Tuesday, August 30, 2011

And The Answer Is...

I had to stalk my OB all day on Thursday to get the CVS results. Even after our discussion three days earlier, she told me that she thought the MFM would give me the results directly (WTF?! We had that conversation, and she told me she'd get them to me as soon as she got them). I caught her on her cell phone, while she was on the maternity ward, so she had no clue. She promised to try to track down the results, and called me back 45 minutes later, just as I was leaving for the airport. I was extremely tense by this point, needless to say!

So, want to know the results? The prelim results are normal. And, it's a girl! We are over the moon. We both would have been thrilled, of course, with a healthy boy, but we are so delighted to have two girls. Sisters. Pure joy! We don't get the full test results for another week or so, but I'm breathing much easier.

We've been at my MIL's for the last few days without wifi-so uncivilized!! The hurricane was nothing more than a little rain and wind, but it did delay our travel plans by a day. We're now at my mom's for the rest of our trip. It's been a whirlwind so far, so I'm looking forward to relaxing a bit here. I've never dealt with jet lag coming from Europe to the U.S., but it's kicking my butt this time. It's definitely tougher being pregnant! It's been really nice being here and seeing everyone, and so fun to sit on the beach and play with with Miss M. She has been such a little water bug. And her language skills have just exploded since she's been here! She has loads of new words, and has started with sentences. It's also been great to watch her with her grandparents, and they are really getting a kick out of her.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Going Home

When I looked at the list of blogs I read regularly, three of them had posts starting with the word "Going," so I figured that I needed to, as well. And indeed, I'm headed home tomorrow, and so very excited about it. I can't wait to get my hands on my baby and give her a big hug--husband, too!

So, my CVS results were supposed to be ready in 48 hours. That would be today. As you know if you read my last post, I called my OB before the test to make sure she would get me the results as soon as they were in. I even told her I'd be worried and was anxious to get them. She assured me I'd get them the second they were in. Guess what? I didn't get the results today. Grrrrr.....

Needless to say, I'll be bugging her office in the morning.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Chorionic Villus Sampling #2

I drafted this long blog post last night about how I was being totally zen, and what I did all weekend, and how much I miss Miss M and T, and how proud I am that she is such a well adjusted, happy kid. But Blogger ate it. This is all that's left:

I'm sitting watching really bad t.v. and eating the most delicious warm plum and blackberry tart that I just baked for myself, complete with vanilla ice cream. Because if I chill with bad t.v. and yummy homemade baked goods, only happy things can happen, right?

Tomorrow is the test. I am. . .okay. I have momentary bubbles of anxiety that float up every once in a while, but. . . .

I stayed in that pretty zen space all of today. It helped that I was really busy with work stuff and had no time to dwell on it. Before I knew it, it was time to go to the appointment. . .and then I promptly got on the wrong train. I was panicked that I was going to miss the appointment altogether, but I ended up getting myself off the train, turned around, and onto the right train just in time to make the appointment. Whew!

Let me tell you, it was such a different experience from having it done in Boston. I don't love healthcare here, even though the quality is good, because there is often no customer service. But this doctor was warm and friendly, and took time to chat with me. He did the scan first, and it was so lovely to see the baby. I swear, the baby waved at me! It was adorable. I could clearly see arms and a bit of leg, head and spine. I swear I might have seen a bit of penis, too, but it's still so hard to tell! The doctor checked out a bunch of things on the scan, and said that things looked good. I saw the heart beating away, and got to hear it for the first time. My baby. It feels a bit more real now. The placenta is in the front, as it was last time, which was a bit of a relief. It makes the CVS a bit easier to have it in the front. The doctor fiddled around a bit to decide how to go in for the sample, then prepped me. This doctor, unlike the clinic in Boston, believes in using a local anesthetic. Whereas before I could feel the needle going through my stomach, this time I felt no pain in it going through the muscle, and just a tiny pinch instead. It was vastly improved, and I didn't even think it was that bad the first time I had it done with Miss M's pregnancy! I have to say, it really wasn't so bad at all.

