Saturday, October 22, 2005

Whole Lotta Poop Talk- Baby Update (2 1/2 months old)

An e-mail to family and friends, written when Corinne was 2 1/2 months old. My favorite part is how I signed it.
Hi all,
Well, this would be the second time that I am writing this email. I am so frustrated. Last Wednesday Pete took the baby to the mall (to buy my birthday presents) and I had a glorious 2 1/2 hours to myself. I thought, what shall I do with this rare and wonderful opportunity? Why, I think I will email my beloved family and friends. It's been on my To Do list for weeks. So I sat down and spent a good hour typing it out, choosing to miss Little House on the Prairie, of which I am a closet fan of, and never get to watch when Pete is around because he makes fun of it the whole time. I hit send and the log-in window popped up for no particular reason. I logged in and blip! The email was gone. I prayed it went through anyway but no such luck. I had to add "Email family and friends" back onto my to do list. One step forward, one step back. So this email is probably not going to be as interesting, creative or insightful as the original, or at least I'll tell you that and you'll never know if you missed the world's best email or not.
Speaking of one step forward, one step back, Corinne is doing pretty well. That really does sum up new parenthood. You think you've got yourself a nice little routine, even "a schedule" and you think, I've got the hang of this parenting thing! I know what to expect on any given day! Look at me being a mom- I'm a pro at this. Then the baby slaps you back into reality. Babies don't want to be predictable. They think you may get bored with them so they decide to do funny things like stop pooping on a daily basis. Instead they poop every other day, and when they do, they go so much that it explodes out of their diaper up their back, down their legs, you name it. You thank God that you were at home and not in the car or at Babies R Us or worse- out on a walk with baby in that wraparound snuggly carrier thingie. Then you notice that baby poops at exactly 2:15 every other day, so you plan your day around that diaper change- clothes off ahead of time, fresh, non urine saturated diaper for maximum poopie absorbability, paper towels ready (baby wipes are not enough to clean up the 2 gallons of poopie that comes out). Then baby poops at 10:30 instead, in a new outfit that she's never worn before, and boy does baby poop stain if you don't get it rinsed immediately. So now diaper changing also involves laundry washing, and sometimes a bath, too. One time I managed to extricate the outfit without mishap, only to have her pee all over herself while her diaper was off, which has become Corinne's MO. At least bath time has become more bearable. Corinne hated bath time for the first 11 weeks. She acted like we were washing her in hydrochloric acid, followed by a brisk rub down with the barbed wire towel. She screamed much harder during bath time than she did for her first set of vaccinations, which consisted of four rapid-fire needle jabs, one in each limb. It really is the very definition of "screaming bloody murder". I'm always afraid the police are going to knock on the door to look into a report of child abuse. So one day we decided to video tape this spectacle so we can laugh about later, when she grows up to be a quiet, demure young lady (don't see that happening!). Always one step ahead of us, Corinne decided that now bath time is OK, even mildly amusing. Oh well. She may have won the battle, but I think we won the war on that one.

Corinne and Seven are developing an interesting relationship. Corinne finds the texture of Seven's fur to be quite overstimulating. If we lay her down on Seven she grabs her fur and goes crazy. She makes these funny yelling noises and starts flailing around. Seven's goal is to lick Corinne's tonsils at every available opportunity. She is smart enough to know that this is most easily done when the baby is crying, thereby adding fuel to the fire. Quid pro quo, Corinne also likes to lick Seven's fur. It's pretty gross all around. Seven is adjusting pretty well to this invasion to her little world, overall. She comes and gets me if Corinne is crying downstairs and I am upstairs (like every time I try to go to the bathroom), not that I can't hear her loud and clear on my own, mind you. We have noticed that Seven seems to be showing her age for the first time, though. She's becoming an old dog, I'm sad to say. She's starting to slow down a lot and gets tired faster. She also has old dog farts.

