The first part of this story is here.
I was still not absorbing the seriousness of the situation.
Until the ambulance ride. Where they used the lights and the sirens. And swerved in and out of early rush hour traffic.
We arrived at the children's hospital a short time later. She was admitted to the ICU.
The ICU was pleasant. Which is such a strange thing to say. This hospital is designed for children who are deathly ill and it is a warm place, not a frightening hospital.
By now, it was approximately 7 A.M. Just before the ambulance ride, I spoke with my husband who was scared and wanted to fix the situation, but was states away, unable to do anything. I told him, after being told it was not a life and death situation, that he should stay put. He was at a new job and if things took a turn for the worse, I would let him know.
It is quite difficult to coherently discuss what all happened this day. She was admitted, tests were run, she was cared for and monitored. I received a breast pump and helplessly, pumped milk for my sweet baby girl. She had a breathing tube, a feeding tube, an IV and a femoral line put in her.
The nurse caring for my babe only had 2 children to care for, so she was constantly in the room. Checking, changing, monitoring. She changed all diapers, adjusted all machines. Once my girl was allowed to have some milk, the nurse administered the milk via the feeding tube. I was utterly useless, in the way, while someone else, while perfectly skilled and very kind, but not her mother, took care of my little girl's every need.
My girl was responding to everything well, they continued to lower the amount of oxygen she was given, weaning her off of it. She remained sedated so that she would not fight any of the treatments they were trying to administer.
Tests were run. Lots of tests. The initial test at the first hospital for RSV came back negative. The children's hospital didn't know what had affected my girl.
I hadn't slept but 2 hours, if that. The Ronald McDonald charities were connected with this hospital and, in fact, had sleeping rooms right on the hospital floor. These rooms are available to the families of the children in the ICU unit. I obtained the key for the room I was provided in order to take a nap. Little did I know that my father-in-law had also claimed the room we had been assigned. We ended up napping together on a queen sized mattress as we were absolutely exhausted. Awkward? Absolutely.
As this first day progressed, the doctors and nurses all stated how well she was doing. Looking back, I was still in shock. My girl had gone from normal to the ICU in less than 24 hours. How could this happen? What did I miss?
At the end of the day, I was told that if things continued well overnight that she might be released the next day. Again, how did my girl go from healthy to ICU to home in 48 hours????
I retired to the Ronald McDonald room for the night. My father-in-law went home – thank goodness!
The next morning, I was advised that my girl had done wonderfully overnight. A short time after getting to her room, the nurse and the respiratory therapist removed the breathing tube.
A short time later, with her feeding tube, IV and femoral line still in place, I was allowed to breastfeed her.
Again, just a short time later, I was advised that all of her lines would be removed and that we would be moved to the regular floor.
After a few hours, it happened. We were moved to the regular floor.
When they were preparing to move my daughter from the ICU to the regular floor, the ICU nurse called the regular floor nurse to advise of the status of the transferring patient. I overheard the ICU nurse advise the other nurse that the first hospital had probably jumped the gun on intubating my babe.
On the regular floor, it was cold and sterile. So different from the ICU unit. Such a weird contrast. I would have thought the exact opposite would be true.
I rarely saw the nurse on the regular floor. A nursing assistant came in every couple hours to check temperature and blood pressure, but otherwise, I was left alone to change and feed my child. The nurse came in only a few times during our stay! Such a stark contrast from the constant care of the ICU. I was frightened to even touch my child at first.
After an overnight stay on the regular floor, we were released to home.
No explanation. No diagnosis. Nothing.
My child's first illness resulted in an ICU stay. And I have no explanation whatsoever as to what caused it.
I am angry. And frightened. Yet I have no one to be angry at. What if the first hospital had not placed the breathing tube in and something tragic happened. How am I to know what to watch for when my child gets ill again? If she has the sniffles, how do I respond? What is a normal illness? In the midst of this crazy move, this was horrible timing (if there is ever a “good” time for your child to be admitted to the ICU!), however, I am so busy trying to move our lives to another state that perhaps it was good timing. I don't have time to dwell on the what happeneds, what ifs or what could have beens.
In the end, my sweet baby girl is fine. She doesn't care about the scariest time in her short life. She isn't affected. I wish I wasn't.
December 20, 2010
The first part of this story is here.
