Monday, June 27, 2005

Feeling a little snarky

Paula Abdul was on the news tonight nearly in tears about the pain in her thumb from an infection she got from a nail infection. Yes, this was news. Big news. Jack felt so sorry for her, or as he put it, "Hey Paula, Kiss my stoma!"

Watch out, I'm feeling snarky tonight. The fix is in and I don't think any more family can accidentally find me. I've been holding it in for too long. Must. Comment. On. Family...

So one of my younger sisters graduates with her PhD. My brother and father gave her advice on how to negotiate a good salary from her first real job. A week or so later she emails the family and says that she disregarded the advice because she was given an excellent offer. My older sister, you know, the one who is dating the doctor 30 years older than her not because he's good looking or fun to be with (because he's definately not) butbecause he's a doctor (made only more evident by the fact that she calls him 'the doctor' instead of by name), sends her and everyone in the family a note about how our young sis shouldn't be so focused on money like everyone else in the family (excluding herself). Ummm, wait, who is dating someone only for his money?

And then there's youngest sister. I don't know if I told you about her. She was married... for 3 months before she cheated and they broke up. This was after the biggest wedding of the century, for which they still owe my brother some money. She goes out and buys a car with her new boyfriend (the one who she cheated with), and she puts everything in his name. The downpayment is all hers, and she makes all the payments. Then they break up and he takes the car. She can't get it back because it's in his name. And she's surprised. Ummm, wait, who said this guy had any morals? Wasn't he the one who while you were only 3 months married went with you to MY house and your mother's house and pretended he was gay when really he was just sleeping with a newly married woman? And what were you doing buying a new car with some loser guy you hardly know, with money you should be using to pay back your brother for the super wedding? By the way, I'm still waiting for that thank you note. You know, for the wedding present. You know, the gift certificate you called and asked for because you said that you and S wanted to buy a new bedroom set. Then a week after the wedding you called because you got the certificate but thought you must have misplaced the present it must have been attached to? Please little sister, stop telling me how you and your soon to be ex-husband are going through counseling. Especially when I know that he's already living with another girl and you went out and bought a car with the guy you cheated on him with. I'm not buying it and I really don't want to hear about it.

Okay, it's off my chest. Now I've got to go pack. Lordy lordy, I really ought to give up the wine on an empty stomach.

Sunday, June 26, 2005

In Anticipation of Flight

Sssshhh, he's sleeping. A free moment. Let me post quickly before it's gone.

Jack is doing well. He's not crying so much, and smiling more. His smiles always look to me conspiratorial, if that's a word, as if it's our private joke. Kind of laughing at our situation, or maybe he's laughing at his ability to get me to lift my top by just insinuating a cry.

In just two days, the two of us will be flying to Arizona. My friend will have her mother over, and between the two of them will watch her kids and Jack. Janie will stay home with Matt and she's not too happy about. I tried telling her that it will be over 115 degrees out there, but what does that mean to a 4 year old? I just can't figure having a baby and a child to wrestle on the plane, nor can I in good conscience leave my friend with both my children to watch for me. That's no way to treat a friend.

I don't know yet how this trip is going to go. I have no idea what to bring with me on my flight. I think I'd like to carry him in the sling, but then I'll probably need the stroller just to sherpa my laptop and diaper bag. I'm also bringing the travel swing, breast pump, and of course car seat. For my two day trip I'll be toting some huge bags. Oh Skycap, got a minute?

The thing about going to Arizona is that this will be my first day back in the office in six months. Everyone will want to visit, as well as try to find the right words to say about the whole Hirschsprung thing. I'm going to have to just put on my -oh-everything-is-great face to avoid getting any so-sorries. At this point in time, someone saying they're sorry seems strange. At first it felt considerate, then sad, but now he's so cute that the word sorry just doesn't describe it. I tell him I'm sorry every time I have to give him medicine or change his bag because he hates it and I wish he didn't have to go through it, but that is saying sorry to him. Right now, I don't feel like anyone should feel sorry for me. I'm fine. I really am.

