Thursday, June 30, 2011

By the numbers...

144 days to go (I know the counter above says it's more, but we have to subtract two weeks from that as our goal is 38 weeks and not 40).

At this point, by the numbers,

I have been pregnant for 125 days.

I have had five prenatal appointments (with another next week).

I have had blood drawn for pregnancy purposes 22 times.

I have given myself 97 injections (ok, Brian did some of those, but I'm still proud).

I have taken 112 doses of progesterone.

I have had five sonograms and two doppler screenings.

I have had three kidney infections with four antibiotics - one of which I will now take until I deliver.

I have had two visits to the ER which were thankfully both related to the kidney infections.

I have had one CT scan, which we never ever ever want to do again during a pregnancy.

I have gone through more Tums in the past two weeks than I remember being humanly possible.

I have enjoyed feeling JellyBean kick for most of the past week.

I still live every day with almost constant fear and worry.

I need to focus on hope. Hope is the reason we have gotten this far, and I know it will get us even further.

Monday, June 27, 2011


Gearing up to go to work tomorrow. I shouldn't complain - I only go in once a week - but I just hate this class. The students are absolutely miserable and will not participate. They just sit there with scowls on their faces and refuse to answer questions - even when called on. *deep sigh* That makes for a LOOONG three hours.

We took Katie to the Farmer's Market on Saturday and she got some lovely facepaint. This was the first time she'd ever had it done and she was thrilled. She got two lovely blue butterflies on either side of her face (complete with sparkly blue eyeshadow on her eyes which, while adorable, kinda creeped me out). When the day ended we had to break the news to her that we needed to take off the paint and she got very upset. Come to find out that she was afraid we wouldn't think she was pretty without it. Simultaneous broken heart and laughter on our part :) Needless to say, she was reassured plenty that she's still gorgeous.

After that we were going to go see a show outdoors, but it rained. Again. I've kinda had it with the rainy cold weather this summer (but it's nice to not have to pay for air conditioning). Thankfully, we thought to go bowling, which Katie had never done before. She loved it and got the first strike of the night :) It was pretty cute. She also got 100 on her first game which is something that I strive to do whenever I play...typically without much success.

JellyBean appears to be doing well. Today s/he gave me a good solid wallop right to the gut, leading me to believe that s/he got a great running start before hitting a wall. It also appears that s/he is learning to jump rope with the placenta, but I could be mistaken. In any case, it's a lot of fun because while I had vague memories, I forgot what it was like to have a little hijacker making things move and affecting your body - and you have NO control over it. I need to remember this in about two months when the little one is dancing around and I can't sleep ;)

Been doing a bit of looking around at baby gear as well. We know we're going to need a new pack 'n play and a dresser for the room. Other items are not required but may be necessary. I think we need a Sit n' Stand stroller to help us corral the children and to make life easier. Is it required? I don't think so, but I think I'm going to want one (especially since Katie is not great at "listening" right now). However, she'll be four when we're really using it, so maybe we don't need one? I don't know. The other maybe is a new infant car seat. Ours is still good, so we really shouldn't get one, but the problem is that I drive a Civic. Actually, we drive a Civic as Brian's car is not to be trusted on distances farther than five miles (thankfully allowing him to get to work and back). If we have Katie behind the driver and the baby behind me, with that carrier handle pushed all the way back, I will lose my seat almost entirely. We put it in the car and I had my knees up in my chest.

Obviously, things change in three years and seats are a bit more compact now, but not by a lot; however, the one made to go with the Sit n' Stand stroller does seem to be the smallest, so it may just be the way the universe is telling us to get them. Obviously, if we had been thinking four years ago when we bought the Civic, we would have gotten an Accord and this wouldn't be a huge problem, but at that time we were simply considering gas mileage since I drive so far to and from work. Hindsight is 20/20, huh?

Here's the bad part - the infant seats in this brand are ugly. And I mean UGLY. I know that shouldn't matter. They're not that expensive and they are going to be smaller and easier to carry, but if the baby is a boy then our choices are black with a yellow stripe or black with lime green. Blech! It gets a bit better if it's a girl, but...well, we'll see.

18 week appointment next Tuesday. We'll find out then when we get to have our sonogram to make sure JellyBean is looking as good as s/he is acting and to find out who it may be. Just to forewarn you - we probably will not be sharing names ahead of time with this one (as it's been the cause of many arguments between us and may well not be settled until after the baby's second birthday) but we'll definitely share gender!

