The Orion Nebula

This is one STELLAR nursery!

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

The List

This year I:
Became a mother
Fell in love with my son
Moved to Oklahoma
Took on a challenging new job
Ran out of sick time
Bought a house that I love
Picked my own pumkin for the first time
Cut down my own Christmas Tree for the first time
Gained back all the weight I lost pre-baby

Next year I will:
Get back to a weight with a "1" as the first digit
Enjoy fewer Reeses Cups and more hot baths
Read more to my son
Be a better boss, employee, and wife
Earn the trust that has been placed in me
Make it home for Christmas
Use a babysitter to date my husband

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Who asked you?

I guess the firt time one experiences a miscarriage, one runs right to the doctor. On number five, though? Meh. I know how it goes. It's cycle day 17, your beta is only a 12, you should get your period soon. Smell ya later. Been there, done that. So when I was fairly certain that I'd had (sigh) another miscarriage I decided to spare myself the indignity and ride it out solo.

Big mistake.

So, here I lay for the second night, in a randomly inflating and deflating hospital bed. Having been scanned in every hole imaginable, sucking up all the pain meds they'll give me while the IV antibiotics pour into my system. The doc that came to see me this morning was shocked I was concious, my white blood count was so high. He said things like "blah blah blah lose a tube" and "blah blah blah want more kids?" The general implication being, like reproductive health? Lay back and take advantage of the all-your-veins-can-pump IV bar and be glad you're not in surgery right now. I know there's a crapton of stupidity here. First, what the hell was I doin getting pregnant now in the first place? I know! I know. Second, it's one thing to know your own body but that's no excuse to not get medical treatment. Ugh. I know. I have a habit of thinking I'm smarter than I am when it comes to medical stuff.

However, what in the world makes my friends and family members think that they should be telling me to get my tubes tied to "keep this from happening again". Does it matter to them that I'm not done having children? No. They think this is too hard on me. Ok...then suggest I go on the pill...get a shot...get an IUD...but dude...burn out your own tubes. Leave mine alone.

The More Things Change...
For my 3rd miscarriage, I had to have a D&C. I thought it was totally sick that I had to go to the labor and delivery area for my surgery. It really helped me though, when the sweet old nurse patted me on the shoulder on my way out the door and said, "We'll see you next year, sweetie."

Now, after #5, my hospital room is on the mother and baby/womens surgery/pediatric unit. Every time a baby is born, they play a snippet of a lullabye over the speaker. It makes me wonder if that music will ever play for me again. I just don't think I'm done. Maybe I'll be back next year.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Oh My Darlin

I'm from Florida, in general, and from a citrus famil, precisely. If I'm going to get all excited about a citrus fruit it had better be good, is what I'm saying. Until a few weeks ago I'd never even heard of a clementine. Where do they come from? Not Florida. Anyway, it seems like in the rest of the world they're a fall/winter treat that people actually look forward to.

I've seen stacks of them at the grocery store for a while now and just citrus. Then one of the bloggers I like mentioned clementines on her twitter and I thought, what the hell.

What the hell? These things are amazing. Easy to peel, seedless, juicy but clean, and sweet as candy. I guess I'm officially not in Florida anymore.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Bank Error in Your Favor

Last week, Doombot went to Swanky Preschool looking to see if we wanted to spend an extra $300 a month to send Orion there. Sadly, it turns out that we do. Sadly in part because of the extra $300 part, but also because of what we were told was a two and a half year waiting list.

So, today, Swanky Preschool Director calls and tells us that the 3-yr-old teacher, Melissa Smith, knows us and they think they can find us a spot. We went up there, I took the tour that Doombot took on Friday and fell instantly in love with the place.

We didn't have the heart to tell them that we have no idea who the fuck Melissa
Smith is, but they're calling us tomorrow or Wednesday to let us know when they can get us in.

Mother Fuckers did it again.

When we went to pick up Orion early from the current incarnation of Squirrel School. He was:

1. Laying awake in a crib (hey, that's illegal!)
2. With the teacher having her homework spread out on a table (if not illegal, it should be)
3. With a bottle in his crib with him (definitely illegal)
4. WITH NO MOTHERFUCKING RICE IN IT (I'm gonna kill a bitch)

Seriously, if I wasn't looking at new daycares, I would be now. Thank god Swanky Preschool has webcams in every room and I think I can trust the chef to add the fucking rice.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

OK, I lied. It was easy.

So, here's how bed time worked a month ago. I make a bottle at 6:45 to be prepped for the coming meltdown. Sometime before 7:00 the festivities begin. Orion starts crying. I get him into his pj's and a fresh diaper, during which he cheers up a bit. I climb in to bed with him and give him the bottle. If he finishes the bottle while sleeping, I win. If he finishes the bottle before falling asleep, fail. If so, I begin to pat, sing, and otherwise cajole him to sleep. Once he falls asleep, I stay in bed with him FOREVER until he's asleep enough to move without waking up. The End.

Here's how bedtime goes now. At 5:50 he rubs his eyes. I go make a bottle, change him into his pj's and a fresh diaper. The whole family gathers for some tummy blowing time. I give him his bottle. He is still awake. I move him to bed. I hear him playing and babbling for about 10 minutes from my place in front of the TV in the living room. Sometime later, I notice it has stopped.

Dude. Ferber rocks. Now I just have to figure out how to not get up once or twice to feed him overnight.


Got a new stroller today, and boy am I proud of myself. Orion actually no longer fit in the one that came with his travel system. His shoulders were too wide...he's a hoss, y'all. I also wanted something more compact, so I had figured on the mid level Maclaren umbrella thingy. This was $189, but I had a coupon. But get this! Instead of going to the store and managing to upsell myself, I actually picked out a cheaper stroller! I know! I was not a brand whore. I did not insist that more expensive must be better. This is totally the 2nd time this has happened. Last time was the car seat. Turns out, sometimes I like the less expensive stuff better. Will wonders never cease.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Easy? My Ass!

Ok. So, Ferber. Here's the scoop on Ferber.

It works. Honest to jeebus, it does. What it also does is makes your kid scream enough to take that dribbly nose and turn it into a full blown coughing, sneezing, hoarse-croaking cold. I don't know if the timing was just coincidental or if its a cause and effect thing but I started Ferber with a relatively healthy (if day-care-plague-oozing) kid and stopped after two days with Typhoid Squirrel. Now the whole house is sick. He's given Doombot the Pink Eye, and I'm sharing his cold. Bad news all around.

So, last night we were back to the "No Cry" approach. He was so grateful he slept 8.5 hours in a row (in his room!)(after I moved the sleeping heap of baby across the house without waking him up or stepping on a cat). Then he celebrated his 8.5 hours of sleep with half a meal and zonked back out for 4 more hours.

Maybe Ferber worked for us after all.

Friday, November 28, 2008

The easy way out

I've been toying with this Ferber idea for a long time.

I haven't done Ferber yet, because:
1. I knew how to get Orion to go to sleep. Oh sure, it required snuggling into bed with him, giving him a bottle, putting on the white noise machine, and singing the same two songs over and over again until he fell asleep then dozing off myself waiting for him to go floppy enough to be moved to the crib. But, you know, I could get him to sleep.
2. He slept a 5 hour stretch every night. Sure, it was the five hours between 8pm and 1am and therefore utterly uselss to my own sleep needs. But everything I read called that the minimum threshold to be considered "sleeping through the night". Yeah, maybe he was sleeping through the night in some time zone, but not mine.
3. Doombot insisted that he stay in our room. Try letting a baby cry for 10 minutes before attending to him when you're sitting in the same damn room.

I'm doing Ferber now, because:
1. My mom is in town and has offered to do it for me. Sigh.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Not Yet

Last night Orion was in a great mood. He'd had some yogurt that was cleaned off his face with puppy kisses. He was giggling and smiling and kicking his legs. It seemed like a good time for a test run.

I laid him on his belly on the chaise lounge and his legs immediately started pumping. A couple of times he got his knees up under him only to splat flat on the cushion when he tried to push for forward motion. Eventually he started pushing hard enough with his legs (but not moving his arms) that he was scooting backwards toward the open end of the lounge. I asked Doombot to move to the end so he could catch him if he tried to slip off.

Since Doombot is conditioned to do whatever I tell him to when it comes to baby safety, he moved into spotter position with a quickness. Then I watched his face fall.

"No. Not yet," he said. He picked up the squirrel and snuggled him in close. "I'm not ready for him to crawl now. Maybe some other day."

We're both starting to realize what it will mean to have an only child. This is the only baby who will ever eat his first yogurt. The only baby that will ever lay on his tummy with his limbs flailing around. The only one to eat his first finger food, pick his first pumkin, and the only one (someday soon) to begin to crawl.

Today at lunch, a woman was at the table next us with her son. He looked like he was about 11 or 12 years old. He ordered and ate his sandwich just like Doombot. First listing off all of the things he didn't want on it, then reluctantly agreeing when his companion asks, "So, just meat and cheese?" Then, again just like Doombot, he got excited about the availability of baked potato soup. At that point I realized that someday that will be me. Picking up the Squirrel early from school on a blustery Friday, maybe for a doctor's appointment, then talking about his science project over a steamy cup of soup.

Certainly, that will hold its own joy, just as watching my baby grow into a real live person fills me with warm amazement every single day. I just can't help missing the tiny infant who was here and gone so quickly, who I'll never get to hold again.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

I just caught myself contemplating some of my life's deepest questions. Today, we're talking about...Lazytown.

