Friday, May 13, 2016

29 and 1

So it happened. He happened. Frederick Rogers Schoville was born at 11:50 p.m. on May 1, 2016 I was able to cook him for 3 1/2 days until I just couldn't cook him anymore. I got him to 29 weeks and 1 day exactly. 3 days straight of icky magnesium drips and on the fourth day they cut me off. It was a good day actually, the best day I'd had since I'd been there. The doc on duty encouraged me to get up and walk around a little without the sensors. Take a shower - and I did indeed. My work spouse came to visit and brought me my yummy comfort coffee drink and a Wonder Woman Build a Bear which he and his partner had spent their Sunday morning building... It was the best day,
But inevitably, the back pains - aka contractions - ramped up and before I knew it it was show time. Scared to death is the only way to describe my state of mind. Like on some level I seriously thought I could just stop it all from happening. Willing it not to be happening was all I could do but my body - and Frederick - felt otherwise. After much much pushing,  some F bombs (many F Bombs) and 2 failed attempts at epidural, teeny tiny Frederick was finally pushed and pulled from my body. You'd think that a 3 lb. 13 oz. baby would fly right out but no. Not. At. All. In those moments I swore to never ever do that again. I really did and my doc laughed as it came out something like me grabbing Special K by the shirt and yelling 'WE ARE NEVER FUCKING DOING THIS AGAIN!'

And poor Frederick. It took forever for him to make a noise as the NICU team put him in a plastic bag and hauled him over to the table to work on him. I kept my eyes on Special K as my doc worked on me and the Neonatology team worked on my new little person. I've never seen Special K look scared but he looked downright terrified in those minutes that crawled by. He paced back and forth between me and the little. Then we both heard it. The tiniest little scratch of a voice I will never forget as long as I live. The look of relief that swept over Special K and the sob that emerged from me before I realized it was me. But then they brought him to me and I was in shock. I wasn't quite sure what to expect but I wasn't expecting that. Him. My baby in a bag was black. 

Or I thought he was. I asked if he was black and they assured me that no, he was not black, just badly bruised. Like his entire head was a giant blue berry. My vagina did that to him and I was horrified. I didn't get to see him again for another couple hours and it felt like an eternity. And then there we were, back in the NICU with a little person. Only this little was way littler then our fist little. This little was way earlier. Scarier.

On Day 2 I held him. Scared. to. death.

He was under the blue light special for almost 2 weeks until the bruising went down. 

The bruising was especially significant due to my baby crushing vagina. One of the nurses said it was actually a pretty impressive bruising and that it also wasn't actually my vagina that gets to take credit for the blue berry state of my child, but my pelvic floor. Anyway... The blue light special did not last forever. Eventually the goggles and hat came off and we were able to see his sweet face. Kind of. But we were lucky.

We are lucky. And he's OK. Cooking in the NICU womb instead of my own, He's finally off the blue lights and was only intubated for a short time. 2 weeks old and he's finally almost at his birth weight. In the meantime this is our second home. 7 days a week. Special K and I tag team then both come up in the evenings. Every time I leave him I can't breathe. It's like leaving one of my lungs behind and I can't fully breathe until we return and even then my breaths are short as I feel like I am breathing for him and me. Returning in the evening, racked with guilt leaving our first sweet little, I cry in anticipation of what I might find when I return to his side. But he's always OK.

I have to allow myself to take comfort in the fact that he really is OK. It's just going to take a long time for him to be good. In the meantime, we have his monitors that bring us comfort as they also bring us fear. Tracking his heart rate, his respiratory rate and his blood oxygen levels all at once. So many moving pieces that set off alarms at the slightest dips. It feels like the alarms will never stop. But they do. His breath finally returns - usually with help - and then he is OK today. I'm getting there. Slowly.

