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Adapt and Overcome
Say a prayer but the good times roll; in case God doesn't show.
I'd like to take this moment to brag. I don't do it often but, honestly, I'm damn proud of myself so I'm going to brag. I passed all my classes my first term back into college! Now I don't know what my GPA would have been because I took all the classes as Pass/Fail. Why did I do that? Because I hadn't gone to school in ten years, and since I'm trying to get into medical school I didn't want to be freaking out about my GPA while trying to learn how to study and balance family life. I gave myself room to screw up. Not only did I do that but I also took the following classes: College Study Skills (3 credit), College Survival and Success (3 credit), and Managing Test Anxiety (1 credit).

The first thing I learned was how to organize my folders, something I've always been horrible at. This worked out fantastically at the end of the term in my Math class when my teacher was willing to give anyone extra credit if they turned in their corrected tests. Since I had all the tests in my folder under Tests and Quizzes it didn't take much work to get that turned in. I heard several students stressing because they had no idea where they had put those. Also since I always kept papers that were handed back to me it allowed me to maintain an accurate accounting of my grade in any class.

The next thing I learned was how to set a study schedule and the importance of doing so. Instead of just winging it and studying when I remembered, this allowed me to structure and plan my actions so I could keep on top of things. I also started tracking my assignments in a program on my phone that had things like reminders, importance and several other nifty features.

I also learned how to study. I can research and I can wing it but I've never studied before in my life. I skipped homework and aced tests because I listened in class but I never cared and I never studied. Things are different now and I want to make sure I'm not just passing the class (a C-D average does NOT get you into medical school no matter how cool you think you are), but instead mastering the class. I learned how to preview my textbooks, take effective notes, use coping techniques to manage my ADHD, how to prepare for a test, and how to relax before a test. I also learned how to use the school resources like the Student Resource Center, The Women's Resource Center (yes there should be a Men's Resource Center but that's a debate for another time), Counseling, Academic Advising, and several online tools I wouldn't have touched before. I also learned about the site ratemyprofessor.com and how important using it, and the people on campus, to find a good match for your professors really is.

Then, through both school and life lessons, I learned how to better balance school, health, family, and friends. Through my classes I learned of good places to study and ways to set up a good schedule, as well as being reminded of the importance of Interdependence vs going it alone. Through life I learned that I study better if I'm not at home, that Fridays need to be left for volunteering until I can get my equilibrium in the ICU waiting room, that I need to set aside time to spend with my friends, even if it's just studying together, and that I need to take all my classes at campuses closest to my home (at least while I'm living in my current place).

Once it came time to pick my classes for next term I was able to use this information to create a well balanced scheduled that would also allow for interdependence. I set up my schedule so that I am taking Calligraphy with my friend Tonia (who reminds me A LOT of best friend Mel) and, for two Saturdays, Dennis and I are taking Stress Management together. I've also got good blocks of time built in for studying and I'm flexible enough to be able to set more aside as needed (I haven't blocked out any night or weekend study time until I get a feel for what I need during my first week). I'm taking Yoga to stay active as well, and this class starts later than my dance class did because I learned that being there by 8:30 was just too trying on me twice week, especially when I then had to be physically active.

All this planning, analyzing, and buffering really paid off. As the term was just passing over midterms I was starting to slip. My morale was low and my stress was high. I was getting homework done but just barely and I was constantly exhausted. I barely spent time with the girls, and while I was fairly certain I still had friends, I hadn't actually seen their faces recently enough to remember what they looked like. I felt completely disconnected from everyone because what was I was doing was so different than what was going on in most of their lives. Then as I was struggling to keep my plates from crashing down, and to keep getting A's in all my classes, I got sick. Not a cold or even a bad flu. No, at the end of my period, my IUD slipped (something it had apparently been slowly doing over the previous three months, unbeknownst to me), and in fact that little piece of bent, pointed metal ended up resting on my cervix. So when my end of period cramps hit they cramped around a pointed piece of metal. I cannot begin to describe the agony that caused. After an ER visit, and subsequent OB/GYN visit, the IUD was removed and I was placed on pain meds and antibiotics. My pain went down but then plateaued so then I had to be put on more pain meds and more antibiotics. All in all it two weeks to recover, a week of which I was unable to do anything but lay in bed doped up.

