Category Archives: dude

win a night with a baby warthog!

let’s talk anatomical development! ramona’s mucus membranes are starting to mature, which means she is producing mucus. lovely, huh? but that also means that she has all this snot & she doesn’t know what the fuck to do with it. it was kind of cute at first, because it just made her snore these adorable baby snores. but then she had a not-so-cute snot explosion all over her face & started making these intense snorting noises when she was both asleep & awake. they are the kind of noises that would embarrass the shit out of you if they were coming from your great-uncle murray at your cousin’s wedding or whatever. but they are coming from a tiny baby who doesn’t have any comprehension of her actions.

honestly, the warthog impression doesn’t bother me too much. i know she’s not doing it because she’s unhappy or even necessarily uncomfortable. it’s just a phase, until she learns how to clear her throat effectively. she’s not asphyxiating or anything. we’ve been giving her nose drops & suctioning out her nose on the regular (enough that she doesn’t even mind it anymore). but i guess the snorting really bothers jared.

it bothered him so much last night that i decided i would just sleep on the couch with ramona next to me in her bouncy chair on the floor & let jared have the bedroom for the night. we’ve been sharing the nighttime baby load pretty evenly. we go to bed no later than 10pm, & trade off getting up with her throughout the night. she usually wakes up three times between 10pm & 7am. i get up with her at 7am & jared usually sleeps for another hour or two. (i kind of lose my mind if sleep in too long, especially if i’m going to bed so early, regardless of how much ramona keeps me up in the middle of the night. i found her feedings really onerous when she first got home, but now we have a rhythm. she sucks down her bottle & then i read while i pat her back until she burps & falls back to sleep. it’s not a bad way to spend an hour at 3am.)

however, ramona seems to be going through a growth spurt because she wanted more bottles than usual. jared gave her one at 11pm, & then i took over. she wanted a bottle at 12:30am, 1:30am, 2:30am, 5am, & finally again at 8am. i got up with that last one (an hour later than usual, which already had me all stressed out) & put coffee on. jared got up shortly thereafter & immediately launched into a litany of complaints about how hard it is to sleep when she’s snorting & how stressful it is to feel responsible for stopping the snorting. i wanted to say, “are you fucking serious? you just slept for eight hours straight. i haven’t slept for eight hours straight since NOVEMBER, & let’s be serious, more like MARCH if you factor in all the pregnant lady nighttime peeing. do NOT talk to me about how hard it is to sleep when i got up with this little beast FOUR TIMES last night. ALONE.” instead i just sipped my coffee & asked if he had any suggestions for how to address the problem.

i went into the kitchen an hour later to top off my coffee & try to tackle the rest of the day…& the coffee was gone! jared drank it all. even though i shouldn’t have been surprised–we bought a new espresso maker right before ramona was born specifically so we could share coffee in the morning without having to make multiple batches–i’d gotten into the habit of finishing all the coffee on my own in the morning because i was usually up for several hours before jared. & i am usually better rested in general because he was helping take care of her in the night. instead, i’d done all the night care solo & only got half the coffee. & we were out of espresso so i couldn’t even make more until one of us went to the coffeeshop for a fresh bag. i started crying. i told jared i felt resentful of him for not helping with the baby the night before & then finishing the coffee, even though i had volunteered to take care of her alone & hadn’t asked him to leave the coffee for me.

i decided it would clear my head to go for a walk & get more coffee, so off i went. when i got home, jared was lugging a hamper of damp laundry up from the basement, telling me the dryer had conked out halfway through its job. this is never good news, but especially when you are cloth diapering a baby that goes through like twelve diapers a day. he started stringing up a clothesline in the living room, like we’re living in some kind of lower east side tenement circa 1910, but i called the landlady, who immediately came over & fixed it.

& then i called the tiny k people. i guess they do assessments of premature babies & help their parents figure out how to best stimulate & interact with them to optimize their development throughout early childhood. it’s a free county service & ramona was seven weeks premature, so…why not? i have been reading a lot of books lately about premature babies & NICU experiences. they are written by people whose babies are much more premature than ramona. she was born at 33 weeks; most of these authors had their babies at 24 weeks, 25 weeks, 26 weeks. in the world of premature infants, a single week can make a monumental difference. but it’s still sobering to realize just how early ramona was, & how many bullets we managed to miraculously dodge (knock on wood–with preemies, sometimes developmental delays or behavior/health issues don’t show up until the child is older). it makes all those early congratulations we received on our “healthy baby” all the more incongruous to me, even though i was in denial at the time & was just like, “thanks!” i talked to jared about it & he admitted he had been very concerned about ramona’s health, in a way i never was, probably because i never saw her on the ventilator (i was too sick to visit when she was on it) & was on too many drugs to really take it all in when she was having other major interventions. by the time i was off the percocet & actually able to pay attention to ramona’s health with any degree of real comprehension, she was on room air, her central line was out, she was over her jaundice…she seemed perfect to me. just small.

