Wednesday, January 28, 2009

4 days in hospital with no real diagnosis...

Last Wednesday was supposed to be an exciting and joy-filled day. Jon and I had anticipated it for weeks and couldn't wait to see our little babe, via ultrasound. But everything went terribly wrong shortly after leaving work at noon, and had started my drive back to Chilliwack.

I was nearing my exit off the highway and had just called Jon to let him know that I would be by his work site in the next 20 min. to pick him up, when suddenly, I started getting severely sharp pains in my abdomen. They kept getting stronger and stronger and started to creep into my lower back, and immediately, I thought of a friend that had just experienced kidney stones, the week before. She is a lot further along in her pregnancy and had wondered if she was going into pre-term labour. They soon discovered that it was indeed kidney stones. Had it not been for her story, I probably would've freaked out even more than I did, and also assumed that something was terribly wrong in the way of my own pregnancy.

I managed to make it home, but not without several moments of debating whether to pull over along the way. By the time I parked the car in the garage and made it upstairs, the pain had almost incapacitated me. I tried lying down on the couch but that seemed to feel even worse than sitting up. It didn't help matters that I had a full bladder in preparation for the ultrasound, but I knew that I needed to keep it the way it was, for fear that they wouldn't be able to do the scan otherwise.

My original plan had been to stop at home, change into some more comfortable clothes, eat a quick lunch, pick up Jon from work, and then head to the hospital. But when the pain seemed to get worse and worse, I knew I needed to skip all off that and get right back in the car, before I was physically incapable of even driving. As it was, I have NO idea how I managed to make it across town to Jon's job site, without passing out. I parked the car, limped out of the driver's side and told Jon to hurry as I got in the passenger's side.

By the time we got to the hospital, I was moaning and crying in pain and could hardly walk. But I insisted that Jon not waste time helping me inside, and just go park the car and hurry back. I stumbled into the Medical Imaging area and slumped over the counter. The lady looked a bit alarmed (not that I can blame her) and I quickly stated that I needed to get my ultrasound done quickly because I thought I might have kidney stones and was in extreme pain. She immediately started typing in my information but standing there became too much and I told her I had to sit down. She told me not to sit but just to head straight to the back, where someone would meet me as soon as possible.

I again, stumbled down the corridor and made it to one of the chairs. This was when the pain got to be TOO much to handle and I seriously thought that I was either dying, or in labour. Everything in me wanted to sprawl out on the floor but I knew that a cold, filthy hospital floor was not the place to do it. I finally started to cry for help but the pain had almost muted my voice and I was certain that no one could hear me. I kept calling anyway and finally, a tech must have heard me and came rushing from one of the ultrasound rooms. She helped me up and lead me to a bed in one of the rooms and advised me to try to relieve the pain by letting out some of my full bladder. I tried that, but to no avail.

As I lay down on the bed, the tech explained that, though I was quite early for my appt. and they weren't quite ready for me, someone would be with me shortly, and then she left the room. By this point, I was practically hallucinating from the pain and contorting my body, all over the place, trying desperately to find a position that wasn't as excruciating.

Eventually, another u/s technician came in and began the ultrasound. I tried to explain what was going on, between my yelps and gasps for air. He said he would do his best to get through the scan as quickly as possible. Shortly after starting, I begged for Jon to come in because he had not yet seen our little munchkin, and though I was in no shape to "enjoy" the scan, I wanted him to be able to. Plus, I really needed a hand to crush! So the tech ran and got Jon and we continued on with the u/s. Closer to the end of the u/s, the pain got so unmanageable that I started throwing up, which, let me tell you, was not only disgusting but also completely embarassing.

The tech finished with the baby part of the u/s and thankfully, everything was exactly as it was meant to be. Baby was moving lots, heart rate was at 151 bpm, amniotic fluid was normal, and baby was now 10 oz.--- exactly what he/she was supposed to be. So... this excruciating pain had nothing to do with the baby. Hallelujah! He then checked my kidneys, liver and all other needed organs and then shipped me out the door to emergency.

