Friday, October 29, 2010


Well, as is the tradition of coughing-related illnesses, I'm still coughing. It's been rough, because it impacts my sleep, and I already feel so wretched in the evenings from pregnancy-related tiredness and nausea, but I'm hanging in there. Certainly, there are bigger problems than this.

Other than that, I'm doing very well. I've de-cranked considerably about the perinatologist thing. I slowly came to the realization that if our baby has special needs, I will appreciate knowing about it ahead of time so that we can be as prepared as possible. So I'm actually looking forward to the nuchal fold scan now. It'll be a nice opportunity to see our baby on a sophisticated ultrasound machine, and know what our chances are of dealing with a Trisomy 21 diagnosis. Information is power, right? This is a good thing.

Other than that, I've been a busy bee librarian at work. I had a bunch of small committee tasks to get to this week, but most importantly, I identified another journal that I thought would be a better fit for my article, and I reformatted my abstract accordingly. I just sent it in as a query to the editor, and she responded to me immediately saying that they were interested in seeing the manuscript. I'm thrilled :) So, I have to format my citations to the Chicago author-date style (don't even get me started on citation styles; I loathe them ALL), and then I can submit it early next week. This is no guarantee of anything, but I remain vigilant in hope.

Sunday is my first foray as the solo catechist for Children's Liturgy of the Word, and you can bet that I'll report in all the details on Monday.

Happy Halloween everybody!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

What's going on with Baby CL?

I'm sure you just spend nights awake thinking about this, just like I do! Therefore, I thought I'd give you all the personal details, just in time for lunchtime reading :)

It seems like my nausea has peaked, meaning I'm on the slow spiral back down to normalcy. This is an excellent thing. I'm still nauseous, don't get me wrong, but it doesn't seem quite so all-encompassing as the past 4 weeks or so. Like last week, when I encountered what will heretofore be known as THE VEGETABLE FIASCO.

The week prior, my mom had given me a bag of organic vegetables that she got from a farm co-op program. Cool, right? Yes, and I used some of them to make a chicken with veggies recipe later that week. After that, I didn't have the energy to look up some new recipes for the other, more sophisticated vegetables like I hoped (anybody know a quick recipe that involves a leek? See. Not so easy :) So the bag sat on top of our cupboard, awaiting its fate. I kept meaning to get to it, but exhaustion took precedence.

Then I woke up Saturday morning and was doing my usual early weekend tornadoing. Clean, clean, clean. I approach the kitchen. Hark! What is that smell? I glance uneasily at the vegetables. A few days earlier, a bad red bell pepper from this very source caused me to dry heave for the first time in as long as I could remember.

I approach with delicate footfalls, like my stealthy manner will somehow cause the offending odor to slip away on its own. I peek in the bag. Hum. Maybe it's not really this... Wait. What's *that*?! Oh!!!!!!!!!!!!!

*dry heave that JUST BARELY holds back from morphing into actual vomit*

Several vegetables have gone bad, and do you know what they created?


I tell you, there are few odors and visual accompaniments that are more foul than this. Very, VERY few, my friends.

I could feel another retch beginning to form in the base of my throat, so I had to drop the bag and move away. Quickly, I leapt into emergency response mode. My baby's livelihood depending upon me eliminating the source of this wretchedness from my kitchen. I plugged my nose, grabbed the bag, and ran it over to the garbage bin. I dumped the entire thing in and snapped the lid closed with a bang. I grabbed our dish rag, and *martyrdom!* wiped up the garbage juice that had LEAKED ONTO THE CUPBOARD. This entire time, I was holding onto the contents of my stomach by a single thread. I grabbed a can of Oust and fumigated the entire kitchen, including the inside of the garbage bin, causing poor Hank to hack and head quickly back to his play room.

I calmed myself down, and told myself that everything was fine now. Once the Oust haze faded, I continued on my quest to clean the kitchen floor. Everything was good until I had to throw something away. The instant I opened that garbage bin lid, the decomposing hands of the dying vegetables grabbed my throat and attempted to squeeze the very life out of me. When Mike came downstairs, I was cowering in a corner of the kitchen, finger pointing shakily to the garbage can:

"Please, my God, the garbage!"

as if the evil man that lives in the garbage can was leering at me from across the room with a freshly sharpened pitchfork aimed at the ready.

It was SO not good. Mike had to immediately throw that bag of garbage outside in our larger bin, and it took me an hour to recover. I would label this phase as the PEAK of my nausea issues.

This week, it doesn't seem quite as bad. Although, I have to admit all those crazy cravings I was having right at the beginning of my pregnancy have faded, and fewer foods sound good to me. So, who knows.

Most importantly, Baby CL is growing and growing. Starting just this week, I'm beginning to show. I have mixed feelings about this (will write a whole separate post on body image in pregnancy) but I am glad overall, because it shows that Baby CL is thriving. It's nothing dramatic, but there is a definite sudden rounding happening in my lower abdomen. This is right around the time I started showing with Hank. I guess I would say the Hank rounding was slightly more subtle, but other than that, I don't feel like I started showing infinitely sooner with this pregnancy, although a lot of women say that they do with their second pregnancies. It just looks like I've suddenly got a little somethin' extra right around my middle. This is an awkward phase. Not nearly ready for maternity clothes (mine are still banished to the basement for the time being; putting that off as long as humanly possible) yet fitting into regular clothes becomes more of a challenge each week. Plus, since you really don't look pregnant yet, I fear that people will think that I'm just really letting myself go. Ah well. What can one do?

I hope I don't grow too fast, since I'm planning to belly dance, bare belly and all, in late December in our holiday hafla. This should be interesting.

At any rate, Baby CL now has short little arms and legs, and is moving all around. I can't wait until I can feel him or her in there. Most of all, I can't wait to meet them.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Lots of updates on a very Catholic weekend, and your budding parish catechist leaps into action...

I had an interesting couple of days this past weekend, with lots of Catholic issues involved. Settle in with your cup of tea :)

Saturday I attended a memorial service for Baby D, and I wanted to take the time to describe this important ministry that exists in my diocese, and likely in many others. Our diocese hosts a collaborative ministry between one of the local Catholic hospitals and one of the diocesan cemeteries. Anybody who loses a baby to miscarriage can participate, and have their baby's remains buried at the cemetery, and/or attend the associated memorial service to honor their baby's short life. They will also issue you a Recognition of Life Certificate, if you desire. The remains are interred in a common plot with a heart shaped headstone, maintained by the cemetery. The memorial service was held in one of the chapels right there on the grounds. It wasn't a Mass (I suppose that they serve many non-Catholics, and this is the reason) but the service was lovely and meaningful. And it was wonderful to see so many couples and family members there, honoring the tiny life that was lost. It's a real tribute to the sanctity of human life.

Of course, I cried throughout. There were people on hand, handing out programs, carnations and tissues. As I said, it was a touching gesture. Not a cheering thing, to be sure, but an important recognition of life and of our faith. Very profound.

The next day, Sunday, I received my very quick training on being a catechist for the Children's Liturgy of the Word program. Hank and I arrived nice and early before Mass, to see the set-up, and it seems pretty straightforward. You get out a small table, an altar of sorts, with its own little seasonally appropriate cloth, a candle, and a big board on which to post the responsorial psalm. There's a book with the readings, and handouts for the kids to take home with them.

