Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Thanksgiving a Day Early

Today I am thankful to have heard my baby's heartbeat, seen a little seahorse-looking embryo measuring at six weeks and five days, and to have received a due date of July 12th. I kind of can't even believe it. This... is happening. And the progesterone. It's working! For once it's working! It's so weird. I guess maybe all the other times it was a crappy egg to begin with so there was no saving it even if I took progesterone all day long. But this time, perhaps, there is a perfectly fine baby in there that just needed a little help taking off.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Sick Food, Kitchen Pictures

The Good News: As of the last few days, I have morning sickness (all day,) which is never a bad sign when you're hoping your pregnancy is still viable, right?

The Bad News: See above.

The Good News: I am on my second bowl of egg noodles over mashed potatoes, covered in butter, and it is helping tremendously after a day of searching fruitlessly for something ok to eat. (Isn't the food search so awful when you're already feeling nauseous? You're hungry and know that eating will help the queasiness at least marginally, but then every time you open the fridge or freezer the sight of at least two or three objects in there is bound to make your retch.)

The Bad News: I don't think this is going to be one of those first trimesters in which I lose weight (see above re: carb fest.)

I have an ultrasound scheduled the day before Thanksgiving, when I will be eight weeks according to the usual period math, or approx. six weeks according to that crazy ultrasound I had, which I think is more reliable. But we'll just see what size baby shows up, hope it has a heartbeat, and go from there. Honestly, I think I'm rooting for just six weeks along. An extra two weeks to prepare is an extra two weeks, you know? Though, that would also knock two weeks off the estimated Amount of Time I Will Probably Feel Crappy 24/7. So hmm. Now I don't know which I would prefer.

Oh, here's a little morning sickness PSA after having done this... what, seven times now?

-Try to stay hydrated, but not primarily via plain water. Water often makes me sick. I try to do tea, hot or iced, apple juice, Vitamin Water, lots of oatmeal (instant with hot water,) hot chocolate, etc. but only do sips of water here and there to supplement.

-Pizza is almost always safe. If nothing else is working, try it. Eating it cold is sometimes surprisingly helpful.

-Scrambled eggs are often very comforting, but don't make them yourself! The smell of cooking eggs = obvious gag factor. Wait until someone can make them for you while you sit in another room.

And now, in honor of this boring food/preggo post, I will continue with the home tour and post pictures of our kitchen. Please note that these were taken a few weeks ago, well before the craziness of discovering I was pregnant/being in Michigan for three days/being at the hospital for two days with only one hour of sleep/having a major cold that I cannot medicate this entire week. Our house is possibly the most chaotic it's ever been right now, and I just don't care.

I think I have reached the point in domesticity at which I've realized that neither cleanliness nor clutter is a final destination. Homes are cyclic and I have gotten over exulting/panicking that the house is going to stay the way it currently is, whether it's currently spotless or currently a madhouse.

Anyhoo, side rant of zen realization there. On to the pictures- terrible as usual due to dinosaur camera, which I cannot justify replacing since I am in no way a photographer and am limited to point and shoot capabilities anyways.

If you click a few times to enlarge, you can see on the fridge the photo booth pictures of Jim and I from my friend Renee's wedding. Seriously, best reception idea EVER. It was so fun, and then a few weeks later, there was the added fun of receiving an email link to every single picture taken that night.

View of kitchen from sunken den.

(A side note about this kitchen: It is... very colorful, at least for a small room. Perhaps a little more so than suits my general preference, which showed up more in the initial decor of the kitchen: basically just blue on white with tiny touches of yellow and green. I added the more colorful elements in with the blue about six months (?) ago in an attempt to help the kitchen blend a little more seamlessly with the den without having to repaint one or both rooms. The curtain fabric was purchased online, and more or less picks up both the blue of the kitchen and the wheat/berry colors of the den, as well as a dash of brown, black, and olive-y green.

