Tuesday, September 11, 2012

The Story of My Second C-Section

Just putting this out there, because I wanted to get something posted and my brain went blank, 

I really, really hate being awake for a surgery. Really, really hate it. Knock me out. I thought I'd be cool with it, I've had one before (Kittyboy, under general), I have no problems with needles or blood or anything, and Dr. Z had said that he was going to recheck my platelets right before, make sure we could do it with an epidural, because it's so much better for everyone, so I was aware there are really good reasons to not be out completely if you don't have to be. Among other things, if you're conscious, your uterus starts contracting afterward, which helps stop the bleeding. It's also better for the baby, the baby comes out more awake and so assessments of health are easier and quicker.
So I knew this already. Then they wheeled me into the OR, and I started freaking out. I think they had one nurse whose main job was "keep this mom from going psycho" because I don't think she did much other than rub my arms and tell me exactly what everyone was doing and try to get me talking about other things, and remind me about every five minutes that it really, really, really is better to have an epidural than general anesthetic when possible. Any time anyone asked if I wanted a hot towel or something (because I was shaking so hard), I told them to put me out, and they would say the same thing again about how much better it is for baby and mom to have them conscious. And then they'd put a hot towel on somewhere. It was really kind of funny, thinking back on it - "honey, you're shaking a lot, are you cold?" "Knock me out!!" "No, it really is better this way, and you can even see her afterward. You're doing fine. Here, have a hot towel!" The nurse rubbing my arms would say, "Okay, now she (the nurse behind me) is going to clean the site for the injection. So how old is your other child?" And I would think what the heck, why does it matter? "Uh, he's five, WHAT-IS-SHE-DOING-NOW?" I calmed down a little after they put up the big drape and I couldn't see much except blue - like blindfolding a horse, I suppose - and it was cool hearing her cry when she came out, and then the freakout-prevention nurse said since B was out, she COULD give me something small to make me a little calmer, I said YES!!! And being a drug wuss and sensitive to everything, I then passed out completely until I was being transferred back into my bed (but hey, I was certainly MUCH calmer). I don't know what my problem was, but between the idea of getting a shot in my back where I couldn't see it, and being awake for A SURGERY, I was a wreck. Husband was there and everything, I just couldn't stop shaking for some reason. BP while they were prepping was the highest it had ever gotten. Husband said later, after I told him about Freakout-Prevention Nurse and the shaking (which someone pointed out could have been me going into shock), that that must have been why it took them so long to bring him in. The nurse who gave him scrubs had said they'd be in for him in 15-20 minutes, after I was prepped. He says it was 45 and he was starting to think something was going wrong!
So there's the story!

