Monday, October 31, 2005

Good News

Just a short post: Baby Grace went home today! Yeah! She is doing well and is healthy. Thank God.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

New York, New York

This blog is quite fascinating. While I don't live in and have never been to NYC, there is enough to it that is universally understood. However, I don't know if this same blog could be written about any place other than NYC. Check it out--you might find yourself wasting too much time there. :)

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Of Dentists and Vaccinations

I was 4 years old when I started school. I am a dental phobic. Needles scare the hell out of me. And all of these statements go together.

Before I began school, I had to go to the dentist to have some work done. I had been seeing the dentist for several years and never had any problem going there, but unfortunately, the town where I lived didn't have fluoride in the water, so I needed to have a cavity filled. This wouldn't have been a big problem except for the fact that the dentist decided to fill the tooth without giving a shot of Novocain. As he drilled into the tooth, he hit a nerve. My 4-year-old little body didn't like the feeling, so I began to cry. The dentist got very angry and came close to hitting me before my mother had a chance to step in. "Don't you DARE hit my child," she said. And he answered, "Don't bring a baby to the dentist!" I don't really know what happened after that, except he finished the filling and I was left with a terrible fear of the dentist.

That same day I had an appointment with the doctor to get my shots brought up to date in order to start school. I don't remember how many I was to have or which ones they were, just that I needed some shots. This, too, wasn't a problem for me--until that day. First of all, they tried to inject me with a bent needle. (This is from the days of non-disposable needles. I know, I'm old.) After they attempted to inject me several times, they realized the problem. Fine, but then they came at me again with a new needle. Well, by this time, I wasn't having any of it, so I pulled away as the needle went into my arm. You guessed it, the needle broke off in my arm. So now, the doctor had to do a minor surgery in order to remove the broken needle. AND I STILL HADN'T HAD THE INJECTION! Somehow or another, they managed to give me the shot(s) and we left the office.

Believe it or not, I managed to raise my girls without a fear of the dentist or needles. I still don't know how I did it. I am doing much better these days when it comes to needles and dentists. I have had to learn to accept having frequent blood work done because of my hypothyroidism and I have been very lucky that it is very infrequently that I need dental work done. So, I am able to do what has to be done, but I am never very happy about it.

Just A Post

Hi all--just a short post to update. Not all that much has been going on. I have been feeling all week as if I am coming down with a cold and it just isn't happening. This has kept me from being able to go see the baby--I would feel so bad if I came down with a full blown cold the day after seeing her! Oh, well, it is better to be safe than sorry.

Talked to C today and she was back in the ER earlier this week. Before that story, I have to say that she DIDN'T have a staph infection like the ER doc said--turns out it was possibly the world's worse yeast infection! That seems to be better now. Anyway, she had to go to the ER because she had so much pain in her arms--the diagnosis: she has blood clots in both. One arm has 4 and the other has 6. They said it isn't enough to keep her in the hospital as they are not in the deep veins, so they aren't as dangerous. They did put her on blood thinners and she has to see her doc on Friday. I don't know how much more that poor girl can take!

Found out that Grace is now almost 5 pounds! She is eating from a bottle and tolerating the breast milk very well. Don't know yet when she can go home, but I would imagine it can't be too long now.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Wires, Wires, And More Wires

Last night definitely was different, to say the least: I spent the night in a sleep lab. This all came to be because I told my doctor I think my thyroid is off again and asked for another med. He didn't like the idea of what I asked for, so he said my symptoms could also be caused by sleep-deprivation. (My get-up-and-go has got-up-and-went.) So, off to the sleep-lab. Well, this experience isn't as bad as a colonoscopy (goooooood drugs are given for a colonoscopy!) and not nearly as good as having a massage, but it was not a whole lot of fun.

First, I had to be at the hospital at 8:45 PM. The tech came and got us--there was another woman, too--and brought us to the lab. (And I could be given a million dollars and NOT be able to find my way there again!) Anyway, I was shown to my room and told to leave my things so that we could watch a film in the next room. So much fun that film was: lots of snoring and watching people sleep. Then the tech answered questions and my main one was: "How am I supposed to sleep? I sleep on my stomach!" Of course he answered, "No problem--you can still move around while hooked up." Yeah right!

Another tech brought me back to my room and I was told to "do what I do before going to bed" and then open the door to let him know when I am ready to go on. (I'm still wondering what he was referring to other than putting on my nightgown and brushing my teeth!?) When I was done, he came back and then the fun began.

