June 30, 2013

Sunday Morning.

Today my husband and mother in law flew out to New York to find our future home. My prayers travel with them and my instructions- please find me a beautiful home.  I love living somewhere that every morning I can look out my deck and feel surrounded by God's love because it is so beautiful here.  Oh how I wish I could be with them.

I walked past a pile of blocks on the floor and ached to be able to bend over and pick them up real fast.

I dropped a glass bowl and it shattered.  It's tricky trying to maneuver kitchen rugs, my walker, and a bowl for the homemade mac n cheese I was trying to sneak while my mom was putting eve down for a nap. I had to walk away and leave the mess for my mom to clean up.

She serves me constantly with a smile.  I can't think of a better caretaker.  Seriously, my mom takes 24 hour really great care of me.  My soul is grateful for everyone who helps me on a daily, hourly basis.  

I have 3 things I'm still working on...

1. My stomach wound-- it is open and is getting better, but is still pretty sluff filled. I think it will take at least a month to heal.  I pray daily for my belly.

2. My aching legs/blood clots- my legs feel like they have tourniquets wrapped around them with tiny tourniquets around my toes.  Although my feet are not that swollen anymore, they are hurting numb and it feels like I'm walking on super swollen feet.  Weird.  Jakob and my nurse Adrienne are the only two people that can take away the pain by their massage.  Hopefully this pain will go away as my feet continue to heal.  There is a chance, however, that the pain may linger.  Blah.

Part of the pain is from the arteries that they had to cauterize and part is the blood clots that I have.  The main reason I couldn't fly to NY this week was blood clot related. 

 I still have a filter in a vein near my heart that needs to be removed in the next five weeks.  I am completely dreading that procedure-- as in I'm absolutely terrified out of my mind if I think about it... So I try not to think about it.  Sigh.  I do not love blood clots.

3. My bladder- oh sweet, tiny bladder of mine.  My bladder is the size of a baby's. It has fistulas coming off the top that we  are hoping will heal on their own if given another month of rest.  

I'm having major catheter issues- as in my catheters aren't working so my bladder is getting too full and spasming.  I have urine everywhere half of the time.  We don't really know why, it could be the new shape of my bladder has pockets where urine can hide out away from the catheter?  It could be a user malfunction- like I'm kinking the line somewhere.  Or, there could be something wrong.  I'm on antibiotics for a bladder infection.  

My bladder worries me.  I do know that I will have long-term bladder issues.  Just don't know exactly what those will be.
(Ben is tiny-- smaller than he looks in pictures.  He is a doll baby.)

I guess I let myself write this long list of problems because I KNOW that these trials are temporary.
Today-- I'm a bit stressed about finding a great house in NY and learning to walk again without pain.
But, these won't always be my issues.
God will bless us, my body will heal and time will make things better.
Next week I'll have different issues and still, life will be good.

Today I hurt.  I cried a bit this morning, frustrated.
But, my good outweighs the bad.
Little Ben was due for a poopy diaper.  He was gassy and just needed to be held last night.  Guess what?!  I can hold a baby!  I can swaddle him and cuddle him and spend all day in my chair lovin my little guy.

I'm a bit useless when it comes to picking up blocks or cleaning up dinner, but I'm a great match for a tiny preemie who needs a little bit of love.  Being able to mother makes all my aches and pains inconsequential.   Oh how I LOVE being a mother.

Hope you're enjoying your Sunday.
Life is good.
(Sweet baby not quite done with his dinner...)
I love being a mom!
And, I loved these...

June 29, 2013

A belly package...

I posted a post about my tummy wound... The thing is, I started the post back on June 26.  I finished it this morning.

I can't figure out how to change the post date from my phone-- so I'm writing you this little note.
Want to read a recent update? Scroll back to June 26 and read about my belly package.

See ya!!

June 27, 2013

It depends...

Oh, Todd and I did get a good laugh this afternoon.

