Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Over the Weekend

So... this happened:

Rather by surprise on Saturday. After a day of contractions with my mom sitting by my side and the kids wrangling with Husband, I looked at Husband and said, "I'd rather look like an idiot and have to come home a second time than be wrong and end up at the hospital in the wee hours of the morning."

At 38 weeks, I was examined, admitted, and experienced some of those things they tell future moms about. Moms that have had c-sections or scheduled inductions do not get the pleasure of experiencing. Things that unless you experience them for yourself- you really have no idea what they are talking about.

These crazy kids came to visit us on Sunday...

While Husband's parents were on their way up, my parents sat with us and the girls crawled all over their grandparents and daddy trying to get to their new baby brother. New baby brother needs a nickname. Something cool. We'll get to that.

While they crawled and got into every drawer or crevice, I was on a morphine drip to help with the insane amount of pain I had found myself in. When nurses, doctors, or elders talk about "staying ahead of your pain," they know what they are talking about. I had fallen far, far behind it.

Shortly after lunch, I found myself huddled over a bucket throwing up helpless to move while my mom held a bluing baby running to find a nurse with Bennie clipping at her heels. It seems that our son had choked on milk and started to change colors. Mom could not find a nurse in the hall, which lead her to a door to set off an alarm. That alarm sent everyone running for a Code Pink to discover it was actually a Code "Blue."

While they were assessing him, a nurse tucked me back in bed with medicine that sent me off to another planet. I awoke to make the discovery that he would be heading to the NICU for at least 48 hours.

Husband walked with his son down to the NICU to see that the "dream team" was working Sunday night. People he has known since medical school and girls I have known since high school. Competent members of the medical profession whose friendly faces were welcoming and made me cry. Cry from relief that the hands that cared for him would be friendly hands filled with love.

Those hands quickly took him from the cusp of health back to fine-fettle. Those hands held our son and loved him back to the good graces of vigor and wellness. It was but a blip on our screen and nothing we chose to focus our fear on, rather our love for these people who work so hard for babies who cannot care for themselves.

We head home today with a new carseat filled with a new child, less than 72 hours after the birth of our first son and our last child. It was a surreal moment kissing his head for the first time, knowing it will be the last time I kiss a new baby of mine. This chapter of my life- the chapter of incubating and creating life- has ended and we will get on to the business of raising our three children; I will get on to the business of focusing back on being their mom and his wife first, my two most favorite jobs in the world.

When we get home, when we get settled, when we develop a normal - I will update at that point. Until then though, I need to take a few days to find my feet and a few weeks to find my sea legs with three.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

When there are two weeks left

I went to the doctor yesterday. This baby is riding high and will go every bit of those last two weeks that stand before me.

I used four letter words.

Husband is on call this weekend. He went in yesterday and will be home Sunday night. He goes back on Monday and comes home on Tuesday. Afternoon.


Last night, Leenie wanted to sleep with me. I did not even attempt to argue with this plan. We get in jammies around 6:15 and watch a movie in mom's bed. Baths were not even a consideration. For any of us.

Bennie thought it would be fun to beat up on Leenie- she found her crib shortly before 7. Somewhere in the 5am range, I woke up to find my bedmate watching whatever we fell asleep to on TV-- Sherman's march on Georgia. Perfectly acceptable. The tv flashed images of dead children next to dead soldiers. Leenie watched, without blinking, until I said something about Mary Poppins. A few clicks of the remote and I am back asleep while she watches something a touch more wholesome than a documentary about the Civil War.

No coercing back to sleep- I'll do that after the baby comes.

So here I sit at Chick Fil A, the other Mother Mecca and am rolling past my second hour. We have just concluded lunch. When asked what my children had for breakfast, Leenie is quick to brag about her fruit snacks and gummy worm morning meal she fixed herself while mama slept. She even shared with her sister. After crawling out of bed at the tail end of Mary Poppins (it is over two hours long) and finding the two munchkins playing sweetly in Bennie's crib- Bennie without clothes sans a diaper, I round them up for a nutritious breakfast of pop tarts. Figured I should do my part.

