The Newborn Chronicles: 7w2d

The Dumpling is seven weeks old! And a couple of days! Holy smokes. He has his two month appointment next week (at 8 weeks on the dot). He’ll get several vaccines and we’ll get a chance to check on his weight gain and growth. Woo!

I’m also looking forward to next week (and dreading at the same time) because my mom is coming into town to watch the dumpling as Luffy and I go to my office’s Christmas party. I’m excited to get out and be around adults again, and I am also already a bunch of nerves over leaving the dumpling and pumping and making sure he has enough milk and what if my mom can’t get him to sleep and what if he misses me and wants to nurse and I’m not there – WHAT IF I ASK YOU???? Good thing we’re leaving him with my mom for our first outing. I can’t even imagine leaving him with a babysitter.

In other news, over the weekend we had some friends over. They had their first child in June and we got to commiserate with them over the challenges of early parenthood that no one tells you about. No one discusses how hard it is and how you might not really like the newborn days and how it doesn’t really get easier by the fabled three-month mark (I mean, it might for some, but tell that to my friend who has spent the last few weeks camped out on her son’s floor because he’s going through a growth spurt/sleep regression that won’t quit). We chatted about waking up at night and nursing and sleep and just doing what you need to do to get by. It was quite refreshing.

In non-dumpling related news – I am proud to say that I’ve got my Christmas shopping done! And here I thought everyone would get gift card this year. Go me! Now if only I could find time or the motivation to get the Christmas tree up, then I’d really give myself a gold star.

Last bit of news – time to document some firsts:
– We got our first social smile a couple of weeks ago. I think he’s really starting to recognize us and will give us more smiles each day.
– We moved up a diaper size! He’s no longer in newborns and is in (comically large) size 1’s. We had to do it though, the newborns were just way too tiny to fit up over his legs. He’s very long.
– I went back to my exercise class this past Saturday! It felt so good to work out and be back at the center.
– The dumpling is staying awake for longer stretches. He can now be awake for almost an hour and a half! He’s also really starting to notice things around him (for better or worse when it’s 2am and he just wants to stare at the shadows on the ceiling)

Now I have to cut this a bit short because the dumpling just woke up!


32 weeks and counting

32 weeks…. thirty-two weeks down…. eight weeks left…

[insert minor freak out]

Time seems to be speeding up a bit. Not in a way that helps all of the aches and pains that go along with being very pregnant, but in a I-swear-it-was-just-June way. I mean it’s September. SEPTEMBER PEOPLE. How?

Things I can now do:
1. Answer “two months” when people ask how long I have left.
2. Answer “next month” when people ask when Little Dumpling’s due.

Things I can no longer do:
1. Put on shoes without considerable effort and bending and grunting.
2. Make it to a reasonable hour before succumbing to exhaustion from a day’s worth grueling tasks such as walking or standing or sitting.

So! 32 weeks and counting, let’s get a little pregnancy update!

Baby Showers
I’ve now had two baby showers: one thrown by my group fitness ladies and another thrown by my family. They were lovely and we’ve started accumulating quite an adorable collection of baby clothes.

I went to the family and family friends shower in my hometown over the weekend. Probably the best part was getting to see my granddad (the same one who lost his wife last year). I know this has to be hard on him, as I imagine he wishes my grandma could be around for this pregnancy and to meet her great-grandson. My mom tells me that he asks about me and Little Dumpling every time he talks to her and that he was so excited for the shower, he loaded his present into his van six full days before he made the trip. It was wonderful getting to see him and catch up. His present quite literally brought tears to my eyes. (It was a stuffed bear that holds a tiny blanket between his paws and uses it to play peekaboo when you press his paw. Seriously! Peekaboo! So precious!)