1. Why is it called Lazytown? Are they saying that the fat kid and the video game guy are lazy? I pick up on nerdy, but not lazy.
2. Why are the girl, Sportacus, and the bad guy regular people but everyone else is a puppet?
3. Is Sportacus' accent fake?
4. When will they air the Mothers Day special that's just 30 minutes of Sportscus doing pushups shirtless? Seriously, that guy's triceps are delicious.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Try this again...

There are four half written posts sitting in my drafts. As it turns out, moving half way across the country, starting a new office from the ground up, and raising a baby from 4 months old to 6 months old is kind of time consuming. This blog isn't the only thing that's been collecting dust. You could build another whole cat/dog from the fur tumbleweeds in my house. It also turns out that carpet is marvelous for hiding shedded animal fur. I had no idea how much there was until the tile in here gave it nowhere to run.

So, what's new on the squirrel front? Let's see...He's eating solids now. So far what we've gotten to work is a breakfast of applesauce with carrots for lunch. You could say we've had limited success with feeding him dinner, if by limited success you mean that every time we've tried to feed him dinner he's woken up halfway through the night with horrible tummy aches. It's been a couple of weeks, and I've tried again tonight. We'll see how that goes!

Also on the squirrel front? Sitting. Well, sort of. He can sit, he just doesn't know it yet. I keep catching him sitting unassisted because he doesn't realize that he's moved away from whatever was propping him up. Of course, though, if you try to sit him up with no illusion of assistance he faceplants right on over. He'll get it soon though.

Not on the squirrel front? Sleeping through the fucking night. We've actually moved backwards. He's gone from getting up once overnight to eat to twice again. That's a big reason I decided to try a solid dinner tonight. He's gotten harder to get down to sleep, wakes up more throughout the night, and wakes up earlier and crankier in the morning than ever before. I'm going to give this No Cry Sleep Solution book one more crack then I'm going Ferber. I don't like it, but this kid hasn't had a decent nights sleep in his life and if I don't do something soon I'm convinced he'll be broken for life.

Overall, things are good though. Orion is gettin big and silly and happy. He's really waking up and growing into himself. Oklahoma is turning out to be pretty fun, as long as you get your ass out of town and experience it. We've gone to corn mazes, petting zoos, and two mountain ranges all in the last two weeks. Up above, that's Orion in his backack hiking in Devils Den in the Ozarks last week. How could I complain with that smile in my grill all the time?

Thursday, September 18, 2008

When the cat's away the mice will...

sleep, evidently.

Anyone who's reading this knows that I have never had the luxury of being one of those snooty new moms who haughtily announces that her baby has been sleeping through the night since six weeks old. I came to terms with that a long time ago, and was satisfied that Orion would go to bed at 7pm, wake up once and take a bottle as we were going to bed around 11pm, and then would wake up again around 3am for another quick snack before sleeping until 8am.

Unfortunately, over the past six weeks or so, that's all gone out the window. He still goes down around 7pm and makes it until 11pm, but then all hell breaks loose. He spends the rest of the night tossing and turning. He's still been taking (at least) one bottle overnight but from 2am until 5:30am he fusses and squirms, needing constant settling. Then at 5:30 he poops, and I'm up for the day because I've gotten up to change him.

But that's me.

With Doombot its a whole 'nuther story. For the first night I was out of town, he did have some trouble getting the baby to sleep. He was starting to early, having picked the Squirrel up from daycare early enough that he missed his last nap then trying to compensate by putting him down for the night at 5:30pm. Yeah, not gonna work. But for the last two nights, he's come about as close to Orion sleeping through the night as I think we're going to see for a while. In bed asleep at 7:00, up at 11:00 for a bottle, then back down sleeping soundly until the 5:30am poop.

It turns out that the magic formula (and in all honesty I've suspected this all along) is that the baby got to lay in bed with him without any contact. He got to lay in my spot with his arms all the way outstretched, with nobody harassing him with all the snuggling and patting that he gets from me. Sorry little ingrate.

The solution is going to be a major pain in the ass. Tomorrow night, we're pulling the full-size crib into the bedroom. We'll take the side off and push it up beside the bed on my side. He'll be safe, close by where I don't have to get up to put him back down in the night, and he won't have to be touched while he sleeps. Maybe we'll be able to recreate Doombot's results.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Rapido! Con no arroz.

I never wanted to have to say this, but Orion is delicate. We worked very hard to strike a balance where he was getting a formula that sat well with him, thickened to a point where he wouldn't aspirate it, coming out of nipple with a hole big enough to fit through without giving him an ear infection but small enough that it didn't give him a tummy ache from eating too fast. This nipple was required to be attached to a bottle that would not give him gas.

After much crying and many sleepless nights for all of of us (come to think of it, we were all doing the crying, also) we came upon the following combination. Nestle Good Start formula, thickened at a ratio of one formula scoop of rice cereal to four ounces of formula, coming out of a Size Three Dr. Brown's Standard Nipple on a BPA free bottle. We were even able to wean him from his reflux meds.

Almost two weeks ago, Orion started to have loose, frequent stools. His reflux was back, with him arching his back and fighting his food. He stopped sleeping well and was cranky and weepy. I was confused though, because suddenly he was eating more at daycare too. It occurred to me that they weren't asking for rice cereal as frequently as it seemed like they should but I figured they were using the community rice, which was fine with me. I never connected these dots. Until today.

Today, we picked Orion up early. They were getting ready to feed him, so they just gave us his bottle to take with us to the real live Pediatrician. We usually leave his bottles there, so I told them I'd bring it back tomorrown.

I noticed right away that the nipple looked kind of funny. Cloudy, and maybe a little fatter and shorter than I recalled. Enough to make me notice, but not different enough to set off any alarms. Once we got settled in the car, I started feeding the baby and formula just came POURING out. He was starving, but he'd just take a couple of gulps then cry and push it away. He'd catch his breath then reach for the bottle again, mouth wide open, only to push it away again when the formula came pouring out the sides of his mouth.

I held up the bottle and saw the word "Rapido" printed on the side of the nipple. What the hell? Orion's nipples don't speak Spanish. I turned it around and saw the word "Fast."

"Mother Fucker!" I yelled from the backseat.

Doombot nearly lost control of the car. "What the hell is wrong back there?"

I'll tell you what was wrong. There was a god damn fast flow Playtex nipple on my Squirrel's carefully selected Dr. Brown bottle. It wasn't even a fast flow nipple that was in good shape. When I pinched the top, it gapped open wider than a (insert off color joke here.) I looked around the car and found a dirty bottle with a size three nipple. The baby was crying his poor little eyes out and I contemplated ways to get the nipple clean. I decided to wait until we got to the Dr. and clean it there where I could get soap and hot water. Orion would just have to suck on my knuckles until then.

Doombot asked to see the bottle. He swished it around and said, "I hate to piss you off even more, but there's obviously no rice in here." He was right. No rice.

We went through with the Dr. visit, but I'm now certain what was going on all along. Either because they wanted him to eat faster or because of total carelessness, some daycare girl has put the wrong nipple on Orion's bottle and collectively the daycare brain-trust has forgotten to put rice in his bottles.

That's why his reflux has come back and he had to restart his meds. His formula was too thin. That's why his tummy hurts. He's eating too fast. And that's why he has diarrea. His solid/liquid ratio is different than he's used to.

I still think its a good daycare. Each of the girls really seems to care about Orion and wants the best for him. I just think they're spread too thin, got disorganized, and forgot. I'll straighten them out tomorrow and all will be well.

But I'll tell you what. One more fuck up like this and they will rue the day they crossed Mama Squirrel.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Sleep or Death!

Orion is a really crappy sleeper and its noones fault but mine. Since he was born, we've used a combination of the Pack n Play/Co-sleeper in our room and the "family bed" for all of our sleeping needs. The little tyrant has also required that he be allowed to fall asleep on the bottle and that he not be moved until he is fully asleep.

He wakes once a night for a full feeding. I could live with that, if not for the 30 other times he wakes up to do a little bit of sucking and to have his position changed. Next thing you know he's going to be making me wipe his ass for him. Speaking of which, during The Intestinal Distress of September 2008 the sleeping has gotten even worse.

I get that he's just a baby, but this shit is not acceptable. I've bought some books and learned that I can teach him to get back to sleep on his own with no crying. I can't do the whole cry-it-out thing. The jury is out for me on whether or not its always cruel, but I just don't have the constitution for it.

I am taking action though. He's back on his reflux meds, which was a no brainer. But the big news is that Doombot has finally agreed to let me move him to the crib. He's currently taking his second nap in his very own crib in his very own room. I even rocked him until he was drowsy and then laid him down. Then I sang to him until he fell asleep. No bottle, people! Do you know what this means?

No? Neither do I, to tell the truth. But the Book says that its important. We'll see what happens tonight, because if I don't get some sleep soon I think I'm gonna die.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

God Bless Dr. Sears

OK. The sleep book was horse shit. I don't need to pay $20 for a book to tell me to get over myself if my baby doesn't sleep through the night. Yeah, he's hungry. I get it. Why don't you send someone on over to feed him for me. I'll give you another $20. What? Where are you going???

But the website. Ahhhhhh. The website. When I go to Dr. Google and frantically type in some search term, like tonight's "infant loose stool", and the first link up is to Dr. Sears' site it's like someone has thrown me a life raft. I just want to give every single one of those damn Dr. Searses a great big sloppy kiss.

Dr. Sears tells me I'm not crazy (unlike Doombot). Dr. Sears tells me that its ok to love my baby so much I'm in tears because he's got diarrhea (while the baby giggles at me because it doesn't bother him a bit). Dr. Sears tells me some shit I can do to feel like I'm helping (Give him some live and active cultures!) Dr. Sears even tells me all of this for free.

Unlike Dr. Opium Den, who charged me fifteen bucks.