By the time I got back to class the focus had shifted to final exams and final projects. While I was stressed and depressed because I had to miss school and my volunteer shift, I was able to take comfort in the fact that I could focus on just healing, instead of doing homework while sick, because since I had worked hard to maintain an A in the classes before and I had set my whole schedule up as Pass/Fail, I didn't have to worry about maintaining my GPA. I was also able to pivot my focus from health to finals more quickly since I didn't have to worry about a huge backlog of homework that needed to be caught up on.

I can say now that I passed all my classes and that it looks like I may very well have ended up with a 4.0 GPA or damn near even with all that happened. I believe that taking things Pass/No Pass allowed me to cut my losses when I was sick thus allowing me to heal more quickly, and then study more effectively once I was better, which meant I got a high grade even though I didn't do all the work. I came to appreciate the occasional need to cut your losses and stay focused on the future, as I could have obsessed on turning in all the assignments I missed but instead chose to sacrifice them and focus harder on the finals.

In the end my plan to take all my classes as Pass/Fail, take mostly college prep courses, and then working like my classes still counted towards my GPA, was phenomenally successful. I was able to learn a lot of valuable information, and I successfully over came the many challenges I faced both at home, and in school. I believe that going forward the lessons I learned here will help me build the structure and support I need in the terms to come, when I will need to have most, if not all, my classes counting towards my GPA (which needs to remain high if I want to be competitive enough to get into medical school). That structure and support will provide the buffers needed to allow me to succeed in all my classes even when I face serious challenges at home. Life isn't going to stop because I want a 4.0 GPA so I needed to learn how to roll with the punches without having to take a lot of hits to the head. I think I did that very well.

Go me! I nailed it!
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Sitting outside my home in Portland while Juniper scoots around on a blanket and Kimberly digs in her "garden". It's a beautiful cool sunny day. The garden Dennis is working on is really getting going. I know we have beans, lettuce and garlic planted but other than that it's all just pretty green leaves sticking out of the ground to me.

Kimberly has been attending a preschool. She'll be attending until mid-July then I'm going to decide whether to continue the schooling route or go back to my original plan of homeschooling. I haven't really decided either way and it depends in part school for me. She really enjoys the social aspect of school and getting out of the house. I haven't really found anything I can afford that will fill that need besides the normal school route. We'll see, I still have a year before she would be starting Kindergarten.

Speaking of which I'm hoping to start school this fall, maybe as soon as summer. I want to see about getting certification they offer at PCC for sign language interpreter. I'm considering learning Spanish as well and maybe starting down the path to get a degree in biology from PSU. I'll need to sit down with an advisor and map things out a bit more first. I may try and do that on Monday.

I've also started volunteering with the city as a "Transit Options Ambassador". Tomorrow is my first event. I'll be attending the Alberta Art Hop (http://artonalberta.org/arthop) to do tabling, which means sitting at a table and talking to people that come by about their options for getting around Portland. I figure it's a good job for me since I've been getting around Portland mostly by transit for over a year now. I even did it through pregnancy and a new baby. In fact little Juniper got her first bus ride in the Moby Wrap when she just 3 pounds 14 ounces on the day we took her home from the hospital. She was just a week old at the time.

Speaking of Juniper she's doing great! She's 8 months now and over 15 pounds. She LOVES being outside. In fact she gets quite fussy if we don't get out at least once a day. She's not as adventurous as Kimberly was at her age but she's much more outgoing.

Kimberly is doing great as a big sister though we're hitting the point where there's some difficulty with sharing. She enjoys taking care of Juniper and can definitely be a bit of a bossy-butt. I have high hopes that the two of them will remain close as the years go on.

I hope you are all well and I hope to be posting more soon. I've gotten bored with Facebook. LJ is just so much more substantial.
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So on Wednesday I get another c-section to take Juniper out early because I have pre-eclampsia again. Until then I am stuck in the hospital being monitored and waiting. I keep being reminded how much things are last time but my optimism fades in the early morning after sleeping alone. I want to go home to my bed and husband. I want to snuggle with my monkey and be pestered by my animals. I don't want to get sliced open again. I don't want someone yanking my baby out of me.

