Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Fancy Nancy

Okay, I'm not proud of it, but I used to be a judgey-wudgey bear.

Okay, I'm not proud of it, but I probably still am a bit of a judgey-wudgey bear.


Now, I have shat out two children and have earned the right.

Under no circumstances do I want "Parenting Advice" (i.e. random facts someone heard once about babies, veiled in judgement) from someone that doesn't have children.

But, But, But, But:

I have lots of cousins.

But, But, But, But:

I used to babysit all the time.

But, But, But, But: 

My neighbor has kids and I watch them every third Saturday for an hour and a half.


Wrong answer, but good try.

Come back when you have stretch marks.

Things uttered by the bad childless friend (also goes by the aliases  "Fun and Fancy Free" (FFF), "Fancy Nancy" (who does that bitch think she is, always in real pants.) and "Judge Judy."

1.  "Wow, little Horatio is still waking up in the night to eat.  Geez, babies are supposed to be able to go twelve hours with out eating by this time!"

2.  "Goodness, little Henrietta still has a pacifier when she goes to bed.  Man, she's creeping up on three.  You better get rid of that or her teeth are going to be really messed up."

3.  "You give Franklin M&Ms if he behaves at the grocery store and stays in the cart.   Well, I guess bribery is one way to do it..."

4.  "Fart blossom isn't pooping in the potty yet!  Wow, she's four!"

Really, you don't say!

5.  "Just let them cry it out."

Sure thing, FFF.  That always sounds like such a great plan at 9:00 pm.

Oh how the picture looks different at 1:00 am. 

Do you want to come over at 3:20 am and listen to two hours of screaming, all the while knowing your other child will be up at 5:45 am come hell or high water. Or do you want to pop that paci back in???

6.  "Just turn the monitor off!" 

Another one of my favorites!

The joys of the "Starter House."

You don't even need a baby monitor.  You can hear a mouse fart when your bedrooms are two inches apart.

7.  "Why are you always late!?"

Hmmm.  That's a tough one.  Coming from a neurotically punctual person, who could never even grasp the concept of lateness:

"I mean, why don't they just get up earlier and give themselves more time... or leave earlier...there's really no excuse."

I'm pretty sure Jesus heard those words come out of my mouth at some point, as he has spent every day of the last two years making me regret them.

Children don't have organs, they have accidents.

They are chalk-full of accidents.  In every conceivable way possible they will slow down the process of whatever you are trying to do.

If Jesus had a toddler with him, it would have taken four days and nights to rise.

Count on it.

Preschool start time is 9:00 am.

I start getting them ready to leave at 7:00 am, yet somehow we are still always running through the parking lot at 8:59, with me yelling,

"Henry, show Mommy how fast you can run!!"

Things spill, people poop (ALWAYS two minutes before you walk out the door) and keys get "hidden."

And your toddler will not remember, ever, ever, ever, what happened to anything.

That is the only fact of parenting you can truly count on. 

8.  "I just can't stand to not wash my hair every day!"


9.  "You must enjoy napping while they nap!"

You know what, damn it, I do enjoy it!

It doesn't happen often, and on the occasions it does, I earned it.

So yes, I do enjoy it.

Keep telling yourself that because I get to nap for an hour during the day every two months my job is way easier than whatever it is you do.

10.  "When I have kids..."

Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.

Sorry I tuned out because whatever you're saying is not going to happen.

I'm just going to save every mom, everywhere the time and energy: 


Unless, you have stared down the barrel of 2:15 am, a screaming toddler, a baby with croup and a double ear infection and a wake up time that even the devil can't conceive, I don't want to hear about how bad a pacifier is for my toddler's teeth.

We all know Judge Judy.  We all love Judge Judy.  She is a great person.  She just doesn't have kids.  Yet.

But we will rest comfortably (and slightly smugly) in the fact that she will someday.

And that fact alone, is enough to keep us going.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

The Check-Out Hood

I find myself a little scatterbrained as of late.  That being said, I'm having terrible trouble forming coherent paragraphs with a clear message. 

