Sunday, February 23, 2014

The Last 3 Months

Well, if anyone happened to view J or I's facebook recently, you know that we announced our pregnancy! J was pretty set on not doing it on Valentine's. We were going to wait to announce. We really were. We had settled on announcing on April 1st as a fun joke. But the thing is, I wanted to share it. I had survived 14 weeks of pregnancy, and I was ready to acknowledge this little life. The life that has a tiny heartbeat of his or her own. The baby that's already wriggling around inside me. A life that matters and, God willing, will take a first breath this year.

In case you aren't on facebook or visit this blog from elsewhere, this was our announcement.

The necklace was J's Valentine's gift to me. It's the shape of the baby's heartbeat. I love it. The ultrasound was from our genetics testing during my 12th week (everything's great).

I wanted to share on the blog about this because I guess I need an outlet to share my story. This pregnancy has been super rough on me so far. I've been keeping a log week-by-week. But, if you don't feel like reading all of that, the gist is intense all-day nausea and vomitting. Morning sickness is a misnomer. I have had the equivalent of a stomach flu 24/7 for 2+ months and counting. I have thrown up to the point that my legs are weak and I'm sweating and crying. I have had nausea so bad that I cannot think, cannot focus on anything else. It has been debilitating and humbling. I have had to live one day at a time, trying to focus on getting through that day versus getting through the next _ weeks of hell. Because that's what this has been for me. It has been the hardest thing I have ever had to go through. I have never felt so miserable or isolated in my life. To hear from the doctors, "I'm sorry there's nothing more we can do for you without admitting you to a hospital." Being sick longterm wrapped me in a cloak of depression that felt never-ending. To keep hoping and hoping for relief... it has made me so compassionate for those who struggle with sickness, day in and day out. It's so hard. During one of my worst weeks, my mom came down. And while we were so appreciative of her making food for us, the best thing she did for me was to hold me. It let someone in, and allowed a little bit of light into the darkness. 

So, let's start from the beginning. The pregnancy wasn't exactly planned. We had been talking about starting our family, but weren't quite there yet. So, it was a bit of a surprise for us! I had been feeling off the week after Thanksgiving. I didn't think it was that, but when my period didn't come, I wanted to make sure. Well, when that second pink line showed up, I started hyperventilating. I went to the store and bought 6 more tests. After taking another 2, reality started sinking in. J was quite shocked. We are happy and excited, but it took a few weeks to get adjusted to the idea of the whole thing. I had one week (one!) after I found out and before I started getting ill. The nausea started week 5 and vomiting started week 6 (which was Christmas). 

Without further ado, here's a log of what's been going on with me (mostly unedited).

