Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Hooray for nice nurses

Sarah had her 4-month checkup yesterday. I was getting her ready, and really wanting to appear to be Super Competent Mom at the doctor's office. Because it's so dry here, you're only supposed to bathe babies 2 or 3 times a week. It was bath day, so I was getting her all ready. I started working on her cradle cap. Hate the cradle cap! I think I've got it all, and then I'll see her head in a different light, and I'm horrified that I missed a ton of it. Mr. X thinks I'm obsessed. So, I was trying to loosen the cradle cap so I could get it off while she was in the tub. Finally, Mr. X said "um, she just has to be clean, right?" Fine, fine. Point taken.

So, I gave her her bath and got her all dressed. I grabbed an extra outfit because she did have a blowout once at the doctor's office, and I wanted to be the Prepared Mom. We finally made it (late), and I walked in . . . and realized I had left the diaper bag at home. Great. I really need to remember these when I want to impress people that that whole "pride" thing really doesn't work out for me!

The assistant weighed and measured her, and then, while we were waiting for the doctor, I nursed her. And then she pooped. Great. Thank God, I had extra diapers and wipes in the car. I ducked out of the exam room (with the baby in her diaper and wrapped in a blanket) and said to the assistant, "I'm just running out to the car. I have extra diapers out there, and she just pooped." The guy in the waiting room was laughing as I ran by. At least he wasn't laughing in a mean way.

So, she's 14 lbs. 15 oz. How serious are the bassinet makers about that 15 pound weight limit? She's in a cosleeper bassinet in our room (just for when I'm not in the room--when we sleep, she's in the bed with us), and then we have a pack-n-play set up as the bassinet, and she likes to look at the mobile and roll around in there every once in a while. But, of course, they both have a 15-pound limit. I don't know what to do in the bedroom once the bassinet's gone. Her crib's a little bit big to fit next to the bed. We've thought about just putting rails on the bed so that she can sleep on the bed if we're not in the room, but the mattress is soft enough that we worry about her being in the bed unsupervised. (When I'm in the bed, she lies on her side, right up against me. If I move even an inch or two away, she scoots over in her sleep until she's right next to me again. And she's still swaddled for sleeping, so she really can't roll in her sleep yet, since her arms are constrained.) Right now, I'm thinking of putting a firmer mattress (like a little pack-n-play mattress or bassinet mattress) on top of our mattress and then putting rails on the bed. Oh, well. We'll see.

She's also 25.5 inches long, which means she's long for her weight--and tall! Clearly, she takes after her father. She'll probably be taller than me by the time she's 10.

Today, I took her for her immunizations. Because of our insurance, we take the kids to the HMO instead of to our family doctor (my NaPro doctor) for their immunizations. Thank God, we got a good nurse. We're doing the Dr. Sears staggered vaccine schedule, so she's had immunizations at 2, 3, and 4 months now.

At 2 and 4 months, she's had the DTaP shot and the oral rotavirus vaccine. At the 2 month appointment, I didn't know what to expect, since I hadn't done this before. I had Sarah on my lap, and the nurse stuck the ampule with the rotavirus vaccine into her mouth, squirted all the liquid in at once, and then squeezed her jaw shut. The poor little thing screamed, and half the liquid came out, and the nurse said "that's fine. That always happens. She got enough of it." OK . . . Then, she had me put her down on the table for the shot, and she cried and cried.

Today, we had a different nurse. She squeezed a little tiny drop of the rotavirus stuff into her mouth and let her taste it and swallow it, and then gave her a little bit at a time until she'd had the whole thing. It took a couple of minutes, but she was happy and got a lot more of the vaccine inside of her. I mean, it's sugary, so most babies should like it if they get to actually taste it, shouldn't they? Then I held her on my lap for the shot, and she didn't cry at all! I couldn't believe it! Not one little tear. She immediately turned her head and started rooting, so she definitely wanted to be comforted, but there was no crying! What a difference! It really made me annoyed with that first nurse, though.

Next week, Nicholas has to have his second dose of H1N1 vaccine and the varicella vaccine. Ugh. He's really good about getting shots, but I hate to see him cry after he's had the shot. He's amazingly tough for such a little guy. He cries, but only for a few seconds, and then he's back to his happy little self. But, especially since he hasn't been home for very long, I hate to hold him while they give him the shots, because I feel like he's just learning to trust me.

So, wow--two posts in one day! Pretty crazy. I should run. The kids are asleep, and I want to make some progress on the screen we're making to cover the railing in our living room where the spindles are too far apart. Here's hoping for a good night's sleep!

Birth Story Part I

When I went to bed on Wednesday night (July 22nd), I was really hoping we'd be going to the hospital the next day. My induction was scheduled for 6am on Friday, and I really, really did not want to be induced.

I woke up at 4am. I had been having contractions off and on since the 10th, but the contractions were finally starting to feel uncomfortable. I decided to time them. I dozed off and on while sort of timing contractions until 4:30. By then, the contractions were about 3-4 minutes apart. I got up for water and to see if changing position slowed them down. It didn’t. I got back into bed with the Bradley method book to check out the signs of labor. Mr. X half woke up and we had the following conversation:

Mr. X: Are you OK?
Me: I think this might be it. The contractions are uncomfortable, and they're three or four minutes apart.
Mr. X: OK (rolls over and goes back to sleep).

Hmm. Clearly not really awake.

I kept on reading the Bradley manual and timing contractions. Then, at 5:05 I felt a sharp pain. It felt--really--like the baby had punched me in the cervix. Then I felt the water come rushing out.
This time, I woke up Mr. X for real and told him “this is it—contractions are 3 or 4 minutes apart and my water just broke.” I managed to scoot myself out of bed and walked like a penguin (with my knees together, that is) to the bathroom and into the tub. I managed not to ruin the mattress or the carpet, thank you very much.

Once I was in the tub, I was a bit concerned because the water was light brown, like weak tea, and there was a lot of it. It really broke with a gush. Mr. X called the doula to let her know what was up. I talked to her, too, and called back a few minutes later because I was concerned about whether there was too much pink in the fluid—she told me it was normal and that we should wait for a good pattern of active labor before going to the hospital. In spite of all my reading, I wasn't sure what that actually meant. She told me that, at that point, I wouldn’t be able to talk to her while I was having a contraction.

I hung up and got back in the tub. I was a bit worried because I hadn’t felt the baby move in a little while, and I wasn’t sure if she had moved since my water broke, so I started drinking a root beer in hopes that the sugar would make her move around. I started to feel her move pretty soon, so that calmed me down a lot. Mr. X brought me a stool to sit on in the tub. After each contraction, more fluid came out. I realized that my fears that my water would break and I would think I only had wet my pants were groundless, since there seemed to be tons of it. (Apparently, the body keeps producing amniotic fluid until the baby's actually born--I didn't know that before.)

Mr. X brought me a chicken sandwich and a sports drink so I’d have some energy, and I ate them in the tub. After a little while, I showered and put on the clothes I had put aside for labor—yoga pants and a t-shirt—and got back in bed. Mr. X started timing contractions. The contractions got to be stronger and more uncomfortable, but not closer together. During the relaxation practice we did for our Bradley classes, back rubs and guided relaxation/massage (where he would say “you’re in a hot shower and the water’s running down your arms . . .” while massaging my arms, and that sort of thing) were what I liked best. Mr. X did some of that in between contractions, but during contractions I was OK with him just keeping a hand on me, not doing anything that would jostle me at all. Between 9 and 10, we decided to get ready to go to the hospital. Mr. X loaded the car and called the doctor and the doula. The hospital’s about half an hour away. My parents were all excited and decided to follow us to the hospital after a little while, expecting there would be a baby by afternoon. It turned out to be quite a bit longer than they expected . . .

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Hello again

Wow, I can't believe it's been more than two months since I've posted! Time just passes so quickly. If I don't respond to e-mail immediately, then by the time I get back to it, weeks have passed. So, before the next thing happens, here's a super quick update.

Things are going pretty well around here. Mr. X has gone back to work and even went on a week-long business trip. Our little guy is sleeping through the night (mostly) in his crib in his own room, and the baby is still cosleeping with us.

I've been wavering on what to call the kids, since I don't want to use their real names, so I'm just going to give them names that I like but can't actually use because they don't work with our last name. Their blog names are hereby Sarah and Nicholas.

So. Nicholas started walking a month ago and is getting to be really good at it. In the three months he's been home with us, he's cut eight teeth. Eight. Teeth. Two of his eyeteeth came through last night. He's working on his molars and eyeteeth simultaneously.

Sarah is four months old. About a month ago, she discovered her toes and rolled from back to front on the same day. She rolled front to back two days later. She also started teething a bit before she hit three months. I didn't think babies started teething that young, but both grandmas saw her drooling and gumming everything in sight and declared her to be teething. When both grandmas say so, there's no arguing with that. No teeth yet, though.

The kids were baptized, which was amazing. We had them baptized at mass, which our parish rarely does. Nicholas was an angel and charmed the whole congregation when he clapped along with them after the baptism. Sarah was a bit fussy because she was hungry and wearing an uncomfortable dress. By the way, the christening gowns you can buy today are slippery! The one I wore when I was baptized was a sweet, simple cotton dress (that was way too small for Sarah), but I couldn't find anything like it!