We discussed our Saturday options-- too cold for the park. Too expensive for Target. Too late for Imagination Station. Too insane to stay at the house. We settled at Chick Fil A for playtime and lunch. Trying to be a decent parent to more than the one I incubate, I order nuggets (fried, of course). And what do they end up eating?

Cookies, ice cream, and Fanta.

Dinner will be the leftover nuggets they didn't eat. I will have a cookie for supper.

Because that's how we roll when there are two weeks left.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Packing the bag

This is my third time packing my hospital bag. I like to think I am an old hand at this-- not like Mrs. Duggar old hand, but an old hand none-the-less. She's just crazy.

I know things.
I am wise.
I am experienced.

I am punchdrunk.

Today I went to Target, the Mother Mecca. I needed to buy travel size shampoo, which- of course- led to a picture frame, laundry detergent, strawberries, Chicken and Stars soup, underroos, and bottles.

It has been a long time since I have purchased underroos at Target. Being a grown up, I buy nice undies. Being over 30, I don't shop at Victoria's Secret. Too binding. Too uncomfortable. Too far gone for this pregnant belly. Too much of a lost cause and too hard to leave without feeling like a beached whale with those same blue fins flapping in the sunshine. Too much for the reason I am packing my bag for the hospital. BAM! Consumerism working.

My aunts all wear Hanes. How do I know this? I have no idea. They used to wear bikini cut, but in their growing age- they have switched to full coverage. Target is having a sale today on Hanes underross, and there I stood in front of a large wall of Hanes Panties.

Panties. Oh, that word is nothing I like to say. It's like saying "thick" -- it just seems too fat on the tongue to roll off with any elegance or class.

Where was I? Right- being classy talking about panties.

I felt like David in front of Goliath, cowering in the fear of the unknown.

But, I will be at the hospital soon and no one mentions that the hospital issues you underwear on the maternity floor. It is neither pretty nor comfortable. I was not going to fall victim to the white fishnet scariness that can be pulled past your boobies a third time. It must have been a man who thought them up. What woman would think fishnet would be coif when it came to post childbirth? White- at that.

Picture if you will, two doctors sitting around the bar contemplating how to improve labor and delivery.

"You know what those beached whales need, Bob?"
"What, Sam?" (not to be called beached whales? Maybe?)
"They need something that makes them feel good about themselves. We should invent something that does that for them. Sell it to hospitals and retire... but what can we do to make them feel good?"
"How about we issue a glass of champagne when they have completed childbirth. We could market it as Fizzy Baby."
"Nah. What woman who hasn't been able to drink for nine months would want something alcoholic?"
"That's true. Oh- I know. This is brilliant. While she is still drugged up- we can give complimentary liposuction. They could walk out of the hospital and right back into their old clothes."
"Are you crazy? Women LOVE to exercise. And their body needs the work." --a pause-- "I got it. By Hippocratic Oath. I got it. We need to make seamless fishnet panties for them. We can place them in plastic bags and only make XXL so no one feels bad if they cannot fit into a small. I really think I am the smartest man. But... what color should they be?" He muses as he looks down at his white coat.
"WHITE!" they exclaim together.

Back at Target, I am fully prepared to buy underroos that would hit the trash as soon as their purpose had been fulfilled. There are all kinds of underroos and I knew nothing about how to choose. Over on the left, there are full coverage with extra room in the rear in a leopard print. Size: 2XL. Being a two pack, they were paired with red. Who needs that much leopard in their life? I don't. Below those were a pack that looked an awful lot like men's briefs. They were even called Boyfriend Cut. They were gray and ribbed.

Honest to God, they were ribbed. It was at this point I picked up the phone to call one of my 60 year old Hanes-wearing aunts to let her know what I was looking at. I was looking at boxer briefs for girls. Ribbed.

Ribbed for her pleasure.

There were boy-cut shorts with the words "HANES UNDERWEAR" written across the band. As if a friend is going to see you in your zebra print underthings and say, "Hey! Those look quite comfortable with the wide 'action fit' band- do you happen to know what brand they are?"

Again, picture yourself looking down at your zebra boy cut do-dahs and saying to yourself, "Gee... I wish I could remember who made these? Oh. Wait. There it is. Can't miss it. HANES!"

