Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Monday, October 27, 2008

Post Partum Weight Loss

Starting weight 10-27-08 : 168 lbs (Need to face the music) (Not sharing body fat %...too scary for Halloween)

Goal weight: 145 lbs

It's a serious birth defect folks!

Before Om, I had no idea what it meant to have club feet. To me, all foot and leg braces were the same. Now I realize that there are so many variations in the type of lower extremity birth defects. Some are more severe than others, and some are accompanied by other birth defects in different parts of the body. Each type of defect has a specified type of treatment which may or may not include a brace/special shoes.

Club feet is just one category of lower extremity birth defect. Within club feet there are variations in severity and also in what caused the condition. For instance, children can be born with bilateral or unilateral clubbed feet, with severe, moderate, or mild severity. There are also atypical club feet which are very difficult to treat. Om has bilateral club feet with moderate severity. The docs said it is an isolated (no other issues in Om) genetic problem. There was nothing we could do or could have done better (such as changing the diet etc). Om wasn't "cramped" inside me (he had plenty of room to kick the bejeezus out of his Mom).

Thus, I understand when people who hear about club feet for the first time say things like "Oh don't worry my cousin's friend's brother had this and he just wore special sandals and is totally fine now." How do they know it was club feet and not some other milder deformity that was easily fixed with special sandals? They don't, yet they are trying to be supportive and give us hope. So I listen. :-)

I also listened when my parents said that Om would "miracously" be healed in the womb due to prayer. They were convinced that club feet could be healed via intense prayer and that when Om was born we'd have a pleasant surprise. I knew in my heart that this would not be the case (I trust science too much) but I let them pray for my baby. They were just worried for their grandchild.

I listened when my mother in law conducted a puja (prayer) ceremony in her house in India and had a priest pray for the baby for several weeks after. Although I didn' t like the idea of the money spent, I didn't mind since she was just trying what she knew best.

What I don't listen to are when people say things like:

  • "You didn't get enough vitamins. You should have eaten (insert random food here) so that your baby would have normal feet."
  • "You didn't sleep in the correct position."
  • "Malnutrition causes this."
  • "You must have bent in an unusual position thus the baby's feet twisted inward."
  • "You should have prayed more during the pregnancy."
(These comments are actually quite entertaining at times. I can't wait to see what comments we get when we take Om to India for the first time in March).

Club Foot Gene Found

This is fascinating. Neither G nor I know of anyone on either side of our families that has club feet. However, the physician told us (at the 5 month ultrasound) that our case was most likely genetic.

Gene Plays Key Role in Clubfoot
Finding could lead to tests, therapies, experts say
-- Robert Preidt

MONDAY, Oct. 27 (HealthDay News) -- The first gene linked to clubfoot has been identified by researchers at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, who analyzed the DNA of 35 extended family members of a male infant with clubfoot.

Through their analysis, the study authors concluded that a mutation in a gene called PITX1 -- which is critical for early development of lower limbs -- was responsible for the condition. The mutation was found in all 13 affected family members and in three carriers who showed no clinical symptoms.

Other genes may also play a role in clubfoot, but this finding is an initial step toward improved genetic counseling and the development of new therapies, the researchers said. The study appears in the Nov. 7 issue of the American Journal of Human Genetics.

"To our knowledge this report is the first evidence for PITX1 mutation in human disease," Dr. Christina Gurnett, an assistant professor of neurology, of pediatrics and of orthopedic surgery, said in a university news release. "Once we identified the mutation, we proved that all of the individuals in this family with lower extremity malformations also have the mutation. Having large families to work with is very helpful in genetic research."

Clubfoot, which affects about one in 1,000 newborns, is "a complex disorder meaning that more than one gene as well as environmental factors will be discovered to play a role in its [cause]," study senior author and clubfoot specialist Dr. Matthew Dobbs, an associate professor of orthopedic surgery, said in the news release.

In about 80 percent of clubfoot cases, the cause is unknown, while a familial link plays a role in about 25 percent of cases, according to background information about the study. Males are twice as likely as females to have clubfoot, which occurs more often in the right foot. About half of cases affect both feet.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Club Feet - Goodbye Casts, Hello Brace

Last Sunday was the chipmunk's (AKA Om) last day with the correcting casts. In this picture the casts are pretty dusty after 3 weeks of wear. I couldn't resist adding a few doodles to the casts.

