Thursday, May 30, 2013

Three Books That Scare a Toddler

One particular toddler, who has discovered fear of the unknown, unfamiliar, and bizarre.

3) The Story of Babar: The Little Elephant by Jean Brunhoff

For LB, it's not so much the celebration of colonialism that's problematic, but more the (spoiler alert!) dead elephants.  LB's review, "Elephant fall down? Elephant okay?, elephant okay?, elephant okay?..." Cue frantic scramble to distract.

2) The Runaway Bunny by Margaret Wise Brown

LB seems fine with the obsessiveness of mama bunny, but she cannot abide mamma bunnies that turn into topiary or sailboats.  LB's review, "mama bunny okay? mama bunny okay?"

3) Moon Bear by Brenda Guiberson

This book has very distinctive and terrifying collage illustrations, and even the non-threatening parts of the story seem kind of threatening.  LB's review, "moon bear okay? moon bear okay?  no moon bear! no moon bear!"  Note to self: hide Moon Bear!

Sunday, May 26, 2013


I've been planning to write a post on blogs I read by people who aren't like me, but then I got caught up in a circular internal debate about what makes a blogger like or not like me, and whether that is a weird/presumptuous/oppressive categorization.  Nevertheless I read a lot of blogs by people who seem very different from me, people who wouldn't want to be friends with me, people who might even be appalled by me.

I want to be very clear that I read these blogs because I enjoy them, even if I sometimes strongly disagree with the ideas and opinions expressed by the authors.  I'm a naturally negative person, so I don't need to hate-read blogs for my daily dose of negativity.  When I judge online, it's mostly in situations where people seem to lack the most basic sense of self-preservation for themselves or others: people who give confident hack medical advice online, women who know they are experiencing serious symptoms of preeclampsia but chose to do nothing to get it checked out, an otherwise nice family that chose to expose a preemie recovering from pneumonia to dozens of people including children, and then expressed shock and confusion when said child landed in the PICU with a scary case of RSV (he recovered).  Those cases make me frustrated, but otherwise I really enjoy reading about people who live differently from me.

For your edification

What Are Your Running For, a really informative preeclampsia blog I just started reading

The Common Room, well-read, quirky, frugal, big Christian family

Held By His Pierced Hands, a young Catholic woman who is a self-described Hobo for Christ

Passionate Perseverance, Catholic wife and mom, caregiver for her young adult disabled daughter-I also find this "what I wore on Sunday" linky very charming

Put That On Your Blog, matching, outfits, decorating, and other stuff I know nothing about

In events in our lives, we, like many families in southern New England, used IKEA as our personal playground on Saturday.  LB's working on her cobra pose.

[need to find this pic]

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Even, Even More Reviews of Books About Preemies

And now for something more substantive.

I think I've hit the wall with my reading of books about preemies and their parents.  Probably that's a good stage in my emotional health.  For this installment I read This Lovely Life: A Memoir of Premature Motherhood by Vicki Forman, and Jenny Minton's The Early Birds: A Mother's Story for Our Times.  Forman is a professional writer and Minton worked in publishing and both books are nicely written and seem to reflect a good deal of care and editorial attention.

In This Lovely Life Forman has the more unusual and compelling story to tell, which is also to say the more tragic and complicated story.  She went into labor with her twins at 23weeks, and despite the wish of Forman and her husband that no extraordinary measure be taken to revive and support the babies, the hospital insisted on aggressive medical intervention.  Twin Ellie lived a few days, and twin Evan survived with significant disabilities.  He died at age four of complications related to one of his early surgeries.

Forman presents her story of mothering children who she wanted to let go in all its pain and confusion. I felt so much empathy and sadness for the Forman as they sought to do what they thought best for their children, and were blocked by an obfuscating institutional entity.  But, I also felt anger-both at Forman's father who comes off as a complete asshole, telling his daughter, among other things that "these children should never have been born."  It was also hard to take Forma sometimes, with her expectation that things like this don't happen to people like us (successful, wealthy, educated people) and at her surprise at her love for her disabled son.  This book was a good one to read so soon after I had finished Andrew Solomon's Far From the Tree, because Solomon gave me greater context for the feelings Forman expresses.

