Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Guest Co-Host on Tech Moms Talk


I was a guest co-host for tonight's episode of Tech Moms Talk over on BlogTalk Radio. It was a lot of fun filling in for Lucretia Pruitt @GeekMommy and chatting with Monica Brady @MommyBrain about kids, technology, education, online safety, and our roles as geek parents. You can hear the audio using the embedded player on this post. Here is the link to tonight's Tech Moms Talk Show where you can listen, download or subscribe in iTunes. Tune in to Tech Moms Talk live every Tuesday Evening at 6:30PM PT / 9:30PM ET


TheMacMommy's Learning Links – where you can find links we mentioned in the show plus a whole lot more!

Saturday, April 25, 2009

The Story of Stuff

Quick!
Think of a task that will take you 20 minutes to complete.
Now think of a task that will take you 20 minutes to complete that you don't really want to do right now.
Got one?
Good.
Now watch this video. It's important.

Visit www.storyofstuff.com to watch the video in its entirety.

If you don't have 20 minutes right now, just watch this preview and let it stew a little.

Notebook Challenge

This is too awesome. I had to share it. Blew my mind and I love that!

This is probably the best application of the Windows OS I've ever seen.
Looking forward to checking out more of Evelien Lohbeck's work online. Very creative. I hope you've enjoyed this as much as I have.

The Ultimate Chimera

Dear Parents,
Please tell me that your child too has a word or words they have made up that you have no earthly clue what it is or means.

Nate and I are going out of our minds trying to figure out this one word Lucian has made up. Some time ago, it took us about three months to figure out what "do me" meant. At least, that's what it sounded like when he was saying it. Finally, Nate figured out that what Lucian was trying to say was "Excuse me."

Duh!

His new word is "dumonoksox" and we are going nucking futs trying to figure out what it is or even how to spell it. Nate and I both have tried tricking him into showing us "dumonoksox" or asking what color it is. No dice. He foils us every time.

Daddy: "Lucian, where is "dumonoksox?"
Lucian: "It's in the bedroom."
Daddy: "Where, show me, let's go look!"
Lucian: "It's on the table!"
Daddy: "Darn! I almost had it!"

Lucian sings songs about "dumonoksox." He uses it in sentences. He butters his bread with it. (just kidding)

We have no clue.

Nate suggested I blog about this, so I did. He came up with the title, of course.

Maybe I'll press publish and someday we'll find out what or who "dumonoksox" is.
We can only hope. Maybe it's related to the Jersey Devil. Who knows!

It Just Had To Be Done

I just had to share this. I love detail-oriented people who pay attention.


Friday, April 24, 2009

Week 11 Rantings

Warning: this is a rant and a journal entry. I swear and complain a lot. And, I'm tired of defending myself for it.

I KNOW I'm supposed to be happy about being pregnant and really, I am happy about being pregnant. I've loved this baby before we even conceived it. We worked pretty hard to get this far. (Shut up! That pun was not intended.)

What I'm not happy about is the circumstances surrounding this pregnancy. Right now it feels like I'm the only one who loves this baby and is happy about it. I feel like the buffer surrounding me right now is just filled with negativity. Now, I know that isn't true – I know people are extremely happy for us – I just can't help how I FEEL is different from what I KNOW.

Blame it on the bad economy. Blame it on planetary alignment. It's not you, it's me.

It really helped when I went public with my pregnancy. All the well-wishing that poured in was uplifting. I guess I just wish I could get that kind of support from my immediate family. (Namely my mother, who has not spoken to me in about two months now – which is probably the crux of the problem here.) (and I don't even want to go into detail about that right now. I did something wrong, she did something wrong. She said/she said. She won't let it go. I don't have a choice now.) I still can't help thinking there is something about the second baby just being so lackluster compared to the first. I don't know how to deal with that yet.

Of course, I know my husband feels happy about the baby, but you know how it is for men – it takes a while until they can really emotionally connect. Sometimes it doesn't even happen until they get to hold the baby for the first time. I don't hold it against him. He can't help it and I can't help feeling frustrated wishing there was a way he could connect better. Right now he is more focused on keeping Lucian out of my hair during the weekends so I can catch up on rest. (I consider myself very lucky indeed.)

One problem I'm having is trying to bond with this pregnancy. It's only 11 weeks. Something could still go wrong. Aside from the normal moodiness, lack of energy, breast tenderness and nausea, I still don't feel pregnant and have a hard time accepting that someday we'll have another family member here in our little home. As if all those symptoms aren't enough, I can't help feeling I'd like more feedback from the baby. Ugh! I'm so impatient!

