Sunday, March 30, 2014

5 days old

Holden seems much older than his age. He is already trying to hold up his head. He stares at you and grabs on to your finger. Often he can only be calmed by his mama. He only woke me up three times last night. I couldn't have asked for a better week-old baby. This baby phase, it goes by so quickly.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

First born

It is much different having a baby when you already have one at home. I have been crying a lot about how I think Brandon feels. On Monday, while I was changing into my hospital gown, I started balling about being away from Brandon. Monday was the only day I have ever spent without seeing him. Steve had to tell me it would be OK and dry my tears. I'm sure the nurse thought I was a freak, me with my tear-stained cheeks and puffy eyes before my baby was born.

I had Steve bring Brandon by the hospital every day after Monday. Brandon didn't like seeing me in the hospital bed, so on Wednesday I got up and ate with him at the table. Brandon has been a bit possessive of his things - when we wrapped Holden in one of Brandon's blankets, Brandon took it away and said it is his. He wants his mama to be the one who changes him. He cries and says "no" and is moodier than usual. He feels like he lost his place here.

Since I had a C-section, I'm not supposed to lift anything heavier than Holden, so I can't hold Brandon like I used to. It makes him sad and yesterday he tried to climb up me. I used to rock him to bed each night, but I can't lift him into his crib after he falls asleep anymore. It is hard to say "goodbye" to our first one being our baby and force him into this boyhood he isn't fully ready for. I know he needs to grow up and he will never remember not being a big brother, but the here and now hurts.

Friday, March 28, 2014

holden's birth - part 2

They brought Holden to me and laid him on my chest. He was still messy from his abrupt birth. They fed me ice chips because my throat burned like a mother fucker. And my nurse told me what had happened.

They cut me open, pulled Holden out of me and sewed me back together all in a quick six minutes. There was a knot in his umbilical cord which is why they had lost his pulse and my nurse had kept her hand in me because the cord can't be the first thing out since that's the baby's oxygen supply.

Holden's first minute Apgar score was a six and his five minute score was a nine.

While I was out, they allowed Steve into the room. He hadn't been there during the operation and told me that he was freaked out for those long six minutes until he heard Holden cry from through the doors.

Since skin-to-skin bonding in the first hour is very important for a newborn, one nurse had asked Steve if he wanted to take his shirt off and hold Holden. My nurse said that nurse is a real cougar and tries to get all the dads to take their shirts off.

Holden was born at 11:34a - 8 lbs, 11 oz; 21.5 inches long. He has a full head of dark hair and was born with long fingernails. He is our beautiful miracle baby.

The overall incidence of umbilical cord prolapse ranges from 0.1% to 0.6%.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

holden's birth - part 1

Monday Holden was born. We were scheduled to be induced at 7:00a, so we packed our bags, set the alarms, and went to sleep on Sunday night.

We were in our delivery room and I was undressed and on the bed by 7:15a. Labor was progressing nicely. I was up to receiving 10 units of pitosin, was having regular contractions, and was dilated to a five by 11a. I estimated Holden would be born at 3:18p, Steve said 6:38p.

The anesthesiologist had to be somewhere at 11:30a, so they decided to give me my epidural. Steve sat in a chair while they did it. I wasn't yet numb when our nurse decided to put down some more pads for when my water broke. No sooner had I readjusted on the bed afterward than my water broke. The nurse decided to feel where Holden's head was because earlier when my doctor was in, Holden's head was not yet in the birth canal, but was up and on the side a bit.

The nurse felt around and announced that I was at 5 cm, but couldn't feel the head. Then she said she could feel the umbilical cord in the birth canal and a complete frenzy began.

I think every nurse on the floor rushed in after she radioed someone. One nurse called my doctor who works across the street from the hospital. The nurse still had her hand inside me so she hopped onto the foot of the bed while the other nurses wheeled my bed down the hall. On nurse stayed behind to tell Steve to put on scrubs so he could be in the operating room.

No one said it, but I knew Holden was about to get cut out of me. The nurses were panicked. I was crying and kept asking if my baby would be OK. Finally a nurse answered me and said he would, they just had to get him out of me first.

