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...