Thursday, April 29, 2010

Soundbites To Live By

You know those motivational posters that used to line your high school classrooms? Usually a picture of some natural wonder or a cute baby animal with a deep and meaningful quote written at the bottom. I loved those. Maybe it was because I was a competitive athlete at the time and deeply believed in the power of positive thinking and mind over matter and all those other things that helped me get through the last race of a long meet or the end of a tough practice where my arms had turned to jelly. I kept journals of motivational quotes and had copies of them taped all over my bedroom, car, and locker room.

I like to pull up certain entries from my mental quote catalogue to comfort or motivate me at different times. When I think back on Landon's babyhood and start to travel down the pointless path of wishing I'd done certain things differently, or realized certain problems sooner, I remind myself of what a blog commenter once told me, "You do the best you can with what you know. And when you know more, you do better." It's a quote that I think will remain relevant through the entirety of this parenting journey.

There's two specific quotes that I keep dancing around in my head when it comes to being a working mom and I've been meaning to write about them.

One is something I heard at an alumni roundtable my 1L year of law school. At these roundtable lunches, a very distinguished alumnus would come chat with a small group of students about their career path. This one featured a pretty famous law firm partner who had previously held all sorts of fascinating international law positions all over the world. We knew from her bio that she had two young children, so I asked what that was like - balancing her job and her family. And after she talked generally about their childcare choices, her husband's schedule, etc., she said something that has stuck with me, "You know. I tell my children (then ages 5 and 7) that they are THE most important thing, but mommy's work is important too. And I think that's okay- both that it is important to me and that they know it."

The second soundbite comes from a Women's Initiative lunch we had at the firm a few months ago. Colleen Barrett, President Emeritus of Southwest Airlines, was the speaker and one thing she talked about was being a single mother and raising her son while working full-time. She said something along the lines of, "It was important to me that he didn't see work as the enemy, as something that only took me away from him and gave nothing back. He came to the office with me if I needed to stop by on a weekend, he came to company picnics, he met the people I worked with on a daily basis ..."

The idea of work not being the enemy is something I try to impart on myself, JP, and Landon every day. Yes work is something I need to do, but I try not to phrase it as "Mommy has to go to work" - it's just "it's time for Mommy to go to work" or "yes, Mommy goes to work today." The phrase "have to" pops up, as it must, because sometimes, like when it's 8:30 and I have a call at 9, we really do HAVE TO GO. But words have power, and in general I don't talk about my work- my financial commitment to my family- in disparaging or begrudging terms. JP goes to school, Mommy goes to work, and Landon goes to daycay. It's what we do during the day. Landon has visited my office on many an occasion and thinks it is pretty much the coolest place on earth. He sees me get papers out on the weekends and likes to sit next to me at the kitchen table and color while I highlight cases. As he gets older I'm sure that will continue, with our kids doing homework at the table while JP or I do some work of our own. And I hope that the way we talk about our jobs will influence the way they think about their own obligations- whether it be school assignments, family chores, or jobs of their own. Because I have found that in trying to talk about work in a way that does not make it sound like the enemy to Landon, it ends up affecting the way I view it in my own mind. I do not love every aspect of my job and I have had assignments that I have hated with a passion, but in general, I like it, and I appreciate the fact that I have it and that it provides a comfortable life for my family.

I doubt I'm writing this as clearly as I could be, but I really think that having these two soundbites in my mind has helped shape the way that I view my role as a working mother and the way that I live out that role with Landon. My career is important to me- very important, in fact. Landon is more important and I will sacrifice a lot career-wise to be the mother I want to be for him, but that doesn't mean there isn't room left for my career to have any importance at all. And it's okay for him to know that. So I try to talk about my job and our daily routine in a way that is not full of complaint or negativity because this job, this thing that is important to me, it is not the enemy- not to me and hopefully not to my children.

Because man I freaking love this kid, but I still think there's room for me to love and value both him, his sister, and this career path I've worked so hard to barely start.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Steam of Consciousness Update

I've been drafted onto an absurdly complicated patent law case because our battalion of IP lawyers was swamped and we needed to quickly respond to a Motion for Continuance in a federal action. A call for help was sent out for a "top researcher and writer" from our general litigation group, and apparently I was nominated. A dubious honor, I've decided.

Luckily, there is a parallel ITC action (as is, apparently, common in patent disputes) and a Motion to Stay was filed there. Our esteemed co-counsel, another highly ranked BigLaw firm wrote the response, and I was told I should pretty much be able to copy it and then add a few modifications to personalize it for federal court.

I opened up the document yesterday morning and yeah, no, copying was not going to work. So I dug in. I researched patent law standards and procedures, I researched the history of our case, I learned that the shorthand way to refer to a patent involves a backwards little apostrophe, something that only the cool kids on the IP inside track know. My promised due date for sending my draft to the senior associate on the case was "late afternoon" which morphed to "this evening" which stretched into "by the end of the day" which eventually became 1:15 a.m., or "you'll have it when you wake up in the morning."

