Monday, May 31, 2010

Wacky Baby Dreams

I walked into stake choir practice last night, and several old women, independently of each other, joked that they didn't think I was going to make it to stake conference in two weeks. Ha ha. Ho Ho. I still have 8 weeks. Thanks.

Even my own mother, in that delicate-mother way that they have asked if maybe the doctor had said something about maybe I was a little big... maybe...? But, no, she hasn't said anything. And that's the thing about OB/GYNs when you're pregnant. Most EVERYTHING is normal during pregnancy and it only gets worse until the baby comes. So you go and complain about the fact that sometimes, your right leg goes dead for a few seconds and you can't walk, then comes back to life like nothing and she says, "yeah... your baby is pinching your nerves, that's pretty common, just try to sit down." Or you complain about how you see stars every time you stand up. Or that you have pretty much been in labor for 2 months and still have 2 months to go. Or that you have heartburn that makes you cry it's so painful. And, she says, "yeah... that's pretty common. Try to sit down and drink a lot of water."

Another thing that is totally normal: crazy-vivid dreams. They are long and super realistic. And, I'll have slightly different versions of the same dream 4 or 5 times in one night. Last night, in the beginning of the night, I dreamed that my friend Mandy and I trained and participated in a triathlon (probably because the big city-sponsored triathlon is today). I went through the cycle of us discussing the possibility of doing it, meeting at the pool to swim, her helping me pick out a bike and practicing putting my feet in the clips, and a lot of running. I had this dream at least 3 times, one right after another with only slight variations. Fairly innocuous.

But, far more common for me is to dream about something awful over, and over, and over again. This morning, after the (insert expletive) birds woke me up at 5, I drifted in and out of sleep, dreaming 3 or 4 times that Nora drowned in the bathtub. I put her in the tub, but then I had to leave the bathroom for something: the doorbell, Lillian needed help, the phone. All the time I had anxiety and I strained to hear her chattering or splashing. I don't hear her, so I run back upstairs to find a blue baby, face down in the tub. I pull her out and start CPR and yell at Lillian to go get the phone but she's too scared to move. In one variation, I had the phone in my pocket; in another, I forgot how to do CPR.

All the time, I dream stuff like this and it's most always horrible things happening to my kids. I've dreamed that Lillian was kidnapped and sold into the sex trade, or that she fell of the jungle gym and broke her neck, or that Nora wandered into the crossfire of a gang fight in South Tucson and got shot. I stopped watching any sort of crime drama in hopes that it would help this problem, but it hasn't. I guess, I know it's a dream, so it's a little less stressful, but not really by much.

My sister told me that she dreams that she gets shot and has to call 9-1-1, but can't get through. Does this happen to anyone else besides us?

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Top 5 worst night's sleeps

Our house has been a den of sickness this past week. On Saturday, Nora felt a little warm, but was acting fine, so we loaded up to drive into town and run a bunch of errands. Twenty minutes into our trip, we weren't quite at Destination #1 yet, and Nora threw up all over herself. We weren't equipped to handle that particular disaster, so we gave up and went home. She proceeded to have several instances of what I would chart (if I were her nurse) as N/V/D (nausea/vomiting/diarrhea). Sunday she felt fine, and so did everyone else, so I thought it was a one time incident. Not so. Tuesday, Lillian started throwing up. A lot. I felt like an old-timey nurse because I was just running around changing sheets and mopping. I think I did 4 or 5 loads of laundry. Yesterday, she had less of the N/V and more of the D problem. Also gross. Plus a temp of 103 that came down to 101 with Tylenol.

Then, I started feeling sick in the afternoon. Plus, I had heartburn really bad. I called my mom in tears, and I think I sounded sufficiently pathetic that she's decided to drop everything and fly out here. I heart her.

Anyway, last night was I think the last stand of Lillian's sickness. I felt really bad for her, she was so weak and tired and sad and feverish, so I agreed to let her sleep in our bed. This has never happened before. I think I got about 2 hours of sleep.

My friend Carrie pointed out once that it's not a lack of sleep that makes a bad night. I've stayed up all night writing papers or that one time I watched all 6 hours of North & South, and sure you're tired the next day, but it's not so bad. No, a bad night is one where the promise of sleep is constantly being made and broken. Last night, I think, was my 4th worst night sleep.

#5: 2001. Both my roommates were out of town and I was by myself in my apartment. In the dead of night, I could have sworn that a man opened my front door, talked loudly for a few seconds, then left. It's probable that I forgot to lock the door and some person (probably drunk, I mean, this was Santa Barbara) accidentally came inside, realized it wasn't his house and left. But I was so freaked out. It being the middle of the night, I started coming up with all sorts of crazy theories like the drunk guy was just an excuse for one of his friends to slip in and hide in the shadows until I fell back asleep, at which time he would murder me in my bed. There was a young married couple who lived down the street and I called them and made them come get me and I went to sleep at their apartment, where I slept soundly for the rest of the night.

