Thursday, July 31, 2008

Hey, smnyc...


...you know where to send the check.
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Blueberry Denial

I have tried for the majority of my pregnancy to like blueberries. When I grab breakfast in our subsidized cafeteria in the morning I would add it to my yogurt or fruit bowl. Blueberries are a big discussion topic at my Firm. In the morning and at lunch you see employees proudly filling their bowls knowing they have healthy eating habits. At night associates who eat dinner in the cafeteria debate the quality of that night's offering. If the cafeteria ever fails to have blueberries someone is sure to complain.

It is time to come clean. There is just nothing special about blueberries. They are not sweet or juicy or sharp and tangy but boring. Give me a nice ripe strawberry instead or a mound of watermelon (which, by the way, is excellent for gestational diabetes because it is low in sugar content (mostly water) and high in fiber).

Couple my disinterest in blueberries with ambivalence about CSAs and I will have to admit the truth: I will never be a marathon running, fruits and vegetables type girl. While the GD has forced me to eat healthier (with some minor cheating) I'm looking forward to the reintroduction of pasta, ice cream and the occasional french fry back into my diet after the tykes are born.

Anyone else feel the need to unburden themselves of foods they "should" like but just can't?

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Massachusetts Twin Bill and other Multiples Rants

I'm about to wade into treacherous waters - politics. There is a new bill making its way through the Massachusetts Senate about multiples in the classroom. Here is a link to a recent Boston Globe article. It advocates letting parents decide whether to put their multiples in one classroom.

Among other reasons, parents want to keep their children together because it is easier for homework management and because the 2 (or more) of the kids support each other in the classroom.

On the homework front - suck it up. I mean, you may have had children 1 year apart instead of twins, right? Does it really matter? Aren't we doing too much homework/helping our kids anyway (or so I read - must have been a different era but I don’t remember my mom helping me with homework).

With respect to the "support" network I see that might be useful for the first year if they have switched to a new school. My sisters and I were in the same first grade class in Andover but after that we were not (my mom mentioned this was because there were only 2 classes and she didn't want to have to decide who would get to be by themselves). It was a little odd in our case since we "switched" classes for different subjects starting in 2nd grade (some sort of pilot program) and once in a while 2 of us would end up in the same subject. I think it is hugely important to foster independence in twin and higher order multiple children and I won't want my kids in the same class so I won't be as tempted to compare them (nor have their teachers compare them). Certainly I will insist if one is sick the other pick up assignments, books, etc. - I had to do that with my sisters and that would go regardless of age if they were in the same school.

I should note that I'm not actively against this legislation. It really should be the choice of the parents so in principle I do agree with the bill, I just think separating kids is fine and I would probably encourage it for my kids. Once they hit high school if they are similar academically they will probably end up in the same classes anyway since there are usually only a limited number of AP/honors (here's hoping my kids are smart!).

There was also this interesting article at the New York Times about multiples going to the same college. I think unless finances require it (eg, they both end up at UMass) I hope my kids wouldn't go to the same school. My sisters and I still talk about the set of twins who went to the same college and roomed together.

One other thing - I've seen this proliferation among moms of twins of having their twins tested to determine if they are identical (just because you have 2 placentas doesn't mean you don't have identical twins, contrary to popular belief). While obviously our boy/girl twins are fraternal I really wish parents understood what ramifications they were undertaking when doing this testing. My sisters and I have never been tested and we don't want to be. We assume we are fraternal triplets. Yes, two of us look quite a bit alike but there are differences (at least to us). Assuming we are fraternal made it easier when friends and extended family constantly compared us - that we were our own person and not 1/2 of a whole (which is how everyone thinks of identical twins). I know some parents think "oh, wouldn't that be special if they were identical" but no, it's not. Stacey and I always wanted to look different from each other - very jealous of Allie's blue eyes that marked her as sister instead of possible "identical twin".

I just think parents don't often ask themselves - what would my kids want so I wanted to put out there a perspective of a grown-up multiple.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

What's Cooking? My Temper Boiling Over

Since I spent the better part of today at the doctor's office I should be plowing through work right now but instead I had to share my continuing saga with all of you.

My doctor's appointment was for 9:15 am. The front desk swore it was the "earliest" appointment they could get me. I sat in about an hour of traffic (maybe a little longer) but got there on time (usually I'm early). I did not physically lay eyes on my doctor until 10:55 am. At around 10:20 am I went to the front desk (told there was 1 patient in front of me) - I of course got emotional pointing out to the receptionist (who knows my name by now even though they have hundreds of patients) that this happens EVERY TIME. Crying in the waiting room (again) and then eventually called. I HATE crying - especially in public. Strong women don't do that - we are firm and decisive and don't cry in front of other people. So why do I whenever I have to have difficult conversations?

While waiting to see Dr. Whatscooking they did my BP (fine) and weight (fine but I will say I hit a milestone that is pretty upsetting). I found out that after 32 weeks Dr. Whatscooking no longer does cervical checks - it is what it is. Seems odd but whatever, not like I know the protocol.

When Dr. Whatscooking came in with Resident Inappropriate Shoes (she is usually there and wears espadrilles and other non-doctor shoes) and asked "What's cooking" I told him that I have been seeing him for about 25 weeks now and I have to wait ON AVERAGE an hour or more to see him EVERY TIME. He acknowledged it was not appropriate and then proceeded to tell me the culprit was the front desk who over schedules his patients. For example, in a 1 hour period today he had 11 patients booked. Seriously, 11! He also claimed that he has spoken with them about it but they don't listen to him. I was actually pretty calm with Dr. Whatscooking (no crying). I got the name of the office manager.

In addition to my ridiculous wait what did suck was that he will not put me on disability until week 35 - and he thinks I'm 1 week less along than I do (based on my early ultrasound) - so I have to keep going to work until August 12th. You would think that after all the hassles he's put me through he'd be more accommodating - especially since just last week he said he'd do it "anytime". I should be happy how healthy this pregnancy has been (he's pleased with my blood sugar levels) but frankly I just want to stop working at this point. But, tykes, keep growing! Don't come out yet just because Mommy, Esq. is exhausted.