I was at Rite Aid, with my walker (and my bag of urine attached to my leg), buying Depends.

Of course I didn't buy the kind I'm holding in the picture... I bought the kind that Cheryl from Dancing with the Stars wears.  Todd wants me to add, that after purchasing a discounted shower chair this morning and thanks to the Rite Aid Discount club, my lovely panties only cost $2.79 for 16.

I really need a cute basket for my walker...

Old age has nothing on me!
Life is good.

Home Sweet Home

My eyes fill with tears easily as I peer over my balcony at my beloved Oregon.
Oh, it is good to be home.

Last night the little girls were sleeping so the big kids ushered me home.
They cocooned baby Ben with older sibling love.  60cc's of milk was split 4 ways so each had a chance to feed him.

Anna and Ellie rubbed my sore feet as they poured out their lives to me.  Friends, recent activities, a new tv series they know I'll love that only occasionally uses the H-word or A-word (like Psyche).  They told me all about their sheep and how Ellie's has a nice bum (as far as sheep go) and how Anna's has a long shank.  Ellie is voice training her lamb and how Anna wondered if her lamb had short-term memory loss because she would teach it and by the next day it would forget again.  They told me about a friend who has a bikini and goes tanning...
How I adore the chatter of little girls.

A mother's heart swells to watch our big kids love our little ones.

Ben is adored-- for who he is, because of the fight it was to get him here, because he is my last ever, and because as my last, he symbolizes all that I have loved with all my other babies.  I love him so much my eyes often brim with tears as I'm rocking or burping with him.
Being a mother is a holy, sacred gift.

My boys are more quiet, but just as aware and present.  They are so nurturing of me, gently touching my arm or back, quick to get things I drop, fast to offer drinks.  They are darling with their little brother.  The boy factor pulls them a little closer.  Adorable!

Around 6 am this morning, I heard Eve awake and happily calling for Grandma.  She used to call for me, in a much younger sounding voice.  I wasn't sad to hear the change-- my whole soul was grateful for loving grandmas who have nurtured in my absence.
My kids have been calling me Grandma since I've been home and each time I smile gratefully.

Eve woke first, then Leah, then baby Ben, then Lily.
Yes, my girls are happy to see me.  They have so many questions and are so careful of my tender tummy.  But, I pale in comparison to a tiny baby.

Can I even describe my beautiful first morning home?

Sunshine pouring in my windows, my home is clean and so MINE with little touches of grandmas and things friends have dropped off.  I am a bit of a mess physically as we figure out this new catheter I have that is a big mess (I feel like I smell like pee all the time). 

Seriously, it's a big adjustment...
Bags of pills, shots, dressing changes, etc., etc..  Trying to sleep on a flat bed.  Getting to sleep near my husband!  Nursing, pottying, eating, getting from place to place with my walker...

Even though I feel like a mess, my little girls gather near my recliner.  Eve snuggles carefully next to me, Leah on one side, Lily on the other. They are also constant chatters- full of tales to tell and questions to ask.
They are entranced with Ben as he nurses and they wait for their turn to help feed him.
The girls notice every wonder- tiny toes and fingers, sweet baby ears, cute baby faces.  They measure the baby's finger against their own and the ooh and aah over each cute movement.  They take gentle turns, they are quick to bring me the pretty cloth you are supposed to put on your shoulder when your burping babies.  My babies loving my baby.
My mother's soul overflows.

I do laugh that the girls keep asking to borrow my walker so they can play old lady.

Leah wanted me to do her hair and brought me a brush and pony.  Afterwards when grandma told her that her hair looked nice she said, "Mom did it.  She remembered!"

I am HOME!!!
Pee issues will work themselves out.
Today I'm home and I can't even tell you how sweet it is to be home. 

Rachel died giving birth to her Benjamin in the Bible.  She named him son of my sorrow.  Her husband changed his name a bit to mean son of my strength.  In sorrow, we are made strong.  In our yearning, we are filled.