It was nice to see all the family friends as well and my good friend Liz even made it into town! My mom and a family friend hosted, which was awesome because it ensured that some of my favorite foods were included. My mom even had the great idea to take a recipe that called for mason jar presentation and put it into reusable baby food containers (which I’ll get). Of course, it’s wonderful to get the presents, but I mainly enjoy getting to celebrate Little Dumpling and his imminent arrival. It’s amazing to see just how many people are excited for us.

The Nursery
While I wouldn’t say my nesting drive has kicked into overdrive, I’ve definitely stepped up my preparation. Our crib and changing table are ready to go. I’ve framed some watercolor prints I bought (of course I had them for a month or so before I finally got around to framing them). I haven’t hung them, but that’s mainly because the darn frames require two nails to hang, rather than one, so I need to go to Target for more hooks first. I’ve also started organizing and washing the hand-me-down clothes we’ve received. I purchased a bin for the larger sizes so I could fold those up and put them away. I’ve hung up all the smaller sizes. The changing table drawers (which double for our dresser) are filled with PJ’s and basic onesies and drool bibs (all washed and ready). I’ve prepped our cloth diapers and have plans to organize the drawers (I’m thinking for the tiny stuff like socks I’ll just have mini bins and I might also get some dividers to separate the sizes of larger stuff…. still brainstorming this one).  Every time I walk in there, I complete some task and bring us one step closer to being ready.

My Body
I’ve reached that point in my pregnancy where literally just existing is exhausting. I am worn out at the end of each day, even if I’ve just spent the day sitting on the couch. My abdominal muscles are tight because they’re so stretched. If I stand for more than a minute, my feet start to hurt. If I sit in one position too long, my body protests. I am always hungry. My stomach is cramped. My lungs are actually getting a touch cramped now as well. (Although, I really think that I’ve been blessed in this area because (a) he’s been so low and (b) I think my abs have been holding him fairly contained for a while. A lot of women started complaining about being out of breath or feeling kicks in the ribs starting around week 24 or so and I’ve really just now started feeling this way.)

So yeah, not really a walk in the park over here, not that I ever expected it to be. I must say though, I do love the belly and the kicks and movement. Right now, I can feel him rolling around in there. At the airport Friday night, I was rubbing my belly because he was awake. I had my hand over on my left side, just under my rib cage, and I swear I felt his little foot! I was sitting there completely confused because WTH is that thing??? Is that my rib?? Hmmm… as I circled my fingers around this little protrusion. Then it disappeared back into me and it hit me that it must have been his foot! How crazy! I do wish Luffy could feel more of his movement, but Little Dumpling seems to be the most active whenever we’re apart (like right now at work, for instance, he’s moving up a storm or, at night, he’ll give me a few hard kicks and then instantly go back to sleep before Luffy has a chance to feel).

That’s about it for now. I know I’ll blink and he’ll be here, so it seems trite to say, but I’ll say it anyway: I’m so excited to meet this little guy and I can’t wait until he gets here!

Hold Please

Work. Woooooork. My apologies for being incommunicado this week but work things y’all. In technical speak, they went kablooey. Only time for quick updates:

  • Jas has, for the past two nights, woken us up around 4 in the morning with incessant, loud meowing. I think maybe something’s scaring her?  I walked around with her this morning, kissing her little head and rubbing her back, trying to find something that looked out of place or unusual. Couldn’t find anything (to be fair, I also didn’t look that hard at four in the morning). Luffy, on the other hand, just thinks she’s hungry and announcing her woes.
  • We got the crib mattress in! I got it unwrapped and into the crib yesterday afternoon. Then I put Jas in it – you know, to visualize a small infant in there. And to see what she’d do. It’s the small things really.
  • We’re going out of town this weekend for a friend’s birthday party. There will be lots of booze and food and festivities and I will …. try not to scare the children in a bikini. And also try to stay up past the hour of 10pm.
  • So after I got all uppity last week about the weather – we’ve had a cool front here and it’s been absolutely wonderful. Humidity is still high (as evidenced by my hair which is a giant wave of frizz right now), but I’ll take mid-80’s and humid over 100’s and humid any day.
  • Little Dumpling’s good! He’s kicking away in there and I think he got his first case of the hiccups last night!

