Being re-admitted …

Up at the triage they stare at my hunched over shaking, shivering self. Nurse Kate quickly and efficiently tells them I probably have a very high fever and that I am three days postpartum.

She asks my mom if we got it from here, looks at me and squeezes my hand “good luck” and off she goes.

The triage nurses aren’t as efficient however, instead of taking me to a room they are asking me a bunch of questions that I can’t really answer in my state. I just want to lay down with a bunch of warm-no hot-blankets (where is a sauna when you need one?) and for these shakes to go away, they are seriously starting to bug me, like for real.

I wish I could be down in the NICU, healthy and strong for my baby girl, feeding her and then meeting up with the rest of my family, picking up some to-go food and sleeping in a warm cozy bed at home tonight.

I really don’t want to be in the hospital that is for sure, and I really really thought I was done dealing with hospital staff and nurses with their questions. I am too sick however to reflect much on take-out food and annoying nurses and a little too scared to want to walk up and leave, besides again, I don’t think my legs would carry me.

My mom seems even more worried than before as she keeps telling me to try to relax. I am so stiff and my muscles are already aching from shaking so much but I can barely tell due to, you guessed it, the violent shivers (it’s like my body is an earthquake refusing to stop).

When they take me into a room (finally) they have even more questions (of course they do) but as they take my vitals, they refuse to tell me anything as usual (starting to get used to this). I feel mad in between the shakes, enough is enough and I would really show my anger had I not felt that I was going to pass out any moment.

My only request was warm blankets (I know they have them these sneaky nurses, I have gotten them before, for example during my ultrasound) but they refuse to give them to me. Not until my mom, seeing her daughter suffering asks why, they tell us that it could mess up the readings on my vitals, for example my correct body temperature.

They haven’t told me yet what my temperature is but when I ask point blank the nurse tells me that it is not crazy high, around 103. I hate these Fahrenheit temperatures, they make absolutely no sense, come on, Celsius is both understandable and easy; convert already! (yes, I’m worked up, excuse me and yes I know it is not their fault I’m sick…or is it..?).

At this point I feel incredibly nauseous, I tell the nurse as my mom tells me that I will not throw up, it is just in my head, trying to calm me down. The nurse wisely gives me a little plastic thing to throw up in “just in case”. Now don’t get me started on these thingies, they are like plastic bags (more like cones though) slim and cone shaped and they do not seem like the perfect thing to vomit in. Ever heard of a bucket? I know this is beyond gross but how do you even aim? I am throwing (mostly spitting up) in my little plastic cone as my mom tries to convince me to calm down and lay back, except I can’t.

Literally I can’t, my neck is so stiff and I am still shaking so bad, I can’t tell my muscles to relax enough to lean (let alone) lay back (which also makes aiming and spitting up into this plastic thing next to impossible).

In the back of my mind I also realize three things, I have to pee really bad, I fear that they will keep me here over night and I haven’t called my husband to fill him in yet (peeing obviously being my top priority).

That being said I don’t think I can get up so instead I spit up some more, try taking my iPhone from my mom (who got it from my purse) but my hand is shaking too much to even hold it, I momentarily get mad a my headband (don’t ask, it is in my way) and finally just have my mom text my husband that I will probably be re-admitted to the hospital (yay me).

It is somewhere in the middle of this when the real vomiting starts (that is right, here comes my lunch…sorry guys). My husband keeps calling after receiveing my text but I just feel too weak to even talk to him.

We keep waiting for different nurses to come into the room, check something, mumble something to each other I hushed voices, tell us absolutely nothing and leave again.

I keep getting mad at the one nurse who stays, because I really just want to know what is wrong with me so that they can fix it and I can be on my way.

I also really don’t want to stay in the hospital another night but I am sane enough to realize that this is serious and they will not release me like this.

My mom holds my hair while I’m throwing up like I am a little kid all over again and she keeps telling me that everything will be okay and to go easy on the poor nurse (she is probably just an intake nurse who knows nothing…and I am probably acting very scary right now, not my best moment).

My mom will agree however that they give us absolutely no information and she is stunned by that (not what we are used to from back home).

Another nurse finally comes in and lets me know that the doctor is on his way. That makes me feel better, maybe he can diagnose me and tell me what is going on and finally give me some release.

I want to have some medicine but they are refusing to let me take the Vicodin I brought with me, I am in pain, I was ripped open and a baby came out of me a few days ago, remember ?? and I am being denied my pain meds hours overdue.

