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See this shirt?

Yesterday, it was brown.  Although the picture doesn’t do its new color justice, today it is orange.  It was my favorite shirt, and now, it is an attempt at deep-cleaning gone wrong.

See this bread?

This morning, it was a whole loaf that I had slaved one Saturday in the kitchen to make.  A few hours ago, it was the dog’s snack while Bear and I were at music class.  He is still hiding in Bear’s room.  For good reason.

And see this?

It’s just because.  Happy Friday!

P.S. Dear friend whose birthday is today, that is your birthday card is under that destroyed loaf of bread, and it is still waiting for a stamp.

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This post was written a week ago, but my computer problems were not as resolved as I thought.

* * * *

I’m back in business!  Our computer problem was not caused by a virus.  On the contrary, it was caused by too much security! A very helpful IT guru named Gunnar determined that we had too many security programs running at once, and they were so effective that our computer would not even function.  That is certainly one way to keep viruses away!

In the spirit of offering a quick update, I am almost out of my first trimester.  I’ve been doing lots of sleeping, eating, and throwing up.  In other words, this seems like a completely normal pregnancy, and so far, an easier one than my first.

I am knocking on wood as I write those words, though, because yesterday, I received a call at work from Bear’s daycare to say that several children had been sent home with suspected Fifth Disease, and they were concerned about Bear’s bright red cheeks.

That morning, she woke up with cheeks that were flaming red, but not hot to the touch.  I thought that she must have been hot at night, and I took off her sleeper and dressed her in cooler clothes for daycare, but still, the color did not fade.  I mentioned her cheeks to her teacher as I dropped her off, and I told her that I thought that the color was related to an irritation from another child’s sunscreen that I was fairly certain Bear was wearing when I picked her up the day before.  Along with Bear’s food allergies, she also has eczema, and several times this winter, she developed a bright spot on her cheek after being exposed to something her skin didn’t like.  Considering that Bear was wearing someone else’s pants and her diaper was on backwards when I picked her up the day before, it didn’t seem like a stretch to think that someone had applied the wrong sunscreen.

However, the call from daycare that afternoon concerned me.  If other children also had a rash, then Bear very well could have Fifth Disease.  Although Fifth Disease is a common and fairly mild illness, it can cause complications with a fetus in pregnancy.  As my doctor put it to me this morning, “the good thing about getting Fifth Disease early in pregnancy is that either you go on to have a perfectly normal pregnancy or you don’t.”  I must have given her a look with that remark, and she explained that the alternative is a rough pregnancy with complications to the fetus.  I wanted to ask what was good about the “you don’t” alternative, but I decided to keep my mouth shut.

Regardless, by the time I picked up Bear, she looked completely normal.  Her cheeks were not red at all.  If it weren’t for the signs warning parents about a “viral rash” going around the building and the city, I wouldn’t be concerned at all.

This morning, I had blood drawn to see if I am immune to Fifth Disease, meaning that I have had it previously.  If I am immune, then I have nothing to worry about.  If I am not, we’ll learn from the test if I have recently become infected, and if not, we’ll test again in a few weeks to be certain.  Hopefully, I’ll just be immune.  I’d rather not learn what could possibly be good about my doctor’s “you don’t” comment.

* * * *

Update:  I am still waiting for those test results!

Today’s lunch was fodder for the ongoing food stories that my husband likes to tell about his pregnant wife.   He still talks about the time in my last pregnancy when I mixed peanut butter, bananas and Rice Krispies together in an attempt to satisfy a craving.  It wasn’t very good, and I admitted that the concoction wasn’t quite right.  He thought it was strange.

The only thing that sounded palatable this morning was rice pudding.  So, I set to boiling milk and rice and had another pot cooking eggs for decorating later, when I decided that rice pudding really isn’t a nutritionally balanced meal.  Since it was not going to be ready in time for lunch anyway, I really needed an alternative.

