Toxoplasmosis Scare

Turns out the “cat parasite” toxoplasma gondii that doctors warn you about and why pregnant woman should refrain from scooping the litter box is actually more commonly gotten by eating under-cooked or handling raw meat improperly. Even meat you get from the grocery store!

The reason I bring this up is because I’m currently facing such a scare myself. My cat Stella’s infliction last weekend was because of this little parasite. How? Confused us too. She’s indoors. Has no way of gaining it. Except, apparently her hobby of tearing into the meat packaging we get from the stores. Before it was just an annoyance. A very dirty one that had her knocking the trashing can down, rutting through it, pulling out the bloody meat packaging and ripping it to shreds. Now, however, she could be a life savor!

The reason I say this is because I don’t handle cat litter. Never have. And on average cats are only contagious with Toxoplasmosis for roughly 14 days after being infected. I’m about 99.9% sure that if I happen to have this, I didn’t get it from her. No, instead, if anything its from my own hobby of liking my steaks medium rare. Technically, I should be fine. They say steaks only need to be heated up to 145 degrees to kill the parasite. This is roughly the temp you measure medium-rare stakes too. That doesn’t mean is 100% certain. The only way to have that is to ruin the steak by charbroiling it to very well done. Something I refuse to do.

Right now I am only managing to keep myself calm with this fact, and the fact that I probably caught Toxoplasmosis a long time ago with all the years I’ve spent around outside cats. Apparently 1 in 5 people globally have caught Toxoplasmosis and have the anti-bodies against it. As long as this isn’t my first time ‘catching’ Toxoplasmosis, my little Dean will be 100% safe. Even then, if this happens to be my first time, because I’m still in the second trimester, the likelihood of me transferring it to him is only 25%.

Basically, I’m in a potentially deadly numbers game. Considering the fact that store bought meat rarely has toxoplasmosis, perhaps I should be more worried. But thankfully statistics don’t work like that and I’m of the belief if you think positively the universe will also. I hope anyone who reads this will also help by thinking positively as well.

Woes of a Working Mom

Little Dean isn’t even born yet and already I’m feeling the confines of work trying to butt into my life and make things unbearable. Today I was just told by my boss that the shift I signed for is not just Monday and Tuesday from 2:30pm to 12:30am, but I absolutely MUST be available Thursday through Saturday. In other words I’m on call. Right now it’s annoying, but okay. When Dean is born, however, I am not going to have another care taker or do day-care for Dean. My plan was to just work those two days and then be with Dean when my hubby is at work the rest of the week. Whelp. Apparently not. And saying I can’t come in because of my son will apparently not fly either, I’ll get a mark on my record.

Honestly, I’m not surprised. Every job I’ve ever had to date has found some way to screw with me.

It’s not like I can’t be flexible. I offered to be available Thursday through Saturday from 5:30am to 11:30am. But nope. I have to be available from 5:30am to 12:30am. No that second am is not a miss-type. Now I have to talk to the HR and Union people to see if there is anything I can do. I applied for this job specifically because I only wanted 20hrs a week. What the hell would happen if I had, oh say, another job? Personally, I would like to stay at this job. The pay is amazing, and for the most part it isn’t stressful. But I will not be forced to choose between a job and my child. Amazing pay or not.

Another issue is that because of my availability Thursday through Saturday and them not having the Casual working that’s suppose to work Friday and Saturday, I’ve been taking those shifts. Okay, no problem. So far the days I’ve needed off and asked for they have given me them. However, because the person who took on the Saturday shift called in sick and one of the managers had to work, I may not get my baby shower off. My own fucking baby shower! The event isn’t until April 28th and 29th and already they are saying I may not be able to have it off?? I do have a second weekend that I can do the baby shower, the issue is that they will have the same issue with that. This is ridiculous. Forget just having a baby, it’s like I can’t even have a life. Worse, I’m not getting paid to put my life on hold unless I’m actually called in.

I’m stuck in this perpetual rut of having jobs that somehow screw around with me. I’m tried of it. If I had the money I would just stay home the whole time. Or better yet open my own business and make my own rules. If anyone has another suggestion, please, I really want to hear it!

 

Messed-Up Weekend

This weekend was horrible. Thursday into Friday the cold I had had for three weeks and had thought was gone returned with vengeance. At that point though, I refused to call it a cold because all it was (and still is) is congestion, snot, and a cough because of the snot. I had no other symptoms. But boy was that enough to not let me get ANY sleep that night. It was worse that I had to work 5.75 hours Friday.

