Saturday, September 20, 2008

Waiting Room Etiquette

So today, I'm changing Spunketta in the hospital waiting room. (They call it the solarium. I don't know why.)

It's a little space with chairs and couches just off the elevators, and away from the patient rooms.

Anyway, I'm watching the TV (because there has to be a TV, right?) out of the corner of my eye as I am changing the squirming Spunketta, (and I am RIGHT in front of the TV, okay?).

And this fella walks out from the patient area, talking on his cell phone. And without hesitation, he steps in front of me and turns off the TV. Which I was watching. (An infomercial for a Dean Martin something).

And I'm thinking WHAT A JERK and I gear up to say something (don't piss off a gal with a dirty diaper) but then I think -- he might be in pain. Losing someone. Like I am.

SO I don't say anything.

But he's still a jerk

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Man, I Hate This Day

September 11, 2001 - September 11, 2008

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

"It Happens All The Time"

"It happens all the time," says the medical malpractice lawyer. (At a time that isn't now, I will go into how we backed into a lawyer. it wasn't on purpose).

But apparently, this kind of negligence is "common." Even happened to the lawyer -- his doctor wasn't thorough, so the lawyer nearly died of a detectable, treatable cancer.

Any IFer knows to be aggressive with her doctor.

But now I realize that we all should be equally distrustful, aggressive with every doctor for every member of our families.

And i long for the days when i could trust the white coats.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Cancer, Cancer Everywhere

Okay, I'm pissed.

Here's the thing: for the past few years (YEARS) we have been taking Mama to the doctor every three or four months. EVERY. She has not gone more than six months without seeing a doctor.

So when the oncologist tells me that Mama has breast cancer that spread UNDETECTED for several YEARS I get pissed.

Mama is not in any condition to give herself self-exams. Any and all doctors that we have taken her to see in the past few years have known that. Would have to know that.

And how many doctors, you ask? Four that I can count. There may be more. See, we used to take her to a "doc in the box" that was associated with her daycare. Good in a pinch but not the best.

And not ONE of the four did a full examination.

Of course, then we took her to a very reputable doctor in Manhattan. Who also did not do a full exam.

My mother in law is going to die because none of these doctors did a full exam.

(Just in case you were thinking medical incompetence ended at IF treatment).

Friday, August 15, 2008

Cancer Scare Day 2

At first, it's easy to cope.

There's an edge of tears in my voice, but not too much. Just enough. I have Stuff To Do. I make phone calls. Assemble resources, marshal reserves. And the edge is there, just enough to make people listen a bit more intently, but not so much that they press for details. Something is up, they're sure of it. But what.

It's a few moments before we have to wake and clean and clothe Mama. I know her bed will be soiled with her own waste, I know that every move will be painful for her. And part of me wants to just let her be. (I won't and it's silly to think of it. But.)

What's the quote? About crisis and day-to-day living?

Coping. Harder today than yesterday, but coping.

Thursday, August 14, 2008


The vet says the cat has cancer.

The doctor says Mama has cancer.

I have to go back to work in 2 weeks.

I need a babysitter.

Mama is going into the hospital on Monday.

The cat is going to have to wait for treatment. We may have to put the cat down.

H held Spunketta and cried. I placed the baby in his arms before I told him.

I haven't cried yet.

I will. When everyone else is taken care of.

watch me cope.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008


Mama is worse. She no longer moves without screaming, although some of it is pure melodrama. I'm taking her in for a ct scan (spelling?) next week to see what there is to see. We can't have a MRI because Mama has a clip in her head from her brain surgery.

One of our cats (Schpoonky) has an odd growth on her chin. Truth be told, she's had it for some time, but this is the first time that we've had time to breathe and look at the needs of the non-humans in the family. The local vet is clueless, so I'm taking the cat to a specialist in Manhattan.

Spunketta is good. H is good. I am good.

I do NOT want to go to work next month.

How are you?

Saturday, July 19, 2008

In No Particular Order

I'm tired. Which, frankly, has been my first thought sooo many times when I look at this blank blog form. But today I finally say it.

Mama is not doing well. She's having rolling pains in her back. By "rolling" i mean sometimes she has them, sometimes she doesn't, sometimes they're here, sometimes they're there. These pains started showing up as my belly got too large to be ignored; some have asked if there's a connection. (As in, she's got pain to get more of our attention).

And get more of our attention she has... she now cannot walk without assistance, has to be wheeled everywhere in her chair. Cannot (or will not) dress herself. Soils herself aggressively.

Spunketta is doing well. He needs to be fed every three hours no matter what. Which means I don't get to sleep more than three hours no matter what. I feed him for a half hour, he's good for about a half hour (or so) after that, and then he cries unceasingly until I feed him again.

H, my husband, does well on some days, not so well on others. He's smoking again, and drinking a bit more than I'm comfortable with. You can imagine, the pressure on him is incredible. He's the one (more often than not) wheeling Mama around and dealing with her soilage. I try not to ask him for anything with regard to the baby, but.

And that leaves me. And I'm tired. Happy, thankful, stressed. Tired.

Friday, June 27, 2008

What happens now

It's like this:

at one point in the hospital, one day that H actually made it to visit me (and Spunketta). H was playing and holding and cooing Spunketta (as you do). And at one point, H looks up at me, a look of vague panic dancing across his face, and H asks me

"Does this seem real to you?"

