Tuesday, March 31, 2009

The Hits Just Keep On Coming

It seems like an entire year has passed since I last updated this blog.  SO much has happened and unfortunately the main part of it has to be filed in the "unbloggable" category.  I used to HATE it when people did that shit when I read blogs so I sincerely apologize for that, but I will tell you as much as I can and if you want more details, feel free to email me and I will give you all the info.  But since most of the people who read my blog know me in real life, they probably already know what I am referring to.  For those who don't, someone close to me and my life made the ultimate in bad decisions and did something life altering and earth shattering that could have very easily resulted in death.  That is all the information I am going to give on this very public forum, but needless to say it shook me to the core.  And for someone who is supposed to be avoiding stress at all costs, this put more stress on me than I have lived through in a very long time.

So here I am failing at the whole avoiding stress thing.

Since I can't publicly bitch about the unbloggable I will publicly bitch about finances.  I have mentioned on here before about how I was counting on a pretty significant bonus from one of my clients to get me through my maternity leave.  After over a month from working from home to make sure I lived up to my end of the arrangement I was given the go ahead to cut the check today.  Sounds great, right?  Well the shitty part is that they told me to cut the check for HALF the amount the I was expecting.  Half.  Holy shit.  Unbe-freaking-lievable.  So let me recap.  I was expecting to get a $10,000 bonus check and also expecting approximately a $5,000 tax refund.  That would give me enough money to live for about 3 months (yes, I know...I live in the Bay Area of California which is arguably one of the most expensive places to live in the entire US).  Even getting all of that money I would have been pretty screwed considering I have already been off work for a month and a half and the baby isn't even here yet.  My plan originally was to use that money for the three months I was going to take off after the baby arrived.  So you can see how my plan has already been thwarted...

And now...my bonus that was supposed to be for $10,000 only came in at $5,000.  And I am indeed getting back approximately $5,000 as a tax refund, BUT it turns out I made too much money last year and therefore between what I owe at the end of the year combined with my estimates that are also due on the 15th, I owe the tax man $2,500.  (How can I get money back and also owe money you ask?  The Ex and I do our taxes together and make it so that she gets a fat refund that we then split.  Being self employed I pay estimates and usually end up breaking even or even getting some money back which usually goes toward the estimate that is due on April 15th so I usually don't owe anything out of pocket on the 15th and just get to pocket half of The Ex's refund).  Oh, and on top of that it apparently cost us $1,250 to get our taxes done this year, so that has to be paid as well.

So final tally:  Amount expected to receive:  $15,000.  Amount actually received?  $6,800.

The hits, they just keep on coming...

A final note for today...my update on my doctors appointment.  The Girl was all over the place during her NST so I was totally convinced that she had passed with flying colors.  She did indeed pass, but apparently it was still just "by the skin of her teeth."  Or maybe they just like to fuck with me and tell me that every time.  I don't know.  I told my favorite nurse about the stress that had come down over the weekend and she was absolutely floored at what I had been through and ran out the door to look at what my blood pressure had been.  I know this is going to be shocking but guess what?  It was up.  I know, I know, total shock.  So they took it again after I had been laying down for the NST and the top number was still crap, but the bottom number went back down to 78 so that was good.  (I think "normal" is 120 over 80 and mine was 145 over 78 at the end).  My doctor heard this and made mention of "squeaking out just a little more time" and thankfully they sent me home.  They took pity on my sad, tired, pitiful little ass and blissfully sent me home.

I am 35 weeks today and my next appointment is this Friday.  My best guess is that if my blood pressure either goes down (by some miracle) or stays the same I will be good to go through the weekend.  But if it is at all elevated I think I am being checked in and my guess is that this baby will make her arrival sometime over the weekend.  So all of you internets out there...please think low blood pressure thoughts for me on Friday.  I need it.  Oh, and send some cash.  :)

Friday, March 27, 2009

Second Verse Same As the First

So I am home from my morning doctors appointment...BUT.  You knew there had to be a but, right?  Right.  The little shit (sorry, I'm tired...) failed her test...AGAIN.  Although my poor nurse feels sorry for me so isn't sending me straight over to the hospital.  I am to come home and eat lunch and then go back to the doctors office to get hooked up again and try to get her to pass.  If she doesn't?  Hospital.  Again.

Now although I am very happy that this child is still residing inside my belly and that according to my nurse she doesn't seem at all discontented...I am getting extremely tired of being hooked up to machines for all hours without being able to move or read (have to lay on my side and can't comfortably hold ANYTHING) or really do anything but sit and listen to a heart beat is not my idea of a good time.  Obviously the most important thing in my world right now is getting this baby here as healthy as possible, but really, I would SO MUCH rather be enjoying this 75 degree day with my son outside having lunch together.  And instead I am shoving food into my mouth and heading back to the doctors office to try this whole thing again.  And if she doesn't pass then we go to the hospital for another fun-filled afternoon of MORE monitoring...  In case you're keeping track, I am 34 weeks and 3 days today...

I will update this post WHEN (not if, damnit) I get home later this evening to let you all know we are home and good to go for the weekend...

Edited to add:  Okay we got sprung.  And we didn't even have to go to the hospital.  She passed at the doctors office after lunch.  Maybe I need to start making all of my appointments for after lunch.  I am pretty sure my next appointment on Tuesday is at 12:30 so hopefully we can avoid all this early-morning monitoring next time...

My nurse did reiterate that my doctor doesn't think I am going to make it much past the 36 week mark.  She said my doctor is very nervous about me and is probably going to err on the side of caution and get this baby out.  So we talked a little bit about what to expect if that's the case in terms of steroid shots to mature lungs, projected size of the baby, and what will happen after my c-section (they will take the baby away for evaluation and I most likely won't get to see her for a few hours--like what happened with The Boy and like what I didn't want to happen this time).  But the ultimate outcome needs to just be a healthy baby and Mommy so I am trying to focus on that.

As of now I am going to try and salvage a beautiful afternoon with my son and shake away some of this apprehension and nerves that I seem to be carrying around.  Hope everyone has a fabulous weekend!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Insurance Woes...

I just read this post by Amalah and it made me weep.  Not just for her precious son Noah, but because it could so very easily be my son.  I realized that I am somewhat of a rookie in terms of what insurance companies make us go through to provide services that are so necessary for our kids.  As Moms it is our job to fight for them.  And of course after reading Amalah's post I am writing-shy because I will never be able to express the frustrations or annoyances in the amazing manner that she can.  But I am going to give it a shot because this is an issue that needs to be talked about.

