Saturday, November 27, 2010

Sixteen Weeks

Fetus at sixteen weeks

Baby Labrador is now between 4 and 5 inches long, and he or she weighs anywhere from 3 to 5 ounces. This precious cargo continues to make me sick. I'm still dealing with nausea and these painful headaches. I've spent the last few days at my parents' with Buffy. They are taking good care of both of us. I'm hopeful that I'll have my referral to the neurologist by Monday, and that I can get an appointment this coming week. I suspect my problem might be occipital neuralgia, and I think it was brought on by all the vomiting. Of course, my medical degree is from Google, so I may be wrong.

I can tell you that it's really hard to be disabled, even to a slight degree, after being healthy for most of my life. On Thanksgiving, I did go to my sister's, but after eating I crawled into her bed and slept for about four hours. I was miserable. Tonight, I should be at a wedding with Michael's side of the family, but I'm just not well enough to leave the house. I miss having the freedom to do the things I enjoy doing.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Time Out

I saw the OB this morning. After going over everything I've been through in the last couple of weeks, she was very concerned about my headache/head pains, and the fact that I've been on Tylenol as much as I have to deal with the pain. She prescribed something else to replace the Tylenol, decided to refer me to a neurologist to investigate the cause of the pain, and put me on a leave of absence from work. I'm not scheduled to return to work until the second week of January. She hoped that would be enough time to get to the root of my problem and treat it properly.

It's a relief to have work off my plate, because now it's time to focus on my health.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

15 Weeks

Fetus at fifteen weeks

At this point, Baby Labrador measures about 4 1/2 inches but only weighs 2 or 3 ounces. This was the first week since week five that I haven't had a ultrasound to see the baby, but I will in just a few more days.

Yesterday morning my mom and I decided that I'd been sick long enough (nine days of diarrhea and eleven days of head pain), had complained to my doctors enough without much response on their part, and it was time to get some more immediate treatment/action. So we went to the ER.

On Monday, my GP had surmised that I had a viral infection, but yesterday's blood tests did not confirm that. Instead the ER staff determined that I have a bladder infection. Funny because I had no symptoms for that. The PA said that catching it was a good thing because it can cross the placenta and affect the baby. I was also dehydrated. Not too surprising after nine weeks of nausea and vomiting and nine days of diarrhea. They gave me two IV bags, and an intravenous antibiotic. As for the head pain, they are thinking that I have a tension headache. I can continue taking Tylenol for that, use hot and cold compresses, and get a massage. I'm still not sure that I agree with the cause of the head pain, but I'll follow their instructions and see if it improves.

They also allowed me to take Imodium, and that was something my GP and OB would not allow me before. Needless to say, it worked! I felt better while getting the IV fluids, but by the time I got home, I was pretty nauseous once again and I had a hard afternoon and evening with that. My mom stayed with me until I was ready to go to bed. It just helps having someone here with me.

Of course, spending the morning in the ER meant that I had to call for a sub. I emailed my principal right away, tried to get a good sub, but eventually had to leave it up to the system. A sub I know picked up the job, and I think she has a pretty good reputation for classroom management. I heard that the principal walked through my room more than once, and that several parents volunteered to come in and help during the day so that the kids didn't get out of hand. I had just received two more expressions of support the day before from two other parents, so I hope this didn't undo that goodwill.

I have the upcoming week off, and I hope to rest up and feel better soon.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Some Parents Do Understand

Yesterday one of my students' mothers came in to give her son some asthma medication. Before she left, she approached me at my desk and said that she totally understands what I'm going through and she fully supports me. She said she'd heard all the talk, and that she thinks it's ridiculous. She then told me she was going to send my principal a positive email about me.

After school today, she came in and elaborated a bit on the situation. Seems a mom who doesn't even have a child in my class is one of the parents who is complaining. Can you believe that? Sheesh! Anyway, we had a good conversation and came to realize that we really are "sisters in Christ." She shed a few tears for my situation and gave me a lot of encouragement. She told me how much her son enjoys being in my class and how pleased she is with his progress. Later in the day, she forwarded the very complimentary email she sent to my principal. What an angel. Here's a snippet of her email to me:

It's so wonderful how Jesus keeps putting other Christians in our path to help us over the humps.

Yes, it is.

Speaking of my principal, we had a good talk yesterday. After what happened on Monday, I was reluctant to talk to her. If it had been my previous principal, I would have been in her office in a heartbeat, but I've got such a strange relationship with my new principal that I didn't know if she'd support me, or not. Turns out that she's very supportive. She said she's been fielding these complaints, but that she's tried to keep them from me so as to not stress me out. She said I've done nothing wrong, and that she checked with human resources and they told her that I'm not in violation of any policy. She said she'd come through my room when I'm out to make sure the kids are not out of control, and she excused me from attending anymore inservices where I would have to be out of the classroom during instructional time.