When it came time for the kids to go back, Hank and I processed up with the others :) Back in the sacristy, the catechist goes through the readings with the kids, sings the responsorial psalm, recites the gospel, and then spends the homily time going through some reflection questions with them. They were all pretty quiet, including Henry, much to my relief. My good little Catholic boy. One little boy, about midway through the first reading, burst into hysterical tears. I froze a bit in panic, but Fran, the main catechist for this week, seemed unfazed and made an attempt to soothe him. When it became clear that this attempt was failing miserably, she sent him out to the congregation with his sister to go back to their mom. I was sweating it a little, but it was fine.

I hope there are no criers next week, because I'm on the schedule :) At any rate, you finish up with the prayers of the faithful, give them the handouts, and send them back out. All told, it's maybe 15-20 minutes. So, I'm on tap for this coming Sunday, and then the last Sunday of Ordinary Time, the Feast of Christ the King on November 21st. I'm nervous, but overall pretty excited.

I've been looking over my readings and planning reflection strategies (because, as you know, that's just how I am), so hopefully on Sunday I can transform into SUPER CATECHIST - Astounding All Children With Her Kindness, Wit, And All Things Hyper-Catholic.

How many times in a single day can the Catholic Librarian cry?

Oh, I assure you, many, MANY times. And yesterday was one of those days.

It's already been a long couple of weeks. The illnesses from last week, which in my case have metamorphasized into an evil sounding cough that persists to this minute, my worries about Hank's asthma, the loss of Baby D. All of these things had me worried and/or upset last week. Then the doctor's appointment yesterday got me all riled up. I mean really, you shouldn't catch a pregnant woman off guard. You're not going to like the consequences.

I'm trying to calm myself down about the whole thing, but I'm still bothered by it. I'm trying to see the nuchal fold scan as a way to see my baby again, see their little heart beating, and enjoy reveling in their presence. And by all accounts, this perinatologist is very, very nice. But I hate the specter of "THERE MIGHT BE SOMETHING WRONG WITH YOUR BABY!" that hangs over a pregnancy of a mother that happens to be 35 years old plus. I mean, here's the way I look at it: If our baby has Down's Syndrome or some other chromosomal abnormality... well, it's already happened. There is nothing that we can do about it. Consequently, why torture ourselves about it? What's done is done, one way or the other. I want to enjoy my pregnancy and the life that grows within me regardless. I'm not enjoying the "serious tone" that seems to be permeating how medical professionals see my pregnancy. But I'm going to try to let it go right now. Next week I have first trimester blood work (part of which is also unnecessary; don't get me started. If I didn't have HIV when I was pregnant with Hank, I certainly don't have it now. And my blood type; could that have really changed? I think not), and then two weeks from today is the nuchal fold scan. Two weeks after that I see my regular ob. again. Naturally, I'll keep you apprised as events transpire :)

But I digress. After I worked off my doctor's office related angst with a couple of chocolate chip cookies, I got back to my desk and read my email following a reference desk shift. I found a response from a journal that I submitted an article to two months ago, and the news wasn't what I hoped for. Not only did they not accept my article, they hurt my feelings :( I take pride in the quality of my writing and the content I focus on. Am I a perfect writer? No, of course not. But I am not a poor writer. And I deserve better than to be told that my article would be better suited to a "newsletter-like periodical."

That smarted. And it insulted me.

After looking at it with fresh eyes today, I can see that they were trying to say that my article just wasn't a good fit with their journal and what they usually publish. I wish they had just said that plainly, but I have to let that go.

Yesterday, however, I wasn't letting anything go. I went home a teary mess, and I'm sure that when I walked in the door Mike thought that something terrible had happened. Through hiccuping sobs, I told him about the rejected article, and he said all the right things to try and make me feel better. I know, I can submit it somewhere else, and most likely, it will get published. I've had other articles published, so I know that I can do it. But when you get a rejection, you can't help but feel like a failure, at least for a little while. We rely on my income, and my income depends upon me achieving tenure. Achieving tenure depends upon me publishing. So, I felt like I had let Mike and Hank down.

After I had settled down enough to actually talk clearly, I told him about the perinatologist, and started sobbing anew. I could see Mike's eyebrow arch, and we've been married long enough that I can read this thoughts:

"She's upset about this. Huh. I'm not sure why she's upset about this. But if I don't say the right thing, she'll be upset at ME. What to do, what to do..."

He told me very practically that this is just standard procedure, and I shouldn't take it personally. It just means I'll get some extra attention. I sniffled back that that wasn't really the POINT, but I wasn't angry at him. Even I'm not sure why I'm so upset about this perinatologist thing. I guess, deep down, I'm what you would call "crunchy" about certain things, and this just happens to be one of them. I don't want my prenatal care to be so invasive. But if that's the case, I'll have to seek out a totally different kind of care, and I don't know that I'm prepared to do that. I'll have to sort this out myself.

At any rate, I got through the evening only numbly, and by nightfall, I couldn't sleep worth anything. My coughing exacerbated everything as well, so I ended taking my pillow and stuffed puppy downstairs to the couch, where I put on the Hallmark Channel and watched reruns of Cheers at 3 am. I also saw a commercial about a Hallmark movie coming on in a few weeks about a family Thanksgiving. That sounds just cheesey enough to cheer me up. I'm excited.

So, what's to come of all this? I don't know. I'm trying to hang in there today, but it's not the best of days. I feel exhausted, puffy, and emotionally drained. I've been keeping busy to distract myself, and that's working pretty well. I'll get there. I've had a post planned about my weekend and my Children's Liturgy of the Word training, and I'll try to get to that this afternoon. Stay tuned.

*weak smile*

Monday, October 25, 2010

Get out the walker, we have a grandma in here!

I'm feeling very posty today, so you'll be hearing from me a lot. It was one of those weekends.

I just got back from my ob/gyn, and I'm all full of emotion, so I figured, hey? Why not take advantage for some lively posts.

I know this shouldn't have caught me off guard, but it totally did. I'm 35. Right, already know this. I'll be barely 36 when I deliver Baby CL. In my mind, this is no big deal. I understand that my risks of delivering a baby with Down's Syndrome or Spina Bifada have increased with my age. This does not disturb me in the least. Do I want this to happen? No, of course not. But if it does, I'm confident that somehow we'll be able to deal with it, with God's help. And frankly, I don't feel any more worried about this than I did when I was pregnant with Hank, when I was 30 years old. This can happen to anybody at any time. Thus, I don't appreciate being treated like a pregnant ticking time bomb.

I love my obstetrics practice, I really do. They're all very kind, very warm, and very competent. Today I saw one of the nurse practitioners, who is super, SUPER nice, and she ran through the regular first appointment hoops with me. Everything was great, although it was too early to try and find the baby's hearbeat with the Doppler. Next time. Then came the bomb.

Because I'm now 35, I'm now required (within this practice, at least) to visit their associated perinatologist, in other words, the high-risk ob. This entails a late first trimester nuchal fold scan (an ultrasound), a second trimester ultrasound, and possibly an amniocentesis, via this other office. Right away, this got my hackles up.

