Wednesday, August 31, 2011

How to Really Love a Child

Monday, August 29, 2011

As of Late {Growing}

Dear Pickle,
You are growing fast in size and even faster in personality! You make us laugh until our sides hurt on a daily basis and we love it. You are so very smart little one - you astound us with how quickly you pick up on new things. I call you our little sponge! We have done so much together the past few months, I can barely keep up with all the new neat things you are doing. Daddy and I just love watching you grow.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

{Wordless Wednesday} R+T

He loves me...bedhead, morning breath, freshfaced & all.
I love you too Rywren <3

Monday, August 22, 2011

With Gratitude

I want to send an enormous thank you to each of you for reading my story. The beautiful words of kindness, empathy, and prayer are so touching and mean so much to me. My heart overflows with thanks and adoration as I read each and every message. The out-pour of love has been astounding. I have read and re-read your words with grateful tears in my eyes; I cling to the sentiments of optimism and hope.

Thank you so much.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Loss & Looking Forward {My Ectopic Pregnancy} Part II

Thursday, August 11th Recovery had been going well. My Mom ever so graciously took the entire week off to help me recuperate. The shot of Methotrexate had left me a bit weak and sore. Dylan was starting to get back into the routine of everyday life, while enjoying having his Nana to play with. I had finally gotten the “okay” to start nursing Dylan again after the 72 hour mark of having taken the potent drug. He and I both were happy to share snuggles and closeness that we had missed. I had still been having cramps and abdominal pain, but it was nothing like the week before, and I was told the pain was normal. However, around noon on this day, the pain changed. This particular day I was taking the opportunity of extra help with Dylan to get back to crafting! I was sitting at the kitchen table working on a onesie when my abdomen began cramping up. I started sweating a bit and I got up to take a small break. I stopped at the couch, unable to walk further and immediately curled over on the side of the couch. I called for Mom to worriedly tell her that I was hurting again and she asked what she could do. She distracted Dylan by taking him to play outside while I waited for the pain to pass. A short 10 minutes later it was gone. While alarmed by the return of the severe pain, I was already taking it easy, resting more, and taking pain medication; there wasn’t a whole lot more that I could do. We went about our afternoon, passing the time being entertained by our little ham. Soon Ryan was home from work, kindly whipping up a delicious dinner. Daddy, Dylan and I nestled in our big bed and took a short early evening nap together, then woke for bath time and bedtime. Our schedule was back to normal and we were happy about that.

Ryan and I got ready for bed and he tucked in to head to sleep. I still had a bit of energy so I kissed him, told him goodnight, and went and sat at the computer. Right as I sat down, I heard Dylan’s scared cry – he had been having nightmares every now and then. After 15 minutes of rocking, he was limp as could be; his face sweetly nuzzled into the crook of my neck. As I stood to put him in his crib the pain stabbed quick and deep into my belly. A cold sweat beaded up on my forehead as I lay him down gently. I rushed to the couch where I curled up in a ball, then got to all fours, then laid down; nothing helped. The panic set in again, and I hurried to the bed to wake Ryan. “I’m hurting and I’m scared,” I loudly exclaimed. He sat up in a flash and put his arms around me. I couldn’t still myself; desperately trying to find a position to take an edge off the agony. I flopped myself onto the floor and the sobbing began. The pain made me nauseous and Ryan tried to help me to the bathroom as I threatened throwing up. He called Dr. Elliot, the on-call doctor at my Gynecologist's office and he immediately told him to take me to the ER. He contacted his Mom and she quickly headed our way to watch over Dylan. My Mom flew out of bed and drove to the hospital to meet us there, voicing her worries that I needed an ambulance. My pain diminished enough for me to insist that I could make it in Ryan’s truck. He helped me into comfortable clothes and we headed to St. Francis. I was panicked that it was just gas pains – the pain medication had done a number on my digestive system. But with every stab, those fears went to the wayside. Ryan insisted that no matter what it was better to be safe and get checked out.

