Sunday, November 30, 2008

Thanksgiving Not Quite What I Expected While Expecting

So, Thanksgiving took an unexpected turn. . .

After my getting up at 3am, I finally got back to sleep around 5:30 am only to be awoken just before 10am with the worst pain in my right side. It lasted about ten minutes and then went away and I felt fine. Several hours later while getting ready for our fancy Thanksgiving lunch, who should find herself in the shower with the worst pain again? Uh. . .that would be me.

So, Craze calls the doctor on call, who thinks my symptoms sound down-right weird, but tells me to go the the triage unit of the women's hospital since she's worried I might be having a gall stone attack or an appendicitis or something else entirely, possibly related to my liver. Long story short: we drop off the in-laws at the nice down-town restaurant around 2:20pm and head to the hospital for what should be about an hour's worth of blood tests, only to actually be sent home just after 11 pm after almost nine hours of early and quite painful labor. No gall stones, no appendicitis, nothing but contractions every 2-3 minutes on my right side (oh yeah, and vomiting. . .that was fun), but I never dilated enough to be transferred up to the actual delivery unit. And I am too far along for them to give me something to make the contractions stop and not far enough along for them to break my water and get things rolling. Like being stuck between a rock and. . .well, another rock.

So, I got sent home while still contracting and throwing up in the car with a prescription for blessed, pain-relieving Oxycontin and Ambien to sleep. I'm still having contractions now (Day 4), but at least I can take a pill when and if they get really bad and am not hooked up to IVs and monitors like in the hospital. And thankfully, after my first night at home, my vomiting has also taken a blessed vacation.

I feel like I'm really in limbo now. Not sure if I'm going to have this baby any hour, any day or if this will all just stop and he'll wait it out 'til his 12/21 due date.

My in-laws were great, hanging out in the waiting room after lunch until it was time to check out. Then before heading back to Detroit yesterday my mother-in-law made food from all the previously purchased organic ingredients (beef stew, meat loaf, turkey salad) and helped Craze fold laundry. It really was an odd sensation to have someone doing so many things for me since I've been pretty much fended for myself from a young age. Weird but really very nice. As I've said before, I am very lucky in the in-law department.

As of today, I slept until around 1pm and then hung out in bed watching TV with the Bug and the Alley Cat for another hour or so. I'm drinking a lot of water and watching a lot of Christmas movies on Hallmark and Lifetime. My "big" little baby is still wriggling around periodically. Thankfully, he seemed none the worse for wear on the hospital monitors during my 9-hour labor ordeal. We're still not sure when we'll meet him in person. I guess time will tell. . .

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Not Sleeping It Off. . .Unfortunately

The in-laws arrived very late on Wednesday and are now sleeping soundly (I hope) down in the new guest room.

Cleaning, unfortunately, took way longer than anticipated and since I did keep putting things off, left me achey and complainy when I finally finished this evening. Now that my house is clean and mostly organized, groceries bought, pumpkin bread baked and turkey breast roasted, you'd think I'd be ready for a good night's sleep. Instead, I went to bed around 12:30ish, got woken up by a noisy Craze at 3 am and have since been wide awake on this very early Thanksgiving morn while Craze and the doggies slumber away in the bedroom. (Though I just noticed that the Bear must be having some kind of bad dream as he actually sounds like he's growling in his sleep! Well, at least he's actually asleep.)

We are headed out tomorrow (aka later today) for Thanksgiving lunch to a fancy downtown Chicago restaurant right in Millennium Park (home of "The Bean" and, in Fall/Winter, the picturesque Millennium Park ice rink) which should be fun. I'm excited about having someone else cook for me and do all the dishes afterwards!

I was amazed, watching Oprah this morning, when she said she's never cooked a whole turkey. I swear, I've cooked at least 20 of those poor, de-feathered beasts over the years. Probably closer to 30 even (between Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners) but I don't want to exaggerate. This year with only 3 weeks and 3 days until my little baby is due to arrive, I'm more than happy to leave the roasting, cooking and clean up to others.

So, after sneaking down to the kitchen for a cup of decaf tea and a slice of the afore-mentioned pumpkin bread, I'm really hoping, at 5:20 am, that sleep is about to catch up with me again. Hoping, but not really feeling it unfortunately. The complete irony of pregnancy is that people constantly remind you of all the sleep you'll miss out on once you become a parent. Though they never seem to relate the terrors of all the sleep you're going to miss out on during the nine months when you have more time and inclination for uninterrupted rest. So unfair! Oh how I look back now on my nights of easy slumber with relish. Total comfort. No nightly trips to the bathroom. Hardly ever waking up with only two hours of sleep and then being wide awake for no reason. I have always LOVED sleeping. Now, unfortunately, I find it hard to achieve for more than a series of cat naps interspersed between bathroom breaks.

