Monday, October 30, 2006

Happy Halloween

Can you stand that cuteness? Isn't your head about to explode!? This is my little firefighter as we headed off to the neighborhood costume parade. (Costume parade!! That alone allows for massive overdoses of cuteness!!)

Handyman Daddy made the ladder for the firewagon. I just have to say that seeing this guy in all his costume-y adorableness pretty much makes my heart shoot out of my eyes. It's, oddly enough, too much feeling and not enough at the same time.

BTW, I just figured out that if you click on that picture, a Very Big Adorable Firefighter will appear on your screen. (Of course, I mean a toddler firefighter!)

Activist Me

I've signed on with MoveOn.Org to help in their get out the vote campaign. Last week was my first session, and tonight I shall do another hour of calling.

It's not as bad as I thought it could be, although there were a couple of cranky old people who cursed at me and hung up the phone (my first call!!!). I don't know, I'm old and cranky enough myself and I have a great deal of experience of handing back exams to students, so it would take a lot for someone's anger to really hurt me. I did contact 3 people who are now going to vote who wouldn't have before, so I feel good about that.

I would like to say that I have now developed preferences for how to handle folks who are calling you that you don't want to call you. Just kindly say "Oh, thank you, but no" and hang up. It takes a split second more than just hanging up and it's, well, kindly. We have a button that we can click that says "hung up" so it's not like we're not expecting it. But it just makes everyone's interaction a bit more pleasant.

We also have a button that says hostile. Don't be hostile. It will come back and bite you in the butt. Not from MoveOn.Org, but sending that kind of random mean karma out there is just not good.

If you are interested in helping, sign up. The more volunteers who help, the more likely we can make a difference out there. If each of 30,000 volunteers gets 3 people to decide to vote in this election each hour they call, you can see how this program will work.

So there. Back to regularly scheduled cuteness soon. I have a picture of Conor in his Haloween costume that's going to make your head explode. In a good way.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Say What?

Anita, as the drawer shuts on her finger, "$)#(!! #()*$#%!!!! @)(*#$....."

Grabbing her finger, "#)(*$#@....."

Rising from a crouched position she finally admits, "Wow, if I was ever tortured, I would squeal like a pig."

Dave coming to look at throbbing finger, "But they wouldn't understand a word of what you were saying."

Anita thinking that during her tirade her voice had risen to a level only dogs could hear asked "Why?"

Dave calmly replied as if it was self-explanatory, ")#@(*$."

Monday, October 23, 2006


HA! We are not nearly as geeky as you thought we were!! Elvis Mitchell, on NPR's Weekend Saturday Edition waxed poetic on how great Battlestar Galatica is. Elvis is not geeky at all, so by extension, neither are we!

We are, however, tired. And I am still overweight. I currently place all the blame on my son's tiny shoulders. First, I gained the weight because of him. And second, he has been thwarting my early morning exercises by waking up entirely too soon and wanting to, nay, forcing me to snuggle with him in bed for another 30 minutes or so.

And the child has yet to learn good bed manners. Well, the progress is that the three of us are no longer sleeping like an H. (guess who the - is?) We have sort of moved into more polite sleeping arrangements like "spoon" and "nook." Spoon, I'm sure you know, except in Conor's case, it's Reverse Spoon so that we face each other. It's apparently quite important for him to breathe on me, too. Which would annoy me with a grown up, but his breath still smells like cookies so I don't mind.

"Nook" you may not be so familiar with---it involves sleeping with one's head in the nook of one's partner's arm. Conor will start in a traditional nook, but soon moves into cross body nook (legs on one side, head in the nook of the other arm) and full body nook which involves nooker's head on nookee's shoulder neck, rest of body like a dead weight on nookee.

So there. I'm fat and tired and it's all his fault. It as absolutely nothing to do with the big frosted chocolate cookie I bought at HT yesterday. Nothing at all.

