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.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Maybe this water thing ain't so bad after all



Cora actually had a bath where she didn't scream bloody murder the entire time (plus 20 minutes afterwards). She seemed content to kick the water and then try to suck on the wet mat (it's amazing how far she can turn her head... she's like an owl).

I just noticed, the thoracotomy scar and the scar from the chest tube are visible here. She also has a spot on her back where the shunts were placed in utero. The kid's got some serious battle wounds for someone who's only 8 weeks old!

Speaking of battles, I've been rather abused by my child for the past 24 hours. Last night, I got projectile-vomited upon with a crazy amount of regurgitated milk. (Then of course she was immediately hungry again, because she'd just yacked up her dinner. Ugh.) Then this morning, just as we were getting ready to leave the house, she had a massive blowout and was completely covered in poo, up to her shoulders. So she got an impromptu sponge bath this morning. (She was not so pleased about that one.)

Other than that, it was a good day. I went and showed her off at the office this morning, and then got some chores done. I went to my Italian class, and my Med Liability class was canceled. I came home, helped Husband finish up the dinner (that I'd originally started... we'd been tag-teaming on the prep work for the meatloaf). Nice relaxing evening!

Update:
(The long one is the thoracotomy scar, the circular one is the chest tube. Both are below her right breast. Click to enlarge.)



Monday, January 28, 2008

I give up

Okay, I'm totally through with actually trying in law school. From now on, I'm just going to fall asleep during my exams, write half as much and turn in the exam 20 minutes early.

Yes, that's right. I got my highest grade in law school on my Insurance exam. I mean, seriously? What the hell? Did he actually grade the exam, or did he actually lose the exam, and felt he had to give me a good grade so that I wouldn't inquire about the exam and discover the truth? Craziness. I did work really hard in that class, because I liked it so much, but I really felt that exam was a disaster. Like of the C minus/D plus sort of category. Instead, I got a good grade! Now I feel more pressure to get a good grade in Tax. (Yeah, right.)

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Taxation: The Boredom Continues



The only thing that makes studying Tax more enjoyable

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Boobs (more TMI)

I am horribly traumatized after going evening gown shopping. Cinderella can't go to the ball if her boobs don't fit in her dress. Not that I didn't have such issues before pregnancy. My pre-pregnancy bust size was a 36DD, after all. Now it's like a 40ZZZ or something horrendous. My waist is back to normal. I'm back in my pre-pregnancy pants (even if they're a wee bit tight). But I can't get any dresses zipped, even in a size 14... by a good two inches. I don't know what to do. I guess I need to find a store that carries plus size dresses, then have the rest of the dress taken in. That sounds crazily expensive and unnecessary. Just another reason why I hate breastfeeding.

I do, I hate breastfeeding. Yes, there's an angry mob of La Leche militants coming for me, but I don't care. Even when she's nursing, I don't find it enjoyable whatsoever. Apparently Cora doesn't find it all that enjoyable either, it tends to piss her off. I don't need to stick my boob in my daughter's mouth in order to bond with her. (Wasn't that bond created when she was in the womb? Or when she came plowing out of my vagina, wreaking havoc on my girl parts? Or in caring for her for the past seven weeks of her life?) And I actually like feeding her with a bottle much better. I get to look at her and see her progress, and know how much she's eaten. Plus, Husband gets to feed his daughter too (and he really likes that).

Granted, we've had a tough go of it. Cora never did latch on before her surgery; I don't think she could breathe well enough to do it. The bottle was enough work for her. So, I was pumping in order to give her breast milk. Since her surgery, she does latch on now. But she gets bored with it after about ten minutes, stops nursing and screams at me until I give her a bottle. So, I'm still pumping. I'm not quite producing enough milk because she won't nurse enough, so we're still supplementing with formula. (Which is fine by me, she stays full longer during the night with the formula.) I can't even tell you what the crazy milking device does to my nipples, not to mention the times when Cora tries to take off a nip. The lanolin stuff helps, although it smells nasty, and you just can't wash it off your fingertips afterwards (I've taken to applying it with latex gloves). Then there's the time commitment. Not only do I have to feed her, but then I have to follow it up with pumping, so it's even more time consuming.

