Friday, September 9, 2011

Four months ago…

Liam will be four months old tomorrow, and I realized that I had never actually written down what happened when he was born.  I suppose I don’t have to, but I have found that I enjoy having this blog because it reminds me of things I have forgotten that happened in the past.  And so I do want to recount those first few weeks….the “almost” weeks as I like to call them.

When Liam was born, everything appeared to be fine.  He was breech, as we knew, so when I went into labor early, they had to get an OR ready and the doctor on call came over for the surgery.  She wasn’t my doctor, but if I couldn’t have my own, she was definitely the one I wanted, so I was thankful for that.  We didn’t have anything with us.  Andy ran home to grab stuff before the surgery (now, I realize we should have just waited and had one of our parents do this) and left his keys at the hospital.  He broke into the house through the bathroom window.  And came back with the laptop, a change of clothes for himself, and fruit snacks.  But not the camera.  He brought fruit snacks, but forgot the camera :)

When Liam was born, he was so beautiful.  We didn’t hear his little cry for a few minutes because he had gone to the bathroom inside, and they were clearing his little lungs.  I got to see him for a very short second, and then he and Andy were whisked off to the nursery and I got stitched up and went to recovery.  My parents and Andy’s mom came that night to meet our sweet boy.  Andy’s dad was in New York building a stadium, so he didn’t make it until Friday.  That night, nothing seemed wrong.  Everything was just kind of hazy, since I was recovering from surgery.

Wednesday we met Liam’s physical therapist (she showed us how to work with his little legs since he was a little frog) (he hasn’t had to see her since he left the hospital—he’s fine now) and tried to figure out nursing.  That afternoon, we all fell asleep at the same time, and woke up when Andy, Mandy, and Ben came to visit.  Through their whole visit, I couldn’t stop shivering.  I was absolutely freezing.  Mandy put every blanket in our room on top of me, but I was miserable.  Rebekah came to visit shortly after they left, and I was a mess by then.  When my nurse came in after Rebekah left, she could tell I wasn’t okay, and checked my temperature.  It was over 103 at that point.  She gave me Tylenol and called the doctor on call that day.  I had the first of many rounds of tests as they tried to find out what was wrong with me.  That night, my fever spiked a few more times, always with the chills followed by soaking sweats.

By Thursday morning, I was really weak.  It was all I could do to try to feed Liam from the side lying hold.  Wednesday afternoon before the fever, I had been up and walking the halls.  Thursday I could barely make it to the bathroom by myself.  At this point, Andy and the nurses and his mom were doing almost all of Liam’s care.  I could only hold him a few minutes at a time.  My doctor was on call Thursday, and it was an incredible blessing.  She came over to check on me several times.  Just before lunch on Thursday, she found out what was wrong with me.  The pathology report from the c-section came back and showed that there was a fungal infection in the umbilical cord that was making me sick.  It’s something that occurs in 1 in 60,000 pregnancies, and 16 percent of the time it also affects the baby.  At first, it appeared as though Liam was going to need a 24 hour iv just in case he also had the infection, which nearly did me in.  But the pediatrician on call that day called the CDC and the Children’s Hospital in Louisville to discuss it, and they decided that since he wasn’t showing any signs, they would run his blood and watch him, but that giving him an unncessary iv wasn’t probably great either.  His blood tests came back negative, so he never had to be treated.  I was switched from antibiotics to an antifungal, and we hoped things would get better.  They didn’t.  My fever spiked higher than ever…to 104.8. 

My doctor was concerned, my nurse was concerned…my nurse had it written all over her face when she walked in my room.  I’m pretty sure Andy and his mom were pretty concerned as well.  At one point that night, my doctor came in and told me that I had to start complaining…she needed me to tell her everything that was wrong because they were getting concerned.  She called a friend of hers who is an internal medicine doctor and another doctor who specializes in infectious diseases.  Together they found the antifungal that actually worked, but it was an iv treatment only and could be damaging to Liam’s kidneys, so we had to switch to formula.

