Saturday, June 30, 2007

Photo Saturday & Funny Reactions

So here is our red picture:

The Boss Lady

When we heard the theme, there wasn't any question as to what we would post. Maggie is, after all, a red dachshund. In fact, she is maybe brindle or mahogany; she's red with a black stripe that starts at the top of her neck and goes all the way to the tip of her tail. She's a rescue, so no one ever told me the official name for her color.

In this picture she's wearing her red bandana that says "Boss Lady." We put it on her because once, when Co was walking her, a passerby saw our 12-pound wonder trying to drag her Mommy (while Mommy said "Come on, Maggie!") and the stranger said, "Who's the boss? Maggie's the boss!"

We repeat this phrase often in our home.

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Here are the funny reactions: today was the annual 4th of July picnic at Co's brother's mother-in-law's (follow that?) house. Brother J. had told friends and family about Flipper, and some even greeted Co's belly by name. It was really sweet. J. shared this story about telling family: He called one of C's aunts, Aunt M., who responded with excitement, and shared the news with her husband -- Uncle V. -- while she was still on the phone. Uncle V. said (J. could hear him) "Co's pregnant? How tha fuck d'tha' happen??"

A colleague of mine, who has been home with her baby this year, saw Co at our school's 8th grade graduation and made her as a pregnant lady (my colleague knew we'd been trying). When she told her husband she thought Co was pregnant, he responded, "Way to go, Lo!"

Way to go, Lo, indeed.

(Now scroll down and read my other post!)

Friday, June 29, 2007

Gobbets

The title is the word my synoptic gospels professor used to refer to a chunk of text. (e.g. that one had chosen to work with for a paper)

*First of all, a big shout-out of joy to Art-Sweet because GUATEBABY IS COMING HOME!!!

*We went to a wedding this past weekend. It was great fun, a truly joyous occasion. At the reception, a boy toddler paid a great deal of attention to Co. One of the many old wives tales I've heard about how to predict the sex of your fetus is: if a boy toddler pays attention to your belly, it's a girl. If a boy toddler ignores your belly, it's a boy. (Heterosexist much? Not to mention that there is no interpretation of a girl toddler's behavior; boys get all the agency.) Now technically speaking, the toddler flirted with Co, not so much her belly. So is Flipper a girl? Is the little boy gay? (Or, as Co insists on pointing out, did she just look a bit like his mom?) (Pix up at flickr family/friends, should you care.)

*I am done with school! This means I get paid for sitting on my ass. However, I always get really anxious and stressed out that I am not being more productive. I am trying NOT to do that.

Thusly, here is the first edition of Lo's Highly Opinionated Movie Reviews: We saw Knocked Up in the actual theatre, and rented The Messengers and Children of Men. The former was extremely funny, but beware if you have TTC issues at all. Nothing like an "oops!" pregnancy to make you crazy. The Messengers, frankly, you can skip, but we both like stupid thrillers. Children of Men...well, it was just so dark. I wouldn't recommend it to anyone TTC. Or pregnant. Or with kids. Maybe I just wasn't in the right mood, but it seemed terribly bleak and too easy to imagine. And it didn't seem like a call to arms in the way The Handmaid's Tale did.

Plus, I've been taking advantage of the twice-daily showing of Str0ng Medicine. I was so sad when that show was cancelled...quality health-care is my old-fart fantasy. And of course, Rosa Bl@si is hot.

We also got professionally measured for bras at M@cy's! (I was excited about this venture, but really, it was just a lady with a tape measure. It was free though so the letdown wasn't too severe. And sure enough, I've been wearing the wrong size.)


*On my List of Scary Things To Do Over The Summer is: make room for Flipper. Our apartment is pretty small and we have expanded to fill it. Today I took some measurements that make me feel cautiously optimistic. I'll keep you updated. In short, we do not have a whole extra room that we get to dress up as a nursery. The current plan is to move a piece of furniture so that we can fit a small bedlike thing into the bedroom (we're thinking of this at the moment, comments and advice very welcome, though no promises to follow it). Then we'll move things around in our office so that a changing table/dresser and some shelves can be kept there.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Resolution: Dr. Take-a-Breath

So, I've told you this before, but... my wife rocks. She is the greatest when it comes to making pushy phone calls and pretending to be me.