I firmly do not want an amniocentesis. I don't think there is anything morally wrong with them for couples that would like the information they provide, I just don't feel that in my particular case, the small risk of miscarriage that accompanies this test is worth any reassurance I could get from it. She told me that I don't have to have the amnio, but by law, they have to offer it to me. Fine, I GUESS.

I reluctantly took the referral for the perinatologist, because I didn't feel like I had a choice. She told me to call right away for the nuchal fold scan, since they do that at 11-14 weeks, and I'm already 10 weeks. Since that's totally non-invasive, I don't object to it per se, I just don't think that I particularly need it.

I'm also supposed to have my 18 week ultrasound with this perinatologist, which I'd rather not do since they don't allow you to bring your younger children with you, and I really wanted to share that with Hank. She also advised scheduling the amniocentesis even if I'm not sure that I want it, so that it'll be there if I change my mind. Not so crazy about that piece of advice.

All in all, I left feeling kind of overwhelmed and caught off-guard. I know that this isn't the underlying intent, but I can't help but feel that these new technologies give pregnancy (especially at older maternal ages) a feeling of FEAR. Like I should be afraid. I'm not afraid, and why should I have to feel so?

I'm just a little emotional right now; I know that I'll get over it. My nuchal fold scan is scheduled for two weeks from now, and I guess I'll just hang tight until then and see how this perinatologist thing pans out. I'll reserve my cranky feelings until then, because that's only fair.

But for the time being, I'm cranky. Guess that fits pretty well into the old lady thing, huh?

Friday, October 22, 2010

"Is that my throat feeling sore?" "Wait, I think I feel feverish..."

Well, once again I've been sidelined by some unexpected complications :) As well, Henry's medical situation intensifies a bit.

It all started Wednesday afternoon, shortly after I blogged. I noticed that my mouth felt "funny." That's a really tactful way of saying I really, *really* wished that I had my toothbrush with me or at least a mint. It just didn't feel right. But I didn't think much of it. I just sipped some water. A few hours later, I noticed that my throat hurt a bit. One would have thought that I would have started putting the pieces together at this point. One would have thought.

I continued plugging away until I noticed that I felt a tad lightheaded. In fact, I felt downright woozy. Still, I resisted admitting that something was wrong until I started to feel feverish and like I couldn't sit up very comfortably. This made me very unhappy, but I certainly didn't want it to get worse and then have a hard time driving myself home. So I packed myself up quite abruptly and left.

I got home and climbed right into bed, a bewildered Mike trailing behind me. I asked if he would make me some tea, which he did, and that helped at least a smidge. After an hour of resting or so, Hank was home, and was diverting into our bedroom, wanting to make dinner with me.

Clad in comfy jammies, I made my way downstairs, and was fine for the first 5 minutes. Then I noticed that woozy thing again, and simply had to sit down, lest I topple over. I had a few more failed standing attempts before I admitted defeat and let Mike cook dinner. Surprisingly, I felt hungry, and ate pretty ravenously, without any ill after effects.

The next morning, we had to be up early to head to an appointment with Hank's allergist. *sighs* We haven't had to see the allergist in years, and I was hoping that we were past that health concern with Hank. He was hospitalized for Bronchiolitis as an infant, and was subsequently diagnosed with asthma, but I felt assured that chances were good that he'd grow out of it. After that initial distress, he seemed to improve steadily, and the past few years, seemed back to normal. Then came this allergy season.

Suddenly, Hank is coughing every day for a month, and worst of all, began to wheeze. I knew it was back to allergy-land for us, and so we set up the appointment. He did great, submitting to all the skin tests like a champ. Diagnosis: he has asthma :( He has not outgrown it. As well, he is highly allergic to dogs, cats (no pets for us :( ) and dust/dust mites. As I'm sure you can imagine, it's pretty hard to avoid dust. So, the doctor recommended that we get him a special cover for his mattress from the National Allergy Center (I ordered it right away) and that we get him an inhaler. We can use the inhaler for a quick remedy when he's wheezing, and also for administration of an inhaled steroid that will heal his airways and reduce or stop his coughing.

I'm a bit anxious about the steroid, but I know that right now he needs it. His coughing is really bad, and it's continuous. We're going back in 6 weeks, and the doctor will evaluate at that point whether or not he still needs the steroid.

So, after that marathon, I dropped Hank at school and then waited at the pharmacy for his inhaler to be ready. By this point, it was only about 10:30 am, yet I was completely exhausted. I called into work and let them know I was taking a sick day. I stopped off at the grocery store and picked up some soup, and a vegetable bagel with butter. Then I headed home to rest.

The events that transpired next I remember with much clarity and joy. I popped open my soup and ate up a spoonful. It was homemade Hungarian Mushroom soup, made with real cream and sherry.


*goes to heaven*

It was SO GOOD, that even a day later I'm still worshipping it's very existence. OH.MY. I ate 2 bowls, and dipped my bagel in and was one very, very happy girl. Then I did what I've always dreamed of:

I opened our DVD cabinet. I selected The Golden Girls, Season 7. I put in disc 1, and then do you know what I did? I pressed "PLAY ALL". And then I curled up under an afghan and watched The Golden Girls while napping on and off for about 2 and a half straight hours. I tell you, I was so drunk with delirious power I could hardly contain myself. It was supremely WONDERFUL.

By later afternoon, I felt a tad better. I got up, and even tornadoed around the house a bit, cleaning, since Hank wasn't there to immediately make a mess right where I'd cleaned. I knew at that point that I was definitely feeling somewhat better.

This morning, I awoke and no longer felt woozy. But I'm still not 100%. I still feel a bit weak, and the nausea is just completely out of control, although that isn't related to the flu bug that I had. That would be Baby CL. And unfortunately, that has intensified into a Morning/Noon/Night sickness. I can barely even knit in the evenings. Just looking at that half-finished sock makes me want to hurl. This is unprecedented.

On my way through the kitchen this morning as I made lunches, I came across a bag of organic vegetables that my mom had given me. I noticed that one of the red bell peppers had gone bad. I picked it up to throw it away, and I tell you, the goo that resulted from this process made me flat out dry heave right then and there. Even thinking about it now is making me gag a bit. I like knowing that Baby CL is bright eyed and bushy tailed in there, but I long to feel normal again. I know, I know, that won't happen for approximately 6 and a half more months :) I'll get there.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

An emotional couple of days...

Lots of prayer requests. Precious Baby D is with God now :( I took this pretty hard, but of course, this is not about me. Please pray for Baby D's parents so that their sorrow may be comforted.

As well, my good friend, Irena's, sister is soon to be in labor and delivering her first baby. Please keep her in your prayers for a safe and healthy delivery.

In other parenting news, Monday night/Tuesday morning found Mike and I waking to a hysterically crying Henry. A quick examination revealed the source of his distress:

"My eao hurts!"

I have to admit, I love how he pronounces "ear." But it was no time to languish in his cuteness, because he spent the majority of the night crying inconsolably and holding his ear. I comforted him as best I could, and slept on his floor so that I would be near, but we both had a difficult time sleeping. Only after I gave him a dose of Ibuprofen was he able to sleep.

In the morning, I stayed home from work to take him to the pediatrician. Diagnosis: swimmers ear. Yes, I know, not much swimming going on in the Northeast these days, but it must be from his baths. During this entire time, the morning before our appointment, waiting to see the doctor, and then waiting for his ear drop prescription to be filled, Hank was crying loudly. He was *really* uncomfortable, poor baby.