I'm still doing it, of course, and I'm hoping to be able to keep it up until she's six months old, although realistically I might have to stop at three months. With all of Cora's health problems, she can use all the help she can get. And she seems to like it better than the formula (although she actually yacks up less of the formula, maybe because it's thicker). But I can't wait until this nonsense is finally over, and I can fully have my body back to myself. I can have boobs that don't hurt, and nipples that aren't so sore I want to scream when being milked. I can go out and not have to plan to be back within four hours because otherwise my boobs will explode. I can drink large amounts of alcohol. I can wear normal sized clothes again, not including bras that look like I borrowed them from Dolly Parton. I can feel like a human being again, instead of eternally pregnant. Oh I can't wait.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Water torture


Quick, someone call Amnesty International...

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Finding more balance

I was putting away some laundry the other day, which had been piled up in a basket for quite some time, when I found that one of Cora's onesies was ripped in half. Immediately, I was pissed off that our damn dryer was eating clothes again. I marched off to present the evidence to Husband that we need a new dryer (the thing rips up my clothes all the time, tearing off snaps and buttons). He inspected it and pointed out that the dryer wasn't the culprit: that was the onesie Cora was wearing the night she went to the ER. They had cut it off of her in order to treat her.

It's easy to forget just how sick Cora was a couple weeks ago. She's only been back home for two weeks. She's healthy, she's thriving, she's eating like a little piglet. She's staring at me right now, in fact, 6:30 in the morning, wide awake and expecting me to entertain her by continuing to hit the music button on her baby papasan. Looking at her, you'd never know she'd spent nearly two weeks in the hospital and had major surgery. In fact, the only evidence of it is the thoracotomy scar across her chest.

Most of the time, we're too busy to reflect on that. Cora keeps us busy, school keeps us busy, friends and family, trying to take a few moments for ourselves, and trying to get enough sleep to function. But sometimes there's just some little reminder of what we actually went through, what Cora endured, not an objective statement of what occurred, but a reminder of the place and time that makes it all come rushing back, and makes me a little sick to my stomach.

Normally, I'm a pretty cold-hearted bitch (just ask Husband, he's the big softy, not me). Things don't usually get to me. But now I have this sore spot. In Medical Liability this week, we were on the duty to treat cases, the main one being a case where an infant is refused medical treatment by an emergency room and the infant dies. I wasn't so much upset by the fact that someone else's baby had died forty or fifty years ago, but the words "infant" and "emergency room" were enough to bring back memories of the night Cora almost died, and then again barely a day later when she had emergency surgery in the middle of the night. I don't want to forget those feelings, lest I ever take for granted the health of my daughter, of my family, and the time I have with them, but I also don't want to feel crippled by fear of losing them. Finding a balance, I think, is probably something that only comes with time. For now, I'm just taking it one day of a time, enjoying every moment, and finding a way to move forward.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Blog? What Blog?

Has it really been almost a week since my last post? This week has flown by, and been completely crazy. School, extra-curricular activities, functions, dates, and of course, Cora.

Cora: She's now six weeks old. We finally got real smiles yesterday. She was smiley all day, and she is so alert and active. She also had a pediatrician appointment, and being a little piglet has gotten her up to 7 pounds 15 ounces. She's no longer in newborn diapers, but in size 1. Her preemie clothes don't fit anymore, and her 0-3 months clothes finally fit her, instead of swallowing her. She no longer screams when her diaper's being changed, so long as we play her music. She wakes up only twice during the night to eat, every three hours. She eats four ounces each feeding, and then yacks some back at us. (Yesterday, Husband was carrying her in the hallway, and she coughed at the same time as spitting up and it shot upward into the air like a fountain and splattered back down onto Husband's arm, his shoe and the floor. Husband didn't find that nearly as amusing as I did.) She's a lot of fun.