how i wound up in the perinatal ICU

as a pregnant lady you know you are in for a tough time when your obstetrician calls you at home, on a sunday, when she is not the doctor on-call that weekend, & asks how you’re feeling. i mean, there’s compassionate medical care, & then there’s a clear emergency situation.

the last time i updated, i wrote about how my last prenatal hadn’t gone so well & more labs had been ordered. apparently my doctor finally got the chance to look at them on sunday & they alarmed her. my protein levels had spiked up pretty high–i was at 595 & the average pregnant lady is more like zero. my liver enzymes were also starting to rise, which is evidence that my body was starting to go into serious distress due to the pregnancy. she asked me to go to labor & delivery as soon as possible “for some more tests”.

i was just pulling a lasagna out of the oven for dinner, so jared & i sat down & ate first. then i threw my phone, keys, & pocketbook into a bag, & we drove to the hospital. i didn’t even know how to get the labor & delivery because i hadn’t had my hospital pre-registration appointment yet. we had to call the hospital operator to get directions. they immediately ushered us into a private delivery room & handed me a hospital gown. they wanted to check the baby out on a monitor–it’s called a non-stress test. it’s like the biophysicals they’ve been doing, but longer, & they also watch for uterine activity (like contractions). they also sent someone up from the lab to draw more blood.

i laid around there for a while, joking around with jared, wondering how long they would keep us there & when i could go home & eat some more lasagna. eventually the on-call OB came in & damn, can that woman talk. eventually i realized she was saying things like, “would you rather be transferred to topeka or kansas city?” & “i’m not saying you won’t still be pregnant in two weeks, but it looks pretty unlikely,” & i started to really freak out.

i was 32 weeks & one day pregnant when this all went down, & the lawrence hospital doesn’t have the resources to care for premature infants that young. the on-call doctor seemed to think there was a chance that i would have an emergency delivery that night & she needed to send me to a hospital with a NICU that could care for such a young baby. 32 weeks isn’t a terrible age for a preemie, but it’s pretty young. a baby that young will struggle to stay warm & may have trouble breathing on its own. it probably wouldn’t be strong enough to reliably take a bottle or breast & would need to be fed through an IV for at least a few days.

basically, my high blood pressures combined with elevated protein levels & higher liver enzymes mean i have “classic pre-eclampsia” & need to be monitored constantly to watch my condition & make sure i don’t start having seizures or have a stroke or experience placental abruption. in other words: WORST IMAGINABLE NIGHTMARE. i was terrified of pre-eclampsia well before i ever got pregnant–to a kind of an irrational degree, considering how uncommon it is & how i didn’t have any of the known risk factors. but i guess someone has to get it & now it’s me.

they loaded me on to a gurney & i was wheeled out to an ambulance. jared went home to pack me a bag & then drove to the hospital. we chose overland park medical center in kansas city, for no real reason other than the nurses at lawrence told it was a pretty chill place with a good level-three NICU. i got here sunday night a little after midnight. apparently i am in the perinatal intensive care unit. i met the high-risk perinatalogist on-call & he did a bedside sonogram to check the baby out. he estimated that it’s weighing in at five pounds already & “would be the bruiser of the NICU”. they gave me a steroid shot to precipitously mature the baby’s lungs & put me on an IV of magnesium, both to try to control my blood pressure & as a “neurophylaxis” (i think that’s the word they used–supposedly it helps protect a premature baby from bleeding into its brain after birth & developing cerebral palsy).

after an hour or two of tests, they decided i didn’t have to deliver that night & they gave jared a pull-out next to my hospital bed. i wasn’t allowed to get up & was hooked up magenseium, IV fluids, & a catheter. i cried all night, until they finally gave me a sleeping pill at like 4am. once i got a few hours of rest, i felt a little better & was better able to take stock of my situation.

