Saturday, February 23, 2013

3 Months Old

Duck is now 3 months old!

He giggles.
His hair is starting to grow in blonde.
He's growing in length much faster than in weight.
He's outgrowing clothes much faster than I would like.
He has slept through the night on occasions.
Starting to like his bink.
He loves peek-a-boo, watching his brothers, his play gym, and his flashcards.
He dislikes getting dressed, tummy time, and his vitamins.

(I really wanted to do a picture like I did at 2 months, but our desktop computer-where my photo editing software is- is having issues at the moment.)

This last month has passed much slower than the first two. Being away from Duck for 10-14 hours at a time has a lot to do with that.

I thought that, being an "experienced" mother, that much of the insecurities that plagued me during Bug's and Monkey's babyhoods would be gone. Wrong. They are still very much there. Thoughts such as...

Will he still remember that I'm his mother after spending much more time with the lady at daycare than he does with me?

What if I'm not able to keep up my milk supply and he doesn't get a year's worth of breast milk?

What if I miss all the important milestones?

I know, from the last two go-arounds, that ultimately, it doesn't matter. Bug and Monkey were only breastfed for 8 months and 6 months, respectively.  I might have not been there for the first rolling over, but it was still the first for me when I saw it. And Bug and Monkey, despite countless hours at daycare, still know that I'm their mother. And they are healthy, well-adjusted children who know they are loved. 

The same will be true to Duck.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Worse Case Scenario

Last night, we were all sitting around the dinner table.  Monkey was finishing up telling me about his day when something by his eye caught my attention.  I instantly stopped all conversation, pulled down his lower eye lid expose that the entire lower portion of his eye was bright red. Blood red. A huge blood covered area of his eye.

He instantly started yelling at me to let of him, that he was fine, and what was I doing? 

But in that instance, my mind started racing, running through differential diagnoses at light speed. Once we had ruled out trauma (he said no one or nothing had hit his eye), every other possibility, no matter how remote and unlikely, came flying at me.

What someone actually hit him, and he just doesn't want to tell me?
What if it's infected? It could be some awful bacteria or virus. And then what if it's contagious?
What if it's because he has some underlying bleeding disorder that didn't manifest until now?
What if his platelets aren't working, because he's thrombocytopenia because he has leukemia?
Dear lord, he has cancer!

I don't often talk about how being in medicine affects me. How it has changed who I am as a person.  How it has changed how I see the world. I am not the same person I was before my medical training. Granted, I was 22 years old when I started, and I would not be the same person regardless of what I had decided to do with my life. But medicine has changed me in ways that I never anticipated.  I am both more cynical and more amazed.  More confident and more scared. More full of knowledge but more aware of all the things I don't know. I have seen both recovery and death.  I have seen miracles and the saddest stories ever. I have seen such a broad array of diseases.  I have seen and or read about what I will eventually die from, what everyone I love will die from. I have seen every worst case scenario.

When it comes to my children, I usually play ignorance. I try not to diagnose my children. I feel that as a parent, I deserve the right to freak out just as much as a non-medicine parent.  I'm not my children's doctor. I'm their mother. But that fact doesn't calm my brain, doesn't stop the downward spiral I'm already in.

So there, sitting in the kitchen with my son, I  have already reached the worse case scenario. In 4 seconds flat, my brain had taken to from he's fine to my child has cancer. Without any evidence, without any actually proof, my brain has already comtemplated the possibility that scares the bejeezus out of me.

I start peppering Monkey with questions: Does it hurt? Is your vision blurry?

I looked at Hubster frantically.  "We need to go to the ER."

"But he just said his vision is fine and it doesn't hurt." 
"But there is blood in his eye!"

Eventually, Hubster talked me down. I snapped a picture of his eye and sent it to a friend. (That's one of the benefits of being in medicine: you know people.)  My friend texted back with a diagnosis of "subconjunctival hemorrhage." Could have been caused by sneezing, rubbing his eyes, etc.  Self-resolving. Nothing to worry about. No big deal.

Except that my mind has already gone there, to that horrible place that it often goes when I see the sick, bald children in the hallway of the hospital. What if that was my child? What would I do, how would I cope if my child was sick, horribly, horribly sick? Because I already know the course of these diseases, I already know how those stories play out. And it scares me. Because what's to stop the next little kid undergoing chemo and losing their hair from being my kid?  Nothing.

This morning, Monkey is fine. His eye is has a huge blood red area on it, enough to alarm teachers and friends.  But he's going to be just fine. But it's hard to shake that feeling I had last night, the mounting "What if's."

I slather my kids with sunscreen, make them wear their seatbelts and bicycle helmets, give them all recommended vaccinations, and keep them off of trampolines. But I know there is only so much I can do, that there are so many things I can't protect them against.

So I just give them extra hugs and kisses at night and try not to think about the worst case scenario.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Valentine's Day, Rated PG

While people around me are talking about going to fancy dinners and romantic dates tonight, Valentine's Day has become like all other holidays for us, taken over by our children.

Yesterday evening was spent getting dozens of Lego Star Wars valentines adressed in wobbly first grader handwriting. Gifts this year consist of Lego kits and some family friendly movies. There will be family dinner in the kitchen instead of a candlelit restaurant.

There will be bath time and story time and everyone in bed by 9 pm.

But there will be lots of hugs and handwritten notes and telling each other how much we love each other.

That's what this day is about after all, spending time with the ones you love.  Even when most of those people still have trouble tying their own shoes.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

The Family That Eats Together

Friday, I got off work late. It was after 6:30 before I was in the locker room, changing out of my scrubs. I texted Hubster that I was done and heading home. I asked him to get dinner started. 

