Resolutions: getting organized

Resolutions: getting organized

Over the years, I’ve made resolutions and succeeded, made resolutions and failed miserably, and I’ve even taken the bah-humbug route and refused to make resolutions at all. While there is something appealing about the bah-humbug method, I have come to appreciate the time out each year to stop and think about where I’ve been, where I’m going, and the best next steps to get me where I want to be.

I want to be organized.

Lack of organization costs us so much time and money, and we have none of either to spare. We may be dirt poor college students and every dollar we spend is borrowed right now, but time is the element about which I am most concerned. I have less time than money, and I have no money. How is it that the people around me are constantly trying to figure out things to do with their time? They offer me suggestions on how to pass my time as though they’re doing me a favor. Thanks, I got it covered. They worry I might be bored. Sorry, boredom is a luxury, and I just don’t have time for it.

And that “Sleep when they sleep” piece of (ahem) advice people offer up to new mothers – that’s a cruel joke. If I slept when my daughter slept, I’d never get my bills paid, toilet scrubbed, homework done, or fight the daily battles with our health insurance company – which we pay for out of our student loans so we are also paying interest on the exorbitant sums they extract from us before refusing to cover preapproved expenses.

Where was I? oh, yeah, getting organized.

It’s not like I haven’t tried to get organized before. I have gone down that road many times. I actually enjoy the process of getting organized, especially when I have the time – and money to spend on little organizing toys like pretty file folders and label making machines.

This time, I want to take a different approach. In the past, the road to organization involved adding complication, and invariably, a long list of rigid rules. Not only did I have trouble getting buy-in from my husband on all those rules, it didn’t take me long to rebel either. The cure was worse than the disorganization.

So how do I do this? How do I get organized in a manner that doesn’t turn our lives into a rule ridden hell? How do I combine organization with simplifying?

I don’t have much in the way of answers just yet. We are going to start with downsizing. We are going to get rid of a lot of stuff. Here’s the kicker. Going through stuff (especially when making value judgments on what to keep) takes time, as do other aspects of organizing.

How do I make sure that the act of getting organized does not create processes that take up more time than they save? How do I make sure I don’t get bogged down while going through our stuff? That’s a tough one for me. I’m always finding something fascinating like an old year book, or journal, or photos, that distract me from the task at hand.

Has anyone written a book on organizing for people with ADD? I think that might come in handy. In the meantime, I’ll keep trying to draw my attention back away from the distractions, and focus on a game plan for getting our home, schoolwork, school financing, writing, medical expenses, and everything else organized.

What are you working on?


Baby Update: Home Again – this time on bedrest

Baby Update: Home Again – this time on bedrest

Sprung from the cage. Released on my own recognizance. Flew the coop.

Baby is doing well. I’m at home from the hospital, still pregnant, and on bedrest. By bedrest I mean reclining; I’m not to be sitting up either.

Perhaps bedrest would be a little less frustrating if we hadn’t just moved, and I wasn’t surrounded with thousands of boxes that still need to be unpacked. I still can’t find anything.bird-4

Now I need to get busy on all that homework I didn’t get done during my week in the hospital.  At least there will be fewer interruptions here.  Imagine trying to write a paper juggling 12 different books and a pile of papers and the laptop while leaning back – without sitting up or straining or reaching too far for any of the books.  Don’t take for granted the little things like being able to sit up and spread your books out on the table. Oh, I miss sitting up and leaning forward.

Somebody needs to bring me some bon-bons.

Baby Update: the Antepartum Unit

Baby Update: the Antepartum Unit

Yup, still pregnant. And still in the hospital.  I have been officially transferred from Labor and Delivery to the Antepartum Unit.  This is a good thing, it means they are no longer worried that I will deliver any minute, but I still need some help to keep labor from proceeding.  I’m still dilating – about a half cm every day or two.  So it’s slow, but it hasn’t come to a stop.  The good news is that I’ve made it into the 34th week which drastically ups baby’s viability, and we also got the steroids in so her lungs have a better chance of functioning on their own if she just can’t wait till term.

It’s really just a waiting game.  There is a chance that they will send me home tomorrow – that depends on how far the dilation has progressed.   They’ll check again in the morning. Part of me is excited at the prospect of going home to wait out the rest of my pregnancy, and part of me is terrified.  I like knowing that the experts are just a button push away.

