Category Archives: My life

in the time of coronavirus

The kids are doing school online.  For Isla, she basically does a normal school day from 8:30 to 2:30.  Up to half the time, she’ll be Skyping with an instructor.  The other half, she’s working independently.  It works extremely well overall.  It doesn’t work quite so well with Bri.  She has about an hour of Skyping a day, and she needs someone to be sitting with her the whole time.  She also needs support from us for any “independent” work.  This is causing me a huge amount of stress, because I cannot put Saoirse down for naps.  She wakes right up, and if she doesn’t nap, she becomes hysterical.  It’s hard to work the feeding and napping (not to mention feeding myself and the older girls) around Bri’s needs.

My local grocery store has been doing a pretty good job staying stocked.  I was alarmed when shelves started to empty initially, but it hasn’t gotten worse, so that’s good.  I don’t care so much about toilet paper, paper towels, tissues, etc.  What is scary to me is if food starts to disappear.  I finally got formula in two weeks after ordering from Amazon.  Fortunately, before this Coronavirus thing even started, I had laid in a one month emergency supply of formula, just in case.  I was thinking earthquake, but I guess it came in handy for this.

We have a lot of cases around here – 100 to 150 / day tested, but likely 700 to 1500 actual.  That’s per day, by the way.  7.5% of those who have tested positive have died – already.  I expect the percent will go up.  This obviously reflects the lack of testing locally.  Honestly, it makes me wonder if we should move somewhere that actually has their act together.  Clearly not New York!  NY is seeming more like a third world country than ever.

I don’t read the news much, which is helping.  I do check the Dept of Health website daily to see the number of cases and deaths every day in my county.  We have not seen a rise in new cases over the last few days, so it seems like canceling school and the “stay at home” order is helping.  I have been coping oddly well mentally with the situation, but I am exhausted.  It feels like I have been in a constant state of stress since getting diagnosed with gestational diabetes last August.  Maybe since getting diagnosed with previa in June or July.  It’s just been one thing after another – previa, gestational diabetes, preeclampsia, postpartum hypertension, Saoirse in the hospital for two weeks, three further weeks of tube feeding, months of measuring her food and weighing her all the time.  I honestly stopped worrying about her two weeks before we had our first death locally, and it was back to worryville at that point.  I just feel like I need a break, but there is no choice but to march on.

I will be shocked if schools reopen around here.  So when do things get back to normal?  I’m just praying we’re looking at 3 to 6 months and not 12 to 18 months.  And “normal” will likely be a major economic downturn.  But I’m trying not to think about that, yet.

Groceries

I started feeling guilty for going grocery shopping.  We are now getting 100+ cases daily in my county, and testing is very limited, so actual daily cases are likely between 500 and 1000.  (Basically, you cannot get tested unless you are hospitalized.)  So, I decided that this week we’ll switch to delivery.  I’ve done delivery before, and it was very convenient.

First, I try QFC.  No delivery available – period.  When I first logged on, it was available Sunday night (as in 6 days from now), but that disappeared within minutes.

So, I went over the Safeway.  Their site crashed within a few minutes of me trying to use it.

Back to QFC – I’ll try pickup.  That’s just as good, really.  First available – Thursday night.  I’m currently trying to predict what groceries I’ll need Thursday.  And Saoirse and I will be off the grocery store today.  Last week, it was packed.

convalesce

We’re on Day 5 or so of a cold.  Maybe only 4.  It’s funny how the days seem longer when either you or baby is sick, or both of us in this case.  It’s supposedly a very mild cold, but it’s still quite difficult when layered on top of what is not exactly a leisurely lifestyle.  Currently baby is sleeping on my chest.  I often try to do a little sewing at times like this, but I’m just not feeling up to it today, so my everlasting quilt is stagnating this week.  Not having sick days is very high on my list of things I dislike about being a SAHM.  If I were working, I would definitely have taken a couple days off this week to convalesce.

I’m currently going through a minor English Paper Piecing obsession.  As in, I’d really like to try it, but because I have almost zero free time right now, it’s a purely theoretical obsession.   I am mentally planning a very simple quilt with a *little* bit of EPP for my brother’s baby, expected in August.  (I’m so happy for him, as it’s a double rainbow.)   He and my SIL do not find out gender in advance, so it needs to be gender neutral.  I’m thinking squares on point, perhaps in white or mostly white, with a simple hexagonal flower appliqued on top, probably in blue.  Hand sewing is where it’s at for me these days.  I’m even contemplating doing some hand quilting.

