Category Archives: The Sick

The best-laid plans

Over a year ago, when I was discussing with our nanny how our arrangement would work, she asked whether I would mind if she didn’t work the two weeks when E. wasn’t at school over the holidays. I said that was fine.

I’ve been looking forward to this week ever since. I knew the first week of the holidays would be busy, with Christmas on the Monday and then us travelling to see the grandparents. But I figured the second week would allow me to spend some quality time with both kids. We’d be at home, in our comfort zone. We could play in the snow. We could go to the library to get some new books. We could make use of our annual passes to a couple of our city’s attractions.

It hasn’t quite worked out as I’d hoped.

Monday, the 1st, was quiet. We’d arrived home lateish the night before, so we spent the day cleaning, unpacking, doing laundry, and figuring out what we’d need from the grocery stores once they opened the next day. E. and I finished building an Eiffel Tower out of K’nex that we’d started on Christmas Day.

P. started vomiting in the wee hours of the 2nd and kept right on going that entire day. (My despondent post while I was waiting for laundry to finish so I could go to bed turned out to be the last time she threw up). So the 2nd (Tuesday) was very quiet indeed. E. and I packed up all the Christmas decorations (we even managed to get the tree outside onto the front porch, which was the only point any of us went outside all day).

E. was saintly on the 2nd. P. needed a lot of attention (and a lot of cleaning up) and he did a great job of amusing himself and helping me as much as he could (with the Christmas decorations, getting his own snack, watching P. in the bath while I cleaned the carpet, and running to get the vomit bowl when it was clear P. was about to be sick yet again).

Yesterday, the 3rd (Wednesday), P. was clearly on the mend and managed to keep (plain) food down all day. I bundled them both up and got them outside in the morning. E. and I dug a tunnel underneath the giant snow pile in our backyard (made from shovelling our parking pad and our section of sidewalk). P. poked morosely at a ball and then complained until it was time to go inside (she is really one year too little to be enjoying the snow). The wheels fell off  a little bit in the afternoon but I managed to find an activity that both kids could do- building with the Crazy Fort sticks and balls. E. built a slide/ladder on our couch and P. was happy to stand in the cube I built for her, whacking whatever she could reach with spare sticks. Q. arrived home to find E. and I chasing each other around the house in a tickle war (using Crazy Fort sticks with balls on both ends as our magic tickle wands) while P. was stampeding along behind us, waving her sticks in the air, not understanding what was going on but joining in wholeheartedly (which is P. in a nutshell, really).

Everyone felt well.

I reached out to E’s best friend’s mum to see if they wanted to come with us on an outing the next day. We made tentative plans to meet for a playdate in the afternoon. E., P. and I hatched a plan to go to the museum in the morning.

And then, last night, almost exactly twenty-four hours after P. stopped vomiting, E. started.

So we’ve spent today at home, again. P. and I have sorted through the many, many piles and boxes of outgrown baby clothes that I’ve been meaning to donate. We organized them into three piles- give to the baby girl three houses down, give to the house for young mothers a few streets over, give to the Diabetes Clothesline the next time they’re in the area. We got out her 18-24 month bin and pulled out everything that was seasonally appropriate and sorted it into three piles- put in P’s dresser, send to Spud, give to house for young mothers (the baby on our street was born in the wrong season to need winter 18-24 month clothing).

E. has spent the day lying in his bed. He fell asleep for a couple of hours in the late morning, but mostly he’s just been lying there. He’s not even reading.  He hasn’t thrown up since early this morning, and he isn’t running a fever, but he is clearly VERY UNWELL.

It hasn’t been a terrible week, and I’m glad I’ve been the one to be around. We’ve had some good moments. And I know there will be other opportunities to go to the museum or do any of the other things we’d planned.

Still.

This is the only week I’ll get at home with my kids between now and the summer holidays.

I wish it could have been different.

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Filed under E.- the seventh year, P.- the second year, The Sick

Spin Cycle

I am writing this while sitting in my kitchen, waiting for the washing machine to finish what has turned out to be the fifth unplanned load of laundry for the day.

