Before and After

After my last rather involved post, I was planning on doing something light and full of pictures for this post. Something like a food post.

Something like plain spinach.

But my husband had to go to Israel for business and he took our camera with him for his company’s day trip of sightseeing in Jerusalem. The nerve.

It’s been a tough week for him to be away because I have never fully recovered physically from my miscarriage, and indeed in the five weeks following the event, the bleeding has not only not gotten better, it has gotten worse. And I was very anxious at the thought of suffering another hemorrhage in the middle of the night, alone with the kids and with no one to help. (I know how enthusiastic everyone is to learn about intimate details of other people’s health problems, so I will kindly indulge you once again).

After the last trip to the hospital, they said that if I didn’t stop bleeding within 10 days I should come back, but since I had an appointment with my gyn scheduled anyway on Monday I decided I would wait until then (the very morning Sir left). That was about 2 weeks after the last trip to the hospital and that’s about when things started to get worse.

So I didn’t know how I was going to manage a D&C when I was all by myself, since I was sure that was the next course of action required. Who would take me? Who would pick up the kids and take care of the house while I recovered? But I decided to go in and see what the doctor had to say, and see whether I could hold off for another week until Sir returned.

So she examined me and declared that with the worsening of symptoms, it must be my monthly cycle returning since it’s been about 5 weeks since the miscarriage.

Wha … what??  You mean it’s possible to have your monthly cycle when you’ve already been having one for five weeks? Really??? Is my aged womb so eager to get back into the business of childbearing it’s already sprouting eggs when it hasn’t even recovered from the last debacle?

I laughed all the way home (rather maniacally) at the thought – after the doctor sent me on my way with a prescription for another ultrasound and blood tests and some medicine to calm the bleeding. Oh, and after she put me on the pill.

So now you know everything. Well … everything except whether or not I will ever have a D&C because that’s something I don’t know myself.

Nor, apparently, do my doctors.

I’ve been wanting to do a before and after post about our little hobbit house. When we bought our house it was only 55 square metres (that’s just under 600 square feet for the entire house – that’s smaller than our one-bedroom was in Manhattan)!

The upstairs was 2 bedrooms flanked on either side of a corridor, a bathroom (that had been put in by the previous owners 38 years ago – the outhouse is now a toolshed), and then a kitchen and living room/dining room, also set on either side of the corridor. In other words, corridor:

one bedroom:

second bedroom:

living/dining room:

or another image here, empty with the window bank:

kitchen:

bathroom (which looks exactly the same because we ran out of renovation money, albeit less shiny due to my poor housekeeping skills):

You may wonder how we could have possibly fit a family of five in such small quarters, but we did it by sleeping in one room (cramped bed, dresser, clothes rack not shown):

with the bunk bed and crib in the other room.

First we turned the basement into bedrooms, which took many many months. Those pictures will be for another post.

Then we added on a stairwell to the outside of the house

what was once this

started to become this

before becoming this

and this

before being finished off with oaken splendor

Then we broke a hole in the outside wall upstairs and downstairs

and got rid of the outside staircase that had been used to connect the upper level to the lower. Can you believe the lady of the house went outside in all kinds of weather for 38 years to get to the basement and do her laundry?

outside stairwell, hidden behind tree, with door to basement open underneath

When we were firmly established in our bedrooms downstairs (but still using the outdoor stairwell in freezing winter weather to go up to cook and bathe because the built-in stairwell was not ready yet), we broke down all the walls on one side upstairs so we would have a big open space.

And we plastered and painted

and redid the floors.

We also redid the kitchen two years later (this past summer) to include a countertop so I would no longer need the top of the garbage can to chop vegetables (yay)!  But all the decorating photos will have to wait.  That’s all I can show you for now – mostly just the “before” pictures and so few of the “after” – because I don’t have a camera this week.

Because it’s in Jerusalem with my husband, who will be back tomorrow. And then everything will be all right in the world again.

I am the daughter of a symphony musician who was raised in upstate New York, and I simply breathe all things classical, be it music or 19th century literature (English and Russian). I married Sir Renaissance in New York City, and before I knew it, he had swept me up and brought me back home to his own country. So here we are. Three children, a rather ordinary life in a rather exceptional place. I am now ‘A Lady in France.’

Posted in Family, La Femme (The Lady), Le Pavillon (The House), The House, Tout le Reste (Everything else)
29 comments on “Before and After
  1. Stephanie says:

    I can’t wait to see the after pictures!

