Friday, December 26, 2014

Uncharted Territory

We have finally made it past 24.5 weeks, which is as far as we've ever been.  Everything still seems to be going well so long as I show up for my progesterone shot each week.  I've actually been brave enough to decorate what will hopefully be the nursery with a coat of paint and some wall hangings.  I was able to use a lot of stuff we had already and some basic supplies from the craft hoard, so the whole room was done over for just an additional $47.  Johanna will be a thrift store baby, for sure, but that doesn't mean she can't have nice things.


A good Christmas was had by all, but unfortunately the most outstanding gift we received was a rear-ender fender bender on Christmas Eve from a woman who doesn't believe in stopping before a right on red.  We're hoping to get Dave in a rental before work starts next week.  That poor little car has had its butt crunched too many times.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Gift Registries and Other Updates

In response to popular demand, and the need for more detailed guidelines than "not pink," we have created a few baby gift registries.  They are by no means the be-all-end-all lists of what we want or need, but they're a start.  If somebody finds a cute outfit at the thrift store and washes it a few times, that's cool too.  But we really do love the Burt's Bees stuff.
In other news, we had the 18-20 week ultrasound at the hospital last week.  Everything still looks good, but they want to follow up in a month to look at whatever they didn't get a good enough look at the last time.  My blood pressure is in question, so I've been monitoring that at home in addition to a delightful 24-hour pee test and blood panel.  Results to follow.  Getting the progesterone injection has been a bit of a bureaucratic nightmare involving second-party distributers, third-party pharmacies, lost paperwork, and lots of waiting on hold over the phone.  I think we finally have all the bugs worked out, and I'm supposed to go in for a shot in the butt every week for the duration.  Cervix still looks good; we have another ultrasound this week to check it again.  Blood pressure follow-up is next week.  If our insurance didn't cover all this, we might well have been tapped out by March.

I'm told they usually deliver people in my circumstances around 36 weeks, which would be the week of March 15, the dog's birthday.  I'm seeing some very cute birthday snapshots in our future.

Thursday, October 30, 2014


Our 16.5 week ultrasound today promoted "Baby Julian" (aka "Baby #5") to Baby Johanna.  I'm happy; Dave is understandably a little disappointed, but he'll be over it in about two minutes.  It's made it a little bit more real for me.  Up to this point, I haven't had a chance to feel pregnant; I've felt like I have a strange degenerative syndrome.

Nothing appears to be seriously abnormal, so thank goodness for that.  My cervix is behaving itself so far, but they want to see me again in two weeks just to make sure it stays that way.  The progesterone seems to be doing its job effectively.

Oh, and this time I have placenta previa.  If it had to be something, it might as well have been that, because it doesn't change our plans at all.  We were already definitely having a caesarian because of the classical incision they did on me before, so another reason labor could be life-threatening is purely academic.

Here's hoping for the best.  Just once, please.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Thoroughly Disenchanted

I used to imagine I would enjoy pregnancy.  I was going to scrupulously take my vitamins and eat lots of wholesome fruit and veggies.  It was going to be fun and exciting.

Well, I officially hate it.  It has been nothing but miserable and traumatic ALL FIVE TIMES.  I thought the worst was finally over, but we had a spectacular relapse on Tuesday, and I've been vomiting six times daily ever since.  I essentially starved until noon yesterday just to make it stop, and it seems like today will be the same.  I try to take my vitamins, but they tend to make me sick.  Food makes me sick, water makes me sick, being hungry and thirsty makes me sick.  All things being equal, I'd rather vomit on an empty stomach than otherwise, so I just don't eat or drink at all.  Fruit makes me sick.  Vegetables make me sick.  Juice makes me sick.  The smell of my shampoo makes me sick.  Showers make me sick, but not showering also makes me sick.  Brushing my teeth makes me sick.  My own pulse makes me sick.  The only thing that seems to stay down is salty corn puffs, but they give me high blood pressure, which is also undesirable.  There is no winning.

I did not sign up for this.  I was willing to be sliced and diced and stapled back together again.  I was willing to risk miscarriage and uterine rupture.  I was willing to be fussed over and violated by extra tests and shots and whatnot.  I was NOT willing to be desperately sick for three to six months.  The plan was that the Zofran would work and I would be semi-independent and at least able to eat properly.  That failed spectacularly, so now I am essentially a shut-in.  I'm lucky if I get off the couch.  The dog has started giving me long earnest looks, wondering if napping all day and going to bed early is going to be the rest of our lives.  I can barely make my own food, and now even that seems like a wasted effort.  If I am going out, especially to church, I have to starve myself first so that I know any vomit that happens can fit into a paper cup I keep in my purse.  The only thing that can make this situation any worse is the onset of autumn hay fever, which occasionally gives me chronic bloody nose, and always makes vomiting a truly epic experience of sinus pressure.  I'd be chugging liquid Tylenol to cope with the headaches if I thought I could keep it down.

I know other women have it worse than I do, and I've heard of some risking liver and kidney failure just to have children.  More power to them, but I am done.  I hate going to bed at night, and I hate waking up in the morning.  If I could finish this experience in an induced coma, I would.  Once this kid is out, one way or another, I hope to never, ever, ever, EVER experience this misery again.

