Three Weeks Until Liftoff

I’m at the 36 week mark, and already I am crying, “Uncle!” Too bad the doctors don’t agree with me, so I am going to half to stick it out until G-Day. Log has even encouraged me to go the distance, which is funny because I am not in charge of this growing a human thing anymore. Nope, the show is now entirely dictated by the human larvae that is happily taking up residence where my other internal organs were quite comfortable. My belly looks like a swallowed a watermelon whole, but the sonogram today only reveals that she is around 5.5 lbs. Some days, I can’t even dress myself. I trust that Log puts on matching socks (which he does), but most days, I don’t even care if they do match.

Last night, I had to go into the hospital to get checked out because my blood pressure was elevated. My coworkers have been pretty diligent about monitoring it at work. So, assless gown, fetal monitor, and one straight cath later, the docs decide my coworkers don’t know how to take a blood pressure, which has typical of doctors. Get a reading you don’t like? Blame the machine operator. Whatever. Anyone can have a low blood pressure reading while laying on their side. My “issues” were not enough to make Little G come early, nor was it enough for them to decide I should cut out from work early. So, business as usual starting tomorrow when the alarm clock goes off at 6am.

Weekly ultrasounds continue. Log usually can’t go due to work, which is fine. He made it to one last week, though. Instead of the much more interesting one where they take all of the baby’s measurements, including weight, Log gets to be present for the mandatory butt-swabbing (mine) to see if I am carrying some sort of Group B strep (I’m not).

On a happier note, Log has painted the nursery in lovely pink and gray. We’re redoing the flooring before we add the decorative touches, not to mention furniture, to the room. Walking by the room, I pause and look inside. It still seems surreal to me that in less than a month, I’m going to be someone’s mom. I’m told by newly minted parents that this shock will amplify once we get her home, and last for about a month or so until we decide we have somewhat of handle on this parenting thing.

We’re pretty excited. And scared shitless at the same time.

And How Are You Doing Today?

Here I am, at the 33 week mark. In what people refer to as the “home stretch”. Second trimester passed ok. I didn’t feel “the best ever”, but I didn’t feel lousy. I guess it was as close to normal as I had felt since those two little lines showed up on the pregnancy test. However, the third trimester has been a different story entirely.

I did the glucose challenge, right around week 25 or so, and just barely failed with one number being over the mark. But with glucose challenges, there is no barely passing. The parameters are there, it’s yes or no only. So, I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes.

Now, I used to work with diabetics on a regular basis. For at least 10 years inpatient. You could say that I knew a lot about juvenile and type 2 diabetes. Gestational, however, is a completely different animal, and my knowledge certainly never covered this ground. I was admitted inpatient for a couple of days for insulin management. I was pissed. I knew how to given injections, I certainly could give them to myself. The hospitalization derailed a plan for Log and I go visit family for the weekend. So, with the insulin, the hospitalization, the missed trip, and the hormones…I was devastated.

For three days, I sat in a hospital room, eating crappy hospital food while pumping myself with what I thought was too much insulin. There, I found out why they admit all the baby beedus moms for insulin management. The high risk program I am in demands their patients to have chronically low blood sugar. So, I would sit in the bed, diaphoretic, shaky, hypoglycemic, and everyone would be happy about it. My internal nurse brain screamed. Everything defied logic of 10+ years of diabetes management. Numerous conversations with a coordinator did help somewhat as they explained the physiology behind it. My age, my history of PCOS were the main contributing factors, and no amount of good eating would have prevented it. It will go away once the placenta (the acting cock-blocker of my pancreas) leaves my body. I’ve only got a short time left, so I can deal with the shots and finger sticks. It still pisses me off though, but it helps knowing that a lot of women go through it.

I’ve been insanely tired. Almost narcoleptic. I also have to pee a lot, day and night, which might explain partly of why I am so tired. Oh, and heaven help me if I have to sneeze.

And my hands? I haven’t been able to feel them for about a month now. The extra volume of fluid I am carrying around is compressing nerves, which causes numbness in my hands. I tried to put in an IV the other day, and failed miserably. So, I have had to hang up my tourniquet until after the baby comes.

