Friday, September 28, 2007

Update on Chris' evaluations

Well, Chris' child study team evaluations are finally done - one more step to go (the child study team observing Chris in his nursery school setting this coming Wednesday) before the IEP is finally formed and we begin to review it.

Finally, some progress!

Chris has the child study team evaluation done of Tuesday. In sum, they requested that he have a occupational and P/T done (which happened yesterday) because 1) we had some concerns about some things he does (like how he walks up stairs) and 2) they were afraid that with their findings alone, he might not qualify for services.

Not what we were expecting after weeks of delays and frustrations.

We were told that he is very advanced IQ wise (he was identifying several words on a page and saying what they were; counting above 22; identifying all shapes, colors, etc.). The psychologist said she needed to add the numbers up because he was just getting things correct left and right (and answering quickly). But, he was showing deficits in language that we have been seeing at home (not in vocabulary, but in receptive-expressive language, although there is major improvement from the neurologist and speech evals in August). Of course, he did minimal hand-flapping for them (figures!) - but, was covering his ears at several points. The ear covering is very new (in the past 2-3 weeks) - and we are not sure if that is a noise sensitivity or a "I don't want to listen" sensitivity. They gave us flash cards to use with Chris that shows how actions work (like putting a hot dog on a stick, heating the hot dog over a fire, then eating it) to help him, since that seems to be the primary speech deficit area.

The occupational and P/T eval done yesterday also showed very borderline for needing services - basically, he cannot cut with scissors, string beads, button buttons, open a Tylenol-like bottle...but, I never thought a three year old should be doing that stuff anyway! I don't recall learning how to use scissors until I was in kindergarten. And, quite frankly, I am not sure I want him knowing how to open bottles like that yet! It was really up to us on whether an occupational and P/T recommendation got in to the report - and, I told them to add it. He is a total of 6 months behind for his age - which is something he could easily catch up on with just increasing our home time of them. But, I would rather see things addressed now, instead of using a "wait and see" attitude. I was given recommendations to help - mainly, bring him to as many parks as possible to play and to use some simple which I copied for the grandmas'.

Oh, and we did find out how much Chris LOVES trampolines!

We're in trouble with that one!

He does need some help - but, it does not appear to be that least, that is what the child study team is letting on.

We took him to a new speech therapist on Tuesday - she is much closer and also specializes in autism-spectrum disorders (she works at a specialized school that ranges from K-12). She knows what he needs (how to categorize actions and how to help him play with others in a more "natural" fashion - right now, he seems to have "rehearsed" ways of communicating). He really liked her - and so do I! She actually answered on question we could not find an answer on: What do we do with Chris' hand flapping? She suggested that not to stop it completely, but try to get him to modify it to something more socially appropriate (which he is doing already - flapping with his hands at his sides, more out of view) - and, once he gets that idea of adaption, then we can begin to get rid of it completely through speech. Since he has already made one modification naturally on his own, he is getting the idea - and using his speech more.

So, this should be a good fit for him.

Now, the child study team wants to observe him in his nursery school setting to see how he responds in class and with the other kids, especially because his teacher there has noted a marked improvement over last spring. So, that will take place this Wednesday.

After that, we hope to have the recommendations and an idea of placement and IEP.

I am just hoping that part of the process goes a little smoother than the first. If not, we have a friend who is an attorney who specializes in education - who knows the background of all of the delays and is willing to help us out.

Monday, September 24, 2007

And, why were we pushing for an eval for Christopher??

Sunday morning:
Chris: "Take the drink out of your ear." (If you watch the Wonder Pets, you will get the reference)

FIL: "Take the drink out of your ear."

Chris: "Uh, what'd you say?"
Mom: "Chris, I made your noodles for lunch. After that, we will have dessert."

Chris: "Oh. the suspense is killing me!"
....And, why exactly have we been pushing for the Child Study Team evaluations, finally set for tomorrow morning??? They are going to think WE have a screw loose!

Wish us luck tomorrow... Tomorrow morning's eval will determine the program he will be in.

I will be back to finish the vacation posts...and a great post about our Day Out with Thomas trip over the weekend...

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

My, my, 20 years flies!