I made a point of showing her my plan book so that she could see how prepared I am two and three weeks ahead of time. I wanted her to know that there's no excuse for a substitute not to cover the right material and to assign the right homework.

Anyway, it's been nice to receive some support in the last couple of days and I feel much better about the situation. Thank you to all my blogging buddies who weighed in with support and suggestions. You ladies are just the best. I've been reminding myself of what the Lord has already seen me through and this is peanuts compared to that. One day I'm going to enter His glory and all this petty stuff (and petty people) won't matter one bit. So, like the author of Hebrews, I'm going to keep running with endurance (Lord, please supply that!) the race that is set before me.

Onto other things...

Regarding the neighbor's dog, because some of you had asked about that, things are much better. Although I never received a response from them, it looks like they have barricaded the side of their yard so that the dog cannot get to their side gate and near my bedroom. This keeps the dog way to the back of their property. She barks much less because she cannot see every person or animal that goes by. And when she does bark, it's not as loud (to me) because she's behind their house, and their house extends further back onto their property than mine does - so she's way back there. I'm happy with the outcome. I hope things between us will defrost in time.

I'm still having digestive issues and my head still hurts like the dickens. I'll get myself back to the doctor if things don't improve by Friday. I'm taking Tylenol every four to six hours just to deal with the pain, and that can't be good. Right?

Two more days until I get a week off for Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Parents Just Don't Understand

I have been in tears most of the afternoon after meeting with a concerned parent after school today. She admitted that she complained to the principal a few weeks ago, but she told me that since the principal hasn't done anything about the situation she decided to come to me about it. If you'll remember, my principal told me that a couple of parents had complained about my recent absences and that there have been multiple substitute teachers in the classroom.

I told her that my health and the health of my unborn child come first, and that I will stay home when I need to. I showed her how detailed my plan book is and that there's no reason for a substitute not to cover the content as planned or assign the homework correctly. She complained about the substitutes' lack of classroom management, and I told her I have no control over their inadequacies.

She said she's not the only parent upset about my absences and since the principal isn't doing anything about it, that they are considering going to the school board or the superintendent. I told her I have ten sick days to use, and that I haven't used them all. I'm not in violation of any district policy. She asked me what she should do. I told her to do whatever she feels she should do. What do they think they will accomplish by going to the board or the superintendent? Do they want me to lose my job? She knows what I've gone through in the last year. People can be so cold.

All of this was couched in a "I'm your sister in Christ, and I really feel badly for all you've gone through and are going through, but. . .".

But nothing. I sure hope she doesn't have to learn the hard way that life isn't perfect and you can't control every outcome. People are imperfect, wounded, and fragile. They won't always live up to your expectations. Heck, they don't always live.

On another note, my OB called today. He was concerned that my screening test has come back with a 1:150 chance that my baby has Downs Syndrome. That's not a positive test, but he doesn't like those odds. Another blood test next month will be somewhat more conclusive. I'm not too worried about this, but it's just another concern after everything else today.

I saw my GP this afternoon. I've had the runs for five days, and I'm still dealing with that terrible pain on the right side of my head. She thinks both complaints may be related to having a virus. She didn't want to prescribe any medicine for me because she thinks it will get better on its own soon. I told her all about my work stress and she told me to give people her number when they want to complain about me. Oh, if I only could!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Fourteen Weeks

Fetus at fourteen weeks

Just look at that! Fourteen weeks ago Baby Labrador was just a few cells, and now he or she is a miniature human being about the size of my fist.

I met my OB for the first time Thursday. I have been going to that office for several years, but I've always seen the nurse practitioner. Michael's mom went with me, and we were able to see the baby on the ultrasound. Unfortunately, the doctor didn't print out a picture for us. He did try to tell if Baby Labrador is a boy or a girl, but Baby wasn't in a cooperative position. My next appointment is in three weeks, and we'll hope to find out then.

The doctor recommended that I start taking a DHA and a calcium supplement. I'm still not able to keep my prenatals down, but he didn't seem too worried about that. However, he did recommend that I start taking Pepcid for my nausea. He said that he'd just been to a conference where that was recommended for pregnant women with nausea. I started taking it yesterday and it does seem to be helping.

