Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Brilliance in Disguise, I'm Sure

I've seen a couple of really dumb things lately. The first was a bumper sticker that said, "I brake for trees." Um, most people do. Part of that whole trees don't bounce off my bumper or pass easily under my car thing. Made me wish I had a bumper sticker that said, "I brake for large slabs of concrete." The other oh-so-bright thing I saw recently was a guy riding a bike, crossing a major road diagonally nowhere near a crossing while talking on a cell phone. I'm thinking Darwin Award candidate. I also heard about something stupid secondhand. A friend of mine also had her c-section incision open up a while ago. She naturally went to the ER when she noticed the thing was bleeding. The wise tech who triaged her wrote "heavy vaginal bleeding" down on the white board. Now, I may not have taken anatomy, but I'm pretty sure there's a world of difference between the abodminal area where they cut for a c-section and the area where babies come out naturally.

People constantly amaze me with their lack of intelligence, but thankfully they also regularly astound me with their kindness and brilliance. So I guess it all evens out in the end. But those lapses can sure make you wonder about the world sometimes.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Catching Up

I'm trying to get back into a routine with my writing and my on-line stuff. Of course, Andrew dictates my schedule and when he's not running the show, my wound healing needs do. The hope is to get back to a daily on-line blog read and post--at least every weekday--and to write whenever I can find a moment, hopefully more days than not each week so I can get back to my 2-3K a week writing habit at minimum. I have no idea how long it will be before I get to those goals. For example, I had hoped to do a couple hours of writing this morning but my body had other ideas and I spent the entire day in bed until it was time for my doctor's appointment. Just needed the rest, apparently.

The goal of taking things day by day, living in the moment, that I had given myself at the beginning of the year is back. Now by necessity. I really can't plan beyond the moment with Drew. I'm learning to take whatever I can, when I can. It'll be an interesting time as I heal. And I'm not even letting myself think about after maternity leave at the moment. So hopefully I can get into a pattern or at least a better sense of "normal" with my writing and blog stuff. Helps the whole sanity thing.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

More Medical Amusements

Just got back from the hospital again. This time it was for an MRI to inspect my liver. When I went to the ER two weeks ago and had a CT scan of my c-section, the results revealed a 2cm abnormality on my liver. The radiologist figured it was nothing to get worried about, probably a fatty deposit since I did pack on a decent amount of weight during the pregnancy. But they ordered an MRI anyway to take a good look at the thing and make sure it was nothing to get our panties in a twist over. So I took my happy drug this morning to prepare me for the joys of claustrophobia, we bundled Drew up, and off we went to the hospital complex for the sixth time in two weeks. They're thinking of reserving a spot for us now.

Anyhoo, we were just starting to get me all prepped for the experience when one of the techs asked if I had any metal in my body. Mark, genius that he his, says, "Wait a minute, does the silver nitrate in your wound packing count?" All conversation stops and off the techs go to consult with the radiologist. Sure enough, trying an MRI on a patient with silver-treated wounds can result in serious burns on said patient becuase silver heats up fast in an MRI. So no MRI for Kellie today, and the radiologist gave me extra assurances that it certainly could wait, that the MRI would most likely reveal a completely benign fatty deposit.

Really, the crazy health issues of 2005 will be funny later. Well, after taking the happy pill this morning, it was pretty funny today. By the way, the open abdominal wound is also preventing me from finishing that damn root canal that was started way back in March. This temporary crown is one tough motha'.

So that liver abnormality was the last of the current spate of medical issues that I hadn't yet revealed. Not counting my fun reaction to percocet. Tripped out nightmares, waking up thinking someone had told me to pump breastmilk or that the nurse taking care of me in the postpartum ward was trying to steal Andrew, etc. When I hit a crying jag and a depression spiral that I just couldn't get out of, my mother realized what was happening and switched me to vicadin. But now I'm off all pain killers, except for the occasional motrin. And the antibiotics finished up yesterday, so I'm back to just taking fiber and multivitamins. Yay, no more extensive pharmacy on my nightstand.

