Posted in Technology

The Joy of Computer Maintenance

You know how people always joke that as soon as an appliance or expensive piece of equipment goes out of warranty, it’ll break? Almost as soon as the warranty ended on my sweet little MacBook, it began malfunctioning. Of course, the MacBook hasn’t had an easy life. I do have a toddler and I am a klutz, so it has been a victim of gravity a few times. I’d be willing to bet, though, that the very day the warranty ran out was the day it really started showing the worst problems.

For months now, it seems that the battery has run out just as quickly when it’s shut and sleeping (not on the charger) as when I’m using it. I thought that was a power settings issue, or just a quirk of this model of computer. A few weeks ago–ironically, the first day we finally got internet at the new house–it began to shut itself off when not on the charger. No low-battery warning, no nothing. It was kind of random, too. In the next few days, it progressed to where the computer was not sensing the battery at all (the fully-charged battery, which, when I was using it before, had a good two to three hours left on it–definitely not a “dead” battery).

I should have called Apple that day, or the day after. The computer might still have been under warranty. However, it was still such an intermittent problem that it didn’t occur to me to get support just then.

I finally called yesterday, because I finally had a good chance to. I knew the computer was no longer under warranty, so I thought I’d just deal with whatever it would cost me to call in. Fortunately, it didn’t cost anything (that I know of . . . yet), and it’s a good thing it didn’t, because the guy was not helpful at all. (Just FYI: This is not a complaint about Apple support in general; we usually have very good service with them. This guy was just . . . not helpful to me.) Of course, not actually looking at my computer, he couldn’t really deduce what the problem might be, so he naturally assumed I had a dead battery, and that was my problem. I tried to tell him that, no, the battery was far from dead and I believed it was a contact issue–the computer just wasn’t registering a battery installed. We went around in a circle a couple times, then he offered to make an appointment at a “local” Apple store for me so I could take it in to get looked at.

As soon as I heard that, I knew we were going to have a problem. As far as I knew then, the closest Apple stores were in the Seattle vicinity, which was either a one- to two-hour drive or a half-hour drive and one-hour ferry ride away. When he told me the closest one was in Southcenter, I was a little happier, because that was a little closer than I’d thought–only an hour and a half, depending on traffic. Only problem: I’m within weeks of giving birth, and I’m not really supposed to travel that far away. (That sounds like a funny rule, but my first child’s birth was FAST, so I’m not taking any chances!) I told the guy that and asked him for the phone number so I could call at my convenience.

The guy sounded a bit perplexed that I would pass up the opportunity to go to an Apple store “only fifteen miles away”. Heheh. Yeah, if you’re not a native to the area, and not actually looking at a map, (or you’re Superman,) you would think that Southcenter was only a hop and a skip from my current location. However, there’s a body of water and an island in the way, and no direct ferry ride across. If you want to get to Southcenter, you drive the 40+ miles it takes to get there.

Here’s an illustration:

OLALLA TO SC MALL - 15 MI

Here is reality:

OLALLA TO SC MALL - 41.9 MI

It’s a problem that comes up all the time when searching for “local” specialists, doctors, etc. I remember trying to find a specific type of doctor through the TriCare search engine, and the most local ones found were in Burien (right next to Southcenter). Only 19 miles away from where I was! That’s closer than the 20+ to Poulsbo, right?

It’s not their fault, it’s just a quirk of the area. It can make communication difficult, though, especially if you’re dealing with someone who wants to set you up an appointment with someone “local” over the phone, but they know nothing about the area you live in. I think that’s how I ended up seeing a counselor in Fremont (north of Seattle) when I lived in Bremerton. LOOONG round trip; expensive, too.

Fortunately, a friend of mine pointed out that there is an Apple store in the Tacoma Mall! I was very excited to hear that! It might be 20 or so miles away, but it’s a twenty- to thirty-minute drive, as opposed to a two-hour drive, even with traffic. I could send my husband! 🙂

OLALLA TO TACOMA MALL - 20.9 MI

MUCH better. 🙂

So, hopefully, I can get this thing fixed in a more timely fashion, because a trip to the Tacoma Mall is not nearly as inconvenient as a trip to Southcenter. Especially if I have to leave the computer there for any length of time, which makes me horrifically nervous. Time to do some backups . . .

