We are all still here, and all still healthy. Just a sudden onslaught of labor-intensive projects for me, plus a trip to Chicago to check out Annika.
Our neighborhood threw together a mass of garage sales, and I had too much baby gear stuffed under our beds and stowed in closets to pass that opportunity by. It was all a great success, and more work than I ever, ever imagined. Annika was quite upset by the idea of selling anything that her hands had ever touched, no matter how long it had been since she had played with it. However, once she saw that first person hand over a few dollar bills, she was all over it. She ducked into the house, and came back out with a handful of old birthday cards, which she began offering as a "prize" to anyone who bought something. Most people thought that was cute, but were less amused when she began cornering people and asking for their name and address, with her little pencil poised above her notepad all ready to take down their information. And then she started asking every woman who came up our driveway if she had "a baby in her tummy." Needless to say, I sent her to the backyard.
Of course, our town is a Garage Sale Mecca, meaning that people don't pay more than 50 cents for any item of clothing, name on the tag be damned. And there are enough exersaucers on sale on any given weekend to circle the earth several times over, so it's not a real money-making endeavor. But it was kind of fun. I got to meet a newly pregnant woman with my exact same body issues, and who nodded her head knowingly when I confided that my husband affectionately calls my legs "potato stompers." And I cannot count the number of people who warned me that selling your baby stuff was a sure-fire invitation to an unexpected pregnancy. (Annika found this news particularly intriguing, and is quite excited at the prospect of a new baby.) And the women who bought my lovely tea set...Let's just say that I wouldn't ever turn down an invitation to tea with those two. Some quality eavesdropping, for sure.
Our town is also chock-a-full of conservative christian types, and I noticed several families who rolled in with their 4-6 children, all wearing "American by birth, Christian by the grace of God!" t-shirts
, who took one look at me and hurried back down the driveway. I wondered if it was the heathen music I was playing in the garage at first, but it really did seem more a reaction to me. So at a lull in the traffic I went inside to check myself out, which was when I saw that, despite the upper-80's weather and the double layer of my shelf-bra tank, I was in all-out nipple mode. In the interest of good business practice, I put on a thicker bra and changed my shirt. However, I am seriously considering making myself a Cafe-Press t-shirt that says, "Thighs by Breyer's, Nipples by Relentlessly Nursing Children!"
I have also taken over the organizing of our organ donor awareness group's major community project, the county fair. Again, another project that has taken way more time than I imagined. The fair is this week. And then I need to contemplate teaching a course this fall in a programming language that I haven't given much consideration for the past 5 years.
So, yeah, a busy couple of weeks.
Annika has been doing great, health-wise. In fact, she ran 1/2 a mile on the track this weekend, barefoot and in her swimsuit. She ran the whole thing in her adorable gait, slightly cross-legged and with her arms held straight at her sides with only her hands outturned, like a debutante sashaying down a promenade. Who knows what prompted her to take two turns around the university's track? Certainly not I. And certainly not her greatest idol, our next-door-neighbor, Sabrina, who turned to me with her knowing 7-year-old look and asked, "How much sugar has she had today?"
But we nonetheless live in a state of fear, seemingly unable to escape the feeling that disaster is just around the corner. With Anni's last illness her liver enzymes doubled in a week, and doubled again just one week later (so they were about 10 times the normal value, if you're keeping score). Our transplant coordinator warned that if the weekly trend continued that we were headed for another full workup (biopsy and ultrasound, at least) in Chicago to check out the state of her liver. Thankfully, her labs the next week dropped back down to her normal state, which is still twice normal values. Jörg took Anni in for a regular check-up (called, weirdly to me, a "clinic" visit) this past week, and returned home with the news that a biopsy was in our future, anyway. It seems that her liver doc thinks her liver feels "harder" than the last time, which could be a sign of cirrhosis, and wants to check it out. Because of Anni's bleeding issues, a biopsy of her liver is done through her jugular vein and means a hospitalization of at least one, and probably two, night(s). I always dread the hospitalization that finally sets us back on the road to uncertainty. It's always there, that fear.
And, on the other hand, there are the times that are nothing short of wondrous. Like the way that Annika lay on the kitchen floor tonight and giggled as her baby sister climbed on her and then bounced like a cowgirl on a bucking bronco. And the way that Annika beamed at me and said, "I love you, too," after I gave her a peck on the cheek tonight.