We finally called the pulmonary specialist while someone was there and they wanted to give us an appointment for next week. If I had my Pulm*cort in hand, that would've been fine, but it's been 2 days and my PCP has not yet bothered to call my pharmacy back and tell them which dose of the Flexh*ler to give me. Given that my PCP erred and told me Flov*nt was Cat B when it wasn't thus creating this crisis and then gave me a scrip for a phantom turbuh*ler that no longer exists, I am not at all pleased that she didn't call my pharmacy back for 2 days. I might write a letter.

So, no longer counting on my PCP to deliver, I wanted a sooner appointment. I need a safe scrip, dammit! So, Lo played the "but I'm pregnant!" card and they fit us in same day. Hurray!

Dr. Take-a-Breath was exactly what I needed, not because I needed a pulmonary specialist, but because I needed a doctor who would be nice and reassuring and not treat me like the first asthmatic ever to get knocked up. She thought it was good that I'd switched from Adv*ir to Flov*nt before getting pg because she said she would've been more concerned about me taking Adv*ir while pregnant because it has Ser*vent in it and that is known to make asthma get worse and cause deaths in rare cases. I told her what I knew about the animal studies involving Flov*nt and how since I was 4 mos. pg, any damage was probably already done. She just smiled and told me my baby was going to be fine. I know she can't possibly know that, but I liked that she just wasn't worried at all. She basically kind of saw the sitch for what it was... this is my first baby, I am anxious and want everything to be okay, and my PCP got too flustered by fears of malpractice to help me so she passed the buck to a specialist, but I didn't really need to be there because my asthma just isn't that serious and is easily controlled by inhaled corticosteroids and a rescue inhaler and all I really needed was for someone to write me a scrip for a medication that actually exists and stamp it with the letter B to make me feel better. She told me she wasn't concerned about the Flov*nt I had already taken. She said, "I want you to take some breathing tests if you have some time tonight to do that, but after that, I will write you a scrip for whatever category of med you want. There are a lot of meds that are completely safe to take during pregnancy. Don't worry. We'll take good care of you."

Being taken care of instead of being made to feel anxious? Really? Doctors can DO that even while you're pg?

So, I took the 4 breathing tests. It was more than I've ever done before. I've done the one where they make you blow into a tube as hard as you can, but the tests I took last night involved a weird glass booth and pinching my nose shut with a clip, and of course blowing as hard as I could through a tube at times. The tests were probably unnecessary but I didn't mind her being thorough as long as I was there.

Anyway, 30 minutes later, the weird breathing tests were done and I met with Dr. Take-a-Breath again. She told me my breathing test results were good and showed that my asthma was well-controlled by the Flov*nt and we should keep it controlled during pregnancy with a different inhaled corticosteroid. She told me unequivocally that Pulm*cort was completely safe during pg (unlike my PCP who said it was Cat B/C, not Cat B) and gave me a scrip for the highest dose of the Flexh*ler. She gave me enough refills to last the duration of my pregnancy and told me I didn't need to see her again unless my asthma got worse. She wished me good luck and sent me and Lo on our way.

So, finally, a resolution. Finally, I can breathe.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

That's Right... I'm Going to Complain

I have been loathe to complain about my pregnancy on this blog. Yes, I had a post about rhinitis of pregnancy and have alluded to my vomit fests and my tingling/numb thigh, but I really have tried not to go on about it.

I have been loathe to complain about my pregnancy thus far because (a) I am just so thrilled to be pg that I kind of haven't minded the physical stuff very much (and I liked having symptoms because they were reassuring), (b) I tend to downplay my physical ails to most of the world as a general rule so I've continued to do that during pregnancy, and (c) because my symptoms haven't been truly debilitating so I don't feel like I have a right to complain.