Well. I finally secure the drops, and guess what? Hank decided that he hates drops. I suppose most children do. But navigating the first round into his ear required a 15 minute negotiation session, followed by me holding him down as Mike dropped them in against his will, Hank screaming in a blood curdling-like fashion all the while. Ah well. Another day in the life of a parent.

I gave him some more ibuprofen, and that seemed to take the edge off. The doctor told me that swimmers ear is very painful until the drops start to clear up the infection. Afterward, we took Hank to a local cider mill and got him a cider slushy, which seemed to make him particularly happy. He fell asleep in the car on the way down, which also helped. By the end of the day, he was cooperating, although not happily, with drop administration, and overall seemed to be on the mend. After a full night sleep, and with the continued drop regimen, he seems nearly back to his old self.

I have to admit, I loved the nurturing. Hank is nearly 5, and I haven't been able to baby him in quite some time. So, all day long I loved covering him up, kissing his face endlessly, making him toast, and generally cuddling him. I am MOMMY NURTURER - SUPER HERO.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Babies abound

I have a few posts planned for this week, but they were pretty much eclipsed by the happenings of this morning. Most importantly, please keep a dear friend and her baby in prayer. Baby D is expected about a week or so after Baby CL, and we couldn't be more excited about the timing. Our friend is experiencing some bleeding, so please pray for the safety and healing of her and Baby D. Baby D is growing and heart is beating, all excellent signs! But of course, we're worried, so many prayers and offering up is very, very appreciated.

Dear Lord, please hold Baby D in the palm of your hand. We pray for his/her continued health and thriving to full term, when he or she will meet their family with much anticipated joy. We ask this in Jesus' precious name. Amen.

I'm feeling even more emotional than usual today, which is really saying a lot :-\ Somehow, we'll get through this. God uses everything for good.

And now for Baby CL's World...

I went in for my viability/dating ultrasound this morning, and happily, Baby CL was in there comfortably wiggling around. Given that multiples run in my family (my first cousin had fraternal twins, and my grandmother had triplets :0) I was a bit relieved to discover that there is just one baby in there :) Not that multiples aren't a blessing, because of course, they are. That would just be a blessing that may result in the Catholic Librarian having an emotional breakdown. So, one healthy baby, with a strongly beating heart, measuring right at 9 weeks. My due date is officially May 23rd 2011. We couldn't be happier. I see the doctor a week from today.

Early prediction: I know, I know, these are fairly worthless. But I chart (pretty anally so), and so I am basing it on some factual data. It's just that there is so much about the body going into labor that we will never understand, so you have to take it with a grain of salt. I had Hank at 39 weeks 1 day, and in retrospect I shouldn't have been surprised. I figured first baby means it takes longer. But I conceived him early in my cycle, so 6 days early make perfect sense. With this baby, it won't be quite that early. But I also don't think I'll go tremendously late (ha! famous last words for uncomfortable pregnant women). I think I'll have this baby right near my due date, possibly a day or so afterward. SO. My prediction is approximately May 24th or 25th for us to glimpse Baby CL's cute face for the first time. We'll see if I'm right :)

Friday, October 15, 2010

My dumpling at school...AGAIN

Yesterday was a bit of an emotional day for me. *unladylike snort* This pregnancy, that seems to be pretty much every day. But yesterday, even more so than usual. And once again, it seems to have led back to my discomfort with Hank's public school.

In many ways, I know that I'm overreacting. I like to think that I'm self-aware, even of my own weaknesses. But the series of events yesterday just made me wonder if it's a bit of a nudge that we should consider other options.

Yesterday dawned with Hank, wide-eyed, complaining of an upset stomach. I think his allergies are draining, and he may also have just had a bad case of gas (sorry for the tmi :) I made him some toast, and generally nurtured him, but I did send him to school. He seemed reluctant to go, but he was up walking around fine, and I knew he'd be ok.

But I arrived at work feeling vulnerable. I couldn't wait to get home to him later in the day. Meanwhile, I happened to run into a colleague, and we started chatting. She asked me about how Hank likes school, since she has two children and they live in the same district as us. I'm the type of person who could never play poker; my face always reveals my emotions. I was honest and told her that so far, I have very mixed feelings.

We ended up talking for a short while, and she mentioned a few of her friends that have changed their child's school because it just didn't feel like the right fit. This included, of course, some people that moved from public to Catholic, but also one family that moved from Catholic to public.

It was a thought-provoking conversation. She mentioned going to look at other schools, even if you don't end up switching, just so that you have a full view of all of your options. I was still mulling that over when I turned on my cell phone back in my office. I recalled that I hadn't remembered to turn it on in several days. I can be bad like that. I don't have a smart phone, and so I don't rely on it that heavily. But I figured maybe the school nurse might call if Hank didn't feel better, and I wanted to be able to be reached if that's the number they called.

Well. I saw that I had a voicemail. I figured it was my mom, but I was wrong. It was Hank's teacher, and it was from *2 days ago*! I was horrified. She asked me to call her back regarding "a few issues with Henry." Naturally, I panicked. What could be wrong?! I couldn't call her back right then, since it was the middle of the day.

In agony, I waited until 3:20, and then pounced on my phone. Luckily, I caught her in the classroom. It was really no big deal. Henry had two instances on Tuesday of not listening, and so was held out of recess as a consequence. She said that generally, Hank has to have directions repeated multiple times instead of just once. Well... :) I agree, it would be optimal for all children to only need to be told things once. But, honestly, I don't think this behavior is at all abnormal. Certainly, he should be listening better, and we can work on that at home. But I didn't necessarily think it warranted a phone call.

Granted, I had no overt problem that she called. It was kind of nice talking to her. But Henry is the type of boy that is a bit shy. He really rarely engages in behaviors that call attention to him. So I was surprised to get a call about something so minor. Do I think that my kid is perfect? Absolutely not. And I had no problem talking to the teacher about it. But it just once again got me to thinking about his school.

I'm just SO unsure about how I feel regarding it. Like all mothers, I have a powerful mommy instinct, and right now at least, it's telling me that this just isn't a good fit. It's an excellent school. Henry is absolutely in a healthy, engaging environment. But is it the right fit for him and for us? I don't know. Honestly? I don't think so. But I promised Mike that I'd give it a year, and I feel that it's fair to hold to that promise.

I did do some Catholic school poking around though. And I found that many of the schools will offer their parishioner rate if you are a parishioner at a parish that does not have a Catholic school. That's us. So, the tuition is *extremely* reasonable.

Of course, we'd still have the cost of after school care, like we do now. But here is something exciting: right now we pay $20 per day for before/after school care for Hank because his school hours are 9 am-3:10pm. That's *just* inconvenient enough so that we can't drop him off or pick him up ourselves. I don't leave the house to drop him at our daycare (before/after school care provider) until 8 am, so that I can arrive at work around 8:30 am. Thus, Hank doesn't arrive and get settled in until 8:10 am or so. The kids leave on the bus by 8:30 am. Then, after school, he's picked up around 3:15 pm by our daycare, and Mike picks him up there by 4-4:30 pm every day. So, essentially, we're paying our (granted, beloved) daycare a heck of a lot of money ($100 per week!) to do very little.

