Wednesday, December 19, 2007
But it made me think of my husband telling me about his fondest Christmas. His family was living in St. George at the time, I think, and didn't have a penny to their name. There was no money for food or electricity, let alone a Christmas tree with presents piled all around. Trav and his siblings put lights on a small, tabletop fabric Christmas tree his mother had made and decorated it the way you would a full blown 9 foot tall tree from the lot. Then he and his sister (the only two kids old enough to work at the time) pooled their money, went to the store and bought five dollar presents so the other kids would have something to open on Christmas Day.
I've never had a Christmas like that. When I originally heard Travis and his siblings remembering that Christmas, my heart just bled for all of them, particularly my parents-in-law. I can only imagine how they must have felt wanting to give their children the world but having to tell them that Santa won't be coming this year, oh, and PS no Christmas dinner either. Even though the circumstances are totally out of your control (ie layoffs, medical problems, etc), that would kill a parent.
But instead of focusing on the sad, depressing part of the circumstance, they ended up having the best Christmas in my husband's memory. He never talks about that time as being miserable, but rather about how they all came together as a family and made the best out of a crappy situation. He remembers playing board games and chatting with his family rather than sitting around watching football or the millionth showing of A Christmas Story or It's a Wonderful Life. And now I think of how proud his parents must be that their kids actually got the point, even at a young age. I hope I can instill that in our child.
My mother in law made all of us a fabric Christmas tree for our table top and it's the only decoration that Travis really gets excited about. It's not that he's a full blown Grinch (though "the term 'Grinchy' may apply when Christmas cheer's in short supply"), but I think it's the one thing that doesn't seem so...commercial to him. I think that, though he'd never admit it lest he lose Man Points, it reminds him of the true meaning of Christmas and I frequently catch him looking nostalgically at our table with the little fabric tree and remembering his favorite Christmas ever.
Wednesday, November 07, 2007
So I was just sure there was a problem. Hence the counting of the heartbeat and listening for anything abnormal. 'Cause if I actually HEARD anything abnormal, I'd be able to identify it right away. You know, because of all those pregnancy books I have.
This morning, as I was leaving for work, Trav put his arms around me and started talking to my belly to say good morning to the baby (an adorable little ritual that began a week or two ago after Travis felt the first definite movement). This time, though, rather than just the "Good morning, baby! Be good! Daddy loves you!" that usually accompanies this bonding between father and son, there was this little gem: "And make sure you kick Mommy a lot, 'cause she worries. Now you and I both know that there's nothing to worry about, but she can't help it. So really kick today, okay?"
And that's when it hit me: in 16 short weeks, I am going to be outnumbered in this house and they're already plotting against me.
Friday, October 05, 2007
We go in next week for our "medical ultrasound," which will check the baby's organs to be sure they all developed correctly. This will be our 7th ultrasound. Someone was saying "you're so lucky! I wish I had gotten to see the baby that often." I thought "yeah, lose one and then have some jacked up, bizarre pregnant but not situation and they'll pretty much give you as many as you want." I have to admit, though, it has been fun seeing the baby so much. I love watching how much he's grown and changed. It's fascinating to me how it all progresses from a little blob to a little person. So much so that two of the ultrasounds were at Fetal Fotos because I just couldn't wait to find out what he was. The first time he was cooperative, but his umbilical cord was not. The second time he was more than happy to let us see that he was, in fact, a boy. It was so clear that both Travis and I, who can rarely pick out the baby in the Magic Eye picture (think Rachel on Friends), could CLEARLY see that he was a he before the tech even said "well, we definitely have a boy here!"
I don't know if you've noticed or not, but I find myself being obsessive about the pregnancy, the baby, etc. There are two other women here at work who are pregnant and they seem to be able to function in society without making everything about crib sets and fetal development. I asked one of the other Preggies how far along she was (which was a total rouse...I know full well she's a little over 8 weeks ahead of me, but I had to bring up my new obsession somehow) and she had to stop and think about it. THINK ABOUT IT!! I can tell you practically down to the millisecond how far along I am: 19 weeks, 2 days, 16 hours, 41 minutes. Okay, so I made up everything but the hours and minutes. But I'm just saying! You had to pause and think?! I can't WAIT for Wednesdays to roll around so I can get on babycenter.com and see where the baby's development is now or get out one of my 5 pregnancy books (didn't even buy a-one...4 given to me, completely unsolicited, and one borrowed) to see what's happening and what there is to pay attention for.
