Monday, July 29, 2013

The First Trimester

You know those people that have zero nasty first trimester symptoms?  The girls that you envy because they have it so easy their first trimester of pregnancy?

I’ve been that girl.

With Trenton I had no nasty symptoms in early pregnancy.  No morning sickness, no headaches, fatigue was manageable, pretty much nothing to write home about.

I didn’t have any of the above with Charlotte either.  I did have a bit of stress though since I had early bleeding and cramping.  It amounted to nothing, but I was able to see her three times in my first trimester!

Things have been different with this little Poppyseed.  I found out I was pregnant on Wednesday, May 15th.  I called my OB, and they wanted me to go in to have an HCG blood test done and another one 48 hours later.

I went to the hospital lab Thursday morning, and then again Saturday morning before a t-ball game.  Then I had to wait until Monday for results.  I had a miscarriage right around the new year (no, you didn’t miss anything; very few people knew about it, and it’s not something I want to really talk about, so this will be all you hear of it), so the wait for test results was agonizing.

Monday the 20th, I got the call – my hormone levels looked great.  I was indeed pregnant!  My doctor was out of town until after Memorial Day, and I would hear back after the holiday as to when he wanted me to come in for an appointment.

On Saturday, May 25th, we were getting ready to go out to an airshow.  Everyone was ready, and Jarrod was getting our bag together.  I sat down at my computer, and immediately started cramping really bad.  I got up and went to the bathroom and saw that I was bleeding too.  I went upstairs, curled up in bed, and hoped the cramps would stop.  After about 10 minutes, I decided to call my doctor’s call service.  Since my doctor was out of town, I was given the number for the on-call OB.  I called him, and he told me that rather than having to wait until Tuesday to be seen, I should just go to the ER to find out what was going on.

After having blood drawn and giving a urine specimen (and a lot of waiting), I was wheeled up for an ultrasound.  Hospital policy is that the patient cannot see the screen and the tech cannot tell the patient what is going on.  Talk about putting someone who is already stressed on pins and needles!  After getting wheeled back down to the ER and more waiting, the ER doc came in for a pelvic exam.  As he was examining me, he told me that the baby was fine, but I had a sub-chorionic bleed – a pool of blood between the uterus and placenta.  He told me that some bleeds end in miscarriage, and some bleeds resolve themselves and the mom goes on to have a normal pregnancy.  He sent me home with instructions to rest in bed or on the couch as much I could and absolutely no lifting. 

I got a call from my doctor’s office on Tuesday, and they echoed the ER doctor’s instructions.  They also set up an appointment for me to come in the following Monday – June 3rd – the day the kids and I were supposed to leave for Texas.

My appointment on June 3rd went perfect.  I got to see my Poppyseed, who had a good heartbeat for 7 weeks (136 bpm), and the doctor couldn’t see any more of the sub-chorionic bleed (all of my bleeding stopped after 3-4 days).  I no longer needed to lay around all day, but I still couldn’t lift anything over 20-30 pounds.  I was also given my due date – January 20, 2014 – two days after Trenton’s 5th birthday.

I went in again on June 18th for another ultrasound because my doctor just wanted to make sure that everything still looked okay before we went on our roadtrip vacation.  Little poppyseed was a hyper thing!  It was hopping around all over the place and had a heartbeat of 183 bpm.  My doctor told me I was good to go for vacation, and I didn’t have to come back in for another month – right before our rescheduled trip to Texas. 

By this point in the pregnancy, I was starting to have some morning sickness symptoms, but I never actually threw up.  I just spent most days feeling miserable.  I wasn’t really sure how vacation would go.  But it went pretty good for the most part.  I got sick the first night we were gone (I have since learned that high temperatures, sun, and eating too much Mexican food don’t mix).  Other than that, the rest of vacation went well.  Hiking 5ish miles to Devil’s Kitchen tired me out, but I made it.  I couldn’t get in hot springs heated pool, but Jarrod handled two swimming kids on his own perfectly.  And Napa?  Well, Jarrod got lots of extra wine…

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Once we got back home, morning sickness symptoms had subsided, but headaches had come in their place.  And two kids who constantly have to be making some sort of noise didn’t help matters much.

I’m still getting headaches off and on, but they aren’t nearly as bad as they had been.

Another pregnancy symptom – pregnancy glow.  Everyone talks as if this is some great thing.  But let me tell you – if your face is glowing so much that you break out like a teenage schoolgirl, it’s not so cool.

I’ve also started getting spells of dizziness and lightheadedness since the last few weeks of my first trimester.  At my 13 week appointment, my doctor told me that this was perfectly normal, and is probably being exacerbated by the fact that I seem to have a hyper Poppyseed with a fast heart beat (165bpm at 13 weeks).