The tiniest baby steps ever.
30 and 6


Saturday, April 30, 2016

It Wasn't Supposed to Happen Like This

Well here we are. I never did make it to my afternoon work meetings the other day. Nope. Instead, I (we) am full of IV drips, dosed with what I think can only be a borderline legal amount of magnesium and steroids, and attached to a bajillion monitors. Me and him, him and me. We are in this together. My last words as I left my office Thursday morning. Be back in a couple hours! Schovillova out. OK, not that last part, but I'm fairly confident that was part of my inner dialogue. 

What the fuck. How did I get here? A measly 28 weeks and now 6 days pregnant and my cervix decides it's done with the whole cooking the baby thing. In the words of the world's best OBGYN, I have a shit cervix. What a shit head that cervix of mine is. At least it gave me until 34 weeks before my first sweet little person came upon the Schovillova scene. But this. I wasn't prepared for this. Who can prepare for this? I went into the world's best OBGYN's office for a check up and it went something like this:

WBO: So, how are you feeling? 
Me: (Auto tears) I feel weird. Low back pain, lots of it. And my stomach keeps tightening. 
WBO: Does your stomach tighten when your back pains happens? 
Me: Yeah, but just in one area. It bulges out every once in a while. (Yes, in hind sight I am slapping the hell out of me)
WBO: (totally calm and cool because she is the calmest and coolest cat) Well let's just take a look... (takes a look) Uh huh. OK, here's what's going to happen now. (again, totally calm and cool this cat, she could have rattled off her Christmas list, I wound't have been surprised. But I was surprised.) We're going to go ahead and check you in. 
Me: Check me into what?
WBO: Into the hospital. You are fully effaced and 2 cm dilated. 

For those of you not in the know. The term 'fully effaced' means paper thin. Means ready to drop. Like there's absolutely nothing holding that bad boy in and up. 

Me: Does this mean I won't be back for my meetings this afternoon? 
WBO: You won't be back for a meeting for.. quite some time. 

Side note: when I got to work Thursdsy morning with all the back pain the only thing that occurred to me was that perhaps I should stop wearing high heels. Yep. 

So here I am. Monitors for me and the little human male in my womb who is trying to escape. The magnesium makes me feel buzzed and numb and so fucking hot (as in over heated as in Texas in July). I can't walk a straight line and I have to call a nurse every hour to help me hobble to the bathroom every freaking hour. In the meantime I stave off a panic attack/nervous breakdown when I'm left to consider the worst case scenarios of our actual situation. Of his actual situation. 28 and 6 now. Not good but not the worst. I actually called the neonatologist (perhaps the kindest human I've ever met but oh so serious and severe, rightly so) out for being 'a downer'. 

I'm such an asshole sometimes but it was either that or it was collapsing to the ground and curling into fetal. He did an excellent job at painting the most realistic/horrific picture of  'Here's what we're looking at folks' for xx weeks. Current goal, keep me drugged and dosed to make it to 29 weeks on Sunday. Ideally 32 weeks would help us rule out a lot of complications. One day at a time. And for the love, do not Google this shit. For once in my life, I am not remotely tempted to Google this shit. 

My sweet perfect little came to visit today. I hadn't seen her in 2 days and I bawled like a baby when my in-laws brought her in. I missed her terribly and mourned the fact that she was (all too soon) about to not be my baby. My sweet little. I at least remembered to hide the wires so she didn't lose her shit completely. I was already doing that enough for the both of us. Oh sweet A. 

So here I am and here we are. Tick tock you guys. I need a few more weeks. He needs a few more weeks. It wasn't supposed to happen like this. 


Saturday, April 23, 2016

That time when Target did something awesome and then people turned into assholes.

Last week Target released an inclusive bathroom policy that allows people to use whichever restroom they identify with. In other words, transgender friendly. And not surprisingly but always surprisingly, the human race turned out in masses to protest, fearing that the lives and virtue of mothers and daughters nation-wide were now at risk. Target has given free reign to creepy predators to dress in women's clothing and walk in to any Target restroom without fear of repercussion. And what will they do once inside these restrooms? Well they will undoubtedly pray on our women and daughter folk of course. Yes, that is the argument and yes this is the 21st century.

