Wednesday, January 30, 2008

What Should You Be When You Grow Up?

Ok, I've always enjoyed art... drawing, painting, etc. However, the description below is definitely NOT me. I would not think that the word "spontaneous" would be the first word to describe me and I actually do like rules and structure. I was always a good girl (though I did at least become a little bit bad as I got older- well, at least within the confines of the major Rules, of course)...

Anyway, take the quiz and see what you should be...

You Should Be an Artist

You are incredibly creative, spontaneous, and unique.

No one can guess what you're going to do next, but it's usually something amazing.

You can't deal with routine, rules, or structure. You're easily bored.

As long as you are able to innovate and break the rules, you are extremely successful.

You do best when you:

- Can work by yourself

- Can express your personality in your work

You would also be a good journalist or actor.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Terrible Twos??? Try Terrible Ten Months!

The Pumpkin is increasingly having what I can only characterize as temper tantrums. They seemed to really increase right after he learned to crawl. If he does not get his way (Mean Mama won’t let him play with the hand sanitizer) or if I try to do something that he does not want to do (Mean Mama tries to put clothes on him), then he will scream, kick his legs, arch his back, and push me or whatever other irritating person or object is nearby.

I’m at a loss as to the best way to handle my demon child sweet baby. I have tried whispering to him to have him have to quiet down to hear me; this will sometimes work, at least until he realizes that I have nothing really that interesting to tell him. I have tried to turn it into a game by doing call and response screams with him; this does not impress him. I have ignored his actions and screams; not terribly effective but probably the best strategy. Redirecting him to another toy or activity seems to work fairly well too.

My question is…is this indicative of how he is going to be at 2?? I was hoping for a kinder, gentler tantrum like those my nephew used to have. He would silently lie face-down on the floor…not moving, just lying there silently. Seriously, that was his tantrum. You wouldn’t even know he was having one unless you happened to glance over at him. I think he thought that depriving everyone else of his attention was punishment enough for the rest of us (which, in all honesty, it was… he was and is one cute and funny kid). Obviously, the Pumpkin has other plans in store for us…

Does Anyone have a “Normal” Pregnancy Anymore??

I was talking to a friend the other night who was relaying her harrowing birth story to me, involving several days of hemorrhaging, inept doctor and nursing staff and various other incompetencies. She and her child were truly lucky to have survived the ordeal. As we were discussing this, it made us realize the many weak links in today’s medical environment as well as the high number of friends we know who have had difficulties in their pregnancies, myself included. Between the two of us, we know many people who have had premature deliveries, serious complications such as HELPP, complications from inductions, IUGR, as well as many other maladies. Luckily, all of the women we know survived and have healthy children, but it made us wonder. Are we just aware of more problems today and have a greater ability to diagnose them early due to ultrasounds, genetic testing, and other medical advances? Are we introducing too many medical interventions when they are not necessary? Are we having problems related to toxins in the environment? Older mothers? An inefficient and insurance-controlled health system that results in doctors spending too little time with their patients?

My son was born with a condition called Intrauterine Growth Restriction (IUGR), a condition where the fetus does not receive enough nutrients to grow at a normal rate. I became pregnant right before I turned 31. Throughout my pregnancy, everything appeared to be progressing normally and I was ecstatic about how relatively comfortable I felt throughout the pregnancy. I had a few issues, which in retrospect may have been pointing to complications; each symptom alone was nothing to worry about but when I review my symptoms in aggregate, I think they may have been pointing to a possible case of preeclampsia, which can cause IUGR. In the last trimester of my pregnancy, I started to have some minor symptoms. First, I would see floaters, or black spots, appearing periodically in my line of vision. I mentioned them to my OB, who stated that it was probably nothing but could be a sign of preeclampsia, but since I had no other symptoms and my blood pressure was in the normal range (although higher than my baseline BP), it was nothing to worry about. At a later visit, I mentioned that I was having some soreness on the right side of my abdomen, under my rib. I described it as feeling as if I had an organ that was aching. I received the same answer that I had received when I discussed the eye floaters. At another visit, I told her that I had been experiencing bad swelling, especially at the end of the day. My OB told me that was normal (unfortunately, all of my appointments were in the morning when my swelling was bad but not terrible; by the evenings, complete strangers would comment on how swollen my legs looked).

Also, during this time, my son’s heartbeat slowed down. For months, his heart rate would be at exactly 150 every time it was measured. Over the last several weeks of my pregnancy, it went to 140 and then down to 130. I questioned my OB about this since it had been consistently higher for months beforehand but she said that it was in the normal range and that the heart rate would naturally fluctuate. Now, I wonder if it was during this time that the placenta started to fail.

When I was about 34 weeks pregnant, my OB told me that I was measuring large and that she was going to schedule me for an ultrasound in a couple of weeks to make sure the baby was not growing too large. When I was went in for the ultrasound, at 36 ½ weeks, the technician told my husband and I that the baby was measuring where he should have been measuring at 33 weeks. When I asked her if he was ok, she told us that our OB would discuss that with us and then quickly gathered up the photos and left the room. Obviously, I started to panic at that point. My OB explained to us that our son was IUGR (they estimated him as weighing 4 pounds and 15 ounces during the ultrasound) and that the reason for the diminished growth was that the umbilical cord was not allowing enough nutrients to pass to him. She assured us that he would be fine but sent me straight over to the hospital for an induction; the fear was that if we waited, the placenta could fail to the point where our son could have died in utero. Apparently, my body was thinking the same thing since I was already having contractions every couple of minutes (I could not feel them) and I was 3 cm dilated when I arrived at the hospital, although I still got to experience the lovely experience that is pitocin. I was terrified but luckily everything worked out fine. Our son was born almost exactly twelve hours after we arrived at the hospital. He weighed 5 pounds 2 ounces and he was premature since he was under 37 weeks, but his lungs were fully developed and he was completely healthy. Our only complication was that he would not nurse, a big deal at the time but in retrospect, a very minor issue with which to deal. (I’ll have to tell you later about my very mixed feelings on nursing, pumping and the propaganda/guilt tracks you read…nursing is great but there are some situations where it just doesn’t work and you should not be made to feel as if you are going to kill your child by giving him formula!)

