(If you don't like the music, scroll down and you can control it on the right side. But I like it, so there! )

Sunday, January 30, 2011

How Evan was Maimed

So a couple of days ago, Evan was being Evan. He was throwing a tantrum over homework. Silly homework that would've taken him all of 5 minutes to complete. And he threw a stack of dvd's in the midst of it. I threw them back, telling him to put them away. And one hit the edge of the entertainment center and bounced and hit his left cheek. I felt horrible and cried more than he did, I think.
As if that wasn't bad enough...
John had gone out to warm up the car for our trip out to run some errands, and Evan followed him. I heard John tell him not to run, since there are still patches of snow and ice in random spots on our driveway. The next thing I know, John is bringing Ev's DS in, saying it's over. What's over? The DS, apparently. I'm thinking Evan did or said somethig horrible and John meant he was confiscating it for good. In hindsight, I should've known better: Evan was still supposed to be grounded from it anyway, so how he had it in the first place is beyond me. But nope, John meant it's gone. Broken. He had it all of 6 weeks. But that isn't the worst.
Evan was running when he dropped the DS on the concrete. And he slid on ice. And went down. Hard. Bringing the casualty count up to one DS, one coat, one complete school uniform. I was pretty upset. If he would've been listening in the first place, none of it would have happened.
So I go to work and come home. And then I see it: Ev's little elbow and knee are banged up so badly from his fall that I don't know how it is that he managed to not cry to alert us that he was hurt. I mean, he's not a toddler and is fully able to verbalize this to us! And me! How could I fail to check him out thoroughly after the fall???
Plus, where the dvd hit his face, he had a fricken shiner. Seriously. Poor kid.
So the black eye, the road rash on his knee and elbow, the bruise under the road rash where his bone hit the ground, the broken DS...Poor Evan. I won't say "I told you so".
In the meantime, he's going to school in the morning and other people are going to see this. I swear, people, we don't beat our kid. Though it is quite possible that we should. Just Kidding. I think.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Zach's Week in Pics

Nothing special about this one (other than an illustration of the fauxhawk I described in a previous post) . This was tonight. It seems he has grown in leaps and bounds just in the past 2 weeks or so. He's proven to me that preemie or not, he will do everything in his own time. And that whatever time that may be, it will be just fine. And normal. And healthy. This child, just like Evan, is such a joy in my life. Who could've guessed my heart could hold so much?
Crawling now. Really crawling.

Ahhhhh, Goodnight Moon. It never gets old. This past week, Zach showed us he has inherited Mommy's love of books.

Gah! And with just one look at this, my heart dissolves.

Two fabulous words: Teething Biscuits. These are Earth's Best organic whole wheat ones.

Bathtime has gotten so much more fun now that he is a more confident sitter. Yesterday,he completely drenched me with his playful splashes.

And this one. In his bedroom,with John kneeling on the floor beside him, playing. And John gasps, "Andrea, look!" And I do. And I see this. After worrying and fretting about his perceived delays. Zachy sits. With no help. Without faltering. This is motherhood. The joys of an aced exam, the feeling after a successful resuscitation at work...All of these and more were reluctantly traded in to bring this little boy into the world so I could have this experience with him. And it was all so worth it.

My First Time

My first Bloggy award. Yayayayayayayay. Thanks to SarcasmInAction for thinking of Lil' Ol' Me! If you haven't yet, check her out. She cracketh me up! So I'm new to this award thingy, but I think I now have to tell you 7 things about myself. I assume it's 7 things I haven't mentioned yet, so here goes:

1. I played classical flute for 12 years. Which makes me a band geek, I think. Instead I tried to shrug this off and categorize myself as one of the uber-cool ones who was a Serious Musician. Ha! I actually majored in music during my first drunken go-round at college. Then my mother died, I dropped out of school, and since she was my biggest fan, I eventually stopped playing. Every couple of years or so, John tries to get me to buy a flute and rekindle that part of my past. I never have...

2. I am such a nerd that I think one of my favorite smells has to be new text books. Just don't ask. I lead a sad, sad existence.

3. I have 36 pairs of work shoes, I swear. WTF, you ask? Well it goes like this: I'm a fatty, and I work hellacious hours on my feet. On concrete. Running to-and-fro to codes and emergencies and impending patient disasters. And my poor fat feet scream in pain at the end of my shift. As a result, I am always, always in the market for the miracle shoe that will reverse the force of gravity and make my feet not hurt. I don't think there is such a shoe. The closest I have found was a high-end pair of Asics running shoes. I had worked twelve 12-hr. shifts in a row and my feet hurt so bad that I went to Dick's and told the sales guy that I really didn't give 2 craps about look or price. And when I tried them on, they felt so good that I embarrassed John by actually tearing up. They were $190. And the ugliest shoes I have ever seen. And that next night at work, they got splashed with puke during a suction-canister misshap in the middle of a code. Sigh...

4. I've never had a glass of wine. Everyone talks about wine, and I want to be cool like that, but wine kind of scares me. I mean, have you ever shopped for a bottle when you know nothing about it? The vast selection and type and etiquette surrounding it...Gah! I want to try it. I want to be the cool, hip chick who returns from work to a nice glass, but there are some problems with this. A) I return from work at 7AM. To have a glass of wine then seems like borderline-alcoholism. B) I don't have wine glasses. My Curious-George husband breaks everything that isn't plastic or doesn't bounce when it hits the floor. How pathetic would it be to drink wine from a plastic cup???