But I'm going to complain about the psychological ails because I am not as equipped to cope with them... namely, anxiety. I have always been prone to anxiety. Not enough to be diagnosed with a disorder. I've done scales with a therapist and everything and they never qualify me for a diagnosis. But despite that, I am a pretty anxious person.

What are you supposed to do with anxiety when you're pregnant? I can't go for a hard run, which is my favorite anti-anxiety strategy ordinarily. I've been exercising daily by walking, but walking just isn't the fix that running is for me. I can't have a glass of wine or overindulge on chocolate (sugar crosses the placenta). I am really not cut out for meditation, I don't think, but at this point, I'd probably try anything if someone has a good concrete, safe-for-pregnancy suggestion for me.

Safe-for-pregancy. That's a laugh because that's the cause of my big anxiety at the moment. Before conceiving, I tried to do everything right. (I realize that's a big part of my problem. I'll get to that later.) One of the things I did was make an appointment with my PCP and have her switch all my meds to safe-for-pregnancy Category B meds. For example, she switched up my inhaled corticosteroid asthma medicine from Adv*ir to Fl*vent, and told me that Fl*vent was "Cat B."

When my MWs told me that Fl*vent was Category C, I wasn't too alarmed because I remembered the conversation I had with my PCP. One of the MWs even said that her reference book was an older book, so maybe it had been changed to Cat B, but that I should check it out with my PCP.

Well, I did. I wasn't wrong that my PCP had told me it was Cat B. She had even written that in my chart. She was wrong about Fl*vent being Cat B. It is clearly Cat C, according to every single source she looked it up in. She must've read it wrong somehow. Apparently, animal studies have shown Fl*vent to cause slow embryo growth and birth defects (specifically, cleft palate) in mice, rats, and rabbits. There are no well-controlled studies on pg women to say either way if the same is true of human fetuses. Hence, the Cat C classification.

The appointment got frustrating after that. My PCP first tried to switch me to a whole new class of Cat B drug called mast cell stabilizers (Crom*lyn). I asked if those were related to Singul*ir, because I'm severely allergic to Singul*ir. (Yes, I'm allergic to an allergy medicine. What can I say?) Even though Crom*lyn is not related to Singul*ir, me noting my propensity for allergic reactions scared her off of switching me to a whole new class of drug that I've never tried before. She switched me instead to the Cat B/C inhaled corticosteroid Pulm*cort. My MWs and severa sources list Pulm*cort as Cat B. Pulm*cort is considered safe to use during pregnancy because there have been controlled studies involving pregnant women who used it and no teratogenic effects were found. However, my PCP said it wasn't Cat B, it was Cat B/C because some sources still considered it Cat C. So, the rub is... everyone agrees that Pulm*cort is less effective than Flov*nt in treating asthma, but there is not universal agreement that it's Cat B. Still, I'd rather take that than Flov*nt.

My PCP passed the buck and has referred me to a pulmonary specialist who has the wackiest hours ever and I haven't even been able to speak to someone about making an appointment yet. So, during pregnancy, I apparently must see 2 specialists that I never needed to see when I wasn't pregnant: an endocrinologist and a pulmonary specialist. It's making me feel like I'm too sick to be pregnant. If that's true, why didn't someone tell me that before I got pg? My R.E. and my PCP both knew I was TTC. No one told me I was too sick to do that.

So, my PCP prescribed the Pulm*cort Turbuhal*r for me, but I don't have any Pulm*cort yet. That's because apparently the company now only makes the Pulm*cort Flexhal*r, which comes in different doses than the older, no-longer-sold Turbuhal*r. So, my pharmacist can't give me any until my PCP calls back and tells him which dosage of the Flexhal*r to give me. So, basically, right now I have no safe meds for controlling my asthma in my house, except my Albuterol inhaler, which doesn't treat my inflammation.

