Sunday, December 30, 2007

Love is all around

I have always wanted a spring baby. There is something so natural and so symbolic about bringing a new life into the world at the time when the whole world is reborn: new buds appear on the trees, the first flowers are blooming, the birds return, the people come out of winter hibernation. But there are also practical reasons. You don't have to be pregnant in the summer--and where I live, being pregnant in the summer is quite miserable. Around the holidays, you are safely out of your first trimester, so you don't feel like crap every minute of every day, and yet you are not so far along that you can't travel to see family. Plus, you don't have to worry about putting on those holiday pounds. When the baby is born, you can take him or her out for a walk without bundling up in layers and layers of clothing or go to the store without worrying about the flu.

This was back when I thought it would take just a couple of months to get pregnant. As months went by, I realized that what I wanted was a baby, not a birth date.

Now I have my two winter babies. (OK, so late October and early December are officially fall, but it is darn close to winter.) The other night, as I was baking some holiday cookies,* with my two boys all tucked in and sound asleep upstairs, my husband sitting at the kitchen island across from me doing some online holiday shopping, Christmas carols playing on the stereo, the smell of melted chocolate wafting through the house, I was completely overcome by the feeling of peacefulness. This feeling was so intense and so comforting. Over the last few years, there was always some turmoil in my heart--worry, disappointment, uncertainty, frustration, sadness... And it is against the backdrop of these last few years and particularly the miserable Christmas of a year ago, that I find myself so blissfully happy and peaceful this holiday season. Sure, there are plenty rough moments, like when Baby refuses to sleep and screams bloody murder for no apparent reason, when I am so tired I physically can't get out of bed in the morning, when Child exhibits such stubbornness it makes me want to scream... But on the large picture, when I take a step back from being overwhelmed by the minutiae of everyday life, I feel at peace. My heart is full love. My wishes have come true in the form of two absolutely perfect winter babies. Love is all around.**

I wish this same feeling of peace to you. If your heart is far from peaceful, I know how much you long for it. And I really, really hope and pray that it will come soon.

*What kind of cookies? Well, I am glad you asked. I actually made eight different kinds this season (with various degrees of success). But on that particular evening, I was making these Black Forest Cookies, replacing semisweet chocolate with bittersweet and cherries with craisins. Oh. My. God. These were heaven. (they don't freeze well though, just FYI).

**This is a line from Dave Matthews' "Christmas Song." If you haven't heard it, you should.

Friday, December 07, 2007

The first month

Where did the month go? On one hand, it feels like we left for the hospital just yesterday. On the other hand, Baby has become such a part of the family that it feels like he’s been here for a very, very long time. Life is busier than ever—what with our constant visitors, holiday shopping, holiday baking, holiday decorating, birthday party planning (Child will be turning four at the end of this week), not to mention this whole round-the-clock taking care of the baby. So here is a quick week-by-week recap of Baby’s first month. I am afraid that if I don’t write it down now, exhaustion will wipe my memory slate clean.

Week 1.
I am not sure if I actually made this point clear in my birth story post, but labor was a piece of cake. I highly recommend having the second labor first. Quick. Easy. Anxiety-free (except for that whole “it may be too late for epidural” business). Margie the midwife and Kate the nurse should definitely be on Santa’s “extra-nice” list this year. The postpartum floor staff and the hospital cafeteria—not so much. I was SOOO ready to go home on the third day. However, it took hours to get discharged, even though we had discharge notices from both the pediatrician and the midwives. When we mentioned that we have been waiting for several hours, the nurse said, “Oh, I saw that you were feeding the baby, so I figured you weren’t ready.” Ummm, if that was the case, no one would ever get discharged from the postpartum floor because newborns, as far as I know, pretty much eat around the clock…

Anyway, being home was wonderful. I was on such an emotional high the first week. I was tired, but the adrenalin kept me going. Breastfeeding was painful, but I knew it would be. Breastfeeding Child was the most physically painful experience I have ever had, so I was prepared for it this time. My parents were staying with us, and they were so, so very helpful in terms of household chores. Husband took a week off from work and was entertaining Child, so all I had to do was take care of Baby. To all of my pregnant and soon-to-be pregnant friends out there, this is how it should be: in those first few weeks, you don’t really need anyone to help you take care of the baby—you just need someone to take care of you and everything else. I was so lucky to have this help, both when Child was born and now when Baby was born.

Week 2.
Breastfeeding is getting tougher, and I am starting to feel down about it. I was really hoping for an easier time this time around. He is eating well, peeing well, pooping well, his latch-on looks perfect, and yet I am in incredible amount of pain. I learned my lesson with Child not to wait a month to seek help with breastfeeding. So I make an appointment with the nurse practitioner at the pediatrician’s office who specializes in lactation. During the weight check, it turns out that Baby is loosing weight. He was born at 8.15, discharged on day 3 at 8.7, was at 8.6 on day 4, and now is down to 8.2 on day 10. Ideally, he is supposed to be at 8.15 by day 14, and that is clearly not happening. Huge surprise for me as he seemed to be doing all the things the book says well-fed babies should be doing (number of wet/soiled diapers, etc.). On top of it all, it appears that one of his newborn screening tests came back with low levels, indicating that there may potentially be a serious disorder, which could be an explanation for why he is not gaining weight. So we are sent back to the hospital to rerun the newborn screening test (which takes a whole week to get results), check the bilirubin and also do a full chemistry panel of blood work. Of course, at that point, my raw nipples are the last thing on my mind. Three hours and three heel pricks later, we are back home. For the next 24 hours, Baby is supposed to be on strict two-hour feeding schedule, and I am also supposed to pump after each feeding to help boost my supply. It was a miserable 24 hours and I did not sleep a wink, but at the end of it, Baby did gain 2 ounces. However, the pediatrician was hoping for a more significant increase, so I am instructed to start supplementing with formula due to low milk supply. Also, the hospital lab lost the chemistry panel blood sample, so we had to do it again, in addition to another bilirubin check. Holding your screaming newborn while someone sticks needles in his little feet is not my idea of fun time.

Week 3.
Breastfeeding still sucks. It hurts like hell, and my supply is not increasing despite what seems like round-the-clock nursing and pumping. I finally see the lactation consultant. This has been the best decision I have made so far in this motherhood experience. She immediately diagnoses Baby with tongue tie. I asked the pediatrician who discharged us from the hospital about this (Child had the same issue, so I was familiar with it), and--just like when Child was a baby--was told that it does not interfere with breastfeeding. When I tell this to the lactation consultant, she simply shakes her head in disbelief. She recommends that we get the frenulum clipped right away. I spend the next day trying to schedule an appointment with an ENT--the earliest openings are a month away. I finally find a practice that can get me in within a week. The procedure goes well, but I don't feel immediate relief. Two days go by, and I am in tears again. I put all my hope in the fact that frenotomy would help with the pain. But on the third day, things begin to improve. I now realize that it must have taken Baby a few days to figure out how to use his "new" tongue. We also hear from the pediatrician's office again. The repeat newborn screening test comes back normal. Beautifully normal. I cry with relief.

Week 4.
Things are improving on all fronts. It is the week of Thanksgiving holiday here in the U.S. I have so much to be thankful for.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007


I had a particularly difficult day yesterday. The lack of sleep was really catching up with me. I have been sleeping for four hours a night and have not had an opportunity to take a nap during the day in more than a week. I was exhausted and cranky. All I wanted to accomplish yesterday was a nap.

But Baby had a different agenda. He decided that the only way he was going to sleep was on the breast. He would fall sound asleep—so asleep that I could not wake him up to continue feeding, no matter how hard I tried. But as soon as I would move him off my lap and into his bassinet, he would wake up and begin wailing—either immediately or within a few minutes. I tried swaddling, rocking, swaying, bouncing, putting him the car seat, putting him in the bouncy chair, putting him in the front carrier. Nothing worked. I spent so much time trying to get him to sleep that eventually it would be time for the next feeding and he would immediately fall asleep nursing. Eventually I dozed off in the glider and woke up with a horrible head and neck ache from my head falling forward when I slept.

“This has been the worst day,” I thought to myself.

Some time later, I turned on the computer and noticed the date. December 4. I felt a pit in my stomach. Exactly a year ago, we found out that we lost the baby that I was carrying, the baby that it took us a year and a half to conceive. A year later, I still feel sick to my stomach when I think of that day. I feel such overwhelming sadness. That was the worst day.

Today, I hold a beautiful boy in my arms. My little miracle. How we ever got so lucky to conceive him on the first regular cycle after that loss, I will never know. But I am so, so grateful for him. And every day with him is a blessing, even if he refuses to sleep or demands to always be held. Every day is a great day when you put it in perspective.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Not quite a trifecta*

At some point during my third trimester, I asked one of the midwives about when I should head to the hospital when labor begins. She said to give them a call when contractions became regular. “You’ve been through this before,” she remarked, “so you remember what real contractions feel like.” I nodded because I thought I did.

I had stomach cramps most of the day on Friday, nasty gas cramps. Constipation has been a major problem for me throughout this pregnancy, so having gas cramps was nothing new. I did note to myself that they were stronger and more uncomfortable than usual.

The cramps woke me up around 1 a.m. I was starting to get a back ache, too. At 4:30, I woke up again. As I tossed and turned, trying to get back to sleep, I kept glancing at my clock radio and soon realized that these “gas cramps” had a certain pattern to them. It was then that it occurred to me that perhaps these were not gas cramps after all but real contractions. I tried timing the duration of them, but that was not easy to do with the digital clock. I got up and went downstairs, turning on my computer and feverishly trying to finish up some last-minute work. At 5:30, I woke up Husband and called the hospital. The contractions were 7-8 minutes apart lasting about 50-60 seconds. They were uncomfortable, but I could still easily talk through them. The doctor told me to take a shower and call back when the contractions got closer to 5 minutes apart.