My Mom was there to help me into the hospital while Ryan found a parking spot. The ER waiting room was full of patients before me; I was sure it would take a while. But because I had been there exactly a week before, my name was surprisingly called very quickly. She and I sat in a triage room while I told my long story to the young nurse. She looked at my battered arms, and chose the less bruised to draw my blood for tests. I felt the color melt from my face; my veins were in protest! Then she led us to the triage waiting room to wait our turn to see the ER doctor. Ryan called to check on us as he sat outside; only one guest allowed at a time. My Mom told me stories to pass the time, and we observed the life of an RN to see what her future career would entail. Finally a room opened up and they let Ryan back to join us. He showed me videos and pictures of Dylan every time they came to draw my blood – it helped distract me from the pain. Around 4 am a familiar face came in our room – Dr. Curry recognized me immediately. She poked on my belly, and again was worried about blood in my abdomen. She agreed that I should be feeling much better by now, and ordered another ultrasound. I saw more familiar faces as the night continued; Janelle and I were both happy and sad to see each other under these circumstances. We chatted again about our babies and the excitement of her ever changing job, and she told me she wished we were talking over a beer at dinner. She had made sure I had a dose of Morphine before this ultrasound, and she held my hand again as the same Radiologist went through the motions. Mom and Ryan were relieved to see me appear with a dry face. The doctor’s presumption was right, there was still a lot of fluid in places it shouldn’t have been. She prepped me mentally for possible surgery, answering each of my nervous questions. I started shivering at the idea, as Ryan and Mom tried to calm me. Both of them were sad that I had to have surgery, but contented at the thought of ending this pain once and for all. 

We were admitted to room 2109 in Labor and Delivery, the exact same room, the exact same nurses; this was starting to feel like Déjà vu! This time Ryan curled up on the sleeper couch and Mom headed home to catch up on sleep. Just as before I wasn’t allowed a bite to eat or even a sip of water, so the IV fluids were all I had to keep my hydrated. I tried counting the total number of needle sticks, but I couldn’t keep up. Friday morning turned into afternoon as we waited for my visit from Dr. Howerton. Around 1:00 she swiftly came in, evaluated my pain and decided surgery was a must. As I started to nervously cry she assured me that it was non-invasive and that she would take great care of me. I was at ease knowing that she would be the one to do the surgery – by my side every step of the way. I was quiet and in shock, but Ryan questioned every aspect of my future fertility. She explained that her goal was to try and take the ectopic pregnancy first then decide if my fallopian tube was salvageable. The only way she would do anything to put a solid end to my fertility was if it was life threatening at that very moment. There was no way to know exactly the outcome without looking inside me first. As she left, she assured me that she would see me for surgery very soon. Ryan and Mom both calmed me down as I cried. We got on our phones and rallied our troop of friends and family to start praying and sending good vibes our way.

At 4:00p.m. a boy in full operation scrubs, no older than myself led us to the surgery wing of the hospital. Howie welcomed us and introduced us to the anesthesiologist, and then Stuart my surgery nurse. They all assured me I was in fantastic hands and would be out before I knew it. Mom and Ryan gave me smiles of encouragement, then the three of us held hands as Ryan prayed for my safety. I kissed them goodbye and I was wheeled into the freezing operating room. My bed was lifted and Stuart helped me scoot onto the metal table. Dr. Howerton explained that she would make three incisions during my Laparoscopic surgery; two in my lower belly for the tools, and one in my belly button for the camera. My belly would be insufflated with carbon dioxide so she could move around and see better, and then she would remove the extra fluid and the ectopic pregnancy. Stuart asked if I was cold as my teeth chattered and my whole body shivered from nerves. I told him I was scared, and Dr. Howerton grabbed my hand and said that was normal, but there was nothing to worry about. Then she grinned and said “I’m gonna take some really cool pictures, want to see them later??” I laughed and said yes! A handsome young man peeked over the top of me and said he was going to give me some “really good stuff.” They put a mask over my face and while still holding my hand, Howerton told me to take deep breaths. I took two and then everything went black.

