Sunday, December 26, 2010

My year in summary

In January I started working with a fertility specialist. I'd only been pregnant very briefly in 2009, so I wasn't sure if my body could handle a pregnancy. I have PCOS, so my cycles have been very irregular since about 2006, which I was sure didn't help matters any. The fertility specialist ran some tests and started me on Metformin to help regulate my cycle.

In March I joined and started tracking my food and exercise there. I lost 25 pounds by the end of May, still being able to enjoy my dark chocolate and some other indulgences. The organizer part of me enjoys the charts and graphs and the lazy part of me enjoys just how easy it has been to track my nutrition and exercise without having to do so much math. I enter my favorite foods in the database if they aren't already there, which makes it so much easier down the road. Tracking my food really increased my awareness and motivated me to add exercise and watch my portions better so I wouldn't have to ban sugar or any specific foods I enjoy from my diet. I even started looking at restaurant nutrition menus online and planning what I was going to order before going out to eat so that I could stay in the ranges I should be in and indulge guilt-free.

In April I followed up with the fertility specialist, thinking that my cycles were becoming more regular but still not quite how they used to be or should be. Ultrasounds were completed to track my ovulation, but my body wasn't fully cooperating, so I was started on Clomid to see if that would help me ovulate. More ultrasounds were taken in May so further testing could be completed around the time of my ovulation. But in between the second and third May ultrasounds, I unexpectedly ovulated. The tests would have been put off for another month, but I ended up getting pregnant with that ovulation, so further testing was no longer needed.

However, I went back in to the fertility specialist's office for a blood pregnancy test to confirm the pregnancy and also have my progesterone levels checked. The progesterone levels were low, which could have potentially ended in miscarriage. So I was put on some progesterone pills and had my levels tested again later to see how that was working and was told my levels were much better.

While all of this was going on, I also did some temporary work grading national testing writing papers for elementary school aged children for a couple weeks in May. It was an interesting but also at times frustrating experience. Still, I kept with it because we needed to get extra income any way we could, and it gave me something to do!

In July my parents came for a brief visit. Around that same time, I was offered a part-time job I'd had a handful of interviews for, working as a supervisor in a bookstore. I let them know I had just found out I was pregnant, and they said it was okay and offered me the job anyway. I was excited to start the job but nervous about potentially spending all my income there! Shortly after my parents left, my job started. Along with it, my morning sickness also started. I had to call in sick one day and leave work after only being there a while another day my first week of work thanks to vomiting. Luckily, my new boss was very understanding!

Before my first week was over, I ended up in the ER, all but 100% sure I had a blood clot in my left calf (I'd had one there previously back in 2003 after breaking my left foot). Not only was I told that I did, indeed, have a blood clot in my calf, but I also learned part of the blood clot had broken off and traveled to both my lungs, where apparently there were substantially sized blood clots in both lungs that could have killed me. I was admitted to the hospital and ended up staying in there for a week. While there, I had an IVC filter surgically placed in my vein so that if more of the blood clot were to break off, it would be caught there before it could get to my lungs or anywhere else.

My new employer was very patient and understanding during all of this, covering my shifts as needed while I was in the hospital and then being willing to give me a couple weeks or so off as needed after getting out of the hospital to recuperate. However, I began working with a perinatologist (high risk OB) after being released from the hospital, and he said I could not work until after the baby was born, so I had to quit my job. He also told me a while later no flying or extensive car rides (unless I get out to walk around every couple hours) for the rest of my pregnancy as well, meaning we wouldn't be seeing any out of state family for the holidays.

Since my hospital release, I have had alarms going off twice a day to remind myself to inject blood thinner medication into my stomach so my baby and I are safe (oral blood thinner medication would kill her). She appears to be healthy and growing well and is due in February. Meanwhile, I'm still throwing up and now experiencing other wonderful joys of being pregnant like back pain and shortness of breath and so on. But otherwise, I appear to be doing okay myself.

In September Joe and I paid off the last of our credit card debt (which in and of itself was a miracle, considering my extensive medical bills and almost 2 years of being unemployed, minus the two-week long temporary assignment and couple days of part-time work I got in before going into the hospital) and started planning a cheap, local vacation to celebrate. We figured it might be the last time we'd be vacationing before the baby comes. We took an off-season vacation to Ocean Shores, WA in late October and spent most of the stormy weekend in our hotel room playing games and relaxing. It was heavenly!

In November I participated in National Novel Writing Month. I successfully completed the first draft of a novel I've been wanting to write but hadn't gotten around to putting to paper. Now I just need to figure out how to get in lots of editing until the novel resembles a little better the idea I've had in my head.

In addition, to help pass the time this year, I have been attending various meetings put on by the community. They have helped me and Joe think of things we can do to help get ourselves ready for emergencies and then help out our community in case of such emergencies. We have slowly been purchasing and putting together supplies, such as food storage, 72 hour kits, emergency evacuation plans, and so on. We feel a lot better prepared for what might come our way than we were even earlier this year! I am also doing some volunteer driving with a company called Senior Services, doing some online education, and volunteering with the homeowners association. Plus, I have to admit that I've loved all the extra time I have had this year to read!

We are lucky to have some extended family members who are nearby. We've gotten together with some of Joe's cousins a handful of times over the year. And just this past week we met up with Joe's step-brother and his family for lunch and to catch up. And we spent Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, and Christmas with my aunt & uncle and their family.

We're excited and nervous to be new parents. We don't know how to really prepare our cats for the arrival of a baby, but I think they know something is up, as some small and not-so-small changes have started taking place all around them. We've started getting a few baby gifts, painted the nursery lavender, and purchased a couple items that are helping us realize that the birth is just around the corner! We start childbirth preparation classes fairly soon as well!

So while we've definitely had our trials in 2010, we have also had many blessings and opportunities for personal growth and development. I am so grateful that I've had such wonderful support around me, in the form of family and friends. I am especially grateful for my hard working, loving, patient, spiritual, inspiring, entertaining, handsome husband. I am looking forward to 2011 and the new addition to our humble and happy family.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Another power outage and blessings from paying tithing

Man, we just have great luck where we live, I guess. Yesterday, the power went out again. This time, I think it was for about 2 hours, but it meant no shower for me (gross! lol). What's ironic is that our power lines are buried, and yet we have friends who live fairly close with normal power lines who haven't lost electricity a couple of the times we have. I think we must be on the grid with some areas nearby that don't have buried lines. Still, we have no idea what caused the outage yesterday. Oh well! I'm just glad I didn't have to clean out the fridge again and re-buy any more groceries!

Joe got a Christmas bonus yesterday. Neither of us has ever had one before, and we have been stressed about money a lot over the past several months (if not longer). Still, we have continued to pay tithing at church because we believe that as we make sacrifices to help others (we also fast each month and donate a check equivalent to the cost of the 2 meals we've fasted) and pay tithes as Jesus taught, we will be blessed. And we have been, time and time again! I am so humbled by the generosity of people around us, offering to give or lend us baby items so we have less to buy. We've also all but emptied our savings and checking accounts a couple times recently to pay medical bills only to find money in unexpected places. I do believe God has blessed us greatly and continues to do so as we strive to be good people.

Now if I can finish up these Christmas cards (yeah, I know, we're slackers!) and the electricity stays on, I want to get some holiday baking done! I'd like to give some goodies to some neighbors and friends!

Then later I will have my first prenatal massage. I can have up to 20 massages covered a year by my insurance company, with only a co-pay on my end. I'm totally looking forward to it, as I have had a lot of back pain lately! This will be my 3rd professional massage ever. I hope it's nice (my second massage was on our cruise last summer and resulted in back pain for me for at least a couple days afterward) and relaxing!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Belly picture

I keep getting requests from people to post a picture of my belly... so here it is. I've got about 10 weeks left.

Monday, December 13, 2010

An open invitation

I was starting to get worried about how emotional I've been lately. But then I read my weekly pregnancy updates and saw that it's normal to start feeling that way in the third trimester. I swear every little thing is making me cry... and sometimes I'm not even sure why I'm crying.

Also, I must face the reality that I can't depend on my mom coming to visit when the baby is born (something I started depending on a few years ago when I first asked her if she'd do that). I can't get my hopes up that she'll be able to make it, because odds are that she won't. When I first heard the news that she and my dad were planning on a mission, I figured that meant she wouldn't be coming, and I was crushed. But when I talked to her, she said she was still planning on coming, and I got my hopes up. But now that they've got official plans to leave for their mission about a month before the baby is due, I am again faced with the reality that it just doesn't appear likely. And that crushed me all over again.

I thought about my 4 sisters who have had babies within the past couple years, and my other siblings with young kids of their own to take care of. I wondered where and how I'd get support, longing to get some from family I know and trust. I emailed my oldest sister today, and in an answer to my prayers, she responded almost immediately with a very enthusiastic yes that she'd come to help out. I know she may only be here for a few days, but I miss my family terribly and don't know when I'll see any of them again. And that sucks. It hurts.

I also miss my friends. Even some of my local friends are so busy with their own families and lives that we rarely see each other. I know it's just going to get harder to coordinate things when the baby arrives, and that saddens me.