Squirrel School called at about 3:30 this afternoon, to the shock of absolutely no one, to tell me I needed to come get him. In all actuality, the "three loose poop" alarm clock went off about four hours later than I had expected. I was just glad to have gotten most of a work day in. See, Orion has been pooping soup for four days now. He doesn't seem dehydratedm and when he's not fighting sleep because his tummy hurts, he's laughing non-stop. He's eating less than normal, but I kept thinking it would just go away. But today, Squirrel School forced my hand.

We've only been in OKC a month, so we don't have a pediatrician yet. I was gonna need a Dr. note to be able to get back to work tomorrow, so I set about looking for a walk-in clinic. What I found was awful. I would rather have had Orion treated in the bathroom from Trainspotting.

First, it stunk like old food and cigarettes. Never a good sign in a Dr. office. Then the 9-volt battery in the infant scale was dead and they couldn't find another one. So, we did the next best thing:

Step 1: Weigh Mom Holding the Baby
Step 2: Round Combined Weight Down to Nearest Five Pound Mark
Step 3: Ask Mom How Much She Weighs For Subtraction Purposes
Step 4: Sigh Loudly When Mom Doesn't Know
Step 5: Weigh Mom Alone For Subtraction Purposes, Rounding Up to Nearest Five Pounds

The oh-so-accurate result? Orion has evidently lost 3lbs in the last month.

After we established that my baby weighed somewhere between fifteen and twenty pounds the examination began. The Dr. told me to feed nothing but Pedialyte for 24 hours, then changed his mind. He told me that there was nothing wrong, and told me how to cure constipation. I'll have to keep that in mind, asshole.

I got my daycare release and left.

By two hours later I was in tears. I KNEW there was something wrong with the squirrel but I didn't know what to do about it. I came home and asked the BabyCenter ladies with no luck. Desperate, I turned to Dr. Google.

Dr. Sears had me switch to soy formula, mixed 50/50 with Pedialyte. Doombot ran out and got it. One bottle and Orion was out. At least I feel like I'm doing something.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Bad Mama

Ha ha! I got your attention didn't I.

Before I begin, let me first explain my extended blogging hiatus. I've moved from Florida to Oklahoma, bought a new house, and started a new job. It's been crazy, and blogging has been the least of my problems.

With that out of the way, lets talk about breast feeding for a little bit, shall we?

When Orion was born, he didn't latch for shit. Well, he'd latch then let go after just one or two slurps. The lacatation consultants in my shitty ass hospital didn't offer any advice more helpful than keep trying. Then they'd make a patty out of my boob, shove it in my screaming newborn's cryhole and shake their heads like I was somehow defective. What I wish I'd known at the time was that I had overactive letdown. Yes...immediately after he was born I was already in such awesome shape production-wise that I was squirting milk forcibly down his little confused throat. We kept trying though, and my boy who was born so big and healthy was barely allowed to leave the hospital for his weight gain and jaundice. Looking back, if I hadn't taken them up on the offer to be discharged a day early he probably would have gone to the NICU.

With that much force to my colostrum, you should be able to imagine how forcible my letdown was when my milk actually came in. I'll never forget waking up in the middle of the night on our first night home from the hospital with my breasts so hard that my nipples were stretched so flat that there was nothing at all for Orion to latch to. He was furious and starving, so Doombot went to the cabinet for one of the ready-to-feed Enfamil bottles that had come in the mail. While he snuggled and fed our newborn, I huddled over the free Avent bottle that came with our baby registry and hand expressed a full four ounces of milk. Barely enough to make me comfortable. This set up the next 10 weeks of our lives.

My letdown never got any better, and once I'd seen the rapturous look in my baby's face as he was snuggled and drank from the bottle it was hard to even consider making him go through the alternative again. The figting, spraying, and screaming seemed like far to high a price to be paid for all of the additional benefits that come from nursing. We settled into a predictable pattern. I would pump while Doombot delivered the bottles. When he was at work, I would pump while Orion slept. Feeding him was a full time job for the whole family. I was constantly feeding, pumping, packaging, thawing, and sterilizing. Parenthood turned in to a death march.

I made multiple attmepts to move him to formula. In those bleak days, all I knew was that I wanted to be enjoying my baby and we were both miserable. Him from terrible silent reflux, and me from endless days and nights hooked to the pump. All of my efforts were failing. Each time we tried formula he would become terribly constipated. I could not win for losing.

Then, all at once, a few things came together to make it imperitive that we make the switch. Some of the decisions I stand by today, some I am ashamed of. Let me explain.

I have already detailed the issues we faced with Orion's laryngomalacia on this blog. We discovered that his reflux was being aggrivated by a combination of that and a potential sensitivity to something in my diet (more on that later) and that he was aspirating his milk. We had two options. Feed him thickened formula, or face swallow tests, MRI's, and the potential of feeding tubes. I must remind myself that none of these things could have been avoided by my diet changes alone.

The second thing that happened is that I became totally addicted to Reese's Peanut Butter cups. That sounds like an exaggeration, but I swear to you it is not. I don't drink. I don't smoke. I don't do drugs. Food is my self-medication of choice, and those were some dark days. I began binging on peanut butter cups to a point where I probably should have gotten some professional help. Yeah, it sounds stupid to me when I write it too. The only part that isn't funny is that all those peanut butter cups turned Orion's poop dark orange and mucousy. It's embarassing to say so now but rather than showing me that I should lay off the smack, I was convinced it was a sign that it was time to force the formula issue.

I could have modified my diet (it sounds so much nicer that way, doesn't it?) and thickened the breast milk. I could have seen a lacation consultant earlier. I could have kept pumping. There's lots of things I should have done first.

Today, though! Today! Orion is growing strong. Sometimes he's so happy when he's eating that he can't suck because he's smiling so big. I get to feed him my self. I have time to play with him during the brief period of time between the end of work and his bed time. His diapers are healthy. He hasn't had a single reflux symptom in 9 weeks. Is it a coincidence that he screamed through the last bottle of breast milk he ate? I never hear the rattle in his chest anymore that used to tell me that he'd aspirated milk.

Here's what I know:
1. If I'd nursed him, the milk would have been too thin. His reflux would have been miserable and he'd be prone to pneumonia from the aspiration.
2. If I'd modified my diet, I still would have had to thicken my breast milk.
3. If I'd thickened my milk, I still would have had to use my spare time to pump.
4. If I'd used my spare time to pump, I never would have had the relationship I have today with my squirrel.

The babycenter blogs have some kind of breastfeeding blitz going on right now, and they're making me feel like shit. In the past few days, I've read up on relactation and priced new manual pumps (did you know Dr. Brown's makes one now!). I just don't know at this point if it's even a good idea to try.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Maybe it's a bad analogy, but..

I feel like I've just been picked up by a tornado and dropped in a completely different world. Why is this a bad analogy, you may ask? Well, ladies and gentlemen of the internets...we're moving to Oklahoma! Why the fuck would you do that, you ask? Why the fuck, indeed.

The reason is simple enough. The company that Doombot and I work for is expanding our division and adding an office in Oklahoma City. I've been asked to run it, and Doombot is going to (gulp.) work for me. Sounds simple doesn't it? Well, it's not.

There's a house to be bought, and a house to be sold. A daycare to be cancelled,and a daycare to be started. Travel for the three of us back and forth to OKC two weeks ago. Travel back and forth to Virginia weekly for three weeks for Doombot. Orion and I heading to OKC for three days next week. Pet shippers, pet shots, and two different boarding kennels. Crates to buy, furniture to acquire, paint colors to choose. Ice maker un-hooker-uppers and hooker-uppers to schedule. Packers, movers, car shippers. Rental cars, hotels. Oh, and an entirely new job to begin for both of us. Does that sound like a lot? Keep in mind that when I last posted on July 10th I knew nothing about this, and I'll have closed on my house and started work at the new place.

I need a drink. In the mean time, enjoy a photo tour of our new house in OKC!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Wrong Seven Hours

The squirrel screamed through his appointment with the GI specialist yesterday. We'd been warned off about Dr. Monorail's shitty bedside manner and instead rescheduled with a very nice lady doctor. She was so amazingly sweet and pretty that I can't even think of a clever nickname for her. Anywho, she gave us some tips on dosing the Prevacid and ordered a swallow scan to see if he is aspirating formula as he eats. I'm pretty sure he is, on account of the fact that I can hear and feel the fluid rattling around in his chest after each feeding. I didn't even know this was a possibility until I talked to Melissa's friend Sandy. But, I'll be damned, there it is.

Dr. Sweetnpretty (I will not be denied!) said that it was usually just a matter of getting the formula thick enough so that it isn't aspirated. Now, we've done experiments with thickening Orion's feeds before but never under the current circumstances. Before, he was on breastmilk that was already upsetting his tummy and was not used to having to push out a poop that had any body to it at all. At this point, I think his digestive situation is pretty different. Just think, he's probably only a month away from being ready to eat from a spoon. My baby! With a spoon!

So, last night before bed I prepared his bottle with some rice cereal. This time, I blended it up in the Magic Bullet and added enough to actually make an impact in the viscosity. That amounted to two tablespoons in five ounces. It seemed like a lot, but he was still able to drink it down through a stage two nipple in about 20 minutes so it couldn't have been that bad. He even took another two ounces of non-riced formula to top it off. Then, per usual, he nodded off to sleep at 9pm.

When I laid down for bed at 11pm, I started worrying about the possibility of constipation. I was able to make myself feel a little better about the fact that it's a lot easier to treat the constipation from the rice than the pneumonia from the formula in his lungs. Then I went to bed attempting to apply The Secret to the procedings just in case. Over and over again I repeated "Sleep through the night, painless digestion" as I went to sleep myself.

