Friday, May 30, 2008

The epic tale of Holly and the Safari Cake (Part 3)

Wow. This has been an adventure. After a total of three batches, my homemade fondant, although fairly tasty, was impossible to rolld out and transfer onto the cake. I tore open the box of crappy tasting stuff and marveled at the texture. Perhaps I should have played with the store bought stuff before trying to make my own? Wow. That makes sense.

I took my (wonderful) whipped ganache, my 9+ cakes, the rolled fondant, and a knife, and went to work. My layers weren't quite thick enough to achieve the level of "topsy-turvy-ness" that I wanted, but I trudged through. I put the filling between the layers, cut a hole in the top layer of each tier for the next tier to rest in, cut the top of each tier at an angle, and covered each tier in fondant. I colored the fondant with food coloring for the top and bottom tiers. This stuff wore me out... it was an ab workout just kneading this stuff... and at the moment, I dont' even know where my abs are located anymore. I worked my way up the cake, with two very talkative children yapping nonstop, constructing edible creations out of my unusable chocolate flavored fondant, and occasionally saying "Do you think this might not be the best cake in the whole world?". Boy, was it ugly.



After a lot of work (but not as much work as my three batches of homemade edible playdough took), I had the entire cake constructed in its rough form. I did a crappy job of smoothing the fondant, there were cracks and some ridges where it rolled under itself. I decided to stick it in the fridge and do something else for a while.

When I came back, I had newfound energy. Boy, was it ugly. I smoothed out the creases and patched some places. I did this by letting my fingers warm the fondant and rubbing it smooth... and used a little shortening on my fingers to keep it from sticking. It seemed to work. The cake was no longer completely ugly, but it was very bare.

In the spirit of using store bought crap, I tore open my box of natural colored fondant (light brown, dark brown, pink, and black). I started with the cheetah print at the top, which seemed simplest. Using various circles from around the kitchen, I made the spots and applied them with a tiny bit of water and body heat. Things were looking up! By the time I was the the zebra stripes, I was on a roll. The rest was fun stuff. Jeff suggested that I border the tiers in orange instead of chocolate brown to give it some life... which I did. And, at 12:30am, with a disasterous kitchen and a party which starts in less than 12 hours, I am finished with the masterpiece. Sure, the fondant may not be yummy, but I know the inside will be since I have been eating the scraps all day.



The epic tale of Holly and the Safari Cake (Part 2)

Day 2

I woke up this morning and headed to the store for more powdered sugar and a back-up plan. I decided to go ahead and buy a 5lb box of crappy store bought fondant just in case everything goes to crap and I'm here at 2am with no more powdered sugar and no energy. I was going to just use the stuff, but a woman on the cake decorating isle told me that homemade fondant is so much better, and that the boxed stuff, although easy and great to work with, tastes like a mixture of bubble gum and toothpaste. So, I grabbed a box, kept the receipt, and got another 2lbs of powdered sugar.

Things have been working much better so far. I finished both the white batch of fondant and the light light brown batch (for the top and bottom layers- giraffe and leapord background colors). Instead of coloring the brown with food coloring or gel, I decided to omit a little powdered sugar and substitute Ghiradelli cocoa. It is a little darker than I was going for, but tastes great (for fondant).

Rolled Fondant
INGREDIENTS:
1 (.25 ounce) package
unflavored gelatin
1/4 cup cold water
1/2 cup glucose syrup
1 tablespoon glycerin
2 tablespoons shortening
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
8 cups sifted confectioners'
sugar
DIRECTIONS:
1. Combine gelatin and cold water; let stand until thick. Place gelatin mixture in top of double boiler and heat until dissolved.
2. Add glucose and glycerin, mix well. Stir in shortening and just before completely melted, remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Mixture should cool until lukewarm.
3. Place 4 cups confectioners' sugar in a large bowl. Make a well in the center and using a wooden spoon, stir in the lukewarm gelatin mixture. Mix in sugar and add more a little at a time, until stickiness disappears. Knead in remaining sugar. Knead until the fondant is smooth, pliable and does not stick to your hands. If fondant is too soft, add more sugar; if too stiff, add water (a drop at a time). Use fondant immediately or store in airtight container in fridge. When ready to use, bring to room temperature and knead again until soft.