The kids are adorable and happy, and they seem to like each other, too. Sarah loves to watch Nicholas play, and she gives him some of her best smiles and giggles. Nicholas actually talks baby talk to her. Of course, with the language change, he doesn't say many words yet at all, but he babbles constantly. We can tell he's talking baby talk to Sarah because he smiles and his voice gets very high-pitched. It's so stinking cute! He is very gentle with her (most of the time) and offers her his Cheerios, which are one of his absolute favorite foods. He's doing really well with the transition, and in the last few weeks, he's been giving me lots of big hugs, calling me "mama," and even gave me a kiss for the first time.

So, I'm going to try to post again. I'm starting to get a handle on things. I have the first installment of Sarah's birth story saved on blogger, but it's so boring! I wrote it right after she was born, and it's bare bones because I was just trying to write down the facts so I would remember them. I'll try to make it a bit more interesting and then post it. We'll see how that goes!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Tough Day

I feel kind of bad even posting this with all the blessings I have, but today was a little bit rough. I woke up just feeling overwhelmed and inadequate. I mean, Mr. X and I have both been home with both kids for almost four weeks now, but I feel like we're barely taking care of things. The kids are happy (well, the little guy is as happy as he can be in this adjustment phase), healthy, fed, and clothed, which I know is the important thing. It just makes me nervous for when he goes back to work--and for when I go back to work. How are we going to do everything? And then I really hate the thought of someone else taking care of my kids! I'm feeling better now. After having a stupid argument with Mr. X, I finally told him I was feeling overwhelmed, and talking about it helped.

The babies are doing really well. The little guy is adjusting to us, and he really is just such a happy little boy! He cracked me up today when I came out of the bathroom (where I had been crying) and saw that he had put his favorite ball inside a little plastic bin and then squeezed his feet in there, too, and tried to sit down. When he saw me, he smiled and started bouncing up and down where he was sitting on the edge of the bin. The baby is doing great. She gained 13 ounces this past week, so I think we are out of the woods for now with the weight gain concern. She's getting chubby cheeks and multiple chins, so that's a good thing. Right now, we're trying to figure out how to keep her diapers from leaking. I have to admit that we haven't gotten the cloth diapering going. We put a cloth diaper on the baby for the first time when she was five days old. It was the middle of the night, I know I didn't get the diaper on her right, and she woke up two hours later with her clothes and sheets soaking wet--and that's when we saw that I was hemorrhaging and went back to the hospital. So, figuring out the cloth diapers became a low priority! Mr. X brought up the idea again a couple of weeks ago, but I suggested that we wait until our son was home a month before revisiting it--and that's coming up in a few days, which is kind of hard to believe. The issue with the baby's diapers (I think) is that she's not a round, chubby baby--she's thin for her height. So I think the issue is that the elastic around her belly and her legs just is not very tight, so when she has a really full diaper, it just goes everywhere. Right now, we have her in a disposable diaper (we just moved her to size 1) with a diaper cover over it. I think it's kind of funny, but it seems to help a bit.

Anyway, I have to run and get some sleep myself. I'm trying to hire someone as a mother's helper to come in just a few hours a week. Right now, that's definitely pushing it financially, but we can probably afford just a few hours, and I think it could make a big difference. Just to be able to get a few more things done, having someone to help so Mr. X can paint the bedroom doors, or someone to clean a bathroom or fold the laundry, or watch the kids while I shower, would be such a great thing!

I hope I'm not coming off as too whiny, but I think it's good to acknowledge the realities of the situation. I talked to a good friend when their twins (adopted as newborns) were about six months old. We had commiserated about our fertility problems and lost babies, and I was thrilled for them when they adopted. Six months in, she said to me "hard-won babies are still hard." I talked to a (married, with small children) Catholic missionary after mass on Sunday, and he said that he likes to make sure the college students he works with understand that marriage and family life are about sanctification--he said he tells them that you shouldn't get married because you want to, but because you're ready to die to self. Those have been good reminders when I feel like "we waited and wanted these babies so badly, we should do everything perfectly and be happy and grateful all the time." I do try to be grateful all the time, and I love these babies more than I knew was even possible, but it's still harder than I imagined!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

The Result

About five minutes to fall asleep, and a 2 1/2 hour nap in the crib! No way!

Jen asked where he's been sleeping--he's been on an air mattress on the floor with Mr. X for the past three weeks. Mr. X tried to get another crib nap out of him, but he wasn't really tired, so that didn't work so well--but it wasn't mutiny, just playing for a while and then whining.

In other news, I made it more than 24 hours without ibuprofen! And I have been wearing my favorite pre-pregnancy jeans--yes, they stretch, and no, I'm nowhere near my pre-pregnancy weight. Of course, I'm not trying to get to my pre-pregnancy weight right now--I've started eating more to promote milk production and, as a result, I gained a few pounds this week. But I now love my favorite jeans even more because they are so forgiving :)

And I realized I've never posted a picture of the little guy, so here are two from his first experience with Cheerios:

Contemplating this new food . . .

And declaring it good!

The Crib

Oh my. Mr. X just put the little guy in The Crib for the first time. We'll see how this nap goes . . .

It's not actually the first time--we had the crib on the high setting before the little guy arrived. We used it for his little sister for her first couple of weeks for naps and for part of the night (my mom slept in the babies' room for a while and would take her for a feeding at night), so we had it on the highest setting. We still haven't stained the second crib (which, it turns out, is fine, since we have the bassinet and the baby is co-sleeping with me now), either, so we just have the one crib in the babies' room. Since the little guy got home, we've used it just for diaper changes and sponge baths. So, the little guy is used to being in the crib for that reason.

This morning, Mr. X lowered the crib mattress to the lowest setting and we put the little guy in it to see what he thought. At first, he thought it was great fun, and if Mr. X reached his hand through the slats, he would squeal and scoot to the far corner like this was a great new game. Then he got a little fussy.

So, right now he's in the crib for sleeping, and Mr. X is on the mattress next to it. I don't hear any sounds of carnage yet . . . I'll report back later, though!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

10 ounces!

My baby gained 10 ounces in 8 days! Hooray! I thought she was looking a bit chubbier, but it's hard to tell. Over the 8 days, I took reglan, we co-slept, and I made sure to rest, eat, and drink as much as I could. No supplementing and no pumping. I'm so relieved!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Quick Update

Quick update while both kids are sleeping: Oh my goodness! Things are pretty wild around here. The little guy is adjusting really well. He is clinging to Mr. X, but he likes me now, too. It's clear to see that he's basically a very happy and easy-going little boy, and I can't wait until we're able to bond with him and make him comfortable enough to feel that way all the time (or at least as much of the time as any toddler can be). Our baby girl is doing well, too, but she's not gaining as much weight as she should. :( So, I am nursing her like crazy. We go back to the doctor on Tuesday to see how her weight gain is doing. I started keeping track, and she's nursing about 8-10 hours per day. At the doctor's advice, we cut out all pumping and supplementing this week to try to maximize stimulation for milk supply, and I'm just nursing her as much as she wants. I'm trying to rest and eat as much as I can. And I started co-sleeping with her, which means we're both getting more sleep, though I'm not sleeping as deeply. Fortunately, the doctor and the lactation consultant both say the baby looks great--very healthy and well-hydrated--so I'm not panicking . . . yet, anyway! I feel bad that nursing so much makes it harder to spend time with the little guy right now, so I'm trying to take every opportunity I can to play with him, talk to him, and feed him. Argh. Right now, it's whatever works. And I have a feeling the policy will be "whatever works" for quite a while.

I have been thinking about why the timing worked out this way with the kids. One lesson I'm learning from all this is humility--I can't be the perfect mom. I feel like we waited and hoped and prayed for these children, and I want to do everything right. But this situation has brought home to me--maybe faster than I would have acknowledged it otherwise--that it's just not possible for me to do everything perfectly according to all the "rules." So I'm praying that God will help me to be the mother that he wants me to be (rather than the mother I think I should be), recognizing that I need an awful lot of help to do that!

Friday, August 21, 2009

He's Here!

No pictures yet, but we're all at home. Everyone in the house is asleep (or on their way to being asleep) but me--I'm going to wolf down some food so I can take my ibuprofen and then see how much of a nap baby girl will give me. Mr. X and the little guy had a rough trip--they missed their connecting flight last night because a delay + a short layover + the airline closing the gate half an hour before the flight (seriously? It's been at least 10 years since the last time I saw that happen) = an hour and ten minutes to make it through immigration and customs and get to the new gate four terminals over. Unfortunately, their connection was the last flight of the day, so they had to spend a very long night in a hotel and just arrived home this morning. Fortunately, the little guy was good as gold for the whole trip--he didn't start screaming until I held him at the airport!

The poor baby screamed the whole time we were at the airport (so, though a friend came and took pictures, I don't know if we have any that don't feature a screaming child) and then fell asleep in the car on the way home. He screamed for a few minutes once we got home, then fell asleep on Mr. X's lap. He cries if Mr. X puts him down for a second. He's started to smile at me, though, and even waved at me across the room and then smiled and clapped his hands. He also spontaneously started to play peekaboo with me tonight. He's having a rough time right now (who wouldn't if they'd been through what he has?), but it's obvious that he's usually a very happy little boy. I'm so thankful that they've made it home safely!

Now I'm off to see if I can get a little sleep!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

One more hour . . .

. . . until I'm a mother of two real live babies! God willing, Mr. X will receive custody of our son in about an hour, and this time tomorrow we'll be arriving home from the airport as a family of four.

