Disclaimer

This blog is not intended to provide legal advice, legal services or legal anything else. Don't sue me. All I have is debt anyway.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Being a mess

Okay, I've felt like complete crap all weekend, and it's really frustrating. It started on Friday evening with complete exhaustion. Then Saturday it was crying for no reason. Then today it was crying because my moot court brief is just not coming along and I don't want to do the brief at all anymore, as well as complete exhaustion, leading me to waste a lot of time sleeping. A lot. I don't know what it is. Pregnancy hormones? Stress? Being in law school? Impending birthday? A combination of all of those things?

I'm a mess. I don't know how to stop being a mess and get back on track. I worked on the brief all weekend, reading through research and trying to get motivated, and I'm just hitting a wall. I don't know how I'm going to get the brief done in time, and even if I do, it will be awful. We get one credit hour just for doing the brief and oral arguments, and if we make moot court, we get two extra hours (for all the stuff we have to do in the spring and next year). However, I'm really doubtful I will make moot court at this point. I just can't seem to pull it together for some reason. I know I need to snap out of it. Suck it up, write the damn brief, and stop being a whiny ass. But all I want to do is sleep.

Miracle cure advice for laziness and lack of motivation?

Thursday, September 27, 2007

A baby gift

I got a baby gift in the mail today, it's really sweet. It's from Husband's Cousin's Girlfriend, (who hopefully Cousin will be smart enough to marry someday.) Anyway, she sent a really sweet gift, engraved with Proto Human's future name (I smudged out our last name). I put in one of the alien-looking ultrasound photos for effect.




Aw, but it was really cool to get a baby gift!

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Thoughts

Since the other law school moms are waxing philosophical about law school, thought I'd give it a go as well.

I had gone to visit my friends at Mid-Size Law Firm during first semester of 1L, and an associate asked me if I like law school. I answered honestly: oh hell no. I don't detest it, as in praying for the building to burn down so I'll never have to go back, but it's not something I get up in the morning and think, oh yay, I get to go to law school today! He replied that it was a healthy attitude. If I absolutely hated it, I should probably quit. If I absolutely loved it, I should probably be in therapy. I think that is pretty true.

Even though 2L year is definitely much better than the emotional turmoil of 1L year, I still don't like law school. But I do like the practice of law, and there's a huge difference between the two. For me, law school is just the means to an end. I'm trying to learn as much as I can while I'm here, participate in activities that will build my litigation/trial skills, and even hope to make a difference while I'm here (i.e. the whole summer abroad program thing). But I won't look back on these three years as some fantastic, deeply rewarding experience. I feel that way about my graduate program, but not about law school.

I'm very glad I had the legal experience coming in, but not because it helped to ease the transition into law school (other than knowing the definitions of legal terms and what a memorandum of law should actually look like), because it didn't give me any sort of advantage (in fact, it may actually have been a hindrance). I really believe that if I had been 22 years old, straight out of undergrad, never having worked in law before, I would have quit in my first semester of law school. I would have thought that legal work is always so mind-numbing and ridiculous, and wouldn't have wanted that as a career. I wouldn't have known that the actual practice of law is quite varied and much more interesting, and that a law degree can be used in many creative ways. I'm certain I would have quit.

But I like the type of work I'm doing now, and I like that it won't control my life. I won't deal with the stress of the Big Firm (granted, I won't have the money either, but oh well). Maybe if I didn't have Husband and a Proto Human, I might have worked harder to get top grades and get a Big Firm job. I might not have cared to work 80 hours a week for a six-figure starting salary. But I just don't want to work that hard. That's why my grades are mediocre in the first place!

Anyway, the appointment this morning went fine, no changes. One more week closer to the end.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Parking Nazis

Exactly what kind of jackass gives a person with a disabled parking tag a parking ticket for going 5 minutes over on a parking meter, when the person in question shouldn't even have to pay to park at a meter in the first place, because the disabled parking tag allows them to park anywhere else in the entire lot, except for the fact that the entire lot is full except for the ton of metered parking spaces, and all of the other lots nearby are full as well. What the hell good is getting a disabled parking tag if there's nowhere to park with it? I looked for a space for 30 minutes before giving up and parking at the meter, at which I get a ticket. I am furious. I sent a rather biting e-mail to the parking office, not that they give a shit, because they're Parking Nazis after all. Since I got the disabled tag, I have had a lot of trouble finding parking spaces. Parking ten minutes away from the law building rather defeats the purpose of disability parking, considering if you're supposed to be disabled, you can't walk for ten minutes!

