Month: January 2013 (page 1 of 2)

Book Review: Here I Go Again

If you’re looking for a fun read you can devour like a bag of M&M’s, I think you’ll like the BlogHer Book Club’s latest pick: Here I Go Again: A Novel by Jen Lancaster. And if you were coming of age when Nirvana exploded onto the music scene (and that meant something to you)? You’re going to absolutely love it.

Lissy Ryder, the quintessential “mean girl” of the Class of ’92, is now 37 and fabulous. Or so she thought. Twenty four hours after we meet her, she’s sleeping under her David Coverdale poster in her old room in her parents’ house having been fired from her job, kicked out of her condo, dumped by her husband and invited to her twenty year high school reunion – all tragic stuff, right? In an effort to reclaim her old glory and pull her life back together, she goes to the reunion and discovers just how hated she really was – oh, and an opportunity to go back in time and tame that bitch called karma.

It’s Peggy Sue Got Married, if Peggy Sue were Regina George, in book form. So, it’s the kind of story we’ve heard before. But there’s a reason good stories can be revised and retold. We love them. And I loved this one.

If you’ve read Jen’s blog or any of her other books, you know the the kind of snark and quick wit she could bring to the “mean girl” character. She’s written Lissy as so cleverly mean, you’re equally awed and afraid of her ability to insult. I didn’t really like Lissy – not even at the end, once she’d learned her lesson – but I loved disliking her. I enjoyed her journey, particularly the trip back to the 90s landscape that was my high school experience, too. I loved the pop culture references, especially the music. It was all so familiar and fun – a great escape from today.

Really, you should read this book. You’ll like it. But do it quick, before making fun of Justin Bieber gets old.

Want to hear more? Travel back in time and over to Here I Go Again’s BlogHer Book Club page and join the conversation.

This is a paid review for BlogHer Book Club but the opinions expressed are my own.

“Every day, from now until when you deliver, is Mother’s Day.”

That’s what they said at my specialist appointment yesterday. Taking care of me means I’m taking care of Jackson and that needs to be my top priority, because he needs it. But not because he isn’t healthy!

Jackson 3D profile

Look at that beautiful boy!

We had our SUPER-DUPER-EXTRA-HIGH-QUALITY-ULTRA-AWESOME Ultrasound and the verdict is: he’s perfect! There was no evidence of any problems with Jackson. He has all the right parts and they’re doing exactly what they’re supposed to do.

Me? I’m screwing everything all up.

I’m still making too much amniotic fluid. (38 cm!) And there’s the whole gestational diabetes craziness. The good news is that my diabetes situation isn’t terrible. My blood sugar levels aren’t too bad. For this reason, the doctors don’t feel that the gestational diabetes and the polyhydramnios are related. But both conditions pose a risk of stillbirth. (Stillbirth. That word is a heart-stopper, isn’t it?) The doctors (and I) want to eliminate as much risk as possible, which means every blood sugar reading needs to be in the normal range. Close isn’t good enough. (They called it diabetes boot camp. “It’s tough, but we have excellent success rates.” And since by “success” they mean “a living, healthy baby,” I’m on board with diabetes boot camp!) My post-meal blood sugar is usually right where it needs to be, but my fasting blood sugar is consistently high, though only by a few digits. And so, today I’ll start taking some medication to help remedy that.

Meanwhile, I’m having regular, and surprisingly strong, contractions. I have been for a few weeks, but we saw the evidence of it during our non-stress test.

“You have to be feeling that,” the nurse said showing me the spikes on the readout from the fetal monitor.

“Oh, YES.”

You really don’t need a monitor to know when I’m contracting. Just put your hands on my belly!

(We also discovered that Jackson responds every time I laugh. Dave asked if they could write a prescription for me to do that more.)

The contractions are how my uterus is reacting to the extra amniotic fluid. My cervix is closed, though, so all is well. I’ll have weekly ultrasounds, bi-weekly non-stress tests, and daily kick counting to keep me busy, but the next seven weeks may be long, my friends.

Jackson 3D

I just want so badly to hold that boy in my arms and see him face to face. I wish it didn’t feel so far away.

