Friday, May 27, 2011

New Arrival!

Baby Leaf was born Wednesday (28 weeks, one day), weighing a hair over 2 pounds. There's lots to say, but I think I need to wait until I'm not in the hospital to say it - I'm already on their hit list for "Post Partum Adjustment Concerns" and I feel like they're watching a little too closely for my comfort right now - and this has hit far closer to home, and brought up far less pleasant memories of Acorn's birth, than I feel they need to hear.

Leaf actually made it most of the first day on CPAP only, but has since been intubated and put back on a ventilator. She's doing well, really, and should be just fine.

I'm doing well to. Thank goodness for an OB who decided to say enough is enough, and decided to just do the c-section before either of us crashed - we'd had progressively more problems with Leaf's strips on the monitors, and progressively creeping blood pressures, and the outcome that high risk was waiting for was for one of us to no longer tolerate the treatment. I may hurt like hell from surgery, but I do not feel like I've been hit by a truck, and I have the energy to get up and do the things that need to be done, and didn't have to spend a lot of extra time on magnesium trying to keep my blood pressure down after surgery. Leaf is little - but we didn't deliver because she wasn't getting enough oxygen or because her heart was giving out or because she was *too* little and not getting any bigger, which was a big part of why Acorn got delivered. We might have been able to eek out another couple days, but the likelihood of issues grew with each day.

So, for now, lots of easy breathing vibes for Leaf, and lots of pumping for me. We've had issues getting pumps in my various rooms, which has not helped matters. But now that I'm in one place again, things are getting more situated and we'll work through it.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Interview, part 2

Go check out the 2nd part of my interview with Masery Gaias over on the Staff of Asclepius blog

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Random Thursday Thoughts

I am officially more pregnant than I've ever been before (though, if you're going by baby size, that's been true for several weeks). It's still really odd.

The longer I'm here, the more twitchy I get about things - I'm twitchy about ultrasound gel. I'm narrowing down food choices. Showers are a requirement, not just a nice treat. I'm irritated by people who are acting like idiots. And on and on. That combination suggests depression, or at least a problem coping....but I'm still writing, so it must not be that bad yet, because when I'm actually depressed, I stop writing. So that leaves me confused - is this just decompressing? Or what? My former therapist has agreed to take me back as a client and to make hospital calls, but her father-in-law is dying, 4 hours north of here, so arranging an appointment has been challenging.

Acorn has really gotten creative with his climbing - the sink, the kitchen counter, the dining room table (with an attempt at hanging from the chandellier), and anything else available. This week he tried to use the high chair and the potty chair and several toys to help him get onto a bookshelf; when those were taken away, he started trying to use a board book....set up on end, covers bent back, pages splayed around in a star shape - short of making a stack of books, it's actually the strongest way to stand a book, in terms of load capacity, and it probably would have worked. And we had early intervention folks who thought not speaking meant he wasn't smart. ha!

Tomorrow is my 11th wedding anniversary. My husband is going to bring me  a nice dinner; certainly not the way or place I'd prefer to celebrate our anniversary, but compared to some years, this still counts as good - it involves us having a calm evening together, it doesn't involve a funeral, so that's an improvement.

The tweak to my BP meds is both good and bad - I'm watching the BP numbers creep up day after day, which is bad, but it helps a little bit with the sleepiness and brain fog. I guess we'll see.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

A Bittersweet Day

Today is 27 weeks and 1 day of this pregnancy with Leaf.

Acorn was born at 27 weeks, 1 day.

Our ultrasound this morning shows that Leaf is half again as big as Acorn was at birth.

We've said to people that Acorn is our miracle baby. For all that this isn't an ideal pregnancy, it puts that miracle into context....but then, it also makes Leaf look like a miracle too.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

bedrest can be boring

I am finding it harder and harder to get out of this bed - hospital beds do all this ergonomic positioning, leaving my butt lower than the rest of me....and my growing belly (and slowly-giving-up abdominal muscles) are making it challenging to get out of that hole.

This is a good thing. Another sign that while I'm really pretty sick (though I don't appear to be as sick as I am, it's taking a lot of meds to keep me this way), Leaf is still growing, and that's what Leaf needs most right now.

Still, it's somewhat boring here. It's not that I don't have things to do, it's that I have zero motivation to do any of it. I'm losing track of time - losing whole afternoons sometimes. I have friends who've offered to come visit, but I can't hold the thought together long enough to actually tell them when they can come. I've been relegated  to an hour or so a day with my family most days - between work, bedtimes, sleep, and Acorn's limited tolerance for hospitals, there's not much choice.

I'm starting to think we're confusing the doctors though - they seem surprised  every morning that things aren't getting worse. The nurses all ask why they didn't just send me home. But apparently you can have pre-ecclampsia without issues, as long as you can control the symptoms, and that's where we are. Because of my history, and because of what it took to get things under control, they're still not comfortable turning loose. I guess on the plus side, the longer we can give Leaf, the better.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Being Pagan & Being in the Hospital

This hospital thing is rather odd. Acorn's birth was the first time I'd ever been admitted to a hospital; I was here 12 days then, most of it too sick to even get out of bed.

Today is day 13 this time. At least I can go to the bathroom on my own.

And, of course, there was the more than 9 months Acorn spent in the NICU, but visiting every day is different from being here 24/7 - being the patient is different than being the parent.

Most weekdays, I've had a visit from either a chaplain or a chaplain-in-training. They've all been polite, but some have been more talkative than others, and some have made more of an effort to be personable than others. So far, I think I liked the Jewish guy best, who recommended I consider what sort of support I wanted/needed, and then go about asking for that, rather than hoping people will be supportive.

My suspicion is that if I ask them about Pagan chaplain support, the only person they'll find on file is me. How sad is that? It's true though, and probably common in most major cities.

