It Runs in the Family

I was lucky enough to witness a miracle last week. What miracle is that you ask? LIFE!

My sister finally had her baby. Welcome the newest addition to the family, Mason. Isn’t all 9 pounds 1 ounce of him adorable? Just look at those cheeks!IMG_3549

If you follow my blog you have already read my delivery story in “A Labor of Love and Pain“.  That story is about my first experience with childbirth and this one is about my sisters’ second experience. I was present for both, however, she didn’t really need me for her first. I would venture to say that she didn’t think she would need me for this one either.

I have some memory problems with this disease so the specific weight of her first born isn’t tucked away in my mind. I do good to remember these with my own children. But one thing I do remember is that his head was the largest noggin’ that hospital had measured in 7 years. I don’t know if he still holds that record at that hospital but suffice it to say, he had a BIG head! When she got done delivering him she looked me dead in the eyes and said, “THAT’S how you have a baby!” I wanted to knock her teeth down her throat. I mean, does anyone really think I hadn’t rather taken the easier route? I forgave her quickly because I knew she was under the influence of a lot of pain medications.

I wouldn’t wish my experience in my first delivery on my worst enemy. That would be pure evil. Unfortunately, as the day unfolded, it was seemingly being reenacted by my little sister.

I arrived at the hospital around 11 am. She had started the process of being induced around 5 am that morning. She was still only 3cm dilated. We had a long way to go. She had already been given her epidural but was still in a great deal of pain. Similar to my experience, her’s wasn’t working for her right side. If you recall, mine didn’t work for my bottom half, below the belt. They gave her additional doses several times and things seemed to be getting better -until they weren’t.

The contractions were hurting her so badly that she developed the chatters. They were so familiar and all I could do was hurt for her because I knew all too well what she was going through. It really isn’t any fun at all to see your little sister going through so much pain. Sure, my sister and I haven’t always gotten along. There have been times (as noted earlier in this post) I wanted to wring her neck. There have been times that I just really couldn’t stand her. But she is MY little sister. It is okay for ME to feel that way, but not anything or anyone else. They’ll have me to deal with if it comes right down to it. (scary isn’t it)

My sister and I are two very different people. She tends to take things and blow them out of proportion. Everything is on a much more grand level for her. And that’s okay. Everyone is different. But because I knew these traits existed with her, I knew it was important not to lead on to her that things weren’t going fine with all that unfolded during this day.

Her doctor came in and checked her again around 3:00 pm. She was still only 5cm, but the doctor said she was now considered to be in active labor. She said she believed she would have the baby around 10:00 pm. Not long after that is when the extremely painful contractions began. The baby’s heart rate kept dropping a good bit after every contraction. The nurse was now staying in the room to monitor this.

Things were getting increasingly scary.

The doctor had been coming in and checking her progress every two hours. For reasons still unknown to me, she came in and checked her again about 45 minutes after she told her it would be 10 pm before time. I am assuming the baby’s heart rate issue was coming into play here. To everyone’s surprise, she was ready to start pushing! In hindsight, I now believe this was God’s way of making sure baby Mason was delivered into this world alive.

And so it began:

The doctor made an announcement that they needed extra nurses on standby to prepare for a shoulder dystocia delivery.  I was thinking to myself, “a shoulder dis-what”.  I could sense concern in her eyes and her urgency on the matter. My sister started pushing… and pushing… and pushing… I reminded her that not all deliveries required just 15 minutes of pushing like my mother had insinuated to me all of those years ago. I tried to make light of the situation and encourage some laughter.

She was in extreme levels of pain. I’m not exactly sure what makes those epidurals work so well for one pregnancy and nearly not at all for others. Does this problem just run in the family? Who knows?  In all, she pushed a little less than 45 minutes. Still 3 hours shy of my experience, but still longer than anyone would want for a delivery where the epidural wasn’t doing its job. Between contractions, the doctor was making “serious” eyes at me. I had no idea what she was trying to tell me, but I knew it wasn’t good. I knew she needed someone in the room to know that things could turn out bad. Things may be wrong, stuff could be about to take place that isn’t desirable for any involved. I think my sister also saw the doctor making these expressive looks at me because she kept looking at me and asking “what’s wrong?”