Oh, and thank god for the blog world---I remember when Ema's Miss M started waking at 5:30, so I don't think it's an "issue" with us as much as some bizarre developmental stage.


Thursday, October 19, 2006

Poor Little Boy

We've been lucky for the last 6 months or so. I really don't recall any scary sick baby stories involving our little monkey. I mean, he's had a fever or a cough or cold here and there, but nothing has made him even really cranky as far as illness goes.

So when Dave called yesterday to tell me that Conor was running 102 fever, I thought, "Well, it's another virus, but probably not a big whoop." I gathered up stuff to work at home because I figured even if Conor wasn't really sick, they wouldn't let us back in the next day with that temperature.

Then I arrived at daycare.

The poor little guy was sitting on the bench outdoors (he never sits outdoors) pale as a sheet and he started wimpering as soon as he saw me. I picked him up and he melted onto me, lying his head in the crook of my neck. That's when I found out they were getting a 102 temperature under the arm. You can add at least 1 degree to that for the booty temp.


I took him home, put him on the sofa and gave him some ibuprofen. 45 minutes later, it's still 102, and he is still out of it. We ended up calling the doctor's office because the fever wouldn't go down and he was incredibly lethargic and only wanted to be held. To be honest, last night the only time his feet hit the floor from the time he got home until he went to bed was when he took two steps to get from Dave's lap to mine while we were eating dinner.

We also started the alternating motrin/tylenol "trick" to work on stubborn fevers. Every 3 hours, you switch from one to the other. Fortunately, after the first Tylenol dose, his fever went down to 99.7 under the arm. He slept fitfully until 1 at which point we brought him to bed with us and we all slept fitfully. Although that was because he turned into snuggle monster to the nth degree. I've never had any body sleep that close to me in my life. I will admit that there was some extraordinary cuteness when at about 4 am, we all woke up (fever back up; more meds) and I kissed him on the nose. That was followed by about 2 minutes of constant chin kissing from him to me that was heart melting.

The good news is that the fever is completely gone today and besides being a bit cranky from being hungry and tired, he seems no worse for the wear. It was not fun last night. Our little boy never hangs around in our laps with no affect or interest. It scared me when one of the first things the nurse had me do after I told her there were no other symptoms (e.g., cough, runny nose, rash) was to have him move his neck! Meningitis immediately sprang unwanted into our minds.

Thank God(dess) it appears to have been none of that bad stuff---just some unknown quick virus. He seems just fine today and is back to his energetic self---we even danced around this kitchen before lunch to Ralph's World (Have a little lunch! Take a little nap! Shake your booty!!)

So all's better in toddler land. Oh! But selfishly back to me: I forgot to mention that I also have a fever blister: hives, twitchy eye, thrown out back and a fever blister. "Now showing on Must See TV: Anti-Bonita Anita." Lovely.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Exactly How Stressed Am I?

Yes, we are in a particularly eventful stage of the physical manifestations of my stress.

The inside of both forearms covered in itchy dry hives. My chest a veritable map of the Andes with wetter yet itchy hives. The twitch in my left eye whenever some bad thought enters my head. The stunningly painful upper left shoulder where I pulled a muscle this morning washing my hair.

My jaw remains loose in my head, but only because I note every time I my teeth touch.

I am in a pathetic shape. And I don't see how this is going to ease up for another good 9 to 10 months.

And since I'm off alcohol. Geez!!!!

I must say that the scratching o' the hives is very attractive, especially the ones on my chest. I'm sure it's odd to be in a meeting with me and to see me scratching like a monkey during our entire conversation. Lovely.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

I Think, Therefore I Google

Big surprise, eh!? Yes, I am chronic google. And I'm a repeat googler, too. Because when I want to put some information out there to the Internets and I didn't save the site I want to talk about, I re-google, and that takes up a lot of time. And, as a psychologist, I know it's important to do that because we tend to misremember a lot of the information and thus, we should doubt ourselves more than we do (like I just did, thinking that misremember was a Bushism, but in fact, no! it's a real word!)

