Friday, December 26, 2008

Holiday Hangover

We've had such a great time over the past week! Our drive went well (despite my illness) and we arrived in Oklahoma safe and sound on Friday evening. After spending the night at my grandparents' farm, we journeyed on to my parents' house and the madness began! In the past week we've celebrated a birthday (my cousin's), been blessed with a wonderful baby shower (for Flippy), visited the urgent care clinic (me), and spent lots of time with family. When I don't post for a long time it's difficult to get everything--especially in a very busy week like this one--but you get the idea.

TOIAW left today for a very brief brothers-only weekend in Las Vegas. I miss him but it is giving me time to rest and recuperate from whatever illness I still have (the urgent care doctor said tonsillitis but I highly suspect it's just a sinus infection; either way, I began feeling better once the antibiotics kicked in). He just called me and it sounds as if things aren't going as well as he hoped. I suspected this may happen because, well, his brothers have been almost mean to him lately. I wish I could think of a better word but I'm not feeling particularly articulate this evening. His older brother seems almost belligerent every time they speak and apparently today was no different. TOIAW has always idolized him and, although his love for him will never change, I can tell his opinion of his brother his is changing (for example TOIAW is realizing his brother isn't as wise as he previously thought nor is he the least bit open-minded) and that's difficult. There's so much more I want to say but it's probably best that I don't. I just hope I can be nice to him when we're together next week. Unfortunately, TOIAW's twin is just as bad or worse. He constantly harasses TOIAW about his hair loss. Mature, right? Okay, so maybe his hair line is receding but it began happening after TOIAW attended and passed the most difficult school offered by his branch of service. TOIAW passed the course; his twin brother dropped-out of the school at least twice. In any event, what normal 33 year old makes fun of people for things like this? He teases TOIAW constantly--calling him names that most tweeners would find too juvenile--and I plan on telling him next week that neither this, nor any other degrading comments will be acceptable once Flippy arrives. I'll do my best to bite my tongue and not suggest that adult behavior on his part would also be a good model for his own son. Oy! This is not what I intended on posting tonight...

Tomorrow is another big day! I'll be attending an afternoon first birthday party for my cuter than words nephew and a wedding in the evening. Somewhere in there I also plan on buying some fabric for a quilt for Flippy and, hopefully, a nap. I'm sure there are many great sales out there but I'm just not in the mood for shopping, plus, we don't really need anything. I'm a little overwhelmed by all the "sale" emails flooding my inbox! Anyway, Sunday PP and I will pack up and meet TOIAW in Dallas that evening to begin our drive to Florida. Seriously, I have no clue why we thought driving was a good idea. The one major bright spot, however, has been having PP with us; I miss her so much when I'm away from her. I hope there is room in the car for all our new baby paraphernalia and PP. For now I'm going to just lay here and watch my belly move...you have to really know what you're looking for but it does move. Too cool!!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

I feel better already...

I was just writing a check and found a $50 Pottery Barn gift card tucked away in the checkbook. Cool!

Deja Vu

It's 6:50am and for the past hour I've been asking Dr. Google if there are any "new" safe cold medications for use during pregnancy but it doesn't readily appear that there is the case. Darn. I was really hoping someone had conducted a drug study or trial in the past six weeks. TOIAW feels very badly about passing along his cold but he did remind me that he was able to get over his in relatively quickly so I should as well. I didn't have the heart to tell him he was able to take medicine to mask his symptoms and speed his healing. Oh well, it's a small price to pay.

I'm definitely staying home from school today but will go to my OB appointment this afternoon. I also need to accomplish a few last minute errands and pack the car. Well, I won't actually pack the car I will just make a pile of the things we're taking and TOIAW will pack the car. Once I loaded the car with something like two small suitcases and he looked at me said, "Rachel, don't you know anything about combat loading?" Ummm, no sir, I do not. I must have missed that day at basic training for wives. Shall I drop and give you twenty? Needless to say, I won't be loading anything other than myself for this trip. I should probably also do some laundry today but if it doesn't get done (translation: if Laundry Boy doesn't do it), I'll bring home dirty laundry just like the good ol' days.

After our appointment yesterday, I promised TOIAW we would run errands and that's just what we did. I'm the proud owner of a new ID with a horrible picture. We then walked over to the office where they handle pay issues--we're still having them--and I was able to see the total lack of concern TOIAW has been dealing with for the past few months. It was a small office and a little crowded so I left when things started getting louder. He was assured all issues will addressed in the next two weeks. It will be like winning the lottery.

Ahhh, our appointment! It was so fun to see her--and know she's a her--moving around. The doctor was fabulous and explained everything she was looking for and measuring. I didn't even consider that Flippy would have any major problems so the relief I felt after finding out she is healthy (you know, as much as they can tell at this point) was surprisingly overwhelming. Happy tears were shed many times yesterday!

I'm off to rest and drink more hot liquids while telling myself it's just as good as Nyquil.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The Results Are In...

Flippy is a GIRL!!! We're thrilled but not because of the gender as much as the second detailed ultrasound showed a healthy baby :) An early Christmas gift, indeed...and probably the most beautiful one I've ever seen.

I have more to say but I'm afraid that, in the giving spirit of the holidays, TOIAW shared his cold with me. I don't feel awful--yet--but I'm headed to bed early before it gets to that point.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Calm Before the Storm

TOIAW hasn't been feeling well* so we've had a very low-key weekend. This is especially good since we probably won't enjoy too much relaxing until early next month. We're not leaving until later in the week but a busy week it will be. Our second "big" ultrasound is Tuesday and then I have another appointment Wednesday. I tried my best to get out of this double feature but no luck. I was told the ultrasound is to check the baby and the other appointment is to check me. I understand and I know it's for the best so I'll try to concentrate on that when I'm fighting traffic two days in a row.

Part of the problem is I am receiving treatment at two different facilities. Initially, I was told this wouldn't be the case but that's just not true because when you're of advanced maternal age you actually receive a series of ultrasounds, not just one big one. If I were a patient at the ultrasound hospital, I could also have my routine monthly check-ups there and take care of two things at once. This is one of the reasons we are considering switching treatment facilities but I'm not going to worry about that until after the holidays.

I guess my brain is sluggish from all this relaxing because I can't think of anything to say tonight. I'm off to bed where I will read another chapter in a little book I've dubbed The Breastfeeding Manifesto. It's actually difficult for me to concentrate when I'm reading it because all I want to do is highlight portions for the blog book report I plan on writing. As a preview I will just say that some people have very extreme views on breastfeeding. I knew that already but some people are seriously hard core. If I saw them on the street, I would expect them to be wearing a shirt that says "Extreme Breastfeeding: Just Do It."

*Believe me, Gutsy Mom, when he has an ailment he's not afraid to let me know and after I hear about it for long enough I issue an ultimatum: Either do something about it, or stop complaining.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Next Stop: Florida

Are you familiar with the saying The couple who shares generic Metamucil together, stays together? TOIAW doesn't find it all that funny, but I do and that's really all that matters. He probably doesn't think it's funny because at his one of his appointments a few days ago, the chief remedy for his ailment was fiber, fiber, fiber...and a minor--but I'm sure very uncomfortable--procedure next month. Thanks to some, ahem, issues I'm having the extra fiber is also coming in handy for me. And that, my friends, is why you can find us side-by-side every evening sipping our organic OJ and generic Metamucil. After I finish this post I'm going to write them and pitch a new ad campaign.

Unfortunately, I was unable to attend TOIAW's first appointment the other day because I was waiting in line to park the car. I waited 45 minutes for it to be my turn and then had the following conversation with the parking attendant:

PA #1: "Lady, you can't park here. This is only for handicapped people."
Me: "Okay. Just curious, why didn't your colleague tell me that when he walked up to my window to tell me it would be a bit of a wait before there was a space available?"
PA #1: "I don't know. Yo (to his colleague), why you didn't tell her this was the handicapped line?"
PA #2 "No, Dawg, she's good. (to me) You're good, Ma'am, you gotta 'DV' on your plates for disabled veteran. You can park here."
Me: "But I'm not a disabled veteran and neither is my husband."
PA #2: "Was he hurt in the war or anything like that?"
Me: "Well, yes, actually but he's not disabled. He didn't even miss a day of work when he was injured." (I have no idea why I added this tidbit and, for the record, he should have missed work because the email he sent me while under the influence of pain medication was anything but coherent.)
PA #2: "See, Ma'am, you are just real honest and that's so great. Most people would just park here anyway. If you want to, it's okay, I'll authorize it."
Me: "Ummm, no, thank you. One day I might need one of these spots but today I don't. Could you please just tell me where the regular parking is? And, might I suggest you have better signs pointing people towards parking? Thank you."

What I didn't say is, "IF YOU WEREN'T ON YOUR PHONE AND WERE ACTUALLY PAYING ATTENTION, I WOULDN'T HAVE WASTED SO MUCH TIME!" Nor did I mention that I'm quite sure he doesn't have the authority to authorize a lunch break much less illegal parking.

Once I got inside the clinic/hospital, though, I longed for the solitude of the car. This place is a mad house! The individual clinics were nice and orderly but the common areas were crowded chaos. We will have the chance to experience it all several more times because TOIAW was approved for a nose job! I told him he could be like the women in Iran who were bandages on their noses as a status symbol. He didn't seem interested. Bless his heart, because I outed him on his snoring, he also has to do a sleep apnea test even though the doctor confirmed both his nasal passages are more than forty percent blocked and that is the most likely culprit. When they're done with him, he'll be like-new!

