Monday, August 24, 2009


About 2 o’clock yesterday afternoon, I started to spot. It was very little and very light brown in color. After a few hours, I turned to that world-renown medical expert, Google, and surprisingly it didn’t make me more paranoid. Everything I read online and in my pregnancy book led me to believe it was not cause for alarm. It was the right amount and the right color to be “normal” in the first trimester.

Nonetheless, I went to the bedroom every 20 minutes or so to check. Nothing much changed until about 2 a.m. I awoke and went to the bathroom. The spotting was heavier; it was a bright red; and there was a little tissue. I was sure at that time that I had miscarried. Exactly one week after I found out I was pregnant, I no longer was.

I had a hard time falling back asleep but I guess I eventually did. When Jason woke up in the morning, I told him that I was bleeding through the night. He told me the implications of that didn’t register with him until later, when he was on his way to work.

I fell asleep again and when I woke up it was around 9. So, I called the OB office and they told me I could come in to see a doctor. I felt very sick this morning- both my pregnancy nausea and my normal stomach issues. So, it took a while to leave the house and required a bathroom stop during the 40-minute drive to the office. Jason met me there and waited during my visit. I had a hard time giving a urine example, but it was enough for them to do a pregnancy test. It was still positive, but I wasn’t foolish enough to think that was an important indication so early after the onset of symptoms. The nurse told me I was right.

It was my first time meeting the doctor. Other than the fact that he resembled my brother-in-law far too much to be doing the job, he was pretty good at all that “stuff.” He said I was looking at 3 scenarios: an etopic pregnancy, a normal pregnancy with spotting as a symptom, or an abnormal pregnancy. He ruled out the etopic pregnancy with the exam. He said everything looked normal and that 50% of women have spotting during their first trimester. (I’m pretty sure that’s a generous statistic from all I have read.)

I thought I understood what he was saying, but upon driving home, I realized I was a bit confused. In his office consultation, I asked if this could just be normal, and his response included the phrase “threatened miscarriage.” That’s with the normal not the abnormal pregnancy? I should have brought Jason back for consultation. His questions would have probably irritated me but I would have left the visit with a greater understanding undoubtedly.

The doc sent me to have blood work done. I’m severely dehydrated. She tried taking it from my hand to no avail and was finally able to do so from a vein on the outside of my forearm. They are testing my HCG levels and then will again on Wednesday to compare if the levels are going up or down. I will also have an ultrasound on Wednesday to see if the baby’s there. Then, I have a follow-up appointment with the doctor on Thursday morning to discuss everything.

Since I got home from the doctor’s appointment, I almost wasn’t spotting at all. Then, around 6, there is bright blood again. I can’t tell if I am cramping or not. I don’t know whether to call any general discomfort a cramp. Then, I will feel certain there is a cramp, and it is just gas.

I worked myself up to looking at the miscarriage chapter in the pregnancy book, but I couldn’t read too much before I had to put it down. It said that several days of spotting was a sign of miscarriage. I don’t understand how that correlates with the whole idea that it is normal for some women to spot during pregnancy. I guess it has to do with amount and endurance. It also said that a lack of symptoms such as breast tenderness was a sign. Although I am still feeling the general nausea all day long, my breasts are no longer tender.

I feel certain I have or am in the process of losing this baby.

Friday, August 21, 2009

It Takes Two Baby

For about a week, I was waking up with very sore breasts. I didn't think much of it at first and contributed it to PMS symptoms. It didn't really occur to me that it wasn't the right time for that. A couple of those days though, it did occur to me that it was different than the normal PMS breast tenderness. It reminded me very much of the times many (many, many, many) years ago when I breastfed the boys. There was a fullness to them, as if I might start leaking at any minute.

Then, it was kind hard to overlook the fact that I was going to pee a lot, like every 20-40 minutes, a lot.

So, on Friday night (8/14), late in the night after everyone was in bed, I googled pregnancy symptoms. In retrospect, I have can no longer refuse that I was in denial because even females that haven't been through this lil journey before know that sore breasts and frequent urination were symptoms of pregnancy. Web MD confirmed these suspicions. Then, of course, I deleted that day's history because I was being "ridiculous" and didn't want Jason to see what I had been looking at.