At 7 a.m., we were on our way to the hospital. My back was killing me, and I could not talk through the contractions anymore. I remarked to Husband that I didn’t remember having this much pain with Child. At 7:40, the midwife who checked me happily announced, “You are at 7 cm!” Holy shit, I thought, no wonder the pain was so much stronger—I got epidural when I was 4 cm with Child. “I need epidural now,” I said (screamed?). Another midwife piped in, “You are so close, you can do it without the drugs.” “I know I can,” I said (snapped back?), “but I don’t want to.” They were happy to oblige, but they warned me that if my water broke or if I dilated much further, it would be too late for the epidural. Talk about sending this girl into a panic mode: having to give birth without drugs was one of my biggest fears about labor this time around. It felt like it took forever for the anesthesiologist to show up, and the pain was intense. Back labor is no walk in the park, I tell ya. Husband was a rock star, applying pressure to my lower back during the contractions per midwife’s directions. It made the world of difference. L&D nurse, Kate, was amazing too—what a wonderful, calming influence. While we were waiting for the anesthesiologist, I got hooked up to antibiotics for group B strep. The midwife mentioned she was glad I was asking for epidural because they needed to stall my labor—I needed at least four hours of antibiotics before delivery.

9 a.m. Epidural. Sweet relief. ‘Nuf said.

At 11:20, the midwife checked me. “We better set up for delivery now.”

They broke my bag of water. I thought about how odd it was that with Child, having my water break was the first sign of labor, but with this one, the water never broke, even though I was fully dilated and effaced.

I pushed once. “Whoa, hold on, stop pushing,” the midwife said. “Dad, do you want to deliver your son?” Husband looked stunned and a little uncomfortable. “I won’t be offended if you don’t want to do it,” I said. He thought about it for a second and ran to the bathroom to wash his hands.

A minute later I pushed again. And the most amazing thing happened. My husband, the love of my life, pulled out our son, the newest love of my life, from my body and placed him on my belly. 11:38 a.m.

I can not find words right now (doubt if I ever will) to describe what a miraculous moment it was. The struggles, the tests, the interventions, the heartbreaks—they were worth it to have THIS moment.

*Suppose I should explain the title of this post. My birthday is October 24. Husband’s is October 25. Baby was born on October 27. Had he come a day earlier, we would have had a birthday trifecta. Welcome to the Scorpio family, babe.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Can blogging induce labor?

It happened to A and a few other pregnant bloggers. An unsuspecting blogger writes a post to say that she doesn’t think labor is anywhere near—and BAM! out comes the baby a few hours later.

Less than 24 hours after my last update, Baby made his appearance into the world. He was 8 lbs 15 oz and 20 inches and came exactly a week early (bless his little heart; if he would have stayed in another week or more, he definitely would have outgrown his 9 lbs 5 oz older brother). He is absolutely lovely, and we are completely smitten with him.

And while I had full intentions to write a little more about his birth, he is starting to make those grumpy grunts that mean “get me out of this bouncy chair,” so I better leave that story for another post.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Almost There

After reading Sarah’s recent entry and realizing that she has way more going on than I do, I decided that there really is no excuse for the fact that I have not updated in almost two months.

I am feverishly trying to wrap things up at work, and it has been stressing me out to a great extent. Hence, my lack of updates or checking in on others’ blogs. I feel like I owe (to whom I am not sure—to myself? to the baby?) a thoughtful, emotional post that reflects on the last days of this pregnancy, most likely my last pregnancy (although that’s definitely a topic of another post). But the work is weighing heavily on me, and I don’t feel in a position to write something—anything—that really makes sense.

So here is the dull and dry update on what’s going on.

Baby: Still not here, but moving around lots, making it somewhat uncomfortable at times, but I can’t complain. I do enjoy feeling him move, even if he kicks my ribs or punches my cervix, making me wince in pain for a few seconds.

Me: Spike in my usually “barely alive” blood pressure around 36-37 weeks. Lots of blood and urine tests (including the lovely 24-hour urine test, which was both gross and comical at the same time). Results come back normal. BP still high a week later, so they begin to worry about preeclampsia. I am sent to the hospital for monitoring for a few hours. More tests. All normal. They send me home with another 24-hour urine test jug (fun!). Modified bed rest prescribed. The 24-hour test comes back with elevated protein levels, but not high enough to think about inducing labor. However, I am to remain on bed rest until the baby arrives. I begin panicking about work—my replacement doesn’t arrive until October 29, and I was planning on spending a week training her. I have so much to do before I leave. Stress is not good for my blood pressure, so it becomes a vicious circle—I worry about work that’s not going to get done, which raises my blood pressure, which makes me worry about the baby coming any day now, which makes me worry about work that’s not going to get done, and so on. The night of October 21, I wake up in painful contractions. I spend the next 90 minutes trying to figure out if there is any pattern to the contractions. I keep saying, “No, not today, I am not ready for this today, I need at least one more week.” And that’s when I finally—and suddenly, as if someone slaps me in the face—snap out of this ridiculous concern about work. I remember how much I wanted this baby. I remember how much I prayed that he be healthy. I remember how much I begged that he would have an actual birthday—not another unrealized due date. And I feel at peace. I feel so excited to meet him, so excited that this could be the day. My contractions fade, and I fall asleep.

My to-do list is still long, and it is still on my mind. But at this point, I am taking it one day at a time. I try to end each work day as if tomorrow I won’t be turning on my computer. The world will continue to turn if my work goes undone. I would still prefer to make it to November 3, the actual due date, but I am ready for my new little man at any time. I can not wait to meet him.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Trouble with Love

Child was 10 days late. He was scheduled to make his appearance on Saturday after Thanksgiving, but instead we celebrate his birthday in the second week of December. My water broke at home, and the midwife on call suggested that we wait to go to the hospital until the contractions got more frequent and powerful. For some reason, I imagined it would be a mad rush to the hospital when I went into labor. That’s how it is in the movies, right? Instead, we stayed at the house for about six hours, with nothing to do. The bag was already packed. The car seat was installed. What else was there to do? Thus, I chose to spend that time having a major breakdown. Leaning over the exercise ball to help with back labor as I watched reruns of the old Saturday Night Live, I realized that after today, after we walk out the door this evening, my life would never be the same. And I suddenly decided that I very much liked my life the way it was and very much wanted it to remain the same. I didn’t need a change. I was not ready for this baby. Who did he think he was, to just barge into my life and turn it upside down? I already had someone whom I loved more than the world itself. I could not imagine loving anyone—anyone—more than I loved Husband. My heart was full, there were no vacancies. And despite feeling absolutely in love with this little being inside my belly for months and months, despite waiting for his arrival with such excited anticipation, at that very moment, I did not know if I could love this baby as much as he deserved. And so I cried.

By the time we got to the hospital, labor was taking over my body and mind, so I could no longer continue thinking about any of this. I had a task at hand—to deliver the baby.

When they put him on my belly, so long and so big, I could not believe he fit inside me. They cleaned him and swaddled him and gave him to me to hold. He was all mine. With those plump cheeks and red lips and squished nose. I was in awe. He was all mine, and I could not imagine loving anyone more.

There is no question that I want everything to be OK with this baby, the one who is currently swooshing around in my belly. I have wanted him so much and for so long. I absolutely can not wait to meet him, to hold him, to watch him grow. But I have to admit that there are rare moments when I feel just as I did that evening almost four years ago—that everything in my life is perfect just the way it is. I have an amazing husband and a perfect little boy who makes my heart melt. And I wonder if I could ever love this baby as much as I love them. And the guilt of these thoughts is completely overwhelming.

Friday, August 31, 2007

Honey Sweet

When I first found out that Child was going to be a boy, I was a bit concerned. What am I going to do with a boy? I had no idea how boys worked. I am a girl, after all, and an only child. My mom is a girl, also an only child. My side of the family did not have any exposure to little boys for many, many years. So I felt a bit unprepared for all the boy things. Will I be able to relate to a little boy? In retrospect, my thinking and my concerns were very stereotypical and somewhat sexist. I worried about how I would deal with his thrill-seeking nature, complete lack of fear or inability to stay put for a minute without running off to do something. All those are huge parts of his personality, and I have learned to accept and love them because they are what makes him who he is—a very typical boy. But what I was not prepared for was the amount of love, the compassion, the sweetness, the sensitivity and the caring that are housed in his little body. Nowhere did these attributes exhibit themselves more strongly than in relation to the coming baby.


Child: Mommy, where is the baby going to sleep?

Me: He will sleep in mommy and daddy’s room in a little crib.

Child: Can the baby please sleep with me in my room? My bed is big enough, and I can keep the baby nice and warm and rub his back if he cries.


When we first told him that a new baby was growing in mommy’s tummy, he asked two questions: How did the baby get there and how is it going to get out. Interestingly enough, although Husband and I discussed how to share this news with Child on several occasions, we were not prepared for those questions coming from a three-year-old. But we managed. Our very basic explanation seemed to satisfy him, and then he said, as if he has been thinking about this for years, “If the baby is a boy, we will name him Alex. If it is a girl, we will name her Sarah.” Mind you, he does not know anyone named Alex, and while we have a friend named Sarah, Child does not see her often enough to think of her name right away. After we found out that the baby was a boy, he renamed the baby Fireman Sam (after a PBS cartoon) and there is absolutely no arguing with him about it. “It is not Sam. It is Fireman Sam.” I think it is starting to grow on me.