I slowly cracked open my eyelids, bright lights flooding my eyes. My body was numb, I almost felt paralyzed. A friendly looking blonde woman peered over me and told me in a soft southern drawl that my surgery "went great!" In a volume much louder than I anticipated I yelled "it's already over??!" She laughed and said "yes baby, it's over." She disappeared as quickly as she had appeared and I lay there quietly, trying not to drift back to sleep. I focused on the noises around me and realized I was surrounded by other patients in recovery. Many of them sounded as if they weren't in as good of shape as I was. I said a quick prayer for them and in thanks for my own successful surgery. My old friend Stuart came to my side and said it was time to head back to my room to see my family.

My Mom was waiting in my room when I was wheeled in on my bed. Ryan rushed through the door moments later, eager to hug me - the feelings were mutual! We all breathed a sigh of relief that the hardest part was behind us.

Ryan told me of his meeting with Dr. Howerton right after my surgery. She hugged him and told him the procedure had gone great. After the ectopic pregnancy was removed, it was clear to her that my right fallopian was irreparable. It had ruptured and split right down the middle. My abdomen was full of blood, which explained some of my pain, as well as shortness of breath. When not contained in veins and arteries, blood is an irritant, and it had inflamed many of my internal organs. The pressure of the liquid on my diaphragm had left me struggling to take deep breaths. She removed the blood, and preformed a Salpingectomy to remove my entire right fallopian tube. She reassured him as she held strong to her optimism for my future health as well as the future of my fertility. He graciously thanked her and hugged her again.

I had a few guests that evening. Chris and April came in from Edmond and perked me right up. My voice was raspy and my throat was dry from the tube that had been in my throat hours earlier. April sweetly gave me drinks of water every few minutes. We caught up on lost time, and I thanked them for the prayers and for the visit. It meant so much to me. My cousin Meggan came and stayed into the late hours of the evening. We sent Ryan home to get a good night of rest - he resisted leaving, but his tired eyes told a different story. I was happy knowing he could finally relax. Meggan, Mom and I talked for hours about surgery, loss, and the joys of pregnancy - we excitedly talked about the sweet little one she will bring into the world in five short months. I was happy to talk about anything other than myself. She left around midnight, and my Mom helped me prepare for bed. I could barely walk to the bathroom alone, so she was up and down granting my every request. The nurse gave me my medication to help me sleep, and apologized early for the numerous blood tests I was going to have through the next day. 
The phlebotomists came and went many times well into the next morning, but I obliged - happy that the worst of my pain was over. The sweet nurses whom I had grown close with over the past week kept me smiling and cheerful. I met with Dr. Elliot, Howerton's on call doctor, and he shared promises of a quick recovery, and discharged us. It was all over. Mom and I were beyond exhausted; the RN told us to get some uninterrupted sleep before we checked back into the real world. We didn't argue! Hours later we woke, ordered breakfast then waited for my wheelchair. The ride home was quick and nearly painless, my excitement to be home shadowing any other thoughts.
Just as the week before, Dylan smiled when he saw my face then forced a pout and walked past me. He had to let me know I was in trouble for leaving him for so long! My strict 24 hour breastfeeding ban didn't help my cause, but we quickly made nice and were again inseparable.

The past week has been full of family, kind words of worry as well as elation for my good health, sleep, crying, advice, and recovery. My family has brought us meals, entertained Dylan, and helped care for me. Ryan's Mom put aside her trip to New Mexico and has spent every day from morning to night helping with Dylan. I can't pick him up for two weeks, so the help has been a tremendous favor. Ryan will take the next week off to help as well. 

Every day is a new type of recovery. I take upwards of twelve pills a day. The CO2 they pumped into my body left in the form of painful gas bubbles stuck in my chest and shoulders, and my wounds are tender. But just days after my surgery I am starting to feel normal again. As expected, my emotions have been running wild from this experience. Ryan and both of our sweet Mothers have comforted me through the tears as I worry about our future. The numbers still blow my mind. A staggering ONE percent of pregnancies are ectopic. Only TWO percent of those ectopic pregnancies exit by rupture of the fallopian tubes. Those statistics make me one in five thousand! The scariest statistic is that once an ectopic pregnancy occurs, the possibility of another increases tenfold. For the rest of my years of family making, I will always be considered high risk and my pregnancies will be monitored closely from conception.

