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Adventure, Apartment, babies, Michael, Minnesota

Sweden or Spawn?

Monterey cohousing

Our household has been full of Deep Conversations for the last couple of months. Since we’re settled and working toward getting out of debt, we’ve been trying to figure out some capital-g Goals. Michael, who has researched other places to live as a hobby since he moved to Oklahoma in 1998, told me that he’d decided that he wanted to live in Europe and that he wanted us to have babies.

I balked at this double bombshell, and freaked out quietly for a week or so. Eventually I came up for air and shared with him the conclusion that I would be willing to try for babies or move to Europe, but not both. My ability to cope with stress and change is somewhere below average, so either one will be a challenge, but the combo pack would certainly come with a ticket to madness.

I just don’t want to have kids without a solid community around us. Three years in, I feel like I have enough of a support system in Minnesota that it wouldn’t be out of the question. Michael’s Europe vision includes places like Denmark and Sweden; countries that are full of notoriously reticent citizens. I’m 36. I don’t have another six years to build up a network of friends before getting on the spawn train.

Michael was disappointed and I felt guilty, but we are, among other things, best friends, so we were eventually able to talk about things without my bursting into tears. (Eventually.) It’s a Big Deal, obviously, so there have been LOTS of conversations. Long ones, short ones, gchats and emails. Pro and con lists. Suggestions from friends. No conclusions have been reached, though I’m leaning toward staying in Minnesota and attempting to put my uterus to work. 60/40, though if Michael woke up tomorrow certain that he was meant to be an expat, I’d be able to get my head right with that, too.

Another factor has inserted itself into the equation, in the form of a very interesting apartment coming on to the market. Last night, we stayed over at the Monterey Cohousing Community to get a better feel for it – but more on that tomorrow.

babies, blogging, house, Lonesome, Move


I get so sick of bloggers, including myself, declaring they’re going to post more, and then changing nothing or even posting less often.  I’ve done it several times before, so when I decided in September – well, just look:

Screen shot 2010-11-02 at 3.12.25 AM

Haha!  I don’t need to do NaBloPoMo, ‘cuz I already did it for myself!


The contractor didn’t show up again, today.  There is a 2% chance that I heard him wrong and he’s meant to come on Tuesday, but I’m well aware that the entirety of that two percent can be chalked up to the fact that I just don’t want to find a new guy.  Michael and Will already have everything worked out, he works cheap, and I just want it over with, but it looks like we’re going to have to find a replacement.

Carisa and I went to Rachel’s tonight and had poutine.  It was incredible. Steak fries and cheese curds smothered in chicken gravy.  It’s a good damn thing I don’t live in Canada, because I would be long dead.  I hung out for a little while after, but left early to pick up my vitamins and go to Target.  Shopping is kind of sad when I don’t have to remember to pick anything up for Michael.  It’s a lot more fun with him, too.

I peed on a stick today, but it was negative.  I don’t think I’d be good at being pregnant alone.  I’m sure I’m just late from stress and the fact that I’ve not been 100% on my Armour for the last month or so.  (I actually did one last night, but it came up as an “invalid test” for the first time I’d ever seen.  Something to keep in mind:  If you really have to pee, the force might just break your pregnancy test.)

Trash out again tonight.  Mom heard me grunting while pulling something up the stairs and said “I’d help you if I wasn’t so cold.”  I did not say “So what was your reason last week, hmm?  And I finally turned on the heater so you’d quit bitching about being cold, not because I wanted to.  If you’re going to bitch anyway, I’m turning it back off.”  But I thought it really hard.

I straightened up my upstairs nest, and cleared out the downstairs bathroom tonight.  Except for feeding the cat and doing laundry, the only reason I have left to go downstairs is to put more crap in boxes.  It’s both a relief and a fright to watch these rooms be emptied of us.

angst, babies, family, guest

“A Science Lesson”

Reminder: The following was written by my sister, and is reposted here to make it more widely available.
(Originally posted Friday, August 08, 2008)

The term is heterotopic pregnancy- Simultaneous development of a gestation within the uterine cavity and a gestation outside the uterine cavity.

It usually happens in in vitro fertilization patients. In fact there is only a 1 in 30,000 chance of it happening naturally in people who are trying to get pregnant. Factor in the chance of the 99% effective birth control pill and what do we have going there? Am I up to win the lotto soon?

