Phoebe Squeals Video and Update

Phoebe and I both have some sort of bug.

I took her to the doc yesterday. Advised saline drops and suction for her stuffy nose and soy formula for her diarrhea. Yep, she's got an upset tummy.

The doc said that babies with stuffy noses sometimes have a gastro issue with this kind of thing so nothing to worry about.

I meanwhile am going to finally go to the doc on Thursday. This crap has been going on for a week for me so I need to stop it.

Additionally, Phoebe has learned a new trick. A high pitched squeal that would wake the dead! Enjoy!!


That is the number of items in my Google reader right now.

I will never catch up as long as my brain seems to want to ooze out of the orifices of my head.

Aren't sinus infections fun?

Sick Eyes

Haven't been writing a lot since NaBloPoMo ended (YAY! I WON!!!) cause I wanted A) take a break and B) I've been fighting a sinus infection/virus/plague since the weekend.

This is a picture of me. With my sick eyes and slack jaw.
Whereas this is a picture of the cutest little cutie patootie evah!

Discuss amongst yourselves.

Sunday School: What am I?

This is the first in a series of lessons in spirituality and theology. It is primarily Christian based although I will try address issues from a neutral point of view.

The most important thing you can learn about yourself is this: You are a child of God.

So many times, as we talk to ourselves, we describe our imperfections, our weaknesses. But if we recognize that we come from perfection, we soon understand our importance. You are a child of God, created in his image. How can you be anything but perfect in your own way? Sure, you may have things you need to work on such as your weight or being a better steward, but at the core of your soul, you are perfect.

An evaluation of philosophy will find that "What am I?" is the ultimate question followed quickly by "What is my purpose?" It is the question posed by every scientist and philosopher from Aristotle to Einstein and it is the question we try to answer every single day of our lives.

Most of us are many things besides human. We give ourselves purpose in the labeling of our role in our relationships. For example, I am a wife, a mother, a daughter, a cousin, a friend, a co-worker, a customer and a neighbor. My behaviour in each of these relationships is different as well. I have a different relationship to my daughter than to my husband. My actions as a co-worker are different than my actions as a customer.

This week, as you think negative thoughts about yourself, replace each negative thought with "I am a child of God". I also suggest getting a notebook and writing and thinking on this statement. It is a powerful exercise and one that you will not soon forget.

Silly stuff that makes me happy

I Can Has Cheezburger makes me happy.

Case in point:
funny pictures of cats with captions
more animals

What silly things make you happy?

Now that we're done with Thanksgiving...

As discussed Saturday, Moo and I took Phoebe to see Santa.

She did quite well, even if we couldn't get her to smile for nothing. But at least she's not screaming or hiding her face in my shoulder like the kid before us.

And how do you keep a baby's pant legs from riding up? I think I pulled them down about 57 times before this pic was taken and still, there are her legs sticking out like the long gangly things they are (The kid's seriously got my dad's long legs).


This Thanksgiving is unlike any other to me.

In 2000, I was thankful for my new husband.

In 2002, I was thankful that I had made peace with my dad shortly before he passed away.

In 2004, I was thankful that Moo had amazing parents. They stepped up a lot when my mom passed away and were so supportive of me.

In 2006, I was thankful that I had a job I didn't hate, a terrific husband, and

Last year, I was thankful that after 2 years of trying, I was finally pregnant.

This year, I have so much to be thankful for.

I'm thankful that the pregnancy was relatively easy and resulted in an easy delivery.

I'm thankful for my husband, who has turned into an amazing father and somehow gets better at being a husband every day. I'm thankful to him too that he's keeping us together financially so that I can stay home with our daughter.

I'm thankful that we are finally debt free except for our house. I'm thankful that Moo and I showed some financial savvy when we bought our house in 2003 and got a low fixed rate mortgage.

I'm thankful that I am healthy and I feel good.

I am REALLY especially thankful for my baby girl. She is amazing in every way and I am in awe of her everyday. It still blows my mind that we have a baby.

What are you thankful for on this Thanksgiving?


I don't bake a lot, but I love to.

This year, Moo and I will be spending Thanksgiving with Moo's family and I am taking pie.

Well, 3 different pies to be exact.

This delicious Sweet Potato pie.

This fabulous Coconut pie.
And this amazing Chocolate pie.

I'm sharing the Sweet Potato pie recipe with you. The coconut and chocolate pie recipes are family secrets and if I tell you, I have to kill you.

Oh My Sweet Potato Pie


  • 4 ounces butter, softened
  • 2 cups cooked and mashed sweet potatoes
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 small can (5 ounces, about 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons) evaporated milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 2 prepared pie shells, unbaked


Mix butter, potatoes, sugar and evaporated milk until well blended. Add vanilla, eggs, and cinnamon; mix well. Pour into the prepared pie shells. Bake in a 350° oven for about 1 hour, until set.
Makes 2 pies.

Digital Scrapbooking

I've been scrapbooking for a number of years now.

I've got to get things together and scan a few of my layouts so you can see how marvelous they are.

Anyway, I've been playing with digital scrapbooking over the last few days and since I'm working on my Photoshop skills, I decided to wander over to Jessica Sprague's website to see what she has to say about the subject.

Turns out she's got a terrific little class to get you started and her classes are on SALE right now!!!

Here's my first attempt at digital scrapbooking...

Recipe for all you - I mean your - Turkeys!

Wanna make an awesome turkey this Thanksgiving?

Here's my no nonsense, super easy method of cooking turkeys:

What you'll need:
  • Roasting pan - either a real one or a disposable one
  • Paper towels
  • butter or margarine - stick butter is best
  • aluminum foil
  • salt
  • pepper
We'll be cooking Tom Turkey the night before the big day so plan in advance.

Now for the steps:
  1. Get one turkey.
  2. Thaw out said turkey. In the fridge for a couple of days is the safest way, but there are quick thawing methods in the event that you forget.
  3. Wash out your sink really well. Lots of hot water, a little soap and then a really good rinse. You'll be using your sink to prepare the turkey.
  4. Prepare your roasting pan. I have an actual roasting pan now, but in years past I've used one of those aluminum throwaway things. If you're using a real pan, line the bottom with aluminum foil to make clean up easy then place next to sink. If you're using a disposable, just put next to sink.
  5. You'll want a strip of aluminum foil to "tent" the bird. Pull off a piece that is a little longer than the length of the pan. Set aside but close to the pan.
  6. Unwrap the bird, put into the clean kitchen sink, and pull all the giblets and other goodies out of the body cavity. You can throw them away or save for giblet gravy or making stock later.
  7. Give the bird a good washing with cool water. Wash the inside and out.
  8. Using one or more paper towels, dry off the bird. Skipping this step won't be a deal breaker but will make the next steps more difficult.
  9. Using an ample amount of butter or margarine, use your hands to really grease up the bird. I also butter the inside of the bird and leave little dollops of butter inside. To prevent cross contamination, I use stick butter for this step and throw away the rest of the stick when I am done. Really grease that bird up. You should see the bird turn yellow you put so much on. If you've done it right, Paula Deen will approve*.
  10. Salt and pepper the inside and outside of the bird. I've known folks watching their sodium to use Mrs Dash but I think that's a sacrilege.
  11. Place bird, breast side up, in the roasting pan.
  12. Wash those nasty birdy hands!!
  13. Then, take the piece of foil you've set aside and create a tent for the bird. Fold it in half and lay over the bird. DON'T press down. It should rest lightly over the bird.
  14. Cook the bird overnight in a 275 degree oven. Yes, 275. Yes this is too low for safe cooking. Trust me. There's more. I usually start my turkey before I go to bed.
  15. In the morning, the house will smell WONDERFUL. BEWARE. You've cooked this bird with the low and slow method so we need to deal with any bacteria. DO NOT DECIDE TO EAT BIRD WITHOUT COMPLETING THE NEXT STEP or you'll spend the next couple of days regretting it!**
  16. Remove the tent. This will allow the bird to brown.
  17. Crank up the heat to 375 for 1-1/2 hours.
  18. Remove turkey from oven. Let rest for about 20 minutes and then lift out of juices and serve. The turkey will be perfectly done and delicious.
*Paula Deen loves butter. Everyone of her recipes requires a stick of butter or more.
** Salmonella poisoning is no fun.