Why didn't God build us with a little porthole we could look in on? Why? Is that asking too much? Come on!

I keep wanting to put the bassinet together and start going through the baby clothing and getting organized, but it's way too soon for nesting. I'm terrified I'll put lots of energy into all that and then something terrible will happen and it will make things worse. Those thoughts are so disturbing to me now. I've read it's normal to think those things, but that doesn't make it any easier. I keep thinking if I can just get through these next few weeks and hear the baby's heartbeat for reassurance, I can invest more of a connection to it.

I'm really frustrated and depressed about a lot of things right now. It's mostly the uncertainty that gets to me. I'm a control freak so uncertainty is a bad thing for me. Not feeling in control really pisses me off. I feel very sad and scared thinking about how this baby might be born. I'm terrified and still traumatized since my first delivery experience. It's hard to explain and unless you've had a long labor that ended in emergency C-section, you just wouldn't understand.

Being told by the OB that she's strongly recommending another C-section is not helping me. I know we have time and I've advocated against it, but still, I'm not feeling very confident right now like I thought I would since it's my second time. I felt like a failure the first time around and now I already feel like a failure not even being given the option to use my vagina to give birth like it was meant to be. I don't want to go through life never knowing what it's like to birth a baby.

I'm considering asking for a different doctor, but I just don't know how to go about doing it. How can I tell a different doctor won't tell me the same thing?

To me, I still can not say with confidence that I "gave birth." To ME, I had an operation and my baby was cut out of me. I was stripped naked, strapped to a table, arms restrained, in a cold room, cut open (and could feel it all). They cut the baby out and shoved him in front of my face for 3 seconds. All I could see was his nose poking out. Hubby and baby were whisked out of the room, leaving me abandoned with a bunch of strangers so the surgical team could finish putting my organs back in and sew me up.

While I was getting put back together (physically, at the very least) EVERYONE else back in the delivery room (6 friends and family) got to bask in the glory of holding and bonding with the little person I was so anxious to meet. MY SON. I got no skin contact with him for close to an hour. He was all wrapped up so tightly I don't even remember getting to count his toes or interact with him much at all. I couldn't even hold him because of the after effects of the surgery. I had the shakes and was nauseous. Right away, the nurses tried to assist us in nursing. Right away, I was the meal ticket – no, hi, hello, how are ya – just, here, put your boob in his mouth and try to feed him. (Never mind that it took another 7 days for my milk to come in directly followed by mastitis – no doubt a result of the drugs and surgery stripping my immune system.) That's my memory of it. Not saying that's what actually happened, but that's how I remember it. My brain has protected me just enough to allow me the bravery to get pregnant again, but let me tell ya – I think it took Nate and I a few months to get pregnant just because we were both still terrified. There were times I looked at my ovulation calendar and just plain chickened out or was relieved when either of us got sick and didn't feel like it.

Birth was not romantic or organic and I wished I had never thought it would be.

I'll never regret the bonding that took place between Nate and our son and of course I was not envious of his experience at all. I was extremely grateful for it. Other men would be envious of my husband's bonding experience and I'm proud of him for being SuperDad and SuperHubby simultaneously. (And when I said MY SON, I mean OUR son, but for that traumatic and physical moment where the baby and I were separated and the pregnancy ended, that was MY physical moment between myself and the baby that grew inside of MY body.) I also was grateful for all the family and friends that were present and their tremendous support. I would not have changed having them all there for the birth. However, I learned the hard way, that as far as the bonding experience right after the baby is born, that part should be private and intimate with the parents and baby – not the entire entourage and team. It was the first experience of this kind for almost everyone present, so no one really knew what would have been best. I don't regret them being there, I just wished I could have had some private time is all. Just a pause would have been nice. Private moments with just the two of us and our new baby just didn't seem to happen for days. That's something I'd like to change this time around.

I have massive delivery envy now. I am jealous of everyone who can give birth the way it was intended to happen. I cry and then get mad at myself because my bitterness gets in the way of being happy for people and the true joy, blessing and privilege it is to have a live and healthy baby no matter how it gets here. I really hope I can get over that some day. I wish I didn't think that a vaginal birth for me is the cure.

