Disclaimer

This blog is not intended to provide legal advice, legal services or legal anything else. Don't sue me. All I have is debt anyway.

Monday, December 31, 2007

Day Six

Not much new to report. Things are about the same, unfortunately, with the blood pressure continuing to be a concern. Everyone had expected her to make more progress by now. The surgeon ordered an echo for tomorrow, to look for an explanation. They wanted to continue to wean her from the dopamine, but they haven't been able to without bottoming out her blood pressure. They're treating her as a heart-surg patient, apparently because she's acting like one. I'm worried that means there's damage to her heart, which considering the pressure from the CCAM, it's definitely a possibility.

Husband and I both slept at home last night. Granted, we called her nurse a few times, the last time being about 3:30 in the morning. I'm not so sure I got better rest at home than I had been at the hospital. Plus I've been in a foul mood all day. The in-laws have now been staying with us for one week and two days. I love my in-laws, they're fantastic. But Husband reminded me of the Benjamin Franklin quote... something about house guests being like fish (both stink in three days). My limit on house guests is about a week before I start twitching uncontrollably. I'm glad they've been here though. They've helped us out considerably, and have spent lots of time with Cora in the hospital, for which I'm grateful. However, they are leaving tomorrow afternoon, which will also be nice to have some time to ourselves. If it's true we need to have someone there all the time once she's released from the PICU and onto the floor, then they will be coming back.

We're also having Cora baptized in the morning, and also the anointing of the sick. I'm a little disappointed, because this isn't the memory I wanted to have of Cora's induction into Catholic life. We don't think unbaptized babies float around in purgatory or anything, but it was very important to her grandmother and great-grandmother, so we figured we'd go ahead. Provided everything turns out well, she can still have her ceremony in the Spring with her godparents there.

Anyway, I have plenty of random thoughts floating around in my head, but will have to wait. We're headed back to the hospital after having a late dinner, to ring in the new year with our little girl. Isn't exactly the New Year's celebration we'd imagined, but kissing our girl at midnight was what we had planned all along. We're glad to be able to.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Day Five

It seems that Cora is turning a corner, or at least that's what we hope. Her vitals have been more stable today, they're weaning her from the dopamine, and they've turned the suction off from her chest tube. They think the tube will come out tomorrow. She was really awake and alert this morning, and definitely more wiggly. She's causing trouble today. They had to restrain her left arm, because she's been grabby with her tubes. That's my kid: trouble!

Cora really doesn't like other kids crying. The nurses down the hall appear to be torturing a toddler, who's been screaming for the past half hour and screamed quite a bit this morning too. Like blood-curdling screams. It keeps Cora's blood pressure elevated hearing all that racket. Keeps mine raised too. Geez, sedate the poor kid or something.

Anyway, the surgeon came back in to check on her today, since he was here for another patient. Apparently there's another baby with a CCAM. And here Cora thought she was being original!

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Down

Trying to keep a stiff upper lip, and not be the crazed emotional mom with the baby in the ICU, crying all the time. Yeah, trying, but haven't been largely successful. I'm relieved Cora's improving and so very thankful she made it through the surgery. But it is extremely hard having her in there. She has an incision that wraps 1/3 of the way around her body, a tube sticking out of her chest, a tube down her throat to breathe for her, a feeding tube, two different lines, and an array of monitors. She was awake for quite awhile today, looking around and moving her arms and legs. They have her on pain meds, so I don't think she hurts. But sometimes she grimaces like she wants to cry, and it breaks my heart. I can't hold her. Partly because of the chest tube, but partly because moving her causes her blood pressure to bottom out. Maybe in a couple days when they've taken out the chest tube and she's more stable. I miss holding her. And I hate that of her 3 weeks of life outside the womb, she's spent over 1/3 of it in the hospital, and counting.

Anyway, people have been very nice, bringing us food. For instance, our friend's mom made us a lasagna and brought it over tonight. It's nice to have real food, we've been eating too much junk. We did go out to dinner last night with the in-laws. It was father-in-law's birthday, and since Cora was doing well, we left during shift change and went to a British pub we like that has Guiness on tap. I heard a rumor that beer helps with lactation, so I decided to give it a go. Not sure if it really helped, but it certainly helps my nerves.

Another night in the hospital tonight. We have a sleep room reserved again. Husband keeps trying to talk me into staying home, but I can't stand the thought of her being in the hospital all by herself, even if she doesn't know I'm there.

Day Four

The days are all starting to run together, but I think this is Cora's fourth day in the hospital. Again, we spent the night at the hospital in a sleep room, so we could be there if anything happened. We're at home right now, so we can shower, get a few things done, and take a few minutes to relax. My in-laws are at the hospital with Cora now. Last night I actually slept for eight hours straight, the longest I've slept since Cora was born, and more hours than I've slept total since she's been in the hospital. I really shouldn't be sleeping for so long, since I need to keep on a pumping schedule, but after the stress of the past few days, I didn't have much of a choice. My milk production has been down considerably since she's been in the hospital, probably a combination of stress and exhaustion, and spotty nutrition. They're increasing her milk intake today, so I definitely need to keep up production. At least I can do something for her, even if it's just being the dairy cow.

Not really much to report. She's still got the chest tube, she's still on the ventilator. They've talked about removing the chest tube sometime soon, but she'll stay on the vent for a few more days at least. She's improving slowly, but she's got a long way to go still, and there are often times setbacks, so it's difficult to say how long she'll be in the hospital and how well she'll do. She opens her eyes every once in awhile, but I'm not sure how "with it" she actually is, as they still have her sedated. She moves her arms and legs a little, and her reflexes work, she still clutches your finger when you put it in her hand.

That's about it. Tired, but we're doing okay I guess. I miss having her home, and I miss being able to hold her. But I'm just grateful she's alive, and getting better.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Recovering

Cora came out of surgery this morning, and is now trying to recover. The surgeon was able to take her top lobe, CCAM and all, and at least whatever happens next, that troublesome cyst is finally gone forever. It's not how we wanted it to happen, but we're dealing. Cora's hanging in there. She's had some organ damage, liver and kidneys, but it hopefully should reverse. Being so young, they do bounce back well.

We're not done yet, but the surgery was a major hurdle to jump, and for the moment, we all can breathe a little easier, especially Cora.

We're going to nap for awhile and then head back to the hospital to keep her company. She'd started waking up a little, and moving her little arm, all poked full of wires and such. For someone so tiny, she's very strong.

Surgery

Cora was taken in for emergency surgery just before 4 a.m. Things went bad during the night, they had to put in a chest tube, and all of this is putting stress on her heart. It'll be a couple hours before we know anything. Apparently there are actually three lobes in a lung, and the surgeon thinks the CCAM might be on both the top and middle lobes, not just the top lobe. If she gets too bad, they will just remove the cysts, not the entire lobes, and then remove the lobes at a later time.

Nick and I are petrified we're going to lose our little girl. It seems terribly unfair for us to be given this beautiful daughter, who has fought so hard to stay alive, only to lose her now. We love her so much, our precious little bunny, who we only met three weeks ago.

Thank you all for your thoughts and prayers. We're waiting in a private room, looking at pictures on my laptop, trying to remain positive.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

More waiting

Another night in the hospital, and likely to be a week more (if we're lucky). If Cora remains stable, they will likely do the thoracotomy, to remove the top right lobe (the one with the CCAM), on Monday. Both attending surgeons want to be there for the surgery. If she starts going bad, they will do the surgery immediately, performed by whichever surgeon is on call.

We're staying the night at the hospital again. All we can do is sit with her. Touching her and even talking to her very much gets her too stimulated, and we have to keep her calm.

Her ER doctor and nurse just came up to visit, which was very nice of them. Husband knows both of them, and used to work with them. The ER was insane last night when we were in there. My personal favorite was the redneck lady in the next room who'd shot herself in the leg and was screaming, "Heyulp me!! HEYULP me!!" The nurse curtly told her, "We're trying to help you. We didn't do this to you. You did this to yourself." My other favorite exchange was: "What did you shoot yourself with?" Response: "A gun!" Fantastic.

Anyway, the nurses in the PICU are very nice, and things aren't as strict here. Some of the NICU nurses weren't so nice when we were in there. But we're doing okay so far, hanging in there. Today is much better than yesterday, yesterday was quite awful. Still scared as hell, but more optimistic today.

A Cora Update

I got maybe another two hours of sleep, which I think made me even more tired, if that's possible. A friend with a one-year-old once described the exhaustion of having a baby as a special kind of tired: newborn tired. This puts it in a new category, kicked up a notch -- newborn baby critically ill in the ICU tired. And even though there's nothing physically stopping you from sleeping, sleep is impossible.