Child: Mommy, is it dark in your belly?

Me: Yes, it is pretty dark.

Child: I don’t want the baby to be scared. Do you think we can get the flashlight to the baby through your belly button? I can share it with the baby, and he can give it back to me when he doesn’t need it anymore.


Every night, before he goes to sleep, he kisses my belly and says goodnight to the baby through my belly button. The routine is repeated in the morning when he wakes up, except at this time, instead of whispering, he treats the belly button as the loud speaker.


Child: Mommy, can the baby come out now? I really, really miss him.


During a recent severe thunderstorm, he hugs my belly and says: “Don’t worry, baby. I am here with mommy and I will keep you safe.”


Before heading to the hospital to check on the baby when I fell, Child rushed upstairs right as we were heading out the door. Lots of commotion ensued, and he finally emerged from his room dragging the baby car seat, the baby bouncer and a few baby toys that were stored in his closet. “We have to get these set up for the baby. When he comes home, I want him to know I have been waiting for him.”


Seriously, sometimes his sweetness makes me cry.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Never a dull moment

Just when I am ready to finally relax and stop worrying about one thing or another, something new pops up. I guess I am a worrier. I guess it could be a lot worse. And getting this out on virtual paper makes me realize that I am a very fortunate person in so many wonderful ways. So instead of complaining, allow me to simply list two of the adventures of the last few weeks in the most objective manner possible.

1. Child, my fantastic sleeper who slept through the night at a tender age of two months and never really had sleep issues, began having night terrors about three weeks ago. He wakes up roughly two hours after going to sleep, absolutely frantic. His eyes are wide open, he points to the door or the shelf or the wall and either speaks gibberish or says something that absolutely doesn’t make sense (I don’t want babies to blow bubbles, for example). His legs are hard as a rock. He is completely inconsolable. Five to 10 minutes later, he lays down and falls back to sleep. I can’t even begin to tell you how unsettling it is to see your child like this.

At first, we thought he had major leg cramps, and that’s what was waking him up screaming. We thought it was growing pains or potassium/calcium deficiency or just a result of being too active during the day. We pushed water and bananas before bedtime. We massaged his legs. About a week later, we realized that he didn’t acknowledge us when this happened. He was in his own world, completely overcome by fear and not able to snap out of it. And it was then that I finally remembered reading about night terrors a couple of years ago. We.bMD article described his behavior to a tee. Except that I have no idea why he started having those. His sleeping pattern has been the same for a long time, there has been nothing new in our lives (seems that the stay at grandparents was too long ago to be a suspect), he has not seen any scary movies. Not knowing the answer makes me uneasy.

2. Last Friday our nanny was on vacation, so I took the day off to hang out with Child. We had a fantastic day, and after his nap, we headed to a farmer’s market in our neighborhood to pick up some fresh produce. As I was crossing the parking lot, I tripped on the curb and took a dive right in front of a moving car. I was holding Child’s hand and let go before I fell, but he continued holding on, so he went down with me. Thankfully, the car stopped, although it would have been nice if the driver offered to help instead of yelling, “you OK?” through the window. I got up, picked up crying Child who scraped his hands, picked up my bag and moved to the sidewalk to assess the situation. Child calmed down quickly and began the never-ending string of questions (have I ever mentioned that he is incapable of not talking for even a minute) that began with “Why did you fall?” He seemed OK; the jar of jam that I just bought did not break; so it was time to assess me. And that was when Child and I both looked down at my legs, and he started wailing at the sight of blood flowing freely from my scraped knees. Damn, I forgot how much it hurts to scrape you knees! My sweet, compassionate child was in a complete state of panic because he was so worried that I was hurt, so I had to pick him up (the whole 44 pounds of him) and carry him across the parking lot to an ice cream parlor with a bathroom. Thankfully, there was a cake in the display window with a big excavator design, which made him forget his worries and stop crying (because construction vehicles have that impact on three-year-olds), so I could go use the bathroom to clean up the bloody mess.

About half an hour later, as we were driving to the metro to pick up Husband, I noticed a fair amount of discomfort in my belly, and for the first time, the thought hit me like a bolt of lightning: “What if I hurt the baby?” I can not tell you why this did not occur to me earlier. Obviously, taking care of the child who is outside the womb takes a much higher priority than the one inside the womb. I don’t know if this is instinct or what. But I felt like a horrible mother to the baby. I called the doctor, and of course, they told me to come in. So we, as a family, spent a lovely Friday evening at the hospital (I say it sarcastically, although Child actually seemed to have a great time because all of the nurses were doting on him with popsicles and cookies and letting him press all sorts of buttons on the bed).

Everything turned out fine, thankfully, and we were back at home before midnight. But it made me realize just how much I am afraid of preterm labor. As we were checking in, I overheard the nurse making NICU arrangements for a 29-week-old baby boy who was born just minutes ago. Two years ago, a close friend gave birth to a 32-weeker. I knew absolutely nothing about preemies then, so I did all of the reading I could get my hands on. I wanted to know how to support my friend and what was in store for her baby. She is now a tall, chunky, beautiful, brilliant two-year-old. But will that baby boy who was born on Friday night have the same fate? I sure hope so.

So let me make a full circle to the first paragraph. I am grateful for every day that this baby stays in my belly and continues to grow. I am grateful that Child’s nighttime troubles appear to be harmless and do not affect his activities or attitude during the day.

While I am far from grateful for the 110-degree heat index outside (I kid you not), I am grateful for my air conditioner and for the opportunity to spend a few days in Chicago next week to escape the heat.

I am grateful that my life is just the way it is—with some adventures and so many things to be grateful for.

Monday, July 23, 2007

So it WAS nothing, but…

He is fine. He is perfectly fine. He is perfect. He has two lips and a nose and all those other facial features that we were missing in the last scan. He was very cooperative for the scan and was constantly opening and closing his mouth. It was awesome, and I could not believe how much clearer everything was—compared to a month ago.

But… There is one minor, tiny, completely insignificant to the big picture “but.” He is measuring roughly two weeks ahead of schedule and weighing in at 2 ½ lbs. The significance of the weight did not hit me until I remembered that my most recent weekly e-mail from babycenter said that the baby should be measuring at roughly 1 ¼ lbs. at 24 weeks. Yowza. The lil dude is twice the size of a normal baby at this stage!

And that’s where having a point of comparison becomes both reassuring and somewhat unnerving. It is reassuring because four years ago, Child’s development during this scan measured roughly a week ahead of time and his legs were measuring two weeks ahead, so obviously growing bigger babies is what my body does. It is, however, somewhat unnerving because Child did end up greeting the outside world at 9 ½ lbs., and this makes me wonder just how big this baby is going to be if he is already a week ahead of his older brother.

Husband and I are not small people: he is 6’3”, I am 5’8”, but our weight is in the normal range (though I have been a bit frumpy from lack of regular exercise over the last few yeas). My weight gain in the second trimester has been above average, but I blame a week of glorious food in Vegas for that.

So being a normal, reasonable woman who is not at all prone to overreacting, I have now successfully self-diagnosed myself with gestational diabetes and sentenced myself to a c-section. OK, I am exaggerating a bit, but those thoughts have crossed my mind. Neither of those two issues would be a huge deal, but I would prefer to avoid both.

I have my glucose screen in less than three weeks, so I will have at least one of the answers then. In the meantime, I feel so blessed and so lucky to be where I am. Just look at him, isn’t he gorgeous?

Friday, July 20, 2007

It is probably nothing, but…

These really aren’t the words you want to hear in relation to your unborn child. Sure, there are much, much worse things to hear, and all of us have played out those scenarios in our heads, so I am not going to go there.

During my last appointment, the OB mentioned that the results of my level 2 scan were not in my file (the ultrasound practice operates independently of my OB/GYN practice and sends the results to the doctor’s office a few days after the u/s is completed). She said she would find my results and give me a call only if there was a problem. That evening, the phone rang, and as soon as I saw the caller ID, my heart started pounding. I did not expect the call; I was so certain that everything looked good—that’s what the radiologist said during the scan. When I picked up the phone, the conversation started with those five words: “It is probably nothing but…” I had to sit down, just in case. The OB did not like what she saw on the pictures of the baby’s face. The pictures of the lips and mouth were either not clear enough or nonexistent (I was panicking, so I can’t remember for sure). She asked if we had any family history of cleft lip or cleft palate. I said that I did not think so, but there is a lot in my family history that I don’t know about. “Would you like to go in for another scan?” Of course, I said yes.

To be completely honest, I am not that worried, which is evident by the fact that I have not googled the condition at all—and that is pretty rare for me. I do actually believe her that it is probably nothing. If it is, indeed, a cleft problem, we’ll deal with it. There are far, far worse things that can happen. I even hesitated to write this post, especially after what Bumble, Watson, Faith and Julia have been going through these last couple of weeks with their babies. But as today’s scan approaches, I am getting more nervous. The baby is a month older now—what if they see something else that wasn’t quite obvious before? What if?

I had lots of worries when I was pregnant with Child, but probably not more than any “regular” first-time mom (meaning, one who did not experience IF or pregnancy loss). He gave us quite a few scares in the first trimester with lots of cramps and bleeding, but even after that, I worried. I worried about what I ate and drank, I worried about accidentally waking up on my back, I worried about water being too hot when getting my pedicure, I worried about not doing enough Kegels, I worried A LOT about labor. (It is amazing how much I do not worry about any those things this time around.) Back then, I could not wait to finally have him out of my body just so I wouldn’t have to worry so much. And then he was born, and I realized that the real worry had only just begun.