Our little guy is crawling, pulling up, and cruising on the furniture, but not really walking yet. In between feedings I'm trying to clear a few areas so they'll be safe for him to play on the floor--for now, the babies' room and the family room. Any recommendations for feeding a one-year-old and for supplies to have on hand for teething?

Incidentally, the nursing is getting better, and I've changed my attitude about using nipple shields--instead of feeling like a failure, I'm looking at them as a tool that is helping us keep on breastfeeding while we get everything figured out. And I'm down from using them every time to using them about half the time.

Thank you, too, for the nice comments on the last post. I've done exactly what Beth suggested (put the baby in the Moby wrap) for the other two trips I've had to run errands, and it's worked perfectly. She has slept the whole time, just getting fussy at the very end when it's time to eat.

So, while the baby is snoozing (I really doubt she's down for the night, but we'll see), I'm going to run back to my cleaning!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Bad Mom Moment

Mr. X left on Sunday, and he'll be back on Thursday with our little boy. I can't believe it's really happening!

The baby is sleeping, so I should run and jump into bed myself in a minute. My mother-in-law is here to help me while Mr. X is gone, and the other day we needed to go to the grocery store, where I had my first public terrible-mother moment. ]The baby cried the whole way there. I grabbed a cart and put her infant seat in it, and she immediately stopped crying once the cart was rolling across the pavement.

She was happy halfway through the store, and then started wailing (I think it was a combination wet-diaper and hunger situation). I didn't know what to do! We had two carts because I wasn't sure how to put the infant seat in the front part of a cart, so we had a baby cart and a grocery cart. I didn't want to take her out of the seat and hold her with one hand while I pushed the cart with the other, because that just didn't seem safe. After a minute or two that seemed like hours, I stopped in an aisle and took her out of the seat to calm her down while my MIL ran to other aisles to pick up items.

Finally, we just had a couple of last things to pick up (bread and milk), so I reluctantly put the baby back in the seat, where she immediately started crying again. I ran through to grab the bread and milk as fast as I could, but then my MIL remembered one more item, so we went across the store. Fortunately, most people were very friendly, probably because they saw how tiny the baby is and how tired I look (and how stressed I was that the baby was crying)! But as I was waiting in that last aisle, a young woman came over to me and asked me to let her hold the baby and comfort her. She seemed very sweet and genuinely distressed that the baby was crying, but I didn't want to let a stranger in the grocery store hold my new baby! And I felt just terrible because I felt like I'm this awful, heartless mom who just lets her baby cry in the shopping cart to the point that perfect strangers beg her to let them take care of the baby because they'd clearly do a better job.

Right after that, we got into the checkout line and I did take her back out of the seat and held her until we left--actually, she was so calm by then that I did just hold her with one hand and steer the cart back to the car with the other. She cried as soon as I put her in the car seat, but as soon as the car started moving and I put some static on the radio, she fell asleep.

Next time, I think I'll probably abandon the cart and go out to the car to try to calm the baby down. But, hey, at least I've had my first bad-mom moment in public only three weeks in, so I won't have to dread it!

Friday, August 14, 2009


The baby is sleeping in the M.oby wrap! First time I've gotten her comfortable in a carrier (though I put it on too loosely, so she's pretty low near my waist--as a result, I'm not doing anything too crazy). I was able to make and butter my toast while holding the baby!

And our son is now one year old and will be arriving home next Thursday. I'm getting nervous about his transition, so any prayers you can spare would be greatly appreciated!

I'm working on writing the birth story as well as about the whole hemorrhage/surgery thing. In the meantime, here are some random thoughts:

1. Thank God for blogs--without them, I would have been totally unprepared for how difficult nursing is. As it is, I'm only partially surprised. How do you get a baby with a tiny little mouth (and a mind of her own, too) to open wide enough?

2. I have heard reaffirmed by medical personnel in the last few weeks that redheads (a) bleed like crazy and (b) can just expect a lot of soreness while starting to nurse. Aren't we lucky?

3. Stitches after delivery are painful. Stitches after your original stitches from delivery have torn out are even more painful. More about that when I write about the big stuff.

4. Babies are amazing. I could just sit and look at her all day. One nice thing about nursing is that I get to spend a lot of my day doing just that.

5. A lot of people have offered to help. It's the kind of offer that I have often made--the "let me know what you need" thing. I know I'm sincere when I say it, and I'm sure they are, too. I know we're really going to need the help in the next couple of weeks. How do I actually take them up on it? I know friends who have had someone set up a Care Calendar for them--would it be bad if I did this for us myself? I feel kind of tacky doing it myself.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Eventful week

Just a quick post--we returned home this afternoon from another stay in the hospital. It turns out that I had retained placental tissue, which caused me to start hemorrhaging terribly yesterday. It was probably the scariest thing that has ever happened to me. I had an emergency D and C under general anesthesia and, thank God, it looks like they got everything. They estimate I lost 1200 cc. of blood, but my blood count has stayed just high enough to avoid a transfusion. We're all totally exhausted, but I'm just really grateful to be alive right now.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Oh boy!

The phone rang this morning . . . we have permission to travel and bring home our little boy! I'll update when Mr. X has his travel plans . . .

Monday, July 27, 2009

She's Here!

Our little girl has finally arrived! I will write the birth story soon, but for now . . . I did actually go into labor Thursday morning, about 24 hours before my scheduled induction. And 20 hours later, she was born--just after midnight. She weighed 8 lbs 6 oz and was 21 inches long, which was much bigger than we or the doctor expected!

A few things about the birth:
  • We ended up doing the opposite of the majority of the things on our birth plan, but, since the main objective of the birth plan was me and the baby both in one piece, that was OK.
  • It was not at all like I imagined.
  • I very carefully packed a labor & delivery bag, wanting to not be the woman who overpacks.
  • I used absolutely nothing I had packed during labor & delivery.
The funniest conversation I had in the hospital was the talk I had with the new post-partum nurse who came on duty 7 hours after the baby was born:

Nurse: Are you having any vision problems?
Me: Not really. I felt kind of cross-eyed when they wheeled me over here, but now it's OK.
Nurse: It might just be the anasthesia.
Me: I didn't have anasthesia.
Nurse: No anasthesia.
Me: No.
Nurse: None at all.
Me: No.
Nurse: How'd that work out for you?
Me: It was tough.
Nurse: Yeah. That's how I had my babies, too. They didn't have epidurals then. It was kind of like pushing out a grand piano.

I'm just incredibly grateful to have made it to this point--at home with a healthy baby. I'm humbled by this amazing blessing and the knowledge that God has given us the gift and responsibility of being parents to this beautiful little person.

I'm not sure how long I'll leave it up here, but here is one of my favorite pictures from the hospital.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Nothing yet . . .

Nothing new since yesterday around here . . . but I can't believe I forgot to congratulate Hafsa yesterday! I hope the pregnancy announcements keep on coming!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Almost double digits

I went in for the biophysical profile today, and the baby came through with flying colors! She got an eight out of eight, and we got to see her on ultrasound for the first time since early March. She looks a bit squished in there, but otherwise great. And--wonder of wonders--she has hair! Most babies in my family are bald or just have a tiny bit of fuzz. But we could see her hair and her eyelashes, too!

Then I had my doctor's appointment and we talked about induction. I'm at 3cm now, so that's a bit of progress. I also said I was OK with stripping the membranes, so he did what he could. I'm so glad that I heard that would be painful in advance, because, man, did it hurt! We scheduled induction for first thing Friday morning, just in case, so I'm really hoping she decides to make an appearance before Friday morning!

I finished making a matching sun hat for the little dress, too. And my dad made it into town today, which is great.

Tonight, I dragged myself out to go for a short walk with Mr. X and Wonderdog. Thank God we went when we did! It was just starting to sprinkle when we left the house. By the time we returned, the rain had stopped and the wind had whipped up. And we could actually hear the train noise of a tornado in the distance. About 30 seconds after we came inside, it started to hail--grape-sized hail! Our bedroom window was open, and a piece of hail broke the screen and landed on the carpet. It lasted about 20 minutes, and in the end, our street was flooded, with water all the way up the sidewalks. I'm just so glad that we didn't leave the house five minutes later! (And that I didn't immediately go into labor when the storm started!)

So, that's the latest from our house. I hope we have more news soon!

Friday, July 17, 2009

. . . Plus Six

Still waiting here! I called the doctor today to ask what induction might entail, just so I'll have a better idea of what might be ahead next week.

I'm really hoping not to need to be induced. Fortunately, the baby definitely dropped today. My mom and I were at the store and I suddenly felt like I had a lot more pressure on my bladder . . . and I blamed it on the elastic in my shorts and the can of root beer I had just finished. But when I got home, and went to the bathroom, I realized that (a) my bladder was not nearly as full as it seemed and (b) there's a bit more space up high (as in, my belly isn't actually touching my b.r.easts anymore). So, yay! Progress! Lately whenever I sit or lie down, it has felt like the baby is trying to crawl up under my ribs, so now she's moving in the right direction!

I finished the little going-home dress I made, and--are you ready for this?--here's an actual picture! (I can't remember the last time I actually posted a picture.)