I’m sitting with my feet up and being served a Play-Doh meal.

Oh, thank goodness for
a well-timed day off from school.
Weather, I love you!

Probably more information than you care to know.

1. If it is cold enough for the National Weather Service to issue a Wind Chill Advisory and school to be delayed for two hours, it is also cold enough to freeze the hot water pipes going to the second floor of my house.

2. If the hot water pipes going to the second floor of my house are frozen and I want to bathe, I will do it in our downstairs bathroom.

Our downstairs bath tub

3. If I take a bath in the tub in our downstairs bathroom and I am mucho grande pregnant, I will get stuck in it.

4. Thank goodness Julia had that two hour delay and was there to help get me out of there.

5. Julia has declared, officially, that she never wants to be pregnant. EVER.

6. I spent about 5 hours at the hospital yesterday during which time I saw Jackson touch his nose, stretch and arch his back, flip over and kick! kick! kick!

Baby boy 28 weeks, 6 days

7. The specialist said there is a 10% chance that Jackson has a fetal defect. That means there’s a 90% chance that he’s perfectly fine! And though I was reminded how serious the condition is with my uterus and the fluid and all that, something about getting those numbers gave me incredible relief.

8. Since I saw the specialist from Akron Children’s Hospital at their office at my normal hospital yesterday and the SUPER-DUPER-EXTRA-HIGH-QUALITY-ULTRA-AWESOME Ultrasound Machine is located in Akron, I will be going there on Tuesday for another ultrasound and some more tests.

9. I have surmised that after that ultrasound, my next appointment will be in a vault at a secret location where Dave and the medical team will be placed in a submersible pod, shrunk down, and injected into me so they can look at Jackson from inside. I think that’s the next level.

10. The glucometer is my new best friend. I will feed it my blood 4-6 times a day.

My new best friend

11. 98 was my fasting blood sugar level this morning. It’s supposed to be 95 or less. (So close!)

12. Later today, I will meet with a dietician. She will tell me what to eat and when. I will call her every couple of days to confirm that I actually did it and share my blood sugar numbers. Then she will tell me if I need to make any changes to what and when I’m eating. Now if I could just get them to add in a personal chef…

13. If two little girls decide to play Hair Salon and get a hold of the Suave Professionals Sleek Anti-Frizz Cream…

Suave Professionals Sleek Anti-Frizz Cream

…their hair will look something like this:

Phoebe, the greaser

Even after it’s been washed numerous times. And blow dried. (That’s dry hair in that picture up there. That’s how serious that shit is.)

14. I’ve got Salsa Chicken and Black Bean Soup (minus the mushrooms) in the crock pot for dinner.

15. I’m feeling pretty damn grateful for my doctors and the medical care Jackson and I are getting and for my parents for taking such great care of my girls while I get it.

Feel like oversharing? Leave me a comment. (Really. I like them.)

How do I deal with stress? I submit this blog post as my answer.

it’s hard to feel tense
around a napping kitty
(unless you hate cats)

Snoozing kitty on a puzzle

most human beings
require medication
to be so mellow

Napping kitty on a bench

***

Picasso

And then Picasso was like, “Oh, are you photographing me? Allow me to pose.”

Posing Picasso

“Here’s my best side. Oh, the tail. Are you getting the tail? Like, the whole tail? I cleaned it for about fifteen minutes before I fell asleep.”

And then Holy Guacamole! was like, “Um, don’t forget about me over here! Hey! Hey look!”

Holy Guacamole

“Cute Show starting in 3…2…1…”

Holy Guacamole being cute

“BAM!”

Holy Guacamole says, "You know you wanna pet this."

“Okay, you realize now is when you’re supposed to pet me.”

And I did.

I’m sweet! (It’s been confirmed by laboratory tests.)

I would be a terrible junkie. No one can find my veins.

“They’re veeeeerrrry deep,” growled the frustrated phlebotomist.

I’m in the middle of The Three Hour Glucose Torture Experiment wherein I may NOT have water and have already been poked with needles five times. I will likely have just two more needle sticks now that they called in The Big Gun from the lab to deal with me.

