Friday, October 30, 2009

Gratitude 67

We were Booed yesterday.  I have never heard of this before but maybe you have.  We came home from work and there was a present hanging on the front door handle.  It was a bag of goodies, obviously for Pk, with a poem inside.  We have no idea who gave it to us but the idea is that if we are interested, we are supposed to then get two small gifties for neighbours and anonymously leave them on a neighbour's door along with the poem.  We aren't big Halloween celebrators (sorry, being teachers makes Halloween very tiring for us, by the time we have done a day of children being absolutely frenzied, we are ready for a break!) but it seemed like a nice thing to do.  Dh dropped off two gifts last night after work to friends in town.  I hope it was as nice a surprise for them as it was for us!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

More H1N1

O.k., now I am feeling a bit reassured.  I went to a presentation at the hospital last night on H1N1 and pregnancy and at least now, I feel like I have the facts.  It's not entirely reassuring given that the WHO is saying that pregnant women should get the non-ajuvented version of the shot which isn't available here yet and quite possible won't be until the end of November (although I read yesterday that Health Canada is buying it from Australia so it might be here early).  On the reassuring side, however, I did find out the Pk will qualify for the non-ajuvented version because she is under age 3 (I have really been struggling about what to do with her and the ajuvent was one of my biggest concerns).  I also found out that I was on the mark with the prescription for Tamiflu - according to the ob who was there last night, if you are pregnant, your doctor is supposed to offer you a script for Tamiflu so that you can have it on hand if you need it and their recommendation was that we should all ask for it.  I have emailed my doc and have asked for her to fax me a script.  Probably paranoid but given that there were a few other pregnant teachers from my school who were there last night who told me that we have at least one staff member at work who has a child with a confirmed case of H1N1, I think the threat is definitely fairly real.
I just wish that the media wasn't in such a frenzy about this.  It's all anyone at work can talk about and I know that some of the other pregnant teachers are really, really scared.

Monday, October 26, 2009

My Doctor's Post

My doctor, Dr. Kerri Best, has a website and she has posted her opinion to her patients on the H1N1 vaccine.  You might be interested in what she has to say:
It doesn't reassure me much but at least I feel like she is thinking about it and not just pushing things without looking into it herself.  I will have to ask her what she thinks about me getting the shot.


Thanks for the input, everyone.  It's interesting to see what everyone else has to say.  I am still very on the fence but there is supposed to be a seminar at the hospital tomorrow for the public on H1N1 and pregnancy so I plan to go to that, although I doubt they are going to be able to share anything new, since I have researched this to death.  
Anyone know whether you can have titres done?  We had a couple of really nasty viruses go through here last winter and one in particular might have been H1N1 given Pk's symtoms.  If it turns out we have already had it, I believe that would take the decision away which would be really, really nice.  
I am going to whine again but I really wish this was an easy decision.  I wish I could be as sure as all of you.  Honestly, I am not seriously anti-vax in most cases (Pk has had most of the standard ones and I have had all of them, up until now).  It's just the doing-it-while-I-am-pregnant thing that scares me witless.  If the baby ended up having birth defects or, what I am most afraid of, autism, I would always have to wonder.
I'll let you know what I decide.  Ugh, I hate this.  I hope my doctor has some good advice.

Saturday, October 24, 2009


I am really unsure of what to do in terms of the Swine Flu vaccine.  I keep thinking that I have come to a decision and then something happens to change my mind.

As you know, I am pregnant, although, right now, it's early days.  Here in Canada, the swine flu vaccine has just arrived and pregnant women are being strongly encouraged to get the vaccine.  I should probably state, I am very hesistant about vaccines.  I am not totally anti-vax, I couldn't take the risk with Pk with some diseases but if I feel the that disease is relatively mild, I would rather risk that than risk the vaccine.  I don't see why we want to prevent children getting chicken pox, for instance, when it is extremely rare that there are complications and when getting the disease leads to lifelong immunity whereas the vaccine has limited lifespan and in fact, unless you are getting regular shots for the rest of your life, can leave you vulnerable.  I would most especially not even consider getting a vaccine when I am pregnant - why would I want to put all those metal additives in my body when, for instance, I won't eat most larger fish while pregnant, even once?  It just doesn't make sense to me.

