Tuesday, October 29, 2013

10 weeks

Sorry I've been a little MIA. Jason & I went out of town for our anniversary, and work has been crazy since I got back, as we were in the midst of an office move.

I just wanted to check in and give you a little pregnancy update.

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Seems like the question I get asked most is "how are you feeling?"

Well, now that my ankle is (almost) healed, and now that the bad cold I had is (almost) gone, I feel pretty good.

Oh sure, I could complain about how my stomach seems to think the only two possibilities are either extreme hunger or serious nausea, or about how I'm so fatigued I go to bed early at night & could easily nap during the day (if life would let me), how the extra blood beginning to course thru my veins leaves me short of breath at the smallest exertion, how round ligament pain sometimes stops me in my tracks, how pelvic rest leaving my husband and I very frustrated, or how within the past week my blood sugar has started dropping suddenly.

But the truth is, that even with all that, I feel great. Wonderful. Happy. I love being pregnant.

I have prayed for this child. I have waited for this child. I knew this child was meant for our family.

I am thrilled. Excited.

How am I feeling? Blessed. I am feeling very, very blessed.

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The other thing that seems to be drawing attention is my belly. That's right folks, I "popped" at about 9 weeks.

Now, I realize that it's bloat. I know the baby is a teeny tiny peanut and cannot possibly be making my belly that big yet.

But I also know that with my first pregnancy my bloat turned straight into bump. I got big early, stayed big, then got bigger.

I also have only gained 5 lbs, which would also be consistent with bloat (each month pre-pregnancy I gained between 5-7 lbs of water weight during my period). How a measly five pounds can turn into my giant belly, I have no idea. But it does. See proof below.


And yes, other than a few pieces of my larger-size clothing that also have a lot of give, I'm wearing maternity clothes now.

But I'm actually pretty pleased with my weight gain. You see, if you remember, the last time I went off my endocrine meds I blew up like a balloon. I don't recall exactly, and it may or may not be in my blog somewhere, but I want to say it was something like 25 lbs in three months. And since I had to stop the meds cold turkey the day I got a positive test, I honestly was fully expecting to put in 10 lbs or so in the first couple of weeks.

But... nope. Stopped meds cold turkey + 10 weeks pregnant = 5 lbs weight gain. So I'm pretty happy with that. I also have a theory that my endocrine system loves being pregnant as much as I do and might actually be performing as it should. And I'm a little hopeful that maybe somehow this will set things right for me in the end. Wouldn't that be awesome?

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So that's my 10 week update. I'll try to get on here a little more often, but things have been pretty crazy, so no promises.

As always, thanks for checking in!

Monday, October 21, 2013

Random Updates

I've had a bit of writers' block lately, in case you couldn't tell.

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From spraining my ankle, immediately followed by getting a bad cold, I haven't had a chance to enjoy this pregnancy yet.

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I've had "morning sickness" this time around. Never had it with Jena, so that's different. It usually doesn't hit in the morning though. Typically I feel mildly nauseous 30-60 min after I eat, and I feel really sick around 2-3pm every afternoon. Fun times.

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Work is okay. Nothing spectacular to report.

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Jena is doing well in Kindergarten. She loves it and we get good reports on a regular basis. They just finished  formal assessments, and we're eager to see how she did, as it may have an affect on her education plan for next year.

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I've seen two good friends from college and five good friends from high school in the past two weeks. Several I hadn't seen in over 10  years. It was good to see both of them and catch up, even just a bit.

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Jena called it "our baby" the other day. Our. As in hers too. I'm taking that as a good sign.

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Jason has been really good at not hassling me over by-passed housework or my lack of attentiveness to him. In fact, he's even the one who said I haven't "had a chance to feel good yet". Supportive husband? Yes please.

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I guess that's it for now. As always, thanks for checking in.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Check Your Boobs

I've been thinking about writing this post for a while now, but I'm having a hard time organizing it. So I'm just gonna ramble, okay?