This weekend is the marathon Olympic trials.  In my opinion, it’s the women’s race of the year.  (Men’s marathoning isn’t in a great place right now in the US.)  I’m more excited about it than the Olympics.  I’ll be cheering for Jordan Hasay and Sara Hall, not to mention all the sub-elite women who are living a dream by merely competing.

3 months

Saoirse is three months old.  It’s been a blur.  We had such a difficult start, and it’s gradually becoming easier and easier ever since, but it still doesn’t feel easy.  I guess as a general rule, caring for a three month old baby is not easy, no matter how things started.  S is now 11 pounds 6 ounces, which is between 15 and 20% for weight.  (We have an appointment at the doctor tomorrow for a weigh-in to find out exactly.)  We are still fortifying her food to 24 calories, and I still set alarms at night so she eats every four hours, but she is doing very well.  I am mostly pumping, but I’ve started breastfeeding her twice a day in the morning, and I’m going to discuss adding a third feeding with the doctor.  I’m not making enough milk to exclusively breastfeed (we supplement with formula), but I make the most in the morning, and so I can nurse at that time of day.  It still requires discussion, even if I make enough milk, since my milk is obviously not fortified to 24 calories, and whereas I can basically pour the bottled milk down her throat, I need her to participate and eat sufficient calories when she nurses.

When we got home from the hospital, it took me upwards of 90 minutes to feed her, sometimes 2 hours.  She needed to be fed every three hours around the clock, no exceptions.  You can see how this would be challenging.  H took one of the night feedings, giving me four hours of contiguous sleep, but it was still extremely hard.  My parents left (after staying more than three weeks to help), and I literally sobbed because I didn’t know how I could do it without their help with the girls.  Well, H took on most of the work.  He got them up in the morning, gave them breakfast, made lunches, worked with them on their homework, did the laundry, made the formula and on and on.  And I spent 12+ hours a day feeding her, took all the nighttime wake-ups except one feeding, dealt with the feeding tube, pumped and fortified breastmilk and so on, picked up the girls from school and put them to bed.  It was HARD for both of us.

Since then, we got rid of the feeding tube.  We started letting her sleep four hours at night.  We have fewer doctor’s appointments.  I feel so much better physically after struggling with blood pressure for weeks after her birth.  S also initially had her days and nights reversed, and that got fixed, thank God.  I’ve taken over homework and laundry and do all the night feedings four nights a week.  So, it’s still hard – easier, but not easy.  The most important thing is that she has been gaining weight, and the terrible fear and anxiety have lifted for the most part.  I was having nightmares about her funeral.  Those have stopped.

S herself is becoming more and more interactive.  She started smiling at 10 weeks and loves her toys.  She loves baths.  She loves animal noises and likes to be sung to.  She loves interacting with us and is generally a happy baby.  She cries if I don’t hold her for naps, but usually sleeps pretty well at night between feedings.  In general, she likes to be held.

She dislikes tummy time and being put down.  She hates hats.

We’re looking forward to another month.

36 weeks

After my last entry, I had a couple of Bad Days.  When I’m not pregnant and wake up not feeling well, I assume I’m getting sick or ate something and will feel better either imminently, or worst case, in a week or so if I’m sick.  When pregnant, I have no idea why I’m feeling lousy or when I’ll feel better.  This time, it was a couple days, and now I’m just back to feeling large, awkward, and moderately uncomfortable, but not bad.  I’m still mostly able to sleep, with maybe one wake-up a night, which is nice.  By the end of my last pregnancy, I was up every hour to use the bathroom unless I took Unisom, so I’m kind of wondering if that’s coming this time, or what.

My parents will be getting here a week from yesterday, which will be great, as we’ll no longer have to worry about childcare if I go into labor.  Hopefully we won’t all want to kill each other by the time they go home.  If the baby doesn’t come until 40 weeks, it’s going to be a LONG visit.  She wouldn’t hang around that long, would she?  My last two surprised me.  I did not expect in any way that my first would get here early, and yet she did.  Perhaps this one will surprise me in the other direction!

In other news, I’m entertaining myself by boots shopping.  I ordered a couple pairs by Sam Edelman.  (At least one pair will go back.)

Thoughts?  I’m looking for footwear to go with skinny jeans that will also keep my feet warm.  (My only pair of maternity pants also happen to be skinny black jeans, so they will work prior to baby getting here.  The in-between post-baby nothing fits phase will be annoying, but in past, I’ve just bought stuff for cheap in larger sizes off eBay, and that’s worked out pretty well.)

In other news, I’m trying to decide whether to buy a cheaper desk off Wayfair for L, or sale-watch one on Pottery Barn, which would still be a bit more pricey.  Any desk recommendations?

