Friday, May 02, 2003

At this time last year I was in labor with my daughter. I had just gotten my epidural and was finally feeling some relief from the intense contractions that I'd been feeling for the past five hours.

I had tried to do a natural delivery, but the Pitocin that the doctors gave me to start my labor after my water broke made it too difficult. Actually, if I had dilated like I should have, then I still think I would have been able to tough it out. But five hours later, when I felt that I should be at 8 centimeters, I was only at 3. Now, 3 centimeters seems like a good progression, but the day before my water broke, I'd had my regular checkup and was already at 2. So when I found out that five hours of contractions coming a minute apart only caused me to progress 1 centimeter, my will broke and I asked for the drugs.

I couldn't believe the difference. I asked my husband to turn on the TV so I could see the final episode of Survivor. I was feeling no pain. Little did I know at that point that I'd end up having a c-section 7 1/2 hours later. While I spent the next few hours resting and getting rolled from side to side to make sure the medication didn't pool in one side, part of me started to get worried about my lack of progression. They even tilted to bed to make the baby drop lower because she was still in the same position as before I went into labor. Nothing worked.

And then when they brought me an oxygen mask to get more oxygen in my body because the baby wasn't getting enough, I really started getting worried. I guess the increased dose of Pitocin that they gave me after I got the epidural caused contractions that were so strong that the baby couldn't recover between them. That's why an emergency c-section was called for at 3:15 in the morning, because the baby was nearing the danger zone.

At that point, I wanted them to do whatever was needed to make sure my baby arrived safely. The strangest part was once they made the decision to have the surgery, everything moved quickly. They gave me another very strong epidural so that I couldn't feel a thing below the waist. I couldn't even move my toes no matter how hard I tried. I sat under a very big bright light, holding my husband's hand and wondered how it would go. I've never had major surgery, except for when I had my tonsils out when I was five. Then, they put me completely under so I just remember lying in a hospital bed watching some fish in an aquarium, and then waking up and looking at my parents thinking, "So when are they taking my tonsils out?"

Not to be too gross, but the actual surgery was the most disturbing feeling I've ever had. I couldn't feel anything when they made the first incision, maybe a slight pressure against my skin. But when they pulled the baby out, I almost felt nauseous. I had my wisdom teeth pulled several years ago, and rather than going under, I just had local anesthetic. I remember what it felt like to have the dentist tugging at my teeth to get them out. Not the most pleasant feeling. But this was worse. I've heard someone describe it as trying to pull a tree from the earth while the roots keep hanging on for dear life. I think that's a pretty accurate description.

But all of that disappeared when I saw my daughter actually free from me. One of the nurses had held a hand mirror so I could see the delivery over the shield that they had in front of me. I can't even begin to describe how a baby covered in all kinds of bodily fluid can be the most beautiful thing in the world.

I look at her now, on the eve of her first birthday and can't believe how much she's grown and changed. She's walking and can touch her hair and blink her eyes when prompted. She laughs when we laugh. She pretends to cough so we'll say, "Oh!!! Are you OK?" She says, "Ruff, ruff," whenever she sees a dog, and breathes heavily through her nose whenever we say, "What's that smell?" She walks around the house saying, "Gutgrl" because we always tell her what a good girl she is. She even makes a gutteral sound in her throat when I say, "That's dirty," as if to say, "Yeecchh." She's just an amazing little girl that loves to look at books, to touch the flowers and leaves in the garden, to dance whenever she hears music, and to splash in the bath. Her smile just makes my day, and I do everything I can to keep her smiling.

I wonder if I'll continue to be this amazed at everything about her, at how much she's changed from that very first day. Or will the years slowly erase all of that? I hope not.

...

The Friday Five:

1. Name one song you hate to admit you like.
Pop by 'NSync. It just have a groovy beat that makes me want to dance every time I hear it. They actually use a dance-club beat version in my Muscle class at the gym.