The whole H1N1 frenzy has made me really question what to do.  As a teacher in en elementary school and a parent of a toddler in daycare, I would guess that I am probably in one of the highest categories in terms of potential to contract swine flu.  Most likely, it wouldn't be a big deal but am I o.k. with taking the risk that things might not be o.k.?  On the flip side, am I o.k. with taking a vaccine that has not been tested on pregnant women (the U.S. vaccine has had some testing with pregnant women but the Canadian vaccine has not)?  Would I potentially expose my unborn child to something that could alter his or her health and life potential for his or her entire life on the word of scientists that it is "probably" o.k.?  I heard a scientist/ public health doctor interviewed yesterday who was advising women to get the shot, the adjuvented one, because "the risk to swine flu is real and the risk of the adjuvent is theoretical."  Does that leave you feeling confident that it is safe???

I had decided that I was going to go ahead and get the vaccine but try to do it in January so that I would 16 weeks by then and bypass the first trimester when so much brain growth is happening.  That sounded like a good plan until I called public health yesterday to ask whether the unadjuvented vaccine would still be available then and how I would go about getting it.  That all sounded good until I asked, really in passing, expecting reassurance, whether the flu shot in Canada contains thimerisol (mercury).  I had been told that Canadian vaccines do not contain mercury and that in the U.S., the multidose vaccine does but if you get your doctor to order it in for you, the single dose vials do not.  I was pretty surprised when I was told that yes, the Canadian vaccine does contain mercury and that it is not available without it.  
That stopped me in my tracks.  The public health nurse I spoke to told me that, "well, the vaccine contains less mercury than a can of tuna".  Does that reassure you???  I responded that I would not be injecting myself with a can of tuna and that my understanding was that in most jurisdictions, pregnant women are advised against eating tuna.  

I know the whole mercury/autism thing is controversial.  Anti-vaxxers and parents of autistic children argue that it is toxic to children and causes a kind of a heavy metal poisoning that can contribute to the development of autism.  Medical experts argue that it is safe.  In fact, it is very hard to find definitive evidence either way.  Just the other day, someone on a list I am on (and not a crazy anti-vax list, either) cited a study that was done in the U.S. where Hep-V vaccine is given to newborn infants at a day old (don't get me started on that one).  Boys who were given that vax have something like a six times the chance of developing autism as opposed to boys not given that vax.  That vax contains mercury.  Does that definitively mean that mercury causes autism?  No.  Does it indicate that it might be a contributing factor?  Possibly.

I think what scared me is that once this is done, there is no undoing it.  We could vaccinate scores of women and five years from now, we could potentially be seeing disasterous results (or no results at all).  If I wait, I could be putting myself at risk (and possibly my baby, although, from what I was told, it would appear that flu does not cross the placenta, so the risk to the baby is minimal)?  If I go ahead, could I regret the decision for the rest of my life?

All I can see is that I will talk to my doctor and see what she says.  I am leaning heavily towards not doing it.  One good bit of information that I did learn yesterday is that pregnant women CAN be given tamiflu at the first signs of infection and that usually is enough to keep the infection to a minimum.  I want to see whether my doctor would either give me a standing prescription for the tamiflu or, even better, let me fill the prescription and have it here, ready to go.  That way, if I do get sick, I can do something about it to reduce the risk.  I might not get sick (and actually, we had a couple of good strong viruses go through the house last year so I want to find out whether they can do titres for swine flu - maybe I have already had it and then, I think I don't have to worry).

And then, of course, there is what to do with Pk.  I believe, from what I have read, that while she is at risk of catching H1N1, her chances of getting really sick are minimal as she has already gotten the Prevnar vaccine so pneumonia isn't a risk (I believe, I might be wrong on that but my understanding is that the prevnar will prevent bacterial pneumonia, which is the most common complication of H1N1).  On the other hand, do I vaccinate her to reduce MY risk?  