Baby Update: the Hospital

Baby Update: the Hospital

That’s right, I’m in the hospital right now.  Saturday night was a tough night for me with lots of intestinal cramping and nausea.  I was up all night.  The next morning we started going through all the boxes we hadn’t unpacked yet looking for the booklet on pregnancy and childbirth from our doctor.  When we finally found the booklet and thumbed through it and noticed on the page with “Warning Signs” – I could go down the list and check off a pretty good percentage.  That warranted a call to the consulting nurse who said “Come on down.”

That led to six hours in the Labor and Delivery Triage room.  When I first got there, all of my symptoms disappeared.  Why does that happen??  It’s so frustrating to sit there with a Doctor or Nurse and try to describe symptoms you’re no longer having – In fact, most of the time in triage, I felt great but a little embarrassed because I came in with no symptoms.  They put me on a monitor to track my contractions and the baby’s heart rate.  I didn’t feel a single contraction, but as it turns out, the monitor showed that I was having pretty frequent contractions.  They checked my cervix after a few hours and I was dilated to 1 cm, 2 hours later I was dilated to 2.5 cm.  That’s when they told me they were preparing a room for me.

I honestly thought we would go in, they would check me out and then send me home with orders to call them if the cramping and nausea comes back.  Not so much.  Instead the plan is to put me on medication to slow down the contractions and steroids to beef up the baby’s lungs in case we’re not able to stop labor from proceeding.  It wasn’t really sinking in what was going on until the doctor started telling me about how my baby was most likely viable at this age, but if she was born now, she would go straight to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.

Since I was admitted Sunday night, the baby’s heart-rate has remained steady, and so have the contractions.  It still strikes me as extremely weird that I can’t feel the contractions.  I’m hoping that bodes well for delivery.  The baby also continues to be very active, which makes me feel good.

They are going to check me again in the morning to see if dilation has stopped or continued.  If it stopped, I get to go home with orders to stay off my feet.  If dilation has continued, I may be in here a while.

Baby seems to be active and feisty and raring to get on with life, which I think will be helpful to her if she is born with a hurdle to overcome – such as being premature.  I hope she can settle down and wait a few weeks and use that exuberance for getting on with life a little later.


Resolutions: getting organized

I’m Still Here

I’m still here and still very pregnant.  The move went as well as, or even better than expected.  We had one group of friends and family members show up on Saturday morning and the worked till about 8 that night moving the big items and most of the boxes – and a second group of people showed up the next day to get the last little bits and seriously scrub down the old apartment.  I was really concerned about how I was going to be able to do all that scrubbing.  Instead it was two days of people telling me to “SIT DOWN!” Yes, I know I’m not supposed to be carrying big stuff around when I’m this pregnant.  But it’s really hard to sit there and watch other people clean my home.  It just doesn’t feel right.

The new place is a little bit bigger than the old one with a nice big balcony and hook-ups for a washer and dryer.  Mom found a used washer and dryer in great shape at an estate sale for $100 so we’re in business.  No more carting loads of laundry two full blocks to get them washed.  On the downside, the kitchen is tiny, tiny, tiny, so I’ll be looking for interesting places around the house to hide the non-perishables that wont fit in the kitchen.  And no dishwasher.  But the fridge is nice and big.  Oh the joys of institutional living.

I’m a little disgusted with the downstairs neighbor with the loud music, empty beer cans littered around his front and back door, and the fact that twice in the past week my entire apartment has smelled like pot (not that I would know what that smells like…).  But all the other neighbors seem to be really nice.  You have to have kid’s to live in this apartment complex, so I’m surrounded by other parents.  I’m looking forward to making friends with people with kids.  It’s so weird that my none of my local in-the-flesh friends have kids.

The biggest frustration we’ve had at the new place is the fact that we still don’t have internet access.  That will not be installed until Thursday.  In the meantime, I lug my laptop down to the local wifi cafe, stick my pregnant belly out as far as I can, and hover like a vulture until someone gets creeped out and decides to let glaring fat lady have their table.  Then I sit down, wait forever for windows to load, and then do my homework as fast as I can and hopefully get it all done before my battery dies.  Return home, recharge battery, repeat, until I need a nap.

I hope to get back to a more regular posting schedule after I have internet access at home.  Hope all is well with you.


