Friday, May 28, 2010

Hello, Domestic Bliss (aka, the "big" announcement)

This morning I made a huge change in my life, effectually ending a lifestyle of a dozen years. It might sound like I'm being melodramatic, but in absolute truth, this is HUGE for me.

I quit my job. I haven't NOT worked since my college graduation, and of course, I was working long before then, from the age of 17 (and even before that, I filled up summers and weekends with babysitting). But I have worked professionally for 12 years, with only a brief interim here and there taken between finishing employment somewhere and beginning somewhere else.

Today marks the end of that. I've quit a job with absolutely no intention to seek employment anywhere else for quite some time -- if ever again. It is a fulfillment of a lifelong dream to become a full-time stay-at-home mom to my kids, in addition to being a full-time wife and homemaker. However, it is not without fear and trepidation that I enter this stage! First, there's the obvious: the end of my paycheck. And I was awfully proud of that paycheck -- I worked HARD to get to this place in my career and it's not easy to walk away! With that also comes an absolute dependence on my husband, and thank God he is who he is (and not the person I used to be married to; that is not a gripe, it is sincere gratitude) because he takes his obligations toward his family very seriously and even worries about it more than I'd like for him to.

Second, and most importantly, this is unchartered territory for me. I mean, give me a nastily written journal article and I can make it shine like the top of the Chrysler building. I'm used to this, used to emails and meetings and schedules and editing, editing, editing. Yes, I've done it in my pajamas for the last 2 years, but I've learned that the world of working is the same no matter where you log in (and in what state of dress!). Because of this responsibility, though, other things in my life will get the shaft and I often don't feel guilty about it. So the dusting didn't get done -- oh well, I worked 40 hours this week! With the job, though, go the excuses. And that's what I'm afraid of...I almost feel that if I don't present Marty with a perfectly clean house and perfectly behaved children and perfectly coiffed hair at the end of the day that I should get fired!

However, this is not the attitude with which I want to enter this new period of life. I want to cast off the perfectionist tendencies and ridiculous self-expectations and truly embrace this as the greatest adventure yet. I want to wear aprons! I want to explore the produce section and not stick to bagged lettuce and bunches of bananas! I want to cook with things like couscous! I want to wear mascara every day! I want to take Will to the puppet show at the library! I want to know where to find the bandaids in my house! I want to sing A-B-C's with Will while changing Lucy's diaper -- and LOVE every second of it! I want to start a weekend with clothes in drawers, not in piles on the floor! And yes -- I want to get the darn dusting done. Maybe even while wearing one of my aprons, and hey -- let's go crazy -- maybe even pearls!

So hello, new life. Hello, Domestic Bliss. I'm ready for you!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

And the itch goes on

Despite the fact that I do NOT currently have ICP! I was told today that my "bile acids are within normal ranges" so for right now, I'm in the clear. Of course, if my itching continues, I'm going to push for re-testing along the way, since the doctor told us last week that if I were to be diagnosed with ICP, it would be a very early catch. I don't want this possibility discarded if it could "become true" at some later point in time.

Not that I'm borrowing, I'm just still ITCHING. Honestly, I haven't been this miserable since first trimester. I almost hoped to get the diagnosis of ICP so that we could have an early C-section and end this troubled pregnancy sooner rather than later. Is that terrible? I hope I'm not a terrible mom because truthfully, I want what's best for my baby, regardless. I just also happen to want to function again. Every hour of every day, I have to choose severe itching and some limited physical ability and clarity of thought, or relief from itching and an absolute surety that I'll be zonked out for several hours from taking the medicine. I don't want to have to choose, and I also really don't want to feel like choosing between my baby's safety and my sanity.

In other news (and I crave other news...messages and calls and just anyone willing to get me thinking on other things for awhile), our good friends Preston and Misty had their baby girl, Abigail, last night. She's a healthy and LARGE 9 pounds, 6 ounces! I love sharing this because Preston is the person who urged Marty to open an eHarmony account, so you can see why exactly I adore Preston. What's even better is that when he saw how things worked out for Marty, Preston got himself an eHarmony account and met Misty a few weeks later, and a few weeks after that, they eloped!!! So it's very special to share the arrival of another "eHarmony baby," along with our Will and soon, Lucy. Have you seen the commercial that says 1 in every 5 relationships now begins online? It's a new age, kids!

In yet other news, I'll be making a pretty big announcement later this week or early next. I'm excited to share it but some things are still in the works. Stay tuned!