more stuff has happened since then, but the bottom line for now is that i am living in the perninatal ICU until i deliver this baby. no one knows if this will happen tomorrow or in six weeks. it all depends on how i respond to treatment. it seems unlikely that i will get much further than 34 weeks at this point. they would have delivered me already had my labwork come back just a touch worse, but they really prefer to keep the babies in until 34 weeks if they can so their lungs have more time to mature. if i’m still relatively stable at 34 weeks, they might let me keep being pregnant–we’ll see. it also seems kind of improbable that they’ll let me do a vaginal birth. they’re worried that the stress of labor will tip me over the edge into having seizures. a vaginal birth isn’t completely off the table, but i am working on accepting that i’ll probably have a cesarean instead.

more to come, i guess?

teach your children boring crap

i have really been living up to my nom de blogge recently. i have been super-crabby. probably a mix of pregnancy hormones, not having jared around to vent to (somehow talking to the cat about how irritated i feel about the little annoyances of daily living doesn’t really make me feel any better), & seasonal allergies.

i got really grumpy the other day when yet another person expressed their ignorant perspective that children should not be taken along on errands. i swear, every time a kid has a tantrum at the grocery store or the pumpkin patch or the doctor’s office or whatever, five more people have to roll their eyes & say something like, “children don’t belong in a grocery store/pumpkin patch/doctor’s office.” i was particularly aggravated this time because the person saying it is in fact a mother herself. so you’d think she might know better. hasn’t she ever had to take care of an errand while no one was around to watch the kid at home? if not, what kind of charmed life is she leading?

i tried to make the point that children need to learn by example. if you want your kid to know how to grocery shop for itself one day, or do its own laundry, or deposit a check at the bank, maybe it’s actually a smart move to take the kid along while you do these things for yourself. she said that she agreed that outings could be educational, & that is why she only takes her child on educational outings, like to the the science museum or the petting zoo or whatever. which teaches the kid…what, exactly, about handling the more mundane aspects of leaving the house & taking care of business? someone else tried to point out that it’s good for kids to have to do boring stuff like go to the grocery store because they need to learn that the world doesn’t revolve around them. if the only time they are ever leaving the house is for a “special educational opportunity” or kid event like a soccer game or a trip to the zoo, they’re going to be ill-equipped & whiny when they have to do something that is boring but necessary, like go to the laundromat. & then when the kid is in college, it will totally be that kid who brings their laundry with them when they visit on the weekend so mom can wash it. ugh. who wants that?

this reminds me of how jared & i were hanging out with some friends a few weeks ago & we were talking about parenting strategies. i was talking about some interesting tips i’d picked up from a book about how to involve your baby is tidying & cleaning even before it is really old enough to be helpful. even a little eight-month-old baby can play with a dishtowel. so the book suggested giving the baby a towel or rag while mom &/or dad is wiping up whatever mess happened during lunchtime & the baby will mimic what its parent is doing. that way, baby feels involved & engaged, giving the parent the necessary time to straighten up (rather than rushing around trying to pry hardened banana off the table while baby is napping), & it’s learning a useful life skill at the same time.

the friends we were with were like, “oh, i think it’s cruel to make a baby clean up.” i tried to explain that it’s less cruel & more impossible to actually expect the baby to be helpful in this process, & it’s more about involving the baby in the little details of life & modeling behavior that will be helpful in the long run. i mean, if the baby is equally entertained by playing with a dish towel & watching an elmo video, i personally would prefer the dish towel approach because figuring out how to wipe up a spill is a more useful skill than being able to sing some dumb elmo song over & over, right? i told them, “i just really don’t want my kid to be one of those kids who leaves home & has no idea how to do its own laundry or wash its dishes or balance its checkbook or whatever.” (in part because i myself left home without knowing a lot of adult skills that would have been pretty useful to me. i had to teach myself.)

one of the people started laughing & said that he never learned how to do laundry. he said he was supposed to do his own starting in high school, but he figured out that if he just put it in the laundry room, his mom would eventually do it, & now his wife does it. i was kind of flabbergasted. in my house, i do my laundry & jared does his laundry. i think the only time i have ever done any of jared’s laundry was when he was sick & really needed some fresh socks or something, & i was doing my own laundry awyway. i threw some of his socks in with my wash. we have totally different laundry styles & it just works for us to take care of our own, even though we have lived together for over four years. before we had our own washer, we would often go to the laundromat together, but our laundry was still washed & dried separately. i mean, maybe we’re weird, but i would kind of feel like i’d done something wrong as a parent if my kid grew up to expect someone else to do its laundry, or accepted responsibility for doing his/her partner’s laundry. i mean, there are way worse things that could happen. i would feel like even more of a parent failure if my kid grew up to be a murderer or something. by comparison, laundry is not a big deal. i guess i just value independence & competence & i think basic skills like knowing how to pick up after yourself, or manage your basic finances, or cook a simple meal with a vegetable side are being ignored while kids are being over-indulged with trips to the science museum, karate lessons, SAT tutors, etc.