[I find that as the mother of an early, small baby who believes strongly in reproductive choice, I am often in a confusing ethical and emotional place.  I believe that the Formans should have had more say in the medical decisions for their babies.  I don't think it is wrong to withhold heroic medical measures for a very early, very sick baby, but neither do I think it wrong for a parent to ask for all measures, and it isn't wrong to want your baby to live, even if the child is likely to have serious lifelong disabilities.  Those choices, it seems to me, must be made from the heart.  The parents need to do what love tells them to do.  I'm much less sympathetic to the sort of casual eugenicism that assumes lives live with disability aren't worth living.]

Nevertheless, I really appreciated the work that Forman put into honestly representing her thoughts and feelings.  Evan died only a year before this book was published, and I'd be really interested to read what Forman would write in another ten or twenty years.  In this book, Forman's experience is raw and honest, but also jumbled and chaotic, I think a longer look back would allow her to shape her experience into a stronger narrative, although maybe it would be less honest.

Minton's story in The Early Birds is more ordinary: twins born at 31weeks, one of whom had a scary bout with NEC.  The book jacket states that "for 64 days [the boys] hovered, critically ill, in the neonatal intensive care unit,"  a description that seems overwrought and inaccurate.  In contrast, Minton captures the minutia of the NICU with a close eye.  The book is a straightforward narrative that takes the reader through pregnancy, birth, NICU and post-NICU babyhood.

Minton's larger point is a cautionary tale about fertility clinics and multiple births.  As she went through the process of getting pregnant and carrying twins, Minton was not warned of her risks of delivering early, and of the problems that early babies can face.  Potential parents should be more aware of the problems presented by a largely unregulated fertility industry and by preterm birth.  These are all good points, but to make a compelling case, Minton would really need to expand these parts of the book and provide more background information and analysis.

I'm not sorry I read these books, but overall I would recommend Alexa Stevenson's Half Baked as a more engaging preemie memoir, and Geoffrey Miller's Extreme Prematurity for a discussion of ethical issues related to premature infants.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Keep Calm and Carry On

Nothing much to see here, just a note to self.

This morning was our first meeting with LB's new speech therapist.  We'll have eight sessions over the next two months.  I like this woman.  She is a very good at giving explanations that a lay person can understand without making us feel like she's talking down to us.  I took LB a few minutes to warm up, and she was quieter than she is with us, but overall she had a good time, enjoyed playing, and seemed to really like the ST.  ST's take on LB: she needs to hear her talk more so she can get more information.  Fair enough.

Monday, May 20, 2013

"Any minute now I might get mine"

Sadly our powerball tickets did not hit, so here we are.

This weekend had lows of screaming toddler, and highs of everything else.  The highest highs were musical.  Burgers and beers in the backyard with Nashville Skyline, baking bread with Guitar Town.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Really Gay Parenting

I'm not sure that my mom realizes that rainbows are a gay thing, but she always manages to buy LB some rainbow items, so rock on my little gayby.

And that's really all the gay content I've got.  It's a good thing, not because B and I strive to be aggressively normative, but because gay is more of a parenting issue when we're vulnerable, and if this moment is not very gay it's because things are going well.

Not-very-gay gay parenting is a luxury I know that we are lucky to experience.  We are blue-state, legally married, fully documented, and dealing with a minimum of state interventions and experts.  It seems like there should be more ways to share the wealth.

After writing this, I opened the paper and read the sad story of the murder of Mark Carson.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

"Don't Stop/Make It Pop"

We awoke to a child screaming.  A child who wants her bitty (blanket), but doesn't want it to touch her.  A child who wants milk in a bottle, and not a sippy, even though she is no longer offered milk in a bottle.  We continued in that vein, and in anticipation of a long neb treatment, I offered a bribe of Maisy videos.