Let's just hope I'm able to stay awake later today during our Thanksgiving feast!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Thanksgiving Soon Upon Us

The organics have been bought but still more household chores to be done before the in-laws' arrival tomorrow. I totally recognize I'm getting boring and repetitive where my Thanksgiving cleaning is concerned, but I can't help myself.

I've had such a hard time sleeping lately that it's been a real chore to get myself geared up to do much of anything. I'm in pregnant Zombie-mode much of the day.

That said, today's the day. I made a start last night and I should be able to get it done in a few hours if I just keep my focus. Then one last trip to pick up non-organic fruit and veggies (and I will sneakily remove the labels to disguise their non-organic origin) and I am done.

But before I make my way to finish up my dust-free and clean abode, I'd like to wish one and all a happy and safe Thanksgiving. May everyone have the opportunity to break bread with people they love and take stock, even in these tough times, of all the good things in life.

Friday, November 21, 2008

An "Epic" Couple of Days

My household cleaning and organization chores have been totally side-tracked by freelance work (hurray!) and free movie tickets (more hurray!).

I've done way more consulting work than cleaning in the past two days, so my upstairs is still dusty and untidy just like the downstairs. It's hard to be annoyed though when I've been making moolah by the hour.

Also, Craze made me sign up for a chance to win free advance screening tickets to see "Australia" and I won! We went last night. The film is a lovely and sweeping epic that I thoroughly enjoyed. Beware though. . .if you're anything like me, this is a major hankie movie, so go prepared. I had unfortunately neglected to have any tissues in my purse so sniffled and cried loudly throughout until Craze found a cast-off Dunkin Donuts napkin in his backpack (at which point I sniffled into that for the remainder of the film).

It really was a great movie though. It's hard not to like anything with Hugh Jackman as far as I'm concerned (and Nicole Kidman is no slouch either, just not as pleasing to my eye) but that aside, the film had the whole audience crying (even Craze!), oohing, ahhing and clapping with glee when the bad guy finally got his at the end. I love it when that happens.

So, I am off now. Must. Really. Go. Clean. . .Yes. Really.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Cleaning Up on Bargains and Clutter

My three-hour shopping extravaganza left me knackered yesterday. My back and hips were killing me way before I left Target. That said, I did manage to score some good bargains on all my stocking-up necessities with weekly sales plus savvy couponing.

Thinking back, I can't believe I never really used coupons back when I had a real job (and a real salary). Those little oblongs of cut-up newspaper are free money. What was I thinking?

Anyway, I managed to blow a couple hundred bucks at Target on a giant cart load of stuff but saved about $50 with coupons. Lordy, I love when that happens. Now we are set up with tissues, paper towels, dog food and, yes, canned tomatoes for a good long while among all the other household necessities I bought. I even got a cute baby sweater with dogs on it for $2.98 (originally $12) and a pair of baby/toddler outdoor mittens for $1. If they're too big for him this winter, they'll work just fine next winter.

Boy, oh boy, do I love bargain shopping!

Craze's boss blew off their salary summit yesterday, so no word yet on whether the Sumner household can look forward to a slightly more rosy financial picture. I guess we'll find out sometime soon (hopefully).

I just got off the phone with my English auntie. A big overseas box arrived at my door yesterday with an assortment of thoughtful Christmas gifts for me, Craze and our little babe. Oh, I do love my aunt and uncle. . .I just wish they didn't live a whole ocean away.

And the seven-day countdown to in-law arrival has begun. Today, I'm going to focus on cleaning up the upstairs, finalizing the baby's room and then move down to the downstairs in the next day or two (depending on when my freelance work comes in). I also need to plan some baking time (scones, pumpkin bread and maybe cookies on the list) and then my trip early next week to Whole Foods to organify the contents of my fridge. I want to get most of it done at a leisurely pace so I'm not killing myself trying to do it all right before they get here. That's the plan anyway. . .we shall see how it unfolds.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

How Did I Become Coupon Mom-to-Be?

I think I had my first serious Braxton-Hicks contractions last night. I thought maybe I was just feeling sick because I suddenly became nauseous and my uterus was hard as a rock for at least an hour. So, I called my best friend, Jo (mom of three), and she said she thought it was practice contractions kicking in. Lordy!

I woke up a couple of times in the night to make some of my typical 43 bathroom visits and my stomach was really hard again.

All is fine though this morning. After dreaming about going into labor (of course, what else is there to dream about?), I woke up obsessed with getting my hands on a plus-size nursing bra and stocking up on household essentials so I don't run out of anything in the next month or two (toilet paper, paper towel, dog food, tissues, canned tomatoes). Bras, toilet paper and tomatoes. . .yes, this is how my brain works. Scary.