I kept my eyes closed and tried to stay in my happy place while he took the samples. There is a little bit of whooshing sound as the sample is withdrawn, sort of a needle plunger type sound, and I think he took three vials. He turned the lights up and inspected the samples to make sure he'd gotten what he wanted. Then it was done. I have a tiny bandaid on my belly. He checked out the baby again with the ultrasound to make sure everything looked good, and he said the procedure had gone well and everything looked great. He talked to me for a couple of minutes, then asked me to sit in the waiting room for 10 minutes to make sure I felt okay. While we chatted, I asked him about his experience, and it turns out he's been doing these since the mid-80's and has done over 10,000 of them, which is really remarkable. They've been doing CVS in Europe a lot longer than in America. I went to the best clinic I could find in Boston, and I have to say that today beat Boston, hands down. It definitely makes a difference to have someone really experienced do the procedure.

So, it wasn't bad at all. Preliminary results should be in on Wednesday; full results in 10-14 days. I will be on pins and needles until then. Good thing work is scheduled to stay swamped through midweek. I called my OB today to see how I'd get the results from her (the specialist sends them to her; I can't get them from him). The results apparently automatically get forwarded to the OB's office either via email or fax. Surprisingly enough (no one ever answers the phone in doctor's offices here), my OB answered the phone herself. She promised she would email me the results as soon as they came in. Which is great, if the results are good, but what if they are not? I almost laughed at that. In the U.S., I had a special genetic counselor assigned to me, whose job it was to report all results to me, and to answer my questions. It's kind of hilarious that I consider myself lucky to get an email here!

Friday, August 19, 2011

It's Friday Already

It really is true--keeping extra busy is the way to make time fly. I worked all week, but also had an event every night. I can't remember Monday, to be honest. Tuesday I saw a play (and got home after 11--on a school night!); Wednesday I went to dinner with a contact (home at almost midnight--late two nights in a row!); Thursday I had dinner with a colleague; and tonight I had dinner with friends. The week has just FLOWN by! I can't believe my CVS is on Monday, and then I fly to the U.S. at the end of the week.

I am feeling a bit better about the CVS. The doctors office never called me back (I am really hating the utter lack of customer service in healthcare here), but I kept calling until someone finally answered the phone. The doctor has done 1000's of the procedure, according to the woman who answered the phone. I don't entirely believe her, because she also went on to say that he's been doing them for 17 years. I'm sure he's been doing amnio for that long, but the CVS technique only started ramping up in the early 1980's. I guess it's possible. Regardless, it's clear to me that he's been doing it for a long time, and my doctor trusts him, so I'm more comfortable. I'll have preliminary results within 48 hours, and full results in about 2-2.5 weeks. Now the trick is going to be to make sure I get the results before the end of the week. I have to get them from my OB. . .let's see how long it takes me to get in touch with her office to ensure that I'll get the results the second them come in. I think the chances are slim that I get the results in any sort of timely fashion, all things considered here!

I'm feeling good. I kept a busy schedule this week, but I haven't been overly tired. I've been eating well. My medication has really kicked in, so I'm feeling better. My chest is bigger this week all of a sudden, and work clothes (particularly the bottoms!) continue to be an issue. Strategic dressing is also kind of a pain. If I'm not careful, I really do look pregnant. I have one top, in particular, that makes me look totally pregnant. Something about the cut and the pattern of it. I wore it to the theater on Tuesday and threw a cardigan over it, but it's definitely out for work--at least until I'm out of the closet!

Tomorrow I'm headed back to Ikea to try to buy the rest of the things I need to finish redecorating our living room. I've given up on getting the rest of the house done. I had such high hopes, but time has gone by faster than I thought it would, and my to do list is still very long! Hopefully, I'll have a very productive day tomorrow.

I suppose it doesn't help that I just spent the last two hours researching train tickets. I've been holding off on booking any more travel until a few things fell into line, but they seemed to have fallen into place, and now I'm ready to be off. I want to get a few more trips in before I'm too pregnant to travel. I have three more trips (long weekend-y type trips) that I want to get in before the baby is born. . .if the baby is born. . .but mostly, before the baby is born. Look at me, all optimistic-ish.

I even made a plan for how we'll tell people, assuming everything goes okay next week. Well, it's not really a plan, and not even that cool, but I decided. I bought Miss M a big sister tshirt. It's very cute, and says "I'm going to be a big sister." I wanted to get her one that says "I have a secret" on the front, and then "I'm going to be a big sister" on the back, but due to her tendency to refuse to go in the direction requested, I thought I better not get a tshirt that had two sides to it. It will be enough work to get her to show people her shirt. We're having a big party while I'm home, and I'm going to have her in the shirt that day. That way, when people show up and see her, they'll get the news that way. . .if they are paying attention!

