Tuesday, December 13, 2011

(Not) The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

I've been in college for the past seven years. It is hard for me to get too excited about Christmas until about a week before the holiday, because I have to deal with these things called "final exams". Since I'm an art history major, I also have to deal with these other things called "final papers", which are due maybe a week before I have to take the final exam. Am I the only one who thinks revising a 10+ page paper a week before I have to memorize 75+ slides for an exam is a little unfair? Maybe we could do the paper thing mid-way through the semester? Maybe the paper could be the exam? Something?

On top of that, Paxton is (finally) getting baptized this Sunday and stupid me decided that it would be no problem to throw a party afterward.

And on top of that... my guinea pig died last night. The guinea pig that I'd had since early 2005.

Said pig was elderly and had been sick for awhile (almost a year) with things that would, normally, kill a younger guinea pig with a certain amount of speed. We were beginning to think he was immortal. Sadly, that didn't turn out to be the case. He had a seizure last night, and I took him into the bathroom and held him until it was over. It was one of the saddest things I have ever experienced, honestly.

So now I have a dead guinea pig in an amazon.com box, chilling out in my house because I really have no idea what to do with him. The box won't fit in my freezer--I'm considering putting it in the garage since it is fairly cold outside. Sometime today I will have to call the vet and see about getting him cremated (he was not the sort of animal who would go for being in a box in the ground).

...excuse me, I have to go cry uncontrollably and flunk my math final now.

Salvador Dali
b. 2004 S. Portland, ME
d. 2011 Cleveland area, OH

Tuesday, November 29, 2011


Examination of the viewing stats for this blog over the past few months has led me to a realization: the internet somehow thinks I am an expert on PUPPP. The Nerdmama blog appears on the first page of Google search results! Whoever thought a skin condition would make me popular? I seem to recall my skin being the reason I was mercilessly teased in junior high... you know, besides being an insufferable, geeky know-it-all. :)

For anyone who is wondering how my life has been post-PUPPP, here's the scoop: the medical community says that PUPPP usually doesn't scar. Well, remember how my OB said I was just lucky because I got GD and PUPPP? I was lucky enough to get PUPPP scars, too! Woohoo!

I have a ton of tiny scars from where the blisters broke open all over my legs. My arms aren't too bad, but there is a lot of noticeable discoloration on my forearms from where the worst of it was. My stomach, amazingly, escaped mostly unscathed, although I am going to need some serious resurfacing before I am ever seen in a bikini again.

I saw my dermatologist about the scars a couple months ago and there's not really a lot I can do about them. He suggested bleaching them, which I did for about two months before losing interest. I really should get back on that, though, because it had started to work--and the bleaching cream was doing wonders on the stretch marks, too. For the record, it's this stuff:

Available at drugstore.com for under $6!

It's cheap and it's effective. If you're looking to get rid of PUPPP scars, I recommend it. My dermatologist actually told me to get this brand, too--he said that it is just as effective as prescription creams, and you get more cream for less money. Nice. I am all about more for less. If you're not into buying online, I've also found this stuff at Walgreens (but not at CVS or Target).

I'll let you guys know if I ever get rid of the scars. I also just updated the navigation header with a new page, entitled PUPPP Help, which includes a series of links to websites with information on PUPPP and information about possible treatment options. I hope it helps anyone who gets the rash, because let's face it: late pregnancy is already pretty miserable, there's no reason to be in more pain than you have to be!

Friday, November 25, 2011


The House of Nerd enjoyed a good Thanksgiving last night. Grandma and Grandpa came over and joined the Nerdparents, Pax and the pets for turkey, stuffing, veggies and pie...

...after a series of small disasters, of course. After all, it wouldn't be my life without some minor crises! First, the turkey did fit into either my mom's roasting pan (brought over by my dad at 9 AM) or my roasting pan. I wanted to use my mom's because it is slightly larger (by virtue of being an oval instead of a rectangle) and it has a lid. The turkey was having none of it:

After wrestling the bird between the two pans, it ended up in mine. I then had to call my parents again and my dad brought me a roll of aluminum foil at 10 AM, since I'd run out. I got the foil tented over the turkey and went to put the 21-pound fowl into the oven... when the pan got stuck in the oven rack somehow and I spilled the turkey. I had broth in the bottom of the pan and it went EVERYWHERE. My husband helped clean up and the turkey made into the oven without incident on the second attempt. It was worth the effort, as it came out fantastic:

Of course I had a couple of helpers for dinner:

Here's my "tablescape". Doesn't that sound fancy, "tablescape"? It's a fancy word for being motivated enough to actually set the table properly for once in my life.

This stuff makes my holiday: jellied cranberry sauce from a can. It's so wrong, but oh so right, and I always, always make sure that it comes out in the shape of the can. It wouldn't come in a can if Ocean Spray didn't mean for it to be served that way.

Here's what our meal looked like, pre-gravy and sans-cranberry. Oh, and sans-Swede. Have you guys heard about Swedish turnip/Rutabaga? It's a vegetable, a nasty, nasty vegetable. My father likes it and no one else in the family will touch it (including, now, Paxton).

Oh, and this is still a parenting blog, so you'd better have some baby:

I hope everyone else (in the US, at least) had an excellent Thanksgiving! I got up insanely early today to do some traditional Black Friday shopping with my BFF/Pax's nonbiological aunt and we got some pretty good deals. :)

Saturday, November 12, 2011

I decided to let Pax try writing an entry.

f b s k;e n n vcc zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz l / d
gnj ' hg
- b b j j 9=0 107 8 c, , DD

Friday, November 4, 2011


Mom on the Edge awesomely awarded me with the Liebster Blog "award"--it's an award passed around through other bloggers to celebrate up-and-coming blogs with less than 200 followers. Thanks for thinking of Nerdmama!

Here's how the Liebster works:

1. Copy the award to your blog.
2. Thank the giver and link back to their blog.
3. Reveal your top five up-and-coming blogs, and let the bloggers know.
4. Spread the love!

Here's my Top Five mommybloggers:

1. Soup: Midwestern Mama Cooking up Life in the Heartland
2. It's MOMbojumbo

And finally, a brand-new blog that was just started by my friend Joanna, one that you should all go read and follow right now because she is just that amazing:

I'm realizing that I am pretty biased towards NEO mommybloggers (MOMbojumbo, Toes in the Air, Planet Hausfrau...). Even Joanna is a NEO transplant. The only one not from the area is Soup--but that doesn't make her any less awesome, she's still one of us gorgeous midwestern ladies. :)

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

The Halloween Costume

My husband and I had a wonderful costume planned for Pax. Really, we did. See, the geekling has terrific crazy hair. David Tennant hair. So it made sense to dress little Pax up like the Tenth Doctor.

Well, fabric and patterns were acquired, but midterms got in the way. Basically, Pax's costume ended up being a pair of black Chuck Taylor socks and a onesie with a blue tie.

We'd say that we dressed him up like a nerd, but that'd be too obvious.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Baby Pockets.

A friend of mine on FaceBook posted a status this past week:

Dear Carters clothing company - Just what does a 5 month old put in the pockets you sew in
to your

It's a good question. I'd like to know, too. Paxton has several different pairs of pants from several different manufacturers, including Carters, and mos
t of them have pockets. Not fake pockets, either, but actual pockets sewn into the front of tiny baby jeans.