And I'm really mad because I went and fed the meter between every class, which was exhausting because it's still a bit of a walk. I got the ticket just before I was leaving for the day. I'm pretty sure Parking Nazis belong in the Eighth Circle of Hell, those guilty of deliberate, knowing evil.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Studyin'

I'm taking a break from Professional Responsibility, and am considering an ice cream run (I never got a call from the clinic about having Gestational Diabetes, which in theory means my test came back normal... oh darling ice cream, our love affair continues). We've got Quiz #2 this week, so I'm using a classmate's "Law in a Flash" cards to study. For you 1L's out there, I think they're a helpful study aid. Last semester, several of us got together and played Trivial Pursuit using the Law in a Flash cards for each class. It somehow made studying for Property, Con Law, Civ Pro II, and Contracts II less mundane. They have fun little hypotheticals and such. However, it's important to remember that with any study aid, it won't necessarily be what you learned in class. Especially with Property, there was stuff we didn't cover that were in the flash cards. That can cause panic attacks during studying. Overall, I think they're useful though, as long as you are just using them for practice hypos.

This weekend I also read through the (new) problem for moot court. Our brilliant moot court people failed to discover that the original problem they passed out was very similar to one that a 1L writing club did last year (it wasn't my writing club). So, after I'd already read the problem and began doing research, we were notified there was a new problem in our box. Ugh. Thanks. I actually like the new problem better though, so that's a plus. The last one was similar to the whole Bong Hits for Jesus thing, and I'm about sick of that case. I think everyone's now used that as a tryout problem for journals/moot courts/etc.

I hope to have all of my research done this week for my brief, and a basic outline of what my brief will be by Friday. I know it's probably unlikely for me to get that much done, but we'll see. I want to write the brief next weekend so I can spend the week editing and then printing it on pretty paper and spiral binding it and such. I also start back to work tomorrow, which I'm very excited about. I need some added structure, and hopefully work will give it to me.

That's about it. Husband and I spent the weekend studying and sleeping. He had a paper to write, and I had a bazillion pages to read. I still have a bazillion more to read. I feel like I'm so behind. I haven't started outlining yet, I hope to start doing that once this brief is done. I seriously feel so behind and it's not even October yet!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Disappointment

We heard back today from the University we needed to host us for a summer study abroad. They've decided not to take us. There's already 3 law schools that go there in the summer, and they won't take anymore, even though our dates are different from the other schools. I think it's too late to start the process over again, considering we have an Oct. 1 deadline to submit our ABA accreditation application. So disappointed. I've worked so hard on this project, trying to get it going, and that's it, we're done. I mean, it's not like we can't still create our own program, just not for this summer. Which means I won't be able to go, because I will have graduated by summer '09 (knock on wood), and studying for the crappy bar exam. But at least we can create a program that will be a legacy for us to leave behind. There's some comfort in that. But not much. Not an incredibly cheap three-week trip to Europe kind of comfort.

I got the phone call right before class (the class I'm currently in and only half paying attention to now). Then I got called on first thing. Obviously I'm not really thinking about the class after getting a huge dose of disappointment right before class started. So, I really struggled through the questioning, and totally got lawyered with every point I tried to make. Oh well. I feel completely defeated. We have an ILS meeting this afternoon, and I had intended on announcing our plans for summer abroad at the meeting. So much for that.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Poked again

Today's appointment included an attempt to give me gestational diabetes by making me drink sugar water. Then I got poked an hour later. If my blood sugar is all crazy then I'll have to go in for a longer test. I don't know if the stuff gave me diabetes, but it sure gave me indigestion. Yuck. I also had a real prenatal appointment today, which I'm now supposed to have every two weeks. I got measured, and pee'd in a cup. Everything's normal. I gained a little bit of weight in the past two weeks. I'm now up to 8 pounds of weight gain, although I think about 3 of those pounds is from the water in my ankles. Blech.