So, I may want a couple days to spend with just my husband and baby when she first comes, although I may instead already have fifty million parenting questions I want to ask the experts that are in my life and long for support. For my friends and family near and far, I invite you to come spend some time with me and the baby when she comes, if you can. If you're busy with your own family, I totally understand. But know that I love and miss you and would love to see you!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Ultrasound pictures

Okay, I have procrastinated long enough. Due to some unforeseen circumstances, I have been all but glued to my desktop since yesterday afternoon working on restoring my iTunes as much as I possibly can. I decided to take advantage of some of that time yesterday and scan my ultrasound photos so I could share them.

I had another OB appointment today (the first ultrasound in 10 weeks), but there weren't any pictures. No matter, since there weren't any head or body or hand or feet shots. But I did get to see her practicing breathing and kept hearing from the ultrasound tech and the doctor how good things look. I have approx 12 weeks left before she's here! My OB has extensive training with blood clotting disorders, and she gave me some tips for injecting myself (much different than those I got from the hospital) that will hopefully help reduce my belly tenderness and bruising.

One of the nice things about my health problems is that it has resulted in a lot of ultrasound pictures tracking the baby's growth, which has been fun to see.

Here she is at approximately 6 weeks (at the fertility clinic):

And again at approximately 10 weeks (after I got out of the hospital at my original OB's office):

Then 11 weeks (my first appointment with the perinatologist's office):

Then again at approximately 12 weeks:

The next 4 are from the full fetal scan (at about 18 weeks) where they measured everything. The last picture is the "money shot" that shows it's a girl:

Today was more measuring, although not quite as extensive. They said she's weighing in at about 2 pounds 11 ounces and is in the 42nd percentile. Her kidneys and bladder look good, as well as the placenta and fluid levels. So while I'm not yet really gaining weight (and only have about 12 weeks left to go), I should start gaining about a pound a week now, I've heard/read. That'd put me right at my pre-pregnancy weight. I'm totally okay with that.

She's been moving around quite a bit, and her head seems to be putting pressure on my bladder. Luckily, it doesn't seem to be causing too many bathroom trips throughout the day and night just yet! We've got her nursery painted lavender now, but that's about it as far as baby preparations so far. We are praying that somehow everything works out okay! I have a sister-in-law who has some hand-me-down stuff for us in Utah, but I don't know how we're going to get it from there to here (she said it's 3 boxes full of things including clothes, a really nice breast pump, a travel bed, and some other items) before the baby is born. We're hoping somehow to get them here so we can actually use them!

If I ever get any belly pics taken that don't make me look stoned or like a half-drowned animal, I'll post those. I wish I was more photogenic!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Challenge yourself!

I was just reading a friend's blog about how she talked herself out of taking the easy way out of something and pushed herself, feeling great after what she accomplished. I know that I often do something, whether it's eating unhealthy, skipping exercise, sitting in front of the TV, or something else because it's "easy" or "simple" or "comfortable." However, when I push myself past those normal routines and comfort levels to achieve a goal, I feel a great sense of accomplishment and pride when all is said and done.

This month, I wrote a 50,000+ word novel in 30 days. I did it for the first time back in 2008 and felt great. That was the first novel I'd ever written, even though I've considered myself a writer at heart (if not in practice) for a long time and have found passion in writing. What I wrote in 2008 didn't really matter to me. It was just about the process. I started and finished something, ignoring my inner editor that often thwarts my progression. But the story itself was crap. I didn't have any real idea of what I wanted to happen in the story, and I just wrote by the seat of my pants until it was done. The process was still rewarding, but for my next challenge I wanted to push myself again past my known limits.

Last year, I tried to participate but didn't get anywhere near that 50,000 word mark. I was participating as a "rebel", writing non-fiction stories about my life. While I'd still like to complete this task, since it wasn't actually writing a novel, I didn't get into the whole spirit of the month of writing as much as I had the previous year. So when I started running low on stories and realized that I would have to embellish or rack my brain for more stories to tell on my theme to get to the 50,000 word mark, I basically quit.

Determined to give myself another growth opportunity this year, I finally sat down and thought through some basics of a story idea that had been floating around in my head since about the time I finished that first novel. This was a story I wanted to write while maintaining the integrity of my idea, as it is a story I wanted to TELL to be READ and ENJOYED. So I started out with some basics and a lot of questions. The writing process was extremely difficult at times (and as I've only written a very rough first draft so far, I know there's a lot more difficulty ahead). In fact, as I neared the end of the story late last night, I was sitting at my computer and thinking, "How do I want this to end?" It's a question I'm still asking myself, as I'm not anywhere near satisfied with how it has ended for now. But I know that I will be working more on this novel down the road.

I am so grateful that despite challenges I faced this month, I set a goal for myself and accomplished it! I feel that this has been a real learning experience for me about myself, and while writing was at times painful because of the difficulties, I feel stronger and more confident (and even a little bit of pride) as a result of my accomplishment.

I encourage you to take one of your passions and set a goal relating to it that requires some sacrifice, pain, challenge, etc. Don't talk yourself out of reaching for that goal. Don't worry if you don't quite reach it the first time either. Just keep trying! It will be worth it in the end!

My favorite quote on the subject is: "Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss it, you will land among the stars." -Les Brown

Attempted murder she wrote

And now I'm done with my second novel (well, the first draft, anyway)!!! I must say it is heads and shoulders above the quality of my first NaNoWriMo novel. I'm excited to do lots of polishing on this one instead of leaving it to be a big pile of horse dung like the one I wrote in 2008. I actually like the story line and think it has potential. Now, off to bed!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Winter Weather

One of the reasons I moved to Washington from Arizona was because I wanted cooler temperatures and more rain. I don't do well in extreme heat or cold weather and was told to avoid extremes as much as possible because of my skin. Something else that appealed to me about Washington (at least the area I live in) is that it's not really snowy in the winter. Sure, there might be a couple days of snow each year on average, but it's not the whole you-need-snow-chains-to-drive or even the snow-stays-around-for-days situation. So I don't mind it when it happens.

And yet, that hasn't exactly been my personal experience in Washington yet. I got my first taste of Washington winter weather about 2 months before moving here. I arrived the day after the ice storm of 2006. Electricity was out for most of my trip, which was quite an experience. But I heard that was abnormal and then moved here.

I got a job at the end of 2007 working about an hour or so away from where I lived. I gave myself 2 hours to get to work because I didn't want to be late due to traffic, and so I was usually around 30 minutes early. And I had to drive up and down some scary hills in snow a couple times that had me scared to death. My husband was out of town at an army training while I was trying not to die or crash my car on my ride home. Again, I heard that wasn't exactly normal around here.

Then we bought our house. We experienced more than average snow (or so I heard) in the winter of 2008. But I didn't have any real reasons that I "had" to leave the house (I was working from home at the time), so I didn't mind so much. My husband even got a couple extra days off work because of the weather, so we had some nice time together right around Christmas. We went out for walks in the snow a couple times too. But I realized I didn't have adequate shoes for snow.

So one day we walked to the Fred Meyer just over a mile from our house (up a hill) to buy me shoes. They didn't have any in stock at the time (possibly because they'd all been sold due to the weather). I slipped and slid and fell a couple times, twisting my ankle while walking home from the store where I'd gone to buy shoes that would prevent me from doing just that. Figures!

I was grateful to have a "milder than normal" winter last year, even though after my experience in 2008, I bought more cold weather clothing and supplies (I still don't have a whole lot, but it's tough when you need to basically change your entire wardrobe due to a move). I don't recall any snow sticking at all, even though I believe some did fall.

But now they say this winter could be worse than usual, and we have snow in our forecast for the weekend. In fact, it may be a fun snow/rain slush mix on Monday. But at least it's supposed to be sunny on Tuesday and then not rain for a few days after that so I don't have to worry about the Thanksgiving drive a few miles away to my cousin's house for dinner. I may have to drive a bit during the snow on Sunday, but that's probably all (and I'll probably have my husband do it instead if it makes me nervous). And now I've got some shoes that should be more appropriate for the weather. And I can still zip my baby belly into my winter coats (for now, anyway). So I'm hoping I'm good to go!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

On writing

I'll be the first to admit that my imagination isn't near what it used to be as a child. However, I haven't given up on some of my dreams and even catch myself daydreaming at times. I enjoy writing, not just about myself to feel self-important, but to have a creative outlet. I'm not a crafty person. I'm not a fabulous baker or cook. I know where my interests and skills are, and I try to push myself from within those confines, hoping to have some sort of growth breakthrough.

But writing itself is often a painful process for me. I'm not talking about physical pain but an indescribable pain. When thoughts form in my head, they are pure, unfiltered, perfect representations of my weaning imagination. And the process of trying to find words to describe those thoughts adequately, to give them justice and life, is quite a challenge.

I know this story I'm writing right now is just a rough draft. It will need extensive revision and further contemplation before the polished work comes close to resembling the blooming story as it is forming in my mind. But even the process of searching for words that maintain the integrity of my thoughts is strenuous. It is exhausting. I figure out an acceptable short-term way to write a particular passage, and then I mentally collapse, begging myself for a reprieve. Yet I continue to push myself, and I actually enjoy the challenge.

