Tuesday, January 26, 2010

almost done with this PITA


I have just 10 days left of PIO injections.

I’ll happily wave goodbye to the oily, bloody mess that I have to deal with every morning, the ruined clothes, the black, blue, red, bruised bum, and the itching, oh the itching.

The twice a day heparin injections continue, but the PITA PIO injections I’m almost done with. Hooray!

What do you do when the pharmacy runs out of sharps containers? Water bottles of course.

guess who’s sick now?

My sweet Guinness. On Saturday night he sneezed a few times, but I wasn’t too concerned. It could have been anything, dust, change in weather…. Sunday he was sneezing and pawing at his nose. Both yesterday and today he’s spent most of the day resting on our bed. Otherwise he is sprawled across my stomach, sleeping or looking up at me with those big eyes. He sneezes and sleeps, that’s about all.

Yesterday I had to update the vet regarding his meds and leg “episodes” and mentioned the sneezing to her. I told her that I would rather not bring him in again as it’s cold outside, the discharge from his nose is clear, and she’s already seen him so many times recently. She agreed and said to call if the discharge changes color or he seems worse. Her guess is that he picked up a viral illness after starting the Prednisone since it weakens the immune system. Yes, the same Prednisone that I was on from October through mid-January, hence one of the reasons that the doctors put me on house quarantine.

I’ll continue to watch my boy and will take him to the vet if he gets worse, or doesn’t start to improve by later this week. I’m scheduled to speak with the vet again on Friday regarding his ongoing issues with his legs.

poor baby

Thursday, January 21, 2010

guess who has the flu?

Yep, me. Considering that I haven’t been out and about that much, I can only imagine where and when I was exposed, HERE! Nothing like coughing and sneezing health care professionals, IN a hospital. Not happy. For the next few days I’m stuck at home, resting, and drinking warm fluids.

update on Guinness

We took the cats to the vet on Monday for their yearly vaccines. Our fabulous vet “S” was able to meet Bella for the first time. She ooohed and ahhhhed over my girl, and how beautiful she is, even giving her a snuggle. Have I mentioned how awesome our vet is? Bella received a quick exam, an injection, and a clean bill of health.

“S” took Guinness out of his carrier and asked if he’d had any more “episodes” lately. Of course he had. As I’ve mentioned before, a few times a week (always in the evening), Guinness develops a strange gait, appears to be in some amount of distress, and occasionally has become confused, walked into cabinets, and vomited, earning himself an immediate trip to the vet. Physical exams, blood work, and a sterile urine culture have turned up nothing but a healthy, happy 2 year-old feline.

Much to our surprise, while having the conversation about Guinness, “S” set him on the floor and he began to walk funny. We all watched him for a minute, “S” had another vet come in to observe, and between the two of them, came up with a possible diagnosis. They think our boy has Myositis, a weakness of the muscles, which can cause gait abnormalties. It’s either immune related or caused by an infection, likely before we adopted him since he’s strictly indoors. The only way to get a conclusive diagnosis is to biopsy his muscles in several places, which we’d like to avoid if at all possible; I really don’t want to put him through that. I’ve also read that the blood work usually comes back normal (it always has), but often the anti-nuclear antibodies show up elevated if it’s autoimmune. We’ve not had his immune system tested yet, but how strange would it be if Guinness had elevated ANA like I do.

For now he’s on a round of antibiotics and Prednisone.

The antibiotics have to be given with food or coated in butter. So far he’s tolerating them well, but it’s so awful to force pills down his throat. My husband holds Guinness, I’m the pill pusher. The poor boy buries his head into my husband’s chest, using his feet to try to push me away. It breaks my heart, but it must be done. Since starting the new meds, Guinness has not had another “episode”. I’m scheduled to speak with “S” tomorrow, and we’ll decide how to proceed from here.

13 weeks 5 days

On Tuesday I had another OB appointment. My doctor happened to be training another MFM (maternal fetal medicine doctor). I had an ultrasound, still not very clear, though the baby spent a good portion of it waving at me and the doctor. If all continues to go well, I won’t have another appointment for three weeks. YAY!

we have water, for now

On Tuesday the water returned, and not a moment too soon. Unfortunately there is no guarantee that our access to indoor plumbing will continue. You can guess how I feel about that.