My doctor showed up and told me they were going to get Holden out in a hurry. I still wasn't numbed completely from the epidural so when she began pinching my stomach where she planned to cut, I told her I could feel everything. I thought she was actually cutting me then. Someone gave me a painful shot in my arm and after the nurse on my bed yelled, "I lost the pulse!" my tears really streamed and my doctor announced he needed to be out within five minutes. She ordered someone to put me to sleep. The last thing I saw were the bright operating room lights and the mask they put over my nose and mouth. I remember praying that my baby would be OK. It didn't matter if I never awoke as long as Holden was alive. 

After what seemed like eternity but was only about an hour, I woke up. I saw Steve with that ridiculous surgical cap on his head. And then I saw a baby in his arms. Then I heard him cry. Everything was going to be OK.

More tomorrow.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

tomorrow

Our due date has come and gone and Holden is staying warm and cozy inside my belly. So tomorrow, we force him out. Hopefully he's not ten pounds already in there. Today is my last day as a mother of one.

It is a bit emotional - I have thrown everything into raising Brandon these past two years and now there's going to be another one to share everything with. I have been telling Brandon that he will always be my first born boy and I will always love him just as much.

I know kids worry about their parents loving one child more than the others. I know the older ones don't get as much attention when there is a baby around. But Brandon will always be my first born son and the child who taught me how to be a mother. He will always be special to me in his way as Holden will be in his own, too. I just have to make sure he knows that.

Raising two children - how do people do it? I'm about to find out. It might be a bumpy first go-round because my one keeps me busy on his own. Here's hoping Holden is well-behaved and calm. Because kids are like that, as we all know.

Friday, March 21, 2014

5 year blogiversary

This week marked my five year blogging anniversary. In five years, I have chronicled my life through all of it's changes - we bought a house, received a handful of nieces, had a beautiful son and are days away from a second one. I have switched jobs and subsequently retired. All while keeping record of it here.

Sometimes my blogs have been pointless, sometimes I wonder why anyone reads it all, but all the time it's been therapeutic for me. It has kept me writing. However meaningless at the time, it has meant something for me to get these thoughts out of my head and onto the screen.

While my readership has dwindled and my snarkiness has waned with me as I have aged, I have kept writing. Although blogging doesn't seem quite as popular as it once was, I think I'm here to stick with it for awhile longer.

Because for me, it has been more than a hobby. It has kept me sane and leveled and knowing that anyone is reading it makes me feel like my writing matters, maybe not to the world, but at least to someone. And that is the only encouragement I need to write beyond my blog.

So thank you to those of you who have been here with me for the last five years - reading my rantings and ramblings. Smirking as I wax poetic and rolling your eyes with my endless pictures of Brandon. Thank you for laughing along with me, and sometimes at me. Thank you for adding a tally to my site meter so I know there are people out there, coming to my corner of the internet and taking a minute to read what I've written.

It means something to me that I mean something to you - however small and insignificant, that's all it takes to create some significance. Hopefully one day I can announce on here that I have written something else. This practice of still writing through my blog has kept my dream of writing a book alive. Happiness is the pursuit of attainable goals. And however farfetched it may be, however long the road to start it has been, this goal is still attainable.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Young friends

The companions of our childhood always possess a certain power over our minds which hardly any later friend can obtain. They know our infantine dispositions, which, however they may be afterwards modified, are never eradicated; and they can judge of our actions with more certain conclusions as to the integrity of our motives.
~Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

The other night I told Steve that I think the reason that sometimes I get lonely is because I don't have any family or old friends around here. I originally moved to Nebraska in 2001 right after graduating from high school. I immediately made some great friends - the type of friends you would have for life. I moved back to Washington at the end of 2002 and met a great friend in my new roommate. Then I moved back here to Nebraska again in the summer of 2005 - largely because of how much I loved the friends I made here.

Since then, my college friends have scattered across the country - Patrick lives in California, Marie in Arizona. I see Anni from time to time when she visits her family here, and I saw Jess a couple times after we had children, but times have changed and we have grown up in different ways. My sister has moved back to the Pacific Northwest and of course any high school friends I had I have lost touch with.  So the friends I keep now are people I have met through working together, largely.