i wouldn’t force this pregnancy stuff on my worst enemy

despite all my clever jokes, the pregnancy is definitely taking a turn for the uncomfortable & potentially worrisome. on sunday, i hit the pool hardcore while jared stayed home & did research. i usually try to do sixty laps at the pool, but my last session had been truncated by lightning, so i decided to try to make it up by doing one hundred laps. the other people at the pool kept me entertained as i water-trudged back & forth, back & forth. i saw another pregnant lady at the pool with her partner. she looked more pregnant than me. i kind of wanted to jump out of the water & say, “i’m pregnant too! want to come over for dinner sometime?” that is always my reaction when i see other pregnant ladies. i start daydreaming about how our babies will become best friends & we’ll watch each other’s kids so we can have date nights with our partners & we’ll hit the baby consignment sales together, etc etc. but i’m too scared to say anything because i still worry that i just look fat, not pregnant, or that they are pregnant with their seventh baby & are already all stocked up on mom friends, or that they’ll just have really different parenting philosophies & we’ll hate each other or something.

there was also a dad at the pool with two little girls. one was maybe six years old & the other was a baby, probably under a year. the baby was in a little baby innertube with holes for the legs so she could sit in there & be safe. he put the little girls in the lane next to me & did a few laps while they watched. the baby gnawed on her innertube & the older girl patted the baby’s head with water. i guess they were getting bored though, so he let the older girl ride piggyback while he pushed the innertube back & forth across the pool. so cute. i hope jared does stuff like that with our kid.

anyway, while i was walking home, i noticed that i felt weird. there was a strange, painful pressure around my pubic bone. i have heard of this weird condition that afflicts some women in later pregnancy, where their pubic bone actually separates because of the relaxin. apparently it’s incredibly painful. i started worrying that maybe this was the start of something awful. i asked about it in my due date club on the internet. one woman said it had happened to her during her last pregnancy & she was confined to a wheelchair until after the birth. another woman said that her first symptom of something being amiss was when her hip suddenly dislocated & she fell down on the ground screaming in agony. & these are women who chose to get pregnant again! holy shit! having a kid must be AWESOME to make someone risk their bodies like that more than once.

the pain i had was nowhere near that bad, but of course i woke up in the middle of the night worrying about it anyway. i called my doctor’s office & the nurse said that usually the dislocation thing is WAY more painful than what i was describing & it was more likely that the baby was just wedged up against my pubic bone in an uncomfortable way. she recommended stretches & liberal dosing with extra-strength tylenol (i have not told my doctor’s office that they really need to stop giving me the okay to take pills–the reason i’ve never experimented with hard drugs or heavy drinking is because i know i’m an addict at heart, as manifested by my grand love affair with over-the-counter sleeping pills). the baby moved the next day & now my pubic bone feels fine. though my ego is a bit wounded by the fact that jared’s response to this whole area of concern was, “haha. you said ‘pubic’.” that guy is going to paragon of maturity in the delivery room.

& then yesterday, jared & i decided to check out the new grocery store in east lawrence. it’s not technically new–just refurbished. it’s the closest grocery store to our house & used to be known as the “dirty dillon’s”. they tore it down last summer & completely made it over. this is why jared & i got a car, actually. this grocery store was close enough to walk to, but the other stores require a car, & we had to use the other stores while the dirty dillon’s was being transformed into what the local newspaper is calling the “dapper dillon’s”. it had its grand opening on sunday & it IS pretty dapper. there are now bulk bins, a “cafe,” a starbucks, an expanded bakery section, skylights, new carts that don’t have sticky wheels, way more express & self-check lanes…the produce is all displayed in a really arty way. we needed garlic, but it is now located in a faux roman pedestal bowl on top of a large display of various onions & endives. i almost couldn’t reach it with my big pregnancy belly getting in the way.

