Thursday, December 19, 2013

There are many ways to serve. ~ Caroline Kennedy

I promised in November to explain why meeting Ambassador Caroline Kennedy on my mother's 63rd birthday. So here ya go. 

        It’s no secret that my mother passed away from brain cancer when I was only 9 years old. Two months before my 10th birthday. The story behind the dress I wore to her funeral, however, is. As a matter of fact, I would dare to guess that anyone who did know this story has forgotten about it by now. For me, it’s something that has stuck with me for the last twenty one years.
       I was a typical little girl that loved dresses. The day my aunt and grandmother came to our house to pick out the clothes we would wear for the 9 million hour viewing and then the funeral the next day turned out to be quite possibly more emotionally draining than the day she passed. I don’t remember what I wore the day of the viewing, but I will never forget the dress chosen for the funeral. I just knew that if I wore it people were going to think I was being disrespectful.
      You see, the only thing I knew about funerals is that you are supposed to wear black. No matter how smart 9 year old me was, I just knew that you have to wear black and no other colors to a funeral. Especially your mother’s funeral. I was supposed to be in mourning, and how were people going to know I was genuinely sad about my mother dying if I wasn’t clad in black from head to toe, covering every inch of my skin?
The dress picked out for me had an all black bodice, but the skirt had the obligatory early ‘90s bow, and the fluffy straps (it was a sundress) were obligatory early ‘90s colors with bright green, blue, and pink. The skirt hitting above the knee. And did I mention it had palm trees on it? Everything television and movies had taught me is that this was not acceptable funeral attire.
Somehow, word of my crisis got out. I don’t know how or why, but it did and someone in this amazing community I was raised in took it upon themselves to find the photo of John F. Kennedy, Jr. saluting his father’s casket. That’s not what was pointed out to me, however. What was pointed out was that Caroline was attending the funeral of her father. In a blue coat. In white socks. In a short skirt. It was obviously okay for her to wear that, and no one assumed that she was not sad about losing her daddy. And if the daughter of the President of the United States of America could attend a funeral without being fully clad in black, surely it was okay for me to wear other colors on a dress that was short sleeved and had a shorter skirt. Especially since it was June in Indiana.
        There are not enough words in any language to describe how grateful I am that they took the time to do something extra for me, nor are there words to show how thankful I am that they are a part of the village that raised me.

Thursday, February 07, 2013

So This Happened...

I've had an old lady steal things out of my cart because she didn't know where the tapioca pudding was kept, and I could just go get another box.


Once, I was handed a pot of flowers from Elvis, who was standing next to the display of bananas. 

There was also that crazy chick who yelled at me and Erica about getting our kids some Halloween costumes for our kids at Walgreens, as we were walking to the Shoppette. 

I am no stranger to having weird things happen to me. (Ask any of my former co-workers about that time I sliced my neck open with the helium tank or the time I burned my throat with some hot chocolate and couldn't speak for two days.) 

However.

I will never get used to having people openly state their disapproval of my parenting choices, when I don't know them from Adam. We're not talking about those glances that scream "man those are some bad little kids", but verbal comments on choices that in no way, shape, or form affect them. There was a lady a few weeks ago who swore up and down that my child would never nurse if I let him use a pacifier. (Try again. He use a pacifier for almost a month before he learned how to nurse, or even use a bottle.) I kind of see where she is coming from. I might recommend to a friend that if they are having trouble nursing to forgo the use of a paci, but the difference is, it would be someone I have actual met before. Someone that I cared about. And I would tell them that ONLY if they asked for my advice. (Which, please don't. I don't have a clue as to what I am doing.)

There was another incident last weekend that really takes the cake thus far. 

Since Zander opted to skip the line when God was handing out patience and joined our family nine weeks early, he needs milk that has a few more calories than normal in order to help him grow. We don't want him using all his calories up trying to ingest said calories. In the hospital, this was achieved by adding a human milk fortifier to his expressed breast milk. That same fortifier is also acidic, and for a while, was causing the poor baby to have a really bad diaper rash. I probably could have continued using this same product after we brought him home, but the cost is absolutely ridiculous, and there is a more feasible option. 

A baby formula specifically designed for preemies. It already comes with 22 calories in it. So we have continued to add the formula to expressed milk, and the dude is fat, healthy, and happy. 

