Monday, May 21, 2012

And the hand saga continues...

My hand is a lot better than it was even Friday. But still, the doctor said for a small puncture/not very serious bite (the puncture wasn't bad, it was the subsequent infection that landed me in the hospital...even though I cleaned it immediately after it happened, used neosporin, etc.), he was not crazy about seeing ANY redness or swelling at this point. (Even though the red area is about the size of a dime, down from Tuesday when it took up my entire hand all the way to my wrist.) I do wonder how much of this is that he is first and foremost a surgeon (a plastic surgeon, to be specific), so obviously he may be more inclined to operate then someone who doesn't do surgery (and often elective surgeries) all the time.

Anyway, he picked the scab off and took a look inside which did not hurt too badly actually. Not exactly a fun time but I've had a lot worse. We are hoping that will help get out anything that needs to drain out. I have until next Tuesday for it to get better, when I have yet another follow up for this dumb drama. By then, I will be done with the antibiotics and he's already looked and seen what he could see from the surface/immediate wound, so if it's not totally better by then aside from the scab/scar, the only option left will be surgery for them to dig into it. I am pretty confident that it will be better by then, it has already improved each day. And I would probably get a second opinion before I went for the surgery option, because I'm difficult like that, and what's another $60 copay at this point?  But hopefully it will be normal except the scab/scar by then and surgery will be a moot point.

By the way, just a helpful FYI so everyone reading this can learn from my fabulous experience: always go to the ER/Urgent Care/doctor *immediately (*as in, not the next morning, even if it happens at 9pm at night and everything is closed except the ER and you have a $250 copay and it doesn't need stitches), for animal bites, especially cat/dogs. I have been told that smaller punctures are actually worse in some ways as far as infection because sometimes the bad stuff can be pushed in instead of for a larger wound there is more area for it to go out. I did the normal things, washed it IMMEDIATELY, applied antibiotic cream, kept pressure on it. I think part of my downfall was because of my blood thinners it bled a lot and I kept it covered/pressure on it all night to try to stop the blood flow. They usually try not to stitch animal bites (seals any bacteria in) and especially not on the hands which is one of the worst places to get injured, infection wise, so pretty much the immediate medical care is for antibiotics. And FYI, it can go from bleeding to severely infected in just a few hours, if you are special like me, so waiting till the next morning is not particularly a great idea unless you are hoping to skip your ER copay by getting admitted.

I usually have some kind of injury every few years. Broken jaw in 2nd grade (bike, long story). Broken wrist in 5th (roller hockey). Broken nose in high school (softball). I thought that HELLP syndrome with Olivia had taken care of my "injuries" for awhile, but that was almost 3 years ago and maybe it didn't count as an injury, since it wasn't really. Aside from HELLP, this was by far the worst, the only time I've even been admitted for non-pregnancy stuff.

The meds are a pain. One I have to take every 12 hours with food. The other I have to take every 8 hours with a lot of water (and I hate drinking water.) Add in my lovenox, prenatals, extra calcium, and aspirin and it seems like I am taking something or have to take something soon, all day and night. I was supposed to start keeping an eye on my blood pressure at home after my OB appointment on Monday. (Everything was fine though my blood pressure was around 130/80 which for me is pretty high.) The entire week I was in the hospital they took my blood pressure pretty regularly and it was really good, like 100's/60's, so I am going to hold off on worrying about that for now.

The rest of this week will hopefully be pretty mellow. I have a ton I need to get done around the house before summer school starts in a couple weeks.

Sunday, May 20, 2012


On Friday before I was released from the hospital, the red area on my hand was about the size of 2 half dollars next to each other. Now it's in the range of a penny/dime. The scab does look pretty nasty, but hopefully it looks well enough that the hand doctor will let me leave tomorrow without messing with my hand too much. My hand is finally not swollen anymore and I can totally move all of my fingers (Tuesday morning I could barely move any of my fingers, it was so swollen.) Also, it does not hurt at all. Still, just in case, I think I'll throw an outfit in a bag and leave it in the car just in case they try to keep me hostage. This is more of a superstition then me actually thinking I'll need it...I always get stuck there when we are the least prepared.

It is nice to be home again. Luke is finally pretty much weaned and I haven't been too uncomfortable either. Since the antibiotics I am on are pretty strong stuff, I didn't really want him exposed to them, and I was pretty much well beyond ready to wean him anyway. I had planned to wean him in January to start fertility meds...but then I got pregnant without them. And then I kept nursing because I wasn't sure how much my freezer supply was, and because it is so much EASIER than bottles/sippy cups (it doesn't start out easier, definitely, but after a few months it is much much easier.) And because I would feel bad if I miscarried and had weaned him for no reason before a year. So on we went. And then he turned 11 months and then a year and was still nursing and I would have been okay to stop at any time and kinda hoped that pregnancy would start to dry my milk up. But I didn't have the willpower to just stop, especially when he got mad and cried if I tried to give him a bottle of breastmilk instead. But I also had no desire to still keep nursing this wiggly, climbing all over while trying to nurse, 1 year old with 6 teeth that sometimes when he fell asleep nursing he would clamp down with. (Ow!) And I definitely do not want to nurse TWO of our kids of different ages at once. And not to mention, after a year plus of nursing, it will be nice to have a little break before I start all over again with a new kid.

