As a parent you…

As a parent;

You have to make sure they survive everyday. Not only live though, but (freakin’) THRIVE…

That they eat (not too little or too much, but just right), and sleep (not too little or too much, but just right) and brush their teeth and their hair. That they are clean and clothed and whole and healthy.

That they get to school on time and are polite and sweet (but no push overs), assertive and well adjusted (whatever that means) and independent, self sufficient (but they also need to learn how to ask for help) and secure, yet they need to listen to authority and follow the rules!

You have to make sure that they are picked up on time (ask about their day-open ended questions…require “detailed” answers, active listening and interest) and are happy and have high self esteems (not shy 😱) yet they need to be aware of others who don’t have as much. They need to be kind and brave, (PC…) as well as, well rounded and educated, AND “street smart”…

You don’t only need to make sure that they eat, (have those lunch and snack boxes ready and correctly packed!) but that they eat the “RIGHT” kind of food (don’t get me started…organic, vitamins, probiotics, supplements, protein shakes…seriously!) and have the right sleep “environment” (beds, comforters, pillows, essential oil diffusers), and the right kind of toothbrush and toothpaste (might change weekly) and hairbrush (!) AND social circles (yes!) friends and toys (educational, developmental, creative etc etc.)

Maybe throw in an “appropriate” pet to learn compassion and responsibility on (which is ultimately all about your compassion and added responsibility-pile it on).

And then there is all the “extra”, the right kind of clothes in the right size and style, and all the homework and obligations (yes, kids now have their own obligations…that are pretty much your obligations).

School requirements, volunteering, holidays, “vacations”, pajama days, crazy hair…and sock day, sport days, class parties, performances…

Then there are all the doctors’ and dental appointments (God forbid they have any special needs or health issues) and don’t get me started on all the after school programs and hobbies and activities (and added equipment and instruments and outfits and uniforms) and “play dates” and birthday parties (their social calendar is busier than any adult’s-good luck if you have more than one kid).

$$$$$

And if you don’t do it ALL…(every single day) can you spell “mom guilt” …

Love it all though 🤪

Easy Peasy! No pressure 😏😅🤯😳❤️

😘 fellow parents doing it ALL and a little more!!

Hot messes, twisted cords and feeding tubes..

My friend, you are a complete mess?

Really can a medical professional talk to you that way? (Maybe he said “hot mess”? No…, okay, I guess only “mess” is left, I’m a mess, what else is new…?)

Not sure what you answer in this situation? “Eh…okaaay” He smiled (actually a nice smile, what a bully) “what I mean is the infection has spread in your body, it probably started in your uterus and then unfortunately spread… but the good news is that you are here and we are treating it and you are doing a lot better!” “So” (I had to ask) “is this a uterus infection or did the doctor leave placenta behind?”

He looks momentarily taken back (is this not a usual question? Like what the H is wrong with me?)

“Well” he says, someone will come and talk to you shortly” …? So not an answer, but again his smile is very nice, very straight teeth, and white, very white…so I try again “what does it mean that the infection has spread…?”

He seems happier about this question even though he doesn’t really answer this either… “The medication is taking care of that and seems to be working well” (what…? Is he an intern?) “Very strong stuff” (the “lingo” doesn’t seem very “medical”) he adds while he swiftly, before I have a chance to stop him, backs out of my room. I want to yell “hey, come back here” but what for really…?

I decide to check in on my bebe by dialing the NICU on the huge grey phone attached to my bed (after dropping it twice, twisting it in with my IV, cords dangling) “We need more milk!” was their simple answer (but didn’t I just pump?) well, but of course, I’ll get right on that! The pure joy over the best invention ever the “hands free pumping bra” has cold down some (what? If you have ever been in my situation, you understand me).

Not as excited to get my huge (milk filled; not trying to sound any type of “sexy” here) boobs into this thing, as it twists the wrong way and the zipper gets stuck multiple times so I have to start all over, and the cones in the holes (again…not sexy..at all…) and all the other pump accessories in the right places in the fastest possible time, only to wait forever and STILL not get the desired amount of milk.