Truth is, things are good. Most of the time. Almost all of the time. He is like any other regular baby. He sleeps, he eats, he cries. Except, I have to keep my eye on the clock to give him his heart meds (7am, 11am, 3pm, 11pm, then repeat). And I tend to time his baths around bag changes. And when I'm at Janie's gymnastics and other mothers want to see him, I hope they don't try to touch him too much so accidentally feel the bag or notice the small bulge on his left side. I just don't want to explain it. And I guess I'm afraid of the recoil. It's not pretty. Afterall, it is poop.

Janie is right now deconstructing her room. Matt and Jack are asleep in the living room (Matt worked today), and I'm slowly trying to go from room to room cleaning. With Janie running around, cleaning feels sort of like shoveling snow in a blizzard. But I must try. Mike's aunt is coming over tomorrow to watch Jack while I work. It's exactly what I need. I get to be close to Jack, and get my work done. Plus she's free. It may only be now and then, but I'll take it.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Not Mute Enough

Working from home full time while going to summer school while caring for a newborn... I wonder why I feel close to the cliff sometimes.

Let me start by saying that I'm okay. Put down the phone. I'm not about to do anything dangerous. It's more along the lines of dreaming of driving fast out of town - except I'm not driving that minivan parked out front, but some little two seater. And I'm alone. Blessedly alone.

Is it terrible to have this fantasy? I look at my beautiful children. Janie who right now is picking up her toys while making obvious complaints because she always has to pick up all the toys. And Jack who is sitting in his bouncy seat, deciding whether to smile or cry, bright green frog on his shirt, and hiccuping. He keeps looking up at me to make sure I don't try to sneak away. Don't worry kiddo, mama isn't really going anywhere.

I think I'm just frustrated because as usual I'm trying to do everything and as usual I am not doing such a good job of it. Today I had a big meeting. I got Jack to sleep and was invovled as much as possible as someone can be over the phone instead of in person. I have to be very quiet to hear every word as the speaker phone on that end always sounds like its shoved to the farthest end of the conference room. Most of the meeting doesn't involve me, but it can so I have to pay attention. Then I hear music. The Eagles are playing over the baby walkie-talkie. Oh crap! I left the alarm clock set to tell me when to give him his meds. Now he's awake and crying because his nap was shortened.

I put my headset on mute then run in to get Jack. Maybe a little breastfeeding and he'll nod off again, but first with the meds. Put Jack in the swing then draw up the digoxin. Giving him it only makes him more upset. So we sit in the rocking chair and I start breastfeeding him. I can listen in very well to the meeting like this. But then... Then... Oh, it's too horrible to mention but that is the purpose of this post isn't it? They ask me to check something on my computer. I turn off mute to tell them okay. Mute back on. Hold baby to breast and try to walk to my computer. Nope, he slips off the nipple. Milk squirting everywhere. Baby crying. People in the meeting asking me questions. Pazel? Are you there Pazel? Pazel!

Mute off. I'm here. I'm working on it. As the baby screams right into my headset. They all bust out laughing. "You're very busy. We'll let you go." Nooo, wait, I can get it, hold on.... click. Damn.

The road to hell is paved with the best intentions. And right now I feel I'm driving down it at a quick pace.

I did this before. I worked from home with Janie. Sure, she was a good baby, a quiet baby, a healthy baby. Jack... well... he's Jack. He's not Janie. He's got his own ways and currently that is using his loud voice to get his way. I suspect he's got a plan and this was only one little step in it.

Can you hear the crying? Seems the sound of me writing a post hurts his tiny ears. Must run.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Pictures!

If this works right, you should be able to see pictures of Janie & Jack. http://www.flickr.com/photos/75607190@N00/
There's even a picture of the three embryos we transferred - one of whom is Jack.

