Monday, December 11, 2006

Happy Holidays, Everybody!

(Wanna make one, too? You can design your own gal from head to toe! Check out their site, here. Free ecards and a plethora of printed and printable items, designed by you. And proceeds go to a very good cause. What more could you ask for?)

*PS this doesn't violate their terms of service, because I asked if I could do it, and Jeanne from Designhergals helped me. Designhergals are super cool!


Sunday, December 10, 2006

Moving Day

I've got tons to do, and am at the last day of my medical leave, so (of course) instead of carefully planning my next two weeks, I have been working on my new blog. Heaven forbid we should waste productivity on things that need to be done, n'est-ce pas?

Mrs. B isn't in Paris anymore, and I figured it was about time for a change. With help from Dr. B who helped with the design of all the lovely graphics (yes, he is responsible for the well-endowed caricature), I have now moved over here. I'll leave Mrs. B where she is (I'd hate for a bot to get her), but new thoughts and ideas will take place in the clouds. By the way, those are Parisian clouds, too.

And (drumroll, please) to the first person who comments with where the name of my new blog came from (and it must be accurate, mind you), I will send you the wonderful, fabulous, stupendous (ie free) prize of my mom's easy and delicious norwegian meatball recipe (the ones people bring up every time they see me because they really are that good) AND my favorite triple-fudge so good you may get marriage proposals brownie recipe (I didn't write it, so I'm not bragging or anything.)

Come on over, fellow dreamers! The water's fine!


Friday, December 08, 2006

Did I feel the baby move?

Clinic visit #3 for three days--with the surgeon, physical therapy and the OBGYN, I've really become a regular. The surgeon says my knee looks, "great!" (though purple, yellow, pink, blue, swollen and misshapen are not my idea of knee-ly beauty). The pain is still pretty bad, and I'm pretty limited in mobility, but I'm getting ready for work to start again next week. The physical therapist had some great advice: "Do what you can, and push yourself a little, but not until you puke or can't sleep at night." Sounds reasonable to me.

Today we went to my OB, for my 14 week appointment. She was impressed to see me up and about so soon after surgery, and though Lemon said everything was great, she said, "well, how do you feel about it?" I knew I liked her.

She didn't admonish me for losing 6 lbs. since my last visit, knowing that surgery can be tough on the body, though I have a feeling she will if I don't start gaining in the next month. (Yes, I'm in my 4th month, and still wearing my normal jeans, buttoned. If you saw me, you would have no idea I was even pregnant. This will change.) Since my 'morning' sickness is back, she advised watching it carefully, and coming in for a bag of fluids if I just couldn't turn the corner and keep things down.

We heard the baby's heartbeat again, though it took a little longer to find it than the last few times. Dr. B grabbed my hand as the nurse searched, moving from left to center to right along my waistline. At last, we heard it. 150 beats/minute, right on target. We were both relieved.

I did have an important question for Dr. H.

"Last night, about 3 or 4 times, I felt a little twinge in my stomach. Is this normal?"

"Yes, completely."

"Just a twinge. Not a cramp. Almost felt like the baby did a flip or something."

She laughed. "That could be! It is possible."

"Either that, or gas, huh?"

"That, too. Could have just been gas. That's all too common in pregnancy."

Well, even so, I'm choosing to believe it was a flip.


Tuesday, December 05, 2006

You Are What You Eat

I hope not, because if so, our baby will look like this.

So much for the balanced, healthy pregnancy diet. Sigh.


Monday, December 04, 2006

How Can I Tell You...

    How can I tell you
    that I love you? I love you.
    How can I tell you
    that I'm always thinking of you
    when I can't find
    the right words
    to say...

Dr. B watches the man on the television screen, in the middle of the night, drape a beautiful diamond necklace around his wife's neck. She feels the tickle of the metal, wakes, and they embrace.

"In my commercial, it would be the same. Except, in my commercial I'd be emptying your porta-potty."


New Dreams

About a year and a half ago, in a freak bowling accident, I tore my ACL. I didn't know it at the time, and some other news kind of overshadowed it. That was the night I found out I was pregnant.

I was on cloud 9. I couldn't wait to be a mom. Everything was going great--I felt great, my hair looked good, I wasn't gaining weight, and things seemed perfect. We watched the baby at the sonogram at 8 weeks, and 4 weeks later, eagerly told our friends about our wonderful news.

A few days later, we lost the baby.

Though my heart was broken, I focused on our new life in France, and got through the pain as best I could. I knew that it might be hard for me to get pregnant again, because my history wasn't exactly wrinkle-free.

I wasn't ready to start trying again until we were well-entrenched in the streets of Paris. We nervously tossed the remaining pills, and officially started along the path once again. We didn't know what to expect, but we were hopeful.

After a few months of no success, I missed my period. I got very excited, and soon bought a pregnancy test. And another. And another.