Ugh.  This isn't easy.  What are you going to do?

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Gratitude 66

I am so grateful for my mother.  She is there for us, no matter what we need and with never a question.  I had a class last night and she came up for the last few days to hang out with Pk and to babysit for me so I could go to the class (dh had to be out too).  She's coming again to cover for us during parent interviews and during our school Christmas concerts.  I don't know what I would do without her.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Gratitude 65

I don't remember being this tired when I was pregnant with Pippa.  My gratitude today is all about rest and a warm, cozy bed.  While we often forget it, rest is truly one of the greatest gifts God has given us.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Gratitude 64

We just got back from a weekend with my husband's family and the visit went really well.  I am so relieved.  Family tension can come from so many sources and can go back so makes me feel really helpless when I can't fix everything and to an outsider, so much of it seems so strange.  I just want everyone to get along because I know that, in spite of  insensitive behaviour at times, everyone does love one another, they just seem to have strange ways of showing it sometimes.  This weekend, everyone said what they wanted to say and I think everyone felt loved and appreciated, as it should be in a family.
I am also grateful for my own bed, though!  Coming home is wonderful!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Gratitude 63

Who knew I could be so grateful for nausea and exhaustion????  Long may it continue (at least for several months).  I am also grateful for all of you who have been there for me during what has been a challenging time, to say the least.  My mom has this theory that God has to make things hard at times so that we truly appreciate the gifts when they come.  I am feeling more grateful than I can ever express right now.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Our own Gideon Story...

Gideon Defeats the Midianites
 1 Early in the morning, Jerub-Baal (that is, Gideon) and all his men camped at the spring of Harod. The camp of Midian was north of them in the valley near the hill of Moreh. 2 The LORD said to Gideon, "You have too many men for me to deliver Midian into their hands. In order that Israel may not boast against me that her own strength has saved her, 3 announce now to the people, 'Anyone who trembles with fear may turn back and leave Mount Gilead.' " So twenty-two thousand men left, while ten thousand remained.

 4 But the LORD said to Gideon, "There are still too many men. Take them down to the water, and I will sift them for you there. If I say, 'This one shall go with you,' he shall go; but if I say, 'This one shall not go with you,' he shall not go."

 5 So Gideon took the men down to the water. There the LORD told him, "Separate those who lap the water with their tongues like a dog from those who kneel down to drink." 6 Three hundred men lapped with their hands to their mouths. All the rest got down on their knees to drink.

 7 The LORD said to Gideon, "With the three hundred men that lapped I will save you and give the Midianites into your hands. Let all the other men go, each to his own place." 8 So Gideon sent the rest of the Israelites to their tents but kept the three hundred, who took over the provisions and trumpets of the others. 
      Now the camp of Midian lay below him in the valley. 
9 During that night the LORD said to Gideon, "Get up, go down against the camp, because I am going to give it into your hands. 10 If you are afraid to attack, go down to the camp with your servant Purah 11 and listen to what they are saying. Afterward, you will be encouraged to attack the camp." So he and Purah his servant went down to the outposts of the camp. 12 The Midianites, the Amalekites and all the other eastern peoples had settled in the valley, thick as locusts. Their camels could no more be counted than the sand on the seashore.

 13 Gideon arrived just as a man was telling a friend his dream. "I had a dream," he was saying. "A round loaf of barley bread came tumbling into the Midianite camp. It struck the tent with such force that the tent overturned and collapsed."

 14 His friend responded, "This can be nothing other than the sword of Gideon son of Joash, the Israelite. God has given the Midianites and the whole camp into his hands."

 15 When Gideon heard the dream and its interpretation, he worshiped God. He returned to the camp of Israel and called out, "Get up! The LORD has given the Midianite camp into your hands." 16 Dividing the three hundred men into three companies, he placed trumpets and empty jars in the hands of all of them, with torches inside.

