Monday, December 22, 2008

Thursday, December 18, 2008


2 years ago today, at this time, I was holding my baby who was an hour and 15 minutes old!  I can't believe the toddler I see running around my house full of energy and life!!  The days have been long, but the past 2 years have gone quickly.  Funny how time works like that.  I never imagined I would be celebrating a pregnancy by his 2nd birthday!!  So many changes!
As for Eric, the baby who took so long to hit every milestone, has absolutely taken off educationally speaking.  I only write this as  a reminder to myself, because I know I will look back and wonder when he learned all this stuff!  But as of December 18, 2008, Eric can:
Count to 10 and recognize the numbers 1-9
Recognize all the letters of the alphabet and tell you what sound they make.
He is working on knowing his shapes, but as of today he can tell you what a star is  (A "sto-wah"  :) ), a circle and a square.  I think he knows the other shapes, but they are too difficult to say.
He knows a multitude of animals, among his favorites: "pup" (puppy), "kitty-kitty" (cat), "duh" (duck), and "fih" (fish)
He knows more words than I have room to record, and he adds to his vocabulary daily.  The word he learned today is "horseshoe".  It amazes me that as many times as we have been over the animal itself, he could (or would) not tell you what it was.  But now he can say "horseshoe".
I'm sure there's tons more I am forgetting, but he's learned so much in the past 2 months, I can't keep up!
We celebrated his birthday a month ago where i was able to thrw him a party, so we didn't do much today.  I spoiled him a bit with pizza rolls and chesse balls for lunch and tacos for dinner with ice cream for dessert.  No presents today, though I did put his life size picture of John up in his room while he was preoccupied.  He was very excited to see "dada" when he walked in.  The best part of the day was telling him "happy birthday" and that he was 2 years old.  Not long into the day, whenever i would say "happy birthday!"  he would say "two-ah!"   
Yes you are, baby!  Mommy loves you!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

I Have A Baby Turtle's not a baby turtle!  But I did see my baby today!!'s been a long day, but very worth it.  Eric was up at 2am this morning.   I don't know why, but he was wide awake.  I tried to get him to lay down and go to sleep with me, but by 4am, I was done with him and but him back in bed, much to his dismay.  He also wasn't too thrilled when I woke him up at a quarter to 8am to head out the door.  "Night-night!  Night-night!"   Yeah right kid - get up! 
We got to the hospital early, which was good, because it took me 30 minutes to find a parking spot.  I was quite frazzled  when all the places that we normally park in were full.  I had no idea where else to go.  I managed to find a place behind the hospital for "expectant mothers" which was wonderful, because it was right where I needed to be at.  I was given a book of papers to fill out and was called in to see the nurse before I ever finished.  Things were moving right along.  We covered all the history of my forefathers and all that jazz they make you suffer through.  She asked if there had been any complications with Eric's birth, and I said, "YEAH...He was 10 pounds and his collarbone broke!"  I didn't expect anybody to pay any attention to me (since they didn't the FIRST time around) but I knew I was going to be seeing Dr. Jackson, and I was warming up for my fight.
There was only ONE doctor I did NOT want to see and that was Dr.  Jackson.  When we first met Dr. Jackson, we adored him.  Thought he was great.  Later in the pregnancy, I found him to be sarcastic, rude, and arrogant.  And most of all, he didn't listen when I said the baby was too big and needed to be taken out.  Two years later, I could tell that was something I was still very angry about, especially since I felt both I and Eric had been put at risk because of the vaginal birth.  And I did NOT under ANY circumstances want to go through anything like that again.  And I certainly did not want to be put with a doctor who was not going to listen to me and if they were going to insist that he be the doctor I see then I was ready to fight.  Not today necessarily.  I was prepared to see him this ONCE and then let the front desk know never to schedule me with him again.
The nurse put in for my blood work (as this was appointment 1).  I had over an hour before being able to see Dr. Jackson, so I went and had the labs done and let Eric run around for a bit.  I could tell he was getting tired of being there by this point, and the most important part of the whole day was coming up!  I didn't know what to expect, so I just decided to roll with it today unless they refused an ultrasound at which point I planned to throw a fit.
I was taken back immediately to an ultrasound room!  Nice!  Dr. Jackson met me and was quiet, kind, and gentle.  I introduced him to Eric and reminded him that this was child he had delivered.  He had read the report the nurse had written and asked about his size.  He kept asking me if they (the doctors) had been "surprised".  I told him yes.  I wanted to say, "But you shouldn't have been, because I kept TELLING YOU!!!!!!!!!"  He was concerned that Eric's birth had gone the way it did and he said, "There's a 25% chance that this pregnancy will be the same.  When this happens, we recommend a C-section".  I was stunned.  NO fight?  My  eyes lit up, "Really?  Really?"  He was taking me seriously this time.  And I didn't even have to say anything!  He told me giving birth to a child that large was very risky.  I felt an immediate wave of relief.  And I realized then how terrified I was to have to go through that again.  I confessed that Eric's birth had been a bit traumatic for me and I never wanted to have another baby.  He was very understanding.