Veeeeerrrrry deep veins.

Turns out, I may have gestational diabetes after all! Not everyone would call that a cause for celebration, but I do. Gestational diabetes is a reasonable excuse for the extra amniotic fluid I’m making. It makes sense. I’m of “advanced maternal age.” It is my fourth pregnancy. I’m fat. I come from a long line of diabetics. (You know how people with the last name Smith were likely called that because they were blacksmiths? My family name is probably another word for diabetic. And if you go back far enough, before last names even existed, my family heritage would likely be traced to someone called Joan the Diabetic.) The great thing about gestational diabetes is, it can be controlled. And that’s much better than some fetal issue that results in the death of my child, which is what I’ve been fearing above anything else.

That fear is still in the back of my mind. But it’s toned down from the anxiety attack proportions it had ballooned to over the weekend.

Gestational diabetes is perfect for me. It’s my fault! And feeling guilty is really my wheelhouse. It’s where I do my best work.

Tomorrow I will see the specialist from Akron Children’s Hospital. I will get an in-depth ultrasound and they will tell me Jackson is perfectly healthy. (This is called positive thinking.)

Meanwhile, I’m feeling pretty great about the man I’m married to. He has a way of making me feel like everything will be okay. I’m so glad I have a Dave. (Everyone should have one.)(But not mine. Everyone should get their own.)

I’m just over here *NOT* Googling SEVERE POLYHYDRAMNIOS 35 cm

someone should create
a web filter to protect
us worried Googlers

Dave had temporarily disabled the internet and confiscated my phone. But then he had to go to work for the entire weekend.

Hmmm…maybe if I get even more specific in my wording, Google will reveal the truth! *typing 28 WEEKS PREGNANT SEVERE POLYHYDRAMNIOS 35 cm* (Just kidding.)(No I’m not.)

My appointment with the high risk obstetrician (who is from Akron Children’s Hospital) was moved up, again, which is probably more about scheduling than about me, but the anxiety center in my brain is running around in circles and shouting, “DANGER! DANGER! DANGER! They’re seeing you sooner because the situation is SERIOUS! PANIC! PANIC!!!”

There’s been no word on my glucose test. The doctor had said I’d hear from her by the end of the day yesterday if the news was bad, which I think I was just assuming I’d get because, hello, that’s an answer to the problem! And now that it’s looking like I’m in the clear, gestational diabetes isn’t looking so bad compared to the other stuff I Googled.

Anyway. Let’s talk about something else.

What’s the weirdest thing you’ve Googled? Do you search odd word combinations in hopes of getting exactly what you’re looking for? If someone were to create a web filter just for you, what kind of stuff would it need to protect you from?

Now is when I quit pretending I’m not afraid.

I was just supposed to have my glucose tolerance test today. Quick in and out. And then the doctor saw me. I ended up having another ultrasound as it seems my immense girth is too extreme to ignore!

I’m still making too much amniotic fluid. I’m like an amniotic fluid factory! Working overtime! I figured as much. My swollen appendages and shiny new stretch marks have been whispering it to me as I navigate my world with the elegance of a turtle on it’s back and gasping like Darth Vader. Also, I think the scale broke when I stepped on it.

Jackson looked perfect, however. Strong, steady heart beat, kicky feet, wiggly fingers, and an adorable little face.

Jackson - profile

He looked like he was enjoying all the extra water in the pool, but he’s getting a little too cozy with the umbilical cord, if you ask me. (That’s actually what you see in front of his face that looks like bubbles.) (The wrinkles in the paper are from Phoebe hugging the picture of her “baby butter.”)

Apparently, the normal range for amniotic fluid is between 8 and 18 cm. The doctor will raise an eyebrow when you hit 25 cm, like I did four weeks ago. And when it measures at 35 cm, like mine did today, it gets very quiet and very serious, very, very fast.

The ultrasound technician and nurses gave me some sympathetic looks and “there, there” pats.

“You look so uncomfortable. I mean, you’ve got to be sooo uncomfortable.”

TRUE.

I wasn’t allowed to stand up right away. “Take your time. We don’t want you to pass out.”

