Monday, October 30, 2006

Ultrasound results

Last Thursday, we had our routine prenatal ultrasound. We were asked if we wanted to know the gender of the baby, and said that if it was obvious then sure, but it wasn't a huge priority. We're having a boy. The ultrasound tech got a couple of good views and we brought home two photos--one the typical head-and-body, and the other one of our son's genitalia :)

Unfortunately, the ultrasound tech also got a couple of other views which aren't quite as good. My OB called later that afternoon to tell us that they think that the baby's umbilical cord has only one artery and one vein (instead of the normal 2 arteries), and that his kidneys looked a little dilated (which could mean that there's some blockage keeping things from flowing through normally). He did repeat that the baby's size, heart, and the amniotic fluid levels all looked good. I will be going to Missouri Baptist within the next week or so for a follow-up, more in-depth ultrasound. In the mean time, I also stopped by the lab on Thursday to have blood drawn for the routine "quad-screen" test, which can signal some "defects", including chromosomal ones. We don't have the results of that back yet. So we're in a waiting game.

Thursday and Friday, my husband and I did a little research online, and talked to my Mom (a nurse who's worked in NICU for probably 20+ years), and both have helped. Here's what I've pieced together (I hope I'm getting all my facts straight..please don't use this as positive research!) It appears that the single-artery umbilical cord is somewhat common. In about 25% of the time, it is associated with other chromosomal problems , but the rest of the time it is not. It is frequently associated with renal (kidney) problems, and according to my mom, when a baby is born with a single-artery cord, they typcially need kidney ultrasounds after about a month to see if they would need surgery or any treatment. A single-artery can be capable of sustaining a pregnancy to a healthy, full-term baby. They will, however, watch to make sure the baby is growing appropriately (i.e. probably more ultrasounds, especially towards the end to check the baby's size).

The dilated kidneys may or may not signal some sort of blockage or defect in the kidneys/renal tract. Many times they resolve themselves. One of the big worries here is that in-utero, the kidneys are producing the amniotic fluid that surrounds the baby. Without sufficient volume and quality of amniotic fluid, the baby's lungs may not develop properly. After birth, if there is a kidney problem, the baby may be more prone to infections. Apparently, they frequently are prescribed antibiotics as a protective measure.

The good news that we know so far is that they didn't detect anything abnormal in the baby's size (so the artery isn't affecting growth, at least not yet), the fluid (so the kidneys are doing ok so far), or the heart (many chromosomal problems have associated heart defects).

The other, possibly-unrelated, news that my mom told me and asked me to share with the OB is that I was born with a pre-auricular tag. That's a funny-looking bump on the outside of my ear. Most of it was removed when I was a baby, but I still have what looks like a permanent, cartildge-y zit on my right ear. It's mainly a cosmetic thing. I've known about the silly thing all my life, but didn't know until now that they are sometimes associated with renal problems. I guess developmentally, ears and kidneys are related. My mom said that whenever they see a baby born with a pre-auricular tag these days, the baby generally gets a kidney ultrasound to check for problems. I don't know if I've ever had any myself (a few bladder infections and UTI's, but nothing major), but it might be related.

So now, I guess, we wait. And pray for the health of our little boy. And take a lot of deep breaths because anxiety over what might be won't help a thing.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

I didn't even run the marathon

I'm exhausted today, and I didn't even run a marathon. My husband did, though, quite literally. Sunday was the Chicago Marathon which he's been training for since March or April (feels like forever). It turned out to be a crazy, crazy weekend.

We drove up on Friday, leaving later and taking longer than we anticipated. My mom and baby sister also drove up to Chicago from Indy, and were planning to stay at my older sister's place in the city. Since her condo is home to 3 cats and no babies, we decided for everyone's safety that it would not be a good place to house a toddler for the weekend. That hypothesis was proved out Friday night when we arrived in time for dinner with my family. Within half an hour of arriving, my daughter had managed to terrify and/or enrage two of the 3 resident felines, depending on your point of view. She tried petting one that was sleeping, who promptly reproached her rudeness with a nip. That set off terrified toddler screaming, which egged another cat into attacking both the previously-napping kitty and me (why?), and generally racing around the room upset. We instead spent the night with the parents of some friends, who had a basically child-friendly space.

Saturday morning Charlotte got to play with our friends' son Oliver while we managed to not join my mom and sisters as early as we planned for a little sightseeing. My husband opted out of walking around the city on the eve of his big run, so Charlotte and I got to ride the El downtown alone. That part didn't really bother me, since I'd spent some time there for a previous employer, and was comfortable reading the maps and negotiating the various stops. Adding in a stroller was more of a challenge, but generally I found elevators and escalators when I needed them. We spent the afternoon at the Shedd Aquarium, along with seemingly half of the city.

Sometime towards the end of the afternoon I realized that 1) Our car was parked at our hotel for the evening, containg all of our luggage 2) My husband was not staying in the hotel, preferring to sleep a little closer to the starting line with friends who would be heading to Grant Park at an insanely earlyhour, 3) My husband had the only key to the car that contained all of our luggage, and 4) it is nearly impossible to unload and transport various suitcases from a parking garage into a hotel by myself, with Charlotte. That prompted a confusing effort where my husband met me at the platform of one of the subway stops to hand off the key before heading out to his rest stop, and my Mom and sisters came to the hotel to help me check in and heft the luggage to the room. That was not our best planning.