December 19, 2010
This is gonna be a long post. I am splitting it into two posts, not to be a pain and make you come back, but because I am tired... Worn from trying to move to another state in the longest, most complicated move ever known to man. I want to get this out for hell, who knows, prosperity sake. IDK... It just seems right to hit post...
When we woke up on a Monday a few weeks ago, my 4 month old kid made a weird sound when crying, inhaling sharply at the end of each cry. She wasn't coughing, not congested any more than she normally is in the mornings, didn't feel hot, overall, the sound was it.
She is watched by her grandfather in our home while we work. We told him to watch it and to keep us posted. Throughout the day, he didn't notice anything odd except that the noise didn't go away. Overall, she acted normal during the day. When I got home from work, she seemed a bit more clingy but she had no other symptoms besides the lingering cough. As the night progressed, she started to sound more and more congested and when she breathed, it was more hoarse than normal.
I was getting more concerned and at midnight, called my insurance company's nurse line. They listened to the sounds over the phone and recommended placing her in a bathroom with the shower running for the steam. I did so for about 20 minutes and it seemed to do just a bit of good. I slept upstairs in a spare bedroom with her because the small bathroom with the shower is there and the bedroom is smaller than the master and less drafty. I ran a humidifier for her and fell asleep.
At 2:00 A.M., I woke up. She was awake in her bed next to me and sounded bad. I again took her into the bathroom and ran the shower, hoping the steam would help her. After a short time, I called the nurse line again. I spoke with a different person. I explained that I didn't want to be a paranoid first time mom, but I was thinking of going to the E.R. The nurse agreed, we needed to go to the E.R.
When you are driving your child to the E.R., at 2:30 in the morning, do you stop at red lights? I didn't call an ambulance so I didn't think it was an extreme emergency. However, each time I slowed for a red light, I panicked thinking these moments could be important, are they so important that should I pull over right now and just call 911? I never did, but each red light my mind went to the worst place possible, yet reeled back by my initial hesitation to even go the E.R.
Finally, we made it to the E.R. We were quickly brought to the back and received immediate attention. She was initially given breathing treatments. I laid down on the stretcher or gurney? Holding her on my lap while they administered the treatments. The E.R. was pretty empty, there were a lot of nurses in the room. Wires were quickly connected, monitoring her heart rate and her respirations. Time is a funny thing, so hard to gauge. I would guess 20 minutes later, the nurses indicated that the breathing treatments weren't helping. They needed to intubate my baby.
Panic, fear, loneliness.
My father-in-law came to the hospital with us. My husband, who had accepted a position with a new company out of state hadn't been contacted yet due to the ridiculously early hour. On the drive to the hospital, I sent him a text advising him that we were going to the E.R., but I hadn't called him. He had to work and from 8 hours away, there was nothing he could do.
My father-in-law and I get along. However, we are both completely awkward with each other. So in the E.R., in the middle of the night, panicking because my poor baby is about to have a breathing tube inserted, I felt alone. Miserably, horribly alone.
Once the decision was made to intubate my babe, it was required that we be transferred out of the hospital. They didn't have a pediatrics unit in this hospital and now they had a very young child with a breathing tube inserted.
An ambulance arrived.
July 30, 2010
So look, I had a kid. And in having a kid, I had to go through the whole labor process. And I am told that it is all crazy life-changing, big deal hoopla. So I have written this down so I don't forget the cute little details of how my husband left me high and dry while I was screaming in labor. Or how Johnny Cash welcomed my sweet little one into this world. Or how I leaked amniotic fluid in a fancy rental car. So you may want to skip this one although I am pretty sure I could have been a LOT more graphic. Cuz childbirth is not for the faint of heart.
I had my last prenatal appointment on Wednesday, where I was 2-3 cms dilated. She was in position or “locked and loaded” as I called it. I felt really good still so I figured there was no way I was going to have her for some time. On Saturday morning, when Not Craig and I woke up, he poked my belly and said, “It is time, baby.” In response, I laughed and said, “No way!” I still had nearly 2 weeks until my due date! I played around the house for a bit, playing on my computer and doing a bit of light cleaning. My car had an issue so Not Craig took it to a repair place, where they told him that it was definitely a warranty issue and we needed it towed to a dealership. This, of course, is the vehicle we planned on bringing the little one home in, seeing that daddy's work truck was not the best choice and well, his fancy car definitely was a bad choice as we would have to strap her car seat to the roof.