In case you're wondering if I could just go off all the inhaled steroids, that's the other thing that all my medical professionals seem to agree that I shouldn't do. It's a risk-benefit thing. The potential complications of me having a severe asthma attack during pregnancy are much worse than the potential complications of taking a Cat C medication. An attack during pregnancy could mean Flipper goes without oxygen and that of course could result in death or developmental disabilities. A severe asthma attack isn't likely if I go off the inhaled steroid meds though. They're anti-inflammatory meds, so most likely I'd just have tightness in my chest, shortness of breath, and wheezing. Could I live like that for the next 5 months if I had to? Sure. Would that be better for Flipper? Probably not. Me choosing to live with uncontrolled asthma will increase my risks of premature birth and all kinds of other bad things. So, again, it's less risky to take a Cat C med than to not control my asthma for the rest of the pregnancy.

(Oh, and I already tried going off it anyway, against medical advice. I didn't tell Lo. I just stopped taking the Flov*nt to see if maybe I was one of the lucky 1/3 whose asthma improves during pregnancy. Three days after stopping the Flov*nt, Lo told me she could hear me wheezing and that my breathing didn't sound good. She asked me point blank if I'd stopped taking my Flov*nt and I fessed up that I had. So, basically, the answer is... if I stop taking an anti-inflammatory med, my asthma is not going to be controlled. If only it were that easy.)

The worst thing is... now I'm really anxious. If the Flov*nt was going to do any damage, it's probably already been done during the first tri, when I mistakenly thought it was "safe-for-pregnancy".

Not being the most rational person on Earth, I have already convinced myself that I have given Flipper a birth defect. (I haven't slowed his growth though, because he has measured ahead at every u/s.) Now, if Flipper has a cleft lip or a cleft palate, that really isn't the end of the world. I know that. And if that had happened and it was just one of those random occurrences or something, Lo and I would be upset, but we would love our little Flip and deal with it and ultimately, it would be fine. But that's different from knowing that Flipper might have a birth defect that I CAUSED. I mean, really, shouldn't I at least wait until the kid is born before f**king up his life?

And I know there's a good chance Flipper is fine despite the Flov*nt. Lo keeps reminding me that I'm not a mouse or a rabbit.

But that just doesn't soothe me. Maybe I'm keyed up from the hormones so the anxiety is worse than usual. Maybe I just have been trying too hard to be perfect during this pregnancy and can't deal with the fact that I am not. Maybe I am just furious that my body isn't healthier than it is.

So, sorry, but I'm going to complain about this. Maybe I'll feel better after complaining. Maybe not. But it's all I can think to do.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Photo Friday & Our Weekend

I will start with my entry to Photo Friday:
S's Grass Foot

That's Nephew S's foot. We (me, Co, Nephew S and his parents, my mom and her husband, and assorted friends) spent the weekend here.

I have waxed cheesy, if not eloquent, about this festival on the blog before. Suffice to say that I felt at home, and at peace, for these two days, in a way I do not usually.

Photo documentation is, mostly, of babies. Last year the Canon was still new, and most of my pictures were attemped-artsy photos of the river, the weeping willows, perfomers taken with the optical zoom. This year? Between Nephew S. and Squeak, there was plenty to photograph.


An exception: here's Co enjoying a tasty treat from the food vendors. She wasn't able to finish it, though (I guess it looked better than it was?? I'll stop now...FYI, that's Ghir@rdelli chocolate. mmmmm).

This year I wasn't crazy about the musical line-up (which in some ways I prefer, because it's more relaxing to wander about, picking up literature from the activists, browsing the crafts, and plopping down the blanket to soak up some sun and music whenever the mood strikes, as opposed to tightly scheduled concert times). But, I present to you:






S. listening to Pete Seeger:
S plays with bottle

S. listening to Buffy Sainte-Marie:
S plays with tree



Finally, here is S. in his Father's Day shirt. (It reads,"Real Boys Wear Pink," and the back says "And my daddy eats quiche.") My sister noted that the first day of the festival, when S. was wearing blue overalls with sailboats (see pix above), people asked whether he was a boy or a girl. On day 2, in the pink T-shirt, people (obviously didn't read it) and assumed he was a girl. And this is, at least in theory, a politically radical crowd! Good grief. Flipper definitely needs one of J. and S.'s onesies!