After all the pumping I can manage in one sitting and after about twenty minutes waiting for someone to detach me from my IV (with the promise of being back in an hour for the next dose of super antibiotics) and throwing on some pants (I’m still fat and swollen and my big feet can barely fit in the skinny leg openings-be very thankful though, that I am wearing them, no more flashing my bottom to unfortunate people!)

I feel lightheaded again and my throat hurts…and my ears. As I pass the nurses station to get my milk from their fridge, I stop to tell them that someone was supposed to come see me and explain my infection (two nurses give me clueless stares and blank expressions) so I “put the order in” for a doctor to come see me, emphasizing the sore throat, ears and headache.

Down in the NICU I proudly hand over my milk that they had requested but it turns out the nurses there are not as excited.

Instead they seem concerned, not only is baby’s jaundice worse instead of better, she hasn’t been enjoying the outcome of all my hard work at the pump. Apparently little miss has not been eating quite as well as before-not well at all it seems, she has been losing weight instead of gaining (now hovering just over 4 lbs…) and now they want to feed her through a feeding tube…
 

Deserving mothers and messy patients!

The nurse is telling me in her broken English that her husband has told her that she doesn’t deserve children, but that she could try to “prove herself deserving” but since she is too old now it is basically too late, and she has obviously failed (say whaaat?? the feminist in me threatens to scream).

I ask her what her husband’s criteria of “deserving a child is” (which she doesn’t understand so I have to rephrase the question several times). She isn’t sure, either she doesn’t understand me or she doesn’t know what his criteria are- what she had to do in order to “in his eyes” be able to deserve having a baby. This is ridiculous- are there men like that? 

She seems to agree with him though, which is almost worse. Is she really that “broken”, she seems to be a nice lady. He must be a real jerk (stronger titles come to mind). She tells me he is American and with her accent this is probably not where she was born, he must be using his power over her, bossing her around telling her what to do (putting on my psychologist hat I am able to analyze all sorts of things about this situation, this relationship, this obvious unhealthy marriage).

It is really not my place to judge and I really shouldn’t meddle- a patient in an ugly green gown, oversized see through panties in a hospital bed (doesn’t exactly shout authority) but I feel truly bad for her, the woman is close to tears, but what could I do to help anyways?

Demand to see her husband (probably couldn’t do that) and when and where, and what would I say and in what capacity? Nah, this is something I have to leave alone, but I feel worried about this forlorn lady, I just hope he isn’t abusive (it sounds like he might be verbally so).

She obviously hasn’t proven herself a “good woman, person and wife in his eyes” (how is that for horrible statements!?) therefore she could not and would not become a mother.

Oh if I would have that man in front of me, I would claw his eyes out (I’m already planning a couple therapy session im my mind where I’m-even if inappropriate; totally bias towards the wife. This poor lady, my insides ache for her and even if I really want to tell her she deserves more, I settle for a quiet and very composed (opposite of what I’m feeling) “your deserve to be a mom and I’m sure you would be a great one”.

To my surprise she looks down and slowly and solemnly shakes her head no. Is that a tear I see falling? Okay, this is truly heartbreaking and again I feel utterly and completely blessed with what I have- my husband, our babies, our family and the relationship that we have.

Before she goes, turning off all the lights, leaving me to ponder…she tells me she was given a book by her husband on Mother’s Day last year. She is telling me that she got very surprised to be receiving a gift on such a day since she is not a mother, “he told me to read it, study it and learn from it”.

Now my interest is definitely peaked. I ask what the book was about and she tells me the title is “How to be a good wife”…

The next morning, I’m wakened at the perfectly normal hour of 5:30 am. I am pretty used to early mornings with my husband and son but not after extremely interrupted sleep- do they really have to check my vitals every two hours; I mean really!? – I know you haters out there are telling me it’s for my own good and that I should be thankful, well yes… I am! AND it gets much “worse” when baby gets home, (I still long and pray for that day) thanks for reminding me, I am aware! I am not feeling great okay, and in between vital checks, strong meds, unnecessarily bright lights and middle of the night pumping sessions, I’m a wreck (even before the baby has come home).

The doctor looks hyped up as he is bouncing (I’m telling you) in my room and quickly and loudly exclaims “well, you my friend are a complete mess” …

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Well that BACKfired part 4!!!