I have many posts I would like to write, about the end of the last year and the beginning of this one, but at the moment I am stuck on this:

P. has three winter-weight sleep sacks and three crib sheets.

I tried to go to bed over an hour ago (as Q. and I have resolved to go to bed earlier which, by our already early standards, means in bed with the lights out well before 10 p.m.).

P. had vomited all over two sleep sacks and two crib sheets by 10:15 p.m., bringing her total number of vomits in the last eighteen hours to nine.

Since the odds of the final set remaining pristine for the rest of the night are not particularly promising, I am now waiting for the laundry to finish so I can transfer it to the dryer and then go, again, to bed, knowing that when I am woken up, again, by the despondent whimpers of my daughter, I can stumble back downstairs and pull them out of the dryer and get her clean and warm and dry, again.

I feel like so much of the time I have things I would like to write about, but the chaos of my current life intervenes, albeit not usually in as spectacularly messy a fashion as has happened today. But the general pattern holds true.

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Filed under Butter scraped over too much bread (a.k.a. modern motherhood), P.- the second year, The Sick

Too Busy

I missed my 30 posts in 30 days goal by three posts. I got pretty close, and I even had ideas for two posts that would be quick and easy but still have some substance, but the last two days of the month were so crazy blog posts were never going to happen.

Tuesday I got home from teaching around 9:45 p.m. and went straight to bed. P. slept through from 7 (or thereabouts) to some time after 6 for the second night in a row. I nursed her and she went down again. She woke up on Wednesday morning one minute before our nanny arrived at 8:20.

Amazing, no?

Well, no. It turns out P. was sleeping like mad to try to fight off the HFM she’d picked up from Spud, as when I got home on Wednesday there was a note from our nanny that she thought P. was getting a yeast infection because she had a few spots in her diaper area.

It wasn’t a yeast infection.

P. woke up covered in spots on Thursday morning (after being up five or six times that night). She was only up twice last night and is covered in more spots today. Some of them seem to be crusting and drying already so I’m hopeful she’ll fight it off quickly. She is eating well and is mostly cheerful for everyone else (and is a total mess when I’m around). E. is still healthy, thank goodness. Q. and I are both sick but I think we just have end of semester colds. Q. had a sore throat one day and I’ve had a super runny nose but no fevers and no spots to report for either of us.

So Wednesday I dropped E. at school and then got straight into the car to drive to meet my mother so we could house hunt. We were supposed to be on a fact finding mission- trying to narrow down what Mum really wants.

We did that admirably as Mum ended up putting in a successful offer on a townhouse!

It worked out so well- we were in the complex to look at another place (which had just come back on the market after a conditional sale had fallen through) and her agent said that this one had just come onto the market the day before and was significantly less expensive. She felt we should go and compare. The less expensive one was also MUCH MUCH nicer inside. The basement hadn’t been as finished but the main two floors were beautiful- Mum could just move in and not even have to paint.

The funny thing is that the day before, when the agent had sent through the listing for the one that wasn’t as nice, I’d looked at the pictures and thought, “Gee, I can really see Mum living there.”

Then we went to see three condos, the last of which was empty, so we stood in it for a while and discussed. Ultimately Mum really didn’t want to move to a condo. She hadn’t liked the downtown. She really wanted some outdoor space. She needed a townhouse. And she really liked the nice one.

Mum and I went for lunch (where we independently decided to order the exact same thing) and labmonkey looked up transit routes for us while the real estate agent went back to her office and emailed us other examples of townhouses in that complex that had sold in the last few months. It was clear the nice one was massively under priced and that the complex itself was in a great location.

It was also clear that the middle units had a different layout from the end units so we decided we needed to see the other layout (there was a third unit in the complex that was also back on the market after a conditional sale had collapsed due to financing).

Here is the part I am most proud of: while we were waiting for the agent to call us back to tell us whether we could go and see the third unit, we were also trying to figure out whether I should cut and run because I had to leave basically right then to have any chance of avoiding the traffic.

I was considering doing it so I wouldn’t miss three bedtimes in a row (even though Q. was totally fine with that happening). I was super tired. I hadn’t finished my seminar paper yet.