about halfway through our shopping trip, i started feeling crampy, clammy, & shaky. it got worse & worse & i noticed the crampy feelings were coming in waves. i actually had to stop & breathe through them. i haven’t felt anything like this all pregnancy. i bailed on jared when we got to the check-out & went & laid down in the car. sitting down immediately made me feel better, & by the time we got home, i was 100% back to normal. i assume this was braxton hicks contractions? it seemed too early, but i looked it up online & i guess it’s not uncommon for women to start feeling them this early. some women say they don’t hurt, some women say they do. i say THEY DO. it was probably nothing compared to labor, but the anxiety of experiencing a contraction at only 18 & a half weeks pregnant (baby won’t be viable until 24 weeks) definitely added to the pain.

of course the internet is of two minds. half the respondents in my due date club say, “same thing happened to me last pregnancy, don’t worry about it. just make sure to stay hydrated.” half say, “this happened to me last pregnancy, i ignored it, & then i went into preterm labor at 23 weeks & delivered at 26 weeks. call your doctor ASAP!” plus i’m still getting headaches, my feet are starting to swell (slightly) & i am scared of getting elephant feet, my hands feel swollen but don’t really look different (though i don’t wear jewelery, so it’s hard to judge), i’m congested all the time, i’m way too hot all the time…i’m just uncomfortable. already. & i still have 18 & a half weeks to get through before i am considered officially full-term (37 weeks). wish me luck, guys. on the plus side, i finished the top of my baby quilt:

it’s kind of messed up in places, but the baby will probably be messed up in places too. they’ll be a matched set!

mr. or miss 15-week-old fetus america

everyone says the second trimester is a thing of wonder, a breather between the rollicking nausea & soul-deadening fatigue of the first trimester, & the non-stop discomfort & enormousness of the third. but thus far, i haven’t had much relief. i’m over fifteen weeks pregnant now, still nauseous, still exhausted. & now with extra hormone-induced headaches! & i cannot suffer a pregnancy headache without convincing myself that it’s being caused by undiagnosed pre-eclampsia, even though i have no symptoms of high blood pressure, & that i’m about to have a stroke. so that’s fun.

i’m also sporting more of a bump these days & i’ve moved on to maternity clothes. right now i’m wearing a striped maternity tee & wide-legged maternity pajama pants. i was wearing these pants yesterday when i told jared & i was exhausted & going to take a nap. he asked if maybe my fatigue is being caused by my insistence of wearing a superfluous twenty pounds of fabric. i told him that we can’t all wear skin-tight t-shirts & jeans like he does. some people say that male partners tend to gain sympathy weight along with their pregnant wives/girlfriends. jared is whittling himself down to pure muscle with all of his swimming & soccer-playing & miles of bike-riding in 105-degree heat. he’s always been a slim dude, but when we first started dating, “skinny” was the only way to describe it. he ate ice cream every day to try to gain weight. now i expect he’ll be getting a call from H&M any day to star in their fall campaign. nothing makes a lady feel so frumpy as being too tired to change out of her pajamas & being medically mandated to gain a pound a week while her partner has inadvertently devoted himself to achieving the apex of human hotness.

one of my friends said jared looks like a model for a perfume ad here.

i put on a little fashion show with my new maternity clothes. i was mostly buying for fall/winter weather because that’s when i’ll be at my biggest & most uncomfortable. between the striped t-shirt, striped hoodie, striped sweater, & striped dress, jared observed that i am outfitting myself as a full-time sexy pregnant hamburglar.

sexy non-pregnant hamburglar, halloween 2011

he also exclaimed, “you don’t look half so pregnant when you’re not stumbling around here half-nude!” because the unbearable heat combined with the lack of clothes that actually fit properly had reduced me to wearing tank tops & maybe a skirt if i was feeling modest. turns out that when you wear billowing baggy tank tops & then lay around all day like a hippopotamus sunning itself on a rock, a 15-week pregnancy can look a lot like a 38-week pregnancy.

the bump properly contained in seasonally-appropriate maternity wear.

i had fully intended to try to eke my way through pregnancy in larger sizes of my regular clothes, probably augmented with a lot of forgiving elastic-waist pajama pants. i thought that maybe if i got truly desperate, i’d chop the waistband off a pair of jeans & sew on an elastic belly panel: d.i.y. maternity jeans. but i broke down & bought a pair of real maternity jeans & they were a fucking revelation. i don’t know if i’ll ever go back to buttons & zippers. there’s something really empowering about wearing pants specifically designed to harness the powers of a protruding belly, rather than pants that are designed to try to tamp down the belly & create the illusion of a stream-lined silhouette. & when my favorite pink plaid pajama pants literally exploded off of me when i surpassed the maximum capacity guidelines, i realized that it was perhaps time to call in the big guns.

so yeah. this is kind of turning into a pregnancy blog. & as such, sometimes random anons try to use the pregnancy against me. not too long ago, the internet informed me that i had a new blog comment awaiting moderation. i opened it up & read, “you’re an idiot & nobody likes you & your baby is ugly.” i was impressed with this anon’s ability to wield proper grammar. most insulting anon comments i get mix up their “your”s & their “you’re”s. i was even more impressed with the whole “your baby is ugly” comment. let’s go to the 3D technology. i’m 15 weeks pregnant right now.