Everything else was the same as last week, which is good. Shunts still in place, they appear to be working, and most importantly, no recurrence of hydrops. Week 25 down. Maximum of 15 to go. Weekly ultrasounds at $600 each. $600 times 15. Ugh. They'd better give us a discount.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Blarg

Today, I:

Attended four classes, three of which are back-to-back, from 9am to 3:30pm;

Finished my moot court cite test with the utmost mediocrity;

Ended up printing the posters for our Thursday ILS meeting myself and going back to the law school at 10pm to tape them up. (If you want something done right...) ;

Prepared talking points for the ILS meeting for my VP to take over, should I not be able to make it;

Prepared for a meeting with the professors and study abroad folks for tomorrow afternoon, and briefed my colleague helping me with it, so she can lead the meeting should I not be able to make it;

Sent Husband to the grocery store to buy food for the Thursday ILS meeting. (He's currently cutting cheese into cubes.) Should I not be able to make the meeting, my Secretary has instructions to come to our house to pick up the food;

Treated Husband to ice cream at our favorite parlor;

Did my laundry so I can wear clothes to school tomorrow (my colleagues will be grateful);

Opened the first of the medical bills from Children's Hospital and actually didn't cry, or hyperventilate;

Am about to read for Insurance for tomorrow;

Am going to take a Benadryl before bed so I can actually sleep tonight instead of worry about tomorrow's appointment.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Cankles

I woke up this morning to the discover biggest cankles ever. My rings weren't tight, so I can't imagine I'm retaining that much water. Just my ankles and feet decided to swell overnight. Anyway, I had super-cute maternity outfit picked out for today and had to wear my running shoes with it. Oh well. I try to be fashionable, it just never seems to work out.

I took a trip to Target this afternoon after class. The TAB competition has been canceled for this weekend due to Yom Kippur (even though I'm pretty sure we don't have a single Jewish student... I could be wrong though), so I decided to take the time I had allotted to work with my TAB partner, to go shopping instead. I needed a new pair of sunglasses, since mine have vanished. Then of course I raided the baby section, because there were a ton of clothes on sale. (Sadly, most are pink, but there were clothes there for 98 cents! How could I resist?)

I did splurge and spend $5 on one item though -- little ballet slippers! I know, it's so silly. I hate everything pink and girly, yet I love the little pink ballet slippers (actually just baby socks/shoes in general). Husband and I volunteer for our local ballet company though, so I feel justified. (We just work the box office though... I was definitely not made for dance, being "curvy" and uncoordinated.) Maybe our daughter will be interested in taking ballet lessons or some other form of dance someday. If so, at least we have the hook-up through the dance company, which also runs a dance school.

Oh well. Just glad to have had a few hours to myself before I need to start reading for tomorrow, and working more on the cite test. I finished half yesterday, so if I can get most of it done tonight then I can go back and check my answers tomorrow.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Cite testing

I'm still annoyed by the moot court thing. I'm working on the cite test now, which I only received Friday evening and is due Wednesday. It will probably take me the majority of the next two days to do, and that's really annoying since I have the TAB problem to work on as well as trying to get caught up on homework. But more annoying than the fact that they wouldn't give me an extension (even though everyone else had a week and a half longer than I do to get this done), is that the cite test is riddled with type-o's and other errors. If we make a single type-o in our response, the entire question is counted wrong, and they can't be bothered to not screw up a bunch of the questions? Yeah, I'm really not impressed with our moot court people at all. The thought of dropping out has occurred to me multiple times while working on this test, considering if they're this difficult now, imagine how they'll be come brief/oral argument time, as well as the next three semesters if I make the cut. But I guess the citations are good practice, and so is the oral argument practice, the only reason I'm still doing this. Maybe we can work on some quality control for next year.

Tonight, I'm having dinner with two professors to get some work done on the summer abroad project. We need to get our accreditation stuff together and get it sent in so we can get the ball rolling. That should be fun, especially as Mrs. Professor is a gourmet chef and I can't wait to find out what culinary masterpiece awaits. Hopefully I'll be done with at least half of this cite test by then. Which means getting up early tomorrow in order to do my Monday class reading, yuck. After this week, things will be much better. I should be (reasonably) caught up on my work, the TAB competition will be over, and work can begin on outlining. Should I actually get the cite test finished and pass it, then briefs are due the first week of October, then arguments will be the middle of October. Not a bad timeline, so long as I can keep going without further interruption.