Design your own mate

I met my husband in 1998, but I designed my husband in 1992.

My bestest friend and I had a fun idea one night. We would write a list of all the attributes that we wanted in our perfect mate and we would NOT settle for less. BFF's list was well over 100 attributes; mine had a little over 50 items.

What kinds of things did I put on the list? I decided this was to be a serious list so I didn't put things on it like "Must be cute" or "must be awesome" (I was 22 - "Awesome" was part of my vernacular). Instead, I put things on it like "Must never abuse me physically or mentally" (I had cause - that will have to be another post) or "Must not abuse alcohol or drugs" (again, I had cause- ack that's gonna be one interesting post).

About a year - maybe a year and a half - after Moo and I got married, I realized that Moo fulfilled EVERY SINGLE ATTRIBUTE on the list. Just last year, after seeing the movie The Secret, I realized that I put things into motion to get the person who fulfilled my requirements when I sat down and made a REAL plea to the universe to have this person in my life.

If you decided you wanted a particular experience or thing in your life, what would it be and what attributes would you want it to have?

Happy Holidays Almost!

Moo and I took Phoebe to see Santa today. Yes, I know it's November 22. Yes, I know that it's not even Thanksgiving yet. But Moo and I decided that the lines would be obnoxious after Thanksgiving and decided to go ahead and do it today.

No, you may not see the picture yet. It's going to be posted the day after Thanksgiving.

Only child

I am an only child.

So far, my daughter is an only child. Our fertility journey with her was not as painful or arduous as others' journey. But it made an impression on me that I will not soon forget and I am thankful for that impression.

Why am I thankful? Because I don't know that I would be as grateful for my daughter as I am now. She is a miracle. She is my miracle.

But as I said, she is an only child and will probably remain that way. I have said that I don't want to make a decision on whether to try again until Phoebe is at least a year old.

I asked my mother one time why she only had one child. She told me because she felt that she couldn't give another child everything that she could give to me. I never understood it. I thought she meant material goods.

But now I understand. How can I give another child the same love and attention and TIME that I am giving Phoebe now? My heart has plenty of room - I learned that when Phoebe was born. But what about time and attention? How can I possibly give another child that without depriving Phoebe?

As I said, I'm not making any hard and fast decisions until July. But it's always at the back of my mind.

Food, Glorious Food

Giant Baby

Phoebe had a very good 4 month check-up on Monday.

She's up to 15 pounds 2 ounces and an amazing 26-1/2 inches. The kid is TALL!! I didn't realize how tall she was until I was sitting in the well waiting room at the peds office and met a 9 month old little girl. She was toddling around and was fascinated by Phoebe. The little girl kept coming over looking at Phoebe and wanted to take the baby with her.

Conversation with the little girl's mom turned to how big our babies were at birth. The little girl was a healthy 7 pounds at birth and was now up to 17 pounds and 26 inches. I oohed and ahhed over the little girl.

When Phoebe was measured - again coming in at a tall 26-1/2 inches tall - I realized that my little pumpkin was TALLER than the little girl in the waiting room.

But I'm always reminded that she comes from tall people. All of Moo's family are tall and my dad's family are all giants (mom's family were all average height).

Phoebe is grumpy today

Not a lot of posting - or sleeping for that matter - going on.

4 months old

My daughter turned 4 months old yesterday. She's getting bigger every day and as this post updates to my blog, we're on our way to her 4 month well baby exam. Yes, there will be shots. But overall, I'll find out how amazing the doctor thinks she is...

I sat her in our favorite chair for these shots. She's such a happy baby. She can't sit up on her own, but she wants to sit up all the time. She doesn't like to lay on her tummy or on her back for that matter. She can't see that way.

Her little face lights up my world.
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We start 'em young in these parts

Phoebe with her Daddy at Starbucks.

Yeah, we start 'em young on the java juice...

Not really - don't get your panties in a wad!!

When you're almost 4 months old, fun is cheap

Phoebe will be 4 months old on Monday... this is one of her favorite games: Put something over her eyes, she starts giggling, take it off and she giggles again.

This is a sock.

Hilarity ensues....

So what do you do with your baby?

This may seem like an idiotic question, but what do you do with a baby after they stop sleeping all the time?

Let me expand on this a bit.

My daughter is 3 months old. She's awake a lot
more now and I don't know exactly what to do with her. She likes to sit in my lap, so we do that a lot.

She'll sit in the bouncy for a few minutes so I can do stuff in the kitchen.

She occasionally decides that her swing is not some sort of medieval torture device and will swing in it for 20-30 minutes before remembering that it is her mortal enemy.

I can also put her on the floor on the cute little play mat I got for her, but she doesn't like to be alone so I have to sit there with her while she's on it.

I also occasionally put her in the carrier and she has a good time there for a while (here she's trying to eat her hand - a favorite past time).
Of course, now that I look at this list, I realize I've got a lot of options.. so maybe y'all could just suggest some other activities??

Ways I will Screw Up my Kid: Third Time's the Charm!

This is the ongoing series where I detail how I am screwing up my kid... part one is here, and here is part two

5. I am no longer allowed within 10 yards of my delicate baby with nail clippers in my hand. Why? Because both times I've attempted to trim the claws that she insists on gouging her face with, I've nicked her fingers. This clipping has resulting in bleeding (minor), screaming (her - quickly comforted by momma), and crying and curling into a fetal position (not the child - but momma). Instead of clippers, I have been using an emery board to file down her talons.

One more look at Halloween

I said that we didn't decorate for Halloween, but I told a fib.

Moo decorated the mantle. It's a weird mixture of gory and sweet.

Yes, those are skulls on either side of a picture of my daughter.

NaBloPoMo - or I have gone insane

If you've read my blog at all, you probably know that I only post once or twice a week and that in the last few days, I've posted EVERY FRICKIN' DAY in NOVEMBER.

I'm participating in NaBloPoMo this month. NaBloPoMo stands for National Blog Posting Month and was started as a counter to NaNoWriMo which stands for National Novel Writing Month whereupon writers promise to write a 50,000 word novel during the month of November. NaBloPoMo is supposed to help folks make a habit out of writing.

I decided to participate in NaBloPoMo this month to both get myself writing more and in sympathy with Moo who is participating in NaNoWriMo this month.

While he only has to write about 1600 words a day about one subject, I've gone insane and have decided to write about a different topic every day. Yep, I've gone crazy.

Halloween Revisited

So as discussed earlier, we spent Halloween at my in-laws' house. This is because:
  1. Moo loves Halloween and has had a passion to decorate our house every Halloween.
  2. We don't get any trick or treaters and they get them LITERALLY by the truck load.
  3. Since we don't get any, we aren't especially interested in decorating for ourselves.
  4. Gives grandparents a chance to see/hold/adore/drool on their granddaughter.

For the most part, the decorations didn't photograph well, but this one did:

You've already seen Phoebe's costume so I won't bore you too much with photos of her.... well not much anyway.


I've been trying to come up with something clever all day. So far, I'm not coming up with much.

And Saturdays are even worse...

On Saturdays, I rarely stick to my schedule because I'm trying to be flexible.

Flexibility gives you a cranky 3 month old and dirty bottles and no clean ones with which to feed said cranky baby.

Fridays are difficult

Unlike most people, I find Fridays to be somewhat.. challenging now.

Let me 'splain.

Moo and I only have one car. On Fridays, I drive him to the train station and keep the car for various and sundry errands and grocery shopping. This is not the trouble. The trouble is that no matter what I get accomplished on Fridays, I never feel like I've accomplished anything.