Have a pleasant evening. I'm going to go toss and turn with these darn restless least when JellyBean really starts moving it will give me something else to blame sleepless nights on ;)

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Katie and Jellybean

It's been a while since I gave you a good Katie update, so here's one that continues to make me chuckle:

Katie is over the moon with the idea of being a big sister. Ever since she saw JellyBean on the ultrasound, she talks about him/her non-stop. If you ask her about the experience, she has a few choice responses she pulls out:
* "It was swimming!"
* "It waved at me and I waved back."
or, my personal favorite:
* "The baby showed me his bootybum."

Now she's thinking of all the things she's going to teach the baby to do, and it's slowly evolving into how much she can boss a baby around. I think that's what she's most excited about. She's also very very clear on the gender she prefers. A typical conversation goes like this:
Katie: "When will my baby sister be here?"
Me: "Around Thanksgiving, you know that."
Katie: "I think my Baby sister will like the name Yellow. I'm sure she told me."
Me: "What if you have a baby brother instead? You know, a boy baby?"
Katie: "That's not going to happen."
Me: "Well, it might. Remember: God chooses whether you get a baby brother or sister."
Katie: "If it's a brother baby, I'm giving it back."

Slowly she is coming around to the idea of a boy (we try to refer to Jellybean as a boy often just to get her to think about it), but she definitely wants a sister. There was much consolation in the idea that she could still dress up the baby even if it was a boy.

It just makes my heart so happy to see her like this. I know we're a family, but something about this baby just seems to make us more "complete." It rounds out the circle, so to speak, and gives her someone to boss around eternally.

Thanks for the good thoughts and comments :) On a less fun note, I'm off to the Urologist again today to hopefully put an end to kidney infections for the rest of this pregnancy (thank you, but three has been more than enough!). I think he's going to put me on an antibiotic for the next five months...more pills. Blech.

Oh, and if he says "Vay-gyn-ah" again like he did last time (all with his creepy undertaker personality and voice), I will laugh. I haven't slept enough to hold it together this time.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

ICLW Intro

Available below - just a couple of posts down :)

Hello Jellybean!

It's official - we've got some movement.

It's been faint and tentative for a few weeks now, but with certainty I can now say that the little buddy is making him or herself known when possible. The best part about it is it feels like s/he gets a running (swimming) start on one end and then just pounds into the other side. Clearly, this one has a high activity level (as does his big and dad are going to be in trouble).

Jellybean still isn't big enough for this to be consistent or really apparent, but just feeling him/her there every now and then is a wonderful comfort. And another very significant milestone for us.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The Meeting

I think we have things figured out and they are going to work out as well as they can. Nothing is completely set yet, but it should be ok.

The fall is the fall. I lost my overload, which was tough. I could have kept it, but there were some compelling reasons not to.
1. I'm supposed to be low-stress and another class is not low stress (I got rid of a writing course, which is nice).
2. If I have to leave the semester earlier than planned - or even for the last 3-4 weeks - my pay will not reflect that additional course. I will only get sick pay for the base load.

Considering the likelihood of something happening sooner in the semester (I'm using Katie and the fact that this is high-risk as my measure here), I think I made the best choice. It's lost money, but it may help us all in the long run with the baby.

For the spring, B and BB proposed a new option: I will be teaching all 8 and 12 week courses. There is no overload (I had lost that anyway), but I wouldn't start the semester until February 13th and after midterm break. I just found out that it will be four 12 week classes (one online) and one eight week class.

It's a bit of a bummer because it will be back to a five day a week schedule (so we'll pay five day daycare and gas but without the benefit of my overload pay), and once the 8 wk class starts, I will have a three hour break between classes on MW and will come in only for a 1-3pm class on Friday. It does give me four weeks off without using sick time. If I go all the way until I'm scheduled to go in, I'll have 12 total weeks off - paid. And I only have to use about three weeks of sick time (leaving me with 6.8 for emergencies). I'm trying to tell myself the benefits outweigh the rest, but I'm not good at convincing myself of things.

So, I lost some money on the overloads, but I did get a less stressful schedule for fall and a better option for spring. Of course, BB's main concern was me and my stress level. Which is all well and good, but she doesn't quite understand when I say, "I need to work because I need money." She's very much of "family is first and the rest doesn't really matter" mentality - definitely a good thing, but the rest does matter :)

Now, if the state of Illinois would stop f*&king with our insurance options, I'd be good to go.

