Friday, April 23, 2010

In stitches

Thirteen hours after leaving the house Thursday morning, I was more than ready to get back home.

My phone vibrated, but I was talking to a class participant so I didn't answer. When I saw it was T, I knew something must be up, because he never calls at that time. Q had been barfing off and on all week, so I figured he was having another bout. But no. It was the little one.

First to rewind a bit, my day started at 4:45 a.m. when I dragged my carcass out of bed to quickly plan my 5:30 a.m. class (we had a business dinner of T's last night, so I didn't have time for prep). Class ran till 6:15. I tried not to sweat during class, then quickly changed into my "costume" for a work skit, and sped across town for the 7:00 a.m. call time. We had conference sessions for work Thursday and Friday and we kicked it off with a campy skit. I played a lifeguard trainee and performed my line to the best of my ability. There was also some awkward dancing, but we had fun. I then changed into business casual clothes, feeling sweaty and smelly, but a little perfume disguised that.

On to a full day of sessions and panels, for three of which I was room monitor. At 5:15 p.m, I headed out for my evening fitness class, utterly exahusted but with an end to the day in sight. I had to put my sweaty workout clothes back on (I assure you I usually have much better personal hygiene). Finally, the grueling day was done, and I checked my voicemail as I walked out to my car.

Bad news. Poor little R had fallen in the tub, slammed into the side, and split his chin. T said there was a lot of blood, and they were on the way to urgent care. I felt like I was going to throw up.

The receptionist led me to the room when I got there. Poor little R was sitting on his dad's lap, his white onesie stained with blood and much more gushing out of the one-inch gash on his chin.


An hour-long ordeal followed. First the struggle just to get numbing gel to stay on for ten minutes. Then he was strapped into this horrible baby strait jacket that they called a baby papoose (I guess that sounds a little less frightening, but less accurate). His cut was washed a few times then slooooowly stitched.

One nurse held his head firmly in place while T made sure he didn't wiggle his arms out. His face was covered most of the time by a sterile drape. He screamed bloody murder the whole time and repeatedly pleaded "All done!" It was not fun. I sat by Q most of the time who was entirely unfazed.

Finally, R was stitched and bandaged and sucking happily on a lollipop. I held him and squeezed him, relieved he was out of that baby bondage.

At home he was happy as a clam again enjoying ice cream and bouncing around. He ripped off his bandage almost immediately though. Now he is on antibiotics for five days, and he goes back to get his stitches out in about a week.

I decided to stay home today to make sure both boys were OK. They are doing fine, though R will have a nasty little scar.

Here are the gory details:

Post-procedure, bloodied but unbowed.

His Frankenstein scar (six stitches) and fuzz stuck in his sucker residue. It's going to be a challenge keeping that wound clean!

I welcome the weekend.


Friday, April 16, 2010

How did I get here?

It has been a wild few months.

Go back with me if you will to the start of 2010. Things were rosy. After a few months of trying, T and I were newly pregnant. We had shared the news with our parents because we saw both sets over Christmas. I was far along in the interview process for a job I really wanted. All was swell.

And then things came crashing down. On the day I was exactly eight weeks pregnant, I started bleeding and cramping. By that night I had miscarried. We were heartbroken. That Monday I was on my way to a doctor's appointment to follow up. As I gathered up my bags at the coffee shop where I was visiting with a friend, the phone rang. The job was moving on with other candidates. He wanted to tell me why. Something about some of my answers weren't specific enough. I had the small urge to make him feel like an asshole by saying, "I'm sorry. I have to go because I have a post-miscarriage doctor's appointment." But I was cheery and gracious. I kept my head up and continued on with my crappy day.

Of course that doctor's appointment was pointless. She said she would "take my word for it," and didn't do any tests or ultrasounds to even make sure the miscarriage was complete. Frustrated, T and I scheduled an appointment for me at another clinic. They seemed to have some sort of knowledge, though not a lot of compassion. After a blood test and a particularly uncomfortable trans-vaginal ultrasound (is there any other kind?), I had my answers. A complete miscarriage, which at least spared me from a D&C. I now suspect the pregnancy ended a week or two earlier, and it just took awhile to pass. Had I known a few weeks earlier, I might have had to do the D&C.

They instructed me to return in a month to get a follow up blood test to make sure my hCG levels were back to zero. I went on with my life. I moved along in a grueling interview process for a position with a health record software company to train customers. I had a phone interview, and a first interview, and then scheduled a second.

I went in for my blood test and kept getting shuffled around the hospital. I showed up in the lab, and they had no idea I was there. They sent me up two floors to get a little print out. I was annoyed and frustrated. I almost just wanted to leave because I knew I was back to normal. Why did I need to draw this out? Finally, the lab tech poked me, and I was on my way.

Back to the flurry of preschool, exercise classes, and applesauce spills. A few days later, I was blissfully laying on the couch when the phone rang. It was the OB clinic.

"I have your blood test results."

"Oh, yeah, OK," I said sleepily.

"Your levels were 42 last month. But they're not going down. They're going up. You're at 1500. So we were wondering if you were having symptoms of being five and a half weeks pregnant."

What? "Um, not that I know of," I said truthfully. I really almost fell off the couch. Suddenly I was wide awake.

"So you think I'm pregnant again?"

"Well, either pregnant again or still pregnant."