You know, between the two of us we have an inordinate amount of doctor's appointments. I have two next week, in fact. Retirement is going to be great because it will give us a chance to schedule appointments anytime rather than having to do so around pesky things like work. I'm just a little worried that we are getting old before our time. For example, in addition to our vigorous doctor schedule, we had dinner the other night at 4:30 and I was asleep before 7...but not before I had my generic Metamucil!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Lucky Few

You know when you read the pregnancy books and websites and they warn that some women have morning sickness throughout their pregnancy? I'm beginning to wonder if that's going to be me. Granted, today--thankfully--is the first time in a long time I've had an entire day of nausea but it seems like I've had more random recurrences lately which is both uncomfortable and a bit scary since I feel like I'm not getting the nutrition Flippy and I need.

I went to school with TOIAW but had to leave before my class began. My teacher was very sweet about it and I hated to leave but I wasn't fit to learn. Because I cancelled with less than 24 hours notice, I don't get to make-up the time which makes me feel rather guilty about wasting taxpayer money...then again, with this auto bailout thing, I suppose I'm hardly the least of the taxpayers' worries. But please know I'm going to diligently work on learning one hundred new words and phrases this week.

Oh, the adventure TOIAW and I had this weekend when we went to do a baby registry! We left the store 2.5 hours later feeling as if we had just run a marathon minus any endorphin-induced highs. I completely didn't expect it to be overwhelming and stressful, but it was. TOIAW felt the same way and that's rather unusual for him (although for him it was more because he didn't think the store layout lent itself to registering in a 'systematic' way). I felt more than a little inadequate when I saw at least two women with voluminous books containing baby gear reviews. I had done a little internet research and knew a few things I wanted but it was no where near as easy as choosing a crystal pattern. In any event, we now have one registry with what I hope are useful items and it's all set for our first shower which will be in my hometown over the holidays. It's early, I know, but my aunt insisted and resistance is futile.

Tomorrow TOIAW has an appointment with a ENT who will--I hope I hope I hope--recommend him for surgery to repair his deviated septum and allow me to have a peaceful night's sleep. The appointment is at a military hospital and TOIAW is very excited to wear his uniform displaying his new rank. He was very cute about going and buying new patches!

Well, Flippy is kicking which just goes to further remind me that I had zero servings of fruits and vegetables yesterday and even though I had a lovely salad for lunch, I'm not sure how much of those nutrients were absorbed before, well, you know. So, yeah, this motherhood thing is one big guilt trip already!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Dear TOIAW,

If I spent several hours yesterday making flash cards and memorizing 50-75 new vocabulary words and today, while writing sentences, occasionally ask for your help to ensure said sentences are coherent and grammatically correct you should probably not "help" me by replying--in an annoyed tone, no less--rapidly in a language you have heard since birth but I have only been learning for four weeks. If you insist on doing this, however, and I collapse in a hormonal crying fit and you, realizing the situation has reached critical mass, are finally able to tear yourself away from the no doubt riveting information you were reading on the computer and guiltily embrace/smother me to the point where I cannot breathe and begin coughing and sobbing, I just might lose my breakfast on you. You know, just something to keep in mind. I bet you wish you had read this earlier, huh?

Much love,
Your Wife

Monday, December 1, 2008

Promises, Promises

Yesterday I told you that I had a long post written but I accidentally erased it. In the post I gloriously announced that I had been nausea-free for over a week. HA HA HA. Today has been horrible. I guess it could be the flu, but I don't think so. Now that I think about it, I could hear those hormones laughing at me while I typing last night...

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Extra Short Version

I just wrote a long post about the ultrasound and our Thanksgiving getaway but I hit something and now it's gone. Ugh.

In short, the ultrasound was wonderful! Flippy is developing right on schedule. The ultrasound was over thirty minutes long--during which time the doctor measured pretty much everything that could be measured--which you would think would be enough time to for Flippy to flip at least once to flash us a peek at his/her personal parts. Of course, if you thought that, you would be wrong. Fortunately, I have another ultrasound scheduled for the 16th so the doctor can get a more detailed look at the major organs that were just too small to see in great detail last week. Additionally, Mommy will--hopefully!--finally get to find out whether or not I should be buying pink or blue.

I promise a longer post tomorrow but right now I'm going to relax and check out all the online ads and sales that have filled my inbox in the last few days.

Monday, November 24, 2008

A Few Things

Nothing particularly interesting has happened in the past week but here some items I wanted to share:

  • Yesterday we went to the re-opening of the Smithsonian's American History Museum. They had people dressed as famous people in history one of which was Samuel Adams. I heard him talking to some pre-teen girls who then told their father they just met Samuel L. Jackson.
  • While at the museum, we saw the copy of the Gettysburg Address that is usually in the Lincoln Bedroom at the White House. There were signs everywhere stating "No Photographs" as well as guards verbally reminding people every thirty seconds. When it was our turn to view there were no less than three people taking pictures "secretly" with their cell phones and small cameras. This is a HUGE pet peeve of mine (there really is a reason they tell you not to photograph, in case you were wondering) and as we were walking away from the display case I said to TOIAW, "I guess the term 'No Photography' is not clear enough for everyone to understand." A few minutes later this woman in her early twenties tapped me on the shoulder and said that she wasn't taking a picture and, therefore, there was no need for me to "trash talk her." Ummm, I wasn't ever speaking to anyone other than TOIAW and if you weren't taking a picture, I wasn't talking about you either. We continued to walk away while she and her companion followed us until TOIAW told them--in a semi-polite way--to be quiet and move away from us. That's the story of how I almost got into a brawl at the Smithsonian. Classy.
  • I added a new member to my staff: Laundry Boy. He bears a striking resemblance to TOIAW, doesn't fold, and demands a specific brand of fabric softener but he does carry the laundry from the basement upstairs to our room and so far he's really working out well.
  • Tomorrow is my 4-D high-resolution Level II ultrasound. I have no idea what any of that means (what is the fourth dimension?) but I'm excited! Details to follow.

Okay, that's about it and now I must get ready for my language class. Just once I'd like to go in there feeling like I'm completely prepared. I don't think that will be today.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Not Today

I didn't get an ultrasound today. In fact, the appointment was pretty lame aside from hearing Flippy's heartbeat. TOIAW 'pressed' for an ultrasound but the doctor said we would probably get one next week at my advanced maternal age appointment. I'm very unclear as to what will happen at that appointment. It is with a genetic counselor and was offered to me because I will be 35 when Flippy is born. I was clear that we have already had extensive genetic testing and really, at this point, I'm not sure what a genetic counselor can offer us. It would seem that if they were concerned about Down's syndrome, they would have done a NT scan in the first trimester. In any event, I'm just going for the high-tech ultrasound I've been promised and I'm going to be ticked if I don't get one but, just so I'm not surprised, I called them to ask and the nurse is going to get me an answer by tomorrow. It's not just that I'm obsessive--no, really--because my doctor said she wasn't going to schedule me for an ultrasound at my next appointment unless I can confirm I will not be receiving one next week (why is it my job to confirm that?). Furthermore, if I wait until next week, it most likely will not be enough time to schedule one before the holidays.

I guess I must have been anxious about the appointment today because I hardly slept last night. Needless to say, I am exhausted today and have been running one errand after the other this afternoon. I am going to take a very brief power nap before finishing dinner. I so do not feel like hosting one of TOIAW's oldest friends, but duty calls. I hope they don't ask what the green ingredient is in the mashed potatoes because the girl at Whole Foods didn't know and I didn't care enough to wait around while she asked. Chives seems like a safe enough answer, right?

P.S. I may have mentioned this before, but why is Dr. Oz on Oprah so often? He's run out of common and normal topics and has moved on to the rare and bizarre. I should note I didn't actually watch it today so if he discussed an ailment from which you suffer I am in no way suggesting you are rare and/or bizarre.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Tomorrow?

I have an appointment tomorrow and I'm really hoping that:

1) Flippy is still perfect :)
2) The doctor does an ultrasound. Who knew I would miss the Germans and their love of ultrasounds?
3) Flippy isn't shy about showing us his/her "parts."

I'm a little nervous but that's probably more because of the appointment rather than finding out Flippy's gender. That is a far bigger issue for TOIAW than it is for me. I just want to be able to buy the right color clothing!

Speaking of TOIAW, today is the anniversary of our first "wedding" ceremony. If you're confused, read last year's post that explains it all. Shhhh....it's still super-secret! We have big plans for tonight: TOIAW went out to eat with a friend who is town on business and I ordered Papa John's*. To be fair, I should mention I was invited to dinner but politely declined (yep, Flippy was my excuse and I have no shame). Honestly, I'm exhausted after language class, our appointment is early in the morning, and tomorrow the same friend is coming over for dinner which means I will have to cook a legitimate meal.

I'm off to lay on the couch and watch HGTV even though I should be doing homework.

*If you're ever perusing their menu and think the whole wheat bread sticks sound like a semi-healthy choice, consider simply ordering extra dipping sauce and a pizza box. It might even taste better.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Beautiful

There's a blog I've read for about eight months now that is profoundly uplifting. Ironically, it is written by a couple who lost their daughter to SIDS when she was about three months old. Friday would have been Lilly's first birthday. Click here to read what her father had to say on Lilly's special day. I won't lie, it's sad but it's also deeply moving and is a huge testament to the power of love and prayers.