I wrote back when The Boy turned three about how he graduated from SARC and now I was on my own paying for his individual speech therapy.  He did actually qualify for half an hour of speech therapy through his school district, which he is getting.  But I didn't want to pull him from his private therapy so I have been paying out of pocket for that and submitting the claims to the insurance company for reimbursement.  This is what we had done before we applied, and were accepted, to SARC and the insurance company had reimbursed us for like 80% of the amount.  The Boy's insurance is through The Ex, and fortunately she has great insurance, so I figured it would be a no brainer to do it again.  They had covered it before, so no reason to assume they wouldn't cover it now.  

I started submitting the claims in January right after his birthday and right when I started paying out of pocket.  I have been asking The Ex since then if we have received any checks (since it is her insurance, all checks are made out to her and sent to her) and she just kept telling me that she hadn't gotten anything.  I knew that we had a $250 deductible to meet so I figured the first month's payments were probably going toward his deductible (I pay $67 a week for his therapy so that first month alone would have taken us to our deductible).  So that would have accounted for January.  And you know, sometimes it takes them a while to process and get payments out, so I kept asking The Ex but kept "ignoring it" when she said she hadn't received anything.  Finally around the middle of March I realized something was going on.  I got the information from The Ex to access the website myself (needed her user name and password to gain access to it) and saw the dreaded phrase, "Need more information."  When I clicked through it said the claims were on hold because they needed "proof from a doctor that services are a medical necessity."  That statement was issued in the middle of January.  Everything has literally been on hold since then.  They haven't even been putting my claims toward his deductible.  It is all just stopped.  Pissed that I had let things sit this long and irritated that The Ex had not bothered to look into it at all, I started making phone calls.

I called the insurance company first and asked what specifically they needed.  The Boy has like 8 doctors.  I understood they wanted proof, but from where?  His pediatrician?  His gastro (who diagnosed his failure to thrive)?  His speech therapist?  "I will get you whatever proof you need, I just need to know what the hell that actually is," I told the insurance dude.  As usual, he was totally useless and just kept repeating to me that whatever doctor ordered the services needed to prove to them it was medically necessary.  And even if they could, there is still a chance that they will deny coverage.  Great.  So helpful.  I don't know who actually orders his services.  He has been in therapy since he was 12 months old.  He is three.  He gets assessed all the time, which is what shows that he needs continued services, but that has either been by his speech therapists, or by SARC, or most recently, by the state.  His pediatrician has been involved in the process in that he checks with him at his yearly appointment and agrees that he definitely does need services and that we are continuing to get them for him.  But that's it.  So where the hell do I start?

I called the office where he gets his speech therapy.  They are lovely.  There's a reason I continue to take him there.  I explained the situation to the receptionist who told me that sometimes it is as simple as having the pediatrician write out a prescription on his prescription pad saying that this is a medical necessity that he receives a half hour a week of speech therapy.  Or that sometimes the insurance companies will take a letter from the therapist themselves even though they are technically not a "doctor."  She says she will talk to his therapist, plus the head lady at the place and will come up with a plan, but in the meantime it can't hurt to call his pediatrician and see if they can write him a "prescription" for services.  I thank her profusely and hang up and call his pediatrician.  

They are also lovely (I told you we have great insurance) and told me they would leave the doctor a note and have him take care of it or call me with any questions.  They literally called me back like half an hour later and said it was done and that I could come by and pick it up right away.  They rule.  So I went and picked it up the next day and took it with me to The Boy's weekly speech therapy appointment.  I explained the situation to his therapist and showed her the note from his pediatrician.  It was very brief and just said his name and that he needed half hour a week of speech therapy and it was being provided by [speech therapist's name] and that it was a medical necessity.  His therapist didn't think that would be sufficient given her experience dealing with insurance companies.  She told me she thought we would need a more comprehensive letter talking about his oral difficulties directly affecting his lack of eating which leads to the failure to thrive diagnosis.  That made sense to me, so I held onto the letter from his pediatrician and waited for her to write up a letter putting all that other stuff together.

Friday of last week I got a message from her telling me she needed to get the information about what exactly his weight is and has been, and his current diagnosis etc. in order to put the letter together.  Makes sense, of course she does.  I have written down what he weighs when we take him in, but other than that I don't have the information at my fingertips.  So I needed to call his gastro doctor to get that info to pass along to his speech therapist.  This week has been crazy (eg: cousin in town and working all day Monday, spent all day yesterday at the hospital...) so today was the first chance that I got to call and request a copy of his records.  His gastro doctor cut me off before I could even finish asking the question and told me that I would have to go to their website and put in a request for medical records and then that would go to the medical review board and after everything had been approved, I would be able to access his records.

I just need his weight to tell his speech therapist, I thought to myself.  And that sounds like an awfully long process...  So I cut HER off and explained to her what I needed and why.  She then told me that I had probably filled out a release form when I enrolled The Boy in speech therapy and if they had that on file, then they could just directly fax a request over to the gastro and they would get the records the same day.  Yes, that was definitely the shorter of the two options and probably the easiest.  Great.  Okay, no problem.

So I called back his speech therapy office AGAIN and asked if he had a release form on file.  She said she thought we probably did, and she would pull his records to find out.  And if for some reason we didn't have one on file, she would leave it for me when I come to his regular appointment tomorrow and I could just fill it out.  Once they have that, they can directly request his records, get them to his speech therapist, who can start to put together the letter needed to send to his insurance company.  Jesus Christ, I am exhausted.

So let's recap.  I started paying $67 a WEEK on January 6th of 2009.  It is now March 25th of 2009 and I have been paying out of pocket for his speech therapy that entire time.  I first realized that the claims were being denied at the beginning of March (thanks, Ex) and we are still not even ready to send to his insurance the information they need.  And once we send it over, we have to A) hope that it is sufficient to show medical necessity and B) even if it is, hope that this is something they will cover.  Oh and add to that the minor little fact that I am about to have a baby ANY FRIGGIN' DAY NOW and that will undoubtedly delay the process even further and we are probably looking at sometime in June that we might, possibly be able to receive a reimbursement check.