We scheduled another blood test. Meanwhile I surfed the Internet obsessively. Could you get pregnant two weeks after a miscarriage? I knew I couldn't still be pregnant because I had seen my tiny, empty uterus during that awkward ultrasound. I found a condition called molar pregnancy that I decided I must have. I stressed over my job prospect. What if I got the job? What if I didn't? What if I was pregnant? What if I wasn't?

T brought home a pregnancy test that turned out decisively positive. My next blood test showed the hCG levels were still doubling. We scheduled an ultrasound to confirm. T met me to corral the rowdy boys. I sat awkwardly on a waiting room chair in a gown, wondering if other people had sat there without their underwear on. (Mine were still in place)

We were called into the ultrasound room and my belly was lubed. They couldn't find anything that way because the pregnancy would still be so early. Back to the wonderful trans-vaginal option. And then once that horrible wand was in place, the screen came into focus and there was a tiny white smudge in a black circle complete with a tiny flickering heartbeat. I was about seven weeks along, so apparently you can get pregnant two weeks after a miscarriage.

It took awhile to wrap my mind around the idea again. I had just gotten used to being not pregnant. T couldn't even remember the conception. And we had that lingering fear of another miscarriage. Pregnancy suddenly seemed so fragile. We didn't embrace the idea for awhile, though it was firmly lodged in the back of my mind. Especially as I completed my second interview and was offered the job. And then as I accepted and started March 1st. And as I signed up for short-term disability.

This week I had my first actual doctor's appointment, though I am already 14 weeks and out of my first trimester. It took awhile to figure out my provider with new insurance and all of that. I wondered again if maybe I was mistaken about the pregnancy. It was perhaps one of those hysterical things that I had invented in the aftermath of my miscarriage. I pictured the doctor searching for a heartbeat and then looking at me in confusion. But no, the heartbeat was there thumping along with the sound of hoof beats at 160 beats per minute.

I told my boss this week, and she was easy. I was nervous that she would be annoyed (and maybe she is, but she didn't show it). In an attempt to be productive as soon as possible, I completed training yesterday, in what my boss says is record time.

So things are back to really good from a point of being really crappy. But something still seems unstable about it all. Once you lose a pregnancy, I don't think you are ever quite the same. I feel like everything could change in an instant. And really it could.

But for now, I am happy.


Sunday, April 11, 2010

Things I like at this moment

T and I watched a fascinating movie last night called Good Hair. It's a documentary by Chris Rock that looks into the importance of hair in black culture. The lengths black women go to get long, straight hair is just mind boggling. And the expense. I had no idea. It was really eye-opening.


I have a small Gymboree addiction. My boys get a lot of their clothes from Target and Old Navy, but a good mix of Gymboree keeps them looking sharp. I bought some darling Easter outfits there a week ago and earned $50 in Gymbucks. Of course that meant I had to return this weekend to spend $100 so I could get $50 off. T didn't entirely understand how this was all a good deal, but I did save $50, and the boys are wearing darling matching Daredevil shirts today.


Shopping isn't just for the kids. I am not one of those moms who only get new things for their children. I am fairly frugal, but I like a successful shopping trip. New York & Company is my latest favorite. Good sales, cute stuff.

Sometimes happiness is just a shopping trip away.


Sunday, April 4, 2010

Living with dyeing

My first experience with dyeing my hair was not a good one. My freshman year college roommate and I decided we wanted our dark brown hair darker. We found a nice black shade, applied, waited and rinsed....and saw no change. Disappointed, we went to the store and bought two more packages. We applied and this time waited far longer than the suggested time. We wanted to see a change this time! And when we finally rinsed, oh we saw a change.

Our hair was inky bluish-black. It was witch-like and jarring. It looked like we were wearing wigs. We spent the next hour in the shower washing over and over, but the color was deep set. My roommate's mother was horrified, and she ended up going through an extensive bleaching and re-dyeing process. As for me, I wore my hair up a lot that year and then cut it short.

That was my last experience with dyeing my hair myself, but hair dye has been an integral part of my life for many years. My hair is very dark brown and gray hairs stand out like spotlights. I got my first gray hair in high school, and now I have a few dozen. I am determined to cover those up, at least until I feel like I should have gray hair.

I started getting highlights in college. Then my hair would get progressively lighter, so I would get a dark brown base and highlights on top. That means $150+ and hours in the salon chair. I recently decided to forgo the highlights. They are just too much work to keep up. You are a slave to them. And you are self-conscious about them when they grow out an inch.

I am growing my hair out right now, am much less concerned about my appearance since I am not in the public eye anymore, and don't feel like I can justify hundreds of dollars every month. So, despite my disastrous first experience with hair color out of a box, I decided to take the plunge again.

Yesterday I stood in the aisle at Target and contemplated the rows of boxes featuring smiling women with glossy locks. Was I dark ash brown or just dark brown? Should I get the $2.99 box or splurge on the $9.99? I ended up with Loreal Preference dark ash brown and headed for the checkout line.

Last night I pulled on my gloves and squirted the pungent goo in my hair. I waited exactly 25 minutes and then rinsed, hoping I wouldn't experience a repeat of my previous experience when I looked in the mirror.

I blow-dried my hair to get the exact shade and........

I am quite pleased with how it turned out. It really looks like my old pre-highlights color. It looks healthy and totally natural. And best of all, it cost $10.

I have spent many years in a love-hate relationship with dyeing my hair, but I think we have finally made peace.