Sunday, May 30, 2010

Some Explanations!!

A friend emailed me and helped explain some of the things I was confused about regarding my surgery on Friday. It was nice to have the explanations now rather than waiting for my follow-up appointment in two weeks to ask my questions.

The second incision was for air. When they have to put in a scope they also need air to expand things so they can see what they are doing. Thus why there are two incisions. Definitely a nice thing to know!

Turns out the air is probably also what is causing some additional pain I just started having last night. My legs feel like I've been lifting weights or running a marathon and are really, really sore. But my mother had told me that she had felt a soreness after a procedure she had done that also required a scope and being pumped up with air. In the time the air disperses, but in the meantime it causes quite a bit of pain. Because it is in my legs, walking has become very difficult, especially if I sit too long. So I am getting up and walking around the house when I can and that helps. I slept with my pregnancy pillow last night and that helped a lot, too.

It was also explained to me why I had to be intubated. Apparently the anesthesia I started out with is fine for the usual D&C, but once they needed to start making incisions, they needed to give me a general anesthesia. That basically paralyzes your body, thus why I needed to be intubated (in order to breathe) and I had to have the catheter put in (so the bladder didn't create a mess). Again, good to know!

I am finally feeling a lot more like myself. I am still having moments when I feel a bit of nausea, but not enough yet that I feel I need to take the medication I have for it. My throat is better, probably 98% normal, and I can get up and down off the couch without any help. Still need a bit of help getting in and out of bed, but in a pinch I can do it on my own as well. But I'll take the help if it's available!

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Our Day at the Hospital

Despite what we were told, we basically spent the entire day on Friday at the hospital. Things didn't go exactly as planned, but luckily I checked out okay by late afternoon and was allowed to go home. So what follows is an update on what happened, or the parts I'm clear on at the moment. And fair warning, this may be a longish post.

So first, it's probably important to explain how things should have gone. I would hate for someone to read this and think that my story is what a typical D&C is like. It is not!! Most D&C procedures are much easier. And even what I went through probably could have been worse. So for that, I'm grateful.

The typical procedure would be that they connect you to an IV (which in my mind was the worst part), the anesthesia is given to you through the IV and you drift off to sleep. The procedure itself takes 15-20 minutes, and you spend about 45-60 minutes in recovery. Once you are awake and they are satisfied that you are okay, you can go home. During the actual procedure, the cervix is dilated and then a suction is inserted to remove all the contents of the uterus. In a normal procedure the doctor can feel the lining of the uterus with the suction and can do the whole procedure without actually seeing anything. This is what makes the procedure fairly easy, because there are no incisions and recovery is easy.

Friday morning we arrived at the hospital at 6:30am. Honestly, I wasn't nervous, I trust my doctor, and I knew I wouldn't remember anything anyway. The only thing that worried me was getting the IV, mostly because the IV hurt so much when I got one in January 2009. We checked in and got registered, found our way to the correct floor (Good Sam has a very confusing layout), and then sat in the waiting room for about an hour or more. They finally called me back after 8am and got me settled, Chris was still in the waiting room. It was during this time that I got connected to the IV and some blood samples were taken. I don't understand why they always start on the top of your hand when trying to do an IV. I did well, though, despite the pain and the fact that apparently my vein moved after the nurse got the needle in, I didn't jerk away or anything. But in the end, they had to try a different spot. So the IV eventually went in on my upper right arm halfway between the wrist and the elbow. They drew some blood samples through the IV line and got me connected to the IV itself. Then Chris was finally allowed back to see me.

While we waited, we talked to some anesthesia doctors, got the massage boots put on (I love those things), had someone else come in and take more blood, and talked to my doctor before things started. Finally they came to move me, started the IV stuff and wheeled me into surgery. I vaguely remember being brought in and seeing several people around, seeing my doctor and getting the oxygen mask put on. After that I remember nothing. Anesthesia really is a blessing!

