Friday, November 30, 2007

Looking Up

I want to say a huge thank you to everyone who has been so supportive during this incredibly challenging time. Things are gradually getting better and I've managed to pull myself out of the Black Pit o' Despair in which I was so gloriously wallowing.

Things aren't perfect - WH didn't magically get his job back, I'm still pretty sick and my milk didn't come back overnight, but things are moving along in those areas too.

I think the Little Geek is already trying to teach me what it's going to be like to be his mom. Just when I'd burned through all the pumped milk stored in the fridge and freezer and had tearfully consented to mix that first bottle of formula... he magically agreed to latch on and nurse. There are still issues with him not being able to nurse without a special shield thingy - it boils down to teeny tiny little babies and stupidly ginormous boobs - but the important thing is that, shield thingy aside, he's getting it directly from me now. He's gaining weight and back on the path to being a normal, healthy baby. It could still be another month of the shield thingy and pumping 8-10 times day to supplement his nursings, but we'll see. I'm much more relaxed about it now that he's actually nursing and there's a reasonable way to put a potential end date on it.

I've got to say that if I weren't a triathlete I'm not sure I could have made it through this monster sized Prozac Patch. I had to pull on every physical and emotional reserve I had to made the last 10 days happen without losing it (and I'm using the phrase "without losing it" pretty loosely here).

Triathlon taught me that some pain is good, some pain is bad, and how to decide which is which. It taught me to push through the pain when it needs to be pushed through in order to reap the benefits.

This situation forced me to evaluate if this pain - physical and emotional - was worth it, and having decided in the affirmative I was able to push through it somehow. Am still pushing through it, in fact, as I'm just now experiencing the pain of a new nursing mom since Alex got such a late start.

I'm not done with this race yet, but I can hear the finish line music in the distance.

And that's good enough for today.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Still Worth It

He's still not nursing. I'm a crying mess. I also came down with that sore throat chest cold thing that's been making the rounds (the one that nearly kept Wonderful Husband out of the delivery room with a fever of 101.4). I'm exhausted and feverish and my milk almost dried up since last night even though I'm on a punishing pumping schedule of 9 times a day. Right now it takes 3 pumpings to get enough for 1 feeding. We spent nearly 3 hours with the lactation consultant at the hospital yesterday - she went through everything in her arsenal with no success, and at one point she cried at my situation. We've been reduced to a special "finger feeder" system - it's like a milk IV.

It's SO TOTALLY not supposed to be like this. Sleepless nights and dirty diapers - sure. I signed up for that. I'm even ok with already knowing that adorable little mouth will need orthodontia when he gets bigger. But I'm not ok with knowing that later tonight, I'm going to run out of milk and have to break into the free samples of formula stashed in the pantry. Because I'm not ok with failing at my most basic function as a mammal.

It's seriously demoralizing to recognize that you're a Darwinian dead end, and that had he been born in an era without modern medicine your offspring would not have survived a week.

But I look at this little face.... and can only conclude that all the pain from the pumping and the tears and the desperation and extra work is still totally worth it. He's totally worth it.

But does it have to hurt this much? This soon?

Sunday, November 25, 2007

It's a Miracle!

And I don't mean the miracle of childbirth. But that was pretty cool too.

Today's miracle brought to you by my bathroom scale, which reports that, 6 days post-partum... I am somehow inexplicably back at my pre-pregnancy weight.

Not that my pre-pregnancy weight was anything to throw a party over. And not that being back at this weight doesn't mean I don't have twice the belly I had before my Little Geek came along and my maternity jeans are still the only ones that fit.

But considering where things are at right now (the Little Geek has decided that nursing is unnecessary and I'm a crazy lady for suggesting otherwise; I'm currently on a punishing 90 minute pump-and-feed cycle every 2 hours) I'll take what I can get in the miracle department.

I miss reading all the blogs, will catch up with everyone's adventures once the lactation consultant helps my little angel figures out how to eat again and I get more than 30 minutes at a stretch to try to do stuff like eat and shower and sleep.