Week 4 - Meet with doctor. Hormones look good. I’m SO hungry! I’m hungry all the time! I must eat something. My boobs hurt. I’m tired.
Week 5 - If I don’t eat, I get nauseous. I’m waking up in the middle of the night and have to eat. My boobs hurt. I’m tired. I’m overly emotional.
Week 6 - Nausea has transitioned to gagging and throwing up. I’m in bed/on the couch most of the day trying to control the nausea. It doesn’t always work. This is also Christmas. Worst Christmas ever. Nausea lasts all day, but gets better around 5 or 6 pm. Our parents are thrilled by the news. I get out of cooking over Christmas. I rest most of the day and sleep 9 hours a night. Luckily, I don’t have to put on pants very much. Chicken noodle soup helps. I have developed a food aversion to water. My boobs still hurt, but this is so normal that it doesn’t even bother me. We leave my parents house and I cry for 3 hours for no reason.
Week 7 - I have discovered the joys of gatorade and fruit juice. I don’t feel quite as dehydrated. I still don’t feel like doing much, but I’m starting to get used to the constant nausea and it doesn’t have me flat on my back anymore. I’m pretty grateful that I have had 2 weeks off from work. Joe and I were driving to MicroCenter. I drank a juice box on the way there. I threw up said juice on the way home. I welcomed the new year by throwing up my breakfast.
Week 8- first ultrasound! We saw a heartbeat. That was awesome, though internal ultrasounds are uncomfortable. I'm 3 days further along than we thought. Figuring out a work plan. Still lots of nausea and vommitting and super tired. Sometimes I feel okay for a bit. Peppermints are a lifesaver.
Week 9 - I’ve never been so tired after sleeping 9.5 hours. Everything feels like a chore to me, even surfing the web. I got enough motivation the other night to clean the toilets. I feel like a shell of who I used to be. I think J is getting tired of this. I am too. After a month of feeling crappy, it feels like it will never end. I want to be helping with house projects, but I can’t seem to have enough energy to do anything more than a few minutes. Oh and have I mentioned that our kitchen sink seems to get the majority of my stomach acid these days. The smells in the kitchen… Ugh. Week 9 is the worst I have ever felt. My boobs might require their own zip code soon. I am currently living through hell. Oh, and I have high blood pressure! I’m so thrilled to be adding that onto everything else.
Week 10 - I’m not noticing any improvement. I have vommitted every day since reaching the 10 week mark. Often multiple times. One change I have noticed is that I am producing more when I throw up, I have less time to make it to the bathroom, and the retching has become more violent. I’m not confident this will ever end. I feel stuck in a monotony of feeling bad. I want some semblance of life back. I threw up my medicine this morning. It was my last pill and there's snow on the roads. I coughed in the shower last night and threw up. I brushed my teeth and threw up. I ate cereal this morning and threw up. I just wish there was an end date to this. I looked back at some old pictures today. I can’t believe how young and beautiful we were when we got married. And carefree. Even this past summer and fall - so carefree. The things I worried about then seem a little absurd to me now. I feel so extremely fat. I have never been this heavy before and it’s not doing much for my self-esteem right now. I was so thin before. I wish I could just time-travel back a few years and have a night out with friends. Why did I spend so many nights at home? Maybe it’s just because this was unplanned. I thought I had more time to be young and uninhibited. And it feels like I have lost all control of my body. I always knew that this would be hard on me after struggling with body image and eating disorders, but it really does kind of suck to feel bloated and not being able to cut back eating because that leads to nausea and vomitting. I just want to relive some of those times back in my young twenties again. I know you can’t go back, but it would kind of be nice to. I’m happy about having a kid, but I’m scared to death. I worry about the baby and how it’s doing in there, but I also desperately want some relief from this sickness. None of this is coming out right as I type. I can’t seem to actually express what I’m feeling right now. I always have been in control of circumstances. And I’m not. And from what I can tell from other’s experiences, that gets worse before it gets any better. I feel disassociated from the baby. Like I know there’s a reason I don’t feel good, but I’m having a hard time mentally associated the sick part with the state of being pregnant. I just hope this is all worth it.
Week 11 - I have had 2 days where I actually started to feel better. Actually, it feels like things are overall improving, just very slowly. I’m still tired all the time, even after sleeping a lot. I’ve gotten irritable for seemingly no reason. I’m still barfing quite a bit, but I do feel some relief after doing so. Nothing is appetizing to me at all. I eat stuff to prevent vomitting, but I don’t enjoy what I eat in the least.
Week 12 - Will this ever end?? I’m so over this. Also my pants don’t fit. Considering how frequently I throw up, how did that happen? And I’m still sleeping so much. I just want to feel better again! What does that even feel like? You remember that song, “and then I got high”, I feel like replacing “got high” with “threw up” would represent my life pretty accurately at the moment. I’m working again. It feels a little weird. Good, but weird. 2 of my facebook friends announced their pregnancies on facebook. Neither of them got morning sickness. I’m a bit jealous. We saw the baby today at the NT scan. Baby was doing headstands and the tech couldn’t get the picture she wanted. It took 2 hours, apple juice, jumping jacks, singing and dancing for the baby to switch to the right position. Baby is stubborn just like the parents. I’m still measuring 3 days ahead.
Week 13 - If anything, I feel more nauseous and am throwing up more than weeks 11 and 12. My throat hurts from all this. My teeth ache when I brush them. My gums bleed. I thought this was supposed to be getting better. I’m scared that this will last the whole pregnancy. It’s terrifying. At the end of this week, I swear I felt the baby move. That was awesome.
Week 14 - I’m in the second trimester!! What?! But, seriously, I thought this was supposed to come with the reward of no nausea and getting my energy back. Apparently not. Fingers crossed that the nausea actually does start to go away soon. My throat was sore for an hour last night after I threw up. Not to mention that I kind of would like to do things again. Conversation of the night: Me: “Well, I guess cleaning up puke off the floor is good practice for parenting, but it’s so gross.” J: “You puked on the floor?” Me (grabbing paper towels and Clorox): “No, I puked everywhere”

So, that brings us up to the beginning of week 15 (which is where I am now). I keep feeling like I might be better, but then I jinx it. I was thinking this morning, "wow, I'm feeling almost normal." I threw up 30 minutes later. Tonight, I thought I had to burp. Nope. Thank goodness I was by the sink. I think the major improvement in the past week has been the end of my water aversion. Trying to stay hydrated when you find water disgusting is challenging to say the least. I did everything I could to avoid having to get IV fluids at the hospital. That was my major goal every day. Most of the time, I watered down fruit juice or decaf iced tea. An addition this week has been headaches (which make throwing up feel like I'm dying - yay!). Apparently, that's normal.

And just so you all know, I did try all the suggestions. A list of things I did to help: crackers (developed an aversion), goldfish and pretzels (did help), Unisom (helped at night, too sleepy during the day), B6 (didn't work), Zofran (maybe helped? hard to tell), ginger ale (developed aversion), ginger anything (yuck!), crying (actually did help, took the focus off the nausea and was worthwhile. not sad crying, just hormones, made me feel way better), eating frequently (did help), protein (helped when I didn't have an aversion to it), Benadryl (helped, but made me fall asleep), walks (helped, but the weather was too cold most of the time), decaf lattes (this helped weeks 13+, but I had an aversion to coffee prior to that), Seabands (did nothing except make my wrists hurt).

