Friday, March 28, 2008

Vindication is MINE

While I don't believe you should ever have to be in the position of telling your doctors "I told you so," there is a bit of satisfaction in having confirmation that I'm not crazy, I wasn't being a wimp, and it most certainly was NOT resolving on its own. There was something in my uterus.

Full story later, but already I feel better. Lots of pain, but better.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Keep me in your thoughts please

I originally had surgery scheduled for tomorrow, but it has been bumped up to today, a few hours from now. Yesterday I started having troubles with nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, fever, chills and just feeling AWFUL. I went to the ER, where they couldn't have been less helpful - essentially ignoring all the info I tried to give them about what's been going on.

Today I called my OB's office and he was very angry about how I was treated, about the fact he wasn't called sooner. My surgery will be today at 5:30, checkin an hour before. It's likely to be a long night, but hopefully this is the beginning of feeling better once and for all.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Anonymous comments are ok!!

I just wanted to clarify - anonymous comments are totally ok. I love to know people are reading and hear what you have to say. There were two specific people that I thought were reading, I now know they are, and one admitted it. They were the ones I was uncomfortable with, as they were reading knowing I was comfortable with them doing so.

Comment away. :)

Saturday, March 22, 2008

He was sent to us.

His car must have sputtered to a stop just as my husband stepped outside with the trash. My husband watched as he got out, shut the door and looked around. Confused, he started off in one direction, stopped, then turned and headed the other way.

"Do you need a ride?" he asked as the snow fell, increasingly heavier.

The man stumbled a bit, looked down and said "Yes. I know I live around here somewhere, but I'm not sure where."

We invited him inside to warm up while my husband started and warmed his car, and gathered his wallet and coat. He was polite, but very confused and scared. His eyes reminded me of my great-grandmother when the Alzheimer's had stolen many of her memories.

My husband helped him find home, then the man realized his gas can was back in the car. Back to the car for the gas can, to the station for gas, back to the car. Then my husband led the way back to the man's apartment.

During their time in the same vehicle, the man talked with clarity about his military service, then jobs at a car dealership and as a life insurance agent. He spoke lovingly about his wife, dead 2 years now, and the home they shared together that he recently gave up for a more manageable apartment.

My husband came home about 2 hours after he left, and we talked about the man. We both had noticed his very thin coat, not nearly enough for the cold night and my husband said he'd only had a small amount of money with him...and he'd muttered something about his credit card being expired.

Before he forgot the man's name and where he lived, we wrote it down so we can check on him later. There are times when I am immensely proud of my husband, and tonight was one of those. I love that we are on the same page about things...we'd both been silent for a bit when I started gathering a few things from the pantry. A few minutes later he came out of the bedroom with some flannel shirts and Louis Lamour books.

"Maybe we can take him something for Easter, on our way to dinner tomorrow" he said, then saw the box I'd started with some chocolate bunnies, soup mixes, pasta and sauce.

My husband made sure he was inside his apartment before leaving and asked if he was in for the night. I wish he'd gotten his phone number or name of a relative, but neither of us are sure if asking the question would have gotten an answer or caused more confusion. The swirling snow would be enough to confuse many, and our neighborhood is a bit confusing as is. Still, it was clear he was disoriented and scared.

Tomorrow we'll drop the box off to him, check on how he is and try to get his number while giving ours. Times like this I wish we were able to help more.

I find myself sitting here with a lump in my throat, thinking of how glad I am his car stalled next to our home, how grateful I am he didn't walk alone in the snow, confused and scared. I hope tomorrow we have a chance to talk with him, hope there might be someone - a child of his, perhaps- we might be able to contact. We don't have a lot to offer, but it would be easy to occasionally take some soup or whatever it is we're having on occasion over to him. Tonight I'm praying there's someone in his life to notice how he's doing and step in. I hate to think of anyone being alone.

Still, for as much as my husband helped tonight, I know we received as much benefit if not more. What a reminder about the fragility of life, the passing of time, the enormous GIFT of just having each other. The thought of a man, once young and active, with a home and loving wife now alone and missing her is just almost too much to imagine.

So tonight I hug my hubby and my babies, and I am very, very grateful.

Friday, March 21, 2008

What it is

I thought I was ready to write, fully, about the little's birth and all the things (medical and otherwise) that give us "traumatic birth" status now that I'm finally admitting that it was exactly that. Now that I'm starting to read and hear about everything that happened in such a short span of time, and starting to realize we were not only close to losing him - we were close to losing me. As it turns out, I'm not ready to write about all that. I start typing and then I shut down. It's awful, it's scary and maybe that's because there are terms such as hemorrhage, shock and atony. Then again, maybe it's because that's what was and what is currently is taking up even more of my energy.