Pardon me, I feel like I have to go throw up.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Too Stinkin' Cute

This really made my day.  Such adorable little yummy sounds!  :D

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Transitions and Precautions

Twelve and a half weeks now, for real.  Next obgyn appointment is on Monday, and I'm going to have to make a case for a new progesterone prescription.  Had the Little Dave debacle not happened, they would be taking me off the hormones now, but I'm not interested in just waiting around for my cervix to crap out on me again.  I think we have a pretty strong case, but I'm prepared to make a scene if I have to.

In the meantime, I'm completely paranoid about birth defects, so I've made an effort to eliminate as many toxins from the environment as possible.  We use all-natural laundry soap, and we've replaced all fabric softeners and dryer sheets with wool yarn balls.  We can't afford to go completely organic, but anything we can do to better the odds seems worthwhile.  Natural dish soap and dishwasher detergent, organic vitamins, filtered water, toxin-free shampoo and shower soap.  My favorite body bar is Zum Bar goat's milk soap; tried my new tangerine citrus bar and it was like showering with a creamsicle.  No unnecessary medication, though it's been difficult to stay off my antihistamines now that the itchy season is upon us.  Mainstream makeup and nail polish are strictly verboten.  We've gotten rid of all our teflon cookware, and we've never owned a microwave.  I think that covers most bases, or is at least a start.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Good News and a Demotion

Went for an ultrasound today, and everything looks good so far.  But, as I suspected, our count was two-weeks off, so technically we're only at 10 weeks.  Blarg.  It seems like I'll be trapped in the first trimester forever.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Some Improvement

We made it to 12 weeks.  Next week will be the next major milestone, but I think most of the anxiety is gone by now.  It's hard to be anxious when you're just trying to make time pass and stay hydrated.  Lots of Netflix shows were watched.  The good news is the 24/7 sickness has improved significantly, at least to the point that I no longer feel like primordial slime sitting on the sofa, drooling into a bowl.  Zofran has pooped out completely, so I just stopped taking it.  It's still rare that I get through the day without puking at all, but we're down to several non-eventful rounds on an empty stomach in the morning, and at least one like clockwork around 3 PM.  Occasionally I've even felt good.  This morning I was actually able to do some house chores faster than a terminally ill Galapagos tortoise.  I still have the car stocked with paper cups though, because there is usually at least one good retch-fest on the way home from church.  It's all about strategy.

Still no bleeding, no spotting, no cramping, and no drama.  No periodic useless visits to the ER.  This progesterone stuff seems to be working.

By the way, if this works, we're done.  I can't do this primordial slime routine with a small child around, at least not until we can afford an awesome nanny.  We may still pursue the adoption angle.  We'll see.  At the moment, I'm more concerned with finding something inoffensive and semi-liquid for breakfast tomorrow.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Some Rough Days

So much for the vomit-free life.  There's no stopping it some days, drugs or no drugs.

Finally made it in to see my primary care doctor to confirm the pregnancy and secure my referral to the obgyn.  She pointed out that my Zofran dose was half the strength I was used to, which explained why it hadn't really been working.  Now it works really well at least some of the time.  I'll take what I can get.

The obgyn is swamped, and can't fit me in until the end of September, and then only at the office thirty minutes away.  We stayed in this apartment specifically to avoid driving thirty minutes to the doctor.  Whatever.  I'm not sure what they'll be checking for anyway.  My experience with early checkups and emergency calls is a lot of peeking and poking and no real intervention.  We'll see how that goes.

Ten weeks tomorrow.  No bleeding yet.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

First Milestones

So, we've made it to eight weeks, which is longer than two of the other pregnancies.  During all four of them I had started spotting by this point.  I suppose I have the Endometrin (progesterone) to thank for this change for the better.  It comes in delightful little 100 mg suppositories I have to put where the sun don't shine every twelve hours.  Inevitably they eventually dissolve and come out, which always sends me running to the bathroom to check for blood.  I haven't found any yet, so I'm gradually becoming less neurotic about it.  I'm also becoming less convinced the baby is going to spontaneously fall out if I walk around too much.  Not that it hasn't happened before.

More about Endometrin.  I read all the fine print on that two-foot long piece of paper in the box, and when I was done I almost didn't want to use it.  There is a long and colorful list of side-effects, some of which we're enjoying already

  • abdominal pain
  • nausea 
  • abdominal distention
  • fluid retention
  • constipation
  • vomiting
  • fatigue and drowsiness
  • urinary tract infection
  • headache 
  • mood swings
  • depression
  • irritability
  • ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome
  • uterine spasm
  • vaginal irritation
  • vaginal bleeding
  • blood clots in the legs (thrombophlebitis)
  • blood clots in the lungs (pulmonary embolus)
  • blood clots in the eyes (blindness)
  • blood clots in the heart (heart attack)
  • blood clots in the brain (stroke)

The boldfaced are the ones I'm familiar with so far.  The constipation and abdominal pain have just about made me immune to the panic-inducing effect of cramping.  The real kicker was "Call your doctor immediately if you have abnormal vaginal bleeding."  I thought I was taking it to make the abnormal vaginal bleeding go away.  I've been buying anything I can get in cranberry to combat the mini urinary infections, which seems to be working so far, but more later on difficulties associated with eating.  Whatever.  We'll see what it brings us.  If the meds do what they're supposed to do and don't kill me in the process, that will be perfect.

