Sunday, May 24, 2015

May is Preeclampsia awareness month..

So I decided to share my birth story with my youngest son. It's very sensitive to me. I wrote this shortly after he was born. I'll add updates at the end.

It started on Monday, Dec. 6 at 4:30 a.m., when my water broke. At 7 I called my midwife, D, & told her. She told me to keep an eye on it & she'd be over later. When she arrived, all looked fine. But no contractions. Tuesday baby had turned posterior. I ended up having back labor all day. We went to the chiropractor trying to get baby to turn back to proper position. It didn't help. We tried some other methods, they didn't work either. He was staying posterior, which accounted for all the back labor. After all day Tue. & into the wee hours of the morning on Wed, & still no “real” contractions, we decided to try castor oil.. Vile, nasty horrible stuff.. Which my body rejected. I threw up most of it. By 4:30 my 48 hour time limit was up and real contractions still hadn't started.. A decision had to be made. We decided to head to the hospital for a c-section. Due to my prior c-section, going to the hospital automatically meant another one. By that time, I didn't care. I was done & wanted baby out. NOW. And I didn't care how. So we headed to the best hospital we have nearby, a 10-15 min. drive. That's when things got interesting......

They sent us to the ER to register first. The whole way I had to urinate, but couldn't. Come time for a urine sample for the ER & nothing. A couple of drops, maybe. They send me to labor & delivery & hook me up to monitors & all looks great with the baby. Then they insert a catheter to get a urine sample. They got 2 drops. My kidneys had shut down. Blood tests then showed that my platelets were dropping, my iron was super low & my whole body was shutting down. And my blood pressure was dangerously high. We didn't even have time to finish registering when I was wheeled into the OR. On the way there, Dr. P asked “so, are we tying tubes?” I looked at him like he was crazy & said no... I'm wishing now I had said yes.. I just didn't realize how bad off I was at the time..

In the OR, all got started as usual. Everything went smooth. At 10:31 a.m. On Wed. December 9th, Samuel Michael was born. The anesthesiologist was standing behind my head narrating for me while they pulled baby out. It was so nice to have him there. One of the first things he said was “wow, look at that hair!” and I said “Hair??? My baby has hair?? No way!”. I was shocked b/c Cias was totally bald at birth. They pulled him out, cut the cord & he started crying.. A beautiful sound.. I asked to see him and they brought him around the curtain for just a second.. The sight of his perfect, messy self made me cry.. I couldn't believe he was finally here.. It was wonderful. I listened to him cry while the dr. finished his stuff.. Soon Dr. P says “are you a praying person? Because if you are, you're prayers have been answered”. I said “yes, I'm a praying person”. He then went on to tell me that I had a VERY thin uterus & one real contraction would have caused it to rupture. God has saved our lives by turning baby posterior & thwarting our efforts to start contractions.

When I got back to my room, after only an hour in recovery(vs, 2.5 hours in recovery when I had Cias), baby was already waiting for me in my room. Mike handed him to me & I got to hold him while he was still alert & awake. It was wonderful. We were given the opportunity to opt-out of the eye-goop, so he could see clearly. It was amazing. He was perfect. He looked like Cias, except with hair. Beautiful blue eyes. Fuzzy little head of hair. Perfect round head. 10 fingers. 10 perfect toes. I couldn't take my eyes off of him. I asked Mike “so, have we figured out a name yet?” and he said “I was thinking of Samuel.” I said “Samuel sounds good.. It sounds perfect”. And so he was named. Later that afternoon Mikes parents brought Cias by to see us. Cias was thrilled, but still not too sure.
But he liked the name. Now to figure out a middle name. Thursday I decided on Michael. It just sounded good to name him after his daddy.
There was some concern about infection because my water broke so early & there was meconium in it. His white count was high initially, but he wasn't having any other symptoms, so they just kept a close eye on him. It went down to normal by the next day and he was out of the woods.
We were also given the choice of what we wanted done. Did we want the hep. B? Did we want him to have a bath right after birth? Vitamin K? Did we want him in the nursery or in my room immediately after surgery? In my room, of course. It was wonderful to be giving the choice. The hospital was wonderful, as was the staff.. Even the food was delicious there. And the sound proof rooms were GREAT.

Sadly, that wasn't the end though.. I was put on magnesium sulfate to bring down my blood pressure. It's horrible stuff.. Made my mouth dry up, I stopped producing saliva. I was groggy. It was horrid. I felt terrible. But apparently it worked. A little bit anyway. By that night I was producing urine again. By Friday they took the catheter out & I was able to go on my own.. I forgot how nice it was just to be able to pee again. I hadn't done it in so long. But I wasn't quite out of the woods just yet. *edited to add: My hemoglobin was only 6.2 when I was admitted. Friday I had a blood transfusion & after 2 units of blood, my level was 8.4. It's been slowly rising since then, I hope.. I've been on iron supplements since then. My blood pressure was still up. My legs were still VERY swollen. So swollen that when I walked, they didn't even feel like they were connected to my body.. It was scary. By Saturday some of the swelling had gone down. I was able to walk better and I was urinating on my own and doing very well at it. By Saturday afternoon, we were home. What a wonderful place to be.