Today my heart is so grateful it runs over!
You may never know the full beauty of a morning at home until you have faced the possibility of never coming home.
Home is wonderful!!!!

June 26, 2013

OHSU- bringing home Benjamin.

April 28, 2013
28 weeks pregnant
Admitted for hospital bed rest.
Our last family picture before I enter the hospital.

Family visits to the hospital.
May 24, 2013
We celebrate 16 years of marriage with Thai Basil takeout, a love song playlist, and a hospital sleepover.
I have never loved someone more.
June 5, 2013
The night before our scheduled c-section.
My last night ever being pregnant.

I left candy and a note for the hospital staff that I had grown to love.
And, a little note to my beloved surgeons.
After much persuasion they allowed Todd into the OR just for the delivery.  He was squeezing my hand as little Benjamin entered this world.  Our eighth perfect baby, born at 33 weeks 6 days gestation.  Todd kissed my head and was ushered out.  I closed my eyes and 
thanked God with my whole soul for His gift.  Then I fell asleep praying with my might for the surgeons who were operating on me.

June 7, 2013
After 180 bags of blood products and hours of surgery, my heart was strong but my body was so swollen with fluids they couldn't stitch me up.  My bladder was tissue paper and my insides were pretty bad.   After hours of surgery, they turned me over to the trauma unit unsure I'd make it through the night.  Trauma doctors wrapped me in saran wrap and secured my abdomen with an industrial sling used for patients with severe abdominal injuries.  Despite the dire outcome, Todd never doubted I would make it.  I felt his strength, his faith and his surety.  He saw me surviving and I saw myself through his eyes.
In reality this is what I looked like...
While I was fighting, Ben was being loved by grandpa, grandma, aunt mil, and sweet nurses.
June 10, 2013
I held Ben for the first time.  It was a difficult, beautiful moment.
Sweet nurses, CNA's, housekeeping, doctors, residents, friends, and family filled my life with love and prayers and great hope!  My soul was lifted!  
This cute fella made me want to get better!
June 16, Father's Day
After meeting with hospital children's therapists, we had the kids come see me for the first time and two at a time to meet their little brother.
There were setbacks, but we pulled through.  I started running laps...
And finally was strong enough to come home!!!
Today is one of the best days of my life!!
I am coming home!!!
Life--- life is sooo good!
Thank God!  
Thank wise doctors!  
Thank YOU!
And oh, please hug your loved ones tight. 
Today is a gift!!

A belly package.

Want to see a picture of my belly package?
Ok here.

Just kidding... That's the light above my hospital bed and my finger.

Here is my belly package-
(I am wearing panties, lovely postpartum disposable ones, but you may see my blistered healing thighs in the background.  I hope this picture isn't too inappropriate.)

Underneath the pads is a large cut that goes from my belly button down to my previous c-section scars.  It goes from one inch wide to maybe 3 inches wide and is pretty raw and thick.  It is about 17cm long.  I don't know how deep it is, but they say it should heal up from the inside out in 6-8 weeks.  6 to 8 weeks with this thing on my stomach!!!  (In real life people deal with wounds like this all the time!!  I'm so grateful I've never experienced them before now.)

Before the belly package my tummy was held together by a wound vac.  They packed the wound with black foam, covered everything in plastic-torture tape,  and then stuck a little vacuum in it.  The vacuum sucks everything together and  helps things heal without infection.  It works well on most patients.  Not so much with me...  Because I had pockets of "sluff" that needed to be cleaned out.  Sluff is yellowish-brownish dead skin stuff that can turn to infection.

The doctors never said I had a real infection-- that means fever and antibiotics.  I did have lots of pockets of puss and dead skin.  

I have pictures of my wound and pictures from when I had a wound vac, but I can't post them...  They're way too gross.

Having a big open wound on my belly really freaks me out.  Many people in my family think it's cool.  Even Jakob watched a dressing change yesterday.  I won't let my other kids see it yet.