Now, the perennial nausea.  I'm not sure whether I have hyperemesis this time or not because I stay as drugged-up as possible.  Even the Zofran is pooping out on me, so it must be bad.  My lofty ambitions of maintaining a perfect diet are long forgotten.  For alternative remedies, I found some chocolate-covered ginger at the organic market and some liquid concentrated ginger drops.  That stuff is not for the faint of heart.  Tastes like ginger ale but burns like battery acid.  I hate ginger.

In the meantime, any day without bleeding or vomiting is a relatively good day, even if I feel like crap the whole time.  I've put my face in the toilet at least four times, but always chicken out.  I really hate the smell of toilet water.  The problem is usually linked to the fact that I'm hungry, but nothing fresh and healthy looks even remotely palatable.  No one on the brink of vomit is going to lurch into the kitchen and make a green juice.  Even eating grapes is dangerous.  Relying on Chipotle every day isn't feasible, so my fallback was frozen burritos.  Failing, by the way, in my gluten-free aspirations.  Dave has been bringing me Chick-fil-A in the evenings to take the edge off.  Today I was driven to stumble out of the house in my pajamas with the cabin-fevered dog and swing by the nearest drive-through window, which happened to be Little Caesars.  Salt seems to be key.  The nausea keeps coming back unless I keep eating the salty fast food, and eating all the time with Endometrin-induced constipation does not do a body good.  I'm about to risk the peppermint.  I love peppermint, and it nukes the nausea quicker than anything else I've tried, but I read somewhere that it can cause uterine cramping.  Go figure, right?

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Mooch Busted

We interrupt your regularly scheduled program for this dog shaming.  The culprit was determined to be a one-year-old toy poodle with an entitlement complex.  She was sentenced to public shame and ridicule, but immediately forgot the incident.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

So It Begins

The Sickness has finally hit me.  I don't call it "morning sickness," because that is a lie.  24/7 I Hate My Life Sickness would be more accurate.  I'm not going to stand for it this time.  The one tiny benefit to cycling through all these miserable pregnancies so quickly is that my Zofran prescription is still good from the last one.  I still have a few days' supply of pills in the drawer.  I just went online and ordered the one refill it allows to tide me over until I can get a hold of the OBGYN to write a fresh order.

This is not a view I intend to enjoy very often.  I've spent enough quality time there for a lifetime, thank you.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Winter Is Coming . . .

So, last year was the first year we needed a shovel to escape a snowy parking lot on pain of being late for work.  Last year was the first year apartment maintenance failed to use a snow plow.  It was an epic and tedious process using the tools we had on hand.  Our belated attempts to rectify the situation failed due to vast crowds of people with the same idea clearing every hardware store of every proper shovel for miles around.

Rumor has it this year will treat us to yet another punishing winter.

We have changed our snow-schlepping strategy accordingly.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Partly Cloudy With a Chance of an Infant

Because our kids only seem to be around for a limited time, here's announcing baby "Julian" at six weeks.  It's kind of like naming hurricanes.  They pop up on the horizon from time to time, make our lives miserable for a few weeks, put me in the hospital at least once, and then spiral off into the great beyond.  Fifth time's the charm?  Maybe?  Whatever.

There is a slight chance this time might be different.  My uterine cavity has been cleared of all abnormalities.  I'm currently on a progesterone treatment, and my nutrition is much better as we've been hardcore vegetable and fruit juicing for about a month.  I've decided to go gluten-free for the duration just as an extra precaution.  We're really grasping at straws, but it never seems to matter what we do.  Oh, well.  Time will tell.  In the meantime, brace for impact.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Deliver Us From Evil, the Book

I've finished reading "Beware the Night," by Ralph Sarchie and Lisa Collier Cool, now retitled "Deliver Us From Evil" after the movie.  Despite the major players being generally sedevacantist, sedeprivationist, or sedesomething else, it is a very good read.  If I had any complaint, it was that the main story is constantly derailed by related anecdotes, but these anecdotes are equally interesting, so I'm inclined to just forgive it and move on.  By the time you finish the book, you're less inclined to waste time arguing niggling points about papal authority and would rather just get on with arranging to have your house blessed.

After reading Gabriel Amorth, Malachi Martin, and Matt Baglio, there were still some new and interesting observations to take away from Ralph Sarchie's experiences.  Here are some highlights.

  • Halloween is no joke.  The negative spiritual character if late October and early November existed long before the holiday.  That's why it's Halloween.  The tradition of costuming evolved as a means to possibly avoid possession by remaining incognito while the demons were roaming.  Even now, Mr. Sarchie has observed a dramatic surge in new cases during this season.
  • Another especially bad time is Christmas.  There seems to be a demonic rampage every year around the birth of Christ.
  • Only the most powerful spirits, called the true devils, can manipulate sacred objects.
  • Demons often masquerade as ghosts or human spirits.  However, when demonic apparitions attempt to appear human, there is always something wrong.  Limbs or the face may be missing, or there may be some other distortion.  If you encounter an allegedly sympathetic spirit who exists only from the waist up, be very suspicious.
  • Incubi and succubi do happen.  Yikes.
  • Mr. Sarchie has observed three different varieties of demonic approach.  There are the "intellectuals," who approach a target with what may seem to be deep insights, religious experiences, and secret knowledge.  The "con artists" attempt to pass themselves off as human ghosts with sympathetic stories to engage their victims.  The "brutes" are more bestial and cause clawing, growling, and biting behaviors in possession.
  • If anyone needed the advice, don't rent your basement to Satanists. 