Today, I've taken Moo to the train station, gone grocery shopping, stopped by the bank and gone to Baby Nirvana. I've also made a pitcher of formula, paid the guy who cuts our grass, taken out trash, gone to the chiropractor for an adjustment, filled, run and emptied the dishwasher and had lunch. On top of the fact that I'm toting a 3 month old around in a baby carrier who likes to be changed, fed, and played with on occasion.

It's the things I haven't done that seem to bog me down on Fridays. I still haven't gotten all the baby purchases out of the car. I wanted to make some cupcakes, clean the car, put a Netflix video in the mail, clean our master bathroom... the list goes on and on. And I know that I won't get it all done today. But then, sometimes it's hard for me to see the forest for the trees.

I'm generally an optimistic person so this glass half full feeling isn't very nice. I end up feeling like I'm just bumming around not getting anything done, wasting time, wasting the opportunity I've been given to stay home with my kid and make a living.

So, I'm resolving NOT to do this anymore. Here on day 5 of my 100 day reality challenge to change my life, I am always optimistic and know that there are only so many hours in the day. I get everything done that needs to be done. I am a great wife and mother and I love my life.

How do you let the little things bog you down?

Vision Boards

Today I've spent some time meditating about my intentions and I worked on my vision board.

What is a vision board you say? A vision board is a visible representation of the results of your goals and intentions. If you want a particular car, then you'd put a picture of the car. If you want to weigh a particular weight, you'd find a picture of yourself at that weight or someone else at that weight and put it on your board.

Vision boards help you focus more deeply on your intentions.

Do they work? Well, in August of 2007, I put this picture on my vision board:

and 3 months later I took this picture:

So yeah, it works.

So I'm sharing my vision board with you here. I'm making it my desktop background and will print a copy of it for my ACTUAL vision board in my bedroom. My vision board is in my bedroom because it's the first thing I see in the morning - well besides the lovely and talented Moo - and it's the last thing I see in the evening - except for the forementioned Moo.

What are you doing to make your dreams come true?

President Obama

I was born and raised in Atlanta, GA. Atlanta: the home of Coca-Cola, the best sweet tea in the world, and the middle of the 1960's Civil Rights Movement. Folks tend to think of the south as racist and backward with poorly educated rednecks.

My mother had grown up in Atlanta too, went to a public school before desegregation and taught me not to judge someone by the color of their skin. She was staunchly anti-racist and slammed my father for his racism on a regular basis (my dad was from a tiny town in south Georgia and racism seemed to be a way of life in that little town.. things have greatly changed now).

I grew up and went to public elementary school in the seventies - not long after school desegregation, but long enough that I never knew what it was like to go to an all white school. My best friend was a girl named Bridget, a pretty black girl one month older than me. Bridget braided my waist length hair every day during PE and lamented that my hair was too soft to hold the braid.

I tell you this because I was moved to tears last night when Barack Obama became the 44th president of the United States and the first black person to fill the office. My daughter will grow up in a world where race is no longer criteria for who gets to lead this country.

He won the presidency not because he's black or because he's a democrat. He won because he's smart and because he has been able to connect with people - black, white, Hispanic, straight, gay, conservative and liberal in a way that made us all want to work hard to get this relatively unknown guy into office.

I never believed that Hillary Clinton would win. I have always thought that she was divisive and, at this time, we need unity, not division. Obama has been able to unite us in the same way that Bill Clinton was able to unite us.

I have ALWAYS believed that a black man would be president before a woman of any race. Why? Because of what happened to Hillary - the comments about her tone of voice or her fashion sense. We're not quite ready to let go of the misogyny, but I really believed that we were ready to let go of the racism.

That's what my mother taught me. That the colors of the rainbow had nothing to do with your intelligence or your potential in this world. She taught me that only I had the power to hold myself back.

Thank God that Barack Obama's mother and grandparents taught him the same thing.

Ways I will screw up my kid, Part Deux

The second part in my ongoing series of how I will mess up my kid... part 1 can be found here

4. She can no longer rest on the ottoman in our living room like a jewel on a pillow. Why? 'Cause she rolled right off of it today. Scared the hell outta me, but she's ok. She cried for all of 30 seconds and was quickly comforted. I'm paranoid enough that I immediately went to Dr Google to look up concussions to see if Phoebe had one.

One Day More

Tomorrow is Election Day here in the states. While I've not been blatant about my pick - well unless you count the little sign over to the right of my blog page - I will say that I have already voted.

I voted for Barack Obama.

I have felt that Obama would be an excellent president ever since he spoke at the DNC back in 2004. After that, I read his book The Audacity of Hope and confirmed that his views on many subjects - politically, socially - mirror my own.

Even though I am a HUGE political news junkie, I have to admit to fatigue from this election. So with this in mind, I post the following YouTube video for your enjoyment.

Today in my reality: Day 1

I had intended to start this a few days ago, but a cold, coupled with going out of town and my daughter's first Halloween, just pushed everything back.

Over the next 100 days, I will focus on the following goals:
  1. I have a successful home based business where I use all the skills I really like to make a great income. I get to use my HR and payroll skills and knowledge every day. I use my creativity to solve problems and create products.
  2. I am healthier today than I was yesterday because I have a moderate diet and enjoy daily exercise. I am at my perfect weight and I feel great
  3. Prosperity flows in abundance in my life. Every time I pay a bill, I get 3X that amount the next week. I constantly win prizes. I find new sources of revenue EVERY SINGLE DAY.
I state these goals in the present, as if they've already happened. While these goals may or may not be achievable in the next 100 days, I will act as if they are already here.

Tools and Practices
  • Vision Board: I have had a vision board for nearly a year now. I need to update it to match my current goals.
  • Meditation: I'll spend a few minutes (no more than 10) using deep breathing techniques to quiet my mind and get myself centered on only positive thoughts and actions.
  • Journaling: Yep, you guys get to read the journal. Lucky you!
  • Positive Affirmations: I'll use these in my meditation sessions as well as during the day to ward off negative thoughts.
I'll go into further detail about vision boards and their uses in another post.

So that's it for today. Any questions?


We just got home from visiting Moo's family over the weekend.

We decorated their house for Halloween since they get kids by the truck load and we get NO - I mean ZERO trick-or-treaters. Halloween is Moo's favorite holiday so we got to try out several props... I've got pictures coming.

So, this is a short post, but I'll share a picture of my little monster with you.

The best baby gift EVER

I love the Itzbeen.

Oh folks tell you when you have a baby that you must have swaddling blankets (you do) and you must have a wipe warmer (what kind of pretentiousness is that?), but I'm telling you: YOU MUST HAVE AN ITZBEEN.

What is an Itzbeen you ask? Well, I could say that it's a timer but that would be too simplistic. It is a timer on acid. It is a work of art. It has prevented more than one argument here at Breakdown Central. It is a GODSEND.

OK, the official description is this:
The ITZBEEN Baby Care Timer has a host of helpful features all designed with the new parent in mind. As every new parent knows, your memory is one of the first things to go when a newborn arrives. The ITZBEEN Baby Care Timer is a multi-purpose tool that helps you remember the basic details of baby care. ITZBEEN has four timers, changing, feeding, sleep or awake time. Nursing reminder, which side nursed last. Display backlight helps count up with the touch of a you will always know how long it's been!

So here's the down-low: It's got 4 buttons, each with a little icon: a bottle, a diaper, zzzz's and a button for anything. When you get ready to feed the baby, you push the bottle button. When you change the baby, hit the diaper button and so on. When you hit the button, it starts a timer. There's also a little switch to denote which side you started breastfeeding from last time. Just slide the little switch and you're reminded. Later, when your kid is screaming their head off, you can look at the Itzbeen and know that the baby last ate 45 minutes ago so that may not be the issue, but the diaper button says it's been 2 hours so that's probably your best bet.

