Saturday, February 28, 2009

Sissies.

When the president gets sworn in, the media watches his first 100 days like a hawk. They have constant updates on FoxNews & CNN about what he said to whom, who he ate lunch with, and how he is handling the new pressure. "They" claim that the first 100 days in office represent what the next 3 years and 265 days will be like for him as President and we as citizens.

I am on my last 100 days of pregnancy. Today marks 100 days until my very vague, but extremely accurate due date. 100 days left. Sweet. Please do not get me wrong. I love being pregnant because I am looking forward to the end result, but this last week has been really, really hard. I have not slept in three days, been unfun sick, and the scariest of scary things-- I had braxton hicks on Friday for the first time. LMC is not ready to leap into her third trimester en utero as I am.

I think about this sign I bought when I lived in Milledgeville. This store was going out of business & there was a cool picture of very colorful swirlies in the middle. At the bottom, I read, "Milledgeville is no place for sissies." And I believed it-- it was hard living away from my friends in Athens & my family in Augusta. So, without another thought, I put it in my hands and proudly walked to the counter, knowing that someone out there knew what I was going through & were so creative, they painted a small picture with words I could live by.

I was not a sissy. I could do this.

Days later, I am showing off my new purchase and they read it out loud, "Middle Age is No Place For Sissies."

Middle age?! WHAT? No!!! It had to be Milledgeville-- because I needed someone out there to know that I was not a sissy. Those cool swirlies in the middle... upon closer inspection, they were bifocal reading glasses on a chain. And I was still a sissy.

Or was I?

Husband is post call today. He took care of the PICU last night and is currently napping beside me as I type. Tomorrow he is back on call, taking care of the NICU and the teeniest of tiny babies that need healing. Monday, he is post call again... and then Tuesday it's a normal day at the sunshine factory.

Eileen will be 26 weeks on Monday; sparking the beginning of the end. She kicks up a storm now and is a very active UBB (uterus bound baby). Somehow the experts know that she has brain waves developing this week to process sound & light. Her eyeballs (Okay, you medical junkies: her retinas) are putting on their last layers, even though her eyes are still sealed shut. LMC can recognize my voice, as well as Husbands (and probably Ange & Woo's, too). She responds to our voices by moving towards them and knocking something against her fishbowl. It's pretty cool. She also responds to touch. She loves it.

But, you know what I really appreciate? And I am not kidding-- I really appreciate it when someone asks before they touch my stomach. Of course I will say yes, but I just appreciate being asked. And I feel more comfortable when a woman touches my stomach, as if they have been there before or they will be there in the future. It is really sweet to see the whimsical look in their eyes as they recount something about their pregnancy or the hopeful look when someone talks about when they will have kids.

At some point, I will share my war stories like a badge of courage, honor and the proof that I was not-- and am not-- a sissy.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Heart & Soul



On the top, that is the foot that used to kick my bladder. Now it kicks my lung.
On the bottom, that is the hand that tugs on the umbilical cord and will hold my pinkie finger in a matter of mere weeks.

That is my child.

Today was not a day of concern, but leading up to today caused me to have a wandering mind. Our last ultrasound raised a question about Eileen's heart. Just a small question, nothing that would take her away from us, BUT- they could not get a clear picture of the outflow tract of an artery (insert a bunch of medical mumbo-jumbo to say exactly the whose-its & whats-its). She just moved around too much and too fast! Eileen is quite the "zoomer" when it comes to ultrasounds.

So... we had an appointment today with the pediatric cardiologist & the ultra-sound-er for a zoom in on her beating heart.

Forty-five minutes of an unimpressive black "thing" flapping in silence and twenty minutes for the doctor to review and another twenty-ish minutes of sitting in the darkened, eight year old- underwater-dream-world, feng-shui inspired room talking quietly amongst ourselves and waiting. For an answer. About her heart.

Someone higher on the food chain than Husband came in to touch bases with him on a patient and started his conversation with, "Right now, you're a father & a husband. But, when you get done- Room 3 needs a peds cardiologist..." And my perfectly good heart beat faster. And I pretended that I could handle anything that they threw at me for another five minutes.

The charming doctor busied himself through the door and rechecked everything he had already seen to tell us that Eileen has a perfectly boring heart. Perfect. Boring. Normal. Average. Mundane, even. He was certain that it would not be her heart that would take her from us.

Crisis averted by merely a heartbeat.

How lucky and amazing we are in Augusta to have a place like the Children's Medical Center. People from all over the southeast come to Augusta to go to this clinic to sit in this darkened underwater Nemo/SpongeBob SquarePants room to have their child's heart investigated.

On a much lighter note, today celebrates my 25th week of pregnancy. This is the last week of my second trimester. This is the last week I can take Advil if I need it. This is the last week of part II. Poppy is getting her lungs this week. They have been there, but now they have capillaries & are developing the very important surfactant that they need to pass co2 and o2 through the body [read: breath].

I have not been sick in almost two weeks. We think that might be heading to the wayside, along with my belly button, blonde highlights, my lovely stretch-mark free skin, button pants, and the ability to tie my shoes.

