Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Another ultrasound and car failure

So yesterday was an interesting day. It started out fairly normally. I had my 28 week doctor's appointment. the doctor ordered another ultrasound after the first one because the technician was rather rushed and didn't get a good picture of the ductal arch (artery where it comes up and over the heart). I was actually rather frustrated with the first ultrasound. The tech really was rushed. A nurse came in and told her in the middle of our ultrasound that she had another person waiting and you could just tell she was pretty stressed. It was definitely different than any of the other ultrasounds I've had. The other techs I've had with the other kids were really talkative and would describe everything we were looking at. This tech was just quiet and just kept printing pictures and didn't even try to really explain or talk to us. She also didn't try to do any of the 3D stuff, which I've never actually had with the other kids. I was excited to see that, but it didn't happen. So that was the first ultrasound. After all that, she missed the heart picture so the doctor ordered a second ultrasound. This time it was just me and the tech. Alann stayed home and watched the kids. She was still pretty quiet, but was a little more talkative. She didn't really tell me what was going on, but we talked a little bit. She did say a few things which I thought were funny. "Oh, she's an active little thing isn't she?" "Were your other babies big too?" (She's measuring almost 2 weeks bigger than she "should".) And most importantly "Did I say girl last time? Still a girl." She did try to get a 3D picture of her face, but Ella was being uncooperative and kept her hand in front of her face the whole time. We did get a somewhat decent picture of half of her face. Alex LOVED the picture so much I had to make him a copy because he wouldn't give it up and Claire wanted one. It was getting all wrinkled. If he gave me the picture or set it down, within minutes he would come back saying "baby? Baby?" So we have several baby face pictures now floating around.
The tech also told me that the baby has hair. I'm not surprised. I just want to know what color. Alann and I think it would be really funny if baby had red hair and green eyes. We might just need to stop having kids after that, because I wouldn't want to ruin the utter mismatched nature of our kids. Claire is brown hair brown eyes. Alex is blond hair blue eyes. If Ella has red hair and green eyes, that would just be hilarious. I can just imagine as they grow up people wondering- obviously Alex is ours. He looks so much like Daddy. But what about the girls? Are they adopted? I wish I could pop forward in time 20 years and see what they all look like.
Anyway, so the ultrasound went fine. Everything still looks good. Afterward, I got to drink the glucose drink for the diabetes test. Am I strange that the drink doesn't really bother me? All the nurses and other pregnant women I've talked to about it always are sympathetic about how gross it is. But it really doesn't bother me at all. I met with the doctor and it was a really quick visit. I really don't have any complaints. My ankles/feet swell on and off. Ella's starting to get so big that she hurts me when she kicks. It's funny how similar this pregnancy is to Claire's. I haven't had as much heartburn or bloating as I did with Alex. But I do get an upset stomach a lot. She seems to be way high and kicking my ribs a lot. Like I said, my feet are swelling a lot more than they did with Alex. But she does seem to have gotten a LOT bigger lately. I feel huge. I'm a little scared since I still have 11 weeks to go.  I've been trying to explain to Claire lately that I can't do things I've always done with her lately. She wanted me to sit on the floor with her this morning, but she was back in the cave formed between the two recliners in the living room. They like it because it's pretty small. Anyway, she wanted me to sit on the floor with her in the cave. I tried to tell her I couldn't because I wouldn't have enough space to get back up. She really didn't understand and wanted me to sit. She kept telling me she would show me how to stand back up. I also can't really carry her too much anymore. She's 35 pounds. I definitely can't carry Alex and Claire together anymore. They are almost 70 pounds together.
 Then I waited a few minutes and had my blood drawn. I went over and pre-registered at the hospital. The doctor told me that if I mailed in the form, it probably wouldn't get put into the system in time. So I just headed over and gave them the form while I was there. Then I headed home.

While we were eating lunch, Alann told us he had to go to St. Louis but didn't have anything to do that we couldn't go with him. So we loaded up the car and started to head out. That's when things got interesting. The air conditioner wasn't cooling off at all. And Alann says "the battery light is on". Then the rest of the engine lights started flashing on and off. We hadn't even made it to town. Since it was 85 degrees, and the kids were already flushed, I told him to turn around. There was no way I was going to make them stay in the hot car all afternoon. So we came home and the kids were very upset. Claire was especially vocal about not going with Daddy. She didn't really understand that the car wasn't working right. They both had major breakdowns when I put them down for nap / quiet time. Alex laid on the floor and cried "no no no" for a good long time and Claire threw a fit. Then Alex finally fell asleep and Claire actually took a nap too. (Big mistake. She didn't got to bed until almost 1030.) I called the mechanic and he said it was probably an electrical issue of some sort. After naps, we went outside to water the garden and I checked on the car. It started fine, but the battery light was still on and the ac was still not working. After dinner, I did some more research on the car. All signs pointed to battery or alternator. After talking to Alann, I decided to take the kids with me and go to AutoZone in town. As we were turning onto the road with the AutoZone on it, the car almost died. But we made it to the parking lot. The AutoZone guy came out and tested the battery and alternator. He had to jump it, but it started right away. He said together they were putting out 8 volts, but the car shouldn't be running with that low of volts. But the battery seemed to be working right. So we decided to take the car and drop it at the mechanic's. I called my visiting teacher to come get us since we don't fit in the truck. She called her companion and Sherry was kind enough to come pick us all up. As we tried to move the car to the mechanic's, I barely made it two parking spaces and barely pulled back into the spot. I went in to get a tow truck number from the AutoZone guy and he came back out. He ended up changing out the battery for us and that worked. He said that probably meant the alternator was bad. With a lot of dread, we headed over to the mechanic's. After switching the kids to Sherry's van, we left our van and came home.
This morning, I talked to the mechanic. Thankfully, it was NOT the alternator. The mechanic said and I quote "the belts blew apart". So they just replaced the power steering belt and the alternator belt (and changed the oil since it was there anyway) and voila, all is working just fine. I have to say, I am so grateful. I know, it's easy to say "why me, why did the car have to break? why couldn't it just keep working." But I know it could have been much much worse. We've put new alternators in Alann's truck. It's not cheap. This was relatively cheap. Funnily, I pulled out $150 when we went to AutoZone Monday night and our bill at the mechanic this morning was $149.83. So I am totally thankful and recognize the blessings of the Lord in this situation. I just kept praying that whatever it was would be cheap and easy to fix and it was. Definite answer. So this afternoon, Alann went to get the van and left the truck at the mechanic's. We went back all together and when we started the van to leave, there was no squeaking! The air conditioner has squeaked when starting the car for...ever. It was getting worse lately. It would squeal for a lot longer. And the heater even started doing it towards the end of winter. I thought it was the air compressor. (That's what the mechanic told me last year when the overheating issue erupted.) But now, no more squeaking! Apparently, the a/c is powered by the alternator, so when the belt went out, the air went out too. New belt, no squeaking. I am in heaven. That squeal honestly was annoying, but it was also embarrassing. It always made me feel like a bad car mom, like I was neglecting some sort of maintenance issue that it had. But the mechanic had said before that he didn't know what was causing it. He had tried adjusting the S-belt last year but that didn't fix it. So I just lived with it. But no more. It is a great weight off my shoulders. Like I said before, I am so grateful that this didn't turn out any worse than it did. It could have. But thanks to wonderful people who will leave their homes and families and come rescue me, and a simple fix, we are back to business as usual.

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