I was put in a chair and the tech began taking measurements of my head. When he got the measurement he wanted, he used a pencil or something to mark the position--it wasn't just a felt-tip marker because it felt as if he was trying to CARVE the markings into my skull. When he was done with the measuring, he began to GLUE the patches to my skull. And he glued patches to my temples, my chin, and under my nose. There were 17 patches in all. Then he attached all of the electrode wires--it was like an electronic ponytail!

When that part of the prep was done, I had to lie down on the bed. There he strapped two different belts on me--one high on the chest and one low on the abdomen. EKG patches were then placed, a patch was placed on my throat, the oxygen monitor was put on my finger, and two straps were put on my heels. All of these had wires attached. In total, there were 29 different wires running from my body. Then he explained about the intercom--which was voice activated--and the camera and microphone which would be on all night. And he told me that if I needed anything just to talk in a normal voice and the tech who would be observing me the entire time would get what I needed. Then he said good night and have a pleasant sleep. RIIIIGHT!

All of the prep took about an hour, so the lights went off in the room a little after 11:00 PM. First of all, there was NO WAY I was going to be able to get completely comfortable in order to get to sleep. I laid on my side and drifted in and out for about an hour and realized I had to make a trip to the potty. Well, that was no walk in the park! The tech had to come and take off my foot straps, unplug the oxygen monitor, unplug the panel the electrodes were plugged into, and hang the panel around my neck so I could get out of bed and move around. Fun. If the bladder wouldn't have been screaming, I would have said , "Screw this." and tried to go back to sleep. Of course, when I was done he had to come back and hook me up again.

For the next 5 hours I actually slept a bit. I kept drifting in and out, but I guess I actually managed to get some deep sleep. Then a little after 5:00 AM the bladder needed attending to, so I had to be unattached, etc. again. When I got back into bed, I was sure I wouldn't sleep and was going to ask if I could go home, but I actually did drift off for about an hour when the tech came and woke me up to leave.

Taking all of the patches off took another 30 minutes--the ones that were glued on had to be removed with nail polish remover (okay, technically acetone, but it's the same difference) so it was a bit of a process. Now, I have sensitive skin, so everywhere there was glue or another adhesive there is a red mark--in some cases there is actual welts from the damn things! It is going to take several days for all of this to go away. And it will also take days for all of the glue to wash out of my hair--I don't care if it is "water soluble" as he said. So, then I put my clothes on and came home at 7:00 AM.

Next week I see my internist and he will have the results of this sleep-study, but the tech did tell my a few things. First, I don't have sleep apnea like you always hear about. I did snore very quietly and I had a few instances of my oxygen dropping, but nothing in the life-threatening area. I also exhibited a little bit of restless leg syndrome, but I think that was because of the position I had to sleep in. Anything he observed could probably be taken care of with a lose of excess weight--exactly what I thought before I went. So, this was a complete waste of time, in my opinion, but I guess I will wait to see what the doc has to say next week.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

NOT Just Baby News

Things just keep happening to C! She had to go to the ER because of a 101 fever and she now has a staph infection! She is already on antibiotics--and has been for over 3 weeks--so what more can they do for her? Also, several of the veins in her arms have calcification--I suppose the next time she needs an IV they will have to go into the neck. I sure hope not.

Went to see the baby and she is doing well. They fed her from a bottle and she took it fine. They think she is done under the ultraviolet light and her antibiotics should be done in the next couple of days. She sure is a cutie--I held her for awhile and just stared at her while she made faces. I swear she actually smiled! OK, I know that it wasn't a true smile, but it was cute nonetheless.

Now, on to other things. This is just so creepy I can't stand it! Yuck. I really don't like snakes and I would just have a heart attack!

Doesn't this just seem wrong? I know companies are in business to make money, but to make money because of fears just doesn't seem right.

And finally, WHY isn't this a reality show? Please save us from this crap!

Tuesday, October 18, 2005


There are many people who have never been in a NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit) and I have been in one many times. I will attempt to explain what it is like.

Before you can even get into the room where the babies are, there is a sink. Everyone, before going into the next room, must scrub for three minutes. It is just like you see on TV when the doctor gets ready for surgery—you must scrub your hands and arms all the way to the elbows for a period of three minutes. This has changed from nine years ago—at that time we had to scrub for five minutes and had to remove all rings and jewelry on the wrists and arms. Now you are allowed to keep rings on. Once you have scrubbed, you must put a gown over your street clothes and then you can go into the room where the babies are.