In the meantime, I am shelling out over $250 a month of money that I DO NOT HAVE (hence the bed rest and no working thing) for him to get his therapy.  I consider canceling it all together because he IS getting some therapy paid for by the state (although I don't think it's as good as his current therapist and situation) and because, dear God, what good will his great speech do if we are living under a bridge?  But then I read the last line in that post by Amalah and I picture someone, anyone, possibly making fun of my precious boy because of the way he pronounces something and I swear that I will NEVER allow that to happen even if I have to sell my house and live in a van...down by the RIVER!!  Sigh...

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

We Like To Keep Things Interesting...

This is just a quick update.  I had my non stress test this morning and remember last time when they said she passed "by the skin of her teeth?"  Well this time she "failed by the skin of her teeth."  I guess during a non stress test they establish a base line heart rate (hers was 150, which I guess is good and strong) and then in a period of 20 minutes she is supposed to have 3 accelerations where her heart rate goes up by at least 15 points.  Well hers would go up to like 162 and then back down.  So she was literally like 3 points away from passing.  But...we didn't pass.  They made me drink some cold water and watched me for over an hour but no luck.  

So I have been sent home to eat lunch (and hope that makes her more active) and then I am supposed to go over to labor and delivery and check in at 1:00pm today.  They will do another non stress test there at the hospital and hopefully with their more sensitive machines she will pass like the good girl she is (cough).  Once I pass I get to go home.  I asked the doctor if I needed to bring my hospital bag and her answer was that it wouldn't be a bad idea, and that if I brought it, it would ensure that I didn't need it.  But that yeah, I should probably be packing that thing sooner rather than later.  Great.  So comforting.  But they all said her heart rate was strong and good and that she wasn't in fetal distress.  So those are all good signs.  Now I am off to eat some lunch and then head over to the hospital with the positive thinking that I will be back home in time to have dinner with my little boy.  Here's hoping!  :)

(Edited to add:  I am home from the hospital, thank God.  I was hooked up and monitored for about an hour when the nurse came in and told me to drink some cold water and flip to my other side because the baby wasn't doing her thing.  Then she looked at my print out and realized that she had "passed" right when we had arrived.  She was just looking at the last half an hour or so of the print out and when she looked at the whole printout she realized we were free.  So I was only there a little over an hour and now I am home again and able to enjoy dinner with The Boy.  Phew!  I am free until Friday when we start the whole process over again...)

Friday, March 20, 2009

The Friday Baby Update

As usual I had my Friday doctors appointment today.  Overall the news was pretty good.  It wasn't fabulous, but it wasn't horrendous either.  When I got there they took my blood pressure and it was good.  I believe it was 129 over 80.  So the medication continues to keep that in check.  Good news.

Then I went into the exam room and was hooked up to the monitors for an NST (non stress test).  For those who don't know, what that means is they monitor the baby's heart beat and I believe they are looking for 3 accelerations in a 20 minute period of time.  I am not positive, but I believe that is what is needed for a "pass."  I am apparently visibly exhausted right now because after the nurse hooked me up to the monitors she asked if I would like the lights turned down so I could rest during the test.  Fabulous idea!  I am literally not sleeping more than 1 hour at a time right now at night and just the physicality of living is making me feel more tired than I have ever felt in my life.  I know that is just normal end of pregnancy stuff, but man, I am pooped.  So I was thrilled to have the lights turned down and be able to just lay down with the rhythmic sound of my little girl's heart beat in the back ground.  It sounds exactly like horses galloping to me.  So I relaxed and listened to the "horses" and waited.

My favorite nurse came in to chat with me a couple of times (I was seeing the doctor today) and the doctor stopped by a couple of times to see if we had "passed" yet, which we hadn't.  After almost 40 minutes she found enough stuff on the little sheet of paper to pass us, but she declared that she had barely passed, "by the skin of her teeth."  If the baby doesn't pass, by the way, they send me off to the hospital to be monitored there.  I guess the machines are much better at the hospital and they are able to pick up the accelerations better than the ones at my OB's office.  So then we chatted about the physical stuff (head aches, visual changes, extreme exhaustion, little swelling etc...) and she measured me.  I am still measuring a little bit big, which is good.  I think I measured at almost 35 weeks and I will be 34 weeks on Tuesday.  She told me that going forward she wanted to see me on both Tuesdays and Fridays for NST's from now on.  

She thought I was joking when I told her that Tuesdays weren't really a good day because I was busy...I guess since I am supposed to be on bed rest and completely off of work means that I shouldn't be working on Tuesdays.  Whoops.  I only have two days a week where my cousin is here to train and learn how to take over for me when I am out.  Those days are Mondays and Tuesdays.  So I usually do MUCH more than I am supposed to on those days but then take it easy on Wednesdays and Thursdays to try and make up for it.  So having to go to the doctors on Tuesdays puts a damper on that.  I will try and be better...I swear...

The not-so-great news came as I was getting ready to leave.  I told my doctor that I had scheduled my c-section for the 20th of April and she said, "Yes, I saw that.  I'm glad you did that."

I then said with a smile, "I'm going to make it to 38 weeks, right?"

And as she was walking out the door she answered, "Nope.  Not even close.  But we'll give you a couple more weeks..." and then she shut the door.

Now I have to admit that I have wondered how in the hell I am going to make it another 5 weeks to get to 38 weeks.  Not because I want this baby to come early.  Quite the contrary actually.  But within the last week or so I can physically feel myself slowing down and getting more and more tired and in more and more pain, and the "side effects" getting worse and worse.  I have expected to be put on full, strict bed rest within the next couple of weeks prior to delivery.  That's why I have been going probably more than I should be to try and get everything caught up before that happens.  But I don't think that "step" is going to happen.  I think my doctor is under the impression that I am pretty much on full bed rest (as in there is NO work going on at all, which really isn't the case) and the only next step would be to check me into the hospital.  She knows I am a single mom at home with a 3 year old son and knows that it is unrealistic to tell me I can't take care of my son at all.  And I really think that's all she thinks I am doing right now.  And it is my bad for "breaking" those rules.