On the work-front, I officially put in my notice last week. Pete, Corinne, Seven and I went to Ogunquit Maine for a few days and my boss called three times while we were away. Turns out she's quitting, too, which made giving my notice much easier. A vet and one of the vet techs quit, too. Way to go H****- they're dropping like flies. Of course they don't see it as a problem within the department- they blame the "industry" companies for stealing people away. Couldn't possibly be a problem with their archaic operational structure of such a prestigious institution. Anyway, within a half hour my bosses boss called me to "bounce some ideas off of me about the possibility working part time". Hmm, does anyone recall how I asked about working part time about 6 months ago and was given a resounding "no way- can't be done" by this very same man? Now suddenly we're thinking of hiring a training manager (dangling carrot, anyone?) to oversee the new trainers that we'll be hiring and surely the coordination of said training could be done on a part time basis. I told him that I was not prepared to return to work right now, both because I don't have day care lined up and because I am simply not emotionally ready to put Corinne in day care right now. Frankly, she's way to high maintenance and demanding. She would need one staff member devoted just to her to cater to her every whim and need like I do. She is a demanding, unreasonable, ungrateful boss and I just don't think anyone could put up with it like her devoted parents do. Well, Big Boss said they'd wait until Spring, when I had mentioned to my boss that I would have to go back to work by due to our money running out. I left it pretty open ended and non-committal. It's not my first choice to return there, but it is nice to have something to fall back on if need be.

Pete's work is going pretty well. He's working on a paper that will be published in a trade magazine for our field. I am very proud of him. He'll be happy to be done with it, though. He's co-writing it with another supervisor who has not been overly helpful with it, and their deadline for this second round of edits is next week.

We're having a Halloween party next weekend, so we're looking forward to that. Halloween is our favorite. Pete wants to build a coffin for Corinne to sleep in during the party. He's a sick, sick man. OK, I think I repeated most of what was in my original email and anything I forgot must not have been that important anyway. I saved this one to drafts several times, which seems to have wreaked havoc with my spacing for some reason, so I apologize for that. #$%^&* computer! I'll write again when I have something to talk about.
Love A,
Corinne's personal servant and court jester

(True to his word, here's a photo of said coffin. And yeah, that's a tombstone she's next to. We made one for each family member, including Seven. Hey, I warned you that we love the inappropriate!)

Sunday, August 7, 2005

Corinne's Birth Story

This is Corinne's birth story, as I wrote it for her scrap book. It's for the women who, like me, enjoy reading about other women's childbirthing experiences to determine if their own was worse/ scarier/ longer/ more painful, as thought this wins you some sort of an award. Men, you'll probably just want to skip this one. Move along, there's nothing to see here.

Officially Corinne was due on Friday July 31st, although there was some confusion on this, and August 4th was also a possibility, depending on who you talked to. Either way it was a moot point, because that girl was in no hurry to leave the womb. My last day at H**** was Wednesday July 20th. I wanted to allow myself plenty of time to do my final cleaning/ organizing/ shopping/ nesting. I decided that she was welcome to come any time on or after Monday the 25th, which would give me plenty of time to prepare. By then the house was spotless and I was ready. I went to the doctor on Wednesday the 29th only to find that there was absolutely nothing going on down there. Now I was starting to get antsy. I had done nothing but watch episodes of “A Baby Story”, seeing other women give birth time and time again, crying every time, getting progressively more impatient as I awaited my turn. I had a couple false alarms, where I thought for sure I was getting crampy when I went to bed, expecting to wake up in labor, only to wake up in the morning just fine. I tried all the things I had heard could induce labor: long walks (in the unbearable heat and humidity), foot rubs, spicy foods, sex… still nothing.

I was scheduled to come in on Friday August 5th for a stress test. I brought my packed suitcase just in case they decided to induce. It was a good thing I did. The stress test consisted of being hooked up to a fetal monitor, and they would observe the baby’s heart rate whenever the baby moved. I guess the results were mildly concerning because they decided to do an ultrasound to “check the fluid levels”. Again, borderline troubling. They decided to let my doctor make the call. Well, my blood pressure was higher than normal, too, so that clinched it- she decided to induce as opposed to waiting for Monday, which had been her original plan. We got ourselves lunch at Au Bon Pain at the hospital, anticipating a long haul, and then checked ourselves in.

First we went to triage around 2:00, where they inserted some sort of drug that would “ripen my cervix”. Then we had to kill 2 hours before they would check again to see how we were progressing. They warned us that this process could take hours, sometimes even an overnighter at home, before they would officially admit me. So we went to Pete's work so he could tie up loose ends. We planned to go see “Willy Wonka” and get dinner to kill time after our next check-in. The whole time it felt so surreal. I couldn’t wrap my brain around the fact that soon, possibly that night, I would finally give birth.