Armed with the name of the office manager I asked to speak with her. She and I went to a private room to discuss and I explained what I had been told. She of course claims it is Dr. Whatscooking's fault since he only sees patients 1 morning a week. Are you kidding me? What the heck is he doing the other 4.5 days? But even if that were true I told her that she cannot book 11 patients for 1 hour slot. I clearly explained that the system must be broken if I am waiting more than an hour each time and it must be fixed. I also pointed out that because of this wait I have to work longer which can't be healthy for my children. And in addition that I was complaining because I'm sure there are other women who just "take it" and I'm not one of them. I told her that I expected she would speak to Dr. Whatscooking and that when I'm back in on Tuesday of next week we could speak again so I could understand what progress had been made. I did cry some but I don't really care.

I know I'm giving birth in a few weeks but I care because of the hours of frustration I've endured and that other women will endure if no one speaks up. My time is just as important as his - more so since the only time I have any energy is in the AM and I'm busy gestating the next generation.

Obviously I should have switched doctors weeks ago. But frankly I feel like mentally it would be difficult to change after all this - and with me 33 (although in my mind 34) weeks along it seems to make sense to stick with who I have and try to shake them into some action.

I wonder if all my fuss means I won't be waiting long again? Who has the over/under? Yep, I'm not taking that bet either...

Monday, July 28, 2008

Minivan Here We Come

News Alert! Husband is breaking down and thinks we should get a minivan (Honda Odyssey). What would make Husband agree to get a new car in light of the excessive spending we've been doing (baby nurse, central a/c, landscaping)?

A broken CD player. Yup, my much loved Honda Accord's 6 chamber CD player no longer works. Husband HATES the radio (although I make him listen to Mattie in the Morning). It would probably cost $600 to replace. Plus we are having some other "noises" that warrant attention - and likely up to $300 (probably new brake pads).

Husband wants us to get a 3 year lease on the Honda Odyssey which apparently we can get with our Honda Accord as trade in plus $169/mo (although this assumes our car is in pristine condition which, ahem, it is not). That is cheap! Of course one of the reasons it is so cheap is because Husband wants us to get the lowest model - the LX (here is an option comparison). Here are the biggest problems - (1) 1 chamber CD player - which maybe I could live with; (2) NO AUTOMATIC SLIDING DOORS! I feel like that is a deal breaker. I really want the option where you push a button on the key remote and the doors slide open. Hey, you try to wrangle 2 infants into a car without that in the winter and tell me what you think.

Yes, some of the other luxuries I'd really want (navigation system, push button seat modifications (with 2 memory settings), seat warmers/coolers) we aren't going with. I can live without all that - maybe we'll have more money when the lease is due in 3 years (doubt it - we are having twins).

Moms of Minivans out there - back me up, isn't the automatic doors worth the additional price?

Friday, July 25, 2008

Baby Names

Husband and I have finally settled on names for the tykes. To be honest, we ended up going with the first ones we liked to begin with. I tried a million other options with Husband but he wasn't interested. For a man who takes hours picking items out in the grocery store you'd think he'd spend more time on this but oh, well. I spent enough time for the both of us. After I drafted this post I saw an article about a judge allowing a child to change her name. I've also often played the game with my own name wondering if I really fit the name my parents gave me (give how 70s it is I would say no).

Every couple has "ground rules" about names. Here were ours:
  • No name can end in "n" - Husband doesn't like the way it sounds with his last name. Nevermind that both our names end in "n"! It actually ended up saving some time - do you know how many names end in "n"?

  • Easy to spell with good nickname (decided by us) potentials.

  • Look good on a business card/letterhead/title when they are grown up. [Chief Justice Baby B?]

  • Traditional (not unusual - recognizable as a "real" name) but not a name used very often. No trendy names allowed (that means you Addison, Delaney, Sofia/Sophie - all of which I like but are way overused). This put us in the early 1900s for name choices. According to Baby Name Wizard, in the 1910s our boy name was ranked 136 and in the 1940s our girl name was ranked 286 (interestingly with a spike in 2007 at a 412 ranking). This might make me reconsider the girl name. We also consulted with H, a teacher, to confirm whether she has multiple kids in her fifth grade classroom with the names. She has confirmed we are fine.

  • Middle name doesn't matter. How often do you see someone use both names in real life? I would say almost never (maybe a middle initial if that). I want to be realistic and makes sure first and last name fit together - middle name is superfluous and really only is used on birth announcements, wedding invitations and vows and possibly in court cases/filings.
I tried to convince Husband we should "try out" various baby name options on the tykes but we just could not bring ourselves to do it. Even though we've decided on names I still can't do it. For some reason I cannot bring myself to refer to Babies A and B by their given (by us) names. Usually I say things like "okay, little girl, time to stop beating me up" or "A, what are you doing in there?". To be honest I wanted to bring them home, get to know them and then name them. But then I'm afraid A and B will stick forever.

What was your naming strategy? We will let you know their names after they are born - people can be very judgey about names!

Mommy Track

The time has come to create an action plan for when I return from maternity leave and continue with my practice at Big Firm. I met once with our career counselor and will again before I pitch my proposal to the department head. I think the career counselor has a tough job trying to reassure associates while convincing management that things need to change.

To refresh any new readers I am a financing deal attorney - primarily doing borrower-side work in LBO deals. Being a deal attorney is vastly different than being a litigator - much more up and down in your schedule, lack of control while you are immersed on a deal (not that being a litigator isn't tough).

Below are some items I've been mulling over for the majority of my pregnancy:
  • Maybe you just can't make it work unless you are willing to sacrifice seeing your kids. While the Counselor doesn't want to think that way honestly I don't see how that isn't true based on what the men in my department do with their wives who stay home. Apart from a few women with stay at home husbands or round the clock nannies (day and night) the only women I know who work "part time" are litigators or do investment management work that is more predictable.

  • Try to work "part-time" - which is 80% and is at least 40 billable hours a week. I don't know that this is feasible given the deal work we do. I only know of 2 attorneys who are part-time.