I have never been a good liar. I learned at an early age not to lie because my face always gives it away that I’m being untruthful. I can’t lie unless I have to. You may recall my writing about my acquired poker face. Here I am, using it again on yet another family member. I kept telling her that everything was okay. Just push, I would say. Just. Keep. Pushing.IMG_3550

Finally, Mason made his grand entry into this world. He was huge. He was huge, but he wasn’t crying. Immediately, I noticed his head was bleeding. I assumed it was associated with the force used trying to pry him out of his mother’s womb. You see, he was stuck. And the doctor had already anticipated this. I would later learn from Google and the real life experience happening before me what shoulder dystocia was. You can Google for yourself and see, but the most apparent thing to me was that it was SCARY for all involved.

His color wasn’t right. His head was almost blue along with his arms and feet. He wasn’t breathing right either. My sister kept asking me if he was okay. Me and my poker face kept telling her that he was. Then they sent the NICU (neonatal intensive care unit) in to assess him and see if he needed to be moved there.  I looked around the room and told my sister that I sure hoped no one else was ready to deliver because it looked to me like the entire staff was in our room. I lost count of them all. Again, she was asking me over and over what was wrong with Mason. I kept lying and telling her they were just being extra cautious because he was such a big baby. Another 45 minutes later, they were still in the room. Still, this large baby hadn’t even been weighed yet. There were too many other more important things going on. IMG_3534 (1)

He had bruises on his arms, bruises on his head, bruises on his side, but still, he pulled through. He was okay. He didn’t even have to go to the NICU, praise the Lord again!

I returned home and when I got here I got a text from my sister telling me the weight and length of the healthy baby boy that is now known to everyone as Mason. My new nephew. Welcome to the world Mason!! I hope the world is easier on you than you were on your mother’s body. (kidding) You may have come into this world a bruised up baby, but you have left your mark on the hearts of many already.

My Best Friends

 

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Homie and Bella

 

I probably have a different opinion about my dogs than most. My dogs are people to me. They are my best friends. Sure, I have friends that don’t have 4 legs but my dogs are my true, loyal no matter what, best friends. It is so cliche’ to call them that, I know. But there really is no other way to put it.

I look at them as my rescuers. If I’m feeling down about anything with my illness I can always, without a doubt, rely on them to cheer me up.  I have three dogs. Two of them are full blooded boxers and the other is a mutt, mostly German Shephard. She is the newest addition to the pack and although I do love her dearly, she is the most destructive dog I have ever owned. I question my decision to bring her home often. She literally chews up everything she can get her mouth on and no amount of scolding or giving her alternative things to chew on has worked. Still, she is here to stay. She’s now a part of the pack.

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Piper

 

Before her we got Homie. He turned 3 on April 1st. He’s my April FOOL. Just look at that picture of him and you’ll see why I say that. We named him Homie and other people don’t understand why. I really can’t even explain why it just fits. When we first got him and took him to the vet for his shots the veterinarian heard a really bad murmur. She acted as if she didn’t even want to give him shots. She asked where we got him and asked if we would be able to get a refund. Like he was just some item we purchased at the store. My husband, who was the one that took him to the vet that day, told her to give him the shots anyway. When he got home and told me the news and that he got the shots anyway and expressed how callous it seemed of her to act that way I was shocked. I was shocked for several reasons.

