Sunday, September 26, 2010

Weekend wrap-up

I'm feeling much, much better. Wednesday was ugly. Thursday was not much better. I was actually pretty surprised how much pain I was in. This was worse than my C section with Robbie. Now, I was very distracted by bigger concerns than physical pain after my C section, so maybe my perspective is off, but really. I could get comfortable in bed after he was born. Sure, coughing or laughing or well... moving.. hurt, but at least there was a point that I could be out of pain. I did not have that on Wednesday or Thursday. Everything hurt all the time.

After Robbie was born, my nurses all seemed to think I was odd because I kept refusing the narcotics. I refused to even take the prescription for them after my knee surgery several years ago. Wednesday afternoon I was laying in bed asking David when I could have more. I really don't think I'm a wimp about pain (that's not to brag on myself. I'm a complete baby when I have a fever. Seriously, I get to 99 and I'm pathetic. But physical pain I can usually handle fine.) but I was a mess.

In hindsight, I really should have made arrangements for Robbie to be somewhere else. David was fairly good about taking care of him, but he would still come in and want "Up!?" and I'd have to say no. David would try to pick him up and Robbie would push him away. You could see the frustration. I didn't ask for Daddy to pick me up. I asked for mommy. Now go away and leave me be! Towards the end of the day, you could tell that David was just out of steam. He'd been traveling for work, arriving home about 1am. We had to be at the hospital at 7:30. Suffice it to say, he wasn't super attentive. We would have all benefited from a good babysitter.

Fortunately by Friday things were improving. This morning was even better. Today was a narcotic free today. My biggest complaint of today is that my largest incision is itching like crazy. I keep reminding myself that means healing, but I daydream about gouging my skin off. I mean, I have Percocet left, why let them go to waste?

In other news, we are attending our first NICU reunion tomorrow. I have no idea what to expect and hope that it goes okay. While I am feeling much better, I'm not sure how long that will last. We went out to dinner tonight and I actually fell asleep on the 20 minute drive home. The pain has improved, but I'm definitely not at 100%. The reunion is also at 1:00 which is squarely in the middle of Robbie's normal nap time. My plan is to go early and not stay too long, but we'll see. I don't really know what to expect. I just really want to see everyone. We've been to the NICU several times, most recently on Robbie's adjusted birthday to take some cupcakes, but it's very hit or miss about catching anyone there, and the unit is now very enclosed with all private rooms, so visiting just isn't easy. Hoping to catch up with some of our saviors and our fellow survivors.

As if that's not all exciting enough, we're trying to tube-wean Robbie again. I put him down tonight and told him "no more tubes. You have to drink like a big boy now." His eating continues to slowly improve, but drinking just eludes us. His diet still consists mainly of crunchables and purees, but it gets the job done. Drinking, however, is completely unreliable. He might pick up a cup and drink an ounce or two of water a few days in a row, but then he won't touch one again for another week or two. He seems to have more interest in an open cup than anything else, but inevitably dumps it too far, chokes himself and then refuses to touch one again for 2 weeks. He loves to stir our drinks with a spoon or a straw and then lick it, but no actual drinking.

The last time we tried, he refused to drink for a day, but then slowly increased. But as soon as I started to top him off a little, he completely stopped again. Had I been calculating his purees into his daily liquid intake, I wouldn't have topped him off, but I didn't know that "counted." So I'm trying again. I'm trying not to make a big deal of it. Pressure only makes things worse and I know that. He's going to lose weight. I know that. But I also know that he CAN do it. I just need to set him up to want to. And pray a lot.

In final news, I cried happy tears this morning. Robbie's been able to say "momma" for a very long time. And if you asked him where mommy was, he could point to or find me. But he's never actually put the two together. This morning we were looking through some pictures, pointing out every one he knows when we came across one with both of us in it. He pointed and said "Ma Ma!"

Screw Percocet. There is no better high than that.

Thursday, September 23, 2010


Goodbye gallbladder.

The morning was fine. I barely slept, but nerves kept me awake. I was fitted with some sort of odd paper gown that apparently can be inflated to keep me warm or cool. I didn't play with that feature, but thought it was interesting. I got an IV, BP cuff, some EKG probes, circulation stockings plus those inflatable circulation cuffs. For half a second I expected them to roll in a bag of mag. Not a good flashback. But the nurses were all really great and when my doctor came in, he got on a soap box about capitalism when commenting about the book my husband was reading. If you knew my husband, you'd know how hysterical that was.

