Saturday, September 27, 2008
Baby v. Hurricane Ike
Baby has completed 12 weeks today! This next week is the last of the first trimester and what a roller coaster ride this has been. Hurricane Ike has dominated our lives since September 11, 2008 right through this week but the baby has been blissfully unaware and thriving in utero. We saw Dr. Smith earlier this week and baby is measuring perfectly on target for dates. We got to take another peak at baby with the ultrasound and you can see for yourself the explosion of growth that takes place in only 4 weeks. Baby measured 15 mm crown to rump at the first ultrasound and baby measured 53 mm this week! I forgot to ask what the heart rate was so I can try and guess if baby is a boy or girl. I was just so glad to see baby moving and see the heart pumping away after all the stress of the past couple of weeks.
On Thursday September 11, it became very clear that Ike's path was going to impact the Houston area. The frenzy that over took the city was impressive. We felt fairly prepared to ride out the storm and we had no interest in getting in the car with a family of 3.5, 3 dogs and 2 g. pigs and risking stand still traffic on the freeways as had occurred with Rita. In addition, we felt we lived far enough inland that we had little to worry about and wanted to be at our home to mitigate any damage that did happen. (We live in Tomball, which is Northwest of Houston.) The evening the storm was supposed to come in we had finished all our preparations early as had our neighbors. We had drinks and desserts with some neighbors and enjoyed the cool, breezy evening. Everyone went home to catch up on the weather channel and "hunker down". Bret and I went ahead and went to sleep with the TV on and Sydney sleeping in our bed with us. Around 1:00 in the am, we woke up as the power was flickering. On TV, the meteorologist on the scene, either Mike Sidael or Mike Bettes I think, was rolling on the ground. I guess he had fallen and they continued to film him as he tried to get up. I thought to myself, "that can't be good".
Bret and I decided to get up and check things out. We could hear the wind whipping about outside. Occasionally our windows rattled and when the wind caught the exhaust pipe on the roof just right it made a noise like a kazoo. We watched the two tallest pine trees a block over bend over and over again at right angles. At approximately 2:20 am, September 13, 2008, the power flickered out and did not return. Our power did not return until after 7:00 pm on Wednesday, September 24, 2008. (Essentially 12 days without power!) That is what has been the absolute worst thing about this whole experience for us. And I know we are very fortunate. We have neighbors with trees in pools, trees on fences, trees on houses and trees on cars. Our home sustained no damage and the biggest thing we had to clean up was a cabinet door that flew from somewhere and landed in our front yard. Remember the 2 big pine trees from a block over? We saw them the next day across the driveways and yards of the neighbors. Luckily for them, they damaged nothing when they fell. A cool front then moved through on Saturday night after Ike, bringing thunderstorm and dumping huge amounts of rain the increased the flooding over the areas and caused the ceilings to collapse in several homes that had roof damage. It also brought cooler temperatures that made for better sleeping without power.
Riding out the storm was not that bad for us. Surviving the aftermath was pure hell. Getting ice for the cooler was a 2 hour ordeal. Gas lines formed that were over 2 hours long. Stations sold 2 weeks supplies of gas in under 8 hours. Traffic was horrific, it was difficult to move about just in our area. You have probably seen more pictures and video footage on the storm than I have from TV. On the Wednesday after the storm, we decided we had had enough and packed up and went to stay with my sister and her husband in Keller, Texas. They were more than gracious host to allow the pile of refugees that descended upon them. Nothing like 3.5 people and 3 big dogs invading your home. The G. pigs stayed with my neighbor's son who was staying with friends who had power. We stayed with Sandy and Josh for 5 nights and then had to return to Houston. We had to get back to work and get our lives in order even without power. We purchased a small generator that was good practice for Bret for the new baby as you had to tend to it every three hours and put gas in it. It would run a couple of fans, a light, the coffee maker.
We have been working to try to get life back to normal over the past couple of days, however constant reminders and inconveniences of Ike are everywhere. I went to get groceries yesterday to fill our fridge...we ended up loosing everything in our fridge and second freezer. The grocery store was barren. I was only able to get a few things, and most of them were not my usual brand or type. I will go scavenge at another one later today after Sydney's first volleyball game today. The brick fence on the neighborhood adjacent to mine remains in shambles. It looks like Sydney's Legos scattered about. A few of my patients have had to move out of their homes and are currently working on obtaining temporary apartments until their homes can be repaired.
I will go see Dr. Smith again in 4 weeks for a regular OB appointment and will do an amniocentesis in 5 weeks. After the Amnio, we will know in a few days to weeks if baby is a boy or girl! I get the amnio because I am "of advanced maternal age" according to my doctor. I turned 37 in the wake of Ike on September 14. Definitely not my best birthday, but certainly could have been a LOT worse! I'm looking forward to getting started on the nursery and getting some tangible outside proof that there really is a baby in there! My brother Nick and his wife Katie sent an adorable sleeper a couple of weeks ago. It is the first gift for my baby! I love to look at it as it reminds me that the baby is coming. It actually arrived on the day we were leaving for Keller which was probably the lowest day for me mentally during the whole ordeal. It really brightened my spirits and focused my attention on something more positive and exciting. Which is exactly where I want to be!