This morning I took a shower and rinsed my wound with the moveable shower head.  They have been trying to get me to do that for the past few days and I just couldn't.   Ughhh.  It wasn't that bad this morning, but still makes me really nervous and a bit freaked out.

You don't have feeling deep inside a wound, so it doesn't hurt.  You can feel scrubbing and tugging and pressure, so it doesn't feel good when they clean stuff.  The worst for me is still the tape.

I think I have a bit of post traumatic stress disorder.  I'm super sensitive to pain.  When they are ripping the tape from my skin for dressing changes I want to scream.  The adhesive remover doesn't seem to work- unless someone is willing to go super slowly.

Life, at home, with a new baby, and two sweet mothers caring for me, is wonderful!!
So nice to be home!!
I love my visiting nurse.
Love my little walker and my big bag of urine.

This morning Eve greeted me with, "Hi mom!  Is that pee?"  Sweet girl.

I don't love my open wound-- but it is something I can totally do.
I can do this!
Life is good!!

June 25, 2013

Monday- coming home soon...

What a good day!
Yes, everyday I am just grateful to be alive.  Especially today.

I told a doctor how hard it is to hear them say "you look sooo good" when I feel so crappy.  Sometimes I want to say, "do you really think this is good?" as they smile and walk out the door to their normal life.  Sometimes I want them to know that this isn't me looking good- good for me is at least being able to walk or hold a child of mine or make a coherent, non-drug-induced sentence.
Today my sweet dr said that she remembers me in surgery.  She remembers me jaundice and almost dead.  She said she can't help but say how good I look every time she sees me because I am alive and getting better.
That IS good.  I love those doctors of mine. 

Drew, my mom and my mother in law came up to see Todd, baby Ben and me.

I'm ever mindful and grateful of the army of friends who live nearby that are often helping out with my gang of kids...
Thank you.  I miss you all desperately.  I miss my kids desperately.

My family arrived while I was inside the bathroom.  My bowels are still waking up from major surgery- that was my first experience with a pretty solid bowel movement.  

All I have to say about going potty after major surgery is- "holy crap batman!". 
One of the hardest things I've ever done.
As I hobbled out of the bathroom, I was so conscious of how I look, so worried that I would scare my kids.
I feel like I got hit by a bus, I can only imagine I look about as bad.  
As I hobbled over to my chair I made a joke about walking like Yoda.
I saw my moms and drew and just cried.
I was alive.
I had gone through a lot and been gone so long.
No matter what, it was so good to see my family.
Drew said, "mom, you don't scare me at all- I've known you since I was young."
He hugged me and patted me and held my hand often as he visited.  
It was so nice to see him.  Nice to remember life outside to hospital.

I had an X-ray of my bladder.  
The tech said it was as small as a baby's bladder.
They filled my bladder with dye to see if I had any leaks.

I have one fistula that connects the top of my bladder to my vagina.  (Not sure what that really means, except that sometimes I can still potty without my catheter).
They are going to change my catheter tomorrow (fun, fun!), and I'm going to have the new one for another month.  They think this will give the fistula time to heal on its own.  (Hopefully no more surgery?!)

They had mentioned me going home sometime last week, but I really didn't think it would happen... I thought for sure my bladder scan would change things.  But, I think we're still looking at a departure day of Wednesday.  Can you believe it?!  After two months, almost to the day-- I really might get to go home.

I still have an open wound down my belly that requires twice daily dressing changes.  My mom and Todd are both learning to do this.

The bottom layers of my wound are together.  The top layer did have a wound vac, but they found that it didn't do well with a wound vac.  I never got an "infection", but when they would check my tummy there were patches of dead or pussy skin that weren't healing.  Often they have had to slice off this dead tissue to help keep things healing.  Even in the midst of often debriefing, doctors keep telling me how good things look.