Husband just called. The doctors spoke with him after rounds. They decided against attempting the lumbar puncture again, since she isn't showing any signs of meningitis. They tried poking her twice last night and apparently since she was dehydrated, couldn't get it, and decided not to keep poking her. Poor little bunny. I know she can't feel it, they had given her a paralyzing drug (since she's intubated), but she's been through a lot in her short life.

Husband sounded a lot more optimistic when I talked to him, which I take to be a very good sign. (When even Husband the Nurse can't look me in the eye and tell me "don't worry, she'll be fine," you know it's bad.) She is still stable, and is improving. (I'm not sure exactly what constitutes "improving;" again, there's a very good reason I went to law school and not med school.) But they are going to try giving her milk today, and take out the catheter. They are probably not going to extubate her until tomorrow at least, because they want to give her little body time to recover from the trauma she just endured before attempting for her to breathe on her own.

Apparently the question now is whether the surgical team will do surgery right away. I'm through guessing what doctors will do, but I think that this episode is probably a good indication of what could happen if they leave this thing in any longer. If she doesn't have pneumonia this time, that doesn't mean she won't have it the next time. And there was something that Rambling Attending was saying about herniation -- basically the lung was squeezing out passed the ribs on the right side (the bad lung). So, that doesn't sound good either.

I dunno. The whole medical thing confuses the hell out of me. I didn't think the CCAM could "pop," and I thought that so long as she wasn't turning blue, things were okay. I also thought if she had an infection, she'd be running a fever, not turn cold. I really wish sick babies came with instruction manuals. This sort of thing is definitely not in Dr. Spock.

The other shoe

Cora is back in the hospital, in the pediatric ICU. After a perfect pediatrician visit on Monday, Tuesday night she didn't eat so great, and by Wednesday afternoon she wasn't eating much at all. At first we thought she was just off her schedule and maybe overstimulated by doting grandparents. But by the evening she wouldn't take a bottle at all, she was just really sleepy (even barely fussing at getting her diaper changed, which normally makes her squall like she's being tortured) and she suddenly felt so cold. We took her temperature and it was very low. She began getting very pale. The pediatrician on call told us to take her to the ER immediately. Even still, we thought it was just precaution, that she was actually okay. But you know it's bad when you get taken in immediately at an ER at a public hospital, and they even kick someone else out of a room to accommodate you.

Anyway, a few chest x-rays later, it seems the CCAM ruptured and is now trapping air (or at least that's what I think is going on... other than knowing a lung has two lobes, I know nothing about pulmonary anything). They also think she has pneumonia in her left lung (the good one). They've intubated her, they're giving her antibiotics, they're going to do a lumbar puncture today to test for meningitis (more to just rule it out... any time an infant ends up in the hospital for a suspected infection, they're going to test for meningitis). Overall, I really don't know what's going on, what's happening. They got her stabilized and her temperature is back up to normal. She still wasn't urinating this morning, so they put in a catheter. There's talk of a chest tube, although I don't really know what that even is exactly. I don't know if they're going to do surgery, but likely not if she has pneumonia, and if she does, we don't know how serious it is.

Husband's parents had left yesterday to go home, and were going to leave for Chicago tomorrow, but they came back here last night to be with us at the hospital. Husband and his parents came back to the house about 4am, and I stayed in the room with Cora. I think I've had two hours of sleep, I'm not sure. I came back home at shift change and Husband went back to the hospital to be there for rounds. When his parents wake up, I'm going to return to the hospital with them.

I'm so exhausted, physically, emotionally. My eyes hurt from crying, my head hurts, and yet going to sleep is the last thing I want to do. They let me hold her for a few minutes last night, which was more terrifying than comforting. My wiggly little bunny was suddenly this frail creature, all these tubes and wires, and she was still so cold and pale. I'm absolutely terrified, to the point that it's crippling. I just don't know how we went from having a healthy baby at birth (which we didn't even expect), a healthy baby two days ago, to having a baby we almost lost last night.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Happy Holidays!






Back for more blogging soon!

Monday, December 17, 2007

A letter from Cora’s mom

I want to thank everyone who reads my blog, commenters and lurkers alike, for your kind words and continued interest in our story. I started this blog as a way to document my experiences of pregnancy (and eventual motherhood) in law school, and reach out to others who might be contemplating/already going through the same thing. It is surprisingly comforting to write under a veil of anonymity about these experiences. However, this effort became a lot more than that over the past nine months. It has been inspiring to find kindred spirits among a unique on-line community of law students, practicing attorneys, and those preparing to start law school who also happen to be parents and expectant parents. While most of you are in different states, in different cities, with a variety of different areas of practice and interest, the support has been overwhelming. For that, I thank you all.

For those of you just finding this blog, I wanted to give a short recap to tell our story. For those of you who already know our story, please skip to the end.

* * *

Dear Readers:

I am a second year law student, and my husband is a nurse and working on his masters to become a nurse practitioner. We decided we would start a family this year, and soon after, I discovered was pregnant (in the middle of 1L spring finals!) However, our dreams of an easy pregnancy and a healthy baby were put to a sudden halt when a problem was discovered at our routine ultrasound appointment at 21 weeks: the fetus had a CCAM, Congenital Cystic Adenomatoid Malformation, which is a rare pulmonary anomaly. We had gone in expecting to find out if we were having a boy or a girl. Instead, we found out we might not be having a baby at all. We were told the fetus had a large mass on the right side of the chest and it was causing the heart to shift. A condition that could mean the end of the pregnancy and even pose a threat to my own health.

One week later at the follow-up ultrasound, it was discovered that fetal hydrops had already developed. The CCAM was so large and had put so much pressure on the heart that it caused this massive edema, a build up of fluid in the body tissues. Hydrops (at least involving a CCAM) is caused by pressure on the heart, leading to heart failure, and eventual fetal death. If we didn’t have immediate surgical intervention the fetus would not survive, and there would be no baby.

Our doctor referred us to the closest specialists on this condition, at a hospital one hour north of us. They took us in for immediate consultation, conducted two days of diagnostics, and administered steroid injections meant to encourage fetal lung development. They diagnosed the condition as being a Type I CCAM, there being two large dominant fluid-filled cysts and a cluster of smaller cysts. We were told we were excellent candidates for shunt placement surgery, and they estimated an 80% chance of a good outcome (i.e. the hydrops would resolve and the pregnancy could continue).

At exactly 23 weeks gestational age, I underwent surgery for shunt placement in the fetus. Two shunts were placed in the fetus, through the back, in order to drain the cysts, reduce the pressure on the heart, allow room for the development of normal lung tissue, and most importantly, to resolve the presence of hydrops. The surgery was a minimally-invasive outpatient procedure. A small incision was made in my abdomen and the shunts were placed through a large needle, which punctured my uterus and was guided by ultrasound imaging. The surgery took place on Friday, and by Wednesday’s ultrasound appointment, the fetal hydrops had resolved. We returned home and continued weekly monitoring by ultrasound of the size of the cyst and checking for a recurrence of hydrops for the remainder of the pregnancy. While in a vast majority of cases the procedure has to be repeated, on average every two to three weeks, the shunts continued to work throughout the remainder of the pregnancy, keeping the size of the CCAM down and never again causing a recurrence of hydrops. We consider ourselves extremely lucky, and even the doctors were surprised by our good fortune.

On December 7, 2007, our daughter was born prematurely at 36 weeks. She weighed 6 pounds 10 ounces, and was 18 ½ inches long, but she most importantly, she was born with mature lungs and without any difficulty breathing. This is the absolute best result we could have, and it all seemed like a far away dream only months ago. Although she will need surgery in the future to remove the cyst on her right lung, she is home with us, healthy and thriving.

We only have Cora by the grace of God and the medical treatment we received. Many prayers were said for us, and we are thankful for everyone’s love and support. Our family and friends often refer to Cora as being a miracle. We agree; we think she is pretty miraculous. But while we believe that God gave us, and Cora, the strength to endure this ordeal, we know that without the expert medical treatment we promptly received, we would not have our daughter regardless of how many prayers were said.

Although I have kept my name and my school anonymous on this blog, I’m going to shed at least some of that anonymity today. We received our medical treatment from the specialists at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, and we owe them an infinite amount of our gratitude for giving us our daughter. Their research and expertise made it possible for her to be born. The doctors and their team not only took us in immediately, but even sacrificed their personal time to attend to us. They were sensitive and attentive to our needs, and not just to our medical concerns. For instance, a social worker we met during our initial consultation there has followed our case, and continued to check up on us to find out how we’re doing, as they understood how difficult this ordeal has been. Additionally, we were incredibly surprised at how little they charged us for their services. They knew we were underinsured when it came to outpatient diagnostics and procedures. They gave us a very generous discount on their services, and there was quite a bit they didn’t even charge us for at all. Cincinnati Children’s is a non-profit hospital and research center, and treats patients regardless of their ability to pay (and without bankrupting them!)

