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Friday, June 29, 2007

And life goes on...

Hey, just realized I'm at over 100 blog posts... go me!

Arianna is just now leaving her follow up ear tube appointment with Daddy. It went well and she sees the ENT again in December and we hope/pray for no more ear infections.

The last few weeks have been hard eating wise and its taken a real shift in what I consider normal. We started Arianna on solid foods later than most kids. This was due to her limited milk intake (20 oz. per day), her reflux and her prematurity. She didn't start on a consistant 'solid food' diet until she was almost 10 months old. From that time to just recently she was a very good 'solid food' eater. The only time she would be bad was when she was sick, which was, unfortuantely, frequently. When she wasn't sick it was like she was making up for lost time - eating 8 jars of stage 2 and 3 baby foods, per day! It was amazing.

For 7 weeks now Arianna has been sickness free. This is her personal best. The first 3 weeks of that she was doing catch up from the rotavirus attack and was eating 7/8 jars of baby food a day - she got chubby pretty quickly!

The last 2/3 weeks she's be asserting her 'toddler independence' and will only eat a spoonful or two from a jar of baby food. She wants to feed herself but still gags on foods but I'll give her something and she'll take a bit or two and throw it to the floor. That will be a meal - a few spoon fulls of baby food and a few bites of table food.

This is making my 'mommy gland' spaz. My 'mommy gland' says the kid who was labeled FTT (yes, that label is gone, like I thought it would be) needs to eat 7/8 jars of baby food a day. But in reality, according to everything I've been reading, this is not the case. Grazing is very normal and she's doing fine - not losing weight and maintaining her new 'chubbiness'. I just have to realize she's a normal toddler and doing just fine... I just have to tell that to my 'mommy gland' and make it understand...

Oh and me? I'm wearing a size large shirt today (usually an XL due to my chest) and a pair of pre-pregnancy jeans. I didn't loose anything last week (.2, ha!) and so far the scale hasn't budged this week, but the clothes are fitting well!

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Bad Parenting...

But at least she's cute!

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

I want to visit Sweden

I came across this article this morning which talks about how great it is to be a woman in Sweden - perhaps better than any where else in the world. I'm intrigued by this as we've always wanted to visit that area of the world.

These are a few of the key points of the article:
  • A new female-run political party, Feminist Initiative, was launched in 2005 on such platforms as abolishing marriage laws — thereby granting any two (or three, or four!) people cohabiting the same rights as a husband and wife — and legally requiring fathers to take as much time off for child care as mothers. While the party was initially touted as "the way for women's future," its support plummeted after its convention several months ago, during which members sang a rowdy song about "chopping men to bits."

  • With its high income tax, women take home an average of $22,000 per year, compared with $29,000 for American women. Yet prices in Sweden are up to four times higher: a drugstore lipstick costs $15, a pair of non-designer jeans, $130. An evening out costs almost $150. For young women who like to have fun, it can be hard on the wallet.

  • To avoid double standards, women like Anna-Maria are fanatical about paying their fair share on dates. "I feel very uncomfortable if a man buys me dinner or drinks — as though I owe him something," she says. Fortunately she almost never finds herself in that predicament, since Swedish men rarely offer to pay, nor do they perform any other conventional courtesies, such as holding a door open or helping a woman visibly struggling under the load of a heavy bag. "Naturally, we can't complain," says Anna-Maria. "But apart from the financial issue, I can't say I'd mind the odd helpful gesture now and again."

  • With gender equality comes further dating awkwardness: By American standards, Swedish men are painfully slow to make the first romantic move. "Men treat women like friends," Anna-Maria says. "They rarely chat you up, unless they're drunk." Instead, Anna-Maria often does the asking herself. "Sure, I'd like to be chased, but men have grown lazy in Sweden. So I take the initiative. Though I have to say, it detracts from the sexual intrigue."

  • A glaring inequality persists in the wage gap — women earn 83 percent of the average male salary.

Chopping men to bits? hmm... not so sure I agree with that; men are good eye candy! I'm pretty fiscally 'aware' and would hate to have so much of money 'spoken for' before I get it. I'm not too 'into' the socialist culture Sweden has. And where did this author get the idea that American men open doors or pay for things? I love my hubby but he never did this when we were dating and still doesn't do it now... and it doesn't really bother me. And the wage gap is pretty much the same here, no surprise.
  • a 2005 report by the World Economic Forum found this Scandinavian nation to be the world's "most advanced country" for women, with greater levels of equality, power, health, and well-being among women than anywhere else.

  • The goal of equality starts young: "Anti-Sexism Awareness Training" begins in kindergarten, where male toddlers are encouraged to play with dolls, and females with toy tractors. In school, classes in cooking, sewing, metalworking, and woodworking are compulsory for both sexes. All education, including college, is free, and girls routinely outperform boys; in 2005, women made up more than 60 percent of all Swedish college students.

  • Anna-Maria regularly dates three or four men at a time without social disapproval. And when it comes to sexual freedom, it's hard to imagine a country with more relaxed rules. Sex and the City is shown on TV at the family hour of 6 p.m., and skinny-dipping in Stockholm's city-center lakes is reportedly a popular summer activity. One-night stands are also common.