When the little waking squirrel wimpers woke me up, I looked at the clock. A quick count on my fingers showed that he'd been down for (Holy Shit!) seven hours. He'd never done more than four before without having screamed himself exhausted for half a day first. I was simultaneously overwhelmingly thrilled and bitterly dissapointed. This mythical seven hours of sleep had allowed me to reach the blissful waking hour of (gulp) 4am.

At this point, I was too scared of the constipation issue to give him another rice bottle. I decided that I want to see him poop before he gets more and that for the first few days we'll only do the overnight bottle with rice. So, he had a regular one and wheezed milk for the next three hours until it was time to get up. At which point, I woke up and he kept sleeping while the rest of the house got ready for work. I think someone slipped NyQuil in the rice cereal. He woke up smiling and laughing when I put him in the carseat. I could get used to this.

We still haven't seen a poop, so I don't know if the second part of the "Secret" juju I laid on him worked or not. I guess we'll find out when we get home from work. Just in case, I'll be coming prepared with Karo Syrup and apple juice to get the tracks moving. Party at my house! There will be Vaseline covered Q-Tips for everyone!

Monday, June 30, 2008

Stop Hitting Yourself!

Sometime in the last week Orion has discovered that he has limbs. So now, like any kid with a new toy, he wants to play with them non-stop.

Of course, there's the regular squirming, kicking, and arm waving. We had to run out and get him one of those floor gym thingees on the fly Saturday because the poor guy needed something to make him look like the spastic movements had a purpose. You would have thought he'd won the Nobel Prize or lifted the Stanley Cup with how proud I was when he managed to bonk the ball hanging from the plastic kitten to make the music play.

However my favorite new maneuver by far, is the Reverse Kung Fu Chop. Out of nowhere, his little baby brain will send an impulse to his little baby right arm which has heretofore been hanging limply to his side. This causes he right arm tosnap indescriminately into the air with all the force his little Micheline Man bicep can muster. Without fail, this results in him smacking himself in the forehead. I'll have to get a video up, because that' shit is awesome.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

In the Eyes of a Boy

I don't get too sappy around here. I just assume that anyone reading this knows that I love my boy beyond anything I imagined. Sometimes when I'm covered in puke and changing diapers full of blue poop at 4am, I do forget how much I wanted him and how lucky I am that he's finally here. So I wanted to say it. Today and always, I love my son.

A New Day Has Come

I was waiting for so long
For a miracle to come
Everyone told me to be strong
Hold on and don't shed a tear

Through the darkness and good times
I knew I'd make it through
And the world thought I had it all
But I was waiting for you

Hush, love

I see a light in the sky
Oh, it's almost blinding me
I can't believe
I've been touched by an angel with love
Let the rain come down and wash away my tears
Let it fill my soul and drown my fears
Let it shatter the walls for a new, new sun
A new day has...come

Where it was dark now there's light
Where there was pain now there's joy
Where there was weakness, I found my strength
All in the eyes of a boy

Hush, love

I see a light in the sky
Oh, it's almost blinding me
I can't believe
I've been touched by an angel with love
Let the rain come down and wash away my tears
Let it fill my soul and drown my fears
Let it shatter the walls for a new, new sun
A new day has...come

A new day has...come
Ohhh, a light... OOh

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Under Pressure

Getting my boobs out of the milk business has proven to be one of the most difficult and painful parts of the whole baby-making experience. At least with my pelvic pain and swelling during pregnancy I was fine unless I moved. Same with my surgical pain. Plus, for both of those I was given a handy stash of narcotics. This boob thing is nuts.

None of the methods I've heard of to decrease my production are working. I honestly think that most of these methods are designed for girls who are making about an ounce an hour. I'm making more like three ounces an hour. While Righty is playing ball, my left boob is just getting larger and larger. About an hour ago I decided to throw caution to the wind and went to pump just a little bit to kill the worst of the pain. Right there in the file room of work I moved aside the flap of my nursing bra and hosed down the cooler the HR department uses for their pot-lucks. Seriously, my boob was spraying like the fucking Bellagio fountain under it's own pressure. I aborted my plan to pump, and instead just held the little bottle and let my boob deflate itself. People, this is insane.

The only new advice I received in the last 24 hours was to see if I could get on the pill since that's supposed to reduce supply. I was thwarted yesterday, and decided to call and throw myself upon the mercy of my gyno to try to get a prescription in advance of my appointment in mid-July. He was on vacation, but the nurse offered to ask him when he called to check in. The answer wasn't just "no". The answer was "never". It turns out that due to my Factor XII deficiency and history of blood clots, I am no longer a candidate for the pill OR an IUD (which I previously planned).

I'd already been thinking about it, but now I'm pretty sure I'm going to get my tubes tied. I hated the back nine of my pregnancy, and I don't even want any more kids. The squirrel is awesome and I wouldn't trade him for anything, but I don't plan to go through these newborn days and nights again.

Another thing I don't plan to go through again? Getting my milk to dry up. This seriously sucks. It's like the body's last big "fuck you" of giving birth. I'm starting to feel like I'm not any closer to being milk free than I was two days ago. I'm sure I'm pumping too much too often, but the pain is intense and I'm a wimp.

Monday, June 23, 2008

We learned a couple of things over the weekend. First, Orion can poop out Nestle Good Start just fine as long as it doesn't have rice ceral in it. Second, Orion doesn't spit up Nestle Good Start as long as it has rice cereal in it.

That's just the kind of weekend it's been. We'll try oatmeal next. If Dr. Google can be trusted it will thicken the formula but not cause constipation. We'll see.

We also got a pretty crappy recommendation on Dr. Monorail. Evidently he provided pretty shoddy care to a friend of a friend, and was a dick about it to boot. We were over visiting the Gaxes (Melissa and Jeff) and since we were having so much fun, the visit ran longer than expected which required more formula. Doombot went all cheap ass on me at Babies R Us and made me feed the squirrel some breast milk, which he immediately refluxed. Bad.

Melissa picked up the phone and called Sandy, who proceeded to scare the shit out of me. I did learn about the oatmeal option and Dr. Monorail's people skills, but I also learned about how bad this could get. As it turns out, Sandy's baby also had laryngomalacia. The tests they did to diagnose the cause of the reflux showed that her baby was actually aspirating formula because of the weakness in the epiglottis. What tipped them off? The same nasty congested sound that Orion makes when he finishes eating. The solution? First, an NG tube that the baby kept pulling out and then whatever god-forsaken tube they actually put straight into their stomach. So now I sit and wait for my appointment knowing that I may end up having to tube feed my little guy. I don't know if my daycare will even accept him like that. I wonder if it would even help? Frankly, I'm so terrified, I'm not even talking about it.


Instead, I'm talking about my boobs non-stop to anyone who will slow down long enough. With all signs pointing to successful formula deployment, I've started the weaning process. I don't have a baby to wean. No, I have to wean my Medela Pump-in-Style and that is one greedy bitch. It's actually kind of funny, because when I decided that we would move to formula I was pumping every four hours or so and getting five to six ounces. But once the girls discovered they were being put out to pasture, they've started working overtime. Suddenly I'm fully engorged after about an hour and a half and yeilding about 11 ounces, that's going straight down the drain.

Things are starting to get somewhat better except for the occasional hard knot that keeps cropping up. I owe what little relief I am getting to the sage and peppermint essential oils I'm taking along with as much sudafed as I can stomach. It's been five hours now since I pumped and I'd be doing fine (ish) except for a hard knot on the top of my right breast that I'm dealing with by applying a cold compress. By "cold compress" I mean that I have a can of Caffeine Free Diet Coke shoved in my bra.

Gimme a break. I'm desprate.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Please Stand Clear of the Doors

Orion is not a happy guy. Over the past couple of weeks things have gone steadily downhill in terms of his gastric comfort. His reflux started breaking through the laughably low dose of Prevacid he's on and he started pooping this toxic orange mucousy stuff. Tons of it. I think the poop problem most likely has to do with the obscene number of Reeses Peanut Butter Cups I've been mainlining for the past month. Obviously he's allergic to something, but what? Is it the peanut butter? The milk? The chocolate?

The solution we came up with is to try to switch him to formula once and for all. I did some research and figured out that the best balance of "unlikely to cause an allergic reaction" and "unlikely to make him constipated" is Nestle Good Start. After just half a day of making bottles with half breastmilk and half formula, his poop was back to normal. The gas, however was plentiful and frightning. The reflux, remains terrible. The baby, miserable.

We called Dr. Crazypants about it to try to get a referral to a pediatric GI doc. At first the nurse was all offended and like, "Dr. Crazypants usually deals with this himself." So we said, "Fine. If it's gonna be like that, here's his symtpoms." She said she'd talk to the good doctor and call us back. When she called, it was with a referral to a pediatric GI doc. That's what I thought, bitches.

So on July 2, we'll take him over to Tampa to meet with a very experienced Pediatric Gastroenterologist who looks like Opie and has this as part of his bio:

Dr. Kaiser also has ties with both the Walt Disney and Anheuser Busch Entertainment Corporations serving as an entertainer and voice over artist for commonly heard recordings such as the monorail.

So, essentially, I'm trusting my little boy's thorax to this guy:

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Praying to the God of Comfort Proteins

There's a lot of stuff that I know I'm supposed to do if I'm going to be considered a good mom in today's environment. I don't care anymore. I didn't spend my pregnancy eating organic food and washing my pre-natal vitamins down with spring water. Instead, I ate shit loads of pizza and washed my viocdin down with diet coke. I didn't do yoga. Instead, I laid in bed in front of the TV and let Doombot bring me icecream. I didn't have a natural child birth in the comfort of my own bathtub. Instead I had a scheduled c-section and accepted every percocet the nurse offered me. I did not nurse on demand. I pumped breast milk and fed Orion with a bottle. And now, if the Comfort Protein gods are with me, I'm not even going to do that anymore.