You never stop worrying about the “what if.”

Monday, July 16, 2007

The Trip

Or: When years of good luck come back to bite me in the ass

So as I bitched about previously, the last few months of my work life have been preoccupied with preparing for our company’s annual conference. It is always a busy time for me, but this year, the word busy did even come close to describing it.

But despite multiple snafus, the world continued to turn, and we departed from our lovely East Coast city on a long journey to the West. The trip involved making a two-day stop smack in the middle of the country to drop off Child who was to spend eight days with Husband’s parents while Husband and I (we both work for the same company—and no, that’s not where we met) headed out to work in C.ity. Don’t ask me why I did this, but of the four flights I booked, three departed roughly at 6 a.m. The only flight that didn’t depart before the sun was up actually left when the sun was going down—around 7:45 p.m. It was our first flight of the trip. And it was 3 and a half hours late departing. I went to the airport straight from work (read: uncomfortable clothes and even more uncomfortable shoes). Child was so excited to get on the airplane he woke up an hour early and refused to nap during the day (read: an overtired three-year-old who waited ALL DAY—and that is a LONG time for a three-year-old—just to get on the plane). And there we were, still waiting to board the plane at 11 p.m. When it became clear that we will be able to leave the city after all, I called the car rental company to tell them that we will be arriving to pick up the car around 12:30 a.m. (not 9 p.m., as we expected). To this, the national headquarters told me that all local desks close at midnight, so we will have to wait until 5 a.m. next morning to pick up the car. I negotiated, I pleaded, I begged. “No, ma’am, the desks close at midnight. Our employees need sleep, after all.” Let me just say that this mo-fo probably did not get a good night of sleep after hearing what came out of my mouth next. That’s all I am going to say about that. After hanging up on him, I called the local desk. “Oh, no, ma’am, we don’t close until all flights have landed. And by the way, we are all out of Che.vy Av.eo economy cars that you requested—would it be OK for you to take a Toyo.ta Highl.ander instead, at no extra charge?” There is a special place in heaven for people like Crystal from Omaha airport.

We finally arrived at Husband’s parents around 3 a.m. Exactly 48 hours later, Husband and I kissed our sweet sleeping boy good-bye and drove back to the airport for a 6 a.m. flight to Las Vegas. I got all my crying out of the way the night before, so I was able to say my quiet good-bye without any tears shed. Child handled the separation as well as I could have hoped for. He was lonesome for us, he asked about us, but he enjoyed his time with the grandparents, aunt, uncle and 18-month old cousin. Let me state for the record that everything you hear about grandparents spoiling their grandchildren rotten is true. 100% true. We are still dealing with the fallout from that, after being back for two weeks now.

So at this point, you say, “Oh well, Kate, delayed flight. Not that big of a deal.” And I say, wait, there is more.

We arrived in Vegas roughly as exhausted as we were in week 2 of Child’s life. And that’s before the Conference even began. (For the fear of making this post so ridiculously long that even I won’t have the patience to read through it to self-edit, I will share my thoughts on Vegas in another installment.) Eight days later, after getting three hours of sleep, we headed to the airport for our flight back to pick up Child. I was almost shaking with anticipation of seeing him. I literally teared up every time I thought about seeing his face. During our layover in Denver, we checked the information board and discovered that there was an earlier flight to Omaha, making our layover only 30 minutes instead of two hours. But the grumpy gate attendant told us we could not get on that flight because our bags were already checked on the later flight. We were a bit disappointed, but we patiently waited two hours for our scheduled flight. When we got to the gate to board, we discovered that our plane was downsized from a 130-passenger jet to a 60-passenger one. And all flights to Omaha for the remainder of the day were full (it was 10 a.m. at this point). Panic ensued. People were yelling. People were shoving. People were crying. Someone was going to miss a sister’s wedding. Someone was going to miss an important business meeting. Someone was going to be picked up by an elderly brother who lives four hours from the airport and there was no way to contact him to tell him to go back. It was madness.

We have seen the Amazing Race, so instead of joining the chaos, Husband pulled out the cell phone and called a travel agent. There were three seats on a flight to Omaha at 10 p.m. that night. “Hold them,” said Husband. And it was at this point that I realized that I was not going to see my boy that day. No matter what—whether we took the evening flight, drove 10 hours to get to Omaha or stayed in Denver overnight, I was not going to see him (at least not see him awake) on that day. And I lost it. I sat down in the corner and completely broke down. I tell you this because I don’t think I could ever understand this reaction if I saw someone else breaking down like this. I would have thought, “that seems like overreacting.” And maybe it was. Maybe it was the fatigue, the hormones, whatever, but I could not stop crying. So if you were at the Denver airport in late June and saw a pregnant woman in a purple shirt sitting in a corner and weeping, don’t think less of her. She just wanted to see her baby.

We spent another three hours at the airport: first one, trying to make sure our bags were staying in Denver, and the other two—in line at Customer Service to figure out what the airline will reimburse us for. By that time, it was too late to drive. We opted not to take the evening flight to Omaha because it would have made for a long day at the airport, another really late night and an inconvenience for Husband’s parents who would have had to drive 90 minutes to the airport in the middle of the night to pick us up. We decided to stay in Denver and take a 6:30 flight (yes, I am not kidding, another 6 o'clock flight) the next morning. The airline gave us vouchers for food and hotel. We grabbed lunch at a Mexican chain restaurant at the airport, where Husband ordered soft tacos. Instead, he got hard-shelled tacos. And that was the end of the rope for him. All he wanted was for SOMETHING to go right. At least something as simple as tacos. If he only knew what was to come next.

At the baggage claim our bags were not there, despite the fact that we spent an hour making sure and being completely assured that our bags did not go to Omaha on the original flight but instead stayed in Denver. So we were left to spend the night in Denver with only my purse, Husband’s laptop and “Build Your Own Monster” gift for Child. The hotel the airline put us in was 40 minutes away, and when we finally checked in and entered our room, ready to collapse from exhaustion and frustration, we discovered that someone already had that idea: there was a half-naked man sleeping on the bed in our room. At that point, there was nothing else to do but laugh. We exchanged the key in hopes of getting a room without existing occupants, and that’s when we got a call (…cue the angels singing…) from our lovely, amazing friend who lives north of Denver, telling us that he just got our message and is on his way to come rescue us from this place, treat us to as many drinks as necessary (oh, how I needed one!) and supply us with toothpaste, toothbrushes, a hot shower and a comfy bed in his gorgeous house in the mountains, not to mention a chance to catch up with his fabulous family and two adorable Golden Retrievers.

And that (...cue triumphant music...) was the end of our misfortune. Seeing Child’s smiling face and excited “Mommy, Daddy!” the next morning as soon as he spotted us standing at the curb at Omaha airport was the sweetest sight of all, and I could barely hold in the tears. And he didn't mind me hugging the heck out of him.

The moral of the story is… Who am I kidding, there is no moral. It is just a huge brain dump of complaining. I know that shit happens when you travel. But this shit doesn’t happen to me—hence the sub-title of this post. We travel a lot—for work and for pleasure. But in the 10+ years that Husband and I have been together, we’ve had fewer delayed/missed flights than I can count on two hands. The bad luck finally caught up with us on this one. I just hope that now we are delay-free for another 10 years.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Due Date

Dear baby not to be,

Today would have been your due date. 7-11. The OB at my first appointment joked that with this due date, I should get a free slurpy. It wasn’t funny then, and it isn’t now.

They were right, time does dull the pain. But I still think of you every day. I am still sad that I never got to meet you. I am still heartbroken that my body failed you. Other than a digital picture of the positive pregnancy test, there is no proof that you ever existed. And yet I miss you so much.

I wish I had you in my arms today. Instead, I wipe my tears and stare at the little angel figurine holding a child. I hope the angel is taking good care of you, my baby. I miss you.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

In-Between Hiatus

...Or is it hiatuses? Does hiatus come in plural?

In any case, I can’t even begin to describe how hectic the last two months have been—mostly because of work. I admit, I blog during work. When else would I do it? Between a full-time job, attention-requiring three-year-old, preschool pick up and drop off, taking care of the house (oh, who am I kidding, the house is a mess, I am a complete failure as a housekeeper) and attempting to have a little bit of child-free time to catch up with Husband in the evenings—the only time I can write is when I am at work. Call me a bad employee. I call it therapy. I love blogging because it gives me time to think. It makes me feel better. Sometimes, it even helps me figure out why I feel the way I do. Work has been so incredibly busy for the last two months that I have not had a chance to take a break to think and write. But lying awake in the middle of the night, I found myself composing posts in my head—and while that didn’t quite have the therapeutic power of writing, it did help me sort a lot of thoughts out. Otherwise, I would be a basket case by now.

And I wish I could tell you that the reason I am writing today is because the insanity is finally over. Alas, it isn’t. This evening, I am leaving town for two weeks to attend the conference that I have been so busy preparing for. In route to the conference, we are dropping Child off at my in-laws in the Midwest (since Husband is working at the said conference as well). I am looking forward to visiting a city I have never been to. I can’t wait to catch up with old friends who decided to make a trip and meet up with us while we are at the conference. I am exhausted to even think about the crazy schedule ahead of me. I am concerned about finding the right balance between taking it easy on myself because I am pregnant—and not appearing incapable or in need of special treatment because I am pregnant. I am salivating already just thinking about amazing restaurants we’ll get to dine at on the company dollar.

