Tag Archives: health - Page 2

A Friend in Need

My friend Benah has been diagnosed with breast cancer.  She is a lovely, intelligent, compassionate, funny, kind, fabulous mother of two, and her diagnosis breaks my heart.

She is set to have a double mastectomy next Friday, and chemotherapy is likely on the horizon.

She is participating in the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure in Phoenix, AZ.  You can help her reach her fundraising goal.

Her family is transforming the guest room in their house into a healing & recovery room for her.  I think this is absolutely brilliant.  I’m working on a contribution myself, and will gladly forward on anything that you all care to send to me.  She could use all the positive healing vibes she can get!

Sending you lots of love, Benah!

Anticipating Baby

Hi, Baby McDonald #3.  This is your story.

I found out I was pregnant with you in a WalMart bathroom in San Antonio, TX, at the end of our coast trip with your daddy’s family.  I was shocked, to say the least.  I was finally able to tell your father about 45 minutes later.  I held up the test and asked him if he thought that looked like a plus sign.  He was shocked, too.

It’s not that we didn’t want you, and aren’t ecstatic to have you.  But, you see, your sister Camilla had just turned 7 months old.  I wasn’t expecting you, but am beyond thrilled to have you in our lives.  Clearly you were destined for our family.

You gave me a scare at 13 weeks (just like your brother and sister did).  Whereas I had a subchorionic hemorrhage with them, I actually had a tiny amniotic fluid leak with you.  That scared the crap out of me.  I was on edge for weeks, terrified of losing you.  I actually spent a great deal of the pregnancy worried that you were going to come early.  There’s no danger of that, as I started writing this the day I hit 41 weeks.  Clearly you are stubborn.

The pregnancy itself was pretty uneventful, for which I am grateful.  I’ve been in great health, and you have too.  JR is amazing, and you’re going to love having him as a big brother.  He’s so kind and sweet, smart and funny, and a million other fantastic things.  Camilla is pretty awesome too.  She’s a feisty, bright, willful, adventurous little girl who brings us all a smile.

I don’t know where to start to tell you how lucky you are to have the father that you do.  Maybe that will be a different story altogether.  I’ll leave it at this for now:  I’m lucky to have married my best friend and bore his children.  Really lucky.  Wait.  Not lucky — blessed.

Your due date was approaching, and I was starting to fret about my limited mobility.  We had just bought our first house, and your daddy had to pack the old house and move all by himself.  Then there was a fire on the road to the mine, and he had to take a week off which turned out to be okay because he was able to finish moving and cleaning.  We thought for sure that you’d make an entrance right after that, but no.  I’d had some Braxton Hicks contractions, but no signs of labor.  On your due date, June 25th, I had my OB’s nurse do a (very quick) membrane sweep.  I was barely 1.5 cm at that point.  With some help, I lost my mucus plug the next day, and started having bloody show the day after.

Then things stalled.

There was a lot of walking involved.  We all saw Toy Story 3 at some point.  There was a day we all walked up to Denny’s (with daddy pulling JR & Camilla in the wagon) for breakfast and back to the house.  There have been about a million trips to WalMart to walk around, probably resulting in the purchase of more crap than we ever thought we needed.  I figured out you were facing the wrong way — you were sunny-side-up, occiput posterior — and knew that you were going to have to turn around if I had a hope of ever getting you out.

I started doing all the things from Spinning Babies.  I have spent most of the last week on all fours, tushy up in the air, trying to encourage you to turn.  I felt drained, like I would be pregnant forever.  I was also starting to be in immense pain, so I scheduled a chiropractic appointment with Dr. Bill McAfee.  On July 1 (at 40w6d), he gave me an amazing sacral adjustment and did the Webster technique.  I had a contraction immediately upon standing up.  I felt you wiggling.  I had contractions all day and night, feeling you wiggle with them all.  The adjustment/technique opened up my pelvis and loosened up my uterine ligaments.  I felt fabulous and re-energized, and even got a good night’s sleep.

Today is July 2nd.  Today I am 41 weeks.  Today you turned around.  Today is also your (middle) namesake’s birthday.  Happy birthday, Uncle Darrell!  45 years ago, my mother gave birth to him.  Today I hope to give birth to you.  We’re all eager to meet you!

Ouch, Again

So at 2:45 am two Mondays ago, I came down with a sudden high fever and extreme abdominal pain. At 6 am, my husband said I needed to be seen. I called my local physician, told him my symptoms, and he said I’d be best off by going in to Fairbanks to the emergency room. He said that chances were that I had acute appendicitis. Fun times.

I was nearly doubled over in pain all the way there. Once in town, JR went to M’s place. I had to drink about a gallon of blue crap and then got a CT scan. By late afternoon it had been confirmed that I had appendicitis, and the doctor told me I was going to have it removed. More fun.