This is a link to the rest of the blog.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Not That I Procrastinate...

Oh no! The cleaning "helpers" arrived 45 minutes early...they got to see how we really live. I seriously hope they don't open the oven because I kind of have some dirty pans in there. I was totally planning on cleaning them before they arrived, I promise. I don't speak Spanish but I'm fairly certain their first words weren't, "This lady has it all together."

In further evidence of how ridiculous my life has become, PP has an interview today to see if she is suitable for the boarding facility that has been recommended to us. When I spoke to the girl on the phone yesterday, I did my best to act as if I think this is all perfectly normal when, in actuality, I think it's completely pretentious. Sure, I can understand them wanting to see how her temperament is but must you refer to this process as an interview? I keep thinking we need to prepare her with some flash cards or sign language (I knew I never should have moved away from you, Jess!). I've already decided that if they ask for references, we're leaving.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Reporting For Duty

By the grace of God, I had a moment of clear thinking and scheduled my language classes to be every other day. I've really enjoyed the two classes I've had so far. I have a substitute teacher this week and will transition to the hard core teacher on Monday. Good times. I've actually met her though and she seems quite pleasant to me so I'm not worried. I've already had plenty of homework and that's fine with me since I only have about four-ish months of class. It helps tremendously that TOIAW can help me with my homework. I was reading to him last night--picture a child first learning to read, slowly sounding out words--and after about thirty minutes he politely asked, "Honey, how many more pages do we have?" We'll work on that before Flippy starts reading to him.

Today I took the subway for the first time (the first time here, that is). TOIAW had class at an alternate location so I braved it alone. You'll be happy to know I managed just fine. It's difficult to fail when you have TOIAW's instructions which include details as minute as where to enter the train in order to minimize the distance to the exit.

Now that I have to dress decently at least three days a week, I decided it was time to purchase some legitimate maternity wear. I have yet to find a pair of pants and/or jeans that fit decently. I happened to be on a military base yesterday and tried on some pants that might have worked but I just couldn't bring myself to buy maternity clothing manufactured under the label 'New Recruit'. Seriously. Looks like I'll be placing some orders online tonight.

In other good news, we finalized plans for a mini-vacation over Thanksgiving. We're not going very far away but we are staying somewhere very nice and hope to have a relaxing time together. Fortunately, we have a very effective savings plan whereby TOIAW's employer takes 2-3 months to reimburse us for travel expenses and adjust his pay according to his salary and benefits raise. We may or may not be able to afford food and rent in the meantime, however when they do finally pay us, we won't know what to do with ourselves.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

I Tried

For three days, I've done my best to write something profound regarding the election. It's not happening so I guess I'll just write a regular post instead.

The Gutsy Mom requested an update on my personal trainer and cleaning helper and likened it to my having a staff. That made me laugh but, oh my, I think I'm going to need a staff because next week I begin taking language classes three hours a day, three days a week. Just typing it makes my body want a nap! I'm most concerned about the time of day that was chosen for me: afternoon. Ugh. This was TOIAW's choice because that is when his classes are. For those of you whose husbands didn't just spend fifteen months away, I want you to really think about this. We will wake-up together, eat breakfast together, go to the gym together, eat lunch together, go to class together, take breaks together, drive home together, eat dinner together, spend our evenings together...you're getting the point, right? He thinks it's going to be super. I, on the other hand, keep reminding myself I will have two days afternoons alone. It's not that I don't love TOIAW--I love him with all my heart--but I crave quite, alone time (no need to state the obvious regarding Flippy, I know). Oh, and my teacher is considered to be the most difficult and demanding in the language center. Cool. TOIAW told me all about how nasty she is (she teaches a friend of his) not knowing she was going to be my teacher. Furthermore, TOIAW's teacher described her as "a communist." This should be interesting. As long as she doesn't have a problem with my capitalist consumer ways, we should do okay because I am a serious student. And on those days when I don't feel like being a good student, I'll pay TOIAW to do my homework because the language I am learning is actually his first language. Oh, and now I'll really know what his family is saying about me...

Gutsy Mom, I am thrilled to say my "staff" is delightful! It's so easy to keep your house neat when someone else cleans it. Why did I not figure this out before? Additionally, I really enjoy my trainer and working out has really helped me to feel better all the way around. Because she's developed the work-out, I don't stress about doing too much which is great peace of mind. We've focused a lot on my core, balance, and flexibility. We got a great deal on a package of personal training sessions when we joined the gym and my dilemma is do I continue working with her at a much higher price or just go at it alone? I have a bit before I have to decide. Having a staff is not free, unfortunately.

We still don't have a cook and it doesn't look like we will anytime soon so I'm off to make a delicious, nutritious, quick, and simple meal. Just kidding. I'm only shooting for two out of four.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Less Sloth-like

Today I feel so much better than I have. There really is something to be said for sleep -- not just rest but actual sleep -- when you're body is fighting off ickiness. I have to admit, however, that I cut way back on the hot fluids intake although I do think it was beneficial.

In fact I felt so good today that I set up an appointment to work out with a personal trainer tomorrow. I'm paranoid (like you didn't already know that) about doing too much so it will good for me to have some help in developing a routine. When she suggested we meet 'upstairs at the club' I didn't exactly mention that I haven't bothered darkening the door of 'the club' in the nearly 8 weeks we've lived here. Surely there was at least one day I felt good enough to go with TOIAW who is there nearly every day?

I also received a call back from the cleaning service. I was getting a little nervous since they came to give me an estimate on Monday but hadn't called back to schedule an appointment. I know it could use a cleaning but it's not that bad...even if it is fast approaching that point. Friday is the day and I couldn't be more thrilled considering my initial hesitancy.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Good Idea...In Theory

Flippy is fine--heard the heartbeat again!--and I don't have any signs of bronchitis. It seems it's just post nasal drip causing my cough so I pretty much wasted their time and mine (not that they would say that, of course). The prescription? Drink hot liquids every hour I'm awake. Do you have any idea how many bathroom trips that involves? Oy!

I also found out that I'm slightly anemic which is probably contributing to my lack of energy. I had no idea eating iron-rich foods is so complicated but you'd be surprised; some are easily absorbed and others are more easily absorbed when eaten with other foods blah, blah, blah. I'll figure it out. I did get permission to work-out (with appropriate restrictions) so hopefully next week I'll be able to meet with a trainer and get a good plan to follow which should also help my energy level.

In other news, PP got a nice bath and had some fun play time today. This was a bit hard for TOIAW who almost didn't leave her at the groomer's because he was convinced she did not want him to leave. He was seriously stressed about it and I would not have been surprised if he had walked back in the house with her. I guess my 'just leave her and she'll be fine' line worked after the fifth time because he did manage to tear himself away. She must have played hard because she came home, ate, and snuggled up next to me on the couch. TOIAW had doubts about whether or not she actually played and had a good time but, as I reminded him, the proof is in the puppy.

I'm off to drink my hot liquid of the hour and then get some sleep...probably in 20-30 minute intervals.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Good and Bad

I ran to the local (small) grocery store this morning for a few things and when I got home I told TOIAW that my chest feels so tight and sore. I didn't get much of a response until I explained the difference between chest and breast at which time we decided it was probably best to call the nurse and she what she said. So I called and when she heard my cough she kind of freaked out. Honestly, though, other than the cough and the sore chest, I don't feel too bad. I've been tired but I just assumed that was part of growing a baby and as soon as I could get some regular exercise, I would have more energy. Anyway, I have an appointment tomorrow afternoon so, hopefully, I will at least get to hear Flippy's heartbeat :)

It's cold here all of the sudden! I'm making a nice hearty stew that smells wonderful (see, I can smell which is something I literally couldn't do at a week ago so I'm probably fine). I hope it tastes as good as it smells. After dinner, I'm off to bed. If my life were more exciting, I couldn't stand it!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Easy Button

TOIAW has been urging me to hire a cleaning helper. Most women would love for their husbands to utter such words but for some reason I've been resisting it. Well, today I called and someone will be coming Monday. Who knew it would be so easy? Of course now I have to clean for the cleaning lady...

Now if I could just press the easy button for the big decisions in our life. The BIG one that comes to mind is our next move. We know where we'll be going--in fact, the only reason we are in D.C. is so TOIAW can learn the language spoken in that country--it's really just a matter if we will go or only he will go. It's not a country to which I have any affinity whatsoever although that alone is not enough to prevent me from going. No, my issues are more with health care and safety for the baby (whom we have given the in utero name of "Flipper"). What I really need to do is speak with an ex-pat mother who has recently been or is currently in the country; that should help, right? After all, Google can point me to an American clinic (at least that's what they call it) that follows the recommended CDC immunization schedule for infants but what is the place really like? Where are the vaccines manufactured? Do people who have been there have confidence is the level of care they have received? These are the things I need to know! In all honesty, though, I know part of the reason I am so frustrated is we thought we had the perfect plan whereby TOIAW went for six months alone and Flipper and I joined him after the holidays next year. Now they have changed the plans for TOIAW and it seems his move will be later than anticipated putting his departure date closer to my "Flipper is not moving to a more-or-less third world country before X months old" date. I don't like it when I have a plan and it doesn't work!

