Other excuses…

I keep meaning to blog more and I think about it but I knew that I had to write this post and I really didn’t want to. It makes it all the more real. It’s so much easier to keep putting it off and pretending that things were completely normal – exactly the same as they were in mid-December but that’s a fantasy. Life has moved on. Darling Boy is getting bigger and that is a daily joy to celebrate. But. Things. Are. Different. A new normal that none of us were expecting.

On Christmas Day, MIL told us that she had uterine cancer. She played down the seriousness and told us not to worry too much. In January, she went to see the specialist with FIL and told us the surgery was scheduled for the 19th. She didn’t tell us how bad her cancer already was. When the surgery was finished, the surgeon described the cancer “like sand” throughout her body but he was hopeful that she would have a few more years with us. A week later, spots removed from her lungs during surgery were back and instead of waiting for recovery her chemo schedule was to begin immediately. It never happened. She developed sepsis and went into “comfort care” fancy marketing phrasing for hospice. Kinder maybe to us hoping but not as blunt.

She died Feb. 5th without ever leaving the hospital. I never got to see her again because of the distance to the hospital and her adamant stance that DB should be kept at home far away from anything he could catch. She didn’t want a service. We found that out the evening she died. Everything was taken care of and boom. Done. My dad always said that “funerals were for the living”. I never truly understand his meaning until now. No goodbyes are harder than a funeral. She’s just gone now and that’s the new normal. No more meeting mid week for lunch. Or hearing her voice say “It’s me!” when I answer the phone.

Apparently, she was sick for quite awhile and didn’t tell anyone – even FIL, who has been finding medication stashed around the house.MIL&Me_2013_IMG_3139

MIL and Me at Longwood Gardens in Oct. 2013


Happy 2016!

100415_1432NICUI’m a little late to the New Year Celebration party but I have a very good excuse… several actually.

Full story below but short version if you just want the summary at the end of August I started having high blood pressure it culminated in preclampsia and leading me to be hospitalized from end of week 33 to baby’s birth at week 35.
(After week 35, it is more dangerous to stay pregnant than the benefits for the baby to reach term).

Long version:

My pregnancy was beyond normal for the first half or so. No morning
sickness and I only felt sick a few times, which quickly passed. In
August, I went home to see my family for 2 weeks when I got back my
blood pressure was elevated, which was concerning because I had been
consistently at 120/80 throughout my pregnancy to that point. My
midwife set me up for blood pressure checks and non-stress test
monitoring twice a week. (You basically sit hooked to a heart rate
monitor for 30 minutes while they look for the baby’s heart rate to
accelerate and return to baseline a set number of times based on the
gestational age.)

Everything was fine with him and I felt fine. On Sept 19, I had
another one that afternoon and eventually passed although it took
longer than the usually 30 minutes. I picked up DH that night at
Bart, we had dinner out and stopped at Babies R Us to get a car seat.
No rush I wasn’t due until November 17. At the store, I started
bleeding -something that never happened before so needless to say I
was freaking out that I might be miscarrying. We called Labor and
Delivery and were told to come for a check up. The doc on called said
that Part of the placenta had broken off causing the bleeding which
thankfully stopped an hour or so after we arrived. They were more
concerned that my BP was board lining with preeclampsia. I put it to
freaking out over baby. So I wasn’t too concerned at first.

I was admitted for meds to mature B’s lungs and told I might be
discharged after the 48 hour period for doses to take affect.
Unfortunately my BP spiked again and that Monday the specialist told
me I was in until delivery at 35 weeks.
4 days later, I was stable enough to be moved to the Mother/Baby unit
where I would be monitored twice a day instead of continually. Nice
change. I got more sleep! There’s only so many beds in the labor unit
that allow for all-day monitoring so they move you as soon as you pass
with a stable BP for 12 hours.

I was still having daily non-stress tests followed by BBPs ultrasounds
because he wasn’t passing the other test. On Friday October 2 he
barely passed the BBP and doctor suggested moving up the induction
(which was scheduled for Saturday night). She said that if I had been
earlier in my pregnancy she’d schedule an afternoon BBP before making
any suggestions considering he had until that point been passing the
BBPs within 2 minutes of them starting the ultrasound. (They look for
various movements within 30 minutes and until Friday morning he scored
8/8 every time). 6/8 wasn’t too alarming but since we were scheduled
to start the induction Saturday night she figured it wasn’t worth the
risk of waiting another day.

So Friday night they started me on the pitocin to see if B could
handle a vaginal birth. Basically, he had to have a normal BP through
3 contractions in a 10-minute period. Fun times. So he passed.