I’m not getting any smaller, folks:

34 weeks

34 weeks!  I feel really good about this.  Every week, I feel excited and happy to have reached another milestone.  Then my mood kind of sours as the week drags on forever.

At my last appointment, I had a high BP reading for the first time ever in my life.  “High” in pregnancy means in excess of 140/90.  If you are either over 140 OR over 90, you are diagnosed with gestational hypertension.  Now, to get a good BP reading, you are supposed to first sit for five minutes.  I had not been sitting for five minutes, so the doctor re-took it, and it dropped from 130/90 (gestational hypertension) to normal.  Thank God.  If I am diagnosed with GH, the doctor told me she will induce at 37 weeks.  High BP in pregnancy is not something to mess around with as it can be fatal in the worst case or have some nasty effects on both mom and baby.  So if I did in fact develop high BP, I would go along with whatever the doctor recommended.  However, I would strongly like to not be induced at 37 weeks.  I’m worried about the baby’s readiness for birth that early – even a day or two in the NICU would be really hard, and you just never know.  And I also worry that labor would be harder if my body wasn’t ready.  (I was dilated to something like 4 cm at 36 weeks with my last baby, so probably my body would be ready, but still.)

The doctor asked me to cut sodium and start taking BP twice a day at home.  If you’re keeping track, I’m now cutting carbs, sugar and salt, and taking blood sugar four times a day and BP twice a day.  Working from home, it’s not that big of a deal, but yeah.  I’ll be glad to return to regular life without all this for sure.  (Ponder your diet for a minute and ask yourself what you could actually still eat if you cut carbs and salt.   So many things have one or the other.  Obviously, diabetes doesn’t mean cutting all carbs, but you have to be very vigilant.  For example, the large honeycrisp apple I eat for lunch maxes or nearly maxes my carb allocation for that meal.  When you add in the complication of pregnancy-induced heartburn, it gets even harder.  I feel like an old person.)

The good news is that my sugar levels are excellent, and my BP has been very low at home.  After the doctor’s visit, I was very concerned about BP, since it is so common in pregnancy, even more so if you have GD, and because it is very dangerous if it starts to climb.  But I’ve concluded it was a false alarm caused by the stress of the doctor’s visit.

We gave away or sold a lot of our baby stuff after B.  We didn’t know if we wanted another, and we knew we didn’t want one soon.  We also have somewhat limited storage space in our house – if I could change one thing, I’d have a 3-car garage.  My Dad raised me to always keep your cars in the garage, so I can’t bring myself to use half our 2-car garage for storage.  Baby stuff takes up a lot of space!  In any case, Amazon gives you a two-time 15% discount on purchases off your registry.  I finally made the first of my two discounted purchases, buying a stroller, car seat, swing, some more nursing pads, and some other items.  I’m sure you won’t be surprised to hear there was much agonizing over the stroller selection.  I ended up buying an Uppababy Cruz, which was a bit of a splurge, but I’m kind of excited about it.  It’s going to be like Christmas around here over the next couple of days.

In other news, the designer of the last quilt I made (with the hearts) asked if she could put my quilt in her newsletter.  That kind of made my day!

labor dread

We met with a doula today.  Talking about labor is really hard for me.  I am just dreading it.  I want to have the option of pain relief, and if I don’t get induced, I almost certainly will not have the chance to get an epidural.  And remembering the pain of the last half hour of my last birth just scares me.  It was just so painful and there wasn’t a damn thing anyone could do about it.  Mostly, I’ve been coping by trying not to think about it, but obviously it’s the kind of topic you have to discuss with a doula.

I am also frightened of the trip to the hospital.  If my parents are here, it should be easy enough.  I will probably be asking them to come at 37 weeks.  In that case, Jonathan and I can just go.  The idea of trying to get the kids to a caregiver or take them with us just makes me anxious.  So, let’s assume my parents are here and H and I can just go.  Most likely, I’ll be in a lot of pain by the time we get there.  I don’t want to go through transition in the car.  I especially don’t want to give birth in the car.  That’s unlikely.  But very painful labor in the car?  Pretty likely.  At least we have a nice car.  I’d much rather labor in our new Suby than our 17 year old Ford Focus.

All of this makes me more inclined to induce, but I’d have to do it around 37 weeks, and that’s not ideal for baby.  If my baby ended up in the NICU because I was afraid of labor pain, I’d have a hard time forgiving myself.  But an unattended birth out of the hospital isn’t safe either, and that’s definitely a possibility if we don’t induce.

Of course, with my current placenta position, I’ll be having a C-section in 6 weeks.  My ultrasound next week should give me a pretty good idea of whether that will happen or not.

Ug.  I wish I was a mentally tougher person.