The surgery went fine, really. Being me, my anatomy was a little odd and apparently my gallbladder sat up higher than normal and behind my liver in an odd way. So the surgery took about an hour longer than normal. The doctor told my husband he had to "dig around a lot." Yum. He said my duct looked fine (that was unexpected) but that my gallbladder showed thickening indicating long-term dysfunction. He didn't seem to think it was in terrible shape, but definitely wasn't healthy. I was relieved to know that we hadn't done this for nothing.

I had a little trouble keeping my O2 up in recovery- nothing scary, just enough to set off the alarm on the monitor. The nurses woke me several times to tell me to take a deep breath but a few other times I woke when I heard it and tried my best to do it myself. I'm fairly certain I once told it to fuck off. I was tired, cranky, in pain, and frankly, the months I spent listening to it beep at me in the NICU gave me the right. I am kinda of hoping that maybe I didn't say it aloud, though. Either way, it leveled out and I was fine.

The pain was more than I was expecting, honestly. When I first woke up, I kept waiting for a nurse to ask if I was in pain and it seemed like it took ages. I tried to move as much as I could (I couldn't speak yet) to indicate I was awake and one came and ask and I nodded yes immediately. In reality it was probably only a few minutes, but I REALLY hurt. Fortunately whatever she gave me knocked me right back out again.

Eventually they took me back to my room. They gave me some oral pain meds & some pudding & juice. All of the tubes & wires started to really get to me. I wanted to go. I had to keep food down and pee before I could, so I asked David to feed me some pudding (seriously, how do you eat when tubes & wires everywhere?) and asked the nurses to take me to the bathroom. I was pretty wobbly, but got there.

We were on our way home a short while later. I went straight to my bed and haven't left it for long most of the day. David was on Robbie duty, which was sort of hit or miss. Robbie doesn't understand why I can't pick him up and he can only snuggle me halfway. It makes me feel bad, but hopefully I can at least indulge in full body snuggles within a few days.

The pain is coming and going. I definitely know when the paid meds are due. I'm usually fairly noncompliant about pain meds, but not this time. I'm definitely very uncomfortable. Really hoping tomorrow is better. I know it's temporary, so I'm just doing the best I can.

In any case, it was a success. Step one complete. In a week, I'll call my OB for an MFM consult. Let's just hope the most painful part of this process is over.


Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Tick tick tick

My gallbladder has 14(ish) hours to live.

Surgery is scheduled for 9:30 tomorrow morning. We are to report to the hospital at 7:30. My poor husband is traveling for work and won't be home until probably 1am. It's going to be a long day for him.

I'm a little nervous, mostly about anesthesia. I hate being knocked out. There was the ugly incident after miscarriage #2 where my brain woke up by my body didn't, and several times I've had some sort of odd muscle reaction to the drugs (essentially leaving me feeling like I've fallen down a flight of stairs) and then there is just the yucky out-of-control feeling while I struggle to wake up. I just hate it.

Of course, being me, I also imagine every horrible scenario that could be. What if I die on the table and leave Robbie without a mother? Oh yes, I've thought about that a half dozen times over the last few days. I love my brain, truly.

Realistically, I'll be fine. Probably sore for a few days. David will be home Wednesday & Thursday and my dad is coming on Friday. Hopefully by then I'll be moving around okay. I'm not technically supposed to lift over 20 pounds for a month but even the surgeon didn't pretend that was possible. Robbie's small, but not that small. (He's right around 25 pounds, for the record.)

Hopefully being cared for by men will be okay. David's actually usually really a good nurse, but I do worry that he will need a lot of prompting for what to do with Robbie all day and I will lost my patience. He's notorious for doing thing like saying he'll get up with Robbie on a Saturday, but what he really does is get up and bring Robbie to bed with me. Thanks, hon.

But we'll see.
The doc said we'll know in a few weeks if I'm going to be very sick afterward. If I'm not really sick, we can start TTC any time. If I am, I'll need a couple of months to let my body adjust. Either way, a week after the surgery, I'll call my OB and get the MFM referral.

This is really happening. Let the anxiety begin.


Monday, September 13, 2010


My dad LOVES scary movies. LOVES them. Ya know how most parents try to avoid giving their kids nightmares?
Not my dad. He thought it was hysterical to freak me out. Bonus points if I physically reacted by jumping or screaming.

I remember being about 7 and watch Hitchcock's "The Birds" with him. Maybe I was 6. Suffice it to say I was way too young to be watching anything Hitchcock. I only remember a few tidbits from the movie (and an underlying fear of flocks of birds) but I recall clearly a scene where a character had been pecked to death by the birds. I turned my head away at the gore. My dad said "okay, it's over." I looked back up to find that he'd paused it on that scene. Thanks Dad.