Monday, June 20, 2011

ICLW Introduction

Greetings to those visiting from ICLW!

I'm sure some of you are wondering who this person is and what's going on here, so I'll give you a little "up-to-the-minute" briefing. Please feel free to look around and explore whatever tickles your fancy.

My first pregnancy was very rough, but no one thought it was unusual (least of all, us). I was beyond sick for almost the entire nine months and it was really hard to stay healthy and happy during that time. In fact, I was one of the few lucky people who actually came out of my pregnancy almost 25 pounds lighter than I went in. After being so sick, my water broke (at work, of course - forty minutes from home) a month early and we met our daughter, Katie earlier than we expected.

Although it was a tough pregnancy, my doctor didn't think there was anything unusual, except for the fact that I could NOT progress in labor (after 23 hours, I had managed to get to 2cm) and had to have a semi-emergency C-section when Katie went into fetal distress. We didn't think anything of it.

Well, all of that changed when we decided it was time to have another child. Funny, "decided" is so the wrong word for these situations, isn't it? Our first pregnancy began normally enough in October of 2009, but at six weeks, we realized that the embryo wasn't developing past a cellular level. After monitoring HCG levels every other day for several weeks (and if you've ever waited on those numbers, you know what agony this is - especially over weekends), we found the numbers didn't rise and then fell. This was declared a "chemical pregnancy."

We managed to get pregnant again in the spring. This one did not start out as well. After getting what I thought was my period, I got a positive pregnancy test at the doctor's one week later in April of 2010. We knew that wasn't good. More waiting on HCG levels for weeks: will they go up or down? Waiting and worrying. After being very sick and in a lot of pain, the numbers finally started to go down. A D&C followed this one. My doctor wasn't concerned and didn't want to do any tests. She said it was probably ectopic, but that we don't need to be concerned about anything until I had had three miscarriages in a row.

Well, glad to oblige. I got another positive pregnancy test in November of 2010 following some bleeding. I knew these signs and knew they weren't good. If you want to read all of that drama - switching doctors, hospitalization, ectopic pregnancy - well, that's all documented right here in daily blows.

In March of 2011, we finally received a positive pregnancy test after being diagnosed with an MTHFR mutation. I began progesterone and daily shots of Lovenox, which I will continue throughout my pregnancy. We have battled three kidney infections, lots of fear, and some less-than-fun restrictions, but are now into our second trimester. We're not safe by any means, but we're hopeful.

So, that's us in a nutshell. Hope to see you around more often; the more positive viewers and comments there are, the better we all feel :)

Frustrated with Myself

That's the nicest way I can put it. I feel like I've become a horrible wife and mother, and I'm the only one to blame for it. I can't seem to fix it no matter how much I try and it's really really making me upset. And the more upset I get, the worse I feel and the worse I act. It's such a vicious circle right now and I'm running out of ideas.

I guess a lot of it is coming from lack of sleep. Between the heartburn, the aching low back, and the restless legs, it's almost impossible to fall or stay asleep. I think I'm averaging about 2-4 hours a night - none of it consecutive. If I'm lucky, I can get 45 min. in a span. I've stopped napping during the day; cut out caffeine; added in what exercise I can, but nothing seems to be helping. This, I hope, is the root of all evil.

Katie has entered a particularly difficult spell. She has always been very willful and independent, but now it's entered a stage of absolutely difficult. She doesn't listen - at all. At church yesterday, I had to take her out of the vestibule three separate times because she was trying to climb the pew, mess with the girl's long hair in front of us, jump on the kneeler, and talk as loudly as she could. Each time, I would get her settled down, she'd promise to listen, and it would all happen again. The last time I took her out, she started having a hysterical fit: screaming, kicking, crying...nothing would calm her. We had to leave.

Happened again today. At the library. Screaming, was absolutely embarrassing. I gave her a warning that she needed to stop crying if she wanted to stay, so she starts shrieking at the top of her lungs that she'll listen. At that point, I have to pick her up and run as fast as I can out of the library as everyone stares at the bad mom who can't control her hysterically crying/shrieking child. She was still doing it in the car - in fact, she did it for a solid twenty minutes.

