Thursday, May 26, 2011

Off air

You may not hear from me too much the next few weeks, if for no other reason that my internet at home doesn't work and nobody is around much to fix it.
Besides that, we've:

--Been really, super busy with work.  Rob is working 80 plus hours a week and I'm clocking in next week with 50.  We're hoping it's an anomaly and things will slow down soon, but we're so short paramedics at work right now that I'm not holding my breath.

--Cleaning up after a 125-guest birthday party for Josh over the weekend.  Yeah, if we're going to do it, we do it big. (Pictures will eventually come, but I'm typing this at the library where I can't put pictures on)

--Had a young man who had no place else to go move in with us, and I've been busy playing social worker coordinator, hooking him up with community services through Catholic Charities and the county who can help him out.  Our goal is to get him into his own apartment in the next few months, but till then, he's living in the downstairs bedroom.

--Interviewed for a new job today.  It would be 2 days a week, 16/hours a week 8-4pm.  The plus side is that I would love working there, it is 911 paramedic service only, and the schedule would be wonderful.  The downside is that I would be working Sunday and Thursday, and those are Rob's days off.  But I would be home in the evenings, so we could still see each other(I would leave my current job or at least cut back to 8 hours a week)

--Remodeling.  Always, always, remodeling.

So that is what we've been up to.  We keep praying that life will slow down, but until we figure out exactly how to do may not hear from me much right now.

Monday, May 23, 2011


We've been so busy.
Too busy.
Busy enough that we woke up one morning and realized we had barely talked in days.  Realized that if something didn't change, we would wake up one morning and not know each other.  Wake up one morning and discover our son was asking for the car keys, and last thing we remembered he was a tiny baby.

I don't know what the final straw was.  Realizing we barely knew each other anymore?  Joshua taking his first controlled, unassisted steps--walking across the living room--at day care?  Josh throwing temper tantrums after not seeing either parent for 24 hours and often much longer?  His first birthday?
Or just plan weariness?

So we finally talked.  Decided--okay, I demanded--that Josh needs a parent primarily at home, a decision we've made before that never lasted due to either financial pressures or work insisting on scheduling me more hours a week than I wanted.   It can't be Rob right now; his company's baseline hours a week is 57 and he has picked up a side construction job for a few months.  Plus the extra overtime that gets mandated constantly.

So it's me.

Besides that, we realized we needed goals.  We needed to get control of our finances, there is no reason we have so little left over at the end of the month when our combined income is, well, closer to six figures than to five.   There is no reason we keep forgetting to pay bills--or we don't forget, but we're not home long enough to write checks. 
We also needed time together as a family.  Not just as a family, but we need to remember we live in a community, and not be so isolated and fractured.

We've made these decisions before.  They never last.  These decisions don't work well with our lifestyle, and we have no idea how to change a lifestyle.  So we decided, instead of making decisions, to just make goals to work towards.

Goals such as:

  • To be debt free, excepting mortgage and student loan payments(combined: $1000 a month), by the end of the year(completely doable, thanks to not using credit cards).
  • To invite a family over once a week, or twice a month in the busy summer months, so we can reconnect with people and feel like we have friends.  I especially want to invite over those who may not get invitations that often.
  • To go away for a weekend in June and August, and plan for a long, three week vacation in the Carolinas and Virginia come winter.
  • For me to finish nursing school.
  • To find a church we're comfortable in and attend it on a somewhat regular basis(not really holding my breath on this one)
  • To take Josh out of day care(a decision that made me cry, since I am firmly convinced of the academic and social benefits of day care) and put that money towards paying off the jeep and fixing up the house.

It's a start.
Not a great start, but a start.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011


I live in a world where bad things happen.
Little children get hit by cars and fall in pools.
Newborns don't get a vitamin K shot and die of intercranial bleeding before I can get them from hospital A to hospital B.
A young man has a headache and it turns out to be multiple brain tumors that he won't recover from.
A little girl puts part of a hot dog in her mouth when nobody is looking and chokes on it.  She will be brain injured by the time we get there and are able to pull it out with forceps.
A little boy is playing with the bottom drawer of a dresser and manages to pull it over on him.  He dies in surgery three hours later.

