You know that scene in Airplane! where Dr. Rumack is telling Elaine the symptoms of the food poisoning, and the captain is doing all of those symptoms (Here, at 8 minutes in)? That's what this pregnancy has been like for me.
It's time soon. I thought the due date would be today - the midwives are saying Tuesday. Ever was one day late. The point is, it's going to be a baby soon and not just Me Being Pregnant. I'm very excited to get to this next phase!
I can't begin to tell you how many tears I've cried in the last eight months. I now know what a "challenging pregnancy" is. I also know that it took us a full year to get pregnant and I am so happy that I get to have another baby - challenges or not. And yes, I would do it all again if I could (and I hope I can!).
Sean is picking up Margeret (his Mom) and Tori and Mathew as I type this. They are here from California for the birth. I think I'm gonna skip the major photo shoot this time (our photographer is healing from surgery and I decided if she can't do it, then forget it), but I do plan on having my cousins here and other family as well - it may be quite the crowd! I'm actually looking forward to the home birth this time since I know what's coming! The first time it was all just a giant question mark over my head (oh yeah and the GOD AWFUL PAIN) but this time I know what I can and can't control and I hope to face the pain a bit better this time instead of spending a whole day trying to escape it. I think my labor could have been faster if I would have faced the pain a bit more honestly.
Now after I've typed that out, it could also become HAHAHA what was I thinking gimme drugs NOW and we'll end up in a hospital. (But this hospital would be the same place Sean had his deviated septum surgery, so what do YOU think I'm going to choose?).
I haven't had a chance to re-watch She's Having A Baby, which I was hoping to do, not only for the cute factor, but also because I've seen the movie a bazillion times and can speak the whole thing out loud. I remember watching it right before I had Ever, and now that seems like SOOOOooo long ago, even though it's been just under three years. Any time that is Before I Became A Mama seems like forever ago.
Stay tuned. Baby coming soon.
Sean's Deviated Septum Surgery, Part Two of I Hope Only Two
We came home from the hospital Thursday the 21st. Sean was very weak. He could only sleep
sitting up and he could only breathe through his mouth. He no longer had
packing in his nose but he did still have the splints, which I think just
hold the nose in place. I donít think they are there for bleeding
Ever and I slept in the second bedroom, so we wouldnít disturb Sean
sleeping, which is a joke because he didnít actually get any sleep. He was
bitter, weak, pissed off, and still couldnít breathe through his nose. He
didnít get out of bed unless to go to the bathroom, and he was passing a lot
of blood (for days) from all of the blood that went into his stomach.
My mom returned Friday night, and Saturday Mom, Ever
and I headed out to run some errands. As we were returning home from the
grocery store my cell phone was ringing and it was Sean calling. Instead
of answering the phone I just walked in the door. I found Sean in the
kitchen in the rocking chair with a bloody towel over his face and he was
shaking. He said he had just gotten the bleeding to slow down, and I spun
around to usher Ever and Mom back outside to ďgo playĒ. While Mom and
Ever played in the front yard, I cleaned up the bathroom. The toilet was
full of blood, the bathroom sink was full of blood, and the bathtub was
full of blood. Turns out Sean was attempting to take a tepid shower, and
just the pressure of leaning over to turn on the water in the bath
faucets set off the bleeding again.
We finally got Sean cleaned up well
enough for him to get back in the bedroom with the door shut so Ever and
Mom could come back inside. He was so weak and anemic that he was
walking around like a 90 year old man for several days.
It took all the energy you could imagine just to get up and go to the
bathroom. He was constantly dabbing his nose with Kleenex. It went on
Monday May 25th, Sean had his scheduled follow up at Dr. Samadís office.
His appointment. was scheduled for 3:45, but they called us earlier that day and asked us to
come in at 3:00. We got to his office at 3:00 and it was packed full of
people. The air conditioning wasnít working well, and I could hardly breathe so
I spent most of that time pacing in the hallway of the building. At 3:45,
which was when we were originally scheduled to be there, Dr. Samad saw Sean and
took out the splints. That was around the time I walked back into his
office and saw him walking quickly out of the room and grabbing handfuls
of gauze. I knew that was the room my husband was in. Dr. Samad made a
second trip out of the office to grab some more gauze. It was then that
he glanced at me and had a look of guilt on his face. Many minutes later
Sean emerged with his nose packed again and Dr. Samad asked Sean to meet
him at Burnaby Hospital on Wednesday at 11:00 in Minor Surgery. Apparently taking out the splints that days wasn't such a good idea.
time we got home, the blood was starting to drip out of the packing.