 

Homie

Homie

 

See there are some things that I don’t see as problems where my husband will. One of them is my dogs.  Don’t get me wrong, he loves them. But he is a voice of reason when it comes to them. He is the person who has said on several occasions that we may not be able to afford Piper because of her destructive behavior and the price tag on a lot of the items she chooses to rip to shreds. I know he’s right, but the ability to find her another home is something I don’t possess.  So when this vets actions and mannerisms didn’t sit right with my husband and he felt it came off as disheartening I knew this situation would’ve probably caused me to raise Hell if I had been with him. I was so proud of him for demanding the shots anyways.

She did tell him that Homie may outgrow the murmur, but that his was one of the worst she had heard. She was doubtful. I did contact the breeder and she assured me that if he were to pass away from this condition she would get us another puppy. Once we bring a puppy home he is a member of the family. How could I just give him back and deem him defective? I couldn’t. Most animal lovers couldn’t.  Skip forward 3 years and me and my Homie are still kickin’ it. He’s healthier than I am at this point.

Before him, there was one. Bella. My sweet, loving, extremely weird, Bella. I got her from someone that didn’t take up a lot of time with her. And because of that, she is strange. She is getting old and can’t see well anymore which prompts her to bark at stuff that really is nothing.

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Bella

 

She is the well mannered, rarely ever does anything wrong, innocent one. Until she’s not. And since we brought Piper home  Bella has acted like she found her youth. Sometimes she is actually the instigator in some of their rough play sessions. And she is having a blast!

Back to Homie- I know as a parent you’re not supposed to have a favorite. Because I treat my dogs like humans too I’m sure I shouldn’t have favorites among them either.

I Have a Confession to Make

Homie is my favorite! I never want to think about the day when something happens to any of them, but I’m telling you now, I WILL have a come-apart if anything happens to Homie.

Homie has helped me with so much in my life that he’s not even aware of.  I can’t tell you how many days I’ve felt like crap and near my wit’s end and Homie will nudge his squishy nose on the side of my bed and just lay his head there because he knows when I’m upset. He doesn’t like it at all and he tries his best to cheer me up. Most of the time it works. I honestly don’t think a day has gone by since we got him that that goofy dog hasn’t made me laugh. I’m not even over exaggerating that, not even a little.

I could sit and go on and on about my friends but it’s getting bed time. Don’t worry about me tonight. My best friend is already sawing logs right beside my bed.IMG_3522

 

 

Thoughts on Methotrexate

I stated that in the end of May I went back to my rheumatologist. I forgot to mention the new game plan. Imagine that. My ADD butt forgetting to post an update.

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We came to the conclusion that the root cause of my rashes was the Plaquenil. She also said that many of my painful areas are trigger areas for fibromyalgia. So here’s what we did as far as meds go:

Stop taking Plaquenil immediately and give it three weeks to allow it to get out of my system. After that period I will start taking Methotrexate.

Stop taking Gabapentin and Flexaril and replace it with 75mg of Lyrica twice a day.

My three weeks will be up Monday. From what I have read, the Methotrexate doesn’t look like a whole lot of fun. I’m interested in hearing from any fellow spoonies who take it and see how it has helped you and what drawbacks you have. Lyrica didn’t have much if any, effect on me. (As usual, my Ambien is beginning to have one on me as I type)

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To make matters worse, I’ve apparently, unbeknownst to me, moved to the Amazon rain Forrest. It has been raining for nearly 4 months now. Rainy days get average people down, but they take away spoons from people like me. It’s been rough. I have already been complaining about the rain and then Cindy brews up and brings in more rain than I have seen in a long time, if not ever.

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Back to medicines, what do you do to get the cost of your medications which do not come in generic form down? I need advice so that I don’t have to take out a 2nd mortgage or anything next time I visit the pharmacy. I hope you all have a dry and great weekend.

 

Goodnight!

Am I a TV-aholic?

tvIn this day in age, we are all connected. Connected to social media and thus the world, connected to our phones which house multiple ways to connect, which are then connected to the world wide web where all of these connections are housed. To further matters we have now started to connect our phones to devices we wear to track or productive we are each day. Or to a watch that does everything your phone does, but in a more convenient size.