Since my last blog entry, I have not written every day. I missed one day unintentionally (I simply ran out of time and energy before I'd been able to write a word). On the days I have written, I haven't always met even the minimum word count requirement, as is illustrated by the calendar widget I have posted on the side bar of the blog (green are days I get in the "minimum," while my "minimum" should now be higher because I'm behind; red means I didn't write on those days at all; orange means I wrote something but not near enough; yellow means I wrote close to the minimum without reaching it). However, I know the writing process isn't just about writing for me. I am giving myself opportunity to learn and grow, and that is the great fruit that the finished story will represent. So I will continue plugging on.

And, as motivation to stick with it without procrastinating until the end of the month, when running out of time could become a serious issue, I have vowed that I will not see Harry Potter until I'm at least caught up with the suggested daily word count totals for that particular day.

Saturday, November 6, 2010


Today is six days into November, and my plans aren't working out so well. I have been sick all week. Joe has been sick for the past few days, but whatever he has is worse than what I have, so I'm not sure that he got it from me. Anyway, as a result of feeling sick, I haven't been doing much writing or studying. I have been doing a lot of reading.

The first day of the month, I wrote about 1800 words. I hadn't written any more until today. I've doubled my word count, but I know there's no way I will catch up by the end of the day today. I don't want to just write 1667 more words each day (or even 2000), as it will take a long time before I'm caught up if I do that, and it doesn't allow me to have any more "off" days without falling further behind. Therefore, I'm giving myself until the end of the day on Monday to get caught up. And if Joe returns to work on Monday (which he's currently planning on doing even though we're both not feeling well yet), it may be a little easier for me to get writing in.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

November plans

The holidays are right around the corner. I've actually been thinking about them for some time now, and I am excited about them. It'll be our last holiday season before our family increases by one, and it'll really give us opportunities to enjoy each other's company without (hopefully) too much stress that can come during that time of year. I already feel like November is going to be busy, but I'm looking forward to it!

I would like to participate in (and win!) NaNoWriMo again this year. I have plans to write the first draft of a 50,000+ word novel during that time. But I don't want that to be all my thoughts are about during the month! I have a lot more I want to do, so I'm going to need to plan, plan, plan and schedule out my days.

I'd also like to start getting in more exercise. I'm not feeling nauseated quite as frequently as I was before (although I am still dealing with both that and vomiting), and I seem to have at least a bit more energy when I'm awake (I still sleep a lot!). So I'd like to use the treadmill at least 3 days a week again. I don't think that should be too difficult to schedule in.

And I need to get back to work on this medical transcription program. It has fallen so low on my priority and interest list lately that I haven't done a THING toward completing the program. I am a procrastinator by nature, but I know that I can't shove more hours into a day than exist to get it finished in time. Still, I'd like to try to complete it by the end of March so I don't have to pay extra to get an extension. When I plan out my schedule, I'll figure out how many hours a day/week are realistic to work on that and go from there.

We need to get to work on getting the nursery ready. We still have to pick out paint and then paint the room. Then we need to clean the carpets (anyone have a carpet cleaner we can borrow???). And we need to keep our eyes open for some second-hand furniture and other supplies, as we are strapped TIGHT thanks to medical bills.

I may end up having my baby shower in November, but I don't know if that's realistic because the date that was thrown out there is quickly approaching. I'll have to talk to the people who offered to throw it for me and see what they think. My mom thinks it's too soon and we should just plan it for January, but I'd kind of like to know sooner rather than later what gaps we will have in baby items so we can (somehow) figure out how to budget those in the remaining months of the pregnancy.

Other than that, I can't think of much else that is or should be pressing issues. That, of course, doesn't mean something won't come up between now and the end of November, but hopefully with a plan of attack I won't feel so overwhelmed come December!


Joe and I aren't able to see family for the holidays. We also have a very limited budget thanks to medical bills and my "temporary disability." But we set goals for ourselves individually and as a couple, and we reached a goal and earned the reward. One of our goals was to pay off our credit cards. We had made some adjustments to our expenses earlier this year and aggressively tackled our credit card debt. I am to blame for a lot of it, as I didn't always live within my means as a single adult. I am glad I learned my lessons before getting married, however, and adjusted my lifestyle. I'm also grateful that Joe was willing to marry me with my debts (I just wish I could magically make these student loans disappear!) when I've heard of that being a deal-breaker for some.

So, to celebrate paying off our credit cards, we put less money than we were putting into a monthly credit card payment into a mini-vacation. Babymoons, as pre-baby vacations are being called by many these days, are increasing in popularity. And when I realized it might be a while before we get the opportunity to go on a vacation after the baby comes, the idea appealed even more. So, we booked a hotel room in Ocean Shores, WA for a couple nights and eagerly looked forward to our trip.

Joe decided to take Friday and Monday off work. I asked him if he'd like a day to just do whatever by himself since I'm always around at home now, and he (kind of) took me up on that offer. We went to Sonic for breakfast on Friday and ran an errand in that neighborhood. When we got home, I spent a few hours reading a book in the living room while he watched some movies and spent some time on his computer in the family room. Then we watched a bit of TV together. That night, we went to the Moore Theater in Seattle to see Mike Birbiglia perform. We enjoyed the show, which was more like a story-time than stand-up comedy, but which provided plenty of laughs anyway. Then we came home and crashed.

On Saturday we slept in a bit before heading to Carnation, WA and Camp Korey for their fall activities. We went through a corn maze (and found a fire pit where we roasted s'mores in the middle of the maze), ate pumpkin pancakes, sipped on hot chocolate, and took a hay ride. It was enjoyable (and cheap). Our whole drive from here to Carnation (about an hour away) was rainy, but the weather cooperated the entire time we were there, which was pleasantly surprising.

On our way home, we stopped by the grocery store to get some snacks for our trip and some other groceries. Then we headed home, packed, and made the two-plus hour drive to the coast. The weather wasn't very cooperative on our drive there either, but it was a nice, peaceful drive without too many other cars on the road once we got through Tacoma. We'd been contacted on Friday because we had unknowingly booked a room that was handicapped-accessible to see if we were able to switch rooms as it was needed by another guest. Of course, we agreed, and were told we were actually getting a room "upgrade" to the "most popular room in the hotel." We spent the weekend relaxing as storms raged outside, playing games together, watching movies, reading, window shopping, and checking out local cuisine. We even managed to get a short walk on the beach in between showers (it started raining again almost right as we returned to the car).

We headed home yesterday and relaxed at home before going out to dinner to celebrate Joe's birthday. I've realized that while I appreciate getting away from routines and creating new memories, it's always nice at the end of those trips to come home to the conveniences and familiarity of home. I'm glad we were able to enjoy these various activities relatively frugally so we wouldn't have to stress about how we were going to pay for anything. And it was nice having that extra time to spend with my sweetheart creating memories that we'll cherish.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010


I haven't had a huge appetite yet in this pregnancy, but I have had some hungry days. I swear, no matter what I ate on Sunday, it just wasn't enough! I had a granola bar as a snack while at church and felt like I hadn't eaten for a day when I got home about 1 1/2 hours later. I ate all day long.

Yesterday I woke up feeling just as famished, but eventually the sensation went away, more or less. Thank goodness! If I ate like that every day for the rest of my pregnancy, I could see myself gaining at least 20 pounds!

Because of my pulmonary embolisms, breathing deeply has been a challenge since early on in my pregnancy. I'd read about people becoming short of breath or whatever as their organs moved and got squished a bit, and so I think I attributed at least part of the breathing challenges to that both before & after the hospital. Still, while it seems to actually be getting easier to breathe during the second trimester for the most part, I do find myself winded when I carry a heavy load of laundry up or down the stairs. Guess I may have to start using our ghetto laundry chute again.

Yes, we have a laundry chute, but it's nothing to brag about. It was made (by the previous owners) by cutting a hole in the ground and covering it with a raised piece of wood. The chute itself is a rectangular section of a vent that was attached to the wall in our laundry room and then painted over so it would "blend in" a bit. The clothes then fall into a little squarish area cut out of the cabinetry in the laundry room. Still, that might be better than hauling clothes down the stairs and huffing and puffing, especially as I get bigger (I wish that didn't have to happen!).

Monday, October 18, 2010


I just signed on to Target's website to add one of the items from my baby registry there onto my Amazon wish list in hopes of winning The Wish & Win $100,000 Sweepstakes (a girl can dream, right?). And I noticed that several items from my baby registry were "no longer available." Crap. Guess I get to spend several more hours trying to figure out what the heck I'm supposed to add to the registry, compare that to my list to see what is still on there, and then try to fill in the holes.

And in other fun news, I learned something very frustrating on Friday about our finances and insurance. If I wasn't already wondering how to make ends meet without me having to get clearance and go back to work ASAP after the baby is born (and then wondering where she'll spend her days and what sorts of influences she'll be subjected to), this definitely would've made me. As it is, however, it's just another stress I don't feel like I need right now. Guess that answers the question as to whether or not I'll be getting this beauty for Christmas or a baby gift for myself or anything... It's going to be a cheap, cheap Christmas!