Blood was coming out of his nose and dripping down his throat because the
packing had soaked through. Mom and Jeff had just left our house when
we decided we should go to the ER because neither of us had heard of
bleeding through packing, and Dr. Samad never really told us anything about what to do next/what was happening with Sean.
The ER was very good to us and saw Sean right away. There were three
other patients in the ER that night: one depressed alcoholic (newly immigrated here, no friends or family besides her husband), one suicidal
patient brought in by her psychiatrist (who thought her husband was on his way to kill her, so security stayed with her as well), and a mystery virus. (That's
always fun when youíre 36 weeks pregnant, and thereís a dude in there for
a "mystery virus".)
They explained that they didnít want to remove the packing because that
could make it worse. So instead we were instructed to "take it easy"
and just keep dabbing away the blood until we could see Dr. Samad again on
Wednesday. They also ran more blood work and found that his anemia was even
worse now, at 107. Normally they donít want to do a transfusion unless
you go below 100 because there are so many risks with receiving human
blood. They would rather have you be weak and take iron pills for the
next few months than take those risks.
We went home a bit frustrated. Not only was Sean packed, but he also had
more blood going down his throat and dripping out of his nose. Not to
mention, he would have to face this doctor at the hospital again on Wednesday.
Momís husband Jeff came up Wednesday to help me take my husband to the
hospital. Jeff pushed me in a wheelchair and everyone thought I was the
patient. We got up to the dreaded 4th floor, near the place I waited for
3.5 hours a week earlier. Sure enough, once Sean was admitted, we sat and
waited for Dr. Samad for about 45 minutes.
At this time I was in the room with Sean and Dr. Samad explained what
would happen next. He explained that he was going to remove the packing
and one of two things would happen. 1) He would take the packing out and
there would be no bleeding. Sean and I both smirked at this one; 2) His
nose would bleed profusely and Sean would immediately be transferred to
Royal Columbian Hospital in New Westminster where specialists would
perform an emergency surgery called Internal Maxillary Artery
Embolization. He explained that this surgery goes in through a major
artery in his thigh and goes all the way up to the back of the nose,
cutting off the bleeding from behind. He explained that he had never seen
a situation like Seanís, and he attributed it to a genetic anomaly of the
arteries around Seanís nose Ė that literally this happened because there
were arteries there that werenít supposed to be there.
It came time for Dr. Samad to remove the packing, and obviously I left the
room. I waited just outside the curtain, and heard Sean and the doctor
talking. I realized that I didnít hear any panic or upset. I asked, ďIs
everything okay?Ē and the doctor said, ďPlease, come in.Ē
I walked in and Sean and I looked at each other in disbelief. We just
thought he was going to bleed for the rest of his life. It was only a
week but when your nose bleeds for a weekÖ.
He wasnít bleeding!
Dr. Samad explained before we left that if Sean were to bleed from this
point forward, we had to call 911 and instruct 911 to contact Dr. Samad so
he could get in right away for the Maxillary Artery surgery. There was to
be no delay. If he bled, we were to call 911.
Immediately after that, we were sent home. Dr Samad asked us to come see
him at his office on Friday at 4:00. He also gave us his personal pager number. He
truly seemed sympathetic for the first time, as he sent us on our way.
Meanwhile, Sean and I were still convinced that he was going to bleed to
We came home with trepidation. It almost felt as though we should have
just hung out at the hospital for a couple of days in case he bled.
Thatís how much we trusted his nose by then. We spent the next 48 hours
very cautiously waiting for his nose to bleed. Unbelievably, it didnít.
On Friday at 4:00 we returned to Dr. Samadís office, waiting only 35
minutes this time. When Dr. Samad entered the room, he said, ďItís my
favorite patient.Ē Sean didnít even bother giving him a sarcastic smirk.