Overall, I feel like my body is less mine, and more just a vessel for the tiny human to marinate in until she is ready to come out. I admit, I am excited to meet her. I get weekly ultrasounds now, so I get to see her each week. Last week, she yawned a lot. She even smiled once. So yeah, she can use my body for as long as she needs it, which shouldn’t be too much longer.

Genesis of a Band Geek

When I was in middle school, we had the opportunity to join band, which was a big deal and almost everyone signed up. Kids chose which instruments they wanted to play, their parents would usually rent or buy the instrument outright. Those were the kids who picked flutes, clarinets, trumpets, and trombones. You occasionally had some baritones, and the drummers.

For those kids who couldn’t afford the rent or buy option, the school had some “loaner instruments”. Usually, they were the large brass types, dented and dull, which could still play a tune in the right hands. Tubas and french horns. You could take them home for practice, but at the end of the day, they belonged to the school.

My grandfather, a huge aficionado of classical music, convinced me that the french horn was a beautiful instrument, and could not go wrong in picking it. So, I did, meanwhile secretly envying my classmates with their dainty little instruments. I was given a “school horn”, which looked like someone drove over it with their car. Initially, I would take it home every day, and practice, until my parents would yell at me for being too loud. Coupled with the fact that the horn, in it’s case, was too damn heavy for any 6th grader to lug around, I stopped bringing it home.

My grandfather was right in that the french horn is a beautiful instrument. My ear can discern the french horn in an orchestra; a lovely, regal sound.

However, with new french horn players, the part is limited to playing the PAH-PAH to the newb tuba’s OOM!

Our spring concert rolled around, and my parents attended to see their daughter in her first big band concert. After, my dad remarked on how it didn’t seem like I got to play much. Did I like playing the french horn? Not really. Would I like to play something different? Yes!

After talking with my band instructor, he said I could switch instruments and play something else the following school year. The caveat being that I needed to practice during the summer to catch up to the other students.

Now, which instrument to pick. I flirted with the idea of playing the flute, only because my aunt had an old one I could have.

“What about drums?” My father had asked. A guy he did work for had an old kit that his son used to play on, but had lost interest. Mom wasn’t thrilled with the idea of trading a french horn for an even louder 5-piece drum set, but relented. So, Dad shelled out $100 and I got an old, silver drum set in my room. The heads were worn, and needed replacing, but it would be a good starter set. I didn’t have drum sticks, so Dad fashioned some sticks for me, and all summer I spent pouring over books of rudiments, learning sticking and music. I made sure to play the drum set only when my parents were working.

The following school year, I was excited to participate in band. The school had their own drums, so I didn’t have to worry about buying or renting a snare. I just used theirs. The same went with the sticks until I was able to order a pair of my own from my band teacher. Beautiful honey-colored drum sticks! I loved playing the drums, although there was a huge downside to being in the percussionist pit. My school bully also switched to drums. What was my joy, became my own personal hell as she picked on me for the hour we were in class (not to mention before and after), to the snickers of those close by, and the apparent oblivion of our band teacher.

As far as our band teacher (Mr. T) went, I think he was fairly ambivalent about me. He definitely had his favorites, but I was not one of them (and I was completely fine with that). However, he always was willing to stay after school and help me with a challenging rudiment or piece of music. He was always frank, tough, and demanded nothing short of the best of our abilities. He made me mad more times than I could count, but I always came out of it a better than when I started. From him, I learned that I need to keep doing something until I get it right. Never give up.

When my parents divorced, Dad uprooted us and moved to middle-of-nowhere Nebraska. The band wasn’t as great, and the percussion pit was heavily sexist. Boys get to play the drums, and if you had a vagina, why don’t you go over there and play the cymbals or the xylophone? Assholes.

Our first chair drummer managed to break him arm during a wrestling tournament, right before our Christmas concert. Our teacher, one-by-one, called all the boys in the pit to step up to the kit and play to music we had be rehearsing for the concert. Turns out, the boys in the group didn’t know much about playing a full trap. After a few awkward minutes, I stood up, grabbed my drumsticks, and took a seat at the stool. Some of my classmates snickered and made snide remarks, my teacher sneered. “You know how to play??” he asked. I nodded. He wanted me to demonstrate my abilities, I told him to just have the band start playing the damn song. So, he shrugged and raised his baton.

