It Feels Like Home

A Boston girl goes Hollywood then chucks it away for a life in OZ… these are my adventures and general musings.

We’re Back November 3, 2010

Filed under: Life — Holly @ 10:57 pm
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We’re back from Boston and it’s been go, go, go since we arrived home. The end of October was met with saying a final farewell to beloved family member, celebrating a Baptism, running around to Little Miss T’s various Halloween festivities, finding a place to call our (temporary) “home”, packing and fighting off colds.

On top of that, Little Miss T is mobile- she’s crawling and keeping me on my toes! I need to get this kid a helmet. She’s up into everything and having so much fun. I love it. She’s doing pretty well in the teething department, too. She has her first four teeth coming through- all around the same time- and seems to be handling it well.

I finally downloaded some recent photos and video so hopefully I’ll have some catch up posts coming soon. Hope all is well with everyone else!

 

Boston Bound October 8, 2010

Filed under: Life — Holly @ 11:36 pm
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We’re off on a last minute trip to Boston. We literally just booked our tickets yesterday and here we are scrambling to get everything ready to go! I’m so excited to introduce Little Miss T to her extended family and our friends, show her the fall colors and play in piles of leaves with her. We do have some business to attend to back there but it should be plenty of time for fun in Beantown.

 

The Day Our Baby Girl Was Born January 13, 2010

Filed under: Life — Holly @ 6:44 pm
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So here’s how it all went down… Keep in mind, we live in Boston but we were visiting family for the holidays in California. I had been to my Boston OB at 24 weeks and twice at 26 weeks. At these appointments, everything was fine and I was given the okay to fly. We left Boston for California when I was 26 weeks and 4 days. I had also set up an appointment with my California OB for the week before Christmas for a wellness check up. At this appointment, everything was still fine with Baby and myself.

Flash forward to the day after Christmas at my parent’s house…

I woke up around 4:30am with a terrible pain and pressure in my sternum area that radiated over to my right shoulder. It was extremely painful but I figured I should just try to sleep. Just in case it was the worst heartburn of my life, I popped a few Rolaids to see if that would relieve the discomfort. I dozed off and on through the pain but at 6am, I woke up again with the same existing pain. I decided to get up and walk around the house to see if that made a difference. I was starting to worry a bit so I decided to take my blood pressure. The reading was high so I decided I should just rest for a while and see if it goes down. I returned to bed and woke up the Husband to tell him what was going on. He was concerned but I convinced him that I just needed to rest for a bit so we went back to sleep.

Around 8:00am, I woke up again and headed out to the family room with the same horrible pain. At this point, I was more concerned because despite the rest, the pain wasn’t going away. Mom, Sister and Husband woke up and I took my blood pressure again… it was still high. Everyone was concerned and it was decided I should go to the ER to get checked out… just in case.

I arrived at the ER and registered with the nurses. I described my symptoms to the first nurse and she suggested that it could be a gallbladder problem. She sends me on to another nurse who took my blood pressure and got a high reading. She decided with the pain I’m having and the high blood pressure that I must be having a heart attack. At this point, I was rushed into a resuscitation room and was given a chest X-ray and an EKG. Everything came back fine- I was not having a heart attack. Next, they thought I had a blood clot. I was whisked away for ultrasounds of my legs… no blood clots founds. Then, they thought I had a blood clot in my lungs and needed to do a nuclear radiation scan of my lungs. I wasn’t so keen to hear this as there is obviously a risk to the baby but it was decided that it had to be done for my safety and the baby’s. The results came back and I didn’t have a lung blood clot. Great, all that unnecessary testing for nothing!

At this time, my blood pressure was still high and the chest pain was excruciating. The ER doctor returned and diagnosed me with Pleurisy (inflammation of the lungs) as a result of the baby probably pressing on my lungs. There was no attention paid to the fact that I was pregnant and had high blood pressure. I asked the doc about the blood pressure issue and he said he’ll give me a little medicine to bring it down, but on Monday make an appointment with an OB. This didn’t sit well with me and I told him high blood pressure in pregnancy is usually an indication that something is wrong. I’m not a doctor but that’s kind of common sense! He says he doesn’t know what’s causing the high blood pressure but everything will be fine and just be sure to see an OB.

Fortunately, my father-in-law is a neonatologist and he called the ER doctor. He tells him to run a bunch of tests and so the ER doc does. The tests come back showing concerning results and it’s decided I should be transferred to another hospital that has an OB unit. Apparently, the hospital I was at doesn’t do OB! Instead of being transferred in an ambulance, I had to drive myself (well, Mom & Husband drove me). Little did we know, at this point, I was close to having a seizure… and yes, they wanted me to drive myself!

We arrive at the next hospital and went straight to Labor & Delivery Triage. The ER doctor at the previous hospital was suppose to call ahead to Triage and send over my medical records, but of course, that didn’t happen. Triage is clueless about what’s going on but they get me set up. Fetal monitors were placed on my belly and more tests were performed. The results came back showing alarming signs that some of my organs were being damaged and were in the process of shutting down and my platelet count was dangerously low. Shortly after the tests came back, I started having contractions five minutes apart. I didn’t even realize I was having contractions until the nurse told me- I guess I was expecting worse pain.

