Sunday, December 30, 2007

E-book vs. paperback price

I was looking at books about open heart surgery recovery and given that I don't have much time before surgery I was going to have to get super fast (and more expensive) shipping. I found a website for one of the books "The Open Heart Companion" by Maggie Lichtenberg. Through the website you could purchase the paperback for $20, or the e-book which was also $20. I thought it was a bit rude to charge the same for an e-book, but given the tight time frame, got it anyway.

I also sent an email to the author saying I thought it was a bit rich to charge the same costs and she replied very fast (which I was rather impressed by), and said

"Truthfully, from the hundreds of grateful comments I continually receive from heart patients and their caregivers who read/use the book, I consider the information I provide equally valuable whether provided in a paperback book or in an e-book format, hence the $20 price."

If she believes the information is worth $20, surely the paperback would be more expensive given the printing costs. When you buy the e-book, you get directed to a link and given a password to access the PDF.

I would expect an e-book to be at least $5 cheaper, since it's more of a pain to read and you have to print the 204 pages yourself. Anyone else got thoughts about this?

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Surgery on Thursday

We're home safe and sound after a trouble free trip to Australia, and are on the count down to my open heart surgery (5 more sleeps). I can't wait to get it over and done with!

I go in on Wednesday the 2nd for the pre-op stuff, then 7:30am on Thursday for the surgery itself. So by the time the Aussies are waking up on Friday (and by mid-afternoon Thursday US time), the surgery should be almost over. Keep an eye on Andrew's blog for updates on how I'm going.

And if anyone's considering sending flowers, I would appreciate it if you didn't... I don't particularly want to risk being allergic to them and be sneezing after having my chest cracked open! :-)

Friday, December 07, 2007

Off to the land of Oz

I'm currently sitting at San Francisco Airport waiting for our flight to Sydney. We've got 6 days in Sydney, 4 in Canberra, then 11 in Brisbane (or something like that). There's so many people I can't wait to see!

Every single day we have things planned, and we really have no time free - so much for a holiday :-)

We get back on the 29th of December, then have my heart surgery on January 3rd (with pre-op stuff on the 2nd), so the next couple of month are going to fly by!

I hope everyone has a fabulous Christmas and New Years. I'll try to update before the surgery, but if not, check Andrew's blog for an update of how I'm doing.

Finally got my 2 front teeth for Christmas!

I lost one of my front teeth about 20 years ago and the adult tooth didn't come through because the root was wrapped around the tooth next to it. After multiple surgeries to get it to come down, they finally removed it.

From early primary school to Grade 11 I believe, I had no front tooth. They couldn't do anything until the teeth had all come in or something, and by that stage there was only a small gap where my front tooth should have been.

So many years of braces to try and increase the gap to make space for a tooth, I finally got a fake tooth on a plate - yayyyy! I only spent most of my entire schooling with no front tooth (thanks orthodontist!), but I was very pleased to finally have something.

I finally started the process of getting a dental implant around May last year. The first surgery was a complete failure, so I went to a second surgeon resulting in a much better hunk of metal in my head. Once the titanium rod had time to properly fuse around the bone, I could get the next stage to expose the rod to get the final permanent tooth fitted. Unfortunately I was pregnant then, so they wouldn't give me a local anaesthetic, and therefore I had to wait until just recently to get the last bit done.

It took 4 visits to the dentist (should have just been one!), but it's finally done. it's been a long, frustrating, embarrassing 20 year saga, but I finally have my 2 front teeth in time for Christmas!

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

2 years in the US

As of November 30, I have been in the US for 2 years (so now 2 years and 5 days). I can't believe it's been 2 years already, time has absolutely flown by.

In the last 2 years I have:

  • Fought with all sorts of Government agencies to get myself all documented up
  • Worked in 2 jobs - VMware and Google
  • Driven most of the West Coast
  • Been to 10 different (relatively big) cities across 6 states- Seattle, WA; Portland, OR; San Francisco, Sacramento and Los Angeles, CA; Reno and Las Vegas, NV; Phoenix, AZ; New York, NY
  • Been to 4 State/National Parks - Yosemite National Park, Muir Woods (which is actually a National Monument as part of National Park Service), Woods Canyon Lake (part of Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest), Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park
  • Skiied at 1 ski resort - Squaw Valley
  • Been to a bunch of tourist attractions (off the top of my head) - San Francisco Zoo, Napa and Sonoma wine regions, Alcatraz, Monterey Aquarium, Disneyland, Statue of Liberty, Winchester Mystery House, Filoli Mansion, Hollywood, Empire State Building, Seattle Space Needle
  • Seen 3 bands - Crowded House, Missy Higgins and John Butler Trio
  • Been to 3 shows - 2 Cirque du Soleil shows and Stomp
  • Stayed in more hotels and motels (and RVs!) than in the previous 25 years before that combined
  • Started my Bachelor of Business
  • Gotten pregnant and lost a baby
  • Been properly diagnosed with a heart condition and found out I have to get open heart surgery
  • Volunteered at an animal shelter (started that almost 2 years ago)
  • Adopted 3 great kitties and fostered a bunch of kitties
  • Run a feral cat trap-neuter-return program
  • Made a heap of amazing friends
  • Had many visitors
  • Driven 32,000 miles in the car (51,400km)
We have done so much since we've been here and had some truly amazing experiences - both good and bad - that we've both grown from. We've signed up for another 2 years year, so I hope the next 2 years have as much happiness and exploration, but not as much sadness!

Monday, December 03, 2007

iMovie '08 rocks

The kitties got a new toy called Da Bird which they LOVE playing with. I took a couple of little videos and went about making a video using iMovie on the old Mac. We bought a new MacBook Pro on the weekend which came with iLife '08, which includes iMovie.

The video I started on the old Mac was a bit of a pain to do - it was slow, and there wasn't many features and it was a little annoying to use. As well as that, right near the end of my video, it crashed and I lost everything.

So this time, I uploaded those videos and a couple of new ones to the MacBook Pro and checked out the new iMovie. It's so much easier to use, much more user friendly, so much faster and has great new features. Now you just move the mouse over the little clips that it makes and it plays video which makes it easier to select little chunks you don't want to delete them.

It took me maybe a third of the time to make a much longer movie with better editing, add a soundtrack, adjust the sound and light levels of the movie, remove my voice from it, add in the transitional bits, and even add a little ending. I am very impressed with how easy it was. I imagine there'll be lots more movies to come. As well as that, it saves as it goes along so if it DOES crash, you don't lose everything. What a novel idea :-)

Then to make life even more exciting, I right clicked on my project and one of the options that came up was "Publish to YouTube"! Yep, it definitely rocks.

My only one complaint is with the old iMovie, you could easily chop up songs to have it start from a particular point in the song, whereas with the new one it didn't seem to give any option for chopping up the song. I was happy to start from the beginning of the song, so didn't look very hard.

