Wednesday, April 30, 2008

How I Turned My Kitchen into a Death Trap in 30 minutes

...or less.

Someone on a message board I belong to asked how often we clean our dishwashers. Most of the responses were a typed equivalent to a blank stare. Clean a dishwasher? What?

Then I looked inside the dishwasher that so desperately needs replacing and I realized the only thing it needs as much as a replacement is a good cleaning, especially since it's going to have to last us a while longer.

This morning I finally remembered to buy a bottle of dishwasher cleaner, the instructions seemed simple enough, so I started running it while I worked on some things. It said it was environmentally safe. I swear, if I had a canary that sucker would be DEAD.

I'm just glad I fought the temptation to run my self cleaning oven feature at the same time. I'd be typing this from the grave.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Scar Tissue that I Wish You Saw

(Skipping ahead to the present for a bit)

Recently, I found myself hurt and offended on behalf of someone I don't even like. As I heard the comments being made about her situation, I could feel myself growing defensive and angry on her behalf. "Don't minimize her situation," my heart yelled. I remained silent.

I didn't speak up for her because *cough* she's a dog.

My mom and sister have dogs of the same teeny, annoying, ankle biting breed. They decided to try to breed them. The first time didn't take. They blamed the younger dog and his inexperience. The second time didn't take and they laughed that "maybe they don't know how to do it." The third time they joked that maybe these two weren't meant to have babies.

Do you see where this is going?

I got more and more pissed off about the whole thing. We were talking about DOGS and I was hurt and upset on their behalf. I know dogs have emotion - I mean, they get excited when their loved ones come home. You can upset what do I know about whether they have feelings attached to reproduction. I found myself wondering, just a little, if maybe the female got upset when it didn't work but assuming the male was probably just in it for sex. Then I thought "that's not fair to him." Then I thought, "shut up! We're talking about DOGS."

Then it happened.

Mom and sister were excited. The female was pregnant. They watched as her belly swelled, her teats got bigger and then....nothing. Eventually she started bleeding.

They called it a false pregnancy and that's where I think I drove my little looney cart right over the deep end.

I found myself angry, upset and defensive on behalf of this dog because what if it wasn't a 'false pregnancy?' What if they had conceived but she miscarried?

Suddenly, I found myself thinking about how incredibly frustrating it is to lose a pregnancy, a much wanted child, and have the feelings of grief and loss dismissed with words like false pregnancy. Or "nonviable" and "meant to be." So easily, others can dismiss a loss like that with suggestions that there was something wrong with the baby or that it is in some way a blessing.

I've never understood how the concept of there being something wrong with the baby was supposed to make anyone feel any better.

Clearly, (Duh) I'm projecting my own thoughts and emotions on this poor little dog and that's what's a bit funny about this whole thing. I never expressed these things I was thinking to my mom or sister, but last night I was thinking about it and mentioned it to my husband. I was in the mode of laughing at myself when I told him, so I pretty much expected him to laugh about it too.

It was actually quite nice that even though he laughed about my inner dialogue about the dog's reproductive angst, he said "and what is it with saying things like nonviable? I HATE THAT. Why can't they just say things like I'm sorry or that sucks and leave it at that?"

We'd had an argument earlier that evening that I was still steaming over a bit, but in that moment when he so clearly was on the same page as me....when he understood where I was coming from, all was forgiven.

Sometimes it's nice to show someone your scars and see theirs too.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Mama Trauma Drama - Part 2

I have a tendency to apologize for things which are not my fault.

Adding up the number of hospital trips, doctor visits, online posts, calls to a friend when in distress, contractions, bills, medications, etc it felt like looking at the sum of my failures. I was scared, none of this was in my control....I contracted whether I moved or didn't, before medication and with medication. I contracted and dilated on the one medicine considered the big gun for stopping preterm labor. I wasn't in control, nor were my doctors, but I kept apologizing to everyone.

I apologized to my husband about the money, the time, the work I wasn't getting done for our business. To my friends for being what I felt was self-involved, to my daughter for being stressed and unable to play as rigorously as usual. To my mother for not being able to make the one hour drive to see her because it would put me outside the radius around my hospital my doctor had suggested. (Though I can honestly say SHE should have been offering to make the trip, not making me feel guilty about this)

Life essentially screeched to a halt in many ways as I tried, begged and pleaded not to give birth to my son too early. I even apologized for not having it as bad as some of the women who were offended because I was complaining about a situation that still looked like it would result in a healthy baby. In every conversation I had where I talked about something going on with my pregnancy, I had an overwhelming need to stress how lucky I was, how grateful I was because I didn't want anyone to think for an instant that I was taking any of this for granted.

