Pre-Eclampsia & Post Partum Aftermath

It has been a month and I’ve been contemplating on how to start writing this. I still am not really sure what to say first. I feel inclined to start off with a joke; brush it off with nonchalance and minimize the situation because that’s what I do. And I do it very well, a little too well. And really, that’s sort of what got me into the problem in the first place. Four weeks ago I was compelled to simply write about the order of events that happened to me, but that seemed kind of pointless. Then I wanted to relate it all to surrogacy and birth, but again, so what? However, I’ve had a lot of time to think in these last four weeks and I’ve reflected on myself quite a bit. I realized that my anxiety, more specifically my anxiety coping methods, almost killed me.

I have anxiety and depression, however, I have a pretty good handle on it. I’m in tune with myself and almost always am able to head off a panic attack. I’ve learned what my triggers are and I can talk myself out of a mood. I also have an amazingly supportive husband who also can see through me (most of the time) and can help minimize a situation and handle a mood swing. I’ve not had any issues since college; that’s ten years of keeping myself in check and sane without medication or therapy. I’m happy with that. I feel very successful with that. Sometimes I even feel “cured”.

My anxiety nearly always presents it’s self as a physical ailment rather than an emotional one. I simply am not emotional. I don’t cry and rarely get mad. Instead I suffer from angina, headaches, muscle aches or cramps, bloody noses, dizziness, etc. When I was a junior in college I ended up in the hospital with severe chest pain. I could have sworn I was DYING. I was fine. I was just terrified of finals approaching and trying to juggle three jobs. My senior year I was rushed to the ER for fainting and extreme kidney pain. Again, my organs were failing me and I was on my death bed. I was fine. The emotional toll of moving cross country and living with an abusive boyfriend was really getting to me though. Over the years I learned to not freak out so much about the physical aches and pains. I learned to stay away from Dr. Google and to evaluate emotional issues first. By looking at stressful situations at the onset of a headache I’ve been able to avoid both the physical pain and the panic attack. I’ve learned how to let nearly everything roll off my back as a means of self preservation; this has saved me both physically and mentally.

I’m strong. I’m really strong. I can run an all up-hill race in sub zero temperatures and set a course record doing so. I can birth giant babies in my living room without so much as a Motrin. I really can just kind of turn my brain off and power through anything. It doesn’t matter how much something hurts. I can take a deep breath and muscle through to the end. I like that about myself. And, that is my coping method. Muscle through and it will be over soon. Suck it up, Buttercup. Just Do It.  I hate involving other people in my drama, so I usually brush it off with an “I’m fine!” I act calm or even use humor to deflect what I’m feeling. And it usually resolves it’s self. You’re not dying. If you ignore it, it will go away.

Except when it doesn’t. Apparently sometimes physical pain really is more than what one can simply suck up.

I started gaining weight rather rapidly in December. I knew I wasn’t running as frequently as I had wanted. The plan was to run 3 to 4 times a week (no more than 5 miles at a time) until there was ice and snow on the trails, making it dangerous. With the consistent 60 degrees there was no excuse to NOT get out there and workout, but the start of the start of the third trimester brought on a new fatigue. I began taking naps during my workout time. I blamed those extra pounds on my lack of movement. I also wasn’t really digging the pregnancy anymore. I was uncomfortable, nothing fit right, doctor’s visits drove me nuts, and I just wanted my body back. I was feeling aches and pains that I had never experienced during any of my other three. I had figured it would be my last pregnancy anyway. And then the dizziness and headaches started. My butt was growing bigger by the day and (surprisingly) causing a serious depression. I was having strange body image issues that I had never had before, but again, I assumed it was because it was a surrogacy pregnancy.

Monday, December 14th was a difficult day to get through. Something just wasn’t right. I was beyond tired. I felt like I was walking through Jello. My thighs and butt were huge. I was dizzy and paranoid, but I couldn’t figure out why. I kept thinking and feeling that any moment I would simply be dead. But, like all the other days the week before, there wasn’t really anything that bad. I had to admit that my pain level was fairly low, that there wasn’t really anything wrong. It was brushed off as pregnancy aches and pains as well as some stress related to either the surrogacy and/or the upcoming holidays. Anyway, there was no need for alarm. I knew I had an OB appointment on Wednesday the 16th. I would just mention all of these nuisances to him and I assumed he’d brush them off as well. I’d be fine because I’m always fine.