One of the best things about no longer having cable, is that we got a digital antenna and now we get a station called The Cool TV.  When I turned on the TV at 6:45am to start Maisy, The Cool TV popped up, and B and I stood transfixed in various states of undress in front of the video for "Tick Tock" by Ke$ha (Kay-dollar sign-huh).  The baby screeched for Maisy and nipped at our legs, but it was as if we were in the thrall of Ke$ha and her bottle of Jack.

OMG-now it's 9:00pm and I am once again watching The Cool TV, and after a bunch of Stone Temple Pilot shit (it must be the 90s at 9:00) they are showing Natalie Imbruglio's video for "Torn."  This video was in heavy rotation the last time that I had cable while MTV was still playing videos.  It's quite possible that I watched this video many times while on my breaks from my job at the Starbucks around the corner and contemplating my first post-college break up, and it's possible that at that time I felt that the lyrics for "Torn" were a meaningful commentary on my life.  But, now the songs over and that feeling is fading quickly.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Night Train

One blissful side effect of my parents' visit is that LB is now letting us read her a wider range of books.  She was on a book restricting kick for a month and we were down to only Maisy's Christmas, which has no narrative and is barely even a book.  Now we are back in Badgerland with Bedtime for Frances.  Much better, except that LB now finds the book scary, but still insists on reading it.  For each page, LB asks "Frances okay?" and must be reassured multiple times before moving on.  Is this a stage when we should stop reading books with terrifying themes like sleeplessness and the weird shadows made my robes?

I figured that I would test LB's gayby knowledge by asking her to point out the daddy, mama, and baby in a scene with Frances and her parents, but LB would only point out the cake, and chortle "LB's cake.  LB eat cake!" On the next page she pointed out the daddy badger and baby badger, and to try and give her some frame of reference for the world of daddies, I reminded her that she has a granddad (one who looks a bit like the father badger in the Frances books).  That was a happy thought and LB said "Granddad, Granddad, my Granddad!" This comes a week or so after one night a bedtime she started saying very insistently, "My daddy!  My daddy!" for no apparent reason.  I assume that's a daycare thing.

So far, LB is very anti gay-affirming children's literature.  My mom says she read The Family Book to LB, but I know she never lets me read it.  She would have nothing to do with Mama, Mommy, and Me when I got it out of the library.  She tolerates And Tango Makes Three, but just barely.  Her distain seems to come from a combined rejection of human characters and earnestness, and I can respect that.  I can only imagine that her teenage years will be spent reading nihilistic sci-fi novels, but even so, you can fit gay mamas into any genre, right?

Monday, May 13, 2013

A Day Without Mothers

At some point on Sunday, B leaned over and said "should we feel guilty that we aren't spending Mothers' Day with our daughter?" and I said, "we spend every damn day with that child." And I meant that in the most non-mean and non-cynical way. I love "that child" dearly and I am so incredibly thankful that she is ours.  Nevertheless, we spent this weekend galavanting around town while my parents spent time with (spoiled) LB.

On Saturday, we had lunch at Farmstead, where you can either go meaty or cheesy.  We went meaty, and now I'm a little sad.  Next time, we have agreed that we will just get a huge cheese platter and beers.  The meatiness was quite good, and we overindulged.  I really like Farmstead, and we have always had enjoyable slow service, which we stretched out even more with dessert and coffee.  After lunch, we wandered through Fox Point and College Hill and looked at all the historic houses, and I tried out my limited knowledge of historical architecture on B, "it's Federal!," "it's Second Empire!"

But, we didn't stop there, we went to the Cable Car and ate candy and saw a movie about ne're-do-well Scots and whiskey.  Then we waited a long time for the bus, and finished up at the Ivy Tavern for beer and seafood chowder-and please believe me that I would not eat chowder in a bar unless it generally had really good food.

Meanwhile back at the ranch, the child behaved perfectly, weeded the backyard like a pro, ate healthy food, and accomplished various other unbelievable feats.