The only objects I can think of that would fit into these pockets are items that are not age-appropriate for a five-month-old. Here's my list:

  • A couple quarters, for when baby has to seek out a pay phone and call mommy to pick them and their friends up from the mall.
  • A Volkswagen key fob, for those occasions where baby is the designated driver.
  • An iPod shuffle, because you can't expect baby to function without tunes.
  • A USB flash drive, so that baby can take his important files anywhere.
  • A bottle of nail polish, for the baby who likes to accessorize.
  • A prescription medication bottle, because babies like to have their medication close at hand.
  • Business cards, because networking isn't just for grown-ups.
  • A square of Russell Stover chocolate, for the baby with a sweet tooth.

What about your baby--what's in their pockets?

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Teeth: They're for Eating.

After two months of constant drool, Pax has teeth. Two of them, actually.

At his four-month appointment, I asked our doctor to feel for teeth because of all the drool. I'd been feeling around while rubbing Pax's gums down with Baby Orajel and hadn't felt anything, but I thought her expert fingers might find something I'd missed. Alas, she didn't feel any teeth, either.

My husband found the tooth one night while I was in class. He was very excited and attempted to make me stick my hand in Pax's mouth in the parking lot of the Rapid station (teeth couldn't wait until we got home).

The day after, Tristan found another tooth. Two days, two tiny bottom teeth.

Our doctor had told us that we could start solids at four months, and despite Pax's interest, his tongue wouldn't have anything to do with cereal. We tried again a couple weeks ago and, once again, the cereal was spat out.

A few days ago, while my husband was napping off a headache, I sat down with a bowl of ramen noodles for myself and a bowl of homemade carrot puree for Pax. We'd gotten through half the bowl before I realized that Paxton was actually eating food and that Tristan would probably want to see it.

Thanksgiving is next month here in the U.S., and I just realized that it involves the perfect food opportunities for an almost-seven-month-old. Mashed potatoes, Swedish turnip (rutabaga, for those who don't speak Brit), sweet potatoes, carrots, peas, corn... I love when babies eat things (seriously, I think babies eating things is downright adorable) and I'm very much looking forward to seeing all those vegetables smeared all over Pax. :)

Saturday, September 10, 2011

School Daze.

Reports of my death are, as always, entirely false.

School started again two weeks ago. I have this problem where I keep not graduating from college for one reason or another (and I swear that 75% of the time it is not my fault, either), so I am on year seven of a nine-year Bachelor's degree.

This is how my day plays out:

6:30 AM - Fall out of bed, stagger directly to the kitchen. Stare at coffee maker until I remember how to make it work.

6:40 AM - Having completed vital task #1, turn attention to vital task #2: pee.

6:45 AM - 7:15 AM Make myself lunch--usually pepperoni and cheese on some sort of bread item, a side of celery or carrots, crackers and a piece of soft cheese. Drink coffee. Check the weather, get myself dressed, make sure everything I need for the day is in my bag. Let the dog outside, let the dog inside, feed the dog.

7:15 AM - My husband is now done with his shower and out of the bathroom, so I can do something with my hair and put on some makeup to make it look like I got a full night of sleep.

7:25 AM - One of us gets Paxton, changes his diaper and puts him in the carseat. Then we leave.

7:27 AM - Paxton gets dropped off at grandma's house to be smothered with Chanel-scented, Spanish-speaking, diabetic Methodist* love for the day.

7:45 AM - I get dropped off at the Brookpark Rapid Transit station.

8:10 AM - I board the eastbound train to downtown Cleveland and attempt to attract as little attention as possible in order to avoid ATCs (Awkward Train Conversations) with CTP (Creepy Train People).

8:35 AM - I get off the train and walk through Tower City to get to Public Square, where I wait for the eastbound HealthLine bus.

I get to Cleveland State University sometime around 8:45. Riding the bus is an adventure. It is usually full of... interesting people.

Whenever I get to CSU - 9:30 AM - I sit in the library, making sure that everything is okay on the internet and sometimes talking to my friend Bieler.

9:45 AM - I book it out of the library and across Chester Avenue to the art building, where I sit in a very cold room learning about art since 1968.

10:50 AM - I run from the art building, across Chester, up the stairs and through the main classroom building into the student center and sprint through the campus innerlink to the other side of campus/the business college, where I fall down the stairs and drag my battered body into classroom 127 for German 101.

11:00-12:05 I learn elementary German from a woman with a French name and kick all sorts of ass with the six other female students in the male-dominated subject.

12:15 I make it back to the library, where I either start studying (if I want to stay later) or gather my things and run to catch the HealthLine back to Tower City (if I want my husband to pick me up on his lunch break).

The good news about going home before 4 PM is that the CPT tend not to be there if it isn't rush hour. The bad news is that I have just given you my schedule for three days out of the week. For the other two, this morning routine does not happen, but this afternoon routine does...

1:00 PM - I sit in the back of a lecture hall and pretend to give two shits about math. Actually, I do give at least one shit, because I need to pass the class and math is hard, even if this is the math class for idiots.

2:50 PM - Bieler and I have lunch and try to keep away from other people as much as possible. We are vaguely hermit-like and live in the library.

4:00 PM - I go to the art building, climb the stairs and settle in for two hours of discussion on the Virgin Mary and her place in medieval art and culture. This is more interesting than it sounds, although the sheer amount of reading and writing required for this class is enough to make me cry and want to kill myself.

6:00 PM - Bieler and I gather our things from the library and take the HealthLine to Tower City. She goes east, I go west.

6:45 PM - My husband picks me up from the Rapid station and we go to my parents' house for dinner. My mom offered to cook for us twice a week since my getting home at 7 PM is not really conducive to making healthy food.


So... that is my routine lately. It's tiring... and it explains why I haven't been blogging so much. Rest assured, Paxton and I are doing just fine! He just turned four months, and he gets his shots on Tuesday--wish us luck!

*These four things pretty much sum up everything you need to know about my mom.

Monday, August 22, 2011


To say that I am becoming a bit unraveled would be an understatement.

Tuesday morning, at mom group, I left a note on another mom's car with my phone number. Her son, William, is only a few days younger than Paxton, and when I realized I had to leave suddenly, she was in the restroom, so I did the creepy thing and left a note on her car (I figured the only Saab in the parking lot would have to be the Saab she mentioned at group). She called me maybe... two hours later and left a voicemail.

I haven't called back. I feel horrible about this. You don't leave someone a creepy note asking if they'd like to get together outside of mom group and then not call them back.

The best part is that I did it because I thought school started this week and I wasn't sure I could make it to mom group anymore. Surprise! School starts next week, and I can either call her today and beg forgiveness or I can show up at mom group tomorrow morning looking like a creeper who doesn't call back.

In my defense, I've spent the past week running around, attempting to get all of my loose ends tied up before school... and, in the process, my nerves have become even more frayed.

I learned that I'll have to complete four more semesters of undergraduate study before I can get my BA--thanks to the German language. I am really expected to be fluent in German in four semesters. Hey... whatever (eventually) gets me into the graduate program, right?

I went clothes shopping and tried to find school clothes to cover my (giant) butt. I weigh less than I did before I got pregnant, but am magically two sizes bigger. As you can imagine, it's doing wonders my self esteem--yay, I am so thin, but so large! What?

I did a whole bunch of Avon work, including--gasp--getting off my nervous, antisocial duff to ring some doorbells and meet my neighbors. A feat that I will have to repeat in a couple of hours, actually.

I went to therapy (completely neurotic, remember?), cooked dinners, ran errands, had family visit over the weekend, set up my financial aid package (I think... if I did it correctly), cleaned out my car, fought with my mom (I love my mom) and did a whole bunch of other things that were not calling William's mom.

