Sayonara, Google Reader

Let me join the hoards of people who are crying in their pillow, mourning the fate of Google Reader.  I keep up with a good few blogs and for the past several years Google Reader has been what allows me to aggregate all those into one, organized, categorized, key worded happy place.  But no more…. sigh.

I just hope the geeks out there are working their little tails off trying to come up with something to replace it.

Since I can’t come up with anything fun or interesting to write about at the moment, I’m going to send you over to another blog that makes a regular appearance in my RSS feed.  It’s a running blog, but don’t let that scare you. It’s written by a young ‘un (compared to me at least) with a zest for life as she deals with Chron’s disease and tries to run like the wind. As you might imagine, from time to time, those kind things can  at time to be tough to reconcile.

Her feelings about the current Chron’s flare-up pretty well line up with my feelings on my current pregnancy and my ability to get along with doctors. The single thing I’m looking forward to the most after delivery is of course to meet my doctor – and then upon going home, to not have to look another doctor in the face for what will hopefully be a very, very long time.

Patient care in this country has got to start moving forward and it has got to move away from lawyers and insurance companies. A big a part of that is on us, kids. We have to start taking an active role by having a healthy and vested interest in our own health and well-being – we are well overdue for that shift.
The studies telling us that the US spends more than any other country on healthcare but yet is in excessively poor health should be slapping us awake. As much I’d love to have seen NY Mayor Bloomberg succeed in his ban of gargantuan sodas/sugary beverages, I’d much rather see those items going the way of the dodo bird on their own, because the American public is smart enough to not buy them.

So. I guess I had some words in me after all. But enough about that, go read Ali’s blog post.
And then send me so me baby delivery vibes please, it’s time.

Cake, cake and more cake.

I have a nifty little recipe clipper/collector thing that I use to collect tasty little bits from the internet.
I originally got it to keep track of some Icelandic recipes that I want to have on hand and be able to make here in the US. I’m by no means a fabulous cook, but I’m starting enjoy dabbling in the kitchen more and more. Slowly but surely I’m getting better.
Many of the ingredients that are available at home I can’t find here or they function way different. American cheese, for example, is not made out of cheese half the time – and doesn’t behave AT ALL like Icelandic cheese when it’s in the pot or pan. Kind of gross actually, I wish my American friends knew what they were missing out on; maybe that would encourage cooks here to stand up for less processed/chemically laden ingredients.
And sometimes I just don’t have the faintest clue as to what the English name is for what I want.  One example is the spice “múskat” which I have hunted for high and low for years. I think it’s called nutmeg in English, but then again that could be “brúnkökukrydd” which is similar but not the same.  And all these are used in a pinch of this or a dash of that format, but boy, you sure notice if they are missing.

Anyhow. I do enjoy baking more than I do cooking, and now that I’m looking through my Paprika app, the “cake” folder is a whole lot fatter than any other folder… yikes!  Thankfully most of those are recipes that I have not yet gotten around to make or I’d no doubt be a few hundred pounds heavier than I am.
Husband  barely has any sweet tooth at all, but favors foods so spicy that I can’t even look at them without breaking out in cold sweat.

Today, my cake folder got one recipe fatter, as I tripped over this link from a fellow oh-dear-jesus-will-this-pregnancy-ever-end mommy blogger, for a Chocolate Eclair Cake.  Click at own risk. Truly might be worth putting on a bra and going to get some ingredients, but first I have to wait for my oven situation to be fixed….

Packing a bag for the hospital

With the due date rapidly approaching, my weekly knocked-up newsletters (from several sources, because I like second opinions) have increasingly been focusing on the all important packing of the hospital bag.

As in, what should you bring with you for labor, delivery and recovery – other than whatever scraps of clothing you can still use to cover your body for the ride to the hospital, along with a pair of flip-flops or Uggs, as appropriate.

There is nothing remotely minimalistic about those lists – with some topping out with over 100 “must have” items. Reading through made me feel like I was heading to a doomsday preppers camp for an extended stay rather than a couple of days in a well equipped modern hospital.
I get that it can be nice to have a few of your own things, its common knowledge that a hospital gown doesn’t flatter anyone and I fully understand the need to smuggle in some snacks…  But enough with the 3-of-everything in at least 3 sizes policy.  And for a planned c-section, I understand a mumu or something similar would be nice for the ride home, to keep clothes off the incision.

