Friday, January 29, 2010

Why it is Difficult to Update my Blog

Based on the handful of comments I receive on my posts, I am sure that my adoring readers have been grossly disappointed by the lack of posts lately. And being the people pleaser that I am, it greatly upsets me to fail you all. You see things have just really gotten out of hand for me in the past few weeks, to the point where I'd almost rather hide under my desk at work than venture home at night to yet another chaotic evening.

First I had to stay late at work a couple nights this week. This isn't really out of the ordinary as my schedule with its early to arrive and depart times must often bend to the constraints of pretty much everybody else that I work with. Most of the time it is not a big deal other than needing to drive in rather than catch my vanpool. But with everything else added into my evenings, it has been more stressful.

Then there were the two PT appointments that I needed to fit in this week. I didn't even manage to get a massage scheduled as there were no openings at times that worked for my schedule. Bummer! The PT seemed to be working as my back pain had subsided quite a bit...until Wednesday night.

Jeramy woke up early Wednesday morning with the sore throat from hell. By that afternoon he was a miserable mess with a fever and body aches added into the mix. I picked Jillian up from his mom, fed him dinner, fed us dinner, bathed Jillian, and dressed Jillian in a living room that felt like it was heated to 100 degrees because he had the fire going full blast to help relieve his chills. Then, because he was in no condition to watch the little Miss, I took her to Target and then my knitting group. I had no intention of actually knitting anything but felt the need to get out and socialize. Which I did while chasing Jillian around the frozen yogurt shop where we activity which didn't quite agree with my back.

Then yesterday morning I realized I had left my wallet behind. So I woke the still miserable Jeramy up to borrow his debit card. Luckily a gal in my knitting group had my wallet for me so I made arrangements to pick it up after my late meeting that evening. In the meantime Jeramy went to the doctor and found out that he does not have strep or the flu. They gave him antibiotics and said that if those don't work it could be mono. My God, if he has mono I am going to die. Or worse, I might get mono. Could you imagine third tri and mono? Or what if Jillian gets sick too? She is all about kissing these days and its not like she offers the closed mouth version either. 3rd tri, sick dad, sick mom and sick toddler? It sounds like the makings of a horror movie. Anyhow immediately after getting home in the evening I grabbed Jillian and we went to the drug store to fill his perscription and buy every kind of throat soothing remedy on the planet. After delivering Jeramy with horse sized pills (which must be great with the sore throat) I fed him, fed Jillian, bathed Jillian, dressed Jillian...sound familiar? Then I put her to bed, popped a couple tylenol and lathered my lower back in Ben Gay.

Tonight I have a still sick husband at home and another PT appointment. Which sounds relaxing compared to the weekend errands I need to run and the cleaning that needs to be done. I really want Jeramy to feel better soon. Not because I feel bad for him, but because I feel bad for me. Do I win wife of the year for that statement?

Thursday, January 21, 2010


Over a week later, I still have a hard time watching coverage of the earthquake in Haiti without crying. In my last position one of the research clinics I worked with was in Port-au-Prince, and the team there managed one amazing operation considering the conditions in that country. I remember many times trying to import lab equipment from centrifuges to -80 degree freezers into that country and it would take many, many months to get everything through local customs. I was told that bribes were usually necessary to get anything done, but unfortunately that is not an allowable expense on NIH grants. So I can't say that I'm surprised by how slow the response has been to get humanitarian aid to them. The government did not have the infrastructure to support the population's basic needs. A government with most of its buildings collapsed and many officials missing or dead is not going to perform any better.

If you are looking for a place to donate, may I suggest giving to the GHESKIO clinic which is the one I have worked with in the past. Since the earthquake, the clinic has been transformed into a refuge camp and hospital. I know these doctors, nurses, and staff and it is not stretch to say that they are all amazing and this money would not go to waste.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Fun Ways to Spend a Holiday

I wish that I could say that I spent my MLK holiday remembering Dr. King and his amazing contributions to the civil rights movement. Instead, I must admit that I took advantage of the fact that I had a day off when many didn't to take care of appointments and errands ranging from physical therapy to grocery shopping to Jillian's 15 month well child visit.