Anyway, enough whining about having work to do. Time to go do it.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Playing catch-up

Had I been a better law student and spent my time laid up in the hospital studying and not moping/feeling sorry for myself, I wouldn't have a billion things to do this weekend. I took my PR make-up quiz this morning, at least that's done. I can't say for certain, but I don't think it went so well. It was a really hard quiz. 10 multiple choice questions, and those evil questions where several choices can be correct, I suck at those. I was only sure about four of the answers; who knows about the other six. Also, I went in at 8 am to take the quiz, and my brain does not fully wake up until at least noon. I'm such a mess, truly.

Anyway, I have to go back down to the law school tonight to (hopefully) pick up my stuff for moot court. I e-mailed the professor in charge of moot court when I missed the mandatory meeting (one of the three meetings I missed when I left town last Wednesday), and didn't hear back from him until yesterday, when he simply forwarded my e-mail to the moot court president, asking him to contact me. Moot Court Prez contacts me early this morning and says he's putting the stuff in my mailbox. I e-mailed him at 1pm and advised it's not in my box, and asked if he can't get me the stuff today, can I have an extension on the cite test (you know, since everyone else had two weeks to do it, and I'll have two days). Yeah, no extensions on the cite test, didn't have the stuff by the time I left for the afternoon and I really needed to go home and lay down. If that stuff's not in my box tonight, I'm saying to hell with moot court, and I'll just drop. The Trial Advocacy Board folks got back to me within 24 hours and gave me the information electronically, none of this crazy hardcover copies in the mailbox stuff. TAB's not even a real class, but I'm registered for moot court for actual credit. Not impressed.

This weekend's activities include: (maybe) doing the cite test for moot court, preparing our case for the TAB trial next weekend, hosting the in-laws on Saturday, and having dinner at my tax professor's house on Sunday night (his wife is a gourmet chef, I'm so excited). And of course, reading like crazy to catch up on the reading I didn't do. We're getting so close to October, if I don't get caught up and start outlining soon, I'll be in real trouble!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Just us girls


Me, Family Dog, and a 24-week belly

Good news finally

We finally had good news at today's ultrasound. Even the doctors were surprised, because they expected it to take up to two weeks for the hydrops to resolve. However, at today's appointment, it was completely gone. The doctor said this is the best result we could possibly hope for, and although we're still what seems an eternity away from a safe delivery, things are looking really promising. That doesn't mean I won't need surgery again, because it seems likely I will. But it'd be really nice if it doesn't happen for awhile, and even better if it's only once more and not multiple times. We'll be at 24 weeks on Friday, and are now viable. The chance of survival rate goes up significantly each week, so each week we get good news, the better that news will be. The shunts are still in place and functioning, at least for now. The CCAM has already grown and the heart is a little shifted again, but the larger the fetus grows, hopefully fetal growth will exceed the growth of the cyst, and the shunts will keep the size down significantly.

We felt so optomistic at today's appointment, we decided to get confirmation of the gender. We're having a girl. Two weeks ago, I would have been disappointed (because I really had wanted a boy) but now I'm just happy that the fetus has regained her health and now has a very good chance of making it out of the womb as a healthy baby.

Of course, I knew it was a girl. Only a girl could be this much trouble before she's even born.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Back to school

I went back to school today, which was difficult but good for my spirits (even if it is September 11). I had four classes today, none of which I was particularly prepared for, but fortunately no one was cruel enough to call on me my first day back. I have a lot of work to catch up on, but fortunately it's still early enough in the semester to not make much difference.

I am having some discomfort as a result of all of the medical procedures, specifically some mild back pain (I imagine from the epidural) and my right hand aches, from the horrible IV. During the weekend hospital stay, they pumped me full of fluids and antibiotics, one of the antibiotics burned so badly I would just cry the whole time it was running. By Monday, the vein was shot and my hand was red and swollen. Today it feels like I have arthritis. Husband, and many other people, keep saying how proud they are of me, and how great I'm doing. I really don't think so, and it just makes me feel guilty about all the complaining I do. I have an extremely low pain tolerance, and I have severe, and quite embarrassing, anxiety attacks when needles are involved. Having future surgeries looming over my head is my own personal hell. (Yes, I am still five years old and needing to be bribed with a promise of a trip to the toy store if I don't scream bloody murder and embarrass my mother at the doctor's office while getting a shot. )

In completely unrelated pregnancy news, I have the worst heartburn today. I'm having Tums for dinner. All this craziness had distracted me from the normal misery of pregnancy. I think Nature owes me one, and should at least spare me the rest of the pregnancy woes such as stretch marks and hemorrhoids. I think I've paid my dues.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Random thoughts

I cannot even describe how good it is to finally be home. Laying in bed right now with a cuddly labrador who's snoozing happily and drooling on Husband's pillow, is very good for the soul.