#4: 2010. Last night. I had a fever, heartburn, big baby belly, kept having to get up to go to the bathroom, and I was being muscled out of my bed by Lillian, who was really hot because she had a fever too.

#3: 2006. My dad was going to come visit and spend two nights at the Madonna Inn. My memory is kind of sketchy about what happened, I think Jeri got sick, so he ended up not being able to come. For some reason he couldn't cancel his reservation, so Tyler and I went to spend the night there. I was pregnant with Lillian, but I'm pretty sure that had nothing to do with the awful sleep we got. It was the most uncomfortable bed I've ever been in with the firmest, tallest pillows ever. At about 3 AM, I looked over and saw Tyler was awake too, so we turned on the TV and watched that movie with Jimmy Fallon where he really likes the Red Sox.

#2: 2006. The night I was in labor with Lillian. I had been having serious contractions all the previous night and day and by the time we went to the hospital that night at around 8, I think, I was zero dilated. I cried. Because the doctor felt my contractions were pretty strong and that I was in a lot of pain she gave me a shot of morphine. I remember them asking if I wanted it, and me being like, "YES PLEASE," but now it seems a bizarre thing to offer. It made me hallucinate and get even more wacky. Then, I remember swallowing a pill, which Tyler told me later was Ambien. So all that night, I was SUPER tired from the sleeping pill plus not having slept in 36 hours, hallucinating, and contracting every 5 minutes. Tyler told me I'd be dead asleep, wake up and scream for a minute, then fall dead asleep again. I sort of remember the doctor breaking my water and I vaguely remember the anesthesiologist coming in to give me an epidural. Mostly I remember he asked if I had ever had surgery before, and I told him that I couldn't keep my eyes open. And Tyler fainted when the doc stuck the needle into my back. After the epidural, we slept for about 5 hours until they woke me up and told me it was time to push, so I was rested for the actual birth part, which was nice. This night would be #1 worst, but I was so out of it, I don't really remember a lot of it.

#1: 2008. We had just moved to Tucson and in an effort to make friends, we decided to go on the ward campout. I was pregnant with Nora and we only had a 2-man tent. I suppose that counts as the first time Lillian slept with us. She was so fascinated by the novelty of sleeping in the tent, outside, on the ground, in between Mom and Dad that she didn't sleep all night. She talked, she wiggled, she played with her stuffed animals, she wanted to touch all the zippers. At one point, Tyler took her stuffed bunny and threw it to the bottom of the tent in an effort to get her to stop going 'boing! boing! boing!' on his head, which was very distressing to her, and needed it back RIGHT NOW but I couldn't find it in the dark. Plus, there was someone snoring really loudly nearby. Plus, I was pregnant sleeping on the ground. We couldn't just pack it in and leave because we had given our neighbors a ride, so we had to stick it out.

In the morning, I tried to be optimistic and say maybe if we got another tent, or a bigger tent it would be better but Tyler announced that we'd never go camping EVER AGAIN.

Am I the only one who keeps track of this sort of thing?

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Secret revealed!

What Nora did while Claire helped me write my application essays

I have a secret that so many people know about, it's not really a secret anymore: starting in August, right after the baby is born, I'll be going back to school.

I'm crazy. I know.

This being my third baby, I also know one other thing: from birth, they only get harder and more work until they're about 3, and then it starts going back down. And, babies sleep a lot.

The program is 12 months long and is all online.

You may be thinking, "but Amanda, you're already an RN." This is true, but I only have an associate's degree, even though it took me 4 years to get. As an RN, you are pretty much confined to staff nursing, which is fine and something I want to do until I'm not afraid I'm going to kill someone, but I don't want to do it forever. We're thinking that by the time I'm good and ready to go to work, I'll have my bachelor's degree and (hopefully) that means I'll get paid more so I'll (hopefully) be able to afford to work less. Get it?

I still have yet to be accepted into the actual program, but I'm working on it. Wish me luck.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Hostage Crisis

On Sunday, I was feeling really tired. Not sleepy so much, but like I was moving around in tar. I couldn't stand up for very long and I had no energy to move around, or chase after my kids, or walk up the stairs. Lucky for me, it was Mother's Day, so I could just lie around and not feel guilty about bossing everyone around. I thought maybe I was dehydrated, so I tried to drink and drink and drink.

Monday morning, I was going about the business of getting ready and I walked up the stairs. When I got to the top, I felt a little dizzy and short of breath and I thought, "man, it feels like my heart is beating really fast." It was: 120 bpm. "That seems like kind of high for just walking up the stairs," I said to myself, so I did something entirely uncharacteristic of me: I called the doctor.