And now... back to bed. For a few minutes, anyway.

Monday, November 19, 2007

It’s a Boy!

Alexander William
Born November 19, 2007 at 9:05 am
6 lbs 5 oz
20 inches

Mom went in to the hospital on Sunday night to be induced on Monday morning, but before they could get started, she went into labor on her own just before 7 am.

Alex managed to tie his umbilical cord in a knot. That, combined with an unusually fast labor of only 2 hours, kept things interesting. However, mother and baby are both doing well and expect to come home on Wednesday.


Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Make that Sunday...

Just got a call, someone else got scheduled for an induction at the same time and I'm being bumped (that tells me I'm clearly not in that bad of a situation, which I'm happy with). Revised plan (unless the castor oil works!) is to go in Sunday night.

Even my revised plans get revised! My friends are telling me to get used to it because it's just another lesson in motherhood...

I'll Have Room for Pumpkin Pie!

Unless I manage to get myself into labor before tomorrow night I'll be induced Friday morning. So it looks like the Little Geek will get to enjoy his first Thanksgiving at home with family, and this new mom will get to eat a real dinner without feet poking her poor squished tummy.

I'm not in love with the idea of an induction but am thrilled to be moving to the next step regardless of how scary the rest of life is right now.

Now (on my midwife's advice) I'm off to get me some castor oil... I guess I'll talk to y'all from the other side of this little adventure!

And I Thought the Insomnia Was Bad Before

It's 3 am. Do you know where your next mortgage payment is coming from?

This was supposed to be a gushy post about the results of my check-up. How the doctor said the baby grew quite a lot in the last week, how she sent me for an extra ultrasound because she's talking about inducing early and how I was going to find out this morning when that might be.

Instead, I get to report that Wonderful Husband got laid off.

It was yet another round of Motorola lay-off madness, and for the umpteenth time in a dozen years it looked like he'd been spared again since the other people in his group to go were informed last week. We'd literally just stopped holding our breath today... and then at noon he got a call for an impromptu meeting with his boss's boss (his boss was laid off last week).

He really is the most amazing man. While I was calling from the car to gush about the ultrasound, he was calmly pretending he wasn't 5 minutes from walking into the meeting in which he was 99% sure he was about to lose his job.

In fact, after hanging up the phone, in the 10 minutes it took me to get home, he managed to get a hold of my BF and have her come over "for a cup of tea and to play with Storm" so I wouldn't be alone when he called to break the news after his meeting.

(Yes, I thought it was a bit odd she dropped by at 3:00 on a work day, but it's not totally unusual. Her office is only 4 blocks away and sometimes she takes a little sanity break.)

So. Yeah. Let's just say I'm a bit overwhelmed. And I thought the week started out shitty when the mother-in-law's dog died on Sunday.

At least the severance will keep us in health insurance long enough to cover the birth and keep a roof over our heads through the (nobody fucking hires during the) holidays.

I think I'm going to regress into lurking mode for a while. I'll keep my Google Reader queue active and check in on everyone's adventures as much as I can. I promise I'll get up a post when the baby comes, but then I'm going to need a break while we sort out little things like the future of our entire family.

Monday, November 12, 2007

House Guest

The BF called me recently, very upset about Storm, the cat who lives in her boss's home office. Storm is a wonderful, affectionate cat whom we both care about very much. He's also a total character who does tricks like "sit" and "shake" for treats.

In order for this to make sense, you have to know the following: Her boss is an old family friend to both of us. Her parents and my in-laws go back over 30 years. They are very nice people who are generous and kind-hearted towards other people, and who have done wonderful things for us over the years. Unfortunately they also happen to be the kind of folks who treat pets as disposable. It is only because of the deep personal history that the BF and I can handle this particular aspect of their personalities. I can only give them credit for allowing us to step in when we want to without protest, because I've seen other animal owners insist on euthanizing rather than allowing someone else to help their pet.

Storm had clearly injured a rear leg and was in obvious pain. We know this because rather than hiding and sulking like a typical cat, he plopped down in front of her computer screen, stuck his leg out at her and howled. (Like I said, a total character.)

