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Posts Tagged ‘This sucks ass’

Before I dive into Ezra’s monthly blah blah I just want to describe to you the moment I just had… My blood started pumping so hard it filled my head, my palms became clammy and my hands started shaking. My chest went tight and I felt like I could feel every single hair on my entire body as I tried to catch my breath. Slowly I attempted to regulate my breathing as I clutched my pounding head in my hands, the only thought swirling around in there… my god. I’m going to have a highly mobile, non-verbal 13 month old and a Christmas tree in my house at the same time for 5 weeks.

AND THEN I DIED.

Which I’m actually quite thankful for because death is a far easier thing to deal with than a baby, that I just know will figure out how to scale the gate I will inevitably have to put up, whose main goal in life will be to take that tree OUT. He will maim the branches. Pull off the needles and eat them. He will get too close, poke his eye and then cry like it was the tree’s fault. Then he will get mad and try to hit the tree but when that won’t prove satisfying he will try to push it and when he realizes the branches just spring back, only to hit him in the face again, he will charge that sucker in a fit of horrifying toddler rage and knock it over. Or he might just look at it suspiciously, like what’s this giant pokey green thing doing in my house and then largely ignore it. I’m betting on option one though and wow, I am feeling all of the fear now, just ALL OF IT.

Alright, time to reanimate so I can throw some bullet points up about mini-budders month of twelve, stepping away from the inviting, warm, glowing orb of light in 3…2…1…

11.26.1

This month in Ezra!

* The biggest change for our guy was the room swap which I think he’s adjusting to fairly well. Unfortunately we did this at sort of a crappy time for him developmentally as he was definitely starting a sleep regression, getting ready to drop a nap and cutting his molars. It was either now or after Christmas though and I really just wanted to get the whole mess out of the way before the holidays. He’s had a few rough nights but it hasn’t seemed to impact the older two at all and most times the wake-ups can be resolved with a simple re-corking of the nuk.

11.26.3

*naps. Ah, naps, BANE of my existence. Since he was nine months old, Ezra has been insistent on napping right at 9:30am after a 6:15 wake up. Since he is so spotty on whether he’ll then follow that early morning nap with a late afternoon nap, I have been trying since September to push back the morning nap. This would give him a more balanced spread of awake time~ that 7 hour stretch of no nap is very rough on all of us. He would NOT have it though. If I tried to push the nap back any more than 20 minutes he would lose his ever-loving mind, and then when he would fall asleep he’d only go down for 45 minutes instead of his regular 2-2.5 hour rest and then still refuse the afternoon nap. Forty-five minutes of sleep during a 13 hour stretch for an infant is not a sustainable schedule. Of course now this week, that of the holiday in which I need him to sleep in the morning otherwise wreak havoc all over our Thanksgiving plans, is the time he chooses to skip the morning nap in favor of reaching over and banging the wood blinds against the window frame and giggling maniacally for 40 minutes until I finally give up and pull him out. He of course went down smoothly at 12:30pm, exactly the time we need to be out of the house and on our way to a day of family stuffs. GAH, this is stressing me out.

11.26.4

* Teeth! After getting 8 teeth between 6.5 and 9 months we had a blessed break until last weekend. He came home from his grandparents’ house with a fever of about 100 and a runny nose which sent me into a panic because of the upcoming holiday and the fact that he had just gotten over a stupid cold that lasted over two weeks. He woke up a number of times that night, needing tylenol, a cuddle and a nuk but by the morning the fever had vanished and in its place I felt the corner of a branny-new molar poking through. UGHUGHUGHUGHUGH. As you may recall, molars are my least favorite things about toddlers. It’s gonna be a fun few months.

11.26.2

{*This photo series brought to you by dumdums, aka: the only way to get a baby to sit still for more than three seconds.}

* Food. Everything gives him a damn rash around his lips. EVERYTHAAAAAANG. We have to put petroleum jelly around his mouth before and after every meal and even then he still gets red and irritated. Before nap and bed times he also gets either a prescription strength hydrocortisone or a combo of lotrimin, neosporin and regular hydrocortisone, which may lessen the redness and irritation briefly but it certainly hasn’t helped to heal it.

We can’t figure out one thing as the cause. He reacts to carrots, citrus and tomato, it definitely gets worse when he is teething and really really bad when he has any dairy. Do you know what toddlers live off of? Whole milk. That makes this whole “keeping the kid alive thing” a little trickier. As if one child with a dairy problem wasn’t enough, now we have a second. I just don’t get it. Bill and I ate ALL THE THINGS when we were little and neither had any food sensitivities or allergies. We exposed all our kids to a variety of foods at appropriate times to minimize the chances and Rowan, my picky child, remains completely food allergy free. The boys would eat anything but can’t and it is maddening too have to pay over seven freaking dollars for a package of dairy-free cookies or snacks. This week his mouth flared up so bad he looked like The Joker, so I finally broke down and am committing to a month of dairy free for him, let the vanilla flavored coconut milk commence. He does still breastfeed twice daily. I was able to drop the before-bed feeding with no problem for him or myself. His need for a morning and afternoon feeding is still pretty strong so I’ll just be following his cues on when he wants to wean from that.

