Wednesday, July 29, 2009


So Tristan weighed 10lb and 14 oz at his well baby appointment on Monday, at 3.5 weeks. He's growing like a champ! He loves to eat and sleep still, which is great for me!

I took Dean to the ER on Saturday morning; he was in lots of pain and agony from the beating. Sure enough, he has a broken rib. There's no treatment for that . The doctor said "that's just going to hurt for a long time". They gave him a knee stabilizer, a long fabric/velcro cast-looking thing to wear on his leg. He couldn't drive with it on. They gave him percocet for the pain. It really helps the pain, but makes him dizzy and loopy. They set him up with an appointment for an MRI on Monday. He saw an orthopedic physician's assistant on Tuesday, regarding his knee. He has a torn meniscus, and the cartilage is roughed up. That's exactly what leads to a lifetime of arthritis. On Monday after being at work all day, his affected knee was twice the size of the other one, and all he wanted to do was lie down and elevate it. The orthopedic folks gave him a knee brace, which is just over the knee, and allows him more mobility, so I don't have to take him to work and his appointments now. So, they are going to start him on physical therapy twice a week, and then he may need surgery to fix his knee. If so, that would likely make him non deployable. I hope that's what the drill sergeants had in mind when they beat him.

Friday, July 24, 2009

My poor man!

So Dean has been at a combatives course all week at Fort Eustis in Newport News, VA. He knew what it was all about well ahead of time, but it's one of those things that you really can't comprehend until you go through it - much like the pain of labor and child birth I would imagine, which is still fresh in my mind. Thursday was to be the big day where the drill sergeants, and apparently the biggest and baddest guys they could find on the entire base, would gang up and give them each a beat down. The students didn't have any protection, except for the mouth guard and athletic cup he took. They weren't allowed to do anything but try to practice their holds and maneuvers on their attackers - no hitting back, or yelling or anything. It was agonizing and shocking to watch the other classmates (half of them women) take their turns.

Dean is a pretty good sized man at six feet and two hundred pounds, but he said he was thrown around by these guys. They, of course, have been studying these martial arts for years (specifically Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and some form of Russian martial arts), whereas the students have had this week to learn. Anyway, he is in bad shape. He has a concussion, as likely all the students do. They aren't to be taking naps or pain killers either as that's not indicated with concussions. His ribs hurt (I would be surprised if they weren't at least cracked). His knee popped out of joint and is badly swollen. He has what would be an aural hematoma in dogs, perhaps similar to cauliflower ear in people? And he has wounds from head to toe from the entire week, and he is in agonizing pain. I feel terrible for him! And really, I can't tell that there was any real reason for him to go through this. He's not a combat soldier, he's a veterinarian! Apparently his former commander thought it would be a good class for him since he's deploying later this year, so he signed him up. I guess what doesn't kill you makes you stronger? If he's well enough to drive the 4.5 hours Friday after class he'll come home then. He has a new commander, a female, and Ft. Eustis is the home base, so to speak. So he went to visit her on Wednesday, then she wanted him to come back after class on Thursday as well. She was horrified at how bad he looked on Thursday.

On Tuesday they were choked until they passed out. They had to pass out as part of the training. Supposedly they are supposed to be able to teach the course by the time they are done with it. Whatever. He said on Monday before lunch that I might not have a husband by the end of the week. It looks like I'll have one, but he'll need to be nursed back to health!

In other news, Kyler, Tristan and I went to Raleigh yesterday to pick Hunter up from the airport. I planned ahead and learned how to use a baby bjorn to pack Tristan on my chest, and had the leash for Kyler, which he actually cooperated with. I had Hunter pull his own suitcase to keep him in line. It has wheels, so he managed. Kyler had lots of hugs and kisses for Hunter, and they spent the night (must have been until 11pm) doing their usual antics in their bedroom - bouncing off the walls. I just left well enough alone. Tristan did well in the car, and continues to be a sweetie. Hunter is pretty funny with Tristan. He keeps referring to him as "it": "I think it wants some milk", "Can I hold it?" Both boys think it's pretty strange how baby gets nourishment (from Mommy's boobies). They seemed to think I was joking around at first. Hunter kept calling me "Grandma" on the drive home.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

pregnant no more

I would just like to say that I sure enjoy not being pregnant any more! Immediately after giving birth, or maybe more like when the epidural wears off and I can start walking, I marvel at how normal I feel once again and how much more energy I have. I love not having to get up all night, too! Being pregnant just never feels quite normal. I'm down more than 20 pounds already (9 of that was Tristan), with 15 or 20 to go. One of the best parts of nursing is that the weight seems to come right off, though I'm sure it will take a few months. Also, I'm not constantly feeling hot any more, which is a let down for Dean. He loves when I'm pregnant because then we both like the a/c to be set pretty low. Now, I wake up at night shivering because it's cold...