The good news from this, though, is that Drew has managed to charm the entire medical facility and bring smiles to lost of various patients in the ER and such. Not hard to imagine why, he's such a cute little guy.

Friday, October 21, 2005


Yes, the Birth of Andrew itself was quite a process, requiring a long, intense post. The Recovery from the Birth of Andrew requires one as well. Momma and Drew really worked hard at the breastfeeding thing while recovering in the hospital, but the little tyke still lost 14% of his birthweight by the time we went home. This was on a colostrum diet, not actual breastmilk, though, so the docs weren't really worried. Plus, Drew wasn't too jaundiced, so home we went. And within a couple of days of feeding on actual breastmilk, Drew was starting to put on the ounces. That's about the time that Momma's health took a dive. Spiked a fever, intense abdominal pain, fun.

Out to the ER we went on the coldest, rainiest night of the fall, with Andrew all bundled up. He was the hit of the ER, charming everyone, male and female. Momma, however, was stashed in a room and ignored as she wasn't a heart attack or head wound (I do understand triage, and I don't blame the ER staff a bit) until she started all but screaming in pain. That got everyone moving. And that also brought the needles. The ER guy was a pro, though. Stuck me on the first try on my wrist to get both the blood he needed and my IV set up. Even with my husband and son in the room with me, I was about ready to kiss that guy.

Several hours and a CT scan later, the pain was manageable thanks to some drugs, and it was revealed that I had a hematoma around my c-section incision. That and they were fairly certain I had endometritus (uterine infection). To make sure that I wasn't also harboring a blood infection, they needed more blood. A LOT more blood. Four techs and six sticks later, they got it, and I received several more colorful bruises on the backs of my hands. Then they ran some antibiotics through my IV to start fighting the infection and sent me on my way.

A couple days later, the doc said the hematoma was rather normal, that most patients got them after similar surgery, that the body would reabsorb the blood, that I just needed to take it easy and let the antibiotics fight the infection and my body do its thing. Then I felt really good the next day and decided "taking it easy" could involve moving around the house for an hour or so, getting things put away from the hospital visit and cleaned up a little for my mother's visit. That night I noticed that my incision from the c-section had started to bleed. Back to the doctor we went the next day, my mother in tow fresh off the plane. Doc opened the incision a little more and packed some gauze in the sucker. Turns out the hematoma would rather bleed out through my incision instead of reabsorb into my body like a nice pool of blood.

A few more days and another trip to the ER later, and about two-thirds to three-quarters of my incision has been opened up, cleaned out, and is packed regularly with silver nitrate and gauze. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, I have an open wound on my abdomen. Right now I'm very happy about the extra belly flab hanging around that prevents me from seeing the damn thing, although it's nice that the belly has diminished enough that I can now see my knees and feet (and, man, is it ever so nice to no longer have horribly swollen feet and ankles). We're thinking that the hematoma was fairly severe due to all the effort needed to pull my darling son from my body and that my bout of activity just sort of helped it get going with what it was going to do anyway. I go to the doctor's once a week for checkups on the thing, and a wound care specialist visits me three days a week for expert cleaning, packing, and dressing. I'm only allowed to shower just before her visits. It's not too painful, though, which is nice. Just some occasional stinging and pulling at the skin that's uncomfy. I'm just hoping that the rest of the incision remains sealed and doesn't zipper open like the doc and the wound care nurse think it will. It's not necessarily a bad thing if it opens all the way, just means more wound to clean and pack. But it would be nice to give my body some sort of victory in this.

The doc won't let me go back to work until the wound is completely healed. So my return date for work is up in the air again, pending the progress of my healing. The good news in that is that I can stay at home with Andrew on disability pay for as long as the doc says I still need healing time. The bad news is pretty simple: who wants to take a long time to heal from anything, let alone an open wound in the abdominal region?