Want to hear some good news? I have been assured by TOIAW that, at minimum, I will have a full-time housekeeper when we move.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Tears of Joy!

I'm so excited right now I can hardly type! I'm so excited I just broke TOIAW's strict "No Calls During Class" rule. Why? I just got news that several of my friends' husbands made it home after fifteen long months. Welcome home, Guys!!!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Location, Location, Location

I'm still suffering from this brutal head cold/sinus thing but it does seem to be easing a bit. This morning I thought I would take advantage of the steam in the shower loosening things up and attempt to unclog my left ear. Sounds good so far, right? Unfortunately, the combination of the stuffy head, heat, and holding my breath didn't harmonize as well as I intended and I when I opened my eyes the shower was spinning. I was really scared but managed to sit down and TOIAW walked in from the gym about thirty seconds later. I still think it was a decent idea however, I'm just not sure it was wise to do while standing in the shower.

We then took PP for a vet appointment because she had not received the Bordatella vaccine and she's often around other dogs at the dog park. We take her to the vet together. We're those people. If you don't believe me, you can ask my friend Jess who recently became a reader (wilkommen!). Jess is one of the nicest people you will ever meet and she is a vet. She lived three doors down from us when we first got PP. Bless her sweet heart, she never once, to my knowledge, referred to us as 'delusional lunatics who do not understand they have a dog and not a baby' and, believe me, if she did, it would have been justified. Furthermore, today I was reading all the notes in PP's medical charts and she even documented all my odd questions as if they were completely normal. A good friend, indeed. Oh, and her dog knows sign language for sit and down; it's uber impressive. Her husband, and the husbands of many of my friends, will be arriving home soon from there "really long business trip" and I'm so excited for them I can't stand it!!!

I'm currently waiting for TOIAW to get home--but he's only been gone five hours--so we can get something to eat. Cooking hasn't really been my schtick lately. Now that the weather has taken a cooler turn and I'm feeling less queasy, I just may get back on the wagon. I went to the grocery the other day after my appointment but after spending four hours and the clinic and pharmacy, I had no energy left and I only managed to get two-thirds of the items on my list. In fact, even though I saw this product I didn't have the energy to wade across the aisle to get it...and I've regretted it hourly ever since. Have you tried it?

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Lookin' Good

My appointment today went well. I had a very thorough intake appointment before seeing the OB and both went well. I got to see the baby flipping around which was beyond cool! Thank you, Lord!! She gave me some nausea medicine "just in case" but what really made me nauseous was waiting to get the prescription. The pharmacy serves several clinics--OB, family practice, pediatrics, etc.--and I had to wait for more than 30 numbers to be called before mine. It took over an hour. The doctor also wanted me to take something for my cold tonight and go to bed early. I'm delighted that I don't have to watch the presidential debate and I don't even have to feel guilty about it ;)

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Home Again, Home Again

Yesterday I made it home from my trip. I had a good time (not great because I only got to see my niece once) and felt pretty good--at times--while I was there but the nausea has been back in full force since yesterday. I had a big weekend working at a craft show so maybe I'm just overly tired and my body is telling me to slow down. Believe me, I've slowed way down but, so far, no improvement. I suggested to TOIAW that he hire my mom as the official cook of our house because I did quite well under her care. Neither TOIAW, nor PP are all that handy in the kitchen.

Speaking of which, yesterday when TOIAW picked me up at the airport I expressed how hungry I was. To him, this translated to, "Take me to the grocery store" so that is what he did. I honestly don't recall what happened between walking into the store and finding myself standing in front of the canned tomatoes sobbing but I was quickly ushered out of the store and promptly fed and napped. Let's just say I think we're on the same page now when it comes to the definition of "I'm very hungry."

It's hard to tell myself this now, but last week was the first time I could see that the 'end was in sight' for the nausea gig. There were days when I was mostly functional which was wonderful! TOIAW began his language classes today so we're on our way to having a normal schedule. I even walked PP around the neighborhood this morning just to begin a routine. Slowly, slowly as they say in both Arabic and Hebrew.

I have a doctor's appointment tomorrow that I will be attending alone since TOIAW has class. Normally this wouldn't bother me but, after my experience last time, I would feel better having him with me. Oh well, it's not an option and I'll be fine.

My business website is [still] not up and running but it's getting there and I should be able to present it to you within a week. I was very pleased with our sales at the holiday market/craft show we attended last weekend which makes me even more excited to present it to you!

If I owe you an email, phone call, money, or anything else please know I haven't forgotten you and I'll get back to you soon. Just to clarify, you have a far greater chance of getting an email from me than money. For now, I'm going to return to taking it easy and catch-up on some blog reading...

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

We Made It

We survived our tour of duty today and relief troops have arrived. I didn't think adults became stupid (yes, that word was used multiple times) until kids reached the teenage years but clearly I miscalculated that one. I feel tremendously guilty about the fact that I do not want to see this family again until the holidays but it's true. I know God is calling me to pray over them but right now all I can pray for is not to be angry that this situation was ignored for so long and allowed to reach critical mass.

Right, well, moving on...we have decided to leave early in the morning to journey back to DC. I am excited to see my family -- and a good friend who will also be in town visiting her parents -- but I don't want to leave TOIAW for so long. I am craving a normal schedule and family life! Hmmm...that's the second time I've mentioned that today. In any event, it is a good time for me to go to Oklahoma because tomorrow my grandmother is having surgery for a brain aneurysm and I will be there to help in her recovery if need be. She has had terrible headaches since May/June and they are hoping this will give her some relief. Unfortunately, due to her age (82 today!), they would not approve her for brain surgery so they are doing a less-invasive procedure instead. While it should reduce the risk of the aneurysm bursting, it is not guaranteed to alleviate the pain so that, along with safety during the surgery, is our main prayer.

Another thing I'm going to do while home is work on my business. The website should be up and running by next week and then you all can see my handiwork! I'm sure the suspense is killing you ;) I'll be attending a Junior League holiday market and making some sales contacts. I am possibly the worst salesman on the face of the planet so this should be interesting (my dad and one of my brothers can sell anything but, clearly, I did not inherit this trait).

I have to close with a paragraph bragging on PP. She has been amazing with Nephew! He is all boy -- as you have most likely surmised -- and she could not be more gentle. She's had her ears tugged and her tail pulled, she's been used as a pillow, she's been teased with food, she's been mounted like a horse, and no doubt countless other forms of torture that I haven't seen. Through it all she has been nothing but sweet and gentle. A few times she has gotten up and gone to a different room but mostly she just takes it. I'm so proud of her!

Oh, speaking of proud, that reminds me...I am SO PROUD of my friends Joss, Vicki, and Jess who ran a marathon in Lake Garda, Italy this past weekend!!! Joss would probably tell you she didn't finish and only ran 19 miles but since I can't even imagine walking that far I have to give her major props! You rock, ladies!

Unbelievable

We're still in Atlanta visiting TOIAW's twin and family. I wanted to write this morning just in case TOIAW and I don't survive another day of caring for our nephew. Don't laugh...it's entirely possible. I've never seen anything like it. In my last post I briefly mentioned that he was kicked out of his last day care/pre-school for violence (choking and kicking another child). This makes the fourth school from which he was expelled. In case you're wondering, he's four and a half--you do the math.

It's excruciatingly uncomfortable to be around him and his parents. His mother is mentally and physically exhausted when dealing with him and his father makes multiple empty threats but eventually reaches a breaking point which, more often than not, results in an overreaction. I know I sound like an arm chair parent but I've watched it happen time after time in the past three days. His mother thinks he is ADHD and even though I think that is a distinct possibility, I would like to see nephew on a natural diet (so far I've counted one meal and one snack where he did not have a food or drink that contained high-fructose corn syrup and you know where there's HFCS, there's plenty of other junk as well) and a consistent discipline schedule before I'm convinced. It's just so hard to know because he's really never been disciplined. When he reached an age (about two, I think) where it became difficult to take him out in public, they hired a babysitter who was employed whenever they went out for anything and many times even when they were both at home.

I got a little more insight into the family dynamics when we had an adults' night on Saturday. Nephew's parents had a HUGE row in the car on the way home. It was beyond uncomfortable. The next afternoon my SIL and I ran some errands and she vented to me in a way I've never experienced before. It was so sad, I cried. The only way I know to give hope is through my faith and she is an avowed (and angry) atheist. She is so unhappy in her marriage and life, as is my BIL who told TOIAW he is only happy 40% of the time, that she has very little energy available to deal with her child. TOIAW and I are so stinkin' sad right now we can hardly stand it.

We're either leaving either late this evening or early tomorrow morning. Please, Lord, let there be fuel for us! I am flying from DC to Oklahoma early Thursday morning and will be there for about ten days. By the time I return, TOIAW will have begun his language classes and, with any luck, I will be over my nausea* and we'll be back to a normal life!

*I'm still nauseous but it no longer lasts all day which is encouraging :)

Thursday, September 25, 2008

All's Well That Ends Well

My appointment today went well...that is after I nearly had a stroke and heart attack. I saw a really nice resident who kind of forgot to mention that he wasn't too good yet at rocking the vaginal ultrasound. You'll be proud of me, though, I didn't completely lose it when he couldn't find anything during the first ultrasound and he and the attending physician began peppering me with questions about my dates. As in, "When was your transfer? Are you completely sure about that date?" Actually, when I say I 'didn't completely lose it' I mean I didn't start yelling or have a major breakdown or anything. I'm quite sure you wouldn't consider the questions I was asking to be wholly positive. In any event, right after they decided it was best to use the super ultrasound machine, not only did the baby appear but so did the heartbeat. Nevertheless, I was still moved to the other machine (where it also took him a while to find anything) and measurements were taken showing a baby that's right on track. Go, Baby!