 So anyway, this ended up pretty much ending it. Joe gave Luke some of the milk we've had in our deep freezer while I was in the hospital, and I pumped just a little bit at night and in the morning just to keep from being miserable or getting mastitis on top of my hand infection. But I was barely pumping an ounce. So after Thursday morning, I stopped pumping, and luckily it hasn't been too miserable, at least not yet. Hopefully it is almost done. Luke has been taking bottles from me with no issues and hasn't really tried to nurse. So it seems to have went down the best way possible, under the circumstances. I have never been someone who loved nursing. I mostly did it because it was easy (later), and cheap, and better for him and me. So I am surprised that I do actually miss it a bit. I think it's really more that Luke is becoming more and more toddlerish and less and less baby, and not so much nursing.

We are going through about half a month's worth of pumped breastmilk every couple days. So pretty soon we will have a deep freezer to use for once (we bought it a few months after Luke was here when it became clear our freezer was out of room for food.) I am going to start adding whole milk to the bottles to transition to that as we run out, Joe already did and it went fine, I just haven't felt like messing with it. And then we need to work on bottles to sippy cups. Luke isn't bad at drinking out of either, he just prefers bottles to sleep (which used to be nursing.) It's been such a hectic last few weeks though, bottles really aren't high on my list of things to worry about.

Aside from that, Luke doesn't seem too traumatized by my sudden disappearance. (I mean, he came and saw me in the hospital for a few hours every day, but that's hardly the same thing.) He does have issues whenever I leave the room though, that's pretty normal for his age anyway. All in all, we survived, I still have my hand, hopefully the new baby is doing okay in there, so hopefully the drama is over for this pregnancy.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Home at last. For now.

The surgeon was really, really not crazy about letting me leave. Thankfully he did anyway. But I have to go see him on Monday, and there's a strong chance he won't be letting me leave that day unless my hand is looking significantly better. If it starts looking worse (I have marker lines all over my hand from the redness/swelling on the first day, the second day, and now today) or the redness "goes outside the line", then I am to report back to the ER immediately. So let's cross our fingers that that won't happen because I am in no hurry to go back. And honestly, if it did get red, I would seriously contemplate going to a different hospital ER, if nothing else for a little variety in meals and maybe doctors at a different hospital would be less inclined to hold me hostage forever.

The house wasn't exactly neat when I left, we've had a busy few weeks with Luke's birthday party, then finals, then the walk. This week there was supposed to be NOTHING to do and of course I ended up in the hospital instead. We didn't have much clean laundry when I went in to the doctor, so four days later, the state of our house is pretty ridiculous. They didn't really tell me not to clean or anything, but still, I tried to mostly take it easy. But I have done a couple loads of laundry and some dishes and some stuff because I couldn't stand it.

Mess and all, it is really nice to be home.

Almost out of here.

The hospitalist doctor cleared me to go home. But not before he squeezed the crap out of my hand which reopened the wound that has been closed for 2ish days now to get a wound culture. When my nurse came in and looked puzzled and said "uh, she just had a negative culture a couple days ago." He tried to say that no I didn't. Since I pay attention when they do crap to me and talk about the results (to each other, they usually never bother telling them to me), I knew that I did have a culture done and it was negative. Well, now that you've freaking hurt my hand that wasn't hurting before you came in, go ahead, do another fricking culture. Then he told me to call on Sunday and he will call me back with the results. I asked if it was positive, are they going to make me come back? Change my medicine? What? He shook his head. "Nah, you are already on antibiotics." Oh good. So this repetitive test was not only redundant but pointless as well.

Obviously, I need to find a general practice doctor who makes hospital rounds when necessary ASAP. It has never been an issue before. I see my family doctor once a year or less. Before this I thought I broke my toe last October so I saw her then. Before that, it had been 2 years since I had been there. I've never been in the hospital for anything but pregnancy stuff and my OB or her partner always came to see me. I don't even think I knew my doctor didn't do rounds. So, that's a huge glaring item on my to-do list. I will probably ask my OB and/or MFM for recommendations.

My dad filled my antibiotics prescription, my stuff is pretty much packed up except I need to throw my laptop in the bag. So so ready to get the heck out of here!

Thursday, May 17, 2012


The doctors seemed pretty okay with releasing me tomorrow on oral antibiotics, earlier today. But I'm nervous they may change their minds because my hand really hasn't gotten any less red today yet and that is the main thing they are keeping an eye on. (Although it did get significantly better overnight yesterday so maybe I'm being overly pessimistic and it will improve overnight.)