In the last three days, I've developed a new complaint. Now I've got scalp pain. It's kind of like a stiff neck, but it is affecting the right side of my scalp. Doctor Google says it's scalp neuritis which is an inflammation of the nerves that provide sensation to the scalp. It really hurts!

Please keep my friend Ashley in your prayers. She's delivering a baby girl (her first) via c-section on November 30th. There have been some concerns about the baby's development in the recent weeks. Please pray that Ashley and her husband will have peace of mind as they get closer to meeting their precious baby, and please pray that their baby will be healthy in every way.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

November 11, 2007

I so wish the last few weeks of my life had included the planning of an anniversary trip and what to get for Michael. We really enjoyed our first two anniversaries by getting away and choosing special things for one another. The first year we went to San Francisco and stayed in a swanky hotel, and last year we stayed at an amazing inn on the beach in Cambria. I'm sad that this year will not be that way.

Our wedding day was the happiest day of my life. All my dreams seemed to be coming true as we dressed in our wedding attire, said our vows and exchanged rings, drank to our happiness, danced to some of our favorite songs, and received well-wishes from dear friends and family in attendance. Now instead of celebrating our wedding anniversaries together, I will dream of the marriage supper of the Lamb where I hope to sit right next to my earthly groom and celebrate the dawn of Eternity - an eternity in which death will not steal our loved ones from us ever again. Maranatha!

Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready. And to her it was granted to be arrayed in fine linen, clean and bright, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints. Then he said to me, "Write: 'Blessed are the who are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb!'" And he said to me, "These are the true sayings of God." ~ Revelation 19:7-9

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Eight Months

It's hard to believe that it's been eight months already. There are no words to describe how much I miss Michael. I think about him all the time, and I reflect on all the good things we shared and were able to do in our short marriage. The picture above is from a quick trip we took to northern California in June of 2007. We stayed at a really neat place in Guerneville nestled amongst the redwood trees. It was kind of rustic, but they had a great restaurant on site. The purpose of our trip was to check out the venue at which we got married that fall. I wish I could say it was a romantic trip, but he was dealing with a lot of guilt about leaving another relationship to marry me. He was a reluctant groom until we got much closer to the wedding. By then he embraced his decision and we were both really joyful and content with our decision.

Speaking of our wedding, this coming Thursday would have been our third wedding anniversary. It's a shame that we had such a short time together here on Earth. But there are some things that I've come to understand in the last eight months and they are comforting.

Michael's days were numbered - and so are mine, and so are yours:

. . . And in Your book they were all written, the days fashioned for me, when as yet there were none of them. (Psalm 139:16)

Michael entered the presence of the Lord as soon as he left my presence:

We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord. (2 Corinthians 5:10)

He is experiencing the wonders of the present Heaven, worshiping the Lord, and enjoying fellowship and friendship with others. I imagine he's got a pretty busy social life hanging out with new friends and making music, and maybe even playing a game of pick-up basketball. I also believe he is missing me and his family and friends, and that Heaven won't be complete for him until we're there together.

I see my life here as a journey to Heaven and our reunion. I must be here for a reason, and I will continue to share my story and point to Jesus as long as I have breath in the hopes that someone who is weak in their faith will be strengthened, and that someone who has no faith in Christ will consider His claims. Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me." (John 14:6) He is the way to Heaven.

There is no way that I've gotten through these last eight months like I have except that the Lord is my strength and my hope. Without Him and His promises, I would be in bed hiding from life. That's me without Him and the truth of His Word. When dark thoughts linger, and I'm struggling with the loneliness and all of my shattered dreams, I consider His Word and His precious promises and I am strengthened and comforted, and someday I will see what now I can only believe.

The most comforting thing of all is that I know that Michael is a bigger part of my future than he is of my past. Once I get Home, our time together will never be limited again. Praise God for that! Come quickly, Lord Jesus!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Thirteen Weeks

Fetus at thirteen weeks

Baby Labrador is about the size of a peach at this point, and I think my bladder is all too aware of that! I'm up several times a night to relieve myself. But that's no biggie. This past week was better than last, but I'm still dealing with nausea in the afternoons and evenings. I go to bed really early to escape my misery. Then I usually have to get up before midnight and eat something. The crazy hunger pains have not subsided, and I'm forced to feed myself even though I feel queasy. I must admit that although I love my baby, but I don't love being pregnant - at least not so far.

This is the last week of my first trimester. Perhaps I'll start to feel better soon?