That evening my husband wasn’t as convinced as I was. He feared I was suffering from pre-eclampsia, a very dangerous condition that affects pregnant women, usually after the 20th week, and the only cure is delivery of the baby and placenta. He took my blood pressure at the dining room table; 150 over 90. My stomach flip-flopped and my heart sank. This wasn’t just nothing. This really was serious. Even though I felt pretty much ok, I realized I might actually not be. But I had three small kids around me and my husband’s terrified eyes looking at me. Act normal, there’s nothing to see here I told myself. “That’s too high. I guess we should go to the hospital then and get things checked out.” While Hubs called around for a babysitter I quickly braided my hair as tightly as possible (I knew I’d be in the hospital for a few days and I didn’t want to deal with tangles) and threw together a go-bag (the largest novel I could find, tablet, phone charger, a few changes of socks and underwear) and off we went to Manchester ER.

At first I wasn’t taken very seriously. I clearly wasn’t in any sort of distress, let alone labor. I was very calm. My pain level was around a 3, maybe, I guess….am I in any pain, really? I explained that my blood pressure was typically low, in the 90 over 60 range, but this evening it was 150 over 90, and I had significant swelling, and I had gained over 6 pounds in the last two days. I was given a gown and some hospital socks (that wouldn’t fit over my feet), I was put on a gurney, and hooked up to all the monitors. My hands were flapping and I had whole body shakes, but I was incredibly warm. I couldn’t focus my vision and I kept having episodes of dark spots and sparklers on the edges, forming a strange shimmering tunnel. I felt like I was falling even when I was laying flat on my back. I couldn’t breathe and a giant lump in my throat made it hard to swallow. I felt like I was dying, but knew it was an anxiety attack. Being in a hospital was terrifying and my body was betraying me. My blood pressure was checked every ten minutes and it went up with every reading. My blood was drawn and a scant amount of urine taken. My platelets were low, liver enzymes were up, and I had a crazy amount of protein in my urine. I actually was dying.

I was hooked up to an IV of magnesium sulfate and given some pill for the headaches. Because my blood was being drawn every two hours and vitals were taken every 30 minutes it was impossible to sleep. The fear of a seizure didn’t help. Thankfully my sister arrived early the next morning (Tuesday, December 15th) and the hospital let me have some breakfast. Unfortunately, as I finished up my oatmeal they determined that I would be delivering ASAP. I was given a shot of steroids in the rear (to help the baby with his lungs) and told that I had to hang on 24 hours for the next shot. The baby needed two shots. I needed to stay on magnesium (and then remain on the IV for a full 24 hours after delivery). I was also going to be transferred to Hartford Hospital so that the baby and I could be in a more advanced NICU. I was terrified but I knew that succumbing to the fear wasn’t going to help. I knew I had to stay in control to try and keep my pressures down and to cause as little stress for the baby as possible.

My swelling continued and by the time the ambulance arrived at Hartford I couldn’t even stand on my own. I was given a catheter and the nurses practically willed me to produce urine, but my kidneys had given up, leaving me dry. My sister followed the ambulance in her car with my belongings and made it to my room just as I was meeting my new team of doctors and nurses. A doctor was performing an ultrasound on the baby when I felt a new wave of nausea, but I knew I wouldn’t throw up. I was falling very fast backwards into a hole, yet I was strangely peaceful. “Something bad is about to happen,” I said to the doctor. She looked up alarmed. “Are you nauseas? Do you need a bucket?” she asked and motioned to a nurse. “No, no. It’s not that. Something else isn’t right.” Suddenly my body broke out into a cold sweat, drenching my body as I hit the bottom of the hole causing a terrible, slamming pain to go through my body. At the same time all the alarms and bells went off on the machines. Someone said something about the O2 being at zero. Someone else said something about my blood pressure and my pulse being gone. I was surrounded by more doctors than I could count, but all I could see was my sister’s eyes looking at me over the top of their heads. I could see the whites of her eyes and all I could think about was how unfair it would be to die in front of her. An oxygen mask was put over me and I realized I couldn’t hear anything anymore. I don’t want to deal with this, I thought to myself. I just want to sleep. So I rolled over and went to sleep. I dreamt about walking through the woods with my daughter.