So that's been my life since Andrew showed up (minus one other health issue that I'll reserve for another post once I get more info on it; you didn't expect the health fun to stop with just a flesh wound, did you?). Again I say, he's worth it. I'm not the happiest camper to be going through this experience, and believe me when I say it's pretty rare. But all I have to do is hold my little guy and things feel better.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

The Laborious Details

He's worth it. "It" being the craziness of the entire pregnancy and the insanity of the past couple weeks, and I'm talkin' 'bout more than just midnight feedings and poopy diapers. You didn't think that my health issues would end with the delivery, did you? But that's another post. This is for the story of how Andrew decided to make his entrance. Be forewarned: this post is long and may be a bit too, um, detailed for the faint of heart.

So the previous post indicated he came by way of c-section, which was something we weren't planning certainly and hadn't expected. As I mentioned before, they gave me some prostaglandins sometime between 4 and 5 PM on Monday, October 3 to officially start labor for me. This was after getting stuck with various and sundry needles eight times in an attempt to get my IV hooked up and some blood drawn. It took a seriously gifted anesthesiologist to get the IV in me, and even he wasn't able to do it in a way to get some blood from me before hand. In the end, they had to settle for a finger lancet to do the couple of tests and wait until I had my epidural in later so they could draw from an ankle vein for the test that needed more blood. Eight times, and you should have seen the blood bruises all over the backs of my hands. It was probably the worst part of the entire delivery experience, and that's really, really saying something.

Anyway, those prostaglandins did get some contractions going, but they weren't patterned and they weren't doing much by way of dilation. So after a few hours of that, they hooked me up to a pitocin drip, and THAT got the contractions going. It also pissed off Andrew. So they turned the pitocin off and decided to break my water. That got contractions going, too, but by then it was after midnight, and I was still only 2 or 3 cm.

Also by this point, Drew had made it very clear that he only wanted me in bed on my left side or else his heart rate would do funky things and my blood pressure would skyrocket. This annoyed me because I couldn't manage the labor pains in that position. Not because the labor pains were all that bad. Seriously. Pain with the sort of purpose that labor has isn't so difficult to bear. But the friggin' hip pain that had plagued me for the last month of my pregnancy was still with me. So I would get through the contractions only to find myself having to deal with another sort of pain, one that had no purpose. And they wanted me to sleep and prep for a fun-filled day of serious labor. On came the drugs. Just a narcotic to ease the pain and help me sleep.

Well, the sleep was good, but it also stopped the contractions that had started due to breaking my water. Back to the pitocin drip we went, which didn't bother Andrew as long as I was in bed, on my left side. After a few hours of that, I was ready for the epidural. Again, not so much because of the contractions--which, don't get me wrong, were no picnic--but because of that damn hip pain. That amazing anesthesiologist who managed to get the IV going also did my epidural. Process took five minutes or so and, beyond some funky sensations, didn't hurt a bit. Bye-bye hip pain. And anything else bothering me below my belly button. The epidural also relaxed me enough that I went from 5.5 cm to 10 cm in two hours. That's when we started to push. Things got even more interesting after that.

My son is quite gifted at doing things in not quite a usual fashion. Takes after his Momma that way. Takes after her very well. After an hour and half of intermittent pushing attempts, the doctor came in and said that the kid wasn't going to come naturally. Not enough room, apparently. Anyone who's seen my hips can now pick their chins up off the floor. This was a natural assumption for the doctor, the likeliest of reasons that little Drew's head wasn't coming down any farther in the birth canal despite his mother's very good pushing. We found out in surgery that the doctor's first thought wasn't right.

The worst two hours I was in labor were spent anticipating the c-section. Neither Mark nor I had wanted one, and I was a decent bit terrified. I don't think my pulse got down below 140 during the waiting time. And my stomach couldn't seem to figure out if it wanted to turn itself inside out or just leave my body all together. The nice anesthesiologist gave me more fun drugs, Mark got all scrubbed up, and off we went to the surgery room.