I used this same fabric to recover several pillows in the den, so the two rooms have a common element. Then I removed all the white pottery that used to sit on top of the cupboards and replaced it with inexpensive odds and ends that tied in those brighter colors. It was more or less a success, and while I am pleased with it and certainly don't DISLIKE it, eventually I dream of painting both these rooms softer colors, replacing the kitchen laminate and the den carpet with the same wood, and just lightening everything up a bit. You know, in my next life, when I have all the time and money and energy in the world.)

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Jumping In With Both Feet

Well, I have been an official doula at my first birth, and my goodness, what an introduction! The expression "baptism by fire" comes to mind. Literally every single thing that could happen, did, short of someone dying, pretty much. I don't want to reveal anything of a personal or detailed nature because there are obvious confidentiality issues, but the basic facts are that mom was induced, labor was prolonged, there was meconium in the water, the epidural had to be adjusted several times, Pitocin turned up and down, and mom was on oxygen the last half of labor.

She eventually did dilate fully but baby never engaged in the pelvis, even after four hours of painful but unproductive contractions. They finally gave up on laboring baby down and had her push anyways while they tried to manually pull baby down. They finally got baby into pelvis and used the vacuum for over an hour while Mom pushed with everything she had, but eventually a c section was performed, which I was allowed to watch.

Baby was extremely compromised at birth, and had to be resuscitated and put on a breathing tube. Mom also suffered minor surgical complications. Baby is currently in a children's hospital out of town, and the mom will join once she is recovered from her twenty six hour ordeal. And I? I am recovering too. I can honestly say that I did everything I knew to do, and that I believe I was a big emotional support to the family, especially after the c section, but I am obviously sad that the outcome was so interventive and that the baby wasn't healthy and able to stay with his mom. At least I can say that I've probably already gotten my hardest birth experience under my belt!

Monday, November 14, 2011

You Know The Drill

Unfortunately this post is going to be very random and all over the place due to extreme fatigue and sinus-head. I came down with a headcold the last day of the conference and since I'm still pregnant I can't/won't take anything for it, so here I am, stuffy and mouth breathing and lightheaded. But here are the highlights of my life the last few days!

-my client is still pregnant, so her birth will count towards my certification! Yay! I am a little bummed that she's agreed to induction on Thursday if labor doesn't start on its own, but she has a lot of extenuating circumstances going on that make me very understanding of how much she wants to get this birth over with. She'll be thirty nine weeks on Wednesday, so she's close to being due, and the baby is thought to be over eight pounds already, plus she's already dilated/effaced a bit, so hopefully if there is an induction her body will be ready enough to go into labor that it won't be too rough of an experience. Either way, I'm super excited, and very intent on getting myself well before she has the baby so I can do a good job and not be blowing my nose and hacking while she's trying to get through contractions.

-the conference was AMAZING, seriously, so much better than I'd even hoped. I am so so happy I found this place and got to meet all these wonderful women and learn so much. There was such a wide variety of experiences, reasons for taking the workshops, birthing backgrounds and history, age, etc. but everyone really clicked and I felt like I made some great connections personally and professionally. And you guys were right, while I was going through some further concern about the pregnancy (I'll get to that later) there could not have been a kinder and more supportive group of strangers with which to go through it.

-I loved staying with my aunt. She is so awesome and fun, and treated me like a queen. I got delicious homemade meals, a spotless condo in which to relax, and someone to hang out with in the evenings. It beat staying in a hotel by a loooong shot. Thank you, Aunt Nancy!

-She also went over and above good hostess requirements by driving all over trying to help me find a charger that would work with my phone when I realized that I had forgotten to pack mine. Unfortunately none of the ones we bought would work, despite saying that they were compatible with my phone's make and model, and we even bought a battery in case that was the problem, but alas nothing worked and I ended up spending the last two days I was gone without a phone. It felt strange! But when I got home my own charger worked just fine. ??? MYSTERY. Also, craptastic phone.