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My mom is a breast cancer survivor.
My aunt is a breast cancer survivor.
My great aunt is a breast cancer survivor.
My friend from high school is a breast cancer survivor.

My co-worker is a breast cancer survivor.
My friend from college lost her battle with breast cancer.


In other words, I have been personally touched by breast cancer.

If you must know, I have had unexpected changes in my own breasts, so due to that plus my family history, have been getting regular mammograms since the age of 27.

Breast cancer, all cancer really, is a subject I take very seriously. Dude, cancer kills.

I've seen a lot of talk this year about pink. Everywhere. And there is, for some, a disdain for the pink.

source
Here's my take on the pink.

When my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer, yes, I wore some pink. For some reason I wore more after she hit her 5-year-clear mark. I can't tell you why. I don't know. All I know is that it has to do with my processing of her disease.

My mom has never worn a pink ribbon. Ever. It's not something she feels compelled to do. Though she hasn't said it, I think it has something to do with not wanting to be defined by the cancer.

I think sometimes, for some people - and by "people" I mean those personally affected by the disease - being able to outwardly show support for patients, survivors, and victims is part of the healing process. It's part of their need to process what is happening to them or to someone they love.

I also think, that if for one month of the year, if putting pink on everything gets just one person to perform a breast self-exam, or if it gets just one person to think "maybe I should schedule that mammogram I've been putting off"... if blasting the world with pink results in just one life being saved... then how can I have distaste for that?

My friend, Julie, died at the age of 33 after a years-long battle with breast cancer. THIRTY FREAKIN' THREE.

Julie, as I remember her, in our college years and full of life (source)

Here's the thing: Julie found her lump because the news was doing a thing on breast cancer and self-exams. She had no family history of the disease. She was healthy & in her late 20s. But she checked on a whim because a news program was doing a thing on self-exams.

So I know that people check their breasts because of things like news programs, or seeing a sign, or maybe even seeing the world splashed in pink.

So blast the world in pink. I don't even care if companies make money off the pink (as long as they're not misleading consumers). But show the pink. Wear the pink. But more importantly... check your boobs.

33 years old. I know for a fact that there are young women out there who did their first self-breast exam because of Julie's story. You see, Julie was very public about her battle with breast cancer. Like, go-on-the-local-news, tell-anyone-she-sees public. And because of her openness and candor about her disease, there are women who did their first breast self-exam because of her story.

33 years old.

Don't let Julie's death be in vain. I don't care how young you are, I don't care whether or not you have a family history of breast cancer, I don't even care if you're a man. Check your boobs.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm off to have a good cry over the loss of my friend, and then to feel myself up.

Here's hoping you're doing the same.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

{{ head desk }}

Seems like I've been having more than my normal share of {{ head desk }} moments lately, so I decided to share them with you lucky readers. Maybe one of them will inspire a laugh for you. Enjoy.

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Vendor insists that they cannot ship item without us issuing an electronic Purchase Order. We comply. Two weeks later we follow up to see why item hasn't shipped yet. They haven't shipped it, because no one in that department knows how to check to see if a PO has come in. And they want us to figure out how their system works so they can do it. But we're in another state and don't have access to remote into their system But they're insisting we help them or they won't ship the item {{ head desk }}

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International vendor will only accept electronic wire payment. Says they don't accept credit cards because they want to make sure it arrives in their native currency. We try to explain how both credit cards and wire transfers work the same, converting US Dollars to their currency, but they honestly don't seem to get it. By the way, this is the research department of a major university in a developed country. {{ head desk }}

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We're currently working on an office move at work. Manager wants me to check on getting new book cases for three of our team members. I check with Facilities. Report back to him on the process. In the meantime he has checked with a random  person in Accounting, who told him something different. I'm to do what the person in Accounting told him. Because clearly Accounting knows better than Facilities how to get office furniture {{ head desk }}
*update* this morning Facilities sent me an email saying they couldn't support the request because we didn't follow the proper process. I got the pleasure of forwarding that on to my Manager. Tee hee.