Most of the day was completely worthless though. In response, I had two meltdowns today, my emotions are definitely getting the best of me. When four hours after saying I could finally go home, and even taking out the very-painful IV and getting me packed up, they still had not discharged me from the hospital. I could have made it back to town in time to go to class today and attend a women's law caucus meeting, had that not happened. After two days in the hospital, and five days out of town, I was ready to pull out my hair. I am completely intolerant of the medical community anyway, but things like that make my brain explode. Sure, they couldn't get in contact with the attending to sign the discharge order. However, it just takes "someone" with an MD to sign a discharge order, and that's what they have slaves (a/k/a residents and fellows) for anyway. Four hours later, they finally found an enslaved MD to get me the hell out of there.

I also got a statement from Previous Sucky Insurance Company, where they paid practically nothing of the triple screen I had done last month. After arguing on the phone with Pissy Customer Service Person (I guess I'd be pissy too if I worked for Sucky Insurance Company), I had second meltdown of the day. What good is a law degree if you still get screwed over by insurance companies? I'm going to propose a new course to administration called "Insurance Law: How Not to Get Screwed." Also, I'm determined to find out what is this great secret of medical bill coding that makes the insurance company arbitrarily pay a claim that they would otherwise deny. Sounds like dark sorcery to me, and oh do I want part of it.

Finally, when we got home, my mother was here and stayed for dinner. I love my mother, she is supportive and caring, and has been here to take care of Family Dog, Family Rabbits, and watch the house in our absence. But she still raises my blood pressure. Not intentionally, she just has this innate ability to stress me out even more, mostly by hovering. I hate hovering. I'm a leave-me-the-hell-alone kind of sulky person when I'm upset, whereas my mother wants to hug it out. I hope someday I can provide equal amounts of love/irritation to my child, and also hope I'll have the ability to know when to just go away.

Provided there is a child, of course. I keep going back and forth between blind optimism that everything will be just fine, and the cruel reality that there are no guarantees and we're a long way from having a healthy baby. Wednesday is our next ultrasound, as it will be every Wednesday after that. Going every Wednesday to find out if the CCAM has grown, if we need to drop everything to head north to Children's Hospital, if I need to again be stabbed repeatedly in the belly, if I need to drop out of school because about one more week of absences will do the job for me. On an emotional level, it's like a run through the gauntlet.

I resent the uncertainty, the lack of control over the situation, the inability to really plan for anything anymore. I also resent the intrusion into my carefully structured life, of these medical emergencies and emotional turmoil. But mostly I'm mad at myself, because I let myself believe I could do this pregnancy thing with no problem, and I let my pride get the best of me. I'd pop out a kid over Christmas break and be back sitting at the law school by spring. Glide through 2L year, be Miss Suzy Law School, president of everything, this shining role model of law school parenthood and academic mediocrity. Maybe they'd even give me a damn medal at the end of it. Also, I started this blog as a way to reach out to women who wanted both careers in law and a family, as I had appreciated the insights of others also starting their families while pursuing a legal education. I wanted to show it could be done, despite the naysayers who thought I was crazy for getting pregnant during law school in the first place. Now I feel as though I've become a horror story of why you don't get pregnant in law school, a cautionary tale to sing the merits of birth control and good study habits. Even though I know logically there is no way I could have known how this would all work out, and there is no reason I should have believed I would have even a complicated pregnancy let alone a disasterous one, I still feel the weight of my decisions and the subsequent consequences. I'm sure I'll feel differently if we can have a healthy baby in the end, and years from now talk about how all the pain was a small price to pay. But if we don't, I know myself enough to realize just how much I'll carry the burden of my choices.

But for right now, all I can do is fight to keep my head above water. I'm just stubborn enough to not give up and let a bad situation ruin me. Not to mention that whole pride thing too. I want this to be story of how mediocre law student can get pregnant, have a tremendously bad pregnancy experience, keep afloat, and still come out triumphant with a baby and a JD.