I was admitted to the hospital and the process of anti-labor began. I was given a steroid shot for the baby’s lungs just in case and more tests were run. My contractions were now running about 2 minutes apart which was alarming but I was still confident that everything would be fine. The nurses took my history and told me how they’ll give me medicine to stop labor. I’m informed that I’ll probably stay in the hospital for a few days to be monitored and then I’ll be given some medicine that will allow me to travel back to Boston. Great, everything will be fine… no problems. At this point, I still don’t have a diagnosis but things are looking up and sounds like they can fix whatever ails me.

After settling in, the nurse came in my room while talking on the phone with the OB on call. Everything seemed fine and then all of sudden she blurted out… “You want me to tell them what?! You want me to tell them that now?” She hung up the phone and then told me she had to prep me for delivery; the baby had to be delivered right away and the OB was on her way.  At this point it was 11pm and Husband and I are shocked. I still didn’t know what’s wrong with me and now I had to deliver my baby at 31 weeks?! Husband called my Mom and then his Dad. The OB arrived and she explained my liver was shutting down and it could rupture at any moment. I’m in danger of seizing and going in to a coma, as well as my platelet count being extremely low and a whole other host of issues. Husband and I were in shock. We had no idea how serious the situation was. We were not prepared for this and definitely not prepared to become parents in December- we still had a few more months and we hadn’t even decided on a name yet! I was wheeled off, prepped and given an epidural. It kicked in right away and I lost the feeling in my lower body. My arms were tied down and then panic set in. I couldn’t move my body at all and it was terrifying. After a few deep breaths, I composed myself and the doctors got down to business.

At 11:33pm on December 26, 2009, Tegan was born via emergency C-Section weighing 3.3 pounds, 14.8 inches long. She was worked on by the nurses and the neonatologist and then brought over to me for a quick peek. She was then whisked away to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). The doctors finished working on me and I was rolled out to my room for recovery. Everything after this point was rather foggy. I barely remember seeing the doctors, signing forms for Tegan, seeing my husband or my Mom after the surgery. I was immediately put on some Magnesium drug to prevent seizures as my health was still in danger and would continue to be postpartum.

The next few days continued to be hazy and I was quite sick but I finally got to see my baby girl in the NICU. It was actually quite heartbreaking to see her with all the tubes and monitors but also so overwhelmingly joyous at the same time. It’s amazing that we created this tiny, beautiful little being. I can’t describe the feeling but it’s most certainly love at first sight. I just wanted to hold her and touch her but I couldn’t… that would come later.

In the end, my mystery illness was diagnosed as HELLP Syndrome, which can be fatal to the mother and baby. Looking back, I really didn’t have any early symptoms- no protein in my urine, no headaches, no high blood pressure or swelling, etc. I did have vomiting but I’ve had constant morning sickness my entire pregnancy so I don’t know if that was a symptom or not? Practically within 24 hours I went from being and feeling perfectly healthy to facing a life threatening pregnancy complication. I’m thankful my baby girl and I are alive and it’s thanks to my father-in-law and the wonderful doctors and nurses that delivered my baby and cared for me. At the time, I had no idea how seriously ill or life threatening the situation was but after reading up on it, I’m especially grateful for our happy ending.

Tegan is doing well but the doctors are still saying it will be at least the end of February before she’ll be discharged. Overall, she’s doing well and we’re so pleased with our little fighter. She’s so feisty yet sweet-natured and amazing in every way. We’re anxious to have her healthy and home with us.

I’m feeling better and I’m continuing to have weekly check-ups and lab work done. My Ob is making sure my body is recuperating and there is no permanent damage to my organs.

So there you have it- the very long version of the birth of our baby girl. If you made it this far, congratulations…. it was a long story!

 

House Hunting December 11, 2009

Filed under: Life — Holly @ 5:22 pm
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With our move to Boston in August, we began our search for a house to call our own. As first time home buyers we’ve been researching and reading a lot of information in preparation for probably the largest purchase of our lives. When we arrived in Boston, we got pre-approved right away and hit the ground running in the search for the perfect home. Our first task was to find what area of Boston we wanted to live. This task alone has proven to be quite difficult and time-consuming. Since Husband works from home and I’m not working at the moment, we can basically live anywhere. While some would think this may seem like the best scenario for purchasing a home, it actually makes it more difficult. At least with a commutable job, you would look in the general vicinity of your employment, however, we don’t have that concern so we’re left with finding the “perfect” community to settle down. We keep going back on forth on what we want, how far outside or close to the city we want to be. Obviously closer to Boston, the more expensive a home is and the less you get for your money. The farther out you go, the more suburban living you get but with a large piece of land and a bigger home. Being in/near the city lends itself to easily taking in a play, going to the museum, riding public transport or eating at some fantastic ethnic restaurants that you would never find in the burbs. In the country, we could have acres of land and even an updated antique farmhouse complete with its own barn and paddocks.

