Monday, June 27, 2011

Adam's Entry

I feel like today is the day to write this story because it was a week ago tonight that it all happened, or began. This is going to be long and maybe somewhat graphic, but I want all the details recorded for history.

Last Monday night, June 20th, I packed up the family after dinner and herded us out the door to the Orem Owlz' (minor league baseball) opening game of the season. We met my brothers, Tim and Jason, there. It was packed. It was opening night and we have season passes along with half of Utah County to Seven Peaks and included in those passes are baseball tickets. So, we were there with half the Utah world.

It was fun-we were having a good time. Sitting on blankets in the grass on a beautiful summer evening. We ate pizza, sang "take me out to the ball game" and overall were enjoying the night. I think it must have been during the bottom of the 7th or beginning of the 8th that I started to get a killer headache. And I do mean killer. I have never had a headache quite like that. I tried laying down, it didn't help. I got up and walked to the bathroom-still felt awful and noticed that my heart beat seemed really slow, almost non existent.

I walked back to my family and told Josh I thought I better head home and I didn't think I should drive myself. Jason agreed to stay to the end of the game for the fireworks and *running the bases* that my boys were counting on. He said we could take his car and he would take ours when the game was done.

So, we headed into the UVU parking lot in search of Jason's car. In the meantime I started feeling worse and worse. Finally I told Josh that I had to find a bathroom-we found one in the UVU library where I lost a lot of bodily fluids, but I will spare you that detail. Back to the parking lot, back to the bathroom. I was feeling awful.

Finally we found Jason's car and headed to the hospital. By this time the game had ended and hoards were pouring out of the stadium. Luckily traffic didn't get too bad too fast. I would have called an ambulance right then and there if it did.

We drove to the hospital-only about 10 minutes away. By the time we got there I felt quite a bit better. We walked in and I sheepishly announced that I didn't think I should be there, but that I had been feeling "not right" and thought it best to come get checked out.

They reassured me that I was doing the right thing. This was about 10:30 pm. They got me in a lovely hospital gown, hooked me to monitors, etc. Tested my blood pressure and said it was really high. 180 over 100 or something. Yikes! They drew blood, took urine samples, all that fun stuff and called the Dr.

In the meantime I was having severe back and rib pain. They wouldn't give me anything for it for a while because they didn't want to mask symptoms, so it was really painful. I was also having lots and lots of contractions, though not painful ones.

They started giving me medication to lower my blood pressure and monitored it closely. The medication didn't seem to be helping really at all. They mentioned that there was just trace protein in my urine which is a sign of high blood pressure, but it wasn't too severe at that point. They also took blood and noticed that my liver enzymes were a little high.

The doctor showed up at some point and assessed me. They continued to give me more blood pressure meds which continued to not make too much difference.

Finally they dropped the must have this baby tonight. After a little bit of shock, I said, "ok, let's go for it. When can I get some drugs?" My back was still killing me.

They started pitocin around 1:00 a.m. and also gave me fentenal. Pitocin, yuck. Fentenal, heaven. The room started spinning and I felt BETTER. For about 30 minutes. Then the back pain started again. They gave me more and it helped again for about 30 minutes.

Contractions started with the pitocin but nothing major. Still not painful. However, Josh and I were smart enough to recognize the sound of the baby's heart rate dropping on the audible monitor significantly several times.

The Dr. came in after a while and said the baby wasn't doing well with his heart rate and it was time to start considering a c-section. They waited a while to monitor the heart rate, but again, we could hear it dropping and we were getting nervous. And my blood pressure still wasn't much better.

This part is really cool-the Dr. (name Douglas Allen by the way. That's my brother's name.) sat down at the side of my bed and said "I like to follow mother's instincts. What are your thoughts at this point?" I appreciated that he asked. I told him I felt like this was going to end up in a c-section either way and I wanted to get the baby out while he was still safe.

Dr. agreed and they started the prep for surgery. This was about 3:00 a.m. (Boy, time was going by so fast.)