  2. Gah sorry about the bleeding – I do all that clears up soon.

    Can’t wait to see the after pictures!

  3. Brittany says:

    Healing thoughts to you, Jennie!

  4. Wow, the wall paper in those rooms really was something!

    Take care.

  5. MommaExpat says:

    Hoping for a quick period & quicker physical recovery. Can’t wait to see the after pictures of the massive overhaul.

  6. Andrea says:

    Please post more! As a fellow transplanted American I’m curious to see how you’ve modernized your French home. It was so strange for me at first to see how outdated buildings can be here!

    • ladyjennie says:

      The decoration was definitely an eyesore! We did try to keep as much as the character of the house as possible because we love old, my husband and I. I’ll be posting more pictures for sure.

      Thanks for visiting!

  7. Ameena says:

    600 square feet? Wow. I watch House Hunters all the time and love the Paris episodes!! Great to see your house.

  8. ayala says:

    Sorry about the bleeding :( I hope you feel better soon. Can’t wait to see the rest of the pictures when your honey comes home. Thanks for sharing :)

  9. Galit Breen says:

    Soft thoughts for you, dear friend. Soft thoughts all around. xo

  10. Andi says:

    Wow! T-I-N-Y – cannot wait to see the results.

  11. Just so you know, you have a way of sharing the intimacies of your life without it seeming to be too much.

    I say this only because you sometimes qualify your stories with concern for your audience and I wanted you to be aware that the glimpses you give, and the pictures and the words and the truths…

    They aren’t too much. You are just enough.
    And loved.

    Welcome home, Sir.

  12. anna see says:

    Aargh. I hate that you are still dealing with this bleeding! I’m sure it was scary to have your husband away during this time.

    Really enjoyed the house tour and look forward to more!

  13. Carole says:

    How frustrating that you’re still dealing with the aftermath of the miscarriage. Hope that’s resolved very soon.

    I love your house. You’ve really done a major reno! What a feat doing all that with three kids at home. Kudos to you.

  14. Mari Robinson says:

    Ahhhh, how I miss your place. It is not so amazing. I didn’t realize. You should have your own show! I love you, Jennie!

    • Mari Robinson says:

      Oh I meant, it is so amazing. Sorry, I didn’t mean it is NOT so amazing. Ugh! When will I learn how to type!

  15. Mom says:

    Fascinating renovation pictures, since I’ve seen the ‘after”!

  16. Gorgeous pics, honey! I feel like I know “where” you are now. xxoo

  17. Jennifer says:

    Have you ever read the short story, “The Yellow Wallpaper?” That’s what I thought of when I saw those rooms. I can’t wait to see the after pictures.

    I hope your body is back to normal very soon. The whole ordeal is so much worse when it keeps dragging on like that.

    Sending healing thoughts your way…

  18. My Brooklyn apartment is about 600 square feet and I can’t imagine having 5 people in here.
    Luckily you had the basement to retreat to during renovations. I renovated my kitchen a few years ago and couldn’t escape the dust and debris everywhere.
    Hope you’re feeling better soon.

  19. Abbey says:

    You are amazing Jennie, there’s so much I want to say but I will leave it there. x

  20. Good LORD – you’ve done all of these changes in how long?

    Hope the bleeding’s on the mend. I can only speak for myself, but you can keep the nether region posts a-comin’ – I think it helps us get to know each other better. :)

  21. Jackie says:

    Your house looks beautiful and I can’t wait to see the rest of the pictures!

    I have never thought that your posts were to much information… I think that maybe they’re more helpful, cathartic, in a way for you. Regardless, it’s never bothered me.

    I went through 2 miscarriages and a D&C with the first one. It was nothing that I ever want to go through again. Ever. I spent the entire 9 months of my pregnancy after those in a constant state of worry.

  22. Rachel Mazur says:

    It is hard to see in the pictures. I’ll have to come by for a glass of wine. Wait. France. That’s kind of far. Darn it.

  23. tina says:

    hi! thanks for stopping by and for your kind comment on my post. :) i’m so sorry about your miscarriage. praying the bleeding stops and you can figure out your next steps!

I'm Lady Jennie - Welcome to A Lady in France!

I think I was born in the wrong era. I am meant to live in the 19th century. In England. Born into an aristocratic family that is independently wealthy and doesn't need to marry off its daughters to save them from becoming spinster governesses. ( To continue reading, please click here. )

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