Dates: Husband and I went out Tuesday night to see a movie and get some much-needed beer at our favorite watering hole. We saw Sweeney Todd, an upbeat family film, released just in time for the holidays. Seriously though, Johnny Depp did an excellent job, we thoroughly enjoyed the performance. We also thoroughly enjoyed the beer, and stayed much too long. However, we still had trouble getting rid of my mother after we got home!

Functions: Husband's goddaughter was baptized on Sunday. It was a lovely ceremony. Makes me look forward to Cora's!

Extra-curricular activities: Planning the Women's Law Caucus luncheon. We have a new venue and caterer, and a new date, after the old venue closed down. I'm getting the invitations tomorrow.

School: Yep, it's still there. I like all of my classes, although the int'l environmental law class is so far really boring, because it's all economic theory and crap. I'll be glad when we get to actual law stuff. I'll be taking the tax final the first week of February. Can't wait. Class ranks came out today. I decided, again, to ignore mine. I didn't get it last semester either. I was happy with my gpa increase from last semester and decided to not ruin my good mood by finding out exactly how many people are "better" than me. I don't need to know my class rank, because I'm not applying for any jobs that give a crap about class rank or would ever ask for a copy of my transcript. I just want to graduate this semester from my master's program, and look forward to only one more year of the hell that is law school. Oh! I almost forgot. Apparently I started a trend... there's another 2L at my school that's pregnant. Don't drink the water over at Mediocre Law School.

(Oh yeah, gratuitous picture of my kid.)

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Keeping it together

The week was pretty exhausting, but good too. I really like my classes, even if a couple will be pretty difficult. My Italian class is going to be a lot more work than I anticipated. It's basically a crash course in Italian, with four semesters of grammar crammed into one class. This week's assignment? Learn all conjugations for all verb tenses. Geez. Glad I took two semesters of Italian, otherwise, I'd be putting in a crazy amount of studying for this class.

Anyway, a couple of days of being really tired, but we're making it through. Trying to get into a routine before Husband goes back to work next month.

Highlights of this week and weekend:

1. Buying a baby papasan finally. Cora likes it. It vibrates, plays music, and there's a little bunny to stare at intently.

2. Getting through all of my classes and even being prepared for them. Even volunteered to speak in one class, something I never do (in protest of all the idiots that are in love with the sound of their own voices and waste enough of our class time).

3. Finally getting around to watching the Christmas episode of Doctor Who (yay!).

4. Friends in from out of town.

5. The baptism tomorrow of Husband's goddaughter.

This week I have to work out the details of the WLC luncheon (the venue we had booked went out of business, so we had to find a new venue). I also need to straighten out all the stuff for the hospital bills, work out payment plans and find out the grand totals. Also need to start compiling stuff for tax purposes, like filing our taxes, not the class. Well, the class too, but I can take the exam "whenever." (Thank god.)

Anyway, so that's what's going on. No deep thoughts today, I'll save that for another day. I'll just leave you with some cuteness.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Ugh

How do you know when you completely blow a final? Good indicators include:

1. Filling up only half the blue book (and you write rather large);
2. Finishing 20 minutes early;
3. Falling asleep during the final (seriously, I lost a good five minutes there)

Good thing I don't care, otherwise I'd be really upset. But I'm just too tired to care.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Law School? I'm in Law School?

Definitely not ready to be back to school, but it's not all bad so far. I've now had all of my law school classes, and tomorrow I'll have my first Italian grammar class. My favorite class will definitely be Medical Liability. We're watching a movie tomorrow and Monday. I love any class that will let me watch movies instead of making me read a billion pages of boring case law. Same goes for Evidence. Love it.