I find solace from these numbers by turning our future over to God. No matter what happens, Ryan and I have each other, and we share the most amazing gift of all - our baby boy. Looking at his sweet face erases all my worries. If it ends up being just the three of us, I will still be a very lucky, blessed, and happy Mother!

Although they will never see this, I send thanks to every single person in the medical profession that took amazing care of me. I especially thank Dr. Howerton whose brilliance and compassion has gotten me through many important life changing events.

There is no denying the power of prayer during times like these. 
From the bottom of my heart I give thanks to those that have prayed for my family and I now and throughout my recovery.

Anyone who reads this and has questions of curiosity, or because they too have experienced a situation similar to mine, please do not hesitate to contact me. 
I would be so happy to talk with you!

Personal accounts of Ectopic Pregnancies both through stories and blogs have been so reassuring and interesting to read. Here are a few that I have found helpful.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Loss & Looking Forward {My Ectopic Pregnancy} Part I

I had gone back and forth trying to decide if I wanted to share my unique story. While I teetered toward keeping things private, ultimately I decided to share our experience of sadness, strength & blessings. While my situation is rare, I know there are other women out there searching for stories like mine. Ryan and I discussed how sharing the details of our loss may help others looking for personal accounts of ectopic pregnancies to find solace.
I have been so amazed and blessed with numerous emails, texts and messages of prayers and love. I appreciate everyone that has been there for us, and I wanted you to know the whole account of what has been going on. Again, I thank you so much for your kindness.

One thing I have decided is that I am good at rough times. Through my teenage and adult years, I have seen my fair share of struggles and pain, but with the help of my loved ones I have learned to chin up, stay positive, and always keep sight of my blessings.
I feel as though the experiences we go through as humans, no matter if they are happy, sad, painful, or joyous, are what makes us who we are.

This is an experience that will be with us forever.

{Please bear with me through the details - if womanly medical issues make you uncomfortable, feel free to skip this post. I will be sharing all the procedures that were involved in my situation.}

Let me rewind a bit. While a woman is pregnant, they have no menstrual cycle. It is a glorious hiatus in the monthly annoyance that we all experience as women. Then, if the baby is breastfed, some mothers will continue to not ovulate or have periods. The hormone Prolactin will continue to stay elevated, and your reproductive hormones stay low. This is called lactation amenorrhea. Through my pregnancy and until Dylan was 11 months old I had a nice long break. I had heard and read stories that the return of your period was different from a normal period. Many women experienced strong cramping and a very heavy flow but mine seemed normal, and I had no cramps. While somewhat disappointed that my period was back, I accepted its return and was happy that I had gone so long without it. From what I had read, it also was a sign my body had recuperated and was ready to make another baby once Ryan and I were ready to add to our family.

Fast forward a bit now. On July 5th, I had a short three day period. It came and went in a hurry and I didn't think much of it. Then on July 22nd I started again. How odd that it was back so quickly. This time I was moaning to Ryan about the cramps, and I was passing strange blood clots. I know this can be normal for some women, and since it only happened the first few days, I let it go. Then the cramps subsided, and just left me with light daily spotting. The strangest part was how long it lasted. One week passed by, then another. I wasn't too worried, but it went on long enough for me to point out to Ryan several times about how different this period was. Different things popped in my head, but I mostly convinced myself that this was my body getting back into the swing of having periods - it had been 20 months after all!

Tuesday, August 2nd, I started having mild cramps while continuing to spot. This period was just plain annoying. I popped a Tylenol and went about my fun with Dylan.