The first time I realized I hated being tied down to a breast pump and tried to to switch Orion to formula, he was four days old. After one day he went two screaming days without pooping and finally passed what looked like a small glob of green Play-Doh. We tried again a few weeks later when we heard that thickened formula makes babies sleep through the night. He got a dose of the rice protein stuff and was wracked with such horrible gas pains that none of us got any sleep for three days. Then when we started realizing that he had a case of the squirrel reflux we tried the hypo-allergenic formulas. Even if it hadn't given him horrible gas again, the experiment would have failed based on the stench alone.

I've been thinking alot lately about the horrors of exclusive pumping. Essentially, I have to do everything related to feeding him twice. I don't just have to wash the bottles he eats from, I have to wash the pump parts and collection/storage bottles. I don't just have to take the time to feed him, I have to take the time to do the pumping (not to mention the fact that I have to find something to do with the baby while my hands are tied up with the pumping process.)

Having had such terrible luck with our formula experiments, I tried to go back to nursing the old-fashioned way. There were a few problems with that. First, Orion didn't so much suck as chew on my nipples. Second, he really enjoyed chewing on my nipples. I'm as much for attachment parenting in concept as the next girl, but I had to draw the line at being treated like the squeaky rubber hamburger we gave the dog. The cruelest part of this chewing was that once we started, Orion would only fall asleep with my boob in his mouth. As soon as he'd stop chewing and start snoring I would attempt to ease him off to be carried off to bed. Every single time that little motherfucker would start chewing in his sleep. I might have kept with it anyway, except for the fact that I still had to pump! Orion didn't eat enough to take care of my supply and I still needed some bottles to send to daycare. So, just add the nursing to the list of pumping indignities from above. No time or effort was saved. I even lost the ability to divide labor by having Doombot feed the bottle while I pumped in the middle of the night. Fuck. That. We went back to the bottle.

During all of this, I kept seeing mention of Nestle Good Start formula being a miracle cure all. I don't know what the hell a Comfort Protein is, or why it's a good idea to be predigesting milk for babies. What I do know is that it seems to be the last, best chance for me to move the squirrel to formula and get to back over my Medela Pump in Style with the car. Tonight and for the next couple of days we'll give bottles of half breast milk and half formula. If that works out, we'll be at full formula by this time next week. Maybe by the middle of July I'll get to stop pumping completely.

Please God, let this work. I don't want to have to pump for another two years.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Get in the Hole!

We've grown to love golf. Oh, we don't play. It's entirely to hot and muggy for that. What we love is watching golf on TV, specifically in HD. Sitting here at work with the US Open playoff going in the background I've been reflecting on why we have such sudden affection for a sport that neither of us has ever played and we don't even really know anything about.

The first thing that struck me was the surface stuff. The visuals are stunning. On it's own though, the picture quality would not be enough to overcome how annoying it is to hear the crowd yell "GET IN THE HOLE!!!" after every shot. So, our love must come from something deeper than that.

I think that what's really at the root is the fact that by early afternoon on Sundays, Doombot and I are beat. We're a special kind of exhausted that only comes from interrupted sleep and two days running around in service of a squirming, screaming, nap-refusing howler monkey. When we finally run out of gas on Sunday afternoon we'll all crawl into bed with the lights out for a little bit of mind numbing entertainment. Between the darkness and the mind-numbing voices of the announcers, Orion generally starts to wind down. Yesterday, as Tiger Woods came back to tie the...the...what? The match? The game? The set? Whatever. As he forced today's Playoff, the squirrel drifted off to sleep.

Guess what we got in return for his screaming every time he wasn't being held for three days! He went to bed at 8pm and slept for six whole hours in a row. The web tells me that anything over five hours is considered sleeping through the night. I want to call bullshit on that. Especially when that sleep session ends at 2am. Thank goodness Orion took a quick feed and went back down until 5am and then again after a longer servicing (free diaper change with fill-up!) went back down until 8:30. For those of you keeping score at home that means that Doombot and I slept for a blissful seven hours last night! Oh, they weren't in a row or anything but beggers can't be choosers.

So for those of you parents out there wondering how to lull your little tyrant off to sleep after an exhausting, cranky weekend. Try golf.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Wrist Strong

I've got DeQuervain's syndrome

It sounds fancy that way, doesn't it? What it really means is that I am so freaking weak that I've gone and given myself tendonitis from picking up my baby and using the manual breast pump. This injury is also known as "mothers wrist". Hey! I'm a mother and I have a wrist, so why the hell not?

I'm currently on a regimen of immobilization, Ben Gay, anti-infalmmatories, and wet heat. If this doesn't work I'll get a cortisone shot and try to avoid surgery. Won't that be fun?

In other news more directly related to the care and feeding of our (increasing less) tiny person, we moved Orion into a makeshift nursery in our walk-in closet. He had gotten too big for the co-sleeper and I felt like we were all keeping each other from getting good rest. Doombot however, isn't ready for the baby to be on the other end of the house and this was our compromise. The squirrel went both weekend nights with sleep blocks of four hours rather than his usual 2.5-3 hour stretches. I'm taking full credit.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Cranky. Pants.

God, I had such high hopes for today. We set up the closet as a little bedroom for Orion last night, moving him to the PNP and moving his real dresser in there so that I didn't have to have his clothes in baskets on the changing table shelved. The first round of sleep he made it from 11:30 to 5:00. I was thrilled. Not only did he sleep longer than ever (without having pooped himself out screaming for 4 hours first) but it was better sleep for me since I wasn't listening to him grunt and groan all night. The 5:00 wake up was really easy. Quick feed, meds, and diaper change and back down. Then the fun started. He woke up fussing pretty badly at 7:30. Since I wasn't ready to be up for the day yet, I brough him to bed with me. He kept fussing and would only sleep if I pulled him in really close and tight.

Since then, all of his awake time has been spent fussing. He's not gassy. He's not sick. He's not tired or hungry. He's just being a tiny, adorable asshole and he wants to be held non-stop. The funny thing is that he's napped great in his new little bedroom. He's had one 3 hour nap and another 1.5 hour nap. Then he just dozed off again about 20 min ago at 7:30pm. It's been exhausting. Doombot offered to take him along to go pick up dinner, but I knew that would just be a disaster. I'm not sure what kind of night I have ahead of me but I just hope my cranky little man gets some sleep.

I'm wondering if this is due to some kind of growth spurt. He's eight weeks on Monday and I'm pretty sure I've heard there's one right about then. I hope so, at least that will mean this isn't about to be the new normal.

Friday, June 6, 2008

I don't think he likes us

We're working hard to get Orion's medication worked out. We're dealing with a lot of pain from acid reflux and backed up gas. Yesterday morning he worked up grunting and straining, his little squirrel body twisting in pain as he tried to work out the gas I'd given him from trying to see if a little rice in his bottle would help the reflux (answer: HELL NO!) We figured it would be decent of us to warn the daycare people that we were handing over a very cranky baby. I spent the entire day waiting for Ms. Haylee to call and tell us to come get him because otherwise they were going to throw him in the sinkhole since he wouldn't shut up.

When Doombot picked him up last night he asked how the squirrel had behaved himself. The report? He was great. He'd been smiling and laughing all day. The fuck? Laughing? We'd never heard him laugh! Then as Dannon lifted his carseat the squeaky sun on the toybar swung and the squirrel? Giggled. Then he took a look at Dannon, realized what whas going on, and started fussing.

In all fairness, he was decent last night. Now that we've realized that he's coming home exhausted every afternoon and needs a decent nap almost immediately, I think we're going to be able to elimnate most of the crankiness. But still, this sucks! He's all smiles for the daycare girls but we can't drag one out of him? Why does he like them so much more than us? Is our house to quiet? Are we too boring? Maybe the only way to make him happy is to have a bunch of screaming four-year-olds running around.

I knew there would come a day when I would have to deal with the cold hard fact that there would be places my baby would rather be than in my arms. I just thought that day would wait until he was at least two months old.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

That's Mr. Floppy Epiglottis to you!

On Orion's very first day with us here in the outside world, we couldn't help but to notice that he couldn't eat without gasping for air like David Blaine coming out of that crazy plastic sphere after attempting to break a breath holding record. We were stopped by concerned strangers on more than one occasion. When we asked Dr. Locobeans about it he wasn't concerned and told us simply that "some babies are loud eaters." Doombot and I weren't satisfied with that.

The problem is that the horrible gasping noise causes the squirrel to be so very gassy. It caused him to have very painful reflux. It was simply unacceptable. So, on our last Locobeans appointment we brought a bottle and gave him a front row seat to the show. Funny how actually having to listen to a precious little baby grasp like he's dying tends to make a medical professional take you seriously. Dr. Locobeans declared the awful noise to be a "stridor" and promised to call a "lung doctor" (did we look like we couldn't understand what a pulmonologist is?) for a consultation.

A funny thing happened while we waited for the "lung doctor" to return Dr. Locobeans' call. The gas got much better! I'd like to take credit for switching the squirrel to eating exclusively from standard Dr. Browns bottles. However, what replaced it was a return of the reflux that had been somewhat controlled by zantac at that point. Luckily, when the lung doctor returned with a diagnosis of laryngomalacia (a real live condition!) it bought us a little bit of credibility with Locobeans. As it turns out, Laryngomalacia is a condition where the epiglottis (the flap of skin that decides if stuff goes down your food hole or your air hole) is too floppy. He kids with this condition, the epiglottis is too floppy and so they do a bad job of swapping between eating and breathing. We're lucky. In severe cases babies sometimes stop breathing or can't eat. I'll take a nasty noise, some reflux, and gas over that stuff any day.