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Ultrasound(s) #8

Baby Labrador measuring at 69.9 mm (13 weeks)

This morning I visited the RE's office for the last time. I've graduated to the OB from here on out. I was seen by Dr. Anderson instead of Dr. Dourron. Turns out that Dr. Dourron's wife just had another baby this week. Dr. Anderson had done my transfer back in August so he commented that it was nice that he got to see me from start to finish. During that scan, the baby was very active. He or she was sucking their thumb, and they had the hiccups. Too cute!

After that appointment, I had an acupuncture treatment. Then I went to the perinatologist for the sequential screening. Their ultrasound equipment was a lot better than my doctors' and I could see the baby in more detail. The scan above is from that appointment. The technician said that everything looked perfect anatomically speaking. She did notice that I have a small fibroid in my uterus. That's something new because Dr. Dourron checked for those in April. She said that it's not a huge concern right now, but that I will have scans more frequently during my pregnancy because of it. That's fine by me!

I still need to go get my blood test which is part of the sequential screening this afternoon. I'm putting it off because I've got a headache and I'm just feeling a little off right now. It's always something.

You know, I know I'm pregnant, but most of the time I'm just so focused on how crappy I feel. However, when I go in for a scan and I see my baby moving around, I am so excited about it. I can hardly wait to meet this little person in a few months.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Barking Dogs, Substitute Teachers, and Cramps - Oh, my!

Barking Dogs:
Shortly after Michael passed away, my next-door-neighbor stopped by to give me her and her husband's condolences. We had a nice little talk, and then I mentioned to her that her dog barks a lot when they aren't home. She was really nice about it, and she suggested that I email her when it's a problem.

So, I began doing so now and then, but certainly not as often as the dog barked. I tried to be really nice about it, but I was hoping that she and her husband would do something about it. Their dog likes to sit in their side yard behind a see-through metal gate that looks out onto the front yard. She can see the world go by from there, and she barks at most of the human activity that goes by - long and loud. My bedroom is only four or five feet from where the dog is, so it's a problem when I'm resting in my room, or when I've retired for the evening.

Yesterday I email her once again about how long the dog had barked on Halloween - an hour non-stop and that dog has a big bark. I really wanted to crawl into bed because I wasn't feeling good, but it wasn't an option. In my email I explained that I hadn't been feeling well because of my pregnancy, and how I've been going to bed early. I was just trying to help her understand why it was so disturbing to me. Once again, I was looking for her to offer a solution like they'd put the dog indoors or in the garage when they were away from home. Instead I got a rather cavalier response about noisy dogs and crying babies and "such is life".

I was flabbergasted. I thought her response was really heartless. I emailed her again last night citing our city's ordinance against barking dogs, and I told her how some of our neighbors had complained about Buffy's barking way back when, and how I'd resolved the situation by leaving her in whenever I'm not home. I told her that I don't want to file a complaint, but that this is a serious situation and I expect them to come up with a solution or I will (file a complaint). I tried to express myself very reasonably, and I assured her that I wouldn't have the windows open at night so the baby's cries won't disturb their sleep. I did not receive a response today. I don't know what's going to happen, but I do know that I will file a complaint if it's not taken care of. I just can't tolerate it anymore.

I think one of the things that bothers me the most is that they are committed Christians. That doesn't mean that they (or I'm) perfect, but it should guide us in how we respond to others. They know how much I've gone through this year. I just don't understand why they would disregard my concerns and complaints about their dog. I prayed about it before I went to work today. I asked the Lord to soften her heart and convict her about the right thing to do. I don't want to be at odds with them. We have been neighbors for thirteen years.

Substitute Teachers:
My principal came to me this morning. She said she didn't want to upset me (uh, huh), but that a couple of parents had called and complained about my absences. She said they said they understood my situation, but they want me to have the same substitute when I'm out. I can't even believe she bothered to pass that information on to me. I told her that I always try to get my favorite sub (hi, Susan!), but that she's very popular and she is usually booked well ahead of time. I also told her that I have a short list of other subs I prefer, but that they are not always available on short notice either. My principal should know these things after being a teacher herself, and after being a principal as long as she has. She could have told those parents that very thing and spared me the concern. Sheesh!

I already decided recently that my health and this baby's health are most important. I will take days off as needed. Who's available to cover for me is not going to determine whether I stay home, or not.

Came home today and started experiencing some cramping. Called the RE's and the OB's offices. Talked to a nurse and a doctor. Since there's no bleeding they suspect that it's due to my uterus growing, or me having been on my feet too much. They told me to stay off my feet for the rest of the evening. That means I can't go vote. Oh, well. The baby is more important. I will see the RE tomorrow morning for an ultrasound. Hopefully, that will be reassuring.