 17 "Watch me," he told them. "Follow my lead. When I get to the edge of the camp, do exactly as I do. 18 When I and all who are with me blow our trumpets, then from all around the camp blow yours and shout, 'For the LORD and for Gideon.' "

 19 Gideon and the hundred men with him reached the edge of the camp at the beginning of the middle watch, just after they had changed the guard. They blew their trumpets and broke the jars that were in their hands. 20 The three companies blew the trumpets and smashed the jars. Grasping the torches in their left hands and holding in their right hands the trumpets they were to blow, they shouted, "A sword for the LORD and for Gideon!" 21 While each man held his position around the camp, all the Midianites ran, crying out as they fled.

 22 When the three hundred trumpets sounded, the LORD caused the men throughout the camp to turn on each other with their swords. The army fled to Beth Shittah toward Zererah as far as the border of Abel Meholah near Tabbath. 23 Israelites from Naphtali, Asher and all Manasseh were called out, and they pursued the Midianites. 24 Gideon sent messengers throughout the hill country of Ephraim, saying, "Come down against the Midianites and seize the waters of the Jordan ahead of them as far as Beth Barah." 
      So all the men of Ephraim were called out and they took the waters of the Jordan as far as Beth Barah. 
25 They also captured two of the Midianite leaders, Oreb and Zeeb. They killed Oreb at the rock of Oreb, and Zeeb at the winepress of Zeeb. They pursued the Midianites and brought the heads of Oreb and Zeeb to Gideon, who was by the Jordan. - Judges 7

Sometimes, there are things that happen can look to me like they can only be from God, times when it seems like He is trying to make it clear to me who is at work.  Dh and I are experiencing one of those times.  Warning, this might be TMI but we are so excited that I have to share and Dh has given me permission.

As I have written here before, we have been trying for another child for about a year now.  It really took me by surprise because, since we got pregnant so easily with Pk, I just assumed that it would be that easy again.  I was wrong and it has been a painful road.

Initially, we didn't know the problem but after some testing in May, it began to appear that the problem was with Dh.  We were referred to specialists and on Aug. 24th, we got the devastating news that we probably wouldn't be having another child without IVF (and with the $12 000 cost and the possible complications, we were looking at a very tough decision).  It was awful.  I sat in the car and cried, totally overwhelmed and, to be honest, asking myself what I had done to deserve this.  The specialist we saw did a referral to a fertility clinic and we had our first appointment on Sept. 24. 

We really had to steel ourselves for that appointment.  In the days leading up to it, we kept trying to be brave about it but we knew that it was probably not going to be good news.  I did some research into IVF and knew what I was probably going to expect and it was pretty terrifying.  Finally, the day arrived and there we were, sitting in the waiting room for over an hour.  I don't know when we have ever been so scared.  

The doctor was nice, when we finally got to see her.  We had both filled out long, involved profiles and we started with the doctor going through the paperwork, asking a question here or there.  She finally got to our test results, which had been sent on from other doctors.  As she went through them, she made the odd comment about things and it wasn't sounding all that promising.  All of a sudden, she stopped dead.  She muttered, "I haven't ever seen anything like this before."  Our hearts sank.  Being the optimist that I am, I asked, "What's wrong?"  Her response was, "Let me just check the name on this result...  o.k., Mr. _____, you have gone from being almost entirely infertile to being completely and totally normal in one month.  You probably don't even need me."

Being the fool that I am, I immediately dissolved into tears.  It was such a shock.  The doctor's response was that we probably wouldn't need her after all but that I should do some bloodwork and we would talk to her in a couple of months about possibilities if we needed intervention.  We left walking on air.  

Two weeks ago, I did the first round of bloodwork that she wanted.  Six vials and a day of fasting later, I was really feeling pretty negative about everything.  By the following Tuesday, I was in my therapist's office, talking about how I was assuming that the problem wasn't just Dh, it had to be me as well.  I was so upset and overwhelmed.  The next morning (this was last Wednesday), I decided to do a pregnancy test, not because I thought I was but just so that I wouldn't get my hopes up, yet again.  Imagine my surprise when there was not one but two lines on the test... Of course, being me, I couldn't believe it, so I went to buy more tests and Thursday morning, I tested again.  Not only was that positive but it was immediate.

