Thursday, April 28, 2011

not so routine after all

Back in November, Kai's Cardiologist made a comment about doing an MRI "in the future" just for some more information on his heart. He'd already had a heart catheterization in 2008, which gave no indication to the cause for his cardiomyopathy and nothing further for Dr H to go on, so that was disappointing. I just wasn't expecting it to come up sooner rather than more future-thinking.

Kai was scheduled for his MRI at the end of March. Now that he's older, he tends to understand more and I need to explain procedures better. I can't just say he's seeing the doctor and leave it at that anymore! So I tried to let him know that it was a rather simple test, it wouldn't hurt, he wouldn't even be touched by anything, he was just going to be put to sleep for it. I think that caused him concern though, because he kept asking about that. Why would he be sleeping? How would they put him to sleep? Would he wake up during the testing? Questions like that. Both Hunny and I have had MRI's (for his knee and my back pain years ago) so we told him how they worked like a more detailed X-ray machine, except you were in a box for a long time and couldn't move. (Sleeping through it would've been a great option for me!)

The day before his procedure, I had to take Kai in for a meeting with the anesthesiologist. He was excited to be missing school and I was feeling anxious! I remembered his surgery over two years ago and how I almost passed out as they put him to sleep! I was keenly aware it could happen again, and felt nervous about the day of his exam. I didn't expect I'd react upon meeting the anesthesiologists! They came in, we shook hands, they talked about the procedure, and I started to feel hot to the point where I could feel sweat beading on my forehead! I don't recall hearing much of what they said, as I wanted to pass out, but I remember leaving with the feeling it would be just a routine MRI: put him in the machine, take a few pictures and scans and we'd be home in a few hours.

The next morning was an early one for us, and not knowing how traffic would be on a drive into Vancouver at 6am, we left extra time for us to arrive. So, of course, we got there a good hour early! Thankfully they left us in and got us set up. The nurses told me that the whole thing would be a good 1/2 hour, then we'd be in recovery for an hour and go home. Routine. First, he had to have an X-Ray though. (not too sure why....preggo brain and all!)

I went in with Kai to see the anesthesiologists, and to keep him distracted while they put an IV into his hand. He'd already been wearing a numbing gel on them for an hour, so he really wouldn't have felt it, but neither him nor I were expecting it. I told him they'd just give him a mask to help him sleep, like they did with his catheterization. So when he noticed, he started to cry, and I started to feel woozy. How embarrassing. He's crying about it hurting and the blood is draining from my face and pooling in my ears and I'm having trouble hearing. (I've discovered the closer I am to passing out, the less I can actually hear of anything! Voices and noises sound so far away.This is quite common I guess!) I was trying to comfort him, but I had to sit down!

And that's how it all began.

I found out it wasn't so "routine" after all. I was told that they were putting him to sleep (which literally took 3 seconds after they put whatever-it-was in his IV) not to keep him still or comfortable, but because they needed to speed up his heart and slow it down for different tests, as well as getting him to hold his breath. I wondered how they'd do that, but the anesthesiologist cryptically said they "had their ways", and I'm sure that I likely didn't really want to know. According to the info sheet I was given, the MRI would be 1 1/2 hours, so already I had two different times of length.

I sat in the waiting room, had an hour nap (sortof, what I could manage in a chair in a waiting room full of other parents), wandered over to Starbucks for a snack, tried to access FB and my BBM (there was bad reception so that didn't go over well), thumbed through a few magazines and made some acquaintances. Three hours pass and I'm starting to wonder if I should be concerned. I was just about to ask at the nurses station when I was called to see Kai in the recovery room. (Usually a doctor comes to see you prior to that to let you know how it all went, so I was confused. I never did talk to anyone about the MRI, other than to hear that Kai's blood pressure dipped at the end. Not hearing anything bothered me, but hopefully I'll learn more from our own doctor.) Apparently this was a special cardiac MRI.

After a few popsicles and insisting they hadn't taken him in yet, and telling all the nurses that he missed breakfast AND lunch, Kai was allowed to go home! He was sleepy and chatty and cute and spent the rest of the day on the couch. Not that I could keep him still or resting, of course!

Now we wait. I don't know how long it takes for doctor's to get MRI results or when we'll hear from Dr H for another appointment, but it's been a month. I hope we get some answers this time. But even if we don't, I'm happy with how well Kai's been with his condition. Considering there isn't much info out there on a child with this type of cardiomyopathy, he's doing really good.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

In the Home Stretch

I've been getting a lot of comments and questions from strangers on when I'm due, and my answer varies from five weeks all the way to two months. I am 31W now, so technically, I should be looking at 8-10 weeks to go, but we all know that I never go Full Term. I must be looking huge if people are asking me how much longer I have to go! At first, I felt big, but the more I hung out at the hospital, the more I felt small and not-quite-ready.

