To be or not to be: Healthy

Good news! I made it through the summer without so much as a sniffle. Almost.

Last Monday night I went to Bible study, and started feeling pretty bad right toward the end. Actually, I think I was feeling bad on the way there, but I had just hit and killed a BUNNY and I thought I was just all jumpy and stressed about that. But as the evening progressed I started feeling worse and worse. Sorry for the TMI, but it felt like a continual labor contraction.

By the time I got home, my entire abdomen was just in pain. Per usual when I am feeling sick or hurt in any way, I whined to Jonathan that I was going to die, and retreated to bed as soon as I could get my teeth brushed. I lay there curled into the tightest ball I could get myself into and just tried to think about other things. It didn’t work. I kept waking up all night long with pain in my stomach. Like, above my belly button, in the middle. Nothing that would indicate appendicitis or anything normal. But a whole lot of pain.

The next morning I woke up still in pain. I am a huge believer in sleeping everything off, so I was truly surprised that I was still in pain. And it wasn’t like it was going away- it was getting worse. I haven’t been to the doctor in about 10 years (whenever it was last required for a physical for high school soccer). Really. I don’t ever need to go to the doctor. Plus I don’t like it much. But I would much prefer a doctor to a dentist. That’s a whole other story. Aaron, if you’re reading this, solidarity, brother.

Anyhow, I called and made an appointment. Jonathan stayed home from work. The whole nine yards. I lay in bed all day until my appointment, by which time I felt pretty good. Pain level back down to about a 3 from a 7. So I was worried that nothing was wrong and I was breaking my nondoc streak for nothing. Fortunately for me he believed that something was actually wrong. When the doc pushed on my stomach, it hurt- but not where I thought it would. Nothing above my belly button was tender/sore at all. I felt nothing when he pushed there. At all. And then when he pushed below my belly button it hurt in the middle above my belly button where it had been hurting all along. Weird.

I had to go have blood drawn. Yuck.

The next day the nurse called me and said the doctor wanted me to go for an ultrasound based on some of my blood work. She mentioned something about elevated levels and such. And she threw in the word gallbladder. We went ahead and scheduled the appointment for the following morning. And Jonathan took even more time off work.

Of course, I felt absolutely fine the next day. Not even pretend sore to the touch. Nothing. I’m sure you know how that goes. We decided I should go in anyway for the ultrasound just to make sure we didn’t miss anything. And that is when the ultrasound tech informed me that I have perfect organs and a textbook aorta. She compared me to the man she’d seen the day before whose aorta was so globbed up she had a hard time finding it. But mine was a clear wide path straight through the screen. Yay. And do you want to know what else? My gallbladder was completely clear (from what I could tell- I’m no ultrasound expert).

It took four days for the doctor’s office to get my results back to me. I figured we were all good by then. If I were dying of something, I suppose they would have called me a bit sooner. I was right about my gallbladder. It is completely clear. So now I get to go back for more blood work tomorrow to find out whether my elevated levels were normal for my body or not.

It’s hard to know what to hope for. On one hand, I hope for perfect health so we can just continue on. On the other hand, I hope for them to find something so I don’t seem like a wimp who couldn’t tough out a tummy bug. One thing is for sure: I am thankful for whatever God is doing and I know He is working it out in whatever way is best for me and our family.


Week 40-Examining my Motives

So I’ve been thinking. Why do I really want to get this kid out of me so much? After all, I know all the information out there about letting a baby come in his own time and not being born on due dates, and the like. And my number one priority this time has been to have a healthy natural birth. And just because he’s “due” today doesn’t mean anything really- everyone knows you don’t really set a date in the calendar and make flight arrangements and cancel plans based on that one date. Babies are unpredictable, as they like to remind/teach us from the very very beginning- even before the beginning! I know all this. But I have been so stuck on just wanting him to come out.