Apparently I should be able to feel the baby moving consistently soon. I say consistently because for several weeks now I think I've been feeling him. Every now and again I feel like there is a little bubble popping in my stomach. Rumor has it that's probably the baby, but who knows? I have no idea what I'm supposed to be feeling for. But I can definitely feel the results of his movements. Suddenly I'll have to rush to the ladies room because he's shifted onto my bladder (thank heaven he can still shift off), or I'll feel a little lopsided because there's pressure in the left side of my abdomen and 10 minutes later, he's all on my right side. I figure those are all very good indicators that I'll feel his little movements all the time very soon.
Wednesday, September 12, 2007
Yesterday we made our first pilgrimage to Fetal Fotos to see if they could determine the baby's gender. Baby was actually quite cooporative and was in "the perfect position to find the sex." Unfortunately, the umbilical cord was not nearly as cooporative. After a half an hour of rolling onto one side or another, jiggling my belly and generally irritating the baby to see if it would kick the cord out of the way, we had to admit defeat. Fortunately the wonderful rad tech at Fetal Fotos gave us a voucher to come back in a week and try again.
So was I disappointed? Not really! No opportunity to see the baby could ever possibly be disappointing to me! We saw it's little spine very clearly and even got to watch it swallow some amniotic fluid (eew!!). It rubbed it's tiny face with a miniature fist, and kicked it's little feet. I found it very exciting. And now we get to do it again next week! Woo hoo!!
On the way home I started wondering which I would prefer. I came to the conclusion that I'm not really lying when I say either would be fine with me. I think of all the perks of having a little girl and get giddy with excitement. Then I think of all the bonuses that would come with a son and can hardly wait. The only downside to this attitude is that if it's a boy, I'll be a little bit bummed that it's not a girl and if it's a girl, I'll think of all the things I'll miss out on if it had been a boy. There's just no pleasing me!! But I have to just keep remembering that we have every intention of having more than one, so I don't need to have everything at once.
These days I can feel my uterus, which is kinda weird. I feel like I swallowed a volleyball that got stuck three quarters of the way through! But I figure that means I'm mere moments away from feeling the little alien move in me, which will be completely surreal. I have a sneaking suspicion that it's gotta feel like that scene from Alien when the baby alien tears out of that guy's stomach. But it will be OUR alien, so I think that'll make it all worth it!
Thursday, August 30, 2007
When we found out we were pregnant...again...the doctor ordered an ultrasound to make sure that we didn't have another "pregnant but not" situation. The ultrasound tech had the personality of a wet mop and argued about "what exactly does your doctor hope to see???" How about a viable pregnancy, Witch Woman?!??! Now look in my tummy! She was much nicer once she saw Travis' and my reaction. She even printed the above picture for us, which now we kind of chuckle at. The yolk sac is bigger than the baby! But a baby was there, none the less, with a heart rate of 114...MUCH better than the first time. We were cautiously optimistic.
It was this ultrasound I was dreading, because this was the point during the first pregnancy when there was nothing there. But our blob had grown and the heartbeat was still present and accounted for!! The doctor didn't have a guage to see what the exact heart rate was, but she estimated that it was going at "at least 150 beats per minute." This was also the ultrasound that earned the baby the nickname "Blobbie." Okay, yeah, not really nice. But, come on. It's a little blob! A damned cute blob, if I do say so myself.
I found online after this ultrasound that once you've seen a strong heart beat (which we didn't the first time), then your chances of miscarriage go down to 2%. I don't know if that's true, but it made me feel better, so I ran with it.
This is our baby during a completely unexpected ultrasound. I was having the integrated screening to rule out a myriad of different birth defects and thought I was only getting blood drawn. Poor Travis wasn't even there. The point of getting this ultrasound was to look at the fluid on the back of the baby's neck to rule out Down's syndrome. Stubborn little thing woudn't roll over, though. So they looked every way they could, jiggling my tummy (that'll make you feel pretty) to get it to change positions, and it would just wiggle around disgustedly and settle right back into it's soft little spot on my cervix. Okay, so I don't know that it was disgusted, but since I'm growing it, I get to apply little personalities to it. And let's face it: it's a Walker-Tabbal hybrid. Trust me, it's stubborn. Heart rate at this appointment was 162. So far so good!