I am scared the doctor will “check” me as I am extremely sore and in no rush to relive the trauma from my labor (can you say ouch!!!).  I am still bleeding a lot and my stomach really really hurts. They try to convince me that he will not check me…and to try to relax (tough chance). Unfortunately, I have learned not to trust what they say however. The nurse also tells me that we have to get my fever under control because it’s now 104.6 and get me into a gown (oh green gown, how I missed you) oh and into giant see through underwear and a gigantic pad (lucky me) and I need to stop shaking (easy for them to request).

The new nurse checks my vitals again, sucks in air and exclaims “Damn”…

 

 

 

 

The shakes are back…

As we drive to the hospital to feed our brand new baby girl (I can’t wait to see her, to feel that I have her, that she is real) I feel hot and cold at the same time, the dizziness and overall discomfort won’t go away.

I feel my forehead which is warm but not hot and compare with my husband’s. Like a child I ask my mom to feel it too and she agrees, definitely warm but not alarmingly hot.

Maybe a slight temperature, but like I said before, I gave birth only a couple of days ago and I get a fever for basically everything so I’m not that worried about feeling this icky.

Except when we reach the hospital, I feel worse…

I am hotter and suddenly the shakes are creeping up on me. As we wait for our turn to get a sticker, be allowed in and wash our hands (I sent my husband to Mc Donald’s with our son to get some fries) I tell my mom to hold on.

I have to sit down because the room starts to spin and here comes my friends (more like my enemies) the shakes from last night. They get worse and worse and my mom tells me to stop shaking, like she did when we were kids when we were coughing or had the hiccups (which might sound a little brutal but actually do work).

Like a good daughter I try to listen to my mommy but I just can’t stop shaking for the life of me.

I tell my mom that I need to go the bathroom, trying to tell myself that I can control this but at the same time starting to wonder what is wrong with me, something like this has never happened to me before.

Since the restrooms by the NICU are being cleaned my mom searches for another bathroom on the first floor since I am now shaking so bad, I don’t feel that I can walk. I suggest that we ride the elevator up to the third floor where I know that there is a bathroom for sure since I just spent 2 days in recovery there (on the third floor not in the bathroom).

I really want to get away from people, I feel like they are staring at me and I really need to get a hold of myself. The trip to the bathroom didn’t help, I have to concentrate hard on walking and then there is if possible even more blood in the toilet (but still not enough to soak my pad but I’m starting to think enough to be concerned?) and the shakes are getting worse not better.

We go back down to the NICU and I can’t even focus on seeing my baby (sleeping peacefully, clenching her tiny hands).

My favorite NICU nurse, Kate is there, telling us she needs to eat in about twenty minutes (the baby not Kate that is).

I am now starting to realize that I will not be able to feed my baby, the shakes have turned violent and I am now so so cold, freezing actually.

I don’t know what I tell my mom, something about going to the bathroom again but I know she looks really worried now…

I walk as fast as the shakes will allow me to the bathroom right outside of the NICU and luckily the cleaners are all done in there. I make it in to a stall before I sink to the ground, thinking something is really wrong here…

I try several times to get to my feet but I’m shaking so much I have to make attempt after attempt, clenching my teeth as I’m hugging my body, trying to zip up my sweater further than it can go and telling myself that I need to make it back into the NICU to tell my mom we need to go home.

All I want to do is crawl into to bed with about a hundred warm blankets, fall asleep and just forget about how cold and shaky I am and hopefully wake up feeling better.

I also attempt to call my husband to come pick us up but my phone keeps sliding out of my hands and forget dialing, it is a lost cause, this is starting to get ridiculous.  

As I walk back into the NICU, I believe even more people stop and stare at me but I have a one track mind, people fade out of my vision and I can see that my mom is now looking more than concerned.

I tell her that I don’t think I can feed the baby and that I need to go home but as she tells me to stop shaking and tell her what is wrong and my eyes well up with tears as I can’t, she takes matters into her own hands. She usually lets me (and my sister) do the talking here (in the US) as she is Swedish (but quite good at English I might add) but right now she goes to find the nurse.

I don’t even know what they are saying as I become less and less aware of my surroundings, all I know is, I WANT to stop shaking and get warm. Oh why, why is it so damn cold in here, could they maybe turn off the A/C, it’s ridiculously cold for these tiny poor infants!