He did the pap smear and the breast exam and then he immediately moved to the ultrasound.  I have been so consumed by the desire to know that everything is ok, that it's all I could focus on.  I was going on and on about the cyst and the sub-chorionic bleed.  He was listening and telling me he would check on everything.  I forgot for a moment that the ultrasound was for seeing the baby.  So while I searched for cysts and bleeds, it took me by surprise to see a baby on the screen.  The head, the big belly and the arms and legs kicking.  I stopped mid-sentence and started to cry.  I had a baby.  A healthy baby kicking around.  I wanted John to be able to be there to see it too.  It never ceases to be amazing.  I wish I could have sat there and watched it all day.  I always feel that way, I guess!  :)  But this was a diagnostic ultrasound, only meant for measuring.  And the baby measured in at 14 weeks - right on schedule!  He showed me the two legs and I didn't understand at first why he was showing me the legs until he said, "And there's between the legs - but I can't see anything yet."  And I knew it was too early for that, but it was sweet of him to try and point it out anyways.  If this had been Eric's ultrasound, I would have been studying the ultrasound like crazy trying to see SOMETHING - but I just smiled and was content not to know for the time being.  It was enough to see the baby.  The bleed was gone and he couldn't find the cyst.  I was so relieved.  He told me to get dressed and meet him in his office.  We had a lot to talk about. 
He was very patient with Eric's screaming fits by this point.  I was doing my best to keep him calm while talking to Dr. Jackson.  We discussed the C-section option further.  I asked if it was something I HAD to do and he said no but that he would strongly recommend it considering the history.  And once he found out about the muscles in Eric's neck not working correctly at birth, it further confirmed to him that a C-section was the way to go.  He asked how many children we were going to have and my eyes lit up as I realized where he was going with that.  I said, "This is our last one!"  and before i could say another word, he said, "we can do the C-section and the tubal all at once!"   This doctor was so in-sync with me today.  He seemed excited about tracking this pregnancy (which i still find a bit unusual) and he made my next appointment in Baumholder (I had to travel 40 minutes to Landstuhl hospital) where he will come to me.  He was ready to call and set up the next ultrasound for shortly after he would be seeing me (in 4 weeks).  I asked if I could wait on the ultrasound just a few more weeks until I was far enough along to determine the sex.  He was so open to that and said he would hold off on the consult until I saw him again.  Not only will I be getting an ultrasound, but it will be with a 3D/4D machine, so I will get a good look at the baby.  I didn't want to do that with Eric, but I do with this one.  We actually had one done with Eric, but it was when he was about 34 weeks along and so big, he was too squished to see.  The only thing we got a good look at was his little pudgy hands and the dimples where his knuckles belong.  To this day, his hands are one of my favorite things about him, because they remind me of getting to see him clearly that first time on screen.  And even 2 years later, they are still pudgy and dimpled like on the ultrasound.
In a 30 minute session, my fears about labor and delivery, permanent birth control, and the safety of the baby were all calmed.  Dr. Jackson even looked at his calendar to make sure he would be there to deliver the baby!  I feel so joyful and so relaxed.  The pregnancy has been easy and I know delivery will be too.  I love the thought of skipping labor and knowing the due date.  Now I KNOW all you women out there that have had C-sections are shaking your heads!!!  And I understand that this is major surgery and I will be hurting afterwards.  However, with a vaginal delivery, I was hurting for HOURS before, and weeks later.....I will be hurting regardless.  The difference is, I get to skip 2/3 of the pain AND I get pain killers!  I wasn't given any pain killers after a vaginal delivery, and man - those women need some FOR REAL! looks like this will be a scheduled C-section and tubal.  :)  Which I could not be happier about.  And...despite all my anger about how things went with the first pregnancy, Dr Jackson is doing a great job of listening , being understanding, and taking all the precautions I wish he had taken the first time.  Things could not have gone any better today.  I saw my precious baby and feel like I am starting to bond with it for the first time - now that I know all is well.  I will try to scan the ultrasound in, though it's not a good picture.  The next one will be much better!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Worst Week Ever

I don't know whose idea it was for me live alone with a 2 year old in a foreign country.  But it's a BAD BAD idea.