I awoke later to find tubes up my nose and was very groggy and confused. Chris tells me that while he waited in the waiting room, someone called him a few times to say it would be another 45-60 minutes and that I was doing well. But the length of time they told him never changed. Finally, I guess once I was out and in recovery, my doctor went and talked to him. She told him that I had lost a lot of blood. She also couldn't feel the top of my uterus with the suction and so was kind of blind. As a result, they had to put in a scope which required an incision on my belly button. I have two incisions and I'm still unclear what the second one was for. Anyway, I was also intubated during surgery, meaning they had to put a tube down my throat. Again, I'm not entirely clear why this became necessary. But it did mean that I awoke with a very sore and scratchy throat. And, a catheter was put in; I don't know if that is typical, but I have a feeling it is not. I'm just thankful I was out for that, since I know caths are not fun! The amount of blood lost, according to my husband, was about twice what you would give if you went to donate blood. Thus explaining my very weakened state when I finally came to. Thankfully, they didn't feel that I needed a transfusion.

Chris was also told that I was fighting the nurses when I started waking up in recovery. I do not remember that at all! I remember being asked questions and asking some questions and saying thank you a lot. Maybe there was something before that which I don't remember.

I finally got moved to a room and Chris was able to join me. I was still pretty groggy, but apparently doing well. I was surprised to have someone come in around 2:30 in the afternoon to take more blood again! I found out later that this last blood sample was to check my hemoglobin levels to make sure I was okay to go home that same day. Finally the cath was removed around 3:30 and once I was able to get up (with a lot of help) and use the bathroom, I was good to go. I needed quite a bit of help to get dressed and move around, but I was starting to feel better. By about 4:30 or so we finally got discharged.

Driving home was horrible!! As soon as I got in the car and we started moving I thought I was going to be sick!! I managed to not be, and the feeling finally passed about halfway through our drive. No wonder they told me not to drive for a week. Once home, I got settled on the couch, and Chris went to the store to get my prescriptions filled and pick up a few things. I have 5 prescriptions, though I'm really only taking two regularly and occasionally one of the pain meds.

So that was our day at the hospital. What should have been just a few hours turned into a much longer day. But thankfully I'm doing well and I didn't have to spend the night. Hopefully this explains everything for those who had questions or were curious to know how things went. Thanks again to everyone who has been praying for us during this time!!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Today's Challenges and Blessings

So while I await tomorrow's procedure, I am still dealing with all the normal pregnancy symptoms. Because the placenta is still functioning, it causes all my hormone levels to be normal for a pregnancy and I feel the typical nausea and fatigue. As a result, I haven't really done much of anything this week. I figured a week off would be nice (even if I couldn't be in Hilton Head as was the plan) and I'd get some things done around the house. Yeah, yeah, I should be relaxing and resting and so forth. I figured the other stuff would be a nice distraction while also getting many, many things done that I've put off for way too long. Instead the resting and doing nothing thing is what really happened (unless you count watching nonstop HGTV as doing something).

But, because of the nausea, I have to eat something every few hours in order to not feel totally sick. Today I seemed particular sickly, which made this evening a bit more challenging.

Because we went to Mass tonight, which was at 5:30, I knew I couldn't eat anything after 4:30. So I think I ate last at around 4:15 tonight. I knew I'd be okay for a couple hours, but I didn't know how long it would be before we finally got home.

So we left at 5:00 and made it to church just before 5:30. The church bells went off during communion, so I knew it was 6:00pm at that point. Mass ended and then we went to the Cathedral offices for the Anointing of the Sick.

Several people I knew were at Mass tonight and they joined us. It was great to receive this special blessing before having surgery. And it was really wonderful to be surrounded by so many wonderful people. I do feel much more at peace at the moment. I hope that feeling continues tomorrow morning!

