Busting Out…

… of my regular clothes and into maternity clothes! I withheld for as long as I could. I folded my leggings over but over the last few weeks they were tight around the hips too.

I put on my maternity t-shirt and my maternity leggings and could breathe! WHY did I wait so long to bring out my maternity clothes. Maternity leggings are SO comfortable!!! They have an extra band of fabric above the waist line that covers your entire belly (pretty much to under your bra) and the fabric is soft and comfortable and keeps everything contained! I can breathe in these!

I didn’t invest in too many maternity clothes from the first go-around. A few pairs of jeans (on sale at Pea in the Pod!), leggings (Target!), t-shirts (Target) and nice work/event clothes (Pea in the Pod!). I would’ve lent them to my pregnant friends but we do not share the same body habitus (I’m 5’8”) so luckily I had them in my closet.

A month ago at around 16 weeks, a gal asked me if anything new was going on. When I told her I was pregnant, she said, that’s what I figured because usually you look fit and you looked like you had gained some weight. I was beyond mad. First, I was self-conscious to begin with that I was gaining weight. And second, scrubs hide everything! Third, the gal who asked me was single, had no kids, around my age and was not fit/thin by any means.

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My reaction to a lot of things these days!

It took me a while to ‘calm’ down. Throughout my rage, I knew I was being vain and ridiculous. Weight gain is a good thing, I’m super blessed/thankful to be pregnant in the first place. Eventually, hearing it from another friend or two that gaining weight is a good thing and is a sign that the baby is growing.

I had also forgotten how some women (so far no man has tried) like to touch my (and other pregnant ladies’) baby/bellies. I’m not quick enough to block the incoming hands. Every time it happens/happened, I swore I would be hypervigilant and ready to karate chop for the next time. And yet, I’m never quite fast enough.Image result for karate chop

I can’t be the only one who minds getting her abdomen touched? Even if I had flat 6-pack abs, I wouldn’t want someone to touch my stomach. I’m an affectionate person- I love to hug, I shake my patients’ and family members’ hands- but I don’t want people to touch my belly! It’s an invasion of my personal space! (I also wouldn’t want strangers to touch my baby/child but that’s a different story for a different time.)

I don’t know when/why it’s ‘okay’ to comment on a woman’s body when she is pregnant. Oh, what’s that? People ask me when they see a little bump busting out of my scrubs.  As tempted as I am to offer words of encouragement to a pregnant woman, I refrain. Although compliments may be appreciated, they may not be welcomed. Would I say these things to this woman randomly if she weren’t pregnant? Hm, I’m not sure. For me, compliments are always welcomed! I know, such a double-edged sword.

At 22 weeks, my appetite is insatiable! I am hungry every few hours! It doesn’t help my self-consciousness about my weight but if there’s one time it’s ‘okay’ to eat so much, it’s now. Luckily the food in the doctors’ lounge is plentiful and I try to eat a little something when I can.  Interestingly also is that my bladder is acting like it’s 35 weeks.  I have to go to the bathroom every few hours! I feel bad asking my colleagues for breaks for long cases but luckily most of my colleagues have been through it and understand!

Here’s a weekly pic of my belly bump so you can see my budding midsection!

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Photog had me move the sign around because of the shadow. I love the ones w Jacob in them.

Do you mind the comments and belly touching? What if you’re not pregnant and people assume you are? What do you say when people comment/ask?

 

 

 

A Mammoth/Catalina Trip

How is it mid-April already? We have been doing long weekend trips while it’s still ‘easy’ with the three of us and it has been wonderful!

Last weekend, we went to Mammoth Lakes, CA. I used to snowboard back in the day- back when I didn’t have a herniated disc, back when I wasn’t pregnant and back when I didn’t have a little 2yo little BFF glued to me.

I packed for Jacob and me on Thursday because I had to work all day Friday. I left a checklist of things for Jeff to bring when he picked me up after work. I knew it’d be a challenge to do all the things he needed to do (pack skis, get the car ready) while keeping an eye on and entertaining Jacob.  He left out a few essentials- Jacob’s taggies, nighttime sound machine, Ergo carrier. I don’t think that missing those items were what contributed to Jacob’s wacky/lack of sleep schedule.