 I am SO READY to get out of here though. I've had 4 different IV's (the good one went bad today), 2 allergic reactions to tegaderm (the clear tape stuff they put on top of iv's to hold them in), and an allergic reaction to one of the antibiotics they tried to put me on. SO FREAKING DONE. I am tired of grilled cheese. Tired of fruit and veggie plates. Tired of needles. Tired of stressing about them letting me leave. I have not had a lovenox shot since Sunday and that is stressing me out too. My ob approved for me to be off it for "a couple days", this is day FOUR. They pretty much said today that they will not be doing surgery, (which was why they halted the lovenox), so there was NO REASON that I didn't get my shot today/tonight. I was sorely tempted to have Joe or one of my family members bring a lovenox shot up for me and do it myself in the bathroom. Then I worried because they said they'd do it tomorrow (morning) and I don't want 2 shots just a few hours apart. I was hoping to ask the doctor to let me have lovenox but he never came back. I am not amused by a couple of ding dong hospitalists, a hand surgeon/plastic surgeon (the main guy making the decisions that the others go along with), and an infectious medicine doctor (the one who gave me the allergic reaction trying the penicillin family med knowing I was allergic to penicillin)...making decisions that affect my pregnancy. It is seriously pissing me off. Enough that if they don't discharge me tomorrow, I will definitely be on the phone with my real doctors...the ones who actually care that I'm pregnant...and will be seriously considering discharging myself. I am just done with this place. I am really not used to being held hostage like this with doctors I hardly know and most of whom I wouldn't have chosen as my doctors if I had had any choice.

(On the bright side, all of my nurses have been fantastic.)

So officially, I have cellulitis. (Which FYI is different than cellulite though I probably have that too after 2 pregnancies.)  Apparently it can get nasty with sepsis or infections in the blood stream if not treated promptly/aggressively, so I can understand why I am still here today but I wish they cared a little more that hello I am pregnant. (None of these people are used to working with pregnant patients because this isn't a very common pregnancy ailment. You would think that would make them overly cautious in regards to not giving me meds similar to what I am allergic too and hey maybe checking on the baby once a day just for the heck of it...uh, no. Let's just ignore that inconvenient fact.) The antibiotics I've been on are all category B's, the safest they can get, and certainly safer than leaving an infection this serious untreated, so that part is fine. But geez.

Joe is also starting to stress me out because he keeps freaking out about missing work. He's trying to save up his time off for (hopefully) the baby's arrival in October. And I just want him to shut up about it already because he has no fricking clue what cellulitis is. Uh, if we don't get rid of this, there probably won't be a baby in October and for as bad as this could get, I might not be around either, so suck it up. He thinks the doctors are keeping me to be ridiculous. (Note, he talked me out of going to the ER Monday night. Then Tuesday he couldn't believe my family doctor sent me to the ER. And then he couldn't believe I was admitted. And then he couldn't believe that they were talking about a stay of a few days. So, he's just not really getting it, even though he's been in the room the same time the doctors have been in here sometimes. I probably should just hand him the laptop and let him google it, since I only found out what I have from the nurses, not like a doctor needed to tell me what was wrong or anything.) Anyway, I think his problem is a little guilt for not going to the ER (oh boy did that backfire although it may not have made any difference whatsoever), a lot of stress for taking care of Luke mostly on his own since Tuesday afternoon,  and then stress about missing work and wanting to make the time up. I think he thinks I am in here for some trivial hand thing and geez, let her leave already. He doesn't have the laptop and he's quite busy chasing Luke around at home so it's not like he really has time to look it up for himself. I warned him of my concern tonight and I think he's more bummed about the prospect of me staying another night than I am. Basically, I'm trying to prepare myself for possibly not being freed tomorrow just in case.

Thank god for my friends bringing me McAlister's sweet tea and food and candy (Thanks, you guys are the best!) and my parents bringing me soda, and Joe bringing up Luke. And for laptops and Nooks.

Fingers crossed that this is my last night here until our new baby is in our arms.

Hospital, day 3

After giving me some false hope and moments of indecision, I thought I might actually get to go home today. But my hand is still a little red and they gave me an allergic reaction yesterday because they decided they'd try to give me a medicine in the penicillin family even though I'm allergic to penicillin. (Although to be fair, I haven't had it since I was little and a lot of people do outgrow a penicillin allergy. I've had amoxicillin and it was fine so they were hoping this would be okay.) It was in my iv for about 5 minutes when I started itching my arm, looked down and my arm was covered in a rash. Joe called my nurse who was back in the room before she could even pick up her phone, stopped it, flushed the iv, and my arm was better no less than 5 minutes later. I am also allergic to tagaderm which is the tape they use to cover iv's. Apparently they can't not use it because of the risk of infection, especially when I'm already here for an infection. So I have a blotchy spot on the crook of my arm from where my first IV was attached. The infectious disease doctor had the nerve to argue with the nurse that "that" was my rash and I already had it. Uh, no, totally different spots on my arm, and where the tagaderm was actually didn't itch because luckily it was there for less than 24 hours. (Where my current iv is, is probably going to be bad, but I've had IV's in 3 different spots and this one is the first that's not in an annoying place like right on my wrist (which really hurt) and the crook inside my arm. Anyway, I guess I'm here till tomorrow.