And my thoughts about the brief I was writing went from, "this is going to be pretty good" to "oh my god this is crap" to "well maybe I can make it pretty good crap" back to "nope, no I cannot" to sending the email attachment at 1:15 with a hope that it was at least written in English with proper citations. Then my first thought this morning was "well, maybe I was just tired and overly negative last night- maybe it's actually really awesome!" to sitting down and reading it with my tea this morning and deciding it was completely within the bounds of acceptability but nothing that would blow anyone away. And thus my motion's evolution was complete.

So far I have yet to hear from any of the patent people, so I'm not sure what they think of my draft, but I'm comfortable with it and know it is a substantial improvement from what was submitted in the parallel action. I think I was supposed to just update the case law and terminology, but once I get in a document it's very hard not to turn editing into re-writing, especially when you know you can make it better. And I know that all my little apostrophes are facing the right direction, which I am told, is super important.

Oh, and the other big event of yesterday: my perinatal check-up and my total lack of progress on the cervical front. Yay! I'm a little effaced, but show no further dilation or other changes, so my nurse practitioner was very pleased and told me to just continue with the general goal of resting as much as possible until we hit 36 weeks. Which is only 2.5 weeks away! JP has been doing just about everything for me at home; I think he's petrified that I might go into labor before his finals and presentations are over on May 7. I do a lot of sitting and thinking of things to organize, and then I go organize them while sitting. Our bathroom drawers are beautiful and our linen closet is a triumph of rainbow-order.

So that's where I am, personally, professionally, and cervically. I am 33 weeks and 5 days pregnant. I billed enough yesterday to make up for my 2-hour accidental shopping trip at Gap Body last Friday (everything was on sale- I bought 6 things and not one of them cost more than $7!) and the fact that I spend too much time each day on baby-related non-billable things. My feet are starting to swell, but I'm in cute silver flat sandals and feel otherwise fine. Landon told me I was "so pretty" this morning, even though I was bleary eyed and huge and weigh an apallingly high amount of pounds.

Ooh and I just got an email from the IP associate with a "nicely done!". Excellent. I'm buying myself a Double Doozie at American Cookie Company after lunch.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Showered and Ready

I've probably reached that point in my pregnancy where I shouldn't go more than a day or two without updating my blog just in case people start thinking I went into labor.

I haven't:

But I did have a baby shower! A quartet of co-workers threw a lovely one for me at lunch on Thursday. It was so fun to be showered in dresses and ruffles and girlyness. I've gone through all of Landon's old clothes and plan for my daughter to wear about 90% of them, and I don't think my baby cares much about her wardrobe or proving her gender to anyone who passes, but oh my goodness little girl clothes are adorable. And my baby girl made out like a bandit:

Landon was excited the baby got so many presents and was a far more captive audience than JP when I went back through each one. He was especially intrigued by the size 1 diapers in a gift basket. After considering them thoughtfully for several minutes, he finally concluded that they would fit on his hands- though he did not explain why his hands might need diapers.

Landon's other favorite gifts consisted of a little green elephant (which he has adopted "so it will have a friend"), a pair of teeny pink crocs (which he slept with last night), and a wee shirt with fish all over it ("FISHIES mama! Fishies for the baby!!"). He's been talking more and more about his sister. Last night at dinner he randomly started telling JP and I about babies. We were informed very seriously that "Babies are fragile. And they cry. Babies sleep a lot of the time. And we have to be careful with them." JP and I found it very educational.

I spent today washing and hanging all her clothes. Her closet is an array of color and her room is completely complete.

All that's missing is the baby. I really just can't wait to meet her. (Except that I can. I can wait until you're full-term- do you hear me little girl?)

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Week 33: Hippos and Ankles

I am now two days shy of 33 weeks, and I feel like this:

It's like my body just realized I was pregnant-- really pregnant. I feel slow and large and blah. My feet got a little swollen on Monday after my flight and long day of training in Houston. I wore flip flops to our workshop dinner (fancy golden flip flops! totally work appropriate) and when I took them off back in my hotel room I could see the grooves where the straps had been. Then on Tuesday I wore a dress and by midday I was horrified to see that I was losing the curve of my ankle. I had forgotten how unattractive it is when your leg just extends straight into your foot, and I can see why showing a little curvy ankle was seen as so sexy and scandalous in Victorian England. The way mine looked on Tuesday would inspire lust in no one, except perhaps the rhino pictured above.