ANYHOO, so a few weeks back, I may have mentioned I was googling about something interesting. And I was. And you may have suspected it had something to do with pregnancy. And it did. However, google though I did, it didn't mean anything and I'm not one of those lucky get-pg-right-after-a-m/c-chicky-poohs. But I will tell you about my googling so that someone else out there can stumble onto this blog and perhaps find use(less) information.

I thought I had implantation spotting on 6 dpo last month. I was using the progesterone supplement/icky goop Crinone (which I often google Cronine, which sounds sort of prehistoric to me) and there was a spot on the applicator. Apparently, I just poked myself. The timing and amount was right for implantation spotting, but the progesterone supplements make one "friable" which basically means easy to poke and bleed.

So, uh, yeah. Nothing. A big nada and no bun preheating in the oven.

I also found a site this week that is much more sobering, literally. I have a big distrust of research on drinking and pregnancy because it often falls along the lines of "If you drink 5 drinks a day your baby may have fetal alcohol syndrome, so don't drink anything at all ever while you're pregnant." America has its prohibitionist and puritanical past, and their alcohol fears do not explain France or Italy.

But I did find some research on Friday on mice (who apparently have a lot of pg similarities to humans) that shows that regular moderate alcohol intake by mice before implantation leads to egg muck ups and more miscarriages.

Well, crap.

Guess who's off the bottle? Not Conor, he's been off the bottle for a while, but still on the boob!!! But considering my history and my love o' the vine, I'm now loving my green tea to a pee distracting lifestyle. The bummer is that it takes about 3 months for an egg to develop, so my lifestyle now affects my egg in three months (at least). So even if I do get pg now, I'm not holding my breath. But I am feeling positive that in 3 months, the eggies will be doing the best they can do. So there. that's the google life I lead.

Now it's time to go to my 5:30 meeting for work. Yippee! I'll see Conor right before he goes to bed. That is not yippee-ish.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Just How Geeky Are We?

I need to work on an analysis, yet I procrastinate. So, I shall procrastinate more by blogging. ;-)

So Lost has started its season back up. I love it! It's such a great show. I like Ugly Betty, too. I think it's a bit fluffy and a good deal campy but I think it's fun to watch.

Those two shows don't necessarily make me geeky. This one does: Battlestar Gallactica. And it's good. Reaaaalllly good. I'd have to say Battlestar gives Lost a run for the money in as much as how good it is for a TV show. People who think of the 80's Battlestar as what is happening on this series are way off. As much as the old one was cheesy, this one is serious. And the current season starting last Friday night (with a two hour special that pretty much had Dave and me levitating in our seats) opened with a clear analogy to the Iraqi war, except "we" (the humans) are the Iraqi civilians and "they" (the Cylons) are the Occupiers. If you want a lesson in empathy, check that out.

It's a damn good show.

Dr. Who precedes Battlestar and although I'm not as big a fan of Dr. Who as I am Battlestar, I do like this one, again, much less cheesy than the 70s-80s version, but cheesy enough to be on SciFi. (And of course my dh loves, loved, and will always treasure the 70s-80s version) I like this Dr. Who. But I love Battlestar Gallactica. And just so you know, I never really got into Stargate SG1; it is good, but not great. I really liked Farscape, but I always had a hard time figuring out who was who and what their names were. Still, I really liked Farscape. Though I still question Dave's dating skills when soon into our relationship, Friday nights consisted of watching Farscape on SciFi while eating nuts out of a can and plain boiled pierogis from Trader Joes. (In all honesty, the FOOD choices only lasted one night---I cooked after that. But the SciFi was every weekend)

Dave has also geeked me on the comics I read in the morning. I still have my "cool ones" like Pearls before Swine, Pickles, Zits, Lio (my new fave), Get Fuzzy (which I'm not as thrilled with any more), and Jump Start. (I liked Boondocks when we were in LA, but the Charlotte Observer doesn't carry it) But I have also started following Rex Morgan, MD. Call me granny right now! That is such a Not Cool Strip, but I like it! It does move slowly. And it is completley predictable. Well, actually, no. It's not. Sometimes there are twists. But it is definitely uncool. However, in my defense, that's the only one I read. Dave still reads Judge Parker and was say into Gil Thorp when it was in the paper. So, HA! He's geekier than I am.

