Sunday, April 24, 2011

In The Middle

I took The Girls to the park today, and as The Little One ran behind The Big One, I saw how much they look alike, pony tails swinging, and I could Just picture The Littlest One following behind in a few years. The Little One was following her big sister, as usual, trying to do whatever The Big One was doing. It really made me wonder what it will be like when The Little One becomes The Middle One.
Middle children are special. They have their own unique sets of challenges and needs. They don't get to be the first to do things, and they aren't the baby.  They have to carve out their own place in this world.
I worry about The Little One, and what will happen when she isn't the baby.  While she has a big personality, I worry and want to make sure she doesn't get lost in the shuffle.
She is a fantastic child.  I expect her to be quite the comedian as she gets older.  I also expect her to be the trouble maker, with some devious plot in the works at all times.
In a way, I suppose that I should consider her the lucky one.  She gets to be both an older sister, and a younger sister.  She gets to have a big sister to help her along her way, and have someone to look to when she just can't come to mom.  She also gets to be a big sister for someone else, which is a very cool thing.
I'm not sure where she will go in her new role, but I truly hope she takes it somewhere fantastic.  I hope she makes the best out of her new adjustment, and I promise to do my best as her mom to see that she knows how special she is, always.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

From Two to Three

Running a moms group, I get to hear lots of birth stories, and meet many many mothers and pregnant moms to be.  Perhaps because I had such a terrible experience last time around, I am very aware of pregnant moms, and not telling them my birth story, or any horror story about being pregnant for that matter.  I don't think that pregnant women need the extra stress of worrying about what happened to anyone else.  Pregnancy is stressful enough.  I think sometimes people forget that, though.

In my case, I can't tell you how many times I have heard how hard it is to go from two to three children in the last few months, even from very good friends.  Apparently, three is that magic number where you are suddenly out numbered as a parent, and the world becomes totally overwhelming.  Three is supposedly more stressful than just about any other number, it is worse than four or five.  This is the make it or break it point, where you go from a normal family, to a big family.

Maybe I am a moron for not being concerned, but I'm not, really.  At least, no more concerned than when I went from one to two.  It may be the fact that The Big One is so much older, she is almost 8 now, that I don't have to worry as much.  She is capable of not only taking care of herself, with in reason, but helping out with her younger sister.  The Big One can make a sandwich, get a bowl of cereal, a granola bar, a cup of milk, or what ever they need.  She and The Little One go out to play in the back yard, and she watches her, at least somewhat.  They sit on the couch together and play on the Wii for as long as I will let them, and the same for the computer.  While it isn't her job to take care of her sister, and I would never totally rely on her, I know she can be a great help to me, and really can do a lot.  For that matter, at 4, The Little One can do a lot for herself, too.  While I do have to remind her to wipe her tush still, I don't have to go to the bathroom with her.  She can dress herself, if she is so inclined on any given day.  She will even play on the computer by herself for a long time, if I log her onto a good website.  If I put juice boxes and things at her disposal, she can get them out of the fridge, too.  There is a lot of self sufficiency, if she will just do it.  So, while I certainly will have three children, I won't have three small children.  I will have two children who don't need constant attention, and only one who does.  I will have an older child who will be able to help out, and will even enjoy some of the things that have to be done while caring for either the baby or The Little One.  Yes, My Husband and I will be outnumbered with there being more children than parents, but I guess, as much as he is gone, I live my life that way, anyway.  My concern isn't that there will be three, but that I will be alone with a new baby very soon.  That scares me far more than how many of them there are.

I kind of feel like we will settle in to three pretty easily.  I know there will be challenges, but that is to be expected with every new child.  Each new life is different, and none of them come with instructions for their particular model.  You always have to figure things out as you go.  This addition will be the same.  WE will figure it out.  We will all adjust.  It may not be easy, and at times I may feel like they are going to get the best of me, but it won't last.  Somehow, three just feels right to me, like this is how life is supposed to be.
I am no fool.  I am ready for the challenges, but I welcome them instead of fearing them.  We will be better than alright.  I think our family of 5 is going to be great.

Friday, April 22, 2011

The Final Appointment ReCap

Today was my last normal OB appointment before the baby comes.  My Dr and I discussed everything, and she "poked around" quite a bit, trying to see if there could be any other complications before we get in there.  We had a nice long chat.  It is a little difficult, because I have two Drs, with two totally different specialties, doing two totally different surgeries, and we need to be able to meet the needs of both.  AS far as my OB is concerned, though, it should be pretty simple for her.  The general surgeon will open and close.  As she told me today, her only concern is my uterus, and what is in it.  Everything else will be up to the other Dr.

