Tuesday, February 20, 2007

...and we're back!


Without further delay, I am thrilled to announce that Tessa Jane arrived safely this past Friday, February 16, 2007, at 12 noon. She weighed six pounds, fifteen ounces, and measured nineteen inches. She's doing great, and so am I (for someone with an abdominal incision, that is!).

We came home from the hospital today - hooray for our wonderful insurance that gives me four days' stay for a c-section delivery - and everyone seems to be settling in well.

Anna made her first visit to her little sister (and, oh yes, her mama) on Saturday morning, when I was considerably less loopy. It went well. Anna was quite enamored of the TMX Elmo Tessa saw fit to procure for her from the womb, and Anna picked out an adorable plush lamb rattle and lamb finger puppet book for Tessa. She was apparently very careful in the store to choose something "for baby" as opposed to something "for Anna;" we were duly impressed by this. Anna looked downright nervous coming into the hospital room but warmed up to the environment pretty quickly - all the nurses on the floor know our first daughter well now... But she also did a nice job with Tessa, being very gentle and referring to her as either "baby sister" or "baby Tessa."

My mom arrived on Saturday afternoon and is helping us with all things house and Anna. I was especially glad for the extra day's hospital stay since I went into Friday's delivery with a cold - congestion and a cough don't make recovery any easier, I'll tell you. And it was great to know that Mr. Asco had some extra help at home while I was snuffling and trying to cough lightly with a pillow over my belly...and feed a newborn.

Saturday blurred into Sunday, which blurred into Monday, which staggered into Tuesday on a pleasant dose of Percoset. And we came home today! Anna didn't seem at all fazed by the fact that we brought the baby who was at the hospital home with us, and she hasn't asked yet about sending her back. We're taking this as a good sign...

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Best-Laid Plans

I enjoyed a pretty uneventful day working from the homestead today. Mr. Asco brought Anna to school, which was running on a 2-hour delay, and I slept a bit absurdly late, with the requisite tossing and turning. My final OB appointment was to have been this morning, but the office called to tell me that they were (understandably) closed. I'm to call them tomorrow to see if they want me to come by for that final check before Friday morning. I knocked out some work while catching up on stuff on the DVR and then prepared to head out to meet Mr. Asco and Anna for our Valentine's Day dinner.

My first sign of trouble was getting the mom-van stuck leaving the driveway. There is seriously not that much snow out there, but it's heavy, icy stuff, and I rocked and spun for a couple of minutes before realizing I was going to have to get out the shovel. Yes, at 38 1/2 weeks pregnant. So I waddled into the garage and proceeded to hack away at the crud for a few minutes, doing whatever I could to avoid any actual lifting (see previous notes on sciatica). About two minutes into this endeavor, one of our neighbors, heading out with his family, sees me and removes the shovel from my hands, telling me to get into my warm car. Lovely neighbor!

At this point, I have two observations:

1) Last year's one snowstorm saw an enterprising young neighborhood kid shoveling driveways for cash. I would have been thrilled to pay said kid - or any kid - this year, but a snow day apparently doesn't inspire the entrepreneurial spirit around here the way it used to. Bah.

2) Last year's one snowstorm came when our neighbors (on the other side from the ones who helped me out today!) had just welcomed their wee one. So Mr. Asco ponied up and cleared their driveway for them since, hey, who needs that aggravation when you have a newborn? I admit to feeling a bit miffed to see their sparkling clear driveway next to our iced-in driveway today...especially since they know I'm due approximately NOW. Not nice of me, really, but there it is.

Anyway, I got to the restaurant without incident and met up with Mr. Asco and Anna. Between our first and second courses, the power went out. Fortunately, our entrees were completed and brought to us (yum) with just enough natural light by which to see them. The place was descending into a bit of chaos, though, as you might imagine. The whole block was out, including the lights at the major intersection nearby. We got home, and Mr. Asco did a valiant job of clearing the driveway in driving winds so that I could get the mom-van into the garage.

Happy Valentine's Day, everyone.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Home again, home again, lickety-split

After this morning's breakdown and after realizing that I really, truly can't take a step without serious pain to the sciatic nerve area (to spare you the specific anatomy of the whole thing), I realized that something had to give over the next couple of days. I called my boss and suggested that I might be better off not commuting in tomorrow and Thursday but rather staying at home and taking care of whatever comes up from there. His response? "We are not in the hero business. Go home, get some rest, and take good care." I do love my boss.

SO. With the sleet/freezing rain/snow (pick your metro region to apply one of these) falling, I picked up Anna from school, which closed early today. I double-parked because of the sheer volume of early pickups (oh yes, there's a city elementary school across the street, too...) and retrieved my small person. She was absolutely wonderful, holding my hand and carefully waiting to cross the street to the double-parked van. Then we drove home, which took nearly two hours. We got into the house, I unloaded the car of work stuff and child, and we came upstairs. I sat down in the living room, acquiesced to the wee one's request for Sesame Street, and then it hit me.

I'm not going back to my office until it's much, much warmer outside.

Meltdown!