I don't think I'll ever watch any of those baby story shows on TV. I just can't handle it. They romanticize it too much. I fell so hard for it last time. All I could dream about was pushing the baby out and being able to hold it right away, skin to skin on my bare chest – just like I had seen and been told about. I wouldn't care how gross and messy it would have been. I read and heard stories of women being able to reach down and help pull the baby out. I really wanted to try that. I wanted to give birth in the water. I wanted, I wanted, I wanted – too much to be like the women who had given birth before me and told me how romantic it was despite all the pain and agony. I raised my expectations so high that I never prepared myself mentally for a cesarian section. I was too terrified to go there in my mind and now I know why.

Back in the fifties, they put some women to sleep and then they woke up later and had to go see the baby in the nursery. Fathers, let alone any other visitors, were not allowed to be present at the birth. I still can't wrap my mind around that concept. Does that have to do with our expectations now? Back then, did women just not expect to be able to bond with their babies right away and so they accepted that's the way it was?

I guess I'm just so confused about what to expect versus what to accept.

Perhaps if I had not labored for 20 hours before the surgery it might have been different. From the beginning of being induced to the final delivery was just. such. a. long. time! Too long. While I'm grateful to the nursing staff for giving us every opportunity to have him vaginally, after trying for so hard, for so long, it was just a huge let down. We were admitted around 4 pm on the 29th and I wasn't delivered until after 10 pm on the 30th. It was a long 2 days just trying to get the baby out. The poor kid was stuck for 7 hours at 7 centimeters so no wonder he still had a cone head! Then we were stuck in the hospital recovering from infection and blood sugar issues until the 4th of July. It was a long time to be in a hospital for the first time. Even my IV gave up on me.

The recovery afterwards was painful and time consuming. I felt helpless and even more of a failure for not being able to care for our new baby. Nate did it all. I just tried to nurse and pump, sleep, eat and drink and pop pills. I could barely stand or walk because my body had swelled up to a point where I didn't even recognize myself in a mirror. I had to get up and move to keep my body circulating and avoid blood clots but then I had to keep my feet up when not doing that to get the swelling to go down. I lost so much blood I became anemic. I was catheterized for several days. I had to drag a pole with my fluids every time I got out of bed to move around – which took an agonizing many minutes to accomplish. Any time I stood up, I felt like my intestines were going to fall out of my body and land on the floor.

I can't help thinking that if I had only been able to give birth vaginally, most of that pain could have been avoided. Sure, there would have been pain, but it would have at least been localized and healed faster and I could have been more active sooner. I also don't believe that I'm incapable of having a vaginal birth. I think Lucian just got stuck. (The delivering OB said his head was tilted back.)

The thought of experiencing all of that over again is terrifying because we now have a demanding toddler to care for as well. Nate won't be able to take as much time off since we'll be delivering right before the holidays. I'm hoping that having Lucian around will help to take my mind off of the pain and I'll recover faster because I won't be able to focus on it as much as I did last time. I hope. Once the holidays pick up, then Nate will be home more, so that will help, plus my mother in law now lives closer too. It's just the feeling of helplessness that I dread. I hate needing so much assistance. I want to be able to do it all – on my own. It's not rocket science. I should be able to handle it all. Other women do it, why shouldn't I?

I'm pretty sure it's all normal to feel this hormonal and out of control of my feelings in the first trimester. It's partly the reason why I haven't been blogging. But I can't keep my mouth shut anymore. I have to vent. Writing is very cathartic for me. It's usually been my personal policy to try and keep things light or at least, when I write something dark – to immediately post something light to take the focus off of the negativity. I hate negativity. I hate being negative. I hate not even being able to fake being positive at times. I hate using the word hate. It makes me want to crawl under a rock and hide for fear I'll say something that will offend someone else or be taken the wrong way.

I wish I could just keep my mouth shut. If I were a mute, sometimes I think it would solve ALL of my problems.

I know this will pass. I know something will make it all better and things will work out. Is it possible to be optimistic AND depressed at the same time?

I think the things that bother me the most right now are:
1. My relationship with my Mother – or lack there of
2. Finances
3. Insurance coverage costs making life miserable
4. My health – pain, lack of energy, depression
5. Worries about delivery and feeling like I have a lack of options right now
6. Forgetfulness – I know I'm forgetting something all the time

No offense, but I'm tempted to close the comments on this post just because I'm feeling so bitchy right now and I don't want to hear "perk up, it will be all right." or "you have nothing to worry about, there are starving kids in Africa where infant mortality is higher." or "here, let me sell you something to make you feel better" or "you're a fat bitch and need to get over yourself" – you know, because the trolls still visit once in a while. (the word 'vaginal' is bound to trigger poised search engines. oh yay.) Or "OMG, I can't believe you swear on your blog, you're not the righteous woman I thought you were, I'm no longer reading your blog." (to which I say – "See ya.")