Also, we're also actually not supposed to talk about this too much because recognition could draw the demon to you.  However, if we don't talk about it at all, it's not as if they'll all just go home to Hell and leave us alone.  Best to be aware, I say.  We are seriously looking into having a priest over to bless our apartment thoroughly, and while he's here were going to have him bless all the religious articles we've been collecting over the years, and that canister of sea salt from Monterey.  We'll try to always have holy water, oil and salt on hand from now on.  It's really the least we can do.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

General Appeal to Computer Literate People

Ok, here's what's going on.  I thought I fixed the WiFi problems, but apparently that wasn't the whole issue.  Before we spend a minimum of $100 bringing strange geeks into the house, we agreed to poll our friends.  Here is the whole sordid chain of events for diagnostic purposes.

  • There are three Internet capable devices in the household, my old MacBook laptop running an outdated Mac OS X (10.5.8), Dave's new(ish) LG gaming desktop running Windows 7, and his Kindle Fire. 
  • WiFi is provided by Comcast Xfinity via a cable SMCD3GNV modem/router, or whatever it is. Everything used to connect to this network beautifully.
  • WiFi started to get really spotty and unreliable about a month or two ago.  We weren't sure whether it was just crappy service from Comcast or a hacker in our network.  One fateful afternoon last week I decided I would take precautions against the hacker scenario. 
  • I went online to log into our wireless router network settings, planning on just changing the network password.  I pulled out the nifty set-up card with all the usernames and passwords we had established three years ago when we first established the network.  The portal would not accept them.  I tried multiple different times.  I verified that my caps lock was not on.  No dice.
  • Unable to even log into the portal, much less access the network settings, I reset the router to its factory settings.  Then I rebuilt the network with a new name, new login info, new passwords.  My MacBook logged into the new network without a problem.  
  • The LG desktop could see the new network and ostensibly log into the new network, but it insisted there was no Internet access available on that network, or that the signal was very weak.  The problem only grew worse as I went back and forth trying to troubleshoot it, and eventually the MacBook agreed that the network was locked up and would only function via ethernet cable.
  • The router was rebooted several times.  No better result.  It seemed to function perfectly well and was unaware of the problem.  All the right lights seemed to be blinking.
  • And, yes, we made certain our Comcast bill was in fact paid at the time.
  • Eventually, the LG desktop spit out an error message informing me that there was an IP address conflict, which was probably what was locking up the network.  
  • After an hour of research, I thought I'd found a solution to the problem.  I connected the LG desktop to the network via ethernet cable, went into Command Prompt and ran IPCONFIG/RELEASE and IPCONFIG/RENEW.  
  • After that, all problems seemed to be solved.  Both computers were happily using the WiFi as if nothing had ever happened.  
  • Later that same evening, the LG desktop began to have trouble again, recognizing only a weak signal, and then no access at all.  It is aware of the network, but claims the network is not connected to the Internet and that the problem is with the router.  The router is humming along providing wireless service to my MacBook and the Kindle without any trouble.  We don't know what to do about it anymore.

Any thoughts?  Anyone?

Also, does anyone have any glowing reviews or horror stories about Geekatoo?  We'll probably try them before the Geek Squad if nothing else works.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Word Crimes

This was the best.  I am absolutely going to use this for homeschooling.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Awkward Conversations

So, I'm out buying groceries, and I grab a box of pregnancy tests while I'm there because I'd just rather not bother later.  Of course, these always spark some awkward conversation at checkout from female employees because they're always in a theft-proof box and need special attention.

This conversation went on way too long.  I managed to play along without telling her my whole sordid story, because I don't want to be that person.  Did I think I was expecting?  Did I want to be expecting?  If I was expecting, did I want a boy or a girl?  Did I want to find out early or be surprised?  Blah, blah, blah.

In the end, she says, "Well, if you are expecting, I want it to be a girl, and I want you to name her Christine."

God?  Is this a sign?  I was kind of partial to Johanna, but I'm not immovable on the subject.  It's actually a little creepy, because I'm told that up until the last minute I was supposed to be named Christine.  We'll see if we get any more random suggestions.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Change of Plans

I've been looking forward to moving house for a long time.  Some friends of ours moved into a lovely apartment almost two years ago and I immediately knew I wanted to join them.  Unfortunately we had only just resigned our 12-month lease, so we had a long wait ahead.  When our next opportunity rolled around, they served us with new papers earlier than expected, and the location Dave's new job assignment was in question, so we opted to wait another year.  The move was now scheduled for next April.  I was really looking forward to being closer to friends, closer to Dave's work, closer to the free dog park, in a prettier apartment with a double sink in the kitchen, long counters in the bathroom, a gym and a pool.  (Our current apartment lacks both the gym and the pool, the gym being the more attractive prospect of the two.)