Surgery was uneventful, though it seemed there were a million more people in the operating room than I thought necessary. I thought I’d be able to go home the next day, but instead spent the next day feverish, somewhat delirious, sleeping, and vomiting. Wednesday I was well enough to be discharged, and it was so nice to be recovering in the comfort of my own home. John took excellent care of me, the kids, and the house all week. I spent Thursday and Friday barely upright, and hardly held anything down. John went back to work on Monday, and I was mostly better by Wednesday. By this past weekend, I was my old self again, with just occasional abdominal pain.

I have a nifty new scar forming, and am wonderfully minus one useless, troublesome organ. Stupid evolutionary blip.

Our New Addition

I now have both a son and a daughter.

Camilla Rose was born via c-section at 8:39 am on Monday, February 16, 2009, after a 34 hour labor. She weighed 8 lbs 14 oz, was 21.5” long, with both head and chest circumferences of 14.5 cm, and a head full of curly black hair. Daddy got to cut the cord! We came home Tuesday night and everyone is doing really well.

She looks just like JR did as a newborn. We’ve discovered that she has my nose, daddy’s hairline & swirl, many of my facial expressions, and a preference for sleeping tummy to tummy on our chests.

JR is warming up to her, and will undoubtedly make a wonderful big brother. He’s been handling things really well, considering that his entire world changed in the blink of an eye. He is a bit clingier than usual, and gets worried if we’re out and he can’t see both me and daddy at the same time, but I’m sure that with just some patience, reassurance, and extra one-on-one time he’ll soon be our confident little man again. He’s recognizing that Milla is supposed to be with us wherever we go — the other day he came up to the bedroom and saw me sitting there, and before he would hug me or talk to me he wanted to know “Where’s baby?” and looked for her (she was on the bed next to me). As soon as he saw her, he nodded, and went on with his conversation with me. He of course still has his moments where he’d rather have us all to himself, but he’s just been wonderful. He’s taken to wearing daddy’s t-shirts around the house, and I fear that he may be coming down with a cold or something.

My BFF is driving up tomorrow to spend a week with us. She’ll be helping me out while John is recovering from the sinus surgery he’s having next week.

John has been amazing — he took great care of me while I was laboring, and has been doing all of the household stuff like cleaning, cooking for us all, changing diapers, and being awesome. And it’s just so heartwarming watching him with his daughter. I know he’s going to feel infinitely better after his surgery too, so we’re very grateful that M is coming to help us out.

Here’s our new sweet pea:

Camilla Rose

Camilla Rose

She’s named after my maternal grandmother and my mama. Mama, I know you’re watching over us. Thank you for the hat and the quilt. Thank you for everything. I hope I teach her all the wonderful things you taught me. We love you and miss you.

Poor baby

My poor baby woke up this morning with a nose full of icky green boogers. He was feeling a little out of sorts yesterday, and I can see that today, he’s just not 100%. He looks like he feels icky but still wants to play, so he appears to be taking a low-key approach to things. I hope he gets to feeling better. Moreover, I hope I don’t get what he has right before I’m about to give birth. I hate being sick as it is; I don’t want to add going into labor on top of that. I’m sure I’d be downright unpleasant company at that point.

I’m coming up on my 30th birthday. I think that’s the first time I’ve written that out. I’ve been telling John that I’m going to be 29 for the next 15 to 20 years. I used to have a lot of hangups about turning 30. I still may have a few, but for the most part it just seems like another birthday.

I’ve also set up Buffle to be boarded at this kennel in Fairbanks, provided I don’t go into labor before Friday, that is. She’s got an appointment Friday to get shots and whatnot, and then the kennel told me (after I explained my imminent labor) that they would accommodate my labor and our dog. Thanks so much!

As for the about-to-be-born, she’s really weighing heavily on me. I had the hardest time sleeping last night because the weight of my uterus just seemed to hurt, no matter what position I was in. I still managed to wake feeling fully rested, despite the interrupted sleep, and I know that’s because we’re now sleeping on this gorgeous new king size bed we just got. It’s divine. We bought it Friday, then made a family field trip on Saturday in a U-Haul to pick it up. JR loved it, and Saturday was just a great day overall.

I had this total urge to clean the entire house yesterday and bake a million things, but just couldn’t muster the energy for it. John was beyond awesome and did a lot of the cleaning for me. He had also taken JR to the grocery store, where JR pushed around a little toddler sized cart. I wish he’d gotten pictures of it.

We’re really enjoying the last few days we have as just the three of us.

Catching up

because I haven’t written in a bit.