Sunday, October 17, 2010


I love feeling my baby girl moving around inside me. I haven't been able to feel it for very long, but in a short period of time, I went from not being able to feel her move to faintly feeling her move from the outside. I took Joe's hand and placed it on my stomach while she was moving around yesterday, and he said he felt a small movement.

She's moving right now, in fact.

We had dinner with three of Joe's cousins and two spouses to celebrate a birthday for one of them. They're pretty much the only family on his side still left in this state, so it's nice when we can get together. One of his cousins is pregnant and due in early December, and we chatted a bit about being pregnant. She told me that while she can tell I have a baby bump now, I also look like I'm skinnier. Hey, I'll take it! I definitely feel like my belly is getting bigger, but I know that even the maternity jeans I bought recently seem a little large for me (especially in certain areas). I know I can't credit it to wonderful eating while pregnant, but I am trying to get in various nutrients daily and not just munching on chocolate (or foods garnished in chocolate). I do admit I had some chocolate milk with dinner, and it was delicious!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010


While I sleep at least 8-9 hours most nights and then spend the majority of my days on the couch, nauseous and exhausted, it's not how I was expecting pregnancy to be. I love my friend Nancy for sharing so candidly her thoughts and feelings about being pregnant. Some people like to gloat that they feel so beautiful and wonderful and love being pregnant. Ugh. I want to punch those people right about now, lol.
Thursday morning I woke up all but screaming with the most intense leg pain I've had since I tore my MCL and meniscus. Yowza! I remembered all the tips I'd read on dealing with leg cramps, and I tried to flex my foot toward my knee. But it wouldn't move. I had to put my foot on the ground and kind of lean down into it to simulate the flexing motion. The pain then moved around in my leg and eventually (after what seemed like 10 minutes but was probably closer to 3-5 minutes) the pain went away. I had some soreness to deal with the rest of the day but figured that was normal.
On Friday I was up at about 4:00 am. I wanted to sleep desperately, but I just couldn't. And so, as I laid in bed, thoughts of what I *could* be doing instead flooded my head. Within a few minutes, I decided to just get up and get started. I organized one of our hall closets. I found a place to put some items that had just been lying on my bedroom floor for lack of a better place to put them. I organized the cupboard under the bathroom sink. I vacuumed the nursery. I washed (and even put away!) some laundry. I vacuumed the hall. I cleaned. I read. I wrote. I checked emails. I'd made a big to-do list and got a lot accomplished on it.
When Joe got home from work, we ended up taking a nap, as we were both sleep deprived (he more so than I, but no matter how many hours I do sleep, I often FEEL sleep deprived). Then we headed out to get some fast food and Dairy Queen blizzards (we had coupons for both) and to see Alice in Chains in concert. My leg was still sore, but I wasn't too worried about it. I did mention before bed that if it was still sore in the morning, I'd check in with my doctor's office just to be safe.
It was still sore, and so I did check in. I also followed up with the OB yesterday, per the recommendation of the physician-on-call I spoke with on Saturday. Today I will have the levels of my blood thinner checked to make sure they're still in the therapeutic range. If the blood thinner levels are fine and this soreness is a blood clot, the doctor believes it must be small since my leg isn't swollen, red, or warm, and I'm already on therapy for that, so there isn't much else to be done.
I'm over halfway done with the pregnancy. We have picked out a first name and started a baby registry, and that's about it. We need to have the carpet cleaned in the nursery and we need to paint it. We need to buy whatever furniture and other items we don't receive when/if we have a baby shower (and Joe has a couple co-workers who are giving us some "baby stuff," but we don't know what that'll be except some clothes their baby girls have outgrown). We need to tour the hospital (I'm still bummed I don't even have the OPTION of a home birth or working with a midwife because of my health problems). We would like to take a prenatal class or two but haven't picked anything out or signed up yet. We need to create wills, living wills, power of attorneys, and whatever other legal forms (I'm so worried something bad might happen when I go into labor or between now and then since I almost died already in this pregnancy). I need the flu shot still (but was denied it yesterday because I may be getting a cold). I am supposed to pick out a pediatrician before the baby comes. When it gets closer to the date, I want to make some freezer meals to have on hand for when the baby comes. We have baby-proofing to do, lots of expenses to take care of (but not the money to do so, which is a whole different worry of mine), and various other items to take care of pre-baby. Plus, there are the holidays coming up and everything that goes along with them.
Meanwhile, yes, I still have morning sickness. I throw up a few times a week, so I'm just glad it's not more. But I have such food and smell aversions that lots of the tips people have given me and those I've read just aren't working. For example, nothing ginger helps at all. I'm just doing the best I can, eating what seems like it will stay down. I've had to stop eating something after a bite or two when the nausea gets really bad on multiple occasions. And sometimes those are things I had no problem eating before. I did have really strong cravings for Taco Bell bean burritos a while back, but those are gone and the burritos have made me throw up the last couple times I've tried to eat them. I also feel like I'm running out of places on my stomach to inject myself with my blood thinner because of all the tenderness and bruising there.
I know things aren't going to get any easier when the baby arrives, and I am trying my best to "enjoy" this time I have to read and relax and sleep. But frankly, I'm not really enjoying it.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Cat nap

I swear, at least 5 hours a day my cats can be found here:

Apparently it's very hard work being so adorable and lazy.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010


I don't know if I can blog anymore. I'd explain why, but I don't feel comfortable talking about my feelings on my own blog, which is pretty much explanation enough.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Pregnancy Cravings?

What sorts of things have you mothers craved during your pregnancies?

I don't eat very much fast food-- maybe once or twice a month, if that. However, I have had fast food a LOT during August. Taco Bell has been the main thing I've been craving. And not just Taco Bell, but their bean burritos. I just realized today how much sodium is in one of those things (and I threw up right after I finished eating it), so hopefully that craving is over.

But other than that, I've been craving mostly bland and/or cold stuff. I've eaten a lot of bread, drank a lot of milk and chocolate milk, enjoyed Dreyer's Strawberry Fruit Bars, ice cream, yogurt, pudding and sherbet. I've craved Jello a lot, but I haven't made any to eat, so I just shrug off that craving when it comes. Joe was telling me he was glad I didn't have any "weird" food combo cravings. And the same day he said that, I made myself a peanut butter, jelly, banana, and chip sandwich. It's not TOO far off what I've had before, but I've never had that combo before, and I really was craving all those things specifically... so I combined them.

Our renter moved out last week. The room may sit empty for a while. But in about 3 weeks we should find out the sex of the baby, and then we may paint it and get ideas about how we want to get the room ready.

I went to Target's website to create a baby registry and was happy to find the Puj tubs my old high school friend, Katie Richardson, created available to add to the registry. I knew I wanted one of those long before I was pregnant! I added a couple other things, but I felt completely overwhelmed by all the choices and decided to stop for the time being. I think I may need one of my friends who is a mom to help me know the sorts of things I should add to the registry and what we don't need. It sounds like Joe may be interested in creating a registry on Amazon too. What are your "must-haves" for babies? What gadgets could you do without?

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Sonic Boom

Yesterday I heard a sonic boom. It freaked me out. I was standing outside doing a little trimming while an auto-glass repairman was putting on some finishing touches on Joe's windshield. There was an extremely loud "boom, boom" followed a few seconds later by another identical "boom, boom" (the echo, maybe?). The repairman asked me if there was a range nearby, and I told him I had no idea what the sound was from. I figured I'd probably find something out later and kind of shrugged it off. I thought maybe something had exploded.

I told Joe about it, but he hadn't heard anything from where he was. He did hear what the noise was from on his way home from work, and he emailed me a link to a story about it.

The president was in Seattle yesterday, and an aircraft flew into the restricted airspace. In response, two F15 military fighter jets were scrambled from Portland. They accelerated to supersonic speed, but the small aircraft had left the restricted airspace before the jets arrived. The violating plane landed on Lake Washington, where the pilot and his female passenger were questioned by Secret Service.

911 call centers were overloaded as a result of the incident, and people reported their houses being shaken.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Genetic Condition and Blood Clot

With all the blood testing I had done earlier this month, everything came back normal, except I have a genetic condition that predisposes me to getting a blood clot at 3x the rate of the general population. This condition, called factor V Leiden is the most common blood clotting disorder, according to an article I read in a magazine just today. It has been recommended that my siblings are tested for it, as it is hereditary. My doctor does think that had I not broken my foot back in 2003, I probably never would have developed the first blood clot, despite having the condition. And if I hadn't developed that first blood clot, he thinks I probably would have never gotten this one, either.

Regardless, certain factors substantially raise your risk of developing DVT-- a blood clot in the deep veins (usually the thighs or legs). These include recent elective hip or knee joint replacement surgery; broken hip, pelvis or leg within the last month; serious trauma within the last month (a fall, broken bone, car accident, etc); spinal cord injury resulting in paralysis within the last month; pregnancy or obesity; and personal or family history of blood clots or a blood clotting disorder.