These wearable devices have never been of any desire to me. I don’t need my phone to tell me how unfit I am, nor my bracelet. But let’s talk just a minute about the advancements that have been made in getting our televisions connected. Or maybe I should just say our program viewing connected and therefore hugely broadened. We can now go online with our TV. I know what you’re thinking, this is no new news. I am fully aware of that, but it is fairly new to me.

countryroadLet Me Explain:

See, until a little over a year ago I lived in the country.  Living in the country is great. You could yell and not worry about your neighbors hearing you, you could allow your kids to pee outside and no one would see. You could go a little extra time between cutting your grass and no one would care. You never had to worry about any drop-by company because nobody was ever in the area so letting the household chores go a little was okay too. In October in this small town, the kids roll yards for fun. Most parents are okay with it and I am too. But let me tell you when we lived in the country we NEVER had to worry about getting rolled. Nobody was coming all the way out there to do it.  Continue reading

A Labor of Love and Pain

Jun. 5, 2017DeliveryDay
Well, it is once again that time of year. The time when I become even older than the ancient age I already feel. Respectfully, 37 is not that old unless you’re a teenager looking up. With the coming of my birthday comes other dates of remembrance. My first born son and I nearly share a birthday. His is on the 12th. Mine is the 11th. I will never forget my 22nd birthday. I was the most nervous human being on the planet. Suffice it to say I didn’t exactly enjoy that birthday. I was to be induced at 5 am the following day. So there wasn’t a doubt in my mind about what was to unfold that next day at the crack of dawn. I couldn’t eat past 8:00 pm so my birthday dinner was put off until 7:30ish and I scarfed down a big juicy steak, baked potato, and macaroni and cheese which I would later regret. You see, being 21 or 22 years old makes you think you know everything, but you learn the hard way that you most certainly do not. 
I had failed to ask important questions prior to the delivery date. Questions I assumed were givens. Ones like:
1. Will you be giving me an episiotomy?
2. Will I poop on myself?
3. What steps will you take to ensure that I won’t poop on myself? 
4. How long will I have to push?
5.  At what point do you decide I have tried to push too long?  
6. How do you ensure the placenta has been delivered entirely?
Let me explain:

1. I had read about the episiotomy and to me, it seemed pretty cut and dry, pun intended. An episiotomy is an incision made so that your nether region doesn’t rip to shreds when pushing an entire human being out of your who-ha.  From all of the literature I had read, it was apparent to me that this would be done and was routinely done in this day in time. I was wrong. Apparently, I got an old school doctor. 

2. I had also read that it was normal for people to have a bowel movement during delivery and not even know they had done so. I further read that this would cause no harm to the baby and other than embarrassment from the father of the child knowing this had taken place there should be no worries. In this aspect, my doctor was not so old school. The first thing I was instructed to do at 4:30 am after a late steak dinner the night before was to administer myself an enema.  Let’s just say that an enema at the crack of dawn following a birthday steak dinner and accompanied by severely rumbled nerves is nothing anyone wants to be part of. 