By the time we finished up and left the church, hubby decided to stop at the grocery store thus not getting us home until 7:00. Wow, I was starving and the nausea was certainly back full steam. Luckily we had some yummy, homemade chicken-noodle soup in the fridge (thanks to a wonderful friend) and hubby made a quick salad.

Hubby was also thinking of me. Ah, isn't he sweet! The stop at Kroger was to get some strawberries and whipping cream so he could make strawberry shortcake for dessert. Dessert is definitely a good thing tonight!! And it was really good with his homemade biscuit-like shortcakes.

So I have a few hours before midnight, after which I am not allowed to have anything (not even water) until after the surgery. I've requested tomato soup and grilled cheese for lunch when we get home tomorrow. And I may still have one more thing to eat tonight before heading to bed.

So far no nerves, I'll count that as a blessing. The challenges today have definitely been the nausea. The most important blessing of all was receiving the Eucharist and the Anointing of the Sick and having so many wonderful people praying for us, surrounding us, bringing us dinner, and just being there for us in so many ways.

A Baby goes to Heaven

It is with much sadness that I have to write this post. I have been putting it off for several days, but finally feel that it is time to get all my thoughts out and to let everyone know what has been going on for the last week or more. I will try to be coherent in what follows, but forgive me if I start rambling.

Mu husband and I confirmed on Easter weekend this year that we were pregnant once again. We were very excited, though a little nervous as well. After two losses, it was hard to get overly excited. We waited to start telling our families until Mother's Day weekend. That weekend, we used Skype to talk with my parents and one of my sisters and share our news with them. I also called my other two siblings and shared our news with them. On that Sunday we had my husband's parents over for dinner and told them and then he called several of his siblings to share the news with them. At that point I was almost at 9 weeks. We started telling people very slowly after that over the next week or so.

Also by that time, we had already had two ultrasounds. I had seen the baby at 6 weeks and saw the heartbeat. Everything looked good. Two weeks later, at 8 weeks, I saw the high risk doctor and had another ultrasound. Again, I got to see a perfect little baby and saw and heard the heartbeat. It was beating away at 171 bpm. Everything looked great! Through all of this I was feeling the constant nausea that is common in early pregnancy (never actually getting sick, just the feelings of it) and was extremely fatigued. All good signs and the doctors were all feeling positive about what they had been able to see thus far.

On Thursday May 20 I went in for a routine appointment, hoping to hear the heartbeat one more time before leaving for our vacation two days later. Because I was at 10 weeks, 4 days, they decided to use the ultrasound machine rather than the Doppler to find the heartbeat. The Doppler apparently works better once you get past the 11th/12th week. Now, my doctor's office also had just moved to a new location and the ultrasound machines they had at this new office were new to my doctor and she wasn't 100% comfortable using it. So she started the process and got the thing working. It took a little while but she finally found the baby but was having a hard time getting the picture to zoom in. Finally she decided to get someone to help her. She came back a minute later with another doctor and decided to do an internal ultrasound instead of the external like she had tried the first time.

I have been in this situation so many times now. Once the doctor starts an ultrasound and doesn't let you see the screen there is either something wrong or they think something may be wrong. So I was watching their faces, which was not encouraging. Once we finished and the second doctor left my doctor started telling me the news. The baby had stopped growing at 9 weeks and there was no heartbeat. The placenta seemed to be functioning still and was a little larger than it should have been at that point.

After hearing all this, she gave me a moment alone to get dressed again and call my husband. He wanted to come over, but it was close to rush hour and he had never been to this new location, so I knew it would take him way too long to get from his office on the edge of the city into downtown and find where I was, near lots of construction as well. So I told him to go home and I'd meet him there. I then talked to my doctor again and she explained our three options but told me to not make any decisions, go home and she would see me again in a few days to talk more.