  • I could try to transfer departments but after 5 years at my Firm I think starting over would be difficult. Plus frankly I like the type of work I do.

  • Switch clients - less LBO deals and more lender side (we do some mezzanine lending). This will certainly impact my partnership trajectory (although the jury is still out whether I'm "in it to win it"). The department has been clear that they want me on the large LBO deals since we have such limited staffing as it is.

  • Come up with an alternative to present to my department head. Since I want to make it work or at least try to I'm going that route. Most women just "give up" before it even gets tough because they "see the writing on the wall". I want to be honest in my attempts to make it work and give the Firm a chance to show its commitment to women deal attorneys.

Now comes the hard part - what is my "proposal"? I'm going to speak with the 2 female partners with children in my practice group. Although one hardly sees her kids and the other has a stay at home husband I want to get their thoughts before I discuss with the department head and make sure they think the department would be onboard. I also want to get a sense as to how this would impact my partnership possibilities.

This will need to be a long term solution - not a 3 month "ramp up". I'm currently leaning toward "deal on/deal off". This is not something currently done at the Firm but here is how I'd envision it. And please chime in with suggestions!

1. Take on a deal - one deal at a time unless it is very small and I could do 2 deals. Wait, I'll be firm, promise - 1 deal.

2. Work "normal" deal hours to get deal done. My deals usually last no more than 1 month at a time.

3. Take a "break" - I won't immediately be staffed on another transaction but take 2-3 weeks before I take on another project. During this time I would work from home to the extent there are clean up items or other clients who pop up for minor items (happens all the time) and see my kids. We'd still have the nanny of course but I'd be more involved during that "break" time. Husband will also be happy to have a hand to put them to bed.

I actually have quite a bit of leverage at my Firm right now - we are seriously understaffed for midlevels/senior associates (technically I'm a senior associate this Fall) while our work level has not fallen off very much this year. You'd think that would not be the case given the financing markets but private equity still has plenty of money to spend!

I did speak with one female partner and she thinks it is a good idea and that we can always re-evaluate if it doesn't work out. One of her suggestions was to make sure I have good staffing on my initial deals to help ease myself back in. I'd be the first at my firm to try this approach.

Let me know what you think - I have a final meeting Monday with the Career Counselor before I meet with my department head.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

The Great Big Unknown

Last night I woke up at 2 am and never got back to sleep. For whatever reason (rainy weather, large steak dinner, messy house) I just lay in bed and worried. My primary worry seems to involve Baby A, our little boy. I never feel Baby A - just Baby B. She's a little jumping bean (well, not so little any more), kicking and punching and very obvious. All that movement makes me feel like she is feisty and happy and healthy. I've mentioned that I can't feel Baby A to the doctor a couple of times and he doesn't say anything in response (some reassurance would be nice but as I've mentioned, his bedside manner sucks). Baby A does have a strong heartbeat and all ultrasounds look good but the worries continue.

Current worries about Baby A - what if he isn't active because (1) he has fetal alcohol syndrome. I didn't know I was pregnant (after 2 years of trying I sort of stopped being vigilant about not drinking after ovulation) - during Christmas, New Years and a really fun (way TOO fun if you get my drift) 5th wedding anniversary in Washington, D.C. (we were married between Christmas and New Year's Eve). At most I was probably 3-4 weeks before I found out. I know the risks are pretty slim since the brain doesn't start developing until week 5 but what can I say it was 2 am. I know that our parents/grandparents drank and smoked while pregnant but as a Type A person I think if anything is wrong with my babies it somehow my fault for not gestating them properly.

Worry (2) is that he isn't moving because he's going to be autistic. Sometime in the last 5 plus years autism became very common (possibly in part because our diagnostic testing increased and partly because I started thinking about having kids) and I read somewhere (warning: no real research here other than quick Google) that 1 in 150 kids have it. Anecdotally I hear about it more often among boys. The stories about additional help, lack of social skills, etc. that my 5th grade teacher friend H tells me are frightening.

These appear to be "concrete" things I can worry about so that is what I am fixated on. In truth I'm probably worrying about the great big unknown that is descending upon us. It is coming much sooner than I thought it would (drat those 38 weeks that seem to be flying by). Maybe work has been good because it has kept my mind off the worries of parenthood but with work at a slower pace and our to-do-lists starting to see some progress I think I might have lots of time soon on my hands to worry.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Early Arrivals

This morning Dr. Whatscooking mentioned that 34 weeks was a good milestone for my tykes since risk of preterm complications drastically reduces. I just found out that R who I met through my MOT group gave birth to 2 girls at 33 weeks and her little girls will have to spend time in the NICU. This has led me to wonder - what were the reasons that the MOTs out there who read this blog went early (and when were your kids born)? Was it high blood pressure? Labor/water breaking early?

I know this seems like I might be worrying myself unnecessarily but I really do want to know if you could share your experiences. I'm hoping to keep my little ones "cooking" for as long as possible. Husband wants that too -- hopefully not just because (1) he has a bachelor party the weekend of August 15th that I have said he could go to (so long as Dr. Whatscooking doesn't see any problems) and (2) our baby nurse is not available until after mid-August. If you think I am crazy about allowing Husband to go to bachelor party I would say in my defense we made this decision months ago - well before I knew (a) my doctor wouldn't let me gestate past 38 weeks and (b) I'd feel this big and ready to pop already. You can feel free to let him know (in the comments) if you think he's crazy. :)

Curse of the Short Limbs

I have discovered the pregnancy "Curse of the Short Limbs". I have about 2 inches of belly left before I may not be able to drive any more (I guess H will have to be my chauffeur this summer!). Stupid short legs. What I have started to realize is that doing dishes and washing my hands in the work bathroom sink is a problem. I can barely reach the faucets. I will try out a stepstool at home but not sure how to address the work bathroom issue.