At the end of the song, everyone in the class turned around and stared. The concert came, and I played, just as I always done. My parents had long stopped attending my concerts, so I didn’t think too much about it until my Dad approached me the following week.

“Some guy at the gas station asked if you were my daughter.”

“Yeah?”

“He said he saw you play the drums last week at the school concert. He said he’d never seen anything like it. I guess you can play pretty good?”

“I guess so.”

He later was approached by three other strangers, all asking about “that little blond girl who plays the drums”. He never said it, but I’d like to think that made him proud.

A lot of band nerds out there get shit on for being band nerds. Anything with the arts is dismissed as being frivolous and not possibly amounting to anything but a hobby. The thing with being in a band, is that music doesn’t care what you wear, what you look like, who or what your parents do, or where you live. Music transcends anything material, and can take you to a place where you forget about your problems, your alcoholic father, your absent mother, or that the electricity was turned off in your house. Making music, being in a band or even solo, is like creating something that is bigger than yourself. If it was band-related, I soaked it up. Marching band, Symphonic Band, Pep Band, Conference Band. My hands would have blisters and callused from all the playing I did. I knew I always wanted this in my life, and made the decision during my sophomore year of high school, that I, too, wanted to be a band teacher. But, life happens and you end up taking a sharp right turn.

After the whole “little blond girl who can play drums” incident. My classmates accepted me better. My music teacher respected me. He even had me instructing the newly minted percussionists in the junior high in basic rudiments. Four girls signed up to for percussion that semester, and a few of my “students” went on to play for large university drum corps.

My husband surprised me with a drum set for my birthday. A beautiful kit, which I have added to and play once in a while. I’m excited to have it in my life, even more so about the idea of teaching my daughter how to play. It’s a shame that more emphasis isn’t put on the arts as they used to be. American education is geared towards tests and test scores, and not about learning and personal enrichment.

Band nerds are still cool to me. Anyone who doesn’t think so can suck it.

 

A Slower, More Emotional, More Derpy GB, RN

So, things have been all weird and stuff since I got pregnant. My boobs, of which I never though possible, grew in size. I always managed carrying them well before, with no back aches. Now, my lower back complains loudly of that added cup size. Not to mention the areola parts are the size of dinner plates. And they hurt. A lot. Log learned very quickly that as exciting as they may look, to touch (or even attempt to), will cause your wife to hiss like a damn feral cat.

As far as the belly goes. It turns out with chubby girls, baby just pushes what you already had, out. The upside is that baby is well insulated and protected. The downside is that no one can really tell that you are pregnant, especially in scrubs. Instead, you just look like you went on a bender over the holidays and you really need to consider laying off the pasta.

When I shower and am standing in front of the mirror, I look like something out of National Geographic. Log still thinks I am the most beautiful woman in the world. I love this guy.

During the first 10 weeks of pregnancy, I lost a lot of hair due to the excess progesterone in my body. Brushing my hair was really depressing. Brushing my teeth was a challenge that no one warned me about. I switched to a water pik for a while, which was a little better, unless I accidentally sprayed the back of my throat or tongue and was followed by ten minutes of torturous gagging.

As far as nausea goes, I had it in spades. Mostly in the mornings, peter out by lunch. I would roll my eyes at how cliché that was. I seldom could follow through and seal the deal. I hate throwing up. I do it with such force and enthusiasm that I pop blood vessels in my eyes and face. Of the few times I did have the Technicolor yawn, it was random, spontaneous, unprovoked, and into the kitchen or bathroom sink.

So, now I am settling into week 23. Just over the halfway mark.The nausea has pretty much subsided. Of course, I managed to catch some sort of upper respiratory virus that has rendered my speaking voice fairly trashed. Now, I sound like that lady who has smoked 3 packs a day for 30 years. Or about half the women on my father’s side of the family. Coughing and sneezing came with its own perils to clean and dry underwear. Also, something no one bothered to warn me about.

As funny as this is going to sound, I still don’t mentally feel pregnant. I used to think that some sort of transformation would occur and I would just “feel pregnant”. We’d go to ultrasound, and see the baby on the screen, and my brain would go, “Wait…that’s in your belly!” It’s so bizarre, the disconnect, but apparently that is normal. I only decided last week that I kinda like the wee girl that keeps kicking my ovaries. She keeps up with that, though, I might have to rescind my like. She will have to earn it back once she comes out. I already plan on talking with her about this after she is born.