On the other hand, the local Catholic schools, I come to find out, have a much earlier start time. Morning prayer starts around 7:45 am. They have an earlier dismissal, but then you're only paying for after school care. So, what all this rambling means is that even with tuition and after care put together, it's still a tad cheaper than what we're paying right now just for before/after care! I was shocked.

I mulled this over a lot yesterday, and was hesitant to pounce on Mike with it because I don't want it to look like I'm pushing a Catholic school agenda, and biased against our public school. I'm not. I just can't shake this uneasy feeling that I have that this just isn't quite right in our particular case. I thought maybe it would be better to wait until closer to the end of the school year, so that I give the public school more of a fair chance.

Well, last night, Mike and I are in bed doing our nightly chit chat session. I think all married couples do this, no? It's where we talk best :) And we were talking about Hank, and he mentioned that he's getting out of class early the next day (today) and would like to pick Hank up right from school. Inspired, I mentioned that even though I love our daycare, and I know Hank loves them too, we're paying them quite a bit still these days and we really don't need the full range of hours that they offer anymore. He agreed. So, I noted very casually that I'd done some Catholic school poking, and he gave me the raised eyebrow :) But I made a solid case for how inexpensive it is, and how the hours work out so much better for our needs. He agreed that in that way, it's much better. I mentioned how much I liked the curriculum as well, and that at the end of the school year, maybe we could take a look and do a full evaluation. He agreed that he thought that would be fine, after the school year is over.

This is a tough issue, because we moved where we did because of the good public schools. Our property taxes reflect this. And so to then not use them? *sighs* If it were solely up to me, I tend to be impulsive, and I'd move Hank right now to the Catholic school :) But there are 3 of us in this family, and I need to wait to know if that would be right for all of us. Plus, we have the new baby coming, and we have childcare costs upcoming for him/her too. This is enough to depress me, so I'll move on.

I guess the answer is that I don't know what the ideal solution is right now. But I'm going to pray about it. And I'll need to be patient (very hard for me). Sometimes the solution is something that you didn't foresee right away, or is the option you were initially opposed to. So I'm going to persevere in prayer. I just see my baby, while doing fine in school, just not "thriving" you know? He told me this morning that he doesn't like school :( In fairness, this may be because he simply wants to play all day like he did at daycare and not focus more on academics. Which isn't the public school's fault. But like I said, my mommy instinct is that there may be a better solution out there for all of us.

Keep us in prayer, would you?

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Catholic Librarian turned parish catechist?

For a while now, I've wanted to become more involved in my parish. There are some Bible studies that I would *love* to attend, but it's just not in the cards right now. They are held either during the day, while I'm working, or in the evenings, when I feel that I need to be home with Hank and Mike. There is a parish woman's group, but they meet Monday evenings when Mike is teaching and obviously I need to be home with Hank. I would like to teach religious education, and if it were on the weekends, it might be doable. However, our parish holds religious education on Tuesday or Thursday evenings, so once again I run into the family issue. As a mother working full-time outside the home, I'm very sensitive to maximizing the time with my husband and child that I do have in the evenings. I figured that once Hank started religious ed. in first grade, I could volunteer the same night that he'd be there, so then I wouldn't be missing out on time with him.

Well :) Now with the baby coming, I doubt I'll be volunteering next year. The baby will still be very small next autumn, and will need my undivided attention in the evenings.

Out of the blue, the Director of Religious Ed. called me yesterday to ask if I'd be interested in volunteering as a catechist for Liturgy of the Word for Children, held at the 10 am Mass each Sunday. I'd only have to do it once per month, since they rotate their volunteers, and she thought it might be a good fit for me.

At first, I was a little anxious, given that these will be small children. Remember Vacation Bible School? It's like herding cats. Liturgy of the Word for Children is geared toward kids that haven't yet begun traditional CCD or Catholic school yet. I do see some kids older than that going up, but still, we're talking about second graders and under.

But. And this is a big but. This will be material that I'm comfortable with. You go through the readings of the day with them in an understandable manner. You look at a worksheet together based on the readings. As opposed to my stint as games coordinator at Vacation Bible School when I felt completely out of my element.

So, I accepted the invitation to come over to the church tomorrow and have a look at the materials and the set up. I'm also going to observe next weekend when an experienced volunteer leads the the program. I'm kind of excited. I tend to want to control things too much (big surprise, right?) and often don't just 'wait on God.' I feel like this fell into my lap, and this may be what God would like me to do in the parish. Plus, Hank will be right with me, so perfect. Hopefully, he won't lead a revolt against his teacher the way he did on the first day of VBS.

*excitement exudes*

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Of pukiness and upset stomachs...

The joy of the first trimester. It's an odd conundrum, because on one hand, I hate feeling so lousy all the time. On the other hand, I'm thrilled to be pregnant, and these symptoms assure me that all is going well with Baby CL. It's a quandry.

This pregnancy has been so totally different from my pregnancy with Hank. I felt mostly great in my first trimester back then, aside from crippling exhaustion. This time, I don't go to bed any earlier than usual, but I feel rank all.the.time. It's hard for me to concentrate at work because of the omnipresent burning nausea. It's gross.

But I persevere. Finally, my first visit to the ob/gyn is approaching. On Monday, I go in for what my practice terms a "viability ultrasound." I bit scary sounding, no? Because the implication is that there is a possibility that the pregnancy is not "viable." I know they don't mean anything malicious by it; they simply mean that it's possible that the pregnancy has not progressed, meaning that the baby has died. This "missed miscarriage" is pretty much my worst nightmare, but can one do? Just pray.

This time I've already been doing lots of childbirth preparation reading. Last time, I pretty much did nothing :) I was just so scared, and figured I'd tough it out as long as I could. Mike and I did take the hospital childbirth preparation course, but that didn't really provide much aside from an understanding of the hospital's facilities and policies. Not that that isn't important, but it did not provide any assistance by way of natural pain management.

So, this time, I shall post on the following:

My childbirth experience with Hank. Oh, I bet you can't wait for this one, right? :) Some book reviews of the books I've read. My philosophy on childbirth. Why I choose hospital birth over home birth (but why I've come to understand the allure of home birth). How I hope for things to go this time, as compared to last time.

Should be interesting stuff.

Friday, October 8, 2010

"Is that a LINE?!"

A post on my foray into pregnancy tests (after a 5 year hiatus) was simply too irresistible, so here it is. For perfectionists like myself, every detail of these delectable little test strips lends itself to hyper-analysis, examination, and obsession.

I can admit it: I love to pee on those things. Or in a cup and then dip them in. It's just so...exciting.

My quest began about 5 days prior to the start of my expected period. Right away, you can see the problem here, right? That's TOO EARLY. I know there are tests (that cost more than my monthly lunch supplies) that tout themselves as able to detect pregnancy up to 5-6 days prior to a missed period. But, really. Simple common sense tells us that this won't work for 100% of the population, especially considering women aren't always able to pinpoint exactly when they ovulated. So, why waste $20 on such an experiment, when waiting another 5 days or so will make a test work that costs a mere dollar?