Or, better still- these zebra boy-cut "HANES UNDERWEAR" are worn at the hospital and the nurse comes in only to be blown away by your brilliance of bringing your own under-drawers. If only we could figure out what brand they were... hmmm....

Extra wide bands, bandless, no-roll bands, hi-cut, low-cut, hi-waist-extra room in the rear, no-roll wide hip.... which should not be confused with the no-roll hipster underroos. Those came with a pair of black glasses and skinny jeans.

I am completely lost looking at my options as I just need something that won't touch my scar, keep my feeling a little modest, and not covered in an animal print. Is that too much to ask?  

And there they were. In their glory. A fluorescent bulb from the heavens pointed her light to the top right corner- the place where I should have been looking all along.

Cheetah print.
Red waisted.

Hanes underwear at its finest.

I drop my phone and am gawking at these things that Hanes has declared to be underwear and I deem nothing more than a shoelace, albeit maybe more comfortable? Okay, and let's take it one step further- both in my classiness and my ignorance. I pick up my phone off the ground and ask my 60 year old aunt to please google "tanga" ... because I had no idea what it meant.

You want to know what tanga undies are? Call your almost social security aged aunt and ask her to google TANGA undies on her work computer. Good news: She owns her own company with her husband. Bad news: Her husband will walk in. Good news: He'll think she's shopping for her. The Worst news: He'll find out she's not, rather their pregnant niece.

Trust me, it's the only way to find out. And they are clearly not hospital worthy. Unless they came in fishnet. White fishnet.

Cheetah print tangas will do nothing but ... well, they will do nothing.

Come on, this is Hanes we are talking about here. The inventor of the tag-less T-shirt. The company that prides itself on cotton... for comfort. Surely if my aunts can find something acceptable, I can, too.

In the end, David slew Goliath and I, too, slew the Hanes wall of unmentionables. What did I end up buying? A lady has to keep some secrets to herself, ya know.

Monday, January 12, 2015

From the Mouths of Babes

Leenie has been testing the waters of late. If we tell her not to push the button, she has to push it just... one... more... time. I try to ignore it and think that it will pass. It doesn't. Until the button gets pushed. Then it does. And the arguing. Oh, the arguing:

"Honey, please eat. It took you six minutes to eat that last bite."
"Actually.... it took me ten minutes."
Literally, I think my head started to spin.

"Leenie, it looks like it's going to rain all day today. We'll have to find something fun to do indoors."
"Actually... it's not raining right now." She says as the cats and dogs fall from the sky.

Saturday, we were going to Chick-Fil-A. This is a Saturday tradition where mom exacerbates all of her tender patience to get the kids dressed so that they can run around the playground for two hours between bites of chicken minis and sips of Fanta. It's a relative calm, meaning they are constantly coming and going in bare feet from behind the sound proof glass to eat, ask questions, or tell me something. Whatever. It gives me a chance to breath and feel like I am doing some good in getting them out of the house.

Leenie would not get her shoes on. My patience finally broke. I yelled. (ding ding ding went the alarm) Magically, those shoes she could not reach were within striking distance and on her feet. We are off to play.

Hours later, I pull her next to me and we talk about patience. And a lot about how hard everything is for me right now. I apologized for yelling over something silly like shoes and got to the bottom line of, "If you try harder, I'll try harder." Somehow- those words resonated with her and her attitude evolved into something acceptable. She was sweet with her sister. She gave me hugs. She was polite. It was such a welcome change.

Sunday was not quite as beautiful as Saturday afternoon, but she was trying- and so was I. Slowly, her argumentative side started to come out.

"Church lasts an hour."
"No it doesn't."

"Actually Daddy- Zaxby's does have cheese dip."

On and on, more and more... until finally the gauntlet was thrown down. One more time being argumentative after the promised threat of an early bedtime- off to bed. We had hit maximum capacity. Husband follows the screaming and crying five year old down the hallway to help her get ready for bed and see to it that she actually went to bed.

She climbed between her sheets with Husband sitting next to her, prepared for a little chat.