So this is what I think is going to happen.  I think my doctor wants me to get to 36 weeks.  I think I will be monitored twice a week between now and then and if the baby "fails" any stress test, it is off to the hospital for me.  Once I get to the hospital, if the baby can "pass," then they will send me home.  If the baby doesn't "pass" in the hospital, I think I am staying there.  If it is between now and 36 weeks I think she will keep me in the hospital with 24 hour monitoring on the baby and obviously if something bad happens to the baby, she comes out.  But if not, I will stay until I hit at least 36 weeks.  And if she "fails" a stress test anytime after 36 weeks I think she is just going to want to deliver the baby.  Her comment today of "No, but we'll give you another couple of weeks" gives me the impression that she doesn't think my body is going to support taking care of this baby much past 36 weeks.

I have so many emotions about what is going on, but I will have to save that for another post.  I am too tired to think right now and all I know is that this baby wants me to go lie down and get off the computer.  It goes without saying that I am worried and scared and frustrated at my body and all of those wonderful emotions.  I think any mom would be.  You obviously want to provide the vessel for your child to get here, full term and completely healthy.  It makes me SO angry that my body doesn't seem to be able to do that.  And I am scared about what an early baby means and if we are going to be dealing with the NICU and how that will all affect her health and the ability to breast feed and...so...many...other...things...

But for tonight, she is in there, she is healthy and doing well, and I am off to bed.  Good night!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

A Letter To My Mother On Her Birthday

Today is my mom's birthday. Anyone who reads my blog knows what an amazing person my mother really is. Since I have been on bed rest she has literally put her life on hold to help me and take care of my life. I have spent the past couple of weeks trying to come up with something to do for her for her birthday to thank her for all she has done recently and show her how much I love her. What I ended up doing was really quite simple. I went to Costco and bought her her favorite cake. I bought her a huge bouquet of flowers. I also went to her favorite store and got her an $100 gift card so she can buy herself something nice. But what I really wanted to do was to thank her. None of those things really do that. So I decided to go "old school" and sit down and write her out a letter. I think it gets my point across better than anything I could have spent money on. I thought you all might enjoy reading it:

Dear Mom,

I have been trying to think of a way to say "thank you" that can somehow convey how I truly feel about you virtually putting your life on hold for me. The words don't do it justice. I could tell you how much I love you and what an amazing mother you are to me, but that seems like it has been said before. I could try and explain what it means to me to have a mother who is my best friend and confidant in life but it feels like a bad Hallmark card. The words feel too empty because it is not through words that you show me love and teach me how to be a better person. It is through your actions. The way that you love me and my children makes us better people by the mere fact that we get to be around you to experience it.

Maybe it is because I am fully immersed in this parenthood thing, or maybe it is because I am currently pregnant with my second child, but for some reason I find myself at a point where I look back on ALL of that actions and decisions you have made over the course of being my mother and I marvel at how you have done it all with such grace and dignity. You would say that you have made mistakes. And you have. We all have and we all will. In fact it is through THOSE times that have shown the true grace and dignity of who you are. You make it all seem so easy. And perhaps before I was trying to trudge through it myself, I thought it WAS easy. But being a parent isn't easy, and doing right by your children is a life-long, full time job. And here I am, 34 years after it all began and I need you now as my mother perhaps more than ever. And you are still here. Still parenting me, and stepping up to help parent my own children.

"Thank you" will never be sufficient. What I hope WILL be is the promise that I am taking in all that you are and all that you do, and I am tucking it away inside of me to pull on when I need it. If I can be HALF the mother to my own children that you have been to me, and if when they reach adulthood they can feel HALF the love and acceptance and guidance that I have, then and only then will I feel as though I have "thanked you" properly. I cannot tell you how lucky we are to have you in our lives. [The Boy], [The Girl] and I are all going to be better people because of you. You mean more to us than I could ever tell you. We all love you with all of our hearts and souls and wish you the best birthday in the world!

I love you Mom!! Happy Birthday!!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

I Believe They Call This "Nesting"

Even though I am supposed to be resting, I believe what I am actually doing could be considered "nesting."  Close enough?  But really, when one actually books their c-section for 5 short weeks away...it becomes apparent that a baby will be arriving soon whether one is ready or not.  And prior to this last week I would have definitely been in the "not ready" category.  I believe I am better now.  After my doctors appointment last Friday I headed over to BRU.  I bought some much needed essentials: a couple of packages of diapers, a few binky's, some changing mats (those things that go on top of the changing table cover to keep nasty poo away from pink cuteness...), a package of starter bottles (plan is to breast feed but who knows what will happen), a nice clean bulb syringe (because re-using those = gross!), that kind of stuff.  Nothing overly fun or exciting, but just stuff you need to have on hand when the baby comes.

I should note that thanks to the excellent physical condition I am in (insert sarcasm here) I made it through approximately 3/4 of the store before I started getting light headed and started seeing spots and basically felt like I might pass out in the bedding isle.  Fortunately they have those lovely rockers there where I just took a little break.  The Boy very helpfully pointed out to every single customer that walked by, "My mommy hava a baby in der.  She hava rest now.  We go on in da minute..."  I'm sure they all cared SO much...  :)

A couple of weeks ago my mother helped me to completely get all The Boy's stuff out of the closet in the nursery and move it to his big boy room.  So now at least the closet in the nursery belongs to The Girl exclusively.  I decided that it was high time to wash some of the clothes that I have for her and get them ready as well.  So everything that was newborn sized got washed.  So did some blankets and some wash clothes and some burp rags.  Here is a shot of her closet as it stands right now...  

All the clothes on the bottom rung have been washed and all the stuff on the top has not.  But all the stuff in the little hanger-thingie (yes, that's a technical term) on the side is ready to go as well.  It seems like I don't have nearly enough things for her, but we SO overbought when The Boy was little that I am trying to not repeat my mistakes.  I have a friend who is having twin boys (Hi C!) and she is the lucky recipient of ALL of The Boy's old clothes.  And seriously, even though she is having twins, she might not have to buy anything.  Ever.  Again.  The Boy has more clothes than any one little boy should.  It is almost embarrassing.  So I am trying not to do that this time with The Girl.  But still it feels a little sparse...although we still have 5 weeks.