I don’t know how long I was out, probably not long really, but I woke up to someone in blue scrubs doing an echo on my heart. My head was on fire. My pulse was back up to 40 and my pressures were back to being too high. I wasn’t dead yet and the doctors didn’t know what had happened. Through chattering teeth I tried to explain that it was most likely an anxiety attack. I don’t think they believed me. It didn’t matter anyway. By now I had gone into self preservation mode and basically shut my brain off. I had to take this in steps. The first step was allowing enough time for the steroids to work. The next step would be delivering the baby. The third step would be getting through the rest of the magnesium and hoping my blood pressures would come down.

I delivered my three children without and medications, completely natural and on my own terms. My children were also born well past their due dates and without so much as a hiccup and entirely on my own terms. This was going to be my first hospital birth and I was a little nervous. I was afraid that I wouldn’t be able to labor the way I wanted to, that the doctors and nurses would be too medical, would insist I lay on my back, stab me with needles, and tell me when to push. I was also very nervous about being pushed into a C-section. The idea of having my abdomen sliced open while I was awake was simply terrifying. I was afraid that the Pitocin wouldn’t induce labor because it was too early and I’d have no choice in the matter. I was afraid they’d hack me open and I’d die anyway.

My husband came and went (he was incredibly nervous), my sister had to leave to go to work, and my father had to go home to sleep. My mother stayed with me though. Finally the next morning, Wednesday the 16th, came and I was given the second shot of steroids. By noon they had decided that my liver was going the way of my kidneys and so I was given Pitocin to begin labor. I was 29 weeks and 6 days pregnant. The surrogacy agency had already been in contact with the baby’s parents and they were well on their way to CT. I could feel early labor contractions and they were a welcomed distraction from my headache. By 4pm I had a pretty good sense of a timeline and suggested that Hubs and my father go and get some dinner; the show would be on soon and they wouldn’t want to do this on an empty stomach. And I was right. They came back about an hour and a half later just as full on labor was starting.

Contractions picked up speed, but they still didn’t feel strong enough to birth a baby, but I was also so done with being pregnant and wasn’t going to give in to having a C-section. My body was huge and unwieldy, but Hubs managed to pick me up so I could turn to all fours into a semi-squat, using the back of the labor bed to support me. Hubs pushed on my hips and the small of my back and I could suddenly feel the pressure of true labor at 6:30pm. A doctor with an ultrasound wand was insisting that I lay back so she could determine the position of the baby. “I know the position!” I yelled at her. “He’s just fine, I know he’s head down!” She didn’t seem to believe me, again insisting on an ultrasound. I was afraid that if I managed to turn over and lay down again I wouldn’t have time or even be able to get back up and would be stuck trying to push on my back. I stood up a little straighter and told her she’d have to do it this way or not at all.

Suddenly a whole new fear came over me. I knew this was going to be a very tiny baby. What if the contractions were too much for his little bones? What if I broke him just by pushing? I didn’t know what to do. I knew I had to push to get him out, in fact, my body was screaming at me to push. But I was so desperately afraid of hurting him that I didn’t even want to move and I held back against my primal urges. I could feel that his head was at the cervix and all I could envision was having his head emerge but his neck being broken with the next contraction. I decided it was time to just be done with it. It was certainly too late to do anything else, so I just pushed. And I kept pushing. At 6:44pm, less than an hour after labor began, the baby rushed out all at once, intact in the bag of waters, and with his placenta. He was immediately whisked off to the NICU while the remaining doctors examined me. I had had a full placental abruption and some minor clotting.

Now that everything was over (and I was still breathing) my husband and parents went home for the night. I stayed on the magnesium and continued to swell.

I had gone up to about 180 lbs, almost 40 pounds of water weight in less than two weeks. My body felt like it was going to burst like an over-ripe tomato. My skin was hot and it hurt. I was getting a new text message every five minutes, but my hands and arms were too swollen to respond. Even my scalp was swollen! The nurses could no longer find a vein and gave up drawing blood. Now we were just waiting for my kidneys to kick in.

I finally peed a tiny trickle about noon the next day (Thursday December 17th). The only way to get the swelling down would be to pee it out. The magnesium drip was stopped at 6:45 and my pressures were monitored until about 8:30pm. That’s when I left in the ICU and was placed in the “general population” on another floor where they continued to monitor my blood pressure every two hours. I also no longer had a catheter would have to get up on my own to pee.