Home

We're going home today. I'll still be on bedrest (with special permission to sit in my law school classes as long as I don't move much or lift anything), but we get to go home. My amniotic fluids are still low, but they're in the low range of normal, so we're good. Unfortunately, the CCAM has gotten slightly bigger. We won't be having surgery again this week at least. Can't speak for subsequent weeks just yet, but the longer we can last without having another surgery, the better. The closer we get to a safe delivery, much better.


Still have a long road ahead, and while the hydrops is improving, it's not gone yet. We get to be a little more optomistic today though, because we get to go home after nearly a week. We still have to take it one week at a time, one ultrasound at a time. But for today, we can breathe (guardedly) more easily.


And I have some serious reading to catch up on!!

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Still stuck

Still stuck in the hospital. No increase in amniotic fluids, and I've got another day of IV antibiotics and bedrest, at least. I just want to go home. I'm exhausted, mentally, physically, emotionally. I really don't know how much more of this I can handle. Worried about pre-term labor, without having even reached viability for a healthy fetus, let alone one trying to recover from hydrops with a pipe hanging out of its back to drain a cyst. We can't deliver for another two months at least and guarantee a healthy baby in the end.

I'm just so tired of all of this. I just want to go home. Sleep in my own bed, not be poked with anymore giant needles, and have a nice cup of Earl Grey while cuddled on the couch with Husband and Family Dog. I don't know how I'm ever going to get caught up with school, especially if I keep missing more class.

I don't even know if we made the right decision in trying to save this pregnancy. I'm so afraid we'll have done all of this for nothing, that there won't be a baby anyway, when we should have just terminated the pregnancy and accepted our loss. I don't know that we weighed our decisions enough. We jumped at the chance to save this pregnancy without truly considering the repercussions. There were surgeons willing to do the surgery, they gave us very good odds, and that seemed good enough for us. Maybe that's the only thing we could do, is try all we could to have a healthy baby. The odds were in our favor, best case scenario we'd have a healthy baby, so how could we not try? And maybe, cosmically, trying was for the best because it's the only way that medical technology improves.

I dunno, I guess I'm just trying to make sense of all of this. Maybe there isn't any sense to be made. All I know is, I want to go home, and I want to know that all of the turmoil we've been through over the past two weeks wasn't for nothing.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Stuck

Back at the hospital. I don't get to go home. In fact, I've actually been admitted to the hospital. I'm low on amniotic fluid, and there's concern, albeit unlikely since I'm not leaking nor having contractions, that my water broke. They think it's probably just leakage from all the needle holes, but they wanted to keep me for observation overnight and make sure I have more fluid in the morning. If I don't, we're in for some trouble. We haven't quite reached viability yet, we're a week away, not that the survival rate for the delivery of a 24 week fetus is very high. Also, that survival rate goes to zero considering it's a fetus with hydrops. The hydrops is improving, however, so if there's more amniotic fluid tomorrow, things will look really good for us.

So, here I am, still stuck in the hospital. I've been poked and prodded more than I ever thought possible. I just want to go home, sleep in my own bed, pet my dog and go back to school.

Friday, September 7, 2007

They sprung me

I got to the hospital at 8am, and left at 4pm. Long day, but so far, so good. Okay, I wouldn't say good. I feel like I've been kicked in the stomach and I'm still a little loopy from the happy drugs. But the procedure was successful, they made an incision, shoved needles into my belly, were able to break up the cysts and drain some fluid, and installed two shunts. Fortunately, the fetus cooperated this time and they were able to perform the surgery without too much trouble. I had my first experience with epidural, which numbed basically everything chest down. However, I could still very much feel the shoving of needles into my belly. It wasn't pain, like needle prick, it was just like being punched in the stomach.