The other thing that is needed pretty much as soon as you get home from the hospital is a bouncy seat.  The one we used for The Boy is quite sad and the metal framing doesn't even allow it to sit up straight anymore.  So it needed to be replaced.  There are very few things that I am buying for this second child.  The only stuff she is getting is stuff that I either A) didn't have the first time around, or B) is in such a sad state that I wouldn't allow my cats to sit in it.  The bouncy seat fit category B.  So here is the newly purchased seat:
Notice how I couldn't bring myself to get the pink one.  I just couldn't do it.  It was just SO pink...it sorta made me nauseous.  You can't really tell in this picture, but some of the little circles on the pattern part of this are feminine looking.  Good enough!  My little girl can be butch if she wants to!  :)

When we brought The Boy home from the hospital The Ex was adamant that he was NOT going to sleep in our bed, or in our room for that matter.  Our room was supposed to be reserved for our "romantic life" and wasn't to be tarnished by a baby being allowed in there.  (You can see how well THAT worked out given that she left me and moved out when The Boy was 6 months old...but I won't go into that here...)  But because of that we didn't buy any sort of co-sleeper or bassinet.  We used our pack n play and set it up out in the living room for when he was out there and other than that he was in his crib.  This time around, given that it is just me (blissfully), I have every intention of having this little girl in my room, or in my living room, or wherever the hell I want her to be.  The pack n play is lovely, but it is far too large to be moving around all over the place.  So basically the only other "thing" I bought for the new baby was a bassinet.  My super star step dad put it together last weekend and I think it is too cute.  I love it.  I can't wait to see her sleeping away in it...
So as you can see, this last weekend was definitely one of "nesting."  I think I am pretty much ready for her.  Of course there are lots of little things that still need to be done.  Her bedding has been ordered but has not arrived yet, and there are still little touches that need to be done to the nursery to de-boy it and make it ready for his sister.  But overall I am feeling much more calm about the arrival of this baby.  One of the things that was still hanging out in the nursery was The Boy's name in letters on the wall.  This weekend I took them down and told him that it was time to put them into his big boy room.  They were painted a light green color in the nursery, but that won't work in his new room.  So I took him to the craft store and told him he could pick out any color he wanted to paint his letters for his new room.  He chose red.  And when we got home we both (lord help me) painted his letters from baby green color to big boy red color.  Here is a shot of him in action:
He was so proud of himself for doing it.  And his room is really taking shape.  We also bought The Girl's letters and a lovely lavender paint for those (The Boy picked that color as well).  They were out of one of the main letters we need for her name so it isn't quite ready yet, but we are getting close.  

And if you made it all the way through this ridiculously long post I will reward you with my monthly belly shot.  It is a week late as I have been doing the other ones at 12, 16, 20, 24...weeks.  So this one should have been my 32 week shot but it was taken today, St. Patrick's Day (hence the color), the day that I hit 33 weeks.  Less than 5 more weeks to go...

Friday, March 13, 2009

Nothing To See Here...

I just got done with my Friday doctor appointment and I am happy to report that there is absolutely nothing to report.  Woo Hoo!!  In and out in 30 minutes, just like I wanted.  For the record that makes 2 whole weeks in a row that I haven't gotten any bad news.  My blood pressure was nice and low (thanks to the medication), the baby was measuring 33 weeks (a little ahead since I am only 32 weeks) and her heart beat was great.  Next week we will have an NST and some blood work but for today, I was free to go.  I asked if I could go back to work since my blood pressure seems to be under control and my favorite nurse said, "Do you want me to lose my job?"  Well, I guess not, but it can't hurt to ask.

The only other thing to report is that I scheduled my c-section today.  I guess the hospital where I am going to deliver is pretty busy so they wanted to get it on the books.  Plus I had asked about dates because I would ideally like to deliver while The Boy is in school.  That helps for two reasons.  One, he will be at school all day long (his normal routine) while I am in the hospital and two, my mother will be able to drop him off at school and come to the hospital to be with me during the day.  Of course his spring break for school is the week of April 13th, and that is the week I am 37 weeks along (The Boy was born at 37 weeks).  So I did NOT want The Girl coming that week.  So I need to push her through to 38 weeks.  They also wanted to schedule it on a Thursday, but that doesn't so much work for me either because The Boy is only in school Monday through Thursdays.  So that defeats the purpose of having him in school.  So the official day is Monday April 20th.  At 11:30am.  If I can get her to that point, that is when she will make her big debut into the world.

And for those of you who have known me a long time (re: college days) I find it QUITE humorous that this baby is going to be born on 4/20.  And if you don't know what that means or why that is funny, then you are a better person than I.  Hee hee...

Thursday, March 12, 2009


We all know that I am not a flowery, butterflies and rainbows type of girl, right?  I think that goes without saying.  I also believe I have covered on this blog my prior feelings about my second child being a girl.  To recap, I have always LOVED the idea of having an adult daughter based on the great relationship that I have with my mom.  But parenting a daughter to adulthood somewhat scares the living shit out of me.  In addition to that I have never had the dream of all things pink and ruffled.  I have a sister who has had a life long dream of having a daughter (currently she has two boys) and every time she enters a children's clothing store she heads over to the pink section and fingers everything and touches things and ooohhhs and aaahhhs.  That has never been me.  I have one child; a boy, and because of that I have never even ventured over to the girl's section.  In fact when I do glance in that direction I am relieved that I don't have to shop in the sea of pink and ruffles.  Girl's clothing scares me a little bit.  Not only because they only seem to give girls two colors to choose from (pink and a darker form of pink), but because there are short skirts and bikinis and tank tops and things that frankly, I wouldn't allow an 8 year old to put on much less my young child.  So basically I have been a little nervous about the whole clothing thing.

So when I found out I was having a girl I expressed to everyone (read: my mother and grandmother) that they were under NO circumstances to start buying up all of the stores in all of their pink glory.  Now I am not going to go crazy about this either.  It isn't like she isn't ever going to be in pink.  She can be as feminine as her little heart desires.  BUT.  I didn't want her world to feel like a piece of pink bubble gum had exploded everywhere she looked.  So pink is fine.  But pink with other colors would be preferred.  Lavender would be lovely.  I even enjoy the pink/brown combination.  But please, for the love of God, don't make my entire world into a pink wonderland.  I don't think I can take it.  And I have to say that this had been respected.  My daughter has lots of pink things, but most of them have polka dots, or stripes or something where there are other colors represented.  This has kept my crankiness at bay where the clothes have been concerned.