Monday, August 15, 2011

One Week

My anxiety is slowly ratcheting up regarding the chorionic villus sampling, which is scheduled for a week from today. When I scheduled the last one, it was all very 11th hour, so I didn't have any time to fuss over it. But we scheduled this weeks ago, and the closer it gets, the scarier it seems. If T. were going to be there, it would be so much easier. But I'm going to have to be a big girl and suck it up through the discomfort and scariness all by myself. Like the blood draw last week, the anticipation of the needle and the accompanying pain is probably going to be worse than the actuality. I'm committed to doing it, but I'm dreading it. I wish there had been time to do the NT scan and bloodwork, not that those tests would have made the actual CVS any easier. But, it would have felt more like wading in.

I'm 10.5 weeks now. It seems impossible that I'm that far along. This pregnancy is already 1/4 over. Time is flying by. I took belly photos for the first time last week, and once I saw them, I calmed down about being "huge." I'm growing out of my pants, but I'm not any bigger, really, than I was at the same point with Miss M. I just FEEL huge because all of a sudden, none of my work clothes fit. I opened up the maternity clothes box last week with great anticipation, excited to find work clothes that fit, but quickly realized that I'm utterly sick of everything that's in there. It's so funny--I was so happy with the stuff during my first pregnancy, and felt great about my clothes. Now I don't like any of it.

Even though I'm still feeling very unsure of this pregnancy, I did go ahead and order some new maternity clothes from Gap. They were all on sale and I had a coupon, so they were very inexpensive. I didn't get much--just a few pieces. I figure that if everything goes well next week with the test, I will buy some new things while I'm in the States. In particular, I desperately need maternity jeans that fit. I have at least a half dozen pairs, and they all fall off me. I find it so annoying to have to constantly yank my pants up. I just want comfortable pants that fit! Is that too much to ask?! If you know of a brand that fits slim women of average height who have no hips, please let me know.

I have absolute piles of work to do. August was supposed to be my slow month! I had set aside time this afternoon to review a giant stack of paperwork that I need to read in advance of an all-day meeting tomorrow. Of course, just as I was about to start reading, an urgent email came in that required that I read a different giant stack of paperwork. I never got to the other stuff I was supposed to read. So, lucky me, I brought it home with me, and now I have to read it all before 9am tomorrow. I guess I'd better get off my butt and start.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Home Improvements

When we first learned that I got my new job a year ago, and that we had six weeks to move, we made an executive decision to leave most of our decorative items (pictures and all of the other "stuff" that we had collected over the years) in storage. With a 5 month old, two careers to wrap up, and a house renovation to finish, the move alone was overwhelming. We just wanted to streamline it however we could. Since all of these things were already in storage from the renovation, it was easy to do. It was convenient. It seemed like a good idea at the time.

Except, now we are living in Europe and we have none of our things. Our entire townhouse is painted cream and white, with white wall-to-wall carpeting throughout most of the house (blond floors in the kitchen and dining room), and gold (yes, GOLD) striped curtains in EVERY room. It is neutral, neutral, neutral, and bland. Needless to say, the walls have been closing in on us for a while. The walls are screaming out for paint and art. I would have painted this week, but the I don't want to paint while pregnant, so that's out. So what's a girl to do, especially in a country where prices are at least 30% more than in the U.S.?

I headed to Ikea.

I had to limit my purchases, since I had to carry them home on public transportation. But I still came home with a very cool carpet for Miss M's play area, two pillows, five plant pots, three storage boxes for the bathroom, and a very cute plastic chair for Miss M (part of a table set, but I didn't have enough hands for the table!). I think I'm going to go back tomorrow. I saw two pictures that will look cute in the play area, I want to get the table and other chair for Miss M, and I also want some picture frames. Ooh, and this really cute circus tent. Right now I have a tent full of balls for Miss M, but it is truly ugly and cheap. The one I saw today is much cuter. The only problem is the bottom is flat with no lip, so the balls will roll out. I'm going to look to see if I can attach a little piece of fabric to fix that. I'm toying with the idea of taking a rolling duffel with me, so I can really load up on stuff tomorrow.