It is looking good that I won't need surgery although I think the hand surgeon would love to open up the puncture wound and drain it out, (I'm not sure that he thinks of that as surgery). I'm afraid that would make me stuck here even longer and I am already about DONE. So is Joe. He actually mentioned I could just check myself out. Technically, I could, but I'm pretty sure when you leave against medical advice that insurance usually refuses to pay the bills. And I'm sure my little "vacation" is going to be quite costly at least for my insurance. On the bright side, my $250 ER copay is exempt since I was admitted. Our inpatient copay is 0, but I think that may be after our $1000 deductible is met. Probably not the worst thing ever that I met our deductible quite early in the pregnancy, now everything else should be 100% covered. Yay me.

It is weird and sucky being here but also okay.

 The okay part is breakfast in bed. (French toast and strawberries.) And having time to read mostly uninterrupted.

The weird part is like suddenly not being a parent anymore. I don't know when Luke last ate, I don't know how he slept last night, etc. (I am trying not to bug Joe very much because I know they aren't sleeping great and so if they do happen to be sleeping, I don't want to call and wake him up.)

The sucky part is I cried yesterday when Joe and Luke left. Not so much for Joe, we've been apart before, I don't love it. But Luke. Ugh. We haven't been apart like this since he was born. And I hate it. I want him to just stay here with me (I'm sure Joe wants that too by this point!) but I know the hospital isn't exactly the healthiest place for him to be and there isn't a ton for him to do and it's not really what's best for him to be here 24/7 though I'd love nothing more than to just keep him here. So I try to suck it up, but ugh, it sucks. I knew obviously I'd have to stay after my c-section but I was hoping that my OB would let me go after 2 nights and I already know the c-section drill so no big deal. So it's pretty freaking frustrating that I am probably going to be here longer for my fricking hand than I hopefully will for a c-section. And Luke is having a hard time with it, he flips out whenever Joe leaves the room at home and yesterday while he was here he flipped out when I went into the bathroom. He was already a little clingy before all this.

I guess the baby is okay. My OB stopped in and shook her head yesterday. "I just saw you two days ago!" Uh, yeah..she's not too worried about it hurting the baby. It was her surgery day and she didn't have the doppler on her and the hospital ones suck this early, so I guess I just have to assume all is well at least until I make Joe bring my doppler up here the next time he comes. 

I know it could be a lot worse, but ugh, this stinks.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

What not to do

So I am pregnant. 13.5 weeks. It has so far been an easy pregnancy- TTC was easy (and a shocker since we did fertility treatments for Luke and I was still breastfeeding.) We did have to rule out an ectopic early on b/c I had a lot of sharp pain onone side- it was fine. Not much morning sickness. Blood pressure is good. Passed the 1 hr glucose test (they did it early to rule out type 2 diabetes since they never tested me after I had gestational diabetes.) Lovenox was sucking more this time, I don't know why, and I am tired a lot (probably mostly thanks to Luke), but all in all, it was going swell. I commented to both my regular OB and high risk dr, "This seems way too easy. I don't trust it."

Not sure if I was jinxing myself or know too well how my pregnancies go.

I had an ultrasound and high risk appointment a couple weeks ago. Baby looked great, heart rate in the 170's, measuring on track. Placenta looks like it's posterior which is good with my 2 c-section scars. My high risk doctor lectures me every time on be careful with knives and sharp stuff. Wear your seatbelt. Walk carefully. (Because I am on 2 blood thinners but have no known clotting condition.) This time was the first she even elaborated that IF I cut myself (stern look), hold pressure on it, blah blah blah.

Monday night around 9 pm our dogs got in a fight. Luke was standing only a few feet away from them, but they were between me and him, so I instinctively tried to grab one of them and ended up the sole victim of the fight. Even after I got bit, I ran around them to grab Luke as they were still fighting for a few seconds more.

I ended up with two punctures on my hand, one on the back of my hand between two finger joints-this is the bad one, and one on the side of my finger. Not super deep, but deep enough. I immediately washed it, put neosporin on it, and tried to stop the bleeding. They bled through some paper towels and bandaids. I contemplated going to the ER for a $250 copay, (all the urgent cares close at 8) calling one of my doctor's exchange numbers, buying skin glue from walgreens, etc. I googled what to do for dog bites and read that they almost never want to stitch them because that seals in the germs. The biggest issue is usually infection. Soak it in epsom salt and warm water, or regular salt if you don't have epsom salt. So I went back and soaked it for as long as I could stand and tried to keep my hand elevated to slow the bleeding.  I planned to go in to the family dr first thing in the morning to get an antibiotic cream or whatever...