Pregnancy 101: How to Roll Over

Pregnancy 101: How to Roll Over

You might think rolling over is no big deal unless perhaps you’re training your dog, or your infant has developed a greater degree of mobility.  Consider, however, the plight of the poor pregnant woman, a beached whale trapped on her back in the divot of a sagging mattress. 

Rolling over is no small feat, especially once you’ve reached the point where you can no longer see your feet.

Deconstructing the rollover

Before we get into the bio-mechanics of rolling over for a pregnant woman, lets first consider the act of rolling over while not in that most delicate state. 

I sleep on the right side of the bed.  If I start out lying on my right side at the very edge of my side of the bed, rolling over involves falling to my back and then using momentum and my abdominal muscles to pull me up on my left side.  At this point I have traveled over 3/4 of the way across our full sized bed, and my husband has been displaced onto the floor. 

Now, if your spouse is willing to just stay on the floor, you’re golden. But if your spouse is anything like mine, he expects to get back into the bed – of which you are taking up your 2/3 right out of the middle.  Making room for him means you must scootch (I’m using the technical term here) back over to your side.

Scootching of course, involves bending your knees and pressing your feet into the mattress enough to lift your bum and swing it to the right, then use your abdominal muscles to pull your upper body the rest of the way back over to your side of the bed.  Notice that so far in this description we have used our abdominal muscles twice.  After that much exercise, it’s time for a nap.

A different perspective

Now let’s reconsider this scenario from the perspective of a pregnant woman.

Sleeping while pregnant requires a lot more pillows. By far, the most critical pillow is the pillow between your knees that helps keep the spine straight.  The other pillows may be added or subtracted according to relative comfort level, which may change at any given moment.  What are the other pillows for?

  • One for between the feet to keep them from, heaven forbid, touching each other. 
  • Another smallish or super soft down pillow goes between the belly and the mattress for support. 
  • A pillow in the arms for holding and snuggling and squeezing, another at the lower back for lumbar support, and of course,
  • the pillow that goes under the head.

Now re-imagine the act of rolling over while keeping all of the pillows necessary for adequate rest in their appropriate positions. 

You can’t do it. 

You must first disengage from the pillows, roll over, scootch back to your side of the bed and then wake up your husband and have him retrieve all the pillows that fell to the floor when your whale -butt scootched back into them.

After grumpy husband throws pillows at you,  you must then reposition all of the pillows to find a comfortable enough position to return to sleep.  This could take several attempts as from day-to-day or even hour-to-hour, the one position that is comfortable may change considerably.

The betrayal of the body pillow

We have recently discovered the full body pillow which takes the place of several of the pillows listed above.  This has been an immense improvement on our sleeping conditions and marriage. 

On the down side, this pillow is about the size of a small adult, which means we are essentially sleeping three across our tiny full-sized bed. 

In addition, I have returned from a potty run on many occasions to find my pillow contently snuggled up in my husbands arms, my husband’s leg thrown over the bottom half.  It stings a bit that my pillow would betray me in this manner, and further extends the amount of time it takes to get settled into a sleep position when I must first wrestle the pillow from my husband’s arms.

Physiological changes during pregnancy

The two rolling over scenarios I have described above both ignore the physiological changes in a woman’s body during pregnancy. 

The first and most critical being increased clumsiness. How could clumsiness come in to play when one is lying down throughout the entire ordeal?  Get yourself knocked up and you’ll figure it out. 

In addition, we get winded much more easily and the act of rolling over may require a stop, mid-roll, to catch one’s breath.  Now it may seem like the logical place to stop and catch your breath may be mid-roll while you are flat on your back.  This is, however, the worst possible position from which to try to catch your breath.  While on your back the uterus and baby push the rest of your organs further up under your rib cage making it difficult to breath even if you haven’t already winded yourself. 

Also, if you stop while flat on your back, you have completely lost all momentum meaning the remainder of the roll will be powered entirely by your now non-existent abdominal muscles.  Besides, odds are you will suddenly have to run to the bathroom mid-roll anyways.

The easiest answer to rolling over in bed while pregnant: Get up and go to the bathroom and when you come back, rip the damn body pillow out of your husband’s arms, beat him with it for a minute and then lie down in the position in which you want to sleep.