YIKES!

yeah, that is pretty hideous & horrifying. my fetus is definitely not in the running for any beauty contests right now. but you know, fetuses are not generally known for their dashing good looks. & really, the only reason anyone would ever tell someone that their baby is ugly–especially anonymously–would be to try to hurt the person’s feelings. anyone who thinks i would actually be wounded by such a ham-fisted insult clearly doesn’t know their audience. (& as for the whole “you’re an idiot & no one likes you” part…yeah yeah yeah. tell me one i haven’t heard 9000 times before from every jackass who ever disagreed with me about something political.)

i have no idea what inspired this comment, especially because it was left on an entry that was pretty light on the controversial sentiment. but i could not stop laughing about the “your baby is ugly” thing. ever since, every time jared refuses to do me a favor, like get me a glass of milk or get up & let charlotte out of the bedroom, i tell him, “bad news, jared. your baby is ugly.” then we laugh hysterically. i left a comment on his facebook wall that said, “i heard your baby is ugly & i feel bad for you, son. i got 99 problems but an ugly baby ain’t one…wait. we have the same baby. damn it!” i told my therapist about it & at first she looked horrified & said, “oh my god!” & then even she started laughing. i would kind of love to know who left that comment. i can’t even hazard a guess. most of the people that i know for sure definitely hate me but are still insane enough to stalk my blog are either not quite that vicious, or just too dour & humorless to go with an “ugly baby” comment. but i’d love to be proven wrong! there’s one person in particular that i would LOVE for it to be, just because it would completely upend my assumptions about her personality. it’s probably someone a lot less exciting though. it’s probably someone i don’t even know, who just read my zine one time & thinks i’m a jerk. oh well.

it’s like a neverending, really hot playdate with nothing to drink but kombucha

maybe a few weeks ago, i was dicking around on the internet, as you do. i was perusing some terrible advice website, similar to yahoo! answers. maybe it even was yahoo! answers, i don’t remember. anyway, someone had posted & asked, “my baby is bleeding from the eyes. what should i do?” the “best answer” selected was, “go to the emergency room.”

after taking a moment to fervently wish that i never have to confront a situation where my baby is randomly bleeding from the eyes, i had to laugh at this person whose immediate impulse when confronted with an obvious medical concern was to consult dr. internet. maybe i truly am of another generation, having not been raised with computers & internet connections, but when confronted with true emergencies, going online is just not my default solution. the internet is for reading snarky recaps of babysitters club books & looking at cat pictures. it’s not a licensed medical professional.

so i posted this observation to facebook. my suggested answer for this person was, “accept the fact that you are a terrible parent.” one of my friends, who is a nanny but not actually a parent, got VERY upset about this & left a long response about how it’s never appropriate to call someone a terrible parent because parenting is really hard work & sometimes people make mistakes but they aren’t going to be helped by having their parenting abilities defamed. she elaborated that some people don’t have money for medical care or access to doctors–some people are isolated in rural areas or very poor or both or something.

but not so rurally isolated & poor that they can’t afford a computer & an internet connection? seriously, if you can get online, you can probably get within striking distance of an ER, especially when the situation is an infant BLEEDING FROM THE EYES. don’t give me all that “check your ER access privilege” malarkey. in the united states, emergency rooms are obligated to treat patients regardless of their ability to pay. when i was a teenager, i did live in such a rurally isolated area that we couldn’t get cable TV access. but there was still a hospital like half an hour away.

a few weeks later, jared & i got to chatting about the episode of “beverly hills, 90210” where donna is in trouble for drinking at prom. plot synopsis: before the prom, there is an assembly where the students are informed that drinking at the dance will not be tolerated. they are told that anyone who is caught drinking or drunk will be barred from the graduation ceremony. not that they won’t graduate. just that they won’t get to walk in the ceremony with their classmates. & maybe there was some kind of summer school/community service element, i forget the details. so the gang goes to prom & donna manages to get completely wasted in the bathroom. to the point that she can no longer walk under her own power. it’s up to her friends to try to sneak her out of the school before any chaperones notice that she’s toasted. but of course, they fail, & donna is in big trouble.