I had made roast on Monday, and the plan had been to eat it again last night, but I just couldn’t stomach it.  Somehow, I convinced myself then that I would be better able to eat it today for lunch, but when lunchtime arrived, I still couldn’t find it in me to eat that meat.

As a young girl, I remember my mom taking leftover roast and grinding it through a Kitchen Aid Mixer attachment to make a wonderful roast beef salad, similar to tuna or chicken salad.  Shortly after I got married, my grandmother gave me the semi-practical gift of a food grinder attachment for my mixer, and amazingly, it survived through Bear’s infancy without me pulling it out to make baby food.  Honestly, I forgot that I had it, but there’s nothing like strange pregnancy cravings to remind you of the obscure kitchen gadgets that have been hidden away in storage for too long.

So, I pulled out my very-own food grinder, found that it was amazingly simple to attach to my mixer, and after microwaving my beef to kill any bacteria, I began stuffing it into the food grinder.  Bear cheered as long ribbons of meat billowed out of the machine.

I’ll be the first to admit.  Ground-up roast beef looks disgusting, and in my last pregnancy, it would have sent me running for the toilet.  But, strangely, the sight didn’t bother me at all today.  I pulled out a brand-new tub of Miracle Whip, since the last one was still in our fridge from Bear’s pregnancy, and chopped up some really great homemade pickles that I bought from a local farmer (as though this ingredient were going to redeem the grossness of my creation).  I mixed them all together and tasted it.  It was pretty close to the roast beef salad that I remembered my mom making.

I would have preferred some of that white, processed fluff that we used to call bread, but I had to make do with a more rustic variety.  Even slathered with Miracle Whip, though, I couldn’t stomach the bread.  So, I heaped a large pile of roast beef sludge onto my plate and ate it happily with a spoon.  Bear seemed to have lost her enthusiasm for the meal, and after a few bites, she scooted it around on her plate with her fingers and then planted the side of her face into it.

I briefly considered taking a picture of it to text to my husband, but I decided to spare him the details.  If only you were so lucky!

The plan for dinner tonight is to make some really good ribbon pasta, but since I have developed a strong aversion to tomato sauce (I can hardly think about it without shuddering), I will probably resort to making Alfredo sauce, which I usually do not like at all.  Alternatively, if I can stomach garlic, I could probably use only olive oil.  I may attempt some asparagus, but there are no promises.  With the rice pudding, it’s going to be a white, and nutritionally unbalanced meal.

And this, folks, is probably why Bear was a huge newborn.  I survived on chicken nuggets for the first 14 weeks of her pregnancy.  I didn’t want to do it again, but I’m in survival-mode.  Can I just promise to eat better in a month or so?

Spooky Moon, originally uploaded by rcbodden, Flickr, Creative Commons.

I had just put Bear down to sleep for the night, and closed her door behind me, when she started screaming. At first, I thought that these were her typical, I-don’t-want-to-go-to-bed screams, but they quickly escalated in pitch, so I turned around and went back into her bedroom.

She stopped crying as soon as she saw me. She was hot – a damp hot. In a few minutes, she had soaked through her fleece sleeper, and her hair felt wet with sweat. She sat straight up in her crib looking at me, whimpering and gasping for air.

What is wrong?

She looked at her bedroom window, the blinds closed tightly against the night outside, and pointed. Her whimpering got louder.

Outside? Did you see something that scared you?

She nodded, and I picked her up. She curved her hot little body against mine and closed her eyes. I sat down in her chair and began rocking her.Bear twisted her body in my arms toward the window and pointed again. She wasn’t going to forget whatever had happened, and I felt a little prick of fear inside of me. What if she really did see something? What if someone was outside her window? I decided that I had to be brave, even though my little toddler pointing insistently at her bedroom window was starting to freak me out.

Do you want me to check to make sure nothing is there?

She nodded again. So, from where I sat, I reached over and quickly pulled back the blinds. Nothing. Either nothing was there, or nothing was there now.

See, honey? There isn’t anything there. You’re fine.

