5.31.2006

It's 9:36 PM

And I'm wondering if in just a few short hours, our wee but growing every second daughter will be converted into She Who Rages For Hours.

Last night we had 4 hours of rage, followed by 4 hours of sleep. What fun that was.

Naturally, during the day, Val was her usual non-raging self, just eating, sleeping and pooping. Oh, and being cute.

5.30.2006

The Best Diet Ever

Went to the OB (I still always say 'vet' in my head since we've spent a lot more time at the vet than any other kind of doc) for my 2 week checkup. Getting weighed was actually good - I'm down 26 pounds from my last pregnancy visit!

It's an excellent diet - all you have to do is gestate for 40+ weeks, then have a crazyass prolonged painful delivery and then breastfeed what seems like constantly after the baby's born.

The entire staff gathered 'round Val's oh so very pink carseat to fawn over her. We heard many times that she's very cute and really, no matter how many times I hear it, I have no choice but to agree.

The PA (we never seem to see my doc herself at these visits) said oh so matter of factly isn't technology great, because before c-sections came along, with a delivery like ours, the baby and I could have just died instead of Val arriving safely and both of us leaving the hospital in one piece.

Oh. Thanks for that perspective.

She removed the weird adhesive things holding my incision together and I felt a crapload better right away. I'm cleared to drive (though I'm not sure I'll be driving Betty for a bit, I may end up in Andrea's car) but am supposed to wait until 8 weeks to play hockey.

We'll see about that.

I Suppose

That one day, maybe even soon, I'll share the full story of Val's tumultuous arrival. But the truth is, I'm still processing it all in my head and in my heart. Obviously, it went dramatically differently than I'd hoped for and even though the end result was this beautiful baby who is fine, just fine, I apparently still am not quite ready to share it all with the 3 of you.

I did say this to Valerie the other day. 'Your first name, it means strong. We picked it for you in the hope that it would inspire strength in you. Your middle name, well, someday I'll tell you all about who Marta was.' And then I cried a little. (It's totally the hormones, ya know.)

And now, when I look at Val and think about her having my Grandma's name, I do get teary-eyed. And I can't help but wonder if Grandma sees this wee girl of ours and knows that our new daughter carries her name.

5.28.2006

Spared Yet Again

So... Gus' problem could well be congestive heart failure. But it could just as easily be kennel cough, which would make sense since he was just boarded and before doing so, I forgot to renew his vaccine.

We have antibiotics, which can help, and for now we're chalking this up to 'I suck.' Which, though it makes me feel awful for not vaccinating our most fragile guy, is a lot better than 'we lost Gus today.'

So for another day, he remains with us. And I'm grateful, because we do love him so.

End Of The Line?

Gus is really having a rough day. He's having trouble breathing (way worse than usual) and has been coughing something that sounds like kennel cough. There's no heat to blame it on, no external thing I can point to and say, ahh there, that's the problem.

Nope, I'm afraid this problem lies within Gus and may well be the problem we can't fix. I know in my heart that we've done all we can for him, that for almost 5 years we've given him the best home we could, one that was a crapload better than the life he had before we knew him. Later, I will take comfort in this life we've given him.

But for right now I'm just blogging through my tears hoping the vet can patch him up just one more time

5.27.2006

My Dear Daughter

Obviously, we both adore you, from your changing hair (getting lighter, and thicker. We may have a red-headed Chinese kid yet) to your extremely pinchable bottom to the way you and your other mom seem to magically sleep in the same position every time.

Last night, my dear baby girl, you put our skillz as your adoring parents to the test with your 3 hour fussing marathon from 5-8 am. It's more than just us not getting sleep, it's that nothing we tried made you more comfortable. No amount of shusshing, patting, burping, feeding attempts, clean diapers, swaddling attempts (oh can you break free from your mom's expert swaddle when the rage takes you) made you happy. Not until finally, you let Andrea swaddle you and we put the dreaded pacifier in your mouth.

Then you laid there looking like Maggie Simpson, sucking happily until the pacifier fell out.

And then you cried your flipper cry again off and on until 8, when we finally all got some rest.

During the night, I swear to you her face got rounder. She's growing when I blink, because we've hardly taken our eyes off her since she was born.

Of course, now it's 5:45 pm and you've eaten nicely and are sacked out on my belly. I know that doesn't bode well for tonight but it still makes your very sore Mom feel better to know that you can still be consoled by her.