After a somewhat rocky start, I’ve settled in well with this pregnancy.  I’m 15 weeks today, and I’m just waiting for the moment I start feeling little Poppyseed moving.  We also should find out the gender in about 5 weeks.  Get your guesses in now!

Sunday, July 21, 2013

The Friendly Skies

The third try was a charm!

If you remember, the kids and I were supposed to come back to Texas for a visit the day after Easter, but Charlotte was sick.  Then we were going to try again after Memorial Day.  Charlotte was sick again, but surprise – my doctor wouldn’t let me travel either (more to come on that another day).

But this past Friday rolled around, and we were all okay to travel!  Yay!  Here we come, Texas!

And we had an EARLY start to our day.  Jarrod and I were up before 3:00am Friday morning, the kids were up before 3:30, and we were out the door headed to the airport by 3:45.

The kids stayed awake for the 1 hour, 15 minute drive to the airport and were great waiting in lines checking our bags and getting through security – where of course the mom with two young kids on her own gets randomly chosen for extra security measures.

The San Jose airport isn’t very big, but Charlotte has normally wanted to be carried at least partway down the terminal.  I was a little nervous about this because I’m not really supposed to be lifting her.  Thankfully she wanted to be a big girl and make her way through the airport on her own.

We made our way to our gate, sat down, had a few snacks, and waited to board.

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While we were waiting Trenton spotted the pilot waiting to board.  Trenton asked me if he could go talk to the pilot, and I told him to go for it.  He walked up to the pilot, introduced himself, and struck up a conversation with the man.  Trenton was so excited that the pilot talked to him, and I was proud of my little man for being brave enough to go and talk to an adult that he didn’t know.

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One of the flight attendants snapped this and then asked for my phone number while we were in-flight so that she could text it to me.  Southwest Airlines has some great people in their company!

Once we boarded, got settled in our seats, and pulled away from the gate, the pilot came on the loud speaker to greet the passengers.  And he gave a shout out to the new friend that he met at the gate – Trenton!

The kids did great on the flight.  They each slept about 30 minutes.  Otherwise they kept busy on the iPad, doing workbooks, and coloring in coloring books.  Trenton even colored a picture for the pilot that he gave to the pilot when we got off the plane. 

The kids also kept me busy.  I made four trips to the lavatory.  Thankfully both kids never had to go at the same time.  It’s getting crowded with two of us in the bathroom; I can’t imagine trying to fit all three of us in there anymore!  A plus side to those bathroom trips – I didn’t have to worry about the extra walking around that preggos are supposed to do on planes since I fit it all in with potty breaks.

Speaking of being preggo – I was nervous about getting sick on the flight.  I made it through the first three hours of our flight feeling fine.  The last thirty minutes were a little rough though.  A massive headache set in, and I even had to pull the barf bag out of the seat at one point.  I didn’t have to use it, but I definitely thought I was going to need it a couple of times.  And then just as we were about to land, Charlotte started saying that her tummy was hurting.

Thankfully we all landed without anyone needing the bags.  And my headache subsided about thirty minutes after we landed.

So, hello Texas!  And hello 1583% humidity!  We’ll be soaking up the hot summer sun for the next couple weeks (and probably a lot of A/C too!). 

 

*Thanks to everyone for their kind comments about Charlotte’s upcoming surgery and our big pregnancy announcement! 

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Charlotte’s Medical Stuff

If you remember back to last month, after yet another UTI, Charlotte’s pediatrician and pediatric nephrologist decided to refer her to a pediatric urologist.

We met with the urologist for the first time at the beginning of this month and had an ultrasound of Charlotte’s kidneys done.

Friday we went up to the children’s hospital at Stanford for another test and another meeting with the urologist.

The test that Charlotte needed was a VCUG.  She had this test done when she was 11 months old, so I knew what to expect, but she didn’t.

But the hospital’s child life specialist had a little class for Charlotte to teach her what was going to happen during the VCUG and what Charlotte’s job during the test was.

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X-ray photos would be taken of Charlotte’s urinary tract after she laid down on the table.  Then a catheter would empty her bladder and insert a contrast dye.  Whenever Charlotte felt like she needed to pee, she was supposed to let everyone know so the techs could grab more pictures of her urinating.

The class didn’t make Charlotte like the VCUG (there was quite a bit of screaming and crying involved), but she knew what she was supposed to do, and she did it!