Last Friday we had been told that the water in the area was turned off to repair pipes that had frozen during the early, January freeze. Since that time, more stories/ theories have emerged. I’ve now heard that during the "Celtic Tiger" (Ireland’s rapid economic boom), the city didn’t put money into upgrading the water treatment facilities, leading to an insufficient amount of drinkable water. I’ve heard/ read that insurance companies told customers to keep their faucets running full force during the recent cold weather to prevent pipes from freezing, thus leading to wasted water. I’ve heard/ read that many people are wasting water in their homes, taking longs showers, letting the taps run while brushing teeth, etc. Whatever the reason/s, the water storage tanks are at an all time low and many people are without water. It’s been reported that it could take 5-6 months to get water levels back to normal and pipes repaired. EEK!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

first Anti-D (Rhogam) shot

I’ve always known that I have O-negative blood. Yay me (universal donor). Being rhesus negative is not an issue until you are pregnant, and your partner is rhesus positive. I’ll save you the science lesson, but trust me, it’s an issue, and can be a very serious issue.

It’s usually not a situation that’s dealt with until late in the pregnancy (28ish weeks) unless there is a miscarriage or bleeding. When I lost the triplets in Minsk, I didn’t receive the Rhogam shot, as they do things a little differently. By the time we got to Lithuania and finally to the U.S., I had completely forgotten about it.

When I started spotting and bleeding with this pregnancy, I asked the nurse at the fertility clinic about getting a Rhogam shot and she had no clue as to what I was talking about. I mentioned the rhesus factor and she said she would speak with the doctor. Come to find out, it’s called Anti-D here, and the fertility clinic doesn’t have access to it. What???

This was one of the first things I asked my OB about on Wednesday, and yes, he was concerned. The first order of business was to take my blood and make sure that I still had uncontaminated O-negative blood, I do. His receptionist called yesterday to say that my OB had ordered Anti-D for me and that I needed to get to the hospital ASAP to have it administered. The Anti-D is not given by the OB, but in a different department in the hospital. Fine I thought, another chance for me to explore, as I was still rather unsure of the hospital after my experience on Wednesday.

I found my way to the correct department, only to be told to go down another hall to a blue screen, they should have my chart. Okay. I found the blue screen, nobody there. Then I saw a nurse who said I needed to speak to a “midwife”, that she “might” have my chart. Okay. I found the midwife who told me to wait and that she would “deal” with me soon. Thirty minutes of waiting and another patient arrived, in a very similar situation to mine, though she was 28 weeks pregnant. We waited, and waited, and waited. During this time, we saw several nurses cough and sneeze, none of which bothered to use a kleenix, their hand, or wash up with hand-sanitizer. Disturbing doesn’t begin to explain how I felt. Um, it is still flu season, isn’t it. And covering one’s nose and mouth is still a matter of basic courtesy and good public health, isn’t it. The phone conversations I overheard were actually much more troubling. A lot of “it might”, “maybe”, “possibly”, “I think this is the right chart”. Yeah, if you’re talking about giving a patient Anti-D, you “might” want to know for sure that you have the correct patient, the correct lab results, and the correct chart.

The other patient and I were eventually (two hours later) escorted from the nursing phone bank area to another department upstairs. I wish I could tell you that it was cleaner and more modern, I can’t. We waited, and waited, and waited some more. Finally another nurse came to tell us that the printer in the lab had broken and that for the past several hours, they had been trying to fix it. Since we’d been waiting for almost three hours by then, they had decided to hand write the orders. Fine. And we waited. Forty-five minutes later two doses of Anti-D arrived in the unit. I was led into a dimly lit room and the shot was administered. Why the nurse didn’t want a light on is beyond me, but whatever, it’s done.

