Trying to raise my kids the best I can

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Our big break

Timmy's dream came true and mine did too, both on the same day! He got our family a new SUV today, which means we'll all fit when Saphira comes. The miracle is that we got it under his name with the low interest rate of 4%. It's got three rows of seats which makes me happy because that means I can have two more kids and we'll still all fit. ha ha. I call this "Timmy's" dream come true because he's always been a car guy and I'm definitely not. I get kind of embarrassed by nice cars, like "think of all the starving African children you could feed for that kind of money". But we really did need a family car. I do love it too.

My dream came true, when my friend reminded me of another birthing center in our state, (which means it would accept our state health insurance). I had considered it before but dismissed it because it's connected to a hospital so I thought it was crunchy in name only. Today I called them and asked if they do water births and if they'll accept a woman due in March. The answer was yes and yes and they asked me if I could come in today (for a check-up)!!!! I went in and it's absolutely perfect!!! All my "deal breakers" are OK:
  • I can water birth
  • I can have whoever I want there/as many people as I want
  • The picture/filming policy is "don't ask, don't tell"
And as a nice bonus they'll also let me:
  • decline the vitamin K shot for the baby
  • decline the eye goop for the baby
I didn't ask about catching the baby but I'm sure it's fine. I'll ask next time. There are also a few things that make it even better than the birthing cottage I wanted:
  • It's free for me
  • The tub is bigger :)
  • I can transfer to the hospital afterwards for two days of peace and quiet without the older kids
I'm so happy. We haven't had a break in so long. It's an amazing feeling.


Sunday, January 27, 2008

Democrat voters waking up

Last night Obama swept South Carolina; beating Clinton by a margin of 2:1. I am quite relieved to hear this because a Clinton victory would virtually guarantee Democrat defeat in the Presidential election. Hillary Clinton is actually not a bad candidate, but her reputation is so damaged, she is completely unelectable. Republicans despise her and moderates distrust her. I was reminded of this in a political thread from my Gentle Christian Mother Community, titled: Which political candidate do you strongly oppose? Hillary's name came up over and over again. Meanwhile Obama is somewhat trusted. His image as a unifier is a soothing one for this country. It makes him very electable. So, as much as I would agree with Clinton ideologically, I would be very disappointed if she were chosen to represent the Democrat party.


The mystery of the hairless legs

I don't know what to make of it, but my legs stopped growing hair this pregnancy. I mean, I'm not complaining. It's very nice to have hairless legs... but still strange. I couldn't find anything on google about it and I get my thyroid checked regularly so it's not that. It's just a mystery. My hair is very fine and blonde anyway, but this is even better. Actually, now that I look at it, my arms are pretty smooth too. hmmm. I guess I'll just enjoy it, right?

Friday, January 25, 2008

Why Moms Can't Do Yoga

Adorable video


Thursday, January 24, 2008

Random funniness

My Asian family doesn't wear shoes in the house. But sometimes I want to because I grew up wearing shoes in the house. Asian children know that if you're wearing shoes it signals that you're going somewhere. So my three year old will often ask where I'm going if I have shoes on. I explain that I just like to wear shoes because of my culture. Sooooo, today he was talking on the phone to his Dad who was at work and totally out of the blue he says "Mom's wearing shoes because she's a white person". It cracked me up.

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How about something positive?

After yesterday's depressing post how about a little good news from Deena's life? OK. I got my National League for Nurses exam back and I got a 95%! It's just a practice exam- I'm not sure why we took it. Maybe for the college to gauge where it's students are at. Anyhoo, that's something to be proud of.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

My psychiatrist says...

Today my psychiatrist told me he wants to put me on a mood stabilizing drug after the baby comes. He didn't say what- I'm guessing Lithium? Anyway, what a relief to hear that! I didn't think there was anything more he could do for me and I am not OK. It didn't occur to me that he was withholding medicine for the baby's sake. (And if it is contraindicated for breastfeeding I'll have to wait even longer). Yesterday I was suicidal again. It's so embarrassingly stupid. But it won't be stupid if I end up in the morgue, ya know? I was never this way before this pregnancy- or as it seems to my husband: "before the China trip", but I'm fairly certain it's the pregnancy hormones that triggered it. sigh. I plod on. Life continues.