So here's the video of the kitties playing:

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Fabulous and easy meatloaf recipe

I don't want to lose this, so I'll put it here to share it as well :-)

1 1/2 lbs mince (we used buffalo last time and it was fantastic)
1 onion
4 egg whites
1 cup salsa
3/4 cup oats
1 pkg Vegetable soup mix
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 cup ketchup

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
Mix all ingredients together except for ketchup and push into greased meatloaf pan
Add ketchup on top (I don't measure the ketchup, I just squeeze it into pretty patterns on the top)

Bake for 1 hour and enjoy!

Sunday, November 25, 2007

How ironic

Has anyone else noted the irony of the MS Explorer crashing in Antartica? I'd say it was very aptly named :-)

Very Thanksgiving!

This is my first Thanksgiving in the US and we managed to have 2 of them! Last year we were in Australia, and the year before I hadn't yet arrived (but was only a few days away, expect a 2 year post very soon!).

We celebrated our first Thanksgiving on the Saturday before Thanksgiving at our apartment with our neighbours who have made our lives so much more fulfilling. We have amazing neighbours who are kind, fun and friendly, so it was great to spend it with them. There was 10 at the dinner table and as you can see we had plenty of fabulous food.

The next day we drove to Phoenix to see our friends Craig and Sarah and spend a few days with them. We spent about 48 hours in Phoenix sweating it out in the heat before driving to Woods Canyon Lake where we froze our butts off!

Craig and Sarah have a swish RV, and were camping there with a bunch of friends for a few days. It was incredibly cold all day and night so there was a roaring campfire going the entire time. The group there were a lot of fun and all really nice people, and made us feel very welcome into their group. We spent Thanksgiving Day fishing down at Woods Canyon Lake which was cold and windy but still a really nice day.

Thanksgiving dinner was on Friday (the day after Thanksgiving) at about 4pm, and the 28 of us sat outside in 33 degree F (0 celsius) eating our dinner. We had heaps of food including deep fried turkeys which are very tasty despite our hesitation about such a cooking method. All the food was very traditional Thanksgiving food and incredibly tasty. It wasn't long before everyone moved back to the warmth of the camp fire though!

A great time was had, and now we prepare to head to Australia in a little under 2 weeks for Christmas.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Quick update

The week before last I went on a roadtrip with mum and Aunty Glenda while Andrew was in Boston for work.

I seem to have lost the motivation for a big write up so here's the quick version.

Friday (October 26) - drove from Mountain View to Yosemite and had a look at Bridalveil Falls

Saturday - Walked to the top of Sentinel Dome and went to Mariposa Grove to check out the Giant Sequoias. Drove to Las Vegas and arrive close to midnight.

Sunday - Walked up and down most of the Las Vegas Strip and checked out all the main hotels. Apparently I'm over Vegas - 3 times in 12 months is more than enough!

Monday - Mum and Glenda did a tour of the Grand Canyon while I caught up with our friends Brent and Amy who also happened to be touring there. In the afternoon we drove to Anaheim (Los Angeles).

Tuesday and Wednesday - Disneyland. Oh man Disneyland is so much fun. The 2 day pass also gives you access to the Californian Adventure Park next door and we spent so much time at Disneyland that we only got there late on the second day. We did get to do the California Screaming rollercoaster and the rapids ride there which were both fabulous, so that's ok. Wednesday evening we drove to Hollywood and stayed there Wednesday and Thursday nights.

Thursday - looked around Hollywood - also very over Hollywood. Mum and Glenda did a tour while I caught up with Cara, my "aneurysm friend", and Caitlin and Mick from home so I ended up having a great time.

Friday - drove back to Mountain View and crashed! Crashed in bed that is, didn't crash the car... Mum and Glenda flew back to Australia that night. The house is so quiet now!

Total round trip - 1000 miles (2400km)

We're having a Thanksgiving dinner this Saturday night coming with our neighbours at our place (for 10 adults!), then Sunday we drive to Phoenix, Arizona to spend the week there with Craig and Sarah for the week of Thanksgiving and have another Thanksgiving dinner there.

After that I don't want to drive anywhere for a long while...

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Email address

I now have an email address to the right (under my profile) if you would like to email me!

Monday, October 22, 2007

Road trip!

Mum and my Aunt Glenda are visiting at the moment and are currently on the East Coast. They get back on Thursday evening, and on Friday morning I'm going on a road trip with them! Andrew's off to Boston for a week for work on Monday, so I'm playing tour guide.

Friday morning we drive to Yosemite and spend the rest of Friday and Saturday morning there. Saturday afternoon we drive to Las Vegas, and stay there Saturday and Sunday nights. We'll wander around there on Sunday, then Monday morning Mum and Glenda do a day trip to Grand Canyon - I plan to stay in Las Vegas and relax since I've done that same Grand Canyon trip already.

When they get back from the trip we'll drive out to Los Angeles. Monday night we'll stay in Anaheim, and spend Tuesday at Disneyland. Tuesday night we'll stay in Anaheim again, then Wednesday drive into Hollywood, stay there Wednesday and Thursday nights, and spend Wednesday and Thursday around the Hollywood area sightseeing, then drive back home on Friday morning so mum and Glenda can fly back to Australia Friday night.

It's going to be a very action packed week!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

It does... stuff!

Ahhhhh US drug ads!!! They need to disclose everything in ads. We saw an ad for an allergy nasal spray called Veramyst, and one of the things that flashed across the screen (after "Side effects include nosebleed or nasal sores. Nasal fungal infection, glaucoma, or cataracts may occur") was the fabulous quote:

"The way VERAMYST works is not fully understood."

Nice. Makes you want to shove it up your nose doesn't it?

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Big day followed by Missy Higgins

Friends of ours, Brent and Amy, are visiting from Australia so we've been having fun playing tour guide again. Yesterday morning we were up early to leave the house at 8am to get into San Francisco. Brent and Amy toured Alcatraz in the morning while Andrew and I went to Ghirardelli Square where we had fabulous a Ghirardelli Hot Chocolate. Ghirardelli chocolate is a local premium chocolate which is probably the best American chocolate I've tasted. Ghirardelli Square is where the chocolate factory was, and is now a nice little shopping area built around the original preserved buildings.

After that, we wandered around Fisherman's Wharf until Brent and Amy finished at Alcatraz, then had lunch and did the Super Sightseeing Bus Tour with them of San Francisco.

We discovered recently that Missy Higgins was playing in San Francisco, and I missed her last time she played so made sure I got tickets this time.

It turned out that it was the same day we'd planned to spend in San Francisco, so figured we'd do a big day of touring, then see Missy afterwards, so it worked out well.

Missy was playing at a little place called Cafe Du Nord, which was a gorgeous little place. The venue was about 30m long and about 10m wide I guess. There was about 150 people there and was sold out, so was a really nice, intimate show.

Missy was fabulous. She sounded exactly as she does on her album. Her voice was gorgeous and strong, and the acoustics of the small venue just added to how good she sounded. She also talked to the crowd a lot, and explained how she got the inspiration for each song which was really interesting. I have a lot of respect for her for the fact that she's what I consider a REAL musician - she writes her own music, plays the instruments herself, and has a fabulous voice. She can get up on stage with a keyboard and guitar and swap between them for different songs and have nothing else but a guy backing her up with a guitar to sound just like her album.