5.26.2006

Dear Val

4.5 hours of sleep in a row? You have outdone yourself, my darling daughter.

5.25.2006

Long Night With Val

I think this is what they call cluster feeding. Val was up every hour to eat, until 8ish this morning, when she needed only 30 minutes between. It's not quite right when you turn on the tv and discover that the same show you weren't watching the last time Val ate is still on.

Of course after that she went back to sleep and remains asleep now.

It's Getting Better

A week ago today, I got out of bed all of three times. Each trip required help from at least one person and omg the pain was ridiculous. Not even funny kind of pain. I was tethered to an IV and some other pain crap, eating a liquid diet and pretty much a mess.

I could do pretty much nothing for Val, save feeding her. Andrea took care of everything else.

One week later, I can walk around with only the most minimal of wincing, I can get out of bed with only a little pain (our bed, much easier than the hospital bed for this. Who woulda thunk it? It's also a crapload easier to breastfeed anywhere but a hospital bed.) And most importantly, I can hold Val, adjust positions or, should I choose, hold her while getting up out of bed.

Much bettah.

5.24.2006

Restored!
It seems unreal that it actually worked on the first try, but... our fancypants new DSL modem/router thing arrived today and whaddya know, we're back online at home.

Suh-weet, I can pay bills. And, very soon, upload less grainy pics of our kid.

On Strike

The doorbells (aka the dogs) must be really mad at us for leaving them at spots for a week, let alone for the fact that there's now a wee alien in their house who sounds like flipper when she's really angry. Why do I say this?

Because a number of people have come to our door in the last few days and what did the dogs do?

NOTHING. No barking no whining no howling. Nothing. 2 friends had to call us from the front porch to be let in.

I guess we're going to have to actually put in a real doorbell. That's sad. As annoying as it was, I rather liked the 4 dog alarm.

All Is Well

Valerie had her first non-hospital doctor visit today. She most certainly did not enjoy being weighed but her parents were thrilled to hear that she's regained all of her birth weight.

I got a little teary-eyed (it's the hormones, ya know) seeing her name on the chart. We've had her name in our heads and our hearts for so long, it seems amazing that she's finally here, our little Val, a real live person with a chart at the pediatrician.

The visit went well, she got a continued clean bill of health, though we do have to visit the cardiologist next week for her wee heart murmur. But so far so good and for now, that's well more than enough.

That 5 Hours Of Sleep Thing

Turns out it's not a habit. But that's okay, 4 am feedings have a charm all their own, especially when they come after a 1:30 and a 2:30 am feeding. Especially when the 2:30 feeding comes just after I finally laid down, propped all the required parts up with pillows and started to drift off.

Of course, now I'm awake, ready for the next one and Val is still asleep.

Hide The Evidence

I'm pretty sure that at some point during labor/delivery, I had tape on just about every part of my body. Even now, a week later, I'm still finding random tape residue that doesn't ring a bell 'oh, I wonder what this was holding in place? Perhaps an alien probe that emerged from my ass around hour 25 of labor' I also have some impressive, yet fading bruises from what I'm pretty sure were 5 different IV sites used throughout the course of my stay in Chez Hospital.

I guess the best part is that all that stuff is fading away or gradually washing it's way off and the end result of it all is Valerie.

I Keep Forgetting

That it was in fact major surgery (hello, guts!) and it's normal that shit still hurts. But when I'm sitting around in the new set of semi-regular yet very large set of clothes that people who are not hospital patients would wear that I had to get to accomodate the swelling, I almost feel normal.

Until I get up. Then, holy crap. Ow. Ow twice.

Today I dreamt that I was playing hockey, today, 1 week after a highly draining birth that ended in the abovementioned major surgery. In my dream, I was stunned that I'd remembered how to put my gear on but kept saying um, I just had a c-section a week ago. I don't think I can do this.

Unfortunately the phone rang before I got more than 3 strides onto the ice. But in my dream I was grinning even if in real life I was drooling into the pillow.

5.23.2006

Holy Crap

Valerie just let us sleep 5 hours. In a row. At night.

Kid, I love you. For the sleep and for the fact that your tiny rump fits in my hand.

5.22.2006

The Show

During the last part of my pregnancy, the last two weeks especially, we were treated to a dancing belly. Mostly up high, where Val's little rump was, the beat went on and on and on into the night. We'd both watch in amazement, then pat the moving parts and grin at each other.