I contacted the dealership and lined up a tow truck. We would need to drive about 45 minutes away to the dealership in order to pick up the rental car they would provide. We had to wait a bit for the tow truck so I started doing a bit more picking up around the house, when all of a sudden at approximately 1:30 PM, my water broke. I ran for the bathroom, laughing. Not Craig didn't believe me at first and I had to convince myself a bit that I hadn't just peed myself! I finally convinced both of us what had just happened and tried to figure out what to do next. I called my midwife, Janet, and we decided that I was fine to stay home for a while, and of course, figure out the car situation. I quickly got changed, and Not Craig and I set out to meet the tow truck driver and then drive across town to get the rental car. I felt fine the entire way to the dealership, where I insisted that Not Craig not say a word about my water breaking, what if they freaked and wouldn't let us have the car due to potential amniotic fluid damage!
When we got home a couple hours later, Not Craig and I just laid down to rest a bit. I don't know if I actually fell asleep, or just rested, but a few hours later, I got up and Not Craig remained asleep. I started cleaning the house while my contractions got a bit stronger. Walking helped me through the contractions, as did swaying my hips. I pulled out my ab ball, and sat on that for awhile as well, but as the contractions got stronger, I was more comfortable standing through them.
Around 6:30 PM, I started vocalizing through the contractions as they got stronger and more painful. I woke Not Craig up with one of my cries, and he anxiously asked if we needed to go to the birthing center. I had spoke with Janet a few times throughout the day and knew that I wanted to be pretty far along before I went to the birth center, but I was also fearful of the 30 minute drive. The last place I wanted to be when contracting every 3-5 minutes was in a car where I couldn't move. I went ahead and called Janet and said that I thought it was time to start heading to the birth center. She asked how I was doing, if I was drinking plenty of fluids, if I had ate. I told her I was a bit hungry, but didn't have much food in the house and we might stop on the way in and grab something small. I continued talking to her, answering her questions and coming to a decision about what do when Not Craig vanished. After I got off the phone with her, I pulled the remaining items I wanted for my bag, and was ready to leave. I locked up the dogs, and went looking for my husband. He was gone, along with the rental car and car seat!! He came back about 15 minutes and several contractions later, with McDonald's and Pop-tarts, my go-to meal of the last few weeks! I hurriedly asked if we could just go and eat on the way. I never ended up eating that meal that he so desperately went in search of...
On the way to the birth center, my contractions remained about 5 minutes apart. The pain wasn't unbearable, but I vocalized my way through them along with breathing. We got to the birth center around 7:40 PM. Janet was there and began filling the tub for me. She checked me and I was at 7 cms already. Polly, the other midwife, arrived a little bit later. I continued to labor while swaying my hips and bending over the side of the bed. The tub was filled, but I couldn't imagine standing up and crawling in to the tub at that point. One of the midwives placed some lavender oil and massaged my lower back through the contractions. Some time later, one of the midwives brought in the birthing stool, which helped take some of the pressure off of my horribly swollen feet, much to my relief. I then felt sick and said that I thought I was going to throw up. I was given a wastebasket, and Janet quietly said, “Welcome to transition.” I crawled up on the bed on all fours, not happy with the birthing stool. I leaned on Not Craig for several contractions. A short time later, I was asked to lay down and I did so. After several contractions, I started to feel the ring of fire and knew I was very close. The strangest thing for me during labor, was how in between contractions, I was completely conscious of what was going on around me, that I wasn't completely out of my head. When I was feeling the ring of fire, I kept thinking of the Johnny Cash song, and laughed to myself. I held on to Not Craig, breathing through what I knew were the final steps to getting my baby out. At 9:38 PM, my sweet baby entered this world.
All in all, my “labor” was 8 hours long from water breaking to birth. I would estimate only 4 hours of that consisted of any pain at all. I am actually amazed at how easy it all was.
I chose to have my baby at a birth center with midwives instead of a hospital because, well, hospitals scare the crap out of me. And I do not believe that doctors are all-knowing. When a pregnant woman goes to a hospital in labor, she is on a time clock to a c-section, with lots of interventions along the way. Despite the baby and mom being fine, hospitals are, thanks to my own sue-happy profession, overly cautious and would rather trust modern medicine and scalpels, over a woman's body doing something women have been doing unassisted since Eve. Instead, I had a wonderful experience with women who have really gotten to know me over the past 7 months, supported my decisions without question and did everything they could to ensure that I got the type of childbirth I felt was right for my little family.