The nausea has started already BIG TIME and my breasts feel like they are going to explode.  I am sleepy all the time and I am quite a few days late.  While I haven't had it officially confirmed, it looks very much like I am pregnant!!!!  I certainly won't announce it publicly for a few months but the few people here who know me are the few people I would tell anyway because they are the people I would lean on if something went wrong.  I am so excited about this!!!!

I can't help but believe that God's hand is so evident in this.  When I saw my GP late last week, her words were, "Well, I don't say this much but I am sensing a miracle here.  These changes don't happen so quickly.  God is rewarding your faithfulness."  I hope she is right.  I just feel so blessed.

What a Thanksgiving!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Ten Years

It is hard to believe that it was ten years ago that this photo was taken.  We were so excited and yet so nervous - marriage wasn't scary but somehow, getting married really was (although, now, looking at some of the issues with Dh's family, I can see that we had some reason to be nervous).  It ended up being a wonderful day - my only regret was that I didn't slow down to savour it more.  It was such a meaningful day for us, surrounded by the people we love(d) most, in a sanctuary that meant so much to us and as a symbol of a life together.   We had a group shot done of our guests on the steps outside the sanctuary and it is posted on the wall in our hallway.  I frequently notice people in the photo as I walk by.  There are a few that we don't see anymore - several have died, a few have drifted out of our lives but most are still factors in our lives.

Ten years have passed.  We have added a car, a house, two dogs, a cat and finally, a child, since then.  We have a lot more stuff, a lot more debt and a lot more memories.  We have gone through some really hard times and some absolutely wonderful times.  Our dreams are largely the same, if a bit scaled down, our pleasures have changed somewhat, although we still value the same things and we are both feeling much older.  For all that change, though, there are some things that have remained the same.

Dh can still make me laugh at the most inappropriate moments (a talent that I HIGHLY value).  Dh still makes me smile, still knows how to make the ordinary just that little bit extraordinary, still can drive me crazy, still can make me feel safe and still can make me see things in a different way.  I wouldn't trade the last ten years for anything and I have this sense that our marriage is like a fine wine.  It definitely gets better with age, whatever struggles we have had.

After ten years, life is good.

Gratitude 62

I am grateful for Thanksgiving.  It's "Canadian" Thanksgiving this weekend (or just Thanksgiving for us up here) and it is my favourite celebration.  To me, it seems like the one holiday that hasn't been turned into a major shopping event.  I can sit with my class, in a public school, and we can openly talk about giving thanks and feeling grateful for what we have.  We aren't talking about the gifts we want, the money we are going to spend or what we will get.  It's nice to have a holiday that is all about being together and sharing.

Since I love fall so much, it's pretty natural that this would be a favourite time for me.  Our minister sent out an email yesterday inviting anyone who is interested to bring anything they had for fall decorating and come to the church this morning at 10.  Dh, Pk and I went up to our favourite farm stand to buy corn stalks, hay bales, pumpkins and gourds and ran up to the church (as an aside, the former city girl in me loves the fact that this stand isn't manned, there is just prices posted and a big wooden box to put your cash in, with a little note saying that there is change available if you drive up to the house).  This is the first year that we are in our own church building for Thanksgiving so we were pretty enthusiastic.  The finished result looks gorgeous and is so exciting to us all.    We had all kinds of things donated - stuff grown in people's gardens, wild flowers picked from ditches at the side of the road and leftover wedding supplies.  
We were supposed to go down to my parents' house for dinner but my brother is really sick so that got nixed.  Dh and I bought a turkey breast and roasted that tonight and did stuffing, gravy, potatoes, etc and it was really nice.  I have so much to be thankful for and it is so nice to have a time of year that reminds me to do that.  It's also nice that we have two more days left of weekend to spend together as a family.

Friday, October 9, 2009

New Bible Study

As you can see from the button on the side, I participate in an online Bible study.  It's a great group of women and the studies so far have been terrific.  We are getting ready to start another one, this time, Beth Moore's Daniel study.  It would be a great time to get involved if you are interested!  

