Friday, 27 February 2009

The Secrets Revealed

I guess every family has secrets or someone in the family who is the official secret keeper. It must be hard to be the secret keeper, a heavy weight to carry. I can imagine that the secret keeper would be torn between the desire to share and the perceived consequences of sharing the secrets. Secrets from another time, another era would be hard to judge how the world would perceive it now. Things that were acceptable in another time, may be taboo now. Things that were taboo, may be the norm in today's society.

Recently the best secret keeper in our family passed away, my maternal grandmother. She left behind her sister as the final player to tell her tale... or so we thought.

Two things of great historical note occurred in May, 1945. The Germans surrendered ending WWII and my mother was conceived. This was the beginning of the greatest secret keeping in the history of my family. The identity of my grandfather would be a point of mystery and intrigue for decades to come.

So this past December, my maternal grandmother passed away... the hope that she would have left a letter to explain everything to my mother was quickly dashed. Back in 1995, I had spent some time with Grandma and had made this request. I don't think she intended on taking her secrets to the grave but I think that she just never found the words to explain herself and probably thought she would have more time to figure out the words.

In February, my mother made an innocent call to her aunt (grandma's sister) to check on things and the tangled web of secrets began to unravel.

Expecting to hear the answers to a lifetime of questions, it seems she hadn't been asking the right questions. The name she had been given for a father, the name that she had used for years to search for her missing branch on her family tree was completely fictional; A name snatched out of the air by a family matriarch who reigned over the family with an iron fist.

That was a horrific blow but the next piece of information quickly overshadowed that...

My mother grew up as the oldest child of 3, or so she thought. This turned out to be another secret as she is actually the oldest child of 5 by my grandmother. Grandma had given birth to a daughter and a son in the years between the birth of my mother and her marriage to her first husband. These pregnancies were concealed and both children were put up for adoption.

Several years ago, the daughter had great success in her search for her biological family and found her brother, her aunt and eventually her mother. My grandmother requested that my mother not be contacted. She was afraid that my mother would not understand why she made the decisions that she had made. She was afraid that she would lose the love of the person she adored most in the world. The daughter agreed to respect her wishes.

On this quiet night in February, my mother reached out into the world to speak to her "other sister" for the first time.

Since that night, the secrets have continued to unravel. My mother remembers the man that fathered her brother and sister as a companion of her mother. She used to play with his son. The question that is now on the table, did he father 2 or 3 children with my grandmother? Is this man, the man my mother has such fond memories of, her father as well?

The secrets will be unravelled. Time will tell everything... to quote a wise friend, when you die, there is no one left to hold the closet door shut anymore.

I wonder if Grandma knew how well her secret were received if she would have changed her mind about keeping them. Makes you wonder why we bother to keep these silly secrets anyway.

Thursday, 26 February 2009

Adventures in Pregnancy - 13 weeks, 5 days

For the past 16 years, Cory and I have purchased a 2L carton of milk once every 2 weeks (ish). We would reach into the very back of the fridge at the grocery store and find the carton with the longest expiry date, generally the date of the next grocery shop. The carton would sit in the fridge, occasionally used for a coffee or a bowl of cereal. As the new grocery date would roll closer, the milk would become "suspect". We would sniff carefully, sometimes comparing thoughts/sniffs before committing to a pour. If the milk was even questionable, we became "sketched" out and refuse any further consumption. We generally had to pour the rest of the milk out before the next grocery shop.

But that has all changed...

I am drinking 2L's of milk a day. It was not a conscious decision. I just can't get enough of it. We ran out of milk mid-day and I obsessed until Cory ran to the gas station (the corner store doesn't carry the brand of milk I like) to full fill my desires.

Milk in New Brunswick is just shy of $4 for a 2 litre carton of milk. My milk addiction costs is equal to my what my old smoking addiction cost per day. At least this one is WAY better for me...

Friday, 20 February 2009

Adventures in Pregnancy - 12 weeks, 6 days

Today was the follow up ultrasound. As you may remember, last week we tried for the Down's screening but the baby was only 43 mm crown to rump and needed to be 45 mm. So I concentrated really hard on growing those 2 mm. Today the baby measured 58 mm. How's that for the power of positive thinking?