No, I answered.

H nodded in agreement. "Doesn't it seem as though any minute someone's going to come in and say, whoops! Sorry! Not you, not your baby. Give him back; you're IF."

It was my turn to nod in agreement.

Having a baby, giving birth, does not make me feel less IF. Hell; not being PREGNANT makes me anxious. I could explain, but it doesn't make a lot of sense.

BUT. As much as I feel a continued sisterhood with the IFers of the world, I realize that some IFers do not want to read the blog of someone with a child. *I* do not like to read blogs of folks with babies and kids. At least not those who blog about said child and kids. So if you're going to part ways with my blog... I get it, and God bless.

If you want to continue to read my blog... well, I don't really know where I'm going with it. I may become the kind of blog I don't read (about babies). I may look a gift horse in the mouth, and whine about the baby. I may just put up Mama stories.

I don't know.

So. Buckle up for the ride. And thanks for flying Sandwich Life...

Bear Update

No one knows nothing. Apparently the Bear (cleverly named "Teddy") evaporated. My husband assures me that the day charge nurse, the night charge nurse, all cleaning people and a few other folks have been asked. No one knows nothing.

I gave birth at New York Presbyterian, one of the "top ten hospitals." And I have no complaints. EXCEPT where's my stuff?


Monday, June 16, 2008

Birth and Bear

Spunketta was born June 5, 2008.

I had contractions from 3:30AM until 9:00PM, at which point I got an epidural and thanked God for drugs. (I was one of those who wanted natural childbirth. Out the window...)

About 11:00PM, they broke my water. Spunketta's heart rate went down seriously, due to the fact (we later found out) he had the umbilical cord wrapped twice (not just once) around his neck.

Enter the emergency c-section.

We're all well (although I have developed some complications -- more after tomorrow when i see my doctor for my follow up).

But! I had this teddy bear -- my father gave it to my mother when they found out they were pregnant with me. My mother used it to practice swaddling and diaper changing. I had had this Bear all my life, and he had accompanied me to many an IF appointments. I held him in my hand when they implanted what became my son.

But I left him in the labor room (when they wheeled me into surgery) and no one has seen him since.

So happiness, but sadness too. Everyone has said something to the effect of swapping a treasured artifact for a live child is an equitable trade. I just wonder why God always has to take something from me to give.

More later...

I'm coming back

gimme a moment...

Thursday, May 29, 2008

May 29

Have you ever had a day that's more than a day? It's a milestone, a watermark, heck it's a movie (complete with A, B and C plotlines).

Welcome to May 29.

The C plotline was this: Mama needed her M-11-Q filled out. This is an annual form that her doctor fills out and authorizes Medicaid to give her Home Care Attendants. Without it, no help. Sooo... kind of an important form, eh?

Anyway, the form is usually filled out in April, but about the time we should have been following up on it I was in the hospital. So our caseworker called us up in a panic to tell us that we needed to get the form filled out and filed by guess what date. (Yup, May 29).

Only Mama's current doctor does not fill out M11Q's. (What the...?) So I had to get her a new doctor (lots and lots of phone calls) to find someone who would see her and fill out the form tout de suite.


The B Plotline: You remember how where I work was going belly up? Yeah. Well, after many (MANY MANY) weeks of nothing but rumor, speculation and innuendo, we got a hard deadline: GUESS WHAT DATE! Yup May 29. Going to be our last day at work. Much emotion, good, bad and short, went around. And! And! *I* was chosen to be retained/transferred over to the other division. So the morning of May 29, I was the only one who had a job. Of ANYONE in my little division.


The A Plotline: You remember how I had to still be pregnant by a certain date to qualify for paid maternity leave? Yeah. By now, you know the date. May 29.


So. Who wants to hear what happened on May 29?

As has been his habit, H took me to work. He held my hand extra hard and extra long and I kept breathing hard in and out. It was so hard to believe that I was actually going to be able to make it. I was giddy when I punched in that morning, humming Queen songs to myself. I was the champion.

H went home to take Mama to her doctor's appointment, and I tempered my good mood. I was the only one in a good mood. One co-worker remembered that it was my anniversary and congratulated me, but most didn't care about me. Heck, more than a few were a bit hostile to me. "You know they only hired you because you're pregnant," one spat out at me.


H does not usually take Mama to appointments that need forms: I do. Same for appointments in the city. I arranged for NYC transit's Access-A-Ride to pick H and Mama up. Except that H did not understand that you have to be there EARLY, and missed the shuttle bus. He called me in a panic: what do I do now? Mama cannot walk far, H had left his wallet at work (so, no ATM card or the like) and only had about $20 on him. Cost of car service to the appointment? $24. What to do! What to do!

I remembered that we had emergency cash stashed somewhere and off they went. H called every half hour or so with a new emergency. Where's the Medicare card (lost). The Medicaid card? (lost). Where's the M-11-Q form? Etc.

Periodically, at work, one of the fellas that we work for (our division provided support, let's say) would come in with a problem. I was the only one who cared to find resolutions. Everyone else... well, it was the last day. What did they care?

At the end, I was so drained. I asked my boss if I could go home early and was told NO. H agreed to come get me and I sat outside my building shell shocked.

I haven't told the story well. But. it was a heckuva day.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

More Blood (but it's okay. kinda.)

H asked me the other day if I had stopped blogging.

