Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Part Seven - the end...or should i say the beginning?

Yesterday i stayed at the hospital overnight to do all of Chewie's feedings...

Today i discovered the four most awesome words in the English Language:

You're Cleared for Discharge

Sitting here in my kitchen with Chewie in his basinette next to me, it's amazing. i thought this day would never come.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Part Six

The past 2 weeks have seemed, simultaneously, like the longest time of my life and also the shortest.

The hardest thing that i've ever done in my life was the day we were discharged and i had to walk away from the hospital without him. B-rad held me as we walked down the hallway, and i could feel Chewie getting farther and farther away from me. When we walked out the door, i broke down and cried into my hands while B-rad led me to the car. We sat in the car for a few seconds while i sobbed, and as we pulled away from the parking lot it felt like i was being ripped in two.

I said: "It feels like we just left our heart there and then drove away."

We were both a mess of emotion and tears and we seemed to go in alternating waves of tears. I would cry, and he would comfort me and i'd settle a little...then he would cry and i would comfort him and so on.

My friend Madge was at our house when we arrived. She had cleaned up a little for us and made us supper, and then volunteered to do some quick shopping with B-rad so i could rest. B-rad also called my mom when we got home, and she came over and we sat on the couch with her arms around me.

It was a rough day, to say the least.

but we went back that night, and it was like as soon as we could see him - a weight lifted off of us and we were light and happy again. He's like sunshine on a cloudy day.

The rest of the week(s) have gone by in a blur of visits to the hospital, family visitors, pumping, napping, resting... And when i am exhausted and think i can't go on any more, i get to the hospital and hold him and he charges my batteries and i think: "Okay, i can do this for one more day"

I have to take each day at a time. Any thing beyond the next day is too big for me to handle. And while he steadily improved, gaining weight, keeping his temperature, feeding by bottle, the nurses still don't give us anything more to go on than: "Maybe a couple more weeks"

i can't handle that big a time frame. So day by day is how we operate.

As of today, he's been in NICU for 18 days. He's gained 11 oz and is now 5lbs 6 oz! He is a free-range baby, the feeding tube is gone and he bottle feeds like a champion and last night we had a very successful nursing session. He's in a basinette in room temperature and has been able to maintain his body temp in the outside air really well.

A few days ago, as B-rad and i were heading to the hospital to visit Chewie, there were these amazing clouds in the sky, and as the sun was setting it really illuminated them perfectly with a sliver lining. B-rad stopped the car so i could take a picture.

To me, it was the perfect shot of our little one in Intensive Care. The hospital, the nurses, doctors and medical staff, not being at home with us - those were all the cloud. The fact that he's healthy and improving everyday and perfect in all other aspects and soo sooooo loved.... that was my silver lining.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Part Five - NICU

The day Chewie was born was pretty intense, and after the drama of delivery i was wheeled up to a private room in the Maternity Ward. They 'settled me in' and it seemed like an eternity of people coming in and out talking to me, checking me out before we were able to go down to NICU to see our son.

When we got there, my heart shattered into a million pieces when i saw my son, so tiny and so little, laying in an isolette with a breathing tube in his face. He was wheezing, and i wanted to pick him up and hold him, but couldn't. A nurse told me that the wheezing was from the breathing tube, it had a small leak, it wasn't from Chewie. It made me feel better, but only slightly.

His face was purple and bruised from his big trek to the outside world, and the IV in his arm, and all the monitors made me cry. I kept thinking "You poor little guy, you didn't expect this when you made it out did you?" no, he probably was expecting to be held and cuddled and stroked and touched... instead he got whisked away and had tubes jammed inside him and needles and monitors attached to him. even now, thinking about that makes me feel like my body somehow betrayed him. That i let him down.

The nurse told us we could touch him, so the first time i really got to see my son - all i could do was touch his hand through the little door in his isolette.

After our visit, we went back up to the room and i cried and cried thinking of my little man who should have been with us, but wasn't.

We went down again around 9 pm to see him and were happy to see that his breathing tube had been removed and he was breathing on his own. Good lad. I asked the nurse who was one when she thought we'd be able to hold him, and she said: "How about five minutes?"