Then last night my entire left calf muscle seized up in a horrific spasm from 3:05-3:17 a.m. It spread to my left foot and then my right calf and I was crying and holding my leg and it was so very painful. JP woke up about halfway through and said something helpful like, "you should drink more water during the day" and claimed to have no memory of the entire episode this morning. Next time I'm hitting him over the head with my alarm clock. If I'm in pain, he should be too. (And don't worry, it's a small alarm clock- no permanent damage.)

Today my ankles had regained their natural curvature and I was feeling pretty good. I went to my perinatal appointment for my weekly counseling session/health check. My nurse practitioner was glad to hear that I had grounded myself in Austin with no plans to do anything but go to work and hang out at home until my daughter is born. She was less glad to hear I had a wee bit of spotting over the weekend and that my Braxton-Hicks contractions had doubled. She found some blood in my urine sample, and upon examination, discovered that I was ever so slightly dilated. I've been checked every week since #28 and this was the first notable change. Because she's wonderful, she expressed some concern, but no overt worry. She stressed that I could stay at a centimeter for weeks and for all we know I did this exact thing last time. But because I am still a month away from full term, she advised that I take a few precautions. No more sex. (Of course, it's like we've on some sort of crash sex diet for this entire pregnancy.) And I should attempt what she called House Rest. Not Bed Rest- I can still go to work, but I should make a concerted effort to rest and relax, keep my feet up, etc. No big days of errands, no more travel, no exercise (no problem!). And then we'll see where I am next week.

So that's what I'm doing. I feel good and quite calm. I'm really grateful for my weekly perinatal checks. I'm such an under-reacter/non-worrier that I need the frequent reminders that my actions affect my pregnant body in ways that would never bother my normal self. My nurse practitioner walks the line well, and with the exception of that first visit, I have always left the office feeling better than before I entered. She has worked exclusively in the "pre-term prevention program" for 11 years and is just so knowledgeable. I see my OB tomorrow and it will be interesting to see what she says as well. I completely believe I'm going to get to at least 35 weeks, and I'm even more determined to be grateful for every day I'm pregnant, even if I hate my ankles and grow frighteningly close to outweighing my 6'3" husband.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

From an Only to a Brother

Landon has been wearing his "Big Brother" t-shirt for the last two days, so I figured this was a good time to talk about his upcoming transition to sibling. People keep asking if he's excited about the baby, and it's hard to say - to the extent that he grasps the concept, he's very excited about it. When we go up to the nursery he likes to point out where the baby will sleep and talk about how "we don't hurt the baby" and "babies like to sleep a lot." A bunch of his friends at daycare are new siblings- maybe this is something they're talking about while eating sand? He also likes to bring toys into the nursery and leave them behind for the baby- then after a few days go by and there's still no baby, he'll take them back and replace them with new ones. He probably can't figure out why the baby won't just come home to be with us and he's trying to sweeten the deal.

As I wrote about last week, Landon did FINALLY notice my big belly. Up until then, I think he thought the baby lived at the doctor because whenever I said I was going to the doctor he would ask if I was going to see the baby and tell me to give it a kiss. I figured a baby living at the doctor made as much sense as a baby living in my belly, so we didn't push it. Then, about a day or two after the great moment of belly awareness, Landon asked where the baby was. I told him it was in mommy's tummy. He said, "no it's not, it's at the doctor" and then walked off with his train. One day after that he told me that he had a very little baby in his tummy and I had a bigger one in my tummy AND there was a really big baby at the doctor. So we have three babies. I think. I'm not really clear myself. He does like to pat my belly and tells me that the baby is sleeping, so he seems to have some grasp of the baby in the belly concept. We're kind of just gliding along, answering his questions when he asks them and talking about the baby when he does.

I remain so excited for the two of them to meet and I'm optimistic that he will do well with his little sister. He loves babies and was the only toddler to reach out to the new babies whenever one graduated into his old daycare class. The teachers said he'd bring them toys and hand them things on the playground, while the other kids didn't really notice the new additions. He'll continue to go to daycare throughout the summer (though I hope and plan to pick him up early), so his universe won't be completely rocked. In the evenings when we're together, JP will be home to help out, so I should still be able to have lots of Landon-mommy time. And he's also just such a mellow kid- very little seems to phase him. At least I hope it goes well; I was just thinking tonight as I tucked him in bed that sometimes I can't believe how much I love him, and I can't believe I'm soon going to have two little ones to love that much. It's amazing one heart can hold it all.

My biggest concern about the entire event is what we'll do with Landon if I go into labor prior to my 39-week c-section date. It's so different having to worry about a pre-existing child this time around. We're lucky to have friends nearby who have volunteered to help out, but they have jobs and kids of their own and I'd still feel like JP should leave the hospital to come be with Landon once the baby is born so that the little guy will have some normalcy. Hopefully my mom and/or dad can come over quickly from Houston, but my mom still has to teach until June 3 so she couldn't stay long. My worst case scenario involves JP needing to stay at the house with Landon at night while I stay alone at the hospital. I actually like hospitals, so it's not that I'm afraid, I just hate having to bug the nurses for all the little comforts I may randomly need - it's so much better to have a JP sleeping next to me who can get my chapstick and hold my hand and plug in my cell phone into the charger.