That is why I wanted to ask anyone who can to give a donation to Cincinnati Children’s Hospital. The donation is, of course, tax deductible, and since we are nearing the end of the year, and the holiday season, perhaps some of you are looking for a worthy cause. They are definitely our new favorite charity!


So, if you are able, either now or someday in the future, please give to Cincinnati Children’s Hospital. You can make the donation on-line or over the phone.


And you can even make the donation in Cora's honor:




I can't think of a better way to celebrate Cora's life than to pass that gift along to other families that can benefit from such donations. We are so grateful for the care we received and the beautiful daughter we were able to have, and hope our story encourages you to donate.


Thank you and Happy Holidays,




Proto Attorney & Family

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Life with Cora


Being a baby is tough work

Things have been pretty good here. We're getting into the swing of things, learning what Cora likes and, of course, what Cora does not like. Husband is very happy that Cora does not like to be naked, and especially doesn't like having her diaper off. He's hoping such dislike will follow her to adulthood. (I rather doubt it.) She's also a grunty little kid. When she's expressing her disdain for something, she does a whole series of grunting before she decides she's going to cry about it. And sometimes she just grunts for the hell of it.

One really weird thing about our kid: she insists on sleeping on her side (as you can see). And maybe I'm wrong, but I didn't think newborns have the maneuverability to get from their backs to their sides. But it doesn't matter where we put her, in the crib, in the Pack 'n Play, on the bed, on the couch, on a pillow, she manages to get onto her right side, whether she's tightly swaddled or free. Which is kinda funny, considering the entire time she was in utero, she was wedged onto her right side and wouldn't budge, much to the chagrin of the ultrasound technicians. It freaks me out though, because all the books warn you how the baby needs to sleep on her back, and sleeping on her side or her tummy increases the risk of SIDS. Well, someone please tell Cora that! We just can't keep this kid on her back, I don't understand how she does it.

But having her home has been a lot of fun. Okay, getting up several times in the middle of the night is definitely not fun. But the rest of it is. Husband's been fantastic, and has an enormous amount of patience. When I get woken up, I'm more grumbling and cranky. Husband instead will get up and coo at his daughter, calling her sweet names. I guess I have slightly more reason to be cranky, since I have to be up every two to three hours to pump, regardless of whether Husband gets up to feed her and change her, so he's slightly more rested than me. Cora's still having trouble with the whole breastfeeding thing. I worked with a couple lactation consultants at the hospital and they said I just need to keep working with her and she'll catch on eventually. Just kind of exhausting to not only have to feed the baby every three hours, but pump as well. But hopefully we'll be getting that all worked out prior to the start of spring semester.

Speaking of spring semester, I ordered books for two of my classes today. Amusingly enough, I got the Evidence book for $15. However, I spent about $75 on my usual collection of supplements so that I can avoid reading the casebook. Ah, laziness is an expensive habit.

Tomorrow I need to pull myself together and work on some outlining for the Torts take-home final. A coworker told me it took her about 10 hours to take the exam, because she hadn't studied at all and had to look everything up. That was the route I had intended to take prior to birthin', as I had only outlined about 1/4 of the course material. But I figure it would be better for me to go ahead and finish the outline, and complete the exam as quickly as possible (we have 24 hours from the time we pick it up). I'm going to pick up the exam on Wednesday and take it on Thursday. The other two shall wait until January.

Okay, more gratuitous pictures of my kid:


What a little ham



Dressed for success at her first appointment with her pediatrician



Napping with Family Dog while Mommy blogs

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Homecoming!


Homecoming!!

We got to bring Cora home from the hospital today! I can't even tell you how happy we are, how we left grinning from ear to ear, and how even Husband was making squeaky happy sounds. We'd been teased by the doctors for the past two days that she could come home, only to be told she needed to stay. But today we brought her home, and it's just fantastic. We came home, she ate, pooped, pee'd while her diaper was off, napped, snuggled, repeat. We also got baby hiccups, baby yawns, baby burps, and what I can only describe as baby grunts. It's absolute heaven.

We're still experimenting with the whole breastfeeding thing. She's doing better latching on, and I'm doing better in actually producing milk. However, we're going to keep giving her formula as well, because a big concern while she was in the NICU was her not eating enough, and until we're both fully comfortable with breastfeeding, we'll do both.

As for Cora's health, we have an appointment with the pediatric surgeon next month to do some follow-up diagnostics and discuss surgery. I'm trying not to think about my poor little bunny having surgery. I was a lot more comfortable with the idea prior to her being born and actually being "real." It's a lot better for her that she can wait until she's two or three months old to have surgery, but it sure is harder on me!

Anyway, Husband and I have found ourselves to be a lot more mushy now that we're parents. We've both been weepy and sentimental. We're going to need to do something to get our edge back. Like get tattoos or get into a bar fight or something. Oh well. Maybe later. There's snuggling to be done.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Day and a half

Strange what changes a day and a half can bring. First, I'm a Mom! Holy crap! It just seemed so surreal at first, like there's this baby, and she sure looks like me, so she must be mine, but seriously, she was camping out in my abdomen for nearly nine months??? Completely unreal!

Second, maternal craziness. That maternal instinct caught me by surprise last night when I headed up to the NICU at 2 am with my night shift nurse so she could help me try breastfeeding again (she hasn't been latching on yet). When we got there, I could hear a baby squalling and I cheerfully commented that sure sounds like my kid! (It was.) Well, her nurse had just pricked her little foot and was getting a blood sample. No big deal, but she was sure mad about it though. However, it for some reason absolutely broke my heart to actually see it, regardless of the fact that I had known it was occurring, and I just suddenly started crying! I just wanted that mean nurse to stop poking my kid! Crazy, huh? Anyway, the rest of the time I think I've acted like a perfectly sane and rational human being. But it's only been a day and half since delivery. I have plenty more time for crazy to set in.

Third, I feel much better today. (Here comes the TMI part.) I can actually get out of bed without squalling in pain, and the pumping contraption no longer feels like it's going to rip off a boob. There's a vast improvement! I'm still too scared to actually examine the area from whence Cora came... I'm pretty sure viewing that would scar me for life. Even as small as she was, I guess delivery came on so quickly, they still had to use forceps, which they advised causes more "trauma" for me, and I've been stitched up as well (I really don't want to see that). I'm not sure if I have any hemorrhoid action going on. Husband reluctantly offered to view the area for me and let me know. I asked him if he really wanted to do that. He said absolutely not, but he'd do what must be done. I told him I'd ask one of the nurses on the clock instead.

On an even more amusing level, I have to comment on Husband's involvement in the actual delivery. The whole time I was pregnant he kept talking about how he wanted nothing to do with anything going on down there. Amusing coming from a man who has not only been to several births, but by his own description "wipes ass" for a living. He advised he would be staying close to my head, holding my hand and would not be "participating." Even though he's seen it before, he said he had no desire to see it happening to his wife. However, as soon as we were in there, the Nurse took over from Grossed Out Husband and he's grabbed hold of a leg and is all up in the middle of things. I asked afterwards if he was disturbed by the sight of his child's head "plowing through his favorite playground"? (as I once read in one of the many pregnancy books that many fathers are) His response: "Eh, not really. It actually looked less like a playground and more like a war zone at the time." Heh.

Today, however, I'm getting discharged! No word yet when Cora gets sprung, but we'll get to talk to the attending tomorrow (and we'll also discuss her future medical treatment). I like the convenience of being in the hospital to see her whenever I can, and this certainly isn't an unhappy hospital stay like it was after the shunting surgery, but I think I will feel more human once I'm no longer kept prisoner at the hospital and I'm wearing actual clothes. Overall, I can't complain about the stay here though. The nurses have been really good (it helps to be married to a nurse who works here, I'm sure!) and even the food is pretty good. They just switched caterers, and I'm pretty impressed. It's like Applebee's quality food, instead of like high school cafeteria food. Dinner last night was chicken wrapped in prosciutto with a creamy sauce. Not bad at all.

So that's what's going on here. I have to admit that as excited as I am, I'm also a little freaked out about taking Cora home, considering I have very little experience with newborns. I'm told that newborns are pretty resilient though and a combination of the information in books and some common sense will get me through. I just need to remember to diaper the correct end of the baby and also master the swaddle. I tried the swaddle on her last night. It didn't go so well. It worked just fine on the stuffed bear at the baby class, so I don't know what went wrong. My kid just stared up at me as though I were a complete moron. I have a feeling I'll see that look quite a bit over the next 18 years.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

More Cora






She's still doing good, breathing well, and eating well. They haven't said for sure when we can take her home (or even when I'll be getting discharged myself), but I'm in no hurry for either event. I'm feeling a lot better this afternoon, but I'm still not feeling fantastic, and I'm just now getting to the point that I can get myself out of bed and use the bathroom without calling the nurse for help. I even took a shower today (with some help from Husband). I didn't realize exactly how beat-up I would feel (I knew childbirth would be traumatic, but I thought the pain meds would make me feel a lot better). Yeah, except that pain meds = Motrin. What? Motrin? Bring on the Percocet! Damn.