Well... I met my hubby 20 years ago today...

My, my, my.... How 20 years flies!

I can't believe we have known each other for that long...and I owe it all to my friend, C (yes, I know I still owe you a phone call...and a package! It will be out this week).

In keeping with Mel's (Stirrup Queens) Happiness Challenge: Here is how we met (documenting something that led to Chris):

C and I met on the school bus, I believe, the third day of school (she believed I was a senior, and I believed she was a senior - too funny we thought the same thing!) and she talked me in to going to the Freshman Welcome Dance. I was not planning on going - I willingly decided to attend an all-girls Catholic high school because I hated boys at that time (when guys don't know what developing boobs are supposed to be when you are 12 years old, you get made fun of - A LOT!), and guys were not on my priority list. But, she asked me to go - and I decided, what the hey! I might as well have some fun.

We met at the high school that Friday night (I am very sure it was a Friday night - who remembers 20 years ago anyway???) and C brought a friend who did not attend the school. We danced and talked for a while, the school gym smelling of Aqua Net holding up all of the hair, the school gym blaring the liked of Janet Jackson, Madonna, Human League, Bananarama, The Bangles, and so on, and the guys we thought were cute or hot scoping out the pickin's of an all-girls Catholic high school...

And, I was in the outfit I bought for the dance: A white miniskirt and white matching shirt (quarter-length sleeves, sweat-suit material, since it was WAY IN for 1987) - the white shirt had a silver/black leopard print on it (and shoulder pads too!). I got the outfit from Mandee's - the "hip local for clothes here in NJ in the '80's. Did I mention the green eye shadow too boot (very Human League-esqe)? Of course, I had my jelly bracelets and as big hair as I could get for someone who has thin blond hair!

C noticed this guy (J) towards the middle of the night - she HAAAAAAAD to meet him and dance with him! We watched him for a little bit... C just couldn't go up to him herself - we, being so mature at the time, needed our "representative" to do the job - so, she asked if I would go up to him and ask him to dance at the next slow dance...

...Almost all meetings had to be done during a slow dance...

So, since this WASN'T for me, I agreed and went up to him and asked him. I explained my mission, showed him who she was - he, being rather happy at being scoped out, fluffed himself up and agreed --- if, that is, I and our other companion would dance with his two friend.

...And, then I thought, of brother! What did I get myself in to!

But, I agreed and I went back with the message that yes, he would dance with her at the next slow dance.

We waited...

And then Survivor's "The Search is Over" began...

Then the armada of J and his two friends arrived.

C and J went off to dance - and that left me, C's friend who I didn't really know, Hubby and J2 standing there like a bunch of dorks. Finally, after a few awkward moments, Hubby grabbed my hand and asked if I want to dance. I said sure - he was much cuter than J2 (and more talented in the dancing department as well) - and we went off.

From there, Hubby bought me a soda, showed me pics of his cousins (then 6 and 4 - NOW 26 and 24... YIKES!), talked. The talk was rather easy - especially for one who was rather turned off by guys at the time. We danced and talked some more.

....Then, I made the BIG confession...

...Told him what I didn't want him to see...

Horrors! I wore glasses!

Of course, he could care less - especially because I could actually SEE him with my glasses on. Actually, looking back at that, I am surprised I didn't scare him off with that move. But, we danced and talked some more.

At the end of the night, Hubby gave me his phone number - and, me being the traditionalist I can be, told him that I would prefer he call me (DORK!) and gave him my phone number. I said goodnight to C, Hubby walked me to my parents' car, introduced himself to my parents, patted me on my shoulder (double DORK!) and said he would call me.

...And, the rest is history.

So, in honor of him (and the nice flowers he sent to me today - pics are coming) - here is a special song we dedicated to each other at our wedding almost 9 years ago... It sums up our relationship - and how we are truly happy to be stuck with each other.