She didn't start until 9:45pm though (she had 2 backup artists), and finished at 11:15pm, so we didn't get home until after midnight (after leaving the house at 8am). Needless to say we've slept in today and not done too much!!

Sunday, October 14, 2007

To Kirk, the commenter :-)

My aneurysm is currently at around 4.5cm, and I am also seeing Dr Liang at Stanford - I actually see him tomorrow! As an aside - how fabulous is Sunny Pellone??!?! :-)

I don't think I'm a 'normal' case - my dad and aunt both died in their 20's with aneurysms in the same place which they don't think were terribly large. I was previously told they wouldn't fix it until it got bigger, but given that it grew a bit during pregnancy and we want to go through more pregnancies, they want to fix it.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

And in the next episode...

Yes, there's a new installment in the latest drama of the Pollock lives :-)

I've had another echocardiogram since we lost Joshua and they've compared that with all my other echos I've had done in the 18 months I've been seeing the cardiologist here at Stanford and have determined it's gotten bigger, and was at it's biggest in the last ultrasound before I lost Joshua. So it's gotten bigger, and pregnancy made it worse.

Since we still want kids, they want me to have the aneurysm fixed before I go through another pregnancy. So we saw the cardiac surgeon yesterday, and are booked in to get it repaired on January 3, 2008.

I had a CT scan so they could get a good view of my heart, so here's that pic which I have put some labels on.

And this is kind of what it should look like:

So the Sinuses of Valsalva (the round things) are more prominent than they should be, and that's where the valves are that do all work. If that splits down there, I'm in big trouble!

The next thing is that in the diagram, you can see the ascending and descending aorta are a similar size. In my CT scan, you can see that my ascending aorta is wider than my descending aorta. So pretty much all of my ascending aorta is weakened, and that's what they want to replace.

Also, interesting to note is the 3 tubes coming off the aortic arch - the left carotid artery (LCA), right carotid artery (RCA) and left subclavian artery (LSCA). In my CT scan, the RCA branches off the LCA rather than off the aorta itself like in the diagram. That's not terribly common, but the cardiac surgeon said that they find patients with genetic aneurysm conditions often have that. It's nothing bad, and causes no problems, just interesting.

So, they replace from the Sinuses of Valsalva up to between the RCA and LSCA - you can see a line on the diagram which is where they'll fix up to, and the little hand drawn diagram to the right of that is the diagram the cardiac surgeon did to show how they do it - so they keep the bit of aorta where the arteries come off it, and just replace around it.

They should be able to keep my valves since they look good (as opposed to replacing them with a pigs valve or mechanical valve if they are also problematic), so they have a thick bit of Dacron for the ascending aneurysm (I think he said about 6/7 inches long?), then sew that onto a short, more narrow piece of Dacron where the aortic root is, and the valves will be inside the more narrow bit of Dacron.

They gave us a bit of Dacron to keep as well. This is the wider piece of Dacron.

Then, because they have to be fiddling with the bits around the arteries that deliver blood to my brain, they have to cool my body right down and stop my heart, then clamp the arteries, and hook them up to a heart bypass machine which will keep delivering cooled blood to my brain while they replace that bit of aorta. Apparently once they're down and starting warming up your body again, your heart just starts beating on its own again - they rarely have use the defibrillator to actually get it going again.

It's all pretty fascinating what they can do, and while it's pretty daunting that they're messing with my heart and the arteries leading to my brain, I have one of the world's best surgeons at this sort of operation, in one of the best heart hospitals in the US, and the risk itself is very low, especially given that I'm young, and it's being fixed before it's too damaged.

I think it'll be about 8 hours between putting me to sleep, and waking me up again - poor Andrew is going to be beside himself waiting for me to get out of surgery!!! Then I'll have about 5 days in hospital, then the next 4 weeks at home will be just focusing on recovering. Apparently you're not in pain so much (despite having your chest cracked open...), but just REALLY tired. Your body is using up every calorie available to heal and it just wipes you out. The nurse we spoke to said I have to walk, walk, walk as much as I can, but initially I'll walk for 5 minutes then have to sleep for a couple of hours out of exhaustion, but gradually I'll build up the walks, and won't have to sleep so much, and by 5-6 weeks after I'll be feeling close to normal, then by 12 weeks post surgery I'll have absolutely no restriction - I can run, ride, lift weights - basically do everything I'm not allowed to currently do. And most importantly, we can go ahead and have as many babies as we want, whereas they only wanted us to have one child if my heart didn't get fixed.

So it's scary and daunting, but I'm looking forward to getting it out of the way - it'll be a huge relief, and it'll take a load off our minds not to be worrying about it anymore.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Stumpy aka "Cool kitty"

She got sweet wheels!

This is the original image:

Someone else did the photoshopping, but I'll have to have a go myself and maybe put her in some other vehicles :-)

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Joshua's home

We finally got to bring Joshua home, unfortunately not in the way we had planned.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Sad day

September 17. Today should have been Joshua's birthday. If things had have gone to plan, we would be at the hospital right now with our boy in our arms wondering how this breastfeeding thing is supposed to work.

Instead we went to Half Moon Bay, to the cliffs by the Ritz Carlton and released 2 helium balloons, one with a photo of Joshua on it as a memorial to him and to say good-bye. It's amazing how suddenly life can change. We'd planned so many things in our future that we were going to do with Joshua.

So today was sad, but I certainly wasn't as depressed as I thought I would be. I thought today would have a huge significance, but it turned out to be just another day.

We're definitely moving on and getting on with our lives. Physically I feel much better which I think helps. We went for a walk to downtown Mountain View yesterday to go to the markets, and I think we did about 1 1/2 hours of walking in total, and I felt fine.

Life goes on. I'm sure we'll still have bad days, and we'll shed more tears, but there's no use dwelling on what should have been. Andrew's back at work tomorrow, and I'll start doing more exploring with mum of the local area. I've also seen a job I'm interested in, so am thinking about applying for that.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Our baby Joshua

Some photos we got of Joshua

Family photo on Tuesday

Me with Joshua on Tuesday

Mum with Joshua

Baby Joshua on Friday - looks like he's just sleeping

Thursday, September 06, 2007

We lost Joshua

I still can't believe I'm having to write this, but little Joshua died, most likely sometime on Monday in what they believe was a cord accident. I still had to deliver him by c section, and when he came out he had the umbilical cord tightly wrapped around his neck twice, and once around his body.

Andrew's written a comprehensive blog post about what happened, so pop on over here to read more.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Baby shower

Our neighbours were nice enough to organise a baby shower for us which we had today. We went to a nearby park and had a really nice BBQ just hanging out with friends, relaxing and enjoying the gorgeous Californian weather!

We were lucky enough to receive some really nice gifts from people - all we need now is a baby!

Only 2 weeks and a couple of days to go!