Although no one would ever be surprised at my geekiness. But sometimes it does catch me off guard.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Green Tea and Fish Oil

Despite my devotion to evening primrose oil from AF to ovulation, I'm a bit wary of "alternative" medicines, often because they haven't been examined in high quality studies that address both their effectiveness and safety.

None. The. Less. I have become a big advocate of both green tea and fish oil of late, mainly because I've been listening to the People's Pharmacy on my Saturday morning runs (to combat the weight gain from my food-and-wine self-medication from m/c #1 and m/c #2, dontcha know).

Anyhoo, in the last month, they have reported about research in JAMA (no slouch) on the benefits of Green Tea and Fish Oil. And I have fallen for these supplements hook, link, sinker and teapot. Apparently, there is a strong dose-response curve for green tea which shows that drinking at least one cup of green tea reduces death for women 2% and for drinking 5 cups or more, over 15%! (Actually, the data says over 20% but I just can't buy that). Of course, all my scientific friends say, no you can't say there's a causal relationship---drinking more than 5 cups of green tea a day may mean you spend all day in the bathroom and hence can't die from much else. Nonetheless, I find it an interesting finding and I'm drinking as much green tea as I can daily now. (It's also believed to increase fertility.) So live longer and get pg? Brew me up a cup!

The fish oil issue is also interesting. JAMA also reports a positive effect of omega 3 fish oil in reducing heart attacks, however it's important to take at least 1 gram a day and as these things are horse pill in size...that's a lot! And you can read for one more day or so this article in the NY times that says that it would be considered malpractice in Italy not to prescribe fish oil to someone with heart disease. Also, fish oil doesn't have mercury (from a study of 20 supplements), so women don't have to worry about that. But it's very important NOT to take too much of this---so if you eat fish one day, you're not supposed to take the supplement. Only 1 gram a day is what you should take. And folks on blood thinning medicine should NOT take it. (Read the links! Ask your doctor! I'm not an MD, I only play one on the internets!)

In any case, we're trying to be healthy around here. What I need to be doing in addition to these supplements is RUNNING and EXERCISING, because I am currently fat. There are not two ways about it, I'm a big girl right now. (I feel rolls of fat on my neck. YUCK!) Conor poked my belly last night when he was about to nurse and said "booby!" I replied, "No, belly!" and he said, "BOOBY!" That's a roll of fat, my friends, when your belly rolls look like boobies.

And there's yet another new study that gaining weight between first and second pg is bad. Bad, bad, bad. Even just 8 pounds, which is where I'm at this morning. Bleah.

So there. I am getting up and running at 5:30 in the mornings 3-5 days per week. I can tell already that my pre-Conor pace is finally coming back. (I'm having to run a longer distance to go the same amount of time. This is good news). Now, i've got to get ahold of what I'm eating. Or let go of what I'm currently eating and eat healthier. I'll get there. And then I'll hopefully get pregnant again and gain it all back. I hope the next pregnancy sticks so that I can gain weight out of happiness and not out of coping.

Off to work.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Miscarriage Central

Sometimes I write posts here knowing that eventually someone is going to be googling information and find what she needs from my own experiences. I even will check out the referrals to this site and see that someone has come here looking for information on HCG not doubling twins or some variation of a search on days past ovulation, heartbeat and miscarriage and arrive at my dismal news. Sometimes I know from their search they will have good news and sometimes, I know they will not.