Thank you to everyone who has been praying with us. Please keep doing so. I need strength and endurance to make it to August. Love to all!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Greetings from the Land of the Itchies

While I'm temporarily un-itchy and unmedicated (there's a brief window like this every day), I thought I'd quickly post about a couple of things that I need help with.
  • My cousin is graduating from high school on Friday. We can't make it to her open house, but I want to send her a gift. What do you give 18-year-old girls these days??? I've already been on looking around, but I've had to dismiss all items there as too quirky and/or too personal. I really don't want to do a gift card, because I can remember burning through those when I graduated and couldn't tell you now who gave gift cards. I DO remember, however, the gifts. A big basket of Bath and Body Works soaps and lotions for going away to school, from an old friend of my parents' (actually the lady who set them up on a blind date!). Oh the things you remember. In any case, I want to give a gift that Leeann will use, love, and of course, remember that I gave her. :) HELP?
  • When do you introduce a pillow into your child's sleeping routine? I've been using a makeshift pillow (of folded sheets) under Will's crib sheet for aiding him through nights of yucky congestion, but now I'm wondering if I can just get him a really shallow pillow? When do you do this?
  • I need any/all advice for introducing table food to a child who's a champion gagger. Anything with any texture beyond the most pureed of pureed foods seems to gag Will and this is frustrating for us, because I'd love to get him beyond baby food by the time Lucy comes, so we can cut out that expense and simply feed him what we're eating for dinner, at least.

I will probably hear from the doctor tomorrow concerning the blood/liver bile test results, so until then I'm just trying to keep busy and not worry. That is, when I'm not passed out from the effects of prescription-strength antihistamine or so itchy that I can't sit still or think straight!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Please pray

Hello friends,

I've shared with some of you how I've been having horrible itching of late...well, it's worsened considerably in the last 2 days (to the point where I've slept very little, even on full doses of Tylenol AND Benadryl). We just got back from the doctor's -- they ran tests on my blood to check for this crazy liver issue called intrahepatic cholestasis of pregnancy (ICP). Its only symptom? Chronic, all-over itching in the third trimester. Anyway, we won't know for a few days yet and in the meantime I've been given a prescription antihistamine. Hopefully I will be able to sleep at night while we wait for answers. Once again, we're concerned about an issue with this pregnancy. I feel very much on a rollercoaster ride, since my pregnancy with Lucy has been difficult from the first moment and I just really need to reach the finish line with no more problems. I'm discouraged, exhausted, and trying not to worry.

If I do have this ICP, well, I'll let you know then the plan that we discussed with the doctor. In the meantime, just please pray with us that all is well and I just have really annoying itchy skin.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Calling all girlfriends...

It's bad enough being so far away from girlfriends where we currently live, but sometimes it gets REALLY bad. Case in point:Therefore, I am sending out a girlfriend's 911: PLEASE oh PLEASE, would someone come visit me the evening of May 27th and/or come for that weekend so that I don't have to go alone to see my beloved Carrie Bradshaw all by myself? Or drag dearest Hubby along? I will even pay half of a plane ticket!!! (BTW: this is not a drill. I repeat, this is not a drill, nor am I joking. I really want a girlfriend to go see this movie with me. In case you haven't picked that up by now.)

Thursday, May 13, 2010


  • My first bit of news for the day is that, according to the doctor we saw this morning, Lucy has a "lovely" aortic arch! Both the doctor and the CNP found it, saw it, took a picture of it, showed it to us, etc. Lots of checking and double-checking and reassuring of tense parents...we were so pleased with the thoroughness and vigilance of this office team. SO VERY different from our last ultrasound experience (vague and disturbing to say the least!). Lucy was again a bit of a little stinker in that -- of course -- she was laying in the vertex position with her head wedged into a corner (if there is such a thing) of my uterus, with her hands and feet all squished up by her head. She loves to be cozy, this little girl! Both folks who took a turn at scanning her had to shake my belly a bit to get her to move positions, and she did NOT like that one bit. She showed her displeasure by sticking out her tongue and even making a little fist! The doctor thought that was hilarious and I had to laugh too because she is definitely high-maintenance, this one. In addition to being reassured about her cardiac health, we also learned that Lucy is currently 2 pounds, 7 ounces and is measuring only 4 days behind her due date, which is perfectly normal (there's always a slight variable on that, apparently). She was also checked for all the other developmental markers and she passed with flying colors! We're just so happy. And so very, very, very relieved. Thank you, God, for a healthy baby girl!
  • And the second bit of news is almost as joyful to report: Will slept through the night last night!!! At 6:00 this morning, when I heard his voice on the monitor and realized he hadn't made a peep since 9:30 last night when we put him to bed, I almost did a set of cartwheels. I can't even begin to express the triumph of this occasion for us. I have half a notion to go find Dr. Maria at our pediatrician's office and give her a big fat kiss on the cheek for diagnosing seasonal allergies in Will and prescribing the children's Zyrtec and cool-mist humidifier. I don't know if it's one or the other or both, but something has changed and it is working, and I couldn't be more thankful.

Ahhh, good news all around today! Thanks to everyone who prayed with us for a good report on Lucy's heart and overall health. We are so grateful to you all and want you to know that! (And a HUGE thanks to my sister Katie for pitching in this week and letting me and Marty get some sleep. We feel like human beings again!)