Crowded House concert

I found out last Saturday that Crowded House was in the area for a bunch of concerts. Unfortunately tickets were almost sold out so I had to sit on my own, but that was fine. They were playing at a local winery, which was a beautiful, small outdoors venue. It was a gorgeous night and there was a full moon the night before and the sun was just starting to set, so the moon rose throughout the concert.

Crowded House were fabulous and it was awesome to see them in such a small venue. They alternated between one new and one old song, and seemed to be having a really good time which made the concert even more enjoyable.

One of the ushers was nice enough to move me to the disabled section where I could have a chair with a back rather than the wooden bench I was originally sitting on (she understood the fun of being pregnant...), so that was nice! I was probably 40m away from the stage, so had a great view!

Overall a great night :-)

Tuesday, August 14, 2007


It's about time I posted about the kitties, it's been a while!!

They've all recently had their annual checkups, and they all came through with a clean bill of health.

First of all, here's Stumpy - she's about 19 months old now, and still has regular psycho spells... She's a very active kitty who loves to play! She's also very in tune with my feelings. At the start of my pregnancy when I constantly nauseous she would constantly snuggle up to my belly at night time whereas normally she sleeps in her bed outside our room, and she's also just recently started sleeping with us again. If I'm ever feeling tired and emotional, she always seems to know, and comes up to me and headbutts and purrs to me, and patting her always helps - she's very therapeutic.

And Lily - our beautiful, shy girl. She's still a scaredy cat, but has come out of her shell a lot, and is the biggest sweetheart once she feels safe - usually once we're in bed, or I'm sitting on the couch. Lily is best friends with both of the other kitties, and is such a beautiful cat. She's definitely the elegant one of the three :-)

And our baby Smudge, who's almost a year old!! She's only got a little body, and her eyes are still squinty due to birth defects, but she's the friendliest, sweetest cat (and also weighs more than Stumpy who LOOKS bigger than Smudge!). she adores Andrew, and her favourite time of the day is when she can sit on his chest and snuggle up to him. She sleeps on my pillow at night and waits for him to wake up in the morning and roll onto his back so she can properly smooch up to him. She's uncoordinated, and we think she has no depth perception, but we love her all the same!

And his birthday will be...

September 17! I'm booked in for an amniocentesis at 8:45am that day to check that his lungs are mature enough, and if that's all fine (and I daresay it should be), then they'll do the c section in the afternoon.

I have 2 nephews, Seth and Mason. Mason's birthday is also September 17 - so he'll be exactly one year older than his cousin. Seth's birthday is September 26, and I guess he'll be 4 this year. So mum's 3 grandchildren will all have birthdays 9 days apart :-)

Friday, August 10, 2007

Belly photos!

Due to popular demand! (Hi Zoe and Na!!!)

28 weeks

31 weeks

18 weeks

28 weeks

31 weeks

I didn't think my belly had really grown at all in the last couple of weeks, but according to the pics it's definitely looking rounder now!

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Uhhhh.... 5 weeks to go?!!!

We saw the new obstetrician on Tuesday who we liked much more than our other OB who's going on sabbatical. He has more experience in cardiac issues I believe, and he explained things much better and sounded a lot more rational then our previous ultra conservative OB.

So we talked about the delivery date with him, and he said they have to find a good balance between my heart's health and the baby's development. The heart reaches its maximum workload between 28-32 weeks, and stays at that workload until the end of the pregnancy, so they basically want to put my heart under that much pressure for as little time as possible.

So we asked about dates, and he said he thought 36 weeks would be a good time, which would be September 14 - EEK!!!! That's 5 weeks away... We wanted October 8 since my mum gets here on October 6 but he said it's really better not to wait that long. The date may still change, they may bring it forward even earlier if they feel they need to, and they may push it back a bit if everything continues to go well, but I don't think they want to let it go much further than 36 weeks.

So yeah... 5 weeks to go. OMG.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Well Labour and Delivery is nice!

We had a 4 hour or so trip to L&D yesterday. Last weekend we were at the shops and I started to get blurry vision to the point where I couldn't read anything, and saw big bright spots in front of my eyes, and got dizzy and felt not so good. For me that's usually the first sign of a migraine, but I only got a fairly mild headache, not the migraine.

It happened again yesterday, so I thought I should ring and check if it was anything to worry about, and they told me to go straight to Labour and Delivery to get checked out.

So we did that, and they hooked me up to the baby monitor to check the baby (and we got to hear him kicking and hiccuping!), and checked my blood pressure and took a urine sample, and a blood sample. Turns out blurry vision is one of the signs of preeclampsia which is what they were worried about.

Everything tested fine though, and they did a basic test to make sure it wasn't neurological, so that was nice to know.

So they think it probably is a migraine, but the symptoms are just presenting differently, possibly due to the pregnancy. Which is fine - as long as I don't have the headache that leaves me curled up in agony in a dark room I'm happy!!!!

The good news is that we were very impressed with the hospital. We were at Lucile Packard Childrens Hospital which is the hospital attached to Stanford where I'll be delivering the baby. The facilities were really nice, the staff were all fabulous, they were efficient, I asked if it was ok for Andrew to go get me a sandwich, and they said not to worry and brought me a tray of food which was pretty tasty. We peeked in at the labour recovery rooms and they were pretty nice.

So we got a sneak preview of what it might be like (without the pain and lack of sleep), and we were pretty happy! We certainly feel confident we'll be looked after!

Friday, August 03, 2007

Back to being a busy bee!

We've gotten rid of the bed in the spare room, put a heap more stuff in storage, set up the crib, bought and set up a (second hand) dresser/changing table combo unit which was fun to try and get home, washed all the sheets and clothes we've been given (people are so amazingly generous!), and put them away, and will go out and buy a stroller and car seat in the next couple of weeks. We'll also get a rocking chair or glider at some point, but I'm in no rush for that.

I'm also thinking about buying a bunch of nappies sometime soon. Our neighbours buy theirs online and they work out cheaper than the stores, and arrive in 2 days, so I think we'll give that a go. I thought I might get some smaller packs of a couple of different brands, then just see if we have a preference. We're told that the best brand is very baby dependent - what's good for one baby may not work for another baby.

So I'll start getting those, wipes, and things like that so we're all organised.

I change obstetrician's next week - hooray! We haven't really liked the current OB, and she's going on leave, so we're actually being transferred over to someone who we actually wanted in the first place but couldn't see because HE was on leave. He's got more knowledge of heart conditions, specifically of aneurysms, so I think he'll be good.

He'll be able to let us know when he wants to deliver the baby as well, since I'll be having a cesarean. We want to wait until October 8 since mum gets here on October 6, but they may not want to wait that long and risk me going into labor early and needing am emergency c section.

Apparently they like to do cesarean's at 38 weeks which would be September 28 - ie. end of next month!!!!! OMG! I know it's not much sooner, but I've had October 12 (mid-October) in my head for so long, so for it to be the month before which is NEXT MONTH just seems so close!