"No," I replied.

"No?" He continued, "because you certainly haven't posted in a while."

"Well," I began, trying to defend my inactivity "I just haven't had much to say. And what I do have to say is whining. And it seems so wrong to whine when I have what I wanted most in life."

"Ah," H said and wisely dropped to topic.

So. Sorry to be so away for so long, but. See above for my wimpy excuse. Which is not excusable.

And now the highlights.

As the title says, I'm bleeding. (Again). I went running to the emergency room of the hospital. (Again).

But! (and this is a big ol' but) it turns out ***OVERSHARE ALERT*** I have a yeast infection, and said infection is causing my girly innards to have the consistency of an overripe peach. So the baby's fine, the placenta is fine, the fluid is fine, but the cervix is NOT having a good day. And when my doc goes in for an exam to see if I'm dilated, I can count on spotting for the next three days.

So unless I get it under control, she may induce me next Thursday. YIKES.

As to the job... heh. FUNNY STORY! I've been picked to go over to another division. The relationship between my new division and where I work now is complicated. But

Monday, May 05, 2008

23 Days

Do we have our first L.amaz.e class last night.

And the instructor tells us that we will be going around the circle, telling a little bit about ourselves. (I always hate this part).

We're early in the circle; the couples go on and on. Happily, we're not the oldest (though we're up there). Almost everyone is a first-timer (who would go to L.amaz.e class twice?) And we're pretty vanilla -- all boy-girl boy-girl.

H leans over and tells me, "You should tell them about your job difficulties."

I think, no. And when it's my turn, I tell them about Mama. (Mama no longer greets me by name. She says hello and goodbye to SPUNKETTA, using his proper name, but me? I have been DEMOTED.).

The class gets a chuckle and we move on.

Then the last couple speaks.

She is a Human Resources Specialist in the parent company that owns the company division that I work at. That went bankrupt. Or translated, she will probably know if I have a job before I do. (He works elsewhere in the parent company).

DAMN I hate it when H is right (and I am WRONG). (I mean WHAT ARE THE ODDS?)

Still think that L.amaz.e class is not the place to "network." But. BUT. Will definitely be shooting to get our mat next to hers next time...

Wish us luck, eh?

Thursday, May 01, 2008

29 Days

Spunketta Update:
He's good. They're estimating him at about 4 pounds, if he were to come today, WHICH HE IS NOT GOING TO DO (do you hear me, boy?). My OB says that if what happened before (the bleeding, the abruption, etc.) happens again, then I have it. Him. Done.

Which is a little... unnerving. I need more time.

And now, back to ME.

Remember when I said that the company that I work for was facing bankruptcy?

It's complicated, but it's going to happen. Please don't ask me to explain, because I don't understand it completely. And what I do understand isn't appropriate to blog about. Let me just boil it down for you:

The future of my job is uncertain. (Still). They are painstakingly restructuring, and I don't know how that will impact me. (Still). Rumors are flying and hard facts are scare. (Still).

It's nuts.

I have various friends and family asking me if its been resolved yet, and when I say no, they look at me slack jawed. "How could this go on so long?" (I don't know). "Well, when will you know?" (I don't know). "Do you think you'll keep your job?" (I don't know).


My favorite question, and the only one with a unique answer, is "Well, what's it like there?" My responses range from "It's like being in a waiting room" to ripostes far FAR more dark. Suffice it to say, it's surreal.

Another woman in my department is pregnant. She works a different shift, so I rarely see her, but every so often we cross paths. She and I have taken completely different strategies with regard to the possible losing of our jobs. I have been very, shall we say, vocal with my HR department about letting them know I am p. She hasn't "officially" told anyone yet, and she's due the week after me. She's thinking they'll be more inclined to fire a pregnant woman; I'm hoping they will be less (and if they do fire me, maybe I'll get a little extra in my severance package).

I have no clue.

I am stressed, I am tired, I am not prepared. For any of it.

I am pregnant.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

All Better

When I was googling the HECK out of "marginal placenta previa" and "placental abruption", every website I found said it was kind of irreversible. Intimated that "someone" with the condition would be on bedrest until baby came. Nothing to be done; this kind of thing doesn't fix itself.

Mine reversed. I'm off bedrest, and latest sonogram look like it never happened. It fixed itself.

Take THAT world wide web.

I still have a low lying placenta, and can't do much but I AM OKAY. And, more importantly, the future soccer star now known as Spunketta is okay.

And that's nice.

Now. How are YOU?

Monday, April 07, 2008

Back From The Hospital

Okay, the high points: I had (have?) a placental abruption. Which we hope is either mended or mending. I was admitted into the hospital on Thursday, discharged this morning. Instructed to be on bedrest for the whole week and then see my doctor next week. Oh, and if I have any blood or discharge or pain, I am to come back immediately.

Hi, how was your weekend?

The long version: Thursday morning, I woke up about 1:00AM convinced I was bleeding. I checked myself quickly, and thought everything was okay. I rolled over and went back to sleep.

In the morning, I found out that my dream was right. Not a lot of blood, but BLOOD. I called the doctor's office, who transferred me to the doctor on call. She said come in immediately. This was 5:00AM.

But we couldn't.

H and I showered and dressed quickly. Then it was Mama's turn, and she does NOTHING quickly. I sat on the sofa and panicked. I was ready to wake the neighbors, tap on the super's door, ANYTHING to get me out of that door a little quicker. H was calm and insistent. We were not going to disrupt Mama's morning routine.