Baby w/ hand beside its face

Baby yawning :)

I hope the baby's nose stays this cute once it arrives
We ended up being in emerg from 2:00pm til 9:15pm that night. They hooked me up to an IV because I was showing signs of dehydration and then treated my pain with morphine and Gravol. By 9pm, they told me that there was really no sure way of knowing what was wrong with me because they couldn't do the necessary CT scanning for kidney stones, that they would do on a normal person. Because of the baby, the radiation would be too much and unfortunately, we would just have to wait it out and hope that if it was indeed kidney stones, hopefully they would pass on their own. The ultrasound did pick up that my kidney's were swollen, but nothing that seemed abnormal outside of pregnancy. They then gave us the option of being admitted or going home with some morphine and gravol, and trying to get some rest in my own bed. I readily chose the latter option, so... we headed home.

Almost as soon as we arrived back at home, we realized that we had made the wrong decision. I had another "attack" and by this point, it was the worst one so far. We strongly debated getting right back in the car and driving back to the hospital but after a long, agonizing attack, it seemed to subside. So we tried to eat something and went to bed.

Once again, bad idea. The attacks started up again at around midnight and continued on every hour after that until we finally made our way back to emerg by 9am on Thursday morning. I spent the entire day in a chair in emerg (yes, a CHAIR! It was a reclining chair but still...) and by 7pm, they finally let me eat. Keep in mind that I really hadn't eaten since 11am on Wed. because I wasn't allowed to eat the night before, due to no diagnosis or plan of action on treating me. Then once we were home, I ended up throwing up the minuscule amount I had eaten, due to extreme pain. Anyway... they then moved me to a "bed" in emerg and admitted me for the night. By bed, I mean a stretcher and yes, I then spent the night, on a stretcher, next to a deaf, senile old woman that groaned and snored all night long. On top of that, the attacks continued to come fiercely and frequently all night. Putting the morphine and gravol through my IV drip stopped working so they moved on to giving me shots in the bum instead and anti-inflammatory suppositories. Nice, I know. All dignity was gone by this time but I'm told that it is good practice for labour, because that's when literally, nothing is sacred anymore :)

I was finally moved to a real bed on Friday afternoon, when they took me up to the maternity ward. I spent the rest of the day and night there and was eventually discharged (again, at my own choice & discretion) on Saturday afternoon. The specialist came to see me before discharging me and gave me the same "schpeel" about not fully knowing what was wrong with me and needing to just, manage the pain and see what happens. He said that if I did have stones, they would be very small as ultrasounds can at least pick up large stones. The fact that mine didn't pick anything up, was good news in the way of size if it was in fact stones. So they sent me home with more drugs, strainers for my urine, and told me to let them know if I did pass anything.

Well... its now a week later and still no sign of any stones. I was FINALLY starting to feel better yesterday and thought that I would be able to return to work on Thursday but things have almost completely reverted again. I was up most of last night with pain attacks (not quite as bad as the beginning but getting very close) and have been suffering all day again. I saw my doctor yesterday and he still isn't convinced that it was kidney stones. Unfortunately, he said we'll never really know for sure, and that I should just continue to get lots of rest and fluids, and wean myself off any medication as soon as possible.

So I guess we will see. I was starting to feel very optimistic yesterday as my body seemed to be bouncing back, but after today, my spirit feels a bit crushed again. I want so desperately to feel normal, to be able to go back to work, and most of all, to be able to just enjoy the rest of this pregnancy. I'll be 20 weeks (or 5 months if you prefer to keep track that way) on Monday--- the halfway mark, and so far... there haven't been a lot of weeks of feeling good or happy. I definitely don't want to sound like I'm complaining because I am SO thankful for this little one and the journey this has been. I just wish the pain and sickness would pass for good now until he/she arrives, so I can really get into the joy of all of this.

But on a brighter note, I have started feeling the baby kick, which has been a definite highlight through all of this pain. It started while I was in the hospital but I wasn't convinced that it was the baby. I figured it was just all the drugs or maybe gas :) But last night as I lay in bed, it became very obvious that it was indeed, the baby. What a uniquely distinct and incredible feeling! They told me that we had a very active baby, judging from my ultrasounds, but now that I can actually feel it, I'm realizing how true that is. Quite the wiggler :)

I know that a LOT of you have been thinking & praying for me through all of this and have waited very patiently to hear what has been going on. I want to say a huge thank-you to all of you who sent facebook messages, emails, flowers, and phonecalls. It has truly meant the world to both Jon and I and we so appreciate your care & support. Your prayers have been felt and accepted with grateful hearts! So, thank-you. And thank-you to our families for all of your support and for coming and spending time with us at the hospital. We love you so much!!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Sunshine & distraction...