I also learned from the article I read that about 600,000 people in the US are hospitalized with DVT each year, and a whopping 300,000 die from pulmonary embolisms (which can occur when a blood clot breaks off and travels to the lungs, like happened in my case), according to The Coalition to Prevent Deep-Vein Thrombosis. What this means is that more people die from DVT-related complications than from breast cancer, diabetes or AIDS.

To learn more, visit or

Friday, August 13, 2010

Okay, okay

My last post was just for fun... we will be making the room into the baby's room. Of course, we don't need to do that right away or anything, but I probably will. I want to start keeping my eyes peeled for a rocking chair at a thrift store or something. And then before too long, I'll probably start looking for other pieces of furniture for the room. But if I get a rocking chair and that's the only thing in the room for a while, maybe it'll be used for reading/meditation until it is needed.

I had an ultrasound on Wednesday as part of the first part of a screening to see if the baby is at risk for Down Syndrome. Luckily, everything looked okay there. There was also a blood test that was part of the screening, but I won't get that part of the results for a few more days.

My next appointment is scheduled in 6 weeks. At that appointment, I'll have another ultrasound and blood test as the second part of the screening. And, if we're lucky, we'll find out the sex of the baby at that time.

In the meantime, I'm hoping this morning sickness goes away soon. It seems like there are a few different foods that don't tend to make me throw up, but the majority of "tips" I've tried to help lessen it haven't worked. I'm just glad I'm not feeling nauseous right now. Even though I tend to only throw up once or twice a day, and not daily, I feel nauseous a fair amount of the time.

Monday, August 9, 2010

And now to talk about something other than my pregnancy...

We have been renting out one of our bedrooms to a friend from church for about a year. She's not home very often these days (she's working 60 hours a week right now and spends most of her free time out of the home), so it's easy to forget we have a roommate. We have enjoyed having the extra income and extra person to play games with (although we haven't done that for a while). And now she'll be moving out by the end of the month.

Last night Joe asked me what I want to do with the room. Oh, the possibilities! I could use the walls as a over-sized canvas and practice finger painting. Or I could spend my days in the room, depriving myself of light and comforts to feed my inner writer with ideas. We could get rid of the litter boxes and build a sandbox in the room, converting it into our cats' walk-in toilet. I could hang a bunch of shelves and rods and make the ultimate walk-in closet. We could turn it into a time-out room or a sex room or a meditation room. If we knew someone else who needed a place to stay, we could just rent it out again.

What would you do with an extra bedroom (not too large, not too small, blackout blinds, ceiling fan, carpeted, closet)?

Friday, August 6, 2010

Another ER visit

I went back to the ER today with chest pain. They didn't figure out where the chest pain was coming from, but they ruled out some various causes and then sent me home. They said the treatment I'm on right now for my blood clots is really the best treatment for me at this time, and I'll be following up with my doctor. In the meantime, the woman who did my CAT scan just had to say something that will make me worry about whether or not my baby will have mental retardation as a result of the tests they've run. Gee, thanks.

I think the pain is probably a result of part of the blood clot in my leg breaking off and getting caught in the filter they installed to do just that. It is more noticeable when I'm more active and not really noticeable at all when I'm lying down. So I guess I'll be doing yet more of that (just when I was starting to feel like I could walk around and get around more with less pain in my leg).

Monday, August 2, 2010

The perinatologist visit

Today was my first official OB appointment. There was no physical, but I sat with a nurse for over an hour, answering questions about my medical history and going over some various pregnancy information together. Unfortunately, I won't be giving birth at the local hospital like I was hoping to, but there's not much I can do about that, since I'm seeing a specialist. The nurse did another ultrasound, and I got to see the baby moving around quite a bit. She ordered some lab work but wanted to make sure the doctor didn't have any other labs he wanted done at this time (she was thinking he might want to get some genetic testing done to see if that explains the blood clots), but the doctor was out to a "business lunch," so I grabbed some fast food and headed back to the office to find out what he wanted. Unfortunately, by the time the doctor and nurse talked, it was too late in the day for me to get the lab work done today, so I have to go back in tomorrow to get the lab work done. However, the doctor did come out to the waiting room and talk to me briefly after he met with the nurse. He said that I can't go back to work (in retail anyway) because he's worried about me getting another blood clot. I didn't think to ask him if that was just a temporary thing or if he meant during my entire pregnancy, but I figured I'd left the job hanging long enough, so I called and told the supervisor the bad news. At least I will have more time to devote to school, and I hope I will be able to finish before I give birth. I do have an appointment scheduled with the doctor next week, so I will be sure to get more clarification as to my work situation and also ask any questions that may come up.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Blood clot information and thanks

So while I've been scolded lovingly by some (and told by a friend that she was mad at me for not going to the ER sooner), I have been VERY upset with myself. I was *sure* the pain in my leg would go away and that it was just a sore muscle from being on my feet more than usual for my new job. And there were times where the pain did seem to go away, reaffirming my belief that I was just making a big deal out of nothing. Until, that is, I realized that it was what I'd feared... a blood clot. And by that point in time, it may have already spread to my lungs. I'm grateful that I'm still alive, knowing full well just how close I was to dying. I know I'm not in the clear and will be on high alert for the rest of my pregnancy and then the rest of my life, but I'm grateful for the gift of my life and grateful the baby appears to be okay.

I wanted to thank everyone for their support as I've been going through this. I received various texts, phone calls, emails, visits, prayers, comments on blogs, etc during this time, which has helped me realize I'm not alone. And when you're stuck in a hospital bed for about a week, it can be easy to feel alone at times!

So, I have an acute blood clot in my left leg. Apparently it starts around mid-calf and goes up past my knee (holy cow, this thing must be huge!). And part of it broke off and traveled to my lungs. I have bilateral pulmonary emboli (or, in other words, blood clots in both my lungs), but I don't know how large they are. I do know that I started breathing well enough to get off of oxygen on Wednesday or Thursday last week, so I'm taking that as a good sign. I still feel a little short of breath sometimes, especially after walking or talking a lot, but I seem to notice it less and less.

I am on blood thinners and will be taking them the rest of my pregnancy and after. However, the pill-form of the blood thinners are not safe to take during pregnancy, so I will be giving myself injections in my stomach twice a day for the rest of my pregnancy. I did talk to a doctor who recommends being on blood thinners the rest of my life, but I may be able to switch from the injections after I'm no longer pregnant. Blood thinners don't help dissolve the blood clots or help with pain. They simply prevent any future blood clots from forming.

Your body slowly breaks down the blood clots on its own, which I was told might take a few weeks. In the meantime, I'm still in pain, but I have found that lying down with my legs up seems to hurt the least. However, walking helps promote circulation, so I was told to walk around as much as I can handle with the pain but not to push myself too hard. I will be wearing compression stockings too, which will help with circulation.

Other than the blood thinners, I’m not on any different medications than I was when I went in to the hospital. In a couple weeks (when I’m 12 weeks along), I will stop taking both Metformin and progesterone, which I am happy about.

So what caused the blood clot? I have no idea. I didn’t go from being really active to being inactive. In fact, I’d say I was pretty active right up to when I got the blood clot (and even attempting to continue being really active despite the pain the blood clot in my leg resulted in). I didn’t go flying. I did have some risk factors for developing one, which include having had one before, being pregnant, and being on progesterone. But as to whether any or all of these played a role, I doubt I’ll know. A doctor I met in the hospital wants to run some genetic tests after I’m no longer pregnant because he said that despite my risk factors, it is very abnormal that I would get a blood clot on two different occasions by my age.

What is to prevent the blood clot from breaking off more and traveling to my lungs or elsewhere? When I had my first blood clot, I was sent to the ER right away and given injections in my stomach for (I think) 5 days, which I was told would help the blood clot from breaking off. So now that I’m actually on those same injections, I guess that will help. But an IVC filter (or blood clot filter, also known as a vena cava filter) was surgically placed through my neck into the large vein that carries blood from my lower extremities. So it will catch any clots that might break off before they make it to my lungs or heart.

I went to my OB today for a follow-up appointment from the hospital. She did an ultrasound and the baby looked okay. I heard the heartbeat, and the baby measured at 10 weeks 4 days (although I’m pretty certain that is at least 2 days later than it should be, and it is 4 days later than the baby measured when I had my first ultrasound at 6 weeks 2 days). The OB said she wanted to refer me to a perinatologist, and she gave one a call. The two of them decided I should transfer my care from my OB to the perinatologist. So, I have my first appointment with him on Monday. I hope I like him. And I hope I can deal with the pain in my leg long enough to make it through the 90-minute appointment.

I am also grateful that I had the blood clot I did back in 2003, because the blood clot in my leg felt the same and was more or less in the same place. If I hadn’t experienced that blood clot, I might not have realized what was going on until I was in much worse shape than I was (which was bad enough, granted).

And, again, I am grateful for all the support I have received and am still receiving. I know that many people out there were worried about and praying for me, and I have felt a lot of love at this difficult time despite the trials I’m going through. So thank you!