Sadly, I don't think I'm getting much of a break this week, either... but I will make that phone call.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Avon Calling

My husband and I never have money. This is a fact of life. The couple hundred out of his paycheck left after our rent and bills vanishes after groceries, prescriptions and gasoline.

So I started looking for a job.

I had a number of strikes against me:

1. The economy sucks.
2. I'm a full-time student.
3. I have a baby.
4. My husband and I have one car.
5. I use public transportation to get to school and back.

Try explaining to a potential employer that you need part-time hours worked around classes in the morning and the evening on different days, then add that you might not be able to work sometimes because of you'll need to make different arrangements for childcare every week and then mention that you might be late anyway because you will either be taking the bus/train or you'll need to go pick up your car first. Oh... and you need to go pick your husband with the car at 5 PM, or maybe 5:30 PM, or maybe 6 PM, but you won't actually know until you get there with the car at 5 PM.

Yeah. Small wonder I can't find employment, right?

I'd been thinking about signing up with one of those work-at-home companies. You know, like Scentsy or Pampered Chef or Tupperware or something. I ended up choosing Avon.

Why Avon? Well, when I was little, my mom had an Avon lady who came the house. I liked her. Also, there's a Mary Kay lady around here with one those stupid pink Cadillacs, and she drives like crap. I don't want to associate with someone who drives like crap (and I like Avon's products better, anyway).

I met with my area leadership rep yesterday and officially signed up. My mother immediately bought $80 with of product from me, because she is an Avon addict (that might have also played into my decision to go with Avon). (By the way, my first campaign sales goal was $50. See, I am already a success.)

I'm actually pretty excited to see how this goes. The prospect of being a WAHM is nice--the ability to have a job but not worry about childcare or transportation, the ability to work around when Paxton needs fed/changed/bathed/entertained, and the ability to be able to manage myself (because let's face it, I am not easily ordered around) is very appealing. I'd be nice to make loads of money with it, but I'd be happy with just an extra hundred bucks.

If anyone is interested in buying some Avon, my website is here: http://tbbaughman.avonrepresentative.com ! Avon isn't just makeup, it's also skin care products, perfumes, jewelry, accessories, gifts, clothes, shoes... all sorts of things. Check it out! You get free shipping on your order over $30 right now, and orders ship immediately. :)

Monday, August 1, 2011

Mommy Must-Haves

There are a few things that everyone knows you need to get when you're expecting. A car seat, for example, because hospitals will not let you take your baby home without one (and even if you get around that rule by delivering at home, let's face it--you're probably going to get in a car sometime within the next two years). Diapers--disposable orcloth, it doesn't matter, you will need diapers. I suppose youcould get by without a stroller or bottles if you were really, really dedicated to babywearing and breastfeeding.

I'd like to share a few things that I'd be helpless without, but are not really considered "necessities". In my opinion, every expecting parents should run out and buy these things, because they are just that useful.

The first item I'd like to share is the Bright Starts Comfort & Harmony Cradling Bouncer, pictured above in the "biscotti" color. It's like a little baby-size papasan chair that vibrates and plays music. (Although to be honest, the music is kind of annoying at first.) We originally weren't going to register for a bouncer (the nice ones, like this one, are a bit pricey at $50-60) but I'm glad we did... we actually did get ours as a gift from my husband's older sister. I picked this one because it is a little more plush than the cheaper ones out there, and it comes with a toy bar and a special insert for little babies that supports the head, neck and back. It takes two "C" batteries and the battery life is pretty good--in three months, we've only had to change them once, and the bouncer has gotten near-constant use.

Like I mentioned in my previous post, for a little over a month, this bouncer was the only thing that let my husband and I get any sleep at night. For that reason alone, it's worth the money.

Next on the list: Aden + Anais Swaddleplus Wraps. You can buy these in a four-pack for about $35, and they come in several different colors and patterns.

Now, $35 for four blankets may seem a little extreme. I understand that. But--trust me when I say this--these are the most useful blankets in the entire world. I keep meaning to buy more of them.

These 100% lightweight cotton blankets are slightly stretchy and great for
swaddling (although it will take several attempts before you're any good at it). They are also great for pretty much every other use out there. I use them to wipe drool and formula off of Paxton's chin and I fold them in half to sling over my shoulder when I burp him--since they cover more area than a burp cloth or a receiving blanket, I almost never end up wearing formula. I sling one over the carseat or stroller for shade when we go outside (they are surprisingly large when unfolded) and fold one up to tuck around Pax's legs in his carseat to keep the sun off of him--the blanket is so lightweight that I'm not worried about him overheating. Don't just take my word for it--every mom in my Tuesday-morning mom group has some of these awesome blankets.

I'd like to talk about two very similar toys next.

The first item I'd like to mention is a series of links. Several different companies make these (the ones pictured are by Infantino, but I also know that similar ones are manufactured by Bright Starts and that there are probably even more out there.) They easily attach to the handle of a car seat and can be used by themselves or to attach other toys to a carseat.

Paxton doesn't really care for them hanging off of the carseat handle, but he loves to grip them and try to put them in his mouth when they're all linked up and jumbled together. The links are the perfect size for tiny hands to hold. They help build fine motor skills by giving him a lot of different textures to grip--some of the links are smooth, some are squiggly and others have ridges--and they are brightly colored so he has something to look at and examine.

The other toy is one that is a real no-brainer: First Keys by The First Years. I picked these up at the grocery store (of all places) for two bucks and they were worth the money. Pax loves to pick them up, shake them around and put them in his mouth--and it's way better than having him drool all over my (very real, very metal, and--in the case of my VW keyfob--very expensive) keys.

These keys come with a little red ring (not pictured) for easy attachment to a carseat handle or the strap of a diaper bag.

You can buy all of this lovely stuff at Babies "R" Us (which, for the record, I still loathe). The bouncer retails there for $54.99. I got the Infantino "Ring-a-links" on sale for $2.99, normal retail price at BRU is $3.99. The Aden + Anais blankets are sold at both BRU and Target for $34.99. First Keys by The First Years retail for $1.99.

Now, go, new moms! Buy this stuff!*

*No, I didn't get paid to endorse all this stuff. I really just love it all that much!

Saturday, July 30, 2011

New Tricks

I had to go searching for prompts on Twitter because I couldn't think of anything to write on my own--I am obviously the best blogger ever. It worked, though, because (thanks to my friend Jacqui) I am now sitting down to write a entry.

Pax weighed in at just under 13 pounds at his two-month doctor's appointment, and I'm guessing he probably weighs about 14.5 now. He also measured a smidge over 24 inches long. Those stats put him in the 75th percentile for weight and length, and the 25th percentile for the ratio--it's looking like he's going to end up tall and slender like his mommy*.

We all know that I am striving to be Mother of the Year, and in this quest I constantly do things like not give Paxton tummy time for six days of the week. I'd simply forget about it until I'd go to mommy group on Tuesday morning and see another mom flip her baby onto their stomach. I was somewhat afraid that my poor child wasn't going to be able to hold his head up until he was sixteen because his mom was (is) such a winner**.

So when Sandy (our doctor, whose name is actually Sandra and I have no idea if she's ever actually given me permission to call her Sandy, but that's what I keep referring to as) said "let's see your head control" and flipped Pax onto his belly, my blood suddenly ran cold. She was going to figure out my dirty little secret once she witnessed Paxton lying there with his head firmly smooshed against the table, his tiny, undeveloped neck muscles unable to lift it up.