Do I look ready to pop? These were taken last week. My Maternity shirts are starting to not cover my bump all the way now! *teehee* I do look like I'm ready to go have the baby now, don't I? Or at least like I'm having more than one baby, but I assure you, there is still only one in that big o' tummy of mine! It's a bit strange to think I may only have a month to go! Wow. Four weeks until Baby Jellybean's arrival! Glee!

I saw friends last week whom I hadn't seen since last June, and who didn't know I was pregnant. It's funny to show up to an event with a big belly and to see the expressions --if the reactions are good, that is. One comment I got, immediately upon seeing me, was "Again?" That threw me off. What do you mean, "again"? My last baby is almost three years old, so it's not like it was soon after or that not enough time has elapsed. I wasn't too sure how to respond to her, so I just laughed it off, but the truth is that I was annoyed. It was comments like that that made me not share much of my pregnancy with many people this time around. I had already been dealing for some time with friend's opinions on how I shouldn't have more children and it hurt. I know they meant well and had good intentions, but wow, some people need to learn how to give loving advice without stomping on others' dreams and wishes. Offering me a list of reasons NOT to have children is a bit harsh.

Yes, I knew beforehand that I'd be a High Risk Pregnancy. Yes, I did consider that I may go on bed rest again. Yes, I did wonder about my health in carrying a child for long enough while caring for four other children at home. Yes, I did think of our finances. Yes, I weighed the pros and cons.

When I talked to the girls about my growing list of pregnancy issues last week, they looked at me incredulously and asked, "and you wanted another baby?"

What kind of question is that???

For one, I didn't know I'd have Hypertension (and I definitely didn't know it was pre-existing) or gallstones or any of that. My other pregnancies only had leaking, some bed rest and gestational diabetes to prepare mentally for, and even those risks weren't enough to stop me. But truthfully, had I known beforehand the health issues I'd be having this time around, I'd still find it worth the risk. I will admit it now, though, that this will be our last pregnancy, so you can all stop worrying! My body doesn't enjoy being pregnant and it feels too old for it (which is so sad to say, but there aren't any other words to describe it) and I will have the longed-after five children I've always wanted.

I remember when Nadya"Octomom" Suleman had her eight babies and the controversy it caused (and still does). My heart really went out for her. I understood her desires. I knew what it was to like to want babies and a lot of them. No, her situation wasn't the best (unwed with already a large family of young children to care for and no visible income) and yes, her OB was unethical in transplanting so many embryos, but I understood. I can't say if I'd ever do things her way since I've never been in her situation, but I suppose a lot of people could find similarities in our stories. I still desired my "last baby" (even though I could admit then that I didn't know how many more it would take for me to stop wanting another), that badly wanted second daughter, even though many questioned my health and sanity.

I find it so sad that people can't support and help someone instead of criticizing those they don't agree with. Instead of the love and support Ms. Suleman deserved, that came with the McCaughey septuplets or the Gosselins, people shunned her and questioned her. We should've been encouraging her. After all, she carried eight babies! She didn't selectively terminate some to suit a doctor or the general public's opinion. She risked her own health for her babies, and that sacrifice is one we should commend. Isn't that what makes a hero in our eyes? One who lays their life down for others? No matter what the circumstances were? I hope this woman feels fulfilled by her large brood and has the support and love she needs. She's been staying out of the spotlight as much as she can, which is great as she needs the privacy, but I hope one day she lets us see her life and family! :)

Isn't it interesting how we shun and criticize the things that we don't personally understand? I do it all the time without thinking. We tear down the people we envy as well. I've noticed a few times where I've made bitter comments or tried to embarrass someone else' interests just because I didn't share them, and I've had to bite my tongue and chastise myself. Just look at the gossip sites for examples if you don't believe me. Notice how many people make fun of the Jolie-Pitts for all their children instead of applauding them for adopting children who need homes? Yet they are one of the biggest names in philanthropic work worldwide.

I decided to go ahead and have "one last baby" despite my health risks, so that can be perceived as selfish, I'm sure. But I think almost everything we choose to do can be traced to our own selfish natures. I didn't one day decide it would be a fun, nor did I say, 'screw what everyone thinks' (although I wish I didn't care so much of other people's opinions sometimes). In fact, we had been "trying but not really" for a few months with no results, so I was starting to wonder if maybe it wouldn't happen. Maybe it wasn't meant to be. But then we were happily surprised in Autumn. God has granted me my desires. Not because He wanted to teach me a lesson in consequences, (although I am living out the actions of my growing our family) but because it was also a part of His Plan, and because He knows our futures and what we can all handle. And because He loves little children too (Psalms 127:3) :)

I am learning to find my identity in Him and leaning on His truths and my beliefs in Him, instead of taking criticism of my ways as personal attacks. I can do ALL things through Christ who strengthens me. (Philippians 4:13) Even carry a Baby Jellybean, despite the serious health concerns of others. Having Hypertension and Gestational Diabetes isn't ideal, but it's the way things are, and I'm the Home Stretch now, and it'll all be a fond memory soon.
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