Sunday morning, Charlotte and I tried to head downtown to watch some of the great run. We arrived at the 12 mile marker much later than I anticipated, since half of Chicago was taking the same train. We missed my husband completely, but found my older sister and her boyfriend, whose sister was also running. After a nice warm-up at Starbucks (Decaf Soy Caramel Mocha with Whip...sound confusing? pretty much matched the tone of the day), we headed to the 25 mile marker to watch for runners. We probably missed my husband by 10-15 minutes, but did manage to spot another friend who was running, and my sister's boyfriend's sister. We attempted to meet up at the finish line, but a small group of people including a pregnant woman with a stroller just don't walk the last 1.2 miles that fast, and my husband ended up taking off for the hotel before I could say hi.

Charlotte and I did finally see my husband again after taking the train back, much to her delight. She had been confused the night before about where he was, and upset during the race when we would walk away from the runners ("No, more daddy!"). The rest of the evening was more peaceful--a snack at Panera and dinner at a Wolfgang Puck restaurant near the hotel. Monday we took a dip in the pool and hottub before packing the car (yes, I was a bad pregnant mommy and sat in an actual hottub for a while...I got out when I got warm though, so I doubt the babe's been boiled too badly). After lunch with my older sister, we drove home.

Oh yeah, I got stopped for speeding. I only got a warning, though, probably because I've never ever had a ticket in my life. I was following a long line of traffic at probably 7-8 miles over the limit, and the cop was in an unmarked car. I guess it was just my lucky day.

Monday, October 16, 2006


I've never been a fan of pantyhose. I think the manufacturers use metal tubing as fit models when designing the things, because they never seem to actually work on something as exotically shaped as a human leg. I have tried some of the more expensive hosiery--paying $10 or 15 for a pair (ok, so my idea of "expensive" may not be the same as others....), but those things fit just as poorly and run just as fast as the cheaper ones.

I don't wear a lot of skirts normally, so I don't generally dwell on the topic. When you work primarily with computers and men 1) No one cares if you're wearing a skirt (your coworkers don't generally notice what you wear, as long as you're dressed) 2) If someone does notice that you're wearing a skirt, it's going to be someone who makes you feel very uncomfortable for having exposed your ankles, let alone your knees, and 3) You occaisionally have to climb under your desk to fiddle with wires and cords, and that's neither comfortable nor easy while avoiding runs and over-exposure.

This weekend, I got to delve into this lovely topic, with a twist: maternity pantyhose. I had successfully avoided the subject with Charlotte, since I was pregnant mainly in the summer when bare legs are expected. Unfortunately, Saturday was cold, windy, and we had a wedding to attend.

I tried looking at Target for somethign appropriate first, and could not find either soemthing labeled "maternity" or something that was "low-waisted" (in the hopes that they would ride under my bulging belly instead of cutting it in half at the midsection). Just in case I failed elsewhere as well, I did grab one pair in a vageuly flesh-toned color that at least claimed to have no "control-top" (those things are the devil...they squish your abdomen and make what fat you have bubble up around your waist and look even bigger....I have never understood how that's supposed to make you look slimmer). I then stopped by the maternity store in the Galleria. After spending probably 10 minutes reading 3 or 4 different package types for sizes, colors, and "features", I settled on the least expensive option--basic nude-colored hose.

The first pair I tried on at home was the "maternity" hose. I had picked the size range that seemed to correspond to my height and weight (I was smack dab in the middle of the range, so in theory they ought to be sized correctly). These things could have been made of denim for how much they stretched. It was a struggle to get my legs into them. When I got as far as my tummy there was enough length in the "panty" section to pull up and over the top of my head--if only it would fit over my belly. These suckers looked like they were made for a pre-pubescent, 8-foot teenager, not an average-sized preganant woman. Looking closer at the package, I realized that it claimed to be "full support" which is supposed to help reduce fatigue in your legs....funny, I'd have thought that cutting off your blood flow would make your legs more tired, not less.

The backup pair weren't much better around my tummy, but at least they actually stretched. I couldn't quite pull them up to my eyebrows (a common problem I face with pantyhose when I'm not pregnant), but the waistband was still really uncomfortable over my belly. I ended up wiggling them down under the belly, and spending the rest of the evening worried that they would slide right off my hips.

Maybe next time I'll go with thigh-highs.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

...and then her head started spinning around

Monday night was not fun. Charlotte went to bed, grudgingly, around 9pm. It was a little later than usual, but not that bad. Around 10:30, she woke up, and my husband comforted her and put her back to sleep. Around 11 or 11:30, she woke up again, and this time he gave her some ibuprofin because she seemed to be running a fever. He tried rocking her, and just as she was calming down again, she all of a sudden stiffened up and screamed bloody murder, like she was in massive pain. She told him that her eyes hurt (a headache maybe?).