I am a bit overwhelmed by the thought of what to do next. I started to cut the cakes, but I think I should have the filling finished so I can stack them as I cut them. I did realize that I did a crappy job of reading the instructions and made about 3 too many cakes. I thought it was a bunch! No worries, now I have even more "Get Out Of Jail Free" cards.

I made my Chocolate Ganache and I am waiting for it to cool so I can whip it for the filling. Since there is a PARTY here in less than 24 HOURS I guess I should take this take to clean instead of blog...

Whipped Chocolate Ganache

9 ounces bittersweet chocolate,
chopped
1 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon dark rum
(optional)
DIRECTIONS:
1. Place the chocolate into a medium bowl. Heat the cream in a small sauce pan over medium heat. Bring just to a boil, watching very carefully because if it boils for a few seconds, it will boil out of the pot. When the cream has come to a boil, pour over the chopped chocolate, and whisk until smooth. Stir in the rum if desired.
2. Allow the ganache to cool slightly before pouring over a cake. Start at the center of the cake and work outward. For a fluffy frosting or chocolate filling, allow it to cool until thick, then whip with a whisk until light and fluffy.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

The epic tale of Holly and the Safari Cake (Part 1)

I love making cakes and cupcakes. I love decorating them up as monkeys or Easter chicks in little nests or making an entire cake that looks like a bunch of bananas. Birthdays give me an excuse to expand on my cakemaking skills... or at least try to. If nothing else, it expands my cakemaking supplies.

For this birthday, I convinced the boys to let me do one big cake instead of two separate ones. In order to make this work, it has to be "the biggest cake in the whole world" (or "wuzzelled" as they pronounce it. Yes, we're moving past cute baby talk and into speech therapy material, but it's still pretty cute. Just ask Mim who gets them to say the word "squirzzel" as many times as she can). I have grand plans for this year's cake. It's a three tiered "whimsy" cake (meaning the layers appear lopsided... kinda like a "mad hatter" look to them). In theory, it will be covered in fondant, with the bottom teir in a giraff print, the middle layer a zebra print, and the top layer a leopard print. Yes, fondant is gross tasting... so I plan to make a whipped chocolate ganache filling between each layer (each tier is made of three layers, which actually only acts as two layers for each tier, which I will HOPEFULLY get to later) and to cover the cake with before I apply the fondant. This way, everyone can just peel the fondant off and eat the yumminess inside, if they want.

Yes, this is a monsterous undertaking. But, I am up for the challenge. I will be using 12" pans, 9" pans, and 6" pans. I am making the cakes 2 days ahead of time and keeping them in the fridge. They will need to be chilled when I slice through them to keep them from crumbling. Tonight, I hope to finish making the cakes and attempt to make the fondant... so I can see if it will be successful or if I need to head to Michael's or Hobby Lobby and buy some. I also need to practice "drawing" on it to make sure that whatever I go with for the decoration won't just harden and slide off the cake, or bleed through, or any other manner of disaster occur.

First, I traced the bottoms on the pans on waxed paper to line the bottoms. I used shortening and floured the sides. It was a lot of work, but let me tell you, they came out PERFECT. No cracks or anything. I was pleasantly suprised that a 12" cake pan could fit on a normal sized roll of waxed paper, too.




It's the end of the night and my fridge is full of cakes. I have cakes coming out of my ears. I attempted to make the fondant tonight, as well. It started off okay, but then things got... well... sticky. I was supposed to knead the mixture in the end until it no longer stuck to my hands. Well, that never came. I tried kneading it with my hands and, no joke, my hand was so encased in the stuff that I could lift my arm and carry the bowl around without supporting it. It was like cement. There is no way I could have rolled this stuff out. I went back and reread the recipe and it turns out I put in too much water. I may have salvaged the batch by adding more powdered sugar, but I guess I won't know until tomorrow when I try to roll it out and work with it. I really don't want to start over. 8+ cups of powdered sugar is too much to throw out.