Earlier tonight I laid Val down on her belly after her dinner (since I'm right here next to her, watching) and she curled up with her legs and feet under her rump. I covered her with a blanket, and have spent the ensuing time amusing myself by pulling it back to see her wiggle and admire her wee rump.

When Andrea got home from Safeway a little while ago, I pulled back the blanket to show her Val's gorgeous backside and the ensuing wiggles.

Then it hit me. We were watching the same show we'd been watching all this time. Except that we were seeing that show on the outside of my womb.

5.21.2006

Things I Can Tell You

About our amazing new daughter.

1. She's amazing. And cute.

2. For the most part, she's very well behaved. However, there are a few things that cause great consternation, including: diapers that are even the *slightest* bit dirty when she's trying to eat. Dirty diapers are apparently tolerable while sleeping.

Gas. Oh the Great Gas Rage that scrunches up her face and causes loud cries of Rage! Rage! Rage! when there is an angry gas bubble interrupting her meal. The world (and the eating) must stop when Gas Rage is present.

3. She's really cute. And she eats like she and I both are Eating Professionals. Like Emeril, but with boobs. Seriously, she's making me look really good in the breastfeeding department. And that rules because I wasn't very excited about the whole breast part of breastfeeding going into it.

But when the kid latches on literally 30 minutes after birth and on day 2 of her life a Lacatation Consulatant says 'you don't need me,' you know she's got a good bit of it figured it.

I realize that my reader base may be well filled with folks for whom their breastfeeding story is different and (so far) a lot more challenging than mine. I can't imagine how much harder that would make this task, which already isn't all that easy.

4. Val makes people cry. She's that cute, and to our closest friends, a clear showing of how very much Andrea and I love each other and how very much this little baby was wanted.

5. Val can't tell time. This is an inherent newborn trait, I know, but knowing that doesn't make 4 am seem any more sane when you've also been up at 2 and midnight.

6. Val's butt is even cuter than I could've imagined. For the zillion times she used that butt to push me back from a table while I was pregnant, it's worth it to know that all that pushing and attitude she put into that ass helped it turn out to be very very cute.

Her ass also does other things: Last night, sometime in the middle of the night, Andrea goes Shit! What? I say. Shit! She's shitting on me!

Sometime later, Val peed on Andrea also.

Our dsl remains down. Which is why there are still no pics of Val directly on here. But we are regularly uploading to flickr (see Flickr pages, mine, to the right) so you can see her there for now.

A Funny Milestone

Andrea was just pooped on for the first time. Nice work, Val.

5.20.2006

Home At Last

I got up kinda early this morning, got dressed in real clothes for the first time in a week (noting my great disappointment that the hugeass shorts I'd worn in last Sunday were too snug, but oh yeah, major surgery, right), then waited for the right folks to stop by to discharge us.

That took about 2 hours but finally we were on our way home with Cheddah following us. Once on the road, I found that yep, every bump and turn was painful. But I got through and we were totally touched to see that a fabulous mystery friend had put up a 'It's a girl!' sign and a huge bunch of balloons. Later we learned that they mystery friend was Susan, to whom we'll always be grateful for about a million things about Val's arrival in this world. Which now includes balloons and a sign.

Val ate while Cheddah and Andrea did something in Val's room. When Val finished eating, she needed a new diaper so those two headed off to take care of that, leaving me to have a narcoleptic episode right there in the glider.

Cheddah left and Andrea went to pick up my fancy new prescriptions. I was home alone with Val for the first time. I went to take a nap and discovered that Val was suddenly starving even though she'd just eaten. We ended up with a record-setting 1 hour feeding, followed by some general fussiness, me discovering that no, I can't sleep on my side yet and and me changing my first Val diaper. Andrea ended up being gone for a most challenging 2 hours.

When Andrea got home Val was fast asleep and stayed that way through the time Susan arrived to help me while Andrea went to get the dogs (who are of course extremely tired) and through dinner. Sigh.

It's sooo good to be home. I'm thrilled to be here, even if I'm not quite sure how I'll sleep in my own bed.

5.19.2006

Master Of The Obvious

A nurse just walked into our totally darkened room to say 'let me know when you settle down for the night.'

Progress

Day 1: give birth via major surgery. Emerge from the OR shaking like a very large, groggy, in mucho pain leaf.

Fall asleep unexpectedly while attempting to eat a popsicle, the only activity attempted since before giving birth.

Status: feels like I've been hit by a very large and angry bus.