That's not exactly what happened.

What happened was that Pax lifted his head off the table. He then put all of his weight on his legs when she help him in a standing position. Then he kept his head steady, even while turning it to look around, while sitting upright.

According to Sandy, my two-month-old had muscle control typical for a baby twice to three times his age. That's pretty good for a kid who almost never got tummy time.

Since then, Pax has pretty much only been lying down to sleep. He likes being upright. I still don't give him enough tummy time, but I feel much better about it now. He's almost always being held in a way where he needs to hold his head up, anyway, so he is getting the exercise in. My husband likes to make him "fly" through the air now that he can hold his head steady--whether Paxton actually likes it is yet to be determined.

Other new tricks include better hand control, eye tracking/focusing and (my personal favorite) actual reactions to stimuli. Newborns tend to just cry and take up space the first couple of months, but now we're getting to the point where Paxton will "talk", follow you with his eyes, smack things with his hands, kick his feet and smile in response to... well, pretty much anything. He spent about a week being in love with the stuffed giraffe on the toy bar of his bouncer--I could plop him in the bouncer to wash dishes or make dinner and he'd happily coo at and swat that giraffe the entire time. The love affair is, sadly, over... for now. Pax is currently in love with blankets... he's discovered that he can ball up part of a blanket and put it in his mouth, which is (apparently) way better than some stupid giraffe.

I managed to get a giggle out of him a week ago. Sadly, no one else was around to hear it, and he hasn't done it since.

I don't know if I mentioned this before, either, but Pax has been sleeping in his pack-n-play (with a bassinet attachment). He's been doing it for a little over a month, actually--and he's taking a nap in his crib right now. This is a major accomplishment... for the longest time Paxton would not sleep unless he was being held or he was in his bouncer. We had a ridiculous arrangement going where we would get him to sleep in the bouncer and then pick the entire bouncer up and very carefully transport it to the pack-n-play in our bedroom. I am so very, very happy that he's sleeping in the bassinet/crib now. (Also, the vibrate-y bit on the bouncer broke yesterday and it no longer vibrates. Does anyone know if that's fixable?)

So, that's what is new in the world of the geekling. Our next great adventure will probably be starting solids in a couple months--the doctor said we could see about starting cereal at four months, but I think we're going to hold off and do a sort of baby-led-weaning hybrid seat-of-our-pants thing around five or six months. I've still got awhile to think about it.

*Mommy could stand to be a little more slender these days. Dang pregnancy weight--when am I going to fit in pants again???

**Other Mother of the Year accomplishments include constantly forgetting to bring formula along when we go out, smacking the top of Paxton's head against the wall (BY ACCIDENT), and leaving my one-week-old baby with my mother so I could go ogle Chris Helmsworth in Thor.

Monday, July 25, 2011


Sometimes I don't post very often.


Here is a picture of a baby.


I'll post soon. I think. I've kept busy. :)

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Road Trip Success!

Sigh. I want it to be NADWCon all of the times. I wish there was a big, unending Discworld convention that I could just, y'know, live at.

We had a great time, and Paxton weathered the trip very well. His only real episode of crankiness was on the Illinois tollway around Chicago, when we ran into Rush Hour Traffic From Hell in the Midst of Terrible Construction. We crept along the tollway for hours on our way into Wisconsin and arrived at our motel in Janesville, WI around eleven o'clock at night (EST--it was only ten o'clock local time--hooray for the extra hour of sleep we got, though!).

Also, everyone at every rest stop we visited commented that Paxton was very, very cute. :)

Sir Terry offered to stamp Paxton (his PCA is now advanced enough to make it difficult for him to sign things for an extended period of time, so he was using a specially-made stamp to "sign" convention passports), but my husband didn't let me take him up on the offer. Probably a good thing...

Paxton also made an appearance during the costuming competition--my husband and I took him on-stage with us, to much "aww"ing and applause.

Basically, Pax was a big hit.

The one thing we did wrong was that we brought way too much stuff. My fantastic math skills somehow helped me calculate that we would need three packages of diapers and two cans of formula. At the end of the trip, we had used one package of diapers (total!) and maybe a quarter can of formula. We had clean onesies and blankets left over as well. Oops.

The way home was far less troublesome, as we managed to bypass the tollway and make fairly decent time home.

I'll post about Paxton's doctor appointment (and the dreaded first vaccines!) in a little bit. I want to leave you, dear readers, with two links--other great mommybloggers who have found me on BlogHer that I'd like to recognize. I've started following them, and you should, too! They are Amy, from Toes in the Air, and Emily, from It's MOMbojumbo. Enjoy! :)

Thursday, June 16, 2011

My Big, Fat, Nerdy Road Trip

I cannot be held accountable for my actions from now until July seventh. I might attempt to murder someone, but... y'know...

Due to my blatant abuse of the "I am completely neurotic" tag, my readers know that I am, well, completely neurotic. A big part of that has to deal with my obsessive-compulsive need to organize things. (You would not, however, know this from looking at my house.*) I have two dozen little daily rituals that needs to take place at certain times in a certain order and I must plan for everything by making 3,605 lists. Shopping lists, packing lists, to-do lists, I just love making lists. I almost never actually use the lists for anything, I just feel really good about making them.

Seriously, TLC needs to make a TV show about me. My particular brand of batshit is only really unnerving once you realize how pervasive it is. I'm all vanilla-y and boring on the outside, but once you get to the good stuff you'll find a delicious nutbar filling.

Some time ago, in the early days of our marriage, my husband and I flew across the country to Tempe, Arizona to attend the first-ever North American Discworld Convention. Discworld, for the uninitiated, is a book series by the one and only Sir Terry Pratchett. He's British (and therefore awesome), and it took a while for the North American fans to get their act together enough to hop on the Discworld convention bandwagon, so this convention was a big deal. It was also our honeymoon (remember, the blog is called "Nerdmama").

The second convention is taking place three weeks from now in Madison, Wisconsin. I pouted until my husband said we could go (I might be a little obsessed with Pratchett... might be) and then my dad wanted to go... and then my mom said she'd go because my dad was going... and so now my parents, my husband, Paxton and myself are all packing up and going to Wisconsin in three weeks.

I have costumes to finish, a car to clean out and service, money to (attempt to) make, doctors to visit and all sorts of things that need to be done before the seventh, when we pack up the Rabbit and make the 8.5 hour drive to Madison. (Wait, we have a newborn--make that a 11 hour drive to Madison... a 14 hour drive to Madison? Crap.)

We're starting Paxton on the nerd thing early. How many two-month-olds get to meet Sir Terry Pratchett, literary rock star? I'm betting the answer is "not many". I've already started the readings of Where's My Cow?, a book that Pax probably will have memorized by the time he's able to read it himself...

*Unless we made dinner plans two weeks ago, in which case I will have cleaned the house 47 times by the time you come over to see it.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Cloth Diapers: The Story So Far

This post is dedicated to my friend Joanna, who recently asked me how my adventures in cloth diapering were going.


It rocks.

As Paxton spends more and more of his time in cloth, we dump less and less money into disposables (and landfills). Sure, we could buy cheap disposables from the wholesale club or from Target, but my crunchy-come-lately self, concerned about the amount of chlorinated hydrocarbons being released into the world's water supply, insists on buying chlorine-free diapers... that are also latex-free and fragrance-free... and cost $12 a package. $12, to me, is worth knowing that a) I'm not encasing Pax's butt in chemicals and b) I'm not letting those chemicals runoff into groundwater. I still feel vaguely guilty about the diapers ending up in a landfill, but hey--I'm doing what I can, yeah?