Monday I started work. So far I haven't been able to really put in more than 4 hours of work each day. Today was worse because Jack had an appointment with his cardiologist. Counting time to drive there, sit in the waiting room, sit in the exam room, exam, time to get halter monitor put on, set up new appointment, get refill on prescription and eventually drive home...half the day was gone.

The appointment went well except those few innocent words which throw me off. One was when the nurse was putting on the EKG monitors. I commented how calm Jack was compared to last time. She answered that usually they're pretty good at this age, but wait until I bring him in at 2 years old. Ummmm, I don't think, I mean I hope we don't, uhhh, I guess... Then the cardiologist said something at the very end of the appointment about how he hoped Jack could get weaned off the meds around a year, but that is if he gets to come off the meds which we are hoping he can do. Ummm, yea, okay, I uhhh...

I guess that I always figure that this stuff is temporary. That after the first year, after the final surgery, that he will no longer have a colostomy or heart meds or anything, and that despite maybe being monitored more than other kids, that he will be normal. Fine. Healthy.

So hearing stuff about coming back later or the possibility of him staying on the meds longer than a year I start to get panicky.

I would like to continue, but the crying hasn't stopped. I've got to get to my little man. Hope you like the pictures.

Friday, June 10, 2005

Beauty and the Beast

So around 5am, after changing the baby and passing him to me to feed, Matt went off to get dressed. I was sitting up in bed, eyes closed, trying to sleep as I nursed. I get no sleep so I'll try to catch a nap when I can. Matt comes back in and says, "Uhhh, did you... uhhh do you... oh nevermind." I know he was wanting to ask about the pants but probably seeing me nursing the baby while trying to sleep sitting up, he weighed the value of asking the question and decided against it. Besides, I think he knows the answer but Matt is the type of guy who in the morning realizes that his sleepy evening self did me wrong. This makes him more willing to accept his punishment in return for the unsaid argument just being over. So as we were both satisfied, it was.

I have a history of doing odd things like this for revenge now and then. But too much revenge would be a very bad thing. It must be sporadic and odd and at a matching level. Janie doesn't know about these little things (couldn't know), but I don't know if that way of thinking is learned or just genetic. The other night Janie got mad at Matt. He told her to put away her toys or he would put them away in the garage. She then told him that if he did, when he was at work she would get some of his underwear and throw them away. He looked at me as this was my fault, and I tried to hide my smirking as I told her that we don't throw each other's underwear away, put your toys away. Is it my fault? I think as she matures she will learn not to warn what she will do, just do it. At least that's what I do.

On another subject, yesterday Janie had a big dentist appointment. I had to hold her while the anesthesiologist put her under. I can only describe it as feeling as if I was helping them suffocate my kid. She fought as I held her, then gave up and whined a little until she was out. It was probably a quick 10 count, but it felt much longer. After she was out, they laid her on the table and as I walked out I looked back and saw them taping her eyes shut. I could have gone my whole life without seeing that. I hope that section of my memory is erased and written over by something more positive. I still have that picture in my mind and it really bothers me.

I don't think I could have held her without crying except for all I'd recently been through with Jack. I've been desensitized. She was out maybe 20-30 minutes for her crown and fillings, which compared to his 3 surgeries was a flash. When she woke up she was really upset. Matt carried her out to the van, and after we got home he laid her on the couch. I put on Beauty and the Beast and got her some juice. For the next hour she cried and complained while Jack also cried (because he cries a lot), and since Matt went back to work, it was all on me, a woman with very little sleep and on a diet. Somewhere there was someone having my opposite life; laying on a beach with only the sound of the waves, slightly drunk, and looking forward to an evening out of fine dining, dancing and great sex. I hope she got sunburnt.