I rocked her for a little while longer, and she seemed to relax. I carried her to her crib and began to lay her down amongst her babies. Her eyes popped open. I assured her that I would be right outside her room, and if she needed me, I would be there. I told her not to worry anymore. She closed her eyes again and rubbed her cheek against her blanket.

But, I was still a little worried. When my husband got home, I asked him to go outside to check. He scoffed at my concerns. She saw a light, or a sweet gum ball probably hit the window, he said. Maybe.

Since that night, about twice a week, Bear will start screaming in the middle of the night. I’ll go into her room, and she’ll be sitting up pointing at the window. I’m fairly convinced that nothing is there, but her insistence is starting to spook me. What if she knows something that we don’t?

One week ago, I went for my second progesterone draw, fully expecting this test to show that I had ovulated since my temperatures had confirmed it several days before.  If the results weren’t as I hoped, or if I continued spotting, I had a plan.  My doctor wanted me to have a saline sonogram to rule out fibroids or polyps as the source of the strange spotting, and then we would move on to Femara to address my ovulation issues, which she thought might also be causing the spotting.  So, despite having ovulated late, I was in good spirits.  I knew that I had ovulated!  If my problems continued, I had someone on my side willing to help me deal with them.  And the fact that the sun was out helped.

Later that day, the spotting started – pink at first and then red and constant.  I was looking for it, though.  I have come to expect spotting four to five days before my period.  My spirits took a little dive, but I reminded myself that I had expected this.

That evening, a winter storm moved in bringing bad news.  I discovered a bill in the mail for the first of my progesterone tests.  Despite my history of PCOS and a prolactinoma, and that I had seen my doctor for irregular spotting, all of which are good medical reasons for checking progesterone, the tests had been coded with an infertility code.  Of course, my insurance company had jumped at the chance to deny coverage.

I expected to pay out-of-pocket for actual assistance in getting pregnant.  I knew that my insurance company wouldn’t cover Clomid or Femara, any of the monitoring that goes along with those drugs, and certainly not any of the steps beyond them.  However, I thought that it would cover diagnostic tests up to that point, including the saline ultrasound that my doctor had ordered.  I had taken this test in the past, in part, as a means to diagnose PCOS, and although I had different insurance then, it was covered.  But, this time around, suddenly, I was paying out-of-pocket and had been branded by my insurance company – all too soon – as infertile.

Snow continued falling on Saturday, and the spotting continued.  My mood worsened.

On Sunday morning, I woke up early.  Since I would be calling my doctor’s office on Monday to schedule the saline sonogram, I decided that I should take a pregnancy test at least once.  Then, I could wait for my period to arrive.  I was awake, so I decided that I might as well take it that morning even though it was probably several days too early to be accurate.  I was completely cavalier about it, since I had already decided what the outcome would be.  I hardly waited three minutes before picking it up to throw it away.  I didn’t need to waste time on something that I already knew to be true.  But, I glanced at it as I was carrying the test to the trash can, and what I saw yanked me out of my stupor and caused me to look again.  All of those times that I had spent willing a line to appear next to the control line, and there it was!

I carried the test to my surprised husband and shoved it in his face.  Don’t get too excited, I told him.  I’m still spotting, so let’s not celebrate just yet.  At my insistence, the day went on like normal, but even though I had given up on optimism, I couldn’t help but be a little excited about the possibility.

I saw another positive on Monday morning, but the spotting continued, alternating from red to brown and back to red again.  However, unlike with my daughter’s pregnancy, I was not cramping at all.  With her, I spotted throughout most of the pregnancy, beginning around six weeks or so, but I did not spot this early.  We were on vacation when we found out that I was pregnant with her, and I would remember if I spotted then, because I would have had a heart attack.

Instead of panicking, I called my doctor’s office to report my positive tests and the spotting.  As expected, they wanted me to have my blood drawn for a beta and another progesterone test.  They also agreed to resubmit my previous tests using other legitimate codes.

I received my results the next day, just as the spotting was tapering off.  I had an hCG of 90 and normal progesterone at 25.2!