Holding his tiny body in my arms, smelling his hair, and looking over every inch of his face... it felt like home.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Part Four...

The labour and delivery is kind of a blur, but if you ask B-rad he'd probably tell you that i was transformed into a primal animal...

The short story is - birth is an amazing and crazy experience that you really can't pin down with words. But i did it all with out drugs, no epidurals, no episiotomies, just a tiny tear and when B-rad told me we had a son we both broke down and sobbed.

Because he was so early, they were worried about his lungs - they had the NICU staff there and ready to assess the little guy.

His lungs were good enough to cry his first little cry.

I only got to hold him for about thirty seconds before they took him away, but when they put him in my arms, i said: "Hey little guy" he opened his eyes and looked at me. Best moment ever. But over too soon before he was wheeled away.

To help with his breathing, he was intubated and when we were able to go down to the NICU (after a shower and getting settled in our hospital room) it was really hard to seem him on assisted breathing, and attached to so many monitors and hooked up to IVs.

We had a little visit, but not being able to hold him was so hard. So hard.

When we went down to NICU later that night, he was already extubated and breathing on his own after only 8 hours. We knew then he's a fighter.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Part Three...

The Nurse came in to do the other 'test', which was essentially a pap test, but as she pulled out the stick, she said to her assistant..."We've got something here"

So, they did a cervical exam. Finally. Not sure why they didn't do one from the get go.

"Okay," she said "looks like you're staying here for a while, you're 4 cm dilated. How far along are you?"

"32 weeks"


it was terrifying. Everything i had ever feared about hospitals was happening to me. Faceless medical staff walking in and out, talking over me, not to me. B-rad tried getting Sunava on"W the phone, and she said that she was on her way... but as they were on the phone a nurse came in and said to me: "Okay, i'm just going to have roll over to your side for me there..." and before i knew it STAB! i was injected with something.

I lost it and completely broke down and sobbed.

"what was that! what are you giving my wife?"

What they had given me was Steroids to help Chewie's lungs develop, it was needed, but the way it was done was awful. it seemed like our vision of a drug free birth was going straight to hell in a very uncomfortable handbasket.

There was a moment when i thought B-rad was going to go to fisticuffs with one of the nurses there. Finally he said; "look, we're not trying to be difficult, but it's all happening so fast and we just need a few minutes"

So the Maternity Nurse, Debbie said: "okay, i'll give you a few minutes to talk it over while i go do some paper work, but then i'm coming back and i'm moving you to Delivery and i'm putting in an IV"


B-rad said; "We had planned to have a Natural Delivery, so this is all very scary"
and Debbie said:

"Well, let me just say this: Yes, Birth is natural - but so is death. That's all i'll say" and walked out.

WHAT THE FLYING FUCK WOULD YOU SAY THAT FOR!!?!?!???? i still can't believe she said that to us

There it was, the Medical Bullying i was afraid of.

We eventually moved to the delivery room and agreed to whatever drugs they told us i needed, it was like i'd given up - whatever, just do whatever you need.

and then... Sunava showed up with her big bag of tricks and immediately set Debbie on edge
"Uhm, who are you?"

That's our Doula.
"just what exactly is all that stuff?"

"These are just essential oils and some cds and things"

And as Debbie was setting up my IV Sunava asked what the IV was for and she got:
"I've already discussed this with the parents, but it's saline water and antibiotics"

I kept thinking this was NOT going to go well if my nurse and my doula couldn't get along.

Part Two....

The thing about Summer holidays - is that people go away.

Where was my Doctor? Gone on holidays.
Where was my Mother? Gone on a Pioneer Trek Re-enactment
Where were B-rad and I? You know it, we were on 'holidays'... sigh.

Okay, so where were we?

B-rad did his very best to stay awake until we pulled into Pam's place... he told me later that by the end there he was seeing two roads, not sure which one he was driving on.

we picked up Pam and B-rad hopped in the back seat and got about 45 minutes of sleep as Pam drove and kept track of my contractions which were pretty consistent at 3 minutes apart.

