Saturday, November 29, 2008

A lot has happened in the last few weeks - so bear with me

About two weeks ago, I had my first opportunity to watch William all by myself - Scott was back to work again for his first 48 hour shift since the baby was born. I was anxious to watch the baby for such a long time without any relief, but decided to just suck it up and enjoy. My good friend Tiffani came over and brought me lunch, so that was very helpful, especially since I hadn't figured out how to do anything other than shower & take care of Will's needs. I was so impressed with myself that I was having such a wonderful day with Will & that I was enjoying spending time with him so much.

Then at 4:00 pm, I had a melt down. I was nursing the baby, and I just started shaking and crying. I thought to myself, "It's about the time that I normally get tired, and I need help - Scott's not going to be home for another 40 hours, and I don't know if I can do this. . . . and why am I shaking so much? Suck it up, Liz!" I called my mom to get a pep talk from her, & she had me repeat to myself over and over that I could do this by myself. I then called Scott, & he told me to put the baby in the bouncer outside of the shower & to get in and relax (I was extremely engorged, and my breast hurt really bad). I got in the shower, and was really surprised that I couldn't get a hold of myself because I was still shaking, & it felt like it was getting worse. I finally had the thought that I needed to get out of the shower because - 1. William was crying & 2. If I didn't get out, I would pass out & really hurt myself. So I got out of the shower, swaddled Will & put him in his cradle in our bedroom (I was still shaking this whole time, & was terrified I was going to drop the baby). I got into bed, covered myself with the blankets & called Scott again. Will was crying, but I didn't have any energy to get up and take care of him. As I was shaking in bed, I could feel heat rushing through my body & knew I must be getting the flu. Scott finally told me he was coming home to help me out for a few hours and that he would go back to work after I got myself under control. When he got home, I was a complete mess. He called an advise nurse and told her my symptoms, and she told him to bring me to the ER. When I got there, I could barely hold my head up. I had a heart rate of 160, a fever of 101.7 & high blood pressure. They admitted me right away & started an IV (it took the nurse three tries). Within 2 hours, they gave me 4 liters of saline, and I was still very dehydrated. My fever & heart rate had gone down considerably, but were still not where the doctor & nurses would have liked to see them. They took my blood for a bunch of different tests, & after other tests, the doctor concluded that I had a Urinary Tract Infection (really? I didn't realize that shaking and a fever were signs of a UTI, just an infection in general. What about the burning they always talk about that comes with a UTI?). He decided to let me go home since I had a new baby to take care of (by this time, my mom was at my house taking care of Will) & gave me an antibiotic. He said if I got any worse after going home, that I should come back to the ER, & they would admit me without any questions.

After being home for about two hours, my shaking came back even worse than before, and I could feel my fever returning. Scott took me back to the ER, & the shifts had changed, so we had all new doctors & nurses who didn't know much of what I was going through. After getting poked two more times for an IV, I told the doctor that was helping me that my breast was hurting. He looked at it to check for mastitis, but concluded that I was just engorged (the first doctor had come to this conclusion as well). He rechecked to see if I had a UTI, and discovered that my urine was completely clean (it didn't make sense that I'd had a UTI in the first place). He then ordered a CT scan to see if I had an infection from delivery (especially since I had a difficult one). Right before I had the CT scan, the doctor came in & told me that he needed to do something that I probably wouldn't be too happy with. My first thought was that I would have to have a spinal tap to check for meningitis (since some random doctor came in & hinted that that might be a possibility - what a jerk, worrying a sick, emotional woman about something completely unnecessary). Anyway, my doctor told me he would have to perform a pelvic exam (I was 4 weeks postpartum & had torn a lot during delivery - I got about 50 stitches and some of them still hadn't dissolved - however, after thinking I would have to get a spinal tap, the pelvic exam sounded like a piece of cake, so I happily consented). After my pelvic exam, I got my CT scan. I have never had any allergic reactions to medications before, but there's a first for everything. I reacted to the Iodine that they put in me for the CT scan - it hurt to swallow, I couldn't breathe through my nose, & my nose, mouth, & cheeks felt fuzzy. Thank goodness they gave me Benadryl, and I was finally able to fall asleep because of it.