When we first brought Phoebe home, I was writing everything down, but realized that I knew just from looking how much she was eating (was only washing bottles once a day so it was easy) and I soon understood Phoebe's potty routines but that what I really needed to know was what time it was and when was the last time she ate, was changed, hold old the bottle was, etc. Enter the genius of the Itzbeen.

So now this amazing little item is my new baby shower present. It's the gadget you never knew you needed but once you get it, you won't be able to live without knowing how long ITZBEEN.

Ways I will screw up my kid

I believe that like the previous "Things I'd never do" segment, that this will become an ongoing series where I detail how and why I will screw up my kid making her as dysfunctional as the rest of us.


  1. I bonked her head on the handle of the carrier the day we brought her home from the hospital. She cried and then settled down and was fine. There was the lightest mark on her pristine little head that faded quickly, but I'm sure I damaged the part of her brain that will do long division or the part of her brain that will decide what nursing home to put me in one day.
  2. When she's crying hysterically or just really needy but I'm at the end of my patience, I have a tendency to put her down in her crib or pack and play and say "Kid, you'll need to hang out for a minute. I've got other stuff to do." Then, I take a break and regain my senses and then pick her up again and deal with whatever the issue is. I am sure she will have some sort of trust issues and will put me in a terrible nursing home one day.
  3. I call her "Kid" a lot. I am sure she will never learn her proper name and will go through life saying "My name is Phoebe, but everyone calls me 'Kid'". I have always jokingly said that I thought my own middle name was "Damn it" until I was 12. I am sure this is punishment for besmirching my parent's good name.

100 days old

Phoebe Elizabeth, you are officially 100 days old.

A year ago, my goal was to get pregnant for a chance at a child like you. Now? My goal for the last 100 days was surviving having a newborn.

You are a delight, Phoebe. You waken every morning with a smile. You pull your little body into the most amazing stretch every morning - both feet pulled up to your chest, your arms stretched wide.

Your daddy and I are constantly amazed that we have a child that appears to be a morning person, whereas Daddy and I are .. well, we're afternoon people.. well on second thought, your Daddy is a night owl. But, I digress.

You've started laughing this quick hearty chuckle that I can't help laughing at. I still don't know what will set off your little laugh but you seem to be developing your own sense of humor.

You are growing like a weed. You started out at 8 pounds 15 ounces and now you're up to almost 13 pounds.. you've also grown from 19-1/2 inches to nearly 24 inches long. We had to go clothes shopping for you because you've grown out of nearly all of the clothes that were gotten for you before you were born (there's a few items that are still WAY too big).

You are a fabulous eater. You're eating about 4-5 ounces every 3-4 hours. But, you know your limits. If I try to push you to finish a bottle, you wrinkle up your little nose and screw up that gorgeous little mouth. Mommy alternates between preparing bottles as needed by using room temperature water and formula powder and prepared bottles. Mommy finally got a formula pitcher to mix everything in.. there's few lumps cause Mommy takes her aggressions out in shaking the bottle!

We've got a little routine, you and I. You wake up about 5 am, about the time your daddy gets up for work. Then, you get changed and eat. Then, you take a nice long morning nap - about 3 or 4 hours. Then it's time for another bottle and you're awake for a while. Mommy loves to sit with you on her lap and just talk talk talk... then it's time for another bottle and then you're down for another nap. Your afternoon nap is about 1-1/2 to 3 hours.. and then you're up and time for another bottle. Then it's time for Daddy to come home, dinner, a little family time and then time for bed.

Have I mentioned that you're a great sleeper? You sleep through the night 5 out of 7 nights. And Mommy has learned that if she reads the signs right and puts you down when you're comfortably sleepy but not EXCRUCIATINGLY EXHAUSTED, you go to sleep with a smile on your face too.

Thank you, my darling girl, for the most exciting, most amazing 100 days. My life is forever changed. I would not trade ANYTHING for the last 100 days. And I wouldn't trade anything for being your mom.

My little monster

Internet access was spotty and in fact went out last week. I am fending off a cold with fluids and positive thinking. (I feel great. I feel great. I am clear. My nose is clear.)

Working on a few items and hope to have some posts up soon for various projects I'm working on. Meanwhile, you need a picture of my kid to make you as happy as me.

This is my little monster. This picture was taken this past Saturday and she was a real trouper even though mommy wanted her to get pix done in both her monster Halloween costume as well as a little dress.

Phoebe's 3 months old! and a new video!

Today, Phoebe is officially 3 months old.

She sleeps through the night - for the most part. She's an expert napper and has a growing attention span.

Fresh pictures are coming this weekend.. but meanwhile, here's a new video:


Aunt Flo came with a vengeance.

I was reading in the Baby Bible (AKA What to Expect the First Year, Second Ed ) that my first period postpartum might be more painful and longer than usual so I wasn't totally shocked when I started. But what I was shocked about was how worn out I am!!

Instead of my easy 3-4 day period, I've had an 8 day period with bad cramping, heavy flow, blood clots, you name it. Thank God for the giant maxi pads I had left over from after Phoebe was born. Additionally, I am wiped out physically. Just DOG tired. I've been combating fatigue with a little extra rest and lots of fluids and it seems to be subsiding.

Found one downside to the NuvaRing though.. you gotta put that thing back in - even if you're having a period. By the time I was done getting it back in place, it looked like I'd been doing field surgery during a war. Not at all pleasant, but a lot better than taking a pill every day.

"Don't get your socks in it!"

I am always shocked by poop.

Not my poop, but the poop of my daughter, that delicate little flower.

My mother, who routinely drove me crazy about all kinds of things, was a Poop Nazi. You see, I am not a Daily Pooper. A Daily Pooper does just that - poops daily. I am a bi-weekly to thrice-weekly pooper.

My lack of daily pooping drove my mother to distraction when I was a child. "When did you last poop? Are you constipated? Does your stomach hurt? Do you need to potty?" These were questions that I endured until I was well into adulthood.

If I was crabby, it must mean that I needed to poop. If I was distracted, I needed to poop. If my head hurt - you guessed it, I should poop. It was a cure-all - no need for fancy medicine or scientific advances in medicine, people just needed to poop more often.

My mother would be proud of my daughter. Phoebe is a daily pooper. She obviously inherited this ability from her father or from my mother's side of the family.

My first experience with Phoebe's pooping ability came on the day she came into this world. Until you have experienced meconium or a newborn's first bowel movement, you don't know what true horror is.

Moo and his mom had left the hospital get some dinner and pick up a couple of missed items at the drugstore. Almost as soon as they left, the nurses swooped into the room and got me out of bed for the first time post-c section. While I've never written about that experience (and I need to) suffice it to say that when I finally returned to my bed, I was exhausted and drained in many ways.

At this point, the nurses instructed me that Phoebe needed to be fed and probably changed. "No problem," I said. I had a tiny bottle full of formula and I had some idea of how to use it. My tiny baby sucked down 1/2 an ounce and burped beautifully. I was praised for my feeding and burping ability. Then, came time for the diaper.

I don't know what I expected from that first diaper, but it wasn't the vile, viscous, gelatinous black stuff I found on my daughter's hide. It was evenly distributed all over her hind-end. I considered running away right then, but the nurse said "Oh good, she's passing the meconium already."

I failed to see how this was good, as I was convinced that we needed a priest but never the less went to work trying to clean this stuff up. It laughed at the provided baby wipes - I used half a dozen to attempt to mop the goop up, but the moisture just seemed to make it spread. I expressed my concern about the lasting power of this stuff and the nurse suggested a warm wash cloth. This was slightly more useful, but I never want to know what happened to that cloth or if it came into contact with anyone's face.

Even now, every time I open Phoebe's diaper and am met with poop, I express my shock by saying loudly:

"Good grief!"