The biggest concern for her today was surprisingly anesthesia.  She isn't sure they can do anything adequately, except knock me out.  Before she examined me, she talked about spinal anesthesia, and I explained that I received a spinal during my last c-section, and that it started to wear off.  So, I would prefer an epidural.  As soon as she looked at my scar, she said she wasn't surprised that it wore off.  The height of the scar is too high for pretty much any spinal anesthesia, and that there would have been problems, some thing that was argued before the butchers at Balboa ended up doing what was, according to the anesthesiologist himself, physically easier for him to do.  My OB said that when I speak to anesthesia, they may have concerns, and that they may end up needing to give me general anesthesia.  I hope not.  My hope is for the epidural, and if need be, then they can knock me out after the baby comes.  I don't do well with general anesthesia, though.  I have low normal blood pressure (shocking for a fat girl, but true), and I think that may be part of why I don't wake up well.  I also get really sick from it.  So, if we can possibly avoid that, I want to, but I also don't want to repeat the terror of my last c-section, laying there realizing that I was starting to get feeling back while people are actually cutting on me.

I have faith, though, that this time, the Dr.s there will have my best interests in mind, and not the ease of the procedure, when they make decisions.  I also intend to push for what I want, as long as it is safe, at each step of the process.  That's all I can do.  Now, we wait for Thursday.  I have one more monitoring appointment on Tuesday, which is pretty much nothing, and then we will have her Thursday morning.
I'm excited, and nervous.  I ready or at least as ready as I can be mentally and emotionally.  Ready to start the next chapter of our lives.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Somebody Take That Bowling Ball, Please

Right now, I am full term, and were I to go into labor, the baby would be fine.  I, however, wouldn't.  Until my Mom comes in 5 more days, I would have to scramble to find someone to watch The Girls for us.  Since I won't be having a nice, normal vaginal delivery, I'm going to be in the hospital for probably 5 days, and will need My Husband there the entire time.  That means I really, really, need to stay pregnant until she gets here.  That, though, may be difficult.  Right now, I feel like someone shoved a bowling ball up my va-jay-jay, and it is barely hanging in there.  I swear it feels like it could drop out at any moment.  This child is pushing more than I have ever felt before.  Sometimes as I am walking, it feels as though if I were to take one more step, she would break my water and just push on through.
It is pretty crazy to walk around like this and is why I prefer just hanging out on the couch for now.  We don't have much longer, and in a few days, the bowling ball will be gone.  Then, instead of carrying her around down below, I'll be carrying her around in my arms, which I am sure will be much more comfortable.

Friday, April 15, 2011

The Dr Said To Stay Pregnant, But I Don't Think They Heard Him

Today, I realized that my family is trying to kill me.  Well, if they aren't trying to kill me, they are absolutely going against Dr's orders, and they are trying to make me go into labor, two weeks before I should.

Today has been a long, long day.
It started when My Husband, back from a month at a training mission, thought we all needed to get up, and get out of the house as soon as possible.  I'm tired.  I'm really pregnant, and two stores a day is about all I can muster.  We have a lot to do, though, in preparation for The Little One's birthday party, which we are going to have after all.  So, we headed out, and hit the Dollar Tree, in search of stuff for the goody bags.  The Girls were all over everything in that place.  They couldn't keep their hands off anything.  I swear it was like moths to a thousand brightly colored, plastic wrapped flames.  The worst part is always at the very end for me.  There, behind all the registers, are what looks like about 100 helium filled mylar balloons with ribbon hanging down.  The Girls always go nuts, and jump for the balloons, even though we are not about to get one.  It isn't so much the balloon jumping that is the problem, but the fact that they don't pay attention to anything else going on around them from the moment they get near the balloons, and nearly get run over by every shopper who checks out around us.  I have to grab them over and over again.  I'm surprised neither one got plowed down by the time we finally got out of there.

After that torture was finally over, we headed over to the WalMart next door, just to add a little salt to my wounds.  Walmart is often torture by itself, children or not, but taking them with you just amps up the pain level you have to endure.
As if all that hadn't been enough, we needed to hit Target, too.  No seriously, three stores, two kids, and one very pregnant momma.
When we finally got out of there, we headed to my OB's office for one of my last two checkups.  Now, if you read my blog, you probably read about the last time I took The Big One, and I thought my ears were going to bleed.  This time, though, I was so thankful that My Husband was here, to take care of them while I got to go in and actually pee int he cup by myself, and help distract them once we got in the office.  I was wrong, though.  Very wrong.  While I did get to pee by myself, he apparently thought the story of what she did to me last time was so funny, that he needed to see it for himself.  As soon as the medical assistant closed the door on the exam room, and we were by ourselves, he walked right over to the little desk, picked up a model of a Nuva Ring, and ask the girls what it was, by name.  It was intentional torture.  I thought I was going to die.  HE started pointing out all kinds of things, but they were stuck on the Nuva Ring.  They wanted to know what it was.  I indicated as nicely as I could that he was to stop, but he just couldn't stop himself.  I didn't want him to answer them, but find a way to distract them.  So, he started showing them other models and diagrams, on purpose, to see what they would say.  They were still on the Nuva Ring, though.  It kept getting louder and wilder in there.  Finally, I told him he would answer any questions that he caused himself, hoping that he would stop instigating things.  It didn't matter, though.  By that point, they were both chanting "Nuva Ring" in unison and the chant was getting louder and louder.  I know the entire staff heard my two children chanting "Nuva Ring, NUVA RING, NUVA RING" before i could get them to stop.  They had to have an answer to what it was.  They got one.  My husband my be a prankster, but when it comes to our girls, he is also a prude.  Which is why only making him answer the questions would in any way have an effect on his behavior.
He told them that was the name of the special ring lions jump though in the circus, and showed them the model, which had the clear ring standing on its side, similar to what you might actually see.
No.  Really.  He did.
I'm not sure what I was supposed to do at that point, but bad parenting or not, I left it be.  I also "indicated my displeasure" every time he started to show them something else.  If I felt like I was going to die the last time we went through this, I realize now that was nothing in comparison to what he did today.  I was actually praying under my breath for the Dr to walk in.  I've never been so thankful to be examined by a Dr in my life.
The day went on.  There was more torture.  More walking.  More of me trying not to just lay down and die in the middle of a store, but none of it can compare to what he did to me in the office.
Just wait, though.  When they go to school and tell all their friends about the Nuva Ring at the circus, I'm letting him field those phone calls.