Well I woke up Tuesday with my hand swollen about 4x the normal size, bright red, burning, unable to move my fingers, and PAIN. Pretty sure this definitely topped c-section recovery pain (which really, for me c-section pain is pretty minimal- I only took meds for 2 days last time) and possibly as bad or worse than HELLP when my liver was on the verge of rupturing. We didn't realize how bad my hand was when Joe drIve an hour and 15 min (and carpooled) to work. Changing Luke's diaper made me cry. I had no idea how I was going to wrestle him into his carseat or drive to the dr. Luckily I texted my dad and he came over shortly. Took one look at my hand and shook his head. He got Luke ready and in the car for me, I didn't really want to try to drive without my right hand, not that I needed it for steering but putting the car in drive, park, etc. would have been impossible with my right hand and a pain to do with my left. He was pretty sure they were going to send me to the hospital and sure enough, she took one look and told me I was way too risky for her, especially pregnant, so on to the ER we went.

Because I am brave or dumb, we decided the best bet would be the hospital my high risk doctor is at. It's one of the major hospitals in the area and my family dr wanted us to go somewhere with "plastics" in house (plastic's really not that bad though. I have much worse scars than this could possibly leave.) Plus I figured being pregnant and everything, this was the best bet, as the highest level NICU (not that they could or would do anything to save the baby at this point.They aren't doing anything to put the baby at greater risk than he/she already is with my infection,but it's not like we can talk steroid shots or delivering or anything anytime soon.)

In the ER, they wanted to xray my hand because it was SO swollen they thought maybe I had broken a bone. I got 3x the lead gowns and they were just doing my hand so I wasn't too worried about it.Bones are all fine. They did bloodwork to check my white blood cells, a quick ultrasound on the baby (who was fine-heartrate in the 150's), and decided it was definitely infected and they were going to start me on antibiotics and admit me. I was hoping I'd just be admitted for a few hours of antibiotics, then the ER nurse said definitely overnight and hopefully I could go home the next day. So there went that hope. As soon as I got moved to a real room (down the hall from Mom and baby area), thankfully private, the surgeon who is I guess my primary doctor here, took a look at it. He started talking about "watching it over the next few days" which definitely got my attention. The next time he was in (he came in like 3x yesterday), I asked how long he expected me to be here, which the answer was "a couple [more] days at the minimum". My mom and Joe and Luke were here at the time. I am still hoping it may mean I can go home late Thursday but Joe and my mom both interpreted as I will be lucky to be out of here by Friday. Ugh.

There is some talk about surgery and the surgeon was already in here this morning (sheesh, he was here at 7 pm last night and 7 am this morning) and the redness is a lot less red after 4 rounds of iv antibiotics but it's still swollen pretty bad. He is thinking they may have to "open it up" with a local which they don't really want to do (and I don't want!) They are trying to avoid surgery since I am pregnant and everything but he's not all that impressed with the healing so far.

Mostly, I am missing Luke. Being away from him for one night SUCKED. I am sure tonight will suck too. And however long I am stuck here. I mean, I know we can't risk the infection getting to my blood stream or anything (which is the biggest concern, I think), that would obviously not be good for me or the new baby, but ugh, I want to go home! I was dreading having to be in the hospital again to have the next baby and was going to beg my OB to let me go after 2 nights or ASAP. Here I am going to be stuck here AT LEAST 2 nights and we don't even get a baby out of this trip. Also, Luke is really freaked out about me being here. He cried hysterically whenever I tried to hold him, so that fricking sucks too.

I guess I am going to call my high risk doctor because I'm not sure they have. Not that I exactly want her down here strangling me but I kinda think they might like to know. The surgeon is pretty good but the hospital doctor (just a general hospitalist) I was NOT impressed with. He misunderstood gestational diabetes for diabetes  (even when I explained it!) and ordered them to test my blood sugar which the nurse told me to just refuse since I just had a good glucose tolerance test a couple weeks ago. He messed up some of the orders the surgeon left. He unwrapped my hand that the surgeon had wrapped and left felt better and was easier to use wrapped because it was in a splint that gave my hand a little more support. And he was totally confused about the whole OB/high risk OB stuff. (And this is not as annoying as the other stuff but his English was not great and was really hard to understand.) Luckily, the surgeon is good. Just saw ANOTHER hospitalist who looked at me bewildered when I asked if they were going to send anyone to check on the baby. He asked when my last appointment was and when I said Monday (before the bite), he nodded and said, "oh it should be fine from one day." Uh, really?!? You are taking me off my meds, giving me a bunch of new meds (and you aren't used to working with pregnant people because I am one of the few dumb enough to get a dog bite), and that's just that?

I called my high risk doctor's office as soon as he left and told them I was here (in the same building, down the hall from their new mom's and babies...not exactly out of the way!) I mentioned that they had taken me off lovenox until they know if I need surgery (which I don't really disagree with but am concerned about), and my white blood count was high (just found that out from the nurse, yesterday it was 16, this morning it is down to 13, they want it down to 9.) And could you by the way please stop by and check the baby?  A nurse called me back in less than 5 minutes and made it sound like they were totally unaware that I was here and absolutely the high risk doctor on call would be by...the one on call is not my favorite but for this situation will be okay unless Joe happens to be here. I was actually on the phone with them when the hospitalist came back in and said, "oh, we put in an order for you to be seen by ob." Yeah, I just bet you did. On that note, I will be giving my OB an "FYI, I am here" phone call too. I don't really need both doctors coming by but I do want them both to know about it and that's not really the surgeon's job and the hospitalists are not impressive so I'll take care of it myself. If I am stuck in here anyway, you are damn straight you can send someone ALREADY WORKING HERE to check on the baby. Sheesh. I'm not asking for hours of monitoring here.