Anyways, the time passes that night. Restless. Coughing. And of course having to constantly pee. About 5:20am I get this call from work. I didn’t notice it so it was actually through the voice mail I learn that a co-worker is sick and they want me to come in early. Fuck that! I was about to call in sick myself. Now my hands are tied. Because I don’t feel like its really a cold I feel guilty about calling in. The time for work rolls around. I feel like crap, among other adjectives.

Long story short, I had to work alone and it so happened to be one of those random busy days. By the end my throat hurt. I also realized I couldn’t keep it up so I called in the night worker early to get an 1hr 30min of sick leave. Which worked out well because I decided to get a doctors appointment. Maybe, just maybe they could give me codeine, or something to knock me out.
Of course they didn’t! While Codeine may not be bad for fetus, they simply don’t know the effects on fetus either. Not to mention trying to get Codeine out of the place I go to is like pulling teeth. They point you in so many other directions. Are you sure you tried this? How about this? Fuck you, I’ve tried EVERYTHING!

Finally get home. Take my usual Benadryl (which by this point I’ve basically become immune to…) and manage to get a restless 2 to 3 hours of sleep before I’m away again and unable to sleep.

Friday night into Saturday. Another restless night. I’m able to sleep in 15 to 45min segments. Once or twice do I get about an hour or so. Definitely no real sleep. More like a half-way state. It was about 8am when I feel my little Stella girl acting weird around my legs. I thought she was playing. Which is weird, but she likes to curl up on my legs/hips or next to them, so I pet her and fall back into my half-way state. Then around 9am my hubby comes to me, frantic and says, “Wake up! Stella had a stroke!” He doesn’t tell me if she’s alive or dead. Just leaves that hanging for a minutes as I stumble awake. Then as I come out he realizes what he said and says, she’s alive but not good.

Turns out she has paralysis in both her front arms. I find her crawling around and meowing frantically, her arms are bent at her wrists and it looks as if she’s doing some horribly pathetic t-rex impression as she slides around on her stomach on the floor. Okay… The normal vet we take her to is closed on weekends. In the past we had to go to one in a town that’s only 7miles away. I call them. They have no openings. I sit there for a minute, my head throbbing, trying to fix this. There is the major vet teaching school in our town, but they too are closed on weekends, they still see people though for emergencies except its like 100 bucks on top of everything else. Not to mention they like to look for things to charge you more.

It was around that time my hubby said he was willing to call in sick for me. This is MY CAT. I don’t see her as a pet. I see her as my shadow. My familiar. Honestly I wanted to cry, but because of the cold I refused to call a cold, I would not let myself cry. When I cry, snot is produced. I had more than enough snot already.

We were already planning to go up to see my parents. We had plans to go to a Baby Fair. I wondered if maybe the Vet my parents used was open. So I googled it. Behold! It was and they had an opening, however, they were only open until noon. It takes about an hour and 15 minutes to drive up there. We had only 15min to pack our backs, get my cat and be on the road. It was frantic. My head hurt. But we managed to get out on time with Stella.

Finally, at the vet. Stella has not improved, though she has stopped meowing. Vet checks her over and then says, “Well, this is all rather puzzling. I don’t know what’s wrong with her.” This is not what someone wants to hear when a loved one is in trouble. My cat is no different. In the end he got blood for bloodwork and gave her a shot to hopefully help. $172 dollars later… I got a cripple cat and no idea what in the hell is wrong with her.

On my way to my parents house my hubby cries. Really startles me, and doesn’t help me keep my own calm, but I manage. We get to my parents house and I take a nap with her for about 3 hours. I wouldn’t really call this sleep either, I woke up like five times. Still don’t see much of any improvement. My hubby also points out how her paws are super cold, it doesn’t seem blood is circulating properly. He has also been searching the internet for a solution while I napped. He lists off things it could be. Blood Clot. A really horrible virus that there is no cure for. Heart disease. Etc. I look up how to help get circulation back into her paws if it is a stroke, while noting his research. I don’t really pick anything or allow myself to think on it. What I focus on is messaging her limps and keeping her joints limber and help her eat and go to the bathroom. Both of which are wonderful signs!

stella

Sunday. After another restless night. I woke up a total of 13 times. 4 to go pee. That was at about 2 to 3 hour segments. The rest were due to my cold, which I still wasn’t calling a cold. It was only slightly better than the night before. I woke up with Stella falling out of the bed butt first. I’m instantly awake, I pick her up and take her to the food and water dish. Nope. Then the cat litter box. Bingo! She was very embarrassed  and depressed once she was done and I got her back onto the bed. She just sort of ‘flumped’ down on her side and blankly stared at the wall.