Stuck with You
Huey Lewis and the News

We've had some fun, and yes weve had our ups and downs
Been down that rocky road, but here we are, still around
We thought about someone else, but neither one took the bait
We thought about breaking up, but now we know its much too late
We are bound by all the rest
Like the same phone number
All the same friends
And the same address

Yes, its true, (yes its true) I am happy to be stuck with you
Yes, its true, (yes its true) Im so happy to be stuck with you
cause I can see, (I can see) that youre happy to be stuck with me

We've had our doubts, we never took them seriously
And weve had our ins and outs, but thats the way its supposed to be
We thought about giving up, but we could never stay away
Thought about breaking up, but now we know its much too late
And its no great mystery
If we change our minds
Eventually, its back to you and me

Yes, its true, (yes its true) I am happy to be stuck with you
Yes, its true, (yes its true) Im so happy to be stuck with you
cause I can see, (I can see) that youre happy to be stuck with me

We are bound by all the rest
Like the same phone number
All the same friends
And the same address

Yes, its true, (yes its true) I am happy to be stuck with you
Yes, its true, (yes its true) Im so happy to be stuck with you
cause I can see, (I can see) that youre happy to be stuck with me
(yes its true) Im so happy to be stuck with you
Im happy to be stuck with you
Happy to be stuck with you.

Have had it up to here with incompetance!

You know, we have been working so, so hard to get the things Chris needs for his PDD-NOS diagnosis, I feel like we are just banging our heads against the wall - and no one is listening.

I have just about had it.

When we returned from vacation, Hubby called the CST on 9/10 to find out what the hell was going on - from the post Our progress with getting Chris into the correct program, we all know our town is in violation of state law for getting this process done. We thought we were making progress - we had our initial meeting with the CST on 9/13. We went over our concerns, what eval tools would be used, what kind of program we were looking for, inclusion for Chris with peers, etc., etc. It seemed we were all on the same page - and we were told that Chris would be the first child evaluated, and it would be either 9/18 or 9/25.

Then, we heard nothing about 9/18...

And, our town is not closed for Rosh Hashanah...

So, Hubby called again yesterday - and the eval date then turned into either or about 9/25, 10/2 or a little later in the month of October.

Uh, excuse me???

So, I told him to call them back and ask why??? I told him that 1) NO WAY is this eval going past 9/25 - why are we waiting after their fuck-up; 2) I want to know WHY the date got pushed back and 3) make it clear to them that if something doesn't happen soon and if Chris has to wait until January to be placed, there will be legal action.

Their response?

Well, they are in the middle of moving their offices (which, I would have LOVED to have seen any signs of that since I saw no boxes packed or things down from cubicles when we were there last week) and some budget issues with the state.

Know what???


So, I am waiting for a call back from the Interim Director of the CSTs in our town - if I get no response this afternoon, I am going above her head, and so on.

This is just ridiculous - and Chris is the one waiting for services. I can't believe what a mess this is turning into.

Chris started private speech therapy last week - and, although he is doing well in it, I am rather concerned about the place and the therapist. Apparently, they have a neurologist in the practice now - and her group is making LOTS of noise, right through his therapy session. My MIL called me earlier to say how unpleased she was about it because the therapist said he was distracted by the noise.

Uh, wouldn't you be too? Without PDD-NOS???

So, my MIL is going to sit in on the session Thursday - and, if it just as bad, I will be calling the therapist while looking for a new place.

The good thing is - Chris' hearing is 100% fine. We had the test done on Thursday, which he was not really pleased with. What a test THAT was!

Is it really, really that hard to do a freakin eval??? Really?

Hubby is calling a friend of his - who we forgot was an education attorney. We're going to see what he says to do now...

UPDATE: The CST finally called and we are a go for Chris' eval on 9/25 - finally!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Vacation Chapter 1. Psychic Watch 2007: A "surprise" in store for 2008

Back in September 2006, I posted my first vacation chapter about the visit to the Boardwalk psychic. Well, since we were at the shore - and, at what other time am I going to waste $10 to do this - I had to go back to the boardwalk psychic.

To recap my 2006 reading, psychic #1 (Diana - I am distinguishing here because, well, I wasted another $10 later down the boardwalk to talk to psychic #2, Christine. Sorry, I wanted two opinions here!) mentioned several family things outside of children: long marriage, issues I needed to help my mom with, etc. She then went on to ask me "You have had several pregnancies, right?" I responded yes. She asked, "Several were not successful?" I responded yes. She asked, "How many living children do you have?" I responded 1, out of 4 pregnancies. She then said, "You are meant to have 3 living children. Don't give up, as you have the best care you can get."

