Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Jitters

I can't tell you how badly I want to be taken out of my misery! It's shameful.

- Bending down to pick anything up is sooooo uncomfortable.

- I had a laparoscopy in my twenties to clean out endometriosis. One of the incisions was a tiny one in my belly button. Apparently, a band of scar tissue formed internally, which pulls and tugs and hurts when my belly gets this swollen.

- The medical stockings are no longer too warm, given our wintry weather, but I so want to burn them after this pregnancy. I hate them with a passion!

- I normally have a skinny face, neck and shoulders. Now, when I look in the mirror, I'm horrified at the plump-faced person staring back at me. The plumpness ages me more, as does lack of sleep, so I'm sure I'll be referred to as Anna Grace's grandmother before a month has passed.

- When I read to my children, I get out of breath because of the rearrangement of my organs. The stuffy nose plus the out-of-breath sensation makes me feel like primal screaming fairly regularly.

- I normally have varicose veins just in the shin area. Now, my right leg and foot are discolored, having been taken over by purple spider veins. My children are frightened when they see my legs now. I manage to get into the shower first thing most mornings, followed by the donning of my lovely stockings, which are very thick and tight, providing complete coverage of the ugliness. My children rarely see the horror this way. The spider veins, most of the swelling, and the purple coloring all go away, thank the Lord, and I'm left with just my shin veins post-partum. That's a good thing, since I married a leg man. You know you've married the right man when he still loves your legs, blemishes and all, after four kids. I'm a blessed woman.

Other tidbits:

When Emily Rose was born she needed oxygen, apparently because the cord was loosely wrapped around her. Very frightening! Then, a few hours after birth, her coloring changed. The nurse called it "dusky". She was alarmed and whisked Emily away, for close to an hour. I thought she was dying, since I wasn't getting any word. It was the longest hour of my life, spent pleading with God. They suctioned her airway and observed her, then brought her back with an oxygen monitor, which she used for the rest of our 48-hour stay. There were never any other problems.

You know, I had largely forgotten about that scary beginning? But now that I am close to delivery, I am suddenly scared about all the things that can go wrong. Will she be Down Syndrome and have a heart defect? Will the cord again be wrapped around my baby? I have been very calm about any such happenings, until today. Just some nervous jitters.

Emily learned to latch on well toward the end of our hospital stay, but my milk came in soon after we arrived home. The engorgement caused latching problems, leading me to have to pump and feed her with the tiny feeding cup hospitals now give out. After two days at home, all was straightened out, which is a record for me personally. However, even two days of serious nursing trouble this time, with a jealous two year old around, could really be nerve wracking.

During each pregnancy, I've prayed for a smooth beginning to the nursing relationships. God came closest to answering that with Emily. Daniel didn't latch consistently until 5 weeks old, and there was no latch at all with him until he was three weeks old. I developed preeclampsia with him around the start of labor, which wasn't discovered until I went to a clinic 36 hours after discharge for some breastfeeding help. Although my blood pressure was horrible in the post-partum ward, and during labor, the post-partum nurses thought it was my nerves, because Daniel wouldn't latch and I was rather distraught.

Anyhow, the breastfeeding-clinic nurse took my blood pressure, became suspicious, then took a urine sample, which was loaded with protein. I think my doctor felt very badly about discharging me without noticing, or following up on, the blood pressure readings, which I'm sure were recorded in my chart. But he did apparently tell the labor nurses to keep an eye on my blood pressure after delivery. They failed to relay that to the post-partum nurses when I transferred there. Since I was new at the pregnancy thing back then, I didn't know to be alarmed at the blood pressure readings. I just trusted everyone there to make the right decisions. Preeclampsia usually develops before delivery, and the process begins to reverse after labor. Labor is essentially the cure. In a small number of cases it develops after delivery, or up to six weeks post-partum.

Let this falling-through-the-cracks scenario be a lesson to all of us women, regarding our own health and that of our family. It pays to be well informed ahead of time, no matter what the health circumstance is. Human error will always be there and we can provide our own safety net.

So, anyhow, I was sent back to the hospital for four days with a preeclampsia diagnosis, and forced to pump and dump my milk due to the magnesium sulfate drip (prevents convulsions). Daniel had to stay at home with Don, who had never even held a baby before. And Daniel developed a moderate case of jaundice, probably due to the slow feeding start. Talk about a nightmare! He got so used to the bottle during those four days that it was a long haul to a smooth nursing relationship. But we made it, due to the grace of God, and Daniel nursed well until I became pregnant with Timmy (13.5 months later). He was active, even back then, so weaning was no trouble.

I hope this time the Lord really smooths the whole nursing thing, starting with the first latch in the hospital. If he chooses not to, I know his grace is sufficient, but I could sure use the encouragement of something being smooth and easy. Prevail we will, but hopefully without tears this time. I really, really love nursing, and I'll nurse this baby, my last, as long as she'll let me.

1 comment:

Fairy said...

Thanks for the great post, I started my career in nursing after finishing a associate degree in nursing from associate degree nursing schools