Wednesday, August 3rd, I woke up with cramps and a headache. Something felt very strange. Throughout my years as a young woman I had never really had to battle with cramps, so any time I get them I make a big deal out of it - they really are no fun! Ryan gave me a kiss and high hopes that my day would get better. Dylan and I shared a bowl of Cheerios and I drank a big glass of water - maybe I was dehydrated? A few hours passed and the pain got worse. Before I knew it, I could barely move I was in so much pain - I curled up in a ball on the bedroom floor while Dylan played around me. At first I thought I could just breathe through it and it would pass…then I started panicking that something would happen to me and no one would know, and Dylan would be alone and scared. I called Ryan trying to sound somewhat calm - he saw right through it and headed home. I insisted that it was just severe gas pains, but he said there was no way I was talking him out of taking me to the doctor.

He and Dylan dropped me off at a walk-in clinic by our house. We had been there just a month ago, both of us sick with sinusitis and laryngitis. The clinic was very busy, so a physician's assistant saw me. I told him about my pains and he immediately chalked it up to gas pains. He had mild concerns that it was appendicitis, so he sent me down to see the x-ray tech. I stretched out on the cold table while the tech took a few shots of my belly. Finally the PA came back with the results. He patted me on the knee and said "Yep, it's gas! Don't worry, we all need a little help in that department sometimes." He said the x-ray showed that I was "filled up with gas everywhere he could see." He scribbled down some OTC meds and sent me home. I sat in the lobby and waited for Ryan and Dylan to come back to get me. Ryan was dumbfounded that it was just gas and seemed very hesitant with the outcome. I didn't care - I just wanted to be home. The pain was getting worse every minute. I stood up when I saw the car outside the office, and I saw sparkles - I shut my eyes and steadied myself then slowly made my way to the car. The ride to Wal-Mart to get my medication was agonizing. Every bump, every turn, made me wince in pain. I held my breath to keep from crying - I didn't want to scare Dylan. Through gritted teeth I told Ryan that this was the worst pain I had ever felt in my life next to childbirth. We finally made it home and I crumbled onto the bed. The PA had recommended I get laxatives and suppositories. While both of those were the last possible thing I could imagine doing at that moment, Ryan insisted I try them; anything to get me feeling better. The next few hours were miserable to say the least. Neither of the medications did what they were supposed to, but the pain had somehow lessened - that was good enough for me. I put Dylan to bed and then did the same for myself.

Thursday, August 4th, we all woke up bright and early. I still felt awful, but it was manageable. I lay in bed with one groggy eye open, watching Dylan play with Ryan as he got ready for work. Ryan left and D and I went about our morning routines; share breakfast, play in the living room, listen to some music then nurse and morning nap. We woke up after an hour nap, and this time the pain was not manageable. I begged Dylan to stay in bed with me just a little longer. He sleepily nursed, but nursing a toddler is no easy feat. The usual adorable acrobat act that I love was now painful - I grimaced as he crawled on my belly. Every tiny touch was so painful. I crawled off the bed and got on all fours. I couldn't even stretch out to stand or walk without a terrible pain in my abdomen. A few new symptoms had shown up too, the scariest was that I could barely breathe when I lay down or rolled to my right side. I called Ryan and he was in an important meeting. I called my mom and told her about my abdomen. She talked to an OB doctor she trusts from her work, Dr. Gills. He had rattled off many different things that came to mind based on my symptoms, and when she called me back she named a few. The one that stuck out to me was possible miscarriage. She said it quietly and quickly as to not put emphasis on the scary prospect. In the beginning of this two week period it had crossed my mind - I told her about my bleeding, and she said she wanted to make me a gynecologist appointment with my OB, Dr. Howerton. We hung up and I hurried to the bathroom to take a pregnancy test. Sweet Dylan followed me, wondering what all the commotion was about. I peed, and waited, and there it was - positive. Just as the first time I saw those double lines, my hands began to shake. This time instead of Ryan by my side I had my sweet little boy, and worry had replaced my giddiness.