And oh, crap, this blog gets sucked into Facebook and put into my notes section where others may read it who think I'm normally very light-hearted and will be disappointed to find out just how dark I can be. I'm tempted to delete the post.

Screw it. Sometimes I just have to be real and candid, so deal. Unfriend me, unfollow me, ignore me if that's what you need to do – seriously – I've over needing to feel accepted and popular. (Ok, that's stretching it, but you're a real friend to me if you stick around and try to understand and that's all that matters to me anymore.)

I just can't deal with that shit right now. I just want to blog. I just want to vent and complain about MY problems and be self-absorbed for a moment in MY JOURNAL. I know there are people who have it much worse than me right now. I am grateful for the opportunities I DO have in life right now. I'm grateful for a husband who loves me, a wonderful son, a supportive family (most of them anyhow), a roof over my head, food to eat, and some material possessions that make life more bearable among other things I'm too moody to think about right now.

So, I suppose moodiness sums up Week 11. I wish it were all rainbows and Unicorns, but it's not right now. Right now I'm filled with bitterness, fear, sadness and helplessness to name a few.

I just want to be able to look back on this entry in a few months and see what a crazy person I was while feeling completely different in the future. That is the goal and I hope writing this and getting it off my chest will help with that process.

Maybe I just want some other cesarian section victims to reach out and tell me I'm not the only one for whom it's turned into a psychotic weirdo.

I'm also hoping this is so long that no one will want to read it, maybe not even me later.
Now I need to go find something fun to put above this post to move it down and out of other aggregators!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Bittersweet

Well, I knew this time would come, but I was never sure how I would feel about it. I've decided that I am okay with it. It's now been several weeks, but Lucian has finally weaned himself.

Boy, what an affirmation!

I can't really, truly remember the last time he nursed and a friend told me that would happen so that helped prepare me. I'm kind of glad there wasn't really a significant "last supper" so to speak. Actually, it would have been more of a "last breakfast" since he gave up the night sessions long ago. Even then, towards the end, it was more of a comfort thing anyhow. I mean, have you seen my son? He doesn't exactly look malnourished!

I'm just glad overall. It's very, very bittersweet, but overall, it just feels right to me and us and that's the most important part.

A week or so ago I retired my breast feeding ticker that used to adorn the bottom of this blog. It made me a little sad to remove it, but it was time. I've accepted it as another milestone in our lives.
I love these little tickers, so perhaps I'll find some new ones for Lucian and the baby.

Some other time perhaps I'll go into more detail about the struggles I had with breastfeeding in the beginning in hopes that it might help someone else. Or maybe just to remind myself how far I came in case I need some encouragement in the future. I might even do a "gadget review" of my trusty breast pump if I get up the nerve.

It was an incredible challenge, but one that I feel was a major triumph for me. I'm keeping the attitude that it can only get better the next time and I'm determined to do it again, but also accept it if this next child doesn't nurse for as long as Lucian did. (Or longer if necessary.)

When we went to the OB for the initial blood tests to confirm the pregnancy, Lucian was still nursing, but very occasionally. One of the first questions I asked the RN was about breastfeeding (if even only for comfort) while pregnant. She said it was perfectly fine up till 20 weeks and by then I would have to wean him because nipple stimulation causes a release in Prolactin which could bring on pre-term labor. Aren't you glad you know that now?

So, I kept that in mind for the next week or so, but gradually, he just stopped asking every morning. He let me down easy and I'm soooooo grateful! Even still, very rarely, he will put on a funny face as if to be playful and tell me he wants "mlauk" – which is his "pet name" for it. I have no idea why he picked that word, but he made it up as a way to differentiate between cow's milk and "boobay juices of luv" – which was my pet name for it – affectionately.

I've seen some TV stories of women who extended breastfeeding and – while I'm sort of in that "camp" because we went past two years – I thought it was silly that they had nicknames for breastfeeding. That was, silly until I realized that we were doing that too!! Now it doesn't seem silly any more – it's just the way it is and why bother feeling weird about it!

Well, that's a little update on some of the transitions I'm going through. I have more, but I'm trying to do shorter, more frequent posting. Plus I'm a bit hormonal so I try to think before I post more.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Gestation 2.0

Our family is pleased to announce something very exciting and here is Lucian to give you the special news!