And now we're at 14 weeks. Sadly, no new ultrasound pictures. In lieu of pictures, though, we've rented a fetal doppler and can listen to the heart beat whenever we want, provided, of course, that our stubborn little one will move out from behind my placenta and then hold still long enough for me to find it!
Tuesday, June 05, 2007
I'm supposed to speak at the funeral on Friday, which I am honored to do, but I'm afraid I won't do her justice, or tell really inappropriate stories (ie the time Gram saw Travis naked). So I figured I'd brainstorm here and see what I could remember and what might be good for the service.
My Gram was a hip old bird. I was the only high school senior who didn't have a boyfriend, but who's 82 year old grandma had two. She liked to play the field. :) She always was ahead of her time, though. When she and my grandpa got married, it was illegal to be a female teacher and be married, so they lived apart for several years, pretending she was still single. I think it was only her pregnancy with my father that blew their cover.
Grandma was never happier than when she was with her family. As long as I can remember we had Sunday dinners at her house. She would slave all day long cooking for us and would refuse to let anyone else help her. We kids would play in her living room, lining up the footstools and jumping from one to the other until it was time to eat. Then we'd eat and chat, the adults talking about the events of the past week and reminiscing and us kids fighting over the black olives, putting them on our fingers and pretending to have black witch's nails.
I remember when I was little Gram would read to me on the old green couch in her living room. We'd read certain literary masterpieces over and over again like "Stand Back," Said the Elephant "I'm Going to Sneeze." And at one point we had a children's song book and I would make her sing "Skip to My Lou" over and over as I danced around her living room. And she never once complained, though the monotony must have driven her insane.
She was the picture perfect grandma. She always had some kind of treat around, even if it was just some frosting leftover from a cake spread between two saltine crackers. Every morning before school my sister and I would go to Gram's house for Cocoa Puffs and Mr. Gadget. After school it was Channel One and MathNet and playing outside while she worked in her garden. Wednesday nights were my parents' bowling nights, and we'd go to Grandma's, eat dinner with Uncle Niel, Aunt Cec and Gram, and watch Perfect Strangers on TV. I literally cannot remember one day of my childhood without Gram.
I remember one summer my dad was remodeling Gram's bathroom, Grandma wasn't home and Dad got some wild idea to smash out two walls and make Gram's front entry way lead into the family room as well as the living room. He handed me a hammer and said "Hey, go smash out that wall, will ya?" I guess I must have looked at him like he was insane, because he said "She's not gonna kill YOU." So I knocked it down and when Gram came home, she just looked at it for a minute and then went on to tell us all about the ADK meeting she had just been to. It was like she expected nothing less after raising three boys than to come home to find her house in a shambles.
She was SO generous, too, not just with her time, but with her money as well. She would go on vacation for a month or two and "hire" me as the dog sitter. This basically amounted to me hanging out at her house, free to munch on the treats she would leave, watch TV, having sleepovers with my friends, and play with TK, her dog, letting her out every now and again. Gram would get home and pay me for what "work" I had done. Later, after high school, I would do her nails and when her checks were WAY more than any salon would have charged her, I was informed that it was her money to do with as she pleased.
She was always a quiet and calm spot in our lives. I remember one family trip to Disneyland when we got lost driving around and spent the next hour making each other crazy. Eventually we got to laughing about our respective roles in the car: Beth was the Frazzled Driver, Dad was the Questionable Navigator, Mom was the Backseat Driver, Connie was the Whiner, I was the Grump, Dustin was the Instigator, and Grandma was Switzerland, just watching patiently out the window, happy and enjoying the ride.
Monday, May 07, 2007
My own personal opinion was that I was not actually pregnant again, but rather that there were a few leftover "pregnancy cells" that didn't get removed in the D&C and were still wreaking havoc with my hormone levels. Alas, no. The doctor assured me Friday that, after the miscarriage, I had gotten "pregnant again, but not." You'll notice the quotes around that last statement. That's a direct quote from a medical professional. "Pregnant again, but not."
How the hell does THAT work? you may be asking yourself. It was a question that sprang from my mouth before I found a nice, tactful way of saying "what the fuck?!?!?" Apparently I'm a medical anomaly. She said that what probably happened was that an egg was fertilized, but never attached anywhere in my body, but also never left the body, so it just floated off into the abyss that is my abdominal region. It was fertilized, thus pregnant, but since it never attached, not.