Some might suppose I’d want him out because I can’t really wait to hold him and meet my son. Well, sure. But since I don’t know him yet and I don’t know what it’s like to have a son, I haven’t really thought about that much, to be honest. I know that I will grow another heart when he comes out and I will love him and adore him just as much (but in a totally different way) as I love Hula Girl. I know he will be a joy and a struggle and a wonderful blessing in my life. But I can’t really fathom what that will be like yet, especially since I have been so focused on Hula Girl and Hula Girl alone for almost three years now. He’s actually kind of like an intruder into our special Mommy-Daughter-super-special-no-one-else-allowed-except-maybe-sometimes-Daddy club. And I am actually dreading the day when her priorities can’t be my priorities because his priorities are more important. What will that feel like for her? When she grows up, will she remember feeling left out or unimportant? Or will she only remember the good times, like when her baby brother is sleeping and I can spend 30 minutes snuggled up with her on the couch reading book after book after book? And then thinking about all these things with Hula Girl makes me sit and wonder what Gelato will be like. Will he want to snuggle? Will he want to wrestle? Will he be into reading like his sister? It’s so hard for me because I can see so much of Hula Girl’s personality and I’m really enjoying getting to know her. I can’t really remember a day in her life when she didn’t have a quirky little personality, and it’s hard to imagine another baby with a different personality… and then calling that baby mine, too. Freaky.

Another segment of the population might think my haste to kick this parasite out of my belly is due to my level of discomfort with him actually being in there. Absolutely. He is a PAIN in the back, the front, the sides, the middle, and all around. Literally. I have been waking more and more frequently at night from just plain pain. I can’t walk more than 25 yards at a time without feeling immense pain in my hip. I can’t lift my Hula Girl without feeling like I’m going to burst. And shaving my legs… well, let’s just say that if I could sleep with hairy legs, I would be far more comfortable during my 25-minute long showers these days. Seriously, ladies, try it. Put a beach ball down your shirt and then try to shave. Now imagine that beach ball is a human being who kicks and punches when you squish too hard. And the lower backaches. Yowza. I am grateful each night for my sister-in-law’s Christmas gift- a rice bag that I can heat and reheat and reheat and reheat to keep the pain-dulling warmth close as long as I need it. Yep, I feel a little ridiculous using a heat-giving rice bag during the middle of the hottest summer on record, especially when I wake up drenched with sweat, but that’s really what’s keeping me able to sleep even a little. Without that rice bag poor Jonathan’s hands would be sore and tired from having to rub my back constantly. So thank you, Jenn, from both of us. By the way, please do not recommend a heating pad. I will not be able to sleep with one in my bed since… um… they are electrical and I don’t do electricity in my bed. The rice bag is better anyway- it can mold and shape to my exact specifications. And if you do choose to recommend a heating pad after all that, I just might have to throw my rice bag in your face’s direction. That is all.

But neither of the aforementioned theories is correct. Do you know why I want this kid out so badly? It is one hundred percent pure selfishness on my part: I want Jonathan to come home. The past few weeks have been the hardest ones of my life. Here I am parenting a toddler (a very active, very in-her-testing-phase two-year-old to be exact), and life is not dull. All I want is to collapse on the couch during the heat of the day, go for long walks during the coolness of the mornings and evenings (“coolness” is relative- it’s been about 75 here in the evenings and mornings), take warm soothing baths whenever I feel a backache, watch movies that match my mood, and eat healthy but delicious foods. Instead I am chasing and disciplining and providing learning opportunities for my super bright and therefore not easily amused child, making breakfast and getting said toddler’s room ready for bedtime, unable to take baths since the bath shares a wall with toddler’s crib and running the water would wake her up, unable to watch movies because we have a strict ban on TV viewing in our household for anyone under the age of three, and grabbing snacky foods that fit my elimination diet whenever I have time to do so between the cleaning up and the setting up and the playing and the reading and the sunscreening and the bathing and the helping and the corralling and the loving and the kissing and the constant constant constant awareness that I need to just drink this in because she’s never going to be this same age ever again and I want to relish every moment for what it is.

I would be able to do all the fun things, like watching her become smarter and more beautiful by the second, while laying on the couch if Jonathan were home. I would be able to sneak away and take a bath. I would be able to make food that I can actually enjoy and eat. I would be excused from the hard stuff, like lifting and sunscreening (is there anything worse than trying to put sunscreen on a wiggly toddler whose skin tone matches Casper’s? honestly? anything more difficult?) and disciplining and physically playing. I would get to enjoy snuggles and reading and kisses and amazement… all from the comfort of the floor or a chair. Jonathan is an amazing father, and when he’s home, it’s a truly welcome and wonderful break for me. He makes time and makes sure Hula Girl knows how much he loves her by engaging her in creative play, careful discipline, emotional development, and so on. I can rest assured that when he’s home, it’s not all on me, and in fact, if we’re going to be quite honest here, it’s mostly on him. He takes it on and loves on us and cares for us like no one else could possibly ever do.