Because that is where the predators go. Predators have been laying in wait apparently for the day to come when the skies rained free passes to stalk people in restrooms. Because they're not doing that already? Because it doesn't already happen in men's restrooms too? Sadly what people are failing to remember/realize is that almost all predators never have been and never will be found inside restrooms and that 75% of predators are actually people we know. You know. I know. Our kids know. They're not cross dressing and lurking in the shadows. They are in our families, neighborhoods, and classrooms. And while 1 in 4 girls will be targeted at some point in their lives, it is also 1 in 6 boys that will be targeted and the predators don't just have penises, but they have vaginas too!

So it's not about the restrooms at all. It's about continuing to deny basic civil rights - human rights - to our fellow men and women. It's about using fear as an excuse to be a total asshole. Why not let people go to the freaking bathroom in the same facility as people with whom they most closely identify? Instead people feel much better about showing their own children that discrimination is OK and that it is OK to fear and judge that which they do not understand.

Target's bold move was meant to send a strong message while some conservative governors recently signed legislation to allow individuals and institutions with religious objections to deny service to gay, lesbian, bi-sexual, and transgender people.  We need more bold moves like Target. We need more companies and politicians to show our youth that being different is OK, it doesn't make you a predator or a person to be feared until you do something to someone that is predatory or fearful.

I'd like to say that by the time the little human person is 10 years of age she won't have to see headlines about people being discriminated against due to their sexual orientation or gender identity. Who knows what hers will be? But then it was only 8 years ago when Proposition 8 was being disputed in California and even though 7 years later the Supreme Court legalized same sex marriage, we are still fighting battles against organizations and institutions that have also been given a pass to refuse service of any kind to those groups. As fast as laws are being created to include all the humans, just as many are being passed to discriminate and ironically, it's the people who rally to discriminate that I start to fear, rather than those being discriminated against.


Friday, April 8, 2016

Boy Oh Boy.

So the universe has spoken and decided to give us a baby boy who is currently living large in my belly. A boy. I totally called it from the beginning, only Special K was surprised. I've never seen my myself with a son. Always a daughter. What do I do with a boy?? I admit, I'm anxious about it. Girls I can navigate. Girls I can relate to. Girls I can dress and teach about hygiene and anticipate the teen angst that goes along with being an adolescent female. Ah, the angst. But a boy? Yeesh. I'm excited to feel the connection of a son. I see the father daughter connection of Special K and Adelaide and I love it and sometimes envy it. Will I have that with my son? My son who kicks all day and night in my belly, always reminding us that yes, he is real and it is happening guys.

Yes, I know and apparently sometimes forget that Special K will also be there to show our son - our son - the ins and outs of being a boy, a male in this world. Of the hygiene and the angst - do boys even have angst? Surely they must. Will I like his girlfriends? Will I be nice to them and warm? Or will I be nice with just enough coldness to let them know I know what they're up to. That I've got my eye on them with one eyebrow raised. In hindsight I forgive and empathize with the moms of my past boyfriends who, I felt, never really liked me or trusted me with their sons. I get it now and my son is not even out of my womb. Yes, these are the things I think about.

I'm not old but I'm older than I thought I'd be when I started bringing little people of our own into the universe. Not for lack of trying, just a different timeline and I'm OK with that. I think. I But I do worry. I worry that I may not have the energy necessary for a boy. Will I be able to keep up? Will I still be fun practicing soccer drills and going to the park and running around and climbing trees? Will I be expected to climb trees? What will that look like? These are the things I think about. We'll figure it out, of course we will.

I never imagined myself with a son, but I'm starting to. And as much as it scares the shit out of me, it excites me just the same. Boy oh boy we are in for it. 


Saturday, February 27, 2016

When a long time vegetarian starts making super secret plans to endulge in a super secret affair with a medium rare steak dinner it can only mean one thing.