Posted in Mommyhood, Pregnancy

Counting the Weeks

I counted the weeks I have left before my due date. They fit on one hand! Four weeks till week 40. I honestly doubt I’ll make it that far; I also doubt they’ll let me get that far. I know they won’t let me go late.

Yesterday, I was wondering if I was going to go into labor this week. Merely turned out to be late-stage pregnancy discomfort en masse: Swollen ankles, gastric issues paired with normal contractions, baby squashing my bladder and various other sensitive nerves, raging heartburn, sinus pressure, headache, and poor sleep. I left church after Bible class to go home, lay down, and drink water for a couple hours. Except for being really tired, which comes with the territory, I feel much better today. Unfortunately, I’ve also eaten pretty badly this afternoon (how come I can’t stay away from the dairy and carbs?), so the heartburn will byvaet (that is, “visit”, in Russian) again soon.

I’m ready for this pregnancy to be over, though I have to say it’s still hard to believe I’ll have a wriggly little newborn outside of me in a few weeks. Weeks! 🙂

I hope and pray he’ll come out fine, with no complications, perfectly cute and healthy and squalling. So far, on the inside, he’s monitoring just fine and growing like a little parasite weed.

He has what’s called a “single-artery cord”, a.k.a. “two-vessel cord”. A normal umbilical cord has three vessels: Two arteries bringing blood and oxygen to the baby, and a vein carrying away the waste. Isn’t the human body amazing? 🙂 Anyway, he only has one artery. Sometimes, it just means that his umbilical has one artery and that’s it. Sometimes, it means minimal to more serious birth defects. I opted out of the quad test at the beginning of my pregnancy, because often that test results in false positives, which can lead to more painful and risky testing, only to show that nothing was wrong in the first place. While it would be nice to know some of those things (like whether he has Downs Syndrome), that’s not something that’s going to affect my pregnancy or my love for him after he’s born.

By the time the 20-week ultrasound rolls around, it’s too late for the quad test, but many defects or symptoms of defects can be found at that time. I don’t know that a two-vessel cord can be detected in a quad test, but some of the defects of which it is a symptom might be discovered. Still not worth it to me, though, to justify the worry caused by false positives and the pain and risk of extraneous, invasive testing to disprove them.

In our case, so far, the two-vessel cord has been nothing more than an anomaly. His heart looks and sounds great, his brain is present, it appears all limbs are present and accounted for. They’re worried about weight restriction (not growing well) and constriction of the cord in the late weeks. So I have to go in for “non-stress tests” twice a week, where I’m strapped to a contraction monitor and a fetal heart monitor, to make sure that the baby’s heartbeat remains strong, even through contractions and movement. It has to naturally accelerate when he moves or when I contract. Deceleration means he’s not getting enough blood or oxygen. Then, once a week (during one of these tests), I get an ultrasound for fluid levels. If my fluid drops, the possibility of the cord becoming constricted goes up. Then, periodically, I get a weight check in the “big” ultrasound department to see if he’s growing at the right pace. The tech told me before that he’s just fine, if a bit short–but it appeared to her it might run in the family (she’s shorter than me, so we both had to laugh at that).

So far, all testing has shown him to be normal and healthy. He will probably be monitored a bit after he comes out to make sure everything works properly apart from the womb. Fortunately, I got them all (that would be the obstetricians, midwives, and Comp[licated] OB nurses) to agree that someone messed up my due date after my first ultrasound, so they aren’t expecting me to be overdue when/if I make it to my real due date of October 21st.