Nurse Kate takes one look at me and I can hear her tell mom that I must be running a seriously high fever. No I protest, it’s just the shakes (whatever that means). She leaves just to come back seconds later with a wheel chair. I do think I can walk (besides where am I going in that? I have had enough of wheelchairs for I don’t know…about a life time) but when I stand I realize that I absolutely can’t walk and am actually grateful as I sink down in the rolling chair.

Kate asks if I can direct my mom to triage (isn’t it only extremely pregnant women and women with pregnancy complications that go there? I have time to think) but she takes another look at me and apparently determines that I am in no condition to direct anybody anywhere. And off we go to the elevators and triage, Kate wheeling the chair and my mom hurrying after us.

 

 

 

Shopping delight…cut short!

We go shopping, well if you call Target and Babies r us shopping…I haven’t been out for weeks so I’m not picky.

I try to concentrate on what I really need; the problem is we need so much, at least according to me.

My mom is an expert shopper but she is more interested in things for the house (where she has been cooped up) than cute little pink baby outfits.

I still can’t believe it is real. I don’t think it will completely hit me until we get to take her home, we have a baby girl!

Finally I get to buy girl stuff, don’t get me wrong I love shopping for my son but come on, have you seen the girl stuff for babies lately?

We need some boring things as well, what we like to call “essentials” and as I walk through the aisles at Target I feel more and more tired and slightly dizzy as I’m gripping the red cart tight, leaning in to it as I’m pushing following my mom’s excited stride.

Sometimes Target has the ability to get you very tired though and I haven’t been out of bed for 4 weeks basically, so of course I feel dizzy. I decide to power through, we have Babies r us after this after all, where I’m naturally a frequent buyer with all the essential VIP and bonus cards. There is something about a store full of baby stuff (pregnant women and babies), bright colors, new beginnings and hope!

My ultimate wish growing up was always (ALWAYS) being a mom, now I get to dress real live dolls!

Suddenly I feel faint in the middle of a (I have to admit, sorry mom) home decoration (?) aisle (I think it was lamps, “we do need one for the baby’s room and one by the pool table”) and stop for a second. My mom, still talking about the wonder of being out of the house (poor woman) notices that I am not answering her and turns around, zooming in on me with her mom eyes as she exclaims “you don’t look so good”…

I’m telling her that I’m just tired and that I just gave birth a couple of days ago for crying out loud, of course I’m feeling weak in the knees and there is no way I’m cutting this outing short!!

We get the Target shopping done and I manage to hang in there. Right outside, there is as Starbucks (you can’t go many places without a Starbucks but my hospital room didn’t exactly have one close by). I am craving caffeine but since I’m worried about it getting into the milk I am pumping, I have to “settle” for the double chocolate chip frappe I got more or less addicted to during my pregnancy. Mom never says no to a coffee so we push the cart toward two available seats (it’s a very small place so space is limited) and I’ll go order our drinks.

I still look pregnant so I worry that I will have to dodge some uncomfortable questions when I feel the barista glancing curiously at my stomach (nop, kid is out, come on please don’t ask, and luckily she doesn’t…I mean who cares…well after everything I shouldn’t, but I can’t help it, I care just a tiny bit).

Soon that is the least of my problems, I suddenly feel a big gush in my underwear where I have the biggest night diaper…I mean pad ever made, and it seems like it is leaking through (sorry about the TMI here people).

I go put the drinks in front of my mother and excuse myself to run to the bathroom. Maybe this outing wasn’t such a bright idea after all, I would much rather be in the comfort of my own house than at a Target restroom.

I do have back-up pads in my purse though but I am bleeding a lot (A LOT) and I don’t remember it being this bad after my first born. A little voice whispers in my head something about soaking a pad in an hour being bad but I’m pretty sure it’s been more like two hours since we left the house and I put in a new one, besides I gave birth only three days ago…

Reassured that it is normal and cheered up by the prospect of my frappe and going to Babies r us, I leave the restroom and head back to my mom.

At babies r us though, as I stand in line a severe headache is brewing, not even the cutest baby dresses size 0-3 months can hold my attention and I start to worry that I am coming down with something…

 

My baby boy just turned ONE 🥰👶🏼💙😭

About a year ago, I was all alone in a hospital bed yet again (looking back on the premature birth of my sweet daughter and her NICU stay). This time around my baby was “only” four weeks early, but unfortunately he inhaled his first poo and it clogged his tiny lungs. On top of that I had pneumonia and tested positive for influenza so all the nurses and doctors in masks debated whether I should even hold and nurse my brand new child.

