Google Analytics (invisible)

Friday, January 30, 2009

19.5 week belly picture

By popular demand... ok, demanded by Stacie (but I know more of you want to see, even if you haven't realized it yet), I finally got around to getting a profile picture. Here I am at 19.5 weeks (or almost 5 months for people who don't measure time in weeks. :) )

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Holistic decisions

As expected, baby stuff is often the foremost thing on my mind right now. Specifically, I have started thinking a lot about where I stand on the line of holistic to modern convenience. Typically I'm a rather holistic person. I'm not extreme by any means. But I do have holistic tendencies. I try to eat healthy and I try to conserve where possible. I tend to avoid medications where possible and much prefer to treat the cause, not the symptom. I have lost a lot of faith in general practitioner doctors who a) can never actually figure out what's wrong with me and thus b) always prescribe medication to treat symptoms. I'm most annoyed when they prescribe things like Lortab when Ibuprofen is sufficient to treat the pain. Anyway... that's another story. Point is, I tend towards the holistic side of things.

Now I have to decide if I want to be holistic in birth and parenting. The most pressing question on my mind is epidural or not. My gut instinct is to not have an epidural. I want the least amount of medications in myself and affecting my baby as possible. I firmly believe that the female body was designed for childbirth and that I am completely capable of handling the pain that accompanies it. I asked my sister, Jalin, mother of 5, what she did. She had an epidural with the first, because the contractions were coming one on top of the other and she never had time to relax enough to prepare her body for labor. After that, she never had an epidural and prefers it that way. She prefers to be able to feel what is happening, instead of just pushing when someone tells her to push.

On the other hand, I'm not exactly a fan of pain. The most convincing argument I've heard for an epidural is, "People went to the dentist for hundreds of years without anesthetic. Would you go without it now just because it can be done?"

My next dilemma is my doctor. I have an OB/GYN right now. But do I really want an OB/GYN? Or do I want a midwife? Don't worry, I'm talking about a Certified Midwife... preferably one that is associated with a hospital. I like my OB/GYN well enough, but I don't feel overly comfortable talking to him. The thought of bringing up my holistic questions with him just doesn't seem all that appealing to me. I like the stigma that midwives carry of being more involved and more of a friend than just a doctor. Also, the simple fact that they're a midwife makes me more comfortable bringing up holistic concerns. But do I really want to change doctors at 20 weeks?

Then there are parenting things. The wife of a guy I went to school with, Thora (yes, I'm a blog lurker), blogged about co-sleeping. I had never actually thought about this idea, so I spent the day doing research on the pros and cons of it. The pros sounded quite convincing, but the cons made me a little leery. But then I found this co-sleeping bassinet that quite intrigued me. It's basically a bassinet with one wall that comes down so that the baby can sleep right next to the bed and keep the close proximity and all the benefits that come with it, but also keeps the baby in a baby-safe bed that reduces the risk of suffocation that is possible with modern bedding. Another great benefit of this is the idea that we can stay in our current apartment for awhile longer, which is nice because it's a really great deal price-wise, and we can save more money to buy a house in the future. Also, we love the area, the ward, etc.

And then there are things like cloth diapers. Which, let's be honest, I want to at least try, but will never do it until I have a washer and dryer in house.

I know I don't have to decide on all of this right away, and I'm not super stressed about such decisions quite yet, but they are all things that are running through my mind, demanding research from me now so that I can make an educated decision later.

I'm also quite aware that many of you are reading this blog right now with wide eyes, a dropped jaw, and thinking, "This woman is crazy!" Trust me, I know I'm in the minority. I've already had several people express the opinion that to not get an epidural or to keep the baby in my bedroom is the result of pure insanity. In fact, I think that's what's caused me to not give this serious thought sooner. I have my own opinions on things, but I also tend to bend under peer pressure. I've chosen an OB/GYN, seriously considered an epidural, and have been spending a lot of time investigating two-bedroom apartments not because I feel they are necessary, but because everyone around me thinks they are. Today I'm kind of in the mood to make decisions based on what I feel good about. I'm in the mood to disregard what everyone else thinks, grow a spine, and do what just feels right. I know this feeling isn't gonna last forever. I know peer pressure is going press down upon me again and make me reconsider. I already made BJ promise me that if I decide to do things holistically (and that he is not opposed to said decisions, of course) that he will support me when things get tough and remind me that popularity isn't everything.