But the friends you meet later in life, as adults, don't quite know you as well. We are more guarded and cautious and talk about events rather than our dreams, which we shared with friends when we were younger. We are more judgmental and less accepting. We are quick to disown friends and slow to accept them. We may share interests and careers, but certainly don't know each other in depth the way we did with our earliest friends.

I remember a friend I had as a kid that I was pen pals with - we would write six page letters to each other sometimes as frequently as once a week. I can't imagine writing six pages to anyone now, about anything. There is something special about a friendship you develop when you're still developing yourself. It evolves and grows with you. When I spend time with my siblings, we share memories and an upbringing that no one else understands. So when I feel lonely sometimes, it's not because I should. I have friends I could call if I wanted to, I have Steve, I have Brandon.

But I don't have that person I could meet for cocktails right down the street that knows me as anyone other than this current version of myself. I don't have a friend here that understands about me what I don't have to explain. Steve is it. He has a lot of pressure to be everything to me while we live here, so far removed from all the friends had when I was young. The middle of nowhere, indeed.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Networking tips from a recruiter

Networking and searching

Long gone are the days of searching the classifieds for a job and calling up to schedule and interview. So get with the times. Use the internet so recruiters can discover you.
  • Create a LinkedIn page. Complete your profile. Add skills and bullet points under your jobs so you show up in searches. Request recommendations from people you worked with previously. Pimp out your page and connect with your past colleagues. You can send out a message or update your status that you're seeking new opportunities if you aren't currently employed. If you are employed and your employer doesn't know you're looking, reach out only to close friends and ask them to let you know if they hear of anything that could be a good fit for you.
  • Post your resume on any resume boards that target the industry you work in. The Ladders, Dice, Indeed, local boards. Include your contact information on your resume. Some sites charge employers for every contact they make, so make your contact information visible to the recruiters because many won't pay for it. If you don't want phone calls, just list an email address. If you don't want your email folder filled with job stuff, create a new email address just for your job search. Make it basic - your name, perhaps. Certainly don't use that crude email address you still have from high school or college.
  • Find out which local staffing agencies place people in positions like you're seeking and give them a call. The process can be a bit tedious, but can also really pay off for you. Staffing agencies don't only fill temporary jobs - many times they fill positions for companies that don't have an HR department or have had trouble finding someone themselves. A good Account Manager at a staffing agency will look for a good fit for you and call you only on opportunities you've expressed an interest in.
  • Search the job boards and apply for the positions that interest you. Include Indeed and LinkedIn in your job board searches. If there are industry specific job boards in your field, search those. Don't waste your time applying to jobs you would never accept if offered to you. If you don't understand enough about the job from the posting, attempt to reach the recruiter for clarification. Don't waste a lot of their time or be too obnoxious though - we do remember that!
  • Tailor your resume to the job posting you're interested in if need be. If the job posting lists something you've done in a completely different way than you have it listed, make your resume match their language so your resume is found in a key word search. If they're asking for managers with experience managing teams of 20+ but your resume doesn't list that you've managed 50 people at once, add that in.
  • If you aren't getting any results, it's time to rethink what you're doing, rather than continuing the same painful cycle endlessly. Start back at the beginning. It all starts with your resume.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Interview tips from a recruiter

