Hell Is Made Of Concrete

Husband and I have been talking a lot about our future lately. I suppose it’s been kick-started by the whole “getting pregnant” fiasco (which is still ongoing). But this particular discussion has been a good distraction to the can-we-can’t-we-have-babies talk that has been hanging about for over a year now.

It’s to do with our living arrangement. The house we live in isn’t a very nice house. When we purchased it, we were filled with enthusiasm about how we’d re-landscape the backyard, rip out the kitchen and replace it with something sleek, burn the avocado-coloured bathroom suite and put in something white. And whilst we’ve been working on this house for years (and throwing money at it which just seems to disappear) it still looks pretty crap.

It’s one of those live-and-learn situations – I now know that I never want to renovate a house again. I don’t have the skills, patience or energy. Husband agrees with me – he’s completely over living in a house which isn’t what we want, doesn’t suit the way we live and is not a place we want to stay for the long-term.

So we’ve been talking. A lot. About money, about what we really want in terms of a house, about long-term life plans. What we really want is to build a house – we’re tired of cleaning up someone else’s mistakes, dealing with someone else’s shoddy workmanship and living in a house which has only a teeny tiny bath and no cupboards. Yes, we’re lucky – we could afford to buy a house in the first place. I know that, and this house could be a nice home for somebody. But it’s not for us. Just like skinny jeans, smoked salmon and pine furniture – it’s not to our taste.

Our current options are to buy land, build a house and sell our current place ; get in professionals to completely overhaul our current house, extend a little and put some windows in so we don’t feel like we’re living in a dark cave ; or do a few more minor changes ourselves, get this house up to a standard that’s liveable, then save like crazy over the next 5-8 years and try and pay as much of this mortgage off as possible.

Option one – the buy land/build house now would be great. As close to instant gratification as you can get when it comes to building a house. We have always wanted to build our own house – one we can raise our children in and stay in for 25 years. (Yes, it’s entirely selfish and materialistic to want to build a nice house so don’t feel you have to point that out in the comments.) But building within the next year or two would push us financially. It would also mean a lot of compromises – the things we want (such as a lovely big kitchen) would probably end up being small and made of ugly laminate rather than quality materials which would last 25 years.

Option two – getting professionals in to renovate our existing house and make it less like a 1970s cave – could potentially be more expensive than building. And the stupid stubborn council will most likely say “No” to any major structural changes. And we’d still be left with things like a front yard full of concrete (seriously, who puts CONCRETE over their entire front yard?), a backyard with a really massive shed which we’re struggling to remove because THERE’S ONE-FOOT-DEEP CONCRETE UNDER IT and another few dozen other little things which bug us. (Mostly to do with concrete. Oh, and beige window frames – hate those!) We worry that renovating will make this a nice(ish) house but it still won’t be the kind of house we’d love.

Option three – waiting 5-8 years to pay off as much of our current mortgage as possible then buying land and building the house we want is not quite the instant gratification route. But we’d be better off financially. (Probably.) This is most likely the path we’ll take – we’ll do a few more minor things to this house such as build some storage, replace the broken doors and possibly pull up the concrete in the front yard, then we’ll just sit back and save our pennies.

Yes, as I’ve stated above, wanting a nice new house is selfish and materialistic and I know I’m going to get a lot of comments bashing me because of that. But you know what, my blog, my thoughts. I’m not going to apologize for wanting a nice house. (Just as other people shouldn’t apologize for wanting dozens of pairs of designer shoes, sixteen children, seven useless university degrees or anything else that their heart desires – unless, of course, it is illegal.) I know a house won’t make me happy. But renovating isn’t making me happy – neither is tripping over the Christmas tree box to get to the box where we store our linen (because we have no cupboards so it has to live in a box) and having no natural light in the house. (There are more patios (concreted in, of course) than there is house!) A nice house with natural light, ample storage and that is easy to keep clean would make me happy.

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PS: For those of you curious as to what we think a nice house is: three bedrooms, one bathroom (with a big deep bath), one living room, a big kitchen/meals area, a laundry (a necessary evil), lots of storage and lots of light. We definitely don’t want a living room, family room, theatre, study, office AND activity room that most new builds in Perth seem to have these days. Most importantly, we’d like a large garden for our children to run about and play in. Perhaps that makes us old-fashioned (as well as materialistic?)