We left our car in Pete's work parking lot and headed back to the hospital via shuttle. When they rechecked me, again there was some concern about the baby’s heart rate and the effect that the drug was having on the baby. They decided to admit me and start me on Pitocin rather than giving another dose, because if the baby was having a bad reaction to the drug there was no reversing it. So much for dinner and a movie. Either way, I was excited and glad that we didn’t need to go home for the night. I had all my stuff with me and plans had already been squared away for someone to take care of Seven. Pete didn’t have any change of clothes with him, but we figured he could go home and get something the next day once the baby was born.

That evening was fairly uneventful. We called the parents to give them the heads-up, and then it was time for walking the hallways and rocking in a chair to try to get the baby to start to move down. I had minor cramps, but nothing I couldn’t deal with, and I actually said something to the effect that this child birthing thing wasn’t too bad. Ha!

Some time around 10pm or so I was walking the hallway with the nurse when she casually said that we should head back to the room and sit down. After sitting down she casually said I should lie down. Then she said I should curl up on my side as much as I could. Then suddenly there was a roomful of people and I was on oxygen. The baby’s heart rate had dropped alarmingly and wasn’t going back up, and then they lost it all together. Well, to make a long story short, the monitor had come unplugged, thus the disappearing heartbeat, but it took an agonizing several minutes that seemed like a lifetime to figure this out, all the while with well-hidden panic on the part of the medical staff. And the baby was in distress, that much was clear. Following that Pete and I had meltdown number one, as the scary reality that there might be something wrong with our daughter hit home. She seemed to be going into distress every time I sat up, so I became bed-ridden, and suddenly I was filling out authorization for surgery forms “just in case”.

We had one or two more similar incidents like that that first night. I could only lie on my right side, and could only move to use a bed pan. My plans to walk around and shower and use the birthing ball to kill time and make myself feel better were no longer feasible. My legs were cramped from not moving and I was still showing no signs of dilating past the initial 1 cm that I started at.

The next morning at around 6 am my water broke and there was meconium in it, which is a sign that the baby is in distress, but the doctors didn’t seem concerned and were glad that finally something was happening. I was still only 1cm dilated, though. After that the cramps started to kick in. I was glad at first, because at least something was happening. That day seemed to drag on forever. It was Saturday, so there was nothing to watch on TV. I couldn’t concentrate on reading anything, so I couldn’t take my mind off the pain that was starting to build. By 2 o’clock or so the cramps were starting to get bad, coming every 2 minutes or so. I asked for pain meds and they gave me something by IV that allowed me to sleep for a couple hours, but it was a restless sleep and I dreamed about contractions. When I woke up, it got bad pretty quickly. I was tired and uncomfortable and scared and discouraged. Still at 1 cm, I finally asked for an epidural. They tried to talk me out of it, saying that they preferred to wait until I was at least 5 cm’s because an epidural could slow down the labor. I didn’t see how the labor could possibly get any slower, given that it had been over24 hours since we checked in (Pete had read the entire new Harry Potter book in the time it had taken so far!), and I insisted on it. I felt like a wimp for needing pain meds at only 1 cm, but it was taking so long, and the contractions were coming too fast and furious for me to regroup in between.

Getting the epidural seemed to take forever. It was almost an hour before the anesthesiologist came. It then took him awhile to get ready, opening packages, creating a sterile field, and God knows what else. I couldn’t sit up and bend forward, the traditional way of positioning for the insertion of the catheter. I had to curl up on my side, not an easy feat when you are ten months pregnant. The anesthesiologist had to wait to insert between contractions, but there was only a minute or so between each one, so it took 7 or 8 contractions to even get started. Then, the final horror, just as he was inserting the catheter, the CD we were listening to (“The World’s Most Relaxing Classical Music”, ironically), which happened to be playing an opera song, started to skip on a high note. It was like being in hell. No one could smack the radio because it was behind me, in the sterile field. We just had to wait it out until he was done. I imagine this only made it more difficult for him to do with a high note playing over and over again. It would have been funny had I not been in agony. Finally he got the stupid thing in and the relief was instant and complete. It really is heavenly. Suddenly you can think rationally again and life seems OK.