So, off I go to Babies-R-Us to redeem my coupons I forgot last week when I made my major diaper and wipes purchase (using those coveted gift cards), then onto Target for more household staples and to take advantage of their Starbucks coffee sale ($7, buy two and get a $5 Target gift card!).

I really do have babies, pets, paper products and weekly sale circulars on the brain. I used to be a Senior Vice President at a big multi-national corporation. What the heck happened exactly to morph me into coupon mom (to-be)?

In other news, Craze is sitting down with his super cheap boss today to try and hit him up for more money. He is one of only two employees, has been there for almost eight years and, if you figure in cost-of-living increases and inflation, probably makes less today than he did in 2001. In the meantime, his boss flies to Vegas frequently and counts a Ferrari among one of his THREE high-price vehicles. He got married recently and my guess is that his wedding probably cost at least two or three times the amount Craze makes in an entire year. Clearly the cheapskate can and should step up and pay him more.

Fingers crossed that he comes away with a great pay increase and maybe (triple fingers crossed) a nice year-end bonus plan. Say it with me, people, "More money, please."

Monday, November 17, 2008

Snow Time and Food Fibs

The first snow came down yesterday. It snowed for quite a while but just a light covering to show for it. Most of it was gone with the sun this afternoon.

The snow is so much more dog friendly than the rain, not to mention more magical to look out at. Firstly, the dogs love going out in the snow versus when it's raining and they just look up at you as if to say "You want me to go out there, in that, and do what?!?!?" Also, they are so much easier and less messy to clean up covered in snow than rain. Yes, snow can be a dog-lover's delight as precipitation goes.

Craze went crazy (ha-ha) this weekend, catching up on numerous chores, buying home improvement supplies and doing load after load of stacked up laundry. Uh. . .where'd my real husband go??

Some more freelance work coming my way mid-week for which I'm thankful. This year has been such a bust in terms of my consulting biz that I'm thankful to make any money I can before the babe arrives this Christmas.

Beyond that job, my big undertaking this week is to get the house ready for our Thanksgiving guests. Craze's parents are coming for a few days which should be fun. His mother is crazy about all things organic though so I'm going to have to cast my frugal shopping ways aside momentarily and stock up on food and snacks at Whole Foods which is a) not in my neighborhood and b)not in my price range at the moment. Oh well. . .what are you gonna do? I may hide some labels before she comes though and fib about the all-out organic-ness of my kitchen contents if pressed. (Crossed fingers behind back getting ready for action)

Friday, November 14, 2008

Oh, Brother! (grumble, grumble)

I am still annoyed with myself at how much I allow my brother and his wife annoy me.

The reality is that I hear from them hardly never (even though he is my only sibling and lives only about 40 miles away). And when I do hear from them, I find their tiny bits of contact irritating beyond belief.

For example, since we announced that we were expecting, I have only received a couple of emails from my brother asking about my welfare. Clearly, picking up the phone and actually conversing with me or, god forbid, stopping by my house on his daily car commute into Chicago, is WAY too much effort and trouble. As for his wife, not a single call since June. And while I don't particularly want to talk to her anyway (she is frequently a rude and overly judgemental person with whom I have little in common), it's hard not to be irritated at her total lack of interest when I called and saw them many times during both her pregnancies, attended baby showers and even used my own vacation time to care for their toddler for four days when their second child was born (for which, I really didn't even get so much as a "thank you").

Oh, I forgot. I have gotten one email from sister-in-law though in the past few months: it was a list of gifts that would be appropriate for her children for their birthdays in September. That was it. No inquiries about how I was doing. No niceties. Just an outline of the things I could buy for her children.

It's been years since they've made any effort for us to spend any of the holidays together (instead making their own plans, never taking me into account), so in the past few years, I have done the same. This means that, typically, I spend most holidays with my husband's family as they are warm and welcoming and I thoroughly enjoy spending time with them. It is a pleasure, not an obligation. It is how family togetherness should be.

Likewise, since even organizing a lunch meeting with my brother's family at a restaurant on any given weekend in their neighborhood is a thankless undertaking (they are perpetually "busy" and never make the effort to try and initiate plans with me, it's always me being turned down), I pretty much gave up a while back.

So, yesterday, I get an email from my brother wanting us to drive 90 minutes out to the burbs to celebrate "Thanksgiving" together a week from this coming Sunday. And when I called him this morning to let him know that we couldn't come as we have a prior commitment (a breastfeeding class at our hospital), I think he was genuinely annoyed.