-Related to the theme of electronic devices, I pulled over at a Meijer just outside of Ann Arbor and bought myself a GPS on my way home last night, after having managed to get myself turned around and confused for the third time that weekend. I had all my little maps and people had given me directions for getting back to the interstate, so I should have been FINE. I was trying to reverse my printed Mapquest directions that I used to drive TO Ann Arbor, but I just couldn't figure it out! I seem to have a) some kind of handicap re: following directions b)the world's worst sense of direction/spacial awareness in the world and c) once I make one wrong turn I just kind of freeze up and get confused. I seem unable to reason my way through the process of, say, getting back to where I started or of logic-ing out where I am in relation to other streets. So. I made a command decision to stop pretending I am a grown up woman who can find her way around and decided it was time to get myself a GPS and cease the wandering around in panicky circles once and for all.

-Lastly, I got a call from my doctor's office at eight thirty Friday morning on my way to the conference to let me know that my progesterone had dropped from the not-great-but-not-yet-terrible thirteen point five to a genuinely dismal ten. They wanted me to find a compounding pharmacy in Ann Arbor to which they could call in two different hormone supplements as soon as possible. So... I did (and my, what an adventure that was, trying to locate this random pharmacy in a city I've never driven in before, during my lunch break at the workshop!) I never took anything with Jameson's pregnancy and he hung in there, but his progesterone never went below a fifteen, so it was much better to begin with. I've actually never had my progesterone drop like this; it always stayed where it was or maybe went up just a titch. So while now I'm trying to resign myself to the fact that this is probably in the process of failing, I also felt within my heart that if I didn't throw everything medical at it that I could, I'd feel doubly awful if/when I did miscarry, especially considering I hadn't actually wanted to be pregnant in the first place. Guilt and all that, you know.

So I'm taking progesterone three times a day, in various forms (!), but I've also got a call in with the doctor to inform them that if I cooperate and do all the drugs, I'm going to require a weekly scan to assure me that it is in fact working and the baby's still growing and/or to let me know as soon as possible if it does stop growing. They didn't have me coming in for a scan until a month from now, but I am NOT going to walk around for a month hoping against hope that maybe the pills are working some magic when in fact the heartbeat stopped weeks earlier, you know? So maybe I'm being demanding, but this is what I need to stay sane. By this point in my reproductive game, I am an INFORMED CONSUMER who knows what she wants, dang it.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Seriously Crazycakes

So, I had a dating ultrasound today, even though based on my last period I would only be just six weeks and they don't usually do them until seven. I think my obvious level of confusion about my low hcg levels/my stress about leaving town for three days/my history of miscarriage/my obvious state of CRAZY re: unplanned pregnancy led them to squeeze me in for a scan just to settle my poor little female head.

According to my ultrasound, my baby (which IS in my uterus, is a singleton, and doesn't have any little cohorts lurking in my tubes or ovaries, thank heavens) was conceived only about two weeks ago. Yeah. Like, two weeks ago as in right around when I was expecting my period. Two weeks out from when I had very definitely felt myself ovulate from my left ovary. And yet the corpus luteum from this baby is on my RIGHT ovary. Which means... wait for it... I was lucky enough to experience that rare double ovulation phenomenon, and happened to conceive at a point when I thought there was NOWAYINHECK that I could get pregnant.

Yeah. I know. And it also means that for where I am in pregnancy (barely four weeks, not six) my hcg levels are actually ever so slightly off the charts HIGH.

I just... I don't even...

I'm going to go lie down now.

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Blah Blah Blah PLUS Bonus Verbatim Letter To Santa

Urgh, apparently pregnancy brain has struck already, because I sought babysitting for today and wrote down in red, underlined ink, "Sarah-Dr-12:30!" in today's calendar square, and laid awake last night thinking, "To-MORROW! To-MORROW!" and then the nurse called me today and was all, "So we'll see you TOMORROW, Thursday, at twelve thirty!"

Or maybe I can't blame hormones. It's not like that's never happened to me when I wasn't in the family way.

This is still so surreal. Especially because I don't physically feel pregnant: no nausea, no tenderness in the chestal region, no unusual fatigue, no bleeding gums, nada. I'm MAYBE peeing a little more than usual? MAYBE a little bloated? But that's about it. Aside from the whole pesky emotional rollercoaster of crazy, which is definitely there. Oh, and the kind of melancholy fact that about two weeks ago I pretty much stopped producing any milk at all, so Jamie's been up multiple times each night lately, trying in vain to nurse and too sleepy and out of it to accept the sippee cups he willingly drinks from during the day. It makes me really sad, and also really tired in the morning, but I'm still not counting that tiredness as a preggo symptom because I'm pretty sure ANYONE would be tired in the morning if they were up all night with a sad baby suckling in futility and then fussing angrily.

