Friday, July 27, 2007

Good news all around

First of all, the good news is that FIL is out of the hospital. It turned out he was trying to reduce the dosage of his medication (with doctor's supervision of course), but that didn't work out all that well. Sounds like he's doing better back on the original dosage of the medication.

At home, it's been a very busy week. After managing to get rid of most of the water in the basement, we decided it was high time to install a sump pump. Because our setup is a bit unusual, and we didn't want someone coming in and telling us they have to drill some extra holes all over our basement, we decided to install the pump ourselves.

It's not really too complicated of a job, if you know what you're doing. Since we didn't really know what we were doing, I ended up going to the hardware store every evening this week just to pick up a few parts here and there. The guy at the Home Depot who gathered "everything we would need" forgot to remind us to get teflon tape for example. Sigh!

But in the end, the pump is finally installed. It's a little sad that it took us a whole week of evenings to do it, but we are pretty happy it's done. At first we installed a temporary solution, with a temporary flexible hose coming out through the window. Aside from the fact that the (brand new, purpose bought) hose was full of holes that were only marginally helped by duct tape, the first try worked reasonably well. So then we moved on to solid plumbing. Two check valves, one T connection, three elbows and 20 feet of pipe later, we have a pretty spiffy looking plumbing solution. Not too shabby if I may say so myself.

Aside from the plumbing work, we also had to clean up a lot of the junk that got wet during the flood. It was mostly old boxes and old paint cans and that kind of stuff, so nothing to get too upset about. But it still all had to be cleaned before mold started getting established... So lots of hauling of stuff. There's still a lot of un-wet boxes that have to be moved to the barn, because we've realized they're more likely to survive there :)

And yes, I have an unusual attachment to cardboard boxes. They have served me well in the past, and I don't like throwing them out while they still have lots of life and usefulness left in them. I figure as far as obsessions go, it's a pretty mild one, so I'm not too worried :)

Monday, July 23, 2007

Just when you think you have it all under control...

... something is bound to come up.

We were (or actually it's more like I was) starting to feel pretty good about our BBQ hosting abilities this summer. You see, this year we finally assembled the BBQ that we bought a few years ago, and we'd been having friends and family over for a BBQ at least every second week. Last weekend we were hosting my volleyball team. I was feeling pretty good, having done some house cleanup and prep during the week, and I thought we'd have a leisurely Saturday getting ready for the event.

Well, it didn't quite turn out that way. Just after breakfast, DH headed down to the basement to take a look at something, and he came back in great panic: the basement is flooded. Now, we have gotten some water in the basement on occasion in the past. Usually, it just means that water gets in in one corner, and has to find its way to the sump, where it usually just flows out and into the ditch through the drainpipe. It's annoying, and sometimes we try to mop it up so that we don't have to wait for it all to flow away, but in general it's limited to a small corner of the unfinished part of the basement, so we're not overly worried.

But this time, it was different. The drain pipe itself was pumping water back into the basement. The water level was a few centimeters off the floor, and it was making its way into the finished part of the basement at an alarming rate. So we went to work, trying to get the water out of there, plugging the drainpipe, getting a shopvac for quicker water evacuation. Unfortunately, there is no way to get rid of the water in the basement itself, as we have nothing that would pump it out, so we had to carry all the water upstairs. Overall, we probably hauled up over 200 gallons of water. Up and down the stairs for 6 hours straight...

Then people came over, and we had a nice BBQ. The weather was beautiful, pretty much the first day this month where it hasn't rained. Bugs weren't too bad (except for the hornet that stung me twice, grumble, grumble), the sun was nice and not too hot, a great evening overall. Except when everyone left, and we went back to the basement, the water level had gone up again. So again, we trekked water upstairs, plugged the drain holes even more solidly, and convinced that we did as much as we could, went to sleep a little after midnight.