It turns out I actually did tear-all the way back (I wouldn’t wish this on anyone, not even my worst enemy-if I had one). The pain is like none other.

I have to see two different specialist before my (angel of) a GP doctor refers me to “the one”.

He truly is the best one out there. I’m so lucky to live in a place with so many great medical (geniuses) doctor’s and surgeons. Unfortunately we have really been needing them lately (beyond grateful that all has gone well in the end but we have been experiencing some less than fun and light times as a family with this lingering birth injury and our oldest’s son’s surgery as well…).

Anyways, this doctor I’m referred to is truly amazing (and what he is lacking in bedside manners he sure is making up in skills). He tells me that while pushing my fourth baby out, my already vulnerable skin (after all my lovely babies) forcefully stretched and became VERY thin and fragile (especially with the speed this last one came through with!!!), causing the very next little extra “strain” on the area to in fact rupture “completely”.

My few stitches in my front “lady parts” are fine and have healed nicely-it’s the middle and back that tore. A 3rd and (yikes) fourth degree tear is definitely no “cake walk” and shouldn’t be messed with or by any means be taken lightly…

My whole “quality of life” could change with this injury. I could loose my ability to control my (hm…) should we call them “bathroom” needs, not to mentioned to fear of infection and the ultimate threat sepsis (here we go again…who remembers what happened after my baby girl was born).

This star surgeon want to try everything in his power to avoid extensive and major surgery. But in order to “save” my “nether regions” it might have to come to that in the end after all.

I’m hopeful it won’t…

I mean who want to have major surgery! (Butt surgery as my family “lovingly” call it nonetheless)..??

There are risks with this surgery and complications could and would “ruin” me (see above…) and the recovery is brutal and, loooong and extensive.

I vote for trying everything in this specialty surgeon’s power before we have to go that route.

He has ideas of everything from more permanent stitches- outpatient procedures and even Botox (say what???)

We spend months trying to heal wounds that in the end are just too deep…

Wounds that are in such a sensitive, infection prone area that after a spring full of pain ends in early summer discussions of the BIG surgery (the one we all dreaded) after all.

Throwback; I’m so lucky, lucky…

Before the night nurse enters my room to take my vitals (a popular hobby on this floor), I think back on the day I just had, sink my head back into the pillow and try to channel some deep breathing exercises (I learnt multiple ones at my yoga instructor course but still have a hard time mastering even the simplest ones, the poses are easier, but empting your head and focusing on your breaths-not so much).

After a scare like this, you really see things differently and value what you have, realizing how blessed you really are.

It was especially difficult to leave my precious baby girl today, but I now know just how capable the NICU nurses really are and that they truly spring into action when things turn serious -and I also realize just how fast things can turn bad.

I looked around at the other moms and dads before leaving there today and felt a kind of kinship.

I try to calm my breathing, in, out (in through your nose, out through your mouth, “smell the roses, blow out the candles).

I feel so lucky that I was able to keep my daughter in my tummy as long as I could and thankful that I was put on bed rest at the hospital under the constant watch of medical professionals after all.

This is the first time since coming to the hospital that fateful Thursday afternoon five weeks ago, I feel a sense of calm and clarity.

Obviously I keep coming back to this, dwelling over it and turning it over in my mind, but the fact is, maybe the doctors were all right even if they weren’t the best at informing me about what was going on.

The fact is -whether my water broke or trickled or didn’t break at all, my water was low- far too low for the baby and knowing what I know now that I in fact did get a severe infection, maybe they were even right about getting the baby out at 34 weeks.

I still feel cheated on the last ten weeks on my pregnancy and I still think “why me?” at times but I more often is AMAZED at how wonderfully everything turned out and even though I realize the battle is far from over, we are here, my baby is here and we have come so far!!!

It might be ironic that I’m thinking about this laying in a hospital bed (practicing my best “Oms” but failing miserably because my brain is most definitely turned ON) but I kept my baby inside against all odds, gave birth to a beautiful daughter with a healthy birth weight (for her gestational age and larger than all the experts thought) who was breathing after fearful few seconds, who after all had no bigger issues, deficiencies or deformities.