Well, whatdya gonna do? Que sera, sera! One day at a time! God has a plan! One foot in front of the other! Shop and clean and bake cookies and browse online obsessively to distract yourself! (That last bit is my own contribution to the litany of platitudes one generally is offered at times like these.)

In news unrelated to the state of my gestating uterus or frantic squirrel brain, Jim and I went to Addy's first parent teacher conference last night, and it was so completely pleasant and relaxed. I just love her teacher, and I am well aware how lucky I am to be able to say that. She's lovely and patient and funny and also just so happens to live across the street from us. Yeah. It doesn't get better than that... except maybe for the times when our windows are open and the kids are screaming, or when I shuffle out to the mailbox in my robe and slippies, or when our lawn goes unmowed for too long. Then it's a little disconcerting to remember that your neighbor whose living room window looks into yours is also your daughter's teacher. But mostly it's good, and so is having a family with identically-aged kids just a few houses away with whom you can trade babysitting for these events. I seriously felt like we lived in Mayberry last night.

Every time I am waiting yet again for the bathroom, or feeling cramped by the size of our kitchen/eating area and the lack of central air and overwhelmed by the mess created by three small kids in less than two thousand square feet (looking around, I often hear in my head that line from One Headlight that goes "This place is always such a mess/ Sometimes I think I'd like to watch it burn") I remember that we literally could not find a better location in which to live than exactly where we are, and moving even marginally further away from our friends and families would really put a kink in my current ability to make it from home to just about anywhere I want to go in under ten minutes. Can't put a price tag on that, right?

So, we'll add on if we have to. Or install an outhouse in the backyard! Or maybe the baby can sleep in a dresser drawer in our room for a year or so! OMG BABY!

Oh, and as a reward for slogging through all this nonsense, you get Eli's letter to Santa, as dictated to me this morning after yet another whining fit about how it takes so long for Christmas to come. (Also, possible alternate title to this post, "How I Am Apparently Raising An Entitled But Very Expressive Child.")

Dear Santa,

I want some presents. I am angry and I really want them and I really want today is Christmas. I talked about it but I yelled about the Mario pajamas and I throwed a fit about them. I... I am crying for Santa to come and I was sad about Santa and I was really really angry about it. And I was really really really really really reeeeeaaaallly angry. I really want something. I want cookies for Christmas. And I really really angry about them. And... like, I want a Black Cat and a Black Spiderman for Christmas. And do you know what? Also I want more and more and more. I want a Bears jersey like Brian Urlacher, and an Ohio State number one jersey. I would like a football. I want, uh, mmm, I really want Adelay to get a new green dinosaur for Super Mario. Um, I want MORE. I want shin guards. I want some... I don't know what I want. That is just all.

Thank you Santa! Thank you Santa!

From, Eli

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Shake It Off

Okay, yesterday was emotional crazycakes day and today is back to business as usual- I feel brisk, efficient, and able to just shelve this whole being pregnant thing in the back of my mind until tomorrow's appointment. Mood swings, anyone? I mean, just last night I burst into tears because Jim glanced at the computer screen to check a score update while he was talking to me about the whole thing, and I immediately stomped away because PAY ATTENTION TO ME AND MAINTAIN EYE CONTACT EVERY SECOND GEEZ! And today I'm all, "Oh well! La la la! I'm just gonna pull a Scarlet O' Hara here and think about it tomorrow! Today, I shall shop for Christmas presents and a new winter coat and boots for Addy and spend hours trolling the internet for the best coupon codes, hooray!"