At 3:23 they began the c-section. This is the part I hate. I COULD NOT stop shaking. And I mean shaking like I was having a seizure shaking. I was SO nervous, plus they say the meds can do that to you. They had him out by 3:32.

I heard his tiny cry. And all of a sudden a wave of happiness and peace washed over me and it was all worth it. I couldn't stop calling "I love you! I love you!" to him from across the room. I needed this moment so badly. I needed to remember why I was doing this. They cleaned him up and checked him (the neonatal NICU team was there). Don't forget, if I haven't mentioned it, he was a preemie.

So, he was born at 3:32 a.m. via c-section on June 21st. I think it is fantastic that his birthday is Summer Solstice. He weighed just 4 pounds, 12 ounces.

Unfortunately, after bringing him over to meet me for just a minute, which was one of the best moments of my life and one I will never forget (he seemed like he recognized my voice instantly and was so peaceful and so sweet and I kissed his warm little cheek), they took him off to the NICU. Along with Josh.

So, there I was on that operating table for the next HOUR getting sewn up. To the sound of "am I doing this right?" and "no, not quite like that" from the Dr. who was teaching the nurse midwife how to stitch up a c-section. In the meantime I was STILL shaking so badly I could hardly stand it. This honestly was probably the worst hour of my life. The anesthesiologist was with me the whole time and he was very comforting and sweet. That was nice.

Finally, at 4:30 they took me back to my room. I was still shaking and couldn't move my legs at all. But within about an hour and a half the shaking stopped, I could move my legs and I the pain meds had kicked in. They gave me Benadryl for itching (apparently a side effect of a spinal?) and I went to sleep.

At some point that morning they moved me to my recovery room where I was to stay for the duration of the week.

I felt pretty good from this point on. They gave me all sorts of pain meds including the Benadryl for itching which totally knocked me out and made me loopy, but also helped calm me. I know that I sounded horrible to anyone who talked to me that day. I felt better than I sounded, just drugged. I promise.

Finally about 7:00 or 8:00 that night they took me to see my baby for the "first" second time. I guess the momentary meeting in the OR counted, but barely. I held him for a while but really, I was so drugged it wasn't much of any good meeting. The bigger boys came to visit me and I fear I scared them to death because I could hardly keep my eyes open from the drugs. Ugh.

Wednesday morning I felt amazingly better. Nurses and doctors kept insisting that I needed not 1 but 2 percosets, so I complied, but really, I felt no worse than after a regular delivery. I really felt pretty great!

Then my Dr. came in and mentioned that they had tested my blood and found that my platelets were LOW-really low and my liver enzymes were really high. I had something called HELLP associated with pre-eclampsia. Basically, the Dr. said, I was a VERY sick woman and it is a VERY good thing they got the baby out when they did. This freaked me out a little.

He said that he believed my platelets were probably at their lowest point on Tuesday, but not knowing it was an issue, they hadn't checked them. But on Wednesday they were very low. He assumed they were on the rise but couldn't be sure. Thursday they were better (medication helped), so that's good. They have climbed since.

Now let's discuss my incision. Of course I had a c-section incision and yes, it was a little bit sore, but not that bad. I noticed that every nurse who saw it gasped. At this point I started to learn why. I guess due to my low platelets I was bruising, very badly. Very badly.

If you were to see my incision (which you most certainly wouldn't want to-I don't even look at it at all if I can avoid it) you would see dark purple bruising in any direction within 6 inches of it. It is swollen like I am 6 months pregnant and horrifying. I kid you not, every nurse who saw it gaped. I had to reassure all of them that I feel a lot better than I look. It really didn't hurt all that much in the hospital. Since coming home it has been quite sore. But getting better.

In the hospital they continued to monitor my platelets and liver and give me medications to help regulate them. Luckily my incision stopped bleeding, because they did threaten to cut me back open and clean it out. Oh please don't let that happen.

I came home on Saturday. It was nice to be cared for in the hospital for so long.