Saturday nothing significant happened and I didn't think much about it. On Sunday, as I was getting dressed, I walked past the dresser mirror naked and noticed immediately that my breasts looked different. I told that gal in the mirror, that certainly couldn't be me, "you're pregnant."

Nonetheless, I got dressed and engaged in Sunday's goal- to clean our bedroom. I tried to find a movie to watch as I did. Of course, every screen listed some movie related to pregnancy or babies. So, I settled on "He Said, She Said" and started to clean.

I didn't see much of the movie though because a mental flip switched and I decided to go to Farm Fresh and get a pregnancy test. Like a 16 year old girl with her boyfriend waiting in the car, I lurked through the pharmacy aisles looking for the boxes to no avail. Then, I saw they were in a locked cabinet at the pharmacy counter. Of. course. they. were. So, I had to ask the pharmacist for one... and yes, of course, I blabbered on to give the impression it wasn't for me. Something to the effect of, "She said to make sure I got the EPT."

I paid for the test at the pharmacy and snuck it, peeking over my shoulder and under stalls, into the bathroom. Why did I decide to do this in the public bathroom of a grocery store? Well, let me at least attempt to justify by saying that it is a very large and clean and moderately new bathroom... but mainly, when it said negative, I wanted to throw away all the evidence before I came home.

So... I tried... and... of course... for the first time in many days... I. could. not. pee.

I grabbed a large bottle of Dasani and chugged it as I unecessarily stressed over what kind of pasta to buy. Then, I headed back to the bathroom. I was a bit peeved that you were forced to buy 2 pregnancy tests. Was I supposed to stash the second one in my sock drawer to have handy the next time I thought I was pregnant?

So, the stick was wet. I placed the cap back on and rested it on my leg. It was a digitial test so there was a flipping little hourglass to show that it was working. The instructions said that it would take 3 to 5 minutes for the result. I closed my eyes and took a deep breath and the ridiculous thing read "Pregnant."

Well, that can't be right, I thought as I suddenly understood the logic of including two tests and failingly tried to do the second one. I needed some "recovery time." So, I grabbed the few things I needed from the store and went across the street to Belk, a department store. I walked around in the baby clothes for a few minutes feeling completely numb. I considered laying against a rack, just so overwhelmed by it all. However, I realized how pathetic that would look and considering my already present "nonbaby girth," they very well may think I was a woman in labor.

So, I went to the Belk bathroom and took the second pregnancy test. Same result. Wow.

Thursday, August 20, 2009


I am 37 years old.
My youngest son turned 13 earlier this week.
My older son will turn 17 next month.
Two weeks ago, my husband had a vasectomy.

I'm pregnant.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Summer Vacation 2009

We've been back a few days now from summer vacation. Ten days in Pennsylvania. I had debated going to Orlando instead, which was next year's plan, because I was afraid to miss out on the many good deals being offered to military families right now. However, when our friends' wedding was planned in PA for a Saturday in July and Jason's family reunion was planned for the subsequent Saturday, also in PA, the vacation plan basically outlined itself.

The hard part was that the wedding was scheduled on the Saturday following the Friday that ended summer school. So, there was little time for extensive planning or rest before hitting the road. I wrapped up the semester in record-time, deposited the check in the bank, did some final packing and hit the road. It was a smooth 6 hour drive to Harrisburg, a central spot we decide to camp (not literally) at for the week, before moving north for reunion. It was one of those drives that made us question why we don't travel more often.