The rest of that day and evening are a complete blur for me. I must have slept a lot because I don’t remember much of anything other than nurses occasionally coming in to check on the contractions, now that they were able to crank the pitocin levels. I was at 5 cm’s when I called my parents and told them they wouldn’t hear from us again until morning regardless of what happened(they were going crazy waiting and wanted frequent updates, which was driving me crazy).

Sometime around 11:30pm Saturday night the doctors were huddling around talking and checking the monitors and then the next thing I knew they had decided to do an “urgent C-section”. I just wasn’t progressing and the baby’s condition was not getting any better. The stress of the birth could be dangerous at that point. Part of me was relieved, because I felt so tired and didn’t think there was any way I could go through pushing, but part of me was disappointed. I had pictured delivering vaginally all along, and felt a little bit cheated of my romantic vision of how it would be to hold my daughter immediately after she was born, like I had seen so many times on “A Baby Story”. Also, I was frustrated because after all of the pain and waiting the outcome was going to end in a C-section regardless, so I wished we had just done it on Friday night when the trouble first began.

It was a scary few minutes as Pete was rudely awakened to a room full of doctors and nurses and anesthesiologists (poor Pete and his chair, in the way once again!) and I was whisked off to an operating room. Pete was given scrubs to change into while I was prepped. My arms were tied spread eagle and a drape was put up so I couldn’t see anything. Pete was brought in (I was so afraid they were going to forget about him in all the urgency) and apparently he had a very good view. I felt pushing and thought they were just cleaning me off and then I heard a baby crying. Pete reports that they literally pulled out my uterus and laid it on my stomach, and then one doctor pushed on it like a tube of toothpaste and the other doctor caught the baby as she came out. He said it was pretty horrifying. It was exactly midnight when she was born, and only about 20 minutes from the point when they had decided to do the surgery. Because it was midnight we actually got to pick the birth date, either August 6 or 7th. Well obviously we had to go with the seventh. Pete got to hold her right there in the OR, but I had to wait until they finished stitching me up.

After that things are kind of a blur again. I remember being absolutely freezing, and so tired that I could barely stay awake. They brought me back to the labor room and then finally I got to hold my baby for the first time. She had a head of dark brown hair, which was a surprise (so much for punnett squares!). She was such a tiny little peanut at 6 pounds, 15 ounces. I tried nursing her and she took to it right away like a little champ. We knew the time had come to finally pick a name, so on the count of three we both said the name we were leaning towards, now that we were seeing her for the first time. I chose Corinne, because for the past few months that was the name in my head whenever I thought of her. Pete chose Avery, but he said it was really Virginia, his grandmother’s name, as the middle name that he was leaning toward (it just sounded better with Avery) so we compromised and went with Corinne Virginia. They took us all up to our room on the maternity ward and then the baby went to the nursery for the rest of the night so we could get some much needed sleep. We called all the parents at around 3 am to give them the news (my dad slept through the phone call and will never forgive himself), and the rest is history!

(That's 34 hours from induction to birth, in case anyone was counting. That's got to get me at least an honorable mention!)

Tuesday, July 5, 2005

Loser Family Builds a Nest- Pregnancy Update (month 9)

An email I sent out to family and friends a month before Corinne was born. I got a lot of positive feedback on this one from all the fellow mom's, and I always did feel like it captured that irrational nesting frenzy of a very pregnant woman and her poor husband.

Hi everyone,

Since Pete and I collectively owe a lot of people emails and phone calls, I decided it would be easier to just send out another update to everyone, even though I feel like there's not much to tell.

Seems like this is the calm before the storm right now. We've both been furiously working to get long withstanding projects finished (or started and then finished, in some cases). We know that life as we know it is ending (yes yes, and a new chapter beginning, blah blah blah, insert "bringing baby into the world, yadda, yadda, best thing you'll ever do, yadda" here) and we won't have time to pick our noses, much less clean the bathroom, once the baby comes. It's amazing how strong the need is to tie up loose ends. My work has benefitted from it the most- I've been trying to organize all my files, documents, training programs, etc to the point of bordering on unhealthy obsession. Partially I want to leave everything in order so that they all realize what a huge mistake it was to let such a wonderfully organized person go (yeah right), and partially it's because I'm putting together a portfolio of all the work that I have done in the past 2 years for these ingrates so I can use it to get my next job.