That being said, while I'm not feeling real movement yet, I have been getting that feeling where suddenly it feels like a weight on one side of my belly, for a week or so now. And I was feeling that last night and am pretty certain it was the baby, so I'm not really all that concerned, but still. There is no reason to not check the baby, it's not like I'm 5 weeks along and they can't check much. I mean, I know there would be nothing they can really do if something was wrong, but still, I've had one baby die and would like a little peace of mind, so grr, don't mind me doing your job for you. I have a laptop and am not afraid to play Dr.Google and certainly am not afraid to call the doctor's I DO trust to let them know what is going on. (My dad could not believe no one had told the high risk doctors I am in here. I told them yesterday about 20x.)

So anyway, here I am, pissing off the hospitalists, missing Luke (and Joe is MIA! Turn on your freaking cell phone!) , and laying around playing on my laptop. I must say, even though they woke me up a few times, and I stayed up till 11pmish and was up by 6ish, I still feel like I got way more sleep than I have in a LONG that part is nice.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Mother's day, round 3

I never really had a Mother's day the time Olivia was here. I found out I was pregnant with her right after Mother's day, on May 15th 2009, and by October of that year, she was here and gone.  The first mother's day without her sucked, I am sure of it, but I remember very little of it. Probably, I stayed in bed and cried most of the day and then went to the cemetery. Not only were we desperately missing Olivia but we were also trying to get pregnant again and I think unless it happens very quickly, that's always pretty rough after losing a baby. You resent that you even have to try again when you should still be pregnant, or should have a little baby here.

Last year, we had only been home from the hospital with Luke for a few days. I think I was still in my crazy "I can't fall asleep or this baby will probably die while I'm sleeping" mode, so that's pretty much a blur too.

And here we are, year three. Finally *not* a blur. We made the trek to the cemetery. It is often busy on holidays but yesterday was one of the busiest days I'd seen it. There usually aren't people around us when we go, but yesterday, there was an older man by himself at a grave near Olivia's. He was leaving as we arrived, I hope we didn't chase him off. I also noticed for the first time that there is a baby buried a few rows from Olivia. Sept.x 1960-Oct.x 1960. (Since she is buried in a national cemetery, there are a lot of veterans and their spouses buried there. There is a 19 year old also buried near her, but for the most part, there are older people.) Ugh, I think to lose a baby in the 1960's must have been a lot more difficult. It wasn't talked about. There were no blogs or internet support websites. We have come a long way in grief support for parents. Anyway, while we were there, the resentment crossed my mind that we were A) Definitely some of the youngest people in the cemetery B) Most likely only one of the very few visiting a daughter instead of mother or grandmother, not that anyone wants to visit their mother or grandmother in a cemetery either, but it sucks. We spent some time with family and the rest of the day was nice if not a little bittersweet, always bittersweet.

One of the highlights of the weekend was hanging out with some good friends and family at the walk on Saturday. (The walk itself is another blog post for another day. Or maybe not.) And then, when we got home from the walk our "Olivia" mollybear was there with a purple tutu and ribbon hair barrette and a purple butterfly on her chest. Mollybears is a nonprofit organization that makes free teddy bears for bereaved families and they put weights in it the weight of your child. I was surprised how heavy 10.5 ounces actually is, I expected it to be not much different weight than an actual teddy bear. (The only bummer is that since they are on a tight budget, it takes awhile. We ordered our bear in September/October.) I will take a picture soon. Sign or coincidence, it was pretty cool that our bear arrived the day of the Preeclampsia walk.

Monday, May 7, 2012

School and Promise Walk

So, the end of this semester had me pretty burnt out, between trying to plan for Luke's birthday, finishing up volunteering, our crippled dog, etc. I figured out the lowest grade I could get for my A&P I final (which was not cumulative or I probably would have done much better), which was probably not the best way to go about it. I needed a 52% for an A. My final happened to be last Wednesday. I decided to study for 10 was "only" over every muscle, the brain, nerves, so there was a fricking lot and nothing that especially interested me. (I already knew the lobes of the brain pretty well but the stupid little stuff like the optic chiasma? Eh, not so much.)  Anyway, I needed a 52. It kicked my butt and I knew it. The exams are all identification, no multiple choice, though we got a word bank of like 200 words. There was a lot I didn't know and when I wasn't sure, I put the same words down multiple times hoping I'd get at least one of them instead of mis-guessing on all of them. I told Joe when I got home I wasn't sure if I pulled it off. But I did. Barely. A 57%, I think that's probably my worst test grade EVER. But guess what? I still have an A for the semester, so I don't really care! The lady who taught my class was the biggest joke of an instructor ever. She was nice enough but knew the material about as well as I did.