It is a very lonely and unnatural feeling to have your baby whisked away from you right after birth. You just accomplished a miracle and your (priceless) price is taken away from you shortly after receiving it (him). You are left achy and sore after excruciating pain followed by the highest of highs and then left to process the experience all alone. I know all moms of preemies having been taken away can relate to this devastating feeling of emptiness.

Once in the recovery room someone was acutely missing…

I couldn’t even get some well deserved rest, knowing that baby boy wouldn’t be able to rest at all- that he would have tubes down his throat and his little body would be worked on. I kept worrying about him and wondering if he was uncomfortable or (worse) in pain…

It was decided that I could give my new son formula or donor milk (real breast milk) but I wasn’t allowed to try to nurse him just yet. I have read that a mother’s breastmilk have powerful antibiotic qualities and is always best for the baby no matter how ill the mother is, so I was slightly taken aback by this. It also felt slightly strange and somehow sad to be giving him someone else’s breastmilk (as his first milk) and not my own…

After having thought about it, I could see the tremendous benefit of giving him breastmilk right from the start and how lucky we were that this was even an option at our hospital.

Since the epidural never worked, the aftermath of childbirth was quite different. There was no period afterwards of feeling sluggish or being unable to walk on your own. No headache or backache or tingly legs as the feelings in them returned. I didn’t feel nauseous and as I went to the bathroom I needed no assistance and I could get out of bed and move around right after birth how I pleased, except for the pain and the bleeding I felt myself being more awake and alert and more in charge of my own body!

As they gave him back to me to be feed the donor milk, my baby boy was also awake and alert and sweet as can be.

No matter how many babies you have, the feeling that hits you as you get to hold your brand new baby in your arms and really soak him in for the first time after the stress and trauma of the birth and delivery room, is nothing short of extraordinarily.

I smelled him (his tiny newborn body that had been through so much already) and cuddled him (mask on) and as I tried to feed him (someone else’s milk) I didn’t see the obstacles, only the opportunities of the future. I promised right then and there to love and take care of him forever!

And now my baby boy, it’s been a whole year and you are still the sweetest, happiest, cuddliest boy!

Happy first Birthday to my youngest baby boy! My very last baby…

I can’t wait to see you grow and thrive and try to keep up with your siblings!

A freaking Rockstar🤰🤱💙👶🏼❤️

03DD3105-EC42-4F29-A37B-093D083AB201BC86DB19-69DD-4B98-BD3C-486A76735E32ACA94CB3-5E3A-4CB2-BD1A-A3B9AD4E8831948FCE95-C8AF-4AA8-82A8-31FA970A16169B32E735-8374-4BE6-8D6A-13E26B0D9D2BAnd man is it go time- I feel literally NO (zero) relief from the epidural. Where is the numbness? Where is the warm, tingly feeling? Where is the dull pressure and mild cramps taking the PLACE of the hellish pain that I’m am now experiencing? Because THAT is all I can fell-pure, earth shattering PAIN!

Aha-this is what mamas WITHOUT epidurals we’re talking about “being split in two” and the worst pain on planet earth. And through this fog of pain they actually expect me to DO something?

I can’t even concentrate enough to form a sentence, let alone ask for more pain medicine (I know it’s way past “too late” for another epidural but hello give me something).

Im 10 centimeters (well of course I am) and I’m coughing, gasping for air and wittering in pain as on contractions replaces the next with literally no down time in between.

It IS go time!!!

The pressure is so intense my whole body is shaking like it is possessed…

The nurses tell me to push. Now there are several nurses, not that I really notice, I just want to disappear, dissolve-or for them to-or the whole situation (which strikes me as absurd) anything to stop this excruciating pain. While they (now) yell for me to take a deep breath in and puuuush some maniac is yelling that I’m a rock star (that would be doctor D).

I shake, I cry, I throw up (and apparently split wide open but we’ll save that little “detail” for now). I just want this baby out of me but it hurts (waaay) too much to push!!

They give me oxygen because I find it hard to breathe maybe because my flu/pneumonia combo you know!?

I’m sweating, I’m screaming annnd I’m pushing…all to the soundtrack of …

“You are a freaking rockstar” (he even sings)

The pressure is unbearable…

”Rockstar is what you are”

It reminds me of when my daughter was born and I couldn’t have an epidural until the very last moment because it wasn’t safe, but soo much worse- is that even possible??

Doc McCharmy over here is telling everybody that women are all freaking rockstars and that men could never ever do this – “man” is he right..
And I push again as I’m having a complete out of body experience…

It’s almost like it’s not me in that bed, delirious in pain-that I’m part of something greater…and as I push I try “the eye on the price” method…tunnel vision…tuning everyone-and everything out but my body.