Huh. Okay then. So I asked if this was considered another miscarriage. Nope. Pregnant, but not. The whole situation made me feel strangely happy. If it never attached, I was never pregnant, therefore I'm not confirmed broken yet, and hopefully we can continue on to have a happy healthy baby one day soon.
During the whole Pregnant But Not Pregnancy Extravaganza, I became somewhat of a regular with the phlebotomists in the lab. After the 5 Draw Week, the chemo shots, and the subsequent blood work that confirmed the hormone levels were dropping (two draws that week, once in Phoenix), the doctor wanted to monitor the numbers to be sure they continue to drop, so I've had to go in once a week to have blood taken. Friday after my appointment I stopped in for my weekly visit. Tuesday morning's been my usual vist time, but last week it just didn't fit into the old schedule. So Friday afternoon, I stopped in to find a whole new staff works in the afternoons. Okay, no worries. I'm sure they're capable folk. But here's the alarming part. When the gal called my name, she said "oh, we were wondering if you were coming in this week!" Then two other phlebotomists, two that I had also never seen before, poked their heads into the room to take a look. Then they all looked at one another as if to say "Oh, so THIS is that Tabbal woman who's in here ALL THE TIME."
What the hell?!?! Have I become some kind of Phlebotomist's nightmare? I've now gained a spot in Hypochondria Folklore?! And then this morning when I called to get the results of my test, the office voicemail system no longer has the option to speak to the nurse. Have I been driving them all so crazy that they have altered office protocol in a vain attempt to avoid me? Have I become that woman, the one that you dread seeing walk through the doors of your office? The one that causes all employees to scatter like roaches when the light turns on?
I feel like going into their office yelling "I'm NOT crazy!!! I'm pregnant, but not! My hormones are all over the board!" 'Cause THAT wouldn't make them think I'm nuts.
Wednesday, May 02, 2007
Now, it's not that I hate the fact that people would let their kid grow up and decide that their religion is something other than my religion, because that's not the case at all. Frankly I don't much care what religion a person is. If you're an asshole, you're an asshole, regardless of faith, color or creed. The thing I hate about the statement "my child will make their own decision when they grow up" is that if you don't teach your kid about religion, ANY religion, how do you expect them to make a decision regarding that religion or any other? I mean, you wouldn't avoid swimming pools, lakes or ponds and then one day look at your kid and say "so, what kind of stroke do you plan to swim across this body of water with? The crawl? Sidestroke? How about a good old fashioned breast stroke?"
I mean, really, pick SOMETHING? Or if you don't subscribe to any one religion at all, at least teach the poor little bastard about your belief system in general or teach them about a bunch of different religions (which I think would be a good idea for more parents to do anyway) so that at least when the time comes for them to cross the ocean, they're not flung in with not even a fundamental knowledge of how to stay afloat.
Because really, in the end, of course your child will make his or her own decision. And hopefully you've taught them enough for their decision to be an educated one.
Tuesday, April 17, 2007
One block away from my in-laws' apartment, some STUPID illegal immigrant BITCH decided that in the good old US, traffic lights are mere suggestions rather than actual laws you should obey (kind of like the immigration laws she so brazenly disregarded when she hopped the fence) and ran a red light, smashing into the car in front of us, ricocheted off of that car, glanced off the front of our little Prius, removing that pesky license plate and several coats of paint, not to mention a big chunk of our bumper and KEPT RIGHT ON DRIVING, until her car, so completely jacked up by her inability to decipher the complicated color codes that are traffic lights, died in the middle of the road.
Now there are several things about this episode that piss me off. Here are the top 5:
1. That this woman, who shouldn't even be here in the first place, did some thing so freakin' stupid with her TWO CHILDREN in the car!! One MAYBE 2 years old and the other one 4ish months old.
2. That this same illegal never once hit her brakes, not even after hitting the car in front of us.
3. That, though she could afford an Infinity SUV, the gas to drive this SUV, but CLEARLY couldn't be bothered to pay for car insurance.
4. That she was cited for having no license, no insurance (total shocker, I know), and running a red light and then allowed to go about her merry way despite the fact that I overheard one of the cops telling another cop that she has a record for doing shit like this and did I mention that SHE'S FREAKIN' ILLEGAL!!!