Compared to the past few days, I felt like a rock star today. We decided to go out to eat which was probably pushing it because right as the entrees were served, I put my head in my hands and willed myself to stay awake. Just yesterday I was bragging to my sister-in-law that I hadn't really had a problem with exhaustion. Apparently if I leave the house, I do get tired. Who knew?

Tomorrow morning I am taking a test that is meant to determine my aptitude for learning languages. This is a prerequisite for the military teaching me the language I will need in order to survive in the country we are moving to next summer. If you're not smart enough they won't waste their time and energy on me. That's fiscal resposibility for you, dear citizens.

Also, we're heading to Georgia tomorrow to visit TOIAW's twin brother. Oh, and we're DRIVING. It's a long drive and I'm not looking forward to it. I was hoping to go there later when I'm feeling better because I have a good friend near there I would like to visit. The main purpose of this visit is so we can "babysit" our four year old nephew who was just kicked out of his fourth daycare. I can hardly wait.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Hanging in There

I know I owe a longer in-laws update as well as emails, blog reading/commenting, and my list of things to do around the house is long enough to keep even a non-nauseous person busy for several days. Instead of doing any of that, however, I'm just laying here trying to keep down food and water to stave off dehydration. I've tried just about every home remedy I can find -- even sugared ginger which made me think I was eating an Aveda styling product -- and nothing seems to help. No worries, this is what I always wanted and it can't last forever, right? (Lie if you have to.)

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Nausea and the City

So the nausea decided to kick it up a notch -- or fifteen -- this week. The good part of this is TOIAW was forced to tell his parents our great news* after I rushed into their bathroom rather than spend ten minutes exchanging pleasantries. The bad part about this is we didn't do anything the entire time we were there. Seriously, I just sat in Brooklyn for six days (we extended the trip by two days because we were having so much fun) and subsisted solely on watermelon. My MIL isn't much of a cook, to say the least. I felt bad because I didn't want to hurt her feelings but I didn't want to see her pea soup once much less twice. I tried to get out and get a decent meal every now and then. Bless her heart, yesterday she worked for hours in the kitchen and we had chicken broth "soup," boiled chicken, and roasted potatoes. That was also the only meal where protein was served.

I thought I would feel better once we left and I could lay off the carbs and pack on the protein, but today isn't much better. Alas, tomorrow is another day! I have so much to tell you all but I must sleep first. Since this isn't the city that never sleeps, I won't feel as lame here if I go to bed at 7pm.

*There was one time his dad didn't speak to me for two days because [he says] I walked into their apartment one morning and failed to properly greet him. Never mind that we were there for the holidays and spent all day, every day with them only leaving to sleep somewhere else.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Random Stuff

I have been living in our nation's capital area for exactly five days and have yet to visit any historical sights. I did see the Washington monument but that's just because we took a wrong turn and it's so huge you can see it from pretty far away. Today we're going to see a movie; how's that for culture? Oh, and I might go to Target but no promises because I've tried to go twice already and once I was too tired once we got there and once I was too sick (this would probably mean more to you if you knew how much I love Target).

We had another appointment yesterday which was really just a miscommunication. We thought it was strange that they wanted us to come in on Wednesday and Friday but the doctor assured us we should come in to discuss the high-riskiness of the pregnancy. Well, all we actually did is get a referral to the place I was supposed to go Tuesday where they will evaluate me and issue a verdict on where I will receive care. We're going to NYC tomorrow to see the in-laws (more on that in a bit) so that appointment probably won't happen until the end of next week at the earliest and I'm totally fine with that having a break from doctors.

Okay, so, as usual, I feel like TOIAW is setting me up for a bad visit with his parents. They don't know I'm pregnant and he doesn't plan on telling them yet. That's going to make it pretty hard to explain why I'm barfing and/or nauseous and/or sleeping most of the day. I'm pretty sure they already consider me 'weak' because almost every time I see them I'm sick with a cold or allergies and, without fail, they comment about it extensively. TOIAW is usually very bored when he visits them and is ready to leave after two days but he says we're going to stay until Thursday or Friday. Ugh.

Now that I've told you the bad about TOIAW, it's time to sing his praises because he has worked like a Trojan getting the house put together. I have unpacked precisely one box. This morning we're going to work on the kitchen together. Sounds like a lovely bonding project, yes?

Thursday, September 11, 2008

9/11 Seven Years Later

I obviously have so much more to say than I was able to say last night but today is not the day for that.

I'm sure everyone remembers where they were when they heard the news. I lived in Jerusalem at the time and was driving home when I got a call from my sweet friend, David, who said a plane had just hit the World Trade Center. I asked details and he, in typical Israeli fashion, declared it to be a terrorist attack straight off the bat. I recall recoiling from the phone at the sheer absurdity of his statement. We now know he was right. My parents called and I was on the phone with them when a plane hit the Pentagon. It was surreal...I remember thinking it seemed like a movie where Harrison Ford was playing the role of president.

I happened to be staying with three [American] boys whose parents were attending a conference in Europe. They lived in an amazing apartment in the Arab section of Jerusalem on the Mount of Olives. The views of the Old City were breathtaking! At one point, CNN was reporting Palestinian celebrations at the Damascus Gate but I assure you there were none. In fact, as late afternoon passed to night and the events continued to unfold, we received a steady stream of Arab neighbors coming to, for lack of a better term, pay their condolences. This went on for at least a week; wherever I would go, Israelis and Palestinians would say how sad they were for my country and it was sincere.

So much has changed in our world in the past seven years. This is something I don't have to tell most of my friends, unfortunately. But yesterday I was reminded of the changes in a different way. While I was in the waiting room of an army hospital OB clinic, I glanced up to see a Arab man with a fully covered woman. When I say fully covered, I mean only her hands and eyes were showing. The expression in her eyes was haunting; a mixture of fear and something else...loneliness, perhaps? She looked terribly uncomfortable and even though I could have easily communicated with her, I was too caught up in my own life to walk over and say hello. After she came back from getting her vitals taken, her husband didn't even sit down with her and, instead, remained in a separate room. Why didn't I talk to her then? Who knows why she is here (well, she's with her husband of course) but she is most certainly far away from her family and having a baby. If I have to conduct surveillance on the OB waiting room, I will see this woman again and I will speak to her. Furthermore, I will let her know that not all Americans think Muslims are terrorists.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

The BLUF

BLUF=Bottom Line Up Front

I had an ultrasound today. We saw a heartbeat!!! I'm VERY sick tonight. Praise God :)

More Waiting!

Okay, so this is the update I promised you yesterday:

After two and a half hours of leaving messages at the place where I was supposed to be seen yesterday (you know, to find out what time I needed to be there), we threw in the towel and went to the hospital next door to where we are staying. They've pretty much already told me that if the pregnancy continues, they can't see me here but they were so helpful and kind yesterday...well, after TOIAW got through the 'heavies' at the front desk. You know how it is...they're government workers who are fully capable of dealing with scenario A, B, or C but we threw them a little scenario D mixed with some G and they balked but they were no match for TOIAW's perseverance (few people are). Right, so we met with the triage nurse who looked at my hormone levels and the ultrasound picture from Friday and didn't quite understand why the German doctor gave such a grim prognosis. She (the nurse) then went to discuss it with a doctor who said the same thing. That was reassuring but it's hard for me to get my hopes up just yet (sorry, just being honest). I have an appointment today to go over my medications and possibly to have an ultrasound although I also have an appointment Friday for an ultrasound because, ideally, the two would be one week apart. So now we wait...

Our sweet PP refuses for us to leave her so she has tagged along on all our errands. The one exception, however, was the medical appointment during which time we put her in one of the bedrooms of the apartment where we're staying -- because she can open the main door -- and she managed to lock herself in. She's having some separation anxiety, if you can't tell. She wants us all together all the time. I'm hoping she will settle down once we move into our house and our things get there which will be tomorrow.

We did manage to get cell phones and pick-up the keys to our adorable little circa 1923 house in the cutest neighborhood ever. TOIAW can either walk to the metro to get to class or ride his bike. The traffic is killer so either option is far better than driving.

I don't think we have too much to do today, other than the appointment at 1pm, but I'm sure TOIAW has a list of things to accomplish. Personally, I'd like to go shopping!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

The Trip & First Impressions

As you can see, I didn't say goodbye to Germany until after I arrived in the US. That's probably because I was so nauseous Sunday that I could not get out of bed so I had to do a lot of packing before we left for the airport. [FYI, I would not recommend this course of action if you ever happen to be married to TOIAW; it makes him exceedingly nervous.] It took forever to check-in PP so I didn't have time to grab a bite at the airport which had been my plan (well, the original plan was to buy snacks on Sunday but I was too sick for that to work). I tried to buy some snacks at the airport but my only choices were chips and chocolate. The combination of being hungry, nervous about PP (who barked like crazy when they put her on the plane which, in turn, caused me to start hysterically crying), and turbulence was not good. I finally settled down after a tasty airline meal and slept like a rock but it all started again about an hour and a half before landing. Ugh.