It’s kind of amazing. I am usually able to connect with her anyways, but this last weekend was on a whole new level. All she had to do was meow and look and I knew instantly what she wanted. She’s a smart cat. The smartest one I’ve ever had, but it still amazes me at times. That connection still remains even now.

Anyways, I fall back asleep for about an hour and 30 minutes. This time actually getting real sleep with a dream. When I get up I try to take her to the food dish again. I notice some movement in her left paw, but she still can really use it. I have to hold the food in my palm while she’s sitting in my lap.

At this point I was torn. I really don’t want to leave her, but the Baby Fair is what we originally planned to do. Not to mention, by this point, both my hubby and myself need the emotional break. So we go. Only takes about an 1hr or so. We also have places we need to go to. Like Babies R Us. Where we decide to get a baby gate. We have to get one anyway, but now we will be using it to keep Stella up stairs. We also got some baby clothes for little Dean. While we ate out we also looked into cat booties to help with her legs. That was 74.77 dollars. We may or may not be returning these depending on how she does.

In all we were gone about 4/5 hours. This whole time Stella refused to sleep in the bed we made her and hid partly under the bed. Her ass was hanging out, it was all she could do just to crawl her way in partially. I go upstairs to check on her. She ate more food, no water again. No bathroom. I take another nap with her on the bed.

At a quarter to 9pm I wake up. My parents are getting ready for bed, but I’m wide awake and bored. I decide to use the new cat bed I got Stella and my blanket to wrap her up and take her down stairs. Alone I watch the TV with her on my lap. It’s at this point I’ve noticed she’s able to put some weight on her left food with it only, sometimes collapsing. My hubby returns from his dad’s, he is ecstatic. There is hope! She eats. She shits. And now her left limb is slowly starting to work. Both of us agree that we will get to the bottom of this. If she is fighting, we will fight with her.

We don’t go to bed until 3am. By this point Stella is putting more and more weight on her left foot. In the morning, we notice some movement in her right limb. Other than my back hurting like no other and having to sleep propped up on a million pillows, I actually slept longer than the 15 to 45 minutes segments. Stella also ate dry food and went to the bathroom. She was able to use her left foot, though awkwardly, 100% without it collapsing and her right about 60%. The Vet called around 9am, told us the bloodwork was normal. The next step would be an X-ray and maybe ultrasound (if, you know, money wasn’t an issue). I told him that we were actually trying to get back home and if we could just get all his notes and another shot for her, that would be great. So another 35 bucks.

Today at 9am we saw the normal Vet. With everything the Vet is leaning towards either a stroke with unknown cause, or toxoplasmosis. If you don’t know that is a disease caused by an infection from that Toxoplasma gondii parasite that lives in cats poop. Of course I’ve heard of it. I’m preggo and the first thing the OB asks is if you have cats and that I better not to the litter box. I also knew about it from my parasitology class and vet shadowing I’ve done. Apparently when it they get into a cat (the parasites main host) it can cause neurological issues. The damage for the morning vet visit was $233.16 and then another $170 for the new Toxoplasmosis test and antibiotics to treat it.

Grand Total: $ 684.88 This is, of course, if she has Toxoplasmosis. If it comes back negative the next step is to get that ultrasound which will be around $350 and we will have to go back up to my parents vet for that. -.- I will also have to get tested for toxoplasmosis. I got two things going for me and one thing against me on this. The first is that I’ve spent my whole life around cats, and a big portion of that around outside cats. The likelihood of me having already having Toxoplasmosis and gaining an immunity against them is very high. Another thing is that I never scoop the cat litter box. The only thing against me is that I have a cold which lowers said immunity and this week end I helped her go to the bathroom. While I didn’t scoop said litter, I still handled her after she messily used the litter box. All in all, it’s better to be safer than sorry and thankfully my 24th week check up is on Thursday, I’ll just inform the OB then of the issue (among all the others I have) and probably will need to have more needles shoved into me. Which, by the way, I have a very huge fear of needles. -.-

But Stella is so worth it! If I had to I would take out a new credit card for her. I really just want my prissy, stuck-up cat back to her old self.

 

 

Being Preggo Sucks!