50 Million missing

There are 50 million missing from my generation and my kid's generation. That's just in America- since Roe-V-Wade passed 35 years ago. I actually got this image from a campaign to bring awareness to the 50 million Indian women who have been gender selected and aborted. I really don't have words to describe how tragic this milestone is. They say a picture is worth a thousand words. If you're thick skinned and ambivalent about abortion try googling (images) the word abortion. :(


Saturday, January 19, 2008

Wolfie's 8th birthday party!

A traumatic birth

 My husband was in jail and I was in no way prepared to give birth without him. So I checked myself out of the situation, mentally. In typical Deena fashion I rebelled -only, I could hurt no one but myself. "If I can't have my husband with me, then I'll have nobody!" was the plan. I drove myself to the hospital with the intentions of walking in pregnant, getting the epidural, and walking out with a baby. I had no expectations or hopes or dreams beyond that. I just wanted to put the whole thing behind me.

...But when the anesthesiologist tried to start the epidural it didn't work. He stuck my back 7+ times. Nothing took. Nothing worked. By the time he was finished I was left with a horrible one-sided numbness that was anything but helpful. I was also hitting transition (the hardest part). That's when they told me they had done all they could and everyone left me. The next contraction hit me so hard I couldn't breathe. A student nurse was in the room and she saw me gasping for air. She paged for help as the contraction came to an end. As soon as I could fill my lungs with air I burst out crying... one of those wailing, screaming, everything coming out cries. This was NOT supposed to be happening. I could not do this. Especially not alone. Childbirth pain is an intense, physical and emotional battle. You don't go into battle unprepared. You need to psych yourself up for it. You need to prepare mentally. I was completely unprepared. It was something I hadn't even allowed my mind to consider would happen. Each contraction tore into my body like an invader, an unwelcome guest, a surprise attack.

But I had no choice. By the time the doctor arrived to catch the baby I was begging them... "Please, please kill me. Give the baby to my mom. She'll raise him". And I meant it. They just smiled sympathetically, unable to help. When I pushed, for some reason, there was a sharp pain in the bladder area. It felt like someone was stabbing me in the lower abdomen. This was on top of regular contraction pain. But, as many mothers learn in labor: you can either lay there and endure it longer or you can cowboy up and push through the pain. It hurts like hell but makes it end faster. And like all the mothers before me, I did what I had to do to get him out and felt the "ring of fire" as a nice finishing touch.

Afterwards, when my husband called, and when others asked how the delivery was I tried to explain how horrible it was; but everyone blew me off with pat comebacks like "well, at least it wasn't that long. You survived". I just couldn't seem to communicate to them that, no, I was not OK. I felt like-and I mean no offense to abuse survivors- I felt like I had been brutally raped. The next day the cafeteria sent me two gourmet meals that they send to new parents. The nurse who brought it in said something like "Oh, you're husband's not here yet". Yeah. My husband's not here yet. I didn't care though. I was ravenous anyway. I ate both meals and went to sleep.

That birth changed me. Something broke inside me: like a child who is abused who grows up to become an abuser. I realized this when I was flipping channels on TV one day and stumbled on a horror movie in which a girl was being tortured. I didn't turn it off. I watched it with morbid glee. I don't think it's something I can undo. I think that innocence is gone.

When I got pregnant with my 3rd I had to face the labor and delivery room again. I had to face my demons. It was good to work through it though. I joined a traumatic birth support group online. It was immensely helpful to have others who understood, who didn't just blow off my experience. I knew I had to try for natural birth and come out victorious. I knew it was the only way to put some closure to the experience. I spent a lot of the pregnancy visualizing how strong I was going to be. The day finally came to give birth and I thank God that I got the healing, natural birth that I needed.

Today I face birth again. Every birth puts my traumatic birth a little further into the past. I pray for another chance to bury that memory under another birth of strength in the face of pain, support from loved ones, and a mother's loving gift of life.

