Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Baby name poll - vote now!

Vic, Nico and I are having trouble deciding on a name for our baby boy. We've narrowed it down to three possibilities: Enzo, Nolan and (LeBron) James!

We want the baby's name to complement Nico's name - Enzo is a possibility, as a nickname for Vincenzo or Vincent. We are also considering a name that matches Nico's cousins' names (Nathan and Noah) - Nolan would qualify. Nico has decided that if we are dead set against LeBron James, he will settle for James. Vic and I are leaning toward that as a middle name.

The baby's estimated due date is October 6, 2007, but we think he will arrive sooner. Please tell us what you think! Vote in our poll! If you have any other ideas or suggestions, please leave a comment.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Safety Town graduation

Nico graduated from Safety Town!

The graduation ceremony ended with Officer Terri leading the group in pledging, among other things, to "listen to and obey my parents". As you can tell from the photo, Nico didn't take the oath too seriously. And Vic looks quite skeptical about it all too.

Faculty "friends"

In preparation for Nico's birthday party, my friend Chris, an astronomy professor, asked me what Nico is into these days. His two daughters were planning to attend Nico's party and Chris was in charge of procuring a gift. I told Chris not to get him anything since he already has too much stuff.

Chris called me "a mean mom". So I sighed and told him that Nico is really into planets and outer space,
thinking Chris would seize the opportunity to get a stars and planets children's book, per his expertise, etc.

No. Instead, Chris
got him this freaking loud Spider-Man Talking Room Guard with Motion Sensor that shrieks whenever you walk past it. Actually, it shrieks if you even breathe near it. Chris said he thought Nico would appreciate an audible warning any time I came near his room.

Of course, Nico declared the gift "awesome!" but when he turned his back, V
ic immediately and quietly disabled the sound device and hid it.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Nico's 5th birthday

Nico had his 5th birthday party over the weekend. It went well, but was still a bit stressful and tiring. It was totally worth it, though! Nico and his preschool pals had a great time.

Since I'm supposed to be on modified bed rest, Vic and I had decided it would be too much work to have the party in our back yard this year, as we had done the past two years. So we chose to have the party at Memphis Kiddie Park, an amusement park for preschoolers - you have to be 50 inches or shorter to ride all but three of the rides - hoping it would be much easier for me. I planned to sit in the shelter area and supervise, while Vic accompanied Nico on all the rides.

It sounded like a good plan. Overall, the party went well. I was surprised to find that the park had really strict rules on everything, though. No outside food except for cake and ice cream. No coolers. The time limit for unlimited rides is exactly two hours long (They announce on a loudspeaker, "If you are wearing a teal bracelet, your ride time is over!"). You must surrender your ride access bracelet in order to get a balloon and popcorn. No exceptions.

Still, the party was a lot of fun. We arrived at the park after many of our guests had arrived already, though, so that was a little embarrassing.
My sister came in town to help celebrate Nico's birthday, so she was able to help out a lot.

Nico had picked out Transformers as his theme, so one of the highlights of the party was seeing 20 kids running around with Optimus Prime masks. I spent hours assembling those things (I guess that's one good thing that came from modified bed rest)! I'll try to post a photo soon.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Working from home

I've been working from home this month and so far, it has not really limited my ability to perform my job, except in preventing face-to-face contact with my boss, my team and other colleagues on campus. I have been able to maintain close contact with my team and with media contacts via email and phone, though. In fact, I think I'm more accessible than ever because I'm not running around campus or spending time in meetings all day anymore! Without being in the media relations office bullpen, I also have much longer, quieter, uninterrupted blocks of time to work on projects.

People at work, generally, have been really supportive. I know my situation has been really confusing. It's been difficult for me, so I can only imagine what other people think about it. My team has been awesome through this ordeal. Despite the fact that I'm now working from home, they've been good at staying in close contact with me about work issues, while still reminding me to keep things in perspective and take care of my health first and foremost.

The whole situation, though, is making me think about what will happen once the baby arrives. People have been asking me what my plans are for returning to work and how long I will be on medical leave. I really can't answer those questions until the baby does arrive. I don't know what's in store for us. This pregnancy has been a bit unpredictable, so it's impossible to know what things will be like once that baby is here.

Still, I am thinking about what my work-life situation will be like a few months from now. I wonder if working men think about these issues as much as working women do.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Modified bed rest = emotional rollercoaster

In the last ultrasound I had, the images showed that the placental separation had not worsened since the last ultrasound. The maternal/fetal medicine specialist told me and Vic that the baby is on track in terms of growth. So that was good news! We are still in a critical stage of the baby's development for the next few weeks, though, so I'm really supposed to take it easy.