He explained that he wanted to see us again Friday July 3 to possibly send
a camera up his nose to figure out what happened. All the time, he has
this look on his face like, "Please donít be mad at me". He actually patted Sean on the shoulder. This doctor is usually NOT known for his bedside manner.
This doesnít necessarily mean itís over but every day that goes by and
Sean doesnít bleed, we have an immense sense of relief.
I still fear that someday ten years from now Sean is going to get hit in
the face with a football and bleed to death in our back yard, so I do hope
that they look into this situation to determine if it is actually over.
Weíre still waiting for him to have a nosebleed and next month
weíll still be waiting for him to have a nosebleed. I want to know itís over.
Last Wednesday Sean met us (cousins) for sushi. Yesterday Sean went out and got a haircut. Things are normalizing. He's not sure about his energy levels since he's trying not to exert himself. He still gets light-headed at times, but nowhere near as often/as bad as when he first got home. He plans to work (gently) on Monday - he's missed 2.5 weeks of work, and since he works for himself he doesn't get sick leave or anything like that. It's been a tough month.
And I haven't even told you what I've been through during this same time! That will be another long entry....
Sean's Deviated Septum Surgery, Part One of Many
I had bitched at Sean long enough over the years to get deviated septum surgery because he needed nasal spray almost every night before bed and his snoring shook the house. This became more of a concern after we had Ever since we co-sleep and with another baby on the way it seemed like a good time to get it done before the baby arrived. Plus I'm paranoid about him having sleep apnea to get a good nights sleep.
Sean got a referral from our family doctor to see an ENT named Dr. Samad on Friday, March 6th, who basically looked at his face and scheduled surgery for him. We received VERY little information regarding pre-surgery instruction, the procedure itself, or post-op care. All we knew was that his surgery was scheduled for May 20th which is five weeks before this baby is due, so we were happy.
A couple of days before the scheduled surgery I called the ENT's office to ask them what time the surgery would occur, and was informed we would find out the day before the scheduled surgery. We later found out Sean was to report to Burnaby General Hospital admitting at 12:40 Wednesday, May 20th.
After a simple process for admitting we took a very long walk to the 4th floor day surgery wing. Sean checked in again. It was there we found out the actual surgery wouldn't take place until 2:40. I didn't want to leave but Sean insisted I would be bored if I waited, so with tears in my eyes (because I'm pregnant) I kissed Sean good-bye and he said "It's okay." The woman at the Day Surgery desk said they would call me on my cell to tell me when to pick up Sean. I returned home and waited for the call.
At 4:30 I received a call telling me that I could pick up Sean at 5:15. She instructed me to park in "the loop" and grab a wheelchair so I could wheel Sean out. I found this funny, but she didn't know I was 8 months pregnant. I immediately picked Ever up at her day care and drove her to cousin Debra's house and Debra and I joked about having to pick up Sean with my being so pregnant and uncomfortable. Debra said "Why don't you just ask them if he can stay overnight" har har, and I replied "Maybe I'll just give them a twenty and they can put him in a cab. har har.
At 5:15 I arrived as instructed and went up to the 4th floor to find Sean in the first recovery bed with an ice pack draped across his nose and eyes and folded up gauze taped across the bottom of his nose, bleeding heavily. He could talk, but barely. And he was a bit shaky. The anesthesia had long since worn off but they had him on a morphine drip to try and bring his blood pressure down. One of the nurses immediately said "You may want to go park your car." I re-parked my car and called Debra and said "It's not so funny anymore." I needed her to talk me down because I had to go back in that hospital and be strong for my husband even though just looking at him scared the shit out of me. I then waddled back to Sean in the recovery room.
The recovery room was full of patients besides just Sean, all of whom had had some form of day surgery, but the two nurses on duty were constantly at Sean's side, wiping his face. He was telling them repeatedly "It's pouring down my throat" and they were wiping the blood coming out of his mouth, nose, and eyes (his EYES. He had tears of blood coming down from his eyes.), even with the ice pack and the gauze, while gently telling him not to swallow it. He wasn't allowed to snort or clear his throat or cough, but they kept telling him to spit the blood into a cardboard tray. The blood was pulsing out of him, and he was still trying to say "But it's pouring down my throat." It only took about a minute of this for one of them to look at me and say "Why don't you go home and we'll call you when we know more." Both nurses had very gentle demeanors but their eyes were darting and I could tell something was wrong. They told me he would likely spend the night in the hospital and if Burnaby didn't have a bed, he would be transferred to another hospital. I called my work in the hallway of the hospital to tell them that I wasn't sure if I would be reporting to work the next day which happened to be the second-to-last day before a year of maternity leave. They were very understanding.