And then Mum started to crumple too. “You bail and I’ll bail and we can get back before dinner and we’ll just tell the agent we don’t want to see that other place,” she said.

I pushed right back and told her she had to see that other place because if she didn’t see it she wouldn’t be in a position to put an offer in on the nice place and it was going to sell that day because there were already offers on it. And then our agent called and we could get in to see the third unit in half an hour and I decided to stay because I knew if I didn’t stay Mum wouldn’t be able to make any decisions- she was getting overwhelmed and frazzled.

So we saw the third unit and it was a total non-starter. It was clear the layout in the other two was much better even if the kitchen was a bit tucked away. We conferred with labmonkey (who had realized the transit was even better than she had originally thought). We agreed on an offer price (above the price of the not as nice one, but not by much). And then I did finally get in the car and drive home (which took over two hours but I knew it would). On the drive home I talked to labmonkey and my other sister, and to Q., and to the mum of E’s best school friend who was trying to organize summer camps (HOW can it be time to think about this??!!).

I got home just in time to nurse P. and put her in the crib. Then I got E. in bed, and ate a late dinner with Q. I was just clearing up the dishes when I learned from our agent that the offer had been successful and Mum had a new house!

We went to bed a bit after 10 and I could not get to sleep. I was excited and stressed about the new house and worried about P. and my paper. I saw the clock at 11:37 p.m. and then I fell asleep. P. had woken herself up and resettled a couple of times while I’d been trying to fall asleep so I suspected I was in for a rough night (which was true).

Thursday I was up early because P. woke up and needed to nurse again around 5:30 and then I didn’t get back to sleep because I started thinking about house stuff. I really hadn’t slept well- lots of tossing and turning when not getting up to deal with P. My cold was getting worse.

I took E. to school, came home, spent 90 minutes making the handout for my paper and 50 minutes finishing it (I needed to write a conclusion, streamline the introduction and generally edit in a few places). Then I nursed P. before her nap, showered, dressed in my good clothes, printed my paper and handout, paid our nanny, and jumped in the car. While in the car I ate an apple and a Lara bar.

It poured rain the whole time I drove (to another nearby city- I cannot believe some people do these kinds of commutes every day). While I drove I talked to Mum and labmonkey about financial stuff to do with the house. I’d left later than I wanted to but I got there exactly on time. I met with a grad student (I had a caffeinated tea because I was seriously flagging) for an hour, then had twenty minutes to look over my paper (during which time I also called my other sister to talk financials and read a worrying email about my father). Then I went to the departmental wine and cheese where I ate some cheese and drank 1/4 of a glass of wine. Then I gave my paper and spoke for 50 minutes and answered questions (not very many in the end, but I thought the paper went well).

By the end of the paper I was a wreck. I was light headed and shaky and I thought I was running a fever. But I think I was probably just hungry and tired because we then went out for dinner and I felt a lot better. I drove the other two people to the restaurant and they had to stand around while I pulled out a car seat (because I had cut things too fine in the morning to get it out before I left) and then cleaned up the sea of plantain chips and Cheerios I found lurking beneath it. We had a nice dinner out and then I got back in the car to drive home again.

I got home around 9:45. Q. was already in bed. The kids were asleep. I pottered around a little bit getting unpacked and organized until the adrenaline had worn off and then I crashed.

Today was supposed to be quiet as I’m home with P. and E. has no school but is out for most of the day on a special adventure with the nanny, but P. has been a wreck all day (still spotty, obviously not feeling well, and suffering from major Mummyitis) and I’ve been trying to organize the lawyers for the house purchase. So it’s been one of those days where I’ve felt like I’ve been rushing around like a maniac but not accomplishing very much.

Still. End of semester. It’s December. The crazy week is over.

I made it!

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Filed under Family, Life after the PhD, Money Matters, The Sick

Outbreak?

Last Saturday we spent a delightful day with labmonkey, Pea, Spud, and three-fifths of another family (whose parents I’ve been friends with for longer than I’ve known Q.)