  • Although most Swedish women work, the country has one of the highest birth rates in Europe, thanks to generous laws on parental leave.

  • Swedish couples — women and men — get 13 months paid leave and another three months at a fixed rate. Of that, 60 days must be taken by the mother, another 60 by the father, and the rest can be divided however they choose. (New mothers in the U.S. who have worked one year receive 12 weeks unpaid leave.)

  • This principle of equality extends to many other areas of life in Sweden. Women's sports are given as much TV airtime as men's, sometimes with higher ratings — 4 million Swedes watched the 2003 Women's World Cup soccer final.

  • Then there are innovations such as the world's first "female-friendly car," unveiled in 2004 by Swedish auto giant Volvo. Created by an all-female lead team, the car is packed with woman-specific features: seats that auto-adjust to a female body shape, a special groove in the headrest for ponytails, and a high-heel rest near the foot pedals.

  • In shopping malls, Sweden's pay-to-pee public toilets are often unisex to minimize those infamously long lines for women's bathrooms

Putting a toddler through 'Anti sexism awareness training'?? Not a bad thing I guess, but sometimes gender specific isn't a bad thing. The maternity leave laws are great - would have certainly come in handy this past year for us. Sweden also doesn't let premature infants born before 26 weeks to be resusitated... I guess socialist societies can set those rules. I like the equality they show but don't know how much I'd watch womans basketball etc. on TV... heck I don't watch mens sports either.

Ok, the female friendly car... I want one. I used to hate the pony tail problem with the headrest (when I had hair long enough for that). And the unisex bathrooms... not sure what I think of that. I have a hard enough time getting my husband to put the toilet seat down... not so sure of a stranger.

Still want to visit Sweden, in the summer.

Monday, June 25, 2007

She passed!

Great news! Arianna passed her first hearing exam, EVER, today.

I'm so very happy!!!

I've been terribly busy working on some new .gsd files for my wishblade to cut for this weekend, I'm actually going to my first scrapbooking crop since Arianna was born and I'm super excited!!

I hope everyone is doing well!

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Woo Hoo! Sticky Site of the Moment!

I'm the sticky site of the moment over at!


Not as glamorous as I thought it would be... has been selected as the Sticky Site of the Moment at!

Only blogs and Web sites that use Internet Bumper Stickers(R) are eligible for this dubious honor. We're sure you'll be giddy with pride (or overcome with shame) to receive this accolade. All we can say is... it's yours!

When your moment has passed, you'll remain in the Sticky Site Archive so people can visit from for ever and ever (or at least as long as you have IBS on your site).

So, congrats again. You can visit yourself at:

Head Stickermonkey

I feel so honored!

The Sue who nominated me - please let me know who you are so I can say 'Thank you!'

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Optifast Update

I'm very over due on my optifast update, so here goes.

I'm starting week 8. 2 months on optifast and it's going very well - I'm nearly at the 50% mark. Last week was a rough weigh in for me as I gained .3. I didn't know that was possible when eating only 800 calories a day... but I found out why. I have a problem, had it a long time. I have low blood pressure (88/54) which is exacerbated by this diet, but I can live with it and my doctors (including the physician running the program) have given me the a-ok. Low blood pressure can also be affected by change in nutrition, which this diet obviously has. I get dizzy standing up but have for ages so I wasn't too concerned about it, but the physician running the diet told me to add bullion to my diet - which I had for a week, at lunch. Just regular old bullion cubes in hot water. Bullion has alot of salt in it, which will help raise your blood pressure. Didn't work for me but did make me retain quite a bit of fluid - so no loss. This week I got 4.7 out of my efforts, and I didn't 'do' bullion.

My clothes are falling off. I really need to get some new clothes. I went to the cedar closet and got the big tub of my pre-pregnancy clothes and gasped as I tried to put them on. No, they didn't fit. What I gasped at was the sizes. How on gods green earth did I fit into size 4 shorts!! I started this diet at a size 14! I'd love to get back there but don't see it happening. I can't really afford to buy new clothes so I'm trying to make due with the 3 or 4 pairs of pants I have. When I was breastfeeding Arianna I was an H bra cup (yes... it was not fun). When I finished I was a DD/E cup and now I fit into a D. This means I can buy bras in regular stores instead of having to order them. I think I look thinner just because my bust isn't so huge and this makes me very happy.

As far as exercise... I don't get enough. I just don't have time. Arianna requires alot of our time and when I get home there is NO way I can do what I need to do for her and go to the gym. Add to that the fact that there is no gym close by and its not going to happen. We do alot of walking, instead.

I walk at work 4 days a week for 30 minutes. Its a brisk walk and more than half is at a pretty good incline. Some days I'm one of only a few people walking and other days you get hordes of people, walking en masse, down the street. Lately it's been just me and a few dedicated others. I have my mp3 player (no, not an Ipod that has been shown to mess with similar cardiac devices), so I sort of zone out and walk. I really enjoy my walks, it breaks up my day. You can hear me singing up the street!

Food wise its going ok. Just ok though. For this week, for instance I haven't had my fruit serving. On the weekends I typically forget a shake and I go over on my meat portions more often than not. But I try.