The de-cluttering began in earnest.  We were going to paint the walls, buy new furniture, replace the glass on the dining room table.  There was a whole list of exciting things that would happen "after we move."  One of those things was going to be trying for another pregnancy.  It seemed silly not to at least give it a shot after all the probings and scannings and surgical corrections we had done.

But you know what they say: location, location, location.  As much as I wanted to just move and be done, in the end I couldn't reconcile moving away from my current doctor.  It's not that I'm particularly attached to her, but both my PCP and my OBGYN are in the same building, and that building is just a few minutes up the street we live on now.  The hospital is a ten-minute drive down the road and through a neighborhood.  If we're going to attempt another high-risk pregnancy, it doesn't make sense to move away from this incredibly convenient set-up we have here.

So, I mourned the move for about a day.  Then I bought (and built) new furniture and painted the walls.  I rearranged everything in the living room and the bedroom.  I made pillow covers and new table linens.  A large piece of glass will be procured to keep them nice.  The thought of possibly being pregnant, miserable and couch-ridden soon made me want to do all the heavy lifting now.  In the meantime, we've given up our semi-celibate lives, so we'll see what happens.

Pictures of the new decor to follow, just the "afters" because I forgot to take "befores."   Regardless of whether the pregnancy works out or not, I love our new blue walls.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Deliver Us From Evil

We went to see this movie last week.  It was pretty good.  More interesting to me is the fifteen-minute documentary on YouTube about the man who inspired the movie.  It's not unhealthy to be reminded now and again on the demonic forces all around us.  I think we might all take life more seriously if we were more aware.

There is some language; be ye warned.

Oh, Ralph Sarchie has also written a book, "Beware the Night," which I intend to read just as soon as it drops on our doorstep.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Purple Potatoes

I've decided that our diet of baked chicken and steamed broccoli is boring.  In order to remedy that, without straying too far off budget, I've started looking for some more interesting dinner selections.  First up, purple potatoes.

We found them in the little organic market where we got the Chestal cough syrup.  They all looked pretty old and neglected, and some were well into the process of growing legs long enough to walk away.  We picked out three of the youngest looking ones.  Apparently purple potatoes taste just like regular white potatoes, but have more antioxidants and are therefore healthier.  I ask you, why aren't these more common?  Probably because they're purple.  Whatever.

We had purple mashed potatoes with pink salt.  It felt like a Dr. Seuss kind of evening.

Where Has This Cough Syrup Been All My Life?!

Okay.  I've been sidelined by a horrible hacking cough which started two weeks ago with one night of otherwise innocuous sinus drainage.  Dave has been sleeping on the couch almost that whole time just to get some sleep.  I certainly haven't been sleeping.  I've been subsisting on little more than Halls menthol drops and DayQuil syrup.  That horrible persistent dry tickle deep in the trachea was all that remained, but it was impossible to reach with medication and it just wouldn't go away.  I think I tore my vocal cords at one point just from coughing.  It had progressed to the point that each cough triggered a dramatic gag reflex, which generally makes one a social pariah, especially at church.  I thought the worst was finally behind us, but yesterday the drainage started yet again, and a fresh sore throat started creeping down over the worn out scar tissue left by the last one.

I wasn't okay with another two weeks of this.  Fortunately, we met some new friends through their skittish cockapoo Clementine who attends Andy's puppy playtime at PetCo, and they recommended a holistic honey-based cough syrup called Chestal.  I didn't have high hopes, but it was worth a try.

Oh.  My.  Gosh.  The stuff is magic.  I had full-blown postnasal drip with lots of mucus and sore throat on top of the old dry tickle from before.  A few doses (it can be taken every two hours) and I slept through the night.  The dog slept through the night without sighing at me.  Dave slept through the night, NOT on the couch.  I woke up and felt great.  NyQuil can't even compete with this stuff. And it tastes good, on top of everything else.  I'm going to have to canvas all the little organic shops in town, because we grabbed the last bottle.  Also, Riccola cough drops are beating the pants off Halls.

The list of ingredients on the box was especially fascinating to me. I'm not even sure what most of it is, but I like that they broke the list down into the various functions.  Looks like it will cure just about any cough out there.  I had several of the varieties listed, but once you feel it coat the back of your throat - and stay there - magically you don't feel like coughing anymore, and you are free to sleep or do whatever.  I might have to smuggle the bottle in my purse for Sunday.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Flouro Hysterosalpingograthingy

So, following up the surgery, the obgyn referred me back to the radiologists for "flouro hysterosalpingography."  The name alone was enough to be off-putting.

Suffice to say, the procedure was unpleasant.  I was in no mood for the doctor's questionable bedside manner, particularly while I was wearing little more than a giant paper napkin.  After pumping my unmentionables full of sticky brown dye (which induced some cramping), they pushed me under a giant x-ray machine and eventually were able to determine that my uterine cavity is now normal and that my tubes are not blocked.  I was never concerned about my tubes; in fact, I would have been perfectly happy to have at least one of them blocked.  One woman's blessing is another's problem, I suppose.  At this point, I'd be happy to donate my tubes to some deserving recipient somewhere.