Of course, we didn't sleep all that well, worried about our precious, recently finished basement. But in the morning everything turned out to be fine, the water level had not risen again, and clearly the worst had passed. We got a sump pump, and tried to clean up some of the damage (nothing big, mostly just junk that we were keeping around that we're glad to get rid of in the end). Tonight we'll be installing the sump pump (fingers crossed), and cleaning up the rest of the damage (mostly empty cardboard boxes). We are planning to go to London (ON) for the weekend, so we need to have everything settled and cleaned up before then. If the sump pump installation goes well, it should be no problems.

So how's that for a weekend adventure? Not the kind of thing you're hoping for when barely into your second trimester, but hey, them's the breaks :)

In sad news, I just heard that FIL is back in the hospital after suffering 5 seizures again. Crossing fingers and sending positive healing thoughts!

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Big long story

I've been meaning to post this one for a while... Just as a record for safekeeping. It's long but true, I haven't done much editing to it after the fact. A little timeline of the beginning of this year.

Thursday, January 25th: Just got my period (after an evening of playing volleyball). A shame, because I was starting to feel quite pregnant, being a few weeks late and all. Of course late is a relative term, since I am the most irregular person even my doctor's ever heard of... I must have been making up all the symptoms, wishful thinking and all...

Friday, January 26th: Period over? Can't be. Now this is definitely new, never heard of a 12 hour period... Googling furiously, and the only thing I can figure out is that I am indeed pregnant, but had some bleeding. Best odds I can find is 50/50 of this ending up in a miscarriage. Trying not to obsess too much about it all.

Saturday, February 3rd: OK, finally broke down and peed on a stick... What do you know, it was positive! Wow, I got a positive! Hard to believe, really. Will repeat the experiment the next day for sure... In the meantime, called my doctor's office to book an appointment. It's all feeling a little surreal! And of course I can't forget what happened on the 25, it's always in the back of my mind... 50% chance, but I'm willing to take it. Better than a 0% chance of being pregnant I guess...

Wednesday, February 7th: Doctor's appointment. She sounds all excited, and not at all concerned about anything. Just said I have to stop playing volleyball. I'm willing to give up pretty much anything to make this happen, so as much as I am going to miss the volleyball, it's off limits from now on. Cautiously optimistic? Maybe. Have an ultrasound scheduled for tomorrow afternoon. Can't wait... Oh yeah, it's my sister's birthday... Didn't even send her a card, though I did call and leave a message with a "Happy Birthday" duet with DH.

Thursday, February 8th: Ultrasound clinic. Waiting is tough. Lots of other women, some look just as preggers (or un-preggers) as me, some really close to the end. The mood overall is of subdued excitement. Most women have someone with them, and I'm furiously scribbling on my PDA just to pass the time. Just before I go in, DH gives me a call, which helps calm down the nerves a little... The results: slightly alarming... The tech said that I was "definitely pregnant", though not as far along as we'd thought. Alarm bells going off in my head. I knew I wasn't as far along as my doctor thought, because that would have meant conception just around Christmas time, and with all the guests and stuff, there was definitely nothing of that sort happening at the time. But even by my most conservative estimates, we should have been at more than 6 weeks. I guess it's time to start worrying... Next doctor's appointment is not until the 19th, so I just have to sit and try to not fret until then...

Monday, February 19th: Longest 11 days of my life. The doc seems unperturbed, very excitedly babbling about the need to plan, getting on the midwife waiting list (done!), making decisions about pre-natal scans, and diet changes and blood tests and all that. DH and I quietly listen, finally allowing ourselves to believe this may be actually happening. Super long questionnaires are filled out, new appointments scheduled, and we're sent on our merry way. Is it possible that this is really happening???

Tuesday, February 20th: Back to reality. Second ultrasound appointment was today. The news is essentially bad, and the tech was nice enough to tell me right there and then, after consulting with the doctor on the premises. And just to make sure, on top of a regular ultrasound, I got an intra-vaginal one (yes, it's just as much fun as it sounds...). She spent a lot of time trying to get images of my ovaries, contributing to my paranoia... In short, though nothing has grown since the last time. Results will be sent to my doc, and she'll let me know what's next. The words "not viable" have not been uttered, but I know that this is the diagnosis. The cute little sac I've come to know and love has nothing growing in it, and I will soon have to say goodbye. No amount of googling will fix this mess...