For those few lucky women like my mother, being pregnant was bliss. The only morning sickness she had was when she brushed her teeth. She didn’t suffer any of the negative side-effects. Going into my own pregnancy I realized right away, this would not be the case for me.

Morning Sickness: For the most part this wasn’t too bad. Once I got off Metformin the urge to randomly hurl decreased dramatically until the 9th week. Then it became an evil monster that started with heartburn. For three weeks I suffered until finally I had my OB appointment and the doc gave me heartburn meds. What a blessing those are! Since then, unless I eat spicy food or forget to take my medication I haven’t suffered from any more morning sickness.

Hormones: For the most part I thought the ugly, horned monster had by-passed me. That was until week 22 started. Ever since my emotions have been a way-ward yo-yo. Unfortunately, I also have the horrible side-effect of Allergy-like symptoms that cause my nose to be stuffy and be runny. I’ve had that since about week 19. It’s horrible. I just got over a cold about a month ago, but the snot never completely stopped. Now at week 23 it’s back with vengeance. I also have a lovely cough with it. I sound like I’m sick, but I’m not. And of course being preggo there isn’t really much I can take. I do the Netti Pot (Sinus Rinse), Flonase just makes my throat sore, and so far Robitussion DM doesn’t seem to do crap. When I had a cold I used Benadryl to knock me out, but I’m out and the last few times I took it for this I was stuck in a state halfway between sleep and being awake. Which really sucks!!

Needing to pee… arg! Oh gosh. I’m lucky if in an 8hr period I only wake up three times to go pee. Lately I’ve been waking up much more than that. And those horrible dreams about needing to pee… Don’t get me started on peeing a little while sneezing or coughing!! It’s gross, embarrassing, and frustrating. There is also this little issue that no matter how much is in my bladder, I really have to pee!! It’s so annoying to feel like your about to burst only to get to the bathroom and find a small trickle. >.<

Backpain: Off and on I’ve had lower back pains. Or even stomach muscle aches, at the same time. Fortunately, lately I haven’t had those. Instead I pulled something in my left side (back during my cold when I was trying to keep my head propped up) and it makes sleeping even more difficult. Of course I’ve managed to find ways around it, but it leaves my whole body aching in the morning. Nor is it helpful when your nose has decided to riot!

I’m sure there is more I’m neglecting. Right now the forefront woes of this Rhinitis (non-Allergy congestion), this cough, and my back pain is annoying me the most. But I do have to say, when I feel little Dean kick… I can’t help but smile. While I really wish this wonderful moment in my life wasn’t overshadowed by all these woes, I can’t say I would rather not be preggo and not meet this little man that will be part me and part my hubby. Though I can say with utmost certainty, I just wish he was here already. But with that thought comes more worry and frustration. I’m only at week 23. I hear this is supposed to only get worse! I’m soooo screwed. So to all those who just breezed through pregnancy without a care I’m giving you a half-joking, half-serious big middle finger. I’m so jealous right now I can cry – but then that would just make the snot worse and that’s the last thing I need. >.<

 

 

Baby Naming

So a long time ago my hubby and I picked a little girl’s name. Actually, before I found out the sex I believed it would be a she. Surprise! Not!! By this time, just in case, we decided on a boys name too.

Dean Jensen McDowell-Stone

Dean is my father’s middle name, but I liked it even before I found out about that. If the name Dean is giving you flashbacks to Dean Winchester… then good! If only my boy could look half as good as this hunky man I’d be a proud mama!

deanw

Anyways, that is were we got the middle name. The actor who plays Dean Winchester is named Jensen Ackles. Both my hubby and I loved it and now it’ll be my little Dean’s middle name.

As for that last name… I’m a modern woman. I love my maiden name (Stone). I refused to change, so instead my hubby and I compromised… sort of. Legally we both go by are original last names, but eventually we will probably change it to McDowell-Stone. I’ll still be signing things by Stone though. (Or M. Stone) I have this plan to have all my kids shorten the McDowell to just an M and treat it like a middle name, hehe.

23 Weeks on 2/6/2017

egg

Little Dean is about the size of an Eggplant. 11.5 inches long and little over 1 pound!

I am feeling him move more and more with each passing day. It’s crazy to think I have something that size inside me when I seriously only look fat. (I’m overweight to begin with, I’ve only gained about 2 pounds, but that was at my last OB visit. I’m thinking I’ve gained a few more since.) He has kicked me about three times. It was the weirdest thing seeing my stomach move out on its own.