Tuesday, September 30, 2008


So I've changed all the first names on my blog to first initials. If anyone has my blog listed on their blog, would you mind just putting it under "k-land" like the title here? Thanks! (I don't want to go totally private, this is my compromise :))

Sunday, September 28, 2008


So IN CHURCH today I was told how to vote on Prop 102. Prop 102 in Arizona states that marriage is defined as one man and one woman.

Here's what I DON'T have a problem with:
  • The Church taking a moral stance.
  • Mormons, who have given this ample thought, voting yes on Prop 102.
  • People in general feeling differently from me. It's fine.
Here's what I DO have a problem with:
  • The Church taking a political stance: especially after saying they officially do not take a stance.
  • Mormons voting yes on Prop 102, for the sole reason that the Church told them so.
  • Being told in church that "they aren't telling us how to vote, but go vote yes on Prop 102." Contradictory? Out of line? In this Mormon Democrat blogger's opinion, yes.
  • Hearing fear tactics that are misleading. See this (fear tactics) but only if you then see this (a legal breakdown of the tactics).
  • Mormons taking a suggestion from the First Presidency and making it into Doctrine, capital "D". Again, in this Mormon Democrat blogger's opinion, it's not doctrine. Fortunately I was also at least told in today's (appalling) lesson at least, that we should ultimately vote on our conscience. I will.
Alrighty. Sorry if this offends, but it's my blog.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Ultrasound Follow-up

We saw Dr. S yesterday, our perinatologist (sp?), and she had this to say:

  • my amniotic fluid level is normal, which is especially good with E because it means that he's peeing a lot (amniotic fluid is glorified baby pee I'm told :)), which means that his kidneys are functioning the way they should.
  • they still can't tell whether or not he has a connected horseshoe kidney, or just abnormally shaped individual kidneys. (We go back in October to follow up again; the older he gets, the better they can see and diagnose.)
  • he does, however, have 3 fluid-filled cysts (benign) towards the left side of his kidney(s): this doesn't affect function of the kidneys, and most people have them and don't know it; it's not as common in fetuses and infants, but cysts DO run in R's family...)
  • when E is born, they will do a renal ultrasound to make sure his kidneys are okay; I don't know how often he'll need this done, but I'm assuming they keep an eye on him for things like urinary tract infections and kidney infections.
  • his cleft lip and palate also look fine, the width being an average size: right cleft lip, right cleft palate
  • however, they saw a little shadow on his LEFT lip (but NOT the palate). So it's possible that he has a slight cleft on the left lip as well: obviously it's not nearly as wide since they cannot tell if it is there or not. In October maybe they'll be able to tell if he has the two cleft lips or not (two cleft lips are called "bilateral cleft lip": as opposed to just one which is called "unilateral cleft lip")
  • this is also something they will be able to see more clearly as he gets older. It doesn't affect his surgery either way, nor his chances of recovering well. It DOES affect how he'll be able to eat, so I'm hoping that he'll have a strong sucking instinct to make up for all this :)
So, nothing scary. We're just filling in the blanks at this point. I feel somewhat prepared for how he'll look, but you never know. R is worried about it too. I think we have some challenges ahead with feeding, but fortunately other people have done this before and we can ask them questions and get their help.

To all those planning to visit:
  • Prepare yourself so that R and I won't stress out about your reaction to E's appearance. Look up pictures of cleft lips and palates. Look at before and after photos. It really helps. Even with preparation, it will still be surprising. Don't be embarassed, we're going through it together.
  • Don't be afraid to ask questions about E's recovery, or eating, or anything like that. We'll be happy to answer, and it's quite complicated. You should have questions.
  • Don't worry about your kids asking blunt questions. We have a 3 year old, we're used to it! But seriously, it won't offend us, just come and be yourself.
  • Please don't say things like: "I can't even tell." or "Don't worry, he'll be so handsome after surgery." We want to love him the way he is, both before AND after surgery.
Well, I think those are all my thoughts for today. I think I'll find some before and after pictures myself and post them here so you can see them. To start out, click here to go to the Cleft Advocate photo gallery. Thanks for all your thoughts, prayers, and love. We're doing much better :)

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Another Favorite Couple Websites

I've been gearing up for having another baby in the house. In light of recent Bisphenol A discoveries, as well as not-so-recent concerns about PVC, pthalates, and lead, I have been reading up on sippy cups, bottles, toys, dishes, Tupperware, etc.

I really like the comprehensive lists that I have found. They aren't all inclusive and I still have a lot of unanswered questions (mostly about specific toys), but they help. I was happy to find that that sippy cups we already use are relatively safe. They are the Playtex insulator brand. And the "Take n' Toss" utensils, bowls, cups, and straws that we have are also at least BPA-free. Please take the time to find replacements if you are using a hazardous product currently.