And then, thanks to wonderful friends....we came home to a stroller in our apartment! Aaaah!

More pictures on flickr. Many are public, some are private, email if you want access.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Prenatal #3

We saw the midwife today and we heard Flipper's heartbeat!! We were both a little anxious, 'cause we're superstitious that way, so it was a relief. (The midwife wasn't at all worried, of course.) She didn't measure it exactly but said it was in the 150s or 160s. It was a wonderful, steady, loud sound, and she found it immediately. Swim, Flipper, swim!

We'll be scheduling the anatomy scan, when we will find out the sex if we can, in 5 to 6 weeks. Wow!

EDITED BY CO TO ADD: Our Nuchal Results were about 1 in 6200 for Downs and 1 in >10,000 for Trisomy 13 and 18. Sounds good to us.

I told my MW about a weird symptom, which I've had for several weeks. Tingling and numbness in my left thigh. She said no one really knows what causes the tingling/numbness symptom in some pregnant women, but it happens. Another patient of hers has it also. It's hypothesized that it's caused by the expanding uterus pressing down on nerves or blood vessels. But no one knows. And there's nothing to be done about it. Mostly, my experience is that it's worse at night when I lay down and it's just a weirdly annoying sensation. There was one night it was so intense I couldn't sleep. But it was only that bad once. My MW said her only suggestion, if it gets really bothersome, is to try acupuncture.

So, that's that.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

My Week So Far

It has been a tough week. At one time, I fantasized that once we got our BFP, there would be no more tough weeks. We would just float through each day on silver-edged clouds, smiling beatifically at each other.

Um, nope.

I finally finished my report cards over the weekend, with Co's amazing editing assistance. I only have to write 28 (this year), so I genuflect to folks like Bri, and the Spanish and P.E. teachers at my school, who have to write reports for a schoolful of brat - er, children (274 in our case). But my 28 are lengthy narratives and they come right out of my gut.

That was a good thing. But I started the week tired, and I still have to deal with ordering stuff for next year, and putting together a binder that shows what I did with the children all year and how it meets the state standards. And pack up my room.

Then there is some ugly friendship crap going on that has been taking a lot right out of my gut (and adding to the sleep deficit).

But here are the good things:
1. 6 days until school is over (even if I do have to finish all the above crap in the meantime)
2. 15 weeks today!
3. Midwife appointment tomorrow. Hopefully we'll hear the heartbeat. I'm a little nervous, as always.
4. Co dealt with her stress over the friendship thing by making her yummy Speci@l K cookies. Um, the cereal people, the cereal.
5. I heard from a friend who has been out of the country, and I have been out of touch with, for about 7 years. And I will probably see her again in a few weeks!

Now B@rt S1mpson is rapping on the tube, and Co is making her yummy sauce. I guess things are not so bad...

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Pride and Photo Friday


Today was Pride in our borough. Big City Pride is in a few weeks, but I haven't been in years now. It has become corporate (most disturbing because so many of the corporate floats are alcohol-related) and, to me at least, unmanageably big. So I especially love Borough Pride. This was its seventh year. It takes place outside our front door, conveniently enough. There's a stage in the park, and a small area called "Kidspace" where families put down blankets and listen to the music. (I got teary-eyed thinking that next year, God willing, we'll be there with Flipper.) There's a street fair all day, with tons of cheesy street fair stuff, but also plenty of political tables and other queer-related information. People of all sorts come to the fair, in many ways it's just a party for the borough, and I love seeing Orthodox Jews, straight couples with their kids, people speaking all manner of languages, all perfectly happy to be out partying with the queers.

Maggie at the Pride street fair always reminds me of Templeton at the county fair. She scoured the ground for treats and got lots of attention. We unexpectedly bought Flipper his/her first onesie (that we paid for). We haven't been tempted to buy anything baby-related at all, and we already have a bag of hand-me-downs in the living room and more coming...but this item was a necessity. It's navy blue with the name of our borough in green, spelled out using the symbols you see in the link.