"Already done," was the response. Yes, Hubster is amazing (and the menu helps a little too.)

I then told him to just go ahead and feed the boys, since between walking to the bus, the bus ride, and my drive, it would be at least 30 minutes before I would be home (which, on a tangent, is ridiculous, since I live less than 3 miles away from the hospital.)

When I finally came through the door a little after 7 pm, I found, not fed children, but children getting up to the table, the plates all served with burritos, cheese, sour cream, and steamed vegetables.

Hubster had kept dinner waiting, giving the boys a few chips to tide them over until I was home and we could eat together.

Is having dinner at 7 pm late, especially for a 6 year old?  Yes.  Would it be ideal to have a set meal time and feed the boys at 5:30 pm every evening?  Yes.  But is it more important to eat together than at a certain time?  We think so.

Years ago, when I was a new mom, and trying to be the perfect parent and impress everyone else with my mad skills (that didn't actually exist), I felt a lot of pressure to follow everyone else's example.  Other parents told me that their children always ate at 5 pm and were always in bed by 7:30 pm. At the time, I was a medical student, and often didn't get home until after 7 pm. If my children went to bed at that time, I would never get to spend time with them.

So eventually, Hubster and I got over having to do what everyone else did, and just started doing what worked best for our family. And the most important thing we could think of was that we eat dinner together, every single day that we can.

And that's what we have done. When I'm working a night shift and have to leave the house by 5:30 pm, we eat at 4:30 or 5. When Hubster or I have to be late, we eat dinner at 7 pm or even later. It doesn't always work. Sometimes I have 24 hour calls, sometimes my shift doesn't end until 11 pm. But sometimes even then, Hubster brings the boys to the hospital and we have dinner together, even if that dinner is McDonald's.

We all sit down, put away our iPhones, take the toys off the table, and sit down and eat.  Everyone eats the same thing.  (Correction: everyone is served the same thing. I attempt to get the boys to at least taste everything.)  We talk about our days, or talk about Legos, or talk about the future, or tell silly jokes, or talk about movies, or talk about how cute Duck is.

This might not happen at the same time every day. Sometimes dinner is served a little cold, having had to wait on me.  Sometimes the boys refuse to eat anything off their plates. But the important part is that at the end of every day, we are all around the table, talking, together.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

February To-Do List

When I made a list of goals in January, I thought I was making a list that was realistic, doable, manageable, a list that pushed me just enough.  And then my maternity leave ended, I went back to work, and everything almost fell apart.

We are all hanging in, still trying to figure things out.  As stressful as things are, it almost seems silly to see how I did on my January goals, since I'm just happy I survived that month.

But here we go:


January Goals:
- Exercise for 30 minutes at least 4 times a week: Fail. I did this for two weeks.  And then not so much...
- Only have dessert once a week: Fail. There were too many wonderful desserts in my house in January. Hubster made cheesecake and I couldn't let it go to waste.
- Lose 5 pounds: Fail.  Which is not surprising since I failed the first two, which were supposed to help me with this one. But this is only a partial fail.  I'm down just over 3 pounds (I know that sounds like nothing, but it's not.)
- Find childcare for Duck, return to work, and NOT have a major breakdown while doing so: Success. Kinda. The breakdown was not major.
- Attend church twice: Fail. We went once.  And then it was cold the rest of the month.
- Clean out my closet: Success
- Schedule a dentist appointment: Success
- Start my board study: Fail
- Finish the book I am reading: Success
- Clean up this blog (take care of the tabs that lead to nothing, write my About Me page, etc.): Success.  If you haven't checked out my About Me page, do.  I sort of like it.  Let me know what you thing.

Actually, now that I look at it, I didn't do nearly as bad as I initially thought.  Which means I'm going to be crazy enough to do this again.

February Goals:
-Work out as a family for at least 10 minutes 3 times a week
-Match my January weight loss
-File my taxes (or have Hubster file my taxes)
-Board study: at least one keyword a day, and all my review questions by the end of the month
-Finish my licensing paperwork

February is a short month, so I'm making a short list. 

Now, if only the days could be a little bit longer.

Sunday, February 3, 2013


Dear Mini Van,

I know that I've spent many years ridiculing you and how you represent the stereotypical large family, with a crazy stay at home soccer mom, a back windshield plastered with a stick figure family, and toys falling out of every door. Previously, with my two kids, I was snobby about my non-mini van family.  Now, with everyone all cramped together, car seats galore, and climbing over the seats and each other, you sure are looking good.

New mother of THREE


Dear 49ers,

Congratulations on making it to the Super Bowl.  It's been a very long time.  (Although I would have loved this moment even more if you had stuck with Alex Smith.)  Now please, please, please, for Hubster's sake (and by extension, all of ours), continue your perfect Super Bowl record and win tonight.

A fan by marriage

Dear SUV, DVD player, desk top computer, oven, iPhone charger, garage door opener, hot water heater, and kitchen chair,

Please stop breaking.

Homeowner without unlimited income

Dear residency,

We've spent a lot of time together over the last four years.  It's been a rocky relationship.  I'm sure that at some point, I'll be able to look back and realize all the things you did for me. That's I'm a better person because of you.  Today is not that day. It's not me, it's you.  You can't get done with fast enough.

Counting down the days

Dear Duck,

You are getting cuter every day.  Could you just not grow up quite so fast?

Your absolutely smitten mother

Dear Internet,

Could you please stop having so many wonderful things on you?  Boards are in July, and that study book isn't going to read itself.  But with every thing on The Onion, and Slate, and Facebook, and blogs and Pinterest, and YouTube, it may have to.

Someone who clearly isn't studying right now

Dear Baby Fat,

I hate you.

Someone who doesn't even remember her pre-pregnancy body