Day 2: wake up at 5 am to get out of bed for the first time in 2 days. The floor was much farther away than I could have ever imagined possible and the effects of gravity are much more far-reaching, causing a great mess that in other circumstances would embarrass most people half to death.

But since what feels like half the western world has now seen more than I've ever shown before or plan to again, thanks to the miracle of birth, it just doesn't matter. When those nice women give me a sponge bath and wipe off your feet, it feels so good. Even if at the back of my head, my hair is in the worst tangle it's ever been in.

Later that day, there's more assisted getting out of bed and each time feels easier until at last and with 'help' from the rather flighty and misguided rent-a-nurse and Andreatan, I take what ranks as the best shower of my life.

Fall asleep unexpectedly multiple times: while checking email, eating and mid-sentence.

Status: feels like I've been hit by an angry fullsized SUV.

Day three: get out of bed unassisted, though with a fair bit of pain and with no sense of speed whatsoever. Lose the last IV and another plastic pain killing device. Take another fabulous shower this time with no assistance, just the understanding that these things, they take time. Have a crazy burst of energy at night, spend 2 hours standing up, walking to vending machines, eating non-tasty vending machine food items.

Fall asleep unexpectedly while feeding a very cute small baby and while watching tv.

Status: feels like being hit by a light truck with an attitude.

Day 4: get out of bed without assistance and with less pain. Repeat many times. Eat most of a meal for the first time in days. Take multiple walks around the hospital, including a death-defying trip into the cafeteria where I learned that patients are under no circumstances to select and purchase their own food. No lemonade for me but hey, I took a walk so whatever, Mrs. Angry Cafeteria Gatekeeper.

Shun most narcotic pain relief and dance a very slow dance of joy that in the end, I feel okay without it.

Enjoy a really nice lecture from a nurse about a host of baby care issues, including an admonition against drinking caffiene while breastfeeding. This, after just drinking a coke while breastfeeding for about an hour. Apparently this can make the kid be very awake. This as the kid is totally in a food coma on my belly after a marathon.

Fall asleep unexpectedly several times (but only in the morning) while attempting to write this very blog post. Wake up to discover a host of very special typos and words that aren't in any language I speak.

Status: feel like I've been hit by a souped-up Segway scooter with a chip on it's shoulder.

Tomorrow we head home, a mere 4 days later than we had thought we would. It will be nice to get there, even though I'll miss the ease of having food magically appear every few hours and not having to rely on our local pharmacy to provide medicines.

And the best part, going home with our beautiful new baby at last!

5.18.2006

Sheer Bliss, And Some Scary Stuff

The bliss? Standing up and holding my new daughter at the same time, for the first time. So far, this is the best part about feeling better - knowing that every bit of progress I make physically gets me closer to being the kind of mom I want to be for Val.

The scary stuff. Wee Val has a wee heart murmur. She had an ekg done this morning (she slept through it and we both held her hands the whole time) that confirmed it. Sigh.

The good news is that it's wee. That it won't grow. That she'll most likely grow out of it on her own within the year.

The bad news is that she's got anything wrong with her at all. But we'll do all the followup that they've suggested and have faith that she'll live up to her name, which means strong.

Because she is strong. She had the strength to wedge herself in my pelvis so hard that she wasn't coming out without help. And speaking of the c-section, I talked to my doc about it and when I spoke it was from a very calm place. I understood that there were no other options. Val had managed to get her head wedged early (prolly when she first turned, around 34 weeks) and then grew into the space.

Which explains why she didn't drop, not even after 31 hours of laboring, why her wee ass was still even then right under my ribs. The wedging and a cord around her neck. It all added up to her getting here without a lot of dawdling, once these signs became clear.

I look at her now, snoozing with Andrea and I know that all of our efforts were worth it.

Little By Little

With every passing hour, I'm feeling a little better. After being in bed for a day and a half, I've been getting up at regular intervals since 5 am yesterday. I even graduated to doing so unassisted. Progress.

Val is doing awesome. She's dropped a teeny bit of weight (normal) but is eating well. She's posed for an ungodly number of pictures and doesn't even blink at the flash. To say that we're smitten isn't quite enough. I cannot wait until I'm feeling normal and flexible enough to do more things for her care.

But until then, Val and I are both lucky enough to have Andrea. She's doing everything I can't (at this point, that's everything except feeding and boundless adoration, both of which I'm happy to provide) and the two of them together is a wonderful sight.

5.16.2006

She's here!