So, Sunday we went out for more on the West Side of Providence.  We started at Mr. Lemon for Italian ice, which is exceptionally soft and good.  I don't know exactly where we were, but let me just say that a "bad neighborhood" in Providence doesn't have anything on a "bad neighborhood" in Baltimore.  We got a little bit lost in the area around Providence College, and I saw the most heinous college slum I have ever seen: an entire neighborhood that was a debris field of red solo cups, shirtless white guys with lacrosse sticks, and rundown houses.

Next stop, New York System in Olneyville, home of the Hot Wiener.  We got some hot wieners and a coffee milk.  The fries were just okay, but everything else was excellent and it was a great old-school place.  We finished up at LaSalle Bakery for a pizza strip (red sauce on pizza dough served a room temp, delicious) and a cupcake.  We went home to a happy, tired child, and all was good.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Ode to a Tough Lady

Our old dog passed yesterday.  She came to us as an older rescue, recovering from a bad case of heartworm and years of neglect.   She was a good girl, but I think her earlier life had left her very self-contained and unable to really bond with humans.  A month or so after we got her, she started barking madly at dogs, sketchy men, and any other perceived threat.  I think she had decided that she liked life with us, and was willing to do what it took to stay, even if that meant becoming a guard dog.  In the last few months, she has become a skinny, patchy version of her former self.  A good lady.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Happy families are all alike

I think my eyes were bigger than my eyes.  This is not the book pile of a non-traveling parent, but I will do my best.

So far, I've read Heaven is Here by Stephanie Neilson, who has the NieNie Dialogues blog. I enjoyed this book, but it would be better as a novel.  Sweet, shallow, pretty girl has the perfect childhood, marries the handsome love of her life, bears four lovely children, and then has a tragic accident that threatens to steal everything that she valued in life.  How good would that story be in the hands of a novelist, who would take care not to create the unbelievably perfect early life that Neilson describes.

As a reader, I feel free to critique Emma Bovary, Elizabeth Bennett, and Harriet the Spy.  They don't care if I look for their flaws and discuss them with the world.  Stephanie Neilson is a real person with thoughts and feelings, and ownership over her life story.  As a reader, this first-person age of memoirists, diarists, and bloggers is problematic.  Can you read a strangers life story in a way that is both compassionate and analytic?  Can you say anything to someone like Neilson about her own story beyond the equivalent of a gif hang-in-there kitten?

There is so much interesting material in Neilson's story about body image and gender roles.  She reports that after coming out of a months-long coma, her overwhelming emotion was guilt.  Not just guilt about choosing to get in a plane that then crashed, but guilt that she was burned and no longer pretty (she is still a very attractive person) and no longer normal.  A fictional piece would be able to dig into this idea of the burdens of perfection, while Neilson can't quite go there-and it's her story, so she doesn't owe us any feminist analysis.

I'm also reading The Magician King by Lev Grossman right now, and honestly, his fantastical world of Fillory is more familiar to me than Neilson's world of happy families.  It's interesting to read Neilson's blog alongside the blog of her sister Courtney Kendrick.  Kendrick tells stories of family joy, but also one of family pressures and constraint.  While Kendrick's writing is more understandable to me, I'm not sure that it's more honest.  It does seem to me that Neilson represents her own psyche, her own worldview, as authentically as possible, although the world she describes is barely comprehensible to me.  Shortly before reading Heaven is Here, I heard this speech by Elizabeth Smart about human trafficking and the lesson that will help young people survive and save themselves.

Interesting stuff.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Proust's Goddamn Madeleine

My professional niche mean that I encounter the story of Proust and his madeleine often, or maybe I've just become oversensitized to Proust and his madeleine, so whenever a reference pops up I notice it.  In Proust's telling, he bites into a madeleine as an adult and it leads to an overwhelming sense memory of childhood, a memory mostly of feelings rather than words.  After reading a bunch of references, I actually went to the library and read some Proust, which I did not enjoy.  I suspect most of those people who reference Proust and his madeleine haven't read Proust, and wouldn't like him if they did.