To me, an open wound down the front of my stomach is not good.  I'm trying to understand the concept of healing from the inside out.  It's interesting, but still a bit gross to me.  

Instead of ripping off a tape bandage each time they check my wound like they used to... (honestly- they should use tape as a way to get information from terrorists.  Tape torture would work, it's awful) they have taped laces onto my belly.  After they stuff me with clean, moist gauze, they cover my wound with pads and then they tie me closed with my belly shoe laces.  Weird.  

I'm learning to love my belly wound.  The reason it is having issues healing is because it wasn't a straight forward cut and repair.  They kept me open for sometime.  I guess it's not uncommon for deep wounds to heal and have pockets of dead skin/possible infection areas that don't heal.  They don't want me to get those pockets.

I have pictures of my wound vacume and drain, I have pictures of my open wound, but I don't think I've taken any of my belly laces... This stuff is pretty intense friends.  I'm not sure how much you want to see.

My most painful part of my body is my legs.  As my legs continue to wake up from surgery they hurt.  A lot.
I feel like i have imaginary tourniquets wrapped 100 times around my toes and legs.  Medicine is working to ease the pain as my legs awaken...  Mostly the pain comes from circulation issues from the arteries they had to embolize, the balloon catheters that burst, blood clots, and in the end, they really don't know why my legs hut and we are all hoping it's temporary.

I am so excited for the next few days.
I will miss the comfort of this mother/baby floor.  

Ben is still with me in my room.
He is an angel baby and brings great joy to my life.
Watching Drew with his brother was priceless.
My kids are going to love having a new little brother.

Life is good here.
Thank you for your sweet notes of encouragement- you helped save my life.


June 23, 2013

I can see clearly now...June 22

I'm slowly waking from a haze.
I feel like the past week I've been tossed to and fro amidst the waves, never really certain when I'm awake or when I'm drowning.  I've lost track of people and have no idea what day of the week it is.  I keep feeling like yesterday was at least a week ago.

I feel like we're figuring out pain management.  I thought I was feeling drugged, but I think I was just utterly exhausted.  I was falling asleep at random times and never felt rid of my haze.  

Now, I can be the most drugged (painfree) and still feel clear headed.  

Honestly, I love, love, love my nurses.  They have cared for me more like a sister than a patient.  They have washed me, wiped me, fed me, tucked me in, hugged me and cried with me.  My nurses get me up when Im flat, and they really care.  They rub my legs and even pray for me.  I know they are just doing their job.  But I don't feel like their job.

I love you ladies!!!  Thank you for rescuing me this week-- the horizon looks brighter !!

Saturday- meatball subs

Blogging is too hard because I feel like I need to blog my experience and it's still too much.  I can't blog such a life changing experience just yet---
So, I'm taking my nurse's advice and just doing daily goods and bads.

Yesterday was a transition day for me.
I had a really hard, hazy, painful week.
I'm tired and recovering and I feel a bit like I'm drowning.

My nurse, Sue, was my sweet angel.  She cared for me at some of my lowest times.  She held me while I cried.  Her sweet English accent reminded me of family across the sea... Her sense of humor and gentle touch reminded me of family across the veil.  Sue was an angel.

Adrienne took over for Sue at nights.  She has a gift to take away pain.  I never feel better than when Adrienne tucks me in and rubs my legs.

I thank God daily for these and many other, kind nurses and cnas.

Met with pain team to address nerve damage/numbness in my feet.

Walked three times around the 13th floor using a walker.  I'm not fast or pretty, but I can walk.  (For sometime I thought I would be paralyzed.)

Todd pushed Benjamin and I around in a wheelchair.  We went outside (the first time since he was born that either of us breathed outside air).  I sobbed again. Life is real and it is not too far from my hospital bed.  I prayed with Todd for renewed perspective.  I think I caught a glimpse sitting there on that patio... Life is waiting for my return!