As Long as it isn't me...

In the vein of the CISWIAP post, I thought I would share this.

The other day, The Girls and I are walking out of the grocery store, and I was done.  I was tired, hurting, and really couldn't take it anymore.  Suddenly The Big One says "Ohhh...look!  Something is leaking!"
I look down to see a smallish puddle of clear liquid right behind me.  I paused, checked my self, and said " long as it isn't me, I don't care" and kept rolling.  She looked at me, got grossed out and confused at the same time, and dared not to ask any questions.  I think she is finally learning sometimes, she really doesn't want to know.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

37 Weeks

Today, I feel like doing some sort of 37 week celebration dance.  Not that I could, even if I really, really wanted to at this point nor do I want to scare my small children by shaking everything that I have right now, but I do feel like it.  I'm thrilled to have hit 37 weeks today.  At 37 weeks, the baby is considered full term, and in the beginning, we weren't sure that we could get here.  So, being here, having her be healthy, and knowing she is getting all I can give her is thrilling.  It hasn't been easy, and I still have two weeks left before the c-section/surgery, but I would be willing to bet that these last two weeks will fly by.  We still have a lot to do, and I have both girls here.  Once My Husband gets back, which will be very soon, we are going to be going crazy with last minute preparations.  I'm just so excited today, and beginning to let go of all the worry and stress that has engulfed so much of this pregnancy.  I do realize that I will still have a big surgery ahead, with a long recovery, but once its done, but I can't wait to start healing and heading toward a normal like again, with my whole, complete family at home.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

A World Of Difference

Today, I had my first real experience with the hospital I will be delivering at.  My last experience delivering a child didn't go so well, and my experience from start to finish with that place should probably end up in some "world's worst" contest.  It is one of those things that make me wonder why we, as a society, subject out military personnel and families to such terrible care as I received.

Today, though, I got to remember what a real hospital, with caring professionals who actually like their jobs, is like.  It was like a breath of fresh air.  It was fantastic.  Were talking about a place where not only will I have my child, but I will have a very difficult surgery, and I felt good there.  That says a lot.  It wouldn't be surprising for me, considering all the medical profession in general has put me through, for me to hate Drs and hospitals.  This hospital, though, made me feel comfortable.  I felt taken care of.  I would imagine that is how it is supposed to be, I just didn't get that the last time I delivered, and ended up in fear from then on.

From the moment that I walked in the main entrance, though, I could tell there was a huge difference.  The people were smiling and helpful.  They took care of everything as quickly as they could.  Everyone made sure I knew where I was going, and what was going on.  Then, once I actually got up to the Antenatal Testing area, I was greeted by Norma, who is probably going to go down as one of the nicest, sweetest nurses I have ever met.  She was not only super sweet, but she took the time to explain things that no one else ever has to me.  When you have someone who is truly knowledgeable and caring there, it makes a world of difference in your experience.  I think I could have ask her anything, and she would have sat and explained it  until I was totally satisfied, as though she had nothing else to do, when I could see just how bust they really were.  She was instantly personally invested in my care, even though she must get so many patients each and every day.  When all the testing was done, she ask me for a hug.  Seriously.

I have to say, that if this is really the indicator for how the rest of my experience will be, even though what I will be going through won't be easy, I think this will be the best way possible to finish out my child bearing days.  I'm so thankful that I was able to get to a really wonderful place, and be surrounded by caring professionals this time.  Hopefully, when I get to tell my next birth story, it will be a good one for a change.

Monday, April 11, 2011

No More Brown Bagging!

