Monday, October 29, 2012

Akira Update

After my last post I wanted to update everyone on how my baby Akira is doing.

After the vet gave her a massive dose of a potent antibiotic, hydrated, and force fed Akira, Akira threw up all the food she was given. The vet was really nervous about it, but decided not to feed her any more, gave her ZERO medications, and left her overnight to sleep. She told me the next morning she was scared Akira might be dead. That's how bad she looked, guys, no joke. I had the same fear.  She called me the next morning and asked me not to come until 4pm, she wanted to keep an eye on Akira, but that Akira had turned around somewhere in the night.

When the vet had come in the next morning, she said it was like a different cat. Akira ate all of the food she felt safe giving her, and was responsive and alert, which she hadn't been the day before. By the time I picked her up, Akira was actually meowing and looking around with her eyes fully open.

She told me she was a little nervous, because she had done nothing, all she had done was take her off the medications. But I think it was a combination of taking her off the phenobarbital, and giving her a massive antibiotic, because I think she had an infection of some sort... but that might be wishful thinking. My instructions from the vet was to keep Akira off everything but the steroid and the antibiotic and watch her carefully for seizure activity or signs of getting worse.

It's been amazing. It's like a miracle. She is back to being a little gobble beast and eating all of her dinner, she's regained her sense of balance, she's alert and aware, comes when called, and even played fetch with me the very day she came back home. So far I have kept her off the phenobarbital and she hasn't had a seizure... I'm hoping it remains this way. She's the sweetest little kitty I've ever had, just so innocent. She doesn't deserve these health problems.

The best part is, I was prepared to pay the vet $500 or more... It's just what I've gotten used to with these people.. but no. The final bill was $45. Holy. Crap. $45. I was so shocked I just stared at her office manager like... what? $45? I almost lept over the counter and kissed her! I was so happy. This vet worked miracles on my baby and barely charged me for it. I mean, the overnight stay alone should have cost me at least $50. But she checked out both cats, sub-dermally hydrated Akira, gave her an oral antibiotic, fed her, watched her, all for $45. Maybe she'll send me a bill later, but I have my doubts.

Here's a cute picture I took of Akira last night. She managed to sneak into my room and nestle herself into my bed. She looks so comfy :). 
Anyway, I'm really happy with how Akira is doing. She seems totally back to normal and I couldn't ask for more. Thanks for all the thoughts and prayers for her. I think they worked.

Awesome Weekend

So tomorrow I'll be 31 weeks and I'm definitely starting to feel the effects of pregnancy on my body. I wanted to preface my blog with that in mind, seeing as how I accomplished so much despite my huge belly.

Our friend, Chris Sawyer, came to town Friday. He has a work conference all week in San Francisco and decided to take advantage of it and come early and leave late to hang out with his best friends, me and Jeff. At least I tell myself we are his best friends, because we love him so much.

We met up with Chris in San Francisco to eat at this cool Mediterranean place that was really high brow, lots of fancy people who looked important. It was awesome because we are from Austin, so when we saw the restaurant was "business casual" we took that to mean jeans and a decent shirt... apparently it means wear a suit without a tie. Who knew? We had fun, though, tasting cool dishes we'd never heard of and eating delicious desserts. We laughed all night and it was really nice to get out and do something since Jeff's been working so much. Once we finished our very expensive meal, we drove Chris back to our place which is about an hour north.

Sadly, Jeff had to work Saturday, and though Chris was going to help him, he ended up not being able to get on station due to some incompetence at the front gate. So Chris and I decided to go hiking at a place not too far from my house, it was really fun. We hiked 2-4 miles, and this is real hiking, not the "hiking" they had in Austin that was flat and hot. We were actually going pretty steep uphill. I got a lot of comments from other hikers about my baby being born in the woods lol, but I was really proud of myself that I stuck it out for about 3 hours.
These trees were all over the place during our hike. Chris called them the Teriyaki Beef Jerky Trees. 
One of the better views from our hike, you can see the grape vineyards

Once our hike was over, we went straight to Petaluma to the Saturday Farmer's Market. It was really awesome, they had great fresh fruits and veggies, and the location was perfect because it was downtown so we were able to get lunch there and rest our feet for a while. We also found this magical candy store and had fun looking through all the candy we used to have as kids. This place was hard core, they had EVERYTHING, and they even had the Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory movie playing on repeat all day. So of course Chris and I had to buy candy cigarettes, taffee, zots, and these hilarious jelly belly beans that were a mix of good and gross flavors, our plan was to trick Jeff into eating them.