1 in 30,000 that is how many eggs contain salmonella. I feel pretty safe licking the cake batter off the mixer.

I have never had HPV, or stds , or tubal surgery. I don’t smoke. In fact one site says a risk factor is – a number of life time partners exceeding one- we all know how long Hubby and I have happily been together.

I think the real story is people are grasping for straws, no one really knows. In fact 45% of people who have had a ectopic pregnancy had no risk factors before they were diagnosed.

Facts seem to help me. Joseph is not comforted by facts. I pull out terms like ‘heterotopic’ and say SEE it happens to other people too! Only a few other people……but still they are people. Where are these people? Can I meet them?

I think wow, what if it all had worked out? What would I have done with 4 (FOUR!) kids? Would I have had to get a bigger perhaps less environmentally friendly car? Would I have had to quit a job or two and try to work from home? Would the financial responsibility have thrown us over the edge with insanity?

The truth is….I would have loved them.

It would have been the craziest most insane thing ever to happen in this house, but it would have made a great story. We would have made it work.

I would have named them two names that sound absolutely nothing alike and dressed them totally different and treated them like individuals- because they were, that is why they chose different days to leave.

Wherever they are now, I hope they know.

angst, babies, family, guest

“Ectopic Pregnancy”

Reminder:  The following was written by my sister, and is reposted here to make it more widely available.
(Originally posted Thursday, August 07, 2008)

I know some people have been wondering where I went. At first I thought it was something I could keep to myself. I didn’t want my girls and friends and coworkers to worry, but then it became more. I got the worst case scenario.

I found out I was pregnant almost a month ago now. Wow it doesn’t see like that long now…..the past two posts will explain all of that. It soon became apparent that there was a problem. They said that I had a miscarriage. I took some time off work to get used to the idea. I was and am very sad, I thought I was on the mend and went to a DR apt to get some blood test updates. That is when I was sent to the hospital for a sonogram. I still wasn’t worried. I thought my DR was just being overly cautious. I called Joseph to come with me and called Tam and asked her to make lunch for the girls (I was planning on coming right back for the them).

They made us wait in the triage dept for the sonogram. Pregnant women came in in labor. There was a hospital tour going on for some newly pregnant women. I fought back the tears…..untill the second tour came around. Then I escaped to the bathroom.

Finally they called me to go far away to the sonogram dept. The tech seemed pretty unconcerned and I was starting to feel relieved. Joseph started talking about going to get lunch before we got the girls- some BBQ place that is yummy but usually to far away to go to. They sent us back to triage to wait for the results. That was when the Dr’s office called I was scheduled to go into surgery in 45 minutes. I had to have at least three procedures. (lathroscopy, hysteroscopy, and a D&C) and maybe a few more. They were asking if I had eaten and no I had not…I’d been running late. Goo [her brother] was supposed to watch the girls and had not been here so I had rushed them to work without even a coffee or a Starbucks stop….

I text Tam and asked her if she could pick up the girls if this took too long…..Thanks Tam!

They rushed me back to another room. They wanted to wheel chair me but I told them I could walk. A nurse tried to hug me and I asked her not to. She was trying to be nice but it was making me feel worse…..The Dr’s receptionist hugged me on the way out of the office too, come to think of it…..

They made Joseph go to the waiting room while they prepped me. AKA took my clothes away and put me in a big expandable gown with warm air. They gave me ugly warm socks too. Then they let him come back. After that the proceeded to stab me over and over to get my blood. I am covered in bruises. They gave me 4 medications and then it was time to go. Joseph kissed me goodbye and looked so scared. I was trying to be brave for him.

In the operating room there was a mean nurse, a nice nurse, and the DR. They started to gas me and I remember I started crying. The DR held my hand. The nice nurse said just breathe and I was out.

I faintly remember the kids playing and hearing music.

I woke up in the recovery room aka the same room I was in before saying “Megan and Derek are playing”….which they were. Hours had gone by. I asked where Joseph was….still in the waiting room……I asked to go to the bathroom they said no….I asked for a drink they said no again……It was after 6 I had not eaten since 8 the night before and they were wondering why my potassium, calcium, and magnesium were low. They called a cardiologist. A HEART DR! I was scared to death again….they tried to stab me some more. Finally Joseph came in, he brought me roses. They said I could not eat for 5 hours and I could not leave in till my levels from starvation came up so I had to spend the night.

