Archive for the ‘Baby Stuff’ Category
Who wouldn't want to stay home all day with these cuties?
I cried before I went to work on Saturday. Not because I don’t like my job. I love my job. I get to meet cool people and help them make cool projects. And I really like everyone I work with. Plus, I’m a fan of the company in general.
The problem is, my heart is at home with my kids. And recently, I’ve had to increase my hours at work in order to help make ends meet. Which means more time away from them. Add in the stress of my husband’s back being hurt again and mix it all up with a little bit of exhaustion, and you get a mom crying as she nurses her baby before heading to the babysitter.
I think there may have been a little bit of “I’m taking my babies to a babysitter while I work for the first time” tossed in there, even though it was my mom that watched them. The bottom line is, I’m not coping well with working more hours. It feels like such a step backwards. I want to be home with my kids and part of the reason I got a job was to pay off our debts and get our finances in order so that I could be home with them, but I just keep working more and more and more. It’s getting hard to see the payoff and that makes it hard to keep in good spirits. I trust that God will help me get home, just because I feel very strongly that home is where He wants me to be. But so many days, that trust comes with a “Please, just tell me how and when so I can stop wondering.”
I can be impatient though, when I know a plan, so maybe it’s better that I don’t know how He’s going to achieve it. I’d try to rush things and probably ruin all of it.
Knowing that doesn’t make things any easier in the meantime, though.
My church does VBS every year during Spring Break. It creates a place for parents to bring their kids when they don’t have other childcare for the week. This past spring, I took Elisebeth to VBS and on the couple days in the week when I didn’t work, I helped out. At the end of the week, we had a Family Night where the parents were invited to come and see what their children had been learning all night.
All week long, we’d been having a contest. The kids were bringing donations, and whichever gender raised the most money for the Topeka Rescue Mission, the adult-in-charge of the opposite gender would get a pie in the face. Over the course of the week, each group of kids managed to raise around $60. Which meant that in a week, we raised over $120 for our local mission. That was amazing enough. But at the Family Night, I was nearly brought to tears as I watched God move.
Carol was the VBS Director, and as she was explaining the competition to the parents (and the difference of less than $2 between the two totals), a woman stood up. Raising a $5 bill, she declared that she wanted to spare Carol from the pie and was adding to the girls’ pot. That one donation set off a wave of parents donating money on the spot, to either of the pots. When all was said and done, both leaders got pies in the face, and we’d raised another $40 or so for the Rescue Mission.
Afterwards, I took the time to ask about previous VBS Family Nights (which I’d never gone to, even when I was a teacher all week). Never, in the known history of our church doing VBS, has anything like that ever happened before. It was amazing, especially in the midst of the economic times, to watch God working in a crowd like that. These parents had been sending donations with their children all week, and then they gave a little more.
So, up until Nathan’s diagnosis, I had absolutely no idea what a thyroid did. Now, I’m not quite sure what it doesn’t do. It’s got a finger in everything. Brain development, growth, body temperature, metabolism, digestion. If your body does it, the thyroid and pituitary probably have a hand in it. For example, take a look at these two pictures of Nathan. Same boy. Same onesie. Two weeks apart.
This one will be pretty short, but it’s pretty much good news so it’s okay (Plus, I don’t have a bunch of stuff to explain in order for it to make sense). Nathan’s most recent visit to the endocrinologist went wonderfully. His hormone levels are normal, so we’re keeping his medication at their current levels. And he’s growing like a weed. He’d gained over a pound since his last appointment 12 days ago. He’s over 10 pounds now! He won’t have to go back for 2-3 months, which means no labs for that long, either. And I will definitely be appreciating every month that does not involve him getting poked for a blood draw.
He also had another hearing screening. He hasn’t completely passed yet, but he was so close, they figure it’s just that he was fussy during the test. His next test will be after getting his shots, so he’ll probably have some tylenol in him to keep him sleepy. It will hopefully be his last round of that.
My baby boy was born without a thyroid.