It's cotton yarn, so it's actually pretty heavy, and it took forever to dry when I washed it, but I'm happy with it. The buttons are little bunnies, which is kind of hard to tell in the picture. My mom and I tried to find some ruffly white pants to go under the dress, but I haven't been able to find any! Well . . . I haven't been able to find any at a store, and the ones I've found online are about $15 or more a pair! That's crazy money! So, I found a little pair of plain white pants among the hand-me-downs we've received from friends, and those will have to do. After all, we'll basically put it on her, drive her home, and take it off again. And she might get to wear it to church once or twice before she outgrows it.

We're getting fairly close to ready on the other stuff. The babies' room is about half painted, and we have clean bassinet sheets and have washed all the newborn-sized stuff.

Beth asked about diapers, and we decided to try prefolds and diaper covers. We have some Indian and some Chinese cotton prefolds, and we have an assortment of diaper covers (Th.irsties, Bum.mis, and V.imse, some of which are hand-me-downs), so we'll see how it goes! I bought a few doublers and some wipes, and we did get a lot of disposable newborn-size diapers, which we're planning to use for the first few days. I think we'll be OK to get started.

Oh, and since I never posted it before, here is the 39-week belly shot:
Right now, I look pretty much the same, except that my belly is a tiny bit lower--considering that I'm short, there's not that much space for the baby between my hips and my ribs, so even though she's dropped, there's not much visual difference. She's pretty much had to grow straight out. It's pretty funny, though, to run errands, because everyone asks when I'm due and is a bit startled when I say "six days ago." My friends have pretty much stopped calling and e-mailing, and my doctor told me he ran into the L&D nurse I know at the hospital, and she asked him if I went to a different hospital to have the baby! Any guesses on when she'll decide to arrive?

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Due Date +4 and Counting

Still here, waiting for the babies! I had a doctor's appointment yesterday--2cm dilated, 60% effaced, and the baby's still floating. People told me that having a cer.v.ix check would be "uncomfortable." But, hey, isn't every exam in that area uncomfortable? Um, yeah. Really uncomfortable, and moreso than usual for that area. I just say this so that maybe others won't be surprised!

I made an appointment for a biophysical profile for Monday, in case the baby hasn't decided to put in an appearance by then. If everything looks OK, the doctor's willing to wait until the end of next week to induce.

So, we're getting closer to "ready." The diapers have finished their last pre-wash, I'm finishing the little "going home" outfit, and the house stuff is getting done. Still no adoption news, though.

And, speaking of news, congratulations to Sew Infertile!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Still No News

Still no news over here. I had contractions semi-regularly for a little while last night. They're still not painful, so I really had to kind of poke my belly to see if the muscles were still tight. I'm thinking if I have to poke myself to check whether I'm having a contraction, I'm really not there yet.

My mom and I went to B.abies R U.s today and bought the last few essential things, along with a shower gift for the baby shower I'm going to tomorrow. After the contractions last night, I also spent some more time on packing the hospital bags. We have one bag for stuff we'll probably use at home, but will also want to take to the hospital, then one for labor & delivery, and one for postpartum. I promise it's not as bad as it sounds! It'll end up as one large briefcase-type bag for labor & delivery and one small duffel bag for postpartum. Plus the camera and laptop, of course. :) I just realized that I forgot to pack underwear, though. I should probably do that. I know, pretty pitiful packing the hospital bag on the due date, isn't it? We also bought the paint for the babies' room today, and I hurt my back when we worked on sanding the second crib yesterday in preparation to stain it. But the rest of the house is actually shaping up! (And we do have the bassinet and one crib ready to go, so even if both babies were to arrive tomorrow, they'd both have a place to sleep!)

I should probably go and get some sleep. We're going to an early (relatively--for us, anyway) mass at the local Irish Festival tomorrow. They actually asked me to sing for the mass, but I didn't think it was a good idea to commit to singing on the day after my due date!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009


I had my doctor's appointment on Tuesday, and found out that--according to his scale anyway (how accurate are the scales in doctor's offices, really?)--I have now gained 40% of my body weight! Oh my goodness. I gained four pounds in the last week--how can that be possible when my stomach is so squished? Probably some of it is water retention. I just didn't think I was really going to continue getting bigger at this point! Mr. X is cracking up because he is a full foot taller than me (though, in my defense, he's very thin), but I now weigh only five pounds less than he does. Fortunately, the doctor doesn't seem worried, and everything looks fine with the baby, thank God! He did do a cervix check--my first one. Definitely not the most comfortable exam I've ever had! He said I was dilated maybe one centimeter, and maybe 20% effaced. The baby is still floating, too. Of course, I know I shouldn't be reading too much--or anything, really--into that, but I'm thinking she's not in too much of a hurry, which is OK by me.

My mom arrived today, which is great--that means she made it in time! Unfortunately, I hurt my back closing the back hatch to the van at the airport today, so I've been pretty much useless since this afternoon. It drives me crazy to sit when there's so much to be done! I'm telling myself that I should appreciate the ability to just sit and be quiet, since I'm sure that will be a very rare opportunity in the near future. I'm so glad my mom is here. And, as a surprise, she brought my christening gown and bonnet and an adorable little white suit so that both babies will have a baptism outfit. I spent some of my sitting time today working on the "going home" outfit I'm making--a little green sundress and hat. I think the dress will be done with about another hour's work. And if it's not done in time to bring the baby home from the hospital, it's not the end of the world.

Anyway, I should get ready for bed. I know I'm overtired, and I'm hoping a good night's sleep will help my back heal quickly!

Monday, July 6, 2009

Last Hurrah (Sort of)

We're into the single digits now! I think my doctor won't strongly push me to induce unless I've gone two weeks past the due date (provided everything looks good), and I really don't want to be induced if I don't have to. So, we could still be in for a couple of weeks' wait here, but we're getting close. My mom's arriving on Wednesday. I just printed our birth plan to put in the bag we're packing for the hospital.

Mr. X and I went out for a real date last night, since it would be our last chance to go out as a couple pre-baby. We actually got dressed up and went to dinner and a movie. On a friend's recommendation, we ended up seeing A.w.ay W.e G.o. We both liked it a lot (though I'll warn you that it is pretty crude in parts), and we had a really fun night. Mr. X took pictures of me once we got home, since I was looking presentable and I have friends who are clamoring for belly pictures. Once I get the pictures downloaded, maybe I'll go nuts and actually post a picture or two.

Today, I was completely wiped out. I'd been going on my little nesting marathon last week and over the weekend, and I don't know if it finally caught up to me or what. I skipped my exercise class tonight and just got some more sleep. But now I should probably get back to the nesting--the house is sooo much better, but we still have a long way to go!

Friday, July 3, 2009

House Progress!

Thank God, we are making progress on the house! Mr. X commented today that we're finally unpacking. (Five years we've been in this house--five years!--and I'm finally getting through the last few untouched boxes). Tonight, we moved a bunch of stuff out of the home office and set up the desk we bought for Mr. X at I.k.ea.

I've been sloooowly dredging through all of our junk. We have very little storage space in our house (tiny closets, no basement or laundry room) and way too much stuff. And because of the continuous remodeling we've been doing for the last five years, we haven't been able to get to all of that stuff. But it's starting to get better. Every room in our house is actually functional right now--all the major projects are done, and none of the rooms are under construction. Right at this moment, we're both sitting at our desks in the office. You have no idea how amazing it is that we actually have a home office where we can both sit and have reasonable work space.

Even though it's been a pain to go through all of the junk, some if it's been kind of nice, too. Tonight, I finished going through the boxes of old pictures, knick-knacks, and the stuff that would be in scrapbooks if I ever had time to put it in scrapbooks. It's been good to think over the good times from the past (and even some of the rough times) as I'm getting ready to move into a new part of my life.

I found a card my grandma wrote me when I was in college, and just seeing her handwriting made me happy. I found a gift I made for my other grandma when I was ten (it was a little plaque, and she wrote my name and the date on the back--my grandpa gave it to me after she died). I found the letters and drawings my baby sister sent me when I was in college, cards my friends sent when I was devastated over a breakup, the piece of scrap paper where I wrote down Mr. X's name and phone number when we first met.

You can see why it's taking me so long--some of this is great stuff, but there's a lot that isn't that special, or, to be more accurate, doesn't have the same meaning for me right now as it did in the past. So, I've parted with about half of it. In a couple of years, I'll probably be ready to let more of it go. But, for now, the things I've kept are the reminders of how blessed I have been. Sometimes I forget. Right now is a good time to be reminded and to appreciate that I have amazing family and friends who have shown their love for me in a thousand small ways over the years.

And if anyone has ideas for where I can store the roasting pan and stock pot that I only use on Thanksgiving and that are too big for the kitchen cabinets, or where on Earth a good place would be to put the 50 pounds of flour and 50 pounds of rice Mr. X brought home from S.a.m's Cl.ub one day, any help is appreciated!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

No news is . . . no news

So, things are just going along here, which is a good thing. No big news on either baby, which is OK. I had a doctor's appointment yesterday, and he estimated that she's now 7 1/4 pounds (but last week, he estimated 6 1/2 pounds, so he said that shows the accuracy of weight estimates!). Mr. X and I were both healthy but relatively small babies (6 1/2 pounds-ish), so we'll see how big this baby will be!

I talked to our adoption agency last week. Their latest estimate is that we will get "the call" in mid-July. Hmm. Did I say that things are about to get interesting?

We're making some good progress around here, though. Today, Mr. X and our very nice neighbor moved a bunch of our old office furniture out of the babies' room, and Mr. X and I just finished setting up the first crib! It's actually starting to look like a babies' room!