We got to the hospital at around 6 am, and Pam dropped us off at the Emergency entrance and went to park the car. Having her there was just a godsend. She was great. Especially since at this point B-rad hadn't slept in 26 hours.

So, we walked in and the first thing everyone asked us was "Has your water broken?" uhm. no.

People were asking me for my prenatal sheet... "Do you have your Prenatal sheet?" uhm. no.

We went to the assessment room where we got asked everytime someone new walked in the room: "Has your water broken?" uhm, no.
"Do you have your Prenatal Sheet?" uhm, no? "How far apart are your contractions?" "When did you go into labour?"

I was exhausted, and each time the curtain pulled back it was some new person ready to ask the exact same questions over again. By the end, i just closed my eyes and Pam filled them in while B-rad desperately tried to stay awake. I told him it was okay, he could close his eyes and try to catch a few winks. Poor guy. He wasn't blessed with the crazy adrenalin like i was. if this was labour for real, i'd need him alert.

i was sent in to the bathroom to do a urine test and when i came out i was immediately strapped to a fetal monitor where i stayed - in an uncomfortable position, where i stayed for what seemed like forever. The little room was a blur of people coming in and out, asking the same questions over and over... i mean, c'mon! don't they write this shit down somewhere???

Finally a doctor came in to talk to me to tell me that they were testing my 'sample' and it would take about 20 minutes to get the results.

I tried to breathe through the contractions, and it was nice to have Pam validate me when i was having a bad one. She'd watch the monitor and when i was done she'd say: "Good job, that was a big one."

The doctor came back with the test results - "You have an Urinary Tract Infection, which can cause false labour. So, i've signed your release form and left a prescription at the desk, but they're going to do another quick test on you since you're here. it essentially tells us if you're NOT in labour. if is says you are, it could be labour, or it could be infection, but someone will be here soon to do that for you - i'm off. So good luck!"

Oh God. All this pain, all of this drama for a UTI??? i was devastated, yet relieved.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

The story - Part One

It was a pretty normal day. B-rad and i were heading out to the lake for one last weekend of camping.

I had spent the day running around picking up a few last things before we went out of town. I had my brother Willy Billy with me to do all my heavy lifting, on the condition that if he was my lacky i would buy him lunch. While standing in line at CrackDonald's, the lady at the register asked Willy Billy when i was due. "Is she about to pop?" i laughed. i get this all the time.

"Nope, i've got two more months"

the response to that is usually something along the lines of: You're SOOO big already!!! You poor thing.

after all the errands were run, i went home and loaded up the car with all the gear... and went to pick my husband up from work - straight on out to the lake we went.

The lake was about an hour and a half drive from home, we made good time - got to B-rad's cousin Nasty's trailer/campsite around supper. It was a scorcher. 34 degrees (93.2 F) with no sign of it getting any cooler. We walked (well, B-rad and Nasty walked and i waddled) down to the beach with our pool noodles and enjoyed a very refreshing, and very much needed dip in the water. i felt like i could have stayed there all day and never get out. but - i was hungry, so we went back to camp and had some supper.

At about that time, i started noticing that my back was starting to hurt. I figured it must have been from all the walking around i did, then the drive, then sitting in bad camp chairs. B-rad and Nasty decided to go out for a bit of night-fishing at around 8:30 and i opted out, saying my back was sore - i'm just gonna relax.

The back pain didn't seem to be getting any better no matter what chair i sat on, so i waddled my way into the trailer and had a little lie-down on the bed, hoping the pain would go away. It didn't. B-rad and Nasty returned from fishing around 10:30 and checked in on me. I was feeling pretty crappy by this point, and as i had been having Braxton Hicks earlier that week, when Nasty asked me what was wrong i said jokingly; "Oh, i'm just having contractions, that's all."

He panicked a bit: "What? Don't you have that baby in my trailer!"
"Nasty, my due date isn't for another two months!! i'm not going to have the baby today." (famous last words)

Some friends of ours were also up at the lake that weekend, so B-rad and Nasty left me to lay down and went to visit/drink with our friends.

in the trailer, i tried to sleep... but it didn't work out too well. Every time i'd just barely fall asleep i'd wake up thinking my back was ripping itself off my body. Half asleep and in pain, i was vaguely aware that this MIGHT be more than just a day of bad camp chairs.

