20 May 2009

Welcome, Bebe!

We all know that I tend toward being a little longwinded extremely detailed in a good way.  And obviously the birth of my second child is probably something I could get carried away with, so I'm going to do my best to hold it to a minimum with as little actual medical terminology as possible.


Unless I change my mind.


On Tuesday, May 5 at 8:26, we welcomed a sweet little daughter to the world.  Yep... the Bebe is a girl.  Not that I was surprised since everybody and their brother (including a woman in Best Buy's restroom) had been telling me for approximately 7 and a half months that I was having a girl.  I'm glad everybody else in the world were such great prognosticators because I apparently have zero motherly intuition.

So, we arrived at the Labor & Delivery department of our local hospital a little after 5:30 AM so I could be prepped for a 7:30 c-section.  My doctor had instructed me to get there between 5 and 5:30, so in keeping with every other appointment I'd had during the pregnancy, I showed up a few minutes late.  My ever-punctual husband decided that going through town would be a smarter idea than taking the interstate since there would be no traffic at that time of day.  What he didn't count on was the fact that stoplights work on timers during the wee hours, so we sat at several of them... all alone... in the dark... no one else at any of the other lights.

For once it was his fault we were late.

I'm sure he would interject some well-thought-out (and probably accurate but nobody tell him I said that) argument at this point were this actual conversation and not my blog and therefore 100% governed (however creatively) me and me alone.

I'm already being longwinded... er, detailed.

So, we got to the hospital and after saying "I can't believe this is finally happening" about 443 times as we walked in we made it to L&D.  I don't remember my nurse's name, but pretty much the first words out of her mouth were, "Take off everything and put this on.  It opens in the back." To which I replied, "You aren't even gonna buy me a drink first?"

Next came the hook up of monitors, allowing me to hear the swoosh swoosh swoosh of my baby's heart for the final time.  Not that I was feeling really sentimental about it.  Because I wasn't at all.  I was ready.

Next came the smattering of fun questions like "Any history of mental illness?" "Do you use any recreational drugs?" and my personal favorite, "How much do you weigh?" That one's funny to me because these nurses who have been working in L&D for years honestly think that a full-term pregnant woman still looks at the scale.

During the inquisition, another woman came in and my nurse introduced her as who would be shaving me and putting in my Foley.  Now, since this wasn't my first rodeo I understood that by "Foley" she meant Satan-spawn little plastic tube that is a urinary catheter, but couldn't she have just said that? 

After the questioning was over the real fun began.  Nurse #2 came in and shaved me, which is not glamourous and employs one of those little buzzy beard trimmer things that tends to grab your hairs and run for the door.  The poor nurse apologized numerous times, but I reassured her that I'm tough and could deal with whatever I had to do since, well, I had to do it.  Her response to that was, "Well, how do you feel about catheters?" At least she didn't call it a Foley, but what kind of question is that.  How do I feel about catheters? I had only ever met one and is that really enough to base a whole opinion on?

Yes.  Yes it is.

I told her that I obviously wouldn't want to get one every day, but since I had to have one I figured I might as well just grin and bear it.  I can deal with even the most uncomfortable things as long as I know it's going to be over at some point.  She told me I had a good attitude which I was pretty sure should have entitled me to... something.  Maybe a big badge that said "This patient has a good attitude about catheters."

I should add that this same nurse, when actually administering the catheter, told me that the "trick" with catheters is to relax as much as possible and just get totally loose.  Her advice to help me do this was to imagine myself laying on the beach.  The advice didn't really help so much since it caused me to alternately think of the looks I would get if I were laying on the beach in that position and sand in extremely uncomfortable places.

She had barely finished up with the catheterization process when nurse #1 came in to put in my IV.  I had a major abdominal surgery looming in my future and I actually felt the blood drain from my face when she said the word IV... even though it's not really a word at all, just a 2-letter abbreviation.  Getting shots and having my blood drawn doesn't bother me, but getting an IV really almost makes me feel like puking.

Once that was finally done I actually had a few minutes to rest and let my blood pressure return to normal.  It was getting close to 7 AM and I knew all I had to wait for now was my epidural. Something else I was dreading big time.  Call me crazy, but having a ginormous needle scraped against my spinal cord makes me a little uneasy.

It was a little after 7 when the cRNA showed up complete with his little cart of doom and torture and the surgical tech gal who was wearing a floppy blue hat with frogs on it and referred to the catheter bag as my "purse." Again, at least she didn't call it a Foley.

As an aside here, I've been trying to figure out what the "c" in cRNA stands for.  RNA is registered nurse anesthetist, right? So what is the "c"? Certified? Who knows.  I think his name was Todd, but he referred to himself as "Sweet T" and sang Three Times a Lady to me. He reminded me of my husband's uncle which somehow didn't make having most of my bare behind exposed any more awkward.