I'm now exhausted, covered in white dusty sugar, and about to give up on cleaning the kitchen in order to catch a few extra zzz's.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Weekend Update

We went to Mim and Papa's this weekend for a Memorial Day Weekend cookout. The kids played on the water slide (which is just about on its last leg) and I actually ate enough ribs that I was able to stay full for longer than 20 minutes! Asa spent the majority of the time focused on their new kitten, who is just about 8 weeks old. He is completely in love with this little cat!
Hal and Jen came in Saturday and told us the big news... he and Jen are engaged!! I am absolutely THRILLED! She is just wonderful and I know that there's no way I could get a better sister-in-law or aunt. I told my mom a while back that if I had to pick someone for him out of everyone in the world, it would be her hands down! I couldn't be happier!!



Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Kindergarten, Here We Come!

I have preschoolers no longer! Neil Boortz may scoff, but we proudly attending Asa and Addison's preschool graduation tonight. They sang a lot of songs and showed off their Spanish skills. As each child came down to receive their diplomas, the teachers gave their name and told what the child said they wanted to be when they grow up. There were some ballerinas, race car drivers, power rangers, and firefighters. Addison said that he wanted to be a house builder and Asa wanted to be a chef. Later, Asa told me he may be an artist, instead.




I have two Kindergartners now! Here's a poem that the teacher read for us...

He started school this morning,
And he seemed so very small.
As I walked there beside him
In the Kindergarten hall.

And as he took her place beside
the others in the class,
I realized how all too soon
Those first few years can pass.

Remembering, I saw him as
He first learned how to walk.
The words that we alone made out
When he began to talk.

This little boy so much absorbed
In learning how to write.
It seems as though he must have grown
To boyhood overnight.

My eyes were blurred by hastily
I brushed the tears away
Lest by some word or sign of mine
I mar his first big day.

Oh how I longed to stay with him
And keep him by the hand
To lead him through the places
That he couldn't understand.

And something closely kin to fear
Was mingled with my pride.
I knew he would no longer be
A baby by my side.

But he must have his chance to live,
To work his problems out,
The privilege to grow and learn
What life is all about.

And I must share my little boy
With friends and work and play;
He's not a baby anymore --
He's in Kindergarten today.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Bowling



Even though their party isn't for a couple more weeks (thank goodness!), we wanted the boys to have a good birthday. We started the day shopping at CarMax for a new van. Not fun, you say? Ah! You have never been a 5 year old at CarMax! There is an entire kids room, equipt with enormous ball pit and slide, t.v. with kids movies, and video games. You simply sign your child in, show some i.d., get a wrist band, and a nice grandmotherly woman watches your kids wreak havok in that ball pit for the entire shopping experience. We did not walk out of here with our van, but the boys had a blast!
In the evening we met up with Mim, Hal, and Jen for bowling. The boys have only bowled on the Wii and have never actually set foot in a bowling alley. We took them to Stars and Stripes, which is like a bowling alley/arcade on steroids. The boys played some games and bowled a great game. I think I might should have had bumpers on my turns, too.


Cupcake Day!

Even though it was a rough night, both boys and 28 cupcakes made it to school on Friday for their birthday snack!


When it rains...

As if a Fifth's Disease scare and a car wreck (which totalled our van, by the way) wasn't enough action in one week, I managed to squeeze in a few more doozies in a seven day span. On Wednesday night, Addison started coming down with a fever. I gave him some ibuprofen and he went to bed. He woke up in the middle of the night with difficulty breathing. He has a chronic problem with trachea spasms, which basically means that when he has a trigger like a cold or runny nose, his throat sometimes swells shut. This has led to more than 5 ambulance rides and many other ER visits, as well as his being readmitted to the NICU shortly after coming home in the beginning. The poor child has been poked, prodded, had his adnoids checked with a scope, had an amazing series of allergy tests run, had a sleep study done, an upper GI series, and many x-rays. Not even the fabulous pediatric pulmonologist at Scottish Rite can give us a reason or a plan. We get a ridiculously inadequate label of "unexplained recurrent croupe" and prescriptions for drugs that may possibly help prevent it. We are told that we need to call 911 when it happens, and that he should grow out of it. Maybe it's a preemie thing.