The current situation is frustrating, demoralizing and downright depressing. 9 weeks after the birth of my son, I'm still fighting this infection and still trying to get the right people to realize there must be something left in my uterus and do something about it. I'm getting closer, I think. Both my regular doctor and my RE have said a D&C should be done sooner rather than later. My regular OB finally comes back to his office on Monday, I have an appt with him that afternoon and hopefully we'll be scheduling my D & C shortly after. No, I don't have the bleeding (hemorrhaging) or high temps that most would expect at this time, but I truly believe that's only through the grace of God and the fact I'm still on some serious antibiotics. Still, antibiotics only keep the infection to a minimum. They're not going to get this stuff out, and until it's out my ability to focus on other things is waning.

I'm exhausted. The littlest acts drain me of energy. I feel like I'm coming down with the flu, I have had a low grade fever for TWO months, and I'm just sapped. I'm sore. Did I mention I am tired?

I'm trying to hold out until Monday in hopes that my doctor, the only one in his practice other than his wife that seems to be taking this seriously, will come back from vacation ready to help me once and for all. He's good, but we need to have a talk about his colleagues.

I'm tired of wondering if and when I'm going to finally be ok again.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

What you don't know CAN hurt you.

It can even kill you.

It's common procedure in the hospital, after the birth of a baby, to have people in and out of the room on an almost constant basis. After the birth of my daughter, and again after my son's birth, I remember feeling a bit irritated at how often they came in to check on us. It seemed it always happened when we had finally gotten a moment of quiet or a chance to sleep. One thing they did, that I never really understood, was take our temperatures constantly. On some level I suppose I knew it had something to do with infection, and having had stitches after both births I assumed that was the reason.

What I did not know was how serious the reasons for taking my temperature were, how important it was to continue doing that at home and what it could mean if I spiked a fever. I didn't realize that women still, today, in the time of modern medicine still die of postpartum uterine infections. When I was discharged, there was info buried in the paperwork about taking my temperature and calling if it was above 100, but when I say buried I mean buried - and there was no information about WHY it was important.

It was only after my infection had been rampant for at least several days, after I'd had a weekend of high fevers (but put off calling until Monday afternoon) , after I'd not gotten a call back from the OB and happened to take our son to the ER that night, that I realized just how badly I was hurting. My uterus HURT, and it's not supposed to. I didn't realize that even after a harsh vaginal birth, your uterus should not be in pain.

It was Tuesday morning, when my son was 12 days old, that I mentioned to our doctor when he came to check on him that I was running fevers. He asked about my pain level, and it was only then that I realized that even a brutal vaginal birth, one a nurse referred to as a vaginal cesarean, was not reason to have an excruciatingly painful uterus. I'd been so busy trying to concentrate on my family that I just put it off. It was when the dr told me I'd have to leave the my son to be seen by the OB clinic and I said I didn't want to that he pointed out that if I got really sick and died, I'd leave him forever. My normally laid back family physician was the one to bring it home. This was serious.

I shudder now to think of what would have happened had I put it off any more. As it is, almost 9 weeks later I am still fighting this infection. I went in today due to increasing pain, cramping and discharge. After a brutal physical exam (the doctor was gentle but everything is so tender it didn't matter) it became clear that things are still not ok.

They're the opposite, actually.

I was given instructions to take another round of antibiotics - two weeks to be exact on napalm in a pill (Augmentin) and if that doesn't clear things up, a D & C in my future. The thing is, this wasn't my regular OB I saw and frankly I'm distrustful given that it was someone other than my regular OB who first saw me for the infection, gave me the wrong antibiotic and failed to give me something to make me expel the clots that showed up on the ultrasound. The doctor I saw today pointed out that my last ultrasound showed things were clear but they clearly are not. As a matter of fact, when I got home and used the bathroom the next time I passed a whole lot of what is not supposed to be in my uterus.

Perhaps the little left some furniture behind?

Chances are really good there were pieces of placenta left behind, or perhaps some of the packing material used to try to stop my hemorraghing after his birth.

Or, maybe my doctor left behind his wedding ring when using the move shown above?

Monday, March 17, 2008

My brother

So many postsb have been brewing and in draft mode, be prepared for several in the next few days. Posts about completion, uterine infection, the terrific threes (oh how I jest!) and a poll on whether I will or will not actually ever have sex again.

But first.

Today is the anniversary of the day my brother was murdered.

Try as I might, even one year later, I just can't wrap my brain around the idea that this happened. Murder is something you read about in novels, see on television, something that happens to other people. Not those you know, love, miss.

We shared a love for reading, our father's hands,the same smile when feeling self-conscious. There are probably more things we had in common, things I'll never know about. We didn't grow up together. His mother harbored bad feelings toward our father, and me by association. Most of the time when I called she wouldn't allow him to speak to me or wouldn't give him the message. My letters were thrown in the trash or received back "return to sender." He'd only recently moved out of her home, at age 21. The chance to know him as a child was taken away by his mother, the chance to know him as a man taken away forever by his murderer.

He was able to say who did it prior to passing, and that young man was recently sentenced to 20 years in prison, then deportation to his country of origin. I should feel some sense of justice in that, I suppose. Maybe even relief. I don't. Just a deepening sadness. It might be tempered with hope if I could know this time will be spent wisely, if I could know this young man will emerge from prison in his early 40s having used his time for education, reflection and a sense of purpose. If I could know that his child won't be forever damaged by an absentee father, doomed to create a family legacy.