The wedding was an absolute fairy tale. It was like a movie- everything that a wedding "should" be. The service was at St. Patrick's Cathedral. I realized that it was the first time I had ever been in a Catholic Church... and likely to be the last. The formality of it was so foreign to me. Mother Theresa is one of my personal heroes so I am not doubting the ability of a Catholic to form a close relationship with God. However, I don't feel that I could in that atmosphere... not too mention that I am just too fat and lazy for all the stand up, sit down, and kneeling. The reception was at a country club trimmed with all the traditional events... plus an open bar. There was no one there we knew, except our friends; they expressed such gratitude that we made the trek to their event that it made me all the happier that we did also. I was glad too that the boys were able to be there and see how such things were, being an only child myself and Jason's family not being the most traditional bunch, it's probably one of the few chances they will get until their own friends are marrying.

We went to Gettysburg for two days. This is the part of the trip I was lamenting the most. I had even contemplating staying at the hotel and sending Jason with the boys for the day. I dread anything related to history, only in part due to my complete ignorance of it. Jason didn't believe me the previous week when I told him I didn't even know what Gettysburg was. I was being honest. Surprisingly, it was my favored part of the trip. When we arrived, Jason made the offhand comment about how different things may have been had the South won the war. I concede that my images of Confederate flags and stereotypical rednecks may have been excessive. What really made me think though was the tour guide's emphasis on how this massive war was one in which Americans were killing Americans. That, was a devastating concept to absorb. So much of the area has been untouched that it was easy to imagine the battle scenes being described- well, as easy as could be with my modern mentality. The battlefields are peppered with monuments to the fallen soldiers and battalions. The second day that we went back to the area, we spent the greater part just driving around and looking at the memorials. I learned that Gettysburg was the turning point of the war, even though it continued for the next two years. I learned that General Meade was the winning force at Gettysburg for the Union although he had just taken charge, reluctantly, three days prior to the battle. We did a bus tour of the area that was very educational. We also bought a package of tickets to 6 museums that were complete tourist traps. I saw enough wax figures that we could melt them down to make candles to light birthday cakes for every person in America for the rest of their lives.

We also spent a couple of days at Hershey Amusement Park. Now, that was as dreadful as I imagined it would be. Cameron doesn't like to do most rides and that is accompanied with Jason's frustration because he won't. Add to that the fact that I have stopped doing rides over the past few years... because I fear those signs "Ride will not accomodate guests of larger size" applied to me. I spent most of the two days walking from bench to bench to sit and read. I did don a bathing suit and hit the wave pool one day though... for a very brief time until a mom (of a possibly terrified toddler) told me that you could see right through the back of my bathing suit. Upon closer inspection in the changing room mirror, I learned if you have been wearing a bathing suit for three (or more) years, you really need to check the material for wear... especially in the obscene places. I think Jason and Justin did all 11 roller coasters, and by the second day I had coaxed Cameron to give a few a try, which he did, and enjoyed (thankfully).

We went to Lancaster for one day, Intercourse and Bird-in-Hand. We didn't have a real itinerary so we hung out in the town center for the most of the day. We saw some movie about the Amish and toured through a (set-up) house. We had lunch and did some shopping. I was quite disappointed to discover that everything closed at five, and I was unable to get a pretzel. We did manage to find a late buggy ride though... unfortunately, I completely forgot how allergic I was to horses until I was wheezing in the back of the carraige, gasping for air. Interestingly, Cameron says this was his favorite part of the vacation. What I found most interesting was the juxtaposition of simple life to modern life, such as the buggies and wagons (and scooters!) alongside the cars on the freeway. An 85 year old woman with more than 100 grandchildren was having a funeral right on the outskirts of town that day, so we saw a lot of Amish "traffic." I was worried that I was objectifying them, but when Jason talked to them, they seemed perfectly fine with the money that tourists provided to their economy. My guess is that they have become much more assimilated to mainstream society than Amish communities in more remote areas. The simplicity of life is fascinating to me, but I am no fool to think it is a life I would want.

The final leg of our vacation was traveling to Meadville for family reunion. I realize I probably sounded like I was a complete grump this entire trip, because it seems I am complaining a lot in recounting it... and while I am sure there were days I made it less bearable, overall, I tried to keep the perspective that the boys were enjoying it and that was my goal. By the time for reunion though, I really was just ready to go home already. Jason only recently connected with his father and that side of the family, so this kind of event is important to nurturing that bond. We went to dinner and to see Harry Potter Friday night. On Saturday, was the picnic reunion. Both nights, I tried to go out with Jason and his brothers but was just so exhausted that I didn't make it at all on Friday and just for leg one of the festivities on Saturday.

