Thursday, February 27, 2014

34 weeks!

I haven't been writing about this pregnancy much.  Not nearly as much as I did when I was pregnant with Kailey.  I think it's been mostly superstition on my part.  When I look back on the early posts I wrote here, it seems like I was just tempting fate writing about how hard we were working to get our house/lives/jobs ready before the baby (aka Kailey) came along.  There are several posts where I wrote about just needing to make sure she didn't come early and then... voila! 31 weeks and 6 days into the pregnancy and we were parents. 

And it's also been that this pregnancy has, in many ways, been much harder than Kailey's because we know -- and have personally experienced -- the dark side of pregnancy.  Not to be overly dramatic but if there's anything that this pregnancy has reminded me, it's that my first pregnancy was dramatic.  And traumatic. 

So, this go around, I've been trying hard not to jinx anything.  And to take it day by day.  While also making sure that I am overly prepared and have absolutely everything ready to go... just in case.  We had all the baby clothes washed, a new dresser purchased and assembled, a new carseat, changing table, etc etc all ready before 32 weeks. And, I've also been trying to prepare emotionally for things to go wrong and for another stint in the NICU.  I like to be realistic. And ready.

I've also been closely monitoring my health.  We've had a blood pressure monitor at home for months and I take my blood pressure nearly every day (my blood pressure has been awesome this whole pregnancy, minus a couple little blips up that always send me into a google research shame spiral about early signs of preeclampsia... fun times).  Every little symptom I've developed has gotten careful scrutiny.  Google has really not been my friend. 

But, the fact of the matter is -- this pregnancy has been very "normal".  No swelling.  No sign of my BP going up (knock on wood -- I know better than anyone that the high BP associated with PE can come on very suddenly).  But, so far, it's been great. 

So... I'm taking a deep breath for a minute and a moment to celebrate the fact that, as of today, I'm 34 weeks pregnant.  At this time with Kailey, we'd been doing the NICU thing for two weeks.  TWO WEEKS... of constant pumping, running to and from the hospital, memorizing all the stats on the endlessly beeping monitors, worrying nonstop about her weight, the apneas, bradys, her food intake and her residuals (when they would pull the food back out of her stomach to see how much she had digested). 

And here I am -- two weeks past that point.  I've spent the last two weeks running around like mad doing a ton of things for my job, which has been extremely busy (and also really exciting) lately.  I haven't spent the last two weeks worrying about a preemie.  And that is awesome. 

I'm still on pins and needles and grateful for every day we get.  I am still waiting for the other shoe to drop.  I still don't think I'll be able to relax until this baby has been safely born and declared healthy. I don't think that is being pessimistic.  It's the reality when you've been through something like what we went through. 

But, with every passing day, we let ourselves get a little bit more excited.  And, as of today, at 34 weeks, I feel like I might be ready to start a different type of preparation.  Preparation for actual childbirth and for bringing a baby home from the hospital without having a bunch of interventions first.  I haven't really spent any time thinking about those possibilities.  We did go to a VBAC class when we hit 32 weeks - but, listening to the class, I mostly just felt like I was glad C-sections exist and was more than ready to have to have a C-section again.  I was not like my fellow classmates, bemoaning the lost opportunity to have my "birth experience".  I didn't need an experience.  A full-term, healthy baby is enough for me. 

But, the fact of the matter is, I might go into labor with this baby.  It could happen. I had a doctor's appointment today and everything with the baby looks fantastic (I've had incredibly swollen glands for the last week which I think is completely unrelated to pregnancy and the doctor gave me antibiotics for those... so, hopefully that helps soon.  Very soon.  My neck has REALLY been hurting... and I'm hoping whatever is going on in there responds to antibiotics).  But, the baby is doing great.  Measuring on track.  Moving around like crazy.  Head down, but he hasn't dropped.  He's right where he should be for 34 weeks. So, I feel like I need to start thinking about what the next few weeks could bring for us.  Of course, we are still prepared to have a C-section. And, I know that complications can develop in the last few weeks.  So, I'm not assuming that we are out of the woods here.  And, I'm not getting my hopes up.  I still just want a full-term, healthy baby -- however he gets here.  But, at this point, I'm starting to entertain the notion that he might get here in a different fashion than his sister did.  It's a novel idea, for me. 

Friday, February 7, 2014

Critical Thinker

Kailey has always been a pretty good eater.  She's more picky now than she was when she was younger -- which is frustrating.  But, she'll still try bites of whatever we put in front of her and eats a wide variety of fruits and veggies, which I think is pretty good for a 5 year old. But, lately, she has a lot of questions about the food we eat.  Especially the meat.

As I've written about in the past, Kai is fascinated with all things related to the body and medical stuff.  She likes looking at pictures of the human body and learning about how our organs work.  A long time ago, she made the leap to thinking about the animals we eat and wanting to know about the blood and the veins in the food we were putting on her plate.  But, when she first made the connection -- I don't think it fully sank in that the animal had been killed so we could eat it.  She knew it was an animal, and she wanted to know what part of the animal we were eating, but it didn't really bother her. 

These days, though, she seems a bit concerned about the animals we eat.  The other day I roasted a chicken and was cutting it up for dinner and Kai said, "So, that was the chicken's leg, right?"  I told her it was.  She asked me which parts were the muscles and which parts were the veins. 

