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.