Monday, June 25, 2007

Some Funny, Some Not

Funny story...

One of my best friends from high school visited with her family overnight on her way to a beach vacation. Another one of our "group" also lives in town so we spent the precious few hours together catching up and mostly, laughing.

This friend was the first of us to have kids and now has three boys. She said, you know when Michael was small, I thought he was the most beautiful baby in the world. I thought to myself "I honestly should get him into commericals, think of the money I could make for his college! Now. Looking back at those pictures, I think 'oh, um, hmmm...."

Us girls dissolved into laughter. Who among us had not been convinced that their child is gorgeous at every age only to look upon the same pictures years later and think, "hmm, sort of awkward here isnt he?"

Not so funny story...

Same friend called 12 hours after leaving.

"I'm really sorry. I don't know what this means for you. Michael has the chicken pox."

So, after some frantic searching and hotline calls, I think I had them and think the baby and I will be fine. We'll find out about young Jack on Wednesday when the incubation period ends. Which is also the day his baby brother is coming. Wednesday is shaping up to be a busy day!

So, by the way, the chicken pox vaccine isn't 100% effective.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

To C or Not to C, That is the Question

Luckily, just as I was growing bored with the debate between “working” and stay-at-home moms, I was able to find that the caesarean section (c-section) debate is red hot. And I’m center stage.

In six days I will be going under the knife to deliver my second son at 38 weeks gestation.

Or not.

Technically I have the surgery scheduled, but I am mentally still debating it. My first son was born the old fashioned way at 37.5 weeks. Before he was born, I was virtually certain I would die from labor pain and sort of hoped my doctor would insist on a c-section so I wouldn’t have to face it (she didn’t).

Turns out labor was painless (thanks to God’s real miracle, the epidural). The day of his birth was like a low key party where you are in a jovial mood but anxious for the person of honor to arrive. Inheriting my flair for the dramatics, my son got stuck just before his grand entrance; went into distress and things went from calm to crazy in a hurry. Operating rooms were prepped, vacuums and forceps were used, pitocin drips administered, cuts made, I even had someone practically jumping on my abdomen to try to force him out that way. They got him out, barely, and with a huge audience of people gearing up in scrubs for emergency surgery. We both had fevers and dehydration; he had a double cord around his neck and was sent to the NICU and then, days later, readmitted for jaundice from the bruising. It wasn’t *exactly* how I had pictured the moment. Being wheeled into a NICU and seeing your son for the first time, hours after his birth, is surreal, I wasn’t sure which one he was. All this, and he was less than seven pounds.

This isn’t the type of delivery where you jump up the next day and go out jogging, but strangely enough, I don’t really remember the pain or long recovery. I remember it intellectually, but it doesn’t really register. My primary emotional memory of that day and the days following was of complete joy and wonder at the birth of my son. Funny how that works.

So this time around, they said: “Let’s have another small baby, don’t gain a lot of weight”. I promptly put on 40lbs.

In the ultrasounds, this baby is showing to be above the 90th percentile for gestational age, or about 8lbs already. I don’t believe these ultrasounds since they thought my first son was also over 8lbs, but let’s say an official Big Baby diagnosis has made my OB “skittish”. To the point that she “highly recommended” a c-section, advising me that she would allow a trial labor, but that she believes we will end up in surgery either way. She reminded me that my last delivery was extremely precarious and we were lucky he had no long term effects. My high-risk OB also says, all things considered, do the surgery. My husband, who was more conscious than I of the urgent concern in the room during the last delivery, wants the surgery.

I, however, do not want the surgery. But I do want a healthy and safe baby. I scheduled surgery, thinking I could always cancel.

Or, as turns out, I could entertain a plethora of comments from friends and acquaintances about the proliferation of “elective or scheduled c-sections”. I have been advised to challenge my doctors with specific risk percentages of various birth injuries if I elected a natural labor, been told stories of women who couldn’t deliver a 6lb first baby but delivered their second 9lb baby in 23 minutes flat with no tearing, and been told to expect a long and painful recovery in exchange for “not even trying”. I even had a man today explain to me in great detail the pain of abdominal surgery and how you are never the same.

The worst part, of course, is they may be right. Certainly there are stories out there about difficult first labors being followed by quick and easy second deliveries. There are stories out there about horrible c-sections. And the reality is, I have no idea how easy or hard a second labor would be. The problem is, by the time I know whether it’s going to be a problem, I will have a problem.

I would love to have an uncomplicated (heavily medicated) birth and have the baby in my arms minutes later, but chances are just as good that I’d be peering into a NICU isolette hours later. There is no way to know. So I think I have to choose the middle route. The delivery that I don’t prefer but one with a more predictable outcome. It’s what the doctors recommend. So why can’t I just accept it?

I will probably still be in denial in post op.

Happy Birthday to Me

Today’s my birthday. I keep forgetting since I am gearing up for the next baby and trying to tie things up at work, but I thought, at least I will prep my son for my big day.

I’ve been telling him for days, “Thursday is Mommy’s Birthday or tomorrow is Mommy’s Birthday!”. He responds each time with a hopeful, “And we will have cake?”

“Sure, sure”, I say, because if this helps him remember, so be it. So this morning, the first thing I said to him was “Jack! What is today?!”