It comes out of nowhere. We're doing fine and having a great day, and then she does something. I ask her to stop. She does it again. She gets a warning. She does it again. Time out. She does it again. Leaving or something like that and the hysterical fits ensue. That sends me over the edge and I act like I don't want to. What kind of mom whispers to her three-year old to "shut up?" I have no patience because I'm not on my meds and I'm tired and I'm frustrated and then when she gets hysterical it sends me over the edge as well.

I know she's picking up on my moods and we're creating our own vicious cycle here, but I don't know what to do about it. I hate when I don't have fun with my daughter and I hate when I have to punish her. She's going to her grandparents' house tonight (she spends Monday nights and Tuesdays there so I can go into work) and I'll cry all night feeling guilty about how today went.

I'm just so frustrated at myself. I'm not being a good mom and it kills me. How can I even try to have a second child when I can't take care of the first one? Damn it! I'm just so upset with how I'm behaving...even when it's happening my mind says, "Stop it!" and I don't.

I'm sorry I'm ranting and venting here, but I lately I just feel like I'm going to snap. I'm so tense and stressed out and it's not good for anyone. And I just don't know what to do anymore. I'm not focusing on the good things - it's all the bad; and no matter how often I tell myself to stop it or try to fix my thinking and behavior, I just don't or can't. I shouldn't be acting like this and I shouldn't be feeling like this, but I can't seem to fix it.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

The Hard Part

So - a bit of spotting today. Don't know what that's about. It can be one of two things: absolutely nothing or threatened miscarriage. Guess where my mind immediately goes.

Later in the pregnancy, this isn't as bad because you can feel the baby move. I don't have that. I wanted to get a fetal doppler, but Brian thought it was a bit excessive. I have one that works after 28 weeks, but not until then. I have no way of knowing if the little person is still ok in there.

No pain. No heavy bleeding. I have to just assume the best and hope and pray. But you know me, assuming the best is against my nature in this case.

Just keep me in your thoughts while I try not to stress....stress won't help.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

A step in the right direction :)

So, I heard back from HR today and it looks better than it did. Turns out I was dealing with someone who was pretty new at this and didn't know all the ins and outs of how it worked. That's a huge relief. Thankfully, there does appear to be some wiggle room, and I know the Big Boss can make other things work if they need to.

As she said before, HR clears me through FMLA for any leave the doctor requires. That would all be paid leave. If I chose to take any additional leave, that would be up to my department. I just contacted the Boss and Big Boss (B and BB from here on in), and told them what I knew. HR said that if I made it all the way to my due date, there was some room for discussion/negotiation about how best to finish up the semester since it's in the best interest of the students to not have a sub for the last two weeks when major grades are coming in. I know the BB will tell me not to work at all, while the B wants me to work; for me, it will depend on what we negotiate. I don't want to screw over my students, but I don't want to stress out. Final grades are due around the 19th of December, so if I gave birth around Thanksgiving, that would give me about a month to collect a major paper for all classes and post final grades. That's not a lot to deal with (I kinda have grading those things down to an art - I don't fully comment on them unless the student requests it because most students don't ever want to pick them up. I'm not commenting on something that just goes in my trash.)

As far as teaching my online courses and being out in the spring for a few weeks, that's up to the B and the BB. They've already told me that's no big deal, so I'm not worried about that.

So, it sounds like things will work out pretty well. I don't get to stay out as long as I wanted to, but the bonus is that I will have some sick time in reserve for when I will eventually need it.

Thankfully, that takes care of a lot of my worrying. Whew! Now that I know we have room to play with this stuff, I feel better. Thanks for your concern :) Again, we'll be fine no matter how this works out, but it's much nicer when it's easier and not a big hassle - as is all of life.

I have a meeting scheduled with BB and B on Tuesday at noon to figure this all out. Fingers crossed that everything works out well :)

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

With the good comes the pain in know..

So, the good news is that I feel good. I'm out of antibiotics, I'm not in pain, and (with the exception of being a bit tired), I feel pretty darn great. That's a huge relief and makes me very happy.

However, I had to start dealing with HR yesterday and it's not fun. I'm not going to get too worked up yet because the gal I was dealing with didn't seem to really understand what was going on, so I'm going to assume she spoke falsely some of the time. If I hear back from her boss and it's the same, then I'm going to be irritated.

It all started with mass panic in my department office when I spoke of taking some time off in the Spring. You would have thought that I had suggested murder. The assistants (who work on the schedule) freaked out and started making me feel terrible. After all, if you deliver at Thanksgiving, they said, that's eight weeks until the semester starts. You don't need more than eight weeks.