11.26.6

* Ezra has gone from new drunk baby walk to stealthy, speedy drunk baby walk. He still stumbles at times but he can go FAST, and now rarely, if ever, breaks out into a crawl. {RIP cute and creepy baby franken-crawl, I will miss you.} Now that walking is fairly mastered he has started to move on to climbing. Lord help me, Internet.

11.26.5

* Language. Welp. Not much progress was made this month. He makes a vaguely familiar sound when he’s trying to say a word, like “guk” for his rubber duck, “sss sssk” for sock and other similar things but he still doesn’t say anything discernible. The exception being thank you which is a relatively easier to understand “tink ye” as he hands you toy after toy. No intentional ‘mama’ or ‘dada’ or ‘more’ or ‘uppy’ even though we repeat the words and use the baby signs all day long. Listen kid, I think it’s highly adorable you’re trying so hard to say the name of your ducky but maybe let’s focus on something more practical like “up” so you can stop trying to wedge your body between me and whatever I’m standing next to so that you can hang off my shirt and scream. Forming a u and a p sounds with your mouth seems so much easier than these shenanigans.

His sound effects repertoire has become very impressive though and his receptive language and ability to follow instructions continues to grow every day. He is also starting to point much more than he was last month so I’m holding out hope this doesn’t turn into a ‘thing’. {And I know there are tons of you out there with kids that didn’t make a peep until 18 months or later but when your other two kids were absolute motor-mouths at this age… well, the difference is huge and worth paying attention to.}

11.26.7

To sum up, at 12 months Ezra loved: Meowing, walking, dance parties with his siblings, brushing his teeth, baths, snuggling blanky, eating cake, going to the playground, raiding the cupboards, sneaking into the bathroom to inspect the wastebasket and remove anything he didn’t think should be thrown away {i.e dirty kleenex} and removing and hiding his socks. {Where are all the damn socks baby? No, seriously, you only have one and a half pairs left.}

11.26.9

This month has been one of your most adventurous ones yet. It’s been SO fun to watch you explore the world on two feet. One of my favorite things to do this month was to bundle you up, set you on the sidewalk and just let you go. Seeing your little body bob up and down as you carefully lifted your feet in a kind of slow-paced, very deliberate march, filled my heart up to the very top. You are so happy outside {in the wild. Yep, this is total foreshadowing of your personality isn’t it?} that I’m a little frightened of being trapped indoors with you for the next 5-6 months. We’ll get through though {if the Christmas tree doesn’t kill mommy} {again} and I can’t wait to see you racing up and down those sidewalks come spring. We love you, pal.

11.26.8

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This is how I spent my day internet…

11.24.1

That’s right. With the Monster Closet of Death. Oh God. It is just a wall of eight years’ worth of LIFE. I’m pretty sure I swore I’d never let it get this bad again but you know what happens when you create another miraculous human life? You also accumulate miraculous amounts of shi- I mean stuff. Lots of shitty stuff. Oh crap, I think I was trying to avoid cursing there. Oh well. So you know that moment when you finally clear out the closet but then all of its contents are spread out in gigantic piles all around your house and all you want to do is cry and move far far away from it all? Yeah. That’s what I was feeling here:

11.24.2

…Punctuated nicely by my second born, who kept creeping ever-so-quietly behind piles of junk, jumping up and shouting BOOOOOOO at the top of his very high-functioning lungs. I briefly threatened to look up orphanages in the phone book but then he said “What’s a phone book?” and I lost my will to threaten him further, for the laughing and the wonder at how much different life is for these small people. After MUCH to-do and a little help from Radio-Lab, This American Life and two Bloody Mary’s, I finished…

11.24.3

I know that all said and done it doesn’t look that impressive but trust me on this one. This is a closet that slopes downward under our entryway stairs. It is neither wide nor long enough but it happens to be the ONLY storage space for a family five we have in this entire house. I want you people with basements, extra rooms and/or storage closets full of shit to close your eyes and imagine putting all of that in one tiny, angled walk-in closet. It is the ultimate game of tetris, especially when you have to pull out your seasonal things every 2-3 months and if that seasonal item has migrated to the back GAME OVER CHRISTMAS IS RUINED, ALSO YOUR LIFE.

Balance in the force of the entryway was also restored and we are now semi-ready to put up Christmas decorations next Friday and host our family for Keaton’s 6th birthday..

11.24.4

Well, I’d write more but I need to go get really drunk* so I can effectively rid this day from my memory. I hope you understand, Internet.