After 31 hours of labor and finally, an emergency c-section, Valerie Marta arrived safe and sound this afternoon.

She was 7 lbs 10.5 ounces and 20 inches long. I'm quite sore from the surgery, but happy that our Val has arrived safely. Andrea posted pics at http://gadgetgrrl.blogspot.com

A very tired Liz, Andrea and now Valerie!

Still Here

It's early in the morning and I'm still in labor. I finally got some sleep, only to wake in a hurry when our nurse rushed in with another nurse and a bunch of medical paraphenelia in tow. Seems the Brunswick's heart rate had dropped, a lot.

So now I'm sporting a sexy oxygen mask and the kid has a fetal scalp monitor. Not how I would have liked to do things but making sure the kid's okay is now the only goal.

She's fine now. My legs are quite heavy and I slept seriously wrong so my neck hurts. Whatever, let's just get this kid out in one piece.

I do think she'll be here soon.

5.15.2006

So...

I got induced starting last night. We're now many hours into it and yes, yes my friends, I caved and have a goddamn epidural. And I must tell you, it is a wonderful thing.

I had pitocin for about an hour. But conditions weren't totally ripe so they took it out and used other stuff (cytotec) instead. That did the trick and created contractions that were one on top of the other, too much too hard all at once.

I did what I could to breathe through them but alas, no. I kept hearing the phrase 'you don't feel contractions with an epidural' and thinking yeah, let's do that.

So we did and for the first time in 2 days I'm about to sleep. Sweet relief has been granted. And now, we're waiting, same as you.

5.13.2006

For The Record

We are 22 minutes from my due date and my belly button remains an innie.

5.12.2006

The New AT&T = Same Old Shit

So the tech came out yesterday and fixed whatever was wrong with our phone line. Which is great because they didn't need to enter our premises and charge us any money.

But... They were supposed to call my cell phone, since um, the phone was DEAD, you know, the whole point of the possible premises entry? Yeah.

So today I check the house phone and there's a message. From the tech. Who never did call my cell phone, no, he first fixed our house phone then called me there and wondered why I didn't answer the dead phone.

In DSL news, it's still down. They think that the aforementioned tech messed something up on the terminal (which is not on the premises) but we won't know until they come out. Next week.

Awesome, just awesome.

Topped only by the fact that in our neighborhood, there are 2 billboards saying 'Blogging, Delivered.' Yeah, asses. Only because I have a sidekick not because of the damn DSL.

5.11.2006

I'm Not Sure This Is Progress

The pac bell/sbc/the new at&t technician apparently came out already. Did he call my cell phone, which even had the ringer turned on? Nope. But whatever the hell it was, it's been fixed and whaddya know, the issue was not on our premises. Which is great.

But the dsl? The thing we keep the phone line around for? Still down and now I'm spending quality time on our now-operational house phone trying to fix it for the third time in the last five months.

Again, good thing I don't need to leave the house today.

Good Thing I Don't Need To Leave The House

Because somehow our house phone line is dead. Funny, because the only reason we still have it is because it's required for the damn DSL. So I call pac bell/sbc/the new at&t to see if the line is down. It has to be because it's not like we've done squat to the phones in the last few days. Or even used it to make a call in the last month.

According to their magic tracing system, it looks fine. So our best option is to have a pac bell/sbc/the new at&t technician come out tomorrow. Between 8 am and 6 pm. Yeah, a 10 hour window. Good times.

If the DSL wasn't connected to it, and we had a better high speed alternative, not to mention having 10 months left on our DSL death grip, or rather contract, we wouldn't need the thing at all.

But we do so I'll be on the lookout for the guy all day. If the issue is leading from wherever to our 'premises' (a word I heard no less than 10 times from the unsympathetic rep) then we don't have to pay for his time. But if it's inside our 'premises' then we must pay. Whatever. Quit saying premises and send someone out, wouldya?

5.10.2006

In About A Week

I will no longer have a full-sized infant in my belly. This means, first and foremost, that we'll be parents. Hello, wee baby, we will say over and over until she reminds us that in the blink of an eye, she's turned 18 and is no longer a baby.

It also means that my triumphant hockey return is just around the corner. I cannot adequately describe how exciting that is.

In addition, I will shortly thereafter be able to bend over to do exciting things like pick up crap I've dropped on the floor or the ground. It also means an easier time tying shoes, a new-found ability to put on clothes that may at some point, not have elastic waists. And, my wardrobe will expand to include more than just the 3 remaining t-shirts and 2 pairs of shorts that I have left in my arsenal. Imagine! Variety in wardrobe.