We Found Nemo!
We just had our first sonogram and got to see the little sea monkey's heart beat and watch it float around. (I swear, it looked like a sea monkey!) It was a very special and exciting time for all of us. Lucian watched the monitor intently. The sonogram technician tried to explain it to Lucian and said, "See the little baby? It's swimming around in Mommy's belly like a little fishy!" Lucian was observant to point his little finger at the screen and exclaim, "Look! Nemo!" So now you know why we'll be nicknaming this baby "Nemo" for a little while. I laughed so hard and it took me a little while to regain composure so we could continue with the rest of the sonogram. (It doesn't work very well when your belly is moving around due to giggling.)

The sonogram printouts are now proudly hanging our our fridge. They all look identical and I wish the picture was clearer, but it turns out we're not as far along as the OB thought we were. Based on the measurements, the sonogram technician adjusted our due date from October 30th to November 9th. I'm still hoping for a Halloween baby though because second babies are usually earlier and if this pregnancy has the same complications as Lucian's then they would take the baby early anyhow. We'll just have to wait and see. (Something I'm not very good at!)

There isn't much to see in the photo, but seeing the heartbeat in action was enough to at least make it feel just a little more real. It's still very surreal. I thought maybe sharing the news might help with that. We're only 8 weeks and 5 days along (not 10 weeks like we originally thought) so it feels odd to share the news so much sooner than we did the first time around, but the sonogram technician said it was safe to share because there was movement and a good heartbeat.

Here is Nemo's very first baby picture!
According to the sonogram measurements, our little "Nemo" is 5.9 cm long. That's the length of my pinky so now I can't stop looking at my little finger and day dreaming just a little.

Standard Gestational Operating Procedure
I've been feeling very tired and have been trying harder to get more rest. That's why this blog and other social places have been quiet or dormant for so long. Lucian has been much more demanding of my time. With a new family member coming, I'm also trying to cherish more of our time together while it's still just him and us. We sleep in and snuggle more in the mornings because Pre School is just around the corner. (and because gestation is hard work!!) I know I'll never get these times back so I like to hold on to them just a little longer now.

It's also why I've been a little more stressed about finances, but I'm sure this is all normal. (I'll go into more detail about other things later.) Another reason I've been quiet is because I hate keeping secrets! I'm good at it, but I hate doing it! I was so afraid I would slip and spill the beans, so now that we've been to our first sonogram I feel a little better about letting the cat out of the bag.

It's still very early and things could go wrong, but after seeing it yesterday, there isn't any point in keeping it a secret any longer. Our family has known now for a couple of weeks. I suppose if something were to go wrong, I'd rather have more support than none at all. These feelings are all standard gestational operating procedure, I'm sure. I'm certainly a lot more relaxed about most things this time around but I think I'm much, much more tired!!

It's hard to imagine I was working full time the first time around. I don't know how I had the energy! Now that I'm a stay-at-home-mom, I have to say, it was nothing compared to working 24/7 for a busy toddler!! You can't call in late to a toddler who wants his breakfast N-O-W just because you'd like to try and hold on to your cookies.

Overall, we're very happy because we've been trying since October of last year, so this is very welcome news for us. I was just beginning to wonder how much longer it would take so I feel relieved since I'm not getting any younger! Luckily, I'll be delivering just before my 35th birthday! Whew!

Back to Blogging
I'm really hoping to get back into blogging about my life. I didn't keep a journal during my pregnancy with Lucian because I just didn't have the time and I was working full time. I really wished I would have because now, more than ever, is when I would really like to reflect on my past experiences to help give me a little confidence boost here and there. Not like I have any more time now, but there is a bit more flexibility so I'm going to give it a try. This blog will still be geeky in nature so it won't be a complete baby diary. I still have plans for other posts, but you know how it is these days, life first and then, if the urge sticks, then it might make it into the blog.

I might also try to write more about some of my past pregnancy and delivery experiences with Lucian. My delivery experience, to me, was very, very traumatic and I haven't yet found the strength or courage to write about it, but maybe it will come. Since almost 3 years has passed, I know I don't remember details like I did when it was happening to me and that's probably a good thing. Anyhow, I'm just going to have to try because writing is very therapeutic for me.

Gestation is hard work, but it's one of the most rewarding experiences a human can experience so I welcome the challenges to come!

Stay tuned for more updates and I hope you feel as blessed and lucky as we do.

Thanks for supporting my site!

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