Tam had taken the girls to Jyme because it was late. Joseph left to go pick them up. By this time Megan was worried to death.

I had the nicest nurse with a English accent….yeah it was like I mail ordered her…..she snuck me some ginger ale 3 times….I over heard another patient who was about to get the same procedure I did and started to cry for her……..then my nurse wheeled me to my room. I got to order food and finally eat! When they got my order wrong the nurse called and fixed it even…I wasn’t going to complain.

I watched bad TV while I ate and had IVs of fluids. I talked to Chelsea on the phone. Finally I went to sleep around 2 am.

They woke me up at 6…..well I was already awake and ordering breakfast. Joseph was on the way to get me. I tried walking around. I felt like I had just had a c-section but without the joy of a baby to encourage you to get up and walk around. Really there are 3 places where they opened me up….One in my belly button (ICK) and one below that and one on part of my c section scar. They filled me up with air which made my shoulder hurt like after a c-section and made me look about 5 months pregnant…..which was just depressing and unfair.

Joseph and Megan came to get me, we stopped to get my pain meds, and come home. We decided to tell Megan and Goo what happened sense it is not every day that I spend the night at the hospital. I didn’t want her to worry and think it was something worse than it was….but I also though she deserved to know why we were so sad.

We told her that we were going to have a baby, but it was sick, so they had to take it out of me so I would not get sick too. We assured her that it didn’t look like a baby yet….it was only a possibility of a baby. She took it well. We told her we might plant a tree to remember it by….She listened because I heard her tell Marilyn [Megan’s grandmother] the exact same story yesterday.

Tuesday I was in a lot of pain physically and emotionally. Joseph slept on the couch and waited on me hand and foot. Wednesday was very hard to walk around too….but I did get a shower in and it made me feel better. Joseph came home and cleaned and cooked and I felt helpless yet again. Marilyn sent me flowers which was nice.

Today is Thursday. The swelling has gone down some and I am not in as much pain although my shoulder does still hurt. I am sad still….it hurts physically to cry so I am trying not to. I joined a support group online.

The only past story of ectopic pregnancy I has heard of was a story line on All My Children when I was in high school. I am hoping that maybe this will help someone else who is doing some google search. The thought of helping someone else get through this is the only sense I can make of it all. I am going to open the last two posts to public viewing too. They are open and honest and blunt but maybe it can help someone. When I wrote them I knew they would one day be public too….I just was not sure when.

I go back to the DR Monday. He will tell me if I was going to have twins and miscarried one because the other was ectopic which is suspected. Tuesday I should be able to go back to work. Maybe if the story is here I won’t have to tell it over and over again. Open house is next Friday so it will be a good time to go back and start over. I don’t know if there will ever be any real answers but the thought of helping someone else is what is making this bearable.

angst, babies, family, guest

“A Possibility”

Reminder:  The following was written by my sister, and is reposted here to make it more widely available.
(Originally posted Sunday, August 03, 2008)

I’m very liberal in both politics and religion.

I am openly pro-choice.

In being so I believe that a embryo is not a baby until it can live outside the womb.

I do not feel like I lost a baby. It was a possibility……

It was the possibility to be the person who could cure the cancer that took Bob’s life.

It was the possibility to become the person who can stop global warming.

It was the possibility to be the one who would be my last.

Now that possibility is gone.

The dream is over….for now at least.

It is surprising how fast a surprise can change your life.

We got used to the idea so quickly, it was a test to see how we would do.

We passed but then we failed.

I am walking through my days….and laying through them more.

I forgot to give Lilly a bath last night. How can I forget to give my two year old a bath?

I told Megan we would order pizza tonight but then felt the urge to make a real meal that doesn’t consist of hot-dogs or sandwiches.

I went to work today for an hour and pretended everything was OK; people said good morning over and over and over….it hasn’t been a good morning, not for over a week now.

I wanted to light a candle [at the UU church where she works], but I didn’t want the pity. I didn’t want to cry in front of everyone and then go back and play with the children or worse have to explain to them what was wrong. I find solace in the congregation but I am not a real member…..I am a outsider.

Maybe some of them would know what I feel but do I want to know that they know too?

Do I want to feel sorry for them?