When I got home from shopping today, I rearranged the living room and Miss M's play area, making it bigger and much better. I emptied the bottom three shelves of both of our bookcases and filled them with Miss M's board books and toys (and moved the grown-up books up higher on the shelves and safe from little hands). I unrolled the carpet, and put the little chair together, and I have to say. . .it's so bright and cheerful and happy. I love it, and I think she's going to love it. T is going to hate it (more stuff! More clutter! More ways she can make a mess!), but he'll grow into it.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Being Heard

I'm grouchy.

It's been impossible to have a private conversation with my husband while he's been at his mother's house, in part because her house is open concept, and in part because he's always got one eye on Miss M. I've been looking forward to today, because my aunt was babysitting Miss M. and he was supposed to be by himself at our house that we own, doing some work in preparation for new tenants. Only, every time I called him today, there was someone different visiting him at the house. I know I shouldn't be annoyed by this, and I'm on the one hand glad that he had a chance to visit with so many people. On the other hand, I'm completely annoyed.

There have been family things going on while he's been in the U.S., but he hasn't been able to tell me about them due to the lack of privacy. I have no idea what is going on. I want to know. I want to know what he's in the middle of, and what's going to be expected of me when I arrive (or better yet, what kind of mess I'll be arriving to). I want to know what our daughter is being exposed to. I want to know what decisions and actions he's undertaken in light of what's going on. And. . .nothing. It's so frustrating being in the dark.

But even more than all of that, I just want to talk to my husband in the way that a wife talks to her husband. I want to have a personal conversation where he is focusing on me and what I'm saying, and vice versa. I want to talk about everything and nothing, just for maybe thirty minutes. It's a relatively small thing that I need. I am just at a point in my week where I really need to be heard. I need to be heard by him, in particular. I was so looking forward to him having a little pocket of time for me today, to having this little conversation where it was just us, and we could mutually unload and be together, and it's just not going to happen. Even worse, I don't know when I will get to have a real conversation with him.

See? Grouchy.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Plodding Along

It is sooooo quiet in my house.

T. and Miss M. left a few days ago. We've been Skyping at night, which helps a bit. She is incredibly adorable when we chat, reaching her arms out for a hug as though I can dive through the computer, and pointing around and using all of the new words she has learned since being there ("boat!" ; "grandpa!"). It is lovely, and heartbreaking. I miss them.

During last night's call, I inadvertently discovered that something must have happened to my cat, who has been living with my mother-in-law. It is now clear to me that he's dead. I've thought something was wrong for a while now, but was afraid to ask. I didn't want to know. When I realized it last night, it made me sob. My boys both left me far too soon. I miss my cats. It just breaks my heart.

But I can't dwell on the sadness. I need to keep myself busy and distracted--two more weeks to go here by myself! And let's see, I have my (solo) birthday and my (solo) CVS to look forward to, so yay for that (not really).

The good news is that I was finally able to get in to see the specialist on Monday. He was kind, and prescribed me what I needed without making me undergo any horrible tests (except for $300 in bloodwork that I had to pay up front for). I am feeling much better, although still pretty bloated. Or maybe that's just the pregnancy. I am truly enormous. My work clothes don't fit, and I've had to dive into the smaller of my maternity pants. Thank god for stretchy waists and flowy tops. I am seriously ginormous.

As I sat there waiting for the nurse to draw the blood, I started stressing. I just really didn't want to be there. I wanted to run away. I most definitely didn't want to be poked with a needle. But I sat there and started dreading my CVS appointment, which will be exponentially worse. It was bearable when T. was there to squeeze my hand and make sure I stayed in my happy place. I don't know how to do this by myself. I can't imagine being there without support. But, then the blood was drawn and it was all over, and I wondered what I'd even been tense about. I'm hoping the CVS will be like the blood draw--that the anticipation will be much worse than the reality.

Tomorrow I will be 10 weeks. Just a week and a half until my CVS. But 10 weeks. It's flying by. I'm still doing well--some odd stretchy pain across my belly from time to time, but that's it. But, I am also still having a hard time connecting with this pregnancy. I just can't let myself, not yet, which is just so sad. I am waiting for something to be wrong. I haven't been talking about it, but T. must know that I'm worried, because he kindly left me a card in a drawer, which he directed me to last night. It said many lovely things, including that he knows the baby is going to be just fine. I can't quite take his words as true, but his kindness lit up my night.

I miss them.