In that vein, does anyone have any recommends re: warm but not super bulky winter coats for girls, in the S (7/8) size range? And preferably not insanely expensive kthanx? I'm leaning towards this Lands' End one, using the 25% off plus free shipping code, of course, but there are no reviews on this item yet, which makes me twitchy. Anyone wanna weigh in? I'm also looking for a pair of boots that meet the following criteria: a) waterproof and insulated, suitable for walking around in actual wet snow and not just for looking cute with tucked in jeans, b) WILL still look cute with tucked in jeans, however, and will be okay to wear to school without totally frump-ing up an otherwise fun outfit and c) will not cost more than forty bucks. I know, that's pushing it, but I just have this THING about spending money on shoes, even for myself and especially for kids who outgrow them in a year.

Monday, November 07, 2011

Deep Breaths

I don't even know where to begin. I wasn't planning on writing this post until weeks in the future. I was going to write something light and funny today, possibly about the surprise food poisoning we all got this weekend from our favorite Mexican restaurant! Instead, I'm so stressed out right now that my heart has been pounding in my throat all day long. Actually, it's been doing that for a week, on and off. I'll be fine fine FINE until I am not, and then I snap and yell about tiny little things, so much so that I'm trying to avoid my kids as much as possible except to hug them. Also, today I made the colossal mistake of reading the latest posts in the Faces of Loss blog that I subscribe to, and I finally cried, partly out of guilt because, oh, what is another miscarriage compared to losing twin babies at birth, right? But also partly out of grief, because while a miscarriage is not the same as stillbirth, no, it is also not the same as having a sweet (albeit unplanned) baby, or as never having accidentally gotten pregnant at all, and so it sucks and it hurts and it makes me angry.

Which is to say, I am pregnant. Surprise. Not planned, not at all, so much so that I was embarrassed to even tell anyone. Then, when we got the first blood draw results, when I would technically have been almost a week late already, my hcg was only thirty. Which... is terrible. It did double in forty eight hours, to eighty-eight, but that's still terrible for this point in pregnancy (technically I'd be considered six weeks on Wednesday, though I think I ovulated late, so more like six weeks on Saturday.) My progesterone is also very low, thirteen point five. Basically, all signs point to miscarriage (seventy-five percent chance, technically) or ectopic pregnancy. I know every pregnancy is different, and I also know that it's possible I ovulated a lot later than I thought or something, so that could explain the very low hcg levels, if I was just a week behind where I thought I was. But I also know what my hcg s were in all six of my past pregnancies and they have NEVER been this bad, not even with the early miscarriages. So.

I'm waiting, on pins and needles, for a call from my doctor to discuss the results of my third hcg draw on Saturday, and the possibility of an ectopic diagnosis. She has fifteen more minutes and then I'm calling to bug them again, because dear Lord, if I have to wait until tomorrow morning my head is going to burst from stress. It also sucks that I am leaving for the three-day doula workshop Friday morning. The last thing I want is to be in the middle of a miscarriage, or still in limbo or whatever. My client is also STILL pregnant, so I feel worried leaving her, especially now: she just had to have emergency surgery for a pregnancy complication, AND found out her mom is really sick. I feel so badly for her, and hate to leave her for any amount of time.

Oh, and then there's the food poisoning. Basically, I'm just a basket case right now and could use any comforting words anyone can scrape up. I just can't believe this HAPPENED at all. We've never had an accidental pregnancy, which I was proud of, so I guess this is my punishment for being cocky about using the rhythm method so successfully, huh? Sigh. I just can't believe I'm probably facing another lost pregnancy. I so wish I could figure out why my body doesn't want to hold onto my babies. My heart does. I don't know why I can't get in synch.

Quick Edit: I just got off the phone with my doctor and my hcg was at three hundred thirty one on Saturday! So that seems... good, right? She said it was a very healthy increase and to just come in on Wednesday for an appointment. Apparently if it were ectopic they'd be expecting to see it slow down by now, rising but not quite doubling, and this is twice now that it's almost tripled, so...? Maybe everything's ok. Still iffy, what with the low progesterone and generally low betas, but not definitively bad, yet. Still a surprise with a capital S, but better than a miscarriage. We'll see.