*And by “get really drunk” I mean, have a glass a wine and fall asleep on the couch. This is what drunk is to old people.

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Two Septembers ago, in preparation for baby Ezra, we switched rooms with the kids, reclaiming the master bedroom for our own so we could share it with the baby and all the accompanying baby paraphernalia. *Backstory!: We gave Rowan and Keaton the master bedroom, which takes up most of our third floor, in May of 2009. It was awesome because it contained all the small people and their vast amount of toys upstairs, leaving the main floor to Bill and I who require a heck of a lot less brightly colored plastic crap to survive. I cannot tell you how much I liked this set-up, but alas. There was no way to fit the baby in the downstairs room with us so moving back upstairs was really the only choice we had as the association frowns on building outbuildings or putting a nursery on the roof. I did briefly consider getting an old VW van to outfit as a make-shift nursery in the garage but then I thought Child Protective Services might take issue with that. So! We preformed the great room swap once again and it all worked out okay. Since we plan to move in 2014 I thought we would all just stay put but sharing a room with a toddler who is ready to strike out on his own {what? He totally is. He told me so… with a very meaningful screech} was wearing on Bill and I. His schedule is predictable and he sleeps through the night so we weighed that against all the work the room switch would take and we decided that we should just tough it out. Then, seemingly out of nowhere, last week some asshole bee flew into my bonnet and, well, we’re going for it… bunking all three kids together upstairs so we can escape from them thoroughly every night at bedtime MUAHHAHAHAHA.

Okay, Internet, here is the play-by-play. I’ll either be mostly dead or really, really drunk by the end of today…

11:09 After waffling back and forth we decide it’s go time. Bill goes to the liquor store {NECESSARY}, I start work on the kids’ bookshelf.

11:21 Why do my kids have so many goddamn books? Who needs this many books? Reading is so overrated.

11:44 Bookshelf done! Reward: Baily’s in mah coffee.

11:54 SO MANY BARBIES AND STUPID BARBIE SHOES.

11:59 SO MANY AMERICAN GIRLS AND STUPID AMERICAN GIRL SHOES.

12:24: Break for lunch. Pray to enter some sort of time-warp/worm-hole where this is all over.

1:11: Ezra is up from his nap. We can now play the “keep the baby out of ALL the things game”.

1:16: Begin upstairs clean and dismantle.

1:55 Time to go pick Rowan up from dance, SEE YOU SUCKERS!

2:50 Back from dance. Brian is here helping carry beds and dressers up two flights of stairs. Sorry we suck so much Uncle Brian!

3:35 It has been determined that trying to switch around 70% of your house with three small people whining at you at every turn is not going so well.

3:50 Bill departs with boy children to dump them at grandma and grandpa’s.

3:51 I depart with girl child to dump her at a friends for an overnight.

4:12 God it is gloriously quiet in here.

4:14 Now where did that Baily’s go…

4:23 Bill figures out how to wedge the train table under the bunk bed clearing out loft space. We marvel at his genius.

4:26 Oh shit, there’s a lot of crap under there. I quit marveling at his genius.

5:03 Sit down to roast dinner that’s been cooking in the crock pot all day.

5:13 Lose will to do anything other than digest while drinking beer.

5:17 Back at it. Go time.

5:32 Do all the things

5:47 ALL OF THEM.

5:53 Up the stairs

5:54 Down the stairs

5:55 Up the stairs

5:56 Down the stairs

5:57 Up the Stairs

5:58 Down the Stairs

5:59 Place beer at top railing as incentive to keep climbing up and down all these fucking stairs.

6:00 Sweet! Beer! This was a super awesome idea.

6:40 Bill departs to bring boy spawn home.

6:58 Okay. Kids’ bedroom put back together. It’s just like the nursery in Peter Pan only less British and with more Legos.

7:09 Boys home. New bedtime routine attempted.

7:33 Ezra goes down, seemingly smoothly in his new corner of the room.

7:50 Bill reads Keaton a story while Ezra falls good and asleep.

8:09 Successfully sneak Keaton into room and…

8:08 COUCH COUCH COUCH SO MUCH COUCH.

8:09 WAIT! I just had a great idea! I bet we could fit my desk in our room now! Free up loft space!

8:10 Bill cries angry tears of defeat and sorrow.

8:11 Oh, couch. I barely knew ye.

8:12 Bill cleans off the desk, swears a bunch and we carry it down.

8:22 I smile and give him a big fat wet one right on the lips.

8:25 I sit down and finish this post in my baby free room at my very own writing desk.