Too bad that still wasn't the end. Sunday night I couldn't breath. Just could not catch my breath, mostly while lying down. Off to the ER we go. The closest one, which is 5 min. away, not the good one up the hill where I delivered. There we find out my blood pressure is dangerously high(165/110). They run a bunch of tests to check my lungs & many other things. Things like a chest x-ray, ct scan, etc.. Then they decide it could be my heart & they want to do a cardiac echo. And they want to admit me. Since I had barely been home with my boys, and it was Cias' first night home in almost a week, I refused. I wanted to be home. That was the longest I had been away from my newborn & I didn't want to be there any longer than I had to. So we went home. By 5 a.m. Monday morning, we were back. Yep, should have just stayed. This time I felt like I was having a massive asthma attack. They determined that it was fluid on the lungs & they started diuretics to drain it. It worked, eventually. They also gave me meds for my high blood pressure. They hooked me up to an EKG machine to check everything. The EKG showed all was fine.
This time we agree to be admitted. At least 24 hours. It was devastating, but I knew it was necessary. They admitted to the post-postpartum unit, so I at least had a breast pump. I had been breastfeeding Samuel until I went to the ER on Sunday night. I also had the choice of having Samuel room-in with me, but due to the fact that I had a massive headache, was extremely tired & that Mike would have to stay too, we decided he would be better off at home. My mom, Mike's mom & Mike were there to take care of him. He would be in good hands. Plus I knew there was no way Mike would get any sleep there & he was going on almost a week of very, very little sleep, lots of stress & lots of emotion. He also needed to be home so he could rest. I spent all day Monday fighting a headache, desperately wishing for sleep & being hooked up to a blood pressure cuff every hour, sometimes every 15 min. They gave me IV blood pressure meds, which helped some. But they needed to find an oral medication for me to go home with. They also did the cardiac echo that day, which showed that my heart was pumping great. Nothing wrong with it. There was a little bit of fluid around it though. That was something that would have to be watched. Tuesday at 1 a.m., I started an oral medication. It worked! My blood pressure went down. Not to normal, but it wasn't at super dangerous level anymore. About 145/92 or something. Not great, but tolerable. By that afternoon, after having several good readings, I was allowed to go home. Praise the Lord!

On Thursday I went for a follow-up visit with Dr. P. He raised the dose of my high blood pressure medication & put me on bed rest. So far, that's where I am now.

So, updates:  It's been 5 years and that baby is now a precocious, wonderful, brilliant, clever, loveable 5 year old. I can't imagine life without him.  As for me, I'm doing better. I get dehydrated extremely easily and I can tell when I am because my kidneys start hurting. I'm still on the same high-blood pressure meds, which I'm not thrilled about. I'd love to be off of it. Maybe one day I will be able to. I'm also still anemic, and have been since then. 
   It's taken a lot to process everything that went on during that time. I realized that this didn't start suddenly like we thought. It was something that had started weeks before and was missed. My midwife didn't do routine urine checks. If she had, she may have caught that I was spilling protein. She brushed me off when I told her I wasn't able to urinate.  When I brought my concerns to her, she kind of brushed them off. I am not happy about that at all. Dr. P also said that if we had waited 24 hours longer(if that), we wouldn't have made it. I was diagnosed with HELLP syndrome, an extreme form of toxemia. Click here for more information about it.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

I used to be strong.

Physically, I used to be strong.  I used to go to the gym a few times a week. I could do over an hour on the elliptical trainer.  I did weights. I used to be strong. But that never mattered, because I wasn't skinny. It didn't matter that I could carry 2 toddlers with no problem. It didn't matter that I could help him lift that jet-ski into the back of the truck. It only mattered to him that I wasn't skinny. After years of hearing this, I think I finally just gave up. Stopped going to the gym. Stopped caring.  Sadly that means I have gained more weight and I am no longer the  strong woman I used to be. The one who could easily move heavy furniture around the house.

I'm glad I finally came to this realization. Because it shows me not only what a jerk he was(and is), and how stupid his beliefs on body image are, but also so that I can start healing myself. I want to be that strong woman again. I need to be that strong woman again.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Growing and changing

I realized this morning that my blog had been neglected. Yes, I added new posts to it sometimes, but it hadn't actually been updated in a while. So this morning I went through and deleted links that no longer lined up with my current beliefs. I decided not to follow some blogs that I was following. One I was following only because she was a friend of mine, even though she was posting stuff I didn't believe. Another one I am no longer following because we are not longer friends.