Monday, July 26, 2010


I have a long recovery still ahead of me, but I am home from the hospital and hanging out on my couch with my leg propped up. I finally got discharged this afternoon around 2 and my cousin Kristine picked me up from the hospital and drove me home. It was a painful ride. Right now, I can only spend about 3-5 minutes sitting with my leg down or walking before the pain starts to increase more and more. My leg turns a purplish tinge as the blood rushes to it. And apparently I'm still getting wiped out when even walking short distances. So I'm going to be making myself quite comfortable on my couch for the next week or two or three until this blood clot has dissolved more. I'm so glad to be home! And I'm so grateful for everyone who visited or called or texted or emailed or even just prayed for me during this tough time. I'm trying not to stress too much as I continue to deal with this throughout the rest of my pregnancy (and prepare for lifelong treatment), praying that I have a healthy pregnancy despite this challenge.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Where I've been since Monday

While my super sweet, supportive, sleepy husband takes a nap in the recliner next to my hospital bed, I figured I could take this opportunity to update my blog with the events of my crazy week. This is the first I've been on a computer since early Monday.
I thought I had a blood clot in my leg as early as last Wednesday or Thursday but hoped it was just some sore muscles from standing on my feet much more than I was used to with my new job. By the time Sunday rolled around, however, I was pretty sure it was a blood clot. And still, I didn't want to have to pay an ER bill if I could get testing done to confirm it in another way. I had Monday off work, so I figured I would call my OB's office and see what she suggested I do. I didn't get to talk to her, but a nurse told me to go to the ER to get a doppler on my leg (and medication for a blood clot if I actually did have one) because they wouldn't be able to do that at their office anyway.

So I let Joe and my parents know I was going to the ER. Then I took a shower. Right after the shower, I had to lay down and prop up my leg because of the pain. After a while, I got up again and dressed, but I had to lay down and prop up my leg again. Clearly something was wrong. I finally got to the ER. There was one other person who was waiting to be taken back as well, but when the check-in desk saw that my heart rate was 130 and my blood pressure was something like 140/101, as well as the fact I was pregnant and had a history of a blood clot and was short of breath, they took me back to a room quickly.
I had an EKG done immediately. I also had blood work done. I was put on oxygen and a blood thinner, given a doppler and an ultrasound, given a CAT scan on my chest, and was admitted to the hospital.

Not only do I have a blood clot in my calf, but the blood clot in my calf extends up the back of my calf past my knee and part of it had broken off and traveled to my lungs. So I have blood clots in my lungs too.

On Tuesday I was taken in to surgery to have a filter put in to catch any more blood clots that might break off so no more travel to critical organs (I'm really lucky to be alive, actually). Because I'm pregnant, I can't take the most common blood thinner out there (which is a pill form) and instead have to give myself shots in the stomach twice a day throughout the rest of my pregnancy (and a doctor recommended that I be on blood thinners the rest of my life). Eventually, my body will dissolve the blood clots that are in my leg and lungs, but I am having some shortness of breath (mostly after talking and walking) and pain my leg (especially when I'm not lying down with my leg elevated). So I will be out of work for a few weeks when I return home from the hospital.

I had to stay to make sure there was a therapeutic level of the blood thinner in my blood (too much or too little is a very bad thing!) and was supposed to be released on Thursday. However, the hospital learned (on Thursday) that my insurance company won't cover the blood thinner injections they started giving me on Tuesday, so they'd have to switch to a different brand and make sure I was at a therapeutic level of that blood thinner. That extended my stay until today.

But I'm still in the hospital and will be here until Monday. Apparently pharmacies don't carry the dose of the blood thinner I will be taking and will have to special order it, which takes overnight. However, apparently pharmacies don't do the overnight deliveries from Saturday night to Sunday, so the blood thinner won't make it in to the pharmacy until some time on Monday (my doctor made it sound like it might not get there until Monday evening). So once I'm given my first injection on Monday, I will finally get to go home! But I won't be very mobile for a while!

I have had a lot of visitors, which I appreciate. I have some nice flowers to look at which helps improve the view some. We're going to have dinners brought over for at least a couple days when I get out, which will also be nice. My OB came in to the hospital on Tuesday and met me, and I will be seeing her on Wednesday after getting out. I'll also be buying $200 compression stockings to help with my leg circulation (and hopefully the pain eventually). I have a feeling I'm going to be basically hanging out on the couch for a couple weeks.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

"Morning" sickness? Yeah, right!

So, I've heard some people say that while their morning sickness consisted of nausea, they never threw up. I was hoping that might be the worst I'd get it. If only!

And why do they call it morning sickness? For the past few days, I've been sick every time of day EXCEPT the morning. I've already had to call in sick to work once and left early today after puking in the store's bathroom (I'd puked at home right before leaving for my shift, so I let my supervisor know I'd still come in but might need to leave early today). I told my boss I'd understand if he decided the job wouldn't work out for me because of what I'm going through, but I'd like to work 4 days a week instead of 5 as long as this morning sickness lasts, hoping that extra rest might be helpful in getting me through the shifts I do work. Guess we'll see.

Thursday, July 15, 2010


As I write this, I'm feeling kind of depressed. Yes, I'm glad to finally have a job, even if it's part time without benefits (except for a discount on purchases) and is so far away that I have to work almost an hour just to pay for my gas to and from work (or spend about 2 hours each way on a bus to get to work, still paying about the cost of a gallon of gas each bus ride). However, it's depressing to think that retail is all I can get (and not even a local retail job) after getting not just a bachelor's degree, but a master's degree as well.

Still, I'm trying to have a grateful attitude about the whole thing. I made it through the first two days at work, and I came home with very tired, aching legs. It's been a long time since I worked a job that required me to be on my feet basically the entire shift (as a waitress when I first started grad school), and even longer since I worked retail (as a second job after getting my bachelor's degree). I have to get used to being on my feet so much.

Plus, while the timing seems to be completely off to start a job, especially one that requires me to be on my feet so much, even though I don't exactly want to share this news right now but may as well since the cat is out of the bag, I'm pregnant. And today I am nauseous. I don't know if it's stress related or the first signs of morning sickness, but I am miserable. So, while today should be my third day on the job, I'm calling in sick, filling up my water bottle, emptying my garbage can, and going back to bed. I'm smelling I-don't-know-what that is making my stomach turn like crazy and I'm feeling beat up.

I'm about 8 weeks along and the due date is February 21st, 2011. I have my first OB appointment next week, but I've already had an ultrasound (at about 6 weeks) and saw the heartbeat. Other than some cramps early on in the pregnancy and low progesterone levels discovered early on (and for which I'm currently taking progesterone twice a day), things seem to be going well. If I can't handle this job and being pregnant at the same time, I will quit the job in a heartbeat. If I do, we may have some financial challenges as a result, but having a healthy pregnancy is my number one priority (and it's already a high-risk pregnancy too).

I went in to the fertility clinic I've been frequenting since January again today. Our insurance changed over as of July 1st, and the fertility clinic doesn't take the new insurance (even though I could've sworn I saw my doctor's name on the insurance company's website when I looked it up). So while I was going to have a second ultrasound today, it wouldn't be covered and would cost about $300. I passed. Too bad I didn't figure that out before dragging myself out of bed this morning and making the drive to Tacoma. Oh well!

Friday, July 9, 2010

I got a job

So I will be starting work in Bellevue (about a 45-minute drive) next week, working about 30 hours a week. I'll be working in a church bookstore. I hope I can keep myself from spending all my money on books.

Monday, July 5, 2010


So there was a cousins' reunion going on in Utah, starting around the 1st of the month and ending right around now. I wish I could've gone. But I had previously planned on attending a cousin's wedding here on Friday (which was a nice wedding and reception), and the thought of spending 12 or more hours driving to Utah to spend what would amount to approximately one day with family, only to spend another 12 or so hours driving back just made it difficult to talk myself into.

I miss my family and wish they were closer. I'm so glad I have an aunt & uncle and cousins who live close. We attended a BBQ at my cousin's house on Thursday night (she had a lot of family in town for her daughter's wedding the next day) and then attended a BBQ of leftovers at my aunt & uncle's house yesterday. It's not quite the same as spending time with my parents or my siblings, but it's nice to know that they treat us like family and welcome us to their get-togethers.

I wish I had more money so I could visit my family regularly. I'm so glad I'll get to spend a handful of days with my parents this week. It's looking like we probably won't be going on any vacations that aren't local and cheap for the rest of 2010 and maybe even a decent part of 2011.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

An explanation

So I mentioned the job didn't work out, but I didn't go into it too much. I figured I have some time right now, so I might as well. But first, a little background...

I have a bachelor's degree in psychology and a master's degree in counseling. I have a little over 2 years experience working with seriously mentally ill adults. (I received that experience after receiving my bachelor's degree. I decided I wanted to do a little more than what my job description entailed, so I ended up going back to school for my master's degree.)

I was what was called a case manager. And after a year doing that, I got a "promotion" to a team where I'd work with acutely ill clients who needed more attention, so I had a smaller case load. I also had to be on call, and my job title was changed to mental health worker.