The reason only three-fifths of the family were in attendance was on Friday the Dad emailed to say that everyone was feeling unwell and they weren’t sure whether or not they should come, given the littlies.

I wrote back saying that, while I couldn’t speak for labmonkey, I took the view that since E. was in school, he and P. were exposed to pretty much every germ out there. Colds and other minor illnesses really didn’t bother me.

The Mum and the middle child opted not to come, but the others did. There was pulled pork for lunch and pizza for dinner. The adults tested out a boardgame Q. has invented (needs some tweaking but shows great promise) while the bigger kids built marble runs and LEGO creations. The littlies napped (but not at the same time). All the kids trashed the living room, which by the end of the day looked like a tornado had visited. After dinner the adults and big kids played Codenames Pictures while P. and Spud pushed buttons and pulled levers on the exersaucer while also staring at each other suspiciously.

We had a great day.

Monday morning labmonkey messaged me to say she was afraid Spud had Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease. On Saturday he’d had only one suspect spot, not enough to set off any alarm bells. By Monday it was a different story. A doctor confirmed the diagnosis Monday evening.

It’s possible E. had a very very mild case of HFMD in kindergarten as I can remember him having a few odd spots around his mouth and then learning later from another mother that HFMD was going through the class.

I’m not at all certain that’s what it was.

And I’m absolutely certain P.’s never had it.

The incubation period is 3-6 days. If we can get to this weekend without either of them being sick, we should be in the clear.

Q. is convinced our kids have super immune systems since they almost never get sick, even with E. (no doubt) bringing home all kinds of surprises from school.

Fingers crossed he’s right.

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Filed under Family, Friends, The Sick

44 Days

I have lots of things I’d like to post about on here but E. is out of nursery school now and we’ve had family visiting and we’ve been travelling and it’s just generally been a fantastic summer thus far, but not one that’s left a lot of room for blogging, especially since I’m still choosing sleep (or snuggles) over getting up early in the morning.

This post is brought to you by an unscheduled quiet time. E. and I went out West (or out Middle of the Country) to see relatives over the weekend and he obviously picked up some sort of bug on the plane coming home. Yesterday, right before lunch, he started complaining that his arms and legs hurt. He then proceeded not to eat any lunch, asked to go up and have a nap (!!!!!!), slept for three hours (!!!!!!!!!) and then woke up with a raging fever (39.8). The rest of the day was pretty rough, last night was not much better, and while he is clearly better this morning (no fever), he requested another nap after lunch and has been asleep for the last hour and a half.

So here I am. At least this post isn’t brought to you by vomit (knock wood).

Why the title?

Because, dear readers, I got my period AGAIN.

And while I can’t be certain of the exact length of the previous cycle, as I didn’t keep track of when my period started, not thinking this would be something worth tracking, I am relatively confident that it was a little bit longer. More likely to be 46 or 47 days.

Annoyingly, I can’t pinpoint when I ovulated this past cycle because I stopped temping in disgust on day 22 when it was clear no ovulation was happening. I knew my cycle needed to be 35 days or shorter to be what the doctors would call ‘normal’, so I threw a bit of a tantrum and then went away for a weekend and then couldn’t be bothered to start up again.

I am pretty sure I did ovulate because I took my temperature one morning on a lark because I felt like I did before my period started and it was sky high, then lower the next morning, then lower again on the third day, and that was the same day my period started.

So if you guessed that I’m back to temping, you’d be right. Today is day 21 and, once again, no sign of a successful ovulation. Lots of signs that my body is trying, which is what it was doing last cycle at about this time as well. So I’m going to show more confidence in it and keep charting and hopefully this cycle will be a couple of days shorter again.

Forward progress, no matter how small, is a good thing.

What I think I really need to do is cut out dairy entirely for a couple of months starting on Day 1 of a new cycle, because I have two friends with PCOS who cut out dairy and had their cycles regulate, but I can’t figure out how to do that unless we take IVF off the table because I need the Greek yoghurt for protein. And we’re not yet ready to decisively take IVF off the table, although I am very reluctant to go in at this point because I don’t want to fuck up whatever my body is trying to do by going back on birth control and then pumping it full of hormones.