My body and it’s sole purpose right now-to push this tiny human out of it.

If I concentrate, I will achieve…

As a smart, independent, intellectual woman I hate to think of my body as a vessel, a vehicle, a tool for child birth. But here it is my body “failing” my theories-working like a machine with one purpose, one end goal..

Pressure rises (“freaking rockstar”) and I push, concentrating all my energy on the task, the motion the area in between …

I drool, I sweat, I swear (never) and scream (I don’t recognize myself and my husband has never seen me like this).

I feel like I’m actually splitting in two (I never really truly got that analogy before) -the burning sensation is extreme. The intensity something I’ve never experienced before. The “ring of fire” quadrupled from the times before…

He better come- my price-my love-my son

They are worried about MY breathing AND the baby’s lungs after he swallowed meconin (his own poop). One big breath in and puuuush!!!!!

and he slides out…

McCharmy is outdoing himself cheering and clapping “she is a rockstar better than all the other rockstars” before he turns serious as the NICU team on stand by crowds us.

But baby boy cries and it is the sweetest sound. And you know what? we are rockstars-all women are and right now I feel like I deserve this title!!

I’m a freaking Rockstar!!!

Be Careful what you wish for: Part 2

D4AA3B48-AFEF-42DA-B129-E4CBD66AFFE5So I actually need to back up a little bit in order to tell the full story. A week or so before my iron infusion I got sick (like really sick, 104 fever, chills, aches, sore throat, ears etc. “doubly” fun when you are hugely pregnant) a couple of nights before my infusion and stress test I felt like I couldn’t breathe (literally), my fever was at its highest and I was hot and cold and shaking. Not being able to breathe actually got to me as I was struggling sitting up in bed propped up by pillows.

I even (embarrassingly enough) recoded my own shallow breathing on my phone (mostly to share with my mom but potentially the doctor. I felt a little like I was overreacting (being Swedish and all) but I was actually scared. I ended up pacing the house for hours that night not being able to even sit up in bed because of the shortened of breath and pressure on my chest.

I called my mom a little “panic-y” in the early morning (afternoon in Sweden). She wasn’t concerned until I told her exactly how freaked out I really was. She diagnosed..heart attack or pneumonia and voted for a doctor’s visit.

Luckily I got an appointment the very same day (they probably considered my pregnancy as well) and luckily it wasn’t my heart (but since my mom is always right) it WAS pneumonia. I had to do an x-ray which is always scary while pregnant but they completely covered my huge bump with that heavy protector blanket and let me know baby would be fine (actually the illness is way more worrisome for the baby than the x-ray procedure). I was so sick that I even had to cancel two stress tests for baby and I .

When I went to my iron infusion that rainy winter morning, I was still  sick. I had to disclose my pneumonia diagnosis to the receptionist as I checked in, despite having been on antibiotics (3 days in and feeling  better). They immediately gave me a mask (making me feel self conscious and like a giant threat amongst all the moms-to-be in the waiting room area).

Fast forward to the week later. I had just been released after my 48 hour stay in the hospital STILL feeling feverish, achy and under the weather, complaining to my mom that my antibiotics must not be working (5+ days and I felt like after some progress I had gone backwards to feeling worse again. I have this issue with antibiotics too-might be since I’ve had a “few” doses in my life, where they sometimes don’t work or I’ll have to switch to a stronger kind, stay in them longer or double the dose). My mother wisely told me that the antibiotics only works for bacterial infection not viral ones…

Anyways, back to what happened after our Skype call. I hang up with my mom and feel instantly better after all the venting (as always) and put our 21 months old down for his nap.

Something wakes me up and it all happens EXACTLY like like last time, a huge fish of water streams down my legs and into the carpet (sorry TMI and about to get worse) as I run towards the tiled bathroom. I yank down my maternity pants and underwear and proceed towards the toilet but something is different…

Something is not “exactly like last time”, something is off and I have feeling that something is not good…

Not good at all…

Be careful what you wish for…

At 35 weeks after an iron infusions at the hospital I walk straight over to my doctor’s office for my regular stress test (third THIS week-3 times a week every week after 30 week gestation).

During the test, baby doesn’t cooperate at all. His hear rate is all over the place (I have to turn around, walk around, sip cold water then orange juice) and towards the end I start getting contractions so strong they are (literally) off the chart. They feel just like labor contractions and my heart is racing (just like my baby’s) as the doctor on call enters the stress test area.