Part of my life?
You bet.

I tell you this so when I am over protective, when I choose things for my son that many parents write off or don't think is important, this is why.
It may only be a 1:10,000 chance that it happens to my child.
But it's my child. And when it comes to Josh, I don't play the odds.

A couple of people have been asking me to do a blog or a series on safety and medicine.  I can't give medical advice.  I'm not a doctor, and a blog isn't anyplace to do that.
But maybe I can explain some things.  Like why the government recommends that all children under 2 be rear-facing(infant bodies are not able to withstand the forces in a vehicle impact the same way that adults can and their brains are much more susceptible to whiplash injury).  Or why the Committee on the Nutrition of the American Academy of Pediatricians recommends that all babies get a Vitamin K shot within hours of birth(newborns have a significantly reduced blood clotting factor and are susceptible to unexplained internal and intercranial bleeding, particularly if it was a vaginal delivery.  Though it is a low number, 2-10 out of 100,000 births will develop life-threatning internal bleeding from this.  Vitamin K is not passed well through human breastmilk, no matter how much Vitamin K the mother takes or eats, and there have been no credible studies showing any harm from prophylactically giving Vitamin K to newborns.  What they don't tell you is that if you are really uncomfortable with the shot, studies have shown that 3 oral doses over a weeks time have the same effect).  I can explain why babies are susceptible to choking(a smaller airway), and why you need to take your 2-year-old to the emergency room if he appears to have a cold but is leaning forward and drooling(epiglottitis).  I can reassure you if your 18-month-old is running a high fever and has a seizure(go get him checked out, but febrile seizures, while scary, rarely have lasting harm.  To ensure that it was a febrile seizure and not something more serious like meningitis, though, the child needs to be evaluated by a doctor).

I grew up with a mother and grandmother who are RNs and a dad who is an EMT.  My schooling was heavy on medicine and science. And I am a critical care paramedic working on my RN. I can't tell you much about herbal remedies(though lemon juice and honey work better for a sore throat than any medicine I've ever had), but I can tell you how some medications work in the body.

So maybe I will start sharing a bit of what I know.  Again, I can't tell you how to medically treat yourself.  But I can explain away some of the mysteries of life.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Super Mom

I had today all planned out--a list of chores was written up, lunch with my husband so we could go over the budget I had drawn up in order to make sure we were on the same page, errands to run.  Josh was in day care today, so it was all going to work out.
And then at 7:45 my husband got a text message asking him where he was.  Apparently the all-day CPR class he had promised to help with was today, not next week.
And then at 8:15 my phone rang and it was work, asking me where I was.  Somehow the person who does scheduling somehow forgot that (a) I couldn't work today and (b) I've asked to work no more than 2 days a week, and I was scheduled for 4 this week.

So there went my day.
(My sister wanted the overtime, so while I went into work to cover for a few hours, she came to work the rest of my scheduled shift)

And this week, I'm working Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, and Rob is working tonight 5pm to tomorrow 5pm, Wednesday 8am-Thursday 8am, Thursday 6pm to Friday 5pm.
Did I mention that, in between this, I'm pulling off a first birthday party for Josh on Sunday with--at last count--125 guests?

I'm Super Mom.
And Super Wife.
But mostly, I'm just Super Tired.

Saturday, May 7, 2011


I got my first homeschool catalogue today.  Yes, I know it's a little premature, but I have always liked reading my mom's, so I decided to request some of my own.  I know which way I'm leaning--KONOS and Sonlight, with very little formal schooling in the early years, and heavy on science, math, history and critical thinking later on.  But I am homeschooling for the sole reason of being able to tailor the curriculum to meet an individual child's needs, so until Josh is older I won't make final decisions.  And even then, I want to stay flexible.

But for all my pro-homeschooling thoughts, I also know there will come a time when we need to put Josh in a private or public school, at least part time.  I would love to think that I can teach all grades and all subjects, but I can't, and I don't want Josh alone struggling through a textbook.  One thing I have noticed in homeschooling graduates is a serious lack of understanding and knowledge of upper level math and science.  I certainly had no opportunity to do lab sciences until college, and I do feel that my math in high school was lacking.  Yes, I have a thorough understanding of human biology and anatomy and physiology, and a passing knowledge of basic chemistry(at least acid/base), but it is nowhere near where I need to be in order to teach my child.   So if I cannot find someway for him to take lab sciences and higher level math as a teenager(and I'm not crazy about sending my 15-year-old to a community college), Josh will eventually find himself in a regular school.

