Posts Tagged ‘ultrasound’

Praying for Endometriosis

I’m praying for Endometriosis. When My OBGYN told me I needed a surgical procedure, I lit up like a kid on Christmas. She and I laughed as we went over my (comically long) pre-op medical history. I called my husband from the car and he was happy to get the good news. I hung up the phone and realized how ridiculous this would sound to anyone outside of my little circle.

When you have undefinable pain, caused by a controversial disease, most of your Doctor visits involve a wild goose chase. Typically the Doc has a new theory, often based on a weird symptom that you’ve discovered. The second appointment is testing: CT scans, MRIs, tubes in places you’d rather they not be. (I once had a tube through my nose, down my throat and into my belly for 36 hours. The best part was that you could not swallow when they placed the tube. Right.) The third appointment is when the Doc tells you the tests show nothing conclusive. Back to the drawing board, tears in the car, “maybe I’m crazy, but that seems unlikely, as those psych tests were also negative.” It is wrenching and you find yourself praying for very weird things, like endometriosis.

Please don’t get me wrong. Endometriosis is a painful disease and I do not envy anyone who has it. I just want something with a name, something with a researched plan of action and I prefer it to be non-life threatening. So it looks like I will be the most positive person in my hospital this week. Please put me in your wishes, and please pray for Endometriosis.

The Posse

I’m having a freaky Friday experience, I have suddenly taken on the patience of a 5 year old. Not to say I’ve ever been much for waiting, but now that we are down to 5 weeks, I have no control. This trapped in my house because it is 100 degrees outside summer is not helping matters. I’ve spent  the last week distracting myself with recon and posse building. 

I don’t want to seem anti-Doctor here. I think my family wants what everyone wants: a positive delivery experience, to kiss those baby cheeks as quickly as we can, and a couple days of peaceful recovery with our new daughter. There is a lot of misunderstanding, fear and judgment surrounding pain treatment in the medical field and I don’t want our baby or birth to end up in the middle of that mess. Therefore, I’m building the posse, a group of docs who know my history and whom I trust to help me avoid the horror stories.

Horror story number one floating around the pain community is that an unfamiliar delivery Doc sees the Vicodin on your chart and immediately removes the baby from your care, sending her straight for the NICU.  I am trying to avoid that by scheduling my C-section with my regular (Super) OB and meeting with our Ped before the birth (posse members 1 and 2).  No one needs a shocked, angry mom in the OR.

Horror story number two already happened to me: After a  GI surgery a year ago I was admitted for pain relief and observation. My pain clinic had already given their permission to treat my pain as needed. The hospital anesthesiologist, however, was scared to medicate me and I went days without pain management.  The hell of the surgery recovery, in addition to  feeling like some sort of drug seeker, was scarring. This time around I’m involving my pain Doc from the start (member number 3), making sure that she will be available to intervene if I have trouble after the C-section.  An un-medicated mom is not something anyone needs to experience.

Breast feeding is a bit of a controversy (when is it not).  Recent studies show that reasonably medicated moms can breast feed quite successfully. The amount of the drug that actually ends up getting to the baby is minuet and the benefits of breastfeeding often out-weigh the risk. That does not mean the hospital’s lactation consultant has any experience with pain medications or is aware of these studies. I’m meeting with my Ped’s consultant to form a plan for this as well (number 4).

With the posse on my side, I’m feeling READY… NOW! The baby moved from a transverse position to heads down this week (we watched her punch me in the gut on another healthy ultrasound),  my husband painted the kiddo’s room lavender and my daughter put a teddy bear in the highchair, to hold down the seat until her sister comes.

God help me in the next few weeks, but we’re getting there little one. We’ve almost made it to the cheek squishing part.

Done

Time to crack the champagne,  douse me in Gatoraid, send the family to Disney World! I have completed the triathlon of narcotic dumping. I’m still getting up in the morning, and  I have every reason to, the latest scan of this bug-a-boo is looking healthy and feisty, Graves Disease be damned! It may not be a trip to Cinderella’s castle, but a celebration is certainly in order.