I ran out of formula last weekend, and as I was grabbing a can of it off the shelf, a lady I have never met before took it upon herself to inform me that breast feeding is best for infants. 

As calmly and as quickly as I could, I explained that I am fully aware of the benefits of breastfeeding, and that is actually how I choose to feed my son. I went on to explain that Zander was born early, and that we had to use this special "PREEMIE" formula in a few bottles a day to insure that he continues to thrive and be healthy. I then asked her to please be more observant the next time she wants to judge someone for a decision that is essentially none of her business. 

It really was all I could do to keep myself from punching her in the throat. I'm trying to keep my mischief making to a minimum since Paul is deployed and I am fairly sure his boss doesn't want to have to come pick me up from the Polizei. 

Can we knock off the Mommy Wars? I pinky promise I will never ever speak to you again, if you do the same! 

Sunday, February 03, 2013

< Vlog mimicking one of those "This is Your Brain" PSAs />

Something happened today, and now I must finish telling you the story of Zander's birth, because I have a few other stories to share, but I can't seem to post them because I still needed to finish up this story.

So. Here's a shortened-ish version of what happened on my 30th birthday. 

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At some point in the day after the decision was made to induce, we met the neonatologist. I'm not going to lie, I didn't pay a whole lot of attention to the words that were coming out of his mouth. I spent most of the ten minutes I spoke to wondering if I should ask him to tell me his name again, because I could have sworn he told me his name was Dr. Whore-bath. (It's not. But again, no lie, that's what I called him during conversations outside of the hospital for the next month and a half. And it took me two weeks before I finally asked one of the nurses what his actual name was.) 

I also didn't have a whole lot of questions about the NICU, since it would not be our first trip inside the saddest ward in any hospital. Zoe did her five day stretch, and I saw and learned a hell of a lot. And the guy sounded like he was a pretty competent doctor. (Add to that the fact that the nurses who staff NICUs should all be nominated for sainthood, so I knew I didn't have a whole lot to worry about in that regard.) Before that, one of the nurses had brought in the transport bed for the little guy as well. So we had seen all the bells and whistles and all that fun (read: extra scary) stuff. 

By 9, the pitocin had started to work, and the anesthesiologist had stopped by, and been sent away. I had absolutely no intention of needing his services at all, and I promised that I would send for him if it got to a point where I needed him to come jab a needle into my spine and make all the pain go away.

I made it a little more than 10 hours. There was something funny about the contractions I was having. I don't know if it was the balloon they were using to help me dilate, or because there was too much room for my uterus to contract since Z3 still had a fairly good sized kiddie pool to swim around in at that point, but it felt like there were corners digging into my abdomen with every contraction and while it wasn't unbearably painful, I had this overwhelming feeling that I was not going to be having a natural delivery and I would much rather have the epidural put in when it was still 100% my decision, and not something that they would need to hurriedly put in before slicing me open.

I was prepped for surgery by 2:30 in the afternoon. And this is where my memory gets really, really fuzzy. (For a reason you will not believe!) Zander's cord was too far below his noggin for a regular delivery. Cord prolapse was a guarantee, and not something we needed to deal with on top of the fact that I was still only 31 weeks and 5 days pregnant. Not that my doctor didn't attempt to come up with a plan to avoid surgery. There was talks of breaking my water with multiple tiny holes, so it had a slow dripping shower effect, in hopes that that could give the little guy more time to drop down. I'm sure there were other things, but that one was the most bizarre so it stuck in my memory.

I remember Paulo putting on the lovely pink scrubs, and being wheeled down the short hallway to the O.R. Like all operating rooms, it was freezing, and my teeth started chattering. The anesthesiologist chose that moment to become the greatest medical professional to ever jab needles into my spine. He had them pull out this plastic balloon deal, and they put it on my arms and across my chest. And it filled up with hot air. It was fabulous.

The little guy was pulled out of my guts at 4:32 pm. At that moment, nothing mattered at all. I just needed to hear him cry. Or for someone to tell me he was okay. I got both of those in less than 45 seconds, but I swear it felt like an hour. I think I asked at least three times. In the first couple of minutes, a nurse called out his weight, and if I had had feeling in my body at the time I am sure that I would have felt my stomach fall into my foot.

3 pounds 7 ounces.

With an Apgar score of 4.