Although I'm enjoying the weight loss journey, I am looking forward to getting back on food again - October 1 can't come fast enough!

Friday, June 15, 2007

Soon to be scheduled!

I received a letter in the mail from CVS pharmacy (the pharmacy we use) a few weeks ago. They said my pulmicort inhaler was being discontinued. I've been using pulmicort for 10 years. Its the only steroidal inhaler I can use.

Because of my long qt syndrome I can't take fast acting inhalers (such as albuterol) due to its epinephrine like qualities - its too much of a stimulant to the heart and can make me more vulnerable to arrhythmias - theoretically. So I rely heavily on steroidal inhalers to keep me out of danger. Earlier this year I had a serious asthma attack that left me using my daughters nebulizer (something I haven't used since I was 14) and wondering if we should go to the emergency room.

So now I need to find a new inhaler.

But that means I also need to find a new doctor as I haven't been followed for my asthma for a while - it was well controlled prior to becoming pregnant. As luck would have it I found someone and got a quick appointment. Its an allergy and asthma doctor, but thats ok. They did allergy testing, again and found I'm still allergic to dust mites - big deal. More importantly he found me a steroidal inhaler and a 'sort of' fast acting inhaler that I can take with my Long qt syndrome. I got a nasal spray to help with my stuffy nose too. Ya!

Yesterday I had the follow up appointment with my new orthopedic surgeron. I explained my history and he agreed I need surgery and we can do it as soon as I want to.

Due to Arianna's rough spring I had to take alot of time from work and have -10 hours of personal time so I won't have a vacation day until the end of July. Thankfully this surgeon does surgery on Fridays so I'll only need that one day.

So today I sent a letter to my old orthopedic surgeon requesting that my record be transfered and I'm following it up with a letter that says this:

Dr. DiGiovanni:

You conducted a fasciotomy on my right calf for exertional compartment syndrome in August 2004. I was to have the surgery done on my left calf the following year. The following year I became un-expectantly pregnant. You would not do my surgery while I was pregnant so I waited.

I had an appointment at your North Main Street office at 11:30 AM on June 7th , which I had made 6 weeks prior. I live in Cumberland and had to hire a babysitter for 4 hours to watch my daughter while I drove the 45 minutes into Providence, to your office. The babysitter cost me $30. I accidentally left my wallet on my kitchen table. I arrived at your office and realized my wallet was still at home. I told your receptionist that I did not have my wallet but would be happy to mail a check when I returned home. She gave me paperwork to fill out while she went to talk to you. When I returned with the paperwork your receptionist told me that you would not see me if I did not pay my $10 co-pay. I pleaded with her that I had paid for a sitter, drove 45 minutes to the appointment, and that this was basically an appointment to schedule surgery - as it was a ‘sure thing’. She simply told me that you had made the decision not to see me because I did not have my $10 co-pay and there was nothing she could do. She offered to reschedule the appointment, which may have been another 6 weeks into the future. I was stunned. I told her that I did not want to reschedule, I would make an appointment with another surgeon – which I did, for the very same day!

I have never been turned away from a doctors appointment because I did not have my $10 co-pay. If your business so heavily relies on a $10 co-pay then it is obvious that my choice to go to another doctor was the correct one. Despite explaining the situation and my offer to mail a check I was still refused – this policy is not appropriate in my situation as my appointment was to schedule a surgery. I would require only two appointments, one before the surgery and one after. The surgery would have netted you a large sum of money from my insurance company, which you have now lost. I am surprised you would not see me after all the grief that was caused during my pregnancy but I am very glad that I am now seeing someone else!

Your policy is damaging and dangerous to patient care and you and your staff should change this policy immediately, you should be ashamed!

I'm carbon copying his office manager and the department of health. To say that I'm steamed would be an understatement.

But at least my leg will be taken care of now!


We've been very fortunate to find a great financial planner. His name is Gary Coleman (no, not the 'whatyoutalkinboutWillis' Gary Coleman) and he found me a life insurance company that will 'look into' offering me a policy. Because of my implanted defibrillator I am pretty much excempt from life insurance - but I consider it a very important part of our financial planning. Plus, I won't skydive if I don't have life insurance.

Anyway, today was my paramedical exam. I had the examiner meet me at my office as I didn't want to have to go somewhere to do it having already taken so much time out of the office this week. We had to crowd into the ladies room as I didn't really want to do it in my office conference room. Yes, it was a male examiner, of course - so it was odd.

He did all the normal stuff - taking my blood pressure, which is always rediculously low, getting my weight (I really like his scale), urine test, and then the ever fun blood test.

I have bad veins... actually thats an understatement. I have no idea how my appendages are healthy as my veins are so small and hard to find I don't actually know how they get blood.

When I was a child I never really needed blood tests so I never knew how bad getting blood would be. The only glimpse into this I got as a child was when I was 7 (and then again at 10 and 14) when I had to have special 'dye' imaging done to assess my kidney and bladder function. The technicians would always comment about how difficult it was to find a vein to use to insert the dye.