So lists it is for now, ladies and gents.

We are in the thick of toddlerism here.  Sometimes it's funny.  Oftentimes maddening, with a fair bit of completely embarrassing thrown in for good measure. 

Toddler Survival Tips/Unexpected Nightmares/Fooling the Toddler/ Why Didn't Anyone Ever Warn Me About This?

1.  They have been watching.  Yes, this whole time.

If we learned anything from Jurassic Park it's that we should all be scared of the Velociraptors.

Because they learn

Toddlers are tiny velociraptors.  Everyday they kick metaphorical pebbles at the electrified fence that is your mental and emotional stability.    

They are searching for weaknesses.  Flaws in the system.

They will find and exploit the weaknesses. 

2.  Toddlers are master manipulators. 

See #1.

The first time you realize that, "I wub bu momma" is not just a sweet sentiment whispered by your sensitive and adorable toddler, but actually the first step in an intricate dance to acquire Teddy Grahams. 

3.  Toddlers learn new words at an alarming rate.  While you may struggle with understanding their quickly growing vocabulary, no clearer words will ever be uttered than in the presence of judgemental outsiders. 

i.e.  grocery store clerks, preschool/daycare teachers, other moms.   

So when you pick your son up from preschool and the teacher pulls you aside and says, with an extremely concerned look on her face, that your child has said,

"Mama, divorce.  Mama divorce." several times.

You will then be forced to explain that it's because as you were flipping through US Weekly, you mentioned that you couldn't believe Bethany and Jason were getting a divorce. 

And then you have to face the questioning/disapproving look as the teacher tries to decide what is worse: 

That she thinks you're trying to cover up your own divorce; or that you read US Weekly to your toddler like other moms read bedtime stories. 

Telling her, "It's no big deal, he also knows the words 'faux hawk' and 'rehab'," will not help the situation.

Trust me.

4.  Toddlers are like little shadows. 

I have become so accustomed to this that I stopped giving it a second thought, long ago.

This results in your now very verbal toddler making descriptive proclamations to all who will listen.

In the check out line at Target,

"Mama poops."

"Mama poops brown."

When Henry's vocabulary includes the words 'mangled', 'saggy' and 'varicose veins'.  I know I'm going to have to be more careful of his whereabouts when I get out of the shower. 

5.  Television is not the enemy.  I don't know how many times I've heard that television is bad for my kid. 

Well, sure, if I plop him in front of it all day. 

But in doses, my friends, the television is your ally. 

It can buy you a few minutes to vacuum a room, scrub a poop stain out of your couch, sit down for five minutes to hook a baby to the old boob, or talk on the phone with your therapist....

I mean friend. 

Henry knows all of his letters and most of the accompanying sounds. 

And I can guarantee that is about 80% Super Why and 20% me/preschool.

Maybe 95/5.

6.  Another benefit of television occurs when your child adopts a favorite show.  You can use fictional television characters to get your toddler to do whatever you want.


Henry, Caillou loves to brush his teeth.

Henry, Caillou doesn't sit on his sissy's head.

Henry, Caillou loves to go to bed, it's his favorite.

Done and done.

7.  Check-out lines are toddler minefields.

I am in the process of devising some sort of hood that I can put on Henry's head while we wait to check out.

The presence of candy bars, match box cars and any number of other trinkets is just too much for him. 

I know the "Check-out Hood" sounds drastic, but I'm quite sure if I make it out of burlap, twine and decorative felt flowers it will become an overnight Pinterest sensation.

I never realized how much women love burlap (?)

8.  Don't fall for "kid's salons."

They woo you with their bright colors, fancy chairs and prizes, but I'm concerned that the employees have never actually learned to cut hair.

They have, however, watched Dumb and Dumber.

Capturing Henry's stunned attention was easy, I just said, "Hey look, there's Caillou."

Works every time. 

9.  Toddlers poop like adults.  

It's terrible and hideous and it'll give you nightmares.

As my husband so eloquently stated, "There's meat in that diaper."