International Environmental Law will probably be pretty painful. The reading is rather dull, and class isn't much more exciting. International Trade Law is going to be painful, but for different reasons. The material is more interesting, however, a couple problems. First, the class size is really small, more like a seminar. Which means we're all expected to participate, a lot. Second, we're in a classroom that is set up in a big square (for seminar discussion), and our professor is sitting with us. I'm sitting beside him, ugh. How am I supposed to spend the entire time on Facebook and tuning out my classmates, when the professor has full view of my screen? Sigh. It'll be a long semester. But the quandary is whether I should write a paper for the class or not, in lieu of a final. The idea appeals to me, definitely. I have a couple topic ideas, one being fish. The other ideas I have involve Canada. But we'll see.

Anyway, as painful as both classes will be, they will be excellent review for my graduate school comps, and in many ways, they're like super hard classes from my grad program. I can't believe I'm finally going to graduate this semester. It's rather sad though. I'm going to miss being part of the school. I'm going to try to participate in as much as possible this semester.

So, very eventful day. Three classes. I went to the daycare center on campus to convince them to take Cora in August. The daycare is an "early childhood development" center, where they employ graduate students to teach the kids, not just feed them, change them and stick them in a swing. Problem is, they go for economic and racial diversity, and they only take six infants. Middle class and white? Not very diverse. Plus, parents that have another child already in the program get automatic enrollment for new siblings. Yes, I sooo played the "preemie with the congenital lung defect" card. The lady seemed much more interested after that, and said she thought there would be a spot open this fall. I hope so, and I hope they take her. It'd be awesome to have her in daycare next door to the law school and even more awesome to have her in a place that will engage her and stimulate her, and most importantly, help her reach her potential as a child genius, which she obviously is!

Anyway, after class, Husband had a dentist appointment. So, I dropped him at the college of dentistry and then Cora and I hung out in the car, parked in a lot behind the law school. She'd been a little gremlin all night for Husband (he was up with her so I could get some sleep for class today). But this afternoon, she was a sweet little bunny again. She was wide awake and alert, and we amused ourselves by playing with the little jingling toy on the car seat. She bats at it like a little kitten. At first I didn't think it was voluntary arm movement, but then I noticed she was staring at it intently. So I started hitting it to make it swing and jingle, and then she would bat at it. Very cute. Having Husband and Cora to come home to makes the day much brighter. (Oh yeah, and Family Dog too.)

I'm still behind in answering e-mails and returning phone calls, and heaven knows, writing thank-you cards. Plus, I managed to lose three bills during the great paper displacement when the in-laws were here. Ugh. I'm still trying to pull myself together and get organized. Tomorrow things will be a little bit better. I'm taking the Insurance final in the morning, and then I will only have Tax to worry about. I got my Internet Law grade and was pleasantly surprised: a B! Back to the comfort of mediocrity! Considering the craptastic semester I had, I'm amazed I didn't get all C minuses. Maybe I'm not a complete mess after all. Just mostly!

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Homecoming (Part 2)



Cora has been sprung! The surgeon said we could take her home today, although he had wanted to keep her one more night for observation. But she's doing great. She's eating well, and most importantly, breathing well. Lots of lost snuggle time to make up for. Although, I guess I can't complain too much, since she was only supposed to be born on Friday, and she'd be coming home today anyway. Crazy!

Terrible shame that I have to be in class tomorrow. But it makes coming home every day even better.


Day Twelve

Tonight's nurse is very nice. I was just thinking I was thirsty and should go get something from the cafeteria, and she brings in a pitcher of water. Awesome.

Cora's doing well. Husband and I snuck out for a bite to eat and a beer with our friends during shift change, then we came back to the hospital and I took a nap while Husband snuggled with our daughter. Now Husband's gone home, and I'm snuggling with Cora, waiting for her to wake up and eat so I can get some more sleep. When the doctors round in 7 hours, I'm hoping they'll say she's sprung and we can finally go home!

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Relearning to Parent

Husband spent last night at the hospital with Cora, who was apparently back to her old self: about 2am she morphs from Sweet Little Bunny to Grumpy Little Gremlin. So, he's home sleeping while I'm on duty at the hospital.