So between getting ready for baby, going to lots of doctor's appointments (which are all going relatively smoothly), studying, doing an online introductory photography course and learning how to create a website from scratch (ie. not using any templates) so I can make mine look much prettier, life is busy!

I'm also now part of 2 mothers groups and I'm not even a mother yet :-) One of them is organised by one of the girls in my complex, as there's heaps of mothers with young kids in the complex. We meet once a week by the pool for a general hang out which is nice. It's only new, so the only ones going are 4 of us who already know each other and see each other regularly, but I'm sure others will come! The other one is an Aussie mums and bubs group that I've just been invited to. I've been along to 2 of them now, and the other mums are wonderful, lovely people! They've all got young kids (most of them are under 2), so that extra support network is fantastic to have!

Anyway, I've procrastinated reading everything I need to for my assignment long enough, now I REALLY need to get into it :-)

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Definitely feeling pregnant...

I've been super tired the last couple of days, I'm not sleeping well, I've been on the verge of a migraine all day, my back was hurting from sitting in the car today, then I got tired fast from walking around and I've had heartburn a couple of times this week (which is easily fixed by Tums luckily).

10 weeks to go...

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Weekend in Napa

It's our second wedding anniversary tomorrow, so we thought we'd get away for a nice weekend away together since we won't have too many more chances to do that in the future for a while!

We decided to go to the Napa Valley since I haven't actually been there yet (it's the local winery region). We stayed at Gaia Hotel and Spa which is actually in American Canyon - about a 15 minute drive away from Napa - it's "The Gateway to Napa". It was fairly cheap, looked nice enough, and had massages there which I thought would be nice. It was also touted as an "Environmentally Friendly Hotel and Spa", and had a lot of environmentally conscious initiatives, so that was an extra little interesting thing about it.

Being a bit further out of Napa definitely wasn't an issue and the hotel was nice enough. It was more like a very classy motel than a nice hotel, but that was fine too. The walls were a bit thin, but the beds were comfy and we slept fine.

So we arrived Friday night, then on Saturday did absolutely nothing all morning. Slept in, then just lay in bed watching cartoons and reading. Went for massages at 11, then after that we decided to go for a drive into downtown Napa. We ended up going to a bunch of wineries instead! I wasn't drinking, so Andrew got to have all the wine and Napa is very different to other wine regions we've been to. They charge for the tastings - the first few we went to were all $15 for 3-5 wines, and you can't pick which ones you want to taste, it's a set "menu".

We found some cheaper ones though which had much better selections and a more laidback atmosphere, and would waive the tasting fee if you bought some wine. Andrew was beginning to feel pretty tipsy since it was nearing 2pm, it was hot, he was doing all the large portioned tastings and we hadn't eaten! So we went to Rutherford Grill for lunch which I'd heard very good things about. And it was a fabulous choice! Andrew had ribs which he claims to be the best ribs he's ever had - the meat just fell off the bone. And I had ribeye steak which was also delicious!

We went to another couple of wineries after that, got back to the hotel about 5:30pm and were both ready to sleep!!!!

Then today (Sunday) we went on the , which is a gorgeous old train that slowly makes it's way through Napa, then back again. We got one of the lunch options which was a 3 course meal and the food was once again divine! For most of the trip up we were in one rail car where we sat in lounge chairs and had appetizers served, then when we neared the turnaround we got seated in the dining car where the 3 course meal was served, and we finished dessert not long before we got back to the station.

Everything about the weekend was wonderful and relaxing and just how we wanted to spend our anniversary weekend. We also came home with 16 bottles of wine, so our wine rack is nice and stocked and should keep us going for a while (especially since I can't really drink anything at the moment, and won't be able to for a while!

And here's the wineries we REALLY liked:

Baldacci Vineyards - I think $5 for tastings, but they waived that if you bought wine. They ask for reservations for tastings, but we walked in on a recommendation from a couple we met at another winery, and they were happy to accommodate us. We bought a Gewurtztraminer and a Syrah (Shiraz) from there.

Miner Wines - $10 for tastings, and they served 5 different wines, all of which were very good and I'm pretty sure he didn't charge for the tasting since we bought wine. We also asked if they had any Shiraz, which wasn't on the tasting menu, so he opened a bottle for us to give us a tasting of that as well which was very nice. Andrew's not a big Merlot fan, but their Merlot was very good - we got that, a Sangiovese and a Viognier from there.

Whitehall Lane Winery - also $10 for tasting, and had I think 5 wines which were also very good - one of the few to do dessert wines. The wines were very tasty, and they also waived the charge since we bought wine. We got 3 bottles there also including 2 of their Belmuscato dessert wine.

BV Wines also get a special mention because we just wanted to try their Syrah, which wasn't on the tasting menu, so the girl opened a bottle for us to try and didn't charge for it which we thought was nice...

Note to those who haven't been - I recommend paying for one tasting between 2 people since the servings are pretty big and visiting a larger number of wineries. There's guides around which have the prices for tastings, so use that as a guide as well. I grabbed one and will scan that sometime soon and link to it for those who want to check it out.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Note to self

Must go here for dinner sometime - CreoLa Bistro looks like it's got lots of authentic, yummy looking New Orleans style food.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Only in America...

Right near the ranch we were staying at, there was a small private airport. There's a small housing estate next to the airport which has streets wide enough to taxi your plane down. So people can fly in, and drive the plane right up to your plane sized garage next to the house. Crazy!!

Weekend at a ranch!

We joined our our friends Eric and Katie at Eric's mum's house for the weekend. She lives on a 200 acre ranch out past Sacramento. The property is owned by Eric's grandfather, who also has a large, beautiful house on the property.

The houses were gorgeous, there was a couple of ponds there, one with a deck and gets dredged and cleaned of weeds and so forth so is great for swimming. They've got a sweet 18 month old German Vizsla who was a sweet, energetic lap dog and Eric's sister was also there with her 3 month old Labrador. The 2 dogs were great fun and had a great time playing and wrestling together.

On Saturday we drove out to the local river where there's little rapids to swim in. The water was clear, fresh and cool, and just what we needed given the temperature was 30+ degrees!

Sunday we had breakfast at the local country club and looked at the local multi-million dollar homes. After we got back, we went for a walk, then jumped in the pond for a paddle.

Overall it was a fabulous weekend, nice and relaxing, great company, and lots of laughs watching the dogs playing!

Here's some pics!

The river

View from the top of a hill on the ranch

Cuddling with the dogs - they were both lap dogs!

Floating at the pond

Friday, July 13, 2007

Uni results

Got my result last night for my computer subject for uni and....

I GOT A HD!!!!!!!!

I can't believe it. I've never gotten top marks for anything before I don't think. I'm pretty darn pleased with myself :-D

So I got 91.5/100 and 95/100 for my 2 assignments, and 100/100 for the in class activities (you got full marks just for completing the work), and for my final exam I got 79/100. And that was with completely skipping 2 questions worth 15 marks total. So if you exclude those 2 questions, I got 79/85 - almost full marks! One of the questions required definitions for a hub, switch, router and something else and I had no idea. I knew Andrew would kill me for not knowing those.... ;-) I can't remember what the other question was now...