I was at the doctor's today and saw Dr. Whatscooking on time! It is a miracle. While I've had a few glitches (and will see the nutritionist tomorrow) I've been able to use diet to keep the GD under control for the last 6 days (it feels like forever but I only started on this last Wednesday). Bake potatoes are evil - my sugar level was way up last night after having one with dinner. I just found out a friend a few weeks behind me flunked her second GD test - welcome to the club. You'll get used to being a pincushion and obsessing about what you need to eat.

One possible side effect of all this watching what I am eating (especially carbs and sweets) - I didn't gain any weight between last week and this week. And this time I even kept my flipflops on! Dr. Whatscooking quickly found both A and B's heartbeats and confirmed my cervix is as tight as a drum. Blood pressure was 100/60 - apparently this is a big reason why women go early but no signs of any problems for me. He doesn't see any reason why I wouldn't make it to the all important 34 weeks and beyond.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Isn't it August?

I swear it has been August for a month already. I was actually excited to come to work today for the A/C. Ours is being installed this week so I have a feeling Mommy, Esq. may be working less after this week.

Husband and I ran a few errands this weekend and tried to do some babies prep but didn't do all that much thanks to the insane heat. I tried to keep the blood sugar under my limits (did a pretty good job too). We had dinner with friends at Central Kitchen but not until after our friends stuffed us full of appetizers (I stuck to protein only appetizers - meat and shrimp) so we didn't have a fabulous meal at the restaurant (too full) although I loved my mini lobster roll. I seriously miss desert. I also totally empathize with diabetics now. It is rough to be constantly jabbing yourself with a needle to draw blood for the tests.

We did go to Linens n' Things (which last I heard was in bankruptcy so might not be around for long). There were tons of items to help get your kids ready to head off to dorm life (another reason it felt like August to me). The sight of the beds in a bag and other campus necessities pushed me down the path of memory lane to when I started college now oh so many years ago.

I know several moms of twins read this blog and they may have a hard time imagining their little ones heading off to college but it happens. My sisters and I did not even apply to the same school. We also did not apply to any schools in Massachusetts. For me and Stacey (who look alike) this was our chance to be totally independent without someone confusing us. And living far from Mom and Dad meant for all three of us that we could do things on our own terms (not that my parents at all smothered us).

My parents made 3 separate trips from Boston to drop us off - first Allie in Virginia, then Stacey in Pittsburgh and finally me in Washington, D.C. - all by car. God, my parents are great. Being the last to be dropped off my mom did not cry (she did for Allie and Stacey). They also stayed an extra day to unwind and didn't bother telling me so they didn't have to deal with me. :) Perfectly okay with me.

I have many, many fun college memories but I will say that the thrill of being "on my own" for the first time was amazing. I did tell people I was a triplet but until they had met my sisters no one really knew what that meant (especially to me and Stacey who look so much alike) - it was more like a fun fact you share as getting to know you conversations.

I like to think that I will be providing my kids with some unique insights to being a multiple. It is different since they are boy/girl twins but I understand how important it is to encourage their independence as they get older while also making sure they share and have good teamwork skills. I think it is less important whether you dress them the same (go ahead, they look so cute and I love the photos from when we were little) so long as you let them pick their own clothes when they decide they want to. My mom also made sure she didn't constantly mediate all fights - it forced us to work our own disputes out - which can be tough when it was always 1 against 2 - but you certainly learn to stick up for yourself!

If my readers have any questions about "what is/was it like" to be a triplet in any respect let me know - I'm happy to share my experiences as a child and now as an adult. Just post your question in the comment section. Also, feel free to post any thoughts you have as to how you'll parent your multiples.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Stupid Smoke Alarms

I have a complaint.

I just got done replacing all the batteries in all 12 smoke and carbon monoxide detectors in our house. Since we have some 16 foot ceilings upstairs, this becomes quite a project. All because ONE of the 12 old batteries was dead.

You see, all of our alarms are hardwired to the electrical system and linked together. And when any one of them has a dead battery, they ALL go off for about a minute at a time. [Several recent visitors to the Esq. homestead will remember this. For some reason, it almost always happens when people come over.] The owner's manual claims this is a notification so you can replace "the" dead battery. I call bullshit on that. There is absolutely no indication which alarm has the dead battery, and there's no regular pattern to exactly when the alarm goes off. So I guess maybe you could replace one at a time, and hope it works, but you'll never really know, and you might get more of the damned beeping the next day.

No, you're stuck shelling out twenty bucks for 12 new 9V batteries. This is a conspiracy between First Alert, Energizer, and P&G. I am sure of it.

Don't get me wrong, I'm all in favor of avoiding a fiery death. I don't mind having working smoke alarms in the house. But would it be too much to ask for another little LED on each smoke alarm, which would indicate, "hey, I have a dead battery?"

Friday, July 18, 2008

Hanging with the Swedes

Liz, a friend of mine from elementary school who moved to Sweden a few years ago has been in town with her husband and new baby August. They are here in part for a few conferences her husband was attending and to spend time with her parents at their vacation home in Maine.

On Wednesday I took yet another day off work (starting to wonder why I can't just get work projects wrapped up to take medical leave) and picked her and August up in Cambridge while her husband finished up his last convention day.

Liz was dying to go to Babies R Us and I wasn't about to say no to that! First we drove back to my house to drop off their luggage and to let me do a couple of quick work items. Then it was lunch at Panera with a stop thereafter at Babies R Us. It is a lot of work running "errands" with a baby in tow! It takes so much time getting in and out of the car and August wasn't very happy about the heat (after all, it doesn't get that hot in Sweden). After about 30 mins in Babies R Us my back was killing me (shopping has been tough lately) so I hustled Liz out of the store back to my house.

After I got her settled I ran back into Boston (you really don't want to know how much gas I used on Wednesday) to meet with the nurse about my GD and then to pick Liz's husband Kalle up at the hotel. Meanwhile other friends were gathering for an impromptu barbecue, including a couple with their 2.5 year old daughter who are moving to Germany in a couple of weeks. As I mentioned yesterday I gave up the battle with the house and had fun hanging out and catching up with everyone.