Once we finished there, we went back and bought some fresh produce, and went home. As soon as we got home, we went to pick up Jeff so we could go see Route 1 (the highway that runs along the shore) and go to Bodega Bay. We tried to trick him into thinking we were smoking doobees with our candy cigarettes but he didn't fall for it :(. Even though Jeff drove like a bat out of hades, we didn't make it in time to see the sunset, but we did go to the beach anyway, and it was pretty sweet.
Here's Jeff and Chris on the Beach at night.. I am not sure what Jeff is doing but I think he might be going for some hand holding action.
And here's Jeff and me at the beach.. it was gorgeous but my iPhone takes horrible pictures at night.

So in one day, I hiked in the hills, went to a farmers market, went to a candy store and then ended up on the beach eating clam chowder on the water. It was a full day.

Sunday, I convinced the boys to go to the Jelly Belly Factory in Fairfield, an hour west of here. It was so fun! I am now officially over Jelly Beans because I definitely ate too many, but the tour was fun and we had a lot of fun tasting Jelly Beans, taking funny pictures on their camera (which was SUPPOSED to email them to me but never did), and just horsing around. We then drove back home, tried the famous In-N-Out burgers (they were delicious), and Jeff and Chris played Borderlands while I rested my swollen feet. Then Chris started making Jeff eat the Jelly Beans, playing Jelly Bean Roulette if you will. It was hilarious. Every single time except 1, Jeff got a gross Jelly Bean. He tasted a Centipede one, a Booger one, a Baby Wipes one, etc. I was laughing so hard, I wish I'd video taped that. After that, we went swimming in our pool which Jeff SAID was heated, but it was freezing cold. I did manage to do several laps, it's a great lap pool, complete with lanes. I was trying to repent for my Jelly Bean eating. Meanwhile, Jeff and Chris kept jumping back and forth from the hot tub to the pool for fun... no words...
Jeff in his Jelly Belly Hat

Chris in his Jelly Belly Hat
It was really fun having Chris here. Today I took him back to San Francisco so he can be at work, and will either meet him on Halloween night to party it up in San Francisco or see him Friday when we pick him up for the next weekend adventures! Yay! I really needed this after all the crap I've been dealing with out here all alone.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Akira... my poor baby kitty

This is the Akira I know... she snuggles her Mommy and loves to play with pens on the tile.

Here she is snuggling her soon-to-be sister, Sonja. She loves to snuggle up to my bump.

But recently, Akira has not been doing so well. It all started in June when we took her to get her teeth cleaned. Some routine blood work came back showing elevated liver levels. The vet was mildly concerned but decided to wait a month to see if they would go down. They didn't, they doubled. So we tried lowering her dose of Prozac (which makes her the happy non-urinating on the wall kitty we love so much), she remained happy and healthy by all appearances but her liver levels doubled AGAIN in that month. So we put her on Progesterone and her liver levels went back down. All seemed well.

Jeff took the cats about 5 or 6 weeks ago on a 3 days trek from Texas to California. Akira was fine through the trip though angry about the car ride. He then had to board them for a week with a local vet, where, unfortunately they were kept with the sick cats until we could prove they had been vaccinated. This normally wouldn't have been an issue except I was PISSED they put them near sick cats after Puppy got an eye infection, but still Akira was fine by all appearances.

Things went bad a few weeks ago when, out of nowhere, Akira had a seizure. Jeff took her to the local and quite famous VCA Animal Hospital, where they actually have a neurologist for animals who specializes in seizures in cats. She didn't know what was going on but tested for several infections, all of which came back negative. Instead of figuring out what was causing the seizures, she put her on Phenobarbital to control the seizures after Akira had 2 more within 48 hours of the first one.