Rather than sleeping in, I decided it would be a great idea to schedule the first PT appointment for my back pain at 7:20am. Jillian woke up just before I left, so at least I departed satisfied with the knowledge that Jeramy had to get up early as well, which is much better than the usual work day when I leave a dark, quiet house at 6am. Upon my arrival at the appointment, I met my sweet, perky PT who pronounced that my hip out of alignment (she had some technical name for it) thanks to Hayden. And to be fair, I should blame Jillian a bit too as the whole back-to-back pregnancies thing likely contributed. My girls are, of course, worth the pain as well as the 2 sessions of PT plus 1 session of massage therapy per week that I am required to squeeze into my evenings for the foreseeable future. Oh and the stretches that I am to do twice a day. Hopefully it all works because at the moment just an hour of housework leaves me propped up in the recliner with my lower back covered in BenGay. And while I love smelling like a Wintergreen lifesaver, my house does not clean itself. And while Jeramy is the busiest unemployed guy I know, he possesses that inherently masculine ability to prioritize just about any project possible over the dreaded duty of cleaning house so it is unlikely that he'll pick up the slack.

Later in the afternoon we had Jillian's 15 month appointment. I haven't actually taken her to the doctor in months since that responsibility usually falls on Jeramy these days. Beforehand he warned me of her typically crazed behavior in the waiting room of chasing her around the waiting room as she tore magazines off of every end table as the doctor ran thirty minutes behind schedule. Honestly, I think he was rather satisfied that finally I'd feel just a little of his pain. Fortunately for me/unfortunately for him, that was not the case. Upon entering Jillian made a beeline for the toys, which kept her happily occupied for the 5 minutes it took for them to call us back. Maybe I'm lucky. Or maybe, that is just the benefit I reap for running 10 minutes late to everything unlike my ever-punctual spouse. Regardless the visit was good and Jillian was almost cooperative at times (thanks mostly to my supply of treats). She got three vaccines, and was still following the same trendlines in terms of her growth:

Height: 31" (50-75th percentile)
Weight: 22.5 lbs (25 - 50th percentile)
Head Circumference: 20" (above 95th percentile)

It seems like this kid snacks constantly so I was rather surprised about the weight. And it is all head and belly these days (she has the most adorable pudgy belly on the planet). I promise more pictures soon.

Friday, January 15, 2010

This and That

When my alarm went off at 5am this morning, I thought "oops, forgot to shut my alarm off last's Saturday". Then I rolled over and went back to sleep. Which would have been fine if it weren't Friday, which I remembered after I heard Jillian wake up and hour and a half later. So I missed my vanpool and drove myself into work later. Not exactly how I wanted to start my Friday, but at least there is a three day weekend to look forward to.

It has been a very busy week, which explains my lack of posts. Wednesday, in particular, was a bit hectic as I had a day of meetings and presentations bookended by doctor's appointments in the early morning and late afternoon. The morning appointment was at the maternal fetal medicine clinic to get a follow-up ultrasound of the brain part with the borderline measurement (the cisterna magna for those who are curious). The ultrasound tech said it hadn't really grown in the past few weeks, but the doctor said the measurement was still borderline. He did not seem too concerned though, because there are no other markers of a problem and none of his research of medical textbooks turned up any problem that would be evident by that measurement alone. This finding matches my even more reliable research via Dr. Google. Still they want to see me back next month for yet another ultrasound to measure again. They've got to earn a living somehow I suppose.

My late afternoon appointment was with my regular OB, Dr. C. She also seemed unconcerned about the cisterna magna, and told me that as ultrasound technology gets better and better they are able to measure more and more anatomical parts without really understanding what is and is not truly normal thus worrying prospective parents like myself. She agreed that my decision not to do the amnio made perfect sense. I told her about all the back pain I have been having with this pregnancy. For a few months now my lower right back hurts horribly after I do anything remotely active. I got some back pain with my last pregnancy but nothing significant until late in 3rd tri. I am pretty sure that a little 15 month old somebody might have a small part to play with this, and while I can limit holding her it is tough to resist her upheld arms and pathetic looks for long. So Dr. C prescribed PT and massage therapy, which I start next week. I welcome the back pain relief, but I'm not too thrilled about trying to fit even more pregnancy related appointments into my rather tight schedule.

