Saturday, September 30, 2006

Where's my gold star?

A couple of you have already noticed, but I thought I would mention (since it's been so long) that I have posted on my photoblog! Let me tell you, that is a pretty big deal for me these days!!

Friday, September 29, 2006

April And Everything After: Chapter Two

Friday, April 7, 2006

It was bad enough that I was being transferred to a different hospital, more than an hour away, on very short notice. It was bad enough that my husband was not going to be able to ride with me because he had to go home and pack a suitcase for us. One word comes to mind when I think back on that ambulance ride: OUCH.

The pain in my lower right side combined with the constant contracting of my large uterus, not to mention the bumpiest highway in North America, made for a terrible, terrible ride. I held my stomach protectively the entire way there, trying my hardest to just breathe, but every time we hit an enormous bump I cried out in pain. And I have a pretty high threshold. It was a little embarrassing to be yelling out every so often in front of about four strangers, but after a while I just didn't care. You learn that at the end of your pregnancy, mainly because you just have to.

Waiting at the hospital were one of our church elders and his wife, who we consider close friends and sort of 'parents-in-the-faith'. How comforting it was to see familiar faces! Their son would be arriving shortly after with Casey. I was taken to a room in the Ante-Labor ward, and this being a newer and seperate hospital for women...well, let's just say it was very nice.

I soon found out that I would be undergoing an
amniocentesis so the doctors could rule out an infection in my uterus (which would be very harmful to the baby). Having heard only horror stories about the needles used in this procedure, I was a little nervous. However, the obstetrician performing the amnio had done this "hundreds of times," and so I apparently didn't have anything to worry about. And it was true! I came back to my room wondering why women are told such crazy, scary stories, because what I had experienced was barely a bee sting.

We were thrilled to hear that there was no infection in my uterus, and so for now the baby would not have to be delivered early. His lungs were found to be a bit underdeveloped, but were doing better than expected because I had been taking small doses of prednisone my entire pregnancy for my auto-immune disorder. The doctor's main focus for now was to make sure I was doing alright before he sent me home at the end of the week. Our prayers were now aimed at my going home by Friday, April 14.

I would love to say that the days passed by uneventfully, but it just isn't so. There was pain -- a lot of it, and not much could be done, unfortunately. I remember one night when my uterus was in a state of contraction for at least six hours straight. What I mean is, there was absolutely no letup -- just a tight, painful uterus for hours and hours at a time. One night early in the week I was sitting up, with Casey at my side, feeling as though I could barely get a breath. We had called for the nurse, but before she arrived I began crying out to God. When you are in anguish, whether it be physical or emotional, I suggest crying out to God.

"Please God!" I cried in agony.

"Lord, please!" Casey said, joining in. I know he was feeling my pain. It was hurting him to see me hurt. The nurse came in, but there was not much she could do. I found myself begging her, that there had to be something they could do to relax my uterus, but I mostly just had to ride it out.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

We received a sweet gift from our college group that evening, when they called during the weekly 'Prayer & Praise' meeting to sing "Good to Me" so that both Casey and I could hear. It was a wonderful reassurance that God was continuing to bless us with prayerful supporters and a loving Christian family.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

I was feeling better, and looking forward to being able to leave the hospital on Friday. I have to admit that there was a constant nagging in the back of my mind about that lower-right-side pain, but I was so anxious to get home and enjoy the rest of my pregnancy. I wanted this baby to have the best chance to arrive in the world as healthy as possible.

Because I was doing alright that day, Casey decided to make a short trip home to teach the Wednesday night Bible study. After all, the school year was coming to a close, and he was the campus minister. He was feeling the need to be with his college students, and I encouraged him to go. I would be alright.

Casey arrived back at the hospital several hours later. We had a good talk and visit, and ended up going to bed quite late, somewhere around midnight.

Thursday, April 13, 2006
12:45 a.m.

I was fast asleep, so glad to finally be getting some actual rest after such a crazy week. But my eyes shot open wide as I felt something I had never experienced before, but somehow knew exactly what it was.

"Whoa..." was all I could say. And then, "Case, wake up! I think...I think my water just broke!!"

Monday, September 25, 2006

April And Everything After: Chapter One

Mid-March, 2006

"I'm having some really sharp pains here in my lower right side. Could it be inflammation? Do you think it could appendix?"

"No, it's just
round ligament pain..."

"And are these Braxton Hicks contractions supposed to hurt so much?"

A nod and a smile.

I let out a sigh. Oh well, I thought. It's not like I have to endure this too much longer, right?
This wasn't the first time I had asked my obstetrician if my appendix could be inflamed. For several years now, I had felt occasional twinges of pain in my lower right side. It made sense to me that, since I have an auto-immune disorder, my growing uterus could irritate the appendix and cause it to be inflamed. But I wanted to trust my doctor, and I didn't push the issue again. I didn't get the chance.

Wednesday, April 5, 2006, approximately 9:30 p.m.

I was standing at the bathroom mirror, getting ready for bed. I was uncomfortable these days, being that I was 33 weeks pregnant with our first child. Nevertheless, I enjoy making my husband laugh, and so I did a funny dance for him. Anytime a pregnant woman dances around, it is going to look funny. Casey laughed.