At that point, she never mentioned a time frame - just that I would have three living children. Obviously that has not happened... least not yet.

Hubby and I went out to dinner on Friday night, September 7th while my IL's took Chris to an ice cream parlor where they do a musical show as you eat. So, we had a lovely seafood dinner at one of the popular spots in the area and then headed to the boardwalk to walk around like we used to prior to having Chris. Of course, Hubby knew I wanted to get another reading done - as did he. So, Diana was the first stop.

I went in first. The reading started as it did the last time - she took my hands and begins to examine them, front, back, front, back... The first words out of her mouth is that I have a nice, long life-line - and a long life ahead of me. I would also be married a very long time, happily, to the same man.

So, that's good for stability for me - and consistency for her.

She then went on to say that my husband, however, had some "troubles." He has - but nothing too terrible. So, I mentioned that he just started a new job and is trying to sort some things out financially for us. She said, okay, but that was not what she meant. She said that we had some tension between us - not anything wrong with our marriage, but stress from the events of the past couple of years that has been taking a toll on us. She said we are moving past that now, and that happiness is coming.

The big thing is she sees another child or children in our future (she vacillated between 1-2 more children for us) - very future. She said that I needed to stop trying - needed to stop asking for doctor's intervention, or asking for any intervention at all. She said I will be calling her around November to say she was right - I will be pregnant after a happy 'oops' event. She felt so strongly, she gave me her card and told me to call her when it happens...

...Now, of course, this could be the carrot to get me to spend more $$$ at her winter digs NW of where we live. But, I suppose, if it happens, I will give her the call she said I would be making.

Hubby decided to go in after me - about 10 minutes later. She said very similar things to him - and more - in his session (he paid a little more $$$ for more than a standard palm reading). So, at least she agrees among our readings.

Then again, she could have figured out we were together. She was sitting outside watching for people walk by...and could have seen us walking together.

Anywho, after the reading, we compared notes while we walked down the boardwalk, trying to decide what we wanted to do next. We headed in to Luck Leo's to "gamble" for points. After a little while, we got board and walked the boardwalk again...

...And then came to the next psychic's storefront (uh, there are three on this particular boardwalk). I told Hubby I wanted to do another reading - this time with the Christine (I am fond of the name - could you guess?).

So, I went in and she was standing in the doorway of the storefront, as if she were just waiting for me to come in. It was weird - unlike Diana, who was just sitting there waiting for a patron. It felt like she just knew I was coming in.

Her reading started like Diana's - she took my hands and begins to examine them, front, back, front, back... I guess this is part is the same with all psychics.

First, she asked how long I was with my partner. So, I asked her did she want years of marriage or years together. She said she wanted years together. So, I mentioned we would know each other twenty years this month. She, too, said I have a nice, long life-line - and a long life ahead of me. And, she said based on how long we have been together, Hubby and I would also be married a very long time, happily. I was kinda "stuck" with him. She laughed at that.

She, too, mentioned the tensions between us - again, not anything wrong with our marriage, but stress from the past couple of years that has been taking a toll. However, she sent on to specify that I needed to start keeping things to myself - that, in sharing how I felt to "all of the world," that I was being talked about and in a round-about way, sabotaged. She then went on to specifically mention that I needed to stop sharing so much of myself with my IL's - really, my MIL. Not that she is a bad person or using the information in the wrong way, but she does talk to other family and to my husband - and that she butts her 2 cents in too much. She felt that if I filtered what I told her and kept some things more private, life would be a little less stressful for me.

Now, I know she does talk - based on how she talks about everyone else. Again, it is not really in a malicious way, but just to put her 2 cents in. So, I know Christine is right on that.

She also mentioned that things regarding an immediate family issue would be resolved in about 2 weeks of the reading she was doing. When she said that, I immediately thought of the evals we are trying to get done for Chris and getting him placed in the right program.