Also, there's a rumor that newborns sleep for about 2 hours in a row. Given that I now wake up every hour right now because another limb has fallen asleep, this seems like a welcome improvement. Moreso because we'll be waking up to tend to our wee daughter instead of just to pee and wake up my numb limb.

Right now feels sort of like the end of high school, or a long flight. When the journey began, the end seemed so far away, a tedious procession of days leading to something excellent, yet unknown. And until the moment the plane lands or your name is called and you walk across the stage, it doesn't seem quite real. You can't quite imagine what it's going to be like but nonetheless, change, it is coming soon.

5.09.2006

Sad Little Milestone
Yesterday I called over to Spots (yes, the doggie boarding place we have a kind of rocky history with, a history that continues even now, but after trying a place we found on Craig's List one time only this January, it's quite clear that it's our best option. Given that we're talking about inducing labor, this seems a good opportunity to get the dogs squared away before this baby arrives.

The gal I talked to must have been new. The conversation was rather painful "What's your dog's name?" "Well, we have 4," (quick, which name is the most unusual? give her that one!) "Let's look under Zeus. Z-E-U-S." "Z-U-E-S?" "No, "Z-E-U-S" Never mind, let's try Gus.

She finds us and says oh, your 4 dogs, are they Alice, Bagel, Rainie and Gus?

Calmly, and without tears, I said no. Alice is dead and Bagel was a foster dog (who at this point I would imagine has passed away, too). But it doesn't connect with her and I have to say it again. Twice, without tearing up, I'm able to say that Alice is dead.

But please, don't ask me to say that out loud a third time in a row. That is more than anyone should be asked to do.

I Knew These Questions Would Come
It's sort of escalated from the more casual "haven't you popped that baby out yet?" to hearing from folks who I haven't heard from in a while. The opening question is usually something like "still pregnant?"

Given the fact that the kid hasn't dropped and we're starting to talk about scheduling an induction, this is getting to be a bit of a sore subject for us as we adjust our plans. So let me assure you now, when this kid arrives, we will let people know. So please, don't ask. Not right now.

Just wait, because that's all we're able to do, too.

The Exciting World Of Medical Billing
Lesson one: if you use your FSA account to pay anything, and I mean ANYTHING, save the original bill. Because the FSA people are going to ask for it and if you can't find it, you'll have to pay it back from your real, non-FSA money.

Not that I'm quickly learning this the hard way. ANd not that I've gained a really special insight into the exciting world of medical billing today.

Apparently, there are a myriad of fascinating things that go in Medical Billing. At least at the home office of the really special lab above my doctor's office these things go on.

  1. It takes them 6 months to work out what the patient has to pay out of pocket.
  2. Each time you go to the lab for a new test, they open a new account for you.
  3. Without that account number for the exact day you're talking about, AND if you've actually paid your portion of the bill, they have no record of having taken your money.
  4. Once the record of that bill with that account number is moved to the paid department, all hell breaks loose and it takes a team of Medical Billing Personell quite a bit of time and repeated detailed explanations about what you're looking for ("A copy of the bill where I paid you X amount on Y date." "But you don't owe us any money right now." Lather, rinse, repeat.) and in the end, there's no guarantee that you'll get what you need.
So in the end, I may or may not have to "pay back" the FSA money that I used to pay for this mystery lab work of which there is no record of my payment. It all depends on my new friends in the Medical Billing office.

My hopes, they are not high. I'd better just write a check.

5.08.2006

Gus On The Go

The new medicine that we got for Gus seems to be working really well. He's up and about, trotting on all 4 legs and showing me his toys over and over again.

Phew. I hate it that he now needs 4 pills at each meal but he is most certainly an old man so it's a fair trade if he's back to his old self.

5.05.2006

Assvice Twice!

Two assvices in one night! Aren't I lucky?

Apparently, I need all the sleep I can get right now. No way! Is that because my life is about to change?

I have no doubt that it will be nice to have my body be mostly my own again (here, I speak of the milk that will allegedly come out of my boobs and how the production of which will interfere with parts of my life, like my diet and my ability to just go somewhere without making sure said magic baby beverage does not overflow or whatever it would do should I not attend to it before doing something like say, play hockey). It will also be nice, so nice to bend over without a little ass in my stomach, to tie shoes again, to have my once-svelte ankles return, to skip a meal, should I so choose and yes, oh God yes, to be back on the ice.