While they were working on the baby, my doctor began putting my guts back into my body. And my epidural started wearing off.

I (unfortunately) now know what it feel likes to have your uterus dropped back into your abdomen. I also know what it feels like to have your skin tugged back into place and stapled together.

The first two times I said something about being able to feel everything, I was given a bit more morphine, and they kept working. After the third shot of morphine, they stopped for a minute. That third shot of morphine maxed out my morphine limit for the day. I could still feel every single thing they were doing to me. And that's when I got my first (and ONLY) experience with heroine.

It wasn't actual heroine. I'm not sure exactly what it is called, I just know that not six seconds after it was administered, I was the happiest and sleepiest I have ever been in my whole life. I knew they were still tugging on my stomach, trying to rip off my belly button, and I may have still even been able to feel it at that point. But you know what? I didn't give a flying monkey. I apparently looked at the doctor and told him I "really like him now".

There are only a few things I remember about the six hours that followed. I remember when they took Zander out of the O.R., and Paul went with him. I remember Paul telling me he was going to run home and see the girls and tell them, and take a shower. I had to stay in bed for 12 hours because of the magnesium, so I wasn't going to be able to see the baby until 4 am. We figured I'd be asleep for most of that time.

I remember that I was bleeding a whole heck of a lot more than I had with the girls. It seemed to just gush every few minutes or so. I know those nurses got sick of me pushing the call button, but there was nothing I could really do to help myself. I was still stuck in bed. I know the doctor came in, and told me she was concerned, and that they were going to prep a blood transfusion "just in case". I called my aunt to tell her the news, and while I was talking to her, a nurse had come in and told me that they were considering taking me back to surgery to figure out the bleeding problem, but they weren't sure yet.

The only other thing I remember is that while I was on the phone with my aunt, my cellphone battery died. Lucky for me, I had told her that Paul wasn't at the hospital with me, so she called our house and told him they were getting ready to send me back to the OR, but she wasn't sure exactly what they were going to do.

It just so happens that since magnesium relaxes your muscles, my uterus was having trouble contracting back to where it should be, and that was causing the bleeding. They shoved an inflated party balloon into my uterus to help the process. It worked, and by the time I got back into my room, Paul was back. And fairly close to wetting himself, since all of my nurses were in the OR with me, so none of the ones at the desk had any kind of detail as to what was going on, other than there was too much blood, and I was being sawed in half again.

To make a really long story slightly shorter, I will end this little tale with what I claim is the craziest thing that has ever happened to me. (That's saying a lot coming from someone who was mugged by an old lady because of some tapioca pudding!)

I assumed for two and a half weeks that I came out of surgery, nearly bled to death, and talked to my aunt over the course of about an hour. In reality, SIX HOURS had passed from the time I came out of surgery to the time I went back. I can honestly say I cannot account for at least five of those hours.




One of the major life lessons I took away from all of this? There is a reason why no one ever says"I want to be a junkie when I grow up!"


Monday, November 12, 2012

Where Babies Come From ~ Part B


I should have started a list of things I never once imagined I would have to say in my life. Somewhere near the top of that list would be the phrase I uttered at least four times on August 9th. 

“Can someone please bring me some more ice for my pee?”

Instead of sending me home to gross out my kids by keeping 24 hours worth of urine in my refrigerator, my lovely obstetrician decided the “safest” place for me to complete the 24 hour urine test was at the hospital. I think this was mainly because I stupidly informed him we live on the third floor. For some reason, living in the penthouse isn’t as impressive if there isn’t an elevator. I was taken into a labor and delivery room approximately the size of a large closet, and informed that I was on bed rest, but I had wheelchair privileges. And by “privileges” they meant I was allowed to move from the bed to the wheelchair, and wheel myself the six feet to the bathroom. I could then move from the bathroom back to bed. 

On Friday, the doctor informed me that I would be staying at the hospital until one of two things happened. I was not leaving unless my blood pressure came down or I had given birth. And they had no intention of inducing labor before 38 weeks.  I was going to have to just wait and see. Under normal circumstances this would be terrible news. The entire scenario of circumstances was that, once again, I hadn’t been able to call my husband yet to tell him where I was. This time, however, he called the OB clinic, and they transferred him to L&D, where I was able to give him a brief run down on what had been happening. Needless to say, he was slightly worried, and a bit annoyed with me that I hadn’t called him. (In my defense, I never expected to be admitted, and figured I would just call him on my way home.) 