The first time I had to stand on my own without the nurse to help me was a little terrifying and extremely painful. I was so swollen that the pressure of my body weight on my legs and feet was incredible. The nerve endings in my feet were going nuts. The muscles and ligaments in my legs were straining. But I knew I had to get up. I had to pee because the faster I started using the toilet, the faster the swelling would go down & the faster I could get back to normal and a lot less pain. I gritted my teeth and dug down somewhere inside of myself and just did it. I just got up. I could hardly stagger to the toilet, but thankfully it was only three steps away. I got myself into a two hour routine: get up and pee, wash hands, set up pump & pump breastmilk to send to NICU, get up and pee, wash hands and pump parts. That was all I could do for the next 24 hours. The TV was too stimulating and caused a headache. Reading was impossible since I still couldn’t focus. Texting my friends was just as difficult. Staring at the clock and waiting for the next half hour was all I could pull off.

I was told that it could take up to six weeks for my blood pressures and the swelling to return to normal. Just take it easy, remain on bed rest except to use the toilet, and monitor my pressures. I was told to return to the hospital if my pressures went back to 160 over 90. I was handed a breast pump, a giant box of bottles, and 500 labels along with discharge paperwork. I went home (Friday December 18th) just as they were passing out dinner trays.

Life at home was much more trying than life in the hospital. Children were making noise, the TV was always on, and the house was a complete disaster. I was in the hospital less than a week but the whole household seemed to have disintegrated. I tried to avoid anything that would cause too much stimulation, but that proved to be difficult. The simple task of folding laundry was enough to cause dizziness and raise my blood pressure. I was down to about 160 pounds, but I still felt terrible and was depressed about the condition of my body. My parents’ Solstice Party loomed ahead and I wasn’t sure I wanted to go because I didn’t want to be seen. I felt like Jaba de Hutt and wasn’t sure if the stimulation of a holiday party would be too much for my head. I would wake up in the middle of the night in convulsive tears because the headaches were just too much to bare.

I made it through the weekend okay and decided not to mess with the kids’ holiday and do the party. Plus I was down another 5 pounds and able to squeeze into some of my own clothes again. (I left the hospital wearing a giant pair of men’s PJ bottoms and a hospital gown because I was too swollen to wear even my maternity clothes.) The goal was to go to my follow-up visit on Tuesday December 22, pick up the kids from school on the way home, and then go straight to my parents’ house & just sit in a quiet corner. But Tuesday felt a little off. I didn’t complain because I didn’t have anything to really complain about. Of course I’d be a bit dizzy. I had just given birth and gotten out of the hospital…I could suck it up. My OB did not agree with me. My blood pressure was 175 over 95. My reflexes were excited. My vision was spotty. The doctor insisted that I immediately be admitted for stroke symptoms. So we flew back to get the children from school and an ambulance met us at the house. At this point I was completely flushed on one side and had very little strength in my right hand. Shooting sparklers flew across my vision and the headache began to mount. My blood pressure had risen to 190 over 118.

I was given two IVs with various kinds of medication in attempts at bringing my pressures down. I was given several kinds of headache medication to attempts to return my vision to normal. An EKG was taken. I was put in an MRI machine to look at my brain. The nurses watched me like hawks, waiting for the stroke to get worse or a seizure to take over. Finally the right kind of drugs was found and I was able to sleep.

But it was a terrifying ordeal, much worse than waiting out the pre-eclampsia and birth. Now it was truly serious and I knew it. I kept thinking about my brother and how insanely disappointed I was that I was missing the holiday party and my one chance this year at getting to visit with him. He hadn’t been at Thanksgiving dinner and wasn’t going to be at Christmas dinner. I was lonely and scared. What if I had a full on stroke before seeing him again? Would I recognize him if I got to see him again? How badly was this going to affect my brain? How much work was this going to be for my husband? What would we do?! Just dying from it all seemed easier, but I was terrified that I wouldn’t be so lucky. I didn’t even care about my blood pressures and brain anymore; I just wanted to see my brother and sister, laugh and be goofy like we did at every Solstice party. I wanted to watch my kids open their presents from Santa. I wanted to eat a Christmas cookie. But that just wasn’t going to happen.

Despite how badly I just wanted to break down and cry, I somehow I managed to push aside all the emotion and just focus on willing myself to not have a seizure. I made it through the night and my pressures came down. I still had a headache, but it was tolerable. By the middle of the afternoon the following day (Wednesday December 23rd) I was discharged for a second time in less than a week. I was put on blood pressure medication and instructed to take my pressures at least twice a day.