The first thing you notice when you walk into the room is how dark it is. I’m not talking dark as night, just very subdued lighting. And this is understandable—all of the babies SHOULD still be in a very dark place, their mother’s womb! The next thing you notice are all of the machines. Every isolette has its own station with machines and monitors—everything needed to keep a premature infant alive and well. If the station is occupied, you notice the lights and the tracings on the monitors—these are to track heart rates, breathing, oxygen, etc. As you get closer to a baby, you notice how everything being used is in miniature form. All of the leads, tubes, needles, and other medical supplies are tiny to the point of being laughable. But then, you see how tiny the babies are and you know why everything is so small. It is not unusual to see a baby so tiny that a man’s wedding ring will fit on its upper arm—with room to spare!

The isolettes are clear plastic “boxes” with portholes on the sides. The top can be raised so the baby can be cared for and the portholes can be used to do minor procedures. These isolettes are on raised stands so that the baby is at a comfortable height for the nurses to care for her. If the baby doesn’t need to be under the ultraviolet light, you will often see the top of the isolette covered with a quilt so the baby won’t be disturbed.

Depending on the size of the baby, she could just be wearing a diaper (if she’s big enough to fit into a preemie size), or she will be lying there naked. Sometimes the baby will be wrapped in a blanket, but it is easier for them to do procedures if the baby is unclothed—if it is a matter of saving a life, the quicker you can get to the baby, the better. Often, the baby will be wearing a knit ski-cap. Once you are over your amazement at how small she is (which you never REALLY are), you see all of the wires and tubes. There is a feeding tube, either in the nose or the mouth, you can have an IV, there are leads on the chest for heart monitoring, etc., the foot has a lead to measure oxygen levels, and she could have an oxygen tube. Plus there could be various other things attached depending on how sick the baby is. Some babies look very sick—you really wonder if they will make it—and some just look like miniature versions of full-term babes. You really don’t want to see the sick-looking ones—they’ll break your heart.

It is very hard to spend a lot of time in the NICU. There really isn’t much to do other than sit and watch your baby. If the baby is well enough, it can be held for periods of time, but that is limited. It is unnerving to sit and watch the warning lights and hear all of the warning signals coming from your baby as well as all of the others. However, the more time you spend there the more you begin to recognize what is a very serious emergency and what isn’t. Sometimes a baby will move the wrong way and a lead will detach and that will start an alarm—those are welcome problems. Of course, there are times when an alarm will go off for a very serious reason and those are the times you, selfishly, pray it isn’t your baby setting off the alarm. Day after day you just sit and wait—wait for the baby to begin feeding normally, wait for the oxygen tube to go, wait for the IV to go, wait for the doctor to come and talk to you, wait for the baby to gain another ounce, wait, and wait, and wait. And secretly you are ashamed when you are relieved to see your baby is so much healthier than the rest in the NICU. And you wait and you pray for the day she will be able to go home with you.

For the most part, a stay in the NICU is for a long length of time. Most babies will be there for WEEKS, not days. It is truly amazing the way they are able to take care of the very littlest of the little ones and how very often they are perfectly healthy when they are discharged. I have seen two of my grandchildren make it through the NICU—with the third one there now—and I ask God to bless the nurses and doctors, and I thank Him, daily, for all they do. They are truly gifted and wonderful people. They are heroes. And I hope and I pray this is the last time I will have to watch a baby in the NICU.

And Life Goes On

C was discharged from the hospital on Sunday. Even though she is very sad at having to leave the baby here, she is very glad to be home and with her other kids. I talked with her earlier and she said she is doing fine. She is having a bit of difficulty walking, but that is understandable. Not only is there the pain from her incision, but she has that abdominal infection that has to completely go away. She also has a vein in her right arm that is infected now, along with the one in her left arm. I don't know, this just is one real bad time she has had.

Baby Grace is doing well. She has gained some weight and is a couple of ounces heavier than she was when she was born--this, of course, after her initial weight loss which happens to all newborns. She is now up to 8cc of food at every feeding and is able to suck on a pacifier. Of course, she doesn't know how to swallow food as she is still be fed through a feeding tube. She still hasn't needed any supplemental oxygen, so that is one very good sign. When I was there the other day, I was able to touch her through the isolette portholes--such soft skin! I lightly ran my fingers down her spine and she arched her back like a cat--so funny to see such a little one do that.