So watching Beauty and the Beast, I came to the conclusion that it is not a good story for children. The heroine Belle starts off great with her love of books and spurning the opportunity to marry the town stud to spew out his 12 strapping boys. She wants something more. Good. On the way to a fair, her father gets lost and ends up at the Beast's castle. Beast discovers him there and locks him up. Belle rushs to her father's side and takes his place. (Sure he's sickly, but what father would let his daughter take his place in the dungeon of a Beast's castle?) Anyway, Beast is a beast in not just looks. He's mean and gruff to everyone and everything (which in this case means the same thing but you'll have to see the movie to know what I mean. Basically his servants have become objects literally and figuratively). While living with him, she believes that she can find the nice guy within him. While he looks like beast and acts horribly mean, deep inside he's really kind. Only she can see it. Eventually, he does turn back into a prince because she falls in love with him.

Many things wrong with this. It's like grooming young girls to think that men who are mean are really nice inside. If only they were loved they would turn from a beast into a prince. Be forgiving when they are mean because really they are so sweet deep inside. Try harder and you'll reach that prince inside. Right? Wrong! If a guy is a beast to you, he is really a beast and always will be one.

Of course he was turned into a beast by a witch - I think must be how he refers to his ex-girlfriend because we all know it's a woman's fault. And after he turns into a prince I'm sure that we're supposed to believe that he will never be mean again. And living with him in this isolated castle is what we're supposed to accept was the better life that Belle was wishing for back at the beginning of the story. Forgive me if it all makes me a bit ill.

A lot of fairy tales are like this. They present horrible models to young girls. And my daughter LOVES them. She wants to be a princess, mainly for the dresses and dancing and castle-living, and I try my best to tell her she can have all of that and a career too.

Now I'm not telling you this story of Beauty and the Beast to wrap up my discussion of myself and my husband. He's not a beast, really. He's actually a very good guy, he's just terrible at household chores. And I've tried training him and have made some progress, but there's still miles to go. It's really the only thing we've fought about continuously for all these years. We've tried chore lists and nagging and messiness, but in the end the best thing has been our cleaning ladies. The division of labor on cleaning is still hugely uneven, but having their help has improved many things. That and an occasional dirty deed as teaching tool.

Jack is sleeping (he sleeps well during the day) but I've got to wake him up so that we can go for a walk. Today is the last day of my maternity leave and I don't want to spend it indoors. Besides, maybe if he doesn't sleep so well during the day he can sleep better at night. Is that mean?

(p.s. Would it be wrong if I started referring to my kids Colon and Semi-Colon? Just wondering.)

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Nice Pants

So throttling my husband, would that be bad?

I love that guy, but he drives me crazy really fast. Last night he wanted to wash his pants so instead of taking the clothes out of the dryer to fit the load from the washer, he just shoved the load from the washer right in to the dryer with the old load. Gee thanks baby.

I discovered this at the end of the cycle, in time for me to empty them out and make the couple trips to get all the clothes to the living room on my own. Seeing the dryer empty (but not sensing the obvious) he put his pants in the dryer and went off to shower and go to bed (at 9pm) while I folded the double load on my own (while caring for one wide awake baby) so that they could get folded before wrinkling.

So I did what any other rational woman would do. I stopped the dryer. Let him discover the pants he so desperately needs still wet in the morning. And on such a rainy day, I hope they stay somewhat moist all day to remind him not to f*** with me.

I've asked and what I did is not passive aggressive behavior, just plain aggressive. But my conscience is clean.

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Deja Vu

I'm sorry I've been away. I've had you all on my mind, but I haven't figured out yet how to effectively blog and take care of baby. Just this week we had an appointment with the surgeon (post-op, looking good), pediatrician (three shots!), and a home visit from a dietician on behalf of a grant for 'medically vulnerable' children, specifically from the NICU. Add in the class I had yesterday, Janie's graduation from preschool into kindergarten, and Matt working overtime and Pazel has not had a minute of rest.

Jack is doing well. At nearly 9 weeks, he's almost 13 lbs. I think in weight and height he's in the 75th percentile, but in head he's in 50th. This is amazing to me. His head is normal size! I come from a family of pumpkin heads. Janie has a huge noggin. Her stats as a baby were always above the charts in everything including head. I say that Jack's normal head is absolute proof that he takes after Matt more than Janie did. His normal head, his widow's peak hairline, and his personality.