PP and I had to wait for TOIAW to get our rental car -- we're rockin' a mini-van because that's the only vehicle large enough to accommodate all our luggage and PP's kennel -- and I was a little shocked by the weather. We left southern Germany in the throes of early fall and it's definitely still summer here. We ate something ASAP and I thought I was feeling better but once we got in our hotel room, I was sick, sick, sick. It seems cruel that I am the most sick I have been as I "prepare for a miscarriage." I was already sleeping when TOIAW came to bed and announced he and PP had found a [well known national chain] donut shop on post and we could eat there for breakfast. The mere thought sent me running... Guess what we won't be having for breakfast?

Despite the initial barking fit, all indications are that PP did great on the flight and, even though I can tell she's a little confused, she's doing great! That is such an answer to prayer! She needed to go out about midnight so I got dressed and then I got very nervous. Was it safe? That's something I never thought in Germany because you could just tell it was safe (where we lived, at least). I'm watching the morning news and there was a story about a college student in DC who woke-up to a man fondling her. Freaky. In any event, I'm happy to report our midnight stroll went well and no one was fondled or otherwise harmed.

I was really looking forward to American television but apparently 4am is not the best time to find quality programming unless you want to buy coins or exercise equipment. I'll try again later. We're getting ready to take PP for a 6am walk. I hope she doesn't come to expect this.

I have a doctor's appointment today although I'm unsure what time (nice, huh?). I'm not really nervous about it; I know it's probably because there is so much going on but once I get there, I'm sure I'll be more anxious. In any event, it's all in God's hands, not mine. After that, we have a gillion other tasks to accomplish -- my only priorities are cell phones and pick-up the keys to our house although TOIAW claims he has work stuff to do so we'll be gone for hours, I'm sure --but I promise to post an update.

Dear Germany,

auf Wiedersehen!

Tchuss!

Friday, September 5, 2008

Probably Not

I just don't think this is ever going to work for me. The ultrasound showed an empty sac -- no embryo -- and my hormone levels are still rising but more slowly than before. It's still within the "normal" range but she said it didn't look good. I can't freaking believe I have to go to more appointments...it's almost more than I can bear. New city, new house, new start only with an appointment the next day to tell me I am, indeed, having my third miscarriage and do I want surgery or will I let it happen naturally?

The day after I thought this IVF round didn't work, I was doing pretty good. It feels like it will take forever to recover from this, though. This hurts more than I ever imagined possible.

Centered

Today is the big ultrasound day and I was awake before 6am. No, not because of nerves, but because at 8 we have the final inspection of our house and there are still a few things to do. I finally surrendered my fears and anxieties to God and I cannot tell you how wonderful I feel to have that heavy burden lifted! I have such a peace about everything. There's been no googling, no obsessive monitoring of symptoms, just peace. I realize anything can happen today but I'm right where I need to be to handle anything that's tossed my way.

Now I need to go finish those last few details before the inspector gets here! I'll do my best to find a place from where I can send an update.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

This is Not Politics

Yesterday I heard Barak Obama dismiss the "politics" of the pregnancy of Sarah Pain's daughter. He then went on to say his mother was 18 when he was born. Whether you're going to vote for him or not, you have to admit he's done pretty well for himself.

The fact of the matter is, this is a family issue. I was 17 once (17 years ago, to be exact) and I made poor decisions. Some days I probably made excellent decisions and horrible decisions all in the same day. It's all part of growing up. Unfortunately, the consequences of some choices last longer than others but it seems the parents-to-be have a great support system. It won't be as easy for them as it is for some but I could say the same thing when it comes to parenting/becoming a parent.

I realize this is an issue that will help form people's opinions of Sarah Palin and whether or not she is fit to hold the office of VP. That's for you to decide. But, come on, have a little mercy and leave the family alone.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Wishin' & Hopin' & Thinkin' & Prayin'

I'm trying so hard not to breakdown right now. Nothing else has happened, I'm just finding it difficult to remain happy and positive. Frankly, I just want to curl up in a ball and cry, but why? Nothing has changed from yesterday yet I'm really struggling. Friday seems like forever away. I'm struggling with thoughts like, "I had a miscarriage a week after I arrived in Germany; how ironic that I may have another one the week I leave." I challenge you to find a more negative statement than that.

Something that does concern me is that I haven't been as nauseous lately. I mean I don't keep a journal of symptoms but Sunday was fairly mild as I recall and yesterday it was almost impossible to distinguish between nausea and nerves. Today, however, I've got nothing.

As of last week, I'm only taking progesterone shots twice a week and today was my day. I'm finding it difficult to muster the strength to do anything (even though I slept nearly 12 hours last night). I'm so tired I feel like it's difficult for me to carry on conversations!

Oh, and while I'm on a roll here with the complaining, I'll also mention that I have ovarian pain. I'm pretty familiar with ovarian pain so I'm pretty sure that's what it is but I think every woman knows what that kind of pain can mean during pregnancy. If you don't, keep it that way and be glad.

This concludes my very depressing post. Who knows, I may be back later with a happy post thus giving you even more evidence that I suffer from some sort of personality disorder.

Monday, September 1, 2008

In Limbo


What the hCG value should be if they had doubled every 48 hours: 1500
What my hCG values actually were: 1161

Well, I suppose when I look at it on a chart, it doesn't look so bad (little known fact: I'm a big fan of charts). When I heard the number in the doctor's office, I could hardly keep it together. Actually, I didn't keep it together. Not even a little bit. The doctor and nurse were able to witness and nice little marital spat because I was upset (you know, having done my googling beforehand) even though the doctor didn't find it alarming. TOIAW is unfailingly optimistic. At times, it's super annoying. Initially today was one of those times but now I'm rather thankful for it because if we were both doomy and gloomy that would be too much.

I was hoping for better, darn it! I wanted to have perfectly doubling values. I wanted everthing to be better than normal. Is that so much to ask for? Just ONE time? Although I suppose if I only got to use that wish one time, I wouldn't use it today but you know what I mean. Ugh. So now we go back Friday for an ultrasound which should tell us everything we need to know but, with my luck. it won't and we'll have to play the wait and see game longer.

I'm currently a little drained thanks to my emotional breakdown earlier. Just thought I would give you all an update.

*UPDATE*
I just got off the phone with my sister-in-law who kindly talked me down from the edge. Thanks, M! She had an excellent point that the vast majority of women with normal pregnancies do not have their hCG levels monitored so the data out there is rather lacking. She made me confess that even if my levels had been a perfect 1500, I still would have been disappointed that they werern't the 2,600+ 'normal' level (for 24 dpo) that's often quoted on infertility websites (that study consisted of 53 participants, by the way). Even if the doctor had told me she wasn't sure -- and she didn't say that at all -- I would still have to wait until the ultrasound Friday. I am choosing to have HOPE and FAITH until then.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Can You Imagine?

If I lived in New Orleans with PP and had to rely on the government to evacuate me knowing they would not accomodate her, I don't think I could leave. I seriously don't. Leave her to drown or starve? Nope, no way could I do that. I hope you'll join me today in praying that the people in the affected areas will indeed evacuate their homes and find shelter elsewhere.

***UPDATE*** I just heard on the news that they will evacuate animals to the same shelters as their owners! That's great news BUT there was a woman with a very large dog and the animal bus driver (what a title) said he wouldn't take her dog. Being the owner of a German Shepherd, I have faced this as well and I just pray it works out for her and her dog.

Friday, August 29, 2008

The Big Week

Today marks the beginning of the sixth week. At least one of my miscarriages was during this week (I'm unclear on the second one because I didn't know I was pregnant until I had some unexplained pain and bleeding) so this week is a psychological hurdle for me. Thankfully this week is a very busy week and I won't have a lot of time to sit around and fret. But still...

I am now in the habit of thanking God everytime I go to the bathroom and don't have spotting (which I haven't, this time, I'm just paranoid). I've relaxed about it throughout the week but it's never far from my mind. Monday -- with it's promise of an updated hormone level report -- is certain to be a big milestone because I'm pretty sure normal levels would also be a first for me. The problem is I don't want to rely on numbers and statistics for peace because there are always exceptions -- this I know all too well. I want my peace and comfort to come from God. To just believe and trust in Him alone. If you have any tips on this, let me know.

My morning sickness has been mostly afternoon sickness (and one all-day sickness extravaganza) but today it was true to it's name and it's back a little this afternoon for good measure. I think one of my problems is I'm not eating much (but nothing sounds good) and that just makes things worse. Again, I'm just so thankful to have the nausea as a reminder that something is going on in there!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Adventures in Endocrinology

Several months ago I tool a glucose tolerance test at my RE's office. I was within the normal range but a little high. During my appointment Tuesday she told me she wanted me to repeat the test on Wednesday with an endocrinologist. At this point, I would take an AP Physics test in order to increase my chances of a healthy pregnancy so drinking a little sugar solution didn't phase me. TOIAW couldn't go with me but he gave me detailed directions and sent me on my way (I'm a slave to the navigation system but ours is built into our car which is hopefully on a boat in the Atlantic right about now). My RE's office told me the doctor's office was located at this huge mall but I thought she meant it was in an office building near the mall -- like a mall complex or something -- because unless you do hearing aids or eye glasses in about an hour, what medical doctor has an office in a mall? Apparently, several do because once I finally found the area of the mall where said offices are, I walked into the wrong office. This doctor had the same last name as the doctor I was supposed to see but I had a feeling something was wrong when I saw the lovely waiting room 'decor' which consisted of various forms of skin ailments. Yes, I was in a dermatologist's office but they pointed me in the right direction. (I keep kicking myself wishing I had told them pictures of boils don't give off a calm and welcoming vibe.)