I have another appointment at the hospital on Tuesday, so I’ll have the opportunity to see more of it. I’m hoping that I’ll finally see some modern equipment and possibly cleaner facilities, but I’m not holding my breath.

no water

Yesterday morning I came downstairs to the kitchen to take my morning meds. The water from the kitchen tap (the only safe drinking water in the house) was noticeably slower. I poured enough into a glass, swallowed my pills, and just about spit everything back out. GROSS. The water was nasty. I turned the faucet back on. Drip, drip, drip. Fortunately there was enough water in the bathrooms upstairs for showers and fortunately I was angry enough about the drinking water that I got dressed and set off in the dark morning hours to buy bottled water at the local store (nearly stomping all the way there).

pictures from my walk for your entertainment

For the people who know me in real life, you know how much ice water I drink; it’s almost on the ridiculous side. Well, pregnancy has made it about five times worse and the thought of not having drinking water was making me ragey. I had asked my husband to request that the water be fixed ASAP, upon his arrival to work.

A few hours later a woman from the housing department called to tell me that all of Dublin 4 (our area) was without water. I was told that the city pipes needed to be repaired after our recent freeze, and that the city had turned off the water the previous night, without telling anyone. Err, what country do I live in? She said the water should be turned back on soon. Fair enough.

By early afternoon I had to leave (another post) and there still wasn’t enough water to flush toilets, run the washing machine or dishwasher, or make ice.
Upon arriving home last night, I was able to get a few things done, but my husband arrived later and informed me that the city would be shutting off the water again.

So here we are. Saturday afternoon, no running water, no showers, no flushing toilets, dishes piling up, laundry piling up. I realize that in comparison to what’s happening in other parts of the world, this is trivial, but it’s still frustrating. Particularly since nobody is giving straight answers as to when we might have fully functional plumbing again.

We were up bright and early to be at the grocery store this morning and purchased tons of bottled water, but that gets really expensive, really fast. The other problem is that by the time we finished our shopping, the store was out of water, so I guess other people are out of luck. I can only assume that since the water crisis is set to continue at least through the weekend, the shortage of bottled water will also continue.

first day out, the good, the bad, the good

Since I’m now allowed to leave the house for reasons other than medical appointments, I made plans Thursday. First I met two friends at Starbucks. I was so excited to leave the house, I felt like skipping all the way there (don’t worry, I didn’t). We had a lovely chat and ohhhh, a latte has never tasted so good.

Then I made my way to the building in which my husband works to take care of some things. Fortunately the health unit nurse was in and she was able to get several things accomplished for me, including calling the local pharmacy to ask if they had a particular size of syringe and needle available (not the kind of thing they just willingly sell if you come in off the street), assisting with paperwork to get a prescription ordered from the U.S. (still waiting on the status of that), etc. When I was finished in her office, I went to deal with some housing issues. ::places tape over mouth, pets cat to avoid typing:: Yeah, we won’t mention that meeting, yet. I did run into several friends in the building and was the recipient of many well wishes and congratulations. It felt really weird, but was also very nice.

The sun was out and the weather was just gorgeous. I walked to the pharmacy, picked up the needles and syringes. Even the pharmacist seemed particularly friendly. Then I went to my favorite sandwich place and purchased a freshly made wrap. Yum!

My OB’s receptionist also called several times to ask questions, schedule additional appointments, and that kind of thing. The communication is excellent and they really seem to be on top of things. Though I will say, it was bizarre to schedule the next regular appointment. I will see my OB next week for a few things, but the receptionist also scheduled my February appointment. Huh, I guess people are really expecting me to still be pregnant next month. I suppose it’s time for me to start believing it too.

Other than waiting for answers on a few things that are completely out of my control, it was a very good first day out!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

first OB appointment, 12 weeks 6 days

As I mentioned, I was released from the fertility clinic last week and had my first OB appointment scheduled for today. We arrived early, found the consulting office at the hospital, and tried to check in. The woman behind the desk said that my doctor hadn’t arrived yet, but that we should wait in the waiting area, as “they” hadn’t started yet. THEY?? It turned out alright, but for about 20 minutes I was panicking that somehow I had gone from a private patient to a public patient with one quick administrative error. All is well, still private. ::wipes brow::

My doctor’s receptionist arrived, introduced herself, and handed me paperwork to fill out. Upon turning in my papers, she asked if I had brought in a urine sample. Um no. I was handed a specimen cup and given directions to a restroom in the hospital. I asked what I was to do with the sample once it was collected, you know, leave it in a collection box, a nurse will be waiting outside the door for it, something. Nope. "Bring it back and hand it to the doctor when you see him." Alrighty.