The BF felt trapped - she wanted to get the cat treatment, because she knew her boss was going to leave the decision for treatment up to their (spoiled rotten, drop-out) teenager and that he had flippantly said "just put him down." But she was about to leave town for a week to take her mom to the Mayo clinic regarding a mass on her liver (thankfully benign), a clear priority.

She convinced them to wait until she returned to do anything. Upon her return, she found that even though his leg was clearly injured and he could no longer jump onto the counter, it hadn't even occurred to them to put food or water where he could reach it. And of course they're still letting him wander around outside. Sadly, this did not surprise us, only strengthened our resolve to help him.

The BF has taken him to 3 consultations and been told various things, from dislocated hip to torn ACL, from '$600-$800 surgery is necessary right away' (which she's already decided she will pay for) to 'confine him for 3 weeks to see if it will heal on its own before looking at surgery.'

She can't take him home because she has an aggressive cat that will attack any cat in sight; we all know it would be an immediate blood bath. The boss's cleaning lady is thinking about taking him, but can't really afford to and the BF would have to pay for his food and litter and medical care anyway. I can't realistically take him because (challenges of integrating an outdoor cat into an all-indoor household of 5 existing pets aside) I'm giving birth any freaking minute now. And his actual owner... yeah. Food and water not even on their radar, so we can forget pain pills and special treatment for nearly a month (let alone if post-surgical care becomes necessary!).

Long story long, he's currently in my guest bathroom. The baby isn't here to need it yet and my mom's not coming to stay until next Wednesday. I figure at a minimum he can get at least some of his healing done here until we figure something else out. We openly admit we're being a little selfish not looking too far outside our circle because we love him and don't want to see him go completely away.

He's snuggly and purry and confused about his surroundings and we try to spend individual time with him a several times a day. The most remarkable thing has been how calm he is and how unremarkably my pets have responded. Bogart can be territorial and I was concerned about that, but the one time he tried to get in he ignored Storm and went straight for his food. I was almost hoping for some inter-pet drama; having his presence be a non-event makes it much harder on me to know I can't keep him.

At the moment our best bet is for him to heal up with me and then re-integrate him into his owner's home. At least BF is there all day, every day for work and can keep an eye on him. I simply don't know how long I can reasonably let him stay (for one thing, with him being an outdoor cat I can't handle his litter, which is unfair to Wonderful Husband) but it makes me feel at least a little better to do as much as I can for him.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Marketing to the Demographic of Me

I just found out about this:

The Lasalle Bank Do-It-Yourself Messiah

Apparently they're a multi-talented sponsor who puts on more than just a famous marathon. And the things they put on just happen to be things I'm ready to stand in line to sign up for. I happen to hate "title sponsors" of events and venues with the fire of a thousand suns... but I've got to hand it to LaSalle Bank, they've certainly nailed MY demographic down with frightening precision.

I just can't figure out how I've lived here for 12 years and not caught wind of such a kick-ass event. I desperately miss singing in a choir and I am SO TOTALLY going to do this next year.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007


As promised, here's my totally self-indulgent, not remotely triathlon related pre-baby post. Please feel free to move along if you're looking for tales of training glory, athletic epiphanies or 2008 race schedules, 'cause I ain't got it for ya today.

Just past 37 weeks and all is well.

So well, in fact, that my midwife seems to think I might go a wee bit sooner rather than later, and is encouraging me to take care of packing the hospital bag. On account of stuff like having over 30 Braxton-Hicks contractions on Sunday (and a few other clear physical indicators the details of which you won't mind if I don't share).

And here I was being all good, keeping my insanity in check and not allowing myself to pack it in, ya know, June. I've seriously been restraining myself and was going to finally allow that particular OCD checklist frenzy to happen in about a week. Now I guess it needs to happen... today. Just in case and all.

Not that I don't love me a good OCD checklist frenzy. It's just that I was so proud of myself for keeping it under control I'm a little disappointed I'll be doing it early after all!