** The ironic thing from this is that 1) Chris had a great first speech therapy session yesterday - the therapist told my MIL she wanted to know where the child in the eval went because he was so greatly improved in a month without therapy and 2) We have made a lot of progress this week with the child study team in town (we meet with them tomorrow) and other private services we have inquired about in two days of being home from vacation. We seem to have a good handle on what is going on for Chris and hope we will know what he will be going into over the next two weeks.

She said I had a rough summer at work - and that I handled myself gracefully and everyone knows the truth of what happened. But, I need to learn to stand up for myself and stop being everyone's go-to person - i.e., I have to stop allowing myself to be used. I need to get my confidence back in my work and learn to say "no" to things.

Also, she mentioned that financially, we have been working to really get things stabilized for a better future. She said that would happen around February 2008 - and that there would most likely be property transaction in the mix.

She said an unexpected trip in November is going to be taken. No mention of where or how far. But, I'm up for almost anything to get out of work!

And, she said that 2008 and 2009 are going to be very happy years - the sorrows of 2005-2007 are all in the past now, where they need to be, and things are lining up nicely for a happy family and financial future.

Last, but certainly not least, she mentioned the issue of children.

She said that she saw four pregnancies - and asked how many children I actually had. I told her I had one child - and three miscarriages after him. She told me that she sees me very, VERY pregnant come this spring. She specifically sees one boy (Chris) and one girl (the child I would be pregnant with in the spring) - I was meant to have two children: no more, no less. She was so matter of fact about it, I felt like she was reading it in a history textbook.

She, too, said that I needed to stop trying to conceive - I needed to stop asking for doctor's intervention, stop trying to monitor my cycles, stop adding stress on myself to make the timing perfect and allow this to happen when it should. I wouldn't need any help - I will be pregnant all on my very own.

I need to stop trying - and start living and let this happen.

That is one of my biggest wishes in this world - to get PG all on my very own. To prove that my body is capable of doing what it should.

When the reading ended, I gave her my $10 and she wished me the best of luck. She hoped that

I walked out to meet Hubby. He asked me if I thought she was right on her reading - but he didn't even give me a chance to tell him what she said. I told him, yes, I did think she could be right. She, after all, agreed with and elaborated on things Diana mentioned earlier in the night.

So, he decided he would go in too (of course, not just for a palm reading but an aura reading - SUCKER!!!). About twenty minutes later, he came out absolutely astonished. He never spoke except to say what reading he wanted and to pay her - she told him all about me (details about my m/c's I just never shared with her - I only told her I had three total) and how my sorrow had ruled me for so long. She told him about how well our futures looked - both family wise and career-wise. She told him how the things he has been working toward will finally pay off - as long as he doesn't lose confidence in himself.

She basically agreed with three other readings in the same night - and then some.

Of course, again, she could have figured out we were together. But, I am very, very sure she didn't see us together - and there were a few people waiting to see her that night, which made it hard to tell who was with who.

Do I believe what two psychics are agreeing on? That I might get PG on my own, without trying? That, if I stop planning - which is how I spent my entire TTC life, including when TTC Chris - the right time, around events in my life, that this might happen finally?

I don't know. I don't think I can live my life fully based on $20 worth of storefront psychic readings.

But, they are right that I need to start living and stop planning - which is really soooo my nature.

So, maybe - just maybe - they could be on to something.

For now, I am going to take these "insights" - that two independent women agree on - and use some of it for positives in my life. I am going to live for a while, focusing on Chris and the things I am interested in; I am going to stop charting completely (I threw out my left over OPK's this morning) and only chart periods; I will re-evaluate the whole TTC thing in the new year, once we know Chris is progressing well; I will stop focusing on the fact that I will be 35 in January and that it is not the TTC time-bomb I keep making myself believe it is.

Maybe - just maybe - living my life happily will bring what I am supposed to have into my life...

...Our lives.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Happiness Challenge 1: Chris' birth story

Here is my first post, in honor of Mel's (Stirrup Queens) Happiness Challenge: Chris' birth story.

I wanted to post some of the special memories I have from when Chris was a infant/baby so that, should we never have another child, I can always have somewhere to go to remember such a special - and truly happy and joyful - time.

Unlike my past pregnancies, my pregnancy with Chris was completely and utterly uneventful. I had a few momentary times where I had some brown spotting - usually associated with too much activity or growth of my belly. But, everything was fine - and Chris was very active, which was always a comfort.