The crib took us waaay too long to finish--we stained it, but the grain popped, so we had to sand and re-stain. Then, tonight, we got ready to fasten the first two pieces together, and we were missing a cam hole! So much for I.kea's quality control! Mr. X managed to improvise with his drill bits (which, of course, weren't metric) and drill a hole that woould work, so we now have one standing crib. And, miracle of miracles, the mattress fits!

I've started having (or, probably more accurately, noticing) contractions every now and then, which is pretty wild. A good friend of mine called today to point out that I'm about to go in to the single digits on the due date countdown. I got two big projects for work crossed off the list today--fulfilled all my obligations for the next couple of months. I still have a few more projects to go, but it feels good to have those two squared away.

I posted a ton of stuff on c.raig.slis.t last weekend (no bites on the big items yet, unfortunately), and Mr. X has loaded up the van with junk headed for Goodwill and the used bookstore. I've been trying to check off the items for our hospital packing list (bought nursing bras last week and a nursing top and pads yesterday).

We still have a ton of stuff to do, but I'm starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel, and not a moment too soon!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

More craziness

Argh, has it really been two weeks since I posted? Things are going all right around here. I had my 37-week appointment today. (I'm really 37 1/2 weeks, but who's counting?) Oh my goodness, that means the baby is full term now! Hooray! I had my last progesterone injection (at least until the baby's born) this weekend. The baby is doing great, and the doctor guessed she's about 6 1/2 pounds now, which is good. I've gained 38 pounds by my doctor's records. We'll have to take some pictures--we haven't documented just how huge I am yet!

I'm trying to get the basics in order by Saturday, which will be two weeks to the due date. I'll have plenty to do after that, but at least I'll feel like we'll be OK if I go into labor. So far this week, we've got our birth plan pretty much written, hired a doula (our Bradley instructor, who is great), I bought two nursing bras, we're in the process of washing some cloth diapers (we're planning on prefolds and covers, so we bought two different kinds of prefolds to see which we like better once they're washed), and we've got most of (what seems to me to be) the important stuff. We have the newborn carseat (but not the convertible yet), we have a bassinet, and we're finishing the staining of the cribs. For the rest of the week, I'm going to be working on listing a whole bunch of stuff on craigslist, getting the babies' room ready (can't believe I don't have that done yet--it still needs to be emptied and painted before we can move in the furniture), writing thank-you notes, packing for the hospital (which will include buying some pajamas and a robe, since Mr. X has noted that my robe is now too skimpy to be appropriate for the hospital), washing baby clothes, and figuring out what else we need!

We've been spending a lot more time with friends lately, which has been really nice. I know we won't have much time to spend with friends for a while after the babies arrive (especially since we'll be trying to keep things low-key for our son as he adjusts to us), so it's been fun to do that now. We've got two more parties to go to this weekend, we're going to try to have a barbecue for the friends who wrote our adoption references over the weekend of the 4th, and I'm invited to a friend's baby shower on the 12th (which is due date + 1, so we'll see about that one).

TCIE asked on the last post about the adoption stuff . . . I promise to write more about our process (I am, of course, writing down what's happening so I'll remember and so I can post about it later) once we have our little guy home. I just feel uneasy about posting too much now. But the short version is that, yes, we have been matched with a baby who is almost 11 months old. And I thought he'd be here much sooner than this. But my best guess is that we have at least two more weeks to wait . . . and, yes, we are 2 1/2 weeks from my due date right now. Things are about to get very interesting around here!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Looking back

The other day, I refilled our hand soap containers with the last of a refill bottle I found way back under the sink. When I had my surgeries in Omaha, Mr. X brought lots of disinfecting wipes to make sure the hotel room was clean, and we brought bottles of antibacterial hand soap, too. Usually, we use a different soap, but the refill bottle I found is that same antibacterial hand soap we used in the hotel room. Every time I wash my hands, the scent reminds me of the surgeries and the recovery--which was about 6 weeks for the big laparatomy.

It's interesting to be reminded of that right now, when I'm able to appreciate and be thankful for all that those surgeries did for us. My due date is almost exactly two years after the laparatomy.

When we decided to move ahead with the adoption process last fall, I was really happy about that decision. We knew we wanted to adopt, we found the program that fit, and I felt like we had done all of the "major stuff" in terms of infertility. I had the two surgeries, then went back for the follow-up HSG, and it seemed like anything else would be just tweaking what we'd already been trying. I felt pretty confident that we'd have a biological child someday, but that day might be years in the future, and I was very excited to adopt a child.

When I was single, I was pretty confident that I'd get married someday. But I thought about how wonderful it would be if someone could just tell me when I'd meet my husband. It would take away so much of the suspense and uncertainty. Now, as I'm getting ready to give birth and adopt--both within a matter of weeks--I think about how much easier it would have been to face the surgery two years ago if someone had been able to tell me, "in two years, you'll be getting ready to bring home two children." I wonder what I'll be thinking two years from now, looking back on this time, and what I'll wish I could have known.

Monday, June 8, 2009


. . . that's weeks for the baby and years for me (and look how nice you guys are, guessing I'm younger!). It's just nuts around here. Panic is beginning to set in! We have new furniture in the house, in boxes, with one crib half-finished being stained (we ran out of stain and are waiting for the rest to come in the mail). We have home improvement projects half-finished, and the babies' room is still full of junk. Help! I don't know how we're going to get this stuff sorted out before the babies are here. There isn't one room in the house that's the way it should be. We'll see how it all turns out . . .

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Exotic Vacation to I.KEA

So, here we are on vacation! We made our second trip to I.K.EA today. Oh. My. Goodness. Mr. X commented that it's a good thing we brought such a small van :) Otherwise, we might try to bring home the whole store. So far, we've bought two cribs and two dressers, with one changing-table top thing to put on top of the dresser. We had to go back today, because there was only one crib available yesterday--they had to put more out on the floor for today. Today, we also bought a new desk for me and a drawing table/desk for Mr. X--he's wanted one for years, and I'm so happy we bought it! I have no artistic talent, but he really does, and I'm glad he's got the drawing table. We found a kitchen cart that will work to get our printers (we have three!) off the floor and desks. I think we'll actually have a functional home office when we get home! We bought legs for a table top that we want to put on the back porch (the table top's been in our downstairs for five years. Five. Years.). And then we bought a few random items--a cutting board Mr. X really liked, some glasses (most of our glasses have broken over the last couple of years and we never think to replace them), some little child-proofing latches. It was really funny, because neither of us had ever been to an IK.EA, but Mr. X is always coming up with ideas for designs of different items and will sketch them out and tell me about them--the drawing table and the cutting board we bought (along with several other things we saw in the store) were almost identical to his ideas. The good thing is that we've spent almost exactly what I anticipated, but ended up with a lot more for our money than I thought we'd get!

We may go back again tomorrow.

So, let's see, what else . . . My progesterone dropped again. The nurse from PPVI called while we were on the road and told me to resume the injections. Unfortunately, I left everything at home! My local doctor (have I mentioned how great he is lately?) called in the prescription for me and we actually were able to get the progesterone and syringes locally with little trouble, thank God! Things seem to be going fine with the baby girl. I was having some really bad round ligament pain for a couple of months, but that seems to have pretty much stopped--I guess the ligaments gave up and just stretched already. We've gotten really good news on the adoption in the past week, too. We made it past three more paperwork steps. I'm still keeping track of everything so that I can post about our process once we've got our little guy home . . . which should be soon, I hope! So, all is well on the baby front right now.

The nearest I.KEA to us is in Utah, so we had a looong drive, and we're spending the weekend here just relaxing, which is great. This morning, we went to hear the M.ormon Tab.ernacle Ch.oir. It was pretty cool--they had a military band as the special guest and performed patriotic music, so it was a fun thing to do for Memorial Day. Temple Square was really interesting, too. Afterwards, we went to the cathedral for mass, and found to our delight that they have an amazing choir. The deacon gave a really good homily, and the music was a few older, traditional English hymns, and then Renaissance music for the mass setting and a few motets. When I heard the choir without seeing them (they were singing in the chapel for Lauds as we were coming in for mass), I assumed it was an adult choir, but most were children or teenagers. It was really impressive!

We're going to head out for dinner in a little while, and we're going to spend some more time tomorrow in the U.inta (we did a bit of exploring yesterday) when the weather is nicer (I forgot an umbrella when we were packing and got completely soaked walking to mass). Yesterday was actually my birthday--yay! Any guesses how old I am now? :)

Sunday, May 10, 2009


I was talking to a friend the other day about Mother's Day, and we agreed that people who say that "once you are a mom, all the pain of infertility goes away" are just wrong. It isn't that you aren't happy, but you still remember it all. So, I did have a lovely Mother's Day today--Mr. X gave me tulips and a card yesterday (I saved the card till today), and I got a card in the mail from my parents. Lots of people wished me a happy Mother's Day at church, which was really sweet, and I stood up for the blessing at the end. I did remember vividly how I felt last year, and I prayed for all my friends (blogging friend and other friends) who are waiting.