Baby


Introducing my daughter Cora. 6 pounds 10 ounces, actually. Chubby cheeks and a head full of hair. (And really pissed off when her dad takes a picture with the flash.)

Friday, December 7, 2007

Born

Baby is born (somewhere about 8:30). Not sure what her health status is just yet, but she came out pink not blue, and was crying without turning blue, so that seems to me to be a very good sign. They let me hold her briefly before whisking her off to the NICU for evaluation. She was 6 pounds, 9 ounces, with a head full of black hair, and fortunately made it to the outside world without bruising and discoloring.

I'm feeling okay, pretty beaten down. I can't get warm enough, I just tremble, and I'm still nauseous from all the medications. I'm also really sleepy from a combination of being awake for 30-some hours, and from the phenergan they gave me to stop me from dry heaving anymore. I've been munching on saltines, and drinking some coke. One thing though, labor is bad enough with an epidural, I can't believe people choose to do this without drugs.

That's about it. I'm going back to sleep now. Once we get to see Baby, we'll take pictures. She's awful cute, but I might be a little biased in forming that opinion.

Puddles

My last 24 hours:

Thursday
12:00 p.m. Small amount of wetness in my panties. Figured since I was studying Insurance at the time, and not doing anything exciting, it might be amniotic fluid. Or I'd piddled. Changed my panties.

5:00 p.m. Small amount of wetness again. Still not sure if I'd ruptured. Decided to wait to see if anything else happened. Kept studying. Changed panties again.

11:00 p.m. Much more wetness. Decided I couldn't deny it any longer, I had to go to Labor and Delivery and have them check me. Packed a bag but left it at home since I wouldn't need it right away, picked out an outfit for the baby just in case, took my Insurance book and laptop with me, and drove to the hospital. (Husband was already at the hospital.)

Friday
12:00 a.m. Arrive at the hospital, and they don't think it's amniotic fluid. But the attending from High Risk is on hand, and so we go through the whole NST/ultrasound thing. She discloses that because of the fetal surgery in September, she expected me to rupture at some point and suspects I have even though there's no proof yet. Everything looks normal but they want to keep me for an hour or so and check me again.

2:00 a.m. Check me again, and while the slide comes back negative, there's a puddle, and I'm having lots of contractions. They admit me.

4:00 a.m. Husband finally gets coverage (as shit had gone bad wrong in the ICU and they needed an additional nurse anyway, so now they had to find two nurses). Pain, lots of pain. Getting cranky, because I don't deal well with pain. Finally get the epidural, which makes me light-headed and nauseous. But then I feel better and the pain is gone. I'm itchy, but they gave me some Benadryl. Contractions are 2 to 3 minutes apart.

Then... nothing. Contractions stop coming as frequently, I'm not dilated, and they think maybe I hadn't ruptured after all. I'm greatly annoyed by this. I've been poked and prodded and they might send me home? Ugh.

10:00 a.m. They check me again, find a big puddle and finally it tests as amniotic fluid. But since no labor is progressing, they start me on Pitocin.

1:30 p.m. Checked me again, I'm dilated to 1cm. They are increasing the Pitocin and hopefully something will come of it. Regardless, this baby comes out within the next 12 hours.

So, that's where we're at. Husband called the Dean's office this morning, and my professor, and notified them I would not be taking the insurance exam today. Which started 30 minutes ago. Figures I'd go into labor before the final I'm actually prepared for, but hey, it also gets me out of the tax final. Remind me to thank Baby for her excellent timing on that one.

And I'm highly amused by the possibility that if we can finally get this show on the road, my daughter will be born on the Day that Will Live in Infamy. I'm such a history geek, what can I say. My mood has been fine overall, just a few moments of crankiness when they keep checking my blood pressure with this cuff that keeps trying to cut off my arm (at shift change, my new nurse is kind enough to find a new one that doesn't hurt like hell). Also, I'm starving. I threatened to kill Husband and steal his food if he ate in front of me. Okay, so maybe I'm a little violent.

Oh well. 36 weeks exactly, which is absolutely excellent. Should have known she'd come early, since this weekend we would have had the nursery completely set up and actually been ready for her arrival. (And I imagine I'll be missing my CPR class next week, unless I'm Wonder Woman and just feel fantastic.) But Husband just needs to put on one more coat of paint, then the crib, dresser and chair can be assembled. His dad will be here to help and my mom will go through and wash all the baby clothes, and scrub down the hand-me-down stuff we got. Going to send Mommy out to buy diapers and hair bows. We'll get the rest of the hand-me-downs that aren't necessary yet, like swing and bouncy seat, eventually. Father-in-Law is going up to Chicago next weekend for Grandfather-in-Law's birthday, so he's going to pick up the rest of the stuff from Sister-in-Law.

By this time tomorrow, we'll be parents. There's this tupperware container set up in the room for the baby. Our baby. How freaky is that?

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Midpoint exam update

Well, sorta midpoint. I've now taken two of the finals (PR and Internet). PR was yesterday at 1:30, Internet was this morning at 8:30. Boy, back-to-back finals are super-fun, lemme tell ya.

PR was rather mediocre. No big surprises, but nothing that suddenly clicked in my brain and inspired greatness. I got a couple outlines (one provided by a blog reader... thank you!), and then read the entire Examples & Explanations book. Wish I'd read E&E sooner, because our professor apparently read it too, and used a lot of the same hypotheticals in class. Nothing that was on the exam though, oh well. I wish we could've had the model rules with us. It doesn't make for a stellar essay when you have sentences such as: "This totally violates one of the model rules. Like, that one rule, you know, that's something about duties to former clients? Yeah that one. Totally violates it. Totally." Okay, maybe it wasn't quite that bad, but it felt like it. Meh. Fortunately my quiz grades were well within the curve, so even if my exam is below the curve, I shouldn't take too much of a hit. If I get a C+ in the class, I'll be perfectly content. If I get a B+, I'll throw a party to celebrate. (You're all invited.)

After the exam, I had to run to the office to resubmit my time sheet so I could get paid. I was a little miffed about that one, because I know I turned in the time sheet, however, it having been a week early (I wasn't going to work last week, so I turned it in the day before Thanksgiving so I wouldn't have to worry about it, heh), it apparently went missing. Ran to the office, ran out, ran home, woke up Husband, and dragged him out of bed to attend a two-hour birthin' class.

Birthin' class was on "comfort measures" during childbirth. Since my request for the administration of pain drugs somewhere between 7 to 8 weeks was denied, and I apparently have to wait until I'm actually in labor to get them (bah), I thought some pain management techniques might be helpful. Eh. It was all right, nothing special. Not really any information I couldn't have gotten off-line or from a book. The classes we've been taking are at a private hospital (and offered to the public for free), so I figured why not. Next week after finals are over, Mommy and I are taking the infant CPR class. (Husband obviously gets to skip that one.) Unfortunately, they have yet to offer a class in "Not Freaking Out the Second Your Child Sneezes" class, or the "Your Child Isn't Actually Dying When She Gets a Minor Abrasion." I will probably be driving Husband crazy with things like, "The baby threw up!!! Should I call 911????" (But I take reassurance well, so if he tells me it's all fine, I will believe him and tell the paramedics nevermind.)

Anyway, after the birthin' class, Husband dropped me off at the law library to study with my cohorts. We went through some problems in the book and then my friend dropped me off at home, where I mindlessly copied portions of my outline into the textbook. (The exam was open book.) Wasn't really necessary though. The exam itself was remarkably straight-forward and nothing horrific. We were really expecting something horrific. The problem was more that there wasn't enough time. I could have used another 30 minutes to do an actual thorough job of analysis. I always try to manage my time to be under 5 minutes of the suggested time for each section, so I don't risk running out of time and not getting to an entire essay or something. But I was consistently running over, even giving bare bones responses, so that I had barely 10 minutes to complete the last essay question. I think the sentences in the final essay were in caveman speak. "Copyright infringed! Bad people! Pull down material! Give notice! " Oh well. Overall, it wasn't a terrible experience, and with the number of brainiacs in the class, I wasn't getting the A anyway. It'd take a whole lot of 3L apathy to even get me to an A-, I'm afraid.