This baby is not ready yet, I was hoping for at least 38 weeks (and I so wish I was 38 weeks pregnant right now), even though I know babies aren’t really ready until 39 weeks (and not fully cooked until 40 weeks).

I find myself yet again with the big orange envelope, back at the admittance desk at the main hospital. They fear preterm labor once again and have no other choice but sending me back to the hospital.

Things go much quicker this time (probably due to my recent visit-and updated information). It’s not like I like spending all my time in this place but I keep finding myself back here…

As I’m waddling towards the familiar elevator I try to breathe “IN; last pregnancy, OUT; last baby” and as not to seem ungrateful I pray that the baby IS and WILL be okay! I love this little one and can’t wait for this last pregnancy to be over and to be able to hold and cuddle our baby boy!

Buut not until it’s safe obviously!

Stay in there a little longer I tell him as I hold my ginormous tummy, waiting for the nurse to put me in a wheelchair and wheel me over to yet another hospital room (at least they are all private). If I can hold on for at least another month or so, so can he…?

And so the process start yet again as they prep the IV, draw the blood, give me the steroid shots for baby’s lungs (ouch!) and give me (with huge difficulty because of my “impossible veins”) the anti-contractions medicine (brown and burning and slow moving) more known under the name “puke” .

Trapped in the big bed in the regular (very sexy-not) green hospital gown under straps leading to monitors I feel like I spend waaay too much time like this!

They want to monitor me and baby for preterm labor for at least 24 hours.

My contractions subside, baby is looking great on the monitors, steady heartbeat, great movement. No leaking, blood or pain!

As I’m about to get released the contractions pick up again, earning me another 24 hours away from my kids, my family, my dog, my house, and my life.

Luckily the contractions subside yet again and I’m finally being released under stern promises that I will come back the very next day to see my doctor and EVERY day until I give birth, which (hopefully) could (should) be several weeks. I promise to come back if I show ANY signs of preterm labor (including leaking, bleeding, strong contractions and/or lack of fetal movement).

It has been such a tough pregnancy so far and I’m so ready to be over and done with this but I know I need to hang in there. I know this baby depends on me, I know he is not ready and if I (we) have made it this far…

It has been tough at home as well with two kids transitioning into a brand new School and with one kid approaching the age of two.

Back home it’s hard not to stress. The kids are feeling my stress as well as their own with all the changes happening around (and to) us and I’m fearful the baby in my tummy will be affected as well.

After a tear-filled School drop off and a mid morning tantrum, I decide to call my mom to vent. In the midst of all the chaos I complain to my mom through the computer; “I’m sooo huge”, “I have soo many aches and pains”, “I’m terrified my cyst might burst”, “I’m scared I will have to have a c-section”, “All I want is to know for SURE baby is okay and healthy”,  “I’m worried my kids won’t settle in to their new school”, “I’m anxious my third child will regress even more when the baby comes”…

My mom is calm, realistic and reasonable as always (with just the right amount of “mom”, “support”, “strength” and “push”).

Most of all I’m telling her that I am just so ready to get this baby out of me like RIGHT now…

But I know I have to hang in there for at least a few more weeks…or will I??

Be careful what you wish for…

Blue Christmas (part 1)

I know I shouldn’t be upset. This is in MY best interest after all and more importantly the baby’s, but when the PA says I have to be admitted to the HOSPITAL all I feel is dread…

 