After the test, we walked across the street to the medical clinic for our appointment with the urologist.  She explained to Jarrod and I that Charlotte had grade 1 vesicoureteral reflux one side (grading is done on a scale of 1 to 5, with 5 being the most severe) with urine refluxing partway up the ureter.  This is exactly what Charlotte had when she was first diagnosed at 11 months old.  The other side was a grade 3 though with urine refluxing all the way into Charlotte’s kidney.  This is why she’s been getting such bad infections the past year.

The urologist told us with the frequency and intensity of Charlotte’s infections, coupled with the VCUG findings, Charlotte would need surgery to fix the reflux problem.

I am waiting to hear from the schedulers, but Charlotte will most likely be scheduled for ureteral reimplantation surgery sometime in September.  Both ureters will be detached and reattached at different places on the bladder.  The surgery will involve a 2-3 day hospitalization.  It has a 99% success rate, and we’re praying that it fixes Charlotte’s UTI problems once and for all!  

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Berry Picking

If you haven’t noticed, we kind of like pick your own farms around here.

We’ve picked blueberries in at College Run Farms in Virginia, and here in California, we’ve picked strawberries and apples at Gizdich Ranch, cherries at Buckley Cherries, and now we went back to Gizdich to pick ollalieberries.

I’m pretty sure that the ollalieberry picking was my favorite out of everything that we’ve picked.

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Remember how we found bluebonnets (called lupines in California) earlier in the spring?  Back in Texas spring brings bluebonnets and these sweet little berries called dewberries.  I picked dewberries with WaWa every spring growing up.  Dewberry picking was my favorite springtime activity.  Even when I didn’t like eating them.  When I was really little, WaWa tried to get to get me to taste dewberries by telling me that they tasted like M&Ms.  Well, dewberries are sweet, but they are no M&Ms – especially not to a preschooler.

Anyway, just like bluebonnets are called lupines in California, dewberries are called ollalieberries here.

So we set out over the weekend to pick some.

Charlotte fell asleep on our way to Gizdich, so she and Jarrod hung out in the car while Trenton and I got a head start picking.

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Saying that Trenton is a picky eater is an understatement.  I wasn’t sure if I could even get him to try an ollalieberry.  But he finally decided to taste one.  I watched as he slowly chewed and then started jumping (normally a sign that he doesn’t like something and wants to hurry up and swallow it so he can get a drink).  All of then sudden, he started yelling out “YUM! YUM! YUM!”.  He now says that ollalieberries are his favorite fruit and are sweeter than strawberries.  He even asked me if they have ollieberries in Heaven.  He wanted to make sure he could eat them forever and ever!

Once Charlotte woke up, she and Jarrod came over to help Trenton and me with the picking.

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Trenton gave Charlotte pointers on berry picking: only pick the purple ones – the red ones aren’t ready yet, watch out for thorns, look down low in the places that grown ups miss, and don’t wipe the berry juice on your clothes.

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Both kids did a great job picking, but I’m pretty sure more went in their mouths than in their buckets!

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But we still had plenty of berries to bring home!

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And we’ve been busy with our berries.

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We’ve made two pies already, and still have a gallon of berries in the freezer!  I’m thinking that jelly is next on our list!

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Big Trees & Big Wine

Okay, finally – the last post about vacation. 

Our last two days of vacation were spent seeing things that we knew we couldn’t pass up while driving through Northern California.

First on the list – giant redwoods.

We’ve been to the redwoods at Henry Cowell State Park near Santa Cruz, but The Avenue of the Giants trees dwarfed the ones we had seen before.

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These are some big honkin’ tree roots, people!

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Tree roots that my kid wanted to climb inside like it was a cave!

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Then there were the drive-thru trees.

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Can trees really be this big?

We spent $11 to drive thru two trees, but hey – we did it!  And we managed to do it without scratching up the car either.  It was a tight squeeze even with the mirrors folded in!

The next morning, we woke up in Napa Valley.

But gosh, what is there to do in Napa?  I couldn’t think of anything

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Oh yeah, that!

By this point in our roadtrip, the kids were getting a bit antsy.  We knew that we only had time to hit one vineyard before we had to head home, and we wanted to do it right.

So we picked the one that had a skyride – Sterling Vineyards.  The only vineyard in the world with one!

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The place had it all – gorgeous views (even though the weather wasn’t perfectly clear), a cool self-guided tour, “wine juice” for the kids, and of course, good wine for the adults!

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We had a fantastic vacation, but it was time to go home.  And we were glad to be back! 

 

Did you miss any of our vacation posts?  You can catch up here:
Turtle Bay Exploration Park – Redding, CA
Lassen Volcanic National Park & Drakesbad Guest Ranch
Lava Beds National Monuement
Wildlife Safari – Winston, OR & Prehistoric Gardens – Port Orford, OR