He just loves to be scared and to scare people. He's the guy running his fingers up your spine if you're watching something about spiders, or grabbing your leg during a scene looking for a monster in a closet. I learned at a very early age to never outwardly show fear. If he knew he could get you, it only made it worse. You better internalize that shit or he'll torture you for the rest of your life.

This has come in handy a time or two in my adult life. Once, I managed to hit a yellow jacket's nest with my weed eater and got swarmed. Scared the shit out of me, but my reaction was to freeze and then back away slowly. The exterminator who came to take care of the problem was amazed that I escaped being stung. Not freaking out and running away had probably saved me.

The building in which I work is very old. It's like something out of a horror film. Lots of winding, blind hallways, low lights and unmarked doors. There are 5 floors but 2 are completely uninhabited; another nearly so. Plus it's in the heart of the ghetto. Everyone swears it's haunted. It is definitely creepy.

A few years ago I was working 2nd shift and had lingered chatting with a coworker who was on 3rds. She had to walk out to get something from her car, so I walked her out. Then I remembered something at my desk, so I ended up walking her back in. As we came around one of the blind corners, another coworker who might be my father's long-lost (other) daughter jumped out and growled at us. The girl I had been walking with screamed bloody murder. I froze. The coworker with the sick sense of humor howled in laughter. Later, she retold the story to the rest of the office, in part, "...but Trish, she didn't react at all. She must have nerves of steel!" Little does she know she took 5 years off my life that night.

I say of all this to say that I used to be tough. I was a single girl living alone for 10 years. I could watch or read anything all while laying alone in the dark at home. There were exceptions, of course. But they were few and far between. King, Koontz, John Carpenter were staples in my home.

Shortly before Robbie was born, I was on a Dean Koontz kick and had a few books already stocked up to read. When Robbie was a few weeks old, I took one of them up to the NICU to read while I pumped. I got about 7 pages into it before I felt like I was going to have an anxiety attack. Okay, maybe that wasn't the time. My stress levels were already unusually high. That makes sense.

But it hasn't changed. I still haven't read that Koontz novel. I still like a good suspense novel. The latest vampire craze is right up my alley. But those are all far enough removed from reality that I can remove myself from them. Vampires never attack fat girls. But anything that theoretically could happen? I'm out.

Tonight I watched an older movie, "The Gift." The movie was actually pretty decent. I was surprised at the cast. Keanu plays a surprisingly convincing asshole. A few minutes into it I felt tense. By the climax of the movie, I was ready to throw up. Thankfully David was home and had come to lay with me by then. Otherwise I don't think I'd have been able to finish it.

I'm working a day shift tomorrow so that I can make my surgeon's appointment where I hope we can schedule removing my gallbladder. Robbie hasn't slept well all weekend. But instead of sleeping, (now at 1 a.m.) I'm up watching something lighthearted on TV so that I don't go to bed dreaming about decomposing bodies or Katie Holmes's bare breasts.*

I can't decide if this is a good thing or a bad thing, really. Robbie's birth and subsequent life has changed me in many ways, most of them for the better. I'm more empathetic and patient. I'm a better friend. I never travel anywhere without a snack and hand wipes. My left bicep has doubled in size.

But there are some ways that I don't know how to rate; they could go either way. I can tune out the sound of shrieking in a restaurant. I don't think I've left the house without either food, snot or vomit somewhere on my person in more than 2 years. I cry over any story that involves any child anywhere, ever. And apparently I can no longer enjoy a good, bloody horror flick. 

Tuning out shrieks is handy when they are coming from a table other than my own, but not appreciated by the tables around us if they're coming from ours. Sometimes I'd like to look put together, but it's also a relief to release some of my OCD tendencies. Empathy is great except when I'm trying to hold it together while driving or working. And exposure to less violence is probably desirable but it's hard to eliminate the main genre of entertainment I enjoyed before Robbie.

All I really know for sure is that I'm really glad I don't live with my dad anymore. It makes it a lot easier to hide the fact that I've gone soft.


*My apologies to anyone googling for Katie Holmes's boobs who landed here instead.

Friday, September 10, 2010


We want another baby. Not in the "oh, maybe one day.." kind of way but in a very real "let's call the doctors" kind of way.

The day Robbie was born, before I'd even really seen him yet, my mother in law made a comment about "when [we] have a little sister for Robbie.." and if I hadn't been too drugged to focus my eyes, I think I'd have gotten up and slugged her. A few months later, I was gathering up some old books to sell or donate and put all my baby books in the box. I casually said to David, "We're done, right?" He wouldn't agree. He asked me to put them in storage so we could discuss it later.