Overall, I'm just ridiculously excited about meeting this baby girl and watching Landon meet and get to know his little sister.

P.S. I'm flying to Houston for a 2-day workshop at the crack of dawn tomorrow morning, but if you miss me, here's my last two All Kinds of Pretty posts as well as a link to a great giveaway!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

There and Back Again

I feel like I was gone for so much longer than 36 hours. Probably because yesterday seemed to run on for at least 35 of them. I'm starting to admit that maybe I can't quite do all that I think I can do and emerge unscathed- or at least without swollen feet.

I left the house at 7:00 a.m. for my 8:20 flight. I was a little concerned that someone might bug me about whether I should be flying, but nobody did. Maybe because my belly is so small and demure. All 31 pounds of it. The flight itself was fine, though I noticed my toes looked a little puffy by the end and my back was starting to ache like it was still bruised on the inside from its abuse over the weekend. Also of note during the flight, I decided that I need a Kindle. JP has been informed.

Once in Chicago everything was better. The weather was 75 degrees of blue skyed perfection. I cabbed it to my hotel, my smile growing with every recognizable exit between O'Hare and downtown. I know I go on and on about Chicago, but there's just something so wonderful about returning to a city where you loved to live- it's a satisfying blend of well-worn comfort, excitement, and nostalgia, and driving up Michigan Avenue made me feel happy from the inside out.

At the Four Seasons a very nice man at the front desk asked me how far along I was in my pregnancy and then informed me that I'd been upgraded to a King Suite. Great! I thought, I'll have a nice big king-sized bed to curl up in. But when I got to my room on the 43rd floor, this is what I found:

As it turns out, a "king suite" goes way beyond bed size. It has hallways, and multiple rooms, and two full bathrooms. I tried to sit in every chair before I left just so all the square footage would feel appreciated. I also used both showers- wouldn't want one to feel left out.

(Not pictured: the dining room, bar/kitchenette, conference room, and dressing room with giant mirrors and pedestal to stand on.)

It was by far the nicest hotel room I've ever been in in my life and suddenly I was very sad that I was only there for one night and that JP wasn't with me. But my day was fully booked so off I went to meet one of my best law school friends for lunch at Flatwater on the river. K looked fabulous as always, and it was all kinds of lovely to catch up with her in person while watching the river boats go by. After lunch I strolled my way up Michigan Avenue, stopping in the 4-story Gap that somehow always has things I want even though Gap almost never impresses me anywhere else. And because I was feeling very brave and a little giddy from all the Chicagoness around me, I bought a bathing suit. A non-maternity item made of nylon and spandex. It felt like a leap of faith, an act of supreme trust that I will one day (soonish) look like a regular, non-pregnant 27-year-old again. But it's a dark navy tankini, so it's a realistic leap, I hope.

After the shopping my feet were again looking puffy and my back was hurting and I realized I probably should have rested for a little bit, but it was time to change my clothes and head down to the law school for the recruiting event. I think I'll write about that separately, but it was fun because I love chatting with strangers and I really do like my firm and love my job. I was surprised by how nostalgic I felt when re-entering the halls of the law school for the first time since graduation. I never would have believed I'd feel that way 4 years ago when I was drowning and deflated in the middle of 1L Spring Quarter.

After 2.5 hours of standing up in heels, my back and feet were killing me. I headed to dinner with a good friend, my original inspiration for being a law school mama (she was a 3L when I was a 1L and had a baby during her 2L year). After dinner I got to sit down in my hotel room for approximately 15 minutes before I had to go down to the lounge to meet a 2L who is going to be a summer associate in our Houston office this summer. I did not at all feel like going down to talk firm-talk for another hour, but she was very nice and we ordered a survey of desserts that were all very good. Finally, at 10:30 I was able to take a shower and crawl into my big fluffy bed.

This morning consisted of taking a shower in the other shower, enjoying a delicious brunch at one of my favorite restaurants, and then cabbing it back to the airport. I was exhausted. I was sad to leave Chicago. I was happy to come home. And I was thrilled when Landon ran into the house, throwing himself at me and yelling "Mommy! Mommy! Mommy! I ate pizza!!" an hour later. It's good to be back.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

A Post About the Posts I Meant to Write

So, it's been a few days. I couldn't write on Friday because Landon and I made an impromptu trip to Houston for my dad's birthday. Birthdays always make him sad and my mom has been so overwhelmingly busy with school work (both from teaching two preps and being a full time masters student) that I thought Landon and I could make the weekend a bit more cheerful. Plus, JP had a ton of his own schoolwork to do, so I thought we'd give him the weekend to be extra productive in a quiet house. (Too quiet, as he kept telling me when he'd call just to hear our voices; I love how my introverted, only-child husband has come to dislike an empty house.)