Nevertheless, the senses do provoke amazing memories.  For me, the smell of sauteing onions and garlic combined with the sound of a vinyl record popping and hissing brings me straight back to childhood, sitting in the living room in front of the stereo while my dad cooked dinner.  A certain smell of damp woods in summer brings me back to summer camp and I can almost feel my bare feet running along dirt paths.  I can't even remember what old school phones sounded like, but I'm sure the sound would bring me back to my childhood kitchen standing in front of our one yellow rotary phone.

I wonder what will trigger LB's memories?

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Austerity Plan

This post was supposed to be a virtuous one.  As I walked to Whole Foods (and I know they are kind of evil, but I can walk there with only minimal risking of life), I planned to buy some sweet potatoes and make sweet potato fries for only pennies a portion (or dimes).  But, as it turns out, sweet potatoes, and all other sweet potato type flora, were $2.49/lb!  Unfrickenbelievable.  Are these sweet potatoes hand fed dishes of milk like Almanzo's pumpkin?  Do they wear little sweaters spun from gold thread?  In my world, sweet potatoes cost 79 cents/lb, which mean about 99 cents at Whole Foods prices.  Apparently I'm as in touch with the price of groceries as your average president (love ya' Barack).

So instead of my unsullied sweet potatoes, I bought a bag of frozen sweet potato fries for $3.39/15oz.  More expensive per lb, but when you consider the wastage that occurs when a sweet potato is peeled at home, and applications of olive oil and spices, and the fact that homemade sweet potato fries taste virtuous, by which I mean soggy, I calculated that the bag of prepared fries cost me only a few cents more, and I also cursed less while preparing them.  The frozen fries were much tastier than my home version, but likely decidedly less healthy.  I know the bagged fries had more tapioca starch, but then my eyes glazed over as I kept reading the ingredient list.  I just requested Michael Moss's Salt, Sugar, Fat from the library.  Hopefully it will make me hate myself into a love of healthy food.

It's always hard to know what's worth spending money on when you're on the austerity plan.  Our budget is already pretty lean, and our tastes reasonable.  That means that we don't have much latte factor to cut.  We already got rid of our car and cable.  We mostly eat a home.  We mostly don't buy stuff for the sake of stuff.  Still, there are those zipcar trips and loaves of bread from the good bakery.  I've seen people become so frugal that they neglect their own health and wellness (fresh fruit!) and are unable to maintain even a minimal social life.  Sometimes desperate times call, but since we are only in austere times I suppose we can still indulge in a bag of sweet potatoes fries or any sweet potato at all.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Just Tell Me I'm Not Lazy

Today I tried to replace the batteries in our flock of SleepSheep, and successfully got one of the flock running again (I know the battery casing needs to be childproof, but, seriously SleepSheep Corp., you are killing me).

I also did five loads of laundry, folded dish towels, did dishes, unloaded the dish washer, weeded a small patch of the backyard, watered some non-weedy looking plants, carried the dog outside and inside three time, swiffered under the bed, made the bed, threw out some old New Yorkers, sent a bunch of emails, prepared to grade papers that I did not actually grade, put documents sitting on the computer in folders, wrote a letter I've been meaning to write, made a list, went to the library, did daycare drop-off and pick-up (that's five miles walking if you're counting), and made soup and popovers for dinner.

And I'm pretty sure that no one cares about any of that stuff except for me and B., maybe the people who received some communication from me after a long period of radio silence, and the couple people I flipped off while walking back and forth to daycare (stop signs, traffic rules people).  So I'm writing this list to remind my almost unemployed self that I am not lazy.  Hopefully my house will be spotless by the time I stop overcompensating.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Review: Andrew Solomon's Far From the Tree: Parents, Children, and the Search for Identity

First off, I borrowed this book from the library.  I read this book for free!  How amazing is that?  I am really loving the library and trying to get in the habit of requesting books online as soon as I see something interesting.

I was telling someone how much I "enjoyed" this book, and he expressed surprise that I would use that particular word to describe my experience of a book that is about, among other things, children with severe disabilities, children conceived during rape, and children who become criminals.  The topics covered in the book are challenging, but Solomon has a thoughtful approach.  One of his central points, is the diversity and complexity of parental response to atypical kids.  While many parents go through a period of mourning and/or experience day-to-day hardships, they also find joy and meaning in their lives with their children.  He also explores atypical identities that bring individuals pride and joy, and those that bring burden, suffering, or shame.