Saturday, August 6, 2011


I'm afraid to even say it out loud, but I am feeling just the slightest bit better. Over the last few days I think that the medication has started to kick in and do its job. I pray that this is the case, and not just an aberration. I've had NO luck trying to get the doctor's office on the phone. Sigh. On Monday I will try again.

T. and Miss M are heading to the U.S. this week for a visit. I'm going to go over in a few weeks, for the tail end of their trip. I've been away from them for a night or two, but never for days at a time, let along more than two weeks. I'm trying not to think about it. It's going to be really hard for me. No "good morning" waves, no baby hugs, no happy giggles when I get home from work, for weeks! I'm glad they get this chance to visit with family and friends, but I'm sad to be away from them for so long. I hope it is easier for Miss M than I think it will be. She has had a bit of a "mommy" thing lately. We will Skype regularly, but that's small comfort (for me, at least!).

We are spending part of today preparing for their trip. I'm doing as much as I can to make the trip easy for both of them. Our trip to Italy in June showed just how painful air travel can be with a toddler, and that was a much shorter flight, with two of us. I learned (after booking and paying for the flights) that the airline they are flying operates both its own flights and codeshares with an American carrier. The codeshares have no spaces for infants. The carrier's own flights allow ample space for infants, and are larger, less-full planes. Not knowing this, I originally booked them on a codeshare flight. After learning the better situation on the carrier's own flights, I happily paid $150 yesterday to change their flight. The only seat I could get them on the original flight was a window seat--ugh. Now they have a bulkhead seat with a bassinet, and the seat next to them is empty, to boot. Hope it stays that way!

Today we are going to a mall (a rarity here) to shop for a bag of things to keep Miss M occupied during the trip. We've timed the flight so that Miss M should sleep for maybe a third of it. The recommendations I have seen for flying with toddlers suggest packing a new toy an hour for airplane travel, and a snack an hour. I've already downloaded a new Tinkerbell movie onto T's iPhone (she LOVES Tinkerbell, and will sit and watch the entire thing). We're going to the mall in search of the new toys. I'm thinking there should be stickers, but I'm not sure what else. Hopefully I'll find some good stuff at the mall. Suggestions welcome--I'm sure I won't find everything today.

Thursday, August 4, 2011


Life is actually pretty good here in Borneoland. Miss M is a thriving little chatterbox who mimics everything we say. The weather has been summery and beautiful (rather than cool and rainy as it had been). We've been having fun. Friends from homehave visited, and we've made some new friends here. But there's always a "but", right?

When I got pregnant with Miss M, my gastroenterologist at the time told me she wanted me on med's, to prevent the proctitis from relapsing. I stayed on my med's, I stayed healthy throughout my pregnancy, and that was that. Before I got pregnant this time, I asked my new OB if she thought I should go back on my med's as a precaution. She didn't think so. Big mistake, not finding a gastrenterologist here. I didn't go on my med's. Now, at just 9 weeks, the pregnancy has sent my body into a tailspin, and the proctitis has come roaring back. My only other relapse in the last ten years was caused by an antibiotic-related c-dif infection. I am feeling pretty lousy.

The worst part is that I'm having trouble getting an appointment. Doctors here tend to work at multiple locations, and they don't fully staff their offices. So when you call, there is often no one there. I've been calling the gastro for three days, and no one has ever answered the phone. I emailed my OB for another recommendation, and never heard back from her. Why give me your email address if you aren't going to respond? It's so frustrating. There is no customer service here at all, at any level. It's amazing that people expect so little. Today I will get more pushy, but I don't expect anything to come of it.

I am 9 weeks today. Just over 2 weeks until my CVS. I'm a little nervous. I have to go by myself. T. will be in the U.S. visiting family. I could ask a friend to go with me, but I'm not up for it. I haven't told anyone we're pregnant. Pregnancy-wise, things are going well. That
part of me feels well, and I've had no more spotting since the very beginning, which is nice. I seemed to continually spot with Miss M., and it
was a constant source of worry. My belly is becoming really obvious, and I'm quickly growing out of my work clothes. I only have a handful
of suits that actually fit. I had T. bring in the box of maternity clothes from the garage yesterday, and I'm hoping to find a Bella band to use
today. Buttoning my pants is too uncomfortable, especially with the colitis pain. I can't believe I'm growing out so quickly. I had to wrap a
blanket around me when I skyped my mom last night, because what I was wearing totally showed my tummy, and she would've known immediately.

Okay, off to dig out some things for work this morning.