On Saturday Landon, my dad, and I headed to the Houston Zoo. If you live nearby and haven't been, go. It's awesome.

Landon, crawling through a piranha tank

Unfortunately, despite a morning weather report titled "No Rain for a While," it rained, a lot. And it was cold. We were all dressed in shorts and short-sleeves and failed to bring an umbrella, something my uber-prepared dad found rather horrifying. He'd even asked about bringing an umbrella several times that morning, only to be brushed off by my mom and me. But still, we had fun.

Landon, popping his head up in the prairie dog habitat

For whatever reason, Landon alternated between being delightful and whiny/crabby for the first two hours we were there. This meant that I, without thinking about my easily injured back, my 31-week pregnant state, and my 35 lb. dead weight of a toddler, leaned over to pick him up many, many times. My dad always took over and spent much of the time carrying Landon on his shoulders and making him laugh by running into tree branches, but I still did way more bending and lifting than I should have. I honestly just forget how quickly things become "too much" and by the time we got home my back was very, very angry.

That evening I made my dad a carrot cake birthday cake from scratch with this amazing recipe. I don't even like carrot cake and I could eat this one until I burst. Landon was sooooo excited about the "cake with all the carrots in it" but waited patiently while we ate an delicious steak dinner, sang the birthday song, and then finally cut the cake.

So that is what I intended to write on Saturday night, but instead I passed out around 10 pm. Landon woke up cranky and went on a long walk with his papa while I packed our things. He returned full of smiles and we piled in the car for what should have been an easy 3 hour drive home.

But it was not. It was 4 hours of hell. Landon screamed and yelled for 75% of the trip. He slept for 30 minutes, and he talked and sang happily to himself for the other 30. My back was in a lot of pain, with a constant dull ache accompanied by spasms of sharp pain shooting up from my tailbone every time I moved my foot from the gas to the brake. I tried to use cruise control but ten million people decided it would be a great idea to take pictures in the freaking wildflowers on the side of the highway, and even though they could pull over with plenty of room on the shoulder, everyone else who drove by thought they needed to slow down to 10 mph and create a stop-and-go traffic situation for miles and miles along Highway 290. We finally entered the Austin city limits, only to be stuck in terrible traffic on I-35 and I was in so much pain and Landon was yelling and I was having very strong and very frequent braxton-hicks contractions and I wanted to cry.

We finally pulled into our driveway and I got out of the car, abandoned the yelling Landon, and walked in the house. JP came out to the kitchen with a huge smile on his face, so excited that we were home, and I just glared at him and informed him that his son was still in the car and I was taking a bath and please just leave me alone for a few hours.

I took my bath, took a muscle relaxer for my back, and crawled into bed. It was 4:30 p.m. JP took Landon somewhere (to the grocery store and park, I later found out) and my braxton-hicks contractions slowed to a stop. I then slept for 15 hours, not waking up until 8 a.m. the next morning. JP said he checked on me a few times, and even shook me a little at one point to make sure I was responsive, but I was out.

And that's why there was no post on Sunday. Then I didn't write one yesterday because I was still nursing a bad mood hangover. But today I'm much better. Landon is cheerful and charming, my back is much recovered, and today's perinatal appointment revealed no bad effects from my four stressful hours in the car. I head to Chicago tomorrow for a 1-day recruiting trip to the law school and I am SO EXCITED about 36 hours in my favorite city. Perfect spring weather, meals with friends, a night at the Four Seasons, a slow stroll down Michigan Avenue... oh and a few hours chatting with 1Ls about the firm. Hooray!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

66 Weeks Pregnant - now illustrated!

Scene: Our master bathroom, this morning.

Landon: I'm a big boy. And daddy is a big daddy. And Tex is a big doggie.

JP/Me: (nodding, making general noises of agreement while getting dressed)

Landon: And Rosie is a big doggie. And Lilly is a big kitty.

[I suddenly turn to the side, revealing to maximum effect my giant belly that is somehow made to look even bigger in my purple top.]

Landon, with eyes as big as saucers: And Mommy is a BIG Mommy.

JP, laughing: Yes, but we don't tell her that.


So yes I am 66 weeks pregnant and have the belly to prove it. I've decided to start adding in the 35 weeks I was pregnant with Landon because only that number accurately reflects how pregnant I feel. Everything continues to go well so I shouldn't complain- I'm not swelling, my blood pressure is super low, and I have no stretch marks or any other nefarious pregnancy symptoms, but I am just so tired of it. I miss my waist and my old clothes. I miss the way I used to be able to turn to the side to pass by something. I desperately miss wine and now that it's getting warmer, miss the possibility of a frozen margarita on an outdoor patio. Each morning I remain surprised to find this giant belly attachment that I need to swing out of the bed along with me. I have 8 weeks to go, and annoyingly enough, even in my most negative "I hate being pregnant" mood, I really do want to stay pregnant for the majority of them.