I suppose that tells you something about my mindset, in that I am more interested in the option to possibly have a normal menstrual cycle for the next twenty years or so (or whenever menopause hits) than I am in the option where we get another baby. Probably because I don’t really believe that we will get another baby, so the option where we just establish that as a fact isn’t particularly enticing. The option to not have to stay on birth control pills until menopause, on the other hand, is ridiculously exciting.

So. Nothing from me for almost a month and then a long, rambling discussion about my menstrual cycle. I’m excited, but I’m not expecting you to be.

 

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Filed under Cycle Madness, E.- the fifth year, Family, Food, PCOS, The Sick

On being the adult

Microblog_MondaysEvery now and then I have an experience that reminds me, “Hey, you’re the adult now”.

Most of these experiences have one thing in common: stomach flu.

I’ve found that nothing drives home harder the fact that I’m now the adult than those days (and nights) where E. and I are both vomiting.

When E. is vomiting? I’m my mother. I’m there, holding the bucket, wiping his forehead, doing the laundry, cuddling, consoling, cajoling (and yes, sometimes holding him down screaming at 2 a.m. in the bath, but that happens). I make sure he feels as good as he possibly can, even when he feels utterly miserable.

When I’m vomiting, I want my own mother. I want to be looked after. I want her comforting presence.

But I’m the adult now.

I added a new experience to this category a couple of weeks ago.

I turned up with E. for my morning duty day at his nursery school. As usual, we went around the back to the playground to open the sandbox, set out the trikes and scooters, and look for garbage.

There were two dead birds in the playground.

I’m not talking about your typical “old and lay down to die” birds or “flew into the window” birds or even “wasn’t fast enough to dodge the cat” birds.

These were “our parents built their nest right up in the eaves and either they didn’t build it properly or we were too dumb to stay put AND the cat/raccoon found us first” birds.

There is nothing like picking up the scattered remnants (so many scattered remnants) of baby birds, fetching water to rinse off the path, and spraying a bleach solution to persuade the flies to go somewhere else, all while trying to answer E.’s incessant questions, to drive the point home.

I’m the adult now.

And some days that really sucks.

What in your life reminds you that you’re the adult now?

This post is part of #MicroblogMondays. To read the inaugural post and find out how you can participate, click here.

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Filed under (Pre)School Days, E.- the fifth year, Microblog Mondays, The Sick

What to eat (that is the question)

A month ago, I posted that I had been making some diet changes in order to get my body in line if we decided to go ahead with another IVF cycle.

I was doing things pretty casually until labmonkey posted with her numbers explaining why she’d decided to start eating meat.

I hadn’t actually sat down and worked out the specifics until that point.

If I’m aiming for 30% protein and max 40% carbs in my diet (which means fat has to come in at 30%), and I’m eating around 1800 calories a day, that’s 135 g of protein.

No problem, I thought. Look at all the meat I’m eating!

Then I went and actually looked up the numbers.

100g of chicken breast: 21 g
100g of tuna or salmon: 26 g
100g lean ground beef: 20 g
100g pork: 20 g

The point where I realized that I could eat 200 g of meat at dinner (which is almost half a pound!) every.single.night and I still wouldn’t be anywhere near half of my daily requirements was when I started to freak out a little bit.

But I persevered.

My body has not been happy. I’m not sure if it’s all the supplements or the diet changes or both but I haven’t felt all that great these last few weeks. It’s not just that it’s either feast or famine when it comes to the functioning of my digestive system. I feel nauseated much of the time. I’m already beyond sick of eggs. Cashew butter doesn’t taste good anymore. And canned tuna (which I normally really like) makes me want to hurl.

Even with a cup of Greek yoghurt (24 g) with a swirl of almond butter (3 g), or three eggs (18 g) scrambled with a cup of cooked spinach (5 g) and some cheese (3 g), for breakfast, I wasn’t hitting my targets on a consistent basis. And I thought I was going to throw up if I ate eggs at breakfast again.