So, two down, three to go. My next exam is Friday afternoon for Insurance. I'm still working on my outline (go me), but Insurance is the class in which I feel most confident about the material. Then I have to pick up the Torts take-home final to do Friday night/Saturday by 4:30. While I know the material for that class pretty well, I'm concerned that the take-home final will be graded much harder, and this professor, while awesome, grades really tough. (I did not get the grade in her Torts class last year that I expected, that's for sure!)

Then, there's Tax. Ah, tax. I will be spending Saturday night, Sunday, Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday actually learning tax. Had I bothered to learn tax, say, throughout the semester, I could probably have taken a nice leisurely study break over the weekend. But why do today, what you can put off until the week before the exam? I've been told that unless you're a complete idiot, you get a B on this exam. However, I do know someone who got a C+, and he was top of his class after 1L year. He apparently had to ask during class one day which number was the numerator. Okay, even I'm not that much of a math 'tard. So, maybe I'll get a B-. I'm okay with that, considering how much effort I've put into this class. (Like not even taking my supplement out of the shrinkwrap.)

But the best thing is that I will be full term next week, ready to pop this kid out after the tax final. It'd be awesome if I could pop the kid out during the final, but I'm not that lucky, and our kid isn't that cooperative. She has, however, learned a new trick -- kicking other members of the household rather than just me. A couple days ago, Family Dog was snuggling with me on the couch, and had her head in my lap. She was very disturbed when my stomach punched her. Then last night at the birthin' class, Husband and I were in a position where my abdomen was touching his, and she kicked him too. Violent little child, that one.

Anyway, I came home this afternoon and took a short nap, husband ordered us pizza on this cold, rainy day, and now I'm getting ready to get my Insurance learn-on, while Husband is painting the nursery. It's becoming a lovely pale yellow, with white trim. Poor Husband. He hates painting. I like painting, but with the time constraints of finals, and the fact that our kid has enough problems she probably doesn't need me huffing paint fumes, he has to do all the work. But the room should be finished by the end of the week, and we can get the furniture set up, and once finals are done, I can start putting things away and getting it all cozy for Baby. Last week we moved my desk and bookshelf into our bedroom. It looks a little bit cramped now, but it actually works well. Husband's side of the room hasn't been impeded upon, so he can't complain too much. And really, once I removed the gigantic piles of laundry out of the corner and replaced it with the desk, it didn't make too much of a difference!

So, that's what's going on here. Surviving finals, surviving week 36 of pregnancy, and really looking forward to the holidays!!!

Monday, November 26, 2007

The plan is, there is no plan

We talked to one of the surgeons today (there are two), this one being an older guy and not the guy who did his fellowship under the doctor at Children's. He had a different opinion than the doctor at Children's. He doesn't think surgery will be necessary, at least not in an emergency situation. (Of course, he didn't actually have the MRI results, he only had the report from our OB at High Risk.) But he assured us that either he or the other surgeon is always on call and if surgery is necessary, one of them will be at the hospital within 15 minutes to do it. However, and I think this is because of his belief that surgery won't be necessary, there is no birth plan. He said that was up to the OB docs, and they'll be available should surgery be needed. I'm not terribly comfortable with that, but if Children's has the same opinion, then I'll leave it to the experts to decide. (I also have my doubts about letting some old guy that's been woken up in the middle of the night come in and take a knife to my baby's chest, but I realize surgeons do this sort of thing all the time and are used to it, so I know it's more of an irrational fear. I just like the idea of the fully rested surgeon better.)

I was hoping we'd be getting this kid out soon, though. I'll be full term in two weeks, and now I could go five more weeks. They just better not let me go past my due date. Ugh.

Anyway, I'm going on blogging hiatus again until after finals. At which time I will return to describe the soul-crushing experience of taking 5 finals for which I am most definitely not prepared.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Another post with TMI

Okay, I am soooooo over pregnancy. My pelvis now pops, and is quite painful, when I roll over in bed. That's just wrong. There should not be popping sounds, ever, coming from my vagina. I didn't leave the bed until 4pm today. I have some more nasty sinus congestion, can't take anything that actually works, and pretty much my entire body hurts, especially my pelvis. Second most, my back hurts, and then my chest hurts from all the heartburn and baby feet in my ribs. Get. It. Out.

We have an appointment with the surgeon tomorrow morning (after yet another NST). They were kind enough to schedule the appointment without asking me first, (when the appointment was going to be set up for Wednesday) so I'm missing two classes for it. Hopefully the fact that they scheduled it for the next business day means they are actually concerned enough with us that they felt meeting with us immediately was necessary, so we have a plan in case I go into pre-term labor. (Doubt it, but that's what I'm hoping.)

Anyway, we were less than pleased when we had our appointment on Wednesday. First, they didn't even have us down for an appointment (but fortunately squeezed us in), then they hadn't even talked to the doctors at Children's (they had to ask us what the results of the MRI were). I asked if there would be an actual delivery plan. That would be "no." We were back to the "NST's twice weekly and an ultrasound." Ugh. Of course I curtly pointed out, again, that we are paying for that out of pocket, and it suddenly wasn't necessary anymore. I really don't think they even know why they do NST's, they've yet to even explain the reason, but that it's just the usual protocol. Sorta like getting your weight, temperature and blood pressure when you go to the doctor for a sore throat. Only crazily expensive and inconvenient. Also, one doctor indicated she didn't even believe the weekly ultrasounds are necessary any longer, so I'm going to remind her of that next time we see them and discuss that idea in depth.

I have a feeling the surgeon will have something different to say about there not being a delivery plan though. I can't imagine they want to just wait for me to go into labor, and stay on stand-by for however long it takes to get the baby out, and risk being called in to perform emergency surgery at 3am on Christmas or New Year's. And there's no way in hell I'm letting a resident touch my baby. No way. It's either the attending (who did his fellowship under our doctor at Children's), or I'll just be delivering at the other university hospital and letting the group at Children's do the surgery, even if it does cost us a small fortune.

Now I just have to get through the next week of class, and two weeks of finals. Even all the work I did over Thanksgiving did not get me caught up, and staying in bed all day today didn't help. Ugh. Not only am I over pregnancy, but I'm over this semester too. I'll just be glad to pass with C's.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Long-winded musings

Husband and I talk a lot. Especially to one another. On nights when nothing's going on in the ICU, Husband will call me just to chat (of course, that doesn't happen very often in an ICU, having really sick people there and all). One of his co-workers commented on this recently. He was just very confused that we actually like talking to one another so much. (I guess he must not like talking to his girlfriend that much or something, I dunno.) But Husband and I like talking to each other. Even though we're in very different fields, and have different areas of expertise, we still find each other very interesting. We'll have plenty of conversations about medicine, and conversations about foreign policy. Husband will even read my graduate school books (he teases me because there's one in particular he's read that I haven't, a really long one on Iran... he's offered to tell me all about it before I take my comprehensive exams). Before Pregnancy, we used to spend a lot of time solving the world's problems over a bottle of wine, and years ago, when we still poisoned our lungs, through smoking packs of cigarettes. These days though, there's no more smoking (and hasn't been for a few years now), and if a bottle of wine gets cracked open, I only get a few sips which leaves the rest of the bottle for him, and that's just really unfair! But solving the world's problems... we're still on it, rest assured.

Anyway, I think Husband is pretty awesome. Oh sure, he's far from perfect, and it's possible that if he didn't work three nights a week, we may have killed one another by now. But perfect would probably annoy me much more than his quirks do. He suits me very well, in fact, and I think we bring out the best in one another. I am impressed by his strength and compassion, and he is always very supportive of me (and doesn't let me wallow in self-pity for too long when things don't go my way, a very bad habit I have). He's going to be a great dad, even though he is insecure about his faults, things like being quick-tempered and impatient. He thinks I'm going to be a great mom, even though I have my own (many) insecurities about that.

I asked Husband the other night if he thought I was crazy for taking so many classes right after having the baby, and if I'm just setting myself up for failure. I've been feeling less and less confident about the decision as we get closer to the unknown realm of actual parenthood. I know in reality that I just have to test the waters, and I might very well have to drop a couple classes and a few activities, but that I can make it through. However, I have this insanely pessimistic ability to picture myself screwing up everything I do, and if I weren't such a stubborn person, that pessimism might prevent me from jumping in and muddling through anyway. For example, I envision myself as this complete mess of a failure, having not showered in days, not brushing my hair, sleeping through every class, and my child just screaming at me every waking moment. I know it will be difficult, probably the hardest thing I've ever done, but I don't like to back away from a challenge. Even still, a semester off would be fabulous!