So as I am home on bed rest I have been quite good at keeping up with the laundry.  So today when I was going a load I decided that it might be time to start to wash some of the baby's new clothes.  So I went in her room and grabbed a handful of "newborn" sized stuff.  I didn't think too much about it when I tore the tags off and threw them in with my other light clothes.  But when the load was done and I started to take out the teeny tiny little clothes that my daughter will someday wear...I started to feel a little...I don't know...soft.  For the first time in my entire existence I looked at these precious little outfits and I found myself thinking they were...I can't even admit it...CUTE.  I pictured this tiny little baby girl that I am carrying around in my tummy and how very different she is going to be from my boy and the fact that she will be wearing these clothes and it all just felt so...so...right.  Is it possible that this little girl is shattering my armor a bit?  Could I be "nesting?"  What are these strange emotions I am feeling?  But I mean, come on.  Take a look at a couple of these outfits.  How can I not melt just a little?  

And I would like it noted that if you know me in person and are to bring up this very subject, I will deny all of it.  I will pretend that you are crazy and that I don't have the slightest idea of what you are speaking.  And I will resume my gruff, cranky position immediately!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Now You Can Call Me Stella...

...because I am trying to get my groove back.  I swear this will be the last post where I give myself a ridiculous name.  But I think it's somewhat appropriate given that I do not feel like I am living my life but rather trying to fit into the life of someone else all together.

Thanks to all the magnificent people around me, and the fact that I had an uneventful doctors appointment last Friday I am finally starting to feel better about things.  Part of that is that I am getting organized as a person who will work solely from home.  In the last couple of weeks I have managed to get my superstar cousin started on training in the wonderful world of bookkeeping, I have managed to set up an entire second office in my home and get it organized, and I have managed to chill the fuck out a little bit where my future daughter is concerned.  Those are all huge things because a couple of weeks ago, all of those things were stressing me out.  Big time.

I am so incredibly lucky to have the support network that I do, and I haven't spent enough time on this blog acknowledging that.  I have spent all of my time complaining.  So it's high time that I give a little credit where credit is due.  The person who deserves the most recognition is my mother.    She is my best friend and she has 100% put her life on hold for the sole purpose of taking care of mine.  She was a rock star before, but she has catapulted herself into super stardom roles as of late.  She has always picked The Boy up from school everyday and brought him home and given him his bath before she left for the evening.  Now, she does all of that but she also stays every night and cooks our dinner.  Instead of going home at 6:00 to furiously cook dinner for her husband, she now cooks dinner here at my house and her husband comes here to eat.  So she cooks for The Boy and me, and then we all eat together and she stays and cleans everything up before she goes home.  I can't even put into words how wonderful this is, as the end of the day is when I am absolutely pooped and feeding and cleaning up after The Boy is sometimes more than I can take.    By the time she goes home at the end of every evening The Boy has been fed dinner, my house is clean, and The Boy is in his jammies and ready for bed.  See?  Super rock star status.  She is also practically doing all of my laundry and putting it away and basically taking care of all the small little annoying tasks that add up around a house.  Superstar.  Total and complete superstar.  I am so lucky to have her.

Her husband isn't any slouch either.  The poor man has somehow been designated as my "honey do" man.  He has been told to handle all the things around the house such as changing light bulbs, rearranging the furniture to make room for someone's big boy bed, and taking care of all those "manly" things.  In addition to that, he is also my own personal Geek Squad.  He is an engineer so he has been in charge of getting my computer from my office, setting it up, and making my entire household wireless when it comes to the internet (there is now a total of three computers here that need internet access).  It took him two full weekends to achieve this and he even had to bring in one of his geek friends to make it finally work.  And just when he thought he was FINALLY done, I came into the house with a new desk to hold my old work computer.  The desk was one of those lovely desks that come in a completely flat box with six zillion parts and someone has to put it all together.  When he noticed it he said, "That's a nice desk..." to which my mother answered, "Oh good.  I'm glad you like it.  You bought it." (My mother didn't let me pay for the desk, instead charging it to her credit card).  Instead of making a snide comment about it he said, "How very nice of me..." and kept working away.  When he saw me bring in another box that featured an office chair he merely glanced up and said, "Oh, and I see I bought you a chair too.  And I guess I get to put that together as well?  Damn, I sure am a swell guy..."  And the poor guy was at my house for the past two weekends straight.  First to get all the computer stuff transferred and up and running and then to put together all the office furniture and re-set up all the computers on the new desks.  And he doesn't make a peep.  So unbelievably amazing.  Not only that, but he has had to start coming to my house at the end of his long work day everyday to eat dinner with a very loud, and very annoying three year old and he still hasn't complained a bit.  My step dad is one of the most amazing people I have ever met.  Such a shame that I was such a bitch to him when growing up.  But I try really hard to make up for it now...

The other huge help has been my cousin.  She reads and is a frequent commenter on my blog so you all probably know her as Aunt Fancy.  But she lives in Sacramento and is fortunately (for me, somewhat unfortunately for her) out of work currently and is helping me out with my clients.  She is driving down here every Sunday night and staying with us on Mondays and Tuesdays.  Not only is she training with me to get to know all of my clients to take over some of my work load and help when I am actually out on maternity leave, but she is also a HUGE help with The Boy.  Besides my mother, my cousin is probably The Boy's most favorite person on earth.  And when she's here he literally does NOT leave her alone.  And she takes it.  She will sit with him in his room and play whatever inane game he comes up with for hours.  She allows him to follow her around and demand things pretty much 24/7.    This gives me time to actually get some things done around the house and take care of my crap without a small child following me around demanding my every moment.  I am sure she is quite ready to head home to her quiet house at the end of every Tuesday, but we love having her.  I am hoping that what I am teaching her in terms of bookkeeping will help her in the future so that she can actually get something out of this situation besides just helping me.  Either way, without her help I would be drowning.

Besides that, there are so many others in my life that have stepped up the help out when they can.  My Dad and Step Mom have been taking The Boy for a couple hours one day each weekend and taking him to a farm, or just back to their house for some fun.  This gives me time to actually rest (like I am supposed to be doing everyday), and also gives The Boy an outing when I probably would not have the energy to make that happen myself.  And there are a ton of people who have offered help that I haven't even taken advantage of yet.  I really am one of the luckiest people on this earth and I feel shameful that I haven't yet talked about it.  Instead I have used my blog to talk about how hard this has been on me, and the emotional toll this has taken.  But now that I can see outside of the clouds a little bit I needed to take the time to give a real representation of the people who have set aside parts of their lives to help me with mine.  It makes my heart swell to think about.