2. Name two songs that always make you cry.
Love Me by Collin Raye
How Can I Help You to Say Goodbye (not sure who it's by, but it's another country song).
I guess that's what country songs are good for ... making you cry.

3. Name three songs that turn you on.
I have to pick four:
Beast of Burden by the Rolling Stones.
Cruisin' by Smoky Robinson
Black Days by Soundgarden
Let's Get it On by Marvin Gaye
Something about each of these songs is just so sexy.

4. Name four songs that always make you feel good.
Wow, this is hard. Pretty much anything off the first Matchbox Twenty CD, or the P.S. CD by Toad the Wet Sprocket. There are too many songs that bring back good memories to just name four. Songs like Slide by the Goo Goo Dolls and I'll Be by Edwin McCain remind me of my husband. Songs from the Pretty in Pink soundtrack remind me of high school. I think most songs make me feel good in some way, even if they make me sad.

5. Name five songs you couldn't ever do without.
Push by Matchbox Twenty, Anna Begins by Counting Crows, The Promise by Tracy Chapman, When You Say Nothing at All by Allison Krauss, and Going Back to Carolina by James Taylor. There are definitely many more songs that I love, but these are the songs I never get tired of, no matter how many times I hear them.

Thursday, May 01, 2003

I have to say that buying kids' shoes is so much fun. Especially because they're so damn cute.

We took my daughter to Stride Rite today to get her "first pair of walking shoes," according to my mother-in-law. She wanted to buy the first pair. Never mind that my daughter already owns a pair of sneakers from the Gap and a great little pair of white sandals from Sears. I guess Stride Rite is the walking shoe expert, so we went there to buy shoes.

And I'm so glad we did. We found this adorable pair of hot-pink suede Mary Janes. I'm not sure what the technical definition of a walking shoe is. I picture those little white bootie things that come over the ankle. The ones you often see bronzed on someone's mantle. But I'm sure my daughter would much rather have the Mary Jane's. I wish I had a pair.

We couldn't leave the mall without going to Foot Locker where my husband bought her a pair of high-top Chuck's in bubble-gum pink. She looked so proud to be wearing them when we got home.

It's so much easier buying for kids. Everything looks good. No "Oh, these make my toes look weird," or "Yeah, but does the heel make my legs look thinner?" Clothes are even better. All babies have the diaper bubble butt, so there's no need to worry about big hips or huge thighs. I've never had to exchange a pair of jeans for my daughter because they just didn't fit right. I should only be so lucky. With my luck, a hot-pink pair of suede Mary Janes would probably make my feet look wide.

Tuesday, April 29, 2003

I'm planning my first kids' party on Saturday. It's my daughter's first birthday, and I feel like I need to make it special. I know she won't remember it, but hopefully the pictures will show how great it was.

So, today I went to the party store to get decorations. I've never planned a kids' party before. Most of my parties involve beer, wine and lots of food. Maybe I light a few candles and put a festive table cloth on the table, but that's about it.

So I bought those little blower things, the ones that unroll and make a buzzing noise (like we use at New Year's Eve), decorated with dragonflies, butterflies and pretty pastel colors. I got a banner saying "Happy 1st Birthday," some fancy plates and napkins, some dangling streamer things, some balloons and a pretty 1 candle. I also got some goodie bags decorated in the same theme. That's where the problem started. What to put in the goodie bags. What do kids like? Candy and toys. So I grabbed two bags of candy with things like Tootsie Rolls and Pops, bubble gum, Smarties, Sweet Tarts and Jawbreakers (not that I'll be giving any of those to my daughter, but the other kids are sure to like them). I then went down the aisle that had a multitude of trinkets and gadgets. I picked up some small frisbees, some yo-yos, some bubbles, and some cool plastic cameras that were similar to Viewmasters in that when you pressed the button and peered through the viewfinder, it showed different cartoon pictures of animals. I also debated about getting super bouncing balls, some rubber lizards, and some plastic watches with candy in them. I also needed to get some prizes for the musical chairs and pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey game (which I also got at the party store). So I picked out three kites: one with 60s smiley faces and daisies, one in the shape of an elephant and one in the shape of a monkey.