At 8 pm on Friday night, a nurse came in to give me a shot in my hip. It was the first of two steroid shots I was to receive in order to help Z3’s lungs grow a little faster. A sort of safety net if you will. We were told that unless my blood pressure took a major change for the worse, nothing would happen for another 48 hours. A few hours before I was given the second steroid shot on Saturday night, they got back the results of my urine test. I most certainly had severe preeclampsia. They started me on IV magnesium in an effort to lower my blood pressure long enough to give the steroids an additional 24 hours to work. 

If you’ve never had the pleasure of experiencing IV magnesium, consider yourself incredibly blessed. My entire body felt hot. It supposedly relaxes you, but I really think all it does is make you too hot and tired to move. The other bad thing is that you must measure your intake and outtake and are not allowed to drink anything, and they have to limit your consumption of ice chips. As someone who lives in a perpetual state of dehydration, this was torture. I had to count the number of spoonfuls I was ingesting, but really, I was being fed the ice chips by my husband and one of my fantastic sister wives. All I wanted was a giant glass of water, and that is beyond out of character for me. I’m not a fan of drinking water. 

The medical staff then began to prepare for a scenario that they hoped would not happen, but was highly likely. I applaud them for being proactive. I want to choke them for not explaining to me BEFOREHAND that they were wrapping blankets around the rails of my bed “just in case” I were to have a seizure. I’m not scared of a lot of medical things. I can stay fairly laid back about many hospital type things. The first time I watched someone give an IV, I was 6. (It was also one of the very last times I opted to watch any procedure involving a needle.) Seizures? For lack of a better phrase, seizures freak the crap out of me. I witnessed my mom have more grand maul seizures than I care to think about. I know what they look like. I know what happens to you. I would have preferred to remain clueless. 

That was one of the only times I cried while in the hospital. I could handle staying at Landstuhl for weeks on end. I could handle delivering a baby before 32 weeks gestation. I could handle a c-section if it became medically necessary. I don’t do seizures. It was, by far, the scariest part of the whole shebang, prior to Zander being born. 

It got slightly worse, and a lot more frustrating though.

Up until this point, I had had very few symptoms of blood pressure in the range of “holy crap, she’s going to stroke out”. Twice I saw floating spots, for less than 10 seconds each time. Neither of these incidents had occurred while I was in the hospital. I cannot tell you the number of vitals checks where I had to verify that I had no other vision changes and no headache. Until about 7:30 on that Saturday night. My head was killing me. There was a ring of hot pain that stretched around my head and in my eyes. The area that hurt was the area where you would wear a blindfold while playing pin the tail on the donkey. I told my nurse. She told the other nurse. That nurse told the doctor, and the doctor instructed them to give me some Mapap. (Acetaminophen) After that, I was moved from the L&D ward in anticipation of not having to be taken into the delivery room any time soon. While switching my care from L&D to the Mother/Baby unit, I mentioned again that my head was still hurt despite the Mapap. One of the nurses left the room immediately after hearing this, and came back just a couple of minutes later with a wheelchair to take me back down to L&D. 

Once I got back upstairs, I noticed that I had a stalker. It seems that since the mother/baby nurses had already gone to the trouble of wrapping the bed rails in blankets, there was no sense in putting me back into the uncomfortable bed upstairs that had been making my back hurt for three days and would need to be wrapped back up. They followed us up stairs, and then switched out the beds while I was in the bathroom. They told me it was my birthday present, because by the time this had all happened, it was indeed after midnight on August 12th. My 30th birthday. 

The doctor came in and apologized, saying that if she had known that my head was hurting, she wouldn’t have moved me downstairs. 

It was then that the call was made to start inducing labor that evening, as soon as the second steroid shot had been given 24 hours to work. 



To Be Continued......

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Where Babies Come From ~ Part 1


I could tell you that the reason I haven’t blogged, or recorded in anyway, the story of how Z3 came into the world is because I’ve been super busy with a new baby, two school aged kids, a pretend job, and a husband who is deploying very soon. These are all the excuses I could give, but not a single one of them is the truth.

The reality is, I don’t like to think about it.