Cora's been slightly gremlin-esque today. She's been rather pissed off. Also, I think the continuous feeding tube has taught her a bad habit -- she wants to eat much more and much more frequently. Fun. I fed her 1.5 ounces at 2pm, then at 3:30pm she was hungry again, and took 2 more ounces. She was fed, changed and swaddled, but still was fussy. And she was still trying to eat her hand. So I got her a binky, and she actually took it. It didn't make her go to sleep immediately, but she laid in the bed completely bewildered by the new device and continued to suck on it. She's slept for the past hour and a half, and is just now starting to move around and be grunty.

So, here I am, watching Iron Chef, listening to Cora grunt (and watching Cat Cora figure out what to do with venison). I really should start studying for tax. I really should care about tax. Really.

Day Eleven

I didn't get around to updating on Day Ten, I spent too much time at the hospital, sans laptop, and then home, finishing my insurance outline finally. I'm going to see about taking the insurance final on Wednesday and begging for mercy and getting a couple week extension on taking the tax final. And since Cora's coming home soon, I'd best get to studying!

Cora got moved out to the floor yesterday from the PICU. I like the PICU better, but am glad she's well enough to be out of there. In the PICU she had her own nurse (if she shared her nurse, it was with only one other patient). On the floor, her nurse has lots of patients and they aren't real attentive. They're nice enough, and they get you something if you need it, but it's clear they expect the parents to be there to take care of the kids, not them. Although since they're getting paid to take care of my kid, I rather think I should be getting total diaper amnesty, but whatever. Husband is spending the night at the hospital with her now, and then I will go there in the morning to relieve him. We're going to have one of us there at all times, mostly because we're not real comfortable with the security on the floor. So, basically we get to take care of our kid, but without the convenience and comfort of doing so in our own home. Cora's still on just a wiff of oxygen, which hopefully she will come off of in the next day or so, and then I don't see what more they would keep her for. She's not getting anymore IV fluids, she's eating well, she's breathing well, and her incision is healing nicely. She's doing great, a remarkable change from a week ago when she nearly died. And to think, she was only supposed to have been born yesterday! She's lived a pretty full life in these past four weeks.

We wonder if Cora won't be a different baby now that she'll be completely healthy. She really labored in her breathing before she got sick, which I think contributed to her not eating well, not latching on, and not sucking for comfort. Yesterday, she did something she's never done before -- sucked her thumb for comfort. Her poor little hand. They still have the IV in, but it's heplocked. Just when the bruises from the IVs in the NICU had finally gone away, she gets new ones (plus some!)

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Law school reality check

Oh yeah, and I'm in law school.

Reality check back to the land of mediocrity. Actually, this one falls below mediocrity and into the category of craptastic. Torts grade: C. Ouch. Way to kick the ol' GPA when it's already down. On one hand I probably should have waited to take the final and not taken it two weeks postpartum. On the other hand, had I waited to take the final, I'd be taking it next week and it might have been even worse. Oh well, it was only a 2 hour course. Now a C in Tax... that one will definitely kill my GPA. Ugh. Honestly, I'd take a C minus if I didn't have to actually sit for the four-hour exam.

I've been bad about studying since Christmas. I did really good before then, but I still haven't even opened my tax supplement. My insurance outline is done, so at least I'm not a complete slacker. But I really don't know how I'm going to cram for an entire semester of tax in a week's time. Sucks.

Oh well. Honestly, I don't care. Last year, I would have been devastated about that C in Torts. But I know it's not reflective of my capabilities or my intelligence, and certainly will make no difference in what job I get. So who cares? I enjoyed the course, I took a lot from it, and I was taking care of a two-week-old baby at the time, attaching a milking device to my breasts every three hours, and still recovering from childbirth. Take away those distractions, and I totally would have pulled at least a B plus.

Day Nine



Cora is off the vent, and the only wiring she has left is the IV, the HR monitor and her little oxygen tube. Her nurse is going to try taking her off the oxygen a little later, and will also try giving her a bottle. It's possible she could even go home tomorrow! However, I'm not getting my hopes up, it's likely it will be over the weekend, or even the beginning of next week. Still, it's something to look forward to: she gets to come home soon!