Well, it had to happen. I think I've been cruising in this pregnancy, especially compared to the last one, which saw its final days at the end of a long, hot, humid summer. And saw me 30 pounds heavier than I am now...I was pretty miserable. So yes, I've been cruising this time, relatively speaking. But the last week has gotten to me with the sheer discomfort of carrying all this extra poundage around and its associated aches and pains. And the congestion. And the sore throat. And the not sleeping well. And the minor headaches, like the winter storm hitting today and tomorrow and threatening my last OB appointment tomorrow morning with its stupid ice self.

And so I lost it this morning and had a pretty nice meltdown at Anna's school during drop-off. Isn't it usually the toddler who's supposed to have the meltdowns? Not today. Anna's about 80% potty-trained at school and about 15% potty-trained at home, and we've honestly been fine with that, given everything that's going on in our world. She's wearing big girl underwear during the day at school, and she's wearing disposable trainers on our long commute, since big girl underwear just won't cut it for that drive (yet).

This morning, the center's associate director asked me if anyone had told me that pull-ups were persona non grata at school. She figured not since she saw a big pile of them in Anna's diaper bin at school and wanted to make sure I knew that they weren't used as a rule during potty training because going straight to the big girl underwear was a lot more effective. It didn't take long to sort out that Anna's indeed wearing big girl underwear during the day, and the pull-ups were there for the drive home, but in the interim, I was dazed and confused. Wondering if Anna's Elmo underwear had taken a runner somehow, and my kid was walking around sans underpants, and what an awful mom I was not to know what was going on with her at school, and no-one had mentioned the No Pull-Ups Rule, by the way, and should I run out and get something else for the drive home, and I can't believe I left the storm door deadbolted yesterday so the nice people we pay to clean our house every two weeks couldn't get in, and I can barely walk, and I can't breathe, and waaaah! All of a sudden, I'm bawling. And trying not to let Anna see that her thus-far-pretty-well-held-together mama has finally - finally - lost her mind with just three days of pregnancy left.

Fortunately, I'm pretty tight with the associate director, and she was absolutely wonderful. I felt like a huge idiot when it all blew over, but, as she said and I had to agree, I think I needed that. Catharsis in the toddler room.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Crossing Things Off the List

I have a big list of crap to get done before Friday that I started when I scheduled the c-section date. At first, I'd cross one thing off and add two. But over the past week or so, the list is definitely dwindling, which is good news. I'm feeling accomplished, stuff's actually getting done, and I don't think I'm forgetting anything major.

Here's what I accomplished today:

1) Car seat installation inspected. The state in which we live advertises inspections at various district police stations near our home, but not a single contact listed returned my calls to set up an appointment to check my car seat installation. Thanks a bunch. The major city in which I work, however, has not only a car seat installation clinic at a children's hospital but also boasts extensive inspection hours at the motor vehicle inspection station. So I dropped Anna off at school this morning and braved the traffic to cross town to the inspection station, fully expecting that the place would be mobbed first thing on a Monday morning.

It wasn't. Six bays, two or three cars in inspection. The very nice gentleman who greeted me was delighted that I was there for a car seat installation inspection and had me drive around to the side of the building, where he pulled and prodded the car seat base, praising Mr. Asco and I on doing a fine job - mostly - of installing the base. (You'd think we'd know a thing or two about it, having done it once before...but there's apparently always room for improvement.) He manipulated a couple of things for a more secure and easier-to-adjust installation, and then he checked Anna's seat since I was there and all. He made an adjustment there that I hadn't even thought of, had me sign a form for each seat, and I was on my way.

It was a surprisingly excellent experience. When was the last time you dealt with major metropolitan services/bureaucracy and came away feeling like you'd recommend that to pretty much everyone you know? Fantastic.

2) Suspended my parking at work for the time I'll be home with the new wee one. I really don't need to spend $180/month on parking I won't be using for the next few months, thanks.

3) Dropped off my Oscar pool form and payment. I said these were vitally important tasks, right?

Now, if we don't get a whole mess o' wintry slop dumped on us tomorrow morning, the Ascos will even be able to get their taxes all wrapped up before B/D-Day...

Thursday, February 8, 2007

Insurance

Three months ago:

Me: I'm interested in term life insurance.
Insurance Company: Great! We should have a final quote for you in about a month, after the underwriting process.
Me: Wonderful. By the way, I'm pregnant. That'll affect some lab results and certainly my weight. Is that taken into consideration during underwriting, or should I just wait and do this after the baby is born?
IC: No problem! One month!

Today:

IC: We're happy to sell you a term policy at the level you requested at our highest rate level.
Me: ?? But I'm in great health! Why the high rate level?
IC: Your weight, ma'am.
Me: (after picking myself up off the floor - that's a blow, pregnant or not) You do recall that I'm pregnant, right?
IC: ...

To be continued, most likely in a few months' time and with a different Insurance Company.

Sciatica!

Sciatica!! If you say it like that, doesn't it sound like the latest Cylon tool used to attack the good guys on Battlestar Galactica? Come on, you know it does. Sciatica!! All hands to battle stations!