Fast forward to age 20 when I had my first pacemaker/defibrillator combo implanted. I woke up half way through the surgery because the vein they managed to get an IV into blew and my hand was swelling up like a balloon. I had to stay in the hospital for 2 days after the surgery and went through 9 (yes, 9 IVs). When I left the nurses simply told me to be sure I got a PICC line next time I had surgery.

Fast forward to age 27 when I was pregnant and in labor. Magnesium Sulfate is not nice to tiny veins, it hurts. Only 6 IVs those 2 days.

Getting blood has always been horrible. I don't donate anymore because the technicians can NEVER get a vein that works. I remember being in the emergency room after a fainting spell before my defibrillator implant and the technician actually had to resort to getting blood out of my foot (a la neonate style)... that was fun!

Today was no exception.

At first he tried with a normal, adult gauge needle. I told him, as he pulled it out of his bag, "Do you have a butterfly in there?" as I know I need the butterfly needles (typically used on small veins and children) "Yes, but its my last one I'm trying to save it; this is the same gauge", Um, no it wasn't and no it didn't work.

We tried both arms without luck, my left hand and lastly my right hand. I have a good vein in my right hand but I don't like to tell them about it because it runs right over a bony part of my wrist and its unbelievably painful. Well that was the only place left... and yes it did work, and yes it was painful. Not only that but it took forever to fill the large test tubes as its a very small vein.

But he got what he needed and now I just need to wait for the rejection letter from the life insurance company (I'm not optimistic they will cover me).

Another side affect of my prematurity... along with my eye turn that gets worse when I'm tired, my kidney problems, my asthma, my compartment syndrome and possibly my Long QT Syndrome.

Would I have wanted my parents to change what they did? Not for a moment.

Thursday, June 14, 2007


I'm a scrapbooker.

I learned about scrapbooking while taking a summer class - public speaking. We all had to make speeches and one week the topic was to speak about our hobbies. Mine speech was actually about cross stitching, another hobby I've had since I was a little girl.

One of the girls did a speech on scrapbooking - she showed how easy it was etc. That was 6 years ago and I still remember how cool I thought it was.

I left class that Saturday, went to Michaels and purchased nearly EVERYTHING they had to start my own scrapbooking collection/hobby.

I haven't looked back either. A few years ago I even got my own (extremely expensive) cutting machine, the Xyron Wishblade. I love it! Eventually along the way I got into card making and rubber stamping and am equally addicted. I think I could easily open a store with all my scrapbooking supplies. I'm in the process of trying to bulk up my paper/cardstock supplies again as most of them were ruined in the great basement flood.

The past few days I've been working on a swap I'm in - a swap is where you make a scrapbook page (minus the photos) and swap it for one someone else made. There are 9 people in the swap so I've made 9, 2 page layouts and will be swapping it tomorrow. I made several really cool die cuts with my wishblade and the pages are going to be awesome when they're finally done.

Anyone else scrapbook?

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Unit Testing

I've embarked on a new journey at work and it has me kind of excited.

I spend alot of time 'debugging' and re-writing code that our testers find problems with - mostly stuff that I've spent alot of time on previously. Stuff that I didn't test thoroughly enough and its mostly due to the fact that I don't really know how to test outside of integration testing. I'm not alone in this 'problem' though - lots of programmers are like that.

So, after much discussion with all the programmers, we're implementing Unit Testing w/ NUnit.

Today I spent 3 hours unit testing one of my importers. 2 of those hours was spent trying to figure out why .NET's minimum date is: 01/01/0001 (aka January 1, 1 AD) yet SQL Server which stores the data I'm trying to read has a minimum date of: 01/01/1753 (um, random year??). So I had to write some code that would check that the date was greater than 1/1/1753. Yet, like any good programmer, I tried to do this without having to re-write too much of what was already existing.

Big mistake. 2 hours later I'm cursing and throwing my headphones on my desk and walking out to get some air.

Yes, I finished it. Yes, I stayed 45 minutes later at work as I wasn't going to leave without this VERY simple task being completed.

My review is coming up... I'm sure this will be on it. sigh

Monday, June 11, 2007

Arianna Update

I'm a bad mom - no new pictures as I can't find the camera... but I'll post some soon.

Arianna has had her ear tubes for 6 days now and we haven't had any complaints - she's doing fabulously. We can tell she hears so much better. Bath time is a challenge with the water, and truth be told she won't keep ear plugs in but we'll keep trying!

She says 3 words now: Dad-dee, Hello, Buh Bye (with a cute wave)

She's super chubby! The high-fat/high-calorie diet is working! She goes back to the pediatrician next Monday and I hope she's toppin' the charts!

Feeding wise textures are a struggle. She still gags on some foods so she'll be on pureed baby food for a while - which is fine for us.

Today she started with our summer nanny, at my friends home (until the 21st). She seems to be doing well there, so far. When I called around lunch to check up on her she was heard in the background talkin' up a storm! hehe

She's taking cautious steps. She'll walk a step or two between two pieces of furniture but won't stand on her own or walk on her own yet. I don't imagine it'll be much longer!