After that was done, I was all set and ready to go.  I just had to wait for somebody to come wheel me away.

For effect, I should add this flattering picture my loving husband took:

This shot almost makes it seem like I endured some actual labor, but in reality I was just yawning.  Does anybody else yawn uncontrollably when they're nervous or is that just a me thing?

Pretty soon after getting the epidural, they wheeled me off to OR #10, the same room the Kiddo debuted in.  And it was every bit as cold and scary as I remembered it being.  I had a couple of minutes to look around before they strung up the drape and I noticed that they had the same stereo stuck in the wall that we have in the Pathfinder.  I've yet to figure out the purpose of a stereo in an operating room, but being the chatty gal I am I mentioned it to the floppy frog hat surgical tech gal who asked me if I had brought any CDs.  I wish I'd had the presence of mind to tell her to check my purse.

I didn't.

And the rest is pretty much history at this point.  I laid there in a state of drug-induced stupor.  At some point, they let my husband come in and I think he was afraid I was dead because every time I closed my eyes he would say, "Are you OK?" And after about 15 minutes, I heard my baby girl's first cries.

Then I spent an hour in recovery feeling good and coming out of an anesthetic fog.  And after 2 nights in probably the most uncomfortable bed in the universe, I got to come home and start doing laundry again.  I can't remember, by the way, if I actually did laundry on the day I came home or if I waited until the next day.

It was a very smooth surgical procedure and has been a textbook perfect recovery up to this point 2 weeks later.  I feel in no way like I had a baby or a surgery anytime in the recent past.  Best of all, I don't feel pregnant anymore! Yippee! I can now comfortably stand on one foot and I can talk on the phone while moving around my house without getting the slightest bit out of breath.  Best best of all, I have a very healthy sweet baby who is already growing and changing every day.

All of these are things I'm thankful for.  I prayed for these things the whole time I was pregnant.  I prayed for these things while I was on the operating table.  There's no way for me to appreciate God's goodness and there's no way I could ever say thank you enough for the things He's done for me in this situation and all the rest of my life.

In the end, all of the nervousness, the awkwardness, the discomfort, and so on and so forth... it was all worth it.  Every bit.  And here's why...


03 May 2009

running into the tower

I have a very small but very sweet thought on my mind tonight.

Life is just full to overflowing with troubles and hurts. We've been promised by Someone who sees it all that our days, from the time we're born until the time we die, are going to be full of those things. Happiness seems in so many instances to be overshadowed by the bittersweet... and this kind of downer blah-ness could go on and on. Especially since it's after midnight on Sunday night and I'm really tired but avoiding going to bed because I can't stay comfortable in one position for much longer than 45 minutes.

But that's not what I'm thinking about right now.

I'm thinking about a man who lived here and walked on this earth just like I do many, but many years ago. He didn't have much in the way of material possessions. He didn't even have a home of his own. Many people did everything they could to make him out to be a terrible person and some even hated him. His whole life was overshadowed with the awful cloud of a burden for the souls of all mankind. As his time on earth drew short, he wept - alone and scared - and asked God if there were any other way but the way he'd been handed.

But there was no other way.

And so he continued to carry his burden, and he carried it all the way to Calvary where he agonized - again, alone - and died under the penalty of my sin.

He died under the penalty of my sin so that I wouldn't have to. And as if that weren't enough, God's plan through him made a way that I could not only die in the safety of his love, but also live in it.

So yes, it's true that life is bitter. But, thanks to nothing more than God's love and mercy, sweet blessings just seem to fall down from heaven and pile up around me higher and higher until the ones on top start sliding down the sides making the pile even wider and bigger and taller all the time... every minute... of every day.

And it's true that sometimes I'm handed things that are hard to deal with and I have to say a lot of prayers and cry a lot of tears about some things. But I've never yet been handed anything I couldn't handle with the assistance of a mighty and oh-so-near God.

And sure, it seems like the clouds aren't far away from my sunshine a lot of times. But if it weren't for the clouds, could I really, truly appreciate the sunshine?

So, in the light of all this jumbled, scattered mess of thoughts, I finish with this:

I know I have no need to fear the things of this world and this life because I am God's (Isaish 43:1).

I'm human, though, so sometimes I get scared anyway. Thank God that he knows what I'm made of and understands (Psalm 103:14);

...and has furthermore forgiven me in all my unworthy filthiness and claims me oh-so intimately (Isaiah 49:16).

I know it's ok when I have to go crawling to him in a big crumpled heap and am so thankful that he's always there, for the smallest things and the biggest things (Philippians 4:6).

And it's a good feeling knowing that I have somewhere I can run for cover (Proverbs 18:10).