On my drive home I called my mom to tell her what was going on because I was still a little freaked out. I can't tell you how many times I said "He's bleeding out of his eyes" that evening. Of all the things for a spouse to experience I hope none of you have to experience that one, let alone at 8 months pregnant. Mom kept saying she would come up and the first couple of times she offered I actually thought I had a handle on things. But after driving another couple of blocks and talking to her I finally said "Yeah, I need you."
Debra was the next phone call and I asked her to tell the cousins what was going on. Shane immediately called me and told me he'd like to go to the hospital to be with Sean since I couldn't, and I told him where to find Sean in the hospital. I had to prepare Shane for what he was about to see. He went to the hospital and stayed for about an hour.
I came home and waited for the hospital to call. By the time my mom showed up (around 7:00 or 7:30) the hospital had called to tell me that the day surgery post-op recovery room closed at 9:00 p.m. so whatever happened, we would know the plan before then. She also informed me they were still waiting for the surgeon to come back to assess Sean's status. (Sean later informed me that the two nurses couldn't keep up with him and the rest of the patients so he was transferred to another recovery area better staffed to care for him, which must have occurred soon after Shane left. And Sean also remembers in his morphine haze that there was a doctor named Joan while he was in this area who was awesome.) No one ever contacted me to tell me that Sean had been transferred to another room. I grabbed my cell phone and we headed over to Debra's to see Ever and wait for the call informing me of where he would be, how he was doing, who he was with, what the plan was, etc.
Nine o'clock came and went with no call. Mom and I came home with Ever and I called the main line of the hospital. I was informed that the recovery room where I had last seen Sean was, in fact, closed - and no one was there. I then asked her where my husband was and she couldn't tell me. There was no updated record of his whereabouts since he had been in the recovery room that closed at 9:00 p.m. I asked her if he had been discharged, would this be reflected on their computer and she said "yes." I then asked if he had been transferred to another hospital, would she be able to tell, and she said "yes." And I responded "So it's safe to assume he's still in the building?" And she said "yes." And I said "In order to find my husband, do I just need to go to the hospital and wander the halls, looking for a man on a gurney, bleeding?" And she said "I'm sorry ma'am, but I think you should come to the hospital and try to find him because I can't tell you anything more." It was then about 9:30 and my mom stayed at the house with Ever and I hopped in my car to find my husband.
I went back to the parking lot at the hospital where I had parked at 6:00 p.m. When I pulled into the lot the parking attendant asked me how long I would be parking and I said "I don't know, the hospital lost my husband and I don't know how long it will take to find him." And she said "Oh, is your husband the man that was missing? Because security was all over the place, searching every car in this parking lot earlier." And I replied "I don't know." I assumed it wasn't him, but I honestly didn't know - but wasn't that a dumb thing for the parking lot attendant to say to me? Then I parked the car and walked up to the main entrance doors to a sign that said the doors were locked at that time and to use the Emergency Room entrance. (Couldn't the parking lot attendant have told me the doors to the hospital were locked at that entrance?) This required me, anemic and 8 months pregnant, to walk a block up the hill to the next entrance. It was at this time that I called to check in at Debra's and I was a little pissed off. I spent the entire walk panting and yelling at my cousin Dave, who kept saying "Will you please sit down, I can hear you panting!" I got to the ER and saw Reception and Triage and could tell by looking at them that they wouldn't be able to help me, so instead, I went to Security and asked the first security guard I saw, "Can you help me, please? I am trying to find my husband and no one can tell me where he is." I was obviously pissed and panting. They were immediately responsive. A security guard named Doug said "Let me get you a wheelchair and I'll roll you to the last place you saw your husband; we'll start from there." By the time we rolled all the way over to where I'd last seen Sean, it was now about 10:00. Sure enough, the recovery room where I had last seen Sean was now locked, closed, and dark.