So we bathed her, fed her, gave her the morning pills. And the whole time, I am dying inside, hoping that whatever is going on with me is not time sensitive because the doctor ordered me in an hour ago, ninety minutes ago, two hours ago and I am still not there.

H kept insisting, the entire time, that it was nothing. Thought it was urinary. Nothing to worry about.

Anyway. We get to the hospital about 8:30PM. H starts to wax poetic about the last time he was in the neighborhood (the hospital is no where near our house) and how Malcolm X was shot across the street and starts this long anecdote that I do not have the patience of flat out mental ability to follow. I say "whatever" and that throws H into an incredible snit. He throws a small tantrum in the elevator as we're on our way up to labor and delivery about how insensitive I am.
I am in an awesome mood, let me tell you.

We check in and, as always, the first thing they want is your insurance. H answers all the questions for me, my name, my DOB, etc. The insurance intake clerk thinks its funny, and she and H fall into an easy camaraderie. Laughing, joking. I'm just numb.

When we're alone again, I apologize to H for being insensitive but point out to him that I'm a little stressed. He continues his snit and tells me I should be handling it better.

I get taken to triage, where they give me a gown and hook me up to fetal monitors. Apparently, I am having contractions, although I don't realize it. They put me on an IV, which took two nurses and four attempts.

I'm examined and found to be bleeding from my OS. What the hell's an OS? Here I thought of myself as this knowledgeable IF'er, and I don't know I have an OS? (The nurse kindly draws a picture).

A sonogram is ordered. An actual doctor is on his way. Phrases are being bandied about like placenta previa, placental abruption, preterm labor.

H keeps calling home, but Mama is not picking up the phone. He was too self-conscious to tap on neighbors' doors for help, and so convinced that this was going to be nothing that he left Mama home alone. Which we cannot do.

So he leaves me there, to cope with whatever's going on while he goes home to take care of his mother.

I try to put a brave face on it, but as soon as he goes, I am sobbing. I had been crying in the car (which irritated H no end; he accused me of using my tears to manipulate him).

I realize I have absolutely no one to call. No one who can or will drop everything and come to me and hold my hand and tell me everything will be all right. I'm all alone.

I get admitted into the high risk wing, which is (realtively) easy. My nurse is young and chipper and gets me food and water (my first of the day). She shoots me with a steroid "in case you give birth today" and gets ahold of my drugs, which I had completely forgotten to take.

And then I wait.

By this point, I've got an IV, a fetal monitor, a contraction monitor (does that thing have a name?), a blood pressure cuff and that thing they put on your fingertip. If I want to go to the bathroom, I have to call for assistance.

I keep asking for water, refilling my bottle with tap water and while away the day. There is nothing like a clock in the room, and I am amazed when lunch and then dinner show up. And when my brother shows up.

H shows up sometime later, having stopped off to do some shopping (He's all excited -- he decided to get a new electric toothbrush).

At this point, I'm feeling kind of hopeful. The blood is less and less and less. Almost non-existent. My (actual, real-life) doctor has shown up to check on me. I start to think, this might be over soon.

And then Spunketta's heart rate slows. Twice. Within a fifteen minute window. Slows below the 110 level they're looking for.

"If this continues, we're delivering you tonight," my doctor pronounces.

My brother leaves (previous engagement) and H and I try to process what the doctor's saying.
"So should I stay?" H asks the doctor. Once again, he has left Mama home alone, which we cannot do. So now he's faced with risking her safety or risking not being there when I (if I) go into labor.

I'm not happy about H leaving, but he insists. Mama needs to be taken care of. He promises me that he will be in Friday morning FIRST THING to see me. 5:00AM he says he will be there.
I go on my left side and I do not move. And I mean, I DO NOT MOVE. Certain postures make it hard to track the baby; I'm going to make it as easy as possible for everyone involved. (Um. Except me).

I meet with the anesthesiologist. Just in case I go into labor. I meet with the NICU doctor. Just in case I go into labor. I still don't move. Just to keep me from having to go into labor.

The night goes well. The discharge continues to be less and less; Spunketta tracks well. I get up every few hours to bo to the bathroom and stretch. By this time, in addition to the other gear, I've got "pressure booties" around my legs, to make sure no clots develop.

I'm told early Friday monring that inducing delivery is off the table (temporarily, anyway) and I try to call H. And try. And try.

Turns out that my husband went home, got drunk and turned off all the phones. For what ever reason, H just checked out of what was going on.


I see another parade of doctors, residents, nurses, nurse practioners, nurses assistants. At this point, they're thinking that I'm out of the woods, but that we're going to wait and see to make sure.

My brother shows up just in time to move me from the high risk room to the "antepartum" (?) room. The nurse asks if he's my husband. Huh.

We monitor some more (all's good). We monitor after that (still good). I finally gt the okay to leave; all I have to do is locate someone to take me home. (Because you absolutely, positively have to have someone take you home).

Finally I locate my husband, and we're off.

And we're fine.


We are so not ready for this...

Thursday, April 03, 2008

I'm Bleeding

..and the doctor says "come to the hospital." Labor and delivery, as a matter of fact.

Only we can't, because we need to find Mama coverage.