{Tomorrow? Closet and bathroom swap. Good thing we have leftover Baily’s.}

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We’ve had sort of an ongoing saga the last few months regarding Keaton’s “tummy issues”, which is the polite name for a variety of digestive problems in our second-born. Around three and a half Keaton started having a bad reaction to ice-cream. It was just too rich for his system and it went right through the little guy. At first it was just large amounts- like if he had a big cone at a shop, but then it got so bad he couldn’t even have a bite without reacting to it. Rowan went through something similar at three but grew out of it before she was five so I honestly didn’t give it much thought, other than to lay off the ice cream for a few months. Only then things spiraled and the list of foods he reacted to grew to include cream-based pasta, then cream-based anything, then milk, butter and finally WHYGODWHY cheese. The list of foods grew so fast and the symptoms became worse and worse so I headed to Dr. Google who quickly diagnosed him with lactose intolerance.

We went full on dairy-free for a month to see if his symptoms improved. It took a few weeks but eventually he seemed mostly better which was… incredibly disappointing. In the Gunter house, cheese makes up four out of the five food groups so eliminating it from dinners was not a fun task. And I don’t know about you but a world without butter is not one I really care to live in. After a few weeks we noticed some flare-ups where a couple of symptoms returned so we, instead of trying to figure out when he had most likely accidentally been fed dairy {WHAT? WISHFUL THINKING IS SUPPOSED TO WORK, DAMMIT} , decided that it must not be dairy so we slowly reintroduced it to absolutely horrifying effects. WHOOPS. So yes, from then on we knew Keaton was definitely lactose intolerant but over the course of this past spring and summer it got steadily worse.

Now if you’re in the biz { uh, the lactose intolerance biz whatitsathing}, a lactose intolerant person needs to stay away from milk and butter and soft cheeses because their bodies can’t process lactose which is the sugar found in milk protein. This is caused by a lack or deficiency of lactase, which is the enzyme that helps to process that sugar.  The good news is that most of the time hard cheeses, yogurt and “cheese-flavored” items are not an issue because they don’t contain high levels of lactose. Unfortunately we found, they were also becoming big problems with Keaton. By the end of the summer we couldn’t figure out why his symptoms were still getting bad and finally we realized the problem was the “Pirate’s Booty” snack bags we had been giving him, which contains “real aged white cheddar”. Again, this is a fully processed food made with a cheese that should not have even affected him so we became really concerned. Swapping cow’s milk for almond milk is one thing but not even being able to digest one damn goldfish cracker? Not right.

So this sent me back to Dr. Google because not only should lactose intolerant people not have reactions to a number of the foods Keaton was having but the symptoms normally take much longer to manifest. And that’s how it was when this all started a few years ago. It would take a ton of milk or ice cream or a full diet of mac and cheese everyday for a week to get a reaction but now one bite of butter noodles or a small square of cheese had immediate effects. So on top of lactose intolerance he has a dairy allergy which is a separate thing {these can go hand-in-hand but not all of the time}. Milk allergy is an immune reaction, LI is an enzyme issue. Keaton was meeting the criteria for both so I decided it was time to retire Dr. Google and head to the other kind of doctor, you know, the one with arms and legs and a degree.

So this September we began the process of getting Keaton properly diagnosed with the secret hope of getting him “fixed” {in our house “fixed” means he can eat pizza again, which is all the sweet little thing cares about}. I’m only a little embarrassed to admit that I held off taking Keaton is for so long because in my experience, and in the experience of many friends and family members, our hometown clinic isn’t known for its competence in figuring out anything more than a broken bone or strep. I didn’t want them to shrug at us or treat me like one of those moms that is looking for some nice big label to slap on her Special Little Snowflake. Eventually though, Keaton was miserable and I needed to know I was doing everything I could for him.

Surprisingly the doctor was really concerned at the severity of his symptoms and instead of giving me the “eh, he’ll grow out of it” line, she ordered a number of blood tests to rule out protein abnormalities and we were sent home with 8 {EIGHT} containers to collect… specimens… to check for unusual bacteria and/or disease. That was a really fun few days, let me just tell you. Everything came back normal, but she still wasn’t satisfied so she sent us to a pediatric gastroenterologist out in the city. This guy didn’t want to give me the time of day and barely listened as I ticked off Keaton’s symptoms knowing full well he thought I was one of those moms {and yeah, we all know at least one}. But then Keaton got up on the table for the exam…

Now, if you’ve met Keaton, you’ve probably also met his butt-crack. {I’m sorry I tried to figure out how to put that nicely, and, well, that’s pretty much it.} Since he turned three-ish, no matter what we did, we could NOT keep this boy’s pants up. I always assumed it was a genetic thing because neither Bill nor my dad have any discernible buttcheeks to speak of; their chicken-legs just morph right into their back and Keaton has the same body structure so I didn’t think about it until I noticed his tummy one day. Every morning before breakfast I’d help him dress and I’d cinch his adjustable waist pants as tight as they’d go because there is seriously nothing to this boy, he is all spindly in the limbs and his tummy is so flat it’s practically concave. But then immediately after breakfast, which would be something like, a banana and Cheerios or strawberries and waffles, his stomach would be huge. No, really, HUGE. Pregnant looking. His shirt would rise up and he would inch his pants down because they were pushing on his middle and causing discomfort. But then they’d ride low and become too loose, hence: Butt-Crack Magoo, which is what he’s known as around these parts. {I should say, he thinks his own butt is highly hilarious and doesn’t mind the nick-name, should you think we’re giving him some sort of butt related complex.}