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Ob nurse asks if I've been sexually active. I look down and rub my barely-bloated belly. Isn't this how we got here? {{ head desk}}
Except... it gets better. She says you'd be surprised. Already today she had one woman, who is 4 weeks pregnant, tell her "not in months" and another tell her no, because "you can't have sex once you're pregnant". According to her they were both college-educated career women. {{ head desk }}

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Told my boss about my lift restriction (no more than 5 lbs), considering we have an upcoming office move. You know, in case I need to ask for help, so I don't get the stink eye for asking help moving a box or something.

He wants me to submit a detailed plan outlining exactly when I will need assistance, for how long, and how much lifting will be required. {{ head desk }}

I'm considering the following responses:
- Nevermind. I just won't move.
- Nevermind. I'll just ask one of my friends for help if I need it instead.
- I don't know. I haven't moved my desk in 7 years, and never on restrictions. Can't I just ask for help if & when I need it?
- When: next Thu & Fri. How long? 30 seconds to one minute at a time. How much lifting? more than 5 lbs.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

We Have a Peanut!

Last Friday we had our ultrasound.

Baby is in a good position, appears healthy, and has a strong heartbeat. We have a peanut!

Needless to say, there were tears of relief the second I saw the flutter on the screen.

But that wouldn't be complete if everything didn't get hushed a few minutes later.

We noticed the ultrasound tech measuring another section of the screen, away from the baby. But she wasn't saying anything. So we finally asked.

It appears to be an area of bleeding in the uterus. She needs to print out some pictures and go consult with one of the doctors.

She leaves the room. Comes back a few minutes later.

Subchorionic Hemorrhage. Fun. Doctor says I'm on pelvic rest (no sex, no running [impact], no lifting more than 5 lbs) for 4 weeks, at which point I need to come back for another ultrasound to make sure it resolves on its own. If I experience any spotting / bleeding at all, I'm to call the office.

I haven't had any spotting / bleeding, which is a good thing. Rate of miscarriage goes down significantly the longer you go without any spotting. So far, so good.

I am measuring at right about 8 weeks along, due the last week of May.

Signs of pregnancy are right on track: hunger has gotten some better, nausea has gotten some worse, cravings haven't been quite as bad lately. Shortness of breath & peeing constantly are right on schedule.

I've only gained 3 lbs, which considering being pregnant and going off my meds cold turkey I think is pretty good. But as much as my belly has grown you'd think I'd gained 15 lbs. Seriously!

I showed really early with Jena as well, being in a bella band by 8 weeks, and maternity clothes by 12. I realize it's gotta be bloat, but with Jena bloat turned straight into bump. I got big early, and stayed big! This time around I've decided to skip the bella band. I don't see any reason to struggle to fit into regular clothes and be uncomfortable any longer than I have to. So Jason's already dug my maternity clothes up out of storage, and as soon as we announce to the world (probably later this week), I'm going for comfort! Just in time too, as only a few pair of my regular pants still fit comfortably.

So that's the latest update. As always, thanks for checking in!

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Asking for Help

Since I injured my ankle, my mobility has been limited, so yes, on occasion I need help.

But I'm the type of person that doesn't want to ask for help unless I absolutely need it.

So it's been suggested by several people that perhaps my injury occurred so that I would learn to ask for help.

I've considered that. And yes, I've asked for help when needed. And I've been chastised for not asking for help more often, for making myself work harder than I had to struggling to accomplish certain tasks.

But here's the thing. I'm beginning to wonder if perhaps I've been conditioned to not ask for help.

Because the truth is that probably three-fourths of the time that I do ask for help, the assistance is granted begrudgingly. I've gotten comments about how I need to heal faster so I can do things myself. I've had multiple people visibly express frustration at my requests, complain about how much work they're doing for me. And if they do help, it's made very clear how much helping me is a burden on them, and how off-put they are by my request.