At home I have organized and cleaned the garage, both cars, and the basement (because you know how much babies hate cluttered basements). I stare hungrily at the attic from time to time, too, but the heat has kept me away from tackling that one. As for the baby's room, I have sorted, folded, refolded and resorted all the cute little outfits, hung some up, sorted them by age, changed my mind and folded them in a drawer. I have rearranged the stuffed animals on the shelves by size, species and color. I have sorted supplies by use (bath, feeding, toys, small items) and placed then in baskets, which I have moved from one location to another, to different parts of the house and then back again. I have arranged and rearranged the curtains, the pillows and the bedding. This past weekend I assembled the swing, stroller, and a night table (which I decided yesterday that I absolutely could not live without). I am so ready for this baby that it is ridiculous. Mice do this quirky thing where they sometimes overgroom each other and themselves as a dominance thing. You can always tell who the dominant one is because he will be the one with all his hair while his cage mates are covered in bald spots. Every once in awhile you will see a mother mouse who has a litter of pups that have been groomed bald except for their scrawny little heads and feet. In this case I think it is more of an obsessive-compulsive thing than a dominance thing. All I can think of is the mother or grandmother who is forever spitting and dabbing at their children's filthy faces. I just hope I get over this frenzy once the baby is born so I don't clean and organize her to the point of baldness, or sort her into a basket by color and size.

Pete is no less guilty. This weekend he single-handedly painted the entire exterior of the house by himself, and then did the garage and shed too, for shits and giggles. Prior to that he rebuilt (and painted) our basement bulkhead and tore down and replaced several dozen shingles on the house. His real obsession, though, is weed whacking. He has waged war against unsightly grass growing in the cracks of the sidewalk and along the flower beds. He goes at them with his giant weed whacker with a vengeance, lest our home look like a "ghetto-house". We must look like a pair of freaks, the big fat preganant lady and the crazy man. Last summer we had a robin who was determined to build a nest in the tree in our front yard, even though she was convinced that her reflection in the window was another bird moving in on her territory. She spent about two weeks attacking the window and flying back and forth with loads of twigs and string that she never could seem to assemble into an actual working nest before she finally just gave up and moved on. We were so amused by her and her mindless behaviors, driven solely by instinct. I suspect that that same bird, who this year, incidentally, has successfully built her nest, laid and hatched her eggs, is now watching us running around cleaning and organizing and sweating and bumping into each other like clowns in a circus, is equally amused by us.

So that about sums up our lives the past few weeks. I don't know what we will do when we run out of projects. Relax while we still can? I doubt it. God forbid the baby comes past the due date, I think I'll go out of my mind. Maybe we'll start a new mural- haha. Or maybe I'll read a few dozen more books on childbirth and parenting. I'm almost up to college-age in terms of child development.

Pregnancy symptoms-wise, I am huge. I am like a giant orb. Soon I will have my own gravitational pull. My ankles resemble those of an elephant, they are so swollen with "fluids". My doctor said there's not much I can do, and to only be concerned if I get headaches and chest pains (like from a stroke???). I am a vision of sexiness. Other than that, though, I thought I'd be feeling much worse right about now. I have developed the pregnant lady shuffle, but I don't feel nearly as heavy and cumbersome as I thought I would. Only four weeks to go (theoretically). I'm convinced that she's going to come late, though. That's just the way my luck goes. As of this Friday I will be to term (37 weeks) and it could safely happen at any time. Ah, dare to dream. I just hope it doesn't happen before I have a chance to organize my photos and rearrange my bedroom. And get started on the handmade birth announcements... And start my baby scrapbook.......

I'll keep everyone posted. Pete will call immediate family once I go into labor, and will email everyone else once she is born, so in the meantime no word just means that there is no news. Assume all is well unless you hear otherwise. Or it could be that we're just too busy flying into windows and grooming each other bald.

A, P, 7 & (we're not telling!)

Friday, April 22, 2005

Pete's Monster - Pregnancy Update (month 6)

I included this one because of the part about Pete and the monster (which we later began referring to as Uncle Pete's Monster, a title which then took on a life of it's own, as I'm sure you can imagine!)