Most of all, I am torn between these two: I am beyond thrilled to spend some child-free time with the man I love but I am almost in tears every time I think of leaving the Child without his parents for eight days. We did it once before, two years ago, when the conference was in California. He did well, but he was only 18 months old then. He is 3 ½ now—and so much more aware of the world. I know he will have a good time with his grandparents. He has been excited about this visit for weeks, asking nearly every day when we are going to grandma and grandpa’s house, and last night he was so excited he could not fall asleep until past 11 p.m. But I also know that he will be sad and he will miss us much more than he did two years ago. And it makes my heart ache.

…Breathe in, breathe out…

A lot has happened since I went on my blogging hiatus, but everything pales in comparison to last week’s level II scan. We have a perfectly growing baby with a beautiful profile, 10 fingers, 10 toes and very unmistakable boy parts. When I was pregnant with Child, everyone around me was sure that it would be a boy. So the ultrasound was no surprise. This time around, there wasn’t quite as much consensus, but a good 80% of people thought it would be a girl. So I went in with that expectation—and the surprise of it was absolutely amazing. I do not have enough words to describe just how excited I am to have a boy. Is it wrong to want more of what I already have? Two boys who may grow up to be as amazing as their dad? I can’t think of a better wish.

I have talked a lot about detachment and disconnect I have felt with this pregnancy. They are no more. While I know that a lot of things can still go wrong in the next 20 weeks, this pregnancy finally feels real and not consumed by fear. And having a boy is a big contributor to that. Don’t get me wrong, all I want is a healthy baby. I would be very, very excited about a girl, but I think I would have a bit more apprehensive about it, just because it is an unknown territory for me. With a boy, I know what to expect. And he could be—and probably is quite likely to be—completely different than Child, but at least I know what to expect at the beginning.

We are half way through this pregnancy, and I really hope that the second half is much more peaceful and relaxed than the first.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

I am

Lovely Sarah tagged me (my first tag, yay) with the I Am meme. And the only thing I can write in relation to this is:


So busy at work it is not even funny. The busiest I have ever been in the three+ years in this job. And the outlook is not good. I am pretty sure at least one of my projects is going to fall behind (no fault of mine—I got my stuff done way before the deadline), and I am going to get some serious beating for it (because that’s what you get when you are considered a project manager).

In about 10 days, it should get better, at least somewhat better. And I promise to write the meme then, as well as millions of other thoughts that have been swirling in my head.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Going backward

The NT scan was yesterday. In the words of the doctor, “sonographically, everything looks fine.” The results of the scan analysis, combined with the blood work, should come back by the end of this week. The baby looked good, moving around a lot, giving all sorts of trouble to the doctor who tried to take measurements. It is amazing what a difference six weeks make—a little bean then and a lot more like a real person now.

I know this is ridiculous and pathetic and why the hell can’t I just be positive, but every time I see the image of the baby on that grainy grey screen, I am surprised to see a heartbeat. I know I am not unique in feeling this way—many bloggers who are pregnant after IF or pregnancy loss talk about this feeling of detachment and always expecting the worst. But it bothers me because, well, I feel like I don’t really have much feelings for this baby. I feel horrible saying this because I wanted a baby so badly and I really want this pregnancy to work out. But here I am, with a beautiful, growing person in my belly—and I am not in love with it.

After yesterday’s scan and because the end of the first trimester is near, I was thinking that it is time to come out to friends and colleagues about the pregnancy (although I am sure my protruding gut has caused at least some speculation). Different announcements kept running through my mind.

We are having a baby...

Child is going to be a big brother...

We are having our second one...

And that’s where my mind stopped dead in its tracks. Our second one? No, this is our third. (or fourth, although I don’t think much about that very short-lived chemical years ago…). And I think for the first time, I realized that my overall lack of excitement about this pregnancy is not only for self-preservation. It is also because deep down I feel guilty for being happy about this new life while I am still grieving the loss of another life. It seems unfair to that baby, the baby we lost, the baby that could have been.

How do I let go of that guilt? How do I start living in the now—and not then?

Tuesday, April 17, 2007


Over the weekend, I got worried e-mails from both of my parents (they are divorced) asking about how we’ve been affected by the nasty weather that’s been hitting this part of the country. To be honest, it has affected me quite minimally, other than the cabin fever one experiences when stuck indoors with an energetic three-year-old for an entire weekend and being generally pissed at the crashing temps that went from 82 degrees to 32 degrees in 72 hours, resulting in two inches of snow Easter weekend, then back up to 60s during the week and down to 40 with pouring rain and 60 mile an hour winds on the weekend. But then on Monday, local schools (including Child’s preschool) closed three hours early because of the weather, and as I was leaving work to pick him up, I was composing a post about how shitty this spring has been weather-wise and how unfair it is because spring and fall are the only tolerable seasons in this city while winter and summer just plain suck.

In an effort to get the forecast, I turned on the radio. And then I heard about Virginia Tech. And everything else became insignificant.

I know there is horrible injustice happening daily in many parts of the world. But this hit so close to home for me, literally and figuratively. Virginia Tech is just a few hours from where I live. My friend’s family just got back home to Blacksburg from their daughter’s wedding when this happened. Husband’s boss’s niece is in stable condition at a local hospital, recovering from three gun wounds. I am sure I will hear more stories from friends and colleagues as more of them receive and share news from their loved ones.

In reading Sarah’s post last week, I thought of my uncle’s funeral where my grandma said that a parent should never have to bury a child, no matter how old. I can’t wrap my mind around what happened at VA Tech. I can’t even begin to analyze it. I simply hurt so much for these people, the parents who have to bury their children.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Scared (updated again)

Over the last 24 hours, my symptoms appear to be fading. I have been so very miserable for a month, but yesterday, I started to feel better. Suddenly, I had an appetite. Food began to taste good. And when I ate, I did not get sick 10 minutes later. I even had a piece of cheesecake that I made for Easter—something that I knew would set me over the edge—but it didn’t. I still had minor bouts of nausea throughout the day, but they were so very minor compared to the misery of the last four weeks. This morning, I was able to get out of bed without eating something first. And I didn’t throw up. Actually, I spent almost an hour without eating, and yet I didn’t feel like I was going to collapse.

For the first time in over a month, I took my morning temp. 97.6. Still above my 97.3 coverline, but below 98.1, my last reading in early March.

10 weeks and 3 days. I should not be feeling better yet; it is too early to lose the symptoms. I keep telling myself that maybe I just had a good day yesterday. Maybe this is just a fluke.

This weekend, I passed the point when the last pregnancy went to hell. I don’t want to go down that road again, even though I know there is nothing I can do to avoid it if that's where it's headed.

I am so scared.

**Update: Spoke to the midwife at my OB/GYN practice (some day, I will write a glowing post about how much I love the collaborative nature of my practice where doctors practice alongside midwives and what an amazing difference that makes for me). She said what I expected her to say: it could be nothing or it could be something. I have an appointment on Friday morning. Of course, being the idiot that I am, I asked, "I already have an appointment for Monday--should I just wait until then?" And being a sweet and smart woman that she is, she said, "Do you want to go on worrying over the weekend?" Thank you, Gina, for providing the voice of reason.

**Friday update: We’ve got a beautiful heartbeat. 165. Didn’t even need to pull out a sonogram machine—we heard the heartbeat clearly through Doppler, despite my funky inverted uterus. Our chances of miscarriage just went down from 20% to 3%. Woo-hoo! Symptoms also have returned yesterday, although not quite with the same intensity, for which I am grateful. This pregnancy may actually work out. Next stop: nuchal translucency u/s on April 23. Thank you guys so much for your support and prayers.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Note to Self

Dear Kate,

Some day, you will have another two-year-old in your house and you will question your ability as a parent. You will be pulling your hair out on a daily (hourly?) basis wondering what you did wrong to turn your sweet baby into an evil, emotionally unstable monster. You will spend hours each day just wishing for him to go to sleep so you could get a break, and when he is finally asleep, you will look at his angelic face with those fat cheeks and those plump lips and those long curly eyelashes and hate yourself for not enjoying your time with him and call yourself a horrible, impatient mother. And then he will wake up, and you will once again count down the hours until he is asleep again.

It is at those moments that I want you to remember that there is light at the end of the tunnel. 3 is just around the corner. And 3 is just plain lovely.

3 is reasonable. 3 can be negotiated with (and 3 will like to negotiate, too). 3 understands the idea of a reward for desirable behavior. 3 can sort of spend some time on his own. 3 goes to his room, sulking, when he is mad—unlike 2, who throws a fit right in front of you (and everyone else around you) and tries to bite you or kick you. 3 tells you he is sorry and means it. 3 is either polite or shy in his interactions with others—unlike 2, who loudly says “you bad” or “I no want you talk to me” when greeted by a store clerk/neighbor/grandparent/etc. 3 can make his own choices and delight in them—unlike 2, who always picks the second choice (Apple or orange? Orange. Red pencil or blue pencil? Blue pencil.) and then freaks out and screams “I no want it” when you give him exactly what he chose. Just like 2, 3 insists on doing things “by myself”—but unlike 2, 3 is actually able to do those things by himself. 3 listens and follows directions and remembers things for more than 10 seconds. 3 tells you he loves you and means it. 3 wants to give you hugs and kisses and tells you, “You are a nice girl, mommy.”