All this to say, once that boy puts any food at all in his system, his stomach gets hugely distended, ridiculously bloated. This is the one symptom that does not clear up when we go lactose/dairy free. No matter what we put in him, his tummy puffs out. And upon seeing this, the doctor’s eyes got huge and he made eye contact with me for the first time since entering the room ten minutes before. “Whoa. This isn’t normal. That is just FULL of air. Listen!” He said of the echoing sound as he tapped on Keaton’s belly. “Uh, yeah, I know. I just told you about that. ” He then asked me to repeat everything I had just said from the beginning and after some thought we agreed to schedule an upper scope and a sigmoidoscopy to see what’s going on in there and to biopsy the tissue in his esophagus, stomach and intestines.

The procedure went really well, though I will say it is so strange and surreal to watch as your child is put under. Keaton is such an easy-going kid though, so there was no fear, no nervous build-up, only excitement over getting to watch Spiderman in his hospital room and getting to pick out which smell to give the mask as he breathed in the anesthesia. It took him longer than I thought it would for him to succumb and close his eyes and I have a feeling they didn’t give him the right dose because they told us it would take him a half hour to an hour for him to come to afterward and a very shocked looking nurse rushed to our room when it was over to let us know that “Um, so, he’s already awake and trying to sit up!” I asked Keaton if he woke up during the process or if he could feel anything and thankfully he said no, but it was cutting it pretty close.

The results of that showed he has an ulcer that is trying to heal itself but otherwise everything looked good, including normal results on all the biopsies. The two major things it confirmed was that yes, he has a severe dairy allergy and lactose intolerance and no, he does not have Celiac, which pretty much floored the doc. He said if you brought Keaton into a room of 100 docs ALL of them would immediately diagnose him with it as he “presents textbook Celiac”. I asked if I should try to remove gluten from his diet anyway just to test it {this is not something I want to do, I LOVE gluten, or rather I love food and gluten seems to be in 90% of it} which he didn’t seem too excited about and told me to hold off until we do a barium study to see if there’s anything wrong anatomically.

That brought us to this week, in which we trekked back to the hospital and had the poor kid drink quarts of that chalky crap as they x-rayed him over four hours. And again, I cannot emphasize how well Keaton took this, just happy to play his new Star wars game on the iPad as he sucked down the orange flavored barium, proclaiming it super tasty, which, GROSS. Think of McDonald’s old “Orange Drink” only thick and chunky. It might’ve had more to do with the fact that he had nothing to eat or drink since the night before. We haven’t gotten the results back yet, but the radiologist said everything appeared normal which will come as a relief to my mother who likes to remind me that her great uncle or grandpa or some such was born with an upside-down stomach and didn’t find out until he was an old man.

The dairy/LI issue will just be a part of life for him. When it’s this severe this young, it most likely means he will not grow out of it which isn’t the end of the world but it is a pretty big lifestyle change. There is no magic pill he can take to help him digest it better. Although they exist for adults, the pediatrician tells me they are all but useless and not recommended for kids. Cheese and butter are staples of Midwesterners diets so dinners are hard. Cheese and milk are huge snack items and staples of hot and cold lunches. And ohmygod don’t even get me started on pizza. Birthday party? PIZZA. Family gathering? PIZZA. School party? PIZZA. Crazy-busy run-around night? FROZEN PIZZA. Book-It reward? PIZZA. Friday night? PIZZA. You know what’s NOT fun for a five year old? Replacing all those PIZZAs with SALAMI SANDWICHes. And he loooooves pizza. I know in the kid-allergy department this is far from the worst thing to have to deal with. I can’t imagine what parent’s of kids with severe nut allergies must go through when sending their kids to school cafeterias which are packed full of peanut butter sandwiches that could seriously put their child in the hospital. I get that that is so much worse of a boat to be in than my inconvenient no cheese, milk or butter boat, but still.

The other problem you run into with kids that can’t have any dairy is that you tend to over feed them fruits and veggies, which then results in many of the same undesirable side effects that started this whole thing. For awhile the poor kid lived off of apples, oranges, grapes, peanut butter toast and hot dogs and… that’s it. What makes this suck even more is that he is my GOOD eater. He will try anything and not really complain even if it’s not his favorite. He almost never refuses food and eats good-sized portions. I feel so bad when he asks for more and all I have to give him is his 4th damn apple of the day.