I'm so excited... Now hopefully I can keep up the higher marks - I got B's for my last 2 subjects, and drag my GPA up a bit more.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Awesome cartoon

I've found this awesome cartoon strip called Baby Blues. I've been going through the archives having a good giggle. This is my favourite so far :)

Friday, July 06, 2007


I have now less than 100 days to go on the pregnancy (98 until the due date), and I think I'm now officially in the third trimester. Different websites and books have different dates, but I've got 3 months and a couple of days until the due date, so that's close enough for me :)

Here's a new belly pic as well! And yes, terrible posture, I know. I must work on that....

Things are still going well, the little guy is kicking and jumping around lots - he's a very active little boy!! He's waking me up at about 5:30/6am every day with his morning exercise routine. Andrew and I love to just watch my belly ripple and jump from his movements :) I haven't had any major problems with the pregnancy so far. The worst thing has been occasional heartburn, but a couple of Tums fixes that within minutes. I'm constantly tired as well, but not working gives me the opportunity to nap on an almost daily basis. I find if I don't get my daily nap, I'm absolutely wrecked by the end of the day. It's taking me a while to get to sleep at night, and I wake up at about 3am often (possibly from the kicking), and again at 5:30ish, and I don't normally get much more sleep after that since Andrew gets up and ready for work, so the nap is definitely needed!

We're starting to plan strollers, car seats, and the last bits of furniture that we need. We still need to get rid of the queen sized bed in the spare room so we can convert it to a baby room, but I believe we have a couple more visitors over the next month, so we'll wait until they've come and gone before we get rid of the spare bed.

It's all very exciting :)

Monday, July 02, 2007

Who needs a Kwik-E-Mart? I doooooooooo.....

Twelve 7-Elevens across the US have been rebranded as Kwik-E-Mart's for the release of the Simpsons movie and we're lucky enough to have one just down the road! WOOHOO!

They've got Squishee machines, pink frosted donuts, Krusty-O branded cereal, Buzz Cola, Radioactive Man comics, Kwik-E-Mart branded Esky's and a bunch of other fun things.

I'm going to head back tomorrow to pick up some more Squishee collectors cups, try and find the Radioactive Man comics and some other bits and pieces for myself and some friends back home.

Here's some pics from our outing!

Friday, June 29, 2007

Vet rant

I got a stand in vet when Smudge got her annual check up yesterday because someone was out sick and I couldn't see my regular vet. He drove me nuts. It was like he'd just read "Taking Care of Cats for Dummies".

I mentioned I foster kitties, run a feral cat trap-neuter-return program, and volunteer at the local animal shelter. First sign that maybe I know something about cats...

1. He asked how many cats I had - I said 3 and told him their stories (2 "failed" fosters, 1 semi-feral), and he asked how many litter trays I had. I said 2. He said "well the general rule is that you should have 1 per cat plus one extra, so you should get 2 more". I said "well, that's not exactly a hard and fast rule. I mean, I have 2 large, deep litter boxes, and 3 small cats. I use good quality clumping litter which is kept a few inches deep, and I scoop at least once a day, so it's never very dirty. I imagine this is better than 4 small litter trays with low-quality smelly litter that I only clean every couple of days. If I ever had any inappropriate peeing, or urinary tract problems that could be caused by them not wanting to use a dirty litter tray, then yes, I will get extra litter trays, otherwise I believe it's just fine as it is." He sort of huffed and puffed and said "well that's just what's recommended". I mean gee, surely it's better to get more information than just spout off stuff he learnt in vet school??

2. He asked if Smudge was on any flea treatment, and I said yes, Advantage. he then said "well make sure you apply it every 4 weeks religiously". I considered holding my tongue, but decided against it... I said "well actually I've talked to Dr Chen (the usual vet), and she said since I'm not fostering at the moment, and they really don't go outside (just little occasional trips to chew grass right near our front door, and even then it's really only Stumpy), and we've never had a flea problem, it was fine to do it more like every 6 weeks so they're not absorbing too many chemicals unnecessarily". He didn't like that either...

3. I brought along all of Smudge's records including her records from the animal eye doctor, and told him all about her eyes, and what we'd done, and she'd had an eye checkup the previous week and passed with flying colours (they're not particularly good, but they shouldn't get any worse). Then he read the reports, looked at her eyes, and told me all about the condition trichiasis which she has, and that her vision probably wasn't all that good, and how I shouldn't let her be an outside cat because of her eyes, but it shouldn't bet any worse blah blah blah.

I was like ARRRGGGHHH!!!! ARE YOU NOT LISTENING TO ME?!?!?!?!? I'd said they're indoor girls, and Smudge rarely goes out anyway, and it's always little supervised trips outside, I'd seen the eye specialist numerous times, and had told him all about her eyes, so obviously knew enough already, and had JUST had a check up, so you could assume that the specialist had already told me all I needed to know....

4. He asked what I fed the cats and I said Felidae wet and dry. And he asked what sort and I said "just the regular Felidae for Cats and Kittens". He said he'd never heard of it, and I should try to feed them a good high quality diet. I had to explain that Felidae was actually a fairly well known brand, and the dog version was called Canidae (also fairly well known), and it was actually a premium quality pet food.

It was SUCH a frustrating time, and he was a fair bit older, and it seemed he just wasn't keeping up with current vet trends, or wasn't used to dealing with cats and cat problems, or he just refused to listen and wanted to spout off textbook info without finding out any information from me. My other 2 kitties go there for their checkups which I'd told him, so you'd think my regular vet would have discussed basic kitty care if she thought I needed it.

I mean, that's why I love my other vet, she understood my experiences, and asked the right sort of questions, and knew I was sensible enough to follow a "less strict" kitty care regime where I thought appropriate. For future vet visits I'm going to make it clear that I ONLY want to see my vet, and if she's not available, I'll reschedule.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Quote of the Day

From a Reuters article about the current fires at Lake Tahoe.

The fire broke out on Sunday afternoon and authorities believe it was started intentionally or accidentally.

Wow, I bet a lot of research went into that line...

Monday, June 18, 2007

Holy crap!!!

I got 95/100 for my last assignment for my current subject at uni! I've never gotten a result that high before... in anything probably... How exciting! This assignment was worth 20% as well, so that's good!

There was 3 parts to the assignment, and the last part was building a website with overall frame control, navigation and 3 web pages - I got full marks for that bit!! And if you have seen my personal website, you'll know that creating websites isn't exactly my forte... :)

Now to concentrate on Friday's exam and try to get a damn good mark overall for the subject...

Saturday, June 16, 2007

General update

Ho hum, life goes on. Things were getting very crazy between working full time, studying part time, and going through a high risk pregnancy - which is more stressful than I realised. So my 6 month contract at Google was expiring, and I'd finished a bunch of things, and was about to start a bunch of new things, and I realised that it just wasn't worth it. I was constantly exhausted both physically and emotionally, and wasn't dealing with it well, I was getting little chest pains when I got stressed which was freaking me out, and I was crying a couple of times a week it seemed for no real reason except that I was tired and emotional (and I very rarely cry and get emotional).