And here's the kicker: much of the time, these are the same people who have chastised me for not asking for help more often.

And I'm trying really hard to only ask for help when I absolutely need it. Can you imagine if I asked for more?

I feel like I'm in a lose-lose situation.

Don't ask for help = chastised for being stubborn & prideful
Ask for help = upset & burden those around me

So while part of me says that yes, maybe I could learn a lesson about depending on others, trusting others to help me, putting aside pride, etc. another part of me feels like I'm learning exactly the opposite. I'm learning that the more I depend on others, the more they see me as a burden.

This morning I had the thought that maybe the lesson to learn isn't mine at all. Maybe this happened so that others could learn a lesson about serving graciously, not judging someone if you haven't been in their position, and humbling yourself.

And maybe I can learn that lesson too, and make sure that when I am asked to help someone else in the future, I am doing so with kindness & mercy, with humility of spirit, with a gracious presence and a servant's heart.

Maybe there's more than one lesson to learn here.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Ouch!

It was evening. Dark out. I was giving Jena a bath, while Jason let Ashes out for a potty break. Right about the time that I finished washing Jena, I heard Jason outside calling for Ashes.

Then I realized. He was calling for Ashes. Walking around the house. Looking for her.

Crap. We cannot lose the new puppy. Worried about both the puppy, and what Jena's reaction would be, I told Jena I needed to check on something and would be back to get her out of the tub in a few minutes.

Hearing Jason at the back of the house, I went out the front door. My plan was to walk around the yard calling Ashes, then meet up where Jason was in the back.

I had just rounded the back corner of the house. I had heard Jason say "There you are!"

Me: So you found her?

Jason: Yep.

Me: Good {{ walking towards him }}

Step. SNAP! and down I go.

In the dark I had not seen the hole. I stepped in it, heard a loud "snap", and down I went. There was much hootin' & hollerin', tears, and quite possibly a curse word or two.

Honestly, it was the most pain I'd experienced in a long time. Like probably since childbirth / complications from.

We were both convinced that it was broken. But now... what to do? I can't walk. Jena's still in the tub. It's almost her bedtime.

Jason got Jena out of the tub and told her to get dressed in whatever she wanted to wear. He put the puppy in her crate in the house. As Jason walked around gathering needed items, calling his mom, and getting the car, Jena walked out on the back porch in her PJs and socks.

She was soooooooooooooooooo upset.

He drove the car to where I was lying, in the grass, with dogs lying on either side of me (aren't pets the best?). Then he picked me up with his brute strength, helped me get in the car, and put Jena with me while he finished getting us ready for our trip to the emergency room.

We dropped Jena off at his mom's house (thanks MIL!) and headed to the nearest ER.

Long story short, it's not broken. They called it a "severe sprain", wrapped it, gave me crutches, told me to stay home and ice it for two days, and if it weren't "a lot better" in four days to call the orthopaedist.

Well, four days later it was a little better, but I still couldn't put any weight on it at all. So off to the orthopaedist I went.

They confirmed that it was a severe sprain. The snap? Well, apparently if it's bad enough you can actually hear the ligaments stretching and sometimes tearing. Awesome, right?

I now have an orthopaedic walking boot and crutches. With the boot, I can put a little bit of weight on it, but I still need the crutches. Hoping to be off of the crutches within a week, and just be on the boot.

So here I am. It hurts pretty much all of the time, but not too badly except when I move it certain ways or put too much weight on it (even in the boot). Everything's just a lot harder to do, which is super-frustrating, and since I still need crutches, I'm a little limited in what I can do. Especially around the house.

Thank goodness Jason has been a champ, and has helped us keep up with a good part of the housework / household chores, as well has handling Jena's drop-off and pick-ups on days he's not on shift. I can't tell you how much I appreciate what he's done.