I was so worried about the emotions of others, that I didn't really acknowledge a lot of my own. So worried I would trigger in others thoughts of "well you wanted to be pregnant" or "at least..." and it was hard. Really, really hard. It wasn't the worst pregnancy it could have been by a huge stretch, but it was still very hard and took a huge toll on me, my husband, our daughter, and our family as a unit. I rarely felt it was ok to talk about how hard it was, how scared and frustrated I was without justifying, explaining, apologizing, worrying about my phrasing or making a point to say "but I'm so lucky." yes, I was. But damn it, sometimes I didn't feel lucky, I felt scared. My husband and a dear friend were my sanity during this time, but even they couldn't quiet the fears of my heart.

I suppose it might be appropriate that I'm still healing physically, just as I am trying to heal emotionally.

A piece of me died each time I walked into the hospital as "two" and worried that I would leave it alone. Some have said that one day I will be able to use these stories as a means to guilt my son into good behavior. The fact is, if it weren't for the notion that completely hiding all of this from him would likely be unhealthy, it would be easy to insist he never know about any of it.

As the time approached when his birth was no longer scary, when it was clear he could make his appearance and likely be just fine, there were still a few fears. Including the fact that if my water broke, there would be no way we'd make it to the hospital on time. He was so low, I was dilated quite a bit already and I had contracted for so long that it was clear things would move fast when the time came. At one point it was suggested I call the fire department's non-emergency line to double check their response time. They assured me they could get to me on time, 3 minutes or less unless there was something else major going on.

For weeks I contracted at 5-10 minute intervals...sometimes even closer together. So many nights we thought "this is it"and so many nights I stayed awake wondering and waiting. Prodromal labor they called it at this point, as there was little change in my cervix during this time. We'd long since thrown out the protocols for when to call the OB's office or head to the hospital. If I'd gone or called every time my contractions were incredibly close, I'd basically have been there for months. We worried we wouldn't know when to go for the real deal, worried we'd blow it off and be too late.

We made plans, backup plans and backup backup plans regarding where our daughter would go when the time came. We laughed that at least all of the back and forth trips to the hospital had made it clear whether our bags were missing anything and even joked that we should just reserve a locker at the hospital.

In the back of my mind I was worried still about complications, nervous that I'd been asked so many times whether I'd been given steroids to mature my son's lungs, and feared that my list of things that happened this time but didn't last time would end with a c-section.

There were many things I worried about that never happened. Many that I worried about that did.

The scariest, however, were the things I didn't worry about. The things I never saw coming that hit me like a ton of bricks.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Mama Trauma Drama - Part 1

I can't say that I'm really ready to talk about all this. Eventually, ready or not, I need to. I have to.

I swore my pregnancy with the little would be so much different than that with the bug. I vowed to enjoy as much of it as possible, to worry as little as possible and swore I wouldn't leave the hospital without a good anti-depressant to make sure ppd would not steal from me the joy of having a newborn.

Apparently the universe heard "different" and ignored much of the rest.

At eight days past ovulation, I woke with a start, immediately convinced of two things. I knew I was pregnant and I knew there was a problem with my progesterone. (Not totally unexpected, I do have PCOS - however supplementation with my daughter's pregnancy was purely precautionary) I called my RE, said I knew they'd think I was crazy but would they test me anyway. As it turns out, it was a darn good thing and I started progesterone supplements as soon as the results were back. That was probably the last simple time in my pregnancy.

So many things happened during my pregnancy that it seems unbelievable to me. Hyperemesis set in pretty quickly, and ultimately didn't let up until two weeks before my son was born, despite anti-nausea medications and trying every trick out there. Things that worked during my morning sickness with my daughter either didn't touch my symptoms or made things worse. I even found myself in the ER for IV fluids one night, because I simply could not keep up.

Placenta previa (mild) was an issue that resolved itself eventually, but not before a few bouts of bleeding.

Then there were the preterm contractions - most of which not really considered preterm labor because for a long time they did not change my cervix. Still, I found myself on prescriptions for oral terbutaline and procardia. I had more trips to the L & D ward than I choose to count, though I'm kicking myself for not saving each and every one of the bracelets those trips earned me. By themselves they would tell an amazing story. I could title it "our winter home" or "our visits to --Hospital."