The sun is shining today. In fact, its been shining for the last 5 days and is supposed to carry on into tomorrow. Despite the fact that I would much rather be outside enjoying the sunshine than stuck at work, it has put me in a surprisingly good mood. I went out to grab lunch and the balmy temperature of +11 celcius made me smile. OK, so balmy probably isn't quite the right word but it sure feels that way, compared to the winter we've had this year. So regardless of how ridiculous I might sound, I'm going to bask in this reprieve from the rain.

The week ahead will prove to be another busy one but I'm actually quite looking forward to it. I'm most excited about the fact that my friend Melissa and I are going to be starting some prenatal yoga classes together on Wednesday night. I've always wanted to try yoga but have never had the guts to go by myself. Now that I have a buddy to go with, the thought of some organized exercise is exciting. Having been a jock all of my life, this lax lifestyle that I've taken on since leaving college has been somewhat discouraging. So, hopefully this new outlet of activity will help get me back to some form of what I used to be. Or at least help with labour if nothing else :)

I've been feeling so distracted lately. Especially during church yesterday. I had promised myself that I wouldn't let this pregnancy consume me--- that I would be excited, but not consumed. But lately that's been getting more and more difficult. There are a lot of young babies in our church right now and I found myself staring longingly at them during the service, daydreaming about our little one. I keep wondering what he/she will be like. Who they'll look like. What sort of temperment they'll have. Whether it will be a girl or a boy (though I'll admit I really think its a boy--- not sure why exactly, I just do). I've already purchased a few baby items and clothes, so yesterday afternoon, I lay them all out in the spare room (which will soon be changed over to the nursery) and gazed at them for a while. The excitement is really taking over now. I look forward to having the summer off and taking long walks at the river with my Mom. I anticipate spending hot afternoons at the pool with Naomi and the kids. Spending time just holding our little bundle and snuggling them 'til they can hardly stand it anymore :) I never thought I could be so thrilled for this potentially scary stage of life. Fear is still in the background, but thankfully, joy is replacing it.

So for now, I'm trying desperately to keep focusing on the present and get through these next few months of work. Continuing to anticipate the future, but also realize that there is still life to live right now. I'm thankful for today. And on sunny days like today, that task seems so much easier...

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Christmas update in January...

Sorry for the very tardy update on our Christmas. Blogging just hasn't made its way to the top of my priority list lately. Nonetheless, here is a glimpse at what our Christmas holidays held this year.

We got a whole LOT of snow this year. Several blizzards that left people stranded, and everything covered in a blanket of white. Things looked beautiful for a while, but now that its all melting and the flooding has begun, I think everyone is regretting their request for a white Christmas :) Or maybe not.

We attended the Christmas Eve service at Broadway MB this year so we could see Konrad and Ava's singing performance. It was just as cute as we had hoped and the rest of the candlelight service was beautiful.

Konrad is the handsome young man in the front row--the far right hand side...Ava wasn't actually supposed to be singing with the others but when she saw her big brother heading for the stage, she insisted that she join in on the action. She stood off to the side, looking very cute in her Christmas dress, and doing a good job of mimicking the words to the song :) I only got a blurry shot as we were pretty far from the front, but I thought I'd add it anyway.
Christmas came early for our Glen family this year. We celebrated on Dec. 20th because both Viv & Rich had to work on Christmas Eve (which is when we traditionally get together). Mom made a most delectable turkey dinner, as she always does, and we had a good evening of gift opening, chatting to Craig & Jen on the phone, and laughing hysterically over a game of Catch Phrase.

Here's our attempt at a family shot. If you look closely, you'll see that Jon is making a silly face-- nothing out of the ordinary :)

Opening presents...