Husband has told me that if I want to take the semester off, I could. And that's a really huge offer, because if I did so, it would be an enormous setback for us financially, and would place a really large burden on Husband. Trust me, I've certainly been tempted. I'd love a few months off to just chill out and snuggle with Baby, maybe actually get some sleep on occasion. I'd hate to postpone graduation and/or my career any longer, but those are really secondary concerns to the financial ones. We depend on the residual student loan money to pay bills while I'm not earning a salary, and soon we will have many new expenses (the staggering amount of medical bills to pay off, insurance premiums for the baby, and just the added cost of the stuff babies need). It may have been more feasible before the medical bills, but it certainly isn't now. Also, it would pose an additional burden once I graduate and won't have an income until after I take the bar, but I would have already used up my grace period so my student loans would immediately come into repayment (I might be able to get an extra deferral, but I certainly couldn't count on it). Basically, we could do it only if Husband worked a significant amount of overtime, and also didn't take classes himself next semester, putting off his own graduation for an entire year. He's working towards his Acute Care Nurse Practitioner license, a more technical and much less physically demanding job. The physical demands concern us most. The ICU gets an extraordinary number of morbidly obese patients, and the big concern is that one day he's just going to blow out his back while turning a patient weighing six or seven hundred pounds, and not be able to work at all anymore.

Anyway, we've had a few in-depth discussions on this particular topic over the past few weeks. I told him flat out, no way, absolutely not. There is no way I'm going to let him work himself to death while I sit at home and snuggle with our baby. That would be incredibly selfish. Sure, I'm the one that actually has to grow the baby and give birth, which is pretty physically taxing, (oh is it ever!), so maybe it would be a fair trade in services. But Husband has just as much right to spend time with our baby as I do, and asking him to sacrifice so much precious time with his child just so I can spend more time with her, seems horribly unfair. (Not to mention we'd like to see each other too!)

Also, the baby doesn't need me there 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. She needs someone to take care of her, feed her, change her, make her feel safe. That doesn't have to be me all the time. Since I'm going to breastfeed, she'll probably want it to be me, as I'll be a nice warm food source at her disposal. (So, at least for awhile, she'll probably like me best. That will change when she's a teenager, I'm sure!) But she's certainly not going to suffer because I go to class for a few hours a week. As much as some stay-at-home moms I've known (including my own mom!) believe their children would suffer irreparable damage from being apart from their mothers for a single moment, I really don't believe that to be so. If I took the semester off and stayed home with the baby, it would be for my own benefit, to recuperate, rest, relax, and snuggle. Which would be totally awesome if we had the resources to do it, but I certainly won't do it at the expense of my husband's health, career, and time with his family.

Also, I'm very supportive of the idea of Husband being able to take care of her so much, of us being joint-caregivers. He wants to take care of his daughter, and he's very excited about it. He has plenty of experience with babies, much more than I do, and he's not one of those guys who's all excited about "being a father" but at the same time doesn't think being a father means stuff like giving baths, changing diapers, getting up for feedings, etc. I love that plenty of men now want to take care of their children too. Our brother-in-law is a stay-at-home dad to our two nieces, while my sister-in-law pursues her career, and has been since the oldest was born. I think that's pretty awesome, and good for them! Not everyone agrees with that, however. I've seen a multitude of posts on those mom message boards from women who honestly believe that fathers could just never love their children like they do, will never understand that bond, and just couldn't take care of their children as well as they could. (How sexist is that? Poor Husband is always getting discriminated against. You wouldn't believe the amount of crap he actually got from faculty while in nursing school about how men shouldn't even be nurses.) The notion that a father just can't bond with a child as much as a mother can, that I will automatically love our daughter more and in a way Husband could never understand just because I grew her... it's just really shameful. Not only does it diminish the role of fathers, but it indirectly insults adoptive mothers as well, that obviously they could never fully bond with a child because they didn't give birth to them. I'm sure most of those women saying such things are just trying to make themselves feel more important, but I don't think they realize how degrading it sounds that only mothers can really provide care for their children. I applaud any parent caring for a child, male or female, biological or adopted. I don't see the need to pat myself on the back as a superior human being just because I will have given birth.

Anyway, so these are the random things running through my mind (and our conversations) these days. I love that Husband is always ready and willing to sacrifice so much for me, even though he surely knows me well enough to realize I would never let him do it. I love our marriage, because we share the same vision of what we want our lives to be, as equals. And more recently, I love that he actually thinks our little girl won't have him completely wrapped around her finger, a child with a 75% chance of having big brown eyes to fill with crocodile tears, pitifully whimpering, "But, Daddy, PLEASE!" and getting carte blanche for all she desires. I have plenty to be thankful for, and although I'm getting dangerously close to sounding way too sentimental and making myself throw up as a result, Husband has provided me with all that I value most, starting with him.

On that note, I'm taking a brief blogging hiatus for the holiday. I will update if anything important actually occurs, but otherwise, I will be finishing my outlines!

Happy Thanksgiving!!

Furniture and Girly-ness

I took a brief hiatus from frantic outlining last night to go furniture shopping. The baby gift from my parents-in-law is a rocker/glider, and I was excited to go pick one out finally. We have a hand-me-down one from them that's rather ugly, and even worse, uncomfortable. So I wanted something that I wouldn't mind spending time sitting in, especially for middle-of-the-night rocking of Baby, and something that I wouldn't be horrified was upstairs where people would actually see it (all our mismatched hand-me-down furniture is banished to the basement den where it can clash in private).

The other item we needed was a dresser. I wanted one that was longer rather than taller, and could have a hutch attached to the top (for bookshelves and such). I had been looking at a few at different furniture stores, and most were too expensive, or too flimsy. I wanted something durable, and nothing cutesy or childish, since Baby will be keeping it for an extended period of time, and probably taking it with her when she leaves the nest. (My childhood dresser left with me when I moved out, although it has since been discarded.) But we actually found something very nice at Babies R Us, on clearance, because it's being replaced with another model. We got both pieces for under $500, which was about half the price. I was thrilled. The one I had pretty much decided on at a furniture store was over $800, and I didn't like it nearly as much. I was surprised that Babies R Us had anything that nice, and not crazily expensive.

So, baby furniture is taken care of. We have the crib, the dresser, and the rocker. We're going to buy paint (yellow!) and Husband is going to paint this weekend, and we can set up all the furniture and start decorating. I have the crib set (I got a really cute Beatrix Potter set that's in very pale pastels), and I'm going to accent with pink, like curtains and such. I'm not a big fan of pink in general, although a pale pink is acceptable.

Husband and I were talking last night about how I am very un-"girly." For example, I'm completely unromantic. I actively ruin romantic moments. Husband sometimes struggles with guilt over never being romantic, because men are programmed to believe all women want romance, even though he understands that if he did something like send me flowers or writing me poetry, I would probably think he was insane. That doesn't preclude doing things that are thoughtful, of course. Husband does a lot of things that are really thoughtful and sweet. Like last night I was doing some studying and mentioned I was a little hungry. He offered to get me something and I said, no, that's okay, I was just going to make a sandwich or something. Then he went and made me grilled cheese. I love grilled cheese, especially his grilled cheese, and that was the sweetest thing he could do for me. Grilled cheese satisfies. Sappy romance? Blech.

Anyway, finding romance distasteful is just one of many examples of how I'm un-girly. But Husband thinks having a daughter will chisel away at my un-girly exterior and somehow expose my inner girl. He might be right, I might end up becoming more girly. I don't think it will be a drastic change though. I can't imagine I'll suddenly start, I dunno, scrap-booking, or signing my daughter up for beauty pageants or anything crazy like that. But I suspect I will secretly enjoy putting my daughter in frilly little dresses, with frilly little bows. You just won't find me admitting to it...

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Outlining

Uh, it's probably a bad thing when your PR outline is 12 pages, huh? Ugh. Anyone have a good PR outline for the Morgan & Rotunda text? Or a brain I can borrow? Mine has checked out for the semester.

I'm still working on my insurance outline, which is coming along okay. I've just started the Torts outline, but I'm not too stressed about that. It's only a two credit-hour course, and most of it is defamation law, which I'm good on. The one I'm really panicking about though is the Internet Law final. The class is full of every subject I suck at (contracts, conflicts of law, and just technical computer jargon I don't understand). At least it's an open book exam. The dude who had my textbook before me said not to use his notes in the book though, because he got a bad grade. Yikes! Some classmates and I are going through and sharing notes, because it seems on several days at least one of us blacked out and have practically no notes at all. One day, the only thing written in my notes is "huh????" Not a good sign!

Oh my god, finals start in two weeks. I may actually have to fake premature labor during finals. Peeing myself would probably be pretty convincing, and that definitely wouldn't be hard to do at this point!