Wednesday, February 21st: Today is my other sister's birthday... Kind of ironic if you think about it. I'm not in much of a celebrating mood, but having a nice chat with her actually gets my mind off this awful mess. I'm trying to plan as many distractions as I can over the next few days, because I just can't sit and dwell on things. I might never get back up...

Friday, February 23rd: I'm in a meeting at work when I get the call from my doctor. Have to take it, so I beg out of the meeting (luckily it hadn't really started yet). I like my doctor, she's clear and to the point, but also compassionate. We keep my next appointment as scheduled, and she tells me to expect an expulsion fairly soon (i.e. miscarriage). Go to the emergency if bleeding more than a pad an hour. Sounds pretty simple, really...

Sunday, February 25th: Ok, enough waiting. I'm taking things into my own hands. Went skiing with friends in the morning (partially to keep myself distracted, partially because I thought physical exertion has to help things along). And as expected, by the evening I was "expelling" things. Wicked cramps and bleeding is all I remember from the Oscars evening... Luckily by bedtime I was feeling fairly ok (the double dose of advil probably helped), and I was able to get a good night of sleep.

Monday, February 26th: Not bad, I'm thinking. Went to work all day, then did a bunch of cooking and cleanup... Probably still running on the hormonal high of pregnancy that seemed to be turning me into a Martha Stewart clone (organizing the house, baking and cooking and everything). But by bedtime, the wicked cramps came back. And then got worse. Then worse again... DH is calling me Crampy McDoubledOverson. Called Tele-Health, the nurse at the other end went through her questionnaire and said that I should not be in so much pain at this point, and I should go to emergency...

Tuesday, February 27th: We greet the day at the ER. We arrive at 12:30, and settle in the waiting room. Every few minutes I just bend over with pain, and I'm sure people are thinking I've gone insane (the rest of the time I appear quite normal). The two hour wait doesn't seem too bad, though I am starting to bleed quite heavily. When I am finally admitted, I get a very nice cubicle (ER code for a cozy little room), and I get my own little gurney. They take a bunch of blood samples, and a urine sample (noone told me I'd have to pee!). They leave the needle in my arm, in case they have to connect an IV - this is starting to get serious. The doctor is mumbling something a D&C, which I want to avoid at all costs... I keep thinking maybe I should have stayed home after all. Although I probably would have gone insane from the pain - at least at the hospital I am constantly distracted, and I think the adrenaline is working wonders. By the time the doc wants to "examine" me, I am barely feeling the cramps at all. I have new appreciation for my regular doctor, as she's never angrily ordered me to relax while inserting that unpleasantly cold and sharp speculum... Yeah, you try to relax and forget that I'm lying half-naked on a gurney in the ER, bleeding profusely and cramping! The good news is that he can't see much stuff in there, mostly just blood. So the threat of D&C has passed... I am relieved! The bad news is that one of the machines that was supposed to do the analysis of my blood needs to be recalibrated, so we have to wait another hour before we can get discharged. DH orders me to have a snooze (now that the cramps are very mild), and I gladly comply. Unbelievably enough, I had a pretty good sleep... In the end we are discharged, but have to come back for an ultrasound to confirm the status of the miscarriage...

Tuesday, February 27th (part 2): So we go home, get some rest, have a bite to eat and go back to the hospital for the ultrasound. I am getting quite comfortable now lying half-naked on a gurney, getting poked and prodded by strangers. The ultrasound technician again insisted on doing an intra-vaginal. I've lost all sense of modesty, and eagerly allowed the rubber-glove clad poking instrument to be shoved inside and poke around... But it was done and over with in record time. Then I had to go back to the ER to hear the verdict. Two hours later, I was given a clean bill of health, and told that there was just one small piece awaiting to be expelled. The ER doctor also gave me a copy of all the records, so that I can bring it to my next appointment with my doc. The report includes this charming line: "maternal ovaries are unremarkable". My ovaries are still reeling from the insult!