I went back and read some old posts I had written.  I was a bitter, angry woman. I lashed out at anyone, and hated people who had things that I wanted. I won't make excuses, because that would be stupid. There is no excuse for my immature, inappropriate behavior. It takes growth and learning in order to get out of that ugly place. Over the years I have grown and changed in many ways. My beliefs, my attitude, my whole way of thinking. After my divorce, I had to find myself. Figure out what I believed, versus what I was told to believe. I had to get those ugly voices out of my head that told me I was stupid and fat and ugly. I am still learning to believe that I am not stupid and ugly, and that being overweight isn't the most horrible thing in the world. 

I also believe losing my dad has forced that growth I needed. It's been 9 months since we lost him, and it has changed my life in ways I would have never imagined. Everything seems so petty and crazy. Little things that bothered me before no longer bother me now, or they bother me less.

I'm not the person I was 10 years ago, or 5 years ago, or even 1 year ago.  I'm growing. I'm changing. And I like that.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Please donate to the Out Of The Darkness Suicide Prevention Walk

On September 27th, 2014, my mom, my eldest son, and I will be participating in the Out of the Darkness suicide prevention walk. We are raising funds to help in awareness and prevention of suicide. Which is where you, my wonderful readers, come in.  Yes, I am asking for donations. Any donation, no matter how big or small, is greatly appreciated.   To donate, please click here.

For more information and a backstory, see this post: The Day My Life Came Crumbling Down

This is the last picture ever taken of my dad and me together. It was taken less than a month before he died.

Monday, June 23, 2014

The day my life came crumbling down around me.

 July 4th, 2010, my dad started having seizures.  He was eventually diagnosed with  epilepsy and put on many medications. The doctor was hesitant to take his license for a long time. Unfortunately that also meant she wasn't willing to help him get disability. Over the years, the lack of work, the medication, the depression, and everything else became too much for him. One day in October, he was driving to do a job, blacked out, and crashed his truck. Thankfully he survived with nothing more than a scratch on the leg.  Or so it seemed. I believe that crash did more than we realized.  In November, I moved myself and my 2 boys to the town he lives in so we could be near him.  It was also in November that he told me that he was having trouble remembering things. Simple things. Things he had known for years. He needed a map to get around the small town he had lived and worked in for years. He was a self-employed plumber, so he knew the streets of this town backward and forward.  Suddenly he needed a map to get around. He was also diagnosed with early-onset dementia, because of the head injuries and epilepsy. He wasn't able to drive anymore. He had to have people drive him to jobs. That was a massive blow to a man who was always self-sufficient and able to provide for his family. Suddenly he couldn't. And on top of that,  the government said he couldn't get any help from them.   He didn't want to be a burden to anyone, and the depression took hold.

 On Monday, Dec. 16th, he and my mom went to the doctor for a routine MRI. He needed to be sedated for the MRI, but the technicians were not informed of this. So they had to reschedule.
When they got home that afternoon, my dad decided to go for a walk. My mom had no idea that he had taken the gun from the nightstand.  He was gone for hours, which wasn't unusual for him. He often took long walks by the river to think. The river was one of his favorite places.
I knew that my dad had the MRI that day, so that night I texted my mom to find out how things went. She said she would talk to me about it tomorrow.  So I figured that my dad had 'chickened out' and decided not to do it.  If only it were that simple.

December 17, 2013 started out as any normal day. My son woke me up about 7. We got up, made coffee, and started our day. It was a cheerful day. It was my nephew's 15th birthday and I sang Happy Birthday to him(though he couldn't hear since he lives 3000 miles away). Little did we know that it would soon end.

I waited that morning for my mom to call me and tell me how the MRI went.  I never got the call. Instead I got a knock on the door. She opened the door and said "hi, I have people with me." Those people were Pastor H and his wife.  They walked in and smiled and said hi and asked mom how the MRI went. She woke up my 12 year old and told us to sit on the couch. I could tell she had been crying and that something was seriously wrong. My first thought went to my 83 year old grandpa who also lived with them.  I'll never forget my mom saying "honey, your dad shot himself." I screamed "NO" and asked her if she was joking. Of course she wasn't. She would never joke about something like that. I immediateley buried my head in her lap and cried. I didn't get to say good-bye. I didn't get to give him one last hug and tell him that I loved him. I didn't get to thank him for being such a wonderful daddy to me, and an amazing grandpa to my kids. My just-turned 4 year old buried his head in the couch and kept saying "this is a horrible day. This is a very, very bad day!". My then-11.5 year old cried and snuggled up next to my mom.  I remember the 4 us snuggling on the couch together, crying and saying "it's not fair! It's not fair!!!!". 6 months later and we're still saying that. It's not fair. And it sucks.