My only "complication" at the time was the fibroid I have at the top of my uterus: As my very healthy pregnancy progressed, my fibroid grew larger. Dr. D always reminded me at check-ups that I was at risk for pre-term labor and/or for a c-section, since fibroids can sometimes impede labor (i.e., uneven contractions that would not produce enough force to push the baby out). So, Dr. D finally decided I needed to leave work early: the hospital was over an hour from my job and he didn't want me that far away if I went into labor early. So, my last day of work was April 2, 2007. However, pulling me out of work early ended up being a huge joke because I ended up being a week late! I had a check-up with Dr. D around April 26th - at that appointment, my blood pressure was a little high. Not alarmingly high, but higher than what was recorded the entire pregnancy. So, he decided that, if I did not go into labor by my due date of April 29th, that I would be induced the following Tuesday (his surgery day) - unless, of course, I went into labor before then.

Of course, I didn't.

Night after night, Hubby and I would sit in the living room, or on my bed, talking to Chris - asking him to finally make his appearance on his own. But, he would just wiggle and move in response - kind of like his first F-U to his parents.

I had no contractions in my pregnancy - not even Braxton-Hicks contractions. And, prior to induction, at most I was a 1/2 cm dilated. So, when I say nothing was happening to start labor - nothing was happening.

Chris, or as we called him Elvis at the time, didn't want to leave the building.

On Monday, May 3rd, we calmly left our house with bags in tow and relatively little family fanfare, and I was admitted to the hospital at 8:00 pm to start the induction. The goal was to get me from one-quarter cm dilated to four cm. A fetal monitor was strapped to my stomach, the IV was started and I had a balloon catheter inserted laced with Cervidil at 9:00 pm. Then, the wait began until the 4:30 am check to see how far along I was.

Since I was not in active labor yet, I was not in Labor & Delivery - I was in a shared room in the maternity ward with another patient of Dr. D's, also being induced because of Preeclampsia. My husband was not allowed to stay with me overnight - I was not told that until after the dilation process began. I was very upset, as was he, since no one told us. I really could have used him too. So, he stayed in the family lounge in case I needed him - and he made sure the nurses knew where he was so he could be found. When he left, he gave me our favorite Beanie puppies for support while he couldn’t be there.

Those were the longest seven and a half hours of my life! I was not able to have an epidural, as that "would slow down the progress" – I was only given two Tylenol. Taking Tylenol - which I requested around 1 am - was completely futile. The very beginning of the process wasn't too bad - some cramping and some bleeding for about the first hour or so. I could have slept through that, but I chose not too since Hubby was still there. However, after Hubby left, the pain started to get bad - the only way to describe it was that I was having very strong, half hour contractions with about a 1-minute rest in between. I was holding on the bed rails all night long, trying to do my breathing I learned in my birth class!

I say trying, of course, because I had in the room with me the Hyperventilating Queen of 2004! The girl in the room with me - who barely said hello when we came in - could not handle the process at all. At the start of every contraction, she began to cry, yell for the nurses, and hyperventilate. The nurses were constantly coming in during the night to try to calm her down, get her to breath, etc., etc. She was sooooo, soooo distracting to me - every time I tried to start breathing, she would start her flailing, getting me distracted and uncomfortable.

I felt bad for her - to a point. I was going through the same thing too, after all.

By 2 am, I was wide awake, feeling like I had to use the bathroom every twenty minutes or so - which meant disconnecting me from the fetal monitor, rolling in my IV pole with me and nothing happening except for the bleeding I was seeing. I would roll myself back, hook myself back up and try to get comfortable... Then the hyperventilating from the other side of the curtain would start again, I would get uncomfortable and need to move.

I did get chastised by the nurses for constantly disconnecting the monitor to use the bathroom - but, how could I not move with the pain and the drama on the other side of the room?

I also got chastised for laying on my right side - every time I laid on my right side, there would be a dip in the monitor. So, the bulk of the night was spent on my left side - which, whomever said that that laying on your left side during pregnancy is more comfortable is full of shit!