One of the reasons I have had a hard time dealing with this situation is because I made the decision to have a second child on my own.  In making that decision the last thing in the world I wanted to have happen was to have to look to all the (amazing) people around me and tell them to step it up because of a decision that I made.  And I am disappointed that is what has happened.  But back when I thought about having a second child as a single mother, and back when people around me thought I was insane for making that decision, I knew about my support group.  When I told people that I had more support than most people who were in a relationship I don't think people really realized what I meant.  This is what I meant.  I hate the fact that I have to call on my loved ones to step it up and help me out.  But the fact is that I have an amazing group of people around me who are willing to do that, even when I refuse to ask.  And it is because of all of them that I know I will make it through these next few months.  I couldn't do it without them and I am humbled to have them in my life.  Hopefully one day I can repay the favor to each and every one of them.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Chill Out Nelly!

That's basically what my favorite nurse told me today at my appointment.  Things are moving along fine.  My blood pressure is much better on the medication, which means it is working.  The cramps that I am feeling are probably just braxton hicks and aren't doing anything to move me toward labor.  The "visual changes" that I am experiencing aren't great, but since there hasn't been any significant change in them we aren't too worried.  They are doing lab work every other week to watch my liver and kidney functions and so far those are all fine.  And the thing I was worried most about?  The lack of movement by this baby?  She didn't seem too concerned but after I burst into tears and confessed that I felt like I was totally failing this pregnancy and therefore my unborn child and that I was petrified that she wasn't getting what she needed from me and was going to end up a special needs child because of something I was doing wrong...she decided to put me on the monitor for a while.

I should point out that my nurse is fabulous.  So is my doctor for that matter.  And she gave very serious validity to how I was feeling and helped me realize that the stress I am under, just in life in general and of course more pointedly because of the way this pregnancy is progressing, is the major source of everything going wacko in my head.  And when she hooked me up to the monitor...well I ended up feeling like a class A jackass.

You know how when there is something wrong with your car you will drive around for weeks hearing that annoying little clicking noise every single time you accelerate, but then when you finally get around to taking it to the mechanic, he test drives it and for the first time in months, your car drives perfectly smoothly and WITHOUT that damn click?  That is what happened to me today.  I sat on the table telling her how I maybe feel this baby move like 3 times a day, and that is sometimes being generous.  And how even when she does move, it is a quick movement and then all movements cease after that again.  Of COURSE when she hooks me up to the monitor, this baby decides it is time to practice her gymnastics.  FOR THE FIRST TIME IN HER GODDAMN LIFE!!  I swear, she moved more in the twenty minutes that I was monitored than she has moved all week long combined.  So of course I felt like an idiot.  Lovely nurse quietly came in and told me she was rocking and rolling and her heart rate was great and that she is clearly having a grand old time in there and she is just already tormenting me.  Then she smiled and gave me a hug and told me to hang in there and that she would see me next week.

I needed that, I guess.  I think after the past few weeks I just needed to have an appointment where they looked at me and said, "All looks great...carry on.  See you next week."  Every week I hoped for that and all my previous appointments had definitely NOT ended that way.  Hopefully now that one has I will be able to chill the fuck out and settle into this new way of life.  Bed rest sucks.  There is no doubt about it.  It sucks even more when you're self employed and are literally losing hundreds of dollars a day while doing it, but it is just what my reality is going to be for a while.  I had gotten myself so worked up that I honestly believed that there was no way I was going to be able to deliver a healthy baby out of all of this, and it was killing me.  But today gave me that glimmer of hope.  The hope that my baby really is fine in there, and that if I actually listen to what the doctors say and try to relax a little, that there is a possibility that I could deliver a healthy baby who doesn't have to live in the NICU for the first couple months of her life.  I had honestly lost the hope for that.  Today gave me some of that back.  And hopefully next Friday (when I will start to get a NST on the baby every appointment) will confirm it again.  And I will just keep going.  And I will be able to do this until this baby is big enough to be delivered and taken home safely.

I am 31 weeks 3 days today.  If I can manage all of the above the goal is to get this baby to around 38 weeks and then we will proceed with our scheduled c section.  Just a little over 6 weeks until that time.  I can do that, right?  :)

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Nervous Nelly

That's what you could call me these days.  I am a walking ball of nerves.  All the time.  Seriously.  I am doing my very best to hold it together and act like it doesn't feel like my entire world is falling apart around me, but inside my brain, that's exactly what it feels like.  I guess I never expected this to be this hard emotionally.  I knew that pregnancy would be hard physically.  It was last time and I expected it to be this time.  But what I didn't expect was that every single plan that I made would somehow fall apart and I would be left floundering around in a world that is so far from the one I had planned.

I am an anal retentive virgo and I pre-plan for pretty much everything in my life.  I plan ahead at all times.  I don't like surprises and I am most definitely NOT a "go with the flow" kind of girl.  I am probably painting a pretty ugly picture of myself here, but it is what works for me.  When I decided to get pregnant with my second child, it was NOT on a whim.  I planned for almost a year before I decided to actually try and get pregnant.  I planned how I would financially take care of myself and the baby, I planned how I would pay for and manage maternity leave, I planned for future benefits for myself and my child, and I even planned the birth around my work schedule (The Boy was born in January; NOT a good month for a bookkeeper to have a child).  And even in the planning stages I would think of what might work and then "throw it out to the universe" and tell myself if it is meant to happen, it will.  If it isn't meant to happen then it won't.  I did that with finding a donor, I did that once I met the donor and wasn't sure how exactly reliable he would be to show up at just that perfect time of the month.  I did it with the time of the year.  I even did it to some extent with my clients and finances.  I needed to give myself a significant raise to afford my new adventure and this meant telling some clients that either they would pay a higher rate or lose me.  In all of those instances, and many others, things just fell into place.  It all worked into this perfect master plan that I had created.  I was almost smug about it.  This must mean that I am MEANT to have another child.  The universe is telling me so...