5. I have no social life. Seriously. Before I had Zach, I went back and forth to work and school. The little time had in-between was reserved solely for my family. Now I work like crazy and am getting ready to go back to school in the aftermath of the Pregnancy from Hell. This Sunday, I'm going to a baby shower for a coworker and it will mark the first occasion where I will actually leave the house without my entire family. Although I'm taking Zachy, so I don't even know if this counts...

6. There are a few songs that can reduce me to a blubbering, sobbing mess right now. Amazing by Janelle, Wires by Athlete, and Miracle by Celine Dion. I discovered this the other day becaue they are on my mp3 player. I didn't put them there, but it automatically syncs when it is plugged into the computer to charge. So as I'm going to work the other day, one of them started playing and I started crying so hard that I had to pull the car over and let it pass. And there's a story there. When I was enduring my 5 months of bedrest with Zachy, and I was having 30+ contractions an hour and just trying to hang on, I would search preemie videos on Youtube daily. A baby at 30 wks, 31 wks, 32 wks, and on and on, to encourage myself. To show myself what I was fighting to avoid and also to show myself that if it got to the point where I couldn't go any longer, that Zach would be okay in the long run because those babies were. And almost without fail, those were the songs in all of the videos. And when I hear them, I can simultaneously feel those damned contractions and see Zach's face. They got me through a pregnancy, but it is all still too raw to revisit.

7. I have OCD when it comes to the appearance of my offspring. I'm a little more laid-back with Zach. When Ev was a baby, I would literally match his pacifier to his receiving blanket to his outfit. And if he would spit up and the outfit had to be changed? The whole ensemble was switched out. The problem with this was that Evan had the reflux of a preemie and would spew like a fricken fountain. I'm not this crazy with Zach. Zach is clean and well-dressed. You will never see him out of the house in a Onesie (Onesies are underwear for babies!) or a sleeper (Do YOU wear footed pj's to the mall????), but other than that, I've turned the crazy down a few notches.

So there are my seven. My neuroses wrapped up just for you. Now I have to bestow upon 5 fellow Bloggy peeps this same honor.


Mama Ferris at Not Your Average Ferris Wheel . Why? Because she's awesome.And she helped get me through some of my darkest days. And her babe is adorable. And her husband is uber-talented.

Quincy at Learn to Enjoy. Because she is the coolest young woman and the world is her oyster.

Mary at The Gift of Fat. Funny, funny woman that she is...

And Jenny at I'm A Coach's Wife. Her thoughts make me laugh and remind me that I am somewhat normal because she has them too. Maybe.

Amanda at It's Blogworthy. Because she's also funny as hell. And also has a Cutey McCutester baby.

Run with it, Ladies.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

I Cried

Most people want their children to be exceptional in all areas. The best at athletics, the smartest, the best speller, the best looking. And then sometimes, with some parents, normal is beautiful. Average is the goal. After having two late-preemies, I soooooo can relate to that. Zach in particular, because Ev just did everything way too early.

I had already blogged about being concerned about Zach's development. And then yesterday, my angel of a baby boy did something that would make me feel tons better. He sat. And I mean sat. No faceplanting, no flying backwards. He sat. And he turned from the waist and looked at me when I gasped and started to cry. And he reached for a toy John was holding. And he did all of this without falling or even swaying in the slightest. (I got a pic, but techno difficulties have prevented me from posting it just yet)And then yesterday, while half-crawling, half-scooting around the living room, he reached up for the seat of his swing and pulled himself about 2/3rds of the way up so he was pretty-much kneeling there.

We'll all be okay.

Yeah, Whatevs, We Didn't Make It

I don't even think I mentioned this but...

A little over a month ago,I got seriously frustrated with my fam. Now before I make it sound like John is my bitch, let me explain that I work very, very long hours while John is home. I also make concessions because I am pretty OCD about the house and Martha-Fricken-Stewart could not keep a house to my specifications. So while I have all of the faith in the world in my husband, I know he can't keep me happy on that front. But seriously.

There was one day where I came home from work and Evan's dirty boxers were on the windowsill in the bathroom. And I was beyond grossed out. And so I talked to John about it. And Evan, because, face it, Ev is old enough to know where his dirty skivvies go. And I thought they got it. And then I came home the next week to garbage all on the floor around the garbage can, but not actually in it. And when I confronted my beloved boys yet again, the response was just that it was so difficult to keep up with Zach and clean at the same time. He almost had me feeling kind of bad for him. Almost.

Then I started to think of the Ergo carrier I bought for that purpose, because John refused to try the MobyWrap. And then I thought of how Zach has to be the easiest baby on the planet. During the day, he needs not much more than a few diaper changes and a few bottles. And at night when I'm at work? Pffft! Zach goes to bed no later than 8 PM and doesn't wake until I come home in the morning.

And then something clicked in my brain. And I realized that while John and Evan couldn't possibly clean because Zach kept them too busy, they sure had enough time to be able to report to me anything and everything that had happened on television that night. So-and-so beat You-know-who on WWE Raw. Snooki's pouf was exceptionally big that night. MerDer had the sweetest moment on Greys. And Guess who's hubster was sleeping with what's-her-name's on Desperate Housewives. But the garbage was on the floor around my garbage can.

And I swear, I cannot believe I didn't catch on sooner. I mean, really? And so I thought deeply on the matter. Okay, not really "deeply". I thought for about 15 minutes. And then I cancelled out cable. Ha! Hahahahaha! Read some books, you brats! Take that!