The contractions, of course, were the scariest part. I simply couldn't believe that I was having that problem, that medication wasn't helping and I hated that I made so many of those trips by myself while my husband watched our daughter. Normally with my instructions that I would call if this was it. I didn't want to feel like chicken little, calling family in to watch our daughter, and I was embarassed. I could not believe my body was in such a state that I kept having the contractions, I could not believe that after a normal pregnancy with our daughter things were so different and I was humiliated that I seemed to be failing at that. The cracks and tears caused by infertility, healed over by our daughter and now this pregnancy seemed to reopen. My faith in my body was decreasing instead of increasing.

In the midst of it, a group of women turned against me in ways I can only describe as devastating. A lot of what happened was orchestrated or fed by one woman, whose motivations I'll never totally understand, but it was still awful. In the midst of what was a terrifying time for me, I felt some didn't believe me, some thought I was exaggerating and some scrutinized my every word looking for evidence of...I don't even know...exaggeration, misleading information, excuse to attack. It was like nothing I'd ever experienced, and from women on a message board that I'd trusted as friends, family and confidants. A friend of mine (in real life) joked that I'd singlehandedly brought down a message board. While it wasn't my fault, it still stings that a place I loved is no longer in existence in large part because of what happened. I'm mostly over all this, but sometimes it still hurts to remember what happened and to know when I needed them most, many of those women turned their backs on me.....and in some cases I think it boiled down to being because my situation wasn't as bad as theirs had been.

My whole pregnancy I kept thinking "that was bad, but it could have been so much worse." Every day I was pregnant, I made a point to thank God for it. Every time something happened but didn't turn out as bad as it could have, I was grateful. I lost track of how many times I said how grateful I was, how many times I checked myself from repeating another story because my reactions were being judged as either too careful or not careful enough. I was too worried or not worried enough. It was truly traumatic for me and unlike anything I've ever been through.

In the midst of all that, there were falls, modified bedrest, a kidney stone, a gall bladder attack, more tests, blahblahblah. It wasn't the worst pregnancy it could have been, I just was completely unprepared for it.

I remember one particular night, when nobody in the room thought I would leave it pregnant. The contractions had intensified and they weren't backing down. I'd gone from contractions every 10 minutes, to every 5, to 4, my cervix was dilating and my labor pattern was consistent. They gave me a shot of terbutaline. They put me on magnesium. And still I contracted. We talked about what to do, a NICU nurse came to talk to us about what a baby born early was in for (she painted only the worst case scenarios by the way) and ultimately it was decided the magnesium wasn't helping and should be turned off.

I remember saying to God that we knew this had always been in his hands, that it was hard for us to trust him but we were once again turning it over to him. I remember saying "please make it be all right, whatever that looks like." I remember them prepping the room for a delivery, moving me into "laboring" mode and doing things like allowing me to use the tub.

We'd gone in at night and ultimately left the next afternoon. 3-4 cm dilated (depending upon who checked) and about 80% effaced, I walked out of the hospital. I remember thinking I needed to check my clothing for bullet holes, as if we'd dodged tons of them. I remember wanting to put a bubble around my house and just stay there, not coming out until 39 weeks hit.

I remember wondering just whose life I'd walked into.

Wardrobe Malfunctions...and questions

Wardrobe Malfunction the first:
I love, love the convenience of nursing camisoles under regular shirts. Much easier than wrestling with a nursing bra, nursing top with the two layers and side hole while using one hand to wrangle baby and the other to manage a preschooler, blanket, etc. However.....what the hell do you do with your nursing pad? The kind I use have adhesive on the back, so they are theoretically stuck to the part of the nursing camisole that folds down...but they inevitably end up scrunched up under my breast, or on my lap, the floor...etc. I suppose I could take the pad out and immediately put in aside to be thrown away, but sometimes if my son needs to nurse on both sides that may mean a small bit of letdown on the first side. Not good with no pad, and the little man is not always patient enough to wait on these maneuvers. It seems there is an easy way and I'm just not thinking of it.

Wardrobe Malfunction the second:
Maybe not malfunction, actually, but why is it that so many shirts right now are either so low cut a nursing bra doesn't stand a chance (yes, I want to show off my bulging mammary glands, so what!) but often are not designed for women who actually have breasts? just wondering.