And best of all, we got to hold her! What a great day!


Even while recovering from major surgery, my kid is still a little ham. Much like her father.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Day Eight

Today was a really good day. I think Cora woke up this morning and suddenly decided to get better. First, they were able to completely wean her from the dopamine this morning, her blood pressure has finally stabilized. Then, the doctors decided to take out her chest tube. Finally, they have her ventilator turned down very low, and so long as she handles it well, they're going to extubate her tomorrow! She'll still have the lines in, they're continuing to wean her from the pain medication but she still needs some, and also, she's still continuing with antibiotics. No idea how long before she can come home, but being off the ventilator and breathing on her own is huge. She'll still be on oxygen, but that's so much better than a vent. And she'll be able to eat on her own. And we'll finally be able to hold her again!

I can't even tell you how relieved we are. We even went out for dinner tonight with a few friends. We were supposed to have the New Year's party at our house, but when Cora got sick, none of our friends got together anyway. So it was nice to get together, toast the new year, and celebrate our good fortune and good health.

I'm really touched by the outpouring of support from friends (including all my blogging friends). Everyone has been so kind and caring during this difficult time. Honestly, all of the positive energy is exactly what we needed to make it through. I really appreciate the offer for gifts, too. For people who have never met me, and especially those of you who don't even know my name, to offer to send gifts, wow. I can't tell you how touched I am by the offer. We really don't need anything though. We already have everything we need for Cora. We are fortunate enough to have family that has helped us out, we received some generous monetary gifts. Along with our tax refund for 2007, we will be able to pay off the bulk of our medical bills from the pregnancy and pay off the rest over the next year. Sucks the money has to go to pay medical bills because we were under-insured. It would have been a nice start to her college fund, but oh well. (Next time around, we'll be sure to have a much better policy! Damn student health insurance.)

We would love, however, for those of you who can, to donate to either Cincinnati Children's Hospital (for the Fetal Care Center), or [outing the name of my mediocre school] KCH (for the PICU). It's even possible to make the donation in Cora's honor:

I also encourage giving in other ways, such as toys and books for the children. Or maybe you'd rather give to your own local children's hospital instead. For those of you who are currently broke law students and have no money to give, then we ask that you go give blood. Cora received that gift during her surgery, without which she wouldn't have made it through her surgery. (She even needed more blood afterwards.) While there isn't anything we need, I do want to make tribute to those who have saved our daughter's life by passing that gift onto others.

Again, I am really touched by everyone's support. It has helped tremendously.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Day Seven

One week and counting. It will likely be at least another week, maybe longer, that Cora's in the hospital. They did the echo, and there were no issues with her heart, which was an enormous relief. The doctor was very encouraging this morning. She said it was no longer a matter of "if" Cora will recover, but rather how long it will take. They don't want to rush her by taking her off the dopamine and such, and are weaning her very slowly, but they have turned down her ventilator and she's doing well with that. I'm looking forward to them removing the chest tube, and hopefully soon after that, the breathing and feeding tubes can come out as well.

We're spending another night at home tonight. We gave up the sleep room, as there is a family there with a child much sicker than ours, and we figured they needed the room more than us. They had locked down the PICU for hours while they worked on the baby. I'm not sure what's wrong with the child, but it seemed pretty scary. Seeing the surgical team rushing in there put knots in my stomach, knowing that was us just a couple days ago.

If there's one thing Cora has taught us, it's to never take a moment for granted. We had 20 wonderful days with our daughter, where we treasured every minute because of how grateful we were that she was alive and healthy when she was born. If those 20 days are all we would ever have with Cora, it would have been a comfort to know we hadn't squandered them. I remember thinking about this while she was having surgery, while trying to deal with the reality that she might die. We almost didn't have any more days with her, and as painful as that was, I never want to forget that feeling. I never want to take for granted the blessings in my life, especially my family. So, there's a New Year's resolution: appreciate every moment.

Happy New Year....