So, dear readers, I would love your comments on such things, esp. recommendations for midwives in the Provo/Orem area if you have them. I would love to know what you think. But I do request that if you're entirely negative to any of these approaches and have no support to give to my decisions (if they end up being holistic), please keep them to yourself.

Monday, January 26, 2009

2 weeks of hospital fun

I mentioned in a previous post that Jess got out of ICU and got a comment wondering what happened to Jess. Unfortunately, the commenter refused to be named, so I couldn't give the person details. I've been meaning to blog about Jess, but my life has become rather busy due to adding almost daily hospital visits to my already busy schedule (at the beginning staying all day at the hospital) and long blogs just didn't seem to take a priority. So here we go. The whole fun story.

(First, I apologize for the length of this blog. If you don't know Jess, or don't care for my love of details, you may skip it. For a more concise (and possibly more detailed in parts) description, you can see her boyfriend, Kyle's blog. Second, if you haven't heard anything about this, and should have, please don't hate me. I've been contacting so many people over the last two weeks that I am having a hard time remembering who I've contacted and who I haven't. My focus has been on Jess, not you.)

Beginning of January, Jess came down with a sore throat. I also had a cold, but I can honestly say I didn't give her anything, because I was still in Idaho and she was in Utah and we hadn't seen each other in weeks. I suggested gargling with warm salt water, because that always fixes my sore throats, and to my amazement, she agreed. And to my more amazement, it didn't work.

The pain continued and worsened, so on January 6 (Tuesday), she went to the Urgent Care. They did a quick strep test which came back negative, so they told her it was viral and there was nothing they could do. Just go home and wait it out. So she did. By Monday (Jan 12), the pain had mostly subsided, but her throat had swollen to the point that she could barely eat, and what she could manage to get down, she threw up. They made another trip to Urgent Care. Urgent Care agreed that it looked suspicious and sent her in for a cat scan at the Orem hospital. The result? An abscess in her throat, in front of the spine and behind the wall of the throat, the likes of which the doctor said one would see maybe once his entire career. Apparently this was quite large.

They sent her to the Provo ER where BJ and I met up with her and Kyle. It kind of scared me to walk into her room and see her laying on a bed with techs on either side of her, drawing blood out of her hands. (They were trying to get cultures to determine what caused the infection.) We all crammed inside this tiny room (at one point BJ ended up behind the door with the Anesthesioligist leaning up against the door, not knowing BJ was there) with more and more people gathering by the minute. Before we knew it, there was a whole team of doctors and nurses outside the door, waiting to escort her to surgery. Dr. Gibb, her ENT surgeon, comforted us with words like, "This is a life-threatening abscess" and "This is a true emergency." We all felt much better after that.

They whisked Jess off to the OR while Kyle, BJ and I sat in the waiting room... waiting. It took longer than they had predicted, but that gave us enough time to get Kyle hooked on Dice Wars. After about an hour and a half, they came in to report that the surgery was successful. They had drained about 200 cc of puss out of her throat! Yipes!

While we waited, Kyle had gone and purchased the most gorgeous roses and lilies to have waiting for her when she got out. We went with as they wheeled Jess to ICU and watched as her heart rate went up 10 beats when she looked at them. We're not sure if it's because of the flowers or the person holding the flowers, but either way, that moment was worth finding out that he couldn't take the flowers into ICU.