We asked again if we could video the ultrasound. This time they said yes!!


video

Tuesday, 17 February 2009

Careful What You Hear

Today I had a doctors appointment with my GP to have a prescription refilled (nothing pregnancy related). While I was waiting for the doctor, the medical supply dude showed up and I entertained myself by eavesdropping on the order. It was pretty mundane stuff on the whole... then they moved on to something that lead me to a few questions...

Vaginal speculum's - it seems the office was running low on Large ones...

Back the truck up... they come in different sizes?!?! As I continued to eavesdrop, it was evident that medium was the most popular size. The office did not have a lot of large ladies so they didn't need a large quantity of Large Speculum's.

Understandably this line of information lead me to a billion questions... I returned to work after my appointment and the group discussion began....

How is size determined? Is it a height thing? Weight thing? Breast size? Shoe size? Distance between your eyes? Not one of us could recall a doctor switching up so we determined we were either not very observant or average in size.

I can't wait for my next prenatal appointment to be able to come back to work with some answers for the gang. How did we get this far into life and not realize that vagina's come in different sizes?

Sunday, 15 February 2009

Adventures in Pregnancy - 12 Weeks, 1 day

Today I had my first major pregnancy concession. Sure I gave up a few beverages on New Years Eve... I haven't even snuck a cigarette.... I gave up sandwich meats... no big deal. But today, this one hurt the most... I am a little traumatized to be honest.

It was 5 degrees Celsius today. The sun was shining, the snow was melting, spring was in the air... we decided to declare it summer and have a BBQ. A quick trip to the grocery store and we were ready to drop a few steaks on the Barbie! Then it happened!!

Cory told me that because I'm pregnant I had to have my steak cooked well done...

As a rare steak eater this was a culinary disaster. The only thing I could equate the feeling would be if I opened the BBQ to view my perfectly cooked rare steak and a bird flew over head and pooped on it.

Cory tried his best and my well done steak wasn't the shoe leather I anticipated... it had SOME juice left in 'er. It was just WRONG!

Tomorrow is our appointment with the Dietitian. I'm sure my life will be completely altered after Cory spends an hour with her.

Thursday, 12 February 2009

Adventures in Pregnancy - 11 Weeks, 5 Days

Well today was my appointment in Fredericton with Dr. Butt. This appointment for an ultrasound to screen for Down's Syndrome along with some other nasty defects. In our mind, it was our first chance to see the baby.

For the first time in my life, this was an ultrasound that was not dependant on a full bladder. THANK GOD! Nothing worse than someone pushing hard on a full bladder except if the bladder is too full and they ask you to "let a little out". Likely story.

Dr. Butt was testing a new ultrasound machine so she was checking out all the bells and whistles. Between that and a baby that was not willing to behave (That's MY kid), we had lots of opportunity to see the little one. The baby was bouncing and squiggling around like crazy. We saw a hand with a full set of fingers. So we know that he/she has at least one. We saw a nose and a mouth... those are useful after birth. We could see the heart beating (175 beats per minute).

In order to do Down Syndrome testing, they need to measure the spinal fluid. For this, the baby needs to be at least 45 mm from crown to rump. Our little one was only 43 mm. Tried as we might to stretch he/she out, no good. I even tried coughing. That had an effective, but didn't add 2 mm of length.

So, we have concentrate really hard at growing 2 mm in the next week cause we are going back for another ultrasound on Friday.

Cory really enjoyed watching the ultrasound. Our baby is very spunky and full of energy. I think I may be in trouble when I start feeling all that movement. However, at that point the accommodations may tighten up a little bit.

I have a picture that I will scan into the puter tomorrow and post.

Thursday, 5 February 2009

Adventures in Pregnancy - 10 Weeks, 5 days

What a week!! And it's not over yet... 2 am and I was "too hungry" to sleep so I thought I'd blog over my sunflower and flax seed toast and glass of milk.

Well Monday started out with my blood work appointment and prenatal appointment. The appointments were earlier than my normal work day so it meant getting up that extra little bit earlier. My biggest stress of the day was I knew they would be looking for an urine sample for my pre-natal appointment and I have historically left the cup empty. So I spent my valuable breakfast/waking time stocking up on liquid.