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Update

We had our follow-up MRI yesterday up at Children's. There was nothing bad on the MRI, per se, so we were relieved about that. However, we'd hoped they'd tell us the baby wouldn't need immediate surgery after birth, but unfortunately, there's a good likelihood she will. Which means the team at Children's needs to have a discussion with the docs at our University Hospital to find out if they have the resources to have a surgical team on hand at delivery to perform emergency surgery, and if they don't, then we would have to deliver up there. But we're pretty sure our hospital will be able to do the surgery, they will probably just want to plan the delivery rather than leave it to chance that someone's going to get a 3 am page, sometime during the holidays. I think this means they will plan a c-section, then have a team ready to perform surgery if necessary. It's not for certain the baby will need surgery after birth, but what they found on the MRI indicates it's a good possibility. If she's immediately symptomatic, they will do surgery within an hour of birth. If she breathes fine most of the time, but when she cries or is distressed and, for instance, her lips turn blue, they will plan for surgery within a few days and not send her home with us until the surgery. (Which is fine with me, I really don't want to take home a baby that turns blue.) And it's always possible she will be completely asymptomatic, and we can take her home and return for surgery in a few months. That would be preferable, but not the most likely option.

But still, we're disappointed to not know the delivery plan yet. We have to wait to talk to the docs on Wednesday, which probably means we still won't have a delivery plan, considering they haven't been great with getting their ducks in a row. And OB docs always like to play it by ear, so we may never have a delivery plan, until like, the day of delivery. Oh well. I just hope I can take my finals first, because as much as I'd like to not take my finals, I also don't want to make them up either!

After the consultation, we had dinner with our friends, which was nice to just relax and not be all stressed out and have a billion things to do. However, today, Husband and I are both sick. My mommy came over and brought us some orange juice and cans of soup. It probably means I am not ready to be a parent, when I still call my mommy when I'm sick. Heh.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Sigh

My fundraising coordinator for ILS resigned tonight, 18 hours before our meeting. She didn't bother to tell me that a lecture going on at the law school tomorrow evening (scheduled for the same time as our meeting) is mandatory for her class and cited that as part of the reason she's resigning -- she can't put extra-curricular activities before academics. Well, no shit.

It would have been nice to know that lecture was mandatory before midnight the night before the meeting. I highly doubt she's the only one that won't be showing up to the meeting. Now I doubt anyone will be showing up to the meeting. I didn't even know there was a lecture scheduled for tomorrow evening until a few hours ago. Dammit, I'm just so pissed off.

I've considered resigning myself. The last thing I need is more stress in my life, and it would certainly have been easy to resign and let my VP take over. But I made a commitment to the organization and I don't take my commitments very lightly. And I'm angry when others do take their commitments lightly. I'm angry, and frustrated, and discouraged. I've had very little actual interest from the membership, and very little support from my officers.

I learned last year that I wasn't going to achieve anything more than mediocrity in my grades. I wanted to make something of my law school experience. I wanted to participate in skill-building activities and give something back to the law school, leave a legacy. Take an organization that had essentially died two years ago, had barely existed last year, and set the foundation for something that would be an excellent resource for our students.

Failure. Complete and total waste of time. If I could start this semester over, I wouldn't have wasted so much of my time for nothing. I had so much hope for this semester, and it all just seemed to fall apart almost immediately. I'll just be lucky to pass all of my finals.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Up and coming

Yesterday I had my law school baby shower. It was really nice of them to throw me one, especially since I know exactly how much they all lack time and money. The shower was coed, so the boys could come too. I thought it was really sweet the boys were willing to go, and were good sports about it. I had to drag Husband there, he was not exactly into the idea of the baby shower. But he had a good time. It's not like with that group it was going to be all girly anyway. There was excellent food, the usual raunchy conversations, and an arts and crafts activity involving a glue gun, turning gourds into what our baby is supposed to look like. (Apparently the choices are Hindu god, giant ears, giant boobs, or blue balls. This entertained everyone greatly.)

We're waiting until January to have a joint shower with one of our best friends who is due two weeks before I am. They're the ones we stayed with when I had the fetal surgery, and they will be moving back here when he graduates in December/after their baby is born. We thought it would be nice to do a housewarming/baby-warming event, hopefully involving alcohol, because I'm really craving bourbon. The cruelty of craving alcohol when you're pregnant, I mean, really. It's starting to get cold, and I love a nice hot toddy in the winter, although I usually drink bourbon with diet coke. Woodford Reserve. Mmm...

Anyway, I checked today and I got into both of my classes, Int'l Trade and Int'l Environmental Law, so no International Tax for me. Thank god! I'm glad I'm taking both of those classes because they will definitely help me prepare for my minor portion of my comps, which is in International Organizations. (My major is Diplomacy.) I've been feeling a little under-qualified regarding the IO portion, since I don't have much coursework in it. I think both those courses will help considerably.

The week ahead promises to be good. We have a sandwich sale for ILS on Tuesday, a meeting for ILS on Thursday, and absolutely no going to High Risk Ghetto Clinic this week. We'll have to get our mullet fix some other time. We have our appointment up at Children's on Friday for the MRI, so we have a week's reprieve. I'm going to ask if we can skip the Wednesday ultrasound next week and just have it on the following Monday, since I'll need to have the next week's ultrasound on Monday anyway (I have a final that Wednesday, then one on Thursday, I don't need to be dicking around at the clinic during all that). But it'll be nice to finally know what's going to happen delivery-wise, and be able to make plans.

I'm also glad we made it to 32 weeks, 9 weeks after the surgery, without needing any other surgeries. At the MRI, we'll be 33 weeks. From this point it becomes much more likely that if the cysts started to grow again, the baby will be coming out.

I'm really looking forward to the baby coming out. How less than 4 pounds of baby can make me feel like completely crap is beyond me. I can't imagine how I'm going to feel when there's 6, or 7, or 8 pounds of baby. Ugh.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

More scheduling

If I have to take International Tax next semester, I will definitely need a prescription for anti-depressants.

Two of the classes I wanted have already filled with 3L's: Immigration Law and the Law & Lit seminar. Now I need to replace Immigration with another "international" topic course. I am pretty much in the middle of the 2L first pass, so it is questionable whether I will get into International Trade. I put Copyright down as an alternative to Trade, but it also has very few spaces left. So, if I can't get either of those classes, I will have to take Int'l Tax. Also, if Int'l Environmental Law fills (which is less likely), again, the only alternative that will work is Int'l Tax (since Copyright and Trade conflict). A large number of my brain cells just committed suicide at the mere thought.

Here's what my schedule will hopefully look like, so long as I get the classes I'm going for:




13 law hours, plus 3 hours for Italian. Shouldn't be a bad schedule.

I think Husband will probably be working Sundays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. Also, he has class one Tuesday a month from 8am until noon. Which means I should see if my mom can get Tuesdays and Thursdays off work to babysit, and also sit Wednesday evenings. We only live 15 minutes away from campus, so I can come home between Evidence and Italian. If things get too crazy, I will drop Medical Liability, since it's the only class I don't actually "need." I need the two int'l law classes and the language class in order to take my grad program comps. And I need Evidence in order to take Litigation Skills next fall.


Wednesday, November 7, 2007

forcing pregnancy internationally

Legally Certifiable linked to this article yesterday. To think how many wing-nuts in our own country would hope for similar legislation and let women die for someone else's religious convictions. (Fortunately the South Dakota test case proved that the majority of people don't expect women to die for their religious convictions. A ban on abortion without an exception for the woman's health will probably never survive a vote by the people in this country, even in the most wing-nuttiest of precincts.)

Not that I wasn't already pro-choice, but our pregnancy complications have made me even more appreciative of the ability to make my own decisions about my body and my health. When I had surgery to install shunts in the chest of our fetus at the gestational age of 23 weeks, the specialists gave us an 80% chance of the procedure being successful and the hydrops resolving. They had performed two days worth of diagnostics in order to make that assessment. We chose to go ahead with the surgery because of the good chances of the procedure working. Even still, there was a 20% chance that the surgery would be unsuccessful, the hydrops would not resolve, and fetal death would eventually occur. One of the little-known factoids about fetal hydrops is that maternal mirror-syndrome can develop (basically like severe preeclampsia). I could have ended up in a coma, or worse. Not to mention the fact that between the diagnostic testing, the surgery, and the post-op hospital stay, we racked up nearly $10K in hospital bills. (And that's not including what we will owe our University Hospital for all the ultrasounds, NST's and pee-in-a-cups.)

We really want this baby. Our chances were good, and we felt the risks to my health were remote enough to justify continuing the pregnancy and having the surgery. So I made the choice for surgical intervention to attempt to save the fetus, and hope to prolong the pregnancy to full term, or at least to viability. However, if the specialists had felt our chances were slim, if they felt my life was in serious danger in continuing the pregnancy, that would not have been my choice. We would have been sad, but I would have been alive. Dead fetus is bad enough. Dead me? That would be much worse.