On Sunday, I drove the 9-hour trek back to Virginia. That's rather amazing for me, seeing how I can barely stand to be enclosed in a car for more than an hour. However, I was anxious to get home, especially to my parrot, and didn't want to listen to Jason's radio choices anymore. So, I enjoyed the quiet drive... although my mind kept creating mental lesson plans and calendars for the school year.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Relay for Life 2009

Last Saturday was the Relay for Life in our community. The K-Club had a team for the second year. Last year we raised less than a thousand dollars. I found out about the different contests on the day of Relay and I spent too much time, money & stress on those and lost focus on the whole experience... especially when it became obvious that the games were all just politics anyway with no "real" winners.

This year I went into Relay season with the attitude that our primary goal was to raise as much money as we could and not allow myself to get stressed about any of it. I did pretty good with that goal, for the most part- except for a couple of weak moments in the final hours. The team raised almost $3,000. We had the yard sale/ car wash plus did an in-school collection and the team members raised money on their own.

The theme of this year's Relay was "The USS Cure." We kept it simple using a tropical theme and I asked team members to bring any items they had to help decorate. NO one brought in ANYTHING. So, late Friday I gathered things from the Dollar Store and Wal-Mart. However, once pulling out all the decorations from last year's homecoming that I saved plus having some stuff Julie added to the cause, the only thing I even opened up that we bought was a tablecloth. The trick now is to make myself get around to taking the other items back. So... wasted money and stress.

During the Relay, we participated in some games, avoided others. But then, we were personally asked to make a team for the "Not so New" to Relay game. Justin and I teamed up and quite possibly could have won. We were given 5 (I think) questions about Relay, but then instead of guessing if we knew what the other person said, they instead, judged if our answers matched. I got a little tiffed, but managed to keep it in perspective.

I blog this now, so hopefully I will look back next year at Relay time and remember how right I was to focus on fundraising and not decorating or competing... and stick to that purpose even a little more next year. It's a good way to end the year. I am surprised that we raised so much in basically three weeks. I had to carry the brunt of the work, like with most things, but I am okay with that and am keeping my expectations realistic with the teens.

One of the team members alerted me there was a pic of Justin & me playing the game on the local newspaper website. I am surprisingly not allowing myself to be traumatized by this.

There is a lot of emotion wrapped up in the Relay experience. I really cheated myself out of most of it. The Survivor Lap, this year and last, made me teary-eyed. I think the most devastating this about cancer is its nondiscrimination. Sure, there are risk factors for certain cancers- like smokers are more likely to develop lung cancers. But for most, there aren't. Anyone can and does get it. The number and proximity of those people is jarring. Second to that, I think the way in which cancer is more outstanding than other diseases is the visible, physical battle it has with its victims. It's a war. A shaved head. A chest with a scar where there once was a breast. The uncertainty of a life-span. The coming out of remission when you think the battle has been won.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Reality is Surreal

Memorial Day Weekend. Saturday morning, I slapped the snooze button a few times before crawling out of bed to meet the K-Kids for a Yard Sale & Car Wash Fundraiser for our Relay for Life Team. There was a good turn-out of kids and we raised almost $600 after deducting expenses. It was a success.

Saturday evening, Jason & I went to Kincaids for dinner and to see "Wicked." It was splendidly excellent. I was so distracted by the people around me- from the obnoxious laughter of the teen girl three seats down trying to fake her undevoted enthrallment to the woman rattling her bag of nuts next to me to the old Japanese guy next to me after I moved that kept using his cell phone to see where we were in the list of songs for the production. Then, the guy that sat in front of me after I moved had just a few hairs gelled up in the front of his head that was unreasonably disturbing to my line of view. I wonder how much I let stuff like this bother and distract me and how much may be related to true anxiety issues. Walking out of the theatre there was a kid that kept slapping his folded program against his palm and I wanted to yell at him.