"What am I feeding you? How did you get birdseed in your poop?"

or my favorite: "Don't get your socks in it!" as my incredibly flexible daughter touches her bottom with her little sock covered feet.

One day, I will get over my poop shock, right now, I'm just trying to resist the urge to be a poop nazi.

To control or not to control

For the first time since 2005, I've got to think about birth control of all things. I was on the Pill back in 2005 when Moo and I decided to become parents. If you'll remember, it took us two years, constant monitoring of my cycles, two Ovarian cysts and 3 months of Metformin to achieve pregnancy. Not the kind of long hard trip that some folks go through, but long and tiring and aggravating.

So when I went to House O' Babies for my 6 week check-up a few month ago, midwife Lois was ready to talk birth control. To that point, I knew a couple of things. I knew I didn't want to go back on the pill. I was on the pill from the age of 19 until 35 to make me actually have a period and I just didn't want to deal with it. First 6 months I was on the pill, I lost 30 pounds and while that sound fairly tempting, I lost weight because I was nauseous all the time.

Second thing, I'd decided I wasn't going to go on birth control. I'd gotten pregnant because I'd used the tactics of Taking Charge of Your Fertility (TCOYF) to understand my best chances at fertility. Also it had taken medical intervention for us to get pregnant. So I figured that getting pregnant spontaneously was a distant possibility.

So knowing that I didn't want to use medical intervention, I went ahead and discussed BC options with Lois - basically to shut her up. She came up with Nuvaring after I told her I didn't want to go back on the pill (She first recommended Mirena, but said it might be more difficult to insert since I didn't labor or dilate). Then she gave me a prescription and 3 samples of the ring.

Fast forward a couple of weeks of unprotected lovin' and Manda's paranoid. Still no period. No signs of fertility ala TCOYF. Nothing. Reassurances from What to Expect When Your Expecting and Dr Google that it can take up to 24 WEEKS before menstruation returns after delivery.

Decide it can't hurt to try Nuvaring. Application is amazingly easy. Moo takes a "whatever you want to do babe, I'll support you" attitude.

Fast forward almost another two weeks and last night I'm peeing on a stick to allay my fears that despite everything, I'm pregnant.

Yes, people. I peed on a stick.

Why did I pee on a stick? Well I'm tired. Could be that I'm tired cause I'm a new mom, don't get the best sleep, stayed up late almost every night over the weekend.

Also I'm nauseous. Yes, it's a known side effect of the Nuvaring. It's also something I do when it's time for my period. I was also sick as a dog during the first trimester so I feel slightly vindicated for this one.

I am happy to say that the test was negative. Now, on with our show.

More shameless exploitation of my kid - Vicious Monster Edition

Let the candidates know how you feel...

WebMD is putting together some questions to pose to the presidential candidates...

Go check it out and submit your own questions...

Ask the Candidates

What's happening now...

The last few weeks have been kind of a roller coaster.

First of all, we had a freakin' baby! My brain still has trouble wrapping around that idea. I mean she's here. She's so damn cute and she makes my heart melt with a smile. If you had told me this time last year that I'd have a 2 month old baby, I'd have asked you what you were smoking. I was so discouraged with the whole fertility issue and we were seriously talking about giving up on the idea of having our own child.

So she's here and I couldn't be happier. But her coming has caused us to take a closer look at some other issues in our life.

First issue, Moo and I have made some serious headway into becoming debt-free. I've been listening to Dave Ramsey for a couple of years ago and while I don't agree with everything he says, I feel like he's spot on that debt is crippling this country. Moo and I have been steadily working on becoming debt-free since last Christmas and we paid off a heck of a lot of our debt prior to Phoebe's birth. We've only got a few things left to pay and we decided to, in Dave Ramsey's words, "Drink the Kool-Aid" and do something crazy. That crazy was selling Moo's car.

Moo has had a VW Beetle since we got married back in 2000. He owned a black one then and he decided to trade it in and get a red convertible Beetle in 2005. This thing is the most fun vehicle in the world, but has been nothing but a world of trouble. It's been in and out of the shop since we bought it with sensor issues, computer problems, strange warning lights, you name it. The sheer aggravation of this thing was enough to make Moo start thinking of getting rid of it a few months ago. But right around Labor Day, we got something in the mail from the local VW dealer saying that his particular year was in high demand. So we went over and talked to them. They offered him almost twice what was owed on it and we're paying off a couple of major debts with the proceeds.

Next, I got a notice the other day that a small pension that I had at a previous employer was shutting down and I needed to make a decision on how I wanted my funds to be dealt with. I could let it roll to the new fund where it wouldn't earn more than 1% yearly, I could roll it to an IRA where the market would affect it - and since the market sucks right now, I didn't think that was a good idea or I could take it as a lump sum. Of course, being a former tax professional, I knew there were tax implications related to taking it as a lump sum, but paying off the remainder of our debt except for a small loan and our house seemed to be the most prudent thing to do. So I didn't have any problem signing the paperwork to get the lump sum processed. So basically, during the month of September, we have all but eliminated our debt.

Money issues leads me to the biggest change except for the baby. I decided a few days ago to quit my job and stay home with Phoebe full time. I had been thinking of doing this since I was about 4 months pregnant, but wasn't sure how we could do it. While Moo makes almost twice what I make and what he makes is nothing to sneeze at, our debts were such that it would have been incredibly tight around here. However, with our debts disappearing at a rapid rate, and after calculating child care costs, rising gas prices and other incidentals, it just makes more sense to stay home.

This was a really hard step for me. I had some incredibly good friends at my job and I enjoyed 75% of my job. I hated the stupid things like commuting 30 miles one way and increasing jackassery by top management (not the locals - I liked my boss and his boss), but the folks there were great and the customers were great.

But I'm not just going to be a stay-at-home-mom (SAHM), I'm going to be a WAHM or work-at-home-mom. I had played around with starting my own business last year, but decided that I didn't want to do retail. For one thing, keeping inventory in my dining room kinda sucked. I was able to sell all my inventory and I may tinker with some retail as a fun outlet, but my main business will be to use my HR and administrative skills in a virtual environment. I've been seeking a good place to do this and have been doing some freelance recruiting while I get the rest of my business going.

There's some other stuff that I want to talk about and I will in the next few days, but I think you can see that my life has changed in so many ways in the last couple of months... and I wouldn't trade my life for anything.

Now, some more cute exploitation :)

Shameless Exploitation of Cute

I took Phoebe to the pediatrician last Thursday and she's doing just great. She's up to 12-1/2 pounds and is 23-1/2 inches long - in the 85th percentile where she's been since she was born.

We're eating 3-4 ounces every 2-1/2 to 3 hours and we mostly sleep through the night (well until 4:30 or 5AM but since we get up at 5, I think it counts).

While we were there, Phoebe got shots - a lot of them! I was nervous about this. I was allergic to the DTP as a child and ran such high fevers that I never completed the whole course. As a result, I got whooping cough when I was 12 - not a fun experience. And that fun continues a long time - they don't tell you that the "whoop" can continue for the rest of your life. For example, I got a bad case of bronchitis back in the spring and started coughing really bad - yep, you guessed it, I started "whooping". It hurts like hell and when I was a kid, it scared me really badly.

Phoebe got her shots and hasn't had any kind of reaction. Not even a little spike in temp... The DTP has been replaced with DTaP which is supposed to have a lot fewer reactions.

And now, the shameless exploitation part. Moo got me a flip video camera as a shower present and I've been having fun capturing little parts of Phoebe's day.

You'll see more cute later this week... too much might run your blood sugar up too much!

What makes my heart melt...

Things I said I'd never do - or how I use that salt as I eat my words...

I'm imagining this will be the first in a continuing series where I detail things I said I'd never do as a parent. Until you've had a newborn screaming at you, you don't really know what you'll do and I imagine that as I go, the word "newborn" will be replaced by infant, toddler, preschooler, etc.

