Sunday, February 24, 2008

What I don't like about daycare

Overall, we have been very happy with daycare/preschool. There are no nanny dramas, it is relatively affordable* and the socialization is good. With daycare, I don't worry that a caretaker is going to have a bad day and take it out on my child, and I don't worry about what to do when a nanny gets sick, has a personal crisis, or decides it is time to move on.

However, the last month (known hereafter as THE-MONTH-OF-SNOT-FEVER-AND-BARF-AND-MULTIPLE-D&Cs) has illustrated the one important shortcoming of group care: there is no care when the child is too sick for school. Until now, this has occasionally been inconvenient, but not devastating. The last four weeks have changed things, though.

Baby M has been sick a lot. First, it was the flu for a week. Shortly thereafter it was a stomach virus. She and her sister (who had by this time caught the flu) were home another week and a half. Then, after returning to school for only three days, Baby M caught another flu-like illness that had her out an additional three days.

If you are trying to do the math, we have had one or both children home for most of the last four weeks and the results have not been pretty. I'm behind at work, J is behind at work, the house is a mess (because we have been trying to work while tending to sick children), and tempers are short. I only missed one day of classes during all this, but I missed some rather important committee meetings and my students haven't had much access to me. My conference presentation on the 15th was rather so-so and I've not started my paper for my April conference (though the data analysis is mostly complete).

Tonight, I came close to a meltdown upon realizing that Baby M was running a fever of 101 again. However, her crankiness through much of the day left me suspicious that this might be an earache, and sure enough, her ear started draining tonight. The beauty of tubes is that we can just treat her with Motrin and antibiotic ear drops and she is usually fine within 12 hours. Hopefully, we will all go to work and school tomorrow and make it until Friday, the start of Spring Break.

One thing I am going to work on during Spring Break is coming up with a much better system for handling sick children and work. We have no family here so we don't have that sort of backup system. I wonder how other parents manage?

*If I could have afforded it, we would have started Baby M in group care a bit later, at 18-24 months like her big sister, but we had been through our savings for nanny care by the time she was born.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Best Laid Plans


The Plan: D&C at OB's office ; Recover at home while watching The Wire

Reality: D&C at OB's office ; Recover at home while watching The Wire


The Plan: Teach courses, write tests and quizzes for week, take a mid afternoon walk to deliver books and stretch legs.

Reality: Teach courses, write tests and quizzes for week, have walk interrupted by call from Baby M's center. Baby M is vomiting. Run back to car. Leave frantic messages on J's cell in case he is closer. Get Baby M. Take home. Get vomited on twice (it is me or the rugs and I am easier to clean). Take shower twice. Trail Baby M with towels and catch next five retching episodes. Rugs OK. Watch J walk in door with Little E. Inform him that Baby M is in bad shape. Watch in disbelief as J leaves to go to the the track because his Tuesday run is "very important" to him. Stew.


The Plan: Go to office and work on conference presentation; contact caterers for undergraduate conference I am chairing; go to gym.

Reality: Stay home with Baby M who is no longer vomiting, but who is having issues at the other end. Attempt to entertain Baby M and work on aforementioned presentation. Get call from Little E's teacher. Little E is lethargic, running a temperature of 104 and complaining of headache. Call J who is able to get her. Go downtown after hours to pick up tests and quizzes. Realize that student worker only copied ten tests because I neglected to tell her how many to copy. Curse. Loudly. Copy 80 tests and quizzes. Go home. Bathe children. Stay up all night with Little E who is miserable.


The Plan: Give tests and quizzes; present research to my faculty committee; meet with independent studies student.

Reality: Take Little E to doctor where she tests positive for flu (despite having had the flu shot). Hand her off to J who had stayed home with M who is vomiting again. Get to school late for first quiz. Give test to second class. Get very annoyed because one idiot freshman takes an extra 15 minutes on test. Call chair of committee and tell her to put me on the agenda for the next meeting. Go fill Little E's prescription for Tamiflu. Tell J to give her the Tamiflu before he leaves for work. Watch J force liquid down her throat. Watch E vomit on him. Laugh. Am treated with silent treatment for the rest of the day.


The Plan: Arrive at office early, polish conference presentation; finish travel grant; clean deask; have lunch with friends; grade quizzes and tests.

Reality: Stay home with sick children AND sick husband (who has caught the stomach thing). Change diapers too foul to discuss. Listen to children and husband whine. Contemplate running away. Notice that own post D&C cramping is getting uncomfortable.


The Plan: Go shopping for fabulous boots; clean house; declutter 15 minutes; relax

Reality: Children and husband still ill. Own cramps becoming nearly unbearable. Light bleeding turns heavy, turns to near hemorrhage. Pass golf ball to fist size clots. Call doctor and am told to go to Labor and Delivery. Am dropped at hospital by J and sick children. Call L, my oldest friend, and ask for a ride home for later. Sudden gush of blood gets me to front of line and I am admitted. Call L to tell her to take her time as I will probably need surgery. Ultrasound confirms "junk" in uterus. Am prepped for proper D&C. L arrives and we laugh and catch up as we wait for OR. Best time I have had in a week. Finally wheeled into OR. South American doctor with lovely accent gives me "medicine so you won't care." Informed after surgery that the pregnancy was possibly molar. Too blissed out from drugs to be concerned. L finally takes me home 7.5 hours after I was admitted. Realize this was the first night that I haven't nursed Baby M at bedtime. Too medicated to care.