Wardrobe Malfunction the third:
How many changes of clothes does your child have? (Specify age too) Or in other terms, how long can you go without doing laundry for your kiddo? It appears my daughter is not the only clothes horse in this house. I'm trying to be more reasonable with my son, and most of his clothes have been given to us, but today I needed to go buy some pants as he's got tons of onesies but few pairs of pants. It's often just cool enough that needs some pants. But how many pairs?

Monday, April 21, 2008

Songs for moms to sing - part one

To the Tune of Brother John:
Please quit whining
I said sit down
You're just fine
Is it naptime?

I just want a quick break
Why can't you just go play
Leave me be
Guess who's three

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Three months.

My dear son,
Three months into this and there's no doubt about it. You're a keeper. Never have I seen a baby smile more, enjoy breastmilk so much or have such excitement over me manipulating your hands into a game of pat-a-cake. At over 13 pounds, you weigh more than your sister did at 6 months old.

You spend your days eating, sleeping, smiling and waving your arms and legs as if to say "hey! look at me! I'm cute!" Why yes, yes you are. You sit well, supported, and for some time you've been supporting your own weight on your legs when we hold you. What is new is your tendency when laying back to strain your neck and back as if you are trying to sit up on your own. Most nights, with the exception of the last week when you were eating as if trying to gain a pound a day, you are sleeping at least a nice 6-7 hour stretch. Not all of that while I'm actually sleeping, but we'll work on that. You've been rolling over more and more lately, proving that the first couple of times weren't a fluke, but now we have to try to keep you in the same spot roughly in the bassinet or bed.

Your ahs, goos, and ah-goos never fail to make us laugh, and they only intensify when your dad comes home from work. You light up when we talk to you, you love music and if we combine the two you are in heaven. If I breastfeed and sing to you at the same time, you are entranced. My son, you melt me.

If I have any guilt over this time period, its that I'm less able to just hold you sometimes as I was your sister. Luckily you don't seem to mind this, you just eat it up when I do. Between me and you, while its true that I love you both tremendously, it seems you love me more than your sister does. That might be temporary, but I will enjoy it...because she loves me an awful lot. The two of you is healing hurts I knew about and those I did not. I can't wait for you to have me as a whole and healthy mom...I swear, I'm even better than you've seen so far. One day I might even earn some of those looks of adoration you're sending my way.

Love, Mommy

Monday, April 14, 2008

Patient, heal thyself

...because nobody else will do it for you.

Low grade fever (99.6-101 on average)
Major cramping
Mild bleeding

All potential signs of infection 3 weeks after a D & C. Doesn't that just figure?

Snot serenade

Last night the little slept for 7 hours straight. A huge victory in sleep that we didn't see with his sister until much, much later. Matter of fact, neither his sister or dad slept as soundly last night as he did.

I know because I could hear my husband snoring, my daughter tossing and turning and occasionally calling out to say she needed another diaper. Yes, diaper, because her current cold seems to have been compounded by some fabulous diarrhea.

I know because I was watching my son to make sure he was breathing. He's about a week behind his sister on this cold, and I'm scared out of my mind. He's so congested in his nose, the boogers have turned green, and so far he's holding his own but I'm scared given everything we've been through.

His temp has stayed fine and he's not having breathing problems but I can't say the same for me. occasionally there is a pause in his breathing, as there is with babies sometimes, or time when from across the room I can't see his chest rise and fall, and I find myself holding my own breath.

One day, this will all pass. Not that I'll never be worried about my children again, but it will be nice when I'm no longer on high alert. Hopefully soon.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Like you should all over yourself.

"You'll feel warm, then at tingling sensation in your ears, followed by the taste of a penny in your mouth, an odd smell...and then you'll feel like you've peed your pants, but you won't."

Those were the words of the CT scan technician before my scan began yesterday.

Wait. What? A CT scan? I know...I thought everything was fixed too.

Friday, as in a week ago, was the last dose of my antibiotics. By Monday I was feeling odd and as the week went on I became increasingly sore, then realized I was running a low grade fever. Again. And to think I'd been feeling so much better.

Matter of fact, even though I didn't fit the "day or two" time frame originally given to my husband by my OB, I had started feeling a lot better. Sore, but better. Then the antibiotics wore off and I started feeling worse again.

Wednesday I saw my primary care doctor, then another OB for a follow up. A CT scan was ordered to rule out things such as pelvic abscess and there is talk now of sending me to an infectious disease doctor because I've been on so many antibiotics. I should NOT be running even a low grade fever. I should not have soreness where my uterus is.

