Wednesday, October 27, 2010

"American Family Values" At Work: Working Breastfeeding Moms Don't Need Breast Pumps

There are not enough cuss words in the English language for me to express my opinion on this. Go read the article, Jodi does a much better job of discussing this rationally than I could:
IRS Fears Women May "Abuse" Tax Credits for Breastfeeding Supplies |

Freddy and I were planning on using his flex spending health care account thingie money to buy a breast pump, especially since he needs to spend the money by the end of the year and doesn't have anything else to spend it on. But I guess that's just trying to ABUSE THE SYSTEM!!!

Maybe I should just quit my job so I can feed my child as God and nature intended -- with breastmilk, not some chemical substitute. Of course, that would mean Freddy and I would have to go on some sort of government assistance program. That's a much better option, right, IRS?


Until it comes out of the womb (i.e., becoming an ACTUAL life). Then, we'll screw you any way we possibly can...

Monday, October 25, 2010

On Parasites and Choice

Behold! The last vestige of Troy Emmitt's parasitehood.
The umbilical cord stump fell off this morning, which caused much rejoicing for Freddy and me because we were a little freaked out that it might have gotten infected. We noticed some greenish-yellowish crusty stuff on The Boy's onesie and at the top of his gDiaper, and looking at the cord stump itself it has some yellowish-greenish goo in it. Didn't exactly look like pus, but it didn't exactly look healthy, either...
We had not been cleaning the stump because the hospital hadn't said we had to, and my books said you could clean it or leave it alone. However, the presence of goop prompted an emergency trip to the store to buy some alcohol (er... for cleaning, not drinking).
After a while we noticed that the stump looked... less attached. So maybe it wasn't infected, it was just detaching. Which was a MUCH preferable situation.
(Plus, it just looked so yucky. And it icked me out every time I had to change his diaper.)
Then, this morning, Freddy showed me The Boy's clean and clear (and not infected) belly button. Whee! The stump was gone!
Freddy asked if I wanted to keep it. Part of me wanted to throw it away, because it was yucky and it had caused me stress. But part of me felt sentimental, and wasn't ready to throw away that nasty, crusty, dried-up stump.
It was, after all, the source of his life force for 39 weeks and two days. (A life force he sucked out of me, like a good little parasite.)
Now, he still sucks his food source from me, but that's because I CHOOSE to breastfeed him. If I wanted to, I could let him have a bottle and let Freddy or one of the Grandmas take over; breastfeeding is borderline torture right now because my nipples are cracked from a bad latch I keep thinking I can fix myself. It kinda sorta seems like it's getting better, but then at the next feeding the pain when he latches on is so fierce I'm surprised I don't draw blood each time I bite my lip.
But I keep doing it. I keep letting him feed off me, I keep letting my day revolve around his needs and his feeding schedule, even though it's wearing me out mentally and emotionally and taking its toll physically -- even though I have such an easy out, now that he's no longer inside of me, attached by the umbilical cord.
Because I WANT to breastfeed him. See how this works? I CHOOSE to put up with the sh!t and pain and "minor inconveniences" because it's for something I WANT. Some people would make a different choice when faced with this same situation -- some people would make the same choice as I when faced with a worse situation; some would make a different choice when faced with a less challenging situation.
This doesn't make any of us "better" people than the others, it just makes us people who exercise our God-given free will.

Monday, October 18, 2010

6wS*: LOOK WHAT FREDDY AND I MADE!!!1!!11!!!!!

Troy Emmitt BananaLaffyTaffy-TheBatman

*Yes, I KNOW it's Monday. SO WHAT? I just had A BABY. I've been BUSY. I'm allowed to post a 6-word Sunday on a Monday.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Even fetuses know the difference between a fetus and a baby!

Throughout the weekend (and before), Freddy and I did all the things you're supposed to do to trigger labor. All the normal things, and even some off-the-wall things. (Freddy REALLY wanted Troy Emmitt to be born on 10-10-10.) Nothing happened.

Then I realized why Troy Emmitt doesn't want to come out. Even he, a teeny, tiny little fetus, knows that there is a difference between a fetus and a baby. He knows that as soon as he comes out, he stops being Troy Emmitt the Fetus -- he'll become a Real Baby Boy. And he likes being Troy Emmitt, Fetus Extraordinarie, doesn't want to become [Real Baby Boy Name].