We had not yet pulled out of the parking garage when I was hit with this feeling of being removed from the experience. It was only 15 or 20 minutes ago that I was sitting in the theatre enjoying the play, but it could just as easily have been 2 or 3 months ago. I remember feeling this way after Convention also. I had just come home and shortly after walking through the door it was as if I hadn't been gone for three days having such a wonderful time. For Convention next year, I told myself that I would not take work and I would clean the house before leaving, so I could enjoy the expereince more and not come home stressed. But that doesn't really apply to Saturday night's situation. I want to live in the moment more. I want to be afftected by life more. I have to figure out how to do this.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Spring Break 2009

Jet-lagged and hung over from the return flight from Cancuun. Sunburned in precarious places after starring in "Mom's Gone Wild" videos.

Eh, maybe not. Spring Break, as should have been perfectly expected, began serene and productive, then raced by and leaves me on this final day feeling the anxiety caused by reoccuring mental lists of all that did not get done.

We let out of school at 1:00 on Good Friday. Jason had duty so I went for lunch (& drinks) with co-worker friends. One had a horrid day that made my school/work drama of the day seem a little less significant. I tried sangria for the first time... and second... and it was glorious. I came home at 4-ish. Opened both bedroom windows to a very mild and breezy day and slept (perhaps, even passed out... just a bit.) I stayed in bed the rest of the evening and through most of Saturday.

In retrospect, I should have gotten out of bed at 2-ish Saturday so I could have richly indulged in sleeping in but not have felt the tinge of cabin fever later in the evening. But, stay in bed I did... with the windows still open and the layers of green pollen on the dressers thickening. I watched a few spots of television and did some reading for my Masters class, but mostly I slept on & off. About 11 Saturday night I watched "Seven Pounds." Justin fell asleep early in the movie. I, of course, had no issues staying awake. Gut-wrenching is probably the best adjective I could use to describe the movie. That is how it left me feeling, a bit twisted inside... with a heaviness.

The big goal of Sunday was gutting out Justin's room. I had slated this chore for Spring Break a while ago because I wanted the image of what I though was a clean bedroom and what Justin thought was a clean bedroom to be congruous and I saw this as possible only with a fresh starting point. I had also planned for a while to paint his bedroom and bought a new bed-in-a-bag set for him (since his comforter had a pre-schooler train cartoon theme).

Monday I got the room painted. I walked away from it throughout the day, mostly to read for my class. The book, Ormond, was absolutely horrid to get into, but then the plot became interesting although the writing style would occasionally revert back to painful. I had forgotten how much difference a coat of paint could make. Even the process of painting could be stress-relieving... if I let it. Monday evening, of course, is also when I figured out the taxes.

Tuesday was basically an extension of Monday's activities. Everything was moved back into Justin's bedroom and I finished reading the novel for class. I was scheduled to have a mammogram at 3:30- my first- but I cancelled it for the sake of getting things done. As I went to post about my reading, the server was down... which means I could have just went to the mamogram and finished the book on the road, but oh well. Tuesday night I had class.

Wednesday we were supposed to go to Norfolk to get new IDs. Next month will be one year since Jason adopted the boys and I had yet changed their names on birth certificates, social security cards or military IDs. I had a lot of paperwork at home to do though- always so much damn paperwork- TAXES, bills, and something I needed to send Key Clubbers. So, I nixed the idea of going to Norfolk, which was really only a bad thing because Allie (Justin's girlfriend) was supposed to come with us and couldn't go the next day. The taxes were completed, but bills are still lingering and I fould an alternative- the trusty and teen-appropriate mode of communication...texting- to contact Key Clubbers about the upcoming project. Wednesday I layed around mostly, didn't accomplish much.