I could get all dramatic with you, and tell you that I almost died, and that we had no idea if Zander would live or this or that or other stuff. That stuff is all true, but in the context of the entire story, the events are not as doom and gloom as that makes it sound.

Truthfully, it was a very scary experience, but the reason I don’t like to think about it is because I handled it much better externally than I did internally, and I’m still coming to grips with the entire situation. I’ll consider the next three posts therapy, because bringing myself to talk about it is truly stepping slightly out of my comfort zone. I’d like to keep pretending I’m a very go with the flow, laid back kind of girl.

******************************************
At my 28 week appointment, I was completely forgotten about while I was in the waiting room. For the first time ever, my hour wait for an appointment wasn’t solely the fault of the people sitting at the reception desk. (There was a time in Colorado where I had to sit for a million years because no one could say my name, but that’s a different story.) The computer system was crashing all over the hospital, and not just in the OB clinic, so when I was checked in, instead of putting my name on the list, it reset back to the input screen. I was the fourth person in that particular clinic that it happened to that day.

As I walked back to the exam room, I was stopped by one of the nurses who felt it her duty to double check with me that I was in need of the Rhogam shot. Now, I absolutely knew that it was the day they would be jabbing a needle into my pre-butt in an effort to deal with the fact that I am Rh negative and my husband is Rh positive. The issue with her asking about it, is that I had put the thought of needles out of my mind. I was basically in denial about it, due to an extremely dumb fear of needles. I actually felt my blood pressure rise just thinking about it.

The very first thing that happened in the exam room? The nurse took my blood pressure. It was 161/102. Apparently, this is a bad thing. When the doctor came in, she freaked out a little. At my last appointment I had asked about some swelling in my legs, but that was attributed to the freakish amount of weight I was gaining. I told her about my fear of needles, and since I felt fine, I recommended taking it again at the end of the appointment when I had a chance to chill out for a few.

Before the original nurse came back, the nurse with the stupid needle came in and gave me my shot. And my blood pressure reading stayed exactly the same.
I was sent immediately to Labor and Delivery, do not pass go, do not collect $200. I was hooked up to the monitors for three hours, and was sent home with two bright orange jugs to collect pee for 24 hours. This was the first time preeclampsia was mentioned.

It was also the first, and definitely not last, time that I had told Paul my appointment shouldn’t take more than an hour and then spent 4 hours at the hospital. The day I dropped off my pee jugs, I was hooked up for another NST, but that one only lasted two and a half hours. I was slowly learning that babies who are only 28 weeks gestation have too much swimming space to be cooperative during these tests. All of the lab work came back completely clean, and I was sent on my merry way, with standing appointments to have bi-weekly NSTs from then until I was no longer pregnant.

I assumed that this would be another 12 weeks.

You know what they say about assuming things, right?

Three weeks later, during my 6th NST, I got another “do not pass go” order, and was sent back to Labor and Delivery. It was the first time the words “possible severe preeclampsia” were uttered.

Unfortunately, it wasn’t the last time we would hear that phrase.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Last Week's Life Lessons

Lesson #1 ~ If one is going to accidentally go 60 clicks in a 50 kph zone and get flashed by a traffic camera, they should NOT do it with their mother in law in the car. She may just "accidentally" rat you out to your husband before you come up with a plan to gently break the news to him.

and

Lesson #2 ~ Being Facebook friends with your old youth minister is awesome and everything, but if you end up giving birth to your 3rd child be prepared for him to mention, for everyone to see, that during premarital counseling your answer to the questions "Do you want children? If so, how many?" was "no" and "2".*




*In my defense, I don't think it was children I didn't want. I just never wanted to be pregnant. And really, if you're going to have kids, 2 is a good number because only children and middle children are weird!!! 

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

This post could be about you if you can say the word "jeggings" with a straight face...

We interrupt this week of no blog posts to bring you this short public service announcement.


LEGGINGS ARE NOT PANTS.

It is not acceptable in any way, shape, or form to walk out of your home wearing any kind of leggings without a shirt or dress that covers your backside.

All you will succeed in doing is 1) looking like an extra from that Olivia Newton John music video or B) letting the general public in on your Victoria's Secret.

Please. No. Pretty please with a cherry on top, stop pretending that thin piece of fabric makes an acceptable form of lower body attire. If not permanently, at least until someone finally gets around to inventing eye bleach.