Here's a photo of what Paxton spends most of his time in now--prefold diapers. Prefolds are rectangular, multi-layered cotton diapers that are generally four-ply on the sides and six- or eight-play in the center. You can get them bleached or unbleached--mine are unbleached--and they come in several different sizes--mine are infant-size. The green-edged ones in the photo are from Green Earth, the
ones without the edging are made by Osocozy. In my (so far, limited) experience, I don't think the manufacturer really matters. My Green Earth diapers shrank more than my Osocozys, but they also quilted up more after washing.

To use a prefold, you simply fold it up around the baby and find a way to hold it in place. Some people use diaper pins, some people use a contraption called a Snappi, and I just stick the entire thing in a diaper cover and hope it stays in place, because I am way too cheap to buy pins or Snappis. (For the record, my cheapskate method works just fine.)

Here is my diaper cover collection, minus one. For some reason, my green Thirsties Duo Wrap never made it into my photos... oops. The two covers to the left are Thirsties Duo Wrap Snaps (the Duo Wrap looks exactly the same, except with a velcro closure and no snaps). The two in the middle are the outer shells that make up part of the gDiaper hybrid diapering system. The cover to the right is a Bummis
Super Brite wrap. The Thirsties and the Bummi are made out of PUL (polyurethane laminate), a waterproof fabric that keeps moisture from the prefolds from leaking out onto clothes.

gDiapers? Not a favorite. They are very, very cute and very trim, but Paxton soaks right through the inserts that make up the absorbent part of the diaper. To use them, we have to double-up the inserts, which makes the diaper bulkier (defeating the purpose of having a cute, trim diaper). I prefer using the prefolds and covers, although I'm still giving myself some time to warm up to the gDiapers. I've also tried using different inserts--I have a couple of Thirsties hemp inserts and I've tried sticking one in the gDiaper along with the normal insert, with some success.

When someone finds out I'm using cloth diapers, they always ask what I do with the diapers when they're dirty. It is deceptively simple--you'd think this would be a lot of work, but it's really not. At home, I have a small garbage can with a PUL liner that I toss the soiled diapers into (poopy diapers get dunked in the toilet first and the poop gets flushed). The diapers in the can get washed about every two days, sooner if there's a couple poopy ones since I don't want them to stain. I have two PUL liners, so a fresh one can go into the can while the used one goes into the wash with the diapers.

When out and about, I use a wetbag (pictured above). This is like my can liner, except in bag form. It is basically just a zippered bag made of PUL that I can store soiled diapers in until I can get home and dump them in the can. The wetbag occasionally goes into the wash with the diapers and can liner, too.

A note--my liners and wetbag are from Mommy's Touch, which I had never heard of before finding on Amazon.com. They are very cheap, and they work--I don't see the point in spending money on a PlanetWise, Kissaluvs or other PUL liner/bag when this inexpensive option works just as well!

When it comes time to wash the diapers, the process isn't difficult. I run an empty cycle on my washer--no laundry, just water--to clear out detergent and fabric softener from the machine. I dump in the diapers, covers, wetbag and liners, and run a cold/cold wash with a bit of detergent (and sometimes a squirt of dish soap). I then remove everything made with PUL and run a hot/cold wash with no detergent to sanitize and get all the soap out. PUL gets line-dryed, and the diapers go into the dryer for a little over an hour on low heat (which on my dryer is a lie--I'm afraid to ever set it on high heat because that thing gets HOT, even on low). I've heard that line-drying the diapers outside will help with stains (and it's very eco-friendly, regardless) but tossing the diapers into the dryer means that I have clean diapers sooner, so...

In any case, cloth diapering isn't turning out to be the PITA that many people warned me it would be. It's kind of fun, actually, and the diaper covers are, in my opinion, pretty cute. I need to get some bigger shirts for Pax, because I think it's really adorable to put him in just a shirt and the diaper cover. :)

I thought I'd include some links on how I got all this stuff. I got all of it off of Amazon.com, except for my gDiapers, which came from Babies 'R' Us (money-sucking devil that it is).

Sunday, May 29, 2011

The Monetary Perspective.

The hospital bill arrived this weekend. It totaled $20,584.45 before insurance.

I actually feel as though I got a pretty good deal. I received excellent medical care at a clean, comfortable hospital, in a private room with friendly, competent staff. To me, that's worth over twenty thousand dollars, especially because I know I won't have to actually pay the full twenty thousand. (Hooray, insurance!)

Also, I still feel pretty bad about screaming all that profanity during labor. The L&D staff deserves twenty grand.

Here are a few things I noticed about the bill:
  • My birth experience cost more than my car.
  • My epidural cost more than my (refurbished) iMac.
  • Pharmacy costs are about as much my husband paid for his flatscreen TV.
  • I took $13.95 worth of Motrin and Colace after delivery.
  • My LDR room cost a little over $33 an hour.
  • My room and board after delivery cost almost as much as I was paying for college tuition per semester.
  • I could buy another DSLR with the payment for my lab work.
I find myself deeply intrigued by the bill. I like looking at it. The giant numbers should terrify me, but oddly enough--they really don't.

I also find it funny that neither my first name nor my second last name fit on the bill. In the eyes of the Cleveland Clinic, I've become "Vi Brenneison Baug". :)

Monday, May 23, 2011

Nerdmama vs. The Tornado

It is good to know that my husband and I work well together in an emergency.

In my last entry, from this morning, I mentioned that it was supposed to storm all day today. What ended up happening was that it was bright and sunny all day, and warm enough to hang my laundry outside, make sun tea, and drive around with my car windows open. Until tonight.

Shortly after 7 pm, I got a phone call from my mother, alerting me to the fact that a tornado warning had been issued for our suburb. The storm was expected to arrive at 7:18. I got off the phone and informed my husband just as the sky darkened and the lights started to flicker.

"Get the pigs into the hallway," he said matter-of-factly. This is the guy who laughe
d at me for taking my guinea pigs into the basement of our old house the last time there was a tornado warning for this area (two years ago, and it didn't even rain).

I took the guinea pigs into the hallway and stuffed the cats into the linen closet as my husband strapped Paxton into his carseat. I stuffed a handful of diapers into our diaper bag and quickly made up a couple bottles of formula, then grabbed the prescription bottles from the kitchen shelf. My husband had dragged the comforter off the bed into the hallway, the pillows soon followed. I grabbed my camera and car keys and started to close and block off the hall doors as my husband leashed the dog, and we all went to hunker down in the hallway. We accomplished all of this in ten minutes.

It sounded like the world was ending outside. We peeked around the corner of the hallway to see the picture window and you couldn't see for all the rain and hail. When it was over, we found large, quarter-size hail all over the yard, piled up on the windowsills and against the doorways. The outside of the house and my car were plastered with leaves, and our street was completely flooded.

The flooding in the street went down almost right away, and neither the house nor my car appears to be damaged. Paxton slept through the entire thing, and my husband has already gone to bed. Adrenaline and the rumbles of distant thunder are keeping me up tonight. We don't have renter's insurance yet--it's one of those things that fell through the cracks these the past couple months--and I can't help thinking that if the storm had managed to damage our house enough to destroy some of our possessions, we'd be completely out of luck. Not being able to claim a loss on our nursery furniture, my iMac, our TV--any number of things--that's a scary thought, one that struck me as we were doing Paxton's bedtime diaper change. I'll have to pay a visit to the insurance company tomorrow.

