So Much Ado

Aug. 2nd, 2009 04:49 pm
mandysee_mandydo: (Mrs. Peel Nurse)
So first things first, because I realize I have been extremely neglectful of LiveJournal in favor of Facebook and some of you are not connected with me there, so...

We had our baby! Ian was born on July 25 at 12:48 am and weighed 8 pounds 2 ounces at 21 inches long. Kathy was in labor for 16 hours before finally going for a cesarean section because she was not progressing from 6cm dilated after several hours. We are now the proud parents of a beautiful baby boy!

We're first time parents and at times admittedly a bit overwhelmed by trying to figure out what is normal and what isn't, how to do things, how to handle situations, and how to cope with this very drastic change in our life. No matter how much we prepared, it doesn't change the fact that this is the sort of life change that can't be fully appreciated and understood until it actually happens and one is in the thick of it.

Parenting lesson #1: As a parent one is going to make mistakes. We've made plenty already. Babies don't come with manuals and much like any other relationship in life there's a lot of getting to know each other and figuring out roles, communication, and responses.

We were completely out of sorts for most of the first week because we were lacking so much sleep and both so hormonal. We all three did a lot of crying, but thankfully a lot of that has been resolved with adjusting to new sleep (and lack thereof) routines. Kathy really struggled for the first few days with nursing because Ian just wasn't latching right if at all and ended up losing 11% of his birth weight by his first pediatrician appointment. Thankfully nursing has become so much easier and smoother with repeated visits to the birthing suite for pointers and Kathy's milk coming in. Kathy is feeling much less stressed now. I ended up not working my full one office day last week just so I could help her. Also I was a complete mess and not very functional. I realized that with the lack of sleep, stress of finding housing (yeah, whole other big story there about how much we really can't stand Plymouth State University right now), and my hormones being out of whack because I was screwing up my hormone replacement therapy and going all over the place hormonally. We're both settling into a sleep/wake routine that keeps us as rested as we can be all things considered and not so out of whack.

So the housing situation:
Back at the end of spring semester we thought we would be all set with housing on campus in the coming year and if anything we might have a small balance to pay (a couple hundred dollars like that year) and would have no trouble managing it. Keeping in mind that we expected to stay on campus for the next year, we signed the lease and also put our funds into paying for a summer lease to stay through year round. Paying for the summer housing was going to be tight financially for us, but it was worth the peace of mind knowing we weren't going to move while Kathy is pregnant and then move back with a newborn child. We made agreeable payment arrangements with the Bursar and all was good.

Then we get a notification from the Financial Aid office that Kathy hit a lending limit. We did as all PSU students are conditioned to do: check her information on the myPlymouth portal. The Financial Aid portal showed she had enough financial aid to cover her estimated cost of attendance, but knowing this is Plymouth we decided that a website wasn't comforting enough and we wanted to confirm with a human being in the Financial Aid office that she would indeed have enough to cover her expenses. We went to the office and were assured that she had enough financial aid. As far as we could tell, all was still good.

In early July, we receive the actual bill from the Bursar for the coming school year. Why they choose to bill so close to the beginning of the semester and give students one month to reconcile any outstanding balance on a cost of education that could be anywhere from $7,000 to in excess of $20,000 for the year is beyond me, but this was the case. Kathy received an alert that she had an outstanding balance of almost $6,000 due by August 7. We were freaking out because as far as we knew we had enough to cover our cost of attendence and this was confirmed by Financial Aid. Thus began the running around process of trying to figure it out.

We went from office to office, starting with Financial Aid. The woman we dealt with that day (and thankfully we never had to deal with her again) gave us all kinds of attitude basically implying that it was all our fault and shame on us for not knowing all of this sooner and that she didn't understand why we were so surprised since this is the same process every year and there's nothing unusual about our case. This was being told to us as we were also being told that our budget was incorrectly figured in their system (underestimated) and that they only had her down for needing one more semester to finish her degree when she had a full year to go, and a host of other oddities that apparently to this one woman constituted the "normal, usual process" that we should have been ashamed to not know or understand.

Meanwhile over in the Bursar's office, facing the possibility that we might not be able to stay on campus or even worse drop Kathy out of school one year away from her degree, they are now refusing to honor our payment arrangement for the summer housing because we need to hold on to some of our money to potentially pay for a rental deposit for off-campus housing. Now we have the entire upcoming school year bill and summer housing balance due by August 7. And since everyone worked on fixing our budget situation in their system, ou $6,000 shortfall became an $11,000 shortfall, but at least Financial Aid was able to come up with an additional $2,000 of federal unsubsidized Stafford loan for Kathy after swearing left and right that she hit a lending limit and could borrow absolutely no more for federal financial aid.

After figuring out all of our options, we decided that we had enough financial aid available to keep Kathy in to finish her degree with the needed credits if she dropped to 9 credits per semester and we pay per credit instead of the full-year tuition. We had to cancel our on-campus housing lease because there was no way we could afford to come up with the $5,000 per semester for that. We managed to come up with the funds to pay our summer housing balance by August 7, but now we're scrambling around with a newborn trying to find an apartment with less than a month to go. To add insult to injury, Kathy was in the hospital still and having extreme difficulty with nursing and the Bursar calls her cell phone (which we had on hand so we could call people as needed). I explain the situation and let her know that we have the money and will be in within a couple of days to pay and almost verbatim sha said, "Congratulations. We would really like you to pay your summer housing balance by August 7." You know, because we aren't under enough pressure or stress at the moment or anything.