I know it makes their life difficult, but this is almost 100% surely my last child and I am going to take some time. So then they went on to, well, we'll have to take away your spring courses and when you come back, you'll just have to take whatever is available. As Brian pointed out, that might not work so well legally since it's essentially punishing me for having a baby, but we'll see.

In short, my boss said I had to speak to HR. This is new. Last time I spoke to my big boss (she's now in charge of two departments, so I'm dealing with someone who just took this position a few weeks ago) and she arranged everything. When I mentioned this to HR, they said, "Yeah, well, we haven't exactly been doing things legally for a few years." Good to hear! Let's start now and be a pain in my wazoo.

In short, she informed me that she was faxing my doctor to ensure that I'm being truthful. I gathered this is standard practice. Then, she told me that I am allowed to take only as long as the doctor clears me for. She said for most births, that's six weeks (I think a c-section is more like eight, though), and that if I wanted any more, I could take an additional six that were unpaid.

So, I mentioned the fact that I have ten weeks of sick leave stored up. Can I add any of that on to my doctor-approved leave? Well, my doctor approved leave will eat up six of those weeks (or eight) - and she's trying to tell me that while we're on winter break, I'm still taking my sick leave - that's not happening at all! Then she says I can't use my own sick leave to add on to it because that's not what it's for. I finally convinced her to ask a superior on that one. I really hope she's wrong.

My boss wants me to work from home after I have the baby. He would like me to create some kind of online, independent final project that I would collect and grade so he wouldn't have to put in subs at that point. I wanted to hang onto my two internet courses in the spring for the few weeks I'm out. Apparently, I'm not allowed to legally do this, since I'm on "medical" leave. If that's the case, then the students are getting a sub. I'm getting charged out the wazoo for sick leave (full weeks, even though I am physically on campus only 3x a week), and if they're saying I'm sick, I'm not working. Now, give me a break on my sick leave here and there - like take four days a week or something, and I'm willing to negotiate.

In short, it's all a pain. I'm going to wait to hear back from HR - this could be today, or it could be in a month. After that, I'm writing to my boss and the big boss to explain the situation because I'm pretty sure the big boss can fix a lot of this on her own.

My perfect plan right now? I'd like to take off the end of the fall semester - approximately 2.5 weeks and 3 weeks in the spring, returning about Feb. 13. I don't think that's a lot to ask as a new mother, but apparently I'm asking for the world here because I want more than my winter break and more than my doctor allotted time. Way to make me feel like a heel, guys! Thanks!

So, I'm trying to not think about it and not worry. It will work out somehow. As Brian said, if they don't approve the spring leave, we'll just start my leave at the beginning of November so that I have time to hang out. Either way, we'll do ok, but it's frustrating to deal with these people and policies. It's like it's their life's mission to be difficult (and it may be :)

The other downer is that I usually teach an overload each semester (6 classes instead of 5) in order to make some extra money, but that's not going to happen in the spring. The only way to do that would be to take on an additional English 110 course, and that's just too much. That would leave me with 2 English 105's, 3 English 110's, and 1 Reading 104 - in other words, five writing-intensive courses. I do four right now, and sometimes it's just like drowning in grading. With the new baby, I just can't do that. Hopefully we won't take too much of a financial hit. The bright side is that it's a three-day-a-week schedule, so that saves on some daycare and gas. We may break even on that deal.

Ok - work needs to take a back seat. It's summer and that's the focus. Everything else will work out somehow; I just need to not worry about it (WAAAY easier said than done!),

Sunday, June 12, 2011

What a weekend...

I think we tried to outdo ourselves with "most things completed in a weekend" this weekend. We did SO MUCH, but we had a great time. Now it's time to relax.

Since I'm feeling a bit more mobile and human, we were finally able to actually do some things this weekend. Let me give you some insight:

Saturday morning:
Off to the Bloomington Farmer's Market for some shopping, dancing to music, and petting many dogs.
Headed to Miller Park Zoo so Katie could take some pictures with her camera. Unfortunately, we forgot that Special Olympics were in town, so it was too crowded to stay very long.
And so we went to the Bloomington Library for story time - all about dragons. We picked up some Raffi CD's and Katie has fallen in love with bad children's music...but it's cute.
Nap and lunch
Off to downtown Bloomington again for their free concert outdoors. Such a beautiful night for it. There was MUCH dancing by Katie and her new friends that she made down by the stage.
Top it off with some ice cream. We don't do sugar treats often, so this was a good one.