10.  A toddler would eat a turd if it had Parmesan cheese sprinkled on it. 

Friday, January 11, 2013

A Different Viewpoint

If you're looking for something funny to read, you might want to keep moving. 

Cause mama's 'bout to vent.  And it probably won't be funny.  (It will probably be full of run-on sentences.  And it will contain no actual data that required research and reading articles...who's got time for that?  Just me, getting pretty damn fed up.)

I had to stop watching A Baby Story.  This used to be one of my staple shows.  I loved it.  I didn't even mind the birthing bathtubs and chanting peace mantras.  Whatever floats your boat. 

(From personal experience I can say some prettttty creepy mess comes out of the business-end before, during and after labor; the thought of soaking in those juices made me heave. So we opted out of the birthing tub.  But no judgement.  You work that tub girlfriend.)

I had to stop watching it because I just got so tired of hearing mothers talk about the "birth experience" that they wanted. 

Nay, expected. 

I got tired of hearing, "Women have given birth for centuries with no medical intervention.  Our bodies know what to do." 

While this may be true, please consider how many infants died throughout the centuries in these unassisted, squatting-in-a-barley-field births.  Probably upwards of 50%.  (Just throwing that out there.  There is NO factual data that supports that statement.  Just logic.)

Then the other day I had the misfortune of stumbling upon some "article" someone had posted on Pinterest that EVERY FUTURE MOTHER MUST READ!

Ahh, just the stuff I love (If you couldn't tell from my blog.)  Please enlighten me Pinterest!  (I am the most willing and avid student of Pinterest that has ever lived.)



That's a bold statement.  Now I'm really interested. 

I love the Internet.  I love google.  I love having information at my fingertips. 

I do not love that anyone can post things on the Internet (irony?)  I do not love that people can post data, possibly out of context that can affect many peoples' important decisions.

If you are a mother doing research on giving birth, I congratulate you.  You are being proactive and trying to gain all the information possible to have a healthy birthing experience.  And most importantly, a healthy baby.

(I fear, in this day and age, the "Birth Experience" of mom has come to lie in front of "Healthy Baby" in the grand order of importance of things...) 

Oh, you want to give birth on the beach, listening to the waves and have a sea turtle lick the cheesy mess off your baby so it can become one with nature right out of the womb?  GREAT!  Go right ahead!

I'm afraid a well meaning mother may come across articles that villainize western medicine and medical intervention. They may see the statistics that tell them they are 95% (a complete shot-in-the-dark percentage, totally made up) likely to have a completely normal, uncomplicated birth with out going to the hospital and enduring the wrath of all those evil nurses and doctors. 

How dare those evil nurses stick you with a needle and start an IV!  How completely unnecessary!

Unless, of course, an emergency arises and they need to do an emergency c-section to save your baby's life.  Actually it's life and it's brain function.  Or your life. 

Your life with your new baby...who now may or may not live because they had to take two extra minutes to start an IV.  Two minutes is a long time to a fetus that isn't getting enough oxygen to its brain.  Or God forbid, you start to hemorrhage.  Two minutes is a long time when you're losing blood at an alarming rate.

How dare those bitchy nurses make you wear fetal heart rate monitors!   How dare they expect you to be tethered to a machine while you're in labor. Don't they know you need to walk and chant and bounce on your exercise ball and go to the cafeteria for frozen yogurt?  After all, intermittent monitoring is proven to be just as effective!  Yes, how dare those nurses tether you to a monitor.  It really is useless

Unless, of course, your baby isn't tolerating the contractions as well as you think he/she is.  Unless your baby has a knot in its umbilical cord, and that knot starts to tighten as it reaches zero station.  Unless your placenta abrupts. Unless any other number of things happen that affect the blood flow to your baby.

When the blood flow to your baby is affected or the baby is not tolerating labor it drops its heart rate.  It drops its heart rate and hopefully it rebounds back up.  Hopefully, your intermittent monitor catches one of those episodes.  Hopefully, that umbilical cord knot you had no way of knowing was there doesn't start to tighten right after they get done with that intermittent heart rate check.  It'll be another 30 minutes until they check again.   I wonder what that would do to your baby?