The rest of the week was uneventful.  After five days of spotting, I have seen no more.  I still have very little cramping.  I even went to a yoga class on Thursday morning.  If it weren’t for the positive pregnancy tests, I would not believe that I am pregnant.

Just as I did with my daughter’s pregnancy, I continue to marvel at our luck.  We reached the point where I was ready to seek help, but we were fortunate to get pregnant without needing it.  Just several days ago, our heads were spinning as we added up the costs of several progesterone tests and an ultrasound.  I cannot imagine the financial burden of having to pay for more as some of my friends have done.  Although I know that few positive tests are not the end of the game, they are a very good first start.

I am ready to grasp onto optimism once again and see where it takes me.  Admittedly, it is much easier to be an optimist when one has already almost gotten what she wanted.  While I am a fair-weather optimist at best, I am ready to push away the dark clouds.  Did I mention that the snow melted away, and spring has finally arrived?

 

Bear ran out of milk at daycare yesterday.  Actually, she ran out of Lactaid.

In a pinch, my husband, who dropped Bear off and who was already running late, agreed that they could give her regular milk instead.  He did not have time to think about the consequences.

When I picked up Bear, she refused to walk with me.  When I held her, she screamed.  So, I let her walk, while I half-dragged her to the car.  She cried the entire way.  I assumed she was in a bad mood.

On our way home, I attempted to console her by explaining in detail all that we would do once we were there.  We would see Doggie.  Yes, she nodded her head.  We would change her clothes.  Yes, she nodded her head.  We would make dinner.  No nodding.  No eat, she said.  You’re not hungry? I asked.  No eat, she insisted.

At home, she agreed to a warm bath, which she quickly ended because of tummy trouble, and then I propped her up on the couch with her pillows, blanket, babies, and a sippy of Lactaid.

My husband called to say that he would have to stay late at work, and I mentioned that Bear seemed to have a stomach ache.  He cursed and explained why.

We have tried several times to slowly transition Bear back to whole, lactose-containing milk, but each time, she has developed issues fairly quickly.  We don’t dare introduce legumes into her diet, because we know that she will have an allergic reaction, but with intolerances, sometimes, we are a bit more willing to stretch her boundaries.

However, giving her multiple cups of lactose-containing milk in one sitting was not a good idea.  I don’t blame my husband, because he is not well-educated on such matters, but switching cold turkey must have been a shock to her system.  And, it is a good reminder for us that a problem that seems non-existent when well-controlled comes back in a fury when given the chance.

I prepared myself for a busy week on Monday, knowing that the past two had not given me much opportunity for work.  Two weeks ago, I was called on Tuesday to pick Bear up from daycare because she had a low-grade fever.  I worked from home on Wednesday.  That next Monday, Bear had an allergic reaction, and although my husband left work to take her to the doctor that day, neither one of us were able to work on Tuesday due to the blizzard that followed.  I also worked from home that Wednesday.  Since I only work Monday through Wednesday, I had accomplished very little the previous two weeks, and I knew that I needed to put in a full three days of good work this week.

Monday and Tuesday went well enough.  Late Tuesday afternoon, my husband called to say that he thought he had the stomach flu.  When Bear and I arrived home that evening, he shut himself in the bathroom and refused to see either of us.  Bear was worried, and so was the dog, who kept pacing back and forth in front of the bathroom door.

The next morning, I took Bear to daycare and then I stopped by the store to pick up some soup and ran it back by the house.  When I peaked in the bedroom to ask how he was doing, he said that he thought he was a little better but that his stomach now hurt in only one place.  I thought that was strange, and I told him that he should consider calling the doctor.  On my way to work, I kept thinking about his symptoms and the more that I thought about it, the more it sounded like something serious was wrong.  When I got to work, I googled appendicitis and quickly called him.  He was already on his way to the doctor’s office.