I called my mom and through a mix of excitement and wonder I told her the news. She was shocked and happy. She talked me though the possibilities both bad and good, then I hung up and waited for Ryan to call me. He and my mom had been talking through email all morning about my symptoms, and when he called her to see if she knew how I was feeling, all she told him was to call me immediately. I hesitantly told him the news and quietly muffled my crying as I shared with him that I thought I was having a miscarriage. He immediately canceled his second meeting and headed home. While I was still aching, my pain had again subsided by the time he got home. I called my OB to see if they could move my appointment to that afternoon, and they told me they had no ultrasound openings and Dr. Howerton insisted I head to the ER. We thought the nurse told us that simply because they couldn't get us in until Monday. We started calling nearby OB doctors trying to make an appointment. Doctor vs. ER is $30 vs. $200. Not one single office could get me in, and on top of that they all recommended the ER. Reality set in and we decided to go. Grandpa Smith showed up at a moment’s notice to take care of baby D. I called Dr. Gills, on the way and he went through all my symptoms with me as we pulled in the parking lot of St. John Broken Arrow. The moment I said “shortness of breath,” he told me to go inside. He quickly explained that symptom could possibly mean internal bleeding and pressure on my diaphragm. I thanked him for everything and we headed for the door. The brand new hospital was clean, friendly, and quick too! They got us in a room in no time, and an RN named Gary started asking questions and preparing me for the doctor.

They took my blood and put an IV catheter in my arm. I knew this meant to prepare for lots of tests. I took a urinalysis pregnancy test, and then they covered my belly and took x-rays of my chest. A friendly young man named Dr. Matloff introduced himself and told Ryan and I that I was definitely pregnant and my chest x-ray looked great. He was still concerned about my shortness of breath. I could barely breathe as he laid me down for my ultrasound. Ryan helped roll me to my left side every few minutes so I could catch a full breath. When I was newly pregnant with Dylan, I had many intrauterine ultrasounds - while not comfortable, they were absolutely tolerable. This ultrasound was different - it was unlike any I had experienced before. This time it was extremely painful. The notions kept stacking up, I knew something was wrong.
With a kind but solemn face, Dr. Matloff explained that he believed I was suffering from an ectopic pregnancy. An ectopic pregnancy is one that does not grow in the womb. In a normal pregnancy, the fertilized egg enters the uterus and settles into the uterine lining where it has plenty of room to divide and grow. About 1% of pregnancies are in an ectopic location with implantation not occurring inside of the womb, and of these 98% occur in the Fallopian tubes. These are usually called "tubal pregnancies." Ryan and I were both shocked to hear the news. While the term wasn't completely foreign, I knew next to nothing of what that meant in terms of me - in terms of our baby. He explained that my HCG hormone levels were showing that I was pregnant, but there was no visible cell growth in my uterus. Therefore, he was concerned that the pregnancy was growing somewhere else in my body - he couldn't tell me where or why. He wanted us to see an OB doctor immediately, and he insisted I be taken by ambulance. Shocked by the dramatics, we said I would be fine in Ryan's truck. A serious look came across his face as he said "I need you to understand how serious this is." Ectopic pregnancies are 100% life threatening, and there was high risk for internal bleeding or blood clots. We agreed, and waited for the ambulance to arrive.

I finally got a break from the pain, just before the ambulance came to pick me up. They gave me a shot of morphine - my first of many throughout the weekend. In a numb and fuzzy state, I kissed Ryan and he assured me he would follow close behind - he would be there right when we arrived. He could tell I was getting more nervous.
Tony, a paramedic and driver of my chariot, kindly helped me onto the stretcher with his sweet partner. The partner, a young girl not much older than me, took care of me on the ride. She noticed my anxiousness and asked if she could calm me down with the oxygen tubes. I agreed, and I made small talk with her while I tried to keep my mind off the pain. She told me all about her exciting job, and quickly put me at ease. The ride was over before I knew it, and Ryan welcomed me off the ambulance as they wheeled me into St. Francis' ER.

Leaving the quiet new hospital and arriving in this one was quite a shock. Sick and injured patients dotted the hallway as we waited for my room to be cleaned. My mom appeared in the doorway and I was so happy to see her. She hugged me and assured me that everything would be okay. It was now 2:00 am, we had been waiting, testing, & waiting some more for nearly 8 hours now.