So regardless of the housing situation, we're doing well and happy to have a beautiful baby boy, but we're still looking for a new home (and thanfully have a community of family and friends doing what they can to help us).
mandysee_mandydo: (Ultrasound #1)
This weekend was interesting to say the least, in both good and bad ways. First lets get the bad out of the way. This morning Kathy woke up feeling ill. She had an upset stomach and those rotten-egg, sulfuric burps. I made her breakfast and shortly afterward it came right back up and she got horrid stomach cramps. We called the hospital and then the OB/GYN office and the doctor gave us instructions to put her on a clear diet and get plenty of fluids, take Immodium for any diarrhea (which came later), and prescribed medicine for the nausea. We also need to keep watch on the baby's movements. It got really bad, but Kathy's been sleeping most of the day and as of this moment is at least feeling somewhat better and isn't vomiting after even taking in water. So that's the bad.

The good was that although we thought we were going down for a surprise party for my Dad, it was actually a surprise baby shower for us. Yay! My Mom, sisters, Gram, and extended family and friends of the family were there for food, gifts, and conversation. My sisters ended up pitching in together to get us the travel system, which was one of the big things we really needed. Thanks Jess and Cat! We also got a bunch of bath time stuff, clothes, blankets, books, baby food, bottles, and burping cloths. Some of the clothes and blankets were handmade by family so that is wonderful! Also at the baby shower my family decided that now that the gifts were bought that it was okay for us to tell them the sex of our baby. We figured we might as well tell, but first everyone decided to pitch in $2 each for a guess at the baby's sex. We revealed our baby's sex after all guesses were in and baby got all of the money (which I very gratefully placed in the baby's piggy bank tonight when we got home). We'll definitely share the sex of our baby with everyone, but only after Kathy's parents are told next.

The other good thing was that my Dad helped me get the truck running again and even pitched in to buy the new battery for us. The check engine light isn't coming on, so we may be able to bring it in and have it pass inspection now that all the work is done and the check engine light is off. If so, that will be a huge help. Does anyone have any suggestions for good garages in the Plymouth area? We definitely will not be going to Kirk's or KTM because of prior experiences with them. Anyone else?
mandysee_mandydo: (Ultrasound #1)
Yesterday painted_wolf and I went for another visit to the OB/GYN. We got to hear our baby's heartbeat again, and also heard the baby moving around, too. PW still isn't feeling any movement, but she most likely will soon. In two weeks we're going for another ultrasound, so we're really looking forward to that. Our next visit to the OB/GYN is in a month. I can't believe how quickly it's flying by. It seems like only just a few days ago that we found out, but PW is 16 weeks along. We're almost at the halfway point!

We've signed up for parenting classes through the OB/GYN and start those in May. In the meantime, we've been receiving so much baby stuff from friends, which is just so amazingly helpful. We're waiting on two more packages to come in, and then we're going to fill out our registries and send out a letter to friends and families with information on how to find the registries and information on how we plan to raise our child and how best everyone can help. We are very grateful for the help of [ profile] chenoachem and [ profile] quantumswordsmn with the information and baby stuff they've provided!
mandysee_mandydo: (Turtle and Children)
Today on the walk to my office to take care of a minor chore, I started thinking about how I would explain snow to our child. I thought about how I would explain what snow is, where it comes from, what happens when it goes away, and how natural cycles work and the interconnectedness of everything in the natural world. Then I started thinking about the big words I was thinking and how I would explain those concepts to our child. I am so excited to be a parent. I've noticed it's helping me recapture that wonder of the world around me and an eagerness to share it.
mandysee_mandydo: (Ultrasound #1)
At this point [ profile] painted_wolf is starting the second trimester. It's really rather confusing figuring out how far along we are because we know the date(s) of conception and counting from there she's at 12 weeks. Going by the ultrasound, she's supposedly at 13 weeks.

We had an appointment yesterday with the OB/GYN and we got to hear our baby's heart rate for the first time: 150 bpm, which is quite healthy. We also went to the lab to get all of the genetic testing done.

PW had some symptoms in the two or three days leading up to the visit that had us nervous, but it was nothing out of the ordinary. This can all be a bit scary at times not knowing entirely what to expect, but we're also learning that things happen and to consult the books we have and not get too worried unless certain really bad signs show up.

In the meantime, we've had lots of wonderful support from people around us, including receiving lots of baby clothes and supplies from people we know who are passing along their stuff that they don't need any longer. It's really great and we really appreciate it because we'll need all the help we can get as we get started on our family. Thank you all so much!

mandysee_mandydo: (Turtle and Children)
[ profile] painted_wolf and I went to the hospital today for her first ultrasound and our first glimpse at our child. This ultrasound was basically just to get a better idea of how far along she is. She's ten weeks along now, which means we're almost through the first trimester. Yay! It was really neat to see our little baby so early in the pregnancy, with a heart rate of about 171 (you could actually see the itty bitty heart pulsing!) and the little flippers that will soon become arms and legs.

mandysee_mandydo: (Bob's Your Uncle)
We just got back from the doctor's office about an hour ago and they confirmed that we are indeed having a baby! Right now we're still going with a mid/late July due date, but we'll know better once [ profile] painted_wolf has seen an OB/GYN. We're very, very, very excited!!!


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