Human nature, that's what. We're NOSY and CURIOUS. We can't wait. As for me personally, well, I'm nosier than the average person. Plus, I chart my cycles as part of NFP (Natural Family Planning, I can post on that another time; definitely tmi :) , and have done so since I got married, so I know with approximately a 3 day window of certainty when I ovulated. Type A personality lends itself REALLY well to NFP, let me tell you. Knowledge is power.

So, even though I didn't want to buy one of those fancy schmancy tests, I still wanted to dip my toe into the pregnancy test pool, and thought I'd do a little research. Let the fun begin.

Google Search #1 - PREGNANCY TESTS

There are lots of them. Lots and lots. Are you also a pee-on-a-stick-aholic? You simply must check out Fabulous stuff. Anyway, this site reminded me of the holy grail of pregnancy tests, that I used many of around the time I conceived Hank: Dollar Tree pregnancy tests.

Ok, this is like those library instruction classes that I teach :) If you remember nothing else from this post, take this one point away with you:


Not Family Dollar (where everything is decidedly not a dollar), or Dollar General, or The Dollar Store. Dollar Tree. This is *very* important. These tests cost $1, and they WORK. They are not fancy, but they are as sensitive and accurate as a urine test you'd take in a doctor's office. Simply put, they are *awesome*.

Immediately, I hustled out on my lunch hour and headed to the local Dollar Tree, where I bought 4 pregnancy tests. I could feel the teenage clerk's bafflement as he rang me out.

"Who needs FOUR pregnancy tests?!"

Freaks do, ok?

I lovingly brought them back to the office, where I coddled them into a desk drawer, next to an expired test I had left over from earlier. With much restraint, I made myself wait until the next morning before my inaugural pee. Every day draws (hopefully) your hormone levels higher, making it easier for the test to detect them.

The next morning, I hurried to the quietest ladies room on the floor with one of the tests tucked into my purse. I was SO excited. It was still 4 days prior to my expected period, so I knew it was still early, but I was hopeful. I administered the test, and paced around the stall while I waited the requisite 3 minutes for the results to display.

These are simple tests that simply display a control line (shows you that the test worked properly) and then may or may not display a second test line to show that it detects HCG, human pregnancy hormone. With Hank, I remembered a dark line showing up right away, but that was a day after my expected period (had lost track of time, since I was in NYC the weekend before visiting my friend Irena, drinking wine and eating lots of soft cheese :) , and plus, I later realized that Hank was conceived early in that cycle. Aren't you glad I'm telling you all this? Anyway, this time, I knew it was still early. I was just hoping for a sneak preview.

3 minutes go by, and I snatch the test up. I don't see a line. I'm disappointed, but I know that if you test too early, you can get a negative if you really are pregnant. I'll simply have to wait another day or so. I walk out of the stall, and the test catches the natural light from the window.

Hark! What is THAT?! I bring the test right to the window and examine it right up to my face. Is that a purplish shadow in the test line area? I move it in every possible contortion, but I can't tell. I do think that I see something very faint there, but it's impossible to be sure. I hurry back to my office where I continue to examine it in my own window. Nothing has changed. Pretty soon, the 10 minute result reliability window has passed. I have to wait until the next day, but that doesn't stop me from looking at it all day, in 10 minute intervals.

The next day, I went through the same ritual. Test is administered. Nothing comes up right away. I pace. After 3 minutes, I bring it right to the natural light. *huffy sigh* Nothing is looking very obvious, but once again, I swear I see a faint purplish shadow in the test line window. But it's SO faint, it's possible I may be imaging things and creating a hysterical pregnancy right then and there. What to do... What to do?! I contemplate accosting one of the students tucked away in a study carrel out on the floor and demanding to know if they see a line, but then think better of it. Don't want to nurture that FREAK label twice in two days.

I take it back to my office and obsess some more.


Here progresses a lunch hours worth of Google images of positive pregnancy tests from varying points in a cycle. Reassuringly, some of them, from before a woman's expected period, look kind of like mine. Hurray! Certainly, I'll need to followup for the next several days, but maybe this is it... Wait, what's this?!

Google Search #4 - FALSE POSITIVES

This is rare, but apparently does happen. Paranoia mounts. I examine the photos closely. Oh, this could be related to WHAT?

Google Search #5 - EVAPORATION LINES

This is the holy grail of pee-on-a-stick-aholics. The potential for relentless obsession lies right here. Evaporation lines are simply shadows that dry on the test strip where a line *would* be, making it appear slightly darker, but it's not actually indicating a positive. Oh SIGH. Now what?! That could easily be what I'm seeing. Plots...

Hum, I have that expired pregnancy test. Since I wouldn't be using up a new one, why not try that and see what happens?

I do. I see little. Which leads to...


This one is simple. You shouldn't use them. They dye may not interact anymore. Rats.

I continue my forays until I uncover a new source of fretting.

Google Search # 7 - CHEMICAL PREGNANCY

When you get an early positive result, but then appear to get your period. It's actually a miscarriage, since an egg was in fact fertilized and implanted. Great. Now I can worry about this too.

I wait an agonizing 48 hours, during which time I do the last 2 Dollar Tree tests with first morning urine, supposedly the more potent in terms of HCG. Each time, I see faint, FAINT lines. *glares*. I suppose that's a positive, since they tell you that the line colors can vary when positive, but people, I need more reassurance here. It's not the tests' fault; it was still BEFORE my period was late, and they tell you to wait until after your period is due. I suppose this is why those tests are only a dollar; they conserve on dye.

The last of those 2 days, the day before my period was due, was a Sunday, and as I sat at Mass, I burst into tears *3 TIMES* during the singing of the Prayer of St. Francis. It just...moved me. Hum. Move evidence. In breasts hurt. A lot. But still! That could be PMS :(

Finally, I broke down and forked over $12 for a generic pack of 2 digital tests. Ahhh, sweet digital. These are the wonderful tests wherein the display windows reads "Pregnant" or "Not Pregnant." Pretty self-explanatory.

The next morning, my period was due. I hustled into the bathroom with my first morning urine all saved up, and activated the digital. I paced while I waited for it to work, and then:

It was bliss. And now the new worries begin...


*frets* But really. I take my prenatal vitamins religiously, I'm eating healthy and staying active. And I pray for my unborn baby daily. What else can I do? It's out of my hands. But I pray that in 7 months, my arms are filled with a beautiful new Baby Catholic Librarian :)

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Our Lady of the Rosary

I feel like I say this a lot lately, but this week has been another that has not stood out as being bright and sunny. Mike has had a lot of school related pressures, and we're both worried about some health concerns with his dad. And then there's the money worries. They're more worrisome than usual. So, it's just been one of those stretches in which I just pray for us to be able to stay strong and just get through this time.

This morning I woke up feeling, well, worried. And tired. Not unusual these days, but exacerbated by the fact that Hank was up coughing 2 times in the night and it woke me both times. All of our seasonal allergies have been *rampant* this year, really, really bad. I had to wrangle Hank into a dress shirt, since today is picture day, which he wasn't too thrilled with. Subsequently, I was running late. Mike had an 8:30 am dentist appointment 20 minutes away so he was rushing, and I had to get Hank's picture order all set and his lunch made. Mike had been planning to take Hank to school, but with the way we were running late, I knew he'd never make it in time. I told him to go, and that I would take Hank. After he left, I remembered that I also had to make a lunch for myself and get Hank's teeth brushed. When you have small children, each of these usually mundane tasks takes on a life of its own. Sort of like trying to brush the teeth of a bucking alligator.