Saturday noon, they start the induction and I’m barely .5 dilated and
not effaced at all so it’s going to be a loooooooong day. 12 hours
later, I’m only 2 cm dilated and still not effaced so they break my
water and hope that that picks things up but nope. I start on the
pitocin to bring on more contractions (Lucky me!) to move me along.

Long story short, the induction failed. When they started me on
pitocin for round two, I immediately started having continuous
contractions. No breaks at all. Not what anyone wants. Turning the
meds down didn’t help.  I ended up getting emergency meds to stop the
contractions. Worse of all, every contraction caused B’s heart
rate to drop. It was so horrible watching his BP drop and struggle to
climb back up before dropping again. So I had to have a c-section due
to “fetal distress”. Lucky for me it wasn’t considered an emergency so
Todd could be in the OR with me and I was awake but he had to wait in
the hall during the prep. It was terrifying.

I only saw B for a few seconds while the NICU team ran him to his
corner and stabilized him. After they had him prepped, they took him
to the NICU but he was breathing ok and again it wasn’t an emergency
situation so DH could go with them while they finished my c-section
and I went to recovery. DH would have had to wait in the hall if
Benji had needed more services. (A NICU nurse had given us a tour of
the NICU and explained everything a few days before my induction so
that we would have an idea of what to expect, covered NICU procedures
and know what was allowed in the OR. It was a bit scary but definitely
helped us ask questions and be a bit more comfortable with

After recovery, basically the epidural had to wear off and I had to be
able to stand (even though I wasn’t allowed out of bed for the next 24
hours…) DH came in to see me with pictures of B and would go
back to check in with the doctors to give me updates.

Throughout my hospitalization, everyone told me that most people
immediately recover their BP after giving birth and definitely should
be normal within 48 hours. Ha! A lucky few don’t follow that pattern.
Guess which spot I am? My BP climbed higher than when I was pregnant
so I spent the next week being monitored and visiting B in the
NICU. I think it actually helped my c-section recovery because I
didn’t have to care for B and I had lots of rest and help in the
early days. Most people get discharged after a c-section in 3 days.

Kaiser offers free boarding rooms to breastfeeding women who have
babies in the NICU when they have space available. There are no
services (no food or meds or anything). I got discharged to boarder
status a week after he was born and he was discharged the next week.
All in all I spent 31 days in the hospital.

We’re so happy that he’s healthy and home. He’s doing really well. His
doctor says B is way ahead of schedule on weight gain (for a
preemie) and no long term issues. They add another 6 weeks or so to
his ranges for skills like sitting up and rolling over and stuff
because he was 6 weeks behind at birth.

I like I said things were nuts. He’s doing really well now and is over
2X his birth weight, probably closer to  3x. He looks like a newborn
instead of a skinny old man (like he did at birth). Basically he was a
bundle of sticks with a head attached. No fat at all. Apparently,
babies don’t start plumping up until the last few weeks before birth.
He missed out on that. He was born at 3:34 am and weighed 4 lbs 4.4
ozs and was just under 18 inches long.

He’s sleeping pretty well now. DH usually feeds him between 10:30 pm
and 11:30 so he sleeps until around 6 am when I wake him up to change
his diaper and feed him again and then he usually naps for another 3
or 4 hours depending on his mood. We learned that letting him sleep
more than 7 or so hours at a time means he’s just going to puke it all
up. If it wasn’t for the pumping, I’d be getting a good chunk of
sleep. I’m hoping to keep it up for another 3 months but it really
eats up the hours. I spend about 3.5-4 hours every day pumping and
setting up/cleaning up after every session every 3 to 4 hours. So much
fun. but it’s worth it in the end.

The end.


Hello, 2015! … And Hello, June!

Okay, I am not the most consistent blogger on the planet. I’m probably not the worst either but I certainly need to get my act together and post more. Maybe I should aim for once a quarter or something. You know, push myself a bit.

I have loads of great reasons to explain my long absence. Um. First there was our new cat we adopted in November 2014

Our new kitty Cricket on her cat tower

Our new kitty Cricket on her cat tower

and then the holidays were busy… Um.

Said cat needed surgery in January

Cricket after a BB pellet was taken out of her back

Cricket after a BB pellet was taken out of her back

and my sister visited in February

Muir Woods

Me & Amy @ Muir Woods

and then random stuff that I don’t remember really right now…

I could blame it all on morning sickness (I’m 16 weeks pregnant tomorrow!) But I never had any really. Just occasionally felt nauseous. Not even every day…

15 weeks pregnant

15 weeks pregnant

We’re busy working on the house and talking to a contractor about a kitchen remodel. Lots of little stuff keeping us busy. That’s all I got to say.

Welcome, Fall!

Now, I don’t even want to think how long it’s been since my last post.

Never fear! I have loads of fabulous excuses  (hm…) reasons, I mean, why I haven’t been around or have updated my blog lately.