This book is 702 pages of narrative, with another couple hundred pages of notes, which made me incredibly happy.  Usually non-fiction is just too short and I'm left with a million questions.  Solomon does a great job including multiple stories that illustrate his point about the diversity of experience.  However, I'd be very surprised if his editor didn't try to make him cut it down and tighten it up.  Solomon opens with the overarching theme of the book--the idea of horizontal identities, that is, identities not inherited vertically from a parent and instead tie the child to another identity group to which his/her parents don't belong.  At various points in the book, this theoretical center slips away, overwhelmed by the power of individual stories.  I was fine with that slippage, I love big, messy books, but I could imagine some readers finding in frustratingly meandering, particularly in the second section of the book.

Solomon is a gay man and a gay dad.  At the beginning and end of the book he talks about how these identities shaped his own life.  On pages 692-693 (if you're reading on a Kindle you're SOL) he describes so many of the feelings I had as a lesbian-mom to be (regret at not being able to have a child that was genetically related to both me and B, uneasiness with the fertility industry) that I would like to just photocopy those two pages and hand them out to anyone starting the process or asking me nosy questions on the bus.

If you are someone who likes non-fiction, particularly medical non-fiction, and enjoys a mix of personal stories and theory, I highly recommend this book.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Preeclampsia Awareness: Preeclampsia and Denial

May is National Preeclampsia Awareness Month, yay!  I've already done posts on my personal experience with preeclampsia, so this time, in honor of Preeclampsia Awareness, I thought I'd write about "Preeclampsia: The Disease Nobody Wants to Have."

The Preeclampsia Foundation describes the symptoms of preeclampsia as follows:

Some women have no symptoms, and others have atypical symptoms like liver pain that presents in an unusual place.  Women like myself always have an impending sense of doom, so a sense of impending doom isn't really helpful as a diagnostic clue.  All of these symptoms are also experienced by some women who go on to have uneventful pregnancies.

The ordinariness, vagueness, and inconsistencies of preeclampsia symptoms present a lot of problems for pregnant women and health care providers.  When my blood pressure first started rising around week 24, my providers took notice, but they also suspected because it was so early in my pregnancy that I likely had PIH rather than preeclampsia.  They told me to take it easy, eat calcium-rich foods, and monitor my blood pressure at home.  They also ran a pre-e blood work panel, which came back fine.  In retrospect, I think I received good care, but I wish that they had had me come in for an office blood pressure check once a week.  It was too easy to explain away my high BP readings at home (I had the cuff too tight, I just walked up the stairs), and when at 27 weeks, I had an in-office reading of 160/100 I had absolutely no idea that I was doing so poorly.

  • I don't want to be a baby about it.  Looking back, my biggest symptom of pre-e was exhaustion, but I kept going.  I'd taken on extra work to build up our savings.  I did multiple weekend of work travel.  I don't think being crazy-busy caused preeclampsia, but I wished I had listened to my body more and rested more.  In the big scheme of things, none of that work stuff really mattered, but at the time, but I didn't want to be a baby and say "I can't do that because I'm pregnant and exhausted."  Note to self: don't lean in.

  • I'm healthy (thin, fit, eat a great diet, eat tons of protein, etc., so I can't have preeclampsia).  Being overweight is a risk factor for preeclampsia.  Many women, particularly in natural birth circles, extrapolate this fact to mean that thin women who eat a natural foods diet can't get preeclampsia, or that preeclampsia can be cured by eating certain healthy foods.  I am a thin, healthy woman, who ate a high-protein natural foods diet before and during pregnancy, and I got preeclampsia.  Any pregnant women can get preeclampsia and all the hard boiled eggs in the world won't change that fact.