Finally, Hank and I left our house 10 minutes later than usual, and I was panicking that he'd miss his bus. I rushed him, for which I'm feeling badly now, and we hurried to his before/school program. After I dropped him, I got in my car and do what I usually do on my short morning commute: put on one of my Catholic podcasts and pulled out my rosary. I have a short one-decade rosary that I use in the car now and I LOVE it. It easily wraps around my hand and allows me to pray and steer at the same time :)

As it usually does, it soothed me a great deal. As I drove, I reflected on the fact that it's been awhile since I was able to attend daily Mass, another great daily soothing device. I miss it very, very much. But our Newman Center moved off the main campus, and with the terrible parking situation we have here, I haven't felt comfortable enough yet to leave campus in the middle of the day to attend Mass. It's been a real bummer. But at least I still have my daily rosary.

When I got into my office, and logged into Google Reader, I remembered that it was the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary. Today of all days, I really needed the rosary. I cycle through the mysteries each day via the usual order (Joyful on Mondays, Sorrowful on Tuesdays and Fridays, Glorious on Wednesdays, and Luminous on Thursdays) but my favorite to meditate on these days are the Joyful Mysteries.

The Annunciation. Even the mother of God can be confused by His will sometimes.

The Visitation. As a newly pregnant woman, this is my favorite. The friendship, camaraderie and spiritual sustenance of visiting with your good friend and cousin during this vulnerable time really resonates with me.

The Nativity. Labor and delivery are scary, but if Mary can do it, so can I :)

The Presentation. Not completely the same, but I always think about baptizing my babies when I meditate on this one. Obeying God's law in an initiation ritual for the baby.

The Finding in the Temple. Knowing that Mary experiences the same motherly worries and terrors as the rest of us is infinitely comforting, no?

So, I was really happy to discover that today was the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary. I need her more than ever these days.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

*sniffs* "Is that meat I smell 2 buildings away?"

Now that I have license to post about my pregnancy, I can barely contain myself with all the stuff I want to blog about. I definitely have to write a post about how I first found out I was pregnant; I'll get to that this week.

Being the overachiever that I am, I've been charting my symptoms and keeping track of what I can tell of Baby's development very carefully (Type A...). And I've been enjoying comparing it to what I recall of my pregnancy with Hank. Here we go:

(1) "Morning" sickness/Nausea - Didn't really have much with Hank. I got nauseous a handful of times, and it came in short waves, and faded quickly. This time, I'm nauseous every single day, from morning until dinner time. Eating will stave it off temporarily. At times, the nausea is so bad that I don't get up for fear of something very untoward occurring. So, what does this mean? I need your feedback, people :) In fact, I demand this. The conventional wisdom is that more nausea means girl. Did those of you with girls have lots of morning sickness? With boys, nada? I know, I know, it's an old wives tale, but I can't help it. INQUIRING MINDS WANT TO KNOW.

Oh, and just so you know, we're old fashioned. We don't find out the baby's gender until birth. So, we have 7 months ahead of us of fun guessing games :)

(2) Honed scent abilities of a finely trained Bloodhound - I had this last time too. I can smell a candle still burning from a story up in our house. Perfume can nearly knock me off my feet. And food? Whoa, baby. It's usually good, but not always.

(3) Cravings - MEAT. Fritos. Grilled cheese sandwiches with tomato slices. Salted (I kid you not) cucumbers. And somehow, always fast food.

With Hank, I craved Taco Bell. I mean, ok. If it was the only way I could get my hands on it, I would have stormed in with a shotgun and demanded that they hand over all the taco meat. I mean, I HAD to have it. And once again, I'm experiencing that "*burning sensation* Gotta have it, gotta have it!" feeling. Taco Bell holds no allure this time, though. This time, ARBY's. Come to mama...

I had an Arby's sandwich on Friday, and the thing is, I haven't had one in, oh, 10 years? Maybe 15. I haven't had Taco Bell in 5 years, since I was pregnant with Hank. But oh, I tell you, it was SO GOOD. SO GOOD. Right. I don't even like roast beef. Really, I don't eat that much meat. But pregnancy turns me into a gigantic carnivore. Except for pork. That never sounds good. But beef? Oh, oh yes. Pepperoni. *drools* And SAUSAGE! *squeals* Yes, yes definitely. Oh. I suppose that's pork. Right? Ah well, no matter. I do like sausage. But pork chops? *shudder* No thank you.

So, what else? Again with the grilled cheese. And this time, TOMATOES. Tomatoes like you've never seen them consumed before. I make tomato salad daily. Last week, I stopped off at the grocery store on my way home from work for my fix of tomatoes. And I wanted big, juicy Beefsteak tomatoes. With salt and pepper. And feta cheese. I procured 2 huge ones, along with a couple of also coveted cucumbers, and impatiently waited in line. As soon as I got up to the register, the teenager working there asked me:

"Oh. You know, everyone has been buying these big tomatoes. But they cost more. Plum tomatoes are on sale, you know. Do you want..."

"NO. I mean, no thank you. I want these."

"Are you sure? These are $2.99 a pound. I could go grab..."

"NO. Just put the tomatoes in the bag, and no one gets hurt..."

Ah, good times. The tomato salad was particularly good that night. I also had a slice on my grilled cheese sandwich and tomato soup. Gotta have it.

(4) Sore... "things" - It's like they think they're about to be pressed into service at any instant. We have time, really. We'll just leave that one right there.

(5) Extreme exhaustion - I remember this so vividly with Hank. This time, I think because I knew to expect it, it doesn't seem so bad to me. Well, also, I routinely go to bed by 9:30 anyway , so going up at 8:30 or 9 just doesn't seem like that big of a leap. With Hank, I was still very newly married, and just coming off a regular routine of staying up til midnight watching Golden Girls on Lifetime every night. Now, I've been beaten into a submissive routine of "my sleep may get interrupted at any SECOND! Better grab it now!"

That pretty much sums up my life for the past 2 months. Yesterday evening, I was running late, and didn't get home, Hank in tow, until a few minutes after 5 pm. I was tired, I was nauseous, I had a headache, and I felt harried. I walked in the door, and hark! What's that I smell? TACO BEEF!!!! OH, sweet, sweet husband. Mike had made burritos, and they were on the table, waiting for us. This, I tell you, is what keeps your marriage passionate and happy for the duration. Not smoking hot date nights, although those certainly help too. It's this. Burritos on the table for your tired pregnant wife when she comes home from work. Suddenly, Husband's cuteness factor has been elevated well past its already cute status. That type of thoughtful consideration is what turns a woman on. As well as throwing the garbage and doing the dishes. Mike does those too. Garbage juice is definitely not on my list of currently approved smells for a happy, non-nauseous Catholic Librarian. Life is good.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Oh, so much blogging will ensue...

I cannot TELL you the effort it has taken me to keep this secret for the past month. I mean, a gigantic, COLOSSAL effort. And it rather goes against my nature.

On the one hand, I'm 35 years old, and at just over 7 weeks, still very much in the high-risk miscarriage zone. You know the old adage - you shouldn't tell anyone until you've completed the first trimester. I know that the reasoning is that if you miscarry, you don't want to then have to deal with the pain of telling all these people what happened. I can understand that, and I certainly respect anybody's prerogative to not say anything until they feel comfortable. It's really none of our business until then.