I was reading this article about lunches from home being banned in a school, and I really couldn't believe my eyes.  The idea that a school would actually ban children from bringing their lunch from home just blew me away.  As a parent who packs a lunch every single day, I have to say that would really upset me.  My daughter may not have any particular food allergies, but she is one of the pickiest children on the face of this earth, and I work very hard to send her with well balanced, nutritional meals that she will actually eat.  In fact, I only send her with a few  different combinations, but it is enough to keep it from getting totally boring, and the best part of it is that she actually eats it.
Every now and then on a whim, I pull out the school cafeteria menu for the month, and we go over it.  Occasionally, There may be something she says she would eat.  One day, it was the fruit, but only if they served grapes like that usually do, not on days when they served oranges, even though they don't tell you ahead of time which fruit it is.  She might be willing to try the cheese pizza, but if she didn't like it, she would never eat it again.  She is willing to drink their milk, because she actually loves all milk.  I think that is about it so far.
San Diego actually has very nutritional lunches in their schools.  I would love for her to eat there in the school.  I could save a ton of time, and because of the particular things I buy for her, I'm pretty sure a $2 a day lunch would save me money some days over the organic, super specialized foods that I buy for her.
None of that matters, though, if she looks at the food, thinks it is gross, and decides she would rather starve than eat it, and believe me, she would starve until she came home.
So, I'm not keen on the idea that school get to decide that my child has to starve.  I'm not keen on the idea that they would force me to pay for school lunches, either.  What if I had a child who wasn't picky, we didn't qualify for free or reduced lunch, but I could save money by sending them decent but cheaper foods?  Should I be forced to spend more than I can afford?
I think the school is crossing a line, here, as a public school.  If the school were private, it wouldn't be an issue to me.  You have  a choice when you select a private school, and you can either take what they tell you to do and be happy with it, or find another school.  Not so much with a public school.
I have to agree with some teachers I know who think that the focus should be more on teaching, and less on feeding our children.  I'm not saying that schools shouldn't offer food, they should, but I think we have our priorities all wrong when it comes to our educational system as it is now.  Children who excel and can pass all the standardized tests often get left out while teachers are forced to teach to those who need help to pass.  We worry that they are getting too many calories, but don't make sure there are enough books.  As a society, we need to re-evaluate what our educational priorities are, and start seeing to it that our kids get what they need, but not including more than what their reach should be.  Parents should parent, schools should educate.  I think it would just work better that way.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Clingier Than Cling Wrap

I know that pretty much the entirety of my pregnancy has been difficult in some way or another, but honestly, the last few weeks have been ridiculous.  Most of my difficulties are magnified by or a direct result of the fact that My Husband is currently out of town.  Not being able to rest or relax, and having little to no help, The Big One does help occasionally, but lets get real, she is 7, makes getting through daily life at 36 weeks plus a bit difficult.  Raising two children physically by myself at this point is very demanding, let alone emotionally.  Last night, my husband called, and before the phone call was over, all three of us on this end were in tears.  The Girls were both crying because I wouldn't let them sleep with me, they miss him, and they were overly tired.  I ended up crying because he kept asking if I was ok, and I really wasn't.  I was just trying to hold it together on the phone.  It is all very frustrating.
Another piece of straw on the already over loaded haystack is that we are on spring break, and while part of me is glad, it is also adding to the frustration.  I love having The Big One here.  As I said, she can help sometimes.  She looks after her little sister some, and its nice to have her be near, when I know I am going to be more unavailable to her soon.  The problem is, though, that she also knows I am going to be more unavailable soon.  She is very intelligent, and also very sensitive.  She knows that I will be in the hospital, and is worried about me and the baby.  She doesn't like that fact that both her mother and father will be at the hospital for a few days.  While she will have the absolute best person in the world here with her, and the only person that could possible truly console her, my mom aka MimMim, it doesn't take her concerns away.  So, she has become clingy to the umpteenth factor.  She needs to be practically sitting in my lap all day, and let me assure you, I don't have any lap left for her to sit on.  I am tired.  I am in pain from the staples in my abdomen that are constantly being stretched most of the time now.  Kicks to my right side are painful, as I think something tore there trying to make room for the baby.  It isn't easy to have some one want to be on top of you, no matter how much you love them, when you feel like crap.
I am trying, but I know it isn't what she wants.  Today, we made chocolate chip cookies together from scratch.  She helped me make dinner, too, and then we watched a movie, with her half laying on me throughout most of it.  When it was time for bed, though, she just didn't want to go.  She fought.  She cried when I made her go to her own room, and had a bad attitude about it, as though I was being mean to her.  It isn't mean, though.  I've had them in my bed for a week, and had very little rest myself because of it.  I need to be able to lay in my bed without being kicked, hit, rolled on, or otherwise kept from sleeping through most what little of the night I actually get to sleep right now.
A few minutes after bed, she comes back in to my room, and I have to give her some praise here, she managed to get a few more minutes out of bed, before I ever realized what she was doing.  Sometimes, The Big One makes me think of a line from Wizards of Waverly Place, the tv show on Disney.  There is a line from a principal to the main character where he tells her that she isn't evil, but has evil genius.  Often, I think of that line with The Big One.  As I have said, she is very intelligent and sometimes, that doesn't work out so well for me.  Tonight, as I lay in bed, her standing over me, it took me a good five minutes into our discussion on Harry Potter, then on the the Twilight series and when she would be able to read them, as I love them so much, for me to realize what she was doing.  Brilliant.  She is absolutely brilliant.  Once I called her on it, and she smirked in a way that confirmed her diversionary tactic has managed to work to some degree, she then got very upset, nearly started to cry as she saw that I meant she was not going to be in my bed tonight, and huffed out of the room.  She wanted to be with me and I desperately need space.  Those two things don't coexist well, at all.
The Little One is always clingy when Dad is gone.  She just is.  I am generally prepared for that, but to have The Big One jump on that band wagon, and cling to it for dear life, makes it nearly impossible to keep my sanity.
As a parent, we have to walk a very fine line sometimes.  We have to balance their emotional needs with our own, or at least without forgoing the entirety of our emotional needs.  Generally, I would say that we, or at least I, tend to give more to the child, but there are times when you just can't.  I dont' think I am being neglectful in any way.  In fact, we are doing a lot together.  I can't tell you how many times I have sat and played Super Mario Bros on the Wii until I felt like my eyes were going to bleed lately, just to be with her, doing something she wanted.  We just finished reading "The Secret Garden" together.  Like I said, she isn't really wanting for normal levels of attention, its the extra attention and time that she is in need of that is the problem.  I can't do it all, though, and that is what makes it heart breaking.  I cant' be everything to all of them all the time.  There isn't enough of me.  Think of it in mathematical terms.  It really isn't possible to give 100% to essentially three children, as the time i need for myself to rest is really a direct result of the third child.  Like each and every person, my time only adds up to 100%.  So, I can give them each 33.3%, but that is the best I can do.  O can juggle it around, and spread it where it needs to be, but I can't totally neglect anyone and give someone else all of their attention and time.  Its just a fact.  I am trying to find extra things for her to do, to occupy her time and attention on her own.  I am trying to reassure her that things will be ok, but until she calms down a little, it is going to be rough around here.  I'm very thankful that her dad will be home very soon.  That will change things a bit.  That gives us another person to help take her mind off of her concerns, and spend time with each of them.
Until he gets here, though, and then MimMim comes as well, we just have to walk that line as much as we can.  I have to balance everything that I can, the best way I can manage, and I can do no more.  I'm really hoping the last few weeks pass quickly for us all, and then we can all adjust to our new lives, with our new little life here.