Hi everyone,

Figured I'd better check in so no one worries that they haven't heard anything from me in awhile. First, thanks to everyone for your comments on the mural. It really is easier than it looks. The pictures are all from clip art that I projected onto the wall. Then it's just a matter of tracing and coloring inside the lines. It was a lot of fun and part of me is sad to be done with it, but now that the weather is getting nicer we don't want to be inside anymore. Time to turn our attention to the yard projects. We need to get our house painted this summer, which has required some reshingling on Pete's part. His dad came over to show him the ropes last weekend. Not a particularly fun project, but necessary. We invested in a paint sprayer, knowing this will need to be done every 5 years or so, so hopefully the project won't be too bad once we get the windows taped off. We're going with the same color so that if we run out of steam it won't look ridiculous. Next time we'll change the color.

Baby is doing fine, although Pete has pointed out that I no longer answer the "how are you feeling" question with "I can't complain". I am definitely starting to feel pregnant. I had some cramping, more unrelievable gas pains, swollen ankles and frequent urination have also been added to my list as of this week. And of course, I'm getting fatter by the minute. I'm measuring right where I should be for the 6th month, so at least I'm not growing a freakishly large baby inside of me. My doctor is on my case about weight gain nonetheless, as I may have mentioned. I gained a lot in March. I did much better in April, but she still isn't satisfied. When I asked her how much I should be gaining per month she only said that my total weight gain should be around 20 pounds, and that I am almost there already. The way I look at it, there's not much I can do to help that now- it's pretty unrealistic to think I won't gain anything in the last trimester, and losing weight is not a healthy option. All I can do is make sure I eat healthy and not have too many desert binges, but I'm sorry- there's no way I'm giving up on sweets completely. I crave them ALL THE TIME (I did have my test for gestational diabetes this week and all seems to be OK. That was a relief. It seems like everyone I talk to who is pregnant has developed diabetes). Pete has been great about packing me healthy lunches and doing lots of fruit smoothies and fruit salads for breakfast. He helps me with my complete lack of will power because he's trying so hard to make sure I'm good, I don't want to disappoint him or negate his efforts. It's just so hard when everyone at work is always encouraging me to eat and bringing me cookies and candy and junk all the time because I'm "eating for two" or because "Baby is hungry". I finally had to tell them to stop because they got me in trouble. I can't say no to sweets, so my only hope is that they are just not available to me.

Let's see, what else is going on... We're looking at cars and hoping to buy one by the end of the month. We're probably going to go with a Subaru Forester. I wanted a snazzy little Honda Accord or something along those lines, but then the reality of parenthood set in. We take Seven with us everywhere, and there wouldn't be room for her in the back seat with Baby and all Baby's accoutrement's. I won't do a minivan- I just can't succumb to that degree of grown-upness just yet. I'm not crazy about the station-wagony feeling of the Subaru's, but I am telling myself that the Forester is more of an SUV than a station wagon. Pete just wants something good on gas, not too big and easy to park (unlike our truck). Then we'll semi-retire the truck, which is starting to show its age and the fact that it has been driven cross-country three times. It's been good to us, but the list of annoying problems with it is getting longer and longer (no A/C, no inside dome light, a gas gauge that always reads full).

This weekend we are helping some friends of ours move (not sure how much help I'll be, and please no lectures on lifting heavy things- I won't do anything stupid). It's supposed to rain all day, so that will suck. It's the same friend who built our deck, so we kind of owe him. We may also register for baby stuff this weekend. We keep procrastinating because it's so overwhelming. We went to a Baby Expo a couple weeks ago and it was the same problem. Too many kids, too many strollers (crowd mowers), just too much. All I kept thinking is "we don't belong here with these people! This is so not US!" Yeah, maybe there's just a little bit of "coming to terms with it all" still going on, at least for me. Whole lotta life changes coming up in the next few months with baby and work (or lack thereof). Mostly I'm excited, though. And a little nervous when I look down at my belly and think "this thing has got to come of of me one way or another. There's no turning back now."