Also, for reference in other daily products:
  • survey of common children's brands, and their toxicity
  • quick rundown of ingredients to avoid (in personal care products)
  • list of "Top 5" products and their rating: shampoo, conditioner, body wash, liquid soap, toothpaste, sunscreen, baby wipes, lotion/moisturizer, diaper cream, baby powder, play makeup

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Baby Wraps

So instead of getting a Baby Bjorn carrier I think I will get one of those nifty stretchy wrap thingys. My friend J recommended one, and after looking them up online today I think I agree. The people on Amazon that reviewed the Baby Bjorn said that it's great but only works if your baby is smaller (15 pounds or less). But these wrap thingys go up to 30 or 35 pounds. Plus they look pretty versatile. My SIL has one, but I don't remember which brand. The one I like is here, and it's, shockingly, on my wish list.

I think I'm going to attempt to make my own baby food this time around, by the way. We have a really cool local co-op that has organic food baskets every other weekend. So we'll see. I will accept any encouragement from folks who have tried it. I already have a good cookbook to go from: First Meals by Annabel Karmel. I'm doing it!

Monday, September 22, 2008


I've added things to the wish lists, including little notes of explanation, about the various baby gear discoveries I have been making. It makes a nesting mom feel prepared.

Cleft Discoveries

I've been trying to gain some understanding of what to expect after E is born. I mostly wonder about what it will be like trying to breastfeed him. It sounds like anything goes: he could latch, he might not, he might take to a Medela Special Needs feeder, or a Mead Johnson/Ross nipple, or a Pigeon Bottle, he might spit up a lot, he might have milk come out his nose and choke, sheesh. So far I've procured a 12 pack of cloth diapers for burp cloths, and one Medela bottle from the surgeon. Plus, this link explains distinctions between the three kinds of bottles available. Slowly but surely I'm feeling knowledgeable. I'm leaning towards the Medela bottles because they are made of safe plastic. It is the most expensive bottle, but it has no BPA, no pthalates, no PVC, no lead, etc. But guess what option I thought of? Glass bottles.

I know, I know, they could break and they are heavier, but what about this?!! They make glass bottles with a silicone "skin" so that it doesn't break, slip, etc. The ones I found are ever so cute (polka dots, I'm a sucker), and also happen to fit the nipple size of a Medela Special Needs feeder. I found this out with the help of a lovely online messageboard for cleft palate folks. It's so nice to talk to people who have already done the trial and error work for you. Anyways, I think these glass bottles will last a long time without wearing out, they will be easier to heat if I decide to do so, they hold more milk, and will generally end up being less expensive. They are about $12 a bottle.

On the other hand, there are also these bottles by Green to Grow. They are cheaper than the Medela bottles, made of plastic, but with the same benefit of being free of all those bad plastic things I already listed. Again, they fit the Medela nipple size=lucky me. Also, this brand is at Whole Foods, so I can go look at them and bring the bottle I have to make sure it fits.

This morning: didn't know anything about these bottles other than how expensive they were. Now I know: where to buy Medela bottles and teats, where to buy other bottles that are cheaper, safe, and still fit the Medela teats. Hooray! Now, I just need to bug people about breast pumps...

Friday, September 19, 2008

new link list: wishing!

So I went a little crazy with the Cheez Whiz and put wish list links on my side bar to your immediate left. Look at them! Look at them now! Please feel free to buy me everything in the world I want for myself, my R and my kids. If you don't, we are not friends anymore. No pressure.

But seriously, E's is mostly diapers and breastfeeding paraphernalia. I will add more things that are fun as I begin nesting more ferociously in the next 2-3 months. I also need to get out all the bins full of clothes and toys from when M was a wee one and go through them. That will help me nest a little more responsibly. I feel so organized!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

R's response to my Radiohead post

=Hi friends,
I've never had a guest blogger before, but I find my husband so funny that I thought I would post the comment he made about my previous post idolizing/worshiping Radiohead. So please enjoy:

Hey Cyberbuddies-

I don't usually get involved with K's blog, but I figured I would add my two cents.

This was a great show, possibly outstripping "Ska Patrick's Day" or even The Brad Mehldau Trio as my favorite show that I've been to. In fact, it was so good that Radiohead may finally have obtained my elusive favorite band status (competing with such heavyweights as Pink Floyd and the Miles Davis Quintet of the late sixties.

My only complaints were the opening band, which was openly satanic. That didn't bother me so much as their satanic refusal to play more than one chord per song or sing in-key. They sucked. And they just kept going on and on.

My other complaint (more of a wish) is that Radiohead didn't play at least one of the following songs from OK Computer: "let down" "subterranean homesick alien" or "electioneering." But most of the chart-topping hits were there, so I can't complain.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

My Dance in October

Here's the link to buy tickets and get information on times and places. Please come! More information as the performance date nears.

Visit to the surgeon

The surgeon we have for E seems really great. My friend A who has had 2 children with cleft lip/palate recommended using The Cleft Palate Foundation to find teams in our area. So the doctor my OB/GYN recommended happens to be the head of one of the AZ teams. Hooray! R and I met him this morning and he seems great. The nurse talked to us as well, mostly about breastfeeding issues, and we got a special needs feeder from her to try and get used to.