I will consider my little guy very fortunate if the tests comes back normal. I don’t want something to be wrong, although if that something wrong could be fixed and this whole problem could just go away… well, that might have been more desirable that what we’re looking at now which is, pretty much no different from where we were three months ago. All the “normal” results leave us in pretty much the exact same place that we started in and I know Keaton just really wanted us to find him a way to have yogurt and pizza and cheese sticks like all the other kids in his class and nope, that’s not happening. The biggest mystery seems to be the stomach distention and while it’s not painful for him it does cause a fair amount of discomfort and once his modesty starts kicking in, a fair amount of embarrassment when he can’t keep his pants up. I’m sure I’ll find solutions for him. I guess I wasn’t too hopeful for any kind of resolve from his issues but I need to know, and more importantly, I need him to know that we did everything we could to figure this out for him. And while we wait for the answer, whether it be in the coming months or years from now, we’ll be there with him, our special little Butt-Crack Magoo.

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When I last left you {chronologically speaking}, I was 1{000,000,000} day over-due. I know this doesn’t seem like a terrible amount of time but when you take into account that I was expecting this baby to come in roughly the same time frame as his siblings, I already felt somewhere between one and a half and two weeks overdue. Complicating this was a.) I am slightly OHMYGODGIVEMEMYBABY impatient and b.) Although I had lists ready, I couldn’t pack anything but the baby’s bag ahead of time. So every night I made sure that things were ready to be put together quickly and every morning I completed what felt like a walk of shame to put away or use the items we needed for everyday life. And it wasn’t just the preparing of the ‘stuff’. It was emotionally exhausting to have to constantly prepare the kids, who asked every morning why they didn’t get a midnight wake-up call to go to grandma’s. I was trying so hard to make the last few weeks of our family of four-ness special that by the end I was so tired of constantly having to be “on” for the kids~ by the end of each day I just felt like collapsing in a giant heap of my pregnant self but felt way to guilty to do it. In short, I was so incredibly tired and ready to meet this baby.

Every week from 36 weeks on I went to my midwife and every week she cheerfully announced that I was softening and dilated to about a 2. By 39 weeks I was downright smooshy but Ezra’s head was not engaging. Or wasn’t staying engaged rather, as he’d be way down low where he should have been but as soon as she checked me or applied any pressure he’d swim back upstream. Very infuriating. At 39 weeks she stripped my membranes which produced zero of the promised side effects of cramping, spotting and/or contractions. At my 40 week appointment she was a little more aggressive about the whole thing and while I did cramp up a little afterward, that was it. His head was still playing the same whack-a-mole game and would continue to do so until the moment of his birth.

At 41 weeks? I had had it. Every pregnancy has its issues but that I had to go through so much before we even got pregnant and then the first 5-6 months were so unbearable, well, {self-pity alert!} it just felt so UNFAIR. I was now PERSONALLY INSULTED by my unborn child. Did he not know we went through months of grueling sex? Did he not know I suffered an extremely painful miscarriage? Did he not know I threw up and up and up for months on end? Did he not know that all I wanted was to hold his squishy self against my chest and lay my cheek against his small, soft head? WHAT DID HE HAVE AGAINST MY CHEST, GODDAMN IT. The answer to all these was of course NO but had you tried to tell my pregnant self that you probably would have made me cry {minus the probably}.

With no signs of labor coming at all we scheduled an ultrasound for the 26th in hopes that we would already have a baby in our arms, which of course wasn’t the case. The ultrasound was to check to make sure the placenta was still viable and my fluid levels and the baby all looked good. Since we were charting and using ovulation kits we knew that his due date was 100% accurate so he was definitely cooking too long at this point. I’m a little ashamed to admit that I was hoping for some calcification of the placenta or lowish fluid levels so we’d have a viable reason to take some action but the US showed a more than healthy placenta, great fluid levels, and a baby in perfect head down, face down position. He was “practice breathing” but not engaged, completely happy with womb-life.

Bill had come with me to the US but had to run to pick Keaton up from preschool while I headed to my following midwife appointment. When my midwife came in she went over the US results with me and asked what I wanted to do should things not start up naturally in the next week or so. I had been hoping to have a drug-free birth this time and had been using the hypnobabies curriculum so I really, really didn’t want an induction as most of the time they lead to much more painful contractions which almost inevitably leads to an epidural and the c-section rate goes way up as well. We decided that on the following Monday she would give me prostoglandin gel, as it usually brings on labor very gradually. She said the first dose usually doesn’t do anything but if your body is ready, the second dose should kick-start mild contractions which would hopefully lead to full-blown labor by sometime Tuesday or Wednesday. She assured me it was nothing like pitocin, which is known for bringing on very frequent and extremely painful contractions almost immediately. Fine, I thought, I can make it through one more weekend. Maybe.