As we walked, people looked at me and said, "Oh, she just had a new baby".  I got so many congratulations and realized I missed that part.  Because my surgery was so intense (and i had thousands of emails I couldn't read), I went right to "Wow! You're alive", and missed the just plain "congratulations, it's a boy".  I loved every compliment he received.

A CNA walked in on Todd in the bathroom.  She was so embarrassed she kept saying "I just saw your feet."

Split a meatball sub with Todd and ate it.  

New meds, some time in the bathroom, a baked potato for dinner, and a great nurse left me set up for a long night sleep-- pretty pain free.  It was a really good night.

Still figuring out pain stuff... My back, my legs, my belly, too much, not enough, tired, drugged out, numb, recovering, there is a balance and it's hard to find.

I don't love shots in my belly that still has a big, open wound.

Although my wound is doing so much better than it was (they removed most of the infection/dead skin stuff a few days ago and cauterized the bleeding spot yesterday), it still freaks me out a bit.  

My doctor told me it will take 8 weeks to heal.  Todd is learning to change my dressing.  How do you do this for 8 weeks?

My arms look like war zones.. And they still keep coming to draw my blood...

Someday I have to have my blood clot filter removed... I dread that day.

Just so you know, my husband is a saint of a man who has really cared for every inch of my body and bodily fluids without blinking an eye.  Someday I'll care for myself again...

I decided to stop nursing, for a lot of reasons.  Mainly because of the effort it took.  Ben was fussing a bit after we laid him down and I asked Todd to hand him to me.  I snuggled him into my nightgown and we just laid near each other.  Even though he had already finished a big formula meal, he was rooting around wanting to nurse.  It was a sweet moment for me.  I felt like he was choosing me and I felt like his mom as I nursed him for a short time before he fell asleep.  Even when it's really hard, these moments remind me I love being a mother.

June 21, 2013

enlisting prayers...

Hey Friends. Kaela here.
We're friends now right? I feel like after we've all been through this whole emotional, prayerful, miraculous experience together, I just consider you all my friends now.
So...I have another quick update on Jen. Good and bad news.

Good: Jen is still healing miraculously. She's still having a lot of ups and downs, but her pain levels are being managed much better now which is a huge blessing. Benjamin has been officially released from the NICU and get's to stay in Todd and Jen's room! She's back in the mother/baby unit that she did her bed-rest in. So she has all the nurses that she knows and loves. They know and love her too....it's like being back with friends. We can't say enough about all the nurses, surgeons, doctors, etc, etc, etc who have worked with Jen. They are our hero's.

Bad: A few days ago they found an infection in Jen's wound. They still haven't been able to close her up all the way due to the swelling, so they were trying to keep her incision (which is very large) clean and taped off to keep it sanitized. They try to inspect and clean it every few days, which is a really painful process. Anyways, long story short, they found an infection which is pretty concerning. Jen specifically asked me to ask for your prayers. We are praying that the infection is handled quickly, and that her wound heals properly. Please join us if you can.

Hopefully Jen is back and ready to write soon! Again thank you for all your love and prayers, it is so sooo so appreciated!


June 19, 2013

Mother/Baby unit

I spent over 40 days in the mother/baby unit on bed rest.
was in trauma ICU for 6 days before they transferred me to General Surgery on June 12.
After 7 days here on the general surgery.  floor, I think, hope, and honestly, I am kind of scared that they might transfer meback to the mother/baby unit. Aside from going home, there is no place id rather be.

This afternoon, Baby Benjamin will be discharged into Todd's care.  For the first time, he will come and sleep with us in our room.  

Physical and occupational therapists have ordered me a hospital bed and walker.   They help me practice getting in and out of bed and cheer me on as I take my first steps.

Literally, taking one step is pretty difficult.
They are all amazed at my recovery.  I am
amazed at how difficult the process is.  Not that I'm complaining-- It is a good process. 

Todd showed me a picture of what i looked like when he saw me in the ICU immediately following surgery.
It was hard to see- I cried for him, that he had to see it.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...