So I decided not to renew my contract, and just take it easy, do some more study, do a bunch of things I've wanted to do for a little while and haven't had time to (such as a photography course), and prepare for the baby.

This has been my first week not working and I already feel like my stress levels have dropped dramatically. I feel so much more calm and relaxed, and haven't cried since I decided to quit work! :) I've had a ridiculously busy week, and haven't had much time to study so far, and my exam is this coming Friday so will really need to knuckle down this week.

Andrew's away for 2 weeks as well, which makes not working a bit less fun! He's got a week in Edinburgh, Scotland for a conference, then a week in Dublin working and sorting out his visa. I was supposed to join him in Dublin, but the obstetricians and cardiologist said absolutely no way to travelling that far away at this stage of the pregnancy with my heart condition :( Studying will keep me busy for at least next week anyway! And the kitties are great company :) They've been very affectionate the last couple of days since Andrew's been away, and have been keeping me entertained with their antics! Smudge and Lily are currently playing on the scratching post, chasing each other, running around in circles, and fighting for the top level... Crazy kitties!

And I'm now at the 23 weeks pregnant mark, and feeling great. Little PJ's kicks are a lot stronger now, and I can actually see my belly getting pushed out when he kicks - it's very freaky... He's also taken to sticking an elbow (or something) into my belly and not moving it! I have to massage my belly, and move around a bit to try and get him into a more comfortable position. :) Being pregnant is definitely kinda fun - the fun of a baby without the noise ;)

Friday, May 25, 2007

Bah head cold!

I've been sick the past couple of days. Went to bed Monday feeling a bit blah and slept about 4 hours I think... My sinuses started going nuts, and then had the worst sinus headache all Tuesday and a chunk of Wednesday, so took Tuesday and Wednesday off work. I've barely slept all week, and still feel rather congested, but at least I'm getting a few hours of sleep at a time now - this is obviously preparing me for impending motherhood ;)

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Another earthquake

We felt our first earthquake back in early March and were quite excited as it was the first quake in the 18 months we'd been in the Bay Area.

Well we just felt our second. Details from USGS Earthquake Centre are:

Magnitude - 3.4
Date-Time - Sunday, May 20, 2007 at 4:10:19 PM
Location - 37.363°N, 121.729°W
Depth - 6.3 km (3.9 miles)
Distances- 9 km (5 miles) E (94°) from Alum Rock, CA
13 km (8 miles) NE (49°) from Seven Trees, CA
15 km (9 miles) E (80°) from San Jose City Hall, CA

This one was a lot closer than last time (about 35k from us), but smaller. So it was louder, and more sudden, but didn't last long.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

It's a boy!!!!

We had the ultrasound tonight and it's a boy!!!! It was very cool to watch, and so much fun to see him bouncing around :)

Here's a couple of pics! It's late now so will post more tomorrow.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Kickity kick kick!

I've had a lot of false alarms when it comes to baby movement - I made Andrew feel my belly when I thought it was moving and it was very exciting until my belly gurgled - turns out it was my digestive tract.... oops!

But in the last week or so I've felt a little movement a couple of inches below my belly button, and it was different feeling to the false alarms I've been having. Today it was stronger and more regular, and there was no gurgling or anything like that so I'm PRETTY confident it's junior kicking away :)

The spot where I'm feeling it makes sense. At my last 2 ultrasounds, the baby's been lying sideways with its head at my right hand side, and it's about 12 cm long from head to bum, so where I'm feeling the movement seems about the right spot.

It was pretty cool, the little one was kicking on and off all day! Hopefully junior does it some time soon when Andrew will be able to feel it!

3 days until we find out the sex!

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Belly photos

Belly at 9 weeks - just as it first started popping out a wee bit

And now at 17 weeks! Our neighbour Christina lent me a pair of maternity pants she doesn't need at the moment, and they go over the belly. They're so much more comfy with no waistband digging into the belly, but boy do they make me look pregnant!!! :)

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Ho hum

Trying to keep up with the study (got 91.5/100 for my last assignment - woohooo!!!!), work is happening, and the baby is growing. My belly's definitely getting pointier, and despite still being nearly 5 kg under my pre-pregnancy weight, my pants are getting tighter around the belly.

Andrew's parents are here for 3 weeks, but are off exploring the US and Canada for most of it, but it means we have to keep the house clean, and the fridge stocked with real food (since The Company feeds us 3 meals a day). They seem to be having fun so far though.

Nothing else terribly exciting happening. We're booked in on May 10 to get a funky 3D/4D ultrasound where we'll find out the sex of the baby, so that'll be cool. I reckon it's a girl (which means it's probably a boy), anyone want to put their bets in for the sex? :)

Friday, April 20, 2007

Aortic aneurysm and being pregnant

I s’pose it’s about time I talked about the health issues for me associated with having a baby. I have an aortic aneurysm, which is a ballooning of the aorta. Mine is in the aortic root (which is where the aorta connects to the heart), and is currently around 4.4cm. The upper range of “normal” is 3.8cm. My dad and aunt died of aortic aneurysms when they were 28 and 24 respectively, and their aneurysms were both in their aortic root, so it’s definitely genetic and not just a coincidence.

The cardiologist over here I see is David Liang at the “Stanford University Center for Marfan Syndrome and Related Aortic Disorders” who is fantastic. I was seeing a cardiologist back in Australia, but they were nowhere near as knowledgeable as the guys over here in the US.

Anyway, so Dr Liang said if we wanted kids we should do so sooner rather than later because if my aneurysm got any bigger, it would be too risky to go through pregnancy. So my Depo Provera injections finally started to be wearing off a year after my last injection, and Andrew and I were deciding whether we should wait a bit longer, or start trying to have kids. Next thing we knew, I was pregnant. How ‘bout that? Decision made!

So I booked in for the high risk obstetrician, and she ended up bringing our first appointment forward a week to recommend termination to us. Apparently they see young people with aneurysms who get pregnant as very risky because of the lack of data. The most common sex and age group for non-genetic aneurysms are older males who funnily enough don’t often get pregnant :)

There was so way we’d get a termination, I was grinning like an idiot the entire time she was telling me she didn’t agree with us being pregnant – I didn’t care, I had a little baby growing in me and was pretty bloody excited!

We’ve since had another OB appointment, and I’ve spoken to someone else who has genetic aortic aneurysms in their family. I now have more information and understand the consequences a lot better and fully realise the risks of me being pregnant.

So during pregnancy the body’s hormones make things like connective tissue stretchy to let the child grow. This is bad for things like aortas that are already bigger than they should be. The heart is pumping a lot harder to support the little life form, which is why a lot of pregnant people get high blood pressure. For me it means the blood is pumping harder through the weakened, stretchy aneurysm. So things could go wrong at any point.