I'm finally just fed up with people poking around up in my uterus.  I'm generally a healthy person otherwise, but ever since this problematic organ entered service four years ago it has helped me learn more than I ever wanted to know about emergency rooms, blood work, IVs, local and general anesthesia.  It has been scraped, probed, irradiated, photographed, ogled at, tested, dissected, resected, injected, and all kinds of other mean, nasty, ugly things.  Sometimes it seems like I spend more quality time with speculums and intravaginal ultrasound wands than I do with my husband.  I've just had enough of people messing with it.  I'm sick of this little temperamental blob of scarred flesh holding my life hostage.  I almost hoped one of my tubes was blocked so I could have the satisfaction of telling them not to fix it.

But it would be a waste to go through all these procedures without trying again at least once.  That won't happen until next year.  Whether we are successful or not, a pregnancy would sideline me immediately for an indefinite amount of time, and I have a cross-town move to plan, crap to pack, walls to paint, etc.  Best case scenario would mean another caesarian at least.

Trying to stay positive and hopeful, but I'm just done with it.  If I could send my uterus off to go to its appointments without me, I would.  There are other things I'd like to do with my life.

Not actually me.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

The Paw Project

I am aware that cat de-clawing is not the greatest tragedy in the world, but I watched the movie anyway just to be better informed.  I was shocked by how uninformed I actually was.

De-clawing does not mean simply trimming a cat's nails, or even surgically removing them at the root.  Cat claws grow directly out of the last bone in the toe, so that entire bone is removed.  This results in severed tendons, abnormally short toes, and often chronic infection as the nail attempts to grow back inside the toe.  De-clawed cats are often more insecure, resort to biting, and have difficulty using the litter box because of the pain in their feet.

Proponents of de-clawing are often veterinarians who make $1,000+ per hour for the procedure, and well-intentioned people who believe a de-clawed cat is more likely to find a home.  They are usually unaware of exactly what the procedure entails, and shelters report that de-clawed cats are often abandoned as a result of the behavioral problems caused by the de-clawing.  

My libertarian mind is on the fence about whether or not I'd want to see de-clawing outlawed, but I'm certainly in favor of spreading awareness.  Clearly cat owners are not going to get unbiased information from their vets, so they should get it from somewhere.  De-clawing is a barbaric practice that can cause a lifetime of pain and complications.  It is also completely unnecessary when there are alternatives like claw sheaths available. 

See the movie.  It's streaming on Netflix and YouTube.  Or, make a donation at and they might send you a copy.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Parenthood Lite

Random ways having our dog is training for having children, in no particular order:

1)  Whatever you are doing, there must be room for sitting in your lap and perhaps napping there, no matter how awkward it may be to continue or finish whatever activity you were doing in the first place.

2)  She has socialization therapy (aka "Puppy Playtime) twice a week.  Inevitably, one of those times is Saturday afternoon when everything else happens.  Reorganize your schedule accordingly.

3)  Once she starts co-sleeping, good luck getting her to sleep alone in her own bed.

4)  When she wants to play, she asks nicely with a tap on the leg or a nose-nuzzle to the ankle.  When you ignore her, she resorts to growling, whining, groaning, and the tantrum dance.  If you are staring at the laptop, she will make annoying noises or just smack you in the face.

5)  She is very specific about the toys she wants to play with at any given time, and how the game will be played.  She manages to communicate this fairly well without words.

6)  She never picks up her toys.

7)  She enjoys destroying her toys.

8)  We now handle poop multiple times on a daily basis.

7)  On bad days, we also handle vomit.

8)  You never again leave the house without the appropriate supplies to handle a public poop.

9)  Other parents give you compliments about how beautiful she is, although neither of you had anything to do with it.

10)  Errands and outings are structured as much as possible around nap-time.

11)  There is always a load of stinky puppy pads to be laundered.

12)  "Doggie radar" is running 24/7 in the back of your mind, making it hard to focus like you used to.  When things are very quiet, it is generally a bad sign.

13)  Six times out of ten, you need to take something out of her mouth.

                                   . . . to be continued.

In Recovery

So, the hysteroscopy went well.  At least, I think it did.  No serious complications so far.  It's hard to judge the bleeding because the sort that happens every month decided now would be a fine time to go off as well.  Hopefully I can stay out of the hospital for a while.

I feel obliged to try another pregnancy after going to all this trouble, but I'd rather not try it right away.  Probably after we move next year.  Because the last thing I want is to be a helpless invalid when it's time to move house.

They said they would probably have to do a laparoscopy, but might not.  They never told me whether they actually did it, and there isn't any information in my print-outs.  Oh, well.  Not having any pain has to be a good sign.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Summer Sweets

I have a few new favorite treats that will help get us through a hot summer without tons of guilt.  I am loving the mainstream trend of all natural.  If I can find the good stuff at Food Lion, so much the better. We live so close I could walk there, if I weren't afraid the goodies would melt on the way home.

Talenti gelato is my new preferred "ice cream."  It tastes fabulous and has an extremely short list of ingredients.  We haven't tried the mint yet; it just had the prettiest picture.  We have tried the double dark chocolate, coconut, sea salt caramel, and coffee chocolate chip.  Here's the label for the coconut.