Funny little story about Pete and parenting. Last weekend our neighbors (the one's we refer to as the Loud Family) were out and about chatting with everyone. They have two little girl 3 and 5 or so. I was talking to their mother and the 3 year old kept going inside our house. The mother didn't seem to see anything wrong with this and didn't do anything about it (maybe this is some sort of mother thing that I won't understand until I have a three year old, but for the time being I think it's pretty rude). Pete was not so cool with it either and kept following her in to make sure she wasn't getting into anything (she was even helping herself to our refrigerator). Finally, after the 6th or so time he had to follow her in there, she came haul-assing out of the house crying, followed by Pete who had a funny, somewhat self satisfied smile on his face. She kept saying something about a monster that lives upstairs in our house that was going to eat her. Her mother didn't seem to be amused, saying something about the nightmares she was going to have now. But she didn't go back in again after that. Maybe the tactic was questionable, and maybe we will have unconventional child rearing ideas, but I say the end justifies the means. We managed to raise a pretty well behaved dog. And maybe mom will learn a lesson about curbing her kid. If nothing else, Pete and I sure did have a good laugh over it after they left.

OK, I think I'll wrap this up and get back to work. I am still going at my job as per usual (OK, maybe more like 80% of what I was giving it in effort before I knew I wasn't coming back) and relishing it every time some one needs something and I already have it ready and know exactly where it is and they say how much they'll miss me during my maternity leave. They won't realize how much I did or brought to the table until I'm gone. Ain't it always the way.

Talk to y'all soon,
A, P & 7

PS- no, we still haven't picked out a name. Maybe we'll call her Eight.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Pregnancy Update (month 5)

I thought I'd start off with some e-mails I wrote to family and friends during my pregnancy. This one was written when I was around 5 months pregnant.

Hi everyone,
I'm pretty disgusted with my job right now. I was hoping to come back part-time after my maternity leave, and work 2 1/2 days a week so that the baby would only be in daycare 2 days. I spoke with my boss and she seemed to think it was do-able, but she needed to discuss it with her boss (she's still relatively new here). I didn't hear anything for three weeks so I figured it was a done deal. Well, last week, as I was walking out the door to go on vacation for a week my boss stopped me to tell me that the powers that be have decided that my position needs to be full time so part time was not an option, at least not permanently. I could probably come back part time for a month or two to ease back in but ultimately I'd need to work full time. She told me to think it over. Well, the more I think about it the more angry and hurt I feel.
Ugh! There was a big long, egotistical, self-pitying tirade here that, frankly, I am too embarassed to post so I deleted it. If you saw it you'd probably never read this blog again because you'd be like, what a whiny bitch! This just proves my point that it's funny to go back and read your thoughts on something after the moment has passed.>> I'll spare you any more of my tirade. The bottom line, then, is that I will be a full time stay at home mom, at least for a little while. I am worried that I am going to go out of my mind. I know I won't be bored, but I won't be "intellectually and creatively challenged". But the prospect of trying to find a new job with a baby is equally scary. I just feel really strongly that I don't want to miss out on watching the baby's first few years, and I don't like the idea of her being raised by strangers in day care. I also don't know how women do it- staying up with a baby all night and then working full time. It's got to be exhausting.

On the pregnancy front, last week I started to feel her kick. At first I wasn't positive but now there's no mistaking it. She kicks a LOT! I can't help but think that if she wasn't in the womb she'd be throwing a fit and screaming every time I feel her. I also started to show pretty noticeably in the period of a week. It's like she doubled in size or something. Maybe it's just because I don't have any full length mirrors in my house, but my friend took a picture of me and I was like, Good Lord, what happened?!! It's hideous! I'm as big around as I am tall (of course, it also looks like I've got twin babies in my rear end, which doesn't help).

So I took all of last week off to work on "Project Baby Room Mural". We're doing an underwater theme. I found really cute bedding and matched the colors to it. The walls are a light sea greenish blue color and then we painted a whale with a baby watching over the crib, an octopus with a treasure chest, a shark (but he's cute, with a fish kissing him), some sting rays, a sea turtle, seahorses and a bunch of fish. I also painted "Ocean Family", which is me as a beautiful and well endowed mermaid holding a baby mermaid, Pete in snorkeling gear, and, the piece de resistance, Seven with a scuba mask. I am very pleased with the way it came out. The rest of the room is a work in progress, as I know I will continue to obsess over it until the day the baby is born (and probably after that. I can see myself rocking her to sleep and fixating over a spot where I painted outside of the lines). We still want to add more fish and coral and shells and all that.