I'm the odd one. I'm the one in my family who didn't want the death penalty, the one who prayed that the right sentence would be reached...and perhaps it was. The DA offered a plea bargain of 15 years and the judge added another 5. I'd feel more comfortable with the process, I suppose, if they hadn't ultimately left me out of it. My brother left behind a father, mother, girlfriend and me, his only sibling. (not counting sundry aunts, uncles, cousins and one set of grandparents). Of his immediate family, only I was left out of the opportunity to make an impact statement. Only I was treated as a non-family member.

It's a lonely situation, thought not one where I wish for company. My father would be someone I could talk to about my brother, if our conversations weren't comprised solely of me holding him up. The aunts and uncles I shared with him are too...something...I don't even know the word, to really talk with me about it. Distant. I suppose. My mother never met this brother and has been as unsupportive in the matter as she could possibly be. Then again, she is my mother so that's to be expected. My husband tries, but doesn't understand that what I need to hear is not his thoughts on how the murderer should be punished, but I just need to be held while I cry a bit.

It's one of those things. Nobody knows what to say, and I get that. *I* don't know what to say. I guess though, it's a bit like infertility - where there are certain things that are pretty safe to say and others that aren't so good, even if not obvious. Ultimately, the dos boil down to the example set by my daughter and the don'ts to that set by my mom.

My daughter - "I'm sorry you're so upset. Come here, let me hold you." And you know what? She wrapped her little arms around me, rubbed my back and said "I love you. It's ok to cry."

My mom - "well, it's not like I knew him. What do you want me to say?" She's been cold, unfeeling, and downright rude about all of it. Not so much as an "I'm sorry."

The fact is, I lost my brother and he's never coming back. It's a thought that shrinks me in a way I can't explain, a hurt that makes me feel as if I've lost a part of me...because I have. There are many things about it that make me angry, but I realized recently that one of them is slightly flawed. One of the reasons I've been angry is the thought that my children would never know them, he'd never know them.

Then I realized there's a circle in some of this. As he lived so far away and we weren't allowed for some time to have much contact, many people who knew me didn't know about him. I lost a brother that didn't exist for me in the eyes of others. Sort of like my lost babies, they existed for me, were important to me and I loved them no matter how early the losses, no matter that some would think we never bonded.

He may not be spending time with my babies here on Earth, but maybe just maybe he's holding the babies I can't. I'd like to think so. Missing them all today.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

You complete me.

My dear son,

Even as I hold you in my arms, I remember the days when you were but a dream, the figment of my very vivid imagination. For years, I waited for you, watched for you, felt you just outside the realm of my reality and wondered when we would meet during waking hours - when I could hold you close and call you mine. The first time I saw you was 10 years ago this month. I watched as your daddy taught your cousin to ride a bike for the very first time, and in a flash I saw the picture of him much older, teaching another golden boy to do the same. I once said I was suprised to see you born with blonde hair, but I always knew you would be blonde...I just thought your hair might change as your sister's did.

My son. My last baby. You are growing so fast physically and developmentally, impressing us and others with your skills. Please remember this is not a race. I promise not to stand in your way, but keep in mind you need not go so fast..there is time to be a baby. While I know you will never be so big as to keep me from wrapping my arms around you, please do try to save my back just a little bit longer.

You've brought a balance to our home I have trouble describing, not borne of just the number of hes and shes, but in your very nature. It is as if your sister is the sea and you are the shore. She is our whirlwind and you our calm, though I know the changing winds of time will serve to stir you both into chaos occasionally. For now, I hold you, breathe your sweet baby smell and let your presence calm me.

We've been through a lot, you and me, and we've yet to have a break from those times when it seems I am to prove yet again that I will fight for you. Maybe there is something in our contract that requires this, some agreement our souls made long ago that says that you are to be mine, me yours, but we must continually agree that is the case. Whatever the reason, no matter how long this pattern in our lives continues, know without any doubt that you are always worth it and I will always fight for you. My teeny little super guy.

There are those who will think (and many who already do) that you are our last baby because you are a boy so we now have a son and daughter, because of our difficulty in getting pregnant or even the complications of my pregnancy and your birth. The fact is, you are our last baby because prior to your coming I always felt you were out there waiting for us and the right time to be with us. I knew without a doubt that there was a member of our family not here. Now that you're here, our family is complete. You are the one I knew was missing and everything I had not realized was missing.

I laugh when people tell me to "just wait," that in several months time you will have a personality. I laugh because we've known that personality for some time now. You graced us with a huge smile the afternoon of the very day you were born. Your dad said something loving to you in a certain tone of voice and you grinned. It wasn't gas or a one time thing, but something you've repeated over and over when he's used that tone or when I call you "the little."

It's a few days late, but happy two months my sweet, affectionate, smiling golden boy. Everyone keeps saying you've got a huge destiny in front of you and I can't wait to see what it is, but day by day, my day at a time. There's no hurry.