Aaaaaand that’s all I’ve got folks. Back to the trenches.

Furbaby Situation: An Update Part II

Well I finally have some good news to share on the furbaby situation: Jas seems to be responding very well to her heart medication (an ACE inhibitor, for anyone curious).

She’s been on it for almost two weeks now and has made several improvements. Her appetite has returned and, although she’s still not up to eating her meal in one sitting (like she used to), she does at least finish all of her food and seems eager for her next meal. She finished all of her salmon last night. She’s playing with her toys again, climbing into the tub again. She’s also sleeping with us, or at least visiting us at night, again. She’s vocal and perky and her eyes are bright (with some new gray furs in her face, I might add). She greets me when I come home and has resumed curling up for a nap in her normal spots (the kitchen window, for instance).

She had her blood work done last Friday and that came back looking just fine, thank goodness. (According to the drug info, the ACE inhibitor paired with the diuretic greatly increases the odds of complications, so we were glad to see that she seems to be handling it well.) The vet wants to see her back in another week or so for a second round of x-rays to judge the amount of fluid remaining in her chest cavity. She might get to come off the diuretic at that point, if she’s looking good.

We’re just so happy to have our darling girl back. As cliche as it sounds, I appreciate so much more, having thought we might lose her. Every time she decides to curl up with me, I’m reminded how lucky I am. Every time she visits me while I’m getting ready (a morning ritual of hers), I’m reminded of how much I missed these little routines and her presence. Every time she stretches out or curls up, I think back to just a few short weeks ago, when she could hardly do anything but lay in distress, and thank our lucky stars that she pulled through.

She’s by no means out of the woods yet and a diagnosis of heart disease isn’t the greatest outcome, but I’m so happy she’s doing better.

Furbaby Situation

Well, I felt she deserved an upgrade from “drama,” my sweet little Jas.

As you can probably guess, the weekend did not go well for us. In a silver-lining light, Jas did not get (much) worse. She also did not get any better. She didn’t eat more than a bite or two of food each day and she spent most of the weekend laying in cabinets, under the bed, and on the couch. We already knew we were going to take her back to the vet this morning. So we did, bright and early.

They took all of her vitals and we were pleased to note that she was not running a fever. I heard the vet conferring with another vet before coming in the room with us. She was upfront and honest: Jas was not exhibiting signs of any typical diseases (or even atypical ones). She is a mystery, an interesting case. The vet presented us with a couple of options: we could run more diagnostic tests, an x-ray, or we could give her an antibiotic and see if that helped. We chose to do an x-ray.

They x-rayed her abdomen and decided to do her chest as well, just to see. We’re so glad they did because it was the chest x-ray that finally gave us a clue as to what’s kept Jas feeling so unwell. To everyone’s surprise, the x-ray showed something solid where her right lung should be. It also showed plenty of fluid around the lung. They aspirated a sample of the fluid, but found only blood in the fluid (no malignant cells or infection). Our vet admitted that she was completely shocked by this as Jas presented no signs of respiratory distress. In other words, Jas is once again too smart for her own good. She’s been limiting her activity to keep her heart rate and respiration low. She’s been helping herself by keeping calm and collected. She also made it near impossible to detect the underlying cause.

So right now, our options are an infection, a growth in her lung, or trauma (she didn’t have  any broken bones, but she could have seriously bruised her lung from a fall). We’re tackling infection first, especially since she responded so well to the antibiotic the first time. (She was also running a fever then, indicative of an infection, but isn’t now, so it could be that whatever it is was infected and the antibiotics cleared that up and made her at least somewhat more comfortable.) The next step would be an ultrasound to try and answer the question of tumor or trauma. For now though, she’s stable enough that our action isn’t critical. She got the antibiotic shot; we’re going to wait and see if that helps. The vet sent the aspirated fluid to their lab to have further testing done; we’ll wait for those results. We’ll see later tomorrow, or perhaps Wednesday, what our next step is.