I've been having a hard time dealing with all of this. My OB-GYN told me to stay off my feet as much as possible and refrain from exercise and exertion, but it's really hard to do sit around alone with my thoughts. I've been having a really hard time sleeping. Sometimes when I can't sleep at night, I'll get on the computer and do Internet searches on "placental abruption". Then I get freaked out and really can't sleep.

Especially since I don't feel any physical pain, it's difficult not to be active. Plus, it's summer and I would really love to be able to run around with Nico, ride my bike, swim, etc. Nico doesn't understand why I can't pick him up or give him piggyback rides. He always wants to race on our driveway and I can't do that.

Still, I'm not sure if I'm really following the modified bed rest order very well. A lot of times, family members, friends and co-workers will ask, "Are you sure you should be doing that?" and I'm not sure. I'm unsure exactly how much I should be resting, but I suspect that I'm not doing it as much as I should.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Sneak preview of the baby

When we had the fetal ultrasound the other day, we were surprised to see how much the technology has changed since our pregnancy with Nico. This time, we were even able to see 3D images of the baby!

Even though the baby was active and moving a lot, the technician was able to capture this image of the baby with his foot jammed next to his face.

The maternal/fetal medicine specialist said that the baby is developing and that the placental abruption is minor. Still, while his words were reassuring, the images of the baby were more comforting to me and Vic. After the ultrasound appointment, we had a nice, relaxed lunch together and it was the first time in weeks that we were able to laugh and feel more settled about the pregnancy.

Women in charge at home

Recently, a few of my fellow mom pals have been talking about the power dynamics in our marriages. It seems that among my married friends, more often than not, the woman appears to be the more dominant partner.

So Vic pointed out an article to me entitled, "Study: Women Are in Charge at Home".

One of the highlights of the piece said this:

"Wife power could signal a harmonious couple. "There's been research that suggests that's a marker of a healthy marriage—that men accept influence from their wives," Murphy said.

So, listen up, husbands everywhere! Accept your wife's dominance. Know your role!

Friday, July 6, 2007

Chronic placental abruption = modified bed rest

When I had to go to Labor and Delivery the other day, right before I was discharged, the nurse (midwife?) gave me paperwork that classified my condition as "chronic placental abruption".

My OB-GYN said that when I had the first bleeding episode, if we had had to deliver the baby then, the chances for survival would have been low. I asked him when he would feel that the baby's chances would be better. He said he'd like to see us get to Week 30 at least. He ordered another ultrasound too.

Now that there's an official label attached to the situation, is seems that my pregnancy is being managed differently. Because this is regarded as a high-risk pregnancy, the doctor has ordered modified bed rest. He asked me how I felt about bed rest and seemed to sense my reluctance to accept it. He said he had medical justification to order full bed rest at this point and asked me about my work situation.

While I want to avoid full bed rest and yet protect my health and the baby's, I would still like to be a productive employee for as long as possible. So I am allowed to work from home for now, but if I have another episode of external bleeding, the doctor will most likely order full bed rest for me for the duration of the pregnancy.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Labor and delivery - already?

I had to go to the hospital yesterday. I was at work and bleeding a bit again, so I called my OB-GYN to let him know, thinking he'd tell me to take it easy and stay off my feet until my appointment with him today. At worst, I thought he'd have me to go back to University Hospitals for another round of ultrasounds. I was completely unprepared when he ordered me to go to LABOR AND DELIVERY! I was so thrown off guard that I asked him to repeat that and he did. He said that at my stage of the pregnancy, the baby is not quite viable, so I should go to the hospital for monitoring.

As soon as I hung up, I burst into tears. I really wasn't expecting to set foot in the labor and delivery unit until October. So I called Vic, crying, and we tried to figure out what to do. Since I work in a large shared office, my co-workers heard me on the phone and came over as soon as I hung up. It had been an unusual day in the office, as it was the first day for the new university president and we had received a number of media requests for interviews with her. I hated leaving in the middle of it, but my supervisor, John, came over and gently told me to go to the hospital and "take care of what's important". Susan drove to my house to pick up Vic so he could go to UH with me. Jason and Laura told me to go to the hospital and not worry about work at all. It was really great to have all their support.

It was weird being in a labor and delivery unit without being in labor. Changing into a hospital gown and wearing a patient bracelet, I couldn't help but think about the last time I did this, nearly five years ago when Nico was born. I spent a few hours in the hospital so the medical team could monitor the baby's heartbeat, contractions, etc. They also did some urine and blood tests. The OB-GYN on call was great - it turns out that he lives in our neighborhood and that we were in the same fifth grade class!

Everything is OK, but the charge nurse told me I may have to go through this a few more times until I actually deliver. *sigh*