But on the other hand, I can't help it. When I get happy news, I want to share it. And my feeling is, I'll share it earlier with people that I certainly would tell should I miscarry, to ask for their prayers and support. And this my friends, is where you come in :)

I started this blog because I love to write, and because I wanted to share my faith and my life with others of like interests. My favorite type of writing has always been memoir. To me, it is most profound and meaningful to read personal stories. It sinks in with me so much more than heavy academic tomes dealing with the same topics. And so I started this blog to share my life with you, in the hopes that it would prove helpful and touching to someone (somebody? anybody?) and that other Catholics, parents, librarians, dancers, readers, whatever, would find it a source of comic relief and camaraderie.

So, I wanted to share this with you. Because I covet your prayers and support, and because this is no different than anything else I post on this blog, in the sense that it's a major event in life's journey. Should it end differently than I hope, I want to share that with you, and we can grieve, and grow, together.

(if I work with you, [Bridget :)] and you're reading this, you are not merely my colleague, you are my friend. I have shared the news with our boss, and a few other friends at work, but other colleagues don't know yet. I am saving that until I'm a bit further along, just so you know :)

And besides, how could I seriously give up the opportunity to blog about all of the fun things that are transpiring in my first trimester? I mean, you really wouldn't want me to do that, right?! Prepare yourself for 9 months of an incessant TMI warning. It's coming, prepare yourself now. And I know you wouldn't have it any other way :) I'm hoping that's part of the reason why you read this blog.

More, oh so, so much more to follow...

This old body... still kickin'


Monday, October 4, 2010

New costume makes for a happy Catholic Librarian...

Our new performance group costumes arrived on Friday, and let me tell you, it was a flurry of sparkly green lycra and gold beading the likes of which you've never seen before. We all waited, salivating, while Claire got them out of the box and distributed. Immediately, skirts were slipped on over pants and beaded bra tops right over our tee shirts. They are *fabulous*. Really beautiful. They are all an emerald green, and we each could pick our own, so they were all a bit different. The model shot of mine is this (in a slightly darker forest green):

I have to say, it's even nicer in person. He added much more beading and shiny, dangling things to the real deal. I completely love it, and it fits like a glove. The hip wrappy part of this one is the main reason I chose it - very flattering for those of us with, well, childbearing hips :)

The only issue being the tops, and the consensus that we came to is that maybe women don't have varying breast sizes in Egypt :) Because with these costumes, as with previous ones, there doesn't seem to be an accounting for different cup and back sizes. My cups seem ok, if a bit large, but the back and shoulder bands are fit for a sumo wrestler. Definitely some new hooks need to be sewn in there, and the problem is, I can't sew. So, I will have to beg the mercy of one of my sewing classmates. I think I'd like the two shoulder straps sewn into a halter, anyway. To my mind, the chances of a costume malfunction go down exponentially with that design.

So, I'll have to get that taken care of. FUN. This is my first real Egyptian costume, and I can see how their acquiring becomes quite a hard habit to break. But at $200 a pop, I suppose it's not that hard. This will be my last costume for at least the next 2 years :)

Friday, October 1, 2010

A game of "What's That Noise?!" and "Where's That Stitch?!"

I guess my "one of those days" from Tuesday has now morphed into "one of those weeks." It hasn't been terrible by any stretch of the imagination, but it's always the little things.

I was feeling tired and emotional yesterday, and I knew that I had Hank by myself for the evening, since Mike had a late class. I had an ambitious after-work agenda: grocery store, public library, fetch Hank, home. Make soothing dinner based on grocery store additions, watch new Thomas the Tank Engine movie procured from the public library with Hank, grab a warm shower, get Hank in jammies, read books with him, get him tucked in and sleeping, greet Mike, knit, bed. It all seemed very doable.

As I trucked away from campus in my little Honda, I gave my car a pat and told him how happy I was that he seemed to be staving off that new muffler that I can tell he's angling for. The car had been a tad noisier than usual, and in small sedans you need exhaust work every 2-3 years commonly. It's been about 3 since my last foray to Mufflerman, so I knew I was on borrowed time, but I buttered Civic up and told him how proud I was of him. Every pay period has been perilous here lately. We've just had a bunch of necessary expenses all hit at one time. Tuition, books, fee for a licensing exam Mike needs to take, taxes, school clothes for Henry, mortgage, etc. I just hoped to have a bit of a chance to recover.

I hop on the highway, and it happened. You know.

*happy putter* *POP* *BBBBRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!*

The whole highway turns to stare at you. You slouch down in your seat. You sigh. You may say a very bad word. You get huffy.

I'm so used to this with my car that it doesn't faze me anymore. I've had Civic for 10 years, and like I mentioned, new exhaust work every 2-3 years. I don't even pull over anymore. I just keep driving and pray for Mufflerman to miraculously move closer to my physical position. So, my new evening agenda now looks like this:

Henry. Mufflerman. Public library. Grocery store. Home.

I grab Hank from his after school program and we head to Mufflerman. 30 minutes and $250 later, we emerge with a quiet and happy car. *sighs*

By this time, someone was starving and cranky. And Hank was getting a bit restless too. We fetch Thomas and the groceries (including a box of super heroes popsicles, since he really took the Mufflerman visit better than I did), and head home. Hank bounces around the house while I make us the ultimate comfort dinner of grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup. I grab my shower while Hank watches Thomas. Mike gets home a few minutes early and is all worried about the car expenses, since his car needed about $300 worth of work last week. It was necessary, certainly, but worrisome, and it takes its toll on both of our moods. This makes me even more emotional than before.

Mike gets Hank to sleep, and as I sulkily work my mom's socks (my very first pair!) I notice that I'm mysteriously missing a stitch. Now. I'm very used to dropped stitches. Because, well, I drop them all the time. And a dropped stitch in knitting is extremely telltale. You see this big gap and then a little ladder of loose yarn where the stitch is unraveling. I've learned how to pick them back up and fix them. On these socks, I'd just started the heel flap, which was probably a bad idea given how porky I was mixed with the fact that I've never knitted a sock before, and the heel is one of the most difficult parts. I had counted as I rearranged the stitches to begin the heel flap, and I had 32 for the flap, 32 in reserve, just like I was supposed to. I knit a row, purl a row, then go back and complete a row of alternating slipped stitches and knits, just like the directions say. Except...I end with a slip, and that just doesn't seem right. Sure enough, I go back and count and there are only 31 stitches there. *content edited for language modesty*

I count my reserve stitches, thinking maybe I accidentally put an extra one over there. Nope. 32 of those, just like there should be. I un-knit a row, hoping to see my mistake. Nothing. I examine the sock in a cranky-like manner under the light, looking for that telltale little ladder. Nothin'

I glared at it for a long time. I considered stuffing it into my knitting bag, but I knew I wouldn't be satisfied to leave it without a solution. Instead of making myself even more miserable by going backward until I uncovered the exact location of the error, I gave it the evil eye and added a stitch. So there! These socks are knit in super fine yarn anyway, you can barely even seen those bloody little stitches. No one will ever know. Except me, and it'll bug the crap out of me, but hey, it was just one of those weeks.