Once we understood the underlying cause, we settled in to treating the symptoms. The gas was much better but the reflux had reached an unacceptable level. Some research turned up the fact that it's fairly common for zantac to work for a couple of weeks and then stop. Dr. Google told me that what we really needed was prevacid. We talked the nurse into getting us upgraded to prevacid, filled the prescription, argued with the insurance company to get it covered, stopped the zantac and switched over. The squirrel was miserable. It was like he wasn't taking any medicine at all. I spent last night alternating between soothing Orion and frantically searching the internet for answers that might help us.

I finally found the awesome forums. I quickly discovered that it does take up to two weeks for the prevacid to start working and that in the mean time babies should keep getting their zantac too. One zantac dose later and the squirrel was zonked out and happy. Of course, it can't be that easy, can it? I had decided to try a little bit of rice ceral in Orion's nighttime bottle to help him sleep a little longer. The rice? It brought the gas back.

Are we ever going to have a happy baby that isn't screaming because something's wrong with his tummy?

Monday, June 2, 2008

Squirrel Storage

We dropped the squirrel off at daycare this morning for the first time, and it was a nightmare. The first challenge was simply getting out the front door without killing each other. Doombot decided that he should be able to go about his morning routine as usual while I attended to all baby and baby-adjacent duties. He blew off my request to watch the baby so I could pump, telling me that instead I should pump as soon as I got to work. Yeah, that’s professional. He finally agreed to pack up the pump while I was in the shower. When I went to grab it on the way out the door I realized that to him “packing up the pump” means “unplugging the pump” because all of the hoses and cords were still coming out of the main compartment of the bag like some kind of post apocalyptic octopus and were hooked to the pump, which means that the front flap was still open and unzipped too. I wouldn’t realize exactly how useless his “packing up” job had been until we were already in the car backing out of the driveway and I thought to say, “I bet you didn’t give me any storage bottles to pump into either, did you?” Of course not, so I had to run inside and get them. If any of ya’ll are married to guys with ADHD, please let me know if you figure out a way to get their Vyvanse in their pill holes about an hour before they wake up.

When we got to the daycare, we had to stand around and wait for someone to talk to us. I guess it was more important to make sure that the four-year-olds had stopped singing long enough to stop coloring. Don’t get me wrong, I know that I don’t have the patience to manage six four-year-olds. But if it’s what you do for a living shouldn’t you have the patience to make it past 9:30am before the sound of a happy kid singing “Jesus Loves Me” irritates you to the point that you feel the need to shut him up?

We finally got back to the infant room, where we handed our squirrel over to the vacant eyed teenager who will be spending more time with him than we will from here on out. I didn’t really feel like I got the level of enthusiasm out of her that I was looking for, but Doombot reminded me that she is alone in a room full of infants all day long and is probably a little bit brain dead as a result. When we set Orion’s carrier down on the floor the chubby eight-month-old on the play mat started screaming. We were told that she doesn’t like new kids or anything that takes attention away from her. I don’t think I like that little girl very much. I left the room feeling a little bit worried and very sad. I wanted to pick up the squirrel and cover him in kisses before I left, but he’d fallen asleep in his carrier and I though it best to leave him be.

I hope he’s happy enough there to be ok, but that he’d still rather be with me. I hope they take good care of him and that the bland little girl who’s caring for him doesn’t forget to get under his penis with the wipe when she changes his diaper so he doesn’t get that cheese under there. I hope she burps him enough and tickles his tummy sometimes. I hope she doesn’t leave him in the crib all day. His head isn’t flat now and I expect it to still be round when I come get him this afternoon.

I’ve walked around for the last couple of weeks telling everyone that I wouldn’t want to be a stay at home mom. That’s what I thought at least. It’s taking everything I’ve got not to get in the car and drive to that daycare, snatch my baby back, and never darken the door of that place (or my office) ever again.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Daddy is High Contrast

We've been waiting for it for two weeks. Today, while Doombot was tickling Orion's tummy to buy me time to pump a couple of extra ounces for our still hungry squirrel, Orion smiled. Boy, when people tell you that other shit is gas and that you'll know a real smile when you see it they're right. His eyes lit up and his little gummy grin just brought both of us to tears. He did it again a few minutes later. Both times he was looking straight into his Daddy's eyes.

I'm thrilled, obviously. But it stings a little too. Who is the one who has lived the last year in exclusive service of this baby? Who is the one who had a giant hole hacked in my thorax to make sure he made it into the world safely? Who has fed him with milk from my own body? Who has gotten up in the night a zillion times, forgoing the pain medication I could have been taking to deal with the pain of that surgery so I could be clear headed for him?

I've realized that its only been since I've been a mohter myself that I've realy even started to appreciate the sacrifices that my own mother made along the way to take care of me. But, man, was I a shithead to her for years...way longer than I had any right to. Now this smile thing is making me wonder. Is this how it always is? Are mothers always underappreciated, sometimes even resented, while dads are the fun ones? Don't get me wrong, I want Orion and Doombot to have a really special relationship. But damn ya'll. Where's my gummy grin?

The line we're telling each other is that Doombot is getting the smiles because he's got black facial hair that mimics that high contrast black and white infant development crap. Hopefully I'll be able to buy that story long enough to get a smile of my own.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Coming Out of the Dark

The last six weeks have been a blur. It turned out that Orion is a gas factory, due mostly to the fact that he takes great big gulps of air when he eats. It doesn't matter if we use the cheap bottles with the old school vinyl nipples or the swanky BPA Free ones with a zillion parts. (Side note...why would anyone with a new baby accept a feeding system that requires each bottle to come with its own teeny bottle brush). I've come to understand that pretty much every bottle on the market right now is great for keeping air bubbles out of the milk, but with only two shapes of nipples out there nothing can keep my kid from swallowing great gluggling gulps of air every time he comes up to breathe.

It turns out that a bunch of air in a baby's tummy tends to create reflux. We learned all of this last Saturday night when we ended up at the ER at 1am begging for someone to fix our screaming baby. We'd gotten very little sleep for a week and his problem was getting progressively worse. An ultrasound and an x-ray showed huge pockets of air in Orion's intestines, which was a relief in some ways. First, we were vindicated in that, duh, you'd scream too with a belly ache that bad. Second, we got to make everyone in the ER to look at the screen so they would believe us that no, he's not screaming because we abuse him thankyouverymuch.

We dragged ass home with a prescription for Zantac and instructions to double the amount of Mylicon Orion gets. After a week of the new routine (and a switch to stage 2 nipples) things finally seem to be getting better. I did screw up the routine a few days ago by trying to introduce some formula. Within 24 hours we figured out that was a bad idea and went back to our regular "all breast milk, all the time" programming.

Orion still wakes up every three hours at night, which sucks. However now he's waking up mostly happy. He's passing his gas (even though there is still straining involved) and pooping regularly again. I hope this new, happier baby is the one we get to keep because Beelzebabe wasn't making a lot of friends at 3am.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Whooo Are You?

I'm sure anyone who has lived through the first three weeks of life with their brand new baby will forgive me for not updating. I've been simply undone by some elements of newborn parenthood that I just did not anticipate. First, I never have any idea what day it is. Well, I sort of know. It's just a different week than it used to be. The Orion calendar looks something like this:

Monday- Houseday
Tuesday- Americanidolperformanceday
Wednesday- Americanidolresultsday
Thursday- Hockeyconferencefinalsstartday
Friday- Nodailyshowday

What I really don't know is how one day relates to another. Twice in the last two weeks I've had converastions with people where we arranged for them to come over "the day after tomorrow" and by the time the day came around I had completely forgotten when we had made the arrangements, and therefore, which day the plans were for. I end up having to make lots of calls like, "Hi mom! Which day were you going to come over?" only to have the answer be, " I'm on my way now." Which would be fine, if I still bathed every day.

It's been a mixed bag on the baby front. I'm happy to announce that Orion is no longer yellow. The process dragged out way longer than it should, but eventually resolved. His eyeballs were the last pockets of yellow to give up the fight. He has clogged tear ducts that cause goopy eyes all the time, a full face of baby zits, and epic hiccups that leave him miserable as his little body spasms with each one. He had a week of colic that turned us into zombies, but with the help of The Happiest Baby on the Block we've learned how to deal with that.

Getting him fed has been a complete enigma to me. Initially my inconveniently placed nipples and oversupply of milk made traditional breastfeeding more trouble than it was worth and led me to pump exclusively. A couple of experiments with formula convinced us that the constipattion wasn't worth it, so I pumped and pumped and pumped. Eventually I began to view the pump as my own personal anchor and decided to switch to formula anyway. I changed my mind 24 hours later (that was a week ago) but I'm still struggling to get my milk supply back to where it needs to be to get Orion fed sufficiently. No matter what he's eating, I still can't figure out how much is enough and how much is too much or too often.

Looking at it from a purely academic perspective, it would be tempting to think I have regrets. The easy conclusion would be that I resent the baby for not being physically perfect, for not eating the way I want him to, for tying me to the house, to the pump, and keeping me from sleeping. But somehow, one look at his little face transcends all of that.

He still doesn't do much, after all he's only three weeks old today. But the other day he started making eye contact. Yesterday he got a really serene look on his face, made a perfect little circle with his lips and let out a soft, sweet, "whoooooooo" that melted my heart.

I love this little boy. I still don't know what I'm doing with him, but I love him.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Orion's Birth Story (Part 1)

Doombot and I spent all day on Sunday the 13th getting the house ready for the baby to come. We did laundry, packed my bags, and got the rest of the gear installed/set up. Even though we were exhausted, we were both sure that there was no way we'd be getting any sleep.