Friday, April 8, 2011

They May Have Gotten It

I know by posting this I am totally jinxing myself for tomorrow, and the next week, but today, some how, miraculously, my chldren may have actually began to grasp the notion that I can't handle much more.
They let me rest....a little.  Which is far better than normal.  They let me lay in my bed and they played on the computer, watched tv, or just played, for quite a while today.
I was able to read some today.  I was able to just chill a tiny bit, and I needed that more than I can even begin to explain.
I praying by some miracle that this last, just as little while, or really as long as it possibly can.  It's really fantastic.  I feel great.  Thank you, God, Universe, or whatever you want to thank, for the small miracles that really mean the most.

Hey Congress, You Get to Tell Her

Today, I am writing what will probably be my most hate filled, and immature letter ever to my elected Congressional representatives.  I'm taking a cue from all those angry people who called in to the call center I used to work at, the first year that Toys R Us did online shopping (yes, I was there, and no, please don't speculate on my true age because of it).  So many orders did not go through for Christmas, and we had to deal with the parents.  I will never forget the calls we took where the parents would demand that we tell their children Santa won't be coming.  We weren't even the ones who caused the problems, we were just the messengers, aka customer service.  Congress, and be sure that I mean the entire of those elected, not just a particular party or particular house, are actually the ones who have continuously failed to do their own job, and because of that, as of midnight tonight, our pay, the pay for those who fight and risk their lives to keep our nation free, is vanishing.

We had decided to wait until my husband would be home from yet another training mission that forced him to miss The Little One's birthday, one of the many his job and commitment have forced him to be away during, to have her a belated birthday party.  We realize now that he may not be here next year, and wanted to give him that small opportunity to actually be a participant in his own child's birthday festivities for once.  I'm pretty sure that he has missed more birthday's for his own family than he has been here for because of his job.  So this, for us, was a big deal.  It certainly was for him, and for our daughter.  Now, though, because of your inability to work together on BOTH sides, your overall objective to only allow your own extreme fiscal idealism, and refusal to compromise, we have no choice but to cancel that party.  You see, My Husband and I discussed it, and because of the fact that we don't know how long this pay freeze will go on, and when he will start getting regular paycheck again, we felt it fiscally irresponsible to have a party that we would certainly overspend on, with no money coming in, or at least not knowing when it would start coming back.  Yes, we understand that eventually we would get paid again, but we just don't know when, and have no intention of floating our entire lives on credit until then.  Perhaps you, those who write the budget, should take some pointers from us.