Akira seemed to be doing fine on the Phenobarbital, but 3 or 4 days ago took a turn for the worse. She refused to eat, slept all day and seemed to have a hard time moving at all. We felt her tummy and it was hard as a rock, on top of it, she seemed pained by the touch. I took her back to the animal hospital, where they did a very expensive ultrasound that revealed everything was fine except her intestinal lymph nodes were enlarged. They said it could be IBS, a systemic infection, or Lymphoma. Awesome. Things keep getting better...

I almost took her to an internal medicine specialist while I panicked yesterday that she wouldn't eat. They did prescribe an antibiotic hoping it may help. They were really useless in giving me any help or hope. Instead I decided to wait a day, and I got her to drink some kitten formula and eat at least half a small can of wet food. I made an appointment with a vet I found on Yelp who had rave reviews. I wasn't expecting miracles, I just knew I couldn't keep spending $500 every time my cats got sick, and this lady seemed perfect by her reviews, she doesn't over charge and she doesn't try to get you to do a bunch of unnecessary stuff.

So today I brought both cats in. You'll be happy to know Puppy is very healthy. She commented on how muscular and fit he is, he's got a good heart rate. I pride myself in not only taking care of my own health, but also taking obsessive care of my cats health, so I was happy he is doing well. Akira, on the other hand, was obviously in bad shape. She wouldn't even get out of her carrier, she seemed unable to turn around in order to get out. The vet listened as I droned on and on about her health issues, what she'd been exposed to, all her medications and all the things I had tried. I explained that she's normally a happy, chirpy little thing who loves people. She seemed concerned. She said she doesn't think Akira has epilepsy but she might have some nasty systemic bug she can't get rid of. So she is going to keep her overnight and try a hardcore antibiotic. She also is going to rehydrate her and possibly force feed her, because Akira hasn't eaten enough to fight anything. She's going to wean her off the phenobarbital and try to get things back in balance.

Worst case scenario, Akira has lymphoma. If she does, there isn't much we can do but make her comfortable and hope she lives a long time. If she doesn't have lymphoma, we may be able to fix her with this antibiotic.

Either way I feel like I have finally found a vet who gives a crap, who might actually have an answer for me, and who won't do needless tests and put Akira through the ringer just to get nowhere. She's going to help me without bankrupting me. And the compassion she gave to both me, the crying pregnant lady in her exam room, and to my sick but angry Akira was genuine and sweet. I think I have found my new favorite vet.

Please pray for my baby Akira. I am sick over this, you guys, I just love her so much. I may not be the most religiously minded person anymore, but I have been on my knees begging God to just help me get her to eat. Sometimes that's all you can do... get the help you need from the people who know what they are doing, and then pray.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

The Move to California and Finally Dealing with it

So I left a week early for California. I couldn't wait any longer. I needed to be with Jeff and my body has become increasingly uncomfortable.. it was time.

My mom and I road tripped, starting on Saturday. We went to see my sister, Valerie, who has been staying in Stephenville the last few weeks. We saw her, then went on to Lubbock where we bunked with my sister, Meghan, and her boyfriend, Nick, for the night. I also got to have dinner with my Dad, Bev, Bekah and Meghan that night, which was really great! I sure love my family and wish I saw more of them.

From Lubbock, we left early Sunday morning for Flagstaff, AZ. In case you're wondering, the drive to CA... not so beautiful. There's a lot of dead and ugly. But Flagstaff is like an oasis in the middle of hell, it's higher in altitude and reminds me a lot of Denver, CO. We got to Flagstaff early enough to enjoy a nice dinner, some down time and get to sleep early.

Monday we drove to Bakersfield, CA and stayed in a nice hotel in the middle of a very questionable neighborhood. My first impressions of South-Eastern California were not good. I was shocked at how barren and dead it was. Most of the drive I kept saying to my mom "it has to get better or Jeff totally lied to me." Eventually it did, some of the coolest things we saw on our way was just miles and miles and miles of fruit orchards and grape vineyards.