Another difference I have noticed, and immediately forgotten, was how dumb I became since being knocked up. Pregnant Brain is real. The struggle is real, even though we forget about it ten seconds after we realize it. I used to be a genius. An intelligent firebrand. Now, I’m reduced to slack-jawed “Uhhh…” When Log asks me even simple questions such as, ” Why is the milk in the pantry?” and “What is 2+2?” I think his friends warned him. I don’t think he believed it. Especially when I see the realization dawn on him that he married a derpy woman and the deepest conversation he might ever have with me now is about what we should have for dinner, only after he has to remind me what dinner is.

Before pregnancy, I was an emotional rock. Never cried. Kept my feelings in check. Not anymore. I cry at everything. Every. Damn. Thing. Commercials. Facebook posts. A dirty sock. Throwing out leftovers that never got eaten. I didn’t cry, but I felt really, really, bad, about my car when we traded it in because I thought it would experience feelings of rejection. I also get mad, and stay mad, at a lot of stuff. Mostly things with politics, religion, and those goddamn anti-vaxxers. I really, really hate them.

Before pregnancy, my ability to hold my urine was practically a super-power. Other nurses would admire my ability to not have to go until the end of a 10 hour shift. I’d strut to the bathroom like some sort of Bladder Badass. Now, I scurry in shame ever 30 minutes to pee out 5 drops. I’m told to go my Kegel exercises with the religious zeal of a Southern Baptist in Utah, but in the next breath am told that in the end, it won’t matter.

Despite all these fun and adventures, I can’t say that I have been miserable. I’m told that misery comes in the third trimester with hemorrhoids, bloat, cankles, muumuus, and the countless advise of every person, stranger or not, on how to raise your child.

But I have my husband, who has been awesome. And I have a Snoogle, which has been pretty cool for sleeping. I’m sure I can make it to the finish line without too much trauma.

2014: The High Points

2015 entered in with the sound of small pops and the smell of gunpowder. I happened to have a bag of poppers that bought on clearance somewhere. So, Log and I rang in the new year blowing off a couple before going to bed. We did not do any parties, big or small. 2014 wore us out.

Log and I capped off the year with our wedding. We had originally planned on the nuptials being in May of 2015, but we got some unexpected news which made us move the date up. It turns out that our wedding date conflicted with my due date.

Yes, I am pregnant.

I have been seeing a fertility/endocrine specialist to try to figure out why my plumbing didn’t work, and apparently hadn’t worked correctly since I was a teenager. We didn’t go balls-out with out quest to get pregnant, which is to say we didn’t go IVF or anything that extreme (or expensive). “Let’s take it up to that point and see how it goes,” we told our doctor. So, she lined up some medicines, we kept track of stuff (I peed on a stick twice a day), and we planned romance! Truth be told, we didn’t expect things to work the first time out of the gate, but it did. I started feeling crappy, tired, and boobs hurt as much as they did when I grew them the first time around.

We both strongly suspected I was pregnant, but wanted a test to confirm. When that morning came, and I showed Log the positive test, he did a little nervous shuffle in the hallway, exclaiming in disbelief, “I’ve never gotten anyone pregnant before!”

Here we are, at the halfway mark, and are eagerly awaiting the arrival of our daughter. This one isn’t even out yet, and people are already asking about a second baby. Sheesh, people! We need to see if we even like this one first!

At any rate, we decided to move up the wedding date, and proceeded to put together a kick-ass wedding in a matter of 6 weeks.  The final product was the wedding we wanted. The food was delicious. The music butt-shaking. Everyone still talks about how awesome the whole thing was.

On a sad note, we had to put my cat, George, down. I will blog more of that later. I was looking over this blog, and realized that most of my posts are about pets and people dying. What a depressing blog. I need to work on that.

One a high note, we got new windows and a roof on the house! Now, when the wind blows, it doesn’t sound like the entire place is going to blow in. The day after we found out about our tentative bundle, Log called and got an estimate for the windows. I told him that nesting doesn’t usually occur until later in the pregnancy, but there’s nothing wrong with getting a head start.

