Tax Disappointments

We did our taxes and were anticipating a significant return. Instead, we got about a third of what we were expecting. We believe that the problem came from the agreement we made at the end of the last lawsuit to pay a lump sum to help compensate the ex for the money he spends on medical premiums. We’ve been paying per month on that, as agreed, but we believe the state took the rest from the tax return. I say that we believe this to be the case because we can’t imagine what else would come out of our tax returns and the numbers are close, but the state’s website does not show that the lump sum has been paid off.

That money was going to pay off other things. Things that are more urgent. It’s so annoying.

This is, indeed, the last thing we needed.

Plus, this means that when he takes the kids to Disneyworld in two weeks, he’ll have a nice big chunk of money to spend on them there, which I have provided. I’m still annoyed I was ordered to pay ANY of his medical premiums, since his income is something like four times of what mine is. It seems remarkably unfair.

But like all things, we can only deal with the situation we have at hand. And this is the situation we have at hand now. All I can do going forward is to keep plugging away at work and try to compensate for this disaster. And at least we won’t have to keep paying on a monthly basis for this, and that’s a benefit.



Getting Back Together

Now that I’m officially off bedrest and cleared for normal living again, I’m doing the best that I can to get myself together and getting as much done as possible. Some days are, as ever, better than others.

I’ve started using Todoist as a task manager and that seems to be helping considerably. On the other hand, I’m not getting as much done as I’d like, although given that I’m still plagued by constant nausea and am still spending hours upon hours at various doctor’s offices, I suppose some progress is better than no progress.

The most effective form of progress that I’m making is in the dog realm. We got the dog into obedience classes and we’re about halfway through them now and she’s making some real progress. She’s the worst dog in the class,not because she can’t do the tricks or is too slow to get it–she’s not, she’s quite clever–but because she’s such a social creature. She just wants to see and play with the other dogs all the time, and that really impairs her ability to learn the tricks. But we’re practicing hard at home and that does seem to be helping.

Another advantage of being able to move around is that I’m also walking them again, which is good for the weight gain (after four months of gaining only 2 pounds, I gained 3 pounds in 1.5 weeks when I was on bedrest) but also good for the dogs. The husband was not doing a great job walking them, although in his defense, he did have a cold much of that time and was also doing a lot of the work and errands that I would normally be doing.

In other terrible pet news, one of the cats had a recurrence of an ongoing kidney issue. Apparently some male cats have this issue, where they form crystals in their urine, which then clog the urethra, making it impossible for them to urinate and eventually resulting in their death if left untreated. In this case, it resulted in a vet bill of 1200, which it goes without saying we could not afford. We borrowed money from my in-laws for it and now we have to pay that back. In addition, he’s now supposed to be on special prescription food that costs about four times as much as what we were spending on food. The rest of the cats are having over the counter urinary tract food, which is about twice as much as we had been spending. In addition, we’ve bought one of those cat fountains which are supposed to encourage cats to drink more. So far, only two of the five cats and the dogs have been seen to drink from it. The cat with the actual urinary tract issue is not one of the cats that are using the fountain, because of course a cat would behave in the most contrary way possible.

For this week–or rather, what remains of it–I’m going to be focused on finishing the winter dresses I started for the girls before the bedrest intervened and getting back to work.

Victory at the Perinatologist

The perinatologist says I do NOT have the dreaded preeclampsia. Instead, his best guess is that last spring when I was taking ibuprofen around the clock for months to deal with the pain of the dental issues, I did some damage to my kidneys. This damage is minor and should repair itself in time, but the added stress that the pregnancy put on my kidneys is enough to trigger the protein in my urine.

This doesn’t mean that I won’t develop it later; in fact, the fact that my kidneys are a bit weak is an additional risk factor for preeclampsia. For the foreseeable future, I’ll do a 24 hour urine collection test and the blood tests that go with it once a month, following which I’ll see the perinatologist and he’ll look at the baby to be sure that everything is ok.

He’s sure the headaches are tension headaches, which makes me wish I had the income for regular massages, and he switched my pain meds to something that seems to work better for me.

For now, that means that I’m no longer on bedrest. It also means that we can start to think of this child as being a viable possibility again. The ultrasound he did indicates that the baby is perfect, all the organs are there and seem to be working properly, the bones are all there and the right sizes. The second blood test for Down’s syndrome also came back clear, so there is every reason to think this baby will be fine.

It’s a tremendous relief. I’m going to do the best I can to get back to work now that I can focus again. The anxiety these last couple of weeks has been so intense that I was barely sleeping and couldn’t even finish reading a single chapter of any book or any episode of any show.


Welcome to High-Risk Pregnancy

The previous two babies were easy enough ( I mean, I vomited all the time, but there wasn’t anything seriously wrong with me) but this one is an entirely different.

I went into the doctor last Tuesday for my 16 week visit. It was supposed to be a fast and simple visit. Instead, the standard urine dipstick test came back positive for protein, a decent amount. And the blood pressure we up, although still within the borderline range. The doctor said, no one gets pre-eclampsia this early, although I do, of course, have a lot of risk factors. My age and weight are against me, I’ve now had two sisters develop pre-eclampsia, and apparently it’s a risk factor that it’s a new father.

They took some blood and they gave me a massive jug and told me to save all my urine for the next 24 hours (FUN!) and then I was supposed to return for more blood tests the next day when I returned my urine. And in the interim, bedrest.

Here’s something you don’t realize till it happens: bedrest is boring as hell. Considering that watching TV and reading is on my happy list, you’d think it would be fun, but what makes reading and watching TV fun is the knowledge that you’re on a break. When your actual job is to rest, the hours stretch out into infinity and you want to scream. Plus, I can’t really settle to anything because I’m so so nervous about what’s happening. I can’t focus on work, I can’t read more than a few pages at a time, it’s a real problem.

Anyway. The blood tests were all good but the urine was bad. The blood pressure came back down, likely because of the bedrest. The perinatologist was booked until this coming Monday (the 8th) and since the blood pressure and blood was good they said that’s ok, I can wait that long. And in the meantime, modified bedrest. I can drive and sit but nothing with walking, no dog walks, no grocery stores.

The good news is, my adjusted protein count is only about 360 and they won’t induce me till it hits 5k. The bad news is, I’m still 7.5 weeks from the first possibility of the baby surviving. That’s March 22. Most people with pre-eclampsia don’t last 8 weeks. It’s all terrifying.