Sunday, July 19, 2009

Three Recent Signs

Three different yet equally compelling signs, all indicating how fortunate I've been lately.

1.) While eating lunch at a Mongolian BBQ restaurant I failed to receive, for the first time ever at any Asian place that has the custom, a fortune in my cookie. It made me pause and consider that perhaps I have already had my lotto-win-sized proportion of good fortune for the year.

2) While sitting on the sidelines with Kiddlywink as Alaskaboy and Alaskagirl attended a water aerobics class, Favourite Lifeguard Number 2 came up and spoke to me. When I explained a little how I'd gotten sick and had to deliver her early and I'd nearly died, he put his hand on my arm, looked deep into my eyes and said, "I'm very, very glad that you didn't die. We would have missed you." Then, he went on to explain how his brother's girlfriend had been six months pregnant recently and also gotten sick(without mentioning with what exactly). Unfortunately, she ended up in a coma. Fortunately, they were able to save the baby. But what again made me pause and really shook me to my core. . .the woman actually died.

3) How do I know it could have been me? When in for my six week check up, I asked Dr Awesome some of the questions I'd been too brain foggy, or unconscious, to think of asking. One of which concerned Kiddlywink's APGAR scores. Not really worth much in the long run, but nice to know anyway. "Her APGAR scores were 8 or 9, she was fine. It was you who did your very best to die." And once again, his cheerful demeanour disappeared momentarily as we all pondered that last sentence of his.

I'd like you all to take a few moments out of your day, for as many days in a row as you like, and consider the things in your life that make you fortunate, and be thankful for even the smallest amount of good fortune.

Today, I'm thankful for a) the ability to produce some breast milk, b) not only the mere existence of electric breast pumps, but the fact my health insurance covers most of the rental for a hospital grade one, and c) that formula has improved enough to allow for premature babies and their special dietary needs.

And yes, currently we're making use of all three to feed Kiddlywink. Feeding her from my breasts, then topping her off with formula and previously expressed breast milk. The Daily logs we're keeping of both my pumped volume and her eating and elimination amounts is truly fascinating. She is SO intuitive. More on that in a bit though.


Thursday, July 09, 2009

Kiddlywink's Birth Story: Part Two.

Part One.

After signing in to the Labour and Delivery Ward, (thankfully we'd preregistered,) we were ushered to a room, where I put on the first of many hospital gowns I'd wear over the next week. Despite having preregistered, there was still a bazillion pages of paperwork I had to fill out. Authorizations for all kinds of drugs/procedures etc etc. Kinda weird really, but I guess this is sue-crazy America, so they'll shove paperwork at you all day long in an attempt to avoid having to pay out in a lawsuit.

The first drugs I received in my brand-spankin' new I.V. were a blood pressure medication and magnesium sulfate. The first to prevent a stroke and the other to prevent possible convulsions. One of the reasons I'd wanted to avoid an epidural, apart from the whole stick a needle in your spine aspect, was to avoid the regular taking of my blood pressure. With how tight they have to pump the cuffs, I often end up bruised after a routine doctor's visit...imagine how I felt at the idea of it being taking with an automated cuff every 15 minutes? Yet there I was, hooked up to the infernal machine.

Machines I should say. There was also the fetal monitor. This lovely thing they cinched TIGHT around my belly in the hopes of getting it to stay in place to track Kiddlywink's heartbeat. I don't know why they bothered because she sure as hell didn't stay in the one place! LOL There was also the lovely catheter. Convenient that I didn't need to get up and go to the toilet. What I mostly focused on though was my raging thirst. I was allowed nil by mouth, and I dunno about you, but a drip may hydrate the body but I STILL wanted a drink, dammit. My mouth was doubly dry, from fear as well as thirst.

Many tests, and hours, later, Dr Awesome finally arrived. My lab results had come back and yes, it was as he'd feared, HELLP Syndrome. The reason he'd waited so long to operate on me was because he wanted to get those lab results back before proceeding. (I'll forever be grateful he made me wait those interminable hours. I found out later, if he hadn't, he wouldn't have known just how low my platelet levels were, and there would have been a real possibility of bleeding out on the table...just like sufferers of HELLP did in the past when they didn't have even the little knowledge they have nowadays about how to deal with it.)

The choice of inducing me had disappeared when they'd seen my cervix was closed completely and Kiddlywink hadn't “dropped” yet. And now, any chance I had of even being awake, including a caesarean with the dreaded epidural, was zero. Add yet more paperwork to be hurriedly signed before they shaved me down below and all of a sudden it was all systems go. Alaskaboy was handed scrubs to put on and they whisked me off to the operating theatre, for a good old fashioned birth: under general anesthetic.

Alaskaboy struggled to get the scrubs on as fast as he could, and followed my gurney out to the theatre. At this point, I was more worried about Kiddlywink than myself--ignorance truly is bliss--and hoped that she was well-formed enough to survive. My subconscious mothering instincts had prevented me from calling in to the doctor any time over the previous ten days. A good thing as it turned out. 34 weeks is the cut off point. One day earlier and she'd have had to go to the super scary, teeny tiny babies' NICU and not the “normal” NICU.

Laying there in the surgery, listening to them discussing their pre-op stuff, it made me smile on the inside despite the pain I was in; the attitudes/conversations and preparation sounds were somehow reminiscent of every single kitchen I've worked in.

Then we were informed that due to the nature and seriousness of my surgery, Alaskaboy would NOT be allowed into the theatre at all.

He was to wait outside.

In that moment, Alaskaboy, standing in the doorway, and me, lying on the operating table as they started to strap me down and my belly up, locked gazes. My absurd thought in that moment was, “God, it's just like in a movie!”

Truly, it was. Last time we'd shared a gaze this intense was as I walked down the aisle towards him on our wedding day. Now, as then, we stared into each others eyes for a few short, but highly charged seconds, and then had to look away. I wanted to drown in his eyes, but I couldn't bear the depths of the emotions contained within them. Nor could I bear the tears that had started to form. The first time, they'd been hard enough to see when they were tears of immense joy. Now they were caused by terror. Realising just how afraid and distraught he was, increased my own feelings tenfold.

Then the door was shut in his face, and he had to wait outside, and pray.

And even though I was in a crowded room, I felt dreadfully alone.


Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Quick Update.

I'm working on some posts: about learning even more about intuitive eating from my daughter; continuing the birth story; and a couple of others are brewing in the brain, but for now, here's a quick Kiddlywink update.

Age: 5 weeks (almost to her original anticipated birth day! lol)
Weight: 2.95 kg / 6.5 lbs
Holding head up: 5 seconds, while looking around.
Breast feeding: Getting better at it. Latches first go usually now, and eats on average 20mls(then switches to bottle) per each of the three feeds we're managing to coordinate in a daytime period.
Chubby Cheeks? Check!
Baby Belly? Check!
Farts? You bet! Like a brewery draft horse!
Likes: taking turns sleeping on her four current slaves' chests, eating, tummy time, snuggling, bath time, clean diapers.
Dislikes: the diaper changing process, being buckled into car seat, outfit changes, hiccups, passing gas, slack service at this's tasty though.

And of course, the obligatory pictures!

Let's Dance!

Stick 'Em Up!

{Burp!} Excusez-moi!

Hiding From Sun on 4th July.

My, What A Serious frown You Have!

And our current favourite...