A flood of memories wash over me, are they really saying my huge bump and I could be spending the Christmas holidays in a hospital?? and what’s even worse, do they really think the baby could be at risk???
I can’t believe it, as I try to laugh it off when asking if I can still go to Sweden (I can right? Maybe they just want to keep us for a 24 hour observation) the PA (my “friend” Eva, remember her!?) gives me a stern look telling me that this isn’t funny at all but quite serious…
I’m at a loss for words, what is wrong then? I exclaim!
Baby looked great on the ultrasound. The huge doses of pregnancy hormones have wired me shut down there (with no exit in sight for our little guy) and there are no abnormal doses of protein in my urine.
This is the answer I’m given…
“You have a fever, you show signs of pre-e, you are 30 weeks pregnant with a high risk pregnancy…”
Eva hands me the thick orange envelope, sending me on my way to the hospital entrance and admittance window…
I cannot believe it as I stare at the paperwork the words “acute febrile illness”, “cyst on left ovary”, “history of pre-eclampsia”, “history of preterm labor” and “geriatric pregnancy” become blurry.
I know I’m acting like a child, I need to suck it up and take care of myself and ultimately this little innocent life inside of me but…
This pregnancy has been so bad, straight from our miscarriage, I have been feeling so ill from the very first moment, I’m so huge and so hormonal and so alone and right now so sick…
I can’t help it, even if I’m totally “geriatric” (being in my late 30s and all) and already a mother of 3, my tears spill over as I’m asking (more like pleading and begging) the PA Eva one last time…
“If this turns out to be something I ate or a stomach bug instead of pre-e and the baby and I both look good in a few days do I get to go with my family to Sweden?”.
“Honestly, NO”
what??
“You have a blood filled cyst that can rupture any moment and even if it’s unlikely you don’t want that to be on a plane”.
“You could develop pre-eclampsia especially since you had it before or your water can break despite the barrier due to your big baby and this being your fourth- you don’t want any of those or other seriously life threatening scenarios to happen thousands of miles from your doctors or thousands of miles up in the air-trust me!”
“You know, you are not flying to LA BUT Europe, being from Germany, I know just how far and what that trip entails”
Wow, how come nobody had explained it to me like that before?
I was here today under the assumption that I was “allowed” to travel to Sweden, just needing the letter to give to the airline (and my meds, syringes and letter for those).
It feels like me getting sick blew every change of me (and us) going away…
The pouty child in me gets mad at her but after my tearful FaceTime call to my mom as I walk over to the big hospital around the corner I realize that I’m under excellent care, that I should listen to the professionals and that my plans (and dreams for the holidays) and my will means nothing when all that matters is this baby’s health! (And my own since I’m the one cooking him until he is completely [hopefully] done).
Before I even reach the hospital doors, I get the text that the kids at home are throwing up…

Perfect (NOT) timing…

The Friday before we were going home to Sweden for the holidays I have my last doctor’s appointment. This appointment is very important since everything needs to look great (baby and I) for them to let me go on this long trip (and back).
I need a letter from my specialists explaining the syringes and meds I need to bring and another letter explaining that I AM allowed to travel pregnant (being high risk and all…but probably more me being 30-31 weeks but looking like at least 36!). There is rules about traveling internationally after 36 weeks after all…
Of course (and cruelly so) I wake up that Friday feeling more nauseous than ever (and here I thought I was past the worst nausea).
An hour before I have to leave for my appointment I empty out the entire content of my stomach violently, including what I just “tried” to eat, (my mandatory a.m. “grande, decaf java chip frappe” make a come back -yuck!) in the guest bathroom by the kitchen (I didn’t get any further).
My mom and I debate the reason for my sudden “sickness” in a panicky FaceTime call wondering if it could be “baby related” or not…?
As a “curtesy” (more out of fear to be honest because as we know…you never know…), I call my doctor’s office letting them know how I feel, explaining that I must have ate something or it might be a stomach bug (great timing huh!?), could they (pretty please) see me on Monday (the day before we are supposed to leave?) but all they hear is the possibility of pre-eclampsia…
Of course they tell me to “come in right away” …
I dread my appointment while I wait in the waiting room (had to call my husband to come home sooner and cancel his last appointment to rush home to stay with the kids). I really really want to go home for Christmas! It’s all I have been looking forward to for months!! All that kept me going at my sickest most uncomfortable moments (not really bad moments more like weeks-months)…
I feel extremely nauseous but trusting that my stomach is good and empty already (but locating the nearest bathroom OUTSIDE of the office just in case).
I really want to get the “go ahead” (and the letters to show at the airport/s) to go home to Sweden on Tuesday morning, that is after all why I’m here today (I was here just days ago after all).
The nurse takes one look at me before taking a giant step back (do I really look that bad?) asking “How are we feeling today”
I hesitate, do I tell her the truth? That I’m miserable….Could this be something other than “something I ate” or a stomach bug?
Could this somehow affect the baby or have anything to do with my pregnancy? (How are WE feeling might actually refer to me AND baby boy).
Obviously I can’t risk anything.
Here goes nothing… “I AM miserable (disgusting details) but I’m suuure it’s a bug”
The nurse leaves to tell the PA (Our stern German  friend Eva) what is going on …
Eva checks me and my baby- ultrasound, “in and out” she even checks my cervix for dilation (which is NOT recommended so close to a long far away trip…)…
All good, baby nice and cozy in there, exit route rock solid. I keep my fingers crossed and say a little prayer..
And then she checks my urine for protein via the nurse, I get my progesterone shot and then she checks my temperature….