My little surfer/snowboarder! In the above pic, the casts have been removed. He is wearing a brace (Dennis Brown Bar) that consists of corrective shoes and a metal bar to hold his feet in place. We have to keep the brace on Om 23 hours a day. The extra hour gets divided throughout the day for a bath and stretching of his feet (special stretches that the orthotics folks taught to us) These shoes are not easy to put back on once we've taken them off. They are leathery and stiff, and Om cries each time we squish his feet into them. The bar is heavy so Om needs to re-learn how to kick up his legs.
If we don't follow the prescribed treatment there is a good chance his feet will relapse into the clubbed position. We take Om back for a checkup in 3 months. I'm hoping the doctor will determine his feet are satisfactorily stable such that we can limit the brace to only nighttime. That will be a huge relief from taking off and putting on the brace during the day.
When I hold Om without his brace, I think to myself "This is what it feels like to have a normal baby." Sigh.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Karwa Chauth (a little late)

Took me a few days to do a karwa chauth post. Karwa chauth is a Hindu holiday in which ladies fast all day and then eat at night. The fasting is for the long life of their husbands. I do it to participate with my Mom and Mom in law, and also to test how long I can go without eating. :-)

Here is a picture of me and Om all dressed up:

Here is a group pic:

An Ehem Moment

From urbandictionary.com:

1. ehem
an expression used when you try to clearly explain something in a manner and bring your confidence up when actually you're feeling down.
ehem , i didn't mean to hurt you. :) ehem, it's for you.

At the Mommy & Me store the other day:

Me: Can I check these out here? (place baby clothes on counter)

Clerk: (size 0 teenage girl wearing leg warmers) Sure. So how many weeks along are you?

Me: Ehem. I already had my son 2 months ago.

Clerk: (embarressed & starts to ramble) Oh sorry...you know my sister she was pregnant and became really swollen. The swelling of the belly takes a long time to go down... (goes on and on about swelling)


Tuesday, October 21, 2008

When you are having a bad day

It doesn't mean you have to treat others disrespectfully. Especially if you are working in a customer service type job (where the whole point of working there is solving and explaining issues).

I just got off the phone with the King County Elections office (I needed to make a correction on my registration status). A lady was SO incredibly rude to me. I was asking her questions to explain to me why something was a certain way (won't get into details too boring) and she was silent...then said "How else can I help you?" I was confused to why she didn't answer my question, so asked her again. Then she said "Why are you arguing with me?" (At this point I was super confused, I thought I was being very polite). Then she had the nerve to say "There are something called deadlines" and proceeded to DEFINE to me what a deadline was (I had actually met the deadline, that wasn't the issue, she just didn't seem to understand what I was saying). I was shocked that a customer representative could be so rude, so I said "Look at that sarcasm, can I talk to your manager?" She put me on hold, then came back to say "I'm sorry the manager doesn't want to speak to people who don't understand. You won't be able to vote." THEN HUNG UP on me.

I started crying (post partum hormones are very much running through my veins) and then called the elections office back, and got a NORMAL person to talk to me. She assured me that everything with my voter registration status was fine, and that the person I had talked to previously obviously had something wrong with her. She went and told the supervisor what happened and he's looking into who could have been so rude.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Just a year ago...

I was living in my parents house in MN. Everyday I would go to work 20 minutes away at an ecommerce company. I loooved working...discussing problems and challenges with my manager, interviewing engineers about their inventions, researching new technology, and ultimately prosecuting patent applications. I especially liked managing my own time and choosing which project I felt like working on at the moment.

I would come home fairly late since I preferred arriving at the office later in the day and staying late. I would eat dinner on my own and then go excersise, usually run around my parents neighborhood. Sometimes I'd call up my friend George and we'd run in his neighborhood or we'd use his punching bag in his steamy garage.

I'd probably get a phone call from G on his way back from work (due to different time zones). I'd lay on my bed and chat with him about our day. Then I would get ready for bed and go downstairs to the basement to do 500 jumprope.

It was a simple relaxing time, full of excitment for planning a trip to India for our wedding and the trip to London to see relatives. Lots of shopping, planning sessions with parents and friends, etc. I was physically full of energy and healthy. I was also planning a trip to Baltimore to see a college friend.

I was looking forward to moving to Washington, spending time with my new husband, and eventually going back to work for the same company in Minnesota (either by remote work or by traveling every week to MN). My goal was to take salsa lessons and do lots of experimental cooking, and go travel with my husband.

Then we got pregnant. :-) And now I'm always tired, have odd aches in my body, 30 lbs heavier than I was, living with a mother in law along with a new husband (no privacy), pressured to finish one more exam so that I can find a good job, just getting out of a post partum funk (baby blues) and have a 9 lb mini-me sleeping in the bassinet next to me.