See? Even fetuses get the difference.

Now, I feel sorry for Troy Emmitt, and I know that I, too, will miss Troy Emmitt the Fetus, but we gotta do what we gotta do. So we're going in to the hospital tonight, to start the induction process.

I know Troy Emmitt's going to be peeved that we're doing this to him, instead of letting him stay in there, all fetusy, forever, but once h becomes Real Baby Boy, I think he'll get over it.

Monday, October 04, 2010

Like parents, like fetus...

You know, maybe the anti-choicers are on to something... maybe fetuses really are sentient beings with complex thought processes after all (er... who somehow lose this ability as they squeeze through the birth canal and revert to creatures whose only thoughts are HUNGRY! WET! sleeping... HUNGRY! sleeping... WET!! HUNGRY!...)

Since Friday, I've been seriously wondering if instead of calling Troy Emmitt "Troy Emmitt," we should have called him "Bruce Banner." This kid has been exposed to so much sonogram radiation, I truly won't be surprised if he comes out green. (The rage part he's going to have regardless -- I mean, look at his mom. Need I say more?)

Early on (first trimester), we had the nuchal-something scan, where Troy Emmitt decided to have a thick neck and no nasal bone. Which threw everyone in a tizzy, thinking he had some chromosomal abnormality. We went to these fancy specialists, with their fancy-shmancy super-powered sonogram machine, and looked at Troy Emmitt, only to find out everything looked "normal" now. We did an amniocentesis and everything... to find out the little bugger was fine.

All that fuss, for nothin'.

But because of that abnormal scan, we've been doing biophysical profiles every week for the last [something] weeks. (We were doing them monthly before that, and maybe every two weeks... can't remember. There've been LOTS of them.)

He scores high on all the BPPs; our appointments are a lot of, "Fetus looks good, mom looks good..." I think we bore my OB sometimes. She's sick of seeing us.

BUT THEN FRIDAY, little Mr. LookAtMe!!! decided to have a "prominent aorta." Again, everyone got all worked up over this. We scheduled an emergency appointment with the specialist doctors and their super-powered sonogram machine, and made the grandmas worry all weekend long.

You know what the fancy-shmancy super-powered sonogram showed? Nuthin'.

Normal-looking aorta.

Now, Troy Emmitt, prima donna that he is, decided to turn the wrong way to make it hard for the nice doctor to get a good look at his heart (he even used this fetus-harasser vibrator thingie, to make Troy Emmitt turn around, but the boy refused to cooperate), and we're under orders to tell the pediatricians at the hospital to make sure to check for heart murmurs and other stuff after he's born, but everything's fine so far.

Here I was, thinking this fetus was just a fetus, floating around drinking his amniotic fluid (and peeing in it, and then drinking it. Yeah, fetuses are gross. They drink their own pee), and hiccuping like nobody's business, but all this time he's been actively, purposefully doing these things to call attention to himself. Just like his dad, he's a tooter-face. Attention hog. Prima donna, just like his mom.

Little stinker.

Dude's not even born yet, and he's this much trouble?


Freddy and I are in for a rough ride, aren't we? (I can hear the grandmas laughing... Are they saying something about karma...?)

Saturday, October 02, 2010

Pregnancy Sucks: Under Pressure

You can't compare pregnancy to anything else. Not even parenthood.

Yeah, sure, "It's easier to take care of them in there than out here!" Well, that depends on what you mean by "easier." Yes, "in there," I don't have to DO anything to feed Troy Emmitt; once he's "out here" feeding him will require action on my part, or the part of one of the many other people who will be caring for him once he is no longer part of my body.

But that's the problem.

EVERYTHING I eat, he gets.  Once he's out, if I'm breastfeeding, he gets most of what I eat, but there are ways to get around that -- I can wait until the offending food is out of my system before feeding him again. If I formula feed, I don't have to worry about that at all. But now? Nope. I eat it, BOOM! immediately, he's eating it.

If I'm not eating enough, he's not eating enough. If I'm not drinking enough water, he's not getting enough water. If I have caffeine, he's having caffeine. And while it may be "fine" for an adult woman to have ONE caffeinated drink a day, it's not "fine" for a newborn to have that same amount of caffeine injected directly into his bloodstream. So imagine what that does to a fetus that's even younger and smaller than a newborn.