Zingers from Cartoons

I watch a lot of kid's TV shows - because my kids are watching them. Every once in a while the writers will slip in something that just cracks me up. There was this SpongeBob episode: "Doing Time" in which Sponge Bob, who is learning to drive, hits a truck full of fruit punch, knocking it over. It showed various scenes where the punch spills and one of them just killed me... This old, old man stops writing and says "I'm finally done writing my life story in red ink"... and then the punch floods the room, wetting the paper. AAAAAAHHHHAAAAAAAHHHAAAHHAHAHAH

Then there was a good line from: "My Gym Partner's a Monkey"- I added this one to my Facebook quotes. It's just so non-sensical, but typical of psychobabble: "Self exploration is a slow and painful journey, filled with metaphors, haiku's, and facsimiles" Gotta love that!


Amazing Hug

I LOVE animals. So when I saw this video I just melted. My cat is very furry like a lion. (I'll post a picture). I guess he's as close as I'll ever get to a lion hug. sigh.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

I hate being poor. Where to birth?

I'm so confused... I need to vent/think aloud.
I'm all ready to transfer my pregnancy care to a Birthing Cottage. But I got the official bill of $2150 (I'm third trimester already) which I was kind of in denial about until now. We could technically pull it off financially, with our tax refund. But we need another vehicle (preferably one that would fit all of us). And we are SO paycheck to paycheck. Like, literally we have no food every other week until my husband gets paid. So I just don't know if I can justify the expense.

...I wouldn't mind an unassisted home birth BUT

* we live with my in-laws and my sister in law doesn't want me too.
* I've got my heart set on a water birth and I don't know if we could fit a tub in the basement where we live or fill it because we only have a bathroom sink
* I'm not sure if I want to birth here- it's kind of icky

Then there's the hospital... It's free. And I had a reasonably good experience there before. BUT...

* The birth tub may or may not be available
* If my water has broken they "won't let me in the tub"
* I'll have to fight them/barricade the door or whatever if I want to deliver in the water (NOT what I want to do in transition)
* I can't film the baby coming out and I really wanted to record this delivery
* I want to catch the baby- not sure if they'll "let me"
* Asserting myself for all the various interventions that I may or may not want

I'm going to maybe ask my parents about birthing at their house. Not sure if they'd let me. It would be weird/awkward. But at least it's a better option than the above.

And... I'm sorry, I'm just a big hormonal mess right now... (cry) but everything is stressing me out... I was worrying tonight that my husband and I and the baby and our three year old might not fit in our King size bed and there's no where else to put the three year old. I'm so overwhelmed right now.


Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Update on Dimitri

It's been a full two weeks now since he got his tonsils out and I'm quite relieved to say that he has almost fully recovered. It was a really tough recuperation. The younger you are the easier it's supposed to be, but it didn't really help in this case. Though, in his defense, it probably seemed worse than it was because he did it without pain relief. He absolutely despised and refused his tylenol with codeine. In retrospect I wish I would have asked for another form of pain relief, but it didn't occur to me until towards the end. The first three days were great! So I was totally blindsided when it got bad. There are so many symptoms that freak you out as a parent, but you just have to keep reminding yourself that it's exactly what the Doctor told you was going to happen:

  • Referred ear pain (You're thinking: Does he have a raging ear infection too?!)
  • NOXIOUS breath (You're thinking: Is his throat completely rotting out?)
  • Non-stop crying from the pain (You're thinking: This can't be normal. Something has to be wrong!)
  • Pain that comes and goes inexplainably (You're thinking: something's changed, something has gone wrong).
But it's all normal. And in the end he's better. And breathing silently at night, making it all worthwhile.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

It's a N.E. thing

I love this Dunkin Donuts commercial because it sums up for me New England's D.D. coffee addiction. It's funny but true -we pride ourselves on efficiency and productivity - I think more than anywhere else in the world, although American's in general are very determined people. And yes, we feed that productivity with a coffee addiction. I remember my mom coming back from a business trip once, being confounded while there: why weren't people walking up the elscalators? ha ha. I guess it's just us crazy New England folk. (or maybe it's just Massachusetts?) My friend and I have discussed and agreed that we'd rather our husband's cheat on us than be lazy- again showing our New England upbringing. For the record, I'm not a big coffee drinker myself, but I do use it for early morning clinicals.