Friday, August 31, 2012

Kittyboy playing at the mall

I had a homeschooling revelation today. There ARE social skills that are learned in school. But before you think I'm defending schools as necessary for social development, those skills are not exclusive to school. They're not learned in a classroom, hallway, or cafeteria. They are learned only in completely unstructured playtime - good old-fashioned recess. Yes, the part of school that is the first to get cut is the only place IN school where vital peer-to-peer social skills are really learned.
Kittyboy's social skills have been a tremendous concern of mine - mainly, I think, because mine were lacking (or, to be honest, nonexistent) until sometime in college. The older kids are, the more demanding, subtle, and instrutable they are, or such was my experience. To use a swimming analogy, I doggie-paddled along tolerably well until I changed schools in third grade, and sank like a stone. It was in college that I had friends solidly and consistently enough to suss out how that was supposed to work. I am living proof that just going to school does not teach social skills, or make you "normal".
And yet, you know that's everyone's first concern when you say you're homeschooling. And I would look at Kittyboy, who seemed to me to be immature for his age and just plain weird next to other kids, and I felt like I was showing off the stereotype of the weird, unsocialized homeschool kid who doesn't know how to play with others. I know he's only five, but I guess I just REALLY wanted to head off the socialization concerns at the pass. I know a family at church with five kids, homeschooling, and their kids are just the most well-socialized creatures on the face of the planet. It's an intimidating comparison.
So, we were at the Play Place in the mall today. It's a small area, ringed with benches, a playhouse, bridge, boat, car, and ambulance (it's sponsored by St. John's Children's Hospital), all made out of very dense foam, and with a wonderful springy foam floor. I have started TELLING Kittyboy things I would have expected him to intuit that he hasn't - such as, "And if someone tells you THEIR name, what do YOU say?" And the whole way to the bus today, I quizzed him. Exchanging names, asking someone to play, ideas for games to play, what to do when someone DOESN'T want to play with you... And, NOT to bring up imaginary friends when you are playing with real children. What is in your head, cannot be easily shared with others. It doesn't work. He and my five-year-old self both have rich and extensive imaginations. We play in our heads, and in our heads are contained whole universes requiring no one else. When I invited other girls to a birthday party - I think my seventh - my mother tells me I kept quietly asking her when they could leave, because I didn't know what to do with them. I only knew how to entertain myself, and that was all in my head. It was important to me that he not be trying to explain his "imaginary volcano friends", for example, to some kid who's never heard of Stromboli, at their first meeting. There's a time, and there's a place, you know?
To begin with, he ran about with his friend "Squeak", who is a year and a half, and then two moms with boys came. They were, I'm guessing, a year younger and some pounds lighter, and they were playing something that involved hitting and kicking - not hard, but Kittyboy is sturdy and strong and doesn't know when to quit, and I kept having to explain repeatedly that different mommies have different rules. THEIR mommies, who looked like sisters and I'm guessing the boys were cousins, were fine with that. I was not. And that is a really, really hard concept to grasp at the age of five. It's also a different thing, to me at least, cousins or very old friends playing, versus a stranger playing with them like that. I was SO relieved when they left.
Then Squeak's mom watched them while I went to nurse Bee, and when I came back, he was playing with some boys and girls, around his age, all playing hide and seek! And I actually got to watch MY KITTYBOY speaking intelligibly with the boys, taking turns in conversation, cooperating, negotiating, compromising! I was completely floored! THIS is what I was wanting. Holy cow, oh my gosh, he was DOING IT. I swear, I had never ever before seen him play like THAT. I usually feel like I'm directing a very large toddler! "Stop pulling - no, don't touch - play nicely - stop telling them what to do -" (In my head, pleading, "Stop making weird noises. Get out of their faces. No one else is playing whatever you are. You're just making them uncomfortable. Please, don't be That Weird Kid...") And only a few times from there on, did I have to call him over and explain that when someone is walking away from you, you leave them alone, when someone says stop, it means STOP, that kind of thing. We had a WONDERFUL DAY.
He got along especially well with the two boys - one redhead, one shaggy brunette whose mane reminded me of when Kittyboy refused haircuts. Eventually the redhead left, and Kittyboy played something with the shaggy one, it might have been tag. Kids came, kids left, we were there a total of five hours. At one point, Shaggy came back, and he and Kittyboy were DELIGHTED to see each other. Thus began a hilarious game of tag - at one point, they ran laps around the playhouse, six or seven laps or more, and then stopped and looked at each other, as if they'd forgotten who was supposed to be It. It was absolutely adorable. They were both energetic, running, laughing, crashing boys, and it was wonderful to see. Shaggy's parents and I were both enjoying it! I couldn't stop laughing! I yelled, to be heard over the ruckus, "You have a really awesome kid!" And it made my WEEK when Shaggy's mom yelled back, "Your boy is really great too!" The mother of another five-year-old LIKES MY KID PLAYING WITH HER KID. I will be on Cloud Nine for some time to come...
I think we'll be going to the mall about as often as we can! It's the perfect place to practice social skills. It's a small area, the kids will pretty much be 6 or 7 and younger, it's all close enough that I can keep close tabs on him without having to move, and call him over if I have a suggestion, but let it be HIM playing, and him learning how to play with the other kids.
And yeah, I know I worry WAY too much. I just don't want him to be ME, and I see so much of me IN him.
He'll be fine.
More tomorrow on his marvelous big-brother skills! But I spent a mindboggling amount of time being PEOPLE-Y today, not thinking about the fact that tomorrow and Sunday, I have signed up for the Ethnic Festival, and must go be people-y once more for mindboggling amounts of time. I must needs go to bed. Come Monday, I will be in DESPERATE need of solitude...