My friend Diane came for the week and helped me paint. She's the one who we did the jungle mural for. Her baby is 6 months old now and really cute. She has flaming red hair and really big eyes and smiles a lot. Seven was fascinated with her. She wouldn't leave her side. She's going to be such a good big sister. I'm glad she's such a good dog. There was a story in the paper yesterday about a 6 day old baby that was mauled by the family dog. How horrible. She is in critical condition. I'm sure she will be scarred for life if she survives. I can't imagine how the parents must feel.

We're completely at a loss for a name. It is so hard. We have a list of about twenty names that we both thought were OK, maybe ten of which are serious contenders. The hard part is that at least one person has hated every one of them. Some were too trendy or too white-trashy or too pretentious or not babyish enough or not adultish enough. It's so hard! The one person who doesn't have a say is the person who has to live with it for the rest of her life. Ultimately it will be up to Pete and I, but it would be nice if we could find something that people like, otherwise every time I see a person I'll think "I know you hate my baby's name". Right now the strongest contender is Corinne. I like it because it's not too common or too trendy or unimaginative or bizarre. Neither of us know or dislike anyone named Corinne, which is also a plus. We're not crazy about the way it kind of rhymes with our last name, so we haven't settled on it 100% yet. Plus my mother doesn't like it, which is a definite strike against it (she says it's too guttural and too grown up sounding). I'm kind of hoping I'll hear the perfect name and be like "that's it!". We had Seven's name picked out before she was born. It was so easy. (We actually really like the name Devon, but because it rhymes with Seven it would be too confusing for both children and would probably give one or both of them a complex).
Well, that's about it here. I'll write again when there's something new to report.
Love A, P, 7 and ???
Here's part of the mural. I look just like the mermaid, only 50 pounds heavier, pregnant, and with smaller boobs. Oh, and I don't have a tail.

Sunday, March 20, 2005

Welcome to My Blog


I have been toying with the idea of starting a blog for about two years now, ever since I first read my friend S@L 's blog ( Before then, I'm embarrassed to admit, I didn't even know what a blog was. I am not particularly savvy in what the "kids" are into these days. I don't have an ipod, I don't even know what a blackberry is (in fact I have referred to them as "raspberries" on more than one occasion.) I don't text message and I don't have a My Space page. I'm just so not down with it.

I often find myself wishing I had kept better records of things that have happened to me. While my life is by no means exciting, I wish I could go back and read what my thoughts were during various stages of my life: going off to college, going off into the real world, working for two years at a big city animal shelter, falling in love and getting married, traveling cross country in the back of a pick-up, and just all those little moments in between that fade from memory over time. Mostly I wish I had kept a journal when I became pregnant, because I never in my whole life thought I'd want kids someday. I love to go back and pinpoint precisely when that changed. I wish I wrote down every milestone, every cute thing my daughter Corinne did, every time she made me laugh. And I even wish I documented our progression from being excited but naive new parents, to the realization that our daughter was "different", to receiving her autism diagnosis last spring. I would never want to live it again, but it sure would make for an interesting read.

Being somewhat obsessive/compulsive, I felt like there was just no point in trying to start this whole blog thing, this story of who I am and why, halfway into the drama (assuming I live at least another thirty-something years). It would be an incomplete tale, like coming in halfway through a movie, or the Lost series. I finally decided it was time to stop procrastinating. Who knows what new twists and turns, valleys and hills are coming up in the road. No time like the present. I wasted another month or so stalling as I tried to formulate the perfect intro to my blog and name for my blog and style and format and on and on. Like I said, I'm obsessive. I finally decided that no lengthy introduction was needed, that the most effective blogs I have read were those where the author simply began to write without fanfare, and from there their personality emerged and their story unfolded. I'll try not to get bogged down with trying to be a great writer, full of witty and insightful remarks and vivid details. I promise to settle for just writing what's on my mind and if I amuse or even inspire anyone along the way, well great.

My original choice for a blog name included our surname, which I decided I didn't really want all over the Internet. The "Inc." comes from our our habit of referring to ourselves as though we were a large company. As the coordinator and organizer of this operation, I am the self appointed CEO, and my husband, Pete, the breadwinner, is the CFO. Corinne is our "newest employee" who has been on a "Performance Improvement Plan" since she was about three months old. As for the "Loser" part, well, I think that will become more apparent over time. Trust me.