We were scheduled to be at the hospital at 5:30 for my c-section at 8:00. For the first hour or so, there was really nothing going on. I sat there on the monitors waiting for someone to pay attention to me. There was some entertainment though, as the woman in the little cubicle next to me refused to be convinced that she was not in active labor. That was fun enough to keep me relaxed. I guess if I hadn't known for sure that I was done being pregnant before the next time my feet hit the floor it might not have been as funny.

At about 7:00am, everyone in L&D triage seemed to realize that I had to be ready to go in just an hour and the nurses swarmed me. At some points there were as many as four of them working on different body parts. I'd be signing a form while someone else put socks on me and another girl started an IV in my loose hand. It was all pretty overwhelming. At one point, I had my gown pulled up to my belly button with a nurse shaving my pubes when the male anesthesiologist walked in and introduced himself. There I was, shaking hands and learning about what would be involved in my spinal block while some strange girl shaved my crotch. It was pretty much at that point when I realized that this was going to be pretty sureal.

Once all the introductions took place, Doombot changed into his scrubs and we headed across the hall to the OR.

The first order of business was getting my spinal block in. This was the part that scared me the most. I had heard nightmare stories about the insertion being very painful and about having the block work either too well or not well enough. Honestly though, it wasn't bad at all. The Dr. talked me through everything and a felt little more than pinching and a kind of odd "funny bone" sensation in my hip.

Once I laid down and Doombot was able to come in and join me I felt a lot better. Just knowing he was in there was such a comfort. At that point the surgery started quickly, but it seemed to take forever. As I had anticipated, the pulling and whatnot that went on made me pretty sick to my stomach, but the wonderful Anesthesia doc took good care of me by both talking me through it and giving me the right meds at the right time.

Eventually, Orion was born! It seemed like it took forever for him to cry, and when they finally brought him over to me so I could see him for the first time he looked a little blue to me. Afterwards, I realized that it was probably just due to the white cheesy stuff all over him. I thought I heard someone mention that they needed to give him a little bit of oxygen in the OR, but nobody ever mentioned it again. The told me later that his Apgar scores were 8/9, so he must not have needed oxygen after all.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Nothing New Under the Sun

This post has nothing to do with pregnancy, babies, or parenting. But it's the only blog I've got and some shit has got to be said.

We moved to Florida from the suburbs of Atlanta over the summer before I started 10th grade. Without the benefit of school, the friends I made over the first couple of months were limited to the kids around the apartment complex where my family set up shop. One of these friends had a smoking hot older brother named Shawn. Shawn was going to be a senior, and had decided that as soon as his girlfriend returned from vacation he was going to break up with her. While nothing was promised, Shawn and I did a lot of flirting in the last weeks of summer vacation. My understanding was that once he could do the honorable thing and break up with his girlfriend, we would be together. What can I say? He was 17 and male (therefore an asshole) and I was a 15 year old girl (therefore an idiot).

The week before school started, I got a call from his sister (my friend). Girlfriend had returned home and had been dumped, as promised. I poofed up my bangs (hey, it was barely the '90's) and made for Shawn's house. What followed was an absolute disaster. Yeah, there was hooking up. But it was awkward and just kind of wrong. I was not completely inexperienced, so when he said "Uh, this isn't working," I didn't argue. I'd figured the same thing out already. I was bummed, but wrote the whole thing off to poor chemistry and went home. I later found out that he had no intention of dating me anyway. He just thought I'd be an easy piece of tail in between his girlfriend and whatever new adventures awaited him in the land of senior-bigshot-douchebags.

Fast forward a few months. Four? Five? I had settled into my new school and was making friends and meeting new guys. I started dating a guy named Scott. This relationship was way more in line with what you'd expect from a relationship between 15-year-olds. There were movies and milkshakes, some rollerskating, and even a couple of rounds of mini-golf. I wasn't in looooooove with this guy, but he was cute and I was having fun. The problem? He had a twin sister, and they were creepy close. Yeah, "that" kind of creepy close. Whatever. I was never going to be able to nail down the nature of that whole deal, so I decided to just stay out of her way. Trouble was, this twin sister had a a raging crush on a certain smoking hot senior-bigshot-douchebag.

Somehow, the Mean Girl network, headed by Creepy Twin Sister, got ahold of the information that I had, at one point, hooked up with Shawn. In spite of the fact that I had tried to do right by his girlfriend, waited until I'd known him for two months, and recognized a losing proposition when things finally went down, I? Was a whore.

This was news by me, and I guess the Mean Girls decided it would take a special kind of event to thoroughly convince me of just what kind of trash I really was. So, my "friend", Shawn's sister came over and "invited" me to Scott (and CTS's) house. Something smelled fishy, so I brought a couple of guy friends for back up. What followed looked almost exactly like this:

I don't want to take anything away from poor Victoria Lindsay. I walked away in much better shape than she did. I was scratched and bruised. I'd had chunks of hair pulled out, so there were some bloody places on my scalp. My shirt was torn off. When I'd finally made a break for it I had to claw my way out of the fray using a brick mailbox housing, so I'd torn some fingernails off in that process. I didn't need the hospital, but I was pretty messed up. The thing that haunts me watching this video is that I remember exactly how helpless I felt in the middle of this crowd of girls. Watching this, did you think that Victoria should have made more of an effort to get out that door? I can tell you, the way the social structure of high school is set up, she...I...didn't even think it was an option. These Queen Bees say, "No, you can't leave." It doesn't even occur to you that you have the option to leave. I stayed and was terrorized for almost two hours before I finally ran out the back door of that house. I even did some of Crazy Twin Sister's chores. It was when I ran that they really attacked.

But the powerlessness! How does a smart, pretty, talented teenager learn that she is so much less worthy than these "popular" girls that she will stay and get beaten rather than go against them? I left with other questions from that day too. Why didn't one of the adults that drove past as I was being beaten on the front lawn stop the car and help me? Why did my parents honor my wishes for them to not react to the situation? Who had let these girls think they could do this to another human being? Why didn't I think I was worth better treatment?

The interesting thing about how closely this situation mirrors my experience is that this new incident took place in my new home town, although so far all of my exposure to it has been through national media. No matter where I see the coverage, and for obvious reasons I can't seem to get enough, everyone keeps wanting to blame social networking websites. I guess they think that because the the trash talking happened on MySpace and attack was video taped for the purpose of putting it on the internet, these adults want to assume that the attack wouldn't have happened without the lure of celebrity and the anonimity of the internet.

People, wake up! Could Victoria and I be the only girls this has ever happened to? Of course not! Girls bullying each other is nothing new. Sure, like everything else, there are newer shinier toys to use to terrorize one another. But focusing on that leads to ignoring the real problem of just how evil girls can be to each other. Don't you remember being that age? We were horrible to each other! I think the internet just shines a light on it. Why can't girls value and respect each other? Why the competition?

It just makes me sick. I need to stop now.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Zombie Babies

I have come to the conclusion that babies eat brains.

With my own entrance to the motherhood club looming large, I've started scouting out Mommy Blogs. I only read them if they're cool and snarky. And only if they have cuss words. I'm picky that way. Anyhoo. In the grand tradition of the internet, all of my favorite Mommy Bloggers have posted humorous fake entries today. Check them out! (I'll update as more come online)

Motherhood Uncensored
More BabyCenter-Momformation

What shocks me is not that these girls were creative enough to come up with these cute ideas. What shocks me is that the commentors don't get the joke. Are mommies, collectively, this easily fooled? Do the nights of sleep deprivation and days of Baby Einstein really leave us unable to recognize a simple joke?

I don't want to get stupid...


Thursday, March 27, 2008

When is it just whining?

Problem #1: I'm a little bit of a hypochondriac. I'm the type of person who comes down with any disease I read about on WebMD. I watch WAY too much discovery health, and I'd be more likely to recognize the symptoms of primordial dwarfism in my soon to be hatched offspring than I would be to recognize the common cold. If you want to find something on the Internet or TV to be scared shitless of during pregnancy, that something is pre-eclampsia followed by HELLP, possibly with a premature delivery and extended NICU stay thrown in for good measure.

Problem #2: I'm terrified to use the telephone. I don't even like to call my family and friends. Text messaging, IM, and email have been miracles to me because they allow me to be connected to the world without having to pick up the phone. I've often joked that if you gave me $20 and a telephone I would starve to death before I ordered a pizza.

These problems have combined to create one large problem that really has me kind of bummed out. I have all of the symptoms of pre-eclampsia at about 75% the severity of what would be required for my doctor to take action. My blood pressure is high, but not too high. I have protein in my urine, but not too much or consistently enough. My hands swell up, but then the swelling goes down. I have headaches non stop, but it's really pollen-y around here lately. Oh, and did I mention that I have a blood pressure cuff and my own protein pee strips that I can use to keep myself thoroughly freaked out? Yeah, I'm not a doctor but I did stay in a Holiday Inn Express last night.

The first phase of me being freaked the hell out was the "I'm too scared to call at all" phase. Doombot talked me out of that and I've been in a couple of times for various combinations of symptoms (with some pre-term contractions and lack of fetal movement thrown in to keep things interesting). Just when I started feeling all empowered to pick up the phone, I started to realize something. All of this stuff that seemed like a big deal to me? Not turning out to alarm the doctors one single bit. So I started to feel like a dumbass whiner for bothering them with it.

So I don't know what to do now that every one of the above symptoms has gotten even worse. The solution I've found so far isn't really working. That "solution" has been to dig in my heels in, refuse to call the doctor and to then bitch about it non-stop. Poor Doombot.