Only it kinda sucked. And it didn't work. Instead of being more productive, they would just drop me off at work and then go and rent stacks upon stacks of movies. Evan's homework still suffered. The house was still a mess. The only difference was that I couldn't watch anything either. Me! I did what my mom always told me not to do: "Andi, don't cut off your nose to spite your face!" Well after that, my face had no nose.

So yesterday, the cable man came back, in the snow, to hook the cable back up. We are sad. We are pitiful. We cannot live without the television.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

What Motherhood Does To You

I have been reading Freedom by Jonathan Franzen, and I love his writing. Colorful. Descriptive. I like it so much that he has another book that I would like to read, Corrections. So off to Borders I go. I went as is. I had been chilling around the house on my one measly day off, so I had on a sweatshirt and scrub bottoms, which is my standard these days. My hair was thrown up in a bun and my get-up was completed with a worn-in pair of Asics running shoes. I figured that anyone I could possibly see would think I had just got off of work or something and forgive my sloppiness. Wrong. I'll explain in a sec.

Let me just lay out the scene for you and give you some background info. First of all, I used to be the type who would refuse to leave the house without full hair and make-up done. Those days went out the window when Ev was a baby. Once he got older and it was less of a production to leave the house, I reverted to my Diva roots. And then I started working crazy hours. And started back at pre-med in addition to my crazy work hours,and they I got careless again. And then came Zach.

So here I am at Borders, right? And our Borders is in a rather upscale shopping center. Poor people don't go to this shopping center. Trashy people don't either. You kind of need the full get-up to blend in. So imagine my dismay when I find myself perusing the shelves of books in my ensemble, already sticking out like a sore thumb, and look down to find sweet potatoes all over the hem of my sweatshirt. My white sweatshirt. And some more on my leg. And I catch a glimpse of my reflection and find some in my hair, which has started to escape its bun and is sticking out in a way that makes me appear as if I have escaped a mental institution.

This is what motherhood does to you! I think I could've died right there in the Literature section. Seriously. Because I didn't have my buffer with me. What was that buffer? The baby. Because most people realize, when you look like a slob but have a young infant with you, that the baby is the reason. And you are instantly forgiven. But Zach was in the car with Evan and John So instead I was just some random sloppy crazy person who didn't care that she had some horrendous orange crap all over her. Thankfully, I found my book and 2 others rather quickly and hit the road.

But then I got to thinking about the other ways motherhood has changed me. I'm less selfish, more responsible. I can find deeper meaning in just about every aspect of life. I'm a better person because of Evan and Zach. And suddenly I was proud of the sweet potato stains.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Blogging About Blogging

Hmmmmm. When I started this blog, I did so without a thought about who would follow it or leave comments. I didn't expect to become famous on the web. I did it mainly for myself. My little online journal. But then I got sort of enthralled with all things bloggy and I started to nervously venture out of my little box and into the rest of the Blog World. In other words, I started reading others' blogs and realized something: I really do suck. Oh well. Last I heard, there are no Pulitzers awarded for blogging anyway, and again, it is just for me. It just seems that all of the other bloggers are so much better at it than me. I mean, there is some really good writing going on out there. Witty and clever. Amusing. Entertaining. On all sorts of topics. And blogs with thousands of followers (how does one do that, anyway?). That'll never be me, but oh well. I'll continue to crawl along in the Blog World, reading into the lives of others and feeling sort of voyeuristic and creepy. But it is just so fun. So in honor of my suckiness, here are some people who most definitely do not suck. As a matter of fact, these are the blogs that make me feel sucky in their greatness. If you're reading this, stop by and have a look. (In no particular order...)

Not Your Average Ferris Wheel
B and I go back to our pregnancy days, when we were both on bedrest and communicated though our pregnancy blogs. I love keeping up with her and her little guy, and feel like I know them without having ever met them. And if you wanna see some seriously cute baby pictures, she's your girl.

Daydream Believer
Jaime gained her Bloggy Fame when Blogger made her a Blog of Note. That's how I stumbled across her blog. She's hilarious. Take a look.

It's Blogworthy
Stop by and see Amanda and her adorable new son. She always makes me LOL.

Learn To Enjoy
This girl amazes me with her insights. And then I discovered how young she is. And I felt really old. But also amazed.

The Gift of Fat
Mary also makes me laugh. And reminds me that there are indeed other people out there who think just like I do...

Loose Leaf Writing
This blog proves that there are others out there way smarter than I am (I know, shocking, right?). Posts are always thought-provoking and interesting.

I'm a Coach's Wife
Again, someone else who reminds me that my thoughts may be completely normal.

How to Spot a Student

I work in a teaching facility where I am bound to run into any kind of student at any given time. EMT/ Paramedic students in the ER. Nursing students on the med/surg floors. Respiratory therapy students in my own department. Medical students any-fricken-where. You don't have to look too closely to tell they are students because their status as newbs just screams from them.

Let's start in the parking lot. If there is a cheap stethoscope hanging from a rearview mirror in any vehicle, that car belongs to a student. It's almost like a staus symbol. It's supposed to scream, "I work in healthcare and therefore am beyond cool.". Instead, it screams, "I am obnoxious and think I am going to randomly run from my car and into the fray to save a life. As soon as I finish school." I never did this. First of all, cheap stethoscopes are crap. You cannot hear with them. My very first stethoscope was a Littman Master Cardiology. $300. And it lasted me through my entire education and the beginning years of my career. As a matter of fact, I just replaced it last year. I never hung it from anything in my car because sun and cold, both, are damaging. And besides, I'm not that cheesy.