It's early and the Ambien hasn't completely worn off so I'm going to lay down more. I'm sure I'll have regained my composure by then.
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So my friend Courtney posted about how she watched A Baby Story on TLC and won't be doing that again since all the screaming and such was scary (personally I think those shows are deterrent to ever wanting to get pregnant but that's me). A few of her friends chuckled and told her not to worry that getting an epidural was her friend. I mentioned there were other ways to give birth and ease pain too (I really like the idea of hanging out in a tub myself). The difference in their stance and mine got me wondering again why I was choosing to give birth the way I was.

I have no real personal issue with epidurals. My friends Diane and Kat had them and Dennis's mom swears by it (6 kids all natural and if I remember correctly only got the epidural on the last one). While I understand the increased risk of more intervention and thus problems when you use it I don't see it as the evil that some women do so why not go that route for myself? I realized then that it wasn't so much a fear that the doctors will sweep in and take over anymore, though that was part of it when I first made the decision I wanted to birth outside a hospital, but rather an intense desire to be there, completely, for all of it even if it sucked.

When Kimberly was born I was put under for an emergency c-section. My mucous plug hadn't come out, my water hadn't broken, and I hadn't even experienced a Braxton Hicks contraction let alone a birth contraction. I ask Dennis repeatedly to tell me what it was like when she was born because I was unconscious. This complete disconnect was compounded by not seeing Kimberly for two to three days after she was born and not being able to take her home for another month. Now this time I want nothing separating me from the birth of my baby even if it hurts and sucks because last time it hurt and sucked but I didn't get to be there.

I've said it before and I'll say it again, I'll go through the same birth with Juniper as I did with Kimberly if, like it was with Kimberly, it's needed. If I need intervention of any kind I'll do it and barring some sort of screw up be grateful to the doctors for being there to give it but this time my biggest desire is to be there as completely as possible.
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So today I will officially state that I feel like I did a good job as a mom. I didn't yell a lot (which is a really bad habit of mine) and made every effort to meet Kimberly's needs and interact with her. I even stuck to my promise of going to the park (which is a mile walk there and another mile back) despite it being late in the day before we got out the door.

We had a great time at the park too. I pushed her a lot on swings (she even pushed me once). We went down the big slide three times. We did the big see-saw and the little see-saw (where I learned from a nanny there a cool rocket ship game to play). She played on the jungle jim for a while while I finally took a break. I even let her play on the splash pad which unfortunately ended in tears when she slipped in conked her head on the concrete. She's ok but it was a tough walk home after that and I ultimately carried her some of the way when she didn't want to walk anymore.

Overall, despite the sadness and tears from the hurt head, it was a good day. I have the best daughter ever.

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Is your cat plotting to kill you?
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Pregnant Women are Smug -- powered by Cracked.com
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So a friend of mine on Facebook posted this link: http://www.massagetoday.com/archives/2006/03/11.html with the following part highlighted " Pitocin was first synthesized in 1953, and became available for use two years later. By 1974, it was an established medical fact that its failure rate was 40% to 50%. In 1978, an FDA advisory committee removed its approval of pitocin for the elective induction of labor. Interestingly, the drug never was approved by the FDA for use in augmenting labor."

I read this and went "That seems odd. I'm sure I would have heard something before now on that. I'll go look that up". I googled "approved uses of Pitocin" and didn't get anything and then a lightbulb went off and I skipped the whole google part and went the FDA.gov instead. I looked up Pitocin and found the current approved label in pdf form. Guess what: It is approved for augmenting labor. Several other people had already commented on the article with things saying they had cross-posted the article and other agreeing statements. Clearly none of them had taken the time (ie the 7 minutes) to look up the information on the fda's site. So I posted the following response to the link:

"Except if you go the FDA site and look at the approved antepartum uses it shows that it is approved for that. Wonder why they got it wrong at massagetoday.com?