I'll tell you what that would do to your baby.

Your baby's brain would slowly be suffocated.  It would not receive enough oxygen to maintain its metabolism and it would start to die.  When they did check your baby's heart rate again, it may be 30.  It may be 56.  It may be 85.  There might not be a heart rate.

A sustained heart rate of 60 beats per minute is when we start doing chest compressions in the neonatal intensive care unit.  That is when your baby would be ventilated with a bag and mask or other resuscitator. 

That is when your baby starts to turn blue.

When your birthing team realizes that an emergency is taking place you will need a c-section.  They will get your baby out as fast as humanly possible. 

And it won't be fast enough.

His Apgar scores will be zero at one minute, zero at five minutes. 

And, just maybe, they manage to revive your baby after five minutes.  Maybe his ten minute Apgar is two. 

That means your baby was dead...dead...and then barely alive.

The baby will mostly likely go on a cooling blanket to lower its core body temperature and try to save some brain function. 

He will most likely be diagnosed with Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy (HIE).   This means that the baby's brain degenerated drastically because it suffered a prolonged period of inadequate blood supply or oxygenation. 

Your baby most likely will have lost his reflexes.  He won't suck a pacifier.  He won't suck a bottle.  He will get fed through a tube that goes directly into his stomach.  He will be sort of floppy because he doesn't have the brain function to maintain adequate muscle tone.  That means his airway will be floppy too.  He won't be able to manage his secretions by swallowing and coughing, so a nurse will have to suction his airway when they start to build up.  Or about every 15 minutes.  If he doesn't get suctioned he will go into respiratory arrest and he will die. 

This is just a snapshot. A horrifying picture.  But I paint it because it's important.  I had a completely healthy pregnancy with my son.  I was not overweight, I was not diabetic. I followed all of my prenatal instructions explicitly. 

After my son was born we saw that he had a knot the size of a nectarine in his umbilical cord. 

Thankfully, it never tightened.  It never affected him.  At least that we saw on the monitor. 

But I rest comfortably in the fact that I was monitored.  Had something gone wrong, we would have known immediately. 

He would have been out immediately.  And that still may not have been fast enough.

But I would know that he didn't suffer because I wanted to labor on the beach.

The point of this post is not to scare pregnant women or expectant parents.  Quite the opposite.  It is meant to paint a picture of reality.  While there may be a 98% chance that everything will go perfectly, I challenge you to think of the other 2%. 

What they wouldn't give to change their situation.  To have made a different decision.  To decide that maybe the ability to jaunt around freely during labor wasn't so vitally important.

I don't understand why parents make every change expected of them to keep their baby safe during pregnancy and then question every single safety measure when it comes time for the birth.  When it comes time for the birth everyone wants to hand out their laminated birthing plan, detailing which interventions are acceptable and which are not. 

Everything that happens in the hospital is designed to get your baby out as safely as possible. 

Hospital protocols are not arbitrary.  They are not designed to make you feel trapped and unnatural.  They are not designed to lessen your birth experience;

Hospital protocols are put in place because of extensive research and past experiences.  Past tragedies.

Hospital protocols exist so that the terrible thing that happened to a bunch of people before you, doesn't happen to you. 

Doesn't happen to your baby.

I am a nurse.  I am a neonatal intermediate and intensive care nurse.  I have a job because things go wrong.

I wish things always went smoothly.  I wish I wasn't needed.  I would pay good money to unsee some of the things I have seen at work.

But I can't.

If you are pregnant, congratulations!!  You have wonderful things in store for you.  The odds are in your favor that everything will go perfectly :)  I want you to have the best birth experience possible.  I just felt I had to share the view from the NICU. 

It is a place I don't want to meet you. 

(I just know this post is inviting a whole bunch of people to chew my ass out and thow statistics and midwifery text books at my head.  Have at it.  This was just one person's opinion.  One side of the story I've never seen shared, and I thought it was just high time.)