Second Chances…

We make it to 12 weeks and beyond and I become acutely aware of our loss yet again (not that a single day go by when I don’t think of her).
Having my parents here help me feel better and we invite the in-laws over for cheesecake and champagne, finally feeling safe enough to tell them the good news (their 20th grandchild!!)

I am grateful- of course I am but it also feels confusing and somehow surreal (despite having been through multiple pregnancies including two losses).
It’s like the constant state of illness makes it extra hard to feel joy and the joy I (we) have is still overshadowed by doubt and fear. It’s almost like I’m ashamed of this fourth pregnancy- like it’s too much somehow, that I don’t deserve it- that something WILL go wrong…

I never felt as ill as I do this summer. It rubs away memories, sunny pool days, playdates and quality time with my kids- it really does and I’m sad about that. Every day is a battle – and listen I know I’m not sick (thinking about moms with chronic illnesses and unthinkable terminal diseases I should really count my blessings)
I feel like a spoiled brat or just like a very ungrateful human being. Maybe I should just embrace this constant nausea, belly aches and pains, heartburn, fatigue and general feeling of yuck! I do try- thinking about not feeling ill in my previous pregnancy, prior to our loss-and how wrong that went. That this little boy might be trying to remind me that he is still in there-thriving! But come on-it’s so difficult-is it possible to hint in a more subtle way?
My mom and I joke that “someone up there” might be telling me something. Like God is giving me this last pregnancy but making certain it IS my very last one!!

My one and a half year old and his daddy are getting closer during the fall, this is exactly what happened when my oldest son was his little brother’s age. But this time I feel like the little one knows something is up-and it’s almost like he is punishing me for it. He is pushing me away both physically (hard) and emotionally (harder). He cries for his daddy when he is gone, talks about him (dada dada dada) all day, and they are inseparable when they are together (giving his big brother some competition for dad’s attention that he is not used to). With our daughter, I would describe her as unpredictable and up and down in her parental favoritism! I told my husband that he now has both boys, loyal to him like puppies and I have no one. He suggests darling daughter but agrees that her gifts of attention are like rare gems (and therefore very precious and extremely special). “If our boys are loyal dogs, our daughter is more like a cat” he exclaims!

The holidays are coming up and my pregnancy progresses very slowly it seems. My nausea goes beyond the typical 12-14 weeks like it never has before and I find myself complaining at every doctors’ appointment. I hate doing that (and I still keep it on the down low because of course there is little they can do about it AND I’m not a complainer by nature). The “real” nausea meds help once I’m off of the B6 and B12 (did nothing for me) and the sleep medicine I could never take (because hello drowsiness and driving kids around- eh NO!!!).

Our oldest has started first grade (I can’t believe how old he is getting) and upon seeing the mommies at school again I feel so huge, I feel like they can guess my “condition”. Nobody does but I feel like I’m at least ten weeks further along than I really am (of course I’m not and we are well aware of the exact date of conception).

As our daughter’s due date (the daughter we will never have) approaches frighteningly fast- I’m not ready for those depressing feelings to wash over me yet again. I’m definitely not ready for pumpkin patches and costumes. I remember thinking that I would “cheat” my kids out of Halloween this year by having a newborn and not have time for all the celebrations around the holiday. This makes me of course feel double the guilt since I’m without a baby but STILL don’t feel up to celebrations, organizing, planning and “doing it all” for my kids. I sure still try in a fog of sickness and sadness.

My arthritis is acting up again, I’m suffering of pelvic pain, I pee constantly, I can’t sleep, I still throw up most mornings and some afternoons and heavy, spicy and fat foods give me crazy heartburn (isn’t one of the benefits of being pregnant that you can EAT said things…??). Despite having to watch what I eat, I gain like an overweight hippo with unlimited food supply…

We survive Halloween- way beyond telling everyone the reason for my giant frame and people probably think my due date is around the corner. Telling them “February” seems like a joke!

Around the corner are the rest of my favorite holidays, Thanksgiving and especially Christmas!! My only light at the end of the tunnel is that we are spending Christmas in Sweden with my family!
I cannot wait (we have planned this forever, it’s my family’s year and even if I’m not looking forward to the extremely long flights-I am looking forwards to my mom’s food and care and to just being “home”).
My doctor’s are on board so far and just knowing I will land surrounded by Christmas and love and that once we get back we can really start focusing on our forth baby coming-I feel good! I feel great! I can do this people! I can do this!!!

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