I wish we were still being paid, and getting paychecks while this freeze goes on.  After all, my husband and those who stand beside him and work with him, have fulfilled and continue to full fill their obligations to their job.  They are all still training, deploying, fighting, serving, or what have you, and haven't failed to perform their basic job functions as you have.  Yet, you will continue to get paychecks while we, who make a pittance of what you do, don't.  I hope you are proud of yourselves for showing the world how much better and more important you are than those who serve in uniform.  I hope you feel good about yourselves when you lay down at night, and think of those who will be frantic to pay their bills, or even feed their families, something no member of the military should ever need to worry about.  I can't even imagine the anguish of someone stationed overseas, in a war zone, worried sick about whether or not his family was able to buy groceries, and being unable to even check on them.  I know I certainly could not sleep with that on my conscience.  At least, for us, at this point, it only means canceling a birthday party, but one that will cause great heart ache, as there will be no more time to reschedule after this, than you can imagine.
So, in line with many angry parents before me, you tell her.  I've already broken my husband's heart in our discussion, and I don't have it in me to break the heart of a now four year old little girl as well. So, email me, and I'll give you our phone number.  You tell her that she can't have the party her daddy promised her before he left.  You tell her she won't get to have a birthday party with him again probably until he retires, and that because you just couldn't do your job well enough, her parents had to cancel it.  Tell her it was your fault.  I'll gladly take a picture of her face the moment you tell her, her eyes filling with tears, so that image, along with many others, can fill your mind when you lay down at night.
Unless, of course, you would like to collectively do the right thing, and defer your own pay checks to those that serve so that our lives can continue on as normal, as they should.  I'm pretty sure, though, that I won't be getting that email offer.
When you get my letter, I really hope an aid passes it on to you, and you actually get to read it with your own eyes.  You should.  More over, I hope you read lots and lots of angry letters from parents, military personal, and citizens who are fed up with the way Congress is operations, and just won't take it any more.
This rant is certainly not over.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

No More Questions, Please

Today has been stressful.  We are talking seriously stressful.  It all revolves around the fact that I had a normal 36 week checkup today.  Nothing major happened and the appointment went fine as far as checking the baby and me out.  The stress is due to the fact that The Big One is out of school, and had to go with me today.  That was a mistake.  As a point of advice for all women in the future, do not take a 7 to 8 year old curious and intelligent child with you to an OB exam, unless you are fully prepared to explain everything.  I was not.  Therefore, I thought I was being tortured.

It all started at check in.  As normal, I was told to leave "a sample" in the rest room on the right.  Those of you who have been there know they mean a urine sample.  Upon hearing the word sample, though, my children picture our Sunday morning ritual Costco runs, which they have even dubbed "sample days" with things on tray for them to try.  They certainly wouldn't want to try what gets left on trays here, though.
I think The Big One has been there once before, but this time, instead of just freaking out about it, she began to question the process, and why I was doing it.  There in began my stress.  The questions weren't superficial. This child is old enough to really think things through and come up with some good ones.  She questioned the handling practice for the urine, wondering how they test it, what they test for, and so much more.  I have no idea how many questions I got ask in the restroom, but I certainly felt grilled before I got her out of there.