The weirdest thing happened today, though. After singing for mass at my own parish, we went across town to another parish for a family friend's first Communion. And we heard the worst homily I've heard in years. Seriously. It was so bad, Mr. X finally got up and left for a few minutes. The priest was talking about the importance of community, and he talked about how we need to have dialogue in order to grow in our faith. He talked about how we are the church. He said that to blindly accept something the church (meaning the Magisterium) teaches even if you don't really believe it lacks all integrity, but to say "what I believe must be right and the church must be wrong" lacks all humility. Then he gestured to the white wall behind him and asked if he told us that the Magisterium had just infallibly stated that the wall is red whether we would believe it. What??? He said that, if the Magisterium tells us the wall is red, but everything in our experience of life tells us the wall is white, and that's what our community believes, then, since our community is the church, the wall is really white. Huh??? (This is the point when Mr. X couldn't take it any more.)

He never gave a concrete example, just talked once about "proposition A" versus "proposition B" and then spent the rest of the time on the whole white-wall-is-red thing. It was a total straw man fallacy--I mean, how often is the church going to give us a teaching on faith and morals that is demonstrably, objectively false? Though Mr. X pointed out that it's particularly insidious to be giving this kind of homily at a first Communion, where the children's senses tell them that the Eucharist is bread and wine, but the church tells them it's the body and blood of Christ! I'm not up on these things, but is it actually heresy to tell the congregation that we can reject an infallible teaching of the church if we come to a conclusion as a group, based on our experience, that it's wrong?

Just had to get that off my chest. For the most part, it's been a really nice weekend!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Well, so much for that resolution!

Still working on the de-stressing thing . . . not working out quite as well as I'd hoped!

Things are going along well, though. Our adoption paperwork is hung up in process right now, so I'm working on my patience! I'm already almost 31 weeks, too, which is kind of surreal. Every once in a while I have an "oh my goodness, this is really happening" moment. The doctor was able to tell that the baby is head-down at my appointment this week (hooray!), and last night at choir practice, she seemed to have decided her foot really needed to be lodged under my ribs, which makes singing quite interesting. My progesterone has been high for two tests in a row, so no injections!!

I really, really need to start working on the babies' room, though. It's still full of junk. Our kitchen and bathroom are fully functional, so I think it's time to move on to the baby prep. We've picked out furniture--finally settled on I.KE.A for cribs and dressers. Unfortunately, we live more than 8 hours from the nearest store, and shipping is outrageous! So, after wavering for ages about our last pre-baby vacation as a couple . . . we're going to drive to I.K.EA in our new minivan! Aren't we the most exciting people ever? Just so you know, our original plan (ages ago) was a month in Italy. With the uncertainty of the adoption timing, we scrapped that idea and opted for a cruise instead. I was just getting ready to click "buy now" for the cruise tickets when I read the fine print that no woman more than 24 weeks pregnant is allowed on a cruise ship (really glad I read that before clicking "buy now"). Then we were going to have a Florida Keys snorkeling trip, but booking the plane tickets using miles was getting a little crazy. So. We had much more thrilling plans originally, but I.K.EA it is!

OK, there are other attractions to the trip, we're not just going to I.K.E.A. We're looking forward to having a little road trip and relaxation. I think I'll turn off my cell phone, too. Or at least program special rings for people I'm willing to pick up for. The only hitch in the plan so far is that I called customer service at IK.EA today, and they will not hold merchandise or let you order to the store. I guess we just have to hope our cribs and dressers are in stock!

So, that is the latest update, and in the interest of reducing stress, here is something that made me laugh out loud today.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

No More Stress

Things have been a little crazy these last few weeks. I was letting a lot of things get to me--waiting for adoption paperwork and worrying about whether anything had gone wrong, buying a car in a way more complicated way than I ever imagined, and lots of stress at work. I think I may have to cry "uncle" because my go.ogle re.ader now has more than 100 unread posts, and I don't think I'll be able to catch up. But I decided that the stress has got to go! I hit the third trimester on Saturday, which is so hard to believe. The previous night, we were driving around in terrible weather, and I was feeling a bit sick to my stomach. When we came back home, I had the tiniest bit of spotting. I called my doctor and got into bed and then started berating myself for letting things get to me, for not eating right (we're almost finished with our kitchen remodeling, but our kitchen hasn't been functional for the last two weeks), and for falling down on my exercise program. The doctor called me back and said that if the discomfort and the spotting stopped, then it was probably nothing to worry about. Thank God, they went away and have stayed away so far.

So. No more stress. I'm not saying that spotting and stress are connected--I have no idea. But it made me realize that I have to start putting things in perspective. I'm doing better at handling the tough things. Last night, I was exhausted after a really rough day. We did our relaxation practice that we're supposed to do for the Bradley training, and I wasn't able to focus my mind on it. But Mr. X checked my shoulders, which are usually like iron bars if I'm stressed, and they were actually relaxed. I made it through a really tough day today, remaining much calmer than I usually would. That's my new project: remaining calm and relaxed. I'll let you know how that works out . . .

Sunday, March 29, 2009

5:30am = Bad time for phone to ring

I just finished some work for a deadline tomorrow! Yay!

That reminded me . . . last week, I was happy when my employer used the emergency notification system (on which I have registered our home phone, my cell, and Mr. X's cell) to let us know that we were closed for the day due to weather conditions. All of our phones rang simultaneously at 6am. But that seemed appropriate.

The next day, all of our phones rang, in sequence, beginning at 5:30am. The recording said that the weather was fine (which I knew) and that we would be open for the day (which I would assume unless I got a call saying otherwise). The result was that I stumbled sleepily around the house, turning off phones and muttering nasty things.

I'm hoping for no phone calls before 8am tomorrow!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Good progesterone news!

Thanks for checking on me, TCIE! I'll post more later this week, but I thought I'd do a quick update now. Today, the weather is so hideous that we're holed up inside (it took Mr. X 2 1/2 hours to drive 15 miles home from work!) and I'm in a great mood! I've been feeling really overwhelmed between adoption training, childbirth classes (we're taking the Bradley method course), work deadlines, finding a new car, refinancing our house, remodeling the bathroom and kitchen, and general getting ready to be parents (trying to eat well and exercise, read up on parenting, shovel out the office-turned-babies' room, and figure out what stuff we have to buy!). The weather may be nasty today, but it gave me a reason to cancel everything and stay home to catch up on things.

So, I heard from PPVI this afternoon, and my 24-week progesterone level is in Zone 3! Woohoo! I get to stop the progesterone injections (at least until my 26-week progesterone test--depending on that level, I may have to start again). If it's good for the baby, I'm happy to have the injections right up to birth, but it's nice to see a good high level and know that I can skip a couple of needles!

Speaking of which, I have to get back to work, but I finally scanned in the latest ultrasound pictures, so I'll leave you with a picture of our little girl! She's on her side, facing the camera with her head on the right. This is a pretty good shot of her face, and she looks like she's smiling!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

It's a . . .


It was really kind of funny, because Mr. X and I both have thought the baby was a girl all along. Of course, we had a 50/50 chance of being right, but our reaction was more of a "oh, yeah, that's what we thought" than a big surprise. Still very cool, though. The ultrasound was funny, because the ultrasound doctor (my regular doctor doesn't have an ultrasound, so I have to go to another doctor) was held up (had to assist on a delivery in which the baby came out and the IUD didn't--yikes!). So, the PA and a med student came in and said they wanted to play with the machine before the doctor came. It was a riot. So, we had lots of time on the ultrasound, and Mr. X (who is really good at visual stuff) was able to identify the baby's sex before they were. Then, the doctor came and confirmed that everything was OK. It was amazing to see the baby's heart (we could even see the valves working) and her little hands opening and closing into fists. She was moving all over the place, too! Unfortunately, the pictures we ended up with are mostly of the "alien baby" variety. I haven't scanned them in yet, but I need to in order to post them here and send them to family.

Last week was insane between a ludicrous deadline I had for work (deadline was online submission by Friday, and I finished on Friday night . . . at midnight) and my parents coming to visit (which was great fun). My parents helped us out a ton with things around the house. My dad put in lots of baseboard and helped Mr. X install some new cabinets in the kitchen, and my mom and I ran errands all over town to do returns and donations from all the junk we have piled up in the babies' room.

I had kind of a scary day today. I was on my way to a doctor's appointment, and I had probably the worst car accident I've ever had. I was driving on a four-lane highway with a full lane in the middle for turns. I was in the left lane and the man in front of me in the right lane decided to make a (not so legal) U-turn. He pulled right across my lane and then just stopped. I honked my horn, and he moved a little bit, but then stopped again with his car across my lane. I tried to slow down and go around him, but by that point, I couldn't. I just caught the side of his car near his rear bumper with the driver's side corner of my front bumper. My airbags deployed, tearing off the passenger side visor and shattering the windshield. It scared me to death! I called 911, and he pulled into the middle turn lane. I waited till I could judge the traffic and then pulled over onto the shoulder. Since I wasn't in pain, the fire fighters who arrived just told me to go ahead to my doctor's appointment. By the time I got to the doctor's office, I had been feeling the baby move, and I still wasn't having any pain, but I still couldn't relax until the doctor checked her heartbeat. It was fine, and he said that I should just go home, take it easy, and call him if I had any bleeding, pain, or contractions. Evidently the main concern with an accident is placental abruption (the placental separates from the uterus, and the baby isn't getting enough oxygen or anything else, for that matter), and if that happens at 22 weeks, there's not much they can do. He described the uterine muscles hardening during a contraction, and I did panic a while later when I felt a little twinge and the muscles seemed hard, but only on the right side, where I'd been feeling the baby move. So, I called, and he said that it's common at this point for the baby to hang out on one side, with the result that the uterus feels squishy on the side with the fluid and harder on the baby's side. It looks like everything is OK, thank God!