Next was our Esau family Christmas. We all met at Erich & Naomi's on Christmas morning, for our usual brunch and day of relaxing together. This Christmas was EXTRA special! When Jon's oldest sister Susanne & her boyfriend Juergen arrived, they had some fantastic news to share and a large stone to go along with the story. They're ENGAGED!!!! Juergen popped the question the night before (Christmas Eve) when they had shared their Christmas together. And let me tell you... Susie's ring is breathtakingly beautiful! Definitely the biggest "rock" I've seen in a LONG time :)

Mom & Dad Esau showing off their new "eyeglass holders" from the kids...

Stealing some snuggles with Calvin...

Calvin started crawling this Christmas, but before he figured out the forward motion, he quickly mastered reverse. There were a few times over the course of the day that I found him underneath the couch after scooting his bum under it. Too cute!!

Jon & I were able to escape for a few days and enjoyed some "us" time in Vancouver from Dec. 26-28. We stayed at the Downtown Delta, with a view of the Harbour Centre from our window. After a treacherous drive in (we hit a major blizzard on our way into the city), we upgraded to a King suite and relaxed in our room before heading out to do some shopping & eating. The neat thing about having the Harbour Centre just outside our room was that, that was where Jon took me for a romantic dinner, just after proposing on Dec. 29,2004. The Harbour Centre donns the ritzy "Top of Vancouver Revolving Restaurant" and it holds a lot of special memories for us.

The weekend held everything I had hoped it would. Sleeping in, watching movies, shopping, good food and tons of relaxing. Just what we needed after a busy month of festivities.

As I mentioned in my last post, I didn't get any pictures while we were at The Hills Ranch in 108 Mile house. But the trip was fabulous & I really hope we're able to do it again next year!

So, to finish of this post, here's another preggo picture. It was taken at 16 weeks (4 months), which was last week but seeing as I haven't really changed that much over the course of one week, it will have to do for a "current" picture :)

Its hard to believe that we're less than 3 weeks away from the halfway mark already. The first trimester did feel long, considering how gross I felt, but now that I look back, it seems crazy to think how much time has flown by. We go for our 18 week ultrasound next Wednesday and are really looking forward to seeing our little munchkin again.

Some of you may be curious about that statement because most people only have their first ultrasound at the 18 week point. But we had our first one at 10.5 weeks. When I went in for my first prenatal appt., the doctor couldn't tell from the internal exam, whether the baby was growing in the uterus or in my left fallopian tube. He said he was 90% sure that everything was OK but wanted to be 100% sure, and therefore sent me for an emergency ultrasound. Having an ectopic pregnancy has actually been my biggest fear from the start, and though he tried to convince me not to worry... I worried. It was hard to sleep that night, because when you've been carrying this little one, that negative 10% chance seems far greater than the other 90% good. But thankfully, upon seeing the u/s the next day, it was clear that baby was right where he/she was supposed to be.

I was amazed at how "baby-like" our little one looked at such a young stage and will remember that day forever. It was VERY active during the u/s and had all its fingers, toes and a rapidly beating heart. Jon wasn't able to be there for it, so my mom came with me. Both of us teared up as soon as we saw that little life and that was the day, the reality of this pregnancy hit me. I really, truly have a little person growing inside of me, and the indescribable joy that brings, is unbelievable.

Next Wednesday's u/s can't come quickly enough and I'm really looking forward to watching Jon experience that joy for the first time. We just pray that God continues to keep the baby safe and that when we meet this little life in June, that he/she would be healthy. The anticipation is building daily... :)

Monday, January 05, 2009

Back at it...

Well, the busyness of Christmas has come and gone and I'm just getting back into things at work. I can't believe how quickly the holidays passed and am already yearning to have them back :) Despite our busy Christmas schedule, we did find moments of relaxation and really enjoyed time spent with friends and family. We got back from our Esau family trip to 108 Mile House yesterday afternoon and had a really wonderful time away. It was so nice to have some "down time" and enjoy the chance to play in the snow :) I didn't bring out my camera once while were in 108 Mile but I will post some pictures from Christmas as soon as I have a minute, and hopefully I'll be able to steal a few trip pictures from Naomi & Susanne. Just wanted to let you all know that I am still here and will post something of significance soon! Hope you all had a blessed Christmas and New Year's! Talk to you soon...