3 will have his own quirks. 3 will perfect the notion of stalling. 3 will ask endless “why” questions. 3 will begin experimenting with lying. 3 will occasionally throw a 2-like tantrum. 3 will try to play you against your husband. 3 will talk nonstop. 3 is loud (but not as loud as 2). 3 will have significantly more physical strength, so roughhousing with 3 will bring on new injuries for you.

But 3 is lovely. It is loving, sweet, energetic, compassionate and kind. 3 is a different world. And if by writing this, I have jinxed the remaining eight months of 3, the last four months still have been totally worth it.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

She's a Brick. House.

I promise I won’t do this often, but I have to right now. A month ago, I used to read other women complaining of morning sickness and sore breasts and uncomfortable sleep and thougth how lucky they were and wished that I could be in their place. Well, sometimes you have to be careful what you wish for.

Symptoms suck this time around. Just as it was with Child, I made it to six weeks with nothing more than increased appetite and fatigue. And at precisely six weeks, it all went to hell. I am dead tired. All. The. Time. I feel dizzy. I am constantly nauseous. The sensitivity to smell is killer. There is no better way to describe it than a really bad hangover that has been with me for almost two weeks now. I just want to throw up so that I could feel better—but although this helps with hangover, it does not appear to make any difference with morning sickness.

The only time I feel relatively normal is when I eat. But roughly 10 minutes after I eat, I begin to feel sick again. And another 10 minutes later I begin to feel hungry, which makes me feel even sicker. So I eat again, which means that I eat every 20 minutes. Do you see where I am going with this? By the time all is said and done, I will be roughly the size of a HOUSE. And while we could definitely use a trade-up to a larger house from our two-bedroom townhome, I don’t think my eating and becoming a house myself will solve our cramped-for-space problems. I have not stepped on the scale because I am afraid of what I will see. I gained about 40 pounds with Child, which was above the recommended 25-35 pounds, but I brushed it off because in the end, I pushed out a 9 ½ pound baby and was pretty damn proud of myself. But this time, I am getting worried because in addition to eating constantly, I am not eating too much healthy stuff. The thought of vegetables—especially salad—repulses me. I am craving carbs—crackers, pasta, bread, pastries, you name it. And cheese. I can eat ridiculous amounts of cheese (although that’s nothing new—the ability to consume cheese, chocolate and fire-roasted marshmallows in quantities unimaginable to normal people is the skill I have been developing for many years now). I am also going all nutty for fruit, especially juicy, sweet and tart fruit like berries. Unfortunately, here in the mid-Atlantic, berries are not in season in March, so I have to pay ridiculous amounts of money for less-than-desirable-quality strawberries and blueberries.

Possibly the most frustrating part of nausea is that I can not handle drinking water. It makes me gag. And that is very odd for me—I am a water freak. I go through at least 3 liters of water a day. And I know the importance of hydration right now—I just can’t make myself drink it. Ugh.

Among the less annoying, yet still unpleasant symptoms:
  • Boobs getting increasingly sore every day, although they do not exhibit any sign of growth—something that I would really appreciate, being an A cup and all.
  • Gums bleeding like an SOB every time I floss.
  • Frequent nosebleeds.
  • Getting up in the middle of the night to pee and not being able to fall asleep.
  • Heart racing really fast all of a sudden.
  • Mild cramps on and off, making me worry that something must be wrong. (Seriously, should I be calling the doctor about this? It is nothing major—like mild pre-AF cramps—but is that normal? I think I am going to go scare myself now by checking with Dr. Google).
  • Oh, and Child is sick again, so I am sure to add a lovely collection of snot, watery eyes and hacking cough to my list of symptoms by this weekend. And Husband is out of town all next week, so yeah, it is going to be a good week. Not.

OK, now that the complaining is off my chest, here is the disclaimer. Every time I feel particularly crummy, I remind myself that all of these things are good signs (except for cramps--see how I have already started to freak myself out?). That it will be worth it in the end. That these same symptoms (though much, much—did I mention MUCH?—milder) brought me Child, the coolest kid I have ever met.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007


I began writing here to help me sort things out. I am prone to depression—at least I think so, although I have never gone to a professional to talk about this. Let’s say that I am definitely prone to being overwhelmed by life—which then spirals into feelings of loneliness, sadness and helplessness.

When I am down, it helps me to talk things over or write my thoughts down. I didn’t realize just how much this helped me until my miscarriage last year. Getting those thoughts out on a virtual piece of paper was a tremendous relief, and in the end, it helped me understand when I was ready to move on.

At that same time, as I was struggling with my thoughts, I began reading other blogs, finding comfort in the stories of others who have been there and crying with those who were going through even tougher challenges. After lurking for a while, I began feeling compelled to comment on some entries—especially when the writer was going through a difficult time and needed some support. I began commenting anonymously at first, but soon came across a few places where I had to sign in to be able to comment. I knew what this meant—that I was cracking the door to my blog a little bit, potentially inviting someone in. And someone came. And it felt so good.

But with time, a sense of uncertainty settled in. None of the people I know in real life know about this blog. I don’t think I want them to. This is my space, I want to be me, and I am afraid that if someone I know in real life discovers this space, I will have to be careful in what I say. I like this space just the way it is—open, personal, uncensored. But it also feels weird—and perhaps somewhat dishonest—to keep this space a secret, particularly from those closest to me—like Husband, the person I used to tell everything to. Will it come back to bite me in the ass if someone I know eventually stumbles upon it? How do I maintain my anonymity? Or should I just get over it?

Thursday, March 15, 2007


[I wrote this entry yesterday, but I could not bring myself to post it because of this and this. I cried and cried. I do not deserve this happiness when there is so much sorrow in the hearts of these two wonderful women. So I felt guilty posting. I am so sorry, Adrienne and Larisa.]

I had a few panic attacks this morning before the ultrasound. Shortness of breath, clammy hands, heart pounding so hard I thought my whole body was shaking. “You shouldn’t worry so much,” Husband said, “it is not good for the baby.” “I can’t just turn it off,” I snapped back. I did really well since last week, but last night, the panic set back in.

“We could expect anything,” Husband reminded me when we parked the car. “Yes, anything,” I thought and tightened by grip on his hand.

I did not look at the screen. I covered my eyes with my hands. It felt like I was here just yesterday. I could not stand the thought of seeing another disappearing life.

And then she said, “And here is your little person.” My heart stopped. “And I see a heartbeat,” I heard Husband say. And all of a sudden, I felt as if I woke up. I looked at the screen and I cried. She said the baby looked perfect, measuring precisely at 6 weeks and 3 days, with a heartbeat of 113. I cried again when she left the room. I buried my head in my husband’s chest. He hugged me. “We are having a baby,” he whispered, and I saw that his eyes were wet.

By the time I got home, I felt different. I felt free. It felt real. I have a baby with a beating heart. I don’t know why I feel so positive. I have made it this far before; it was a month later into the pregnancy that it all crashed and burned. But I am not going to question it. I can’t completely turn off the worry, but I want to allow myself to feel good about this. We are having a baby.

Thursday, March 08, 2007


I was awake most of the night last night. I have fallen asleep on the couch just about every night for about a week, but last night, I could not sleep. I am coming down with another respiratory bug (ugh). But it wasn’t the scratchy throat that was keeping me up. My mind was racing. I had gone in for another blood test earlier that day, and while I was waiting for the results, I began thinking bad thoughts. You know, the “what if” thoughts.

I wonder if it’s self-preservation. I keep telling myself to let go of fear. This is out of my hands now. I can’t lock the door and keep this baby inside if it is not meant to be. I keep telling myself to enjoy it while it lasts—however long or short that may be. But I can’t seem to be able to let go of this fear. Lying awake, I kept preparing myself for the bad news. The low numbers. The unviable pregnancy numbers. I pictured how I would react, how I would try to hold it together if the call came while I was in the office, how I would tell Husband. Reading Adrienne’s suggestion to try to visualize this baby (as the cab driver thought me), I realized that I have not given any thought to whether it was a boy or a girl. I have not thought of names. I have not pondered creative ways to make the announcement to our parents or co-workers. Looking back at the last 10 days, I realize that I have not really thought of anything positive about this pregnancy because my mind was so focused on preparing for the worst. And that’s so depressing because I want so badly for this pregnancy to work. But it is self-preservation, so I mustn’t feel guilty about feeling this way.

When morning came, I felt better. This may sound odd, but after all that thinking and tossing and turning, I felt somewhat prepared for the bad news. But I also held out hope. When the call came, my hands were shaking and my voice was quivering. An unfamiliar voice asked for Kate. “Why isn’t this Kathy, the nurse who always calls me? Did Kathy not want to give me the bad news?” I thought. In a dry, emotionless voice, the nurse went on about getting my results back and how I should call for a sonogram appointment. “A sonogram?” I asked. “We wanted your numbers to be above 5,000 before you could go in for a sono to check on viability,” she said. “And?” I said, my heart jumping out of my chest. “Your test came back at 19,227.” And like an idiot, I asked, “Is that a good number?”

Ummm, yeah, that’s a good number. Before calling Husband, I checked to make sure I knew exactly how good this number was. It is definitely in the upper range for 24dpo, but so was my earlier number of 675 at 15dpo. There is a huge variation in HCG numbers, so I am not going to let my mind wander over to a place where it starts to think these higher-than-average numbers mean that we are going to have a high-risk pregnancy with multiples or a molar pregnancy (which, I guess, wouldn’t be that unlikely since I had a D&C in early December)—and oh my god, why can’t I just be happy with a good, solid number? Bad mind, bad, stop wandering.