We were all well-pleased to learn that the surgery went so well that she didn't have to have a breathing tube. They had warned us that the chances would be great. She was greatly irritated that she couldn't drink any water as her throat was quite parched, but due to the anesthetics still in her system, they couldn't risk it. Instead we got to give her ice chips and sponges soaked in water far less often then she wanted. Yes, after all of our care, she still called us jerkfaces. :)

They had her on a monitor that measured all sorts of things, the most annoying for her was the measure of how deep she was breathing. She was breathing so shallowly that it would often think she wasn't breathing and would set off alarms. So we sat in there talking to her and watching the monitor, telling her to breathe ever 5 mins or so. I'm sure she was ready to kick us out by the time we finally left.

Next morning Kyle had class, so I met her at ICU around 9, just in time to help her move to her own room up on the 6th floor. A room that was ridiculously small. By this point she had an IV and oxygen and drainage tubes in her throat, so we felt pretty lucky. (Well, maybe she didn't, but the rest of us were.) She started having bad reactions to the new pain meds (she has forever sworn off Lortab and Percocet, which both caused her to have hallucinations whenever she closed her eyes and also made her really hot and sweaty, without actually raising her body temperature. I sat next to her all day, tickling her arm and telling her stories to distract her. Even I, master storyteller, quickly ran dry of stories. I finally settled to gossiping about other people's love lives. (My lack of stories were helped by the fact that I lived with Jess for over 4 years and have been good friends with her for almost 5, so she knows most of my stories.) They finally settled on Darvocet which caused lesser versions of the previous sympotms and actually caused a fever. (Though, now we don't think that was the cause of the fever, but I'm getting ahead of myself.) It also didn't last as long, so they gave her Morphine in between doses of Darvocet.

By Wednesday she was doing a lot better and was even up to visitors. She was sounding so great and was so alert that we were all confident that by Thursday, she'd be released. We were all very happy. And very naïve. Thursday morning they checked her white blood count to find it was at 44,000. Normal is 11,000. They took her down for another cat scan (after interrupting her breakfast and starving her for the rest of the day) which came back with some very scary news. Well, first the good news. The left side of her throat, which is where she had the first surgery, was healing wonderfully. Now the scary news. The infection had spread to the right side of her throat and into her medial cavity (her chest, down by her heart). More surgery.

Up through this point, I had been calling her parents several times a day to keep them updated on her progress. This was a very hard phone call to make. After we had seen her down to her second emergency surgery in a week, I called her mom from the waiting room. It was decided that she would fly out the next day. This was an exhausting wait. We were given an estimate of 2 hours (admittedly from a nurse who didn't know anything), so 2 hours later, Kyle called to see how surgery was going. It was going well and they estimated two more hours. So we waited. And waited. After two hours, Kyle called again. They had finished the throat and right side of her chest (which was the scariest part) and were just starting on the left side of her chest. Two more hours. 6 hours hours of surgery! By this point, my baby was screaming for food, so I drove home and fed BJ and I, then we drove back to the hospital where Jess was being prepped in ICU. We waited with Kyle until they finally let us in.

This was probably the hardest hour of the entire visit. We had been told that she was having a Thoracotomy and a VATS, which Wikipedia told us (and Jess' ER-doctor-brother and also her ICU nurse confirmed) was listed in the top 3 most painful surgeries to recover from. Before they let us into her room, they warned us that she had a lot of tubes and wires. They weren't kidding. Later I think we counted 12 tubes (including a catheter and IV). This time she wasn't so lucky and had a breathing tube. Usually for this kind of surgery, they give an epidural for the pain, but because of the infection, they couldn't. Instead they had her on the highest dose of sedative that they could (which the nurse told us, for a girl Jess' size, was a lot), and a constant morphine drip. Because of it, Jess wasn't asleep, but was super relaxed and out of it. Problem is, the more stimulation we gave her by touching her and talking to her, the more alert she became. The more alert she became, the more pain she felt. She would grimace around her breathing tube and had such a look of pain that it broke my heart. We told the nurse who kindly told us that if we wanted to help her feel better, we would leave. So we did. It was the kind of sight that really just brought a person to tears. It killed me to see her like that.