So when I say I want Jonathan home, it is purely selfish. And he’s not going to be home until Gelato’s out. Because his work is actually being really awesome and flexible with his schedule. He was originally slated to take off work starting today, but since no little gnome has popped up in our crib yet, he is at work. And there he will stay until Gelato appears. I have been anxiously awaiting and looking forward to Jonathan’s presence at home ever since the plans were made back in May. And now I am truly disappointed that I have to wait. Because it’s not just having to wait to see him… it’s having to wait to take a break from being a full-time Mommy of a toddler (yes, I realize that once Gelato gets here, I will be a full-time Mommy of a toddler AND a newborn- but I am pretty darn sure that will be physically easier on my body than being ginormously pregnant while being a full-time Mommy of a toddler). Oh, I am so looking forward to the time when we start to develop our new lives and new routines as a family of four. How sweet to have such a great time together planned… how bittersweet when those plans get postponed!




Officially Ready Now!

Hooray! My dad is awesome. He came today and delivered our last piece of necessary baby equipment- the changing table. He built Hula Girl’s changing table and we love it so much. It’s actually more like a dresser that can be used as a changing table when she’s little and it will definitely be something that she keeps in her room forever. So we were quite attached to it, and we really didn’t like anything else for Gelato. So I asked my dad to build us another one… and he did! And guess what- he even turned little toadstool-shaped handles on his lathe for the drawer pulls! How’s that for awesome?

Hula Girl was excited to see her “Maybe” (Grampy) today. She hasn’t seen him in a long time. She helped him put the changing table together and then monopolized his time until lunch by keeping him busy with Legos. She handed him all the blue ones and made him build her a tower. It was a twisty tower, something she hasn’t seen before. She liked it. She will be quite sad to find out that “Maybe” has  gone home when she wakes from her nap.

In other news, I got bit by a stupid fire ant today. And it’s not the first time that’s happened. I was pushing Hula Girl in her swing on the front patio while Grampy carried parts of the changing table in from the car. And then she said she wanted to feel Gelato in my tummy. I thought that was sweet, so I stopped pushing her and let her feel, just long enough to stop staring at my feet and squashing the little pests every two seconds, and just long enough for one of them to get brave enough to get revenge. OW. So now my foot is swollen. And it hurts like the dickens. But you’ll all be glad to know I have fortunately learned from my previous mistakes, and I did not freeze my foot and get frostbite this time.

Anyway, Gelato is due tomorrow. I am feeling crampy and icky today, with a few contractions thrown in there for good measure. But I refuse to pay attention until they hurt or until something else happens (like, if I am one of the 10% of women whose water breaks pre-labor or something). So there.

Ugly Dresser and Fire Ants

Yes, it arrived. The ugly dresser. My ugly dresser. It’s not actually all that ugly, if you can see past its current state and give it a chance.  Ready for the close-up?

Here she is, in all her glory! She definitely has the potential to be cute.

Yes, this is what the top of the dresser looked like when I bought it.

All dinged up and ready for work!

As you can see, I have my work cut out for me! I actually started this weekend. Let me tell you, this thing was a lot of fun to sand! I used my orbital sander for the large panels, drawer fronts, and top. Then I had to get out the ol’ sandpaper and use some elbow grease on the trim pieces and the decorative parts.

The next step was to prime the whole thing. I used Kilz Clean Start and used two coats, sanding in between layers and afterward. I decided to use a small foam roller on the drawer fronts since they’re so smooth to begin with. After doing so, I realized… I don’t really like the foam roller. So I will be sticking to my good old brush for now.

I will be painting the first coat this evening or next evening, depending on which evening is cooler- paint has been drying way too fast to attempt something this large and finicky! Tomorrow I’ll post primer pictures and then you’ll have to wait until I’m officially finished to see the final result. Actually, I’m really indecisive and have too many ideas waiting for inspiration to hit.

In other news, I was bit by a fire ant on Saturday. On the bottom of my foot. It hurt so bad.  And then I made a terrible, awful, no-good, very bad decision. I put my foot on ice. I wrapped the ice pack with a paper towel. Apparently it wasn’t thick enough, and keeping my foot on a thinly-wrapped ice pack for an hour at a time actually froze my foot. Like, we’re talking frostbite. It hurt like I have never hurt before, and I’ve had kidney infections and given birth, people! It seriously felt like what I imagine it would feel like to be shot in the foot.