The man in the other car seems to think this was my fault! From what I've been able to figure out, it sounds like he thought he was in the middle turn lane, not a traffic lane. But, given that he pulled his car into the middle turn lane after the accident, it doesn't make a whole lot of sense for him to stick to his story. As we were exchanging information, he said, "Now, remember, this was your fault!" Ha! We have to go down and make police reports because the police in that town don't come out for accidents. Should be interesting. He told my insurance company his version of the story, so it sounds like we may have a battle between insurance companies on our hands! Not fun. My car is totaled. And Mr. X's car is a stick, which I can barely drive (I practiced tonight, but I get very nervous, and I have a really hard time starting again after I stop). We reworked our finances to cover our adoption expenses, and a new car is really not in the budget right now. We'll probably get between $3000 and $4000 for my car. It's a bummer, because the car was 11 years old and nothing fancy, but it was very reliable and had several good years left. At this point, I'm just very grateful that we seem to have come through without injury. At this point, I think I'm going to take a bath and relax a bit and then get some sleep.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Maybe Kick-boxing (Sport of the Future)

I'd been starting to wonder a bit if it was normal that I wasn't feeling the baby move. I had had a couple of moments over the last few weeks (and really just a couple) when I thought maybe I was feeling movement. But when it happens once and then not again for a week, it's really hard to say!

Yesterday, I was working at my computer and, in the back of my mind, I noticed a muscle twitch near my belly button. Then it occurred to me that maybe that wasn't a muscle twitch after all! I looked down, just in time to see a little tiny bit of my sweater jump! Now that I can identify that feeling, that baby's really going to town in there! Mr. X is still on his business trip, so I called and told him, and we're trying to figure out what this baby's up to. He, of course, believes we have a future soccer player on our hands, but I think we may have a swimmer practicing flip turns.

Just a few more days till the ultrasound! Once we know the sex of this baby, I think we'll need to really get serious about names. We've tossed a few around, and we generally have the same sort of taste in names (generally good, solid names with family connections). Mr. X has a lot of great suggestions, and some I'm . . . not as crazy about (Melchizedek? Really?), but I have plenty that he's not crazy about (but, of course, all of my suggestions are lovely and completely reasonable :-> ). We're both fairly convinced that the in-utero baby is a girl. I'm not entirely sure why, but it was confirmed by an expert last week--the saleslady at T.J.M.a.x.x.

So, before I left for my business trip, we made an emergency shopping trip to said store, because I read in Baby Bargains that they're a good choice for maternity clothes. I had exactly one hour to shop, and, never having shopped for maternity clothes before, I never realized that our local T.J.M.a.x.x doesn't have a maternity section. Great. I asked the lady behind the jewelry counter, and she said, no, they didn't carry maternity clothes, but I should be able to find something that works. So. Mr. X and I started looking and found some dresses and tops in styles that might conceivably work. I tried on a cute red knit dress. It fit really well, had an empire waist, and was gathered in the front, so it would have worked . . . except for the plunging neckline that made it totally inappropriate for work or church, the two main places I might need to wear a dress.

I came out of the dressing room to show him anyway (hey, at least my husband can appreciate the low neckline, right?), and ended up standing right in front of the jewelry counter. The same lady was standing there and said she liked the dress. Then, she said "So, you're having a girl." I said "Really." She turned to Mr. X and said, "Oh, yes, because she has a derriere! Look! See how it sticks out?" Uh-huh. OK . . . so, we talked about the dress a little more, and whether we could do anything about the neckline to make it more appropriate. The lady said, "Turn around!" And, silly me, thinking she wanted to see the back of the dress, I did. She pointed. "There! See? See her derriere?" Oh my goodness, lady, this is not how to sell clothes! Don't point at a woman's behind in the middle of T.J.M.a.x.x!

We did not buy the dress, but, just as panic was setting in, Mr. X found me two very nice tops in the blouse section, and I had something decent to wear on my business trip.

(By the way, I haven't been writing about adoption stuff really at all. It's not because I'm not excited about it or because it's not going well. Actually, things are going quite well, but I'm so nervous that it won't work out! I'm writing everything down both so that I can post it here later and so that I can share it with our baby once he's old enough to hear about it, but I just can't bring myself to write about it publicly right now because it feels too risky. So, I decided that, for the time being, I'll write about what's going on with our other baby and anything else I feel the urge to write about! Any further public discussions with strangers regarding my rear end will probably be on that list.)

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

One more week . . .

Well, after all that, the ultrasound was cancelled! And Mr. X is on a business trip this week, so we have rescheduled for next week. The day of the appointment was very odd. We had appointments all afternoon, and Mr. X's car broke down! So we had to reschedule the first appointment (which was about the adoption) while I ran to get the parts he needed and then bring them to him, then he made it to the second appointment while I ran a couple of errands, and then we were on our way to meet at the ultrasound when the doctor's office called to cancel (he had to perform an emergency C-section). It was just really weird. So, the upshot of it all is that we have one more week till the ultrasound!

I'm feeling a little lonesome with Mr. X gone. I usually do miss him, but today's just been a particularly off day. It seems like everyone's annoyed with me, and I missed Mr. X's goodnight call because I was at choir practice (a day early because of Ash Wednesday) and had my phone turned off. I'm going to do a couple of things around the house, eat some more vegetables (I promised I would eat my vegetables while he's gone--the major aversion to vegetables I had during the first trimester is pretty much gone, but it's left me a bit reluctant), do a short exercise video, and go to sleep. Hmm. Well, if I can do all of those in a reasonable amount of time.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Should we or shouldn't we?

My 20-week ultrasound is next week--hard to believe we're almost halfway there! I've always thought that I wouldn't want to know the sex of the baby before birth. But now I'm wavering. Mr. X has always leaned toward finding out at the ultrasound. I talked to a friend who said that he didn't understand people who say they want to be surprised (this is just after I told him I wanted to be surprised). "Isn't it a surprise whenever you find out? What you're really saying is that you want a surprise that's inconvenient."

And now that it's looking more and more like we'll be having two (and we know that we're adopting a boy--our agency required us to choose), I'm thinking that there are some advantages to knowing in advance.

What do you think?

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Great article

Things are going well around here. I had a good doctor's appointment yesterday--the baby has a strong heartbeat, my weight gain is on target, and everything's looking good! We are waiting for one last piece of paper before we'll be able to accept a referral for the adoption, too. I haven't been posting about personal stuff lately for two reasons--I've been crazy busy with adoption stuff and opera rehearsals, and I'll be on pins and needles until everything's set for the adoption.

So, in the meantime, here's a great article on Archbishop Chaput's talk to the Irish chapter of Human Life International about the dos and don'ts of the prolife movement.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Sick, Sick, Sick

OK, I don't normally rant about or post graphic news items on this blog, but I just have to this time. If you don't want to read graphic information about infanticide, don't read further!

I just read this article, which describes an instance in which a baby was born alive at an abortion clinic (as verified by autopsy) and then killed. It sounds like the mother was given drugs to induce labor, but the doctor didn't arrive in time (more than two hours after he was paged) to perform the abortion, and the woman delivered her baby alive at 23 weeks. Two accounts of the baby's death differ. It appears that the clinic employee cut the umbilical cord, but did not clamp it, so that the baby bled out and died. What isn't clear from the two reports is whether the baby died before or after the employee put the baby in a plastic bag and left her in a trash can.

Kind of underlines the significance of the controversy about the president and the Born Alive Infants Protection Act, doesn't it?

What amazes me further about this article are the following comments:

"The case has riled the anti-abortion community, which contends the clinic's actions constitute murder."

Really? Is it really a contention when a person is living and breathing and another person causes her to bleed and/or suffocate to death?

And, after stating that the Department of Health determined in an autopsy that the baby was born alive, the article quotes a lawyer saying that prosecuting this case as murder would necessitate proving that the baby was born alive. As though that point is at issue.

Wouldn't you think most people could agree that infanticide is wrong?

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Still here

Just thought I'd post and say I'm still here! It's been busy--trying to get the adoption paperwork done in record time, keep up with work, finish the home renovations, rehearse for the opera, and get some serious exercise (I figure I need to be in good shape to be able to carry two babies, let alone deliver one!). But things are good!

Monday, January 19, 2009

A Tentative Decision

I left our social worker a message today to say we'd like to continue the adoption process now. Thank you so much for your prayers and support! We're still seeking advice and praying about it, but we're leaning toward adopting now. So, we decided we should work on getting our paperwork in order and see where things go from here!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Fish oil again

I just have to say that Sew Infertile and Finding Joy in Every Journey were so right about the N.ord.ic Nat.ur.als! After being a big slacker with my fish oil, I went and bought some yesterday. I got the kind that's mostly DHA (since that's what pregnant women need most, according to what I've read), and all I taste is strawberry! Yay! Also, the recommendations I found were for about half the dosage recommended on the bottle, so this one bottle will last me three months.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Thank you!

Thank you so much for the advice and support! I really appreciate it. We're giving it a lot of thought, we've got some good contacts with people who've been through the same situation so that we can find out what their experience has been like. And, of course, we're doing a lot of praying about it.