Jack: “Playgroup?”

Lesson: don’t count on your three year old for birthday affirmation.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Disney Makes The Most Difficult Decision Ever

Unfortunately I must announce that the Mouse & I broke up. It was amicable, we're still friends, I didn't come home and crush my Cinderella DVD in a rage or anything. However, apparently things are not going as well as hoped over at Disney's and they can no longer afford high-priced talent such as myself.

It was a difficult decision I was assured. I think it came down to me, or animating their next feature film. Word is, they seriously considered filming a manual flip-book of sketchs in order to divert funds to the soon to be defunct blog, Just Amy, but at the last minute decided to go the other way, something about not disappointing the children, or maybe they said stockholders.

I do think Disney should consider making friends with my buddy, Google, so that someone other than the bloggers might actually happen upon the site at some point.

As for me, I am coping as well as can be expected. Though I sort of liked being incentivized to write regularly, I also eyed that new-found hour or so per week with a sort of giddiness. What sort of leisure should I now undertake to fill this time?!

Then I remembered I was 37 weeks pregnant, so I guess that will take care of itself soon enough.

I do wish Disney well though; being a "professional writer" was a brief illustrious moment of glory in my writing career, which to this point had consisted mostly of Christmas Letters. They have a nice start to a site, hopefully they will be able to add some things and zing and pull it off in the end.

But worry not, rest assured you can find me here at ~One Day At A Time~ writing as erratically as ever, so in that sense, it's reassuring that some things will never ever change.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Working Mom's Heartbreak

In general, I think I have a pretty good balance as a working mother. I have an growing career, but I only go into the office three days a week. It's been a great balance from my perspective, but every so often, Jack reminds me that he has a slightly different view.

Yesterday, before work, I went into Jack’s room. He was just waking up and hadn’t yet sat up in bed, so I climbed next to him for a quick cuddle. Then we had the following exchange:

Me: “Are you ready to get up?”
Jack: “I have to go to work.”
Me: “You do!?”
Jack: “Yes, I have a meeting.”
Me: “Oh, I see! Who is this meeting with?” (slight pause)
Jack: “Mommy & Daddy.”
Me: “Oh good, so Mommy can go with you.”
Jack: “No. You cannot. You must stay home and cry for me.”

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Book Review: The Scent of God

My poor forlorn blog has been so neglected as I continue to write for my Disney's blog Just Amy.

Still, I'm way behind in my book reviews, so I figured I've give a quick update. First, I can't remember most of the books I have read recently. I'm almost 9 months pregnant and the brain is working overtime with critical complex issues such as remembering that the salt is white and the pepper is black. I also found my car keys in the refrigerator recently. Can't explain that.

However, a couple of books that do stand out include:

The Scent of God: A Memoir by Beryl Singleton Bissell

Wow, this was a great book. As many of you know, I have an ongoing existential crises and this fit that MO perfectly. This book is about a cloistered nun, which I had always regarded with a horrid fascination. Cloistered nuns are locked away from society to live a solitary contemplative life, even their families may never see their faces again. Talk about shock value. Anyway, I had always assumed these women were out of their minds, insane perhaps, but after reading this book, I actually remarked to my mother, "you know, I think if my life had gone differently, I could have become a contemplative nun."

My mother howled at this one- both of my parents were involved in Catholic religious orders for many years and obviously knows me quite well, and so could appreciate the ridiculousness of the statement from a special perspective. However, while maybe that was a stretch, there IS a part of me that finds most of life and society so superficial, I do often wonder why we dont all dedicate our lives to the search for eternal truth, I can't believe I actually spend most of my time doing things like overseeing the development of software products or picking out shingle colors for my house.

I spoke to my father about this also. My Dad spent 17 years in as a Catholic brother, which is similar to the priesthood. He experience reminded me a lot of the cloistered nun in the book, which is that even in dedicating your life to religion and seeking God, you often become no closer than anyone else. My father told me that someone once said "you find God not by looking in the clouds (as many religions would have you focus), but in the people and world around you." And this seemed very real to me as well- sometimes I look at my son and see such divine beauty in his innocence or the light in his eyes or the richness of his laugh that I am certain God could not challenge in it's purity and truth. Or in the embrace of my husband, or the comfort of my parents, or the shared joys of friendship or the filtering of sunlight through the clouds on a beautiful day. If you look, you can find this "divinity" in many places. Not all the time, but snippets here and there, enough to sustain faith. But it too, is easy enough to miss if you forget to look.

Anyway, enough of that, I have to get back to my busy day filled with things that ultimately will have no meaning (haha) but I do highly recommend this book, it was well written and quite captivating.

I hope to return soon, where I will also provide my thoughts on books such as:

  • A Life in Smoke: A Memoir by Julia Hansen
  • Water for Elephants: A Novel by Sara Gruen
  • Buddha: A Story of Enlightenment by Deepak Chopra
  • I Feel Bad About My Neck: And Other Thoughts on Being a Woman by Nora Ephron
  • Suite Francaise by Irene Nemirovsky
  • The Glass Castle, by Jeannette Walls

Again, a sadly incomplete list of recent reading, but the library protects my privacy even from myself so I can't tell what else I might have checked out recently.