He makes no effort to see me since June, neither he nor his wife bother to call me about the fact that they are blowing off my baby shower (just like they did both my wedding showers) or call me for any reason for that matter from June through November and now he just expects me to be free at his convenience a few days before Thanksgiving to drive 1.5 hours to his home and back. Yeah. Right.

Given the fact that our mother has been dead for over 23 years and our father has been in a nursing home with dementia for more than five years and the rest of our extended family lives overseas, you'd think my brother might be a little more thankful for the one living, sane, blood relative that he has living on this continent (aside from his own young children). But clearly this is not the case. And I pretty much accepted this years ago since after bringing it to my brother's attention, he has made little effort to change.

So, why do I still even care? And why, oh why, do I let myself get so riled up about it all?

I think it's because of the pretense that my brother likes to carry on when it suits him (i.e. that we are still a "family," that we still are connected). And I feel bad that my relationship with my niece and nephew is not that close, but that's really down to their parents, not me. It's pretty much hard to develop a relationship with kids you are hardly ever allowed to see.

I'm sure that my son (who still with six weeks of "cooking" to go, weighs in at 6lbs, 8 oz according to my latest ultrasound--the doctor actually called him a "moose!"), will have much closer relationships with his uncles who live hundreds of miles away than the one who lives just down the road. And that's a real shame. But one that I finally need to accept that I can do little about.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Best Present Ever!

It arrived again today, that "I can't stand it any longer" hair coloring moment. Aah. . .it seems like every month it comes around all too soon along with all that pesky, white, face-framing regrowth.

Thankfully, I went a little crazy and did my raggedy nails and my roots this morning, so I am looking more beautified and put together.

Tomorrow it's off for another ultrasound to check Craze Jr's 34-week baby growth. I'm sure they're going to tell me that he already weights 10 pounds. . .or maybe that's just what it feels like. Everything is starting to pain me. My feet, my hips, my back and my numb and tingly fingertips. Oh and my "yoo hoo." At least, that's what I call it. I think in medical circles it's called the round ligament. It doesn't really matter what you call it, it frequently still hurts like a bugger.

Craze is funny. Yesterday he asked me if I would spend some time today packing my hospital bag. I think he's starting to worry that the delivery day will sneak up on us sooner than planned and we'll be totally unprepared for our trip to the hospital. He's been very good, bless him. We went Christmas shopping to the mall on Saturday (using a found gift card that I had misplaced about four years ago and coupons--hurray for found money and discounts!) and he insisted on carrying my purse much of the time along with all our purchases.

(My husband is frequently annoying but also sweet and cute and I do love, love, love him.)

We got nice presents at Macy's for Craze's brothers, dad, mom and nephew, not to mention hitting Babies R Us for the baby's crib mattress, giant boxes of diapers and wipes, a baby thermometer and a Christmas outfit for the little guy (hopefully, he's here by then). With our baby shower and "found" gift cards and coupons, all of it cost only $23 of our actual money. How great is that?!?!?

Only a few more odds and ends for Christmas and then my shopping will be complete. My aim is to get it all done and wrapped up soon so I can laze around watching Christmas movies closer to my 12/21 due date. That way I can bask in the warm feelings of the season and my last days of pregnancy without all things undone hanging over my head.

I have to say I've always been a great lover of Christmas. But this year, I'm really looking forward to my best present ever!

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Join Obama to Build a Better Tomorrow

It occurred to me the other day that I have been oddly quiet on the blog front with regard to the recent election. This is especially odd as I have been an avid follower of all the campaign news and had very strong opinions about where my loyalties lie.

With that preface, I will just say that I was overjoyed to see Obama elected and extremely relieved when it was clear that Sarah Palin would be no where near a position of executive leadership over our nation. The more I read about that woman and her past activities, the scarier I found her to be. Also, as a long-time admirer of John McCain, I was very dismayed with his VP choice and thought that it showed very poor judgement on his part.

On election night rather than Chicago's Grant Park, this giant, pregnant woman instead parked herself at the kitchen table and on the couch watching the returns. I had waddled over to the polls earlier in the day and cast my ballot with hope for a better tomorrow for our country and our little son still waiting to be born.

Certainly, November 4, 2008, will go down as an historic and momentous day in our country's history. And my greatest hope now for myself, my family and our country is that all Americans can join together to build a better tomorrow. Craze frequently says I sound like a socialist, but I long to live in a country where people can get the medical treatment they need without bankrupting their families, where people genuinely look out for one another and our planet and one where kindness and real principle, rather than consumerism, reign supreme.

Do unto others. The Golden Rule. That's what we seem to have forgotten along the way. I just hope that the current hardships show us all lessons for living better, more meaningful lives as we move forward. And that we'll all back President-Elect Obama to forge a brighter future for ourselves, our country and the world.