Sunday Morning:
Breakfast with friends from grad school. While at breakfast, a man comes around to make balloon animals. Katie got a Tinkerbell which is truly impressive.
Off to the Tremont Turkey Festival. After looking through the rummage sale and the craft show, Katie got to go on some of the rides.
Now we're home, relaxing and ready for the Tony's....I'm exhausted, but it was a very nice weekend with some wonderful weather.

Hope yours was as nice!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011


Today was a good day overall. It's a shame that with the stress and doctor's visits and infections that I haven't been able to enjoy a lot lately, but I did enjoy today - a LOT.

Katie was in a very good mood today and we went to the pool where we unexpectedly ran into a friend and her two daughters. It was a really nice change of pace to go to the pool with someone and have the chance to chat and hang out while the girls played in the water. Let me tell you - two and a half hours just flew by! I had a hard time getting Katie to leave, but she was overall ok with it (it was really hot, after all).

We came home and had a good nap - well, I wasn't able to sleep, but it felt really good to lie down, and I just reminded myself of all the people in the world that would kill to be able to lie down in the middle of the day. Then we had dinner with some friends from grad school and had a general good night.

Obviously, the antibiotics are starting to work as I'm beginning to feel human. Apparently, they won't make me feel "better" for about a week, but just feeling a bit better is a nice change of pace. I'm not as cranky and short-tempered and it's MUCH easier to move around, which makes life so much easier in general.

I did notice that my swimsuit from last year is a bit tight. The one I bought at the end of the season is a bit too big, and there's no way I'm crawling into that ugly black maternity suit until I have dressing for the pool is a bit of a challenge, but really no big deal. I'm at that weird point right now where you can't really tell if I'm fat or if there's something else going on. The uterus is creeping up and pushing my fat ol' belly out. It's funny because I often find myself rubbing my belly absentmindedly like I'm nine months pregnant. I have to stop and remind myself that it's just stomach right now :) I'm not ready to switch to maternity clothes yet, but I am in almost entirely elastic waists and stretchy stuff (yes, I'm very fashionable right now) - but it's summer and I don't care :)

Hope you're not melting in the heat and that you're enjoying your summer days.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Doctor's Appointment

We had a good appointment today. Jellybean did not, and I repeat NOT, want to be found with the doppler and that took a very long time. What was more amusing, however, was that rather than being found, when the doctor would get close, Bean would kick the microphone. So, we knew s/he was good and ok, but we couldn't get close enough to get the heartbeat. I think we have a little stinker on our hands. We did eventually get a hold of him/her and got the heartbeat - 143. All good.

Also found out more details about delivery. Since this is a semi-high risk situation and there's so much going on, there is no chance of a VBAC (and I'm really ok with that). It will definitely be a c-section and it will be scheduled at 38 weeks (unless there is a reason to go earlier or later). Dr. said there were so many variables and concerns with this delivery with my condition and the Lovenox that we have to carefully plan out the delivery and take advantage of that window at the end of pregnancy where you have some room to play around. Apparently, I'll have to stay on the shots for a while after delivery to avoid any complications for myself - clots and whatnot.

This is good to know because now I have some serious thinking to do about the fall semester. If I can work all the way up until the delivery, I'm still going to be out at least two or three weeks before the end of the semester, so I need to make sure I get as much work done with my writing classes as I can before a sub takes over (since writing isn't so much a "right/wrong" subject, I'm very uncomfortable having someone step in and grade for just a couple of weeks). It's not the best situation professionally, but personally I'm going to try not to care - bigger things to focus on.

So that's the news in a nutshell. The Urologist visit yesterday revealed a very very creepy doctor (if you met him in real life, you would immediately either think stereotypical undertaker or rapist/molester - really creepy), but he seemed to think that it's not a stone. He thinks that the original infection never cleared up and that it's just getting worse. He wants me to stay on my antibiotic from the hospital from hell and come back in two weeks for a check-up. At that point, I should be done with the antibiotic and feeling way better - here's hoping. He thinks I'll have to stay on a low-level antibiotic for the rest of the pregnancy just to keep these things away.