After several tests, he called back to confirm that he was going to the emergency room for surgery to have his appendix removed.  So, once again, I left work with the same box of files that I’d been carrying around for two weeks, and I headed to the emergency room.  It had snowed the night before, so the roads were slushy and slick, and by the time I made it to hospital, I could no longer see out of my windshield because I apparently had run out of washer fluid at that exact inopportune time.

I found my husband in a bay in the emergency room.  They had given him an IV and anti-nausea medication, so he seemed better than when I had last seen him.   When the doctor and nurse returned, he kept joking with them and making reference to some movie that no one had seen where Chevy Chase attempts to take out someone’s appendix through their chest cavity.

Shortly, they moved him from the emergency room to a pre-operative area, where we sat for about 45 minutes, during which time the surgeon returned to explain the procedure, a nurse came by with various consent forms for my husband to sign, and the nurse anesthetist appeared to explain general anesthesia.  Soon, they were wheeling him away, and I was left standing there alone.

I spent the next thirty minutes or so trying to maneuver through the hospital to find a lot close enough to the surgical waiting room where I could unload my box of files and computer.  Finally, I returned to the waiting room with only my computer.  Instead of turning it on, I sat and stared at boring daytime t.v. on the television and randomly searched on my iPhone, researching selfish questions like, “does general anesthesia affect sperm?” since our attempts to have another baby would be on hold.

The surgery was completed rather quickly, but my husband stayed in recovery for quite a while.  I eventually met him in his room, and our extended family joined us there later that evening.

Fortunately, my husband is home now, resting comfortably on the couch.  Our family left an hour ago, and Bear is chattering in her room, instead of napping.  I now have a moment to sit down at my computer to write.  I am ready to return to days of boredom and normalcy without illnesses, allergies, and blizzards, and especially without appendixes.

I am sitting in my arm chair at home in front of two large windows staring into the cottony world outside, only ten or so feet away.  Bear is sleeping, and all of the sounds of the day are muffled by the blanket of continually-falling flakes.  I think that Bear must be wearing fluffy, white earmuffs, because she slept late this morning and continues to nap without any sign of waking.

I am supposed to be working on a motion.  I’d rather practice yoga in the snowy light.  Instead, I’m writing about it, which is good compromise, I think.

I woke early this morning with the intention of practicing yoga then.  I drug myself out of bed, stopped for a moment to peek outside at the white covering every visible surface, and snuck as quietly as possible down our squeaky hallway and into the room where I now sit with the intention of starting my day with yoga.  I was partway through my first sun salutation – battling my slippery hands that threatened to flatten my down dog – when my phone beeped.  I peered at it in my dark room thinking bad thoughts about the bozo who was spam-texting me at 5:30 in the morning.  Instead, after some contemplation, my still-sleeping brain realized the significance of the message.  Bear’s daycare was closed for the day!

As a hastily worked-out childcare arrangement, I spent several productive hours at work this morning, and then traded places with my husband, so he could practice law and I could stay and play with Bear.  I think that I negotiated the better deal.

This morning, my husband emailed to ask if the Cozy Coupe had all-wheel drive.  This afternoon, I think that we’ll find out!

RANDOM BEARISMs:  At lunch, Bear pointed at a picture of Martha Stewart and said, “Grandma.”  This is almost as complimentary as the time she pointed at a picture of Beyonce and said, “Mommy.”  I choose to understand this as “Mommy looks like Beyonce” rather than, “I wish Beyonce was my mommy.” 

Further RANDOM BEARISMs:  When Bear woke up from her nap, she sat up in her crib and told me, “Me and Margot are going to go out in it.”  Margot is a friend in her class at daycare.  And by “go out in it,” I think that she meant the snow.  I’m glad that my $14 at Target for snow pants will finally see justification.  Now, if only I knew where Margot lived . . . .