I'm pretty exhausted. We're spending another night with our friends, and returning to Children's tomorrow for a follow-up ultrasound to make sure the shunts have stayed in (otherwise, guess what we get to do again!). The cyst was apparently shrunk enough that the heart is back where it's supposed to be, relieving the main stresser on the fetus. Hopefully the fetus doesn't decide those look like fun to pull out and play with, I'll be pissed. We're now just waiting and hoping the fluid retention (the hydrops) resolves. If it does, we're in dramatically better shape. (If not, then no baby). Then we just have to make sure that the cyst doesn't get big enough to squish everything else again, which is what the shunts are for. So long as the shunts continue to work, we're in good shape. However, they can easily clog, or pop out, or be pulled out by a grabby fetus (fortunately, ours were put in the back, should make it a lot harder to pull out). The amnio results came back good, and if the hydrops resolves, we'll know 100% what brand of baby we're having. We're hoping we can make it to 30 weeks without popping a shunt, and definitely without hydrops reoccurring. We can't deliver the baby safely with hydrops, even when full term, so we have to keep careful watch. Back to High Risk Ghetto Clinic!

I'm going to convince my doctor there I need a handicap parking tag for 2nd Tier Law School, since I'm being put on physical restrictions to avoid popping out a shunt. If I pop 'em out very quickly, I'm likely to end up on bedrest when they reinstall them, which I'd very much like to avoid. Of course, getting a handicap parking tag at the University, even temporarily is ridiculous. To get one from the state, you just have your doctor sign the form. The University, however, won't accept the state's handicap parking tags (I had this problem when I had mono in undergrad). So I'll have to get my doctor to fill out the form, attach supplemental medical proof of my condition, and wait to be rejected. Damn parking nazis.

Tomorrow

I'm having surgery tomorrow morning to have a shunt installed to continuously drain the fluid from the cyst. They will have to sedate me. Not because it requires it but because I tend to have severe anxiety attacks when it comes to giant needles coming at my belly. Go figure.

The procedure has an 80% chance of success in resolving the fetal hydrops, which they discovered Wednesday at our ultrasound. If fetal hydrops does not resolve due to the draining of the cyst, the result if fetal heart failure, which results in fetal demise. Either it works or it doesn't. We'll know in under two weeks. Right now the heart is in good working order, so hopefully the fetus will bounce back and in as few as 9 weeks (or even full term to 16 more weeks) we could have a healthy baby (that will need subsequent surgery to remove the CCAM).
Anyway, we've been staying with our friends since Wednesday night, and have spent two days at Children's Hospital full of poking and prodding. An MRI, an EKG, several ultrasounds, a failed attempt at surgery Wednesday night (uncooperative fetus blocking every entrance into the chest) and two steroid shots in the ass, which I am very displeased with not only because it burned like hell, but there went my career in professional sports. Damn.

Trying to keep a good sense of humor about this all, as best as you possibly can when you're having a giant needle shoved in your belly (and your back... I get my first epidural tomorrow), and the life of your unborn child hangs in the balance. Oh, and don't forget about the financial state of our family and status of my education. Yeah, worst case scenario we end up bankrupt, I can't sit for the bar, and we have no child. Or we're bankrupt, I can't sit for the bar, and we have our child taken away by child protective services, because we're living in a cardboard box and can't feed it. So, yeah, instead of flowers, we're starting a "pay our ridiculous medical expenses because our crappy insurance only offers $2500 in outpatient maximum benefits and everything we're doing is outpatient" charity. I hate insurance. "Those giving hands when you pay your premiums... when you file your claim, turn to giving you the finger," as sayeth my insurance law professor.

Anyway, we should be home on Saturday, after a follow-up with the docs. I should be back in school on Monday. I will have another follow-up on Wednesday at our hospital at home, where they will track the progress if the hydrops resolve and watch for any future fluid retention.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Today

Again, not a day I expected.