I now say I’m due anytime between the 15th and the 21st, because my original due date, determined by the first date of my last period, was October 15th. The date they adjusted to was the 9th. I told them that was impossible, because my periods are long, not short. The baby measured at 9.5 weeks, and the first day of my last period was January 9th. I can see where the mistake was made. An obscure note was appended to my file to say that it was Oct 21st, but the 9th was written in all the pertinent places. When the Comp OB was talking to me about induction at 39 weeks, he was STILL under the impression that I was due on the 9th, but didn’t really give me a straight answer when I asked him whether he knew it was really the 21st. I had to see the report after that visit to find out they still assumed my due date was the 9th.

Don’t listen to the pregnant woman. Paperwork can’t lie. *eyeroll*

I managed to convince my midwife that the 9th was wrong, and to review my file to find the right date. She did, and now everyone is on the right page. However, because it took so long and all the people who did the original measurements had transferred to new duty stations, they had to go by the 15th, but would allow for the 21st. I was fine with that. At least they weren’t going to assume that the last week of September was the 39th week. If I can avoid induction, I will, but at least I understand the reason for it: As the cord ages, the coating around it can lessen, and as the baby grows, there is less room. The possibility of the cord becoming crimped grows as the baby does, so the original plan was to get him out before he could get too big. Of course, they didn’t tell me that when reviewing the “original plan”; I had to ask my midwife at my next appointment.

I did ask at the Comp OB appointment to see if I could go to full term, and they said it would be okay. The midwife is convinced (as am I) that he will come before the 40th week, anyway. He might make a liar out of both of us, but that’s when I’ll allow talk of induction.

I should probably pack my own go-bag for the hospital sooner, rather than later, and pick up the infant car seat. Last time I gave birth, I’d packed my bag and washed all the baby clothes the day before I went into labor. Talk about a close call! 🙂 I didn’t even know what contractions were supposed to feel like before that day. Now that I do, I’m very aware that I have them more often now, especially when I’m walking around or engaging in much activity. I’m not really a bed-rest case, but I’m not nearly as mobile as I was a few weeks ago.

Aha, there’s the heartburn. Just in time for dinner! Oh well. Comes with the territory. 🙂

Posted in Mommyhood

“Momsomnia” — a Definition

Originally, I was going to call this blog “Momnesia”, but that was already taken.  So I used a suggestion made by my friend Justin.  At first I had rejected the suggestion, because I don’t really suffer from insomnia, not even that often while pregnant.  However, as I began to think about it, I realized that the root of this word was not insomnia, but somnia–or, more specifically, somnus, which means “sleep”.  How much sleep I am or am not getting isn’t the point.  But the sleep that moms do get is either scarce or precious, making “Momsomnia” a rather apropos title for a blog of mine.

Justin knows.  When we all got together to game, I was often one to fall asleep when it got late, even well before I had a baby.  My characters had to be put on auto-pilot during my impromptu naps, because I was pretty much unrousable until the nap had run its course.  Now that I’m a mother of a toddler and eight months pregnant, I either get lots of sleep, or little sleep, and my body just has to deal with that fact, because spontaneously napping while my two-year-old has run of the house is not always the smartest choice in the world.  And not sleeping carries a bunch of consequences all its own.

But I’m at that stage in pregnancy where I long for bedtime or a nap all day, and then don’t take that nap or go to bed on time because I either have other things to do, am relishing the quiet time and want to be awake for it, or I have to use the bathroom so often that it’s almost inconvenient to sleep between potty breaks.  Tonight, for instance, I’d really love to lie down and go to sleep, but I’ve been drinking a LOT of water today.  I’m also suffering from acid reflux, and the prescription ranitidine (Zantac) is causing chest pains due to either the medicine, itself, or depriving undigested food of acid it needs to move through my sluggish, squashed digestive tract.  I might also have a little foot using my stomach as an ottoman, which could be contributing to the problem.

And, in the midst of this rambling about tummy problems keeping me awake, my eyes are closing, I am drifting off into la-la land and typing whole pages of the letter “m” to prove my point!

So, that is Momsomnia in a nutshell.  Feel free to add your definitions to the comments!  I’m going to go to sleep now.