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My mom arrived last week.  After her flight from Cleveland was cancelled due to mechanical failures, she was rerouted through Chicago instead of DC.  That meant her Frankfurt to Muenster flight was delayed.  Which meant we would meet her later in the day.  We didn’t know this due  to well, to put it incredibly politely (you can thank me later sis), a miscommunication.

Since arriving, she’s been the extra set of hands we needed to find a piece of sanity.  Bubba Joe has taken to her as has Little Girl.  Of course, Little Girl gets held lots, so she’s more than content.

I’ve missed my mama’s cooking.  And her innovativeness at using up leftovers in a way that was different from the first.  She insists these things are simple – I do believe her, honest I do – but I just don’t have that much energy to spare on thinking! (I’d rather spend that brain power on shaving – which in spite of living inGermany, I still do!  and as a matter of fact, am about to do after I finish this blog post.)

One of the MANY things she brought us was good bouillon.  As Bubba Joe  was sick on Saturday (and is still fighting a cold … we’re back on breathing treatments, but this time with the added bonus of a nasal spray, eye drops and allergy medicine – his ped thinks Bubba Joe is not only fighting a bacterial infection but perhaps also allergies) I made soup using this bouillon.  I love it.

But we hadn’t used it up. 

Until today.

Mom insisted that we could make a great soup from the leftovers (which BTW almost no one ate the first time around – turns out my mom doesn’t like soup and BJD wasn’t in the mood for soup at the time.  Side note: BJD is sick.  Just got back from his doc with antibiotics for a throat infection. Another plus for Germany – he has a written excuse and cannot work for the rest of this week.  And he took off most of next week to spend time with mom.)

So here’s what mom made:

Chicken Tortilla Soup

Chicken Tortilla Soup

She used up the soup from Saturday’s lunch, the grilled chicken breast from Saturday dinner, flour tortillas from yesterday’s dinner, added a bit of tumeric and topped it all off with some chopped scallions.

It was delish.

I love having her here.

Oh yeah – here’s the bouillon.  She says she’ll send some with my sis when she visits this summer.  (In case you were not aware, there is no ready-made broth available in Germany.  The only thing you can find are bouillon cubes – very salty and just, well, gross.)

Better Than Bouillon

Better Than Bouillon

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Last Thursday I hit week 33.  This was the first of my milestone weeks.  This was the week that I was admitted to the hospital in Cleveland before Bubba Joe was born.

Week 33 with Bubba Joe meant that I was swollen beyond belief.  I could only wear my now very stretched out sandals. And a few pairs of maternity pants. BJD and I had fun leaving finger impressions on my legs and seeing who’s would last longer. And my BP was going out of control – all while on BP medicine.

I was admitted and given the diagnosis of moderate Preeclampsia.  The peri explained the importance of steroid shots, especially since Bubba Joe’s umbilical cord flow was compromised – he was IUGR (intra uterine growth restriction – i.e. not getting enough of what he needed to grow).

This past week, I asked BJD to check with the peri if it really was okay to go to my regular OB for this week’s exam – the main reason being that my regular OB only has the capability to see if baby girl is growing.  She does not have a dopplar ultrasound machine which checks the umbilical cord flow (which as you just read, this is the week problems were identified with Bubba Joe).  I was nervous.  And starting to freak myself out.

So, we head in on Thursday to see my peri and not my regular OB.  She’s great that way.  She makes time and listens (kudos to her! WAY better than those crappy peris in Cleveland who reprimanded me when I didn’t know the name of the BP med my OB had JUST placed me on – they truly have a reputation for very poor bedside manners).

I had done yet another 24-hour catch, just because my peri wanted to double check once again.  No prob.  We still have the “stuff” at home!  🙂

I do the routine. Pee in a cup (clear, no protein, go figure). Hand over my containers from the 24-hour. Nurse takes my BP – 135/90 or something like that.  Then go and see the doc.  We talk a bit.  I tell her how great I feel – other than being pregnant. I’ve noticed the beginning of swelling in my fingers and legs.  But knowing what pitting edema (what I had with Bubba Joe) can be, I suspected (and she agreed) this was normal pregnancy stuff.  I’ve also had some serious heartburn that requires me to take time before lying down after eating.  Again, we both think it’s normal pregnancy stuff.

On to the ultrasound. 

Little girl rocks!  She’s estimated to now be over 2kgs! She’s officially (well, as officially as in utero can be) bigger than her brother when he was born.  Rock on little girl!

Then we do the dopplar.  Uh-oh.  Peri doesn’t look too happy but needs to enter the numbers into the computer. 

One set of numbers is okay.  The other is showing the beginnings of compromised umbilical cord flow.  She leaves to go talk to the head peri.  And right now, I forget what he said … I then went for a NST (non-stress test – little things they attach to your belly to listen to baby’s heartrate).

I asked if I could sit because I had eaten breakfast (remember the heartburn?).  No problem.  But the nurse and the peri kept looking at the numbers on the readout and making concerned faces.  I asked BJD what the numbers were.  They were high.  As in 170-190 high.  (Normal is below 160.) 

They ask me to lay on my side.  No problem. 

No change.

They ask me to lay on my other side.  Again, no problem.  At this point, I’m freaked. 