And now, I will step off my high horse and get back to cuddling my sweet baby girl.
July 5, 2010
I have 5 weeks left of this pregnancy business. I don't care for pregnancy, have I mentioned that before? But the weird thing, the further along I get, the bigger I get, the more swollen I get, the more comfortable I am. The early months of back ache, heartburn and emotions have disappeared a bit. I am much more comfortable all around. I am sleeping better, have more energy. Which is really odd since I am about the size of a double wide.
I am terrified of actually having my kid. Not of labor, the miserable pain, but of having a kid to care for. Surrendering myself for what the kid wants - demands. Getting up every 2 hours to feed this screaming shitting machine that can't explain why it isn't happy. Not being able to just take off at a moment's notice. Not being able to poop alone. Wait. I have pets, I haven't done that for years.
Beyond the extra expense that a child brings. Holy cow! Daycare! I am too lazy to get off my butt and actually hunt down someone to take care of my kid so far. But from the stories I have heard from folks in this area, daycare is gonna run us between $800-$1,200 per month. Yea.
Another big cost I am fearful about is the new things I have pursued since becoming a living breathing house.
Pedicures and maid service.
I am so glad I haven't partaken of these magical things before. I have saved myself a fortune.
I am in love.
I need a live-in pedicuring, housecleaning ass wiper now.
Because I really don't know if I can give up these wonderful treatments after the babe is here.
Pedicures. So nice. A bit of time to just relax and let someone else do the dirty work of making my toes look sweet and tasty.
Housecleaning? Wow, what is there to even say. Someone else comes in and scrubs my toilet for me. Scrubs down my glass shower and garden tub? Dusts the baseboards? Holy crap. I love having a wife of my very own!!
But. For a maid to come once a month and for a monthly pedicure, I am looking at just over $100. Ouch. That ain't cheap. And I am not sure I can justify those expenditures once I am able to bend over and paint my own toes and scrub my own toilet again.
And that, that right there makes me cross my legs even tighter and want to keep this baby cooking for a few more years.
March 27, 2010
On Wednesday, we had 2 baby appointments. First, my regular appointment with my midwife and then our 20 week ultrasound – the big one!
My midwife put it so well, when pregnant, some women bloom. Others, they wilt. I am definitely a wilt-er. Back pain, difficulty sleeping, heartburn, exhaustion and hormones that would kill a 15 year old girl. I have not been pleasant to be around for the past few months nor have I enjoyed the past few months. At times, the thought of going through this again makes me want to cry. I do not want our child to be an only child, but man, this pregnancy stuff is not for the weak.
(Imagine there is a segue here.)
Since the beginning of time, I have seen myself as a tomboy. Growing up, there were dolls around, but I remember much more playing and getting dirty and just not girly-girl stuff. There were 4 of us girls, best friends for so so long. Kaytabug can correct me if I am glamorizing it, but we were not typical girls. We were much more rough and tumble than other adolescent girls. Strange since 2 of us had only sisters and 2 were only children.
To find out that I am going to be a mom to a girl was a complete and utter shock. I don't even know where to begin. I suck at applying makeup, I only get my haircut every 6 months, on the weekends, I am well known to not shower, I can't properly coordinate my clothing, I stumble in heels, I hate the Girls Next Door and have no idea if I should be on Team Edward or Team whoever the other vampire dude is. How do I do this? I am not a fine example of a woman yet I am supposed to raise this child to be one?
We both were 100% convinced that we would have a boy. Never so firmly has an idea been planted or desired. While each of us, I am sure, have different reasons for our desired sex, to have that replaced with the opposite has left both of us shaken, unsure of what to think and how we will handle what we are being blessed with.
It is funny how I have reacted in the days since we received the news. I have been shocked, saddened, disappointed. Tears of both sadness and extreme guilt have been shed. Yet the mama bear has come out in full force, I am so very angry if anyone says anything that implies that we should not be 100% thrilled with a girl. While my own disappointment is present, no one can speak ill of my baby girl.
I am saddened by what I consider to be a loss of a son for now. Yet I feel this sweet baby kicking me and my heart is so full of love for her. I have no idea how this will play out going forward. My baby doll is going to have to figure out for herself what shoes look best with that outfit, and how to curl her hair and apply makeup. I will be able to teach her about football and music and maybe even how to shoot a gun. The rest, we will have to wing.