I should not hurt internally as if I just birthed my son this week. Speculum exams are supposed to be uncomfortable, not painful, but my cervix is so tender it's ridiculous. My v*agina hurts and when I told the OB that, he asked if I'd been having intercourse.

I made him wait until I stopped laughing before I answered. We haven't had sex since the first week in January. Do the math. I'll wait.

It's really hard not to doubt myself at this point. I shouldn't be hurting. I shouldn't have had to fight so long to get the infection taken care of, and now that tissue is out, I shouldn't be back to feeling sore and running a slight fever.

I should feel better.
I should be able to play with my children without pain.
I should be able to sit and not be acutely aware at any given moment that my vajayjay HURTS.
I should be able to move on with my life.
I should be able to stop checking the toilet paper for the blood they keep asking about.
I should be able to find out what is wrong with me.

Instead, I sit here and feel like I'm shoulding all over myself. I'm tired of it. tired of feeling like I'm crazy, tired of feeling like I need to start any conversation with a doctor by saying "I'm not crazy, I checked and I'm not imagining this."

Thursday, April 10, 2008


Swaddled rocking babe,
sweet sleeping older sister.
Mom peeks, sighs, sits, rests.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Three Times a Lady

My dear, sweet girl,

One day you'll get tired of hearing how I blinked and you were bigger, taller, stronger and more mature. If I ever find something else to be true, I'll be sure to let you know. For now, however, I am stunned.

You told our friend, one of your many admirers who happens to own our favorite restaurant, on the day of your party that you were two and a half, but that soon you would eat your cake "and then I will be three." Just like that, you were. I think there might have been something magic in that frosting after all because suddenly there you were - looking just like a little girl and no longer like a baby. Seemingly overnight you no longer want to play baby, and when I call you baby you set me straight. You are a big girl now. I'll try not to cry in front of you.

Three years ago, on a beautiful spring day, I gave birth while the daffodils started blooming. So much more than petals opened up in my world that day. When you were born I immediately felt that "I know you" feeling, and I'll never forget telling you as you cried to "Tell them, and keep telling them until they get it right, baby girl." I fear your inability to stop talking some days may be my fault. Some people, sweetie, are just never going to get it.

At every turn, you amaze us. If we were to look at typical milestones, especially for speech, we'd know without a doubt you are consistently ahead. We are immensely proud of you, but don't really focus on all us you are just you, and we love you with a fierceness we didn't understand before you came into this world.

So many things to say about who and how you are these days. Some days you are a mini teenager, full of attitude and spunk, fire and and ferocity. Luckily for all of us, you put as much energy into fighting bedtime some nights as you do into hugging us so tight we can't breathe. In the moments when you kiss us over and over, tell us "I love you so much" and "well, you're just my best friend" we just can't get enough of you. You are funny, loving, smart and so tender sometimes that it takes our breath away. You may not always like that having a little brother means you have to share our attention, but you love him with an intensity we could not have expected. Just let someone suggest that he stay there with him while we all leave and there is a price to pay!!!

I love the wild abandon of your signing and dancing, the lack of inhibition when you decide to strip your clothes off and twirl like a dervish, or when you sit looking prim and proper in a party dress only to burst into giggles.

One of your biggest frustrations these days is your serious anger about not being able to read the words in your books all by yourself. We try not to laugh, and we're working on teaching you at your request, but you want to read!!! You must, after all, be ours. There's no denying it. What you can do is so much fun to watch. You know your alphabet, of course, your colors, and you can count from 1-31 in both English and French thanks to your school. I could listen to you speak French all day long, even if you seem to derive great joy in teasing me by either not telling me what you are saying, refusing to repeat it or doing so only when it is convenient to YOU.

You are the sweetest little mommy I've ever met, mothering your dolls in a way I aspire to emulate. Though, if I'm being honest, the truth is that I know you are imitating things you've seen me do, and I have to admit to great pride in watching you breastfeed your babies, put them to sleep, rock them and tell them stories. I never felt more like Wonder Woman than the moment you first put a baby doll in your shirt to pretend to be pregnant, then laid your palms on the table, rocked your hips side to side and took some serious deep breaths. I knew you were watching in those moments before we left the house on the day your brother was born, but I didn't know that I'd watch you imitate those moments. Simultaneously I feel pride in the fact you got to see it, that it wasn't scary, and I feel a twinge with the hope that one day you might let me be there when you have babies of your own. Yesterday you told me you had two children and three grandchildren. I pictured you old and gray, spinning around the living room in a dress with three small children and it was such a lovely picture. Somehow I can picture you always having a bit of a childlike nature.