Bottom line – we both made it out alive even if slightly “broken” but not defeated.

Anyone wishing to have their baby early though or thinking that baby’s birth weight is the determining factor in baby’s health and well-being have a few things to learn.

Nobody wants a premature baby, it’s a fight and a struggle every day and the worry is completely wearing you down. You do NOT want to wish to have your baby-any week earlier than 38!(really) it is not ideal (they are btw changing “full term” to 38 weeks with the ideal week(s) being 39-41, and 37 being “early term” and anything before week 37 premature).

I feel so lucky this moment right now right here even in a hospital bed, because my baby girl is okay- at least for the time being, sleeping peacefully, breathing fine and is being monitored. My husband at home in our lovely house with my big baby, both safe and sound even if a little wild and crazy (not only the little one), I’m feeling better and my mom is here, staying with us, helping us and keeping me (us all) sane.

After my family leaves I have time for some dinner (which I barely touch, the tuna sandwich was enough for one day) I pump (getting excited that I get more mls than last time) and then it’s time for my vitals again.

They are taken by an older, Asian nurse who does not seem to speak much English. I saw her earlier and feeling happier than before, I try a smile and a nod.

Surprisingly she starts telling me that I’m beyond lucky to have a baby girl-or a baby at all for that matter, even if she came too early and has to stay in the NICU (I withhold the Brady scare of today) in broken English. I weigh my words carefully first agreeing that I am in fact very lucky, daring to ask if maybe she couldn’t have children. No, she shakes her head looking forlorn, “my husband told me I wasn’t a good enough wife to deserve any children”…

Pics from the NICU

Throwback Thursday; Brady is not just a cute boy name…but something terrifying

A “Brady” stands for Bradycardia which means a dangerously slow heart rate…

That basically means that the lungs have already told the heart that they have “packed up their bags and left, so the heart might as well do the same”.

Unfortunately preemie parents usually get familiar with the terms “apnea” (which is often the precursor to a Brady) where the baby stops breathing. A “Brady”; is worse because the infant doesn’t only stop breathing but their heart rate slows down because of low blood oxygen levels which is called desaturation or “Desat” and all these terms are both terribly frightening and life threatening.

Apnea, the precursor to a Brady is always scary however, because if your baby has an “apnea attack” or “spell” it means he/she DOES stop breathing…but usually they will start again on their own within seconds and no intervention is needed.

“Apnea of prematurity” goes away the older the preemie gets or the closer they are to their due date (around 44 weeks it often goes away completely).

Apnea is causes by the newborn’s immature nervous and muscular systems and the more mature those system gets, the better the infants get at breathing on their own.

The percentage of preemies with apnea goes down after 34 weeks of gestation and dramatically the closer the preemie is to full term 38-40 weeks gestation.

When apnea do occur the brain fails to tell the lungs to breathe and since the lungs check out, the heart thinks it is next in line. Usually older preemies do not go into this Desat mode often since the systems in their bodies are more developed.

Therefore depending on the infant’s gestational age, issues and overall health, these terms can be more or less dangerous but the fear that grabs ahold of you when you are told your baby has stopped breathing and their blood oxygen level is so low their heart is literally starting to give up is indescribable and beyond terrifying…

Those beeping machines are every preemie parent’s worst nightmare, especially when the nurses react, then you know it’s really bad.

Intervention by a medical professional is never a good sign in the NICU.

“Didn’t you see her turning blue” Kate the nurse exclaims!

Her breathing is back to normal- and so is the baby’s; thank you God! “

“No” I think in my head and feel like a terrible mother yet again, I really didn’t see her turning any shade of blue.

My mom admits it out loud “I don’t think we saw that, what is it that we are looking for, and can you please explain what happened?”

Kate explains about the machines and the blue and the yellow lines, the heart rate and the oxygen levels on the monitor, going below 80 is bad but usually when the alarm beeps nobody gets overly concerned because the baby’s body will quickly correct what is wrong on their own, especially the babies “out on the floor” (in open beds).

