Tuesday, February 2, 2016

The before and the after

The post below details baby V's birth story and it's a good one - full of hope and trying and eventually, the greatest little boy born. Here, I'm going to detail what he was born into. 

Just over 24 hours prior (Tuesday morning at 1230am), we were headed to the closest ER. In JC, not M town. Because Ivan couldn't breathe. When C checked on him before going to bed, he sat straight up and began sucking air. We know that his colds and coughs always go croupy - that seal bark, so we employed all of our usual tactics (humidifier, Vicks, etc.) and nothing was working quickly. This breathing episode had also come on without a cold or a cough - I'd been around him all evening and he's exhibited NO illness symptoms and gone to bed easily. So we bundled him up and took him into the ER. By the time we got there, he was doing better - throughout the episode he was always able to talk, but he was also upset and aware that he couldn't breathe. It was really strange. At the ER with my belly we were asked who the patient was a couple of times. Little dude got a saline breathing treatment and a round of steroids (we usually decline at the dr's office for the croupy cough, but definitely thought it was warranted this time). It's really scary when it's your child that can't breathe and nothing you're doing is solving the problem. The steroids were supposed to be longer lasting, so we actually sent him to preschool in the morning - which also allowed us to recoup some sleep, which came in handy as I went into labor on Wednesday. 

Wednesday, aka the day we met baby V, is detailed below. After I had V (who seemed giant, by the way), there was a definite focus on getting me back up and around. It could be that V is my second child or that I'm a little older, but this time recovery took a lot more focus. Part of it is that I was recovering from two different stresses - an 18 hour labor (everything but pushing) and major abdominal surgery. Thankfully there are wonderful nurses and pain medication. 

By Thursday evening, I have the news that I surely is sick - that viral crud that we've already had and he got again. His Grandma R has him and is keeping him comfortably, but he's got the terribly croupy cough, is lethargic and running fevers between 101 and 103.5. So, he can't really come meet his new brother - he actually does right before he gets really sick, but we can't let him too close. I do wish their meeting was more uninhibited (don't breathe on the baby! wash your hands!). C and his mom have to take care of I because I can't and I have to keep baby V well. This event helps us make the decision to keep me and baby V in the hospital until Saturday - out of the germy house as long as possible. So C, baby V and me come home Saturday afternoon. We hang out with the brothers. 

We're focused on feeding V (milk starts to come in Sat) and keeping me comfortable and on meds for a few days - C has taken the next week off from work to help out. On Tuesday afternoon, I go to drink out of one of my cups with the fat straws and kind of dribble everywhere. My face feels weird. I ignore it. A few hours later, same thing and I look at my face in the reverse camera on my phone and my eye looks wonky. I very briefly mention it to C and we hope it's an allergic reaction (I'm pretty sure it's not), so I stop taking some of my pain meds. Time passes and by 11pm I'm a little more freaked out. I don't say anything to C, but I think I know what's wrong and I want to hide deep in denial. I do point out what's going on with my face a little more specifically and C starts to freak out and get upset with me (legitimately - I did downplay the symptoms earlier and didn't do anything). I cry, he calls the doctor on call - we talk to her and all agree that it's probably Bell's palsy (more common in pregnant and postpartum women). The doctor needs to know for certain that it's not a stroke or worse, so we head into the ER. Again. 

Worth mentioning is that we take V and leave I with Grandma. Also that I'm not dumb - I knew it was probably Bell's palsy - the cases I've encountered have been more severe and their faces haven't always gone back all the way. And I'm really tired and I hurt and now I'm not even on pain meds. ER goes fine - they confirm Bell's palsy and rule out stroke. Again, we get the nicest nurse practitioner who makes a lot of very very helpful suggestions. We leave with a steroid, antiviral meds and eye ointment (which we had to decide to take/not take with me nursing baby V). More meds, yay! The next morning I make appointments with my primary care doctor and a new eye doctor. I'll let you all look up Bell's palsy if you're interested - most websites are fairly accurate in their description. C and me try and get some sleep. So so so tired. 

At that time, I'm a week out from having baby V. He's doing awesome. We're not sleeping real well and I'm still in significant pain (got more pain meds from the doctor). We're trying to keep I away from V and in some sort of schedule (it's not happening). I'm also experiencing some not positive feelings about the Bell's messing up my face and the symptoms - no pain, thankfully, but drinking and eating are challenging and my right eye is blurry and tired. All of the doctors' visits go well - especially baby V's as he's gained a pound since he left the hospital six days prior. The trips to town (showering, getting dressed, packing up the kiddos, managing nursing, etc.) are exhausting. 

My mom comes out on Saturday to help us into the eye doctor appointment - she's been burning the candle at both ends trying to help me and manage her mom's care. Grandma has taken a turn for the worse and managing her pain is a huge priority. And on Sunday Grandma passes away peacefully. 

So, this week were involved in funeral arrangements and I've already been to the acupuncturist to continue treating my Bell's. Still a little exhausted, but also weaning off pain meds, finishing up the steroids and antiviral and wondering if baby V is up to 9lbs already. I think he is. We're working on I's challenging behavior, trying to get him back on a normal schedule and keep the house running. 

It's been a lot. I think I might try and take a nap now - I'm exhausted writing about it.

1 comment:

Sarah L. said...

Oh my goodness, you poor girl! I just finished reading this post. I'm so sorry for everything you and your family have been through. So glad that everyone is getting better and baby V is healthy and growing so well.