In Kansas (and, I assume, other states, too), they perform a newborn screening. They take blood and test for certain conditions. One of those conditions is hypothyroidism, which affects about 1 in 4000 babies. Which seems like a lot of babies, but that’s the statistic, and I’m sure there are varying degrees of hypothyroidism, so I can’t really argue with their numbers. There are several ways that a baby ends up with congenital hypothyroidism. 1) They have no thyroid at all, like my baby. 2) They have a gland but it’s too small or in the wrong place or otherwise malfunctioning.
When left undiagnosed and untreated, hypothyroidism leads to lethargy, constipation, stunted growth, and severe mental retardation. When hormone levels are fixed early though (as in, the first six weeks of life), a baby with hypothyroidism can grow up completely normal (other than the fact that they have to take a pill every day). Needless to say, I’m perfectly happy giving my newborn his medication.
Nathan also happened to fail his hearing screening. So, a week after he was born, we had an appointment with an endocrinologist. She sent us from there to get an ultrasound so they could look for any sign of a thyroid. Then he had his repeat hearing screening. The next day, they did a thyroid scan to confirm the absence of a thyroid.
It was a rough couple days.
My baby boy with his IV. He slept through the whole thing.
As a mother (or a father, probably), it’s always painful to watch your child get poked or prodded. I remember tearing up when my daughter got her first shots. It was even worse to watch my 9 day old son get an IV in the top of his head. And he still didn’t pass the hearing test with his left ear. So next week, we get to do it all again (minus the ultrasound and thyroid scan). And then, we ended up with thrush, so he was on even more medication. It all gets a little exhausting.
So far, I’ve done a good job of not allowing myself to take the blame. The hypothyroidism is genetic, so we may just be a faulty cocktail. It’s not something we could have foreseen or prevented. And his hearing could just be fluid in his ear and could be nothing. So while I’ve had those thoughts (What if I hadn’t induced? What if I’d been better about taking my prenatal vitamins? What if I’d taken it easier at work? What if we hadn’t moved? What if we’d moved sooner?), I’ve been doing a decent job of telling those thoughts to take a hike. And while no parent wants their kid to be on medication for their entire life, there are much worse things that could have popped up on the newborn screening. And because they test for it at birth, we’re able to prevent a lot of terrible outcomes. In one week, the medication brought his TSH levels from over 500 down to 14 (normal is .4 to 4).
And no matter what, Nathan is still my perfect baby boy.
Contraction Monitor from the beginning of my labor
In the weeks leading up to the birth of my baby boy, I began having contractions. This was a new and novel experience for me, because I’d never had any with Elisebeth (that I felt) before I was being induced. And even then, it was the middle of my 13-hour induction before I actually felt them. I had certainly never time them. So, after dilating to a three, I began a pattern of great frustration. I would have two days of regular contractions, followed by two to three days of nothing. And I was remaining dilated to a three.
Shortly before all this contraction madness, I had developed major hip/leg pain that only got worse as I neared my due date. I’d had to stop working, but I still hadn’t had a baby. Not even Black Friday shopping had sent me into real labor.
My OB is a big fan of inducing labor once a pregnancy has reached the stage where it’s a healthy option. I don’t know all of his reasons, but I do know that he prefers delivering babies in a somewhat controlled situation. As opposed to the chaos that can be having a baby. Either way, I was scheduled to induce on November 30. After watching The Business of Being Born, though, I was hoping to try for a more natural experience. I already knew I was going to labor painkiller-free. Why not let the baby pick his own birthday too? I was all set to cancel the induction.
A shot from the time when the contractions were pretty intense
And then another round of contractions got close enough that we went to the hospital. They weren’t painful, so I made sure to take my time in getting there. But they were 2-8 minutes apart and they were that close for several hours. I was supposed to go to the hospital. After a couple hours of observation, I was still dilated to a three, so they sent me home. Without a baby.