No change.

Peri comes in with head doc and says given the dopplar u/s and baby girl’s heart rate, they want me to stay for observation.  They were getting me a room upstairs.  10th floor – just like before.  I cried.

Man this sucked.  I hate going through this.  I hate that my body simply will not work through a pregnancy properly. I hate that BJD has to go through this with me and there are so many factors on the line here. I came in this morning having showered the night before.  Now I feel all grubby and gross.  I just want to go home, cuddle with Bubba Joe (who, because the appointment was so early in the  morning, I didn’t even kiss goodbye because he was sleeping so well – talk about mommy guilt), pack my own damn bags and come back later.

Nope.  No chance.  Peri was empathetic, but looking out for my health and more importantly at the moment, baby girl’s health. 

Peri gave me 3 possible reasons for the high heart rate: 1) Baby girl has an infection (Peri said not likely as she just performed a very thorough exam), 2) baby girl is under duress (could be as the dopplar is showing signs of compromised blood flow), or 3) baby girl was rocking and rolling during the NST (which was the most optimistic outcome).

They took 4 vials of blood to run a complete workup.  Peri attempted to insert an IV – and failed!  I couldn’t believe it.  My all-time favorite doctor in the whole wide world failed!  She asked if she was hurting me and while I hate IVs with a deep serious passion, and yes, it did hurt, it was tolerable.  Her face … man … she was scared.  BJD and I could see how concerned she was. 

I tried joking, though I’m not sure she got it, that she only got one chance to stick me.  But somehow, she agreed that we’d wait for the labwork and maybe I’d get an IV started (not to be hooked up mind you, but in case well, in case of delivery) later in the day.  Whew.

At one point, I just sobbed and sobbed.  I know I’m in a good place at 33 weeks.  But I don’t want 33 weeks.  I want 37+.  I want a baby that rooms in with me.  I want a chance at that elicit VBAC.  I want so many things that I am not getting!  And I feel like a spoiled brat when I say all this but come on … Bubba Joe was a preemie.  It sucked.  He was a very difficult baby because he was a preemie – sick all the time, overstimulated so easily.  Not to mention the havoc I created in my own mind – I was still grieving my dad’s death, feeling guilty that I hadn’t done more for him, angry at my mom for putting down my dad’s dogs, hurt that she moved forward so quickly, all while coming to terms with my body’s complete and total inability to do what is “supposed” to be inherent for women – squat and make babies.

So long story much shorter, I’m admitted. 

My lab work came back clear – including a CLEAN 24-hour catch!  woohoo!!!

I had another NST at 4:00 that afternoon – passed with flying colors!

Ate some lovely hospital food, caught up with the nurses I hadn’t seen in 3 weeks, read through half a book (Hanna’s Daughters – quite lovely really) that I borrowed from the hospital library, actually chatted (in German) with my roomie for a bit (her son was full-term but had an infection and was transferred from another hospital).

The next morning, went down for another NST – again, went great!  BJD showed up and we had another dopplar with my peri.  Shows the same thing – the beginnings of compromised umbilical cord flow.  BUT – she thinks this can be managed from home!  WOOHOOO!

So, I get released go home and cuddle with my little man.  Naw, that’s not what happened.  Because we didn’t know what was going on, BJD asked the household help not to come in on Friday.  Bubba Joe was at Oma & Opa’s – who totally rule his world!  We stopped by there so I could see my little man.  He was great – gave me a big, oh hi mama, along with a hug, then went off to play. 

BJD and I went home.  Bubba Joe stayed and played.  He even took a nap there (with Oma telling him a story about Bob and Thomas and penguins and well, all his favorite things).  We went over for dinner that evening (pelemini – yummy Russian dumplings all made from hand – my MIL is a great cook!).  Then went home.

We had a follow-up NST on Sunday at the hospital (because the OBs are closed on Sundays).  Passed with flying colors.  My peri was there.  She said she was nosy and wanted to do another dopplar u/s.  Fine by me! Guess what?  The numbers were BETTER than Friday!  Honest.  Better than Friday.  She and I (and BJD of course) were VERY happy! 

I have another NST at my OBs office Tuesday. Which might be strange, because I haven’t seen my OB since just before Christmas – just before everything happened.  Hopefully baby girl won’t be in a dancin’ mood and will behave!

Then Thursday, officially week 34, I see my peri.

One day at a time.  One day at a time.

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It feels like home …

We have snow.

Big fat, beautiful snowflakes.

Falling snowly.

Gently.

Lightly covering the ground

with white.

It’s simply beautiful.

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What a difference a day makes …

24 little hours.

Well, more like close to 72, but still.

We just got back home a few hours ago from a weekend trip to Bremen. We stayed in a hotel and ate some of the best food I’ve ever had in Germany (which isn’t necessarily saying much because I generally don’t like the food in Germany but this stuff was good!).

Oh, and most importantly, we met up with about 25 other American/Canadian expats living here in Germany for the 4th annual Whiny Expat Blog Meetup.

I’ll be posting WAY more later on Bremen itself, but just wanted to share with ya’ll that we’re back.

It was amazing to meet, talk and spend time with so many amazing individuals. You guys are amazing (especially Claire and J!)

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