5. This is the third time this poor Prius has been dented up since we bought it one year ago, and the second time it's been messed up by a damned ILLEGAL!!
6. That everyone was trying to be cool, even though this was her FREAKING FAULT and asking her if she and her kids were okay, and she never once asked if anyone in the two cars she hit was okay. And the claim that she doesn’t speak English doesn’t really hold water since she understood everyone asking her if SHE was okay, and her ability to understand English suddenly vanished once the 5-0 showed up.
Okay, that's 6 things, but really, that last one was just insult to injury. Now, I know it doesn't seem to be a very popular opinion to say that illegal immigrants shouldn't be here, but come on. They SHOULDN'T BE HERE!!! Particularly when they're breaking the damned laws. And I'm not just assuming that this woman wasn't a citizen because she was Mexican. I saw her Mexican ID card. And they weren't just visiting because her husband was on his way home from his job at Sherwin Williams.
Travis and I have come to the conclusion that if you're illegal and you're caught breaking a law (besides the one you broke when you snuck into the country in the first place), you should be immediately deported, regardless of how minor the law you broke is. HOWEVER, if you're the victim of a crime and you're illegal, we'll go ahead and give you a pass and not deport you when you call the police. I don't want anyone getting beaten up or anything and being afraid to report the asshole that did it to them.
I just get so freakin' irritated when people make excuses for illegal immigrants. Here are the top 5 I hate and my rebuttals:
1. They're just trying to make a better life for themselves. Fair enough. However, if you spent half as much time improving your own country as you've spent trying to sneak into ours, your life would probably get better just because of that AND you'd have the added bonus of knowing that millions of other people will have a better life because of your contribution.
2. They're taking the jobs that Americans won't do. No, they're taking the jobs that employers don't want to PAY an American to do. Why would you pay minimum wage when you can get an illegal immigrant to do it for $2.00 an hour cheaper. Plus I'm sure there are millions of homeless people who would LOVE to have a job so they can get themselves a home. Furthermore, that’s not only insulting to the unemployed Americans, but also to the immigrant who is getting the shaft in their paycheck.
3. Their country is so corrupt that they have to get out to make a better life for themselves. Last time I checked, the folks that jumped off the boat from their various countries of origin didn't walk right into a perfect way of life when they hit good old Plymouth Rock. They forged one out of nothing to create a fair government that everyone could live with, and the freedom to pipe up if you didn't think something was so fair. PS With 12 MILLION illegals in America today, you're telling me you can't put something together to overthow the government that you claim is holding you down?! We’ll help you! That’s our main thing these days: helping the underdog and getting crucified for it.
4. We don't have the resources to round up all the illegal immigrants who are already here. Again, that's a valid argument. But my bitch is when the illegal immigrants fall right into the laps of the authorities, like the idiot bitch who ran the red light. There's no need to round her up. She's right there. Hell, load her up and I'll drive her fat ass back to Mexico myself.
5. We don't have the resources to keep illegal immigrants out. My wonderful husband came up with a great solution to this problem: if you're caught in this country illegally (based on the Zero Tolerance for Illegals Breaking the Law Program outlined above), then before we ship you back, you are required to help build 10 feet of fence between the Mexican-American border and/or the Canadian-American border before we toss you out on your asses. If you're caught illegally in the country a second time, then your amount of fence triples.
Okay, now that I've gotten that off my chest, here is the list of things that made the fact that I now have to pay my deductible to fix a problem I didn't cause completely worth it:
1. Seeing Travis' grandma hug him like she hadn't seen him in 15 years
2. Watching my father in law walk across the podium and accept his Masters of Secondary Education Degree and the subsequent walk back to his seat reminiscent of Rocky jumping at the top of The Philadelphia Museum of Art stairs.
3. Wrestling in the living room with Travis' niece and nephews
4. Watching Travis' 2 year old nephew hug his Great-Grandma and giving his Auntie Taya a kiss for some gum
5. Spending time with Travis' sister Taya in from Alaska and his grandma in from Hawaii
6. Getting a picture of Travis' dad with all of his kids
7. Seeing my mother-and-father-in-law greet each other with a huge hug and a big sloppy kiss (that actually made Travis turn a little green and throw up a little in his mouth) after spending a month apart while my father-in-law finished up his degree.
8. After 3 months of looking for furniture, we found some after 5 minutes in the Lane Furniture store in Phoenix