But before getting too sorry for myself and my aches and pains, I think of Sunny hanging out on bedrest. Endless days in bed with daytime television is a much worse punishment than having to fit a weekly massage into the schedule.

Jillian continues to be her usual energetic self and is increasingly adding some "fun" toddler elements to our daily routine. Like temper tantrums. My God, can that kid throw a fit complete with throwing things when she is angry. Bedtime has become rather difficult because she knows what is coming after her bath and she resists mightly. Putting pajamas on a raging toddler with an arched back is not exactly the highlight of my day. She cries all the way to her crib, and when I set her down and hand her the pacifier she prompty throws it down. Once I close the door she is usually asleep within 10 minutes. But the tears leading up to that peaceful slumber are just heart wrenching. I do my best to ignore and smile knowing that the consistent routine is important. But oh how I miss the days of setting a quiet, happy baby in the crib and watching her turn over on her belly instantly and snuggle in for the night. I don't know whether the issue is separation anxiety, or the molars growing in, or what. I wish I could diagnose the problem and fix it, but I've long learned that babies and now apparently toddlers just don't work that way.

Jillian has spirit if nothing else. I keep trying to convince myself that this is a good thing.

Thursday, January 7, 2010


Today I turn 32. I remember a time when that seemed like a really old age. My mom quite unexpectedly became pregnant with my little brother when she was 32. I was 9 years old at the time, and I remember thinking she was quite old as a parent of nearly three with her completely gray hair. Very old, of course, for a pregnant lady. Certainly much older than I feel or look at this moment, right? Well I lucked out in the looking young department thanks to my still blond hair and baby face. But the point is that your future age is never what you think it will be.

This past year, and my thirties in general, have been one of transition into parenthood. It has been an exhilarating transition as nobody could have prepared me for just how fun it really is to watch your own baby develop, learn and grow and become their own little person. But it has also been a tough transition between the sleepless nights, the invasion of endless noise in our house (from crying to giggling), the loss of free time, and the testing of my patience. Jillian is worth it for sure. But I do think that those new moms who only spew forth pronouncements of their utter joy and their complete fulfillment by motherhood are full of it.

I've spent much of the past fifteen months finding myself in this new role as mom. The balance between being a mom, being a wife, being an employee and just being me is never easy. But I would say that I haven't felt as much guilt as I expected or even as much guilt as some others might place on me. I can try my best in all those roles, but I'm never going to be perfect and somehow I just have to accept that not everything is within my control. Not an easy lesson for any type A such as myself to learn. Probably the hardest lesson of all though has been learning that I can't let the "just being me" part of things slide as so many of us are apt to do when we get busy. When I can't spend the time doing things I love, I do a disservice not only to myself but to those around me including my child. I see too many parents these days have children and then become slaves to them. They drop all outside interests, stop seeing old friends and focus solely on their kids. And while Jillian and Hayden are important to me, I think such lavish devotion can ultimately be harmful as kids grow up with the impression that they are the center of their parent's world and therefore the universe.

So yeah, I'm still learning and trying to get a hang of this whole being a mom thing. I'm sure I'll never quite get it right, but if my kids don't grow up to spend endless hours telling a psychiatrist how their mother screwed them up then I'll count myself as successful. I'm sure 32 will bring many new and just as difficult lessons to be learned as we move from having one child to two.

So there you have it. A little bit of rambling introspection from me on my birthday.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Fresh Starts are Tough on a Monday

The new year is supposed to bring fresh starts complete with new years resolutions and such. But it sure is hard to find the motivation for all of that on the first Monday after the holiday. Every person I've spoken to this morning has commented on how hard it is to get back in the groove of work after vacation. So in lieu of anything that would require some sort of effort on my part, I bring you pictures of Jillian. She seems to have no problem keeping her energy level up no matter what the time of year.

Oh and please note that I have not helped her to reach any of the heights shown in the first couple of photos.