  • I don't want to have to change my birth plan.  I did not want to have a c/s.  I did not want to have a medical birth.  Although I planned to birth in a hospital with midwives, I was terrified of the hospital.  And then I got very sick, and much like my worklife, my plans for the birth didn't matter as much as staying alive.  I consider myself very lucky to have been a baby friendly hospital where staff was used to working with women who wanted natural births.  If you are sick and have to change your original plans, do look for the best options in your area for providers and hospitals that respect women.  Don't deny/downplay/ignore your symptoms in hopes that you can stick with your original plan.

  • I don't want to be pushed into a c/section or induction.  As a patient you have the right to know your options and to receive factual evidence about those options.  You should not feel bullied or railroaded (another reason it is important to have a provider and hospital you trust).  There are doctors out there who might jump the gun too soon for minor symptoms of pre-e.  They might do this for understandable reasons-maybe their last preeclamptic case was a bad one, or for self-interested reasons-the classic combo of convenience and defensive medicine.  As patients it's not our job to manage all the complexities of pre-e, so you really, really need a qualified, ethical, and decent provider who will act with your best intentions at heart.  I did not have the birth I had wanted, but I always felt that my providers were acting in my best interest, and that made me feel better about the experience.

  • My doctor says I'm find and I don't want to be a whiner.  This wasn't my experience, but a significant number of women report being ignored or having their symptoms downplayed.  This story is a harrowing example with a happy ending.

  • That blood pressure reading was just a fluke.  Yeah, I said that a lot.  My retrospective advice: keep a log of your BP readings, ask to have an in-office reading at least once a week, and call your provider any time that your reading is over 150/90 (or whatever numbers they give you for your threshold).  Also call in and report any of the symptoms on the big list at the top of this post.  When in doubt, get checked out.

  • I feel fine.  Even though I was exhausted in the days before I ended up on hospital bed rest, I basically felt fine.  In the hospital, I basically felt fine.  I had no swelling, no headaches, just some bad heartburn.  I really don't like to think about how things might have gone, if I had trusted the way I felt rather than my blood pressure readings and blood work.  It was really only in the day before I had LB that I started to feel bad, and even then it was a non-specific bad, likely due to my rapidly dropping platelets.
I wish no one needed this post, and I wish that there were more resources for women with preeclampsia or possible preeclampsia.  The fact that this little blog gets so many hits from people searching for preeclampsia info suggests to me that there is still a dearth of information.  I'm wishing all of you safe passage this May.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Live Free or Die Trying

Last night was the last leg of my last extreme commute.  I find myself relived, very relieved, and sad, and excited, and scared.  I feel like the rest of my life has begun, but I don't quite know what that means.  The rest of my life got off to an inauspicious start today.  I kept LB home from daycare because she had an evaluation.  So we got a mellow start and ate oatmeal and mangos and I even took her to the park (I am supermom).  Then we came home to a smelly, messy house, our slowly dying dog, and a last minute assignment for a potential job.

The evaluation team arrived a hour later to a messy house, a dying dog, a fussy child, and me.  I don't know if I have ever so fully achieved the stereotype of "stressed out working mom."  I spent the evaluation urging LB on while I also frantically trying to compose appropriate emails about arcane matters.  If you've read here for any amount of time, you will know that I have a typo problem, one that should have been beaten out of me during my many, many years of education, but I guess I'm just an overachiever.

I kept it together with only a little fraying at the edges until the evaluators started asking important questions like, "what are some words you would use to describe your family."  I had a mini-freakout and got all quavery as I told them to just write down that I had declined to answer, and please move on BECAUSE I'M CLEARLY STRESSED AND I CAN'T DO THIS RIGHT NOW!.

LB did her stuff and scored similarly to her last evaluation.  This test included a picture of a rotary phone for her to identify.  Even my luddite parents don't have a phone like that.  Ridiculousness.  They gave her a "significant delay" for gross motor, which came as surprise, but she also wouldn't run or climb stairs for them, so we'll get another eval with a PT and see what's up.  Her other problem area was speech, particularly articulation, which we have noticed at home, so she'll also get a speech evaluation.

Meanwhile, in my home state there are conspiracy theories and conservative revolutions.