As the 4:30 am dilation check approached, I felt like I was about to puke because I was so worn down without sleep and the pain of the contractions were just getting to be too much.

In retrospect, I probably could have slept a bit during the night if 1) Hubby had been there and 2) I was not in a shared room with the Hyperventilating Queen. But, alas, that was not meant to be.

BTW, I did find out from Dr. D at my 6 week post-delivery check-up that the girl in the room with me ended up having a c-section. She never made it past 2 cm's - and, she got so bad, she wouldn't let anyone touch her and she wanted them to stop labor. Um, not likely, honey. Her husband finally convinced her to let them do the emergency c-section - which happened right before Chris was born.

Finally, for me at 4:30 am on May 4th, I was examined - at which time the balloon catheter fell right out and I had achieved 4 cm! I was immediately brought to Labor and Delivery (YEAH!!! Private room!), where I finally received an epidural and the beginning of the Pitocin drip.

The anesthesiologist had a little trouble getting my epidural in - not because he didn't know what he was doing, but because I am just too damned ticklish! Every time he touched my lower back, I would squirm! So, it took Hubby and two nurses to hold me in place so that when he touched the area to insert the epi, I wouldn't move. I guess that means getting a tattoo in that area will be out for me!

Once the epidural took hold, from about 5:00 am, I was very comfortable...certainly as compared to the previous night. I was able to finally sleep and rest up. I would watch a little TV, nap, talk, nap, watch TV, nap...and so on, and so on. I still had to lay on my left side - but, since I couldn't feel my legs at all, it really didn't matter all that much.

Our labor nurse was wonderful! Great personality - and very responsive. Technically, I was only allowed two people in the room: my husband/coach and one other person. I opted to only have Hubby with me since I didn't want my MIL offended if I had my mom in the room the entire time. However, our nurse did an end-run for us and, with the open pass, my parents and in-laws kept rotating shifts staying with us. It was great to have them all there at different points - especially the grandmas, since everything was so high-tech as compared to when they had their children.

Dr. D stopped in from time to time after 9 am when he could - somehow, he got slammed with 7 deliveries that day when he was only supposed to have me as an induction and one other scheduled c-section. So, he had to rely on the interns a bit more for me - which was fine, since they were all very nice and competent. He would joke with Hubby because he was hoping to have ordered pizza and have the two of them eat it in front of me the entire day - nice guy, huh?

As 12:15 pm approached, Dr. D came in again and found I was at ten cm dilated! All of the parental visiting was halted and at 12:45 pm, I started pushing. Due to short staffing with all of the deliveries that day, my husband ended up being a brace for me as well as a coach as I pushed. Even with turning down the epidural, I still could not feel when contractions were starting - so, we had to rely on the monitors to see when one was starting, and begin from there.

It took less than a half hour to finally bring Christopher Kenneth into the world – he was born at 1:13 pm (during Days of Our Lives, which I was watching in between pushing) at a healthy 7 lbs. 13 oz. and twenty-one and a half inches long!

Dr. D held him up and announced "It's a BOY!!!" I saw him ever so briefly in the air until he was whisked away to the pediatric area of the room - I was not told why at the time and felt like a stranded island for a while. Everyone left me to turn to him - and of course, I started freaking out. I was finally told, after screaming my head off, that he was okay. He apparently had a lot of fluid to be suctioned out that did not get pushed out through the birth process.

Just as Dr. D turned back to me after making sure Chris was okay, the placenta was delivered. He looked like a football player about to fumble the ball because it happened so fast - but, he made a good catch. Everything looked great - the placenta was completely intact and healthy.

Finally, I was able to hold my son. I was absolutely taken with the little man I was holding. He was perfect - pink, full head of dark hear, eyes wide open and looking around, eyes of sky blue. He was beautiful - and mine. He cried for a little bit, but when I spoke to him, crying with joy, he stopped crying and looked up at me. He just knew my voice from the second I spoke, as if to say "There you are!"

Hubby and I actually did not have a name specifically picked out for a boy - we were fully prepared for a girl: Elena Maria. But, for a boy, we had several names bantering around, but nothing specific. And, when we held Chris, none of those early names fit him at all. Christopher just came to us in an instant - he looked like a Christopher, and since he was our special gift, that had to be his name.