Friday, January 11, 2008

A good line from our fight

Yeah, we're not perfect. We fight sometimes. Last night I had a good line. Just thought I'd share it. Don't feel bad. We made up in the end.

Him: "You don't know what you have. (meaning him) I know what I had." (meaning me, I've changed)

Me: "You mean, you know what you broke" (again, meaning me)

And he actually kind of agreed with me and repeated it.

"I know what I broke".

heh, heh

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

The secret ingredient is what?

Cambodian cuisine is the most exquisite on earth. (Don't be offended, French. Your 90 year colonial rule of Cambodia left its influence). There is a certain dish my mother in law makes that I at first didn't like (and I'm not picky at all). But my taste buds have matured and now I love it. I used to think that the unusual taste came from the clover-like leaves in it. Today I found out that it's something else: uncooked rice, browned on the stove, then ground to dust and added to the soup. Who would have ever guessed that? So unique.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Deena weighs in on the presidential candidates/issues

You've been dying to hear my opinions, me being so politically savvy and all. But I've been somewhat skirting the subject because I am in a very strange political place; as I transition from Republican to Pro-life Democrat. It's not something I want to do. There's almost a shame involved for me, but I've come to some strongly held beliefs that now put me on the left. Issues like:

Immigration: If an illegal immigrant is already here then they should be able to stay. They came over looking for a hope and future for themselves and more importantly their children. Sometimes they come from situations of complete destitution. There is nothing immoral about what they did. Only illegal. We Christians can see the difference between immoral and illegal when it comes to, say, abortion clinic demonstrating; but we put blinders on when it comes to those other people. Do I deny the problems created by illegal immigrants? The strain on the school system and hospitals in border states? No. Those issues absolutely need to be dealt with. The border needs to be secured and America needs to do a lot more to assist with the poverty in the countries to our South.

Health Care: This issue boils down to class divide. Health care costs are so out of control that it's eating up the middle class. I am not OK with our country becoming a state of two classes, the rich and the poor. That goes against every bit of American that we know: that anyone can move up the ladder with a little hard work. Health insurance companies (between profits and administration costs) cost 15 times what Medicaid does. In my state it's an insane 40% of health care costs. Even though Republicans (and myself) naturally distrust the government's ability to do anything efficiently, in this particular case it is already proven to be more efficient. And finally, morally; again appealing to my Christian brothers and sisters; health care is a basic human right (Article 25). How can we call our nation blessed and turn our backs on our ill neighbors, insisting that everyone fend for yourself and if you can't afford health care, then "too bad". No, that's not the kind of place I want to live.

Gay marriage: I bought the Christian arguments for a long time. But after thinking them through, I've found them to be garbage. The biggest argument is that the family needs to be preserved- that marriage is the last holdout in our crumbling society. Sometimes comparisons are even made between gays and the fall of Rome and the fall of America. In response to that I quote from the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, by Gibbon in which he says: "Instead of inquiring why the Roman Empire was destroyed we should rather be surprised that it has subsisted for so long". The fall of Rome was complex, but gay marriage was certainly not the cause. Rather, all nations are destined to fall by some means or another at some point.

Another Christian myth: Gay marriage hurts kids. Really? Gays can have promiscuous sex in this country. They can raise kids in this country. But if they want to commit to each other for life- that's where we draw the line? That's where kids get hurt? No.

Is this something your church could not support? I get that. But gay marriage does not ask or require churches to sanction it. This is totally separate: a state sanction. Does gay marriage redifine marriage? Not if your definition includes coming before God- because that's not a part of this discussion.