The security guard and I were in a dark hallway and dumbfounded. It was exactly then that my cell phone rang. It was the surgeon, introducing himself to me (this is the first time I'd ever "met" him) and informing me that he had just finished a second surgery on Sean because the bleeding had never stopped, and he was now in post-op recovery. I said "Where can I go to wait for him?" and he told me to go to the 4th floor elevator bay, which was a dark, inactive area at this time of night. The security guard was unhappy with the situation and asked me to pass him my phone. He explained to the doctor that I was pregnant and in a wheelchair and needed to wait somewhere comfortable and I heard the security guard say "uh huh" about 12 times, and then he handed the phone back to me. I was informed to wait for Sean's one hour recovery in the same place the doctor had originally indicated - the dark 4th floor elevator bay. Doug the Security Guard was very uncomfortable leaving me there. He asked if there was anything he could get for me and I said "no." He told me he would be back to check on me.
I called my mom to let her know I'd be at the hospital for awhile and that I'd found Sean and then I called Debra to tell her the same. Shane immediately called back and informed that he and Katie were on their way to wait with me. I told them to go to the ER and ask for Security and they would tell them where to find me. Mere minutes later, they were there. An hour went by and the only activity we saw were a couple of janitors. No one called my cell. During this time, a few different security guards came up to check on us, including one visit from Doug in his regular clothes who wanted to check on us one more time before leaving work. Katie eventually went back down to Security to ask if Sean's computer record had been updated, and it had. He was scheduled to be in room 474, bed 3. We immediately set off to find room 474 and when we found it, we walked right in. The staff looked a bit startled but I told one of them my husband's recovery was taking a very long time and asked if she could look into it. She made a quick phone call and informed me that Sean was having bleeding complications and recovery was going to take a bit longer than expected. Sean later told me he remembers vomiting a lot of blood while coming out of the second surgery.
Sean's one hour recovery actually took 3 1/2 hours. At 1:15 a.m. a gurney approached and it was Sean. We were THRILLED to see him. He was SHOCKED to see us. While still in the gurney he whispered "Where's the monkey?" And I said "she's with grandma." We followed the gurney to room 474 and even though it was after 1:00 a.m., the staff let us wait inside the room while they transferred Sean to his bed, and then let us go inside to whisper with him. Sean looked much better this time because his nose had been packed, but you could tell he was exhausted; he looked like someone who had, in fact, had 2 surgeries that day. We talked for about 10 minutes, Sean joked that he asked for Michael Jackson's nose and that had caused all the problems. I was very scared and sad to leave him and he suddenly got very serious and put his hands on my belly. It was a really emotionally intense moment. I'm really, really glad Shane and Katie were there. At some point he said "You need to go home," but he wasn't letting go of my hand. As we were leaving, the nurses assured me they would call my cell when Sean woke up in the morning.
I got home at 1:45. My mom was laying on the couch, waiting for me to come home. As I was whispering to her the update, Ever got out of bed and crawled into my lap; by now, she absolutely knew that something strange was going on with Daddy. We all slept fitfully.
The next morning I had not received a phone call by 9:00 a.m. so I called the hospital, who transferred my call to the recovery area. The nurse there informed me that Sean had been discharged and was waiting for someone to come get him because he wanted to go home. Thanks for calling me, guys.
I drove straight to the hospital and found a very weak and very irate Sean, still in his hospital garb wondering where I'd been. Turns out he woke up that morning and asked for food, as he had been fasting since two nights earlier and they informed him breakfast was on the way. A whole hour had been passed and he had to get out of bed and walk over to the reception area and ask for breakfast, again. They informed him that breakfast was over. At some point the packing was removed from his nose, the the splints remained. He then asked if he could go home, and they said "yes." (No paperwork, documentation, consultation with a doctor on his post-op care, nothing. They didn't even look at us as we left. So strange.) Someone provided me with a wheelchair to roll Sean out, which was a joke - they did not provide me with a wheelchair for me! Sean used his heels to propel himself in the wheelchair, without my assistance, while I walked. Sean was shaky and tired and just wanted to go home.
We thought it was over. We were wrong.