The one thing I am trying not to freak out about is Jena's 5th birthday party, in less than 2 weeks. Our house is no where near party-ready. My plan had been to work on it gradually, room-by-room, then I took off the day before the party for last minute cleaning, decorating, etc.

The problem is that with mommy laid up, the house has gotten worse instead of better, and I don't know how much function I'll have by the time of her party. So I'm freaking out just a tad that we'll be having guests over to a messy house, no decorations, and I'll be having Jason pick up a store bought cake instead of making one myself, like Jena has specifically requested. Worried enough that I'm entertaining the idea of paying someone to come over and make the house presentable. But that's not really in our budget, so... Ugh! Stress...

Anyway, that's my story and a bit of an update. As always, thanks for checking in!

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Introducing Ashes

Wow. I just realized that I never told you about our new puppy.

About three weeks ago, we got a new puppy. She's perfect.

As Buddy has aged, he's gotten a lot slower, doesn't patrol the property as actively as in the past, has lost quite a bit of weight, and can no longer tolerate the cold.

Since he's our primary working dog, we knew we'd be looking for a new dog to take over his job in the near future.

So about a year ago, I began scouting dog rescues for a puppy that would meet our needs. We wanted another guardian breed (Anatolian, Akbash, and Great Pyrenees being our top three, in that order). And it must be a puppy. After the whole cat-aggression thing with Tootsie, I've decided that no more adult dogs in this house. As much as I love me some rescue dogs, I don't feel that it's worth the risk.

Add in that we need dogs that won't eat chickens either, and are okay around small children, and I really feel that, for now at least, there will only be puppies as new additions to our crew.

So, puppy. And with guardian breeds, they tend to imprint on what they are supposed to protect at really young ages (6-10 weeks). So, puppy.

After a year, I had not found a guardian breed puppy at a rescue. Plenty of adult dogs, no puppies.

So I started researching breeders. The closest Anatolian breeder that I found that I felt reasonably was responsible (ie. not a puppy mill nor a "back yard breeder") was in Texas. Add shipping into the price of the animal, and his pups would cost us nearly $1000.

So not happening. On a whim, I put a search into Craigslist. Sure enough, not often, but occasionally, there would be a farmer with guardian pups for sale, working parents on premises, etc. Good. Felt confident that when the time was right, we'd find the right pup.

Bored one day a couple of weeks ago I searched Craigslist again. There were pups for sale about an hour away from our house. Anatolian / Great Pyrenees cross. Working parents on premises. Raised with poultry.

It doesn't get much more perfect fit than that.

We went up to check them out. Yep. Perfect.

The dad was a huge Anatolian. Nearly twice the size of Buddy, who we refer to as our big dog (since he's lost weight, Buddy's down to 75 lbs - the dad was 140 lbs). Other than size, he was a dead ringer for Buddy in appearance and personality.

Mom was a "small" Great Pyrenees, weighing in at roughly 80 lbs.

After spending about 45 min talking with the farmer and observing & interacting with the pups, we chose one of the females. She was friendly but independent, whined less than several of the others, and just seemed to have a nicer personality. Add to that that she looked much more Anatolian than the rest of the litter, and that Jena picked her as her favorite... it was a match made in heaven.

{{ photo coming in the near future, when I figure how to get them off my camera without my laptop crashing }}

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Things are Going Well

So, pregnancy signs are in full swing.

My stomach rotates between being ravenously hungry and being mildly nauseous. The nausea has been worse the past few days, especially in the late morning.

Cravings are also in full swing. I never really had those when I was pregnant with Jena, so this is new territory for me. They are so random and strong it's crazy! Now I know what ya'll were talking about! They've ranged from hanky panks, to mashed potatoes, to bacon & onion pizza, to my dad's chili. No rhyme or reason and they seem to hit out of nowhere.

I am also prone to feeling freezing cold for no real reason at all, and at the drop of a hat.