Since I don’t want to give the hospital staff the wrong impression, I shall arrive with a packed bag. Trying to at least look the part of a prepared mother, although I’m sure my cover will be out the window 5 minutes in. So far my bag contains 2 toothbrushes (brand new, for this special occasion), toothpaste, lip balm, a pair of socks and a warm zippered hoodie. Oh, and a nice roll of my personal toilet paper, I don’t trust that the hospital will supply the tender quality that my bottom is used to.  This is where I have stalled out. I know I’ll have to add some clothes for the kid to come home in, some undies, toiletries…  and some other crap I guess. As long as I have my iPhone and charger, I can operate the command center from just about anywhere and bring in supplies. During the hospital tour I made sure I had decent reception and finally AT&T’s “largest network in the nation” managed to cover my whereabouts.

Oh, and look at the time. Time to go stab myself again, ugghhhh.

Switching to Heparin

A few years ago I discovered that I have Factor V Leiden, when I had a DVT in my left leg. That was fun. After a few days in the hospital and a few months of recovery, I went back to my normal life. Until that fateful day last summer when I peed on a stick (and found myself just a wee bit pregnant), Factor V and I haven’t really kept in touch.
After being officially declared knocked up by the medical profession, it was on to prophylactic Lovenox shots (blood thinner). One daily. I distinctly remember griping about having to shoot up on a daily basis with that tiny needle, and feeling plenty sorry for myself in the process. Especially those days when I jabbed a vein and earned a nice bruise for it.

The basics of a "bruise yourself" kit

The basics of a “bruise yourself” kit

OB initially suggested taking me off Lovenox for 24 hrs come week 39 and immediately induce. I’d prefer to let labor start naturally if I can, so we agreed that I would switch to Heparin (another blood thinner), with twice a day injections. Heparin gets out of your system faster, so if anything comes up or starts early, my treatment options are better.
The doctor held to his bargain of twice a day – but upon reviewing doses and syringes, it became evident that I’d have to do two shots, twice a day.  Doc conveniently let the pharmacist break the news to me, but with 7500 units a day, in syringes that only hold 5000 units and needles that dull after drawing up & one stick through my lizard skin – it was the only option.  Well, I lie. My other option would be using a larger syringe with a sewer pipe sized needle. Oh. Hell. No.
The heparin needle is quite a bit larger than the pre-filled Lovenox, and the first couple of days I didn’t exactly feel like an expert drawing up and injecting, but as with everything you get used to that fast. What I’m not getting used to is the size of the needle, and just about every stick yields bleeding and bruises. Thankfully I have outgrown anything with a proper waistband, and my soft, oversize yoga pants don’t irritate too bad.

18 more days…  not that I’m counting down or anything!!

Oh hey look…

I still have a blog!

I’m glad WordPress graciously allows for slacky bloggers, because I’ve certainly been one recently.
Not that there hasn’t been plenty going on, because when you are about 9 months pregnant, life is just full of excitement and thrills, hormones and mood swings.

Odds are most of the stuff going on with my bodily functions are interesting only to me, but for posterity I shall put them down on paper. Screen. Because maybe one day when the hormones sober up, I’ll want to go back and read it with a clear head.

First up, I went for gestational diabetes testing, and flunked that with style. Turns out you can projectile vomit that orange sugar testing liquid they give you quite a distance. Even someone such as myself, with a proven record as a neat and mess-free morning sickness puker.  Many apologies to the cleaning crew at the lab for hosing down the tiles. I tried to wipe most of it up but the grout wasn’t looking so hot.
I was pretty devastated with the outcome, but a good buddy of mine who is diabetic lent me a blood glucose meter and trained me up in the works. As it turns out, my blood sugar is boring as hell and by producing a glucose log at the next doctors appointment I was told to monitor only fasting glucose and take it from there. I’ve remained predictably boring on that front too ever since.

Best get some work done now – but more catching up soon. Pinky swear and promise.

An observation

It happened slowly, but somehow over the years I started preferring NPR over other radio stations, and PBS over most other TV stations.
It happened so slowly that I didn’t even notice it until recently – when the lineup on TV changes and I found myself frantically searching for the PBS stations.