People have asked if it's been different being pregnant for a second time. Yes and no. At first I thought it went by much faster- and it did, until right about now when it has slowed to the same crawl that I remember from last time. I know even more now that I should be enjoying these last few weeks of uninterrupted sleep and time along with my little boy (who has morphed right back to his usual utterly charming and tantrum-less self), and yet I'm just as impatient to meet our baby girl as I was to meet Landon. That and I just seriously hate being pregnant and I'm ready to get back being the only one living in my body.

There are few differences. This time around I am way less focused on my weight gain, to the point of not noting it at all. I didn't do anything to attempt to restrict or control my weight gain last time (obviously, since I was +38 lbs. when Landon was born 5 weeks early), I just remember thinking about it a lot and always being aware of where I stood. But right now I couldn't even tell you how much I'd gained, though I think it's about 25-30 lbs. More than I was hoping, but nothing I'm concerned about (good thing, since I just ate a cookie the size of my head after lunch). The other major difference in this pregnancy is that I haven't done any pregnancy or baby-related reading at all. I barely even skim the updates that arrive every week. I think last time those emails and articles were my only connection to motherhood and my baby, so I reveled in them; whereas this time I've got a Landon running around who is SO much more fun than a fetus and I don't always need to know what variety of vegetable my baby looks like this week. Physically I feel about the same- maybe a little more tired, but I think that's because I have a Landon I want to play with after work rather than just a couch that needs to be sat upon (and also, I'm at work all day rather than just being a school for a few hours). But overall I don't feel like it's been too different this time around.

Lastly, I want to thank you all so much for your wonderful, helpful comments on my c-section post. I got so much from reading your stories, the positive and the negative, and from your advice- I even copied a bunch of them into a Word document for JP to read. So thank you. Thank you for understanding this sentence of the post, "I knew I had already made my decision as to how future babies would be exiting my body" and responding with your comments, experiences, and insights rather than judgment. It was all of tremendous help to me and will likely be a help to other women who google their way to that post as well.

57 more days!

(Not that I'm counting.)

Update! I got JP to grudgingly snap a picture of me after work today. I really need to start taking them in the morning when I haven't had my makeup on for 12 hours. But here's my 66-week belly, forever frozen in time:

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Oh, What a Beautiful Morning

I went to bed much too late last night for no good reason at all. At 9 p.m. I had forced myself to make my favorite soup (the chicken barley chili) so it would be ready to heat up quickly when we got home tonight. Pleased with my productivity, I then wasted an hour on the couch flipping between HGTV and the Food Network. I promised myself I'd go to bed after the Daily Show was over at 10:30 but found I couldn't work up the momentum to exit the couch cushions. Finally at 11:45 I was in bed, mad that it was so late and I hadn't done anything worthwhile since 9:30, and JP had tucked me in and promised to put the now-cooled soup in the fridge. I fall asleep within 15 minutes (record time for me).

Six hours later Landon's cries were piercing through my dreams. It was 5:45. I know there are people who wake up at this terrible hour, but Landon usually gets up between 7:30 and 8 and I've come to rely on that with my too-late bedtime. After several minutes of soothing in the stairway I was able to make out that he was crying because he couldn't find his puppy (which was up in his bed under the covers WHERE HE SHOULD BE), and he was upset that he was awake but the sun was not. My sensible solution- that he get back in bed, with his longed-for puppy, to wait for the sun to be awake- was rejected with a wail, and thus began our morning.

He wanted his cereal bar but was upset the cereal bar did not match his PJ's which did not match his milk cup and he wanted the little milk cup and not the big milk cup and his feet were cold but he did NOT WANT SOCKS. NO SOCKS. "But my feet are colllllllld [interrupted by a combo sob/hiccup]. I want my pupppppppy.... NO PUPPY! NO SOCKS! GO AWAY MOMMY."

Happily, darling.

He was just acting like a normal, upset, under-rested 2-year-old, but it was a side of him we pretty much never see, so I decided his surgery must be to blame (which is possible; the ENT nurse said that while kids usually do great immediately after the procedure, about half become very crabby and emotional on days 3-6 post-surgery, so yeah, that must be it). And I was so tired and a million weeks pregnant and without my usual reserves of patience, so I headed back to our bedroom to tag JP to come reason with our child, and then I saw the soup pot on the stove. The full soup pot. The soup which we now needed to dump down the drain and couldn't eat for dinner because my mother is a bacterial microbiologist and if there is anything I learned from childhood it is how to imagine all the creepy crawling microscopic things that are now swimming around in that soup after being left at room temperature for 9 hours. Waah.