It is a remarkably strange sensation to be awake during major surgery. I didn't feel any pain, but I sure as heck felt the tugging and pressure of being worked on. The proper word to describe this is again "funky". Once they got me open (and it was entertaining to watch Mark battle between curiosity and blood ickiness; kept standing up to see what they were doing and immediately sitting back down with a nauseated look on his face), the doctor realized that Drew had plenty of room to come out naturally. He had just decided to turn his head at an odd angle on the way out and got himself good and wedged inside me. Yup, the kid was stuck. And I'm not talking "he's a baby with limited space and can't twist his way free" stuck. I'm talking "break out the jaws of life and call in for reinforcements" stuck. He had himself so wedged in me that he bruised the crown of his head and his ear. I had thought the sensations of feeling but not feeling surgery was the pinnacle of strangeness for my labor experience. Nope. Hearing two doctors grunt and strain to remove the child from inside you, THAT'S the pinnacle of strangeness. I kept wanting to say, "Hey, easy down there. That's my SON you're tugging on."

But after much pulling and oofing and various other coaxing techniques, Andrew was free at last and squawking to the world about it. Daddy got to hang out with him through all the fun first few minutes of his life while Momma lay flat on her back so the docs could put her back together after all that. I got about a minute of face time with Drew (and it was only his face, and not even all of it, that I could see through the masses of blankets around him) before he and Daddy were whisked away for more baby care (bathing, tests, eye goop, etc). And because I was the third c-section of the day, there was no room for me in the L&D recovery area, where I could be there for all his first hour or so of life as well, I was wheeled down to emergency op recovery. They took good care of me there, and the blessed nurse gave me ice chips and water, an act that qualified her for sainthood by that time for me.

Finally, I made it back up to the Postpartum ward, where my husband and son waited for me. Andrew slept with me in the bed that night on a pillow by my side with my arm around him. Best night of my life.

From injection of the prostaglandins to Drew's forced extraction from my womb, my labor lasted about 24 hours. And the contractions and pushing were the easiest parts of the entire experience. Never thought I'd be saying that. A lot happened to get to that point of Drew's first squawk. And the fun didn't stop there, of course. But he's worth it. Look at that picture. Of course he's worth it. More pictures can be found here.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Drew's Here!

Mark posting here (hello!). Kellie had a C-section yesterday, so she's not as mobile as she was before. Here are the official stats:

Andrew Thomas was born on 10/04/05 at 5:00 PM. He is 7 lbs. 1 oz. and 19.5 inches long. Mom and baby are both healthy and recovering well. Stay tuned for a full Labor & Delivery report once Kellie is closer to normal strength.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Andrew in Progress

Went in for my due date check-up this morning. Still had high blood pressure, but this time the amniotic fluid levels were on the low side. Doc decided might as well induce. That was at 11:30 this morning. Right now, I'm three hours into a prostaglandin treatment and experiencing contractions that hopefully are taking me from the 2cm I was this morning into something more productive. No idea how long this will take or how much more "fun" it's going to get. So far, the worst part about this experience was getting an IV in me and taking some blood. My veins haven't been cooperating for the past three weeks. I got stuck eight times today in order to get the blood and the IV going. Didn't enjoy it.

Well, this here 'puter is the only one for L&D, so I'm going to hop back off. Wish me luck, say a prayer, and think happy birthing thoughts. The next post will be Drew's big announcement.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Fate Wasn't Tempted

We thought we'd be smart and tempt fate this weekend. Made plans to see Serenity last night, figuring Drew and Murphy would conspire to make my water break half-way through the flick. Nope. Which is OK, because I really wanted to see all the movie and I got to. Excellent, excellent flick, by the way. Go. See. Now.

So, still no Andrew. And our clever ruses to get him out don't seem to be working. Annoying little runt. Let's come out soon, kid. Daddy and I are getting a might bit impatient.