The risk is my aneurysm could dissect (split). When this happens, it is generally rather painful - it was described to me by this girl who has aneurysms in her family and had a dissection 3 years ago at age 28 as “like someone had ripped my chest open with a chainsaw and someone was blowing a blow torch inside”. It requires open heart surgery to replace the damaged aorta, and is a long surgery with a very long recovery time.

I previously wasn’t too worried about the risks as I know they’re pretty low, and I didn’t really understand how the body changes during pregnancy (except for the obvious changes), and what it means.

Now I have a much better idea of the risks involved, why it could change all of a sudden, and the girl I’ve been talking to about genetic aneurysms said that in her family they seem to be getting dissections at between 4.2-4.6cm (mine’s 4.4). I had no idea they COULD dissect that small. So it’s a massive reality check for me, and the risks are all of sudden a lot more real, and it’s all sunk in.

Understanding this a lot better now, if I could go back in time and have the choice again of getting pregnant again, I probably still would... I am confident that if I do end up having a dissection (which is a very slim chance, but still a chance), that I am near the best cardiologists and surgeons in the world, and will be well taken care of.

It all hit me on Wednesday, and was still sinking in yesterday and I was very shaken up about it all, and quite scared of the consequences, but I got it all out of my system, and feel much better for it today. I hate the fact that there’s absolutely nothing I can do about it, and there’s nothing else the doctors can do about it - they won’t operate unless it grows suddenly, or reaches the 5/5.5cm mark over time. I’m on beta blockers to keep my heart rate and blood pressure down, and I just have to be very careful – they recommended easy walking as the maximum amount of exercise, and to do nothing to get my blood pressure or heart rate up.

We’d also planned a trip to Dublin in June to renew our US work visas since Andrew will already be in Edinburgh for a conference, but they won’t let me fly because I’ll be 6 months pregnant then and my heart is working very hard at that point, and the risks are too high. As well as that, if anything goes wrong, I’m a long way away from my doctors.

So hopefully Andrew can renew his work visa, and mine is dependent on his, so the lawyers should be able to sort something out so I can just go to Canada to renew, or even better, do it from the US (apparently you can’t reapply from inside the US...)

So that’s the latest on the health dramas for those of you who have been wondering.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

14 weeks tomorrow!

I'm officially in the second trimester now! *happy dance*

Tomorrow I'll be at 14 weeks - it's just FLYING by :) The nausea is all gone, just have the occasional bouts of not feeling the best, which is completely manageable. I have got a heap of energy back, although am still often tired.

Between work, study and growing a life form though, I guess that's understandable :) Lucky Andrew is very supportive and does all the housework which gives me time to study and nap when I need to!

I feel like we're getting all organised with this whole baby thing. We've had an ultrasound which confirms the baby is happy and healthy (so far!), I've made the second trimester, we've booked into the birth classes which are scheduled for August, we have our second obstetrician appointment next week, we're booked in for a funky 4d ultrasound where they can tell with 99% accuracy what the sex is (that's a few weeks away still) and we're starting to think about the baby room and how to set it up.

It's getting rather exciting! Only 26 weeks to go... :)

Friday, April 06, 2007

In search of laksa

So tonight I wasn't feeling 100% - possibly because my belly got very poked in the ultrasound this morning, and I had breakfast and a decent sized lunch (I can't eat much these days!!). So I was not terribly hungry, and definitely not wanting anything too solid. I wanted a nice, clear, liquidy soup. I was thinking of getting some Pho from the local Vietnamese place, but then decided what I REALLY wanted was laksa.

We were at Costco bulk buying ridiculous amounts of crap, and the more I thought about laksa, the more I wanted it. So we went into Downtown Mountain View on the search for laksa. There was a place in Canberra that did FANTASTIC laksa. So tasty and satisfying. THAT'S what I was after!

I thought it was Thai cuisine, so we went searching all the Thai places but nobody had even heard of laksa! So after calling 3 different friends, we finally found someone near the internet. Dan saved us and informed us that it was actually Malay/Singaporean cuisine, and there was a place around the corner from where we were walking which sold it. Woohoo!!

So we went there, and finally got some laksa to take away. Then near the car I realised it was leaking. The paper bag had a styrofoam bowl with a plastic lid, and a Chinese style fold up container which had the noodles in it. Unfortunately the weight of the noodles caused the laksa lid to cave in and laksa to go all through the bag. Ruh-roh!!!!

Lucky my husband is very patient and wonderful, so he drove back to the place we got it from and we got them to get a new bowl of laksa, and they put it in a nice plastic bag!

So we got home and the noodles were thick, and soup wasn't clear :( It was more coconuty than the Canberra place, but it was ok. I much prefer vermicelli noodles in my laksa, but this was still fine. I wouldn't race back there again, I'm keen to find other local laksa places, but it was definitely tasty, and definitely filled the hole without making me ill!

13 week ultrasound

We went along today for genetic counselling and a nuchal translucency which tests for Downs Syndrome, Trisomy 13 and Trisomy 18. It was all pretty straight forward, they made sure we realised that our child would have a 50/50 chance of inheriting the family heart condition, which we know, and they explained the other testing we were having.

The nuchal translucency was really just an excuse for us to see the baby again :) We have no family history of anything like that, we're young and healthy, and as far as I know, we're not related :) So the ultrasound showed that the baby is fine and looks clear of anything major.

It was an awesome ultrasound though. The first one it was just a wee blob. This time is actually looked like a baby! And it was bouncing and jumping around, wiggling its arms and legs. It was VERY cool. I couldn't believe how active it was! And the doc could poke my belly with the ultrasound transducer (so wikipedia tells me that thingy is called) to make the baby move so she could get a better photo of it! I could have sat there all day watching the little baby wiggle around. It certainly made it a lot more real! It was great to have Andrew there as well so we could share that moment together :)

Anyway, so here's PJ (Pollock Junior) at 13 weeks. Hopefully we can find out the sex in about 6 weeks!

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

So much stuff!

Tis the season of receiving it seems!

Look at all the cool stuff we've acquired over the last couple of days! And yes, that's Smudge at the top of the pic being nosey!

Shona knitted me the awesome beanie - the colours are gorgeous! (see pic below for me modelling it) Then we have 3 books that Briana, our neighbour who's due to have a baby in 7 weeks doesn't need/has duplicates of, gave us on Sunday, then Fiona sent us our first baby clothes!! 100% Australian cotton - mmmmmm :) The green shirt with "No instructions or warranties" on the front has a big WARNING across the back. And the Little Buddha shirt is so cute!!! Then Chris (Briana's husband), brought us around the cookies tonight that Brianna just freshly baked (they're still warm, and the choc chips are all melty and yummy) to say thanks for Andrew helping them destroy a couch that was stuck in their stair case :)

So between Briana and Christina (another wonderful neighbour with a 6 month boy), I've acquired a bunch of baby books! Louise lent me the Kaz Cooke one, and I bought the "What to expect when you're expecting" one. This is all of them so far. I've read a little of each I think - I need time to finish them! I've also got a couple of magazines people have given me, and I think there's another book lying around somewhere...

People are so awesome :)

And here's my modelling my funky beanie!