It would be a long time before I'd admit that he'd been right. Robbie's first year was overwhelming. Most babies are hard work, but of course, Robbie came with unusual challenges. Not only was I unsure if I wanted another, or could handle another, I wasn't sure it was fair to Robbie. He required so much time and attention, was it fair to him to divide my attention. Certainly it wouldn't be fair to another child.

But as Robbie's health and development began to evolve, I began to breathe again. Instead of just surviving, we were all starting to thrive. Man, it felt good. It feels good.

I can genuinely say that I feel fulfilled. Yes, there are bad days, there are still nights I lay awake and worry. Worrying is just what I do. But I see Robbie smile and play and realize that he's a happy, secure kid. I seem to be doing okay with this mom thing. I'm not the perfect one, but I'm doing okay. As fulfilled as I feel, though, I don't feel like our family is complete.

Today, I visited my OB for my annual exam. I was nervous discussing it with her. I felt sick last night wondering if we were insane. The media and interwebz are filled with opinions about the Duggars having another baby after pre-e. Lots of words like "selfish" and "deluded." They sting me a little every time I read them. Are we selfish and deluded? I steeled myself for disapproval. What I found was unadulterated excitement.

I was genuinely surprised. Both my OB and her PA were like my best girlfriends, excited at the prospect of a new baby to play with. My doctor grinned and said she was thinking "we need a girl this time." It was hard not to be caught up in their excitement. Of course, I had a lot of questions and I left with a plan.

First, my gallbladder has to come out. I've been trying to convince my surgeon of that fact for several weeks. Everyone seems to agree that it isn't quite right, but it's not quite wrong enough to be absolutely evicted. If we weren't planning another pregnancy, he wouldn't take it out. Since we are, he asked for more tests (which I've done) and been thinking about it. My OB absolutely says it needs to go. If it acts up at all during pregnancy (which is very likely. It started getting cranky while I was pregnant with Robbie.) it will drive my liver enzymes up and as I had HELLP, the last thing my liver needs is greater stress. She told me to have the surgeon call her if he had questions. She wants it gone.

In the mean time, I am starting Metformin again. Anyone who has ever taken it knows how much fun it is. But it serves a good purpose, so we'll give it another go. I'm supposed to get myself as healthy as I can. Since Robbie's birth, my blood pressure has been just a little above normal (usually 130/80) but okay. But it has a tendency to spike up, sometimes very high, during any sort of stress. I need to work on that. More exercise & less sodium and hopefully some weight loss.

I've been trying to lose weight for the last year. I was down 20 pounds, but since I've been working 2nd shift, it's all been out the window and I've gained again. I'm frustrated and disappointed in myself, but will work to lose as much as I can before we can try again.

Once my gallbladder is out, I'm to let her know. During my recover time (2 months. They want the worst of the effects of the gallbladder removal to pass) I will have a consult with a MFM. And then we'll see the RE. I'm guessing December, January at the latest.

The notion of more fertility treatments isn't exactly exciting. I haven't missed Clomid hot flashes or dates with the dildocam at all. But I also know what to expect. There will be changes this time, of course. We'll try to avoid taking Robbie to the fertility clinic. No one likes a baby in the waiting room there. But it might happen. There will be survivor's guilt, I'm sure.

And there is the possibility that our magic cocktail of Clomid/IUI won't work this time. I dread the cycling and just thinking about another 2ww makes me want to throw up.

But it's not even the trying that stresses me out the most. It's the BEING pregnant again. Worrying about another miscarriage or another premature birth, that makes me tremble.

We took some cupcakes to the NICU last week in celebration of the 2nd anniversary of Robbie's discharge. We talked to a few nurses. I told them we were thinking of trying again and we shared the sentiment that we not need to see each other.

My OB's goal is 36 weeks. I won't be allowed to go past 37 because of my vertical c-section. It makes me sad because I know all too well that even 36-37 weekers can have issues with jaundice, temperature control and feeding. God help me, I need a good eater next time. And I told my OB today that I want to take my baby home with me this time. No more living in a hospital. She thought that was fair. She doesn't think I'll need Lovenex, but will take Folguard and baby aspirin and be heavily monitored. Let's just hope that's enough to get me my take home baby.

So, we embark on a new adventure. Prayers welcome.

“The person who risks nothing, does nothing, has nothing, is nothing, and becomes nothing. He may avoid suffering and sorrow, but he simply cannot learn and feel and change and grow and love and live.”
Leo F. Buscaglia