Having a baby in Sweden sound very different that in America. For childbirth they don't do epidurals - they use laughing gas and "natural" births are highly recommended - including twin births. Invitro fertilization is paid for, but they will only transplant one embryo so as not to cause multiples pregnancies. The government hooks you up with other pregnant moms in your neighborhood for prenatal support and the same after birth for new mom support. She and her husband certainly have less "stuff" than we do - part of that is of course because they live in an apartment in Stockholm so there is less room. Baby August loved our playmat. And we gave him a bath in our tub.

Liz and Kalle get a total about 18 months leave time - she is taking the first 9 months and Kalle the second 9 months. They don't receive their full salary but are paid by the government. I'm sure you can imagine the large amount of taxes they pay. But unlike the US where the only tax money I see in use for my benefits is roads, she and Kalle receive quite a few benefits - even pre-kids (I can see how this system encourages children). Interesting that the US birthrate (per person) is still higher than in Sweden.

Liz says that since "everyone" has kids/babies in Sweden people tend to ignore you and not offer up help (like when she dumped a bag of groceries under her baby carriage). In the US she is stopped all the time while people remark how beautiful August is.

If I have any other international readers who want to weigh in on how babies are perceived and moms are treated in other countries please do!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

One Day At a Time

Yesterday I met with the nurse to go over how to use the glucose meter and related items (especially the lancet which pokes you to draw the blood). I'm very pleased she offered to meet with me and that helps ease some of my recent concerns with the treatment I've received at the practice.

I haven't met with the nutritionist yet but I have had to start keeping track of my blood. In fact in about 30 minutes I have to test. I can already tell that carbs are evil. I'm trying to come up with a list of items that are easy prep (or preferably no prep) to have on hand in the kitchen. On the upside I guess I should get used to no ice cream to lose the baby weight after they are born. On the downside I'm very afraid to eat in general. For example I'm still a little hungry but it is only 30 mins from when I need to test so I'm holding off eating something. I've also noticed the babies move more when I'm hungry.

Although exhaustion is a sign of GD as the books have mentioned it is difficult to tell the difference between that and regular pregnancy exhaustion. I can basically do about 2 to 3 tasks a day and today it was seeing off my friends and picking up the kitchen so I couldn't make it into work. I'm hoping to find some energy to go grocery shopping.

The bad thing about the level of exhaustion is that Husband's to do list keeps getting longer since I can't do things. He's been stressed at work so this is leading us to be griping at each other instead of enjoying the quiet and getting excited for the kids. Plus I worry about stuff getting done since as much as I love him he isn't very good about plowing through a to do list.

We had friends staying with us last night and I just didn't have the energy to get the house picked up and then we had other friends over for an impromptu barbecue and I just threw up my hands and gave up. I know I shouldn't worry about it but my mom always taught me to pick up and present a good front before guests come over (Mommy, Esq. picked up, not Husband picked up). Despite the expense I'm thinking of increasing the visits from our cleaner to once a week (currently we are twice a month).

If anyone has tips how we can get through the giant list we have to do before these kids appear I am all ears! Plus how to keep our level of frustration down as we wait for landscaping to be done, A/C installed and my increasing lack of mobility.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

What's Cooking? My Insulin Levels

It's been a couple of days since I last wrote. I swear I've been busy but I'm not quite sure what with. Mommy-brain is kicking in early.

Yesterday I had an ultrasound and doctor's visit. I had to wait an hour past my appointment time for the ultrasound and another hour before I saw Dr. Whatscooking -I think I was there for 4 hours total. The good news is that both tykes are healthy. The each weigh around 3lbs 8 ounces, the 35% percentile and we could see them "practice" their breathing which the ultrasound doctor said was really great for fetal development. Go, kids! I also let Husband skip this round of ultrasound/doctor's appointment to earn points that will be cashed in at some future date.

Baby Boy A is breach and Baby Girl B is partially transverse (basically her feet are under the opposite rib cage). That means they have not moved position in about 3 weeks. I asked Dr. Whatscooking what that would mean if I went into labor and he did a chopping motion with my hand and made a noise to indicate they'd be cut out. Like I've said before he doesn't have much of a bedside manner. Good thing I'm not worried (much) about a C-Section - I would imagine his noise/motion would have set off any other woman who wanted a vaginal birth.

When I met with Dr. Whatscooking's nurse before he came in I was clear that I could not longer wait more than an hour each time I wanted to see him. She promised that she'd see what she could do about getting me the first appointment each morning - unfortunately someone beat me to the punch so I have 9:15 for the next few weeks - we are up to weekly appointments. So help me God if they make me wait next time I am DEFINITELY switching doctors. Given that he spends 10-15 mins with me each time I just don't understand the problem.

Now for the bad news - I have gestational diabetes. I "flunked" my second sugar test. This means I had to get a glucose meter and various sundries to make the meter work and I'll have to be closely monitoring my diet. I put Husband in charge of that because frankly I'm really tired of having to make all the decisions in this pregnancy. He hasn't found too much info but I also have to meet with a nutritionist next week. I think I need to eat foods higher in fiber, protein and less carbs. I love carbs. If the diet doesn't affect the sugar levels then I'd have to go on insulin.

I also asked Dr. Whatscooking about when they would no longer "prevent" birth - 34 weeks - so I'm there in just 2 weeks. Unreal. I better start nesting! But since I have a very long cervix he doesn't think there is much indication for preterm labor (even though GD can cause preeclampsia). The women at my MOT group last night told me that they all thought they'd make it to 38 weeks but nature has a way of taking control and inducing labor early.

The other good news is that I mentioned to Dr. Whatscooking that I was "slowing down" and was there any way I could get a note from him to help me go on disability at work if I needed it. He said most of his MOTs stop working around 28 weeks (I'm at 31.5 weeks) and that he'd be happy to do whatever I needed. I still have a lot to do to get organized at work but I might move my date up a little (was planning on August 15th being my last day of work). Now I need to jump the hurdle that is HR to find out how it will work.