Fabulous, no?  We will be buying more of this stuff in the future.

I thought our popsicle days were over, but these are awesome!  I was afraid they would be watery and heathy-tasting, but they aren't.  They are the best popsicles I've ever had, and only 70 calories each.  If you're too lazy to make your own (like me), these are the next best thing.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014


Everybody needs to blow off some emotional steam now and then.  My drug of choice is sad music.  We just went to see Captain America: The Winter Soldier in theaters, so we're in that genre at the moment.  Here are the best sad superhero soundtracks I could find.

Ok, so apparently Captain America and Thor have the market cornered on sad soundtracks.  Here are a few extras.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Upcoming Surgery

Ok.  I expected to be able to post actual 3D images of the ultrasound I had recently for visual exhibits, but the CD copy they gave me is completely unreadable to my laptop.  So I scoured Google for some stand-ins.

Here's a normal uterus, for the sake of comparison:

Exhibit A: The Ideal

Here's a partial septate uterus, like mine.  It looks more like a Y on the inside, but the outside is almost normal.

Exhibit B: Definitely Not Ideal

Here's the plan: surgically remove the septum.  They don't know that it's THE problem, but it's something they know how to fix.  

Exhibit C: Burn the Monster Out

Whatever.  It will mean a thirty minute out-patient procedure.  Might as well while we have no deductible and no co-pay.  It will probably mean re-instituting our semi-Josephite marriage arrangement, but we're old pros at that by now. 

Monday, April 28, 2014

No Love For the Blog

Poor blog, dying the slow death.  Let's see if we can resuscitate it.   I don't even remember what was happening when the posts dried up.  Let's see . . .

Oh, yes.  Personal make-overs, projects, and fan art.  Now for some quick updates.

(1)    The personal makeover is still in effect, though I've gone through several different tattoo designs by now and ended up hating them all.  Nothing is really wrong with them, but I can't decide where I would put them.  So now the focus is just working out and losing twenty pounds.  Seems feasible.  Unfortunately we weren't able to move to the better apartment with gym facilities, so getting to the gym on base requires setting aside at least a three-hour chunk of time, which the little poodle doesn't appreciate.  It basically burns all the crate time for the day, making errand-running hard to schedule.  After about a month of putting in these gym trips, I lost five pounds, but gained four back over the Easter weekend.  This resulted in a personal ban on milk chocolate.  Currently down two pounds of the four, for a total of three pounds lost.

(2)    Projects!  There are too many of them.  I find myself trying to prepare jewelry and stockings for both private commissions and craft shows, as well as using up lots of hoarded papercrafting supplies for personal projects and special requests.  At some point, I also decided to experiment with a hideous old piece of furniture my family knows as "the Elliot table."  Rather than chucking it in the dumpster, I decided to sand it down and see if I liked it any better naked.  I had no idea how long it would take to sand down a little side table and how many freaking sanding blocks I would burn through.  Fortunately I found said sanding blocks for $0.49/each at the salvage store.  Now I'm that crazy person who spends hours on the patio making horrible scraping sounds.

(3)    Took a time-out day yesterday to unwind and write fanfiction.  I have several stories running, two in various stages of publication, but I actually managed to churn out a whole page of new text for the one my husband is collaborating on.  First chapters are always hardest for me.  I'd rather get on to the good stuff.

(4)    Health updates.  After lots of drama and phone tag and scheduling snafus, I managed to get in for a hysterosonogram ordered by my OBGYN.  They didn't find anything incredibly interesting, but saw enough to determine that I do not in fact have a true bicornuate uterus, but only a partial septate uterus.  The plan now is to burn (or scrape?) the septum out in the hopes that it plus a progesterone treatment will increase the odds of a successful pregnancy.  I don't really have a lot of hope for it, but I'm willing to give it a try.  Frankly, they could destroy my uterus, and I would probably thank them.  The only thing that gives me the jeebies is their plan to put a camera through my bellybutton.  Yikes.

(5)    Doggie updates.  Andy continues to be nervous and anti-social around other dogs, but we keep taking her to Puppy Playtime at PetCo twice a week, hoping for a different result.  If the trainers just let me into the enclosure with her, we seem to see some results.  Despite being only nine pounds, she has no time for little dogs, but has perked up for a Great Dane and a Rottweiler named Valkyrie.

(6)     Debt report.  Ever since we committed to a puppy (who is now one year old and a Big Doggie at heart), overpaying the debt has been almost impossible.  The financial drain was quick and incredible.  However, after six months of minimum payments, I think we've made at least the beginning of a healthy recovery, especially since the little princess doesn't have vet appointments every two weeks.  We may even start overpaying again, except that now the older car is having a diva day for it's 60,000 mile check-up, and we expect at least a $1,300 bill.  Maybe next month.  Here's where we stand now.

This represents 61% paid, which is based on the number we started with when I started making all these silly pie charts.  However, if I use the original total of this loan, not taking into account the paid-off car loan, it looks more like this.

81% paid.  Booyah.

(7)    Work report.  Dave re-enlisted and, as of this morning, passed his weigh-in!  Yay!  Next time around it won't be quite so stressful, because one of his previous failures (one of which was not official and should not have even counted against him) will no longer be relevant, and his entire career won't be on the line.  However, since this is the year of personal make-overs, next year won't be a problem at all.