The Scrubs. If you have to wear scrubs as a uniform as a student, For the Love of All That is Holy, wash them first. Nothing says "I don't have a clue" like a pair of scrubs that still have that new sheen to them and come complete with creases down the legs or the sleeves. Just sayin'. We will all know you are a student, and by default, semi-retarded.

That Snazzy Piping. If by chance scrubs are not your uniform and you have an issued uniform (Student Nurses, this is you.), there is no hope for you. There is nothng that says you don't know what you are doing than that horrid piping they insist on having along every seam of every piece of uniform you all are made to wear. The only thing I can say to you is that it will all be over soon.

The Stare. They all have it to varying degrees. This goes for the resident fresh from medical school, looking lost and as if they are playing dress-up in Mommy or Daddy's lab coat, to the nursing student in the ICU seeing a critically-ill patient for the first time. All the way down to the RT students I encounter, who sit in our department waiting to do rounds with their preceptor and looking at all of us like we are Creatures from the Beyond. Nothing says "I am dumb enough to kill your loved one" like that stare.

It's not that I have anything against students. I was one once, and I was just as dumb. I never did the stethoscope thing, though. What I did do was feel uber-cool because I got to wear scrubs and have a steth around my neck. Ha! Those were the days. And then I couldn't wait to get out of school so I could buy cute scrubs in place of the navy ones they made me wear in school. Now, years later, those cutesy scrubs hang in my closet while I wear the OR greens everyday. I also don't feel quite so cool these days. Instead, I've become jaded. It's just what I do. When did it get like that? When did I get hard and bored and so blah about the whole thing? Maybe I need to revert to my student days.

Monday, January 17, 2011

How's That Burger, Ev?

It's been a food revolution in our house since the first of the year. John and I are trying to live a more healthful lifestyle, and with that comes diet changes. Of course this was all fueled by my desire to feed Zachy the most wholesome, nutritious way possible. Which got me thinking about what Evan eats. And ultimately what we grown-ups eat as well. My father-in-law has a girlfriend we really like, and she has become a vegetarian. Hearing the impact this has had on her also served as inspiration. Although John and I are too carnivorous to take that plunge just yet, we have decided to skip the red meat as much as possible. And so I--dunh dunh duuuuuunh--bought ground turkey instead of ground beef at the grocery store.

So tonight, John and I worked together to prepare a meal of which I was rather proud. I took the ground turkey and mushed it up with some diced onion, garlic, and a little pepper and made turkey burgers. Served on whole wheat buns, of course. For side dishes, we had fresh corn and fresh green beans. I was amazed at myself. It was all delicious, though the beans.....Well, the beans had a different texture than the sodium-laden, butter-drenched canned ones I normally eat. I liked them, but it will take some getting used to. The burgers were actually really good. Yay, us!

So I hand Evan his plate, fully expecting a meltdown. The brown-ness of the wheat bun alone was enough to induce panic in my eldest child. I mean, we feed him wheat bread, but have to buy the white wheat to trick him. This bun was unabashedly wholesome-looking. And he has been in fear of the ground turkey since I bought it. And then the beans? O.M.G. But I was pleasantly surprised. He picked up the burger and took a bite. Ha. Hahahahaha. It went like this:
"How's that burger, Ev?"
"MMMMMMMM. It's gooooo-ood!"
"Well guess what! It's turkey!"

He started crying. He actually started crying. Suddenly the "Gooooooo-ood" burger was disgusting, vile, the nastiest thing I could possibly have given him to eat. He gagged himself. He started to throw a tantrum. And when I calmly told him that he didn't have to eat it, but that it was dinner for the night and I would not be cooking anything else, I thought he was going to die. Bu then something happened once John and I made it a non-issue. We looked away, and he cleaned his plate. And then asked for seconds. Hmmmmm.

So while all of our palates will have to adjust to the changes we have made, it is now something I think we can do.


Not much to report from here. We are in the midst of some reorganizing and purging here in the house (as evidenced by Zachy's changing table on its side in the background of this pic!).

John got his second ticket this past week. Apparently he didn't stop long enough at a stop sign around the corner from our house. I think the local police just have an affinity for my car for some reason.

Zach's teeth are just right there. The two front lowers. Gah! I wish they would just break through. Tonight he gnawed on a whole wheat organic teething biscuit for the first time. He isn't particularly fussy or anything. I'm just impatient.

Evan is grounded. Again. He insists on making me be the bad guy. This week, he lied about homework, and so I took away priviledges. So later that night, I went to work and John let him have his Nintendo DS. (Way to back me up, Honey!) So I have confiscated the DS and now take it to work with me. Video games rot your brain, anyway, Evan! Read a book instead.

I am now addicted to the damned DS. Hey, those games can be pretty fun, and it sure does pass the time when I'm pumping at work!

Zach loves "Where is Thumbkin"!