JP took Landon back upstairs to "start the day over" while I crawled back in bed for a few minutes of sleepless rest. Landon's do-over went well until he crumpled in a little ball of tears in the pantry because his cereal bars had not magically changed colors and there were still no green ones and now he was wearing an orange shirt- and really I have no idea, but he told JP in a voice of tears that he wanted to "start over again with mommy."

So up we went for Wednesday Morning attempt #3. We picked out a new shirt and pants, and things were going well, so we fed Lilly and headed back down to the pantry of peril. This time we breezed through the breakfast picking process only to have him lose it at the selection of the milk cup. Then he was so busy screaming at me that he couldn't use his words to tell me he needed to go to the bathroom so he had an accident in the middle of the kitchen floor, which REALLY made him mad (at me, obviously). He'd been doing so well with using the potty and was so proud of himself, so peeing on the kitchen floor and then having to change his clothes was absolutely the worst thing that had ever happened to him in his life. So we were back to "GO AWAY MOMMY. GO AWAY DADDY. YOU ARE NOT MY FRIEND."

All in all, a joyful start to the day.

The good news is that once he was installed in his fourth outfit he started jabbering about sharks that live in the ocean and ate his breakfast and drank his milk without incident. And then he stayed busy re-hiding his Easter eggs in the playroom, expressing his delight that the sun was awake "just like me Mommy!", all the way until 9:00 when it was time to go to daycare. And though I wanted to be grumpy and mad, I couldn't help laughing when he marched out of the house wearing his sunglasses and blowing me lots of kisses. God did not make babies and toddlers cute on accident.

I dragged myself to work, only to find that my two pharmacy claims had been rejected by my insurance company, again, for ridiculous loop-hole reasons, so I'm still paying out of pocket for my progesterone shots even though they are medically indicated and prescribed by my doctor and will likely save my insurance company tens of thousands of dollars in NICU bills. This is the same insurance I pay $1,000/month to cover me and my family and whose representative actually made me cry on the phone last week during my 50th phone call regarding some of my 2009 OB bills. I don't cry easily.

Blogger informs me that this is my 800th blog post, so I feel like it should be so much more than a long whine about my morning, but this is all I've got. I've decided we're going out for ice cream tonight (and JP is taking care of dinner), so maybe I'll have something more insightful and positive to say then.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Being the Bunny

I like being the Easter Bunny. I may wield a little less power than I do as Santa Claus, but there's so much less hype and pressure.

We enjoyed a very low key Easter weekend. Landon was back to 110% within hours of his surgery and has remained that way ever since. It's amazing. On Friday we both stayed home and cuddled and played and took two trips to the park. On Saturday we headed out to our church Easter party. Landon was so proud of his "handsome shirt" (which is now anything with a collar) "with the agigator on it" that he actually requested a picture before we left.

And then this morning Landon was delighted to find an Easter basket waiting for him at the table. And he was even MORE delighted to find his very own pair of sunglasses inside that basket (along with a few books and a puzzle, but really it was all about the shades).

my two handsome men

He wore them through the entirety of his living room egg hunt (which he loved, especially when he opened the eggs to discover the plastic bugs I'd picked out for him; the centipede he's ooohing and ahhing over in the picture below is now sleeping with him), the drive to church, the 50 minutes he spent in the church nursery, the 10 minutes he spent in the church sanctuary (JP always goes to get him after communion befor the last song), our homemade waffle breakfast, and all the way up until naptime, when I finally convinced him to remove the glasses and place them next to his bed for safekeeping.

This afternoon we went for a family hike along the Barton Creek Greenbelt. The dogs loved swimming in the river, as did JP, while Landon and I investigated the various bugs that crossed our path along the shore. Dinner was a roasted pork tenderloin. While ham seems to be the traditional favorite, neither JP nor I are big fans of it so we opted for a different cut of pig. And luckily, even though it was a new recipe, it turned out delicious! Especially when followed by a few Easter sugar cookies.

All in all it was a completely lovely little holiday. I hope you all enjoyed the same.

Lilly does too.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Surgical Success, for Landon anyway

Landon has successfully gained a set of ear tubes and lost a set of adenoids! He was amazing through it all, though due to an act of complete idiocy by his mother, the day was a bit more drawn out than it should have been.

His surgery was scheduled for 10:30 a.m., and according to the very clear instructions from the surgical center Landon was not to have any food after 1:30 a.m., any milk after 3:30, and any clear liquids after 7:30. He usually wakes up between 7:30 and 8, so I was really hoping he'd wake up before the liquid cut-off so he could have a little something in his tummy. When I heard him downstairs at 7:00 I exclaimed to JP to hurry out of bed and get him his milk because he can still have liquids! Yay!