B-rad returned around 2:00 am to find me still awake and breathing through some nasty back pains that were accompanied by what felt like really bad menstrual cramps. I'd never had a real contraction before, so i wasn't quite sure what was going on. But when B-rad came to bed he had the brains to say: "are they quite regular? maybe we should be timing these."

So, we started timing them. And the really really sucked. To keep me distracted, B-rad and i played the Band Name game, where one of us starts with "A" and thinks of a band name and then then next person has "B", etc etc etc. We went through the game 3 times - and moved from the trailer to the road, to the camp shower.

Finally, when it seemed like they were getting worse rather than better, around 3 am, we figured it was probably time to call our Doula, Sunava, just to see what she said.

So B-rad called, and woke her up and told her what was going on. We talked to her for about half an hour, she talked me through a few contractions, and when i finally told her that i felt a lot of pressure with the contractions, like i had to use the bathroom....y'know, number 2.... she went a little quiet, then said...

"Y'know, maybe you better just make the drive back to the city."

So, with the Return Home Order from our Doula, B-rad quickly packed up our stuff threw it all in the backseat of the car, stuck his head in the trailer to tell Nasty we were leaving, and we started the 1.5 hour drive back to the city with instructions to call Sunava once we were on our way to the hospital.

B-rad has been working 12 hour days at work all week, getting up every day at 5:00 am. And the night before - the lucky boy got laid ;) so he was running all that day on 4 hours of sleep. By the time we left the lake, he had been awake for almost 24 hours on 4 hours sleep... and it was just about dawn with that inbetween light, driving on country roads... with his pregnant wife in labour beside him who was in NO shape to keep him focused and awake on the road. ANNND, he had been drinking that day in the hot sun. *NOTE: He was by no means inebriated by the time we left - had he been we would have gotten someone else to drive us.

My sister in law lives in a small town on the way back to the City. i made the suggestion that we stop and pick her up and have her drive us to the hospital so B-rad could get a teeny bit of sleep anyway. After calling 5 times, my brother answered the phone.

"I need to talk to Pam!!" i said.
she picked up the phone and i said: "Hi Pam, how are you? sorry to wake you, but uhm, if we come and pick you up will you drive us to the Hospital?"

and she said; "....yes."


Monday, July 7, 2008

Quick Update...

This is just a quick note to say that i'm going to be mostly offline for a little while.

B-rad and i delivered a healthy baby boy Saturday afternoon. 2 months early. He's still at the hospital in Intensive Care, but he's strong and was breathing on his own after only 8 hours on a ventilator

The official stats:
4lbs 11oz
18.5 " long

The labour story is really interesting, but i'll save it for another day.
for now, rest for me.


Friday, July 4, 2008

Day #55

Dear Chewie,

Well, we've made it this far. Can you believe it's July already? It seems like just yesterday i saw that little pink cross on the pregnancy test - was Christmas that long ago?

You make me: Hot, Sweaty, Puffy, Swollen, Uncomfortable, Sleepy, Sore, Excited, Anxious, Worrisome, Happy, and Nervous.

I've been having a lot of Braxton Hicks lately, my mom - your grandma D, laughed at me when i told her. She's so smug. lol.

I've been having trouble sleeping. For a few reasons... my belly just is too big to find a comfortable position for longer than, say, 2 hours. And you constantly settle down on my bladder causing me to get up to pee a zillion times a night... the most frustrating thing? That i HARDLY PEE AT ALL!! GAH! i don't know if there's anything more frustrating that getting up feeling like you're about to explode, and just getting a few drops... then heading back to bed, only to lay down and think....God, i have to pee...again???

But probably the hardest thing to deal with right now is not being able to cuddle up to your daddy at night. Our bed looks like a Sultan's bed with pillows all around me propping me up in various ways. We're lucky if your dad and i can hold hands before falling asleep. I do miss him. But, as he said last night - it'll all be over soon and it will totally be worth it.

He's right.

All of this is totally worth it. I can't wait to see you.

Your Ad Here