Sunday, August 31, 2008

Cat in the Hat

Our very own "cat in the hat"... that hat is actually a baby doll blanket that she often wears on her head!

Hats and Gloves

She will make anything into a hat or glove. Amelia will often take my old chef's hat and run around with it on her head just like this, with her eyes peeking out through the mesh. She also often puts shoes on her hands and wears them as gloves. This particular day she wanted to wear her jammies all day, and since she was sick, I let her. I like wearing my jammies too when I'm feeling down.

If you look closely, you will see that she has a hat, purse, and two gloves - one she made out of a plastic ziplock baggie and the other glove is actually a purple slipper for Granny J's visits. My hat looks better on her than it does on me!

Hi, Rafe

We had a playdate with the neighborhood kids, and at the end there were just this little boy and Amelia. Remember him? The one she chased and kissed? Uh oh, Rafe. You'd better meet his parents!

Amelia still loves to put anything on her head. If you look closely you will see that she has TWO hats on her head and TWO purses. The hats match the appropriate purse.

The order of the next posts will seem sort of odd, but Rafe is back where he has access to this blog for short periods of time and he usually scrolls first to see pictures of Amelia. So I am going to be posting pics I've taken in the past few days, and alternating with updates from the past month about our family.

Saturday, August 30, 2008


There is no other way to say this, other than directly - I am no longer pregnant. This past month has been a roller coaster. I have not wanted to post any information on here until I was able to fully update my husband and for my medical condition to stabilize and my life to return to (mostly) normal. Tomorrow I am officially off the medical roll call, with the exception of followup visits, and can lift my daughter again after a month of not being able to.

If you're squeamish, skip the rest of the post.

Immediately, literally, after I posted on August 1, I stood up to go to bed and was racked with such intense pain that I could barely stand or move. I had to call out to my parents (who had come down for an unexpected visit) to help me. I didnt know it at the time, but I had a heterotopic pregnancy that burst. What that means is that I was actually pregnant with twins, only one of them didn't make it through the fallopian tube to the uterus and instead attached to the fallopian wall, like an ectopic pregnancy. I was told that it was a very rare condition. I had been spotting during the previous two weeks off and on, and my doctor informed me that it was likely I might miscarry. So when I felt that pain, I thought I was miscarrying and that the doctor had lied - it was a LOT more painful than he said it would be.

As a matter of fact, I've never felt such intense pain in all my life. For the next 5 hours I threw up 8 times, couldn't stand on my own, and passed in and out of being alert. I thought it was the pain that was causing all that reaction, but I later found out that I was going into shock. When an ectopic pregnancy bursts, you begin to bleed internally, so at the moment I felt that intense pain I began to bleed and continued to do so until the surgery almost 12 hours later. With nowhere for all that blood to go, it filled up the interior of my body. When it was all over with, I had lost 4 units of blood. It's given me a whole new appreciation for people who have internal injuries and the pain they must be going through. In the hospital after they had figured out what happened to me, I remember thinking of Rafe's Uncle Robbie, who recently had a lot of internal bleeding and pain himself; and how I had no idea the extent of the pain he was in. You think you get it, but you don't until you live it.

At home that night, I still thought I was miscarrying, and just decided to tough it out like a good Marine wife. But the nausea and pain was beyond anything that I could stand (and I have a pretty high threshold) and I couldn't really control the noise I was making anymore. I vaguely remember hearing my daughter wake up 4 times that night, crying out for me... "mommeeeeeee! mommmeeeeeee!!" and even that couldn't get me to stand up and walk to her, nor did I want her to see me the way I was. I couldn't open my eyes or stand without help, and had to be helped to throw up and then cleaned up afterwards. My mother took care of Amelia while my father took care of me.

At the point where I finally decided to call it quits and go to the hospital after almost 5 hours of this mess, I still thought that I was just suffering pain from a miscarriage and that my doctor hadn't given me the full scoop on what might happen. I was tired and just wanted meds to help me get through the 'rough part'. I asked my dad to take me to the hospital after I had thrown up for the 8th time and I was too sick to even make it to the bathroom - he helped throw up as I lay there and then cleaned me up. He tried to help me sit up and the next thing I remember is laying on the floor feeling carpet next to my face and thinking what an odd sensation it was. I had no idea how I got there or where everyone was. Apparently I had passed out from shock/blood loss and emergency medical help was on it's way.

As I lay there, I could hear sirens in the distance, and then I must have passed out again. The next thing I heard was someone asking me to sit up (I couldn't), then felt them buckling me onto some sort of chair contraption. After that, I remember brief snatches of noise. Outside our house were MP's, ambulance, fire trucks... I can only assume that I was going in and out of consciousness, but without a lot of ability to communicate. Each time I heard something it was like a whole new scene - I heard something again when I was going into the ambulance. It was a neighbor who had come to help, who knew me and gave some official information about what Rafe was doing that I was in no shape to give.

Being moved in any way was excruciatingly painful, and I remember the amulance didn't have any shocks (military ambulance). I was taken to the Naval hospital, given IV's and some drugs to help with the pain and to leave me coherent enough to make medical decisions for myself. My dad actually wrote down a timeline somewhere of what happened, as he was with me the whole time. The Naval hospital doesn't have a catscan machine or a vaginal ultrsound, so they transferred me at one point to the Beaufort hospital to get a scan, then sent me back to the Naval hospital. Every movement was like being slashed with knives internally. A blanket laid on my belly felt like someone was punching me. Many times I found myself screaming involuntarily, then apologizing for yelling and disturbing people. Such a woman thing - no man I know would apologize for their own pain, and good for them... I wish I hadn't.

I went into surgery almost 12 hours after I first felt the pain. The delay was partly because the Naval hospital is so small they rely on doctors in town on call for services, especially on weekends. By this time it was Saturday morning. They had to call a transport team to send me to Beaufort. They had to call a cat scan tech to run the scan. They had to call in someone to read the scan. They had to call in a doctor to do the surgery (who was actually working on and left another patient at a different hospital to come do my surgery). Who knows who else they called in; that's all I remember right now. The Naval Hospital has one floor only for patients, and no matter who you are, you are on that floor. The second night I was there, the nurse told me there were only 2 other patients besides me in the hospital.

I wonder how much longer I would have lasted without surgery. My doctor told me I almost died. They did a laproscopy; she told me it took them 10 minutes to cut the fallopian tube and stop the bleeding and sew it up; and almost an hour to suction out the blood in my body. They finally stopped at an hour and she told me later that they only took out 90% of the blood I lost, but felt it too dangerous to continue. She showed me pictures of the interior of my belly from the surgery - it was oddly fascinating to see the lake of blood and how they blew up my belly with air to do the surgery. Modern medicine is amazing.

I stayed in the hospital the day of the surgery and they discharged me the next day. I had a hematocrit (spelling?) of 18 when they released me. They didn't replace all my blood. I was still pregnant with Baby Q in my uterus, even though I had lost the twin on the fallopian tube. I was under the impression that they felt it was better to have my own blood circulating in my system for the baby to survive and they gave me iron pills, vitamin C and simethicone for the bloating.

There is so much more to say, and over the next few days or weeks, I will get it all out. In so many ways, this is for my husband, who can only call once a week for a few minutes on a satellite phone, but can occasionally access the web when he's near a base. But it's also to update my friends and family who are so dear to me and who have probably wondered at my absence.