Physically I got better very quickly. My swelling was almost completely gone by Christmas and by New Year’s I was a “normal” weight. (I’m three pounds shy of pre-pregnancy weight right now.) I even started running again last week. I’ve been off the blood pressure medication since January 11th and my pressures have been my regular 90s over 60s. Even my headaches have subsided. My only lingering symptom is the lump in my throat. While physically I am well again, the pre-eclampsia has left my body, I have to be honest with myself. I am not yet mentally well. I can brush it off all I want and make all the jokes, but my emotions are still raw. I’m crushed that I had such a less than perfect birthing experience. I’m scared at how quickly my health deteriorated without me even being aware until it was almost too late. I worry at the thought of my family being left to deal without me. I’m nervous about the brain fog and any lingering effects the whole ordeal may have had on my brain. I’m not afraid of death, I’m afraid of living broken and now that’s just another thing I need to deal with. I haven’t yet completely addressed the whole emotional aspect of everything that happened, and I know I still need to. But for some reason it is the emotional pain that seems so much harder to deal with than the physical pain. What if I’m just not as mentally strong as I am physically?

P.S. The baby is doing very well. The parents did make it in time and were there to hold him right away. He has had no complications and his lungs have proved to be very strong. At the time of this writing he is still in the NICU gaining weight. He was born at 2 pounds, 6 ounces but gaining close to an ounce a day. I am still pumping breastmilk every two hours and sending it to the hospital for them.



I feel so lazy, but eh, I have a lot of excuses, right? I began the third trimester of my surrogacy journey last week and it hit me like a ton of bricks! I am back to being absolutely exhausted. Just the thought of having to get up tomorrow morning makes me want to cry. But coupled with the exhaustion has been some delightful pubic symphysis pain, intense swelling (my eyes were practically swollen shut this morning and my lips were huge!), and absolutely nothing fits my big, fat belly anymore making me look like a homeless woman waddling around town in my husband’s flannel shirts. My house has turned into a heap of filth and broken toys, again, and my house routine is completely lost. I almost don’t know what to do with myself except just stare at a wall and wait for it all to eventually be over.

But enough with the whining! Solstice/Christmas will be here in a couple of weeks, which means the little ones will be bringing home new toys from Grandma & Grandpa’s house. That, and the realization that we probably will need to relocate next Spring (and I might, ahem, need to get a job) is inspiring me (at least mentally) to get things cleaned up and sort through our junk. The pile is enormous and I only get two and a half hours a day to work on anything, which means, I usually end up doing nothing. So, I’ve been at least trying to get the playroom sorted out before the man in the red suit shows up.

I’ve been terrible and inconsistent with pretty much everything else too. Chores are done on a haphazard schedule, exercise is done in spurts, and my writing has petered out in the last several weeks. And blogging? AH! hahaha! If I don’t have the energy to get around to washing my underwear or deleting my TiVo shows, I certainly don’t have the energy to keep up a Surrogacy Blog. Yup, I can’t even keep up with my Twitter account. Sad, I know.

I’ve gotten a little depressed over my laziness, and whenever I try to recommit, I tend to get overwhelmed. But the thought of going back to work and/or moving with a disaster of a house (and life) is even more overwhelming, so I’m attempting to start making some baby steps to change it. Perhaps if I overhaul it in in small pieces I can pull it off.

I’ve spent the last three days making checklists and calendars and organizational binders with the idea that if I can get through three months with a pre-prescribed plan and actually stick with it, I just might be able to alter a few of my bad habits. I hate it when women use pregnancy/motherhood as an excuse to lose any focus or discipline, and I really hate that I’ve become one of those women myself! So! Since I am an avid list maker and planner, I’m starting with the blogging routine and exercise to see if I can resurrect both of those good habits. My novel is going to stay on the back burner until Baby is born since I’m very scatter brained lately and one day of missed writing tends to derail me. Instead I’ll focus on smaller short stories and some poetry until then. And, well, I dunno…maybe I’ll start dusting again…but I’m not going to promise anything!

Expired ID, Expired Passport Now What?!

Ever let your driver’s license lapse? It can be a mild pain renewing it; sitting in the DMV, paying fees and fines. Grumble, grumble. Same goes for renewing your expired passport. But you know what turns out to be a real pain? Trying to renew either once both have expired. Hubs messed up, messed up BIG time by letting both slip and is now stuck without any proper identification! We’ve been struggling to get it corrected for years, but it seems to be nearly impossible for him.  Yup, that’s right, YEARS.