The Plan: Screw it. I'm over planning.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Glad it is over

After my Friday freak out, I was OK again; I just needed to get it out of my system. By Saturday, I was looking ahead and I even ordered 50 OPK sticks from one of the cheap Internet sites. I almost ordered pregnancy tests, too, but I didn't want to jinx myself.

My procedure was today at 1 p.m. It hurt, and I wouldn't care to repeat it, but the nurses and doctor were very compassionate (for people who clamp your cervix, inject it, jam a catheter into your uterus, and then apply suction). They let J sit with me and hold my hand which was comforting. They sent the tissue t pathology, but I told them that chromosomal analysis was unnecessary. I mean, we know something went wrong, but I don't see any point in knowing what particular genetic accident may have occurred.

I'm cramping badly now, but I have just taken a Valium, a percocet, and some ibuprofen (all sanctioned by the OB) so I should be feeling better soon. J has gone to pick up the girls, and I am going to head upstairs to hide out for a bit. A generous friend is bringing dinner by later. Her kindness is a salve.

While the sadness is still there, I am mainly feeling relieved to have this behind me. I'm looking forward to losing the three to four pounds I gained over the last eight weeks and I'm looking forward to drinking margaritas this weekend. As soon as I start cycling again, we'll give it another go. If it works, great. If not, I have two beautiful daughters, and I am truly thankful for that.

Friday, February 01, 2008


I'm a wuss.

Despite the doomed pregnancy, I functioned fairly normally all week. I taught my classes, attended one semi-contentious department meeting, advised, worked on a conference presentation, wrote my self-evaluation* and cared for my family. The pregnancy was always on my mind, of course, but I didn't allow myself to be completely distracted by it. Emotionally, I was strong.

That changed this afternoon after my appointment to confirm the blighted ovum. While the sac grew some since last Friday, it was still empty, a black hole in my uterus. I didn't expect a baby to suddenly appear, but when the ultrasound confirmed the diagnosis, I was shaken: There is knowing and then there is knowing.

The OB and I discussed my options. Seeing as how what goes in must come out, something needs to be done lest I am surprised one day in the middle of teaching, or while caring for my children alone, or while out of town at a conference, by a natural miscarriage. That won't do.

After reading a ton of negative Cytotec posts on internet message boards and after talking to a friend who had used Cytotec only to need a follow-up D&C, I decided that being knocked out for a pain-free D&C would be my best option. However, we hit a snag-- my OB and I have incompatible schedules. His surgery days next week are my class and meeting days. Missing would require a very, very good excuse, but I can't think of one. ** I could wait, but emotionally, I need this behind me, plus there is that small problem of an unscheduled miscarriage in middle of something important.

He suggested, instead, that I have an office procedure on Monday in which he will numb my cervix*** and use a vacuum to evacuate the uterus. I agreed to it, just to get this over. The fun part is that I will be totally awake and aware for it. He gave me a prescription for 5 mg of Valium to "take the edge off," but I don't think that is going to help much. In the past (before my spinal surgery), it has taken a much higher dose of Valium to even make me drowsy.

I asked about pain and the OB said that I will feel strong cramping, but that it will be over quickly and to take 800mg of ibuprofen. As if that is going to help. They are going to hoover my uterus and all I will get is lousy ibuprofen. Like I said, I am a wuss. Yes, I labored and gave birth without a working epidural (the first catheter came out and the second epidural numbed my left side only), so I know pain. But I don't embrace pain. I am not one with it. I don't go looking for it. I run from it.

I made it out of the building, but started crying as soon as I closed the door to my car. I sobbed all the way home (I must have looked alarming). I don't know whether I was crying over the loss of this pregnancy, or over the fear of a painful procedure, or maybe just over my feeling of complete lack of control. But I haven't cried that hard in a very long time. I'm still weepy and it has been eight hours.

[Note to self: Must get a grip.]

I know that anticipation is often the hardest part when faced with the unknown, and I know that I will survive the procedure on Monday, but that doesn't help much.

In the meantime I have a torture session visit with the in-laws! to endure look forward to. They called tonight and said that they are coming for the day! Tomorrow! Joy!

Can one of you kind readers please just shoot me now? Please?

*Summary: I am a superior professor, but I need to work on being less of a perfectionist.
Translation: Give me a merit raise, fools.

**Would rather tell colleagues and students that I had been abducted by aliens then let them know that I am miscarrying.

***Does the joint use of the words "needle" and "cervix" make you nervous? I broke into a cold sweat just thinking about it.