He has not had an episode in over a year, so we believed that he had outgrown it. The attacks usually happen in the winter. Since we had made it through, we thought it was past us. Well, Wednesday night he sounded bad. We have been able to get him through the night before, when it's not at its worst, with leftover orapred and slowing his breaths. If we can get him through the night, it's usually over. We were able to get him through the very long night and he seemed okay. I kept him out of school on Thursday. Asa and Addison were supposed to take cupcakes to their classes (two classes, 14 kids in each class, simultaneously) on Friday for their birthdays, so I spend Thursday afternoon making cupcakes to ice later on.

Thursday afternoon, Addison was exhausted and I was able to get him down for a nap on the living room floor. Jeff was going to come home and we were supposed to head to Athens to pick up our rental van that the insurance company had set up for us. I went in to check on Addison at about 5:00 and he was having difficulty breathing. He was crying, but could not talk. He was terrified. This had NEVER happened during the day before, and he has NEVER had two episodes in a row like this. Neither his pediatrician nor his pulmonologist had ever witnessed it themselves, except for the one time that I video taped part of it. I called our pediatrician and immediately took him in. They took him back and were horrified at how hard it was for him to breathe. They gave him some steroids and sent him to the hospital ER, along with presciptions for Flovent and Singular that may help to prevent it in the future. I called Jeff to let him know to meet us there.

Now, my pediatrician wanted him to be seen at Scottish Rite. But, that is an hour and a half from us and he needed to be seen immediately, and she wanted to have some x-rays done of his chest and neck ASAP. She sent us to the ER in Walton County, which I have sworn never to go to again after Asa's black widow bite. Our pediatrician swore that she would call ahead and tell them exactly what she wants done, and that she would be remotely handling his care. Off we went to the ER. Asa, Addison, and I walked into the ER at about 6:30. By this time, the steroids were helping a lot and he didn't sound nearly as bad. Our pediatrican was right on the money... she called ahead, they knew who he was and was waiting for him, and they were ready to do the x-rays and give the meds she instructed them to. When we first got there, three people descended onto Addison, who was lying on the hospital bed. One nurse was putting on a pulse ox, one nurse was giving him an IV, and the respiratory therapist was starting a breathing treatment. Asa was very unnerved, and kept coming up to the bed. I tried to let him know that Addison was going to be fine, but I was a little busy trying to let Addison know the same thing. The turnicate was so painful for him and he was horrified by the pain. Later on, when things calmed down, I asked Asa if he was scared. He told me that he thought they were cutting Addison open to fix him. It made me cry, and it has made me cry each time I have told that story.

Now, Addison was doing much better at this point. But, none of us had eaten dinner. Asa had to go potty, but I could not leave Addison in the ER room alone. Addison needed x-rays and I could not go into the x-ray room because I was pregnant. I called Jeff to see where on earth he was. He said that his truck (which had been having difficulty cranking in the last two weeks) HAD to have a new battery right then, so he was stopping by AutoZone before he came. I managed to entertain Asa with some paper towels and a ball point pen, but it wasn't extremely successful. Addison wanted to go home so badly he started tearing up every time he tried to tell me those words. I wanted to go home, too.

I called Jeff back and he told me that he had bought a new battery, but it seemed that the battery was not the issue after all. The AutoZone guy tested the old battery and it was still good. They guessed it was the starter... and it wouldn't start at all now. Jeff was stuck at AutoZone, I was stuck at the hospital, and Asa was stuck with me. The pediatrician wanted them to monitor Addison for another four hours. I asked and the four hours did not include "time served". If he was okay at the end of those four hours he could be discharged instead of transferred to Scottish Rite. The hospital is tiny and the cafeteria was closed (but we could have some graham crackers for dinner... did they really offer a pregnant woman graham crackers to eat instead of FOOD?!?!) I gave Addison some of the crackers and some milk and I called Jeff to get his status.