Life is full of surprises. I'm just glad that they are happy surprises.

2 months

Om turns 2 months old this weekend, and since I am SO bad at updating his activities on here on a timely basis, I'll just do it a few days early. :)

- Om coos and gurgles a lot now, talks to objects such as the toys in his baby gym. If in the mood, he talks to photographs and paintings on the wall.

- Om swats his hands at objects. I dont think he intentionally does it, but sort of randomly hits things in his way.

- Growing chubbier, taller, and cuter by the minute.

- My little man has a mustache. Takes after his Dad in body hair. :-)

- His hands are ALWAYS dirty no matter how many times we wash them.

- I remind myself of those primate mothers (chimpanzees, apes) that pick at their babies (and eat the bugs they find). I constantly remove eye boogers, nose boogers, dandruff, behind - the - ear - gunk, leftover milk cheese on his mouth, and finger lint. I've even bitten off his finger nails.

- Om hates sleeping during the day. Nuff said.

- Om makes the cutest frowny face when he's frustrated with something.

- Om has finally smiled intentionally. It usually happens once or twice a day when we are talking to him or when I find him talking to himself in his bassinet early in the morning. (I just wish he smiled more!! It would make all the work worthwhile).

- Om is finally eating regularily and finishes each bottle.

Don't forget to laugh

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Patent Bar

Not very many attorneys take the patent bar exam because you need a science background (coursework and labs in a technical degree) in order to sit for the exam. The pass rate is about 50%, up from 33% a few years ago. It's still much lower than the normal state bar passing rates.

Out of 100 questions I need to get 70 questions right. It's an open book test consisting of 50 questions in the morning session and 50 questions in the afternoon session. Open book means the exam is just that much harder...and there is very little time to actually peruse the book and find solutions to the answers. However, memorizing the MPEP (manual for patent examining procedure) is not feasible...the book is redundant and extremely detailed on the rules and laws relating to patents and what they mean. Even if I were to go crazy and memorize it all, the rules get revised and updated every so often (which drives me bananas).

I have books from 2005 and I'm worried that I'm studying the wrong material since the MPEP has been revised a few times since then. Also, I don't know anyone personally who is taking this exam. At least in law school everyone had to take the state bar exam. Not everyone needs to take the patent bar, hence my frustration...how do I know if I'm on the right track?

I have a feeling I'll end up paying for a course so that I can get some structure and the most current material. I've tried looking in craigslist etc for people selling past exams but haven't had any success. My goal is to pass this exam by end of February.


Om Updates

Om was given honey (I know, I know...risk for botulism) by his Grandma via his very own silver spoon and cup set. He smacked his lips afterwards.

A rare sight in our house...Om fast asleep. This little guy likes to wake up every hour and cause a ruckus (he gets really cranky due to lack of daytime sleep...aren't newborns supposed to sleep 14 hours a day? WHATEVER!!!) I think he takes after his Dad...has no idea of what it means to relax, and doesn't want to sleep.

Yummy hands. He's taken to putting his fingers in his mouth only to get frustrated when no milk is produced. I've tried putting the pacifier but he sucks on that for maybe 15 seconds before letting go.

Navrathri Puja - Invited young girls over and give them food and treats. I don't really like the puja part (my mom in law took care of that) but I liked making the little treat bags for the neighborhood girls. I'm glad the whole Navrathri week is over, too much random work involved. While growing up, my mom took care of a lot of these things and I would just need to show up for the puja. But with MIL, I need to help organize these events since she's not used to shopping and coordinating these things in the USA.

Om celebrated his grandma's birthday.

Monday, October 13, 2008


2 weeks ago Om had his achilles tendon on both feet snipped. The casts will remain on until end of October, and then he'll be fitted for special brace-like shoes. I can't wait to be done with the whole mess of casts. First, I hate going weekly to the doctor's office...second I hate not being able to feel his legs when he's in my arms, and third I miss giving him daily baths (casts can't get wet).
The mini-surgery went well, they first numbed his feet with a topical cream (he cried bloody murder while the nurse was manipulating his feet) and then Dr. Mosca (along with 2 doctors observing) cut the tendon quickly with a scalpal and then injected anesthesia into the incision. Then Om was re-casted. We gave him Tyenol with codeine for 24 hours to help with any pain. It was funny to see him react to the medication...he would drift off into la la land somewhere between sleep and awake...We had a very high baby during that day! :-)