I am thankful everyday at how healthy my child was and is…he now weighs in at somewhere between 21 and 24 pounds (I’ll find out for certain in a couple of days when we have his ears rechecked). He’s a smart, active, wonderful little boy. In retrospect, I feel like I may have had preeclampsia but since each symptom presented itself at different times, the full picture never came together since my OB (whom I do still think is great) was really only focused on what was going on at each individual appointment versus looking at the trends during the pregnancy as a whole. I suppose we can blame the insurance companies for that…each OB appointment typically lasted about 5 minutes. I do not know if it could have been or should have been caught earlier; however I do know that next time, I’m going to be tracking things much more closely myself and I will be much more vocal and persistent about any concerns or problems that are occurring.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

You Know You're a Mom When...

You know you are a mom when you almost start doing a dance for joy when your son has a bowel movement after a bout of constipation. When he finally surmounted his problem, we started doing a joyous rendition of “You’re Mr. Poopy Pants…” to our mutual excitement. Yes, see how your intellectual prowess soars as a mother? No longer do you discuss the latest book you’re reading, world events, nor the most recent exhibit at the art museum. Now it is more likely to be the latest contents of your son’s diaper.

Poor Pumpkin has yet another ear infection. This one came about in a whole new manner. On Sunday afternoon, he suddenly spiked a high fever and had an episode of projectile vomiting (look, another lovely topic to add to your conversational repertoire!) We spoke to the doctor on call that afternoon and then made an appointment to see our normal pediatrician on Monday morning. He also seemed surprised to see another ear infection considering Pumpkin normally has a lingering bout of cold and congestion first prior to having ear problems. He had seemed to be doing better Sunday evening but then his fever spiked again later that night, despite the Tylenol later. In retrospect, I’m glad his fever did spike since I would have assumed it was just a normal viral episode otherwise. After a couple of days on a high powered antibiotic, the Pumpkin is on the mend although his appetite is still off a bit. However, let’s just say that his illness seems to have brought out a rather “willful” side of his personality! Giving him his antibiotic has resulted in several wrestling matches as he attempts to push away my arm with every attempt to give him his medicine, regardless of whether or not it is in a medicine dropper, a bottle mixed with a bit of formula or a bottle with just the medicine itself in there. Lovely, just another eight days with twice daily dosages to go…

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Pumpkin is On the Move!

He’s crawling forward now! He had been inadvertently moving himself backwards for a while now but has finally figured out how to move forward. It seemed like it happened overnight. He had made one or two tentative forward motions previously, but all of a sudden he was able to crawl across an entire room. I’m very excited yet apprehensive as well. In his first hour of full crawling, I had to pull him away from our carbon monoxide detector twice as well as away from repeated forays towards the toilet. Needless to say, our house will be completely baby-proofed by the end of the weekend. I guess we’ll be breaking out the “NO” word now as well.

My husband is overjoyed that I am now receptive to buying a flat-panel TV since I now view it as a safety feature. Our current Sony Vega weighs hundreds of pounds and takes two men to move it so I just look at it as a catastrophe waiting to happen. However, he does not have me sold on actually paying for HD service. That battle continues…

He's Growing Up

I know there has been a long hiatus from the blog. When did holidays get so hectic? Pumpkin’s first Christmas was good, although he ended up getting sick. Since we were out of town, we took him to an urgent care where the doctor said he did not have another ear infection but she did put him on an antibiotic since he was developing a nasty cough. I still suspect he may have had a flare-up with his ears so I was glad that he was given the antibiotic. Pumpkin enjoyed the gifts (more so than the wrapping paper, which surprised me) and definitely enjoyed the attention from the legions of doting grandparents and aunts/uncles.

At the Pumpkin’s nine month appointment right before Christmas, our pediatrician told us he wanted to have him weaned off of baby foods and onto pure table foods, weaned off of the bottle and weaned off of formula by his twelve month appointment. Whoa, my world has been turned upside down!! He wants him drinking milk out of an open cup as well. The Pumpkin does pretty well out of an open cup when we hold it for him but even with us holding it, he ends up drenched by the end of the meal. I’ve gone to a triple bib technique- two cloth bibs and one vinyl bib but he still manages to become drenched around the neckline. How many outfit changes are we supposed to have during a day? Since Pumpkin is already in the twelve month sizes and is starting to outgrow some of those, we only have so many baby clothes that fit! I’m confused about the sizes since at his last appointment (which was right after a bout of a stomach virus) he was only in the 25th – 30th percentile in weight. The table food transition is also daunting, although we have been making all of his baby food and keeping it at more of a chopped vs. pureed consistency. A friend referred me to an excellent website: which I think will give me some good ideas about how to proceed on the nutrition front.

We have been trying to give the Pumpkin as much organic and preservative/chemical-free food as possible. At least the table food transition should get all of us to eat healthier! A good blog I found for more organic baby products is: We have not gone extreme on the green side of baby products but we’re trying to incorporate more and more as we read more about the hidden dangers in all of the products we use. We’ll see what type of reasonable balance we’re able to strike.