This year was the year of the butterfly birthday party, the tricycle and (you don't know it yet) a robotic pony from grandpa that's going to blow your little mind. It is the year of you getting excited over multicolored hair bows, barrettes, bands and ponytail holders and the fact they can Match. Your. Outfits. Oh. My. Goodness! You're a girly girl if ever I have met one.

No matter how much you change, no matter what the future brings, I can't imagine a day when I'm not infinitely curious about what the next will bring. You keep us on our toes, pretty princess, which is just perfect for when you're asking us all to pretend we're ballerinas or doing "gymastics."

Happy happy birthday, my sweet, sweet girl.

An Elephant I'll Never Forget

Three year old post coming soon. As of 2:35 pm yesterday, I have a three year old who looks (and acts!) the part in every way.

For now, a quick brag.

This puzzle, recommended for ages 4-7, was one of the items I picked out for the bug for her birthday. It was taken out of the plastic wrapper approximately 15 minutes ago, and she has taken it apart and put it back together already.

Then she said "Mommy, I love this Elephant! It's beautiful!"

Friday, April 4, 2008

In Other News..

I joked while pregnant that my son, the Little, would likely be a grower. I said I wouldn't know what to do with a baby that outgrew clothing at a normal rate, when there were outfits that were worn very little versus lasting months or even years. (I'm not joking about that by the way, the bug has a dress that once went down to her ankles - today she wore it as a shorter dress with pants, then it will be a big top with leggings until finally someone rips it out of our hands and makes us retire it. She's had it since she was a year old.)

When I 'm right, I'm right.

Today my son weighed 12 pounds 7 ounces. No idea where that is on the chart, we were just borrowing the scale, but by comparison - my daughter weighed 12 pounds 15 ounces at her 6 month check. She weighs 27 pounds now.

I'd better start lifting weights.

Coming soon....ode to a three year old.

Mostly dead is slightly alive.

I've started and stopped this post many times. Writing makes it seem real, and yet, it doesn't quite feel real to me.

Yesterday afternoon a packet arrived from the hospital with records I'd requested about the Little's birth and my surgery. They included the pathology report from my surgery, and there was information there that my OB did not give me.

While it is true what they told me, about tissue consistent with infection, that's not ALL they found. They also found pieces of tissue that indicated chorionic villi, suggestive of a hydatidiform mole. While this was never going to be a live baby, there was a failed conception and I'm feeling some loss over that.

I'm also feeling...angry, frustrated and betrayed that I was not given this information, and concerned as the reading I've done (as well as reading by some friends) indicates this is pretty serious stuff. AND, reading indicates that I should be followed damn closely for a while, as even after a D & C this type of tissue can come back. In some cases it can even spread like cancer or turn into cancer.

From the sounds of things, had I not pushed regarding my health, if the infection hadn't gotten me in serious trouble - this could have.

This explains so, so much. Common symptoms of this situation include a bigger than normal uterus for gestational age (check), hyperemesis (check), bleeding early in pregnancy (check), large noncancerous ovarian cyst in early pregnancy (check) and your body's attempts to end the pregnancy (check, check, omg CHECK!). No wonder none of the meds to stop contractions worked. It even explains a bit my twin wonderings early on.

It explains my first ultrasound at the OB's office where I heard "hmm...that's odd" and was then told "we don't normally see the yolk sac at this point." Probably was NOT the yolk sac.I'm guessing this was missed later on because it wasn't being looked for. Molar pregnancy seems to be reasonably rare, and molar pregnancy along with a live, healthy baby is VERY rare. It can happen, as did in our situation, but it seems that often (not always) women are pushed to terminate because of the seriousness of a molar pregnancy and chances of things like it mutating into cancer and/or pushing through the uterine wall and causing hemorraghe, and numerous other complications.

It seems we are also very lucky it stopped growing, because the growth has the potential to overtake the healthy baby when it occurs in situations like ours.

I wonder now about all the tissue I passed. The time I went to the ER thinking I was miscarrying because I was bleeding and passed a "clot"and all the tissue I passed after Little's birth when they were saying there was nothing in there.