I never call the doctor because I know what they are going to say. They always say the same thing, the thing they said to me yesterday, "COME IN RIGHT AWAY! RIGHT THIS SECOND!" So I did. My friend (personal saint/super hero) Emily watched my kids and I headed up to the hospital.

By the time I got there, my heart rate had come down to 87, and I felt fine. They hooked me up to the monitor, did an EKG, and drew blood. The EKG looked fine and while they were waiting for the lab results to come back, they noticed I was contracting regularly, something I told them, on arrival, has been happening to me for at least a month, maybe more. I was in the triage room behind a curtain and I could hear them calling the doctor about me, "Mrs. Ball is preterm and is contracting regularly... yes... I see... fFN... OK." Bah! The fFN test takes like 2 hours for the results!

The nurse came in wheeling her little cart and I tried to explain to her that I've been having regular contractions for a month, like I said before, and I'm not in labor and I don't really need a fetal fibronectin test and if they would just call MY doctor, she would tell them all this. Maybe they don't believe me when I tell them that I am a nurse and that I know what I'm talking about, but my nurse was not to be deterred. I rolled my eyes and said, "OK."

Then they wanted to check me every hour to make sure my labor wasn't progressing, but the baby was laying funny, or something and made it very difficult to tell. So, my nurse called in another nurse. Then an hour later, they both came back to check, but they couldn't be sure. So, they wanted the doctor to come in, but she was off doing her doctor stuff, so I had to wait some more. "Wow, you're baby is laying funny and I can't really tell... here... maybe if I jam down as hard as I can on your belly. No... no.. maybe if you sit up a little bit. Um... can you roll over a little?" It was like getting your school picture taken, except 5,000 times more painful and awkward.

The whole time, they kept coming back and asking me about my heart, but I told them it only happened when I was walking up the stairs, and for the last 5 hours, I have been in bed, so no, I feel fine.

When they f i n a l l y let me go, the nurse gave me her discharge instructions: come back if you feel any contractions. Yeah. Right.

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Thanks Mom

Things I did today that I learned from my Mom:

  1. Woke up early and read in bed. My mom is an avid reader and taught me not only to read, but to LOVE reading. I was re-reading Guernsey Literary and Potato-Peel Pie Society for bookclub. I love that book.
  2. Sang to myself and my kids while getting ready. My mom knows a song for everything and taught them all to us. Lillian's current favorite is The Playmate Song, as she calls it. (That version is annoying, sorry. Lillian likes it when you get really dramatic in the "She couldn't come out and play, it was a rainy day part" and actually pretend to cry. Also, my mom didn't say ain't. I think it hurt her ears. She taught me to sing, "Don't have a rain barrel..." instead. Also, my mom taught me how to sing this song in pig latin.
  3. Taught 100 kids under 12 how to perform the chorus of "Follow the Prophet" in sign language. I love my job as singtime leader in Primary, which I would not have had my mother not taught me how to play piano and/or sing and/or passed on at least some of her teacher genes to me and/or taught me how to sign a little.
  4. Laughed at and was silly with my kids. Mom was always ready with something fun.
  5. Whisked up some gravy from pan drippings. (I was barefoot and pregnant (obviously) at the time, which adds a little something, don't you think?) In fact, I just read a book called, How to Sew a Button, and I would say I already knew how to do 98% of the things in there because of my mother.

That's all I can think of for today, it's been kind of slow, but things happen all the time that I can trace to my mother. For example: my friend Candie came to visit for a few days and we made brownies. I had Lillian up on the counter next to the mixer because she takes her job of dumping in ingredients and turning on and off the mixer very seriously. I was counting eggs and pulled out three and asked Lillian to help me figure out how to get to four. I kept counting wrong and Lillian told me I was being silly. The whole time, Candie was sort of watching and when we were done mixing it all, she said, "you know, you're a really great mom!"

I said thank you, but really I thought, 'isn't this what moms do?' I have very strong memories of sitting on the counter, counting cups of flour to go into cookies; or my mom teaching me how to do algebra while waiting for my dentist appointment when I was 10; or washing my hair and braiding it when I was sick; or taking me to the Huntington Library; or a bazillion other things that I hope I can replicate for my kids.

Thanks mom, for being awesome.

Saturday, May 01, 2010

Mommy's Helper

We had some friends (FRIENDS! I know! I lured them with strawberry shortcakes) over the other night, and as one of them was indulging Nora in her extensive cuddling habit, she said, "Oh, it must be so nice to have a cuddly baby!!"

While it is nice sometimes that Nora wants to cuddle, it's not nice that she needs to be plastered to me ALL THE TIME. I think I was trying to cook dinner when I took the above pictures.

As I type this, she's at my side, pulling at my arms. And, I've already paused 3 times to play patty-cake.

I realize this is every mom's lament (well, every mom of a toddler), but does she really have to follow me around and undo everything I've done 1 second after I do it? This is what it looks like when I try to hurry and load some dishes in the dishwasher.
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