Thursday, November 03, 2011

For The Germophobe In All Of Us

It happens to every "mommy" blogger eventually, right? In other words, this is my first compensated review post, and before you raise lofty eyebrows and delete me from your feed, let me interject that I honestly do like this here stuff I'm peddling. Also I used the products BEFORE they asked me to write about them, so, you know, I'm not exactly turning tricks here.

The "stuff" in question is MyClyns, produced by Union Springs Wellness

MyClyns is a line of cleaning products and personal germ protection products which are unusual both in their gentleness and in their efficacy. Let's start with the hand sanitizer, which doesn't use alcohol (very important to me because of my sensitive skin) AND kills germs about four times as long as any ordinary Purell-type hand sanitizer. It's also a foam, so much less messy than the normal gels.

The cleaning products are non aerosol and nontoxic- they don't even have scary warnings on them about flushing your eyes and calling Poison Control if you get some on you, because they are free of phosphorus, bleach, carcinogens, surfactants and methanol. Also, they smell a LOT better than my usual Seventh Generation products, which always remind me of my grandfather's aftershave, and not in a good way.

But the clincher, and the thing that makes them so worth taking the extra time to order them rather than grabbing yet another tub of Lysol wipes at the grocery? After thorough application, the household surface spray, the floor cleaner, and the surface wipes kill germs for up to THIRTY DAYS. Thirty days, people! So you can get your counters really well once a MONTH, and just spot clean with some soap and water in between. Ditto for your nasty kitchen floor! Ditto for your doorknobs, your light switches, your cell phones, and your keyboards.

MyClyns also offers a laundry rinse aid which removes the smell of urine and sweat in one wash, as well as a fabric spray which smells honestly amazing and kills odor causing bacteria. There's even a food wash, which can be used on any meat or produce, and which removes 98% more chemicals, waxes and contaminants than water alone.

However, I think the coolest product is the Germ Protection Spray. It's about the size and shape of a pen, so it's very easy to keep on you at all times whether or not you're carrying a bag. You just spritz it into your face, right into the mucous membranes of your nose and mouth, to kill germs whenever you're exposed to them, be it daycare, school, your office, the subway, a play date with a sick kid, the mall, airplanes, or everyone's nightmare, the McDonald's Play Place. It is also a wonderful antiseptic/first aid product, and can be sprayed directly onto any cut or open wound to kill germs and promote healing.

So... how can this product kill germs and still be safe to spray into your kids' faces? Well, to start with, it's 99.9% highly oxidized water, which is famous for its healing properties. The other percentage is an FDA-approved solution of oxychlorine compounds called Microcyn. The compound in Microcyn moves through the cell membranes and deactivate the cell's essential enzymes and structures, rendering them non-viable.

It sounds a little crazy, spraying a germ killer right into your face, but I've used it and it just feels like a mist of water. And it will literally speed healing of those little cuts and cracks in your hands like you can't believe. But mattering just slightly more than my own testimonial is the fact that MyClyns personal spray is used by first response teams, firefighters, police officers and EMTs in eighteen different countries, and many medical supply companies, such as Emergency Medical Products, Inc. promote the spray as well. It's actually been around a long time, and was the product that started it all, so to speak.

As you can see from the link, the spray is a lifesaver for people in the medical and law enforcement arena, protecting them from potentially very dangerous pathogen exposures, but it's also available to you and your family, who are just as deserving of protection from this year's round of runny noses and Surprise Stomach Flu episodes. Any of the MyClyns products are can be purchased through your local wellness coach, or you can order online from Union Springs and they will refer you to a local rep. And of course, you can always get extra discounts and products by hosting a demonstration or deciding to become a wellness coach yourself.

The item I'm most excited about right now is this gift basket which I'm giving to Addy's teacher for Christmas this year. Pretty nice, right? And something kind of different, in a sea of gift cards and boxes of chocolates. Candy is great and we all like lotion, but what teacher wouldn't be a little extra excited about the idea of some serious germ protection, amiright?

So there you go: Sarah's Gift Guide 2011 suggests a big tub of surface wipes and a personal germ protection spray for everyone on your list. They'll thank you later, when everyone else is sniffling on their couch and they're out skiing this winter.

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