Friday, June 08, 2007

They won't make me feel negligent

  1. Arianna's reflux is still a serious problem
  2. My neck, apparently, can't be helped without serious neck surgery
  3. My leg surgery is a much bigger deal than I thought
Yesterday morning as I was feeding Arianna breakfast she was gagging. She does this on certain textures but then she threw up the entire 6 oz. of granola. This is not a good thing. Her reflux is still a problem - she's out grown her Axid dose and her pediatrician says she's at the FDA limit and now has to go on something stronger. I figured that much but he does not feel comfortable handling her reflux and wants her to go back to GI. This is fine, they should be 'in the loop' regarding her slow weight gain/loss and reflux. The bigger problem was that I didn't feel they were 'good'. They dismissed her at 5 months old, taking her off all her reflux medication. Two weeks later she stopped eating (this was last September) and for the next 4 months we struggled to get her to gain weight as we adjusted her Axid dose (as prescribed by her pediatrician). It'll take weeks to get an appointment and I hate to stall her progress but that seems to be the preemie time line... wait for nothing to happen. sigh.

Yesterday afternoon I had an appointment with my orthopedic surgeon regarding my compartment syndrome. I had my mom drive the 30 min. to my house to watch Arianna and then I drove the 45 min. to the appointment. I arrived a few minutes before 11:30 and filled out paper work. I told them my daughter had played with my wallet and I accidentally left it at home (this is the truth) so I didn't have a way to pay my copay. They told me they couldn't see me without my copay and needed to reschedule. They needed to reschedule for a freakin' $10 copay?? It took 3 weeks to make that appointment. I was so mad I just told the secretary that I'd make an appointment with someone else and walked out before she could say anything.

I called up another orthopedic group and got an appointment for 3 o'clock that afternoon - AWESOME! The most ironic part is that they are just one block down from the other office I was at that morning. I arrived about 15 minutes ahead of time and filled out paper work and waited an additional 30 minutes in a room for someone to show up.

The male doctor I met with was OLD. I have a thing about doctor gender. All of the experiences I have had with male doctors (with the exception of 2) has been extremely negative. The two cardiologists I saw that completely missed my Long QT syndrome and refused to treat me could have cost me my life. It wasn't until a FEMALE cardiologist stepped in that I got the treatment I deserved. The cardiologists I had after her were both male and both excellent, but on a whole I have not had good luck with male doctors. When I make appointments I try to make them with female doctors.

Anyway, this doctor even told me he wouldn't be following me because he's retiring soon. I explained my compartment syndrome and showed him my legs - which I always thought looked fine. He started by saying I had to be the worst case of compartment syndrome he has seen outside of leg fractures and that he couldn't understand why I had let years go between the surgeries on my legs.

I explained the delays; 1. I've had this for years and am used to it, its not urgent to me. 2. After my first surgery I left my job to return to school full time and lost my insurance. My husbands insurance wouldn't cover the surgery. 3. After I had a full time job and planned on having the surgery I became pregnant and the surgeon wouldn't do it while i was pregnant despite several pleas from my maternal medicine doctor.

He then said he wanted another doctor to meet me so I waited for another 20 minutes for a new doctor to arrive who looked at my calves and said he'll see me in two weeks at the office that was closer to my home (ya!!). After he left the old doctor was there filling out some paperwork - I used that opportunity to ask about my neck. I explained how the problems happened, two car accidents (not my fault) and my skydiving and how I treated it (chiropractic).

Well, boy did I open the flood gates. I've been dealing with my neck problems for 3 years - too long he said. I probably did more damage to my neck by going to a chiropractor and at this point there is probably nothing that can be done outside of major neck surgery and I need to decide what is more important, my leg or my neck. He said they'd have to do an MRI and I said I can't have one because of my defibrillator and his eyes got big and he said then we'll do CT Scans.

The way he was saying this was so crude, I could feel the anger building up inside of me - the way he was talking to me was like I was 3 and had been very negligent to my body. After the other office that morning I wanted to just get up and leave but kept my composure.

He finished it with the comment that made me cry: "You have a lot of things wrong with you for such a little girl. Yes, a little girl". I think he knew what he said was wrong as he just got up and left without saying a word.

I had to pull my jaw off the floor after he left and tried to hold back tears.

Quality of life is a HUGE facet of my life - I do my best to make due with what I have.

Yes, I have a heart defect that could kill me - I'm reminded of it every day I check my defibrillator with a magnet to ensure its still working. To keep me 'balanced' I stretch the boundaries of my disorder by skydiving and exercising regularly - things many people with LQTS refrain from doing. I went through months of group therapy to try and keep me thinking positively about my disorder rather than dwelling on my possible death.

Yes, I have compartment syndrome that makes walking painful - but I can do any other exercise that doesn't require the flexing of my foot - so I ride bikes and use an elliptical machine regularly without problem. I know what I can and can't do as a result of my legs and don't let that stop me.

Yes I get daily headaches and my neck is a total mess but I take ibuprofen once a day and it helps. I don't do a lot of head twisting unless necessary (I rely on my car mirrors heavily). I've resigned myself to not being able to have full use of my neck shoulders for the remainder of my life - seriously.

But to be told that I'm super messed up for someone my age? I don't think so.

I had a conversation with my cardiologist about this at my last appointment. I told him I was having trouble getting life insurance and he told me he'd be more than happy to write a letter to the insurance company telling them that I have a regular full life expectancy.