An hour later, neither one of us was laughing. I was having what I was sure were more Braxton Hicks contractions. I say 'more' because they had been coming on stronger each night. But this night was different. They were too painful. Too strong.

"We need to do something!" I told Casey. At midnight, he called our doctor's answering service. His partner was on call that night, and when he rang us 15 or 20 minutes later, I told him what was wrong.

"You need to go ahead and go to the ER, make sure you're not going into labor."

The last thing I wanted to do was take a car ride over bumpy roads, but I had no choice. We gathered up a few things and headed to the hospital. I can't be having this baby already! was the thought that raced over and over in my head. By the time we arrived at the entrance to the ER, my contractions weren't as strong anymore. Casey pushed me up to the desk in a wheelchair. We were checked in soon enough and taken to the maternity ward, into a room that I immediately disliked. It probably wasn't the room...I'm sure it was just because I was in a lot of pain and was just associating the space with my experience.

Before I knew it, I was being strapped to fetal monitors that made far too much noise and were far too tight around my stomach. The night was mostly a sleepless one, for both of us. The next day I was put through several tests to find out what might be happening. My appendix was ruled out, much to my dismay. I had still been thinking that had to be it, and I would have it taken out and all would be back to normal. No such luck.

The next morning, which was a Friday, the doctor who'd had me admitted to the hospital came into the room and told us something we really did not want to hear.

"There is a possibility that you have an infection in your uterus. If that is the case, you'll need to have your baby delivered, and because it would be considered premature we need to transfer you to ___________, because we do not have a NICU in this hospital."

The ambulance would be ready to transport me in about an hour, he told us, and Casey decided he would go home and pack a suitcase, which meant he wouldn't be riding with me. I knew that was what had to be done, but I really hated the thought of taking that ambulance ride without him by my side. I was scared -- scared for me, scared for us...and especially scared for our baby.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Looking back

Five years ago today, I was working at a daily newspaper as an imaging tech. I had kind of a strange work schedule: Tuesday through Saturday, 1 p.m. to 10 p.m. Because I worked late and didn't start again until after noon, I usually slept later than most people. So, when two planes flew into the World Trade Center Towers, I was clueless...that is, until my mom called me after 10 a.m. The weird part was that I'd already received a call from one of the newspaper's editors, who asked if I would come in earlier than usual because we were printing an extra edition that afternoon -- but she didn't tell me why. Maybe she thought I knew, I'm just not sure. But I hadn't turned on my TV, and so when my mom called, I was in total shock over the news she was giving me. Frankly, I never even knew the towers existed...maybe I had seen them in the Friends backgrounds now and then, but I didn't pay much attention. Now I always notice them in pre-2001 movie or TV scenes, as I'm sure you do.

The whole city seemed so quiet that day, almost as if everyone else had taken off work but us. Because we were printing an 'extra' that day (we were just a once-daily paper, so an extra meant doing a lot of work fast), my job was to look through tons and tons of Associated Press photos and tone them for the paper. I didn't have time to fully absorb it all -- I don't think any of us did, we were working so fast and furious. I saw pictures that would probably never be seen in newspapers, like people jumping from the towers to their death. Still, I had to remain unemotional that day because of the pace and amount of work. That was my main focus.

When I took my dinner break, around 6:30 p.m., I was walking the two blocks to my car. On the way, a stranger and I passed one another. I wanted to stop him and say, "Can you believe what's happened?" because it seemed on that day that we were all so connected to one another by this enormous tragedy. I drove home, and saw people selling our extra edition at an intersection. I watched news footage that night, but my emotions were still quite untouched. It wasn't until the following March, when Casey and I were attending a choir show of his brother's, that I truly felt the sorrow of that day in mid-September. There was a song tribute to all the firefighters, policemen and others who had lost their lives. Waves of sadness washed over me, and I wept...

There was something beautiful about that day for me, though. That evening, Casey and I went for a walk together. It was the first time we were ever alone together, and after our walk we went to IHOP...and so began our courtship.

May God bless the families of those who died on September 11, 2001.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Just talkin'

I still plan on doing a follow-up post on synesthesia...just don't have the time for it today, I'm afraid. I wish I had something really interesting to talk about, but I mostly just wanted to post so that people visiting (thank you, by the way!) could look at something new.

How is Miles, you ask? He's doing very well. In fact, he had a checkup and shots a week ago Monday, and he weighed 16 pounds and was 25-1/2 inches long. The boy is getting big! He still smiles a great deal, and talks even more...and the other day when a friend was visiting, I heard him actually giggle for the first time! Also, a couple of weeks ago, I know it was pure chance, but he was babbling away, and Casey and I actually heard the word 'hi' come out of his mouth. We looked at each other in shock, and then just laughed and laughed, because it's pretty hilarious to hear a four-month-old say "Hi!"

I am still in the process of healing. I no longer wear my wound-vac machine, but I do have a wound that will take a bit to be completely closed and healed. That means a daily dressing change, with Casey's help, and I'm so glad he's a patient man! I think one of the first things I want to do when I'm all healed up is to go swimming...I'm really hoping the weather cooperates and stays warm just a little longer.

Someday I will tell a longer version of my hospital stay. Don't worry, I'll warn you if it's going to get yucky...but you know that's why you'll be reading it!

Take care everyone, and have a wonderful Wednesday.
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