After I had been in the ER for about 12 hours or so, they moved me up to my own private room in the hospital. They kept giving me morphine for the pain, I continued to shake, and my temperature kept fluctuating. They also gave me shots in my stomach for the 2 days I was there, so that I wouldn't get blood clots in my legs from being in bed. The doctors still didn't know what was wrong with me, they just knew I had an infection of some kind. They put me on two different IV antibiotics, hoping that my body would react well to them. On a scale from 1 to 100, with 100 being the most harsh, one of the antibiotics was ranked at 100. The on-call doctor finally called for the OB/GYN on duty to check me out. I kept mentioning that my breast hurt, but thought that it might not be very important since 3 doctors by this point had told me I didn't have mastitis. When the OB came in, she checked one breast, and I didn't really respond to her exam. When she checked the other breast, however, I was shocked at how painful it was - I started yelling out and crying because it was so tender. She said that I most likely had mastitis (You think!?). I didn't have the red spots on my breast that are so often associated with mastitis (which is why the other doctors kept disregarding it), but because I was so sensitive to her touch, mastitis was her best guess. She advised that I keep taking the IV antibiotic just in case the infection was on a broader spectrum than just my breast. I still didn't improve, and my temperature got up to 104. They had to cool me down with ice packs even though I felt like I was freezing. My veins also blew, so they had to restart my IV. Because my veins were so shot, they had to have a pic nurse come in & use an ultrasound on my arm to find a vein that would work. (I looked like a drug addict from all the times I'd been poked). Finally that night, after they gave me my second dose of the antibiotic, my fever finally broke. I woke up shaking & sopping wet. The nurses had to change my sheets because they were soaked. From that point on, I started to improve dramatically.

The next morning, my personal OB came to visit me. He checked my breast and said immediately that I had mastitis - by then I had the red spots. He said he would work his magic and get me released early & prescribe Vicodin & an oral antibiotic for me so I could go home. After a few more complications with needles & IVs, I was finally able to go home (My vein blew again, so they had to restart another IV with an ultrasound, which blew within 2 minutes, so they gave up. Every time they started to use a needle or an IV on me, I broke out in a sweat - my body was so sick of being tampered with & my veins were dead).

This whole experience was such a mess, but it also made me so grateful for my health, for my husband, family, friends, my sweet baby, & the priesthood. When I got home after being in the hospital for 2 days, I hardly recognized my baby. His cheeks had gotten so much fuller after being on formula, that I had to watch his mannerisms to realize that he was the same little boy. He had changed so much in 2 days. After waiting such a long time for this child to come into our home, I couldn't stand being away from him & not being able to take care of him as a mother should. The first time I held him when I got home, I just rocked him & sang "You Are My Sunshine." This song took on new meaning for me after being in the hospital, especially the part that says: "The other night dear, as I lay sleeping, I dreamt I held you in my arms. When I awoke dear, I was mistaken, & I held my head & I cried." I love my baby boy so much, and I was so happy to be home with him again.

I am also so grateful for the priesthood. I had more than one blessing while I was sick, and they brought me so much comfort. Heavenly Father is in every aspect of our lives, & is very aware of our discomforts, pains, joys, needs . . . everything. I could feel the Spirit as I went through this experience, & I knew that all would be well. My father who came up to be with me and to help with William gave me a blessing, telling me that it was not my time to go yet & that I had a special mission as a wife and a mother that I needed to fulfill. This was such a comfort to me, especially as there is nothing I want more in this life than to be a wife and a mother.

I never got around to posting a 1-month picture of Will because I was preoccupied with healing from my time at the hospital. So here it goes - nothing fancy, but at least it's something.

Taking a nap with daddy - Scott ended up taking more than a few hours off of work, so he could take care of me. He took me down to my parents' so they could help with Will while I recovered.
Will's gotten so much chunkier than he used to be. I love the little rolls he's getting, and his double chin is amazing - it practically props his head up, so it doesn't bob as much. I also love his sad face. His lips turn down so much, & he looks so sweetly pathetic.
Nice & warm after his bath, so he's much happier
When Scott went back to work for his next rotation after I was sick, my mom brought me back to our house. She had a lot of work to do back in Danville, so I called my friend Marisa to see if she could help me take care of Will - I was still weak from my hospital stay & couldn't even hold him for a very long time without getting worn out. She took care of him when he cried, fed him formula supplements, took me to my doctor appointment, and ran me to Will's pediatrician so he could fix his oozing bellybutton (he weighed in at 9 lb. 12 oz. after weighing 8 lb. 4 oz. 1 1/2 weeks before).

I was finally able to start nursing again after pumping and dumping for about a week. Here's William in a food coma. He's so cute.
William trying to decide if he wants to fall asleep or not while Scott & I ran errands.
Mama giving him a bath - he loves floating in the tub. He just sticks his legs out behind him & kicks like a frog.
I couldn't decide which bath picture I liked the best, so here's all of them.
He's got baby cleavage.

On November 19, Scott and I celebrated our 4-year anniversary. I actually got dressed up & did my hair & makeup. We went to Green Acres nursery to look at trees for our backyard (actually my idea & not Scott's - the 4-year gift is flowers or fruit, so I thought it would be fun to buy a citrus tree or some other sort of tree for our anniversary - we haven't purchased one yet because we are able to get plants wholesale through someone else). We then went to Tahoe Joe's and got steak dinners while William slept in his car seat on top of the table. We had a great time.