An hour later, as we were gathering our things to head to the hospital I saw the used milk cup and immediately realized, "oh shit we gave him milk." It was only okay to drink clear liquids, not any liquids. I berated myself the whole way to the hospital, secretly hoping we'd talk to the anesthesiologist and he'd say it was no big deal -- I mean it was 6 ounces of fat free milk, how much could it matter?

Well, according to the surgical nurse, who glared at me above the rim of her glasses, and the anesthesiologist who was apologetic but firm, it matters quite a lot. Milk can aspirate up into the lungs making a nearly risk-free procedure something else entirely. It is therefore necessary to wait 6 hours after drinking milk, moving our surgery all the way back to 1:00 PM. Luckily our ENT was at the hospital all day and they were willing to accommodate us. But the guilt, oh the crushing guilt that I was going to be starving my son for 3 more hours. And the urge, the nearly overwhelming urge to tell everyone that I swear I'm usually VERY good at following instructions and I love lists and charts and rules and really this is just SO UNLIKE me and I'm so sorry and again, seriously, I am really a very competent person. But I didn't do that. I held my tongue, and nodded my head while the nurse explained three times that Landon could have NO FOOD OR DRINK OF ANY KIND for the next three hours, and then sincerely thanked them all for rearranging their schedule and allowing us to continue with the surgery that day.

So far Landon had yet to mention his lack of a breakfast. He had been dancing for the nurses and was very excited when we told him we were going to come back and see the doctor again. We walked over to a nearby PetSmart where Landon admired the birds and fish and I very nearly convinced JP that we should adopt a 2-year-old tabby cat named Pumpkin. Two parents, two kids, two dogs, and two cats - it would be perfect! Then we hung out on the benches at the back of the store like a sad homeless family until I suggested we head back to Dell Children's to hopefully find some sort of park.

And we did! Soon Landon and JP had taken over this little corner of the grounds and spent nearly an hour building rock rapids in the outdoor waterscape.

Landon almost immediately fell into the fountain (though no water passed his lips, I checked!) and ended up pants-less with his sweats and socks drying on a nearby rock. We were back to vagabond status with our bags in a pile, our laundry strewn about, and our half-naked child trying to swim in this tiny decorative river.

For an added bit of class and entertainment we floated his crocs down the rapids. Lots and lots of times.

Finally it was 12:00 and time to head back into the surgical center. But then we had to wait 45 minutes in the waiting room (because all our pre-op paperwork was already done) and about 15 minutes in, Landon started asking for a snack. I felt absolutely terrible saying no, explaining that we had to wait for the doctor, but he seemed to shrug it off, only to ask again 5 minutes later. Finally, just as he was starting to whine "I'm hunnnnngry" and I was about to cry because it was my fault and I felt like the worst mother ever, we got called back. Within 10 minutes he was decked out in a little gown, fuzzy socks, and a hospital bracelet. He was stylin' and totally distracted.

This time I was able to give the right answers when asked when he last ate and drank and a surgical nurse held out her arms to take Landon back behind the double doors. He accepted the transfer and they were gone. The anesthesiologist came out just a few minutes later to say that Landon did great- he was very relaxed and had laid back and breathed into the mask with no problems. He walked away saying, "he's remarkably mellow for a 2-year-old." His teachers tell me that all the time.

JP and I headed to a private recovery room where I realized I was about to faint because I hadn't ate or drank anything all day either. The ENT appeared about 20 minutes later to say that everything went great! He told us he removed a lot of thick liquid in his ears which should make a huge difference in Landon's hearing (though we had never noticed a problem with his hearing and his vocabulary and speech are excellent, so I'm interested to see if we do notice a change). He also remarked that Landon's adenoids were very large and definitely pressing on his ear canal so it was going to help a lot to have those out too.

Ten minutes later this sad, cuddly little man was in my lap getting blood on my shirt and refusing to drink his juice.

The next 45 minutes were tough. Landon alternated between being sweet and snuggly and sobbing and kicking (and hitting- I got clocked in his jaw at least four times). I know he was just exhausted- we were way past nap time, and he was starving and disoriented, and it was so hard to not be able to make him better. The promise of two Spiderman stickers finally got him to drink his juice, which he kept down just fine, and which morphed him back into his usual self. By the time we left at 3:30 he was asking about going to the park and eating pancakes.

Once home he ate those pancakes, plus a yogurt smoothie, jello, cereal bar, animal crackers, two cookies, cinnamon toast crunch, and various beverages.

For the rest of the evening he bounced around the house (literally), went on a walk with his dad and dogs, and seemed to exhibit no signs that he'd just been in surgery a few hours earlier.

I, on the other hand, lay down on the couch completely drained and kept drifting in and out of consciousness. I can't remember the last time I felt that tired.

But for Landon the day was a total success and he seems to feel great. And I will never, ever get surgical instructions mixed up again. Ever.