So, the reason Hubs is having such a problem is because he is an immigrant.  He was born in Latvia and moved to the US when he was 10. His mother married a US citizen and he was adopted by his step father. He himself became a citizen. His Latvian passport lapsed,  but hey, he was an American now and wouldn’t need it, right? When he was a teen he got a US passport for a trip to visit Latvia (his only visit back). Then life happened, he grew up, yadda yadda. I met him when he was 26 (yes, passport had just expired, he talked about getting it renewed, but never considered it an urgent matter since he really didn’t think he’d leave the country for any reason any time soon.) We got married, and he decided he’d change his last name to mine since he’d already had his name changed several times during his childhood and I had no intention on changing mine. Shortly after we were married he discovered he had a kid from a previous relationship! (Yeah, we still don’t know why she never brought it up until the child was almost 2 years old.) After going through the courts, we began paying child support.  I had also given birth at about this time to our first. I was offered a job, so we moved from FL to CT because at the time (2009) the unemployment rate was insane and pay was lousy in FL. Still, by the time I was pregnant with our second, we realized our best laid plans weren’t working out as well as we thought they would. We started with nothing and well, had pretty much gained nothing but debt and were falling behind. Child support payments slipped here and there in favor of rent or utility bills. We tried to scrimp, we tried to save, we tried to pay off and get caught up (never mind ahead), but absolutely nothing worked for us financially. Before we knew it he was simply too far behind in support payments and the state of FL suspended his driving license.
1. It was his fault for not having immediately gotten a CT license when we moved. (He thought it would be easier to change his name and get the ID at the same time.)
2. It was his fault for not going through the name change process when we got married (he waited almost a year and a half)
3. It is totally our fault for falling behind in support payments – though of course we did feel that the amount should have reflected his income and dependants,  cost of living, etc…but that’s another rant.

So, here he was in CT with an expired passport, a suspended FL ID that had a different last name from his SS card, and piles of debt and back support payments to catch up on. To removed the suspension we had to pay extra; the current month due as well as much as we could in arrears.  Needless to say it took awhile (as well as a lot of tears, extra hours, and side jobs) to get it current, but he FINALLY did it…just after the license had expired!

In CT you cannot get a driver’s license or even a state ID with an expired out of state ID or passports (despite what the Website says about expired passports being a valid form of ID). You cannot renew a passport with expired documentation. Hubs has spoken to office managers at both the DMV and passport agencies, met with state representatives, and had special meetings, but no one has been able to find a solution to our problem. He carries around a large zipper binder of stuff to try and prove who he is in case he ever gets stopped: 3 bills with his current address, his expired ID, his expired US passport, his birth certificate and English translation,  our marriage license, adoption papers, Social Security card, citizenship paperwork, as well as various documents and certificates he’s recieved through his job and the fire department. The passport agency insisted he mail all of these originals almost a month ago along with a check ($271 after all the fees and taxes to pay the tax to get the passport…) After they recieved his documents they told him
1. The birth certificate is no good since it hasn’t been translated by an approved company. (Funny, there has never been a problem with the translation since 1993!)
2. They need a state ID with his married last name in order to process the paperwork and get him a passport. (ROAR! THAT’S WHAT WE ARE TRYING TO DO!) (And no, he can’t even legally change his name back to his “maiden name” for continuity sake since none of the documents will be accepted in that application either.)
3. He has 90 days to get the new ID in before they close his case. And they are keeping the funds.

Right now we *think* that if we drive to FL (yup, all 1260 miles with 3 kids!) and go to the DMV there he may be able to renew his ID, drive back to CT and get a new one (and finally get his truck registered and on the road!). Due to his job (as well as our financial situation) he has a narrow window on when he could pull off such trip – the two days before Christmas.  But the passport agency still has all of his original documents and will hold them for 90 days. We could order new documents (again, more fees!) but of course those won’t arrive any faster. Oh, I’m also 28 weeks pregnant as a surrrogate, so I only have two more weeks of free travel time left before I am contractually obligated to stay in my home state!

THIS IS THE WORST MESS EVER! Even though he has a mountain of paperwork proving who he is, neither department is willing to accept any of it because either the passport or the ID is expired. And they won’t let him start all over as if he were a kid getting a license for the first time. He’s allowed to pay taxes. He’s allowed to pay child support.  He’s allowed to pay fees and fines. He’s not allowed to drive, fly, vote, open a bank accout, register a vehicle,  or do anything else that requires valid identification. Because of his mistake, he’s not allowed to even get a valid identification.