I went to Target. I saw at least two pregnant people there and a few more that could have been. They are everywhere….haunting me. I feel guilt because I have two great kids…two. I shopped for school supplies for them, being a good mom, picking up the Hannah Montana pencils Megan would love, holding my breath when I walked past the baby isle. Walking all over the store to find ‘hand wipes’ that were not down that baby section….it took forty minutes but I did.

The reality is I think I am mourning two. There was a time when Megan was little. I was late and poor and didn’t buy the home test. I was going to the free clinic because it was free. I only told Joseph my suspicions. This was a bad time for us…the worst ever. It was bad timing. The same thing happened then and I just assumed I had been wrong. Just stressed and late….it was a bad time. Now I know differently. There [have been] two [miscarriages]…..only one is on record. I ran away from that pain and didn’t look back and didn’t mourn. I thought I was wrong, I should have known, I am almost never wrong. It took years before I wanted to try again…..years. In the back of my mind I always knew I was right…I knew.

I keep reading. In my mind if I find out all of the information available then things will be better. If I order every book. If I go to every board. I only posted on one. I am compelled to write about it. I am also compelled for people to not pity me. The same thing keeps coming into my head. “It was a possibility, it was a possibility.”

I sleep a dreamless sleep. I wake up and remember where I am. Joseph was talking while sleeping; he kept jumping and said he was “holding me down”. He is and I need it….I don’t want to float away. Every time I woke up last night his arm was around me. Grounding me. The possibility left but I didn’t. I can’t. He didn’t either.

I sit in this bed. This comfortable and expensive bed that I am still paying on. I try to pry myself outside the room and outside the dark and I do…..but only temporarily. I gravitate back here over and over. I hear my girls in there. Playing. I have no patience. I want to be OK. I say I am OK over and over….I will be OK. I will. I know it is true, in time I will, but how much time? Will tomorrow be OK….after the Dr appointment maybe. Maybe on Thursday when I have to go back to work? Will I be OK then?…..

My next [college] assignment was to write about a personal change in my family…..that was easy and oh so hard. I want to turn in the assignment but I don’t want pity. It was honest and true and well written but would it be easier to make up something else? Write a nice tale….maybe make up some juicy gossip? I have until Tuesday to decide.

A possibility or two…..just a possibility.

angst, babies, family, guest

“Very Sad”

Reminder:  The following was written by my sister, and is reposted here to make it more widely available.

(Originally posted Saturday, August 02, 2008)

Hi, I’m Michelle and this is my story. It is long and uncensored.

We found out we were expecting in July. My due date would have been right around my Sister’s birthday in march. We have 2 daughters and both pregnancies went as planned if you don’t count the months of morning (aka all day) sickness. What I would give for some puking now.

Last Friday night [July 25] we went out to dinner to celebrate my and my friend Gina’s birthday. We are only 2 days a part so this is a yearly tradition. DH and I had decided not to tell anyone about the pregnancy….well I decided but I still told my sister, mom, three friends that live out of town, and one co-worker. Joseph my DH had done a much better job of staying mum….until dinner night. So we announced the pregnancy to all of our friends that night and got well wishes and made bets on the sex even threw out some name ideas. That night everyone came back to the house and hung out a while. I went to the bathroom and noticed a little pink on the TV but didn’t think anything of it for some reason (denial maybe?). After everyone left I changed into PJ and went back to the bathroom and that was when I realized something was not right. I started sobbing and I didn’t know what to do. It was late- about midnight- and I was not in any pain so I decided to wait and call the Dr the next day.

Saturday morning I was still bleeding. I called the Dr and he gave me some reassuring statistics. I had never experienced any bleeding with either of my girls but the internet said it was common. I talked to some friends and had two that had had some bleeding and both have healthy children so I was reassured. The Dr told me to take it easy the weekend and come in Monday.

Saturday I didn’t do anything but worry…….Sunday seemed to last forever.

Monday the bleeding had stopped.  I went to the Dr and he said he could not see anything in the sonogram. He gave all kinds of instances that this could be… early along, false pregnancy test, ectopic, or miscarriage. He sent me to go get my blood levels checked. After they took my blood I went right to the grocery store and bought a pregnancy test. I went into the museum (it was right by where I was) and used it.  Another positive test meant the false test theory was wrong! I then went right into another store and bought the cutest diaper bag ever.