We made it to California on Tuesday. I love our new apartment. I think it is perfect for what we need, and I imagined I would begin nesting right away but I didn't. My mom left Wednesday and I cried really hard. I then spent the rest of Wednesday sitting on the couch feeling sorry for myself... realizing exactly what had become of my life. I am in a new place, I don't know a soul here, and I'm so pregnant I can't do anything like join a fitness class, or get a job... I'm just stuck hanging out with my poor overly-loved cats. On top of everything else, Jeff is working really long hours at his new job in order to get this project finished by a very important date (pay-wise) and we're waiting on the first check from the government (which takes 6-8 weeks from when you finish a section of work), so we're living on credit cards until that first payment comes through... and then we will be fine. It's tense. I can't buy anything I need to buy to start really nesting. I can't distract myself in any way other than watching Walking Dead, and worrying about things. Akira developed some sort of seizure disorder when I was driving here, and now is on anti-seizure meds probably for life, and Puppy got an eye infection from being boarded while Jeff was in Northern California on a separate job. So I have to tackle him down 4 times a day and force goop into his eye. It's just sucky. I miss my friends, I miss my clients, I miss being able to vent to someone face to face instead of talking to  myself all alone in my apartment.

But yesterday I decided I need to do SOMETHING. So I went to a craft store and very cheaply bought the supplies I felt I would need to recreate a baby mobile I saw on Etsy. I ended up making 2... one for over the changing table and 1 for over the crib. One is a mobile of origami cranes I taught myself how to fold through googling it. The other is a cloud mobile with 3 clouds, each with their own rain drops, and little silver stars. I think they are going to turn out really great. So far the crane one is pretty much done and I love it. I may change out some of the cranes though cause I want the colors to coordinate with my overall nursery plan.

Moving sucks. It always has. I have never enjoyed moving to a new area, I'm not really outgoing enough to just make new friends immediately, I don't know how to put myself out there. I can make friends when I am in the right place, where I can meet people, but it's not like I can just walk up to someone in Target and be like "I'm lonely, you seem nice, let's be BFF."

So here I am. Let's hope I can find a way to make my life here not suck. I will probably start some prenatal classes next week and next month I will start my Hypnobirthing classes. I hope all of you are doing well :).

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

How Pregnancy Has Changed my Social Dynamic

When I first found out I was pregnant, I went through a lot of emotions all at once. I felt scared, terrified really, and surprisingly excited. I hadn't really realized it, but I really did want to be a Mom. Maybe not this year, but eventually, and after all the problems I had... some doctors told me it was PCOS, others just said I had cysts, I didn't know if I would be able to have a baby without intervention. So when I found out, I was relieved in many ways. I was also incredibly stressed.

It seems like from the beginning a switch went off inside my head. I stopped censoring myself when I spoke to people, let more of what I was actually thinking fly out of my mouth without even caring that I hadn't stopped it. Granted, it's not like I just walked up to people and started giving them a piece of my mind, I just didn't let people do or say shit to me that I didn't like.

Well, that hasn't gone away and quite frankly, I hope it doesn't. For my sake and my daughter's sake, I should stand up for myself and I should be capable of speaking my mind when the need arises, or I will be stepped on and she won't learn to be assertive. But this isn't the only thing that's changed for me socially. I find that as I grow, as my belly grows rather, people say the boldest things to me!

I've had some of the most offensive comments, I've had a lot of people who sort of skirt around it, so that they don't accidentally ask me if I'm pregnant on the slight chance that I may just have a beer gut, and I have had people down right tell me I'm huge. I've had more comments about my appearance than I ever got before with perhaps the exception of my wedding day and the time I was a runway hair model for Farouk Chi.