Why is this important?  I have met people(mostly homeschoolers with no college education, but some public schoolers as well) who have no idea what makes a sound scientific study.  They don't know how to decipher what they read, so they rely on websites with dubious information and books to explain it to them.  Can I tell you how many people I have met who have no idea that for a scientific study to be considered sound, it has to be reproducible?  That is, the same study could be done in any random population and have the same results.  Or don't know how to tell if a study has been done in a randomized, large population, and why that is important? It is hard to read and understand drug trials, for instance, if you don't know what the terms mean, or the difference between an agonist and an antagonist drug, or you aren't sure about nerve receptors.  I took a poll recently and discovered that the majority of people think that formaldehyde is a dangerous toxin(it is, in large amounts--but our bodies produce it in small amounts every day, and it poses no threat in small amounts). These are things I learned in my basic, general education biology class at a community college, and things that I think are very important for my son to learn.

In this information age, where all sorts of conflicting information is available on the internet, I think it is very important for my children to have not only a solid grip on math and science, but also know how to critically evaluate the information they receive.   I have no interest in teaching my children what to think, but instead I want them to know how to evaluate those thoughts.   I want them to understand the different arguments of an issue and know for themselves what they think about it, whether it is gay rights, vaccinations, educational structures, or the type of church they feel most comfortable in. 
And I don't believe that I can do this all my own.  I don't believe that I can give my children every educational opportunity they need at my own dining room table.

So someday, though it saddens me, my children will probably leave my door for a formal school.  It may be third grade or seventh grade or ninth grade, but it will happen.  Until then, though, I hope to use our time together to instill a love of learning and a love of critical thought in my children, and when it's time, I will know to let them go.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Baby dust

We have decided to go back on Clomid this summer with hopes of conceiving another child.  The first medication I was on to hopefully decrease my insulin levels and reverse the effects of polycystic ovary syndrome on my body sent me into liver failure and landed me in the hospital for three days, and nobody is entirely certain the Clomid will work without it. 
But we will try.  This will most likely be my last biological child; while we have not and will not use birth control, we feel that this is our last go around with fertility treatments due to the side effects.

I will have another c-section.  I had an elective c-section with Joshua--and loved it.  Yes, I loved my caesarean.  When the doctor first presented it to me as an option, I was completely against it, but after a lot of research I truly feel that c-sections are the safest route of childbirth for the baby.   And then when my condition changed and my doctor no longer felt that there was a medical need for a caesarean, we strongly felt we should go ahead with it, even though it meant I would never have a vaginal birth(our local hospital does not have 24/7 anesthesia, and thus is not allowed by NYS to offer VBACS).   I've never been sorry I did; the cord was wrapped around Josh's neck several times, and he was pressed in such an awkward way that shoulder dystocia would have been a real possibility had I given birth naturally. 

What I never expected was how much this decision would fan the mommy wars.  I never realized how many women are rabidly natural childbirth and would never consider giving birth in a hospital, and find someone who would choose a medically unnecessary c-section to be an affront to them.   I don't understand this, for I think that if you are going to advocate the right of women to choose their own birth experience, it can't be just the experience you would choose.  No, you may not choose to have a medically unnecessary c-section, but I would never choose to have a home birth.  And yet, while I believe home births are dangerous and unwise, and have actually treated someone who died because she gave birth at home, I am not going to argue that the right should be taken away.  I may argue that the laws should be more stringent; that lay midwives should be prosecuted, that all women see an OB/GYN to screen for complications, and that all babies should be evaluated by a pediatrician within 24 hours, and that women who live more than ten minutes away from a hospital should be required to give birth in a birthing center, but at the end of the day, women have the right to do whatever they want with their own bodies.

Including me.

So, hopefully, come next April or May, I will have another scheduled c-section.  I know this will be my last, barring a miracle, so this time around I hope to savor every moment of the baby experience.