I then started wondering whether I got too much stuff (maybe that Shopaholic book I just read has rubbed off on me). So I asked one of the sales girls to help me. She looked in my basket and very politely said, "Yeah, I think maybe it's too much. You have to remember that you have to fit everything in the goodie bag." So she suggested that I just keep the candy, the bubbles and the cameras. Back went the frisbees, the yo-yo's and the rubber toys. Besides, we also have a pinata that will be even more minutes of fun for the kids.

On Saturday, I'll pick up the helium balloons and the cake. Hopefully everyone will have a good time. It's weird trying to please little kids. Normally, when we have people over, it's up to the parents to keep the kids entertained. Now it's up to me and my husband. I have a feeling it's going to be an exhausting day. But I'm excited to put everything together. It's just a shame my daughter won't remember it.

Monday, April 28, 2003

So bad things don't always stop at three. Last week I talked about our broken TV, the broken dishwasher and the leaky roof.

Well, we found out on Thursday that the TV had a bad picture tube. The cost to fix it would be $300, probably more than we paid for the TV. So we realized we'd have to get a new one. Luckily, I'd just gotten a $500 check for a freelance job that I'd done a month ago, so we figured we'd use that to get a nice TV. We'd seen one of those flat-screened ones at Sam's Club for a pretty good price. The problem? It wouldn't fit in our entertainment center. But we also planned, once I got a full-time job, to get a new entertainment center that actually goes with our furniture. But that could be a year away from now. So, we decided to get a cheap TV that fit in the entertainment center, and then get a nicer one later when we're more financially secure. Then we had a gruelling, half-hour discussion about how cheap to go. Did we want an 80s looking TV that was super cheap, or did we want to get a little smaller TV, that had a flat-screen and looked more modern for just a bit more. We ended up flipping a coin. And before you say that's a ridiculous way to make a decision, but wasn't strictly about the coin. I read somewhere once that if you were torn between two things, flip a coin. If the result made you happy, it was the right choice. If you were disappointed by the result, you should go with the opposite, because that's really what you wanted in the first place. So the coin chose the smaller flat-screened TV (I even flipped it twice, and it was the same result). And the result made us happy. So now we have this great picture in our living room, and I still have money to spare.

As I said, we're not getting a new dishwasher for a while. So no financial worries there. We did having a roofing guy come out, but he said he'd have to mail us an estimate, so we'll see.

Anyway, as I was saying before, the problems didn't stop at three. On Saturday, I was heading to the store and stopped at my sister-in-law's to see if she was home. She wasn't. But when I went back to my car it wouldn't start. The radio wouldn't turn on, that annoying chime when the door is open wouldn't chime, the clock wouldn't show the time, and I couldn't roll up the windows. I couldn't lock the doors, even manually. Obviously my battery was dead. But then so was the battery in my cell phone. I had no choice but to walk home. Luckily I was only a mile away. (I was so worried that my sister-in-law would show up minutes after I left and call my husband to ask why my car was there, unlocked with the windows down and me nowhere in sight. Of course, he would have no idea because I wouldn't have had time to get home yet, so he'd worry too. That scenario didn't happen, but it made me walk faster so they wouldn't worry.) So after arriving home, hot and sweaty, with blisters on my pinky toes from wearing shoes not conducive to walking a mile, I called the dealership to confirm that it was the battery. We went to the local automotive store yesterday and got a new one ... $85. It just doesn't end.

I guess I should feel lucky that the freelance check has helped cover some of this. I'm just waiting for more stuff to happen. Hopefully the roofing estimate won't be too high. I've just read this wonderfully entertaining book called "Confessions of a Shopaholic." I'm not a shopaholic, but I could definitely relate to the debt issues she discusses in the book. I had my share of that kind of debt once in my life.

I guess I should feel thankful that none of these problems have put us into debt. Yet.