Thursday, February 4, 2010

Katie and Her Little Sib

Even though Little Sib is still happily growing inside of me, I began to learn the art of balancing the needs of two children today.

I had an early appointment with Dr. Elfelt this morning, and right as we were getting ready to go, Katie had a bout of very loose bowels (to put it euphemistically). This necessitated a bath, and so we were about five minutes behind schedule though still on time. Katie had a fever (100.4 and then 100.2) on Tuesday after Toastmasters and so I was worried; then all seemed to pass yesterday (no fever, no other symptoms) and so I thought she had a small bug she threw off quickly. With both the fever and the loose bowels, however, I realized a call to her pediatrician was in order. I was so worried about her during my appointment for Little Sib that my blood pressure went up to 118/70 when last time it was 90/60.

So I wanted to focus on Little Sib's appointment, but as a mother of two I am quickly realizing that both children will always be equally on my mind at the same time. This is good because I already love them both, yet as each of them age and have specific needs and moments when they want to have me alone, it will require me to teach them how to be generous siblings.

Still, my worry about Katie did not fully detract from the utter joy of hearing Little Sib's heartbeat on the doppler. Dr. Elfelt is amazing: he found the heartbeat absolutely immediately. He landed right on the spot just after measuring me and feeling me with his hand. I am fairly enamored of my OB, and it is almost like he has the presence of a medical rockstar to me. I love that I get to have the reassurance of a competent doctor every few weeks, and I love that he is one of the best in his field and he is right here in my own backyard.

The school district is in the process of switching insurance from Aetna to Anthem Blue Cross this month. We signed up again for the PPO so that we could keep our doctors, and I already know I will be able to stay on as a patient at TV OB/GYN. We have talked about other options, especially when Bill retires, but for right now we want to keep our pediatrician and our OB because we trust how capable they are. The best part is that Anthem Blue Cross PPO will cover us far better for the pregnancy than our Aetna PPO ever did, so while we thought the pregnancy might cost us thousands of dollars this year (PPOs are great for choosing the most competent doctors but they can actually cost a bit more than other options), now it will cost us a little bit less. ;-) Switching insurance is a bit of a hassle, but in this case, it is a blessing in disguise.

Anyway, based on the heartrate of Little Sib---which was 160 bpm---Dr. Elfelt proclaimed, "Another girl!" I didn't ask him to predict or anything, but now I am more curious than EVER! We will see if he is right in a couple of months. Since he predicted without my asking, he might be pretty sure... and because he is generally amazing, he has a likelihood of being right. Regardless, all day my mind has been singing "Sisters, sisters/There were never such devoted sisters..." from White Christmas. I have no preference about gender and can imagine both children. I already have names picked out for both (which I put on Facebook today), and I will be ecstatic no matter what. I know we are given the gift of the children we are destined and meant to have, and I don't question destiny. If we do have a girl, the two sisters will be exactly the same years apart as my mom and my Aunt Debbie, and they are soooooooooo close. I would love Katie to experience that kind of relationship---with a sister or with a brother.

Oh, and I also found out that I've actually LOST a little weight so far in the pregnancy---not enough to be unhealthy, but I'm redistributing and getting in shape. I gained way too much weight with Katie, and so I am approaching this pregnancy differently. I also want to be healthy and in shape for another natural labor.

After my appointment for Little Sib, I called Katie pediatrician. Basically, there is a stomach virus going around with the exact symptomology Katie is exhibiting. The incubation time is right, too: two days prior to her fever we went to several germy hotbeds, including the library and the park. The pediatrician's office told me to keep her on a diet of only white foods today, but no dairy and to give her some pedialyte. We've been doing fairly well, though Katie hasn't had much of an appetite today in general. I went to the store and stocked up on comfort foods. We don't eat many white foods, actually, so it is a complete shift. I actually bought white bread today---I usually buy wheaty whole grains. Fortunately, Katie seems to have a light case of whatever it is: the office reported that some children are having between 10-15 loose bowel events a day. Yikes! I would be beside myself with worry at that point. The good news is that Katie has been playing all day, has good color in her face, and doesn't seem lethargic or otherwise ill. I hope her immune system shakes this off quickly.

I did have some awesome news today from the school district. I thought my leave of absence might be up after this year, but they are going to renew it and so I have another year of knowing that, if I found myself called to go back to teaching, I could do so with ease. I thought they would make me decide to teach or quit this year, but with the budget I am not surprised. If I went back to teaching, I am a pretty expensive teacher for them---it is in their best interest right now if they encourage me to stay home, encourage veterans at the top of the pay scale to retire (like Bill), and retain less expensive teachers on the salary schedule. So in a way, I got a little lucky. Now I can phase into the real estate business with my dad and still have other doors and options wide open to me. That sort of freedom is incredibly peaceful and stress-reducing.

Right now Bill is working incredibly hard outside of the home, and I am working incredibly hard inside of it. We determined that the traditional model would be a benefit to Katie and her development, and it has been---by both objective and subjective measures. I love that I provide for my daughter in our home, but I also love that I have the options and abilities to provide for her financially, too. That hasn't been part of Bill's plan for these past two years: he was a huge supporter and advocate of me staying home because he knows how important it is, but I know he would also support my decision to work externally if I want to. I do have a need to feel like I can provide for my daughter and Little Sib no matter what happens to Bill in the far, far, far, far future. I want our children to have all the doors open for their future that we can give them, and so does Bill. We know how important college is, and I want to make sure (as does Bill) that we pave the way for them to attend the college of their choosing.

Well, time to finish up some laundry now!

Hope everyone is having a good week.