He brought her into our room, and I (wide awake at this point), tried comforting her for a while. She was fine for a while, and then, out of nowhwere, started screaming bloody murder again. She was hard to comfort, and had a long list of demands--go to the potty, take a bath (which was indulged for a brief time between screaming sessions), ice (wrapped in a washcloth, which she heled to her neck and shoulders), etc.

The screaming was intermittent--would last a couple of minutes at a time, and didn't seem to have any external trigger that we could find. Best of all, thanks to her wonderfully improved vocabulary, she kept telling us she was being bitten by snakes. In fact, at some points shadows would seem to scare her (as did the sight of her changing pad on her dresser, orperhaps the diaper that was sitting next to it?) She didn't want to be put down, kept changing which parent she wanted.

About an hour after the ibuprofin, we checked her temperature and she was still at about 101. At this point we called our pediatrician's exchange number, and ended up talking to a nurse. The nurse didn't think it sounded like we needed to bring her to a hospital (she wasn't inconsolable for an hour straight or more), but recommended we keep her head elevated in case her ears hurt (laying flat is murder on an earache), and call the doctor in the morning. By 12:30-1am, the screaming/hallucination fits seemed to mostly end. I ended up propping myself up with pillows and holding her on my chest. Somewhere around 3 or 4, she was sound asleep enough and already laying flat enough (she kept sqirming into more comfortable positions), that I was able to let her sleep on a pillow next to me, and I could lay down and actually rest. Her fever had broken by then, and though occaisionally she would warm up a little, she didn't need any more medicine.

Apparently hallucinations with fever isn't that unusual, as the ped wasn't particularly worried. She did have a sore throat and swollen glands (which I'd already guessed since Charlotte barely touched the sweet rasberry/chocolate coffee cake for breakfast), but does not have strep. The lucky kid could also get her last vaccination (due at 2 years, but her 2 year appointment was a month too early), so she got a shot. Apparently the sore throat wasn't bothering her that much by the time of the dr appointment (basically lunch time), because she was requesting to "eat" and asking for "taco". In fact, we successfully distracted her with talking about tacos while she was getting the shot, so she barely registered the needle (she did like the ducky band-aid, though, and kept lifting her pant leg in the car to look at her "boo-boo").

What a strange day that began with a possessed toddler screaming about snakes, and ended up with a trip to Taco Bell....

Monday, October 02, 2006

What I hate about professional sports

I am not a big sports fan. I am not much of a sports fan at all. I don't mind watching an occaisional game, but I don't think I've ever followed all of the stats of any team in any sport. I actually used to pay a little more attention to at least the large goings-on in sports, enough to make polite small-talk with my (mostly male) coworkers (well, enough to add one or two semi-intelligent ideas to a conversation before letting them do the rest of the talking), but lately I have trouble doing even that.

I think that this summer's Cardinals baseball season pretty much sums up why. Since about midsummer, all I've been hearing from baseball fans is how bad the Cardinals are doing. I hear cracks about "maybe St. Louis will get a professional baseball team" and such. But from what little news I've managed to watch, they've been basically leading the division the whole time. It sounds like they've come close to slipping into 2nd place in their division, but they just recently became the division champs. This is what everyone's been complaining about? A team that has been either headed for the World Series, or barely missing it? You're kidding right? So they lose games sometimes. Apparently they're still doing better than all of the other teams they're up against for the Championship. Gee, our team doesn't win every game by a landslide. They must SUCK.

Then this morning I actually saw a sports report on the early news, and they had an interview with a fan from the stands at yesterday's game. I can't honestly repeat what he said about the Cardinals, but it involved a lot of "We've got to do this", and "We've been doing that". Um, excuse me, but "We"? As far as I can tell, this was Joe Blow sitting in the stands drinking a beer. He's not on the team, doesn't work for them, or anything. Pride in a local team is great, but don't project yourself as part of that team--just because you bought a jersey doesn't give you ownership. This actually reminds me of how some parents do the same thing with their kid's sports games. I'm talking about the parents who are not coaching, just the cheering squad. They get this serious expression on their face as they talk about all the work "we have to do". Um, your kid is the one playing. If you want to do the "work", then either sign up to coach, or join an adult intramural league. Otherwise, buddy, you're just a cheerleader. If you don't feel like cheering on your kids beccause they're losing (or because they're not winning fast enough), then you need a serious attitude adjustment.

I guess the main point of my little rant here is that people take sports way too seriously. They're GAMES. They're supposed to be FUN. The pros are there to ENTERTAIN you. I'm talking about both teams here, not just the one that you're rooting for. Only one team will win any one game. And no, not every player will play his/her best game every time they take the field. But, unless you're one of their teammates, chances are they're much much much better than you will ever be. Learn to accept it, and then sit back and enjoy the show. Athletes are paid so well because they can do things that the rest of us just can't. It should be a joy to watch men and women in prime physical condition performing impressive feats. Even when they lose, the feats are still impressive, because they're losing to other men and women in prime physical condition performing impressive feats. If you're just not impressed by a team that's their division champions for 2 (or is it 3 now?) years in a row, then I think your standards are just a little too high for me.