Isn't it funny how you try to do things right and have a good, healthy pregnancy, and that's when it's medication out the wazoo?? I was barely allowed Tylenol with the last one (albeit - that was a different doctor), and now I have the lovenox and the progesterone and the antibiotics and nausea meds and pain meds. It makes me really really nervous, but the doctor assured me it was ok. She said if the baby was delivered now (which would clearly be bad) it would be woozy and have some issues due to the pain meds, but that since we're so far from delivery it's no problem and that it won't affect any development.

We're back for another checkup on the 5th of July and then a week or two after that, we'll find out who JellyBean is. Hopefully things will start to be a bit smoother now that we have (maybe) figured out the issues. I'd like to not see a doctor again until a scheduled appointment :)

Monday, June 6, 2011

Daily Shots - What is it like?

Many people have asked what it's like to take shots every day for this condition. Some have asked just out of curiosity, and some have asked because they anticipate a similar condition in the future. Well, I'll give you the best idea I can...

There are several different scenarios that you run into when doing a daily injection. Let me start by setting the scene.

I get up in the morning and my belly aches. It's not bad, and it's not really uncomfortable, but there is definitely an ache that gets worse as I walk or move or do anything. Most of this is simply due to the fact that since Lovenox is an anti-coagulant, almost all of my belly is a bruise. Combine that with movement or with general pregnancy expansion, and you get soreness.

The shots themselves are quite easy. All of them are individually packaged and ready to go. They are loaded with the appropriate amount of medication and they don't need any prep time. This makes life a whole lot easier.

From here, you need to decide how brave you are. Can you handle injecting yourself or do you need help? I'm really glad that I had Brian do it all the time at first, but I'm slowly taking over the job as it becomes more uncomfortable. I'll try to give you both scenarios.

When Brian is doing the shots, the hard part is reminding him. So much goes on in the morning that it can get lost in the shuffle. He gets the cotton, rubbing alcohol, and shots together along with a "back-up" band aid. It's almost impossible to tell ahead of time if that band aid will be needed, so it's good to have on hand. I strongly suggest the little squares as they stick best and don't take up a lot of space. Then, I have to pick up my shirt and find a spot that he can stick a needle. One of the pros for this scenario is I can't often find a good spot anymore, so he'll just jab me and get it done while I'm stressing. That pisses me off for a moment, but it's not bad...and it's better than my timid attempts.

If I'm doing it, it's a bit different. I first take the top off the syringe so everything is ready to go. It is a very small needle, but it is quite long. I have to do the injection in my lower belly, and since it causes bruising, this is getting harder and harder to do as I run out of real estate (being fatter than usual tends to help in this scenario, as does having had a C-section that left part of your stomach numb). The tendency is to try to give the shots in the same general area once you find a good spot; however, the bruising makes this hard. Also, if you continue to hit the same spot, you get a large knot that takes a while to go away.

Honestly, your stomach is a big game of chance. Some spots are virtually painless and the needle slides in and out with no problem. Some spots are not as nice. If you begin to put the needle in and feel ANY resistance, stop immediately. It will not get better and you will hate yourself. Most spots are in the middle - mild ouch, but manageable.

The needle is in and out quite quickly if you don't mess around. If I do the shot, I often need a band aid for bleeding, but Brian has a more direct, in and out approach and doesn't need them as often. Shots in the low belly that bleed are likely to become big sores, so avoid if possible. While the shot itself may not hurt, you may notice that the medicine burns quite a bit. Again, this depends on where you injected the medicine. The upper belly tends to burn more than lower, but that can be due to post-C-section numbness. The burning lasts about ten-fifteen minutes and, while uncomfortable, isn't terrible.

And that's it in a nutshell. You're done until tomorrow. What sounds like a long process is probably only two minutes from start to finish. It isn't fun, and it isn't my favorite part of the day, but we'll deal with it. So, if you get to enjoy this fun in the future, just know that it is simple and manageable and that even someone afraid of blood and needles can adjust. It's all for a wonderful payoff, after all.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Another trip to another ER

Yup. It was a great weekend.

To start with, Brian and I were at the Cubs/Cards game on Saturday. The seats were awesome - third row behind the Cubs dugout. The weather, however, sucked. It was about 100 degrees with a lot of humidity. Thankfully, after about the fourth inning we were in the shade, which helped a lot.

Bad news...I started to really feel badly during the game. It didn't help that it was hot and that it was a 12 inning game. I spent a few innings down in the secret, only for those who buy expensive tickets bar because it was air conditioned, but it just kept getting worse and worse. I thought I was going to pass out, I was in pain, I was nauseous, and I was too dizzy to walk. It was really uncomfortable.

