Why I Love My Doctor

I had another routine prenatal appointment with Dr. Bass today and, as usual, I had a list of questions with me. One concerned a preventative antibiotic I’ve been taking. I’m out of refills, and I don’t want to have to go to my previous doctor, who doesn’t take my insurance, to refill it. So I asked Dr. Bass if she would do it. Not only did she say she would, she got up and phoned it into the pharmacy right then.

Another question involved my travel plans in two weeks. I’ll be flying, which she says is ok. But since I’ll be 500 miles away for a week, she wanted to be sure I had a copy of my medical records. Which she got up and copied right then. What’s not to love? I never have to worry about checking back and making sure something got done because she does everything that needs doing while I’m still there.

In other news that made me sad, I found out that I can’t donate Kara’s umbilical cord blood. If you want to pay thousands of dollars plus an annual fee, you can bank your own cord blood in case your child ends up with one of the diseases they can use cord blood to cure, but you can’t donate it for further research or for the general public to use. Apparently, even cord blood stem cells are controversial. So, since we can’t afford to bank the blood for ourselves, all those precious stem cells get thrown in the garbage. And it makes me feel like both Kara and I are being robbed of what is, quite literally, a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to help others.

Now, I totally understand the controversy regarding fetal stem cells. But cord blood? Really? That makes me both sad and angry. But then, I’m a hormonal overly emotional preggo. What do you think?


On Food and Finances

I, like many Americans, love food. It’s debatable whether I love it too much, but for a long time I loved it in a very unhealthy way. When my mother got Type II diabetes and my brother got Type I within a year or so of each other, I decided maybe I should attempt to put limits on that love.

I was very overweight, as was my college roommate. We went on the South Beach diet five years ago and were very successful. I lost 35 pounds that I didn’t gain back until my recent pregnancy. Seems good and healthy, right? Physically, definitely. But I still had issues to work through.

After going through an uncomfortable adjustment period during which I mourned everything I couldn’t eat, I then went through a long period of obsessing over everything I could and did eat. Despite the fact that I was much healthier and was losing weight, I was just as obsessed with food as I had been before the diet—maybe more. It (both the diet and food in general) was my conversation topic of choice, regardless of whether the conversation began on anything remotely related to that topic. I imagine I drove people crazy, even though they were too polite to say so. There was nothing mentally healthy about my relationship with food at this point, even though my physical health was improving.

There had to come a point when I needed to realize that I just had to let go. That my diet had equipped me with the tools I needed to make better choices. To stop obsessing, and realize that it was ok if every now and then I ate something unhealthy, that it was ok to go to dinner with someone else and just shut up and eat whatever they served me. That I could enjoy food without it taking over my life. That the occasional physically unhealthy thing was better for me in other ways in the long run—and that the occasional unhealthy indulgence actually makes it easier to stay healthy the rest of the time.

I think that, in a materialistic culture such as ours, the same kind of thing often happens with money. We develop an unhealthy relationship with it early on. We spend it wantonly. We get into debt. We always want more and then, like filling ourselves on empty calories, we save it up and blow it on something equally useless.

Then, perhaps, we find a “diet” that works–some good principles that get us out of debt. But we can become just as obsessed with the cure as we were with the disease. And in spending so much time empowering ourselves with budgeting, with celebrating every debt we climb out of, we can develop the same kind of obsessive superiority complex I developed about my diet. We’re out of debt, but we’re just as consumed by money as we were when we were concerned only about its lack.

And I believe the same principles I learned about dieting also apply—that sometimes, it’s ok to “slip.” That, perhaps, the nonmaterial advantages of certain experiences make it worth the fiscal irresponsibility of a decision. That, as long as those kinds of decisions are the exceptions rather than the norm, you can still be financially healthy without being financially anorexic.

We Have a Plan

I realize this is probably only interesting to me, but it’s all I can think about, so it’s what I’m writing about. After tons of apartment hunting, then trying to manipulate time and money and a lease to work to our best advantage, we finally have a plan.

The complication was this: We are leased in our current apartment, which we love but is only a one-bedroom, until June 30. My due date is July 11. So actually moving when our lease is up is obviously out of the question. Further complications arose when we found places we loved, but they couldn’t hold them for us until June. But we now have a solution.

We applied for a wonderful little duplex and were approved. We’ll move in the middle of next month, which will only give us one extra month’s rent to pay on our current place if no one subleases it, which is what it usually costs to break a lease anyway. This way, we’ll move when I’ll still be capable of helping, at least a little bit.

I can’t tell you what a relief it is knowing that I’ll have a place for Baby Carden in 4 weeks! There are a lot of areas in life in which I’m comfortable with uncertainty, but the big generalities like where we’ll live? I’m not comfortable without knowing those kinds of details.

I’m even starting to get really excited about things like setting up the nursery, even though we don’t have much in the way of furniture. We will, however, have the same wall hanging that I had in my room until I went to college–it’s a quilt of a unicorn in a field of flowers. And that’s all the direction I need to set my mind at ease.

Baby Hide?

After finding out on Friday that my parents would be at my brother’s on Saturday, I decided after my Saturday shift at work to take an impromptu trip to visit everybody. It was awesome. By far my favorite moment was trying to explain to Ava, who’s 23 months now, that Aunt Tanya has a baby in her belly.