Seeing where this was going, I told her it was just meat and let's go eat.  Kai followed me to the table and we sat down.  She picked up the chicken leg and turned it around in her hand a few time before saying, "So, how did someone kill this chicken?" 

It was sort of funny.  She said it the way you would say, "so, how was your day?" As though it was just a normal conversation starter.  Only it wasn't, because what she was asking was for me to explain how the chicken was actually slaughtered so that we could be sitting there eating it.  And, it made me uncomfortable.  I'm 37 and I know we eat meat and I know it comes from animals that have been killed -- and, I don't like to think about it much.  But, it was hard to ignore with Kailey staring innocently at me and asking me to point out the chicken's muscles and veins and to describe in detail how it spent its final hours.  

Usually I answer Kailey's questions honestly trying to give her enough information to satisfy the question without overwhelming her. But, in this instance, I was afraid answering I was going to ruin my own appetite, so I told her, again, to just eat her food.  She put the chicken leg down and said, "I don't really want to eat a leg." 

I gave her some breast meat and she nibbled on a few bites while making a face, clearly still thinking about what it was she was being asked to do.  I told her to eat three more bites and finish the other things on her plate, which she did.  So, we got through the meal. 

But, I think its foreshadowing things to come.  And, if I'm being honest, I agree with her hesitation.  It's not very environmentally friendly to eat meat, and it's clearly not great for the animals.  We expend so much water and other resources producing meat to eat.  And, even though we buy local, organic meat that is produced at smaller farms, I am sure that there are still many practices that go into the production of that meat that I would find totally gross.  But, I mostly choose to ignore these pesky facts.  Except when my 5 year old is asking very pointed questions as we try to eat dinner! 

So, I have a feeling we may not have too many more days of meat eating in front of us.  Although there are many things that Kai has to do and has no choice about, eating meat isn't really one of them.  In fact, I'm pleased to see her really thinking about it.  We encourage her to evaluate our choices with a critical mind and I want to teach her to think issues through and decide what makes the most sense for her and her belief system.  I want her to evaluate the political and social ramifications of the choices we make-- that's part of being a critical thinker.  So, even though she put a damper on dinner, I was proud of her for asking the questions and thinking about the answers.  

That said, until she gets to the protest stage (ie declaring that she is morally opposed to eating meat), we'll still be serving it several days a week.  I like it (as long as I'm not thinking about it) and it's so much easier to get dinner on the table every day if a few nights a week I can just bbq some chicken or grill up a hamburger. But, her days of moral outrage are coming.  I can feel it.  So, I better start collecting a wider array of vegetarian options!!  

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Sunday, February 2, 2014


Like most kids, Kai loves videos and has quite a few shows that she really enjoys watching (Super Why, Calliou, Tayo, Martha Speaks).  She's also enjoyed several movies, even seeing some of them multiple times (Fantastic Mr. Fox, Finding Nemo).  But, until now, there hasn't been a show or movie that she has truly LOVED -- acting out the scenes on the playground, dressing up like the characters, belting out the songs.  Frozen is Kailey's first favorite movie.  And, it's a good one.  I really like it -- which is good, since we've seen the movie in the theaters 3 times!  Kai asks on a daily basis when we will be able to buy it so we can watch it at home.  And, the cd plays nonstop in the car as we drive around town.  I dream about Frozen and the songs are playing on constant loop in my head. 
Although I could do without the constant loop of the songs in my head -- one of my favorite things is listening to Kailey sing the songs in the car.  She belts them out -- and it's one of the cutest things ever.  I managed to capture her singing the other day (she doesn't like being filmed, so I got her singing while I pointed the camera in the rear-view mirror... so, you can't see her that well.  But, you can hear her!)
Kai has continued to get quite a few time outs and other disciplinary actions (losing 5 or more minutes of recess) at school.  We've tried bribing her with various things to get her to go a day without a reprimand... but, to no avail.  Kai doesn't really seem to mind the time outs.  I think she accepts them as a natural consequence of breaking the rules, and she would rather break the rules (usually talking to someone when she is supposed to be listening) and spend a few minutes in time out then wait to say what's on her mind. 
After the holidays, we told her we'd buy her a Queen Elsa doll if she could go 5 consecutive days without a time out or worse (warnings were OK).  It took a couple of weeks -- but, this last week, she did it.  A perfect week (not even a warning).  So, Friday night Kai and I headed to Target to collect her prize.  Only, they were out of Queen Elsa dolls.  So, we went to another Target.  They were also out, but told us the Target further up the road had 14 in stock.  We braved the I-80 traffic during rushhour to get to the final Target... and, they were out.  Target's stock system is not to be trusted.  I looked up the doll on my phone and saw that was selling the dolls for $189!!  They're out of stock EVERYWHERE.  I ended up buying her a Queen Elsa that has some magic dress for $55 (also quite a mark-up) -- and I had to buy it online, which meant we were leaving the store without a prize for all her hard work.  I let her buy the Queen Elsa polly pocket doll (and smaller version of a Queen Elsa doll), telling her we'd get the real doll in a week or so.
Lesson learned:  Don't bribe your kid with characters from popular films UNLESS you already have the prize in hand.  I really didn't intend to spend nearly $70 to get Kai to go a week without a time out!
So -- Frozen has taken over our lives.  Once it comes out on DVD, I have a feeling we'll never hear the end of it!