I guess this would be the time to say that Friday we went to dinner I had hit up a maternity sale and bought almost a whole new maternity wardrobe. The day before that I had registered at babies-r-us….as a check list for myself to remember what I wanted to buy instead of being bombarded by the impulse, I had only really known I was pregnant for two weeks and I had already bought quite a bit of stuff. Now I know why “they” say not to but I figured I never had trouble before so why not?

Wednesday I had to go back and take another blood sample. By this time I was sure everything was ok. No more bleeding. DH seemed to think that his birthday sex had knocked me up which would mean I was just very early along. I was 100% convinced. I figured sense this was not a actual planned pregnancy then what would be the point of the universe saying here have a surprise to just take it away…..It didn’t make sense.

Thursday was the day to go back to the Dr. He had just delivered twins and was running late but I wasn’t worried. My turn came and he did the sonogram and only found ‘fluid’. He typed the letters F L U I D on the picture and printed it for my chart. So now it will always be in there. He went on about how Mondays levels were 1200 and Wednesdays were 800. I had read so much internet information that I knew what that meant……I didn’t want to cry there. He kept asking me if I had questions and I could only say ‘no’ because I wanted to leave. Finally I went to the window they asked me to go get another blood test to see if I am going to need D&C. ….Somehow I walked all the way to my car without shedding a tear. The second I sat down I couldn’t stop sobbing. I was afraid someone would see me and think I was hurt…which I was…..but I didn’t want people to feel sorry for me. After a while I drove back to the museum, then I decided to go get my girls and take them there with me.

My girls were at my job…I am a preschool teacher and during the summer I bring them both with me. I did not want everyone to know and feel sorry for me. After all there was a lady there who was just diagnosed with brain cancer I didn’t want to take any of her support away. I told my boss I was going to take the rest of my vacation days….she knew something was up with all of the Dr appointments for the blood tests. So I told her…..she reminded me that the same thing had happened to her daughter in law- who I know- last summer and they just had a little boy. I just wanted to get my girls and go…….I had to tell my immediate coworker, too. She was very supportive but I just needed to go. ……The girls knew something was up despite my Oscar level performance – being so early, we were waiting for our first sonogram to tell them they were going to be big sisters. We went back to the museum and the children’s program was still hours away so we ate lunch in the park and went home. I put Lilly down for a nap and Megan watched TV and I went into the bedroom and sobbed. Joseph called and I didn’t want to tell him the news over the phone but I think he knew it was bad. I had to text all of the people who I had told so they would know not to send congrats any longer. I threw all of the baby stuff I had acquired in the corner. I didn’t want to look at it but I didn’t know what to do with it either. Joseph is grieving differently than me…..we did go for a walk to the ice cream place….I did talk to my sister on Yahoo some…..

I am just mad and snappy at everyone. I know this is because my hormone levels are dropping drastically by the day. I was told to expect to experience more bleeding and constantly waiting and wearing a uncomfortable pad and checking are driving me crazy. My breasts are still sore and I am still craving chocolate milk (I hate chocolate and I hate milk) and watermelon. It just does not seem fair to still have the symptoms of pregnancy if I am not pregnant…..but in a sense I am, just for a little while longer.

Today I had to go back and have more blood work done. Really I just wanted to sit in my dark bedroom all day. Joseph took the day off and wanted to take Megan back to school shopping. He thought it would be good to have some family time….so we went… heart was not into it and I am just so uncontrollably moody. I snapped at him and the girls all day and I don’t mean to.  Tomorrow he wants us to have some couple time and play a round of golf together. His idea of coping is to go and have fun together. He was already talking about trying again…..we just found out yesterday! I don’t have a coping plan. I’m not in any physical pain so it feels silly to sit in bed all day. It also feels wrong to be out having fun, though.

I did contemplate the “why did this happen” part of this. I do think that everything happens for a reason. The only thing I could think of is that I was meant to help someone else who is going to go through this. It made me even sadder to think this will happen to other people….maybe even people I know.

This evening I went to the bookstore to look for books about miscarriage. I was surprised to only find one! I bought it and read the first chapter and I think it is helping some. If someone is looking for a book I recommend  (so far at least) “About what was lost” by Jessica Berger Gross.  I have also been reading some support boards so I feel like I already know some of you. Thank you for making your stories public for people like me.

Monday I find out if I have to have a D&C.  Until then I am hanging in there and not drinking any more chocolate milk.

Thanks for reading, I hope this helps someone someday.