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Gratitude 61

I am grateful for those times when I am getting so frustrated and the right message comes along and puts everything back into perspective.  Pk is awake (after an hour long attempt to get her down) and I was feeling SO ANNOYED with her.  Then, I read a blog post written by a very insightful blogger about the treasures in the little things... it made me realise that I shouldn't be so selfish about having MY plans interrupted.  It's nice to cuddle and hang out with Pk, even if it doesn't fit my schedule.  That really brought me some peace and right now, my fuse seems to be very short...

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Gratitude 60

I am so grateful that I started going to a therapist at the beginning of the summer.  It often isn't very comfortable but I really feel like I am getting somewhere.  I am having a really hard time with several things at the moment and having somewhere to go and talk really helps.  So often, I don't want to talk about things - I am afraid that I will sound like a fool or a wimp and/or that the person will just tell me to "think happy thoughts"... when you have been in patterns for most of your life, it's not so easy to change.  It feels good to understand myself and why I find certain things so upsetting that aren't a big deal to other people.  I am learning that I hold certain "beliefs" - my logical mind can see the truth but my heart can believe something totally ridiculous because of these bigger beliefs.  It's liberating to be able to recognize those beliefs and how they distort my perceptions.  It doesn't make things much easier but at least I am seeing more clearly.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Gratitude 59

Pk spent the ENTIRE night in her own bed.  Enough said.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Gratitude 58

It was dark when we sat down to dinner tonight.  While we are late eaters (so weird, we didn't used to be but since Pk was born, we seem to get later and later), it wasn't so late that it being dark was normal.  I know that by February, the darkness will be making me miserable but tonight, it just made our home feel even more cozy.   There is something about a home-cooked meal, eaten at the dining room table on a Sunday night that makes life feel cozy, like a soft, heavy sweater or a down duvet.  I love the peace of a Sunday - I love church, it's probably the time I feel most connected during the week and we always do something "family" on Sunday after Pk's nap (although the drizzly weather kept us from doing what we had planned today).  The cozy evening at home was the end to a wonderful day.  I love home!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Gratitude 57

I love starting craft projects (although sadly, I don't seem to have the same drive to finish them!).  I have wanted to do a quilt to Pk's room - one of my goals eventually is to have everyone in the house sleeping under a quilt that I have made.  It will be a long time in coming, given that I hand piece and hand quilt.  I was trying to do a bit of machine piecing and my machine seems to have died and after having priced decent ones that I could quilt on, it will be a LONG time before it is replaced.  Anyway, I love starting new things and the other day, I was kind of blue and feeling like I needed to do something for myself.  One of the blogs I read, Crazy Mom Quilts, got me thinking about quilting again.  I hadn't for a while - knitting has been my "thing" of late and I am ready for a break.  She posted about a "one a day quilt along" and while I know that I won't be doing a square a day, I could get started on another one.  I love florals and I love pink and green as a combination (over-the-top girlie, I know, but after years of pretending that I didn't like girlie colours, I confess to my inner girlie-girl that has emerged since having a daughter).  I decided to stop by the quilt shop and pick up a few  fat quarters and start working on a nine patch quilt (not especially sophisticated but one of the things I love most about quilts is that the simpler they are, the more wonderful they seem to look).  While the weather gets colder, I am looking forward to getting cozy and stitching away.  Quilting and knitting bring me such a sense of peace and I like to wish love into every stitch that will bless the user.  I know, I am totally corny (I don't imagine that is a surprise to anyone).

Friday, October 2, 2009

Gratitude 56

I love Friday evening.  There is so much potential at the beginning of the weekend - the prospect of sleeping in (o.k., so I can dream, even if I know the true chances), a leisurely breakfast on Saturday morning, my favourite jeans, and the routine of church on Sunday, which I love.  I feel like on the weekend, I can reconnect with myself for a few minutes and savour two full days with my family.  I love that and it sustains me through the rest of the week.