At 25 weeks Eileen has finally flipped. I felt it last night and the ultrasound today confirmed it. She no longer kicks my bladder- she kicks my lungs. Currently, her foot is resting underneath my ribs. Imagine being tickled from the underside... not comfortable.

Her nursery is painted & the furniture has all been purchased or is at the house. We will start setting it up after our last party in two weeks. Last week we hosted a fantastic party for our wonderful neighbors who are getting married. Such fun! In two weeks, we're hosting another party for one of my oldest & dearest friends who is also having a baby. AND THIS WEEK, we are having MCG supper club at the house... all 24 of them!

We are keeping ourselves busy as the time has started to slow down to inching along as we get closer and closer to our much anticipated arrival.






Monday, February 16, 2009

Viable Eileen


It was the weekend of muffins
It was the weekend of soup
It was the weekend Husband felt like POOP.

Husband has the flu. Well, he had the flu… no… he has it… whatever. Either way, he was icky sick all weekend and he got a dose of what it felt like to be pregnant as he actually got up in the middle of the night and was sick. HAH! I know what that’s like. He was so icky sick that he called in back-up call— something he has never-ever-EVER done-- as he was supposed to go to work on Sunday. We are very thankful that the PEDS department is so efficient that they have things like “back-up call” for situations such as these.

Today I am twenty four weeks pregnant. That means two medical words that make me very happy: Viable Fetus, or as I like to say, Viable Eileen. Twenty four weeks means that if I give birth between now & due date, Eileen has a fighting chance at survival… she would be in the NICU a long time if we were to give birth tomorrow, but from today on, she has more than just a wishes chance.

When we went to the doctor last week, Poppy/Eileen weighed in at 1.5 pounds & was 16.8cm long. You do the math if you want to convert it to inches. Eileen’s ears are fully developed & she LOVES Lil’Wayne. Go figure. Her mother is not a fan, her father is not a fan, but SHE is a fan. (for all you old fogies… Lil’Wayne is a new rap ar-teest) Why can’t it still be Michael Jackson like it was back in November? Speaking of her ears being fully developed, that includes her inner ear and her sense of balance. Eileen knows if she is upside down or right side up, which is probably good because she has not flipped yet; technically she is still breech. But, no one’s concerned- there is still plenty of room in my basketball sized uterus for her to swim around and finally make the flip.

Michael Jackson was how I knew long before anyone else that Poppy was going to be a girl. (I kept my secret to just me and Husband) When I could not take my zofron, but could find a little MJ on XM or the safety of my cd player in my car, my nausea would subside and Poppy would give me a little reprieve from the topsy turvies. It was when she first kicked—Man in the Mirror and it was Billie Jean (not my lover…she’s just the one… claims that I am the one…. I digress) that killed the nausea that nothing could stop. He might be addicted to plastic surgery and be really scary if it is just the two of us in a dark room, but right now—I love MJ. He makes my baby happy.

I can tell now (most of the time) when Eileen is sleeping or when she is awake. For instance, as I type this, she is kicking pretty consistently (probably because I have her head squished up against my desk). Husband can feel her on a regular basis and my belly button is getting smaller by the day, THE DAY! I am really afraid what my belly button is going to look like after this—me and my belly button always got along great and I really thought it was one of the cuter buttons I have seen.

Me & my belly button will back with you soon.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

From this moment, you mean everything to me.

But not us, no never, no not us, no never...
We are far too young and clever.

Remember, Eileen, I'll hum this tune forever.

- Dexy's Midnight Runners

When Husband & I would dance to Mel & the Party Hats at the Theatre-- not together, we were on opposite sides of the dance floor, or to Cowboy Mouth late in the night... how the crowd would explode when COME ON EILEEN would start on the fiddle. Never, in a million years, would I have known that I would be married to the curly headed SAE three groups & six spilled beers over... and never would we have known that as we both danced, stomped, twirled, and dipped with our respective dates that we would be dancing to a song that makes us laugh so hard now at the thought of how much she will hate Dexy's Midnight Runners. And how we will have to explain WHO she was named after instead of WHAT. Her friends will love it-- and she will hate it (but secretly love it).

And so, she has a name. She a wonderful name. She has a name of her Irish heritage & compassion with the slow, slow patience of Job. Her name is an evolution of being the youngest of 5 children in a large Catholic family, being born in Columbus, growing up in Atlanta, marrying young & having two great kids... us.

She has a name. And we love her name. From the moment we knew there would be three... she had her name & I did the very best [worst] job at keeping her name a secret for nine [six] months.

For my mother, for my wonderful Blessing of a mother- she has a name. Patricia Eileen Cagle has the most wonderful namesake that I could ever imagine. As we all look at our mothers as the greatest women in the world... it just grows when you finally understand that your mother went through all of this [and then some] to bring you into this world.

My mother almost died bringing me here. But, she is here, I am here, and our story moves forward.

May Eileen have all of my mother's wonderful qualities- patience, beauty, love, patience, compassion, patience, perfectly-diplomatic & never too opinionated, and the best cook in the state.