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Deepest apologies for disappearing again...

Well, let me start off by apologizing for disappearing AGAIN, and saying how lovely it is to have bloggy stalkers! :) It really is so cool to know anyone was still checking my blog, when I'd fallen off the face of the Earth! I felt a duty to get back to it, but figured no one was still reading...
So, I've now learned how to read my last few posts in Bloggeroid, and wow, was I slacking off. To recap, we were told I had 2-4 weeks in late November - four weeks would have been Christmas, and another 28-week preemie. And those don't all fare as well as did Kittyboy.
From the day we were told "2-4 weeks", we got almost EIGHT.
The beginning of the end, in retrospect, was the morning I fell in the bathroom - according to e-mail records, 12/6. YES, high risk pregnancy, fell in the bathroom, I felt like SUCH an idiot. Hit a wet spot, skidded, and fell on my hip. The only thing bruised was my pride. Baby moved, I was fine. This was at 3 a.m. At 3 p.m., I had a nagging pain that would not go away, upper right quadrant of my stomach (liver area, and with Kittyboy, the only discernible symptom I got of HELLP Syndrome was liver pain). Husband came home from work to take me to the hospital, but when I got there, the pain was almost entirely in my back, and as tests were fine, we concluded that I had twisted or pulled something while trying to catch myself, 12 hours earlier. It just happened to not hurt until later, and hurt first in a way that put everyone on red alert.
The next evening, it hurt again - area of my liver. Tylenol made it better. I started alternating hot and cold rice-socks. The back/rib pain became a recurring theme. I eventually bought a heating pad, and strung rope through the foot-board of the bed so that I didn't have to twist at all to sit up. Christmas, and the 28-week mark, came and went with no changes. Every week that nothing changed, we had another 2-4 weeks from then. Baby kept plugging along, holding steady at her lower growth curve.
January 17th was my first non-stress test. I think it was a week or two before that, that Dr. Z said how wonderful it was that she was still gaining weight. I asked eagerly if this meant she was catching up?? - and he said no, she was still two weeks behind, but in the time from, say, 24-28 weeks, she had still grown four weeks worth. I said, a little confused, that of course she had grown...it was four weeks, after all. He said, "Oh, but sometimes they don't! Sometimes when we see this [the problem with the placenta blood flow], the baby doesn't grow." So, well, apparently Dr. T was not Chicken Little after all. It's not paranoia if they're really out to get you - and it's not overreacting if the sky really could fall. Unbeknownst to us, the sky could really have fallen!! Baby COULD have simply quit growing at some point!! Yeah, didn't realize "actually not growing" was an option...
So, blithely forging ahead. 30 weeks came and went. The week of the 17th, my first non-stress test, the pain was enough worse that it would make me shake when I first woke in the morning. I would stumble to the bathroom around 4 a.m., take my first extra-strength Tylenol of the day, stumble back to bed, turn on the heating pad, and wait for the shaking to stop. The Tylenol/pad combination always knocked it down. I was SO mad at myself that I had messed up my back so badly and now had to deal with all this as a result...
The NST on the 17th went great, and at the ultrasound afterward, Dr. A bounced into the room - "so what are we doing??? This is incredible! You're like a miracle up here! Really! This is not at ALL what we look for!" Yes, the specialist said the M word - miracle.
My next NST was the 20th - less great. Baby took 35 minutes to move as many times as they wanted, when it should have taken 15-20. I thought, afterward, that perhaps she was stressed from the amount of pain I'd had that morning - more than usual, and I had thought "this is it, has to be my liver," but once again it let up with Tylenol. See, the thing we were all dreading was HELLP Syndrome, and with Kittyboy, the only symptoms I had were severe liver pain and vomiting. And when the pain I had always responded to Tylenol, I assumed it couldn't be that.
The next NST was January 23rd. This time I mentioned the pain as possibly not ligaments, it was holding steady in the same spot, and NOT apparently related to movement. Dr. Z said I was due for a blood panel anyhow. Baby took 45 minutes to move that morning, earning herself a nice loooong ultrasound afterward. She was fine - just disinclined to move. I had my blood test, went home and went to bed. Kittyboy was staying with Husband's parents that week.
At around 3, I think it was, I got a text from Husband - Dr. Z's office had called his cell, CALL BACK NOW. In moments, I also had calls on the home phone and my cell. They don't call every number on file to tell you all's well. The test results were "abnormal", and Dr. Z was booking the OR. How fast could I get there? I said as soon as my husband could get here.
So Husband and I were texting back and forth, I was packing extra stuff in the hospital bag, brushing my hair, brushing my teeth, leaned over the toilet to spit out mouthwash - and emptied my stomach. No nausea, no cramping, just up and out. Yup. It was time. HELLP was officially happening.
January 23, I think 6:30 pm, we had a baby Bee.