The day we were flying back from Texas, I went into false labor. We had just gotten to my sister-in-law’s house, and I realized that my “stomach ache” was turning into something quite different. I had a gut-wrenching, can’t-stand-still-can’t-move-well-can’t-breathe-well contraction. Out of nowhere. Then, like 3 minutes later, I had another one. And then another one. We decided to bag it and go to the hospital seeing as how I was just 32 weeks along and could barely breathe through them. We left a confused JR with my in-laws, and drove off into the unknown parts of Ft. Worth to find a hospital. After getting sort of lost downtown, and me having 9 or 10 super strong contractions in an hour’s time, we got to the hospital’s ER entrance. Everything stopped. Not another contraction.

I talked to the on-call OB who stands in for my OB when he’s out of town, explaining that we had a plane to catch and that it’d been over half an hour without any activity. I signed a form to get out of being seen at the hospital, and we headed back to my in-laws’ house. We loaded everything up, said our goodbyes, got to the airport, dropped off the rental, then were given the runaround by TSA agents who were clueless about where the Alaska Airlines ticket counter was located. After walking like 1/2 a mile through and around the airport just to be sent back, it turned out to be right next to where the damn agents were standing when we asked. We checked in, checked our bags, got some Taco Hell, and made it to the gate just in time to board the plane. Whew!

The flight was fairly uneventful, and we switched planes without a hitch in Seattle. It seemed like it took forever to get to Fairbanks, and we were so ready to be off the plane when we finally landed. Holy crap was it cold though! It was -43*F when we landed. That was heartbreaking, given that it was 88*F when we left Texas. My nose started bleeding as soon as we hit the baggage claim area, it was so dry.

John left to get the truck from the parking garage downtown, we stopped at Safeway for groceries, then drove 100 miles to get home. Oh, the relief to finally be home!

John had to leave insanely early the next morning for work. JR and I were still sick (and still are) so we took it easy the first day. I had (and still have) so much cleaning to do though as we trashed the house in our extreme hurry to get ready to leave in the first place.

Thursday I woke up super early and went on a mini-cleaning spree. I scrubbed the downstairs bathroom, cleaned the living room, did the dishes, the laundry, the diapers, swept and mopped the kitchen, and decluttered the countertops, all before noon. I managed to get dinner in the crockpot (which was super yummy: beef short ribs, slow cooked in barbecue sauce) and had it ready to be served when John walked in the door that night. So tender it was falling off the fork!

Friday I was up early again (gotta love pregnancy insomnia), and had showered, eaten, made and drank coffee, checked all my usual websites, and straightened up the kitchen before anyone else even woke up. We went to town that day for our usual shopping trip. I went to Joann’s and got some cool new knitting supplies (thank you Bec) as well as a baby elephant and hippo for JR that he adores (they’re Schleich, and I love them). We ate at Chili’s because I was craving buffalo wings like nobody’s business, which was so not worth the final ticket price we paid for dinner. Doubt we’ll go back (John had a ribeye, I had shrimp & chicken). I discovered later that night taht I must be allergic to shrimp.  Nice.

Then we picked up a doggie coat & booties for our wussy indoor dog — and before you make any snide comments, those things are totally necessary for creatures in -40* and colder weather. We went in search of a new winter coat for JR too, though kept coming up short. FYI, Big Ray’s had a sign saying they were open until 8 (it was 7:15) and they turned us away. Frontier Outfitters is entirely too floofy, too. Sears was dead, and we speculate that they’ll be going under soon. Then it was off to WalMart for some random crap, then Freddie’s for groceries, then finally back home.

Saturday I was going to try to get together with M (who is this sweet woman that we’re trying to get to watch JR when I go into labor), but I started feeling even sicker and decided to nap with JR. John went back into town to pick up my meds and a handful of other things we’d forgotten (as he’s working this coming weekend and so won’t be home until next Thursday night).

Yesterday was a mellow day, thankfully.  John cleaned up our files downstairs, JR played, and I worked on a fun new knitting project (the Noro Striped Scarf).

Today, John headed back to work.  JR and I have just been hanging out for the most part.  I’ve scheduled John’s sinus surgery/pre-op/cat-scan, and also renewed my belief that Chief Andrew Isaac Health Center majorly sucks.  We got our home heating fuel delivery, and we’re now settled in with some simple snacks to watch the Fiesta Bowl (Hook ‘Em Horns!).


We’re at Holiday Inn Express in Fort Worth. We’ve ordered takeout from Boston’s next door. The dog is hanging at Cara and Mike’s for the night. We’re going back in the morning to pick her up, say our goodbyes to the W’s, then it’s off to the airport for our million-and-one hour adventure back to Alaska. Once we land, we’ll be in -30*F weather in Fairbanks. We’ll have to stop at the grocery store, then drive 100 miles home. John has to go back to work Monday morning. I feel really bad that he’s not going to get a chance to get real sleep until Monday night.