3. See number 2, and no, I didn’t poop on self after #2, again, pun intended.

4. I am aware that no two deliveries are the same. Some women barely make it to the hospital on time before they’re spitting their babies out. Some women have already decided ahead of time that they are going to have a c-section. Me? I just wing it. My mother had assured me that once I start pushing it goes fast. She had ensured me that it only takes about 15 minutes to push before I would see my handsome little man. She had also told me that I would only feel the first few contractions and that wasn’t the case at all either. As soon as they started my IV Pitocin and got me hooked up the all of the leads that would record my contractions the pain started. And I had sent my son’s father back to the hotel room while I dealt with my enema ordeal. I didn’t feel the need for an audience for that. So once I had supposedly been squared away my mom trekked back to the room to retrieve my father and son to be’s, father. She hadn’t made it very far down the hall before I was frantically attempting to call her back. I guess I was very close to going into labor all on my own without the help of the Pitocin and those contractions HURT! I had yet to be given any pain medication and as is usually the case, the nurse didn’t believe I was really in pain yet. It was that sort of pain where you’re not sure if you should just try to be real still or move around a lot in hopes to ward it off. 
Finally, they brought some pain medication in and not long after this young man came in the give me my epidural. He was accompanied by an instructor who was trying to explain to him exactly where the needle should go. This made me feel uneasy and then the little guy asked me if this was my first epidural. I told him yes, yes it is my first to which he replied, “mine too”. I sat straight up and turned around and looked at him and his instructor and said, “I’m sorry, but no it’s NOT!” “NOT TODAY!” I hate I cut into his learning time, but that just wasn’t an area of my body that I felt comfortable being practiced on.
I was having contractions in my groin area but those weren’t as painful as the ones in my stomach. After the epidural, I was much more comfortable. Once I was dilated enough the doctor made his appearance and told me I was ready to push. He then pinched me on either side of my private area and asked me if I could feel it. I told him yes, you pinched my left side, and then yes you pinched my right side. He looked dumbfounded and called for a second injection of something in my epidural. He performed his pinch test one more time which I still felt. He then called for more pain meds in my IV. By this time I was as high as a Georgia Pine. I began pushing. 20 minutes later I growled to my mother “I THOUGHT YOU SAID 15 MINUTES, I THOUGHT THE WORST WAS OVER?” I sounded like something off of “The Exorcist” movie. At about the one hour point the doctor told me I was almost there. In my head, this meant the head was out and one or two more pushes and wa-la, a baby would be here. I quickly discovered that I could see everything that was going on down there in the reflection of the television on the wall. No body part what-so-ever was out. At this point, I was beginning to pop blood vessels in my eyes and forehead from pushing so hard for so long. Three (3) hours and forty-seven (47) minutes later I finally had my baby boy. I was shaking so bad that I couldn’t even hold him. My teeth look like I am wearing braces in all of the pictures because they were chattering so fastly.brandnewbrady


5. So, at this point, I was fairly mad at the doctor. I had never heard of anyone pushing for nearly 4 hours. I thought I had prepared myself for the worst pain imaginable, but I had not. I haven’t mentioned it yet but the pain medication and the epidural never worked for anything below the belt. It was as if there was some nerve being blocked and the medication wasn’t able to pass to that area. I told the doctor this repeatedly. Also, that episiotomy thing I thought was a given was never done. I could feel it slowly ripping throughout this entire elongated process. Also, when you have just spent so much of your energy trying to push a human out there is very little left to then deliver a placenta. I tried. I gave forth everything else I had and delivered it. Or so I thought. Aside from a scene off of “The Nutty Professor” which I will not explain because I have already gotten personal enough here, all was well with baby and momma. We went home after the normal 3-day stent.
And this is the point in the story where things really start to get scary.