So this Tuesday, two days ago, hubby and I went back to talk with the doctor again. My options were one, to wait and allow the miscarriage to happen naturally; two, to take the medication (cytotec, I think it's called) which would get the miscarriage going, but I'd still miscarry at home; or three, to do a suction D&C. I'd been through a natural miscarriage once before and wasn't sure I wanted to do that again. Plus, I am further along this time then I was that first time, so the cramping would probably be worse and it would be a LOT more blood. Not really something you want to wait out. Also, since the placenta was still functioning, there was no telling how long I would have to wait. The medication would speed that process up, but it was still essentially a long process of bleeding and cramping, probably at home. So after discussing the procedure more, asking lots of questions, and discussing the risks, we decided that the D&C was the best option. I am scheduled for the D&C on Friday morning and plan on wearing my St. Gianna bracelet that a friend made for me when I go.

With the D&C we also have the opportunity to have some tests done, which would not be able to happen if I miscarried naturally. There will be some chromosome and genetic testing done. This may or may not tell us anything.

One thing they can tell us is if the baby is a boy or was possibly a girl. The boy possibility is more definite than the girl possibility. But I don't care, if they have a good guess, that's good enough for me and I will feel comfortable giving this child a name and an identity that we can remember him/her by. In addition, after some pushing on my part and my doctor having to talk to two pathology people, they agreed that the baby's remains can be given to us after the testing is done so that we can give this child a proper burial. My plan at this point is to do a simple burial ceremony. I don't know when this will happen, it could still be several weeks away. But we'll probably keep it small and intimate, mostly just family. But it will be nice for this child to be buried next to his/her brother Zachary.

Tomorrow morning I go to the hospital at 6:30am for the D&C. I'm nervous, but mostly just because I haven't been put under for anything since I was in 8th or 9th grade to get my wisdom teeth removed. I also remember how much the IV hurt going in last year when I was in the hospital with Zachary. But, I know I'll get through it. I'm going to Mass tonight and seeing a priest afterwards for the anointing. I'll have my St. Gianna medal with me as well. And of course, we have the prayers of lots and lots of family and friends.

Thank you to everyone who has been praying for us and for all the notes, emails, FB comments and messages, and the many, many offers of help that so many have offered us. We are truly blessed to have so many wonderful friends and family.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Easy Fundraiser!! Come participate!!

This Thursday (May 20) there will be an easy, easy fundraiser to help raise money for the Kentucky Memorial for the Unborn. It's easy because all you have to do is come have dinner at Chick-fil-A, bring a voucher with you, and 20% of your purchase helps the Memorial. How easy is that!? Read on for specific details.

Come to the Harrodsburg Rd. Chick-fil-A in Lexington between 5:00pm and 8:00pm on Thursday May 20. Bring the voucher pictured here (right click and save it as a jpg on your computer and then print it out). Hand in the voucher when you purchase your meal and you're done. I believe there will be people there with extra vouchers in case you forget to bring it with you.

The Memorial itself will be in Frankfort. It is being erected to recognize all the precious lives lost through miscarriage, stillbirth, and abortion. It is meant to be a contemplative garden and will contain some walls with inscriptions in memory of all these children. I am hoping to eventually make a contribution so that we can have an inscription in honor of our Casey, who we lost in 2008. I would love to be able to have a place to visit and see her name for all to know that this child was loved. I have that with Zachary and would love to be able to have the same for Casey.

Please, if you can, come out tomorrow night and help support the Kentucky Memorial for the Unborn (click on the link to read more and see the plans).

Surprise Fun!!

Tuesday night we had the fun of throwing a surprise party!! It was such a great time and I'm so glad we did it!! Here's how it all went down.

A dear friend just adopted a baby from Korea. I mentioned her blog in a recent post, but once again, here is the link that details their trip to Korea, meeting their new baby for the first time, bringing him home, and a bit on the first week adjusting to all the newness, and of course the cuteness! They got back to Lexington last Tuesday evening, just a week ago.