Now, we are into 2015. So far, the year is off to a great start. I still like my job, at the clinic. Log has a new job. We traded in the PT Cruiser for a more sound, and less likely to break down every other week, Subaru. I’m a couple pairs of yoga pants and a Starbucks cup away from being a beady-eyed soccer mom. I’m sure a move to Johnson County would expedite the transformation, but a move to Kansas is unlikely as I predict that state will become the armpit of the Midwest. The Mississippi of Flyover Country, if you will. I’m sure I will rant about it later.

New year, new outlook. All sort of newy newness. I can’t wait to bitch about all of it.

Time to go fishing.

A Hand-crafted Ship…A Builders Harbor

It is with sadness that I report on the passing of Mr. Recommendation.

He does not figure prominently on this blog, but did garner frequent mentions on the old blog. For those of you who don’t know, allow me to elaborate.

Mr. Recommendation was my mother’s companion for almost 8 years. He once asked for her hand in marriage, he gave her the ring, and she accepted, but nuptials never materialized. I’m not here to get into the relationship between him and my mother, for it is not my story to tell. Instead, I will just tell you about the man.

Mr. Recommendation earned his nickname when I bought my first house. Him and Mother came over to inspect the new digs. Mr. R dabbled in home improvement, and everywhere he went, he had an idea. He always prefaced it with, “If I may make a recommendation…” My friend, Indy, gave him the moniker, and it stuck.

For the most part, his ideas were good. He an occasional bad idea, like suggesting I paint the raised wooden seam on the floor between the living room and the dining room (two different kinds of flooring…it looked like a speed bump) a bright, neon orange or yellow so people would see it and no one would trip over it. I vetoed the idea. I didn’t anticipate entertaining many legally blind guests. If I did, I’d just mention the floor thing.

But like I said, he had some good ideas. Mr. R was a guy who genuinely liked to build things with his hands. It gave him a certain pride and joy that his desk job didn’t give him. I went away on vacation, and returned with a beautiful new mantle over my fireplace. He installed all the new lights in the house, rebuilt my shower stall when it started leaking into the downstairs laundry room, redid aforementioned laundry room, helped me paint, remodeled my kitchen, and put new flooring down on the stairs and hallway when it was demolished by a St. Bernard. All for just the cost of the supplies. In the winter, he would clear my driveway. In the spring and summer, he would cut the grass.

He guided me on dives after I got scuba certified, and quite possibly saved me from getting eaten by a shark. I’m not sure, it’s just heresy.

75% of the time, Mr. R was a nice guy, and I liked him. The other 25%, he was an asshole, and no one liked him. He loved to laugh, but had lousy comedic timing. Most of his jokes would come out awkward, racist, and generally not funny. He loved to eat, never met a buffet he didn’t like, hated vegetables, and wasn’t very nice to wait staff. For all his flaws, which were many, he loved my mother, unconditionally. He would have given her the moon on a platter, but sadly, his body would not allow it. I suppose you could say he was a good step-dad to me, but I couldn’t allow myself to be close to a step-dad type because I’ve done that before, and I have had it taken from me. I still harbor feelings of resentment for it.

And so, we say good-bye on Friday to Mr. Recommendation. I will remember him when I hang decorations on the mantle, clean off the kitchen island, and trip over that damn wooden speed bump.

Celebrity Death Match: Nursing Edition

(Originally published 2006)

Welcome, ladies and gents, to the first ever Celebrity Deathmatch: Nursing Edition. Okay, so neither contestant is a celebrity, and only of them is a nurse…but why be bothered with trivial details when today’s match promises to be a harrowing, nail-biting experience.

And on with the show!

In this corner, standing a robust 5’2″, but wearing clogs that add 2 more inches to an already intimidating height. Short blonde hair, and hot pink scrubs…is the voluptuous, the sarcastic, with the ability to bring quivering First Year Residents to their knees: GB the RN! (wild applause)

And in this corner, towering at 6’4″, weighing in…well, we don’t know the weight because he broke the scale, a patient who is no stranger to psych meds, who boasts the ability to seduce unsuspecting females with his sheer manliness, presenting: Chester the Molester! (boos from the audience)

Both contestants take their place in the ring. GB on one side of the desk, Chester on the other. Before the match begins, we had the opportunity to talk to them both to find out just who will win this match, and why.