So here's the first thing:

I will never use a pacifier to calm my child.

Ha! This one was dead at the hospital. The hospital where Phoebe was born readily used pacifiers and taught Moo and I several tricks to make her take it when she was really upset.

My mother told two stories about her hatred of pacifiers. The first, involved me. I was about 2 weeks old and my parents gave me a pacifier to settle me down. These were the old fashioned ones that were totally made of brown rubber including the ring, mouth guard, etc. I had been pulling it out of my mouth and screaming, so my Dad - in his infinite wisdom - cut off the ring making it the first ringless pacifier. He didn't count on his daughter being creative at 2 weeks.

Mom said she was on the phone with a favorite aunt while I was in my bassinet a few feet away. She said that I was noisily sucking on the pacifier when I suddenly became quiet. Mother was paranoid even then and decided I was too quiet. She checked on me and I had the ENTIRE pacifier in my mouth - nipple and guard. She said my eyes were bulging slightly and I was turning blue - obviously I hadn't figured out how to breathe out of my nose - and she had to pry my mouth open a little to slide her finger in to pop out the pacifier. I was instantly pissed and cried for hours. From that day, my parents never used another pacifier.

The second story involved our next door neighbor.

Noelle was exactly one month younger than I. She was also addicted to her pacifier. She had to have one at all times to the point of shrieking hysterically that she'd lost her "passy" at my FIFTH birthday party. Her parents literally had decorative bowls around their house filled with pacifiers. Should a passy not be found - like in the middle of the night - her father would go rushing to the nearest all night drugstore (not an easy feat in 1975) to get another. My parents expressed their disgust of Noelle's passy addiction by furtively stuffing their pockets with all the pacifiers they found at the neighbors house and then throwing them away. I, too, was guilty of hiding Noelle's passys - mainly cause she was such a little brat about them.

As for my use of Pacifiers with Phoebe - well, sometimes she likes them, sometimes not. Last night, she was really fussy and wanted nothing to do with a pacifier. Only laying on my chest would calm her down. But sometimes, if she gets really agitated, we swaddle her tightly (how long does that work?!?) and pop the pacifier in her mouth. She'll calm down and go to sleep.

So what have you said you'd never do, but did?

Photo Journey thru Phoebe's first month

An Open Letter to my Family

(Writer's note: I've been estranged from much of my extended family on both sides for several years now. I won't go into the details now...)

Ok, I give up. I've tried on numerous occasions to offer an olive branch and make peace with you.

For those of you on my father's side, I know we disagree regarding several things, but you could have at least informed me of my grandmother's death yourselves. The first notice I received from an actual family member was when I received a check with my father's share of her estate almost SIX MONTHS AFTER SHE DIED. I thought that was pretty tacky, but I can forgive it. I'm sorry that Aunt Kay passed away. Like my grandmother, I found out about her loss from the same family friend - who you also seem to be punishing for her contact with me.

For those of you on my mother's side, specifically those of you that decided to out and out ignore me at the mall Sunday. I have tried to make peace. As far as I can see, the sins I'm being punished for were my mother's. Mother could hold a grudge as well as any of you and did in the last years of her life. But I don't know why you punish me as well. I've only ever wanted to be friends with you. For my aunt particularly, your behavior hurts me the most. Long before I met my husband, you and I were buddies, going to shows and galleries. I thought we enjoyed each other's company and I miss that. I've hoped that we could at least be civil with each other and to that end, I made sure you knew that I was pregnant and were informed when Phoebe was born.

So, I'm sorry. I'm sorry for whatever it is that you think I did. If I knew what I did, I'd apologize for that, but I don't know and you won't tell me. What punishment you deal to me, I can handle, but you are the losers here because I have a daughter who looks just like those you loved the most. It's in not knowing her that will be your punishment.

If you could see her puzzled look, you would see my father and grandfather. I swear every time she gets a thoughtful look, I feel like my father is watching me. She has the same wonky knees and long legs.

But her smile - oh, her smile is my mother's and uncle's. When she smiles, she lights up my heart and I am reminded of my mother laughing at some joke or my uncle Larry at some mischief.

This is what you are missing and for this I am sorry for you.

Childbirth as Therapy

When Phoebe was born, I found myself missing my mother and father so much. In the first few days after her birth, particularly during late night/early morning feedings when it's quiet and I have time to think, I could barely make it through a feeding without weeping all over her tiny head.

I never knew that the hormones would be this crazy nor that having Phoebe would open up so many old wounds. She reminds me of my parents and other loved ones in so many ways and during the quiet of the night, I look at her in wonder and love and think about all those people who would love her so much if they were here.

It seems like having her has ripped the band aid off of things that I thought were healed but in reality were just scabbed over. Do we ever really heal from the death of a loved one? Or do we just kind of get used to their loss?

While I am able to think about my parents and remember the fun and aggravation of both of them, it's during the late nights that I think about how much they loved me and how much, were they here, they would have loved Phoebe.

How we got here...

Tuesday, July 15 found me at home. My back was still killing me. If you remember, I went to see Hellboy II on Saturday and the baby dropped while we were there. She was sitting directly on my sciatic nerve causing me extreme pain and difficulty walking.

I spoke to a midwife via phone Monday night when the pain just wouldn't ease up. She suggested a couple of Tylenol PM and a warm bath and visit to the office the next morning.

So, I stayed at home Tuesday and Moo did as well. He is so sweet and took really good care of me.

Tuesday afternoon, I had an appointment at House O'Babies and the Perinatologist. Just before we left for the OB/GYN appointment, I got a call from the perinatologist's office. It was Jen, one of Dr P's nurses to update me on the amniocentesis. Spider Monkey's lungs were now mature and they were going to consult with House O'Babies.

So by the time I got there, Dr R (a very nice doctor from South Africa) was ready to talk about our next step. After talking about the size of the baby, my back and how tall I am, he asked me to strongly consider a c-section. I was in so much pain that it didn't take much to convince me.

So we were scheduled for a c-section the NEXT morning. Meanwhile, I needed to get over to the hospital for blood work and preregistration, go to my appointment with Dr P, get our animals to the vet for boarding and eventually get some dinner. Needless to say, there was a lot of running around which was REALLY difficult considering how bad my back was.

At Dr P's office, we got a final look at Spider Monkey on ultrasound and a final estimate on weight (8 pounds 11 ounces) and then we were off to the hospital across the street for blood work and paperwork. Then it was back home to get the pets packed and taken to the vet for boarding.

About 8PM, we were finally able to get some dinner.

Next morning, I was awake bright and early. My back was still killing me. I was having trouble walking. Moo dropped me off at the door of the hospital and I got signed in. Quickly, everything started to move ahead.

We were sent to the c-section pre-op area where I put on a clean gown and was prepped for surgery. A cavalcade of folks started to introduce themselves to me: the OB/GYN who would be doing the surgery, the assisting OB/GYN, their nurse, the OR nurse, and the anesthesiologist's physician's assistant (to be known as the Gay PA).

I was walked to the OR and was helped onto the table. Because of my back, this was a slow arduous process. Finally, I was on the table and positioned for a spinal block. I had to practice arching my back while they swabbed my back with the coldest stuff on Earth. I asked if they kept it in the refrigerator just to torture folks.

The anesthesiologist came in then and started to place the block. This was not the most pleasant thing I've ever experienced, but compared with the last amniocentesis was no big deal. The doctor was futzing with the needle and it was my job to stay in position and to tell him what I felt. What I felt was a shock down first one leg and then the other. The Gay PA then asked if I could stretch my back out anymore. Sure I said and bent over a little more. That allowed the anesthesiologist to slide the needle right in. The Gay PA said, "Why didn't you do that before?" I said because they said they wanted me to arch my back like a cat - leaning way over didn't feel like I was arching anything.