A little while later, my parents and in-laws came in to meet Christopher – their smiles and tears were all I needed to know that Christopher was already loved. Chris was passed around from grandparent to grandparent - even my father, who never held any of his grandchildren until they could sit up, held Chris for a while and spoke to him.

Chris was finally brought up to the nursery to get cleaned up and diapered and checked - I was transferred to a fully private room that became available (and was sooooo welcomed!). Of course, we had to pay $200 per night for the private room - the hospital is still not up to snuff on all private rooms in maternity - but it was my Mother's Day present for 2004. After about two hours, and my meal, Chris was brought in for a while - until it was circumcision time. Dr. D did the procedure that evening - and of course he came in afterwards to tell us Chris did really well and it was the "best job" he has ever done. Good for Chris when he is married some day - bad for us knowing the details!

Chris spent so much time during the day in that room while we were there - along with the visitors who came in during the day and evening. We had a few first-time parent mishaps, of course: Changing his diaper too soon to have him only need to be changed again a few minutes later, not swaddling him correctly, etc. But, he was alert and happy - and HUNGARY! It was rather relaxing...especially because Hubby was able to stay with me overnight.

This was the most amazing experience of our lives! And, I would gladly go through it again, if I could. For that moment in time, I was perfectly and utterly happy.

I'm baaaaaack!!

Vacation 2007 is over...too quickly, of course. It seemed to me that, once I finally was able to really relax, we were a day away from heading home. Crappy-crap. Oh well... At least I had the time off...and I didn't come back to an e-mail disaster this year!

It was a nice vacation, though. Much time spent with Chris - lounging, at the beach, or playing. What more could I ask for at this point on vacation, right?

So, I will get to posting the stories this week:

1. Psychic Watch 2007: A "surprise" in store for 2008

2. Have you seen my "Lou"?

3. Chris' BIG (and I mean BIG) Crush.

4. Various pics from vacation (beach, boardwalk, aquarium - as soon as I get them from my MIL!)

5. The In-Law snafu (AKA Hubby got no nookie)

6. The eBay Hack of Vacation 2007

7. The rather scary plans for Vacation 2008 (AKA I think I'd rather be working)

Until then, I hope to post the first in the Happiness Challenge stories between today and tomorrow: Chris' birth story.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

What is MY happiness...and where did it go?

Mel over at Stirrup Queens is at it again....with her Happiness Challenge.

...You know, Mel, you are going to single-handedly get me fired one of these days with the ideas you come up with. :)


Mel posed the question of What is happiness? As in, what is your definition of happiness?

Well, honestly, I just don't know anymore. My idea of what happiness should have been for me - happy family, two children, being a stay-at-home mom, not having to worry about the bills, blah, blah, blah - has been blown out of the water and I am not really sure what is left yet.

...I am still trying to re-assemble the pieces...


Like I mentioned in my post Illusions of Normalcy, my childhood ideas of where my life would be now are completely different than what the reality is....

...I suppose, though, we can all say that, can't we? Very few of us can say our lives are where we wanted them to be, right?

But, I don't think what I have wanted since I was a child was that much to ask for. It's not like I wanted millions of dollars, roses in my bedroom 24/7, maids and cooks to wait on me hand and foot, million-dollar parties with the finest silks and china in the world.

I wanted two children, and a little more time with them as they grew up.

That being said, what is happiness for me?

Not being on the verge of tears all of the time might be a really start.
(*** Insert sarcasm here ***)

Seriously, the only real, real joy I have right now is Chris...and my family as it stands now.

To that end, my ritual once a week is going to be two-fold:
  1. I am going to create a post once a week that details specific memories I have with Chris that I want to preserve for the long-haul, so I never forget them. I will start with his birth story during the course of this week.
  2. I am going to set aside time every Saturday or Sunday to do something special with Chris - only him and me - that does not involve chores or every-day things. Like, a special trip to the ice cream shop, or a quiet walk in the park.

I will see you all in a week.... We are heading to the Jersey Shore today and I plan to be out of internet contact the entire time! I need some time to think about things - and enjoy my time without thinking about work, TTC, and everything else.