I was very late for my appointment (it's a huge mall and I parked on the opposite side of where I needed to) but one look around the office told me that probably wouldn't be a problem. The staff of three had the patients out numbered by one. I was having a lot of difficulty communicating with the front desk girl who told me I would need to pay cash but couldn't tell me how much it would cost (that didn't set too well with me). Finally the doctor, who spoke excellent English due to two years spent in the US, came out to rescue both of us and said they would just bill my insurance. I had secretly been hoping I could just leave and wait until we get to the States to repeat the test, but by then I had to stay. The doctor ushered me to his office where he proceeded to take down my medical history...on the back of a scrap of paper. After that the test began although, rather than taking my blood, the nurse just monitored me with a little glucose test kit like diabetics use. My first number -- the fasting number -- was 93 which the doctor felt was a little high as he wants to see it under 90 (the internets say the magic number is 95). They tested again after an hour and that number was good and then again after two hours and that number was excellent. Did I pass? No. I was the lucky recipient of a home monitoring system that I now must use every morning to measure my fasting number (this morning it was 76).

The doctor counselled me on a diet (whole grains, lean protein, veggies, a little fruit, etc.) and then took forever to show me how to use the monitor. It was almost 1pm and I hadn't had anything to eat or drink (save the sugar drink for the test) since 11pm the night prior. I was so thirsty and starving and, just between you and me, I left there and had a pretzel with cheese on it and I'm pretty sure it wasn't made with whole wheat flour. At least I didn't pass out like the other patient. She was having a similar test but it involved a blood draw and once as she was coming back from the lab, she went down for the count. She recovered nicely, I'm happy to say.

Oh, I forgot to mention that somewhere in there I had an ultrasound on my thyroid and it's normal. I'm not sure it was necessary; I think the doctor just didn't have anything else to do.

The best part is I get to go back next week and repeat this fun-filled adventure only not with the same doctor as he will be on holiday in France. Yeah, cause he clearly needs to slow things down and enjoy life...

Thinking For Us

I'm coming to the conclusion people don't want us to think for ourselves:

Is anyone else completely creeped out by the feature on Google that lists what you might be typing in the search box? It's like they're in my mind and it's more than a little disconcerting. TOIAW has been keeping himself busy at night by playing with Google Earth which is really cool, I must say, but also a bit creepy. It's like they're in your mind and watching you from the outside also.

Does the news media think we're all complete morons? Do they think we're incapable of watching a speech and forming our own opinion? Apparently so because there are no less than ten commentators on every network explaining to you what you just saw and heard everytime someone moves that the DNC convention. Last week I saw a reporter going around showing his viewers where his network's convention headquarters are and where the crew would be eating. I'm not sure what made him think he is news. I'm even less sure why I watched it. I've seen the field where BO's acceptance speech will be made so many times I feel as if I've been there. I probably won't even watch his speech; I'll wait for someone to give me the BO's Presidential Acceptance Speech for Dummies version instead.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Sick...In a Good Way

I've never been so happy to be sick. Unfortunately, it is preventing me from posting and I have a lot to say. I had another interesting German medical adventure today that deserves a post (all good, don't worry).

I will tell you this: I have decided I will move heaven and earth to find someone to clean my house.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Survey Says?

My hCG level today was 187.5. That's within the normal range for 18 days past ovulation, but on the low end. Considering I didn't get a positive home test until Saturday, it sounds about right. I'm too tired to google it anymore. We left our house this morning a little before 8 and I got home at 3:45. I don't have the energy to tell you all the reasons why I just got home, but just know it would have been several hours earlier if TOIAW hadn't demanded we go do ridiculous insurance paperwork today even though it could have waited until tomorrow (he is on my LAST nerve right now).

The worst news of the day came when my doctor told me she didn't want to see me until NEXT WEEK. I asked--some would say I begged--to come Thursday just to make sure the numbers are doubling and she said, "No, because there is nothing we can do to influence it." SO??? This is the only time I've had a problem with her but it really bothers me. I know it's a cultural thing. I get it, but I don't have to like it.

I'm very tired and cranky (which I hate because I got fabulous news today!) so I should just take a nap. I'll be back later...hopefully in a better mood ;)

P.S. I should note that even though my doctor got all German on me and won't do another beta until next week, she did seem very excited by my numbers today (progesterone and estrodiol in addition to the hCG). It's not always easy to read her so that was nice, at least.

Monday, August 25, 2008

I Want to Relax...You Have to Believe Me

My first blood test is tomorrow. I wish I could just relax and simply await the results but that isn't happening. It's safe to say I'm having [at least a mini-] freak out. This would probably occur naturally but I don't think I helped matters when I took another test this morning only to find that the second line wasn't darker than the second line 48 hours earlier. The internets tell me HPTs (home pregnancy tests) are qualitative and not quantitative but everyone else seems to get darker lines... Anyway, for some reason it just hit me today that even if tomorrow is a good number it really means nothing unless it is followed by another good number Thursday. Ahhh, the agony!!!

Now, while I don't have a daker second line, what I do have nausea. TOIAW asked me how bad the nausea is. I told him it was worse than the time I had to ride in the backseat of a car in NYC with his parents who had just doused themselves with cologne/perfume (I'm not joiking when I tell you TOIAW's father uses one huge bottle of cologne per quarter). Did I mention it was during a July heatwave and they didn't want the air conditioner on nor the windows down? Okay, so he didn't appreciate the example so much, but he got my point.

I don't have much else to say about all that so let me transition to the upcoming move. We fly two weeks from today which means we have to leave this house. Sadly, I'm pretty sure they're expecting this house to be clean. The thought of deep-cleaning a bathroom is not a place I can go right now. TOIAW has approved a cleaning service, but I'm almost embarrassed for even a complete stranger to the, um, condition of one of the showers.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Well...

Have you ever heard the story about the little boy who cried wolf? How about the one about the crazy freak who did IVF, took a home pregnancy test with a negative result, had a nervous breakdown, and then took another test two days later only to see 2 LINES?

I feel like a fool. A happy fool, don't get me wrong, but a fool nonetheless... I have been amazed and humbled by the loving comments and emails but I feel as if I wasted everyone's energy. I wanted to write this entry earlier in the day but I just couldn't figure out what to say.

It's obviously still really early and anyone who has been through a recurrent loss/infertility adventure, knows it's difficult to let go and allow your inner joy to rise to the surface. The insecurities and fears can be catalogued another day, but today I'm thankful, hopeful, and definitely not sad :)

BUT, I just have to say again how touched I am by all the encouraging and understanding comments. I'm speechless...and that doesn't happen often.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

**Update**

I'm better now. I took the dog for a walk which really improved my mood -- go endorphins! -- and now I've hit the [apparently] progesterone-induced exhaustion wall (because I still have to take the medication until a blood test is negative).

I'm still sad and disappointed and angry at the unfairness of it all but that's normal, I think. I'll be fine, TOIAW will be fine, and if we're together everything will be fine. I just wanted you to know I'm not as emotionally unstable as I was before.

I Caved

The past two mornings I've been awake very early which is a huge contrast to how I feel the rest of the day after the progesterone shot. Laying there this morning I decided I couldn't wait any longer so I tested. It was negative. I cried...and cried and cried and though most of the tears have stopped, my heart is still crying. I think I really thought it had worked this time. Is it a bad sign when you're not even sure about the hope you might have had? I feel so crushed -- betrayed by my body. This is something I have wanted for longer than I can remember but the past two and a half years have been nothing but blow after blow and each one hurts more than the last.

Where to from here? I have no idea. At this point, TOIAW is unwilling to do another IVF cycle because he thinks the medication can't be good for me. I didn't fight it when he said it, so that tells me something of how I feel. Adoption is an option but I don't really feel like it's for us. I don't mean to offend anyone by that and I have no idea why I feel that way but I do. TOIAW is interested in donor eggs (I use someone elses eggs and carry the baby) which is a little more appealing but the cost is staggering and I'm still not 100% sold. I suppose that's all natural at this point as I need to mourn this life-long dream before I can move on and consider other options with a clear mind.

I have so, so much more than multitudes of people yet I don't seem to be able to have something I wanted most of all. Why?

Okay, I have to get myself together sometime within the next seven hours because the neighborhood is having a farewell party for me today. I'm totally not feeling festive and chatty but, ever the officer's wife, I'll do my hair and smile.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Whatever Works

TOIAW just called and he's coming home...it's only 6:30!!! Maybe I should break down more often...

Bless his heart, he called to check on me today and we hadn't even been talking thirty seconds when his cell phone rang, someone called him on the radio, and two people--with different issues--walked into his office. I know he's busy and that makes his early arrival even more special.

P.S. Swim lessons were fun! It cracks me up that three Enlgish speaking American kids were speaking to each other in German during the class.

Better Now

Last night TOIAW didn't get home until 9pm. I began getting tired at 8:30. I stayed awake until 10 just so we could have some time together and when I tried to fall asleep I discovered I had hit the dreaded 'overly tired' point. This phenomenon is seen primarily in children who become cranky and fussy and fight sleep. I wasn't outwardly fussy and, trust me, I wasn't fighting sleep but it still took me nearly an hour to relax. After all that I didn't really even sleep well thanks to bad dreams and bathroom trips.