The next day, I talked to my OB about canceling the induction, but by then, I was finally dilated to a four. He said it was surprising that I was at a four without being in the hospital having a baby. And he suggested that I would most likely be having more days of contractions that would lead to trips to the hospital without resulting babies. Not exactly an inexpensive thought. And then he said that if I went ahead with the induction, I should have a baby by noon.
So we arrived at the hospital at 7am on November, 30. It took a little while to get me set up and get the doctor’s orders, but I would say that the oxytocin was started by 8am. The nurses commented that it seemed like a large does, and I don’t really know, but my contractions with this one got far more intense than with Elisebeth. I never screamed or cried with her (just whined a lot). I did both before we were done having him.
The Charge Nurse
I should have known things were going to get interesting when they couldn’t reach my doctor to come break my water. A resident that worked with him came in to do that at 11:04 am. I had a baby as 12:07 pm. The problem was, my doctor still wasn’t there. The medical term is “spontaneous delivery” though it didn’t seem all that spontaneous, considering they were pumping drugs into me in an effort to make it happen. But all it means is that I had the baby without the doctor present. My son was delivered by the charge nurse on duty that day.
The real comedy of my delivery started after my son was already here. I’m guessing that if a woman is going to hemorrhage, it’s going to happen when the placenta is delivered, because the nurses were not allowed to do that part. The nurse delivered my boy, my husband cut the cord, and I sat there with my feet still up in the stirrups for the next ten minutes while we waited for the doctor to finally arrive. When he did, we found out that they’d been paging him incorrectly and the only message he’d gotten was the last one, which said that I’d had the baby and he needed to get there NOW.
He kept sticking his tongue out when he was first born.
After some mild ribbing about the fact that he’d said “baby by noon” and it’d been 12:07, he got settled in and delivered the placenta (which feels super weird when it happens so much later than the baby).
At this point, I have to say that if you are a healthcare professional, you should always take care of yourself by at least eating a small snack when you’re hungry. He delivered the placenta and one of the student nurses passed out. Which would have been memorable enough, but she hit the table holding the instruments and cut her head open. They wheeled her down to the ER and I found out later that she’d cut down to the bone and a plastic surgeon had to be called in to stitch her up. I imagine she was also terribly embarrassed when their instructor took time to discuss what to do when you think you’re going to pass out during their next class.
After that, things settled down. I got stitched up and finally got to see my baby boy. As expected, I was immediately smitten.
Nathan was born at 12:07 pm on November 30, 2010. He was 7 lbs 9 oz and 19 in long.
My daughter, who is two and a half, learns something new every day. Usually, it’s the alphabet or practicing at counting (which she’s doing really good at). Sometimes, it’s colors or shapes. But she’s at an age where it’s easy to learn something every day, because there’s still so much for her to learn. But, even though there’s less out there for me to learn, there’s still always more. And in my search for homeschooling supplies and curriculum for her, I’ve found that it’s easy for me to try to learn something every day too. One day, I might learn a new method of organization. Another, I might learn a little Spanish (it’s on my to-do list and I found a great way to do it). Or, like the other day, maybe I read up on a different way to edit a manuscript. And it’s all great knowledge. There’s so much out there still. And I’m definitely learning that it’s still fun to learn.
In elementary school, I was a sponge. I would learn anything and everything and it was all great. Then I hit middle school and some difficulties getting into classes that would actually challenge me. And after that, things pretty much went downhill. I still enjoyed learning, I just didn’t particularly feel like I was doing a lot of it at school. College was better, but after some indecision regarding my major, I ended up there for 6 years with nothing to show for it. And if I decide to go back now, I’m switching back to my original major, even though it will mean an additional 2-3 years. At least this time around, I know what I actually want to do and I’ve learned how to follow through. But the point is that all this homeschooling research and looking for workbooks and thinking about future years when we’ll be doing science and history and math. . . It’s reminding me of how much I loved learning before it got so difficult to find someone willing to teach me. And I’m really hoping that since I’m homeschooling my daughter, she will never hit that bureaucratic wall. My biggest goal in homeschooling is to help my daughter retain her love of learning, and help her to keep doing it, every day for the rest of her life.