Thursday, the boys and I went to Norfolk and they got their new IDs. I met with Jason for lunch at the Mall. Then, he took the boys home and I spent some time alone at the mall. I lounged in Barnes and Noble for a while, mainly looking through the new health & diet book by Bethenny Frankel. I went to see "Sunshine Cleaners," which I had heard nothing about but looked the closest to a chick flick on the marque. Mistake. It was a disturbing movie about two sisters that start a business cleaning up crime scenes. A few too many gooey blood scenes made it easy not to finish my popcorn. I picked up Justin a couple of shirts. And, I went into a few shops in which I would never fit in the clothes. It was interesting to step outside of myself and look at how I handled being in those stores. If the clerk didn't speak to me, I figured they realized I would never fit into the clothes and thought I was wasting their time. If a clerk did speak to me, I questioned why they bothered since I would never fit into anything in the store.

On Friday, the boys, Allie and I went to Busch Gardens. I painfully was not up for the adventure. The traffic on the way there and waiting for the ferry on the way back turned a 3 hour trip into a 6 hour one. Not to mention the lines, and lines, and lines. Justin and Allie went off on their own. Cameron and I layed on the rocking swing and we ate and sat around and did nothing. Cameron is now too chicken to do rides and I didn't feel too bad about punishing him by making him waste the day with me. It was hard not to notice how sloooow I moved about throughout the day.

On Saturday, The K-Club kids went to the local animal habitat/zoo to volunteer 10-2. The day turned out much better than I would have imagined. I think the kids had fun and many were even inspired to help out more. Afterwards. We had lunch at Mexican (while Justin slept in the car) and then I came home and napped. After getting up, I started cleaning.

Today, is Sunday- anxiety in overrdrive. Jason, thankfully, has been gone all day with the boys fishing while I spin circles overwhelmed by all that I have to do and didn't do that I don't know where to to start or what to do.

Thursday, February 26, 2009


I had my first paper due for my first Master's class Tuesday night. I told myself that the weekend prior to it being due was completely blocked off... other than the heel-clicking good time at the Friday night dance... to work on it. I realize planned procrastination does not make it less of a "social crime" (whatever that term I just made up means).

I had a *nugget of an idea. When I went to find research on my chosen literature though, there was none, and I had to REALLY dig into the journal articles to find something vaguely applicable that I could manipulate to support my thesis. I could not wrap my head around how to just jump in and start writing the paper. I blamed it at that point on it having been 5 years since I was in a class (a "real" class... not on-line excuse-of-a-classes to get my liscense). Since (finally) completing the project, I think perhaps it had something to do with writing for a Professor degreed from YALE and publisher of MANY books and journal articles.

So, this is the process I went though...

1. Read through multiple journal articles... select the minimum 5 needed to reference in my paper.

2. Closely read over each article and underline any mildly relevant information.

3. Type (big) bullet form lists of pertinent info from each article.

4. Reread literature selection and take 36 hand-written notes on it.

5. Divide #3 into categories and retype info from multiple sources, now arranged by category and not journal author.

6. Reread and label hand-written notes on literature based on 6 categories & corrolate it with journal notes.

And, thus, about 30 hours of work and enough killed trees to affect the ozone layer later, I was ready to start my paper... except it was late Monday night. So, I worked on it until about 2 a.m. and then called in the next day with "Paper Flu" to finish.

It's taken some time to be less critical of myself, but I really like where it went. I wish I had 2 days to have walked away and went back to make sure all the connections were clear, which I'm pretty sure they were not. I'm thinking now though that it may be good enough to revisit and look at publishing eventually.

This is quite a turn of events from the inadequacy I have felt in that class as they use big words and refer to literature I have not read (read, as in previous classes, not as in the lit I am slacking from reading in this class).

I have no class for two weeks- the professor has a conference and then it is Spring Break. I have told myself I will get ahead on the reading, on my presentation, on the next paper... and go back to read the assignments I did not complete. The first night of class, I sat there a bit insulted there were other students in the class that had obviously, and quite often admittingly, not read the assignment... then I became one of those "kids." It's too easy to play along in a class like this. I want to drive myself more. I want to get the most I can out of this experience.

I only wished I believed just a smidgen I will will make good use of the 2 weeks out of class.