After calling my doctor on the way home, we waited two hours and go no response. I called again to find that she never received my message. Her response: ER. She said there was too much that had gone on to not get checked out.

So, we visited the Oliver C. Anderson Hospital in Maryville, IL and had the worst hospital experience of our lives. After waiting in pain for half an hour, I was admitted to a bed. A nurse, who was quite surly and never introduced herself, took a very brief (and incomplete) medical history and then never came back. Two hours later, after not seeing anyone at all, we used the call button and were yelled at by a nurse. I simply said, "We've been here for over two hours and haven't seen anyone. Are we going to at some point." The nurse responds that there is only one doctor in the ER for 24 rooms and that they can't help me. She asks if I need something. I say that I need something for pain and she tells me to tell my nurse and hangs up.

Uhm...isn't that why I pressed the call button?

After forty-five more minutes of seeing NO ONE, Brian pulls our nurse out of the hall and the two of them get in a massive fight. She was upset about who knows what (I'm sure it had not been a swell night) and he was really pissed about the lack of communication. There are signs everywhere talking about their "excellent care and quality of service" and Brian, of course, disputed that. He said that we needed something for pain and she basically accused me of being a druggie (which was pleasant) and said that I shouldn't even be in the ER because I have a diagnosis and pain medicine and that I should go home and take that. Brian, in less than a calm manner at this point, explains that when a doctor tells you to go to the ER, you go and that it wasn't our first choice for a fun Saturday night. She says she can't give anything until a doctor sees me. That it's policy to have only one doctor for the ER. That I need to just suck it up and wait.

At this point, I'm in pain, tired, and frustrated. I'm crying because I just want to go home (but I can't because we'll be charged either way at this point - three hours in and we've seen a nurse twice). Brian asks for better communication and is told by the nurse that if they could, they would but that they don't have the ability to check on patients during the night. It was horrible.

Finally, a doctor comes in and tells me it's clearly a kidney infection (from the blood and urine sample). This is a new development since Wednesday (when there was no trace of infection), and explains the chills, dizziness, and dry heaving. I finally get some pain medicine, something for nausea, and some IV fluids. Amazingly, our communication with the nurses now improves. They start to update us on what's going on and keep us informed during our last two hours so that we know what's going on and what we're waiting on. Apparently, now that I'm really sick (and refused an additional prescription for Vicodin, thus blowing the "I"m just looking for drugs" accusation), I'm worth the time.

Anyway, after heading there at 9:30pm and leaving at 3:20am, I just wanted to go to bed. It was a horrible experience. It has been the two times I've had to go there and I can honestly say I never ever ever want to go to that place again. I really missed Bro-Menn and just wanted to be home. We now have antibiotics and I have the appointment with the Urologist tomorrow. Hopefully this is all just (yet another) Kidney infection and we can fix it with (yet another) round of antibiotics and we can forget about the whole kidney stone thing.

Now I'm very tired and want to sleep. Let's hope for a better week this week.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Just your average ER visit

So tired of this stuff.

Had to go to the ER last night since the pain was so freakin' unbelievable. Unfortunately, after many many hours (I was discharged around 1:15am), the cause is still undetermined. Due to the fact that they classify me as a high risk pregnancy, they couldn't do a lot because they don't want to hurt the baby. They did a LOT of blood and urine tests which all came back a-ok. After much discussion with my own OB-GYN, they decided I needed to do a CT scan. This is not something you like to do during pregnancy as it involves radiation, but they decided it was necessary after two months of this stuff. Of course, nothing showed up. Why can't it just be easy like: oh, we found your problem and will now fix it!

So, I'm frustrated and very very tired and I hurt. All I want is for the pain/nausea to go away so I can enjoy time with my duaghter without being so frustrated and short-tempered (lack of sleep due to pain, and pain-nausea themselves are not conducive for being a patient and fun mom).

Very very frustrated. Would really like someone to fix this. They were certain it was a stone, but couldn't find it. All the pain is under my rib cage on the right side of my back - very localized. I really hope this stops soon so I can just play with Katie.

*deep sigh*

UPDATE - 2:00pm

Doctor is sure it's a kidney stone regardless of what CT scan shows. Still blood in the urine and all signs point to stone. Gave me stronger pain meds and made an appointment for me with a Urologist on Monday. Essentially, we are going to continue to wait it out.

Dear God give me strength. This sucks.