My blood work was the prenatal screening, my thyroid testing and some screening for abnormalities/birth defects. This translated into 12 vials of blood and a request for 2 urine samples (panic set in when I realized this meant I needed 3 samples in total and I didn't need to go). I am a good little blood giver. No problems at all generally, I watch the needle, I clot immediately, I pop out of the chair like noting happened.... until this time. By the 6th vial, I was feeling that cold sweaty light headedness that comes just before fainting. I couldn't believe it. By the end of the 12th vial, I got served a glass of orange juice and stayed for a bit of a visit. On a side note, I found out later that one of those vials was to check my blood type... if they had asked, I could have told them and saved me a vial.

I tried to give them a urine sample but alas I was only 4 glasses of water into the day and apparently that wasn't enough. A quick stop at the canteen in the hospital for some cranberry juice and we headed to our prenatal appointment.

At my appointment, I got weighed (gained 3 lbs), my blood pressure taken (118/78 as usual) and a thwarted attempt to check my urine for baddies... protein and such. The doctor came in with a medical student (fun an audience) and asked if it was ok for her to join us (does anyone ever say no?) My uterus was measuring 9.5 cms which is indicating a single baby as versus multiples. (Sorry Cory). Then she used the Doppler to find the baby's heart beat.

Okay, prior to this moment, I had a good level of denial on the go... I had no morning sickness and I could explain away every symptom... mind you I needed to pull cancerous tumors out to explain a few but it was a shadow of a doubt. I cannot explain away a heartbeat. It sounds like nothing but a heartbeat. OMG, I'm having a baby!!! Must remember to breathe!!!

So needless to say, that was pretty freakin cool.

From there, we drove home, I snagged a 60 minute (GLORIOUS) nap and headed to work for a 12-9 shift. I spent the shift tired and pale. I blamed the extensive blood letting. At 9 PM, I ran (well walked weakly) from the building and was in bed by 10 after a few quick snacks.

At 2 am, I woke up with wild indigestion. I came downstairs and took a big glass of Eno and waited for my belly to settle a bit before hunkering down to bed. By 2:30 I was in the bathroom, throwing my guts up. Morning sickness never came into my mind... food poisoning was my first thought and I was certain I named the cause. It was 11 am before I had any relief at all. By 2 PM, Cory was feeling pretty green and food poisoning was ruled out... we had the flu.

I slept from 11 am Tuesday to 11 am Wednesday almost non-stop. Waking long enough to pull blankets on or off as needed.

Wednesday afternoon, I receive a call from the prenatal clinic. Some of my blood work came back and they had some concerns. They wanted to know if I had been taking my synthyroid. I am currently taking the largest dose of synthyroid (150) you can take in a single pill. And I've been a very very good pill taker lately. My TSH levels were (OMG the dog just farted and I think my nose is going to fail off....) 19 which is most commonly found in someone who has a completely non functional thyroid and is taking no medication. (Oh thank god, the stench is moving off...)

So one of my prenatal doctors called the endocrinologist in Fredericton and asked advice. Apparently the iron in the prenatal vitamin can screw with synthyroid (or the thyroid in general) causing it to become less effective. His recommendation was to double my dose for the next 2 weeks and then, with blood work, move me to 200 until we balance me again.

So I've been hypothyroid for most of the last 10 weeks, I'm supposed to be tired but no where near this tired. I'm always excited when they up my synthyroid and this is a big freakin hop. I also tend to be less able to fight colds and flues when I have low thyroid so maybe I won't have a repeat of this bad boy. Very exciting week all told...

My toast is long done, the milk was very tasty and now I think I'm going to go to bed! Night All

Sunday, 1 February 2009

Adventures in Pregnancy - 10 Weeks, 1 day

This week I finally told my boss that I was pregnant. It went well, especially since she had already guessed that I was pregnant... she said I was wearing baggier clothing lately, she saw me eating a cracker and the biggest symptom was that I called in sick. She seemed very excited for me.

It's a good thing that I'm finally out in the open as I don't own a single pair of pants that fit anymore. I did some soul searching and thought about going out and buying the next size up but I realized that I would just be throwing out good money as they would only fit for another few weeks. I bit the bullet and purchased some maternity pants. I got 2 pairs of dress pants and a pair of jeans. It's not enough to get me through a work week yet but a good start. I've got my fingers crossed for some "hand-me-downs" to cover the gap. I'm gonna head over to the used clothing store in the neighbourhood and see what I can find as well.

Tomorrow is my first round of blood work and second prenatal appointment. I also have swung into my week night shift rotation. It should be a horrifically long week.