I never did go through with that steak dinner although I'm still impressed with my get away plan. I'm confident it was full proof. Now the thought of a delicious mouth watering tenderloin fillet has passed and been replaced by its rightful owner - the stomach flip gag reflex. But it wasn't just the carnivorous cravings. It was a sudden reappearance of my18 year old complexion that showed up just in time for my 20 year class reunion. It was hot yoga making me nauseous and deciding one day to cut 12 inches off my hair - Don't worry, still plenty left.  It was negotiating a relocation back to Dallas with my best friend's company (but luckily mutually deciding to hold off for now). Finally it was falling asleep in a Sunday matinee of the Hunger Games movie that sent up the flare and had me doing some quick math.

That's right folks, Mother Nature is a funny gal. We had just decided that we were good with the little person that we were and are blessed with. She's perfect, our little rainbow baby that came through for us after years of storms. I'm not going to lie, Mother Nature worked against us for long enough that we finally turned to science for an extra boost and yeah baby! But this time, Mother Nature decided it was her time and ours. She made sure to wait until after we had purged our attic of all things infant and maternity, of course she did. And now here I sit and type, 5 months in to our next - and definitely last - little human addition to our family and I couldn't be happier. I'm thrilled that sweet Adelaide will have a sibling to commiserate with when she's older about all of the ways we've screwed them up. Thrilled that she will have a person after we are gone.

I was in shock though for a while. I waited until I'd taken 4 home tests and established my hcg levels with a quick blood test before presenting Special K with his 40th birthday present. As my sixth - yes sixth - pregnancy, not only does one start jaded and expecting the worst, but you also have a built in protocol that can't be found in 'What to Expect When You're Expecting': Get hcg levels to establish 'how pregnant' you actually are. Start your baby aspirin, prenatals, and folic, get your progesterone script, and try to block out your prior weeks of wine consumption, for god's sake do not even think about that right now!Oh, and if you're open to it, call your reproductive acupuncturist and get on that asap. None of it glamorous but I like to think I've raised the front line protocol to an art form and perfected it at last with number 5. When in doubt, do what worked, right? All of those balls took only a couple days to get rolling and then, when absolutely sure that I had irrefutable evidence of hcg levels of 20,000 (my doctor's words, yes Nicole, you're like really pregnant), I presented to Special K.

When it was established by doctor's years before that au naturale was not an option, you can't really blame a guy - or gal - for their initial reaction. While staying calm and cool, he downed his drink in one shot and looked at me dead pan - 'Are you fucking kidding me?' A phrase I'd muttered to myself about 100 times, I assured him that I was not kidding and to prove the reality of the situation, here are some 20,000 hcg levels to suck on. The kid knew full well what those numbers meant and he got it. I watched as it sunk in and I watched while it continued to sink in... for weeks. It took some time because again, jaded by our history, it's tough to let yourself go all in during those early months. But here we are, 5 months along and we're all fucking in.

We find out Thursday if Adelaide's person will be a boy or girl. Special K is adamant it's a girl - more hope than logic there. But I've felt from the beginning that it's a boy. This one has been totally different from day 1 - or day 45 - and it's not just because of my advanced maternal age which apparently, after my 39th birthday, I actually graduated into a new level of 'older moms'. More glamour.

So 2016 is shaping up to be bigger and better than originally anticipated. Summer Olympics, new baby, the presidential election, and a bonus 6 episode season of the X-Files. All exciting events although the election process thus far has insighted more dread and fear than natural labor, more on that later (the election not the labor).

Next up: Super Tuesday.

Friday, January 1, 2016

Texas Get Your Guns Out.

Toters rejoice! As of today, it's totally cool to carry your fire arms for all to see in the great state of Texas. Free at last! Free at last! Thank God almighty, free at last to  mosey into any Starbucks, McDonald's, or store we want with our long guns or semi automatics strapped to our sides - or backs. Don't we all feel better and safer now? Our card carriers can finally find comfort in knowing that, in the event of an emergency they can now fight back. Shoot 'em up y'all, shoot 'em up. 