I guess I should start at the beginning. In May, my family finally decided on where and when we were all meeting up for a family reunion in August. Since DH was coming with me, we decided Newport, RI, where my older sister M went to college but none of us had visit in about 10 years and DH had never been. Everything was set up and we bought our tickets from SFO to RI while my family planned on driving up from PA (about 6 hours.) DH and I would have driven too if it was at all possible – because flying sucks. Unless you can afford first class.

Around this time, my oldest and dearest friend decided that it was finally time for her to visit me in CA. I mean, I’ve only lived here for 13 years so you don’t want to rush these decisions right? She told me she was committed and booked her flights for September within two days of our my recent “I’m thinking about visiting conversations”. All well and good… but –

Recently (you know, this past spring? Remember that? I barely do…), I mentioned that DH and I were house hunting. Here in CA, the whole house buying process has been crazy. As of July, we’d been looking for over a year and had bid on four different homes. We lost out on three and pulled out of the third while negotiations between our realtor, sellers’ realtor and another interested party.  We were just about to take a breather when we found a two homes we liked and another our relator suggested we tour. So we did. It wasn’t love at first sight but we liked the layout and the neighborhood seemed great… The kitchen was eh but with appliances would be liveable for a few years. So, we submitted bid #5 in the never-ending house hunt search.

Unbelievably (or maybe predictably, since we were getting close to vacation), we got it. We had one day to decide if we wanted it because the house was scheduled to hit the market with its realtors’ open house the next day. Ack. We debated for hours and then figured what the hell and said Yes!

Then we started the craziness that is inspections and all that fun stuff. Luckily, everyone said the house (built in the 60s) was solid. No issues except a very dirty chimney that took two cleanings to get passed by the assessor.

We left for vacation with my family in Newport while the paper work for the mortgage was still going through. We had sent everything the mortgage broker requested but still found several requests waiting for us when we got home for additional stuff. Talk about added stress.

We finally closed on the house the day before my birthday. And I got the keys the same day, Aug. 21! Of course, the key wouldn’t work because there wasn’t enough drama with the whole process. DH finally jimmied the door where we found the latch wasn’t a nice clean circle, more like a mashed oval so we did some quick maintenance on that so we could get back in the next day and headed home.

The end of August was figuring out paint colors and actually painting (with lots of help from my mother in law) before I started packing the apartment so we could move in September. Once we were officially in the house, I had to clean the apartment so we could get our deposit back. DH’s parents came down to help. Then I had to unpack everything so my friend M wouldn’t have to worry that stacks of boxes might land on her while she was sleeping. Her flight arrived a week after we moved. No pressure or anything.

Luckily, she had a great time doing the SF tourist thing and I managed to finish her quilt before we moved… although I need to fix a few spots that frayed when I washed it.

So, now that life is settled in a bit and we’re back to just us. Now, if I could only find an interesting part time job. Ah well.

Off I go to finish the laundry.

Back again.

I haven’t done anything to exciting. I just lost track of time and found myself a bit behind for no reason at all.

I finished piecing my quilt backing together… but I forget the names of the fabric I used… Then I got a really bad sinus infection and spent a week or so just sitting on the couch wishing I could breathe and taste food.

Then back to quilting once I felt better…

I used some leftover fabric pieces to try to free motion quilting. Ha. Not as easy as people make it look so I’ve decided to stick with wavy lines. I used some extra triangle rows from the quilt top to practice and see if I could make the lines wavy without making them too uniform. It went better than I expected. Not perfect, but much better results than the free motion quilting idea.

I laid everything out and started pinning it all together. After spending far too long on the floor, I realized the backing had shifted and I didn’t have enough at the top of the quilt and had to unpin all my work. Sigh.

I haven’t re-basted the quilt yet because when I rearranged furniture for floor space, I noticed a wet spot on the dishwasher cabinet. Luckily, maintenance came yesterday and switched out the dishwasher for a new one. It was leaking through the door… even with a new door gasket. The maintenance guy said he’d never seen a leak like that in his career. We’re lucky people, I guess.

So, the plan is to have DH help me layout the quilt pieces tomorrow or Friday while he’s off so I can maybe avoid the problems I had last week. Fingers crossed.


Still working.


I’ve been working away on my second quilt. After sewing three rows of triangles together I realized that I needed to break them up a little or the quilt would look really bad due to my inaccurate cutting. I couldn’t save the points on most of the triangles but it looked better with a barrier so I added gray stripes between the rows. It seems to be helping. The quilt is far from perfect but I don’t hate it any longer, which I take as a positive step forward. I’ve got the fabric for the backing but I need to get some batting because the quilt ended up longer than I expected once I added the borders.

All for now.