(And yes, I KNOW we should have mapped that out beforehand, but H kpt saying it was too early).

Which it is.

For everything.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Lemonade and Orange Juice.

First, the good news: I aced the glucose tolerance test, people. ACED. I got a 93. My OB said she'd never had anyone test so well. GO, ME!

Second, the bad news: I flunked my urine test. Protein was found in my urine. Which is bad. The nurse told me that I flunked the test, then said she couldn't put the comment in context. I had to wait for the doctor. DON'T YOU LOVE THAT? I panicked BUT GOOD for 20 minutes until my OB came in. Doctor thinks its just that I need to drink more water. Just. The nurse couldn't tell me that? My doc's big comment was "your urine should look like lemonade, not orange juice." Which struck me as a bizarre comment.

Third, the vaguely disquieting news: my job published the severance packages today. Which is not to be confused with actually deciding, telling, etc., the people who are going to be let go that they are going to be let go. NOPE. This is just their way of telling us that IF, emphasis on IF, they let you go, this is what you will get.

Um. Okay. I guess that my company thinks it's somehow comforting to us to know what we'll get, if we're asked to leave. But. It just makes me nervous.

I admit: I'm a bit torn. I put in a call to my HR rep, asking if I get let go after I hit paid parental leave (assuming I hit paid parental leave) do I get one, the other or both? No one knows currently, but. But assuming I do, that's almost 6 months off with pay. And then I qualify for unemployment. That would be good, but. But. What then?

I've started to say, out loud, that I want to keep my job. I mentioned it to my manager and a few other people. We'll see how that works...

In the meantime, I'm in limbo, and H is in La la land ("I'm SURE they'll keep you.")

we'll see

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Stress and More Stress

A few weeks ago, I realized that I may not qualify for my company's "paid parental leave."

I was stressed. I thought that was bad. I worried about having to declare bankruptcy without that paycheck (I'm the breadwinner in our home, y'see).

I thought the situation couldn't get much worse.

I was young and naive.

Now, let me just state -- the baby's fine. Measuring in the 44th percentile (what does that mean), my weight gain is okay (a little much, but not too TOO much). Spunketta is moving non-stop, not letting me sleep, pounding on my bladder. Good times!

But the company that I work for. Yeah. They're facing bankruptcy.

The past few weeks, my office has been like a mausoleum. People quiet, openly updating resumes, passing out cards and networking information. Talking about finding a new gig before the Big Layoff comes.

My company has announced to us that they may be able to continue, BUT. But they would do it with a drastically reduced staff. As in 50% gone.

Friday, they passed out sheets that would help you figure out your severance, assuming that you qualified for severance.

GUESS who doesn't qualify for severance?

A dense co-worker advised me to start looking for a new job. I placed my hands on my rotund (and now, clearly pregnant) belly and said "Who would hire me?" He was at first confused, and then embarrassed.

Yup. I'm trapped.

If *I* were a manager, I couldn't justify retaining someone who was going to cost the firm three months of paid leave. It makes no sense. Neither can I see myself (successfully) job-hunting.

So I get to wait. And wonder. And hope. And worry. And, periodically, break down into uncontrollable crying fits.

When I used to tell God that I wanted to give birth in the worst way possible, I didn't think He'd grant the latter half of the prayer... :)

Just to clarify: no one knows then the Great Layoff will begin. Just that it will. And the most aggressive date "officially" confirmed is 8 weeks in the future. So, conceivably, I could actually get to my "paid" parental leave and then be laid off. People at work have been saying things to me: "they can't fire you, you're pregnant" sort of sums up the sentiment. Which sounds wonky to me. Frankly, I figure if I'm on leave (or just close to it) it makes me a more likely target. (Any HR reps in attendance, please chime in).

The husband H has promised to "step up" and "do whatever it takes." If. If I actually lose my job. He's convinced I'll get a promotion and/or a raise out of this.

He REALLY doesn't want to have to work full-time. Not that I blame him; he works for a lovely, friendly place where they have no problem with him dropping everything to go running to take care of Mama (Thursday, she developed hives and had to be pulled from day care). But. They don't offer him benefits and they don't need him full time. And H would rather ride it out than jeopardize that cushy situation. (Which, he asserts, may turn into a full-time gig. Eventually. Someday. Maybe. Just not anytime soon.)

I've been asking him to get a part-time job at S.tarbuc.k's. Or anyplace else that will offer some insurance. (Both medical and financial :) ).

I'm a little desperate.

I'm off to church now. Guess what I'm praying for.

Monday, March 03, 2008

And the Horse You Rode In On

Like may IF'ers, I have a fetal heart thing. You know what I mean; a fetal Doppler stethoscope monitor thing.

That may not be the technically correct term, but you know what I mean.

I think I may have mentioned it before; H got it for about $100 on e-b-a-y.

And even though Spunketta kicks like a soccer star, well, we still use it. (Because you just don't KNOW, do you?)

Anyway, H (who considers himself the expert) is applying the heart thing to my belly. He experiments a bit to impact the sound (why? boys and toys, I assume.)

Finally, he gets a sound he likes: it's loud, sharp and there's an echo.

"What's that?" asks Mama, who's in the room.

"That's the sound of the baby."

"Ah," she says. "That explains why there's so much kicking."

H and I look at each other, perplexed. Why?

"He's got a horse in there."