Same goes for any medicine I may need to take. Fun, huh?

Same goes for any involuntary actions and feelings.

If I'm stressed out, guess what! He feels it. Yeah, sure, tell me to "relax" and not worry about stuff. BECAUSE THAT'S GOING TO TAKE CARE OF IT.

I can make myself LOOK relaxed. I can take deep breaths and smile and sit quietly -- that's not going to make the stressful situation or feelings go away, it's just going to make those of you outside of me feel better about it.

I can refrain from talking about the stressful situation, but I can't stop my mind from thinking about it. Trust me, I try -- my mind's going to go there. I can try to focus on other things, but it's going to find a way to go back to it.

I can control the outward appearance of "stress," but I can't control my body's physiological responses to it. And the fetus feels the physiological responses, not my outward demeanor.

But, FUN AS THAT IS, it's not just that.

Right now, I'm the only person in the world who can feel Troy Emmitt.

Yeah, you can put your hand on my belly and feel that foot that just kicked me in the ribs. Or you can put your hand on my belly and feel the rhythmic thumping of his hiccups. (You, however, can remove your hand when you get bored, and stop feeling these things. I'm stuck with them 24/7. Yeah, it was cute at first. Exciting, and all that jazz. But after a while? I just want to sit, okay? I want my body to stop doing these weird things.)

But whose responsibility is it to check kick counts daily? Is he moving? Is he dead? When was the last time he moved? Is he moving enough? Has the frequency of his movement changed? Has it changed enough that I need to contact my doctor, let her know something may be wrong?

We found out about halfway(ish) through that we were at a higher risk than most for a stillbirth. That's nice. So, besides dealing with everything that life involves, I need to be constantly attuned to my uterus and its movements -- because a decrease may mean my fetus is dead. And the only person who can be in charge of this oh, so pleasant task is ME. No one can relieve me of this duty, or take over for an hour. Just me!

So far, I'm 37 and a half weeks and I haven't killed the kid yet. He's still moving around in there. So that's good.

But yesterday we found out he has a "prominent aorta." Which could mean there's something wrong with him, bad enough to require surgery once he comes out, or it could mean nothing at all.

I don't know if you noticed, but yesterday was Friday. Which means today's Saturday, and tomorrow's Sunday. Monday doesn't show up until AFTER that, so that's how long we have to wait until the other doctors can do yet another sonogram to look at this uppity aorta and decide if it's nothing, or if it could be something. If they say it could be something, then we get to go to yet another doctor to do yet another test to see what sort of something it could be.

(Remember that "stress" thing? Yeah.)

We've been having weekly sonograms for seven weeks now. Why did this aorta thing not show up in any of the other sonograms? Did it just grow from last Friday to this one?

That's what would make the most sense, right? This abnormality JUST NOW developed.

So... where did it come from?

What happened NOW that made this thing screw up?

I currently have two huge, red scratches on my left thigh from when one of the cats tried to get in my lap when I was sitting on the toilet. I also have several smaller scratches on my hands, from when I had to pick up the other cat to get him out of the bedroom, and he felt he should stay in there.

Throughout the last eight months I've accumulated quite a collection of bites and scratches from our four cats. Three of whom are known hunters. Who kill and eat wild game. (If suburban rats, mice, and birds are considered "wild game.")

You know why pregnant women aren't supposed to garden or change the cat litter? Because there are bugs in dirt and cat feces that can cause birth defects. These bugs are not just in cat feces, but in cat bodily fluids; the reason we focus on the cat poop is because that's how most people interact with bodily fluids or excretions.

These bugs come from cats eating raw meat. Like rats, mice, and birds (wild and suburban varieties).

Despite living with cats for pretty much all my life, at the start of this pregnancy I did not have the immunity to these little bugs, which means if I was exposed to them sometime during the pregnancy, I could make Troy Emmitt have some nasty, horrible birth defect.

I've been getting scratched and bitten by cats who kill and eat raw meat. And now my fetus has a "prominent aorta" -- a potential birth defect.

You do the math. What is any rational person going to assume?

They may be "easier" to take care of "in there" than "out here." But you know what would be nice? NOT being the one and only person to blame.