I'm not sure how they missed this after he was born, though my first u/s for the infection they pointed to two things that they said looked like clots. They said those must have passed after I was given the methergine to make me cramp, as they didn't see them anymore, but clearly there was still some tissue in there.

Things BFF and I found indicate that when there is molar tissue, some pretty extensive follow up is supposed to happen including regular exams and beta hcgs to make sure the #'s don't go up again. That's recommended in the pathologists report.

The only mention of any of this, when I called my ob to get the results, was that a hcg test was suggested and we discussed that I'd had a hcg test right before my surgery (serum that monday when the surgery was scheduled, urine immediately before the test). the beta was negative (less than 2). That's good but something that should be followed, esp considering how much tissue I'd passed before that point.

I'm meeting with my primary dr today to discuss several things, and I'll be brining this up too. I knew prior that I needed a new GYN, a dr who is familiar with pcos and female cancers due to family history, but I now also need one who is well versed in this topic, just in case.

I really just
don't believe this.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

I want it back.

In trying to determine how severe our complaint against the OB clinic and hospital will be, medical review board only or involving an attorney, a friend who practices law in another state asked me to consider several questions to help make the decision.

One of those questions was about damages - real and punitive - and what they were.

It was easy to total the monetary costs from a medical care standpoint. This many visits multiplied by this copay, that many visits by a different copay, prescriptions, the ER visit, etc. More difficult was things like the inability to do my job, the help we had to get with some household tasks, transportation to and from appointments, time lost, etc.

The hardest part, however, was looking at the theft of time with my children and the stress all of this has caused in our lives. No dollar amount will give my son's newborn phase back to me. It is gone forever.I prepared myself mentally and with medication not to have it stolen from me through ppd as my daughter's was, but I was still robbed by a different thief. I've been in pain since he was born. Two and a half months ago.

My daughter, with a memory better than an elephant's, will likely remember this period of time as being the one where everything was stressful, where mommy and daddy were short tempered, mommy was sick, and you know she is incredibly upset that I STILL am not allowed to take a bath with her. Something she desperately wants. Something we did together, before.

I hope that one day I will be over the trauma of all of this, but for now I feel, well, traumatized. I have changed from a person that generally trusted medical personnel to someone who will probably generally mistrust them. I have to shop for a new gyn, I have to muddle through medical records and try to determine whether there is anything I can do to prevent this from happening to someone else.

I have to try to get over the fact they almost let me die.

I want my life back, after being miserable and sick for so long. I want my smile, my bounce and my shine back. I want my friends and family to see ME again and I think they're starting to. The problem is, there are things I want back that I'm never going to get. Their negligence cost me time precious to a mother, time that I will never ever have again. I want it back, and I can't have it. I have to try to get over that too.

At the bare minimum, we'll be filing a complaint with the state review board and I think we're going to at least consult with an attorney - although thanks to all the medical bills and my inability to do my job, we can't afford to hire one. We have to see if there is a good one that will work on contingency. At least the initial consults are free.

I want my innocence back. My faith. My trust. My inherent belief that most people, given the opportunity, will do the right thing. Especially when they're holding the keys to someone's health and happiness.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

No matter how bad it is,

there's always something worse. A story you read that can rock you to your very core. I read about this story through another blog, and I'm linking to it for many reasons. Because I'm a mom, because I know what it means to love a little girl named Emily, because I've had health scares that turned out ok with my children but remember what it is like to be scared and spend a lot of money on medical bills.

Please read, please donate to their cause if you can....and help me spread this story to others who might be able to help. Most of all, please pray.

The Neverending Story...with a happy ending?

There's light at the end of the tunnel, my friends, and I no longer think that means I might die.

Well, eventually I will....but I no longer think it might be something that comes soon due to medical malpractice and negligence.

I'm definitely not fully recovered, but I feel that I'm on my way. I'm sore, still very tired and wear out easily but I no longer feel very, very sick. I can tell a lot of my soreness is from the procedure itself, and I'm sure my uterus was very inflamed when they did the D & C, but I no longer feel like I'm in mortal danger.

That sounds so odd, but the fact is, I really believe the doctors I'm dealing with were truly in danger of letting me die before things were resolved. A lot of the symptoms I was exhibiting were signs of becoming septic and I was still pushed aside because I wasn't bleeding profusely and experiencing high temps, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. Then when the nausea, vomiting and diarrhea hit I was told that it could be a stomach bug or perhaps even a drug fever.