After a while, Pastor H and his wife left.  My 11 yr old sat on the couch, not sure what to do. I went and set up my 4 year old  with a project. I informed people on Facebook. My mom made phone calls. Those are some horrible phone calls to make. How do you call people and tell them someone they love has just shot themselves?  The Sheriff in town, whom we know, called the local Suicide Prevention group and they came up to talk to us. They gave us some information and made sure we were okay. They made sure to tell us that there was nothing we could have done. Quite honestly, it did little to reassure us that day. We were all so numb. We finally had to go up to my parents house because family members were arriving to be with us.  Walking into that house and seeing my dads empty recliner was horrible. I remember curling up in and smelling it because it smelled like him. I wanted to yell at everyone not to sit in it.

That day was a very, very long day. The weather was beautiful, which at one point prompted one of my aunts to say "it's a nice day." To which my 4 year old again replied "NO, it's not! It's a bad day! A very, very, very bad day!!". Out of the mouth of babes, right? It was, indeed, a very, very, very bad day.  We spent the day talking to people, but I have no idea who. Family members came over and gave us hugs and condolences. I'm not completely sure who. It's kind of a blur.   The rest of the week was spent trying not to lose our minds, planning my dads memorial service, and visiting with family. My sister, brother-in-law and their 3 kids flew into town a few days later. We cried together and made a wonderful memorial video for our dad.  He was 3 months shy of 63 years old when he died.

The last 6 months have been a blur of grief and moving and craziness. I can't believe it's been 6 months. I can't believe my daddy is gone. He was my daddy. My fishing partner. The man who taught me about plumbing and how to cast a fishing pole. He was the man who smiled so proudly each time he held his grandchildren for the first time. Or any time, really.  He was the man who everyone in town loved and admired. He was the man that you could look up to to be a good role model.

I know my daddy would never, ever, ever purposely hurt us if he had been in his right mind. Never, in a million years, would he do anything to hurt us. That is how I know that the illness he had completely taken over and he just didn't want to hurt anymore. He was in pain all the time, physically and mentally. He wanted to be done with it. He wanted to go home. He wanted healing. And dying was the only way to get it.  I know that my dad is in heaven, and he is partying with Jesus, and his mom, and his dad, and his step-dad, and his grand babies that didn't make it to earth, and with his brother, and with my grandpa, who joined him in heaven just 6 short weeks later.

But that doesn't make us miss him any less. I miss him constantly. I want to give him a hug. I want to feel his arms around me as he kisses my head and says "love you, Punkin'." I want to see him playing with his grandsons. I just want HIM.

I don't know how to end this, so I'm just going to leave you with this video that we made for his memorial service:

Monday, April 7, 2014

It takes a village to raise a child.

We hear this all the time.  "It take a village to raise a child". For the most part, I will say, yes, it does. It takes loving people to support the parents and help out when they can.  Some people have apparently taken this to mean that it is okay for a stranger to discipline a child that they don't know. That is false. It is never, I repeat never, okay to discipline a strangers child. If a child is being noisy, talk to the parents. If a child is doing something you find unacceptable, talk to the parents. It is their right, not yours, to tell the child to be quiet, or to stop doing the thing that is unacceptable.   There are few exceptions: If a child is running into the street, it is acceptable to gently stop the child and keep him safe.

So, does this mean a person shouldn't help out a mom or dad in the grocery store?  It does not mean that at all. That is where the village comes in.  To support the parents.  Instead of telling the child to be quiet, play with the child. Entertain the child so the parent can do what he/she needs done.

Example: You are in line at the grocery store, and your 2 year old is being, well, 2.  Wanting everything, screaming, the whole works.  Instead of scowling at the parent for "not controlling her child", a better choice would be to help.  Talk to the child. Try to make him laugh. Entertain him. Make funny faces. Offer to help the mom or dad with the groceries so she can tend to the screaming child.  Be creative.  Just don't judge.  Don't scowl. Don't be mean.  The parent is doing the best he/she can, and  smiles and support go a long way in making life better.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

I'm still the mom...

This just came to my mind. I was going to make it a facebook  rant, but decided that blogging would be more productive.

I am the mom!  Me! I am the one that makes the decisions.  You can give me all the advice you want. You can be horrified and appalled that my child is still using a bottle, or that he's not potty trained, or that my children have a TV and a blu-ray player(with WiFi) in their room.   But guess what, at the end of the day, I'm the mom. I know my kids are fine. I do not feel guilty  about my decisions.

So, go ahead. Be appalled. Give your unasked for advice.  I'll continue on parenting the way I am, knowing that my kids are doing just fine.