That was my breaking point.  I had handled everything up to then, but that nearly did me in.  I sobbed and sobbed and sobbed.  A radiology tech came up to get me for a chest x-ray and I sobbed the whole ride to radiology and the whole ride back.  I had to stand still for my x-ray, so I held it together for those few minutes.  By this time, my arms were incredibly bruised and I looked like a pincushion from all the blood tests.  I just wanted to cry.  That was all I could do for a bit that night.  I couldn’t give Liam his formula bottles, I had to have Andy do it.  It was a crushing blow for me.  I felt like I had failed him as a mother.  I hadn’t changed a diaper yet, and now I couldn’t feed him.  Andy was picking up parenting a lot faster than I was.  And I was miserable.  I remember trying to hold it together on the phone with my mom, and wanting only to break down sobbing.  But all I could think was, “I can’t cry right now, I can’t….I can’t worry my mom anymore than she already is.”  We also found out that night that I had some fluid on my lungs and my potassium was low, which really just felt like the kicks just kept on coming. (Sidenote, liquid potassium might be the most disgusting thing ever….I requested 43 bananas instead).

I got my first treatment that night, and my fever didn’t spike again.  The next morning, we learned that if it had gone up again, they were transferring me to the ICU.  Apparently there was a lot of discussion about our case, and what to do with Liam.  The pediatrician and the OB were coming up with a plan for us, to make sure that Liam was cared for because they knew I couldn’t do it, and that Andy was killing himself taking care of both of us.  My mom and Andy’s dad all came that day.  My sister made it that night.  My dad came the next day (right, dad?).  By Friday, I was regaining some strength.  I was able to get out of bed.  I held Liam.  I showered.  We had visitors and I was able to speak coherently to them.  These were all a huge deal at this point.

By Friday night, it looked like I was going to go home Saturday.  I had to go 24 hours without a fever, and I made it.  I was learning how to pump that day, and I hated it.  That night a nurse came over to install my PICC line.  She assured me it was a quick and easy process, and commented on how awful the lab techs had made my arms look.  An hour and a half and SEVERAL failed needle pricks later, my PICC line was installed.  I was covered in sweat and miserable.  I had to have another chest x-ray, but this time they let me have the portable one, so they could verify my PICC line was in correctly.  I think Liam was in the nursery for all of this.  Lauren, do you remember?  That’s how hazy this whole week was….I can’t remember where my child was.  I do know that the nurses kept him in the nursery that night because they decided I needed some sleep (acutally, she thought we both needed sleep).  They fed him and changed him and tried to wake Andy and I as little as possible.

On Saturday morning, it was decided I could go home.  Our nurse that day started calling insurance to set up home health care…she thought it would be much easier and better than having to come back to the hospital every day for my iv treatment.  It was.  We finally got to go home that afternoon, and it was glorious.  I don’t remember much about it, except that we were home, and I was thrilled.  My mom stayed with us through Wednesday, and Andy’s mom came for the rest of that week.  And she came back the next.  They did everything for us those two weeks…all the cooking, cleaning, a lot of Liam’s care, helping me recover.  We wouldn’t have made it without them.  Our church family was a huge blessing at this time too, we kept our small group updated, and they were praying for us, and supporting us.  The church was praying for us, and our pastor came down twice to see us and pray with us.  Our small group sent flowers, and several of them stopped in to see us.  A lot of those first weeks is hazy to me.  But I do remember being incredibly thankful.  We were so blessed by our friends and family.  It was amazing to me to see how many people stepped in and showed us that they loved us and cared about us.  I definitely don’t want to forget that.  And now, four months later, I can see where our little family was forged together in those early weeks.  Liam’s arrival really was trial by fire, and we emerged stronger.  I hated that things didn’t work out the way I wanted them to…I hated that I couldn’t take care of him, couldn’t provide him with food, couldn’t do the things I thought I was supposed to be, but now I realize it was okay.  He doesn’t know any of that.  And he’s healthy and happy, regardless of what happened.  And that’s all that really matters. 

1 comment:

Snap, Crackle & Pop said...

I am thinking that Liam was in the room with Andy and I when you were getting the PICC line. I feel like we were using him to try and relax putting the mask over his entire face (even though he didn't need one) since the mask was so big, and he was pretending to have him pee all over Andy. You might want to double check with Andy, but I believe Liam was there cheering his momma on. :)