Now, I looked up drug fevers after the fact and they're pretty rare. They are also a reaction to antibiotics that I would have most likely had LONG before now if I was going to. In other words, the ER doctor was completely full of it.

Along the way I've been amazed that the number of times doctors have failed me along this path. Toward the end of this I honestly started to worry that mine would be the story that started with "she kept saying something was wrong" and ended with "this could have been prevented."

In my reading I've discovered that mistakes were made from the very beginning.

  • Due to some of the circumstances of the little's birth (I'm almost ready to talk about it) written protocols suggest prophylactic antibiotics.
  • The nurses who managed my aftercare failed to do the uterine massage that was done after my daughter's birth.
  • When I started running a temp before I left the hospital and feeling crappy, it was attributed to the cold I had - with thoughts it had turned into a sinus infection.
  • Instructions to take my temp postpartum were buried in a book the hospital gave me, with the instructions "read this when you get a chance, no hurry."
  • When I felt very sick again, my regular doctor's office gave me a prescription for a different antibiotic, for a potential sinus infection.
  • The first doctor at the OB's office who saw me 12 days pp when I was running high fevers and in severe pain gave me an antibiotic that's NEVER advised to be used for postpartum infections and failed to give me a med to make me pass what was suspected to be a clot and tissue in an area of my uterus to which there was no blood flow.
  • The next time I saw my doctor he knew the antibiotic I was given was not strong enough to fight the type of infection I had, commented on that, and gave me a medication to make me pass the clot as I was still in pain.
  • A follow up ultrasound showed what was believed to be the clot was gone, but they did not recheck the area of my uterus where they had seen no blood flow prior. This would be the ultrasound (done 2/18) that all subsequent doctors would point to as "proof" that nothing was in my uterus.
  • Each time I came off a dose of antibiotics, I would start to feel sicker again, having temporarily felt better for a bit but never out of pain and CONSISTENTLY running a low grade fever. When I am examined, despite crying in pain from speculum exams I'm told that I don't seem "that sore" when my abdomen is pressed. I occasionally pass tissue.
  • Mid-march I see another doctor in my OB's practice, she confirms with speculum exam evidence of infection and recommends another two weeks of antibiotics. This will be my fifth round. "If that doesn't work, then maybe a d & c will be needed"but then says it's doubtful it would be - the infamous ultrasound was clear, you know. I pass tissue again when I get home from the exam.
  • I call my regular dr and my RE to run the scenario by them. Both suggest I push hard for a D & C.
  • The next week I see my doctor, I tell him this isn't working and he suggests taking a look, asks me if I've been stressed and I tell him THIS IS MY STRESS. He again points to the ultrasound and I remind him it was done over a month prior and I passed tissue after the last exam. He schedules a d & c for that friday.
  • Wednesday was the day I posted about fever, nausea, vomiting and the ER trip. The on call dr from my OB clinic instructs the ER doctor to give me a bag of IV fluids, a shot of morphine and send me home. She never even laid eyes on me. Speculum exam done by the ER dr was excruciating and I was told "sorry that was uncomfortable." The dr suggests that either I had a stomach bug or perhaps it was a drug fever. I spend the night in sweats, chills, and feverous delusions. (By the way, when I called the OB's office before going to the ER they said I should do that and they would most likely admit me. The failed to notify the ER or on call dr I was coming). When we were still at the ER and the on call doctor hadn't come, my husband called the clinic only to be told "She is aware of the situation and must be doing something more important."
  • The next day I bring my sister up to watch the kids, with the intention of parking myself in the doctor's office if I have to, to call news stations if I have to, whatever it takes to get SOMEONE to treat me.
  • I call my OB clinic one more time and his nurse listens to what's going on and pages him. He asks her to schedule my surgery for that night.
  • That night I had my D &*C. Despite weeks of being told that despite my symptoms there couldn't possibly be anything left in my uterus, my surgeon's words to my husband were that there was something on the back wall of my uterus and he believed he got it all.
  • Pathology for the tissue removed showed very inflamed endometrial tissue, consistent with infection.

I told you so. Assholes.

I'm waiting for copies of my records and some input from a few people, but I think ultimately we're going to contact a lawyer. The time frame I listed actually is missing a few things, and when it's all written out it is simply appalling how many times this was brushed aside because I was not presenting in a fashion they expected. The fact is, you do not have to be bleeding to have something in your uterus that doesn't belong there.

At the very least, we're filing a complaint with the state medical board and shopping for a new OBGYN clinic.