Walker Wars: Update

Still waiting. LOVELY. The Physical Therapist went on vacation while the issue was still pending. THAT'S DEDICATION!

And while she's allowed to go on vacation, well, it would have been nice if she would have NOT let it sit on her desk for two days before she left. Does that make sense? Am I being too harsh?

She actually had the NERVE to fight with me on the phone, and ask me (more than a few times) "Well, why haven't YOU bought it?"

Need a new daycare for Mama. Definitely. And some sleep and a vacation for ME.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

The US Government Hates My Family (and isn't too fond of yours, either)

(WARNING -- Pregnancy/baby will be mentioned. Not to mention politics and I'M CRANKY. Be warned).

Like millions of other expectant couples, H and I are trying to figure out WHAT we are going to do with Spunketta, once he arrives.

The problem is, *I* am the main breadwinner, the one with benefits and a steady income. So that knocks ME out of the equation. I must work, or the family will starve. (Okay. Maybe not STARVE, but I think it's good for children to have health insurance. Don't you?)

So H comes up with an alternative: his job is mainly freelance, he can work from home and take care of Spunketta. And Mama too, for that matter.

We get excited. There are all these THINGS that we want to do for Mama that we have never had a chance to. We want to hook her up with a neurologist, and see what the brain doc can do for her. We want to send her to a psychiatrist, to monitor her condition. We want to get her in "aquatic therapy," which we don't know if exists. (Mainly, Mama LOVES to be in a pool. And we've always wanted to figure out a way to get her down to the local Y on a regular basis). And that doesn't even count field trips! The Modern Museum of Art has one day a month set aside for dementia sufferers and their caregivers; the museum is closed to all others. Oh, the places we could go!

And as for Spunketta, we figure he can be right there, handing with Dad and Nona, enjoying it all. Bobbing along in the water, giggling at the paintings, napping at the doctors. It;s going to be perfect, the best life imaginable.

And then.

And then we find out that the United States government hates my family (and isn't too fond of yours, either). Heck, I'll even go one further: the United States government is trying to destroy families.

Let me explain...

I have money set aside at work to pay for childcare (or Mama care, for that matter). DCA, or Dependent Care Account. I let them know my plans, or FAR TOO LATE to change my election, I get a troubling e-mail. "We're not sure you can hire your husband to watch your child," it reads, "contact the IRS.")

So I do. And they say, no. "You cannot hire either the parent of the child or your spouse for childcare and get a tax deduction."

"But if he takes a pay cut to take care of the family..." I restate.

"That's admirable!" says the IRS fella. Admirable, schmadirable. What about the financial toll on the family?

"It's what families are supposed to do," tax guy preaches, "so we're not going to pay you for it."

"So I can hire anyone else to care for my child, and use my DCA funds and/or get a tax credit?"


"I can hire an illegal immigrant who sympathises with Al Qaeda and has pedophile tendencies to care for my child... but not my husband?"

"Well, yes, but you can't get a tax credit for hiring an illegal immigrant," the witty IRS fella ripostes.


So H and I get disappointed. But he refuses to give up hope. After all, Mama gets a Home Care Attendant, and we can still hire him for that, right? (The V.isiting N.urse S.ervice, who lied to me about so much, who botched and bungled almost every aspect of Mama's care, assured me that it could happen).


"If you could get paid for taking care of your ill family members," explains my Geriatric Care Manager, "well, everyone would do it then, wouldn't they?"

Can you imagine? A country where you can not be penalized for taking care of your family? Where you can be rewarded for it? Can you see it?

*I* can't. I live in the United States of America. And they hate families here.

(I actually has a co-worker suggest that H and I get divorced, and then I try to apply for aid. Apparently, it's what she and the father of her children have done. They've been together for 5 years, but if they get married (as they want to), she loses all sorts of assistance with her rent and food. And they can't afford to live without it. So they lie to the government, because the government doesn't support family-building. Only family-fracturing).

So I will continue to work full-time. And H will continue work as much as he can (he's working two jobs for the entire month of March). And we will continue to hire strangers to care for Mama, and eventually for our child. Because even though there's a dozen or so reports that say that it's best to be cared for by your family (both elder and child), and even though every third politician will preach about the importance of family, well, the US government doesn't agree.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Social Service Workers and the Walker Wars

I've been dealing with folks who work in the Social Services a lot in the past few years, what with caring for Mama. I've found that the folks that you deal with usually fall into a couple of categories.

One is the really great people who are loving, giving, and truly trying to make the world a better place. Marie, for example, used to work at Mama's daycare and was always planning special trips and activities and all sorts of out-of-the box stuff. Because of her, Mama went to Christmas parties and visited the beach. (Mama loved it and misses her dearly. Well, the activities at least).

A second is the folks who just look it as a job. Which is fine, as long as they are competent and (to some point) caring. Or at least take pride in their work. This is the type I've run into most often. There's nothing wrong with them, but don't try calling on 5:01PM and expect them to answer the phone. (Heck, don't try calling at 4:45PM and expect them to care).

A third is the type that I lovingly refer to as Burnt Out Husk of a Human. This is the one who's taken a job in Social Service to work out some personal issues of their own. They're usually smokers, and extremely angry. They went in this industry to feel loved and appreciated and since that almost never happens (or at least not to their satisfaction) they get really, REALLY bitter. My mother falls squarely into this category, so I go on AND ON about the type. Sadly, she's not the only one of this category I've known. Others include an administrator at Mama's old day care and a nurse at Mama's old doctor. Sad, pathetic angry women, all.