Off I went to find the restroom. The first one I found was closed, further down the crowded, narrow hall I found another. I won’t go into details, but I really hope that the actual labor and delivery area is a little, okay a lot, more updated than the parts of the hospital that I saw today.

I made my way back to the waiting area, a container of urine bouncing around in my Dooney & Bourke, and took a seat next to my husband. Fortunately the doctor called us back within a few minutes. Between the misuse of “they” and the urine sample, I was getting a little anxious about the set up.

One word, FABULOUS! I really, really, really like my new OB. He answered all of my questions, was open to my ideas, and often used one of my all time favorite phrases, “I tend to agree with you.” HOORAY we are off to a good start.

Since this is long enough, I’ll just say that I’m to continue with all the meds for now, I’m going to start doing minimal activity, like leaving the house (Starbucks here I come), and I’ll see the doctor again very soon.

I’ll be 13 weeks tomorrow, baby is measuring at 13 weeks 2 days. I’m still not pleased with the quality of the ultrasound, but this is not entirely the fault of the machine. The baby was kicking and stomping its foot. What you see here are legs in motion.

This ultrasound was my first abdominal ultrasound ever. I don’t care to remember how many of the others I’ve had. This is starting to feel real. I’m still scared, but finally allowing myself to be a little excited. I see some shopping in the near future ;)

Sunday, January 10, 2010

let it snow, let it snow, let it snow

That’s right, we have more snow in Dublin. We did not have a white Christmas, but January is more than making up for it. The airport was closed for several hours yesterday, it’s already been announced that schools will be closed until Wednesday, and it has been cold.

The cats are finding ways to stay warm.

Guinness in bed

Bella under some blankets on the couch

Bella on the couch again

sharing the fire

Thursday, January 7, 2010

cats and laptops don’t mix

Monday night my laptop was sitting on the coffee table, trackball attached with a cord. While I was in the kitchen, Guinness somehow managed to get his back leg caught in the trackball cord. I heard him “screaming” and came running into the living room, just in time to see him spinning in the air, becoming more and more upset (understandably), and the laptop flying to the floor. The cord was wrapped around his leg several times and was getting tighter. I grabbed him and tried to get his leg loose, which of course resulted in some deep scratches and puncture wounds on my hand (I’m fine). Somehow I freed Guinness, who spent the next several minutes limping.

At first we had planned to let him recover on his own, as the leg didn’t appear to be broken or out of place. He attempted to go up the stairs, made it up three steps, came tumbling down, and vomited. Off to the vet we went.

Guinness before leaving for the vet.

Fortunately our fabulous vet had JUST returned from a three-week vacation. We joked that Guinness had missed her so much, that he injured himself so that we would bring him in and he could hear all about her holiday. She gave him a thorough exam, nothing was broken, and of course the little stinker was walking just fine. Since he has had issues with his hind legs in the past, we will decide how to proceed (maybe meds, an x-ray) when he has fully recovered from this latest injury. For now the boy is on pain meds and tolerating them well.

It’s very unfortunate that he hurt himself, but just like any other critter, when he isn’t feeling well, he wants his mommy. Awww. He’s been constantly at my side or on my lap. He’s also started a new trend of waiting for me in bed. On Monday evening we couldn’t find him and my husband finally came downstairs and said that he had located Guinness, curled up under the covers, on my side of the bed.

This is how we’ve found him the past few nights.




snow, snow, snow

This is really strange. We have more snow and ice. It doesn't look like much, but apparently for Dublin, it's a lot. In fact my husband should be home an hour or two early as the place in which he works has closed early due to “current weather conditions and curtailed transportation."

It's not enough for a snowman, but it's still pretty to look at.

Monday, January 4, 2010

last intralipid infusion

This morning I had my last intralipid infusion. The doctor said that I could continue to have them if I wanted to, but based on the research I’ve done, even in the U.S. most patients only get three; I’ve had six. Plus, they aren't covered by insurance, and doing it twice a month adds up fast. I think, hope, pray that I did it long enough.