Eileen will dance to Michael Jackson (as she currently does en utero), wear the most precious smocked dresses, swim in the deep blue sea, and understand that she is one of many in this great, big family. Afterall, she is named for the youngest of five and her father is almost the youngest of another set of five.

Eileen will be here in 16 weeks & we simply cannot wait to meet her. Until then though, she is having a great time jumping up and down on my stomach, laughing at me as I continually run to the bathroom to throw up...again (my body cannot handle extra estrogen), kicking her father in the mouth, and cuddling her back up to his hand whenever he places it on her little fishbowl. Tiny Eileen would fit in the perfect palm of your hand and is already ready, willing, and able to let the world know she is on her way.

It can't get here fast enough.

Monday, February 9, 2009

23 weeks!

Twenty three weeks! Hooray! There is much ado about all kinds of cool things with Poppy this week.

1- We can hear LMC's heartbeat through Husband's stethoscope this week! Forget the Doppler & all that cold gel... the three of us can sit down to a nice meal & have an astounding conversation (one sided).

2- She is about a foot long & weighs in at just over a pound. Over the next four weeks, she will be putting on massive fat deposits and doubling her body weight.

3- Poppy no longer looks like an alien... not that she ever did. Her skin is no longer transparent, though is does sort-of "hang" on her frame awaiting the afore mentioned fat.

4- She thoroughly enjoyed the roasted garlic on toasted saltines appetizer I made for Husband and I last night.

5- I have not been sick in almost a week! DOUBLE HOORAYS FOR THAT!

Mom & I have a hot date this coming Thursday that both Husband & I are very excited about. We have blocked off the afternoon from dad's datebook and we are off to a sassy lunch- just the girls, then to MCG for her to sneak a peek inside my uterus via ultrasound. She will get to meet Poppy.

In your thoughts and prayers this week, please remember my precious little cousin who has leukemia- he is also battling a fungal infection that the doc are optimistic about, my grandfather is having outpatient cataract surgery on Wednesday, and my poor, poor mother has to take care of him afterwards. God Bless her.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Reid Church

Yesterday, the squawking birds woke me up in my tangerine room out of my tree house window. We were going to church. And not just any church, but the church we were married in almost two years ago.

But today, we were going to church for a special little lady with a white bow in her hair and, what will probably become, a family heirloom of a baptism gown.

We were going to church for her baptism.

The last time we were in the slate floored church, my namesake was being buried. He had passed away days before and as a Presbyterian, God-Fearing Man, he was having his funeral in the church he grew up in. Pierce Merry.

But Sunday was a celebration of life. That cold, cold Wednesday eight months ago was also a celebration- more of a closing ceremonies, conclusion to life. Yesterday though, with the little lady swathed in white linen and eye-lace, she was held before God and the congregation to be welcomed with open hearts and open hands.

Over a fantastic lunch at the PI, we all talked about the different ways we were baptized-- a baptist talked about walking up to the preacher, during church, to tell him that she was ready to accept God & her white robe with rope belt. My Presbyterian husband talked about how his preacher back in his small home town mixed the water of the Jordan River into the baptismal fountain every year. And Deedle, how he tried to go swimming in the baptismal font when he realized it was water in the big, stone, space beneath him.

Baptisms.

It was a very nice way to round out a weekend.

Poppy is 22 weeks this week. She weighs in at about a pound. Poppy has the ability to see light. If we were to take a flashlight and put it on my stomach, we'd feel the immediate effects as she would swim away from it. No need to scare her- so we won't be doing that. She is almost a foot in length & has the ability to grasp "things."

That's what "the books" say. Now, how "they" know that 22-weekers can grasp "things" other than just their umbilical cord is beyond me. They will not be running those types of experiments on me & my uterus!!

We go back to the doctor next Thursday & Poppy will be back on the big screen. Hopefully, they will take more pictures for us to upload. But, if not... I can still talk about it!

In much more fun news-- I went shopping this weekend; I have given up on maternity clothes. Poppy will be the best dressed kid at Mothers Day Out this fall! I shopped and shopped & then Husband came home from call & he wanted to come along, so we shopped some more! Now, I just need to find some of those little hangers to hang the little dresses on.

Ohmygoodness.... Mothers Day Out.... Are you ready for this?! I had to register "Baby Girl Cagle" with a birthday of "DUE JUNE 8" for Mothers Day Out last week. Yes, this child is not even out of the womb yet, and she is already registered for MDO. LMC (Little Miss Cagle) will be going to school twice a week, Tuesdays & Thursdays with her cousins, Ford & Tellis. Tellis & LMC will be in the same class as they are only six months apart. Tellis & I have made a deal-- she's going to make sure the other big kids do not pick on her and Ford & I have made a totally separate deal-- he is going to make sure the girls only hang out with the nice guys. No jerks allowed.

Okay, I am heading out-- Husband's on call & I might get to eat dinner with him if the traumas subside for fifteen minutes & we can make it to Mickey Ds for chicken fingers & milkshakes.