Wednesday, February 28th: So after an uneventful night of sleep, I decided to go to work. Everything seemed to be going ok, until the evil cramps started making a comeback. Thankfully a coworker provided me with a bunch of Tylenol, so I was sort of able to slowly limp through the workday. Working at my desk was not all that bad, after all the time in between cramps I was fairly lucid, and I was able to make it through the cramps with no screaming or kicking ;) But I was worried about my team meeting in the afternoon. It's a little harder to hide pain when trying to sit very quietly in a meeting. But it turned out I didn't need to worry. Around 5 minutes before the meeting, I had a monster sneeze. And it turns out that was all that I needed to get that annoying last bit "expelled". I really wish the ER docs or nurses would have told me. 3 days of evil cramps and all I needed was a sneeze? Give me a break!!!! OK, so it was a major sneeze, and the resulting bloody mayhem would have turned all but the most solid stomachs, but still. I was just amazing that it's all it took. After that, it's all smooth sailing. All I have to worry about from now on, is the emotional scars... And that won't take too long, will it?

So here you have it. The full account of my pregnancy, miscarriage, ER visit, and the sneeze that ended it all.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Busy, busy, busy

Been working pretty long hours this week. This is what happens when I'm not carpooling with DH, I don't have a forced "quittin' time", so I stay for hours trying to finish things. I didn't get home before 8:30 the last 3 days... But I have some hope that the busiest time is behind us (at work).

Things may be looking up at work because the fog of the first trimester finally seems to be lifting from my brain. I think I've been more productive this week than all year. Which is kind of sad, I know...

So I know a lot of people are wondering why I'm taking so long to "come out" and announce my pregnancy. I mean, I've posted it on the blog, but truthfully, I don't have that many readers :) In real life, both our families know, my boss knows, and 2 friends at work (both guys) know. I'm certainly out of the first trimester danger zone, so why the secrecy?

First off, I think I am still a little scared/disbelieving. It doesn't help that I pretty much jumped straight from a miscarriage into another pregnancy (well, ok, I did wait that month or so for things to get settled, but really, that was just enough time for the hormones to drop, and then they went up again). So I am still very skittish about the whole thing. I keep thinking "oh, once X happens, I'll really feel like it's real" (where X can be any of: 3 months are up, I see the ultrasound, I hear the heartbeat, I feel the first kick). But it's still not quite registering. Which is very annoying, because I'd always had this fantasy of enjoying every moment of my pregnancy, after all, it's such a short yet great time in one's life. So now I'm kicking myself in the posterior for not enjoying it more (which doesn't help at all with the enjoyment ;)). Sigh! Do I always have to over-analyze everything???

Then there's another factor. I have this thing where I really don't want to make a big deal out of this. You couldn't tell from reading this blog ;) I just don't want to be one of those obnoxious pregnant ladies that think the world revolves around them. And you know what's funny? I actually never really realized that they existed until pretty recently. So let me explain with an example: I'm having lunch with a friend, who's 5 months pregnant. This other friend or acquaintance of ours, also 5 months pregnant, walks by, and stops for a little chat. Obviously the talk turns to pregnancy (I have no issues with that). About halfway through the conversation, though, the second pregnant lady decides that I don't have anything interesting to contribute (neither lady knows that I am in early pregnancy at that point), turns completely towards my pregnant friend, and ignores me completely. She didn't even say goodbye, or have a nice lunch to me, just the pregnant one. Well, excuse me for not having a belly that's showing! Just cause I'm not obviously pregnant like you, doesn't mean that I don't know and don't care about anything related to pregnancy, or that I'm an inferior human being to you. Grrr!

Ok, so that was an extreme example, but there's plenty of others. Especially around here, where it seems like every woman in the office is either pregnant, thinking (and talking) about it, or on maternity leave... So for example you have the women who can spend hours telling you how unbelievably hard it is to chose the right colour scheme, or the right designer furniture for their baby's room. It's really not a huge deal for me personally (I can talk babies and decorating for hours), but I can see how annoying this can be for others, and how self-absorbed and self-important it makes one look. So in my effort to try and avoid being an annoying "look at me, I'm pregnant!", I'm sort of going to the other extreme of minimizing it.