Ah, what the hell. Now I've started contracting again. I'll probably be in labor before the pre-e can kill me anyway.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Just You Wait

I try not to wear my infertility or my history of early pregnancy loss on my sleeve. First and foremost, I simply don't think people want to hear about it. It makes them uncomfortable because it implies all kinds of biological processes they'd rather not think about. Plus, the general public just doesn't know what kind of sympathy to show over the loss of a barely identifiable glop of tissue. Even if they feel terrible for me, they just don't have the words for it.

Talking to Doombot the other night I really started to reflect on how Orion's imminent arrival makes me tempted to say "no" when I'm asked if I've ever been pregnant before. People don't want to know if I've been pregnant before. They're asking me if this is my first child or if I've ever experienced what I'm going through right now. I've never been one of these girls who puts the dates I lost all of my "angel babies" on my forum ticker, but should I be doing more to honor them? Should I at least do more to honor myself for having endured all of that trial and error? All of that loss?

I've also started to hear a lot of lectures from well meaning friends who start in with the "Just you wait..." laundry list of all the ways in which having a baby will be a giant pain in the ass. I love these ladies. In almost every case, they've given more to me in the way of genuine support than I could have ever had the stones to ask for. But this? Makes me want to do a spit take. How can I have forgotten to let these wonderful ladies know that I have waited. And waited.

The first time I had an ultrasound to make sure I'd passed all of the "products of conception", Bill Clinton was still president. The first time I squealed with glee when a second line popped up on a pregnancy test, the World Trade Center was still standing. It was still there when I got fired from my job for missing time to have the D&C. It's been five years since I washed down the first fertility drug I paid full price for because it wasn't covered by insurance. It was a year ago when I gave up on ever being a mother and decided to move on with my life, and at 35.5 weeks pregnant it was 39.5 weeks ago when I had my last miscarriage. Have I waited enough?

I recognize that every one's world view is filtered through their own experiences. I also recognize that one of my biggest fears is to be seen as a whiner. Maybe that clash between other people's perceptions and my own secrecy has created an atmosphere where I have made it virtually impossible for anyone but my husband and my mother to avoid my emotional landmines. All I know is every shitty diaper I change at 4am will be a miracle in my world, and I'm choosing to see that as a gift.

I'll just wait.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

My baby shower was today. It was over 10 hours ago, and I'm still in awe of the generosity my friends and family showed. Maybe it's because my wedding shower was such a complete clusterfuck, but I had no idea how moving it would be to see these women come together to celbrate me and my baby.

My cousin did an amazing job putting it together. She held it at a tea room in our little historic downtown. So, right away, there was an amazing atmosphere and the food was delicious. Fourteen people were there representing all aspects of my life, and it was really cool to see them all mixing together. Even though these ladies didn't have anything in common except for me they all seemed to have a good time. In fact, it turned out that one of Dannon's aunts and one of my aunts knew each other from high school!

I hate to make it sound like I'm most impressed by how many gifts I got, although it did blow my mind. It's more that by looking at the pile of gifts I realized how loved Dannon and I are and how welcomed Orion is. I don't usually feel like I'm part of a big, close family. That's made me feel (until now) like Dannon, Orion, and I would be on our own in a lot of respects. To know that these awesome ladies will be part of his world is a huge relief.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Thank God I'm Having a C-Section

I just got back from a doctor's appointment that included an ultrasound to estimate Orion's size. In short, he's huge. Overall, he measures about two weeks ahead and in the 92nd perctintile for weight at 6.5lbs (just shy of 35 weeks). The kicker is that his fucking head measures 42 weeks. No wonder my pelvis is killing me. It has the head of a kindergardner crammed in it.

In spite of this, and the slight rise in my urine protien, I'm still expected to carry him to the limit. In my case, the eviction notice will be served on April 14th, another piece of news we got today.

When I can get in front of a scanner, I'll post pictures. I got some great profile shots, along with a foot that looks like its sporting a giant monkey big toe. Good times.

Monday, March 17, 2008

My Bad

This may be my biggest preggo brain moment. I'm sitting here at work (shhh...don't tell anyone) when I thought I'd be having blue goo smeared all over my belly. Why? Because the appointment is tomorrow. That's why. There I was, standing at the reception desk of my OB's office watching the poor receptionist look through every stack of papers and search the computer by every piece of data she could think of with a sense of dread creeping over me.

"Uh...unless I have the wrong day."

So she checks, and "bingo!" I'm to be back at 3pm tomorrow. Gah!

I'm choosing to see the glass as half full. This way, the size estimate I get will be one day larger than it would have been otherwise. Oh well.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

The Home Stretch

We got past the floor issue, for now. Doombot finished all but the last strip of flooring in the office. He claimed that it was because he ran out of material, although he really could have trimmed up what he had left and finished it just fine. I think he just couldn't figure out how to bring the line to an end. It's not a perfect job. There's lots of little gaps here and there. I'm going to have to make sure I'm around to supervise when we do the living room, because I'm too much of a perfectionist to stand for that shit in a room that anyone else is going to see.

We had a little bit of a scare last week. On Sunday night my blood pressure went all wonky. Any time I got out of bed, it would spike and then if I laid back down it would go back to normal. At about the same time, both of my ankles swelled up. Not too bad, but enough that when combined with the blood pressure issue, it was worth calling the doctor first thing on Monday.

They had me come in, and although there was no protein in my urine, the blood pressure was enough of a problem that he put me on "house rest". He wasn't sure if I was going to need to stay home from work for the duration of my pregnancy or not. I went home, and crawled in to bed. Over the course of the next few days, Doombot and I attempted to bring my blood pressure down to an acceptable level by proceeding to freak the fuck out. We simply do not have five weeks of "house rest" in our budget. I have five weeks of paid time off at work, and that really needs to cover the time after Orion is born. Especially considering that they won't even take him at day care until he's six weeks old.

I had a follow-up appointment on Thursday morning, during which I was let off the hook. Ironically, what saved me from having to go on the dole was the fact that my blood pressure was still high. I guess the idea was that if "house rest" isn't helping, he might as well let me go back to work. I'm betting the added luxury of a paycheck is going to do me more good than a bunch of laying around.

I have another appointment tomorrow. This one is a regular check-up, with the added bonus of an ultrasound to get some size measurements. Right after I got pregnant, I found a forum thread online that talked about how my very own doctor tends to move due dates up as much as two weeks based upon the size estimate that comes from this ultrasound. If that's the case, I could find myself cutting in half the amount of time before I meet my little dude! I just hope he's done cooking.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

I Never Assumed I'd Married Bob Vila

I'm stuck working this weekend. In my pre-maternity leave holding pattern at work, I've found myself working a rotating weekend for the first time in the seven years I've worked for this company. I could probably pitch a fit and get out of it, but they've been pretty decent to me around here lately and I don't mind giving back a little bit. Anyway, there should only be one more weekend after this one. I'll survive.

Doombot is at home. He's been gearing up for weeks (months?) to lay this awesome flooring in the office. This is the main pre-baby Honey-Do project on his list, and its really critical that it gets done before we bring Orion home. The carpet is pretty much shot in the whole house, courtesy of the zoo we're running, but the office was the worst. We figured it was a small, confined area where we could practice using this great new floor that promised to be the solution to our problems. After a long and drawn out process of selecting the color, gathering gift cards for Christmas, and special ordering the materials he was ready to get started.

Friday night was "tear up the carpet" night. That went pretty well, and made us optimistic about the entire project. We had fully expected that the cat pee would have soaked all the way through the carpet and the padding and that we'd have a complicated concrete treatment plan to execute. We got lucky. There were only two spots that looked like there was any pee/slab contact at all, and even those didn't stink. We had the vinegar on hand anyway, and went ahead and treated it as planned. I guess it did need it at least a little bit, because it caused a really cool Mr. Wizard bubbly reaction.

The next step was applying the concrete sealer. By this point, we were kind of thinking that maybe we didn't even need it. But, what the hell, we'd bought it so there was no sense not plowing ahead. Doombot applied the first coat while I was work yesterday. The smell was absolutely overpowering. Yesterday was pretty cool and breezy by Florida in March standards and even with all of the windows open and the fans blasting the house was intolerable when I got home six hours later. There was nothing to be done besides head out for some cheesecake, and by the time we got home another six hours later the noxious cloud had cleared. I think for the rest of the house we're skipping this step!

After depositing me at work this afternoon, Doombot went home to get down to business. I started working along, happy in the certain knowledge that flooring was being laid as I typed. Then the phone rang, and I heard the worst possible greeting. "I think I fucked up."

It took a few minutes for me to get the details straight, but here's how it went down. As Doombot had started the project, he saw where the box said to "follow the included instructions". He opened the box, and saw no instruction sheet floating on the top of the stack of planks. So, he did what I'm sure at least one other man would do. He started working, assuming that he would eventually come across the instructions. Now, you and I both know that when you lay "wood" floor, you use this pattern:

So what does my husband do? He takes the entire box of material, and sticks every piece together (permanently) long end to long end, making himself a free floating slab of PVC wood simulate 24 inches across and about 10 feet long. I guess he wanted a really fancy Slip-n-Slide, because that's about all this thing is good for. The kicker? After he'd emptied the box and thrown in across the room into the garbage heap he realized that the instructions were printed on the bottom of the box. Nice. So now he's calling me asking how to fix it. I answered the only way I could, I told him to scrap it and start over the right way.

So now he's a man on a mission. He's got instructions and he's not afraid to use them! God knows what I'm coming home to, but he's headed to Wal-Mart now for some essential tools that he didn't know he needed until the Mystical Oracle of the Back of the Fucking Box revealed itself. I'm keeping my fingers crossed.