The fourth (and final) type is the "do-gooder." These are the ones who will lecture, who will make choices against the wishes of the patient and family, BECAUSE THEY KNOW BEST. Mama's old social worker was one of these; she lectured to me repeatedly that it was "selfish" of me to have a full-time job rather than dedicate myself 24/7 to my mother-in-law. Mama's current physical therapist is like this; it's immaterial to her that Mama's new walker isn't not only causing Mama pain to operate it, but also causing her to stumble and trip. The PT knows that this one is best and that's all she cares about.

This is what I've been dealing with lately; the Walker Wars, as H dubbed them. Trying to get the PT to switch Mama back from to a 4-wheeled walker from a 2-wheeled walker. (It may not sound like much, but it's WAY different for Mama). The PT feels Mama is too "impulsive" and that a 4-wheeled walker gives her "too much flexibility." So she's switched Mama to a 2-wheeled walker to slow Mama down and make it hard for her to around.

What the heck? Mama is NOT D.anica P.atrick, for crying out loud. Even with a 4-wheeled walker she was slow. With a 2-wheeled walker she's slower and FRUSTRATED, because she remembers being able to move better, faster.


Thanks for listening. I know have to go fight round 12 of the Walker Wars.

And how are you?

Monday, February 11, 2008

So I'm Going to Break a Rule

It's a rule of my own, never discussed and never revealed until know, when I break it. But here it is:

My rule was to never complain about the p.

The thought behind my rule was that, well, this is at its heart an IF blog, and it seems (to me) just so rude to complain about something that I wanted more than anything nce I've gotten it. In additiona to which, I know that there are more than a few who would gladly switch places with me, mama and all, if it meant being five months along.

So. I'm whiny, I'm rude, and I know it. And I beg your indulgence.

And I'm going to complain now.

I would appreciate all of you out there to please PLEASE please fervently pray that I make it to 39 weeks, at least. In what, I'm sure, God thought was a pretty neat trick, my due date is one week after my one year anniversary at my job. Yes, I know I have actually been at my place of employ for FOUR lovely years, but they only OFFICIALLY hired me eight months ago.

If I give birth one day before my anniversary, and/or I am somehow incapacitated so that I cannot work until my that day, I get nothing. I have to be present, working and still pregnant on my one-year anniversary to qualify for Parental Leave.

If I don't make it, I get nothing. NOTHING. Six to eight weeks of "liability leave" which pays $170 a week. Have I mentioned that I support my family? Have I mentioned how broke we are? If I don't qualify for Parental Leave, we're going to have to declare bankruptcy.


I chatted with the HR rep in charge of Parental Leave to get this info. There is no wiggle room. To quote the rep, "Nobody says we have to do anything except give your job back to you."

Good times.

So. Repeat after me: 39 weeks. 39 weeks.


Wednesday, January 30, 2008

How To Answer The "Why Don't You Just Adopt" Question

Or at least how I did.

Okay, let me explain.

Yes, I am currently the "p" word. Almost 22 weeks, or 5 months, or just about halfway done. (And still checking for a heartbeat every night. But I digress).

I am far enough along that we've started telling people. Friends first, then family, then other folks.

And a bit ago, after hearing my good news, a someone who knew I'd been trying for a while exclaimed in response, "It took you so long! Why didn't you just adopt?"

I was struck by the freaking irony of it. I mean, how many of us have heard that while we tried to get pregnant, and there I was, still hearing it.

And I said something that I thought was kind of clever.

"Well... I don't think that people are interchangeable."

The speaker in question had children of their own, and I asked would they be willing to "exchange" their children for someone else's. To give up their children. To give away their children. To deny their children life. This brought a jovial response ("when they act up, you bet I would!") but I stayed still and somber and simply said "I wouldn't."

This, oddly, brought out more ribbing ("Just you wait! You'll get to that point!") but I maintained eye contact and calmly shrugged. No. No. You might, but not me.

Now, don't get me wrong. I want to adopt. And I'd like to be a foster parent. I've wanted to do this since before I've wanted a child of my own, since before I was married or even knew my husband, and even though now I'm pregnant, I still want to do it. (It's not even an option right now, as we don't have space in our apartment to pass home inspection). But it's something that H and I have agreed on, and as soon as its feasible, I know it will happen.

And I would have been, could have been just as happy and content adopting and fostering and what not. (So could H). But we wanted one of our own. And I never would have stopped wanting for a child of my own. And no disrespect to my future adopted kids... Children aren't interchangeable. People aren't interchangeable. Just because I've got an 'organic" doesn't make me not want to adopt, just because I want to adopt doesn't mean I don't want one that has my genetic material.

I want them both. Uniquely, specifically both. No exchanges, no substitutions. Both.

They're not interchangeable.

And Then I Went on Vacation

Sixteen hours in a very small, very PACKED car with H and Mama.

Good times.

We went to visit my family down south, to share the "good news" and show them my big fat belly. But H didn't want us to fly because (a) he's convinced it causes miscarriages (b) it's expensive (c) Mama LOVES to flirt with the security men ("I have a gun and YOU need to find it! Tee Hee!")

So we went.

And we told.

It was weird.