Anyway, it appears that the actual tornado happened a few miles away from us. Still too close for my comfort, as it took down a wall at our local mall and uprooted trees at the college across town. I really, really, really hate bad weather. :(

Maybe I should call the city about the sidewalk...

Whoever designed the Chicco Cortina is an effin' genius.

It is supposed to thunderstorm all day today. That being said, as soon I dropped my husband off at work this morning, I decided that Pax and I should get outside and go for a walk before it started to rain. Pax was still asleep in his carseat, and I had the brilliant idea that I'd make myself a cup of coffee and take it with me on our walk.

My Keurig made quick work of dispensing the coffee into my favorite travel mug--one of those that looks like a paper cup but is actually made of ceramic. I stuck it in the stroller's cupholder, clicked Pax's carseat into place, and we went on our merry way.

We made it to the end of the street before the stroller hit an uneven patch of sidewalk and my drink spurted out of the travel mug like some sort of coffee geyser. It went everywhere (except, mercifully, on Pax). Coffee pooled across the console of the stroller and dripped down the side upholstery onto the sidewalk. I considered turning around, but my desire to be outside won out over my desire to not look like a coffee-swilling idiot.

By the time Pax and I made it back home, I'd accepted that I'd probably stained my stroller and ruined it forever. However, a few squirts of all-purpose cleaner and a paper towel removed all of the coffee from both the console and the upholstery. I had been expecting to have to scrub at the upholstery, at least, but it wiped down easily.

So... whoever designed this awesome stroller with it's wipe-down surfaces, I salute you. Thanks. :)

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Car Seat Fail, Again.

My husband and I experienced a sequel to our previous episode of car seat failure a few days ago. We learned that the stroller that makes up part of our travel system will not fit into the trunk of my car.

To explain the situation a little: we only have one car, my little 2006 Volkswagen Rabbit, the 2-door model. I leased the car five years ago, when I wasn't thinking about putting a child in it. I love this car and I'm not ready to give it up, so somehow, we have to make this work. For reference, the items we're working with are the
Chicco Cortina stroller and the Chicco KeyFit 22 infant car seat.

I tackled this problem today while my mom watched Paxton. The photo to the left is my little hatchback, parked in my parent's driveway, with the stroller crammed into the trunk. I discovered that, by folding down one of the rear seats, I could fit the stroller into the trunk. It takes up the entire space (no small feat, the Rabbit has a very large trunk).

The problem is, we've been putting the car seat in the middle of the rear bench seat. We've also been using the LATCH base. It barely fit the car, but we could put both front seats in a relatively reclined position. Honestly,
not using the seat base would mean the car seat would fit better, but we are lazy people and strapping the bucket in with the belt is a lot of work, especially in a two-door car and especially with a baby in the seat.

Here's a photo of the bucket installed with the shoulder belt, behind the passenger seat. You can see how there is a lot of room left over. You can also see something that is vaguely infuriating for me--the stroller wheels only protrude into the backseat an inch or so. If the trunk was an inch deeper or wider, the stroller would fit and I wouldn't be having this problem at all (are you listening, VW?)

Here's another photo, of the car seat installed behind the passenger seat with the LATCH base. You can see how little room there is. The base takes up a surprising amount of space:

For reference, here's a photo of my legs, taken in the passenger seat. I am far enough from the airbag to be safe, but I am not very comfortable with my knees crammed almost against the dashboard. Putting the bucket on the LATCH base on one side of the car or the other is doable, but not very comfortable for whoever has to sit in front of the seat. Granted, I do have long legs, but they're not all that long!

The kicker is that my husband, myself, my parents, and Paxton will be attending a book convention in Madison, WI in a couple of months. The stroller is a giant inconvenience--it won't fit in the Rabbit without the loss of a rear seat and it takes up the entire trunk of my mom's 2008 Jetta. I am seriously considering renting a luggage rack and strapping the stroller to the roof of my car for the trip*.

*I have other options, too, including a Moby wrap and attempting to find a used Snap-N-Go car seat frame on Craigslist. It's not the end of the world if I can't get the thing into or on top of the car, I just really like my stroller and want to take it to Wisconsin.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Meet Paxton!

Today is my original estimated due date. After my successful induction last week, Paxton is six entire days old.

And boy, is he ever cute.

No, really. I made a really cute baby.

After being given the Cervadil on Monday night, I started cramping mildly around 9 PM. I reported the official start time of labor to the delivery nurse as 1 AM, as that is when I started to have regular contractions. My husband had to get up, unplug me from the monitor and help me to the bathroom a couple times, and at 5 AM I woke him up for good as the contractions were becoming painful rather than just uncomfortable. He and the nurse got me situated on a yoga ball to take some pressure off of my hips, and shortly after 6 AM I was allowed to get off the monitor for a little bit to "prepare myself for labor".

The nurse checked my cervix before I headed for the shower--2 cm dilated and 75% effaced. Not bad, considering that I'd been completely closed for business when I was given the Cervadil. I managed to last ten minutes in the shower--standing up seemed to make the contractions ten times worse. When my husband had me toweled off and re-gowned, my cervix was checked again and I was at 3 cm and almost fully effaced. Seriously, guys, ten minutes. Ten minutes.

I begged not to have the Pitocin drip. The nurse called the OB on call and it was agreed that since I was already in crazy labor, the Pitocin wouldn't be needed. Thank god, because I can only imagine how much worse labor would've been with the Pitocin.

That was about the time that the contractions got really bad and I started getting a little crazy. I wanted an epidural right then, but I couldn't have one until I got to 4 cm. The contractions started to hit hard, and soon I couldn't even breathe through them. I don't remember exactly when I started with the uncontrollable screaming--this is where things start to get a little fuzzy.

I remember my water breaking. It was right after the nurse had checked my cervix and I had just scooted back up in the bed. I felt a giant rush from between my legs and, in my panic, I might've screamed the words, "what was that, what was that, what the hell was that?!?!?!"

I use simple words when I'm hysterical.

You know in movies, when the pregnant lady gives birth and it is all very dramatic? Like, she's screaming, the husband is helpless, the nurses are giving each other nervous looks? Everyone says that's not realistically what labor is like, but that sure is an accurate representation of mine.

I was having contractions on top of contractions with very little or no time in between--often I'd hit two or three peaks before coming down, and then I'd only have about twenty seconds--yes, twenty seconds--to "prepare" for the next. There is no "preparing" for that outside of maybe taking a nice, deep breath so that you can scream more profanity. I felt like someone had my entire torso in a very fast-acting vice. Not good.

The nurse waited almost an hour to check me again. I'd gone from 3 to 6 in a snap. That was probably when I really started demanding the epidural. I remember screaming at the nurse to quit effing touching me because I swear she had her entire hand up my junk and it hurt like hell on top of the contractions (which also hurt like hell). (By the way, I did not use the word "effing"--I used the less family-friendly version--and there may have been other nasty words involved. And maybe flailing and/or a weak-willed attempt at pushing the nurse away. Very embarrassing.)

6 cm meant the anesthesiologist could be called. By the time the anesthesia cart came into the room, I was in full-blown shock. Literally, I went into shock from being in labor--I was shaking, almost completely incoherent, and unable to control my body. It was scary. It was very, very scary. The nurse checked me one last time before the epidural and I was at 9 cm.