You've heard about the lock-out incident and I will give you the details in this blog, but what you don't know about are the events preceding that event and following that event.  I'm about ready to throw the towel in.
Because I wanted life to get back to normal as quickly as possible, I have been throwing myself into my "to-do" list.  Since I will be starting classes soon, I wanted to have as much done as possible so I could focus on that.  We spent Sunday recovering from the flight, did major grocery shopping and I put the tree up.  But for the most part, we took it easy and the day was uneventful.  That was our last uneventful day. 
I woke Eric up at 9am (tried for 8am - but even I couldn't make it up) to try to get us back on schedule, even though we had been up in the middle of the night.  I had lots of running around to do.  Eric was tired and cranky  It may be the only time in my life where I wake him up and hear him say "night-night!"  The day went well and I got some things accomplished.  I came home and decided to cook up some ribs.  I looked up on the Internet the best way to cook them in the oven and followed the directions to a T.  I added some carrots and I was ready to eat!  The ribs were not fall-off-the-bone tender, but they had cooked slightly longer than the suggested time, so I figured they were fine.  I tried a carrot.  The carrot wasn't tender either, but I figured vegetables probably take a little longer to get tender than it takes the meat to cook.  I fixed our plates.  Thankfully, Eric didn't touch his.  I had a rib and a half.  I considered throwing them back in the oven to see if I can get them more tender because they were awfully chewy.  And even though the carrots were still on the crunchy side, I still thought they were good, so I ate quite a few.  It wasn't an hour later, I was sick to my stomach.  It only took one trip to the bathroom to realize the ribs were undercooked.  I threw them back in the oven, and let my body finish "cleansing" itself!  Thankfully I wasn't sick really bad, and my guess is the raw juices had not cooked out of the carrots.  I cooked the ribs until the meat fell off this time.  Haven't eaten them since - but they ARE done!  I wasn't off to such a great start, but it was just a minor setback.
Tuesday I decided to stay in and get as many indoor chores finished as possible.  We got up at 9am again, despite the fact that we had been up for 3 hours in the middle of the night before.  I spent all day, cleaning, organizing, and unpacking.  The house looked great!  And I was so sore.  I still had a lot to do as far as organizing goes, but I decided anything left could wait.  All I needed to do was take trash out.  So I managed to sneak out of the house to take the first bag, but Eric caught me leaving with the second bag.  I heard him cry as I left, but knew he would be ok until I got back.  But I guess he was angrier about me leaving than I realized - because he locked me out.  I banged on the door encouraging him to unlock it, but he just cried and cried.  I couldn't get him to unlock it.  So I buzzed up to my friends and asked if they could break into my house.  Unfortunately, while we have turn lock, they turn and lock very similar to bolt locks.  It's impossible to get into.  Fortunately, we're on the first floor.  So we decided to try to break in through a window.  Unfortunately, German windows are very different from American windows.  There are 2 ways to open a German window.  They have handles.  It you keep the handle pointed down, it is in a locked position.  If you turn the handle to face the left, the window swings wide open.  If you turn the handle up, the top of the window tilts down.  Since it is winter, most of my windows were closed.  Fortunately (don't you love that?) I had opened Eric's window so the top was tilted down.  His curtains were open and we could see in.  He had given up and was laying on his bedroom floor waiting for me to get in.  My friend's husband, got up in the window and tried to figure a way to open it wide enough to crawl through.  Eric flipped out seeing this "stranger".  He slammed his head on the floor, forgetting that our floors aren't carpeted!  So then he was hysterical.  In pain, no mommy, and strange ppl standing in his window hollering at him to unlock the door.  We tried to call DPW (a service that helps with these sort of things) but they were closed.  We were told the fire department would unlock the door, I just needed to show ID.  But my ID was in the house!  So we had to cal the MP's.  Jenny called for me and bore the barrage of questions.  "Why is the 2 year old in the house alone?"  "How does a 2 year old lock a door?"  "Do we need to file child endangerment papers?"  I was ballistic by this point, because i didn't know if I was going to be charged with anything or if CPS was gonna show up.  But at least someone was on the way to open my door.  So we waited.  And waited.  And waited.  The wait got so long we figured we had better try to break in again.  Josh (friend's husband) looked at the window again and decided if he had the right tools he could break in.  My neighbor from across the hall suggested we just break the window and have someone come fix it the next day.  Just before attempting the big break-in, the MP's showed up - almost 30 minutes later.  They opened the door, and I went and scooped Eric up who was a basket case, and was shocked to see the big goose egg on his head. He looked so bad.  I sat down with him but the MP needed ID, so I had to set Eric down, at which point he broke back into hysterics!  It all looked so bad.  He filed his report and then he headed out.  I learned my lesson!  Don't leave the house without my keys!!  Eric knows how to lock doors!  I checked the first door I came to (his bedroom door) for locks.  There wasn't one.  Not any in the house that I was aware of.  What a relief. 