The Interview

If you've made it to the interview stage, you're one of the top candidates. Most people never get invited in for an interview based on their resume (see previous post). There are thousands of articles on how to act in an interview. I'm going to assume everyone here is professional enough to know to be on time and and to make eye contact and to stand up to shake hands and to dress professionally. Those are Basic Interviewing Etiquette 101. But is there anything else you can do to prepare? Of course.
  • Do your homework. Google the shit out of the company you're considering working for. Look at Glassdoor and Yelp for reviews. Check out their company website and LinkedIn and Facebook pages. Learn not only the industry the company is in, but anything else you want to know but shouldn't have to ask since it's discoverable knowledge. If you later receive an offer from the company, you might want to dig further by searching the people you interviewed with and making sure this is a company and position that you can be comfortable in for awhile.
  • Answer questions thoughtfully and concisely. Don't leave any questions unanswered. Sometimes recruiters and managers will ask you for specific examples of a time you did something. Be prepared for that. Also, don't assume an interviewer's silence is an invitation to keep talking. Once you have thoroughly answered the question, stop talking.  Just like your resume, sometimes it's just as much about what you don't say as about what you do.
  • Don't be negative. You are being interviewed not just for your skills but also for a culture fit and no company wants to hire someone who is a pain in the ass before they even start working. Don't speak poorly about your past employer. If you have a situation that needs to be addressed, be tactful and diplomatic without lying. Don't bitch about the weather or the traffic on your way in.
  • Be engaged and interesting. It's OK to have a bit of a personality and not just respond to questions like a drone. Of course, don't be inappropriate, but read your audience and try to make the interview as conversational as possible. That being said, don't take over the interview. Let the recruiter or manager drive the conversation, but respond respectfully and personably.
  • At the end of a normal interview, you will have a chance to ask questions. If your interviewer doesn't offer you the chance, ask. Use this opportunity to learn if this company and position could be a fit for you. I'm a firm believer that the interview process shouldn't just be an opportunity for the company to decide if they want you, but should also be an opportunity for you to decide if you want to work for them. Please don't waste this opportunity with stupid questions that you could have had answered by researching the company. Don't ask about dress code or vacation time. This makes you sound like you're only interested in fluff. And all of that can be saved for when you receive the offer. Instead, ask about the company culture and the challenges of the position.
  • If the recruiter or manager doesn't tell you how long until you will hear back, it's OK to ask for a timeline. Good recruiters know that good job candidates aren't going to sit around for a month waiting for a response. 

Monday, March 17, 2014

Resume tips from a recruiter

Friday was my last day working for awhile. I don't write about work much, but today, before all of this knowledge leaves me and my brain turns into an endless loop of feeding and changing cycles again, I want to share what I've learned for those of you seeking jobs. For the past six and a half years, I have worked in HR with an emphasis in recruiting. When writing this, it became rather long, so I have actually broken it into three segments. Check back tomorrow and Wednesday for the final two segments - interviewing and networking/searching.

Perfect your resume 

This is most likely how you will land your next job. Pour over this document and make it as close to perfect as possible. Most recruiters will never meet you, but instead will judge you on this document. Make it work for you.
  • List at least your past three positions - titles held, companies worked for, dates employed (with months please: don't write 2012-2012) and a bulleted list of your primary responsibilities. I keep each bullet point one line or less. Remember, these are bullets, not paragraphs. Clear and concise communication goes a long way on a resume.
  • List your education clearly identifying the highest degree you've received on top to lower degrees below. It is not necessary to list a HS diploma if you have a Bachelor's degree. It is also not necessary to list any one-day seminar you've attended or expired certification that you don't plan to renew.
  • I try to combine my skills and experience in the bullet points under the jobs I've held for brevity sake, but when that's not possible, make sure to include any skills that are pertinent to the type of job you're looking for. So, not every skill you have, just the skills that would be required in your targeted job field. This includes computer programs that you're proficient in. This section is for hard skills only. There is no need to list things like, "motivated" or "punctual." Your resume should be like the back of a sports trading card - it lists your stats but doesn't include your autobiography.
  • Include industry key words - when recruiters are sifting through resumes, they will often use targeted key word searches so make sure to include those in your resume. That means using standard language rather than creative language sometimes. You want what you're saying to be easily interpreted by the person reading it so don't try to get too cutesy. Again, include these in your bullet points when possible.
  • Use active words to describe the work you did - ie: "analyzed" instead of "provided analysis on." This is just Basic Writing 101.
  • Spell check and grammar check. And not just with your computer - have other people look it over. If you know anyone in HR, have them look it over for you and be prepared to take some criticism and redo much of it. I can not stress enough how many resumes I've seen with glaring typos and errors. That's all it takes to end up in the slush pile. Remember, recruiters work by funneling down to the best candidate - so don't create reasons for them to funnel you out before they even meet you.
  • Did I mention brevity? Did I mention the back of a sports card? If your resume is more than two pages, edit it down (with one page being ideal). Your resume is just as much about what you don't say as about what you do say. Some things are best explained in an interview setting, not on your resume. So don't give recruiters reason to disregard you by putting that your interests include Live Action Role Play and your typing speed is 20 WPM or that you were terminated from your last job because your boss was sexist. Also, a job you held in 1981 is probably no longer relevant to the job you're seeking. So cut off your resume before it becomes a history book.