I figured I had three choices:
1. Add in more dairy (cottage cheese as a snack being the obvious one)
2. Add in a protein bar or protein shakes
3. Eat even more meat at breakfast and lunch

#3 was out- I just couldn’t stomach the thought of more meat. It really didn’t help that E. came down with a hideous gastro bug the night we got back from visiting my sister and future brother-in-law (he started vomiting in the taxi queue of our home airport), which I then got two days later, on a night where I’d made beef and black bean tacos. Nothing like throwing up the remnants of a meal for five hours straight to make you a bit wary of ground beef in the future.

I didn’t like the idea of #2 either, since a protein bar was likely to have a bunch of sugar in it (and probably carbs too). And protein bars and protein shakes aren’t ‘real’ food. They’re not something that’s part of my usual diet and it seemed crazy to add them.

That left #1, but the first rule of diets for PCOS folk is not to eat much dairy (if at all). I hemmed and hawed, but clearly I wouldn’t survive without Greek yoghurt for breakfast and dairy in cooking, so cutting it out altogether wasn’t possible (nor was cutting out legumes- I don’t know how people go paleo. I wouldn’t be able to cope.)

I finally settled on trialling cottage cheese as a snack. Maybe I could alternate cottage cheese snack days with edamame snack days (although, of course, I’m not supposed to eat too much soy either. HOW CAN IT BE THIS COMPLICATED?)

I bought cottage cheese this weekend. I actually quite like cottage cheese but I cut it out of my diet several years ago because I didn’t like its salt content. On balance, however, I thought it made more sense than protein shakes.

I was all set to start eating it.

And then I got my period yesterday.

I’m not on birth control.

I had a period on the pill in the second week of April. And I distinctly remember looking at the calendar and realizing that if I started the new package on the expected day, I’d get my period while we were on holiday (I can’t skip periods anymore on my pill- I get breakthrough bleeding).

Nuts to that, I thought. I’ll wait another week before I start.

And then I got sidetracked because my doctor had prescribed me a new pill which she really liked for PCOS, but when I started reading about the pill, I didn’t like all the bad press. So I wasn’t sure what to do and therefore did nothing. When I was visiting with my sister I talked the new pill issue over with her and agreed I didn’t want to switch, but then I came home and jet lag and vomiting and chaos meant I didn’t start a new package of my usual pill.

And while we were away, I can remember a couple of days where I couldn’t figure out what the hell was going on downstairs. In retrospect, I think this was EWCM. I’m not used to seeing it.

So.

It looks like I ovulated about a month after my last withdrawal bleed on the pill, and then had a two week luteal phase.

HOLY SHIT.

If you are long-time readers of this blog, you will know that I NEVER, EVER ovulate on my own. I never have. I used to go off the pill for months in my twenties to see if my body would kick start, and it never did. I hoped I might get my period back when I weaned E., and I never did.

For my entire adult life, my body has not functioned normally.

Today I think something may have possibly changed.

It’s still very early days, of course, and it’s possible that this will turn out to be some sort of horrific random bleeding and not a period after all. Or, if it is a period, maybe it won’t happen again.

But I know two things right now.

I’m not going back on the pill for another few weeks- I want to see what happens.

And I’m sticking with this diet.

I don’t think this can be chalked up to anything but diet- I’m taking metformin, but that’s never helped in the past, and otherwise my supplements are pretty much the same with the exception of CoQ10 and fish oil, and I can’t see either of those being the deciding factor.

So now I’m back to wondering if cottage cheese is such a good idea after all, given PCOS and dairy are meant to be a bad combo. I have some long-term infertility friends who have basically cut dairy out of their diets (except for Greek yoghurt and some cheese in cooking) and their PCOS is under control. They have textbook cycles.

I think I need to sit down and really track what I’m eating for the next few days and see how my numbers are stacking up and then go from there. Maybe I don’t need to hit 125 g of protein (which was what I’d been aiming for) every day for things to be kickstarted.

I don’t for a second think we’d get pregnant from this, but it would be nice to have a PCOS management strategy that wasn’t “stay on the pill for the next fifteen years and then see if you enter menopause”.

I’ll keep you posted.

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Filed under Cycle Madness, Family, Food, PCOS, The Sick