An openly carried handgun is of course permitted to be loaded and ready to fire. That's the whole reason behind the law, to be able to use it for defense purposes instantaneously. It would be best, though, for the safety mechanism to be on. (Sources: Open Carry Texas, The Texas Rifle Association, The Texas Restaurant Association, Texas Department of Public Safety, Central Texas Gun Works) Photo: Max Faulkner, Associated Press / Fort Worth Star-TelegarmShockingly 45 states actually have open carry laws but I'm picking on you Texas, with your long guns and semi automatics. Y'all can breathe easier now that you can fight back freely against all the bad guys and miscreants who have benefited from our weak-ass guns laws that we repeatedly fail to improve. Congrats! Our 250 year old second amendment rights are secure and our ability to arm ourselves against those who we are allowing to be armed against us is in tact. Don't we all feel better now? 

It's quite the hobgoblin that we continue to make conscious decisions to not fix our flawed gun laws and loop holes that allow 'bad guys' to obtain weapons that can wipe out a room full of innocents (like children) in a matter of seconds. Instead of fixing the problem, our solution is to arm the masses like some third world country. How does that fix anything? Why are we only making strides in the area of allowing more people to carry and acquire these mechanisms of death instead of making it more difficult for the wrong people to obtain them? 

Why the frack are we allowing people who are on the no-fly list to obtain guns? A couple of weeks ago, we once again rejected a bill that would not allow no-fly listers to obtain their precious weapons. And why? So the 1% of jerk stores who are on the list by mistake will still be able to buy their bullets because you know, second amendment. We'd hate for those 1% to have to wait - boo fucking hoo - until they have cleared their name before they can buy their weapon of choice. If you're on the list then you did some thing to get yourself there or if it's a mistake then FIX IT and find comfort in knowing that the law is still working for 99% of the people that it is supposed to. Lord knows you'll still be able to get your guns. But no.  Instead more than 2,000 suspects on FBI's Terrorist Watch List bought weapons in the U.S. over the last 11 years. It's so ridiculous that it sounds made up or exaggerated. Bullets for everyone! 

Currently, some known terrorists or suspected terrorists, while prohibited from boarding airplanes by the government's no fly list, are allowed to buy assault rifles and other weapons. 

I know, it's not just about terrorists. It's way more than that unless you're from the GOP and then our gun laws are here so we can arm ourselves against terrorists, never mind we're basically handing them our guns. We're giving anyone a gun and they're doing whatever they want and the body count keeps escalating. The more control and money we give the NRA, the more they control the policies that allow the insanity to persist. I don't pretend to have any answers but on a most basic level, I cannot fathom how any rational thinking person would not be OK with making the laws more stringent. Some might call me an idealist. Shocker. Why do we require back ground checks at gun stores but not gun shows? Indianapolis hosts one of the largest gun shows in the country, blocks away from my house. The Hoosiers are very proud of their gun show. THOUSANDS of people can go and buy whatever they want. Completely unchecked. Bring us your crazy, your criminals, your extremists! 

Why not tighten this shit up a little? You toters would still get your fun, you just might have to wait a little longer or I don't know, clean up your act. Wouldn't the pros of the wrong people not being able to get their toys outweigh the cons of the law abiding toters having to wait just a wee bit? I feel like there are such small steps that can be taken, close the loop holes. No-fly = no gun. Anyone in the business of selling or making money from gun sales should adhere to the same standards of background checks and licensure. Make these regulations federal, not state based. 

I have no answers, but I have a voice. SpecailK looks at me like I have 2 heads and he won't let me alone in a room with any of his conservative friends and apparently I don't have any here in the midwest. If I was back in Texas I'd have a buffet to choose from but alas, I just want 5 minutes to have a civil (although slightly impassioned) dialog with someone who can justify the lack of gun control. I want to hear your argument I want to ask you questions. I may also want to punch you in the nose but you may want to do the same to me. We can agree to no punches. Any takers? 

Next up, immigration, the wonder that is GOP candidate foreign policy, and that time I popped what I thought was the little person's chocolate desert crumbs from my cuff into my mouth.