In the meantime, I had a doctor's appointment on Tuesday, and things are still looking good. I've gained about seven pounds, but I still fit into my looser clothes. My dress clothes are finished, though. I had to go with the b.e.l.l.a band-type-thing to hold up my dress pants for church last Sunday. We'll have to start taking belly pictures, too. The most exciting thing about the appointment was that the doctor was able to hear the baby's heartbeat immediately, and it was 155 (normal at this point is 120-160)!

The other exciting thing is that we got the rest of the stuff we need to finish our bathroom! The end of the renovations is in sight! Mr. X brought home the vanity, vanity top, faucet, mirror, cabinet, lights, and fan while I was at opera rehearsal (we went shopping together and then realized in the time warp of H.o.m.e D.e.p.o.t that I had 20 minutes till rehearsal started, and I needed to drive there, park, and get food).

But, wow, it's late. I'm going to sleep! I will keep you posted on our decision--we don't want to be hasty, and we want to make sure we're following God's will and going into whatever decision we make with our eyes open. The advice and prayers are much appreciated!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Major Dilemma--Advice, Please!

Oh my goodness. We have a major dilemma on our hands! And I feel a bit odd posting about this, because we are really experiencing an embarrassment of riches. But I would love to have some advice, especially if you know anyone who has been in our situation!

We began the adoption process, and I don't want to post too many specifics, but it's an international program, and so there is some predictability to the process. My understanding was that, if we conceived, we would have to wait at least a year after the baby is born to complete an adoption. However, some of the information I had heard was contradictory, and we wanted to get everything completely figured out, so Mr. X and I went in to the agency for a meeting.

It turns out that, in the brief four months since we began the process, things have moved very fast. And, since we do not yet have a baby (in utero doesn't count) living in our house, we could complete an adoption in very close proximity to the birth of our biological child. Wow. The timing of the adoption isn't a sure thing, but somewhere between May and August. My due date is July 11.

The thing is, this program has strict parental age requirements. If we don't adopt now, we will pretty much have one shot after the baby's born. We would have to wait until the baby is almost two years old to bring home a child through adoption, and at that point, we'd be at the very end of the age limit. If we end up having another biological child within 18 months after the baby we're expecting now, we would not be able to adopt through this program.

So. Thus the embarrassment of riches. After 3 1/2 years of infertility and miscarriage, we may have an opportunity to adopt a baby (1 year or younger) and give birth to a baby at practically the same time. I'm very torn. I know that there are lots of practical reasons to postpone the adoption (make sure each child gets lots of attention, adjust to parenthood with one child before having a second child, the unknown about what each of these children will need--though we'll have good medical info through the adoption program, we don't know if our biological child might have some special needs). But I know people have brought two children home at the same (or close to the same) time before. And I kind of feel like we'd be saying no to a child (I know that's way oversimplifying, but you know how emotions are) if we postpone the adoption.

Anyone have advice? If you know anyone who's been in our situation, would you please ask them for their insights (or pass on my blog or e-mail)?

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Is it just me?

Thanks so much for the advice and prayers--you guys are great!

I ended up procrastinating too much, and in order to get in my 2-mile walk with the dog before it was too late at night (I don't like walking late at night when Mr. X is out of town) and eat something before my 8:30 deadline for my thyroid medication, I decided to just run out and get a sandwich on my way to the grocery store. I tried to call R.ed to order the bruschetta chicken burger (yum) to go. Their phone system didn't work terribly well--if I pressed the button to place a to go order, my call would get dropped. While I was waiting, I looked at the menu online and saw that the bruschetta chicken burger (which I haven't had in more than a year) costs $10.50. Are you kidding me?

As I was driving to the store, I remembered the Ma.rk.e.t on the way. Perfect! Reasonably healthy chicken sandwich, right? It was almost closing time, and the store was pretty empty. As I walked up to the counter, the poor girl standing behind the open food case with all the side dishes started hacking. And she didn't even bother to cover her mouth, so she was coughing pretty much on the food. OK . . . she proceeded to walk all over the kitchen, coughing on everything, then came up to the counter and asked to take my order. Um . . . some typhoid to go, please? I quickly glanced around . . . none of the plague-infected side dishes . . . maybe something packaged? . . . no, only coleslaw and cranberry sauce in the cooler . . . so, I settled on just the sandwich, since they'd have to make that in the back. But they were out of white meat. I took that as my excuse and got the heck out of there. I got a grilled chicken sandwich (OK, OK, with fries) at W.endy's.

Is it just me? Is basic hygiene too much to ask? The worst case I personally experienced recently was at an a couple of years ago. I went in and placed my order. The guy who had been coughing (into the corner at least, not directly on the food) proceeded to lick his fingers in order to get a better grip on the gloves, which he then put on. Nothing gets my appetite going like saliva on the plastic gloves. Then he proceeded to make my sandwich, pausing halfway through to rub his eye with his fingers! And when he went back to making the sandwich, there was gunk from his eye left behind on his cheek! Then I looked at his name tag and realized that he was the shift manager. I was so stunned I actually paid for the food and left, but I couldn't bring myself to eat that sandwich.

Trying not to Freak Out

I had to go in to the doctor's office today--Mr. X is out of town and I needed a progesterone injection. While I was there, I found out that my progesterone level drawn last week was 30. Two weeks earlier, it had been 37.2. At 12 weeks, 30 is considered to be "high zone 2" on the PPVI charts, so it's below average, but not way below average. The injection protocol stays the same, so that's OK. I'm just a little concerned that it dropped. I'm telling myself that it's still an OK number, we saw a great ultrasound the day after the blood draw, and that maybe all the supplementation might cause more fluctuation in the levels than usual. Anyway, if any of you know anything about this, please let me know! I'm going to disconnect myself from Dr. G.o.o.g.l.e now to save my sanity and so that I can walk the dog and use my grocery coupons while the sales are still on!

Sunday, January 4, 2009

To Do List Analysis

We're back from dinner, so here is my report on my time-and-motion study (OK, not really a time-and-motion study, but here it is anyway).

Of the items on my list, here are the things I finished:
  • Go to 7-11 and buy a Sunday paper. Except that the 7-11 had no papers left, so I had to go to the grocery store. Took about 25 minutes--thought it would take about 10 minutes.
  • Clip coupons (read Sew Infertile's post about the Grocery Game, got all excited about it, and signed up). Done! Took about an hour to do this (thought it would take about 20 minutes) while talking on the phone. Also set up envelopes to organize the coupons, since I don't have a coupon holder yet.
These are the things I got partially done:
  • Call two of my best friends to announce pregnancy. Called one of my friends, and talked for about an hour while doing other tasks. Yay!
  • Keep laundry going (to make sure Mr. X has the clothes he needs for tomorrow's business trip--boo for business trips, but yay for working in this economy). Hung up delicates to dry and dried other clothes in dryer. Washed spots that didn't come out in the washer out of placemats. Spread out dry shirts so they wouldn't wrinkle too badly, but didn't finish folding. Took about 20 minutes--thought it would take about 5 minutes.
These are the things that I didn't even come close to starting:
  • Make 1 1/2 batches of cookie dough to start cookies for neighbors we've been meaning to bake all weekend and bake at least the first 2 dozen cookies (can only bake 2 dozen at a time--total to be baked is 6 dozen)
  • Organize address list and pull out Christmas cards (yes, you read that right, and Christmas isn't officially over yet) so we can work on them when we get home
  • Spend 15 minutes filing paperwork (new habit we're trying to establish)
  • I also bought yarn and a baby crochet book yesterday (soooo excited to be making something for my own baby, which I couldn't bring myself to do before this). Maybe I can start that blanket?
Must work on more realistic estimates of what I can accomplish in the allotted time, as well as prioritizing (it would have been really nice to at least make the cookie dough, which can be refrigerated, and I did have to buy the paper tonight, but I could have clipped the coupons tomorrow). But we did have a nice dinner with friends we haven't seen in about two months, so the evening ended well!

Time Management Issues? Maybe?

Hmm. So, do you think I need to revisit my time management issues? My problem is that I always think I can pack more into the time I have and that I can do some things really fast if I have to. And I've been doing this for . . . well, at least 20 years now. It makes me late, too.

Here's a case in point. I sang at mass this morning, and Mr. X is on his way to mass at the cathedral tonight. I'm going to head up there to join him if our friends decide to go out afterward. Here's what I have planned for the 2 hours until he calls me at the end of mass:
  • Go to 7-11 and buy a Sunday paper.
  • Clip coupons (read Sew Infertile's post about the Grocery Game, got all excited about it, and signed up)
  • Call two of my best friends to announce pregnancy
  • Make 1 1/2 batches of cookie dough to start cookies for neighbors we've been meaning to bake all weekend and bake at least the first 2 dozen cookies (can only bake 2 dozen at a time--total to be baked is 6 dozen)
  • Organize address list and pull out Christmas cards (yes, you read that right, and Christmas isn't officially over yet) so we can work on them when we get home
  • Spend 15 minutes filing paperwork (new habit we're trying to establish)
  • Keep laundry going (to make sure Mr. X has the clothes he needs for tomorrow's business trip--boo for business trips, but yay for working in this economy)
  • I also bought yarn and a baby crochet book yesterday (soooo excited to be making something for my own baby, which I couldn't bring myself to do before this). Maybe I can start that blanket?
I'm officially crazy, right? I'll post later with what I've actually accomplished so that maybe I'll learn something from this. In the meantime, he's been gone for 20 minutes, so make that an hour and 40 minutes--here I go to 7-11!

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