I have my other final for the lecture part of A&P on Thursday. We get to drop our lowest test grade in that class, and so far, my lowest test grade is a 94% and I've gotten a 100% on every quiz (we also get to drop our lowest quiz grade.) So I basically have to go in and write my name on the scantron and can leave. (Our instructor has said as much. We have to "take" the final, but we don't have to keep that grade, and we don't actually have to try.) I think I actually will try, just for the hell of it, because I feel kind of bad about my 57% in lab.

One more semester of this crap and then I am DONE DONE DONE until I start ultrasound school. I am going to be a glutton for punishment and do it for 8 weeks, 2 days a week, this summer. I think it will be a busy 8 weeks but I think I'd rather do it this way than drag it out over 16 weeks anyway. I have a better short term memory than long term, so I am hoping I won't need to study as much since sometimes I'll be tested over stuff we learned 2 days before instead of weeks and months earlier. My parents have very helpfully agreed to watch Luke for me. (They didn't even offer it at night over the summer, so that wasn't an option, but days will be better I think anyway so I can get Luke on some semblance of an evening schedule. When Joe was in charge while I was in class, it wasn't uncommon for Luke to take naps at 6pm or 7pm and then stay up till 11 or later!)  Also, I am done with my 120 hours of volunteering, so with no classes or anything set to do at night except 1 online class, I should have plenty of time to study if I wanted.

I am getting really excited for the Promise Walk on Saturday. When we first started planning, we were hoping to have at least 50 walkers and raise $5000 because this was the first time doing one in our area and we really didn't know what to expect. We now have over 100 walkers and have raised over $6000. We have a lot of great items donated (6 flags tickets, baseball tickets, restaurant gift cards, movie gift cards, a lot of cool homemade items...) for raffles and silent auctions at the walk to raise even more money, so it should be a great day! It is not too late to register to walk ($20 for adults, $10 for kids, includes shirts) (select team "Brooks" if you'd like to join our team),  or you can donate in support of our team online here , any donations are completely tax deductible as the Preeclampsia Foundation is a 501(c)(3) organization.  Thank you so much to those of you who have already donated, it means so much to us! I am really looking forward to Saturday!

Saturday, May 5, 2012


So, pretty much as we expected, the meds and "rest" have not magically healed Rogue's knee. I am still very, very conflicted about getting it fixed.

She is not great with Luke. She doesn't bite or growl or snap at him, though she does keep her distance, and just today she walked (hobbled) right THROUGH HIM as he was standing in the living room, knocking him all the way over. And being hurt isn't an excuse, she did crap like that before. It's not so much that I don't expect Luke to get knocked over from time to time by our two large dogs, but that was just too intentional and deliberate for my patience.

That being said, I also don't really feel like Luke is in any real danger. Rogue keeps her distance from him so if he's around, she isn't near him.  And Rogue is only 6 and very healthy aside from her freaking knees, so I don't think I could live with putting her to sleep for our convenience. And leaving her to hobble around in pain isn't really very humane either. (Although she fricking does just fine chasing bunnies and acting stupid on 3 legs.) Joe pretty much agrees. It would be different if she was older, if she acted older, or had other health issues or anything. So, I guess we will be doing dog knee surgery again this summer. Yippee.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Sad and scary

I know this isn't news to a lot of people, but recently another blogger who had lost her first child due to spina bifida recently lost her rainbow baby at 36 weeks due to a uterine rupture (she had a vertical incision with her first baby.) A beautiful, healthy, nearly full term baby girl. Fortunately, there aren't that many people who lose babies in two separate incidents for two different reasons. But it does happen. And it is so incredibly sad and tragic and not.freaking.fair.

This is why I felt like I was holding my breath every second I was pregnant with Lucas, and him being safely born alive was the biggest relief I felt in my life. (Until I think some of the postpartum hormones hit me pretty hard and I still then managed to convince myself he still was going to die at any second. I seriously TRIED NOT TO SLEEP for like the first 3 days he was here because I was terrified I would wake up and he would be gone.)  It's easy to tell someone "you don't have to worry about that", but so hard to really believe yourself. There are a number of people on the pre-eclampsia foundation forums who have a horrible first pregnancy, a normal second pregnancy, and then an even worst than the first pregnancy for their third. Of course there are also people who have a normal second pregnancy AND ALSO a normal third pregnancy. I wish I knew in advance which group I would be in.

I was talking to our infant loss group leader a couple days ago and asking her how often she has the same people back twice, and how often for unrelated reasons (aside from miscarriages). She said she has NEVER, in 20+ years working at a major L&D hospital with the highest level NICU in our area, had someone come back for a different reason. She also said she's only had a small handful of people with more than one later loss, and those are always known and related issues like incompetent cervix and pre-eclampsia. (Yes, she did give pre-eclampsia as an example. I'm glad I didn't ask her this when I was pregnant with Lucas! Not that I didn't very well know what was at stake, but I tried to focus on the people who had horrible first pregnancies and healthy second pregnancies.)