Does that mean its a compromised life? I don't know.

A lot of this aligns with our decision to not resuscitate our preemie if they are born before 26 weeks. We get a lot of flack for this but I have too much experience with compromises to individual lifestyle to take that risk. I have the added bonus of understanding what its like to 'grow up being a preemie'. My mother has bi-polar and will never live on her own - I know that when my father dies I will be left with taking care of her. I am already far too involved in the decisions she makes but I understand without my input she would make bad decisions that hurt her (like her having several drinks at my grandmother's birthday party this weekend and getting hammered). People born prematurely are at a higher average of having mental problems which are not handled well by our society... It's not that we wouldn't deal with it as parents either. We would and could because they're our child. The majority go through a lot of pain and suffering and I would hate to see them go through all of that and still die. Just the thought brings tears to my eyes.

Thankfully the majority of 'pregnant after preemie' moms that I've met have had their second child either later than their first or full term. I can only hope...

I think I'll take my battered and broken 28 year old body back to work now...

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Super Baby!

So, to add to yesterday's post...

I wake up at 5:30 AM this morning, quickly get dressed, get Arianna's diaper bag packed (with bottle) and pack the car. I woke her up about 6:10, quickly said goodbye to 'dad-ee' and set off.

We arrive at the hospital at 6:50 for the 7 o'clock 'check in'. There is no one in the admitting office.

Thats because on Wednesdays the first surgery isn't until 9 AM!! So we are there 1.5 hours too early. She tells us to take a walk around the hospital... um, ya that'll be 'fun', with no stroller. I used to work here so I figured I'd head over to the office to say hello to people, but its too early, no one is there. So we sit down by the, now empty, water sculpture in the foyer and I read her a board book someone left there. After about 10 minutes she's done with that and we head back to the admitting waiting room where there are no toys. After about 10 minutes in there I go in to tell the secretary that we came back and were waiting in the pre-op waiting room. She told me they had opened the inside waiting room and we could wait there - this was a fun room because there were lots of toys.

Arianna was good in this room until about 20 minutes before 'her turn'. We met several really nice families - one of whom was getting tubes also. Once again I was reminded about how small my 14 month old is with such comments like "wow, she's just a peanut huh?" or "boy I didn't think my girl was so big but I guess she is". I don't know why they bother me, but they do.

Anesthesiology came in and talked to me - I explained her NICU course and the two times she was hospitalized in the last year and all her minor problems and I was assured everything would be fine - I knew it would be, this is extremely minor.

Then I had to sit in the waiting room as she fussed due to being both bored and hungry and finally had to get 'gowned' up. She was 'done' at this point.

Then they called us back. The actual room was really bright and thats what really caught her attention and she sat on my lap while they gave her the anesthetic. She was much better about it than I thought she would be. The spacer for her albuterol is very similar in size/shape and she ALWAYS screams when I put it on her face, and figured she would do the same - but nope! She was great about it, just sat on my lap until she went to sleep. Must have been the bubble gum flavoring or something. But I was relieved.

I was shuffled out quickly and went and grabbed my bags and headed off to the post-op waiting room. I was only there about 3 minutes when the doctor came and got me. He said they removed alot of fluid from both ears and put the tubes in without any trouble. She was just starting to wake up and recovery would be calling the room soon. Sounded good to me.

Recovery called about 3 minutes later and I shuffled off to recovery and she was just waking up when I got there. Just one little wimper and I picked her up, shoved a bottle in her her mouth and she drank it all in a matter of moments.

She didn't have any trouble and didn't cry at all! After she was done with the bottle she was all smiles and laughter! Talk about strange. This was not the Arianna I was used to - she almost always cries when she wakes from a nap!

We were in recovery for about 30 minutes total and then we were done! I picked up all the bags and walked her out of the hospital to the parking garage - no wimpers, no whining, no ... nothing...

If anything she was happy - she looked around at everything and was enamoured by outside (where there was alot of construction) as it was loud. It made me wonder if she was just hearing everything totally new now that the fluid was gone.

We got home about 10:20 and I gave her breakfast which she ate quickly. We both took naps about 11:40 - 1:30 and then she had lunch. She's playing with toys now and still as happy as ever.

We have to keep water out of her ears - I need pointers on this. She HATES taking a bath and we have to be very quick about getting all the soap out of her hair or she'll thrash about and hurt herself. I usually just take a cup of water and dump it over her head. This is no an option with tubes so I welcome ideas.

Best part of all? She weighed in at 20.3 lbs. Thats a gain of nearly 3 lbs in just 3 weeks!!

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Medical Incompetence

I'm fuming!

I think I deal with medical incompetence on a far higher average than most people.

We were supposed to get a phone call today telling us what time we had to be at the hospital for Arianna ear tube surgery.

3 o'clock comes around and no phone call. So I called the number on the piece of paper given to me by the surgery coordinator at the ENT office. That number happens to be the children's OR admitting office. I called and told them who I was and why I was calling. They looked in their computer to see what time she was scheduled.


Um... what the hell...

So I call the surgery coordinator at the ENTs office and get her voicemail - leaving a message.