Jeff had finally gotten the truck cranked, but he did not think he could turn it off for fear he would be stuck again. I told him to just drive through the ambulance spot, which had double doors right near our room. He did, left the car running, and I shuffled Asa out to him. Asa and Jeff finished the night with a stop at Zaxby's and Krystal, because Jeff prematurely promised a milkshake without referring to the Zaxby's menu first. This left me and Addison, a pack of graham crackers, and no t.v.. I did what any pregnant momma would do... I ordered a pizza. The delivery man brought one very crappy, but very appreciated, pizza straight to our ER room. Another crisis diverted. However, I still had 28 cupcakes to ice before the preschool birthday party that was rapidly approaching. Addison was bound and determined not to miss his party, and I promised him that even if he missed the rest of the day, I woudl take him and some magically decorated cupcakes just for the event. Now, with what energy would I accomplish this?

We were discharged at 11:00 and made it home by 11:30. Addison went to bed and slept fairly well. I iced the cupcakes the next morning, added some sprinkles, and made it to preschool on time. Now, we did not pick up our rental car last night. I didn't even make it to the tow lot to clean out my van that had been totalled. Jeff stayed home Friday and cleaned out the van while I hung out at preschool just in case Addison needed me. Afterward, we went and rented the van. Whew.

The boys have been looking forward to their friend Kaeden coming over on Saturday after the baseball trophy ceremony. We had made plans for Kaeden to spend the night, which was a first for all the boys. I woke up at 2:30am on Saturday to banging on the wall. I had told Addison to bang on the wall if he couldn't yell for me or get out of bed, and bless his heart, he did. He was sounding very bad. Our pedatrician told us that we needed to go to Scottish Rite if he had another episode. Now, at 2:30 in the morning I'm wondering... how on earth do you get a little boy who can't breathe to a hospital an hour and a half away? I called 911 and the EMT's took Addison by ambulance to our local hospital (not the same one as before, which was closer to our pediatricians office, but an equally small and equally scary one near our house). I called our pediatrician and left a voice mail that we were headed out again, this time via ambulance.

I don't know if it's because I'm pregnant or because he's five now, but the EMT's had me drive to the hospital separately this time. All the other times I have ridden with him. I drove right behind the ambulance and could see Addison propped up through the window. I made sure to stay close, but I figured that since I was in a rental car, he wouldn't recognize it. I waved the whole time anyways, just in case. When I got to the hospital, I made sure to get in before the ambulance unloaded. Addison was doing much better when he arrived. They had given him a breathing treatment of albuterol, which usually doesn't help at all. This was something different, it wasn't just the trachea-spasms which only really resond to steroids (oral, IV, or in a breathing treatment). Addison told me that he could see me waving through the window as he rode.

The hospital did another set of x-rays. This time, he did show some bronchitis. That would explain why he responded to the albuterol. I was amazed that the last hospital trip did not send us home with orapred (steroid) for the typical 5 days. If they had, like they usually did, would we be here now? The ER helped to get his weezing under control and he was able to sleep for a while. We were discharged at 5:30am with prescriptions for orapred, an antibiotic, and albuterol for our nebulizer. We came home and crashed. A few hours later, at about 8:30, our fabulous pediatrician called to see how things went. I told her what had happened and she said that she wanted to go over all of the presciptions that they gave because she did not trust that hospital. I felt great hearing that she would be on top of things yet again. However, I was running on very little sleep and she could tell. She told me to go back to sleep and call me when I woke up.

When I woke up, I did call her and she changed his antibiotic to a different one. I took the prescriptions to the pharmacy and dropped them all off. All five for Addison and one for me. Then, I went home to straighten up. Jeff and Randy were working on the house that day and were going out for an Ace Hardware run. I asked Jeff to pick up the presciptions for me and Addison. Later on, I realized that he had only come home with one for me and one for Addison. Where were the other four?? I called CVS and sure enough, they were there. Some idiot didn't even check to see if the kid had more than one prescription sitting there in the bin. Ridiculous. I was running late for the boys' ballgame, which I was working concession stand for. Addison sat in the stands while Asa played, and I did my concession duty. I even had my fruit salad made for the league-wide picnic afterwards.