Today is a perfect example. My neighbor, bless her heart, is a very interesting woman. She doesn't seem to have a filter of any kind, and just says things that come to mind. She's into nature, think trees have spirits, and talks about them as "he's" and "she's." She does rain dances, and is incredibly friendly. I like her. I think she's neat. She makes me laugh and has always been sweet to me. Today she came to my door to check on me, since I had some guys putting my glass shower surround in. She says to me, "Wow, you are looking slim. It's all baby now," and adds "It's good because I was so used to seeing you all fit looking and then when you first were pregnant you kinda..." and she moves her hands out to demonstrate how I was looking wide or fat or whatever she meant by it, "but now you are all baby and the rest of your body has slimmed back out." I was stunned. I actually laughed out loud. I was both offended and felt complimented at the same time. And I realized that she meant it kindly, and she wasn't wrong, but I am so not used to being judged or looked at in a physical way (at least I'm not used to being aware of made aware of others' opinions) that it takes me by surprise every single time. I mean, I keep hearing how I was too skinny before I got pregnant by all these people, but no one ever said this to me when I was skinny. I'm like... so now it's ok to say it? I like how I looked before and I plan on going right back to it when I get this baby out of me.

But it's not just comments like those that are different. I'm also getting a lot of awesome perks with this belly. My mom won't let me lift things, or paint things, or mud or caulk things if she's around when I try to do it. My friends won't let me pick things up, or walk to my car in the dark. It's nice, but also frustrating because I like my independence. People freak out when I carry weights, or pick up chairs. It's like, guys... I'm a personal trainer. I work out all the time, even pregnant. I know my limitations and yeah, I may occasionally push boundaries, but I'm not going to do anything stupid. I have convinced people to do things they would probably have said no to were I not pregnant. It is awesome.

Examples: We had the carpet guys come yesterday to install new carpet in what was once Akira's favorite room to pee in. Yes, I want to murder her for this, but now that she's on Prozac and using the litter box like a champ, I can't look into those cute little bengal eyes and stay mad. I love her too much. It's a disease really. Anyway, the carpet guy comes and I ask him, just to be sure, if he is aware that he is also supposed to stretch the carpet in 2 other bedrooms because I had paid for it, and Home Depot assured me it would be done on the same day. The guy had no idea what I was talking about. I begged him to call in and make it right. I poked my belly out and used the puppy dog eyes. Sure enough, even without confirmation by the carpet company, he went ahead and stretched it for me once I agreed to write it on the invoice that he'd done the extra labor. Sweet!

Then today the glass installers came and were extra nice to me, asked me when I was due and talked to me about my baby a little. They made me leave when they got the strong chemicals out and warned me before taking out the broken windows to stay clear of the area. Then, as they left, I convinced them to haul away these old mirrors we had in the garage, mirrors I don't have time to get rid of or give away. It was awesome, they took them away for me, which I don't think they would've done.

But it gets better. After the glass guys left, I sped down the road to get back to my Aunts house where I am sleeping. I look in my rear view mirror and a state trooper is pulling me over. Oh shit. I pulled into a parking lot, rolled my window down, an the guy is super nice. He asks me if I know what the speed limit is. I said no, he said it's 45, and I was doing 59. Yeah... I have a lead foot. I said, "oh" and smiled at him apologetically. He took my DL and looked up my insurance. I got a little teary eyed thinking about how much the ticket might cost. I felt stupid. We are moving, money is tight right now, and here I am probably going to spend over $100 just because I can't follow the stupid law. And I'm pregnant, seriously? I should not be speeding.

The officer came back and gave me a warning. I didn't deserve a warning, I deserved a ticket, but the man was really nice to me the whole time. I can't believe how lucky I am.. but I have to think that the belly had something to do with his kindness. And so... with that, I leave you with a summary of how my belly is making my life a little easier, a little harder, and I think ultimately, it will make my life a lot richer.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Third Trimester

I'm officially in the 3rd trimester. I'm 27 weeks an 1 day. I'm really excited about it too, because this means that even if something went horribly wrong, and I gave birth tomorrow, my baby has more than a 90% chance of surviving without any long term complications.