The epidural took awhile to get in... mostly because I couldn't keep still. The nurse was trying to have me balance on the edge of the bed and arch my back, but the contractions wouldn't let me keep my shoulders down. They finally got the catheter in... and ten minutes later, I was (more or less) in control of myself again. I apologized to the staff. I am still really embarrassed about how that all went down, but it was really uncontrollable. Uncontrollable, but rude and embarrassing nonetheless.

The nurse checked me again after the epidural took effect and announced that I was ready to push.

Um, what?

I didn't even get to enjoy my epidural. I tried pushing, but I didn't really know what I was supposed to be doing and my pushes weren't effective at all. They let me rest for a few minutes, but then... they started the Pitocin drip to encourage me to push.

Just a little Pitocin. Not a whole lot.

Just enough to negate my effin' epidural.

I pushed for what felt like the longest, most hellish 45 minutes of my life. I was attended by the nurse, a nursing student, the resident doctor for the floor, and my husband--who, surprisingly, got really into the whole thing. This is the guy who feels faint at the sight of blood and can't stand even looking at a needle. Suddenly, my pansy husband was replaced by a guy who thought it was really cool that he was able to see a head coming out of my downstairs. The words "I wish you could see this" actually came from his mouth (I still did not wish I could see it, for the record).

The OB almost didn't make it to the room in time to catch Paxton. She and her team bustled in about two seconds before Pax's entire head made an appearance in one push. She tried to tell me to "hold on", but you try holding on when there is a half a baby hanging out of your lady parts. It's not possible, there is no pause button. One more push and he was out.

By the way, I was back to having full-blown hysterics at this point.

The OB told me to look down, I looked down, saw Pax, and--this is vaguely reminiscent of my water breaking--screamed, "oh my god, did I just have a baby?"

No shit, Sherlock. Like I said, I say dumb things with simple words when I have hysterics. The vocabulary center of my brain shuts off.

Anyway, from start to finish--less than 12 hours. It was awful, but it was over quickly. And we got a cute baby out of it! What marvels me is that Pax weighed a scant 7 pounds, 10 ounces--way under what the doctor's had supposed my overweight, diabetic butt would turn out. APGARs were 9 and 9, no blood glucose issues, he's a perfect little guy.

Perfectly cute, that is. <3

Monday, May 2, 2011

It's official, I'm induced.

Hospitals are boring.

My husband and I showed up to the birthing center at 4 PM. Two hours and eighteen rounds of questions later, the nurse finally shoved a dose of Cervadil up my vajay and we officially started this little adventure.

Hospitals ask a lot of questions. I had no less than four people ask if I had ever had any heart problems, liver disease, asthma, etc. I also signed a lot of consent forms, which all appeared to be the same form with slightly different print for slightly different situations. I got banded and tagged (I have a nice, bright red bracelet that screams the word "ALLERGY", which is cool--the whole world now knows that shellfish makes me puke), my husband's visitor pass makes him look slightly like a child molester (those ID cameras never make anyone look good) and I'm going to have a baby in the next 12-24 hours. Hooray!

I still do not understand why I need this damn hep-lock in place now if I'm not getting a Pitocin drip until 8 AM. It's uncomfortable and I was promised that I'd be able to shower in the morning. Am I just supposed to wash my hair with this giant IV thing in the back of my hand? What's up with that?

Anyway, no one warned me ahead of time that I'd have to lay down for two hours after the Cervadil was inserted. That was probably the most boring two hours of my life. My husband brought me a bacon cheeseburger from the hospital cafeteria for dinner and it was super awkward to try to eat it while laying down. He also brought a piece of chocolate cake. My husband is pretty awesome.

The only other thing making me uncomfortable is that I need to be hooked up to the fetal monitor until... well, until I don't have a fetus in me anymore. Continuous fetal monitoring is a pain in the butt, and Paxton wavers between being completely cooperative and being a total PITA.

The good thing is that I am already having contractions. They're not regular at all--one to four minutes apart--but they are happening. The nurse who was just in here asked if I could feel them. I can, and they're uncomfortable, but not painful--I declined the shot of Benadryl she offered to help me sleep. Hopefully by morning, my cervix will be soft enough that the Pitocin can work quickly, I can push out Pax, and this whole debacle will be over.

Except then we'll have a whole new debacle on our hands. Y'know, a baby.

Sunday, May 1, 2011


It is 12:18 AM on Monday morning and my husband and I have just completed the nursery... for a certain value of "complete". There is paint missing from the closet doors (it peeled off with the painter's tape), I never got around to putting together the curtains I was going to make (and they were going to be so cute, too), and I'm waiting on my last-minute Amazon order so that I can have a functioning diaper pail, but... we're as ready as we're going to get.

The nursery is supplemented by a Graco Pack-N-Play with an infant bassinet attachment in our bedroom. Pax won't be using his crib at night for the first couple of months. Our tiny angry girl cat seems to think that both the crib and the Pack-N-Play are really overly large cat beds constructed for her comfort. The changing pad is a conveinient place for her to take a bath. This cat is going to have some serious adjustment issues.

It's time for photos:

You can see where the paint has peeled up with the tape on the closet:

Also, kindly ignore the fact that the hook broke off of the tiger. The tiger is still my favorite.

My husband and I picked up this print at the Mid-Ohio ComicCon in 2008.
Also, the wallpaper in our hallway is horrible. I know.

The closet remains mostly full of our junk. You can see my husband's guitar and my cello behind the baby cart.

My diaper stash! I'm very proud of it. Chinese cotton prefolds, hemp inserts, Thirsties Duo Wrap covers, gDiapers, and Kawaii one-size pocket diapers with microfiber inserts. Yes, that is a package of disposables in the bin--I figure it couldn't hurt to have some around.

Grumpy Bear is my husband's from when he was a child. He has only gotten grumpier with age.

The bear in the crib was made by my mom's friend Sandy. His vest has the Unseen University crest from Terry Pratchett's Discworld series on the back! The dragon on the cart, like Grumpy Bear, was my husband's childhood lovey. :)

Congratulations, I hope you've enjoyed this tour of a very, very small portion of my house. The rest of my house is nowhere near as clean and put-together (and probably never will be). Truthfully, I don't expect this orderly presentation to last all that long, either...

Saturday, April 30, 2011

You wish you were cool like me.

I slept until noon today, and when I got up my dog was whining the go outside. I peeked out our sunroom windows and didn't see anyone, so I just let her out and wandered into the backyard in my pajamas.

...yeah, my neighbors were totally in their yard with their tiny dog. My big dog immediately went nuts and started running along the fence barking at the tiny dog, and the tiny dog (who thinks he is a big dog) did the same. So the dogs are behaving like wild animals and my neighbors are trying to be cordial, because it is noon and they've been up for hours and are dressed like normal people.

I'm wearing a maternity shirt, my husband's flannel PJ pants, I'm barefoot, and I haven't even looked in a mirror yet, let alone done anything with my bedhead. And my neighbors are trying to talk to me about lawn care, dogs, and how pregnant I am. (The fence is only about four feet high, so they could me in all my disheveled glory.)

This is about when I realize that our giant, stupid cat is in the backyard. He is not supposed to be in the backyard. So I scoop him up and now my neighbors are all, "oh, you have a kitty!" and I am barefoot and pregnant and wearing PJs and my hair is messy and I am holding a giant cat in my yard while my dog misbehaves.

You wish you could all have mornings that are this awesome... right?

Friday, April 29, 2011

My last OB appointment...