Tristan is a wonderful baby, and we are so happy to have him. He is sleeping pretty well at night, and sleeps much of the day. He gets cuter all the time, in my opinion. This has been the longest it has taken us to have a baby, nearly four years since we had Kyler. Speaking of Kyler, he is learning Baby's cues. He knows that it is better to play loudly "when Baby's eyes are open" than when they are closed, and that if "Baby's mouth is open", he is hungry. Hunter will be home in a couple of days, so he will get to enjoy Tristan and get acquainted as well. It has been more peaceful around here since the boys can't squabble with each other, but Kyler asks about Hunter every day.

Meanwhile, Dean is gone yet again for the week. This time he is in Virginia for a combatives course, in preparation for being deployed. He left Sunday afternoon. It gets a little harder each time he leaves, as it is forboding of the long year to come. He called late this morning to report that he may not survive the week. From how he described it before he left, it sounded like a week of hazing or gang initiation, and sure enough the drill sergeants do not disappoint. He bought an athletic supporter and a mouth guard before he left - clearly some wisdom on his part. By the end of the day he was battered and bruised, and said he'd never sweat so much in his life. He downed a couple of 32 oz gatorades, and as much bottled water as he could find. They were only allowed to drink from a fountain all day. I always marvel at how I am so not cut out for the military. I do fine as a spouse, but I wouldn't see the humor in all that the uniformed folks have to endure!

Last week our desktop computer and Dean's laptop both died. He had just bought the laptop new a couple of months ago. Consumer Reports recommends buying a replacement warranty for laptops, and not much of anything else. It came in handy more than once with his last one, and sure enough he needed it with this new one. The hard drive had died on it, so he got store credit for what he had paid for it, and picked out another one (a better one for a little more money). And he went ahead and bought the warranty for a full three years. The desktop, which I primarily use, had a dead mother board. Funny how that happens - one evening it was working fine, I shut it down, and the next morning it was dead. But at least we were able to salvage the hard drive. Dean put it in the new computer. I'm always suprprised at how much he can do with computers, because he hates doing that kind of stuff, but he sure seems to have a knack for it. I don't! Anyway, I don't see where on the new computer to put the little disk from the camera to put the pictures on the computer and on the blog here, and Dean's gone... so sorry no pictures!

Saturday, July 11, 2009


Dean gave me an orchid last year for Mothers Day. It bloomed soon after. And now it is blooming again! My black thumb has perhaps become brown over the years, maybe even with a hint of green. He gave me a couple of more orchids for Valentines Day last year. One has long since been laid to rest, and the other got chewed up by Bob - our cat whom I lost on the 3,000 mile drive from OR to NC last September - that's a story for another time. It is still alive, though (the orchid - can't say for sure about Bob), but hasn't bloomed since it did initially. All the orchids made the trip across country, so it is a wonder any of them are alive.

And, in the garden we've harvested lots of peas, radishes, and now tomatoes. My mom spent a lot of time working in the garden while she was here, which was very nice. She replanted a lot of the squares, and now new things are coming up. The gladioluses are blooming and are beautiful! There are a couple of colors in them, though that may be hard to see in the picture. The dominant color is fuschia, with a lighter shade of pink on the inside of the blossoms.

While here my mom also organized some shelves and closets, worked on my mending pile, completed a couple of sewing projects, had the boys pulling weeds outside, and swept and organized in the garage! Thanks, Mom!

Tristan is doing great, and sleeps most of the day. My milk has come in, so he doesn't need to nurse constantly, although he likes to be latched on for much of the night. If that's what it takes for me to get to sleep overnight, then I don't mind. I got that pacifier out for Tristan to use, and he liked it. Then Kyler came across it and bit the nipple right off. Thanks, kid. That reminds me of nursing him... I lasted 12 months minus 2 days with him. Since Tristan came home Kyler has been a little bit more independent. He made himself a peanut butter and jam sandwich for the first time, and has learned to pour himself soda and juice from the fridge. I don't usually have those around, but I've been having trouble drinking enough, so they help.