The Swedes stay with us tonight so I need to scramble around the house to get it ready for their arrival. With this whole GD onset and being so tired I've decided that pregnancy is a full time job and leaves basically no time for work or household chores.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Call Me McJudgey

Husband decreed that I was being judgey about the following story/item I am about to relate so I had to put that in the subject line.

On Sunday Husband and I went to a class on C-Sections. It was informative and we had a tour of the maternity floors also (but they won't let you see the NICU). They are happy to have you start breastfeeding right away if the babies are fine (as soon as you leave the OR) and have them room-in with you if you want (the jury's out on that one for me so far - I'll blog separately about that!).

There was one other couple there who also happened to be expecting twins. She was 24 weeks along and neither child had cooperated so she did not know the sexes. The couple seemed older than us and mentioned another child.

During the tour we learned that this couple has a 20 year old son - and I'd probably peg them between 45 and 50 years old. Apparently they had been undergoing fertility treatments for FIVE YEARS!

Here's where I get "judgey" - the couple said they would not have done this (tried to have more kids) if it weren't for the fact Massachusetts health insurance covers it. The actual quote from the husband was "If we had been paying $30k a pop we wouldn't have done it".

While I think it is wonderful our state provides for covered fertility treatments I do not think that people should be taking advantage of it in their late 40s and be allowed (regardless of age) to have a million IVF attempts (this couple said they had been doing IVF rounds for years). We need to have some criteria around when these expensive treatments (age, physical condition) are an option and how often a women can undergo them. Otherwise we create the most expensive insurance program in the country (since realistically all insurance premiums collectively subsidize these treatments).

I also write this posting knowing full well that Husband and I would have attempted IVF if we needed to (we did not) but I also know it would not have been fair from a resource perspective (nor do I think I could have handled it emotionally) to do many IVF attempts (without knowing for sure I probably would have stopped by 4).

I know this will be a controversial post and I hope that people do write about their experiences with fertility treatments and thoughts about whether we need more parameters around their use.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Babies' Shower - Take Two

My friend T generously hosted another baby shower for me on Saturday. This one included my friends from elementary school, college, the Firm (alumni and current associates) and a few other women my age whom I've met through various circumstances. Hopefully my friend Gret can send me photos so I can add some to this post. T made these cute cookies in the shape of A and B and frosted A blue for boy and B pink for girl.

On Friday I took the day off work and we went with Helen, Elizabeth (my friend living in Sweden) and August (her two month old) to the Museum of Fine Arts to see the El Greco/Valazquez exhibit. We even found street parking and he was a calm baby the whole time. You should have seen the 3 of us trying to figure out how to put August in the car seat and how to assemble his Urban Jungle baby carriage. The looks I got in the museum when I wheeled that around with my giant belly were quite funny. It has also been interesting hearing about the differences between how Swedes raise their babies and how we do in the U.S. (one key - they use less stuff). Below is a picture of the childhood friends with me.
Anyway, back to the shower - everyone was so nice and after a while I went along with the whole - "you stay there" and "can I get you something to drink". To be honest I am "slowing down" (Husband likes to use that phrase) and standing for periods of time is getting difficult. So I hugged guests from the couch where I was camped out. A few of my friends have their own babies so they were able to give me advice and gifts I didn't register for but they found useful (like these snack-trap cups). One of my friends happened to be in town from Sweden and she came with her adorable 2 month old baby August who was the hit of the shower. Liz, August and Kalle (Liz's husband) are coming to my house on Wednesday for a night and Husband and I are planning on testing out our baby gear on August. :)

I got home around 4:45 pm and immediately took a nap. Meanwhile my friend JerseyGirl (who has her own blog of course!) went with Husband to the grocery store and she made us some dishes to put in our freezer for after the kids are born including turkey meatloaf, mash potatoes and baked ziti with her famous marinara sauce. She is a bundle of energy - she was up later than me on Saturday night and is out taking a walk right now while I blog from my desk. Have I mentioned she has 2 boys (3.5 years and 17 months) and is a fitness instructor in her spare time?

We had a mini GW reunion where T, Gret (author of Dandelion Garden), JerseyGirl and one of Gret's friends who recently moved to the area (and is about 6 months along) went to dinner in the North End. During dinner I remembered this desert place I saw on the Phantom Gourmet that has cupcakes that get injected with ice cream. We thought injected cupcakes sounded so dirty and delicious. It was a few blocks away but when we got there it was closed (permanently). I guess it wasn't meant to be but we found another ice cream and pastry shop to round out our meals.

Home and bed followed shortly thereafter but I'd like to proudly note I was out until 10 pm! Today we are dropping JerseyGirl at the train station and Husband and I are attending a C-Section class at the hospital where I am giving birth. Doctor has not told me I'm having one but let's be honest - I probably will (especially because presenting Baby A is breach).

Many fun things happening this week - ultrasound on Tuesday, my first COPE meeting (for MOTs) that night and visit from the Swedes so keep checking back in for more updates!

Friday, July 11, 2008

Body Image Vanity

Over on one of my favorite blogs How Do You Do It, a mom posted about her struggle with deciding whether to undergo plastic surgery for the dreaded "twin skin".

I used to think I was someone who wasn't very vain about my appearance (okay, except for my eyelashes). After all, I haven't been "skinny" (size 4/6) in about a decade. But that hasn't stopped me from feeling down in the dumps about the stretch marks that now literally cover my stomach - and even creeping now on my hips and waist. The recent shot of Jennifer Lopez in her bikini (in US Weekly) without nary a stretchmark or evidence of twins living in her body for 9 months did not help.

Of course there is no point in contemplating surgery since Husband and I are not 100% sure we're done having kids (or rather that I am done carrying our future progeny). But once we do I think I might consider it if we have the money - and a boob lift to boot.

One "Big Law" related item - you don't often see "bigger" women who are attorneys practicing at Big Firms. Most of the time if you read novels about driven lawyers or know them personally they get up at like 5 am to go for a 5 mile run before getting ready for work. I have found it difficult not to be a skinny lawyer when most of the women I work with are. I do worry about how I'm going to fit in work outs while taking care of the tykes and working at Big Firm.