After receiving my counseling degree, I ended up moving from Arizona to Washington. The mental health field has been difficult for me to get into up here. Most jobs that require a master's degree are looking for one in social work (and although I have applied for some of those jobs, I haven't been interviewed for even one of them), or they also want you to be licensed (which you have to have post-master's experience to get). So I have been looking into jobs that don't necessarily require a master's degree. I'm "over-qualified" for some of these jobs, but I need to get my foot in the door. Some of them require certification as a Mental Health Professional (MHP). In order to get that certification (which doesn't exist in Arizona, by the way), you have to have 2 years experience working in mental health (got that) under someone who is a MHP (don't have that, because the certification doesn't exist in Arizona).

So when I was told about an administrative job (clearly not my ideal or anywhere near it, but I'm desperate!) with a company that provides mental health services, I looked into other jobs with that company on their website before the interview. Unfortunately, I didn't find any I would be qualified for. So I went to the interview for the administrative job anyway. And while there, they saw my experience and education and suggested I apply for a job title very similar to Mental Health Professional and told me that working in the job would help me get the MHP certification (at least a step in the right direction to finally open some doors after living here 3 1/2 years). I told them I either didn't see it on the website or realized I wasn't fully qualified for it. But the man interviewing me insisted I was qualified and suggested I apply. So I told him I would when I got home.

Looking at the qualifications for that position, I definitely didn't feel qualified. But I took their word for it and applied anyway. And they hired me. Why didn't I feel qualified? Well, they wanted someone with knowledge of basic nursing skills, including nursing interventions. And they said certification as a CNA or its equivalent was acceptable to indicate the nursing skills knowledge.

So when I showed up for my first day of on-the-job orientation, I wasn't feeling very confident about the job. And within the first 10 minutes, I knew I was not in the right place. The position is basically an orderly position. I finally got my hands on a position description and understood why the nursing skills part was important. In the job description there are lots of things I'm comfortable with or even would be okay with (although not ideal). However, the "collects stool, urine and other specimens, as requested, on assigned clients" was a HUGE red flag for me. Yeah. There's a reason I didn't go into nursing. And there was also the "assists clients with hygienic care" part I wasn't comfortable with. I'd been told that first day something about wiping adults' butts when they refused to after they used the facilities. I honestly don't think I could handle that. I also was offered a series of the Hep B vaccine, with a warning that I might be exposed to various diseases through contact with bodily fluids, etc (I'd been told people might fling bodily fluids at me). There's even a note on the job description that indicates I'd be working with bio-hazards such as blood borne pathogens, sewage, hospital waste, etc. Woah. SO out of my league.

I admire people who can do that sort of thing, but I know I'm not one of them. Besides, while the pay was decent, I don't think I should have to go to work and suffer doing things that make me want to vomit or otherwise repulse me (or even make me extremely uncomfortable) just for the sake of having a job.
Administrative work is sounding mighty appealing if this is the only kind of mental health job I can get.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Yeah... not so much

Well, the job was a bust. Today was my first day of on-the-floor orientation, and within 10 minutes, I realized I was in the completely wrong place. There's a reason I didn't go into nursing... so why the heck would I work a job that really belongs to someone interested in nursing or nursing type things? I didn't make it through the end of the day today. Oh well!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

My Job

Yesterday I had a pre-employment physical. The physical itself seemed quite simple and even a bit silly. But with the paperwork I filled out before the appointment, I started to become really worried that I might not "pass" the physical. Joe tells me I shouldn't worry, and I'm trying not to. Unless I hear something to the contrary today or tomorrow, I'll be going in on Monday for my orientation. And then I'll be scheduled for my 3 day orientation on the floor. I'm hoping I can get time off to spend with my parents while they're in town and so I can still attend two of my cousins' weddings. And I also have some appointments scheduled in July. But the nurse who hired me made it sound like it wouldn't be difficult to get time off, so I'm glad to hear it. I guess now I just wait for Monday!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

I accepted

So it's official. I have a job. And just today I had a really good second interview for another job. But it's only a part-time job, it's in Bellevue, and it pays about $4-5 an hour less. I have to have a physical and TB tests, and then I'll be scheduled for orientation and whatnot. Man, it'll be tough working opposite hours as my super-busy husband, but it's necessary. Hopefully I'll be able to switch shifts before too long.

Friday, June 11, 2010

A weird job offer

I was offered a temporary job at the same place I worked a while ago, doing basically the same thing. At first they wanted an answer by the 18th, but then they emailed back and said they wanted an answer by today. The job isn't until August, so I was a little ambivalent about accepting or declining. But I figured I might as well accept it, and if I got a permanent job offer between now and then, I could always tell them I was no longer available for the job (even though I hate to do that).

And sure enough, I got a call the day after I accepted the temporary job from a company I interviewed with a couple weeks ago. They wanted me to come back for a second interview. It's kind of a long story, but when I went in for the first interview, it was through a staffing agency for an administrative job. But I ended up applying for a non-administrative job with the company as well, and they seemed like they'd be more interested in me for the non-administrative job.

So when I arrived yesterday for my interview, I went to the office of the person who had done my first interview, as I was told by the staffing agency that I'd be interviewing with him and another woman. But he said he was on a conference call and directed me to the main entrance for visitors so I could meet with the other woman. She greeted me and walked me to a conference room. But then she started talking to me about the non-administrative job. I tried to stop her and tell her I was told this interview was a second interview for the administrative job, but she was insistent. She offered me the non-administrative job.

And then I had to go home and call the staffing agency to tell them how the interview went. I wanted to be honest, so I told them about how I'd applied for the other job (which they were NOT happy about) and I was interviewed for and offered that job and had told the company I was interested. Anyway, the woman from the staffing agency ended up calling the man who I interviewed with and confirmed that the interview was indeed supposed to be a second interview for the administrative position. So right now I'm not sure if I still have that job offer, but I'm supposed to go back in on Monday and meet with the woman again for a second interview for the administrative job, which seems ridiculous to me. But I can see how they want to keep the staffing agency happy, so maybe it's just a formality. I'd love to just talk to the woman I interviewed with yesterday (or even the man), but I don't know that they're supposed to talk to me. So I'm thinking that maybe I should call the staffing agency and tell them the second interview is pointless or something. I don't know. Ugh.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Financial challenges

My husband and I are getting a bit creative with our finances. We had a pretty good budgeting system in place, but then we lost a HUGE chunk of our income last month. With some divine intervention, I was able to find a temporary job that helped fill in that gap just a little bit. And this month, the challenge has again presented itself. We are so grateful despite these challenges we're facing that we're able to keep things like home phone and Internet service and our Netflix subscription. But there are definitely sacrifices we've both had to make so that we are still living within our means.

One of the sacrifices we are making is our vacations. We've never been the kind of people to regularly take trips or even be extravagant when we do take trips. We bargain shop and plan ahead for flights, hotels (the couple times we've stayed in one versus staying with family), entertainment, etc. But it's a luxury we're not going to be able to afford. This really bums me out, because I have a cousin I was pretty close to before moving away getting married. And I can't make the trip to see her at this milestone in her life. I also have many other cousins I don't know very well at all because of age differences and physical distances between us, and I'm missing an opportunity to get to spend some time with them because I just can't afford the trip. Plus it's looking like we won't even be able to travel for Thanksgiving or Christmas, even if we started saving for it now.

Instead, we have looked at some of our priorities. One of those has been to find out if we can have kids or should start the adoption process. This has meant spending well over what it would've cost us for two plane tickets to see family over the course of the last two months alone for tests. And we still have tests to come. In fact, I honestly don't think we're any closer to having an answer, but that doesn't mean I've lost hope. In fact, I have a lot of hope right now, and I think that will carry me through for a while at least.

I am so grateful for the tools that are all around us and the support we receive that tell us that financial decisions we are making and sacrifices we are making are what we are supposed to be doing at this point in time. We really have been blessed with so much, and during challenging times I have found that I am reminded just how much I have been blessed.


My husband thinks it's amusing, but I enjoy rearranging furniture. Unfortunately for me, there's only so many ways my creativity sees that I can rearrange furniture. In some rooms, it seems like the task would be impossible. For example, our family room only has three walls, and the large windows on two walls prove obstacles. I wouldn't want to cover up one or more of the windows with an entertainment center, so there's really only one wall that can go on. Then with the couch and love seat size, there really aren't exactly options as to where those can be placed.

So I find my living room both nice because I can rearrange the furniture and yet challenging at the same time. I believe the arrangement we have in there right now is the fourth we've had since living in this house. But I begged my husband to "humor me" and help me rearrange the seating configurations the other day, despite his insistence that it just wouldn't look right. I don't love how it turned out, but I like it. And with some of the challenges our living room presents, each arrangement seems okay but a little off. This arrangement is fresh and new. It's almost like going somewhere I haven't been before. So I find myself more interested in grabbing a book and sitting in there now than I was when the old arrangement became a little bit stale.

But rearranging the living room (or any other rooms for that matter) isn't the only rearranging I've done. Honestly, since I started getting serious about my weight loss, I've noticed my thoughts and actions starting to rearrange themselves a bit. My habits are being altered as a result--and in positive ways. Sure, I have quite a long way to go before I'm where I want to be. Shoot, I even have a long way to go before I'm anywhere NEAR where I want to be. But instead of letting that frustrate me and keep me from acting, my rearranged thoughts have rearranged my attitudes and actions.