Evan brought home a B in Science on this past report card. Seriously, Evan? Last quarter, he had a 99%. I was secretly disappointed. It was his lowest grade at 92%. Which brings up the grade scale for 3rd grade. This is new for Evan as a 3rd gader, but 95-100 is an A, 90-95 a B, 85-90 a C. A D is anything below 85%, which is considered failing for any grade above 2nd grade at his school. It seems like it should be another planet or something where 84% is failing. Poor kid. Times sure have changed since I was a 3rd grader, and I was in the gifted and talented program where my homework was so difficult that there were times when my mother would crack up laughing when trying to help me because it was too difficult for her! Seriously. So I sort of feel bad for Ev, and haven't been busting his chops about the B since it would be an A anywhere else. And with 92% being his lowest grade, I can't complain. I just know he can do better. Plus, all of the teachers left the same remarks in the comments: "Evan is too talkative in class.", "Evan has trouble paying attention duing class.", and my fave by far, "Evan is a remarkably bright little boy, is engaging and fun, but is entirely too disruptive in class." How can the kid get the grades he gets and be that disruptive? He must get that from his father.

I renewed my PALS this week. Yay, fun! And I also started looking into the home study program for my Neonatal/ Pediatric Specialty credential. That would make my credentials RRT-NPS. What is it about adding more letters after your name that makes you look more important? Anyhow, I don't need the cred to work the NICU, but it would make me look like a rockstar in the neonatal respiratory therapy world. And my boss would have no choice but to pay me a lot more. Which means the whole process, though admittedly rather expensive, will eventually pay for itself. Score.

Evan has been driving us crazy with the Karaoke machine John's mom bought him for Christmas. Apparently it has kids' songs programmed into it. There really is only a certain amount o time one can listen to the instrumental version of "This Old Man" before one goes completely, certifiably insane. Just sayin'.

Zach's hair has started to grow toward the center of his head in hilarious fashion. So from one angle, it looks like a fauxhawk. And from another, a Kewpie doll. Ha!

I guess that's all I have to report.

Saturday, January 15, 2011


I hemmed and hawed and procrastinated until my boss finally asked of my intentions. And then I did it. Hesitantly at first. Maybe a little nervously. And finally with a little more surety to my pen strokes.

I added my name to the list of staff interested in a full-time position in our new Level 3 NICU.

I've known this was coming since before I was pregnant with Zach. I didn't know how the cards were going to fall and which of us therapists were going to get to take on this new role. And how my name has come to be on the growing list has been a sort of journey.

When I first graduated with my RT degree, I swore off kids. Actually, it started before I even graduated. As a student, I was required to prepare a case study each semester. The patient population from which we had to choose changed each time based on the courses we had covered that particular semester. And these were really involved. Day-by-day summaries of care, tests, drugs administered. Appendices involving translations of every drug given, every side effect, every abnormal lab value. I think the shortest one I ever prepared was 60 typed pages. So my very last semester, we had to pick a NICU patient and I picked the preterm baby of a 13-year- old girl. And my baby's meconium tested positive for illicit drugs all the way up to 60 days after her birth. I was appalled. I was broken-hearted. I wanted to kill the mother. And the grandmother. And I wanted to take the baby home with me and give her a good home. I thought then that my heart just could not take doing that every day. And then I graduated. And my very first code as a credentialed therapist was a 6-month-old baby boy. He had been "napping" in a bed next to a bucket of mop water. The babysitter claims that she went in to check on him and found him submerged, head first, in the bucket. We did CPR on him for what seemed like hours, knowing full and well that there was nothing we could do to get him back. I'm not a drinker, but I turned into one that day, and for that day only, when I left work. And again, I swore I never wanted to work with babies. I can treat an adult who did something stupid to ruin their body. But a baby who is ill because of a stupid adult? I find it very hard to keep from being judgemental in those cases. And I took a position at a hospital where I thought I would never have to deal with it. A tiny rural hospital where I was the only night-shift RT. Ha! I guess it was the hospital's location at the midpoint between Cincinnati and Indianapolis, but we had "bad babies" all of the time. I figure it was because the moms didn't have time to get to the big cities and stopped there. But I resuscitated at least one newborn per night of work. That's when I began to carry certifications in NRP and PALS (Neonatal Resuscitation and Pediatric Advanced Life Support) to say that I knew how to resuscitate our smallest patients.

That's also when I learned that, although it wasn't exactly my favorite among my job duties, I was pretty good at it. And then something happened. I ran into a neighbor at our complex pool who kept staring at me. One day she finally approached me and asked if I worked at the hospital and what I did there. When I confirmed, she told me where she knew me. She had watched me resuscitate her grandson through the windows of the hospital nursery. I didn't remember her because I was focused on the baby, but she remembered my face from that night. I thought it was pretty cool, then one random day, she knocked on my door. When I answered, she was standing there with this blue-eyed blond little boy. She guided his hand to mine and said, "You don't know him, but he is alive because of your work." It was the baby. He was 2 then. And that had to be the most rewarding experience of my career to date.

Since then, as I have added years of experience under my belt, I have developed this love-hate relationship with caring for babies. First of all, if I am involved in their care, it is usually because they are pretty damned sick. That alone is sad enough. And then I find it hard to keep from seeing my own children in their little faces. I can treat dying adults all of the time. But the kids? The babies are the ones I take home with me. The ones I internalize and carry with me. The ones who form the emotional challenge behind my work.