It rained all night Friday night and Saturday day.  Weather was cool, upper 40-50s at night and sunny upper 50s.  Jacob and I played at the Village, rode the gondola, oh and he had his Top 2 tantrums EVER thus far in our lives there. Oh yes, the first one was because he wanted to keep drinking coconut water instead of leaving the hotel room. He rolled around the ground, kicked the ground, cried, screamed, was not open to any reasoning whatsoever. Luckily we were in our own little cabin separate from the rest of the public. His tantrums could’ve stirred up an avalanche.

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This is for 18mo but I kept it! Whew! It fits!
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He didn’t like the mittens

The next tantrum was because he wanted a coconut water box when I had already purchased a coconut water bottle. He was SO pissed.  I had to carry him out of the store, try to carry a kicking/crying/screaming child to the tantrum. With my back issues, emerging belly and sherpa status (carrying diaper bags, etc.), I couldn’t carry him for very long/far. When I put him down, he ran back to the store! People were staring at me like I was trying to kidnap him.  This was my first public tantrum. I got him into the gondola where the tantrum continued- he tried to kick the door, he rolled around on the ground (dirty ground!), hit the door. I had to grab him and remind him that the gondola was moving and tried to hug him tight and keep him safe.

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Let the tantrum begin (he also wanted this lighter)

Twenty plus minutes later, he calmed down in the gondola. He put his head on my shoulder and was quiet the rest of the gondola ride up.  My mind went a mile a minute- what happened to the all the notes I took from ‘How to Talk to Little Kids,’ how can I be so impatient, will Jacob hate me forever, should I have just bought the coconut water box, how am I going to handle 2 kids and years of tantrums, etc.  Jacob seemed to forget all about the tantrum when we got to the top but it still weighed on my conscience. What about this gentle parenting I wanted to do? Will his tantrums get worse with age? I wanted to cry…  Sigh. Parenting is so hard. Saying no is hard.

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He loved the ski poles
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Mammoth 2017 vs 2018

I ate my way through Mammoth since there wasn’t much else to do for me. It was cold enough to remind me to be thankful we lived in sunny San Diego!!!

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He ran to the ‘Beeach’ to look for ‘Fiiiish’ as soon as we got back to SD

I had a short work week before we left for Catalina Island. I’ve lived in SD for 8 years but have never been there. I couldn’t believe what a cute little town it was. It reminded us a little bit about Positano and the south coast of Italy- a small town, harbor with lots of boats, lots of seafood restaurants, cute shops, tourists galore.   The food and scenery wasn’t the same but we had a great time. Jacob had fun at the beach, enjoyed the open air and driving around town in a golf cart sans car seat.   We survived the weekend without any serious tantrums. Hallelujah!

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Positano, I mean, Catalina Island
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Our family pics these days
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Where is my breakfast??
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Our family selfies these days

Now, he is back to sleeping in his own bed. As much as I enjoy cuddling with him, I am looking forward to a night without getting kicked in the face.

How do you deal with toddler tantrums? How can you decrease the tantrum durations? I pray these tantrums get better!!!

 

Doctors Are the Best Patients

Said no one ever. This is a long post, I apologize.

A month or two ago, I noticed a few small nodules in my left axilla (armpit) while doing a self-exam in the shower.  This happened with my first pregnancy and was told then that these were normal lymph nodes that are common in pregnancy.  I also am well aware that many women also get diagnosed with breast cancer more frequently due to the increase in estrogen from pregnancy hormones.

I am a few years older and had a few more nodules compared to the last time.  My OB ordered a left breast ultrasound at the fancy breast center on campus.  The only available appointment was almost a month after my visit.  Then shortly after my visit with the OB, I felt a very small but noticeable small nodule in my right axilla. Now I was freaking out!  I talked with my OB who then ordered bilateral ultrasounds.

Trying to get out of work to make appointments in the middle of the afternoon is stressful. The latest possible time was 2:30pm with a check-in time of 2:10. Yeah right, who’s going to show up at 2:10 to check in? I’d be lucky to make it on time to the appointment! I was 4th out of 5 people scheduled that day.  I had asked the 5th/5 person to trade with me but he also had made an appointment for that afternoon. It looked like a light enough day but things never go according to plan when you have an appointment.