How do other moms manage to lose the weight? Or how have you come to love yourself as you are? Any pressure from husbands to lose weight immediately after giving birth? (don't worry, Husband hasn't said anything to me but he's been losing weight as I've put it on)

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Hardcore Softie

Yesterday the partner with whom I had been working called to tell me that one of our clients called to express his appreciation for our work in getting the deal signed and had "great things" to say about me. Apparently Partner then told Client that I was 7 months pregnant (don't think he mentioned the twin thing). Partner and Client agreed that I was "hardcore".

Now hold on a second...I don't want to be hardcore. And I didn't during this deal - it just had to get done so I did what was needed.

Partner then goes on to say he was glad when I shut off at night and went to bed. Are you kidding me?! Could he not have told me this DURING THE DEAL so I could have not felt like I was letting my team down by going to bed? This shows what a terrible manager Partner happens to be. I do my best to set clear expectations with my junior associates.

Husband says that I am "hardcore" whether I think I am or not. He thinks I always had a choice not to work. I think that is true on some level whatever you do for a living but I was raised to be a team player and to do a good job - standards I cannot shake despite being pregnant.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Heartburn City

I really have no right to complain given how easy my pregnancy has been. Apart from swollen ankles and stretch marks I really haven't had any symptoms. But the end is near(ish) and the symptoms are suddenly stacking up:
  • Sleeping? Not so well any more. I'm now up to 5 trips a night to the bathroom and multiple wake ups/weird dreams on top of that.
  • Heartburn - it took me a day or so to realize that is what I have. Makes eating less enjoyable and I'm not much of a foodie to begin with (why I can't be skinny since I don't love food is another matter entirely). Tums doesn't really help and trying to sleep in an "upright position" also does nothing.
  • Huffing and Puffing - shortness of breath/heavy breathing just sitting in my office chair, blogging.
  • Mobility - not so much. There is the rolling off the bed at night to waddle to the bathroom and the "push" need from Husband to get off the couch. He's beginning to fear I might get trapped in the car one day if he isn't around to help me out.
  • Waddle - mostly when I realize I need to go to the bathroom - somehow the discomfort requires me to waddle to the bathroom. I have no doubt soon I'll be waddling everywhere.

Any advice or funny/embarrassing stories about your pregnancies are welcome...

Monday, July 7, 2008

Break Time

I finished my deal! Saturday night after midnight. Yesterday I did a lot of nothing. Husband worked on mulching in our backyard while I looked on and read a trashy romance novel (what, you think I'd read something educational with the amount of contract reading I do for my job?). This was followed up with a 2 hour nap and dinner and a movie with Husband (Iron Man and Figs). I paid for the yummy amounts of garlic in my dinner later that night with heartburn - my first ever. On the plus side I had lots of dreams about Robert Downey Jr - who knew how charming he was!

One benefit of my job that most of my friends don't have is that I don't have to go to work today. When you are "on" a deal it is all encompassing and stressful and when you are "off" it is lazy and wonderful - a time to catch up on minor client matters you've put off, get your personal life back in order, etc. I will probably go into the office for a few hours (to see if I can round some work up for my summer associate) but will clean the kitchen and putter around for a while at home first. My Big Firm really has no "face time" requirement and I take advantage of that when I'm not "on" a deal.

I also want to give a shout-out to my friend C who is having a C-Section for her breach baby today at 2 pm (I' guess the baby is a boy but time will tell). How terrible that she has had to go since midnight last night without food. If I have a C-Section I'd like to push to have it scheduled for early in the morning and then make sure I eat around 11 pm the night before - lots of protein. Good luck, C - I know everything will go well and soon you'll have a healthy, bouncing baby to bring home (definitely bounce him or her - The Happiest Baby on the Block encourages it).

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Raging Good Time

When Husband and I went downstairs this morning I remarked that our house was in relatively good shape after our "raging" BBQ. We think we and our friends are getting old and lame. :)

Okay it wasn't much of a "rager" but we did have a nice turn out - including a guest star appearance by Goddess in Progress with her sweet husband and adorable twins. My friend H was afraid she'd come off as a "stalkerazie" since she's read Goddess' older blogs (as have I) and feels like she already knows so much about her. My friend N thought that it was like Goddess and I were internet dating - since we had an online relationship but were meeting for the first time. Goddess really seems to have motherhood down so I'm glad I have her around for questions as I flounder forward!

So many of my friends have blogs now and I do love how it makes me feel like I know what is going on in their lives since we are all terrible about email and phone calls. It means we can pick right up where we left off.

Back to the BBQ - Husband did the lion's share work of cooking and I sat on the couch like a queen and caught up with friends. I had stopped Big Firm working by 4 pm (all from home so I could do chores around the house between "fire drills") with only the occasional bberry cheating. We ate chicken kebabs, buffalo sliders and hot dogs and a lovely fruit salad by T, my foodie friend. Husband loves fancy drinks so he tried out his Sloe Gin Fizz recipe he learned on the Wall Street Journal (it's apparently difficult to find sloe gin so he ordered it) that was supposedly very refreshing and caipirinhas (those will get you really drunk - at least it appears that way from Husband).

A few die-hard friends stayed to go to the fireworks over the lake in our town -at the ridiculously late hour of 9:30 pm (hee!). It was a very nice show but I have to admit my back was killing me by then.

Still working today (from home) but looks like we are signing up our deal today so I can have Sunday off. I hope I didn't just jinx it. Husband and I have done 2 BBQs this summer and we do like to entertain so maybe we can fit in another before our lives are taken over by 2 bundles of joy.

In case you're wondering what is on tap for Sunday it is organizing the babies' room - see below for how crazy disorganized it is - and writing thank you notes for my baby shower.



Friday, July 4, 2008

Independence Day

Yesterday definitely felt like a Friday - might be the last 6 weeks of weekend work I've done. I got up at 7 am to check blackberry (violating one of my rules not to bring it into my bedroom) but nothing was happening which was nice after working until 11 pm. Now I'm up and working some (but not too much heavy lifting) and will hopefully soon be getting ready for a 4th of July BBQ we are hosting. Yes, my house is a disaster but I'll do what I can and shut the door on the worst of the mess. Husband and I created a chore list and assigned tasks.