But for now, I've finally, a mere 38 weeks after it began, hit a part of the pregnancy that isn't too horrid on my body (mostly I can eat now, haven't gagged in weeks, and at least right now, I'm able to sleep) and though the Big Life Change cometh, I'm doing my best to enjoy these last few days before we share our lives with this little girl, for whom I have waited my entire life.

And yes, I'm sleeping every chance I get.

Friday In Gus' World

Today was a better day for the Gus man. He spent the morning ripping up his latest toy at the foot of my bed while napped, then he rested while I went and got a ramp for Andrea's car for him. When I got back, we headed up to the vet, stopping first to visit our now just-about-2-year old girls, both of whom were really sweet with him, petting him, pointing out his many owies and kissing him when it was time for us to leave.

The ramp, which is pretty industrial strength and hella expensive, he didn't like too much. But he can't jump into the truck and I can't lift him so we had no choice but to work it out, me basically dragging him up the thing.

The vet said pretty much what I'd expected - it's just his arthritis getting worse. Sigh. We had 2 options - adding an additional drug to his regimen, or try acupuncture, or both. So I guess that's 3 options. We chose door #1 for now, an additional drug whose name I forget. But unlike his current big medicine, Rimadyl, this one does not cost a zillion dollars so hey we'll try that for now and call the acupuncture docs later.

I'm glad we waited to take him in. I hate knowing that this is just another step in what so far has been a slow decline in the man's overall health. But in many ways, slow is okay because no one day is dramatically harder than the last, some days just might be a little tougher than others.

The vet guessed that he's 14. Who the hell knows. I think that a vet might guess Rainie was more like 7 due to her smarty-pants grey face and that Pat was like 3 because, well, he's not exactly smarty-anything. But when it comes to my Gus, I know only that the key to his murmur-riddled heart is stuffed toys. And those, those will never be in short supply for him.

Special

I was just assviced that 'epidurals are a good thing.'

Gee, thanks. Because at almost 39 weeks, we had certainly given that no thought whatsoever. Guess I'd better start looking into those. Because it's not too late to change my mind!

5.04.2006

No News
Today's doctor visit revealed absolutely nothing. All the cramping I've been enjoying has done just about diddly squat to bring this baby closer to us, it's just what, cramping for show?

We go back on Tuesday. Before then, I'm hoping to encourage this baby to make some progress. I'm also enjoying these last few days before we become someone's parents.

5.03.2006

More Doggie Prayers Needed
Rainie and Patrick's basset daddy, Ralph, had a bunch of tumors removed recently. The vet is reasonably confident that they got a clear margin around them but they were very scary and full of the kind of things that get vets and puppy parents very worried.

We adore Ralph, he's a sweet boy who Patrick looks an awful lot like. He's also had a shitty start to his life, being abused and beaten at the puppy mill where he and Ellie Mama enjoyed their conjugal relations. So he's at times, a very shy guy and a very scared guy. We love him so and will always be grateful for his most excellent (and loud) contributions to our lives. Please keep Ralph in your thoughts as he heals from his surgery.

And here's the Gus report: he's still limping on the one leg, but he's getting around better than earlier in the week. He seems a crapload more alert and more comfortable than he was. It's like when Zeus was so damn sick -- all we can ask is that each day is slightly better than the one before it. So far, he's delivered on that and I'm grateful.

Meme For You (Now, with S!)
I've been thinking about doing my version of this one, which I'm stealing from American Family. I sat down to do it yesterday, even dug out my lappy and fired it up only to discover that our damn DSL was down.

But today, it's up! So here you are:

Accent: Hailing from the very center of the Midwest, that no-mans land of accents and bland food, I'm pretty accent-free. Though I do mumble more than I'd like to admit.

Booze: This one is a little tougher and a lot more personal. Not because I have any great secret love of booze but because my relationship with the stuff could best be described as tumultuous, or, at times, tragic or destructive. In college, I drank A LOT most days of the week (I think we took Tuesdays off, for no good reason) until it got to a point where getting my hands on some beer was a driving force in my life and then I thought, hey, I don't want to live my life this way.

So I scaled way the hell back and for a long time, that was just fine. The occasional beer or 3, not really getting sauced like I used to back in the day. Again, all well and good until the year I decided to get rip-roaring drunk not once, but twice. Each occurence came with diastrous results, someday maybe I'll discuss them here but I still just can't.