...Spend the next 45 minutes spitting nails...

Finally get a call from the coordinator that tells me that Dr. McRae is not available (it better not be for a vacation!) and Dr. 'so&so' is doing the surgery so thats why the OR couldn't find her.

Ok, so you switch doctors on us and don't tell me? I haven't even met this guy. It's not like I had met Dr. McRae either though - we were in his office for all of 3 minutes. I don't appreciate not be notified of this problem, but I am glad she's still scheduled. We have to be at the hospital for 7 AM.

Tomorrow is not going to be fun!

Going, going....

On my way home from my weekly weight loss meetings it occurred to me that I hadn't talked to my best friend Kathy in a few weeks so I grabbed my cell phone and gave her a ring.

She sounded un-characteristically perky when she answered. I was happy for her.

Her little boy Nathan, who is about 3 months old, has food allergies. Kathy, who is breastfeeding, has been doing an elimination diet to help him. I think at one point she was eating only pork and avocados. It's been hard for both of them trying to find what he can and can not eat.

She told me that yesterday they saw the GI doctor for the first time. He gave them Neocate to try and told her to not worry too much about breastfeeding. Kathy is as staunch a breastfeeding advocate as I was - I even gave her my breast pump when I finished with it. She is NOT taking the doctors advice but may introduce the Neocate on occasion. He gave her a new diet telling her she can add the others foods back but avoid milk and soy, for now. She said when she got home she had a peanut butter sandwich - something she hadn't had in months.

It takes me about 20 minutes to get home from my weight loss program and that time seemed to fly while talking to Kathy.

We talked about Arianna's eating struggles and our nanny search. We joked about Arianna getting glasses as we both have glasses and had them at a young age too! Kathy even did the whole 'eye patch' thing!

I was purposely avoiding asking Kathy one question - because I was pretty sure I knew the answer based on how happy she was.

Kathy and her husband Shawn live in Northampton, MA - near where they graduated college (UMass Amherst). Kathy works as a social worker for mentally disabled adults and Shawn works in a job he hates as a middle school science teacher.

Shawn's family lives in California - just outside Oceanside (which my husband informed me is considered 'lo-cal', not 'so-cal'... whatever). His mother is a stay-at-home/homeschooling mom to his younger sister who is in high school. His older brother is in a 'transitional program' for delinquents. His other sister has a 3 year old that his mom watches while she works. Shawn is the only one not in CA. His father is running a start up company that manufactures products that stores can sell under their own label - he says its doing very well.

Kathy's family lives in Massachusetts. His father is remarried still living in Foxboro and her mother lives in Pawtucket, RI - not far from Shawn and I. Her brother lives in Boston and is very much living the life of a typical gay urbanite.

They need a change. Kathy has had the same job since graduating college and Shawn hates his job as a teacher - has for years. It's hard for them to get a change in the area of Massachusetts they live in. Its not known for its industry - it's known more for the hippie lifestyle it promotes.

This was the question I was avoiding:

Over Memorial Day Weekend Shawn was traveling to CA for a job interview at a private school in Oceanside. They were looking to move to Oceanside to be closer to his family. His mother would watch Nathan every day so they could both work.

I didn't really want to know how the interview went because I actually support them moving, despite it making me sad. They need to jump-start their careers and their lives; they've been stagnant and miserable for so long.

Kathy said that Shawn didn't go to the interview! Instead he interviewed for his father and his partner! It went well.

They're moving next month.

Just typing that makes me cry.

Shawn will start at a VP type level and because its a start up he will be able to create his own niche. He is the type of person, and has the personality, that would be PERFECT for a job like this - he can make it just what he wants it to be and he'll love it!

Kathy has applied for jobs as a supervisor for social workers. I hope she gets it - she likes doing social work but needs to move up and a supervisory role would be good for her.

They'll live with his family for a few weeks while they search for an apartment and get to know the area.

I'm happy for them, really I am, but I'm sad for myself. I miss my friends. I'll really miss Kathy. Omitting a few months stretch in 7th grade, Kathy and I have been friends for 20 years - yes, you read that right. Heck, I was even good friends with her baby brother - we all went to a Smashing Pumpkins concert together in high school! He was the biggest SP fan ever. I think I was more accepting of his homosexuality than Kathy (a born-again Christian in college) was. I remember riding my bike to her house in 5th grade, we had identical bikes. Someone stole them while we were inside her house doing our homework. When I had to get away from my father, in high school, it was Kathy's house I went to. She was the only one that I actually visited when we were in college. I know all of her college friends, even went on a double blind date with her college roommate. I was the first person she called when her son was born. I was her maid of honor at her wedding. I helped plan her baby shower. She was my maid of honor and helped with my shower.

I'm so bummed for me, but I'm happy for them. I'm bummed our kids won't become friends like Kathy and I were. I wish Shawn lots of luck with his new job and I wish Kathy luck finding a new job. I wish her luck in adapting into his family and even more luck dealing with her sons allergies. He's so cute, looks like dad though.

I can only hope that we get some really great financial good fortune that will allow me to visit 'LoCal' often.

Monday, June 04, 2007


12 months adjusted and nearly 15 months actual... Arianna is FINALLY cutting her first tooth.