First, we told me Dad. We had to tell him over the phone, before we left. He was seriously pushing for us to fly down, offering to pay for tickets (yeah, right). So H broke down and said "We can't fly, Nica's pregnant."

I immediately punched my husband PLAYFULLY in the arm and grabbed the phone. And (tried) to talk to my father. Who did NOT want to talk to me.

But I'm pushy (have you noticied?) and I pressed. I told my father stuff he didn't ask, and didn't indicate he was interested in. Like how far along I was, how I was doing, the baby's gender. I did NOT tell him about the various horror stories associated with this pregnancy (how Scrappy didn't make it, etc.).

And if my father was interested in hearing about his first grandchild, (or in any way excited) you could have fooled me.

We told my brother a day or two later. Even though we live in the same city (a few miles away from each other, even), my brother and I don't see each other that often. It's not my choice, but that's a post for another day.

Anyway, we told him/he guessed and it was the same as with my father. My brother could have cared less (and in general, just seemed weird). I pressed again, telling details. And he nodded, and waited to speak until H dived in and rescued him by talking work and football.

So a few days later I was bouncing along in a car and a few days after that H was telling the rest of the family. My one cousin screamed and cried (as I knew she would; she is a screamer and a crier). The rest of the family was happy and supportive. My grandfather kept fading in and out on the fact that I was pregnant, but was enthusiastic and supportive when he remembered it.

My father, present, was still reticent. A zombie. Which, come to think of it, he was most my life.

And a few days later we came back. All of us (me, Mama and H) still battling colds and coughs.

And here we are.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Ah've Beehn Sekh

Okay, I will now QUIT with the cutesy spelling. As that title (attempts) to say, I've been sick. Just a bad cold, but a BAD cold. And a bad cold where I cannot take anything, because, well. YOU KNOW.

So I spent the last four days under blankets and a heating pad attempting to "sweat it out." H kept trying to get me to gargle with c.ider vinega.r and honey. It made me vomit, but H decided that I just must be gargling "wrong" (how can one gargle incorrectly?) and made me try again and again.

Finally we settled on my two gargle favorites -- salt or baking soda. (Good times).

The oddest part of it all was that when Mama would wander by, attracted by the sound of my hacking up a lung or whatnot, she would occasionally ask me, "Nica, are you sick?"

"No, Mama." She'd always be content with that, and toddle off.

(See, I can't tell Mama I'm sick, because then she decides SHE'S sick. And that's worse than c.ider vinegar gargle ANY day of the week)

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Step into My Office

Mama came up to me today as I was starting my morning (reading blogs and eating cereal).

"Nica," she says, "I should be your psychoanalyst."

If I've not mentioned before, English is NOT Mama's native language. (She's from Argentina). So this comes out not only from a crazy person, but with an adorable accent.

I asked her to repeat, because I am sure I misunderstood.


"You should tell me all your problems. I think that I can help." At this point, she starts giggling. So I am not completely sure how to take this.

She walks away, still giggling.

I still don't know where it came from...

Scan Went Fine

You may all proceed to call me a whiny baby.

They want me to come back in a month and get a new scan because

(1) "We do that sometimes"

(2) "You're as old as the hills."

So I will get to worry YET AGAIN.

But at least, today, for them moment... I am not so scared.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Anatomy Scan Tomorrow

The big anatomy scan is tomorrow. For normal folks, this would be the big Boy or Girl moment. For us, or at least me, it's the big Hope Everything Looks Okay moment.

Sing it with me now: I am so scared.

H is, of course, convinced that everything is okay. But he giggles that I am so worried, which he says is perfectly normal.

Mostly he's confident because we heard Spunketta's heartbeat last night. He got me a fetal doppler stethascope for Christmas, and when he or I are feeling especially anxious,we whip it out and go in search of the heartbeat.

Yesterday, Spunketta was up to her usual tricks. It took more than twenty minutes to find her heart. I searched for five, then handed the wand over to H. I closed my eyes and focused on breathing. In. Out. In. Out.

About the time I could barely hold back tears, H found it. Spunketta is SO grounded.

In other cheerful news, Mama has decided that my having a baby is not a good idea. She gave me a long talk about it this morning. I should just adopt, she says. It's better.

Um. But Mama, I am *already* pregnant.

She blinked a moment and shrugged. "Doesn't matter. You'll need to adopt, anyway."

Living with crazy people is not for the weak.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008


Hope everyone had a wonderful holiday season. Our Christmas was small, but sweet. I shrewdly waited for the last-minute shopping sales and was rewarded with being able to gift everyone nicely and stay within my paltry budget.

New Year's is Mama's FAVORITE holiday. It's a tradition in her family to (try) to eat 12 grapes in the first minute after midnight, saying each month as you insert a new grape. It's not really that hard, but it helps to be prepared. And have seedless grapes. (This was the first year I was successful).

We've made arrangements to drive down and see my father (and that side of the family) in a few weeks. Because H is paranoid about my flying (and because we're broke) we're ging to be driving. We're going to be driving for 16 hours. Between Mama and me, we're going to have to pee every twenty minutes. (We may never get there).

I'm a little stymied about what to post these days. Everything I think about putting up basically boils down to I'M SO SCARED. Which I think is a bit boring. And kind of whiny. Such as, "I got what I wanted, YIKES!" I do want this. I am grateful. But this is new. This is different THis is something that I've failed at before. And I am scared.