I have definitely made some positive progress in bettering myself, which is something I think I will be working on my entire life. But now I don't hate myself. I'm actually kind of starting to like the person I see inside and out. She's not as weak as I once believed. She's not as pathetic as I once believed. She's not a pushover. She's not worthless.

What can you rearrange in your environment to change things up a bit (or a lot) for the better?

Friday, May 28, 2010

Canning Party

I'm hosting a canning party next week. I'm excited about it, despite the fact that many people I've invited can't come or didn't RSVP (which I'm taking to mean that they're not coming). It's too bad that more people can't make it because I received party favors to give away to 15 people... more stuff for me, I guess.

I also now have canning equipment. I'm super excited about that. I know nothing about canning (but, luckily, some people who are coming do know a thing or two about it), but we're trying out a couple recipes that sound yummy and learning a new skill that I have wanted to learn for some time. Seriously, my family room is a mess right now with all the stuff I got spread everywhere. It's like Christmas!

If you haven't RSVP'd for it, please let me know if you're planning on coming or not. PLEASE. If I didn't invite you but you would like to come, let me know and I'll send an invite to you. I tried to garner interest on Facebook before closing my account, but at least one or two people who said they wanted to come ended up RSVPing no. Let me know. You get free goodies and a couple hours away from home!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Dealing with Infertility

I know there are people out there who think I am just being too over-sensitive about my fertility challenges. I have been told several times to just "relax" and then I'll get pregnant, or other such unhelpful and hurtful things. Is it easy to forget about a broken foot and just keep walking on it, thinking that if you don't focus on it, it'll go away? I know this is a struggle I must work through, and I am working through it, with the help of my doctor, my husband, and my Savior.

So when I read this article today, I was reminded that while I am vocal about my struggle, there are people out there who are struggling silently. There are probably people I know who are struggling with the same sorts of issues. I know I wouldn't be able to do much to help them through their challenges except to say that I'm going through it right now myself. I know people who have overcome fertility issues, but I know it is through VARIOUS different methods based on differing circumstances and needs and abilities that those issues are overcome.

I'm still in the stage where I don't know if I can have a child. The miscarriage I had a year ago gives me some hope, but I'm still looking for answers. All I want from others is non-judgment and maybe a little sympathy or understanding. It is SO hard for me to be around a group of my mom-friends to hear them go on and on about their children. It isn't like I don't expect friends with kids to talk about their kids or bring their kids around me. But those conversations don't include me. And they act as a reminder that I'm not a mom yet. So when it's complaints about kids misbehaving all the time as though a woman wishes she didn't have kids, it is especially tough for me to hear.

Friday, May 21, 2010

How to talk to someone trying to lose weight

Read the MSN article about things you shouldn't say to someone losing weight and things you should say instead. Luckily, I don't have to deal with most of these things on a regular basis, but as someone who is losing weight, I have to say I agree with them. I've found myself wishing several times that I could do things with friends not revolving around food (we do sometimes, but not nearly enough). I also feel that well-meaning family or friends are kind of insulting with some comments. What are your thoughts about the different points made in this article?

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Bye, bye Facebook!

I deleted both of my Facebook accounts earlier this week. I had a good friend ask me why today. There were lots of reasons behind it. I was sick of having to reset my privacy settings every time they made a change. I was sick of sending messages and leaving comments on people's walls, trying to communicate with them, and having them ignore me. I was sick of feeling like I "should" friend certain people who don't even really talk to me in person. And I was sick of feeling left out when I kept reading about all the fun things people did with others that I wasn't invited to or was otherwise left out from. Well, this kind of over-simplifies my feelings.

I've always been a very sensitive and emotional person, and I know I sometimes overreact. I know that my overactive imagination doesn't help matters. I realized I wasn't happy with Facebook or on Facebook, and I didn't like the amount of time I spent on there looking for some kind of human connection. I guess I have gotten so used to the online human connections I've made over the years and have felt really close to many of my online friends, but I find that a lot of the online communication I have with my local friends and my family actually makes me feel more more distant from them unless it's used as a way to plan in-person events (which it sometimes was, but not always). Instead of having personal phone calls or email exchanges, it's like we all expect people to read about our lives on Facebook and/or blogs and think that is doing our duty as friends or family. It's sad, because it really takes away from the personalization and human connection that I really desire. So, I know that I'm going to reach out more to people in my life, and if they really want to be part of my life, they'll accept it when I reach out and do some reaching out as well.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

A terrorist attack

I came home on Thursday and sat on the couch, so grateful I'd managed to get through the day at work. And then I heard tapping. It didn't go away, and I soon realized we had a woodpecker pecking at our house. I walked outside and it flew away. But after I came back inside and sat down again, the courageous woodpecker flew back and started rapping on the house. So after chasing it off again, I opened the blinds in our room, hoping it would see my cats moving around and stay away. Alas, it didn't. Increasingly frustrated, I chased it off a third time, opened the windows, and flipped on the TV, hoping that as long as there was sound on, it would stay away. So I parked myself in front of the TV for the rest of the night, which wasn't what I really wanted to do. But the woodpecker didn't come back

When I was talking to my husband about it, he said he had heard it in the morning before he went to work. So I figure it was basically on the house all day, pecking away. And it definitely left its mark! There are 3 holes on one piece of wood, and it even chipped the paint off a section about 18 inches long!

As I was getting ready for work yesterday, I heard it again. I knew I didn't want to call in to work and spend the day on the couch (tempting as that idea sounded), but I didn't want to come home to any more damage to the side of our house than there already was. So I opened a window and turned on the radio, very grateful we have an alarm I could set so I had some peace of mind. We haven't heard it since. I hope it found a new place to peck!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Convection ovens

I finally got a convection oven in the not-too-distant-past. Joe really just wanted a toaster, but I've wanted one of these bad boys for quite a while. So when we went shopping for a new toaster, I pointed out various convection ovens and we got one of them instead, for pretty close to the same price.

So far, I'm really enjoying it. We've used it to bake breakfast foods twice and just a handful of cookies (from a tub of cookie dough we got recently) multiple times. We're still getting used to it, but we love how quickly it preheats. And it cooks things faster too, which is nice.

I'm still finding that I'm having difficulty figuring out how to adjust the temperatures (if at all) and the recommended cooking/baking time on products, as well as trying to figure out which position to have the rack in. I haven't started doing searches for pages or blogs where people talk about their love for their convection ovens, but I'm just about there.

Instead, I thought I'd ask if any of you have ever used one and if you have any expertise to share with me. So, can anyone reading this help me out?

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Looking on the bright side of things

"No change," the nurse informed me after jabbing at my girly parts with the ultrasound wand. Those two words weren't near as crushing as they were on Wednesday when I heard them at the second ultrasound of the week. Why? Because I figured if I hadn't ovulated or even shown any signs of pending ovulation by Wednesday (which was day 14 of my cycle), chances were that there would be nothing to see today either.

And I decided to look at what this means in a more positive light (I'm trying VERY hard here, okay?) instead of feeling down.

1. The later in the year I have a baby, the greater the tax benefit. I have heard the best time to have a baby is around the end of the year, because you get the same tax deduction whether you give birth on January 1st or December 31st.

2. I have more time to focus on jamming through my medical transcription program without having to worry about morning sickness or the like getting in the way.

3. I have more time to work on getting healthier before getting pregnant. Every pound I lose now will make it easier when I do get pregnant. This is the most important benefit to me.

4. I have more time to find a job, which is SUPER stressful. I understand being pregnant is stressful for your body. Really, anything that is stressful can take its toll on your body. So if I find a job and don't have to worry about that stress piled on top of the physical stress of carrying a baby, I'll be better off.

5. If I get a job, I may also get some better benefits than I have right now. I'm on my husband's health insurance (glad I have SOMETHING!), and it's not very good. I know he said it's changing sometime in the near future (hopefully to something better!), but maybe I could even get something like maternity leave with a job of my own!

6. I have a little longer to enjoy my husband and plan vacations without having to worry about a baby taking up our time and energy and making it difficult (or possibly impossible) to go on vacations.

7. I have more family members and friends realizing what a struggle this has been for us, so they can celebrate with us when we are able to finally conceive (or, if we find out we can't, when we adopt).

8. I know this one will sound weird, but there are some people I know (a lot more than I realized not too long ago) who I would like to have some success either before or (basically) at the same time we do. I know how easy it is to feel left out when it seems like everyone around you is expecting or done having kids, and I don't want people I care about to hurt any more. I want to be able to share their happiness with them and not feel guilty if I get pregnant and they're still not at that point in their lives. I know me, and I know I'd feel very bad sharing my excitement with them. I'd feel sorry for them, the way I sometimes feel for myself right now.

Yeah, I know it's kind of a stretch, seeing as it's just one month's ovulation I'm talking about here. And that's the point. It's not the end of the world. It's just one month that I'm not ovulating. And I'll be seeing the doctor on Tuesday so he can help figure out what we need to do to correct that. Then we'll be working on what we need to do to get me pregnant when I do ovulate (assuming that's possible, which I think it is because I have had a miscarriage before). I'm really trying to "let go and let God."