Friday, June 01, 2007

We're BUSY!

This weekend will be so busy for us!

  • Work - take my 30 minute walk and make grocery list for Shawn who is home with Arianna today.
  • Get home and do two things: 1. Make salad 2. Finish birthday video and make 6 copies.
  • Go to Megan's to meet nanny and have cookout - I'm making a YUMMY mandarin orange salad and bringing burgers/buns.
  • Go to my parents and carpool to Dedham to visit with family coming in from out of state and show video
  • Arrive home and put on self tanner for tomorrow
  • Wake up early and clean house
  • Go to Toys r Us & Babies r Us to use $150 gift card to buy umbrella stroller and lots of new toys for Arianna
  • Go to Sears to use cash to buy new patio set.
  • Take Arianna down the bike path for a good 3 hours, this will allow her to hopefully get more rest than normal - we have to keep her up late
  • Go home and take showers/baths and get dressed/ready for...
  • Go to Nana's 80th birthday party at the country club in Qunicy from 7 - 11PM - meet over 100 of our extended family friends - bring pack n' play to allow Arianna to sleep.
  • Wake up early and pack everything up for day at the beach.
  • Go to Orleans, MA, to my aunts summer house, and enjoy a leisurely cookout/beach day.
  • Arrive home tired, exhausted and fulfilled from a fun weekend.
We have a very busy weekend! Tonight we're meeting Megan's nanny and having a quick cookout. We're bringing dinner - hamburgers and a large mandarin orange summer salad. Shawn and I are arriving in separate cars because I have to drive immediately to my parents home in order to carpool with them up to Dedham.

Tomorrow is my grandmother's 80th birthday party. It's a surprise party and my aunt from CA and uncle from Texas with their 6 kids are arriving today for the next 5 days. We rarely have all 16 of us grandkids in one place! I've been working, for the past few months, on a video/slideshow of her life. I just finished setting the music this morning and I must say - it turned out amazing and moved me to tears, its strange how music can do that. Tonight I go to Dedham, where everyone will be meeting (minus Nana, of course) to show them the video prior to the 'big event'. I'm sure they will be just as amazed by it.

Saturday we need to keep Arianna well rested as the party runs from 7 AM - 11 PM.

We have alot of running around to do in the morning. I want to go to Toys r Us/Babies r us to spend a gift card Shawn's mother sent. We're going to get a smaller umbrella stroller that will primarily be kept at my mother's house and a bunch of toys that will suit her new developmental age - a lot of the fisher price laugh and learn toys, an inflateable baby pool, some bath toys (maybe that would make bath time better??) and some traditional wooden blocks. Then we'll head over to Sears to buy our new patio set! Its called the Veranda Collection and the table, four chairs with chair pads, umbrella and umbrella base come under $600! We've even saved the money so we'll be paying cash - how awesome is that?! Even though our snowball has melted we're not racking up debt!

Then Shawn needs to go into the office so I'm going to take Arianna on a long walk by the Blackstone river, for at least 3 hours - its a paved bike/walking path and its so serene and peaceful - we love it. Arianna usually sleeps and very much enjoys going on long walks so it'll be perfect to keep her rested.

Then we head back to the house and all take showers, get buffed up and dressed to the 9's to head off to the party. I'm really excited for it. I've lost a noticeable amount of weight, I'm actually the lowest I've been since October 2005 and fit into clothes that haven't seen the light of day since that long - all good news! I can't wait to show myself off in my little black dress. Arianna is lucky enough to get a nice new outfit from grandma and grandpa - she'll be ÜBER cute too! With all the people there I'm sure she'll be wonderful, but we'll bring the pack n' play just in case she needs to nap.

We won't be home until very late and need to be at my aunts summer house in Orleans, MA for a cookout/beach day on Sunday if the weather cooperates. This will give everyone - Nana included - a chance to catch up, talk and enjoy everyone company. I'm sure it'll be just as fun. I only hope Arianna is rested enough to not be a grump!

This weekend will be so much fun! I hope everyone has as much fun!

The snowball has melted...

This is good news, actually. Because it means we have found a nanny!

My friend Megan, a teacher, won't need her nanny this summer so we are going to hire her for the summer. Starting in the fall we have super nanny arriving. She's a professional nanny working for a family in the Boston metro area that won't need her come the fall. The reason she can't start this summer is that she spends the summer with this family at their home on Nantucket (an island off the coast of cape code, MA). She has incredible references, loads of experience, is taking a pay cut by working for us and we're the perfect match for her too. She's a nursing student, taking night classes who needs one day during the week for her clinicals - which will be the day my mother will watch Arianna. It's a win-win situation. We couldn't be happier.

The down side is that our snowball has melted. The snowball is what we call our debt pay-off. We had been sending $1700 per month (roughly) to pay off debt and had done amazingly well since January of last year (take note our debt pay-off ticket at the bottom). We are more than doubling our child care expenses, add in my diet and the snowball is gone. We will get back a large chunk of change once my diet is finished in October though, so thats something to look forward to.

As hard as that is for me to adjust to - its not so bad knowing we have excellent people watching our baby, and I don't have to quit my job.