Then, came the appointment.  I'm not sure who decides on the decor for an OB/GYN's exam rooms either, but I would like to have words with them about now.
Today, I think the person who puts all those diagrams out, and posters on the wall was trying to send me straight to Labor and Delivery.  I'm just glad that they took my blood pressure the moment we got in there, not after sitting there, waiting for the practitioner for ten minutes.  I'm sure my numbers went up significantly.
First of all, the posters in there show everything, and I mean everything, that they possibly can. To make it even better, they are all labelled with the correct names for parts.  I got quizzed on each and every part that she could get to.  "Mom, what are mammary glands?" is not a question that I was prepared for with a 7 year old.   Of course, she wasn't too thrilled with the answer, which she found to be incredibly disgusting, either.  It wasn't disgusting enough, though, to discourage more questions.  When we got to the uterus, which we have talked about, she really got grossed out.  The thing is, and I will confess a little misleading on my part here, she hadn't connected, up to this point, the uterus with the vagina.  Every time she asks me about where the baby will come out, I can point the the big scar running down my belly, because on me that is where the baby comes out.  Just like with The Little One, they are going to do a high vertical incision that starts at my belly button and goes up.  There is no va-jay-jay necessary in the way that I deliver.  Never has been with this being my third c-section.  While I am totally truthful with her, I am also not giving her any more information than is necessary.  So, the vagina and the uteris don't need to be connected in her world.  The poster, though, threw all that out the window.
She actually ask "Wait.  So your uterus is connected to your who-ha?", our chosen label for that lovely part.
I paused for a moment, then simply confirmed that.  She was freaked out.  I think that opened an entire world of possibilities for her that she didn't even want open.
I think the part that really got to her, was when I used the word "vagina"  we don't use that word on a regular basis.  You see, not only did I have to bring them today, but unbeknownst to me, it was time for my group B strep test.  Again, if you have been there, you know, but in case you don't, they have to check for a certain bacteria, group b strep, that is commonly found in the vagina.  If you have it, they have to take certain measures when you have the baby vaginally.  As I walked in, and the medical assistant began to lay those things out, I objected, noting that my vagina was not going to be utilized in this delivery.  I told her, as I looked at The Girls, that I would much rather not do that.  She went to ask, and of course, they came back with a guilt laden answer for me.  They would prefer to do the test because if I happen to go into labor naturally, and have the baby, they wouldn't know whether or not she needed the extra measures, and they would be forced to give it to her, whether she really needed it or not.  So, I, the sucker that I am, agreed.
As The Big One is going through all of her other questions, I started undressing from the waist down.  She freaked.  Ask me what I was doing, and I explained that the nurse practitioner I was seeing was going to do a quick test.  I beat around that bush as long as I possible could before I finally just had to answer, "she is going to do the test on my vagina."  That was it.  She had enough.  She actually sat down and shut her mouth for a minute.  I think that sent even her over the edge, where I already was.  Of course, once she was able to shove that far, far down somewhere, she saw something else on the poster that attracted her attention.
I'm not even sure what else she ask.  I think my ears were bleeding too much to hear anything else.  Those had to be the longest few minutes of my life.
Thankfully, the practitioner came in, checked me out, and things were good to go pretty quickly.
I only got one more question, as I was getting dressed.  She noticed the leaves embossed onto the ceiling tiles and ask what they were for.  All I could think to answer at that point was "To give us something to stare at while they are examining us", but I knew that would only start more questions.  In stead, I just said "To be pretty.  Now move" and we, thankfully, left.
So, to the person who chooses what to put up on the walls in exam rooms, I ask you to be more considerate.  Put those things somewhere easily accessible, but not in plain view.  Please.  Please.  I beg you.  I don't think I could take another, more in depth round of questions.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

The Picture Game

I love my children.  I do.  I want to capture as many memories in pictures as possible to cherish forever.  I take pictures of them pretty much constantly.  I have literally thousands of images captured, some printed, some saved, some to scrap book, or pass out to family, or what not.  I have memory card and cd on top of memory card and cd of stored images of my beautiful girls.  I love taking their picture, and being the hams that they both are, they love it when I do.  We take random poses of the day just for fun.  We do grumpy shots, happy shots, look at my outfit shots, and anything else I can think of, just to capture them as they are in the moment, forever.

That ins't enough, though.  On top of all those I take myself, not being a professional photographer, I have special dates captured by professional photographers as well.  Several times a year, we pay big bucks for photos by someone else.  Someone with a better camera, at the very least.

When The Girls were each born, I took them in for photos.  The Big One got photos every three months, like clock work, until her first birthday.  The Little One got a modified version of that, but pretty close.  After that, we did pictures on their birthdays, Easter, and Christmas.  That would be two times a year together, and then once alone for their birthday.  That would be four sittings worth of pictures.  Since The Big One is in school now, we opt to skip her birthday pictures, and instead purchase the school photos that she gets twice a year, fall and spring.  So, now, we pay for pictures 5 times a year.  When The Littlest One comes, the first year will pretty much be spent in the portrait studio, and then afterward we will be there 6 times a year.
In all honestly, I combine anything I can at this point.  So, with both of the two younger ones having a birthday that will always be near Easter, that sitting gets combined so that we purchase less portraits, but still, were talking a whole lot of photos.
More importantly, were talking a whole lot of money.  The amount that we spend on pictures is probably obscene.  I would venture, that if we totaled together what we have spent on photos since The Big One was born, we could have bought a car with it.  I'm not saying that it would be a nice car, but we aren't talking total hoopty, either.  I know for certain that it is easy to spend as much as a car payment in each sitting, even with coupons, deals, etc.  They want you to.  They lure you in.  They have images of your children in front of you, and they keep telling you how cute they are, how beautiful that smile is, and so on.  As a parent, you feel like an ass if you don't just gush, and buy lots of pictures.  Also, I am a straight up sucker when it comes to my kids.  So, I end up buying a ton.
Not only do you spend a ton, but when you think about it, photography has to be one of the most lucrative businesses as far as profit margin goes.  While you do buy expensive equipment up front, it can't take many shoots to cover the costs of that equipment.  The printing isn't that bad.  We all know that because if you have your pictures printed at a photo printing place, even some place like Costco, they are still making a profit, and the per sheet price is pretty low.  That, and you can actually add up what it would cost to buy the sheets of photo paper and ink, and realize, those people are making bank.
It totally depends on what kind of photographer you get, but I can't imagine coming away with less than $100 a shoot.  Unless, of course, you are able to go into a Wal-Mart, take pictures, use on of their $7.99 deals that only gives you one pose, generally not the best shot they take, and walk away with just that.  I am not one of those people.  I am not strong willed enough to leave all those adorable shots of my children off in some computer, never to see the reflective glare from a photo album.  If you go to a professional to do a location shoot, you may as well think in the $200-300 minimum range.  Some of them charge location fees, and then their printing is pretty pricey.  I like to purchase the media and rights to the photos if I can, and then print my own.  That, though, is often in the $200 range for the CD.  Even school pictures are insanely expensive these days.  That CD is probably the cheapest that I have seen, though, at about $50.
We are talking a ton of cash.  Its one of those things that when you try to look at it like this, objectively with out your heart strings attached, you have to wonder why you spend so much.  It's just so hard to do, though.  People can charge that much, because we keep coming back and are end up agreeing to pay that much. I'm not by any means suggesting a boycott of photographers.  At all.  I appreciate what photographers can do.  It really is an art form, and something that I don't seem to have an aptitude for.  I have yet to be able to capture some of those gorgeous images that other people can of my children.  Maybe I don't have the eye for it.  Maybe I just need a really expensive camera, that would end up paying for itself if I quit paying photographers.  Either way, if you need me after the baby is born, just call the local J.C. Penny's studio and ask for me, I'm sure I will be there, buying yet another set of unbelievably cute prints of my children, and wincing when they tell me the total.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