Are civil unions the answer? I once read Dobson argue that Civil unions should be available, not just to gays, but also to, for example, a brother and sister who live together who need a legal link for health insurance. My response to that is: Universal Health Care. tee hee. Civil unions are just a way of saying to gays "You're a second class citizen. We don't agree with you, so we won't permit you to commit your lives to each other in marriage, but we'll throw you a bone and let you do it if you call it something else". It's quite derogatory and only makes Christians look cold hearted to the gay community.

In other ways I'm still quite Republican:

Pro-life: Abortion hurts women physically and emotionally. It lets men off the hook for taking responsibility to the women they have sex with and the children they create. And of course, it's the murder of the most innocent in our society. I am against abortion in all circumstances at all times. Your life is valuable to me and to God, regardless if you're the product of rape or incest or you are not physically or mentally perfect.

School choice: As a future and former homeschooler I still think this is one of the most fundamental rights that parents have, to teach their own children. It should be strongly protected. School vouchers are an opportunity for the poor to get just a taste of the educational opportunities the rich have. Not to mention, it's a better use of our tax dollars.

And then there are issues I'm not sure about:
National Defense: I kind of want to have my cake and eat it too on this one. Can't we be a super power and provide health care for all of our citizens? But it does occur to me that the countries that provide health care for everyone don't spend nearly as much on their national defense. If I had to make a choice I would go with health care... but I'd rather not make that choice.

So those are the hot issues for me - the ones that get my vote. When I went to select smart Presidential Candidate Selector it matched me best with Hillary Clinton. So you see why this is really a strange place for me to be in right now, considering how despised she is by Republicans and how long I've been a Republican. The nice thing about my position is that I see the silver lining of all the candidates. When you are passionate about politics it's easy to fall into despair after an election loss- even consider leaving the country. But I'm in a place where I'll be quite content with just about anyone - except Guiliani. I don't like Guiliani.

In related news: Saphira Sao has rescinded her candidacy for President. She released this statement in a press conference: "Thank you to all my supporters and hard working volunteers. It has recently been pointed out to me that the minimum age for Presidency is 35 years. I look forward to your support when I attempt to run again in 35 years."


Friday, January 04, 2008

Reading again!!

For a little bit I worried myself. Had I lost the passion to read? No, silly. I was just overwhelmed with nursing school. Now that I'm on break I've been reading voraciously. I can't put the books down. Take a moment to peruse the books in "my library"(right column). They are all new; I just started reading them all in the past month. If you click on my library it will take you to the page where you can see what I rate each book (out of five stars) in case you're looking for a good read yourself.

Dimitri really likes the picture book: Polo, the Runaway Book. It's thick and long with no words so we have to talk about the pictures to get the story out of it. I think he likes the interaction.

Closing the Food Gap was a little disappointing. I mean, the author obviously knows his stuff, but he just keeps going on and on about farmers markets. bla. I am definitely into social activism subjects though, so hopefully I'll find a good read in Sick or Ending Poverty in America.

Ghosts from the Nursery
is interesting but I only gave it three stars because it's making me paranoid about all the things I could have done to ruin my kids (especially while pregnant). Sheesh. I don't need more guilt.

Families Where Grace is in Place is a great AP book (that's attachment parenting). There's definitely not enough Christian books with an AP slant. I consider this book the antithesis to Shepherding a Child's Heart which is two thumbs down. It's really quite ridiculous that Christians base their faith on grace but then raise their kids with tyranny. It makes no sense when you think about it.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Necessity is the Mother of Invention

Since we live in my in-laws basement a lot of our stuff is packed away in my sister-in-law's basement. So, after coming home from surgery we needed a humidifier for Dimitri's throat. But of course, it's not here. And there's no stove to boil water with. But I had the brilliant idea of filling the rice-cooker with water and turning it on. It works like a charm. I'm so proud, but really necessity is the mother of invention.

Dimitri got his tonsils out

We're back from the hospital. He got his tonsils out today, but your prayers are still coveted because the hard part is only beginning... the pain, trying to get medicine down, the risk for dehydration and hemorrhage. But it will be worth it in two weeks when he can breathe effortlessly for the first time.
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