And later - not months later this time, I promise - I will write more!

If the image shows up, it's the Bee after her baptism. We chose St. Joanna (Myrrhbearer and wife of Chuza) for her saint, so today is her nameday!

posted from Bloggeroid

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Kittyboy and the Bee

posted from Bloggeroid

So - I now have childREN.

I don't even remember what I last wrote, and I'm posting via Bloggeroid and can't figure out how to check...or can't be bothered at the moment. Either way, I'm sure the year ended in '11, and I know I was on bedrest, trying to keep The Little Fetus That Could from coming too soon.

World, meet Bee.

posted from Bloggeroid

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Judy and the Gorgons

I spent the morning of January 7th searching my Facebook friend list for Old Calender Orthodox, to wish them a Merry Christmas. If you're unfamiliar with the Old Calendar vs New Calendar thing, look up the Julian and Gregorian calendars on Wikipedia - a number of Orthodox churches still use the Julian (I think the majority), which means most feasts, including Christmas, are thirteen days apart, though Easter (Pascha) is celebrated on the same day (not the same day as the Western churches necessarily, but all Orthodox celebrate together). So anyhow, I mentioned to Husband what I was doing, while Kittyboy was in the room.
Of course, the boy's favorite word is WHY.
He has since been talking about the "Judy-an and Gorgon" calendars. He wanted to know why we aren't Old Calendar too (because the Greek churches and I think some others use the New/Gregorian Calendar). He wanted to know, if Christmas were January 7th, what would December 25th be? He must have asked that four times, to which I answered "just December 25th", or "still in Advent" before I asked, "Do you mean what feast or saint would it be?" He said yes. Naturally. I told him I'd figure it out. I still need to sit down with a calendar, count thirteen days back from December 25th, and see who's commemorated on that day. (Wait, I will do that NOW... Okay, Dec. 12th is St. Spyridon. I'll tell him after his nap.)
So now he wants to follow the "Judy-an" Calendar. And no, it's not to have two Christmases, that didn't even occur to him - he wants to go OC because "that would be COOL." Have to get him an OC church calendar so he can see both. There's a Russian church a few towns south of here, I can probably buy one there.
I absolutely love that he wants to follow the Old Calendar now. We won't be, because St. Anthony's is New Calendar, but I love his enthusiasm. Granted, we don't want him enthusiastically jumping into things SOLELY on the basis of "it's different and new, and that makes it cool!" But, I just have to like the flippant disregard for peer pressure. Who cares when everyone else celebrates Christmas. I'm reminded of my brother, who wore a beard throughout high school because 1) he COULD, and 2) no one else had one. Not all that is "different" is good, but approval by the majority doesn't make something good, either!
So I'll get him his Old/Julian church calendar, and he can hang it next to his New/Gregorian one, and heaven help me when he wants more details on WHY there are two.

posted from Bloggeroid