Ok, now this blog post is certainly starting to look all self-important and self-centered. This is going to be an uphill battle!

Next time I'm going to publish a post I wrote after the miscarriage, just so that the whole episode is well documented on this blog. Like ying and yang, you have to take the bad with the good, so I figure I'd post some good stuff with some bad stuff, just life stuff I guess ;)

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Life in the fast lane...

So yesterday I had my first visit with our midwife. She's really nice, I very much enjoyed my visit. She gave me TONS of reading material, some magazines and two books. I started reading last night, while DH chivalrously mowed the lawn :) I haven't even started looking at the books, although they look very interesting. It's mostly about birthing and not so much about pregnancy, but I have to start somewhere! I may pick up a few pregnancy specific books at some point.

Now that I've seen the midwife, I have to schedule another ultrasound (very much looking forward to that one!), and we've already booked up some follow-up appointments, and things seem to be moving a lot more. It's feeling a lot more real all of a sudden...

Though part of me still remains very cautious. And with good reason: the fiance of a coworker, who had just announced her pregnancy, and whose due date is days after mine, just spent the weekend bleeding and visiting hospitals, and has been put on bedrest to prevent the possiblity of a miscarriage. And there I was, thinking we were past the "danger zone". Sigh! Luckily, it seems her baby is doing ok, so hopefully the bedrest will be enough to get everything sorted out. I'm certainly crossing my fingers for them!

So there we are, precariously teetering between boundless excitement and paralyzing fear. I had never expected this to be such a roller-coaster ride! But you gotta take the good with the bad, and so far, I wouldn't change my experience for anything in the world! After all, I wouldn't be me anymore if I did :)

Well, it's probably time to leave work soon. Just a few more tests I have to run... Again, eternal optimist that I am, I keep hoping that this week will be the biggest "crunch", and if I get everything done that I want, I might finally be able to breathe a little next week. I tell you, I never learn :)


Monday, July 09, 2007

Big news

OK, so now that both of our families have been duly informed, we can finally make our big news public: I am pregnant! It's still kind of hard to believe, especially considering some of the hurdles that we had encountered in the past. My due date is believed to be January 3rd, which still seems so far away!

Got my first appointment with my midwife today. It's all very exciting! Although I would be lying if I said I wasn't a little scared... Just last night I had another nightmare of bleeding all over the place... But I am certainly trying to concentrate on the positives :) I've made it to the second trimester, so the chances of miscarriage are now a lot lower. Last week I actually had a chance to listen to the baby's heartbeat, and it sounded nice and strong :) The happy munchkin was swimming all over the place!

Well, that's it for now. Work is still CRAZY busy, so I have to get going. Hopefully from now on the updates on the blog will be a little more regular (I should have plenty to talk about ;)).

Take care!

Tuesday, July 03, 2007


Long time no post! I've been extremely busy at work, and it's not showing any signs of slowing down... Maybe another month or so... There might be a tiny little glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel :)

But at least I managed to take most of the long weekend off. My family was in town, so I got to hang out with everyone, and it was really great. We played football, frisbee, had a barbeque, watched a movie, all sorts of fun. It was really nice having the chance to catch up with everyone. My middle sister got a job!!! As a computer programmer no less! It's probably not quite a long-term commitment, as she isn't too fond of a cubicle-dweller life, but it's a good chance for her to earn some cold hard cash, and at the same time get a chance to see what's out there. I suspect she will make some great contacts, and maybe find a position that's not quite as "boring" as software design, move there, and soon enough she'll be running the place :) She's very smart my sister!

My little sis, the baby of the family, has been volounteering at a physiotherapy clinic, getting ready to start university in the fall (in physiotherapy). It's still very hard for me to believe that she's old enough to go to university. I mean, talking to her, it's obvious that she's pretty mature and ready for higher education, but in my head she's still the little kid who likes nothing better than to be the baby in the family ;) But that's just in my head... In reality, she's a full adult now. They grow up so fast!!!!

On a separate note, this weekend also marked a year since our arrival in China, as well as a year since meeting our friends' twin girls for the first time. It's been a pretty exciting year for that family :)