So there you have it. I am ready to be consumed by positive thoughts. I am going to make myself think positive thoughts. I have six full days until the ultrasound on Wednesday, and I am damn sure going to think positively and get excited.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007


Bumble’s recent post got me thinking about how we visualize our children before they are born (or even conceived). And it reminded me of a very strange encounter I had when I was barely pregnant with Child. I was just a few weeks along, definitely not far enough to exhibit any visible signs of pregnancy. I worked downtown (how I hated that 1 ½-hour one-way commute!), and on that particular day, I was taking a cab to a client’s office for a meeting. I rarely took a cab there—I usually just walked because it was about 15 blocks away, and I enjoyed some fresh air—but on this day, I was running late, so I hopped in the cab.

The driver was a woman in her 50s, with long braided hair, wearing a long, flowery sundress. As soon as I got in the car and told her the address of my destination (it was a government building, not a hospital), she asked if I was going to the doctor to check on the baby. “I don’t have a baby,” I said. “No? Then you will soon,” she replied. “I can just picture him by looking at you,” she continued. “A little boy, about 2 or 3, with curly blonde hair, blue eyes, playing in the pile of fallen leaves.” I was speechless. It gave me chills—not only because she could sense and see my baby, but because I could see him, too. After the shock wore off, I dismissed it—I told myself it was just an easy guess since I have fairly light, curly hair and light-colored eyes. But this visualization kept coming back to me. And every time, it gave me chills. I have goose bumps writing about it even now.

And now I have this child. He is 3, he is blonde, he has sky-blue eyes, his hair is incredibly curly, and he loves jumping in the piles of leaves in the fall. The image is a touch different from reality but only because his hair is thicker and shorter than the wispy curls I imagined then. But it is him, the little boy the cab driver told me about.

I so much wish I could find her now. I really need her help in telling me that this baby will be OK, too.

Monday, March 05, 2007

It's good in bread

[Warning: Acceptable TMO-level breach ahead. Please exit while you still can.]

Did you know that yeast infection is very common in pregnancy? Well, it is, and I am apparently the living proof of it. If someone would have told me about this earlier, I would have drowned myself in active-culture yogurt or any damn preventive measure I could get my hands on. But no one told me.

I have a very strong love-hate relationship with yeast, minus the love part. Before now, my body and yeast got together three times. First time, it was an unpleasant surprise, but it went away without much struggle and I could finally say, “well, now I know what a yeast infection feels like. Mark that off my to-do list.”

Second time, it surfaced a day before we were leaving for a trip to attend our friends’ wedding. Recognizing the symptoms, I went to the pharmacy and picked up an OTC treatment. I woke up the next morning feeling like I was on fire. I was in enough pain to actually consider canceling the flight and skipping the wedding. I didn’t, but what I learned from the experience is that the OTC stuff does not get along with my privates.

And then there was a third time, when yeast arrived in the place I was not expecting—my breasts. And this particular encounter with yeast was worse than any pain I have ever experienced. Labor was a piece of cake compared to yeast—not only in the intensity of the pain, but also due to the fact that this pain engulfed me every two hours. For two months.

Those Lamaze breathing techniques that did nothing for me during labor finally came handy for pain management during breastfeeding. Child was a lazy eater, and he was tongue-tied (which means that his tongue did not come out as far as necessary to have a good latch). But after crying and biting my lip at every feeding session for an entire first month of his life because it felt like someone was jabbing needles in my nipples and down my breasts—not only at latch-on but throughout the whole feeding, I finally confessed to a friend that I didn’t know how much longer I could do this. And instead of telling me that “it will get better” if I gave it time or that I must just have a lower tolerance for pain, as my mom and the lactation consultant told me, she actually said, “I think you should call a doctor and ask if it could be yeast.” And so it was. It took three two-week rounds of high-dose Diflu.can to finally get rid of it.

So now, yeast comes into my life again. It has been a full week since I filled the prescription for treatment—and I am still not feeling quite right. To add to the stress, after taking the treatment, I read the medical pamphlet that came in the box and found out that this drug is pregnancy category C. What the frick? Do I not have enough to worry about with this pregnancy? I mean, I know the doctor who prescribed it was also the doctor who confirmed my pregnancy, in the same appointment, so she would not give me something that would be bad for the baby… But what if she had a major brain fart and just forgot? And more importantly, this treatment doesn’t even seem to be working! So what’s next? I have eaten so much yogurt that even the thought of it makes me sick. Thank goodness for Kefir.

Thursday, March 01, 2007


When Husband travels (and he does so frequently), the Child reacts in two ways: by being an absolute pain in the ass the entire time or by being a pure angel. This trip, he was in the latter category. Or so I thought—until tonight.

Ever since we moved him from a crib to a "big boy" bed in mid January, his night-time routine seems to have extended to last roughly an eternity.

1. Read books
2. Brush teeth
3. Use the potty
4. Put on jammies
5. Lights off
6. Tell a story
7. Sing a song
8. No, two songs
9. No, four songs
10. Rub back
11. Two more times
12. Rub belly
13. Don’t forget to say "ding" when finished rubbing belly
14. Lay down for "one minute"
15. Tuck in
16. Say night-night, sweet dreams
17. Walk out but leave the door cracked open

Mind you, six weeks ago, this routine ended at step #6. But more than that, over the last month, he has absolutely mastered the skills of stalling. And this has added the following steps.

18. Can I have some water? (I usually give in to this, but only once)
19. Can I have a snack? (No way, dude)
20. I need to go potty. (I gave in to this one a few times, but there is always “nothing coming” since step #3 took place just half an hour ago)
21. I need someone to sleep with me (see response to #19)
22. I want a truck/engine/train tracks/Pooh bear/polar bear/puppy/you-name-it to sleep with me. (I usually try a preemptive strike on this one and ask him which toy he wants in bed before I proceed to step 17)
23. I need a book. (Usually ignored)
24. I am too hot/I don’t like these pajamas. (See response to #23)
25. I am too cold/I need someone to cover me. (See response to #23)
26. I am not tired. (See response to #23)

Not all of these happen every night. But at least three or four are a pretty sure bet.

Tonight, however, I did the unthinkable. I skipped steps 7 through 9. I tried #7, but my choice of song was dismissed, so I said, "Fine, no songs then." He seemed fine with it. We finished the routine, and I rushed off because the phone was ringing—and it was the said traveling husband, who usually doesn’t have much opportunity to chat while he is traveling. So I really wanted to get the phone. And then, my angel was no longer an angel.

Of the two of us, I am usually the parent who gives in more easily. I tend to discipline less. And therefore, I get taken advantage of much more. I have really struggled with this last summer because my feelings were hurt so often (how strange is it that a two-year-old can hurt a grown woman’s feelings...). So I am really trying to change that. I mean, I still want to be me—I want to be a mom who comforts and loves, but I want to be treated with respect. So I am more firm. I follow through on my word. And I think we have a much better relationship now (plus, being out of the terrible twos really helps).

So tonight, when stalling attempts continued, I didn’t give in. After being turned down for every request, the Child remembered that I didn’t sing a song. And when I said no, oh, the flood gates opened. At first he cried and wailed, but when he realized that he was being ignored, he got mad. He screamed. And screamed. His requests were getting more and more unreasonable. This went on for roughly 30 minutes. 30 looooooooooooong minutes. I finally couldn’t stand listening to this any longer, so I opened the door and told him that if he wanted the fire truck, he could get up and get it since it was right at the foot of his bed. "But I will be too cold," he said. What the fuck? "Child, you get your fire truck or stop crying." So he did. He got the fire truck. And then he flung it across the room.

And that’s where I snapped. I yelled at him. Got right in his face and yelled at him. And right away, I knew I was wrong. I am not a yelling type. I don’t believe in yelling or spanking or biting back when the child bites you or any of that bullshit. I disagree with that wholeheartedly. Abusive behavior is not the lesson you want your child to learn. So I hated myself for yelling. He started screaming even louder, so I walked out and closed the door—for my sake, not his. It was my way of putting myself in timeout. What I forgot was that this went against step #17 ("walk out and leave the door cracked open"). And so he continued to flip out of the next 15 minutes because of that. During this time, I was trying to decide whether going back there would be giving in. He finally cried so much that he started coughing and gagging, and I could not stand it any longer. I gave in. I went upstairs and opened the door. As soon as the door was open, he stopped. He saw me standing in the doorway, lied down and buried his face in the pillow, away from me. I waited a few moments, then sat down next to him. I told him that I was sorry for yelling and that I yelled because he made me mad, but that was the wrong thing to do. He told me I made him sad. And he was smiling. We said our goodnights, and that was it.

So did I fail twice tonight? I know I failed because I yelled. That was wrong. But did I also give in in the end? His happy smile at the end—that’s what puzzled me. Was he so happy because he got his way? Or was it because we were friends again, neither of us mad at each other?

They say three is a magic number. Where do I get a magic wand to help me parent a three-year-old?

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

A Tribute

There aren’t many men like him.

He was only 16 when the war began. He faked his date of birth, telling the Army that he was 17 and enlisted. A 16-year-old soldier who walked in front of the tank. One of his biggest regrets was that because of his injuries, he didn’t get to roll into Berlin with his brigade and celebrate victory.

He was critically wounded twice. A bombshell that exploded next to him cut off his right thumb and showered his body with shrapnel. Some of it was so close to his spine that doctors decided not to remove it because it may have paralyzed him. This shrapnel now sets off metal detectors in airports. He always laughs at that.

The second time, he was wounded in the legs. When the doctors decided to amputate his legs because of gangrene was setting in, he begged them to give him another day. “Today, you’ll lose your legs up to the knees, but if we wait until tomorrow, it will be up to your hips.” But he insisted. And the next day, the infection subsided.