While they were gone I talked with a few friends about doing something for her and her husband and their new son. Normally we have our small group Cursillo gathering on Tuesday evenings, so I devised a plan to convince her to come to our meeting just one week after she was back in town and to bring the baby. We would forgo the usual Cursillo format and just catch up and get a chance to meet the baby, etc. We even planned to start a half hour earlier since the baby may need to get to bed at a reasonable time.

So upon our friend's return to the States I started discussions with her to get this to all work out. In the meantime, other people we all knew had also been invited and were in on the secret. We had a few stumbling blocks, but in the end it all worked out.

I got a cake to celebrate the event from Brown's Bakery, which I highly recommend. They did a great job decorating it, it was very, very cute! I didn't get a picture, but some others people did, so I'll post a pic once I can get a copy from someone else. Several people brought some gifts and we had a really great time. My friend showed up with the baby and was definitely surprised to see everyone there. It was such a special thing to celebrate!! Especially after years of infertility struggles and years waiting on an adoption from China, it was so amazing how fast the adoption through Korea went. And now they have a beautiful baby boy to rejoice in!! It was such a fun celebration for everyone who came!

I'm so glad the whole thing worked out. There were a few moments when I thought the whole thing was going to fall through, but it came together in the end. And it was so fun to see everyone, see my friend and her husband again, meet the baby, and get to hear how things were going.

What a blessing for these two special people!! And a very fun night all around!

Friday, May 14, 2010

The Quiet Life?

Sometimes when I get the urge to write I feel that there is nothing to say. So I give up. It makes me wonder if my life has become a little too quiet lately. Maybe it has, I don't know. Though it certainly feels full in the living it out part.

Mother's Day was this past weekend. I had posted a lovely poem then that moms who have lost their children would be very touched by. I know I was, thus the reason for posting it.

At the end of Mass Sunday morning there was the usual blessing over the mothers. We had a visiting priest who apparently was not used to having to use a microphone and the microphone the deacon had was not working (I also don't understand half of what that particular deacon says anyway due to his accent, so the terrible mic situation made it all the worse). So understanding the blessing was a little tough. I did stand up with the other moms. I am not one to sit in my seat because I don't have any living children and if anyone were to ask me about it (which no one did) I would gladly tell them that my babies are in heaven. I am happy and blessed to have two little saints there already.

Following the blessing, the deacon asked all the children to come forward and take a rose to bring back to their mother (though, he did have to make the announcement twice, moving to a different mic the second time, since no one moved after his first announcement). That part was a little sad for me, so I quietly sat back down and waited. Well, my goddaughter's family was sitting a few rows in front of us. Although she wasn't with them (she was in the nursery) her two older brothers both went up and got a rose and one of them brought one to me. I was very touched!!

In other exciting news, a dear friend of mine just got back from a trip to South Korea, bringing her baby son home with her!! I finally got a chance to talk to her tonight and I am so excited for her. What an amazing trip they had and what an amazing little boy they brought back with them. I can't wait to actually see her and meet her little boy. If you're curious to read more, her and her husband created a blog that they used while they were away to journal about the experience. They have pictures up now too! You can read it all at the blog Baby Andrew.

Soon we'll be heading off on a vacation to Hilton Head. I'm looking forward to time with my family and just some good R&R. In addition to being with my family while we're actually in Hilton Head, we'll be seeing some other friends and family during the trip down and back. We'll get to see friends of mine in Greenville, who I went to college with and whose son is my godson. Then on our trip back we'll be stopping in Asheville, NC to visit with one of my cousins and his family. These stops help us break up the trip and gives us a chance to see people we don't normally get to see. I know so many more people along our route, but we can't see everyone. So this year those are the stops we're making.

The other fun part about the trip is seeing other churches. We'll be in Greenville on Pentecost Sunday (Happy Birthday, Church) and attending (I'm assuming) St. Mary's parish in downtown. We've been there before and they have a beautiful church and it's always an amazing and reverent Mass. I haven't figured out yet where in Asheville we're attending. I looked up the Catholic Churches in that area and there are two in Asheville, one is a Basilica in downtown and another is somewhere else in the city. I'll figure it out before we get there for sure. Anyone have any recommendation, I'll be happy to take them.