Next day she was much more alert, but still under a lot of sedatives and morphine (though they had greatly lowered the dose) so she was in a constant half-asleep phase. We spent a lot of our time reading to her (we were all out of distracting stories) and over the next several days read Tales of Beedle the Bard several times until she was finally alert enough to remember it all.

Because of the breathing tube, she couldn't talk, so she would write for us and finger spell. Both of which were quite comical (to us) because of all the sedation and because she couldn't see (she couldn't wear her glasses). Half of the time her fingers wouldn't quite make the letter or when she was writing, she'd write without moving her pen to the right... just write letter over letter. Or she'd write really small. Or so lightly that you couldn't read it. It would frustrate her whenever we asked her to write something again (which lessened the entertainment factor greatly), but somehow, we pulled through it. Luckily, she doesn't remember much from this day or the night before now.

In the afternoon I went up to the airport and picked up her mom and brought her back. It was really nice for her to have her mom there, fresh with new stories and distractions. It also gave a new voice to read stories to her. We started Artemis Fowl (which also got read twice) which was nice for more distraction.

This marks the point where my interaction at the hospital drops dramatically. See, I got a cold around New Years which refused to die. By that point, it was mostly just the cough that lingered, otherwise I was fine, but by the night that her mom got there, I had to leave the room 2-3 times to have a coughing fit. Jess' nurse grew concerned and cornered me about it. That night I couldn't sleep much because I kept waking up coughing. The next morning it was decided that the ICU probably wouldn't (and shouldn't) let me in, so I spent the remainder of the weekend getting updates via phone and chat. It was miserable. (I'm sure my misery holds a candle to Jess' and should make it in. Heck, it is my blog, y'know.) So, from this point on, details diminsh greatly. (Which you're all probably grateful for, since this is so long already.)

I made it in Monday evening for a few hours and was very happy to see her doing so much better. They had taken her breathing tube out the day after her mom got there, which helped her spirits immensely. She was also a lot more alert and actually remembering things. (The day after her second surgery, she kept asking where she was, what time her surgery was (thinking that she still had to go into surgery, and told me about 3 times that Mike (our boss) had come to visit, even though that visit was two days earlier.) It was very comforting. The doctors and nurses were all impressed at how fast she was recovering, and were just trying to stay on top of the pain.

They finally moved her to her own room on the 5th floor (which, if possible, was smaller than her last recovery room). With her mom and Kyle there all day every day, I started to actually go into work (I had been working from the hospital) and trying to catch up on everything that had been put on hold. It was a very trying time for me. I had been Jess' mom and caretaker for the past 5 years as she went through all her medical emergencies and I was having to give up my baby to her real mom and her boyfriend. Both of which were doing an excellent job without me. It was hard to face the fact that she didn't need me 24-7 anymore and that she was still in excellent care. On top of that, there was the fact that 3 was, quite literally, a crowd. (We won't mention that at times, we had 5 of us, plus nurses (and of course, Jess) in that tiny room. I felt like we were clowns in a car... how many can we fit?) So I distracted myself in productivity at work and home to make up for my longing to spend all day with Jess (and guilt for not doing so).

By Friday they had removed all her drainage tubes except one on her right side and had put in a PICC line, and then she still had oxygen. It was quite the drastic improvement to ICU. Oh, also, they took her off morphine, which was fun for her the next day. She also got her first shower in weeks that day, which I'm sure we can all agree had to be the highlight of her stay. Well... besides the day that she started eating solid foods (and anything she wanted) a couple of days before and finally got her coveted vanilla malt that she had been craving since the beginning.

By Sunday (yesterday) they had removed all the drainage tubes and finished off the antibiotics... which brings us to today...