I also have my fingers crossed that maybe, just maybe I can have Saturday and Sunday off. If so I'll consider that my "independence from work day".

Interesting blog in the WSJ about law firm alternatives - to be honest the blog post wasn't that interesting but the comments certainly were! I guess lots of busy lawyers still find time to comment and blog (I guess that's true of me too!). I think one comment in particular struck me about how at large law firms there is not much mentoring. Partners are too busy and work associates do is too "beneath them". I think there is a lot of truth to that. Now that I've committed to my practice group (which I did about 2 years ago after 3 years of general corporate and real estate) and my work opportunities are more advanced I feel that the partners have more vested in me and it shows in training and mentoring. I try to pass it on to junior associates but as a midlevel I'm so "squeezed" by the demands of doing the higher level work and making sure junior associates do theirs.

How do you incorporate mentoring in your daily lives with junior associates? What do my junior associate readers look for in a mentor? How do we grab and hold on to mentors? Transactional work means I bounce around to many partners and it can be difficult to establish.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Partners Say The Darndest Things

I mentioned to a merger and acquisition (male) partner that I wouldn't be around to actually close the deal we are working on (which will close in October/November) because I'll be on maternity leave. Partner asks "Are you at least married?"

Mommy, Esq. update: Many of you asked "how did you respond?" I also got guesses from folks who work (or worked) at my Big Firm as to who the partner was. I wish I could say I was pithy but I was shocked and thought it was funny so I laughed and told him that I certainly hoped so since I didn't think I could handle 2 on my own. What I wish I had said was "Well, if I weren't I'd probably find someone quick since I think 2 would be too much to handle on my own." What would you have said?

Waning Enthusiasm

I am a very upbeat and enthusiastic person. No, really. I get up early on the weekend and generally prefer to be at work early during the week and can usually go until midnight most days. One of the things I was most looking forward to during this pregnancy was "getting excited" for the babies. Our lives will never be the same (in a good way) and I was looking forward to organizing, planning, etc.

Instead I've been working my tail off at my job. I know, I know - I picked this profession and life at a Big Firm. I think I just expected more sympathy/cooperation. Last night around 11 pm I sent an email to my team telling them what was open (document-wise) and that I couldn't "physically" work any more that night. This was after Husband got on my case about how I can't keep doing this. And I agree but I can't let my team down either.

I was checking and I've been on this deal for only 7 weeks but it has felt like a lifetime. Originally it was a 3 week bid but then we (non-deal lawyers bear with me) went into unprecedented waters to actually enter into definitive financing documentation. I think the lack of support from the parnter (a very rare occurence at my Big Firm) is a big part of it. I'm actually meeting with a consultant about team dynamics in our department (of course they feel like hiring someone from Harvard is supposed to help when really they just need more midlevel/senior associates) - can't wait to give him a piece of my mind!

There is a light at the end of the tunnel - and I'm looking forward to saying no to any new projects thereafter, even if it requires a doctor's note. I can get organized at my office and home and get excited for our babies. And of course blog about a lot more interesting things than my job.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Who Knew the US Workforce is a Surrogate Stork?

I just read an interesting article in The New York Times on low birth rates in Europe. Believe it or not US of A has a higher birth rate and possibly due to work place flexibility and father involvement. Although we don't have the European social programs it is easier for parents to work more flexible hours and to leave and re-enter the workforce.

There are lots of other overtones in this article relating to immigration and religion but I'm interested in knowing what would make you want to have a 3rd child (or a second if you only have one)? For any childless readers - how many do you want to have and why?

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

What is Web 2.0?

Our friend Theresa asked in a comment to one of Wife's posts, what is Web 2.0? First of all, T, it is you, since you've got your own blog. But if you need more explanation, these classic episodes of Ask a Ninja should help explain it. You see, it's like a pie factory for whales.





(To those who answered my YouTube question, thanks. Now, another YouTube question: why is their UI so stupid? The embed link should definitely be in the "more share options" list.)

Gas Guzzlers

There are so many stories about people trying to find a way to conserve gas so as not to have to pay the $4+ at the pump. So you may ask yourself - what are the Esq.'s doing?

I think we are making up for the fuel you have saved - so, thanks!

Thanks to a difficult work situation these last 2 months and feeling generally run down because of pregnancy Husband and I are taking separate cars into Boston every day. We used to commute in together and still do occasionally. But I just can't always get myself up at 6:15 am to get to work by 7:30 (which is when Husband wants to be in). No one starts looking for me at work until around 10 am so I can go in late. Also, there have been a few afternoons that I felt so destroyed all I wanted to do was go home and nap but couldn't because Husband had the car (and no way to get Husband if I took it).

To top it off my work garage is $34 a day (!) and only gets paid for if I'm at work until after 8 pm which I'm trying not to be (see exhaustion above). I guess we have to get used to it since this is how it will be when I go back to work next winter.

I got an email yesterday from a junior associate 1 week away from her due date working 12 hour days to close a deal. How unacceptable is that? We constantly tell our supervising attorneys that we can't work those hours (I can't and I've got 8 weeks to go; heck I couldn't starting around week 25) but it is like shouting into the wind. It makes me want to bring in a doctor's note. In an attempt to fight back last night docs came in on my "rush" deal (that has been going on for 2 months) and I told the partner (who has been off the last 3 weekends) that I would be happy to layer in my comments on his in the morning - basically forcing him to do the markup. He sent it to me at 4:30 am and I started working on it at 7:30 am. Just in case you think I'm a slacker this is the 6th markup of this document and I've done my fair share. Now to shake off the guilt...(ever notice women often feel more guilty then men?)

I think that if the Firm wants me back (and I know they do) they should be treating me a little nicer before I go on leave. I will say with absolute certainty that this is my last deal. The last thing I want is to have to come into work after giving birth to organize my office and pass off client matters because I was too busy and gave birth early. It has happened to a few moms - especially the more senior you are.