Anyway, the doctor started putting in the medicine and I had to quickly get into place while I could still move my legs. I seriously felt for a minute like I was falling off the table, but the Gay PA grabbed me and said that I wasn't falling. I lay down and quickly felt this lovely warm feeling through my legs and into my back.

How can I describe what it feels like to have a spinal block? For one thing, you still feel things. I couldn't feel pain (the doctor was poking me with a scalpel and all I felt was a brushing feeling), but I could feel movement. It felt a lot like when your foot falls asleep. You can still feel it when you touch it with your hand, but you can't tell what's happening.

The Gay PA kept me well informed the whole time. When I felt my legs being moved, he told me that a catheter was being inserted - sorry, you don't get any modesty while having a baby. Then, my arms were extended and strapped down. Things were attached to my fingers and a drape was placed. I could feel the same FREEZING cold liquid on my belly as they got my belly ready for surgery. Then, the surgeons came in and started poking me to be sure I was good and numb. Moo was brought in and seated in the chair of honor next to my head. He was suited up in a gown, cap and mask so all I could see of him was his eyes.

Seemingly within a couple of minutes, an odor wafted through the air. Gay PA leaned over to me and said, "What you're smelling is the cauterizing knife we use to minimize bleeding."

"So, that's the smell of my flesh burning?" I asked.

"Uh, yeah."

"Smells like bacon," I said more to myself than to the PA.

"I don't like to tell people that cause they freak out, but yeah, it smells like bacon," said the Gay PA.

"Bibbity bobbity BACON!" I declared with my eyes closed.

I mostly dozed thru a lot of it. Within what seemed like just a couple of minutes, Gay PA told Moo to get his camera ready. Then I could feel some pressure and then something like a PLOP! And then they were saying she was out and Moo was snapping photos like crazy.

Moo and the baby were taken to another room for examination while the doctors patched me up. I dozed for most of it, but I remember one particular moment when I felt like I was suffocating. Gay PA started giving me meds to combat the feeling and at my request, moved a blanket covering my chest away from my face.

And then it was over. They were removing the drape and releasing my arms and I was moved from the operating table to a gurney to be moved to recovery.

In recovery, I was placed next to Phoebe who was explaining to the staff in very loud uncertain terms her opinion of being in the world. She was struggling to breathe a little and a NICU nurse was evaluating her and suctioning fluid out of her lungs. I didn't find this surprising since we'd just gotten the all clear on lung maturity and the fact that she didn't get the benefit of the squeeze in the birth canal to help her clear them.

After a few minutes, they took us to our room on one of the Mother/Baby floors. I have to back up here. The hospital where Spider Monkey was born has an amazing Maternity area. They have a separate building dedicated to Birthing. One floor is dedicated to birth, the other 4 floors are all post-partum rooms. And the post-partum rooms are GIGANTIC!!

We got to our Mother/Baby (post-partum) room and then my nurse decided that SM was struggling a little too hard to breathe and sent her down to NICU for evaluation. This facility has a level 3 NICU unit and has a sub-unit called "Transitional NICU" for babies that are either close to being discharged or just need a little extra care but don't need full intensive care. Phoebe was sent to "Transition" for about 5 hours. Before she was sent, I got to hold her for maybe 30 minutes.

If anything, this is the thing I regret the most. I only had a few minutes with her before she was whisked away and when she was brought back to me, the spinal block had worn off and I was beginning to feel some pain.

Nevertheless, I was able to bond with my baby that night as she screamed her way through the evening. At one point, Moo and I were looking at each other at about 3 am like "What the hell have we done?" She passed out at about 5AM and we followed her.

Next day, she was sweet and engaging and just a joy to be around.

Stir Crazy

Let's meander thru Amanda's thought processes a little, shall we?

First, I went to my primary care doc last week to check on my back. I love my PCP. He was also the doc to my grandmother, father and mother and he sees Moo as well. He's covered us all and he's only in his mid-forties. He oohed and ahhed over little Miss Phoebe and then checked me out. He agreed with the sciatica diagnosis, but wanted me to have a urine culture too to eliminate that from the list. Yesterday, I got a call that I do indeed have a urinary tract infection and I'm on lovely Bactrim to deal with it.

What's so bad about this is that I haven't been feeling good at all, but have been ignoring it largely because I'm almost 4 weeks postpartum and figured it was all part of that. I've actually been healing quite well from the c-section, but have been really tired and achy lately and just figured that I was overdoing my activities.

As noted in another post, my back and the c-section healing have caused me to become a little stir-crazy, so when I do get out of the house, I am more likely to do something incredibly stupid like wander around the mall or around Baby Nirvana (BRU) for long periods of time until my back is starting to tighten up. As with other things with me, I have no idea what "slow and steady" means. As a result, when we get home, I'm on the couch or in bed bitching and complaining about my back and crying in frustration.

The baby is doing really well. Moo and I seem to understand how to take care of this little creature and with the exception of a few times, our home is still relatively quiet. She's a really good baby and just doesn't cry that much. (except for today when she wants to be held all day!!)

As noted above, there is still a little bit of weepiness, but it has largely passed (THANK GOODNESS!!). Now, I'm into feeling guilty.

When my back is bothering me at night, I need help from Moo and it just kills me to ask it of him. Yes, I know this is his kid too and yes, I know I just had major surgery a few weeks ago now along with a UTI making me feeling like crap. But, logic doesn't apply here.

I feel like since he's leaving home everyday to go to work that he should be able to rest a bit when he gets home. I hate to be the kind of wife that comes up with some insane number of tasks that need to be completed the moment he walks in the door. I'd like to enjoy his company and would like him to have time with Phoebe as well.

Ok - so I lied

This writing coherent thoughts while taking care of a newborn, recovering from a c-section and healing my back thing isn't quite working like I thought it would. Of course, I didn't count on sciatica complicating things. I'm still working on the birth story and will have it up soon.

Yes, my back is still bothering me. I've visited my chiropractor twice now since leaving the hospital a week and a half ago and while my back is 100% better, it's still not better. Meaning that while I can mostly walk around the house and do a couple of things here and there like take care of the baby without sobbing (something I couldn't do the first couple of days we were home), I'm still pretty much housebound and will remain this way for at least a few more days.

What I should have done was visit my chiropractor the day before Phoebe was born. I had an appointment scheduled for that morning. But, I talked myself out of it because I thought all my problems were because of the baby resting on the nerve. But unbeknownst to me, my hip was out too and that really caused a massive amount of inflammation.

So, two chiro visits later, a little rest, some well placed ice packs and massive amounts of Advil and Vicodin and I'm at 75%. This is a huge improvement over when I first got home. Then, I would say I was at 25% - maybe lower. Add in a healthy dose of baby blues and you have one unhappy new momma.

Now, for my friends who know my history of depression, I know what you're thinking. The difference here is how I feel. When I've been depressed, there was a certain amount of hopelessness - that feeling that things would never improve but would just stay miserable forever. This is different. I know that things will improve, but I am frustrated and impatient and want said improvement NOW!!

Also, I am crying a lot. I don't cry when I'm depressed. I rave. I rant. I pull into myself and don't talk. This is like PMS on acid. I get weepy over commercials and lyrics from songs. I'm also crying a lot in frustration - see above.

During depressive episode, I also have a tendency to want to stick close to the house. This time? I'm itching to get out. It's only my back and the fact that I have a 13 day old infant that keeps me at home.

Yes, I said a 13 day old infant. How incredible is that?

What should have never happened - did. What miracle and a joy she is! She is without a doubt the happiest baby I've seen. You may call her smiles gas, but I'm going to say she's happy. She is quite content with herself and seems to just take joy in being alive.

Something we can all learn from...

There's more coming tomorrow.. I PROMISE!!

Now that we've been home for a few days and I'm feeling a little better, I wanted to take a chance to thank everyone for their good wishes. It was great to check e-mail on my cell phone and see so many good thoughts coming our way.