After the game and trophies, Kaeden rode back to our house. We decided that we would all go out and eat pizza at Mellow Mushroom, and swing by and pick up the rest of the prescriptions from CVS. When we arrived at CVS at 6:14 on Saturday, it was closed. Closed. The medicines that would keep my son out of the ER for the third time in a row were locked behind the metal bars surrounding the pharmacy. It was 6:25, and I started to panic. I called Publix to see what time their pharmacy closed... 7:00. By this time, it was 6:30. I called my (wonderful, fabulous) pediatrician and left a voice mail explaining what had happened, and that we had to have the orapred and albuterol for the nebulizer or Addison would surely be back to the ER. As I waited and hoped to hear back from her, I called Publix and explained to the pharmacist what was going on. He needed these. It was an emergency. Please help.

Asa, Addison, Kaeden, and Jeff sat in Mellow Mushroom while I ran around the outside of the building like a lunatic with a cell phone in my hand. And, it rang. Our pediatrician called and said that she had called them in over at Publix, which was three minutes away. I dashed in and picked them up... showering them with thanks. As soon as I got home, I ordered a bouquet of yellow and white daisies for our amazing pediatrician. She hopefully received them today.

Addison has been doing much better, but still not back up to his old chipper self. He enjoyed his birthday with Hal, Jen, and Mim at the bowling alley and Long Horn. The party will be in a couple weeks. It is a blessing that the party was not this weekend! I will be making another appoitment with the pulmonologist, not that I expect him to do anything or give any amazing insight. This has been so frustrating to go on and on for years with no game plan other than "call 911" and "take these drugs that may or may not help". Hopefully, we will get through these next few days without another incident.... but I'm keeping a bag packed just in case.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Infertile in disguise

I may have gotten lucky and have somehow managed to triumph over infertility twice, but... once an Infertile, always an Infertile. I feel like I am walking around with this belly, much like I did the last time I walked around with a belly, and was wrongly put into the category of the reproductively privileged. I hear things like, "You have twins? I had twins, too! When you get older, you are just more likely to have twins. That's what happened to me!" "Oooh, pregnant during the summer? I always planned mine so I wouldn't be pregnant in the summer." And other things that I just I cannot relate to, or better, yet, show that they would not be able to relate to me. I just can't stand the assumption that I'm probably just another person whose husband "just looks at" her and gets pregnant. Will I ever stop having the urge to inform the public that things aren't always that easy? Probably not. Heck, I'll probably be 70 years old and still gabbing and exchanging info on the infertility bulletin boards, giving advice on exactly what combo of over-the-counter drugs to take before an HSG that the RE swears "doesn't hurt", or answering the question of how many days to wait after a 5 day blastocyst transfer before taking a hpt (home pregnancy test), or helping someone decipher the hidden meaning behind a 12 dpo (days past ovulation) HCG level of only 25. By the time I'm that old, though, they'll probably be able to grow your embies full term in artificial wombs or something.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Good News

My doctor called today and guess what?? I do not have an active case of Fifth's Disease. Actually, I have antibodies against it! Looks like I had it at some point in the past. I am so relieved. I feel like celebrating!! We've made it past the car wreck and the Fifth's scare... let's hope we can relax for a while!

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Mother's Day

Addison started getting his rash today, so now at least I know both of the kids have passed the contagious point. He didn't really get sick, either. He might have been a little tired, but that's about it.

I had a great Mother's Day. We came down and ate dinner with Randy and Linda last night. Today, we went to church with Mom and Roland and then had lunch. Mom got a little tiny baby kitten for Mother's Day (her chipmunk-protection plan) and she is adorable! Asa had such a good time sitting and petting her head and watching her fall asleep. I think he's totally in love! Actually, I am too... I sat and played with her for hours. After Mom's house, we went over to Gram's and visited for a while before making the long trek home. It was a good day. I couldn't help but get all emotional in church thinking of how lucky I am to be a mom at all.

Friday, May 9, 2008

When you least expect it...