So I have done some soul-searching. And I have determined that I am tailor-made for the job. My reactions to the sick babies shouldn't exclude me from the role of NICU therapist, but should actually be a qualifying factor in my selection for the job. Because over the years, I have become hardened to adults. But not kids. Never the babies. And after 2 horrendous pregnancies, I realize that I am the type of person I would want caring for my critically ill baby--someone who actually cares about them, who will cry when they suffer and celebrate when they are well. And when I look at the mom of a premature baby and say that I get it, I really do. As for the challenging logistics of the job? I am the type of person who is always looking to learn more and more. And if I am not challenged, I lose interest. What better patient population for me than our most challenging, most fragile? And as for my nervousness, I think it is healthy. You have to be a little nervous when dealing with any critically-ill patient, yet still be confident enough to do your job. Because no matter how sure of yourself you may be, no matter how arrogant and cocky, the critically-ill human body has a way of knocking you on your ass and showing you that you aren't as great as you originally thought. In that aspect, a healthy bit of nervousness keeps you on your toes.

And so my name is on the list. And I'm scared. And I know I'll cry. And there will be days when I hate my job. But I am also excited. We shall see...

Friday, January 14, 2011

8 Months and a Nagging Feeling

Yesterday, Zach turned 8 Months Old. I couldn't blog because I was out and about town. Upon returning home, John and I watched The Social Network, which I had been wanting to see. All of this served as a good way to stall the 8 Months post, which is great, since I have dreaded saying what I am about to say.

I'm worried about Zach. I really am. He is doing nothing new this month. He still just scoots instead of actual crawling. He's gotten better at it. He's quicker, and I can tell he's stronger by the way he reaches and turns. He'll get almost up to where he is on one leg, with the other three appendages up in te air trying to get stuff that has caught his interest. He'll sit unsupported for a couple of minutes before he suddenly faceplants or flops backward, which means I have to worry about him getting hurt and so I always just lay him on his back to play unless I am sitting right there. We aren't making any consonant sounds when we babble. He still has no teeth.

So what is he doing? Well, he's doing everything a little better and more purposefully. When we are out of his sight, he looks for us. The same with toys, which tells me he understands object permanence. When playing with him on the floor, he'll pull you toward him and put his mouth on your face to give a kiss. He's taking solids better. He'll finally hold his own bottle, though we still cuddle with him at feedings. He's very very social and can command the attention of an entire room of people. Yesterday, we were at lunch when his smiles, giggles, squeals and coos had strangers in the restaurant coming up to our table to comment on his cuteness. He can do the whole pincer grasp thing now. And he wants to play. He loves clapping hands. One day, I was trying to teach him to clap his hands by taking his hands with mine and clapping them for him. Instead he learned how to clap my hands and so now he will grab my hands with his and clap them for me. He's still a chubster. He's engaging and happy. He watches everything like a hawk and you can just see him learning!

But the things he isn't doing yet just grabs my attention and induces worry. I keep reminding myself of his prematurity in an effort to quiet the nagging feeling. I'm sure this has a little to do with some of it, as does the fact that every baby is different and that babies don't develop uniformly. They may mature by leaps and bounds in the cognitive arena one month then turn and make strides in the motor skill area the next month. Evan did all of the motor stuff way early and by the time he was a year old, we already had him in a toddler bed because he had learned to escape his crib and I was worried the leap to the floor would hurt him. But then he talked really late, prompting us to hae him evaluated by a developmental interventionalist. Turns out all was fine and when he did finally speak, instead of monosyllable babble, it was in clear and complex sentences. I'm hoping Zach will be the same and will do everything in his own time.

So for now, the plan is to watch and see what happens this month. He goes for another well-child appointment next month, and if I am still so worried, I'll discuss it with the doc and get a referral to have him evaluated. In the meantime, I will stew over every dose of every medication they gave me while I was pregnant and I'll worry about every day that we could have kept him in there and didn't. And I will fret that this is all my fault and if I would have just lied about the contractions, all would be fine right now...

Evil Parsley

So I wrote my last post from a very gloom-and-doom place. My supply was down again and I really did think it was all over. I only pumped enough milk to give Zach one bottle that day and I was sad abut it and assumed it was the end. Well, it wasn't, and I learned some things in the process.

1.) When I said I was taking Blessed Thistle before, it actually was Milk Thistle. I was told to take Blessed Thistle by our LLL leader, and so I went to the GNC where I buy my fenugreek and Mother's Milk Tea, and they had Milk Thistle in the same area, so I got confused and was told by the guy working that evening that they were the same. But when I went to this health foods store that has an herbs section, the guy working said nope, that I was duped. I'm actually on Blessed Thistle now and in just 2 doses, it has already made a difference.

2.) The same guy knew immediately what I was doing when I picked up Fenugreek also, and he added some Red Raspberry Leaf tea to the mix. He said it enhances the effects of the Blessed Thistle. We'll see.

3.) Yep, Parsley really is evil. I had gone from pumping 4 oz. at a time (really not a lot to begin with) to a pitiful, tear-inducing 0.5 oz. or less. I thought it was because I had some busy days where I only pumped 6 or 7 times, all in a row. And that still may be a part of it, but I had also started this diet with all of these healthy foods I don't eat normally. Among them? Fresh sage and parsley, both considered galactofuges that reduce milk production. The parsley had been in this pesto I had made and was eating at pretty regular intervals. Once I stopped, I immediately went up to 3 ounces at a time after one day of pumping my standard 8 times a day.

I'm back at it. Herbal supplements and pumping. And since Zach is now 8 months old, my goal of breastfeeding for one year is right around the corner. No, we didn't actually breastfeed beyond the 4th month, but I don't consider it a failure since he has continued to get breastmilk from me. Actually I'm kind of glad because I am a wuss. I should explain that! I have read up on extended breastfeeding and agree with it, but I have always felt weird about the idea of a walkie-talkie kid coming up and lifting my shirt to nurse. Well, since we don't physically breastfeed, I can continue to give Zach breastmilk without ridicule and discomfort. So now my new goal is 18 months. I don't know if I'll make it. This whole exclusive pumping thing is pretty labor intensive, but I'm going to try. My hope is that Zach will get at least some breastmilk beyond his first birthday.