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Adding it up

  • First doctor's visit on Saturday, co-pay: $25
  • Antibiotic for baby's ear infection: $5
  • Generic-brand children's Tylenol: $7
  • Second doctor's visit today, co-pay: $25
  • Children's Zyrtec: $8
  • Probiotic powder (to ease effects of antibiotic on baby's tummy): $23
  • Cool-mist humidifier to help with congestion from newly diagnosed baby allergy symptoms: $40
  • Starbucks decaf 2-pump toffee nut latte with whip so Mommy can cope: $4.22
  • Surprise visit from sister Katie who is coming to help with Puppy so Marty and I can get a bit of sleep? PRICELESS.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Dear Lucy,

Mama is so excited to be carrying you. Every day I get closer and closer to finally having the chance to hold you, and I might not ever let you go because it seems when I put your big brother down, he grows up at lightning-speed! So maybe if I hold you 24/7, you won't grow up? Anyway, I'm just thrilled that your arrival is a mere 3 months away and then we'll begin our journey (on the outside) as mama and daughter.

Just one favor until then? Could you please flip head-down? Maybe, pretty-please? I love that you are practicing your tap-dance moves, but you have to understand that Mommy feels this on her bladder. It might sound crazy, but I'd rather feel your kicks in my rib cage. It's true. I just can't keep running to the potty like this! Oh, and if you'd go night-night when Mommy goes night-night, that would just be the cherry on top.

I love you, Lucy-Anne! (And I'll still love you if you don't do as Mommy requests, but you know, it would be really, really nice...)


Sunday, May 9, 2010

musings on Mother's Day

As you read the following list, please know that before my mommyhood days, I was a champion sleeper, shopper, and girlie-girl extraordinaire. I never left the house without sporting a great outfit, complete with accessories, and never saw another person without the perfect makeup, down to matching lipstick. Slush money meant trips to Macy's or TJ's, always a trip to the Starbucks drive-thru, and lots of trips to restaurants to hang with girlfriends. Free time meant shopping, reading, watching movies, and oh yes, sleeping. In my current mommyhood days, though...

  • I have watched the sun come up for the last two mornings in a row, rocking my son who is ill and irritated and fussy. And that's after being up at midnight and 3 a.m., too.
  • The minute I get settled in bed with my enormous pregnant belly balanced just-so on a pillow and my back in the least-painful position, my daughter starts kicking me like she's practicing some new self-defense techniques and sleep eludes me.
  • My living room is never clean. There are always toys on the floor where Will drags them to and fro in his crawling adventures. If only I could bend myself down to pick them up without sending my lower back into spasms!
  • I have stepped on many a toy in the middle of the night and had to squelch the urge to utter an "ouch!" because I'm carrying a (finally) sleeping baby back to his crib.
  • I have had the thought many times in the past few days to be thankful that my kid is not a projectile vomiter. When he spews, at least he does so semi-neatly, right in front of him or even on the bib when we're really lucky.
  • Laundry time for me means going through baby clothes with my enormous orange can of Shout, spraying various pureed food stains, spit-up and puke, and my favorites, the accidents that sometimes happen during diaper changes.
  • I sometimes forget to eat, I practically live in my pajamas, and my personal bathing routine is completely random, but my son always eats on schedule, is always as clean as I can keep him, and he wears the cutest clothes I can find for him.
  • When I go to TJ Maxx or Target, I no longer immediately head for my-size clothes. I go straight to the 18-months' boy clothes or the 0-9 months' girl clothes.
  • I make coffee in the mornings but sometimes don't get to it until it's gone cold. I drink it anyway.
  • I sit down to watch a show maybe once or twice a week. But I can sing you the themes to "Dinosaur Train," "WonderPets," and "Go, Diego, Go."
  • I get so excited thinking about planning Will's first birthday party and all the birthday parties for our kids in the future. I spent my last birthday in my bed, in the miserable first trimester of pregnancy, trying to keep down a popsicle.
  • Marty and I spent the first 9 months of our relationship long-distance dating, and all we did was talk, talk, talk on the phone. Now our conversations often consist of our son's diaper activities and who gave the last dose of Tylenol and when. Then exhausted silence follows. When we were alone last weekend, we couldn't shut up, we were so geeked to be able to TALK!
  • I used to take time off from work to go on vacations. Now I take PTO in hourly increments here and there, to cover well-baby appointments, sick-baby appointments, prenatal appointments, ultrasound appointments, etc.
  • When planning our grocery budget and list, I no longer plan for a couple nice filets or a bunch of tulips (although I must confess, those occasionally come home with me). Instead I add up how many dollars we need for diapers, wipes, formula, boxes of cereal, tubs of baby food, and so on. And it's a LOT of dollars!

I could go on, listing a million more examples of how my life has radically changed since becoming a mother. Some of the changes are great fun (raspberry-type kisses on my cheek, my son's delighted face to see me in the mornings), and of course, some are not so fun (the 5-ish hours of sleep I average per night).

But today is the first time in my life I get to celebrate being a mother on Mother's Day. There is nothing like it in the world, and no amount of sleep or great clothes or free time could ever compare to it. I wouldn't go back to my former life for anything.

Thank you, Father, for my babies. May I always be grateful, even in the hardest moments of mommyhood!