"Honey, do you know why Mommy said supper was over and it was bedtime?"
"Because she doesn't have a lot patience?"

Friday, January 9, 2015

Milk Expiration

The closer I get to my due date, the further it seems to get away from me. This morning, after dropping Bennie off at school, I came home to make some hot chocolate and work on some pictures I took last week. The expiration date on my milk is 2/11/15. To be perfectly honest, the milk won't last the day, but it dawned on me that by the time the milk actually expires, I will be home from the hospital with a third in my arms. A little baby boy. That made me smile. Because if it is before milk expires, it has to be soon.

Monday, January 5, 2015


There has been so much going in the past few weeks that I have not had the energy to tie my shoes- when I can see them- let alone, sit down and get funny with the World Wide Web. But, here I am. Shoes tied and trying to make sense of this homestretch that I am in.

Christmas was amazing. I always think every Christmas is the best, but this year- this year ranks up there with our last year in DC. Bennie walked into the living room, saw what Santa left and said, "WOAH, Daddy! Woah, woah- WOAH DADDY!" As she bee-lined for what was obviously hers. We did not spend an exorbitant amount of money, we did not buy everything on Leenie's list, and yet, they were content with the bounty they received. It was a good lesson for this mom who went to sleep worrying if she had done enough. All four of us enjoyed the time opening presents, seeing what kind of gifts we gave and received and- in general- were a happy little family of four.

New Years Eve, ok- I am going to tell this story. I shouldn't, because my typing cannot do it justice. But, if I am being honest about myself and being pregnant- well, why not share it with the masses? So... New Years Eve. We went to dinner with our favorite couple, Dr & Mrs Eye. We don't get together for supper just the four of us that often, but when we do, oh, but when we do. We laugh. We drop random movie quotes. Someone gets lost in the conversation. We talk about nothing and everything and it is the most fun. Dr. Eye made reservations for us and hired his favorite designated driver- me- and off to dinner we set. 

While the non-pregnant ones were drinking copious amounts of a plethora of things, I had my unsweet tea, 75 Splenda packets, and just as much fun as they were. A woman walks past us and Husband leans over and says, "Hey Baby- check out that hot-New Years get-up." It was a quiet whisper for the table to hear. We laugh. Oh, do we laugh...

But then... well, there is just no getting past this... I *in all my sobriety* respond with, "Those aren't leather pants. They are wax cotton and she is not wearing any underroos." No, I didn't say it quietly. No, I was not trying to be obnoxious. No, I could not pull my foot out of my mouth. There was no redemption. None. She looked over at me. I kept in a dead stare talking to Husband and not making eye contact and all I could do was laugh. That, and not break eye contact.

Husband laughed. Dr. & Mrs. Eye hung their heads and laughed- both probably out of embarrassment and amusement. 

It was in that moment that I realized all those things that pregnancy does to you are hints of what it is like to be an old lady. 

You're louder than you mean to be.
There is no filter- if it is in your head, it is out of your mouth. 
You cry a lot.
Continence is a thing of the past. 
There are other things, but humiliation ain't one of 'em. 

The sad part? She was wearing underroos. How do I know? She told me. Just kidding. 


In the past few weeks, I have upped the ante on crying. I cry all the time and I cry for legitimate reasons. Like two days ago- I had had enough water to fill the Atlantic Ocean. All I wanted was a glass of milk to go with my spaghetti. That's it. We were out. Those dang cherubs of mine had the last bit. I searched high and low to no avail. Finally asking Husband, he pointed over to their tiny table where there were two empty glasses with milk rings around them. I sobbed. 

Leenie looked over at me, cocked her head and asked what was wrong. "Nothing, baby." She gave me a hug and kissed her brother. I sobbed harder. She looked at Husband and took a few steps back from the ticking time bomb that was her mother. 

I went to the doctor two weeks ago and cried telling her that I cry all the time. She raised her eyebrows and asked if I had experienced anything traumatic lately. 

I told that I started throwing up every morning. 