I’m obviously no longer hip nor cool (and quite frankly odds are I never was) – but I think it also means that I’m more ready for parenthood than previously thought, because isn’t it the job of parents to like shows that are intolerable to the young ones?

Now I’m just curious as to the exact onset of this uncoolness – was it brought on by pregnancy or was this something that happened independently? One wonders…

Stuff, stuff and more stuff.

No denying that with new babies come new needs, and new stuff. Especially when it’s the first baby in the family.
Cribs, changing tables, clothes, scrubs, wipes, car seats, strollers to just name a few.

I haven’t been around babies much and I really don’t have a great idea of what is necessary, needed or just nice to have. I go from being scared that I’m accumulating way to much stuff, to fearing that I won’t have bare necessities to keep an infant alive.  Also, before you tell me that “it’s all going to be fine”, you best remember that I’m about as full of pregnancy hormones as I can be, so I don’t have to make sense, be logical or any of that.

When I read this most excellent post by Joshua Becker of becoming minimalist over the weekend, it hit home. It was a really nice and subtle reminder that my own brand of minimalism is still an important ideal to me. With all the endless fucking cuteness readily available in baby-land, it is hard to not want one of everything. Ordinary items that are easy to pass up become irresistible once they’ve been embroidered with tiny ducks, frogs and monkeys.  Them marketeers certainly know how to make ovaries rip out a wallet and make a purchase.

But, for now I’m less critical of my stuff accumulation. I’m taking it easy on myself and allowing this once-in-a-lifetime experience to wash over me. I’m practicing ahimsa (non-harming) by being kind to my bloated self – and always continuing Svadhyaya (self-study).

And on the self-study front, I’ve had some unexpected breakthroughs.

  • I still think most all doctors are idiots, but I’m now allowing for the idea that they actually got into medicine for other reasons than to fuck me over – that simply comes as a convenient byproduct.
  • I’ve also accepted that hospitals need to cling to their stupid procedures because in the current system and political climate that is the only way they can operate without getting sued out of existence, and there are some nice people who work there. Again, fucking me over not the primary goal, just a happy coincidence.
  • I have also accepted that thanks to my FVL blood clotting stuff, old age and the preferences of a husband that loves me dearly, that giving birth in a hospital attended by an OB is the way to go. To minimize the “fuck me over” factor, we will have a lovely doula and a couple of select friends with us at the hospital.

And last big observation – it’s really not just me and the husband having a kid.  Granted, we get to be the stars of the show as mom and dad, but the participation of our families, close friends and really all the people in our lives have only added to the whole experience.  I resisted at first, but a couple of good friends knocked some sense into my head and now I wouldn’t have it any other way. This kid is going to grow up around some awesome people and personalities.

I’ve also knocked my head against some mild annoyance. Unsolicited, ridiculous advice tops the list, and then it’s always a matter of ideals or lifestyle that are so far from matching up with my own way of thinking that tend to trip me. Funny enough, most of the child rearing advice I get is from people who either have no kids or raised them 40 years ago. Relatively recent moms & and dads just pat me on the back and say “you’ll figure it out, we all do” and smile reassuringly.

I am now 6 weeks out from full term (of 40 weeks). Doctor initially wanted to schedule induction beginning week 39, but we hope to allow labor to start naturally, when the time is right. Come week 35, I’ll be switching from Lovenox (blood thinner) to Heparin, which has a shorter half-life in the body, in case labor starts early. Not really looking forward to stabbing myself twice a day, but oh well, for a most excellent cause. I feel so close in some ways, but I know the home stretch will be the hardest. Like any good endurance race, you’ll end up leaving it all out on the course and probably puke as you cross the finish line. Fine with me. I’m getting to be ready to meet the little monkey :)

And then my water broke…

No no no, not *that* water.

It’s my damn hot water heater. Or it may be the flue above it.
It may be repairable or it may be scrap.  It may be made to limp a long for a little while longer.  The “repairable” and “limp along” options are the ones I’d prefer, as the husband is currently out of the country and dealing with plumbing is really something I hate. With a burning, deep-seated primal passion.