You know when you run your too-cold hands under warm water and they tingle and feel all burned? Well, that’s how my foot felt for the remainder of  Saturday. All for the sake of a silly little ant.

Today, my foot is swollen and blistered on the bottom. That’s from the ant venom. The tingling and burning from the frostbite is gone, thank goodness. What an ordeal!

4, 7, and 9!

The winning eggs were numbers 4, 7, and 9! Take a look!

Eggs 4, 5, and 6 (left to right)

Eggs 7, 8, and 9 (left to right)

And Guess Who made all three? That’s right. ME.

This gives "Triple Crown" a whole new meaning...

Ahh, sweet victory. Churchill would be so proud.

On a side note, we had Hula Girl’s first real tantrum today. Wowza, was it a doozie. I get where she was coming from. I mean, I very rudely interrupted her game of “Put the plastic fishie on the rocking chair and take it off again and look at Mama for a smile!” I scooped her up, put her on my lap, and started snipping away at the only weapon she has available- an effective weapon at that. She.screamed.bloody.murder.for.ten.straight.minutes. I just kept on clipping. I got three nails done. Then I put her down in front of the glass door so she could calm down, and once she did, I had her watch me clip her thumbnail. She seemed fine, but then burst out screaming again. Of course, the only nail she’s calm for is the one I cut too short. I HATE that feeling, so I get her screams. Ay, yi, yi. Neosporin to the rescue. Then naptime came (a short 10 minutes later) and she cried all the way through her diaper change, song, and story. Finally when I put her in her crib, she stuck her (other) thumb in her mouth, closed her eyes, and stayed silent. Weird. I feel proud of myself for living through it.

Oy, with the Poodles Already!

The title is a quotation from my favorite TV series, Gilmore Girls. They took the funniest words they could think of and combined them to make a phrase. Well, the phrase seems to fit today. Except, replace the word “poodles” with “TEETHING” and you’ll have a great idea of what’s going on around our neck of the woods.

Yes, teething. Apparently I am raising Hula Girl to be a sissy when it comes to pain and sickness. She just does not handle them well. I will give the girl a little bit of credit. She IS getting four teeth in at the same time. Four. All four top center teeth. I think they’re called the incisors? She already has the bottom two teeth, and has since Thanksgiving. I’m not sure why she’s decided to sprout four more today. It seems like they’ve been a long time coming and that they could stand to wait a few more weeks, until after our trip to California. But perhaps Hula Girl’s genetic disposition for tooth growth follows the “when it rains, it pours” idiom, and since she’s been so sick, it’s time for teeth!

Regardless of the reason for the timing, they’re here. Well, almost. I can see all four of them, just sitting there, right under her gums, waiting to pop out at any moment. In fact, the right center tooth has poked through- a smidge. Actually, less than a smidge. About a half of a half of a half of a millimeter is sticking through. That’s about an eighth of a millimeter of pure tooth. And an eighth of a millimeter of pure tooth equals a lot of pain for Hula Girl.

She’s been very good during her wake times. She’s played well, crawled happily, and pulled herself up heroically while grasping her teething ring and flailing it around like it’s some kind of prize she’s won. (Short anecdote: after briefly munching on her teething ring this morning, she decided to share it with me by whacking me on the nose with it repeatedly. This elicited peals of laughter from said whacker. Thank goodness her drooly little gums melted it a bit before the whacking commenced.)

However, sleep has been fitful at best since last night. She first cried out around 7:15, or 30 minutes after I put her down. Very strange timing, indeed. She then proceeded to moan in her sleep about five or six times during the night. (I only know because I was awake coughing-still!) Then she woke at 6:00 a.m., crying as if something was wrong. Of course, teething still didn’t occur to me at that point- I was thinking it must be a diaper issue related to the antibiotics. Jonathan dutifully got up and changed her… not poopy… diaper. He put her back down, but she was up at 6:45. I figured 15 minutes early wasn’t going to kill our schedule, and she most likely would make up the missed sleep during her first nap, as long as I got Tylenol in her first. She didn’t make up the sleep, but she did take a good nap.

Her second nap, however, just started… an hour and a half after Jonathan put her down. Those teeth.

Last night I watched the documentary Waiting for Superman and I realized I absolutely must get back into a classroom. It’s where I was meant to be. More on this topic later.

Would you rather go to the dentist or get a flu shot?

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