In keeping with my tendency towards full disclosure here, I am writing a really long post about our birth story. Look for it to be online tomorrow - Saturday at the latest.

Here's a pic to tide you over...

First pic of Spider Monkey

From: John Saye <>
Sent: Wednesday, July 16, 2008 2:53 PM
To: Amanda Saye <>
Subject: Phoebe

Sent from my iPhone

She's here! Phoebe Elizabeth joined the world at 9:18 this morning. She weighs 8 pounds and 15 ounces and 19 1/2 inches long.

She's here! Phoebe Elizabeth joined the world at 9:18 this morning. She weighs 8 pounds and 15 ounces and 19 1/2 inches long.

This mobile text message is brought to you by AT&T

Tomorrow is the DAY!!

We're scheduled for a c-section tomorrow at 9:30 AM.

I am excited, scared, ready.

As soon as I or Moo can operate the cell phone, I'll send some photos to the blog. Meanwhile, my brain is too busy to put together a serious entry.

Her lungs are now mature and we're ready to rock and roll!!!

Third time is the charm and my ass hurts!!

Ok, so Friday was the second amnio to check Spider Monkey's lung maturity. I first had an appointment at House O'Babies with nice midwife Lois and then it was next door to the perinatologist's office for the amnio.

Lois assured me that the pelvic girdle pain I've been feeling is totally normal and that besides a belly belt, there's not a lot we can do. Sigh..

Next it was down the hall to Dr P's office. As I've said before, I really like my perinatologist, but by the end of this last visit, I'd be glad never to see him again.

It took THREE attempts to get the fluid sample. The first one didn't "feel" right. The second one was thwarted by baby's leg - which he tried to move by jostling my belly while the NEEDLE WAS IN MY STOMACH. But it was the last attempt that made me almost jump off the table. The first syringe he drew up was full of blood - not a good sample. He changed out the syringe while the needle was still in my belly and can I say GOOD GRIEF THAT HURTS YOU B!$T!RD?!?!

I have a pretty high tolerance for pain. I didn't make a noise through the first two attempts. I just kept my breathing slow and easy and my eyes focused on the ceiling. By the end of the third attempt, I was whimpering and telling him this had better be the last attempt.

I realized as I walked to the car afterwards that the first amnio back on July 1 was a walk in the park compared to this. After that first one, I didn't really have any cramping, just soreness at the injection site. This time, I had painful cramps and thought I'd vomit from the pain.

For the rest of the evening, I lounged on the couch. I had some severe contractions, but they would go away if I changed position or drank something.

Of course, looking back, there was funny moment. I was walking out of Dr P's office after the procedure. You have to walk through the waiting room to exit. As I walked through, I said to myself but loud enough for anyone to hear, "That hurt like a son of a bitch!" I saw more than one preggo look at me in fear and surprise, like what kind of ultrasound did she have?!?! I know a little sick and twisted of me, but you take your kicks where you can when you've been stuck in the belly with a giant needle 3 times!!!

Next appointment is tomorrow (Tuesday) with both another MD at House O'Babies and Dr P to find out results of the amnio.

Saturday, I was feeling a lot better, so Moo and I decided we'd go do something nice and easy. So we went to see Hellboy II - very good, I highly recommend it.

While we were in the theater, I felt SM shift and I think she dropped or lightened or whatever folks call it now. I went into the theater with pelvic girdle pain and left with sciatica. By yesterday morning, I was finding it difficult to walk.

This morning, I'm ok, but the sciatica is incredible. I can stand up with no pain and sit with no pain which is new. With the pelvic girdle issue, both of these were an issue. Now it's moving one foot in front of the other that makes me wince.

My co-workers are amused when I suddenly yell out, "My ASS HURTS!".. Really, these people have no idea of how to deal with me.


I am at a complete loss of what to write here. So many things are happening and not happening all at the same time.

Last time I posted, I told you guys about having an amniocentesis to check Spider Monkey's lung maturity.

On Thursday, I went back to House O'Babies. They had the initial report from the perinatologist stating that the tests suggest immaturity and suggesting a repeat amnio in 10 days. I discussed this with midwife Michael and said that another amnio 10 days later would put us squarely at the end of week 37 and that I had been told that House O'Babies would want to induce/section me the very next week (week 38) according to their protocols so I wasn't sure what the purpose of another amnio was. Michael agreed with me, but said that we needed to discuss further with Dr Potter (the perinatologist).

Spider Monkey was in a funny position on Thursday and it was difficult to get her heartbeat so Michael wanted me to come back on Monday both to consult about the amnio again and to get the NST. Michael also checked my cervix - still no effacement (thinning of the cervical lip) or dilation (opening of the cervical opening).

So I had the whole holiday weekend to decide that I did not want another amnio. I was pretty adament about this.

Monday afternoon found me back at House O'Babies. This time, my appointment was with midwife Stephanie. She took my blood pressure (122/72) and monitored my urine for glucose and protein (still no glucose in the urine - good sign and still a trace of protein - which they aren't worried about right now). Then she strapped me into the NST. We got Spider Monkey's heart beat immediately and got the results we needed pretty quickly. Then, we went on to discuss the situation with the amnio. Stephanie said that she had consulted with one of the OB/GYN's and they wanted Dr Potter to reevaluate the size of the baby and go over the amnio results with me before we decided what to do. Stephanie called Dr Potter's nurse who also thought that we might go ahead and repeat the amnio on my next appointment and wanted to see fresh biophysical profile information.

So Monday night/Tuesday morning, knowing that this appointment was pretty important, I did what I do when in an uncertain situation. I woke up at 2 in the morning and couldn't go back to sleep. As always, my mind was racing. After about 30 minutes, I decided that I'd get up and take a bath.

Should I admit to you how scared I was and am? Should I admit to crying hysterically in the bath tub? Should I admit to all the fears of trouble during delivery I have?

These are real fears. I realize too that these fears are normal for a woman in the 37th week of pregnancy. I also realize that women in the third trimester can be weepy.

I am just so miserable at this point that I will do anything to speed this up. Walking is a joke - my pelvic bones feel like they are grinding when I walk. Sitting doesn't help at all. In fact, sitting for longer than a couple of minutes makes walking even more painful for a few minutes. Lying down barely helps. Like sitting, when I first get up to walk after lying down, it's agony.

So when I got in the tub at 2:30 in the morning, I spent a lot of time crying about the pain I felt, about the fears I have about delivery. I finally got back to sleep about 4:30. So, when the clock went off at 5AM, there was no way in hell I was going to work. Moo was in the tub by then and said he thought I should stay home and that he should take me to my doctor's appointment that afternoon.

So yesterday afternoon, we went in for a full biophysical profile, ultrasound and consultation with Dr Potter.

The baby still looks great. Her growth slowed down a little which is great and means that I'm successfully managing the gestational diabetes. She's gained less than half a pound since the last profile and is now an estimated 8 pounds 4 ounces.

However, Dr Potter told me that the amnio was "terrible". Her lung maturity at 36 weeks 2 days was that of a baby that was 26 weeks. It's too late for steroid injections which would help speed up the maturity and only time will help now. He also recommended another amnio on July 11.

So it's back on Friday for another amnio and I was back in the tub last night hysterical again. This time, I was't worried about delivery. I was crying for my little girl.

The lungs are the last system to mature in babies. Gestational diabetes aggravates this and causes a slow down in the maturation. SM's lungs are nowhere near ready to work on their own and delivery now would probably mean a stay in NICU. I have no idea what any of this means long term. Dr Potter said that her lungs will eventually mature, but whether it's in utero or out is now the question.

I realized this morning on the way to work that I need to think about this another way... my body knows that SM isn't ready to come out. It's not uncommon to begin dialating weeks prior to delivery. But I'm not effacing or dialating, so my body is still holding on to her, still waiting for the perfect time to deliver and I have to have faith in this.

But I still need a miracle. My little girl needs a miracle.