Here's where things are at with The Great OCD Baby Prep:

- Birth Plan researched, written and approved? CHECK
- Questioned own sanity half a dozen times a day for putting in Birth Plan that my goal is natural childbirth? CHECK
- Prenatal records sent to hospital? CHECK
- Hospital pre-registration sent? CHECK
- Life insurance arranged? CHECK
- 529 college plan opened? CHECK
- Looked longingly at 2008 race schedules? CHECK
- Pediatrician researched, interviewed and choice confirmed? CHECK
- Removed cat from bassinet 4872 times before giving up and letting him sleep there? CHECK
- Car seat installation approved by local law enforcement? CHECK
- Spent stupid amounts of money on special baby laundry detergent? CHECK
- Stacks of receiving blankets and burp cloths washed and organized? CHECK
- Crib and bassinet sheets washed and organized? CHECK
- Discover scent of stupidly expensive special baby detergent is awful, will probably give me headaches and that my unscented allergen free stuff would have been fine? CHECK
- Let Kona sniff all the freshly washed baby gear to get him used to the new things? CHECK
- Rewashed all the clean baby gear Kona drooled on? CHECK
- Freezer stocked full of chili, spaghetti sauce, chicken stock and assorted casseroles? CHECK
- Baby toys rearranged half a dozen times? CHECK
- Taken a nap in nursery rocker just to test it out? CHECK
- Adorable crib bedding set up and mobile installed? CHECK
- Gone through 6 different contact lists (yes, that many between the two of us, business and personal!) to pre-organize birth announcements? CHECK
- Purchased pajamas suitable for nursing? CHECK
- Tried on every nursing bra at maternity store and left in frustration? CHECK
- Gotten pissed off at need to special order stupidly ginormous (40G-H?!?!) nursing bras that hardly exist anywhere, even online? CHECK
- Agonized over lack of wardrobe to fit ever-expanding belly? CHECK
Taken 11/3/07, 37 weeks gestation.

- Planned iPod playlist of soothing music for labor? CHECK
- Gone psycho cleaning basement storage area and stocking with empty storage totes for soon-to-be-overwhelming supply of kid's clothes and toys? CHECK
- Hitting grocery store every 3 days to feed sudden unquenchable craving for milk? CHECK
- Obsessively watching (and crying over) every baby show on TV? CHECK
- Stared in silent amazement at teeny tiny socks? CHECK
- Nursery looking sickeningly cute? CHECK
- Baby's name? I'm sorry, what was that?
- Baby's name?! Uuuummm... yeah. I'll have to get back to you on that.

I'm exhausted just thinking about it all. I'm feeling confident though, like I'm pretty sure I haven't forgotten anything really important.

Now I'm going to hit the gym for a swim while I still can, because these darn "practice" contractions just won't leave me alone and I don't know how many more workouts I'll get in before the real ones kick in. I can pack the bag later tonight...

Monday, November 05, 2007

After School Special Edition

I belong to a networking group to help get referrals for my business. Our group decided to adopt Shop With A Cop as our official charity, and of course when it came time to arrange the fundraiser the charity liaisons asked me to donate my services for creating the flyers, fundraiser letters, etc. No problem.

During that process I got a bit frustrated because the police officer who needed to approve said documents was so darn busy it took much longer than it normally would for such a small project. Plus there was the added frustration of getting the feedback 3rd-hand, because I hadn't actually been put directly in touch with the officer.

So. About 6 six weeks ago I'm sitting in my prenatal class waiting for the visiting officer to give us the lecture on car seat safety and I notice his name badge. Same guy! So I used the 5 minutes before class to introduce myself, explain the SWAC fundraiser connection and make nice. BAM! I had his personal contact info, his approval on the documents and no more frustration for a pro bono project that had been taking far too much time.

Then he proceeded to give the car seat talk, where I learned part of the reason he's so darn hard to reach. He's the local authority on car seat installations and has personally done nearly 2000; he also supervises the other car seat installers, who he feels aren't quite yet up to speed.