 

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Ultrasound Day

My ultrasound was yesterday. It was not fun. Firstly, I had to drink 600ml of water an hour before my appointment.

Mistake #1 – drinking 600ml of water.

Mistake #2 – drinking it an hour before my scheduled appointment.

Whilst 600 millilitres of water may not sound like a lot, when you aren’t allowed to wee it out it can get quite uncomfortable – even painful as the bladder stretches. When I was initially scanned, the sonographer couldn’t see a thing because my bladder was too full and obscured everything. Apparently well-hydrated people (which include me) should only drink 250ml of water. That would’ve been great to know earlier….

My appointment was at 9:30. I was required to drink my water at 8:30. So I did. And then the KEMH ultrasound department ran late. Very, very late. I was scanned at 10:45. I nearly cried in the waiting room – the combination of pain from my bladder, the stress of having to have this done, the screaming babies in the waiting room, watching people who came in after me get scanned before me and the fear that if I had a wee then I would be told there wasn’t enough water in my bladder for a proper scan and I would have to wait another 7 weeks for an appointment was all just too much for my tiny brain to cope with.

I got a bit crabby with Husband whilst we were waiting. (The poor bugger.) And Husband got crabby with the ladies on reception who kept telling him it wasn’t their fault the hospital scheduled too many patients for the number of sonographers they had. (And whilst we were waiting, one sonographer had a visit from her sister and disappeared for an hour, another staff member would pick up files, move then two metres down a corridor and then five minutes later move them back again and two more stood in the hallway and had a loud giggly conversation for 25 minutes.) Normally that sort of thing would be a tad annoying; in the state I was in, I wanted to throw something at them. Or wee on them.

The scan itself went okay – the external ultrasound was more uncomfortable then the internal one because the sonographer had to put pressure on my abdomen during the external. (But then they sent me for a wee before doing the internal one. I think it was the most satisfying wee of my life.)

The scan shows my uterus is misshapen – smaller on one side and larger on the other. There was also an “abnormal shadow” which didn’t sound positive. The pictures will get reviewed by someone higher up the radiography food chain before being passed on to my obstetrician. I’ll have to wait for a letter from my OB before I know if my uterus will cause any problems to a pregnancy or if the “shadow” is anything sinister.

I’m glad it’s over and done with, although I feel very mentally tired and weary. I was incredibly stressed all weekend and was worried about the scan – I’ve not been sleeping well and the tension I’ve been carrying around with me has left me with headaches and muscle aches in my shoulders and neck.

I think I need to learn how to relax….

High Risk

I know, I’ve been away for awhile.

At first, I was taking time away from technology. Living life without worrying about blogging, moderating comments and interacting on Twitter. It was a nice break.

Then last week I got a letter in the mail from King Edward (that’s the main maternity and women’s health hospital in WA for those not living here) and I feel like I needed to share.

My obstetrician wrote to tell me that something abnormal was found in the blood test I had back in January.

I have a mutation. Two genes apparently got fucked up when I was conceived. This mutation was found in the blood test after the OB started asking questions about my uterus and periods and decided that something didn’t sound right to her.

This mutation will mean daily injections and an increased risk of having a baby with Down’s Syndrome, neural tube defects (an abnormality in the brain or spine including things like spina bifida), certain types of cancers and anencephaly (a birth defect where the brain and skull don’t form properly) among other horrible sounding things.

I am at risk of pre-eclampsia, placental abruption, recurrent pregnancy loss and giving birth to a small low-weight baby. I’m also at risk of developing certain types of cancers, blood clots and, when I’m older, dementia.

My chance of miscarriage throughout the nine months could be as high as 40%. The risk of a neural tube defect is 20%. I am officially deemed “High risk” when it comes to pregnancy.

To be honest, the news hasn’t really sunk in yet. I know these are all bad words, yet I somehow feel a bit disjointed from it. I look at those words and feel a bit confused and a little breathless. Then my brain pushes them to one side and I start thinking about what I have to cook for dinner or when I should go to the post office.

I don’t know if this changes things or not. The thought processor in my brain is broken.