I've been more tired lately, but so far not as bad as I remember the exhaustion being with Jena. So that's a good thing.

I also have to pee a ridiculous amount. I get up 4-5 times during the night to pee, and seems like at work I'm getting up at least once an hour. I do remember this when I was pregnant with Jena as well, because it was what made me decide to tell my boss-at-the-time about my pregnancy even though I was only 8 weeks along. I was worried he'd notice how much I was getting up from my desk and want an explanation so I told him before it came up. Ends up he hadn't even noticed.

I haven't weighed myself since getting that positive, but despite feeling bloated most days, my clothes are still fitting fine, maybe even a little loose.

All in all things are going well. Until we get our ultrasound to confirm things are okay, I'm taking all of these things as positives. They are all signs that my body is adjusting to the tiny life growing inside of me.

Please continue to pray for us! Thanks!

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Update

So, since my numbers were good and I'm not having any issues, my Ob's office is treating this like a normal pregnancy.

As in, my first appointment will be a nurse's appointment, and won't be for another week.

I guess it's good that they think it's "normal", but I'm a little anxious. Even if they just did another blood draw in between to make sure my Hcg kept rising, it would make me feel better, you know?

We've decided to wait until after our ultrasound to announce, so that probably won't be for another 2+ weeks.

Another thing that frustrates me is that even though I've told them repeatedly that I don't know how far along I am and I could be anywhere from 6 - 10 weeks, due to how screwed up my cycles have been since my first miscarriage, the reason the initial appointment is so far out is because they are assuming I am just now 5 weeks, and they schedule first appointments around 6 weeks.

When I asked why I needed a nurse appointment, and what will be done, they told me they'll "confirm everything" and determine my due date.

Well, that's stupid. I've already had Hcg results that "confirmed everything", and there are about 63 different online due date calenders that can tell you my due date is probably around the May-ish time frame, but that since we don't actually know what cycle I conceived on, only an early ultrasound will help us know for sure.

I don't think the receptionist liked when I pointed this out to her. I basically got the response that it's how they do things, so tough.

I understand the need for having standard procedures, but I honestly don't understand this one. You have a patient who's had 2 early miscarriages in the past 6 months, already had confirmed Hcg results are good this time around, and has explained to you why it's virtually impossible to know how far along she is, but they are treating this patient the same as someone who has had no problems, didn't have the blood draws done, and has regular cycles. Just doesn't make sense to treat the two the same. At least not to me.

Oh well. It is what it is.

As far as how I'm doing, no real changes yet. Other than that I pretty much alternate between being sooooooooooooooo hungry, and being mildly nauseous. I can go from stomach-growling, must have food now hungry, to feeling sick in the blink of an eye.

The hunger's been tough. Because in my head I know it's early to be needing extra calories, and I know it's just due to hormonal changes, but... seriously. So hungry. Wakes-me-up-in-the-middle-of-the-night hungry. I'm trying to be good, because I know it's not "real", but when you're body is telling you that you're starving it's hard to just sit there and let your stomach growl.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

No Carve Halloween Pumpkins


These are our Halloween pumpkins from last year. Easy, no carving mess, I love 'em.

What you'll need:

medium- to large- size pumpkin
stencil of chosen critter
black matte spray paint
self-stick laminating sheets
sharpie
scissors
Place a laminating sheet over the stencil. Trace the pattern onto the laminating sheet with the sharpie. Once finished, cut out the stenciled shape from the laminating sheet.

Stick onto pumpkin (make sure it's sticking really well, especially around the edges of the stencil).

Take the remaining parts of the laminating sheet, cut into strips, and use to wrap the stem of the pumpkin.

Spray paint, covering all surfaces.

Let dry.

Remove laminating sheets (strips from stem, and pattern from main part of pumpkin)

And... you're done!

Happy Halloween!

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originally got the idea from Woman's Day magazine, but altered slightly to fit the items I could find easily in our local store
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