Grace has developed jaundice, which is quite common in newborns. They have her under the ultraviolet light and have to cover her eyes with a grey sleepmask to protect them. Not only does it look funny to see a 3 pound baby with a mask on, but the way it is attached is amusing. The mask is not held in place with a headband. Velcro "hooks" have been taped to her temples and the corresponding "loops" are on the mask, so the mask is Velcroed to her head! To say she is not amused is putting it mildly--she tries to pull the mask off every chance she gets.

All in all, things are going quite well. Thank God, cause things could be so much worse.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Quick Update

C was all set and ready to go home today and then she spiked a 102 fever last night. They figure she has some sort of infection and she won't be able to see the baby until late tonight--as long as her fever stays normal. Of course, she is BACK on antibiotics and will stay that way till they figure the infection is gone. NOW, they are saying she will be going home on Sunday--I hope so, cause she is going completely stir-crazy! They moved her into another room today--this is the third one she has been in. This one is even FURTHER from the nurses' station--out in no-man's (or woman's) land, for sure. The babe has a little bit of congestion in her lungs, but other than that, she is remarkably healthy. Don't think she will have to stay here for all that long before they send her home. It will be nice for all of us to get back to normal around here. :)

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

It's A Girl!

At 12:48 PM Grace came into this world. She is 3 pounds, 11 ounces and 17 inches long. So far everything seems to be going fine for her--no oxygen and they are thinking only a couple of weeks in the NICU. C, on the other hand, seems to have had a bit of a harder time. They had to give her a general anesthetic for the c-section--not the spinal she usually gets. She is on morphine for pain and will be for 24 hours. I didn't get to talk to her, of course, so I have only what her husband told me to go on--I'll see her this evening and maybe find out a bit more. But, for now, the waiting is over! Yippee!

A Child Is Born...Almost

I am sitting here waiting for C to call and say the baby has been born. She called this morning and said they were getting her prepped for surgery and that it will all be done this afternoon. We were pretty sure the babe would be born today--C started labor already yesterday and it continued to progress. This morning they gave her magnesium to try and stop the labor, but it didn't. She is happy it all will be over with, but she also knows the chances of the baby going home with her are very slim. I don't think the babe will have to be here in the NICU for very long--at least I hope not. I will post updates as they become available.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

STILL Watching For Baby

I can't believe it is almost two weeks and C just doesn't seem any closer to delivering. Last night we had hope, though. Late in the evening she started having contractions--every 3 to 5 minutes! And they were getting quite strong. Well, she was positive the baby would be delivered by noon today, and the doctor was convinced it would happen soon, also. Around midnight she called her husband to come down to be with her and everything was moving along nicely and then the doctor did an exam--she was only dilated 1 cm. That fact made the doctor reconsider the decision to go forward with the c-section and gave C a muscle relaxant to see if the contractions would slow down. The contractions slowed down so much that they actually stopped! And so, C is still in the hospital, still getting bigger, and still as bored as a human can get.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Baby Watch Update and More

The only thing I can report about the baby watch is there is nothing to report. C is still in the hospital and it looks as if she will be here through the month--or until just before Halloween. Not a thing is changing from day to day--she said the doctors MAYBE spend about 30 seconds with her when they make their morning rounds. There just is nothing more they can say to her or ask her. I guess this baby is going to do things her own way and there is nothing that can be done about it.

Just got off the phone with the cable company--I have been having way too many problems lately with connecting to the internet. I am NOT pleased with any of the answers they gave me. First of all, they blamed the fact that the modem is plugged into a power strip--can't be the problem because I just transferred the plug from the wall to the power strip two days ago and the problems have been on-going for over a month. Then she blamed my router--never had these many problems before and I have had the router since I had my last computer. So, basically, I got nowhere with them. I would change from this company in a heartbeat if there was another option, but there isn't. No, that is wrong, there IS another option but I WILL NOT go back to dial-up!

I got the shock of my life on Saturday--my other daughter, A, stopped in. She hasn't been here for over a year, maybe closer to 2 years! The visit was fine--she came to pick up some more of the stuff she left here when she moved out. Maybe this is the first step to our getting back to getting along--I hope so.