Now, I need to go and print out some pictures for her alphabet book. We’re on the letter D today.
I’ve been working on revisions of my 2007 NaNovel in anticipation of this years Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award. Last year, I didn’t know about it until a week before the submission period, so my entry was incredibly rushed. This year, I’ll still be a little rushed, but only because they’re holding the competition earlier in the year than I expected. They just announced last week that the submission period will begin January 25th. So I have a little more than a month to get my revisions done and prepare my pitch. Luckily, the way I’m starting on my revisions should make a pitch and synopsis much easier to write. So I’ll work hard on my revisions, then finish up my pitch. Then, after submitting to the competition, I’ll write my synopsis and query, so that if I don’t win I’ll be ready to start submitting it as soon as I’m knocked out of the competition.
As part of my revision process (and an attempt at continuing my Christmas cheer), I’ve been doing some major cleaning. We have a spare room that’s basically been a holding space for. . . whatever. We kept trying to plan a move to Arizona, so there were a ton of empty boxes. Plus, whenever we moved our cluttered desks from one spot to another, we had a bad habit of just sticking all the clutter in a box and tossing it in the spare room. Which is a really bad habit that I hope to break.
Since I decided that I need a spot where I can go to write without being interrupted, I wanted to turn the spare room into an office. Which meant going through a LOT of boxes, setting up some shelves, and managing to stick a desk in there right next to the exercise bike (that my husband may move out into the living room so he can exercise while he watches TV. I still think it looks messy in there, but I made room for my desk, so it counts as an office. And, since a lot of the stuff that didn’t get thrown away when I was going through everything, is baby stuff, I know that all of that clutter will start to disappear after we have our second kid. But we’ve always planned on having two, so it seemed silly to get rid of any baby stuff that we might be able to use with the second kid. So after kid number two (est. to be born 2011), all of the baby clothes and the bassinet and the swing and all of that stuff, can be sold/given/thrown away. Which will make the room even cleaner. And I can tolerate pretty much anything, if I know it’s temporary.
The next step, after cleaning up that room, is finishing with my daughter’s room. We’re moving her toys out of the living room and into her bedroom so that we have room for the Christmas tree. And since her room has been the home for a big filing cabinet that we weren’t actually using, there’s plenty of room in there for toys after my mom adopts the filing cabinet.
So it’s a lot of house cleaning and rearranging, just to make it so that I have my own space for writing and editing. But as soon as I’m done rearranging my house for my writing, it will make rearranging my time for my writing a whole lot easier. Not to mention, I’ll feel a really great sense of accomplishment when my house looks a little closer to what I want it to look like. And feeling good about my house and myself makes a huge difference in my writing.
So, for anyone that doesn’t already know (and I don’t exactly hide it), I plan to homeschool my children. This was something I decided even before I planned to have children, based on my public school experiences. Since I moved around a lot, I went from school to school, and while I think I turned out okay, I don’t think I got the education that I could have if I’d been in a more stable environment that was more focused on my own individual needs. Which really, can only happen in a very small school (so, in the middle of nowhere, or at home).
Now, I love books and paper and pens and glue and paint and telescopes and making a mess, so basically, I can’t wait to homeschool my daughter, even though she’s only two. But the other day, I realized that even though we haven’t started anything “official,” we really do homeschool her already. I mean, we taught her how to walk, how to talk. We taught her the parts of her body. We taught her what a kitty is and what a dog is. And the other night, we were showing her the moon and stars. And while I’m sure just about every parent thinks their kid is smart, I have to say that my daughter’s pretty intelligent. And it’s adorable when she says moon.
I won’t pretend like there aren’t moments when I get a little nervous about the home-schooling thing. Most other moms get to look forward to the school years as a return to quiet time. And homeschooling is basically the opposite of that. But I really enjoy spending time with my daughter and I love spending all day with her now that I’m not working. So I think it’ll work out just fine. And just imagine all the science experiments that we can explode all over the kitchen. It’s gonna be great.