He was on crutches for two years after that. When he fell and was taken to the hospital, he met a nurse. After being released, he asked her out. And married her a year later. They had a daughter two years later. And another 27 years later, their daughter had a daughter, who couldn’t pronounce his name, so she called him Goga, which was just baby-speak, but it became his new name. Everyone—his family, friends, neighbors, colleagues—now know him as Goga.

For many years, he worked as an engineer at a heavy machinery plant that had a secret weapon production arm. He knew nothing of it, but because of his employment with the plant, he was prohibited from traveling abroad until 15 years after his retirement for the fear that he may disclose some sensitive information. After that, he traveled only twice. He retraced his fellow soldiers’ steps to Berlin for a documentary film, pondering why people in the country that lost the war were so much better off than people in the country that won it. A few years later, he flew overseas to attend his granddaughter’s wedding, where, despite not knowing the local language, he won the hearts of so many people.

His passion for helping people is intense. After he retired, he got involved with a local veterans’ committee and it became his mission in life. Even after he couldn’t drive anymore, he hopped from one public bus to another, every day, to meet with the government officials to advocate for the veterans’ cause or help someone get groceries or fill their prescription or make funeral arrangements. When those war-wounded legs started to give him trouble and he couldn’t walk well, his spirit was shaken, but not broken. He continued making phone calls on behalf of “his veterans” to get help for them. And they came to visit him to say thank you. His apartment was always full of flowers.

He is an amazing cook—and always has been because his wife never enjoyed cooking. He believes that a meal that doesn’t contain bread, meat and potatoes can NOT be called a meal. Even when he lost his appetite, he still spent hours cooking from scratch for his family and friends.

He likes to sing after he’s had a drink or two. They are old songs, quite unpopular in this day and age because they promote the old ideology, but they are memories of his past. They are the songs he sang as he went to battle. And he sings them with such vigor that others want to join in.

He is a voice of reason. He is a peacemaker. When his overly dramatic wife argues with someone, he always takes her side, even when she is unreasonable. But he is also the first one to tell her to make peace.

He laughs a lot. His eyes—they are always laughing, they are the perfect definition of that “twinkle in the eye.” He tells jokes. He teases, but it is always so good-natured. He makes up his own words that are absolutely hilarious. He loves to rhyme, and some of those rhymed sayings have become so common in his family that they forget that the rest of the world doesn’t know them.

He is so loved. So respected. So admired. And he will be so missed. He is my grandpa. My Goga. And he passed away on Monday.

There just aren’t many men like him.

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Monday, February 26, 2007


On Sunday, due to complete lack of pregnancy symptoms, I decided to take a pregnancy test. You know, just to confirm that I wasn’t pregnant before going out drinking with some girlfriends on Monday.

The test was positive.

And I completely fell apart. Which was something that I wasn’t prepared for. Between sobs, I kept saying, “I am not ready, I am not ready” to the utter confusion of my poor husband who asked, “Isn’t this what we wanted?” And this is where it gets strange. Yes, this is what I wanted, what I wanted so badly for a long time. But as I mentioned last week, achieving pregnancy is not what it’s about anymore. And—at least at that particular moment sitting on the bathroom floor—all I could think about was that this could be my third strike. My third failed pregnancy. And that’s what I was not ready for.

Maybe it was just a glass-half-empty kind of morning. Maybe it was the shock of it. Maybe it was the feeling of too good to be true—again. I have tried to push those thoughts away. I have tried to be excited. And I am getting there. My beta at 15dpo is 675. It’s a solid number. My first miscarriage was a chemical pregnancy—and it was so early in the pregnancy and so long ago (before the Child) that it probably doesn’t affect my chances this time. My chances are good. I am just not naïve enough to be too excited. Instead, I am terrified.

Let me say something here for the record—although I know my two readers probably know this from their own experience. I don’t want to sound like an ungrateful bitch. I am happy that I am pregnant—that somehow, after trying, and trying, and trying, and unexplained diagnosis, and trying, and then getting there, and then losing it, and coming out of it with a fresh, clean, D&C’d uterus, I am able to get pregnant. I know how lucky I am to be pregnant when so many wonderful, amazing, deserving women can’t (and oh my gosh, I could link to so many pages here because there are so many of these women out there). I just can’t shake off this feeling that I can’t possibly be this lucky. That’s just not what I was expecting. Struggles, heartbreaks, more tests, still no diagnosis or a scary diagnosis, failed ART attempts—I was preparing myself for those. I wasn’t prepared to be pregnant. It was too easy, and that’s why I fear that this will be taken away from me. I haven’t paid my dues to the IF Association of Suffering, and that’s just not the kind of place where they give you a free membership.

And oh, how I hope I am wrong about all of this.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

My reality

Smack in the middle of the 2ww, I find myself surprisingly calm. This is a very strange place for me. For more that a year, every month I have been obsessing over every possible symptom that could indicate a pregnancy. Temperature rises—are they tri-phasic? Could this be implantation bleeding? Are my boobs sore? Am I more hungry? Am I more tired? Is this hormonal nausea or was that yogurt past its expiration date? And the list goes on.

But now, I feel different. I was still in the obsession mode two weeks ago, charting, OPK-ing, having sex on a schedule (and oh my god, I could write a whole post about how much I fucking hate scheduled sex). But after I ovulated, the obsession dwindled.

I have been trying to put a finger on what it is that’s making me pretty calm about this particular cycle.

It could be because I was relieved to see that with the exception of the excruciatingly painful and copious period, this first “regular” post-D&C cycle appeared to be quite normal, very similar to the ones I have been having for the last year.

It could be because I no longer think about my miscarriage constantly. I know that I can never fully get over it, but I have come to accept it. I am still sad, but I am no longer grieving.

It could be because I am not naïve enough to believe that after a year of trying unsuccessfully, I will get pregnant on the first try after the D&C. Sure, I have a glimmer of hope, but I am keeping it in check.

It could be because I talked myself into the notion that post-O, I have no control over what will happen in the next two weeks. I can’t will for it to happen.

It could be because I am so tired of reorganizing my whole life every two weeks. Can I have a tuna melt? No, not during these two weeks. Should I go out for happy hour with co-workers? No, not during these two weeks, unless you want people to start suspecting something because you are not drinking. Can I have a pick-me-up cup of coffee at 3 pm when my head is ready to hit the desk? No, not during these two weeks since you already had a cup this morning. Can I plan a business trip for next month? No, not yet, let’s see what the next two weeks bring—you may need to be home next month when you are ovulating. Ugh. So this month, I am not doing this. I moderate, but I do not abstain.

It could be because I had a fantastic long weekend in the mountains. Where it snowed for 36 straight hours, creating the most majestic winter wonderland I have ever seen. Where the 12 inches of new snow were as soft as goose down sprinkled on top of already existing snow base. Where all we could do was sled and ski and snowshoe, interrupted only by eating lots of comfort food by the fireplace. But it was more than that. There was something about the atmosphere of a small ski resort town that brought me so much peace. It was so drastically different from the city I live in—the city where people define themselves by who they work for, the city where a 10-hour work day is a short day, the city to which “people move to work, not to live” (as someone once told me). The contrast was not that of a big city versus a small town—the contrast was in the attitude of people: uptight and competitive versus relaxed and friendly. For three days, I felt so much more at home in this little town up in the mountains than in the city where I’ve lived for eight years. And that brought me peace.

But more than anything, I think the reason why I am no longer obsessing about pregnancy is because I realize now that the stakes have changed. For more than a year, we’ve been trying to get pregnant. Whether or not we can get pregnant again on our own—or with help—is anyone’s guess. But getting pregnant is no longer the final goal. Getting pregnant and having a healthy baby 37-42 weeks later—that’s what matters now. So, good or bad, I am not as excited about a possible pregnancy now. I am not as naïve. And although it may seem sad, that’s just my reality.

And I am OK with it. For now.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Movie night

Fridays are family movie nights at our house. We usually order a take-out, which most would assume is pizza, except that I have one of those odd kids who don’t like pizza. Or french fries. Or chicken fingers. But smoked salmon? Can’t get him away from it. Tofu? Give me more. Prunes? Best dessert ever. OK, so he is not that strange—we did, after all, spent the last two months declining daily requests for mac&cheese.

So back to the movie night... We usually order out Chinese or Japanese because the Child can’t get enough of fried rice and miso soup. We then spread our “picnic blanket” in front of the TV and spend the evening eating our dinner on the floor and watching a movie (more likely than not, the same movie we saw last Friday because seriously, apparently you can’t get enough of Nemo or Cars).

Once in a while, we invite our neighbors to join us for movie night. They have two girls (2½ and 15 months), and the Child plays with them quite a bit. He is the big brother they don’t have. One thing you should know about this family is that they love to eat and love to cook. Now, I love to eat and I love to cook, too, but not like they do. They are from Lebanon, and the food they cook—oh my, the flavor, the color, the taste. Amazing. So when they come over, I feel the pressure to cook instead of ordering a take-out.

Last night, I made some sweet potatoes that I could throw in the oven tonight before they come over. I mixed the salad dressing. I made sure enough cake was left from Valentine’s day to have for dessert. I got up half an hour early this morning to prep the chicken and place it in the crock pot so it would be ready when we got home after work. I felt good. I wasn’t stressed.

About an hour ago, at 2:30 pm, I realized that I never turned on the crock pot. The one that has a whole chicken in it. The chicken that was to be my main dish tonight.

I guess it will have to be Chinese take-out after all.