Abortions are legal in our state up to 24 weeks, but there are no doctors willing to perform a second trimester abortion unless it is for serious medical reasons. Sure, there are plenty of women so devout in their anti-abortion beliefs that they would be willing to die rather than abort a pregnancy that's going to terminate along with her life anyway, and hey, that's their choice. But that wouldn't be mine. I definitely don't want to die for someone else's beliefs. That law student shouldn't have had to die, but she did anyway. I'm grateful that I have the ability to choose what is best for my body, for my health, and not have those choices made for me by the government and those who lobby it on behalf of the Vatican.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Election Day political blogging

Today is Election Day, and our state is in the process of voting out one of the most shameful governors we've ever had.

This is most assuredly giving away my home state, because many of Governor Dummy's screw-ups have made national headlines, but here are just some of my favorite highlights of our esteemed governor's years in office:
  • Handing down an executive order on "Diversity Day," reversing an order signed by the previous governor that protected state employees from discrimination based on sexual orientations or gender identities.
  • Immediately raising health care costs for state employees (everyone knows you only work for the state for the benefits, because the pay sucks).
  • Blocking state employees' access to any liberal websites, or those that criticize the governor, leaving only the right-wing, pro-governor websites and blogs accessible. Getting sued over it.
  • Giving a tiny Baptist college in the middle of nowhere $10 million of state money to build a pharmacy school (probably so we can mass-produce pharmacists that are unwilling to distribute birth control/morning after pill/etc.) A private college that, at the same time, had been in the middle of a nasty controversy for not only kicking out a dean's list student after they found out he was gay, but changing every grade on his transcript to "F." If the college refuses to stop discriminating against gays, they will not be given accreditation by the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education, making the $10 million pharmacy program an even bigger waste of state money than it already is.
  • Making stupid comments in general, but one of my favorites was the one where he said that teaching Evolution in schools actually conflicts with the Declaration of Independence.
  • Nearly getting shot down in a private plane over D.C. by flying in restricted airspace.
  • Getting indicted for conspiracy, official misconduct and political discrimination during an investigation of an elaborate merit hiring system (a/k/a illegal cronyism).
  • Issuing blanket pardons for all of his cronies involved in his merit hiring system's illegal activities.
  • Arrogantly running for governor again, even though his approval rating was in the 20's, putting his pride before the good of his party, the state, etc., and making this yet another "for or against" polarizing election.
  • His own lieutenant governor refused to run again with him this year, and instead endorsed an opponent in the primary. (Who sadly lost. Even though I'm a Democrat, and Governor Dummy winning the primary has essentially sealed a Democratic victory, I would rather have seen his opponent win the primary. Then there would have been a real debate on the issues that actually matter to our state, as both candidates would have been moderates, and needing to distinguish their positions. Currently the issue distinction is Governor Dummy and Not Governor Dummy.)
  • Calling his slim victory in the primary an indicator of his electability in November.
Since Governor Dummy had absolutely no credibility to run with for this election, he has relied upon the standard right-wing nuttery tactics of fear and exploitation. Basically, that the election of a Democrat will result in the widespread homosexual debauchery and the destruction of your heterosexual happy family. Apparently prior to his election 4 years ago, our state had been one big homo bacchanalia for 32 years. Who knew? Apparently there have been a large number of fake recorded phone calls from fake "gay" organizations asking people to vote for Governor Dummy's Democratic opponent because he will happily spread gaydom across the state. (If there's anything people fear in this mostly rural, backwards state, it's definitely the gays.)

It's sad. Our state has always been conservative, yes, but still fairly moderate and not wing-nutty. Democrats and Republicans alike have generally been pretty moderate, with reasonable people on both sides (some rotten apples too, of course, but not this bad). Then we get Governor Dummy, who actually runs his first election on a platform of cleaning up the state, ending corruption, etc. Who knew that what he actually meant was just ending corruption for the Democrats, and bringing Republican corruption to new and exciting heights.

So, hopefully this is good riddance. I'm home sick from school today, but I'm about to go drag myself out of the house, away from my tissue box, to go up the street and vote.

UPDATE: Governor Dummy lost by a 20-point margin. Answered that "electability question."

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Posting about absolutely nothing

Is it really heartburn if it's not in your chest, but actually in your throat? That's probably where everything from my chest has been displaced anyway, but I'm thinking, is that more acid reflux if the burning makes it all the way up to the back of your throat? Ugh. Regardless, there's an unpleasant new pregnancy development. Dinner: Maalox. Dessert: Maalox. Breakfast: Maalox. Yummy.

Yesterday I finally took my trip to the salon for my maternity spa day. After five hours at the salon, I sure needed a nap afterwards! While I enjoy the luxury treatment of salons, I just wish the employees would shut the hell up. I'm trying to relax, not engage in idle chit-chat. Maybe that's part of the appeal for most people going to the salon, but I find it rather exhausting. Oh well. Other than that, the facial was definitely the best part. I was very pleased with the result, and will have to treat myself with that more often. My pores have never been so clear.

After the day at the salon, we hooked up with some of Husband's old friends from college that he hasn't seen in years. Two came in from out of town with their respective sons to visit. One of them blogs, and we've corresponded for awhile now, so it was nice to finally meet her. Then we went to a couple's house (that we never see, even though we live in town). They have twins, a boy and a girl. So, four kids, all 10 months and younger. It's a glimpse into our future with so many of our friends having babies at the same time. Herd of babies. Or is it a gaggle of babies? I can never remember.

I am getting concerned about impending parenthood though. I'm thinking I should just forget the seminar class and kill myself in the fall instead, three law classes are bad enough. We saw our friends with the two-month-old baby this morning at mass. Mom was on the verge of tears, having gotten no sleep and having been screamed at all night. Baby was snoozing happily, having worn herself out from being up all night and screaming at Mom. Another glimpse into my future, I'm sure.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

On ambition

Yesterday the Women's Law Caucus had a speaker come in, as October is also Domestic Violence Awareness month. She basically did a run-through of statistics on domestic violence, reasons why abusers aren't prosecuted, laws that fail to protect victims, etc.

Anyway, the woman started off her presentation by giving the statistics of women in law, percentage of lawyers that are women, etc. Then she started talking about how the reason the numbers aren't higher is that women don't embrace their history, and don't challenge their place in society. Well, sure, maybe that's part of it. But I think the environment of the legal profession probably contributes more to the exodus of women than any deep-seeded psychology that makes women believe they are inferior and want to be subordinate instead. Any profession that tries to completely take over your life, is obviously going to suffer a great deal of attrition. However, men's attitudes are beginning to change, which I think is even more important than anything women can do to effect change in the profession. When no one is willing to sacrifice having a personal life for the demands of their legal career, when men decide they won't miss out on life in order to bill 16 hours every day, that's when the most change occurs. That's why, for instance, there's a new trend in Big Firms negotiating lower salaries for fewer hours, yet still keeping on the partnership track. Firms want to hold onto their talent, and not see them slip away into less demanding jobs because they get burned out, want families, etc. When more firms begin to embrace the philosophy that there's more to life than just work, I think the statistics of women in the legal profession will increase.

The question has been posed by a few other bloggers, about the ambition of women in the legal profession. I have to admit, I'm not all that ambitious. Part of it's being lazy, part of it's that I just never wanted work to be my entire life. Which is funny, because I also never wanted a family. But I still wanted the freedom to be able to travel, write, do other things that I enjoy. I don't really need to be the best at anything, in fact, I'm perfectly happy to let others win. I just want to feel like I did my best and achieved something good. Sometimes that happens, sometimes it doesn't. It's easy to get caught up in others' ambition. Sometimes I feel that sense of competition, and it irritates me. I prefer teamwork to individual ambition. I know plenty of men who feel the same way, so I don't think that it's a tragedy for feminism that not all women want to be at the top. It would be nice if more women were CEOs and partners at enormous law firms, or if we had a woman president. But I don't want to be any of those things.

I'd like to be partner at a firm someday (mostly so I can come in at 10 and leave at 3 every day). I want to be a good attorney. I think I'd like to be a mediator someday. I want to give back to the community in a variety of ways. I might even want to teach someday (although definitely not at a law school, I'd rather teach a class in IR). I want to be a role model for my daughter, and any additional children we might have. I want to spend as much time as possible with my husband. I want to travel, and write, and spend time with my friends. I want a full life with many different things.

But on the other hand, maybe I actually am ambitious to a certain extent. I could have dropped out of undergrad because it was hard due to a variety of setbacks I faced. I could have decided not to go to law school because it was hard. I could have stayed a secretary. I worked hard to get to where I am, even if that's not top of my class at a top school, editor of law review, etc. I'm just me, struggling with my own mediocrity, average fish in an average pond. I'm okay with that.