Thirty degrees below zero, Fahrenheit. It might even be colder than that, what with wind chill and all. It was a balmy 80 degrees today. Buffle was basking in the sun in the M’s backyard. Poor furball is in for a shock when she gets home. We are too. I’ve been loving staying in tank tops and flip flops in December, though it’s been really strange spending Christmas without snow and without my mother.

To be honest, it truly hasn’t felt like Christmas at all. I think it may have been easier on me to be down here for the holiday. Mama was always such a big part of Christmas, it feels wrong not to have her here.

It’s been a great trip. It’s gone by really quickly; for having spent 2-1/2 weeks here, I’m not sure where all our time went. I know we spent a lot of damn time just driving.

Every last available bit of room in our luggage is taken up by stuff. I’m sure that I’m forgetting to get something for someone, but I’m sorry: I’ve run out of room. Stupid airline baggage weight restrictions.

Oh well. Time to eat and chill and hopefully sleep. Tomorrow is going to be a long long looooooong day.

And we’re off.

Sort of. Almost. Not quite yet.
I’m all packed. Each suitcase is at 50 lbs. We haven’t weighed the duffle, but whatever it’s at is what it’s leaving at because nothing will fit anywhere else.

John left with John the Elder and JR to go to the airport and mail back some of the stuff that just wouldn’t fit. Like the statuette. And the Bevo that we won at Dave and Buster’s Christmas night (by the way, having dinner alone and playing games was awesome).

Yesterday we had exchanged a gift, done some shopping at Babies R Us, got a new prescription for me and my new amoxicillin allergy, ate at Dos Julios (formerly Old San Antonio Cafe, and better under old management), stopped at the S’s to say goodbye, came back to the house, and all passed out. JR’s cold is worse, or sounding worse at least. It’s settled into his chest. Started packing last night, and finished today.

We’ll be driving out of SA later on, headed toward Dallas/Fort Worth. I had wanted to stop at Ikea for some beautiful fabric, but probably will not do so as we have no way to get it back. Bummer. Maybe I can talk someone else into going for me. (Jenn?)

I think we’ve managed to get everything. My head hurts just thinking about 16 hours to get back home.

Medical Fun

I think I’m allergic to my antibiotic. I’ve put a call in to the prescribing doctor. I was up until after 4 am with hives last night.


…on Tuesday I felt like a superstar, so I asked John to take me to a clinic.  We got to a walk-in clinic at 2, and he dropped me off so he could go to the bank.  I went in, and they told me they were refusing my insurance, yet I could be seen as a cash patient for a ridiculous sum of money.  I politely told them to screw themselves.  At 3:30, John finally got back.  410 was backed up.  Traffic is that much fun in SA.  We drove to one Gonzaba Med Center, and they told us to go to their walk-in/urgent clinic, right by where we just were.  I waited for a bit over an hour there, but once I was brought back and actually seen by a physician — bam!  Yep, you’ve got a full-blown sinus infection, here’s a prescription, bye-bye.  So awesome (and I got to eat too, which this prego likes).

After going back to the house to retrieve my boy, whom I missed greatly by this point, we stopped at HEB to get my meds, then went across town to drop gifts off to my niece’s kids.  The kids were all fine, and she and I managed to keep it civil for fifteen or twenty minutes.  I don’t know if I could have done much longer than that.

Then we headed out to find a Babies R Us.  There was supposed to be one on Rector St., but we didn’t see it.  We went to the one by Ingram Mall, and I got to go in for like ten or fifteen minutes before they gave the closing bell-get-the-f-out announcement on the PA system.  A quick stop for stuff at HEB, then back to the house.

Yesterday, Christmas Eve, we ate at Jim’s then headed back to the mall to do our shopping for each other.  Yes, we both waited until the last possible moment.  We’re awesome like that.  We’re going to do that every year from now on, it was so much fun.  Seriously, Ingram was insane, yet we were able to get a parking spot fairly quickly.  I didn’t see anything I truly wanted to get him there, and he picked up something for me, but I did find a kick ass pair of jeans that make even my seven-months-pregnant-huge-ass look good so they were worth buying.  Then over to a couple of other stores, and then back to the house where the rest of the family was waiting for us.

We dined quickly, then got to the gift-opening.  Opening gifts with 7 small children and 8 adults can be quite entertaining.  It was great, the stuff we got and gave was all awesome, and everyone had fun.

Late last night we drove around looking at lights.  In Windsor, they have a lighting competition that is just insane — we saw things that must have been visible from outer space, and one house whose lights were synchronized to a low-power radio station they set up playing Christmas music.  Absolutely nuts, but very cool to see.  JR said “wow! wook at dat!” which made it all worth it.

Today, I’m not sure what we’re up to, but Merry Christmas.

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