The doctor told me she’d have the results of my glucose test by the end of the day and she’d be calling. “If your test is positive, that could explain it. Gestational diabetes is known to cause extra amniotic fluid.”

(Of course, I made too much amniotic fluid with both Julia and Phoebe, and I didn’t have gestational diabetes. Although I didn’t make nearly as much amniotic fluid and not as early as this and what am I, a doctor? I don’t know. I just don’t want gestational diabetes!)

We talked a little bit about my gnarly old uterus. We talked about having an amniocentesis to remove some of the fluid. She told me she wanted me to see the high risk obstetrician in maternal-fetal medicine and wrote an order to have it scheduled. I scheduled my next appointment with her, said thank you, and left.

Twenty minutes later, the office called. My appointment with maternal-fetal medicine had been scheduled to coincide with my next appointment with my regular OB.

An hour later, the office called again. The high risk obstetrician had reviewed my file. I heard the words “concerned” and “too dangerous” and “the soonest we can see you.” Given, the soonest was next week, and from my experience, the longer you have to wait for your appointment, the less concerned you should be as clearly it’s not an EMERGENCY if you can wait – still, I’m concerned.

Actually, I’m downright scared.

I just want my baby boy – my healthy baby boy. It’d be cool if I’d make it through okay, too.

Today, I am 28 weeks pregnant and taking the glucose tolerance test*

Glucose Tolerance Test Beverage

“Fruit punch or orange?”
which is code for, “Do you want
to drink snot or slime?”

*I prefer to call it The Glucose Torture Experiment.

What are you doing today?

I consider it a challenge before the whole human race and I ain’t gonna lose*

Grocery shopping should be an Olympic sport. At the very least, it could be a competitive sport.

Alright contestants, you have three hours and $400 in which to buy two weeks worth of groceries – that’s fourteen days of breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks – for a family of seven. Oh, and here’s a toddler on the edge to accompany you! Your time begins NOW. GO! GO! GO!!!!

They could put random obstacles – like slow shoppers, chatty cashiers, and wonky-wheeled carts – in the contestants’ paths and draw fate cards at the start to make it more true-to-life.

Contestants, keep in mind while meal planning and shopping for your family of seven that *draws card* one of them has a dairy allergy, *draws another card* one is diabetic and *draws final card* the four year-old won’t eat anything orange!

I am certain there are world class athletes that couldn’t do it. Or maybe they could and I’m just feeling exceptional because, you guys, I totally kicked ass at the grocery shopping today.

I realize this may not be a big deal to everyone.

Given that I plan, shop and cook, not just for Dave and me, but also my parents and my children, it’s one of my most time-consuming (and potentially stress-inducing) responsibilities. And now that I am so hugely pregnant that I can’t touch my feet and the urge to pee can become a true emergency in less than 45 seconds, the actual getting of the groceries is the most difficult part.

Even when I’m physically unencumbered, the grocery shopping is a challenge. But it’s also the key to success at home. It is one area where I have some financial control. I have a strict budget, but if I can come in under it? That makes things NICE. This is why I do all the shopping at once, if possible. I’ve learned that the more I go to the store, the more I spend. So, I have to be sure my meals are well-planned and my list is comprehensive in order to avoid return trips. Also, if I have all the ingredients on hand for dinner, I’m not tempted to pick up something quick and easy (i.e. expensive). And my family knows, the food we have on hand is what we have until next pay. You want to eat all the cheese in two days? Fine. You’ll be cheeseless for the next twelve. Enjoy those hamburgers next Thursday without it. Anyway, what I’m saying is, when I can get palatable meals for less than my budget amount between dropping Lucy off and picking her up from preschool? I feel like The Champion of the World.

The fact that I found a salon giving $2.99 hair cuts for their grand opening today may have bumped it up to Champion of THE UNIVERSE!!!

(Just out of curiosity, how much do you spend on groceries?) (Also, If you have any tips for cutting costs, I’d love to hear about that, too.)

*Those are lyrics from We Are the Champions by Queen. (Now is when you click that link and listen and imagine me running in slow motion down the aisles of Aldi holding high my recyclable shopping bags packed full of deals!)

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