As for the baby, Sonja is moving around a lot. She was especially active all day Monday when I did some weight training. She was jabbing me and moving around, it actually kinda hurt. Yesterday I believe my cardio routine put her to sleep so I didn't have nearly as much activity. Since Jeff took my elliptical machine, I'm having to go to my gym to train. At first I wasn't looking forward to it, but I actually kind of enjoy being there and chatting with random people as they come and go. 

My current pregnancy worries are: West Nile Virus (which is now in the northern Austin area), my inability to pass a Starbucks without getting a Caramel Apple Cider (OMG DELICIOUS), my glucose test which is scheduled for next Thursday, and my upcoming 3-4 day road trip to California.

I am really anxious to get to Cali and start preparing for the baby. I want to organize the kitchen, organize the Living Room, and most of all organize the nursery. I want it perfect so that I can make life a little easier on myself once Sonja gets here and chaos ensues. I've been pinning cleaning tips, organization tips, and researching the baby products I didn't get at my shower and want to purchase once I get there.

My dad agreed to buy a crib for the little one, an awesome crib so magnificent she can sleep in it all the way through her childhood. It converts into a toddler bed and a full-sized bed. Pretty awesome right? My Dad is super awesome for doing this for us. It's a big weight off my shoulders. You want to see the crib right?  Here it is:
and here it is as a full size bed

My Mother-in-Law is going to buy us a stroller, which will also be pretty awesome. I narrowed it down to 4 strollers I am interested in, and I'm giving her the final choice on the matter. Here are the strollers I liked the most for my personal needs:

The Stokke Explory

This was actually my first pick. I like it because it's easy to take up stairs, and we will be on the 3rd floor. It also is one of the only strollers that is made for tall people, I know I know... why does this help ME? Well the seat on the stroller moves up and down, making it so that my baby can be almost eye level for me, but also making it perfect for strolling into a restaurant, wheeling the baby up to a table, and letting her eat at the table in the chair... less transferring. Also the arm is adjustable so Jeff can lengthen it for his taller needs, and I can shorten it for my shorter needs.

The Orbit G2 Travel System
 What do I like about this? Almost everything. Not only does the system come with a car seat, and happen to be one of the easiest strollers to use one-handed (by use I mean fold, unfold, transfer the seat from the car to the stroller). It's also incredibly easy to handle. Trust me, I went to Baby Earth and test drove every single stroller in this list. Unfortunately, this is a stroller I feel bad even putting on my list due to the price of it. But I thought I'd add at least 1 dream stroller. Another cool feature this little guy has, is that it has a swivel in the base, so you can put the baby in the car at any angle and then swivel the seat to lock her into the rear facing position. You can also swivel the seat in the stroller to have her front or rear facing.

The UPPAbaby Vista
 UPPAbaby recently added a new stroller to their line called the Cruz. I actually like it less than the Vista. I love the vista, mainly because the price is a little more reasonable, and it's probably one of the easiest to fold and fit in the car of the strollers I chose. I don't know that we'll be doing a lot of car travel due to the awesome location we found for our Apartment, but when we do, this gem would be great for that. The seat also folds completely flat and the stroller comes with a bassinet for when Sonja is still too young to sit up. This stroller has the best storage as well, as far as having the most room for putting stuff under the seat. Another great feature this stroller offers is that you don't have to take the seat off to fold it... awesome. The more convenient it is, the better.

The Bumbleride Indie Stroller
What's not to love about the Indie? I love almost everything about this stroller. It's actually more versatile in that it will work as a jogging stroller, but it's also the biggest stroller of the 4. Making it more frustrating during storage and transport. I don't mind that as much, though, because this baby is a smooth ride, has air-filled tires, and in my test drives rides just as smooth if not smoother than a BOB without being quite as bulky. It maneuvers well around corners and I jogged a little with it in Baby Earth (because I no longer have shame) and found it to be very responsive. This was also recommended to me by a friend of mine and I can see why she loves it so much. It folds without having to remove the seat, the seat lays flat, and it has an adapter for the car seat I want. Overall I love it. 

This turned into another one of those baby products I like posts.. but I just wanted to share what I found. It took a lot of digging around to figure out what I wanted.