I stalked the computer all day for possible add-ons, to see when the other cases were starting and finishing, etc. I really wanted to make this appointment! I even asked the charge nurse to please try to hold off on calling me unless it was a serious emergency because there was a very important appointment I needed to make (they all knew I was pregnant).

My scheduled cases went as planned (whew!) and no add-ons for anyone yet (YES!) and I book to the appointment and arrived earlier than the requested check-in time. I fill out paperwork, sit in a nice fancy lobby with a handful of women of diverse ages (no one pregnant) and get called to registration to present my ID/insurance card, verify the procedure I’m getting done.

The nice somewhat elderly receptionist says I’m here for a left breast ultrasound. I respond, I’m here for a bilateral exam.  She says she doesn’t see it in the computer (no EPIC yet) but somehow finds it. She says something like I’ll have to verify if you can have the procedure done today because today you’re only scheduled for the Left. She gets up and leaves and says she’ll be back.

Nice receptionist: You’re going to have to reschedule because they have to go with the updated order of bilateral ultrasound and they didn’t schedule enough time for both sides today.

Me: Is there any way I can at least do the left side and reschedule for the right? It’s very hard for me to schedule appointments because of my work schedule.

NR: I’m sorry we can’t do that because we can only go by the updated order.

Me: (As I’m getting supremely red in the face and starting to get hot/bothered because I knew my schedule the next few weeks was going to be really hard).  I have had these nodes for the last few months, I just found a bigger node yesterday and I have been waiting a month for this ultrasound and it has very stressful. And I started to tear up.

As this is going on, I am well aware there is NO privacy in this lobby/reception area and everyone could hear my business. But I did not care!

NR gets up and says, Let me see what I can do. And I apologize and blame my hormones and she pats me on the back.

She comes back a few minutes later with another lady. She brings me around the corner where there are some chairs and she tells me the same thing, that there’s a time slot at 9:30am on Thursday for me to get my bilateral ultrasound.  I knew, for sure, this Thursday would not work and especially at 9:30am!?!  So I tell her again, as a physician it is very hard for me to schedule appointments at these early times, I’ve been waiting a month for this exam and please is there any way someone could squeeze me in? I’ll wait here until the end of the day!  Her facial expression doesn’t give me any hope but she says she’ll ask.

She comes back and Hallelujah! They’re going to squeeze me in! She shows me to the back where I can change, put my stuff and where the nice fancy lounge with tea is and I’m called shortly thereafter for my ultrasound!!!

While I’m changing into my lovely pink robe, I’m beginning to feel slightly guilty that I cried and made a fuss about getting seen. HTH do patients schedule appointments? Do they work? What do they do about their jobs? Everyone here had to do something to get there so what makes me special? Everyone is stressed about getting a test done for possible cancer or check-ups from cancer!

The ultrasound tech is a nice young happy woman and we’re chatting while she scans my right and left axilla.  She says they look like normal lymph nodes. I trust her as I’m sure she’s seen a lot of normal/abnormal exams but I was going to keep my expectations low until I heard from the doctor/person who reads the ultrasound. Who reads the exams anyway? How long would I have to wait? A few more weeks? The tech says, Let me show these images to the radiologist to see if the images are good enough, I’ll be right back.

Next thing I know, the radiologist comes in, introduces himself and tells me my little masses are all normal lymph nodes! I then say ‘People in medicine make the worst patients’ and I told him I’m an anesthesiologist and we chatted and laughed about how doctors make the worst patients. I said, “I even cried in front because of this built-up stress.” He laughed and replied, “I heard,” but it seemed like they thought it was funny.

As I left, I gave the nice receptionist a hug and apologized again for my emotions. She smiled and seemed happy for me… happy that I was leaving!

I was that patient.  All this stress about what these nodules could be, with a baby on the way and worry about our futures, stress about making this appointment, getting in ‘trouble’ with my peers if an emergency/add-on case came in, potentially having to wait another month with the unknown? I knew my tears were not only because of the pregnancy hormones.   I almost walked out of there with nothing but my anger and frustration.