Is spending too much time on eBay looking for a new pair of shoes for Bear a good excuse for not updating this blog in quite awhile?  Probably not.  I have a couple of pairs that I’m “watching” though.  I tend not to enjoy the bidding aspect of eBay, which results in a lot of watching and waiting.  In the past, whenever I’ve found something that I want – usually after a lot of research and scrutinizing – I have placed a bid only to lose to someone more eBay-savy than myself.  And then, I’ll spend a good hour or two mad about it.  Isn’t the “Buy Now” feature easier?  If only I could find good Stride Rite shoes for less than $30 somewhere else.  Bear is about to grow out the last pair that I bought her at a consignment sale in, um September, so we’re going to need a new pair very soon, and I grew weary of the monthly Target shoe purchases this summer.  I bought monthly not because she grew out of them, but because they fell apart.  The last pair Bear had from there, the ladies at daycare actually asked me not to send her back in them.  They wouldn’t stay on, and she kept tripping on them.  Hence, all of my time wasted on eBay, and I still have no shoes to show for it.

Instead of Trick-or-Treating this year, we took Bear to the zoo.  Fortunately, she is too young to really understand that she was missing the opportunity to amass a lot of candy.  Next year, candy avoidance is going to be much more difficult.  Hopefully, by that time, she will have outgrown her soy allergy.  I feel like we could work around the peanut allergy, but soy is in nearly Every Single Piece of candy that I looked at.  Finally, I purchased a package of special allergy-free Sour Worms at Whole Foods.  The package indicated that it had 20 packs of worms inside.  When I opened the package and took out a pack to give to Bear, I found that it had ONE worm inside.  Yes, one.  As did each and every other pack.  I bought 20 allergy-free sour worms for $6.00, which works out to 30 cents a worm.

Aside from the lack of candy, Bear had a great time.  She recovered from the stomach flu (yes, that came to visit us a week after Hand, Foot, & Mouth Disease), and she loved dressing up for her daycare Halloween party.  She was the last to leave, and we literally had to drag her out of the building.  We treated Bear to the zoo next, and since her favorite books right now are Goodnight, Gorilla and I am a Zookeeper, she was delighted to see the animals.

We kept seeing another young couple with a sleeping baby at each exhibit.  Bear refused to ride in the stroller and for awhile, Dad carried her on his shoulders.  Before a long walk back from Africa, we decided that she needed to ride in her stroller, and we gave her no choice but to get inside.  Bear screamed and howled and trashed and kicked.  I noticed the young couple watching us.  As we walked away with a yowling Bear, I told my husband that they were thinking one of two things:  Either “That’s what we have coming next,” or “Our child will never act like that.”  I remember thinking something similar to the latter one day as a little boy followed me around a store beating on a drum.  Every time I turned around, he’d stop and walk the other way.  As soon as I started walking again, he’d follow me banging on the-most-annoying-toy-drum-ever-made.  Even now, as I recount this, I am thinking, “I can guarantee that my child will never wander around a store alone,” but I am sure that someday this thought too will come back to haunt me just as that young couple’s sweetly sleeping baby will soon enter the Frequent Public Tantrum phase.  I do have limited experience, but I am fairly certain that all toddlers try their parents in this way.  And, I have no doubt that Bear comes by it naturally.

The first time Bear pointed at a picture of a goat in one her books and said, “Goat,” I was amazed.  The child had never seen a goat in real life, and it seemed like a strange word to choose to make one of one’s first.  There are not an abundance of goats in her books – only one or two that I can recall (and let me tell you, I’ve read them enough times that I would know).  Sid hasn’t learned about goats in his quest to “know everything about everything.”  And, even though Bear has “country” running through her blood despite being raised in the city, she would never come across a goat at our farm.  So, her special attention to goats surprised me.

Today, Bear finally met a goat.  In fact, she got up close and personal with several.  She swatted their noses, despite being told only “soft, gentle touches.”  She beat on the heads of a few goats that weren’t fast enough or cared enough to move, and she grabbed a number of crusty tails that were caked in who-knows-what (OK, I do, but I’m trying not to think about it).  Bear had a good day.

After her nap, I think that I’ll pull out her one or two books where goats make an appearance and enjoy her reaction.