(8)    Also, I have a bra that fits!!!  It has been a personal revelation.  I've never paid $75 for a bra before, but Nordstrom is the only place I can find the appropriate range of sizes for purposes of trying on.  I had been attempting to fit into a standard 36 or 38 C, D, or DD for YEARS.  It was a daily battle of strap-slippage, cup-spilliage, and awkward manual adjustments, finally resulting in a personal routine of wearing a sports bra over the underwire one just to provide some staying power.  I now have a 34F (in British sizing) and it is FABULOUS!  Now I want to evangelize everyone.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Personal Makeover 2014

Ok.  My goal for the year (besides clearing out and using up all the craft supplies) is to stop wallowing in self-pity and carbohydrates and flatter my vanity a little bit with a personal makeover.  Technically I already started in December with the dramatically short haircut, but now that the latest pregnancy misery is over with, I have other plans.

The first is to lose twenty pounds.  My wedding weight was an all-time best at 145, last seen four years ago.  We've been going to the gym a lot lately.  It's a long way away, it smells like sweat, and it's full of grumpy stinky people, but a commitment is a commitment.  I'm starting at 165.

The other major item is another tattoo, this time the coat of arms awarded to St. Joan of Arc.  I'll do that instead of hitting the Reese's cups this time.
Maybe I'll also buy myself another awesome pair of boots.  

Meanwhile the OBGYN wants to do more ultrasounds, blood tests and chromosomal analysis.  At this point I'm just ready to walk away and be done, but Dave wants to know.  So, in two weeks I'll go get poked with pins some more.

Friday, February 28, 2014

Finish ALL the Projects!

Apparently we still have at least a year before we'll be moving, but I'm still taking advantage of the interim to use up all the hoarded craft supplies that are clogging up the spare bedroom.  I'm finally finishing all the decoupage canvases I'd planned, and continuing the shift in the master bedroom color scheme from red to blue.  As part of that plan, the idea came to me to use Dave's old uniform blouses to re-cover two boring pillows that came with the comforter and add a personal touch.

These would also be a great idea for kids with deploying parents.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Nerd Moment: Fan-art Win

While the substance of "The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug" was initially a colossal disappointment, in the ensuing weeks I've at least managed to appreciate the scenery, soundtrack, and almost every clip of Legolas.  I've been trying to imagine Thranduil's cavern palace for years.  Also, just hearing them say some of the token Sindarin words I've been using in fanfiction since I was eighteen was fabulous.

Meanwhile, considering myself an unauthorized authority on all things Thranduil, I wasn't thrilled with Lee Pace's incarnation of the character.  I do approve his voice, if he could just speak without the affected zombie cadence Peter Jackson's ruling Elves seem to favor.  Just spit it out already.

The upside is that the new movies have inspired scads of fan-art online, most of which is blah, some of which is humorous, and a very few of which are absolute gems.

This was the first and only decent artist rendering of Thranduil I could find, meeting Celeborn in Greenwood after the War of the Ring.  No idea who the artist actually is.  The fact that it doesn't show his face just made it less problematic.  Though, it would be nice to not have to imagine Thranduil's face all the time, and Lee Pace just doesn't cut it.

Huzzah!  An idle internet search turned up this beauty by NaSyu, which for all intents and purposes looks like somebody printed my mental image on canvas.  If I could just learn to draw faces, we wouldn't have these problems.  In the meantime, I have this, which I open on my laptop whenever I attempt to write these days.

Now for the bonus round!  Last night I actually found an exceptionally good young Thranduil by Brilcrist.  And his eyes are actually green!  SCORE!  I'll have to keep periodically checking Google Images for further developments.

Add this just because it's cute.  ^_^

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Life Happens

Contrary to all indications to the contrary, the blog has not died.

Christmas was so swamped with projects and commissions that we didn't even decorate, which is a first for me.  The only thing we did put out was the Advent wreath, and it's still out.

After all the chaos died down, we realized I had accidently turned up pregnant.  January crawled by in a haze of relentless morning (and noon and evening) sickness, finally resolving itself in one distinct bleeding episode and two weeks of blood tests and cryptic ultrasounds.  Eventually it was determined that I had miscarried very early but that the placenta was alive and well and determined to make me sick indefinitely.  A D&C was successfully completed yesterday afternoon.

That is basically what has been consuming our lives.  My OBGYN group wants to finally do some follow-up to try to pinpoint what the problem is, but frankly I can't be bothered to care anymore.  I really don't care.  If I could have my way, I would never be pregnant again.  I'll humor the doctors for a while, but if they want me to do months and months of charting and testing and injections and procedures, I'm going to beg off.  I'm not going to cross state lines; I'm not going to invest excessive amounts of time or money.  I refuse to let the best years of my life be consumed by wasted efforts to make my decrepit reproductive system function normally.  Life is too short for that much pointless vomit.  Hope is dead.  Hope makes us miserable.  We're done.  We've accepted it.  Now, let's adopt some kids and get on with our lives.  Finito.

Florian Casimir
January, 2014
5-6 weeks