Dean had to leave early this morning for the AVMA convention. He was very sad to leave us behind. He'll probably spend a little time at an Army booth. Last year he enjoyed talking with some of the Army vets at the convention, which helped him decide to join, so he's happy to put in some time there. They are required to wear their uniforms while there, so they are easy to spot.

We spent the afternoon and evening yesterday at the beach with Penny and Steve, who are staying in a beach condo until they move away in a couple of weeks. That was fun, and Dean enjoyed boogie boarding for the first time. I sat in a chair with Tristan, who slept the whole time. Penny made some delicious, authentic, Chinese and Philipino food.

Monday, July 6, 2009

The nitty gritty

Well, it was bound to happen and it finally did! Wednesday I was having lots of contractions as usual, but they started getting more uncomfortable and even painful toward the end of the day. With some other clues, and especially some labor pains in my back, we went to the hospital after 10pm. The contractions were really painful by then, and close together. I was dilated to 5, and even threw up. The nurse could tell it was Mexican food, and said that spicy food often helps to get things going. The contractions were excruciating, and I didn't feel like I could walk to the labor and delivery room, so they wheeled me in a chair.

My water broke on its own (first time) by midnight or so, and was full of baby's meconium, which they said means some stress on his part. The contractions always vastly intensify after the water is broken, so it was really fun by then. Dean was most supportive as always. I was begging for the epidural, but having not had much to drink during the day, the nurses were having a hard time getting a vein open to draw blood for a platelet count... It took four sticks to finally get one, then what seemed like forever to get the results back and then call the anesthesiologist. The contractions were terribly frequent, and I kept thinking that it would be worth the epidural to relieve even just one of them. It finally, finally kicked in, and as promised by the anesthesiologist, it didn't numb me by any means, but it made the contractions tolerable. I kept wondering how women have done this all through history without pain relief. With Kyler I only had to endure two contractions after my water was broken before they got the epidural going - and that was enough. This time it seemed like there were dozens, and they hurt bad enough before it broke to make a grown man cry...

So, by the time he was ready to come out, they had about 8 people in the room, because of the meconium business - to be ready to suck it out of him before he aspirated it into his lungs. His heart rate dropped a bit when he was crowning, so they had me breathe through a contraction or two before further pushing. I had an oxygen mask on. Then his head came out, and the cord was wrapped around a couple of times, so they undid that, and I sent the rest of him out. Dean and everyone marvelled at how big he seemed, and sure enough he was nine pounds and one ounce, born at 4:45, Thursday July 2. For some reason the placenta didn't want to come out, so the two residents who delivered Tristan worked on that for a while. They were marveling that I had not torn at all, not even micro tears. I never have - what a blessing! Dean was very sweet the whole time, and teared up as Tristan was born, just as he has done for each of the children. Because of what was going on he wasn't able to cut the cord, but was able to trim it down once they took care of Tristan's initial needs.

Dean trimming the cord to an acceptable length.

They let me have Tristan about 45 minutes after he was born, and he was very happy to start nursing, and latched on like a charm. That wasn't always the case over the next few days while we were in the hospital, but it was a good start and he loves to nurse now (about 20 hours a day it seems). The boys and Grandma Merrill came to see Tristan, and all thought he was great. We were certainly relieved that Grandma got to see him before she left. She was here two weeks, and he was born two days before her flight out. Hunter went with her to NM to spend a couple of weeks.

Now at home Tristan is learning to be content outside the womb. It's taking some getting used to, but he's coming around. Kyler is enthralled with him, and we are teaching him to be gentle. My Shrek feet are deflating, and my mom thought my face was starting to return to a normal size as well. There's still plenty of swelling to lose, especially to be rid of the carpal tunnel pain which still plagues me. Slowly but surely!

It is especially nice to have Dean around. In the Army he gets 10 days of baby leave. He won't be able to use all of it as he is leaving at the end of the week for the AVMA convention in Seattle for a few days, then has to get back to work, but this is vastly more time off than we've ever gotten and it's wonderful! He has been so good doing all the mundane stuff around the house, and helping with Tristan as much as possible, and wrangling Master Kyler.

Daddy and baby taking a break.

Grandma and the boys.