There is also that scary risk of uterine rupture now in my mind. Don't get me wrong, my OB made me very well aware of the risk (more than once) before she agreed to do a classical c-section to deliver Olivia. And they pounded it into my head, ad nauseum, while I was recovering in the hospital that week. "You have had a vertical incision on your uterus, which now gives you a 1 in 10 chance of uterine rupture if you go into labor. You will always have to have c-sections before you can go into labor." But I did a lot of research about it on my own and decided the risk of that was miniscule compared to my risks of pre-eclampsia and everything. Some research even suggests that even with a vertical incision, the risk of uterine rupture is around 1%. So I pretty much dismissed it, I had bigger things to worry about.  But this was why we did the amnio at 36 weeks and 1 day, it came back good, my water broke at around 1 am and I *went into labor* as we were driving to the hospital. They were originally going to make us wait until 7am to deliver him because I had eaten at 10 pm. When they saw my contractions on the monitors, they called my doctor and started prepping me to deliver. He was born at 4:54 am at 36 weeks and 2 days gestation. That other mother, her uterus ruptured, in the evening when she was 36 weeks and 2 days pregnant. They were going to deliver in 5 days.

We have a huge quandary for "next time". My high risk doctor told me when I was in the hospital with Lucas, that she had never had that happen before. (Someone go into labor after the amnio.) So...she's not too keen on trying an amnio at 36 weeks again and risk putting me in labor. The point of doing the amnio was to make sure his lungs were mature enough for delivery, but if they hadn't been, we still would have ended up delivering last time anyway, what with my water breaking and all. If we hold out to 37 weeks, we won't do an amnio at all. I had thought I wanted to skip the amnio and just deliver at 37 weeks. I wonder if Luke wouldn't have had jaundice if we waited an extra week, or if he would have been better at nursing from the start, etc. But those things are petty compared to the risk of my uterus rupturing and the baby dying. That being said, my OB got a good look at my scar for herself when she was cutting out Lucas, and she said it looked FANTASTIC, labor and all. So good that she wouldn't have known it was there if she hadn't done it herself. She was really really happy with how it had healed. Still, all of a sudden, a risk I had more or less dismissed before seems pretty darn real now. Good thing we have plenty of time to think about it more and decide later.

Toddlers are stressful! Luke has learned to climb and he especially enjoys climbing on our couch and hanging off the arms. He has not figured out that everything has an edge and if you get too close to it, you fall. This morning he fell off our couch and smacked his forehead HARD right above his eye on our coffee table. I am just finishing my A&P class which does not help that I immediately thought "OH NO! His frontal lobe! His memory!" My first instinct was to pick him up, bring him to the ER, and make sure he was not brain damaged. But we just got a $250 bill from his last ER visit, and I used to work with toddlers and saw them fall and get hurt ALL THE TIME and they were fine. I think it's different when it's your kid, especially after you've had a baby die, and especially the first few times they bump their head hard. Hello! Developing brain in there! Can we not bang it around so much? I put some ice on it (which Luke preferred to try to eat), and made waffles (the already frozen kind), and as he ate breakfast it became pretty clear that he was just fine. Eating normally, when I asked how old he was, he grinned and pointed his one finger at me (Phew! his memory is not destroyed!) Even so, I called the pediatrician and asked the nurse under what circumstances to bring him in. (FYI, he starts acting unusual, he stops doing something he normally does-like can't walk, he has trouble waking up). It looks like he is just fine, except he is now sporting a pretty ugly bruise on his forehead. At least he didn't do this last week before his pictures or birthday party. I guess I am going to have to get used to injuries like this. I am also seriously considering putting our coffee table in the basement or getting rid of it altogether. It's not like we can really put much on it these days, anyway.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Lucas turns one. (pictures)

Thank goodness things are slowly but surely starting to settle down a bit. I have a final tonight and two next week, then I am done with school for a few weeks. Volunteering is over at least for my 120 hours but I'm helping with the babyloss stuff again now. Rogue's knee is not any better. We are still debating about it. But Luke's party was a success! I was nervous how he would do since he didn't have a nap that day, but he did great. He wouldn't blow out his candle (even though he blows on his food when it's hot so I was hoping maybe he would, no dice.) He and I got covered in cake (I had him on my lap because I was afraid he'd try to grab the fire- which he did.) His cake was fantastic and delicious. My mom's friend made it for us and it was beyond what I ever ever expected. (Luke and I enjoyed the dog and doghouse part!) The sugar did not affect him one tiny bit. He fell asleep in the car on the way home and napped for three hours, then woke up for a little bit and then slept through the night (which is really rare). He was EXHAUSTED.

And then we have some pictures from his 1 year photo shoot (I was too busy at his party to take any but my mom took some but she isn't that great with her camera so don't expect much there...she also has no idea how to load pictures on computers so it will be awhile.)