It Fights Back

My life is a riot sometimes.
As a lovely late symptom of this pregnancy, I have developed mild heart burn.  I am thankful it is mild up to this point, but it still sucks.
Last night, the girls and I had a late night special snack, and then went to bed.  I'm not used to this heart burn thing, and I forget I can't eat and lay down.  They both wanted to lay in my bed and with it being the first weekend of spring break, I obliged.  I turned out the lights, and we all lay down.  Sure enough, I started to feel the heart burn creeping up on me.  I told the girls I thought I was going to have to go down stairs and get some medicine, with out telling them what it was.
The Big One pops up with "Why?  Food fighting back?"
Yes, she watches far too many commercials.
I laughed for a minute, and told her she was right.
Then, together, we sang the "Tum, tum tum tum tuuuummss" jingle.
We were both laughing.
The Little One sat up between us, rolled her eyes, grunted at us as if only to acknowledge that we had both lost it, and lay back down.
Such is my world.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

I Need A Better Comeback

I need a comeback.   I'm trying to come up with a good, pithy one.  I need something that succinctly and sharply says that you have ask a question you shouldn't have, and that you need to back off.  You see, it seems that people, meaning the public at large, think they need to question me about my child yet to be born.  They take in the fact that I have two girls with me, and then, always, instead of asking what I am having next, they just ask if the next one is a boy.  Apparently, if you have two girls, the next one MUST be a boy.  My child isn't a boy.  She is a girl, confirmed by ultrasound a couple of weeks ago.  In fact, the tech said if she were a boy, she would be shocked.  That is good enough for me.  We will have three girls.  I'm good with that.  I have come to terms with the fact that we are having all girls, and even relish it a little.  I love having girls.  I may never understand the joy of having a boy, but that's ok now.
So, why people at random seem to think it isn't, and more importantly, why they need to point out all we will be missing, is beyond me.  After I tell people that I am having another girl, they immediately get this look of sort of pity on their faces.  As if they were saying "Aw.  I'm sorry".  Then, the next question is always "did you want a boy".  This is the question that I need the pithy comeback for.  I want to stop them before they get to the followup questions like, "your husband really wanted one, didn't he", because that one pisses me off even more.  Why should my husband be disappointed with a child, no matter the gender?  Are the girls not good enough for him?  In all honesty, I get all sorts of different questions, all aimed at having me tell some random stranger just how sad I am that I didn't get a boy.  Between the facial expressions, and the questions, they make it seem as though there is something a miss with having no male child.  I get it, it would have been nice to have both, but it isn't some random stranger's place to point that out to me.  This was all mother nature, and I have no say so in the process.  So, why would you want to make someone feel bad about what they don't have and can't do anything about?  It's not as if I were to answer that I really wanted a boy, and confess that I was terribly upset about it, that my child's gender would suddenly change, nor would I want her to.  I love my girls.  I love the Littlest One, just as she is, already.
So, today, as I stood in line with The Girls, waiting for their turn in a bounce house, the lady behind me started the questions.  Yes, two girls with one on the way.  She, who had two boys, felt the need to share her pity with me.  After all, I must be pitied and maybe even shamed a little by my inability to provide a male child to my husband.
Let me assure you, neither shame nor pity should fall into the mix here.  Please, keep it to yourself.  I'm not upset.  I'm happy.  This child, whom I thought I could never carry because of all the complications I have is a blessing, just as she is.
This is exactly what I told the womyn with the boys in line behind me as well. That, and my last line to her "besides, girls are easier."  I don't know if I believe that entirely or not, but it was enough in the moment and until I can come up with a better line.