As I drove home, I  felt torn/guilty about what had transcribed in the past hour. Was it my tears? Was it the professional courtesy?  What if I had been a 70-year-old patient who needed to coordinate a ride from an assisted living or nursing home? A lot of ‘What ifs’ ran through my mind and I realized, I am not a good patient.  I was very thankful I was seen that day and felt more empathy for patients. I vowed to try to be a more patient patient and doctor.

I came home to a napping Jacob and was able to take a nap as well.  Oh how I love naps. I woke up to my happy toddler and gave him a big fat hug. We played, watched a movie and enjoyed a nice mandoo (Korean dumplings) dinner.

Thanks for reading to the end!  Have you ever had any encounters with patients like me? Or been one of those patients yourself? What did you do/say in these circumstances?

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My beach baby practicing to say ‘Cheese’ for the camera
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Looking for fish and hermit crabs
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Kimchee squat expert!!
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Winding down

 

Happy Easter Sunday Funday!

I have a little anxiety when it comes to Easter season. Growing up in a hardcore Catholic household, Lent was a 40-day period of sacrifice, prayer and reflection. Every Friday, my family went to a nearby retreat center/church for Stations of the Cross. In the suburbs of Chicago, it was cold, so rain or snow, we were there. It was nice to be outdoors, sometimes we’d see deer running. Then Holy Week, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday we were at church. Good Friday was a day of mourning. We couldn’t go out anywhere to do anything fun, of course, no meat was a given.  Saturday day, we’d be painting eggs and making Easter baskets for Sunday church fundraising.  Saturday night was Easter Vigil mass and it was HOURS of mass. The choir sang EVERYTHING they possibly could, every verse, and intentionally slower and drawn out so the choir and soloists could do their thing.   And Sunday, hooray, Easter Sunday mass was about an hour, we could be happy and celebrate that Jesus has Risen! and we could eat candy and hard-boiled eggs!

Fast forward a handful of years later when I have my now 2-year-old and Catholic-converted husband. I keep Lent close to heart and I love/celebrate Easter! It was my grandmother’s favorite holiday.   Easter egg hunts and Easter bunny photos were not in my radar at all until social media and shared photos from friends ‘pressured’ me to do this for my son.

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What he wanted to wear to the Easter Bunny photo mesh. Miraculously I was able to put a sweater over his shirt!

I was off on Tuesday so I had planned to go to the Easter bunny photos. This place had no line when it came to Easter Bunny and Santa photos so I was hoping this would be the case again. Nope, there was a 30-minute line and I was contemplating leaving, but the only reason I stayed was to get validated parking.  Why pay full price for parking? Heck no!

As I waited impatiently in line, I thought, why am I subjecting Jacob to this? Who cares about pictures with an Easter Bunny. I’m definitely not going to do this next year? And why am I subjecting myself to this? I’m hungry and I hate waiting in line. And $25 for 2 5×7, 2 4×6 + 4 wallets, or $40 for a combo, etc. If you know me, you know I’m the WORST at waiting. I don’t understand how people wait in line for food (e.g., brunch on the weekends), Starbucks at the airport. But then I thought, next year there will be 2 kiddos so it’d be super cute!

Jacob was great while waiting- he snacked on Anne’s bunnies and milk. He was calm and cool as we walked up the stairs to our turn. I coached him for the last several minutes reminding him our turn was next to see the Easter Bunny, we  were going to take e a few pictures, no problem!  Right when I put him on the armrest, oh man!!! Things got ugly real fast! Uh oh, I was that mom and kid!! Then they gave me some treats to bribe him with, that didn’t work. Finally they said, maybe you can sit with him. Oh heck no, I said, I was  not prepared at all for pictures!!! I had no make up on, was going to get a haircut after this photo session… ARGH! This was not ideal!  Jacob dislikes getting pictures taken as much as I do! I sucked it up and sat with him. At the end of the photo session, Mr. Easter Bunny said I was beautiful. Awww, thanks!!!

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This was the best one. I shouldn’t laugh… but poor guy
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Mama!!!
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Lesson: Always be prepared for photo sessions! (This is how celebrities must feel!

We did an Easter egg hunt at the neighborhood park yesterday. Boy, was it a madhouse! Lots of kiddos and not enough space. They started the hunt early and it lasted probably a few minutes. Jacob got a few eggs but was more interested in playing at the playground (similar to last year).  Today, the family went to church and had brunch to follow (of course, we made a reservation!).