she’s brought in for a disciplinary hearing & informed that she won’t be walking in the ceremony. her friends think this is really unfair because she wasn’t the only one drinking–she’s just the only one that got caught. somehow they convince, like, the entire school to rise up in solidarity with her. they stage a walk-out & storm the hearing where they demand amnesty for donna & permission for her to walk in the ceremony with them. & despite the fact that the school administrators made the rules more than explicit upfront, & donna brazenly disregarded them, they cave & cancel the punishment.

i posted about this on facebook too, because it’s absurd, & one of my friends wrote this rant about how she’s some kind of a teen educator (not a teacher, i don’t know what she does–tutoring, maybe?) & it’s a developmental reality that teenagers find it really important to do what their friends are doing & have their friends’ approval, so it would have been psychologically crushing for a teen to be barred from walking in the graduation ceremony with her friends. she also said that events like graduation ceremonies are important milestones & preventing someone from participating in one can be, i don’t know, emotionally scarring or something.

um, maybe i am missing something, but isn’t that kind of the point of a punishment? you take away a privilege that really matters to the kid. what the hell is the point of a punishment that the kid doesn’t care about at all? when i was a teenager, if there was something i wanted, like a show i was dying to see, or a sleepover at a friend’s house, & i broke a rule, obviously stopping me from doing that thing i wanted to do was going to be a far better deterrent than, like, making me do lines or something. it’s like this girl was suggesting that telling kids that there are clear consequences for misbehavior, spelling out exactly what those consequences are & what kind of misbehavior they’d have to do to earn the punishment, & then actually following through when someone misbehaves is, like, cruel & unusual punishment. isn’t it more cruel to keep moving the goalposts by being completely inconsistent in what you say & what you do? isn’t it cruel to society to not hold kids responsible for their actions?

it’s nice to have principles, i guess, like that it’s never okay to suggest that someone is a terrible parent, or that teenagers have unique developmental needs that must come before everything else. the problem is when those principles brush up against reality. or when people start coming up with hackneyed excuses to ignore the fact that sometimes people make really bad choices that potentially have long-term consequences. & i feel like this is the morass i am wading into by becoming a parent. i’m in for a lifetime of, “hey! some people’s only access to sound medical advice is yahoo! answers, okay? we can’t all call up mayoclinic.com like you!” & “subjecting your children to reasonable consequences for their poor life choices will turn them into sociopaths!” hell is other people, & the ninth circle is reserved for people with lots of opinions about children.

being pregnant isn’t all bad…except when it is

i keep forgetting to tell funny stories about interactions i have related to my pregnancy because i get all caught up in the obnoxious interactions. okay, so sometime last week i went to the gap because they were having a big 60% off sale. i had a bought a t-shirt there a few weeks before & it’s kind of extra-long & has an adjustable neckline & it is pretty much PERFECT as an early maternity shirt. plus it’s some kind of magical cotton that stays really cool on my skin even when it’s over 100 degrees out. i wanted to pick up another in a larger size, to accommodate more of the time i will be pregnant.

i also found a cute striped hoodie that was a size or two larger than i usually take & especially baggy in the belly area. it was marked down & once you add the 60% off sale, it was like $6. how could i resist? so i brought them up to the register & the clerk was ringing me up & this conversation happened:

clerk: “oh, i love these hoodies. they are so soft & comfortable, aren’t they?”
me: “yeah, i just hope it still fits okay in the fall when the weather cools down.”
clerk: “oh, totally, because hoodies…can…shrink…when the weather gets cooler?”
me: “um, i’m pregnant. i mean i hope i’m not too big for it by the time i can use it.”
clerk: “OH! congratulations!”
me: *stifling guffaws*

& then the other day i went to walgreen’s & bought myself the intelligender test i wrote about recently–the urine test that purports to tell you the sex of your baby weeks earlier than an ultrasound can? yeah. so, i plunked it down at the register & this happened:
clerk: *picking up the box & marveling at it* “oh my god, is this real?”
me: “um, inasmuch as i am buying it, yes.”
clerk: “i mean, does it really work? can it really tell you if you’re having a boy or a girl?”
me: “i guess i’ll find out the hard way, huh?”
clerk: “oh wow, i didn’t know this existed. this is so cool. which one are you hoping for?”
me: “girl.”
clerk: “wow, this is so cool. good luck!”