Fast forward to two weeks ago when things started to fall OUT of plan.  Bed rest at 29 weeks pregnant.  Certainly NOT part of the plan.  Financial stability; out the window.  Healthy baby; perhaps not in the cards.  All of these really scary things began to fuck up my perfect plan and frankly I am not sure how to deal with all of that.  I would like to say that I am putting everything back out into the universe and trusting that it is all going to end up okay.  I would love to walk around with that kind of security.  But I don't.  I am petrified.  And it shakes me to my very core.

Every Friday I have my weekly doctors appointment.  So here I sit on a Thursday night quite literally shaking in my boots.  Two Fridays ago my blood pressure was through the roof and I was put on bed rest.  Then last Friday I was checked into the hospital for what was supposed to be routine monitoring but turned out to be anything but that.  What is tomorrow going to bring?  I am so scared to find out.  All week long I have been walking around with one hand on the phone ready to call my doctor over things I am worried about, only to ultimately decide NOT to make the phone call because I somehow convince myself I am being paranoid.  But with an actual, real doctors appointment tomorrow all of my fears could be confirmed.  Or I could walk out of there with a pat on the back and a nice "See you next week."  I have no clue.

My biggest fear is one that every expectant mother probably has, but it's a fear that one doesn't even want to say out loud.  But I am going to tackle my fear and say it.  I am afraid that this baby isn't healthy.  There.  I said it.  I am absolutely frantic with this fear.  And the reason for it?  This baby doesn't move as much as I think it should.  I remember The Boy moving all the time and feeling him subtly and not-so-subtly move throughout the entire day.  The Girl doesn't do that.  She moves around maybe 4 or 5 times a day.  And that's it.  And that is counting the three times that she gets the hiccups.  There aren't the constant little rolls and shifts of movement.  All day long I think about how long it has been since she last moved, and if I have perhaps done something wrong to not give her enough oxygen, or to cut off her blood supply, or...ten thousand other things.  Then it gets to a point where it has been like 4 hours since I felt anything and I finally reach for that phone to call my doctor when I will feel a little shift in movement.  Does that tiny shift negate the past 4 hours of non-movement?  Is that enough?  Does that "count?"  Do I reset the internal clock inside of my head?

And the thing is that I know that if I call the doctor they have to bring me in.  Most likely send me directly to labor and delivery.  I know they can't get a phone call from a patient that says I am concerned about reduced fetal movement and just respond with, "Oh, I am sure you are just being paranoid...your daughter is great.  Don't worry at all."  And that is really what I want to hear.  But I swear, if I called the doctor every time I was freaked out about this, I would NEVER leave the hospital.  So then I talk myself down off the bridge and decide that all babies are different and that I am being over paranoid and that she is probably just fine.  But as soon as those thoughts exit my head, the fear takes over again.  It is an evil cycle and one that I go through literally every single moment of every single day.  Add to that the flashes of light and halos that I am still seeing (I know, sign of preeclampsia, but I take my blood pressure and it is fine...), and the menstrual cramps that come on and off and the tightening of my belly and I am just a walking ball of nerves.  Nervous Nelly.  That's me.

So tomorrow at 10:00am I go back for my next checkup.  I am so nervous I could puke.  Will I make it through?  Will I get sent to the hospital?  Will I have to have the baby?  Will my daughter be born this early and have to live in the NICU for the first two months of her life?  Will I be able to do ANY part of this pregnancy successfully?  Because right now, I sorta feel like I am failing at all of it.  Failing to make a healthy baby, failing to take care of my already-born family, failing to finish out my work, and failing to keep my sanity.  The good news is that apparently to the outside observer I seem like I am keeping my shit together quite nicely.  The Boy doesn't see any breakdowns, my clients seem to think I am on top of everything, and all the wonderful people around me tell me how impressed they are that I am handling everything so well.  On the contrary people...if you only knew what was going on inside of my brain...

I will update after my appointment tomorrow.

I need to add a thanks to all the wonderful comments and emails I have received.  For the past three years when I just read blogs and didn't have one of my own I would read posts where people talked about how much it meant to have the support of their silent friends on the internet.  Now that I am in this position it really is amazing to realize that there are so many people out there who have gone through similar situations and MUCH worse situations than mine and when those people take the time out to send a kind word, it really does mean more than I could ever explain.  So thanks for that.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Such A Big Boy!

So this was last night...The Boy's very last night in his crib...  Here he is sound asleep (the flash was used, this picture was actually taken at like 10:00 at night) with his Binky in his mouth, with his Thomas sheets and blanket and with his Curious George book.  And of course the Lambie.  The Lambie is always close by him...

And then today at about 3:00pm his new Big Boy bed was finally delivered.  Here is the finished product complete with his fire truck blanket and pillow set...
And here he is after getting home from school to see his new bed.  He was SO excited!!  He came running into the house telling me, "I big boy now.  I three.  I seepa my new big boy bed tonight.  Baby [girl] gonna seep in my crib now..."  He talked about it all afternoon and spent all afternoon and evening hanging out in his new bed reading books and playing and talking about what a big boy he was...
And before bed, we altered our bedtime routine a little bit to include the now nightly reading of a book before bed (I couldn't fit my big self in his crib to do this before).  So we watched "fish" (which is really the Shallow Sea portion of the series Planet Earth) and had some pediasure, then we brushed our teeth, and then we headed to our new bed to read a book before bed.  (Of course our Handy Manny tools had to be a part of the entire process).
And then at his regular bedtime, I put him in his new big boy bed and told him how proud I was of him for being such a big boy.  And how special he was for giving his new little sister his "bed for babies."  We sang our sunshine song and did our kisses and I slipped out the door as he told me, "I no pay Mommy.  I just seep.  In da morning I call out 'MOMMY!' and you a come and get me."  "That's right my sweet," I told him.  And then I went out and wondered how many times he would get up and torture me.  In his old room (soon to be become the nursery) I have the video monitor set up, but I didn't move it over to his new room, so I only had the old school baby monitor to go with.  So I couldn't spy on what was actually going on.  But I heard nothing.  Not one peep.  And sure enough...when I just went in to check on him, this is what I found...
My sweet big boy angel sound asleep in his new Big Boy bed.  I am certainly not trying to jinx the fact that he went to sleep without any problems, and who knows what tomorrow night will bring?  Or who knows what will happen when we try the afternoon nap in our new bed? (He naps at school Monday through Thursday).  But for tonight?  My precious little dude just took the next step OUT of babyhood and into boyhood.  And I am just so proud of him I could burst!