With Acorn, we mostly avoided interactions with the chaplains. There was, in the early days, too much of a feeling that we were on display in a fishbowl, and that we had to tread lightly for his safety...and by the time we were comfortable enough to bring anything religious into his room, we didn't have the time or energy to find things, and we didn't really want to rock the boat.

It is highly unlikely that we'll skip the NICU with Leaf, thought we all believe that Leaf will not stay nearly as long as Acorn did, having avoided IUGR to this point. Leaf is bigger, healthier, stronger - and if we make it another 10 days without delivering, Leaf will be older (gestationally) than Acorn was too. But this time is different - we have experience, and we know what we're getting into....and I've already got plans working to have a little altar/shrine in Leaf's room.

It's actually going to start out here in my room - a small Goddess offering bowl statue that I ordered this week, and likely one of Acorn's handkerchief sized play silks as an altar cloth. In here, I'm hoping for fresh flowers to use as offerings; by the time Leaf gets here I hope to have tracked down some of those little LED votive candles, since I don't think they allow flowers upstairs in the NICU. Maybe a family photo? I'm not sure I have a decent one of all of us; I know I don't have any little photo frames, so it may end up being several photos in different frames.

Beyond that, I'm not sure what else. I guess we'll see.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Not Quite Trach Free

...but everything's a go for being trach free.

Acorn & his daddy went this morning without me, since my BP has been a little flaky the last day or so and we all agreed that it'd be better if I stayed up here and took things easy - though they were actually just downstairs from me.

Acorn did great, and his ENT says that his airway looks great. His tonsils are enlarged, but not so much that they need to come out (and after all his illnesses this spring, she's not surprised, and would rather wait and see what they do). His adenoids are fine. There's a bit of acquired malacia (sometimes called suprastomal collapse, caused by the trach itself proping one of the cartilidge rings that make up the trachea) - but not so much that he can't be decannulated (in fact, the collapse itself takes up far less space in his airway than the trach itself, and he's quite happy to have that capped all day, so it's definitely not an issue).

So....the ENT is ready to take his trach out. Just not today - she wants to give any irritation caused by her work time to resolve. It's now up to us to schedule a time to do that.

And given everything else that's going on, that may wait until after Leaf is born. We just can't manage this many complications at once.

Monday, May 2, 2011

On Moms and Mental Health

As the title might suggest, this post has mention of possibly triggering things like post partum depression (PPD), suicidal thoughts, and the like. Read carefully, friends.

Because I can't get this twisted around the way I want without upsetting myself, and being upset (a) makes my blood pressure go up, and (b) has already once led to the subject of whether or not I need anti-depressants, I'm going to skip trying to make it elegant, and just write.


Saturday was a rough day, emotionally speaking. There is no plan; no agreement on whether or not I go home (much less on what I'd need to do to get there or what would be required to stay there) - there's not even agreement on how my labs look, since I've been told both that they're completely normal, and that they're not.

Saturday marked the longest I've ever been away from  Acorn, and my husband brought him in to visit. As you know, we're cautious of exposing him to medical situations, but this room is pretty low key.

Sunday morning, the OB doing rounds approached me about my mental health. Because, you know, the nurse had reported that I was upset, and they didn't want that, and they could prescribe anti-depressants if I was having trouble coping.

Yup, you heard that right. They're diagnosing and treating depression based on one rough afternoon.

Trust me - I know depression, at least mine. There's a huge difference between a crying jag and a depressive episode. 

Now, to be fair, if they went through my charts back at the office, they'd see that they had prescribed anti-depressants after Acorn's birth....less than 24 hours after his birth, for the post-partum depression they assumed I'd have.

Not that I didn't eventually have PPD, mind you...but the script was given before I'd even had time to find my bearings and process what the situation was....before I'd had time to grieve.

I hadn't even seen my baby at that point.

And not that I didn't fail the PPD screening test miserably (though that was a week after I'd been started on meds) - they asked questions like "was your pregnancy complicated?" and "was your baby born with any health concerns?" - and even if Acorn had been a normal full-term baby, I'd've failed, because they asked if you'd ever had depression or been suicidal. I think there were 8 or 9 questions, and I easily answered 5 or 6 with "yes" - so as far as they were concerned, I was super duper high risk.


I think the whole thing is that I'm angered by this assumption that normal emotional responses to stressful situations are unacceptable. That it's not ok to cry, not ok to be sad, not ok to be angry or unhappy. That we mothers have to be cheerful. All. The. Time. No matter what the situation. That we're so fragile that we can't be trusted with our own emotions.

Because if there's anything that the nearly 3 years of Acorn's life has taught me, it's that feelings are ok, and I am much harder to break than I thought

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Hospital, Part 4

Well, it's Sunday night, and I'm still here.

I spent Thursday night and Friday day in labor & delivery again, when my blood pressure wasn't quite stable enough. We'd been wondering all week whether it was going to hold or not, given that being any bit late on meds made things run a bit high.

At any rate. Things are stable. It's unclear whether I'm going home or not, though my regular docs think I'm not nearly unstable or risky enough to sit here as the most stable patient on the floor.

My arches are falling, having not worn shoes in almost a week, and it's causing some ankle pain. Sigh. This is why I wear good shoes or orthotics, damn it. Assuming I get home, I can tape or wear a brace, or hope that compression stockings make my shoes wearable.

In the interesting developments of the week, Leaf has continued to improve the kicking skills - I now get Alien quality foot-sticking-out-of-belly type kicks. Hard enough to bounce the monitors off placement, hard enough to be seen. I know Acorn never did that.

So, basically, we're in a holding pattern - here or at home. There is more processing to be done - more to say about some other things, but it'll have to wait for another day, because I think I'm going to catch some shut-eye before vitals at midnight.