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Pre-game strategy Pep talk!
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Game time! Let’s get some eggs!
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Post-brunch photo sesh attempt (Seconds before heading off to nap time)

Jacob is napping and I’m about to catch a few ZZZs myself. What funny Easter egg hunt/Bunny photo stories do you and your families have?

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Easter egg hunt 2017 vs 2018
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Easter Sunday 2017 vs 2018. Same shirt, gave up on trying to put on a bowtie this year.

I hope everyone has a lovely Easter Sunday!

All Work = No Play = Missed Jacob All Day

I left my home group/hospital last January so I could join the ‘outpatient’ group where I could make my own schedule and not take call, weeknights, overnights. It has been working very well this past year and I could not be happier.

Unfortunately, today, was not one of those days. I left for work at 6:30am and Jacob was asleep. As I was finishing my case and looking at the clock, I knew I wasn’t going to make it home before his bedtime. I left at 8:30pm and cried on the drive home. It’s not easy to drive home with tears clouding your vision. I had to pull it together but tears still streamed down my face.   I got home at 9pm and Jacob was fast asleep.

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He has become a climber!

Rationally, I knew I spent most of my day with Jacob yesterday. I also knew that in over a year, I’ve missed Jacob’s bedtime less than five times.  My husband has missed his bedtime several times and he doesn’t come home grumpy and in tears. I tried to check my emotions but I can blame it on hunger, dehydration, hormones and just my usual self.

Speaking of my usual self, I peeked in the nanny/security cam to see what Jacob was up to. When I saw him at 6pm, he was standing in front of the TV watching a show I had never seen before and the nanny was sitting at the dining table folding laundry. I watched/listened for a few minutes (seemed like hours) and she sat there, he stood there and all I heard was TV. I texted her to remind her to please engage with him and if she’s doing things like fold laundry (which I appreciate), please be near him so he’s not by himself. I didn’t want to outrightly say ‘please don’t have the TV babysit him so you can do chores’ though that’s what I meant!

Jeff reminded me.. that she worked a 12+ hour day and that when he saw him and the nanny playing earlier, she was playing with him and Jacob was all smiles. Sigh. So I sent an apology text and said I appreciated her hard work and am aware she cares for Jacob and does her best with him.  I acted quickly out of frustration and emotion. Can I blame the hormones again?  I’m not sure…

I came home, ate a lot because I was hungry.. salad, rotisserie chicken, rice/soy sauce/sesame seed oil and seaweed. I’m catching up on ‘The Voice’ and staring at the baby monitor. I shouldn’t complain about my work situation and missing one day/night of Jacob’s day. How do you working mamas/dads help yourself feel better when you miss your kids all day?

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I miss wearing glasses!
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I forgot my gummies so the nurses brought me some post-lunch goodies!
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My sleeping beauty

ISO: Queen of Multi-Tasking

I used to think I was the Queen of Multi-Tasking- I’d have multiple windows and tabs open, researching/buying different things, I could work on my laptop, iphone and watch TV and be able to focus and remember everything that was going on in front of me. That all went out the window a while ago but has definitely become a more acute issue recently.

Example 1: Last November, I was supposed to buy airline tickets to Hawaii for my husband’s birthday vacation trip.  Around December, when I found out a friend was going to be in Hawaii at the same time, I started looking through my email to find our flight itinerary to compare times. I could not find that email anywhere. Jeff said it wasn’t in his email. Finally after a phone call to the airlines, it confirmed that there was no purchases itinerary. Looking back, I can remember where I was, trying to get dinner ready and trying to hurriedly buy these tickets at the amazing price they were at.  I vaguely also remember not having filled in any passenger information or credit card. DOH! Thankfully the tickets were not too much more expensive or else we would’ve ended up with a staycation!

Example 2:  With my smells aversion, I wanted to buy some new Bath & Body Works hand soap.  They’re always on sale and I was excited to buy these new Luxe soaps and try some new scents.  I didn’t want to pay extra for expedited shipping so I waited patiently. Then 2 weeks go by and there’s still no soap, no email saying the items have been shipped, nothing.  Again, I had to call B&BW and found out that there was no order confirmation. DOH! Not again! I was running low on soap and was going by bar soap! So, I quickly ordered some more soap and hit ‘Confirm Order’.