Home with baby and feeding around the clock as normal. He really was a good baby although I wouldn’t realize how good until the birth of my youngest child. But something still wasn’t right with me. Initially, I blamed it on the pain medicine and lack of sleep. I have always been a fair skinned person. But this was taking pale to a whole new level. I was ghost white. And I was bleeding and passing blood clots the size of tennis balls. A week later I went to the ER and was admitted for 4 days. I was never given a reason for the blood passing other than that a little bit of placenta may or may not have been left. I was sent home and given instructions to wear these huge pads and take these pills made by Satan himself. These pills caused me to have contractions. I wasn’t explained this before leaving the hospital. The contractions were in hopes of expressing this bit of placenta and putting an end to this perpetual bleeding to death. They did not work. A week later I was in the bathtub and it quickly turned red and I nearly passed out. My aunt, who was a nurse and lived next door, instructed me to lay down in the bathroom with my feet elevated over my head until the ambulance got there. So I did. I laid butt naked on the floor of my tiny single wide trailer until they arrived. It was so embarrassing. This time my aunt went to the hospital and spoke with the head nurse to see what the doctor’s plans were this time for me. He wanted to admit me and watch and wait again. My aunt, who til this day doesn’t know how truthfully thankful I am of her for this and other things, told that nurse that she needed to speak to her supervisor and then told them that enough was enough. She told them I was not leaving here without a D&C. She further went on to ask why this doctor didn’t seem to give two flips about this and wanted to continuously send me home. She told my aunt that he just hasn’t been the same since his daughter was killed in that car wreck last year. Umm…excuse me… I’m real sorry for your loss and all, but that doesn’t mean it’s okay to kill me too. If you can’t accurately treat your patients without dang near killing them then you probably should take some time off. NOW. Because to me, this alone was the reason for ALL of the hardships I had encountered. This was why I had nutty professor lips and no episiotomy. This is why I was allowed to push for nearly 4 hours. This was why I hadn’t yet gotten to truly enjoy the gift of motherhood. But once this was done, I got to love my baby with no interruptions. And I thoroughly loved and still love being a Mom!
So to sum this post up, this is our birth week. It is my birth week because I celebrate the day of my birth and also the day I first gave birth. And it is his birthday also. Which will always trump mine and cause mine the be somewhat overlooked, but that’s okay.
It is also the Month of the one year anniversary of my grandmother’s passing. It doesn’t seem like it has already been a year. Putting that one year mark on things seems to insinuate that enough time has passed for the pain to no longer be new. But the pain is still new and it still hurts. I don’t think it will every feel any less significant.

Continue reading

Talk to the Hand

I feel the need to post about the joy of motherhood. It is so rewarding, yet so frustrating at times. I know at some point these kids are going to realize they aren’t know-it-all’s, but until then, I guess we’re just going to argue about it. Constantly. At what point do you decide that continuing to argue is doing absolutely no good?

I feel as if I am failing at teaching a lesson if I allow them to believe whatever asinine thing started the discussion. But they’re so hard-headed. And it needs to be pointed out that when you have a chronic illness you are already dealing with so much of your own crap, that your tolerance level for these aspects of life is significantly low.

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Men, namely my husband, will tell you, “I wouldn’t put up with that crap.” I have a different way of viewing these things. Yes, I don’t think that it’s right for the kids to talk back, and the tone in which they use is a pre-cursor to how the situation is going to unfold. But we want to raise kids to be leaders and think for themselves. Sometimes this means allowing their opinion to be heard, but it doesn’t make it okay for them to treat you like a registered dummy.

When I was growing up there would be no questions. I would be backhanded for this type of backtalk. Not all of it, but most of it. In this day and age, people don’t do that for fear of getting in trouble. I don’t share in that fear, but I do fear it because I’m not built like most humans. If I were to backhand one of mine, that hand would hurt for days if not weeks. With this disease, I bruise easily. I hurt more with a whole lot less effort. I also don’t move near as fast as I used to be able to.

My youngest has figured this out. The oldest has figured out that I’m almost certainly not going to inflict spankings or anything resembling one on him. They’ve figured it out, but are they taking advantage of it?

 

IMG_3433It really does hurt my feelings. I can’t say that to them because I try to hold the majority of my pain and suffering inside and out of their sight. When you have very little energy and are fatigued every minute of the day, you oversleep for everything, you have to skip cooking dinner multiple times a week, you start to lose the respect of your family. It’s not fair. And there seems to be no way to combat it without explaining what you’re going through. Likewise, there seems to be no way of explaining without sounding like a cry baby or an excuse maker. It’s a battle that isn’t capable of being won, it seems.

I know all parents struggle with whether they’re doing the right thing in certain aspects of their parenting journey. I am not trying to insinuate that I’m the only person struggling with this because I am also sick. I think this post is more of a rant. A rant to let everyone know that we are all struggling with this parenting thing. I just have an added aspect to mine.

 

Here is a video that I found to completely compliment this post.  Enjoy!