The actual parade is at night, which is a fun switch-up. Lots of kids running around with glow sticks and rainbow paraphenalia. We marched with our congregration. The whole neighborhood comes out to watch, sitting on stoops and balconies and fire escapes, hanging out windows, lined up on the street corners and sitting in outdoor cafes. There are no barricades, so as Jennifer was remembering about her own city's Pride in the past, you can still run up and say hi to friends along the way, and jump in and out of the parade (I remember when Big City Pride used to be that way, but it's been a while).

This morning at services, our rabbi announced Co's pregnancy and publicly wished us "B'shaa tova." (That literally means "May it come at a good hour" and, according to my Israeli cousin, is a wish for the baby to be born at an auspicious time. In modern Jewish superstition it means, don't say Mazel Tov 'til the baby cries.) So Flipper was welcomed by our Jewish community.

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For Photo Friday, we decided to show you the back of our front door, because it's more interesting than the front. This is the door harp my mom and her husband gave us for our wedding.

Door Harp

The door harp is a tradition in my family. My mom read, and passed on to me, a book called Davita's Harp. (I wholeheartedly recommend it.) The door harp is a potent image in the book, so when we saw a crafts vendor selling them at our annual folk festival, Mom and I were excited to buy one. I was ten. (Just to clarify, I did not actually read the book for several more years, it's not a book for a ten-year-old.) That harp hung on the door of childhood homestead #2 until my mom sold it after my parent's divorce, ten years ago. My peripatetic (not to say unstable) mother has lived in six homes since then, and the door harp was mostly up, though I realize as I write this that I haven't seen it in her new place. I hope she still has it. Anyway, Co and I gave my sister and her husband a door harp when they got married, and then Mom gave one to us. Mom calls it a secular mezuzah.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Photo Friday: Weekend of Warm Fuzzies

We headed north this weekend, where we had several warm fuzzy adventures that made us both smile inside and out.

Western Mass Blog Bash was this weekend, and since it was held in the area where both my mother and sister live, Co and I saw no reason to resist another bloggy party. We stayed with my mom and got to see my sis and hang out with our now 7.5 month nephew, S.

I fall more in love with S. every time I see him. Because he reminds me of my sister as an infant, because he is a family baby, because he is his own delicious self. So he is the first warm fuzzy. There are many, many more pictures of on flickr but I'll hold myself to one on the blog. This is S. sitting in my sister's and my old wooden high chair, playing with our old toys (the apple and the blocks). There are many pictures of both my sister and myself at roughly his age, sitting in that high chair, with that same apple toy, that look virtually identical. My mom even had a yellow pad on the chair back in the '70s.

S. plays with blocks and apple

The main event of the weekend was the big blog get-together. We saw those we'd met before (E. and A., J. and S.) and met some wonderful new folks (new being a relative term given our blogging familiarity): Jude and Jen, CD and SP, and K. I can't say enough about what a good time I had, and how full-up I felt after spending time with these women. I can't wait to get together again. I do feel as though, to quote our IVP sister Cali, I made Friends this weekend. It's a good feeling. (This warm fuzzy goes without a photo here on the blog; pix are friends-only on flickr. Email me if you want to be added.)

Other warm fuzzies from the weekend include our very first baby gift from my mom (a board book of the Very Hungry Caterpillar with a matching stuffed toy, from the Eric C@rle Museum); and our very first baby hand-me-downs from my sister. Co got some great maternity clothes (handed down from our California cousin, who has impeccable taste!) and my sister gave us a bag of S's tiny-baby clothes, blankets, etc. We also saw my high school English teacher, now a family friend, who regaled us with tales of her own births in the 1960s. We've come a long way, ladies...

Finally, it is truly inconceivable (pun intended) that we'd post about warm fuzzies and leave out our warmest fuzzy of all. Here is Maggie, the first baby, snoozing on her Grandmom's couch. Co snapped a pic because of the odd position.

Dangling Foot