As she was checking me for progress I told her the ridiculous list of things I had done at home over the last few weeks to help kick-start labor so I knew I just HAD to have progressed more this week. After seeing my hopeful face she was less cheerful as she reported that I was softening and about a two and that the little bugger’s head would not stay engaged and ALL OF THAT WORK AND NO CHANGE HOW DARE YOU, BABY and… Internet, she took pity me. I was 90% certain that the gel would have no effect on me and that waiting until Monday to try it when we may need to start something more aggressive should my fluid levels drop, would maybe not be the best idea. I know my midwife does NOT like to induce so that she was offering it made me think it was probably for the best.

“Do you want to try the gel now?”

“Now? Like right now?” Funny how I went from LET’S DO THIS to um…wait, there’s still a bunch of shit I have to do, once the option for action was actually before me.

“We can try the gel today, but it is a gradual process so you’ll have plenty of time. Or we can wait until Monday. Your call.”

“Okay. Today. Let’s do it.”

And Holy Shit, did we ever do it…

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I had a great post outlined about the reasons this election is so important to me. Why it’s important for the civil rights of a great many Minnesotans and how passionately I feel about not limiting the freedom to marry. How utterly ridiculous that this nation can’t seem to get that we were founded on the idea of separation of church and state. How life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness should be FOR ALL, not just those attracted to the opposite sex. Then I woke up this morning shaking violently from head to toe and after a hot shower didn’t warm me up Bill ordered me back to bed where he shoved a thermometer in my mouth… 102.8! Off to the doctor to get treated for mastitis, which is just about as fun as it sounds.

Even still, after my appointment I dragged myself to our polling place because, you guys? It really is THAT important. Unfortunately the early stats show that Vote Yes {that marriage only should exist only between a man and woman} is probably going to win, but no matter how shitty I physically feel right now {stupid boobs}, I can feel good about my vote. I know it’s naive to think it will make a difference but there it is…

One of my proudest moments of being a mom happened right before I took this picture last August. I really wanted to share the story with you, Internet, but between the fever and the sleeping baby in my arms, it will have to wait for another day.

Needless to say, this child’s heart never ceases to amaze me.

Bill and I will randomly talk politics within earshot of the kids but we don’t preach or polarize things in front of them and rarely use names. Since the baby has come we haven’t discussed anything much more profound than Subway vs. Jimmy John’s, prefolds vs. one size diapers or Dexter vs. Homeland. Last week Keaton got to ‘vote’ for president at preschool {they also got to vote for what to eat at snack time and when to go outside to play} and he came home with his ballot.

If you’ve known me for more than five minutes it will come as no surprise that I gave him a high 5 after he showed me this.

Now if you’ll excuse me I have to go feed my shark baby with my broken knockers. It’s a good thing he’s so cute…

And smart to boot.

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This is where I tell you I’m going to dutifully write weekly pregnancy updates from now until Sammy Davis Junior Junior makes his grand debut on the sunny side of my uterus and I stand by writing this as long as you all know that in all actuality it has about a 4% chance of happening. Did that make sense? No? Eh. The point is, is that I’m going to try to document the third trimester of this pregnancy in the hopes that I will one day re-read this and remember what a special magical time this is, or maybe more probable, to NOT EVER DO THIS AGAIN.

So let’s sum up the first 26 weeks of the pregnancy so we’re all on the same page…

Week 1: This is {TMI!} actually the first day of the last period I had. It was a pretty shitty day, considering we’d been trying to conceive and now I knew for certain that not only was I not pregnant but another grueling month of terrible, awful sex would now be on the docket. {Anyone who has ever had trouble conceiving knows that sex is all fine and good until you have to do it on a schedule and ohmygod ALL of the nights in a row, and you’re tired and it’s just sooooo muuuuch woooooooorrrrrk}. Anyway to make matters worse I was signed up for centers that morning in Rowan’s class and it also just so happened to be the day that one of the kid’s parents brought in their teeny tiny 6 day old baby for show and tell. I may or may not have had to excuse myself to the hall so I could hide from the adorable newborn lest I start sobbing and freaking out 29 Kindergartners.

Week 2-3: Aforementioned grueling schedule of terrible, awful sex {uh, Bill if you’re reading this, it’s not you…it’s me. Except it’s still kind of you.

Week 4: Am I? Yes, I totally am. Oh of course I’m not, it’s never going to happen. But maybe yes? NO DUMMY, NEVER. But possibly?

Week5: Is that a line? Um, it’s pretty faint. They say if it’s there at all it means yes but I’m pretty sure it doesn’t count if you have to stand on your head and cross your eyes to see it. BILL!! Am I imagining this? What do you mean there’s nothing there?! Quick! Stand on your head and cross your eyes…see, I TOLD you.

?!?!?!?!?!?! With my other pregnancies, both lines where immediately, unmistakably dark blue. After many tests, this is the darkest line I ever got this time around which completely confused me.

