aren’t we technically better than the other races holding us to those standards anyway?  How can they push for equality and inequality at the same time?

I could go on and on about this topic.  It bothers me to no end that there are such obvious double standards in place, yet everyone is so afraid of offending the races pushing the double standards that they will never point them out.  For a country that claims to offer equality to all people, it sure seems to support inequality in so many forms.

Third Trimester, Baby!

June 20, 2007

Technically I’m not sure whether I’ve officially hit the third trimester.  I’m 27 weeks, if you go by the more accurate sonogram date, not the doctor’s record of the due date.  Even then, that falls right at the line between trimesters.  I think it’s safe to say that if I haven’t quite reached the third trimester, I’m on the verge.  It’s certainly farther along than I thought I would make it when I was in the first trimester.  Now if I can just make it another five weeks so that I can say this one stayed in longer than PJ.

Each day is getting a bit more difficult to cope with, though.  I am huge, for my height, and the huge belly continues to make me uncomfortable.  I’m still struggling with sore hips and occasionally other joints.  The leg swelling from sitting in the wrong position is more annoying than ever.  And in the last few days, BabyN has grown to the point that I’m constantly out of breath.  He’s crowding my lungs for sure.  I can walk from one room to the next and feel like I’ve just run a mile.  If I have to lug a twenty-pound toddler with me, it feels more like a marathon.  (Boy am I glad he can walk now!)  I wake up in the morning feeling like I haven’t slept; apparently the sleep I get is restless.  If this is just the beginning of the third trimester, I’m scared to see what it’s like at the end!

Tomorrow night I get my second progesterone shot at home.  I don’t recall ever telling you how that went last week.  Let’s just say that if M wasn’t so squeamish about needles, I’d get him to do all my shots.  It hurt way less than it had at the doctor’s office the week before.  Passing out was never something to worry about this time.  I hope things go as easily with it tomorrow night.

I’ve discovered that despite the progesterone shots, M and I are both still worried about premature labor.  He would never tell me that was a worry of his, but little things he says have told me as much.  We’re talking about the need for a mini-van, at least for travel, but he’s more inclined to wait until after BabyN is born to start seriously looking.  His reason?  He wants to make sure we don’t have to spend more money than expected on medical expenses…like last time.  He means we should be able to afford a mini-van as long as we’re not having to pay a huge deductible to cover what insurance won’t pay for NICU bills.  It’s kind of cute how he hides his worry about BabyN in his worries about finances.  I like knowing I’m not alone in my worries.

By the way, I’m still strongly considering the new blog with the ground rules set from the start.  I tend to avoid confrontation whenever possible, and this seems the least confrontational way to get what I want.  My mom is home from vacation, and we have plans to chat when she’s done getting her nails done (priorities…sigh).  I will hopefully make a decision after that.  I’ll link you to the new blog (probably in a password-protected post) when I have the initial post written.  I really need feedback before letting everyone (read: my MIL) take a look.

And oh, yeah.  Thanks Heather for the inspiration to redo the look of the blog altogether.  I love the new template on yours, so I stole it.  The picture in the header is PJ yesterday evening.  M needed to do the lawn since we’ll be out of town this weekend (the redo of the 3D ultrasound) and he can’t do it then.  PJ missed his daddy so much that he watched every move he made in the backyard.  Cute, huh?