But I still feel like I'm providing useful information to folks out there on the Internets.

Well, this weekend, I got to provide useful, although not always happy, information to my real life friends. One friend had a miscarriage last Monday night. Another had a chemical pregnancy this weekend. And another is experiencing spotting in the early stages of her pregnancy (twins!).

I'm really glad that I can help the Internets. But it was honestly more touching to me to be able to help my 3 friends. I am not glad at all that I have had the experiences that I've had. But I was so glad that I could share my experiences and the information I've learned to help my other friends out. If my crap could help 3 other people feel a little better about what has and is happening, then I'm proud of my freaky characteristic of sharing some of the most intimate details I can with known and unknown other people.

I don't think women have always known the other women in their life who've had miscarriages. In fact, when I told a friend at the beginning of the last pregnancy that I was pregnant she replied "Well, I guess I'm old fashioned; I didn't tell people until week 13." And I responded "Why? If I had a miscarriage, I'd tell you to!"

Am I supposed to be ashamed if I have a miscarriage? It it because we're discussing something that is vaguely associated with my nether regions that I'm not supposed to tell a soul that I'm pregnant until I'm showing? Helloo!!! WORLD!!!! Get past Queen Victoria and stop blaming the mother for everything that happens!!!

I do understand the awkwardness of having to explain to someone after the fact that you are no longer pregnant. I was thinking of inventing a button that says "I'm not pregnant anymore, but I'm OK!" But if I had kept my pie hole shut, I'd never been able to talk to my friends this weekend who needed a shoulder, some information, and a "sister's" about what they were going through.

So there. I'm not going to shut up. Not that I ever could.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Scatting Lullabies

A few weeks ago, when Conor was requesting lullabies, he mispoke and instead of asking for Hush Little Baby, he requested Hush Little Mommy.

I sang:

Hush Little Mommy
Don't you cry
Baby's going to go to sleep
By and by.
And if that baby doesn't sleep
Baby's going to give you candy really sweet.
And if that candy's sweet not tart*
Baby's going to give you a love filled heart.
And if that love filled heart does break
Baby's going to give you a chocolate cake.
And if that chocolate cake is dry
Baby's going to go to sleep by and by.

I was pretty proud of myself. (*and yes, the giving "candy sweet not tart" doesn't make sense, but it works in the larger scheme of things!)

Since then, he's been requesting lots of made up lullabies which has been quite fun. The latest hits are "Twinkle Twinkle Little Banana" followed by "Twinkle Twinkle Little Apple". The key rhyming words in these songs end up being "Hananah" and "Snapple". Most of the times I remember the same words, and he's even started singing along to a couple of them.

Speaking of singing, at the library last week, we checked out a sing-along Mary Had a Little Lamb book which recounts the story of Mary's little lamb going to school (even against the rule) and playing kick ball with the kids, eating grass, and learning to write his name. It ends up that the teacher changes the rule so that the little lamb is always welcomed.

That story is in stark contrast to the other Mary Had a Little Lamb book in which the little lamb followed Mary instead of staying Exactly. Where. It. Should. Have. and ended up getting kicked in the head by a horse and falling in cow poop. The poor lamb is abused by every other animal on the farm!

So the moral of these two vastly different stories: break the rules and have some fun vs. break the rules and get a kick in the head. Guess which one we censored? Maybe I'm setting myself up for some hellish teenage years, but I am not so anxious to have my 2 year old learn that if he explores options or challenges the system, he will be punished.

Fine. We'll deal with our choices and raise a child to Question Authority. Can't hurt, the naive activist mother of the toddler says.