I had my final OB appointment today. The next time I see my OB/GYN, I'll be six weeks post-partum.

Amanda, the medical assistant whom I seem to get most often at my OB/GYN practice, commented on how much better my PUPPP looked as she strapped me up to the fetal monitor this afternoon for the final NST. My OB was also pleased at the results from a week of steroids, antihistamines and antibiotics.

Pax behaved for his last non-stress test, thankfully. Things seem to be going pretty well for him in there. My belly is, for the record, huge--as my OB put it, "you're getting big!" As if I haven't been big...

The weight gain has stopped. I've held steady at [insert embarrassing amount here] for two weeks, now. It's making me giddy to think that I will never have to step onto a scale and see that number again.

Amanda asked if I wanted more kids. I told her there was a Master's degree with my name on it waiting for me before I attempted to do this again. She laughed.

I'll be admitted to the hospital on Monday afternoon, and after a night of Cervadil, they'll start me on a Pitocin drip Tuesday morning. Like it or not, I'm having a baby this week. :)

Monday, April 25, 2011

PUPPP, now with pictures!

This is what PUPPP looks like. I was debating whether or not to show it at all, and I finally decided that showing my legs was not really all that indecent, just kind of gross.

You'd get a better idea of what this stuff looks like if I felt comfortable showing my bare thighs or stomach on the internet, but that also might make everyone want to never read my blog again. Let's just say that I looked like that "day seven" photo all the way from my waist to my knees, front and back, with the added bonus of some pretty godawful stretch marks. Sexy!

Here's what my legs look like now. Right now. Yep, right now--I just snapped t
his photo with my phone. There hasn't been a whole lot of improvement after the initial reducti
on in swelling after switching to Temovate.

The rash starts as tiny little blisters and/or lumps that itch like crazy. They don't just itch a little, they itch a lot. PUPPP itches so much that you are literally unable to resist scratching at it. I've had eczema since I was six weeks old, I know what it's like to itch, an
d I have never been itchier in my life than I have been with PUPPP.

Eventually, the lumps run together to form blotches, and then the blotches run together to make you look like a boiled lobster. After a few days (and some generous steroid treatment), the red fades to a delightful bruise-like gray-purple... and stays that way.

By the way, it still itches. At no point will this stuff stop itching, no matter what it looks like. That's probably the most delightful part, that the swelling and lumpiness will go down, but the most horrible symptom will stick around forever until delivery.

My OB and the dermatologist reassured me that, mercifully, PUPPP usually does not spread to the face. It may run rampant everywhere else (like in my case, where I am covered from the neck down), but it spares the face and the area directly around the navel (wtf?). Thankfully, PUPPP is also not supposed to scar. Healing tends to be spontaneous and complete--one day, you just wake up without PUPPP. I'll probably have a few scars from gouging it open in my sleep (I am a horrible sleep-scratcher), but they will be small, relatively unnoticeable, and mostly hidden in stretch marks anyway... and we all know that I'll be lasering those off as soon I get the money.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

A Day in the Life of Nerdmama.

7:30 AM. Wake up, check blood glucose. Stumble to bathroom, apply Temovate for PUPPP.

8:00 AM. Eat breakfast, take Amoxicillin for skin infection and a Zyrtec to relieve the itching from PUPPP.

10:00 AM. Check blood glucose, eat a snack.

1:00 PM. Pick up husband from work. Eat lunch, take iron pill for anemia, slather self in menthol lotion for PUPPP. Return husband to work.

3:00 PM. Check blood glucose, eat a snack. Consider gnawing own leg off to relieve itching from PUPPP.

5:00 PM. Pick up husband up from work. Eat dinner, neurotically calculating the amount of carbohydrates in everything. Bitch at husband for losing ten pounds on diabetic diet while you have continued to blow up like a balloon; talk about needing cosmetic surgery to put your body back together until he looks like he's about to cry from the guilt. Apologize and blame your moodiness on being unable to gnaw off your own leg two hours previously. Take a multivitamin and a DHA supplement.

7:00 PM. Check blood glucose, blame your fatness on your dietitian. Consider eating a snack.

8:00 PM. Have a breakdown because your husband let you pick the TV show and you chose a documentary show from Animal Planet about rescue dogs and one of the dogs got put to sleep. Eat the snack you were considering at 7 PM to console yourself.

8:30 PM. Make husband rub your feet with aloe vera and/or menthol lotion after attempting to scratch your toes off from PUPPP. Tell him to pay close attention to your ankles as you cannot live another day without going into labor.

10:00 PM. Take a shower. Psych yourself up, telling yourself that tonight, you are not going to start scratching at the PUPPP as soon as you get wet.

10:30 PM. Get out of the shower. Bleed all over your towel since your 10 PM promise to yourself didn't quite hold.

10:35 PM. Start shivering because you've just gone from hot to mercifully freezing as the menthol lotion takes effect. Consider peeing yourself from the temperature change.

10:4o PM. Stand in the living room in your towel and start singing the dermatologist's praises to your husband, who will then ask you to please move away from the picture window.

11:00 PM. Slather yourself with Temovate. Eat an apple, take another dose of Amoxicillian for skin infection and a Benadryl so that you can go to sleep and (hopefully) not scratch yourself open during the night.

11:30 PM. Fall asleep.

2:00 AM. Wake up, stumble to the bathroom. Take a pee and absentmindedly scratch your entire calf open. Spend the next 15 minutes re-applying Temovate and menthol lotion. Take another Benadryl.

4:00 AM. Wake up, stumble to the bathroom. Scratch everything. Spend the next 15 minutes re-applying Temovate and menthol lotion.

6:00 AM. Wake up, make yourself go back to sleep. Scratch through your PJs.

7:30 AM. Wake up, wonder why you're cranky. Check blood glucose, stumble to the bathroom, apply Temovate for PUPPP...

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Four prescriptions later...

I went in for my weekly OB appointment and NST at 9:45 this morning. The NST went well (Pax wasn't completely uncooperative like last time) and I actually had a couple little contractions while hooked up to the monitor.

My OB gave me my induction date--May 2, 39 weeks on the dot. It's hard to believe I'm going to have a baby in just over a week... I feel like I still have so much to do!

HOWEVER... my PUPPP is still horrible and my OB really didn't like the look of it, especially since I've been treating it for a week and it's gotten worse, not better. She left the room for a minute, came back and told me that she'd called the dermatology office upstairs and made arrangements for them to squeeze me in immediately. I thought that was nice of her.

So I rushed upstairs--I didn't even have to wait very long to see the dermatologist, just a couple of minutes. She said I had a textbook case of PUPPP but she also thought that it might be compounded by an infection, so she took cultures from the worst places to check for staph. I asked if it could be worse because I have eczema, and she said she wouldn't be surprised if I were more susceptible to bacteria to begin with because my skin is sensitive, but that eczema wouldn't make the PUPPP worse (thank god). She gave me antibiotics even though the cultures will take a bit to get through the lab since she's 90% sure I have some sort of infection making the PUPPP so horrible.

She also told me to keep taking Benadryl at night to help the itch and to help me sleep, but also to take Zyrtec during the day--it'll help with the itching but won't make me drowsy. She also wrote me a prescription for Temovate (hooray, clobetasol!) and had the on-site pharmacy make a special compound lotion with menthol to cool the itch (I'm hoping they call me to come pick it up soon, I can't wait to try it out). In any case, I should finally stop itching soon, which makes me EXTREMELY happy.