"Antepartum: Pitocin is indicated for the
initiation or improvement of uterine contractions,
where this is desirable and
considered suitable for reasons of fetal
or maternal concern, in order to achieve
vaginal delivery. It is indicated for (1)
induction of labor in patients with a medical
indication for the initiation of labor,
such as Rh problems, maternal diabetes,
preeclampsia at or near term, when
delivery is in the best interests of mother
and fetus or when membranes are
prematurely ruptured and delivery is indicated;
(2) stimulation or reinforcement of
labor, as in selected cases of uterine
inertia;...." (There is more but that doesn't have to do with labour).

Nothing hurts the birth choice movement more than misinformation."

People don't fuck around on shit like that!! This is medical and this is serious. Also the worst thing you can do for any cause is post and share misinformation that can so easily be proven false.

I will not get into the rant that started forming in my head when I saw that the article links Pitocin and Autism because I have a child to care for and need my sanity. /rant

Current Mood: angry angry

7 thoughts or Free your mind
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We got to hear the baby's heartbeat today. It was so awesome I almost cried. In two more months we'll find out if it's a boy or a girl.

Current Mood: cheerful cheerful

Free your mind
I am happy.

Current Mood: happy happy

1 thought or Free your mind
Ben and Jerry's start their own special dairy farm! I can't wait to try this!
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After 5 months of living in Portland I'm done. It's too cold and wet, and quite frankly the weather changes too often. I miss the consistency of Phoenix. You rarely had to worry about bringing an umbrella because even if it did rain it only did so in 10 minute bursts. So by this time next year I'm going to be back in Phoenix, just in time for summer.
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She would be Gir becase she acts just like this:

Especially the "I'm naked!" part.

Current Mood: amused amused

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Due date:10/31/09 (it really doesn't get cooler than that)
How did you feel when you found out you were pregnant?:Thrilled and terrified lol
How did you break the news to the other parent and to other key people?:Called and excitedly told him, nearly everyone else I told online
What are your thoughts about being pregnant and becoming a mom, or thoughts on being a dad?:I'm excited, calm, and scared
What things are you looking forward to after the birth?:After the birth? I don't know really because most of what I focus on is getting through the pregnancy
Other children's names/ages:Kimberly Jade age 3
Type of birth you are planning (natural/medicated/c-section, home/birth center/hospital):natural birth at a birthing center or maybe at home
Any special circumstances surrounding your pregnancy?:Not that I'm aware of....
Was your pregnancy planned?:Yup
How long were you TTC?:A month and a half
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So we're in the kitchen and I say "I'm pregnant" and the following exchange occurs:

Kimberly: "Oh I'm pregnant too"
Me: "No sweetie you're not pregnant."
K:"Why I not pregnant?"
At which point I bust up laughing because she's three and no immediately appropriate comes to mind. Dennis however was on the ball with this: "Because you're three". I think that's a perfect response since it answers the question without getting into the details.

Current Mood: amused amused

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I think I have fallen in love with Kimberly even more today as she asked, for the first time, "Why?". She had placed her guitar periously on chair and I asked her to move it. She looked at me with her head slightly cocked and asked "Why?". At first I wasn't sure I heard her right and then she repeated it so I told her it could fally down and break. She said "Ok Mama" and then moved the guitar to a safer location. I was so proud of her. I love watching her brain work and process.

I have the best Monkey ever.
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We gave Kimberly a spare iPod Touch and she has discovered Youtube. Currently she is watching this, a step by step guide to destroying civilization with nanotechnology:

Is this a bad sign? Or just harmless entertainment?
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I just checked my e-mail and apparently Dennis was overcome with geekiness during the night and sent me this message:

"Warning: Wife 2.0 has been infected with Trojan pregnancy2.0 virus"

Now I have a big smile on my face and am reminded once again why I have the best husband ever.

On a completely different note: It's really snowing outside! We have big huge flakes and it's so thick the restaurant near by is hard to see (except the big red roof). I hope a good bit of it sticks so we can go play in it. It looks like a snow globe gone crazy.
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So apparently some hackers are getting into mod accounts and spreading a virus using LJ communities. Here's the link to the lj post with all the info http://upstart-crow.livejournal.com/346623.html . It's a quick read but well worth looking at before you click on any links in your communities.
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