This morning, I dropped the boys off at preschool and went to run my errands. First, I HAD to go get a biscuit. I was starving and only a biscuit would do! After picking up breakfast, I decided it would be smarter to take a right and go through downtown Winder to head to CVS instead of trying to take a left onto the main strip. So, I made my way. As I was approaching Broad Street, right beside the courthouse, some guy in a big Avalanche whipped out of a parallel parking space and I hit him in the driver's door. Honestly, I had no idea what happened at first. I had no time to break or anything. I was just driving in the right hand lane and all of the sudden I was in a wreck. It took me a while to figure out where this guy came from, on my right. There was no side street.... what? Then, I realized he had been parked. I hit him with my right corner and kind of deflected off, so I was able to roll a bit before stopping. He took it in the driver's door and didn't roll at all, so I am sure he had a bigger impact than I did. The man never got out of the car. The passenger got out to check on me, and to call the police (we were literally outside the courthouse steps... you'd think we could have just yelled loud enough for a cop to come out). I was in shock... total shock. I thought I was doing okay, but I had no idea. No cramping, no bleeding. I just starting bawling. I was mad, upset, shook up, and terrified for my baby.

The woman told me that she had just been in court for a traffic accident. Wow. Really? The man never got out of the car and the passenger eventually said that he was hurt. He may have been hurt... or he could have just not wanted to get out and acknowledge that he just caused an accident with a pregnant woman in a minivan full of carseats. Because he couldn't crawl across the seat, they had to cut him out through his door. Actually, they pryed it open. Either way, it was a bit over dramatic. I wasn't in the mood to be sympathetic.

I declined to go in the ambulance. Even the EMT's said that they would end up taking me to Barrow Regional and I would be WAY better off going straight to my OBGYN who uses a real hospital. I called Jeff, who was in the middle of a meeting, and told him I needed him to come home right then. I had no car, no control over my emotions, no clue how to get to the doctor or get the boys from school. My car was smashed in the right corner panel, hood, and door. I thought it could be driven, but everyone said "NO!". Looks like the wheel may be bent... and no one wanted me driving down the road with a screwed up axel. The tow company called his wife to come and take me home. Jeff met me there and walked the pick up the boys from school while I took his truck to my OBGYN.

After an ultrasound and cervical check, it looks like everything is fine. This baby must be one tough cookie. I have a seatbelt burn, but that seems to be the extent of it. Now, let's get through this Fifth's Disease scare and chill out for a while.

I have no idea how long it will take to figure out what's happening with my van. Until then, we'll be borrowing cars until we can contact the insurance company and get a rental. You know, just this morning, Asa said that he wanted a new van with back windows that roll down. Did he know something I didn't? When Jeff walked to pick them up from school, they were of course confused. Jeff explained that I was in a car wreck but that I was okay. Asa asked, "What about the baby?" What a good big brother he will be.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Appointment

The nurse called me back for my Q&A (and P) session before the ultrasound and doctor consult. I went back and answered the standard "how are you feeling" type questions. At the OB office, it's just "how are you feeling" or "have you had any problems". At the maternal/fetal office the questions are a little more focused. More like, "Are you having any leakage or bleeding". It was at this time that I mentioned that my little boy had been diagnosed with Fifth's disease yesterday, which unbeknown st to me has been running rampant through the preschool. She looked at me and said, "No. Oh no." Great.

They said that a lot of people (maybe 50%) have been exposed to it in the past and have antibodies. For those that get active cases during pregnancy, it is most dangerous in the first 20 weeks and can cause anemia and edema (swelling) in the baby. If I don't have antibodies and I do have an active case, they will watch me every two weeks via ultrasound to check for anemia in the baby. Some babies have slight problems, but make it okay. Others have to have in-utero fetal blood transfusions into the umbilical cord to try to combat it.

They drew blood. I will have these tests back on Monday or Tuesday. If those show that I have not had it before, I will go back two weeks from now for more tests to see if I have an active case of it.

The ultrasound showed a healthy heart, normal hands, feet, bladder, etc. They could not get a shot of the face to measure the bridge of the nose, eye spacing, or lips because (s)he kept his/her hand right in front! The only thing that looked questionable was there is a choroid plexus cyst in the brain. These can mean NOTHING at all... I think 1 in 100 babies that have ultrasounds have them. It is associated loosely with Trisomy 18 babies. 30% of trisomy 18 babies have these. BUT, we have no other markers... healthy heart, hands, and feet were the big ones. Because this was my only "soft marker" they aren't especially concerned. However, they will be monitoring me for this reason every two weeks to check for any other signs of a problem. They offered the Quad Screen again, which I declined. I'm okay with this cyst because a lot of times it means nothing at all... 1 in 100 babies have these... but if I had a false positive quad screen on top of that I may not be so calm! Really, the doctor was more concerned with the Fifth's than the choroid plexus cyst. (http://www.gbmc.org/genetics/harveygenetics/prenataldx/PatientInformation/cpc.cfm)