It is frustrating and terrifying that all these government agencies are coming up with reasons left and right to NOT let him have an ID. It is making life even more difficult and expensive. We are *trying* so hard to do the right thing, to get it fixed, to have all the ducks in a row, but it seems as if it is a hopeless situation. This has got to be the most exasperating check mate situation ever.

Moral of the story: Wear condoms and keep ahead of expiration dates!

Update on the Orphan Mouse

So Hubs discovered “Bruce Lee”‘s (whoa! Not sure what to do with all that punctuation there…) mom. It turns out she had moved her little mouse family up under the wheel well of his truck the night before. When he started the truck to drive to work the family fell out. Mom was sadly killed. We looked for Bruce’s siblings, but none were found. If they weren’t eaten, I’m sure they died from lack of care.

PSA: Now that it’s cold at night, be sure to check under your vehicles for the little critters that seek warmth.

A Mouse in the House

On Sunday my kids brought a baby mouse into the house. They found him abandoned in the driveway. They wanted to give it to the cats, Lexy and Lucy, but I thought that was mean.


I searched the driveway and yard for other wee mice, but found none. This little dude was all alone. So I put him in a small container with a wash cloth and set him in a sunny spot to be warm. I assumed there was something wrong with him, which was why he was abandoned. I just figured he would die soon.


But the little guy hung on the rest of the afternoon. So…I fed him. I found a medicine dropper and diluted some milk and gave him a few drops. But, I still had little hope for him. Google says that you have to feed them every 1-2 hours. That wasn’t going to happen. I fed him his last meal at 11pm and put him in a shoe box with a book on top (to keep my overly curious cat away). I assumed he’d die by morning.

I was wrong! The little guy was up and peeping away, so I fed him again in the morning. Hubs is against keeping the baby, but we’ve grown attached to each other. I love him now. I named him Bruce Lee because he’s a kick ass little dude.


Yesterday I kept him in my sweater pocket. (Did not tell Hubs This as he already thinks I’m crazy.) This way he could stay warm, be safe from the cats, and I’d hear his first peeps when he woke up for food. Oddly, he slept most of the day and ate very little. Again, I did not expect him to make it through the night.

But I was wrong again. Bruce Lee has been very active this morning, has eaten several times, and is noticeably larger than when he was found. His eyes are still shut but he has begun grooming himself.


So yes. I now have a pet orphaned mouse named Bruce Lee.

We got the fever!

The Plague has hit my house. You know those colds and stomach bugs that always float around right at the end of summer and then WHAM! your otherwise perfectly healthy offspring drag it home from school with them. It started with AM over the long weekend, which was super unfortunate because we had a LOT of stuff to do. He was a trooper though and with the relief of children’s Advil, he survived. It started with the wicked headache and a mild temp that gradually climbed to an all out fever. He was unwell off and on Friday night (woke up at 5am, so he was given some Advil) and Saturday (Advil administered at some point in the mid-afternoon after soccer practice). He napped for a bit and then swore he was fine. And he seemed fine. And so we went to a Labor Day party at the lake. But then he was totally not fine once we got home. I held off an any medications until his fever spiked to 104.5 F.  Then he really WAS fine. Hubs was all worried and kept wanting to give him more Advil but I had to stand my ground. The fever was necessary to kill the infection. Hubs wanted to take him into the ER, but I figured they wouldn’t be able to do anything, except just off more fever reducers. Hubs wanted the kid to sleep in the bed with us.  It was a long night.

Sure enough, Tuesday morning (yesterday) my little IM wakes up bleary eyes and clammy. He too is complaining that his stomach, head, and throat hurt. His temp is only 100.8 F, but I know what’s brewing so I called him out of school. He was totally okay with this. He had to come with me to a doctor’s appointment 45 minutes away. He was totally NOT okay with that. As the day wore on he wore out and his fever got worse and all he wanted was sleep. Once his fever hit 104.3 F I went ahead and gave him a dose of Advil. He was fine within an hour.

But, of course, today, Wednesday was wee RM’s turn. She has spent the morning with an immense headache and moaning that she’s fine and is ready to go to school. Except, there is vomit everywhere; on her, in her cereal, on the floor, on the cat… you really can’t come into my house without a hazmat suit right now. There were lots of tears when I informed her that pre-school was out of the question for today. And, her temp shot up to the 104 F mark as well. She too got a dose of Advil and within an hour dropped back down to 101.7 F.