We have natural gas, and gas explosions are another fear of mine. A broken gas hot water heater thus nicely translates into a big fucking nightmare in my book.  Husband and handyman friends have helped set my mind at ease a little bit and a friend is coming over Monday to check out the beast – and hopefully won’t be issuing a death certificate.
I’m not going to go into detail about the “substituted a match with a burning kitchen towel” flue test, because in hindsight that may not be the smartest decision I made all day. At least I did gleam some valuable information from it, and didn’t burn the house down. Winning.

And lastly, I spent some quality time with the Internet today.  Alternating between sites about natural birth, mistrust of the medical profession, c-section mad OB’s, the “we will treat your FVL even if it kills you”  and then gas water heaters. It wasn’t exactly the light reading I had envisioned for a lazy Saturday following a fabulous yoga session, but it was entertaining all the same. And quite informational. It’s amazing to me how many people really feel that they can not fully trust their OB’s or doctors, because they are so busy covering their asses liability-wise. One article called it “defensive medicine” and cited quite a few recent studies where it is shown that the practice, while serving to keep lawsuits down, is not in the best interest of the patient. Sad damn state of affairs I’d say.

And on that note, I’m off to put down a fresh towel to catch the water heater drippings for the night, throw a load in the dryer and pretty soon turn into a pumpkin.  Party time on the pillow.



Glucose tolerance test with a republican gun twist

Finally got my butt to the lab for some more poking and prodding. Can’t complain, it’s been a while since last time.  Got up bright and early after fasting for 10 hours and having mentally prepared myself to chug down 8 ounces (237 ml) of extremely brightly colored orange liquid, containing 75 grams of sugar. And god knows how much dye and artificial flavoring, but to my untrained non-chemist eye: a shitload. The damn thing was struggling to stay in solution.

I thought I’d get a pin prick before drinking to establish a fasting level, but they just tossed me a bottle and told me to drink up, wait an hour and then proceeded with the stab and jab for the needed tests. I thought I’d broken up with Nausea for good a couple of months ago, but the bitch was hiding in that orange bottle. As I waited out my hour, it was all I could do to keep it down. I don’t know why it was so gnarly, it’s not like I have an awkward relationship with sugar. We are best buds.

It didn’t help the situation that a fat bastard dressed to the nines in hunting gear rolled into the lab when I had about half an  hour to go. After checking in, he started a one man Republican rally, rambling on about how Obama was not going to take his guns. His plan of action, faced with the dreadful prospect of bringing guns up to registration levels of, oh say maybe cats/dogs/cars was to add a crossbow to the collection and “go all natural on their asses”.  I was oddly comforted by that thought, as I can’t see this man having the upper body strength to actually use one, or how he’s going to aim an arrow at anyone over that 300 lbs gut he was sporting.
Part 2 of the speech was titled “of course maniacs and mentally ill people should not have guns, that is just ridiculous” but then added that it was unconstitutional to screen anyone for mental illness, because “that shit is private matter and the gubberment does not need to be up in everybody’s business”.

As you might imagine, this did very little to combat Nausea. I did decide that if I was going to toss cookies I’d aim for my new buddy, since the color would nicely compliment his orange suspenders and orange hunting hat.  By some miracle I was able to keep it down until the lab tech came to get me. I’ve never before been so happy to see someone who wanted to stick me with needles and steal my blood.

How to get the whole bed for yourself

Simple, really.  Get knocked up, start snoring like a lumberjack and before you know it, the poor husband is tenting it on the couch because there is no chance he’ll catch even so much as a single “Z” anywhere near you.

Benefits: bed is mine. Mine. ALLLL mine.   I also score some bonus pillows that can be added to the current pillow-fort I construct on a nightly basis.  Bonus bonus:  if a little fart comes along too, there is nobody there to notice that either. Except the dog, who flashes a concerned facial expression for a moment and then goes right back to his own version of snoring.
But I do end up missing him a little bit, especially on cold nights when I have nowhere to stick my feet. Plus I get ever so slightly guilt-ridden having snored him right out of the room, but at the same I can’t help it. He’s gotten almost 9 snore-free years out of me, and as they say, payback is a bitch. I also have a feeling once the little one is out, it will be my sleep more than his that gets interrupted.  In the meantime, I’ll enjoy the hell out of both sides of the bed, AND the middle.