I think many home buyers in our shoes most likely would have found their house by now; but Husband and I are what people would probably call fussy (I like to think of it as having discerning taste) and indecisive. We find ourselves either wanting to be urbanites or country folk- not really the in between. We end up spending our time looking at both possibilities and unable to focus on just one preference. We struggle, somewhat, with also having to consider school districts as a factor in our decision on where to live. (I guess this is part of being an adult) Do we live in a town with excellent, free public schools or do we live in the city where we’ll have to shell out thousands of dollars a year for private education? And then there’s picking the “right” house- it has to be the right neighborhood with the right style. For city living, it needs to be preferably a brownstone with modern amenities and an open layout. For country living, we tend to like houses that have old charm with modern conveniences like an antique farmhouse or an old Victorian that been restored with modern amenities- a mix of old with the new. Right now, we’re not seeing these on the market and if we do see it, it’s literally gone within a day or two. We missed out once, early on in our search, on a lovely farmhouse and honestly, nothing we’ve seen since has compared. Then there’s the issue of, do we pay the same amount of money for a condo with the convenience of city living when we could have a 3-4 bedroom home with an acre of land but have more of the suburban lifestyle.

With the home buying process our desires for what we want in a community and a home is always being compared to what our lifestyle was like in Sydney. We had the entire package- a nice, modern flat in the city, right by three modes of public transport, water views, cute boutiques, shops and restaurants for our enjoyment and plenty of green space and parks. Sounds nice, right? In essence, we’re looking for something similar in Boston but it may be very possible that this is not going to happen and just doesn’t exist- unless we’re millionaires, which we’re not! I would hope we could find something comparable to what we had once in Sydney but who knows? Wishful thinking most likely. I think we need to throw in the towel and head back down under, ha!

So, we keep plugging on hoping to find something to call our own in the new year. Ideally we would have loved to have been homeowners before the baby arrives but that’s not going to happen at this rate. We’ll make due for now and keep at it. The home buying process has definitely been somewhat stressful and disappointing but I know our home is out there somewhere. When we find it, it will all be worth it so we’ll continue to be patient and keep on searching.

 

California, Here We Come November 20, 2009

Filed under: Life — Holly @ 8:25 pm
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We’re packing up and heading out to spend the holidays in California. This will be my first cross country flight while pregnant. I did survive driving across country when I was 10 weeks along and then flying to Ohio when I was 14 weeks and that was all well and good. Now I’m 26 weeks and my baby bump has considerably expanded. Wish me luck that I’m not terribly uncomfortable or swell like a balloon… we have two layovers and a 6am start so it’s going to be a long, long travel day.

I’ll say goodbye for now and I’ll post again from the West side. Cheers!

 

Fiddler on the Roof November 9, 2009

Filed under: Life — Holly @ 3:26 pm
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On Friday night, Husband and I ventured out to the beautifully restored Boston Opera House to see the musical, Fiddler on the Roof. The production is billed as actor Chaim Topol’s farewell tour in the role of Tevye, which he has performed about 2,500 times and garnered numerous awards (He was the first Israeli actor ever to be nominated for an Academy Award for his role of Tevye in the original motion picture).

Topol was absolutely amazing and just a joy to watch. Between sitting in probably what is the most beautiful theatre I’ve ever stepped foot in and enjoying three hours of theatrical entertainment, it was a night well spent. Two thumbs way up!

On a side note, Mum was telling me that as a kid growing up in Boston, she used to watch movies at the Boston Opera House because in her days, it was a movie house. Wow, what a place to watch a movie!

Image taken from here.

 

Snowtober October 19, 2009

Filed under: Life — Holly @ 3:20 pm
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Yesterday, we received quite a surprise when Mother Nature decided to snow down on the Boston area… even though it’s only MID-OCTOBER! I personally am not a fan of the cold (I know, why did I ever move back to Boston?) and Husband has never really been in snow before, being the California guy that he is. Husband was only too pleased to run outside and make snowballs to throw at me. He loved it and I probably would have loved it, too, if I wasn’t so damn cold and had on proper winter clothing! Ok, fine, I admit it was rather nice to see snow fall again. After all, it has been many, many years since I’ve seen it. I’m just not sure I wanted to experience it in October. Last time I checked, October = FALL, Snow = WINTER. All things aside, it was actually quite funny and rather sweet to see Husband’s reaction to his first real snowfall. He was like a little kid on Christmas day, all giddy with excitement. We’ll just have to wait and see if he still loves it come January or February when Boston probably has the worst winter on record.

The early snowfall also means Husband and I really have to do some serious winter clothes shopping. We barely have any warm sweaters and we certainly do not have winter jackets, scarves, hats, mittens or boots. We just never needed them after living in California and Sydney for so many years. Needless to say, we’ll be hitting the shops very soon. I also can’t forget to pick up a much needed snow shovel and a car snow brush/ice scraper. I’m sure they will come in handy this winter. What was I thinking moving back to cold and snowy New England?

Photo from here.