Friday, November 25, 2011

Down syndrome is focus of new blood test for pregnant women

I thought this was a good, balanced article.

Down syndrome is focus of new blood test for pregnant women

The test (from a competing company) was supposed to be ready before I became pregnant with Teddy but was delayed. I understand and sympathize with the concerns many have about the non-invasive diagnostic test but am glad it's available, would have used it with my last two pregnancies (I had the far more painful, dangerous, and scary CVS instead) and would definitely use it if I became pregnant again. With my first pregnancy, I had amniocentesis.

Choosing to have Ellie was one of the most intense and defining moments of my life. In that moment - though I had already been pregnant and excited and preparing for months - in that moment I became a parent. I became an adult. Being Ellie's mom fills me with intense joy and devastating pain.

Similar states, of course, are common when loving and parenting any other child.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thanksgiving 2011

Table for 10:

Child #2 vs. Thanksgiving dinner - dinner wins!

Child #3 vs. Thanksgiving dinner - child wins! If I hadn't taken Teddy to bed, I'm relatively certain he'd still be eating. The big hits: TURKEY, mashed potatoes, and sweet potatoes.

Monday, November 14, 2011


Tonight I called 911 for the first time in my life. I was driving in the left lane down Kirkwood Road (a major street) between Target and Sports Authority. I slowed when I noticed traffic - three cars - stopped in the right lane. As I drew even with the stopped cars, I realized that there was a man lying in the street in the middle of the right lane. And the waiting cars were honking.

I don't know. Maybe the guy was playing a prank and lying in the highway for fun. But I kinda figure that if a pedestrian is lying in the street he deserves the benefit of the doubt that there's a good reason he's there other than that he's just trying to delay your trip.

I stopped, pulled out my phone, and called 911. A man stepped out from a nearby bus stop/shelter, walked up to the man lying in the road, and dragged him to the curb. Now both lanes were "clear" and it didn't seem to make sense to continue blocking all southbound traffic, so I proceeded slowly while still talking to the dispatcher. I gave her my name, confirmed my phone number, and answered her questions. She assured me that she would send police to check it out.

I stopped off for coffee at Dunkin' Donuts, and when I got back to my car I saw two police cars, two ambulances, and a firetruck. The man from the street was sitting on the curb as medics brought over a gurney. Maybe he was "just" a drunk. Maybe he was homeless. Maybe he was ill. Maybe he was struck by a car.

But for heaven's sake, why on earth were people honking their horns at him and why hadn't anyone else already called 911?!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Disneyland 2011: Privations and Pratfalls

We had a wonderful, fabulous time at Disneyland. And I'll write a more detailed trip report than anyone wants to read. But our misadventures make a funnier tale.

T-3: One child develops a fever.

T-2: Paul gets called out of town on a last minute business trip right before our vacation. By leaving his meeting early he can get home at 11:00 PM the night before our trip. We leave the house at 4:30 the next morning. Yes, 5 hours after he returns home. This sucks because, a) he's exhausted, and b) I need to do a great deal of the packing and preparing by myself with the "assistance" of three small children.

T-1: I try on the custom-designed shirt we've ordered for each of us (yes, we are a family who matches clothes each day at Disney. why not?) only to find that - lo and behold - it's shrunk at least two sizes after its custom dye job. Everyone else's white shirt is fine, but mine is thin, skin-tight, and the Mickey ears form an unfortunate ring-around-the-breasts design. So . . . I drag two children - one still with fever - out to shop for another shirt to go under the disaster shirt, figuring that if I layer 3 shirts together I can make myself into a featureless sausage casing, in this case a preferable alternative. (It works, more or less.)

Trip Day 1: "Ma'am, that beeping sound means that you've been randomly selected for additional screening." I pride myself on making it through security without slowing down the line at all, no matter how many electronic devices or small children might be in my party. Today is no exception, except that Teddy and I are "randomly selected for additional screening" on this trip - in both directions! The helpful TSA lady brings me my bin after my infant and I are cleared . . . and somehow I become permanently separated from my clear plastic baggie of lotions, medical ointments, sunscreens, etc. I don't realize the oversight until we're in the air.

Trip Day 2: Safe! While waiting in line for a map I notice Paul and the children greeting Mickey Mouse. Hooray! I skip the line and sprint across rain-splattered asphalt to rejoin my family for photographs. Oops! Slick spot. I slide LOUDLY into a metal trashcan as though I'm stealing home. Over a week later, my knee still hurts a bit. My pride has recovered somewhat.

Trip Day 3: Please don't call child protective services. Ada's on-again/off-again fever strikes and she falls asleep in the stroller. Ellie really wants to paddle canoes.(Did you know that you can do this at Disneyland? Win!) So I find a shady spot alongside a wall, Paul parks the stroller with Ada inside it, and I hop up on the wall and cover up modestly to feed the baby and let him nap on my lap. After a quiet, relaxing interval, Paul and Ellie return. Paul brushes past the stroller, whose brakes are apparently not engaged, and . . . the stroller rolls across the slanted walk and crashes into the landscaping 10 feet away. Ada (not seat-belted) tumbles out into a bush, wakes abruptly, and begins crying. We discuss the episode later that afternoon. She thinks I'm kidding and has no memory of the fall whatsoever. Whew. "That would be scary," she says.

Trip Day 4: We wake early. Eat granola bars in our hotel room and pack without incident. We check out well ahead of schedule and try (for the second time this trip) to find our way to the beach with GPS or a detailed map. (Head west! Water must be here somewhere!) We travel on deserted highways and stumble upon a Starbucks immediately before finding beautiful, deserted Newport Beach. We watch the sun rise over the water for a bit, then head to the airport. We return the rental minivan, navigate security, and arrive at our gate, still ahead of schedule. Nothing goes wrong! Uneventful trip and a perfect travel day. The only weirdness is that somehow we watched sunrise over the ocean in California.