My baby girl’s body did not correct her breathing, her blood oxygen levels were dangerously low and her heart rate dropped too low, needing manual intervention…

The Brady is one of the worst things that can happen “and this earns her an extra five days in the NICU” Kate tells us. I am too emotionally stressed and exhausted to try to feed her, the whole time I’m holding her, I’m starring at the monitors waiting for something bad to happen again…

I give Kate what I have pumped and as she is heating it up she chatters happily, seeming so relaxed that I must say a little rubs off on me, by the time the bottles are ready, I am too – but not for any fancy feeding tubes or wires leading to my boobs, just for the bottle.

Princess is doing so well and my mom and I start talking about other things instead of highlighting my daughter’s near death experience, agreeing though that nurse Kate is pretty awesome.

My mom always makes me feel better and before the nurse wants the baby back, swaddled and sleeping, we have time for some pictures and even share laughs about my huge swollen feet and smiles over how tiny baby M really is and how she looks really big in the pictures.

My mom is happy that she gets to hold her first granddaughter and we are both so extremely relieved that she seems fine again.

Once back in my room I get to kiss my big baby and gets sad again when my family leaves, but quickly get some perspective when hearing my night nurse’s story, wow… and I thought my husband can be insensitive and unemotional at times…

Well that BACKFIRED!! Part 3

The ER doc ( annoyingly good looking btw- which is just my luck and just soo typical) checked me after the standard two hour wait (where [naturally] a gun shot victim and a heart attack went ahead of me…) and the paperwork and vital checks.

To be laying on your stomach with your butt in the air (propped up by pillows I might add) on a narrow bed in a crowded ER with only flimsy drapes between you and the next person is not exactly my (or I do believe anybody’s) idea of fun!

Baby boy was getting antsy and hungry in the stroller and all I wanted to do was scoop up his tiny one month old body (still only weighing like the average newborn) take him home, snuggle and feed him all night and forget about this nightmare.

Unfortunately with this level of pain, it was impossible to forget and no matter how embarrassed and uncomfortable I was I was willing to do anything for the pain to go away (or at least lessen).

It was pretty clear from the start that this doctor’s specialty was NOT obstetrics or gynecological- he clearly stated that I needed surgery but to go through my own perinatal specialist, who would probably refer me to a perineum surgeon-even if he took one look at the baby and then at me exclaiming “birth injury”!

The best he could do was stitch me up but he warned me that stitches would only be a quick fix, a “band aid” and temporary solution for the “outer layer” since these tears were too deep and would most likely require surgery in the end (just great…)

He still let me suffer through a CT scan (just to be sure there wasn’t any internal bleeding, cysts, masses or polyps etc.) while the nurses fought over holding my cute infant son!

I left the ER after several hours actually probably feeling in more pain (if that is even possible) than when I came…

No wound care, pain relief creams or “sitz baths” would make me feel better either…this was nothing “simple” postpartum care or treatment would take care of…

My months long journey of pain (while taking care of 4 kids, six and under) had only just started…

Well, that BACKfired Part 2

Right after our successful “sip n see” parties (on trend with the idea being “sipping champagne and seeing the new baby~ perhaps the other way around for me) and after a successful 1 month doc appointment where the baby only weighs a little over 7lbs (a pretty common birth weight but what can I say my babies come early and petite!! 7lbs was the goal for 2 weeks but at least the Peds isn’t worried and only tells me to “keep doing what I’m doing”) something happens…

The baby is fine but all of a sudden, his mama is anything but…

It all happens so fast I sit down (think low squat) and I can literally feel myself tear…

The pain is hell on earth and the blood is trickling down my legs.

I actually have no idea what is happening only that I’m in acute pain and that this is potentially very, very serious…

Thank God my mom is here so I can discuss this with her but even if she suggest going to the ER right away (wise woman), I put on a ginormous pad (hello diaper) and huge comfy (pregnancy) pants and take my two older kids to school.

I almost have to stand when I’m driving (which is next to impossible of course) even if we put one of those after delivery rings (“donut pillow things) down on my seat-obviously understanding that this is some sort of birth injury but not understanding why it’s happening NOW?? Four weeks AFTER delivery…

The pain is excruciating…

I call my OB office and ask to speak with a nurse as soon as my kiddos are safely in their classroom, she (almost) screams “ER now” as soon as I explain the feeling and location of the tear…

I rush home (as fast as I can without you know being able to sit) and as the pain increases so does my worry…

I take my tiny 4-week old son from my mom (since he is nursing so often, and since I don’t know how long I will be gone, I’ll have to bring him to the hospital) who now has to stay home with my 22 month old as I quickly explain that the nurse agrees with her!