78 dollars worth of pregnancy tests later? Totally pregnant! Now I have to wait to see if the puking starts to know if I have a viable pregnancy.

5 weeks, 6 days: PUKE! YAY … sort of. Hormone check at OB confirms I have enough HCG to support a litter of gunterlings so yup, there’s a real, live baby in there.

6-14 weeks: Complete. Utter. Misery. Only time I leave my bed is to dry heave/throw up. Try desperately to keep small amounts of food down for an hour or two so I can avoid the hospital where they will fill me with fluids and high doses of zofran so I feel human for roughly 6 hours before crashing back down into terribleness. Do not want.

15 Weeks: manageable days start to invade the awfulness. I get out of the house a few times, with varying degrees of success. I can sit upright on the couch for portions of most days instead of being bed-ridden.

16 weeks: had a pretty good week! Starting to feel human again!

16 weeks.

Weeks 17-19: Worst sinus infection known to man, a side effect of which is throwing up from all the goo dripping down into my delicate flower of a stomach. Remember that whole fucking ONE week I went without puking?! THAT WAS NICE.

Week 20: Slowly recovering. Starting to take over with the kids full time again. Starting to look like a real live pregnant person. Sort of.

21 weeks.

Week 21 Sammy Davis Junior Junior is a Boy!! WOOT.

23 weeks!

Weeks 22-24: Finally feeling relatively good. Like so good I’m invincible! Do invincible people let babies push them around and make them throw up? Do invincible people need Zofran, a powerful anti-emesis drug? UM, I DON’T THINK SO.

25 weeks: Quit taking zofran.

25 weeks, 1 day: God, I feel awesome. Probably because I AM super awesome.

25 weeks, 2 days: Yep. Still rocking the awesome.

25 weeks 3 days: Hmm..I feel a little less awesome today. I’m probably just tired from being so awesome all those other days. Even awesome people need a-

25 weeks 4 days: PUKE. NAUSEA. FIRE. BRIMSTONE. ET CETERA. I had maybe not told Bill the first 2 days because I knew he wouldn’t agree with my decision to go off the pills but by the third day I confessed and boy was I right, which is all I thought while I  listened to him lecture me about how I tried to go off zofran with Rowan and Keaton later in my pregnancies and how it didn’t go so well either time and GOD he talks a lot, blah de blah blah. Well on day four, even though I wasn’t feeling great, I had a point to prove {which, if you’ve forgotten, was that I was awesome} so I smugly told him I’d have a nice big breakfast which he skeptically made and when I sat down and looked at the eggs, hash browns and toast I promptly ran to the bathroom and huuuuuuuuurrrrrrllllleeeeddd. When I opened the door, there he stood with a glass of water in one hand, my pill in the other and a rather stern look on his face that clearly said QUIT BEING DUMB, DUMMY. After three days of awful nausea as I let the drug work its way back into my system…

week 26: I was right as rain, which brings us to…

Today!

27 weeks and apologies for the crappy camera phone/ghetto bathroom mirror pics but after having exactly 7 photos combined of my pregnancies with Rowan and Keaton, I thought it would be nice to document this one a little better but I’m not actually committed enough to pull my nice camera out or have someone else shoot me for the occasion; Lazy, etc.

Other things I’ve learned in the last 27 weeks…

After a slow start, this baby is extremely active. I’m 90% positive the child is training for the Olympics in there and I just don’t have the heart to tell him that he’s going to be a couple of months late for his event which must be something in the gymnastics category for all the flipping going on. The boy kicks me wide awake at three in the morning, like, “sorry mom, this is when I like doing my jumping jacks and squats and some nights a few high kicks because that’s how I roll”.

Got his first case of hiccups on July 12, which would have been precious had I not been trying to drift off to sleep at 11pm.

Hates it when I cross my legs, and will kickKickKICK me in the cervix until I uncross them.That’s not nice, Baby.

I’ve also learned that while symptom-wise my pregnancies are largely the same, each one comes with its own unique properties. This time, it’s GIGANTIC knockers. Since I was about 15 years old I’ve been a 34B. Over the years I might fluctuate between Barely B or a B and a Half, minus those first couple of months of nursing when, holy hell, your boobs are giant triple D’s no matter what. This pregnancy, for whatever reason, I got the giants right away and they are ridiculous. And obnoxious. What do you even DO with boobs this big besides strap them down the best you can and try not to get hypnotized by your own incredibly impressive cleavage? Also I’m sort of scared shitless at how much bigger they’ll get when they actually have a job to do when the baby comes.

I think that’s it for this week! Tune in next week when I discus how much I’ve fallen in love with, not my baby {although he’s pretty great, too} but ALL OF THE ADORABLE BABY ETSYNESS because oh Lord, there is so much cute.

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