I am so very excited and grateful for this. Two weeks ago today was her first surgery. 2 weeks in the hospital. I found out today that the doctor had given her a 50/50 chance of living when he found out the kind of bacteria they were dealing with (Fusobacterium). And after the second surgery, he told Kyle (who conveniently didn't tell anyone else) that he only gave Jess a 75% chance of making it. God has truly blessed us to not only let Jess survive, but to let her recover as quickly as she did. We're also so very grateful for the caring of everyone else around us. Thank you everyone for your kindess, support and generosity through this whole thing. You'll never know how much of an effect you've had on Jess and on those of us helping her. This is truly a testimony of how wonderful of people we are constantly surrounded by. Thank you so much.

So for our last update, the doctor told her it would still be 2-3 weeks before she was back on her feet, so she's not recovered yet, but she is feeling a lot better. She's now back to checking email, so you can contact her that way, and she'd still love visitors at her house. (I suggest late afternoon/evening hours.) Hopefully the next two weeks go by a lot faster with a lot less stress than the past two. :)

We love you, Jess!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Perfection or death

I love the people I work with. The missionary couple in Hawaii in particular have a way of making me laugh and feel great about myself. The other day I made a huge mistake that took 10 minutes to do and 5-6 hours and 3 people to undo. It was with their collection. I sent them an email letting them know what happened, so if they ran into little problems, that's why and to let me know. Their response?

"As I understand from my wife when she was pregnant, that in spite of cravings, raging hormones, and an occasional mind cramp - pregnant women are perfect in every way and death results for those who might hint as a disagreement with that conclusion. Hence, I will not buy into the idea that an error was made by you at the delicate time but that those evil gremlins housed in the computer acted up in a fit of jealousy over the work of one of the perfect women at this time."

They are not allowed to leave. :)

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Today I...

  • Made a really stupid mistake at work that took 10 minutes to do and 5-6 hours and 3 people to undo.
  • Begged Jessica to come back to work.
  • Watched a fairy godmother's wand actually work!
  • Rejoiced at Jess being moved out of ICU.
  • Found out that "hospital visits are gaseous—they expand to fill all available space." - BJ
  • Popped out part of my filling while flossing.  (I'm hoping it's a non-essential part that was just waiting to come off.)
  • Ate a strawberry shake, even though I was freezing cold.
  • Wished my niece a happy 11th birthday.  (Yipes!  Time flies!)
  • Seriously considered taking a nap under my desk at work.
  • Got in trouble for not looking pregnant.  (So I'm 18 weeks along and have gained little to no weight.  Not my fault!  For the record, I can't fit into my pants anymore.  (Thanks, Kim, for letting me borrow yours!))
  • Celebrated with BJ on his awesome GRE scores.
  • Got officially told at work that I need to grow a spine.  (Ok, my words.  But that's what they were trying to say; I'm sure of it.)
  • Got paid to watch Obama's inauguration.  Well... parts anyway.  Whenever the internet video wasn't trying to render.  Again.
  • Laughed at the fact that CNN paired up with Facebook to provide the live feed of the inauguration.
  • Stayed up far too late writing this post when I have desperately wanted sleep all day long.  Silly Tianna.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

It's a New Year Miracle!

Today I went to cook dinner for the first time since getting home ... and I liked it. I wasn't nauseous; I wasn't super tired; I wasn't dizzy. I actually enjoyed cooking dinner. Part of me wished I had gone grocery shopping already so I could make something more than Pasta-Roni and frozen vegetables. Weird.

It's nice to remember that I actually do like to cook. I was starting to think I was never going to want to do it again. Huzzay for the second trimester!

Friday, January 2, 2009

The Best Christmas Present EVAR

This was my favorite movie as a child. Apparently it was purchased for me as a Christmas gift two years ago, but only given to me today. It was worth the wait, my friends. (Even if I didn't know I was waiting.) I watched it today and the magic and joy of my childhood came back. I am very content and happy. Giddy, even.

"That's the way the cookie kingdom crumbles. Hahaha... little joke."