The empty bag. All done!

I also had another ultrasound. The baby is measuring 11 weeks 2 days, I’m 11 weeks 4 days, so just two days off, nothing to be concerned about. Once again, the baby slept through most of the scan. There was some movement toward the end, but it kept its legs tucked in and was rather still for the most part. The heartbeat seems nice and strong, and the baby has definitely grown a lot. The quality of the ultrasound leaves a lot to be desired, so hopefully the OB that I see next week will have a better machine.

Yes, that is the other big news. As of this morning, I’ve officially been released to the OB. The fertility clinic had a referral letter waiting for me, which I will take in to the OB appointment next week. It was very strange to walk out of the clinic for what should be the last time for at least a year (we still have two frozen embryos for next time). Unfortunately because of holiday scheduling, most of my favorite nurses, doctors, and front office staff weren’t there today. I did get to say goodbye to a few people and I’m sure I’ll see the others again.

It’s beginning to feel more real, but nowhere near “safe” yet.

This morning we woke up to another light dusting of snow, so strange.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

three more goals

Okay, I thought of three additional goals.

Check my email accounts more often and respond to emails within 48 hours.

Post on the blog at least 3-4 times a week. It might be boring, but it will be updated.

Participate on the message boards that I like. I stopped posting on a few message boards because I got a bit busy, plus I didn’t feel like I belonged anymore (infertility board). I realize that I do have a lot of information and support to offer to those going through this horrible time in their lives, so if they are comfortable having me around, I should be there. The time difference makes it difficult to participate, but I can certainly find a few minutes after dinner to check in.

I know there are a few other goals, which I'll likely think of tomorrow during intralipids. Stay tuned.

With that, I’m going to bed.

Happy New Year, with a twist, SNOW!

That’s right, we had snow. Very unusual for Dublin, particularly in our neighborhood since we are so close to the Irish Sea. We didn’t have a lot of snow, but it was cold enough to stay around for a few days.

On Saturday I had a big outing, well, big for me these days (can’t wait for house quarantine to be over). I had a hair appointment! It was so nice to get dressed up, go into public (even if it’s only a 10 minute walk), and be mildly pampered. I love my salon and the woman that cuts my hair does a great job. She always begins with a shampoo and head massage. As if that isn’t enough, the chair provides a nice back massage during the shampoo. I would have stayed all day if given the chance. Anyway, hair is cut and it was nice to get out of the house.

In other news, I have another ultrasound and intralipid infusion tomorrow morning. It’s been almost three weeks since my last ultrasound, which seems like cruel and unusual punishment. Hopefully everything is okay. If so, I will be officially released to the OB.

I’m really not one for New Year’s resolutions, but I have decided to set a few New Year’s goals.

As soon as I’m released from house quarantine, I’ll start walking again in the mornings. IVF meds and bed/ couch rest have not been kind to my body.

I would like to read at least one book a week, then donate it. I’m so tired of hauling books around the world. The weight adds up fast and we have to pay per pound for everything over a certain weight. So, some books will stay, some will be donated. I think it’s a great time to work on this project since Ireland is an English speaking country. I just need to find out if the library takes donations.

Along the lines of donating books, I’m going to do a major purging of the house inventory. We have way too much stuff, and I’m tired of looking at it and dealing with it. Plus I hate clutter, and knick-knacks, and general items that we don’t use and don’t need. I haven’t told my husband of this project yet, as I’m sure it will not be a pleasant conversation. He is what is commonly known as a pack rat. Not a good characteristic if you have chosen a career which requires you to move every few years. I love the man dearly, I do not love his stuff. It’s time for storage, donation, or the rubbish bin.

The other goal is to get back into the habit of trying a new recipe or two every week. Also at risk of being donated are my cookbooks. It’s time they prove themselves or out they go. I’ve already donated the majority of those that I wasn’t able to use (lack of ingredients in certain countries) or that didn’t appeal to me, but as I mentioned above, cookbooks = weight, out they go.

I feel like I’m missing a few goals, but those are the first that pop into my head, so there you go.

I’ll update tomorrow after the appointment.

A very happy new year to everyone. May all your dreams come true in 2010!