Friday, March 14, 2014

no more daycare

Today I picked up Brandon from daycare for the last time. And yes, I cried. I cried when he hugged his best friend Jackson and all their other little friends crowded around them. "Bye," they called in a chorus after him. When we were outside, Brandon went to the window and waved goodbye one last time, smiling and slapping the window jovially. I don't know that he understands that he won't be going back. But I know that he liked being there.

I remember the first day I dropped Brandon off at daycare when he was 12 weeks old. I was so sad that I couldn't be caring for him. I cried then, too. And I don't want to put Holden in daycare at 12 weeks after doing so with Brandon. It is sad to say goodbye to the little one you're just getting to know so soon. They are so helpless and needy and you want to be building your bond with them and tending to their every need.
 
Brandon's first day of daycare - 12 weeks old

But then they start to grow up and daycare isn't quite the enemy it was when they were little. In Brandon's daycare, he learned to walk and talk alongside the other seven kids in his class and they have become very close. They play together, color together, go outside, share and fight together. They are a little family of kids all the same age. Daycare gives Brandon the socialization with kids his own age he wouldn't have here at home.

Brandon's final daycare report

So now, I will try my best to give Brandon the variety of activities he got at daycare. I will arrange play dates for him and take him to the park so he can still interact with kids his age. And I wrote Jackson's mom a somewhat pathetic note begging her to call me so Jackson and Brandon can still see each other. It's the end of an era. And what I learned is that daycare isn't the enemy. Staying home with your kids isn't a curse. We all do what we need to for our families. And Brandon and I are moving from one era into the other. Hopefully seamlessly.

Brandon's last day of daycare - nearly two years old

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Bravo smut

I have not asked his permission, so I will not out him here by telling you who this conversation was with, but this made me laugh so of course I have to share:


Tuesday, March 4, 2014

pizza boy

Sunday night we had pizza. Steve cut up small pieces for Brandon and arranged them nicely on a plate with marinara dipping sauce. 
 
But that wasn't enough for our boy. He grabbed my slice right out of my hand.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

harming or helping

Earlier this year I read a memoir in which a mother decides how to deal with her drug-addicted, runaway daughter. In the book, everyone learns to be honest with each other. Sometimes, that means listening to things that are hard to hear about yourself. But as one person states, the people who aren't honest with you don't care enough about you to be. They say what you want to hear as to not cause waves and for you to like them. It's superficial and easy. They're passerbys in your life - they will enable you in what you want in that moment. They aren't looking out for you and being the voice of reason when you need it.

I have been thinking about friendship a lot. Who is your true friend? The person who much to your chagrin and disappointment in the moment hosts an intervention for you or the person who goes out for drinks with you when you get out of rehab? To me, a friend is not going to be my clone and agree with everything I say and see everything from my point of view. A friend is going to be honest and objective and tell me when I'm being an unreasonable bitch or a selfish wench. And yes, that is hard to hear. And yes, my feelings will be temporarily hurt. But I don't need someone to fall down the rabbit hole with me, I need someone with a rope to pull me out of it.

I have had a "life and let live" mentality for the past few years now, but I'm beginning to see that that might just be a convenient theory for me.  I don't want to tell people how to live their lives or force my opinions on them. But when someone you love is self-destructing, isn't it the role of us who love them to at least mention it? We are all so worried about being ostracized and pissing off the people we love the most that sometimes we aren't the people they need for us to be. We can all find cronies to agree with us on everything. The world is full of sheep. But isn't what we really need in a friend someone who truly looks out for us? It might mean being the bad bitch. But there are much worse things you could be. Like someone who doesn't care enough to be it.

Those who failed to oppose me, who readily agreed with me, accepted all my views, and yielded easily to my opinions, were those who did me the most injury, and were my worst enemies, because, by surrendering to me so easily, they encouraged me to go too far... I was then too powerful for any man, except myself, to injure me.
~Napoleon Bonaparte