SO, I'm trying not to freak out about the Fifth's Disease. I know there is nothing I can really do at this point. Asa is no longer contagious... although he was for the 1-2 weeks prior to us knowing that he had it. If I am not already immune, I'm sure I got it... I mean, the kid sneezed on me at dinner last week I know! Addison may have it and not show the rash yet... I'm trying to stay clear of him as much as a stay at home mom can.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Fifth's

This afternoon, Asa started developing a rash on his upper body. At first, it was just on his face. He had just been bitten by some sort of insect recently, so I thought maybe it was a reaction. But, in a few hours he had it on his upper body as well. I took him to the pediatrician, and it was the one thing that I didn't want it to be... Fifth's Disease. Now, for the kids, it's not a big deal. Actually, he was never sick, never had a fever, no runny nose. NOTHING until the rash (which he didn't even know he had until we told him). For pregnant women, however, it's a big deal.

It turns out, about 50% of adults have already had it before. In adults, you don't get a rash, just a mild cold. If you get it when you're pregnant, it can cause edema and anemia in the baby. In the first and early second trimester, there is about a 5-10% chance of miscarriage. There is no treatment for the mom, no vaccine, you can just hope that you aren't one of the 5-10% who either lose their baby or have a baby with complications. I don't know if I've ever had it. I'm hoping that my history of working in day care, YMCA, and teaching middle school for 3 years exposed me to it already. Let's hope.

Luckily, I go tomorrow for my maternal/fetal specialist appointment. I'll have some bloodwork done to see if I have already had it before and have antibodies, or if I have an active case. I just hope that they get this bloodwork back today or tomorrow. I cannot wait any longer than that. The incubation period averages at 14-16 days, and it takes 1-2 weeks after getting it for the rash to show, so who knows if I've already gotten it. I wish the preschool had sent a note home to all pregnant mommas as soon as it showed up there. Most schools do, and I will make sure to voice this to them.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

16 weeks!

Yesterday was my 16 week point! I've been feeling some movement for about a week now. It feels like a big goldfish swimming around, not really "kicks" yet. My belly is definitely growing. I seem to have really pooched out in the last few weeks!



I have two appointments next week, a regular OBGYN appointment and a Maternal/Fetal appointment. The Maternal/Fetal one will most likely consist of an ultrasound, so that will probably be the one Jeff makes it to. I am going to let them know that I am a bit nervous as I approach the 19 week point. I know I have mentioned it before, but I didn't even know I was in preterm labor last time, and I was contracting every 2 minutes. When you are only 19 weeks along, your uterus just isn't big enough to really feel those contractions. I may be paranoid, but I'm going to try to push for an at home contraction monitor. That way, if I am feeling crampy or nervous I can hook up to make sure all is well. I don't really see why they would care- I mean, all they do is write a script and see if insurance will pay. I could just tell them that if they don't let me, I'll just end up finding one on Craigslist anyway.

Last night, Tim and Maria came by with little Shelby. The boys did a great job of helping me clean up all of their little toys so Shelby couldn't find them and choke. They did a good job of sharing, and even when Asa made a block tower and Shelby knocked it down, Asa did a good job of sucking it up. It was an awsome learning experience... this baby thing will be a lot harder than they thought! At the end of the night, Asa colored a picture for Maria. When Shelby colored on it, the world just about came to an end. He teared up, be was upset, but in the end, he understood that she was a baby and didn't know any better. The lesson that they both took away from the night was when this baby comes, they are going to "close the door" and keep their stuff away!

I told them before bed that when the baby does come, and he or she is old enough to crawl, we will put a special baby gate on their room so the baby can not come in. Their room will be the big boy room. No babies allowed. This will not only give the boys a spot to work on things without fear of their destruction, but also help me solve the problem on what on earth to do with all these little tiny legos, marbles, and toy parts when the baby comes.

Plus, we all need a private space. That's why I have a lock on the bathroom door.