As you've no doubt gleaned, this is actually what is hopefully the final insult as we near D/B-Day (just eight days and 2 1/2 hours away, if you're counting, which I am). It appeared Monday evening, and at first I thought I'd pulled or aggravated or even slept on something funny. By Tuesday morning, I was all gimpy and walking around with a permanent grimace slapped on my face. And it hasn't quit since - the symptoms or the grimace. Mr. Asco has been amazing - yes, even more so than usual! - making sure I'm staying off my feet, bringing me things I've forgotten on the living room level when I'm installed on the bedroom level, taking over the late-day Anna playtime duties, you name it.

In the meantime, I'm subsisting on Tylenol at strict 4-hour intervals. My OB was very sympathetic yesterday (at the penultimate prenatal appointment - wahoo!) but said there just wasn't much to do beyond treating the symptoms. And, yes, hoping that my uterus shifts position off of the nerve, which is about the only thing besides delivering the baby that will actually bring real relief at this point. I know there's a heating pad in the house somewhere, but I can't find it. But then, on another chilly morning drive today, I remembered that my Odyssey has its own built-in heating pad! I did not curse the commute, the unexplained traffic delays, or the numerous HOV violators today, for I had my seat warmer cranked up to high. And it was GOOD.

Tuesday, February 6, 2007

It's cold

To state the obvious to anyone living virtually anywhere in this country right now, it's cold. It's so cold in our area that schools are opening late or closing altogether - because it's cold. Not because the heating is broken or anything actually learning-impeding, but because it's cold outside. Today I did something when I got to the office that I haven't done in years - I put my hat and gloves on the heater in my office so that my trek to lunch wouldn't be quite so miserable.

I heard last night that it hasn't been this cold here in eleven years. Which means that I haven't been out in temperatures this cold since I lived in the northeast. And yes, it's darned cold outside, but I'm not finding it the bonding trauma that many of the local natives are. I guess those childhood New England winters have hardened - or frozen - something in me. (Cue grumpy old man voice: "In my day, we knew cold! We lost toes, and we liked it!") While I detest winter and its cold, icy, biting nastiness, at least I know what the upside of this is.

Baseball's back soon.

Monday, February 5, 2007

Well, that's a first

Monday mornings aren't easy. Can we agree on that? Up and out early after a (hopefully) more leisurely weekend, it's just not where anyone really wants to be. Monday mornings after you've thrown a Super Bowl party attended by 7 other toddlers and their parents can be particularly trying. Oh yes, and it was 10 degrees out when we pulled up to school this morning. Needless to say, Anna wasn't thrilled about the idea of getting out of the cozy warm van - which had ELMO! - and venturing out into the cold for any amount of time.

In getting her out of the van, I dropped the stupid family photo snowflake thing that I'm quite delinquent in turning in for the school's winter family mural. (Note: I don't really think it's stupid. It's a nice idea. There.) It slid under the van. I got down on all fours (ha! at 37 weeks!) and retrieved the snowflake with our family photo on it. The cover sheet was gone with the wind. Fair enough. Anna, backpack, Count, snowflake, and I proceed into the building. Count is dropped along the way. Count is retrieved with minimal trauma, but this is as good a place as any to mention that Anna won't put her thumbs into the thumb part of her mittens but instead prefers to wear them with all digits in the main compartment. This, as you might imagine, makes the whole using-opposable-thumbs thing a bit difficult. As you might further imagine, this also makes retrieving objects from the ground a bit tough. But we did it.

Now we're in the lobby of the building, and we head for the elevator bank to get us and all our stuff down one level to school. I hit the down button and corral Anna as a guy who probably works in the building comes in and hits the up button. The elevator door closest to me opens - hurrah! - but Anna has decided that she wants the farthest door to open instead and runs for that door, crying. Sigh. I try to keep the elevator door open with my foot while coaxing Anna to come to this elevator door, really, it's much cooler than that one. My efforts are to no avail, and I release the elevator door.

It's at this point that I notice the guy waiting for the up elevator is laughing at us. I've had inappropriate questions, even more inappropriate belly touches, you name it, but I've never had anyone actually laugh at me when I'm 8000 years pregnant. I try to ignore this and head over to scoop Anna up (yes, along with her wee backpack and snowflake, which I'm already carrying). As I do so, I get a mighty shooting ligament pain in my left side that only women who have been to end-stage pregnancy will understand. It literally doubles me over for a second, and, of course, I drop everything. And I swear - mildly, to my credit, I think.

It's at this point that I notice the guy waiting for the up elevator is still laughing at us. LAUGHING. The elevator door that had opened for us moments before now signals "up," and he gets on, chuckling away and shaking his head. If there's any redeeming quality to this moron, it's that he presses the down button as he gets on the elevator. The middle elevator door opens, and Anna trots on, apparently quite content with this random selection. Oh yes, AND - I've consumed 32 ounces of water on the drive to school this morning.

From here, our day improves immeasurably. Anna does a bang-up job of washing her hands before sitting down to her morning snack at school, going to far as to take the paper towel and use it to turn off the faucet before drying her hands. She's sweet when I go, as if to say, "I'm sorry, Mama. This morning was tough on us both, and I certainly didn't help you out any. But wasn't that guy an ASS?!"