7:50 a.m.: arrived at High Risk Ghetto Clinic
8:30 a.m.: taken back into ultrasound room
9:00 a.m.: advised that in one week's time, the fetus had become hydroptic
9:30 a.m.: after a lot of panicking, called Children's Hospital one hour north to let them know we needed immediate consultation.
10:00 a.m.: amnio. have mild freak-out during it as room gets warm and spinny.
11:00 a.m.: waiting around for genetic counselor that is, of course, late
11:30 a.m.: got call from Children's Hospital saying we needed to come immediately to get an MRI.
11:45 a.m.: went to the law school to advise the deans that I would not be in class the rest of the week and there's a very good chance I won't be finishing the semester
12:00 p.m: got home to pack a bag and find the closest body piercer who can remove my metal jewelry
12:30 p.m.: jewelry changed, bag packed, and on our way to Children's Hospital
1:30 p.m.: arrived at Children's Hospital
2:00 p.m.: trying to find a way to get to the parking garage because there is apparently a terrorist threat including an abandoned baby bottle. Code Orange.
2:30 p.m.: set up for the MRI. freak out slightly when they put the movie goggles on me, which made me feel incredibly claustrophobic. Went with the crappy "easy listening" music instead.
3:30 p.m.: go upstairs to Fetal Surgery Clinic to figure out what will happen tomorrow. Doctors and nurses are all in surgery, but one comes out to tell me that they need to give me a steroid injection today and to stick around.
4:00 p.m.: barely taste crappy food in hospital cafeteria
5:00 p.m.: have another ultrasound because apparently High Risk Ghetto clinic didn't get the correct numbers (which is why we had allowed ourselves to be optomistic because according to the numbers, our chances of developing fetal hydrops were really low). Apparently someone can't do math. We were in much worse shape than we thought last week, hydrops was only a matter of time, and it definitely didn't take long.
6:00 p.m.: we leave Children's and head to our friends' ghetto apartment, across the street from the University Hospital, where they will be performing an outpatient surgery. The doctor said it was urgent enough that he was skipping his kid's soccer game to stick yet another a needle in my belly to attempt to drain fluid from the cysts and hope to relieve the hydrops. If it doesn't keep long, the second surgery would be installing a shunt. If the fluid doesn't come back very quickly, then they would do the same thing again, just drain it. If neither procedure ends up working, there are some much more invasive procedures, that involve more digging into my stomach.
7:00 p.m.: attempt surgery. I have panic attacked, and have to be sedated. However, even after numbing my belly, the kid won't cooperate and won't stay in a position where they can get to the cyst. Surgery rescheduled for tomorrow. Steroid shot in the ass.

I just have no idea what our chances are. We don't have much time left to decide to terminate the pregnancy, which will be something we need to discuss. We really didn't think we would have to consider it. I mean, as long as the kid has a fighting chance, I want to give it to him. But if we're just prolonging the inevitable, it seems inhumane to continue. The baby is very sick, and in distress.

We're spending the night with our friends, and going back tomorrow to Children's for a round of EKG, level II ultrasound, this surgery, a bunch of other stuff, and financial counseling. I have a feeling they aren't going to feel too bad about screwing a graduate nursing student and a law student with a household income of $65,000.00 and who own property. Sure, we're not impoverished. Yet. Just wait until we get the bill for all of this.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Back to school

I rejoined the human race and went back to school today. Managed to get called on in Tax, after a two-day absense and having to get up in the middle of class to go to the bathroom. Fortunately, I actually had the answers and didn't have to pass or make a complete ass of myself as I generally do when I get called on and get all flustered.

I have to do some serious studying this weekend for PR. We have a quiz on Monday on the Model Rules. Since I haven't yet read all of the Model Rules, I suppose I should do that. Most of the stuff we've gone over has been pretty ridiculous so far. Like, you shouldn't break into your client's ex-wife's house and microwave her cat. I didn't need the Model Code to tell me that one, thanks. (And that guy shouldn't be suspended from the bar, he should be shot.)

In other news, I am starting back to work on Monday, so this is my last week of (relative) freedom. We have a Moot Court meeting tomorrow afternoon, as well as the meeting for Trial Advocacy Board. I also called an officers' meeting for ILS. I think I'm about to get hit with the reality of my workload.

So, ultrasound #2 is tomorrow morning. Then I've got one class, and three meetings to sit through.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Taking some time

Can't say I'm completely over tearing up at random moments, but I'm doing much better today. I did some cleaning around the house and made what are probably the most disgusting pancakes ever created, of which even Family Dog was suspicious (I don't know what went wrong, other than the fact that I made the pancakes, because I followed the recipe exactly. Ugh. This is why I don't cook.) Anyway, this afternoon we took a short roadtrip, about 25 minutes away, to go for a picnic. We played some fetch after the picnic and then Husband and Family Dog went for a hike while I did some light non-law-related reading. Family Dog is tuckered out, she had a fantastic time, which she deserved since she's been a loyal labrador and laid around with us all depressed the past two days. We had a pretty good time too, it was nice to get out of the house, get a change of scenary and enjoy some nice weather.

Tonight I think we're going to watch "Rome" which we just got on DVD, and eat some ice cream. Tomorrow and Monday shall be reserved for catching up on missed reading assignments and getting back into the game.