With this, we come to the inevitable question of the intrinsic value of a pet. When the vet starts recommending test after test or treatment after treatment, at what point do you draw the line?

Everyone has a different answer, of course. It might even be a different answer for different pets and there’s no shame in that. Luffy and I were forced into this conversation this morning for obvious reasons. A specialist, an ultrasound, are going to be costly and that’s not even a treatment. Jas means the world to me, for so many reasons. She is my baby, my little girl. She is queen among my family’s cats. Even to my mother, Jas is special. She did so much for me when I was going through hard times and, like I said then, I truly do credit her with giving me the confidence and courage to get myself out of a bad relationship. So to me, she is priceless. Within reason (I mean, we do need to eat at the end of the day), money is no object. I am so very, very thankful that I am in a position to say that. To spend that. To help her. To save her. And I am so blessed to have Luffy because he knows what she means to me, and Jas has come to mean a lot to him too. Thus, we will do whatever is necessary.

…. Decided

I’ve given it a lot of thought, although really it only took me the car ride home that Friday to come up with a decision (probably about the only perk of a long commute – lots of time to think).

I’m going back to work. IF my company is on board with me working from home the majority of the time.

I owe it to myself, to try out working parenthood before I lose the momentum of experience. I owe it to our family to take advantage of the maternity leave that’s being offered to me. By coming back to work, I’ll essentially finish the full year out. I’ll ensure another year’s worth of experience and I’ll help our little family towards Luffy’s long-term goal for us: financial independence.

I always thought of myself as the stay-at-home-mom type. I have the personality for it and I’m not career-motivated in the corner office, executive title, six-figure wage sort of way. I am motivated by to-do lists and tasks and chores. I actively enjoy ticking things off my to-do list and will add things I’ve already done just so I can mark them complete. I take great pride in maintaining our home. I’m the sort of person who walks down the street wishing I could bring a pair of lawn clippers with me because that house two doors down missed this one area around their fence and it’s been driving me bonkers for the past few days. In other words, after an adjustment period, I think I’d be perfectly content and mostly fulfilled being a stay-at-home mom.

But you see, Luffy has this goal for us. It seems like a harebrained scheme and every time I even sort of mention it to my 55 year-old (very set in his ways) boss, he gives me this look that just drips with young-whippersnappers-crazy-hippies-justyouwait-grumblegrumble-getoffmylawn. Luffy wants us to be financially independent at some point in our lives, before we reach typical retirement age (which, if we’re being honest, is just being delayed further and further these days). I don’t know his latest estimate exactly, but let’s say it’s 45. Basically, by the time we reach 45, if we’ve followed his plan, we’ll have built an investment base that adequately supports our living just through its earning power. We’d essentially be living off dividends and interest and the like. As you can imagine, that’s quite a large investment base, but it’s not as large as most people assume. Anyway, I’m veering off topic here, but the point is that Luffy has a plan. And part of that plan includes contributions from my earnings.

Now, I have to give him props because his plan does factor in my eventual reduced earnings. In fact, last time we really talked about it, I think he had assumed I would quit entirely as soon as we had a baby (which was, of course, supposed to be ages ago when we would get pregnant precisely three cycles after ending birth control… lol). So actually, I’ve already contributed more than he originally planned and shortened the horizon for FI just due to infertility. So yay! What keeps popping into my head though is the idea that the longer I keep working, the less time it takes us overall. If I keep working even just two or three more years at my current salary, that can drastically alter the timeline thanks to the time value of money. And again, veering off topic here, but the point is that the longer I work, the less Luffy has to in the long run. Ideally.

Plus, I do have some of the same worry that I’m sure hundreds of women contemplate as they look towards careers in the home: if I leave the workplace now, could I re-enter it later? I’m an accountant, so I think that I would still be marketable several years down the road if and when I want to work again. But I’m sure the gap in experience would be less than desirable to a prospective employer. If I keep working now, I delay this particular fear a bit and accumulate more experience to rely on later. After all, I’ve only been out of college and in the workplace for five years now – not a whole lot of experience all things considered.