Jack cries a lot. Sometimes it is for good reason. He hates the taste of his medicine, especially when he's asleep and is woken up by the taste of it. He makes these tiny whiny tired begging cries that just kill me. That's about the time that I start cussing about how much I hate doing it and it's not fair to him and how sorry I am. Jack also cries when he's naked. There's a lot of babies who hate being uncovered, but I think they pretty much have gotten over it by this age. I swear he remembers being held down for all those blood samples and IVs in the hospital. He screams at the doctor's office every time, as soon as I get him naked on that paper sheet. I try to bundle him up with the blanket but it's no use. He knows and it's a loud, angry, indignant cry.

Janie tries to help with Jack. Sometimes that involved putting in the pacifier or getting his blanket. Othertimes she shakes his swing or puts her hands on his face and talks to him, "oh baby baby baby jackie. there you go, there you go, oh baby baby." I have to admit that sometimes it bugs me. I'm holding Jack and she comes up and starts messing with him and I'm short on sleep and just got him to stop crying and start falling asleep and I just want to growl and snap. I'm embarrassed by it. She's just trying to play with him. Sometimes it takes every bit of energy just to tell her 'not now' instead of yelling it. She's been going through a big adjustment with having a new brother, she's just trying to find her place. And here I am, always dictating the terms, usually for my own convenience.

Yesterday as I drove to my summer class I passed over the bridge, I couldn't help but think of when I drove over the bridge the day of the IVF transfer. On the bridge I had gotten the call that the embryos were almost all poor quality so we were going to do the transfer that day afterall. Matt wasn't with me because we had thought we'd make it to the 5th day. And we had also assumed that out of our 21 eggs we'd end up with plenty of quality embryos to use and to freeze. It was a new sock in the face.

As I drove over the bridge yesterday, it was all there again. I didn't cry or anything because I know now that the story ends well, but I kind of shivered remembering. Post traumatic stress? Is there a lighter version?

I've had the feeling before. There's a tall woman who works in surgery and whose job it is to locate the baby who's about to go into surgery and inform the baby's nurse to get him/her ready to go. She would come in wearing her surgery scrubs, one gown flowing like almost a cape, an Oakland A's surgery cap, and always a dead serious expression. On three different occasions she came in and scouted out Jack for his 3 different surgeries. When I was at the hospital this week to see the surgeon, I passed her in the hall. She was walking straight towards me and I swear I held Jack tighter to me. It's like seeing the grim reaper walking the halls. She probably has no idea what the sight of her does to me. Those serious dark eyes, searching for the next baby to go. A shiver.

Someone is crying. I've got to run. Thank you all for the work advice. I think I'll take your advice and ask about starting part time earlier.

Also, I forgot something possibly important. Matt finally returned a call to one of his old Army buddies. He had been calling to ask about the birth and Matt had been procrastinating talking to him because he didn't want to go through the whole long story. Anyway, he did return the call and did go through the long story. His Army buddy brought something up that didn't even occur to us. He said that guys who had served during the first Persian Gulf war came home and had a higher incidence babies with unusual or rare birth defects. Could this be the case with Jack?

I had thought that Hirschsprung's was genetic, but I guess it hasn't been proven. My brother (MD) said this as well as the dietician during the home visit. I would rather it be genetic so that there would be no chance that I could have caused this during the pregnancy. I hadn't even thought about the Gulf War Syndrome stuff. I guess cause doesn't matter since what's done is done, but on the other hand it is much easier to cope knowing it is something genetic that couldn't be helped rather than something that someone or something caused. Know what I mean?

(Jack has EATs which are ectopic arterial t.... I can't think of it while he's crying. They're a type of SVT. SVT's is the general category and EAT is different because of the location of the heart where it is originating. Jack is on two meds, digoxin to regulate his heart and interol which is a beta blocker and slows his heart rate. The danger is highest from the high rate than from the irregularity but neither are good and he gets them both together. I hope this helps your friend.)