I woke-up at 7, got my shots, and sent TOIAW off to work and then it hit me, "I don't want to spend another entire day sitting in this house without a thing to do." That led to me feeling sorry for myself, worrying that I'll find out I'm not pregnant next week, and some googling to confirm that...umm, yeah 'cause google is just like a pregnancy test. Where did this end? Yep, with me sobbing and calling TOIAW who had to walk out of a meeting to talk me down off the ledge. He was very kind and sweet and reminded me why he's the one I always wanted.

I then called a friend who takes her children and a friend's child to swimming lessons every afternoon and asked if I could go along for the ride. I'm cool like that...inviting myself along (don't tell my mom, she taught me never to do that). So now I have something to do today even if it's only riding shotgun during carpool.

I also had an amazing time of Bible reading and prayer. I hope this makes sense because I have suddenly been hit with a wave of exhaustion. I was reading in Genesis 4 about Eve having her babies and it occured to me (probably because of a devotion I once read) that she did it alone without friends, sisters, a mother, or anyone to offer advice. She only relied on the Lord and that was enough. He was enough for her and He's enough for me. That, my friends, is how God told me to STOP GOOGLING and have faith. I find it odd that even though I have control of nothing at this point, I still have a hard time surrendering everything to Him. Odd, huh? We're working on it...

Monday, August 18, 2008

It's Not About yOU

I didn't intend to write another blog post today but I've been compelled by somone's stupidity. That someone is apparently a fan of the University of Oklahoma. This person, Stupid OU Fan (SOUF), is in China for the Olympics and is currently attending the Today show. SOUF is in the crowd and has been waving a huge OU banner during the entire broadcast. SOUF doesn't realize the Olympics are an event showcasing our national allegience rather than an individuals' collegiate loyalties. SOUF doesn't know this because 1) he is stupid, and 2) he is an OU fan...oh, gosh, there I go again being redundant.

Might I suggest, SOUF, that you lay down/burn your crimson and cream banner and pick up the Stars and Stripes? If that doesn't appeal to you, you could always go to a bar where no one speaks English and tell them how OU is going to win the National Championship this year. True, they probably won't care but you've already told the entire English-speaking population so they're really your only chance at a fresh audience.

What You Really Want To Know

I don't have much to report about how the two-week wait is going. So far I have mild to moderate cramps most days (actually Saturday and today have been the only 'moderate' days). It's bad enough that if they were just period cramps, I would take something. I'm praying this is normal. On some level I actually welcome the cramps because it makes me think something is going on in there but I kind of freak when they get stronger. Last night when I didn't feel much I actually prayed the cramps would return...it's hard to make me happy.

Today I began the dreaded progesterone in oil intramuscular injections. Right about now, all the infertility experts are re-reading the previous sentence and wondering what kind of quack doctor I have because everyone knows you should begin these right after egg retrieval. My clinic preferred that I only take injections of the pregnancy hormone hCG for the first week and begin taking the shots and estrogen tablets today. I questioned this and we discussed it and I really haven't given it a second thought because what good is it going to do me? Anyway, back to the shot... so the health clinic on post cannot administer shots prescribed by a German physician. Fair enough, I suppose, but the fertility clinic refused to instruct TOIAW on IM injections because they insisted these must be given only by a doctor. After some phone calls a friend pointed me in the right direction and the immunization nurse was happy to help teach TOIAW how to rock the IM shot. I'll be honest, I was terrified it would hurt (you should see the needle--sorry, Breanne!) and then it didn't. I kept questioning whether or not he really got into the muscle. See, you can't please me: I want painful, but not too painful, cramps and very painful shots!

P.S. It's gotten more and more sore as the day's gone on so I think it was on target.

Bad Rep

The following scene took place yesterday afternoon.

TOIAW: (runs upstairs, excitedly spouting trivia) "Did you know Beaver, Oklahoma is the Cow Chip Throwing Capital of the World."

Me: (not bothering to look up from book) "Yes."

TOIAW: "That doesn't bother you?"

Me: (still not looking up from book) "Why should it? It's an annual competition and festival."

TOIAW: (walking back downstairs) "You know, Oklahoma has no one to blame for their reputation. They bring it all on themselves."

Friday, August 15, 2008

Surgery Summer Camp

I've blogged a lot about the results of hysteroscopy, egg retrieval, and embryo transfer but I haven't told you much about the experiences I had. They're an important part of making this adventure an adventure.

The clinic I'm going to is quite posh by Bavarian standards: gorgeous artwork lines the walls (the head doctor is a collector), stunning and exotic fresh flower arrangements are delivered weekly, and there are upscale beverage choices to name just a few of the amenities. Of course none of these are the reason we chose this clinic; I'm merely illustrating it's not your average doctor's office. Two of the things that really impressed me were their in-house lab (a veritable luxury here) and their own operating theater which is in the same building but on a different floor than the main office.

When I went in for my hysteroscopy, I was given a packet of information, in German, and I didn't translate it until the night prior to the procedure. It stated I was not to eat or drink, be sober, not smoke, etc. before being anesthisized--the regular things they tell you before surgery. It then went on to say I must bring a sheet, blanket, pillow, nightgown, and pair of socks. Huh? I don't even own a nightgown. I rustled up all the other stuff and packed my bag. When I arrived, TOIAW remained in the waiting room and I was taken through a door that led to a room with four beds and on the other side of that was another room with beds also. I chose a bed, made it, and changed into my oversized t-shirt because that's all I could find. The women whose bed end-to-end with mine was all over it and was sitting in bed doing Sudoku puzzles. I was the first patient called to have a procedure so I walked to the operating room and the next thing I knew I woke-up back in "my" bed. I slept for a while longer then asked someone when I could leave. She said I should drink something first and offered me coffee. Ummm, how about water? All during this time they kept bringing patients back from the operating room via stretcher--tummy down--then rolling them onto their backs in their beds. I eventually just got dressed and left and no one really seemed to mind (but I was only going to the main office to see my doctor for the results).

For the retrieval, it was the same routine. I had found a nightgown while packing so that was a bonus (my Ma--grandmother--had given it to me so I was happy to wear it). We arrived a little early and found a wating room full of people. As soon as the nurse opened the door for us to go into the bunk room/recovery room, there was a mad dash. I kissed TOIAW quickly and left--I didn't want to get the sucky bed. I actually got the same bed I had for the hysteroscopy. There were only two other women in my bunk room one of which I dubbed Supermodel. Supermodel didn't speak English but the other one did and she was nice. I really just wanted to make my bed, change, and relax but they were chatty. Again, I was the first person for surgery. Same drill, I woke-up on my bed only this time I was in a lot of pain. My bunk mates were clearly enjoying camp way more than me as they sang along with he radio and showed each other pictures of their dogs and maybe children...or perhaps she said her dog was her child...my German isn't good and my pain was substantial. I was hoping a camp counselor would come in and tell them to SHUT UP but someone did finally turn out the lights. For all I know, they then braided each other's hair. Thankfully, Supermodel's name was called and there was silence. I eventually got dressed and went to the doctor's office where I ran into Supermodel. Her hair looked as if Ken Paves flew in and spent three hours to give it the perfectly tousled look--you know, one that said, "I just had my eggs retrieved, but I'm still sexy"--and she had on enough make-up for three people but it looked great and I was amazed she was able to do it so quickly.

I believe it's reasonable to say the weekend between the retrieval and transfer was a tad bit stressful. Apparently when TOIAW spoke to the embryologist he told him I was supposed to bring my IVF Kit with me on the transfer day as well but TOIAW didn't tell me this nor had anyone told me before. The first person I saw when I walked in the waiting area was Supermodel and then I saw her bag next to her...crap! I freed myself from Supermodel's clutches (we were BFF's and that day she had morphed into Miss Congeniality and, I kid you not, she was going around introducing me to people...nevermind that she doesn't speak English and I don't speak German) and asked the front desk staff if I needed everything today and she said no. Whew! So, when TOIAW walked in (he had to stop by the bank because at this clinic IVF is on a pay-as-you-go basis) I told him about my freak out and he told me what the embryologist told him. The next couple of minutes were "uncomfortable" for him. We then went to a secret waiting area to avoid Supermodel. In addition, there was a lot of extra room there so, in the event I had a stroke while waiting for the embryologist's report, the paramedics would have room to work on me. Fortunately, I didn't require medical attention but you can bet that after the embryologist told us about the embryos I asked him about alternative arrangements for bedding and a gown. He had some, he assured me.

So off to the operating theater we went. The embryologist was able to rustle up everthing but a gown so I made my bed and just stayed in my clothes. I tried to avoid Supermodel's room but I was the last to arrive and it was the only choice. She is a really nice person, I could tell but I just wanted to relax and pray and she kept chatting. [Oh, and she looked like she was dressed for a slumber party at the Playboy mansion...short, tight, sparkly tank dress-like thing and pig tails that, curiously, she did not have earlier. Thankfully, once the doctor arrived, I was the first one called back. I left my shirt on and disrobed from the waist down. When they were done, I was rolled onto a stretcher and then wheeled through the room NAKED FROM THE WAIST DOWN. At least they covered me when I got on the bed.

Once I have a baby in my arms, I will laugh about this ordeal...right?