I promise this blog will not become a pregnancy blog. But, there will be updates. I'll try to make my next ones shorter, but I have tried to cover 15 weeks in this one. :) 

And now for some FAQs! (If you are still reading)

Are you finding out the gender? Do you know the sex? Do you have any guesses?
Yes, we are finding out. No, we do not currently know. That is determined at the 20 week ultrasound (in 5 weeks). My current guess is boy, but it's a 50% shot I'm right. haha. We are happy with either! Healthy baby is way more important.

Are you excited?
Yup, and probably have no idea what we're getting into.

Was this planned?
Nope! But we were on the track anyway. So, we're pretty happy with how it worked out.

Have you felt movement?
Actually yes! My body is super sensitive, so I feel a whole lot of things. I have felt a little movement. Nothing like a definite kick or anything yet though. More like flutters. And I'm not always 100% it was movement and not something else. But, it's made things so much better.

I hope you all had a great (finally warm) weekend. We were able to see friends, go on a walk, and try to get this house clean (something that's been neglected until recently). We are starting to get stuff out of the baby room and come up with a plan. :)

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Countertops, Knobs and Snow

Happy President's Day (almost)! I meant to do this post on Valentine's and say Happy Valentine's, so I hope you all had a nice one. J and I celebrated a night in. We had planned that beforehand, but it turned out to be a good idea considering all the snow we had this week (not to mention the new season of House of Cards)!

We woke up on Thursday to this scene.

J did the shoveling (what a good husband!). We actually really need a decent snow shovel. This was our first real snow since moving into our house and our small shovel turned out to be quite challenging. I'll have to pick up a new one on our next visit to Home Depot.

You can really tell how deep it is in comparison to the chairs.

Crazy. We finally dug ourselves out completely on Friday once it had warmed up a bit. We borrowed a shovel from our neighbor's, which helped tremendously. The plow truck really plowed our cars in, which meant a lot of snow moving to get the cars out.

Let's back up to the week before... (I am late with this post). We got our countertops installed (finally)! It is so nice to have them installed. I was so pleased with how well they were installed. I opted for no backsplash for now, although I may tile one in at some point.

A close-up of the pattern. We chose Cambria, which is a Quartz surface. Since it's manmade, it needs almost no upkeep. The actual surface looks slightly lighter than this. It has reddish flakes in it as well, which go really well with the cabinets.

I also finally installed the knobs onto the cabinets, which make the doors loads easier to open. I don't really have many steps here, since it mostly involved some measuring and hole drilling.

Now, all we have is a little more plumbing and finishing work and we can call this project done! (My dad is planning on helping with that, it may be a few weeks before we get on that).

More soon...

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Basement Lights

Hi everyone! I hope you all are having a great weekend so far. I actually finished this project a few days ago but have been a bit lazy this week (which seems sort of typical these days).

My last post, I discussed hanging the cabinets for our basement minibar. What you probably can't tell from the picture below is that the space was feeling a bit dark. We had to remove the light that was previously there because the cabinets needed to be hung where it was located. I did some experimenting with what I wanted to do about the lights.

I had originally wanted to put in recessed lights above the ceiling, but I was convinced this wouldn't be possible. Here is a cross-section of the area above the ceiling. The vent really prevents the recessed lights since it is only about 4" above the drywall.

I looked into putting a light on the back wall, but the light would have really been blocked by the upper cabinets. One idea that could have worked would have been to install a ceiling light using a single box nailed into the support stud. But I would have had to cut out more drywall than I would have liked to make that work. (Really in hindsight, I should have ripped out all the drywall when we started this project, but live and learn, right?) I went back to the recessed light idea. I measured the distance between the vent and support stud. I could do 3" recessed lights. It would be tight, but I could do it. So, that is what I did. 

The holes were 3 1/8" in diameter. The fixtures barely fit through the hole.

Old circuit box. I took a picture so I would remember how to wire it.

The recessed lights housing. The housing was 6" tall. The housing barely fit. I got lucky.

Wires from the power and switch. I'm not going to get into the wiring. I basically followed the wiring that was done for the switch before.

The first test. Insert sigh of relief here.

I daisy chained the first one to the second. The first box had a lot of wires in it, which was hard to deal with (I always struggle with wire wrapping), but it all fit.

Once I knew my daisy chain would work, I secured the first box into the ceiling using the clips. The 3" clips were much easier to deal with than the recessed lights we did in the kitchen. The housing was super light even with the light installed. Because of the stud, I could only install 2 of the 3 clips, but it seemed to hold pretty well, so I'm not too concerned.

All three installed. The last one was daisy chained from the second. I could have conserved a bit of wire by going right to left, but it's not a huge deal.

The lighting is so much better now, and I love the new recessed lights.

This project is nearing completion, and I am pretty excited about it. We also had the countertop company come and measure. Our countertop is going to be installed this coming Friday! How exciting is that? Once that is done, there will be some finishing touches work, but then we can cross this baby off the to-do list! It only took 5 months...