Life often feels quiet, but really there is a lot going on. Not always with me, but often with the people around me. And that's fine. I'm blessed to have such wonderful people in my life! Otherwise, my life wouldn't just be quiet, it'd be down right boring! I'm definitely blessed with many wonderful friends and family!

Saturday, May 08, 2010

Happy Mother's Day to ALL Mothers

I found this posted on an online Catholic forum I read. It's such a great poem for reminding everyone that there are many, many mothers out there whose children are no longer with them. For all those mothers, this is for you.

What Makes A Mother

I thought of you and closed my eyes
And prayed to God today
I asked "What makes a Mother?"
And I know I heard him say
A Mother has a baby
This we know is true
But, God, can you be a mother
When your baby's not with you?

Yes, you can he replied
With confidence in his voice
I give many women babies
When they leave it is not their choice
Some I send for a lifetime
And others for the day
And some I send to feel your womb
But there's no need to stay.

I just don't understand this God
I want my baby here

He took a breath
and cleared his throat
And then I saw a tear
I wish I could show you
What your child is doing today
If you could see your child smile
With other children and say
"We go to earth to learn our lessons
of love and life and fear
My mommy loved me so much
I got to come straight here
I feel so lucky to have a Mom who had so much love for me
I learned my lessons very quickly
My Mommy set me free.

I miss my Mommy oh so much
But I visit her each day
When she goes to sleep
On her pillow is where I lay
I stroke her hair and kiss her cheek
And whisper in her ear
Mommy don't be sad today
I'm your baby and I am here"

So you see my dear sweet one
Your children are okay
Your babies are here in My home
And this is where they'll stay
They'll wait for you with Me
Until your lessons are through
And on the day you come home
they'll be at the gates for you

So now you see
What makes a Mother
It's the feeling in your heart
It's the love you had so much of
Right from the very start
Though some on earth
May not realize
Until their time is done
Remember all the love you have
And know that you are
A Special Mom

Author Unknown

Monday, May 03, 2010

May Update

I find it hard to believe that we're now a third through the year already. Why does time seem to speed up as we get older? Probably not worth our time to ponder that, how about what's been going on since my last update?

New Year's Resolutions? Well, was doing good posting on the blog, obviously not much lately. Hopefully I'll be able to get back into this again soon. Secondly is our daily Rosary. Gotten a slack on that lately, but did manage to say one tonight. We were doing really well up until a few months ago, but still manage to get in a few a week. We're working on getting back into it.

My reading has gone down hill as well. I did manage to read Pope Benedict's second encyclical, Spe Salve, which I really liked. Didn't post a review because I wanted to read the next encyclical and then write one review of both. Unfortunately I haven't gotten around to reading it yet. But, we recently started a book group up with some friends and we'll hopefully be reading a book a month soon. We're starting with the book The Loser Letters, which I'm looking forward to reading.

My fourth resolution was the non-weight loss goal of eating healthier. I did well on that for a while and then Easter hit. Kind of fell off the wagon, but I'm slowly climbing back on.

Other news? Hmm, really not much else. I managed to get through my first Cursillo weekend as the Pre-Cursillo Chair. It was a lot of work, but everyone got to where they needed to be and all the ladies (and the two deacons and one priest) all had a great time. I attended the final ceremony on Sunday night and it was great to hear everyone's witness on how they felt closer to Christ through their experiences on the weekend. I'm looking forward ot that carrying through when we gather again on Thursday for a regional get together. I'm now taking a short break and then I will be turning my focus to the Men's Weekend in October.

Basically Cursillo has taken over my life the last month. So really not much else going on here. Hopefully May will be a much mroe quiet month.

Hope everyone is having a great spring!!