The three of us passed the time with stories and laughter, only the occasional twinge of pain to remind me why we were really there. Finally, what felt like hours later, we met Dr. Curry, the St. Francis ER doctor. She apologized to put me through it all again, but wanted to see the tests for herself. She ordered more blood work and another ultrasound. I cringed at the thought but welcomed moving things along. A sweet nurse named Janelle arrived to take me to radiology. She made jokes and we switched stories about our little boys as she wheeled me to my destination. She introduced me to the radiologist and told me she wouldn't leave my side. Nerves turned into tears, then quickly into sobs as we started the painful ultrasound. Janelle sat close and held my hand through every wince and cry. She wiped my tears and talked about the ocean and beautiful blue waters, doing her best to distract me. Finally after what seemed like an eternity, it was over. He squeezed my shoulder and told me how sorry he was. Janelle helped me clean up and took me back to my room. Ryan and mom looked shocked as I was wheeled in looking worn and bleary eyed. Janelle told me she would be back to visit and sent the nurse to give me more pain medication.

Dr. Curry was kind but honest. She agreed with my first prognosis. She believed I had an Ectopic pregnancy and clarified that my ultrasound showed mixed density liquid in my abdomen. She believed it could have been blood. She wanted my OB doctor to see me just as soon as possible. It was 4:00 in the morning, but she said it was important enough to wake her. I gave her doctor Howerton's information and she went to call immediately. A visit from the on-call doctor that represented her office would've been a few hours, so, Dr. Howerton kindly got up and headed my way.

Dr. Howerton was with me every bit of nine months when I was pregnant with Dylan, and got me through my long, tedious 22 hour labor without the C-section that the nurses told me I needed. Seeing her face was comforting to all three of us. She listened to and touched my abdomen, and gently scolded me for not coming to see her sooner. Then, while rattling off the information about possible ectopic, she threw us for a loop. She said that a healthy baby was still possible. My mouth dropped open and I looked at Ryan's confused face. She explained that I was only two weeks pregnant, therefore the baby was too tiny to be seen on an ultrasound. The fluid could have been both blood and liquid from a (common) ovarian cyst. She gave us all the possibilities and I clung to the tiny bit of hope. Dr. H. ordered several blood tests to monitor my HCG levels, and told me she would see me the following afternoon. Ryan and I had a moment of quiet, and for the first time we spoke of the "what if's" of adding a new life to our family. From the moment my pain had begun, it had been about me - but the reality was that I had a life growing inside of me! We discussed how completely off our plans for the future this timing was, but how wonderful it could be. The conversation ended with a kiss, hope, and prayers that it would work out.

Dr. Curry came in and wished me luck, said she would keep an eye out for my prognosis, and kindly had me admitted to the hospital so we could get comfortable.

As we arrived to the Labor & Delivery floor, we met a handful of amazing nurses; all of them attentive and eager to get me relaxed. I ordered a pump, as it had now been 12+ hours since I had fed Dylan. This was the longest Ryan and I had ever been from him. Sherry and Bob sent us a few pictures and updates of Dylan, who was now sound asleep in his crib.