Is there such a thing as pregnancy brain? Is that what it is? Is it fatigue? overstimulation?   Is it because nowadays these online retails make you ‘Confirm the order now’ after you already input your credit card info? Sigh! I need to slow down and stop pretending that I can multi-task the way I used to.

This past weekend, my cousin, Steve, his wife and their 2.5-year-old daughter, Emma came to visit San Diego and us.  I was super excited to see them because I haven’t hung out with Steve in probably 20 years or so!  We had a blast.  We ate on the veranda, went to Liberty Station, explored the Safari Park and hiked Torrey Pines.  Jacob and Emma first met when they were almost 1.5 and 2 in Chicago for my grandmother’s funeral/wake.  They weren’t really too interested in each other or playing together then. This time was different- they would call out for each other, hug, hold hands, play together. Sharing is going to take a little bit of work but I hear that will come with time.

Emma is the sweetest gal in the world. She is light years ahead of Jacob – she is potty trained, can speak in full sentences, knows the words to several songs and can sing, can speak Spanish and Korean, listens to her parents… just as sweet as sweet can be!

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Exploring Liberty Market to digest our Buona Forchetta dinner
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Faster Dad, Faster!!!!
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Let’s go go go! I’ll navigate, Jacob! Where should we go next?

 

Hanging out with Emma and Jacob made me realize that perhaps having 2 kids wouldn’t be so bad! And having a daughter seems fun. Of course, Emma is a result of Steve and Emma’s cool and awesome genes and their amazing parenting.  And that’s also skipping ahead of the newborn/4th trimester, sleep training, teething, etc. stages.

I fear/ed having a daughter to some degree. My mom is a no-nonsense, non-traditional kind of woman and grew up in a conservative, non-Disney influenced environment.  I worry about the influence of Disney princesses and social/peer pressures.  However, I realize, I need to trust in our family and work to raise a self-confident, well-adjusted daughter AND son who can balance and overcome these pressures.

We’ll find out the sex of the baby at delivery! Everyone is convinced and praying for a girl to join our family!  I loved seeing my family and wish we could live closer.  Did any of you have fears/apprehension about having a son or daughter?  Everyone thinks Dos is going to be a girl. And I’m beginning to tell myself, a daughter wouldn’t be so bad!

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Post-safari park naptime. A few minutes of adult time! Woohoo!
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Water break! I think we need to go that way, Emma!
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Smiles after gelato. Buddies for life.

 

 

Week of Meetings & Appointments

I worked 5 days in a row this week. That doesn’t seem like a normal thing for most people but I am exhausted! When did I become such a lightweight with work? It could be the time change combined with Jacob waking i at 11:30pm and wanting to snuggle as well. He is a great cuddler but he also moves a lot and I wake up when he moves so I can make sure he isn’t going to fall off the bed.

Last January, I left my home hospital to join the ‘Outpatient’ pool which means I don’t have a primary hospital to which I’m scheduled with calls, weekends, late nights. I make my own schedule and thankfully found steady work for almost a year.

This week was busy and I had ‘full’ days. I also had meetings and appointments to try to get to that were stressful. Monday was a work meeting at 6pm, Tuesday was Jacob’s 2 year physical, Thursday was an eyelash appointment and Friday was an OB appointment.

I made all the appointments this week- woohoo!!! and Jacob acted his usual happy-go-lucky self despite his cold. No fevers, slight cough, eating, peeing and pooping his usual self.

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2 going on 20 and driving!
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He is eating cheese again!
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Still loving the outdoor life!

These next few weeks will also have some full 5-day work weeks. How did I manage before? Previously, there were some days I’d be off since I worked late the day before. It’s nice to have weekdays off to run errands without dealing with the weekend traffic!

Happy St. Patrick’s Day, by the way! I don’t usually celebrate this holiday but I know some people do!  You all can have a shot of whiskey and drink some green beer for me!  Have a great weekend, everyone!!!

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Preparing the firewood for another cold night in San Diego
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He didn’t get the memo to not go looking into a woman’s bag. Now he loves my stethoscope and listening to his heart!