The last round of withdrawal has been especially excruciating; after 4 months of leg crawling, sleep deprivation and migraines, I’m emotionally over it.  In the end, the sleep aids and quality time staring vacantly at House Hunters from my permanent perch on the couch are getting me through, but it isn’t pretty.

Without my regular doses of medication, the pain can be pretty unbearable, reminding me why I was taking them in the first place. When I’m truly stuck in a physically difficult position, like a long meeting or rush hour traffic, I’ve decided that a half dose is still an option. Trying to hold on to my blood pressure and sanity, while keeping this baby as safe as I can. Which is really just parenthood in general, no?

At 30 weeks (30 WEEKS!!) I am beyond impatient for a streak in which I feel well enough to come home from the office and hit the park with my daughter, prep the baby room or bake cookies. It is a difficult thing for motivated people to sit on their butts making plans, without the ability to actually get things done; as the world moves on, pulling you forward in fits and starts, you feel lazy. It is ridiculous, but you still feel it. I’ve been stranded on my couch for too long, its time to get my world ready for this little girl.

Plain as Day

My husband and I never wanted to find out the gender of our first child early. Why would anyone want to ruin one of the last big surprises life has to offer? It seemed almost cynical, like finding out would ruin the magic somehow. Discovering that we had a daughter just added to the euphoria of seeing our infant for the first time.

Early into this pregnancy it was clear that our daughter was quite set on a sister. Five year olds do not necessarily have the tact or coping skills to handle this sort of disappointment gracefully, so we decided it was in her best interest to find out the gender. This baby and pregnancy has been as much hers as it has been ours  as she plans how to redecorate her soon-to-be-shared bedroom and counts down the months until she will be a big sister. It was surprisingly easy to let go of the old notion that early discovery would somehow effect our excitement. In fact, I think it became a bigger deal, now there was one day set aside for this detail alone. It was like Santa offering to bring your Christmas gifts in September.

I’m impressed that I slept at all, felt like a kid the night before her birthday. And, there were, of course, those lingering fears that the tech would find something wrong after these 19 weeks of elation.  We got to the part where he says, lets check out the gender and I was crawling out of my skin. He says that it is plain as day and I am immediately certain it is a boy – girls are just harder to call. “It’s a girl,” he says. My daughter pumps her fist and says “YES!” and I watch as he explains what we are seeing, my tears clouding the screen, dripping down my face.

And there it is, a little girl, my companion, dancing around in my belly, as healthy and loved as can be.  Somehow, knowing has made this time together even more precious to me. Watching my eldest grow so quickly before me, I treasure this time with my second daughter, while she is as close to me as we wish our children could be always.

Avocado

My current state is over-running my existence, so this is where I am taking the leap to real time. In short, all the the Docs gave their enthusiastic “go for it”, I dumped the Fentanyl patch in late November and we took our first and only shot at baby-making in early December. This being clearly wanted to happen.

About 8 weeks in I had that terrifying spotting, a symptom that leaves you feeling like this whole thing may be a figment of your evil imagination. I begged and bothered the nurse line enough to get an early ultrasound, a new level of “crazy expecting mom” for me. We left the hospital with our first two pictures of the healthy baby – deemed bugaboo until birth by my husband and 5 year old.

Much of this pregnancy is like any other, the morning sickness has brought me to my knees and I am praying that it won’t extend a day beyond today. Working full time has had its challenges, I am holding onto my sick days like they are gold. The chronic pain stepped up a notch after the patch, but is still bearable with the help of the low-dose vicodin.  Having left the danger zone of the first trimester, I will begin weaning off of those pills next week. Feels like I’m climbing that first clicking hill of the roller coaster and the ride down will either thrill me or send me into a dark oblivion.

I have a pregnancy tracking app that delivers a little piece of inspiration to me everyday. My daughter especially loves the ones that associate the size of the baby to a piece of fruit, studying the pictures of lemons and apples  carefully. Yesterday she put her little hand on my belly and, squealing, felt the beginning kicks of our precious avocado, in that moment I felt no pain.

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