Turns out, national statistics for incorrect car seat installations approach 90%; locally it's closer to 98%. He takes this very, very seriously and is personally responsible for saving quite a few kids whose seats would have been ejected from the car had he not fixed them.

Of course, this challenged my inner perfectionist and Wonderful Husband's inner engineer. We were determined to be in the 2% who got it right.

Cut to last week. I'm far enough along we don't feel like total dorks installing the car seat, so we dutifully read all the manuals and do everything else Officer A. told us to. Then I call to make the appointment for inspection, only to find he's been reassigned to midnights due to a staff shortage and is no longer doing them. But like the nerdy kid in class bouncing up and down with her hand up, I was determined to get teacher's recognition that I had the right answer.

So I emailed him under the guise of asking if I'll see him at the upcoming fundraiser, and threw in a question about sourcing a foam spacer for the car seats (because we need one to get the seat into WH's car properly). He promptly offers to do me a personal favor (his words) and could we meet him when his shift ends at 8am Saturday? Done and done.

It takes him all of 3 minutes to check the seat in my van and pronounce it a winner. (Secret OCD happy dance in my brain for being in the 2%!) Then we mentioned the challenge of getting the seat into Wonderful Husband's car - a Toyota Celica - and asked if he had any advice (this truly is a safety issue, we're not sure we'll be able to make it work). He said his car's an issue to, and his kids have simply never been in it.

I said, kind of off-hand to WH, that would work for us except for when I have to take my van to races because it's the only vehicle my bike will fit in.

He got SO EXCITED, said something like "Hey, another crazy person!" and asked me what kind of races and what kind of bike.

Turns out he's a hard core cyclist and has done several triathlons, including Chicago. He's so into it he talked the department into certifying him as a bike mechanic so he can play with bikes at work, plus he insisted on being certified as a bike officer. He rides like a crazy person and eats centuries for breakfast. We ended up chatting about riding and racing (in a 28 degree parking lot!) for nearly an hour, and our conversation ended with an invitation for me to come with him and his buddies (cops and paramedics all, talk about feeling safe on a ride!) next time they do the Cowalunga (a 200 mile, 3 day event I've been interested in).

How totally cool is THAT?!

By giving just a little bit of my time to a worthy charity, I ended up making:

- some great business connections
- a priceless connection in local law enforcement
- a potential training/race buddy who happens to be a certified mechanic!

The moral of the story....

Give what you can of yourself to those in need. You never know what you'll get in return.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

In Lieu of a Clock Tower

Thought I'd vent my hormonal rage at the self-designated Pregnant Police in our society here since I'm fresh out of clock towers and my AK-47 is in the shop...

I am pregnant. That does not mean I am an invalid.

Please stop telling me I "shouldn't be doing that." I know what I'm allowed to do.

Please stop telling me I can't lift or carry. Yes, I can. I can't lift quite as much or carry it quite as far, but I am aware of this and alter my efforts accordingly.

Please stop telling me to sit down and rest. My body will tell me when it's time for me to do that, and I will rest then and no sooner.

Please stop trying to do everything for me. If I need help I have no problem asking for it.

Please stop telling me I'm overexerting myself. I know what my limits are. Actually, spent the last 4 years training pretty damn hard to explore them, and the last 9 months learning how to dial back as necessary. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if my limits at 9 months pregnant are STILL broader than yours. So how about you stop assuming you know what I can and can't handle?

Please stop acting like I'm some fragile fucking flower that will wilt at any moment. Our maternal ancestors had to work in the fields and chop wood and carry water in this condition and no one batted an eye. Now the world has decided it's acceptable for (obese!) complete strangers to lecture us (some while smoking!) on how we're the ones being irresponsible with our health if we try to carry a grocery bag!

Newsflash: being pregnant is hard. fucking. work. We have to be tough to manage it in the first place. We might have days where we need to milk it a bit, and ya know what? We have every right to. But that doesn't give you the right to judge the other 95% of my existence on those particular moments of weakness.

So please. Stop acting like I'm helpless and that you know better than me or my doctor. If you don't, this pregnant chick might have to have someone help her off the couch so she can kick your ass.