So anyway, theconcludes this episode of the Boob Chronicles. For now.

Friday, January 7, 2011

The End is Near

I have given breastfeeding my all. Through latch issues. Through prematurity. Through low-supply issues. I kept it up because, though it never went as planned, that was the little bit of myself I could give Zach each and every day. When the physical nursing stopped and the exclusive pumping began, it became tedious and miserable, and I kept at it. Zach will be 8 months old next week, and he has been at least partially fed breastmilk all along.

I did some math in my head. I have pumped on average of every 3 hours. Sometimes more, up to every hour when I was trying desperately to boost supply, and sometimes less, like on those really busy nights at work. Every 3 hours is again just an average. And I pump for no less than 15 minutes at a time. 8 times a day. So about 2 hours a day, total. If you figure Zach has been on this earth for about 240 days, I have pumped 480 hours of my life away. 20 days.

I am saying all of this because I have a feeling it is winding up to a close. My supply is at a low point again, and while I am once again going to try to get it back up, I know I am honestly getting a little tired of the monotony. It becomes harder and harder to do. I want to spend my time playing with my baby as more and more of his fun personality emerges. I want to sleep for more than 2 to 3 hours at a time, and could do so with my baby who sleeps like a dream, if only I weren't forcing myself to wake so often to pump. I want to go to do things with my family without worrying about pump battery life or where I am going to go to do it. And I am drained from stressing about every teensy drop of milk I produce for Zach.

I remember the warmth and closeness I felt the first time he nursed. I remember the special first weeks when it was just the two of us. We would lay together, with him nursing, as we both dozed. My beautiful baby boy. And the first time I pumped more than he could take at a feeding! That pride as, even when he stopped nursing, I was still able to give him my milk. I would do it all again.

I have thought about giving up, and I am sure I don't want to do that. I will continue to give him all I can. But if the process is coming to a close naturally, I think I can find peace with that now. I couldn't say that before. I think, with the horrible pregnancy and birth, I just wanted that little piece. That teensy chance to do something that was the way nature intended. With the troubles that I have had, I didn't think we would make it past my maternity leave. I never dreamed we would get 8 months under our belts. And it has paid off. One look at my chunky preemie can tell you that. My preemie who hasn't had so much as a tiny cold since his birth.

I hope it isn't the end. But we will be okay now if it is. I did all I could. I was stronger than I ever thought I could be. It has been quite the journey.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

The Idiots are to Blame

The entire family headed out the other night to complete some errands. Most of these revolved around the ever-growing Zach. He's getting too big and too squirrely for his infant bathtub. He's just too heavy for me to lift in the infant carseat, despite the fact that it is supposed to accomodate up to 35 pounds. The weight of the seat plus the weight of The Chunk is just too much. He, of course, needs bigger clothes. And his changing diet means we need to bite the bullet and buy a highchair. So we head to BRU. Yeah. I hate that place because I usually come out with all sorts of things we did not need but were cool or cute and thus I spend a ton in there.
So we get the Big Boy Carseat. Not an easy task, considering there is limited space and carseats these days look like giant captain's chairs. Seriously. (There will be an entire post on this, trust me.)Then we head for the highchairs. I intended on buying the real deal, but then found the space-saving Fisher Price model. I love it, Zach loves it. Done.
But then we get to the trouble of the evening. (C'mon, you know my family cannot possibly leave the house without some sort of issue.) I needed a bath seat for Zach. After doing some research, and with our experience last night, it has dawned on me that you may have no fricken clue of what I am speaking. The thing is, Zach is now trying to sit up in the reclining baby bathtub. And trying to roll over. And he is still just a little too topsy-turvy for me to sit him in a tub of water with no safety net other than my hands, when he is all slippery with soap/ shampoo. Nope. Not gonna happen. And so after some searching, John goes and asks for help. And the salesgirl looks at him like he's special and says, "Just use the Bumbo!" I'm sure she wanted to add a "Duh" on the end of that, but thought better of it. And I wonder if she has ever bathed a baby in a Bumbo. First of all, I did this at John's mom's house simply because I didn't want to have to take anymore stuff, so the Bumbo served as highchair, bathseat, and more. But the Bumbo floats. No. Plus, I wonder if she has ever tried to wash little boy junk in that seat. There is no access, and what ended up happening was Zach's Twig and Giggleberries ended up wedged between his pelvis and the little part that comes up between his legs. My future as a grandmother may rest entirely on Evan's shoulders after the experience. So no, Snotty BRU Chick, we need a real bath seat.
After 2 days of searching every retail establishment in our area with "Baby" in the name, followed by every Wal-Mart, Target, and more, we never found one and I ended up buying this inflatable tub that looks like a giant rubber duck for the low, low price of $12. Zach can sit up in it, but every direction he could possibly topple, there with be a soft surface stopping him for face-planting in water, lessening the likelihood of pesky water-filled lungs. Just when I am thinking there was a mad rush on baby bath seats in the area, I get the bright idea to just look it up on the computer. I did find a few seats, but you want to be sure that the seat you choose actually fits your kid well or it becomes a safety hazard. Therefore, this is something I wanted to buy locally.
So what else did I find out? Well, that in the 8.5 years between my kiddos, the idiots once again ruined it for the rest of us. That the seats are hard to find and that all but a few manufacturers stopped making them. Seems they provided a false sense of security, and that you really can't just leave your baby alone in the tub with your bath seat. That the kid can still drown. C'mon, really people? Seriously? And so Zach gets the big rubber ducky thingamajig.