My mom & grandmother, Sammie, came to visit William for a day.
Scott's family came to stay with us for Thanksgiving, and we had such a wonderful time. It is so much fun getting to know everyone a little more each time we get together - they are all truly amazing people. Unfortunately, Scott's sister, Michelle, and her family couldn't come down, but they did call & sing "Happy Thanksgiving" to us.

Dennis, Karen, Gail, Allyssa-Rae, & me
We played games a whole bunch while Scott's family was here - cards & Mario Cart: Dennis, Kayla, Mark, Allyssa-Rae
Thanksgiving Day: Mark, Scott, William, & Dennis - I dressed Will up in a little acorn outfit for his first Thanksgiving.
Our first real family picture since Will was born. It's so nice to finally have one.
Joy & Mark with William
What better way to end this post than by ending it the way it started (Really, it's almost laughable). On Thanksgiving Day, I started out feeling perfectly wonderful. Everyone was just sitting down for dinner when Will decided to wake up from his nap & eat. So I went upstairs to nurse him when I suddenly had severe pain in my breast. I finished feeding him, & Scott had me come downstairs to eat something so that I wouldn't go all day without food. I could hardly hold the plate to dish my food up, so Scott had to do it for me. I went upstairs, & Scott brought me food in bed. I finished most of my dinner, but was in too much pain to sit still. I jumped in the shower, hoping that would help me feel better, but noticed after I got out that my sore breast was extremely swollen. I had Scott, Dennis, & Mark give me a blessing because I was almost positive that I had mastitis again. After receiving the blessing, my thoughts were confirmed. I called an advise nurse & could barely talk to her because I was in so much pain. I told her that I thought I had mastitis again even though the flu-like symptoms hadn't started yet. She told me I probably just had a clogged duct, but had me take my temperature, which turned out to be 99.7 (not very high yet, but a fever nonetheless). As I was talking to her, I suddenly began shaking - she told me it was probably nerves. She transferred me over to a doctor who was working at the hospital where I delivered, so the doctor could advise me on what to do. As it turns out, the doctor I spoke to was one of the four doctors who helped with Will's delivery (a tender mercy). She thought that I probably had a clogged duct, but said she would prescribe Vicodin & an antibiotic for mastitis (I was a little insulted that both the doctor & the advise nurse thought I would call crying over a clogged duct - I knew I was in more pain than that - I had had clogged ducts before). Scott ran to the pharmacy & picked up the prescriptions for me while I stayed at home to follow the doctor's orders - pump & pump & pump. It hurt to even lift my arm, so I struggled even getting started with the pump. I just prayed that someone from Scott's family would come upstairs to help me. Within a few minutes, Joy came upstairs & started rubbing my back & helped me control my breathing. Karen then came upstairs & applied cool compresses to my head to stop my rising fever. They helped me into bed & continued to massage my legs & back & helped me with my breathing so I could relax more. I continued to shake, but my fever didn't get nearly as high as last time. After Scott came home with the Vicodin, the pain almost completely disappeared. (When some people found out I was hospitalized for mastitis the first time I had it, they looked confused and asked why like it wasn't a big deal. This really bugged me because it's not like I was being a pansy & exaggerating it. Now that I've had it a second time, I can see what they mean about it not being so bad - even though it is still very painful. Because I was able to catch the mastitis early, I haven't been nearly as sick as I was the first time - but the first time was hell.) I am so grateful that I knew what I had before it got to the point that it had last time. My fever got up to 101.7, but it also broke later that night after I'd started my antibiotic.
I'm still in pain, but nothing like I was earlier. I thought I was going to be able to nurse William, but after 6 weeks & getting sick 2 times now because of nursing, I need to call it quits. I can't take care of my baby when I'm sick like this. Thank goodness for such an amazing family who could take care of both Will and me when I got sick for a second time. My love for Scott's family has multiplied because of this experience, which in ways makes me very grateful that it happened. They were so quick to respond to my needs & my child's needs with so much care & love.

Life continuing while I stayed upstairs in my bed resting, pumping, & recovering:
Gail taking care of William
Dennis, Scott, & Mark starting on the waterfall in the backyard.
Will all bundled up for a walk.

Monday, November 3, 2008


Before his diaper change After his diaper change: that was one loaded diaper.

(This picture should be turned the other way, but for some reason when I upload it to the blog, it looks like this.)Three generationsWe met up with some friends at the Morgan's for dinner & a game. Our group has really expanded with Jaxon & William here.
The gang: Andrew, Tiffani (Carson was in bed), Jaxon, Catherine, Josh, Sara, Ben, Ethan, Leslie (Curtis was taking the picture) & me (Scott didn't quite make it in the picture, but Will's head did).