And they were all negative.

Month after month, I waited, and waited, for nothing. It was almost like I was 10 years old again--there was nothing happening. I went to the doctor, who told me, "Be patient. It will come. You are young. Don't worry!" Easy for her to say.

I had hormone testing. That came up normal. The doctor still couldn't explain it. She scheduled a sonogram.

The doctor who performed it, after complimenting me on my excellent french, went to read me the results. It seems I had cysts and tumors in my uterus. There were lots of follicles, but she wasn't sure they were "any good". After several frantic emails to a high-school friend of mine who's a doctor (and who has internist friends), she told me I likely had Poly-Cystic Ovarian Syndrome, and this is what explained my 4 and a half dry months. She said it was definitely possible to get pregnant and have a baby, but I was still worried and quite overwhelmed. We were just about to move back to the US, and it was too much to deal with just then, so we decided to put it on the mental back burner until we were moved in, had insurance, and could focus our time on trying to find out how we could become parents.

We arrived home, and as luck would have it, things started working again just a few days after we landed at O'Hare. With a new home to prepare, boxes to unpack, jobs to start and so much to do, we decided to not worry too much and just wait to see what would happen. We waited for our insurance to kick in, and scheduled appointments with a doctor to get the process started. Due to the beginning of the academic year and all the new students and staff entering the system, our first appointments weren't set until the end of October. We were disappointed, but we knew there wasn't much we could do.

Then, on Friday the 13th, I blew out my knee again. At the ER, the doctor wanted to do an x-ray.

"Is there a chance you could be pregnant?"

"Well, I suppose, but I don't think so. I don't feel pregnant."

"Are you late?"

"Yeah, but only 2 weeks, and last time it was 4 and a half months, so it's probably nothing."

"Been nauseous?"

"Maybe a little, nothing big."*


"Um, yeah?"

He handed me a cup, and pointed to the bathroom.

There is a reason it took 7 weeks to go from injury to surgery. They had to wait until the second trimester.

I will be at 14 weeks as of tomorrow. Well, I guess I should say we.

*Note: this has changed. A lot. Ugh!


Raggedy Ann

When I was a little girl, my Mom sewed me a "life-sized" Raggedy Ann doll. She was my best bud. Her head was flat (perfect for napping on), her hugs were free and very comforting, and she was just the size of a 4-year old girl living in Fargo, ND. She soaked up a lot of tears, a lot of hugs and kisses, and a few other things, when I was sick with the flu.

When I was newly married, my Mom decided that I needed a fresh, non-barfed-on Raggedy Ann doll as a Valentine's Day present. Mom stitched her with love, hand embroidering her face and big red smile. Though she wasn't the size of a 23-year old, she still gave great hugs, had a perfect for napping flat head, and soaked up a lot of tears when Mom died less than a year later, from a blood infection.

When we returned from France, I eagerly pulled Raggedy out of the box where she had waited for me, and set her up on the oak cedar chest my grandfather built for me. She had her usual place, watching us live our lives, and cheerfully waiting for me to need her again.

This weekend, I really needed her.

As I got out of surgery, Dr. B started making the round of calls to let everyone know I was OK and everything had gone well. When he got to Pam, my Dad's wife, I noticed he wasn't doing much of the talking.

Then, I found out why.

On Wednesday, my Dad had gone into the hospital with chest pains. He didn't tell me, not wanting me to worry while preparing for my own surgery. Mr. Stoic lied smoothly on the phone, making me believe he was calling from his kitchen, when he was actually calling from a hospital bed, wearing an uncomfortable green gown with an open back.

On Thursday, they did an angiogram, and then chest pains got really bad. There was no choice; Dad was scheduled for open heart surgery for first thing Friday morning. He needed a quadruple bypass.

Though our family has dealt with this many times before, because it is a hereditary condition, it still scared us to the core. My grandfather, who had 2 open heart surgeries, was by his side, with my grandmother, my sister and her fiancé. I was on the couch, in pain and sick to my stomach, partially from the ineffective pain meds, partially from worry.

"Please, honey, can you bring me Raggedy?" I asked. "I really need to feel close to my Mom right now."

Raggedy wrapped her arms tightly around my neck, soaked up my tears, and listened to my prayers. And she told Mom.

And he's going to be OK.

The surgery went as well as it could have, and the doctor said he was an excellent candidate. They said we were really lucky, because he wouldn't have made it to Christmas if he hadn't gone in when he did. They were surprised he was walking when he came in, but I guess they didn't count on the power of a stubborn, tough ol' Norwegian.

So today, though I am still in pain and pretty sick on laying here on the couch, I am so happy and thankful for everything. Though I have nothing prepared for Christmas--not one present bought, nothing baked, and not even an ornament hung with care--I know I really am ready. I got what I wanted for Christmas. I've got my Dad.