The blood is still slowly leaking out and there seems to be some yellow stuff as well-it’s confusing since I’m still bleeding a lot from after birth as well.

How do you tell the difference and where is it coming from? Major TMIs here, excuse me people!

Maybe I’ll just admit this; since I need to know how it looks and more exactly where I’m “hurt” before I need to explain it to the ER nurses/doctors- I need to see it…

It is a very difficult (and painful) task but…

Yup it’s torn…

Raggedy edges and ALL the way back…

Throwback Thursday-That my friends…was a Brady

My newborn daughter’s heart has stopped beating in front of our very eyes.

I take in the scene of the distraught nurse, the red flashing of the monitor and the alarm beeping, the tiny oxygen mask at the ready…without really taking it in at all.

My mom and I being positive, in high spirits, relieved that I am feeling better, hopeful and happy to be seeing the baby, are now suddenly in utter shock, “but she was doing so well”.

Before we can really take in or completely understand what is happening, it is over.

I think that maybe I have misunderstood what is happening, looking at my mom who seems equally confused.

Did that really just happen?

Did my little precious baby girl just stop breathing?

Was it another apnea attack? And why did this one seem so much more serious?

Why were all the lights blinking and alarms blaring?

Kate, the nurse actually looked scared when we walked in, while before she has seemed “close to oblivious” and always reacted down to earth and matter of fact.

Now the look of relief on her face is apparent, she even broke out a sweat while handling the baby and her obvious fear makes it all real…too real…

Wiping at her forehead she quickly rearranges her facial expressions into the stoic, efficient and knowledgeable professional she is and I think maybe I was imagining the fear in her eyes?

She had the situation under control right?

My baby was never in any REAL danger. They are so good here they can handle and predict almost anything, and my daughter was doing so well, she made it to 34 weeks, she was big for her gestational age, bigger than they thought.

Other than the breathing and the jaundice, eating issues and body temperature regulation difficulties she was fine.

Everyone was amazed at how fine she was. The NICU team rushing her there after delivery called her a miracle and even told my husband that her NICU stay would be short and marveled over how good she looked.

Besides; they moved her to a new, open bed, which is a great sign and her nurse also oversees two other little ones and not just her, meaning she is doing so much better.

Also think about all the other tiny babies in here, born terrifyingly early…scary things do happen to them where the nurses have reasons to get worked up, but my baby…

What exactly happened to her and why? I thought I was safe… we were safe, everybody taking the easy going approach, “she is big and doing so well”.

Even though it is in my nature to worry (driving myself and everyone around me crazy) I thought that I could finally ease up a little bit, feel blessed and relieved that my girl was doing so great!

Yes she is premature, yes she is tiny, yes she is in the NICU and not home with us and yes she lost weight and is now just over 4lbs and she has some issues and has overcome obstacles on the way…

The situation is frightening and far from ideal and nothing that I could ever have imagined but I was starting to look forward…

Kate bundles up the baby (swaddling her like only nurses can), puts her newborn hat on (you know the one, pink and blue) and puts her back in her clear crib on wheels…bed number 13.

That must be a very good sign right?

Maybe what we thought happened didn’t really…I don’t even know what I thought, I barely had time to react. From the easy interaction between my mom and I, to “what am I walking in to?” This is all so new to me and maybe it sounds weird but this baby is also so new to me, all these feelings and emotions, all this weirdness about her staying in the hospital, not being able to go home…come home with me, her mother…her family.

Me being sick, the bed rest, the hospital stay, I’m wondering when it all will catch up with me…

I look at my mom again, a little nervous smile. We are all good here, right!? Mom and I stand side by side, arms dangling, looking at the nurse, not sure what to do or say, questions piling up inside.

Finally Kate looks at us, her normal cool, collected self, “that my friends” she says “was a Brady”

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