My mom offered to stay the night and sent Ryan to sleep at her house. She and I tried to catch a few winks, but failed miserably. Between the nurse checks, phlebotomists drawing blood and needing pain meds, we were up to see the sunrise. I remember finally falling into a deep, comfortable sleep, only to be woken by a nurse whispering “how much do you weigh?” C’mon now! I about threw a shoe at her when she came back minutes later to ask how tall I was. Ryan appeared back in my room around 7:00, happy to have gotten a bit of sleep, but still exhausted. My Grandma came to visit looking worried but loving. I was happy to have her there with me.
The room went quiet when Dr. Howerton came in around noon to tell us what my tests had shown. She sat on my bed with me and tenderly squeezed my leg. She looked me in the eye and said “The tests confirm that this is an abnormal pregnancy.” I swallowed a lump of tears as Ryan put his arm around me. My mom quietly sniffled at the sadness of the news. She explained our options to us; without surgery she couldn’t tell exactly what had gone wrong or if it was indeed an ectopic pregnancy, but she could tell that I had fluid in my abdomen and that the baby was not surviving. The blood would be reabsorbed into my body. There was a shot that I could take called Methotrexate. The potent drug, usually used as a type of chemotherapy, would end my pregnancy. The only other option to my life threatening pregnancy was surgery. Ryan and I decided I would take the shot.
A nurse met me at the door with a wheelchair and took Ryan and I across the hospital to Dr. Howerton’s office. I was happy we didn’t have to travel far. Her office was closed when we arrived, but they opened the doors and led me to a room where I curled up on the table. The sweet nurse split the giant dose into two shots. One poke into each buttock left my hips burning – it was done. I hugged Dr. Howerton and thanked her for being there for me through everything.
Ryan took me home – finally, I got to see my baby. I wasn’t allowed to nurse Dylan for 72 hours. That was quite the challenge, but with help from all the family that surrounded us, and a bit of patience, we made it through it. We were all happy that I was on my path to recovery. I couldn’t believe all of this had turned out the way that it had! What an absolute whirlwind. I was thankful to be in good health and to be home with my family – we counted our blessings, knowing I was lucky in so many ways.

Read the rest of my store here.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Health Update

I'm sorry for leaving many of you curious & hanging from my last posts. I appreciate your messages & emails so very much - it means the world to me.

I had begun writing my story of rough times & recovery, not knowing that my rough times were not quite over yet.

Ryan rushed me to the ER for a second time this past Thursday. I had been there just a short week earlier. This early morning I sit in St. Francis Labor & Delivery Recovery room.
Last Thursday in a dizzying & shocking short few hours, I found out I was pregnant, that it was ectopic, and that it was 100% life threatening. My Doctor gave me the only two available options: Laproscopic surgery, or a shot of a drug called Methotrexate. I made my choice, and I was released from the hospital to go take my shot. I spent the week recovering with my Mom & Ryan by my side.

Then, at midnight on Thursday I woke Ryan. I was unable to escape the excruciating pain in my abdomen. As I was on the floor on all fours, crying in agony, Ryan contacted our Doctor's night nurse & it was recommended that we immediately go to the ER. Sherry headed to our house at a moments notice to watch over our sleeping, sweet baby boy. Then we packed up and made the trek across town to the ER. My Mom was there to meet us at the entrance to help out.

After many exhausting hours of more tests, shots, & pain management, Doctor Howerton sympathetically squeezed my leg & told me that because I was still in such horrible pain my option now was surgery.

I now lay in my recovery room, with three small wounds in my abdomen, & less my right Fallopian tube. While this changes my percentages of quick fertilization, I am still absolutely able to get pregnant in the future. I am so amazed & elated by this news, so blessed to have a baby boy at home, and thankful to be in recovery.

Thank you Ryan, Mom, Sherry, & Bob. I have no idea how I could survive without all of you. I love you so much.

I still plan to share my story of my Ectopic pregnancy with you. I just wanted to touch in & tell you I appreciate all of your kind words. Please continue to share your thoughts & prayers for us. Thank you so much!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

{Wordless Wednesday} Auntie Sarah

Two of my loves...

While seven months is such a long time not to see a dear friend, she and I (like always) clicked back into place like she had never left. What I didn't expect was for Dylan to be head over heels in LOVE with her! I've never seen him attach to an unrelated friend the way he did.
We miss you already Sarah - can't wait to see you again this winter!

(linking up to The Paper Mama & babybabylemon)

Hiatus & Happenings

So sorry for dissapearing! I am writing a blog to tell you my story and where I've been. Thanks for those of you that have messaged me, worried about me. I appreciate it more than you know!

Until I finish it up, I wanted to share a fun happening for SmithPeas in the Blog Community....
We were featured on a craft blog called Lines Across My Face!!

Please go check it out :)

{Follow the link to visit the post where we were featured, click the button to go to her home blog}