So today was a new day.  Last night was the first night we slept through the night!  Yay!  I was still exhausted from the day before and I decided to take it easy today.  Ha.  Ha.  I got to talk to John this morning, which was great.   I had warned him about the whole lock-out incident in an email, in case anything was said to him.  He thought it was all very funny. Everyone but the MP's thought it was funny.  John's friends joked about how I should get the "Mother-of-the-year" award.  THANKS GUYS! 
Josh showed up this morning to help move stuff down into storage for me and to do any "grunt work" I needed.  SO very helpful!  So He took some boxes down stairs for me and then he fixed a closet door that was off track.  He asked if there was anything else I needed.  I told him I could use help putting loose keys on my keychain.  Seemed like a stupid thing to ask for, but I really am not able to do it.  He gladly put the storage key on for me and then I said, "and my car key".  And I went to reach for my car key, but it was not hanging where it belonged.  So I looked in all the logical places.  My purse, my jeans, my jacket, the computer desk, the kitchen counter, the bedroom, the hallway drawer.....Nowhere to be found.  The last time i was in the car was to get a box out of the trunk.  uh-oh.  The key must be locked in the trunk.  Josh was going to break into the car for me, but I have power locks, and he wasn't able to.  SO guess who I got to call first thing this morning?  The MP's!! 
This was like the worst week of my life EVER.  They sent an MP out.  She was very friendly and understanding - so much better than whoever got sent out the night before.   My biggest fear was that the key was NOT in the trunk and that I had potentially thrown it away, but  I didn't know where else it COULD be.  Before we headed out, I put Eric in bed and told him to watch the snow and that  I would wave to him.  The MP said, "That was smart!"  I said, "uuh, yeah..he locked me out of the apartment yesterday"   So we set about trying to break into the car.  Once she pried the door open, our only hope of getting into this car was a long metal pole.  If we could just unlock the door, I could pop the trunk.  I watched helplessly as she tried and tried to push the button with this pole.  I suggested we try popping the trunk, since that would require lifting a button instead of pushing one.  But with the angle of the switch, it was impossible to reach.  So we attempted to pull on the inside handle with the pole.  Close, but no cigar.  Josh came out to watch and try to help.  He even brought out pliers to manipulate the steel pole into a better position.  Poor thing , she worked so hard to open that car and I think we all began to get a little worried, because if she couldn't open the door, we would have to call a locksmith service which would have cost at the very least 40 euro and I wasn't even sure they would be able to get on base.  Almost an hour later, the MP was able to push the lock in just far enough that Josh was able to grab the door handle and it came open.  Alarm and all!  But we were in.  So I tried to pop the trunk.  It wouldn't pop.  The other doors would not unlock.  The car was stuck.  The alarm stopped suddenly, and I frantically looked for what  I was sure John had told me was a "spare key" hidden somewhere in the car.  I found a key, put it in the ignition and the car started!  Yay!  So I popped the trunk, and we frantically searched.  No key.  We searched the whole car.  No key.  But i had the spare spare key (yes the SPARE spare!)  so I decided not to fret about it.  The trash I had taken out the day before was sitting on top of the dumpster and Josh offered to go through it but I wouldn't let him.  I thought it worst came to worse, I would buy another electronic key.  Josh did a few other things for me (this poor guy!!!)  and then left me to try to find the key on my own.  We figured Eric must have taken off with it, but even that didn't make sense, because while he would have found it and played with it, he still would have brought it to me.  He always does that with things that he knows don't belong to him.  And I couldn't imagine that I was SO brain dead that I would actually have thrown the key away but I have been known to do those sorts of things.  I told Josh I would NOT be looking for the key, because that's when items actually turn up.
I actually did keep looking though.  Just not frantically like before.  I looked in odd places where Eric had been playing - just in case.  I looked at the ONLY pair of jeans I had on the bedroom floor - the ones WITH the belt on them - which makes them the very LAST pair of jeans I wore, and still no key.  I don't know why the thought struck me, but I thought that I had better go look through the jeans I had put in the dirty clothes.  And the first pair I lifted out had that beloved key sticking out of the pocket.  Ugh.
ALL my keys are hanging in the hallway now.  I'm not leaving this house -EVER until John comes home.  And one of you reading this blog needs to book a ticket to Germany, because I really don't think I can survive 7 months, much less the rest of the day!!!