You know what happens when you're 155 weeks pregnant and your morning sickness returns? I'll give you a clue... It starts with an IN and ends with brushing your teeth before grabbing a rag, some cleaning solution, and changing your clothes. Your five year old will ask you if need to go back to potty training TT school. Your two year old will bring you their training potty and you will hang your head and laugh. Laugh a lot. Before you start crying. Crying at the fact that you are 155 weeks pregnant, need to change your clothes, and cannot get off the floor without the help of someone else. 

Pregnancy is embarrassing. And humbling.

Definitely humbling.

I have not been to the grocery store since well before Christmas. This speaks both the my tiredness (read: laziness) and my ability to stock a pantry... hence the lack of milk. Today I finally caved as I really want some milk. I pick Leenie up from school and off to Publix we go. Leenie must have known that I was in a weak spot, because she asked, "Mommy, can I have this?" (doughnuts) "Sure..."
and into the buggy they go.

"Mommy, can I have this please?" (Oatmeal cream pies)
"Sure...." into the buggy.
"Mommy, may I please have this?" (Cheez-its)
"Sure..." into the buggy.

An extra loaf of bread? Sure. 26 cookies? Sure. Am I paying with a debit card today? Sure. Do I want plastic bags? Sure. Do I want to donate to XYZ charity? No, thanks. The cashier looks at me and laughs. "Sure to everything else, but 'no' to charity?" Yep. 

It's been a surreal experience- wrangling two children while incubating a third. 

New Years Day was fun, too. Husband was on call and I got to spend several hours in the hospital. Mama was keeping the kids for me for a few hours and I walked in to get them. She and her friend looked at me and told me to sit down. They got me some water and then some more. Contractions... more contractions.... I called Husband. He told me to leave the kids with mom and go home. Lay down. Drink water. Rest. I did. Contractions came on harder. Every ten minutes. Eye Yie Yie.

Husband came home to check on me and after another hour of contacting, I told him it was time to go and get this checked out.

Getting to the hospital, they knew I was coming and swept us into a triage room with a blanket that, upon fastening 75 strings and 44 snap-ems became a hospital gown. Mental note #1: If I am not having a baby today, order my own dang hospital gown. This is too complicated. My nurse was not the sharpest tack in the tray, but I kept my calm as Husband was beside me. If worse comes to worse, he can deliver this spawn I have been incubating. 

An EKG is ordered as my heart rate is all over the board (imagine that). Nurse tells me to lay still- as if I could move. I am held together with 75 bowties and 44 snap-ems. She attaches prongs to stickers and stickers to body parts. I remind her of my latex allergy and she says, "Gosh- I hope these stickers don't have latex in them....Hold still, I'll be right back," and walks out of the room. 

I look at Husband with saucer eyes and he says, "It's a latex free hospital."

My saucer eyes dim just slightly.

The doctor comes in and an exam must be performed. Pregnancy is mortifying. I am strapped down and hooked up to some monitor that is beeping and swishing as part of the bed falls away. All of a sudden, my head is light, I am seeing colorful spots and that swooshing and beeping monitor is making all kinds of fun noises. My poor first year resident looks at me with some saucer eyes herself and suggests that I lay on my side.

I am 155 weeks pregnant and have put on a substantial amount of weight in the last two weeks. There is no "just roll over to your side" without some heavy pushing and pulling. I sob and am reminded of a beached whale flapping their blue fins in the sun. Of course, the beached whale does not have to deal with cords, wires, 75 strings- most of which are untied and 44 snap-ems that have fallen to the wayside. I am hogtied in a skinny blanket that won't let me move. 

I sob harder. The spots start circling. I swear there is a bright light somewhere that is not hooked up to a lamp. 

Husband peeks through the side of the hospital bed and asks, "Do you want to build a snowman?"

Did you know it is possible to laugh, cry, be completely helpless, and find all your energy all at once? I would have killed him had he not completely changed my demeanor. He could not do anything about the swirling spots, but he did what he could. 

The spots subsided. 

More water, more tests, and we were discharged. I left with the knowledge that this might be my third pregnancy, but I might have been acting like a first time mother (read: overreacting). I gave myself orders of "take it easy." -- more sitting, less doing. It's working out well. I rearranged the living room today. Yeah, that's where we keep the grand piano. No big deal. It's on wheels.