CDM: GB, why do you think you will win this match?

GB: Because I have a high IQ, razor wit, and quick access to hospital security.

CDM: Chester is 3 times your size. Aren’t you worried he will squish you?

GB: No…because I can always outrun him. I can toss some cookies from the galley at him and distract him while I run away to the safety of the Med Room.

CDM: An excellent strategy, indeed!

CDM: And you, Chester, why do you think you will win tonight’s match?

Chester: I will use my secret weapon.

CDM: And what would that be?

Chester: I will flash my penis at GB and she will become so enamored, that she will surrender herself to me and my wills.

CDM: What makes your penis so special?

Chester: It is magical. Why today, two nursing students saw it and they were so intimidated by it, they never came back to my room.

There you have it folks. Two opposing forces at work. Who will come out the victor?

Ding!

Round One:

GBsits at the desk across from Chester’s room. She appears to be charting on her other patients. Chester comes out of his room and approaches GB. He is wearing a hospital gown and clutching a sock.

Chester: I have a question.

GB: What is it?

Chester: Well, I have a friend coming over tonight, and we plan on having sex. So, what is your policy on that.

GB: Would this be related to the escort services you were calling all day today?

(Wow! A quick sucker-punch from GB. That short girl sure is sneaky!)

Chester: We don’t want to be bothered. So, can you not come in the room because we are having sex?

GB: This is a hospital, Chester, not a hotel. It’s midnight and you need to go back to your room because you are disrupting the other patients.

GB 1, Chester 0

Chester turns around and drops the sock. He bends over to pick up the sock and the gown parts to reveal a very large, very dimpled ass. GB throws up in her mouth a little and vows never to eat cottage cheese ever again.

GB 1, Chester 1

Round 2:

GB is sitting at the computer entering orders. Chester comes out of his room, pushing his IV pole, still wearing his gown. He meanders down the hall, exposing his ass to the rest of the staff, and offers to show his penis to anyone who asks to see it. Charge nurse appears and orders Chester back to his room. The staff is nauseated. GB glares at Chester when he smugly returns to his room.

GB 1, Chester 2

Round 3:

Chester calls from his room announcing that he has peed all over himself and he needs the tech to personally give him a sponge bath. GB and staff tell him there is nothing wrong with his hands and he is fully capable of giving himself a shower. Chester goes off to the shower, but not before inviting one of the nursing assistants to come and take a shower with him. The staff all tell him no. GB is still glaring at Chester.

GB 1, Chester 2, Staff 1

Round 4:

It’s morning, and the day staff is in. Day-nurse is getting report from GB and appears to have taken his place in this match: a tag-team partner! Chester, not to be ignored, comes out of his room stark-ass-naked. This atrocity is witnessed by GB, Day-nurse, 2 residents, and 1 other nurse. The horror is collective.

GB/Staff 2, Chester 3

“My gown is too big” Chester complains while absently playing with his nipple. In unison, GB and Day-nurse demand he return to his room. GB also barks that he needs to shut his curtain because no one wants to his his naked butt. First year resident turns green.

GB/Staff 3, Chester 3, Resident -1

Chester comes out of room 5 minutes later with a sheet wrapped around his waist, only the sheet doesn’t fully wrap around, and there is an opening right in the front, strategically showcasing his wiener. All the residents retreat.

GB/Staff 3, Chester 4, Residents -5

GB stands up and points a finger at Chester and yells, “Get back to you room and cover yourself! If you come out of your room one more time, I will have the police come up here and they will deal with you personally!!”

Chester beats a hasty retreat to his room and closes the door. If one thing trumps his penis, it would be police with tasers.

GB/Staff 4, Chester 4

GB and staff ask his primary doctor for discharge orders and get it. Chester will be going home!

GB/Staff 5, Chester 4

And GB wins in a come-from-behind victory!! We tried to get a post-match interview with her, but she grumbled something about going home and jabbing sharpened pencils in her eyes before going to bed.

So, tune in next time for Celebrity Deathmatch where we will pit Lindsay Lohan against the entire medical encyclopedia of sexually transmitted diseases!!