Ava was very skeptical when Beth told her everyone was touching my belly because there’s a baby in there. “Baby?” she repeated, pointing to my stomach. “That’s right,” we assured her. Ava looked at me again. “Baby hide?” she asked. “Yes, baby’s hiding.” So Ava did the only thing that made sense–she lifted up my shirt to try to see where baby was hiding. She looked really confused when she couldn’t find a baby that way. So she pointed to my mom’s belly and asked, “Baby?” After asking if each person in the room including herself had a baby–then if the dog did–and being assured each time that only Aunt Tanya had one, she let it go.

I’m still not sure she believes that only Aunt Tanya has a baby in her belly, or that she does at all, but Ava still remembered that lesson the next day. After playing for a while, she climbed up on the couch, patted my stomach and said, “Hi baby!”

So cute. I can’t believe I’ll have one of my own soon!

How Will YOU Feed Your Baby?

I remember going to the clinic after I first found out I was pregnant. One of the first questions they asked me was, “Do you plan on breastfeeding?”

I had never really thought about it. In my naivete, I just assumed that’s what people did unless there was some reason they couldn’t. My mom had a good reason, for example–the almost dying and all.

So I answered in the affirmative, and they sent me on my merry old way. Since then I’ve talked to lactation consultants, mothers who breastfeed, and nurses who all push breastfeeding. Since that’s what I’m planning on doing anyway, it’s not really a problem.

But then yesterday, I went to my required WIC class. What was the subject? Why you should think about breastfeeding. As I said, I’m already planning on breastfeeding. But I still think this is getting ridiculous. Not in the least because in this most recent class she said things that are just downright wrong; namely, that breastfed babies have an IQ ten times higher than bottle-fed babies. (The study says it’s 10 points higher, and I’d love to know what study showed that and how it was conducted.) As a formula-fed baby myself, I started feeling like a second-class citizen. Like the people in Gattaca who had the misfortune of being conceived naturally instead of spliced together from the best parts of the parents’ genes.

There was one poor woman in the class who made the mistake during introductions of saying that she was planning on bottle-feeding. (Why does she want to bottle feed, you ask? Because her husband likes to help and loves bonding with the infant at feeding time. And because breastfeeding, especially in public, makes her uncomfortable.) She must have felt like a social pariah.

People rail against the social stigma women face if they choose to breastfeed, but I’m seeing just the opposite, and it’s ridiculous. Yes, there are obvious benefits to breastfeeding. But these people are acting like you’re the worst parent in the world if you bottle-feed and you may as well be feeding your infant poison as formula.

It is entirely possible, of course, that I’m overreacting. For some reason, I do that nowadays. Do you have any thoughts on the subject?

Without TV

Right now, Steve and I are getting free cable. That means the TV is on from about 4pm-9pm every day. I watch some cooking shows, then Law & Order, then Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy, then Bones. I say “I watch,” though really most of the time I just have the TV on while I cook, crochet, do my minimal cleaning, etc.

When we move, we probably won’t have free cable. Even if we do, we might ask them to turn it off. I don’t think using the television as a distraction is a good habit to be in when there’s a child growing up in the house. (Don’t hate; I’m not judging those who do it, it’s just not my thing.)

So yesterday was my first day of only turning on the TV when I was actually watching it, which was while I was eating dinner and while I was laying on my stomach with a heating pad on my back during which time I was incapable of doing anything else.

I know this isn’t a world-changing epiphany, but it made me realize that I am actually at a loss sometimes when I don’t have the TV on. I thought that since I’m not actually watching the shows most of the time it would be pretty easy to transition to life without it, but I’m glad I’m starting now.

What do you do without the incessant hum of the TV in the background?

What a Weekend!

This weekend was a wonderful mixture of eventful and self-indulgent. It began with an incredibly busy day at work on Friday during which we spent the first half of the day playing catch-up from the previous busy days and and the second half trying to prepare for the weekend, which we knew would be crazy. After work, I picked Steve up from school and we went to Fatz Cafe, where we ate so much I’m surprised either of us was capable of walking out of the restaurant. The rest of the day was spent recovering from our food overload. It was awesome.

Then came the Saturday work day, during which we catered sandwiches for about a hundred people (literally), had our usual Saturday crowd, and prepared for the big church party on Sunday. After a nap, I felt up to going with Steve to the free Bluegrass Under the Stars concert. It was quite lovely and fun. Even though we had to leave early–it was quite chilly–I had a great time. Not in the least because that was two nights in a row that I got to spend with my husband doing something other than sitting at home.

Then Sunday, the culmination of it all–my church had its first birthday! It was started as a church plant, and yesterday it was officially organized and accepted into the Nazarene denomination. I was accepted, not only as a charter member, but also as a member of the church board. It was an amazing service, and people from all around the community and beyond–people who have helped in so many ways since the idea of the coffeehouse church was conceived–were there to celebrate God’s provision for our tiny but wonderful church, Clemson: The Bridge Church of the Nazarene.

We celebrated the way all good churches celebrate important events: with a potluck lunch. The only thing better than fellowshipping with fellow Christians from all around the area is to do it over awesome food.

Then, of course, I went home for my Nazarene nap, and then it was time for Fiber Fun. It had been entirely too long since I’d seen my fellow crafters in the area, and I had a great time catching up. Also, I finished Baby Kara’s blanket! It is amazing, if I do say so myself:

It’s lovely and textured, and the color is much prettier than what this picture shows. I’m quite absurdly pleased with it. Finishing it was the perfect cap to a wonderful weekend.