And because of course I would do this, I searched on whether genetic mutations are recurrent. And some reseach does suggest that yes, indeed, women who have a child with a chromosonal abnormality (either viable or non-viable) have a slightly increased chance of having another one. But here is one time where age works (sort of) in my favor. It's much more of a problem with young women than for older women. That is, young women who have a chromosonal mutation pregnancy are more likely to have another one compared to other young women. That sounds worrisome until you realize that even the "worst" case scenario as far as their probabilty for having a chromosonal problem is still much, much, MUCH better than any woman my age.
So, uh, yeah! I'm not at a higher risk for a third m/c due to a chromosonal problem. But I'm still at risk--about 2 to 3%---that the next pg will end in m/c. Or the next pg. Or the next.

Soon I must talk about our revised Plan A and Plan B for our next child. Soon, but later than right now.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Trisomy 8

We found out the results from the genetic testing of the miscarriage: Trisomy 8, a genetic abnormality not compatible with life. Trisomy means that there are 3 chromosones instead of 2, and trisomy 8 is one of the more common ones. Downs, of course, is the most common one.

I am sad. But so relieved. There is no way this could have been passed down from us, because babies with complete trisomy 8 cannot live. There is a syndrome called mosaic trisomy 8 in which some but not all of the cells have trisomy 8. It is characterized by expressionless faces and joint problems. And although I sometimes accuse Dave of having flat affect (compared to me, Charo has flat affect), we are not carriers.

So relief. We are not the source of these miscarriages. I do not have a clotting problem. We do not have unknown genetic problems we're passing down. This was a spontaneous problem during fertilization.

Of course, there are some reasons. I'm old. My eggs are old. The risk of a normal woman my age having any genetic problems is 1/42---about 2%. That's higher than I would have had 20 years ago (1/500), but I still think it's a low number. And the fact that we can get pregnant quickly feels encouraging. I may be fooling myself. And, btw, I'm not being overly maudlin. Most trisomy problems are "of maternal origin."

But I do feel better than the next pregnancy or the next one or even the next one if we get that far will be ok.

The subchorionic bleed didn't do it. We are not passing along something weird. Well, besides our personalities and general geekiness, we are not passing along anything weird.

That feels ok.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Gritting My Teeth

The dentist told me last week that it looks like I'm gritting my teeth: I have a "real fracture" on one of my teeth---apparently the one sensitive to heat and cold. He says I have to Stop! gritting my teeth. The other option is a plastic thingy (I think) that I'll have to wear at night and perhaps the day, too.

I told him that I thought could stop based on all the yoga I've done. He scoffed. (He was foolish) I think people who do not do yoga do not realize how well it helps you to focus on particular body parts. So I have been focusing on my mouth for the last week or so.

And here is what I've discovered.

I do indeed grit my teeth! I don't think I do it at night though because I imagine it's hard to snore and grit at the same time. I do grit a lot during the day. In fact, after I say something stressful or have a stressful thought, I will just simply bite down hard. And since i"ve been pretty much stressed all the time lately, I'm a constant gritter and biter!

But I've been focused on letting my jaw hang, yoga like, during the day. I'm turning that into my habit instead of biting. It's working. I notice when I bite and I'm stopping.

The weird part in all this is how sore my face has become since I've stopped biting! Why is that? Is that part of my face been so compressed, it's finally able to relax? It's gotten easier to tell when I'm biting because now, finally, it starts to hurt when I bite.

So there. I'm a nut. I clench/grit/bite. But I'm getting better.

One thing that does NOT make me clench my teeth: DAVE and all the work he's doing around the house. I have not mentioned our new French door in the living room. So now I shall. Beautiful!!! It makes such a big difference in making that part of the house seem brighter and bigger.

And last weekend, he ripped off the rotting siding of the house, pulled out all the dead wood, went under the house (surrounded by dozens of camel crickets---or hoppy spiders as we call them) to brace the house from all the rotting wood damage, put up new siding and painted. In one weekend!!!

He's quite the bargain to have around the house. And he most certainly NEVER makes me clinch my teeth. Because how could I give him a big sloppy wet kiss if I was gritting my teeth?

Back to work.