It sucks seeing my kids sick. I just hate it! But more than anything I hate not being able to do anything about it. It’s a virus, I know that, but I also know there isn’t anything to be done except to make them comfortable and wait for their bodies to kick it’s butt. I always get anxious when they get fevers, after all, we are taught to fear fevers! We all “know” that if it gets too high it could cause brain damage…but how high does it have to be?…but they are kids! just bring the temperature down!

I don’t like this route. I truly believe in the human body and just how well it can function. The thing is, it is highly unlikely that a normal, otherwise healthy body is going to produce a fever high enough or long enough to cause brain damage (which is 106.7 by the way). In most circumstances the body will get as hot as it needs to kill the virus and then return to normal (of course monitoring is a super good idea!) My six year old kept being fed fever reducers and he was sick for three days! The other two however, showed improvement when I just let it run it’s course and brought the fever down after it got high enough to kill off the little germies that were making them sick to begin with. Their illnesses kept them out of the game a mere six hours compared to my eldest’s 72. The take away: Put the “medicine” away and let the body do it’s thing for a bit.

Which leads me to the next phase of The Plauge: When the Parents Get Sick. Dunn, dunn, DUNN!

There’s a 50/50 chance of me getting sick. I’m usually pretty good at avoiding stuff, but I am pregnant (again) and I catch things more often if I am pregnant. Hubs on the other hand? He WILL get sick. Probably Friday. And because he will insist on downing a bottle and a half of “medicine” he’ll be sick until Sunday. This, I am not looking forward to!

Time to Get to Work – But First, Must Organize…

School started less than a week ago for the kiddos and now even #3 is off to the great world of education! Okay, she’s in half day preschool, but still! That’s almost three hours, five days a week of ME TIME. Which means, finally Momma can get to work —  you know, that thing called writing?

I have been experiencing all sorts of excuses for the past, well, for a long time now, when it comes to the writing gig. At first it was the kids underfoot and being too tired to commit to it at night. Then it was the computer crashing issues. Then it was because my keyboard wasn’t good enough. Then, then, then….let’s face it, I’m just not as motivated as I’d like to think I am. I did get back in the right direction last Spring and worked most days, even on the weekends to keep the word count going. It wasn’t great, but hey, that’s what editing is for, right? But then school let out and I had all three kids home all the time. And then Hubs had to take his laptop to work on a regular basis. And then we opted to forgo cable & Internet (except for our phones) to save some money over the summer. All blogging, journals, and manuscript writing came to a halt.

Hubs is great. He saved up several pennies and got me a new laptop. All mine. No games downloaded for the kids, no keyboard issues, no sharing with work. BAM! Like, six excuses were taken care of with one purchase.
wpid-wp-1441130270654.jpg Yay!

I played with it a bit here and there. I got Windows 10 loaded up (still not sure how I feel about that). I got a new phone and figured out how to use it as a WIFI hot spot and get online. I set up a cute background and screen saver. I really looked forward to the first day of school so I could devote my “free time” to writing again. So I could be “productive” again. My goal is to finish the manuscript before school is out for the summer next year and use the summer (evenings) to edit and re-write. I made notes in my head, organized my outlines, came up with some awesome plot lines. Finally the first day of school rolled around!
wpid-wp-1441128899549.jpg This was the most welcome sight!

But you know what? I got nothing done. I didn’t know how to readjust myself to this new routine, even though I’d been obsessing about it for three weeks! I tried to get all my chores done in the morning (while my daughter was still home) and tried to sit down right after I dropped her off at school. But there was always something; a load of laundry needed to be folded, chickens needed to be dealt with, supper needed to be planned out. I’d run errands instead of coming straight back to my desk. It’s easier to go to the farm to pick tomatoes or forage for wild grapes if you aren’t dragging a three year old along. It’s faster to return those over due library books and DVDs by yourself. The canning, pickling, baking, etc. needs to happen sometime, right?
wpid-wp-1441128930115.jpg About to be ketchup.
wpid-wp-1441129010331.jpgThe cuteness of homesteading.

My goodness. I’ve created even MORE excuses due to my “free time”! So, before I do anything, I am going to knuckle down (while my tomatoes are simmering on the stove) and create my own plan of attack. My kids have a schedule. My husband has a routine. Heck, even the animals have a check-list. Since I’m the ring master running this show, I suppose it is only wise if I adhere to one as well. I will be putting my calendar reminders and list making skills to good use so I can get a lot of the distractions out of the way and keep my time on the clock actually focused on writing, and getting that dang story on paper and out of my head!