So yeah. Really long story short: I want to work a bit more (perhaps until Baby #2 comes along???) to contribute towards our family goal of financial independence.

However, like I said, this all hinges on my company’s willingness to let me work from home. During our conversation, my boss made it seem like he was all for working from home, but I’ve since heard some grumblings through the grapevine that might indicate otherwise. Not to draw my line in the sand or anything, but I think I’d be quitting for the time being if my boss changes his mind. I’d get through the birth of our child and the first few months and then look for something new.

Ah, nothing like life decisions and the scent of change on a Wednesday.

A few random thoughts for your humpday

Attention everyone: Yesterday I had a great hair day.

This is very important news, you see, because I have been growing out my hair (from a bob) and I haven’t had a good hair day in approximately 383 days, give or take a couple. I haven’t even had a meh hair day. My hair has firmly been on the side of craptastic for a year. Until yesterday.

Yesterday my hair had body and volume. Limited frizz. It laid correctly AND minimized how fine and utterly thin my hair is. My hair was on point, as the kids say.

It looked so good yesterday that I was honestly a bit sad to say goodbye to it at the end of the day. As we lay in bed, drifting off to sleep, I made some half asleep comment to Luffy about pretty hair. Needless to say, he didn’t understand. And alas, today it’s back to it’s typical form.

Has anyone else seen just kidding, I don’t think you can miss them …. those videos on Facebook with the recipes? The short clips that show you a recipe for banana bread or slow cooker pulled pork or s’mores cupcakes? I love those clips. I am mesmerized each time one comes up in my feed and am powerless to do anything but stare as they whip up some tasty item. Usually the recipes aren’t even that complex or exciting, but I still must watch.

This week at work we’re having our annual meeting. A big to-do with lots of people. It also means I have to dress up in business professional. Which is a tad challenging, given I’m right on the cusp of full-on maternity wear. This morning I put on a button down I haven’t worn in a while and was dismayed to find it gaping in the bust (of course! don’t even get me started with the ridiculousness that is sizing for women’s button downs) and then tight across my lower abdomen/hips. Oh! Wow. Huh. Guess I’ve expanded a bit more than I realized.

In light of that, I grabbed a pencil skirt that has always been large on me (it’s actually a size too big and it’s a stretchy-ish material). I was further dismayed to find that it’s extremely fitted now.Oh! Wow. Huh.

I’m really hoping my suit fits tomorrow. I should probably try it on tonight so that I can give my boss a head’s up if I’m gonna have to come in with sweatpants on.

I have my phone back! Finally!! After two weeks without a phone, I finally have mine back. The world feels right again. Also a tad noisier and brighter, but hey, at least I know that our baby is the size of a beet. Priorities.

In a Jas update, I believe I mentioned that my parents came into town a couple of weekends ago. My mom absolutely adores Jas and spoils her beyond reason. My mom’s vet (er… more accurately: my mom’s pets’ vet) carries this one particular type of cat toy that Jas loves. They’re these tiny little mice that rattle and are the perfect size for Jas to toss around herself. She loves them – LOVES. So my mom brought several down for Jas. We realized too late that Jas had found the stash and had been helping herself to her favorite toys. My mom couldn’t remember exactly how many she’d brought down (after she took out some for her own cats and my brother’s cats), so we weren’t sure how many Jas got. Over the past week and a half, it’s become all too clear that the answer to that question was A LOT. It’s fairly obvious because we always remove the tags on ones we give to her, but she obviously does not remove the tags on the ones she absconds with. I have found a dozen with-tags mice throughout my house, and that’s on top of the four or five mice she got from us. Thief! Bandit! Hide your wife! Hide your kids! Especially if they resemble Zanies cat toys!