Thursday, March 22, 2007

Good God, It's Week 35

I have the rest of the week off from work because I supposedly didn't use a few vacation days from 2006 that need to be used by the end of March. (Um, OK, I'd bet that's incorrect, but who am I to argue with the HR woman at work? Enforced days off--sign me up!).

As a result, I spent yesterday doing some nice things:

1. Got a pedicure so my feet finally are worth baring in public. (The pedicurist took pity on me as I contorted around my belly to take my socks off. It was like running a marathon. She gave me a fancy smoothing serum on my callouses-of-death heels without charging me extra.)

2. Got a prenatal massage that felt terrific. I highly recommend these if you are pregnant and achy. The therapist was sweet, did a hardcore Swedish, and knew her way around the pregnant form. ("God bless you, honey, you weren't kidding when you said your ankles and legs were swollen.")

3. Bought some baby clothes.

That last one actually felt the most indulgent. All along, people have asked if I'm excited, if the Mister is excited, about the baby's arrival. Honestly, excitement isn't the word I'd use. Cautious is much more like it.

"We're taking everything one day at a time," I say. "Knock wood, the baby will be healthy and happy."

The whole religious tradition of not tempting fate, not having any baby showers, heck, being casual about where we registered, has really seeped into my being. The one time I mentioned to Mister Lyrehca, "Oh, it should be a quick 20 minute visit" was the heart rate scan a few weeks back where I was sent to Labor & Delivery for two more hours of fetal heart rate monitoring.

Truly, I'm trying to not take anything for granted.

But I had time to shop a bit yesterday, and was close to some baby apparel stores. So I figured I'd scan the sales racks and see what was there. Besides, as of yesterday, the baby had only two items of clothing, and both were gift onesies that would be too big for a newborn to come home from the hospital in. (Unless the kid comes out of the hospital the size of a three-to-six month old. But I digress).

God, baby clothes are cute.

Two credit card charges later, Baby Lyrehca is set to be a very well-dressed kid. Onesies. T-shirts. Socks. A soft hat. All in colorful shades and hip patterns.

I came home and showed Mister Lyrehca, who typically balks at updating his wardrobe from high school. (He proudly wore a Members Only jacket in recent years despite my taunting him; thankfully, friends of ours also mocked him and he finally got rid of it). Even he thought the items were cute and fun. I'm trying not to think of what it'll be like to have to change these clothes because they're covered with spit up and other bodily fluids. Instead, I'm trying to picture the oohs and ahs Baby L will get for being just so fashionable. So baby-stylish. So great.

But you know I can't just relax. I asked both stores what their return policies were. Just in case.

Also saw my Eye Doc yesterday for a follow-up visit.

Apparently, the part of my eyes could be considered "severe non-proliferative retinopathy" while other parts are plain old "proliferative retinopathy." However, since last October's laser treatments, they've been "quiescent" or "quiet." This means that while there is new blood vessel growth in the back of my eyes leftover from whenever, the laser stopped some of it in its tracks. The laser did not stop all of it, because I only had limited laser treatment. The idea is that the limited laser treatment may stop everything forever from growing, but if it doesn't, I'd need more.

"Why didn't you just laser everything you saw?" I asked.

Because that may have affected your vision, Eye Doc said. The idea is to do as little treatment as possible to minimize vision changes while getting the desired effect of stopping the new blood vessel growth in its tracks. The whole time, I might add, my actual eyesight has remained unchanged (i.e., I see things just fine) and the optometrist who analyzes the vision in the front of my eyes told me yesterday that everything looked "brilliant." (I liked her immediately.)

I was more annoyed at being told I was "proliferative" versus "severe non-proliferative." These are semantics most people don't even understand, and even Eye Doc seemed to think the difference was a casual one, but I said that should I ever actually qualify to get life insurance, the difference in my eye damage might make me uninsurable.

"Actually, you're less likely to have eye problems because you've had the laser," Eye Doc said. "That makes you a better candidate."

That seemed like a glib way to summarize things. Eye Doc, who I used to enjoy chatting with during my visits, and I are becoming a bit less chatty. I still have to go back there in three months for a follow-up, though she tells me I can aspire to have visits every four months, then every five, and then maybe taper them back to twice a year.

Mister Lyrehca and I are are pulling together our tax paperwork and receipts to get things filed before the baby's scheduled arrival. I save every single receipt and itemize whatever I can because I freelance on the side. Our medical expenses, we've figured out, amounted to more than ten percent of our combined income last year. According to our accountant, anything more than two percent of your total income is deductible. While this past year included fertility expenses that are not a typical year for us, hearing that my eye doc appointments may cut back from four to two a year didn't exactly thrill me. It's still way more than the general population pays to have its eyes checked.

And frankly, eye appointments are just one of a myriad of things. Parking at the hospitals where I get checked out. Gas for those trips. Filling prescriptions. Mileage. The time spent waiting.

Although I passed a milestone on Tuesday that should hopefully keep us from racking up another round of medical bills: babies born after week 35 don't automatically go to the hospital's Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. I hope Baby L. never needs to see the inside of a NICU ever.

But if it does, my kid will be the best-dressed one there.


Ottoette said...

Congrats! Week 35 is really getting there - 2 more weeks til "full-term"!
I almost bought a lavender gingham crawler with ruffles on the butt last weekend, but I couldn't quite overcome the superstition. But I'm 9 weeks behind you.
At least the damage in your eyes has been slowed - that's the most important thing.

Samantha said...

That's a big milestone to pass: the 35th week. Hopefully that will take some of the worry off and keep the medical bills down. I totally understand about that--we spend $20,000 on medical expenses last year. The tax refund will be nice, but... it would have been nice not have to spend the money in the first place!

Hope you continue to enjoy your time off.

SaraS-P said...

That sounds like so much fun (baby clothes shopping, not dealing with the eye doc)! Congrats on the milestone! Enjoy the shopping!

Kevin said...

Happy to hear that everything is going so well. And I totally ID with the eye doc experience. Hopefully you won't need any more laser treatments.

And I hate to be a tax-geek, but my understanding of the deductibility of medical expenses is that only those amounts above 7.5% of your Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) is deductible. You should double check that with your accountant, but I wouldn't bank on all those expenses be deductible just yet.

Kelsey said...

I love your blog!

I feel like it's a preview of coming attractions for my life :) Hopefully I'll be following in your pregnant footsteps soon!

Take care and congratulations on 35 weeks!

julia said...

Here, let me give you some advice. Stock up on wipes. And onesies. Because babies will produce a HORRIFIC amount of poop. It is disgustingly amazing just how much poop can come out of such a tiny being. And with the force of a fire hose. And if you breastfeed the baby, well, boy howdy.

Put it this way, my kids all had the nick name Poopenheimer from birth until about four months. Yish.

Minnesota Nice said...

"Quiescent" = isn't it lovely how having DB also builds our vocabulary?
And, I think you may have gotten the wardrobe urges from seeing all those cool togs Guatebaby had!

Flmgodog said...

I can't believe you are at the 35 week mark. I know you have Baby L's appearance scheduled and I am assuming that he/she will be here very soon!!!!
It's so exciting and I can't wait for the next update!
Continue to let us all know how you are doing!

Watson said...


Congrats on week 35, that is such great news.

(And a Member's Only jacket? Good grief. Mr L is lucky you agreed to procreate with him. J/K!!)


Mary Ellen and Steve said...

Thank you for wishing us well. Congrats on your milestone! How exciting!


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