So E will have the lip surgery around 2.5-3 months (10 weeks or so), and he has to weigh 10 pounds. I think there is a rule of 10s: 10 weeks, 10 pounds, 10mg (?) of hemoglobin. Then, the palate surgery will be at 6-7 months. Both surgeries are overnight stay, and I think he said that the lip surgery was about 60 minutes of anesthesia. I'm not sure if the palate one is longer, so I'll let you know when I find out. E is due January 1st, so that puts him in surgery around March, which they said is good because RSV season will be about over.

That reminds me: I'm publicly announcing that I'm not taking E anywhere for the first 3 months. If you want to come over and see him you must wash hands and not be sick at all! I may even keep some face masks available. Not kidding. I don't want him catching anything on top of everything else. So, y'all know :)

I'll keep you posted on any new information. The next bit will probably come after the ultrasound next week. Fingers crossed that everything looks great in there!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Speechless, or not.

So, Radiohead. Need I say more?
They played everything I wanted to hear with the exception of one song, they sounded amazing, I was able to wear my Vans and a sweater (I love California!!), we took pictures, we danced and even clapped (which we don't do), and generally felt the love. It was one of the most singularly amazing experiences of my life. I think you might not totally appreciate it, unless you are already a devoted fan. Radiohead, in my honest opinion, takes artistry to a new level. The stage design, the camera work, the sound design, not to mention the music itself, and not to mention the artists themselves, were all perfection. It's transcending! My only missing piece: a Radiohead T-shirt, which I did not want to wait in line for. So I shall buy one on the the website. Okay, pictures:
prior to the concert
during the concert
blue stage
green-purple stage

So, in conclusion: the best thing ever! With my birthday money I have purchased/received 2 more Radiohead CDs: Pablo Honey (which I used to own, but lost), and I Might Be wrong (a collection of live songs). I've also gone a little crazy looking up EPs and b-sides and whatnot. My amazon wish list is chock full.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Second Half of Test Results

Good news: the full chromosome analysis is back and is completely normal. Of course, there's always something more it could be, so they're going to run another test that looks really close at tiny parts of the chromosomes to rule a few more things out. But I don't think that it will be anything that rare.

The geneticist herself said that even though unrelated birth defects usually indicate an underlying problem, she has seen this happen before with her own eyes: two unrelated birth defects that just happen. I think E is one like that :) Thanks for all your prayers, thoughts, fasts, hopes, and wishes. I already felt like I dodged a bullet with M coming out perfect, so now I really feel like I'm beating the odds. I think we may just be a family of four after this little scare. Wow.

The plan now:
  • See a cranio-facial surgeon next Tuesday. He'll be taking care of the lip and palate surgeries that happen around 3 months old and 12 months old, respectively. When we meet we get to ask all kinds of questions and hear the plan for the first year of E's life. I'm guessing that I will have yet another ultrasound so they can track his development and plan for surgery with as much information as possible. I'll keep you posted on how he looks at various checkpoints along the way.
  • Go to my regular OB/GYN checkup next Thursday. I'm assuming they'll put us in contact with a pediatrician a little earlier than usual. I like the one M has, so I may call and set up something with her in a few weeks. I'm also assuming they'll put us in contact with a pedatric geneticist to make sure everything is good at the birth.
  • Meet with the La Leche League to gain support for breastfeeding issues that will inevitably come up. Also, try and find "special needs feeder" bottles and nipples made with safe plastic (no pthalates, no biphesonol-A) for E in case he can't latch. (Special needs feeders are specifically made for cleft lip/cleft palate babies to help them eat). Plea: anyone who knows anything about this please share!
  • Go to another ultrasound on September 26th to track growth, kidney development, and cleft lip/palate development.
So there you go. Updates. Finally! I've been pacing for the last few days, and now I'm just going to chill, do some yoga, have some reading time, and watch the Sopranos with R. Phew.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

First Half of Test Results Back

The geneticist called just now and said the major chromosomal problems have come back negative. So that means there's no Trisomy 13, 18, or 21 (Down's), and the X and Y chromosomes are in tact. Now we wait for the testing to come back for any partial chromosomal abnormalities. The geneticist sounded hopeful though, so that's a small relief. More news to come late this week or early next week, to rule it ALL out. We're still praying and fasting.

Monday, September 01, 2008


Anyone who is reading this and is willing to give some time over to praying and fasting for my little baby can consider themself welcome.

The ultrasounds we had last Thursday and Friday show that E has cleft lip, cleft palate, but also what is called a "horseshoe kidney". His kidneys never separated into two separate kidneys. Each of these defects isn't deadly, and though they require surgery, we feel like they are something we can handle. They can be fairly benign.

Something we are not sure we can handle without spiritual support is this: they did an amniocentesis on Friday as well, because it's possible he is sicker than he looks. We're praying that the problems stop with what we know, but the results from the amniocentesis aren't coming back until Wednesday (for various Trisomy syndromes, etc.) of this week, and another week later for the rest of the testing. They are doing a full range of genetic testing that we are hoping come back completely negative. We pray that his brain and all his mental faculties are in tact, and ask for anyone's help who's willing to give it. Fortunately, his body looks pretty strong and normal in every other way. We only are asking God that his problems end where they are. I'll update information again when I can. Please help just by thinking of him.