It's been almost a year since I've had even one beer and I cannot wait to enjoy just one after this baby's born. But I'd be quite surprised if in my lifetime I ever get drunk again.

Chore I Hate: Anything that involves cleaning.

Dog or Cat: Y'all know this already. 4 dogs. Gus, 12ish year old pointer/hound mix who not sports a nice limp that we're hoping will go away soon. Zeus, a 13 1/2 year old indestructable beagle with a death wish. Rainie and Patrick, 5 1/2 year old basset hound littermates who still cause a lot of trouble but who are without question the center of our pack.

Essential Electronics: Tivo and my sidekick. If you can't IM from your phone, seriously, you're missing out.

Favorite Cologne: Soap.

Gold or Silver: Silver.

Hometown: The heart of it all, Columbus Ohio.

Insomnia: Usually not, but then again I'm not usually 38 weeks pregnant and forced to do a 1000 point turn every time I turn over or have limbs that randomly fall asleep when I do.

Job Title: Web Developer, which means that I build stuff you might see on the Internet. Though right now it's 'Short Term Disability' due to the large growth in my belly.

Kids: One on the way. Very very soon.

Living Arrangements: Small house in a very convenient location in Silicon Valley. We could live in a bigger house somewhere farther away, but it's worth the trade to us to live close to work, to a bunch of hockey rinks, to our friend's houses. So we're here, crowded but closeby.

Most Admirable Traits: Uh. That I'm funny?

Number of Sexual Partners: Not really okay answering this with concrete numbers. Rest assured that those numbers are not large.

Overnight Hospital Stays: So far none, but we're hoping for one any minute now as we welcome our wee daughter to the group.

Phobias: None.

Quote: "See you tomorrow, corn!" This also applies to peas.

Religion: Grew up Catholic, a legacy I find that I can't leave behind.

Siblings: This is both easy and complicated. 1 brother I grew up with. 2 half brothers I found about 10 years ago and have a pretty good relationship with, and 2 half-sisters and another half-brother that I found around the same time but hardly know.

Time I Wake Up: There's no rhyme or reason to that these days.

Unusual Talent or Skill: I can juggle.

Vegetable I Love: Candy corn.

Worst Habit: Talking too much when I really should be listening.

X-Rays: A lifetime of clumsiness and hockey playing has enabled the following: ankle and shoulder. Though nothing has even been broken, just sprained, torn or maimed.

Yummy Foods I Make: Potato stuff, but only like once a year. Maybe becoming a parent will convert me into a cook, but for now, no such luck.

Zodiac: Pisces

5.02.2006

The Gus Report

He's not 100% (as if he ever was, not really) but he's doing a crapload better today. Ate most of his breakfast, didn't throw up and is walking around like it's no big deal. He's setting himself down instead of falling down.

Though he's still limping I'm glad he's more like himself. I realize that the coming weeks or months might bring more days like yesterday but that's something we'll have to face one day at a time.

For now, we'll just keep the toys and the treats coming his way.

Thanks for all the good thoughts for our old guy, they're definitely working.

The Gus Report

He seems better. Spent the night at the foot of our bed, looking at me askance every time I got up to pee. He just roused himself, with a little help from me, and went outside without too much limping.

Small progress but still deserves celebration. He's back in his crate now, I think all my peeing annoyed him. Hell, it annoys me too!

5.01.2006

Oh My Gus

After another night of crap sleep, I woke up to Gus crying. Usually this means he's stuck somewhere, bound by his arthritic legs and sure enough, he was lying in the living room, unable to get up.

In the past, we've been able to help him up and that's been enough to get him going. Today is a little different, it seems. He eventually got up and made it outside to pee. I figured that since he was up, I'd feed them while he was mobile.

Except that he picked up a toy, and overdid it, heading out to the living room and falling down again. But he finally got up and headed back to the kitchen, where he fell down again. He ate his breakfast laying down then threw up what he'd eaten.

Sigh. He spent the next 20 minutes laying on the kitchen floor and I'm proud to report that right now, 2 hours after his first cries for help, he's gotten himself up and is now laying at the foot of my bed (on the carpet so he can get up easier) chewing on a toy.

I get it that we're probably getting to a point with him where we may have to make choices about his quality of life. But that doesn't mean we won't do our best to keep him living the toy-filled life to which he has grown accustomed for as long as he's still got the energy to reach for those toys.