endless amusement at the walgreen’s clerk being amazed by the merchandise in her own store. i also find it really amazing how often i have been asked if i prefer a boy or a girl. i’ve been asked by other pregnant women, random strangers, even the nurses at my doctor’s office. apparently it’s not taboo to talk about gender preference anymore. when i say something like, “i just hope it’s healthy!” people look kind of disappointed, like they’re talking to an android sent here from 1994 when that was the appropriate response. now everyone wants to gush about their preferences.

i haven’t done the intelligender test yet. i’m supposed to wait until ten days after my last day of progesterone support if i don’t want to risk a false boy result. but of course i will share the results when once they’re in.

yesterday was a not-so-fun day. i told jared that we needed to start making some decisions about prenatal testing because i am rapidly moving out of the window when the nuchal translucency screening (can identify down syndrome risk factors early) can be performed. he was all, “whatever you think, it’s up to you, don’t ask me, whatever makes you comfortable,” etc. i didn’t know what to choose because i don’t know that i would necessarily abort if prenatal testing turned up birth defects. maybe i would, i honestly have no idea & all i want out of life is to not have to make that decision at all because my little fetus looks perfect. but then he started talking about how having a baby with down syndrome would really change things, & it’s already going to be hard to write a dissertation with a baby full stop, but a disabled baby will complicate things even more, & maybe he would have to reconsider his career goals & give up on being a professor & just teach high school instead because it’s less demanding, etc etc etc. so i was like, “it sounds like you would at least like to be pre-warned.” long story short, we decided to do the NT scan.

i needed to schedule a sonogram anyway to follow up on the chorionic bleed incident from a month ago, make sure the placenta is looking good. so i called up my obstetrician’s nurse & she’s all, “oh yeah, we can schedule that for thursday morning, blah blah blah.” i was pleased. but then she said, “let me just pull up your chart…” & then she was like, “oh, we actually can’t do the NT scan until next week, the 11th or the 12th. what would you prefer?”

i was all, “why the hell not, i thought you could do it anytime between eleven & thirteen weeks?” & she was like, “yeah, but you’re only ten weeks.” i said, “no, i’m eleven weeks four days.” she was all, “well, according to your due date of january 23…” & i was like, “yeah. i know. you have my due date wrong.”

see if you can follow this madness: okay. based on the actual date of conception, which i know to within two days because i was doing infertility treatments, my due date is january 17. my first sonogram, to gauge gestational size, put me pretty much on target with a due date of january 19. the follow-up due date two weeks later (to make sure the embryo was growing properly & appeared viable) showed a slightly smaller embryo & my due date was readjusted to january 23. five days later, i had that bleeding incident & was scheduled for an emergency sonogram to check out the placenta. the embryo had grown like gangbusters since the last sonogram & my due date was readjusted again to january 18. needless to say, this shit is far from an exact science, which is fine with me, i get it. but what is NOT fine with me is that the most recent gestational age estimate was apparently never recorded in my charts, so my doctor is working with the wrong due date & is pushing back my NT scan until i’m twelve weeks, six days along–almost out of the window where it’s effective.

it doesn’t REALLY matter in the greater scheme of things, especially because the baby is more than likely perfectly fine. it just makes me wonder what other simple, obvious thing they’re going to get wrong. these are, after all, the same people who turned up a negative pregnancy blood test when i was indeed pregnant. one more dumb mistake & i’m really going to start wondering if they even have a firm grasp on where babies come from. i am SO tempted to switch doctors, maybe go with the birth center in topeka instead. the only thing holding me back is the fact that i’m due in january & i’m reluctant to take the chance on having to drive to topeka in labor, in a blizzard.

but my irritation has a happy-ish ending: i felt that i needed to take a walk to work out my frustration, so i went to the library, & someone from the local paper was there, interviewing people about their reading material for the “person on the street” feature in the local paper. & she asked me while i was paging through a book on how baby clothing & gear has become so stratified along gender lines. i looked totally sweaty & grumpy in the photo (as in life), i am sure, but hey. it’s always fun to be in the paper, as long as it’s not for, you know, something gruesome & weird. i just feel like a complete doofus because when she asked about my job, i said, “growing a baby.” ugh. i mean, i don’t have a job, & i don’t like to advertise the fact that i’m on disability to strangers, but that was such a stepford wife 1954 thing to say.