As for Adam, he is in the special care nursery (not the NICU, not the regular, but somewhere in between). He has a feeding tube and is learning to eat on his own as well. I feed him every 6 hours and pump milk for him every 3. Yes, this does mean driving to the hospital frequently and since I am on percoset I can't drive myself. My mom is here and between her and Josh I get there every 6 hours, middle of the night included.

He just needs to learn to eat. Then he can come home. I can't wait to have him home. He is the sweetest little man in the world. When I show up to feed him he recognizes my voice and opens his mouth big for milk. I love him and I can't wait to hold him and hold him.

Sunday Nathan and Jack got to attend sibling hour and hold him for the first time. They adore him. They won't get to hold him again until next Sunday or until he comes home-whichever comes first.

Have I mentioned I love him?

A couple of other thoughts. I can't believe the overwhelming feelings of love and tender mercies during this. I am alive. I am alive perhaps because I received a prompting of the spirit to go to the hospital instead of home Monday night. Who knows what might have happened. I don't want to know. I am just really happy to be healthy at this point. I love the gift of the Holy Ghost.

People have done so much for us. In the last month we have needed so much help and it has come from all directions. My brother Jason stayed the night with the kiddos while I was at the hospital. (Oh and put together a dresser and went in the backyard and did some work on the landscaping projects, etc.) He is a gem of a person.

My mom flew in Tuesday night and has been taking care of the kids ever since. And cooking dinner and driving me to the hospital, etc. We literally couldn't do this without her.

Alex, my brother in law, came to help give me a blessing in the middle of the night when I was about to have the surgery. Such a simple act of service but it spoke volumes to me. Especially now that I know just how sick I was. In the blessing the only thing that stood out to me was the very first part: that this was an anticipated event. That the Lord knew it was coming. This was not unexpected. Interesting to think about.

Natalie, Josh's sister watched the kids all day Tuesday and we didn't have to worry a bit about them that day. So reassuring.

Tim showed up with ice cream.

Josh waits on me hand and foot.

Grandma and Grandpa Price brought me flowers.

I could go on and on. If you have served us, know that I recognize and appreciate it.

I think this is a "trial" but it doesn't feel like one. It feels like an amazing blessing. I am so grateful to see the Lord's hand in my life. I can't put into words all that I feel.

Last, we have some serious thinking and praying to do. We thought we still wanted at least one more child. I definitely didn't feel done. I think we need to reconsider. Between this episode and an ectopic pregnancy that could have killed me, perhaps it is time to be content with the 4 little men I have. I know the Lord will help us know what to do, but it is going to take a lot of thought and prayer.

In the meantime I am going to enjoy little Adam as much as I can. He might be my last.
I love life. I love family and I love the Lord.

Friday, June 24, 2011

22 Days

I better get this recorded somewhere. In the last 22 days in our family, we have:

Moved from CA to UT
Celebrated Nathan's Bday
Celebrated Jack's Bday
Baptized Nathan
Celebrated Josh's Bday
Celebrated Father's Day
Bought a new car
Unpacked and put together our house almost entirely
Bought a whole ton of new furniture for our new house
Installed blinds (well, MIL did that-thanks!)
Installed most of a sprinkler system in the backyard with the help of family
Had a baby premature along with some nice complications for mom
Been to 7 peaks water park twice
Trafalga 3 or 4 times (laser tag, mini golf, etc)
Made new friends in our ward
Nathan started Cub Scouts
Had 2 cases of hand, foot and mouth
4 people have had colds

I could probably go on and on. Are we insane? Yes. We are. Some of these things had to happen. Others, maybe not. Have we been happy and handled it well? For the most part. Have I been a perfect wife and mother? No. Have I been a beast? I don't think so. Not perfect, not horrible. Frankly, we have done fairly well.

But, as I was laying in my hospital bed late Wednesday night this week having what I call "hormonal thoughts" I had a new revelation. I need to stop treating my body as if it is invincible. Because it is not. I commit to this today. There is more to be said, much of it beautiful and touching and profound, at least it was to me late that night. We have been truly blessed this week. The Lord's hand has been very present in major ways and in small ways. And I will write about it soon. But for now, I am going to bed. Like a good, non invincible girl.