Is There a Degree for That???

So the story starts out with Curious George. His wife is feeding the baby, but there are errands to run (bathseat!) and so the wife tells Curious Gearge to go and take the base for the infant carseat out of the car and put the Big Boy carseat in there in the rear-facing position, because The Chunk is not a year old yet! It should be simple. The anchor doesn't need to be used because of the rear-facing thing, and the LATCH system makes it easy. But time passes. Zach finishes his apples and bananas. He finishes 5 ounces of breastmilk. I have pumped. No John.

I am just about to go and check on him when he comes, huffing and puffing, through the door with beads of sweat on his forehead. And he is pissed. And he tells me that everything is basically some form of shit or another. My car, the LATCH system, the carseat we chose....And then he tells me he needs my help. And so I go. In the shorts and tee I had on. In 27-degree-weather. The LATCH is about half an inch from latching. It won't reach. And so I put all of my weight into, pushing it toward the seat back, while John uses all of his upper body strength to try to get it latched. Both of us keep taking breaks because we are straining so hard. And we give up. We think that maybe, since Zach is 20 lbs. now, that it will be okay to face him forward, and when we turn it around, the carseat installs like a dream.

But I know it can't be right. And so I think to myself that our fire departments do checks on carseat installation, and so I call them.

And I spoke to a real-life Carseat Technician. Seriously. What are the education requirements for that, exactly?

But we ended up having him install the seat for us. And I am glad I did. The safety features of my car made it difficult, even though they were supposed to make it easier. He spent the better part of an hour working on getting it in there. And when the manual said it shouldn't move more than an inch in any direction, he made sure. He'd wiggle, then get out a ruler. Wiggle, ruler...on and on. It really was hialrious. Zach has got to be the safest baby in the world right now.

So the moral of the story is to check your local fire department. You may have a highly skilled carseat technician in your area!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011


Zachy finally did it, and of course I had a camera in his face to capture the moment. Then I looked and realized what a perfect example of parenthood this is, because you can see my hand hovering behind his back, ready to catch him if he should fall. One day I won't be able to do that. And then I focused in on his face. That sweet Angel Face. My baby's growing up.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

I Want Cake

I really do. I have 13 minutes left of my birthday and I want cake and am feeling jilted. I tried to replace coveted cupcake with string cheese, a la my new P90X diet plan. It didn't work. The cheese didn't come with frosting. Or sprinkles. And so I now feel like a spoiled little kid, pouting. Except that I have only admitted this here, on my blog. Oh well. I'll live, I suppose.
I'll be going home in the morning and doing my workout for today, which is Extreme Cardio or something like that. Whatever, it sounds like death. John and I took our "before" pics today, and I had the plan to put them on my little fatty-to-skinny blog, but Hell-to-the-nah, I am not showing that crap to anyone. I mean, do I really look like that? Seriously? So, in other words, I may want cake, but I definitely need to stay away from it.

Incidentally, I learned today that they are a gazillion ways to do a push-up. And all of them equally suck.
John learned what "downward dog" and "child's pose" meant. Ha!

Happy 2011

Okay, so the New Year is upon us. Incidentally, I am now a year older, and don't even get me started about the Baby New Year stuff. I heard my whole life how I was the second baby born that year, and thus got the shaft.)

2011 has to be better than 2010.

Of course I started off 2010 with contractions. But 2010 was also the Year of Zachary. With this in mind, it was all worth it. But I remember that first trip to the hospital like it was yesterday. Crushing because I had held out hope that my pregnancy with Zach would be so different from the one with Evan. When I felt that first contraction, I knew exactly what it was. I held my belly and breathed deeply and waited. The next came 6 minutes later, and then 6 minutes after that. And I cried. Oh, how I cried. I didn't even tell my doctor right away. I continued having them like that for weeks before I finally admitted to my doctors what was going on. It took them getting to be 2 minutes apart before I told them I couldn't take it, and I admitted in defeat that it had been going on for some time. I know this seems crazy, but I didn't want to admit what was going on. And I had been to the show before and knew what followed. My hope is that you, the reader, will never have to hear your baby referred to as a non-viable fetus like I did with both boys. Because even at the size of a bean, he was still our baby. Somehow we made it through, though.

2010 saw Evan turning 9 years old. Nine! My baby! And when I stepped away from work and pre-medicine and I looked, his face stopped having the roundness of a baby's and took on the angles of John's face. He is in the midst of the last of his primary school years. Before I know it, he'll be a teenager, too cool for mom. And then he'll be in a cap and gown, and I will be regretting each and every minute I allowed to slip by without appreciating it fully. Children grow all too fast.

And my John and our 10-year anniversary. I found a gray hair on his head for the first time this year. And his crow's feet got a little more noticeable. Yet when I was reflecting back and looking at the pictures of the day we married, he looked the exact same to me. I don't know how this is, other than that he is still my JohnJohn.

My family is on the cusp of some great opportunities of which I cannot speak just yet, but I am convinced that 2011 is going to be stellar as I continue on with the three men in my life in this, my 34th year.

So Happy New Year. Be blessed. Be happy. Be healthy.